Roland’s Sunday Smart Trends #196
January 6th, 2008

Drivers on Cell Phones Clog Traffic

Motorists who talk on cell phones drive slower on the freeway, pass sluggish vehicles less often and take longer to complete their trips, according to a University of Utah study that suggests drivers on cell phones congest traffic. “At the end of the day, the average person’s commute is longer because of that person who is on the cell phone right in front of them,” says University of Utah psychology Professor Dave Strayer, leader of the research team. “That SOB on the cell phone is slowing you down and making you late.”

[Note: do we really need this kind of study?]
Source: University of Utah news release, January 1, 2008

Whiskipedia launches, and it’s exactly what you think it is

On New Year’s Day, as many of us were still whimpering about hangovers, Whiskipedia launched. It’s exactly what you think it is — a wiki about whiskey, or whisky, or however you spell it. Like its namesake Wikipedia, user contributions will keep the site’s content flowing, but the site has expert oversight from administrator Ian Buxton.
Source: Caroline McCarthy, The Social, CNET, January 2, 2008

One Team Gets 26,000 Owners — All With a Vote on Who Plays

The question of who’s the boss of England’s small Ebbsfleet United soccer team is about to get interesting. If all goes as expected, the answer will soon be 26,000 people with Internet connections.
This month, via a Web site called, those soccer fans are slated to take control of the minor-league team in southeast England. Members of the group, including some 1,500 people in the U.S., built up their takeover offer by each pledging $70.50. If the deal goes through as expected, a professional soccer team will be run by an online community for the first time in the history of the sport.
Source: Max Colchester,, January 2, 2008

Microsoft readies Hal 9000

Judging from a recent patent application, Microsoft hopes to build some sort of “activity monitoring system” that keeps an eye on worker productivity using various “physiological or environmental sensors.” These sensors would track everything from heart rate, respiration rate, body temperature, facial expressions, and blood pressure to brain signals and galvanic skin response.
Source: Cade Metz, The Register, January 3, 2008

France warns against excessive cell phone use

A French health ministry on Wednesday issued a warning against excessive cell phone use, especially by children, though it recognized science had not proved cellular technology was dangerous. The appearance on the market of cell phones designed for young children has raised concern because youngsters would be particularly vulnerable to any possible health effects, the Ministry of Health, Youth, and Sport said in a statement.
Source: Reuters, January 2, 2008

Clinton, McCain or Paul? New Website Tells You Who to Vote For

Sites like eHarmony and help you find your soul mate. Now there’s a website that’ll help you find your perfect presidential candidate. Visitors to the nonpartisan Glassbooth website are asked a series of questions on topics ranging from immigration to war and health care. The site then spits out the candidate they should vote for in the upcoming presidential election.
Source: James Lee, Wired News, January 2, 2008

Cloned Livestock Poised To Receive FDA Clearance

Get ready for a food fight over milk and meat from cloned animals and their offspring. After more than six years of wrestling with the question of whether meat and milk from them are safe to eat, the Food and Drug Administration is expected to declare as early as next week that they are.
Source: Jane Zhang, John W. Miller and Lauren Etter,, January 4, 2008

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