Wireless radiation: Frying your brain
Read the following and answer the 2 questions at the end.
Radio waves, microwaves, and infrared all belong to the electromagnetic radiation spectrum. These terms reference ranges of radiation frequencies that we use every day in our wireless networking environments. However, the very word “radiation” strikes fear in many people. Cell towers have sprouted from fields all along highways. Tall rooftops harbor many more cell stations in cities. Millions of cell phone users place microwave transmitters/receivers next to their heads each time they make a call. Wireless access points for computer networks have become ubiquitous. Even McDonalds’s customers can use their machines to browse the Internet as they eat burgers. With all this radiation zapping about, should we be concerned?
The electromagnetic spectrum ranges from ultra-low frequencies, radio waves, microwaves, infrared, visible light, ultraviolet, X-ray, up to gamma ray radiation. Is radiation dangerous? The threat appears to come from two different directions, the frequency and the intensity. A preponderance of research has demonstrated the dangers of radiation at frequencies just higher than those of visible light. This even includes the ultraviolet light used in tanning beds, X-rays, and gamma rays. These frequencies are high enough (the wavelengths are small enough) to penetrate and disrupt molecules and even atoms. The results range from burns to damaged DNA that might lead to cancer or birth defects.
However, radiation’s lower frequencies ranging from visible light (the rainbow colors you can see), infrared, microwave, and radio waves have long waves unable to penetrate molecules. Indeed, microwave wavelengths are so long that microwave ovens use a simple viewing screen that can block these long waves and yet allow visible light through. As a result, we can watch our popcorn pop without feeling any heat. Keep in mind that visible light consists of radiation frequencies closer to the “danger end” of the spectrum than microwave light.
Lower radiation frequencies can cause damage only if the intensity is strong enough, adn that damage is limited to common burns. Microwave ovens cook food by drawing 800 or more watts and converting them into a very intense (bright) microwave light. Cellular telephone, by comparison, draw a very tiny amount of current from the phone’s battery and uses the resulting microwaves to transmit a signal. In fact, the heat you feel from the cell phone is not from the microwaves but rather from its discharging battery.
A) Use an Internet search engine and report on what the World Health Organization (WHO) has had to say about microwave radiation or non-ionizing radiation.
B) Use an Internet search engine to identify the various complaints posed by stakeholder’s regarding cell phone towers. Write a one-page paper describing an alternative to cell phone towers that would enable cell phone use and yet mitigate all or most of these complaints.
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