What can be done to keep Bad Science at bay?

The comedy genius of What Doctor’s Don’t Tell You always has me in stitches. A recent blog entry warns us of the dangers of DIRTY ELECTRICITY. Their comedy writer, Jo Blogs, warns us that,

Dirty electricity’ is a phenomenon few of us have heard about but it could be affecting the lives of millions of people around the world, according to new research. Basically, dirty electricity is a power quality problem generated primarily by modern electrical appliances and lighting systems.

Until recently, dirty electricity was thought to be a problem only for the utility companies, but it is now emerging as a serious public-health issue – possibly responsible for a host of common illnesses including asthma, diabetes, depression and cancer.

A good joke. But of course we have heard it before. Here is Austin Tassletine’s orginal ground breaking report… (just for your amusement.)

(For those of you expecting something about Ben Goldacre’s new book, Bad Science, launched today, I am sorry. I expect someone else will read it and review if for you soon.)

14 Comments on What can be done to keep Bad Science at bay?

  1. dirtyelectricity.org is worth a look. Absolutely barking, particularly the so-called explanation of what it is. It seems our neutral wires are not physically big enough to return the power we use in all our appliances to the power station.

    Clearly, in the 50s we had fewer gadgets, used less power and so, umm, returned less power, so they could install smaller plugs. Or something.

  2. 'dirty electricity', eh? That explains why I feel tired at the end of the day – nothing to do with working too hard & everything to do with my poor long-suffering PC & its dirty little electrons…

  3. Alison,

    unless you know otherwise, I have seen no proof of PCs not affecting one’s health and energy levels.

    I bet you when some people started saying how the CRT monitors were giving them headaches etc etc, there was people like you telling them: rubbish!

  4. Yes peering intently at a CRT for hours will cause headaches. That is why electronic paper.

    People who think it is due to all that electrickery should consider this: I can put two monitors side by side and they will function perfectly, yet put a desk fan or any one of numerous electrical items near one and the electrical noise will affect the screen. It is a real problem in busy science labs and I have spent some time switching things off and rearranging equipment so a computer can be used on a lab bench. It ain’t the monitor missus.

  5. I dont see what cross-device EM intereference is relevant to what I was saying. I think my wording led you to assume I was suggesting that the effect of CRT monitors on human wellbeing was due to ‘electrickery’, which I wasnt.

    I too have spent years, in not so busy labs, ascertaining for myself the well known fact of electromagnetic inteference. But this has nothing, well, very little, to the fact that, for many people, as you are agreeing, staring at a CRT monitor for hours, or may I add to that fluorescence lighting and other EM sensitisers, do have a negative effect on some people.

    I am not by the way suggesting that ‘electrickery’ was to blame, only drawing a comparison for Alison, ie how the effect on all sorts of EM waves etc had at times not been considered as worth to worry about, dismissing the people to complain as the loony minority.

    Not sure if you mispelled misuse, or meant missus, but you are wrong either way on that! Anyway, back to work,have a good day.

  6. There may or may not be something to ‘electrosensitivity’ but all the proper double blind controlled trials I have seen have found that claimed eletrosenstives are no such thing. Of course those who are most vociferous may be just the worried well and not the real deal but if there are any we haven’t found them. The black swan problem, but until you find one…

    I have been interested in such things for some years wrt development. There are for eg electric fields running out along growing limb buds and from head to tail in the body axis. However disturbing only them is very difficult so the significance is hard to prove. Then there was Colin McCaig’s experiment with muscle cells in culture showing that they will line up and fuse orthogonal to a magnetic field. They will do this even only briefly exposed to the field prior to fusion.

    What does this mean? well that my FiL and myself thought it best my pregnant wife did not come too when he was showing me around the aluminium smelter where he worked. Field strengths lower than around a potline, there is no evidence.

    I wasn’t suggesting you personally were saying it, I read it that you were saying some people thought so and I was addressing that. Sorry if that was not clear.

  7. “Not sure if you mispelled misuse, or meant missus, but you are wrong either way on that! Anyway, back to work,have a good day.” [White Rabbit]

    I’m guessing the “Missus” was a nod to Frankie Howerd?

  8. Staring at a monitor all day can indeed give you a headache.

    Doesn’t matter if it is flatscreen, CRT or even projected on the wall.

    It is nothing to do with elekkertricity, raydiation, ethereal vapours or miasmaic influence. Nor is it connected with CIA mind control/Bill Gates evil plan for world dominance/insert paranoia of choice.

    The problem can be readily diagnosed and remedied.


    Q: “Do you get a headache from using a computer all day long”.

    A: “Yes”.


    Get your eyes tested and get a medically qualified person to give you the correct glasses.

    End of illness. 100% cure rate. No relapses (at least up to the time you need new glasses).

    Simple really.

    Clinical Basis.

    Worked in IT since 1981. Got the headaches. Got the glasses. Lost the headaches.

    Worked for everyone else I know as well who had the same problem.

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