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Worth Thinking About

The Adventures of Life

Month: March 2022 (page 1 of 9)

The best UV sanitisers for your phone

simplehuman sanitiser

Smartphones are notoriously dirty. You’ve probably heard the toilet seat analogies before: The average phone is anywhere from seven to 10 times dirtier than most porcelain thrones, depending on who you ask, and one in six is supposedly contaminated with fecal matter. If you’re checking your phone as often as most people — that is, about once every 10 minutes — that’s a lot of exposure to a lot of bacteria.

If your phone’s starting to get gross, Apple, Google, and major Android manufacturers like Samsung, LG, Huawei, and Motorola all recommend swabbing it down with a soft, lint-free cloth, a hint of warm, soapy water, and a dab of rubbing alcohol. But as with cleaning any electronic device, this requires an extremely careful hand: Any excess moisture will do some serious damage if it gets into a port or crack. You also risk stripping the screen’s protective coating, which makes it more prone to smudges and fingerprints.

Consider, too, that you really have no way of telling whether you missed a spot when you give your phone a quick wipe-down — those poop germs could still be chilling there while you text, talk, and watch TikTok. There’s got to be a better way, right?

That’s the general idea behind ultraviolet (UV) phone sanitisers, anyway.f

What is a UV phone sanitiser?

Sanitising devices that use UV light to kill pathogens and superbugs have been around in the medical field for decades now, but consumer-friendly adaptations are a more recent development and have gained significant popularity amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

A UV phone sanitiser is essentially just a small plastic or metal box containing a couple of UV bulbs or lamps, which shine onto your device during the disinfection cycle. Aside from avoiding moisture, fumes, and residue, the most obvious draw is the sheer convenience factor: You just pop your phone into the sanitiser’s chamber, close its lid, and let it do its thing for about five to 10 minutes.

For best results, make sure you take your device out of its case before sanitising it — you can run that through separately afterward.

How does UV light kill germs?

UV light is a form of electromagnetic radiation you usually encounter in the form of sunlight, though it can also be recreated using artificial light sources. There are three different types of UV rays:

  • UV-A rays have the longest wavelengths. You’ll find these in tanning beds, bug zappers, and in the blacklights of your local club.

  • UV-B rays have slightly shorter wavelengths. These can help skin produce Vitamin D3 (but may also cause sunburn) and are mostly used in tanning beds alongside UV-A radiation.

  • UV-C rays have the shortest wavelengths. These are typically used for disinfection purposes, as they can damage microbes’ DNA. This either kills them outright or prevents them from functioning and reproducing.

Note: All mentions of UV light hereafter refer to UV-C rays specifically.

Is UV light dangerous?

UV light is far more dangerous to a microbe than a human being, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration still recommends exercising some caution around it: “Direct exposure of skin and eyes to UV-C radiation from some UVC lamps may cause painful eye injury and burn-like skin reactions. Never look directly at a UVC lamp source, even briefly.”

The FDA further notes that UV light can degrade plastic and polymers, but fret not: You’d need hours of continuous exposure to do any notable damage to your phone.

Do UV phone sanitisers really work?

PCMag’s consumer electronics analyst Steven Winkelman has already tackled this topic in a thorough explainer, which you can read here. (Full disclosure: PCMag is owned by Mashable’s publisher, Ziff Davis.) We won’t rehash the whole thing, but the gist of it is this: Kind of.

While UV light itself is really good at eliminating and stopping the spread of certain bacteria (including E. coli and Salmonella), the kinds of UV sanitisers being sold to the public are pretty dinky compared to the ones used in hospitals.

“Many of the UVC lamps sold for home use are of low dose,” the FDA says, “so it may take longer exposure to a given surface area to potentially provide effective inactivation of a bacteria or virus.”

To that end, it’s also important to note that while most manufacturers say their phone sanitisers are 99.99% effective against common germs, very few can back up their claims with third-party lab testing.

We already know that hand-washing, wearing masks, social distancing, and getting vaccinated are quite good at keeping us germ-free — and those methods are all free or extremely cheap. All things considered, UV sanitation should be your “second line of defense” against viruses and bacteria, Winkelman says.

Are UV sanitisers effective against COVID-19?

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine have confirmed that UV light is capable of destroying SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, but that also comes with a pretty big caveat: No consumer-grade phone sanitisers have been lab-tested against COVID, even the rare few that have undergone testing against other germs.

Keep in mind, too, that COVID is primarily an airborne virus. “[Studies] show the virus is rarely viable on surfaces,” Winkelman writes, “and the CDC states that transmission from contaminated surfaces ‘is not thought to be a common way that COVID-19 spreads.'”

If you’re thinking about getting a UV sanitiser for the sole purpose of protecting yourself from COVID, you’re probably better off with a face mask and a jab.

What is the best UV phone sanitiser?

We have searched high and low for the best UV sanitisers for your phone. We’ve tried to find something for every budget, and it’s worth checking out everything in this list before making any sort of decision.

These are the best UV phone sanitisers in 2022.


As Tiger Woods’ Masters speculation ramps up, surgeon weighs in on golf legend’s chances

The speculation over whether Tiger Woods would play at the Masters next week in Augusta, Georgia, ramped up when his plane was spotted at a local airport and he reportedly took part in an 18-hole practice round.

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Dyson unveils its latest product, and it’s… a headphone purifier?

Woman wearing silver over ear headphones with a visor attached across the mouth and nose area.

Dyson, the company probably most known for its fancy schmancy vacuum cleaners and the very viral Airwrap, has announced a new product: Headphones! That connect to a cyborg-mask-like air purifier!

Let us explain. Dyson today unveiled the Dyson Zone, which is indeed a pair of headphones that attaches to an impressively small air purifier that goes across the nose and mouth area when worn. It’s Dyson’s first foray into the world of audio tech, and its first wearable air purifier.

Mannequin wearing over ear headphones with a small visor attached over the nose and mouth area.

It’s headphones! No, it’s an air purifier! No, it’s both headphones AND an air purifier!
Credit: Dyson

The Dyson Zone aims to combat both noise and air pollution, and is now debuting after 500 prototypes worth of development. On the audio side, the headphones feature three active noise cancellation modes: isolation, the highest level of noise cancellation; conversation, which activates when you dip the visor to turn off the purification function and amplify conversation; and transparency, which lets in the most noise and helps you remain aware of your surroundings.

On the purification side, the visor — which houses a potassium-enriched carbon filter that uses electrostatic filtration to clean the air — has four air purification modes: low, medium, high, and auto. The different modes are made for different breathing patterns (i.e. breathing harder while working out or climbing stairs), and the auto mode should help the wearer toggle between them as needed. The visor also should not touch the wearer’s face at any point, attaching only to the headphones themselves and allowing for two contactless streams of cleaned air flowing directly to the nose and mouth.

“The Dyson Zone purifies the air you breathe on the move,” said Jake Dyson, Chief Engineer, in a press release. “And unlike face masks, it delivers a plume of fresh air without touching your face, using high-performance filters and two miniaturized air pumps. After six years in development, we’re excited to deliver pure air and pure audio, anywhere.”

To to be clear, while the visor and its filter does clean the wearer’s breathing air, the Dyson Zone is not on its own a Covid-specific device — meaning it will not be a tech-based alternative for surgical masks, KN95s, or other facial masks.

The Dyson Zone can also be worn in any of four formats, depending on the user’s specific needs. It can be worn in what seems like to-the-max mode, with ANC enacted and visor attached for a combination noise and air pollution solution. It can also be worn as just headphones, with the level of ANC preferred in use. And amidst the ongoing pandemic, Dyson has also built in an option to add on a more classic face mask with a sealed edge, which is an attachment that comes with the Dyson Zone. For those in even higher risk environments, Dyson also has a FFP2 face covering attachment that will meet higher filtration standards.

While the Dyson Zone is the company’s first wearable device, this is not Dyson’s first rodeo in air purification. Dyson initially set down its air cleaning path with the launch of its Pure Cool fan back in 2015, and has been working on various purifiers since. The Dyson Zone takes all of the company’s previous developments and hopes to put it into an on-the-go package — with a side of headphones, for your music and podcast-listening pleasure.

Dyson has not yet announced an official launch date or price, but expects the Dyson Zone to become available online and in-store at Dyson Demo Stores starting in the fall of 2022.


Will Smith wanted to ‘protect, restore respect’ for Jada but it wasn’t ‘channeled in the right way’: experts

After years of witnessing a wildly public life that has rarely, if ever, seen Will Smith act out violently, the world is left asking what happened to the “King Richard” star.

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‘Wordle’ word today: Here’s the answer for March 29

Wordle game displayed on a phone and a laptop screen.

It’s after midnight on March 29, so put down that Mogwai Chow and pick up a fresh new Wordle. You never know when you’re going to need a little helping hand, so we’ve got the answer word below, as well as a few hints to give you a chance to solve it spoiler-free before you get there.

If you just want the answer word, please and thank you, you’ll find today’s Wordle solution right down the bottom of this post. If you want a few clues first to nudge you in the direction of the answer, as well as general Wordle tips, strategies, and info, you’ll find those on the way down.

Created by engineer Josh Wardle as a gift for his partner and later bought by the New York Times in a seven-figure deal, Wordle has gone mega-viral and inspired countless clones and variations on the basic guessing format. Try the truly evil bizarro-Wordle known as Absurdle, the nerdy Primel, the multi-game variants that add up to the 31-word Grand Slam (aka Untrigintordle, which I know is not a name that’s likely to catch on but is nonetheless the correct one).

What’s the best Wordle starting word?

Technically the best Wordle starting word is… whatever that day’s answer is! (Yes, I know, I’m sorry. Here, we’ve got plenty of ideas.)

Is Wordle harder than it used to be?

No, it’s not getting harder, even if there are sometimes a couple of tough ones (like this past Saturday and Sunday) Not hard enough for you? Here’s how to go to Hard Mode.

Dig into the Wordle archive

Want to train that brain? Get gains (and clues as to which words will not be the answer any time soon, because they’ve already been and gone) by playing the whole archive of past Wordles.

Yesterday’s Wordle: Here’s the March 28 Wordle answer in case you’re looking for it. We do this every day.

Here’s a subtle hint for today’s Wordle answer:

It appears a lot in the U.S. Constitution.

Does today’s Wordle answer have a double letter?

Yes, it does! Sneaky.

What letter does today’s Wordle answer start with?

It begins with the letter… S.

What’s the answer to Wordle today?

OK, we’ll tell you!


It is…


This is one of those words you’ve read a thousand times (as mentioned, it’s in the Constitution, as well as the Bill of Rights and loads of other legal documents and old-fashioned books) but it’s easy to forget about given it’s probably not one you’d use often otherwise (unless you’re fancy and/or British). Some nice common letters in there, but a sneaky double that tripped up a few people in the Wordle group chat.

Couldn’t get there on your own? There’s always tomorrow. We shall be here.


Ukrainian intelligence releases names of more than 600 alleged Russian spies

Ukraine’s defense intelligence ministry released a list of more than 600 alleged Russian spies working in Europe in an apparent attempt to burn them and weaken Russia’s intelligence operations across the continent.

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Chris Rock won’t press charges against Will Smith for that Oscars slap

Chris Rock and Will Smith onstage during the show at the 94th Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre at Ovation Hollywood on Sunday, March 27, 2022.

Chris Rock reportedly won’t be pressing charges against Will Smith after the King Richard star slapped him live on stage during the Oscars.

Smith, who won the Best Actor statue later in the ceremony, became the undisputed centre of attention at the 94th Academy Awards last night after publicly confronting Rock during the presentation for Best Documentary Feature. The comedian had been poking fun at Jada Pinkett Smith’s appearance, joking that she could appear in a G.I. Jane sequel due to her shaved head, which prompted Smith to jump to his wife’s defence.

The actor ascended to the stage to slap Rock across the face, before returning to his seat and shouting, “Keep my wife’s name out your fucking mouth!” While the exchange was censored on the U.S. broadcast, the full footage from international broadcasts has since made the rounds online.

However, the Los Angeles Police Department says Rock has not opted to file a report with them.

“LAPD investigative entities are aware of an incident between two individuals during the Academy Awards program,” the department said in a statement, according to Variety. “The incident involved one individual slapping another. The individual involved has declined to file a police report. If the involved party desires a police report at a later date, LAPD will be available to complete an investigative report.”

Pinkett Smith has alopecia, a medical condition which causes hair loss. She publicly revealed her diagnosis in 2018, and has been open about her struggles with the autoimmune disease in the years since.

“It was terrifying when it first started,” Pinkett Smith said in 2018. “You know, I was in the shower one day, and then just handfuls of hair just [fell out] in my hands, and I was just like, ‘Oh my god, am I going bald?’ It was one of those times in my life where I was literally shaking with fear…. That’s why I cut my hair.”

The Academy has issued a statement about the incident between Smith and Rock on Twitter, stating that it “does not condone violence of any form.”

“Tonight we are delighted to celebrate our 94th Academy Awards winners, who deserve this moment of recognition from their peers and movie lovers around the world,” it wrote.

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