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Australia Earth Power Science

Windfarm Sickness Spreads By Word of Mouth 482

Posted by Soulskill
from the people-who-are-allergic-to-ideas dept.
eldavojohn writes "Just like the many stories surrounding alleged 'Wi-Fi sickness,' research is now showing that windfarm sickness spreads by word of mouth instead of applying universally to windfarms. Areas that had never had any noise or health complaints were suddenly experiencing them after 2009 when anti-wind groups targeted populations surrounding windfarms. From the article, 'Eighteen reviews of the research literature on wind turbines and health published since 2003 had all reached the broad conclusion that there was very little evidence they were directly harmful to health.' While there's unfortunately no way to prove that someone is lying about how they feel, it's likely a mixture of confirmation bias, psychosomatic response, hypochondria, greed and hatred of seeing windmills on the horizon that drives this phenomenon."
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Windfarm Sickness Spreads By Word of Mouth

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  • In other news (Score:5, Insightful)

    by eagee (1308589) on Friday March 15, 2013 @12:23PM (#43183347)
    People are still just as stupid as they've always been...
  • by h4rr4r (612664) on Friday March 15, 2013 @12:25PM (#43183365)

    I suggest someone spread around the idea that coal power plants endager the health those nearby. A bonus is that this might actually be true.

  • by ZorinLynx (31751) on Friday March 15, 2013 @12:26PM (#43183375) Homepage

    I wish that, when people are frickin' stupid like this, folks would just roll their eyes at them rather than take them seriously.

    People seem to come up with the dumbest reasons they think they're ill. I know it can be frustrating to feel badly and not know why, but come on. Use some science.

  • by h4rr4r (612664) on Friday March 15, 2013 @12:29PM (#43183419)

    Or maybe one has nothing to do with the other.

    Windmills good. Fracking good when done right.

    Windmill sickness is no different than cell phone sickness or I saw a fracking rig nearby sickness.

    Stop trying to score stupid political points.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 15, 2013 @12:31PM (#43183449)

    Having a beautiful, natural view obscured by ugly windmills couldn't possibly cause stress and induce real physical sickness in folks, now could it?!
    If you travel much, you'll notice that folks tend to be happier in areas with beautiful scenery, much less so elsewhere.

    Another thing, most people tend to be very mild mannered. Quite a large number of people will accept a burnt pizza with a smile, only a small minoroty will complain. Perhaps these people were bothered all along and just didn't say anything to avoid rocking the boat...until it was pointed out to them that they had the right to speak up and demand a pizza that wasn't burnt to a crisp.

  • by tp1024 (2409684) on Friday March 15, 2013 @12:36PM (#43183525)

    That's what you call double standards.

    The psychosomatic consequences of windpower are nothing that should stop anybody from building windfarms. But when people in Japan, who have barely been exposed to any significant radiation at all, start complaining about imaginary symptoms of their exposure to radiation (as well as very real symptoms of unchecked overdosing on iodine) this is just yet another reason to do away with nuclear power.

  • by DragonWriter (970822) on Friday March 15, 2013 @12:36PM (#43183539)

    Having a beautiful, natural view obscured by ugly windmills couldn't possibly cause stress and induce real physical sickness in folks, now could it?!

    Maybe it could. If it did you'd expect studying the incidence of the supposed symptoms that it causes would show that they had a correlation with the presence of windfarms independent of propaganda campaigns targeting the local area and attempting to convince people that windfarms are bad for health.

    Science was created so that we didn't have to answer question be anecdote and supposition.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 15, 2013 @12:42PM (#43183599)

    Does windmill construction require pumping undisclosed "trade secret" chemicals into the ground water?

  • Re:In other news (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kenja (541830) on Friday March 15, 2013 @12:45PM (#43183647)
    I dont know... there seems to be evidence that they're stupider.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 15, 2013 @12:49PM (#43183695)

    If by "collective" you mean the collected knowledge built up by logic and experimentation, then yes.

    "I feel sick, someone told me it was the windmills so it must be them" despite no medically known process that would cause this with several studies conducted that found no link is not comparable to the fact that pumping chemicals into the ground contaminates the groundwater.

    These people do feel sick, I'm sure. The cause isn't the windmills - it's the placebo affect in reverse. Most people don't feel sick until someone tells them the windmills are making them sick. The ones who felt sick before are from some other cause, there is exactly the same amount of evidence that the sickness could be caused by houses, roads, or mailboxes as there is that it's caused by windmills, that is to say, none. They felt sick, and point to a random object and blame it. Not rational or logical, but a lot of people do it.

  • by i kan reed (749298) on Friday March 15, 2013 @12:52PM (#43183731) Homepage Journal

    Only in mass, they clearly meant molarity.

    Here's a rule: if there's an interpretation of something someone else said that is 100% accurate, don't correct them because you chose to misinterpret it.

  • by h4rr4r (612664) on Friday March 15, 2013 @12:53PM (#43183747)

    Beef should never be well-done and does not need a sauce.

    If you cook it correctly, no more than medium-rare, it will makes it own sauce.

  • Re:In other news (Score:5, Insightful)

    by The Mighty Buzzard (878441) on Friday March 15, 2013 @01:10PM (#43183929)
    Smarter? No, just more educated. They still buy the lines of bullshit politicians sell and reality TV keeps growing in popularity. Their stupidity just migrated.
  • by Ol Olsoc (1175323) on Friday March 15, 2013 @01:19PM (#43184027)

    Having a beautiful, natural view obscured by ugly windmills couldn't possibly cause stress and induce real physical sickness in folks, now could it?!

    Most people I know thnk that the windmills look kind of cool. Your declaring both that they are ugly, and that they cause people stress because of that ugliness is conjecture.

    until it was pointed out to them that they had the right to speak up and demand a pizza that wasn't burnt to a crisp.

    A pizza analogy - Awesome!

  • by Ol Olsoc (1175323) on Friday March 15, 2013 @01:23PM (#43184091)

    Or you could argue that the populace was experiencing negative symptoms from the windmills being nearby, but up until they were made aware that they could cause negative health effects, they attributed the decline to other things. The effect of the information, then, served to give them a list of symptoms that they could validate against, and come to their own conclusions.

    Holy hell, you just told us that if someone makes something up, it's as good as real.

    Lightknight, I just got a rash, and the person sitting beside me said htey think it's your posting. I think they might be right, so We are joining a class action suit against you because we didn't know it before, but a lot of people have been getting heartburn, hangnails, athlete's foot and jock itch. We now know who to blame it on. You need to stop posting messages so that our healt will return to normal.

  • by Artful Codger (245847) on Friday March 15, 2013 @01:26PM (#43184125)

    In Ontario, the right-wing establishment have successfully united the usual anti-government, anti-progress suspects with some pissed-off farmers, rural retirees, and rich NIMBYs to create a particularly nasty strain of anti-windmill sentiment. They've become the Typhoid Mary of wind farm sickness.

    It's true that the Ont. government was a bit overzealous in a few of its land acquisition, and there were a small number of households which were closer than what is considered a comfortable distance from some installations, but as far as i know, every such household has either been paid off or relocated.

    The claimed negative health effects are spurious. I wonder what any of the hundreds of thousands of households located close to rail lines, expressways or airports must think when they hear people whinging about effects from wind generators...

    Yes windmills kill some birds and bats. In North America the reported bird-kill from windfarms is a fraction of the kill from oil and gas operations.... and several orders of magnitude lower than the number of birds killed annually by.... house-cats. Like birds? Don't let your stupid cat out.

    Finally, the technology is still pretty young. There's every reason to expect that wind generators will become more reliable, efficient, quieter, and that their energy can be stored and used more effectively. How many centuries has coal-burning taken to get efficient and clean up a bit?

  • by PTBarnum (233319) on Friday March 15, 2013 @01:28PM (#43184147)

    I thought that RLS had been banned in the US? Clinical trials showed that it had potentially dangerous side effects, such as questioning authority.

  • Re:In other news (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 15, 2013 @01:30PM (#43184167)

    >Power of suggestion can be a powerful thing.

    More so when people are actually sick, and are grasping at straws trying to understand the cause of their ailment.

  • by oddaddresstrap (702574) on Friday March 15, 2013 @01:56PM (#43184495)

    What makes them sick is knowing that their neighbor is getting $5K per year per machine and they aren't.

  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn.gmail@com> on Friday March 15, 2013 @02:05PM (#43184599) Journal

    Not quite 'sickness', but my aunt lives on the side of a large hill overlooking a pretty valley... Her balcony used to be a nice place to sit and relax. Now her down-hill neighbor (approximately 2km away) has a wind turbine in his yard and the low frequency periodic noise from it has transformed her balcony into an annoying place to be and she can no longer sleep with the windows open. She's not claiming sickness, she's merely claiming annoyance..

    Okay so let's say that from right up in front of the thing you experience 105 dB [gereports.com] of sound. Now let's use some basic math to compute [sengpielaudio.com] what 105 dB at 0.5 meters away sounds like when you're 2,000 meters away. 32.958 dB should be the intense ear splitting result at the balcony. Does your neighbor have some super noisy form of wind turbine or does your aunt go insane inside a kitchen when the refrigerator is running? Does she have to turn her air conditioning and refrigerator off in order to sleep? Because according to every resource out there [windmeasur...tional.com], physics put that noise at sub 40 dB. Even if we bump it up to rock concert levels (120 dB) it should be 48 dB at 2 km and that's about as loud as an AC unit.

    Now, how loud is acceptable at the edge of someone's property before you think the authorities should be involved? And think carefully about people who like to use air condition/compressors, mow their lawns, have yard parties with music, drive motorcycles and do any good patriotic non-save-the-rainforest stuff before you answer.

  • Re:In other news (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ackthpt (218170) on Friday March 15, 2013 @02:12PM (#43184677) Homepage Journal

    The reality was the concentrations of these compounds were in like 5 ppb (parts per billion), when checked on by DNR and others. Put into perspective it was like a football field, a mile high and one marble sitting in the end zone. Pretty mild

    5PPB is "mild"?!

    You're talking about compounds with an LD50 in the micrograms/kilogram.

    Safe exposure is 4 picograms/kilogram/day

    5 ppb in your drinking water would get you about 18 micrograms/day, or 60,000-ish times that.

    Do keep in mind there are hundreds of compounds catagorized as "Dioxins" Very few of these are actually known toxins or carcenogens.

    I asked my father about what was going on in the news and he directed me to the obituary page in the local paper. "What do you see there?" "A lot of people dead in their 70s, 80s and 90s with the rare centenarian." "Not a lot of people dying in their teens, 20s, 30s, which you would see if there were rampant cancer brought on by these compounds." It was a vivid lesson in viewing readily available empirical data.

  • Re:In other news (Score:3, Insightful)

    by femtobyte (710429) on Friday March 15, 2013 @02:20PM (#43184795)

    People aren't getting any wiser, and propagandists are getting smarter too. While Fox News pushes *extremely dumb* ideas, it does so in a very slickly manipulative way that precisely targets the vulnerabilities of their demographic audience, effectively conditioning them to act less intelligent than they could be.

  • by falconwolf (725481) <falconsoaring_2000@@@yahoo...com> on Friday March 15, 2013 @02:42PM (#43185009)

    People aren't getting any wiser, and propagandists are getting smarter too. While Fox News pushes *extremely dumb* ideas, it does so in a very slickly manipulative way that precisely targets the vulnerabilities of their demographic audience, effectively conditioning them to act less intelligent than they could be.

    Other mass media companies do the same thing, as do advertizing and public relations businesses. They get paid for that.

    Falcon

  • by HeckRuler (1369601) on Friday March 15, 2013 @05:53PM (#43186681)

    OH MY EFFING GOD the libertarians will find the government at fault for anything and everything won't they? Enron and the crisis they caused and profited from were a result of deregulation. Flat out. The "changes" that were made to the regulations? They were made to encourage a free market and competition. But there's no competition if there aren't any players with any power. And BOY OH BOY did those fuckers abuse what little power they were given.

    Owning both electrical generation and the distribution of that electricity was made illegal.

    Yes, they split power generation and power distribution. That's one part of it. It made for a system of competition so that there were no longer territories of my generators and my neighbors generators. It set up a system where the old boys kept control of the distribution, and the new kids were given the generation, both were given a doggy biscuit and some ground rules for playing nice, and then set upon each other.

    That "capped retail price"? Think about that for a moment. The entire point of this deregulation thing is to lower the price of electricity to the users. Alright, that's the goal. That's the entire point. That's why they did this. They believed the free market would work it's magic and they'd see lower prices than in the old regulated system. If they can't do that, if the system on the whole doesn't produce prices below a certain point, GUESS WHAT? It turns out that deregulation doesn't work. The cap let the pain of a broken system land in corporate-ville rather than raping the customers. At least, you know, the excessive pain.

    Now let's pretend that they DIDN'T cap those prices. Enron does it's dirty work to manipulate the system and set record prices as they did before. But now the retail sellers simply pass it on to the users. WELCOME TO MONOPOLY SHITSVILLE where you can't choose which utility company to buy your power from! The competition was supposed to be between the distributors and the generators, not between the users and the power companies. Now it turns out that the generators, Enron and such, simply won that competition. Albeit from dirty tricks and accounting fraud. And the distributors suffered. But the caps kept the people from suffering AS MUCH AS they would have without such caps.

    The entire crisis was caused by the state government.

    Yes, it was caused by the state government DEREGULATING the power industry and giving more control to corporate entities. It was a pretty bad move that they shouldn't have done. Some things you can't trust in the hands of businessmen. Like those things with natural monopolies. Like utilities. Congratulations, you found where the government made it's fault.

  • Re:In other news (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kermidge (2221646) on Saturday March 16, 2013 @02:00AM (#43189001) Journal

    Other things happened roughly same time - news, originally required by FCC as a public service as condition for license, became 'profit center' with relaxing of regs. Since by 1977 fewer than 50% of Americans read books, networks increasingly chased viewers (ratings) by flash-and-trash, bleeds-it-leads. (They saw no need to vie for eyeballs of literate people since they didn't really count for much anymore.)

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