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Garlic Farmer Wards Off High-Speed Internet 475

Posted by samzenpus
from the attack-of-the-killer-garlic dept.
DocVM writes "A Nova Scotia farmer is opposing the construction of a microwave tower for fear it will eventually mutate his organic garlic crop. Lenny Levine, who has been planting and harvesting garlic by hand on his Annapolis Valley land since the 1970s, is afraid his organic crop could be irradiated if EastLink builds a microwave tower for wireless high-speed internet access a few hundred meters from his farm."

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Garlic Farmer Wards Off High-Speed Internet

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  • Idiots (Score:5, Informative)

    by Covalent (1001277) on Thursday September 17, 2009 @12:17PM (#29454583)
    His crop is already being irradiated...BY THE SUN. Idiots. Sheesh.
    • Re:Idiots (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Z34107 (925136) on Thursday September 17, 2009 @12:21PM (#29454661)

      Indeed!

      On top of it, the radiation is 60,000 times less than the the allowed limit for organic farms. (Wasn't even aware there was such a thing.)

      Until the farmer loses, that town is stuck on dial-up. Now, that's a travesty.

      • I was going to say someone in town should solve the problem by fertilizing his crops with radiation, and then going in with a geiger counter to show that his garlic is already too radioactive to be "organic" so the tower wouldn't be so bad.

        Then I realized 1: that would probably be somewhat irresponsible and illegal and more importantly 2: Anyone sufficiently motivated would face ordering the radioactive stuff... ON DIALUP.

        • by dissy (172727)

          I was going to say someone in town should solve the problem by fertilizing his crops with radiation, and then going in with a geiger counter to show that his garlic is already too radioactive to be "organic" so the tower wouldn't be so bad.

          Then I realized 1: that would probably be somewhat irresponsible and illegal and more importantly 2: Anyone sufficiently motivated would face ordering the radioactive stuff... ON DIALUP.

          That's way too much effort. Ordering online via dialup?!
          Plus doing the irradiation of his field is a lot of work too ;P

          Just go simple. Burn the field down!
          Then there will be nothing left for him to claim will be harmed by the tower >:D

          Bonus points if you go back to the scene a week later and salt the earth.

          On a serious note, I think this guy should be required to willingly give up all of his radio and TV receivers and any radio transmitters he might have.
          You shouldn't get to ban everyone else from usin

    • Re:Idiots (Score:5, Funny)

      by Chris Burke (6130) on Thursday September 17, 2009 @12:31PM (#29454825) Homepage

      His crop is already being irradiated...BY THE SUN. Idiots. Sheesh.

      Yeah, and that radiation makes his crops grow to many times their original size! Exactly as 60s sci-fi predicts! So now who's the idiot, huh?

      • by dissy (172727)

        Yeah, and that radiation makes his crops grow to many times their original size! Exactly as 60s sci-fi predicts! So now who's the idiot, huh?

        The farmer featured in this article is, for saying he doesn't want the sun or any lights near his crops.

      • Well, yeah, but 60's sci-fi never predicted radioactive mutant things would eat Victoria Harbour. We need to study this unexpected change in the preferred tastes of mutated organisms for Canadian over Japanese flavors.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        His crop is already being irradiated...BY THE SUN. Idiots. Sheesh.

        Yeah, and that radiation makes his crops grow to many times their original size! Exactly as 60s sci-fi predicts! So now who's the idiot, huh?

        Attack of the well-grown tomatoes?

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by selven (1556643)
        Clearly the sun is the enemy here. BURN THE SUN!
    • Re:Idiots (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Apollo_11 (1306045) on Thursday September 17, 2009 @12:38PM (#29454955)
      Just taking the wacky green agenda to its extreme boundary. If anything vegatables and milk should be intentionally irradated as is commonly done in Europe to: A > Reduce food borne illness B > Save enormous amounts of money on chilling food at the grocery store Planet saved and less medical costs, illnesses, don't tell Washington DC they are now expendable !
    • by Moraelin (679338) on Thursday September 17, 2009 @12:53PM (#29455181) Journal

      His crop is already being irradiated...BY THE SUN. Idiots. Sheesh.

      You know, I wish people using that argument (or variants thereof) actually knew what they're talking about. No offense.

      The Earth's atmosphere and ionosphere are only really transparent to a very narrow band of frequencies. As you go up in the UV range or lower into IR, actually less and less of it gets to ground level.

      And let's put it this way: If enough microwave radiation from the Sun got to the Earth to be comparable to a cell phone tower, you couldn't actually use a cell phone. Because the white noise from the sun would not only give the tower a crap signal-to-noise ratio, but would be hundreds of decibels stronger than the milliwatts emitted by the phone itself or received by it in some places.

      So no, it's not. Not in the same frequencies and/or not as much.

      Yes, the "OMG, the crops will mutate" scare is incredibly stupid anyway. But countering it with the equally bogus "OMG, the sun already does the same", doesn't really debunk it.

      • by Sandbags (964742) on Thursday September 17, 2009 @01:17PM (#29455557) Journal

        Well, actually, the microwave internet system is a Line-of-sight point to point beam, so the amount getting to his crops in the ground is actually a number approaching zero. The microwave in his KITCHEN probaly puts more energy into his field than that tower would, not to mention the dozens of sattelites beaming down microwave radiation as well.

        Also, if the atmosphere was THAT good at shielding that radiation, then why would Microwave solar orbital power even be a consideration? If the atmosphere only blocks 30% of visible light, but far more microwave was blocked, then how would that system be a net gain?

        Of course, Microwave radiation is not ionizing radiation anyway, so the argument is completely moot... Mutation from microwave exposure would require rediculous doses of concentrated radiation, far, far more than it would take to cook the garlic outright.

      • by geekoid (135745)

        I wish people who counter that arguemnt would loom up the definition iof iraidiated.

        1.
        a. To expose to radiation.
        b. To treat with radiation: irradiate farm produce so as to destroy bacteria.
        2. To shed light on; illuminate.
        3. To manifest in a manner suggesting the emission of light; radiate: irradiate goodness.
        v.intr. Archaic
        1. To send forth rays; radiate.
        2. To become radiant.

        And becasue you probably don't know what radiation means:
        1. The act or process of radiating: the radiation of heat and light from a fi

      • If enough microwave radiation from the Sun got to the Earth to be comparable to a cell phone tower, you couldn't actually use a cell phone. Because the white noise from the sun would not only give the tower a crap signal-to-noise ratio, but would be hundreds of decibels stronger than the milliwatts emitted by the phone itself or received by it in some places.

        Satellite microwave communications is subject to sun interference. Communications through a satellite are impossible when the sun, satellite, and earth

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by infinite9 (319274)

      No, no, no, you're doing it wrong. "His crops are being irradiated by an unshielded fusion reactor! And he's putting dihydrogen monoxide on his crops!"

    • His crop is already being irradiated...BY THE SUN. Idiots. Sheesh.

      The article is full of the sort of howlers I'd come to expect from the locals while living in the backwaters of Nova Scotia. Where do we start? "Shakes up the molecules" - clearly the phrasing of a person well versed in the concept of ionizing radiation! I'll use wi-fi all day and you can sit next to some cobalt 58 and we'll see what person's molecules get "shaken up" more.

      "Moved to the country to get away from the pollution" - while it could be a valid statement, I more often hear it from either "chemica

      • Re:Idiots (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Charles Dodgeson (248492) <jeffrey@goldmark.org> on Thursday September 17, 2009 @02:21PM (#29456635) Homepage Journal

        The article is full of the sort of howlers [...]. Where do we start? "Shakes up the molecules" - clearly the phrasing of a person well versed in the concept of ionizing radiation! I'll use wi-fi all day and you can sit next to some cobalt 58 and we'll see what person's molecules get "shaken up" more.

        We are talking about microwave radiation. Microwave radiation cooks food by "shaking" the molecules (of water). Of course that isn't going to cause genetic mutation. Yes the guy is an idiot, but if you're going to get into name calling, try to get your own facts right.

  • by Verteiron (224042) on Thursday September 17, 2009 @12:17PM (#29454587) Homepage

    Scientists and corporations around the world would buy his crop at many times market value, in order to both prove and disprove that the mutations were a result of the tower. What a disappointment it will be for him when the tower is built and his crop turns out just fine.

  • Because we don't get any naturally from the Sun, Cosmic rays, or spontaneous decay of elements naturally occuring on earth.
  • by fishnuts (414425) <fishnuts@arpa.org> on Thursday September 17, 2009 @12:19PM (#29454619) Homepage

    He should stick to farming and leave the radio vs radiation science up to the smart people.

    Someone go point him to the definitions of "Microwave Radiation" and "Ionizing Radiation"

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 17, 2009 @12:19PM (#29454621)

    "I think over a period of time it will change the DNA of the garlic because it shakes up the molecules."

    I wonder why he's concerned about the garlic DNA, but not his own? In other news, I objected to a wind farm cos I was worried about the flying saucers crashing into it...

    • by Chris Burke (6130) on Thursday September 17, 2009 @12:40PM (#29454993) Homepage

      In other news, I objected to a wind farm cos I was worried about the flying saucers crashing into it...

      Oh geeze, not this FUD again... Look, yes, flying saucer crashes were a problem with some older, ill-conceived wind farms. But with a little planning, and modern designs, this is essentially a non-issue for the wind farms of today. The most important thing is not to put cattle, sheep, or drunken hillbillies underneath the windfarms so the aliens aren't attracted to them. Next is the design itself. The old scaffolding ones didn't look like anything important to the aliens. The new single-pole ones were designed to look like an alien arm raised up. And a raised arm with all three digits spinning in a circle is a very rude gesture and it's traditional to ignore the offender. So the problem solves itself.

      • by j-turkey (187775)

        In other news, I objected to a wind farm cos I was worried about the flying saucers crashing into it...

        Oh geeze, not this FUD again... Look, yes, flying saucer crashes were a problem with some older, ill-conceived wind farms. But with a little planning, and modern designs, this is essentially a non-issue for the wind farms of today. The most important thing is not to put cattle, sheep, or drunken hillbillies underneath the windfarms so the aliens aren't attracted to them. Next is the design itself. The old scaffolding ones didn't look like anything important to the aliens. The new single-pole ones were designed to look like an alien arm raised up. And a raised arm with all three digits spinning in a circle is a very rude gesture and it's traditional to ignore the offender. So the problem solves itself.

        Yeah - but none of these new modern designs have undergone peer reviewed studies of their effect on Don Quixote copycats. Until that happens, I don't think that anyone can be reasonably assured of their safety.

    • That's hilarious. Unless he's operating his farm at absolute zero, the molecules are shaking like mad all the time already.

  • by ErikTheRed (162431) on Thursday September 17, 2009 @12:19PM (#29454625) Homepage

    Scientific ignorance from the organic produce industry? Really? That's just so shocking.

    • by timholman (71886)

      Scientific ignorance from the organic produce industry? Really? That's just so shocking.

      Personally I prefer the inorganic produce - you know, the stuff that's that's made from rocks and minerals.

      Crunchy and filling, but a bit hard on the teeth.

      • by Bigjeff5 (1143585) on Thursday September 17, 2009 @12:33PM (#29454865)

        You've hit on one of my pet peeves man. Hell, DIAMONDS are oraganic, and so is pencil lead. They way these people use the term incorrectly drives me nuts.

        Seriously.

        I have a steering wheel attached to my belt now because of it.

        • by oyenstikker (536040) <(slashdot) (at) (sbyrne.org)> on Thursday September 17, 2009 @12:50PM (#29455145) Homepage Journal

          A conversation I had at an organic food shop:

          Me: Do you have any pure mint extract?
          Employee: Yeah man, we've got some right over here.
          Me: This is the cosmetics aisle. It says "Not for human consumption." right on the bottle.
          Employee: Oh. But its organic man, its okay.
          Me: So are rhubarb leaves.
          Employee: Oh. Man. I dunno man.

        • by jdgeorge (18767)

          You've hit on one of my pet peeves man. Hell, DIAMONDS are oraganic, and so is pencil lead. They way these people use the term incorrectly drives me nuts.

          Strictly speaking, there are very significant variations of what "organic" means [dict.org], even among various scientific contexts. For example, "organic" generally means something significantly different in the context of biology than in the context of chemistry.

          So, while on one hand I agree that it feel as if the "organic" food label misleadingly seems to imply that other food is somehow "inorganic", on the other hand I realize that from the USDA's perspective, "organic" certification reflects the adherence to a fa [usda.gov]

        • Can't words have multiple definitions?

          Lets see, we have the chemical definition of "organic," on which a diamond is, of course, not organic (because it has to have C and H). We have the usage of "arising organically" which is supposed to mean something like "coming together in a way that resembles natural processes". And then we have what is apparently your favored definition, something like "arising on earth without human intervention" (or something, I'm not totally sure what). And then we have the food-in

        • by the_humeister (922869) on Thursday September 17, 2009 @01:04PM (#29455329)

          You've hit on one of my pet peeves man. Hell, DIAMONDS are oraganic, and so is pencil lead. They way these people use the term incorrectly drives me nuts.

          Seriously.

          I have a steering wheel attached to my belt now because of it.

          Right on! And the people who use "pencil lead" instead of "graphite." I mean, lead was never used in pencils. It's just that those idiots who discovered graphite thought it really was lead. The audacity...

  • by moj0e (812361) on Thursday September 17, 2009 @12:19PM (#29454631) Journal

    I totally agree with the farmer! From my research, it even has dangerous effects
    on humans!

    Here are some of the symptoms that it causes:

    1. Carpal tunnel
    2. Distaste for light
    3. A tendency to shout out: "First Post"
    4. Loss/Gain of gold pieces
    5. Disturbing images of cats
    6. Lots of accidents that subsequently end up online.
    7. Bad writing.

    Can anyone think of other symptoms?

  • by guyminuslife (1349809) on Thursday September 17, 2009 @12:19PM (#29454641)

    He probably decided to farm garlic to ward off the vampires. Can't say I blame him.

  • by mikeabbott420 (744514) on Thursday September 17, 2009 @12:23PM (#29454717) Journal
    Please regard this man as a non-representative sample.
    • But if he moved to California, he'd fit right in.
    • Please regard this man as a non-representative sample.

      They can regard him as that, but it isn't true. I'm sorry, but if he were a non-representative sample, I would still be living in Nova Scotia.

    • by Locke2005 (849178)
      Please regard this man as a non-representative sample. Does that mean he is much dimmer than the average Nova Scotian, or much brighter than the average Nova Scotian? Let me say this in his defense: at least he's not a Newfie!
  • I remember reading somewhere on BBC that a recent study found that there is no nutritional difference between organic and normal grown plants. I have no idea then how they would prove or disprove that the cell tower is a danger to or has effected the crop.
    • Re:Side note (Score:5, Informative)

      by Demonantis (1340557) on Thursday September 17, 2009 @12:30PM (#29454819)
      Found it. Thought some people might be interested

      Organic Food [bbc.co.uk]
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Bigjeff5 (1143585)

      That's because "non-organic" food is *drumroll* completely organic. Oh my god. Seriously, it kills me that these assholes get away with calling their food "organic" (implying other food is not organic) and there are actually regulations on what you can call "organic" (even though it is all, in fact, organic).

      I wouldn't mind if they called it pesticide free, or un-modified, or naturally grown (with a description of what exactly they mean by that), etc. But "organic"? WTF? Even the most unnatural, mutated,

      • That's because "non-organic" food is *drumroll* completely organic. Oh my god. Seriously, it kills me that these assholes get away with calling their food "organic" (implying other food is not organic) and there are actually regulations on what you can call "organic" (even though it is all, in fact, organic).

        Newsflash: The same word can have more than one meaning [reference.com] and it can adopt new meanings over time. The intended meaning is usually clear from the context. Meaning arises from consensus among a broad population of speakers. Complaints about how others use language almost always fail to influence behavior.

        What you are really saying is: "I am smart because I know the particular definition of a word used by chemists. I am also insecure. I will berate those I perceive to be less intelligent than me and hope t

      • Re:Side note (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Entropius (188861) on Thursday September 17, 2009 @01:18PM (#29455563)

        This isn't an American problem exclusively. Related to this is the scare about "zomg genetically modified organisms!", which is much worse in Europe.

        I helped gather data for a study, incidentally, comparing GM and ordinary cotton. The GM cotton had a gene expressing the BT toxin in it, a protein that fucks up caterpillars who eat it rather royally but is harmless to pretty much everything else. The farmers were told to not do anything special with their fields, to use pesticides as normal, etc. (This meant more use of pesticide on the non-GM cotton, obviously.)

        Then I wander through the fields and sample the insect population by species. The conventional cotton was something of a wasteland -- here's a lonely little spider, looking for dinner; there are a few ants; here are a shitload of aphids, which are resistant to insecticide.

        The GM cotton had a whole pile of bugs, all running around happily eating each other.

        GM crops can be *better* for the environment. After all, the BT gene is just a way of putting a pesticide only harmful to a narrow range of insects *into* the crop, so only pests that actually eat it will die. This is a whole lot more targeted than crop-dusting the field with something that'll kill anything that moves with more than four legs. Monsanto's abuse of the patent system is another matter altogether, of course.

  • by OrangeTide (124937) on Thursday September 17, 2009 @12:33PM (#29454857) Homepage Journal

    If you're looking for something that will mutate cells, then try the UV rays from the Sun. Perhaps he should grow mushrooms if he is so paranoid about exposing vegetables to radiation?

  • This kind of stuff happens all of the time. Anyone remember "Attack of the killer tomatos", "them", "Godzilla", ...
    Everyone should know of this great menace before we are attacked by giant mutant killer zombie garlic. We don't want to be replaced by a more intelligent invasive species like this!

  • Somewhere in Gilroy a Garlic farmer is dialing Sprint to beg for a tower so he can make monster garlic.

  • Oh no (Score:5, Funny)

    by lymond01 (314120) on Thursday September 17, 2009 @12:52PM (#29455165)

    There are times when I wonder what the world might have been like if we hadn't pushed high speed microwave-based internet access in Nova Scotia. It's not like there weren't other solutions -- satellite, possibly. Cabling if they could have found someone to foot the bill. But there was a rush to make it happen, as usual with big business looking for their next tax haven. Who would have thought the entire world would pay for that bit of greed? Who would have thought we'd never dare look at the sun again.

    The end can't be too far away. There aren't many of us left, down here in the caves. All the moss has been eaten. The water may last awhile longer, but without food....No one who's left the caves to search for food, no matter how desperate or self-assured, has ever come back. Perhaps our greatest fear, moreso than even starvation, is that the Garlics will be able to trace one of those people back to our hideout. We've taken precautions, of course, by choosing a tunnel system with a downdraft. At least that way, we can smell them coming.

    • by natehoy (1608657)

      I, for one, welcome our new Garlic Overlords.

      (sorry, obligatory slashdot meme reference)
        (sorry sorry, obligatory acknowledgment of use of obligatory slashdot meme reference)
          (infinite loop encountered, terminating...

    • Bravo! It's not often that I see posts this clever. (!sarcasm)

      • by Blakey Rat (99501)

        Is that monologue from Terminator?

        Great joke, but it's nagging at me, I swear I know what it's from but I can't place it.

  • Ok, Lenny, the nice white ambulance is here to take you to Happy Town.
  • Regardless of what people THINK the effect of microwave towers can or cannot have, the real need is to study such questions. Of course, we can't study every stupid thing that someone might think (such as a person I know that feels that the radiation from Toll Booth RFID tags are giving her headaches), Microwave towers 1) use a significant amount of power, and 2) potentially impact large numbers of people.

    I was one of the first to laugh at a cell phone/brain cancer link. Yet a recent study demonstrates a s

  • "Radiation"... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Entropius (188861) on Thursday September 17, 2009 @01:28PM (#29455727)

    The scientific and engineering community doesn't mean the same thing by this word that you mean -- namely, that shit that makes your ass glow green, or whatever.

    I propose that people not be allowed to rant and rave about this stuff until they:

    --Learn the basics of the electromagnetic spectrum and the sources and engineering uses of radiation at each point along it.
    --Learn the basics of nuclear radiation, and understand its effects and where it comes from
    --Leave a Geiger counter near a nuclear power station and take one on a plane across the country at 40,000 feet, and compare the counts

    I teach physics labs to premeds at the university. They come in and I'm munching peanuts off of a pretty bright orange tray, and offer them some; some of them accept.

    A little later I'm showing them how to use a Geiger counter, and show them radiation from a few sources we have in the room -- lookie, radioactive rocks! Lookie there, a bit of caesium! Oh, wait ... where'd these radioactive peanuts come from?

    The students freaked out. (For those who don't know, the bright orange glaze on old Fiestaware was made from uranium oxide. It's safe, unless maybe you eat the plate, in which case you have a .01% risk of cancer and a 10% risk of a perforated bowel.)

  • by kenp2002 (545495) on Thursday September 17, 2009 @03:06PM (#29457379) Homepage Journal

    No one is exempt from stupidity and certainly not ignorance. No man can know all things let he be a God among men.

    I've met the brightest that Harvard graduated and they thought you could get the swine flu from eating pork.

    I work with a Yale man that couldn't replace his air filter in his car.

    I've worked with two former NASA engineers and a Ballistic Warhead designer from UDLP that couldn't install an electrical outlet in thier home.

    Ignorance is relative people. How many of you know when to harvest garlic? When you put down your fertilizer? How many days do you let alfalfa dry between cutting and baling? Know how to shoe a horse? How about stitch a wound? At what rate should you run the reverse rehometer to prevent scaling on a polymer test?

    There is a difference between stupidity and ignorance. You can mock stupidity till you are blue in the face; just make damn sure you know the difference between the two or all you will accomplish is proving how big of a jackass you are.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Raptoer (984438)

      The problem here being that most of those people would ask someone with more experience in the field. If I was trying to grow garlic I would probably get a book on garlic growing.

      This guy just jumped the gun and went straight to "zomg radiation"

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