Friday, February 27, 2009

Give Your Laptop Battery a Longer Lease on Life

Rick Broida

Does your laptop spend more time on your desk that your lap? If so, you're probably causing your battery to wear out much sooner than it needs to.

See, it's a sad (and expensive) fact of life: You're lucky to get 18-24 months from a battery before it loses a good chunk of its charge capacity (meaning it no longer powers your laptop for as long as it used to).

And you're accelerating this unfortunate timeframe if you leave your laptop plugged in 24/7, which is common for most folks who work at a desk. Because the battery rarely (if ever) gets a chance to discharge, it loses its capacity to hold a charge.

The simple solution: Pull the battery out of the laptop and leave it out when you're deskbound. Most laptops can run on straight AC power, so there's no need for the battery. And it's easy enough to pop back in when you hit the road (though obviously you'll want to make sure it's charged, so plan ahead a bit).

It's a hassle, sure, but consider the price of a replacement battery: usually $100 or more. What's more, old, discarded batteries wreak havoc on landfills. Sooner or later, they'll leak acid into the ground. So it's in your best interests to keep your battery as long as possible, and to keep it from dying a premature death.
See more like this: batteries, laptop accessories, power

Friday, February 20, 2009

8-month-old babies have 1,000 trillion brain synapses.

Synapses are connections between neurons, the cells that control brain functioning. Baby brains go crazy with these connections, making many more than adult brains need. This way, the brain is able to learn what the most useful and efficient connections are, rather than having to have this information programmed into genes. If a synapse doesn't get used, it gets pruned away. By the time a child is 10, the number of synapses in his brain has been cut by half.
Because of this, what people learn in early childhood is incredibly important. If a child doesn't learn to talk, which has happened in some cases of severe neglect, it's likely they'll never be able to, because the synapses that would have enabled communication were never used and therefore destroyed. On the other hand, if the pruning process doesn't stop naturally, as it normally does, even essential connections can get the ax. Researchers at Stanford University recently discovered that certain degenerative diseases, including glaucoma, get their start when the brain continues to destroy synapses.