Friday, May 10, 2019

North American smartphone market hits 5-year low: report

The smartphone market in North America dropped 18% year over year in the first three months of 2019, according to a report from research firm Canalys.

Smartphone shipments hit 36.4 million units during the first quarter of  2019, representing a five-year low. The slump comes after smartphone shipments hit a record high in the first quarter of 2018 at 44.4 million units shipped.

Canalys’ report points to Apple’s poor performance and an “absence” of ZTE as causes for the downturn. Apple shipments dropped 19% year over year in the first quarter of 2019 in North America, but the company remained the market leader. Canalys estimates Apple shipped a total of 14.6 million iPhones during the quarter, representing 40% of the total smartphone shipments in North America. Apple shipped 4.5 million of its newest iPhone XR phones during the quarter, accounting for 13% of total smartphone shipments.

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“Apple’s fall in Q1 followed particularly high shipments of flagship iPhones in the previous quarter,” said Canalys research analyst Vincent Thielke in a statement. “But, there was a disconnect between channel orders and consumer demand, which then caused early shipments in Q1 to be challenging for Apple.”

Thielke pointed to trade-in promotions as a key driver for smartphone shipments for Apple. “Apple has shown how vital trade-ins have become by moving the mechanism to the front and center of its ordering process,” Thielke said, adding that the company “frequently uses the net price in its flagship iPhone marketing.”

“The momentum of trade-in promotions in Q2 and Q3 will determine the extent to which Apple can counter negative market forces, such as longer device cycles,” Thielke said.
Samsung, Apple’s main competitor in the region, shipped an estimated 10.6 million smartphones during the quarter, accounting for 29% of the total smartphone shipments in the region. Samsung shipped 4 million of its latest Galaxy phones in total, including 2 million S10e phones and 2 million S10+ phones. Those two models together accounted for 12% of total smartphone shipments during the quarter, Canalys said.

“Samsung brought real differentiation to its Galaxy S10 devices,” Thielke said, pointing to features such as the triple camera, ultra-wide-angle lens, hole punch display and reverse wireless charging. “Samsung is among the first to bring [these features] to the U.S in a mass-market smartphone, and the appeal of such new features will be important for other launches this year.”

Thielke also said differentiation between phones had become a weak spot for Apple. A key challenge for Apple is that “its latest iPhones are just not different enough,” Thielke said. “For its performance to improve in 2020, Apple will need to emphasize radical new features that are most likely to impress customers.”

Class action lawsuit over Smart Meter harm to humans dismissed by Supreme Court

From 2016

(NaturalNews) A judge with the British Columbia Supreme Court has dismissed a class action lawsuit initiated by a yoga instructor. The lawsuit claims that the smart meters installed by electric company BC Hydro are making residents sick.

Nomi Davis of Salt Spring Island filed the suit in 2013, noting that she began to suffer health problems after BC Hydro installed a smart meter at her home against her wishes.

Smart meters are digital utility meters that transmit utility usage information to the utility company via high-energy radiofrequency (RF) radiation. This is the same radiation emitted by cellular phones and towers, as well as by wireless internet.

'No evidence?'

After the installation of the smart meter at her home, Davis began suffering from headaches and joint pain. Other customers suffering health problems after the installation of BC Hydro smart meters joined Davis's lawsuit.

The lawsuit claimed that by installing smart meters without customers' consent, BC Hydro had violated those customers' rights to life, liberty and security of person.

Judge Elaine Adair was not convinced however, and said that there was simply not enough material evidence to support those claims, and that therefore no court would be able to find in the plaintiffs' favor.

"There is no admissible evidence that these issues could be resolved on a class-wide basis," Adair wrote.

Part of the problem seems to stem from the fact that not everyone reacts to RF radiationin the same way – thus the need for the label of "electro-sensitivity." Yet, according to the EMF Safety Network, which has collected reports on the health effects of wireless radiation, problems associated with smart meters include mood disorders (anxiety, irritability, agitation and stress), sleep problems, headaches, flu-like symptoms, pain or ringing in the ears, balance problems and dizziness, fatigue, weakness, eye problems (including pain), cramps or neuropathy in the legs, skin disorders, respiratory problems, urinary problems, cognitive symptoms (hyperactivity, disorientation or problems with concentration, memory and learning), seizures, cancer recurrence and even dysfunction of the endocrine system or heart.

Yes, radiation damages DNA

Despite the judge's claims, there is indeed reason to believe that smart meters might cause health problems. The World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified cellular phone radiation as a possible carcinogen, based on a review of the scientific research.

Cell phones and smart meters both use RF radiation to transmit their signals.

Traditionally, scientists have believed that "non-ionizing" radiation, including RF radiation, is too low-energy to damage cells or DNA. Yet, evidence continues to build up to the contrary. The industry-funded Interphone study, for example, found that a decade of cellular phone use increases the risk of brain tumors by 40 percent. Among those who started using cell phones before age 20, the risk increase was 400 percent.

Findings like these are what led many European governments to ban cellular phones and wireless internet from libraries and elementary schools, and also led to the European Union's environmental watchdog organization warning in 2007 that overenthusiastic adoption of cellular technology "could lead to a health crisis similar to those caused by asbestos, smoking, and lead in petrol."

A 2015 study from the journal Electromagnetic Biology & Medicine uncovered one mechanism by which RF radiation might cause a wide variety of health problems, including cancer. A review of prior research on the health effects of RF radiation revealed that radiation levels equivalent to those obtained from normal cell phone or wireless internet use are enough to cause oxidative stress – a condition in which the production of cell- and DNA-damaging free radicals overwhelms the capacity of the body's antioxidants to keep them in check.

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Sources for this article include:


The Hum: An Anomalous Sound Heard Around the World

Abstract—The Hum is a mysterious and untraceable sound that is heard incertain locations around the world by two to ten percent of the population.  Historically, the area that has been most affected by the Hum is the United Kingdom, where reports have been frequent since the early 1970s. In the United States, Hum reports date from the early 1990s, with the two most publicizedlocations being Taos, New Mexico, and Kokomo, Indiana. The source of the Hum has never been located. The Hum does not appear to be a form of tinnitus and may not be an acoustic sound. More than just a noise, the Hum is also capable of manifesting as vibrations felt throughout the body and is often accompanied by a suite of physical symptoms that includes headaches, nausea,and pain in the ears. Analysis of the largely anecdotal data that are available atthe present time suggests that the most probable explanation is that some people have the capability to interpret radio transmissions at certain wavelengths as sound. It is well established in the scientific literature that people can hear electromagnetic energy at certain frequencies and peak power levels. Previous studies have found that a subset of the population has an electromagneticsensitivity that is significantly greater than the mean. Several hypotheses are considered and discussed as possible sources of the Hum. These include cellular telephone transmissions, LORAN, HAARP, and the TACAMO aircraft operated by the US Navy for the purpose of submarine communications.

Read full article here

One Million Species on the Brink of Extinction, Finds U.N. Report

United Nations report described as the most authoritative and comprehensive assessment of global biodiversity ever published found that human exploitation of the natural world has pushed a million plant and animal species to the brink of extinction—with potentially devastating implications for the future of civilization.

Conducted by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) and released Monday, the report warned that species extinction rates are “accelerating” at an “unprecedented” rate due to the human-caused climate crisis and economic activity.

“The overwhelming evidence of the IPBES Global Assessment, from a wide range of different fields of knowledge, presents an ominous picture,” Sir Robert Watson, chair of the IPBES, said in a statement. “The health of ecosystems on which we and all other species depend is deteriorating more rapidly than ever. We are eroding the very foundations of our economies, livelihoods, food security, health, and quality of life worldwide.”

While the report’s findings—compiled by a team of hundreds of experts from 50 nations—are dire and cause for serious alarm, Watson said, there is still a window for action.
“It is not too late to make a difference, but only if we start now at every level from local to global,” said Watson. “Through ‘transformative change,’ nature can still be conserved, restored, and used sustainably—this is also key to meeting most other global goals. By transformative change, we mean a fundamental, system-wide reorganization across technological, economic, and social factors, including paradigms, goals, and values.”

Eduardo Brondizio, co-chair of the IPBES, echoed Watson, saying “business as usual has to end.”

The IPBES report comes as youth-led movements across the globe are organizing and taking to the streets en masse to pressure political leaders to take climate action in line with the urgency demanded by the scientific evidence.

Andrew Wetzler, managing director of the nature program for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), told the Washington Post that the IPBES assessment shows “that nature is collapsing around us and it’s a real wake-up call to humanity.”

The average abundance of native species in most major land-based habitats has fallen by at least 20 percent, mostly since 1900;
More than 40 percent of amphibian species, almost 33 percent of reef forming corals, and more than a third of all marine mammals are threatened;
The picture is less clear for insect species, but available evidence supports a tentative estimate of 10 percent being threatened;
At least 680 vertebrate species had been driven to extinction since the 16th century and more than 9 percent of all domesticated breeds of mammals used for food and agriculture had become extinct by 2016, with at least 1,000 more breeds still threatened.

Andy Purvis, professor at the Natural History Museum in London and one of the report’s main authors, said the findings show that the “society we would like our children and grandchildren to live in is in real jeopardy.”

“This is the most thorough, the most detailed and most extensive planetary health check. The take home message is that we should have gone to the doctor sooner. We are in a bad way,” Purvis said. “I cannot overstate it. If we leave it to later generations to clear up the mess, I don’t think they will forgive us.”

Blue Light Blues: Melatonin Suppression and Breast Cancer

There is growing evidence for adverse ocular effects of blue light emitted from LED screens from computers, cell phones and tablets which can cause direct retinal damage and also inhibit melatonin production in the pineal gland and alter circadian rhythms. Melatonin is a potent antioxidant which is produced in the pineal gland and is also found  in the retina where it modulates genes responsible for circadian rhythms via the ganglion cell layer (Blasiak 2016).   Researchers have found photosensitive retinal ganglion cells (ipRGCs) in the mammalian brain which are not related to image formation but direct circadian rhythms, pupil constriction and alertness through 465nm blue light Vandewalle(2018).
This cascade of biological effects contributes to a host of chronic disease states, including high blood pressure, depression and cancer.
Dr David Blask and colleagues have conducted studies showing that light suppresses melatonin leading to stimulation of breast cancer growth. When they grafted human MCF-7 breast cancer cell xenograft on mice and exposed one to light- light and the other to light-dark environments they found the light- light group had increased cancer cell growth rates. (Blask 2002)   The International Agencyfor Cancer Research (IARC) classified shift work that involves circadian disruption as a “probable carcinogen”. (IARC 2007)

Harvard Recommendations for Reducing Blue Light Exposure

LED lights from lightbulbs, computers, cell phones, video games and tablets emit blue light from the screen.  Overhead LED lights that are now commonly used also emit more blue light than fluorescent light bulbs, and incandescent light bulbs emit the least blue light. Although much more energy efficient, LED lighting which has largely replaced incandescent in homes, businesses and street lights, may be creating a health risk through complex biologic effects on our melatonin levels and circadian rhythms.  Here are the Harvard guidelines  Blue light has a dark side. Updated August 13, 2018.

Protect yourself from blue light at night (Harvard 2018)

  • Use dim red lights for night lights. Red light has the least power to shift circadian rhythm and suppress melatonin.
  • Avoid looking at bright screens beginning two to three hours before bed.
  • If you work a night shift or use a lot of electronic devices at night, consider wearing blue-light blocking glasses or installing an app that filters the blue/green wavelength at night.
  • Expose yourself to lots of bright light during the day, which will boost your ability to sleep at night, as well as your mood and alertness during daylight.

sunglasses-1271913_1920Blue Light Blocking Glasses for Improved Physical and Mental Health

Amber colored blue light absorbing glasses, computer and cell phone screen covers have been developed to block blue light from artificial LED lighting and screens, typically 2-3 hours before bedtime.  More research needs to be done, however, scientists have found that using these blue light blocking devices may promote higher melatonin levels near bedtime thus reducing insomnia.  Evidence is showing the positive effects on blue light blocking glasses not only on sleep quality and timing (Zebrine 2018; Eskai 2016; Burkhart 2009) but also potentially on symptoms of mania in those with manic depressive symptoms by acting as physiologic “dark therapy” not necessarily related to melatonin production (Shirahama 2018; Henriksen 2016). Quality varies with the amount and spectrum of blue light blocked by different glasses. If you are purchasing glasses it is important to get high quality tested glasses and know which frequencies are blocked either full blue light blockage (400-500nm), full blue green blockage (400-550nm ) or specific blue frequencies (i.e.480nm)  blocked on the spectrum (from 400-550nm). In general the more full blue light spectrum blocked the better it will enhance melatonin production. Consumer Reports-3 Blue Blockers Put to the Test 
Apple has introduced “Nightshift” software into their new phones (OS9.3 and above)  that reduces blue light at night. You can access by pressing Settings >Display&Brightness >NightShift and set it to the times you wish the display to reduce blue light. Some research from the Lighting Research Center  has shown that  this Apple setting may not help you sleep as much as anticipated as the brightness of the screen and excess mental stimulation may also be factors on melatonin levels.

Dr. Charles Czeisler Discusses Broad Health Impacts of Poor Sleep

Charles A. Czeisler, MD, PhD, Chief, Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, explains the critical impacts of sleep on brain function and physical health. He states that sleep is the third pillar of good health along with nutrition and exercise. Lowering blue light at night is component of healthy sleep.   Dr. Czeisler , whose group  has worked with astronauts to reset their circadian rhythms before going into space research, highlights the many bodily systems effected by insomnia including

Doctors Warn That LED City Street Lights Blue Spectrum Can Damage Vision
In  2016 the American Medical Association warned cities that the new energy efficient street light that were being installed to combat global climate change can harm the retina, affect circadian rhythms and sleep patterns. Studies have shown that brighter residential nighttime lighting is associated with sleep disruption. AMA Board Member Maya A. Babu, M.D., M.B.A states, “Despite the energy efficiency benefits, some LED lights are harmful when used as street lighting, The new AMA guidance encourages proper attention to optimal design and engineering features when converting to LED lighting that minimize detrimental health and environmental effects.”
News on Harm From LED Street Lamps

Fatal Collision: Harm from Wireless Eyewear

people-3365369_1920A new 2018 paper,  Fatal Collision: Are Wireless Headsets a Risk in Treating Patients?,   highlights the potential bodily  harm from wearing wireless headsets, augmented reality systems and glass-type eyewear.  Co-authored by Cindy Sage, who is also co- author of the Bioinitiative Report, this review article reveals that these devices, are connected to the internet and have similar radiation (2.4 and 5GHz) to cell phones. An association has been identified between long term cell phone use and brain cancers on the same side of the head. There is also the concern for lack of concentration and distraction when using these devices, similar to cell phones. Damage to eye structures is an obvious concern.
These wireless devices are increasingly being used in medicine (google glass-type wearables)  and by educators but no thought has been given to the harm from long term use. Children are seen in ads wearing wireless headsets for entertainment. It is the next best marketing and sales opportunity in technology.  Sage and Hardell note, “using wireless glass-type devices can expose the user to a specific absorption rates (SAR) of 1.11–1.46 W/kg of radiofrequency radiation. That RF intensity is as high as or higher than RF emissions of some cell phones. Prolonged use of cell phones used ipsilaterally at the head has been associated with statistically significant increased risk of glioma and acoustic neuroma.”  Studies are inadequate to determine safety of these wireless devices long term. There are to date insufficient protective guidelines for adults or children who are increasing using these devices for entertainment, in classrooms and therapeutically in medicine. Precautionary recommendations for use are needed.

Eye Absorption of Radiation from Cell Phones and Virtual Reality

In a new paper Fernandez et al (2018) reveals that young eyes and brains absorb 2 to 5 fold more radiation than that of an adult. He cautions that we need to reexamine regulations and compliance with regards to these devices as testing uses a large adult male (SAM) . Dr. Fernandez also advises precautions proposed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, that young children should not use cell phones. This study indicated virtual reality type devices should also not be used by children. He urges wired connections to reduce children’s  needless exposure to non-ionizing radiation. More research is critically needed in this area as widespread commercial use has already begun.
Fernandez Screen Shot 2018-10-29 at 11.41.15 PM
Reprinted with permission.


Published Studies Physiologic Eye Effects

Newest Articles

Blue Light

Computer Vision Syndrome

  • Prevalence of dry eye in video display terminal users: a cross-sectional Caucasian study in Italy. (2018). Rossi GCM et al. Int. Ophthalmol.
  • Eyesight quality and Computer Vision Syndrome.(2017) Bogdanici CM et al. Rom J Ophthalmic. 2017 Apr-Jun;61(2):112-116.
  • Visual Fatigue Induced by Viewing a Tablet Computer with a High-resolution Display. Kim DJ.  Korean J Ophthalmic. 2017 Oct;31(5):388-393.
  • Computer vision syndrome prevalence, knowledge and associated factors among Saudi Arabia University Students: Is it a serious problem? (2017)  Al Rashid SH. Int J Health Sci (Qassim) 2017 Nov-Dec;11(5):17-19.
  • Exploring the Predisposition of the Asian Eye to Development of Dry Eye. (2016)  Craig JP et al.  Ocul Surf. 2016 Jul;14(3):385-92.
  • Computer vision syndrome and associated factors among medical and engineering students in chennai. (2014). Logaraj M. Ann Med Health Sci Res. 2014 Mar;4(2):179-85.
  • [Meibomian gland disfunction in computer vision syndrome]. (2010)  Pimenidi MK. Vests Oftalmol. 2010 Nov-Dec;126(6):49-52.
  • Computer Vision Syndrome: A Review. (2005) Bleh C et al.  Survey of Ophthalmology. May June 2005. Volume 50, Issue 3, Pages 253–262.
  • Mobile phone related-hazards and subjective hearing and vision symptoms in the Saudi population. (2005) Meo SA and Al-Dress AM.  Int J Occup Med Environ Health. 2005;18(1):537.

Non-ionizing Radiofrequency Radiation Exposure

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