The Null Device

New Agers against Wi-Fi

Members of Glastonbury's New Age community are up in arms about the town's free WiFi network, which they say emits "negative energy", disrupting the flow of chakras and ley lines and causing all sorts of ailments from headaches and dizziness to pneumonia. Some are calling for the network to be dismantled, while others are using this as an opportunity to sell "orgone devices" which work, by means conveniently unknown to boring old straight science, to neutralise the bad vibes:
Matt Todd, who campaigns against EMFs, said that residents had complained that chakras and ley lines are being disrupted. "They believe positive energy flows are being disturbed," he said.
Mr Todd has started building small generators which he believes can neutralise the allegedly-harmful radiation using the principles of orgone science. The pyramid-like machines use quartz crystals, selenite (a clear form of the mineral gypsum), semi-precious lapis lazuli stones, gold leaf and copper coil to absorb and recycle the supposedly-negative energy.
One does wonder what happened when Glastonbury was first wired for mains electricity.

There are 2 comments on "New Agers against Wi-Fi":

Posted by: Greg Fri Jan 2 07:26:54 2009

To be fair, there are plenty of respectable scientists with concerns about the health effects of electromagnetic radiation, especially radio transmitters such as phone towers. By sprinkling terms like crystals and orgone about every 10 words, this rather right-wing paper would appear to be trying to associate "concerns about EMR" with "loony hippies" in its readers minds. This is a tired old tactic, which commits two errors of logic: "if someone believes something silly, everything they believe must be silly", and "if something hasn't yet been proven to be healthy, it cannot be unhealthy". The former error would have us conclude that, for example, the earth doesn't revolve around the sun, if the residents of Glastonbury believe that it does. The latter is invalidated regularly, every time something is shown to be unhealthy.

Posted by: acb http://dev.null.org/acb/ Sat Jan 3 12:30:45 2009

Then again, this article isn't about people concerned about electromagnetic radiation in general, but specifically about opposition in Glastonbury, a centre of New Age mysticism. If it failed to cite the rational, scientific voices of the movement, then it can be faulted for that, but to me, it does look like a number of mystical/irrationalist true believers experiencing psychosomatic symptoms and jumping to conclusions intimately linked with mystical beliefs (which aren't "there needs to be more investigation of EMF and safety issues" but "OMG, the WiFi is frying my chakras, make it stop!!!"), and a few others making hay out of that by selling them snake oil (which, in any efficient market, is bound to happen).

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