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Friday, November 12, 2010

Beam Me Up, Scootie. Or Down...


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I can't seem to leave some news stories alone...

Beam Me Up, Scottie

Anyone see a rather serious concern here?

Maybe it's just me. I'm sure that some pretty bright folks are looking at this, and I would at least hope that one of them has thought of this, but it still worries me.

To explain the problem, you need to know a little about radio. Yeah, I said "radio", as in what you listen to as you drive down the street in your car. Broadcast and satellite TV work the same way, as does your cell phone.

Radio (et al) signals are carried on a set of frequencies ranging from about 30 Khz (30,000 cycles of oscillation per second) to around 300 Ghz (300,000,000,000 cycles per second). Below this range are audio signals we can hear. Above that is where things like X-rays and gamma rays live. For example, your AM radio in your car covers from about 550 Khz to 1600 Khz. The FM band is from around 80 Mhz to 108 Mhz. If you have a CB radio (God help you), that's around 27 Mhz. Your cell phone uses one of several bands, and one popular segment is around 900 Mhz. Your cordless phone at home might be at 5.2 Ghz.

Oh...did I mention that your microwave oven uses RF energy at around 3.45 Ghz? Well it does.

Remember all the fuss about your cell phone being able to cook your brain while you make a call?

How about putting the cat in the aforementioned microwave?

Radio essentially transfers power from one place (the transmitter) to another place (the receiver) using radio waves. The farther we want to send the signal, the more power we need.

Yeah...the point here is that RF radiation can be dangerous, and the key factor is how powerful the radiation is.

Odds are (though far from 100% settled) is that your cell phone can't hurt you. It's just not very powerful. Most put out a watt or less of RF power. By the way, your microwave oven leaks about that same amount of energy, and that's normal.

But, as the power goes up, the radiation gets more intense. You can stand in front of the microwave and be just fine, but you probably shouldn't get inside. Outside, you're exposed to about a watt. Inside, you'll get hit with 1200 watts (1.2 KW).

While one watt isn't a problem (maybe), 50,000 watts (50 KW) is a problem.

Here's a little factoid for you...in electricity, Ohm's Law defines the relationships between voltage in volts (E), current flow in amperes (I), resistance in ohms (R), and Power in watts (P). For our use here, P=I*E. A typical home has 200-amp service at 240 volts. Therefore, a typical home uses 48,000 watts (48 KW) of power.

Now, back to the article...

If we want a single such system to power, let's say, 500 homes, we have to beam down 500*48 KW or 24,000 KW of power.

See above...even 50 KW is an exposure risk. We're talking about 480 times that.

And that leads to the problem...

What happens if a plane flies through the beam?

Keep Loving!

Melodee Aaron, Erotica Romance Author
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