Russian Lightning-Strike Deaths Blamed On Cellphones
Cellphones have been blamed for everything from killing honey bees to frazzling our neurons with their deadly electromagnetic radiation. And, with the increasing penetration of mobile phone in all parts of the world, it's not hard to draw casual correlations between cellphone use and all manner of deadly diseases and fatal events. But, there's a critical distinction between a correlation and causation - just because Little Bo Peep was eating curds and whey when she was attacked by that infamous spider does not mean those curds caused the spider-clash.
Still, some scientists in Russia haven't let the correlative vs. causative argument stop them from jumping to the conclusion that over a dozen recent-deaths due to lightning strikes were caused by cellphones.
The past two weeks has seen more than a dozen Russians struck down by searing bolts of sky-bound electricity, with the most recent death happening just last week. Reports indicate that at least some of these people were using cellphones or portable music players when they were hit by lightning - leading some to believe that the electromagnetic fields surrounding these gadgets are directly causing the lighting strikes.
Leonid Tarkov of the weather observation center FOBOS believes that electronics are the cause of these increased lightning strikes. "These things are electromagnetic field carriers," said Tarkov. "That makes them, in essence, conductors. Thunderbolts are frequently attracted to such things, and hits are often connected with a lethal outcome."
Fortunately, most in the scientific community realize that cellphones are most likely not the direct cause of lightning strikes. The weak electromagnetic fields generated by portable electronics are not powerful enough to guide or attract massively charged lightning bolts, and most scientists reject the idea that a mobile phone's electromagnetism can attract a lightning strike. But, they do acknowledge that any metallic objects could make lightning strikes more likely.
What else are they going to come up with? Nokia must really be running out of ideas for features to pack into mobile phones. In what must be more marketing than practicality, the handset manufacturer has started development on software that will allow their handsets to warn the user of incoming lightning. We can't imagine that the system is designed to warn of an impending direct-hit, but rather that there will be lightning activity in the vicinity of the user. The patent application with the USPTO outlines plans for software that would detect the radio signal given off by lightning (typically in the 5Ghz to 10Ghz range). Joggers, golfers, and anyone else looking to avoid lightning strikes will be able to use their handset's built-in radio receiver to detect these frequencies and warn them accordinglyMobile phones study links use to cancer - again
Here we go again. Yet another study finds that there may be a link between cell phone radiation and brain cancer. A new study, published by The Daily Mail, claims that as little as 10 minutes of exposure to radiation from your mobile phone can cause chemical changes in brain cells that can lead to cancer.
Researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel have observed that short-term exposure to low-level mobile phone radiation (at 875Mhz - similar to wireless network frequencies) can trigger a chemical switch within the human and rat cells that controls how the cell divides. Until now, the effect of radiation on the brain has been considered from a thermal standpoint - does it heat the brain enough to cause damage? But this new study concentrates on the chemical triggers that have been linked to other cancers and represents a new "non-thermal" link to cancer.
Dr. Simon Arthur, a health expert at Dundee University, said the effect was 'unlikely to cause cancer." Still, anything that messes with the way a cell divides is worrisome to us - afterall, cancer results from uncontrolled cell division/growth.
Pick up a headset, Bluetooth or wired, and use it as much as possible. It may not turn out to cause cancer, but what if it does? Better safe than sorry - really, really sorry.
iPhone is dangerous to your brain?
Right. The iPhone could be dangerous to your brain. But then, so could any other mobile phone. And, the complete opposite could be true - we just don't have any conclusive data one way or the other. That being said, The Register is reporting that replacement battery firm Exradia has called Apple out for ignoring "potential health issue[s]" with the iPhone. As we all know by now, the iPhone's battery is sealed inside the handset and isn't (easily) user replaceable. And, Exradia just launched a new line of mobile phone batteries with an integrated circuit that keeps your phone's wireless radiation from wreaking havoc on your brain/DNA.
It looks like Exradia's just playing up the potential danger of the radiation emitted by the iPhone to help sell a few extra batteries with integrated RF-absorbing juju. If you want to play it safe, just use a headset.
Battery firm: iPhone could melt your brain
If only it had a removable battery
Exradia has launched a range of replacement batteries for popular models of mobile phones which incorporate its special magic circuit to interfere with the bad RF coming from your handset, but iPhone users, with their non-replaceable battery, will just have to suffer.
According to the release Exradia are "...surprised Apple has chosen to ignore this potential health issue", though the company admits there's no evidence that mobile phones cause problems that's no reason not to make a buck preventing those very problems.
No study can ever demonstrate that mobile phones don't damage human cells, or make peoples' heads explode, or cause their legs to drop off, we can only assert that in the majority of cases these things don't happen and play the odds the way we do every day watching TV, having a shower or using a computer: none of which has ever been demonstrated to be safe.
Last time we talked about Extradia we suggested that companies might be interested in the technology in order to demonstrate they had made an effort, but as the Extradia circuit interferes with low frequencies, while handsets churn out masses of high-frequencies, it seems unlikely any judge is going to accept such reasoning should a case come to trial.
But if you think your mobile phone is melting your DNA, and you think it's the low frequencies doing it, then you are welcome to spend 25 quid on a replacement battery from Exradia, unless you've got an iPhone - obviously. ®
Mobile phone use makes you retarded - but more focused
That's it. How many mobile phone studies are we going to have to read about? Seriously, our mobile phones are starting to scare the beejeebus out of us. The latest study indicates that prolonged mobile phone use can lead to "slowed brain function," but will also interestingly lead to "better focused attention."
The study, published in the International Journal of Neuroscience, was conducted using 300 people - 100 were 'frequent mobile phone users', 100 'non-mobile phone users' and an 'intermediate group' of 100 people. Researchers from Brainclinics Diagnostics and the Radboud University department of Biological Psychology measured differences in brain activity (measured using QEEG or quantative EEG), neuropsychological functions (like attention, memory and executive function) and personality traits.
Apparently, frequent mobile phone users were shown to have slower brain function that could not be explained by differences in personality and focused attention.
More troubling, the study seemed to indicate that the results could become more pronounced with even longer-term mobile phone use. The average mobile phone user had only used their phones for about 2.4 years - people that have had their mobile phone pasted to the side of their heads for a longer period may exhibit more serious slowing of brain function. But at least you get better focused attention, right?
Get yourself a wireless or wired headset, will ya?
Indian state bans mobile phones for teenagers 16 and younger
For the love of everything teenie-bopper and annoying, why would anyone even think of taking away a teenager's mobile phone? Well, aside from silencing the incessant yapping and monthly-bill-destroying SMS text messaging, it seems that government officials of Karnataka, India have deemed ""prolonged use of [handsets] by teenagers" dangerous to their health.
The Indian state has outlawed the use and even sale of mobile phones by teenagers 16 years of age and younger. Apparently, there are some medical experts that think mobile phones could somehow adversely affect a growing kids (brain) development. What could make them think such a thing?
[Via: Engadget Mobile]
Image from BBC
Using a mobile phone while driving as dangerous as being drunk
According to a new Carnegie Mellon University's study which was published in the latest issue of the Brain Research journal, using a mobile phone while driving could be as dangerous as being under the influence of alcohol. In fact, researchers found that drivers under the influence of alcohol and those speaking on cell phones tend to commit the same errors.
With help of brain imaging, the study documented how mobile phone use alone reduces 37% of brain activity engaged in driving. This was proved in a simulator where drivers with mobile phones zigzaged out of their lanes like they were drunk.
Now the horribly part — Bluetooth headsets don't help! Distractions can be so big that even car-kits don't work. No wait a minute, Bluetooth headsets work just fine for me and I must say I don't see any changes in my driving. Hopefully government authorities won't read this.
Mobile phones may not cause cancer but may cause hearing loss
We're used to mobile phone researchers trying to tell us that extended phone use will (or will not) lead to cancer this and cancer that (and even the death of bee colonies), but the newest research study investigates whether extended mobile phone use will lead to hearing loss. The study, conducted by India's Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), is claiming that people who use mobile phone more than 30 minutes a day are at increased risk of developing hearing loss.
Principal investigator, Dr. Naresh Panda, said that "This hearing loss was more in the dominant ear (ear of use). Presence of fullness in the ears, ear warmth, strange noises in the ear are warning signals which should not be ignored." The hearing loss is especially pronounced in the higher frequencies.
But, the study only tracked 100 mobile phone users ranging from 18-45 years old. Dr Panda stresses that the study results are preliminary and more research needs to be done before we can consider these findings significant
Mobile phones cause dangerous interference in hospital equipment?
Ok, we knew mobile could possibly be responsible for killing bees. They could be linked to cancer. Now it looks like mobile phones could interfere with a hospital's critical care equipment - external pacemakers, syringe pumps, etc.
Researchers from the University of Amsterdam researchers recorded nearly 50 incidents where mobile phones were used in close proximity to such sensitive equipment. They determined that mobile phones should not be brought within one meter of these devices - and found that "critical care equipment is vulnerable to electromagnetic interference by new-generation wireless telecommunication technologies with median distances of about 3 centimeters."
The study seemed to indicate that GPRS signals (EDGE for most of us still using GPRS) seemed to provoke the most interference.
So, the next time you go to visit your sick friend or relative (especially in an intensive care unit), try to hit the power button on your mobile phone.
Workers poisoned in Nokia and Motorola factories
In a factory in Thailand making motors for Nokia phones, employees work with lead solder and have to buy their own protective masks and gloves because the company wants to save on â€˜overheadâ€™. Lead solder contains 40% lead and is so dangerous that it has been banned from electronics by several European regulations. Instead of protective equipment, the workers are given milk to filter the toxins from their blood. Several sick workers were hospitalised and diagnosed with dangerous levels of lead poisoning.
I don't really know what to say expect I was kind of expecting this. I mean exploitation of labor is nothing new, and people will always try to blow the lid on it, but we can't fix it from here. The government needs to implement changes, and that gets in to a political issue that is beyond me or you. Do I feel bad for these people? Sure, but what can I do?