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The blog Nashville’s Dead has been kicking ass overall lately, as chronicled by the Scene in their People Issue from a few weeks back. I want to take a moment, however, to specifically point out the photography work of their main shuttergirl Bekah Cope. The photo to the left is of Turbo Fruits on Saturday night of SXSW at the Mohawk Patio. Not only was it an insane performance, as evidenced by the fact that Jonas is hanging upside-down from the rafters, but it’s the perfect shot to capture the essence of that particular show. Bekah shoots all shows with film and a simple on-camera flash in a way that most professionals try to avoid at all costs. But she fearlessly challenges the norm and as a result, her work has an entirely different aesthetic than what the more seasoned professionals go for. It’s good in a completely different way. Her perspective and style is refreshing and fits perfectly with DIY feel of Nashville’s Dead and the music they cover (a good majority of it is house shows). At times some of her photos almost hit the same spot on my visual palate as William Eggleston’s work does. Check out her SXSW photos at Nashville’s Dead and more of her stuff on her flickr.

I’ll take just a moment to express my opinions about the recent rumors of a Verizon/Sprint/T-Mobile iPhone coming soon. A Wall Street Journal article earlier this week mentioned that the iPhone will likely be opened up to other carriers as early as this summer. While has long been a matter of “when,” not “if,” I’m certainly excited that this is finally happening. I’m very skeptical, however, that a Verizon version of the phone will be on the market before 2011 or even later. Currently there are two main protocols for 3G (3rd generation) wireless networks: GSM and CDMA. I won’t get into the technical details, but basically T-Mobile and AT&T both use the GSM standard, while Sprint and Verizon use the CDMA standard. Obviously the iPhone is a GSM device since it’s currently only on AT&T, thus it would be relatively easy to make one for T-Mobile since they’re GSM as well. Building an iPhone for Verizon and Sprint, however, is a different ballgame because many of the components have to be different. This is why I think it may be a little longer before we see a CDMA iPhone. Though the report did mention that some companies are already building the components for CDMA iPhone, there’s a lot more to it than just building the device. Verizon is known to be cranky about the content delivered through their network, and while I have no idea what they have up their sleeve in regards to iPhone content, I have to say it’ll probably be different than it is on the AT&T network. I hope I’m wrong about that though. Furthermore, Verizon is supposedly going to unveil their new 4G network sometime next year, which will use the new LTE standard, which will supposedly become the universal standard for all wireless networks. So why are they building a CDMA phone in the first place when it’ll just be replaced in a couple of years? The reason this matters to me is that I’m one of the people who would love to have an iPhone, but refuse to switch to AT&T. This is because I constantly see people on AT&T having signal coverage issues. Case in point: the entire floor on which I work which is just slightly below street level is a total dead zone for ALL other carriers except Verizon. If I didn’t have Verizon, I would have no phone service ALL DAY LONG. I’ve seen the same thing happen in other buildings as well. Not to mention Verizon is way ahead of the rest of the pack in customer service ratings. Sorry for the rant.

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In the past 10 years or so, I’ve become more and more of a skeptic. Especially in the last 5 or so years, the American public has become increasingly susceptible to scaremongering and inflated fears about health issues, doomsday nonsense, and other junk science that has no basis in reality. The myth about cell phone radiation causing brain cancer is one example of this. The flat truth is that there had been no proven link between cell phone use and brain cancer. In fact, according to Christopher Wanjek’s column on LiveScience there has been no significant increase in brain cancer that correlates in any way with the increase of cell phone usage. We all know how much cell phone usage has risen in the last 2 decades… if they cause brain cancer, why the hell hasn’t there been a corresponding increase in the disease? Because there’s no connection. That being said, this article on NewScientist is one of many covering research into the effects of cell phone radiation on the brain, and in fact it does affect brain tissue, and there have been some hints that extremely prolonged exposure could cause some degree of tissue damage, but tissue damage is not the same thing as brain cancer. Furthermore, another recent study actually showed that cell phone radiation reversed the effects of Alzheimer’s disease in mice! (And if you look at the bottom of that article, you’ll see that the study wasn’t funded by any cell phone companies…) We might even soon be seeing cell phone radiation used as a treatment for the disease. So, the jury may still be out on whether it causes tissue damage or has therapeutic effects on memory, but with as many studies as have been done on the link between the radiation and brain cancer, it’s pretty obvious that cell phones don’t cause brain cancer. Unfortunately some companies have tried to capitalize on the scaremongering by marketing products that are supposed to “protect” you brain from the radiation. These don’t work, and several have been shut down by the FTC.

Now that I’m off my skeptic soapbox, something actually interesting:

Biologists have discovered a species of sea slug that is the first know organism to be able to produce chlorophyll. This creature actually has aspects of both plants and animals, and thus sounds like something straight out of a sci-fi movie. But it’s real. Scientists have determined that it somehow “borrowed” the plant genes that allow chlorophyll production from the algae that it consumes. Exactly how it did that in it’s evolutionary path is still a mystery. It still can’t produce the actual chloroplasts (the cells that are responsible for the conversion of sunlight into energy) without consuming algae, but it apparently can produce chlorophyll entirely on its own.

And just for kicks: How the main LOST characters would each make a peanut butter & jelly sandwich. (Via Yewknee’d)

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