Wind Farms And Physics Imperialism

A couple of weeks ago I wrote what was initially intended to be a post here on the claims that wind turbines cause all manner of sicknesses. When it was done I decided I liked it enough to try to get it a wider audience, and it has now been picked up by Independent Australia.

If I was writing it from scratch for another site I would shorten the personal introduction, but I do think it makes an important point that I have not seen made elsewhere, at least not in these terms.

It’s obvious to everyone that the further you go away from the source of something the weaker any effects will get. Otherwise how could one “feel the serenity” away from the city. Yet I suspect that most people imagine these effects are linear – double the distance from the source and halve the strength of impact. That is true in certain cases, but not for most things, and certainly not for wind turbines. When you take the physics into account the alleged health effects of wind turbines become completely ridiculous, and the legislated buffer zones can only be seen as protection for the fossil fuel industry.

My contribution is certainly not going to be anything like as significant as Simon Chapman’s work, but if people find my approach even slightly useful in shifting minds on this topic this will be one of my greater contributions. Moreover, while there are a few typos I can’t now fix, I’m rather proud of the writing.

Independent Australia is taking a new approach to the problem of remuneration for writers. They pay by they number of unique hits on the article. You need to get over a certain number before they start paying you (and I don’t know if there is any auditing to check they are not ripping you off), so it is very likely that I am, once again, writing for free. Nevertheless, even the possibility of being paid is enticing in these times, so I really would encourage everyone to go over and build up the clicks.

Update: I got an email from Independent Australia assuring me that they were fair in paying if people reach the requisite number of clicks. I realised that the paragraph above might be read as me having some reason to suspect they were not. I don’t, or I would not have published there in the first place. The point I was trying to make is that while I think there is merit in the idea of authors being paid in proportion to the number of people who read their work, rather than a flat fee, as a business model there could be problems if it spreads more broadly, including to less ethical publishers.

Update 2: A different angle on the issue


About Stephen Luntz

I am a science journalist, specialising in Australian and New Zealand research across all fields of science. My book, Forensics, Fossils and Fruitbats: A Field Guide to Australian Scientists is out now through CSIRO Publishing. I am also a professional returning officer for non-government organisations. I'm very politically active, but generally try to restrict this blog to scientific matters.
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