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Miss P

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Re: Post Your Interesting News Articles Here
« Reply #5600 on: September 17, 2008, 04:45:32 PM »
I hear that!

***

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/18/us/18legal.html

September 18, 2008
American Exception
Supreme Court’s Global Influence Is Waning
By ADAM LIPTAK

WASHINGTON — Judges around the world have long looked to the decisions of the United States Supreme Court for guidance, citing and often following them in hundreds of their own rulings since the Second World War.

But now American legal influence is waning. Even as a debate continues in the court over whether its decisions should ever cite foreign law, a diminishing number of foreign courts seem to pay attention to the writings of American justices.

“One of our great exports used to be constitutional law,” said Anne-Marie Slaughter, the dean of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton. “We are losing one of the greatest bully pulpits we have ever had.”

From 1990 through 2002, for instance, the Canadian Supreme Court cited decisions of the United States Supreme Court about a dozen times a year, an analysis by The New York Times found. In the six years since, the annual citation rate has fallen by half, to about six.

Australian state supreme courts cited American decisions 208 times in 1995, according to a recent study by Russell Smyth, an Australian economist. By 2005, the number had fallen to 72.

The story is similar around the globe, legal experts say, particularly in cases involving human rights. These days, foreign courts in developed democracies often cite the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights in cases concerning equality, liberty and prohibitions against cruel treatment, said Harold Hongju Koh, the dean of the Yale Law School. In those areas, Dean Koh said, “they tend not to look to the rulings of the U.S. Supreme Court.”

The rise of new and sophisticated constitutional courts elsewhere is one reason for the Supreme Court’s fading influence, legal experts said. The new courts are, moreover, generally more liberal that the Rehnquist and Roberts courts and for that reason more inclined to cite one another.

Another reason is the diminished reputation of the United States in some parts of the world, which experts here and abroad said is in part a consequence of the Bush administration’s unpopularity around the world. Foreign courts are less apt to justify their decisions with citations to cases from a nation unpopular with their domestic audience.

“It’s not surprising, given our foreign policy in the last decade or so, that American influence should be declining,” said Thomas Ginsburg, who teaches comparative and international law at the University of Chicago.

The adamant opposition of some Supreme Court justices to the citation of foreign law in their own opinions also plays a role, some foreign judges say.

“Most justices of the United States Supreme Court do not cite foreign case law in their judgments,” Aharon Barak, then the chief justice of the Supreme Court of Israel, wrote in the Harvard Law Review in 2002. “They fail to make use of an important source of inspiration, one that enriches legal thinking, makes law more creative, and strengthens the democratic ties and foundations of different legal systems.”

Partly as a consequence, Chief Justice Barak wrote, the United States Supreme Court “is losing the central role it once had among courts in modern democracies.”

Justice Michael Kirby of the High Court of Australia said that his court no longer confines itself to considering English, Canadian and American law. “Now we will take information from the Supreme Court of India, or the Court of Appeal of New Zealand, or the Constitutional Court of South Africa,” he said in an interview published in 2001 in The Green Bag, a legal journal. “America” he added, “is in danger of becoming something of a legal backwater.”

The signature innovations of the American legal system — a written Constitution, a Bill of Rights protecting individual freedoms and an independent judiciary with the power to strike down legislation — have been consciously emulated in much of the world. And American constitutional law has been cited and discussed in countless decisions of courts in Australia, Canada, Germany, India, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, South Africa and elsewhere.

In a 1996 decision striking down a law that made it a crime to possess pornography, for instance, the Constitutional Court of South Africa conducted a broad survey of American First Amendment jurisprudence, citing some 40 decisions of the United States Supreme Court. That same year, the High Court of Australia followed a 1989 decision of the Supreme Court in a separation-of-powers case, ruling that a judge was permitted to prepare a report for a government minister about threats to aboriginal areas because the assignment did not undermine the integrity of the judicial branch.

Sending American ideas about the rule of law abroad has long been a source of pride. “The United States Supreme Court is the oldest constitutional court in the world — the most respected, the most legitimate,” said Charles Fried, a law professor at Harvard who served as solicitor general in the Reagan administration.

But there is an intense and growing debate about whether that influence should be a one-way street.

Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, in a speech before her retirement from the Supreme Court, advocated taking as well as giving.

“I suspect that with time we will rely increasingly on international and foreign law in resolving what now appear to be domestic issues,” Justice O’Connor said. “Doing so may not only enrich our own country’s decisions; it will create that all important good impression. When U.S. courts are seen to be cognizant of other judicial systems, our ability to act as a rule-of-law model for other nations will be enhanced.”

But many judges and legal scholars in this country say that consideration of foreign legal precedents in American judicial decisions is illegitimate, and that there can be no transnational dialogue about the meaning of the United States Constitution.

The Constitution should be interpreted according to its original meaning, said John O. McGinnis, a law professor at Northwestern, and recent rulings, whether foreign or domestic, cannot aid in that enterprise. Moreover, Professor McGinnis said, decisions applying foreign law to foreign circumstances are not instructive here.

“It may be good in their nation,” he said. “There is no reason to believe necessarily that it’s good in our nation.”

In any event, said Eric Posner, a law professor at the University of Chicago, many Americans are deeply suspicious of foreign law.

“We are used to encouraging other countries to adopt American constitutional norms, “ he wrote in an essay last month, “but we have never accepted the idea that we should adopt theirs.”

“It’s American exceptionalism,” Professor Posner added in an interview. “The view going back 200 years is that we’ve figured it out and people should follow our lead.”

Yet citations to foreign and international law in recent Supreme Court decisions ignited an enormous furor in Congress and in the popular consciousness.

“The opinion of the world community,” Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote for the majority in Roper v. Simmons, the 2005 decision that struck down the death penalty for juvenile offenders, “while not controlling our outcome, does provide respected and significant confirmation for our own conclusions.” Justice Kennedy cited, among other things, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, and the Criminal Justice Act from the United Kingdom.

In Lawrence v. Texas, the 2003 decision striking down a Texas law making homosexual sex a crime, Justice Kennedy cited three decisions of the European Court of Human Rights, noting that homosexual conduct is accepted as “an integral part of human freedom” in many countries.

Justice Antonin Scalia, dissenting in Roper v. Simmons, fired back. “The basic premise of the court’s argument — that American law should conform to the laws of the rest of the world — ought to be rejected out of hand,” he wrote.

The issue has rankled Justice Kennedy. “There’s kind of a know-nothing quality to the debate, it seems to me, of being suspicious of foreign things,” he said in remarks at a judicial conference in July.

At their confirmation hearings, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. indicated that they were opposed to the citation of foreign law in constitutional cases. Chief Justice Roberts noted that foreign judges are not accountable to the American people and said that allowing the use of foreign precedent expanded judicial discretion.

“Foreign law, you can find anything you want,” Chief Justice Roberts said. “Looking at foreign law for support is like looking out over a crowd and picking out your friends.”


Miss P

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Re: Post Your Interesting News Articles Here
« Reply #5601 on: September 17, 2008, 04:45:56 PM »
(cont'd)

The controversy over the citation of foreign law in American courts is freighted with misconceptions. One is that there is something new or unusual about citing foreign courts. The other is that to cite such a decision is to be bound by it.

Even conservative scholars acknowledge that American judges have long cited decisions by foreign courts in their rulings. “The Supreme Court has been doing it for basically all of our history, and with some degree of gusto,” said Stephen G. Calabresi, a law professor at Northwestern and a founder of the Federalist Society, a conservative legal group. Professor Calabresi said he generally opposed the citation of foreign law in constitutional cases.

Judicial citation or discussion of a foreign ruling does not, moreover, convert it into binding precedent.

Chief Justice John Marshall, sitting as a circuit court judge, discussed the question in 1811. “It has been said that the decisions of British courts, made since the Revolution, are not authority in this country,” he said. “I admit it — but they are entitled to that respect which is due to the opinions of wise men who have maturely studied the subject they decide.”

Indeed, American judges cite all sorts of things in their decisions — law review articles, song lyrics, television programs. State supreme courts cite decisions from other states, though a decision from Wisconsin is no more binding in Oregon than is one from Italy.

“Foreign opinions are not authoritative; they set no binding precedent for the U.S. judge,” Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said in a 2006 address to the Constitutional Court of South Africa. “But they can add to the story of knowledge relevant to the solution of trying questions.”

But Professor Fried said the area was a minefield. “Courts have been citing foreign law forever, but sparingly, for very good reason,” he said. “It is an invitation to bolster conclusions reached on other grounds. It leads to more impressionistic, undisciplined adjudication.”

The trend abroad, moreover, is toward decisions of a distinctly liberal sort in areas like the death penalty and gay rights. “What we have had in the last 20 or 30 years,” Professor Fried said, “is an enormous coup d’état on the part of judiciaries everywhere — the European Court of Human Rights, Canada, South Africa, Israel.” In terms of judicial activism, he said, “they’ve lapped us.”

The rightward shift of the Supreme Court may partly account for its diminished influence. Twenty years ago, said Anthony Lester, a British barrister, the landmark decisions of the court were “studied with as much attention in New Delhi or Strasbourg as they are in Washington, D.C.”

That is partly because the foundational legal documents of many of the world’s leading democracies are of quite recent vintage. The Indian Constitution was adopted in 1949, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in 1982, the New Zealand Bill of Rights in 1990 and the South African Constitution in 1996. All drew on the American constitutional principles.

Particularly at first, courts in those nations relied on the constitutional jurisprudence of the United States Supreme Court, both because it was relevant and because it was the essentially the only game in town. But as constitutional courts around the world developed their own bodies of precedent and started an international judicial conversation, American influence has dropped.

Judge Guido Calabresi of the federal appeals court in New York, a former dean of Yale Law School, has advocated continued participation in that international judicial conversation.

“Since World War II, many countries have adopted forms of judicial review, which — though different from ours in many particulars — unmistakably draw their origin and inspiration from American constitutional theory and practice,” he wrote in a 1995 concurrence that cited the German and Italian constitutional courts.

“These countries are our ‘constitutional offspring,’ ” Judge Calabresi wrote, “and how they have dealt with problems analogous to ours can be very useful to us when we face difficult constitutional issues. Wise parents do not hesitate to learn from their children.” (Judge Calabresi is Professor Calabresi’s uncle.)

The openness of some legal systems to foreign law is reflected in their constitutions. The South African Constitution, for instance, says that courts interpreting its bill of rights “must consider international law” and “may consider foreign law.” The constitutions of India and Spain have similar provisions.

Many legal scholars singled out the Canadian Supreme Court and the Constitutional Court of South Africa as increasingly influential.

“In part, their influence may spring from the simple fact they are not American,” Dean Slaughter wrote in a 2005 essay, “which renders their reasoning more politically palatable to domestic audience in an era of extraordinary U.S. military, political, economic and cultural power and accompanying resentments.”

Frederick Schauer, a law professor at the University of Virginia, wrote in a 2000 essay that the Canadian Supreme Court had been particularly influential because “Canada, unlike the United States, is seen as reflecting an emerging international consensus rather than existing as an outlier.”

In New Zealand, for instance, Canadian decisions were cited far more often than those of any other nation from 1990 to 2006 in civil rights cases, according to a recent study in The Otago Law Review in Dunedin, New Zealand.

“As Canada’s judges are, by most accounts, the most judicially activist in the common-law world — the most willing to second-guess the decisions of the elected legislatures — reliance on Canadian precedents will worry some and delight others,” the study’s authors wrote.

American precedents were cited about half as often as Canadian ones. “It is surprising,” the authors wrote, “that American cases are not cited more often, since the United States Bill of Rights precedents can be found on just about any rights issue that comes up.”

American popular attitudes toward the citation of foreign law, by contrast, Mark C. Rahdert wrote in the American University Law Review last year, “tap into a longstanding tradition of exceptionalism.”

That tradition is rooted in a popular devotion to the Constitution unknown in the rest of the world. It is supported by aspects of the American character that were formed by the nation’s initial geographic isolation and pioneer spirit, which emphasized freedom, private property and individual responsibility. That has led, for instance, to a near-absolute commitment to free speech and a particularly tough approach to crime.

In “ ‘A Shining City on a Hill’: American Exceptionalism and the Supreme Court’s Practice of Relying on Foreign Law,” a 2006 article in the Boston University Law Review, Professor Calabresi concluded that the Supreme Court should be wary of citing foreign law in most constitutional cases precisely because the United States is exceptional.

“Like it or not,” he wrote, “Americans really are a special people with a special ideology that sets us apart from all the other peoples.”

Tom Torok and Kitty Bennett contributed reporting.

A.

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Re: Post Your Interesting News Articles Here
« Reply #5602 on: September 18, 2008, 03:44:32 AM »
Another good article from Liptak.  If I were a foreign judge, I'd look to Canada and South Africa too.

Miss P

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Re: Post Your Interesting News Articles Here
« Reply #5603 on: September 18, 2008, 01:09:08 PM »
He's one of the best.

Miss P

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Re: Post Your Interesting News Articles Here
« Reply #5604 on: September 19, 2008, 08:59:29 PM »
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/09/14/AR2008091402375_pf.html

The Power of Political Misinformation

By Shankar Vedantam
Monday, September 15, 2008; A06

Have you seen the photo of Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin brandishing a rifle while wearing a U.S. flag bikini? Have you read the e-mail saying Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama was sworn into the U.S. Senate with his hand placed on the Koran? Both are fabricated -- and are among the hottest pieces of misinformation in circulation.

As the presidential campaign heats up, intense efforts are underway to debunk rumors and misinformation. Nearly all these efforts rest on the assumption that good information is the antidote to misinformation.

But a series of new experiments show that misinformation can exercise a ghostly influence on people's minds after it has been debunked -- even among people who recognize it as misinformation. In some cases, correcting misinformation serves to increase the power of bad information.

In experiments conducted by political scientist John Bullock at Yale University, volunteers were given various items of political misinformation from real life. One group of volunteers was shown a transcript of an ad created by NARAL Pro-Choice America that accused John G. Roberts Jr., President Bush's nominee to the Supreme Court at the time, of "supporting violent fringe groups and a convicted clinic bomber."

A variety of psychological experiments have shown that political misinformation primarily works by feeding into people's preexisting views. People who did not like Roberts to begin with, then, ought to have been most receptive to the damaging allegation, and this is exactly what Bullock found. Democrats were far more likely than Republicans to disapprove of Roberts after hearing the allegation.

Bullock then showed volunteers a refutation of the ad by abortion-rights supporters. He also told the volunteers that the advocacy group had withdrawn the ad. Although 56 percent of Democrats had originally disapproved of Roberts before hearing the misinformation, 80 percent of Democrats disapproved of the Supreme Court nominee afterward. Upon hearing the refutation, Democratic disapproval of Roberts dropped only to 72 percent.

Republican disapproval of Roberts rose after hearing the misinformation but vanished upon hearing the correct information. The damaging charge, in other words, continued to have an effect even after it was debunked among precisely those people predisposed to buy the bad information in the first place.

Bullock found a similar effect when it came to misinformation about abuses at the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Volunteers were shown a Newsweek report that suggested a Koran had been flushed down a toilet, followed by a retraction by the magazine. Where 56 percent of Democrats had disapproved of detainee treatment before they were misinformed about the Koran incident, 78 percent disapproved afterward. Upon hearing the refutation, Democratic disapproval dropped back only to 68 percent -- showing that misinformation continued to affect the attitudes of Democrats even after they knew the information was false.

Bullock and others have also shown that some refutations can strengthen misinformation, especially among conservatives.

Political scientists Brendan Nyhan and Jason Reifler provided two groups of volunteers with the Bush administration's prewar claims that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. One group was given a refutation -- the comprehensive 2004 Duelfer report that concluded that Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction before the United States invaded in 2003. Thirty-four percent of conservatives told only about the Bush administration's claims thought Iraq had hidden or destroyed its weapons before the U.S. invasion, but 64 percent of conservatives who heard both claim and refutation thought that Iraq really did have the weapons. The refutation, in other words, made the misinformation worse.

A similar "backfire effect" also influenced conservatives told about Bush administration assertions that tax cuts increase federal revenue. One group was offered a refutation by prominent economists that included current and former Bush administration officials. About 35 percent of conservatives told about the Bush claim believed it; 67 percent of those provided with both assertion and refutation believed that tax cuts increase revenue.

In a paper approaching publication, Nyhan, a PhD student at Duke University, and Reifler, at Georgia State University, suggest that Republicans might be especially prone to the backfire effect because conservatives may have more rigid views than liberals: Upon hearing a refutation, conservatives might "argue back" against the refutation in their minds, thereby strengthening their belief in the misinformation. Nyhan and Reifler did not see the same "backfire effect" when liberals were given misinformation and a refutation about the Bush administration's stance on stem cell research.

Bullock, Nyhan and Reifler are all Democrats.

Reifler questioned attempts to debunk rumors and misinformation on the campaign trail, especially among conservatives: "Sarah Palin says she was against the Bridge to Nowhere," he said, referring to the pork-barrel project Palin once supported before she reversed herself. "Sending those corrections to committed Republicans is not going to be effective, and they in fact may come to believe even more strongly that she was always against the Bridge to Nowhere."

naturallybeyoutiful

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Re: Post Your Interesting News Articles Here
« Reply #5605 on: September 20, 2008, 03:22:14 PM »
Stumbled across this site and wanted to share...

http://www.redroom.com/blog/tim-wise/this-your-nation-white-privilege

This is Your Nation on White Privilege
September 13, 2008, 2:01 pm
By Tim Wise

For those who still can’t grasp the concept of white privilege, or who are constantly looking for some easy-to-understand examples of it, perhaps this list will help.

White privilege is when you can get pregnant at seventeen like Bristol Palin and everyone is quick to insist that your life and that of your family is a personal matter, and that no one has a right to judge you or your parents, because “every family has challenges,” even as black and Latino families with similar “challenges” are regularly typified as irresponsible, pathological and arbiters of social decay.

White privilege is when you can call yourself a “f-in’ redneck,” like Bristol Palin’s boyfriend does, and talk about how if anyone messes with you, you'll “kick their f-in' ass,” and talk about how you like to “shoot poo” for fun, and still be viewed as a responsible, all-American boy (and a great son-in-law to be) rather than a thug.

White privilege is when you can attend four different colleges in six years like Sarah Palin did (one of which you basically failed out of, then returned to after making up some coursework at a community college), and no one questions your intelligence or commitment to achievement, whereas a person of color who did this would be viewed as unfit for college, and probably someone who only got in in the first place because of affirmative action.

White privilege is when you can claim that being mayor of a town smaller than most medium-sized colleges, and then Governor of a state with about the same number of people as the lower fifth of the island of Manhattan, makes you ready to potentially be president, and people don’t all piss on themselves with laughter, while being a black U.S. Senator, two-term state Senator, and constitutional law scholar, means you’re “untested.”


White privilege is being able to say that you support the words “under God” in the pledge of allegiance because “if it was good enough for the founding fathers, it’s good enough for me,” and not be immediately disqualified from holding office--since, after all, the pledge was written in the late 1800s and the “under God” part wasn’t added until the 1950s--while believing that reading accused criminals and terrorists their rights (because, ya know, the Constitution, which you used to teach at a prestigious law school requires it), is a dangerous and silly idea only supported by mushy liberals.


White privilege is being able to be a gun enthusiast and not make people immediately scared of you.


White privilege is being able to have a husband who was a member of an extremist political party that wants your state to secede from the Union, and whose motto was “Alaska first,” and no one questions your patriotism or that of your family, while if you're black and your spouse merely fails to come to a 9/11 memorial so she can be home with her kids on the first day of school, people immediately think she’s being disrespectful.


White privilege is being able to make fun of community organizers and the work they do--like, among other things, fight for the right of women to vote, or for civil rights, or the 8-hour workday, or an end to child labor--and people think you’re being pithy and tough, but if you merely question the experience of a small town mayor and 18-month governor with no foreign policy expertise beyond a class she took in college--you’re somehow being mean, or even sexist.


White privilege is being able to convince white women who don’t even agree with you on any substantive issue to vote for you and your running mate anyway, because all of a sudden your presence on the ticket has inspired confidence in these same white women, and made them give your party a “second look.”


White privilege is being able to fire people who didn’t support your political campaigns and not be accused of abusing your power or being a typical politician who engages in favoritism, while being black and merely knowing some folks from the old-line political machines in Chicago means you must be corrupt.


White privilege is being able to attend churches over the years whose pastors say that people who voted for John Kerry or merely criticize George W. Bush are going to hell, and that the U.S. is an explicitly Christian nation and the job of Christians is to bring Christian theological principles into government, and who bring in speakers who say the conflict in the Middle East is God’s punishment on Jews for rejecting Jesus, and everyone can still think you’re just a good church-going Christian, but if you’re black and friends with a black pastor who has noted (as have Colin Powell and the U.S. Department of Defense) that terrorist attacks are often the result of U.S. foreign policy and who talks about the history of racism and its effect on black people, you’re an extremist who probably hates America.


White privilege is not knowing what the Bush Doctrine is when asked by a reporter, and then people get angry at the reporter for asking you such a “trick question,” while being black and merely refusing to give one-word answers to the queries of Bill O’Reilly means you’re dodging the question, or trying to seem overly intellectual and nuanced.


White privilege is being able to claim your experience as a POW has anything at all to do with your fitness for president, while being black and experiencing racism is, as Sarah Palin has referred to it a “light” burden.


And finally, white privilege is the only thing that could possibly allow someone to become president when he has voted with George W. Bush 90 percent of the time, even as unemployment is skyrocketing, people are losing their homes, inflation is rising, and the U.S. is increasingly isolated from world opinion, just because white voters aren’t sure about that whole “change” thing. Ya know, it’s just too vague and ill-defined, unlike, say, four more years of the same, which is very concrete and certain…


White privilege is, in short, the problem.

ETA The quote above actually used the f-bomb and sh** several times, but I guess the censors blocked it.


Miss P

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Re: Post Your Interesting News Articles Here
« Reply #5607 on: September 21, 2008, 03:28:11 PM »
ION, Should we just ignore this?


http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/mobile-phone-use-raises-childrens-risk-of-brain-cancer-fivefold-937005.html
Mobile phone use 'raises children's risk of brain cancer fivefold'
Alarming new research from Sweden on the effects of radiation raises fears that today's youngsters face an epidemic of the disease in later life
By Geoffrey Lean, Environment Editor
Sunday, 21 September 2008

Children and teenagers are five times more likely to get brain cancer if they use mobile phones, startling new research indicates.

The study, experts say, raises fears that today's young people may suffer an "epidemic" of the disease in later life. At least nine out of 10 British 16-year-olds have their own handset, as do more than 40 per cent of primary schoolchildren.

Yet investigating dangers to the young has been omitted from a massive £3.1m British investigation of the risks of cancer from using mobile phones, launched this year, even though the official Mobile Telecommunications and Health Research (MTHR) Programme – which is conducting it – admits that the issue is of the "highest priority".

Despite recommendations of an official report that the use of mobiles by children should be "minimised", the Government has done almost nothing to discourage it.

Last week the European Parliament voted by 522 to 16 to urge ministers across Europe to bring in stricter limits for exposure to radiation from mobile and cordless phones, Wi-fi and other devices, partly because children are especially vulnerable to them. They are more at risk because their brains and nervous systems are still developing and because – since their heads are smaller and their skulls are thinner – the radiation penetrates deeper into their brains.

The Swedish research was reported this month at the first international conference on mobile phones and health.

It sprung from a further analysis of data from one of the biggest studies carried out into the risk that the radiation causes cancer, headed by Professor Lennart Hardell of the University Hospital in Orebro, Sweden. Professor Hardell told the conference – held at the Royal Society by the Radiation Research Trust – that "people who started mobile phone use before the age of 20" had more than five-fold increase in glioma", a cancer of the glial cells that support the central nervous system. The extra risk to young people of contracting the disease from using the cordless phone found in many homes was almost as great, at more than four times higher.

Those who started using mobiles young, he added, were also five times more likely to get acoustic neuromas, benign but often disabling tumours of the auditory nerve, which usually cause deafness.

By contrast, people who were in their twenties before using handsets were only 50 per cent more likely to contract gliomas and just twice as likely to get acoustic neuromas.

Professor Hardell told the IoS: "This is a warning sign. It is very worrying. We should be taking precautions." He believes that children under 12 should not use mobiles except in emergencies and that teenagers should use hands-free devices or headsets and concentrate on texting. At 20 the danger diminishes because then the brain is fully developed. Indeed, he admits, the hazard to children and teenagers may be greater even than his results suggest, because the results of his study do not show the effects of their using the phones for many years. Most cancers take decades to develop, longer than mobile phones have been on the market.

The research has shown that adults who have used the handsets for more than 10 years are much more likely to get gliomas and acoustic neuromas, but he said that there was not enough data to show how such relatively long-term use would increase the risk for those who had started young.

He wants more research to be done, but the risks to children will not be studied in the MTHR study, which will follow 90,000 people in Britain. Professor David Coggon, the chairman of the programmes management committee, said they had not been included because other research was being done on young people by a study at Sweden's Kariolinska Institute.

He said: "It looks frightening to see a five-fold increase in cancer among people who started use in childhood," but he said he "would be extremely surprised" if the risk was shown to be so high once all the evidence was in.

But David Carpenter, dean of the School of Public Health at the State University of NewYork – who also attended the conference – said: "Children are spending significant time on mobile phones. We may be facing a public health crisis in an epidemic of brain cancers as a result of mobile phone use."

In 2000 and 2005, two official inquiries under Sir William Stewart, a former government chief scientist, recommended the use of mobile phones by children should be "discouraged" and "minimised".

But almost nothing has been done, and their use by the young has more than doubled since the turn of the millennium.


vjm

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Re: Post Your Interesting News Articles Here
« Reply #5609 on: September 21, 2008, 05:01:31 PM »
I just read that column. It was, as always, awesome.

BTW, if you haven't read the New Yorker article on Cindy McCain, it is a don't miss. Just came out.