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ELF Knocks Down AM Towers To Save Earth, Intercoms 616

ScentCone writes "The ELF (Earth Liberation Front) has claimed responsibility for destroying the primary AM towers used by radio station KRKO in Washington state. From their statement: 'AM radio waves cause adverse health effects including a higher rate of cancer, harm to wildlife, and that the signals have been interfering with home phone and intercom lines.' The poor intercom performance must have been the last straw."
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ELF Knocks Down AM Towers To Save Earth, Intercoms

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  • Citation Needed (Score:5, Informative)

    by slifox ( 605302 ) * on Saturday September 05, 2009 @02:27PM (#29324705)
    AM radio causes cancer?

    I'm from Jamaica, the show-me island. So show me you're blowing it out your fanny!
    (obligatory Futurama reference)

    I wonder if any of these ELF people understand physics... Radio behaves according to the inverse square law; in effect, your cellphone exposes you to much more power than all the cell towers around you, simply due to it being much closer. Similarly, any local transmitter you have (e.g. microwave ovens, CRTs, wifi APs, high-speed digital circuitry, etc) will expose you to more power than those far-away broadcast towers. Unless the AM radio tower is in your backyard, you are probably not in tremendous danger...

    ...well maybe your home intercom *is* in danger... won't someone please think of the intercoms?!?
    • Re:Citation Needed (Score:5, Informative)

      by slifox ( 605302 ) * on Saturday September 05, 2009 @02:35PM (#29324769)
      Not to mention that at 1700KHz (the upper end of AM medium wave radio), the ideal quarter-wavelength antenna is around 144 feet long.

      Ignoring the fact that we aren't very good conductors... at 5-6 feet tall, I doubt the human body can effectively absorb a lot of this relatively very-long-wavelength radiation.

      Does anyone have actual data or methods to predict this kind of effect on human bodies?
      • by blincoln ( 592401 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @02:43PM (#29324875) Homepage Journal

        Ignoring the fact that we aren't very good conductors... at 5-6 feet tall, I doubt the human body can effectively absorb a lot of this relatively very-long-wavelength radiation.

        In addition to all of that, there's a reason EM radiation of longer wavelengths is called "non-ionizing". Hint: it's because it's incapable of ionizing anything.

        • Re:Citation Needed (Score:5, Insightful)

          by siloko ( 1133863 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @03:04PM (#29325079)
          You guys are missing the point - when vandals want to vandalise they will, if they are middle class they will try and justify it under some 'flavour of the month' banner, such as the Earth Liberation Front. Whose earth? They ain't liberating MY earth because the one I live on has no relation to one where radio waves cause cancer . . . maybe I'm just hung up on evidence!
          • Re:Citation Needed (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Kell Bengal ( 711123 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @03:10PM (#29325133)

            if they are middle class they will try and justify it under some 'flavour of the month' banner

            Wait... are you saying that if they aren't middle class they'll justify it differently or not at all? What does class have to do with any of this?

            • Re:Citation Needed (Score:5, Insightful)

              by DarkOx ( 621550 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @03:29PM (#29325315) Journal

              Different classes will justify crime differently:

              The poor - "Its the man keeping me down" and "I just get mixed up with the wrong crowd" are both popular.

              The middle class - will usually invent some sort of obscure social justice or environmentalist excuse like the one we see here. Generally very little actual thought goes into developing this excuse; and its all over some snake oil that was sold to them by someone else with a grander agenda. In rare cases its an actual problem in that what they say is happening actually is and there are some known negative consequences. In these instances they are just opposed to whatever it is, and don't have any sort of alternative solution; unless involves depopulation on a massive scale and most of use learning to be content with tree bark and wild berries for dinner.

              The rich - most of the time won't have any excuse of their own per say but will pay an attorney to invent some exotic legal excuse the rest of use can't really understand even when we try. Most of the time the only thing legal about said excuse is the linguistic style its presented in; still it will be excepted more often than not because few others are really interested and still fewer have the resources or wherewithal to argue the matter.

              The political - will find away to blame successful noncriminal members of the middle class. They will go with social justice tack as well but it will be slightly more reasoned than the middle class criminal's excuse. Generally not only will the excuse succeed in getting them off the hook for their crime but will also enable them to pass some sort of self serving public policy.

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                I want to drive to Seattle and set fire to the ELF's office, plus any other ELF offices I pass along the way, because I think they need to be taught a lesson that losing millions of dollars of property HURTS. Eye-for-an-eye, "walk in your victim's shoes", and all that stuff.

                So which category am I in?

                • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

                  by SkyDude ( 919251 )
                  Unfortunately, the ELF doesn't have an office. It's a spaceship they live on, because they clearly are not from this planet.
                  • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                    by morari ( 1080535 )

                    ELF does not have an office because they work as isolated individuals or covert cells. Really, anyone could [i]claim[/i] to be affiliated with ELF and technically be correct. Their ideology is clearly stated in some of the works released by more established members, and the actual actions presented here seem to be in line with them. The reasons why these actions were carried out seem to be fairly shortsighted however, and not of the same ethical caliber of spiking trees and freeing test animals.

                • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

                  by vaporland ( 713337 )
                  The FBI would love to hear from you if you ever even find the ELF's office - they've been looking for a while now...
                • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

                  by Farmer Tim ( 530755 )

                  I want to drive to Seattle and set fire to the ELF's office

                  Careful: the last guy who tried to burn down an ELF office was Sauron, and look where it got him...

              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                by Anonymous Coward

                Yep. I think this is a universal phenomenon around the world. Poor people readily admit their crimes, but blame them on the circumstances of leading a life in poverty. Middle class people tend to blame it on "violations" by "society" or perhaps more specifically by something like capitalism or socialism, depending on where they hail from politically. Working class people's excuses are a mix of the poor man's excuse and the middle class man's excuse. Upper class people tend to argue that they didn't know tha

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by Jesus_666 ( 702802 )
            Bizarro Earth Liberation Front am very concerned about Earth. Knocking down random radio towers am very important and am not just for fun. Me serious!
        • Re:Citation Needed (Score:5, Informative)

          by Mr. Slippery ( 47854 ) <tms AT infamous DOT net> on Saturday September 05, 2009 @03:56PM (#29325573) Homepage

          there's a reason EM radiation of longer wavelengths is called "non-ionizing". Hint: it's because it's incapable of ionizing anything.

          The fact that radiation is not ionizing anything does not imply that it has no effect on living tissue. It could induce microcurrents in some tissues, or cause certain molecules to resonate in a way which affected important chemical reactions.

          Which is not to say that AM radio does have any effect, only that "it's not ionizing!" is not a refutation.

          Biological systems are complex; if something as relatively simple as a computer can be effected by EM radiation, it's not completely batty to speculate that biological systems might be also. There are a few studies -- such as this one [] -- that have suggested effects on cerebral blood flow or on sleep patterns, but the data remains spotty at best.

          I repeat, I'm not claiming that such effects exist, nor am I defending this vandalism. (Calling it "terrorism" is, of course, ridiculous.) But claiming that EM radiation can't have any health effects because it's not ionizing is bad science.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by dangitman ( 862676 )

            (Calling it "terrorism" is, of course, ridiculous.)

            Why? It's clearly terrorism. And I say that as an environmentalist, but one with no sympathy for the ELF's beliefs or tactics. Their actions fit the definition perfectly.

      • Re:Citation Needed (Score:5, Insightful)

        by digitig ( 1056110 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @02:46PM (#29324915)
        Not to mention -- how on earth does the method of modulation make a difference?
      • Re:Citation Needed (Score:5, Informative)

        by anotheregomaniac ( 1439993 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @03:01PM (#29325049)
        General information can be found in this FAQ: [] and in particular in FCC bulletin 56 page 15: []

        The maximum permissible exposure to the general public from a radiator must be lower than the prescribed limits outside of the fence line. Lower frequencies, like AM radio, have a much higher permissible power than the frequencies used in cell phones or WiFi because the biological effect is less.

        They fact that they mention interference to intercoms would lead one to think one of those involved may live nearby or near another antenna.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by N1EY ( 817702 )
        Yes. Did you know that the FCC requires a check on tissue exposure? There is a Maximum Permissable Exposure regulation. There are charts based on studies. It is a serious issue, which is hugely distorted by ELF. The other thing is that the emission of carbon dioxide might not effect global warming in the huge direct corelation, which ELF and others purport. On the radio front there has been huge intake of disappointment due to low solar activity. There has been talk of a new Maraunder Minimum. Wit
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by afxgrin ( 208686 )

      Heh guess I'll have a tough time selling them on the idea of Satellite based Solar Power?

    • Re:Citation Needed (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Green Monkey ( 152750 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @03:10PM (#29325139)

      I wonder if any of these ELF people understand physics

      Oh, there's no need to wonder. The answer is: No, they don't.

    • Re:Citation Needed (Score:4, Insightful)

      by jellomizer ( 103300 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @04:32PM (#29325989)

      Life in America has gotten so easy that most people will grasp at straws so they can be outraged about something. You know... To keep them busy and feel like they are actually doing something important... And to um... Keep themselves out of trouble.

      I think these people can do more good other then trying to destroy them and pointless protesting (having done work in Albany, Up in the towers 20th floor where all the big decision makers are located, You can have a huge protest of thousands of people and people up there will have no idea what it is about. Heck they could probably do more good by doing things like say organizing a towns recycling policy and get more people to participate. Help setup a socal network where you can increase car pooling by finding people who go to like locations and work similar hours.

      • by couchslug ( 175151 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @09:56PM (#29328207)

        "Life in America has gotten so easy that most people will grasp at straws so they can be outraged about something. You know... To keep them busy and feel like they are actually doing something important... "

        I'd reply at more length but I've a Town Hall meeting to picket. We must stop Obamessianic Socialism!

  • Idiots. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 05, 2009 @02:30PM (#29324727)
    What a bunch of fucking idiots.
  • REALLY? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DurendalMac ( 736637 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @02:33PM (#29324755)
    Oh my God, these ELF guys are dumber than a box of hammers. Put their brains in a matchbox and they'll rattle around like a bunch of bbs in a boxcar. Where the hell is the science that shows an AM tower a mile away from your home is giving you cancer? Or hell, a hundred meters from your home? These retards will believe whatever junk science validates their owned warped view and they never fucking question it, defending it to the death. Fuck 'em. Lock these idiots up.
    • by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @02:43PM (#29324871) Journal

      But they are right about the interference issue. I live a little more than a mile away from AM towers, and they cause all kinds of goofy stuff. Anything with speakers or headphones is an AM radio here. I had to buy new equipment to get rid of the interference via trial and error with my wallet. I used to dismiss the Brady Bunch episode where Jan's braces picked up a radio station. But now it seems plausible.

      However, I assure you I have no plans to bomb it. Although, I'd like give them a 20-foot finger.

      • by Nimey ( 114278 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @03:29PM (#29325311) Homepage Journal

        Ferrite cores. If you put them on the wires picking up the signal, it's supposed to stop the pickup.

        • by evanbd ( 210358 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @04:20PM (#29325879)

          Also, watch out for ground loops. If you plug your computer into your power strip, and then plug an amplifier into the analog audio out connector, and then plug your amp into the outlet, you've created a loop antenna in the ground system (there's a loop running from power strip to computer to amp to power strip, because the audio out cable has 2 single-ended signal lines plus a ground line). Getting rid of such loops can be hard (cutting the ground line in the audio cable doesn't entirely solve the problem and has its own issues, for example), but being aware of them and minimizing the area that they enclose can help dramatically.

          I saw an example where the problem was exactly as above, and until they moved the power cables around to shrink the loop the local AM station always played on the speakers.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Nethead ( 1563 )

        Funny that, I've worked in radio stations where the audio board was 6 feet away from the transmitter. We didn't have the AM signal bleeding into the audio, or the phone system, or anything. You must not have you equipment setup right. See the post in this thread about ground-loops.

        Have you tried calling the station for help? Most will gladly let you talk to the engineer to figure out a solution.

    • Re:REALLY? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by cusco ( 717999 ) <brian.bixby@gma i l . c om> on Saturday September 05, 2009 @02:47PM (#29324921)
      We set up access control and video monitoring not long ago for an antenna farm on top of Cougar Mountain, near Seattle. At that one facility there are seven major towers and probably at least a dozen smaller ones. A single major tower can support half a dozen 50,000-400,000 watt radio stations, one or two 400,000-550,000 watt television stations, cell phone antennas, police and other governmental radios, and some private short wave antennas. There are at least twenty houses within a half mile, which have been there since the '60s and '70s. This is only one of half a dozen similar facilities ringing the Seattle metro area.

      Why is it that none of the "radio waves are going to kill us all" crowd seems to have done a single epidemiological study of people living in this intense, continual, long-term bath of radiation? Instead pretty much all I see are collections of anecdotal accounts with no controls. "They put a cell tower next door last week and today I have cancer" is not what I would consider a definitive study.

      Epidemiological studies are not that expensive in the US, once consent forms have been gathered it comes down to statistical analysis of already-computerized data. It's more of a job for insurance analysts, who are actually very well equipped for this sort of task.

      • Re:REALLY? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by greyhueofdoubt ( 1159527 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @05:43PM (#29326617) Homepage Journal

        You actually made a very, very good point. Insurance companies know the addresses and medical histories of millions of americans. These are most definitely NOT charity organizations, either- we've all heard stories about coverage being dropped for pre-existing conditions or people being denied important procedures. I know from personal experience how difficult it is to squeeze money out of them. So we have a large body of evidence showing that the agencies will do anything for a buck (or to save a buck).

        Now- an organization with the power, knowledge, money, and motivation to deny coverage to people living near broadcast antennae *should already be doing that*.

        But they're not. And I have worked for an insurance agency (United Healthcare/uniprise)- EM radiation is simply not a concern. Hell, the facility I worked at was within line-of-sight of our city's antenna farm- I can't find exact specs, but the farm includes basically ALL TV, radio, etc. for the entire city. I can pick up some radio stations from those antennae a good 100 miles away (FM).


      • Re:REALLY? (Score:4, Informative)

        by Reaperducer ( 871695 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @06:18PM (#29326877)

        We set up access control and video monitoring not long ago for an antenna farm on top of Cougar Mountain, near Seattle. At that one facility there are seven major towers and probably at least a dozen smaller ones. A single major tower can support half a dozen 50,000-400,000 watt radio stations

        You are obviously not a radio engineer, or you'd know that the maximum power a radio station is allowed in the United States is 100,000 watts, not 400,000 watts.

        Further, since you're talking about a transmitter on a tower, the actual output is likely closer to 4,000 watts for 100,000 watts of EFFECTIVE radiated power, which is not the same thing as ACTUAL radiated power. It's all about height. That's part of the reason why satellite radio can cover the entire country with just 3,000 watt transmitters -- they're in space.

        Also, the days of the 5,000,000-watt TV stations are over. The maximum power for station on channels 2-13 is now 10,000 watts I think. On UHF I believe it's around 60,000 watts unless the station gets STA from the FCC. I could be wrong about those numbers, though.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 05, 2009 @02:39PM (#29324831)

    They should have just wrapped the towers in tin foil.

  • Morons! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Null Nihils ( 965047 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @02:43PM (#29324869) Journal
    The electromagnetic spectrum [] is not a hard concept to grasp. Radio waves are about the most harmless radiation there is. They have a lower frequency than microwaves, infrared, or fucking ordinary visible light. Are they going to blow up the sun next?

    Yet another group of ignorant children playing dangerous games in the adult world. Sigh.
    • Re:Morons! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Ardaen ( 1099611 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @02:48PM (#29324929)
      It is easy for us on Slashdot to see how stupid this is. But you are talking about a country where a large portion of the population prides themselves in being ignorant and rejecting good science for 'alternative theories'.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by digitig ( 1056110 )

      Are they going to blow up the sun next?

      Nature is ahead of them on that. Fortunately for us, it takes quite a while for something that size to blow.

  • by Bromskloss ( 750445 ) <auxiliary.addres ... y@ g m a i> on Saturday September 05, 2009 @02:43PM (#29324873)

    Can't you hear how they are crying out "No, his antenna is too small. It will never carry low enough frequencies. Die, you small antenna!"?

  • by Lord Byron II ( 671689 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @02:45PM (#29324893)

    Say it with me:

    "This is why we need science education"
    "This is why we need science education"
    "This is why we need science education"

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      "Please! No! My head hurts! I think it's going to ASPLODE!"

      Breaking news from 99Chan: There seems to be a pandemic of asploding heads this school year. Pagans and deists are attempting to correlate the pandemic with recently enacted legislation which requires high school graduates to understand basic physics. Some radical groups are saying "If man were meant to have science, he would be born with it!"

      That's News Live at Five - updates at 11:00!

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by f16c ( 13581 )

      No. We have science education. The bar is set way too low for high school graduates. Physics was an option when I went to high school. I took the class and understood more when I effectively took the same course over in college just like Chemistry and a few others. Now when people graduate from high school they know what they want and not what they should. Science education is not a problem. Science education of a higher order of general knowledge should be mandatory.

  • by scourfish ( 573542 ) <scourfish@yaho[ ]om ['o.c' in gap]> on Saturday September 05, 2009 @02:57PM (#29325017)
    we are going to need to burn some oil and release more CO2 into the air as we transport workers and materials in the rebuilding effort. I'm glad the ELF thought this through.
  • Doubt it was ELF (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Nethead ( 1563 ) <> on Saturday September 05, 2009 @03:02PM (#29325063) Homepage Journal

    Disclaimers: I live a few houses down from the station owner, so I've followed this for a while. I was a broadcast engineer in a past life (even did some contracting at a former iteration of this station.)

    Here is the story from the local paper: [] (good set of pictures)

    From the Seattle Times [] version: "Andy Skotdal, general manager of the family-owned sports-radio station, isn't convinced ELF is responsible, even though the group's North American press office in Washington, D.C., issued a news release and posted an item on its national Web site Friday saying it was.

    He suspects disgruntled locals who have long opposed the siting of the towers on 40 acres of farmland may have taken matters into their own hands after losing a key ruling in King County Superior Court a few weeks ago.

    "My suspicion is, it's somebody local," Skotdal, whose family has owned the station for 20 years, said by phone Friday as he watched dozens of sheriff's detectives and FBI agents comb the property for evidence. "It could be somebody painting ELF on a banner to throw off suspicion."

    In the same story, the FBI sees a few things that point to ELF but they are only a day into the investigation. I'd lay away from making a call right now on who is responsible.

    Either way, stealing a excavator, driving it through a muddy field and pulling down two towers has to leave a good amount of evidence. I'm also thinking that the guy wires must have been cut too, just to keep from kill the machine operator on the first tower.

  • by Punk CPA ( 1075871 ) <mitchtownsend&hotmail,com> on Saturday September 05, 2009 @03:14PM (#29325151)
    Maybe AM radio causes cancer, maybe it doesn't. Why take a chance? From now on, I'm only going to listen to FM.
  • by Improv ( 2467 ) <> on Saturday September 05, 2009 @03:24PM (#29325279) Homepage Journal

    Number one rule for direct action:

    Have your facts straight. If you target the wrong people, or if your science is bad, you're sacrificing credibility and making people angry for no good reason.

  • by WD ( 96061 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @03:30PM (#29325321)

    Just go ahead and check out these instructions on how to make "Holy Hand Grenades" and "Tower Busters". Granted, this is less destructive than knocking down towers, but the ignorance involved is just about as scary. []

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      I wish I hadn't watched that. Some things get under my skin and ruin my whole day...

      I just love how the guy is using these crystals to protect himself from cell towers- By using *acetone* and poly casting resin (The activator for this stuff is terrible; read the MSDS for this product [] ).

      This fake science is just as offensive as racism, nationalism, homophobia, or any other irrational philosophy that ignores or even spits on the accumulated empirical evidence

      • by Chris Burke ( 6130 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @09:59PM (#29328221) Homepage

        And no, there aren't two equal but opposing viewpoints regarding EM. There's right and wrong. Fact and fiction.

        Oh, that's just your viewpoint, which is equally valid as my viewpoint, which is that right and wrong are subjective and decided largely by volume of ranting and by a sense of fairness, such that even my made up bullshit gets to be right for a day every once in a while.

        And on that day, AM radio towers will cure cancer. I demand an equal amount of airtime for my view as for you and ELF on the non-AM media channels.

        • by greyhueofdoubt ( 1159527 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @10:46PM (#29328465) Homepage Journal

          You know it occurred to me just now that these people with their orgone or whatevers, you know the things with the quartz crystals... They claim that somehow the crystals absorb the EM waves or something; I honestly don't really know the entire spiel.

          What do you think would happen if we told them that radio waves are generated using a quartz crystal oscillator? Head explosion? Rending of clothes and gnashing of teeth?

          Sadly, it would probably go something like this little conversation I had with my vegan friend:

          "It's terrible to kill and eat animals. It's not natural."
          "So, should we kill all the wolves and tigers and ferrets? They kill and eat animals."
          "That's different because they're natural."
          "What are humans, then? Aliens?"
          "We have self awareness, so we have the duty to be kind to animals."
          "So if animals aren't self-aware, wouldn't that mean that they don't have souls or feel pain?"
          "If wolves became self-aware and stopped eating meat, they'd become sick and maybe die. They have evolved to be carnivores."
          "Yeah but humans haven't, we have molars."
          "We also have incisors."
          "That's for berries."
          [facepalm, walk away]

          She has a degree in teaching, btw.


  • ELF (Score:5, Funny)

    by Dwedit ( 232252 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @03:35PM (#29325355) Homepage

    I always knew that GCC produced gigantic ELF files, but big enough to knock over an AM tower? This is just ridiculous.

  • Damn ELF (Score:4, Funny)

    by dark_requiem ( 806308 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @03:52PM (#29325537)
    I'd never associate with the Earth Liberation Front. Now the Liberation Front of Earth, that's what it's all about. Not like those bastards in the Frontier for Earthern Liberation.
  • by dogmatixpsych ( 786818 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @04:45PM (#29326119) Journal
    I always knew there was something I didn't like about elves. Go dwarves! :)
  • by dtmos ( 447842 ) * on Saturday September 05, 2009 @04:48PM (#29326161)

    A tower outside of Allentown, PA was deliberately felled [] the same night. As it was a guyed tower, the vandals cut the guys to bring it down.

"For a male and female to live continuously together is... biologically speaking, an extremely unnatural condition." -- Robert Briffault