Does WiFi Make Trees Sick?

from the why-wifi? dept

We've heard claims for years that WiFi makes some people sick. Unfortunately, the evidence shows that in double-blind studies people can't tell if there's WiFi (even if they do appear to really feel sick when they think WiFi is present). However, a new report is claiming that WiFi is making trees sick, and that the impact is pretty widespread. Having just had to take down a (rather large) tree in our yard that suddenly died, this made me pay attention -- but it seems quite unlikely it had anything to do with WiFi. In this study, it seems like the findings are extremely preliminary and involve a very small scale test, which appeared to show that WiFi radios had more of an impact than other sources of electromagnetic radiation. It could be quite interesting to see further testing in this area, but it seems a bit early to conclude anything specific about WiFi.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 6th, 2010 @ 8:21am

    What does being able to determine if there is a WiFi network around have to do with getting sick? I would imagine you could breath in airborne asbestos and not realize it, but I wouldn't recommend it.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 6th, 2010 @ 8:23am

    Re:

    People claim to be sensitive to it and it makes them ill.

     

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  3.  
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    bdhoro (profile), Dec 6th, 2010 @ 8:27am

    Funny... but who knows

    Yeah its funny when this sort of thing happens. What if wifi does come with some unintended consequences... its happened before.

    Kinda reminds me of the discovery found via google earth that cows like to stand parallel to power lines.

     

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  4.  
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    Jay (profile), Dec 6th, 2010 @ 8:32am

    I'm highly skeptical...

    Thing is, radiowaves are all over and around us. The sun provides radiation. To say that trees are susceptible to wifi is like saying they'll die by being in the sun too long. I'll read the report and update my opinion later on.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 6th, 2010 @ 8:37am

    Important lessons in journalism, #46:
    Titles that can be answered with the word 'no'

     

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  6.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Dec 6th, 2010 @ 8:42am

    Re: Funny... but who knows

    "Kinda reminds me of the discovery found via google earth that cows like to stand parallel to power lines."

    Some food for thought ... Do they also stand parallel to ropes hung the same way, fences, or even lines painted horizontally on buildings?

    It could just be a visual thing.

     

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  7.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Dec 6th, 2010 @ 8:50am

    Re:

    Psychosomatic. They get sick because they think they should, not because of any physical reaction.

    What I want to know is what is different about WiFi then the other several million devices on the 2.4GHz range. Why does WiFi impact trees more then the cordless phones we've been using for years.

     

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  8.  
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    byron, Dec 6th, 2010 @ 8:50am

    bare trees

    wifi makes bees sick. lol

     

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  9.  
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    milrtime83 (profile), Dec 6th, 2010 @ 8:52am

    Re:

    Placebo effect. Same reason a plain sugar pill "cures" headaches, arthritis, or just about anything else in some people who think they are getting an actual drug.

     

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  10.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Dec 6th, 2010 @ 8:53am

    Re: bare trees

    I thought that was cell phones.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 6th, 2010 @ 9:00am

    Re:

    There are several kinds of radiation. Ionizing radiation is much more dangerous than non-ionizing radiation (wifi is, of course, non-ionizing). The specific frequency also makes a difference; some frequencies might be absorbed more than others.

    And, of course, there is the amount of radiation. The amount of radiation on the visible light frequencies (non-ionizing) received from the sun is much higher than the less than 100mW you would receive if you were standing right next to a domestic access point.

    For non-ionizing radiation, the highest known risk is from heating. Above a certain level of absorbed power, it heats faster than our natural cooling mechanisms can remove the heat, which can lead to a nasty RF burn. Higher power transmitting antennas also have high voltages on some parts.

     

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  12.  
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    kryptonianjorel (profile), Dec 6th, 2010 @ 9:05am

    Re: Re: Funny... but who knows

    But how many cows look up?

    This would make sense when you look at how magnetic fields effect iron filings.

     

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  13.  
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    Ryan Diederich, Dec 6th, 2010 @ 9:10am

    I dont know...

    I guess this could be true, but there would have to be pretty powerful evidence.

    The thing with people might be true, but the effect must be so small that placebo is many times more powerful. I know many people who live their entire lives "sick" and thats the focus of their life.

    I just got over this cold, Im not feeling well, blah blah blah, its for attention, it might even be subliminal.

    The frequencies are so close together (so many devices run within the 2.4 to 2.5 range) that it doesnt make sense for just Wifi to be more damaging than other things, such as wireless telephones.

    Then again, wireless phones dont typically have up to a mile range (such as some Belkin routers do) and they arent capable of transmitting hundreds of megabytes of data a second.

     

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  14.  
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    Bengie, Dec 6th, 2010 @ 9:18am

    Re: Re: Re: Funny... but who knows

    Power lines have a very very weak magnetic field. Two things make a strong magnetic field, high amperage and high coiling, neither of which are found in power lines.

    An electric razer has more of a magnetic field than a 120k-volt power line.

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 6th, 2010 @ 9:29am

    Even though people may not be able to determine if they are in a WiFi zone (even when they say they get sick from it) doesn't mean that that the WiFi isn't actually causing harm.

    I am not saying they do or don't get sick or injured, just that the study referred to in the article just showed that participants studied (by govt. and industry group, so now Techdirt trusts industry sponsored studies?) couldn't tell if they were in a WiFi zone or not.

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 6th, 2010 @ 9:47am

    I have a wifi box in my house and had two identical Ornamental Pear Trees in my front yard. One died last year the other is still alive. I thought it was bugs but maybe it was my wifi. I'll bet it was that wep encoding.

    Do you think if I name my WIFI hot spot with a positive message to the trees they won't die?

     

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  17.  
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    TriZz, Dec 6th, 2010 @ 10:25am

    Re:

    The brain controls everything...so if the brain thinks you're sick then you'll be sick.

     

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  18.  
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    MAC, Dec 6th, 2010 @ 10:45am

    Wifi

    Personally, I'm sick of this whole discussion so I guess wifi did make me sick...

     

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  19.  
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    MAC, Dec 6th, 2010 @ 10:48am

    Wifi

    But, we'll need $20 million and 10 years of study to prove that discussion wifi making trees sick made me sick.

    Come'on people, don't we have bigger fish to fry? Like how the rich are stealing America or what kind of future will our kids have after 'globalism' finally runs it dastardly course?

    Get real, this is a waste of time...

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 6th, 2010 @ 12:19pm

    The elephant in the room

    My 20 to 200 year old trees are dying because of the increased salt being applied unnecessarily to the roadways that drain onto my property, because the adjacent trees were clear cut to build houses, and because the community put curbs on the roads, which made the previously constant creeks flood then go dry.
    Wifi seems to be the least of their stressors.

     

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  21.  
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    monkyyy, Dec 6th, 2010 @ 2:45pm

    Re:

    very likely try "tree huger, trees are FTW ZOMG OMG FLM"

     

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  22.  
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    darryl, Dec 6th, 2010 @ 5:06pm

    This is Science ??

    20 whole trees, for an ENTIRE 3 months,, wow, that is some 'study', and they applied 'various' wifi signals.

    No double blind test, no control, and 20 trees in the same location would yeild zero usable information.

    And to say that the tree's did not grow as well as the same trees 10 years ago, ignors millions of other contributing factors, (like the weather, the pollution etc).

    I really hope that no one is trying to call this "science".

    Maybe these great minds could actually set their efforts on doing something usefull.

    If that is what passes for science, that science is a joke at that place.. its a wonder the university would even allow them to publicise such tripe...

     

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  23.  
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    bdhoro (profile), Dec 6th, 2010 @ 6:41pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Funny... but who knows

    Sorry, I remembered it wrong. It was some German study and the cows orient themselves in the north-south direction, likely due to the Earth's magnetic field.
    I'm not saying its the most reliable research ever, but just an interesting possibility.

     

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  24.  
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    Jay (profile), Dec 7th, 2010 @ 5:42am

    Re: Re:

    Having read the article, I'm not entirely convinced there's some other explanation around the trees. For example, they neglect any Asian trees whatsoever.

    Things such as Bamboo or even sakura (cherry blossoms) to act as a control group would have made this more believable.

    But if all it's saying is that ONLY wifi is around when people also have cell phones that have radiation, I'm not buying it.

     

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  25.  
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    Derek Kerton (profile), Dec 7th, 2010 @ 8:50am

    Re:

    This is actually true. Your trees will recognize the message and blossom.

    The downside is that Google StreetView will drive your street, record the SSID, and steal your soul.

    Six of one, half dozen of the other, really.

     

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  26.  
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    Cixelsid (profile), Dec 20th, 2010 @ 4:26pm

    There's much stronger source of radiation outside Mike. It's called the sun.

     

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  27.  
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    Qritiqal (profile), Jan 11th, 2011 @ 6:22am

    Re: Re:

    I used to think my brain was the most important organ in my body... until I realized who was telling me that!

     

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  28.  
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    rose, Jan 25th, 2011 @ 9:16pm

    wi-fi reaction

    When I go to barnes and noble my arms turn red and bristle for the next 4 hours....also happens in my dr's office lobby. I've been told that the wi-fi install is wi-fi n ..latest and greatest. Older wi-fi doesn't have the same impact.

     

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  29.  
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    dean, Feb 22nd, 2011 @ 6:44am

    All untrue coz it has too be

    Naturally the answer is No. Just like the first cell phones did not cause brain cancer, children born near nuclear power stations do not suffer much higher rates of leukemia, people living near powerlines or broadcasting stations do not have a significantly higher rate of dying of cancer and ofcourse global warming does not exist.

    All not true because if it was, lots of companies and governments would be sued into bankrupcy. Enough evidence out there, we're just not supposed to believe it. :)

     

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