Electro-Sensitive People And Lo Teks

People who describe themselves as "electro-sensitive" are trying to get Wi-Fi banned from public buildings in Santa Fe, according to reports by KOB New Mexico.

Arthur Firstenberg says he is highly sensitive to certain types of electric fields, including wireless Internet and cell phones.

"I get chest pain and it doesn't go away right away," he said.

Firstenberg and dozens of other electro-sensitive people in Santa Fe claim that putting up Wi-Fi in public places is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Take a look at this interesting interview between several people who claim that their health is adversely affected by electromagnetic fields and a skeptical expert.


(Video discussion of electro-sensitive people)

Robert Heinlein directly addressed this concern in one of his earliest stories. In Waldo, published in 1942, he describes a radiation garment worn by one of the characters. (One of the people in the video shown above also wears special clothing to protect herself from electromagnetic radiation.)

"James, you are a fair-to-middlin' radiation physicist-engineer. But you're no medical man. You can't expect to pour every sort of radiant energy through the human system year after year and not pay for it. It wasn't designed to stand it..."

"I've maintained for forty years that it was dangerous to expose living tissue to assorted radiation without being sure of the effect. From an evolutionary standpoint the human animal is habituated to and adapted to only the natural radiation of the sun, and he can't stand that any too well, even under a thick blanket of ionization..."
(Read more about Heinlein's radiation garment)

In the story, the source of radiation is radiant power, the wireless transmission of energy to provide power to operate machinery and appliances.

Readers may also recall the Lo Teks, a group of people with firmly anti-technology beliefs in the movie version of William Gibson's seminal 1981 story Johnny Mnemonic.

Via Group wants Wi-Fi banned from public buildings and a sympathetic informational site ElectroSensitivity UK; thanks to Moira for the link.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 6/10/2008)

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