Occasionally I grumble about low standards of journalism out there in the world, but I was fascinated to see how the Independent created their "cell phones are destroying bees" story out of, more or less, thin air. They were obviously proud of their article -- and as they said in a follow up about a town that had banned cellphone masts because of the damage it would do to bees. Last month, The Independent on Sunday reported exclusively that exploratory research at Germany's Landau University suggested the radiation interferes with bees' navigation systems. Read this Herald Tribune article, as they explain that the Independent article was "a good story....
except that the study in question had nothing to do
with mobile phones and was actually investigating the influence of
electromagnetic fields, especially those used by cordless phones that work on
fixed-line networks, on the learning ability of bees. The small study, according
to the researchers who carried it out too small for the results to be considered
significant, found that the electromagnetic fields similar to those used by
cordless phones may interrupt the innate ability of bees to find the way back to
their hive.... cellphones and cordless phones emit different types of radiation and what you learn studying one type is not necessarily significant to the other, according to the researchers.
Which means that it's not science, it's just bad reporting. End of grumble.
And finally, before I leap into a car and drive to the airport, here's a sneak preview of the cover of Smoke and Mirrors that will be out, er, I'm not sure actually. The trade paperback (oversized) US Harper Perennial editions of the books will be getting new covers in a uniform edition. They will all, for the next few years, look sort of like this. Which is to say, both respectable and odd. For reasons that I do not understand (but doubtless some of you do) the colours went utterly weird when I tried to upload it to Blogger, so I imported the jpg into Picassa and tried to wrench the colours back to where they are on the version I was sent, except the picture in the window window isn't blue, it's a sort of a mustard green...
Hang on. I'm going to try again. Maybe if I juggle it between formats....
Hmm. Well, the version I got from Harper Collins was a sort of a cross between the two... perhaps the best thing is for you to use your imagination, and it will look like that.
And now I have to run. Or at least, drive.