Wind turbines power mass hysteria

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23 May 2012

Wind turbines power mass hysteria

483 Comments

Simon Chapman

Simon Chapman

The history of medicine contains many bizarre episodes of mass hysteria and psychogenic illness, with mass fainting by children during school vaccinations a common example.

Outbreaks of mass hysteria have common factors which contribute to their contagion. People “spreading” alarm about alleged harms are central to the proliferation of mass hysteria and today the internet is peerless as a disease vector.

While most people have heard of the placebo effect (when an inert “drug” like a sugar pill or a sham surgical procedure like inserting random acupuncture needles is followed by people feeling better) its opposite, the “nocebo” effect, is less appreciated.

A nocebo effect occurs when people feel ill or are convinced they have symptoms after being told that something is harmful. For the past few months, I have been collecting claims about adverse health effects made by opponents of wind farms. Today the total stands at 113 different diseases and symptoms in humans and animals.

Other than perhaps the aftermath of a nuclear blast on population health, there is nothing known to medicine that comes close to the morbid apocalypse that is being megaphoned by anti-wind groups.

It is not just illnesses and symptoms that occur but “deaths, yes, many deaths mainly from unusual cancers”, which have strangely never come to the attention of any coroner.

Did you know that wind turbines can cause lung cancer, leukaemia, diabetes, herpes, “electromagnetic spasms in the skull”, infertility and the ghastly sounding “loss of bowels”?

Any very common problem together affecting literally millions of people across Australia (sleep problems, high blood pressure, lack of concentration, forgetfulness, children doing poorly at school, nosebleeds and muscle twitches) can all be explained by wind turbine exposure.

Nothing else is relevant if you live near one. But there are some benefits too. Those who are overweight can lose kilograms through exposure to wind turbines, but the excessively slim can gain weight as well!

Is this magic?

It’s not just humans that are affected. Did you know that “seagulls no longer follow the plough in areas near wind turbines … the seagulls have learned that the worms have all been driven away … They must go elsewhere for their food.” This can happen as far as 18km from a turbine!

Whales have their sonar systems disrupted, chickens won’t lay, and sheep wool is poorer in quality. Tragically, a “peahen refused to go near a peacock” and dogs “stare blankly at walls”, ignoring owners. Never seen a dog like that.

It’s not just the effect of turbine exposure that causes harm, but leaking “stray or tingle electricity” generated by the turbines can mysteriously travel through the soil with disastrous consequences. This has resulted in 400 goats “dropping dead” in New Zealand, dairy cows being “shocked through milking machines”, and almost every known malformation in birds and farm animals.

Many of the above have been folded into a new disease entity called “wind turbine syndrome” by an American doctor, Nina Pierpont, set out in a vanity press book K-Selected Books run by herself and her partner.

“Wind Turbine Syndrome” appears not once in the US national Library of Medicine’s online PubMed library of over 21 million biomedical papers. But that’s not stopped this psychogenic “syndrome” bouncing around to the tune of 154,000 Google hits.

Pierpont’s Australian counterpart is an unregistered South Australian doctor, Sarah Laurie, who travels about spreading the bad news. With a straight face, Laurie told a recent meeting of mostly bussed in protesters in the Victorian town of Mortlake that just one night in a house in proximity to a wind turbine had “just about everybody …every five or ten minutes needing to go to the toilet.”

Let’s assume the residents went to bed at 11 and woke at 7; that would be 48 to 96 times a night for each person. Is she taking the piss?

The Victorian Government has introduced a 2km setback rule for wind turbines for any residence, and the NSW government currently has the same distance out for public discussion. The NSW Health Department has sensibly advised that any decision on setbacks cannot be made on the basis of any evidence of harm to health.

Seventeen reviews of the evidence back this up with the NHMRC soon to add an eighteenth. If that too should clear turbines, you can bet the anti-wind lobby has already rehearsed why it too should be ignored.

It is easy to find claims on the web that turbines can bring on symptoms within hours or even minutes of exposure. It’s something of a problem then that of the 150,000 turbines around the world, only a small fraction have generated complaints, and that with many having been erected in the 1990s, the “epidemic” of wind farm complaints had its beginnings several years later.

And you will search in vain to find anyone deriving income from hosting turbines who is complaining: money, it seems, is a magic cure. Opponents retort that these people are gagged by confidentiality clauses, but common law claims of negligence are never voided by contracts.

Political acquiescence to the NIMBY and turbine-rent-envy driven culture of complaint about wind farms threatens to seriously hobble Australia’s ability to meet carbon reduction targets. Meanwhile, the great majority of the public supports wind power and nations like China and India are surging ahead in wind-energy production.

Simon Chapman is professor of public health at the University of Sydney. Twitter: @simonchapman6. View his full profile here.


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483 Comments

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  • DocMercury :

    24 May 2012 1:50:36pm

    However the energy yield quality and quantity, anything is better than nothing beside methane tanks from sewage and garbage in the back yard and nuclear waste in the “dry zone” (questionably so) desert.

    Wind turbine could double their value, IMO, by incorporating vertical gardening with their support poles.

    Better by far than leaving it to graffiti artists.

    Problem is, they’re aesthetically boring.

    Any harvest and pruning could be included in the regular maintenance, since one may assume that the towers of wind power are not exactly joblessly automated, nor self maintaining.

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  • basell :

    24 May 2012 12:59:33pm

    Yes Simon its an important point to make.

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  • Andy :

    24 May 2012 12:46:27pm

    Great article Simon. The 2km set back introduced in Victoria based on this lunacy is a complete joke, particularly at a time when Victoria is shedding so many jobs.

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  • Magpie :

    24 May 2012 10:24:13am

    A wind turbine turned me into a NEWT!

    …I got better.

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    • Peter :

      24 May 2012 12:51:41pm

      Well done. No more comments required!

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  • Facts only :

    24 May 2012 9:53:10am

    just like the drug lords of Columbia and Mexico search for mules to distribute their drugs; the Landscapers and the Laurie’s of this world seek out the envious and unpaid to peddle and spread the desease of anecdotalitis (aka Wind Turbine Syndrome).

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    • Factso :

      24 May 2012 11:26:18am

      It is on the public record that Wind companies have bought out with gagged contracts at least 20 family homes in the Eastern states, directly adversely impacted by proximity to wind turbines.
      All settled privately or out of court They did not do so on the basis of ‘anecdote’.

      It would appear your analogy of drug lords is a better fit with the wind industry, the country folk adversely affected are their victims, and you and might be seeking your ‘fix’ on the promise of renewable energy which which will never satisfy wholly you (or the worlds) hunger for energy. But hey, it feels good whilst the windrush is on. And the blade flicker and acoustics are so psychedelic. Meanwhile the international windlords pocket the cash.

      Better check your Facts in future

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      • Chimpfinga Custard :

        24 May 2012 12:00:17pm

        …and of course people just love living with mining and fracking next door.

        What a crock….

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        • Simon Chapman :

          24 May 2012 12:38:34pm

          Rural communities have many unsaleable properties. If you lived in one and a rich company opened wind farm in your neighborhood, your ticket out of there might just flash before your eyes a little? Big question is why have there been zero health complaints from those getting income from turbine hosting? And pls don’t say “gag clauses”. I have seen several contacts and they say nothing on this & any lawyer will tell you that a claim of negligence from health harms would never be voided by a contract.

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  • Mark Glavan :

    24 May 2012 9:17:42am

    Let’s just call it like it is:

    These types of landowners are just selfish.

    A huge number of people are living in the city in 50m2 apartments, and the lucky ones are in the suburbs on quarter acre blocks. For many people this isn’t ideal but necessary. If you want to live in the country on huge property, you can’t be upset when some of the infrastructure required for the majority of the population needs to be located on your property.

    We’d all love to live in the country on a massive property with no adjacent development. It’s not realistic – get over it.

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    • Call it like it is :

      24 May 2012 11:00:05am

      Mark, you can apply your logic to coal seam gas mining. Just like wind turbine mining there are many commonalities including issues of acoustic pollution, envirnonmental and water resource threats, and a disregard for the direct human impacts. Do you take the same view that coal seam gas neighbours should ‘just get over it’? I suspect not, because it doesnt fit with your ideology forged in the crucible of your self stated urban wlderness.
      Can I suggest you meet a few country folk impacted directly by wind turbines and csg. You might need to emit some carbon to get there though…

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  • Ozbunyip :

    24 May 2012 9:01:57am

    I’m not buying any of the complaints, my parents were dead against there reasons? They looked ugly, pure opinion, they were noisy the ones I seen in SA made less noise than my old home fan, people got sick, pharmaceutical use did not increase in any areas that had them a sure sign if a community is suffering adverse affects. Birds hit them, any bird that hit them probably would of flown into a wall the ones I seen didn’t have the slightest problem. Once they are of no further use seems to be the only reasonable concern I’m sure a solution to that can be found.
    Ithat no person that has them is complaining is the elephant in the room.
    I’m mot a doc and untill there is irrefutable proof then I’d suggest those against seek out psychiatric help instead.

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  • deceit and deception :

    24 May 2012 8:52:59am

    In reply to burntcake’s post previously where he claims the Danish EPA have admitted error and now legislate against windfarms, here is the truth, something that’s very light on the ground when it comes to wind turbines and WTS!

    “The Danish statutory order on wind turbine noise has been revised in order to implement rules for low frequency noise. The new regulation enters into force January 1st, 2012. This makes Denmark the first country with compulsory limits for low frequency noise from wind turbines.

    The new regulation complements the present noise limits for wind turbines with a new limit for low frequency noise of 20 dB. The purpose of the new regulation is to ensure that neither the usual noise nor the low frequency noise will annoy the neighbours.

    The limit value for the low frequency noise, 20 dB, corresponds to the most restrictive of the recommended noise limits for industrial noise. These limits are based on investigations of annoyance due to low frequency noise, showing that considerable annoyance can be expected when the indoor noise exceeds 20 dB in the evening or the night.

    The subjective annoyance increases markedly when the noise level is increased beyond 20 dB. Recent research has supported the assessments behind the recommended noise limits for low frequency noise, and there is no doubt that loud low frequency noise is very annoying.

    On the other hand no scientific evidence indicates that low frequency noise has other health effects than usual noise, and there is no evidence to support a lower limit value than 20 dB. The 20 dB limit ensures a good protection against annoyance from low frequency noise.”

    Last paragraph destroys your credibility burntcake.

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  • Money talks :

    24 May 2012 8:33:20am

    As the ABC reported in Jan this year:

    Tony Abbott has stirred debate within Opposition ranks, saying a future Coalition government would support coal seam gas extraction “under the right circumstances”.

    Speaking in Tamworth, where the issue has caused considerable controversy, Mr Abbott has told ABC Radio open-cut mining causes far more environmental damage.

    But opponents of CSG, including colourful Queensland MP Bob Katter, say Mr Abbott does not know what he is talking about.

    Mr Abbott has moved to allay some of the fears about the industry.

    “There’s a big difference between coal seam gas extraction and open-cut mining,” he said.

    And a big difference between wind turbines, CSG and open cuts mining that a lesser crested bantam would know I bet.

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  • Muzza :

    24 May 2012 8:01:23am

    Chapman says in his piece: Seventeen reviews of the evidence back this up with the NHMRC soon to add an eighteenth. If that too should clear turbines, you can bet the anti-wind lobby has already rehearsed why it too should be ignored.

    If Chapman already knows what is on the way from the NHMRC, that tells you something.

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    • Money talks :

      24 May 2012 8:29:55am

      Innuendo your style I see. The WSJ published “No Need to Panic About Global Warming” on climate change was written by the climate-science equivalent of dentists practicing cardiology. While accomplished in their own fields, most of these authors have no expertise in climate science. The few authors who have such expertise are known to have extreme views that are out of step with nearly every other climate expert. This happens in nearly every field of science. For example, there is a retrovirus expert who does not accept that HIV causes AIDS. And it is instructive to recall that a few scientists continued to state that smoking did not cause cancer, long after that was settled science. The paid mining lobby opposing wind turbines is no different.

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      • Muzza :

        24 May 2012 8:51:39am

        Just to avoid the George Bush framing of “you are either with us or against us”, I have worked on climate change issues for some time and certainly am no denialist. Philip Sutton’s “Climate Code Red” is where I’m coming from. Solar thermal and vastly reduced consumption and ecological footprints are needed actions in my view. Given the negative impacts of large industrial wind energy, it isn’t. Much of the research still has to be done, but there is already enough evidence flagging considerable problems. Coal seam gas on the planned scale in some of our best agricultural land is just dumb. Legislation is badly needed to protect farmers and the land.

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  • David Arthur :

    24 May 2012 8:50:50am

    “If Chapman already knows what is on the way from the NHMRC, that tells you something.”

    Yes it does: it tells you that, as Professor of Public Health at Sydney University, Prof Chapman is among the peers who review research in public health.

    What Muzza’s comment tells us is that Muzza is a component of the anti-wind lobby’s already rehearsed smear campaign.

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    • Muzza :

      24 May 2012 9:17:43am

      You only have to look at the influence of the mobile phone industry on the research that is conducted on the health effects of mobile phones to see that David Arthur adopts a naive approach to the politics of research. What if the research showed that the negative health impacts over the longer term are bad for business?

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    • Muzza :

      24 May 2012 11:51:45am

      Chapman writes regular polemics denying the health concerns associated with wind turbines e.g. Medical Journal of Australia, Crikey, the Drum, Sydney Morning Herald. If the NHMRC is drawing on Chapman for “objective” peer reviews in this area, don’t expect anything other than what he has already implied about its next statement on the matter.

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      • thanks mutley :

        24 May 2012 1:50:37pm

        Thankyou for listing the non fossil fuel media, I shall in future get my information from them.

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  • Muzza :

    24 May 2012 7:27:43am

    There was a report on RN Breakfast’s program with Fran today Thursday 24 May on the impact of boat noise on whales and dolphins. Is this too a form of animal mass hysteria and technophobia?

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    • mandas :

      24 May 2012 11:12:14am

      Boats make loud noises and use sonar. Wind turbines do not.

      Water is an excellent transmission medium for sound. Air is not.

      Whales and dolphins rely on sound to navigate and to find food. Humans do not.

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      • Muzza :

        24 May 2012 12:02:44pm

        Well what about this recent study on the impacts of low frequency noise on whales:

        http://www.tgdaily.com/general-sciences-features/61339-whales-stressed-out-by…

        Low frequency noise is a big concern with wind turbines.

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        • mandas :

          24 May 2012 2:29:33pm

          Firstly, your link is to a media article, not a study. You should understand the difference.

          Secondly, all you have done is prove my point. Whales rely on their sonar to navigate and find food. Ship noise and sonar can interfere with this, as water is an excellent transmitter of low frequency sound.

          We do no rely on sound to find our way around and to find our food. And air is a very poor transmitter of low frequency sound.

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  • chris herbert nz :

    24 May 2012 6:53:02am

    I love it when the industry rolls out another puppet.Same as smoking Mr Chapman it was once good for you because the industry told us it was.I hope you can live with yourself when all is uncovered

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    • Simon Chapman :

      24 May 2012 7:50:22am

      Chris — suggest you take care with such allegations. I am no, never have been & never will accept payment from wind industry. And I do know a little bit about the history of tobacco & health. I edited Tobacco Control, the leading specialist journal in that field for 17 years.

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    • deceit and deception :

      24 May 2012 8:55:24am

      Who is behind the Waubra Foundation? This is a letter about the leadership of the Waubra Foundation, which bills itself as being “a national organisation formed to facilitate properly reviewed, independent research into the health problems which have been identified by residents living near wind turbines and other industrial sites which may have common cause”.

      It says that “At all times (it will) establish and maintain complete independence from government, industry and advocacy groups for or against wind turbines” yet was established by Peter Mitchell, a prominant spokesperson for the Australian Landscape Guardians and its entire board is composed of people who are actively opposing wind farms.

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  • TheViking :

    24 May 2012 5:56:27am

    What is not a disease is that the wind towers have a very limited life span and they are not worth repairing or dismantling. Consequently there are now thousands and thousands of disused towers weighing hundreds of tonnes rusting away ~100m in the air all over the world. Sooner or later they will fall over! In the US alone there are now more than 15,000 in this state!!!

    That’s not a disease that’s just a fact!!!

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    • magoo :

      24 May 2012 7:22:53am

      Ah, but we are an inventive lot. Wait till the first TV program on ‘wind turbine renovation’ hits your plasma screen and there will be a thousand ideas on what to do with old rusties. From mass production of domestic donuts to fit over the towers, through skeletal existence as theme park towers all the way to scuba dive training pools inside the towers.

      Your glass is obviously half empty.

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    • Simon Chapman :

      24 May 2012 7:52:19am

      How many abandoned open-cut mines are there globally do you think?

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      • magoo :

        24 May 2012 8:02:51am

        Look not upon them as abandoned mines nor just as holes in the ground; they are all potential lakes (or ‘zees’ from a Germanic perspective), or future domestic habitats.

        Our future is only proscribed by our lack of vision.

        You too have a half empty glass.

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        • thanks mutley :

          24 May 2012 1:52:53pm

          magoo, empty craters are waiting to be filled with water to reclaim the environment and eradicate the residue chemicals from mining. Marvelous stuff.

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        • Arrant nonsense magoo :

          24 May 2012 2:24:17pm

          Arrant nonsense and foolishness; dismissing mining and its’ impact upon the environment so stupidly. ABC News today: “As the Port Pirie lead smelter prepares for reduced emission standards, the latest data shows blood lead levels among local children are rising above safe limits.”
          Nyrstar is an integrated mining and metals business incorporated in Belgium with its corporate office in Switzerland. Smelting operations in Australia are at Hobart and Port Pirie. Nyrstar is a massive multi-national company. It can and must be made to operator its smelter cleanly. Despite some improvements over recent years, the latest data shows very little overall change since the “Ten by 10” lead reduction program commenced in 2005. In 2005, over half (55.1%) of kids tested exceeded WHO lead levels in their blood. In 2010 the figure is 43.4% – still a long way from the target of 5%.

          Nyrstar is facing prosecution by the EPA over its operations at the Port Pirie’s lead and zinc smelter. Nyrstar is responsible for lead emissions in 2009 that led to increased lead in the blood levels of children. In November 2010 Nyrstar contaminated groundwater at its Port Pirie smelter site. Australians are being forced to pay a fee for access to specific information about groundwater contamination cases; the public must make an appointment and could pay more than $100 per hour to view documents on the public register.

          The glass is less than half empty when it comes to mining and our safety and the environment.

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        • Arrant nonsense magoo :

          24 May 2012 2:27:05pm

          You’d be happy with this latest achievement of the mining corporate/banking world I take it.

          On 13 April 2012 the Council of Australian Governments agreed to major reform of environmental laws across Australia. The reforms are directed at both Federal and State laws, particularly laws that assess new developments. The key reforms that COAG agreed to are:
          ·the withdrawal of Federal involvement in the approval of environmentally sensitive developments under federal environmental laws, through accelerated accreditation of state processes,
          ·the fast-tracking of approval of major developments in each State,
          ·rationalising’/removing energy efficiency and climate change schemes in each State, and
          ·the removal of other environmental laws seen as ‘unnecessary’ and ‘costly for business’.

          The proposal, available on the Business Council of Australia website, was put forward by business groups via COAG’s new Business Advisory Forum. No such forum exists for any other sector of the community. The reforms are directed squarely at reducing what big business sees as ‘unnecessary delays’ and costs for business. Only 62 of the Business Council of Australia’s current 119 members are local companies; the rest are foreign companies or subsidiaries of foreign companies, 28 of the BCA’s 119 members are US companies.

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        • Arrant nonsense magoo :

          24 May 2012 2:27:28pm

          The independent MP whose electorate includes Port Pirie, Geoff Brock, wants us to fund a proposed redevelopment of the city’s smelter, the massive foreign owned company is seeking money from Australian taxpayers to build a new furnace at Port Pirie; while at the same time threatening to relocate to China if it has to pay a carbon tax! Environment protection laws should not be compromised merely to ease pressure on largely foreign owned big business to fast-track their business interests.

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  • Damnthematrix :

    24 May 2012 8:27:51am

    You just wait till entire cities are abandoned post collapse…. Detroit is but the tip of the iceberg. Without fossil fuels, and they will run out, it’s impossible to run complex entities like modern cities.

    No lifts, no sewerage, no traffic lights…… fun fun fun! Turbines are the least of our problems, working or rusting.

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  • Mike Barnard :

    24 May 2012 9:20:53am

    Actually, there are perhaps 1600 permanently inactive wind turbines world-wide representing perhaps 0.1% of total generating capacity and they are being replaced rapidly. The 14,000 wind turbines permanently inactive was pulled out of thin air by Hawaiian anti-wind activist Andrew Walden, and he applied it world-wide. Several people who not only have challenges with defining credible sources but also basic reading then published articles saying it was in the USA. Yet others, in even more excessive feats of bad reading and hyperbole said it was in California alone, which by the way has about 14,000 working wind turbines in total.

    http://www.quora.com/How-many-permanently-inactive-wind-turbines-are-there-wo…

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  • James X Leftie :

    24 May 2012 12:17:42am

    Wind turbines are the crucifixes of the warmists’ faith.

    The carbon tax are like tithes to a church.

    Dodgy computer modelling is their version of tarot cards.

    And Al Gore and Tim Flannery are the high priests.

    Fortunately the population has realised it’s all a scam.

    The world over, believers in AGW are decreasing year by year.

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    • BartyLobethal :

      24 May 2012 7:57:03am

      Not all of view the world through the very poor prism of religious perspective.

      Fortunately growing numbers have realised that faith in any form is a scam.

      The world over, believers are decreasing every year.

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    • mandas :

      24 May 2012 11:13:35am

      Science is not based on belief, it is based on facts and evidence.

      AGW is not tinkerbell. It will exist whether people believe in it or not.

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      • Dazza :

        24 May 2012 1:36:50pm

        So why hasn’t the rain stopped, the rivers and stream completely dried up and the ground completely scorched by bushfires then?

        “..facts and evidence.”? As stated by what?

        Not even the Federal government’s multi-million dollar “What a carbon price means for you” handout relied on “..facts and evidence”, but they still wanted us to believe that the price on carbon is good for us by giving us a warm fuzzy feeling inside!

        Why do I say this? On page 4 of the above publication, there is a disclaimer that states:

        “The Commonwealth of Australia does not necessarily endorse the content of this publication.”

        Is that just in case, or based on “..facts and evidence”?

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  • peter wright :

    23 May 2012 10:40:16pm

    mick states that windpower will not supply base load , he is wrong. The power plant in Pt Augusta in South Australia is shutting down for 6 months of the year, windmills are supplying 30% of the states power. Seems to me like the big coal companies in the eastern states will be worrying, start building too many windmills they will have to shut down power plants and we can not have that.

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  • Mary Ann :

    23 May 2012 10:26:44pm

    The effect of windfarms seems to quite miraculous. As I already suffer from joint pain, dandruff, nosebleeds and cancer do you think I would be cured if I moved near to a windfarm?

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  • Mike Barnard :

    23 May 2012 9:53:27pm

    Excellent summary of the problems with ‘wind turbine syndrome’.

    The reality, as every major study has found, is that small subset of people near wind turbines find the noise annoying, some of those people get stressed and some of those people lose sleep. Simple sleep aids such as white noise generators, earplugs and closed windows combined with reasonable setbacks such as those mandated by Ontario’s Regulation 359/09 of 550 meters for smaller wind turbines or groups of smaller wind turbines and 1500 meters for larger wind farms are perfectly reasonable.
    http://www.quora.com/Wind-Power/What-might-cause-people-who-live-near-wind-tu…

    There are 165,000 wind turbines generating clean, safe CO2-electricity world-wide, displacing fossil fuel generation which has proven and clear health and environmental impacts, and preserving the limited resource of fossil fuels. If they were as ineffective as many people claim, there wouldn’t be that many of them. Unlike ‘wind turbine syndrome’ wind energy is not a mass hysteria.

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  • Graham Chaffey :

    23 May 2012 8:57:22pm

    Hopefully the wind turbine syndrome is absorbing some of the witch burning activity of the human psyche, sparing other targets such as vaccination. Wind turbines are a good development, but their future is possibly more robust than that of unvaccinated infants.

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  • Edele :

    23 May 2012 8:27:08pm

    I wonder when the truth comes out that Wind Turbine syndrome really does exist, will Simon Chapman, Professor of Sociology not medicine, campaign to protect those in harms way of inappropriately sited turbines like he has for those affected by cigarettes, which we were once told “do no harm”

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    • Nomis Nampahc :

      23 May 2012 9:59:06pm

      Edele, Ridicule is the height of arrogance.
      The article reflects more on the character and prejudice of the author than on any quality of inquiry.

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    • drjohn :

      24 May 2012 7:22:57am

      Are you seriously equating wind turbines with an addictive drug and Simon Chapman (social activist, not Luddite) with the drug dealers who sell it??
      To paraphrase Lewis Carroll, Wind Turbine Syndrome already exists in the minds of those who believe that what you say three times is true.

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    • mandas :

      24 May 2012 11:16:58am

      …Simon Chapman, PhD FASSA, is Professor in Public Health at the University of Sydney. He has published over 365 articles in peer reviewed journals and 14 books and major reports….”

      Hmmm – who to believe?

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  • Jacob :

    23 May 2012 8:23:39pm

    These wind farms need to harvest all the methane from Drum letterists instead of letting it go to waste.

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  • Frank golding :

    23 May 2012 7:58:48pm

    I visited the wind farms near Port Fairy two years ago. Ever since then, my toenails have grown at twice the normal rate and i’ve lost my ability to grow spinach.

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    • Doug :

      23 May 2012 11:00:53pm

      I actually laughed out loud at this.

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    • SmilingGoat :

      24 May 2012 1:51:02am

      Probably for the best. Spinach grown on the toenails isn’t particularly appetising.

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  • mick :

    23 May 2012 7:32:21pm

    it really doesn’t matter anymore whether these windmills kill birds or make humans sick from the low frequency emissions that addle the brain and cause illness. The fact remains they are poor providers of power and do not provide a reliable base load generation. Perhaps a few left whirring around as artifacts to a crazy period in time when we lost our minds and tried to cool the planet and create more rain. Perhaps this great big climate change hoax is nearly over.

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    • Mary Ann :

      23 May 2012 10:42:16pm

      “Perhaps this great big climate change hoax is nearly over”
      Are your grandchildren aware that you are prepared to gamble their welbeing against the warnings given by reputable scientists?
      Most of the dead birds found near windfarms have been found to have been shot.

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    • Fran Barlow :

      23 May 2012 11:17:58pm

      “The fact remains they are poor providers of power and do not provide a reliable base load generation”

      This article is about hysteria over “wind turbine syndrome” rather than the feasibility of wind farms as alternative power sources.

      Your comment: we lost our minds and tried to cool the planet and create more rain. Perhaps this great big climate change hoax is nearly over, underscores your lack of interest in serious science or even serious public commentary.
      What you are alleging is a grand conspiracy powerful enough to do battle with the fossil fule lobby and comprising nearly all publishing in the hard sciences and governments. It’s simply bizarre.

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      • Dazza :

        24 May 2012 1:46:57pm

        Yet they have disclaimers, just in case!!

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  • Damnthematrix :

    24 May 2012 6:33:02am

    Baseload is a 20th Century construct. In the 21st Century, we will do away with baseload. In fact, we will do away with lots of things…….. debt, oil, coal, waste, cars, pollution, greed, globalisation, overpopulation, growth…… and the Drum limits posts to 500 words. This short list will do.

    The future looks bright if we don’t stuff up…..

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    • magoo :

      24 May 2012 8:09:16am

      I had lost my faith in AGW until the last few weeks of social Wednesday sailing; two weeks without any wind must surely be proof that the climate is changing.

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      • Dazza :

        24 May 2012 1:45:54pm

        “.. two weeks without any wind..”

        That stuffs up the wind turbine proposal then!

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  • Mike Barnard :

    24 May 2012 9:24:58am

    There are 165,000 wind turbines generating clean, safe, CO2-free electricity world-wide. Wind is on track to surpass nuclear generating capacity by 2014. They generate predictable, manageable, reasonably priced electricity that makes sense as a reasonably large minority of the energy grid.
    http://www.quora.com/How-effective-are-wind-turbines-compared-to-other-source…

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  • Trenton :

    24 May 2012 2:24:57pm

    Please see this article on the significant contribution wind farms are making to generation in SA.

    http://www.climatespectator.com.au/commentary/south-australia-busts-wind-myths

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  • Ozilla :

    23 May 2012 7:15:00pm

    Doubts about the efficacy of windpower aside, my main objection is that we would not usually allow industrial installations on our coastline but because wind power is (theoretically) green, we can justify the visual pollution of our coastal landscape. They’re nothing short of a blight on the landscape in my eyes.

    Our coastlines are a minute fraction of the Australian environment but they hold a spiritual and sacred place in our hearts.

    One of my favorite surfing destinations has had a desal plant and windfarm planted on it. Irony anyone?

    If these fraudulent clowns gave a damn about the environment and humanity’s physical and spiritual relationship with it they would never had allowed such blasphemy.

    In the final accounting, filthy lucre always wins.

    To quote a classic of recent Western culture “Damn you all, damn you all to hell”.

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    • Muzza :

      23 May 2012 10:28:51pm

      I agree with you Ozilla. Surfing does really assist in developing a closer relationship with the environment. On the other hand, Chapman’s wiki entry states that he is the lead singer with a Sydney-based rock covers band, the Original Faux Pas. Need I say more?

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    • Damnthematrix :

      24 May 2012 6:33:40am

      A blight hey….. you mean like the Gold Coast?

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      • ateday :

        24 May 2012 2:03:33pm

        Agree.
        I find the sight of a wind farm with its turbines quietly generating clean, green power quite theraputic.
        But we are all different…..

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  • Mike Barnard :

    24 May 2012 9:27:49am

    Yet other people, including myself, consider them aesthetically delightful and go out of their way to see them. Taste: no accounting for it and no arguing it.

    http://cleantechnica.com/2011/06/14/wind-turbines-a-tourist-attraction-in-atl…

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    • Dazza :

      24 May 2012 1:54:45pm

      How thrilling?

      “OK kids, we’re off to see the windfarms again and have a picnic”!

      Couldn’t think of a better way to waste my time!!

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  • gerardthebutler :

    23 May 2012 7:00:21pm

    You may well scoff. We had the same trouble with windmills. Tis the devil’s work.

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  • jessie :

    23 May 2012 6:12:19pm

    “A nocebo effect occurs when people feel ill or are convinced they have symptoms after being told that something is harmful”

    Neurosurgeon Charlie Teo says that mobile phones are dangerous, and even though few believe in the brain cancer link it makes sense to me – and as far as wind turbines are concerned I wouldn’t want one in my back yard and I doubt whether any sensible person would.

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    • Damnthematrix :

      24 May 2012 6:34:47am

      I’m a very sensible person, and I can’t wait to put up a 1.5kW turbine so I can sell you the power…..

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  • cheersbigears :

    23 May 2012 5:44:01pm

    I must let you know that I do suffer from Wind Turbine Syndrome, except that my illness has symptoms more like Tourett Syndrome. Everytime I get close to them I start to yell uncontrollably, loudly shouting obscenities out of my car window, it is a real problem.

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  • Harry :

    23 May 2012 5:32:22pm

    Gary Wittert, a professor of medicine at the University of Adelaide, said there was no credible evidence that wind turbines have adverse effects on health. A recent parliamentary inquiry into wind farms in New South Wales dismissed Pierpoint’s study, particularly since her findings were not published in a peer reviewed journal. In its submission to the Senate inquiry the group Doctors for the Environment also agreed ‘there is no convincing evidence in the scientific literature of direct physiological effects occurring at sound levels commonly associated with modern wind turbines’. The building of the Waubra wind farm provided an injection of $58.4 million to the local economy through the economic activity associated with 160 local jobs. Ongoing employment from those jobs at Waubra adds a further $7.79 million each year to the local economy. These figures have been generated by the City of Ballarat using REMPLAN modelling.

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    • pony :

      23 May 2012 10:11:48pm

      Well, around where I live, in Western Vic, the damage the trucks that cart gravel to the wind farm sites do millions of dollars of damage to roads over many different shires.
      If there was a drug that could “cure” wind turbine syndrome, I’m sure it would be recognised by the appropriate “judges”.

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  • Placebo Schmacebo :

    23 May 2012 5:13:36pm

    I make no specific comment about the effect of wind farms on human health. I know nothing about that issue.

    But I will comment on something I do know a little about, the mechanism putatively invoked by Prof. Chapman to explain this phenomena. That is, of course, the hallowed placebo/nocebo effect itself.

    Prof. Chapman says:

    “While most people have heard of the placebo effect (when an inert “drug” like a sugar pill or a sham surgical procedure like inserting random acupuncture needles is followed by people feeling better) its opposite, the “nocebo” effect, is less appreciated.

    A nocebo effect occurs when people feel ill or are convinced they have symptoms after being told that something is harmful.”

    Problem here is that we now know that it’s just not true.

    The placebo/nocebo effect has no significant influence on outcomes in clinical therapeutic trials. This has been firmly established by the work of Hróbjartsson and Gøtzsche over the last decade.

    At best it has a small influence on pain and nausea. But even that is not certain, and may be due to nothing more than methodological weakness in the way the evidence was gathered (specifically the subjective self-report means of assessing outcomes).

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20091554

    The placebo/nocebo effect may well be real, but it clearly has little impact on the real world lives of human beings.

    If I recall correctly, this is not the first time I have seen Prof. Chapman invoke the placebo/nocebo effect in this unscientific and unethical way.

    The good Prof. needs to account for the evidence I cited above before he makes any more specious claims about the power of the placebo/nocebo effect.

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    • Nick :

      23 May 2012 7:36:26pm

      The abstract you cite makes no mention of any nocebo effect.

      How, then, does this reference in any way undermine Professor Chapman’s article?

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      • Placebo Schmacebo :

        24 May 2012 2:39:11am

        Placebo and nocebo are generally presumed/argued to be flip sides of the same pyscho-physiological mechanism, that can produce either outcome.

        That is certainly the argument that the nocebo advocates use, for example:

        “The nocebo phenomenon, in which placebos produce adverse side effects,…”

        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11829702.1

        If there is no significant placebo effect then neither can the nocebo effect be taken for granted, and the onus is now firmly on those invoking it to justify it.

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  • drjohn :

    24 May 2012 7:51:52am

    The placebo effect is operator-dependent. It is not the effect of the “pill”, but rather the influence of the ” prescriber”.
    It functions more like an hypnotic “trigger” and becomes unnecessary if the patient or client is cognitively or emotionally able to cure themselves.
    Your statement that “we now know that it’s just not true” is basically meaningless except in the extremely limited scientific experimental model which has no relavence to real-life patient interactions.
    The use of placebos in actual physical form is almost non-existent, partly because such use is considered unethical.
    The “nocebo” effect, however, is widely used and abused by those patients who wish to blame outside, physical agents for their internal,unrelated and unacknowledged pathology.

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  • Mike Barnard :

    24 May 2012 9:32:31am

    From your provided reference:
    ” The effect on pain varied, even among trials with low risk of bias, from negligible to clinically important. “

    In other words, some people are susceptible and some aren’t, just as with hypnosis (although the evidence is that the mechanisms are sufficiently different that those susceptible to ‘hypnotic’ suggestion are not necessarily subject to the placebo / nocebo effect.”

    This correlates well with some people living the same distance from wind turbines having horrible experiences and some having completely benign experiences.

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  • Reinhard :

    24 May 2012 10:07:36am

    This has nothing to do with the placebo effect, which deals with the effects of the oral intake of medicine..
    This is to do with environmental medicine, a completely different field which deals with psychosomatic effects and more specifically hypochondria..

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  • Hawkeye :

    23 May 2012 5:04:48pm

    The most bizarre episodes of mass hysteria in the developed world today is the unfounded belief that CO2 in the atmosphere causes global warming. As a university academic, Professor Chapman, I urge you to get some grounding in this great scam.

    Joseph Postma, astrophysicist, in his paper “Understanding the Thermodynamic Atmosphere Effect”, clearly shows that thermodynamic theory completely explains the temperature of the earth’s atmosphere without any need to introduce the false, so-called, “greenhouse effect”.

    Professor Nasif S. Nahle, in his paper “Observations of “Backradiation” during Nighttime and Daytime” demonstrates “that warming backradiation emitted from the Earth’s atmosphere back towards the earth’s surface and the idea that a cooler system can warm a warmer system are unphysical concepts.”

    Further Professor Nasif S. Nahle, in his paper “Repeatability of Professor Robert W. Woods 1909 Experiment on the Theory of the Greenhouse” shows “that the warming effect in a real greenhouse is not due to longwave infrared radiation trapped inside the greenhouse, but to the blockage of convective heat transfer with the surroundings, as proven by Professor Wood in his 1909 experiment.” The original experiment and paper by
    Professor Wood discounted the earlier conjecture by Arrhenius that CO2 in the atmosphere causes global warming but this was completely ignored by the promoters of the current global warming proposition in their totally false claim that their view had been proven back at the turn of the 20th century by Fourier, Tyndal and Arrhenius.

    Confirmation of the above papers can be found in real world evidence on the subject in the numerous data files on the “World Data Centre for Greenhouse Gases” Web site, run by the World Meteorological Organisation, giving temperature and CO2 concentration at numerous locations over many years.

    A continuing study of data from this source, so far covering 118 years of annual changes in both CO2 concentration and temperature combined from five locations gave a correlation coefficient of 0.15. This small correlation relates to the fact that both the temperature and the CO2 concentration, via the biological cycle, are driven by the sun’s radiation. This is the reason for comparing annual averages so as to minimise the correlation and lag arising from the common seasonal effect.

    At Alert in northern-most Canada, this lag clearly shows that there is no relationship between temperature and CO2 concentration because there, the greatest rate of increase of CO2 concentration corresponds to the fastest rate of decrease of temperature and vice versa. When the seasonal CO2 concentration is greatest the temperature is at its lowest level, that is, real world data does not support the contention that CO2 causes global warming.

    Readers are urged to look at act

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    • Dom :

      23 May 2012 8:40:56pm

      So good of you to take your scientific reference from an era when windmills were still grinding flour.

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      • Hawkeye :

        24 May 2012 10:58:23am

        Dom, I do not know to which paper you are refering.

        The paper by Joseph E. Postma, M.Sc.Astrophysics, B.Sc.Hons.Astronomy, is dated March 2011.

        The “backradiation” paper by Prof. Nasif Nahle, Scientific Research Director, Monterrey, MX, is dated 26 September 2011.

        The Wood’s experiment paper by Prof. Nasif Nahle, Scientific Research Director, Monterrey, MX, is dated 05 July 2011.

        Try reading them. You might even learn something.

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        • Dom :

          24 May 2012 1:22:45pm

          Yes, I’m aware that Nasif and his three mates in Mexico only put a box in the sun three years ago, repeating (under no scrutiny and with no scientific referencing or publication) an experiment from a full century before. If they answered that conundrum, they will surely have no trouble sweeping away the century of science that followed that, I suppose. We may just have to wait for him to get back from fishing, right?

          Postma takes the same tack of ignoring almost everything and looking at one (relatively simplistic) model that forms a very small part of the field. he fails to understand Kirshoff’s law, and gets even that wrong. If his conjecture were right, the Earth would be a snowball. He does’t like to talk about that.

          All of this is quite a similar denial technique to listening to one guy whose dog went lazy, but ignoring all the actual study don’t on the mystical wind turbine syndrome. One must focus very hard on one small point that we are convinced is wrong and then extrapolate that the rest of the world’s data and science are a big fat lie. I hope it’s making you feel better, because that’s its function.

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  • Dr Who :

    23 May 2012 9:12:41pm

    Garbage from beginning to end as usual Hawkeye.

    For a start, it is well known that the main mechanism of warming in an artificial greenhouse is limitation of convection. No surprises there. The “greenhouse effect” does not mean a perfect parallel on a physical/mechanistic level, and Wood’s experiment does not undermine the work of Tyndall and Arrhenius, only demonstrate that perhaps the greenhouse analogy was not the best one they could have used.

    Your attempts to attribute seasonal change to variations in CO2 level (yeah, like anyone expected small monthly changes in CO2 levels to dominate seasons rather than the axial tilt of the Earth) rather than looking at year-to-year trends, ranks as one of the most comical attempts to “undermine” AGW theory I’ve ever read.

    But I’m betting you put up this drivel hoping nobody would read into it too closely, and hoping that the irrelevant appeals to authority (ie. the papers quoted out of context) might sway someone.

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    • Hawkeye :

      24 May 2012 11:20:51am

      Thank you for that Dr Who. At least you realise that the warming of a greenhouse has nothing whatsoever to do with the claimed “global warming”.

      As for Seasonal variations in CO2 concentrations, you obviously have not looked at any data. Why would scientific bodies bother to record the data to two or three decimal places for the listing of hourly, daily or monthly values on the WMO Web site?

      Further, you seem to have misread my statement “annual changes in both CO2 concentration and temperature”. The result as of yesterday is a correlation coefficent between ANNUAL changes of 0.096 from 121 years of combined data. Perhaps you could start work on analysing the data yourself instead of making foolish accusations on this site?

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  • Jerrah :

    23 May 2012 5:03:36pm

    They’re all over the place in the UK and Europe and everyone’s bladders seem okay there…

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    • Michael :

      23 May 2012 8:22:22pm

      Unfortunately their electricity bills aren’t. For some reason they are much dearer. It could be because they have to have two systems wind farms and conventional power plants. You might not have noticed but unfortunately the wind don’t blow all the time. If you ever left your computer or got out of your car and went outside into the world you just might notice. If the wind doesn’t blow the wind turbines don’t spin around and around so another power plant has to make energy. Double the cost to one and all.

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      • Jerrah :

        23 May 2012 9:58:40pm

        If ever I left my computer or got out of my car? Well I did both and you are quite wrong. I lived in the UK for quite a while and their electricity costs are way below ours.

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        • Spike :

          24 May 2012 8:40:11am

          Isn’t that because they can trade nuke power with France?

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    • Damnthematrix :

      24 May 2012 6:45:03am

      The reason the cost of ALL energies is going up is due to Limits to Growth. We have exploited all the easiest and cheapest forms of oil and coal, and now as we have to go looking deeper and farther, and coal seams get smaller (not a problem in Australia, but very much so in many other places), the cost goes up, and as we can’t make turbines without fossil fuels, their cost goes up too.

      Oh and the UK experienced PEAK COAL in 1913, and Thatcher had to close all the UK mines down as the cost of subsidising them was simply becoming unaffordable. To make matters worse, the UK has now also experienced Peak Oil in 1999. Which means today they import EVERYTHING….. even the wind turbines come from Denmark or Germany.

      The era of cheap energy is over, get used to it.

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    • Mike Barnard :

      24 May 2012 9:36:53am

      Wind energy is just fine as an economic source of electricity. It’s at grid parity in many places and will be at grid parity in the majority of sites by 2014. The way it interacts with energy markets tends to suppress high-priced sources much of the time, bringing total consumer prices down.

      It’s a convenient target for anti-wind activists, but usually the costs of increasing energy having nothing to do with wind.
      The effect on pain varied, even among trials with low risk of bias, from negligible to clinically important.

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  • paulh :

    23 May 2012 4:58:59pm

    Absolute biased DRIVEL, if and I say IF the writer feels that the people complaining about their health are wrong and just scaremongering,then how about a similiar report on the scaremongering and unfounded claims from Mr Flannery etc regarding climate change.Also if the writer thinks that wind turbines are a suitable renewable source then perhaps he should look at the economic viability of them and the pathetic amount of electricity they generate,along with the facts that subsidising schemes like this have led to Spains and Greece’ massive debts.Wake Up Australia

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    • Michael :

      23 May 2012 8:17:46pm

      Mr Flannery is a very highly respected Climate Scientist never prone to exaggeration and everything he said that was going to happen has nearly or is going to nearly happen or could possibly happen in the very near distant future or very distant far future. Unfortunately he has been misquoted on many occasions as have many Climate Scientists who might have said something but it was misunderstood or taken out of context by those who don’t fully understand scientific principles of gobbledygook and hockey curves. Others like you might say that they have been caught out with blantant lies but that would be too harsh as if they really do believe that they must be right it must be true!

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      • Norm :

        23 May 2012 10:39:24pm

        As far as I can tell, the main criticism with regard to Flannery’s forecasts is that he is reported to have said, according to denialists, and at some point in the drought, that it would “never rain again in SE Queensland”.

        I’ve yet to see that attributed quote cited and referenced. Is that because it’s a figment of denialists’ fevered and exaggeration/fiction prone imaginations?

        Cough up or suck it up princesses.

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  • Fran Barlow :

    23 May 2012 11:23:50pm

    This article is about hysteria over “wind turbine syndrome” rather than the feasibility of wind farms as alternative power sources.

    What Flannery has supposedly said or not said is not germane here, though he has been massively misquoted by the tabloid media.

    Simon Chapman has made no claim at all about whether wind turbines are useful in a clean energy mix. Your claim that Spain and Greece’s debts are a consequence of state subsidy illustrates your complete ignorance both on the subject of renewables and the economics of the debt crisis. You are the one composing drivel.

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  • Damnthematrix :

    24 May 2012 6:47:50am

    Spain’s economic woes were NOT caused by building renewable energy, but rather by the mother of all housing bubbles.

    The 2008–2012 Spanish financial crisis began as part of the world Late-2000s financial crisis and continued as part of the European sovereign debt crisis, which has affected primarily the Southern European States and Ireland. In Spain, the crisis was generated by long term loans (commonly issued for 40 years), the building market crash which included the bankruptcy of major companies, and a particularly severe increase in unemployment, which rose to 22.9% by December 2011.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2008%E2%80%932012_Spanish_financial_crisis

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  • Geo :

    23 May 2012 4:54:09pm

    @ JohnM

    There is a beautiful small Island 12kn from Perth. It houses a decent sized windwill which sits between Geordie bay and Longreach, many of the houses are within 300 m. It is a very windy location. Occaissionally you can hear the swish of turbine blades over the wind and waves and clinking of metal mast stays.
    We have stayed there several times as have many other families I know. I have yet to meet anyone who has complained of any ill effects. THere are certainly no shortage of bookings- you have to booking one year ahead to have a chance of staying in these cottages.
    Obviously the residents of Perth have not been subjected to your scare-mongering

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    • nunga :

      24 May 2012 11:29:03am

      Well said Geo, my little town is now 50% wind turbine power, and 50% Gas power, we hope to be 100% wind power by 2020, with gas only as backup. Previously to having wind and gas power, we had a diesel fired power station. The diesel station caused many health problems for the community, such as asthma, and other respiratory problems for many people, pollution of the environment, noise pollution etc.

      Since having the wind turbines, (some people have chosen to live quite close to them), the health of the people in my town has seen vast improvement. There has not been a single complaint about any sort of health problem associated with the turbines. The turbines have generated much needed tourist dollars as well.

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  • John Coochey :

    23 May 2012 4:38:21pm

    I find it difficult to reason with someone who thinks that you can be killed by a gun which has been destroyed but your chances of being killed decline depending on how long ago it was destroyed. (In other words the very expensive gun buyback has resulted in a slow decline in gun related deaths, even if the decline before was at the same rate.) But the real issue is the decline in health because resources are being directed to totally uneconomic electricity generation and away from more productive sources

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  • arf :

    23 May 2012 4:29:24pm

    One can only wonder at the list of blights the solar farm industry will unleash on the hapless world…*

    <humour mode=’ironic’>(Coal, of course, is beyond slight or blemish…)</humour>

    * skin cancer, glare, blindness, drought, bushfires, barbecued budgerigars… Invent them now before the rush!

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  • Eileen Jones :

    23 May 2012 4:28:52pm

    Good work Simon, identifying the irrational hysteria around wind turbines. You will now be labelled as “Wind Turbine Syndrome denier” to those ensnared by that social phenomenon.

    There’s lots of scope for similar informed critiques about the many sets of irrational beliefs that cluster also around alternative therapies such as homeopathy, iridology, naturopathy etc Beliefs in these untested modalities seem to proliferate by means of the same socially dispersed myths. While turbine syndrome undermines action to avert carbon pollution, irrational health beliefs deplete our health funds and the pockets of those who subscribe to them.

    I look forward to more penetrating insights from the pen of Simon Chapman to slay a few more dragons.

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  • saywhat :

    23 May 2012 4:22:42pm

    Oh that was a good laugh!

    Please run some proper tests and put these people out of their misery….or could you?

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  • mandas :

    23 May 2012 4:20:23pm

    I saw on Faux News that wind turbines cause global warming. And they even had a study from Texas which proved it! (awaits the global warming denier to tell me that is a fact…….)

    But then, Faux News also told me that global warming doesn’t exist, so now I’m really confused.

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  • oportoj :

    23 May 2012 4:14:28pm

    Wow it is such fun laughing at all the stupid people; he he he he he

    I did a Pub Med search and widened search parameters to encompass “wind turbine health” and got 11 quite good looking articles ; the good science there in quiet contrast to the snivelling contempt of the authour: When I widened again I got multiple results; so perhaps a little selective, or perhaps frank bias in the Lit review. ( Expected from the ABC)

    One , in it’s conclusion suggested:
    “There is a need to take the unique environment into account when planning a new wind farm so that adverse health effects are avoided. The influence of area-related factors should also be considered in future community noise research.

    I could reference but as Pub med is not open source you may have difficulty finding the specific reference but I guess that is the point.

    Let us all laugh at the silly fools ; we know better.

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    • BartyLobethal :

      23 May 2012 8:02:02pm

      It’s true, it is a lot of fun laughing at stupid people. In fact, this is the basis of most comedy I can think of right now.

      It’s also a more productive approach than taking them seriously.

      Also, I read this paper once that concluded, “…bake in oven at 180°C for 15 minutes then cool on a wire rack”, so I think that proves something or other. (Reminds me I need to put some scones on).

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  • geoff :

    23 May 2012 4:02:51pm

    It never ceases to amuse me how wind farm advocates always ignore the substantial limitations of this technology.

    For a start most wind turbines only produce on average 20-30% of their stated capacity. This is because they can only operate at a given range of wind speeds. If wind speeds are too low they produce little or no energy and if wind speeds are too high they need to shut down to prevent being damaged. The fact is that wind farms always require a more reliable source of backup energy. Denmark, for example requires backup energy from its neighbours, otherwise those sections of the community relying on wind power would spend considerable amounts of time without any power.

    Wind farms are also something of eyesore, reduce property prices and keep nearby residents awake at night with their constant humming. Currently, they are expensive to build, install and maintain. Their magnets contain toxic rare earth metals which are mined predominantly in China.

    Interestingly, greenies constantly complain about a few birds killed by oil slicks but remain breathtakingly silent about the thousands of birds chomped to death by the rotating turbine blades.

    As for China and India, wind power only provides a miniscule fraction of their energy needs. China still builds a coal-fired power station at the rate of about one per week.

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  • Pete :

    23 May 2012 3:59:05pm

    I don’t know about “Loss of Bowels” but I know almost every Kiwi I have ever met suffered “Loss of Vowels.”

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  • p8rt ®:

    23 May 2012 3:56:18pm

    How is it that discussion of wind turbine effects in Australia fails to consider the experience in countries like Holland and Denmark where turbines have been working in close proximity to people for decades.

    Is this another example of the triumph of infotainment over journalism?

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    • IA :

      23 May 2012 7:24:09pm

      Yes, an example of the Murdoch press’s under reporting and to be expected when you understand Murdoch has a large interest in shale oil in America. Peter Mitchell successfully objected to the number of turbines proposed for the Stockyard Hill wind farm near Beaufort in Victoria. He also successfully had them removed from the ridge that he could see from his property. Sandi Keane found that Peter Mitchell has interests in the fossil fuel industry. These include as founding chairman of the Moonie Oil Company Ltd and chairman or director of similar companies including Clyde Petroleum plc, Avalon Energy Inc., North Flinders Mines Ltd and Paringa Mining & Exploration plc, most now delisted on the Australian Stock Exchange. According to Lowell Resources Funds Management Pty Ltd, Mitchell’s experience is derived from over 25 years involvement in companies that explored for, developed and financed gold, uranium, coal and base metal mines, oil and gas fields and pipeline systems in Australia and overseas. He has been chairman of Lowell Pty Ltd, the ultimate parent company of both Lowell Capital Ltd and Lowell Resources Funds Management Pty Ltd, a specialist fund investing in emerging mining and energy companies. Since taken over by Future Corporation Australia Ltd. Paul Miskelly, who represents both the Australian Landscape Guardians and the Taralga Landscape Guardians, worked for the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, ANSTO, for 32 years and gives talks on nuclear power.

      But we do not see the Landscape Guardians campaigning alongside Lock the Gate, the New South Wales Farmers Federation and the Greens to halt the destruction of some of the best agricultural land in New South Wales and Queensland by coal seam gas miners. We do not see them campaigning in Victoria against Premier Ted Baillieu’s decision to reopen Victoria to brown coal mining. Farmers on the best agricultural land in Gippsland now face losing their farms to dirty, inefficient brown coal mining. Re the Landscape Guardians – there is no information about funding or sponsorship of the Waubra Foundation. Yet money seems to be no object for its websites, campaigners, advertising, travel and media monitoring.

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    • burntcake :

      23 May 2012 8:21:09pm

      helloooo, Danish EPA now admits it was wrong and that wind turbines do actually produce low frequency sound and infrasound and are measuring for these, not just audible sound.In January 2012 they reduced the allowable limits for low frequency sound measured inside and outside houses. look up the Danish EPA website.
      Also look up what is happening NOW at Falmouth Massachusetts- turned off wind1 while health authorities work out what is going on.
      How come small children who haven’t read anything about WTS, complain of WTS symptoms?

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      • walking man :

        23 May 2012 11:57:42pm

        Maybe because WTS symptoms can include anything?

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      • Facts please :

        24 May 2012 8:21:50am

        Please supply a link the your claims that the Danish EPA admits error. Facts please, not hearsay or distortion.

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      • burntcake and fingers :

        24 May 2012 8:39:03am

        From the Danish EPA website, and you were more than misleading in your post burntcake, as the regs are for annoyance from noise, like generators in the bush when camping annoy others!

        “The Danish statutory order on wind turbine noise has been revised in order to implement rules for low frequency noise. The new regulation enters into force January 1st, 2012. This makes Denmark the first country with compulsory limits for low frequency noise from wind turbines.

        The new regulation complements the present noise limits for wind turbines with a new limit for low frequency noise of 20 dB. The purpose of the new regulation is to ensure that neither the usual noise nor the low frequency noise will annoy the neighbours.

        The limit value for the low frequency noise, 20 dB, corresponds to the most restrictive of the recommended noise limits for industrial noise. These limits are based on investigations of annoyance due to low frequency noise, showing that considerable annoyance can be expected when the indoor noise exceeds 20 dB in the evening or the night.

        The subjective annoyance increases markedly when the noise level is increased beyond 20 dB. Recent research has supported the assessments behind the recommended noise limits for low frequency noise, and there is no doubt that loud low frequency noise is very annoying.

        On the other hand no scientific evidence indicates that low frequency noise has other health effects than usual noise, and there is no evidence to support a lower limit value than 20 dB. The 20 dB limit ensures a good protection against annoyance from low frequency noise.”

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  • Raskul :

    23 May 2012 3:55:35pm

    No doubt generation of electricity using ocean waves will cause (a) cancer in residents of beach side suburbs (b) a collapse in our fishing industry (c) whales and dolphins to become infertile (d) the barrier reef to crumble (e) an increase in beach erosion. Join the antiwave generation movement now and avoid the later rush.

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    • Michael :

      23 May 2012 7:17:24pm

      It might not cause cancer but the rusting hulk that was supposed to generate electricity from waves at Wollongong is now just a barnacle collector. Another green success story.

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      • Raskul :

        24 May 2012 9:26:42am

        So a prototype wave generator was inadequately anchored! Is that enough for you to dismiss the technology?

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  • Jimmy Necktie :

    23 May 2012 8:22:06pm

    damn right. And don’t forget geo-thermal –

    if you dig down too far you could

    a) crack the earth in half
    b) release demons or mole people
    c) increase boat arrivals
    d) hit a rock and have to stop

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    • nunga :

      24 May 2012 11:40:15am

      Lol, there are a growing number of people in the world that believe the Earth is hollow, and the home of evil reptilians, so we must be extra careful. I hear the whole British Royal Family are actually reptiles, and Obama, must be true, I’ve seen the youtube videos 😉

      Me, I know that when our town replaced the filthy, stinking, noisy diesel fired power station, with wind turbines and gas, (soon to be 100% wind with gas backup), there was a marked decrease in the number of noise complaints, and respiratory complaints in town. You could have your windows open without everything being covered in soot, and the asthma rate for children in the town school decreased markedly.

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      • ateday :

        24 May 2012 2:10:14pm

        Excellent, should be more of it.

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  • sencit :

    23 May 2012 3:55:16pm

    The authors derogotary remarks of Dr.Pierpoint does little for his credibility. He may know her personally, I doubt it. She is a well credentialled Doctor and has much work among the underprivileged.
    Most of the symptoms Simon Chapman alludes to are not those of Dr. Piermont. I have never been near a Wind Turbine, I wonder if Simon has experienced it.
    I wonder how many other “facts” or opinions mentioned in the article should also be taken with a pinch of salt.
    article

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  • Silverlocust :

    23 May 2012 3:43:54pm

    I may be misunderstanding you Simon but your assertion that the NSW Health Dept’s advice that “any decision on setbacks cannot be made on the basis of any evidence of harm to health .. ” is “sensible” seems ludicrous.
    It seems to me that public safety should, in fact, be the first consideration.
    It also does your argument harm to mention that Dr. Laurie is currently unregistered as though this diminishes her medical standing, rather than a reflection on her personal circumstances.

    No mention of the power company settling in the UK High Court 6 months ago in the lawsuit brought by Julian & Jane Davies? Well, I guess it didn’t suit your colouring of turbine complainants as loonies.

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  • Michael :

    23 May 2012 3:40:16pm

    Lets have a good laugh at those opposed to wind farms obviously they are all loonies. Actually why are they called wind farms? Huge steel structures concreted in the ground now become a farming method? Why don’t we talk about the 14,000 abandoned wind turbines in the USA for instance. British wind farms that are only 20% efficient and require 100% back up when they don’t work. Of course in Britain the consumer has to pay for not only the windfarm but also the back up system increasing energy costs. During a cold spell in Britain the 3,150 turbines provided only 1.6 percent of the energy to the grid. They actual consumed more electricity than they produced because they had to be heated to stop them seizing. Even on good days in Britain they only provide a quarter of their theoretical capacity. Wind farms are expensive, don’t work when needed and kill birds. Windfarms don’t live up to their promises you only have to regularly drive past them to see that they don’t. What energy has been produced by the wind farm at Bugendore for instance only 27% of their rated energy output. Where does the energy come from when the wind is not blowing? There has to be 100% back up system so we end up not only having wind farms but another power plant to provide energy part of the time which just can’t be turned on and off at the drop of a hat. Who pays for the windfarm and the power plant one of which is idle the consumer of course.

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    • Bel :

      23 May 2012 7:24:52pm

      Oh, you mean the myth of the 14,000 abandoned wind turbines? http://www.wind-works.org/LargeTurbines/DebunkingAnti-WindMythof14000Abandone…

      Just because it’s been repeated many times by people too lazy to do proper scientific research doesn’t make it true!

      Oh, and your inefficiency argument?
      The simplest way to measure overall efficiency of an energy source is to look at the energy payback of an energy technology. Wind power shits all over conventional energy sources. But that’s an inconvenient truth isn’t it?

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    • Fran Barlow :

      23 May 2012 11:32:05pm

      “Actually why are they called wind farms?”

      For the same reason that wheat farms are called wheat farms and fish farms called fish farms. On a wheat farm, wheat is harvested, and on a fish farm, fish are harvested. On a wind farm, the energy from rapidly moving wind currents are harvested. A farm is a place where you harvest some natural resource.

      “Why don’t we talk about the 14,000 abandoned wind turbines in the USA for instance. British wind farms that are only 20% efficient and require 100% back up when they don’t work.”

      Because even if those claims were well attested, they’d be irrelevant to the topic — which is the hysteria attaching to installation of wind turbines.

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  • arf :

    23 May 2012 3:39:44pm

    Ho! Ho! Ho! Prof. Chapman has exercised his sense of the satirical!

    Unfortunately, I think his humour has over-reached his intent.

    I do suspect that wind farms are being systematically dissed by lobby groups. However, I’d like to see a more balanced assessment of the reported risks (some being a little more credible and serious than others..). Prof. Chapman is well placed to provide one but chose, instead, to pen a blanket ridicule: good for a laugh, but little else.

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    • I think I think :

      23 May 2012 4:14:28pm

      That is simply silly. It is the same sort of mentality that gives oxygen to climate change deniers. Not all arguments have an equally valid opposite argument.

      In the case of wind farms, there is zero evidence to suggest that they are a health risk. The science is well established, and there is very little chance that some unknown phenomenon related to electricity generation, or windmills exists that could cause any (let alone all) of the symptoms described.

      Thus, the negative to the argument needs to be credibly established before you can even start to consider balanced debate.

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      • please think :

        23 May 2012 10:19:55pm

        Science is a tool – not the truth. By all means, use science as it is intended but don’t just believe in the first experiment findings that come along!! Blind, gullible fools. (sigh)

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        • Reinhard :

          24 May 2012 9:58:12am

          Or the thousands of experimental findings since the first commercial wind turbines were installed in Denmark in the early 1900s?

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  • Simon Chapman :

    23 May 2012 4:16:33pm

    Arf — try any one of these 17 review articles. They pretty much all say the same http://tobacco.health.usyd.edu.au/assets/pdfs/WindHealthReviews.docx

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    • arf :

      23 May 2012 11:57:39pm

      Hmm! I *did* provoke a response! Sorry to be the cause of such consternation.

      It’s not that I disagree with any of you (which I think I stated). I just felt that the tone was a bit casually dismissive of all potential health issues. Especially when patently ridiculous ones like earthworm die-offs were being paraded in preference to the more reasonable seeming ones like noise pollution/parrot shredding! If you’d asserted at the outset, that *none* of the issues raised have stood up to closer scrutiny, I might have been a little less jocular myself (I only wish Baillieu reads this… oh, but he won’t)

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      • Dom :

        24 May 2012 10:17:34am

        The tone was dismissive because the supposed health issues have been dismissed. Dismissal is the entire point.

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  • george :

    23 May 2012 4:17:24pm

    That’s because he ( and others ) already published formal assessments of the medical literature. It has made little difference to the voracity and venom of the anti-wind lobby. Perhaps humour will be more effective than explaining the current evidence.

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  • john byatt :

    23 May 2012 4:28:22pm

    Simon gave it the treatment it deserved,

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  • the yank :

    23 May 2012 5:23:43pm

    If only the Professor was joking.

    Having first hand knowledge of the anti mob and the nonsense they spread as well as numerous occasions to stand under near and around windfarms I can a test to the ridiculous notions they come up with.

    Google windfarm Europe or go to Europe and try and find firsthand what suppose harm these structures do NOT cause.

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  • arf :

    24 May 2012 12:08:41am

    Apologies all!

    As I said to Prof. Chapman, at least my remark started a conversation!

    All I can say is that I was unaware of the ongoing narrative, of which this article is a part. Coming in cold, it does seem a bit flippant is all.

    I do realise that a depressingly large fraction of humanity is shockingly untrained in logical thinking. This fraction is over-represented in the anti/denialist mindset; so the weirdness proliferates. I can only shudder at the carnage these evil contraptions have inflicted on the wild populations of invisible pink unicorns!

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  • philosophunculist :

    23 May 2012 3:36:55pm

    Of course wind farms are dangerous, far safer to keep with proven coal fired stations or go nuclear.

    I’d happily put a super safe CSG or nuclear power plant in your backyard and probably so would some of our governments.

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    • john byatt :

      23 May 2012 4:19:32pm

      There would be no CSG benefit to global warming for at least fifty years to one hundred and twenty years.

      using coal we are stuffed, using CSG we are stuffed, do accept that we should use nuclear in the mid term til we have enough renewable up and running though.

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    • Bomber Harris :

      23 May 2012 4:24:20pm

      why are they dangerous?

      can I have a helping of facts please?

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      • philosophunculist :

        24 May 2012 9:15:12am

        They are seen as dangerous by certain members of industry and the establishment as they may affect their power or profits.

        My comment, if you didn’t realise it, was somewhat tongue in cheek.

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      • Damnthematrix :

        24 May 2012 10:01:01am

        I think that was sarcasm….

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  • the yank :

    23 May 2012 5:28:10pm

    Of course they are because???

    What happens when a nuclear plant misfires? Ask those in Japan. Or ask why the Gremans have closed all of their nuclear plants and are relying on renewable energy as well as power from other countries.
    While you are at it ask why the German people protestted and tried to stop nuclear waste from being transported across their country.

    You’d then be willing or course to have its waste in your back yard. If so please contact those that run our own small nuclear unit andlet them know because no one else wants the stuff.

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    • pony :

      23 May 2012 10:25:26pm

      To say the wind farms are not harmful to near-by residents because nuclear power is more dangerous is pretty darn pathetic.
      Not one of us who live a comfortable distance away from wind turbines can really know what it’s like to LIVE near them. (sorry, but I’ve had the opportunity to stand under a turbine too – hardly compares to living every day with one above you).

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    • Fran Barlow :

      23 May 2012 11:39:14pm

      “What happens when a nuclear plant misfires? Ask those in Japan.”

      It didn’t “misfire” — it was overwhelmed by a tsunami, and its cooling systems (the power for which was not isolated from the plant) failed. This led to the failure of the plant and some releases. While this was certainly a disaster, it was a preventable one. Those that designed the plant deserve condemnation rather than nuclear power as a whole.

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  • Fran Barlow :

    23 May 2012 11:36:11pm

    “Of course wind farms are dangerous, far safer to keep with proven coal fired stations”

    How so. Unlike wind turbines, coal fired power stations

    a) pollute the air (and not merely with CO2 but a range of toxics — such as mercury, a powerful neurotoxin, actinides (radioactive particulate) and other irritants.

    b) coal plants require coal mining and coal mining really is dangerous, especially in the developing world. So too is coal transport.

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  • Joe Hill :

    23 May 2012 3:27:08pm

    It is interesting to note that the complaints and symptoms against wind farms are the same as were made in the early nineteenth century against railways. One cant help wondering which fossil fuel paid lobbyist first stumbled upon this ancient gem of eccentric social paranoia. Of course in a world full of cainotophobiacs and supportive bone rattlers, aroma therapists, Illuminati hunters and ambulance chasing beaks who cannot help doing a mating dance at even the far off wiff of a green note, a good quackery is better than having Rumpelstiltskin chained to your hay loft.
    Come to think of it may be its time to point the finger back at the fossil fuel lobby this time with science on our side.

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  • Rae :

    23 May 2012 3:23:52pm

    Why aren’t wind turbines put on top of city buildings, warehouses and car-parks where the electricity is needed most?

    There is absolutely no reason the turbines have to be in the country.

    The city people pushing for these could then judge for themselves how they are affected and how much vibration is involved.

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    • barneroo :

      23 May 2012 4:33:18pm

      They aren’t put on top of buildings for a few reasons, mainly:
      – the wind in urban areas is disturbed by buildings etc, so it is more turbulent and deflected upwards, rather than horizontal. This makes the turbine much less efficient.
      – modern wind turbines are very large, and there is a significant thrust force generated that building structures are not designed to withstand. Smaller turbines are much less efficient, and therefore less economically viable.

      Wind farms are located where the wind resources are most suitable, which is mainly relatively flat (hills cause similar problems to urban areas in terms of wind turbulence) coastal areas and off-shore.

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    • Big M :

      23 May 2012 4:42:15pm

      There are many buildings overseas that have done just that!

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      • Kevin :

        23 May 2012 8:20:45pm

        And Big M sorry the link to your evidence is missing.

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        • Dom :

          24 May 2012 10:20:33am

          Google will sort you out there 30 million times in 0.25 seconds.

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  • casaham :

    23 May 2012 4:46:47pm

    Go and hug one Rae,

    They are very calming in a way.

    Sort of like the beach.

    Went and checked one out after the hysteria started. Sat there as a storm brewed over the mountains, came my way and listened to nature and the wind turbine, trees and grass interact, until the lightning and rain started. The turbine shut off, tethered and I got back in the car and drove off.

    Is now a fond memory.

    As far as the aesthetics go, that will depend on what the turbines represent to people I suppose.

    Cheers

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    • pony :

      23 May 2012 10:27:28pm

      “…..and I got back in the car and drove off.”

      Lucky you.

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  • Dave Clarke :

    23 May 2012 5:39:33pm

    Actually Rae there are very good reasons for wind turbines to be in the country. Modern utilitiy scale turbines are far too big to be put on the top of buildings and city building cause a lot of turbulence in the wind; not good for turbines. Mid North SA, where I live, has lots of turbines and they are providing far more benefit than harm.

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  • Ben :

    23 May 2012 5:59:23pm

    Because wind isn’t the same everywhere and the turbulence caused by built environments is destructive to turbines. Its a very complicated science, but who listens to scientists anymore? 😉

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  • jessie :

    23 May 2012 6:15:54pm

    Rae, my thoughts exactly. It is all very well for someone to push for wind turbines when there’s no chance whatsoever that they will turn up on a roof near them. Even if they are perfectly harmless, the sight and sound of them is annoying.

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    • Bill :

      24 May 2012 9:41:16am

      Ill swap you an annoying wind turbine for a jet with 4 screaming turbofans 200ft above your head coming into land. and a train that goes past my house at 5am

      who knew the country was so much louder than the peace and quiet of a big city.

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  • TechinBris :

    23 May 2012 3:21:15pm

    “Wind Turbine Syndrome” equals “Financial Envy Denial Syndrome”
    See, two Syndromes with different names have the same symptoms for the same reasons.
    Guaranteed, there will be claims that anything and everything will cause anything and everything because of anything and everything. That includes psychosomatic ailments because you don’t like something because you over stress about it. Then if so, the cause is yourself fretting yourself sick over it. Unfortunately, yes, it does make you ill for all the reasons you don’t want it to be, so it has to be something else. Something you don’t like is usually what you find it to be.
    “Financial Envy Denial Syndrome” is a much more true name for the Syndrome.

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    • Pancake :

      23 May 2012 7:01:41pm

      So true. The problem is that the wind turbine companies haven’t been putting some kind of dividend into the local community – or at least not that I’ve heard. Some money into upgrading a local sportsground, school or other facility or sponsoring a service would go a long way to bringing onboard a rural community.

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      • nunga :

        24 May 2012 11:55:33am

        In my town we have found that the lack of pollution, noise, and health problems, associated with the diesel fired power station we used to have, was benefit enough from the introduction of wind turbines. Not only that, but the tourist dollars that have been gained for the town, as the wind turbines are a tourist attraction, with many describing them as beautiful, is a benefit not to be overlooked.

        Our town is known for its pristine coast line, and clean environment, and the wind power is a big part of this.

        There will always be complainers, I had a woman staying at my hostel who complained that the ocean was too loud and she couldn’t sleep, sigh.

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  • Marcus :

    23 May 2012 3:19:14pm

    So wind turbines power mass hysteria? At least they power something. Here was I thinking they were compelety useless.

    On another topic, didn’t the good Professor of public whatever have this rant here a couple of months ago? Has something changed or is he just being a good recycler?

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    • Dave Clarke :

      23 May 2012 5:41:24pm

      Marcus; Wind turbines provide 26% of South Australia’s electricity. 10 years ago we had no renewable energy. Far from useless, that is a great achievement!

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  • a country gal :

    23 May 2012 3:17:55pm

    Thanks Simon, timely article.
    Gee i knew there was a few complaints but going to the toilet every 5 mins was a beauty. Imagine the water bill!
    What I find truly remarkable are that those farmers who receive the royalties generally don’t contract any of these life changing/fatal diseases and conditions.
    That in itself must be worth a study.
    One can imagine the conclusion though; the perceived diseases were contacted via a third protagonist, the envy of money.

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  • Greybeard :

    23 May 2012 3:17:42pm

    Why not whack a few up around Sydney Harbour?

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    • Shebs :

      23 May 2012 4:48:32pm

      Why not indeed!

      That is just the issue isn’t it: the Sydney Harbour types love the turbines, and piously support them, just as inner Melbourne Green trendies do….yet they do not live anywhere near them, and ignore the fact that they are unsightly and create rather a lot of noise. These would be factors that would have these same Greenies screaming if their harbour view or inner-urban scene disturbed similarly.

      Plus the things are crap for base-load power.

      No need for these faux-illnesses, the turbines and their advocates and their poor economy/heavy subsidy do them in. Actually I would not discount some of the noise-related factors caused by these monsters, though I cannot bring myself to worry about petulant seagulls.

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      • Fran Barlow :

        23 May 2012 11:52:33pm

        “Sydney Harbour types {and}inner Melbourne Green trendies {…} do not live anywhere near them, and ignore the fact that they are unsightly and create rather a lot of noise.”

        Again, the topic is whether people alleging “wind turbine syndrome” make a valid point. It seems they don’t. Your attempt to shift the goalposts seems to acknowledge this fact.

        What’s unsightly and noisy is a matter of opinion. Major roads are unsightly and noisy, but few if any claim that the noise affects their health, and those that do are given short shrift.

        “Plus the things are crap for base-load power.” Again, irrelevant, even if true.

        Actually the term “baseload power” is itself misleading. All it really means is “non-peaking or shoulder power” — the base level demand. What you really should have said was that as intermittent sources, they are not as dispatchable or available as fossil thermal plants. That’s not a huge problem though because we have other highly dispatchable sources such as hydro to load balance. We can also use OCGT (i.e gas plants) to cover them on fairly short notice — and we usually get plenty of notice because wind is highly predictable on lead times much longer than the ramp time of an OCGT unit.

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      • Reinhard :

        24 May 2012 9:51:47am

        And it’s the taxes paid by “Sydney Harbour types and inner Melbourne Green trendies” that pay for the rural services that they will never need, so I wouldn’t be too harsh if I were you..

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  • marcus4miners :

    23 May 2012 5:24:56pm

    Best you can do? How about near an ardent Coalition supporter with lots of power? There is someone with a property near Yass whose influence on governments and public opinion is huge. Besieged media boss Rupert Murdoch owns Cavan, a substantial rural property in the grazing country nearby. No other media group in Australia has run a more distorted and dishonest scare campaign about wind farms than the Murdoch group. The district of Yass has in the planning stages a larger proportion of wind farms than elsewhere in Australia. In 2010 Family First’s own climate change sceptic, Senator Steve Fielding, initiated a Senate inquiry into so-called turbine sickness. The report was released last year. The Senate inquiry found no proof of a direct link between wind farms and the so-called wind turbine syndrome. The submission of the National Health and Medical Research Council concluded that there is no published scientific evidence to support adverse effects of wind turbines on health.

    Professor Peter Seligman of the Melbourne Energy Institute also gave evidence to the inquiry. Professor Seligman spent most of his working life working on the cochlear implant. He has a PhD in electronic engineering. He understands infrasound better than most. He told Sandi Keane that the level of infrasound at the beach is far higher than that from wind farms. Beyond 360 metres the level of infrasound emitted from a wind farm, typically between one and 20 cycles per second, is below the ambient levels near a beach and below that in the central business district of any city. On the other hand, we are all subjected to far higher internally self-generated natural infrasound levels, which clearly are not a problem

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  • Reinhard :

    24 May 2012 9:49:37am

    Land prices?

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  • mandas :

    24 May 2012 11:22:06am

    I would certainly swap that ugly power station at Port Adelaide for a few nice wind turbines.

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  • Alex :

    23 May 2012 3:09:56pm

    Wind bad, coal seem gas polluting water supplies, nuclear accident waiting to happen, coal corp pollution, burn baby burn all good sorted then.

    Power station of any sort do run generators much bigger than even a squadron of windies. How is it the evil windy is only electric power generator to be an apparent problem?

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  • prt :

    23 May 2012 3:07:30pm

    How is it that discussion of wind turbine effects in Australia fails to consult the experience of countries like Holland and Denmark where turbines have been working in close proximity to people for decades? Is this another example of the failure of journalism to compete with infotainment?

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    • Simon :

      23 May 2012 4:37:44pm

      No good. Completely different situation. Europe’s in the other hemisphere, so the turbine blades rotate the other way, as any fool knows. Makes all the difference, like listening to a heavy metal LP backwards.

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    • marcus4miners :

      23 May 2012 5:27:18pm

      Good question, more like a failure to represent facts for which the CSG and media magnate Murdoch is renowned. Nina Pierpont is an American general practitioner who claims to be an authority on wind turbine syndrome. Pierpont is the author of a self-published book containing descriptions of the health problems of merely 10 families—that is, 38 people—in five different countries who once lived near wind turbines and who are convinced that turbines made them sick. Medical experts in Australia have said that, given that there are about 100,000 turbines around the world, her sample is too small to have any scientific value. There were no scientific controls, and the symptoms described were common in any community.

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  • comical :

    23 May 2012 3:05:36pm

    I have heard cars kill people so add those to the list

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    • jessie :

      23 May 2012 6:21:59pm

      Every car should be run from a wind turbine on its roof – that will solve global warming pronto!

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  • Rob :

    23 May 2012 2:58:16pm

    I particularly like the comment about ‘loss of bowels’. My question is ‘Are they later found outside the 18 km ‘zone of influence’ (which effects worms) of the wind farms?’

    Has any one researched the health effects of the half a dozen coal fired power stations on the shores of Lake Macquarie?

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    • Bluegum :

      23 May 2012 4:27:58pm

      There is certainly a fine layer of black dust covering everything around the lake. A boat hire operator told me the other day that he has to constantly wash his boats to get rid of it. Shame we can’t just wash our lungs too 😦

      Each turbine will save over 4,000 tonnes of coal being burnt each year. Let’s keep working towards keeping our air fresh in Australia – seen pictures of the air quality in China lately?

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      • Rob :

        24 May 2012 10:55:55am

        Not to mention the amount of coal dustin the air around the Carrington and Koorangang Island coal loading facilities.

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  • MJMI :

    23 May 2012 4:42:05pm

    It was the whales having their sonar systems disrupted that worried me. Can we please stop putting wind farms out at sea?

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    • a country gal :

      23 May 2012 10:57:19pm

      Bit late for affecting whales sonar.Do you realise how many submarines, fishing boats, recreational, oil rigs and cruisers there are in our seas. The amount of wind turbines would be an absolutely minimal added effect.
      Sorry, but a very myopic addition to the debate – I presume you were being serious.

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  • Gr8Ape :

    23 May 2012 2:50:34pm

    I’ve just invented a guaranteed cure for wind turbine syndrome… and it doesn’t need batteries!

    It’s a small black box which uses the negative wind turbine energy vectors (-WTEVS) given off by the turbines to both power the device and in turn, creates +WTEVS to counteract them.

    It retails for $2990. The high price should be enough to convince even the most sceptical person that it works 100%.

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    • Rae :

      23 May 2012 3:13:01pm

      Does it also help them to keep working.

      If you look at any turbine farm a few years old at least 20% do not move at all.

      I think they may be like water pumps which have to be continually monitored and fixed to keep working.

      What is the shelf life of your black box? Or is it too new to tell yet?

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      • Lake Pleasant :

        23 May 2012 4:26:49pm

        they need continual maintenance? Im shocked. SHOCKED I TELLS YA!.

        and to think the several hundred of my coworkers that worked in the SA power station at Pt Augusta used to just walk around doing nothing, because nothing ever needs maintenance to keep running once its built does it.

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      • Big M :

        23 May 2012 4:43:30pm

        I’m sure that for a modest credit card payment, Gr8ape will send you an update!

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      • Gr8Ape :

        23 May 2012 5:44:30pm

        It’s so simple and unobtrusive, it almost resembles a finely sculptured lump of coal.

        It will keep operating for millions of years unless you subject it to violent impacts or fire.

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  • Simon Chapman :

    23 May 2012 2:45:46pm

    As if wind tubine syndrome isn’t deadly enough. The very same inaudible infrasound which permeates beaches and surrounding residences (caused by waves)has experts predicting epidemics of “Beach Rage Syndrome” See http://t.co/DXfYZgL6

    Also, those interested in how portentious sounding terminology like WTS and “vibroacoustic disease” get factoid traction should read this http://hdl.handle.net/2123/8362

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  • ginad :

    23 May 2012 2:43:49pm

    Well done Simon. It is high time that someone speaks out against what appears to be people who just do not like wind farms or at least not vicinity. Personal opinions aside, we need to be doing something to counteract the impact on the environment due to human activities including the use of fossil fuels for ppower generation. I want a future for my young children free of environmental pollution. And you cannot tell me that the impacts of wind are anywhere near as damaging as those from coal and gas!
    I fee that the people opining the view that wind energy is damaging to health are they themselves at the root of the problem.

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    • James X Leftie :

      24 May 2012 12:04:22am

      If you want a future without pollution you’d better stop the world population growing by 90,000,000 people a year.

      People who need food, clothing, cars, fridges, power etc etc every day of their lives.

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  • terben :

    23 May 2012 2:42:10pm

    A wind turbine has caused my curtains to fade. I initially thought that it might have been the fluoride in the water. Later I was convinced that it was daylight saving, but now I know it is those wind turbines.

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    • DSteel :

      23 May 2012 3:06:14pm

      You need my patented BrainBlocker helmet,made from quality aluminium foil and custom fitted by my team of head fitters who will attach it to your head with quick release velcro tabs.

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    • a country gal :

      23 May 2012 3:19:21pm

      My small household wind turbine has caused our trees to face the other way.

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    • peter :

      23 May 2012 8:01:20pm

      Good one terben.My thoughts exactly.But surely you should have included Smart Meters. Many pensioners are so worried by those doomsdayers that they think that their pets are going to die from the radioactivity emitted by smart meters which are part of Gillard’s carbon tax!!!
      I think that I saw that article about smart meters in the Herald/Sun, or was it the Weekly Times. Country people seem to be the most terrified by these new-fangled things. My God, what’s happening to our country that our Diggers fought for!!!

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  • John :

    23 May 2012 2:39:01pm

    Where my cousin lives, on the west coast of Schleswig-Holstein, in Germany) there are wind turbines as far as the eye can see. There is no hysteria against them because people want them instead of nuclear or coal power. People in Australia do not want them simply because they are regarded as an eyesore and becuase there are no real arguments against them they begin to attribute medical issues to them. It is utterly ridiculous. I heard one person saying they would kill birds as the birds would not recognise them. Birds seem to avoid hazards like planes, powerlines and trees ok, they will be fine with turbines too.

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    • Simon :

      23 May 2012 3:34:38pm

      No, actually, wind turbines do kill birds. Quite a lot of them. A peer-refereed study reported in the academic journal ‘Renewable Energy’ has determined that, in 2009, wind turbines were responsible for the death of something like twenty thousand birds in total.

      Estimated bird mortality from flying into building windows during this time? Somewhere between one hundred million and one billion.

      Clearly, we must stop erecting wind turbines immediately, before the skies fall silent.

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      • john byatt :

        23 May 2012 4:22:51pm

        power lines kill far more birds, as do household window panes, as do trees that move and cause baby birds to fall out of their nests,

        let us ban the lot,
        that was a study also

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      • john byatt :

        23 May 2012 4:25:07pm

        oops. we seem to be on the same side apologies.

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      • Lake Pleasant :

        23 May 2012 4:27:38pm

        or remove all windows so the birds can safely fly through.

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  • Big M :

    23 May 2012 3:43:52pm

    Birds are smarter than most humans.

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    • Jimmy Necktie :

      23 May 2012 8:36:35pm

      then why is parliment full of gallahs?

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  • Trevor :

    23 May 2012 2:38:22pm

    While I dont live near a wind turbine I am concerned that a small percentage of the electricity in my house comes from a wind farm. The electrons that were wrenched from their nucleus by this demonic invention and then force marched into my Nespresso machine have caused havoc. I know they behave differently from electrons that were coaxed away by a nice warming coal fire.

    lord Monkton should look into this. Only then will we get the truth.

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  • JohnM :

    23 May 2012 2:38:14pm

    Have you taken a look at wind turbines in South Australia lately? There’s a community where most people are desperate to move away but finding it impossible to sell their houses.

    Have you tried camping for 24 hours near one of these monuments to folly?

    How about standing in the shadow of the turbines and letting the flickering shadows cross your face?

    I love how you take one instance of hyperbole completely at face value. I can fully understand why you take other people’s opnions on other matters as gospel.

    And to search for a very specific phrase, “Wind Turbine Syndrome”, looks lik eresearch at its worst. Why didn’t you search for a variety of terms related to this?

    Your article is just another in a long line of ABC support for the unproven nonsense about a supposed need for alternative energy.

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    • Albo :

      23 May 2012 4:11:02pm

      Spot on John !

      I would love to hear the Drum reactions if each one of these wind turbine monstrosities was sponsored by say McDonalds or Benson & Hedges ! And the skyline was full of golden arches or tobacco advertising “doing it for the environment” !
      I suspect their value would be somewhat reduced by the learned elite !

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    • Bill :

      23 May 2012 4:29:20pm

      flickering shadow? are you for real?

      I have a tree outside my house that makes shadows move across my lounge room when the wind blows the branches.

      who knew I suffered from a similar syndrome!
      Ill never be able to sell my house now, and lose control of my bowels!

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      • CP :

        23 May 2012 8:47:57pm

        Flicker vertigo. It’s real. Don’t know if wind turbines can cause it, though. Still, you go on being a dismissive smart alec if it makes you happy.

        As for the vibrations, again, I’m not sure about the windmills, but they can do strange things to you – make your nose itch (true, I’ve experienced this). There is even some weapons research into using vibrations to make people sick.

        Oh, and then there’s this: http://vic.awu.net.au/117883939626630_5.html?H%7C0%7C117883939626630%7C117883…

        Why are people such smug prats?

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        • Bill :

          24 May 2012 9:20:18am

          It comes from the frustration from listening to people talk utter nonsense.

          If you are against climate change, or think wind turbines arent viable thats one thing. to think a slowly rotating blade will make someone lose their bowels or affect someone like a high speed flicker strobe is just nonsense and not supported by any medical research

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        • Reinhard :

          24 May 2012 1:38:48pm

          Why are people such smug prats?
          I don’t know , why don’t you tell us…

          And as for the “weapons research into using vibrations to make people sick” ,you may be referring to the “brown note”, a note 92 octaves below B-flat, between 5 and 9 Hz , which is 12 Hz below human hearing..

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  • casaham :

    23 May 2012 4:53:28pm

    I have camped for 24 hours near a coal power plant.
    That’s one noisy sumvabitch. Wondered why they let so much energy evaporate into the atmosphere.

    On the way there I drove down a road and the sun trees flickered through the trees into my window for hours, until the sun was more vertical.

    It was better once I got out into the deforested area though.

    Next day I caught a train and the sun flickered through my window again.

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  • Paul :

    23 May 2012 5:13:19pm

    We will need renewable energy one day John due to coal, oil, gas and even nuclear being finite.

    Why not get a head start?

    The Japanese will be looking into renewable energy sources very seriously now that they have closed down all nuclear power plants and the plants cannot be restarted without local consent.

    If I pay you to stand with the flickering light or to put your tent under the turbine you wont have any symptoms? Must be the free market at work.

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  • DaveB :

    23 May 2012 5:18:01pm

    Yes, I have camped, and lived, next to turbines for extended periods, and suffered no ill effects. What a load of rot the critics spout when they have obviously never been close to them.

    To all those who have never been up close to them – they don’t make much noise, they don’t cause headaches or sleeping problems, they are no more an eyesore than power lines, I find them relaxing actually. Get off your horse and go and find out for yourselves.

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  • Dave Clarke :

    23 May 2012 5:53:21pm

    JohnM; I live in Mid North South Australia, right in among hundreds of turbines. I’ve made a point of sleeping beneath wind turbines five times; not a bit of a problem, the sound lulled me to sleep.

    Denmark has about 700 Watts of installed wind power per person, Mid North SA has about 30 000. Keep them coming I say.

    That community you mention contains about six people who are strongly opposed to wind turbines, many others are all for them.

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    • George :

      24 May 2012 10:25:45am

      Well David, that means that you unlike others are not susceptible or perhaps you aren’t aware of the problems they cause your health. It’s best to have a medical professional to confirm health problems, not private individuals or a Syndey Uni professor who isn’t qualified to diagnose a migraine headache.

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  • Amanda :

    23 May 2012 6:33:50pm

    Give me wind turbines any day in preference to the burgeoning coal seam industry here in inland Queensland. Try living near a drilling rig with the noise, dust and light pollution, not to mention the surreptitious disposal of salty contaminated water. Potential health impacts are still unknown for gas but are certainly established for coal mining which also threatens our grazing property. Try selling your property with established or potential gas wells.

    As for bird mortality, CSG and coal mining are having a devastating effect on flora and fauna on a massive scale far in excess to a few wind turbines.

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  • Greig :

    23 May 2012 2:38:12pm

    Of course the same hysteria applies to nuclear power stations and coal seam gas extraction plants.

    It is called NIMBYism.

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    • Albo :

      23 May 2012 4:23:26pm

      Spot on !
      The only difference is that nuclear and CSG actually offer serious energy alternatives ! The windmills are totally costly & inefficient eyesores ! Any windmill NIMBY’s at least have some ammunition as to the community value for their discomfort !

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      • Amanda :

        23 May 2012 8:28:09pm

        And you are telling me that CSG wells aren’t eyesores? Not to mention the flow lines, pipeline corridors, brine dams, construction dongas, spillage areas etc. etc.

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        • Greig :

          24 May 2012 11:54:19am

          Of course they are eyesores, but they provide cost effective and efficient energy. At least you get reasonable benefit from having to endure the eyesore.

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  • Mark :

    23 May 2012 2:36:36pm

    Isn’t it interesting that those who advocate loudest on environmental issues affecting rural communities live in the middle of our biggest cities.

    I’ll bet this writer has never lived within 100km of a wind turbine in his life. While some of the claims he highlights are no doubt ludicrous, he is hardly in any position to be belittling those who make them.

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    • Simon Chapman :

      23 May 2012 3:16:22pm

      Mark – I’ve lived for 22years about 200m under the main flight path into Sydney airport. 50 metres away is a busy street and about 200m away is a railway line that I can hear. I can hear the Saturday evening fireworks from Darling Harbour too. People who live in cites (80% of the population) are surrounded by noise that make wind turbines sound like a whisper. I recently spent an hour among about 27 turbines in NZ. The loudest noise (by far) was the wind in my ears, followed by the idling diesel motor of the bus that drove us up there & left the motor running. The blades made a gentle swooshing sound. I found the turbines magestic. 100s of sheep were grazing among them, indifferent to their fate!

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      • cimka :

        23 May 2012 4:14:38pm

        I’ve seen cows grazing contentedly next to nuclear facilities in France.

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      • Miowarra :

        23 May 2012 4:46:14pm

        “100s of sheep were grazing among them, indifferent to their fate!”

        Ah, but did you check to ascertain whether* they had lost their bowels, and didn’t know where to find them?

        Surely there was a little Bo Peep Kiwi or two nearby to help you find out.

        ——-
        * NB: Not wether, nor weather.

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  • Simon :

    23 May 2012 3:45:00pm

    So people who live in cities aren’t entitled to hold views about which mechanisms (coal / hydro / nuclear / solar / wind) are preferable for energy generation?

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  • Dr Who :

    23 May 2012 6:01:53pm

    I’ve lived a large chunk of my life within about 100m of a railway station, and got used to it. Even if wind turbines were noisy (and those who have been able to get close to one usually claim that they are not), I’d still be disinclined to sympathise with those who complain about the noise.

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  • Ben :

    23 May 2012 6:04:13pm

    Following on from that logic, we need to travel to Venus to know its over 400 degrees and anyone claiming that natural therapies are bollocks needs to have cured themselves from every disease with them. Nonsense logic.

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  • GregA :

    23 May 2012 6:49:28pm

    I’ll bet you haven’t either.

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  • Bill :

    24 May 2012 9:22:22am

    yes because its well known all the loud noises happen in the countryside, away from the trucks, planes, roadworks, factories, trains etc of the quiet big cities.

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  • Reinhard :

    23 May 2012 2:36:23pm

    The only true symptom of “Wind turbine syndrome” is a pinching of the hip pocket nerve of the coal & gas industries, and their associated spokes-lackys..

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  • Lewis of The Hills :

    23 May 2012 2:32:35pm

    It doesn’t matter how many talking heads experts the wind turbine industry trots out it will still be regarded with suspicion because everybody knows that without massive subsidies from taxpayers it would never be viable. All part of the brave new “market mechanism” for pricing CO2. What a joke.

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    • Daniel F. :

      23 May 2012 3:55:42pm

      As opposed to coal, gas, nuclear etc. which of course are not subsidised at all, and never have been?

      Subsides are always necessary to establish new modes of generation. It seems somewhat smarter to establish those which will not run out.

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    • Dave Clarke :

      23 May 2012 5:56:18pm

      Lewis; What about the $4b per year the mining industries get in subsidies? What about the fact that coal-fired power stations can dump their waste into the atmosphere at no cost to them. That is a subsidy too.

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      • Reinhard :

        24 May 2012 1:41:38pm

        Actually that would be called an externality, a cost to the community not borne by the producer….

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  • Lewis of The Hills :

    24 May 2012 10:35:08am

    The mining industry does have subsidies mainly to partially compensate the very high capital investments required which benefits our economy. But coal-fired electricity generation is not subsidised. On the contrary, in NSW it is milked for dividends into government coffers.

    Emissions of wastes are heavily regulated by the EPA. Particulates & toxic chemicals no longer spew from smokestacks or car exhausts into our atmosphere & hasn’t done so for 30 years. I do not consider CO2 a pollutant.

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  • Guru Snow Patrol :

    23 May 2012 2:31:25pm

    This is the 21st Century, right? And you want to give us bloody Windmills? Yeah, right on dudes….full steam ahead to the middle ages and beyond. I would have thought that you science boffins would have come up with something better by now. Now I know where the billions of dollars in research projects go….Oh, I forgot, of course, we’ve got iPads….and the Hadron collider…… Wombats

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    • Dom :

      23 May 2012 3:29:06pm

      Walls. Shoes. Vegetables. Language. Crop rotation. Sex. Roads. Brewing.

      I do hope you are avoiding all of these terrible, middle-ages popular evils GSP. If not, perhaps you could consider that some things just work.

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    • Damnthematrix :

      23 May 2012 3:32:22pm

      Coal is 19th century technology…..

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      • DocMercury :

        23 May 2012 3:56:09pm

        Charcoal from slow burned forestry, as fuel for limestone, plaster, concrete and metal smelting is at least 3000 years older.
        We deforested the land long before we started burning fossil forests.

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      • Ben :

        23 May 2012 6:06:06pm

        Try 17th century.

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  • John Md :

    23 May 2012 4:09:17pm

    Trethevick’s first steam car is reported to have weighed 1.5 tonnes. Modern cars still have somewhere between just under a tonne and 3 tonnes of car that, most often, carries just one person who might weigh in at 0.5% of the weight of the car. These monsters still spew noxious fumes into the air we breathe, maybe at a lower per car rate, but with an effect that in total is vastly greater than in the early 1800s, or even than the cars of the early 1900s. Windmills are not in the same league!

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  • shayne :

    23 May 2012 4:17:37pm

    yes, wind is so old school. you’d think it would have blown itself out by now.

    actually, in case you hadn’t noticed there are many technologies previously killed off by the fossil fuel industry that are (rightly) making a come back. funny you should mention “steam”, did you know a 1 HP steam tractor will probably out-pull a 20 HP ICE tractor? do you care, or is it more important that it’s the latest and greatest (funny you mention an ipad)

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  • Sean :

    23 May 2012 4:54:13pm

    I heard scientists were trying to take take the word “luddite” out of the dictionary. Scientists is eebil, dey is.

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  • mandas :

    24 May 2012 11:26:02am

    Yeah, and windmills are based on the wheel!! How archaic can you get?

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  • JoeBloggs :

    24 May 2012 12:10:52pm

    “….full steam ahead to the middle ages and beyond”

    You have to admit steam engines are a bit outdated too, but we still use them.

    They are used to provide us with power, be it via a coal fired steam engine power station, or a nuclear steam engine power station.

    We are trying really hard to make a fusion powered steam engine power station too ,which once complete will be wonderful source of energy for us.

    Meanwhile the science boffins are coming up with other worthwhile energy solutions like solar power, pretty smart huh?

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  • Reinhard :

    24 May 2012 1:43:55pm

    Yes Guru and smoke-stacks belching out tons of smoke and pollutants are just so 21st century..

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  • Graeme :

    23 May 2012 2:27:19pm

    I am a sceptic as well on most unexplained effects or illnesses.
    However last year I had the opportunity to visit a wind farm in Albany and stand below one of these monsters.
    It had an eerie effect on me that I could not explain.
    Maybe something to do with imposing presence of a mechanical machine on the landscape and the swish of the blades.
    Just don’t know

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    • Pete :

      23 May 2012 4:06:29pm

      I had the same sensation when I stood next to a stationary steam train. That thing gave me the heebeegeebee’s. All the heat, hissing, steam and preasure really mad me keep my distance.

      It did not make me sick however. Just (I’m a little emabarressed to say) scared.

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    • Bill :

      23 May 2012 4:30:40pm

      stand under a coal fired power station chimney belching out and see if you feel any better.

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    • GregA :

      23 May 2012 6:50:02pm

      Maybe it was ghosts or aliens or bigfoot.

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    • JoeBloggs :

      24 May 2012 12:13:52pm

      Don’t go to Holland then, the place is full of windmills, you might just fall over dead from fright being near that many turning things…..

      Your real name isn’t Don Quixote is it?

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  • kj :

    23 May 2012 2:23:47pm

    Another prediction for these comments:

    – Long-winded and entirely irrelevant rants about ‘inner-city people’ that completely and hilariously miss the point of the article, and resort to unintentionally comical cliches instead

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  • Gr8Ape :

    23 May 2012 2:22:55pm

    I beg to differ!

    A combination of blind ignorance and wind turbines does seem to cause mass hysteria and paranoia.

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    • Jimmy Necktie :

      23 May 2012 9:02:37pm

      Asimov said “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”. The operative word being “sufficiently”

      If it don’t make smoke come out the top it must be voodoo.

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  • EVAN :

    23 May 2012 2:21:25pm

    There is probably millions of people around the world that wear a copper bracelet on their wrist for relief of arthritis,I think it is.Are these people imagining it as there are probably millions more who would say the bracelets make no difference.
    If you are sick or in pain you will eat excrement if it makes you feel better

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    • Marcus :

      23 May 2012 3:20:26pm

      I draw the line at aspirin. But, if it works for you….

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      • JoeBloggs :

        24 May 2012 12:14:43pm

        sheezz I just fell of my chair laughing, thanks Marcus…

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  • Sean :

    23 May 2012 3:52:29pm

    Evan, you are missing the point. It is all well and good for ppl to believe in placebos, but to claim that something is actually making them sick is a different thing altogether. I suspect most of these ppl making outrageous claims are in the pocket of the dirty energy providers.

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  • Mary Ann :

    23 May 2012 11:22:37pm

    I admit that I used to wear a copper bracelet because I heard that arthritis is retarded by copper in the blood but being a poison the only safe way is by absorbsion through the skin. I now have awful arthritis in my hands so I’ve given up the copper bracelet faith. My sister swears that rubbing aching arthritis with a magnet relieves the pain instantly, and a brother says that ear candles have improved his hearing. You should sell your cure for pain and sickness on e-bay.

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  • Old Rob :

    23 May 2012 2:21:12pm

    Wind turbines are the major cause of Wind Turbine Syndrome , Dr Pierpont is a widely aclaimed specialist in the diagoses of this and other illnesses such solar panel syndrome . you people who have never suffered from such illnesses can not understand . I have personally flown head first into a wind turbine while under its effect and received a very serious bruise on my hind quarters when I crashed to earth .

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  • Harquebus :

    23 May 2012 2:20:32pm

    The only thing wrong with wind turbines is, they do not return the total energy used in their manufacture. They have to do this and then some to be viable. Diminishing energy returns are all that we get from these inefficient devices.

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    • prison :

      23 May 2012 2:56:04pm

      therefore, they will kill us all!

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    • SN :

      23 May 2012 3:09:42pm

      Are you being sarcastic? They pay the energy back pretty quickly depending obviously on the size of the turbine and the capacity factor

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      • Cobbler :

        23 May 2012 3:35:19pm

        Andrew Bolt said once that one in the UK only generated $21 of power therefore they all must not be viable.

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        • Miowarra :

          23 May 2012 4:48:27pm

          Oh well, since BOLT said it, it absolutely, positively must be true.

          Oh wait. Wasn’t there a court case?

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        • Sean :

          23 May 2012 4:56:30pm

          Yes, Andrew Bolt is the guru of all things, and you should listen to him on your way to Valhalla.

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  • GRF :

    23 May 2012 3:12:42pm

    Interesting and important point, Harquebus. Then there are the green-house emissions involved in their transport, installation and maintenance.

    I too am sceptical about the claims of health effects from turbines, but there is a potential issues with regular subsonic vibrations which probably warrants research. So rather than dismissing all complaints as cranks, the issue should be studied in systematic way with a large data-base rather than treating it as a joke.

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    • T N Args :

      23 May 2012 4:20:03pm

      I think you meant to write “Boring and wrong point, Harquebus”. The energy payback period of a wind turbine is the best of all, only 3 months. Solar energy is 7 to 8 years. Coal and gas are ‘never’; you keep pouring more coal or gas in and always lose energy.

      Your suggestion to study the issues raised in a systematic way is just a giant waste of time and money. Surely smarter to dismiss nearly all health claims as motivated by self interest, and only investigate objectively curious phenomena, if any.

      ‘Regular subsonic vibrations’? Billions of hours of evidence travelling in vehicles has provided an unimaginably rich database for this theory, and…. other than motion sickness…. nothing to report.

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      • GRF :

        24 May 2012 12:33:09am

        The ‘energy pay-back’ you refer to is a cost based analysis; i.e it cost $x to manufacture the wind turbine and $x = y.$electricity cost. So at power generation rate z; z/y.$electricity cost gives you your ‘pay-back’ time. This is however not a calculation of the embedded energy in manufacturing process which needs to include metal smelting, the food production and services for all the workers involved, the administrative infrastructure, mining and transport and support services etc. etc, etc, Nobody ever does a realistic energy audit – the amount of energy involved in manufacturing is huge and a real calculation would involve an audit of a society-wide system and is very difficult to estimate. And I suspect the real numbers would be scary. But they’re almost certainly not as bad as for solar panels.

        With regard to health issues, one does not need to stop development or construction of towers to do studies and it is due medical diligence to always keep an open eye and mind. One should never ban research.

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      • Harquebus :

        24 May 2012 9:43:04am

        Sorry GRF, it has nothing to do with ROI but, with EROEI and with most of the EI being lost as heat.

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      • Harquebus :

        24 May 2012 9:40:54am

        You are not going far enough up the exponentially expanding supply chain. Wind can polish glass but, it can’t melt it.

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  • Dom :

    23 May 2012 3:38:40pm

    A popular lie. Wind has an EROI of 20. Hydro has the best at 100, and coal is right up there at 80, but wind doesn’t have the issues those two do. That’s why wind turbine syndrome was invented.

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    • Fran Barlow :

      24 May 2012 12:18:40am

      “A popular lie. Wind has an EROI of 20. Hydro has the best at 100, and coal is right up there at 80”

      You are mixing up criteria. EROEI is about the relationship between the energy inputs required to harvest or produce the fuel and the energy extracted from the fuel. It takes no account of the associated technologies for turning the feedstock into useable output.

      Wind requires near zero energy input to harvest, because the energy required to build and install the technology (a wind turbine) can in theory exist forever and costs about the same to operate whether it’s harvesting 100MWh per day or nothing. You could perhaps try comparing maintenance costs over time on wind turbines with high capacity factors with those with low CF but it would be of doubtful value. Coal on the other hand, requires enormous input energy to harvest — much of it diesel fuel and explosives and all of the other energy sources to operate a mine. Ditto petroleum.

      The energy payback model is more useful. How much time does it take to payback the lifecycle energy in establishing a windfarm or some other energy source. The windfarm comes out pretty well at about 3-4 months in places with CFs of better than 30%. It would take many years to payback a hydro plant or coal or gas or nuclear plant.

      Of course energy isn;t all the same. Fully dispatchable energy is more useful than porly dispatchable energy. Wind-sourced energy tends to be a lot less dispatchable than fossil thermal or nuclear or hydro. Of course, in a mixed energy system with variable demand this might not be a problem. You reticulate your wind so that when one places is underperforming another is overperforming. You build some storage — such as pumped hydro. And you back up with quick ramping gas plants as a last resort and manage demand. Overall, if you can use most of the output of intermittents like wind, you get a cleaner system and you get it cheaper than with coal plants overtime, since there is virtually no marginal fuel cost.

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      • Harquebus :

        24 May 2012 9:45:17am

        Try melting ores with wind or solar Pv. Good luck. The generators do not last forever and melting, tooling for and machining metals takes a lot of energy.

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      • Dom :

        24 May 2012 11:27:07am

        You are, of course, exactly right, Fran. I don’t, however, engage in Drum discussions to debate science, as it’s not a scientific forum with scientific standards. That’s why it attracts the like of Harquebus’ ilk of comment, and at that point, I’m interested in the process of self deception and denial.

        When the truth is a single websearch away, someone shows great intent when actively confusing and contradicting the truth. What’s amazing is the proportion of those people with nothing to gain from this but their own psychic comfort. Wind turbine syndrome is pushed very hard by people with no proximity to turbines as much as those with. Without any logical credibility, the NSW government now get to be further in the pocket of the fossil fuel industry by making wind farms near impossible to build using the cover of people like Harquebus (using either the WTS argument or the inefficiency argument, depending on who they’re talking to), even though the distance between him and any knowledge of the subject is not even the width of a keyboard. There’s little point engaging this kind of denial with argument, but it seems important to show it for the ludicrous folly that it is.

        That’s why I enjoyed this article so much that I lost my bowels and my dogs are catatonic. I’ve never seen them like that before. Except yesterday. and the day before. But I’ll just forget about that for the sake of my argument.

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  • Daniel F. :

    23 May 2012 3:58:29pm

    Wow. That’s so wrong it isn’t funny.

    Do you think coal-fired power stations are made from air? All capital works have an intrinsic energy content. Wind turbines pay for themselves rather quickly (as do photovoltaic cells). Do some research before making ignorant assumptions.

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    • Harquebus :

      24 May 2012 9:47:09am

      “coal-fired power stations” fired power stations use the concentrated energy of millions of years worth of sunshine.

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  • CC :

    23 May 2012 4:17:55pm

    They repay their carbon footprint in less than a year.

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  • Crow :

    23 May 2012 4:31:59pm

    a unit of oil doesnt return the energy needed to dill it, extract it, refine it and transport it either

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    • Harquebus :

      24 May 2012 9:49:23am

      Canadian tar sands are two to one. One energy unit equivalent to one barrel will get you two. Currently, the EROEI on oil is about twenty to one, down from two hundred to one a century ago.

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  • Id :

    23 May 2012 4:37:41pm

    So what you are saying is that the people of France,Spain,Germany,Italy and the UK are stupid,and unable to realise how uneconomical wind turbines are?
    Please quote your research papers on this,with of course the names of the reviewers.
    At the same time,a dissertation on how economic is the electric power supply system of say ,Victoria ,would be read with great interest.
    (My power bills have increased twelve fold in the last twelve years, I should mention)

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  • Charlene Grainger :

    23 May 2012 5:26:11pm

    Actually, the “embodied energy payback period” for a wind turbine is between 3 and 6 months.

    Embodied energy payback period for coal = never.

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    • Harquebus :

      24 May 2012 9:50:17am

      It’s not hard digging up coal and it provides a lot of energy. Millions of years worth of stored solar.

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      • JoeBloggs :

        24 May 2012 12:18:04pm

        “Millions of years worth of stored solar.”

        That is one long lived tree ….

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  • Dave Clarke :

    23 May 2012 6:00:33pm

    Harquebus; actually a modern wind turbine will return the energy used in its manufacture in about 5 months operation. (ramblingsdc.net/Australia/WindProblems.html#Energy_consumed_in_wind_farm_construction)

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  • Dr Who :

    23 May 2012 6:04:29pm

    Evidence to counter your claim has been provided previously. Provide evidence to back up your ludicrous claim, or kindly stop posting it.

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  • Damnthematrix :

    24 May 2012 12:53:23pm

    Simply untrue. The embodied energy of a wind turbine is the total amount of energy that goes into the manufacture of all of its component parts together with all the energy going into its construction on the wind farm.

    For large grid feed-in wind turbines supplying the grid, the payback period… calculated in terms of energy fed into the grid compared with the embodied energy in the turbine itself… is of the order of about only 6 months. In other words… it takes 6 months for a wind turbine to harvest enough energy to pay back to the World the energy that went into its very existence.

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  • Reinhard :

    24 May 2012 1:52:35pm

    Talk of inefficiency , how is that different to the massive amounts of energy required to dig coal out of the ground, transport it to the power-station and then pump it into a furnace?

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  • Charlie :

    23 May 2012 2:18:37pm

    No doubt all those who disbelieve all the science and studies, that prove that there is no ill effects from wind turbines also disbelieve all the science associated with global warming. Or is their belief in science selective?

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  • blax5 :

    23 May 2012 2:13:55pm

    Isn’t it so that all electricity generation that does not come from the big companies always cops some flak?

    Diversity and decentralisation in electricity generation takes turnover away from the biggies where ousted politicians often find a board to call home.

    There have been many inventions that looked like providing relief from the grip of the electricity biggies but they never really get off the ground. The banks don’t lend. It is unproven, they would say, but their books are full of loans to the traditional electricity industry which they need to protect.

    It is a miracle that we got as far as we got with wind power. I remember the first one here in South Australia, initiated by the then newly elected Labor government – just doing it. It was lucky that Qld had not yet privatised their electricity so they had a partner.

    Maybe some people are indeed adversely affected. What I call vibration pollution seems to be felt very differently by individuals. I had to move when a nearby road started to carry B-Doubles as I am adversely affected by diesel fumes, so maybe the few affected by turbines also have to move for the greater good. C’est la vie.

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    • Omphaloskeptic :

      23 May 2012 3:10:02pm

      You have hit a very ‘sore’ point blax5.

      There is nothing big companies (and probabbly governments) fear more than decentralisation. After all it implies lack of centralised control and power with their corresponding big salaries for the CEOs.

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    • a country gal :

      23 May 2012 3:28:45pm

      Let’s hope the R&D fund set up via the carbon price alleviates the first part of your post.
      I’m hopeful that at least we are moving n the right direction.

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  • Charles :

    23 May 2012 2:09:04pm

    The lack of understanding of windfarms and their shortfalls between the author and most of the commenters here is quite astounding.

    What do you think they do when the wind blows? Do you think they turn the coal/gas fired generator off or down? Is this possible? What are the implications?

    Unless you have some answer about how and when wind provided energy can be brought into a system that has a relatively consistent demand graph, then there is no place for wind.

    As an example, take SA which actually has enough wind generation capacity to theoretically supply more than 50% of the daily SA supply. However, perusing the amount of CO2 that has been produced by SA in generating electricity over the last 6 years, shows it has had NO impact whatsoever and the amount of CO2 being produced is going up and up.

    Also, living close to people who live next to windfarms has shown me that despite all the theories of Simon Chapman, the reality of health issues are a real and live issue. People who initially welocmed wind farms into the region now find themselves forced to live away from their properties due to the proximity of wind-farms.

    It is also to the great shame of the Greens that they allow these monstrosities that kill wildlife, damage local residents, and funnel the profits into the pockets of corporate rent-seekers who mostly live offshore, to be permiited to exist. Some day hopefully they will be brought to account for this breach of trust to the Australian people

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    • edgeways :

      23 May 2012 3:07:41pm

      Certainly there may be a wildlife issue – eagles in particular.

      But in fairness to Simon Chapman, he’s a professor of public health – he’s not advocating wind farms or any particular energy source, and he’s not discussing the value or pollution or anything else – he doesn’t even say that they don’t cause ill health.

      He’s just looking at the health claims – their variety and validity – and what he finds looks ludicrous at best.

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    • a country gal :

      23 May 2012 3:33:35pm

      The ideal situation would be for each household/business to have it’s own micro generator and panels.
      They are very small yet highly efficient.
      But until society accepts the need to stop being reliant on filthy coal it will not happen. It will only be when the production of coal energy reaches a larger proportion of household expenses will the general public embrace our new clean future.
      Care to go and live in Yallourn or Moe?

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    • Cobbler :

      23 May 2012 3:37:06pm

      Um….. that’s exactly what they do Charles. Infact this was pretty much the whole point of the Snowy Hydro scheme.

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    • Hobartian :

      23 May 2012 3:39:49pm

      Charles:

      As far as I am aware, turning off coal/gas-fired turbines is not practical. However, the contribution of wind power to the grid can be ‘smoothed’ over time by energy storage systems such as pumping water into raised dams in times of excess energy supply (with losses of ~25% on only the fraction of wind power being used for this).

      The true health effects of the turbine are hard to separate from any ‘nocebo’ effects. Are there reports of widespread ill effects in Germany and Denmark, where these wind farms are common?

      I think a good test would be to look at those families living near windfarms and compare them to say a control set of families living near mobile phone towers (where you’ve not told them that the towers are actually deactivated). The effects of turbines on health independent of ‘hysteria’ should be more apparent then. You could even have a subpopulation in each group which was given compensation, and see how that affects the outcome measures.

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    • CC :

      23 May 2012 4:23:18pm

      Charles, where do you get your information from?

      Wind is effectively replacing coal and reducing SA’s emissions. The Australian
      Energy Market Operator (AEMO) reported in 2011 that emissions have declined in South Australia over the last few years due to the increase in wind generation and a reduction in imported electricity. (AEMO, 2011. South Australian Supply and Demand Outlook. p.ix)

      Since 2006-2007 the share of gas in power generation has fallen from 58% to 49% in South Australia. Coal has fallen from 42% to 25% over the same period. (EnergyQuest 2012)

      My sources say otherwise.

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    • barneroo :

      23 May 2012 5:01:17pm

      Electricity demand is not remotely flat. Off-peak rates artificially flatten demand a little, but there is still a massive amount of variability, from a trough in the middle of the night to a peak on a very hot day when everyone has their air conditioners on. This article has some graphs that show the variability:
      http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0169207008000964
      It is because of this variability that baseload sources such as coal plants are not used alone. Sources with a short start up time such as hydro or gas are used to meet the peaks.
      Wind doesn’t count in this category, as you cannot control when the power is produced. But even though a single wind farm produces variable output, when several separate wind farms are connected to the same grid the power evens out enough to displace a baseload source. So basically you can turn some coal off.
      It is also worth remembering that coal or any other type of generator does not have 100% reliability. Everything needs regular shutdowns for maintenance and unexpected shutdowns also occur with any type of generation. There is redundancy built into the grid for this reason. This is why there isn’t a blackout every time a coal plant undergoes maintenance, and why there won’t be blackouts due to wind variability once wind power makes up a larger percentage of our energy mix.

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    • kevfromperth :

      23 May 2012 6:11:11pm

      “It is also to the great shame of the Greens that they allow these monstrosities that kill wildlife”

      A study shows that in the US in 2009 wind power killed 20,000 birds, nuclear plants killed 330,000 and fossil fuel power plants killed more than 14 million.

      Feral cats killed around 110 million.
      Between 100 million and 1 billion died flying into windows.

      http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0960148112000857

      If you’re really worried about wildlife, I would suggest you take up cat hunting, instead of wasting your time blaming the Greens for a non problem.

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  • Gordon :

    23 May 2012 2:06:54pm

    Good article. I believe the issue is we have allowed ourselves to believe that we have a choice, and can exercise our will over every aspect of our lives, so when something new happens (windfarm, gas well, road tunnel, new law, block of flats next door) we wig out. “Why wasn’t I consulted”, “who said you could build that there”, “what’s in it for me”, I don’t like it”. When we feel out-of-control, pushed around by circumstance, we feel bad, even ill. The actual loss of amenity through the sight of a wind farm on the next hill is slight, but the insult is high IF you’ve decided to resist and find you can’t.

    The so-called “social license to operate” is a cute expression of this: who cares if what is proposed is legal, well designed and beneficial…if someone can stir up enough locals they have “revoked” the (invented for the purpose) social license to operate.

    The green proponents of windfarms etc (just wait until somebody tries a wave or tide farm!) are reaping the wirlwind they themselves have sown by encouraging and fomenting nimby resistance to resources and industrial projects.

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    • a country gal :

      23 May 2012 3:36:36pm

      They are trialling tidal at Portland at this moment.If it could power Alcoa how good would that be.
      Alcoa is highly subsidized for the sake of a few hundred jobs and the amount of coal fired power lost in transmission from Gippsland is phenomenal.Google Portland tidal power trials.

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      • Miowarra :

        23 May 2012 4:50:08pm

        “They are trialling tidal at Portland …”

        Oh God! Won’t somebody think of the FISH!

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        • a country gal :

          23 May 2012 11:31:22pm

          They are, the tides are affected by the whales and giant tuna swimming past the tidal wave technology! Marine biologists are busy training the whales to circle the station at designated times, performing spectacular splashing motions. It’s also proving to be beneficial for local tourism.

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    • EVAN :

      23 May 2012 6:25:51pm

      Maybe country girl you could tell us how much power Alcoa currently draws from the grid and compare that with the power Portland tidal will be supplying.
      Then we can judge if it will be viable this side of 2112.
      Another boondoggle just like wind.

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      • a country gal :

        23 May 2012 11:26:51pm

        I have no idea how much Alcoa draws, an obscene amount- whatever it is-it’s too much. The only reason they are in Vic Portland/Geelong is totally political re unions and the ports- ever wondered what they do with their waste?
        I think you may be pleasantly be surprised with the potential the trial is showing.
        As for your smart alec reply re 2112, another reason we will go the way of the dinosaur unless we develop new alternatives. The R&D fund via the carbon price is a perfect opportunity to develop these options.
        Tidal power is used in Scotland and were some trials in NW WA, it is not new just has not been developed to potential. Ever heard of hydro power?
        I’d rather Alcoa close shop and see Portland powered by a hybrid of tidal/wind anyway very possible. Portland, has huge thermal options also the artesian water there is damn hot (and no I don’t know how hot) but I do know it’s assisted powering their hospital for years and they have to cool it to use for the town supply.

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      • EVAN :

        24 May 2012 12:45:20pm

        “I’d rather Alcoa close shop and see Portland powered by a hybrid of tidal/wind anyway very possible”

        Your awfully free with other peoples jobs.Maybe the people of Portland would like a say in their area instead of having it arbitrarily decided by you.

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  • Andy :

    23 May 2012 2:06:41pm

    Good article.

    suggested title for your next article:

    “Nuclear Power Plants power Mass Hysteria”.

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    • Cobbler :

      23 May 2012 3:38:58pm

      Good point. I mean Marvel suggests that gamma rays don’t kill people but give them super powers.

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      • Andy :

        23 May 2012 4:11:05pm

        Gamma – It’s all around you mate. You’re getting a dose from your keyboard and monitor as we speak.

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  • AS :

    23 May 2012 2:06:14pm

    This is just another example of the triumph of experience over science. If I ‘feel’ something to be true, then it must mean the data and scientists are wrong. For example:

    – ABS data says inflation is low, but all I ever see are price rises in the things I buy. Therefore, the ABS is wrong.

    – Reserve Bank sets interests rates as low, but I’m really struggling to meet my mortgage payments. Therefore, interest rates are just way too high.

    – lots of scientists say the world is steadily warming, but this morning it was -4C at home. Therefore, the scientists must be wrong.

    We are truly throwing away all of the gains of the Enlightenment to allow every individual to have a whinge and ‘feel’ like they’ve been heard.

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    • connolly :

      23 May 2012 4:50:50pm

      You forgot this one:
      – the global tempature has not increased since the turn of this century on the data but I truely believe it is and and I am scared out of my wits that life as we know it will be destroyed and I cant face the grandkids out of sheer guilt and despair.
      Glad to be of help.

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      • Mary Ann :

        23 May 2012 11:37:39pm

        Who told you that global temperature has not increased since the turn of the century. By inspecting ice core evidence it has been found that the past fifty years have on average been the hotest since before the ice age. The past ten years have seen the highest frequencey and force of extreme weather events in Australian history.

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      • Bill :

        24 May 2012 9:28:23am

        no help at all actually, given you are completely incorrect.

        global temps HAVE increased, and enough links have been posted here showing that, that one must wonder if you arent simply trying to deliberately mislead.

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  • EVAN :

    23 May 2012 2:03:50pm

    So you can prove without doubt that all these things people are complaining about are not happening.
    Compared to the problems AGW cause this is just a drop in the ocean but all those are genuine arn’t they.

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    • prison :

      23 May 2012 3:08:21pm

      Unfortunatly people can find an argument against anything they dont want and convince themselves that it is true despite what science, commonsense and logic may tell them.

      For example: conservative liberal voters opposing a carbon tax will naturally oppose wind farms and deny mankind is having any detrimental effect on the environment

      I just cant understand where people are coming from with these rediculous anti-wind-farm comments – just like how i cant understand the blind leap of faith people make by following a religion etc.

      We honestly need to thin the world population out somehow – I would suggest we would be better off starting with Abbott supporters

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    • edgeways :

      23 May 2012 3:10:18pm

      He’s not saying that there are no health issues associated with windfarms – only that no one at this stage has come up with anything credible.

      But as a flat earther, you’ve read what you wanted to read and extrapolated into AGW!

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  • Mary2 :

    23 May 2012 2:03:01pm

    Fabulous article.

    Easy to imagine what it must have been like living in the Middle Ages where the Black Death was attributed to the miasma from open graves, sin in the community, tolerance of Jews etc.

    Except then everyone was running around looking for the cause, now we have the cause, the hysteria is about finding the disease!

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  • Greymalkin :

    23 May 2012 2:01:07pm

    Now to be fair, wind power does on average directly kill more people every year than pretty much any other kind of power generation.

    For anyone who really cares or thinks I just made that up, the 100 page full report of all windfarm accidents and deaths as published and referenced by Caithness Windfarms (ie. The people who actually run and profit off the things) can be found here:

    http://www.caithnesswindfarms.co.uk/fullaccidents.pdf

    Having said that I would still rather our power generated by windfarms than by coal plants. Literally anything is better than coal, and yes that includes nuclear.

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    • barneroo :

      23 May 2012 5:18:18pm

      That report just lists deaths due directly or indirectly to wind power. So it doesn’t provide any basis for a statement such as yours, that wind power kills more people than “pretty much any other kind of power generation.” It doesn’t compare to death rates from other forms of electricity generation, which are much, much higher for every other major energy source except hydro and nuclear.

      I don’t know if the table formatting will work properly but here is a go at providing some data:

      Energy Source Death Rate (deaths per TWh)

      Coal – world average 161 (26% of world energy, 50% of electricity)
      Oil 36 (36% of world energy)
      Natural Gas 4 (21% of world energy)
      Biofuel/Biomass 12
      Peat 12
      Solar (rooftop) 0.44 (less than 0.1% of world energy)
      Wind 0.15 (less than 1% of world energy)
      Hydro 0.10 (europe death rate, 2.2% of world energy)
      Hydro – world including Banqiao) 1.4 (about 2500 TWh/yr and 171,000 Banqiao dead)
      Nuclear 0.04 (5.9% of world energy)

      And those numbers are per unit of energy (TWh), so the absolute number of deaths attributable to wind are significantly lower compared to the main sources than the table suggests.

      I got the table from a blog: http://nextbigfuture.com/2011/03/deaths-per-twh-by-energy-source.html

      His source data is from government reports such as:
      http://manhaz.cyf.gov.pl/manhaz/strona_konferencja_EAE-2001/15%20-%20Polenp~1…

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  • Trekka :

    23 May 2012 2:00:09pm

    “Other than perhaps the aftermath of a nuclear blast on population health, there is nothing known to medicine that comes close to the morbid apocalypse that is being megaphoned by anti-wind groups.”

    You think? Try, global warming! Its that morbid apocalypse that kicked off the whole stupid infatuation with hyper-expensive, inefficient, alternative energy schemes, wind in particular.

    As the global warming apocalypse fades away, these burned out rusting relics will litter the landscape to our bemusement. We will wonder at the mass hysteria that infected us back when they were built.

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    • Simon :

      23 May 2012 3:26:04pm

      “As the global warming apocalypse fades away, these burned out rusting relics will litter the landscape to our bemusement.”

      You’re right. Open-cast coal mines are so much less of an eyesore, so much better for the environment, and so much easier to remediate afterwards.

      Not.

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  • Konta Kinte :

    23 May 2012 1:59:35pm

    I have recently been presented with a get rich quick pyramid selling scheme promoting
    A range of Vitamin pills that will “positively definitely” cure every ailment known to man
    And many many of those that are not known to man.

    Can any one else see the potential here?

    Simple; put wind turbines everywhere, we all get sick, we all get rich selling vitamins.

    health effect will be neutrelised but….

    just think of all the money!!!!

    Ahhhhh, if only all the problems in the world were so simple…

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  • Jake :

    23 May 2012 1:59:12pm

    ‘Let’s assume the residents went to bed at 11 and woke at 7; that would be 48 to 96 times a night for each person. Is she taking the piss?’

    Gold!

    Good article Prof Chapman – I have personally found it strange (though perhaps a sign of the times) that substantial media coverage has been given to people complaining of these supposed effects, yet there is little to no support for it from scientists… who tend to get far less media coverage.

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    • Marty :

      23 May 2012 3:01:56pm

      Oh come now ACA and Today Tongiht would have both had “respected scientists” to validate the concerns of the people in their balanced portrayal of this catastrophic epidemic.

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      • Bennett Marco :

        23 May 2012 3:33:08pm

        4 Corners did a nice job on the subject called ‘Against the Wind’ in July last year.

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      • Dom :

        23 May 2012 3:44:21pm

        Scienticians, Marty, scienticians.

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  • cimka :

    23 May 2012 1:58:52pm

    Mass hysteria over wind power? Have a look at the uranium article and the posts on it. Environmental degradation, uranium mining will use all WA’s water, inevitable cancer from any exposure to radiation, taxpayers fully subsidise nuclear power, no insurance company will insure a nuclear power plant, Fukushima will contaminate the norther hemisphere for centuries and lead to mass migration south. Now, there’s hysteria.

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  • chipinga :

    23 May 2012 1:53:19pm

    Reminds me of the mass hysteria 50 years ago that smoking was somehow bad for your health.

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    • Jimmy Necktie :

      23 May 2012 2:02:24pm

      there was never mass hysteria over smoking

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    • the yank :

      23 May 2012 2:12:41pm

      Just curious chip…have you ever stood underneath a wind turbine while it is turning?

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      • Cobbler :

        23 May 2012 3:42:48pm

        I have. It was like standing infront of a big windmill! I was so scared

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      • Crow :

        23 May 2012 4:33:24pm

        yep. pretty cool to watch.

        certainly better than standing in an open cut mine or under a beltching chimney stack

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      • JoeBloggs :

        24 May 2012 12:22:15pm

        It is lovely.

        Much nicer than inside a nuclear reactor….

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  • Nina :

    23 May 2012 2:24:27pm

    What part is familiar, the consensus of scientists reporting their findings and a big industry throwing money at lobbyists to try to sell doubt about it?

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  • Mike :

    23 May 2012 2:29:00pm

    The Institute of Public Affairs still disputes this.

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  • Gr8Ape :

    23 May 2012 2:29:36pm

    Better stay away from air-conditioners too, just to be sure.

    In fact, best avoid all sources of sound and wind in general… And try not to breath on anybody too.

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  • Winston Smith :

    23 May 2012 2:47:09pm

    The original science of smoking (and that of asbestos) was known in the 30’s and had scientific & epidemiological evidence (look it up!)

    WTS is just imaginary, made up BS. I dare anyone to provide the statistical evidence of the existence of WTS which has no other rational, explainable cause.

    WTS is a relevant and scientifically valid as vaccination cauing autism.

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    • Disco :

      23 May 2012 3:32:58pm

      king james wrote (or had written then put his name on) the couterblaste to tobacco in the 1600s with some negative effects of smoking listed

      more observational than truely scientific, but interesting none the less

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  • Omphaloskeptic :

    23 May 2012 3:16:17pm

    Hardly mass hysteria, the link between cancer and cigarette smoking is now well known even though it was originally based on statistics. Smoking stops imperfect cells from killing themselves.

    A more pertinent example would be the mass hysteria over aluminium which was supposed to cause Alzheimer’s disease.

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  • EMH :

    23 May 2012 4:19:54pm

    Reminds me of the somewhat earlier time when smoking was thought to be good for you!

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    • JoeBloggs :

      24 May 2012 12:23:05pm

      It was compulsory in some schools in the UK for a while as well.

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  • Mick In The Hills :

    23 May 2012 1:53:09pm

    Why don’t the advocates of wind turbines ever suggest they be placed atop CBD buildings and/or housing commission blocks?

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    • Phil :

      23 May 2012 2:07:01pm

      @ Mick in the hills: They do Mick – come to Hobart and see 4 wind turbines atop a CBD building! They’re great!

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    • James :

      23 May 2012 2:15:57pm

      Actually they do.

      Urban wind turbines is a growth area in terms of research and development and installations.

      In fact, wind turbines in the cities would make a hell of a lot of sense because of the wind tunnel effects of the highrise buildings.

      What’s stopping them is the hysteria building around wind farms with out solid evidence. We could have wind turbines on top of buildings in every city in NSW if Barry and Co didn’t try and placate a very small minority (there are far fewer people against wind farms than against say, CSG which seems to get a lot more support from the government).

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    • peter :

      23 May 2012 2:16:18pm

      Sorry Mick, they are indeed so placed – I’ve seen these most recently on 30-storey buildings in London. there you go.

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    • the yank :

      23 May 2012 2:16:43pm

      Why don’t you look at how they are used in Europe.

      For some strange reason they are able to have them standing right next to their homes and not suffer the medical conditions mentioned.

      One might also ask why airports are not placed in the countries so they can experience the joys of airplanes taking off and landing.

      If anything was going to cause sickness it would be those monsters and I know the noise they cause from personal experience.

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    • Lord Kelvin :

      23 May 2012 2:25:05pm

      Large wind turbines require significant anchoring, such that it is impractical to modify an existing building to mount one.

      Yes, I realise your comment was facetious, but just in case anyone else wanted to know . . .

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    • Nina :

      23 May 2012 2:25:43pm

      Because there are restrictions on how close the turbines can be to homes, which are being adhered to. The people complaining about them live kilometers away. Their problem is that they aren’t getting any money for it.

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    • Jonathan :

      23 May 2012 2:26:12pm

      They did exactly that in Hobart.

      People complained about the “visual pollution”. And that they “weren’t safe”.

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    • Gr8Ape :

      23 May 2012 2:26:34pm

      There are a couple in the Hobart CBD.

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    • Mike :

      23 May 2012 2:29:38pm

      You place wind turbines where the most wind is. There is no point putting them on top of CBD buildings if there is little wind.

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    • Blair :

      23 May 2012 2:30:17pm

      @Mick, the answer to your question is pretty simple, the large turbines are designed for open areas where wind speed is consistent, also the buildings in the CBD aren’t designed with large wind turbines in mind, and the buildings themselves affect wind flow. That said there are small turbines which can be mounted on buildings.

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    • metaboleus :

      23 May 2012 2:32:36pm

      In Hobart (the greenest town in OZ) we do have wind turbines atop buildings in CBD. In sleepy town of Sorell wind turbines at the new Coles, right in centre of town.

      Place turbines anywhere near the coast, I may be wrong, but most wind is caused by temperature differences, so as land and ocean have different temps wind is almost always blowing. Offshore is even better!

      War is Over!

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    • Pete :

      23 May 2012 2:39:35pm

      Mick, there’s this thing called Google – check it out especially the images page with the phrase “wind turbines on buildings”. Turbines atop Marine Board Building in downtown Hobart (yeah I know it’s Hobart) and everyone seems fine – well at least no worse than they were before.

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    • mandas :

      23 May 2012 2:39:55pm

      Not a bad idea Mick – no argument from me. I think it would be better to put solar panels there, but what would I know?

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    • Joe Blow :

      23 May 2012 2:40:32pm

      Because there is not enough wind at those sites.

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    • Omphaloskeptic :

      23 May 2012 3:18:16pm

      There are some close to zero energy sky scrapers in China were fundamentally the whole building is one big wind turbine.

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    • Disco :

      23 May 2012 3:30:47pm

      i thought about getting a little one, like the caravans use, to put on a pole on my house

      as an alternative to pannels

      i couldn’t afford a big enough one to justify it over solar pannels

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      • a country gal :

        23 May 2012 11:40:05pm

        Checkout ReNew they are online as well as hardcopy (newsagents)have heaps of reviews and ads.

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  • Paul :

    23 May 2012 3:37:36pm

    I want one on my house in suburban Melbourne but the neighbours oppose it (as do the council).

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  • EMH :

    23 May 2012 4:23:07pm

    Some have suggested this, some buildings have had wind turbines installed on them. But not, so far as I am aware, in Australia where architecture is just another endeavour where we fail utterly to keep up with overseas practice, let along better it.

    The kinds of wind turbines you find in the country can’t be installed on city buildings because of their size and visual amenity issues. Such turbines need to be designed for the purpose.

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    • a country gal :

      23 May 2012 11:43:28pm

      See my reply to disco if posted.
      Small really efficient ones available for domestic and some specific for diff wind conditions.

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  • Jayson :

    23 May 2012 4:50:06pm

    Because that is clearly impractical. A moments thought would have answered your question.

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  • Reinhard :

    24 May 2012 1:27:13pm

    search .. Bahrain World Trade Center,

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  • Joe :

    23 May 2012 1:48:29pm

    Oh Dear, Simon you are sitting in your ivory academic tower and clearly not connected to people or reality. Check with some of your health colleagues and they may explain to you that if you feel that peoples fears are irrational then it is unlikely that your denigrating comments will help them get over it as you seem to think they should. Then consider the other issues that the towers raise and their impact on the environment: that has nothing to do with health but lots to do with all sorts of reasonable planning issues, are the locals not entitled in your view to raise a response on the effect of the towers on their environment? Then Simon, consider what are the acutual benefits, check with your colleagues down the corridor, they may well lean back and say well there is not much to recommend Wind as cost effective power source: in some analysis it can be rated as the most expensive. Then go to your legal and corruption experts, they might show you the links between the Union owned investment companies and the current governments’ investment in wind power.If country people are anxious and depressed it may be because they feel some contempt in trite and dismissive comment you have represented. Why do in your role feel the need to stick up for the developers? Don’t tell me some of your funding comes from the Clean Energy mob??

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    • Nina :

      23 May 2012 2:00:06pm

      What has anything you have said got to do with the bogus health claims being made? That is what this article is about after-all.
      You are entitled to your opinion that you think wind turbines are not beneficial, but as long as there is money in developing the technology it is probably going to keep moving ahead. Unless of course enough money is thrown at lobbyists by the coal industry…

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    • the yank :

      23 May 2012 2:21:03pm

      Actually Joe their have not been any studies by qualitfied medical organisations done that connect the wind turbines with health problems.

      The only conclusions that these health professionals come up with to explain people’s complaints is that the hysteria caused by the NIMBYs get people all worked they believe that there must be a problem.

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    • Michael :

      23 May 2012 2:26:27pm

      You know you’re in for a good laugh when a statement begins with a reference to an ivory academic tower. Its kind of like calling someone “overeducated”.

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    • Simon Chapman :

      23 May 2012 2:39:05pm

      I have zero funding from anybody in any way connected with the wind industry or clean energy

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    • David wants a fair go :

      23 May 2012 2:46:31pm

      Joe, Simon’s denigrating comments aren’t designed to change these people’s minds and help them get over it. I suspect most of them are beyond that.
      Simon’s denigrating comments are designed to help people like me laugh and laugh and laugh at those who think wind is dangerous.
      “Is she taking the piss?”
      Pure gold. Thank you Simon.

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    • Sean :

      23 May 2012 4:04:17pm

      You have to laugh at the irony of a dirty energy supporter accusing anyone of being funded by “the Clean Energy mob”.

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  • conservative :

    23 May 2012 1:47:52pm

    Well something is causing these people and animals to be sick. So what is it? Does delusion cause eggs to be layed without yolks? Maybe the yolks are there but people near wind turbines can’t see them?
    My uncle who lives near a wind turbine has started getting heart palpitations ever since those things went up. He recently relocated and the palpitations stopped. Lets get Mulder and Fox on the case now!

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    • Nina :

      23 May 2012 2:02:50pm

      Sounds psychosomatic to me. How could a wind turbine possible give someone heart palpitations unless it was stress? Perhaps your uncle’s heart palpitations might have gone away if he had been getting paid to have wind turbines on his property.

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      • Marty :

        23 May 2012 3:05:15pm

        yepa few thousand a year per tower covers a lot of stress for the farmer who has them on his property , mkaes the tough years of drought etc a littel easier to work through knowing you have an income stream. Perhaps hsi palpitations were caused by knowing how much the other bloke is gettign

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  • Reinhard :

    23 May 2012 2:26:09pm

    Conservative , I would like to propose an experiment that would either prove or disprove the psychosomatic effect..
    You uncle has no doubt heard of and read accounts of “turbine sickness” so try taking him somewhere he has never been that has a wind turbine out of sight , and see if his “symptoms” manifest again..
    I’ll bet good money they won’t

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    • Hobartian :

      23 May 2012 4:05:45pm

      Reinhard:

      Blinding subjects against a nearby wind turbine might be hard, though it would be extremely interesting if it could be pulled off. I wonder if you could do it the other way – pretend there’s a turbine outside and monitor people’s reactions. Experiments have been done driving mobile-phone-tower-sensitive people past visible towers and recording symptoms, only to have them profess the same ill effects for active and inactive towers.

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      • Reinhard :

        24 May 2012 9:35:56am

        Yes all it needs is a double blind placebo controlled study, but the fact is scientists have better things to do than disprove junk theory

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  • Mike :

    23 May 2012 2:32:24pm

    And the proof that turbines CAUSED his heart palpitations is….?

    Go to Google Scholar and you can find literally hundreds of peer-reviewed scientific studies concluding there is NO evidence that wind turbines pose a health risk.

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  • Blair :

    23 May 2012 2:34:42pm

    @conservative, the problem is anybody who claims wind farms are detrimental to health can’t provide any credible evidence to support their assertions. Correlation does not equal causation. There are also plenty of people who live in close proximity to wind turbines, freeways and under the flight path of aircraft to suffer no ill health at all. How do you explain that away?

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  • mandas :

    23 May 2012 2:36:33pm

    There you go Simon, one more to add to the list: “eggs being layed without yolks”.

    And oh dear, an old man with heart palpitations. It must be the wind turbine! Quick conservative, tell your uncle to move to a much safer location, say next to a coal fired power station. That will fix all those terrible health problems caused by slowly spinning turbine blades.

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    • Simon Chapman :

      23 May 2012 3:22:36pm

      Already on the list. I’m expecting eggs laid without shells though

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  • Omphaloskeptic :

    23 May 2012 3:30:07pm

    Hens have been laying eggs without yolks long before wind farms ever appeared on the scene.
    I can remember some of mine doing that way back in the 60’s.

    Try a little common sense and science before claiming cause and effect for things that are probably not related. Before such claims are mode you would need something like a double blind experiment.

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    • Fran Barlow :

      24 May 2012 12:30:35am

      “Hens have been laying eggs without yolks long before wind farms ever appeared on the scene.
      I can remember some of mine doing that way back in the 60’s”

      The 60s you say … hmmm … what were your chickens on? 😉

      I don’t suppose it has occurred to you that they may have anticipated the advent of wind turbines and reacted in advance. I’d call that Pre-destined wind turbine syndrome. Clearly, you ought to be able to sue people now for your chickens’ premonitions. 😉

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  • Rocker :

    23 May 2012 4:49:22pm

    Goodness gracious, I know what he went through! When I was living next to a turban I was constantly getting the vapours and fainting into the arms of strong men. It’s enough to make a lady clutch her pearls and swoon.

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  • Jimmy Necktie :

    23 May 2012 10:11:45pm

    eggs without…oh man we really are staring into a second dark age. Windmills/witchcraft, same difference.

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  • wheresmyak47 :

    23 May 2012 1:45:38pm

    Ah yes the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.” (ref to Asimov)
    expecting people to be convinced by the facts flies in the face of, you know, the facts!

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  • Microseris :

    23 May 2012 1:43:49pm

    There doesn’t have to be any detrimental effects, all the NIMBY’s & right wing nut jobs are seeking is the perception of a problem so conservative governments can weld themselves to coal and prevent windfarm development.

    Funny there is minimal airtime given to public concern over emissions from coal fired power stations and development of coal mines (Latrobe Valley, Angelsea, etc.).

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    • Blair :

      23 May 2012 2:36:36pm

      That would be because key figures in the landscape Guardian movement have allegiances with the Liberal party and large mining interests.

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  • MJLC :

    23 May 2012 1:40:34pm

    I’m from Fremantle, and was down at Esperance a while back and visited the wind there farm among other activities. Shortly thereafter I grew an extra toe and finger on each extremity (the toes on the hands were particularly embarrassing), developed a strange twitch in my right testicle, started speaking Urdu whilst simultaneously losing the ability to pronounce words with more than three vowels in them, became gangrenous, lost all body hair on my right side, started to vomit any time I attempted to wear something made from cotton, and went blind. Only after moving sufficiently far away from the turbines did all these conditions reverse themselves. Perhaps Dr Laurie would consider adding my horrendous experiences to her register of maladies, as I fear her “research” into the effects of these monstrous devices is not uncovering the true extent of the problem. Of course, she could instead just stop listening to clowns.

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    • a country gal :

      23 May 2012 3:45:06pm

      I’m very heartened your conditions weren’t permanent.
      On the up side it would’ve been much easier to cut those pesky toenails.

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  • Barnesy :

    23 May 2012 1:40:32pm

    Were you aware Simon that entire towns and entire industries are going to be “wiped off the map” unless Tony Abbott comes to our saviour and rids us all of the scourge of this carbon tax?

    Did you know that the CIA are in cahoots with greenies as part of an international conspiracy to rid us all of coal? Where have I heard that before?

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  • David :

    23 May 2012 1:39:55pm

    Crikey wind turbines cause all those illnesses. I had better get rid of my ceiling fans, that is why I am going bald the bloody fans. Two new digital cameras were faulty, it was the wind turbines out of town, the plants in my garden all wilted, it wasn’t the frosts or drought, it was the wind farm outside of town. I watched Professor Flannery and John Doyle speaking to a farmer outside Collector NSW about windfarms and the comment from the farmer “They could make you sick, thinking about the money you are’nt making if they are not on your farm” (or similar statement)about sums it up with some of the opponents to windfarms. We have had a windfarm near our town for over ten years and it wasn’t until the much larger windfarm was going to be built nearby that the maddies came out of the woodwork and more than likely fired by people who will see neighbours making good money, but not them.

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  • Sid97 :

    23 May 2012 1:39:40pm

    As people in the inner city (such as Simon Chapman from the Uni of Sydney) are so much in favour of wind turbines, why don’t we put banks of them along the Park street and Oxford St in Sydney and on top of all the tall buildings? The ABC office in Harris Street would be perfect, too as well as the University of Sydney and the Uni of NSW. As they are so innocuous during operation they wouldn’t meet any objections. And they might be able to power Luna Park on a windy night.

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    • JoeBloggs :

      23 May 2012 2:10:56pm

      Now putting them on a tall building is a good idea.

      They are doing it overseas already.

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    • Help101 :

      23 May 2012 2:11:54pm

      You mean like on the Bahrain World Trade Centre building?

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    • Simon :

      23 May 2012 2:25:17pm

      Appreciate the sentiment, but I suspect there are solid engineering problems with such an approach. Wind turbine towers are heavy. I’d be surprised if additional reinforcing of the buildings wasn’t needed, which would likely make it a non-cost-effective option.

      Massed solar panels on the roofs of tall buildings would be sensible, though.

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    • CC :

      23 May 2012 2:39:29pm

      Sid97, it’s not just city people who are in favour, research shows time and again that there is 80% of support from people living with turbines in their community. The CSIRO also released a report which states negative media coverage about wind farms is disproportionate to the low level of negative sentiment.

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    • Disco :

      23 May 2012 3:26:55pm

      there’s a verticle design one on the beach in townsville

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    • a country gal :

      23 May 2012 3:48:18pm

      Whilst your attempt at humour is honorable.
      Much study goes into determining the best possible ‘windy’ sites. They don’t obviously place them were they are inefficient.

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    • Reinhard :

      24 May 2012 2:07:11pm

      FYI the Bahrain World Trade Center has 3 wind turbines that produce about 675kW

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  • GregM :

    23 May 2012 1:38:24pm

    Thank you Simon.
    The merchants of doubt are at it again. As the claim that alternative technologies can’t work becomes ever harder to sustain, attention shifts to nobbling them. Generate enough empty fear and you can make them as welcome as a nuclear power station in coastal Japan; thus you put them back decades, and give on-side politicians an excuse to pass laws against them. Wind farms are no uglier than power stations, and a damn sight cleaner.
    Yes, bluedog, for 100 years people only sailed to Australia when the wind blew. They did all right.
    As for that charlatan Laurie, someone should follow the money trail.

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  • Rada :

    23 May 2012 1:37:17pm

    I looked at the photo of the wind turbine on this article – does that mean I will now get any/all of those symtoms described?
    I better go see my doctor…

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  • Ellie Kay :

    23 May 2012 1:36:35pm

    The hysteria was enough to spurr Ted Ballieu’s campaign along quite nicely, no? NIMBYs? Yes, oh yes.

    Thanks for the sensible report.

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  • JohnMenz :

    23 May 2012 1:36:04pm

    “money, it seems, is a magic cure”

    Perhaps we should run tests to see if it works on anything else. I’m happy to be a guinea pig.

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    • Tony :

      23 May 2012 2:50:25pm

      I’m with you mate, sign me up for some testing.

      There is another facet to the NIMBY phenomena, we in the west call it the NOTE factor, “Not Over There Either”

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    • a country gal :

      23 May 2012 3:51:01pm

      yep and I’m happy to have an NBN tower @$15,000 pa or even a phone tower @$5>6,000 pa.
      Know 2 farmers with phone towers and have some very nice holidays.

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  • T N Args :

    23 May 2012 1:31:54pm

    The word you are looking for is ‘Nimbysteria’!

    Another great anti-green-tech initiative is the proposal being pushed for electric cars to have artificial engine noise generators so you can ‘hear them coming’. It so much reminds me of the early days of horseless carriages, subject to laws that someone has to walk in front of them carrying a red flag. !!!???!

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    • JoeBloggs :

      23 May 2012 2:09:37pm

      LOL no doubt people will teach other people to “look right, then left, then right again” before crossing a road……who knows it might just catch on.

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    • Jungle Boy :

      23 May 2012 2:18:34pm

      Some other apt words word be “hypochondria” and “sabotage”. The first of these is hopefully clear, but it would be surprising if those tilting at windmills all had the same reasons.

      It would _not_ be surprising if competitors (in particular hydrocarbon industries) and anti-greens were spreading fear and misinformation. As more people and towns instal wind-turbines (and realise how clean, noiseless and lucrative they can be), there’s less reliance on electricity from fossil fuel.

      Your mention of cars exposes the hypocrisy of the whole anti-turbine charade. These people who claim to suffer ill-effects from wind-turbines never mention the slightest problem with any other sort of machines with revolving blades (e.g. car engines, ceiling fans, washing machines, etc.).

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      • a country gal :

        23 May 2012 3:56:18pm

        Being a bit harsh aren’t we. As if the fossil fuel industry would even contemplate such a thing.

        Yet, I suspect you are obviously on the money.
        At least BP has shown some vision with solar panels- been making them for years.

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        • Gordon :

          24 May 2012 2:29:02pm

          The resources industry really isn’t threatened by wind turbines. It’s just business. As & when there is a serious buck in alternative energy big companies will invest in it & make it their own. Right now it is a small part of the energy mix and really is no threat whatsoever. Aust gas companies are investing billions in export facilites for LNG to Asia. Sure, they will lobby and whatever to protect that, but no windfarm development in Aust or anywhere will damage that market. Resource companies are (if anything) just bemused that the alternative energy movement is now suffering the same BS we have been living with for years. Whatever problems the wind industry is facing has nothing to do with any big plot by resources companies.

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  • dman :

    23 May 2012 1:29:32pm

    There are likely some impacts from wind farms, but these could be managed with sensible approaches. Instead the hysteria drivemn by recalcitrants is what drives the policy. The only solution to this is to invest more money into education because Australia is fast becoming a country of dumb, uninformed, gullible morons. I guess ignorance aint so bliss after all.

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  • Asinine Drivel :

    23 May 2012 1:27:44pm

    Amusing article (although I’m not sure it was intended to be).

    Aren’t all these phantom diseases and afflictions simply down to (as you pointed out) NIMBY-ism? NIMBYs don’t like anything, but anything power producing or power related (including evil powerlines) invokes extra special ire. Whether it be coal (dirty), gas (ditto), nuclear (Chernobyl, ursurped more recently by Fukushima) or wind (windy, plus things can fly into them, creating mess). I haven’t heard any negative effects about solar but I’m sure it gives you some kind of cancer we haven’t heard of yet.

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    • a country gal :

      23 May 2012 4:01:25pm

      Arrgh solar power, you haven’t heard it till now.
      I’ve been on a off grid hybrid (solar/wind) system for 16 yrs and I have so many illnesses I couldn’t fit them all in this available text box.
      Yeh! I’m surprised too, but I’m sure some nutter will find something.
      Although so many different businesses and employment are created/involved in the PV industry, I don’t think they’d dare.

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  • Barry :

    23 May 2012 1:26:39pm

    The kind of gullible non-think creating hysteria around wind farms also gave Qld a landslide victory to the LNP at the recent State election.

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    • David wants a fair go :

      23 May 2012 2:53:43pm

      To be fair, Labor did alienate their voters by acting like the LNP and selling off state assets. Give us another 20 years and maybe we’ll realise that being twice as right doesn’t make us left.

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      • Reinhard :

        24 May 2012 2:09:47pm

        And of course 20 years worth of flood and cyclone damage in a 2 year period had nothing to do with it..

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  • Sam :

    23 May 2012 1:26:37pm

    “nations like China and India are surging ahead in wind-energy production”. What a perl of a line. You do realise I hope, that these countries are chasing wind power for energy security like Europe AND in China and India they would not give a damn if the blades killed a person every time they rotated. As long as someone buries the bodies who cares.

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    • Nina :

      23 May 2012 2:05:25pm

      So we need to work out the negative effects of each form of energy generation? I am interested in how the coal industry is going to fare…

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    • Gadget :

      23 May 2012 2:39:11pm

      As the blades of the wind turbine are at least 40 metres from the ground, I’m not sure how they are going to kill anyone, except maybe those stupid enough to parachute over a windfarm.

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    • Peter of Melbourne :

      23 May 2012 2:40:23pm

      I just love how there is no mention of the coal fired powerplant brought online in China last week, or the week before that or the week before that or the week before that or the week before that, ad infinitum… or for that matter of China’s current plans to activate a new coal fired powerplant next week and then another one the week after that and then another one the week after that and anther one … ad infinitum

      And I really love the way these people laud China and India as great examples of so called Green power when they are the largest polluters on the planet of anti-green emissions!!!

      If Australia really wants to cut its carbon dioxide output then simple bunker busters on Parliament buildings across the country when they are in session will turn the whole so called problem around not only in this country, but the reduction in emissions should have a reversing trend on a global scale!!!

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    • Simon McCalum :

      23 May 2012 2:56:45pm

      I had no idea that they where fitted that close to the ground, OMG your right they are dangerous.

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    • Dom :

      23 May 2012 3:56:58pm

      Ah, yes, because one has to white to be humane. What an amazing correlation there is between Xenophobia and denial.

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  • kj :

    23 May 2012 1:26:33pm

    Predictions for the comments:

    – Enormous quantities of unverified anecdotal evidence

    – Someone angrily quoting self-published, self-reviewed pseudo-research

    – Someone trying to use the fact that there’s no evidence for WTS as a reason to just assume it’s real

    – A reference to nazis

    – Someone mentioning something that happens everywhere, that has also happened near some wind turbines, which is therefore caused by wind turbines (dog staring at wall will come up at least once)

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  • Terry :

    23 May 2012 1:25:22pm

    I am not surprised. For years I have been told of the dangers from any exposure to nuclear radiation or electro-magnetic rays and to the horrific effects of CO2.

    Only rational thought can combat such health scares, used by people to promote their own pet projects.

    Perhaps fortunately, such an approach soon points out the economic futility of windmills, so the problem should soon go away of its own accord.

    (The only thing that could go wrong is if a gov’t is tricked into spending taxpayer money or forcing the public to otherwise pay for such a hopeless scheme. Surely no govt could be so stupid?)

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    • Dom :

      23 May 2012 3:59:56pm

      Strange, then, that so many companies are racing to invest in them.

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  • Simoc :

    23 May 2012 1:25:12pm

    You didn’t mention the cure to this phobia. It’s called money. Those who live close to turbines and get paid, don’t get ill.

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    • Mike :

      23 May 2012 2:34:33pm

      I’m glad somebody mentioned this. There are many examples of people claiming all sorts of adverse health effects of wind turbines, The symptoms mysteriously disappeared when they were offered financial compensation.

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  • Emma :

    23 May 2012 1:23:58pm

    Thank you Simon – now can you write something sensible to end the rampant profiteering unnecessary vitamin supplement industry, and expensive hoax of iridology and other un-evidenced and dodgy therapies.

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  • Don Quay :

    23 May 2012 1:23:45pm

    Simon, this is a very real problem. Many have been affected by it and yes, the only known cure for it is lots of monetary compensation. Once the settlement has been reached, the cure is 100% successful. Truly a miracle.

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  • Ryan P :

    23 May 2012 1:22:14pm

    I actually think wind turbines are quite nice to look at! Driving through the German countryside, they actually look quite beautiful.

    I would much prefer a wind turbine in my backyard than the airport I currently have.

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    • Uncle Buck :

      23 May 2012 6:47:52pm

      You have an airport in your backyard? I’m impressed! I only have a Hills Hoist and a shed.

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  • the yank :

    23 May 2012 1:21:12pm

    I can hardly wait for the replies to this article.

    Did you mention that we’ll be speared by the icicles that will come flying off of the turbines.

    When that idea was presented to our council, with a straight face I must say, I started to laugh, but others didn’t they actually believed the speaker. That despite the fact that because of the change to the local climate we have not seen an icicle in decades.

    Simon I don’t know if you have been in the firing line where you have to actually listen to this nonsense. The NIMBY’s I’ve known have been vicious, insulting and threatening to those that don’t agree with them. As far as they are concerned others don’t have a right to disagree.

    I think it was my shire that came up with this silly 2 km nonsense. I was at some of the meetings and the decision was made without and evidence but only to try and placate the nutters.

    If society were to require other industry to abide by the same requirements we’d be living in caves.

    I have stood under countless turbines. I live abround 10 ks from a wind farm and I am not only still alive but my hearing is as good as ever. I have not come down with cancer nor have I been speared by an icicle.

    But hey I am sure you will get comment after comment saying how turbines have ruined people’s lives. I reckon Australians are just weak little things because these farms have been in vast numbers all across Europe without their hosptials being full of peolpe full of wind farm sickness . But then maybe Europeans are made of tougher stuff then Aussies

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    • scragger :

      23 May 2012 8:56:17pm

      Now come on Yank! That last comment is so un-australian, you should be deported for even thinking it. How many Diggers fought and died for our country just to have foreigners come here and make outlandish statements like yours. Those Pinko-Greeno Europeans are gunna be the ruin of all of us. Do we really care that they have just had the 2 hottest winters in over 1000 years? Serves them right, for causing the GFC. Their wind turbines probably are little pissy ones that don’t produce BIG side effects like our BIG Aussie turbines so those Europeans don’t get sick from them.That explains why we get sick from them. Argument closed!

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  • and cake :

    23 May 2012 1:20:29pm

    i love this article. It says so much about our society and its ignorance that people fall for these fake syndromes and creative illnesses.

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  • Partrich :

    23 May 2012 1:18:49pm

    “It’s something of a problem then that of the 150,000 turbines around the world, only a small fraction have generated complaints, and that with many having been erected in the 1990s, the “epidemic” of wind farm complaints had its beginnings several years later.”
    Quite true. However, since turbines are never erected in densely populated areas, perhaps the data is slow to come to light because of a low rate of emergence? Also the “epidemic” (I prefer the word phenomena)of complaints may not be unlike the “epidemic” of complaints made by victims of molestation by members of the clergy (me included)? I.E. virtually unheard of 50 years ago yet common knowledge today.
    Perhaps we need to just wait and see?

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    • Dom :

      23 May 2012 4:02:50pm

      “…never erected in densely populated areas…” It’s time you took a trip to Europe, Patrich. Don’t miss out on Holland.

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    • Pete :

      23 May 2012 4:29:18pm

      Oh for god’s sake!

      It is one thing to walk into a doctors office or confide to a friend that you do not feel well. It is something else entirley to own up to being sexually molested.

      I find your comparison ignorant, cruel and profoundly insulting.

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    • Reinhard :

      24 May 2012 2:12:53pm

      ah yes the denial lobbys calling card, lets all just “Wait and See” , like the Macarthy eras “Duck and Cover”

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  • Fred :

    23 May 2012 1:18:41pm

    Ever work for the Tabacco industry in your youth?

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  • Kevin52 :

    23 May 2012 1:17:41pm

    Somebody was bound to make up some stupid story to make it seem that there is something wrong with building wind turbines.
    Of course there is the same amount of evidence as mobile phones causing brain tumors or weed causing anything.

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  • DaveB :

    23 May 2012 1:17:30pm

    I have lived next to wind turbines which are common in my area of Victoria and even camped under them on many occasions and never sufferd from “Loss of bowels” lol, or any other problem. They don’t even put out that much noise – you can certainly quickly get used to them. The noise is far less than at a beach house where the waves are crashing on the beach all day and night.

    I love the look of them, I find them relaxing, and much less of an eyesore than high voltage power lines.

    My friends who own property next to these contraptions are also confused as to the controversy. Some other people I know rent some of their land for these and tell me that land values are up around the wind farms as anyone next to them has a good chance of being able to rent their land at some stage for very good money.

    I don’t know where the critics get their info. Oh, and by the way, the only dead birds I have seen around these things were hit by cars.

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  • Jessica Trevena :

    23 May 2012 1:14:15pm

    There are clearly many people out there who have no respect for any sort of evidence based assessment (and not just in relation to wind turbine syndrome) but by ridiculing the clearly ridiculous, you are making light of a real problem.

    The fact is wind turbines are noisy – especially on a cold night when they chop the air like a helicopter blades – and cause periodic pressure changes that could very conceivably be irritating to the human senses. Nothing crazy here. Basic physics and meteorology. Given that then, I think it is reasonable that people are complaining about having them too close to their residences.

    It is too easy to judge from afar.

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    • darius the mede :

      23 May 2012 4:13:44pm

      noisy, causes pressure changes irritating to the human senses; you mean like in a storm?
      Hoe you don’t use an Ipod either as they have a similar effect.

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  • JoeBloggs :

    23 May 2012 1:13:14pm

    Funny how the dutch have managed to survive next to their wind turbines and wind mills for centuries without any adverse effects.

    Must be that our air is different to the dutch air or something…..

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  • BartyLobethal :

    23 May 2012 1:12:08pm

    Simon Chapman may laugh about this, but it’s a very serious issue.

    Wind turbines not only gave me herpes, but also my cat, and my potato crop, and I live over 100km from the nearest wind farm!

    Also, everyone knows that wind is not a viable alternative to coal and gas and nuclear, because the wind doesn’t blow at night, or something.

    Actually, here’s one for Simon to add to his list. A former landlady of mine told me quite earnestly that it rained less frequently on her cousin’s dairy farm following the building of a nearby wind farm because, “..the windmills, they blow the clouds away”.

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  • GrumpyOldMan :

    23 May 2012 1:09:25pm

    Ah yes – the power of ignorance and ideology greatly exceeds the power of knowledge and understanding.

    Welcome to the New Dark Ages and the conservative politicians, journalists and media owners who reject the need for knowledge and understanding, and use their ‘right to free speech’ to spread ignorance and ideology, and regain power and influence!

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    • Gollygosh :

      23 May 2012 1:20:02pm

      Yes Grumpy, they are doing it very well, unfortunately.

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    • Rod :

      23 May 2012 1:50:14pm

      I think that you need to acknowledge that reality is not politically feasable. More debate is required so we can invent reasons to reject it

      ;-p

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  • bluedog :

    23 May 2012 1:08:59pm

    There’s no mass hysteria in stating the bleeding obvious; wind turbines only work if the wind blows.

    When the wind strength is inadequate, wind turbines require an expensive back-up system. Thinking this through, it may make more sense to dispense with the wind turbines and refine the back-up system. As experience of wind-turbines grows it is increasingly clear that apart from being extremely ugly and noisy, they are also prone to spectacular and dangerous failure.

    Safe nuclear power is the obvious solution. Not in my back-yard, of course.

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    • the yank :

      23 May 2012 1:26:16pm

      Wow, what knowledge!

      That is why you have back up power like gas turbines and solar panels. Not nearly as extensive as you think and already being put into place, at least in my shire.

      Wind turbines Ugly? Noisy? Rubbish.

      You want to try and put in nuclear power plants good luck. You find a location where the people will not only let you build such a power plant but another where they will acutally let you build a facility to store its waste and we can start being serious.

      We can’t even find a location to store the nuclear waste form the Lucas Hieghts reactor.

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    • Simon :

      23 May 2012 1:26:23pm

      How does one obtain this safe nuclear power? We haven’t succeeded in cracking the fusion nut yet …

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    • Jonathan :

      23 May 2012 1:31:51pm

      Windfarms are noisy? Man, I had no idea that when I visited the windfarm at Woolnorth in Tasmania that I should have brought hearing protection with me – instead I just stood right underneath one of the towers and wondered what all the fuss was about.

      Actually, maybe I should have. The noise of the wind certainly was loud – it drowned out any sound the turbines were making.

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    • Helios :

      23 May 2012 1:34:57pm

      What a lot of uninformed toss. If average wind strength is inadequate then wind turbines wont be used in that location will they? As for expensive back up systems even diesel generator systems require other diesel generators as backup systems, how else will they be maintained? “Will everybody please turn off their lights were going to service the generator?” I dont think so. Ugly not only goes to the bone but is in the eye of the beholder, and personally I’d prefer to look at row of wind turbines over a smokestack and exhaust plume any day. Noisey? plainly youv’e never even been inside a powerhouse let alone working in one. Spectacular and dangerous failure? what like a steam turbine thats over-revved and failed catastrophically killing anyone within 50m or a nuclear reactor thats run away and can’t be controlled forcing everyone within a 25km radius to leave thier homes, possibly forever?

      Lastly there’s actually no such thing as safe nuclear power whether or not it’s your backyard.

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      • Rob :

        23 May 2012 3:00:13pm

        Maybe diesel powered windfarms are the go!

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        • Uncle Buck :

          23 May 2012 7:00:16pm

          Or how about nuclear powered windfarms? Then everyone will be happy and miserable.

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  • Greg :

    23 May 2012 1:35:25pm

    You can’t do bring in nuclear power bluedog, the Neanderthals won’t like it. After all, they want us back in caves.

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  • Cliff :

    23 May 2012 1:35:41pm

    It would be an extreme event if it was not blowing somewhere in Australia. If you have enough wind turbines spread out you will still get power.

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  • mandas :

    23 May 2012 1:40:15pm

    Bluedog,

    Let me get this straight. You make this claim:

    “….apart from being extremely ugly and noisy, they are also prone to spectacular and dangerous failure….”

    And your solution to this is….. wait for it…. nuclear power.

    Excuse me while I roll on the ground laughing.

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  • cb :

    23 May 2012 1:42:05pm

    Yes, nuclear is so safe that Japan has just turned off the last of its nuclear reactors

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    • Greig :

      23 May 2012 2:42:35pm

      cb, Japan is in a state of mass hysteria. Same problem as those wind power phobia.

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    • Pete :

      23 May 2012 4:22:02pm

      For maintainence and inspections forced on them by the govt. They will all be turned back on again over the coming weeks and months.

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  • Mike :

    23 May 2012 1:49:09pm

    The best way to “store” wind (or any other renewable) power is to pump water up hill and use that for 27/4 hydro power.

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    • Jez :

      24 May 2012 1:33:13am

      Nice one Mike. 70% – 87% efficiency according to Wiki is pretty respectable.

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  • Grant :

    23 May 2012 1:49:47pm

    “Safe nuclear power is the obvious solution”

    There is no such thing as safe nuclear power.

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    • Nina :

      23 May 2012 2:09:09pm

      You should have a look at molten salt reactors, they may not be perfect but they are way better than what is currently being used. They can’t have a melt-down and the pressures are no-where near what you need for an explosion.

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    • Bradfordlad :

      23 May 2012 2:34:23pm

      But there again there’s no such thing any any safe form of power generation.

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    • Greig :

      23 May 2012 2:40:35pm

      There is no such thing as safe technology. But nuclear power is as safe as power generation can get.

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      • Kevin52 :

        23 May 2012 4:27:07pm

        Yes, I’m sure that the population of Fukashima, Chernobyl and Three Mile Island would agree with you.

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      • Greig :

        24 May 2012 11:56:33am

        The good news is that the populations at Fukushima and TMI are all alive to have an opinion on the subject. Nobody died as a result of those accidents.

        And even including the deaths from Chernobyl, nuclear power is an oder of magnitude safer than solar PV.

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      • Dr Who :

        23 May 2012 6:11:09pm

        Only if you restrict yourself to the press releases from behind the iron curtain and ignore the World Health Organisation.

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      • Reinhard :

        24 May 2012 11:45:49am

        Sounds just like a pre 2011 press release from the Japanese atomic energy agency.

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  • Andy :

    23 May 2012 2:47:08pm

    The amount of ignorance that is spewed up against nuclear power is truly staggering. Do you people do any research at all before demonstrating your complete lack of knowledge to the world? France generates 80% of its power using nuclear reactors and they never had a serious incident. The nuclear power plant generates so little waste that all of that waste generated over the lifetime of that powerplant can be stored onsite, not to mention reprocessed and used again. Wind generators are NOT economic and probably never will be, it is one of the most maintenance intensive power generation methods. Using backups just makes that problem worse.

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  • BlackF :

    23 May 2012 2:48:33pm

    Try looking up “Thorium reactor”.

    Or read this: http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/45178.html

    There is a very long report on thorium reactors available on the IAEA site.

    BlackF

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  • JoeBloggs :

    23 May 2012 2:04:38pm

    “As experience of wind-turbines grows it is increasingly clear that ….they are also prone to spectacular and dangerous failure.”

    Yes last year one failed in scotland. It caught fire in an incredibly strong storm… and nothing happened.

    On the other hand last year a number of nuclear reactors failed due to the negligence of the corporate operator, that turned into a real spectacular and dangerous disaster… that is still ongoing and yet to be properly dealt with over a year later.

    None of the nuclear reactors either in existence, or even on the drawing board, have 100% fail safe mechanisms. All are still prone to failure.

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  • Gadget :

    23 May 2012 2:49:53pm

    bluedog,

    I visited the “Windy Farm” near Ravenshoe in Qld one day during my travels.

    There was a light breeze blowing and the turbine near the ‘lookout’ was turning at a fixed speed, like all bar one of the turbines.

    “ugly and noisy” they weren’t, they were so not “noisy” that even at a distance of only 10 metres from the base of teh tower, I couldn’t hear the blade noise because of the wind in my ears. This I thought was strange, because I’d heard people like you complain they were definiatley noisy.

    So I thought maybe if I get ion my car and eliminate the wind noise in my ears, I would then hear the blade noise. To my dissappointment, even with a window down I still could not hear any noisy from the turbine.

    As for “Safe nuclear power” Bwahahahahaahaa(*turns prurple and has a large intake of breath*). Pull the other one, it needs the stretching to make it as long as the first!

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  • that man :

    23 May 2012 1:07:54pm

    Crikey! Thanks for the warning.

    To return the favor, did you know that frost is dangerous to the paint on your car? It causes cracking, so I’ve been told. I’ve not seen a car with frost-cracked paint, which proves that everybody in Melbourne parks their car under cover in winter.

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    • Ed :

      23 May 2012 1:36:57pm

      Doubtful. More likely is that they do as we do in Canberra i.e. start up the car when we go out to get the paper[s] in the morning, turn on the aircon and leave it running until we drive to work.

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      • that man :

        23 May 2012 2:26:52pm

        Um, joke, Ed. But it was told to me by someone to whom the intelligent and articulate are aliens as though it were fact. That makes it a bit scary, really.

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  • Old Rob :

    23 May 2012 2:29:28pm

    same here in sydney that makes about 8 million cars that are always parked in garages in winter . must be like the fridge light when I go inside they all get into their little garages for the night

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  • gguru :

    23 May 2012 1:04:35pm

    So now it’s a good time to invest in good prperties near windturbines. There is nothing wrong with it fools will sell it cheap.

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  • gaycarboys :

    23 May 2012 1:03:14pm

    interestingly scientific investigations show nothing to support any of the claims. the claims all based on “i feel” is right up there with “the electricity leaks out of the power points and fades the carpet”. The sort of person who would write that also believes there is no climate change and/or the climate change isn’t caused by humans. Follow evidence not pub chat.

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