The ‘Big’ News of the Day

As I toiled away in relative obscurity today on yet another repetitive grant application, I was regaled with the same news story over and over. It was about cell phones. No it was not the usual yourbrainisgoingtorotandyou’regoingtogetcancer story. As the day went on the story became more sensationalized. It was quite apparent why they chose today after all it was the launch of the iPhone 4s which meant the media had captive lines of smartphone wielding consumers with whom they could shock.

So what is this big revelation you ask? Some researchers in Britain swabbed some smartphones and found out there were reams of bacteria on them. Including, wait for it, fecal matter! Oh my god! We should all throw our smartphones in the nearest river lest we get infested with some rogue bacteria.

I have news for everyone. There are bacteria on EVERYTHING! The fecal matter is no big surprise either. I suspect that almost every smartphone user has been guilty of using their phone in the bathroom. And, of course, where there is fecal matter there must be e. coli. Just like the salmonellas[1], the e. colis are to be feared.

So what does all this mean? Nothing is the short answer. There are bacteria everywhere and surprisingly none of us are dead from the proliferation of the bacteria. In fact, bacteria are good for us. Exposure to germs, bacteria and viruses challenges our immune systems. There are more bacteria on your average office desk than on a toilet seat. The last time I checked no one has died from eating their lunch at their desk.

The researchers explained why smartphones were ideal surfaces for bacteria. Mostly because the phones became warm with use and we create moisture when we talk into them. The solution suggested by the researchers was for smartphone users to sanitize their phones with wipes on a regular basis. I have a better suggestion. Don’t worry about it. Seriously, it is not going to radically change your life unless you are in the habit of licking and sucking on your smartphone. </sarcasm>

[1] Oh no not the Salmonellas?!?