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Wireless News Means Less Pollution

Summaries of Research and Inventions from Science and Technology Journals

3 min read

According to a pair of researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, switching from paper newspapers to electronic versions on personal digital assistants (PDAs) leads to less CO 2 , NO x , and SO x emissions. The results are based on the environmental impact of several components of newspaper production, including paper, ink, and delivery trucks. For perspective, a year's worth of The New York Times weighs approximately 225 kilograms and requires approximately 23 000 liters of water to produce. In contrast to this, the researchers show using a PDA requires 24 kilowatthours and less than 390 L of water per year. Based on their findings, the researchers conjecture that if one out of every four newspapers were read online instead of in print, it would reduce CO 2 emissions by 6–10 billion kg.

The researchers also found that wireless conference calls are much more environmentally friendly than business trips. So, if you aren't so eager to take those long business trips, tell your boss or client that a conference call is the environmentally responsible thing to do.

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How the FCC Settles Radio-Spectrum Turf Wars

Remember the 5G-airport controversy? Here’s how such disputes play out

11 min read
This photo shows a man in the basket of a cherry picker working on an antenna as an airliner passes overhead.

The airline and cellular-phone industries have been at loggerheads over the possibility that 5G transmissions from antennas such as this one, located at Los Angeles International Airport, could interfere with the radar altimeters used in aircraft.

Patrick T. Fallon/AFP/Getty Images

You’ve no doubt seen the scary headlines: Will 5G Cause Planes to Crash? They appeared late last year, after the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration warned that new 5G services from AT&T and Verizon might interfere with the radar altimeters that airplane pilots rely on to land safely. Not true, said AT&T and Verizon, with the backing of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, which had authorized 5G. The altimeters are safe, they maintained. Air travelers didn’t know what to believe.

Another recent FCC decision had also created a controversy about public safety: okaying Wi-Fi devices in a 6-gigahertz frequency band long used by point-to-point microwave systems to carry safety-critical data. The microwave operators predicted that the Wi-Fi devices would disrupt their systems; the Wi-Fi interests insisted they would not. (As an attorney, I represented a microwave-industry group in the ensuing legal dispute.)

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