Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Geek Shit Wednesday Vol. III

That's right kids, it's... Geek Shit Wednesday!

Cell Phones Increase Brain Metabolism

It's long been a fear since mobile technology has taken off that the radiation from the devices would somehow cause brain cancer.  While a definitive link has yet to be made, new information indicates that the radiation DOES have an effect-- the antennas can change how your brain metabolizes glucose.

"The new study attempts to show there's more going on than simply heating by tying cell phone use to changes in the brain's metabolism. Even here, however, past experiments have caused a bit of confusion. Studies based on tracking blood flow or metabolic activity in the brain have found just about any result imaginable, from increases near the site of the cell phone to decreases there and increases elsewhere in the brain. It's difficult to make any sense of them at all.

"To get around some of these problems, the authors simply recruited nearly 50 participants; previous studies they cite typically involved 20 people or less. For measuring metabolic activity, they went with the PET scan. PET involves giving the subject a form of the sugar glucose, in which one of the atoms is radioactive. Its decay emits a small bit of antimatter—a positron—that in turn emits a gamma ray when it collides with a regular electron. By figuring out where the gamma rays are coming from, we can tell where the glucose is going, and thus which cells are most active. PET provides a picture of metabolic activity that covers a longer time period than the transient responses seen with blood flow imaging."

Do these changes affect brain function?  It's unclear.  Since cell phones are relatively new, we won't know much until we have data on multi-decade use.  It's fascinating nonetheless.

[Ars Technica]

Retailers Want Your Old Phone

The mobile devices market seems to grow in leaps and bounds, technologically speaking, rendering last year's hot item dated and passe.  Does that make your old phone useless?  No!

Instead, the rapid advancement of cell phone technologies has opened up a whole new market-- mobile resale. 

"Retailers have a word for this cultural trend toward perpetual buying of newer consumer technology: upgrades. And as these consumers look to upgrade their hardware every year or two -- even if their current handset works fine -- they tend to build up a trove of slightly outdated gadgets.

"Retailers are offering incentives to reclaim these past-their-prime phones that can be refurbished and resold, or passed off to overseas merchants.

"These buy-back retail services usually offer traders only store credit, rather than cash. Also, all of these companies will recycle a gadget that's too old to warrant payment."

I know when I get my next phone (keep praying for that EVO Shift, Ian!) I'm definitely gonna get some money outta my Pixi.  It cuts down on waste AND you can get some cash.  What's not to love?


World's Smallest Computer Unveiled

Signaling a huge step for microtechnology, a new computer used for glaucoma patients has been unveiled-- with a processor, battery, solar cell, radio, and memory, it all fits on the "N" on the back of a penny.

"This tiniest computer to date is a prototype of an implantable eye pressure monitor for glaucoma patients. Key to this unit linking up with other computers to form wireless sensor networks is a compact radio that needs no tuning to find the right frequency.

"One day, these Lilliputian computers could track pollution, monitor structural integrity, perform surveillance, or make virtually any object smart and traceable."

This is totally the next step to Borg nanoprobes.  Resistance is futile!


1 comment:

  1. you can also give your old cell phones to womens' shelters! to my understanding, a charged cell phone (even w/o a plan) can always dial 911. sure, you don't get any cash for such a donation, but it makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside! what's not to love?