Now that our narrow, twisting county road with its lovely hilltop views has been discovered and settled by cellphone addicted SUV-drivers, the remote-controlled ceiling fan in my living room stops regularly. But thankfully there are still two healthy bee-hives not far from the house. I cater to bees in the yard and they respond by allowing me to work amid clouds of them without getting all upset.
Wait! What's the connection? Bees? People driving by while talking on cellphones?
The connection is that the bees and I should worry more than we do about the signals sent out by those cellphones. The effect of cellphones on the signal-sensitive little motor of the ceiling fan can be a real nuisance. Now it turns out that it's probably cellphone signals which are killing bees all over the country at a horrendous rate.
Some scientists suggest that our love of the mobile phone could cause massive food shortages, as the world's harvests fail.
They are putting forward the theory that radiation given off by mobile phones and other hi-tech gadgets is a possible answer to one of the more bizarre mysteries ever to happen in the natural world - the abrupt disappearance of the bees that pollinate crops. Late last week, some bee-keepers claimed that the phenomenon - which started in the US, then spread to continental Europe - was beginning to hit Britain as well.
The theory is that radiation from mobile phones interferes with bees' navigation systems, preventing the famously homeloving species from finding their way back to their hives. Improbable as it may seem, there is now evidence to back this up.
Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) occurs when a hive's inhabitants suddenly disappear, leaving only queens, eggs and a few immature workers, like so many apian Mary Celestes. The vanished bees are never found, but thought to die singly far from home. The parasites, wildlife and other bees that normally raid the honey and pollen left behind when a colony dies, refuse to go anywhere near the abandoned hives.
The alarm was first sounded last autumn, but has now hit half of all American states. The West Coast is thought to have lost 60 per cent of its commercial bee population, with 70 per cent missing on the East Coast.
Can we imagine persuading those yakkety-yakkers to keep cellphone use down to a minimum? in the interest of next fall's harvest?
Don't give that much of a damn about bees?
An official Finnish study found that people who used the phones for more than 10 years were 40 per cent more likely to get a brain tumour on the same side as they held the handset. Equally alarming, blue-chip Swedish research revealed that radiation from mobile phones killed off brain cells, suggesting that today's teenagers could go senile in the prime of their lives.
Studies in India and the US have raised the possibility that men who use mobile phones heavily have reduced sperm counts. And, more prosaically, doctors have identified the condition of "text thumb", a form of RSI from constant texting.
Professor Sir William Stewart, who has headed two official inquiries, warned that children under eight should not use mobiles and made a series of safety recommendations, largely ignored...