Americans hang up on landlines as cellphone homes dominate
According to a U.S. government, homes and apartments with only cellphone
service exceeded 50 percent for the first time, reaching 50.8 percent
for the last six months of 2016. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)
New York (AP) -
Deborah Braswell, a university administrator in Alabama, is a member of
a dwindling group - people with a landline phone at home.
According to a U.S.
government study released Thursday, 50.8 percent of homes and apartments
had only cellphone service in the latter half of 2016, the first time
such households attained a majority in the survey. Braswell and her
family are part of the 45.9 percent that still have landline phones. The
remaining households have no phone service at all.
More than 39
percent of U.S. households - including Braswell’s - have both landline
and cellphone service. The landline comes in handy when someone
misplaces one of the seven cellphones kicking around her three-story
house in a Birmingham suburb. “You walk around your house calling
yourself to find it,” she says.
It’s also useful
when someone breaks or loses a cellphone and has to wait for a
Renters and younger
adults are more likely to have just a cellphone, which researchers
attribute to their mobility and comfort with newer technologies.
survey of 19,956 households was part of the Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention’s National Health Interview Survey, which tracks landline
use in order to assure representative samples in ongoing health studies.
The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 1 percentage point.
homes have other commonalities. “Wireless-only adults are more likely to
drink heavily, more likely to smoke and be uninsured,” even after
factoring for age and income, says Stephen J. Blumberg, the study’s
co-author (and a landline user himself). “There certainly is something
about giving up a landline that appeals to the same people who may
engage in risky behavior.”
Why that’s so will
require further research.
The survey doesn’t
get into why people ditch or keep landlines, though landline users cited
a number of reasons for hanging on in phone interviews and email
exchanges with The Associated Press.
in the matter
Plenty of people
would get rid of their landlines if they could. It goes beyond
complaints about cellular reception at home.
Joe Krkoska, a
supply chain director, needs a traditional copper wire for his home
security system in Zionsville, Indiana. Getting rid of the line would
require crews to drill holes in his home and put batteries in the
bedroom. No thanks, he says.
Chris Houchens, who
works in sales and marketing, says his phone company forces him to get a
landline with internet service. There’s no cable TV alternative where he
lives in rural Smiths Grove, Kentucky.
And those who could
drop phone service might pay more after losing package discounts. Martin
Axel, a retired hospital administrator in Seal Beach, California, says
dropping the landline would increase his cable bill by more than $40 a
phone lines have their own power supply, so those landlines still work
during blackouts. Internet-based phones through the cable or phone
company aren’t true landlines, although the CDC counts them that way.
The internet modem for these phones still needs power.
Both kinds of
landline phones are more dependable for 911. Even if you can’t give
dispatchers your home address, they would often have that already.
Cellphones primarily use GPS for location, which means the dispatcher
might know which building you’re in, but not the specific apartment.
For that reason,
Trey Forgety of the nonprofit National Emergency Number Association
recommends landlines for those who live alone and have a disability or
medical condition. He says cellphone location accuracy is improving, but
there’s still work to be done.
In many households,
the landline is a honey trap for telemarketers.
“We never use the
landline, and the only calls I get on it are from someone looking to
sell me something,” says Matt Lawrence, a management consultant in
On the other hand,
it’s comforting to have a device just for calls - without “all of the
irritating bells and whistles of smartphones,” says Brad Cooney, a Navy
veteran in Brandon, Mississippi. “I can shut the (cell) phone off and
still have a landline if someone needs to call me.”
harkens to an era in which a number is tied to a family and not an
individual. You can call your parents’ home and not play favorites in
choosing Mom or Dad. Children can talk to Grandma at once from separate
“My parents had
landlines, as did their parents,” says Axel, the landline user in Seal
Beach. “It’s probably a habit. It just feels more comfortable to me.”
Cynthia Dibblee, a
retired teacher in Merced, California, has elderly parents who “can’t
remember our cell numbers but know the landline by heart.”
USTelecom, a trade
group for traditional phone companies, estimates that true landlines -
the copper kind - now connect fewer than 20 percent of households. The
group says companies have adapted by offering other types of services,
including video and, for some, cellphones.
Even so, phone
companies get new landline customers now and then.
Shawn Fisch, a
37-year-old teacher in New York, got his first landline after becoming a
dad. When his son is old enough, he says, he’ll need “an extra way to
Study: Man-made extreme
weather has hit all over the world
people on Earth have already felt extreme and record heat, drought or
downpours goosed by man-made global warming, a new study finds. (AP
Photo/Karim Kadim, File)
Washington (AP) - Most
people on Earth have already felt extreme and record heat, drought or
downpours goosed by man-made global warming, new research finds.
In a first-of-its-kind study,
scientists analyzed weather stations worldwide and calculated that in 85
percent of the cases, the record for hottest day of the year had the
fingerprints of climate change. Heat-trapping gases from the burning of
coal, oil and natural gas made those records more likely or more
“The world is not quite at the
point where every hot temperature record has a human fingerprint, but
it’s getting close to that,” said lead author and Stanford University
climate scientist Noah Diffenbaugh.
Climate change’s influence was
spotted 57 percent of the time in records for lowest rainfall in a year
and 41 percent of the time in records for most rain in a 5-day period,
according to the study in Monday’s Proceedings of the National Academy
For the last several years,
researchers have come up with a generally accepted scientific technique
to determine whether an individual weather extreme event was made more
likely or stronger because of climate change. It usually involves past
weather data and extensive computer models that simulate how often an
event would happen with no warming from greenhouse gases and compare
that to how often it does happen.
Outside scientists said what makes
Diffenbaugh’s study different and useful is that he doesn’t look at an
individual event such as California’s five-year drought. Instead, he
applies the technique to weather stations as a whole across the world,
said Columbia University climate scientist Adam Sobel, who wasn’t part
of new work.
“This is a step forward in that it
allows general statements about what fraction of events of the given
types selected have a statistically significant” human influence, Sobel
said in an email.
Why are opioids so addictive?
Pleasure. Craving. Withdrawal.
When opioids act on the brain, they
trigger the same processes that give people feelings of pleasure from
activities like eating, but they do it far more intensely.
Opioids also make some brain cells
pump out a chemical messenger called dopamine, which encourages more
drug use. Over time, that can produce craving that continues even long
after someone stops using opioids, which can lead to relapse.
In other brain circuits, opioids
initially produce drowsiness and slower breathing. With repeated
exposure, these circuits adapt so that a person feels relatively normal
while using the drugs. But that adaptation also means that when a person
is not using, they feel jittery and anxious - some of the symptoms of
Opioids can also impair people’s
self-control if taken over time, so it’s harder to stop using them even
if people want to and even if the drugs no longer give them pleasure.
Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the
National Institute on Drug Abuse, compared the effect of the drugs to
driving with bad steering.
“Your steering wheel does not work
properly. So not only are you actually accelerating with intense desire
and motivation to get the drug, you are not able to self-regulate and
say, ‘If I take the drug, I will end up in jail.’” (AP)
Spacecraft survives unprecedented trip between Saturn, rings
combination of April 26, 2017 images show features in Saturn’s
atmosphere from closer than ever before. The view was captured by NASA’s
Cassini spacecraft as it became the first spacecraft to venture between
Saturn and its rings. (JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute/NASA via AP)
Fla. (AP) - NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has
survived an unprecedented trip between Saturn and its rings, and has
amazing pictures to show for it.
regained contact with Cassini on Thursday, a day after it became the
first craft to cross this hazardous region. The rings are made up of
countless icy particles, any of which could have smacked Cassini. The
spacecraft’s big dish antenna served as a shield as it hurtled through
the narrow gap, temporarily cutting off communications.
“We are just
ecstatic,” project science engineer Jo Pitesky said by phone from NASA’s
Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
1,900 miles (3,100 kilometers) above Saturn’s cloud tops, closer than
ever before, and came within 200 miles (320 kilometers) of the innermost
visible ring. Scientists say the pictures show details never seen before
- there’s an incredible close-up, for instance, of the gigantic swirling
hurricane at Saturn’s north pole.
After 13 years of
Cassini orbiting the planet, “Saturn continues to surprise us,” Pitesky
importance, data from the crossing are being sent to Earth twice, to
make certain nothing is lost. It takes more than an hour for the signals
to travel the approximately 1 billion miles (1.6 billion kilometers)
between Saturn and Earth.
crossings are planned - about one a week - before Cassini’s fatal plunge
in mid-September. The next one is Tuesday. Some of those passages will
bring Cassini even closer to the planet as well as the innermost D ring.
The gap between the rings and the top of Saturn’s atmosphere is between
1,200 and 1,500 miles across (1,900 to 2,400 kilometers).
While risky, this 4
1/2-month grand finale is expected to yield a treasure trove of science.
There’s little to lose, even if the spacecraft is lost, given that its
fuel tank is practically empty, according to NASA.
launched in 1997 from Cape Canaveral, Florida, and reached Saturn in
Touch new stamp and presto,
total solar eclipse becomes moon
images provided by the U.S. Postal Service show the Total Solar Eclipse
Forever stamp. The Postal Service will soon release a first-of-its-kind
stamp that changes when you touch it, which commemorates the Aug. 21
eclipse, transforming into an image of the Moon from the heat of a
finger. (U.S. Postal Service via AP)
Cape Canaveral, Fla. (AP) -
The U.S. Postal Service is going all out for this summer’s total solar
eclipse, with a first-of-its kind stamp.
Just touch the stamp with your
finger, and the heat transforms the image of the blacked-out sun into
the moon. Remove your finger, and the eclipse reappears. The trick is
using temperature-sensitive ink.
There’s a map on the back of the
stamp sheet showing the eclipse’s diagonal path across the U.S. on Aug.
21, as the moon covers the sun in the sky.
It will be the first total solar
eclipse visible in the contiguous United States since 1979 and the first
one coast to coast since 1918.
Announced Thursday, the Forever 49
cent stamp comes out in June - on the summer solstice.
NASA spacecraft halfway between Pluto and next smaller stop
image made available by NASA in March 2017 shows Pluto illuminated from
behind by the sun as the New Horizons spacecraft travels away from it at
a distance of about 120,000 miles (200,000 kilometers). (NASA/Johns
Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research
Institute via AP)
Cape Canaveral, Fla. (AP) - NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft is now
halfway between Pluto and its next much, much smaller stop.
New Horizons - which reached the milestone this month - is bound for an
even more remote object called 2014 MU69. Like Pluto, the object orbits
in our solar system’s twilight zone known as the Kuiper Belt, but is
barely 1 percent its size. MU69 is nearly 1 billion miles (1.6 billion
kilometers) beyond Pluto.
The spacecraft will swoop past MU69 on Jan. 1, 2019.
“That flyby will set the record for the most distant world ever explored
in the history of civilization,” chief investigator Alan Stern of
Southwest Research Institute said in a statement.
With another 466 million miles (750 million kilometers) remaining, New
Horizons has now gone into a five-month hibernation.
Although still zooming along, the spacecraft is slowing down slightly as
it gets farther from the sun. Besides aiming for MU69, New Horizons will
study a couple dozen other Kuiper Belt objects from afar.
New Horizons arrived at Pluto in July 2015, becoming its first visitor
from Earth. It launched from Cape Canaveral in 2006.
The spacecraft is currently 3.5 billion miles (5.7 billion kilometers)
from home. It takes radio signals five hours and 20 minutes to reach the
spacecraft from the control center at Johns Hopkins University in
Johns Hopkins: http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/
Supply ship named for John Glenn arrives at space stat ion
image made from video provided by NASA, the S.S. John Glenn cargo ship
prepares to dock with the International Space Station on Saturday, April 22,
2017. (NASA via AP)
Cape Canaveral, Fla. (AP) - A
supply ship bearing John Glenn’s name arrived at the International Space
Station on Saturday, April 22.
Astronauts used the station’s big robot
arm to grab the capsule, as the craft flew 250 miles (400 kilometers) above
NASA’s commercial shipper, Orbital ATK,
named the spacecraft the S.S. John Glenn in honor of the first American to
orbit Earth. It rocketed from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on Tuesday, April 18,
with nearly 7,700 pounds of food, experiments and other goods.
Glenn died in December at age 95 and
was buried earlier this month at Arlington National Cemetery. His widow,
Annie, granted permission for Orbital ATK to use his name for the Cygnus
spacecraft. The company, in fact, sent up some memorabilia for the Glenn
Glenn made history in 1962 when he
soared into orbit aboard Friendship 7, his one-man Mercury capsule. He
returned to space in 1998 aboard shuttle Discovery, at age 77, right before
station construction began in orbit.
Space station commander Peggy Whitson -
who on Monday set a U.S. record for most accumulated time in orbit -
notified Mission Control when S.S. John Glenn was captured.
“We’re very proud to welcome on board
the S.S. John Glenn,” said French astronaut Thomas Pesquet, who took part in
the operation. The contents “will be put to good use to continue our mission
of research, exploration and discovery.”
Whitson and Pesquet have been living on
the space station since November, along with a Russian. They were joined by
another American and Russian on Thursday.
Whitson is making her third space
station flight. Early Monday, she will surpass the 534-day,
two-hour-and-change mark set by astronaut Jeffrey Williams last year.
The S.S. John Glenn, meanwhile, will
remain at the orbiting outpost until July, when it is let go to burn up in
Orbital ATK: https://www.orbitalatk