Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Living in a wired world

As the world moves towards wireless connectivity, we still cannot wish away wires in our midst.

Cellphone towers are said to be a major cause for the vanishing sparrows from our urban landscape. In Bangalore, the only place where I find sparrows – or rather, used to find – was the airport. Nowadays, that population is also reducing – not sure if it is just that they are not able to enter the main airport food court area or have moved out of the area..

While in school and college, one of my hobbies was listening to shotwave radio. In order to improve reception of far off and weal stations, I had created a mesh of wires on the terrace – different shapes, orientations etc, in the hope that the signals would be received clearly. The hobby was called DXing or SWLing.

Then we started going miniature and wireless. Transistor radios, walkman etc still needed some chords for power or the headphones.

Then came the bluetooth headsets and connections to car audio or the music system, so that we can stream media across the room.

Even with all the planning, I recently noticed that we cannot avoid wires! Our building, though 15+ years old, had planned to have concealed wiring from the basement to all individual flats.

Not only the power lines, with backup generator, but also wires for cable TV and phone lines were all laid out and termination points created in the basement.

But then, with multiple phone and internet service providers and most of them either not understanding the wiring already done or just not wanting to take the extra effort to draw wired through existing conduits.

I was a little surprised to note the other day that there were more than a dozen wires hanging exposed in one section of the building.

I am sure that there would be at lease a dozen more elsewhere..

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Talking of wires laid indiscriminnately, I see that many contractors laying conduits / cables for the optical fibres in the storm water drains. That only clogs and also acts as mini dams for other debris thrown in the drains..

The question is: even wuth all this, are wires less harmful for the environment?

Maybe we will see the sparrows back, if we reduced the wireless radiations and move to a more wired world..

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