National Opt-Out Day

TSA ScannerNew security measures are being placed at airports around the U.S. – and they are meeting with major protests by travelers. Many people are complaining about the new full-body scanners, which visualize the passenger without clothing, as well as the “pat-down” that is provided for those who refuse to pass down the scanner. Some passengers have complained that the new, more aggressive body search is a violation of their personal space.

Yet, despite the huge publicity they’ve received, most passengers will not be subjected to full-body scans or pat-downs during their travel during this Thanksgiving season, as there are now just 400 body scanners at 70 U.S. airports, according to the Transportation Security Administration spokesman. This means that fewer than one-fifth of the 2,200 security lanes in the nation’s 450 commercial airports are already equipped with the machine.

In those places where the scanners are in place, however, there may be some delays due to protests of the new equipment. An online movement is encouraging people to adopt the day before Thanksgiving as National Opt-Out Day, in which they “opt out” of the new scanners and slow down the screening process by opting for a pat-down search instead. Consumer advocate Ralph Nader is among those support the opt-out initiative. But organizations such as the Air Travelers Association oppose the protest, saying it will just cause difficulties and delays for the passengers it is ostensibly meant to help.

Cellphone Radiation, Dangerous or Not?

Cell-Phone-RadiationDid you know that every cell phone comes with a warning that it might be unhealthy to hold the phone near your head or stuffed in your pocket? This warning about the hazards of cell phone use comes on a tiny slip of paper which you probably barely even noticed when you unpacked your phone, right before you either held it next to your ear to make a call, or stuffed in your pocket so you could take it with you, since it is called a ‘mobile’ phone in some places.

Some companies even have a recommended distance to keep the phones away from your head and/or body. Apple declares that iPhones should be kept a minimum of 5/8 of an inch away, while the manufacturer of BlackBerry says one inch is the optimum safe distance.

Devra Davis, an epidemiologist recently published a book entitled “Disconnect” about cellphone radiation, which explains that the question of whether the low-level radiation produced by cellphones is hazardous has not been conclusively proven one way or another.

Being Green II

ATT-Samsung-EvergreenWhat is now the greatest source of “E-waste” in the world? The answer is: Computers, monitors and… cell phones. With the average American upgrading to a new cellular model every 1.5 to 2 years, cell phones are now the fastest growing source of manufactured waste in the country. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reports that Americans are now getting rid of 125 million phones annually, producing 65,000 tons of garbage. Furthermore, discarded cell phones are particularly hazardous to the environment, as the toxins many of them contain, such as lead, mercury, cadmium, flame retardants and arsenic, leak into the landfills and pollute our air and water nationwide.

The good news is: There are now a few ways you can upgrade your cell phone without downgrading the quality of the planet. When you’re ready to trade in your mobile, try one of the following:
1. Visit the Call2Recycle website. Put your zip code into the designated place on the website and they’ll direct you to the nearest location in your area where their drop-box is located. Many major electronics stores, like Radio Shack and Office Depot, host Call2Recycle drop-boxes in their stores.

2. Contact CollectiveGood; they’ll take your old cell phone, refurbish it, and sell it to companies who distribute them in developing countries to help open communication to the world’s poor. You can even direct the profits from the sale of your phone to the charity of your choice.

3. Contact your local government to find out what the law is for cell phone recycling in your area. While there is no federal law mandating cell phone recycling, some states and Canadian provinces are filling in the gap. California passed the Cell Phone Recycling Act in 2006; in New York, legislation S-8182-A requires New York cell phone providers to accept your old cell phone at no charge and then recycle or dispose of it properly.

4. Look for the “green phones” on the market. The new AT&T Samsung Evergreen, for example, is made up of 70% post-consumer recycled materials and comes with an Energy Star 2.0 certified charger. What this phone does not have is PVC, BFR and Beryllium. What it does have is a full QWERTY keyboard, a 2.4 inch QVGA display, a 2.0 megapixel camera with video screen and 3G support with Bluetooth. So thanks to AT&T’s new Samsung Evergreen – you can now have your (organic) cake and eat it too!

Green Technology You Can Use

“Going Green” is the catchword of the times. But even with the best of intentions, many people are not sure how to actually integrate green technology and good environmental habits into their homes and daily lives. To help you help the planet, we’ve brought you a few recommendations on how to make your house more green.
1. Buy Green Appliances: Your refrigerator can be any color you want – but check whether it has the “Energy Star” logo. Such appliances use between ten and fifty percent less energy and water than their non-environmentally friendly counterparts. Since the fridge is one of the biggest users of energy in the home, an efficient one can really help you cut down on your electricity bill as well.
2. Keep Cool: Nearly half the energy consumed in the home is due to heating and cooling. So keep it a bit cooler in winter and hotter in the summer and you’ll save both energy and money. A programmable thermostat can do this for you automatically. Continue reading Green Technology You Can Use

Mac Takes Over From Microsoft?

If you can remember all the way back to the year 2007, you might recall that the dominant operating system in the United States was what the omnipresent and all powerful Microsoft mega-company was offering. Then the universe changed and Apple set their iPhone loose on the market. Now Apple’s ubiquitous smartphone commands the vast majority of sales with Microsoft’s Windows Mobile operating system dragging behind miserably at about 3% of market share.

You have to hand it to Microsoft. They are bravely beginning their fight back up the market-share ladder with their latest and greatest smartphones using Windows Phone 7 software. These endowed phones went on sale first thing on Monday at AT&T stores throughout the country, including the HTC Surround and Samsung Focus. Continue reading Mac Takes Over From Microsoft?