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.

Remember that meme going around a few years back where certain dance beats could hack teen brains? Well, apparently it works for cars.

http://it.slashdot.org/story/11/03/12/0114219/Hacking-a-Car-With-Music?from=rss via Byline

“Researchers at the University of California, San Diego, and the University of Washington have identified a handful of ways a hacker could break into a car, including attacks over the car’s Bluetooth and cellular network systems, or through malicious software in the diagnostic tools used in automotive repair shops. But their most interesting attack focused on the car stereo. By adding extra code to a digital music file, they were able to turn a song burned to CD into a Trojan horse. When played on the car’s stereo, this song could alter the firmware of the car’s stereo system, giving attackers an entry point to change other components on the car. This type of attack could be spread on file-sharing networks without arousing suspicion, they believe. ‘It’s hard to think of something more innocuous than a song,’ said Stefan Savage, a professor at the University of California.”

So next time your car doesn’t start or insists on turning right instead of left, blame those tunes you downloaded from Limewire.

In seemingly unrelated news, the music industry is suing Limewire for 75 trillion dollars. I imagine if the RIAA got wind of professor Savage’s research, they would up the number into the quadrillions.

http://yro.slashdot.org/story/11/03/23/1930238/Limewire-Being-Sued-For-75-Trillion?from=rss via Byline

“13 record companies are trying to sue Limewire for $75 Trillion. The NYC judge in the case thinks it is ‘absurd’. Its almost like these media companies are their worst enemy trying to make themselves look ridiculous. From the article: “The record companies, which had demanded damages ranging from $400 billion to $75 trillion, had argued that Section 504(c)(1) of the Copyright Act provided for damages for each instance of infringement where two or more parties were liable. For a popular site like Lime Wire, which had thousands of users and millions of downloads, Wood held that the damage award would be staggering under this interpretation. ‘If plaintiffs were able to pursue a statutory damage theory predicated on the number of direct infringers per work, defendants’ damages could reach into the trillions,’ she wrote. ‘As defendants note, plaintiffs are suggesting an award that is more money than the entire music recording industry has made since Edison’s invention of the phonograph in 1877.’”

Conspiracy theorists think this app could be used to detect drivers who pick up the phone to text, which is illegal on some states. But given the size of Maine’s potholes, it could also help locate cars that have disappeared into them.

http://apple.slashdot.org/story/11/02/10/0235239/Gov-App-Detects-Potholes-As-Your-Drive-Over-Them?from=rss via Byline An anonymous reader writes “The City of Boston has released an app that uses the accelerometer in your smartphone to automatically report bumps in the road as you drive over them. From the article: ‘The application relies on two components embedded in iPhones, Android phones, and many other mobile devices: the accelerometer and the Global Positioning System receiver. The accelerometer, which determines the direction and acceleration of a phone’s movement, can be harnessed to identify when a phone resting on a dashboard or in a cupholder in a moving car has hit a bump; the GPS receiver can determine by satellite just where that bump is located.’ I am certain that this will not be used to track your movements, unless they are vertical.”

VwVolkswagon has unveiled a plug-in hybrid that gets 260 miles to the gallon and can go 20 miles on electricity alone. At 24 grams of CO2 per kilometer, the XL1 emits less than a third of the emissions of a 2010 Prius.

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