Cellphone Towers: Modern Day 'Message Trees'

In his excellent 1958 novel A Case of Conscience, James Blish wrote about the planet Lithia, which had almost no metals close to the surface. How can you build a communications system with no metals? The lizard-like natives made use of an enormous tree and the piezoelectric effect:

As the winds came and went... the tree nodded and swayed. With every movement, the tree's root system ... tugged and distorted the buried crystalline cliff upon which the city had been founded. At every such pressure, the buried cliff responded with a vast heart-pulse of radio waves...
(Read more about the message tree)

In the past several months, the story of cellular phone transmission towers and how they have been disguised as trees has circulated through the Internet. The New York Times finally ran a well-written article, and I couldn't resist this story, because now cellphone towers really are modern day "message trees."

(From First come cellphone towers...)

These 150 foot tall towers (naked or in disguise) are hated by wealthy suburbanites and image-conscious small towns; however, everyone hates dropped calls and cell phone service "dead spots." The conflict between these two problems has resulted in at least 500 lawsuits around the country related to the placement of cellular transmission towers, with no end in sight.

Read more from the Times article.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 5/1/2005)

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