Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Frazzled? Moi?

There are, or soon will be, more internet-enabled mobile devices on the planet than people.  About seven billion (whatever that means – numbers bigger than a thousand or so tend to lose much meaning to me).

Leaving aside the obvious question, ‘why?’, you have to wonder what the long- or even short-term effects might be.  A couple of decades ago, there was a big scare about how leaks from  microwave ovens were frying our brains.   Scientists assured us that you’d have to actually put your head inside the microwave and switch it on before any harm resulted; and some clever satirist pointed out that you’d have to cut it off first, otherwise you wouldn’t be able to close the door … and that one went away.

The radiation in an oven is obviously a lot more powerful than that from a phone, and is thoroughly screened.  Whereas that from a phone is tiny, but is the opposite of screened – it has to get out there, as strongly as possible, that’s the whole point.  But, though each device’s contribution may be miniscule, multiply by seven billion and …

But what concerns me most is this.  If all this radiation is indeed cumulatively rotting everyone’s brain, how will we know?  There are already worrying signs (the Bank of England’s quarterly economic forecasts, horseburgers, Adele) that humanity’s critical and analytical faculties are on the wane.  Degraded brains can’t resolve their own degradation.

I’m not worried about it, though.  My brain’s still fine.  And I only own one mobile phone (which often doesn’t work.)  And I counted up to nineteen just now, when I’ll be a hundred.  Nurse, I need a top-up.  Oh, sorry, nurse is out for her psychotherapy.

4 comments :

  1. You might want to look at this, Tim:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-21411335

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  2. AAARGH!!! Don't let them do it!! "ERROR 999. WE'RE SORRY YOUR CAR CRASHED. PLEASE TRY LATER, OR USE A DIFFERENT BROWSER."

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  3. When wifi was new, people claimed to be allergic to it. I haven't heard that mentioned for the past few years, it seems to be so useful that people overlook the possible risks.

    Counting backward from 100 in 7s is supposed to be a good test of mental alertness.

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  4. Don't worry Tim, by the time we've all succumbed to brain damage the millions of wireless interchanges in the aether will have plaited themselves together and discovered consiousness. They'll be able to take over screwing up the planet. And they'll be able to drive too.

    (That sounds like a good way to put yourself to sleep Z)

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