Saturday, November 12, 2005

Science at its finest

You know all those paranoid conspiracy theorists? You know how they're sometimes mocked for wearing tinfoil hats to prevent alien or government mind control rays from getting to them. Did you ever wonder if there was anything to that? Did you ever wonder whether those tinfoil hats work?

Ali Rahami at MIT did, and he did some experiments to see what the effect of aluminum foil hats on the absorption of radio waves is. He even tested three different designs of hats. Here are his conclusions:
The helmets amplify frequency bands that coincide with those allocated to the US government between 1.2 Ghz and 1.4 Ghz. According to the FCC, These bands are supposedly reserved for ''radio location'' (ie, GPS), and other communications with satellites (see, for example, [3]). The 2.6 Ghz band coincides with mobile phone technology. Though not affiliated by government, these bands are at the hands of multinational corporations.

It requires no stretch of the imagination to conclude that the current helmet craze is likely to have been propagated by the Government, possibly with the involvement of the FCC. We hope this report will encourage the paranoid community to develop improved helmet designs to avoid falling prey to these shortcomings.
Now that's some science answering a practical question! (I particularly love the last line, which is so typical of scientific papers.) I'm guessing a corrollary of this work is that aluminum foil hats probably don't protect you against the dreaded cell phone radio waves that are purported to cause all sorts of horrible brain tumors.

So, there you go. Those folks railing against government mind control may be using defective equipment to protect themselves from the Illuminati, ZOG, and the U.N. with its black helicopters, ironically tricked by the very forces they are trying to protect themselves against. New designs are clearly needed immediately! Kudos to Dr. Rahimi for providing some desperately needed data to the conspiracy theory crowd! If he doesn't win an IgNobel Prize next year for his important work, you'll know the government (or the Masons or the Illuminati or. . .someone) got to him and hushed it up.

However, in the interests of scientific rigor and presenting criticisms of Dr. Rahimi's experimental design, it should be pointed out that his findings have been questioned by at least one person:
First and foremost, Rahimi et al. only considered simple radio frequencies. As I explained in detail in chapter 4 ("Psychotronic and AFDB Theory") of my book [2], only psychotronic energy can affect the brain in any coherent manner. Simple EM fields have only trivial effects -- such as causing indistinct sensations of a supernatural presence [3] -- over short distances. Only by converting electromagnetic energy into psychotronic energy using a psychotron-based device can the forces of mind control access from afar the neural network of a brain to both implant and extract thought complexes.
Perhaps Mr. Zapato would be willing to provide a device that would produce this "psychotronic energy" for more rigorous testing. Another criticism:
There's another odd discrepancy in their procedure description: While they say that the test helmets were made of Reynolds aluminum foil, in the lower left of Fig. 2 ("B" in enhanced version above) one can clearly see a box of Chef's Pride brand foil on their work bench next to the completed helmets. Well, Rahimi et al., which is it?
Personally, I'm not sure that the above would be a valid criticism, even if true, although using different brands could introduce unwanted variability in the results. And finally:
The "current helmet craze" may indeed have been propagated by government forces, but that has nothing to do with the effectiveness of AFDBs or their non-crazed use by sensible paranoids. It is a common MO of the NWO and allied conspirators to disingenuously promote that which they aspire to destroy. The current rise in joking references to AFDBs -- which is what Rahimi et al. are referring to by "the current helmet craze" -- is most likely a calculated ploy to scare off would be paranoids from the mental protection of foil. That the forces of mind control are bothering to do this is itself evidence of the effectiveness of AFDBs.

The most important question raised by the Rahimi et al. study is: Should paranoids trust people working for an organization deeply involved in the Military-Industrial Complex? While Rahimi, the lead investigator whose site the paper is hosted on, is from MIT's EE and CS departments, the et al. (Ben Recht, Jason Taylor, and Noah Vawter) are from MIT's notorious Media Lab, which receives funding from DARPA [4] -- one of those government agencies they pretend to be concerned about. When it comes to mind control, they are hardly an unbiased party. That, combined with the aforementioned discrepancies and questionable procedures, makes their conclusions highly suspect.

Clearly more research is needed, although it would appear to me that MIT would be exactly the folks who could answer this important question. Maybe these designs could be adapted to protect the brain against both government mind control waves and cell phone emissions...

(Via Slashdot)




13 example(s) of insolence returned:


At 11/12/2005 5:26 PM, Anonymous Magnus Malmborn said...

Just wow.

I've seen someone calculate the number of cell-phones needed to cause spark generation in people's pircings, but this is orders of magnitude better.

So, who will gather all the details and nominate them for an igNobel?

I'm going to have to show this to the electroscience people at my university...

 

At 11/12/2005 5:34 PM, Anonymous Magnus Malmborn said...

Oh, just forgot.

The tests where done using aluminium-foil, but everybody knows that aluminium is inferior to tin-foil. No wonder they got these results ;)

 

At 11/12/2005 6:17 PM, Blogger The Probe said...

Such a simple explanation....I have to use it....

 

At 11/12/2005 7:34 PM, Blogger John said...

Hey, if fear of brain cancer keeps someone from yapping loudly and profanely about his/her private life behind me on the train, I'm all for it. :-)

 

At 11/13/2005 12:47 AM, Blogger Gina said...

Going to build myself a hat now...

 

At 11/13/2005 1:05 AM, Blogger Socialist Swine said...

That's seriously awesome.

-Socialist Swine

 

At 11/13/2005 9:33 AM, Anonymous sophia8 said...

I wonder what the designer of these hats thinks of it?

 

At 11/13/2005 2:28 PM, Blogger Anne said...

Did you read my post on the Alien Abductions? This screen helmet will block any telepathic communication between you and the aliens. You won't be abducted by aliens again.....

 

At 11/13/2005 3:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Zatatopi ia a satire site. Just thought you would want to know

 

At 11/13/2005 4:07 PM, Blogger Orac said...

Hmm. I thought readers would realize that my tongue was firmly planted in cheek when I mentioned Zapati's disagreement with the research..

I'll have to do a better job next time.

 

At 11/13/2005 7:41 PM, Blogger Sylvana said...

Finally! Scientists answering questions that are important to me on a practical, everyday level!!

 

At 11/14/2005 4:57 AM, Blogger OutEast said...

Superb! You must put this in your 'essential Orac', Orac!

 

At 11/14/2005 12:58 PM, Blogger Ktesibios said...

I would have done the measurements in an anechoic chamber, to be sure that I was measuring the transmission loss of the AFDB and not that of some reflective path.

Other than that, this looks like a fine contribution to paranoid science. I'll second that IgNobel nomination.

 

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