29 Apr 2012 @ 8:50 AM 

So I read the paper today. One of the letters to the editor was possibly the stupidest thing I had read in quite a long while, and required a response. I considered writing to the editor myself, but a newspaper is hardly the best place to conduct a flamewar. Besides, no doubt other people would be searching for their cited evidence and come up empty, just as I had. Anyway, here it is.

As someone who is electro-hyper-sensitive, I’m really angry that yet another public service is being denied to me.

That’s right- in the first sentence they essentially claim to have super-powers.

Public buildings – libraries, universities, government offices, hospitals, medical clinics, community centres – and privately-owned restaurants and coffee shops are all infested with “wireless connectivity syndrome”: microwave-emitting cellphones, i-Somethings, Blue Whatevers, Wi-Fi, cordless phones, wireless spy cameras, smart meters, etc.

“Microwave” is a broad term, used to indicate any EM emission between 300Mhz and 300Ghz. This causes confusion amongst those intend on spreading Feay r, Uncertainty, and Doubt because they either do not realize that the spectrum used for cooking and heating items in a Microwave oven are in fact a tiny subset, and are far more powerful than anything emitted by devices such as cellphones or 802.11 networking devices. The common refutation is that Microwaves are “cumulative”. But this is simply false; the specific wavelength used for microwave ovens is designed (or rather discovered by accident) to excite water molecules, which is how it achieves the desired effect of heating or cooking food.

The World Health Organization classified microwave radiation from these gadgets as a Class 2B carcinogen.

What the writer isn’t mentioning here is that “Class 2B” carcinogens are “possible causes”; not verified. More importantly, it is in good company as a class 2B carcinogen; pickled vegetables are in the same category, but anybody crusading against the use of pickles and olives would be classified as insane.

I can’t access those services because my body literally feels microwave radiation inside those buildings. First I itch, then get dizzy and nauseated, lose focus and memory, develop headaches.

the idea of electro-sensitivity is absurd, double-blind studies have shown that proclaimed “electro-sensitive” people report discomfort when they think there is an EM field. It comes as no surprise that these people were crusaders against the evils of newer technology long before they got their “super-powers”.

but long-term effects – DNA damage (cancer, sterility), immune system failure, neurological disorders –will affect us equally.

We have been exposed to various forms of electromagnetic radiation, and in more powerful amounts, for over a hundred years. Power lines, electrical equipment (toasters, ovens, etc) all emit Electromagnetic radiation; junction boxes, light-bulbs, flourescent lights, Television screens, etc all emit EM radiation in similar wavelengths to those used by these later technologies that are being crusaded against. I often wonder why it is only the newer devices being singled-out, particularly since they use far less powerful emissions than those devices we have used for many years without ill effects.

Metal doesn’t always reflect radio waves and EM emissions, for move wavelengths, it absorbs them, because metals have free electrons they absorb EM emissions of most spectral frequencies. (how do you think antennas work?). devices designed to reflect EM emissions need to be designed to do so, and even then will only work at specific wavelengths, such as those- again- used with Microwave ovens.

It’s fun to overgeneralize and assume that because the frequencies emitted by a Microwave oven’s magnetron are reflected by metal, that all EM emissions are, but it’s patently false. Only specific frequencies of EM radiation are reflected by Metals; Microwave ovens happen to use one of this subset specifically because of that property. However, Wireless-G, 802.11, and similar EM devices use wavelengths that are absorbed by metals.

I don’t understand why WorkSafeB.C. allows such gross violations of their own regulations (employees may not be exposed to Class 2B carcinogens if safer options are available) and why our provincial government knowingly microwaves its employees and taxpayers.

Once more, the alarmist jumps out, using the term “microwave” in order to try to connect 802.11g radiation with the EM radiation used for cooking in microwave ovens, the disparity is alarming between these, however; the former- particularly with cellphones and 802.11- are far lower power and of a completely different frequency than the latter, so creating any sort of connection between them is pure FUD. Additionally, I was unable to find any citation as to the regulations stating anything like that; probably because that “regulation” doesn’t exist. Considering such a regulation would be required to prevent employees from eating pickles or olives on the job I’m inclined to believe it’s invented.

The curious thing about this is that the spreaders of such Dark-Age insipid FUD on this issue simply don’t understand some basic principles; first, the EM radiation that they are crusading against is about a million times weaker than that used in a microwave, and the radiation used in a microwave is about a million times weaker than the radiation we are exposed to in direct sunlight. And yet, they seem to have no problems with sunlight.

I propose that the entire thing is based in unfamiliarity and resistance to newer technologies, rather than any genuine concern for health; The sun can cause health problems, but even a second’s worth of exposure is more powerful than a lifetime of using cellphones and other devices. The primary difference is that the Sun has “been there”; it’s an established element. Cellphones and other devices, to many people, are new, unfamiliar, and intrinsically dangerous, not because people don’t understand them, but because those people don’t understand them, nor do they usually understand the principles of electromagnetism, deriving their arguments instead from google searches and unbibliographically sound sources.

Here is an interesting link about “electro-sensitives” and their crusade:

http://www.skepdic.com/electrosensitives.html

My favourite is still the bit about Class 2B carcinogen, and how they said it like it meant it was a deadly poison to be avoided; meanwhile, other things that are classified as Class 2B carcinogens include pickled vegetables. OOOOH SCARY.

Posted By: BC_Programming
Last Edit: 29 Apr 2012 @ 08:50 AM

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 23 Nov 2010 @ 7:09 PM 

Alright, so, I had finally gotten sound to work. it was wonderful. Sure, things ran a bit slow.

And then poof, out of nowhere- Quite literally, I made NO code change whatsoever, the program is now crashing with an OutOfMemory error. From- where else? the god damned GDI-Plus/Cairo. Who the fuck wrote that thing? Every single problem I’ve had has been related to that Piece of shit. If you’re going to write a compatible library, do it properly.

Another tidbit: I love how everybody who uses Linux says “Linux is more stable” perhaps the OS is, but when it comes to Mono you may as well leave any stability, mental or otherwise, at the door.

“MonoDevelop, please show me the contents of this variable in the locals window”

“naw, I’ll crash instead”

“MonoDevelop, please show me the locals window”

“sorry my window has gone dark again.”

&()*#%&*(#(

It’s DRIVING ME INSANE. I finally get the thing working and then out of nowhere (again, I made absolutely no change to the code) it decides, “hey, you know what, I’m broken again, just for shits and giggles”.

What makes even less sense is it only crashes in certain locations. It still draws the sidebar just fine. the background is drawn. and so forth. Why the hell does it refuse to properly draw some items? I finally, after struggling for far too long to get the bloody IDE to allow me to set a bloody breakpoint (you know, those things that worked perfectly fine in Turbo Pascal 25 years ago?) I threw in a few try catches because the error was not being handled in the right place (of course it would have been easier to discover this if I had been able to set breakpoints or had a clue where the Trace.WriteLine output was going), so I discover the problem was in cBall, when it tries to draw. Somehow drawing a god damned Solid Ellipse is just so taxing that it runs out of memory. Because that makes sense.

And then I made a few changes, and the error was now a NullReferenceException in DrawSideBar, so I thought, good! Maybe I’m finding out where the problem is.

So, silly me, I believed that MonoDevelop wasn’t being a huge steaming pile and tried to use the debugging features, you know, the ones that programmers might use, like say, placing a breakpoint in said routine in a crazy attempt to determine what was null.

OH! but that is not going to fly! I try to run the program in Debug, as one might, and the poor thing refuses to start! Mono Essentially crashes! Oh the JOY of this IDE, it simply screams “please, don’t use me the way you might expect, most of my features are written by illegitimate children of famous actors, and are therefore unusable except from a distance using bad glasses”.

So I try again, and this time mono really does crash. This is bordering on psychotic folks.

So, I’ve decided that if somebody wants a Linux version of, at least, this program they can either figure it out themselves or look elsewhere.

I tried to make a small java test version but I couldn’t figure out how to use swing. By which I mean I couldn’t import the library. But that’s another story.

EDIT: cleaned up my swearing here 😛 it was a lot even for me. Also, in the meantime I was able to create a small working application but couldn’t find the motivation to bother trying to figure out where swing paints. (having to look up in the documentation for exactly what routines to override, as opposed to being able simply type “override” in C# and see what I can override? No thanks. (also, I am probably clouded by my past attempts to work with java back in the “golden days” of the standard Java.AWT classes, which had the magical ability to provide sub-standard, barely OS-oriented controls for each Operating System.

Posted By: BC_Programming
Last Edit: 29 Nov 2010 @ 01:33 AM

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 11 Jul 2010 @ 9:26 PM 

In a new type of post I will class “Phrase Examination” I will examine common metaphorical phrases that, when examined deeper, often have deep existential implications.

For example, often times, people, myself included, will use the phrase “Happy as a clam”. from the context, it suggests that clams are in fact happy.

However, how do we know a clam is happy? How do we even know a clam is capable of emotion? Oftentimes, I’ve wondered, since I really have too much time on my hands, wether it might actually be a reference to the clam’s physical shape itself, how, when you look at a clam from a isometric viewpoint, the clam often appears to be wearing a smile, which to the uneducated observer can seem to run to infinity. Of course, such a concept is rather foolish- a smile is defined as “a facial expression characterized by turning up the corners of the mouth; usually shows pleasure or amusement”. of note here are the terms “facial” and “mouth” a clam has no face, and the bivalve’s two-halves hardly form a “mouth” as much as it forms a “concave environment in which it spends it’s entire life”. Additionally, the concept is based entirely on a viewpoint- from above the clam. if you do the same from the bottom, the clams metaphorical expression becomes one of deep emo-like sadness, the type that makes you wonder if it cuts itself because it’s not worth it’s own blood.

Another Clam-related phrase, or more precisely, clam-related word, is the word “clammy” which means moist and warm, and can usually apply to nearly everything in a warm humid environment. contrariwise, the Clam is a saltwater bivalve that lives in seawater in the temperate regions of the Earth. under the water the humidity is at a constant 100%, for reasons I hope i need not explain, but the Clam doesn’t only live in warm water, nearly anything in the temperate region is suitable. Additionally, it’s cold-blooded, so the implication that warmth+moistness somehow implicates a relation to clams is only half-true, and truly the word “lobstery” or “octopussy” could apply equally as well. (although I think the latter is used to mean “deactivating a nuclear warhead at the last second while wearing a clown-suit that a colleague was killed in” or even as an alternative form to mean pulling the old “swithcharoo” where, for example, you replace a priceless artifact with a fake of the same artifact and take the original for yourself.). And of course such such words are far more sound metaphorically.

But back to the existential implications of a clam’s emotions. It’s rather rather stupid to assume it has emotions. And certainly if it does the predominant one cannot possibly be happiness, but rather complete and utter boredom. I mean, the creature spends nearly it’s entire life completely motionless, filtering the fish crap from the ocean and eating it. Now, I’m no food critic, but fish crap is hardly my definition of fine dining. Sure, clams have a foot and can even swim, so they aren’t completely immobile, but you never watch horror movies about piranha-like clams that strip a creature to the bone in seconds, nope, such honours are reserved for piranhas (although I suppose my simile comparing clams to piranha’s sort of gave that away) which reminds me of that awful 1978 “piranha” movie. Which of course buys into the whole notion that pirahna will eat anything. which is ignoring all the scientific efforts I put in years ago! Why, during my experiments, I was trying to figure out why piranhas will reduce a monkey to the bone, but leave a baked potato untouched. It was important scientific research, and if I had discovered why I might have cured cancer. I believe this is the same facility where we were performing experiments to do the following:

-make a cat laugh
This had important connotations. First, we needed to determine wether cat’s simply had no sense of humour, or perhaps they were only amused by certain kinds of humour. We were unable to make a cat laugh, even after years of experimenting. We were certain we saw some smiles on the cats when we showed them makeshift propaganda videos that depicted a great cat leader telling his cat followers that they had finally taken every single grain silo in the world, and it was time to begin phase 2. This video was produced by a strange fellow named Catty Felinous McKitten, whom we later discovered wasn’t a human at all but rather an inpromptu and unexpected alliance between the OCAWYCAFALWCFOD (Old Cats Against Whatever the Young Cats Are For and Also Like Wet Cat Food as Opposed to Dry) and the young cats, who by that time had decided on the name “Young Cats Who Hate Animaniacs and Will Ally With Older Cats Only When It Serves All Catkind In Their Struggle For Control of the World’s Grain Supply” known by the shorthand YCWHAWAWOCOWISACITSFCWGC. (pronounced why chwa wah wookow isackit cerwug gik).

-turn a piece of toast back into bread.

This was really a spin off of a previous experiment where we tried to turn a cooked boiled egg back into a raw egg. I forget the exact reasons, but it was somehow related to extending the battery life of AAA batteries. Also, the market demand for an untoaster would reach unprecedented levels, on account of the fact that toasters have this tendency to either overtoast or undertoast, and with the technology behind an untoaster one could integrate the two using a series of low-quality timers like those used in toasters today to make it so that regardless of how skewed or useless the thermosistor used in the “darkness” knob is, the toast will always come out perfect, and if it is too dark you could set it the “untoast” mode and resolve that easily. It was discovered however that simply using a less shitty variable resistance timer on a actual toaster one can make one that works properly. No company has tried this, and only a few expensive (nearly 20 dollars) models are in existence.

-devising haircutting technology for frogs

We quickly met a dead end after many years of simulations when we realized that frogs didn’t have hair. we them wasted the next few years performing similar simulations for tadpoles, when the same was revealed for them. However, we were able to apply the haircutting technology successfully on true tadpoles (people with 1/8th or less Polish descent). The invention would have changed the world- it consisted of two blades, each with a single handle, connected using a single flexibly axis. by using the thumb to hold onto one handle and the rest to hold the other side, one can easily cut paper hair, and other similarly low shear strength materials. funding stopped when it was realized that what we invented was actually a pair of scissors.

-creating a unit for measuring freedom

With this we hope to rate a number of first-world countries based on their “freedom quantity”. our initial attempts to devise the system were common among those trying to devise a unit of measure- we chose two reference points, and gave them values. We chose the freedom inside a prison as the low point, and the freedom of a bird as the high point. However, our progress soon slowed as we started arguing amongst ourselves about exactly how free a bird truly is, and wether a animal needs to be sentient to actually be free. Additionally, many birds are placed in cages, so the simile “as free as a bird” cannot possibly compare to them. Not to mention the fact that Canary’s were used extensively to test the dangers of deep areas of a mine. (except in areas, such as Canada, where Canary cages were hard to come by. We improvised and just sent some chinese guys, which worked out fine… well, for us, not necessarily for the chinamen)- (serious sidebar: this is absolutely true, that and even more inhumane acts, such as sending them in to explode dynamite without giving them enough time to get away. This was during the building of the transcontinental Canadian Railroad, which was a condition of British Columbia’s entrance into the confederation. Additionally, the line itself served as a buffer to keep those nasty American’s from yelling “manifest destiny” and scoffing up the remaining parts of British North America not yet confederated as provinces or territories)

-make a clam smile

This was actually a offshoot from the initial discussion about “happy as a clam” that we had in the lunchroom. We all agreed that since seeing a clam smile was completely dependent on your perspective, we should try to make it so the clam truly forms a smile in the traditional sense. We did modify our definition and define the “mouth” as the bivalve opening, And we did have to stop our experiments on howler monkeys, AND we never did get clams to smile. We wrote the experiment off after a few years as “as hard to do as getting a cat to laugh” difficulties which we of course had first hand knowledge of.

Posted By: BC_Programming
Last Edit: 18 Oct 2011 @ 09:12 AM

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