We get email.
Liar. Jerk. Sock puppet. Propagandist. Criminal. Corporate slut. Satan's minion1. These are just a few of the names Dr. Josh Bloom and I have been called -- and that was just last week.
What did we do to earn such reprobation? Were we cavorting with Gordon Gekko? Lobotomizing patients with Nurse Ratched? Sacrificing goats? Nope. In an op-ed for the Baltimore Sun, we explained why Wi-Fi is safe. And that's when the pitchforks came out.
The smartest reader2 commented:
Microwave ovens use 2.45 GHz to cook food. Most wi-fi also uses 2.45 GHz microwaves. So what is the difference between the microwaves used in ovens and the microwaves used in wi-fi? There is no difference. Simple logic should tell you there is a problem!
Ah, but there is a big difference: The dose. A typical microwave uses 1,000 watts. A wi-fi transmitter operates at a measly 1 watt. That's why microwaves cook food and boil water, while Wi-Fi transmitters are completely harmless3. Just like in medicine, the dose makes the poison.
Having dispatched the most reasonable sounding objection we received, we now turn our focus to the more unhinged ones, like this:
Seriously, what satisfaction do you get trying to harm innocent people? Is this part of your solution to overpopulation? Let everyone die from wireless.
This is not even wrong. Regardless of what the thoroughly discredited Paul Ehrlich and former Obama Science Czar John Holdren might still believe, the world is not overpopulated. And if it was, I would not advocate harming people, nor would I obtain any sort of pleasure in seeing people get hurt.
You do the devil's work Alex... Don't think you'll get away with your crimes.
He has no idea of the scale of the crimes I commit regularly. Sometimes, on my laptop, I turn on Wi-Fi and Bluetooth... AT THE SAME TIME.
Houston, We Have a Problem
We laugh and poke fun at this nonsense as a coping mechanism. But our society has a really serious problem: For far too many people, facts simply don't mean anything. At least two different phenomena are to blame for this sorry state of affairs.
First, expertise is dead. Democracy, Wikipedia, the long-standing tradition of American defiance of authority -- all of it plays a role in the apparently widespread belief that there are no such things as experts. Anybody with five minutes to kill and access to Google believes himself to be every bit as informed as a PhD or MD.
Second, every disagreement is political and personal. If a person disagrees with somebody, it must be because he or she is fundamentally dishonest, a paid shill, part of a global conspiracy to suppress the truth, or just plain evil. It couldn't possibly be because their knowledge and expertise have caused them to arrive at a different conclusion.
Of course, that's precisely what we would expect a lying, propagandizing, criminal, Satanic slut like me to say.
(1) I've been called a lot of things, but that was even new to me.
(2) That's like saying "the thinnest kid at fat camp."
(3) This article dives deeper into the science of wi-fi vs. microwaves.