Danish School Experiment with WiFi Routers and Garden Cress, Good Example of Bad Science


The story of five Danish school girls who won a prize with their school experiment that allegedly shows that the electromagnetic radiation of WiFi routers has a negative effect on the germination of garden cress, has been reported by numerous sites on the Internet. Just check the number of Google hits while searching for “wifi cress”. The girls placed twelve plates with cress seeds on cotton in front of a window, watered those regularly an watched the seeds germinate. Between six of the plates WiFi routers were placed. After 13 days the cress was cut and dried and the germinated seeds were counted. A big difference was found. From the seeds which were held under radiation far less had germinated. Evidence for negative effects of WiFi? Nope.
Nice for the girls that they won this prize, but not so great that it’s promoted as a good example of science. It’s not the girls fault, but their study is an excellent example of how pseudo- or bad science can enter the classroom.

It was first published on a Danish website (Google translation) and then picked up by Geek.com and ABC News for instance. Not very critical these reports. Norwegian science journalist Gunnar Tjomlid had a good look at the study design and the report. He found a lot of things which are questionable. I suggest you read his excellent blog yourself (Google translated if you don’t read Norwegian). I will just mention the most important things from it:

  • The WiFi and control group were not just different because of the presence of the routers. On the pictures in the report it can be seen that also the laptops in the WiFi group were placed quite near to the plates. It’s very likely that this had an effect on airflow and temperature around the plates and that could have an effect on germination, which has nothing to do with the presence of EM-fields. Not properly controlled.
  • It was obvious what the WiFi group was and what control group. Not blinded.
  • From communication with the science teacher of the girls Tjomlid learned that their had been two experiments. The first one had the routers only sending out the SSID. A second experiment in which the laptops had been ‘pinging’ each other constantly did not show the dramatic difference in germination. Only the first experiment was used in the report (not completely clear, because the teacher gave contradicting information on this). Publication bias: not reporting negative results.
  • This graph is a far better presentation of what they found, but not as nice to show as the photographs of the cress
    This graph is a far better presentation of what they found, but not as ‘sexy’ as the photographs of the cress

    The reports on blogs illustrated the difference in germination by photographs of plates with cress, one showing a full grown, not radiated, ‘healty’ one and a plate which almost doesn’t show any sprouted seed at all, a radiated, ‘sick’ plate. If you look at the actual reported results, they do not look that shocking: on average the control group had 332 sprouted seeds versus 252 in the WiFi group. Misleading representation of the result in the press.

  • (not mentioned by Tjomlid). The plates in a group were not separated in space, so we cannot regard the results of individual plates as independent observations. In fact, you could argue this is an N=2 experiment. Faulty statistical analysis.
  • The girls stopped the experiment on day 13. Not because that was a predefined moment, but because on that day the control group had reached the maximum height. The problem is that due to a difference in temperature of just a few degrees, it can already take a couple of days for the cress to grow to the same height. If there was indeed a difference in temperature due to the placement of the laptops, it would be likely that the WiFi group could have germinated and grown similar to the control group if it was allowed to grow on for a couple of days. They were just looking for the result they had in their mind beforehand. Biased towards a particular result.
  • So how did these young girls get biased so badly? Well, they were only fed by literature which points to studies which have shown negative effects stemming from researcher who are discredited by main stream scientists. And for a possible (dangerous) working mechanism of EM-fields,  they fully rely on a single report written by Thomas Grønborg, who at his tum relies on Olle Johansson (see further). Cherry picking.
Researchers from the UK, The Netherlands and Sweden have shown great interest in the biology experiments of the five girls.
From the Danish site: “Researchers from the UK, The Netherlands and Sweden have shown great interest in the biology experiments of the five girls.”

Who are the scientists who are so enthusiastic about this poor study? The article on the Danish website mentions Olle Johansson, who received the ‘Misleader of the Year‘ Award from the Swedish skeptics in 2004. He is well known for having unsubstantiated ideas of negative health effects of radiation. He is cited in the Danish article as having plans to replicate the girls’ experiment in cooperation with senior researcher Marie-Claire Cammaerts from the Université libre de Bruxelles. We shouldn’t expect anything good from this replication, because as I’ve shown in a blog some while ago, Cammaerts probably cannot be trusted with this kind of experiments (see: Ants Performing Statistical Miracle under GSM Phone Radiation?). [Update 4-1-2016: Cammaerts and Johansson published a replication, in which they managed to make even more mistakes]
Tjomlid also mentions Andrew Goldsworthy, another well known fear monger, and Dutchman Niek van ‘t Wout, who is head of  green space of a Dutch city and the instigator of research into the possible deteriorating effect of WiFi on trees (so he is not a scientist himself). After a not so convincing first experiment, Wageningen University started a follow up, of which we never heard again.

It’s quite clear that based on this experiment, you can’t draw any conclusion on the non-thermic effects of WiFi routers on germination. It’s a pity that the girls had this obviously biased teacher as a supervisor and that their work is now being used by pseudo-scientists as ‘evidence’ that EM-fields are very dangerous, while there is consensus that if there is a risk at all, it’s very low. The faults made can’t be blamed on the girls and let’s hope that this experience doesn’t affect their interest in research. It could even be a very good learning experience,  if they are willing to have look at what went wrong, because it has so many aspects of bad science.

Don’t forget to read Gunnar Tjomlid’s blog, it entails far more interesting stuff  than my summary: http://tjomlid.com/2013/05/19/om-karse-wifi-straling-og-en-snurt-naturfagslaerer/

Update 26-12-2013: Thomas Guiot made a French translation on his website

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148 thoughts to “Danish School Experiment with WiFi Routers and Garden Cress, Good Example of Bad Science”

  1. similar tests should be run with watercress at least 10m away from the router. and with the strongest routers and/or any strong EMF sources you can source. since most schools have small cell arrays or signal booster antennas on them, the entire test may be at risk, or a better test might be to locate one set of plants in identical moisture/light/heat environment near the antennas/booster/small cell system and strongest router, and one on the opposite end of campus. maybe add a small palm in the mix too. just saying.

  2. I would like to add that everything in this world is made for the natural radiation we receive from nature the sun and all that. We have added more kinds of radiation on top of that so in my opinion it is pretty clear that those small seeds can get affected because they get to much radiation then what is natural for them. We are much larger. Grown plants are much larger so I guess it wont be weird if only on long term affects are visible. Also I wonder. Less people smoke these days but more cancer is popping up. Now is dat the air we break is filthier then in the past or is it all added radiation by humanity?

    Also there is some weapon called a neutron bomb. It kills with high radiation which is deady for all life but leaves structures intact. Just my 2 cents

    1. Cancer is for the greatest part a disease of old age. That cancer rates are on the rise has more to do with the fact that humans are getting older nowadays and the improved detection.

      A neutron bomb causes neutron radiation which is quite different than Wi-Fi. I suggest you do some reading on the subject in Wikipedia, that’s free, even less than 2 cents.

  3. It is perfectly ok to be critical about a study like this, but it seems to me there is also a bias amongst critics as to what kinds of studies they are critical about, and what studies they leave untouched. People that try to find out whether radiation, or other aspects of modern industrial technologies and systems, have a negative effect on people, are in my experience, immediately branded as frauds, and I do not see why. However, positive claims made about new technological innovations are just as often completely unfounded but I never hear the science-watch-dogs say anything about that. It is always the so-called ‘alternative’ minded that are tracked. This is because science and technology have mutual interests. Sometimes I miss *that* kind of critical reflection in the science community. More concretely to the point: Many scientific experiments in early stages of a research trajectory are flawed. That is not fraud, it just means that we have to do more research in order to cancel out all other possible explanations. But to have a big, radical hypothesis is no sin, just so long as you are willing to drop it if it is no longer attainable, and allow others to try and disprove you. When the first studies on mirror-neurons appeared, there were immediately big stories on how those brain areas are close to the language system and how these neurons might hold the key to the mystery of what makes man’s intelligence differ from the other animals, and so on. After a while, these high expectations got tempered. And it will take decades of more research to untangle exactly what these neurons do. So, the response, normally, to a claim about wifi interference with plant growth, would not be to become angry or dismissive about the study, or even to call it pseudo-science or charlatanism, what one would normally do would be to just point out possible confounding factors – without bringing any emotional tone or rhetoric into the discussion – and then suggest the needed control studies to check whether the results hold up to scrutiny. And no you don’t have to do those studies yourself but the point of that commenter I guess was the same: why become angry and dismissive if you can just point to the studies that would rationally disprove the claims made. So in this case replicating the findings is the sensible thing to try, then, if the results cannot be replicated, find out what caused the initial results instead. Was it just a badly performed experiment with flaws in the method? Or is there a confounding factor that correlates with the presence of a wifi router such as temperature or air-flow, or dehydration caused by temperature differences, and so on. As another commenter noted: this is mostly bad journalism (and that would be the conclusion even if without regarding the fact that we are talking about teenage girls here).

    1. Just some remarks to the points you raise:

      It is perfectly ok to be critical about a study like this, but it seems to me there is also a bias amongst critics as to what kinds of studies they are critical about, and what studies they leave untouched.

      Of course there is a strong bias! But it is driven by common scientific knowledge. In this case, because there hasn’t been presented any plausible mechanism (except for heating) in which way these wavelengths can cause harm, it is extremely unlikely that such a simple experiment would show otherwise. Add to that the ‘prominent’ (pseudo)scientists that promote this story and the fact that it went viral, this is a very good reason for me as a skeptic writer to have a in depth look at what it is all about.
      If you want to suggest that are a lot of studies that do ‘promote’ the mainstream scientific opinion on this matter that are equally flawed, just mention them, maybe they are interesting enough to have a critical look at.

      Many scientific experiments in early stages of a research trajectory are flawed. That is not fraud, it just means that we have to do more research in order to cancel out all other possible explanations. But to have a big, radical hypothesis is no sin, just so long as you are willing to drop it if it is no longer attainable, and allow others to try and disprove you.

      Fair enough, but if you want to bring this forward as a defence for this experiment, you’ll have to explain why you think that research into effects of electromagnetic fields of this type is still in ‘early stages of a research’. That would mean ignoring a vast amount of previous research by professional scientists, both theoretical and experimental.

      what one would normally do would be to just point out possible confounding factors – without bringing any emotional tone or rhetoric into the discussion – and then suggest the needed control studies to check whether the results hold up to scrutiny.

      Well, I hope I made it clear in the article that I don’t blame the girls for the poor experiment, but the promotion of it by the alleged experts, who have a very poor track record. And I hope you do not suggest that any ‘remarkable’ result from a experiment by school kids should be replicated in a more scientifically controlled way.

      As another commenter noted: this is mostly bad journalism (and that would be the conclusion even if without regarding the fact that we are talking about teenage girls here).

      I can agree to that, but it is not a reason not to point to why the experiment fails to be a proper scientific experiment.

    2. Great points. Enjoyed this comment thoroughly. Non native EMF a large contributing risk factor to miscarriages

      1. Non native EMF a large contributing risk factor to miscarriages

        Can you back this claim up with solid scientific studies?

  4. the funny thing is that ok people criticize those experiment indeed! but most studies and research in the Scientific world are done the same! so badly that they are taking the micky!
    doesn’t matter to know it’s real or not!
    you make your own choices, you use your phone or wifi or not! and if others do and you don’t like it, move somewhere else!

    1. You are correct that we can avoid WiFi EM radiation by switching personally owned routers and mobile phones off, but what about the effect from local public WiFi repeaters, cellular phone masts, TV masts and high voltage electricity pylons? If our body’s cells can be effected by EM radiation then many people would already be I’ll from its effects. There isn’t any evidence of mass EM sickness unless it is being wrongly diagnosed as something else. I did hear that the bee population has been decimated by the effects of this EM radiation on it’s navigation ability which has resulted in many bees getting lost after leaving the hive. This has been reported from many bee keepers and would be very serious for pollination if true. It seems plausible to me due to their reliance on magnetism for direction.

  5. Guys, could you all respectfully, shut the **** up and do the experiment yourself? Then see what led to the mistakes they made, if there is any truth in what they found and post it here so we can also have an idea of what’s going on?

    Because currently all i see is a bunch of guys talking about what have not been done correctly, when they themselves have not done it….


      1. I know of an area where, at night, at about 8 there’s an immense pressure on a person’s ears, and i’m not certain whether it’s the towers. Though, before the cell towers, there wasn’t that immense pressure on th ears. So how does cell towers and wi-fi affect people?

        1. So, some celltower gets placed and every negative experience is immediatly it’s fault?
          Maybe look for all possible sources of the pressure and then investigate each of them to find the true cause.
          I’m not saying WIFI is healthy, but there has never been a proper research saying it is not.
          As this is projected as science, about a important subject, we can definetly say that the danish school experiment was not done properly and it’s results therefor are useless to form a well based opinion, they are fine for school projects as they put time and thought in it, but not real science.
          We’re not talking down to the people who did the experiment, we’re not calling them names or saying they aren’t smart, instead we’re saying their experiment cannot prove in any way the actual dangers of wifi radiation.
          All that said, if they are doing this kind of experiment I would love to see them do a extended one in a few years after a bit more experience and thought on how to do it, if they could be the ones to scientifically prove that wifi radiation is dangerous or in any way harmful they will literally change the world.

        2. Actually they won’t change the world, look what happened to Nikola Tesla, look what happened to the electric car. lol. You see, there’s too many vested interests in that field, so resources to investigate will never go there.

        3. I think the underdog just needs to take a step back and look at the big picture before continuing to root for the underdog. What this article is describing is proper scientific procedure and how it wasn’t followed in this experiment. You can drop all the names you want but I’ll prefer to listen to facts based on experiments that stand up to peer review.

        1. Please comment in English on this site so everybody can understand the obnoxious statements you make.

    1. It happens to be that me and my fellow students are doing the same experiment, to prove the girls were wrong.
      We have just started this experience, and until now, we have absolutely no results, other than thermal problems. The girls didn’t water the plants at the same time, didn’t have the same room temperature and maybe not even the same lighting.
      And you, who tells others to try it themselves, have you tried it, instead of defending something you’re probably wrong about?

      I thought not, too.

      Secondly, shouldn’t you be polite to strangers?

      1. what are your classes test results in proving original ‘wifi cress’ experiment a fail. i think similar tests should be run with watercress at least 10m away from the router. and with the strongest routers or EMF sources you can find. while you’re at it, put a small palm in the mix. it takes a class size spread to do this.

  6. >>”It was obvious what the WiFi group was and what control group. Not blinded.
    The girls stopped the experiment on day 13. Not because that was a predefined moment, but because on that day the control group had reached the maximum height. ”

    These are not necessarily fatal flaws, as a lot of research gets done this way. Experiments that have a quantitative (as opposed to qualitative) output do not absolutely have to be blinded to trust the results. Likewise, a lot of clinical trials end at ad-hoc points when they see a specific practical outcome and are not necessarily considered invalid.

    The central issue here is just the poor quality of the control (wireless routers do a lot of other things to their surrounding environment than just emit wifi signals).

    Interestingly, the titles of the news articles have often been scientifically correct (“Shows plants die when placed next to wifi routers”), it’s just that the title doesn’t mean what they think it means.

    1. It’s quite amusing the new attention for this story. As far as I could figure out it was the horrible site Naturalnews.com which warmed it up last Friday. For some reason Drudge Report thought it wise to tweet the link, and then some news sites picked it up, sometimes even without realising they had covered it in May. So yesterday it was on the Daily Mail and today on The Telegraph, but they retracted the story this afternoon. Strangely enought this doesn’t stop people retweeting the original tweet by which The Telegraph promoted the story.


      Reading a headline without clicking the link and reading the article, is enough for a lot of people it seems 😉

    2. Ha ha, it might be my rbutr contribution! I’m also the translator of this article on Sceptom.
      Nice to see that rbutr does its job 🙂

  7. But so many of us really want to BELIEVE THE LIE that fits so well with our pre-conceived notions of truth and reality. Facts just get in the way of my freedom to believe whatever I wish. That’s why I watch Faux News.

  8. This whole story seems to be based off of the idea that we don’t have any data on the affects of “wifi radiation” on biology because it is so new. This couldn’t be further from the truth: RF radiation has been studied in detail since the invention of the radio. Besides unless you’re sitting right on top of your router the signal is weaker 10 feet away than a local 30k watt FM radio station.

    This study also completely ignores resonant frequencies. This probably wasn’t the case; but it’s possible that radiation that could be deadly to tiny crest sprouts would have no/little affect on larger life forms.

    People have plants growing next to routers all the time. Move your plant next to your router and providing it still has sunlight it shouldn’t show any change. If you forget to water it you might even get on the news.

  9. You got one thing quite wrong. You state in bullet #3 that the second experiment showed no effect. That is false. The second experiment, that included ping-flood traffic, showed a more profound effect on the cress compared to SSID/beacon transmission alone. Seems, rather, like the girls found a dose-response effect.

    Perhaps you should be more careful with checking your sources. Also, you should refrain from resorting to ad-hominem attacks. Especially on scientists who have published biology papers in Nature (I’ll leave it as an exercise to figure out who).

    1. We actually don’t know for sure on which batch the report was based and which one had the heavy traffic. The teachers’ statements on this are not consistent with the report, as I wrote in the blog. So I might be exaggerating a bit on this particular issue. To assume that they found a dose-response effect (of non-thermic influences), is further from the truth, I think. But without proper documented results this is hard to discuss.

      As for the alledged ad-hominem attack, I presume you point to Olle Johansson. He did publish in Nature, but was it about non-thermic effects of EM-fields? Don’t see anything that looks like that when searching on Nature’s website: http://www.nature.com/search/executeSearch?sp-q=%22olle+johansson%22&sp-p=all&pag-start=1&sp-c=25&sp-m=0&sp-s=&siteCode=default but maybe I miss something here. In general publications in prestigious journals or even winning Nobel prizes don’t guarantee that any further research by the same scientists is good.

  10. A learning experience, yes, because they were just NINTH GRADERS trying to win a science project. Obviously, they still have much schooling to continue. Efforts were rewarded though and it did inspire institutes to conduct further research, which should have been the context of the initial article, if at all. This has less to do with “bad science” and more to do with BAD JOURNALISM. This should not have been delivered as “proof findings” or even written about at all beyond the school or local newspaper, and if so, in an entirely different context. Blast the writer, maybe even the teacher/school, but not the adolescent, still-learning-about-life students.

    1. No. Good journalism reports on facts. He’s not shaming the students, he’s identifying some really important questions that readers should ask when considering reports of their (the students’) research. These are exactly the kinds of questions that lay readers not familiar with experiment design forget to ask. The two girls’ science experiment is currently being promoted on Facebook (again or still) and I assume a lot of people reading it aren’t going to ask the kinds of questions or identify the kinds of mistakes that Mr. van Erp does here. Good journalism alerts people to these kinds of issues and helps the students and other readers consider such studies more carefully.

      As for inspiring more institutes to conduct more research: more research of this type is an unnecessary waste of funding, time, and resources. We know a lot about the effects of electromagnetic radiation (e.g. sunlight, radio waves, microwaves, X-rays, etc. etc.) and its affect on biology. We can basically expect to find that a WiFi router will have no effect on sprouting seeds. That’s not to say that they shouldn’t do the experiment: lots of kids make baking soda volcanoes for science fairs. But their teacher should have a basic understanding of pedagogy and the scientific method to lead them to a better experimental design. You can’t really discover anything about the world if you have a faulty way of investigating.

    2. Well it does say he doesn’t blame the students…

      “It’s not the girls fault, but their study is an excellent example of how pseudo- or bad science can enter the classroom.”

  11. Ga jij anders even lekker een jaartje in Tsjernobyl wonen en beweer dan nog eens dat straling geen kwaad kan…

      1. magnetronstraling is ook niet ioniserend… maar daar steek je je hoofd liever ook niet in…

        1. Nee, omdat een magnetron met zo’n groot vermogen zendt, dat je teveel zou opwarmen. Het gaat in die discussie of straling van Wi-Fi, GSM en DECT gevaarlijk is om de niet-thermische effecten. Het vermogen van die zenders is zo laag, dat het thermische effect heel laag is, hoewel je bij langdurig bellen met een draadloze telefoon aan je hoofd wel een opwarming kunt meten. Daarom wordt wel aangeraden om met een ‘oortje’ te telefoneren.

        2. Precies… dus elke nacht slapen met je dect, telefoon en of ipad naast je hoofd is ook niet bepaald bevorderlijk voor je gezondheid… tenzij je deze op de vliegtuigmodus zet… vaak is “te” niet goed… maar kunnen we tegenwoordig nog ontkomen aan “te veel” straling?

        3. het is nog wel een flinke stap van het meten van een lichte opwarming door langdurig bellen naar negatieve gezondheidseffecten. Wat denk je, zou er ook niet een temperatuursverschil zijn tussen de kant van je hoofd waarmee je op je kussen ligt en de andere zijde die gekoeld wordt door de lucht?

        4. Volgens mij worden moleculen op een onnatuurlijke manier aan het bibberen gebracht in magnetrons of bij straling afkomstig van Wi-Fi, GSM en DECT. Deze manier van opwarmen lijkt me vrij agressief, of het nu in lichte of sterke mate plaatsvind. Even blijven opletten: opwarming door wrijving (bloedsomloop) is iets anders dan opwarming door brute straling.

        5. Zullen we de zon als onnatuurlijk brute opwarmer dan ook maar in de ban doen? Opwarmingsprincipe is hetzelfde hoor, fotonen die botsen met moleculen.

        6. Ehhh… straling van een WIFI botst niet, maar penetreert overal dwars doorheen. Fotonen kaatsen op een oppervlak en thats it… leuk geprobeerd.. .

        7. Punt is dat jij je standpunt probeert te verdedigen. Je wijkt van het onderwerp af door het ineens te hebben over fotonen. Zullen we het ook over de golflengtes van licht hebben? Wellicht dat de blauwe kleur schadelijker is voor onze ogen, dan de rode.

        8. Bannen hoeft nu ook weer niet, naar mijn mening… Zijn opvattingen zijn dan misschien niet onderbouwd, dat wil niet zeggen dat hij ze niet mag uiten. Opnieuw: naar mijn mening.

        9. > Punt is dat jij je standpunt probeert te verdedigen.
          Dat lijkt mij uitstekend.

        10. Het opwarmingsprincipe niet hetzelfde. Een magnetron kan alleen maar dingen opwarmen die polaire moleculen bevatten die vrij kunnen bewegen (EM-materialen even daargelaten) en heeft niets te maken met “fotonen die botsen met moleculen”…al wat niet hieraan voldoet blijft koud.

          Zonlicht doet toch iets anders. Toch is het wel het overwegen waard om een deel van het zonnespectrum in de ban te doen wegens carcinoom bevorderende werking 😉

        11. ja je hebt gelijk, maar ging mij meer om het ‘onnatuurlijke’ en ‘brute’. Ik zie het verschil niet zo in onnatuurlijkheid tussen een brute fotonbotsing en bruut schudden door magnetron.

        12. Ja, daar kan ik zeker inkomen…”onnatuurlijk” zegt me ook niet zoveel en de zon is inderdaad best wel “bruut” 🙂 . Aan de andere kant is magnetronstraling ook best wel tricky omdat je gemakkelijk en ongemerkt uiterst lokaal zeer hoge temperaturen kan genereren als de omstandigheden wat tegen zitten….beetje zoals een zon + vergrootglas maar dan een centimeter of twee dieper.

        13. Beste Pepijn, ga je er werkelijk vanuit dat biologische effecten van niet-ioniserende straling enkel te wijten zijn aan opwarming?
          De ICNIRP norm : Een SAR waarde van 4W/Kg tijdens een blootstelling van 6min zorgt voor een temperatuursverhoging van minder dan 1°C bij gezonde volwassenen. Wel te weten is dat die vaststellingen zijn gebeurd op SAM artificiële watermodellen die een schedel voorstellen met de schedeldikte van de gemiddelde Amerikaanse soldaat.
          Je kunt je best wel de vraag stellen of deze zogezegde veiligheidsnorm getest op poppen wel geëxtrapoleerd kan worden op de LEVENDE volwassene, jongeren en kinderen.
          Het ICNIRP gaat er dus vanuit dat biologische effecten enkel te wijten zijn aan de thermische effecten van microgolfstraling. Het SCENIHR die dit principe steunt is samengesteld uit dezelfde leden als deze van het ICNIRP (ref Eric van Rongen, secretaris van de Nederlandse Gezondheidsraad, ICNIRP en SCENIHR.
          Op voorhand ontken jij de athermische biologische effecten veroorzaakt door niet-ioniserende straling.
          Nooit gehoord van Ribbeldijen (Lipoatrophia semicircularis) veroorzaakt door hoge elektromagnetische velden, epileptische insulten door gepulst licht (stroboscoop), VitD aanmaak door UVB ?
          Tja, en dan verwijzen naar skepsis.nl…….dan weet ik genoeg.

        14. Ik heb nergens zo stellig uitgesloten dat er niet-thermische effecten van niet-ioniserende straling kunnen zijn. Er zijn zover mij bekend alleen geen overtuigende onderzoeken die die laten zien. En die ‘ribbeldijen’ ken ik, maar ook daarvan is het allerminst duidelijk dat het met elektromagnetische straling van doen zou hebben. Het drukken van de bovenbenen tegen de rand aan de onderkant van het bureaus lijkt me meer voor de hand liggen.
          En ultravioletlicht ligt in het spectrum toch echt een behoorlijk eind van de straling waar we het hier over hebben: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-ionizing_radiation#Near_ultraviolet_radiation

        15. Dat het nog niet volledig duidelijk is dat elektromagnetische velden DE oorzaak zijn van ribbeldijen klopt.
          Uw stellingsname dat ribbeldijen veroorzaakt worden door druk en meer voor de hand ligt is onjuist en wordt hierbij ontkracht:

          “The medical literature describes lipoatrophia semicircularis as a rare, idiopathic condition, that consists clinically of a semicircular zone of atrophy of the subcutaneous fatty tissue located mostly on the front of the thighs. The disorder is mainly afflicting office workers. Since 1995, we have diagnosed more than 900 cases in our company. Also in other companies (national and international) lipoatrophia semicircularis is diagnosed.
          Several hypothesis were proposed, but no one could explain the symptoms. Although the exact cause is still unknown, we believe that electromagnetic fields play an important role in this phenomenon.
          Several authors go no further than microtraumata caused by either repetitive pressure against one object or another or by tight clothing. However, this reason is too simple to explain the problem we have experienced since 1995. Firstly, if local pressure is the cause of lipoatrophia, it is amazing that we have had to wait until now to see this pathology. Secondly, local pressure can cause a local impression, but this will always disappear minutes or hours after exposure and has no relation to atrophia of the fatty tissue.” VITO Belgie.

          En wat met de ELF bv de achtergrondstraling of de Schumann frequentie 7,83Hz (overdag 10hz ‘snachts 5Hz) en die verantwoordelijk is het circadiaanse dag en nacht ritme bij planten en dieren (incluis de mens)? Een studie aan het Max Planck instituut (jaren ’60) toonde aan dat in afwezigheid van de schumann resonantie het dag en nachtritme en het algemeen welzijn van de proefpersonen zwaar verstoort werd.
          Wat met het recente (2011) ontdekking dat planten en dieren over cryptochromen beschikken noodzakelijk voor de oriëntatie (kompasfunctie bij trekvogels) en het dag en nachtritme bij planten. De grote hoeveelheden magnetiet verantwoordelijk voor het vliegen op magnetische velden (bijen)
          Tenslotte trillen onze alpha hersengolven ook met dezelfde frequentie 7,83Hz. Toevallig?
          Neen het toont aan dat alle levende wezens, ontstaan in de soep van natuurlijke straling, er aan aangepast zijn, het gebruiken en er zich tegen kunnen beschermen wat niet gezegd kan worden bij de recente explosieve blootstelling aan kunstmatige onnatuurlijke gepulste microgolfstraling (10miljoen maal hoger dan de achtergrondstraling). Geen wonder dat cellen blootstelling aan deze onnatuurlijke straling beschouwen als vreemde indringer en onder celstress komen: ze hebben er geen evolutief gevormde afweer tegen.

        16. Ik ga er graag een andere keer op in, maar niet nu en het is hier ook veel te ver van het onderwerp af. Start maar een draadje op het Skepp-forum ofzo.

        17. Oke, ik respecteer dit en het geeft je de tijd om je wat meer te verdiepen in de neurofysiologie, de celbiologische processen en het immuunsysteem. (Ik moet mij professioneel in die materie ook steeds bijscholen). Ik hoef ook geen draadje te starten op het Skepp-forum hoor… wij debateren samen in opiniestukken, radio en tv programma’s.Wij kennen elkaar dus 😉

        18. Een geblinddoekte epilepticus krijgt geen insult. UVB is gevaarlijk bij een hoog energieniveau omdat er eiwitten vernietigd worden (steriliseerapparatuur,lasogen). Het zijn bekende aantoonbare verschijnselen.

    1. Kaarslicht is ook straling. Hellendvlakredenering. Bekijk even Drogreden op Wikipedia.

    2. Richard, er is straling en straling. Licht van je gloeilamp is straling (elektromagnetische). Waar je naar verwijst in Tsjernobyl is ook straling, maar dan radioactieve.
      Wil je volgens die redenering beweren dat alle gloeilampen moeten afgeschaft worden?

  12. So, the results were poor and the conclusions questionable. All for the reasons stated. We’re practicing science :-). We point out why it was wrong and we cannot reproduce the results using the same methodology. I’m glowing with happiness here. This is how it should be done.

    The important part is that the students themselves get to see this and learn from the experience. That, dear friends, is how science is done.

    1. We take an improperly conducted experiment, hype it up in the media, suppress unwanted information. That, dear friends, is how marketing is done.

  13. hahaha! natuurlijk zijn er kanttekeningen: het zijn brugklassers! Hoe kun je die vergelijken met afgestudeerde wetenschappers. vraag me overigens ook af of dubbelblind onderzoeken hier nodig is. Ik ken dat voornamelijk in de context van patientenonderzoek om het placebo effect bij de onderzochten tegen te gaan en je er van te verzekeren dat de behandelaars geen ongelijke behandeling geven. In dit geval kregen alle plantjes evenveel water en licht, en ik denk niet dat de plantjes met deze voorkennis een andere kant op groeien. Het moet inderdaad verder onderzocht worden, maar dit wetenschappelijke krachtsvertoon is niet echt nodig bij een leuk idee uitgevoerd door een stel brugklassers mijn inziens..

    1. In de Engelse commentaren op dit bericht is al een paar keer het belang van blind onderzoeken naar voren gekomen. Dubbelblind is natuurlijk overdreven, maar de onderzoekers kunnen zeker (ongemerkt) ongewenste invloed uitoefenen die uitpakt als een verschil in behandeling per groep. Net zoals de artsen in patiëntenonderzoek niet moeten weten of ze een placebo of echt medicijn geven, moet je er in dit soort proeven ook voor waken dat een bepaalde voorkeur een rol kan spelen.
      Maar als je er uitgebreider over wilt discussiëren in het Nederlands dan liever op kloptdatwel.nl, omdat ik deze site in principe begrijpelijk wil houden voor bezoekers die de Engelse taal niet machtig zijn. http://kloptdatwel.nl/2013/05/28/experiment-met-tuinkers-en-wi-fi-wel-prijs-maar-niet-zo-best-onderzoek/

  14. Wat een zeikerd, deze schrijver, maar wel goed dat iemand een kanttekening maakt. Iemand moet het doen. Het opmerkelijke van deze proef is het resultaat. De proef zal niet juist uitgevoerd zijn en moet zeker representatief worden. Er staat ook niet dat de proef dat is. Het is alleen zo leuk dat in deze tijd van Alfa’s, 5 beta-meisjes van die leeftijd zo’n onderzoekje doen. Dat is wel een prijs waard. En nu pakken de echte wetenschappers het op en wie weet wat daar uitkomt. Natuurlijk is het amateuristisch, het zijn brugklassers, zeikerd.

    1. Mooi taalgebruik, mijnheer Seton. Maar u doet precies waarvoor u anderen uitscheldt.

    2. En waarom is het een prijs waard? Om het idee? Of de uitvoering? Of het resultaat? Dat is juist het nare hieraan. Die meisjes is niets kwalijk te nemen, dat staat ook nergens trouwens.

    3. Eenzijdige berichtgeving vanuit de hoek van de skeptici. Skepp leden waaronder Geerdt Magiels, Maarten Boudry, Luc Bonneux,… schrijven regelmatig voor de kwaliteitskrant “De Standaard” waarin ze vrijelijk de Skeptische doctrine kunnen beoefenen. Iedere onafhankelijke wetenschapper die waarschuwt voor de gevolgen van gsm/wifi straling, de klimaatsopwarming of GGO’s en dit in peer reviewd onderzoek aantoont wordt steevast tot de ‘Usual Suspects” , paniekzaaiers, charletans en pseudowetenschappers gebombardeerd. Zo wordt prof.Olle Johansson van het Karolinska instituut beschouwd als een misdadiger die de mensen ziek maakt door zijn paniekzaaierij. Over zijn onderzoeksresultaten wordt er niet gesproken, wel over de persoon.
      De verwijzing naar de ” onbetrouwbare” onderzoeksresultaten van dr.Cammaerts (ULB) op mieren steunt op dezelfde Skepp doctrine. In een artikel verschenen in de krant “De Morgen” beweert prof Luc Verschaeve dat bij navraag aan een technicus niet kan uitgesloten worden dat de mieren sterven door de ventilatie en opwarming. Blijkbaar vergeet hij erbij te schrijven dat Luc Verschaeve in het bewuste artikel erkent dat hij de studie niet had gelezen en dat hij niet gezegd heeft dat de mieren misschien wel door de straling zouden gedood worden ! Tenslotte is Luc Verschaeve lid van het ICNIRP en is mede auteur van het ICNIRP Statement van 2009 en schreef in opdracht van het departement Leefmilieu een kritisch rapport waarin alle studies die a-thermische effecten van RF straling aantonen bewust worden genegeerd, geminimaliseerd of in de prullenmand worden gegooid.

        1. Heb de link opgezocht. Je linkt het onderzoek van Cammaerts meteen met het commerciële gedoe van Van der Vleuten.In België hebben wij het ook mogen ervaren met de Coucke Chip, een stukje metaal die gsm-straling zou tegenhouden !? Onzin natuurlijk. Tja, het is niet omdat een commerciële boy naar een onderzoek verwijst dat er daarom iets mis is met de onderzoeksresultaten.
          Maar opmerkelijk en tevens herkenbaar skeptisch gevoed is jouw mening over organisaties, werkgroepen en erkende NGO’s die je allemaal onder dezelfde noemer “stralingsangstaanjagers” plaatst. Vergeet niet dat er ook wetenschappelijke werkgroepen bestaan die rechtstreekse contacten onderhouden met de onderzoekers en experts in het domein en enkel onderzoeksresultaten publiceren die nagecheckt zijn door eigen wetenschappers.
          Tenslotte leest niet iedereen de wetenschappelijke vakliteratuur en net dankzij de website’s van deze organisaties worden de onderzoeksresultaten ook voor het publiek beschikbaar. Informeren betekent niet “angstaanjagen”.
          In hun rapport ” Late lessons from early warnings:the precautionary principle 1896–2000″ beschrijft het Europees Milieu Agentschap op hoe wij de waarschuwingen voor de schadelijke blootstelling aan producten jarenlang hebben genegeerd, ontkend en geminimaliseerd met het late ingrijpen tot gevolg. Van de 88 waarschuwingen bleken er 84 terecht.
          Het asbest, tabak en ddt verhaal kennen wij. Dit geldt nu ook voor de stand van het huidige onderzoek inzake de klimaatsopwarming, ggo’s en stralingsproblematiek. Er is momenteel voldoende bewijs voorhanden om het voorzichtigheidsprincipe toe te passen en men kan niet blijven ontkennen dat er “niets aan de hand is”.
          Het onderzoek van de Deense meisjes is lovenswaardig en moet zeker gerepliceerd worden in gecontroleerde experimentele omgeving. Het onderzoek is temeer lovenswaardig omdat het onderzoeksmateriaal overal verkrijgbaar is en snel groeit.
          Een wetenschappelijk sterk en correct onderzoek is gedaan aan de Universite catholique de Louvain:
          Ik verwijs hier ook naar de studie van Dirk Adang “An Epidemiological Study on Low-level 21-month Microwave Exposure of Rats” UNIVERSITE CATHOLIQUE DE LOUVAIN, LABORATOIRE D’HYPERFREQUENCES LABORATOIRE DE BIOLOGIE ANIMALE Louvain-la-Neuve. De onderzoeksresultaten van deze studie werden door Verschaeve afgedaan als ” waarschijnlijk te wijten aan thermische effecten”.

        2. Tja, het is niet omdat een commerciële boy naar een onderzoek verwijst dat er daarom iets mis is met de onderzoeksresultaten.

          Pardon? Ik heb een uitgebreide analyse gemaakt van het artikel van Cammaerts en dan zou ik het alleen verwerpen vanwege die commerciële link? het is echt andersom, hoor.

          Kijk, dat er in het verleden allerlei effecten van schadelijke stoffen onderschat zijn en soms moedwillig onder het tapijt zijn geveegd, betekent natuurlijk nog niet dat dat met deze niet-ioniserende straling ook het geval zou zijn. Belangrijk verschil: er is nog niemand die een zinnig verhaal heeft gegeven hoe die niet-ioniserende straling een schadelijk effect kan hebben, anders dan via opwarming.

        3. Lees dan het BioInitiative rapport http://www.bioinitiative.org een analyse van meer dan 2000 studies aangevuld met een update van 1800 gereviewde recente studies ( 2007-2012). Het oorzakelijk verband tussen gepulste microgolfstraling en celstress, DNA breuken en gentoxiciteit staat daar zeer goed in uitgelegd.
          Zowel de onrechtstreekse invloed door vrijstelling aan reactive oxigen species (Friedmann) , de productie van Heatshock Proteïnen (Hsp) alsook de rechtstreekse invloed op de DNA streng ( die ageert als fractale antenne) wordt hierin verklaard.
          Tenslotte maakt het lichaam ook vitD aan onder invloed van UVB.

        4. Het hele topic hier gaat over magnetische velden, dat is niet een ander verhaal. Het verschil of “ander verhaal” zit hem in de toegepaste frequentie: 8.34 en 217 Hz voor het celonderzoek en 2,45GHz voor WiFi. Maar beiden zijn niet-ioniserende, wisselende magnetische velden….of straling, indien je dit woord verkiest.

        5. Nee zeker niet, RF-straling is wel degelijk een hoogfrequent magnetisch veld. Wat denk jij dan dat het is ?

        6. Dik gelijk Thom. Elektromagnetische velden bestaan uit een elektrisch en magnetisch veld. Hoe lager de frequentie hoe langer de golflengte en hoe hoger het magnetisch veld. Hoogfrequente straling behoort tot de radiofrequente straling ingedeeld in de radiogolven (MHz) en de microgolven(GHz) en zij behoren samen met Extreem Lage frequente straling tot de niet-ioniserende straling. ELF en RF worden geklasseerd als ‘potentieel’ kankerverwekkend in de IARC lijst 2B waartoe ook het bekende arylonitriel, ddt, lood, uitlaatgassen van auto’s, aldehyden enzovoort behoren. Een recente review leert echter dat heel wat wetenschappers RF straling als ‘waarschijnlijk’ kankerverwekkend willen klasseren, dus nog een klasse hoger.(Davis et al., 2013).

        7. Bij de link waarna je verwijst gaat het als ik het goed begrijp om vaste magneten die met een bepaalde frequentie draaien (50 Hz) dat heeft niet zoveel te maken met de frequentie van elektromagnetische straling, de lichtsnelheid gedeeld door de golflengte. Natuurlijk plant elektromagnetisch straling zich voort via het elektrische en magnetisch veld maar is echt een ander verhaal. Ik stel voor niet hier op de details in te gaan, het gaat wel erg ver van het onderwerp af en andere sites over wetenschap zijn er meer geschikt voor.

        8. Je haspelt hier nogal wat dingen door elkaar. Wat betreft (elektro)magnetisme heb je het bij het verkeerde eind, je kennis schiet tekort op dit gebied. Maar je hebt wel gelijk dat het verstandig is om dit t.b.v. het blog te laten rusten mits je je van verdere uitspraken op dit gebied onthoudt. De rest is aan de lezer.

        9. Uiteraard staat je dat vrij, het zou echter wat slordig staan om mij te sidetracken en zelf door te gaan. Wat moet de lezer wel niet denken ? 😉 Wat betreft ‘ELF electric and magnetic fields’ van IARC, dat is een heel ander soort onderzoek: Vrij oppervlakkig en statistisch i.p.v. technisch inhoudelijk (hetgeen ook logisch is gezien de totaal andere onderzoeksvraag). Oftewel, het verschil tussen “geeft het kanker?” en “Hoe werkt het nou precies ?”.
          -EDIT-; Het IARC onderzoek was WEL grondig

        10. Ik ken dat fenomeen van sidetracken en zelf doorgaan. Zonder bescheiden te zijn ( ik moet me nu wel “outen” ) werk ik samen met prof Stefaan Vangool dienst pediatrische oncologie, hersentumoren en labo experimentele immunologie Gasthuisberg KUL Leuven, prof Victor Moshalckov dept INPAC Fysica,nanotechnologie en astronomie KUL, prof Guy Vandenbosch dept Elektrotechniek ESAT-Telemic KUL en prof Nicolaas Vanlarebeke dept Cancer research UGent en treed regelmatig op als erkende stakeholder in de debatten inzake ELF en RF bij de Vlaamse Overheid. Ik beschik dus over voldoende kennis en expertise om mij in dit debat te mengen. Wat Thom Kouwenhoven hierboven aanhaalt is correct. Door gebrek aan kennis haspelt Pepijn van Erp alles door elkaar. Zijn argumenten zijn gebaseerd op samenraapsels van onderzoeken en veronderstellingen, vooral gehaald vanuit de hoek van skeptische websites.
          Dat iemand zoals Pepijn niet alles onder de knie heeft wil ik nog begrijpen, maar dat een kwalitieitskrant zoals De Standaard in haar artikel verwijst naar zijn blog “als enige waarheid” om het experiment publiekelijk af te schieten dan schiet ik uit mijn kraam.
          Pepijn, je kan nu eenmaal geen grootmeester zijn in alle domeinen van de wetenschap, luister daarom naar de argumenten van de mensen in het veld en probeer ze niet te overtuigen van je eigen grote gelijk. Dat lukt misschien bij leken ,maar deskundigen doorzien dit snel.

        11. Ik zie nog niet wat ik door elkaar haal. De ELF elektrische en magnetische velden hebben niet direct te maken met elektromagnetische straling waar het hier om draait. Is geen straling in de zin van het elektromagnetisch spectrum of radioactieve deeltjes.
          U gaat maar lekker elders aan name-droppping doen. Doeg!

        12. Hmmm….een ondergrens aan het elektromagnetisch spectrum is voor mijn vakgebied een compleet nieuw begrip. Welke ondergrens (in Hz) heb je bedacht voor het elektromagnetisch spectrum ? (radioactieve straling ga ik niet op in, dat lijkt me te ver off-topic )

        13. 0, natuurlijk, maar het gaat om wat er trilt. Je kan van alles en nog wat met een frequentie hebben, maar dat betekent nog niet dat het elektromagnetische straling is. Als ik met mijn zaklamp 10 keer per seconde knipper, is het uitgestraalde licht nog geen 10 Hz.

        14. Dat klopt, dan spreken we van een “draaggolf” (of, in dit geval, “draagruis”) van ergens in het nabij infrarood tot ongeveer 400nm…de 10 Hz is slechts modulatie van deze “draaggolf”. Deze modulatie levert theoretisch wel zijbanden op maar uiteraard geheel verwaarloosbaar in het frequentiedomein. Maar dit even terzijde.
          Het is geen enkel probleem om een werkende zender en ontvanger te maken die met een zuivere (ongemoduleerde) 10 Hz elektromagnetische draaggolf werken. (even afgezien van het feit dat het qua bouw en qua toepassing e.d. een uiterst onpraktisch ding zou zijn)

      1. Wat moet ik verstaan onder de Skeptische doctrine? Heeft u het dan over de nadruk op bewijsmateriaal en rigoureus onderzoek? Of verwart u de consistentie van de resultaten daarvan (dat er geen aangetoond en merkbaar negatief effect bestaat van wifi-straling, bijvoorbeeld) met een voorkeur voor die resultaten?

        1. Skepp is de afkorting van Sociëteit voor Kritische Evaluatie van Pseudowetenschap en het Paranormale, een vereniging die zich “strijders van de wetenschap noemt (sic. Luc Bonneux). Ze houden zich vast aan bepaalde paradigma’s waaronder “niet-ioniserende straling kan geen DNA-breuken veroorzaken”. Dat cellen reageren op onatuurlijke straling, waardoor onrechtstreeks DNA breuken kunnen ontstaan ( wetenschappelijk aangetoond) wordt door hen niet aanvaard omdat dit ingaat tegen het paradigma.
          De actievoerders tegen het ggo aardappelveld in Wetteren (Belgie) worden door de SKEPPleden omschreven als groene fundi’s, complotdenkers en paniekzaaiers.
          In hun opiniestukken spelen steeds op de man met verwijzing naar grote comité’s of internationale organisaties. Vrijwel nooit wordt gerefereerd naar de onderzoeksresultaten zelf.

        2. Wat is onnatuurlijke straling? Dat van uranium in onze aardkorst?

        3. In mijn ervaring houdt SKEPP enkel vast aan paradigma’s die leven in de wetenschappelijke consensus. Daar lijkt me niets verkeerd mee. Als die consensus momenteel zegt dat niet-ioniserende straling geen DNA-breuken kan veroorzaken, waarom zou je dan het tegendeel geloven?

        4. Beste Jelle. Als de wetenschappelijke consensus zegt dat niet-ioniserende straling rechtstreeks geen DNA-breuken kan veroorzaken dan ga ik daarmee akkoord.
          Blootstelling aan onnatuurlijke gepulste microgolfstraling zorgt echter ONRECHTSTREEKS voor DNA-breuken. Diverse onderzoeken te vinden op http://www.bioinitiative.org tonen aan dat gepulste microgolfstraling celstress veroorzaakt met vorming van heatschock proteïnen (hsp). Net dezelfde reactie als wanneer cellen blootgesteld worden aan een vreemde indringer, een virus (humaan papilomavirus), tabak, teer,alcohol, cadmium of warmte. Permanente blootstelling en permanente celstress zorgen ervoor dat de cellen zich op termijn niet kunnen blijven verdedigen waardoor de vrije radicalen uiteindelijk de cel en celkern zullen vernietigen of er ontstaan ERK cytokine cascades die verantwoordelijk zijn voor een versnelde celproliferatie. (Friedmann. all)
          Het is niet omdat het paradigma luidt dat niet ioniserende straling niet rechtstreeks breuken in het DNA kan veroorzaken dat de andere wetenschappelijk vastgestelde mechanismen van DNA breuken genegeerd moeten worden. Net daar slaat SKEPP de bal mis omwille van haar fanatiek geloof in haar eigen gelijk.

  15. I’d like to note that most websites mention ‘400 seeds placed in 12 trays’, though the pictures show trays with clearly more than the aprox. 30 seeds per tray you would end up with.

    what gives? poor reporting? pictures of different experiment?

  16. A real scientist or any curious person would redo the experiment under better controlled conditions ,just to prooved them wrong. You got paid by whom extactly for this counterreport Gunnar ? It reminds me a lot of the scientists at the Tobacco group ,that were able to proove that it was actually sain to smoke cigarettes.

    1. Even if he were paid, would that invalidate his arguments? A proper scientist would see that it is very difficult to control this kind of experiment. And given that any effect will be most likely very small, it will be hard to detect with a lot of other variables causing ‘noise’.

    2. I can assure you that I’m not paid by anyone to write specific blog posts in my blog. I do this in my spare time out of a passion for scientific inquiry and critical thinking.

      It would be nice if you addressed my arguments instead of launching an ad hominem attack on me.

      The Norwegian national radio (NRK) announced in a program about science called Ekko that they would now try to repeat the experiment under better controlled conditions. I have also seen other people trying to repeat the experiment themselves at home. It’ll be interesting to see what results they get.

    3. While it is not impossible that any given blogger is paid by a big corporation, I find your argument invalid. For real scientists or real curious people (allow me to add ‘real sceptics’ to that list), it is just as useful to point out flaws in other researches as it is to perform research themselves.

      This is the blogosphere’s version of peer review. It should be greatly appreciated, in my opinion.

  17. My honest congrats for informing us about this. My main concern though is not 5 Danish girls not doing their research correctly but thousands of extremely intelligent scientists who fail to provide us with answers, either because the scientific community is a hostage to private institutions who have other concerns (definitely not public health), or because they are self-centered and afraid to speak up.

      1. Is Wi-Fi safe? Are mobile phones safe to use? Or is it too dangerous to ask these questions?

  18. Good thing is that now there will be more professional researches on this subject, cause this girls did cause a stir! Y’all know how it must be done properly, so stop talking and start researching 🙂

    1. Probably not. These kinds of experminets have been done multiple times before, with negative results. This isn’t anything new. The only scientists who have shown an interest are what I would call “pesudoscientists” who’s only agenda is to show that mobile/wifi radiation is dangerous using badly designed trials.

      1. “Pseudoscientists” are the only ones researching this cause the “real scientists” probably working for a private company that is only concerned of profit. Maybe? Just saying.

        1. Non sense, there has been multiple real research projects done on the effect of EM-radiation to living organisms. They have found inconclusive evidence that EM-radiation on the level of cell phones and WiFi-routers can produce has any malicious health effect. There have been a couple of studies that speculate that there may be something like that but that is pretty much all.

  19. All I see here are complaints about the project.

    There ARE several things that actually DID went wrong with the project, however, it shows the good will to actually want to try to confirm that what that person has been said.

    It is only a good thing real scientists are willing it to do it again so it shows THAT it either is wrong or what they did after all IS right.

    You are still forgetting these people that done that are STILL going to school and are STILL learning. They are in the 9th class. Most schools here in Europe start counting the class numbers when a person is 6 years old. Means they should have been about 15.
    However I read another article about it which says they were in the first grade of secondary education, which means they should have been about 13 compared to the schools we have here.
    Anyways, whatever their age is, they are young enough to make this kind of mistakes.

    The error that is being made is that the people have been given it so much attention instead of thinking properly.
    However, that is how science always is.
    When they want to test if a medicine is dangerous they give animals an overdose of it for a longer amount of time.
    IF that causes any effect in the being, like cancer, you are not allowed to take it or bring it on the market.
    It makes sense because there are a couple of people that misuse pills like that.
    However, I believe such studies should be available to the public.

    1. If you’ve read the article and the ‘original’ version of Gunnar Tjomlid, I think you’ll see neither of us blames the girls for doing something wrong. Ok, as a simple school experiment it is fun and if you have a good look at went wrong, looking from a scientifical viewpoint, you can learn a lot from it.
      The problem is that it was communicated as a remarkable scientific result, which should be analyzed more deeply. The (pseudo)scientists involved and the websites have been spreading this as such, without any doubts of whether there was any reason why we should take this more seriously than what the WHO for instance tells us about the dangers of Wi-Fi.

  20. “It was obvious what the WiFi group was and what control group. Not blinded.”
    The idea to prefer a blinded test in this case is ridiculous. The seeds/plants themselves have no bias 😉

      1. Nope, that is a totally other issue: controlled conditions. Which I assume was not the case here. Information on that seems not to be available.

        1. Blinding is crucial to controlled conditions. Otherwise we just have to trust that the puils always followed protocol, measured everything correct etc. Take a look at the story of N-rays or Benvenistes homeopathy-research. Blinding was the missing part that made these scientists fail so miserably, even thought “rays” and celles don’t have any bias themselves. But the researchers do. Those who do the counting and set up the experiment. They need to be blinded.

          In one of the images from the experiment there is water on the window cill. Probably not very relevant to the outcome, but still it shows us that the pupils spilled water when watering the plants. What if they were more careful not to spill with the un-radiated plants compared to the radiated plants? Blinding would have eliminated that researcher-bias.

        2. True… if everything is done by hand, the conditions are not controlled. Only counting can be done objectively. Beneviste is a bad example, he frauded willfully. This test however can be done fully automated without any lab-assistent intervention in a atmostpheric controlled environment so any bias can be eliminated. I expected the watering be done with syringes with exact amounts of water…water on the window sill makes me think otherwise. Blinding could have changed the outcome slightly but it wouldn’t make it any more reliable in these cicumstances.

        3. Most of the comments of Pepijn v Erp are serious, but I agree to Thom Kouwenhoven that the one on blinding is nonsense here.

          That one has to trust the investigator/publisher is always the case, and cannot be avoided by blinding. The need for trust reduces upon repeating by indepent other groups.

          Blinding is a method to avoid suggestion (e.g. of feelings) by the investigator to the subject. It is definitely not used for research like this.

          For example: if you boil a couple of eggs for 5-7-9 minutes, and ask yourself: ‘does the eggwhite leave a visible trace on the knife when cutting?’, no blinding will be used by any scientist.

          If you ask ‘which egg tastes best’, blinding is indicated.

          BTW:Compliments for the girls, not so much for the person who tries to make world-shocking science from this single experiment.

        4. In some experiments you could do without blinding, but not in this case. I fully agree with Tjomlid on this, it’s quite possible that the girls treated the groups differently without being fully aware of that.

        5. OK, I see your point: you mean that the one looking after the plants / counting the plants should not be aware of the settings of the router. I agree that a situation in which the investigator has a personal interest in a certain outcome, or is likely to have such interest, one must take measures against it.

          Notwithstanding this, I think that in a case like this it is possible to do the research in a reliable way on your own ; you can plug in as much sensors as you want, and present the data all together. In common scientific practice, research like this will not be blinded.

          Maybe, in the near future (within a year or so) we will try to repeat an investigation like this on our school.

        6. I think this is naive. Maybe blinding would be less relevant if they had a pre-defined cutoff point, automatic watering, and precisely defined criteria for what would constitute a fully grown and non-deformed sprout. With none of these factors in place, subjectivity will affect the result when no blinding is in place.

          But even with all this in place, the counting of sprouts will be affected by the girls expectations. (“Is this sprout fully grown or not? It’s kinda in the grey area… oh well, I’ll count it as fully grown as this is the non-radiated group.”) I think blinding is essential to get a reliable result even in trials like this one.

        7. This seems like a bias on your part based on research history, imho.

          I think the reasonable argument though, would be that an inexperienced scientist will likely not produce quality results and any novel experiment should probably be repeated by someone who would be able to better cope with the more sophisticated methodology required by this type of study.

          Blinding is something that can be reasonable in circumstances where biases can’t reasonably be accounted for by methodology. Such as studies of people and medications, or where long term consistent adherence to strict methodologies is unfeasible.

  21. Very good review, I was just looking for a solid rejection of the crappy research. Top!

      1. More solid than the so called experiment. The experiment shows that doing non-research is rewarding. That bothers me.

        1. Not half as bothering as how rewarding “not-doing-research-at-all and only participate in a debunk fest” seems to be.

    1. If you really want to contribute and comment on other people’s research, it’s not complicated to reproduce, so ! It’s quite simple to criticize other people’s work, but doing a better job is really contributing to the subject.
      I think it’s a good start, but it should be reproduced in real science by unprejudiced scientists. I dare you all.

      1. I didn’t want to contribute. I didn’t want to comment on research. I wanted to thank Pepijn for his excellent concerns.

  22. I read Gunnar Tjomlid’s article…he is obviously a journalist but absolutely no scientist and it shows ! His arguments are quite shortsighted and he is parroting some commercially funded “research” that tested temperature raise in objects and not much more. Most of the quoted researches were not even led by scientists in biology or electronics… I have to confess that I studied electronics and my specialisation was HF-transmission and processing so I know a thing or two about HF side effects. For one, it is quite able to disrupt nerve tissue, something that has nothing to do with “boiling water”. This is the reason that old style telephony beam transmitters (2 to 15 GHz) are always shut off when people are at work within range of the “beam” of the antenna… It causes blindness within minutes. Every HF-engineer or HF-tech will tell you the same.

    You will NOT find any of this in those “scientific” reports…they only measured temperature and chance on cancer by cell disruption…with actually low (but some) significance and on cell-phones only (which operate around 1GHz instead of 2.45GHz and barely send anything when there is no call in progress).

    Also, consensus is not a replacement for science.
    Consensus learns that the radiation of a microwave oven is dangerous (2.45 Ghz) and that of WiFi is not dangerous (also around 2.45 GHz) for humans.

    Take your time to think about the possibility of other implications when applied in another field of science
    for instance: http://resource.wur.nl/wetenschap/detail/kippen_verdoven_met_magneten_voor_de_slacht/


      1. Well, if you believe that, you could always dry your favourite pet in the microwave oven without harm, could you ?

        1. Yes, at the appropriate power setting, you could do this safely. Have you even read the article? Because this researcher did precisely these experiments, even with humans.

        2. Yes I read it, and no, she did not use a microwave oven but a microwave chamber which is quite a different thing in respect to power/field-density. You also can’t put a microwave oven in a low enough setting. A magnetron (RF resonance cavity tube) is on or off, not “dimmable”. Lower setting means switching between on/off in intervals (in a very slow rate). 10 watt average output power for several minutes is enough to do irreversable damage to, for instance, the eyes. The average household microwave oven has an output power of up to 1000 watt.

          You have read the article so you know that the amount of received energy per mass-unit is crucial in the outcome.

  23. Please differentiate between a good high school science project and bad science on a professional level; the project of the five girls is a good example of a very nice high school project as part of a learning curve including all kind of mistakes. On a professional scientific level it is not good science; this doesn’t make it bad science. It is bad politics and very bad pedagogy from the side of those who are trying to use a high school project for a much bigger scientific-political debate.

    1. you could be right about the research of the girls… too much secondary information was missing to draw a conclusion. But I do applaud for
      the girls, i like their way of thinking. Everybody has to start somewhere 🙂

    2. I fully agree, and suspect the authors of these articles do as well. The blame belongs fully to the journalists blowing up a high school experiment to international news. And on the believers for seeing it as evidence for their (thus far unproven) claims that WiFi radiation is harmful to humans.

    1. Maybe useful to add is that for Wifi and GSM, frequencies in the non-ionizing spectrum were selected. And the power has been imposed to be soo low as a precaution that it is very very very very unlikely that it can harm or even influence not just humans, but also insects who operate also in completely different spectra for their hearing or seeing e.g., in short all living organisms. More:

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