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posted by janrinok on Friday June 17, @03:08PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the milking-it-for-the-compensation dept.

https://www.lemonde.fr/en/environment/article/2022/06/08/4g-antenna-suspected-of-disturbing-herd-of-cows-in-haute-loire-to-be-shut-down_5986020_114.html

[...] "I can see from my tractor that they are all skin and bones. It's enough to make you cry." On the other side of the small road that winds along his property, a short distance from the town of Mazeyrat-d'Allier, in the Haute-Loire department, Frédéric Salgues can spot what he considers to be the cause of his cows' problems, less than 300 meters away: a cell phone tower commissioned by Orange on June 28, 2021.

[...] On May 23, the administrative court of Clermont-Ferrand ordered the 4G antenna's cessation of operation for a period of two months.

This measure, unprecedented in France, should become effective within three months. The objective is to carry out an expert assessment in order to "establish a potential causal link between the behavior of the cattle and this antenna." The administrative court highlights "a significant drop in the quality and quantity of milk produced, a serious disruption in the behavior of the herd and its voluntary denutrition and abnormally high deaths.


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  • (Score: 2, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 17, @04:21PM (6 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 17, @04:21PM (#1254024)

    Wait till 10G where we can actually cook stuff kilometers/miles away,
    the cows will signal a problem,
    when they start to smell pretty delicious.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 17, @04:30PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 17, @04:30PM (#1254027)

      Grill marks and QRC sears included.

    • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 17, @10:20PM (4 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 17, @10:20PM (#1254088)

      Back in the 70's some cars with electronic ignition stalled on the freeway next to San Onefre nuclear power station under the power lines crossing the road. No telling what the next generation G cooks.

      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by captain normal on Saturday June 18, @05:11AM (3 children)

        by captain normal (2205) on Saturday June 18, @05:11AM (#1254159)

        I've lived in California since 1961 and have driven past San Onefre a lot more than a couple times and never had any problems there. I've never heard of cars stalling because of electrical fields there, and neither has Google nor Duckduckgo. Do you actually have any reference, or are you just testing your troll chops?

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 18, @05:37PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 18, @05:37PM (#1254239)

          It was in the local news around 1975... about the same time EI replaced points. IIRC it was the Ford EI box causing problems. Those same Ford EI boxes had a problem with engine stalling over rough roads or by simply tapping on the module box.
          https://images.carid.com/standard/items/lx-200.jpg [carid.com]

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 18, @05:58PM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 18, @05:58PM (#1254242)

          i have many poops for you! how many would you like?

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 19, @02:59AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 19, @02:59AM (#1254322)

            Send 'em to your buddies Trump and Putin, they like to toss shit around.

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Immerman on Friday June 17, @05:25PM (14 children)

    by Immerman (3985) on Friday June 17, @05:25PM (#1254030)

    I would be fairly surprised if it proved to be the 4G transmitter that's the problem - while there are some poorly understood cellular effects to effectively living in a low-power microwave oven, you'd expect such dramatic effects to have shown up far more widely if it were the cause. I rather doubt this is the first 4G transmitter set up near a cow field.

    It seems more likely that IF there's a causal link to the tower, it's with the tower itself - e.g. perhaps the local winds are causing it to resonate and emit sounds that the cows find extremely unpleasant. Or perhaps there was a chemical/fuel/oil spill during the construction that's seeped into the ground and is slowly poisoning them. Heck, it might even be some invasive seeds the construction crew tracked in and the farmer doesn't recognize the weeds as being toxic.

    Of course, none of that would stop if they shut down the antenna. In the unlikely event that the cows do start recovering, this would definitely warrant further investigation. It seems unlikely the farmer would intentionally harm their cows to manufacture a false argument against 4G, but someone else might.

    • (Score: 5, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 17, @05:29PM (3 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 17, @05:29PM (#1254032)

      Maybe it's a 5G and they're getting COWVID?

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 17, @06:54PM (2 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 17, @06:54PM (#1254056)

        Mad COWVID?

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 17, @07:08PM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 17, @07:08PM (#1254061)

          Is it moo r bid?

          • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 17, @10:35PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 17, @10:35PM (#1254090)

            Can we get a statement from Devin Nunes Cow?

    • (Score: 4, Informative) by JoeMerchant on Friday June 17, @05:36PM

      by JoeMerchant (3937) on Friday June 17, @05:36PM (#1254034)

      >perhaps the local winds are causing it to resonate and emit sounds that the cows find extremely unpleasant.

      There can also be this type of noise effect from operation of the transmitters, and maybe this herd of cattle are sensitive to something like the Taos hum, but at 4G frequencies.

      Does 4G affect most cows? Clearly, no, or at least not very much.

      Does this tower's implementation of 4G affect this herd of cows? I agree with the court that a 2 month cessation of operation is a reasonable step to take to try to find that answer.

      --
      Україна не входить до складу Росії.
    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by RS3 on Friday June 17, @06:15PM (8 children)

      by RS3 (6367) on Friday June 17, @06:15PM (#1254045)

      The only problem I see with this shutting off test is: the present sick cows might have an irrecoverable malady, in which case they won't know if the 4G tower was causing problems until they turn it on again and it harms a new herd.

      • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Immerman on Friday June 17, @06:46PM (1 child)

        by Immerman (3985) on Friday June 17, @06:46PM (#1254054)

        Or throw in some new cows as soon as they turn it off. If the new cows develop similar problems, it has nothing to do with 4G.

        If the new cows develop problems after turning the 4G back on *maybe* it has something to do with 4G, and it's worth further investigation (though more likely it's something unrelated that takes a while to become obvious)

        • (Score: 2) by driverless on Sunday June 19, @06:04AM

          by driverless (4770) on Sunday June 19, @06:04AM (#1254348)

          Maybe they need to use recently-calibrated reference cows, or placebo cows which are actually sheep, and dummy towers which may or may not transmit 4G signals to the reference and placebo cows.

      • (Score: 5, Insightful) by theluggage on Friday June 17, @08:03PM (4 children)

        by theluggage (1797) on Friday June 17, @08:03PM (#1254066)

        ...the trouble is if they have something recoverable that has nothing to do with the 4G transmitter they'll probably get better over the next couple of months anyway. Funny thing - although the exceptions are terrible, many people and animals get ill and then get better without (or despite) intervention.

        I.e. sneezing? blocked nose? headache? Aha - I see you have a WiFi router! did you know that 90% of people who turned off their WiFi after reporting these symptoms got better after 3 weeks? Many fortunes in homeopathy, crystal healing and general snake oil application have been made this way. At least with the cows there won't be an actual effect from the stress reduction and lifestyle improvements brought by unplugging for a few weeks.

        To be fair, I've only read the first few "free" paragraphs of TFA which (being a press article) doesn't really worry about trivial details like scientific significance so maybe the people behind this are doing a proper job - but this is not in evidence.

        • (Score: 3, Insightful) by RS3 on Friday June 17, @08:38PM

          by RS3 (6367) on Friday June 17, @08:38PM (#1254074)

          What? You mean correlation is not causation? (I'm being very sarcastic for those who don't perceive the sarcasm!)

          Years ago I shared an office with a guy who was very intelligent and witty. One of his phrases was: "never underestimate the power of coincidence". I'm still processing that one. :)

          Bottom line, of course, is that a real study needs to be done. But in time they might get enough data to draw reasonable conclusions. For instance, if the cows recover and do well for months, and then they turn the 4G back on and the cows go downhill again, we can't say for certain yet, but that's a much stronger possible causation.

          But also, you'd think we'd have heard of this problem in other places, as was commented above, so we really don't know (yet?).

        • (Score: 2) by Immerman on Saturday June 18, @01:25AM (1 child)

          by Immerman (3985) on Saturday June 18, @01:25AM (#1254125)

          Except it sounds like they've had problems for around a year (or am I assuming too much by thinking that the problems must have started soon after the tower went up), so there's no reason to excpet things to imporve shortly after they transmissions are shut off.

          And like I said, if they recover, it warrants further investigation, not assuming there's a connection. The most obvious step being to turn it back on and see if the problem returns. If it does, then do it a few more times, without the farmer knowing this time, and see if cow health correlates to the more complex pattern of changes. If it does then we have a serious contender for evidence that 4G can in fact cause serious health problems. But I won't be holding my breath.

          • (Score: 3, Insightful) by theluggage on Saturday June 18, @02:39PM

            by theluggage (1797) on Saturday June 18, @02:39PM (#1254224)

            The most obvious step being to turn it back on and see if the problem returns.

            Actually, the most obvious (and quicker) step would be to survey a bunch of other randomly-chosen cow fields, with and without 4G masts nearby, and look for a correlation. Even then, correlation is not causation and a positive result would still only mean "warrants further investigation". Trouble is, a negative result would pretty much disprove the connection, which wouldn't really be in the interests of the lawyers.

            As others have suggested it could very easily be connected to the construction of the tower (contamination, cutting down shade, poisonous plants taking root in disurbed ground...)

            I'm going to call it as anti-4G protesters continually holding vigils at the site and feeding their roaches to the cattle... :-)

        • (Score: 2) by sonamchauhan on Saturday June 18, @04:48AM

          by sonamchauhan (6546) on Saturday June 18, @04:48AM (#1254155)

          Or not recover at all

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 18, @06:11AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 18, @06:11AM (#1254178)

        "until they turn it on again and it harms a new herd."

        It would have to be a genetically identical herd and you would still need a control group to make sure those cows wouldn't have had any problems regardless.

  • (Score: 3, Touché) by looorg on Friday June 17, @05:27PM (21 children)

    by looorg (578) on Friday June 17, @05:27PM (#1254031)

    If it works for cows shouldn't it be fine for humans to? To offset our modern lifestyle laziness.

    • (Score: 3, Funny) by Opportunist on Friday June 17, @05:37PM (20 children)

      by Opportunist (5545) on Friday June 17, @05:37PM (#1254035)

      From what I notice in the people who are allegedly affected by 4G and 5G, it only affects the brain negatively in humans.

      • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 17, @05:44PM (18 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 17, @05:44PM (#1254039)

        And only when they believe there's an active tower nearby. This is why cellphone companies wait a few months after putting up a tower before installing the radio gear, so they can prove in court that their tower isn't the problem. As for the cows in the article, I'm betting that this herd wasn't doing very well before the tower went in, but now the farmer has someone to sue over it. The same thing happens with power lines running through ranch country.

        • (Score: 3, Interesting) by drussell on Friday June 17, @06:15PM (5 children)

          by drussell (2678) Subscriber Badge on Friday June 17, @06:15PM (#1254046) Journal

          This is why cellphone companies wait a few months after putting up a tower before installing the radio gear, so they can prove in court that their tower isn't the problem.

          Citation, please...

          • (Score: 3, Disagree) by Opportunist on Friday June 17, @08:01PM (4 children)

            by Opportunist (5545) on Friday June 17, @08:01PM (#1254065)

            Here [nih.gov] you go.

            • (Score: 3, Interesting) by drussell on Friday June 17, @11:40PM (3 children)

              by drussell (2678) Subscriber Badge on Friday June 17, @11:40PM (#1254104) Journal

              Your link is to a study of "exposed to GSM" vs. "not exposed to GSM" which showed no evidence of interaction with sleep patterns.

              That has nothing to do with the above AC's claim that cell phone companies supposedly put up towers months before installing radio gear as some sort of legal protection in court. I want a citation for that claim.

              • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 18, @01:30AM (1 child)

                by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 18, @01:30AM (#1254126)

                I'm not sure you're going to find that easily documented anywhere as an installation SOP. Perhaps one could find it in a court case proceedings, but I doubt AT&T says "hey, when we put up a new tower, we don't turn it on for a while so that we can smoke out the bastards who will probably try to sue us later for something."

                I can tell you that was a common recommendation to amateur radio operators (from other amateur radio operators) that when they want to put up a new long wire or tower, to not hook up the transmitter for a while. It wasn't unusual back in the day that when a new antenna went up in a neighborhood for everyone thinking that their TV reception fadeouts were because of that damn guy with the radio.

                • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 18, @05:48AM

                  by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 18, @05:48AM (#1254175)

                  That way if the guy with the amateur radio is really what's causing the problem it'll be harder for people to correctly diagnose it since the problem started months after the amateur radio antenna went up.

              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 21, @03:53PM

                by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 21, @03:53PM (#1254933)

                https://mybroadband.co.za/news/wireless/11099-massive-revelation-in-iburst-tower-battle.html [mybroadband.co.za]

                Not a reference to SOP, but a fun story about nocebo effect in relation to cell towers. Complaints coming in when the tower is off...

        • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Immerman on Friday June 17, @07:04PM (10 children)

          by Immerman (3985) on Friday June 17, @07:04PM (#1254060)

          I believe there is actually some evidence that high voltage power lines do in fact cause health problems: Nothing super obvious, but there has been at least one study showing that people who've lived their lives directly under them (or similarly close to them) have a statistically anomalous reduction in life expectancy.

          Now, of course that doesn't necessarily imply a causal link - there could be some other third factor that correlates with nearby power lines that they didn't think to correct for. But it does warrant further investigation, especially since there are a number of ways in which living in a relatively strong fluctuating magnetic field could plausibly cause problems.

          As one example - there's actually an experimental (maybe approved by now) wearable non-invasive cancer-fighting contraption that generates a strong fluctuating magnetic field to successfully kill tumors without harming (much) the surrounding tissue. The principle being that cells use internal electrostatic fields to stretch out and organize the DNA during cell replication, and the fluctuating magnetic fields interfere with that process so that the resulting daughter cells usually don't survive long. Since cancer cells replicate far more frequently than normal ones, they are preferentially destroyed by the treatment. It does still harm other cells though, and when used on inoperable brain tumors the MRI does show the development of fissures within the brain unrelated to tumor shrinkage. And it can't be used on abdominal tumors as it would devastate gut cells, which replicate fairly quickly themselves.

          • (Score: 3, Funny) by Opportunist on Friday June 17, @07:58PM

            by Opportunist (5545) on Friday June 17, @07:58PM (#1254064)

            How much of that statistically lower life expectancy is due to power lines getting damaged, falling down and electrocuting them?

          • (Score: 2) by MostCynical on Friday June 17, @09:18PM (5 children)

            by MostCynical (2589) on Friday June 17, @09:18PM (#1254078) Journal

            there have also been studies showing an increased incidence of certain diseases in people who live, or have lived, under high-tension power lines... but, again, corelation is not causation.

            I didn't buy a house that had HT lines running almost across the back of the property - not because of potential health risks, but because they were just ugly!

            --
            "I guess once you start doubting, there's no end to it." -Batou, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex
            • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Friday June 17, @09:29PM (4 children)

              by JoeMerchant (3937) on Friday June 17, @09:29PM (#1254080)

              I lived basically under a big set of high tension lines (bedroom was 50' from the support tower) from age 13 through 17... and look how great I turned out!

              They would pop and crackle in certain weather conditions, but otherwise you wouldn't know they were out there.

              --
              Україна не входить до складу Росії.
              • (Score: 3, Touché) by maxwell demon on Saturday June 18, @04:44AM (2 children)

                by maxwell demon (1608) on Saturday June 18, @04:44AM (#1254154) Journal

                And there are people who were heavy smokers, lived to old age, and never got cancer. Does that mean smoking doesn't cause cancer?

                Now I do not believe that high tension lines have negative health effects, but your argument is bullshit.

                --
                The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
                • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Saturday June 18, @12:46PM (1 child)

                  by JoeMerchant (3937) on Saturday June 18, @12:46PM (#1254211)

                  >your argument is bullshit.

                  Sarcasm detector on the blink again?

                  --
                  Україна не входить до складу Росії.
              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 18, @05:27AM

                by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 18, @05:27AM (#1254165)

                Are you sure that's a good citation? :-)))

          • (Score: 3, Insightful) by JoeMerchant on Friday June 17, @09:26PM (1 child)

            by JoeMerchant (3937) on Friday June 17, @09:26PM (#1254079)

            My parents were involved in some biological effects testing work under power distribution lines in the 1960s. Results were: ambiguous, then as now. Not enough to say they cause a problem, but not clear enough to say they don't cause a problem either.

            With 8 billion humans on the planet, all the various established and newly mutated genotypes, I would not be at all surprised if some portions of the population have various sensitivities to and maladies caused by various forms of artificial EM radiation. Compound human genetic drift with the faster varying cohorts of bacteria and viruses living on/in the people, their current states of genetic expression, etc. and the variability only grows. The problem is: when a scientific study only enrolls 0.0000125% of the population, you can't really say much about sub-groups of people, you're extremely lucky if you get repeatable results in the broader population.

            --
            Україна не входить до складу Росії.
          • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 18, @05:32PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 18, @05:32PM (#1254236)

            If you are referring to the Draper study, that was debunked years ago but still gets repeated as fact. What Draper discovered is that high voltage lines are more likely to be run through poor neighbourhoods and poor people have more health problems and shorter life expectancy than wealthy people.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 18, @06:06AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 18, @06:06AM (#1254176)

          That way if their tower really is the problem it'll be harder for people to make the correlation ...

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 20, @06:13AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 20, @06:13AM (#1254532)

        From what I notice in the people who are allegedly affected by 4G and 5G, it only affects the brain-negatively in humans.

        FTFY

  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 17, @08:35PM (3 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 17, @08:35PM (#1254072)

    In ground carrying electric currents, I have seen stories of cows aligning themselves in a particular direction to minimize the differential voltage at their hooves. An unfortunate configuration in the tower power wiring could cause such an issue.

    Wonder if when they turned off the tower, they also disconnected it's connections to the ground. (Cut the power and signal lines.) If not, they may not have turned off the what is causing the issue. Seems like a relatively easy thing to measure with a meter and a couple of ground stakes.

    Perhaps there is a special market for 'Electric Milk'?

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by RS3 on Friday June 17, @08:46PM (1 child)

      by RS3 (6367) on Friday June 17, @08:46PM (#1254076)

      Excellent points. In fact, you can easily measure the current into the ground rod(s?) at the cell tower. Some may be buried and connected directly to the tower's structure, so you might not be able to measure them directly easily. But then you'd do like you said: drive some stakes (metal, preferably copper-clad rod) and measure. Really you could do 1 stake and measure from that to the tower's frame.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 18, @08:39PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 18, @08:39PM (#1254271)

        https://www.npr.org/2008/08/25/93956323/moo-north-cows-sense-earths-magnetism [npr.org]

        By analyzing the images, the team found that cows tend to face either magnetic north or south when grazing or resting.

        "Most of them actually align in a north-south direction," says Burda, and this held true regardless of where the sun was, or how the wind blew.

        While cellphone radiation isn't the same as a static magnetic field, I'm not going to assume there's no effect at all.

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by gawdonblue on Saturday June 18, @11:34PM

      by gawdonblue (412) on Saturday June 18, @11:34PM (#1254294)

      Cows stand with their backsides toward the wind.

      Don't know if there are any studies to confirm it, but it's just something you know when you sail on inland waters.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 18, @02:06PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 18, @02:06PM (#1254218)
    Could be stray voltage from the tower (poor grounding) and nothing to do with 4-G itself.

    https://www.progressivedairy.com/topics/management/stray-voltage-affects-cow-behavior-milk-production

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 18, @09:47PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 18, @09:47PM (#1254276)

    A "The Far Side-"comic?

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