Tuesday

Tuesday 27/08/02Fly back to London. You don't want to hear my tales of cheap airline anguish, as it seems from the papers that every journalist from Prestwick to Plymouth has been turning their four-hour delays on EasyGoBabyBuzz into column inches, but it was all pretty grotty.

Tuesday 27/08/02
Fly back to London. You don't want to hear my tales of cheap airline anguish, as it seems from the papers that every journalist from Prestwick to Plymouth has been turning their four-hour delays on EasyGoBabyBuzz into column inches, but it was all pretty grotty. The experience isn't helped by the way that cellphones are considered second only to nailfiles as items likely to endanger the lives of millions aloft. It is true that operating transmitters -- for such is your phone -- in aircraft is potentially dangerous, as there is a chance that the signals from your Moto will creep into the wiring on the aircraft's control computers and send you into a downward spiral faster than a call from the bank manager. Or a stray radio wave from the phone will land on the navigation frequencies, and you'll end up in Mexico instead of Manchester (hm, could sell that idea for real money). But. The aircraft systems are designed to resist such signals, and your cellphone is designed to not send them out in the first place. The chance is very small, and could be minimised by the simple inclusion of a small base station on the aircraft itself. The proximity of this would cause the cellphones to wind down their transmitters to fleapower, and the airline could make tons of money from relaying calls via satellite. That would be too sensible. Instead, more and more stringent restrictions are being put in place. This time, we were told not to use our cellphones until we were inside the terminal -- rendering them useless even as we sat on the tarmac for the requisite hour or so -- 'because of refuelling'. What balderdash, one might be forgiven for thinking, as one peers out of one's porthole at an apron covered in people shouting into walkie-talkies. Not to mention the plane's transmitters themselves, which put out more power than every cellphone on board put together. Oh, and that business of the power going down if you're near a cell base station? If I'm not mistaken, that means a cellphone mast near a school or residential area will result in the little kiddies receiving considerably less radiation from their mobiles than they would ever get from the transmitter itself. By forcing them to use base stations further away, the parents are irradiating their beloved offspring more than ever. Ironic, ain't it?

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