Posted by: bkivey | 6 December 2011

Hypocrisy With A View

As of late 2009, it was estimated that 91% of Americans used cell phones. It’s safe to say that all of them expect flawless service when they make a call. It wasn’t so long ago that dropped calls were not uncommon, and the telecoms have been busy erecting towers to provide more robust coverage. It’s now possible to get phone service miles from the nearest town, and increasingly harder to find a place with no cell service.

This increase in service coverage and reliability requires cell towers. Lots of towers. However useful those towers may be, they are in no way aesthetically pleasing. This issue is addressed in a recent editorial in the local metropolitan paper, and perfectly illustrates the progressive myopia.

The editorial spends much time on the effects of unsightly towers on neighborhoods and residents. The word used is ‘ugly’. The writer suggests that towers be steered toward commercial and industrial areas, but the tone of the editorial suggests that the writer doesn’t really believe what they’re saying. Anyone with even a cursory knowledge of cell phone operations knows that towers have to be put where service is desired. If people want wireless services at home, and they do, that means towers in neighborhoods. Wireless service isn’t magic, it’s technology, and all technology has operational limits and requirements. Wishing that something were otherwise doesn’t make it so.

The most telling part of the editorial is the last paragraph:

Because neighborhoods matter. What people see outside their windows every day matters. Portlanders shouldn’t be forced to live with ugly.

Really? Let’s turn our eyes eastward to the high desert of Oregon and Washington. I like this area, with its sweeping vistas and myriad recreational opportunities. Over the last decade, hundreds of square miles of land have been turned into wind farms. And we’re not talking about the odd wind turbine here and there, but the  erection of these structures, hundreds of feet tall, by the thousands. Even the most ardent wind power advocate is hard-pressed to describe a wind turbine as beautiful. Whatever else a wind farm may do, it doesn’t  improve the landscape.

It’s not only the occasional visitor that must put up with these eyesores, but the people who live there. Apparently it’s not OK for the urbane city dweller to have to put up with a cell tower providing a service they use, works continuously, is relatively unobtrusive, and can be disguised, but it’s alright for the rural resident  to wake up every day to a wind farm about which none of those things can be said. Given the politics of this area, the urban dweller may well be patting themselves on the back for selecting the ‘wind power’ option from their utility provider. In the La-La Land of progressive thought, what other people see outside their windows doesn’t matter, it doesn’t matter if residents and visitors are forced to live with ugly, as long as someone hundreds of miles away can feel good about themselves.

Making Lemonade

I happened across an Israeli news site, which is moderately interesting, but not nearly as interesting as the banner ad at the top of  the page. There’s an Israeli artist who takes spent rockets fired into Israel by Hamas (official religion: the ‘religion of peace’) and makes decorative items, including menorahs, out of them. With over 12,000 rockets fired into Israel over the last 8 years, there’s certainly no shortage of material.

Today in History

1865 – 13th Amendment is ratified, abolishing slavery

1877 – 1st sound recording made (Thomas Edison)

1957 – 1st US attempt to launch a satellite fails-Vanguard rocket blows up

1991 – “Star Trek VI-Undiscovered Country” premieres

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