• 24 MAR 09
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    #1040: The brave new world of microwave home heating

    If Adair’s microwave addicted monkey junkies are not enough to strain credibility (last message) then how about the insanity dreamed up by her IEEE standard setting buddies Buffer and Osepchuk which Adair referred to in the NYT article. Check it out in New Scientist, 21-28 December 1996. The following is a message I wrote about the New Scientist article back in Nov. 2002.



    Brave New World of Microwave Heating

    The Microwave Research Centre in Marlborough, New Hampshire, U.S.A.
    have come up with a new, somewhat novel concept in oven design.
    Instead of cooking your chicken in your microwave, you can warm
    yourself and your family by flooding your home with microwave
    radiation to give that “warm inner glow” on those cold winter days.

    Such a room may contain a hole in the wall allowing a standard 800
    watt transmitter such as that used in a conventional microwave oven,
    to beam microwaves into the room. In order to prevent the microwaves
    escaping, the walls would need to be clad with a metallic reflecting
    surface. In order to prevent reflected microwaves concentrating into
    hot spots, the room will have to be ‘stirred’ by large metallic
    blades attached to the walls. As these blades revolve around their
    long axises, they reflect microwaves in different directions and stop
    hot spots from forming – microwave cookers contain similar devices.

    Making all this attractive to the eye may be a home decorator’s
    nightmare. Nevertheless Charles Buffler, of the Microwave Research
    Centre, says such a home heating system would be a highly efficient
    way of keeping warm. He has calculated that microwave heating
    systems could cut household heating bills by 75%. An added bonus is
    that since microwaves cause light bulbs to fluoresce, such a heating
    system could also double as the power supply for a system of wireless

    John Osepchuk, a long standing member of the American Institute of
    Electronic and Electrical Engineers, (IEEE) an organisation involved
    in setting microwave exposure limits, feels that “Getting public
    acceptance of the idea will be the biggest problem”…”At the moment
    we have a pervasive electrophobia. People are scared stiff of the
    prospect”. (1)

    There are several other problems with such a heating system, other
    that electrophobia, which may make it a hard sell to the public:

    * Microwave heating would not necessarily make you feel warmer.
    While microwaves would heat up internal organs, the skin always
    remains in contact with cool air so you still could feel cold.

    *Furniture would have to be covered in a material that also heats up
    with exposure to microwaves so that it wouldn’t feel cold to the

    * The microwaves would interfere with radio and TV reception, as
    well as distorting TV and computer monitors.

    * Small metal objects, such as keys and coins, would become extremely hot.

    * Buffler admits that heat might build up in parts of the body that
    are particularly exposed or poorly supplied with blood. “The main
    areas of concern are the cornea and the testicles”.

    Now if you are concerned about these small side effects, such as
    cooked eyeballs and testicles, remember it is only a symptom of
    “pervasive electrophobia” according to Osepchuk. (pronounced Up-chuck
    which is also a symptom of microwave sickness).

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