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January 14, 2010
Department of Placebo Effects
Or nocebo, in this case, since people were sure that they were being harmed. Residents of a Johannesburg suburb detailed their reactions to a new cell phone tower in the area: rashes, headaches, nausea, disrupted sleep, and more. Electromagnetic poison, for sure. (Clearly they haven't heard that they might be at less risk for Alzheimer's).
What they didn't know was that the tower had been switched off for six weeks before the hearing. Descriptions of symptoms disappearing when the beleagured locals managed to sleep somewhere else for a night, only to reoccur when they came back to their homes, are thus a bit hard to reconcile. . .
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