Fear of Wireless Emotions Getting the Better of Us

However, the radio waves we use in Wi-Fi, cell phones, 5G, and other wireless applications are well down in the “non-ionizing” range, which means they don’t produce an ionization effect. Knowing that we’re dealing with non-ionizing radiation should put our minds to rest, but not if you’re someone who likes to worry. radio-rays.jpg CBRS: A Threat to Wi-Fi? Gary Audin September 27, 2019 Have enterprises unjustly dismissed Citizens Broadband Radio Service in favor of Wi-Fi? Click below to continue to Page 2 Mobile Voice, Data, Text: Unlimited for $20 a Month?! Michael Finneran September 19, 2019 Calling itself an ‘infrastructure-based MVNO,’ cable operator Altice sets new price point for cellular service. Habits of the ‘Always’ Connected Worker Gary Audin September 20, 2019 How connected are we? Wilson Electronics tries to find out in their latest survey. Oh boy. The reality is that for their own protection, scientists are never going to say “never” on an issue like this. Unfortunately, that leaves a wide-open opportunity for people who enjoy worrying to continue their favorite pastime. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) seems to agree. “Most published analyses … have shown no statistically significant increases in brain or other central nervous system cancers related to higher amounts of cell phone use,” the organization shares on its website. While that should put most reasonable minds to rest on the matter, the NCI goes on to say, “One analysis showed a statistically significant, although modest, increase in the risk of glioma among the small proportion of study participants who spent the most total time on cell phone calls.” The Federal Communications Commission sets the maximum emission for any device, and the assumption is that lower-frequency waves are benign. However, moving higher in the spectrum, beyond the range of visible light, electromagnetic radiation can cause ionization — now that’s bad. Ionizing means you’re knocking electrons free from atoms or molecules. Changing the atomic structure of a thing means changing what it is. In addition, that ionizing radiation can break chemical bonds in DNA, leading to cancer. See All in Mobility » Tags:News & ViewsRF waves5GMobilityAnalyst InsightBCStrategiesEnterprise NetworkingNews & Views12nextlast Articles You Might Like We didn’t find any direct causal link to cancer.We did find some interesting effects that might have some relationship to human health.Further study is needed. If a “real” health concern regarding wireless should emerge, we in the wireless field would need to know about it, so I’ve looked into virtually every report or study published on potential health effects from cell phones for the last 30 years. These three statements summarize the conclusions from each of these studies: Long ago, I learned that if you’re involved in an argument that pits logic against emotion, the argument is over before it begins: Emotion wins. Think about the anti-vaxers, who continue to believe in a link between the measles vaccine and autism, despite all evidence to the contrary. I see a parallel example in the persistent concern about exposure to radio frequency (RF) signals. The human body absorbs radio energy at those frequencies and this radio energy can cause heating in human tissue. We use a metric called specific absorption rate, expressed in watts per kilogram of body weight, to measure the absorbed dose of that energy. RF-phobia has deep roots… and an unfortunate association with some real hazards. Worry Warranted, or Not?Radio waves are effectively electromagnetic radiation, a type of radiation characterized by frequency. Technically, radio waves occupy the band between 30 KHz and 300 GHz (or 30,000 to 300 billion hertz), but the electromagnetic spectrum goes beyond that to encompass infrared light, visible light (i.e., 430 to 770 terahertz), and beyond. Traditional cellular networks have operated at frequencies below 3 GHz, and 5G will introduce millimeter waves operating at frequencies up to around 30 GHz. I’m not a worrier. My wife likes to worry, so I leave the household worrying responsibilities to her. Me, I take a big-picture view. The way I look at it, as humans we’ve been exposed to electromagnetic radiation at a wide range of frequencies and power levels in the natural environment throughout history. We’ve also been exposed to human-generated RF emissions for the past century. In the last 30 years, billions of people have been using personal cellular radio devices in close proximity to their bodies. If non-ionizing radiation were a major health hazard, people would be dropping dead left and right. Dissecting Microsoft’s ‘Discovery’ of Firstline Workers Michael Finneran September 24, 2019 The mobile field is rife with meaningful examples of business process automation. Can Microsoft be a factor? 5G Insights: IoT Opportunities, Vulnerabilities Gary Audin August 13, 2019 5G will provide an opportunity to connect IoT devices across the enterprise, but security vulnerabilities may follow. Worriers can cite 30 years’ worth of studies that find you can generate all manner of “peculiarities” by bombarding human tissues with levels of RF energy almost no one will ever experience. Google the phrase “cell phone effects on health” and you’ll get something like 347 million results. Log in or register to post comments read more

NASA reselects Brock prof for Mars research

The U.S. government’s National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has re-selected Brock Associate Professor of Earth Sciences Mariek Schmidt as a member of its group of scientists for the Curiosity Mars rover mission.On March 11, NASA announced the list of 28 researchers it selected to participate on the Mars Science Laboratory Project, which built and operates the rover. Schmidt was a member of the previous group.During Curiosity’s prime mission, which was completed in 2014, the project met its main goal by finding evidence that ancient Mars offered environmental conditions with all the requirements for supporting microbial life, if any ever existed on Mars.In Curiosity’s first extended mission, researchers are using the rover on the lower portion of a layered mountain to study how Mars’ ancient environment changed from wet conditions favourable for microbial life to harsher, drier conditions.The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) funds Schmidt’s participation in the mission. read more

Moncton RCMP officer remembered

The congregation at Hillside Baptist Church in Moncton gathered this morning to pray for the family, friends and co-workers of RCMP constable Dave Ross.Ross was one of three RCMP officers gunned down last Wednesday before a city-wide manhunt for the suspect.He was a member of the congregation and met his wife in a bible study group there. Friends and family gathered at today’s service to mourn their loss, and to try to begin healing.“Everything he did was with a great deal of passion and commitment,” said Amy Klassen, a friend of Const. Ross. “He was merciful, never once did I ever feel judged or put down and I believe others would say the same about Dave. He was also a man of God.”A full regimental funeral will be held for Ross and fellow Mounties Fabrice Gevaudan and Douglas Larche on Tuesday. The two other officers injured in the attack have since been released from hospital. read more

St Catharines mom murdered

In St. Catharines, an elderly woman who was rushed to hospital after allegedly being attacked by her son has died…A little more than 24 hours ago, Niagara police were called to a Geneva Street apartment building. A 911 caller said they’d heard a woman screaming for help inside her apartment. The 76-year old victim was found in serious condition. Her injuries were so bad that she was sent to Hamilton General Hospital, but authorities say she died Thursday. Her 52-year old son, Richard Rogers is in police custody. Its expected he’ll be charged with murder on Friday.

The Latest Powell sends strong signal of possible rate cut

WASHINGTON — The Latest on Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s presentation of the Fed’s semi-annual monetary report to Congress. (all times local)8:30 a.m.Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell says “many” Fed officials believe a weakening global economy and rising trade tensions have bolstered the case for looser interest-rate policies.Delivering the Fed’s semi-annual monetary report to Congress, Powell sends the strongest signal yet that the central bank is ready to cut interest rates for the first time in a decade, possibly as soon as the July meeting.Powell says that since Fed officials met last month, “uncertainties around trade tensions and concerns about the strength of the global economy continue to weigh on the U.S. economic outlook.” Meanwhile, inflation has fallen further below the Fed’s annual target of 2%.Many investors have put the odds of a rate cut this month at 100%.Powell, who has been under increasing attack by President Donald Trump, makes no mention of the president’s criticism in his prepared testimony but does thank Congress for the “independence” it has given the central bank to operate.___12:05 a.m.Every sentence Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell speaks to Congress this week is sure to be parsed by investors who expect — and hope — the Fed will cut interest rates later this month for the first time in a decade.Powell will testify for two days starting Wednesday at a time when the economic landscape is a mixed one: The U.S. job market appears resilient. Consumer spending and home sales look solid. But the economy is likely slowing. President Donald Trump’s trade wars have magnified uncertainties. And inflation remains chronically below the Fed’s target level.Powell and the Fed have recently made clear they will do whatever they deem “appropriate” to sustain the economic expansion — a message that traders have interpreted to mean a coming rate cut.The Associated Press read more

Lowes Fiscal 2Q Earnings Snapshot

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (AP) _ Lowe’s Cos. (LOW) on Wednesday reported fiscal second-quarter earnings of $1.68 billion.The Mooresville, North Carolina-based company said it had net income of $2.14 per share. Earnings, adjusted for non-recurring costs, came to $2.15 per share.The results beat Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of 13 analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of $2 per share.The home improvement retailer posted revenue of $20.99 billion in the period, also beating Street forecasts. Ten analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $20.98 billion.Lowe’s expects full-year earnings in the range of $5.45 to $5.65 per share.Lowe’s shares have increased 6% since the beginning of the year, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 index has climbed 16%. The stock has fallen almost 1% in the last 12 months._____This story was generated by Automated Insights (http://automatedinsights.com/ap) using data from Zacks Investment Research. Access a Zacks stock report on LOW at https://www.zacks.com/ap/LOWThe Associated Press read more

Payouts from insurance policies may fuel ransomware attacks

CHICAGO — The call came on a Saturday in July delivering grim news: Many of the computer systems serving the government of LaPorte County, Indiana, had been taken hostage with ransomware. The hackers demanded $250,000.No way, thought County Commission President Vidya Kora. But less than a week later, officials in the county southeast of Chicago agreed to pay a $132,000 ransom, partially covered by $100,000 from their insurance provider.“It was basically an economic decision,” Kora said. “How long do you keep all these employees sitting, doing nothing? Whereas if you pay this, we can be back up and running.”That’s precisely the calculation hackers count on. Now some cybersecurity professionals are concerned that insurance policies designed to limit the damage of ransomware attacks might be encouraging hackers, who see insurers covering increasingly large ransoms and choose to target the type of institutions likely to have coverage.“Once a cybercriminal finds a formula that works for them, they’re going to stick to it,” said Tyler Moore, a cyber security professor at the University of Tulsa. “If you’re a company or a city that has this coverage, the decision of whether to pay is quite clear. It gets more difficult when you take a step back and look at the societal view.”This year alone, the average ransom payment climbed from $12,762 at the end of March to $36,295 by the end of June — a 184% jump — according to Coveware, a firm that negotiates on behalf of ransomware victims.Officials have cited insurers’ help paying ransoms in recent high-profile hacks, including those in several Florida cities that paid six-figure ransoms. Elected officials reassured the public that taxpayers were only accountable for a deductible.The mayor of New Bedford, Massachusetts, acknowledged this month that city officials offered to pay $400,000 after ransomware locked up 158 city computers in July. The hackers had demanded $5.3 million.In a statement released two months later, Mayor Jon Mitchell said he was initially reluctant to negotiate, but he eventually concluded that it would be “irresponsible” to dismiss “the possibility of obtaining the decryption key if insurance coverage could cover the full cost of the ransom payment.”New Bedford never received a counteroffer from its hackers. Insurance coverage through AIG is expected to help with the cost of recovering lost files and upgrading security, Mitchell has said.The earliest use of ransomware came in the late 1980s. Attackers often launch their assaults via email containing malicious links or attachments. Once they have access, they encrypt files, databases and entire computer networks until the ransom is paid.In recent years, ransomware has become much more common, fueled by cryptocurrency that makes it easier for hackers to receive and then spend the payouts. Twenty-two local governments in Texas were hit in August . Businesses aiming to thwart hackers or repair their damage have grown rapidly in response, including insurance providers offering policies that cover ransom payments.Insurers do not release detailed information about clients’ experience with ransomware, so it’s difficult to know how often victims agree to pay. One 2016 study by the non-profit Cloud Security Alliance found that companies with insurance were more likely to pay a ransom to hackers threatening to release sensitive information — 28% compared with 22% for companies without insurance.La Porte County officials purchased a cyber security policy in 2018, months before they got hit, Kora said. The insurance company, Travelers, sent a law firm and a cybersecurity team to try to restore the computer systems and simultaneously negotiate with the hackers. The county also reported the ransomware to the FBI.No one was able to free the encrypted information, Kora said. For days, the county’s criminal and civil courts stalled without access to records, databases and payment systems. Employees in other county offices had no access to email or electronic records.LaPorte County’s policy covered up to $100,000 toward a ransom payment. Feeling trapped, county commissioners decided to cover the remaining $32,000.Texas officials have released little information on the ransomware that hit local governments, including the hackers’ specific demands. The Texas Department of Information Resources said in a statement released Sept. 5 that it was not aware of any community paying a ransom.According to the FBI, more than 1,400 instances of ransomware were reported last year, and victims reported paying $3.6 million. But former officials said that’s undoubtedly a fraction of the true picture because many victims don’t report, fearing damage to shareholders and loss of customers’ trust.Government agencies often don’t have the option to keep quiet.Cindy Pfeifer, clerk and treasurer of the Wisconsin village of Nashotah, was facing deadlines for property tax collections, budget preparations and completion of employees’ tax documents when she began a late November workday. But her computer was useless. It had been locked by hackers demanding $10,000.“My stomach still clenches when I think about it,” Pfeifer said.Technology staff for the village of 1,357 residents negotiated the hackers down to about $2,500. Officials paid, fearing that rebuilding records would cost much more.Josephine Wolff, a professor of cybersecurity policy at Tufts University, fears that insurance coverage of ransom payouts gives victims distance from the ripple effect of their decision.“By saying, ‘Oh, this is just something my insurance covers,’ they’re forgetting that is contributing direct financial resources to future criminal operations,” Wolff said.That effect has kept some targets from making ransom payments. After hackers locked systems for vendor and employee payments at the Colorado Department of Transportation, state officials resolved not to give in. Restoring the systems cost up to $1.5 million.“We don’t know what that ransom payment is going to fund,” said Brandi Simmons, a spokeswoman for the governor’s office of technology. “As a state government, we don’t want to be in a position of funding cyberterrorists.”Insurers said the decision about paying a ransom is ultimately the victim’s and not dictated by the terms of a policy, but it does require consideration of practical questions, said Michael Tanenbaum, head of the Cyber North America division for Chubb insurance.How long can they operate without access to the data? Do they have functioning backups to use while experts try to get the data back? What if the stolen data can’t be recovered?Executives of a multinational company that makes $10 million a day may not blink at paying $10,000 to get data back. A $10 million ransom, though, would take more thought, said Howard Marshall, a former deputy assistant director of the FBI’s cyber division, who now leads the cyber threat intelligence team at the consulting firm Accenture.“The time for that thought process is well in advance,” he said, “not when the attacker’s clock is ticking.”Kathleen Foody, The Associated Press read more

WatchCIBC follows TD RBC to raise its fiveyear fixed mortgage rate today

TORONTO — The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce says it will raise its five-year fixed-rate mortgage rate Tuesday by 15 basis points.Spokesman Tom Wallis says in an email that the rate will change from 4.99 per cent to 5.14 per cent.Toronto-Dominion Bank lifts mortgage rate in ‘biggest move in years,’ RBC follows suitJumping mortgage rates will further tighten the debt vise for CanadiansWallis says seven-year and 10-year fixed-rate mortgage rates will also rise 15 basis points, whereas one- and two-year rates will go up 10 basis points.The Royal Bank of Canada and Toronto Dominion Bank announced last week that they would raise their benchmark mortgage rates.TD lifted its posted rate for five-year fixed mortgages by 45 basis points to 5.59 per cent, the biggest hike in years, observers said.RBC raised its posted rate for a five-year fixed mortgage on Monday to 5.34 per cent compared with the 5.14 per cent currently posted.The increases come as government bond yields rise. Fixed-rate mortgages tend to move with government bond yields of a similar term, reflecting the change in borrowing costs. read more

Home sales set to fall to nineyear low in 2019 CREA projects

Oil price declines have also wreaked havoc on housing prices in Western Canada, while the largest sales decline this year was in B.C., which has largely been attributed an increase in the foreign-buyers’ tax.Meanwhile, in separate release of monthly sales data, CREA reported that home sales across the country fell for a third month in a row in November, as two of what had been the hottest markets, the Greater Toronto Area and the Greater Vancouver Area, reported lower activity.Canadian home sales through its multiple listing service system dropped by 2.3 per cent last month compared with October as the number of transactions fell in more than half of all local markets.Sales were down year over year in three-quarters of all local markets including the GTA, Hamilton-Burlington, Ont., region, B.C.’s Lower Mainland and Calgary.CREA says the number of new listings also saw a decline, falling 3.3 per cent in November.The drop came as the average price for a home sold last month dropped to $488,000, down 2.9 per cent compared with the same month a year ago. Excluding the Greater Toronto Area and the Greater Vancouver area, the average price of a sold home was just under $378,000.“The decline in home ownership affordability caused by this year’s new mortgage stress-test remains very much in evidence,” said Gregory Klump, CREA’s chief economist in a statement.“Despite supportive economic and demographic fundamentals, national home sales have begun trending lower. While national home sales were anticipated to recover in the wake of a large drop in activity earlier this year due to the introduction of the stress-test, the rebound appears to have run its course.” TORONTO — National home sales are projected to fall to a near decade low in 2019, as rising interest rates and strict mortgage stress-test rules continue to put a damper on homebuyer sentiment, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association.The group, which represents more than 125,000 realtors, is projecting that home sales across the country will decline to the lowest point in nine years but stay little changed from 2018, falling only by 0.5 per cent to 456,200 units.CREA is projecting the national average price for a home sold through its multiple-listing service system will rise 1.7 per cent to $496,800 in 2019.The association forecasts a rebound in sales activity in Ontario and continuing gains in Quebec. Sales were anticipated to fall next year in Alberta and British Columbia.Toronto and Vancouver most ‘vulnerable’ to interest rate hikes as personal debt soars, CMHC warnsToronto new home prices see biggest 12-month drop in more than two decadesMortgage rules now ‘overkill’ that are hitting millennials particularly hard, home builders say“In 2019, home sales activity and prices are expected to be held in check by recent policy changes from different levels of government, in addition to additional interest rate increases,” the group said in a forecast released Monday.CREA has also revised down its projections for 2018, now saying that it expects national home sales will decline by 11.2 per cent to 458,200 units in 2018 — the lowest level in five years.The group says B.C. and Ontario will make up the majority of this year’s decline, while sales in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Newfoundland and Labrador will also fall to multi-year lows.“The national forecast has been revised lower… as an anticipated rebound in sales in British Columbia has so far failed to materialize, the recovery in Ontario sales this summer has now run its course and sales activity in Alberta has edged lower. These developments were partially offset by stronger-than-expected sales activity in Quebec,” it said in the report.The association noted that sales in Quebec and in the Maritimes, particularly New Brunswick, were still anticipated to remain “historically strong.”National average home prices were slated to end this year down 4.2 per cent to $488,600 from 2017.CREA attributed 2018’s price drop to a 2.6 per cent year over year decline in Ontario as fewer higher-price homes were put up for sale in Toronto, especially during the spring market, which often sees a price surge.In Toronto, the decline in average home prices this year is stark in contrast because the housing market in Canada’s largest city had been “unusually strong” in 2017.“As we look to 2019, the major battle lines seem fairly clearly drawn, with the market still supported by strong population growth on the one side, and challenging affordability (past price gains and rate rises) on the other,” said Doug Porter, chief economist at BMO Economics in an analyst note.“While we expect sales activity to stabilize next year… we nevertheless anticipate that prices will slow even further to gains likely below that of inflation.”Porter also pointed out that there were a lot of variances regionally in relation to average sales and prices.For instance, the housing market in Ontario’s medium-sized cities continued to show strength, with both London and Windsor, Ont., posting double-digit gains in 2018. While smaller cities in Ontario, Quebec and Maritimes registered price gains that put that in a “healthy” balanced market.While we expect sales activity to stabilize next year… we nevertheless anticipate that prices will slow even further to gains likely below that of inflationDoug Porter, BMO Economics chief economist read more

Parents concerned with four relocatable classrooms coming to Connaught

Four new relocatable classrooms coming to École Connaught Community School has some parents concerned about overcrowding and playground size, but the Ministry of Education says the movable structures are the best way to provide flexible space.Sarah Cummings Truszkowski, whose three children are in Grades 8, 5 and 2 at Connaught, has a mixed reaction to the new relocatable classrooms (also known as portables) being used. While she thinks this is a better option than using multipurpose rooms as additional classrooms, she is worried the extra space won’t be ready by the first day of school.“I would rather my kid be in a portable than taking out the library or the music room, which is what is happening right now,” she said.“What’s going to happen now this fall? Because the portables aren’t even ready… the library is now gone in the school and there’s some classrooms in there and all those lovely spaces that the kids used to be able to use are going to be used for classrooms, which is disappointing.”Truszkowski says she’s also worried about how the relocatables are cutting into playground space. Starting this fall, she said recess time will be split into two groups to accommodate more kids playing in a smaller area.Story continues belowThis advertisement has not loaded yet,but your article continues below.“All the kids and friends and siblings won’t be able to play with each other and there’s half the space in the playground because of all this construction too, so that’s no fun,” she said.Keith Tramer, whose daughter is in Grade 3 at Connaught, is also concerned about the playground downsize.“If you’ve got this many more students coming in and you’re taking a third of the playground away, how does that sound proper?” he said. “(I’m) not happy about the containers coming in.”And with more new students coming into the school this year, Tramer doesn’t think even four new classrooms will be enough to return the multipurpose rooms back to their original uses.Related Regina teacher fundraising to clear teachers’ classroom supply wish lists Parents concerned about education quality with schools in overcapacity ‘We cannot continue to tighten:’ Regina school divisions face another tough budget Regina Public Schools spokesperson Terry Lazarou said the division plans to have the four portables in use by November, and three temporary classrooms have been set up in the school in the meantime. He acknowledged the portables will cut into the playground, but said “our priority is always students in the classroom.”Connaught isn’t the only school in Regina receiving portable classrooms.More classrooms are needed across Regina’s school divisions as they see an increasing number of students. Regina Public Schools is projecting a total of 24,493 students this fall, said Lazarou, an increase of more than 2,000 students since 2015. Regina Catholic Schools are anticipating 12,206 students this fall, up more than 1,300 students from 2015.École Wascana Plains School is getting one new relocatable. According to the province’s Ministry of Education, St. Gregory School and St. Joan of Arc School are also each receiving one relocatable, although these are being shuffled from other Catholic schools.While some parents might not be pleased with relocatable classrooms, the Ministry of Education’s executive director of infrastructure Sheldon Ramstead said these movable structures are the best option to address “fluctuating enrolment.” Instead of building a larger traditional school, constructing a slightly smaller building and then using portables gives divisions more flexibility in allocating space.When the Ministry of Education builds a school, Ramstead said it designs the building for “stable enrolment” — the number of students a neighbourhood will have once it is fully developed and there is little population growth. Relocatable classrooms are often a part of that design. Ramstead said Connaught and École Harbour Landing Elementary School were both built with the intention of using portable classrooms within the first few years.“As the community ages out and kids move on, then they’re able to move those relocatables — like Regina Catholic is — to other schools that need it as those communities grow with younger children,” said Ramstead.“All of a sudden you’ve got a school that has capacity but there’s no way for you to right-size it. With the relocatables, it provides us with the opportunity to move those to a school that needs the space and we can lower the operating costs of that school without having empty classrooms.”The cost difference between using portable classrooms versus building a larger school up front is “negligible,” said Ramstead, and the main draw to relocatables is the flexibility they offer without compromising on building quality.“They are built as well as any school construction in the province now and they are designed to move multiple times, and they’ve got the same lifespan as your school construction,” he said.lgiesbrecht@postmedia.com read more