viernes, 21 de abril de 2017

Scientists have developed a sunlight-powered device that can extract water even from desert skies. The device is powered passively by sunlight and may provide an answer to the billions facing severe water shortages around the world.

A New Device Uses Sunlight to Create Drinking Water From Air

 Biwa/Getty
IN BRIEF
Scientists have developed a sunlight-powered device that can extract water even from desert skies. The device is powered passively by sunlight and may provide an answer to the billions facing severe water shortages around the world.

AN URGENT NEED MET

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 663 million people — one in ten — lack access to safe water. Fully one-third of the world’s population lacks plumbing enough to have access to a toilet—that’s more than 2.4 billion people. A 2016 report found that water shortages affect two-thirds of the world’s population. Water shortages — and the conflicts they cause — will worsen as climate change ramps up. In fact, the 2015 World Economic Forum cited lack of access to clean water as the number one global risk in existence today.
Working to find a solution to these problems, researchers have developed a sunlight-powered device that can extract water from even the driest desert skies, in the hope that the technology may one day supply even the poorest, driest areas of the world with clean drinking water. The basis for the device is a type of novel, porous material called metal-organic frameworks that pulls large amounts of water into its pores. The research, published in Science, shows that a kilogram of the material can trap several liters of water per day, even in the standard 20 percent humidity levels of arid regions.
Top 10 Countries Using Solar Power
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The chemical character and size of the material’s pores can be altered to either allow the flow or capture of different kinds of molecules. The material is able to bond with huge quantities of particles thanks to its massive surface area, which is equivalent to about a football field per gram. The process is entirely passive and does not require additional energy or materials. Unlike other water-harvesting technologies, it can operate in arid conditions. It’s similar to a humidifier, but does not need an initial supply of water in order to operate.
The material needs more refinement, but Evelyn Wang, head of MIT’s device research laboratory, told MIT Technology Review that a viable product is “not that far away.” Similar materials are already being affordably mass-produced by the German chemical company BASF. Hopefully, this device will be able to provide a stable source of clean water to millions.

Unmaking inequality: a history of violence Walter Scheidel (Stanford University) Borgerhoff Mulder et al., Science

Unmaking inequality: a history of violence Walter Scheidel (Stanford University) Borgerhoff Mulder et al., Science 326 (2009): study of intergenerational wealth transmission and dynamics of inequality in 21 small-scale societies (type of wealth/wealth transmission) Growing resource inequality in England and Wales Share of the richest 1% in national net worth 1700 39% 1740 44% 1810 55% 1875 61% 1911/13 69% Summary of the argument Development tends to increase resource inequality Agrarianism; Industrialism Violent shocks are the only factors capable of significantly reducing resource inequality (for a while) Violence Mass-mobilization wars Transformative revolutions State collapse Demographic contraction Pandemics Other factors are exotic or ineffective (abolition of slavery, migration, financial crises) Only a particular type of war generally lowers inequality! Requires mass mobilization that • raises state demands on the rich (to pay for war) • raises redistribution to the poor (army service, more general commitment to war effort) • favors state centralization and growth (to organize war) • disfavors elite entitlements (e.g. feudal rights) • favors entitlements for the poor (e.g. property rights, protections) Mass mobilization is a fairly modern phenomenon (especially since the French Revolution) – but there are earlier historical antecedents From the 5th to 3rd centuries BC, longterm inconclusive and symmetrical warfare between Warring States relying on ever-larger conscript infantry armies led to: suppression of hereditary nobility and feudal rights; direct taxation for war-making; periodic population registration; property rights for peasants; re-allocation of conquered land to conscripts; legal codification >> lowering overall inequality Only a particular type of war generally lowers inequality! In the historically common environment of tributary empires, successful wars: • raise inequality on the winning side (inflow of resources captured by elite >> rich get richer; inflow of captives/slaves >> more poor people) • lower it on the losing/conquered side (in percentage terms, the rich stand to lose more from being defeated than the poor) BUT: both groups become part of a larger system that is more unequal overall Ancient Rome as the quintessential tributary empire Annual income figures for ‘middling’ aristocrats reported in Roman sources: 100,000-600,000 sesterces (mid-first century BC; Cicero) 1,000,000 sesterces (late first century AD; Pliny the Younger) 6,000,000-9,000,000 sesterces (late fourth century AD; Olympiodorus) Summary of the argument Development tends to increase resource inequality Agrarianism; Industrialism Violent shocks are the only factors capable of significantly reducing resource inequality (for a while) Violence Mass-mobilization wars Transformative revolutions State collapse Demographic contraction Pandemics Other factors are exotic or ineffective (abolition of slavery, migration, financial crises) Revolutions Russia, China, Cuba, Cambodia… French Revolution: French inequality was high in 18th century, fell 1790-1815 due to: • Abolition of regressive tax (dime) & feudal rights (corvee, etc) • Confiscation of church and aristocratic properties, acquired by people at different income levels >> share of land held by elite dropped from 42% in 1788 to 12% in 1802, share held by paysans rose from 30% to 42% • Salaries of urban workers rose by 62% from late 1780s to c1800, against 28% rise of the price of wheat • Inflation benefited tenants who paid rents in depreciated cash >> overall decrease in income share of upper class BUT: inequality again rises afterwards, esp. with industrialization from c1830 BUT: only transformative revolutions lower inequality Civil wars as such do not lower inequality Study of civil wars in 128 countries from 1960 to 2005 finds that inequality rises both during civil wars and especially right afterwards Why? Because civil war: • allows uncontrolled profiteering by small minority • interferes with access to market for the poor • interferes with state taxation and redistribution including social spending (Bircan, Bruck and Vothknecht 2010) Summary of the argument Development tends to increase resource inequality Agrarianism; Industrialism Violent shocks are the only factors capable of significantly reducing resource inequality (for a while) Violence Mass-mobilization wars Transformative revolutions State collapse Demographic contraction Pandemics Other factors are exotic or ineffective (abolition of slavery, migration, financial crises) Summary of the argument Development tends to increase resource inequality Agrarianism; Industrialism Violent shocks are the only factors capable of significantly reducing resource inequality (for a while) Violence Mass-mobilization wars Transformative revolutions State collapse Demographic contraction Pandemics Other factors are exotic or ineffective (abolition of slavery, migration, financial crises) The impact of a massive exogenous mortality shock (plague) on real wages: the case of the Black Death (Pamuk 2007) Black Death 0 2 4 6 8 1 0 1 2 260/50 210/180 120/90 BCE 100/160 CE 190/270 400/550 570/720 780/850 1000/1050 Daily wheat wage Daily wheat wages for unskilled rural laborers in Egypt, 260 BC – 1050 AD, in liters of wheat (Scheidel 2012) Plague! 167 168 169 170 171 172 173 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1 0 1 1 1 2 1 3 1 4 1 5 1 6 1 7 Centuries CE Heigth in cm Mediterranean Center-West Mean body height in Mediterranean and Central/Western Europe (Köpke and Baten 2005) Plague! Plague! Summary of the argument Development tends to increase resource inequality Agrarianism; Industrialism Violent shocks are the only factors capable of significantly reducing resource inequality (for a while) Violence Mass-mobilization wars Transformative revolutions State collapse Demographic contraction Pandemics Other factors are exotic or ineffective (abolition of slavery, migration, financial crises) Share of assets owned by richest 1% of adult men, United States 1774 13.2% 1860 32.7% (Civil War 1861-5, abolition of slavery) 1870 27% Summary of the argument Development tends to increase resource inequality Agrarianism; Industrialism Violent shocks are the only factors capable of significantly reducing resource inequality (for a while) Violence Mass-mobilization wars Transformative revolutions State collapse Demographic contraction Pandemics Other factors are exotic or ineffective (abolition of slavery, migration, financial crises) Summary of the argument Development tends to increase resource inequality Agrarianism; Industrialism Violent shocks are the only factors capable of significantly reducing resource inequality (for a while) Violence Mass-mobilization wars Transformative revolutions State collapse Demographic contraction Pandemics Other factors are exotic or ineffective (abolition of slavery, migration, financial crises) Financial crises only very temporarily reduce inequality (unless they are linked to major shocks such as wars: Germany, France after World War I) 9/11 Financial crisis Or are there built-in ‘checks’ – i.e., does rising inequality generate countervailing forces, such as violent internal resistance? Large body of scholarship on whether inequality is a cause of civil wars: • Earlier literature tended to confirm relationship • Most comprehensive recent surveys fail to find clear relationship • 2013 study of proxy feature (deprivation) again suggests strong relationship BUT: remember that civil wars per se do not lower inequality and may actually raise it! Where do we go from here? The traditionally effective mechanisms • mass-mobilization wars • transformative revolutions • major epidemics • abolition of slavery are no longer available to us today ( – nor should we want them to be…) Other types of events, such as civil wars and financial crises, do not solve the problem History does not determine present or future actions and outcomes but it casts doubt on the prospects of policy measures that are not contextualized within these historically effective processes… … especially in an environment of ongoing globalization

Mark Zuckerberg: The end of smartphones and TVs is coming

Mark Zuckerberg: The end of smartphones and TVs is coming

A man is silhouetted against a video screen with an Facebook logo as he poses with an Samsung S4 smartphone in this photo illustration taken in the central Bosnian town of Zenica, August 14, 2013. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/File Photo - RTX2IVBO
Facebook is once again putting itself into direct competition with Google and Apple.
Image: REUTERS/Dado Ruvic
It's no secret Mark Zuckerberg is pinning Facebook's prospects on augmented reality — technology that overlays digital imagery onto the real world, like Snapchat's signature camera filters.
At this year's F8 conference, taking place this week, Zuckerberg doubled down on the company's ambitious 10-year master plan, which was first revealed in 2016. According to this timeline, Facebook expects to turn artificial intelligence, ubiquitous internet connectivity, and virtual and augmented reality into viable parts of its business over the next decade.
The Facebook 10-year road map, first revealed in April 2016.Facebook
Image: Facebook
To accelerate the rise of augmented reality, a big part of the plan, Zuckerberg unveiled the Camera Effects platform — basically a set of tools for outside developers to build augmented-reality apps that you can access from the existing Facebook app's camera. That would theoretically open the door for Facebook to host the next phenomenon like "Pokémon Go."
While this announcement seems pretty innocuous, make no mistake — Facebook is once again putting itself into direct competition with Google and Apple, trying to create yet another parallel universe of apps and tools that don't rely on the smartphones' marketplaces. As The New York Times notes, Zuckerberg has long been disappointed that Facebook never built a credible smartphone operating system of its own.
This time, though, Facebook is also declaring war on pretty much everyone else in the tech industry, too. While it'll take at least a decade to fully play out, the stuff Facebook is talking about today is just one more milestone on the slow march toward the death of the smartphone and the rise of even weirder and wilder futures.
Why buy a TV?
Zuckerberg tipped his hand, just a bit, during Tuesday's Facebook F8 keynote. During a demo of the company's vision for augmented reality — in the form of a pair of easy-to-wear, standard-looking glasses — he showed how you could have a virtual "screen" in your living room, bigger than your biggest TV.
"We don't need a physical TV. We can buy a $1 app 'TV' and put it on the wall and watch it," Zuckerberg told USA Today ahead of his keynote. "It's actually pretty amazing when you think about how much of the physical stuff we have doesn't need to be physical."
That makes sense, assuming you're into the idea of wearing a computer on your face (and you're OK with Facebook intermediating everything you see and hear, glitches and all).
But it's not just TVs. This philosophy could extend to smartphones, smartwatches, tablets, fitness trackers, or anything else that has a screen or relies on one to work. Zuckerberg even showed off a street art installation that's just a blank wall until you wave the Facebook camera app over it to reveal a mural.
For Microsoft, which has already dipped its toe in this area with its HoloLens holographic goggles, this is a foregone conclusion. HoloLens boss Alex Kipman recently called the demise of the smartphone the "natural conclusion" of augmented reality and its associated technologies.
War of the worlds
The problem, naturally, is that a huge chunk of the world's economy hinges on the production of phones, TVs, tablets, and all those other things that Facebook thinks could be replaced with this technology.
Even Zuckerberg acknowledges it's a long road ahead. That said, this Camera Effects platform, should it succeed in attracting a bunch of users, could go down as a savvy move. The apps that are built for the Facebook Camera today could wind up as the first versions of the apps you'd use with those glasses.
In the short term, Facebook's play for augmented reality is going to look a lot like competing with Snapchat — and in a meaningful way, it is. Facebook needs developer and user love, so it needs to keep offering fun and funny tools to keep people from moving away from using its apps.
In the long term, though, this is Facebook versus everybody else to usher in an age of a new kind of computing — and pretty much every tech company out there will get caught in the crossfire, as Apple, Google, Microsoft, and more rush out their responses to this extremely existential, but still meaningful, threat.

miércoles, 19 de abril de 2017

Marc Porter Stolen Back by Christie’s to Be Chairman Americas After Three-Month Stint at Sotheby’s

Marc Porter Stolen Back by Christie’s to Be Chairman Americas After Three-Month Stint at Sotheby’s

Marc Porter.COURTESY SOTHEBY'S
Marc Porter.
COURTESY SOTHEBY’S
Here’s some serious auction-world-revolving-door news: Just three months after starting his job as chairman of the fine art division at Sotheby’s, Marc Porter will return to Christie’s to be its chairman, Americas, a spokesperson for the house said in an email. Prior to joining Sotheby’s, Porter spent 25 years at Christie’s, holding positions such as chairman and president of the Americas and international head of private sales.
“I am thrilled to be returning to Christie’s in a new role that allows me to work with clients, mentor colleagues and engage with works of art,” Porter said in a statement. “Incubating the talents of all people in the organization and working on large strategic projects has long been my primary interest and I now have an opportunity to do that at the highest level in the art field.”
This is a coup for Christie’s at a time when it needs one. Just last month, CEO Guillaume Cerutti—installed in the chief spot in December after a surprise departure of former CEO and Chairman Patricia Barbizet—announced that his first major move would be to eliminate the South Kensington salesroom in London and lay off up to as many as 250 Christie’s staffer globally. The news came at a time when the postwar and contemporary department was tasked with rebuilding following the departure of its chairman, Brett Gorvy, and when many staffers were defecting for various other positions.
“Marc’s appointment as chairman, Americas complements the changes we made at the board and executive levels late last year and marks a further step in the refinement of our structure as we plan for growth opportunities ahead,” Cerutti said in the statement.
It also represents a remarkably quick turnaround for Porter. After accepting the job at Sotheby’s in December 2015, he had to endure a year off due to the stringent non-compete clauses both houses sew into their big-ticket contracts, ostensibly to dissuade staffers from defecting. He began his blink-and-you-miss-it stint at Sotheby’s in January, for which the house rolled out the red carpet. Instead of a modest press release, there was a lushly designed Q&A with Porter on its website with the headline “The Maestro of the Market: Marc Porter Joins Sotheby’s.
The post was up earlier this morning, but by 11:45 a.m., the same link lead to a notice that said “page not found.” Evidently, the story had been removed from Sothebys.com. A screenshot is below.
Screen Shot 2017-04-19 at 11.52.51 AM
After a lengthy year-plus break, the house was ready to pop the champagne to toast the start of what it no doubt hoped would be a long tenure.
“As he embarks on the next phase of his career, at Sotheby’s, this art world maestro took time to reflect on his time off and his general thoughts about the current state of the ever-fascinating art market,” the introduction read.
In the interview, Porter spoke effusively about gardening, a lifelong hobby that occupied him during his required year off, during which time he became a trustee of the New York Botanical Garden. But he did not share his current thoughts on the rival house, which he would end up leaving for just weeks after that interview took place. And this time, a spokesperson said, there is no non-compete, and his start date will be determined imminently.

Cell Biologists Discover Crucial ‘Traffic Regulator’ in Neurons

Cell Biologists Discover Crucial ‘Traffic Regulator’ in Neurons

Summary: Researchers provide a comprehensive map of transport in mammalian axons.
Source: Utrecht University.
First comprehensive map of transport in mammalian axons.
Neurons are the main cells in the nervous system. They process information by sending, receiving, and combining signals from around the brain and the body. All neurons have a cell body where molecules vital for its functioning and maintenance are produced. The axon, a long and slender extension that can reach one metre in length in humans, sends information from the nerve cell to other nerve cells. Neuronal survival is highly dependent on the transport of vital molecules within this axon. Research has shown that defects in the transport function in the axons play a key role in degenerative brain diseases such as Alzheimer.
First comprehensive map
“Previous research examined transport processes in small areas of the axon, such as the very beginning or the very end. This left it unclear how the movement of molecules through the axon was regulated over long distances. In our study, we provide the first comprehensive map of transport in mammalian axons”, says Casper Hoogenraad, Professor of Cell Biology at Utrecht University, explaining the relevance of this study.
Stumped
In most neurons, an area between the cell body and the axon called the ‘axon initial segment’ serves as a checkpoint: only some molecules can pass through it. This area has stumped scientists for more than a decade. Why should one type of molecule be able to pass through this area, while others cannot? The answer is to be found in the traffic regulator, a protein called MAP2. “With this discovery, we have answered a fundamental question about the unique functioning of nerve cells that has occupied scientists for a long time”, lead author of the study Dr Laura Gumy says.
Driving force
The cell biologists from Utrecht first discovered that larger quantities of MAP2 accumulate between the cell body and the axon. When they removed MAP2 from the neuron, the normal pattern of molecule movement changed. Certain molecules suddenly ceased to enter the axon, whereas others accumulated in the axon instead of passing through to the cell body. This abnormal transport indicates that MAP2 is the driving force behind transport within the axon.
Image shows neurons.
In most neurons, an area between the cell body and the axon called the ‘axon initial segment’ serves as a checkpoint: only some molecules can pass through it. NeuroscienceNews.com image is for illustrative purposes only.
Car key
The cell biologists from Utrecht University went on to make another very important discovery. Since axons are so long, transport in the neurons is carried out by sets of proteins – known as ‘motor proteins’ – that carry packages of other proteins on their back. As it turns out, MAP2 is able to switch a specific ‘motor protein’ on or off, like a car key. This means that MAP2 actually controls which packages of molecules may enter the axon and which may not. Targeting the activity of the transport engine allowed the researchers to make another interesting discovery: MAP2 is also able to control the delivery of molecules at specific points along the axon.
New targets for therapies
“Transport within axons has been shown to fail in Alzheimer, Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease, as well as in many other diseases. When the neuron is no longer able to control where molecules go, or is unable to get molecules to where they need to be, it cannot do its job. By understanding how transport works, we have laid the foundation for considering new targets and potential therapies for various neurodegenerative disorders”, Casper Hoogenraad concludes.
About this neuroscience research article
Source: Monica van der Garde – Utrecht University
Image Source: NeuroscienceNews.com image is in the public domain.
Original Research: Abstract for “MAP2 Defines a Pre-axonal Filtering Zone to Regulate KIF1- versus KIF5-Dependent Cargo Transport in Sensory Neurons” by Laura F. Gumy, Eugene A. Katrukha, Ilya Grigoriev, Dick Jaarsma, Lukas C. Kapitein, Anna Akhmanova, and Casper C. Hoogenraad in Neuron. Published online April 19 2017 doi:10.1016/j.neuron.2017.03.046
Cite This NeuroscienceNews.com Article
Utrecht University “Cell Biologists Discover Crucial ‘Traffic Regulator’ in Neurons.” NeuroscienceNews. NeuroscienceNews, 19 April 2017.
<http://neurosciencenews.com/neurons-regulator-6446/>.

Abstract
MAP2 Defines a Pre-axonal Filtering Zone to Regulate KIF1- versus KIF5-Dependent Cargo Transport in Sensory Neurons
Highlights
•MAP2 defines a unique pre-axonal cargo filtering zone in sensory neurons
•MAP2 regulates axonal cargo entry by preventing KIF5 binding to microtubules
•MAP2 promotes axonal cargo spreading by balancing KIF1 and KIF5 motor activities
•MAP2 controls the axonal growth potential of sensory neurons

Summary

Polarized cargo transport is essential for neuronal function. However, the minimal basic components required for selective cargo sorting and distribution in neurons remain elusive. We found that in sensory neurons the axon initial segment is largely absent and that microtubule-associated protein 2 (MAP2) defines the cargo-filtering zone in the proximal axon. Here, MAP2 directs axonal cargo entry by coordinating the activities of molecular motors. We show that distinct kinesins differentially regulate cargo velocity: kinesin-3 drives fast axonal cargo trafficking, while kinesin-1 slows down axonal cargo transport. MAP2 inhibits “slow” kinesin-1 motor activity and allows kinesin-3 to drive robust cargo transport from the soma into the axon. In the distal axon, the inhibitory action of MAP2 decreases, leading to regained kinesin-1 activity and vesicle distribution. We propose that selective axonal cargo trafficking requires the MAP2-defined pre-axonal filtering zone and the ability of cargos to switch between distinct kinesin motor activities.
“MAP2 Defines a Pre-axonal Filtering Zone to Regulate KIF1- versus KIF5-Dependent Cargo Transport in Sensory Neurons” by Laura F. Gumy, Eugene A. Katrukha, Ilya Grigoriev, Dick Jaarsma, Lukas C. Kapitein, Anna Akhmanova, and Casper C. Hoogenraad in Neuron. Published online April 19 2017 doi:10.1016/j.neuron.2017.03.046

miércoles, 1 de febrero de 2017

Cell phones and their Warning

Cell phones were first introduced in the 1980s, became widely available in the U.S. during the 1990s, and today we're living in a society where cellphone-only households are no longer the exception; they're the norm.1
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which classified cell phones as possible carcinogens in 2011, suggested during the late '90s that a study looking into the relationship between cell phones and cancer made sense. In 2000, the Interphone study was initiated.
When its results were finally released (years behind its scheduled completion date), there was controversy over the results.
However, the Interphone Study Group did eventually acknowledge that "heavy users" of cell phones had an approximately doubled risk of glioma, a life threatening and often-fatal brain tumor, after 10 years of cell phone use.
The most shocking part of their finding is their definition of a "heavy user" —someone using a cell phone for two to two and a half hours per month!
I would suggest it's not unusual for Americans to spend that long on their cell phones every day in 2016, although a 2014 Nielsen study put average usage at about 34 hours a month.2
Suffice to say, people are using their cell phones a lot and starting at ever-younger ages. Meanwhile, increasing research suggests cell phones are linked to health consequences that are just now beginning to be understood.
At the very least, caution is warranted in their use. Even the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) echoed this in 2014, stating, "We recommend caution in cellphone use."3 Except, if you were to look for this language from the CDC today, it would be nowhere to be found.

CDC Backpedaled on Their Cell Phone Warning

Within weeks of posting their cell phone caution online, the passage was removed, along with a section that addressed potential risks of cell phone use for children. As of January 2016, the CDC only notes:4
"Some organizations recommend caution in cell phone use. More research is needed before we know if using cell phones causes health effects."
Their about-face generated enough attention and confusion, however, that their site now includes a sidebar panel attempting to vaguely explain why the information on their FAQs page was changed (including, they say, to present the information in "easy-to-understand language").

Internal Records Show Debate Among CDC Officials

The New York Times obtained more than 500 pages of internal records that suggest there's far more to the story than this, including disagreements about cell phone risks among its scientists and agency officials.
When the CDC warning was first made public, government and health officials wondered whether it represented a policy change (and whether schools could be liable for allowing cell phones on their premises).
The CDC then began to regret their choice of words, and internal emails show officials debating how to best backpedal, including stating that other countries such as the UK and Canada (but apparently not the U.S.) recommended caution.
Not all officials agreed that a revision was necessary, however. The New York Times reported:5
"Christopher J. Portier, former director of the National Center for Environmental Health, the C.D.C. division that made the changes, disagreed with the decision to pull back the revised version. 'I would not have removed it,' he said in an interview.
'I would have been in support of a recommendation that parents look carefully at whether their children need cellphones or not.'
Dr. Portier, who led the center when the revision process was initiated, said he believed parents should have been presented 'with enough information to say caution isn't ill advised, because we really don't know, and there are enough indicators to say we should be cautious.'"

Some Organizations Urge Caution in Cell Phone Use, But Not the CDC

Ultimately, the CDC spent years debating how to best address the risks of cell phones to the U.S. public. They even tested drafts of new language on focus groups, but the end result stops short of implying cell phones may indeed be risky. According to The New York Times:6
"The C.D.C.'s internal email traffic shows a lengthy revision process for the agency's recommendations. After the announcement by the I.A.R.C. in 2011 [categorizing cell phones as possible carcinogens], one agency official wrote that there was 'outdated information on our current website.'
Some changes were made within days, though they did not mention the I.A.R.C. determination.
That would take another three years. It coincided with the C.D.C.'s effort to use clearer language on its website, a bureaucratic process that led to tension between the communications staff and the agency's Radiation Studies Branch …
In emails, Robert C. Whitcomb Jr., head of the Radiation Studies Branch, began assuring colleagues at other agencies and universities that the new guidelines were 'not an official policy.'
Another C.D.C. official called it 'a teachable moment,' while a third said she had 'an incredible guilt complex' for her role in the guidelines published in June 2014.
… 'Some organizations recommend caution in cellphone use,' the agency's guidelines now say. But the C.D.C. is not one of them."

Cell Phone Use Is Associated with Brain Tumors, DNA Damage and More

In the video above you can listen to my powerful interview with Dr. Devra Davis, who is one of the most well-respected and credentialed researchers on the dangers of cellphones, among a number of other things.
" … [A] cellphone is a two-way microwave radio,' Dr. Davis pointed out. "Industry has fought successfully to use the phrase 'radiofrequency energy' instead of microwave radiation. Because they know radiofrequency energy sounds fine.
We listen to music with radios. Everybody needs more energy. What could be better than that?
But radiofrequency energy is another word for microwave radiation. If people understood that they were holding a two-way microwave-radiating device next to their brain or next to their reproductive organs, they might think differently about it."
Consider research by Dr. Lennart Hardell, a professor of Oncology at University of Örebro in Sweden, and statistician Michael Carlberg from the same university. The pair looked at data from two previous case-controlled studies on Swedish patients diagnosed with malignant brain tumors during the periods of 1997 to 2003 and 2007 to 2009.
Using regression analysis, adjusted for gender, age, year of diagnosis, and socioeconomic index, the odds of developing a malignant and highly lethal brain cancer called glioma rose concurrently with increased cell phone use. The more hours spent with a cell phone pressed to their ear, and the more years they'd spent using a mobile phone, the higher the odds were.
  • Those who logged the most amount of hours on their cell phones were twice as likely to develop glioma compared to those who used them the least
  • Those who used either a cell phone or cordless house phone for more than 25 years had triple the risk of glioma, compared to those who had used wireless telephones for less than one year

Dangers to Fertility, Pregnant Women and Children

Dr. Davis has warned, in particular, about the risks to pregnant women and their unborn children, noting that prenatal animal studies have shown exposure to radiation from cell phones:
  • Altered DNA
  • Altered brain metabolism
  • Compromised spinal cords
  • Affected learning abilities
Children's brains contain more liquid than adults', which impacts the amount of radiation absorbed (children absorb far more). Among teens who use cell phones from a young age, the risk of brain cancer is about four to five times higher than that of teens who didn't use cellphones.
Dr. Elisabeth Cardis, Interphone's principal investigator, is now conducting research in Europe to examine the risks of cell phone use among children. She told The New York Times:7
"If there's a risk, it's likely to be greater for exposures at younger ages simply because the skull is thinner and the ears are thinner in children than in adults. Basically your phone is closer to your brain."
Meanwhile, a systematic review and meta-analysis showed that exposure to low-level electromagnetic radiation (EMR) from cell phones lowered sperm motility by 8 percent and sperm viability by 9 percent.8 Previous studies have also found that cell phone radiation can affect men's sperm count and the quality and motility of their sperm.9
During the 2013 discussion "Cell Phones & Wi-Fi — Are Children, Fetuses and Fertility at Risk?," leading experts from top universities further reported:10
"There is a direct relationship between duration of cell phone use and sperm count decline. Sperm count is reduced by half in men who carry cell phones in their pants pockets for four hours per day. The motility of the sperm is also impaired.
The testicular barrier, that protects sperm, is the most sensitive of tissues in the body, and is 100x more absorbent. Besides sperm count and function, the mitochondrial DNA of sperm are damaged 3x more if exposed to cell phone radiation.
… DNA mutations have been linked more to damage on the male side in research from Iceland, the assumption being that male sperm is more vulnerable than female eggs, which are more protected. Mutations increase with the age of the father, and more autism and schizophrenia increase with the age of the father."

Cell Phones Represent Only One EMF Risk – Dirty Electricity Is Another

Your body is a complex communication device where cells, tissues, and organs "talk" to each other to perform basic functions. At each of these levels, the communication includes finely tuned bio-electrical transmitters and receivers, which are tuned like tuning into a radio station.
What happens when you expose a radio antenna to a significant amount of external noise? You get static from the noise — and that is what is happening to your body in today's "electrosmog" environment. It's not only cell phones that pose a problem; all form of dirty electricity have the potential to harm human health.
Magda Havas, PhD, associate professor of Environmental and Resource Studies at Trent University explained:11
"'Dirty Electricity' can … be used to describe electric power that has become corrupted by our use of modern appliances.
Items such as CFL bulbs, cell phone transmission antennas, power supplies for portable computers, cell phone chargers, dimmer switches, variable speed fans and many other electronic devices that require a transformer to convert the voltage will 'dirty' the electricity that enters your home.
This form of dirty electro-magnetic fields (EMF) is invisible to the eye, but has a biological effect on the human body and has been associated with a wide variety of illnesses."
In "Dirty Electricity: Electrification and the Diseases of Civilization," epidemiologist Sam Milham, MD also points out that the major diseases plaguing modern man — heart disease, cancer, diabetes, etc. — may also be triggered by dirty electricity.
Dr. Milham showed that populations without electrification experienced less disease than those in urban areas with electrification, and that rural death rates correlated with levels of electrical service for most causes examined.12 Conditions linked to electrification included cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and suicide. Camilla Rees of ElectromagneticHealth.org said:
"Dr. Milham's work suggests society may have overlooked one of the most important underlying root causes of illness. The health sector's focus on lifestyle, chemical pollutants, genetics and the like, may have missed the role of every day electromagnetic fields from electrification.
It is now clear we must assess all sources of electromagnetic radiation in our midst, not just wireless communication technologies, but also electric and magnetic fields, and high frequency transients on electrical wiring, known as 'dirty electricity.'

How to Minimize Your EMF Risks

People living in most cities and suburbs are literally bathed in a variety of electromagnetic fields, microwave radiation and dirty electricity 24/7. From my perspective, the evidence clearly indicates that we need to invoke the precautionary principle with regards to cell phone use, as well as other wireless technologies.
Until the industry starts taking this matter seriously, the responsibility to keep children safe falls on the parents. To minimize the risk to your brain, and that of your child, pay heed to the following advice:
Don't let your child use a cell phone. Barring a life-threatening emergency, children should not use a cell phone, or a wireless device of any type. Children are far more vulnerable to cell phone radiation than adults, because of their thinner skull bones.
Keep your cell phone use to a minimum. Turn your cell phone off more often. Reserve it for emergencies or important matters. As long as your cell phone is on, it emits radiation intermittently, even when you are not actually making a call. Use a land line at home and at work.
Reduce or eliminate your use of other wireless devices. Just as with cell phones, it is important to ask yourself whether or not you really need to use them every single time. If you must use a portable home phone, use the older kind that operates at 900 MHz. They are no safer during calls, but at least some of them do not broadcast constantly even when no call is being made.
Note the only way to truly be sure if there is an exposure from your cordless phone is to measure with an electrosmog meter, and it must be one that goes up to the frequency of your portable phone (so old meters won't help much). As many portable phones are 5.8 Gigahertz, we recommend you look for RF meters that go up to 8 Gigahertz.
You can find RF meters at EMFSafetyStore.com. Even without an RF meter, you can be fairly certain your portable phone is problematic if the technology is labeled DECT, or digitally enhanced cordless technology. Alternatively, you can be very careful with the base station placement as that causes the bulk of the problem since it transmits signals 24/7, even when you aren't talking.
If you can keep the base station at least three rooms away from where you spend most of your time, and especially your bedroom, they may not be as damaging to your health. Ideally it would be helpful to turn off or disconnect your base station every night before you go to bed.
Limit cell phone use to areas with excellent reception. The weaker the reception, the more power your phone must use to transmit, and the more power it uses, the more radiation it emits, and the deeper the dangerous radio waves penetrate into your body. Ideally, you should only use your phone with full bars and good reception.
Avoid carrying your cell phone on your body, and do not sleep with it under your pillow or near your head. Ideally, put it in your purse or carrying bag. Placing a cell phone in your bra or in a shirt pocket over your heart is asking for trouble, as is placing it in a man's pocket if he seeks to preserve his fertility.
The most dangerous place to be, in terms of radiation exposure, is within about six inches of the emitting antenna. You do not want any part of your body within that area while the phone is on.
Don't assume one cell phone is safer than another. There's no such thing as a "safe" cell phone.
Respect others; many are highly sensitive to EMF. Some people who have become sensitive can feel the effects of others' cell phones in the same room, even when it is on but not being used.
If you are in a meeting, on public transportation, in a courtroom or other public places, such as a doctor's office, keep your cell phone turned off out of consideration for the "secondhand radiation" effects. Children are also more vulnerable, so please avoid using your cell phone near children.
Use a well-shielded wired headset: Wired headsets will certainly allow you to keep the cell phone farther away from your body. However, if a wired headset is not well-shielded — and most of them are not — the wire itself can act as an antenna attracting and transmitting radiation directly to your brain.
So make sure the wire used to transmit the signal to your ear is shielded. One of the best kinds of headsets use a combination of shielded wire and air-tube. These operate like a stethoscope, transmitting the sound to your head as an actual sound wave; although there are wires that still must be shielded, there is no wire that goes all the way up to your head.

Tips for Avoiding Dirty Electricity Risks

Additional options to minimize your risks from dirty electricity, compiled by Paula Owens, M.S. for the Ahwatukee Foothill News, include:13
  • "Avoid using laptop computers on your lap.
  • Switch out compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs for incandescent light bulbs.
  • Consider replacing Wi-Fi routers with Ethernet cables.
  • Avoid electric water beds, blankets and heating pads.
  • Remove electrical devices from your sleeping area. If you must use an electric alarm clock, keep it at least five inches from your body when sleeping. Or, opt for a battery-operated clock.
  • Move power strips at least three inches away from your feet.
  • Switch to flat-screen TVs and computer monitors as these emit less EMFs than the older styles.
  • If you live in close vicinity to or underneath electrical wires, power lines or cell phone towers, you may want to consider moving.
  • Stand three to four feet away from microwave ovens when in use [or stop using them altogether].
  • Consider shielding devices to reduce EMFs from cell phones, cordless phones and landline speaker phones.
  • Ask your electric utility provider to remove wireless smart meters and replace them with a wired smart meter.
  • Walk barefoot on the sand, grass or dirt. This common practice known as earthing or grounding allows the healing negative ions from the ground to flow into our body and have been shown to reduce stress hormones and inflammation.
  • Use 100 percent beeswax candles and Himalayan salt lamps in your home and office to absorb EMFs from the air. Salt lamps serve as natural room ionizers, emitting negative ions into the environment that effectively bind with all the excess positive ions, reducing EMFs, killing bacteria and purifying the air."