Dude, ur phone!

About a month ago, I dropped my phone on my way out of class, this is the result:

Droid HTC incredible with a little bit of wear
HTC Droid Incredible with a little bit of wear

Now, that looks bad, I’ll admit, but the phone works just fine. It is my three year old HTC Droid Incredible and I have just customized it just the way I like. I was going to replace the front touch screen but after reviewing several youtube videos, that process looks like a right pain.

Unfortunately, every time I take it out of my pocket somebody invariably says: “Oh my God, what happened to your phone?”  My strategy of late is to grab the phone and say “WHAT! WHAT!” while turning it over frantically to find some critical flaw, then look questioningly at the person.

Most often, the other person will look at me and figure out that I am messing with them.  Some do not.

RF is killing bees!

I found this article and video interesting:  Study links bee decline to cell phones.

The article goes on about CCD (Colony Collapse Disorder) where entire bee colonies die off for unknown reasons.  Some speculate that increased use of pesticides might be to blame (makes perfect sense to me).  Still others think that cell phone towers are the culprits.  Noting:

“Animals, including insects, use cryptochrome for navigation,” Goldsworthy told CNN.

“They use it to sense the direction of the earth’s magnetic field and their ability to do this is compromised by radiation from [cell] phones and their base stations. So basically bees do not find their way back to the hive.”

One study in India involved attaching a cell phone to the side of a bee hive and powering it on for two fifteen minute periods each day. These researchers found that the honey production in the hive dropped off and the hive queen’s egg laying was cut in half.

All of that is indeed interesting, but somehow I think that a lot of information is lacking.  First of all, any first year physics student can tell you, the RF field around a cellphone antenna decreases logarithmically as a function of distance.  In other words,  for each unit of distance away from the antenna, the power density decreases by 10 times.  Therefore, placing even a mobile phone directly on a bee hive will likely generate much higher RF fields than would otherwise be encountered, unless there was a bee hive in one of the cell tower antennas.

Secondly, there is no mention of power levels, although the frequency appears to be in the 900 MHz range, if this is the study (.pdf) being referred to in the article.

Finally, the compound referred to, cryptochrome, is also interesting.  Breaking the word down, one finds “Crypto” which means hidden, and “Chrome” which means color.  According to the Wikipedia article, which most often can be believed when it comes to such subjects, it is indeed used by some animals to detect magnetic fields.  However, RF used by cell phones has long been in use by other technologies such as two way radio, pagers, cordless phones, baby monitors, TV, early radar and other high power emitters.  It would be most unusual that RF induced CCD would just now be showing up.

In short, there is very very thin evidence that cell phone are causing CCD and it is a shame on CNN for propagating such non-sense without doing research.