The Security of Tin Foil Hats

Really:

Abstract: Among a fringe community of paranoids, aluminum helmets serve as the protective measure of choice against invasive radio signals. We investigate the efficacy of three aluminum helmet designs on a sample group of four individuals. Using a $250,000 network analyser, we find that although on average all helmets attenuate invasive radio frequencies in either directions (either emanating from an outside source, or emanating from the cranium of the subject), certain frequencies are in fact greatly amplified. These amplified frequencies coincide with radio bands reserved for government use according to the Federal Communication Commission (FCC). Statistical evidence suggests the use of helmets may in fact enhance the government's invasive abilities. We theorize that the government may in fact have started the helmet craze for this reason.

And a rebuttal:

A recent MIT study [1] calls into question the effectiveness of Aluminum Foil Deflector Beanies. However, there are serious flaws in this study, not the least of which is a complete mischaracterization of the process of psychotronic mind control. I theorize that the study is, in fact, NWO propaganda designed to spread FUD against deflector beanie technology, and aluminum shielding in general, in order to disembeanie paranoids, leaving them open to mind control.

Posted on November 12, 2005 at 10:43 AM • 36 Comments

Comments

winsnomoreNovember 12, 2005 11:20 AM

I am rather surprised Reynold Alum and low price of the metal were not blamed along with bauxite producers.
These coneheads and their prof's need to be admitted into the MIT's medical ward rather than be allowed to monkey around in the EE lab. If this came from another institute it would be funny, from MIT it's disgusting

jammitNovember 12, 2005 1:48 PM

Actually you don't want to redflect the signal, but absorb it. If you try to reflect it, there may be some frequencies that the reflector is transparant to. The best stuff is carbon impregnated anti static film, multiple layers (http://products3.3m.com/catalog/us/en001/electronics_mfg/electronic_handling/node_GSHTGMWPXBbe/root_GST1T4S9TCgv/vroot_8088DWF29Kge/gvel_4WJJB9MXMFgl/theme_us_ehpd_3_0/command_AbcPageHandler/output_html)

DaveNovember 12, 2005 3:38 PM

Excellent. It would be perfect if it was funded by a grant from the Dept. of Homeland Security.

Dr Stephen DannNovember 12, 2005 4:58 PM

winsnomore,

if given a choice, I'd rather have university labs dedicating time to the odd round of prank science than spending extra time testing and refining anything with a militarised outcome.

Speaking as a university academic, it's research that can also laugh at itself that's a sign your research lab has a future. Largely since you're not immediately rejecting any idea that hasn't been done before or peer reviewed twice over, then rejected before.

Matti KinnunenNovember 12, 2005 6:17 PM

I agree with Dr. Dann.

As an alien studying in MIT, I have been terrified by the amount of money and intellectual energy devoted in finding new ways of killing fellow human beings. Stopping all military research for, say, a decade, and using the resources in fixing our energy and health care systems, would make us all much safer. Or, just studying tinfoil hats instead of guns would make us all safer.

Nicholas WeaverNovember 12, 2005 6:28 PM

Come on now, we all know what this is about...

They are shooting for an Ig Nobel prize.

AnonymousNovember 12, 2005 10:43 PM

"If this came from another institute it would be funny, from MIT it's disgusting"

Anyone that has spent time in a successful university research environment would disagree with you. It is exactly this freedom of thought that inspires the real breakthroughs. In fact, MIT is famous for this kind of thing. Did you read about the "time traveler" convention they had a while ago? Brilliant.

http://web.mit.edu/adorai/timetraveler/

another_bruceNovember 13, 2005 12:05 AM

don't wear it on your head, wrap it around your crotch! your brain is already toasted, save your precious tadpoles!

Nicholas WeaverNovember 13, 2005 5:53 PM

For those of you who think this is a "Waste of Resources"

This is obviously a couple of grad students playing around and having fun and producing something suitable for the AIR (Annals of Improbable Resource) and/or the Ig nobel prize.

So they go borrow a little equipment and have fun. (Yeah, the equipment was expensive. But if it wasn't being used at the time, its value is actually negative (it's depreciating without benefit))

Research in this line is the same as "Is Kansas Flatter than a Pancake" (the answer: YES). Also, one could argue that some interesting research has been produced by such studies, such as the "Sex in MRI machine" study, which actually revealed some interesting results about human anatomy, but seems to have been done on a lark.

winsnomoreNovember 13, 2005 9:30 PM

Is this a prank ? may be .. may be .. the red phone booth was cute, but the guy didn'thave a muffler so I couldn't affirm if it was Dr. Who :-))

I am not unsympathetic to those whose brains were compromised by years of probing, though you were smart and should have been wearing al-fez all this time, there is a treatment available.

Have 100lb ingot of Al squared to 12"x12" and ask someone to drop it your head from a height of N^2*M/I meters.
N = hat size (if you don't know you hat size .. use your lithium dose in mg.)
M = yearly contributions to political parties
I = I.Q.
This, based on my most recent calculations, can wipe out the effects of up to 30 years of most invasive brain probing and result in a sea of tranquility all around

Ian EiloartNovember 14, 2005 4:34 AM

"the red phone booth was cute, but the guy didn'thave a muffler so I couldn't affirm if it was Dr. Who :-))"

Dr. Who's Tardis takes the form of a blue police box, not a red telephone box. Therefore, this isn't likely to be Dr. Who.

AnonymousNovember 14, 2005 5:40 AM

"Dr. Who's Tardis takes the form of a blue police box, not a red telephone box. Therefore, this isn't likely to be Dr. Who."

Dispelling the myth of "an Englishman's red phone box is his Tardis"

The last red phone box I went in (there are very few these days) smelt of urine and the phone was smashed. Maybe this was just a cunning disguise ...

PhilNovember 14, 2005 7:17 AM

The stuff they put on the stealth fighters to absorb radar is a rubber material with specially-sized metallic particles included in the rubber while it's still liquid. Sometimes this rubber is reinforced with a metal screen for improved structural characteristics.

It turns out that this radar absorbing material is very similar to the magnetized rubber sheets you can get to slap temporary signs on your car. The same technology used in the stealth fighter is available to us average citizens.

I suggest that using this material as a replacement for "tin" foil in the construction of protective hats might be a profitable line of investigation.

floNovember 14, 2005 9:18 AM

and if you dont have any room IN your car you can slap the hat on it if it's made out of that stuff...brilliant!

ordajNovember 14, 2005 10:54 AM

I have a question:

Since thoughts are electrical impulses shooting between synapses, is it *possible* to "read" these signals?

Tom DilatushNovember 15, 2005 8:13 AM

Trackback via comment (as trackbacks are down):
JamulBlog
Reading Bruce Schneier’s excellent blog the other day, I happened across this shocker of a post. At first I was sure this was some elaborate joke on the part of some MIT students — hi-brow hi-jinks. Now I’m not so sure...

TinFoilzNovember 15, 2005 2:04 PM

even stranger, the TinFoilHatLinux page at shmoo.com started forwarding to airsnarf a week or two prior to this article coming out.

So is there a conspiracy there too?

marcNovember 16, 2005 5:56 AM

This story tends to proof two things :
1 : If you are considering the general form of this kind of helmet, it is obviously design like a SHF Horn Antenna (and for this reason has a resonance frequency around 2.6 GHz). The “Fez��? shape is a little bit different and could be considered as an open air waveguide which diameter gives the working frequency, but no real stable polarisation of the signal. For this reason, the “apparent amplification��? given on 2400 MHz (in the middle of the WiFi band) creates probably to much “ground noise��? to allow serious parapsychic measurements. As the resonating frequency of the Fez shape is located around the one used by microwave ovens, it could be safer to use a small –non metallic- plate full of corn to measure the radiation capacity of the aluminium foil. If the corn is poping, the helmet is fully tuned and ready to be used in theatres. (the thermal measurement of a “dummy load��? is a current practice in power estimation of transmitters above 1 GHz)

2 : The sense of humour is not quite dead in the Boston Area. Thanks to those “heroic science people��?.

WTDecember 4, 2005 12:41 AM

[quote]As the resonating frequency of the Fez shape is located around the one used by microwave ovens, it could be safer to use a small –non metallic- plate full of corn to measure the radiation capacity of the aluminium foil. If the corn is poping, the helmet is fully tuned and ready to be used in theatres.[/quote]
This is absolutely brilliant! Well said!

saundersSeptember 29, 2006 11:27 AM

hi my name is saunders, I currently stay at 32 hunter avenue ardrossan,
north ayrshire,
scotland,
KA22 8BD


if anyone can help me write to me as so i can protect myself from these mind intrustions of my neighbor, I am also a transexual with a beard and everyone has been looking so I shaved it off.
I wear a tin foil hat in the house.

malcom jamesSeptember 30, 2006 1:57 PM

aluminium foil is a government cover to track people down that are terrorist threats and piry into the minds to discover secrets.

GeorgeMarch 25, 2008 10:32 AM

People need to have complete faith in the U.S. government. The U.S. Government does not condone civilians wearing aluminum hats.

the doctor's doctorJanuary 2, 2009 12:35 AM

while surely this study was tongue in cheek, it will be a cruel joke for the individuals in the future who will fall victim to real electronic harassment by high power microwave devices when their pleas for help are mocked by association with the mentally ill.
Those who poke fun at reports also can't seem to discuss it without attaching wild embellishments the (possible) victim never stated.
It's well known the Soviets severely sickend our embassy workers in the 60's, and various gov't agencies (and surely connected parties in the military/industrial complex) have in their hands right now, devices that can torture and leave no mark.
"mind control" experiments were not usually the "I have an implant" or "I hear voices" type that are so hard to believe but eassy to laugh at, but (similar to the Soviet case) simply the right frequencies widely directed at people which induced stress and anxiety and within a week their work output ground to a halt.
Soon enough, the ones to ridicule will be the ones who callously laughed it was possible- or maybe we'll laugh because they ironically became the self-marginalized victim.

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