cell phones

Our Ideas series is exploring how innovation happens in education.

Almost all college students have a cellphone. They use them an average of eight to 10 hours a day and check them an average of every 15 to 20 minutes while they're awake.

Heavier smartphone use has been linked to lower-quality sleep and lower GPAs — oh, are you getting a text right now?

I'll wait.

Anyway, as I was saying, one professor at the University of Colorado Boulder has come up with a solution to smartphone distraction in one of his astronomy classes.

The Justice Department says it will beef up legal requirements for using cell-site simulators, an increasingly controversial form of surveillance technology that secretly gathers data about mobile devices.

Under the new policy, federal investigators will be required to get a warrant from a judge demonstrating probable cause, in most domestic criminal probes. Agents will need to explain to judges how the technology is being used. And they'll be directed to destroy volumes of bystanders' data "no less than once daily."

downdetector.com/Google Maps

9:50 a.m. August 5: Cathy Lewandowski of AT&T confirms that service has been restored across the Southeast. Engineers repaired a hardware-related network issue early yesterday evening. The outage affected AT&T customers across Tennessee, Kentucky, and Alabama. Continued outages are still being reported at downdetector.com.

2nd Update: Trevor Thomas of Verizon confirms that service has been restored just after 5:15. Local AT&T service within Murray appears to be operating as normal.

Update: Trevor Thomas of Verizon confirms the disruption and says they are working to restore service, but can't confirm how many customers are affected. 

AT&T, Verizon and other networks are experiencing a widespread service outage. Reports of outages began around 1:30 p.m. at downdetector.com and have since increased across Kentucky and Tennessee.

An AT&T spokesperson says, "Some customers across parts of he Southeast are experiencing wire line and wireless service issues. We are investigating the cause and working as quickly as possible to restore service. We apologize for this inconvenience." 


A problem with mobile phone routing is requiring west Tennessee residents to dial a new, 10-digit number in an emergency instead of  911.

Paducah photographer C. Todd Birdsong showcases his work at Tribeca Restaurant's gallery through August 3 in downtown Paducah. On Sounds Good, he speaks with Kate Lochte about his work in the medium of mobile phone photography and his take on observing both beautiful moments and the every day through the modern lens.

Kentucky’s Public Service Commission will announce today whether or not it will create a new area code for the western part of the Commonwealth. The cell phone boom has resulted in using nearly all of the numbers available with the current 270 area code. The new area code would be designated as 364.

A consumer advocacy groups says scams adding charges to people’s cell phone bills have almost doubled in Illinois this past year.  The Citizens Utility Board says scammers target cell users as wireless communication increases and new laws forbid cramming land lines. Cramming refers to third-party charges added to customers’ bills for services they never ordered.


Illinois drivers are coming under more pressure to stay off their cell phones. Governor Pat Quinn has signed four new laws aimed at making state roadways safer. Three of them confront the problem of drivers becoming distracted by talking and texting on their cell phones. 


The flashing lights of a parked ambulance or other emergency vehicle may soon be a sign for Illinois drivers to hang up the phone.