Microwave - and other forms of electromagnetic - radiation are major (but conveniently disregarded, ignored, and overlooked) factors in many modern unexplained disease states. Insomnia, anxiety, vision problems, swollen lymph, headaches, extreme thirst, night sweats, fatigue, memory and concentration problems, muscle pain, weakened immunity, allergies, heart problems, and intestinal disturbances are all symptoms found in a disease process the Russians described in the 70's as Microwave Sickness.
Friday, September 12, 2014
Electromagnetic ‘noise’ can confuse migrating songbirds, study says
can confuse migrating songbirds, study says
Researchers in Germany have documented, for the first time, that even modest amounts of electromagnetic “noise” produced by humans can disable the internal compass of birds. (Courtesy of Nature Video)
For decades, scientists have known
that migratory birds rely on the Earth’s magnetic field as one way to help
orient themselves and fly the right direction.
But researchers in Germany have
documented for the first time that the electromagnetic “noise” produced by
modern societies could cause those avian navigation systems to go haywire,
according to findings published Wednesday in the journal Nature.
“Basically, anything you plug into
a plug will sent out electromagnetic noise at some frequency,” said Henrik Mouritsen,
one of the paper’s co-authors and a professor of neurosensory sciences at the
University of Oldenburg in Germany. He likened the overall effect in urban
environments to an orchestra of potential disruptions at various wavelengths.
What might that mean for the
migratory birds trying to maneuver through this busy electromagnetic landscape?
The good news is that they possess
other navigation systems, such as relying on the sun and the stars, Mouritsen
said. But an overcast day in an urban area teeming with electromagnetic noise
could, at least theoretically, cause problems.
“If it doesn’t have any compass
available, it might not migrate at all ... or it might
fly in a random direction,” he said. “We don’t really know.”
Mouritsen and his colleagues
stumbled upon the startling findings by chance, and the conclusions were seven
years in the making.
Years ago, they were trying to
conduct a basic, often-repeated experiment in which European robins are placed
in an enclosed, funnel-shaped container lined with scratch-sensitive paper
during the migration season. Even inside a cage, without visual cues, the birds
typically orient themselves using their internal compasses and scratch in the
appropriate direction of migration.
But again and again, the birds in
Oldenburg could not seem to orient themselves, Mouritsen said. Only when
researchers covered the small wooden huts with metal screening and connected it
to a grounding wire, blocking man-made electromagnetic noise, did the birds go
in the right direction again.
“It’s significant, because we found
a very clear, repeatable effect of electromagnetic noise made by electrical
equipment that prevents a bird, in this case a European robin, from using its
magnetic compass,” Mouritsen said.
He said relatively minor levels of
electromagnetic activity, with an intensity 1,000 times below limits laid out
by the World Health Organization, appeared to be enough to disrupt the birds.
The interference that switched off the birds’ internal compasses did not appear
to come from cellphone signals or power lines, as their frequencies were either
too low or too high. Rather, signals in the range of AM radio stations or
fields generated by other electronic equipment are more likely to blame,
although researchers have not pinpointed the precise cause.
“The levels of radio-frequency
radiation that affected the bird’s orientation are substantially below anything
previously thought to be biophysically plausible, and far below levels
recognized as affecting human health,” Joseph L. Kirschvink, a professor at the
California Institute of Technology, wrote in an essay accompanying Wednesday’s
study in Nature.
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The dead bird society
Local volunteers and Smithsonian researchers wonder if the carnage cause by city skylines can be stopped.
A ruby-throated hummingbird from the collection at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. The ruby-throated hummingbird is among the top 10 species in our region most vulnerable to collisions with buildings.Matt McClain/The Washington Post
The researchers also cautioned that
the effect could be an intensely localized one. Those birds that could not
orient themselves in Oldenburg? When researchers took them outside the town
limits to a more rural area, they easily found their bearings.
Wiltschko, a longtime bird navigation researcher at the Goethe
University in Frankfurt, said Wednesday’s study seemed very well done but left
unanswered important questions about the precise source of the disruptions. She
said during decades in which she and her husband had studied the same type of
migratory birds in Frankfurt — a much larger city than Oldenburg, population
160,000 — she had never seen evidence of “electric smog” interfering with the
birds’ internal navigation.
“We never used any shielding, and
our birds were well-oriented in the field,” Wiltschko said. “Without knowing
the origin of these magnetic fields, it’s hard to know what it means ... In order to assess this, we have to know more about where they
come from. ... It’s really mysterious.”
Still, the Naturestudy raises
intriguing questions about the sensory mechanisms inside migratory birds, and
how it is that man-made electrical outputs could be scrambling nature’s
What actions could humans take to
avoid the potential of causing trouble for migratory birds? Mouritsen said it
would be “completely unrealistic” to expect civilization to unplug everything,
everywhere, but small steps could help. For instance, perhaps we should refrain
from placing strong AM radio emitters along routes where huge concentrations of
Kirschvink thinks such ideas are
“If the effect reported by the
authors stands the acid test of reproducibility,” he wrote, “we might consider
gradually abandoning our use of this portion of the electromagnetic spectrum
and implementing engineering approaches to minimize incidental low-frequency
noise, to help migratory birds find their way.”