(keitai-l) Re: sticker for keitai

From: Curt Sampson <cjs_at_cynic.net>
Date: 10/05/01
Message-ID: <[email protected]ink.co.jp>
On Wed, 3 Oct 2001, Nick May wrote:

> With respect, I beg to differ.  I have no idea whether this is snake-oil
> (I suspect so) or not, but the BBC makes a perfectly reasonable stab at
> presenting the story. ( am not sure whether it has been edited since I
> linked to it originally - it is the version currently up that this is
> taken from.)

It has been edited to add the bits about doubting the veracity of the
claim. The original article expressed no doubts at all, though it didn't
actually go so far as to endorse the claim.

I got a note back from them, where they did admit that they could
have done a bit more before posting the original story. I'm still not

> In other words, it is responsible coverage of a product launch that may be
> of interest to many (given the coverage of possible damage caused by
> cellphones in the UK) , with fairly hefty caveats well and truly entered.

I still don't think it's responsible journalism.

First of all, it's a cop-out to write things like

    American inventor Kim Dandurand, who launched the product in
    Glasgow, said research showed his product was effective in
    removing any harmful effects.

without actually finding out what this research is, who did it, and who
reviewed it. Anybody in the world can say "research supports blah blah
blah" about anything, and any wanker can type such a quote into a word
processor and print it. Responsible journalists do some independent
research or ask appropriate questions to try to determine the veracity
of the statement.

Printing someone's statements without any sign of refutation implies to
me, and I suspect to most readers, that you have reasonable grounds to
believe that the statement is true.

Second, the existence of other devices that seek to reduce such exposure
is mentioned, but there's no indication that some of them are based on
sound principles of physics, and actually work! (Let me note here that
they work to reduce the intensity of RF energy passing through or being
absorbed by certain parts of the body--whether this reduces your risk
of a brain tumour or whatever is a separate question over which there
is reasonable debate.)

For example, using an earphone lets you keep the phone much further away
from your head, but with many designs of cellphones this doesn't reduce
exposure all that much because the cable connecting the earphone to the
phone turns into an antenna. One company sells a simple little device that
you wrap your earphone cable around which acts as an inductor and filters
the RF passing through the cable in the usual way. To the contrary,
this sticker works on no known physical principle that I'm aware of.

When you are told that an object does something, but it appears to do it
by magic, it's pretty standard to require a fairly high level of proof
before airing any thought that the thing actually works.

So this still looks like free advertising for a rip-off artist.

Curt Sampson  <cjs_at_cynic.net>   +81 3 5778 0123   http://www.netbsd.org
    Don't you know, in this new Dark Age, we're all light.  --XTC

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Received on Fri Oct 5 08:27:18 2001