27 Jun 2015

Inside the quiet zone

From This Way Up, 12:15 pm on 27 June 2015
Ed Cumming near Green Bank, West Virginia.

Ed Cumming near Green Bank, West Virginia. Photo: Supplied.

Green Bank is a small village in the West Virginia hills with some serious reception issues.

Located in the US National Radio Quiet Zone, it's home to some giant radio telescopes. So to avoid interference there's no cellphone coverage and no wifi; even a a faulty electric blanket can cause a major disturbance!

All this is great if you're hoping to observe the formation of stars or gravitational waves in space, but electromagnetic radiation-free life is also attracting so-called 'electro sensitives' to the area. These are people who say that exposure to things like public wifi, cordless phones, microwaves and cellphone signals is damaging their health.

Ed Cumming of the Observer Magazine has just been to visit Green Bank.

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