Carbon nanotubes: as safe as…. asbestos?!?

carbon nanotubes

Carbon nanotubes are often hailed as the best thing since sliced bread and a technological innovation that will change our lives in a myriad of ways, but unfortunately a study just published expresses concerns about their safety and compares them to asbestos due to their potential ability to cause inflammation and lesions when inhaled.

“Researchers with British institutes and the U.S.-based Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies injected mice with asbestos and with commercial samples of carbon nanotubes of varying sizes. When they examined the lining of the rodents’ abdominal cavities, the researchers observed that longer nanotubes behaved like asbestos, provoking inflammation and lesions.”

This is very much just a preliminary study and it seems a lot more testing is needed to determine if carbon nanotubes are a health hazard.

Associated Press via Yahoo

UK wants database of every email and phone call

orwell 1984

The UK Government disgusts me.

I feel I can get away with saying that as I was born there, lived the first 25 years of my life there, and unfortunately I now try to avoid going back as much as possible.

Yes the scenery is still beautiful: green fields, old buildings etc but the society itself has fallen so far in the past few decades it is unbelievable. Violent binge drinking, surveillance cameras on many street corners, anti-social behavior fines, public vomiting and urination are commonplace, and the friendly English bobby is friendly no more.

Maybe the people still living there are too close to see the constant erosion of their rights and freedoms, maybe the bans on guns and knives make then feel unable to protect themselves and unwilling to stand up and speak out against criminals or unfair Government policies, or maybe they just feel there is nothing they can do so they will keep their heads down until they can retire to Spain or Florida.

The latest intrusive Government insanity is a proposal to create a database of every phone call and email, no-one cares about privacy or individual rights, they trample all over those in the name of “homeland security” and “crime prevention”.

Will someone please tell the UK Government that George Orwell’s 1984 is meant as a warning of the horrors of an authoritarian society, not as a training manual.

via BBC

tech tools and tips for a tough economy

loose change

Kevin over at jkontherun has been helping his father get over loosing his job. Out of that he has come up with 8 good mobile technology tips and tools to help people deal with an economic downturn.

His tips are:

1. Never, never, never rely solely on a work e-mail address.
2. Set up a personal e-mail account with a professional-looking address.
3. Own a personal computer, preferably a notebook.
4. Get connected.
5. Find free hotspots.
6. Store information online.
7. Set up job agents.
8. Manage your money online.

I would add do your social networking and build business contacts ahead of time as it is often a personal recommendation thats get you a new job, especially in hard economic times when many job vacancies get filled without getting as far as being advertised.

Visit jkontherun for the full article

Track your snail mail by GPS

GPS Mail Tracker

For when you really really want to make sure your mail arrives at it’s destination…. find something else, but if you just want to see how it got there after the fact then here is a gadget for you.

You put the half-inch thick envelope shaped Micro GPS Mail Tracker in an envelope or package then when it is delivered a micro SD card can be taken out of the gadget and used to track where the package was every 2 minutes of it’s journey on Google Maps.

So basically it is only useful for mailing stuff to yourself or to people you really really trust with a $700 gadget.

Video after the jump.

(via coolest-gadgets)

Continue reading

US Customs can search computers without reasonable suspicion


The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that US Customs and Border Patrol agents can search laptops without needing to show reasonable suspicion that a crime has been committed.

“quick, lets search all the confidential business files on that guy’s laptop, Osama Bin Laden may be hiding in one of them”

Whatever happened to the Fourth Amendment?

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

(more at dailybreeze)

Quiet Week

I hope you are all enjoying the week between Christmas and New Year.

This is a very quiet week for gadgets so no new posts, we are getting ready for the CES Consumer Electronics show in Vegas next week; we will be reporting from the show and attending all the fun launch parties that companies have planned.

Happy New Year!

A Little Rant

Forgive me, but I feel a rant coming on.

I visit a lot of web sites every day looking for interesting news to post to ShinyPlastic and our other sites, I am pretty well protected against adware downloads and viruses etc, I don’t block banner ads as they don’t bother me, and I tolerate flash ads that popover a page I am looking at (as long as they have an obvious close or skip button) but you know what really bugs me?

Web sites that automatically resize your browser window.

I hate them.

I have my browser windows set to a size I like, it is just the right size to see a lot but not to take up my whole screen, so I can still see other windows underneath such as email, RSS feeds etc.

Who do these control freak site designers think they are when they tell me they know better than I do what size to make my browser window.

There are two extremes, the sites that automatically resize your browser to 800×600 because that is “optimal” for viewing their site, and those that resize the browser to the max size possible for your screen.

Excuse me, I have two screen and they are both 1600×1200 pixels, I don’t want your crappy little site taking up my whole screen, especially when two-thirds of the broser is now blank space.

And what is the end result of these people messing up my browser window? I leave their site immediately and never return.

Gadget Prices Dropping

Cnet is reporting the biggest monthly drop in consumer electronic prices in 5 months.

Leading the way were 42 inch plasma screens which dropped almost 10% in price last month (to an average of $2500) and big drops were also seen in LCD prices (as we predicted months ago).

One thing I find silly though is that they track 128MB memory cards…. does anyone still buy 128MB memory cards when you can get a 1GB compactflash for under $50?

(if you do you can get a 128MB compachflash card from for a massive $3).

More from Cnet

Google Doubles Index Size

Google Doubles Index Size

Sometimes size is everything. Google has just announced it has doubled the size of it’s index of web pages from 4 billion to 8 billion.

What this means is that for queries that only returned a few results before you should see a lot more relevant results now.

Here is a search box, try it out and see if you get better results:


Digitial Focus Press Event

iriver pmp 120

So last night I headed over to the Digital Focus press event in New York. Digital Focus is basically a room with about 20 major consumer technology companies showing off their latest toys to a bunch of journalists ranging from ABC to PC Magazine to Consumer Reports to Playboy to me.

There was nothing there I hadn’t heard of or seen (or posted here for you) before but it was a great opportunity to get my hands on some of the latest gadgets and try them out.

It was also a great opportunity to meet some of the people who help run other sites you may visit daily – Joel from Gizmodo, Ryan from Engadget, and Janak and Suhit from PocketPCThoughts and DigitalMediaThoughts.

Stay tuned to see what we found from iRiver, Archos, Gateway, HP, Tivo, Netgear, Belkin, and others.