Handheld device sniffs out cellphone signals

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Talk about special deliveries – geologists generally agree that more than 95 percent of the gold deposits discovered on our planet are residual results of collisions with gold-carrying asteroids.

Herbert Hoover was the first U.S. president to be born west of the Mississippi River.

Preparers of gourmet foods recommend that one never peel off the skins of mushrooms prior to (or after) cooking. I located no recommendations for preparing toad stools.

Certain fires are difficult to extinguish. (I am not referring to old love affairs.) I humbly offer in evidence: A tire inferno blazed and smoldered for more than 9 months in Mountain Falls, Virginia. The 1983 fiasco polluted with a smoke plume sometimes 50 miles in length and severely contaminated nearby soils with arsenic and lead. A focused soil cleanup lasted for 19 years. However, many local residents have expressed concerns that their homelands shall never again be free of contamination.

A few species of marine cone snails are so poisonous that they can kill a person with a single venom injection. The hollow tooth used by the mollusk is propelled forward with such force that it can even penetrate rubber wet suits. At least 30 human deaths have been attributed to encounters with the attractively colored, but very dangerous cone snails.

Some medical patients forget to take prescribed pills as scheduled (especially old geezers like me). Dr. George Savage has pioneered what may soon be a boon for those who are “memory-challenged.” After seven years of development, he and some colleagues are ready to market tablet and capsule medications designed to send small electrical signals to a receptor patch on a patient’s skin. That receptor can wirelessly relay information to a doctor’s office, etc. each time a pill first reacts with normal stomach acid. This advancement should allow medical personnel to remotely monitor a patient’s scheduled intakes and appropriately respond.

University and high school classroom supervisors can now use a handheld device ($499) that sniffs out even small cellphone signals (e.g., texts) from as far as 100 feet. The expressed intent has been to reveal attempts at cheating on exams. However, those in charge of prisons and corporate/industrial trade secrets are likely two additional consumer populations.

A recent study indicates that approximately 12 out of 100 American men snore “loudly” as they sleep. “Loudly” was not clearly defined, so I am clearly off the hook. Have a great week.

James White is a retired mathematics teacher who enjoys sharing fascinating trivia. He can be reached at