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Does EMR harm living organisms?

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Old Saturday 14th October 2017, 14:32   #76
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Regrettably I am also slightly skeptical at the apparent catastrophic decline of birds that you report everywhere - in your document of travelling in Greece this spring, you report basically no birds anywhere, just one example being the Evros Delta - "eastern side of the Evros Delta, we believed we were prepared for inevitable disappointment. But as we drove mile after mile along bone-jarringly rough tracks, the utter desolation and silence wore on our nerves", "Evros Delta, western zone ...There were no glossy ibis, either here or anywhere else. ... We used to see great spotted cuckoos here; this year we saw none. Once we even saw a pair of little curlews, a most unusual sight. This time, one could hardly believe birds had ever inhabited this place, there were so few", etc etc

Others visiting the area in 2017 seem to be a little luckier - good bird diversities everywhere they went and just to compare their experience in the Evros region: "There was excellent birding along this road including Rock & Cirl Bunting, Eastern Orphean Warbler and five species of woodpecker, including Black" and "We had a day and a half to explore the delta, which is divided into two sections West and East. We quickly discovered that the delta is vast and slow to circumnavigate but packed full of interesting wildlife – in addition to the many and varied birds, we had good views of Golden Jackal and Wild Cat. We also managed to squeeze in an early morning visit to the Dadia forest, taking the mountain road to the Kapsalo transmitter mast view-point. Here, we eventually caught up with both Black & Egyptian Vulture and Blue Rock Thrush."

I think I will call it a day on this thread, there is little point adding notes as you dismiss/ignore observations that do not accord with your opinion (observations from elsewhere, a reversal of sparrow numbers in Britain, etc), yet attribute others (eg Gosney's - declines over 20 years with no comment whatsoever on the cause, a one year decline in ringing numbers from another observer, etc) as proof that it is mobile masks responsible.

Maybe you are right, but look as I might, I truly see zero impact of cell towers in the areas I visit, not on bird populations, not on butterfly populations.

PS. one small point, perhaps you mean Whimbrel in your report, not Little Curlew? The latter species has only been recorded in Europe a half dozen times and, I believe, not in Greece yet.
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Old Saturday 14th October 2017, 16:22   #77
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Hi Diana,

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Originally Posted by Purple Heron View Post
I know you are all very skeptical that cell tower radiation affects birds.
Which might be better justified than the opposite attitude:

https://theupturnedmicroscope.com/co...irmation-bias/

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Old Saturday 14th October 2017, 16:39   #78
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I know you are all very skeptical that cell tower radiation affects birds. However, I have just learned of a recent study that associates a drop in insect numbers on the islands of the eastern Aegean with cell tower radiation. I intend to talk to the author and will post the study or a link when I get a copy. Falling insect populations obviously affect birds, but this tends to confirm my view that it is also affecting bird populations here.

Falling insect numbers are very noticeable here in the US, presumably reflecting the massive expansion of neonicotinoid use in agriculture.
The same effects may well be relevant in your case, cell towers mean people and people usually mean agriculture, which with current practices has become less insect friendly.
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Old Sunday 15th October 2017, 14:16   #79
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@ Jos. It is quite possible other people saw other birds than we did. Depends what you mean by "many and varied birds". We saw 41 different species on one day in the eastern Evros Delta, but there were nowhere near as many birds, or species, as on other occasions, and by comparison it looked empty. Yes, there are lots of other creatures as well. We saw the blue rock thrush at Kapsalo--it's been there every time we have. And yes, we saw little curlews, not whimbrels, though we also saw whimbrels that trip. We reported our sighting to HOS at the time. We had hoped they would put our sighting on a notice board at the bird center so other people could look out for the little curlews, but they didn't--I don't think they have a notice board.

I know you aren't seeing the same things I am in Greece. I accept that. And I am not rejecting all evidence to the contrary, but I am not convinced by it either. I am not the only person who thinks cell tower radiation affects birds, but I know it has not been conclusively proven. I also don't accept that cell tower radiation is just a form of radio waves--it is and isn't, with successive generations of cell tower radiation moving towards the ionizing end of the spectrum. And there are a lot more cell towers than there ever were radio antennas. So we wait and see.

In case you are interested, I attach the study on insect populations on Aegean islands below.

@ etudiant. Nicotinoids are banned in Europe, at least temporarily. And in Greece, populations are falling, with more land going fallow. The fewer people we have, the more cell towers they put up. Crazy world.
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Old Sunday 15th October 2017, 14:23   #80
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And yes, we saw little curlews, not whimbrels, though we also saw whimbrels that trip.
Would be seventh record ever for Europe, first for Greece.
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Old Sunday 15th October 2017, 14:27   #81
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@ Henning Re the quoted bits from the review article, I do not agree with your interpretation of what they saying. I think they said what they meant to say. More studies should be done, and studies should be repeated to see if other people get the same results. Studies should try to express certain values in the same way. I don't see how that constitutes a wholesale rejection of the studies reviewed, not at all.
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Old Sunday 15th October 2017, 16:30   #82
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Hi Diana,

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Originally Posted by Purple Heron View Post
@ Henning Re the quoted bits from the review article, I do not agree with your interpretation of what they saying. I think they said what they meant to say. More studies should be done, and studies should be repeated to see if other people get the same results. Studies should try to express certain values in the same way. I don't see how that constitutes a wholesale rejection of the studies reviewed, not at all.
"We propose in future studies to conduct more repetitions of observations" is a very, very kind way of telling people that their studies are worthless because the statistical basis is too small. If the studies had been proven their respective hypotheses satisfactorily, there'd been no need to mention statistics at all.

"Standards" is not about expressing values, it's about study quality. The WHO document I linked above explains this kind of standards.

From the WHO document:

"Quality of study design:

When evaluating research results, it is important to verify that the study design and power were sufficient to detect an effect under given exposure conditions. For example, a study not showing an effects may have had flaws in design or insufficient power (e.g. numbers of animals or repeated tests) to show an effect. On the other hand studies showing an effect must also be evaluated to determine if the effect was truly due to the EMF exposure and not some other factor or bias in the study."

http://www.who.int/peh-emf/standards...ork%5b1%5d.pdf

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Old Sunday 15th October 2017, 17:45   #83
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Hi Diana,

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In case you are interested, I attach the study on insect populations on Aegean islands below.
The entire study is built on the assumption that all habitats are in fact entirely homogeneous, which the authors fail to demonstrate.

The bold claim that "electromagnetic radiation as typically emitted by telecommunication antennas affects the abundance and composition of wild pollinators in natural habitats" is just a claim ... all they've done is to point out a correlation. To mistake that for causation .... remember the "Storks bring babies" fallacy? http://www.econ.queensu.ca/files/other/storks.pdf

If you collect enough data, there'll always be some correlations in there ... that doesn't mean that the correlation is proof of a causal relationship. You can find some very nice examples here: http://www.tylervigen.com/spurious-correlations

With regard to the study you quoted, I'm not sure you noticed that the most numerously trapped insect groups mostly increased in numbers with field strength. That's a "change in abundance" maybe ... but hardly indicative of a negative impact.

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Old Monday 16th October 2017, 13:46   #84
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@ Jos We didn't realize little curlews were that rare! We were amazingly lucky to see them, then--and an even greater pity there was no way to communicate our sighting to other birdwatchers in the area at that time.

@ Henning I think you are missing the point of the insect study (not that you think they have more than a correlation). When insect populations (esp. pollinators) change, you will eventually get changes in plant diversity. And if a bird specializes in eating one sort of insect and that insect declines, so will the bird. So, while not all insects studied declined, that some did is significant.

I would agree with you on one general point concerning field studies of birds and insects: there ought to be more work showing consistent results, though that doesn't seem to be so easy in practice. I notice that you haven't commented on any of the laboratory studies. Many studies have been done with regard to humans (humans being much more interested in themselves) with quite consistent results. A great deal of that work has been done in Germany. You might find the attached review on the effects of electromagnetic radiation on humans interesting. A lot of the same mechanisms would apply to birds, obviously. Set against the fact that birds don't use wireless devices is their increased vulnerability due to size, body mass and thin, light bones.
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Old Monday 16th October 2017, 14:37   #85
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@Purple Heron, I must insist on the fact that radio transmissions in urban areas are not new. Also, "classic" RF transmission sources (such as TV and radio broadcasts) are MUCH stronger.
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Old Monday 16th October 2017, 16:55   #86
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Hi Diana,

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Originally Posted by Purple Heron View Post
@ Henning I think you are missing the point of the insect study (not that you think they have more than a correlation). When insect populations (esp. pollinators) change, you will eventually get changes in plant diversity. And if a bird specializes in eating one sort of insect and that insect declines, so will the bird. So, while not all insects studied declined, that some did is significant.
All that the study has demonstrated is that they trapped different numbers and species of insects at different sites.

To demonstrate a change, you'd have to re-visit the same sites and run the exact same experiment again. (And not only once ...)

The study critically depends on the undemonstrated assumption that the habitats are so perfectly homogenous that in the absence of electromagnetic fields, the traps would all have caught insects of identical numbers and species.

Why didn't the authors set up a control, such as as traps distributed around a site with no cellphone mast in the vicinity, and accordingly neglegible differences in electromagnetic field strength?

Without that, it's easy to pass off any normal variation in inhomogenous habitats as the proof that cellphone towers affect insect life.

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Henning
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Old Monday 16th October 2017, 21:14   #87
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Just in passing neonics were legal for use on oilseed rape here in the UK during the last season ( as a seed dressing), not sure about the seed that has been recently sown. We are still in the EU.

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Old Tuesday 17th October 2017, 09:40   #88
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@ Henning. I don't doubt that the habitats were homogenous because phrygana and olive groves are really the same all along these islands. The olive groves were carved out of phrygana, which means that those plants tend to creep in and re-colonize if the groves aren't weeded. Phrygana invariably consists of the same plants, a combination of wild olive, sage, thyme, arbutus, schoinus, (related to myrtle) scrubby ilex (I think that's the English word), savory, cistus, sun spurge and various smaller pants/flowers in season. You do get local variation in flowers but less so where phrygana is very thick, more in the clearings. As for repetition of the experiment, surely it can be repeated? As to your final point about a control, that is getting ever harder to achieve and may be impossible, which will make research much more difficult in consequence. When almost every hill has a cell tower on it, when you can't find areas that have no cell tower radiation, how do you establish a control? You can't where I live. Up in the mountains, maybe, but they explain why they didn't use mountains for their experiment.

I have to tell you, insect populations are declining--I have seen this for myself. All the spurge hawkmoth caterpillars that used to be very numerous on the spurge have disappeared in the last 3 years. I have had paper wasps trying to breed on my back balcony each autumn; they build their nests but don't lay many eggs and those don't hatch. I always leave basins of water for birds and small animals all through the summer months on my land--invariably some insects drown, and there are a lot fewer insects than there were, often none at all. There are definitely fewer beetles of various types, including dung beetles and fireflies. We seem to have lost one type of mosquito that was very common--easy to recognize because it was striped black and white. They were looking at pollinators in the experiment, but my own feeling is that a good number of non-pollinators are disappearing. And pesticides are not the reason around my land.

@ Borjam The strength of the transmitting tower is not the issue--the wavelength is. Each successive generation of mobile communications radiation gets closer to the ionizing end of the scale, with 5G getting very close.

@Jim48 That's nasty! I haven't seen evidence of neonicotinoids here. Can't be 100% positive, of course, but here when people spray anything they tend to hang the empty product bottle/container on display so others know they have sprayed--I always read the bottles. So really all I can say is I haven't seen any to date.
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Old Tuesday 17th October 2017, 11:58   #89
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Hi Diana,

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@ Henning. I don't doubt that the habitats were homogenous because phrygana and olive groves are really the same all along these islands.
Cellphone towers are typically erected in prominent locations. Elevation, slope, and orientation of the slope will be different at different distances from the tower. Erosion causes the soil to be different depending on gradient, with material being washed away and deposited downhill. Sunlight will affect insect life differently depending on the orientation of the scope, as will wind.

These are systematic influence factors which a honest scientist shouldn't avoid to mention. If he does avoid them, that should set off everyone's alarm bells.

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When almost every hill has a cell tower on it, when you can't find areas that have no cell tower radiation, how do you establish a control? You can't where I live.
Another simple control would have been to set up several traps at the same distance from the same tower in the same habitat type, but different compass directions. It's a scientist's job to come up with solutions.

It should be rather obvious by now that one should be very suspicious against claims that are based on weak data, weak studies, mere correlations and poorly documented factors, and against people who make such claims.

When buying into off-mainstream theories, one should be at least as skeptical as when buying a used car from a total stranger. In the latter case, you'd be ill advised to believe every word the seller is saying just because you think the model and colour of the car are just your thing. Don't be any less suspicious when it comes to minority theories than you'd be with used cars.

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Old Tuesday 17th October 2017, 13:01   #90
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@ Henning Off-mainstream theories often become mainstream with time, after enough work has been done to verify them. (Even then you can't convince everybody. My grandmother didn't believe in evolution--some people still don't.) Whatever the flaws in the studies, I think that is happening here. I accept you are having trouble with a lot of the observational studies, and there perhaps should be more controls, more variables taken into account, whatever. Observational studies of nature are in some ways harder to do and to control for a variety of factors, though I think you are wrong to be so dismissive of all of them. As I said yesterday (did you read the German piece I posted?) more work has been done on human beings.

The point is, there is a growing body of work showing harm, and today's not-mainstream theories could well become the proven facts of tomorrow. I've read a lot of studies in the past year, written by a large number of people in different countries, and yes, I do think that overall they are right. My own observations of the world around me, from disappearing birds and insects to the number of people, many young, with various cancers and other illnesses in proportions which are alarming doctors, tell me that something is going badly wrong. And I think we're just seeing the tip of the iceberg. Now the world's rushing to 5G. Why the hurry? Nobody has had a chance to study it properly. There's hardly been time to study the effects of 4G. No new drug would be released without 4 stages of trials, but technology is exempt? We're not talking about a new type of tin-opener, we're talking about something that permeates the environment. How many things that damage the environment have had to be recalled? (In my opinion a whole lot more ought to be.) Remember fluorocarbons? A used car I automatically take to my mechanic before I buy it. But that isn't really a good analogy.
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Old Tuesday 17th October 2017, 13:16   #91
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The point is, there is a growing body of work showing harm.
No there isn't - you are scouring the internet to find information that seems to support your view, ignoring anything that doesn't. You can do that to support almost any view.


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My own observations of the world around me, from disappearing birds and insects to the number of people, many young, with various cancers and other illnesses in proportions which are alarming doctors, tell me that something is going badly wrong.
Observations that are not replicated in areas with better developed 4G and 4.5G, and indeed observations that seem to be contradicted by persons visiting the same areas.
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Old Tuesday 17th October 2017, 14:08   #92
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Hi Diana,

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Whatever the flaws in the studies, I think that is happening here.
You don't get it. This is not about "flaws in the studies" that could happen to any honest scientist, this is about behaviour that tells you someone is trying to exploit your gullibility to pass off his overpriced old clunker as once-in-a-lifetime deal.

Balmori is using a Mann-Whitney U test to "prove" the significance of his proposed correlation. That test is valid only for independend random events, and if you have several pairs of storks in the same areas, competing for food and territory, their breeding efforts obviously are not independend random events. Pretending they are ... well, what would you think of a car dealer winding back the odometer?

Claiming to have demonstrated causation where only correlation was observed ... I would not buy a used car from someone who subsribes to that kind of ethics. No documentation on the trap sites' topographic situation? "Oh, of course the car was always maintained according to manufacturer-specified schedule by an officially accredited shop so it's in absolutely perfect condition, but no, you can't see the documentation on that." Yeah, sure. I'll buy my car elsewhere.

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Off-mainstream theories often become mainstream with time, after enough work has been done to verify them.
Here is an excerpt from "Raymer's Rules for Inventors" ... he talks about engineering practice, but his words are perfectly applicable to science, too:

Quote:
And finally, please do not use the phrase, "They laughed at the Wright Brothers". We've all heard it before. Remember, "they" laugh at everybody and usually "they" are right! There just aren't that many great ideas laying around, undiscovered by those whose entire careers have been in a given area. If you want to convince knowledgeable people to invest time and money in your idea, first prove that your idea is workable and materially better than existing concepts using the steps outlined above. Then nobody will laugh.
Strength of belief is no substitute for proof ...

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Old Tuesday 17th October 2017, 14:21   #93
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Strength of belief is no substitute for proof ...
Your problem and our replies in a nutshell .......

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Old Tuesday 17th October 2017, 20:05   #94
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Hi Diana,



You don't get it. This is not about "flaws in the studies" that could happen to any honest scientist, this is about behaviour that tells you someone is trying to exploit your gullibility to pass off his overpriced old clunker as once-in-a-lifetime deal.

Balmori is using a Mann-Whitney U test to "prove" the significance of his proposed correlation. That test is valid only for independend random events, and if you have several pairs of storks in the same areas, competing for food and territory, their breeding efforts obviously are not independend random events. Pretending they are ... well, what would you think of a car dealer winding back the odometer?

Claiming to have demonstrated causation where only correlation was observed ... I would not buy a used car from someone who subsribes to that kind of ethics. No documentation on the trap sites' topographic situation? "Oh, of course the car was always maintained according to manufacturer-specified schedule by an officially accredited shop so it's in absolutely perfect condition, but no, you can't see the documentation on that." Yeah, sure. I'll buy my car elsewhere.



Here is an excerpt from "Raymer's Rules for Inventors" ... he talks about engineering practice, but his words are perfectly applicable to science, too:



Strength of belief is no substitute for proof ...

Regards,

Henning
Henning,
I admire your unending patience in reiterating basic aspects of the scientific method in ways that, to my mind, can find no objection. It's something that I must try to emulate.

I also confess a reluctant admiration for the sheer dogged persistence of Purple Heron, which I attribute to good-heartedness, and as such should not be condemned, no matter how wrong-headed it may appear. I wish that more debates (especially on this forum), however one-sided a proponent may be, were conducted in such a civil fashion.
MJB
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Old Tuesday 17th October 2017, 22:53   #95
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I wish that more debates (especially on this forum), however one-sided a proponent may be, were conducted in such a civil fashion.
Speaking as one who is currently/has been incivility incarnate in other threads, I’ll definitely second that!
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Old Wednesday 18th October 2017, 14:34   #96
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@ all of you who commented since my last post

I know I haven't convinced you lot, but I am pleased to say I had a letter from a prominent Greek ornithologist who I have, apparently, convinced that this needs looking into. So work will be done on this in Greece. Since they have a lot more data than I do, we'll see whether I am confusing correlation with causation. Isn't the observation of correlation the beginning of the search to establish causation? How else do you start?

I attach an article about 5G and robotic farming I found very interesting. Even if I'm dead wrong about all this--which I emphatically do NOT concede--I find the idea of the interface between the virtual and natural worlds terrifying, and I think the consequences for nature will be disastrous. There's already enough confusion in many people's minds. I remember I found a particularly spectacular beetle near Dadia once. I asked at the local bird center whether anyone knew what it was called. The young woman I was talking to said, "Yeah, I saw that once. Isn't it amazing!" So I asked her where she'd seen it. "On the Internet," she said. As if it lived there. As if she could go there.
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Old Wednesday 18th October 2017, 17:01   #97
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@ all of you who commented since my last post

I know I haven't convinced you lot, but I am pleased to say I had a letter from a prominent Greek ornithologist who I have, apparently, convinced that this needs looking into. So work will be done on this in Greece. Since they have a lot more data than I do, we'll see whether I am confusing correlation with causation. Isn't the observation of correlation the beginning of the search to establish causation? How else do you start?

I attach an article about 5G and robotic farming I found very interesting. Even if I'm dead wrong about all this--which I emphatically do NOT concede--I find the idea of the interface between the virtual and natural worlds terrifying, and I think the consequences for nature will be disastrous. There's already enough confusion in many people's minds. I remember I found a particularly spectacular beetle near Dadia once. I asked at the local bird center whether anyone knew what it was called. The young woman I was talking to said, "Yeah, I saw that once. Isn't it amazing!" So I asked her where she'd seen it. "On the Internet," she said. As if it lived there. As if she could go there.
With regard to the beetle, is saying “I saw it on the internet” really all that different from saying “I saw its picture in a book”?
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Old Wednesday 18th October 2017, 18:08   #98
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With regard to the beetle, is saying “I saw it on the internet” really all that different from saying “I saw its picture in a book”?
Or indeed from all those inspired by the early David Attenborough films, Life on Earth et al.
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Old Wednesday 18th October 2017, 18:28   #99
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Hi Diana,

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I know I haven't convinced you lot, but I am pleased to say I had a letter from a prominent Greek ornithologist who I have, apparently, convinced that this needs looking into.
I'm glad to hear that, and hope you'll keep us updated on any facts that might emerge.

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Old Wednesday 18th October 2017, 18:29   #100
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Originally Posted by etudiant View Post
Falling insect numbers are very noticeable here in the US, presumably reflecting the massive expansion of neonicotinoid use in agriculture.
The same effects may well be relevant in your case, cell towers mean people and people usually mean agriculture, which with current practices has become less insect friendly.
Astute posting. Sometimes the devil is in the details...

Quote:
Originally Posted by MJB View Post
... I wish that more debates (especially on this forum), however one-sided a proponent may be, were conducted in such a civil fashion.
MJB
It isn't hard, MJB. It takes a measure of kindness and therein a willingness to be apolitical; for some, however, that is simply impossible.
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