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Getting wise to the smartgrid, Part one

Somewhat quietly, the next generation of wireless technology, 5G (for 5th Generation), is sprouting up in cities around the globe. At this juncture, communities would ideally be given the opportunity to weigh in on these fundamental questions. Do people want this kind of future? What impact will this technology have on health, the environment, culture, values and innate human perception?

Unfortunately, categorizing the global rollout of 5G as a “stealth” operation is not unduly dramatic. Communities are starting to weigh in, but many are only able to do so during or after installation of 5G infrastructure as they come to realize what is happening.

The 2018 rollout of 5G in parts of Asia, Europe and the United States surfs in on the vision that the vast potential of this new iteration will allow us to design our way into the future. The telecom literature is heavy on how we have to bite the bullet and lay in the infrastructure now to open and support the possibilities for a flourishing connected future.

With 5G no longer selling just the promise of faster connectivity speed, but the broader notion of offering the technology that will support a whole new way of thinking, playing and working (see pro 5G chart on this page).

“We the undersigned scientists, doctors, environmental organizations and citizens from 187 countries, urgently call for a halt to the deployment of the 5G (fifth generation) wireless network, including 5G from space satellites.

Satellites, phased array and exponential radiation: the true nature of 5G

Arthur Firstenberg, author and activist who founded the Cellular Phone Task Force, is a leading voice in matters related to electromagnetic frequencies (EMFs). The task force was formed in 1996 in response to the health and environmental threats posed by the launch of the wireless revolution in the United States. It serves as a global clearinghouse for information about wireless technology’s injurious effects, and provides a national support network for people injured or disabled by electromagnetic fields.

Firstenberg equates going from 4G to 5G as going from “blankets to bullets.” And this does not mean that he thinks 4G is a safe fuzzy blanket. Rather, he is graphically pointing out how different in character and consequence the 5G frequency is compared to the longer wave form of 4G that travels from a distant cell phone tower.

Firstenberg explains that the most important fact to understand about 5G is called “phased array.” In order to connect so many things to the internet to make them “Smart” and do what we want them to do, a much greater bandwidth is needed. However, the greater the bandwidth, the shorter the waves. Put very simply, many small antennas are required to produce these short waves, which are then focused into a beam that can be directed at a specific target.

Firstenberg says this “will totally change the way cell towers and cell phones are constructed and will transform the blanket of radiation which has enveloped our world for two decades into a million powerful beams whizzing by us at all times.” Hence, his characterization of 5G frequencies as “bullets.”

To support and direct these short waves, there need to be cellular base stations placed very closely together, about 500 feet apart along every street. Since the boxes must blast their signals in order to get them inside homes and buildings, the only way to do this economically is with phased arrays and focused beams that are aimed directly at their targets. Think — there will be transmitting cellular base stations everywhere; on utility poles, on bus stops, on buildings including hospitals and schools, to achieve the needed close proximity.

But the proliferation of closely spaced cellular boxes does not complete the connection of everything. To achieve the connection of everything, it is necessary to launch 20,000 satellites that will send their highly focused beams of microwave radiation to 5G devices on the ground. And in turn, each device will send a beam of radiation back to the satellite.

Now extrapolate — since the telecom vision is to connect everything, many more things than cell phones will be communicating by shooting beams through our atmosphere, our walls and our bodies (and the bodies of all living things — plants, animals, insects, microbes) as they travel between base stations, satellites and devices. Hence, radiation levels and exposure become exponential.

Firstenberg also informs us that “another important fact about radiation from phased array antennas is this: it penetrates much deeper into the human body and the assumptions that the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) exposure limits are based on do not apply. When an ordinary electromagnetic field enters the body, it causes charges to move and currents to flow. But when extremely short electromagnetic pulses enter the body, something else happens: the moving charges themselves become little antennas that re-radiate the electromagnetic field and send it deeper into the body.”

Physiological dangers of EMF exposure

Martin Pall, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Biochemistry and Basic Medical Sciences, Washington State University, offers a 90-page, seven-chapter document discussing the effects of 5G EMFs in the body, and also the corruption of international science investigating this. Pall feels that the effects we now see from lower frequency EMFs will be much more severe with 5G EMFs.

Particularly concerning are the effects of these EMFs on the eye. Given the cellular reactions caused by these frequencies, we may encounter a “gigantic epidemic of each of the four types of blindness: cataracts, detached retinas, glaucoma and macular degeneration.” Pall also cites a concern for kidney dysfunction. Since the kidneys have so much fluid in the form of blood and what will become urine, 5G EMFs “may be expected to impact both glomerular filtration and reabsorption, both essential to kidney function.”

Pall has said that installing essentially millions of 5G antennae without having done any biological testing is the “stupidest idea anyone has had in the history of the world.”

Ongoing rocket deployment and ozone depletion

But now back to the 20,000 necessary satellites — two 5G test satellites were launched by SpaceX in February 2018. On March 29, 2018, the FCC gave approval to SpaceX to launch 4,425 satellites into low orbit around the Earth, and it is expected that hundreds of satellites will be launched into low and midrange orbit in 2019. All 20,000 satellites could be put into orbit over the next two years. The companies with the biggest plans to launch satellites include:

  • SpaceX: 12,000 satellites
  • OneWeb: 4,560 satellites
  • Boeing: 2,956 satellites
  • Spire Global: 972 satellites

There are several ways to fuel a rocket launch and none of them are friendly to the environment. Rockets that use solid fuel create massive ozone depletion. Liquid kerosene can also be used and while this fuel destroys less ozone, it releases massive amounts of black carbon soot into the air, especially at high altitudes.

Computer models suggest that if the number of annual rocket launches increases by 10 or more times, the combination of ozone depletion and the black soot could produce a 3-degree warming effect over the Antarctic and reduce the ozone in the world’s atmosphere by 4 percent. And, since 5G satellites have a lifespan of about five years, there will need to be ongoing launches.

A third mercury-based rocket propulsion system is currently being developed by Apollo Fusion. This works on the basis of ion propulsion and uses powerful magnets to push away small charged particles at high speeds, thereby generating thrust. But, if there was ever a malfunction causing this type of engine to explode, the environmental consequences would be enormous as mercury, an extremely strong neurotoxin, would spread throughout the atmosphere and over the Earth.

In addition, these satellites, which are each the size of a small refrigerator and weigh about 880 pounds, will contribute to an enormous amount of space junk over time as they complete their life span and are no longer operational. Eventually they will fall back to the Earth burning upon re-entry, with the hazardous materials in these satellites released into the atmosphere and floating to the ground as dust or in raindrops.

Leslie Shankman became aware of 5G in early 2019 when a friend in Taos, NM became debilitatingly ill from a 5G cell box placed on her property, forcing a move. Currently a writer and editor, Shankman has worked in business, lived and worked at a yoga institute, and assisted seniors with living and dying. She has lived in Bellingham since 1993.

Reprinted with permission from Whatcom Watch, June 2019 issue, It  is supported by almost 30 references, all of which are available at

Technological evolution of 5G and birth of the Smartgrid

The lineage of technology generations started in the early 1980s when 1G was released, supporting cell phones with the analog transmission of voice-only calls. These first phones had poor battery life and voice quality, little security, and were prone to dropped calls. 2G was released in the early 1990s, evolving from analog to digital operation, which introduced call and text encryption, along with data services that created the capacity for different kinds of picture and text messaging.

The introduction of 3G networks in 1998 ushered in faster data-transmission speeds allowing cell phones to be used in more data-demanding ways, such as for video calling and mobile internet access. The term “mobile broadband” came about with 3G cellular technology. The fourth generation, 4G, was released in 2008. Going beyond the mobile web access of 3G, 4G also supports gaming services, HD mobile TV, video conferencing, 3D TV, and other features that demand high speeds. Most current cell phone models support both 4G and 3G technologies. (1)

The applications supported by 4G have evolved to offer connected cars, cheaper monitors and TVs, digital health devices that can report data directly to doctors, laptop/tablet combinations, curved TVs, 3-D printers, smart homes allowing a wide range of remote functions from afar, and wearables such as smart watches. In the tech world, these creative applications have spawned the vision of connecting all kinds of things through the internet. (2)

In a January 13, 2014, Time magazine article, Tim Bajarin wrote that “The Internet of Everything (IOE) has become a catch-all phrase to describe adding connectivity and intelligence to just about every device in order to give them special functions.” He went on to describe the advent of everything “Smart,” that we are now so familiar with — “… All end up with the ‘smart’ moniker in front of them when they become tied to the Internet and interconnect to ecosystems of devices, software and services.” Note: Now, these years hence, this is more commonly referred to as the Internet of Things — IoT).

Bajarin pointed out that developing this market would yield an enormous financial impact as well:

“… during a meeting I had with the CEO of Cisco, John Chambers, he outlined Cisco’s thinking on IOE. The financial numbers he predicts for the impact of IOE in the public sector alone: $4.6 trillion. He believes it will have a dramatic impact on everything from city planning, first responders, military, health and dozens of other environments.”


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