Birds & Tower Kills 3

July 22, 2011

Okay, here’s some “overkill” on the Birds & Cell Phone Tower Threat–see the previous two posts if you want the summarized version, but if you’re REALLY interested in this topic, try these websites:

Sibley Guides:  Causes of Bird Mortality





Birds & Tower Kills 2

July 22, 2011


“…Our TV and cell phone habits are contributing to the deaths of millions of migratory birds a year. The birds collide with the communications towers …and with the cables that anchor the towers. Those towers become sky-high death traps for birds, who then drop in grass, streets, parks, and fields, and on rooftops….conservation groups and government biologists estimate that communications towers kill from 4 to 50 million birds a year. They endanger or threaten at least 50 species….

The construction of new towers is deadly news for migratory birds. The tower-bird collisions occur (1) during spring and fall migrations, and (2) at night, when songbirds travel to avoid the heat and daytime predators. For birds, such as whooping cranes, that fly during the day but cannot see the power lines, the towers and lines are the Number One migration danger.

…Many of these nighttime travelers can cross oceans and navigate mountain ranges. What makes them crash into the blinking, lighted towers? Scientists aren’t certain. The worst kills happen when a flock, which might number half a million, flaps toward a lighted tower. Something about the lights attracts the birds. Red beacons seem to draw birds more than other lights do, although studies suggest that red wavelengths may disrupt the birds’ ability to navigate using the stars or the earth’s magnetic fields. The weather may play a role, since large kills almost always occur on cloudy or foggy nights. Fog, mist, or storms increase the odds of trouble. Unlike larger birds, which can climb above the clouds, smaller migrants sometimes try swooping underneath, right into the path of towers. “

Birds & Tower Kills 1

July 22, 2011

From the NJ Audubon Society:

“‘An estimated 5,000 to 10,000 birds, mostly Lapland Longspurs, were killed on the night of January 22, 1998, at a 420 foot tall communications tower in western Kansas. Apparently a heavy snowstorm sent the birds up looking for bare ground. Dense fog caused the tower’s aviation-safety lights (required on structures over 200′) to reflect off water in the air and form an illuminated space, causing the birds to switch to their diurnal (visual) mode of navigation. The flock circled the lighted tower and collided with its guy wires. Some birds were impaled by wheat stubble, suggesting they were so disoriented that they couldn’t tell which way was up and flew into the ground at full force. The tower had three white strobes. This is interesting because it has been suggested that flashing lights cause less mortality than steadily illuminated lights. Evidence suggests that continent-wide, communications towers kill 2 to 4 million songbirds each year.’ (American Bird Conservancy, Bird Calls, March 1998).

…five tower kill studies done in the eastern US in recent decades all showed kills of roughly 1,000-3,000 kills per year….

The problem is caused by the lights on the towers for aviation warning. On nights with a low ceiling, birds lose their cues for stellar and geomagnetic navigation. The light reflecting off water molecules in the air causes an illumined area, creating a whirlpool of birds circling the tower in the light space…

Some of these documented cases of tower kills are very revealing. Many of them indicate a very high percent of forest Neotropical long-distance migrants, especially warblers.”

The full, longer article on this, is at the link above.

How can a phone be tracked?

June 27, 2011

From the website

“Stimulated by the events of 11 September 2001, the demand for enhanced 911 (e911) emergency calling capabilities, pushed forward GPS tracking technology in cell phones. At the end of 2005, all cell phone carriers were required to provide the ability to trace cell phone calls to a location within 100 meters or less.

To comply with FCC requirements, cell phone carriers decided to integrate GPS technology into cell phone handsets, rather than overhaul the tower network. However the GPS in most cell phones are not like those in your handy GPS receiver that you take hiking. Most cell phones do not allow the user direct access to the GPS data, accurate location determination requires the assistance of the wireless network, and the GPS data is transmitted only if a 911 emergency call is made.”

That’s the theory, in any case.  But as we know from recent news stories, in fact

“…both the iPhone and 3G iPads [have been] storing a persistent list of locations and timestamps, and have been doing so since iOS 4′s release. While that’s mysterious and somewhat spooky in and of itself, it gets a bit stranger: the “consolidated.db” file is synced (in plaintext) as part of your iPhone backup, which means that it’s chillin’ on any machine you’ve synced your iPhone with recently. This data can then be taken and mapped to show where you’ve been and where you’ve gone since the last time you cleared everything off your device.”

Moreover, there are other “features” in some cell phones, of which users may or may not be aware, including “Geofencing,” which turns the GPS tracking on when the phone user has entered or exited a predefined region (like a school or office building) or crossed a virtual fence or border; “Speed alerts,” which provides an email or SMS alert when the phone has exceeded a speed limit; and “mobile to mobile tracking,” which may involve special installation of the kind of spy software mentioned in the previous post, or may be native to the phone itself.

The Future Is Now: Scary Cell Phone Technology

June 27, 2011

Can Big Brother watch you?  In fact, for the low low price of $49.95, ANYONE can.  (Well, anyone who can get hold of your cell phone long enough to install spy software on it).

There are a number of products–“Spy Bubble” is the cheap one referred to above, a more expensive and sophisticated version is called “Flexispy”–which allow parents, spouses, significant others, and bosses to covertly monitor all activity on a target smartphone, including:

  • Secretly Read Text Messages
  • View Call Logs
  • Stealth GPS Tracking
  • View Phone Book
  • Read incoming and outgoing emails (on more expensive versions)
  • Remotely monitor a room
  • Listen to a live call

Intrigued?  More here.


Cell Phone Tower: Bird’s Eye View

June 26, 2011