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From: jwill@AstraGate.net (John Michael Williams)
Subject: Re: Any ideas on measuring radiation in the home ?
Date: 14 Oct 2002 18:45:43 -0700
References: <%_wk9.52964$1C2.email@example.com> <firstname.lastname@example.org>
NNTP-Posting-Date: 15 Oct 2002 01:45:43 GMT
John Woodgate wrote in message news:...
> I read in sci.electronics.design that John Michael Williams
> wrote (in <email@example.com
> ogle.com>) about 'Any ideas on measuring radiation in the home ?', on
> Sat, 12 Oct 2002:
> >Also, power lines are terminated at both ends and in general
> >radiate nothing (unlike an antenna, which is open at at least
> >one end). If power lines radiated their fields, they would
> >not carry power to the users.
> They don't radiate much, in general, because of the very long
> wavelengths of 50 and 60 Hz. Very long lines in Canada and Siberia DO
> radiate significantly.
All the power lines in the USA are in phase, so they should radiate
as much (or as little) as long transmission lines in Canada or Siberia.
We aren't pushing any current into the vacuum, so I think there would
be no real power radiated. Are you saying that an astronaut on the Moon
would pick up 50 or 60 Hz from Earth?
My guess is that you really mean
"insignificantly" when you say they radiate: Resistive losses
in the lines would be far greater than 60 Hz radiation. My guess is that
some design error, such as bad ground returns, would have to be present
to cause such an effect. I agree that a single wire (the hot side
of a 500 km long house outlet?) could radiate detectibly if very long.
Where did you get the information that those power lines were radiating?
How can they radiate if terminated by a transformer at both ends? The
transformer transforms every joule it gets, except a tiny resistive
fraction appearing as heat.
> >> The fields from power lines DON'T occur naturally. But people have been
> >> living near and under power lines for around 70 years in many countries.
> >Yes. I agree with this. Also, I think the argument from
> >"evolution" is flawed in other ways: For example, humans
> >HAVE evolved in the presence of bacteria. Yet, many common
> >bacteria become harmful or deadly anyway. There is no reason
> >to assume that having evolved in the presence of something has
> >any bearing on whether it might be harmful or not.
> Bacteria evolve, swap genes and develop drug-resistance. Surely you are
> not claiming similar properties for electromagnetic phenomena?
I don't follow this question: I just wrote that I doubted the
argument from evolution, and
now you seem to be asking whether I do? Am I misunderstanding you,
or are you not reading what I say?
To clarify, I don't think it makes any
difference whether we have "evolved in the presence" of 60 Hz power.
We have evolved in the presence of measles, and it still is a
disease. The argument is weak, because there is
no recorded data on what every ancestor was doing for the past few
million years. Nor is there even any rationality to the implication
that anyone somehow could "evolve" to endure, say, 120 VAC electric
If anything, we would have evolved to be fearful of touching
power lines, just as we are fearful of large, aggressive animals.
This seems more likely than allocating a lot of precious biology
to grow up to be like electric eels.
So, the argument contradicts itself: People fearful of touching
power lines are fearful without need of any evolution to cause it.
Depending on evolution to solve a problem is taking the easiest
and most nearly infinitely slow path to a solution.
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