New Strategy for Wireless Service Operators

iBurst (Pty) Ltd. a wireless ISP in South Africa has tried a new strategy in overcoming tower installation objections due to claims of electromagnetic hypersensitivity. They turned the tower off completely without telling the neighbors for over a month and observed as the complaints of EHS continued. This proves conclusively, to anyone capable of the most basic critical thinking, that the tower is not the cause of the reported symptoms.

Unfortunately the neighbors still want to try to have a court shut down the tower showing that the neighbors aren’t thinking logically. The company did what is considered the gold standard in EMI/EMF effect testing by every regulatory agency, standards organization and decent engineer. Once you turn off the power to any transmitter, bringing the power output to zero, anything still happening is clearly not from that transmitter.

This incredibly simple and essentially infallible disconnect test is about as good as it gets. Many people should be familiar with this type of test from their own experience. The most common example I can think of is when you’re sitting in a parked car and hear a noise that seems to be coming from the engine. You turn off the engine and if the sound goes away the engine is the culprit, if the sound remains it’s not the engine. No functional human being should be able to deny the results of this test and the radio transmitter variation is just as reliable.

It is clear that EHS is a very real disorder but it is also very likely to be a psychogenic illness. Many studies and tests of EHS have been made over the past decades and the evidence points squarely at this being psychogenic. Sadly, as this iBurst case so clearly demonstrates, no matter how good the evidence is, some people refuse to believe and instead fall back on standard pseudoscience tactics.

Links to some full free access journal articles on this topic:

Happy MLK Jr. Day

Today we celebrate the life and work of the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. Take some time to check out the posts written by bloggers I regularly read:

I also recommend reading more of his words at the The Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute website or this old post of mine from a couple years ago.

Firefox Research Extension

I’ve been using the Zotero research extension for Firefox for about six months and find it extremely helpful. Zotero makes it easy to store, organize, annotate, search and cite internet references for any research project. Zotero comes form the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University and is sponsored by the United States Institute of Museum and Library Services, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

For me the most important reason to use Zotero is to protect your research sources against disappearing from the net. This aspect saved my butt quite a bit last year when GeoCities was closed and a number of good information sources I had found vanished. With copies of the references safely stored in Zotero on my local PC I didn’t have to worry about manually scraping the sites before they closed or trying to find them in the WayBack Machine at

To help keep multiple projects organized I use Firefox profiles to give me separate Zotero databases for each project. I use my default user profile for Blackstone Valley research and then created new profiles named GWPresTour and WorkResearch for my two other active research projects. To use the other profiles I created desktop shortcuts with command lines like this: “C:Program FilesMozilla Firefoxfirefox.exe” -P “GWPresTour”.

I did find one feature of Zotero a little bit annoying, the annotation toolbar that gets added to Firefox whenever you view a saved snapshot. It takes up a bit too much screen real estate and can not be toggled on and off with Firefox’s toolbars menu. A fix for this is in the last message of the Hide annotation toolbar thread at the Zotero Forums. By using the Stylish Firefox Extension I can toggle the annotation toolbar on and off easily now.

Televangelist in Training

Lying to the public, breaking copyright laws, keeping money intended for charities, lying to his parents to get more money, bigotry against Jews and the disabled, raising lots of money. Yep he’s well on the way to becoming a televangelist. If a religious professional is accumulating money, THEY’RE DOING IT WRONG. Every good, honest religious professional I’ve known (including my Dad) gave up huge income potential to serve those less fortunate than themselves.

Watch the four part video documenting the bad behavior of televangelist in training Shawn aka VenomFangX starting here.

Blogroll Update

I’ve updated my blogroll and linked it to Google Reader to simplify maintaining the list. The following blogs have been added, most I’d been reading for a while but hadn’t remembered to add to my blogroll. Training, Tips, and Ideas, Gruts, Allusions of Grandeur, Ninja, Skeptical Software Tools, ZooBorns and Updates. Actually I think Allusions had been on the list before but had fallen off due to inactivity. I’ve also added a separate category for comic strips that includes these new listings, Jesus and Mo and SketchBlog!.

One blog has changed, Steve of the IntelliAdmin blog has split the old blog by adding Network Steve, read Steve’s explanation here. Finally two blogs have gone silent for a long time now so they have fallen off the list, 95% Of You Are Morons and Hyphoid Logic. I’m keeping them on my readier subscriptions so if they come back I can put them back on the list quickly.

Repairs Under Way

I screwed up by attempting too many semi-automatic updates to my WordPress, PHP and MySQL. Had to uninstall then re-install WordPress and manually import the data tables to MySQL to get the blog back up.

Hopefully it works OK, if you see any problem let me know by leaving a comment or sending me an email.


My Favorite PC Keyboard

Earlier this year my trusty old keyboard died after a decade of use. I had a few different spare keyboards that had come with new PC’s over the years so I tried them all as replacements. They all felt wrong to my fingers that have grown accustomed to the original IBM PC and Selectric typewriter buckling spring keyboards I’ve been using for nearly forty years.

Searching around I found what seemed to be the closest match to the IBM style keyboards from Keytronic, the DESIGNER-P2. I bought one from Newegg unfortunately it was defective so with the added expense of shipping it back for replacement I ended up spending close to $60.00 before I had a functioning unit. Then came the big disappointment, it just didn’t have the buckling spring feel I wanted. While it is far better than the other keyboards I tried, it still fell short of my expectations.

After further searching I found the company that bought and still uses IBM’s keyboard technology, Unicomp of Kentucky. Through Unicomp’s online store I bought the SpaceSaver 104/105 model and I love it. The feel of the keys is exactly what I wanted and it has brought my typing speed and accuracy back to where it should be. The Keytronic keyboard is now packed away for use as a temporary replacement when my SpaceSaver 104/105 breaks and I’m waiting for a new one to arrive.