Thursday, 23 July 2015


Get them off my screen. They're killing me!

Disturbing headline sending me off into a spiral of despair with no electricity generated:

"Research council calls for further study into 'wind turbine sickness', sets aside $500,000 in grants"

My headline:

"Dave Chaffey Hippie calls for research council to use their fricking critical thinking skills and not waste any money on what is obviously the the nocebo effect!" 

Give me the $500,000 instead and I can tell you that there is no such thing as wind turbine sickness. There is always a tiny chance that I could be wrong but I'm as certain of this as I am that Bobo won't find Bigfoot on his stupid TV show and that Ghost Hunters won't ever actually catch Michael Jackson's ghost and put him in ghost prison for his ghost molestation of ghost boys.

World's leading Bigfoot academic
I do have sympathy for people who have debilitating symptoms and blame it on completely implausible causes, but in most cases it's a psychological condition that should be treated by mental health professionals that are experienced in treating people with such conditions and obviously understand that there is no such thing as wind turbine sickness or electromagnetic hypersensitivity or whatever mystery condition is in fashion.

Fully protected in my tin-foil room so don't need to wear my hat indoors!
The 'kooks' trying to make money off vulnerable people and make names for themselves will use news stories like these to add legitimacy to their scams; which may very well create new sufferers and delay the existing sufferers from seeking out the legitimate help they need.

And it goes round and round and round like, well, you know.

Further reading:

Pretty good article on nocebo:
"responsible media reporting would at least stem the spread of poisonous rumours" 

You listening Graham Lloyd, self described "fearless reporter" and described by me as understanding about as much about science as Bill Cosby understands about the meaning of 'consent'?

Follow up and rant about the media:

My custom TP re-prints of Graham Lloyd's articles
Shame on The Australian toilet/newspaper and 2 more 'shames' to give them the full Derryn Hinch. Who the fruck told the Australian that the nocebo effect had been discredited? Just look at the history of these kinds of conditions. 'False balance' on science in the media mainly happens because most journalists wouldn't know a WIMP from a strange quark. 

The climate change public debate was also destroyed in large part due to media 'false balance'. Being impartial doesn't mean giving equal time between 97% of climatologists and the other 3%. We also love the overdone narrative of the rogue scientist fighting the evil oppressive system and being proven to be right in the end. While there are some examples of this of course, the vast, vast, vast majority of science doesn't work this way. Most science is nowhere near as narrative-worthy and therefore doesn't capture the public's imagination.
The vaccination debate has, especially recently been reported way better. For some strange reason sick kids with resurrected diseases force us to agree with the established science! Crappy science journalism is not totally the media's fault and with the imminent extinction of the Rupert-Murdocho-saurus dinosaurs, mainstream science reporting won't improve any time soon.

Rupert Murdoch's real form
All we can do is continue with online citizen journalism and skeptic groups, who do know that the Earth is an oblate spheroid, not a sphere. Thanks Australian public broadcaster ABC's Media Watch for airing your story, except I'm just not convinced that further work needs to be done. 

I will freely admit I am wrong when someone presents me with anything other than pseudo-science, but enough time and money has been spent in my opinion to show that wind turbines are safe (unless you're a bird and even if you are a bird, then cats are a much higher risk).

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