Monday, September 03, 2007

Exploding Phones and China's Spot at the Lunch Table

By now everyone knows that the iPhone's been hacked so that it's no longer bound only to the powers of AT&T. (Seventeen year-old hacker George Hotz is practically set for life.) But what you might not know is that Apple's new darling is set to self-destruct when tampered with!

Ok, so that's completely untrue. But it did happen - not because of Apple or the iPhone itself, but because of the dangers of lithium-ion batteries. Here's the Wired article, and here's an image of the wreckage:


This story reminded me of something my dad told me he read in a magazine yesterday about another exploding phone incident. As it turns out, the above-linked article also links to that story which Wired covered back in July. Basically what happened in that case is that a 22 year-old welder named Xiao Jingpeh was killed when his Motorola exploded last June. The handset was in his shirt pocket when it happened, and the concussion sent fragments of his ribs into his heart. It's believed that the heated environment of the factory Xiao worked in is what set the phone off.

Incidents like this have brought scrutiny to those cheap knock-off batteries in particular, as well as other imitations of potentially dangerous products. It's no secret that walking down the street in a Chinese city like Beijing will present you with numerous opportunities to purchase cheap goods like DVDs, video games, and any manner of electronics in addition to other products. I own a Japanese Wakizashi that my brother bought for me as a gift on one of his travels to China - probably from a street vendor. The widespread knowledge of these products, and now, the growing awareness and concern about their under-par quality will probably spur China into some house-cleaning action. It's in their best interest after all, considering the whole 2008 Olympics situation. The adventures of Canadian/Tibetan blogger Lhadon Tethong, who was kicked out of China in August for trying to uncover evidence that China was using the Olympics to conceal their occupation of Tibet, are proof that the communist nation is already worried about her reputation with the rest of us.

So basically, if you want your one dollar copy of Transformers, better board a plane, (or find a really big shovel!) and get it now.

As you can see I'm working really hard packing for my big move. I'm able to do this because I stole Dr. Octopus's omnipotent arms.

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At 1:46 PM, Anonymous paul said...

Time for an ipod touch/nano/classic post!


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