Posted: 1/2002

Not Necessarily News


…at the Association of Local
Telecommunications Services (ALTS) Business Conference in Washington discussing
the Tauzin-Dingell bill (H.R. 1542), the Internet Freedom and Broadband De-ployment
Act of 2001…

name is John Dingell; it isn’t Tauzin-Dingell as many people tend to think. In
fact, this is probably his biggest regret about sponsoring the legislation:
people come up to him at parties and ask if he’s related to Tauzin-Dingell!"

…Andy Levin, Democratic
Counsel, House Committee on Energy & Commerce of which Rep. John D. Dingell
(D-Mich.) is ranking member.

It’s All in the Bones

Lucent Technologies’ (
Bell Lab scientists have discovered that chalk-like calcite crystals in the
skeletons of marine creatures known as brittle stars work remarkably well as
optical receptors — as well as protective armor. The scientists believe the
biomaterial finding could lead to better-designed optical elements for
telecommunications networks.

Working with the Bell Labs
scientists were researchers from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel and
the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.

Their experiments showed that the
brittle stars’ calcite microlenses are sophisticated optical elements that have
the optimal design for focusing light, and they expertly compensate for
birefringence and spherical aberrations. Scientists hope to mimic these natural
lenses, because they believe the result could prove useful as components in
optical networks and chip design.

Is There A Doctor in That Phone?

Mobile phones may be used to
diagnose asthma, according to reports in the British medical journal Lancet.

Dr. Kenneth Anderson, a lung
specialist at Crosshouse Hospital in Kilmarnock, Scotland, writes in the
prestigious medical publication that studies show "mobile phone recordings
clearly discriminate tracheal breath sounds in asthma and could be a noninvasive
method of monitoring airway diseases."

Anderson explains computers
programmed to detect mathematical deviations in normal breathing can analyze the
lung sounds via phone.

According to Lancet, Anderson
and his colleagues asked a group of patients, some with diagnosed asthma, to
apply a mobile phone microphone to their necks and breathe five times. All the
breathing cycles were distinctive and could be analyzed. Three of the patients
had poorly controlled asthma; another had an audible wheeze; and two more had
asthma brought on by exercise. 

Click to Enlarge
Illustration by John Mortenson.
Cartoon courtesy of the Association of Communications Enterprises

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