I have been looking for an argument against cell phones on planes

by on June 10, 2005 at 6:47 am in Science | Permalink

You yakkers will drown out ET:

Using cellphones on aeroplanes could drown out faint radio signals from space, astronomers are warning. They told a US agency considering lifting in-flight restrictions on cellphones that special devices should be installed on planes to limit damage to research if the regulations change…

Cellphone use on planes "could be a disaster for us", says Michael Davis, director of projects at California’s SETI Institute, which searches for signs of extraterrestrial intelligence, and former chair of the NAS committee. "We have incredibly sensitive radio telescopes – even a single cellphone on a single plane 100 miles away could cause pretty serious damage", he told New Scientist. It would exceed recommended "noise" levels by 10 times.

That is partly because cellphone signals from planes are not blocked by trees or buildings as they are on the ground, allowing them to travel straight into astronomers’ telescopes. "Putting cellphones in a plane is like building a cellphone tower 40,000 feet high," says Davis.

Here is the full story.  And we all know that ET, rather than tricking us into producing malevolent self-replicating spawn, will instead tell us how to solve the Riemann Hypothesis, right?

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