...some men and women with brain cancer recalled a disproportionately high use of cellphones, while others recalled disproportionately low exposure. Indeed, 10 men and women with brain tumors (but none of the "controls") recalled 12 hours or more of use every day--a number that stretches credibility. In a substudy of Interphone, researchers embedded phones with special software to track phone usage. When this log was compared with the "recalled" usage, there were wide and random variations: some users underreported, while others overreported use.Mukherjee's article is intended to make a larger point: that there is a reasonable desire to want to find a true cause for an inexplicable illness or impairment, whether it's autism in your child or cancer in your partner's brain. We reach out for what we think are causative effects, whether or not the research ultimately backs this up. The Internet needs a kind of medal to hand out to writers who can summarize vast arrays of information into accurate, sensible, and fair articles that don't trivialize multiple facets of a complex issue into "on the one hand, on the other hand" presentations. Mukherjee would get my vote for the 2011 award even this early in the season. New York Times: Do Cellphones Cause Brain Cancer?
Glenn Fleishman, @glennf, is the Executive Editor of The Magazine, a fortnightly electronic periodical for people interested in everything. Glenn also hosts The New Disruptors, a podcast about connecting creators and makers to their audiences, and writes as “G.F.” at the Economist's Babbage blog. He is a regular panel member on the geeky media podcast The Incomparable. In October 2012, Glenn won Jeopardy! twice.