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About Amit Varma

Amit Varma is a writer based in Mumbai. He worked in journalism for over a decade, and won the Bastiat Prize for Journalism in 2007. His bestselling novel, My Friend Sancho, was published in 2009. He is best known for his blog, India Uncut. His current project is a non-fiction book about the lack of personal and economic freedoms in post-Independence India.




Bastiat Prize 2007 Winner

Recent entries

The New World Upon Us

This is the 45th installment of Lighthouse, my monthly column for BLink, a supplement of the Hindu Business Line. Alpha…

Facts. Don’t. Matter

This op-ed of mine was published in the Hindu today. Politicians like Trump and Modi play to our worst impulses…

Neech Whataboutery

This is the 61st installment of Rhyme and Reason, my weekly set of limericks for the Sunday Times of India…

Hadiya and Ivanka

This is the 60th installment of Rhyme and Reason, my weekly set of limericks for the Sunday Times of India…

A Few Thoughts on Match Poker (and the Match IPL)

A couple of weeks ago, I took part in the Match IPL, playing for Goa Kings. The IPL here stands…

18 April, 2011

Cellphones, Brain Damage and Furious Copulation

Do cellphones cause brain damage? The evidence is far from conclusive, but Alex Tabarrok writes:

[T]he fact of the matter is that cell phones do cause brain damage. Cell phones cause brain (and body) damage when people use them while driving. Cell phones distract, whether we measure in the lab or on the road, and they distract enough to make cell phone use not all that different from driving under the influence of alcohol (at the illegal level). In marked contrast to the studies on cell phones and brain cancer the studies on cell phones and driving are broadly consistent and suggestive of a small but significant increase in death (your own and that of others). [Links in the original.]

Men are worse at multi-tasking than women, for evolutionary reasons, but it’s certainly true that anyone who speaks on the phone while driving is doing something profoundly stupid. But leave that aside, here’s a thought I have: if speaking on the phone impairs a driver’s facilities in the same way that alcohol does, then would it also be the case that it has the same effect on other activities? Is multi-tasking, thus, as potentially hazardous in the short term as alcohol?

To take just one random activity as an example, would a man having sex while talking on the phone perform as poorly as a very drunk man? This is certainly an experiment worth carrying out, and I encourage you to go for it. In the interests of science.

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