Thursday, July 1, 2010

No link between Mobile Phone Base Stations and Early Childhood Cancers

There is no association between risk of early childhood cancers and a mother’s exposure to a mobile phone base station during pregnancy, concludes a new study published on last week. This is the first study to look at phone masts in Britain as a whole and is the largest of its kind.

Use of mobile phones has increased markedly in recent years and questions have been raised about possible health effects, including brain and other cancers, especially after prolonged use. Surveys also indicate high levels of public concern about the potential risks of living near mobile phone masts. Previous reports of apparent cancer clusters near mobile phone base stations are difficult to interpret due to small numbers and possible biases that could have affected the results. Also, any radiobiological explanation for such cancer excesses is lacking.

So researchers at Imperial College London set out to investigate the risk of early childhood cancers, such as brain tumours and leukaemia, and proximity to a mobile phone base station during pregnancy. Here is a link to the full story.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

ADI Data Converters Buried Under South Pole Ice Cap

This ADI news release came out today and it is a very interesting piece of science so I have to share it here:

Buried two kilometers under solid ice on one of the coldest continents on Earth, Analog Devices’ (ADI) data converters and amplifiers are helping scientists at the South Pole build the world’s largest telescope to search for the smallest subatomic particles known to humankind.

The innovative “underground” telescope project is called IceCube and uses a cubic kilometer of pure, ultra-translucent ice at the South Pole as a telescopic “window” or particle detector to search the universe for its smallest known particles, called neutrinos. Neutrinos are subatomic particles that lack an electric charge produced by the decay of radioactive elements and elementary particles. Neutrinos travel at near the speed of light and are so tiny that they can typically pass through solid matter without colliding with any atoms. However when neutrinos collide with an atom, light energy is emitted that can help detect the presence and direction of these sub-atomic particles.

IceCube will search for neutrinos from the most violent astrophysical sources, including events like exploding stars, gamma ray bursts, and cataclysmic phenomena involving black holes and neutron stars. The IceCube telescope is a powerful tool to search for dark matter, and could reveal new physical processes associated with the enigmatic origin of the highest energy particles in nature.

IceCube uses Antarctica’s ice sheet as the largest instrumented volume of ice/water in the world. Neutrinos passing through the ice sheet collide with atoms creating a blue light at impact that can be detected by IceCube’s digital optical modules (DOMS).

Analog Devices’ data converters and amplifiers are installed in more than 5,000 of these DOMS. The DOMs, which are 13–inch-diameter glass pressure spheres, are deployed under the ice on a cable at depths of between 1.5 and 2.5 km. Over the next 25 years while embedded in ice, the DOMs will detect and transmit experimental data about particle collisions.

“We needed low-power, reliable products capable of providing the longevity needed for this project, especially on the main board in the DOMs. Design teams at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) and the University of Wisconsin-Madison used ADI data converters and amplifiers that fit our needs and requirements," said Jerry Przyblski, LBNL Design Engineer. “We used ADI products, such as ADCs (analog-to-digital converters), DACs (digital-to-analog converters) and amplifiers, in the DOMS and the communications system. So far, IceCube’s scientists have gathered data equal to thousands of DOM years of operation.”

Monday, June 28, 2010

iPhone 4 Antenna Design NOT So Revolutionary

I blogged about the iPhone 4 and its revolutionary new antenna design a little of a week ago and how it might be the future for antenna design for handsets. But I was concerned about how touching the antenna in different ways would affect its performance and how they designed for that.

Well, I guess the answer was they did not completely take that into account and now have reception issues with the iPhone 4. Various reports last week highlighted this issue including a user's e-mail directly to Steve Jobs in which he responded to the user saying well, if it does not work well when you hold it a certain way, don't hold it that way. Are you kidding me? The user has to avoid holding it in the lower left corner or buy a $30 case from Apple to solve a problem that no phone should have in the first place.

Here is a video (there are many of them now) demonstrating the phone showing 4 bars of reception strength without holding it and going to no reception if you hold it normally in the palm of your hand. It also shows that holding it without touch the side band where the antenna resides does not affect the reception. I am very surprised this was not discovered in testing and re-designed.