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Is Wi-Fi Destroying Our Trees?

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I think I speak for most people when I say that I will give up my Wi-Fi when you pry the Linksys from my cold, bullet-ridden clutches. Like broadband, Swype, and coffee, there are just some things I could never forsake. I've had the taste of wireless browsing, and I'm in it for life.

Which is why I'm sorely dismayed to read a study from the Netherlands which names Wi-Fi as a possible cause in tree damage.

Wageningen University in the city of Alphen aan den Rijn began researching Wi-Fi's effects on deciduous trees after officials discovered unexplainable abnormalities on the bark and leaves. Over the course of five years, researchers noticed that roughly 70% of trees in urban areas displayed symptoms of the unidentifiable disease, compared to the 10% of trees at the start of the study.

The leaves nearest to the Wi-Fi radio took on a "lead-like shine" which signals the death of the upper and lower epidermis. Additionally, the tree's bark showed evidence of bleeding and fissures. The study also noted that Wi-Fi could inhibit the growth of corn cobs.

However, all is not lost. Aside from the further studies necessary to pinpoint a definitive cause, ultrafine particles emitted by cars and trucks may also play a role in the trees' destruction. And considering the ubiquity of Wi-Fi all over the world, how and why have these symptoms been confined to one college in Western Netherland?

Besides, these are very preliminary results and previous studies show Wi-Fi is harmless. One Dutch bureau stressed, "There are no far-reaching conclusions from the results. Based on the information now available, it can not be concluded that the WiFi radio signals lead to damage to trees or other plants."

So keep cool for now. No need to break out 100-foot Ethernet cables just yet.
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