Tuesday, 27 April 2021

Marconi, Bees, Frequencies, Queen Victoria,1918 Flu Outbreak and subsequent Flus

 
This is an excerpt chapter from this book. Hayling Island where I live, lies immediately opposite to the Isle of Wight. This is ofcourse part of the discussion about what 5G will do, and complicated by the very real symptoms which are so similar to flu and ofcourse SARS COVID.  Covid itself is obviously real as it concerns the lab at Wuhan where Gain of function research, tampering with human foetus tissue and bat cell tissue was being carried out, when some liquid was spilt onto a worker's blouse.
Rudolph Steiner the esoteric lecturer had also come to similar conclusions as this Author.
The full book presently can be found here 




Chapter 8 -  Mystery on The Isle Of Wight
IN 1904 THE BEES began to die. From this quiet island, 23 miles long and 13 miles wide, lying off England’s southern coast, one looks across the English Channel toward the distant shores of France. In the preceding decade two men, one on each side of the Channel, one a physician and physicist, the other an inventor and entrepreneur, had occupied their minds with a newly discovered form of electricity.The work of each man had very different implications for the future of our world.

At the westernmost end of the Isle of Wight, near offshore chalk formations called The Needles, in 1897, a handsome young man named Giuglielmo Marconi erected his own “needle,” a tower as tall as a twelve-story building. It supported the antenna for what became the world’s first permanent radio station. Marconi was liberating electricity, vibrating at close to a million cycles per second, from its confining wires, and was broadcasting it freely through the air itself. He did not stop to ask if this was safe.

A few years earlier, in 1890, a well-known physician, director of the Laboratory of Biological Physics at the Collège de France in Paris, had already begun investigations bearing on the important question Marconi was not asking: how does electricity of high frequencies affect living organisms? A distinguished presence in physics as well as medicine, Jacques-Arsène d’Arsonval is remembered today for his many contributions in both fields. He devised ultrasensitive meters to measure magnetic fields, and equipment to measure heat production and respiration in animals; made improvements to the microphone and the telephone; and created a new medical specialty called darsonvalization, which is still practiced today in the nations of the former Soviet Bloc. In the West it has evolved into diathermy, which is the therapeutic use of radio waves to produce heat within the body. But darsonvalization is the use of radio waves medicinally at low power, without generating heat, to produce the kinds of effects d’Arsonval discovered in the early 1890s. 


He had first observed that electrotherapy, as then practiced, was not producing uniform results, and he wondered if this was because of lack of precision in the form of the electricity being applied. He therefore designed an induction machine capable of putting out perfectly smooth sine waves, “without jerks or teeth,”  that would not be injurious to the patient. When he tested this current on human subjects he found, as he had predicted, that at therapeutic doses it caused no pain, yet had potent physiological effects

 Jacques-Arsène d’Arsonval (1851-1940) “We have seen that with very steady sine waves, nerve and muscle are not stimulated,” he wrote. “The passage of the current nevertheless is responsible for profound modification of metabolism as shown by the consumption of a greater amount of oxygen and the production of considerably more carbon dioxide. If the shape of the wave is changed, each electrical wave will produce a muscular contraction.”  D’Arsonval had already discovered the reason, 125 years ago, why today’s digital technologies, whose waves have nothing but “jerks and teeth,” are causing so much illness.

 D’Arsonval next experimented with alternating currents of high frequency. Using a modification of the wireless apparatus devised a few years earlier by Heinrich Hertz, he exposed humans and animals to currents of 500,000 to 1,000,000 cycles per second, applied either by direct contact or indirectly by induction from a distance. They were close to the frequencies Marconi was soon going to broadcast from the Isle of Wight. In no case did the subject’s body temperature increase. But in every case his subject’s blood pressure fell significantly, without—in the case of human subjects at least—any conscious sensation. D’Arsonval measured the same changes in oxygen consumption and carbon dioxide production as with low frequency currents. These facts proved, he wrote, “that the currents of high frequency penetrate deeply into the organism.” 

 These early results should have made anyone experimenting with radio waves think twice before exposing the whole world to them indiscriminately— should have at least made them cautious. Marconi, however, was unfamiliar with d’Arsonval’s work. Largely self-educated, the inventor had no inkling of radio’s potential dangers and no fear of it. Therefore when he powered up his new transmitter on the island he had no suspicion that he might be doing himself or anyone else any harm.

 If radio waves are dangerous, Marconi, of all people in the world, should have suffered from them. Let us see if he did.

 As early as 1896, after a year and a half of experimenting with radio equipment in his father’s attic, the previously healthy 22-year-old youth began running high temperatures which he attributed to stress. These fevers were to recur for the rest of his life. By 1900 his doctors were speculating that perhaps he had unknowingly had rheumatic fever as a child. By 1904 his bouts of chills and fevers had become so severe that it was thought they were recurrences of malaria. At that time he was occupied with building a permanent super-highpower radio link across the Atlantic Ocean between Cornwall, England and Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. Because he thought that longer distances required longer waves, he suspended tremendous wire net aerials, occupying acres of land, from multiple towers hundreds of feet tall on both sides of the ocean. 

On March 16, 1905, Marconi married Beatrice O’Brien. In May, after their honeymoon, he took her to live in the station house at Port Morien on Cape Breton, surrounded by twenty-eight huge radio towers in three concentric circles. Looming over the house, two hundred antenna wires stretched out from a center pole like the spokes of a great umbrella more than one mile in circumference. As soon as Beatrice settled in, her ears began to ring. From: W. J. Baker, A History of the Marconi Company, St. Martin’s Press, N.Y., 1971 

After three months there she was ill with severe jaundice. When Marconi took her back to England it was to live underneath the other monster aerial, at Poldhu Bay in Cornwall. She was pregnant all this time, and although she moved to London before giving birth, her child had spent most of its nine months of fetal life bombarded with powerful radio waves and lived only a few weeks, dying of “unknown causes.” At about the same time Marconi himself collapsed completely, spending much of February through May of 1906 feverish and delirious. 

Between 1918 and 1921, while engaged in designing short wave equipment, Marconi suffered from bouts of suicidal depression. In 1927, during the honeymoon he took with his second wife Maria Cristina, he collapsed with chest pains and was diagnosed with a severe heart condition. Between 1934 and 1937, while helping to develop microwave technology, he suffered as many as nine heart attacks, the final one fatal at age 63.

 Bystanders sometimes tried to warn him. Even at his first public demonstration on Salisbury Plain in 1896, there were spectators who later sent him letters describing various nerve sensations they had experienced. His daughter Degna, reading them much later while doing research for the biography of her father, was particular taken by one letter, from a woman “who wrote that his waves made her feet tickle.” Degna wrote that her father received letters of this sort frequently. When, in 1899, he built the first French station in the coastal town of Wimereux, one man who lived close by “burst in with a revolver,” claiming that the waves were causing him sharp internal pains. Marconi dismissed all such reports as fantasy. 

In what may have been an even more ominous warning, Queen Victoria of England, in residence at Osborne House, her estate at the north end of the Isle of Wight, suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and died on the evening of January 22, 1901, just as Marconi was firing up a new, more powerful transmitter twelve miles away. He was hoping to communicate with Poldhu the next day, 300 kilometers distant, twice as far as any previously recorded radio broadcast, and he did. On January 23 he sent a telegram to his cousin Henry Jameson Davis, saying “Completely successful. Keep information private. Signed William.” And then there were the bees. 

In 1901, there were already two Marconi stations on the Isle of Wight— Marconi’s original station, which had been moved to Niton at the south end of the island next to St. Catherine’s Lighthouse, and the Culver Signal Station run by the Coast Guard at the east end on Culver Down. By 1904, two more had been added. According to an article published in that year by Eugene P. Lyle in World’s Work magazine, four Marconi stations were now operating on the small island, communicating with a steadily growing number of naval and commercial ships of many nations, steaming through the Channel, that were equipped with similar apparatus. It was the greatest concentration of radio signals in the world at that time. 

In 1906, the Lloyd’s Signal Station, half a mile east of St. Catherine’s Lighthouse, also acquired wireless equipment. At this point the bee situation became so severe that the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries called in biologist Augustus Imms of Christ’s College, Cambridge, to investigate. Ninety percent of the honey bees had disappeared from the entire island for no apparent reason. The hives all had plenty of honey. But the bees could not even fly. “They are often to be seen crawling up grass stems, or up the supports of the hive, where they remain until they fall back to the earth from sheer weakness, and soon afterwards die,” he wrote. Swarms of healthy bees were imported from the mainland, but it was of no use: within a week the fresh bees were dying off by the thousands.

 In coming years “Isle of Wight disease” spread like a plague throughout Great Britain and into the rest of the world, severe losses of bees being reported in parts of Australia, Canada, the United States, and South Africa. 4 The disease was also reported in Italy, Brazil, France, Switzerland, and Germany. Although for years one or another parasitic mite was blamed, British bee pathologist Leslie Bailey disproved those theories in the 1950s and came to regard the disease itself as a sort of myth. Obviously bees had died, he said, but not from anything contagious. 

Over time, Isle of Wight disease took fewer and fewer bee lives as the insects seemed to adapt to whatever had changed in their environment. Places that had been attacked first recovered first. 

Then, in 1917, just as the bees on the Isle of Wight itself appeared to be regaining their former vitality, an event occurred that changed the electrical environment of the rest of the world. Millions of dollars of United States government money were suddenly mobilized in a crash program to equip the Army, Navy, and Air Force with the most modern communication capability possible. The entry of the United States into the Great War on April 6, 1917, stimulated an expansion of radio broadcasting that was as sudden and rapid as the 1889 expansion of electricity. 

Again it was the bees that gave the first warning. “Mr. Charles Schilke of Morganville, Monmouth County, a beekeeper with considerable experience operating about 300 colonies reported a great loss of bees from the hives in one of his yards located near Bradevelt,” read one report, published in August 1918. 5 “Thousands of dead were lying and thousands of dying bees were crawling about in the vicinity of the hive, collecting in groups on bits of wood, on stones and in depressions in the earth. The affected bees appeared to be practically all young adult workers about the age when they would normally do the first field work, but all ages of older bees were found. No abnormal condition within the hive was noticed at this time.” 

This outbreak was confined to Morganville, Freehold, Milhurst, and nearby areas of New Jersey, just a few miles seaward from one of the most powerful radio stations on the planet, the one in New Brunswick that had just been taken over by the government for service in the war. A 50,000-watt Alexanderson alternator had been installed in February of that year to supplement a less efficient 350,000-watt spark apparatus. Both provided power to a mile-long aerial consisting of 32 parallel wires supported by 12 steel towers 400 feet tall, broadcasting military communications across the ocean to the command in Europe. 

Radio came of age during the First World War. For long distance communications there were no satellites, and no shortwave equipment. Vacuum tubes had not yet been perfected. Transistors were decades into the future. It was the era of immense radio waves, inefficient aerials the size of small mountains, and spark gap transmitters that scattered radiation like buckshot all over the radio spectrum to interfere with everyone else’s signals. Oceans were crossed by brute force, three hundred thousand watts of electricity being supplied to those mountains to achieve a radiated power of perhaps thirty thousand. The rest was wasted as heat. Morse code could be sent but not voice. Reception was sporadic, unreliable. 

Few of the great powers had had a chance to establish overseas communication with their colonies before war intervened in 1914. The United Kingdom had two ultra-powerful stations at home, but no radio links with a colony. The first such link was still under construction near Cairo. France had one powerful station at the Eiffel Tower, and another at Lyon, but no links with any of its overseas colonies. Belgium had a powerful station in the Congo State, but blew up its home station at Brussels after war broke out. Italy had one powerful station in Eritrea, and Portugal had one in Mozambique and one in Angola. Norway had one ultrapotent transmitter, Japan one, and Russia one. Only Germany had made much progress in building an Imperial Chain, but within months after the declaration of war, all of its overseas stations—at Togo, Dar-es-Salaam, Yap, Samoa, Nauru, New Pomerania, Cameroon, Kiautschou, and German East Africa—were destroyed. 

 Radio, in short, was in its faltering infancy, still crawling, its attempts to walk hindered by the onset of the European War. During 1915 and 1916, the United Kingdom made progress in installing thirteen long-range stations in various parts of the world in order to keep in contact with its navy. 

When the United States entered the war in 1917, it changed the terrain in a hurry. The United States Navy already had one giant transmitter at Arlington, Virginia and a second at Darien, in the Canal Zone. A third, in San Diego, began broadcasting in May 1917, a fourth, at Pearl Harbor, on October 1 of that year, and a fifth, at Cavite, the Philippines, on December 19. The Navy also took over and upgraded private and foreign-owned stations at Lents, Oregon; South San Francisco, California; Bolinas, California; Kahuku, Hawaii; Heeia Point, Hawaii; Sayville, Long Island; Tuckerton, New Jersey; and New Brunswick, New Jersey. By late 1917, thirteen American stations were sending messages across two oceans.

Fifty more medium and high powered radio stations ringed the United States and its possessions for communication with ships. To equip its ships the Navy manufactured and deployed over ten thousand low, medium, and high powered transmitters. By early 1918, the Navy was graduating over four hundred students per week from its radio operating courses. In the short course of a year, between April 6, 1917 and early 1918, the Navy built and was operating the world’s largest radio network.

America’s transmitters were far more efficient than most of those built previously. When a 30-kilowatt Poulson arc was installed at Arlington in 1913, it was found to be so much superior to the 100-kilowatt spark apparatus there that the Navy adopted the arc as its preferred equipment and ordered sets with higher and higher ratings. A 100-kilowatt arc was installed at Darien, a 200-kilowatt arc in San Diego, 350-kilowatt arcs at Pearl Harbor and Cavite. In 1917, 30-kilowatt arcs were being installed on Navy ships, outclassing the transmitters on most ships of other nations. 

Still, the arc was basically only a spark gap with electricity flowing across it continuously instead of in bursts. It still sprayed the airway with unwanted harmonics, transmitted voices poorly, and was not reliable enough for continuous day and night communication. So the Navy tried out its first highspeed alternator, the one it inherited at New Brunswick. Alternators did not have spark gaps at all. Like fine musical instruments, they produced pure continuous waves that could be sharply tuned, and modulated for crystal clear voice or telegraphic communication. Ernst Alexanderson, who designed them, also designed an antenna to go with them that increased radiation efficiency sevenfold. When tested against the 350-kilowatt timed spark at the same station, the 50-kilowatt alternator proved to have a bigger range.  So in February 1918, the Navy began to rely on the alternator to handle continuous communications with Italy and France. 

In July 1918, another 200-kilowatt arc was added to the system the Navy had taken over at Sayville. In September 1918, a 500-kilowatt arc went on the air at a new naval station at Annapolis, Maryland. Meanwhile the Navy had ordered a second, more powerful alternator for New Brunswick, of 200-kilowatt capacity. Installed in June, it too went on the air full time in September. New Brunswick immediately became the most powerful station in the world, outclassing Germany’s flagship station at Nauen, and was the first that transmitted both voice and telegraphic messages across the Atlantic Ocean clearly, continuously, and reliably. Its signal was heard over a large part of the earth. 

The disease that was called Spanish influenza was born during these months. It did not originate in Spain. It did, however, kill tens of millions all over the world, and it became suddenly more fatal in September of 1918. By some estimates the pandemic struck more than half a billion people, or a third of the world’s population. Even the Black Death of the fourteenth century did not kill so many in so short a period of time. No wonder everyone is terrified of its return.

A few years ago researchers dug up four bodies in Alaska that had lain frozen in the permafrost since 1918 and were able to identify RNA from an influenza virus in the lung tissue of one of them. This was the monster germ that was supposed to have felled so many in the prime of their lives, the microbe that so resembles a virus of pigs, against whose return we are to exercise eternal vigilance, lest it decimate the world again. But there is no evidence that the disease of 1918 was contagious. 

The Spanish influenza apparently originated in the United States in early 1918, seemed to spread around the world on Navy ships, and first appeared on board those ships and in seaports and Naval stations. The largest early outbreak, laying low about 400 people, occurred in February in the Naval Radio School at Cambridge, Massachusetts. 8 In March, influenza spread to Army camps where the Signal Corps was being trained in the use of the wireless: 1,127 men contracted influenza in Camp Funston, in Kansas, and 2,900 men in the Oglethorpe camps in Georgia. In late March and April, the disease spread to the civilian population, and around the world. 

Mild at first, the epidemic exploded with death in September, everywhere in the world at once. Waves of mortality traveled with astonishing speed over the global ocean of humanity, again and again until their force was finally spent three years later. 

Its victims were often sick repeatedly for months at a time. One of the things that puzzled doctors the most was all of the bleeding. Ten to fifteen percent of flu patients seen in private practice, 9 and up to forty percent of flu patients in the Navy 10 suffered from nosebleeds, doctors sometimes describing the blood as “gushing” from the nostrils. 11 Others bled from their gums, ears, skin, stomach, intestines, uterus, or kidneys, the most common and rapid route to death being hemorrhage in the lungs: flu victims drowned in their own blood. Autopsies revealed that as many as one-third of fatal cases had also hemorrhaged into their brain, 12 and occasionally a patient appeared to be recovering from respiratory symptoms only to die of a brain hemorrhage. 

“The regularity with which these various hemorrhages appeared suggested the possibility of there being a change in the blood itself,” wrote Drs. Arthur Erskine and B. L. Knight of Cedar Rapids, Iowa in late 1918. So they tested the blood from a large number of patients with influenza and pneumonia. “In every case tested without a single exception,” they wrote, “the coagulability of the blood was lessened, the increase in time required for coagulation varying from two and one-half to eight minutes more than normal. Blood was tested as early as the second day of infection, and as late as the twentieth day of convalescence from pneumonia, with the same results… Several local physicians also tested blood from their patients, and, while our records are at this time necessarily incomplete, we have yet to receive a report of a case in which the time of coagulation was not prolonged.” 

This is consistent not with any respiratory virus, but with what has been known about electricity ever since Gerhard did the first experiment on human blood in 1779. It is consistent with what is known about the effects of radio waves on blood coagulation. 13 Erskine and Knight saved their patients not by fighting infection, but by giving them large doses of calcium lactate to facilitate blood clotting. 

Another astonishing fact that makes no sense if this pandemic was infectious, but that makes good sense if it was caused by radio waves, is that instead of striking down the old and the infirm like most diseases, this one killed mostly healthy, vigorous young people between the ages of eighteen and forty—just as the previous pandemic had done, with a little less vehemence, in 1889. This, as we saw in chapter 5, is the same as the predominant age range for neurasthenia, the chronic form of electrical illness. Two-thirds of all influenza deaths were in this age range.  Elderly patients were rare.  One doctor in Switzerland wrote that he “knew of no case in an infant and no severe case in persons over 50,” but that “one robust person showed the first symptoms at 4 p.m. and died before 10 the next morning.”  A reporter in Paris went so far as to say that “only persons between 15 and 40 years of age are affected.” 

The prognosis was better if you were in poor physical condition. If you were undernourished, physically handicapped, anemic, or tuberculous, you were much less likely to get the flu and much less likely to die from it if you did. 18 This was such a common observation that Dr. D. B. Armstrong wrote a provocative article, published in the Boston Medical and Surgical Journal, titled “Influenza: Is it a Hazard to Be Healthy?” Doctors were seriously discussing whether they were actually giving their patients a death sentence by advising them to keep fit! 

The flu was reported to be even more fatal for pregnant women. A further peculiarity that had doctors scratching their heads was that in most cases, after the patients’ temperature had returned to normal, their pulse rate fell below 60 and remained there for a number of days. In more serious cases the pulse rate fell to between 36 and 48, an indication of heart block.  This too is puzzling for a respiratory virus, but will make sense when we learn about radio wave sickness.

Patients also regularly lost some of their hair two to three months after recovering from the flu. According to Samuel Ayres, a dermatologist at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, this was an almost daily occurrence, most of these patients being young women. This is not an expected after-effect of respiratory viruses either, but hair loss has been widely reported from exposure to radio waves.  

Yet another puzzling observation was that so few patients in 1918 had sore throats, runny noses, or other initial respiratory symptoms.  But neurological symptoms, just as in the pandemic of 1889, were rampant, even in mild cases. They ranged from insomnia, stupor, dulled perceptions, unusually heightened perceptions, tingling, itching, and impairment of hearing to weakness or partial paralysis of the palate, eyelids, eyes, and various other muscles.  The famous Karl Menninger reported on 100 cases of psychosis triggered by influenza, including 35 of schizophrenia, that he saw during a three-month period. 

 Although the infectious nature of this illness was widely assumed, masks, quarantines, and isolation were all without effect.  Even in an isolated country like Iceland the flu spread universally, in spite of the quarantining of its victims.  

The disease seemed to spread impossibly fast. “There is no reason to suppose that it traveled more rapidly than persons could travel [but] it has appeared to do so,” wrote Dr. George A. Soper, Major in the United States Army.  

But most revealing of all were the various heroic attempts to prove the infectious nature of this disease, using volunteers. All these attempts, made in November and December 1918 and in February and March 1919, failed. One medical team in Boston, working for the United States Public Health Service, tried to infect one hundred healthy volunteers between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five. Their efforts were impressive and make entertaining reading: 

“We collected the material and mucous secretions of the mouth and nose and throat and bronchi from cases of the disease and transferred this to our volunteers. We always obtained this material in the same way. The patient with fever, in bed, had a large, shallow, traylike arrangement before him or her, and we washed out one nostril with some sterile salt solutions, using perhaps 5 c.c., which is allowed to run into the tray; and that nostril is blown vigorously into the tray. This is repeated with the other nostril. The patient then gargles with some of the solution. Next we obtain some bronchial mucus through coughing, and then we swab the mucous surface of each nares and also the mucous surface of the throat… Each one of the volunteers… received 6 c.c. of the mixed stuff that I have described. They received it into each nostril; received it in the throat, and on the eye; and when you think that 6 c.c. in all was used, you will understand that some of it was swallowed. None of them took sick.” 

In a further experiment with new volunteers and donors, the salt solution was eliminated, and with cotton swabs, the material was transferred directly from nose to nose and from throat to throat, using donors in the first, second, or third day of the disease. “None of these volunteers who received the material thus directly transferred from cases took sick in any way… All of the volunteers received at least two, and some of them three ‘shots’ as they expressed it.” 

In a further experiment 20 c.c. of blood from each of five sick donors were mixed and injected into each volunteer. “None of them took sick in any way.” “Then we collected a lot of mucous material from the upper respiratory tract, and filtered it through Mandler filters. This filtrate was injected into ten volunteers, each one receiving 3.5 c.c. subcutaneously, and none of these took sick in any way.” 

Then a further attempt was made to transfer the disease “in the natural way,” using fresh volunteers and donors: “The volunteer was led up to the bedside of the patient; he was introduced. He sat down alongside the bed of the patients. They shook hands, and by instructions, he got as close as he conveniently could, and they talked for five minutes. At the end of the five minutes, the patient breathed out as hard as he could, while the volunteer, muzzle to muzzle (in accordance with his instructions, about 2 inches between the two), received this expired breath, and at the same time was breathing in as the patient breathed out… After they had done this for five times, the patient coughed directly into the face of the volunteer, face to face, five different times… [Then] he moved to the next patient whom we had selected, and repeated this, and so on, until this volunteer had had that sort of contact with ten different cases of influenza, in different stages of the disease, mostly fresh cases, none of them more than three days old… None of them took sick in any way.” 

“We entered the outbreak with a notion that we knew the cause of the disease, and were quite sure we knew how it was transmitted from person to person. Perhaps,” concluded Dr. Milton Rosenau, “if we have learned anything, it is that we are not quite sure what we know about the disease.” 

Earlier attempts to demonstrate contagion in horses had met with the same resounding failure. Healthy horses were kept in close contact with sick ones during all stages of the disease. Nose bags were kept on horses that had nasal discharges and high temperatures. Those nose bags were used to contain food for other horses which, however, stubbornly remained healthy. As a result of these and other attempts, Lieutenant Colonel Herbert Watkins-Pitchford of the British Army Veterinary Corps wrote in July 1917 that he could find no evidence that influenza was ever spread directly from one horse to another. 

The other two influenza pandemics of the twentieth century, in 1957 and 1968, were also associated with milestones of electrical technology, pioneered once again by the United States. 

Radar, first used extensively during World War II, was deployed on a spectacular scale by the United States during the mid-1950s, as it sought to surround itself with a triple layer of protection that would detect any nuclear attack. The first and smallest barrier was the 39 stations of the Pinetree Line, which kept vigil from coast to coast across southern Canada and from Nova Scotia northward to Baffin Island. This line, completed in 1954, was the roots, as it were, for a huge tree of surveillance that grew between 1956 and 1958, whose branches spread across mid- and high-latitude Canada, sent shoots into Alaska, and drooped down over the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans to guard the United States on east, west, and north. When it was complete hundreds of radar domes, resembling golf balls the size of buildings, littered the Canadian landscape from ocean to ocean, and from the American border to the Arctic. 

The Mid-Canada Line, extending 2,700 miles from Hopedale, Labrador to Dawson Creek, British Columbia, consisted of 98 powerful Doppler radars 30 miles apart and roughly 300 miles north of the Pinetree Line. Construction of the first station began on October 1, 1956, and the completed system was dedicated on January 1, 1958. 

The 58 stations of the Distant Early Warning or DEW Line kept their frozen watch roughly along the 69th parallel, 200 miles north of the Arctic Circle, in a chain extending from Baffin Island to the Northwest Territories and across Alaska. Each main site, of which there were 33, had two pulsed transmitters, one controlling a pencil beam for long-range precision tracking, the other a wider beam for general surveillance. Each beam had a peak power of 500 kilowatts, so that each site had a maximum peak capacity of one million watts. The frequency was between 1220 and 1350 MHz. The other twenty-five “gap-filler” stations had continuous wave Dopplers rated at 1 kilowatt and operated at 500 MHz. Construction began in 1955 and the completed system was dedicated on July 31, 1957. 

The DEW Line extended down into the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans in lines of Navy ships—four in the Atlantic and five in the Pacific—supplemented by fleets of Lockheed aircraft that cruised in twelve- to fourteen-hour shifts at 3,000 to 6,000 feet in altitude. The radar-bearing ships and planes of the Atlantic Barrier were based in Maryland and Newfoundland and patrolled the waters out to the Azores. Atlantic operations began testing on July 1, 1956, and were fully deployed one year later. The Pacific Barrier, based in Hawaii and Midway, scanned the ocean off western North America and patrolled roughly from Midway to Kodiak Island. Its first two ships were assigned to Pearl Harbor in 1956, and the Barrier became fully operational on July 1, 1958. In addition, three “Texas Towers,” equipped with long-range radars, were placed about 100 miles off the Atlantic coast and affixed to the ocean floor. The first, 110 miles east of Cape Cod, began operation in December 1955, while the third, 84 miles southeast of New York Harbor, was activated in early summer 1957.

Finally, every one of the 195 initial radar sites blanketing Canadian skies had to be able to send surveillance data from mostly very remote locations, and so high power radio transmitters were added to each site, typically operating in the microwave spectrum between 600 and 1000 MHz, with broadcast powers of up to 40 kilowatts. These used a technology called “tropospheric scatter.” Huge antennas the shape of curved billboards aimed their signals above the distant horizon so as to bounce them off particles in the lower atmosphere six miles above the earth, and thereby reach a receiver hundreds of miles away.

Another complete network of such antennas, called the White Alice Communications System, was installed throughout Alaska at the same time. The first ones were put into service on November 12, 1956, and the complete system was dedicated on March 26, 1958. 

The “Asian” influenza pandemic began about the end of February 1957 and lasted for more than a year. The bulk of the mortality occurred in the fall and winter of 1957-1958. 

A decade later the United States launched the world’s first constellation of military satellites into orbit at an altitude of about 18,000 nautical miles, right in the heart of the outer Van Allen radiation belt. Called the Initial Defense Communication Satellite Program (IDCSP), its 28 satellites became operational after the last eight were launched on June 13, 1968. The “Hong Kong” flu pandemic began in July 1968 and lasted until March 1970. Although there had already been a few satellites in space, they had all been launched one at a time during the 1960s, and at the beginning of 1968 there had been a total of only 13 operating satellites orbiting above the earth. In one fell swoop the IDCSP not only more than tripled the number, but placed them in the middle of the most vulnerable layer of the earth’s magnetosphere. 

In each case—in 1889, 1918, 1957, and 1968—the electrical envelope of the earth, which will be described in the next chapter, and to which we are all attached by invisible strings, was suddenly and profoundly disturbed. Those for whom this attachment was strongest, whose roots were most vital, whose life’s rhythms were tuned most closely to the accustomed pulsations of our planet—in other words, vigorous, healthy young adults, and pregnant women—those were the individuals who most suffered and died. Like an orchestra whose conductor has suddenly gone mad, their organs, their living instruments, no longer knew how to play.

END OF CHAPTER

No comments: