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The Tinfoil Hat / Helmet

lol there's a wikipedia page for tinfoil hats now!

Tin-foil hats and mental illness

There have been some people who believe in the efficacy of tin-foil hats and similar devices. Reasons for use include preventing abduction by alien beings, or stopping unpleasant experiences such as hearing voices in one's head. This draws on the stereotypical image of mind control operating by means of ESP, microwave radiation or other technological means. Belief in the effectiveness of tin-foil hats is popularly linked to mental illnesses such as paranoid schizophrenia.[1]

The delusion of "mind control rays" or other invasive mental activity may seem very real to those afflicted with severe paranoid delusions, and such persons have been known to make and wear improvised defences against the imagined invasion. A placebo effect may even convince the sufferer that the device actually works. While aluminium foil and tin-foil are traditional, less fragile materials such as 3M Velostat (a kind of metallised plastic) and metal window-screen mesh are now more commonly used. Electrical conductivity is seen as a key quality.

Scientific basis

There is a small amount of truth or reason to be found in the rationale for a tin-foil hat. A well constructed tin-foil enclosure would approximate a Faraday cage, reducing the amount of (notionally harmless) radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation inside. A common high school physics demonstration involves placing an AM radio on tinfoil, and then covering the radio with a metal bucket. This leads to a noticeable reduction in signal strength. The efficiency of such an enclosure in blocking such radiation depends on the thickness of the tin-foil, as dictated by the skin depth, the distance the radiation can propagate in a particular non-ideal conductor. For half-millimeter-thick tin-foil, radiation above about 20 kHz (i.e., including both AM and FM bands) would be partially blocked.[2]

The effectiveness of the tin-foil hat as an electromagnetic shield for stopping radio waves is greatly reduced by the fact that it is not a complete enclosure. Placing an AM radio under a metal bucket without a conductive layer underneath demonstrates the relative ineffectiveness of such a setup. Indeed, because the effect of an ungrounded Faraday cage is to partially reflect the incident radiation, a radio wave that is incident on the inner surface of the hat (i.e., coming from underneath the hat-wearer) would be reflected and partially 'focused' towards the user's brain. While tin-foil hats may have originated in some understanding of the Faraday cage effect, the use of such a hat to attenuate radio waves belongs properly to the realm of pseudoscience.

A (somewhat tongue-in-cheek) study by graduate students at MIT determined that a tin-foil hat could either amplify or attenuate incoming radiation depending on frequency;[3] the effect was observed to be roughly independent of the relative placement of the wearer and radiation source. Note that GHz wavelengths are well below the putative skin depth of even the thinnest foil.

Tin foil hats are seen by some as a protective measure against the effects of EMR, or electro magnetic radiation. At this time, no link has been verifiably proven between EMR exposure and subsequent ill health, however EMR exposure has many alleged effects.[4]

Tin-foil hats in pop culture

* The protagonist Jerry Fletcher in the 1997 film Conspiracy Theory covers his apartment walls with foil to protect himself from them.
* The paranoid centaur Foaly, in Eoin Colfer's Artemis Fowl series of books, wears a tin-foil hat to protect from mind-readers.
* In the Simpsons episode "Brother's Little Helper", Bart wears a trash can lid on his head and covers his body in tin-foil, as well as lining the ceiling with wire coat hangers to protect himself from the influence of Major League Baseball's mind control satellite after he begins taking an anti-ADD drug "Focusyn".
* In the TV series King of the Hill episode "Dale Be Not Proud", paranoid conspiracy theorist Dale Gribble awakens on a hospital bed, and, upon finding out that he is donating his kidney, instantly goes into a craze and asks why "isn't there a tin foil hat on my head?!"
* In the film Lovesick, Dudley Moore plays a psychiatrist who gives a homeless patient some aluminium foil to "protect" the patient from the "mind control rays" his patient claims are bombarding him.
* In Signs, the children and younger brother of the lead character wear tin-foil hats to prevent their minds from being read. This is parodied in Scary Movie 3, in which the tin-foil hats are actually giant Hershey's Kisses.
* In the X-Men movies, Magneto wears a metal helmet that prevents Stryker's son (in X2) and Professor X (in X-Men and X2) from using telepathy against him.
* In the Sci Fi Channel (United States) original movie Control Factor, nonconsensual test subjects in a government experiment to incite violence in an inner city neighborhood use hats lined with copper wool to protect themselves from microwave-based mind control signals.
* Former Marvel Comics supervillain Juggernaut wore a helmet made of a mystical alloy as protection against telepathy.
* Tin-foil hats are often referenced on Internet forums such as Slashdot, Fark.com and Footballguys.com.[5]
* In his autobiography, Frank Zappa refers to Echo Park residents "Crazy Jerry," an electricity addict and speed user who had been institutionalized a number of times, and his roommate known only as "Wild Bill the Mannequin Fucker," a chemist and methamphetamine cook who modified department store mannequins for sexual uses. Both are reputed to have employed metallic hats (vegetable steamers, aluminium pots, tin-foil etc.,) to "keep people from reading their minds." Zappa once recorded Crazy Jerry's life story, excerpts of which can be heard on some of his early recordings.
* The character Joe Wicks was featured in British soap EastEnders suffering mental illness and constructing a tin-foil hat for "protection".
* The novel Idiots in the Machine by Edward Savio portrays a character who believes that tin foil keeps harmful gamma rays away and becomes a media sensation, marketing a successful line of foil hats to Chicago.
* In the third episode of the first Friends season , Lizzie is a homeless woman who offers Phoebe her tin-foil hat.
* A group of Toronto artists and musicians at Funkless.com hold an annual Tinfoil Hat making contest
* In Age Of Mythology, typing the message "TINFOILHAT" randomly reassigns ownership for all of the units on the map.
* While testing myths and urban legends about microwaves on the television show MythBusters, Adam is shown in several shots wearing tin-foil hats. In one scene, it is molded over his head, and in another, it is wrapped around like a chef's hat.
* In the video game Psychonauts, the character Dogen wears a tin-foil hat to prevent psychic "accidents" in which he makes people's heads explode.
* The broiler plate hat that Nicol Williamson adorned as Merlin in John Boorman's Excalibur was the inspiration behind the Aluminum Foil Deflector Beanie, a.k.a. "An Effective, Low-Cost Solution To Combating Mind-Control.
* A San Francisco based acoustic chamber-music group call themselves Tin Hat Trio.
I don't believe that the M. I. T. "study" of tinfoil hats was ever intended to be taken entirely seriously, although many people seem to have done exactly that.
Faraday Cage Match

The following suggestion isn't original with me - I just wish that it was. I saw it on another discussion list (possibly here on the FTMBs) a week or two ago:

If you believe you are being bombared by mind control "radio" messages from space satellites, from clandestine FBI or CIA transmitters, stick you head inside a microwave over (door open, power off, unit entirely unplugged if you like).

That's a Faraday Cage. So if you ARE receiving radio messages they'll stop immediately.

If not, call a psychiatrist.
Good idea! Perfectly rational.

However, a deluded person wouldn't be able to cope with that idea because part of the delusion is that the messages are being sent in such a way as to preclude outside interference.

So, the microwave might have been switched for a special non-Faraday cage one. Or, the Faraday cage aspect is just what they want you to believe. Or the microwave has been specially adapted to make you THINK the messages have stopped, or it's a secret waepon and will kill you - I mean, how many people do you see with their heads in the microwave? etc. etc.

S'no good using a person's internal rationality against delusions. :(

*goes off to stick head in microwave anyway*
If they've tampered with the microwave, what's to say they haven't tampered with your tinfoil?

That's why you should make your own. Starting with mining and refining your own tin/aluminium/whatever.
Yup. And if the ore may be found in your own back garden or cellar, so much the better. 8)
escargot1 said:
Perfectly rational.

How dare you call me "perfectly rational." Don't you realize that if that gets around it could RUIN my career as a Fortean and a Paranormalist?
I do apologise! It was the voices, I didn't reach the microwave in time.
This sounds like a follow-on to the mid-2000's research noted above ...

Tin Foil Hats Actually Make it Easier for the Government to Track Your Thoughts

SEP 28 2012, 11:38 AM ET 17

Or so says "physics."

Let's say some malevolent group -- the government, powerful corporations, extraterrestrials -- really is trying to read and/or control your thoughts with radio waves. Would the preferred headgear of the paranoid, a foil helmet, really keep The Man and alien overlords out of our brains?

The scientific reasoning behind the foil helmet is that it acts as a Faraday cage, an enclosure made up of a conducting material that shields its interior from external electrostatic charges and electromagnetic radiation by distributing them around its exterior and dissipating them. While sometimes these enclosures are actual cages, they come in many forms, and most of us have probably dealt with one type or another. Elevators, the scan rooms that MRI machines sit in, "booster bags" that shoplifters sometimes use to circumvent electronic security tags, cables like USB or TV coaxial cables, and even the typical household microwave all provide shielding as Faraday cages.

While the underlying concept is good, the typical foil helmet fails in design and execution. An effective Faraday cage fully encloses whatever it's shielding, but a helmet that doesn't fully cover the head doesn't fully protect it. If the helmet is designed or worn with a loose fit, radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation can still get up underneath the brim from below and reveal your innermost thoughts to the reptilian humanoids or the Bilderberg Group.

In 2005, a group of MIT students, prodded by "a desire to play with some expensive equipment," tested the effectiveness of foil helmets at blocking various radio frequencies. Using two layers of Reynolds aluminum foil, they constructed three helmet designs, dubbed the Classical, the Fez, and the Centurion, and then looked at the strength of the transmissions between a radio-frequency signal generator and a receiver antenna placed on various parts of their subjects' bare and helmet-covered heads.

The helmets shielded their wearers from radio waves over most of the tested spectrum (YouTube user Mrfixitrick likewise demonstrates the blocking power of his foil toque against his wireless modem) but, surprisingly, amplified certain frequencies: those in the 2.6 Ghz ( allocated for mobile communications and broadcast satellites) and 1.2 Ghz (allocated for aeronautical radionavigation and space-to-Earth and space-to-space satellites) bands.

While the MIT guys' tongue-in-cheek conclusion -- "the current helmet craze is likely to have been propagated by the Government, possibly with the involvement of the FCC" -- maybe goes a few steps too far, their study at least shows that foil helmets fail at, and even counteract, their intended purpose. That, or the students are aliens who fabricated these results in an effort to get you to take your perfectly functional helmet off.

SOURCE: http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archi ... ts/262998/