What really grinds my gears or signs that the world is coming to an end

HDTV vs. Lookout Mountain: Cancer

There has been a giant debate over a new broadcast TV tower on Lookout Mountain. The two forces at odds are the Lake Cedar Group (aka CBS 4, Denver’s 7, 9 News and UPN 20) and C.A.R.E. (aka Canyon Area Residents for the Environment). Technically, Jefferson County and the City of Golden is the side opposing the Lake Cedar Group, but C.A.R.E. appears to be the public face.

I was recently invited to a Facebook group called “Say no to the Cedar Group” whose group description reads as follows:

From mines.facebook.com:

The Cedar Group is planning on installing a new 600ft Antenna Tower on Lookout Mountain, already the EMF radiation emitted by the antennae on the mountain are at 125% what is allowed by Federal Law and already the interference produced by the radiation is causing EM devices to function inappropriately within a few miles of the tower. With the addition of the new tower we, as a school, could face devastating consequences: inability to conduct EM or any micro/nano-scale research, loss of wireless capabilities in the Golden region, not to mention the negative health effects. All of this so the Cedar Group can rake in millions a year. Our school, The Colorado School of Mines is refusing to take an official position on this extremely important matter. The purpose of this group is to raise awareness among the student population at Mines so that we can let our administration know how we feel. Check out the website on this page and if you agree with me, that this is a big deal and that our voices must be heard please invite all other friends you have at Mines. If we could get the membership up at least we could show Bill Scoggins that we care about this and maybe he’ll decide to care as well!

Well, that was it. I really hate groups who have it all wrong. I also hate groups that feel the need to drag me into things they know nothing about. But the deed has been done and here I am. Now, before I begin this rant, I’m going to preface it by saying that I am only a Junior and still have many things to learn. However, I feel I have learned enough in my last 20 years or so to accurately comment on this issue.

The Lake Cedar Group and C.A.R.E. have both posted “facts” about the issue. The interesting thing is, many of these facts claims something that is mutually exclusive. For example, C.A.R.E. claims that “people who live closest to the towers have higher rates of brain and central nervous system tumors.” (http://www.c-a-r-e.org/myths.htm)
While the LCG claims that “Lookout Mountain cancer rates shows the incidence of disease is within the range that would be expected even if there were no towers.” (http://www.hdtvcolorado.com/)

This causes confusion for many people. It also frustrates me. So let’s get to it.

What C.A.R.E. claims:

From www.c-a-r-e.org:

Myth: Studies show no higher incidence of disease on Lookout Mountain than any other location.

Fact: The Colorado Department of Health and Colorado State University have both conducted studies specifically on Lookout Mountain residents, specifically to determine what types of adverse health conditions exist and what has caused them. The sad reality is that people who live closest to the towers have higher rates of brain and central nervous system tumors. Numerous physicians and cancer experts have testified under oath giving clear and demonstrative caution to Jefferson County officials that long-term exposure to the towers’ radiation is harmful to people – they also state that they wouldn’t have their families live near the towers with the risks they pose. You don’t see any television executives living near them either.

What the Lake Cedar Group claims:

From www.hdtvcolorado.com:

#2 Myth: Studies have shown the TV towers on Lookout Mountain cause cancer.

Fact: Another fabrication by opponents. The most recent study on Lookout Mountain cancer rates shows the incidence of disease is within the range that would be expected even if there were no towers. Further, the Jefferson County Health Department told the County Commissioners that there is “no conclusive proof that low level RF is a causal agent for cancer or for other adverse health effects.” Additionally, the Health Department told the commissioners that the World Health Organization has also looked at the current scientific literature and feels there is no convincing evidence that exposure to RF shortens human life span or causes cancer.

First of all, neither side has provided any sources for their claims. This pisses me off. Always, always, always! Always provide sources. If you don’t, you look like, and in fact are, a complete idiot. Minus five points each for C.A.R.E.and the Lake Cedar Group.

Fortunately, I was able to find some articles in the Rocky Mountain News to shed some light on this issue. Let’s start picking it apart.

C.A.R.E.: “people who live closest to the towers have higher rates of brain and central nervous system tumors.” True with a “but”.
From www.rockymountainnews.com:

Previous studies by the Colorado Department of Health and Environment found increases in tumors among residents of two areas on Lookout Mountain, but found no conclusive link between the cancers and the broadcast towers.

(emphasis added).

So what? Yes, there is a measured increase in tumors among the residents in question. However, the increase in tumors is not linked to the radio towers. Minus one point for C.A.R.E.

But what about the “Numerous physicians and cancer experts [that] have testified under oath giving clear and demonstrative caution to Jefferson County officials that long-term exposure to the towers’ radiation is harmful to people”? Good for them. The fact of the matter is that no one really knows what long-term exposure will do. I’ve seen many reports saying cell phones cause cancer. I’ve also seen the same amount of reports saying that cell phones don’t cause cancer. Don’t believe me? Go Google “effects of RF emission” or some variation thereof. No points awarded or taken aware from C.A.R.E.

C.A.R.E.: “You don’t see any television executives living near them either.” Okay, this is my favorite type of argument. Mostly because it’s so easy to tear apart. The statement assumes a cause and effect relationship when there is none:
Because the area is dangerous, the executives refuse to live there.
Cause and effect.
Of course, TV executive may also choose not to live there because there are no nice homes there, or perhaps the 30 minute commute to Denver (without traffic) is too long. Maybe they already have a home (from before they were a TV executive) and don’t want to move. Minus two points for C.A.R.E. One for the invalid argument, and another for using such a foolish argument.

At the end of the first round:
C.A.R.E.: -8 points
The Lake Cedar Group: -5 points

Okay. On to the Lake Cedar Group’s statement.

Lake Cedar Group: “The most recent study on Lookout Mountain cancer rates shows the incidence of disease is within the range that would be expected even if there were no towers.”

This is true

From www.rockymountainnews.com:

The study, conducted by Burch and other researchers at Colorado State University and the University of Washington in Seattle, measured the production of “markers” believed to play significant roles in the human immune system.

The study indicates changes in immune system markers such as white blood cells, lymphocytes and T-cells could be related to increased RF levels because the markers “were all significantly increased among persons” in the highest areas of exposure as compared with those in the areas of lowest RF exposure.

The new study found the closer people live to the towers the higher their exposure to radio frequency emissions.

The level of the increased markers found by the study is within the normal range of variance from person to person, [Dr. Mark] Johnson [of the Jefferson County Department of Health and Environment] said.

(emphasis added)

Let’s talk a little about statistical significance (think “Q-Test” if you took chemistry at CSM):

From en.wikipedia.org:

In statistics, a result is significant if it is unlikely to have occurred by chance, if in reality the independent variable (the test condition being examined) has no effect, that is, if a presumed null hypothesis is true.

So what? The group near the RF emissions did have increased markers levels. However, the levels were not above that of chance. Plus one point for the Lake Cedar Group.

The Lake Cedar Group: “the World Health Organization has also looked at the current scientific literature and feels there is no convincing evidence that exposure to RF shortens human life span or causes cancer.”

This is true as well:

From www.who.int:

Despite many studies, the evidence for any effect remains highly controversial. However, it is clear that if electromagnetic fields do have an effect on cancer, then any increase in risk will be extremely small. The results to date contain many inconsistencies, but no large increases in risk have been found for any cancer in children or adults.

A number of epidemiological studies suggest small increases in risk of childhood leukemia with exposure to low frequency magnetic fields in the home. However, scientists have not generally concluded that these results indicate a cause-effect relation between exposure to the fields and disease (as opposed to artifacts in the study or effects unrelated to field exposure). In part, this conclusion has been reached because animal and laboratory studies fail to demonstrate any reproducible effects that are consistent with the hypothesis that fields cause or promote cancer. Large-scale studies are currently underway in several countries and may help resolve these issues.

There you have it. Straight from the lion’s mouth. Plus one point for the Lake Cedar Group.

At the end of round two:
C.A.R.E.: -8 points
The Lake Cedar Group: -3 points

If you care to do any more reading, here are some links you might find interesting:

Frequently asked questions about the safety of radiofrequency (RF) and microwave emissions from transmitters and facilities regulated by the FCC.

World Health Organization’s comprehensive information on what electromagnetic fields are, their impact on health, as well as the current exposure standards and recommended precautions.

Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt

[tags]lake cedar group, hdtv, lookout mountain, Canyon Area Residents for the Environment, denver, golden, jefferson county, colorado, CBS 4, Denver’s 7, 9 News, UPN 20, radio frequency, rf, cancer, health, electromagnetic, emf[/tags]


Things That Frustrate Me That I Cannot Effect

  • Rants

The 109th Congress did nothing good. They failed to overhaul Social Security, immigration and lobbying laws. They also worked three-day weeks and took lots of time off.

Airport screenings are completely ineffective against preventing airplane-based terrorism, yet they are still performed and people are still complacent.

The Bush Administration believes they need to take away many of my rights in the name of preventing terrorism.

Seattle wants more money for a failing public school system that clearly doesn’t work.

Society does not realize that the words “separation of church and state” do not appear anywhere in the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, or any of the other Amendments. The actual wording is “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;”. (Bonus points if you know where “separation of church and state” comes from.)

That’s it, for now.


Terror, the end game for Terrorists

Merriam-Webster defines “Terrorism” as:
ter·ror·ism, noun
the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion

From www.schneier.com:

The point of terrorism is to cause terror, sometimes to further a political goal and sometimes out of sheer hatred. The people terrorists kill are not the targets; they are collateral damage. And blowing up planes, trains, markets or buses is not the goal; those are just tactics. The real targets of terrorism are the rest of us: the billions of us who are not killed but are terrorized because of the killing. The real point of terrorism is not the act itself, but our reaction to the act.

And we’re doing exactly what the terrorists want.

Terror, it’s in the word Terrorist and Terrorism. Their goal is terror.

Merriam-Webster defins “Terror” as:
ter·ror, noun
state of intense fear

(Okay, there actually is another definition, but it’s not applicable because no demands have been made…at least none that I’m aware of)

The implausible plots and false alarms actually hurt us in two ways. Not only do they increase the level of fear, but they also waste time and resources that could be better spent fighting the real threats and increasing actual security. I’ll bet the terrorists are laughing at us.

Another thought experiment: Imagine for a moment that the British government arrested the 23 suspects without fanfare. Imagine that the TSA and its European counterparts didn’t engage in pointless airline-security measures like banning liquids. And imagine that the press didn’t write about it endlessly, and that the politicians didn’t use the event to remind us all how scared we should be. If we’d reacted that way, then the terrorists would have truly failed.

via 2020 Hindsight.


Phone Goes Poop Too

And now my phone is broken! WHYYYY?!?!

It currently says “BOOTLOADER USB INIT”. I Googled that and ‘motorola’ and got some hits, but nothing that lead to a quick fix. So I went down to the Verizon store at Mills mall. They open the back up and point out that 1/4 of the water sensor pad is red, meaning it got wet. So yes, I was on a boat this morning and had a great time, not quite worth a $150 to replace a phone though. I think I’m also going to end up paying for the replacement screen for my laptop because it’s cheaper then driving down to Lone Tree, paying them a $75 fee to look at my laptop right away, driving back (potentially sans laptop) then waiting, driving back down a week later, picking it up, and then driving back. Doesn’t anybody realize I’m a college student?


Dear Neighbors

Came home from Woody’s tonight to find this note waiting for Matt and myself:

Hi – Dear Neighbor, –

I came up to talk w/ you but you are out. I have to be at work very early ( I teach High School) each day. City Ordinance for noise is 10 pm. Please respect Quite hours in this complex; everyone here worksin the am. Im in bed by 10, so is Le. (your next door neighbor)

My bedroom is the last room back. And yes, I can hear everything. So, yes, you woke me up several timis [sic] last night. I’d appreciate it if you could please remember: I’ve asked twice now! 🙂 Also, if youre in the living room I don’t seem to hear you at night. Hope thats helpful.

Thank you for your consideration.



You have got to be kidding me. I probably shouldn’t get this wound up about it, but I really just want to scream, “What the fuck?!?” Yes, you came up stairs last night and explained how you were trying to sleep since 10pm and we were keeping you up. I apologized for being noisy, even though we weren’t. But please, don’t start our relationship off like this. I’ll admit when I’m wrong, but when you start asking for unreasonable things like this…bortaS bIr jablu’DI’, reH QaQqu’ nay’.

I’m also tired of being treated like a teenager. And she never asked twice. I think someone needs some remedial math skills….”Okay kids! Counting starts at one. And what comes after one? Two! That’s right!”

Here’s my imaginary letter I’m going to write to La:

Dear Neighbor,

Thank you for sharing your concerns. Sorry both of us were out, one of the side effects of being social, I guess. I understand that you have to be up very early. I go to college, just in case you were not aware of this fact. One of the great things about college is all the studying we have to do. Unfortunately, this often keeps us up late. While we try our best to keep quite, it is regrettable that we sometimes are louder then 10dB.

I also appreciate your concern for Le. It is very admirable for you to stick up for her, especially since she is no longer in grade school.

Regarding placement of your bedroom, the location is unfortunate. I would suggest moving it to another location. I have found that I do not often occupy the kitchen after 10pm, so if you were to locate your bedroom under the Northeastern most area of our complex, you should find it much quieter.

I would also be willing to buy you a pair of ear plugs.

I also took the liberty to lookup the ordinance in question and regret to inform you that no such ordinance exists. For your records, the closest law I was able to fine is:
From ci.golden.co.us:

8.04.310 Disturbing the peace/persons

It is unlawful for any person to disturb or tend to disturb the peace of others by violent, tumultuous, offensive or obstreperous conduct, by loud or unusual noises, or by unseemly, profane, obscene or offensive language; or for any person to permit any such conduct in any house or upon any premises owned, possessed, managed or controlled by such person or persons so that others in the vicinity are or may be disturbed. (Ord. 1142, 1992; Ord. 626 §1, 1970).

Just to be thorough, I also elected to search the Colorado Revised Statutes. Again, I regret to inform you that no such law exists. If you believe that my search is erroneous, I would appreciate the precise listing of the law you paraphrased in your earlier letter.

Thank you for your cooperation,


P.S. Suck my balls.


That’s what I would like to write. In reality. I’m not going to do a single thing about it, except post this short little rant about it. God bless the Internet.


Terror in the Skies, Again

Update: Haven’t read the PDF linked in the article, but it should be a good read and should hopfully better convey some of my thoughts: http://www.boingboing.net/2006/08/07/only_traitors_try_to.html

I want to stand up and yell, “I’ve had it with these mother fucking snakes on this mother fucking plane!” Granted, I’m not on a plane right now, nor would I really care to be on one with snakes. But Samuel L. Jacksons new movie, “Snakes on a Plane” does have a great point…not that I’ve seen it yet, but I will. Here’s the great line with the great point:

You know all those security scenarios we ran? Well I’m smack in the middle of one we didn’t think of.

There’s always going to be something no one has thought of. That’s the nature of being new and innovative. And while I can appreciate what the TSA and Homeland Security is doing for us, it’s not the right thing to do.

Let’s play this out:

10 planes from the UK to the US are targeted. Let’s make it a worse case scenario and make them all Boeing 777 (the largest popular plane in commercial service by maximum seating capacity). Each 777 can hold a maximum of 550 persons (assuming all the seats are economy class). We really don’t care too much about how many terrorists are on each plane, just the fact that at least one terrorists makes it on each flight with all the necessary items to blow up the plane. Great. Now what? They blow up a plane over US land, we all scream and panic, and maybe 5000 people die. Maybe. I don’t really need to bring out the charts showing how many people die of disease, cancer, traffic accidents, or homicides per a day, do I?

But then what?

See, this is the part I don’t get, and forgive me for perhaps being callous, but there’s nothing else. Who ever did this has made no demands. So what, we just lose more of our freedom so that we can save 0.0016 % of the American population? That seems to be the gist of it. It also seems to be the only thing they could want. Thus, based on what happened on 9/11 and what has just happened now, they are winning. Some group of fucktards has managed to fuck with the single most powerful nation in the history of the entire world and get away with it! Not once, but twice!

What about the third time?

What prevents them from sticking their bomb components up their asses and taking them on to the plane? Nothing! So now every time I want to fly, I get a rectal exam. Wonderful! Where do I sign up??

How do you solve this problem. I really don’t know. I’m honestly thinking that putting a gun in the hands of every single American that flies would be the best solution. Thing about it. What were you doing while you flying after 9/11? Sleeping? Hell no. You were profiling every single person who by you, every single person who got on to your plane, every single person who sat in the your section, and everyone single person who walked by your seat.

Imagine that, a entire plane full of US Marshals? Now wouldn’t that be a sight to see. Some smart ass things he can blow up a plane. He bends down and 3 dozen passengers reach for their ankle holsters, pull out their Walther PPK, and align the laser designator on the saps head. Then what? He makes one move and you’ve 549 people who’ve just reclaimed some of their freedom and one hell of a front page story.

Like I said, though. Just an idea.


Yes, I Will Conceede That In Fact You Are An Idiot

Be forewarned: This post falls under the category of rants about technology and the people who don’t understand them, even though they should.

I was browsing Bob Brinker’s Money Talk on Demand site and came accross a piece of information that causes some concern:


We have not tested or configured this service to work with this browser. If you are using Firefox as your browser and are experiencing problems, please close all windows and open Internet Explorer.

This, by itself, would cause me to wonder what Mr. Brinker is paying his web site developers for. What’s even more startling is this note:

If you do not have another browser available on your computer, Microsoft Internet Explorer or Netscape Navigator can be downloaded by going to the links provided below.

Netscape Navigator? Are you seriously supporting a browser only has (wait for it) 0.15% of the browser market and comes in at #5; over Firefox, which has 11.79% market share, comes in at the #2 most popular browser, and is the only browser to actually give Internet Explorer a run for its money in the last half-decade?

Brinker, of all people, should realize the power of 11.79%.

See also: http://www.onestat.com/html/aboutus_pressbox42_microsoft_internet_explorer_has_slightly_increased.html

[tags]Bob Brinker, Money Talk, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Netscape Navigator, Browser share[/tags]


How Sony Killed Himself

  • Rants

I can believe the specs I just saw for PS3:

$499 for a PS3 with a 20GB Hard Drive and no HDMI, card reader or Wi-Fi
$599 for a PS3 with a 60GB Hard Drive and with HDMI, card reader and Wi-Fi.

First off, for those who don’t know what HDMI is, it’s a “High-Definition Multi-media Interface” that provides an “uncompressed, all-digital audio/video interface” (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HDMI). In short, HDMI will provide the best picture and audio quality available, thus allowing a potential gamer to experience his or her game in the theoretically best way possible.

Granted, it’s not the worst thing in the world, but what does it say about Sony? Or better yet, what does it say about Sony’s thoughts on consumers? My guess is something to the effect of: “We are Sony. We invented the MemoryStick and shoved it down your throats. We invented BluRay and are going to shove it down your throats. We want to lock you in to our proprietary technology and charge you the highest price to do so. And you will buy Sony because…oh wait. Crap. Ryoji!”

And here’s the best part: no rumble pack for the PS3. Why? Because it would interfere with the new spatial controller. Yea right. Can you say Immersion Corp. and Dual Shock Controller Lawsuit? I can.

[tags]sony, ps3, hdmi, wifi, cardreader, immersion corp, dual shock, memorystick, bluray, ryoji chubachi[/tags]


But No 30Boxes?

Julia over at 30Boxes writes:

From 30boxes.com:

There was an article today in the Wall Street Journal touting Google Calendar as “quick and easy” and although there is a mention of 30 Boxes, we think he is inaccurately portraying Google as the lead innovator in this space

We want anyone out there who really loves 30 Boxes to please set Walt straight. Let him know why you use our product.

mossberg AT wsj.com

Make some noise. Old media shouldn’t have this much power over new media.

So I wrote:

Dear Mr. Mossberg,

No doubt you have already received many emails asking why the lack of coverage for 30Boxes.com. I find disgusting that you choose to profile Google Calendars and simply glance over the rest, calling 30Boxes and others simply “decent offerings”, especially when Google was so late to the field. But just “decent offerings”? Surely you must be joking. I have been using 30Boxes since the end of February and have simply loved it. It has one of the simplest and intuitive interfaces I have ever seen. 30Boxes is also consistently adding new features to their service, features that users have requested. In fact, I would venture to say that 30Boxes is more innovative than Google Calendars because of this. Google has to serve the public at large and I feel they are getting too big for their own good. In short, Google can’t serve more than one master. 30Boxes, on the other hand, is small and nimble. They can afford to make a tweak, try it out, and if it doesn’t work, roll it back. In the end, I see 30Boxes winning. They have it all and they’re willing to risk it all.

In case it matters, I do have a GMail account and I still use 30Boxes.

Best Regards,

Andrew Ferguson


Why IE 7 Won’t Cut It

…at least among the savvy computer users.

Take a look at http://www.ieaddons.com/, Add-Ons for MSIE. To me, it looks likes Microsoft version of Mozilla Firefox’s https://addons.mozilla.org/?application=firefox, Firefox Addons. There are two major differences though. First, look how sparse the IE addons are? Granted, IE7 is still Beta2, but I’d expect tons more addons by now. Second, take a look at what the addons for IE cost. That’s right, you can get IE7 for free, but if you want to extend it’s functionality you’d better be ready to shell out some green.

[tags]Microsoft, IE7, Internet Explorer, Mozilla, Firefox[/tags]