Archive for the ‘Health’ Category
Food miles: Another tragic aspect of modern life.
Last week I had to travel from Merlin in Southern Oregon up to Portland, a round-trip distance of 480 miles. The vast majority of the journey was along Highway I5, most of which is a 2-lane highway, significantly harder driving than a 3 or more laned highway.
It was the first time I had driven North along I5 since Jean and I moved to Merlin last October. What staggered me were the huge number of trucks on the highway, many of them food trucks from California and beyond. Also noticed at regular intervals were very large industrial buildings that were described as food distribution centres.
Another connection to today’s reflections is that I am about 50 pages into Barbara Kingsolver’s book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. The book is the account of Barbara’s family spending a year deliberately eating home-grown and local food. The book’s subtitle is ‘A Year of Food Life‘ and, inevitably, the book has a website here.
So the book and the journey to Portland got me thinking about food miles and the huge transport distances of so much of what we eat today.
Jean and I were incredibly lucky when we bought this property last year to discover that it had a mature vegetable garden surrounded by a deer-proof fence, as the following photograph partially shows.
So even before considering the food miles we are saving from ‘grow-your-own’, we were enthusiastically planting a whole variety of vegetables. Here’s a rhubarb plant that went in last Saturday.
Anyway, I’m rather meandering along – anyone still awake!
The whole point of this long introduction is to highlight a fabulous film that we have watched over the weekend. Called Edible City: Grow The Revolution we came across it on Top Documentary Films, great source of films by the way if you don’t know it.
Luckily it is on YouTube as well.
Here’s the full film:
It’s an inspiring account of what it means for a community to take control of their food, ergo a strong recommendation to watch it in full.
If you want a taste of the film (pardon the pun!), here are two trailers.
plus much more information from the film’s website.
So why don’t you join the millions of people already buying from their local Farmers’ Market. For the USA you can find your nearest market using this website and for the United Kingdom try the Local Foods website.
Not only will it give you access to much healthier food, it is a very practical way of reducing our use of energy.
Sharing the truth of who each of us really is!
I subscribe to Christine’s blog 350 or bust. As the home page declares, Christine is “a mother, an educator, and a former registered nurse, concerned about climate change.”
Being a follower of Christine’s blog I automatically received an email on Tuesday about her latest post. This is what that email said,
It’s TED Talk Tuesday on 350orbust. Here’s a fascinating TEDx talk by South African trainer and speaker Bruce Muzik whose “passion is having people experience unprecedented freedom and happiness, through being Authentic.“
To be perfectly honest, it didn’t strike me as something that I would watch anytime soon. However, fate decided to intervene!
Because yesterday, Wednesday, I went up to Portland for an interview today to convince the authorities that I was safe to have my US Residency renewed (aka Green Card). So last Tuesday, when I was writing these words, I thought I would just grab something quickly for today’s post. Christine’s TED talk seemed an easy answer.
I started to watch the video and within just a few minutes was overwhelmed with Bruce Muzik’s story. At the 7 minute mark I paused the video and wrote these words. The title of today’s post comes from the video just a moment after the 7 minute point.
While the video is about Bruce confronting his inner fears over his racial prejudices, and is no less moving for doing that, there was another message surfacing in parallel in my consciousness.
As I wrote not so long ago under the title of Going beyond the self, ”the human psyche lives in a bubble of delusion.” In the same way that Bruce had to cast aside his delusions and embrace the reality of black people, we have to cast aside our delusions about the way the world is heading. Which is why Christine’s title How Our Secrets Steal Our Lives was just perfect.
So without further ado, here is that speech by Bruce Muzik. Twenty minutes of pure, gorgeous inspiration.
Want more? Bruce has a blog here.
And now for something completely different!
Jean and I were looking for something to watch on Wednesday evening and, as is our want, took a browse through the latest films on Top Documentary Films.
There was an intriguing title under the recently added list – People in Motion.
This was how the film was described.
We were hunters and foragers. The frontier was everywhere. We were bounded only by the earth, the ocean and the sky.
Today we go about our business, unencumbered by the frontier. Society guides us, it gives us permission to drive on roads, to stop at red lights, and go on green.
But something is not right.
It often feels as if something is missing. As if the life society has allowed isn’t quite enough. We spend so much time planning for the future it seems we’re forgetting how to live in the moment. How to feel deep and profound satisfaction with life.
It was this feeling that led us to watch people in cities, trying to understand what drives them. They typically did the same three things: walk, sit and shop.
People in Motion is a film showcasing the potential people have to move through time and space. The film is shot in true slow motion edited using a composite technique which illustrates stretches of time in an instant.
Now before you watch the film, and I really hope you do, just reflect on our closest animal companion; dogs. As is stated on the home page of Learning from Dogs,
Dogs live in the present – they just are! Dogs make the best of each moment uncluttered by the sorts of complex fears and feelings that we humans have.
One of the many wonderful ways that dogs enjoy the present is through play.
Rain had raised the flow of water in our creek and earlier on that Wednesday we had given the dogs a run in the rain. Of course, they went immediately to the creek to play in the rushing waters. The top picture shows Sweeny doing just that, Pharaoh equally having fun as below.
Play is so important for humans as well as dogs.
Now watch the film and be amazed – the music is pretty cool as well.
Published on Dec 31, 2012
* Lindsey Stirling:
** songs: Crystallize, Transcendence
* Niklas Aman:
** songs: Stirred Up, Momentum, Up A Storm
* Michael Marantz:
** song: Earth – The Pale Blue Dot
Directed by: Cedric Dahl
Produced by: Bennett Hoffman
Staring: Paul Whitecotton, Brian Orosco, David Agajanian, Lonnie Tisdale, Jacob Siel
Finally, after you have watched the film you will enjoy this interview with film director Cedric Dahl. But watch the film first!!
It really is an obvious statement!
I am indebted to my son for dropping me an email with a link to a recent BBC Radio programme. It was from the long-running programme series In Our Time, presented by the consummate broadcasting professional Melvyn Bragg.
The WikiPedia entry details, The Rt. Honourable The Lord Bragg no less,
Melvyn Bragg, Baron Bragg, FRS, FBA, FRSA, FRSL, FRTS (born 6 October 1939), is an English broadcaster and author, best known for his work with the BBC and for ITV presenting the The South Bank Show (1978–2010). Since 1998 he has presented over 550 weekly episodes of the BBC Radio discussion programme In Our Time.
Bragg was born on 6 October 1939 in Carlisle, the son of Mary Ethel (née Park), a tailor, and Stanley Bragg, a stock keeper turned mechanic.He attended the Nelson Thomlinson School in Wigton and read Modern History at Wadham College, Oxford in the late 1950s and early 1960s.
This particular episode was called Ice Ages; the link will take you to the programme page which includes the ability to listen to the 43 minutes long episode. (Alternatively, you can go straight to the recording via the BBC iPlayer.) The programme page explains:
Jane Francis, Richard Corfield and Carrie Lear join Melvyn Bragg to discuss ice ages, periods when a reduction in the surface temperature of the Earth has resulted in ice sheets at the Poles. Although the term ‘ice age’ is commonly associated with prehistoric eras when much of northern Europe was covered in ice, we are in fact currently in an ice age which began up to 40 million years ago. Geological evidence indicates that there have been several in the Earth’s history, although their precise cause is not known. Ice ages have had profound effects on the geography and biology of our planet.
Professor of Paleoclimatology at the University of Leeds
Visiting Research Fellow in the Department of Earth Sciences at Oxford University
Senior Lecturer in Palaeoceanography at Cardiff University.
Producer: Thomas Morris
LINKS AND FURTHER READING
Now the programme requires careful listening as the conversation ranges rapidly about the number of ice ages, the intervening greenhouse periods and where we are at present. It would be easy to end up thinking that we are in a cooling phase (we are not) or that it’s only a matter of time before we are back in the next ice age (in geological terms, yes).
Go to the programme blog and read this from Melvyn:
It was a close call. After the programme Jane Francis and Carrie Lear continued to talk about the climbing count of CO2 which was pumping up global warming, in their opinion, which would lead most dramatically to mass flooding. On the programme Richard Corfield did not join in very enthusiastically, pointing out that the CO2 count had been at least twice as high quite recently (geologically speaking) and even higher than that a bit before recently. The situation was beginning to develop into a relevant, contemporary conversation about climate change and the final bell was a merciful release. There was no thought of the ingenuity of men and women combating what would be a gradual increase (if it happens) of rising sea levels – we could have looked at the Dutch in the sixteenth century onwards. But I strayed from my task.
The grim conclusion of Jane Francis was never to buy or rent a house on a flood plain, always to buy or rent a house on a hill, or take a tent, or anything, as long as it’s on a hill and, I think Richard Corfield added, fortify it. Well, well. [my italics]
As I wrote yesterday, either Jane or Carrie, don’t recall whom, said on air just at the end that a CO2 level of nearly 400 ppm (January 2013: 395.55 ppm) is way above the range of levels where the Earth’s atmosphere has traditionally behaved in a stable manner.
In the end it really doesn’t matter geologically.
Our planet is approximately 4,540,000,000 years old. As WikiPedia explains,
There have been five known ice ages in the Earth’s history, with the Earth experiencing the Quaternary Ice Age during the present time. Within ice ages, there exist periods of more severe glacial conditions and more temperate referred to as glacial periods and interglacial periods, respectively. The Earth is currently in an interglacial period of the Quaternary Ice Age, with the last glacial period of the Quaternary having ended approximately 10,000 years ago with the start of the Holocene epoch.
This graph shows the history of ice ages and the fact that we are close to turning upwards towards a hotter geological period.
So we live on a planet that is 4.5 billion years old, towards the end of the current ice age that started 2.58 million years ago.
Contrast that with the age of homo sapiens.
Early man evolved from hunting and gathering into the domestication of plants and animals, in other words farming, about 10,000 years ago. In these short years, from a geological perspective, we have lost total sight of the intimate relationship we had with the planet when our very survival depended on hunting and gathering.
In so little time!
Just reflect on the last 100 years of so-called modern agriculture. It has been characterised by enhanced productivity, the replacement of human labour by synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, selective breeding, and mechanisation. It has been closely tied to political issues such as water pollution, biofuels, genetically modified organisms, tariffs, and farm subsidies. All of which explains the backlash against the external environmental effects of mechanised agriculture, and increasing support for the organic movement and sustainable agriculture.
One might say that we have been farming the planet in the most broadest of senses; as if the planet is nothing more than a bottomless pool of resources.
Chief Jackie Thomas at the recent Forward-On-Climate rally talked about the toll that tar sands are already taking on her neighbors in Alberta, and promised that First Nations communities and their allies in Canada will never allow a pipeline to be built west to the Pacific.
Such peoples still in tune with their ancient heritage understand that humanity is first and foremost in and of the land.
But do you know what?
Nature doesn’t care!
The widely reported story of a dog ‘adopting’ a baby chimpanzee.
(With big thanks to Chris Snuggs for sending me the pictures)
As a quick Google search finds:
Two years ago in a Russian zoo a female chimpanzee for some reason repudiated and abandoned her baby chimpanzee. When one of the employees of the zoo took the little chimpanzee home it never crossed her mind that her dog, a mastiff, would become a mother for the orphaned chimpanzee and treat the baby as her own child.
Judging by the look on her face at times, she is not quite sure why this particular offspring has hands to grab her with!
The unconditional love of a dog.
Fascinating example of the power of upbringing.
What is so wonderful, and amazing, is how ‘mother’ accepts this strange looking and strange smelling creature as it’s own. Think how important smell is to dogs!
Words add nothing to the beauty of this photograph.
You can see the huge difference in body mass between these two. One swipe, one bite and the little chimp would be toast! The dog’s love for the chimp overrides all!
Mummy, what’s that on the wall?
Mummy, your feet are so big …. and not at all like mine!
Dear Chris, thank you so much for sending me these pictures. It’s a privilege to share them with LfD readers. It reminds us that in this difficult era, with so many challenges facing us, that there’s nothing that can’t be solved with love, compassion and understanding.
The strangeness of this species Homo sapiens.
My writings of the previous three days have explored the nature of man. The many ways that we struggle to understand so many issues in our lives. In particular the biggest issue of them all since we abandoned the life of the hunter-gatherer. Our very survival.
It would be so easy to beat oneself up. To stare in the mirror and despair at all the unfinished ideas that one has about being ‘sustainable’ shortly before jumping on one’s shiny new tractor, yet another symbol of our industrial civilisation. The hypocrisy, the double standards!
But the mistake in any attempt at self-awareness is the assumption that you know who you are! Therein lays the problem.!
Marcus Peter Francis du Sautoy is a very smart person. This is how WikiPedia describes him.
Marcus Peter Francis du Sautoy, OBE (born in London, 26 August 1965) is the Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science and a Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford. Formerly a Fellow of All Souls College, and Wadham College, he is now a Fellow of New College. He is President of the Mathematical Association.
Prof. Sautoy came to the realisation that the thoughts that make us feel as though we know ourselves are easy to experience. But where do those thoughts come from? Marcus Sautoy acknowledged that they are notoriously difficult to explain.
So, in order to find out where they come from Marcus subjects himself to a series of probing experiments. With the help of a hammer-wielding scientist, Jennifer Aniston and a general anaesthetic, Professor Marcus du Sautoy goes in search of answers to one of science’s greatest mysteries: how do we know who we are? ,
He learns at what age our self-awareness emerges and whether other species share this trait.
Next, he has his mind scrambled by a cutting-edge experiment in anaesthesia. Having survived that ordeal, Marcus is given an out-of-body experience in a bid to locate his true self. And in Hollywood, he learns how celebrities are helping scientists understand the microscopic activities of our brain.
Finally, he takes part in a mind-reading experiment that both helps explain and radically alters his understanding of who he is.
All of this is covered in a fabulously interesting episode from Horizon, the excellent and long-running BBC TV science and philosophy series. Thankfully, it made its way onto YouTube.
It is just under an hour long but I promise you it will capture you from the very first moment.
Enjoy. Even if you end up realising, as I did, what a strange person you are!
As Confucius reportedly wrote: Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance.
As a dog follows a scent.
I have been pondering about how one gets to the truth of a complex issue. And there’s none more complex nor more essential in terms of the truth of an issue than Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW).
It was kicked off by an email received from Dan Gomez. Followers of Learning from Dogs will have seen mention of Dan’s name as he regularly sends me bits and pieces. Indeed, let me refer you to a post that came out last August, Feeling depressed? Join your pals in the pool! and this extract:
Regular followers of Learning from Dogs will know that Dan and I go back a long way; far too long! In fact the occasion of me becoming aware of Mr. Daniel Gomez was at a Commodore Computer dealers conference in Boston, Mass.
I was giving a talk promoting a UK word-processing program that I was marketing for the Commodore. That software was called Wordcraft and I think the year was 1979, possibly 1980. Anyway, I used the word ‘fortnight’, which back in England is a common word meaning two weeks. Immediately, a voice called out from the audience, “Hey Handover, what’s a fortnight?“
The session deteriorated rapidly thereafter! Dan and I became very good friends and his LA company Cimarron became my West Coast USA distributor for Wordcraft. And it was Dan’s sister, Suzann, who invited me down to Mexico for Christmas 2007 which led to me meeting my beloved Jeannie! Funny old world!
Dan is a smart cookie. He holds a degree in psychology, as well as being a very easy guy to get along with. We have been good friends for more than 30 years.
Anyway, back to the theme of the post; determining the truth of a complex issue.
Recently, Dan sent me an email with the subject heading of The Controversy Continues – A couple of Articles for your Digestive Tract….
The first article was:
Report shows UN admitting solar activity may play significant role in global warming
A leaked report by a United Nations’ group dedicated to climate studies says that heat from the sun may play a larger role than previously thought.
“[Results] do suggest the possibility of a much larger impact of solar variations on the stratosphere than previously thought, and some studies have suggested that this may lead to significant regional impacts on climate,” reads a draft copy of a major, upcoming report from the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
According to Bloomberg News, US carbon emissions are down 13% over the past five years and that they are now the lowest since 1994. In fact, we are more than halfway to President Obama’s goal of a 17% reduction below our peak year of 2007.
Coal has fallen to only 18% of our energy use (down from 23% in 2007) and natural gas is up to 31%. Natural gas has half the carbon emissions of coal.
Evidence suggests that climate change and global warming are happening, but at a much slower rate than doomsday warnings suggested. We are now on track for an increase in global temperatures of one degree centigrade by 2100. This increase is not enough to cause major flooding or rises in sea levels.
Please feel free to read the whole Dick Morris piece here.
So on the face of it, two convincing reports, especially the one from Alec Rawls.
Now let me turn to Professor Guy McPherson; professor emeritus at the University of Arizona. Just take a peek at the professional recognition granted to Professor McPherson.
Guy McPherson writes a blog called Nature Bats Last. It is described thus:
This blog focuses on the natural world, with a particular emphasis on the twin sides of our fossil-fuel addiction: (1) global climate change and (2) energy decline. Because these phenomena impact every aspect of life on Earth, specific topics range widely, and include philosophy, evolution, economics, humanity, politics, current events, and many aspects of the human condition.
Less than 3 months ago, Guy McPherson visited Greenfield Community College in western Massachusetts to deliver his presentation “The Twin Sides of the Fossil-Fuel Coin: Developing Durable Living Arrangements in Light of Climate Change and Energy Decline.“
It lasts for just 40 minutes and needs to be watched. Why do I say needs to be watched? Because tomorrow I delve deeper into the challenges facing ordinary folk and watching the presentation and reflecting on the start of this post are very pertinent to following the scent of truth.
Two delightful contributions about the ageing journey.
First from Cynthia, a very brave Californian lady, who recently sent me these:
Couple in their nineties are both having problems remembering things. During a check-up, the doctor tells them that they’re physically okay, but they might want to start writing things down to help them remember ..
Later that night, while watching TV, the old man gets up from his chair. ‘Want anything while I’m in the kitchen?’ he asks.
‘Will you get me a bowl of ice cream?’
‘Don’t you think you should write it down so you can remember it?’ she asks.
‘No, I can remember it.’
‘Well, I’d like some strawberries on top, too. Maybe you should write it down, so as not to forget it?’
He says, ‘I can remember that. You want a bowl of ice cream with strawberries.’
‘I’d also like whipped cream. I’m certain you’ll forget that, write it down?’ she asks.
Irritated, he says, ‘I don’t need to write it down, I can remember it! Ice cream with strawberries and whipped cream – I got it, for goodness sake!’
Then he toddles into the kitchen. After about 20 minutes, the old man returns from the kitchen and hands his wife a plate of bacon and eggs. She stares at the plate for a moment.
‘Where’s my toast?’
An elderly couple had dinner at another couple’s house, and after eating, the wives left the table and went into the kitchen.
The two gentlemen were talking, and one said, ‘Last night we went out to a new restaurant and it was really great. I would recommend it very highly.’
The other man said, ‘What is the name of the restaurant?’
The first man thought and thought and finally said, ‘What’s the name of that flower you give to someone you love? You know, the one that’s red and has thorns.’
‘Do you mean a rose?’
‘Yes, that’s the one,’ replied the man. He then turned towards the kitchen and yelled, ‘Rose, what’s the name of that restaurant we went to last night?’
A senior citizen said to his eighty-year old buddy:
‘So I hear you’re getting married?’
‘Do I know her?’
‘This woman, is she good looking?’
‘Is she a good cook?’
‘Naw, she can’t cook too well.’
‘Does she have lots of money?’
‘Nope! Poor as a church mouse.’
‘Well, then, is she good in bed?’
‘I don’t know.’
‘Why in the world do you want to marry her then?’
‘Because she can still drive!’
A man was telling his neighbor, ‘I just bought a new hearing aid. It cost me four thousand dollars, but it’s state of the art. It’s perfect.’
‘Really,’ answered the neighbor. ‘What kind is it?’
Morris, an 82 year-old man, went to the doctor to get a physical.
A few days later, the doctor saw Morris walking down the street with a gorgeous young woman on his arm.
A couple of days later, the doctor spoke to Morris and said, ‘You’re really doing great, aren’t you?’
Morris replied, ‘Just doing what you said, Doc: ‘Get a hot mamma and be cheerful.”
The doctor said, ‘I didn’t say that.. I said, ‘You’ve got a heart murmur; be careful.’
A little old man shuffled slowly into an ice cream parlour and pulled himself slowly, painfully, up onto a stool… After catching his breath, he ordered a banana split.
The waitress asked kindly, ‘Crushed nuts?’
‘No,’ he replied, ‘Arthritis.’
Now, before you ‘forget ‘, send them on to some other folks you know who could use a good laugh!!
The second contribution comes from dear friend, MaryAnne.
To commemorate her birthday, actress/vocalist, Julie Andrews made a special appearance at Manhattan’s Radio City Music Hall for the benefit of the AARP. One of the musical numbers she performed was ‘My Favorite Things’ from the legendary movie ‘Sound Of Music’. Here are the slightly modified lyrics she used:
(If you sing it, it’s especially hysterical!!!)
Botox and nose drops and needles for knitting,
Walkers and handrails and new dental fittings,
Bundles of magazines tied up in string,
These are a few of my favorite things.
Cadillacs and cataracts, hearing aids and glasses,
Polident and Fixodent and false teeth in glasses,
Pacemakers, golf carts and porches with swings,
These are a few of my favorite things.
When the pipes leak, When the bones creak,
When the knees go bad,
I simply remember my favorite things,
And then I don’t feel so bad.
Hot tea and crumpets and corn pads for bunions,
No spicy hot food or food cooked with onions,
Bathrobes and heating pads and hot meals they bring,
These are a few of my favorite things.
Back pain, confused brains and no need for sinnin’,
Thin bones and fractures and hair that is thinnin’,
And we won’t mention our short shrunken frames,
When we remember our favorite things.
When the joints ache, When the hips break,
When the eyes grow dim,
Then I remember the great life I’ve had,
And then I don’t feel so bad.
(Ms. Andrews received a standing ovation from the crowd that lasted over four minutes and repeated encores.)
So there you are. This old Englishman, vintage 1944, celebrates Cynthia, MaryAnne and Ms. Andrews and all the other wonderful women in this world who refuse to let age or life’s circumstances get in the way.
From knowledge to awareness and then to protection.
If you haven’t yet watched the film, then do. To be frank, the posts of yesterday and today are that much more valuable after the film has been watched.
In terms of reducing the effects of EMF, then a quick ‘Google’ search will bring up teems of websites. Many of them are selling filters, consultancy, EMF surveys, and more. While in no way impugning those services, my instinct is to be drawn to those websites and blogs motivated by the desire to be informational alone. At this stage of my research anyway.
Take EMF Damage for example, from which I quote:
There is a connection between electromagnetic fields and some cancers including leukemia
EMFDamage.com is online for these reasons:
1. To let you know there are serious health risks involved in living or working too close to power lines. I am certain the power line behind my home is the direct cause of my diagnosis of chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Electromagnetic fields (EMFs) have also been linked to other adult leukemias, childhood leukemia and brain cancer.
2. In addition to EMFs from power lines, you may also be exposed to unhealthy levels of EMFs from sources inside your home and workplace. These fields are easier to control and correct.
3. There are many ways to detect and measure the EMF levels at your home and at work.
4. You can reduce high EMF levels to reduce your risk of exposure.
We sell nothing on this web site and have no affiliations with any of the linked businesses or organizations. The purpose of this web site is purely informational.
That gets my vote.
This website’s primary purpose is to provide practical information for people with severe multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) and electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS/ES). MCS and EHS are closely related illnesses, which together are referred to as Environmental Illness (EI).
This is not a commercial site. Vendors and products are mentioned in some articles, but there are no paid product endorsements. Recommendations are based on the experiences of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this site or its management.
The information presented reflects the experience and opinions of individuals who wish to help others. Naturally, what works for one person may not work for another. The reader should evaluate the suggestions in the context of his or her own situation, and apply good judgment and common sense before following suggestions presented.
So at this time, I don’t have the awareness of just what levels of EMF radiation we are exposed to here at home. But I’m going to undertake an investigation and, if we have a problem, work to a ‘cleaner’ house.
I shall be writing about this journey at regular intervals and explaining clearly why we did or did not do this or that.
What I would be delighted to publish on Learning from Dogs are accounts from others who have made similar journeys or know that they have been affected by EMF radiation. Do please drop me an email.
Musings on the subject of radio frequency energy.
Let me first be completely open about this. Despite spending a number of years studying for a Diploma in Electrical Engineering at Faraday House, Southampton Row, London and becoming a UK Radio Amateur at the age of 17 (G3PUK), my memory of this subject has become less focused! Bit like my eyesight! (I’ll wallow in this nostalgia for Saturday’s post!)
There’s a wealth of information available if you do a web search on the subject of ‘radio frequency spectrum‘ including diagrams such as this one.
In fact, if you use the image above with this one below, you will get a quick idea of the range of frequencies and how almost every aspect of modern life is connected to ‘RF’. (NB: I find the one below a little out of focus but hope it’s legible.)
If you look at the frequency band 300 MHz to 3GHz, known as the Ultra-High Frequency or UHB band you will see that it is used by devices including mobile or cell phones as well as wireless phones and the newer DECT phones; these latest phones operating at 900 MHz.
Now I don’t understand the physics of Radio Frequency (RF) transmissions but I do know that the higher the frequency, the more energy is carried. Living cells are not happy in the presence of RF particularly at those higher frequencies. Just go back to that top diagram and think about being zapped by X-Rays, Gamma Rays or Cosmic Rays! Here’s an extract from a Wikipedia article on Radiation burn.
The most common type of radiation burn is a sunburn caused by UV radiation. High exposure to X-rays during diagnostic medical imaging or radiotherapy can also result in radiation burns. As the ionizing radiation interacts with cells within the body—damaging them—the body responds to this damage, typically resulting in erythema—that is, redness around the damaged area. Radiation burns are often associated with radiation-induced cancer due to the ability of ionizing radiation to interact with and damage DNA, occasionally inducing a cell to become cancerous. Cavity magnetrons can be improperly used to create surface and internal burning. Depending on the photon energy, gamma radiation can cause very deep gamma burns, with 60Co internal burns are common. Beta burns tend to be shallow as beta particles are not able to penetrate deep into the person; these burns can be similar to sunburn.
Radiation burns can also occur with high power radio transmitters at any frequency where the body absorbs radio frequency energy and converts it to heat. The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) considers 50 watts to be the lowest power above which radio stations must evaluate emission safety. Frequencies considered especially dangerous occur where the human body can become resonant, at 35 MHz, 70 MHz, 80-100 MHz, 400 MHz, and 1 GHz. Exposure to microwaves of too high intensity can cause microwave burns.
We marvel at the efficiency of microwave ovens but possibly don’t connect those with holding a cell phone or cordless phone next to the head! If you didn’t watch yesterday’s film Beings of Frequency then I really do recommend that you put some time to one side and watch it.
Like so many aspects of modern life, once one has been made aware of something one finds a mountain of information. So it is with Electromagnetic hypersensitivity.
Idiopathic environmental intolerance attributed to electromagnetic fields (IEI-EMF) is a descriptive term for symptoms purportedly caused by exposure to electromagnetic fields. Other terms for IEI-EMF include electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS), electrohypersensitivity, electro-sensitivity, and electrical sensitivity (ES).
Although the thermal effects of electromagnetic fields on the body are established, self-described sufferers of electromagnetic hypersensitivity report responding to non-ionizing electromagnetic fields (or electromagnetic radiation) at intensities well below the limits permitted by international radiation safety standards. The majority of provocation trials to date have found that self-described sufferers of electromagnetic hypersensitivity are unable to distinguish between exposure to real and fake electromagnetic fields, and it is not recognized as a medical condition by the medical or scientific communities.
The reported symptoms of EHS include headache, fatigue, stress, sleep disturbances, skin symptoms like prickling, burning sensations and rashes, pain and ache in muscles and many other health problems. Whatever their cause, EHS symptoms are a real and sometimes a disabling problem for the affected persons.
Later on that WikiPedia reference states:
A 2001 survey found that people related their symptoms most frequently to mobile phone base stations (74%), followed by mobile phones (36%), cordless phones (29%) and power lines (27%). The survey was not designed to find any causal connection between electromagnetic field exposure and ill health.
A report from the UK Health Protection Agency said that self-described “electrical sensitivity” sufferers have symptoms that can be grouped into two broad categories: facial skin symptoms and more general, non-specific symptoms across a range of body systems. The facial skin symptoms and their attribution to visual display units was mostly a Nordic phenomenon. The report pointed out that it did not “imply the acceptance of a causal relationship between symptoms and attributed exposure”.
Recently a smaller group of people in Europe as a whole and in the USA have reported general and severe symptoms such as headache, fatigue, tinnitus, dizziness, memory deficits, irregular heart beat, and whole-body skin symptoms. A 2005 Health Protection Agency report noted the overlap in many sufferers with other syndromes known as symptom-based conditions, FSS (Functional Somatic Syndromes) and IEI (Idiopathic Environmental Intolerance). Levitt proposed ties between electromagnetic fields and some of these 20th-century maladies, including Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Gulf War Syndrome, and Autism.
Anyone find what was described in that last paragraph touch a sore point! Go here to read the full item and the numbered references.
There’s a host of other websites on the subject. Just picking one more or less at random reveals this:
Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity (EHS) is a “growing worldwide health concern” according to a December 2005 press release issued by the World Health Organization. EHS can be difficult to understand and even more difficult to diagnose. Many doctors and other health professionals here in North America are not yet aware of the recent scientific evidence surrounding electromagnetic energy (EMF) and its effects on human health.
Symptoms of Electrical Hypersensitivity may include skin rash, sleep disorders, muscle and joint pain (fibromyalgia), chronic fatigue, depression, headaches, dizziness, nausea, difficulty concentrating, memory loss, irritability, anxiety, weakness, muscle spasms, numbness, tingling, leg and foot pain, “flu-like” symptoms and fever.
So that’s enough for today.
Tomorrow, I will explore what we can do to lessen the effects of Electro-Magnetic Fields.