Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Cell Towers & Pygmies

Have you seen a cell tower before? If not, here's an example of what they look like...

If you start looking for them, they're everywhere! I hadn't noticed them until recently. Now that I look for them, I see them all over. They're what makes our cell phone service work so well (hopefully). Cell phones work like radios and have to transmit to these towers. Does this mean soon we'll have landscapes overwhelmed by these towers? I saw a picture somewhere of one tower made to look like a tree. lol

Taking my children to school this morning, I was sitting at a red light when I heard that horrible, brakes-sqealing, someone's-trying-desperately-to-stop, noise. When the smoke cleared (from the brakes) I saw a man talking on his cell phone in the car that almost plowed through a very stale red light. Unbelievable! The guy in the car next to him started yelling about cell phones. I don't blame him. It was scary. HOWEVER, I don't think everyone who uses cell phones should be punished.

Our schools have started posting signs that say something along the lines of "no talking or texting on cell phones while dropping off your kids." In general, I think that's good advice, but I don't think we need signs to tell us. I don't know about you, but our carpool lanes move about less than 1 mph. I could do an entire crossword puzzle in the time it takes to get to the front of the line and pick up my kids (and I have!).

I just wonder where to draw the line. Some people I know are more dangerous fiddling with their radios or CD players in the car...and I have a relative that likes to look at you in the mirror while talking, which takes attention away from the road...other people are busy trying to deal with kids or balance a drink and food...are we going to start making laws to prevent people from doing all this? Where do we draw the line in telling other people what they can and can't do in the car? I don't have a problem talking on my cell phone in the car. Granted, I don't do it much, and I always try to dial at a stop light or somewhere I can pay attention but is it so dangerous we needs laws to keep us from doing it?

On the other hand, if laws about cell phone use are what it takes to get stupid people to pay attention, then maybe that's what we need. I don't know. This is just a subject that frustrates me to no end. I don't like people telling me what I can and can't do all the time. I feel like I have good judgement most of the time. Are we treating each other like children?

I'll step off my soapbox for now. I'm curious to know how others feel about this. Did you hear about the pygmy hippo sited in West Africa? They are nearly extinct. Cute little fellow...

In Alaska, a rare white killer whale was spotted as well. Apparently the biologist who spotted it had heard about it but never found one before. Exciting, huh? I bet this made her year. Someone give her a bonus!! I wish we had a better picture of it...

And, finally small-bodied (pygmy) people skeletons were found in the Pacific Ocean nation of Palau. Are these hobbits?

And, finally, our weird invention of the day (our Octodog moment), why on earth would anyone ever buy this? Believe it or not, but I know someone who has.


Josephine Damian said...

Rhea: Love your banner with the seals. You are obviously an animal lover, like me.

I wonder what all these radio waves are doing to our health. I heard that people who live right near those towers have a higher rate of cancer.

Cell phones are one of my biggest pet peeves. Whenever I see a bad wreck on a clear day, I say: Tsk, tsk. Must have been yacking on the cellie and not paying attention.

tearese said...

I've also heard the cancer thing, and when we drive near too many, my husband gets a headache.
Sorry, I agree with the cell phone laws. The states that have them though, I've heard they're not really enforced. I just think if there is an accident and someone involved was on the phone, there should be additional consequences.
I've been in cars with people talking on phones; they think they're doing fine when in reality they're swerving all over. I've also been almost run off the road at least a half dozen times by cell-phone talkers.
I agree there are other stupid things people do in their cars, but phones are one specific thing that causes an obvious problem.

CrystalChick said...

I live very very close to a cell tower and we wonder about possible future effects. It took a LONG time for high tension lines, and asbestos issues to come up so who knows in 10 years what this industry will be doing if there are connections to medical probs.
Okay, so even tho I don't necessarily like the tower in my little neighborhood and the intrusion of big greedy business so close by, we do have cell phones. Used to drive with one on occasion, then switched to a cradle that hooked on to the a/c vent. But now, in NJ you can be pulled over and fined, I think the first is $100. So I hope people will become more aware. They are distracting if you have to reach for it, especially in a purse... gee, I'd be digging around forever. LOL Our parents seemed to survive without phones in the car.
So I have mixed views. Around here, traffic is so bad that it probably is best to keep eyes and hands available for driving but at the same time, like you said it is frustrating to be told what you can and can't do.
And yes, you seem to have good judgement. I do too I'd like to think. But that's only 2 of us! The rest of the world is CRAZY!!! LOL

Rhea said...

Thanks, Josephine, I am an animal lover. I took this picture in California about a year ago and it's my favorite!

Tearese, that's wild how sensitive your husband is to the cell towers. Yikes.

Crystalchick, I'd be nervous living close to a tower too. We have one down the road a ways from us and I'm not sure how far away "safe" is from it. I agree with the rest of the world being crazy!!

KP said...

the cell phone towers in california are masked as other things... in northern california, they are designed to look like pine trees, and in southern california they are designed to look like palm trees.

both of them look really out of place if you take the time to notice them, but otherwise they try to blend in, which is nice :)

Rhea said...

Thanks for coming by, KP! I saw a picture of a pine tree cell tower. Hilarious.

Suzie Ridler said...

Oh my! A white killer whale? That's amazing! This was a fascinating post. I think cell phones and moving cars are a bad idea.

Thanks for the acorns, sadly, they didn't keep the most recent and horrid snow from coming. Oh well.

Jane Doe Jenn said...

Here's another photo of a white killer whale, swimming with its pod. My aunt sent me some great photos of one a few weeks ago; I'm sorry I don't still have it to post. I wonder if she still has them on her computer?

Cell phones: we have it in our bi-laws here that you can't operate a car while holding a cell phone, but you are allowed to install the hands-free cell phones. They have done driving studies, and have found that even using hands-free cell phones will negatively affect most drivers ability to pay sharp attention to the road. Still, I don't see it being regularly enforced; if someone is in an accident and was talking on their cell phone, they do get greater fines or charges if they are at fault. I don't have a hands-free set, and our cell phone is more for emergencies, so if I need to use it I will pull over or wait till I'm done on the road. Sometimes I make a quick 10 second call to my hubby at a red light to let him know I'm on my way, etc.

Speaking of radio waves, this is sort of strange; whenever I'm using our new laser printer, my husband says his teeth hurt. It's quiet, and I don't tell him I'm using it, and as soon as it starts printing off a page he says, "my teeth hurt". I can feel a change, too, when it's operating - like my head feels some pressure on it. But no teeth pain. I'm wondering if it's a high frequency sound that we aren't supposed to hear?

Rhea said...

Hey, Sacred Suzie, sorry to hear about the snow but thanks for coming by!

Jane Doe Jenn, thanks for the whale photo! That was cool. How weird about your laser printer.

Andrea said...

I completely agree with laws against use of phones while driving. Where we have lived in Europe, it is illegal for hand-held (I think you can have hands-free), and there are BIG fines. I think it is a no brainer, but I would hate for my loved ones to be injured by a driver who just had to make a call. If it's that important, pull over. I have found that since it is illegal, I make only the important calls since I don't want to sit in a side lane chatting. When I lived in the US I found myself calling people on the short trip home from work because of boredom-oh my, how silly and stupid ***

Rhea said...

Thanks for coming by, Andrea. We don't have any laws yet here in Texas (that I'm aware of) but I bet they will be showing up any time now. I was curious how Europe was handling it.