[ RadSafe ] Conspiracy theory could be on right wavelength

Susan Gawarecki loc at icx.net
Mon Dec 12 16:17:04 CST 2005

I've seen a lot of material posted on RadSafe that would qualify for 
Goldacre's "Bad Science" column.


Conspiracy theory could be on right wavelength
Ben Goldacre
Saturday December 10, 2005
The Guardian

The reason that I am so fabulously wealthy (girls) is, of course, that I 
am paid by the government and the pharmaceutical industry to rubbish 
alternative therapies and MMR conspiracy theorists, and so maintain what 
you humanities graduates like to call "the hegemony".

After last week's excellent "magnetic wine improver" debunking I seem to 
be deluged with Bad Science projects being lined up for publication in 
academic journals. King among them all is On the Effectiveness of 
Aluminium Foil Helmets: An Empirical Study by Ali Rahimi et al, of the 
Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

You will all doubtless be familiar with the use of radio signals by the 
government to monitor your thoughts and control your behaviour. 
Aluminium helmets and hat-linings have been recommended in the 
conspiracy theory community for many years as a protective measure 
against this government interference. However, although theoretically 
plausible, until now the foil hat had, surprisingly, never been 
experimentally validated.

Rahimi et al have healed this gap using a network analyser and a 
directional antenna to calculate the ability of each of three aluminum 
helmet designs to reduce the strength of the radio signals entering the 
brains of a sample group of four individuals.

The receiver antenna was placed at various places on the cranium of each 
experimental subject: over the frontal, occipital and parietal lobes. 
Measurements were taken, once with the helmet off, and once with the 
helmet on. As per best practice, the foil helmets were constructed with 
the double layering technique described elsewhere in the literature. The 
network analyser then plotted the amount by which the signal was 
attenuated - or reduced - by the foil hats, across a wide range of 

Their results are more startling than anyone could possibly have 
predicted. Although the helmets did reduce the strength of the signal by 
around 10dB across most of the spectrum, there was an unexpected second 
finding: the helmets did in fact amplify signals, in certain very 
specific frequency ranges, by a huge 30dB at 2.6GHz, and by 20dB around 

What are those frequencies used for? I'll tell you. The 1.5GHz range 
coincides almost perfectly with frequencies allocated to the US 
government, between 1.2 Ghz and 1.4 Ghz. "According to the FCC," explain 
the authors, "these bands are supposedly reserved for 'radio location' 
(ie, GPS), and other communications with satellites."

And what about the other frequency that's amplified into your brain? 
"The 2.6 Ghz band coincides with mobile phone technology. Though not 
affiliated by government, these bands are at the hands of multinational 

To the authors of the paper, the meaning of all this is very clear. 
"Statistical evidence suggests the use of helmets may in fact enhance 
the government's invasive abilities," they conclude. "We speculate that 
the government may in fact have started the helmet craze for this reason."

To me, it's a lot simpler than that. This paper is itself a transparent 
attempt by the government to prevent us from taking simple and effective 
protective measures. Keep wearing the helmets. Unless, of course, what 
the alternative therapy conspiracy theorists say about me is true.

· Full references available at www.badscience.net
Please send your bad science to bad.science at guardian.co.uk

More information about the RadSafe mailing list