Four British newspapers are quoting a self-published author who claims supposed wind turbine health problems in a piece that could be pretty much summed up as:
The Independent, The Daily Mail, The Daily Telegraph and The Belfast Telegraph are printing the same piece (unverified by any third parties) by a New York pediatrician who has set herself up as an “expert” on wind with her own vanity press. Nina Pierpont thinks “Wind Turbine Syndrome” can cause abnormal heart beats, sleep disturbance, headaches, tinnitus, nausea, visual blurring, panic attacks migraines, sleep deprivation, and general irritability.
And it is fine that a pediatrician, like anyone else, has an opinion, but that doesn’t make this science. Pierpont is claiming that her book is peer-reviewed (by other pediatricians, I assume?) which is not true. Other pediatricians (who are doctors for children) have not “peer-reviewed” her work.
More relevantly; acousticians (who actually do study the aural efffects of things like wind turbines) have not “peer-reviewed” her work.
A “peer”, by definition, works in the same field of study.
As Grist notes, this is clearly a vanity press self publishing effort:
Her “publisher” has a four-person editorial board consisting of herself, her husband Calvin Luther Martin, and two other members. Pierpont’s husband is also the book’s editor. Her book can only be ordered from her website. The “publisher” website is a page on Pierpont’s own site.
Valid peer-review is, by nature, independent. While authors are encouraged (and sometimes required) to suggest possible peer reviewers, the final selection of reviewers in valid refereeing is never made by people closely related to the author, or hired by the author. Pierpont being on the editorial board of a company that she claims oversaw a peer review process is itself a scandal.
Dr. Pierpont told the newspapers that there was “no doubt” about the existence of Wind Turbine Syndrome, based on her interviews with just 38 people in 10 families living near wind turbines ranging in size from 1.5MW to 3MW, and that was good enough for the newspapers. Local councils are increasingly refusing permission to build wind farms.
The British Wind Energy Association points out that her study was based on an unscientific sample (too few people and not a verified study) and that it runs counter to wide ranging research finding that wind turbines do not pose health risks
Germany and Denmark have far more deployed wind energy than Britain. “In Germany, they have deployed 15,000 turbines in the past 20 years, and yet there has been no detectable increase in any of these health symptoms identified as being caused by turbines,” says the BWEA. The Borough of Westminster had 300,000 complaints about noise last year – but only 4 about wind farms.
If the pediatrician’s background wasn’t enough to tip off mainstream journalists; a cursory glance at the website would have revealed this poorly concealed deception regarding peer review.
But in an age where fossil-fuel lobbyists use identity theft to falsify the views of legitimate constituencies, and a government conceals the science on climate change, and science itself must take a backseat to the opinions of the rabble, hey; who’s checking? We don’t need no stinking Fourth Estate.
Early Mass Hysteria by Goya
Susan Kraemer writes at CleanTechnica, CSP-Today, PV-Insider , SmartGridUpdate and GreenProphet and has been published at Ecoseed, NRDC OnEarth, MatterNetwork, Celsius, EnergyNow and Scientific American. As a former serial entrepreneur in product design she brings an innovator's perspective on inventing a carbon-constrained civilization: If necessity is the mother of invention: solving climate change is the mother of all necessities! As a lover of history and sci fi, she enjoys chronicling the strange future we are creating in these interesting times. Follow Susan @dotcommodity on twitter.