Apparently solar panels suck up all the sun’s energy and cause cancer

Written By: - Date published: 7:46 am, December 16th, 2015 - 59 comments
Categories: Environment, science, sustainability, the praiseworthy and the pitiful, us politics, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags:

Solar panel republican

No the date is not April 1. A town in America has citizens and elected representatives who think that solar panels may suck up all of the sun’s energy, may prevent plants from photosynthesising and may cause cancer.

From the Independent:

A US town has rejected a proposal for a solar farm following public concerns.

Members of the public in Woodland, North Carolina, expressed their fear and mistrust at the proposal to allow Strata Solar Company to build a solar farm off Highway 258.

During the Woodland Town Council meeting, one local man, Bobby Mann, said solar farms would suck up all the energy from the sun and businesses would not go to Woodland, the Roanoke-Chowan News Herald reported.

Jane Mann, a retired science teacher, said she was concerned the panels would prevent plants in the area from photosynthesizing, stopping them from growing.

Ms Mann said she had seen areas near solar panels where plants are brown and dead because they did not get enough sunlight.

She also questioned the high number of cancer deaths in the area, saying no one could tell her solar panels didn’t cause cancer.

I guess plants immediately behind solar panels would receive less sun.  But the claims are bizarre.  Yet after the debate the town’s elders voted three to one against the solar panel proposal and later voted for a moratorium on future solar farms.

There is a wind turbine equivalent.  Some people think they are a potential health risk.  Amongst them are former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott.  His party launched a parliamentary inquiry into windmills and even proposed a wind farm commissioner to handle complaints from those who thought that wind turbines posed an unnecessary risk.  And a Wyoming Institute of Technology study, financed by those enlightened centres of progressive thought Saudi Arabia and BP Corporation, profess to think that the world’s rate of spin is actually slowing down because of the proliferation of wind turbines.

I think they are all wrong, the rate of spin of the globe is increasing and this is caused by ever increasing number of conservative and corporate spin doctors.  And until persuaded otherwise I intend to maintain this view.

59 comments on “Apparently solar panels suck up all the sun’s energy and cause cancer ”

  1. Jenny Kirk 1

    I read that story too ! Unbelievable ! your pic above beautifully explains all thinking people’s reaction to such ignorant nonsense.

  2. weka 2

    I suspect the media reporting on this is somewhat apocryphal. We don’t for instance know why the council turned down the application.

    Agreed about the spin. Would the earth’s spin slowing down be such a bad thing? 😉

    • lprent 2.1

      The earth’s spin changes every time that we lose or gain ice in the polar regions through the conservation of angular momentum.

      Perhaps it is a good reason to ban the production of CO2. 😈

      • Murray Simmonds 2.1.1

        The way I heard it was couched in terms of the “drag” caused by the moon and/or tides and or whatever else. Anyway, whatever the causes, its argued that in the time of the dinosaurs the day-night cycle turned over much faster than it does now. They hardly got the chance to have a decent 40 winks at night. it was more like 39 or 38.

        http://www.physlink.com/Education/AskExperts/ae695.cfm

      • Bill 2.1.2

        Somewhere in a recent edition of ‘The Guardian’ – we lost one millionth of a second last year due to ice loss at the poles. (Something like that – might not have been one millionth)

  3. Naturesong 3

    Not sure I’d be pointing and laughing at other people.

    After all, here in NZ we voted John Key and his mob in 3 times. Twice after we knew what they were like.

    Just sayin’

    • AB 3.1

      Actually three times after we knew what they were like.
      Anybody who couldn’t tell what they were like even before the first time they were elected was either born the day before of permanently unconscious.

      • Colonial Viper 3.1.1

        Seriously, if the Left is so damn smart why does it keep losing and losing and losing.

        The Left is missing critical connections to ordinary Kiwis and is pretending it is not. That’s a losing strategy. And the fact it keeps trying the same things over and over again and expecting a different result? That’s not smart either, is it.

        • Hanswurst 3.1.1.1

          Seriously, if the Left is so damn smart why does it keep losing and losing and losing.

          The obvious answer would be because stupid arguments are more appealing, and the Left, far more than the right, consists of people who refuse to use stupid arguments. I’m not saying that that’s the case, but it does make a non-argument of your rhetorical question.

          The Left is missing critical connections to ordinary Kiwis and is pretending it is not. That’s a losing strategy. And the fact it keeps trying the same things over and over again and expecting a different result? That’s not smart either, is it.

          Are you suggesting that more intelligent alternative strategies on the Left keep losing out to the stupid ones you lament in the above quote? If so, I would refer you to the first part of your comment.

        • AB 3.1.1.2

          I take your point CV and I wasn’t meaning to sneer.
          But how is it that I had a pretty clear idea of what a Key government would be like and the sorts of things it would do, and who would get hurt, even before they were elected for the first time in 2008 – and masses of other people either couldn’t see that, or could and didn’t care?
          What connection to ordinary Kiwis am I missing that explains this and would make it different?

          • Colonial Viper 3.1.1.2.1

            For starters, you should talk to the very many well meaning intelligent Kiwis who are heavily involved with the community in various ways, who just happen to vote National, and ask them. Some of them would even prefer not to vote National but see no other credible alternatives for Government.

    • Richard McGrath 3.2

      Mmm.. a leftie gets away with sayin’ “Just sayin’.”

      I seem to remember receiving a heated reprimand from Lynn Prentice for doing the same thing a while back

      Just sayin’.

      [lprent: You’d need to point at it with a link before I could tell you what the difference (if any) is. But I can’t see anything wrong in NS’s comment. I think NS in her reply has probably nailed it though. ]

      • Naturesong 3.2.1

        I suspect you got rapped over the knuckles for asserting an opinion as fact without backing it up?

        The only fact that I have asserting is that this National govt has been voted in 3 times (and is therefore legitimate).

        I didn’t think I needed to back this up. It’s in the public record and as far as I know, no one is disputing it.

        The “just sayin'” and the paragraph preceding it are used as a reminder for readers to consider whether or not their own house may be made of glass.

        Fluoride posts on open parachute provide an example

        And, in my experience, it is rare for right wing commentators to call for humility or contemplative thought this or any other blog.

  4. tracey 4

    Rodney hide thinks weather and climate are the same thing. These folks make him seem like a genius.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/opinion/news/article.cfm?c_id=466&objectid=11181415

  5. Liam 5

    Out of curiosity, would you be willing to retract this article if it could be shown that the real reason the Council voted against the rezoning was due to objections by citizens about the effect the solar farm might have on property values in the residential area (and not because of the passing comment of one uninformed person)?

    • mac1 5.1

      “One uninformed person” was a former science teacher. Not only was she scientifically wrong but worse was the attitude behind it- “And I’ll not be told otherwise” – which goes against all scientific values.

      I had a teacher (of Latin) who famously said to the class when a smart lad pointed out that the text book differed from his pronouncement, “I don’t care what the book says, sonny, it’s what I say that counts.”

    • Bill 5.2

      That’s the advantage of opinion pieces with comments; the post can be wrong or just act as a springboard. Some of the most rewarding reading on ‘the standard’ has been when comments explore the topic of a post (as opposed to hoisting a flag on the black or white of a topic) and people learn shit.

    • McFlock 5.3

      Why would a solar farm lower property values? Smell? Noise? Loud parties?

  6. Rosie 6

    Yes. Draco posted this a couple of day ago and the only response can be a simple facial expression:

    http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/are-you-serious-face-seriously

    And in response to Naturesong’s point, I got the female image of this meme printed on to a t shirt after the 2011 election, flabbergasted as I was at sheer stupidity.

  7. Pasupial 7

    The source article is a bit more nuanced:

    The Woodland Town Council rejected a proposal to rezone a section of land north of town to M2 (manufacturing) from RA (residential/agricultural), essentially denying approval of a solar farm… Three other solar farms were previously accepted by the town council, with one now in the process of installing solar panels… Strata’s proposal would have competed encircling the Woodland substation…

    Jean Barnes said she represented many citizens who rejected any more solar farms coming to the Woodland area and presented a petition to the council…

    The town would not benefit, from a tax base standpoint, from the solar farms because they are not located within the town limits, but only in the extraterritorial sections.

    http://www.roanoke-chowannewsherald.com/2015/12/08/woodland-rejects-solar-farm/?utm_source=fark&utm_medium=website&utm_content=link

    While Mann’s comments are incredible from a former science teacher (and make a good story), they are not likely to have been that influential on the council’s decision.

    • Rosie 7.1

      Well, thanks for bringing some rationale to the issue Pasupial 🙂

      Even if the town wasn’t going to benefit financially it’s a shame they couldn’t think of the bigger picture in regard the use of environmentally sound energy production. It’s selfish that they only thought of the benefits to them.

      Jane Mann though, good for a laugh but incredibly worrying for a retired science teacher. What crazy ideas have a generation of her students grown up with I wonder.

      • Pasupial 7.1.1

        Rosie

        I was actually thinking along the lines of NZJ [comment 11 below] that she must have been a retired “Creation Science” teacher. But the articles didn’t have any further specifics. The only way that I can think that a solar farm could increase cancer risk was; if there were carcinogenic materials used in it’s construction that were improperly handled (fumes from melting plastic insulation maybe?).

        Really, I think she was concerned with the loss of vegetation around the substation (maybe she is a botanist and there is some endangered species in the area?) and tried to gin up her argument with a bit of scare tacics. It’s a good thing no one would ever stoop to such methods in this country! [sarc]

        • Rosie 7.1.1.1

          That was something I was wondering about, the creationism approach, the whole dinosaurs and Jesus thing.

          Yes, NZJester summed it up well. As an offshoot to the topic I liked this observation:

          “Technically they have also gone back to witch hunts, but instead of burning them to death they blow then up or shoot them with a gun and instead of witches they call them abortionists and atheists.”

          And as a further off shoot to that, the creation of the “are you serious” meme had it’s origins in a TV interview between Bill O Reilly and an atheist. Bill O Reilly’s proof for God was his observations of the movements of the tide “they go in they go out, you can’t explain that”.

          I wondered if the dead vegetation around the solar panels was due to the area being weed sprayed for maintenance.

          • weka 7.1.1.1.1

            I was wondering about herbicides too, and that could conceivably be linked to an increase in cancer rates.

            Or the construction disturbed soil that was toxic and now people are breathing it in.

            etc

            Often locals know there is something wrong but don’t have the scientific literacy to explain it in terms that meet scientific stringency. Doesn’t mean they should be ignored though. We just need better translators (and unfortunately the scienceheads aren’t doing that very well yet despite good intentions).

            I’ve just been reading about the town in the US that’s declared a state of emergency due to the number of people getting lead poisoning from the water supply (new supply is more corrosive to the old lead pipes). That’s been going on for over a year. People have been speaking up about it, finally something is being done. We still do a lot of incredibly stupid shit when it comes to toxins (lead poisoning should be a no brainer at this stage of things), and we’re still pretty bad at taking notice of what people are saying about their health.

            • Rosie 7.1.1.1.1.1

              “We still do a lot of incredibly stupid shit when it comes to toxins (lead poisoning should be a no brainer at this stage of things), and we’re still pretty bad at taking notice of what people are saying about their health.”

              Don’t even start me on the long winded local examples of the Paritutu dow elanco plant, Whakatane board mills PCB human and environmental poisoning cases and to another lesser (?) degree methyl bromide poisoning cases in various ports around NZ. It has taken forever to get the use of methyl bromide banned in Wellington but several other ports have faced the same issue over the few decades.

              Two years ago myself and a couple of neighbourhood residents made a complaint to GWRC about aerial gorse spraying in our residential area citing two ways in which the pilot breached GWRC’s own rules. We provided video footage and maps and really had to force their hand just to give the pilot a slap on the wrist with a wet bus ticket. He was sent a letter and told not to do it again.

              It was a major effort that took months and had an unsatisfactory outcome.

              For many people around the world even in developed countries it’s really hard to get results on environmental public health issues. The authorities seem to have a real block about acting appropriately and in a timely way.

              • weka

                The good thing about herbicides is that Round up (all ingredients) is getting slammed every time new independent reasearch comes out. Those bastards are going to be seen in the same light as tobacco companies in years to come. They know exactly what they’ve been doing.

                Meanwhile, here in the clean green milkpowder republic, we are still insanely casual about things like aerial spraying or even roadside spraying. They’re still spraying in school grounds FFS.

                • Rosie

                  Yes, I see the time coming when roundup or hopefully all glyphosate containing herbicides will eventually be banned. Many environmental activists knew it was carginogenic decades ago but Monsanto were very effective at shutting down their talk.

                  By some miracle the new studies have seen the light of day and are getting the attention the deserve.

                  If you read through any regional councils rules about aerial and ground spaying you may be quite surprised at how loose they are. They’re barely adequate. The regional councillors I’ve spoken to in different parts of the country, depending on where I was living at the time, have a she’ll be right attitude towards agri chemcials. It’s very frustrating dealing with these people.

                  NZ, always winning in the race to the bottom.

    • Draco T Bastard 7.2

      So it was more:
      ZOMG, we’re not going to get any money from this, BAN IT!!!!

      You do realise that’s actually worse?

      Actually, reading that article does indicate that the reasoning was really bad:

      She also questioned the high number of cancer deaths in the area, saying no one could tell her that solar panels didn’t cause cancer.

      Bobby Mann said he watched communities dry up when I-95 came along and warned that would happen to Woodland because of the solar farms.

      He said the solar farms would suck up all the energy from the sun and businesses would not come to Woodland.

      This is the only one that makes sense:

      Mary Hobbs has been living in Woodland for 50 years and said she has watched it slowly becoming a ghost town with no job opportunities for young people.

      And the problem there was caused by the town not developing the same way that rural NZ isn’t developing. The fact that she then seems to have tried to connect the solar power with the problem is the same basis for all the other complaints – confusing correlation with causation. The underlying cause of all their problems is that the town is dying.

      • Pasupial 7.2.1

        DTB

        I’d direct your attention to the articles linked in my comment @ 15 (which I quoted at excessive length):

        It would be foolish to conclude that all the town’s residents have an aversion to solar energy, said Ron Lane, who has been on the Woodland Town Council for two years. In the past year, Lane noted, the town approved zoning changes to accommodate a trio of major solar farms, one of which is nearly completed.

        Woodland simply got too cramped for a fourth solar installation, he said.

        That Hobbs statement seemed the least convincing to me; after all, none of the solar farms are in operation yet, so there can’t be any relationship between them and Woodland “slowly becoming a ghost town”. You’d think that, if anything, the construction phase of these solar farms would have led to a temporary boost for the local economy. The Barnes petition seemed the most important submission to the council.

        The thing I haven’t been able to discover is if the moratorium applies to the two approved but not yet constructed solar farms. Though I did stop looking a few hours ago – too much selective presentation of the original article to too little new information.

        • Draco T Bastard 7.2.1.1

          That Hobbs statement seemed the least convincing to me;

          It makes sense because small towns simply don’t have any opportunities unless they develop beyond simply being a farming community. If they stay as a farming community then increased productivity must result in people moving out as fewer people are needed to maintain and service the farms.

          The thing I haven’t been able to discover is if the moratorium applies to the two approved but not yet constructed solar farms.

          As I understand it the ones that have already been approved can go ahead but they won’t be allowing any more.

  8. Steve Withers 8

    Woodland’s population is 809. The area of the town is 1.3 square miles.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woodland,_North_Carolina

    It’s 21m above sea level….so John Key’s clever plan to enhance seal level rise by doing nothing about emissions is on track. In about 100-150 years and 21m of seal level rise – with any luck – Woodland and much of eastern North Carolina will disappear under the waves anyway.

    • mac1 8.1

      Hmmm. Interesting point. Will sea level rise lead to a seal level rise? Is John Key’s clever plan to export seal again as we did in the 1830s? At least, with sea level rise there will be less coast line to defend!

  9. Richard Christie 9

    Doesn’t say much for quality of science teachers in the USA.

  10. DH 10

    Try reading it from the source, which paints a very different picture……

    http://www.roanoke-chowannewsherald.com/2015/12/08/woodland-rejects-solar-farm/?utm_source=fark&utm_medium=website&utm_content=link

    It seems the land required rezoning for a solar farm to proceed and a major concern was that there was little or no reward to the local population in permitting the rezoning. The solar farm brought no jobs, no extra taxes… why would they want to agree to it?

    I’m curious to know if the Independent is playing everyone for idiots or if their writer just has poor reading comprehension.

    • greywarshark 10.1

      “there was little or no reward to the local population in permitting the rezoning.”

      I haven’t read this item yet, but a new perspective can be gained in anything by looking at the opposite view. What disadvantage would there have been to rezoning the land, what cost would there have been, what loss of present income or opportunity?

      How could this happen in the seedbed nation of TPPA and putting business interests first? Surely nimble-minded councillors and business people could have thought of ways of sucking some money their way. Taxes on solar panels in their area, tourist visits, renaming themselves the sun capital of the state?

      Got to think bigger you little minded public planning twerps sunk in your trenches. Up and over the top into the hard thinking and innovation that this present world requires.

      • DH 10.1.1

        Yeah, I think it’s important to start with an open mind and not leap to judgement. The science teacher for example may well have some reasonable concerns when viewed in the context of the environment & society she is part of.

        I have no idea how big the solar farm was going to be but I’d expect a commercial operation to be at least 10 megawatts. With a typical solar panel efficiency of 15% that’s 67,000 square meters of panels. (about 1.6 acres of panels per megawatt.)

        And the teacher is right, plants won’t grow very well under the panels. Four solar farms of +10 mW would use a fair bit of land, the three existing ones may already be having an impact. For all we know her concerns were strictly about the land laid waste by the solar farm(s). She’s being ridiculed but, really, we don’t know exactly what she said or in what context it was spoken.

        • weka 10.1.1.1

          These are good points DH.

          The whole locals should suck it up for the good of the nation thing reminds me of the proposed windfarms in Central Otago. Locals objected, and I think that it’s reasonable to do so. There is no way in hell I’ll stand by and let another dam go in on the Waitaki or the Clutha without opposing it and protesting. Does that make me a nimby? Or just someone who doesn’t want places I’ve lived ruined so that people in other places can have friggin heated towel rails. Of course the corollary of that is we have to be willing to reduce consumption, and to share in power generation.

          I’d love to see the NZ conversation start to talk about how to do that, especially as we are all so against oil drilling. Are we going to expect other places to put their environment at risk for us?

          I’m supportive of wind and solar, but not at the expense of locals, and not for the profit of large corporations who don’t give a shit. If other NZers want to turn the NZ landscape into an electricity generation plant so they can maintain their lifestyles, expect a fight (and go read about the impact of dams on salmon and the greater ecosystem in the US). We can do so much better than this.

          • DH 10.1.1.1.1

            Yes I agree weka. The only reason they wanted to plant solar farms there was the cheap land close to the grid feed. It was all about price, nothing to do with saving the environment, and the locals decided they had a price too which was fair enough in my book.

            From the environmental and economic perspective solar panels are best installed at location anyway, I can’t see a future for solar farms.

            • weka 10.1.1.1.1.1

              I’m a great fan of small and medium scale generation, and letting communities lead the way on what they need and how they’re going to get it. I know this is a nonsense in the world of neoliberal economies of scale but it would make critical infrastructure far more resilient.

              I’m in two minds about big wind farms in the US. Maybe it’s a good interim, transition strategy, but ultimately it’s all about the dollar and that will fail us.

  11. NZJester 11

    When you have so many US schools replacing proper science with their weird bible based science that has no base in reality, what can you expect!
    A lot of US schools have replaced real science and the theory of evolution in favor a Christian science that teaches creationism and Christian sciences.
    A recent book they tried to introduce in a southern US state school district also had tried to virtually whitewash the slave trade out of their history books.
    Technically they have also gone back to witch hunts, but instead of burning them to death they blow then up or shoot them with a gun and instead of witches they call them abortionists and atheists.
    The US is actually in greater danger from Christian terrorists than Muslim terrorists.

  12. Detrie 12

    We’re going to see a lot more of this mindless dribble from the ill-informed. Jon Stewart did a good ‘review’ of climate change opposition a while back, exposing how dumb (or bought) some US politicians are. Suspect this is the tip of the iceberg (Excuse the pun)

    • Manuka AOR 12.1

      About 3.30 minutes in – Unbefrigginlievable.

    • Manuka AOR 12.2

      And at 7.11, Rep Bucshon’s biggest donors are listed as Murray Energy, Koch Enterprises and Peabody Energy. Politicians – bought and sold.

  13. Ad 13

    That Lammermoor decision was piss-weak and should have been appealed.

  14. Paul Campbell 14

    well of course solar farms do suck up the sun …. that lands on them … think of the poor plants! (underneath)

    these are the same people who think that daylight savings time takes away the sun

  15. Pasupial 15

    I’ve done a bit of a google search on this, and from amongst all the hick-mocking these two articles actually seem to add more light than heat:

    It’s a paraphrase, not a quote. I wondered if Bobby Mann had actually said that, and if he said that, what he meant. So I called him up and left a message. This afternoon, his wife, Jane, who also spoke at the meeting, called me back.

    Jane, a retired schoolteacher, said their comments at the meeting had been reported inaccurately. She was explaining this in a deliberate, schoolteacherly way when, in the background, Bobby interrupted.

    “I didn’t say anything about anything sucking up no sun!”

    Thing is, though, he sort of did. Well, he asked about it, anyway…

    The town clerk, Kim Bryant, was typing up the minutes when I called her this afternoon. “You can just imagine yesterday,” she said. “Phone calls, emails …”

    I explained that I had spoken to Bobby Mann, who had at first told me he hadn’t said anything about solar panels draining energy from the sun. “Well, he did say that, I’m just telling you,” Bryant said. “But honest to goodness, the town board did not base their decision on that.”

    http://www.charlottemagazine.com/Charlotte-Magazine/December-2015/Opinion-The-Sun-Sucking-Smear-That-Went-Around-the-World/

    town officials say the Internet got it wrong.

    It would be foolish to conclude that all the town’s residents have an aversion to solar energy, said Ron Lane, who has been on the Woodland Town Council for two years. In the past year, Lane noted, the town approved zoning changes to accommodate a trio of major solar farms, one of which is nearly completed.

    Woodland simply got too cramped for a fourth solar installation, he said.

    “How would you and your family like to live in the middle of a solar farm, surrounded on all four sides?” said Lane, a retired elementary school principal. “We have approved three solar farms on almost three points of the compass. This would have completely boxed the town in with solar farms.”…

    Friction over solar farms has become more pronounced as North Carolina’s rapid solar buildout has catapulted the state to fourth place nationally in total solar power output. North Carolina today has more than 1,000 megawatts of solar capacity online, equivalent to a nuclear plant if all the solar panels were generating electricity on a cloudless day.

    In the past few years, about two dozen solar farms around the state have become targets of public ire, usually over aesthetics and property values. Facing local hostility, several of these energy projects were voluntarily withdrawn by the developers, said Daniel Conrad, a staff attorney for the N.C. Utilities Commission…

    Lane, the Woodland councilman, said the town has received profanity-laced voice mails and enraged emails from people around the country.

    Ultimately, he said, the Strata Solar project was not doomed by irrational fears. The photovoltaic panels were proposed just 50 feet from residential homes, and the project was too close to State Route 258 leading into town.

    “We’re not opposed to the solar farm itself, just that particular location,” Lane said. “We wanted to make sure they didn’t overtake the town.”

    Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/news/business/article49766215.html#storylink=cpy

    • Phil 15.1

      Thanks for hunting this out! Good job.

    • weka 15.2

      Yes, great work Pasupial.

      And it’s timely. Has anyone in NZ sat down and figured out how many solar and wind farms we would need to go carbon neutral in generation? And where they would go?

  16. Saarbo 16

    I know local people who refuse to immunize their children…very similar.

    • Colonial Viper 16.1

      Governments and health authorities have been shown multiple times in the last 50 years to have lied about the vaccinations they issued to the public. Including the MeNZ B vaccination issued last decade.

      Some parents take that seriously even if you don’t.

  17. johnm 17

    ” Jane Mann, a retired science teacher, said she was concerned the panels would prevent plants in the area from photosynthesizing, stopping them from growing.

    Ms Mann said she had seen areas near solar panels where plants are brown and dead because they did not get enough sunlight.

    She also questioned the high number of cancer deaths in the area, saying no one could tell her solar panels didn’t cause cancer. ”

    It’s all that fundamentalist religion in the U$ and anti-science bent that has addled their brains: And:

    • johnm 17.1

      America dumbs down

      The U.S. is being overrun by a wave of anti-science, anti-intellectual thinking. Has the most powerful nation on Earth lost its mind?
      The advance of ignorance and irrationalism in the U.S. has hardly gone unnoticed. The late Columbia University historian Richard Hofstadter won the Pulitzer prize back in 1964 for his book Anti-Intellectualism in American Life, which cast the nation’s tendency to embrace stupidity as a periodic by-product of its founding urge to democratize everything. By 2008, journalist Susan Jacoby was warning that the denseness—“a virulent mixture of anti-rationalism and low expectations”—was more of a permanent state. In her book, The Age of American Unreason, she posited that it trickled down from the top, fuelled by faux-populist politicians striving to make themselves sound approachable rather than smart. Their creeping tendency to refer to everyone—voters, experts, government officials—as “folks” is “symptomatic of a debasement of public speech inseparable from a more general erosion of American cultural standards,” she wrote. “Casual, colloquial language also conveys an implicit denial of the seriousness of whatever issue is being debated: talking about folks going off to war is the equivalent of describing rape victims as girls.”

      http://www.macleans.ca/politics/america-dumbs-down/

  18. nadis 18

    Wow – when you read stupid things on the internet you’re first assumption should be it it is a joke.

    “And a Wyoming Institute of Technology study, financed by those enlightened centres of progressive thought Saudi Arabia and BP Corporation, profess to think that the world’s rate of spin is actually slowing down because of the proliferation of wind turbines”

    How could you seriously believe that study and that website were not satire. The Wyoming institute of Technology does not exist except as a satirical website.

    Don’t quotes like this give you a clue?

    “Each turbine produces thrust equivalent to slowing the Earth’s rotation by 0.00038%, which seems like a minute amount of drag. However, there are more than 317,000 wind turbines on planet Earth, which means that if all of these turbines were working at full efficiency at precisely the same time, the Earth’s rotation would be slowed by a staggering 120.46%… meaning the Earth would slow to a stop and begin to rotate in the opposite direction.”

    “Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Chips have been used extensively in wildlife ecology and conservation to identify and track individual specimens in a population. It has been unknown, however, how often RFID chips have been implanted in human populations for the tracking and identification of individuals. This study analyzed the prevalence of RFID Chips in 3 geographically discrete populations and found that, on average, 1 in 3 individuals carried an RFID Chip. Interestingly, there was a strong correlation with RFID Chip presence and previous dental work.”

    “The Language in the “Junk DNA”, the DNA that scientists had for years discarded as useless, was indistinguishable from ancient Aramaic. Even more amazingly, as linguists started to translate the code within the human genome, they found that parts of the script it contained were at times remarkably close in composition to verse found in the bible. And at times contained direct biblical quotes.”

    Seriously. Take this whole thread down before you embarass yourself further.

    There are always examples of fruitcakes making stupid claims at council hearings, including in NZ. But don’t assume cause and effect. This thread is embarrassing – it just makes you look stupid.

Recent Comments

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