By Cory Doctorow at 12:08 am Sat, Aug 11, 2012
A Redditor called Jaycrew posted this photo from the erection of a cellular tower disguised as a cactus in Arizona.
How to hide a cell phone tower in Arizona (i.imgur.com)
(via Super Punch)
The photo is super. But I immediately have to wonder, who is paying for this?
Phone company I suppose.
And who pays the phone company? That’s my point.
We all pay the phone company but you seem to think this pseudo-cactus costs money. In fact I think it saves money. Local authorities will either require more money up front for it or prohibit entirely a conventional cellular array. Making it look like a cactus doesn’t really cost much. Just a plastic case on the outside and they probably make thousands of the things. Also it keeps the weather off and allows the operator to use a more optimum location, thus saving electronic gear and energy.
Cactus or no tower.
Telecomms Act 1996 prevents local jurisdictions regulating the placement of towers which meet FCC safety regulations. But local governments can apply community planning standards (namely visual control).
And who does the phone company pay massive annual dividends to?
(edit as nested reply doesn’t work), they are public traded companies, so feel free to buy some shares)
I dunno? Who? The giant rubber cactus company? (Not ME certainly).
It’s a joint venture between Greenpeace and the Illuminati.
(serious answer: I imagine the phone company is complying with local beautification laws)
Oh, I so much wanted to just put a thumbs-up after the first part of your reply. But then… beautification laws? In what world is a giant, fake, rubber/plastic cactus beautiful?
Hmm, you must be new to Earth ( yep, thats the world where a giant, fake, rubber/plastic cactus is more beautiful than an isolated, exposed and unsightly cell tower )
Welcome to Earth. I hope you enjoy your stay.
Meh… it’s been ok so far.
yeah… where there’s apparently few around to be offended we do an impressive job of camouflage, (can you imagine how they have to instruct new service folk to find it?) but where there are lots of people and still beautiful sights (mountains over a city scape) then screw-you-here-are-our-cell-towers. so… cynically, i’m suspecting there’s a rich bastards’ ranch in the immediate reverse angle.
Wile E. Coyote.
Ah, so it’s an Acme cell tower.
This type of cellular array is very popular with Christian churches in Australia. I haven’t seen any synagogues and mosques getting into the act yet.
edit: Here is a better angle
the noise control barriers on Australians freeways appear to be identical to those used in Europe.
No doubt made in the same factory in China.
That’d be the beatification laws, then?
It’s Phil Dick’s world. We’re just living in it.
Ours are all palm trees until you get out of the desert, and then they have ones that look like conifers. The conifers aren’t bad, and that saguaro in the post is quite convincing, but the palm trees are horribly fake-looking.
The cell companies have come up with some good camouflage designs, and some that are less convincing. I’ve worked with cell tower installers, and they are well aware that some designs are better than others. Some poor ones exist to satisfy poorly written regulations. My group found that the companies visual-impact minimization people had excellent advice.
Even with a convincing tree model, placing it in an ecologically implausible location makes is stick out also. The saguaro in the photo does not appear to be in saguaro habitat, for instance.
Yes, but what in Thor’s name will hide the Valley of Disembodied Propellers?
Conifers up here. My girlfriend calls them “Pinus phonius”. They’re always super-obvious and never even remotely the right species (I swear I’ve seen Araucaria on the way to Tahoe), but they’re still so much nicer than the regular ones.
There’s an Araucaria near here close to where the 60 meets the 10. Araucaria’s a good choice since they tend to look fake anyway.
You’re right; I’m never really sure if they did it intentionally or if an Araucaria just happens to look like a pine tree designed by an engineer.
Just in time for another Redditor to post a cellphone tower disguised as a burning cactus http://media.azfamily.com/images/burning-saguaro1.jpg
GET OUT OF MY ACID TRIPS
Here in Kuwait its a palm tree.
Cactus? That’s nothing. You should see what sort of fake items the CIA plants antennas in. Here, I’ll post some as soon as I see what those pesky black helicopters want…
There’s one off of Hutchinson River Pkwy. No one is going to mistake it for a real tree, but it’s a hell of a lot better looking than a naked cell tower.
World’s Largest Pipe Cleaner.
The ones in Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario look very similar to those. Obvious if you look right at it, but most people drive right by them on the highway and don’t notice, so they serve their purpose well.
It was nice of God to give us Arizonans a cactus variety that is easy to build cell towers in the shape of. Pity those poor Californians with their fake-looking fake palm tree towers.
Here’s the story . . .
I have to say, at least it looks more like a cactus than the phone towers next to the NJ Turnpike that are supposed to look like pine trees.
THaTs nOt a c3LLPhone towER it’S A CHEMTRAIL conTRolleR!!111!
Did I get enough misplaced capitalisation in there?
Several good photos here. Unless posters object, I’ll add them to my Communications Antenna Supporting Structures blog: http://antennastructures.blogspot.com/
Holy Gumby Batman!!! Not being familiar with cactus; is this consistent with the actual height of a full grown cactus. Looks to me that its final height will be 25′ to 30′. I’d rather see the steel pole painted a cactus green. Send pictures when the site is completed and the fencing has its final “tag” coating. Why do we even try to fool mother nature.
Saguaro can grow to 70 feet.
Wonder how many cactuses are passing as celullar towers out there…
Your mention of the toilet-brush design reminded me of a controversial poorly-designed one here in the SF Bay Area, which supposedly resembles a giant 60-foot phallus. Article with comparison pics between the tower and the trees it’s supposed to resemble:
It doesn’t look phallic to me as much as it looks like a huge pipe cleaner, but I find it entertaining that the acronym for the relevant governmental department is HARD, and that the valley’s sports team is known as the Trojans.
I was recently driving in Sacramento and saw a rather tall pine tree that looked nice, but was a bit off color. Upon closer inspection I realized a flock of crows had taken residence in a camouflaged cell phone tower and were still in the process of doing their own ‘redecorating’.
Needs a cat on top.
Unless it’s on the top of a mountain, it’s too low to accomplish much. Cell phones are UHF. That means height isn’t everything, it’s the ONLY thing! Power does NOT equal coverage, height does.
The one in the Masai Mara was not so good
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