Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Rabbit Ears

OK, I think the search is over. I’ve located the most proudly stupid and ignorant magazine article ever to appear in the Mainstream Media – Fox News excepted, of course. The February 19th issue of Newsweek contains an article called Prick up your Rabbit Ears.

Whoever Johnnie L. Roberts might be, his education in communications technology began and ended on February 19th, 2007 the day after he was born. Although the photo contains a skyline filled with UHF Yagi’s, log periodics and folded dipoles along with an inset of a UHF planar satellite receiving antenna, the only thing the young Mr. Roberts remembers from his 12 second introduction to antenna design is the word “rabbit ears” a nickname of course for the VHF dipole that commonly used to be built into or added on to televisions that weren’t connected to one of the various kinds of outdoor antennae. When UHF stations become common, many were equipped with bowties or loops for off-the-air reception of the new frequencies.

From this he concludes that the concept of an antenna is an “anachronism” although of course with the proliferation of wireless devices, there are more of them per square meter than ever before in history and thousands and thousands of radio and television stations are broadcasting gigawatts worth of programming 24/7. Satellite radio, satellite TV, wireless networks, cordless phones, bluetooth devices, cellphone systems, microwave telephone systems and garage door openers use antennas. My car includes 5 kinds of antenna, our new digital camera has one as does my microwave oven. Even cable TV systems receive the signals they put on cable with antennas of course. It's hard to understand the ignorance behind thinking that all these giant parabolics are “rabbit ears,” and like the ones NASA uses to communicate with spacecraft, and radio astronomers use to listen to the universe are all obsolete and anachronistic in the age of cable. What an idiot!

But antennas are things used “before the age of cable” says he; an age which of course, began in the mid 19th century, nor has cable made satellite systems with their various sophisticated antennae obsolete – quite the opposite, if you ask me. Nearly everything we do today in the way of communications depends on various antennae designs for different parts of the spectrum and their various uses. But it gets worse; Roberts goes on to tell us that “rabbit ears” have a greater bandwidth than a coaxial cable, which is appalling nonsense -- and this is because digital signals are “plump.”

Why do I get exercised about idiotic misinformation like this? Because whenever there is an article that I know something about, it’s obviously wrong and sometimes so misinformed and erroneous as to be scandalous. What else are they telling us that’s wrong -- maybe everything?

1 comment:

Intellectual Insurgent said...

So true. Every lawsuit I have ever worked on that got press was presented in the media as something that was so divorced from reality, I couldn't believe it was the same thing.

Most news is b.s. It's there to entertain, kinda like a fictional movie that has some facts thrown in. Notice how people were so willing to go ga ga over DaVinci Code. Same ga ga over the nonsense that the media feed them about Iran, Iraq or whatever flavor of the month scares people.