Monday, September 29, 2008

Radio Waves

I worry about our air. No, not because of normal pollution. That is a given and we have been worrying about it for a long time. What I wonder about is all the signals and radio waves travelling through the air. How can they all fit? Is there space for birds to continue to fly? Can they still navigate? What do the waves do to your head or brain as the waves pass through or even around.

In the past fifty years, the number of radio waves have increased umpteen thousands of times. What are they doing to us? We have just added a heap more with satellite navigation systems in our cars, well maybe yours, not mine since I am poor and a sat nav would look silly in a twenty three year old car.

The eccentric, but grudgingly respected my medicos, Sydney brain surgeon Charlie Teo thinks mobile phones are doing our heads in, well our brains, possibly causing cancerous tumours.

I had a friend who started suffering bad headaches and he suspected his mobile phone use could be the cause. He switched to handsfree and the headaches disappeared. Just one anecdote but I am sure there are many more out there.

How many more radio waves can fit in the air? Surely at some point, even if they don't do us physical harm, they are all going to get tangled up and stop working.


  1. Ahhh... enter here the Telecommunications Engineer :-)

    1. An electromagnetic field can only do damage to our cells if it has enough power to dislodge an electron from our atoms (ionization). A mobile phone produces nowhere near enough power to do that (A few magnitudes of power less). In fact, a headset would be just as bad (esp. if it is bluetooth and as such, using higher-frequency radio waves)

    2. Interstellar radiation (cosmic rays) is far more powerful than anything that can be created on earth (even the new LHC in Switzerland can't get close to that power). Millions of these rays pass through you every second, and you don't even notice.

    3. GPS in cars don't transmit anything. The radio waves they use have been continually broadcast from the same satellites for the last 20 years, we just haven't listened to them. It's just like having a radio set to pick up AM.

    4. In fact, on the subject of radio, AM radio waves (800kHz or so)radiate a HUGE amount power (many, many kilowatts at the source). With the conversion to digital communications (esp. digital and radio), we are squeezing a LOT more data into far less energy.

    5. People get headaches from the frequency oscillators inside the mobile phones themselves that produce a high-pitch noise. Similar to the annoying noise that your old tube TV used to make when the volume was turned down.

  2. Volacious, you have thoroughly spoilt my illogical and unscientific post.

    1. No prob for me anyway as I don't have any friends who call my mobile, and if they do, I don't answer anyway.

    2. I had a pain in the stomach last night. Cosmic rays passing through me?

    3. Yes, but a lot of sat nav devices are absorbing them, whereas in the past they would peter out when they hit the ground.

    4. The squeezing is partly good, but then ABC Melbourne when I am travelling gets static, JOY just cuts out.

    5. I text a lot. Does that use the oscillator? And I am far to young to know of tube tvs.

    Seriously but, thanks. Some of what you said I did not know.

  3. **blushes**

    I'm slow on uptake some times!

    BTW, you should watch out for those cosmic rays. I hear that they've caused spontaneous combustion before :-)

  4. Anonymous10:09 pm

    Ack - there goes my chance to sleep tonight. Better turn the wireless modem off too!

  5. Volacious, given that spontaneous ejaculation is now a thing of the past for me,perhaps I look forward to spontaneous combustion.

    Greg, turn off the electric to that new tram system that runs along Sullivans Cove, and you will sleep well. What? It hasn't been built yet?

  6. You explained everything so well Gus, but we all know he's going to expire from porn-induced psychosis long before his mobile phone gets him.

  7. Not so Jahteh and ten points for picking up his name. I am so shallow. I want to go in a plunging lift accident, preferably in our building. Bound to make the news.

  8. Gus and I have blog met before.

    You'll never go in a plunging lift accident, you're gay and you'd never mess up that pretty face but if you do, take the bearded celebrity with you.

  9. You hit on all the good looking gay guys Jahteh, pity you struck out with me.

    I wouldn't mind going down with/on the non bearded radio celeb though.