Alabama May Subsidize Cell Phones for Low-Income Residents

Intelligent pill can be programmed to target specific ailments, researchers say.

by / March 31, 2009

Green Thumbs Up

The following entities are driving environmentally friendly programs:

  • The Salt Lake City Police Department added hybrid Toyota Camrys to its fleet.
  • New Jersey instituted a low-emission program that will require automakers to sell zero-emission and hybrid cars.
  • New York is rolling out a hybrid car production and research initiative, which will help create electric batteries and energy storage technologies for plug-in hybrid vehicles.
  • Connecticut, Maryland and Virginia provide state tax exemptions for those who purchase hybrid cars.


Free Phones

Alabama may soon join a handful of states that provide subsidized phone service to low-income families. Under the proposal, Miami-based TracFone Wireless would give free prepaid cell phones to more than 500,000 residents who receive government assistance. The phone plan would give users 68 free talk minutes per month, unlimited calls to 911 and text messaging.

However, distribution has been stalled for possibly another year because Alabama can't give statewide 911 authorization to TracFone. The phone company must get certification from each county's 911 emergency service board to provide the service. - The Birmingham News


Dr. Pill

Researchers in the Netherlands have developed an intelligent pill, or iPill, that's programmed to target specific areas in the intestinal tract and dispense medicine.

The iPill, a plastic capsule, can be swallowed with food or water. It has a microprocessor, battery, pH sensor, temperature sensor, radio frequency wireless transceiver, fluid pump and drug reservoir. It communicates via a wireless transceiver to a control unit outside the body.
The iPill is being tested on animals and could one day benefit those with Crohn's disease, colitis or other intestinal disorders. - Phillips Research



Research published in the British Journal of Developmental Psychology suggests that text messaging can improve students' verbal ability. A study of 88 children between the ages of 10 and 12 found that texting improves their reading ability and command of the English language. - BBC News


Ready or Not

More than 5 million U.S. households - or 4 percent of the country's homes - aren't ready for the upcoming transition to all-digital broadcasting and would be unable to receive any TV programming if the transition were to occur, according to a February 2008 survey by the Nielsen Company.

Karen Stewartson

Karen Stewartson served as the managing editor of Government Technology for many years. She also contributed to Public CIO and Emergency Management magazines.