Saturday 6 October 2012

Diseases that speak English

Can a disease speak a language? Let's look at Wind Turbine Syndrome, to find out. Some, perched in their ivory towers, have suggested that Wind Turbine Syndrome might not be real, because it only seems to manifest in English speaking countries, and that if it were real, you'd see it manifest in all countries that house wind turbines. 

Max Rheese, head of the Australian Environment Foundation and professed Man of Climate Science, delivers to us a splendid metric for measuring the effects of Wind Turbine Syndrome in different countries. He refutes the claim that 'those overseas don't get sick' by stating that it is 'An oft repeated claim that is belied by over 500 community groups world-wide opposed to inappropriately sited wind farms'.

Okay, the claim is more that 'those in countries that do not have English as their official language do not consider Wind Turbine Syndrome to be scientifically plausible, or publicly demand symptoms of the syndrome are prevalent in society'. Let's not get bogged down in the details. 

Considering Rheese's deep love for empiricism and rationality, I took those 500 community groups (well, 484, but let's not get too empirical), assigned their official spoken language into the categories 'English' and 'Non-English', and then listed each country by the number of anti-wind groups. The results, as you can see below, are astounding. 

Klik op de foto 

Wind Turbine Syndrome speaks English. 91% of all the anti-wind groups listed are in English speaking countries. Listed by country and number of opposition groups, the top seven countries all have English as their language. Some latte-sipping snobs might think that this means Wind Turbine Syndrome is an affliction that is communicated through pseudo-scientific scare-mongering, and that is has no basis as a physiological affliction. 

Unfortunately, that is not how science works. Not that stupid 'science' that climate scientists and doctors seem to practice. I mean science. Perhaps infrasound has a fondness for West Germanic twangs. Perhaps it is a fan of English literature. The causal mechanisms are not yet known. But evidence that directly contradicts a hypothesis should not be considered a setback. 

If we waited for scientific evidence before we made a claim, where would be? Living in caves, being socialists, drinking lattes and riding bicycles, that's where we'd be. 

Until we know more, refrain from speaking English near wind farms. According to our data, they seem to ignore you the most if you speak Dutch  - and so, until we meet again, Houden goed, en blijf uit de buurt van nootachtige klimaatscepticus groepen.

Edit - I've been advised that Quebec is not an English - speaking jurisdiction. I'd like to point out that there is an individual in Quebec who speaks English, and thus, we can conclude that English is their primary language. 


  1. "554 signatory organisations from 24 European countries" - 454 not from UK, 17 from Netherlands.

    Wind Watch is an English-language site, so it is not surprising that its "allies" are predominately English-speaking.

    1. Hey KM,

      Cheers for the comment. For the purposes of this analysis, I've decided to pretend EPAW doesn't exist.

      Yours truly,

  2. Yes, of course — sorry.