A flow of global news in pacy bits

     Print Edition: September 2011

NO BABY TALK

mobile phone cancer
Yes, we know of the conflicting results of studies on whether cell phone usage is a health liability. The jury is still out on that, but here is one news that should alert parents. According to a study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, the radio emissions from mobile devices penetrate much deeper into the brains of children.

Apparently the brain tissues of children aged between five and eight absorb twice the energy that the head of an average adult does. This can, over time, affect their developing nervous systems. While long-term risks remain unknown, the researchers conclude that "a large and immediate risk of cell phones causing brain tumours in children can be excluded". So little Gudiya won't begin sprouting cancer cells overnight, but you might want to keep the mobile out of her reach.


CARTING A TABLET
tablet
We know tablets are hot (in fact, PC sales have slipped in the US, one of the factors as admitted by industry watchers being more people plumping for the tablet). But would you expect one in a shopping cart at your local mall? That's what a Chinese company is doing. SK Telecom's pilot programme in Shanghai's Lotus Supermarkets employs tablets that sync to your smartphone and inform you about discounts and sales while you shop.

Lotus shoppers first download an app to their smartphone that is used to create a shopping list and search for coupons and discounts. When shoppers amble down the aisles, the app syncs with the store's Wi-Fi network and the cart's tablet to provide real-time info. For example, if you were in the dairy aisle, the tablet might use augmented reality to let you know that a certain ice-cream brand is on sale or that there's a new kind of organic apple juice on the shelves. Knowing how China exports its products to every part of the world, we could well be pushing tab carts very soon ourselves.


FALLING APPLE
apple
Newtons, put on your thinking caps-Apple is falling. Google's Android platform has captured almost 50 per cent of the global smartphone market, dominating in the Asia-Pacific region, says research firm Canalys. Android was the number one platform in 35 of 56 countries, with a market share of 48 per cent. Apple is a distant second with a market share of 19 per cent but it overtook Nokia as the world's largest smartphone vendor.


FAR-FLUNG ATMs
atm
Most of us in cities and towns are so used to ATMs that we would be at a loss should we find ourselves with no money-spewing box in sight. But folks in rural areas, for whom operating an ATM would present problems, could also now enjoy the facility.

17%: The number of people who use Facebook to communicate with friends. 21% use email. Most (59%) still use phone messaging for catching up with social contacts, while 5% use instant messaging.
Cash register manufacturer NRC Corp has created a brand new ATM machine that looks like a post-office box. It will have biometric sensors, pre-set cash buttons, a printer and cash dispenser.

The main idea behind the device is to simplify ATM operations using biometrics and simple buttons. Users will scan their fingerprint, press a button and retrieve their cash. The ATM will begin testing in the US, but within a year, the company hopes to be sending these machines to targeted markets like China and India.

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