International Intonation – April 3, 2013

Mark Hendricks, Contributor Ω

The Nokia Talkman, one of the first "mobile" phones in the world.- PHOTO COURTESY OF: Kristof.k

The Nokia Talkman, one of the first “mobile” phones in the world.

Safety standards for cell phones

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ordered an official inquiry into safety standards with regards to cell phones on March 29.

The investigation focuses around cell phone radiation and the effects it can have on the user. Cell phones already have safety standards with regards to radiation but they haven’t been updated since 1986.

For comparison purposes, the new phone on the market at that time was the Nokia Talkman. It weighed 4.8 kilograms, had its own carrying case, and cost more than $3,000.

The notice of inquiry was issued nine months ago, but was only officially registered on Friday. This allows the FCC to start collecting data about the testing processes for cell phones.

The FCC has stated this is being regarded as a standard procedure and the rules may not change at all after the inquiry.

Where you can find out more:

North Korea openly threatens the United States

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un has continued issuing threats and claims to have missiles targeted at U.S. soil.

“He finally signed the plan on technical preparations of strategic rockets of the KPA (Korean People’s Army), ordering them to be on standby for fire so that they may strike any time the U.S. mainland, its military bases in the operational theatres in the Pacific, including Hawaii and Guam and those in South Korea,” according to the Korean Central News Agency, the official state-run media outlet in North Korea.

This is the latest in a long line of threats dating back to when the UN tightened sanctions on North Korea after their third nuclear test.

“The time has come to settle accounts with the U.S. imperialists in view of the prevailing situation,” Kim said after the U.S. flew two nuclear-capable stealth bombers on training missions over North Korean airspace.

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Tattoo tracked troops

The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency hopes to develop tattoos that will track all of a soldier’s vitals in the hopes of better understanding combat fatigue.

The tattoo will track heart rate, temperature and bio-electric responses.

Current materials will allow sensors and transmitters to be adhered into a membrane that can be stuck to the skin. The membrane will form the basis of the tattoo and is flexible and strong enough to be stretched into a design that is capable of withstanding the rigors of combat.

The material won’t be embedded into the skin like a traditional tattoo but will instead sit on the surface of the skin like a temporary tattoo.

“This innovative design contains all of the necessary components in an ultrathin layer about the thickness of a human hair,” wrote Zhenqiang Ma, an electrical engineer at the University of Wisconsin, in a review of the technology.

Where you can find out more: