Taking a look some local and national events recently, I’ve come to the conclusion that fear is a much better way to sell something than sex. Yes, sex sells, but if you really want to control Americans, fear seems to be better.
A nearby town is dealing with the idea of high voltage power lines. Central Texas one the highest growth rate areas in the entire US. Leander ISD, for example, has averaged construction of just under two new schools per year since 2000! More and more rural land is turning into suburban neighborhoods, strip malls, and parking lots.
These residents and business need electricity and high voltage lines are what is needed to get power to the people. You’ve seen them, those monstrously ugly tower of steel with a dozen wires. You know… these things.
Residents of the area are understandably upset. The regional authority wants to run them cheaply, right through a park and a neighborhood, and the residents tend to think that these things will cause cancer in their children.
It’s trivial to show that isn’t true. There’s tons of research on the topic. The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences has an excellent article on why these are not going to give people cancer. The research seems to indicate that there is relationship between distance to these power lines and childhood leukemia. But if you read these studies, you’ll see that they are talking about a less than 4% of the entire planet’s population and, of those, there be a maximum increase of a mere 2400 case per year (out of the 50,000 or so that are reported). That’s under maximum conditions.
And, all of these studies state two things. First. the numbers that they are talking about are within the statistical error. Second, there still isn’t any mechanism for a magnetic field to cause cancer.
I found one thing that’s actually very amusing. In the research for this article, I found that the therapeutic magnets sold by woo websites (also using fear to sell products) are supposed to be 700 Gauss (a measure of the strength of the magnetic field).
A New Zealand organization suggests that standing under a high voltage power line can result in 0.05 Gauss. The PDF is here. Forty meters from a high voltage line results in a field strength between 0.01 Gauss and 0.001 Gauss. So, standing under a high voltage power line results in 1/10,000th the strength of a magnet that many people wear on their wrists.
But the residents keep referring to this website by a company called Safespace. And it’s a pretty scary article.
Strong, artificial EMFs that radiate from power lines can scramble and interfere with your body’s natural EMF, affecting everything from your sleep cycles and stress levels to your immune response and DNA!
According to them, at two kilometers away, children living 2 kilometers away from these lines can have stunted growth.
But what isn’t in that article is any kind of reference to any research. But they will sell you a $45 pendant that has a circuit in it that will create a zone of protection 7-feet away from you.
For a mere $300, you can buy a plug in night light… I mean an “EMF Adapter” that will protect your whole house from electromagnetic fields.
First, if they can actually do this, then they need to be selling to the military. But if this device somehow stops electromagnetic fields and Wi-Fi
It even clears wireless devices (Wi-Fi) simply because the wireless router is plugged into the main circuit.
The implications of that are pretty staggering. Somehow, this plug in night light… excuse me “EMF Adapter” stops wi-fi signals, so forget about wireless internet and cell phone reception. And you can forget about radio and non-cable TV. It should even stop cordless phones and baby monitors. It also stops the magnetic fields generated by all the motors in your house (clothes washer, fridge, car alternator?), and hard disk drives in computers. Because all of those thing generate a field that this thing stops. In other words, it destroys modern technology just by plugging it in.
There was a TV show like this. Revolution. Stupid show.
But, no, what really happens is that this device glows when you plug it in and you just bought a $300 night light.
I love the “independent research lab that did the tests.
“The SafeSpace technology more than completely reversed the damaging effects of EMF radiation. on the DNA…the conductivity values were enhanced above normal…” Glen Rein, Ph.D., Director of Quantum Biology Research Labs
Here’s Dr. Glen Rein’s website. What we have here is a whole lot of quantum woo, with a little homeopathy, and a scare tactic for selling useless products. Just look at the title of a “paper” of his “STORAGE OF NON-HERTZIAN FREQUENCY INFORMATION IN WATER”. That makes no sense at all to anyone with a hint of science education. CSI mentioned him in 1998.
So what we have is someone who is promoting fear and using that to sell products. It seems to have taken hold in what is otherwise a bastion of critical thinking in Texas.
I ended up writing a lot more about that than I had planned, because I wanted to also talk about how someone who is either insane or just a really huge asshole has managed to get the GOP political nomination. By promoting fear. That’s how you really sell things.
Trump is taking advantage of the rise in authoritarians. Authoritarians are people who
when they feel threatened, look for strong leaders who promise to take whatever action necessary to protect them from outsiders and prevent the changes they fear.
But the leaders know this. And they use that fear to generate support. Anyone with a lick of sense knows that a giant wall between the US and Mexico will not be built. And Mexico sure isn’t going to pay for it.
But Trump supporters seem to like this idea. Because (paradoxically) immigrants are both taking all of our jobs and are lazy and getting all our government benefits.
Critical thinking skills are not the primary goal of authoritarians, or their leaders. Fear is. Selling that fear and making a profit from it.
They have sold that fear so well over the past few decades that people actively work against their own best interest. Elderly people routinely vote for politicians who try to reduce social security and social services that they depend on, for example.
Just tell someone that some agent is going to take away their right to believe as they want or take away their guns or let boys into the girls room. And people will support that person. Even though they don’t offer solutions. Even though they don’t care about that issue. It results in a vote and they’ll take it… all the way to the bank.
Fear sells and fear sells well.