In the United Kingdom texting is now more popular than making phone calls

People in the UK are now more likely to text than to make a phone call, according to new research from Ofcom.

While 58% of people communicated via texts on a daily basis in 2011, only 47% made a daily mobile call, said the country’s communications industry regulator.

It said the shift away from traditional ways of keeping in touch was being led by young people aged 16-24.

The average UK consumer now sends 50 texts per week while fewer calls are being made on both fixed and mobile phones.

For the first time, there was a fall in the volume of mobile calls – by just over 1% – in 2011, while landline calls were down by 10%.

 

Source: BBC – Texting overtakes talking in UK, says Ofcom study

 

 

Continue reading In the United Kingdom texting is now more popular than making phone calls

Scientists figure out why sun overexposure makes our skin sore (a sunburn!)

A group of scientists have figured out (at least in part) why overexposure to UV light makes our skin get sore, red and swollen.

It goes like this:

  • You sit out in the sun too long. (As if you haven’t been told.)
  • Inside your skin cells, that little RNA molecule is damaged by UV-B — and its shape gets altered.
  • Damaged skin cells release altered pieces of RNA.
  • The altered RNA can bind to a receptor in undamaged skin cells and immune cells called peripheral blood mononuclear cells.
  • These cells, as a result, start pumping out chemicals called cytokines that induce inflammation.
  • Redness and swelling follow.

That’s not the end of it, though. Even though there’s a short term ramp-up in immune activity during sunburn, later on the immune system is suppressed for a period of time.

 

Learn more: L.A. Times – Ow, sunburn: Scientists figure out what’s going on in our skin

 

Continue reading Scientists figure out why sun overexposure makes our skin sore (a sunburn!)

Apple, Amazon, & Microsoft build data centers around dirty energy

The current explosion in cloud computing offered by major IT companies is driving significant new demand for dirty energy like coal and nuclear power, according to a new report from Greenpeace International.

The report, “How Clean is Your Cloud?” shows a growing split within the tech industry between companies that are taking steps to power their clouds with clean energy, like Google, Yahoo and Facebook, and companies like Apple, Amazon and Microsoft who lag behind by choosing to build their growing fleets of data centres to be powered by coal and nuclear energy.

“When people around the world share their music or photos on the cloud, they want to know that the cloud is powered by clean, safe energy,” said Gary Cook, Greenpeace International Senior Policy Analyst. “Yet highly innovative and profitable companies like Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft are building data centres powered by coal and acting like their customers won’t know or won’t care.”

The report research found that if the cloud were a country its electricity demand would currently rank 5th in the world, and is expected to triple by 2020.

“While many IT companies have made great strides in efficiency, that’s only half the picture – they need to make sure their energy comes from clean sources,” said Gary Cook, Greenpeace International Senior Policy Analyst.

Companies like Google, Yahoo and Facebook are beginning to lead the sector down a clean energy pathway through innovations in energy efficiency, prioritising renewable energy access when siting their data centres, and demanding better energy options from utilities and government decision-makers.

 

keep readingApple, Amazon, & Microsoft choose dirty energy

Kids in 3rd grade are 8 years old and 20% have cell phones

Kids in the third grade are, on average, eight years old. Nowadays, 20 percent of third-grade boys and 18 percent of third-grade girls already have a cell phone, according to a 2011 study of 20,766 Massachusetts elementary, middle, and high school students.

By the time the kids reach fifth grade, 39% of the kids have cell phones, and phone saturation is nearly complete by middle school, when more than 83% of the students have a device.

“Adults — digital natives or not — can’t imagine what a childhood mediated by mobile, social technology that didn’t exist 10 years ago is actually like.”

via The Atlantic

// Photo – Parcel Brat

MIT scientists prove that individual neurons store memories

MIT researchers have shown, for the first time ever, that memories are stored in specific brain cells. By triggering a small cluster of neurons, the researchers were able to force the subject to recall a specific memory. By removing these neurons, the subject would lose that memory.

As you can imagine, the trick here is activating individual neurons, which are incredibly small and not really the kind of thing you can attach electrodes to. To do this, the researchers used optogenetics, a bleeding edge sphere of science that involves the genetic manipulation of cells so that they’re sensitive to light. These modified cells are then triggered using lasers; you drill a hole through the subject’s skull and point the laser at a small cluster of neurons.

…we should note that MIT’s subjects in this case are mice

The main significance here is that we finally have proof that memories are physical rather than conceptual.

Keep reading – Extreme Tech