We Need to Ban In-Flight Phone Calls Before It's Too Late

News recently broke that the Department of Transportation is revving up to try to officially ban in-flight phone calls. That's right; the singular, obscene act of yelling into your hand while careening through the air in a metal tube full of strangers could soon be verboten. Good. It should. It's time to kill the… » 8/05/14 12:38pm 8/05/14 12:38pm

Bad Cell Phone Calls Could Actually Be Tracked to Detect Rainfall

Despite the many wonders of our modern cell phones, using them to call a real live human can kind of suck. The sound is fuzzy, the calls drop randomly, and a simple rainstorm can make it all even worse. But there is surprising upside to all this: we can monitor the quality of cell phone calls to track rain and floods… » 7/25/14 3:23pm 7/25/14 3:23pm

I Wouldn't Be Here Without the 1982 World's Fair

On a recent trip home to Knoxville, Tennessee, I had a flashback. Not an acid flashback (I don't think). We were weaving through the hilly streets of downtown in the shadow of the Sunsphere, a discoball of a monument built for the 1982 World's Fair, and suddenly I was there in the crowd, staring at the future. » 4/18/14 12:25pm 4/18/14 12:25pm

Deepsea Minerals Are Coming Soon To A Cell Phone Near You

Rocks mined from the seafloor have been confirmed as a viable source for rare earth metals, and thus a tiny piece of the ocean might soon find its way into a cell phone or computer chipboard near you. The finding, published in the April 2014 issue of Applied Geochemistry, all but guarantees a new round of focus on… » 4/18/14 12:00pm 4/18/14 12:00pm

What Will We Find On Passengers' Cell Phones From Flight MH370?

Bearing in mind that CNN is the same network that suggested Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 might have flown into a black hole, it was nonetheless interesting to hear the network speculate that the cell phones of the flight's passengers might hold an archive of unsent emails, texts, photos, and videos of whatever… » 4/13/14 1:00pm 4/13/14 1:00pm

Report: Google Wants to Become a Wireless Carrier

Google bosses are dreaming about adding wireless service to the search giant's menu of offerings. A couple of unnamed sources "who have discussed the matter with Google" told Amir Efrati at The Information that it would roll out the service in the same areas where Google Fiber is offered. In other words, Google wants… » 4/03/14 11:56am 4/03/14 11:56am

Should People Be Allowed to Make Phone Calls on Planes?

There's been debate for years about whether people should be allowed to use their cellphones on planes. And with safety concerns diminishing, we've collectively moved on to other grievances: namely how annoying it will be to listen to five different phone conversations at once while trapped in a small, airborne pod. » 12/15/13 1:44pm 12/15/13 1:44pm

What the World Would Look Like If You Could See Cell Phone Signals

There are thousands of invisible signals bouncing around us all the time, and the world would be a very different place if we could see them. Visualizer extraordinaire Nickolay Lamm already showed us what the Wi-Fi noise would look like, and now he's back to illuminate the cell phone signals all around us. It's trippy. » 12/11/13 11:03am 12/11/13 11:03am

Cops Made Over 1 Million Requests for Cell Phone Data Last Year

Police don't have much trouble getting access to your cell phone data. Location data, call records, text messages—it's all up for grabs, often without a warrant. In fact, last year alone, law enforcement authorities made at least 1.1 million requests to mobile carriers for your information. » 12/09/13 12:20pm 12/09/13 12:20pm