How I fixed an iPhone with a Q-Tip

On Saturday night my 15-year-old daughter texted me that her iPhone was broken. Her friend had spilled salad dressing on it while they were at dinner. The speakers and microphone no longer worked. No phone calls, no music. I thought that the phone would have to be replaced. When I got home I googled iPhone water damage speaker not working. The first result was a page on Saw Tun's blog called "How to fix the iPhone speaker problem (water damage)." He wrote:

Problem: The iPhone speaker works fine when headphones are plugged into it. However, as soon as the headphones are removed, there is no sound emitted from the iPhone. In other words, the iPhone speaker doesn’t work. My phone wouldn’t ring and I couldn’t hear any sound from the iPhone. This happened to my phone after it was water damaged.

Solution: Find a q-tip. Insert the q-tip into the headphone jack of the iPhone. Swivel the q-tip around for a bit and clean the inside of the headphone jack. Once I did this, the problem was magically fixed!

I had my doubts, but I tried it. It didn't work. I used another Q-tip. Still didn't work. But, the Q-tips smelled like oil and vinegar salad dressing. So I kept on sticking them into the jack. After the fifth or sixth Q-tip, Lana Del Rey started singing through the phone.

Thank you, Saw Tun!

How To: Pack for a European Vacation

Back in high school, I purchased an old travel guide to Europe at a library book sale. It taught me some valuable lessons about inflation and changing social expectations. But I really only used it for ironic comedy value.

My friend Doug Mack, on the other hand, took his interest in 1960s travel guides a bit further. He actually went to Europe, following the advice and directions of Arthur Frommer's groundbreaking Europe on Five Dollars a Day. He's written a book about his experiences, called (appropriately) Europe on Five Wrong Turns a Day.

It's a bit more than just wacky hijinks, though. One of the interesting things Doug gets into in the book is the history of why Frommer's guide ended up being so important. It's hard to imagine today, but there was a time, not so very long ago, when the concept of "budget travel" did not exist. Frommer represented a major shift in how Americans thought about vacationing, especially vacationing to Europe.

To demonstrate just how profound that shift was, Doug put together a video illustrating the packing advice of Temple Fielding—the most prominent travel author before Frommer.

The list of items comes from a 1968 profile of Fielding by John McPhee in The New Yorker:

"Fielding uses two suitcases, and in them he packs thirty-five handkerchiefs (all of hand- rolled Swiss linen and all bearing his signature, hand- embroidered), ten shirts, ten ties, ten pairs of undershorts, three pairs of silk pajamas, eight pairs of socks, evening clothes, three pairs of shoes, a lounging robe, a pair of sealskin slippers, and two toilet kits. . . . He wears one suit and carries two."

Also, to get around baggage fees— a headache even back then—Fielding carried a raffia basket (the airlines didn’t know how to classify it, so they essentially just ignored it; try that on your next trip). Its contents included “a bottle of maraschino cherries, a bottle of Angostura bitters, a portable Philips three-speed record- player, five records (four of mood music and ‘one Sinatra always’), a leather-covered RCA transistor radio, an old half- pint Heublein bottle full of vermouth, and a large nickel thermos with a wide mouth.” He also had a calfskin briefcase that he designed himself and whose copious compartments held another forty-one items, including bottles of brandy and Johnnie Walker, a yodeling alarm clock, plus more standard items like toothbrushes and notebooks.

Read more about the Fielding vs. Frommer culture clash on Doug Mack's blog.

Buy Europe on Five Wrong Turns A Day

How To: Use vinegar to diagnose cervical cancer

In developing countries, a new, inexpensive treatment allows nurses to spot pre-cancerous lesions on a woman's cervix and remove them—without needing a medical lab, and without surgery. It has huge implications for women's health, because cervical cancer kills 250,000 women every year.

In fact, before pap smears became commonplace, cervical cancer killed more American women than any other sort of cancer. But in places where the pap smear isn't practical, this new technique can help. From the New York Times:

Nurses using the new procedure, developed by experts at the Johns Hopkins medical school in the 1990s and endorsed last year by the World Health Organization, brush vinegar on a woman’s cervix. It makes precancerous spots turn white. They can then be immediately frozen off with a metal probe cooled by a tank of carbon dioxide, available from any Coca-Cola bottling plant.

... Dr. Bandit Chumworathayi, a gynecologist at Khon Kaen University who helped run the first Thai study of VIA/cryo, explains that vinegar highlights the tumors because they have more DNA, and thus more protein and less water, than other tissue.

It reveals pre-tumors with more accuracy than a typical Pap smear. But it also has more false positives — spots that turn pale but are not malignant. As a result, some women get unnecessary cryotherapy. But freezing is about 90 percent effective, and the main side effect is a burning sensation that fades in a day or two. By contrast, biopsies, the old method, can cause bleeding.

Via Robyn Lloyd