Sunday, June 5, 2011

Job Losses Graph

I rather like the graph on showing the number of jobs lost or gained every month for the last few years.

It makes a few things pretty clear:

The trend has been one of improvement for over a year now' after a year of slowly winding down the job losses. We haven't really put a dent in all those job losses from 2008 and 2009 though. Until we do we really can't say that the economy is back on track.

Our situation really can't be blamed on Obama. The worst months of job losses happened at the end of the Bush administration, and the losses slowly tapered down right from the start of the Obama administration. It might be blamed on the Democrats in Congress, but even that seems a stretch since I don't remember them pushing anything big past Bush during those years. The big causes seem to have been the housing bubble, which happened entirely during the Bush administration and could reasonably be blamed on politicians since it was obvious and should have been stopped, and the inflated oil prices which could not have been stopped by any American politician.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Afraid of cell phones?

It is remarkable how any new technology no matter how benign gets a bad safety reputation. With new technology it seems we consider any risk whatsoever, particularly when it involves something invisible like chemicals or radiation, drives people to hysteria.

Cell phones are very safe. The radiation they emit has less energy per photon than visible light. It even has less energy per photon than infrared and visible light!Not only is it not strong enough to break chemical bonds, but it isn't even close. Any cancer risk would be the result of chemicals that rub off the phone and heating from the radiation and as anyone who has touched one can attest, they don't heat things up very much.

If you are worried about cell phones, you should be terrified about all the even higher energy radiation that is emitted by humans and animals. Light bulbs too should leave you hiding under your tin foil hat. In fact maybe hiding in a dark room away from all light and heat sources might be your best bet. You can never be too safe.

There have been a few epidemiology studies which suggest a tiny increase in your risk of getting a couple on rare cancers. This is to be expected. Epidemiology studies are full of false positives and therefore really only of much use in finding huge effects.

So I am driven nuts by articles that have been coming out with sensationalist titles that really just have scientists saying the ever present line about how there might possibly be some risk, give us more money and we can study it.

Here is an at least somewhat reasonable article on the subject.