What REAL Experts are Saying About Steven’s Cooper’s Wind Farm Noise Study
In our recent post we popped up the study done by Steven Cooper at Pacific Hydro’s Cape Bridgewater wind farm, that’s sent the wind industry and its parasites into complete melt-down.
Its keenest advocates have turned on Pac Hydro, with the kind of hate-filled vengeance (usually reserved for traitors) for letting Cooper off the leash in the first place (see our post here).
And a band of others – with their trotters firmly in the wind industry subsidy trough – have chimed in, in an hysterical effort to pooh-pooh Cooper’s study.
This band of Twitter jockeys – made up of pseudo-scientists, mock-medicos and eco-fascist barrackers have been uniformly desperate in their attempts to deride and attack Cooper personally; and in their attempts to demonstrate that the study is somehow “flawed”.
Curiously – none of them hold any qualifications relevant to the task at hand – save and except the ability to compress non sequiturs into 140 characters.
In a classic bait and switch technique, this reliable band of useful idiots start out by branding Cooper’s study as a piece of “academic work”; and then set out to attack it on that basis.
The study is not “academic work” of the kind familiar to those firmly ensconced in sandstone citadels, but is, rather, a field study where data was gathered; set against the hypothesis that there is a relationship between the adverse health impacts complained of by neighbours and turbine generated low-frequency noise and infrasound.
On that basis, the study can be seen as a robust piece of basic research; ready for further testing.
The idea of science (well, it used to be) is to propound some hypothesis directed at a particular relationship; to gather some evidence in relation to that hypothesis; and then throw that evidence firmly against the hypothesis, in an effort to disprove it. What Karl Popper called “falsifiability”; which he defined as the essential feature of science.
Science is not conducted by a show of hands or a popularity contest. Having a million scientists (or Twitter followers) “agree” with a particular hypothesis does not add to the robustness of that hypothesis. Indeed, the entire point of science is constant conjecture and repeated challenge to establish and maintain a robust and reliable body of fundamental human knowledge. Humans have been at it – in an organised way – for around 300 years and have improved their lot as the direct result of that quest.
And it most certainly isn’t conducted on the basis of the popularity of an ideologically driven agenda, generated by carping and nitpicking on Twitter; or during ABC propaganda love-ins.
In 1907 – when Albert Einstein – then, a lowly Austrian patent clerk – started scratching out what became known as his theory of “relativity”, young Albert was very much on his lonesome. In fact, he was roundlyridiculed and criticised by his contemporaries – and it took decades before his theory was taken seriously. The lack of “agreement” among physicists with Einstein’s theory did not, however, render the theory false or incorrect.
Einstein (correctly) identified that: “No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong”. Physicists are still trying to prove Einstein’s theories wrong – and so it should be.
If the eco-fascist cheer squad were, in fact, serious scientists, they would be out in paddocks and inside homes armed with microphones and sensors, gathering their own datasets to throw against the hypothesis, in an effort to disprove it; and advance science.
Cooper’s methods and approach sit fairly and squarely within that model: the target hypothesis was set; and data was thrown against it. The hypothesis remains; leaving it standing to be belted again and again, until such time as evidence shows the hypothesis to be invalid.
If any scientist seeks to protect their pet hypothesis (eg, the nonsense “nocebo” effect, for example) then your Spidey senses should be tingling: the “scientist” in question is then simply an advocate for their idea; the whole concept of scientific progress is to belt the hypothesis repeatedly with evidence relevant to that task. If the hypothesis remains, then so be it.
In the case of Cooper’s study, limitations on the length of the study and the size of the dataset (number of participants etc) were firmly set by Pac Hydro – the wind power outfit in question, which paid for the study as its Penance for being the object of over 6 years of residents’ well-justified complaints.
No such controls or limitations are placed on “academic research” – here, Pac Hydro’s deliberate controls and limitations were driven by, obviously, commercial considerations, and aimed at protecting a corporate reputation under threat (ie, “damage control”).
So it seems a bit rich that the Twitter jockeys are attacking Cooper’s study as “flawed” on that basis.
Among the raft of limitations placed on Cooper by Pac Hydro, was its rejection of Cooper’s request that the study be peer reviewed, prior to its release. Pac Hydro, sensing it already had a public relations disaster in the making, deliberately decided to prevent peer review of the study, which would have only added weight and validity to its results.
However, as a piece of basic scientific research, Cooper’s study stands alone; and is, therefore, easily capable of being:
- scaled up to include more homes and residents;
- further validated and supported with the inclusion of a representative cohort as a control group in any further study; and
- therefore, repeated, validated and extended, both here, and all around the world.
So far, so scientific.
But instead of letting the eco-fascist cheer squad, wind industry and its parasites “own” the debate about the validity of Cooper’s study, why nothear from two highly qualified and experienced acoustic engineers, instead of media manipulators armed with arts and sociology degrees?
Rob Rand and Stephen Ambrose have, between them, published dozens of peer reviewed articles on wind turbine noise impacts (a few are available here); have over 65 years of acoustics experience between them; and have been working specifically on low-frequency noise and infrasound emissions from wind turbines for nearly 20 years.
Let’s hear what properly qualified experts have to say about Steven Cooper’s study.
January 21, 2015
Re: Cape Bridgewater Wind Farm Acoustic Study
Congratulations on this superlative work investigating the neighbor reports and correlating (unintended) adverse effects of the facility. The scope and detail of your report is sure to assist acoustic investigators, planners, utilities, and the public to understand without any further doubt or dismissal what wind turbine neighbors have been saying for years, as you so clearly sum up,
“What we found was that previously they were complaining about the noise, but it wasn’t really the noise, it was sensations.”
The report’s establishing of tonal energy at the blade pass and harmonics along with higher frequencies with sidebands as the wind turbine signature, puts to rest any further tendency by acoustic professionals to rely on constant-percentage bands to attempt to assess neighbor impacts from wind turbine signals.
The correlation of sensation level to WTS tone level in the infrasonic and audible bands brings wind turbine acoustics right to the door of medical science. Medical tests in the homes, long overdue, can now be correlated directly to WTS. May the medical testing in homes begin without further delay.
I would like to express my deep appreciation to Pacific Hydro for sponsoring the study and providing turbine on/off conditions for evaluation.
Robert W. Rand, ASA, INCE
January 22, 2015
Ref: Cape Bridgewater Wind Farm Acoustic Study
Congratulations, I commend you for pursuing scientific truth by investigating the human response to large wind-turbines in the acoustic environment. Your correlation of human response journal entries with scientific waveform analysis clearly shows hearing is not limited to audible sounds. Research continues to reveal that the ear has multiple functions and capabilities. This study merits recognition by acoustic and public health professionals for more research.
Your study goes far beyond the 1980s Neil Kelley et al. studies that identified operating wind-turbines can produce airborne transmissions that humans detect as “sensations”. Bray/James research showed that one-third octave band filters could not measure the low-frequency peaks produced by wind-turbines.
Neighbors’ complaints were ignored by the majority. Acoustic experts failed to understand the limitations of their instruments and analysis methods. The Cape Bridgewater Wind Farm Analysis Study should end blaming the neighbor. Neighbors deserve respect. Experts earn respect.
Before wind turbines, the highest negative community reaction was “vigorous community action to stop the noise”. Wind turbines have raised the bar to “home abandonment”. This life-saving option is not affordable; most experience diminished quality of life, degradation of health, and loss of wellbeing. The population majority remains unknowing and unaffected by wind turbines because they live far away or genetically protected from “sensations”. I was surprised to learn that I should not live near a wind turbine neighbor. I have no sympathy; I have real empathy.
Thank you and best wishes.
Stephen E. Ambrose, ASA, INCE, Board Certified