A breathless report from IDG News
yesterday spread like a forest fire: Wi-Fi kills trees! Kills 'em dead! Oh n03s!!
Radiation from Wi-Fi networks is harmful to trees, causing significant variations in growth, as well as bleeding and fissures in the bark, according to a recent study in the Netherlands. All deciduous trees in the Western world are affected, according to the study by Wageningen University.
Hurray for credulity! Thousands of media sites and blogs picked up the story, adding new details, and rarely questioning the bizarre claim, despite the statement later in the same news item that only 20 trees were tested in one city, that researchers were not named, and it wasn't noted whether or not the study was published or peer reviewed.
I turned, as I always do, to Gawker's Valleywag to bring sense and perspective
to an issue. Wait. What? No, seriously. Valleywag's Adrian Chen found a public statement
from the Dutch spectrum regulator (translation
). The study took place indoors for three months with a variety of plants exposed to six Wi-Fi devices. Previous studies showed no harm. The work hasn't yet been published.
I suppose BoingBoing readers are used to hearing sensational claims based on small-cadre studies issued in advance of peer review. Nonetheless, this one seemed particularly strange. Perhaps it was the combination of environmental harm, the fear of radiation (electromagnetic or otherwise), and the imprimatur of a university. Urban trees, which were apparently part of the focus of this study, are under tremendous stress, and tree cover in cities worldwide has been drastically reduced, although efforts in many places are underway to counter this. My hometown of Seattle has a loosely organized plan
to plant hundreds of thousands of new trees in the coming years, for instance.
Remember what happens when the trees get pissed off
A commenter warns that all Northern hemisphere deciduous trees are currently undergoing some sort of chromatic die-off producing vast amounts of ground pollution and decay.
Top photo from Pripyat near Chernobyl by Timm Suess via Creative Commons. Yes, that's Suess, not Seuss. Photo of leaves by mksfly via Creative Commons.
As BuzzFeed transitions from internet strip mine to legit news and information, they now to put out occasional gems like Auri Jackson’s project “I tried to make zero trash for 30 days.”
In addition to a wonderful and timely message, this PSA for Greenpeace is beautifully illustrated and animated by Elliot Lim.
There’s really nothing not to love about vertical farms — multi-story hydroponic operations, usually sited in dense urban areas — they borrow their best tech from the space program, they’re water-conserving, they don’t have runoff, they’re energy efficient, and they’re super land-efficient, meaning we don’t need to turn forests or wetlands into fields.
You know as well as I that writing complex, long-long form text requires significant organization. You’re probably also well aware that Word just isn’t up to the task. That’s why I’m a huge fan of Scrivener, the software suite used by best-selling authors and technical writers alike.Scrivener is much more than another digital typewriter. With a […]
Looking to upgrade your weekend? Here are three randomly awesome products on my mind this week.#3 FRESHeBUDS Pro Magnetic Bluetooth EarbudsAs more and more phones and gadgets switch to Bluetooth-only compatibility, you’ll need to get Bluetooth headphones like the rest of us. I’ve been super impressed with these affordable magnetic headphones. Pull the magnetic earbuds apart to auto-connect […]
Traditional folding wallets are designed for paper bills—but these days, carrying cash is rarely a necessity. More often than not, I don’t carry cash at all. This Bogui Clik Wallet is the best answer I’ve found for avoiding the hassle of those tight-fitting credit card pockets.This attractive, minimalist wallet features a protective lip, so my cards don’t […]