mobile phones

From the vault of British Pathe, a 1922 newsreel on the portable calling and music device which was that year’s hot accessory for the savvy urban woman on the street. The brave new technological advances of the past few years are maybe not as novel as one might believe, and I think these could be a popular niche item if sold today, even:

World’s First Mobile Phone (1922). Found by a researcher in the Pathe vaults, this clip from 1922 shows that 90 years ago, mobile phone technology and music on the move was not only being thought of but being trialled.

Last week I was at the BookExpo trade show and a couple of dubious characters manning an outlying booth tried to sell me an ugly looking sticky thing to place on my iPhone and supposedly cut down harmful radiation. They measured the radiation coming from the iPhone on some sort of scanner and of course the needle jumped off the scale. But their device, whatever it was, made my iPhone ugly so I didn’t buy it.

I might have to track them down in the wake of what seems like a convincing study that the radiation from cell phones really is hazardous for humans. Labeling them as “possibly carcinogenic,’’ a panel of 31 WHO scientists deems them to be in the same category of harm as certain dry cleaning chemicals and pesticides.

Well now we know for sure that holding a mobile phone next to your head does something to you — although it’s not entirely clear if the radiation is good, bad or indifferent (but I know which one I’d place money on). Shirley Wang reports on a new study for the Wall Street Journal:

Cellphone use appears to increase brain activity in regions close to where the phone antenna is held against the head, according to a new study, but researchers said the implications for health are still unknown.

The study is the first to demonstrate that radiation from the devices has a direct impact on some brain cells, and is likely to fuel a long-running debate over the safety of cellular phones…

AT&T and Verizon are testing a new feature designed to “supplant more than 1 billion plastic cards in American wallets” – by letting people make traditional credit card purchases using their cellphones!…