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Tinfoil Hat House 896

An anonymous reader writes "A family in Sacromento has covered the side of their house with aluminum to keep the radiowaves from their neighbors at bay. The city has given them one week to remove the life saving shielding or face charges."
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Tinfoil Hat House

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  • Sacromento? (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 23, 2005 @10:59PM (#12619938)
    Is that near Sacramento? Or is it in Colifornia?
  • by jeremy_dot ( 734236 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @11:00PM (#12619941)
    That's just what they want you to think.
  • by Lord Kano ( 13027 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @11:00PM (#12619943) Homepage Journal
    How can they be brought up on Misdemeanor charges for this?

    It's stupid. It's ugly. But why in the fuck is it illegal?

    • They mention health code but how is sheet metal a health code violation
      • I'm from Ventura, and am unsure exactly where "Sacromento" is, but I'm glad I moved to Alaska as soon as I turned 18. I could build a house out of aluminum foil ('tin' foil is hard to come by) in my neighborhood, and no one would care, even though the cheapest house just sold for $275,000. Of course, I don't live in Los Anchorage, but I still have DSL, indoor plumbing, and a fire department 6 blocks away.


        Alaska -- America's most tax-friendly state []

      • by kylemonger ( 686302 ) on Tuesday May 24, 2005 @12:20AM (#12620487)
        Not health code, fascist community code [], as in "no trucks up on blocks in your front yard", "no neon Looney Tunes paint job for your house", "no satellite dish antennas", "no running a bordello in a residential neighborhood", that sort of thing.
        • by Anonymous Coward

          "no trucks up on blocks in your front yard"

          I'm cool with that. They're ugly anyway

          "no neon Looney Tunes paint job for your house"

          Not a problem. Couldn't handle it anyway

          "no satellite dish antennas"

          Meh. Those little DirectTV dishes are fine attached to the back of your house. No big loss.

          "no running a bordello in a residential neighborhood"

          Who the hell do they think they are! To arms, to arms!

        • Buy a dictionary. (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Gruneun ( 261463 ) on Tuesday May 24, 2005 @08:35AM (#12622219)
          Yes, it's a community code. It means the community got together and a majority decided that they wanted to live in an area with certain rules. Nobody is forced to live in the community and that same community can act to modify those codes whenever they please.

          This has nothing to do with race, national pride, or an unchecked autocracy. Therefore, the fascism label simply doesn't apply. I suggest you learn the meaning of a word before you start throwing it around.
          • by JonKatzIsAnIdiot ( 303978 ) <[moc.oohay] [ta] [0002_1624a]> on Tuesday May 24, 2005 @11:43AM (#12623973)
            It means the community got together and a majority decided that they wanted to live in an area with certain rules.

            Awww - they're so cute when they're young and idealistic, aren't they?

            These days, rules aren't decided by the majority. Rules (laws) are passed in order to pacify small groups who are very adept at making a lot of noise and attracting attention to themselves and their cause. The majority of people just want everyone else to leave them alone.
    • by harmanjd ( 414263 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @11:03PM (#12619974)
      From the article it looks like the building codes prohibit it. Maybe they should look at getting sheet metal siding - as long as its installed correctly and doesn't violate any of the neighborhood covenants they'd probably be ok.
    • by Kethryvis ( 96137 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @11:05PM (#12619996)
      Because it's a housing code violation. It looks from the picture like it's touching the fence/house next door and in CA (at least in Sac, I live there) it's illegal to build or have any structure connected to your house touching or within x amount of feet of the fence. Our neighbours behind us built some rickity lean-to on their house which used our back fence as one of the walls and we called the housing code people who came and told them to tear it down.
      • by WankersRevenge ( 452399 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @11:28PM (#12620182)
        This site [] is a great true example of what happens when your neighbors go crazy. In this case, it's a family of rednecks. It's a great laugh from the burnt down back yard to the child sized children pools.
    • by bgog ( 564818 ) * on Monday May 23, 2005 @11:11PM (#12620048) Journal
      I agree. If it's their property let them be protected from the aliens. Who cares. And don't give me crap about it looking nice for the neighbors. I believe in freedom. If my neighbors want to paint their house with pink polka-dots then so be it, none of my buisness. People spend far too much energy worrying about what other people are doing. The officials should worry about stuff that is actually harming others.
    • by fm6 ( 162816 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @11:29PM (#12620190) Homepage Journal
      Not only are you not a Californian, but you've obviously never owned a house -- or owned one that was worth so little, you didn't obssess over things that might affect the value of your property. In most of urban California, you have to sell your soul in order to afford a house -- which makes people insanely aware of anything that might lower property values. People will hassle you just for parking a rusty car in front of your house. And of coursethey pass zoning laws that minimize any and all activities affecting same. So forget about raising chickens in your back yard, or painting your house a funny color. And you damn well better take good care of your lawn, if you value your freedom!

      In that context, a strong reaction to a house covered with metal foil is most predictable. The only suprise is that the neighbors took the time to call the code enforcement people, instead of rounding up a lynch mob!

      If your situation is any better, don't feel too smug. Housing costs are going up everywhere, and the same obsesssion with property values is spreading like a disease.

  • Wow... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Supernoma ( 794214 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @11:00PM (#12619950)
    Bet that works great to keep the heat out of the house too...

    Maybe they could use that as a reason to keep it?
    • Re:Wow... (Score:3, Informative)

      by unitron ( 5733 )
      Actually you can get insulation boards, such as Tuf-R, which are basically styrofoam or something similar with an aluminum foil skin, designed to be nailed directly to the outside of the wall studs before the siding goes on. As of several years ago they were looking into connecting the aluminum skin together, electrically speaking, and tieing it all to a grounding system to create a "Faraday cage" type shield.
    • Re:Wow... (Score:3, Funny)

      by PsychicX ( 866028 )
      Those fools. Everybody knows that you can't just coat your house with it -- microwaves can still tunnel through. It's necessary to wear an actual hat at all times.
    • Re:Wow... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by utexaspunk ( 527541 )
      our house has aluminum siding and an aluminum roof. does a great job keeping the radio waves out, as evidenced by the really lousy cell phone reception inside.
  • by viva_fourier ( 232973 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @11:01PM (#12619959) Journal
    "The inside of the house is also covered with foil and the beds are covered with a foil-like material as well,"

    So, these are the guys that buy those "space blankets"...
    • Seriously, space blankets work great to keep out the day star. I put one on a couple of windows last year, and went most of the summer without air conditioning. I'd bet it was 10 degrees cooler than without.

      Those window films you buy at Home Depot are mostly the same stuff, but with a huge markup. And, though you can still kind of see through a space blanket, they block much more light than any of the commercial films.

      It's probably not economical to re-apply film every summer and remove it for the wint
    • So, these are the guys that buy those "space blankets"...

      Jests aside, those Mylar "space blankets" really do work. A few years ago a friend and I were climbing Ben Nevis [] in December in a [failed] attempt at some winter mountaineering. To make a long story short, our shitty mountaineering-club tent leaked through the top and bottom and we spent a very long (13-hour) night laying awake in 2 inches of water on the side of the mountain.

      Putting one of those Mylar blankets inside of my sleeping bag was the dif
      • by SacredNaCl ( 545593 ) on Tuesday May 24, 2005 @01:26AM (#12620763) Journal
        The only problem with buying lots of mylar and mylar space blankets it the visit your get from the DEA after the hardware store reports you.

        They started offering cash rewards to store owners here to report that kind of activity, it doesn't matter that most people buying it aren't running a grow op.

        • by CurlyG ( 8268 ) on Tuesday May 24, 2005 @01:40AM (#12620812)
          Erm, you *are* kidding aren't you?

          'Space blankets' are AFAIK absolutely standard hiking/camping gear - you'd be an idiot to go away without one.

          They're compact, light, and they could save you from hypothermia.

          I mean yeah, you could concievably rig your grow-room up with mylar over the walls, but is it really going to help that much more than the white plastic sheeting used by most of the grow-rooms I've seen?

          Are you seriously suggesting that every hiker or camper who buys a space blanket in the US is going to get reported to the DEA? I don't live in the US, but if so, that is so ridiculous, so utterly pointless, so far out of control, that I'm just kind of staggered.
          • by SacredNaCl ( 545593 ) on Tuesday May 24, 2005 @02:08AM (#12620926) Journal
            No, unfotunately I am not joking. Many of the stores that sell garden lights openly tell you they share their customer list with law enforcement, a few of them have signs on the door. The police used to tail people who would go to the garden center and pull them over...etc That behavior got it institutionalized here, so they got the hardware stores involved and started offering cash to employees who would phone in on larger orders of certain supplies. Buying a mess of mylar at the hardware store is enough. Buying a single space age blanket probably isn't going to raise an eyebrow though.

            I'm not sure how much better the mylar is for that purpose, I've been told that it reflects different spectrums of light more effectively than just flat white paint, and slightly more effectively (total lumens) than the plastic sheeting. The plastic sheeting is lot cheaper.

            Of course just because they come to your door doesn't mean you have to let them in, but the mere fact that they are at the door because you made a purchase from the hardware store is very disturbing.

  • Hmmm... (Score:3, Funny)

    by buckymatters ( 885912 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @11:01PM (#12619960)
    Why don't they just cover their bodies instead?
    • One word: sex.
    • Re:Hmmm... (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      GOOD LORD ..

      NO11!!that's exactly what they want you to do

      TO COVER YOUR body in IT!

      It will only make it like an ANTENAA focusing the EVIL GIOVERNMENT MIND CONTROL RAYS

      NOT DO IT

    • Re:Hmmm... (Score:5, Funny)

      by ErikTheRed ( 162431 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @11:08PM (#12620027) Homepage
      Why don't they just cover their bodies instead?
      Better yet, why don't they just seek proper psychiatric help?
      • Re:Hmmm... (Score:5, Funny)

        by earthbound kid ( 859282 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @11:55PM (#12620343) Homepage
        Better yet, why don't they just seek proper psychiatric help?

        One roll of tinfoil: $3.57
        One month of psychiatric help: $357
        Keeping the neighbor's dog from reading your mind: Priceless.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 23, 2005 @11:02PM (#12619970)
    Why not just ask the neighbors to turn their radio down?
  • by isny ( 681711 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @11:02PM (#12619971) Homepage
    The best part of this article is that was posted by an anonymous reader. That's irony. (and, if it's not, I'm sure the grammar police will enforce).
  • by helixcode123 ( 514493 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @11:03PM (#12619976) Homepage Journal
    ... they might have a point. []
  • weird but illegal (Score:4, Insightful)

    by indy_Muad'Dib ( 869913 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @11:03PM (#12619983) Homepage
    easy fix, just line the inside of the house with foil.

    love the antibot text field btw. same i cant read the fucker.
    • by meeotch ( 524339 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @11:50PM (#12620318) Homepage
      Are you nuts? That would keep the radiation *in*!


  • by timeToy ( 643583 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @11:04PM (#12619992)
    Though it seems to be a classic: oil.jpg [] (from San Diego)
  • by blue_adept ( 40915 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @11:04PM (#12619994)
    just because your house is covered in tin foil doesn't mean they're not out to get you.
  • Legit reasons. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by B5_geek ( 638928 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @11:05PM (#12620002)
    All they have to do is install it under the siding of the house, and it is legit, code-worthy, and kinda cool.

    IANAL but I bet this treatment violates neighbourhood 'quality' standards.

    One thing to remember, pot-houses do this to minimise the heat signature.
  • by Quinn_Inuit ( 760445 ) < minus poet> on Monday May 23, 2005 @11:05PM (#12620003)
    If I'd have known I was causing them problems, I would've stopped trying to microwave their paint off their house as a practical joke.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 23, 2005 @11:06PM (#12620007)
    I'm sure there will be plenty of Tinfoil Hat Jokes and other posts, but after reading the article I'd say they need lithium, not aluminum. That is to say, the "radio waves" deal is typical in schizophrenic patients. Other common variations are people using radio waves to listen to what their thinking, people using high-tech devices to spy on their homes. The end result is a bunch of variations on the sheet metal siding. Those people that aren't familiar with metal and radiation commonly use cardboard boxes to cover all openings and windows.

    A misdemeanor charge isn't what's needed, a visit from a social worker probably is. There's a difference between being unique and unusual, and having mental issues.
    • by marko123 ( 131635 ) on Tuesday May 24, 2005 @12:02AM (#12620396) Homepage
      If they put lithium on the side of their house, it would explode the next time it rained.

      (yes I did understand what you meant :)
    • A neighbour of my parents did this as he slowly slipped further into insanity. When I lived at home, he was a normal guy with a job. I never met him, but he never did anything that would indicate there was anything wrong. However a couple years later it started. He became a reculse, lost his job, began screaming at imaginary things at all hours of the night. He worse an AFDB, coated all his windows in aluminium foil and so on.

      The neighbours wanted to have him comitted for his own good, but you can't do tha
    • by csk_1975 ( 721546 ) on Tuesday May 24, 2005 @02:54AM (#12621105)
      I knew this guy who was given millions and a large shareholding in a public company by his father. He had to play by his father's (and stepmother's) rules which he wasn't doing and he seemed to think it was funny to aggravate them. So they hired some spooks to follow him and eavesdrop on him. He was never the sharpest knife in the draw and years of ADD drugs didn't help. So when he started getting paranoid and having "dellusional fantasies" about people spying on him and his house - which they were actually doing - this was the proof used to incarcerate him in a mental institution. Last time I saw him he was on drugs that had completely extinguished his mind. I am sure people much more qualified than I would testify that he was really schizophrenic (and they did when he was incarcerated) but its pretty sad that the proof of someone's psychosis can be engineered by simply spying on them and then telling them that they are paranoid - how do I know he was being spied on? His stepmother warned me off and offered photos showing that I had also been under observation.

      Obviously someone putting tin foil all over their house is a fair indication that their mental state should be questioned. But malicious people can (and do) take advantage of the common perception that paranoia about being spied on is proof positive of schizophrenia for the own nefarious purposes. Never underestimate how mean spirited and avaricious some people are.
    • by Vince Mo'aluka ( 849715 ) on Tuesday May 24, 2005 @06:33AM (#12621760)
      A misdemeanor charge isn't what's needed, a visit from a social worker probably is.

      How about just leaving them the hell alone and minding your own god damn business? Am I the only one here who respects freedom more than arbitrary "social standards" imposed by some central planning agency?

  • by Darthmalt ( 775250 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @11:07PM (#12620014)
    only here could a story about tinfoil freaks turn into a serious discussion about how effective it is and how they can legally keep it up.
  • Aluminum Siding? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bill_mcgonigle ( 4333 ) * on Monday May 23, 2005 @11:07PM (#12620018) Homepage Journal
    Why not just re-do the house in aluminum siding? Then they can keep their crazy ideas and have a decent looking house.

    Put in some Low-E glass windows with a metal reflective layer and a metal roof and they should be good to go - until someone tunnels under their house, of course.
  • A better solution (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jd ( 1658 ) <{moc.oohay} {ta} {kapimi}> on Monday May 23, 2005 @11:10PM (#12620041) Homepage Journal
    Build a parabolic dish and steer it until the "radiation" is reflected away from the house. If it is real, it'll be focussed on the perp, who will either suffer horribly or be turned into a giant green monster. Either way, they'll stop being a problem.

    If, however, there is no radiation hazard, then nobody is affected and it's no more of an eyesore than all of the other satellite dishes out there.

    Now, there are known places where radio leakage from assorted sources has caused problems. There was a metal stadium in the Middle East - forget exactly where - where, whilst it was under construction, power tools would turn themselves on and huge arcs could be seen. Turned out that the stadium acted as a gigantic radio dish and was not only receiving signals from powerful radio sources, but was focussing them too.

    There have also been known cancer spikes in areas with (a) high humidity and (b) badly-maintained, sparking power lines. It is not yet proven that there is a causal relationship, but nobody has convincingly ruled it out, either.

    This particular case, though, smacks heavily of a family being traumatized by George Bush's "War on Terror" (Sept. 11th, in and of itself, was really a fairly negligable event - ten times that number die each year in car accidents in the US, and more than a thousand times that number are currently in prison in the US for violent crimes).

    Personally, I think the city should come to an agreement with the family. The family takes down the aluminum, agrees that the problem probably isn't real, but agrees to work with the city to sue the Federal Government for psychological damage to cover the expenses incurred and the treatment needed to deal with the PTSD the family has suffered with, because of GWB's attitudes.

  • by Deanasc ( 201050 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @11:11PM (#12620050) Homepage Journal
    Couldn't they have put up regular aluminum siding? The construction grade siding is fairly thick and complies with building codes. It's also paintable. The neighbors would never know it was there once it was on.

    Then again, I don't understand the reasoning of the average crank.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 23, 2005 @11:13PM (#12620066)
    I've never seen my house from that angle before...
  • NSA (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Detritus ( 11846 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @11:16PM (#12620094) Homepage
    Too bad the NSA's engineering manuals are classified. They specialize in that type of construction. Nothing gets out. Nothing gets in. It still looks like a normal building, although the windows look somewhat unusual.
  • by Senor_Programmer ( 876714 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @11:16PM (#12620099)
    D'Souza family. Obviously culturally acclimated as their house is not garishly painted behind the metal sheets (I saw some detailed photos on a live TeeVee newscast) is nutzo. The whol efriggin family.




    There is a single, LONE NUT, in their neighborhood who coupled the magnetron from his microwave oven to an antenna and is actually tossing photons at the D'Souzas.

    Seriously guys, which is more believable? It's California after all. Personally, you couldn't pay me enough to live in any city in that state.

  • what a crock (Score:5, Informative)

    by SuperBanana ( 662181 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @11:23PM (#12620151)
    The D'Souzas said the bombardment began after the first anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, and that the radio waves have caused them health problems ranging from headaches to lupus.

    As someone who has a family member with Lupus, I call absolute bullshit on this.

    Lupus causes haven't really been figured out. Furthermore, there's absolutely ZERO medical evidence that EMF/EMI causes or even aggravates Lupus. Trust me, I looked and looked after her doctor told her to "avoid cell phones and wireless devices whenever possible". I even emailed two mailing lists- one for researchers, one for patients- and came up with nothing. Nobody had ever heard of this. Furthermore, if their theory wer correct, we'd be seeing an explosion of Lupus cases (we haven't).

    The D'Souzas said they will comply with the order and remove the sheet metal, but they also plan to gather evidence to show city officials what they believe is a problem with radiation.

    That will be pretty tough, given there's next to no evidence EMF/EMI causes anything in people, and a lot of studies showing it has no discernible effects.

    The inside of the house is also covered with foil and the beds are covered with a foil-like material as well,"

    Sounds to me like they'd be a lot better served spending their money on a psychologist, not tin foil. Self-diagnosis ("radio waves are making us depressed, and giving us Lupus!") is a textbook sign of a hypochondriac.

    • by dbIII ( 701233 )

      there's next to no evidence EMF/EMI causes anything in people

      There's plenty, but the intensity has to be high. There were a large number of birth defects reported from pregnant women operating PVC welders in the 1970s (almost 100% in one plant, the pregnant women were given the "warm" machines to use in the winter, the bodies of the operators were heated up by induction), which is why more care is taken now to ensure that the sheilding is in good shape. EMF from a lot of sources obeys the least squares

  • by Quirk ( 36086 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @11:57PM (#12620367) Homepage Journal
    "The D'Souzas said the bombardment began after the first anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks"

    There's an interesting, if not well defined, link between trauma and psychosis. Delusions and paranoia seem to have a strong link to widely shared public "concerns". I recently talked with a psychiatrist about paraniod schizophrenics and mentioned that there seemed to be a recurring theme of religious delusion and persecution. He, in return, said that in the 50's, paranoid schizophrenics, frequently complained of persecution by communists. The bogey man of the day seems to morph readily into paranoid delusions.

    On a less humane note, it's scary these people are procreating, but just to help things along this site [] should validate their paranoia.

  • RIGHTS? (Score:3, Informative)

    by itzdandy ( 183397 ) <dandenson AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday May 24, 2005 @12:24AM (#12620504) Homepage
    rights? hahaha haha ha ha a a . . ...

    the only way property values should have bering and a persons rights is when DIRECT damage is being done. for instances:
    1)you are burning your house and you catch your neighbors house of fire! or less extreme, the odor/smoke is drifting onto their property.
    2)you have weeds, your weeds are spreading to your neighbors property.
    3)anything else not along these lines, go F'ING LUCK!!!!
  • Wow. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MasterSLATE ( 638125 ) on Tuesday May 24, 2005 @12:34AM (#12620547) Homepage Journal
    In other news, people from California are crazy.
  • by The Breeze ( 140484 ) on Tuesday May 24, 2005 @01:24AM (#12620758) Homepage
    This is SLASHDOT, for God's sake, and no one has pointed out the obvious:

    They just need to call up Scotty and get him to give them some transparent alumminum. That should stop the neighbors from complaining.

    Sheesh. News for nerds? How can you call yourself nerds if you miss such an obvious, pathetic pun?
  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Tuesday May 24, 2005 @01:54AM (#12620868) Homepage
    Some years ago, I started hearing music on my phone, even when no call was in progress.

    Of course, I just waited for station identification and found out which AM station I was getting. It turned out that the 50KW AM station nearby [] away had one of their three towers collapse in the 1989 California earthquake. Until they replaced it, their output pattern was distorted. I was in a really strong lobe.

    Adding a small bypass cap across the phone line helped the problem. But it took more filtering to completely cure it. I had to have the telco guys add some filtering on their side of the demark. And, years later, when I got DSL, that had to come out. Huge hassle. Three telco visits with test gear to get DSL working properly.

  • Private property (Score:5, Insightful)

    by stuce ( 81089 ) on Tuesday May 24, 2005 @02:48AM (#12621085)
    I'm sorry. They might be as crazy as SCO but private property is private property.

    If the neighbors or the city really has something to gain with their house looking good they should either offer to pay for more attractive tin foil or offer to buy their house from them. Forcing a private property owner to decorate their home a certain way at gunpoint is not part of a free society.
    • Re:Private property (Score:4, Informative)

      by poot_rootbeer ( 188613 ) on Tuesday May 24, 2005 @11:46AM (#12624005)
      Private property is private property.

      And municipal housing codes are municipal housing codes.

      When you buy a home, you're agreeing to abide by the rules in that location that pertain to home ownership. Some such rules are just common sense, like requiring a permit to dig around underground where the utility lines are. Some of them are excessively onerous, like Homeowners' Association bylaws. The rules in this case seem to fall somewhere in between.
  • by smchris ( 464899 ) on Tuesday May 24, 2005 @07:11AM (#12621868)
    On the other hand, try being the one _propagating_ the radio waves. Flight path restrictions exempted, amateur radio operators have a federal license to a 100 foot tower and 1000 watts output. Happy homeowners' meeting announcing that.

Can anyone remember when the times were not hard, and money not scarce?