Radiation (was: <Silly>: Help with question about web page

From: Rob O'Donnell <classiccmp.org_at_irrelevant.fsnet.co.uk>
Date: Thu Aug 19 04:01:01 2004

At 05:06 19/08/2004, Tony Duell wrote:

>I would like to know if there's any statistically significant correlation
>between health problems and being a radio amateur. The point being that
>health problems from people who work with electrical/electronic devices
>could be due to stress or various other causes, but presumably amateurs,
>who do it for fun, wouldn't suffer from stress when they're messing about
>with electronics.

Well, from my time in the early 80's, when my sister was a big CB user and
I was sat there on my BBC Micro... there were times when I could hear her
voice coming out of my floppy drive if it was spinning at the same time she
was transmitting. That was certainly a cause of stress (plus being
slightly on topic!) Luckily I never seemed to get a read error :-)

> >
> > Ah, but the problem there is, that requires a public able and willing
> > to accept a decent scientific education. It's extraordinarily
> > difficult to teach people who aren't the least bit interested in
> > learning what you're trying to teach.
>Indeed. This is one reason I have no intention of becoming a
>schoolteacher. I cna think of nothing worse than trying to teach stuff I
>know to be incorrect (and a lot of stuff in the UK school syllabus is
>certainly incorrect!) to people who don't want to learn it. A total waste
>of time for everyone involved!.

There is an interesting discussion of this phenomena (teaching incorrect
information) in the book "the science of discworld" where it is rather
bluntly entitled "Lies to children". thefreedictionary.com sums this up
quite nicely:

"A lie-to-children is an expression that describes a form of simplification
of material. The universe, so far as we can observe, is extremely
complicated. The first time one explains something to a person (especially
a child), one might give an explanation that is simple, concise, or simply
"wrong" ? but in a way that attempts to make the truth more understandable.
(Sometimes, an explanation can accompany it, such as "This isn't
technically true, but it's easier to understand.")

Later on, one can admit that the first explanation was a lie, and replace
it with the truth, or a more sophisticated lie-to-children, which is nearer
to the truth. You can continue this process all through a persons' education."

Examples given also include the answer to the question "what makes a
rainbow?" - schools go to great lengths to distract kids with prisms and so
forth to show all the colours in light as it shines through something, when
none of it has anything to do with why a rainbow is bent into an arc, why
the sun is behind you when you see the colours in front of you, why you
sometimes see two rainbows, etc...

An excellent read; I'd definitely recommend it.

>However, I am also worried that the general public don't want to learn
>about scientific subjects.

Most people don't want to learn about anything, unless it has boobs or
kicks footballs... :-S
Received on Thu Aug 19 2004 - 04:01:01 BST

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