Frontier Communications Wants to Pay You $1000 to Swap Your Smartphone for a Flip Phone for a Week

iStock/pixeldigits
iStock/pixeldigits

Before mobile phones were tools for browsing the internet, making video calls, and transforming your face into emojis, they were primarily used for calling and texting. As WTHR reports, the internet and phone service provider Frontier Communications wants to send one person back to the dark ages by replacing their smartphone with a flip phone for a whole week—and if they successfully complete the challenge, they'll walk away with $1000.

The company is launching the "Flip Phone Challenge" to see how well a self-proclaimed smartphone addict can cope without their device. For a full seven days, they'll learn how to navigate life without the internet at their fingertips. They will have access to a basic flip phone for simpler communications, but when it comes to consuming media, taking notes, and looking up directions on the go, they'll need to get creative. To ease the transition, Frontier Communications will provide them with a "Boredom Buster Swag Bag." It comes with tools that were essential in the pre-smartphone era, like a physical map, a pocket phonebook, a notepad and pen, and CDs.

Frontier Communications will select just one person out of its applicant pool to take the challenge. The ideal candidate is in touch with the latest technology, is an avid social media user, and is willing to vlog about their experience. They must be 18 years or older and a citizen or permanent resident of the U.S.

In addition to living their life with a flip phone for a week, the chosen candidate will be asked to record their progress, noting any changes in their productivity, sleep quality, and how long it takes them to correspond with someone. If they can do that while resisting the temptation of smartphone life, they'll receive $1000 from the company.

To apply for the challenge, complete the form here and explain in 200 words or less why you'd be the right person for the job. Including a video component is encouraged, but not required.

[h/t WTHR]

The FCC's New Scam Glossary Will Help You Identify Fraudulent Calls

Tero Vesalainen/iStock via Getty Images
Tero Vesalainen/iStock via Getty Images

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) knows that robocalls have gotten worse in recent years, and it's finally doing something about it. In June 2019, the FCC voted to give phone carriers the freedom to block spam calls without waiting for customers to opt in. The change is a good first step, but it won't end the robocall scourge completely. For the unwanted calls that sneak past your phone's defenses, the FCC also published a scam glossary on its website, Popular Science reports.

The glossary lists some of the most common (as well as some uncommon) strategies used by criminals, giving you an idea of what to be on the lookout for next time you get a suspicious call. The "Health Insurance Scam," for example, involves callers selling fake health care coverage for a cheap price. There's also the "One Ring Scam," where the scammer will hang up quickly after the first ring without giving you time to answer the call. Their goal is to trick you into calling them back and paying for international call fees.

The glossary includes more general terms that relate to phone scams as well. Spoofing is defined as calls made through fake caller IDs that appear trustworthy, either by matching your home area code or that of a legitimate organization. Slamming happens when a phone company moves you from your existing service provider to theirs without your consent.

Familiarizing yourself with popular scams is one of the easiest ways to protect yourself from falling for fraudulent calls. Another way is to install robocall-blocking apps on your phone. Here are some options to check out.

[h/t Popular Science]

Fish Tube: How the 'Salmon Cannon' Works and Why It's Important

PerfectStills/iStock via Getty Images
PerfectStills/iStock via Getty Images

If you’ve been on the internet at any point in the past week, you’ve certainly come across footage of wildlife conservationists stuffing salmon into a giant plastic tube and shuttling them over obstacles. It’s so bizarre—even by the already loose standards of the web—that it briefly ignited discussions over fish welfare, its purpose, and the seeming desire of people to be similarly transported through a pneumatic tunnel into a new life.

Naturally, the “salmon cannon” has a mission beyond amusing the internet. The system was created by Whooshh Innovations, a company that essentially adopted the same kind of transportation system featuring pressurized tubing that's used in banking. Initially, the system was intended to transport fruit over long distances without bruising. At some point, engineers figured they could do the same for fish.

The fish payload is secured at the entrance of the tube—acceptable species can weigh up to 34 pounds—and moves through a smooth, soft plastic tube that conforms to their body shape. Air pressure behind them keeps them moving. The fish are jettisoned between 16 and 26 feet per second to a new location, where they emerge relatively unscathed. Because there’s no need for a water column, the tubing can cover most terrain at virtually any height.

The tubing solution is a human answer to a human problem: dams. With fish largely confined to still bodies of water thanks to dams and facing obstacles swimming upstream to migrate and spawn, fish need some kind of assistance. In the past, “fish ladders” have helped fish move upstream by providing ascending steps they can flop on, but not all fish can navigate such terrain. Another system, trapping and hauling fish like cargo, results in disoriented fish who can even forget how to swim. The Whooshh system, which has been in used in Washington state for at least five years, allows for expedient fish export with an injury rate as little as 3 percent, although study results have varied.

The video features manual insertion of the fish. In the wild, Whooshh counts on fish making semi-voluntary entries into the tubing. Once they swim into an enclosure, they’re curious enough about the tube to go inside.

If all goes well, the system could help salmon be reintroduced to the Upper Columbia River in Washington, where the population has been depleted by dams. Testing of the device there is awaiting approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

[h/t Popular Mechanics]

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