Jun 23, 2008
So here i start again, but this time is another european journey. The goal is sweden, but it is only a first goal, for europe is pretty big & there are so many places to discover.
i'm traveling with christophe. So we left on friday the 6th. He had found a carpool, a guy, cedric who travels to köln every week end to see his girfriend. We left paris at 4.45pm & arrived at the railway station of köln around 10pm. The guy looked interested in couchsurfing, so i told him a bit about my experiences with it. There was another guy traveling with us, who was also going to köln to see his gf.
They talked about eachothers life & i will spare you with the details for it was far from thrilling. We also got their music which was not much of our taste. But well...
Anyway, when we got to köln, we ate, then got our "week end ticket", which is 35 euros to travel as much as you want, but only using local trains. We got our first train at 00.51am. The destination was rostock. We arrived there around 1.00pm. That was a long journey in the train. i slep a little bi in the train, but was exhausted once in rostock. christophe didn't sleep at all.
Before the last train from hamburg, there were those guys who seemed completely drunk, which they actually were, they were talking so loud, drinking beer & playing cards. They were so excited, for whatever reason, but they really bothered everyone. Anyhow, we were very happy to get out of the train!
All through the way we were really amazed by the consumption of beer german people make. Any where you go you'll see them with a bottle, & in the last train we used to rostock, they were even carring boxes of beer lol!
When we got there, we used a tram to reach deniz's place. He lives in a big apartment with 3 roommates. He was hosting us on the night of saturday. A very cool guy. When we reached his place, he welcomed us in such a friendly way. We left to go to a park to take a nap. We slept about 2 hours, & it felt really good. Then, we walked a bit through the city & found many interesting tags & stickers for me to picture. i was thrilled We ended up in the harbourg of the city. We sat at some point & enjoyed the smell of the sea. We then got back to deniz's place & had dinner. In th evening christophe & deniz went to a store & they met a group of punks that came here for a rally against the NATO. We hadn't heard of this rally before & were quite pissed we missed it. We then had a shower, & got out in a pub with him & a friend of him, christian. We had interesting conversations about environment with him. He works in the protection of it. New & interesting perspectives. i really love couchsurfing for it makes you meet people you'd never have met otherwise. On sunday, we woke up late, then went to the beach. It was really overcrowded. People were all lying in the sand, but i was pretty cold. i had like 2 pullovers lol! Crhistophe found the courage to get into the water, but was freezing to death when he got out. We then walked a bit to some woods at the end of the shore. We were still tired of our sleepless night in the train. We got back then had to get ready to take the ferry: the departure was 10.45pm, but it seemed wise to leave earlier. We first figured out 8pm, but eventually left around 7.30pm, which was definitely a good idea for we had to take a tram, then a train, then a bus & the last bus was at 8.10pm, & if we had left at 8 we would never had it! So we ended up waiting for a long time at the ferry place. It was a soccer night, germany vs poland, so all the german people were watching it. Even in the bar at the ferry, they were all overexcited! The bus driver (taking us from the ticket place to the ferries) came out late of the bar. Anyhow, it was just to take us some 300 meters further!
In the ferry we settled in some lounge & i slept a bit, christophe could not. The sun rises quite early in sweden (around 4am), & we went on the deck to watch it, it was orange, almost read! How gorgeous. i made some pix of it, it was a delight! 2 guys had actually settled on the deck to sleep, i was thinking they must have froze to death! The trip took some 7 hours & led us to telleborg where we arrived at 7 am. There, we walked to the bus station, to check the buses going to malmö, & on our way, we were welcomed by 2 peacocks We were really exhausted & it took us a little while to figure out what to do. We decided to not go to malmö on that day, but wait until tuesday, & we wanted to find a beach to settle for the night. We asked a bus driver which beach was the best & he gave us the direction of a village called Skåne. We went there & discovered a wonderful little village, with an empty beach. We first settled the hammock, then slept in it for a while, then went back in the sun & fell deeply asleep for a few hours. When i woke up, i realized how gorgeous the place was & pictured the beach. When christophe woke up, we decided to go back to telleborg to get some food. There were no buses coming, so we hitchhicked. One wonderful & friendly guy took us after 15mn. He drove us to the foodstore, explaining us how to reach the bus station & all to go to malmö, he was very nice & positive! We got the food, then took a bus back to the beach, it was pretty busy until late at night, but we had dinner, & made a fire. We then settled the tent & went to sleep. We had to wake up early to catch a bus to take us to the one bus going to malmö. Everything went ok. Once in malmö we found the bus stop to go to kristinnehamn & after 5 hours in the bus, we went to a foodstore to get things to eat, then decided to go directly to karlskoga. We were thinking we might find some woods on the way to sleep, but the bus we took, used the highway & we ended up in the city, which actually is big! So after a long time searching for a map, we found one, & figured out a place where we could camp, but there were no more buses at this time, we decided to walk, & after a few kilometers, we found some woods in the middle of a residential area, pretty quiet, & we decided to settle there for the night. Many crows welcomed us.
When we woke up on wednesday morning -we had actually planned to leave early so no one would notice we slept there- it was raining, so we decided to stay until it stops. We left after noon & decided to walk back to the city. On our way to find the bus taking us to the lake we were looking for the previous day, we were saying that we would ask the first hippie looking guy we'd meet about disarm08. About 30 seconds later, we met a young hippie looking guy & asked him if he knew anything about the camp. He did, he actually joined last year. We talked a bit & he even invited us to sleep at his place if we needed to. He gave us the directions to some spot he thought would be the place, near a lake. So we thought it'd be good to find a place to sleep. He left us his phone number & insisted that if we needed a place to stay, his apartment was ours. We then looked for tourist office & found it closed. Since it was next to the library, i went inside to check the internet & get the phone number to contact the people of disarm08.
As we were watching the map of the city, we decided to settle by a lake more south, called angslöjen. So we first went to get some food, then to the bus station to check out the time table. Then there, we saw this girl who looked like going to the camp. We asked her & she is part of the organization. She was waiting for others to pick her up. We talked a bit & she was telling us to come over even if it had not begun yet. But we were decided to go to the lake angsjölen, so we took the bus to there. The driver didn't speak english & he misunderstood what i said in my poor swedish, he actually misunderstood my finger on the map & stopped us before the path to the lake, but we found a friendly driver who showed us the way. We walked about 2 kilometers to arrive at the lake. The sky was so pretty, the whole spot was gorgeous! We decided to stay here at least a couple of days. We made a fire to warm us up, had dinner, then stayed out for some time & settled the tent in the woods. The rain suddenly came, but since the sun was still shining, a rainbow, then 2 appeared in the sky! It was less windy there then by the water. But a group of tiny mosquitoes (locally called "knot") attacked us. They were bitting like crazy, & the only escape was to stay in the smoke of the fire. We then went to sleep, feeling safer in the tent. i woke up very early in the morning & went for a hike in the woods, a bit further from where we were staying. i saw so many amazing birds, some modeled for me, others were running away! When i got back to the tent, christophe was awake. We made fire again for the sun was not particularly bright, hidden by some dark clouds. Since we were already running out of the water (we first thought we would drink the water from the lake, but it didn't look too good) we went to a store not that far from the place. We brought some more food also, to stay longer.
On saturday, we decided to go to the disarm rally, we left the lake to get the 8 am bus & got to karlskoga before 9. We waited a bit, then went in a park. We got to the meeting spot around noon to learn they had been here since 10 am & were about to leave. So we joined them & got to the campground in linnebäck. We settled the tent behind the disarm camp actually, in some sunny spot by the woods. In the evening we were once again attacked by the "knot" & even the local people have nothing to deal with them. Anyway, we talked to many people in the camp, gathering info about other things happening during the summer. But nothing quite interesting. Anyway, one anarchist camp happening in the beginning of july, during one week, on an island in the south east of sweden. If the cold & the mosquitoes don't kill us before, we might go there.
People here are very friendly, the 2 people we met at the bus station hugged us when they saw us, & all the new faces were so very friendly. We even met girls we met in brussels for the NATO: game over. Saturday afternoon was very sunny & warm for a change. That was a delight to warm up in the sun. In the evening we watched some movies about peace actions in the us.
On sunday morning i went for another hike in the woods. i met many mosquitoes, but other interesting insects to photograph.
We took part to some discussions but everything was in swedish. Fortunately some people were able to translate for us.
We talked with some swedish animal rights activists, with finish activists too. The attacks from the "knot" were crazy. The nights were incredibly cold. We decided on sunday night to leave. The first bus leaving from the campground was at 5.17 am. We woke up on monday morning & took all our things. As we were getting out of the place we put the tent, we saw a police car that was counting the number of tents in the camp. We waited for them to leave, then walked to the bus stop. As we were waiting, another police car came, that was a lady. She stopped her car & came talking to us. She introduced herself, then asked many questions about us & what we were doing here. The bus eventually arrived & took us to karlskoga. There, we wanted to find a warm place to sit, so we walked downtown, but nothing was open. We noticed the cope had followed the bus & was now following us! As we reached the center of the city, another police car came out & followed us aswell! So we decided we could not stay there, not even one night. Our plans being to camp in a park downtown. So we walked back to the bus station, thinking about either going to slottsbron, where my mother grew up or go to skove, where a girl i know lives. As we got into the bus, we decided to go to karlstadt (final destination of the bus) then slottsbron. i called my mother once there & asked her about a nice spot to camp. She mentionned a beach on an island, about 2 km from the village. So we got some food then took a bus to slottsbron. (mum, only watch those pix if you feel ready for so much has changed since you las went there!) Once there, i could hardly recognize anything, so many new buildings, & my grandparents' house was now hidding behind a huge brown fence, built by the new owners. i was pretty exhausted, we walked to the beach, & once there, what a delight! The sun was warm, we fell asleep on some rocks, then explored an old abandoned house, then talked. Most of you guys know how much i enjoy picturing abandoned buildings. It was really awesome! One odd thing is that sweden has so many nazi tags & this place was no exception christophe tagged the tags, which was great! The water was very cold, yet the air was warm & the sun shining bright!
We found a nice place on the rocks to settle the tent. The night wasn't too cold & not mosquitoes or "knot" to bother us.
When i woke up in the morning it was pretty cold though. The lake was covered by a huge & very white cold fog. i decided to go for a walk in the village. i couldn't recognize much. Too much had changed. So many things had been transformed or even destroyed. i pictured many houses, familiar places, then got back to the beach. We spent the day resting by the water. Early afternoon, an old woman with 2 dogs came to us & asked us how long we were planning to stay, reminding us it is only allowed to camp at a place for 24 hours. We replyed nicely, & decided we would then stay another night. So on wednesday morning we packed to go to säffle, where my uncle lives. But it was time to leave since the bad & cold weather was back!
Once in säffle, it was easy for me to find the way since nothing had changed from my childhood. We first went to a bar to get some warm drink, then i called my uncle who was at work. We decided to meet at 4 in the center of the town. He had changed a bit from what i could remember. The last time i saw him was in 2001 when my grandmother died. He invited us to his place, & in the evening, his son eric came & took us to his mother's house. It was so great to see them again! We ate strawberries together
Bawk to owe's apartment, we talked some more then went to bed. He was working the next morning, but left us the keys. We got the chance to do some laundry! i went for a walk in the city while christophe was sleeping, then we went to get our train tickets to malmö ffor the next day. In the evening, my cousin was playing soccers so we went to the match. There, we met my cousin sofia. She got back home with us & we talked a bit. That was awesome! Some more talk with my uncle the next morning, then we took the train at 1.18pm. That was the beginning of a non stop trip back to paris. We took the ferry in trelleborg at 10.15pm & got to sassnitz around 2 am. There, no bus, nothing. We stopped in a field to rest a bit. After an hour, & having seen many police cars, one stopped to ask us what we were doing here & also to show them our ids. After a few minutes talking, one of the 2 cops offered to drive us to the railway station. It was 6km from where we were & before they come we were gathering courage to walk there. Of course we accepted! That was so funny to be in a police car & that they were playing the taxi for us lol! Once at the station, we only had 1 hour before the departure of the train. We decided to go to köln again, for we had a carpool leaving from there on sunday morning. We arrived saturday in the end of the afternoon. We were extremely exhausted. We tried to find a way to get back as soon as possible to paris, but not train would make it on that night. We thought about staying in some lounge during the night, then try to take a but that was leaving at 6.45am the next morning. But we weren't sure they would take us since you have to buy the tickets from the desk & this desk was closed until 8am the next morning! But we wanted to give it a try. So we went to a lounge in the station & settled, talking about the next trips once back in paris. At some point, i was really tired & we decided to lay down & sleep a bit in the lounge. i took my sleeping bag out & fell asleep. The police from the station woke us up at 6am. We then got to the bus & had the wonderful surprize the driver accepts to take us. We suspect he kept the money of the tickets for himself, but it really doesn't matter!
So we arrived in paris on sunday, around 2.30pm. Uhhh! A long & exhausting trip, but full of many adventures!
So back in paris now, but for a week to the most, then, next destination: south of france then spain. We still need to figure out the plans, but it should be some existing moments!
Anyhow, i hope you'll enjoy the pix! Thanks for reading & allow me some time to reply your messages if you sent me some.
To be on continued
Dec 9, 2007
Germany Warns Citizens to Avoid Using Wi-Fi
By Geoffrey Lean
The Independent UK
Sunday 09 September 2007
People should avoid using Wi-Fi wherever possible because of the risks it may pose to health, the German government has said.
Its surprise ruling - the most damning made by any government on the fast-growing technology - will shake the industry and British ministers, and vindicates the questions that The Independent on Sunday has been raising over the past four months.
And Germany's official radiation protection body also advises its citizens to use landlines instead of mobile phones, and warns of "electrosmog" from a wide range of other everyday products, from baby monitors to electric blankets.
The German government's ruling - which contrasts sharply with the unquestioning promotion of the technology by British officials - was made in response to a series of questions by Green members of the Bundestag, Germany's parliament.
The Environment Ministry recommended that people should keep their exposure to radiation from Wi-Fi "as low as possible" by choosing "conventional wired connections". It added that it is "actively informing people about possibilities for reducing personal exposure".
Its actions will provide vital support for Sir William Stewart, Britain's official health protection watchdog, who has produced two reports calling for caution in using mobile phones and who has also called for a review of the use of Wi-Fi in schools. His warnings have so far been ignored by ministers and even played down by the Health Protection Agency, which he chairs.
By contrast the agency's German equivalent - the Federal Office for Radiation Protection - is leading the calls for caution.
Florian Emrich, for the office, says Wi-Fi should be avoided "because people receive exposures from many sources and because it is a new technology and all the research into its health effects has not yet been carried out".
Are Your Cell Phone and Laptop Bad for Your Health?
By Stan Cox
Tuesday 31 July 2007
In the wee hours of July 14, a 45-year-old Australian named John Patterson climbed into a tank and drove it through the streets of Sydney, knocking down six cell-phone towers and an electrical substation along the way. Patterson, a former telecommunications worker, reportedly had mapped out the locations of the towers, which he claimed were harming his health.
In recent years, protesters in England and Northern Ireland have brought down cell towers by sawing, removing bolts, and pulling with tow trucks and ropes. In one such case, locals bought the structure and sold off pieces of it as souvenirs to help with funding of future protests. In attempts to fend off objections to towers in Germany, some churches have taken to disguising them as giant crucifixes.
Opposition to towers usually finds more socially acceptable outlets, and protests are being heard more often than ever in meetings of city councils, planning commissions, and other government bodies. This summer alone, citizen efforts to block cell towers have sprouted in, among a host of other places, including California, New Jersey, Maryland, Illinois, North Dakota and north of the border in Ontario and British Columbia. Transmitters are already banned from the roofs of schools in many districts.
For years, towers have been even less welcome in the United Kingdom, where this summer has seen disputes across the country.
Most opponents cite not only aesthetics but also concerns over potential health effects of electromagnetic (EM) fields generated by the towers. Once ridiculed as crackpots and Luddites, they're starting to get backup from the scientific community.
It's not just cell phones they're worried about. The Tottenham area of London is considering the suspension of all wireless technology in its schools. Last year, Fred Gilbert, a respected scientist and president of Lakehead University in Ontario, banned wireless internet on his campus. And resident groups in San Francisco are currently battling Earthlink and Google over a proposed city-wide Wi-Fi system.
Picking Up Some Interference?
For decades, concerns have been raised about the health effects of "extremely low frequency" fields that are produced by electrical equipment or power lines. People living close to large power lines or working next to heavy electrical equipment are spending a lot of time in electromagnetic fields generated by those sources. Others of us can be exposed briefly to very strong fields each day.
But in the past decade, suspicion has spread to cell phones and other wireless technologies, which operate at frequencies that are millions to tens of millions higher but at low power and "pulsed."
Then there's your cell phone, laptop, or other wireless device, which not only receives but also sends pulsed signals at high frequencies. Because it's usually very close to your head (or lap) when in use, the fields experienced by your body are stronger than those from a cell tower down the street.
A growing number of scientists, along with a diverse collection of technology critics, are pointing out that our bodies constantly generate electrical pulses as part of their normal functioning. They maintain that incoming radiation from modern technology may be fouling those signals.
But with hundreds of billions in sales at stake, the communications industry (and more than a few scientists) insist that radio-frequency radiation can't have biological effects unless it's intense enough to heat your flesh or organs, in the way a microwave oven cooks meat.
It's also turning out that when scientific studies are funded by industry, the results a lot less likely to show that EM fields are a health hazard.
Low Frequency, More Frequent Disease?
Before the digital revolution, a long line of epidemiological studies compared people who were exposed to strong low-frequency fields - people living in the shadow of power lines, for example, or long-time military radar operators - to similar but unexposed groups.
One solid outcome of that research was to show that rates of childhood leukemia are associated with low-frequency EM exposure; as a result, the International Agency for Research on Cancer has labeled that type of energy as a possible carcinogen, just as they might label a chemical compound.
Other studies have found increased incidence of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (commonly called ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease), higher rates of breast cancer among both men and women, and immune-system dysfunction in occupations with high exposure.
Five years ago, the California Public Utilities Commission asked three epidemiologists in the state Department of Health Services to review and evaluate the scientific literature on health effects of low-frequency EM fields.
The epidemiologists, who had expertise in physics, medicine, and genetics, agreed in their report that they were "inclined to believe that EMFs can cause some degree of increased risk of childhood leukemia, adult brain cancer, Lou Gehrig's disease, and miscarriage" and were open to the possibility that they raise the risks of adult leukemia and suicide. They did not see associations with other cancer types, heart disease, or Alzheimer's disease.
Epidemiological and animal studies have not been unanimous in finding negative health effects from low-frequency EM fields, so the electric-utility industry continues to emphasize that no cause-and-effect link has been proven.
Now the most intense debate is focused on radio-frequency fields. As soon as cell phones came into common usage, there was widespread concern that holding an electronic device against the side of your head many hours a month for the rest of your life might be harmful, and researchers went to work looking for links to health problems, often zeroing in on the possibility of brain tumors.
Until recently, cell phones had not been widely used over enough years to evaluate effects on cancers that take a long time to develop. A number of researchers failed to find an effect during those years, but now that the phones have been widely available for more than a decade, some studies are relating brain-tumor rates to long-term phone use.
Some lab studies have found short-term harm as well. Treatment with cell-phone frequencies has disrupted thyroid-gland functioning in lab rats, for example. And at Lund University in Sweden, rats were exposed to cell-phone EM fields of varying strengths for two hours; 50 days later, exposed rats showed significant brain damage relative to non-exposed controls.
The authors were blunt in their assessment: "We chose 12-26-week-old rats because they are comparable with human teenagers - notably frequent users of mobile phones - with respect to age. The situation of the growing brain might deserve special concern from society because biologic and maturational processes are particularly vulnerable during the growth process."
Even more recently, health concerns have been raised about the antenna masts that serve cell phones and other wireless devices. EM fields at, say, a couple of blocks from a tower are not as strong as those from a wireless device held close to the body; nevertheless many city-dwellers are now continuously bathed in emissions that will only grow in their coverage and intensity.
Last year, the RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia closed off the top two floors of its 17-story business school for a time because five employees working on its upper floors had been diagnosed with brain tumors in a single month, and seven since 1999. Cell phone towers had been placed on the building's roof a decade earlier and, although there was no proven link between them and the tumors, university officials were taking no chances.
Data on the health effects of cell or W-Fi towers are still sparse and inconsistent. Their opponents point to statistically rigorous studies like one in Austria finding that headaches and difficulty with concentration were more common among people exposed to stronger fields from cell towers. All sides seem to agree on the need for more research with solid data and robust statistical design.
San Francisco, one of the world's most technology-happy cities, is home to more than 2400 cell-phone antennas, and many of those transmitters are due to be replaced with more powerful models that can better handle text messaging and photographs, and possibly a new generation of even higher-frequency phones.
Now there's hot-and-heavy debate over plans to add 2200 more towers for a city-wide Earthlink/Google Wi-Fi network. On July 31, the city's Board of Supervisors considered an appeal by the San Francisco Neighborhood Antenna-Free Union (SNAFU) that the network proposal be put through an environmental review - a step that up to now has not been required for such telecommunications projects.
In support of the appeal, Magda Havas, professor of environmental and resource studies at Trent University in Ontario submitted an analysis of radio-frequency effects found in more than 50 human, animal, and cellular-level studies published in scientific journals.
Havas has specialized in investigating the effects of both low- and high-frequency EM radiation. She says most of the research in the field is properly done, but that alone won't guarantee that all studies will give similar results. "Natural variability in biological populations is the norm," she said.
And, she says, informative research takes time and focus: "For example, studies that consider all kinds of brain tumors in people who've only used cell phones for, say, five years don't show an association. But those studies that consider only tumors on the same side of the head where the phone is held and include only people who've used a phone for ten years or more give the same answer very consistently: there's an increased risk of tumors." In other research, wireless frequencies have been associated with higher rates of miscarriage, testicular cancer, and low sperm counts.
Direct current from a battery can be used to encourage healing of broken bones. EM fields of various frequencies have also been shown to reduce tissue damage from heart attacks, help heal wounds, reduce pain, improve sleep, and relieve depression and anxiety. If they are biologically active enough to promote health, are they also active enough to degrade it?
At the 2006 meeting of the International Commission for Electromagnetic Safety in Benevento, Italy, 42 scientists from 16 countries signed a resolution arguing for much stricter regulation of EM fields from wireless communication.
Four years earlier, in Freiburger, Germany, a group of physicians had signed a statement also calling for tighter regulation of wireless communication and a prohibition on use of wireless devices by children. In the years since, more than 3000 doctors have signed the so-called "Freiburger Appeal" and documents modeled on it.
But in this country, industry has pushed for and gotten exemption from strict regulation, most notably through the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Libby Kelley, director of the Council on Wireless Technology Impacts in Novato, California says, "The technology always comes first, the scientific and environmental questions later. EM trails chemicals by about 10 years, but I hope we'll catch up."
Kelley says a major problem is that the Telecommunications Act does not permit state or local governments to block the siting of towers based on health concerns: "We'll go to hearings and try to bring up health issues, and officials will tell us, 'We can't talk about that. We could get sued in federal court!'"
Industry officials are correct when they say the scientific literature contains many studies that did not find power lines or telecommunication devices to have significant health effects. But when, as often happens, a range of studies give some positive and some negative results, industry people usually make statements like, "Technology A has not been proven to cause disease B."
Michael Kundi, professor at the Medical University of Vienna, Austria and an EM researcher, has issued a warning about distortions of the concept of cause-and-effect, particularly when a scientific study concludes that "there is no evidence for a causal relationship" between environmental factors and human health. Noting that science is rarely able to prove that A did or did not "cause" B, he wrote that such statements can be "readily misused by interested parties to claim that exposure is not associated with adverse health effects."
Scientists and groups concerned about current standards for EM fields have criticized the World Health Organization (WHO) and other for downplaying the risks. And some emphasize the risk of financial influence when such intense interest is being shown by huge utilities and a global communications industry that's expected to sell $250 billion worth of wireless handsets per year by 2011 (that's just for the instruments, not counting monthly bills). Microwave News cited Belgian reports in late 2006 that two industry groups - the GSM Association and Mobile Manufacturers Forum - accounted for more than 40 percent of the budget for WHO's EM fields project in 2005-06.
When a US National Academy of Sciences committee was formed earlier this year to look into health effects of wireless communication devices, the Center for Science in the Public Interest and Sage Associates wrote a letter to the Academy charging that the appointment of two of the committee's six members was improper under federal conflict-of-interest laws.
One of the committee members, Leeka Kheifets, a professor of epidemiology in UCLA's School of Public Health, has, says the letter, "spent the majority of the past 20 years working in various capacities with the Electric Power Research Institute, the research arm of the electric power industry."
The other, Bernard Veyret, senior scientist at the University of Bordeaux in France, "is on the consulting board of Bouygues Telecom (one of 3 French mobile phone providers), has contracts with Alcatel and other providers, and has received research funding from Electricite de France, the operator of the French electricity grid." The NAS committee will be holding a workshop this month and will issue a report sometime after that.
A paper published in January in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives found that when studies of cell phone use and health problems were funded by industry, they were much less likely to find a statistically significant relationship than were publicly funded studies.
The authors categorized the titles of the papers they surveyed as either negative (as in "Cellular phones have no effect on sleep patterns"), or neutral (e.g., "Sleep patterns of adolescents using cellular phones"), or positive, (e.g., "Cellular phones disrupt sleep"). Fully 42 percent of the privately funded studies had negative titles and none had positive ones. In public or nonprofit studies, titles were 18 percent negative and 46 percent positive.
Alluding to previous studies in the pharmaceutical and tobacco industries, the authors concluded, "Our findings add to the existing evidence that single-source sponsorship is associated with outcomes that favor the sponsors' products."
By email, I asked Dr. John Moulder, a senior editor of the journal Radiation Research, for his reaction to the study. Moulder, who is Professor and Director of Radiation Biology in the Department of Radiation Oncology at the University of Wisconsin, did not think the analysis was adequate to conclusively demonstrate industry influence and told me that in his capacity as an editor, "I have not noted such an effect, but I have not systematically looked for one either. I am certainly aware that an industry bias exists in other areas of medicine, such as reporting of clinical trails."
Moulder was lead author on a 2005 paper concluding that the scientific literature to that point showed "a lack of convincing evidence for a causal association between cancer and exposure to the RF [radio-frequency] energy used for mobile telecommunications."
The Center for Science in the Public Interest has questioned Moulder's objectivity because he has served as a consultant to electric-power and telecommunications firms and groups. Moulder told me, "I have not done any consulting for the electric power and telecommunications industry in years, and when I was doing consulting for these industries, the journals for which I served as an editor or reviewer were made aware of it."
A year ago, Microwave News also reported that approximately one-half of all studies looking into possible damage to DNA by communication-frequency EM fields found no effect. But three-fourths of those negative studies were industry- or military-funded; indeed, only 3 of 35 industry or military papers found an effect, whereas 32 of 37 publicly funded studies found effects.
Magda Havas sees a shortage of public money in the US for research on EM health effects as one of the chief factors leading to lack of a rigorous public policy, telling me, "Much of the research here ends up being funded directly or indirectly by industry. That affects both the design and the interpretation of studies." As for research done directly by company scientists, "It's the same as in any industry. They can decide what information to make public. They are free to downplay harmful effects and release information that's beneficial to their product."
Meanwhile, at Trent University where Havas works, students using laptops are exposed to radio-frequency levels that exceed international guidelines. Of that, she says, "For people who've been fully informed and decide to take the risk, that's their choice. But what about those who have no choice, who have a cell-phone tower outside their bedroom window?
"It's the equivalent of secondhand smoke. We took a long time to get the political will to establish smoke-free environments, and we now know we should have done it sooner. How long will it take to react to secondhand radiation?"
For more information, visit Environmnental Health Perspectives; Microwave News; the National Center for Biotechnology Information.
Dec 9, 2007 8:13am
May 4, 2007
> Germans worried about the health effects of mobiles
> A new poll shows most Germans are convinced their mobiles are a health
> threat and worry more about so-called 'Elektrosmog' than terrorism.
> Ernest Gill asks why cell phones are making everyone so nervous.
> There are now more mobile phones in Germany than there are Germans and
> a new poll shows most Germans are convinced their mobiles are slowly
> killing them.
> In the nation that invented the word "angst," the fear barometer of
> the respected Emnid Institute is a well-known gauge of German angst
> levels. The latest Emnid survey shows that, despite terrorism jitters,
> more Germans are afraid of harmful effects from mobiles than of the
> threat of radical Islamic terrorists.
> Well, I don't know about you, but I'm switching mine off.
> A whopping 55 per cent said they believe cell phones emit harmful
> levels of electromagnetic and low-level microwave radiation. Germans
> even have a word for this unseen killer: "Elektrosmog."
> In contrast to their fear of insidious Elektrosmog, just 38 per cent
> believe Germany faces any imminent terrorist threat.
> And that Elektrosmog percentage level was nationwide, both rural and
> urban. In urban areas the angst levels are much higher. In the major
> port of Hamburg, which has a population of nearly 2 million, Emnid
> researchers found that 82 per cent are convinced their mobiles pose a
> serious health threat.
> Ironically, the survey findings coincide with figures from the
> telecommunications industry showing that there are now more than 90
> million mobiles in Germany, compared to 82 million human beings.
> A quarter of those human beings - presumably infants and inmates and
> invalids - still have no mobile. That means the vast majority of
> Germans have at least one mobile phone if not two or more.
> And mobile ownership is higher in eastern Germany where, after the
> fall of the Berlin Wall, many people went from having no individual
> home phone connection of their own at all to having only mobiles,
> bypassing landlines entirely.
> So for millions of Germans, mobiles are their only link with the
> outside world. And most Germans are convinced they are carrying
> Elektrosmog emitters around with them in their purses and pockets
> every day.
> This national angst has been fuelled by frightening new findings by
> the renowned Max Planck Institute revealing that mobile phone
> emissions do appear in fact to have a deleterious effect, at least on
> synthetic cell membranes.
> Researchers say that longterm exposure to low-level phone emissions at
> very close range resulted in an elevation of membrane temperature to
> the boiling point of water.
> "That indicates an emission level 100 times higher than previously
> thought possible," said Max Planck Institute director Markus
> The findings allegedly show that localized radiation can result in
> even higher temperatures - up to 10,000 degrees Celsius - for
> exceedingly brief periods of a fraction of a second in very isolated
> cell structures.
> "And the energy from mobiles disrupts molecules so thoroughly that
> cell membranes can in fact rupture," he added.
> He cautioned against panic, saying that further research is needed on
> human cell membranes.
> "But we are now aware of a mechanism that could potentially lead to
> cell damage," Antonietti said. "As a scientist, I am concerned. I'm
> not letting my kids use their mobiles more than five minutes a day."
> New reports of the shocking findings were plastered over tabloid front
> pages and were trumpeted on radio and television newscasts - and via
> instant text-messaging to mobile users throughout the land.
> Afternoon TV talk shows have been full of helpful hints on how to
> reduce Elektrosmog, for example by holding your mobile at arm's length
> to dial or to transmit text-messages or by keeping your mobile in one
> of those lead-lined bags that photographers use to protect film from
> airport X-rays.
> The airwaves have been filled with man-in-the-street interviews with
> mobile-users, not all of whom seemed to share the national sense of
> "My wife calls me a dozen times a day at work on my mobile," said
> Christian Saenger, himself a molecular biologist in Hamburg.
> "Afterwards I always have a headache. It must be that nasty
> Elektrosmog," he said wryly. "I think I'll tell her I'm turning it off
> to prevent brain-cell damage."
> 7 September 2006
> Copyright DPA with Expatica 2006
> Subject: German news, mobile phones, health in Germany
Jun 12, 2006
CFAM World Cup Web Site Content Read This True Life Horror Story from Germany
Get involved! Sign your Petition to the German government and governing body of the World Cup games today. Learn more about the massive crime against women about to unfold in Germany.
In addition to spearheading this global petition drive and grass roots mobilization, C-FAM is working with its friendly contacts within the German government to press the case against the massive, state-sponsored abuse of women during the World Cup games.
C-FAM Joins Other Groups in Opposing Exploitation of Women at World Cup Games in Germany.
Visit this site often to see updates on the progress of our Petition drive!
Visit web pages below so see the true, shocking extent of the problem of forced prostitution in Europe and worldwide.
The Coalition Against Trafficking in Women CATW) is a non-governmental organization that promotes women's human rights by working internationally to combat sexual exploitation in all its forms. Founded in 1988, CATW was the first international non-governmental organization to focus on human trafficking, especially sex trafficking of women and girls.
"Increased trafficking of women for prostitution is akin to slavery... women are bought and sold like cattle." (Anita Gradin, European Commissioner, European Race Audit Bulletin No 25, The Institute of Race Relations, London UK, 25 November 1997)
Approximately 500,000 women are annually trafficked into Western Europe. (International Organization for Migration, Michael Specter, "Traffickers' New Cargo: Naive Slavic Women, New York Times, 11 January 1998)
The slave trade in women for sexual purposes is growing, and organized crime is more often behind this trade. Smuggling in humans is much less risky than smuggling drugs and it is highly profitable. (Commissioner Anita Gradin, "Conference on Trafficking in Women" European Commission, 10-11 June 1996)
Visit the CATW website at http://www.catwinternational.org/ to learn more about the threat to women posed by the promotion of prostitution at the World Cup games.
The United States Department has issued its fifth annual Trafficking in Persons Report, along with the $82 million in anti-trafficking assistance our nation provided to foreign governments and non-government organizations last year, demonstrates our strong commitment to this cause. See the Report here: http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/tiprpt/2005/
The TIP Report serves to expose these despicable aspects of trafficking. It provokes, lauds, and challenges. Countries including the United States, which is dealing with its own trafficking problem, have been inspired to greater action against human trafficking as a result of this unique compendium. By reading it, we hope you are joining with us in the abolitionist movement of the 21st century to advance freedom for the world's most vulnerable citizens." - Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
Prostitution was legalised in Germany just over two years ago and brothel owners - who must pay tax and employee health insurance - were granted access to official databases of jobseekers.
'If you don't take a job as a prostitute, we can stop your benefits'
The group Human Rights Watch published this report about forced prostitution in the Balkans http://hrw.org/english/docs/2004/06/14/bosher8815.htm
Amnesty International published this report on forced prostitution of children in Europe. http://web.amnesty.org/aidoc/aidoc_pdf.nsf/Index/EUR700102004ENGLISH/$File/EUR7001004.pdf
Jun 12, 2006 10:54am
Content and comments expressed here are the opinions of Care2 users and not necessarily that of Care2.com or its affiliates.
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