So we know from NMDnet that cell phones are privacy disasters–but what are they good at? How about detecting cancer, getting drivers out of speeding tickets, and blowing up terrorists, for starters?

http://mobile.slashdot.org/story/11/03/11/1847248/Smartphone-Device-Detects-Cancer-In-an-Hour?from=rss via Byline

“Scientists at the Center for Systems Biology at Massachusetts General Hospital have integrated a microNMR device that accurately detects cancer cells and integrates with a smartphone (abstract). Though just a prototype, this device enables a clinician to extract small amounts of cells from a mass inside of a patient, analyze the sample on the spot, acquire the results in an hour, and pass the results to other clinicians and into medical records rapidly. How much does the device cost to make? $200. Seriously, smartphones just got their own Samuel L. Jackson-esque wallet.” Reader Stoobalou points out other cancer-related news that Norwegian researchers have found a group of genes that increase a person’s risk to develop lung cancer.

Of course, cell phones have also been accused of causing cancer. Well, how about getting out of a speeding ticket?

http://yro.slashdot.org/story/11/02/26/021218/Smart-Phone-Gets-Driver-Out-of-a-Speeding-Ticket?from=rss

“Sahas Katta writes in Skattertech that a traffic cop pulled him over while driving home and gave him a speeding ticket but thanks to his Android, he ended up walking out of traffic court without having to pay a fine or adding a single point to his record. “I fortunately happened to have Google Tracks running when an officer cited me for speeding while heading back home from a friend’s place,” writes Katta. “The speed limit in the area was a mere 25 miles per hour and the cop’s radar gun shockingly clocked me driving over 40 miles per hour.” Once in court Katta asked the officer the last time he attended radar gun training, when the device was last calibrated, or the unit’s model number — none of which the officer could answer. “I then presented my time stamped GPS data with details about my average moving speed and maximum speed during my short drive home. Both numbers were well within the posted speed limits,” says Katta. “The judge took a moment and declared that I was not guilty, but he had an unusual statement that followed. To avoid any misinterpretations about his ruling, he chose to clarify his decision by citing the lack of evidence on the officer’s part. He mentioned that he was not familiar enough with GPS technology to make a decision based on my evidence, but I can’t help but imagine that it was an important factor.”"

Not impressed? How about the ability to blow up suicide bombers before they get to you ?

http://idle.slashdot.org/story/11/01/28/1228241/Spam-Text-Prematurely-Blows-Up-Suicide-Bomber?from=rss via Byline

“A suicide bomber’s plan to detonate explosives in Central Moscow on New Year’s Eve was foiled when she received an unexpected spam text message that caused her deadly payload to blow up too early. A message wishing her a happy new year came hours before the unnamed woman was to set off her suicide belt near Red Square, an act of terrorism that could have killed hundreds of people. Islamist terrorists in Russia often use mobile phones as detonators. The bomber’s handler, who is usually watching his charge, sends the bomber a text message to set off the explosive belt at the moment when it is thought they can inflict maximum casualties.”

How to keep these apps from wasting your phone battery? Throw one of these in your backpack.

http://feeds.wired.com/~r/wired/index/~3/6k03KlR8C0w/ via Byline

Put this tubular object in your backpack, and you can generate juice for your cellphone — just by walking around.

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