Cell phone danger

My 12 and 11 year old kids have asked me at least a couple of times for a cell phone, my response was simply “No. You don’t need it.” In my mind, they are too young to have cell phones.

Yes, some of their friends have cell phones. But it doesn’t mean they should have it too. 

There has been so much information on the Internet about the danger of cell phones, especially for children, that I want to delay my kids’ owning and using cell phones as long as possible.

What age do you think is appropriate for kids to have their own cell phones? At what age did you or will you let you kids have their own cell phones? 

As for myself, I don’t use my cell phone a lot. I don’t use it for any long period of time and to chitchat. I don’t call when I drive.

I used to keep my cell phone close to my body, but now I mostly leave it in my purse or bag.

There are a few simple things you can do to avoid cell phone dangers. Read How to Avoid Cell Phone Dangers.

Time Magazine lists five simple ways to reduce your exposure to cell phone radiation:

Use a wired headset

This keeps the antenna far away from your skull.

Get used to texting

Texting also keeps the handset away from your brain, reducing the radiation risk.

Don’t use your cell phone as an alarm clock

If you use your phone as your wake-up call, you’ll likely need to keep it close to your head; there’s still radiation being emitted even when it’s not taking calls.

Don’t carry your phone in your pocket

There’s preliminary research to indicate that men who carry a phone in their pocket all day could be putting their fertility at risk, and women who carry their phones in their bra could be increasing their risk of breast cancer.

Use a radiation-blocking case

These can reduce cell phone radiation by two-thirds.

Dr. Mercola has the following  advice:

Children Should Always Avoid Using Cell Phones: Barring a life-threatening emergency, children should not use a cell phone, or a wireless device of any type. Children are far more vulnerable to cell phone radiation than adults, because of their thinner skull bones.

Reduce Your Cell Phone Use: Turn your cell phone off more often. Reserve it for emergencies or important matters. As long as your cell phone is on, it emits radiation intermittently, even when you are not actually making a call.

Use a Land Line at Home and at Work: Although more and more people are switching to using cell phones as their exclusive phone contact, it is a dangerous trend and you can choose to opt out of the madness.

Reduce or Eliminate Your Use of Other Wireless Devices: You would be wise to cut down your use of these devices. Just as with cell phones, it is important to ask yourself whether or not you really need to use them every single time.

If you must use a portable home phone, use the older kind that operates at 900 MHz. They are no safer during calls, but at least many of them do not broadcast constantly even when no call is being made.

Note the only way to truly be sure if there is an exposure from your cordless phone is to measure with an electrosmog meter, and it must be one that goes up to the frequency of your portable phone (so old meters won’t help much). As many portable phones are 5.8 Gigahertz, we recommend you look for RF meters that go up to 8 Gigahertz, the highest range now available in a meter suitable for consumers.

Alternatively you can be very careful with the base station placement as that causes the bulk of the problem since it transmits signals 24/7, even when you aren’t talking. So if you can keep the base station at least three rooms away from where you spend most of your time, and especially your bedroom, they may not be as damaging to your health. Another option is to just simply turn the portable phone off, only using it when you specifically need the convenience of moving about while on a call.

Ideally it would be helpful to turn off your base station every night before you go to bed.

You can find RF meters as well as remediation supplies at www.emfsafetystore.com. But you can pretty much be sure your portable phone is a problem if the technology is DECT, or digitally enhanced cordless technology.

Use Your Cell Phone Only Where Reception is Good: The weaker the reception, the more power your phone must use to transmit, and the more power it uses, the more radiation it emits, and the deeper the dangerous radio waves penetrate into your body. Ideally, you should only use your phone with full bars and good reception.

Also seek to avoid carrying your phone on your body as that merely maximizes any potential exposure. Ideally put it in your purse or carrying bag. Placing a cell phone in a shirt pocket over the heart is asking for trouble, as is placing it in a man’s pocket if he seeks to preserve his fertility.(See ElectromagneticHealth.org’s Letter to Parents on Fertility and Other Risks to Children from Wireless Technologies)

Don’t Assume One Cell Phone is Safer Than Another.There’s no such thing as a “safe” cell phone.

Keep Your Cell Phone Away From Your Body When it is On: The most dangerous place to be, in terms of radiation exposure, is within about six inches of the emitting antenna. You do not want any part of your body within that area.

Respect Others Who are More Sensitive: Some people who have become sensitive can feel the effects of others’ cell phones in the same room, even when it is on but not being used.

If you are in a meeting, on public transportation, in a courtroom or other public places, such as a doctor’s office, keep your cell phone turned off out of consideration for the ‘second hand radiation’ effects. Children are also more vulnerable, so please avoid using your cell phone near children.

Use Safer Headset Technology: Wired headsets will certainly allow you to keep the cell phone farther away from your body. However, if a wired headset is not well-shielded — and most of them are not — the wire itself acts as an antenna attracting ambient information carrying radio waves and transmitting radiation directly to your brain.

Make sure that the wire used to transmit the signal to your ear is shielded.

The best kind of headset to use is a combination shielded wire and air-tube headset. These operate like a stethoscope, transmitting the information to your head as an actual sound wave; although there are wires that still must be shielded, there is no wire that goes all the way up to your head.


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Social networking tools – a blessing in times of need

Social networking sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn are wonderful and powerful tools for keeping people connected in their personal and professional lives. But I didn’t realize that social networking tools can be such a blessing in times of need until recently.

When my pastor at Spirit of Life Bible Church, Frank Sanders, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last month, his family created a CaringBridge site to help keep family and friends informed about Frank’s treatment.

In the last 40 days since the CaringBridge site was created, there were 37 journal entries from his family to update on his status, 590 guestbook entries from friends around the country to share their prayers, support and encouragement, and about 10,500 visits from family and friends to the site.

What an amazing tool the CaringBridge site is! It is a real blessing for everyone.

Without it, family and friends won’t be kept up to date so easily. Without it, Frank won’t hear from so many people and be so encouraged by so many prayers and kind words. Without it, his friends, many of them don’t know each other, won’t feel so touched by each other’s sharing.

The CaringBridge site has become a wonderful and powerful testimony to what a great man Pastor Frank is and how many lives he has touched.

Another website that has been very helpful for the family in this time of need is MealTrain.com. It simplifies the process of giving and receiving meals and makes meal scheduling easier.

Are you an Innie or an Outie?

Are you an Innie or an Outie, Introvert or Extrovert?

Introversion or extroversion is a type of temperament, a central dimension of human personality. It is innate and not something you can change.

Martin Olsen Laney in her book “The Introvert Advantage” talks about the following three characteristic differences between introverts and extroverts.

1. How they recharge their batteries – energy creation

The primary difference between introverts and extroverts and the strongest distinguishing characteristic is their energy source.

Introverts are energized by the internal world – by ideas, thoughts, emotions, and impressions. They are more concerned with the inner life of the mind and enjoy solitary activities. They need their alone time and just to bethemselves. They can be easily overstimulated by the external world. Introverts have the ability to to think independently, focus deeply, and work creatively.

Extroverts are energized by the external world – by activities, people, places, and things. They like to be with people, engage in activities outside and do things. They enjoy crowds and action. Extroverts can express themselves easily and concentrate on getting results.

Extroverts can refresh themselves easily by doing something in the outer world. Their focus is outside themselves.

2. How they experience and response to external stimulation

Extroverts like to experience a lot, and introverts like to know a lot about what they experience. Extroverts thrive on a variety of stimuli, whereas introverts can find it too much.

3. How they approach knowledge and experience – breadth and depth

Generally speaking, extroverts like breadth – lots of friends and experiences, knowing a little bit about everything, being a generalist. Variety is simulating and energizing.

Introverts like depth and will limit their experiences but feel each of them deeply. Usually they have fewer friends but more intimacy. They like to delve deeply into topics and look for richness more than muchness. They absorb information from the outside environment and then reflect on it and expand it.

Finding jobs that match your personality

Introverts tend to be in the “advisor class” – people who work independently. They are creative, imaginative, intelligent, and thoughtful. They are observers.

Many artists, writers, librarians, researchers, therapists, historians, teachers, ministers, IT professionals, accountants, auditors, personal financial advisors, and civil engineers are introverts.

Extroverts tend to be in the “warrior class” – the doers of the world. They need counsel from the advisors, and the advisors need warriors to take action and make things happen.

Introverts make up just a quarter of the general population. Many theorists think that is because fewer advisors are needed.  

We can’t change our personality, but we can learn to work with it, not against it.

I knew I am an introvert. From the little bit I have read so far in the book and shared here, it just totally confirmed what I knew.

I am a librarian and writer. I am more comfortable with writing than speaking in public. I think more than I do. I know more than I do. I prefer small gatherings with few friends, in deeper conversations and in more intimate relationships than big parties with lots of people, in general superficial conversations.

I will share more after I finish reading the book.

Good customer services

I have done a few posts about not so pleasant shopping experiences with overcharging. I don’t want to leave the impression that it’s all bad customer services out there.

No. Actually I think most stores have great customer services. They go above and beyond to make customers happy.

So in this post I would like to share some good customer services I have experienced.

My favorite good customer service experience happened at Sam’s Club in Woodbury.

Last year I went shopping at Sam’s Club for an office event. When I walked to my van, I noticed that the box of 1000 ct. foam cups I just paid for was no longer under the cart. Some how the box disappeared within the short distance from the checkout line to the van in the parking lot. I didn’t left the cart unattended. The only thing I could think of was the strong wind blew the box away from underneath the cart and I didn’t notice it.

I went back to the store and explained to the customer service rep. She helped me look for it and checked my van. We couldn’t find it any where in the store or in the paring lot. So she gave me a replacement box. That was very nice.

Last December I printed 100 photo greeting cards at Sam’s Club. When I designed it at home, it looked fine on my screen. But when I got the photos, someone’s hair was partially cut off. Sam’s Club reprinted the photos for me, even though it’s not their fault. It was a problem with the design. I should have left more space around the edge. I felt bad about having everything reprinted, but I was certainly grateful that Sam’s Club did it.

Any time I am not satisfied with the photo prints, for whatever reason, Sam’s Club always reprints for me, without any question.

Not long ago, I went to Kohl’s to buy clothes for my daughter. I had a 30% off coupon to use, but I left it in my car. I asked the cashier if I should go back to get my coupon, she said it was not necessary. She simply took 30% off from my purchase. I thought that was nice.

Recently I bought a wok at Bed Bath & Beyond. I asked the cashier if they had those coupons sent to local residents’ homes. I wished I had checked and printed one from the Internet. She told me I could go back anytime to get the discount price if I receive the coupon in the mail. I thought that was nice.

One day last year I was in Target with my daughter. Suddenly the power went out and it was pitch dark. It took a few minutes for Target to get their own power going. At the checkout, I was giving $3 store credit for the inconvenience. I thought that was nice. The power outage was area wide, it was not just in Target. Target didn’t do anything wrong to cause the outage. 

Last December I bought a set of flannel bed sheet on sale at Herberger’s. I asked for their store return policy and was told I can return anytime with the receipt, the same policy Macy’s has. I haven’t used the set and intend to either exchange it to a bigger size or return it. It’s great customer service to offer such generous return policy.

Speaking of return policy, I think almost all stores here in this country have return policy and allow items to be returned, even when the packages are opened and items are used ( for certain electronic items a fee will apply). Some thrift stores are exceptions.

I am not sure about other countries, but I know in China, you can’t return items once you bought them.

It’s fortunate that here we can buy and return stuff very easily and with no hassle, for any reason or no reason. In a way, it encourages mindless and careless buying.

Overall, I have more positive shopping experiences than negative ones. We have good customer services and consumer protection in the US.

Ways to protect yourself as a consumer

A reader left a comment to my post Overcharged at the grocery store and shared some of her bad experiences and frustrations as a consumer with being charged incorrectly, with automatic charge on credit cards, with rebates, coupons, etc.

I have had all those bad experience. I learned a few things to protect myself as a consumer.

The first line of protection is to know what I buy and what I pay for. Some people just grab things they want and never pay attention to the prices. But I do. I look at the prices for the items I buy. I may not remember the exact price for everything I buy, but I have a pretty good idea.

At the checkout, I usually look at the screen when items are scanned. If the cashier enters the wrong code, I will notice right away and have it corrected.

After I get my receipt, I quickly glance over it and check the price for the sales items.  If I find any errors, I can get them resolved on the spot. I always save my  receipts.

Every month when I get my bank and credit card statements, I verify all the charges against my receipts.

Nowadays I use my credit card for all purchases whenever I can, for three reasons.

First, it’s very convenient. I don’t need to carry much cash. 

Second, with my Upromise credit card, I can earn 1% cash back for my kids’ college education. Every year I can get at least a couple of hundred dollars back and it’s automatically invested into my kids’ 529 college savings plan.

Third, credit card gives me protection that cash or check can’t provide. 

Whenever I have a problem with any charge and it can’t get resolved directly with the merchant, I contact the credit card company to dispute the charge. I always get the money back. I found the credit card companies are very good at helping me get money back.

I remember a few instances when I had to contact credit card companies to get money back.

Unauthorized charges from an Arabian country in small amounts ($20) over a period of time.

Continuous charges from a telephone company even though I had canceled the service.

Disputed charge from a hotel that provided bad service and no hot water.

Double charges from the same place on the same day.

Here is my favorite story to share.

Many years ago I was living in Madison, Wisconsin. One day I purchased some broccoli on sale. When I got home and looked at my receipt, I noticed that I didn’t get the sales price for the broccoli. So during my next shopping trip, I went to the customer service desk and asked about the incorrect charge.

I had the receipt. But the customer service person said I needed to bring the broccoli back in order for him to figure out the price difference. I was surprised.

How hard was it to figure that out? We knew the price and the weight of the item.

I went home and wrote a letter to the store manager. I explained what happened and said I didn’t need to get the money back, but they should keep it to provide their employees better training.

A few days later, I heard a knock on the door. When I opened it, a guy delivered a nice fruit basket to me from the store as an apology.

Then I wrote a second letter to thank the store manager for the gift. This time I was really impressed by their customer service.

Overall I have to say, yes, I have been overcharged or wrongly charged many times, but they usually get resolved in my favor. That’s probably why I don’t get frustrated about it much.

Staying connected through Facebook

Lucia, her sister and me in an undated photo over 30 years ago


Now Lucia is a mother of two teenage boys


My cousin Lucia lives in Budapest, Hungary. I haven’t seen her for about 30 years.

We grew up in the same city in China. She lived with my grandma and grandpa at that time whom I visited often with my parents.

Today I found out through Facebook that it’s her birthday.  “Today is her birthday” appeard under her name when I clicked on her latest post. And there are some Happy Birthday wishes from her friends.

I didn’t know it’s her birthday. Well, thanks to Facebook, I found that out and was able to send her a Happy Birthday wish as well. 

On Facebook, of course.

I love Facebook and other social networking tools.

Through Facebook, blogs, and other tools we can get back in touch with old friends, keep each other informed about our lives, no matter where we live, whether we are neighbors or far apart across the world. We can share pictures, chat, and stay connected closely.

Facebook also allows us to make new friends whom we will not be able to meet physically.

It’s easy, fast and convenient.

Quick to listen, slow to speak

Quite contrary to what the Bible teaches: quick to listen, slow to speak, I often find myself in the opposite position.

I am slow to listen, quick to speak, especially in dealing with my own family members.

I want to be the person in control. I want to show that I am right. I like to tell people what to do and how to do it. If they don’t do it the way I want, I am quick to speak and criticise.

Today while reading fellow blogger Arina’s post 10 Steps to Expressing Constructive Criticism and to Being Heard, I was reminded that criticism is an art. Even if I am right and there is a good reason for me to criticise someone, there is a better way to do it.  Arina offered some really good advice on how to express constructive criticism in her article.

Finding the good in the bad weather

We are in the middle of another snowstorm in Minnesota.

Snow started falling quickly this Sunday morning and will end Monday afternoon. Much of the metro area could see between 12 and 15 inches of snow on the ground by the time the snow stops Monday afternoon, forecasters said.

If so, it would make this winter the second-snowiest to date in the Twin Cities, and push it into the top 10 snowiest entire winters.

The good thing is this snowstorm is happening on the weekend and on Monday -President’s Day that is a holiday for many people. All city, county, state and federal government offices, schools, post offices, libraries, financial market will be closed. The Monday commuting won’t be as bad as it could be if it were a normal working day.

If you look at the pictures below some of which show snow in Russia, you will feel fortunate that we don’t have it so bad here. It could be a lot worse than what we are getting. It’s all about perspective.

Divine appointment

I experienced a divine appointment today. I don’t know what to call it otherwise. This is probably the first time in my life that I felt that way.

I went to my church – Spirit of Life Bible Church – to attend the marriage seminar with guest speaker Senior Pastor Al Gossan from Lighthouse Christian Fellowship Church in Holland, Michigan.

When I walked in the Church, the seminar had just started. I went straight to the area where I normally sit every Sunday. Almost half of the people in attendance today were from other sister churches in Minnesota and Wisconsin. They came for this special event.

I took a seat next to a Hmong looking woman without any thought.

But after I sat down, I felt a sense of regret. I didn’t know this person sitting next to me. I wished I had took the seat in the next row and sat by someone I know from the Church and who is also a co-worker. We could have chatted during breaks about our workplace as we sometimes do.

But it was too late to change. So I sat there listening to the speakers and without saying a word to my neighbor.

After lunch we came back to continue the seminar. My neighbor, whose name is Sandie, took the initiative and introduced herself. We exchanged a few words. I felt a little embarrassed that I didn’t take the initiative to say “hi” to her first and to welcome her to our Church.

When the seminar ended, Sandie handed me a piece of paper with her name and contact info to keep in touch with each other. She said: “I have a story to tell you.”

Then she proceeded to share her testimony of how she was saved recently and how her husband was also saved and miraculously recovered from alcohol as the result of her prayer.

We stayed for quite a long time and talked.

Her words and story were something I needed to hear. She really lifted my spirit up. I felt encouraged.

I had the strong feeling that my meeting with Sandie and her husband was not a coincidence, but a divine appointment inspired and led by God.

In addition to experiencing the divine appointment, I also enjoyed the teachings by Pastor Al Gossan.

Later I read Pastor Al Gossan’s supernatural conversion testimony online. Reading about his life and conversion was also inspiring for me. 

I was glad that I went to the seminar and had a spirit-filled day.