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TODAY'S TOPIC: THE TECHNOLOGICAL IMPERATIVE
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Modern man is driven by the Technological Imperative. If we can do it, we must do it. We are driven to search for new knowledge and techniques, and if we make a scientific discovery, we think we must impement it as soon as possible in order to gain the greatest possible profit or power from it. In the past few centuries mankind has discovered and implemented steam power for the Industrial Revolution, then gasoline power for the Automobile Age, then nuclear power for the Nuclear Age, and now computer power for the Information Age.

In our last issue we mentioned the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico just off Louisiana, pointing out how modern man's implicit faith in technology has been shattered. They thought they had the "worst case scenario" all figured out with their blowout preventer... but that failsafe mechanism failed. So now we need a scapegoat: time to "Beat uP on BP!" The Nuclear Age has ushered in the possibility of cheap electrical power. But an item that has been lurking on page two of the news and occasionally makes it to the front page is the nuclear threat posed by North Korea and Iran, two countries led by psychotic regimes, that could plunge the entire world into an unthinkable nuclear war. The problem is, we must at times think carefully about the unthinkable. We must think "outside the box" about the "worst case scenarios" - not just what has happened in the past on a smaller scale in different circumstances, but stretch our minds to imagine all possible failures of our failsafe mechanisms. So how does all this relate to the possible risks of the Information Age?

Click to read the articleNo, it's not possible to cook an egg using two cellphones. Several variations of this spoof began circulating on the Internet in 2006 showing two, three or more cellphones talking to each other with an egg in the middle. Although cellphones do emit electromagnetic energy in the same general frequency range as microwave ovens, a cellphone's power is only about 1/1000th of the energy of a microwave oven. Thus there's simply not sufficient energy from cellphones to cook an egg, therefore this story that's been bouncing around the Internet for the last 4-5 years is just a hoax. (Click the thumbnail photo to read the article.)

So you're not going to cook your brains by talking on a cellphone. But keep in mind that most experiments that test whether or not people can be harmed by the electromagnetic energy from cellphones, smartphones or computers have been designed to test the thermal energy (heat output) produced by these devices. These tests have ignored the more subtle effects that these forms of electromagnetic energy could possibly have on our nervous system that operates by means of electrical impulses. Several studies in Europe have found that certain people are "Electro-Hypersensitive" and become very nervous, confused, stressed-out or depressed when they are near high voltage lines, TV transmission towers, cellphone towers, cellphones, smartphones, wireless computer routers and/or the wireless transmitters built into computers.


THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. - Clarke's Third Law


To follow up on last issue's topic, "Messin' Things Up" - you might have felt that I'm some sort of Luddite for suggesting there is a possible danger in using wireless, with the wireless technology folks wanting to grab more of the electromagnetic spectrum so that more wireless devices like smartphones, netbooks and slate computers can connect to the Internet via long-range 3G, 4G or WiMax wireless networks. Let's look at the issue further: One alternative being implemented is called "tethering" - building devices that include both short-range WiFi and long-range 3G, 4G or WiMax connections, and having people use WiFi hotspots whenever available. This offloads some of the long-range wireless traffic back to the wired broadband network, relieving some of the congestion on the long-range wireless networks. Many broadband service providers are already doing something similar: our AT&T DSL service includes the right to connect to any of AT&T's 50,000 WiFi hotspots around the U.S.

So let's push back this "tethering" idea a step further: recall back in the "old days" when LANs (local area networks) were all hard-wired using Ethernet cable? If your wireless base station is separate from your broadband router or if they're combined into one unit — a wireless broadband router — see if you can just use Ethernet cables to connect your PCs to your router, and then turn off the wireless portion. Another approach is to login to your router from your PC and turn down the router's wireless signal strength: if your router allows this, you can usually go from 100% signal strength to 50%, then to 25%, then to 12%, and even to 6%. My last two routers let me do this, so I turned the power down to 6%, but I recently discovered that my current router doesn't provide for this.

Do you remember when my last router burned out on the evening before Easter and I went through "withdrawal pains," being disconnected from the Internet for two whole days? Ever since I installed my new router, I've had more difficulty concentrating and I've felt sort of disorganized and depressed. So now I've experimented with my own head: when I take my cellphone from my pocket and place it an arm's length away, and also turn off my PC's wireless and unplug the router, I can concentrate better! Therefore, I'm looking for a different wireless broadband router, one that lets me turn down the signal strength to 6% — the signal is still strong enough in our condo — and also turn the wireless router completely off so I can then turn off the wireless system in my PC and use a hard-wired Ethernet cable Internet connection whenever possible. You may be thinking: Is this guy paranoid? Does he have a mindset that is simply prone to looking for unreal dangers?


According to the 3rd annual survey, conducted by Harris Interactive, 92% of computer users still don't do regular backups. Considering that 46% of people need to restore data every year, that means nearly 1 of every 2 of you, your friends, family and co-workers will lose data permanently. Work files? Gone. Photos? Gone. Music? Gone.

Click on Offsite Backup Services for securing your files   &   Online PC Support for worldwide PC service!


Think of it this way: an important aspect of a proactive mindset is first of all to recognize that risks may exist. Ignorance or denial of a threat — or completely tuning out the possibility of danger — makes a person's chances of recognizing a threat and avoiding it slim to none. This is why apathy, denial and complacency can be dangerous or even deadly. I would like to refer you again to The Startling Health Effects of WI FI & Wireless Appliances, the article I quoted from in our last issue. Its author is a man who describes himself as an "Electro-Hypersensitive" person. He had been noticing the following after installing a wireless router in his office 14 months previously:

SYMPTOMS FROM WIFI EXPOSURE

These are the symptoms that I now realize I was experiencing as a result of WIFI exposure. I am sure there may be many others, this is just my list!

Feeling low
Unable to concentrate or think clearly
Unable to get on with work tasks
Negative thinking, depressive thoughts
Not sleeping well
Feeling extraordinary tiredness
Not feeling well at home, especially in the office (where the router was) and feeling better as soon as I went out
De-motivated

SYMPTOMS OF IMPROVEMENT

These are the differences I am noticing now:

Feeling lighter and clearer in my head
Feeling 'uplifted' emotionally and mentally
Feeling happier
The 'air' in my office feels clearer
Feeling motivated

Now, you may ask, is this person just some kind of nutcase? Here is what the EUROPEAN COMMISSION HEALTH & CONSUMER PROTECTION DIRECTORATE-GENERAL report "Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks" on "Possible effects of Electromagnetic Fields (EMF) on Human Health" states:

"Human studies
In humans, transitory minor effects (both positive and negative) have been observed on EEG patterns, sleep structure, and cognitive processes (D'Costa et al. 2003, Cook et al. 2002, Hossmann and Hermann 2003, Sienkiewicz et al. 2005)." - and -

"Animal studies
Slight changes in EEG activity and neurotransmitters have been observed in animals at low SARs (reviewed by Sienkiewicz et al. 2005). Regarding cognitive functions, a recent report showed that a disturbance of learning and memory in rats exposed at 2.45 GHz CW could be inhibited by a magnetic field (incoherent noise) (Lai 2004a)."

See also The Negative Effects of Electromagnetic Fields by Joe Hall, the founder of Clarus Systems in San Clemente California, who for the past 20 years has been exploring the effects of man-made electromagnetic field (EMF) radiation on human health and psychology: "The most sensitive part of your body to EM radiation is ...the pineal gland. The pineal gland controls all the hormonal balances in your body. One of the most important hormones it controls is melatonin. When the pineal gland is stressed, melatonin levels go down, and the first thing that occurs is sleep problems."

And see Expressions of Concern from Scientists, Physicians, Health Policy Experts & Others — dozens of experts testify, for example: "There is no question EMFs have a major effect on neurological functioning. They slow our brain waves and affect our long-term mental clarity. We should minimize exposures as much as possible to optimize neurotransmitter levels and prevent deterioration of health" - Eric Braverman, MD, brain researcher, author of The Edge Effect, and Director of Path Medical in New York City and The PATH Foundation, expert in the brain's global impact on illness and health;

...and also How to Reduce Your Exposure to Electromagnetic Fields (EMF) that repeats my above advice on using wired Internet connections, and also not carrying your cellphone on your person or sleeping with it on your night table next to your head while it is turned on, whenever possible.

People are often aware of the EMF output from a wireless router, but they seldom realize that their computer also transmits EMF signals back and forth with the router. Your computer instruction manual very likely contains a warning to stay at least 12 inches (30 cm.) away from the screen, because that's where the computer's wireless antenna is located. This is why we advise turning off your computer's wireless signal whenever possible and using an Ethernet cable to connect to the Internet, if you'll be working at your computer for several hours at a time.

The simple fact is, we cannot imagine all possible "worst case scenarios" - we are not omniscient like God, we simply don't know the future. But perhaps these "Electro-Sensitive" people are like the canary in the coal mine, and we should take warning from them. Perhaps it's time to take a more careful approach to the "Technological Imperative" and think through as many of the possible scenarios that we can before we plunge headlong into adoption of new technologies.


See how the Firefox plugin "Targeted Advertising Cookie Opt-Out (TACO)" can help you opt out of targeted ads. You can get this plugin here: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/11073/. But search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing still record your web surfing habits. so if you'd like to use a search engine that doesn't, take a look at Startpage.


The goal of our CN.Net-News is to share information that we think you'll find helpful as you wrestle with that little monster on your desk, your computer. And we aim to present this information from a Christian worldview. Thanks for your time!

Yours truly,

"Dr. Bob the CompuNerd"

RobertD HoskEN
See the "nerd" in my name? (It helps if you're a little dyslexic!)
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