Print Story A Day in the Life
Fade Away and Radiate

Germans have some weird ideas about health and they quickly latch onto the latest scare. They insist that a motorcyclist simply must wear a wide belt around his waist to protect his kidneys from getting cold. Apparently cold kidneys are the cause of myriad Bad Things. They throw their money away on cell phone "emission shields" because, well, everyone knows that the phones use microwaves and you heat things with microwaves and cooking your brain is definitely a Bad Thing.

Tony sits across from me. Three meters across the no-man's land of the intermediate desks which separate our own desktops, and stacked with cables, cords, books, plants and general rubbish. He really wants me to trade in my CRT which can do 1600x1200 for another LCD which can only do 1280x1024. Why?

"Your monitor is making a lot of electrical waves for me and that's very unhealthy."

x-posted to the blog, sans poll.

I haven't been writing for a week because of a lot of other projects I'm involved in. I thought I'd be able to write because as the lead in our Roll-out Preparation team, I'm supposed to install the new builds of our Next Big Release. This is usually a Good Thing because installing (and not having to take tickets) means lots of free time to play AoE and scribble.

Unfortunately I haven't actually been playing AoE or writing while sitting on my ass waiting for the installer to do its thing because, well, it hasn't been doing its thing unless "Crash and Burn" is, in fact, its thing. I've had to re-install Windows Server 2003, rebuild images in VMWare, and find more space somewhere to give VMWare room on the disk space to let me have another virtual drive. I've taken hundreds of screenshots and directory listings and saved a dozen Registry corruptions to documented each one.

Work's been a whole different kind of miserable, compounded by the fact that the Panopticon was designed to look and function like a greenhouse yet lacks air conditioning. At 30°C my production drops faster than an Italian soccer player and my temper gets shorter than a very, very short thing.

The only comfort I have is a severe reduction in the number of tickets I need to take and a cheap-ass fan which makes far too much noise for its size. And my IBM P96 with its killer screen resolution.

Back to Germans and the whole point of the rant: Krauts telling you to take zinc or magnesium tables to cure everything short of amputation ("You heff acute renal failure? Have you tried taking two magnesium tablets in ze mornings?") is is only one indication. The national skill at make-shit-up-ology is nothing short of wondrous. They "don't get enough oxygen" and must open the windows when it's -26° out. If warm weather quickly arrives they get something called Fön and miss a few days of work. The cure for Fön seems to be enjoying that which made you "ill" and relaxing in the biergarden.

Germans also buy into the idea of Big Bad EMF -- electrical energy is killing me! It affects everyone and everything! You can measure it so it must be true! It causes me headaches and maybe I'll get cancer! Right, Chicken Little.

Tony's a nice enough guy. Why the hell is he bugging me about my monitor when the guy next to him has two CRTs, both of which are closer to him than is mine? He went on about unhealthy electrical fields and I finally got him to stop by showing him that I needed the screen real estate but that as soon as he can convince Procurement to approve of a big-ass 50" NEC PlasmaSync monitor because not even an NEC 20GWX2 has 1600x1200. My six-year-old CRT can get to 2048x1536 but that's a bit hard to read on only 19".

I'm continually amazed that science ever managed a toehold in this country, because it's not just the people who read the tabloids. Educated people believe this crap too, even when it's crap about their own fields of study.

To try and placate Tony I went digging on the Web and found some explanatory stuff about the actual amount of radiation emitted and how the strength falls off as an inverse proportion of the square of the distance from the source. By the time the 100 or so micro-Tesla (µT) reach him more than three meters away, the current density has fallen from around 10 µA/cm2 to less than 1pA/cm2.

"But I'm still getting ze electromagnetic radiation," Tony complains, but he's stopped mid-whinge by a phone call. It's his cell phone. Tony spent the next 20 minutes yakking away on it.


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A Day in the Life | 7 comments (7 topical, 0 hidden)
I have a big surprise for tony. by garlic (4.00 / 3) #1 Tue Jul 11, 2006 at 05:33:36 AM EST
I call it "the sun".

Can you go dual head? by lm (2.00 / 0) #2 Tue Jul 11, 2006 at 06:00:19 AM EST
I'm stuck with 1280 X 1024, but since I've got dual 19" LCDs each of which has that resolution, I don't mind at all.

Kindness is an act of rebellion.
Wrap his head in tin-foil by Rogerborg (4.00 / 4) #3 Tue Jul 11, 2006 at 06:03:53 AM EST
And I don't just mean the top of it.  No air holes.

Metus amatores matrum compescit, non clementia.
Make some new resolutions by anonimouse (2.00 / 0) #4 Tue Jul 11, 2006 at 06:04:46 AM EST
There are plenty of options without having a big-ass monitor. Here is a few, not necessarily best or cheapest.

1440x900 at £219 also with TV at £279

1680x1050 at £299 also with TV at £340

1920x1220  at £820

2560x1600 enough for you? at £1500

For Euros multiply by 3/2

Girls come and go but a mortgage is for 25 years -- JtL
And see, I've got by greyrat (2.00 / 0) #5 Tue Jul 11, 2006 at 06:29:46 AM EST
to 21" 1200x1600 capable monitors... and dual video outs on my box. Mmmmmmm...

See, that's the problem with Democracy. by ObviousTroll (4.00 / 1) #6 Tue Jul 11, 2006 at 08:47:59 AM EST
People like Tony not only think they understand EMI, they think they understand the middle east, too.

Faith, and the possibility of weaponized kissing?
matches with the argument by MM (2.00 / 0) #7 Tue Jul 11, 2006 at 12:24:38 PM EST
that religious belief has nothing to do with the ability to do technical jobs as the brain can believe mutually exclusive / conflicting ideas without issue. I once heard a girl say "I don't believe in science" - of course not living on an undeveloped island in the pacific, her actions automatically dictate otherwise.

A Day in the Life | 7 comments (7 topical, 0 hidden)