Warning: cell phones may damage your life

You, too, can be a cell phone anarchist. In the grocery store checkout line, when the entrepreneurial fellow in loafers starts hypnotically chanting business plans to his colleagues, simply take a

You, too, can be a cell phone anarchist. In the grocery store checkout line, when the entrepreneurial fellow in loafers starts hypnotically chanting business plans to his colleagues, simply take any items you want from his pile and put them in yours.

You pay for the items, perhaps obtain some of the things on your spouse's list that you forgot and he might get the message when he gets home.

While stopped at a red light, a gentleman in his SUV, also stopped, inadvertently started forward, crashing into my rear bumper. His explanation, with a shrug and smile, was that he had been on his cell phone. I had a few scratches on my bumper, so I let the whole thing go, not even calling his insurance agent.

Do not make this mistake! If this happens to you, sue the bastard for damage to your car, a new paint job and any emotional and/or physical pain he has caused. Cell phones are responsible for a 400 percent increase in a user's likelihood of causing an accident. By suing users, you will be performing a public service for us all.

When your best friend forgets to tell you everything he should, then blames you later in the day for either not being able to read his mind or for not having a cell phone, tell him to shove his cell phone and his inconsiderateness.

Maybe such technology can be wonderful in emergencies, much like the CB radio used to be. Cell phones can increase our autonomy, but sadly this increase is usually at the expense of thoughtfulness toward others.

Communicative technology in general is teaching us how not to communicate with each other. E-mail, for example, because it is used so expediently and can't handle interpersonal nuance, is often creating misunderstanding and resentment. TV, according to social science, has by itself caused 10 percent of the appalling demise of American communities since World War II.

Cell phones might take the downfall of human beings a step further, tangibly into the physical realm. Besides accidents, using a cell phone once or twice a day has been associated with neurological symptoms such as headaches, irritability and dizziness. The microwave radiation from the phones causes animal cells to manufacture heat related protein (HRP) normally produced in response to abnormal heating of cells and cellular damage.

Why this HRP release happens when we can't actually measure a heat change in tissue is one of many enigmas tackled by Dr. George Carlo in his book, Cell Phones: Invisible Hazards in the Wireless Age. Dr. Carlo, hired by the communications industry, became increasingly alarmed as science demonstrated more and more potential problems with the juxtaposition of cell phone antennas and the human skull. As Carlo increased his warnings to industry and government, research funding and Carlo's job disappeared.

Our medical leaders are not helping. A recent study addressing cell phones as a possible cause of brain tumors was accepted for publication early, before adequate peer review, by the 'prestigious' New England Journal of Medicine. The editors apparently felt justified in bypassing checkpoints since the findings were considered important and significant.

However, a cursory glance at the article reveals that almost no percentage of the subjects had used phones more than three years. No subjects with 10 years of use were evaluated. Since brain tumors take 10 to 20 years to develop, the study appears to be, in fact, unimportant and insignificant, perhaps meaningless.

But what does this all mean? Is our medical profession now also treating the profit motive as its god and the measure of our health? Is the promotion of cellular technology an inadvertent or deliberate collusion between industry, government and medical science to manipulate us through our need for convenience, make us dependent on such technology and make us pay up-front at the cost of life and limb?

Prestigious research groups, notably in Britain and Europe, recommend: Keep cell phone antennas away from your head; get a belt clip and a headset if you must use them at all. Keep all use to a minimum. Do not let any children under age 11 or 12 use the phones, as the microwaves penetrate at least twice as far into a child's brain.

What does it mean when top-flight researchers examine the available scientific evidence and make such recommendations while companies are marketing Mickey Mouse and Goofy phones to children? Why don't company leaders, politicians and medical people insist that we do better?

I should point out that it appears access to regular phones, especially public phones, is decreasing. Pay phones are disappearing as repairs become necessary, or are just left broken. I went into an AT&T wireless store to pick up a pre-paid phone card that I used to buy there. They now only have pre-paid cards for cellular phones.

At a local company, junior managers sit at their cardboard cubicles, effectively six inches away from each other, sending each other e-mail to communicate. They use their phones to keep in touch as necessary on their lunch hours as they also try to catch up with other personal business, usually on the phone.

For those few of you who have resisted microwave/autonomy heaven: Since he began his relationship with portable phones, does your best friend appear more self-important and somehow less a friend with time to sit down and talk? If so, why does your best friend insist that you depend on a cell phone, too? Why can't you tell him why you don't want to do it?

Are you beginning to feel lonely?


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