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Cellphones are dangerous/not dangerous, Africa edition

Chris Ziegler

For us, moving around to get a better signal on our phone might mean strolling outside or standing near a window. For some Africans whose love for cellphones is stronger than the carriers' networks themselves, though, "going out on a limb for a better signal" is an entirely literal phrase. So literal, in fact, that a Ugandan author has coined the term "Nebrols," short for Network Broken Limbs Syndrome, to describe the injuries suffered from folks climbing things (usually trees) in an effort to get a bar or two of signal strength on their cellies. It seems a lot of older Africans who've come to rely on their newfound ability to stay in touch are falling out of trees and breaking all manner of bones in the process. To be fair, we feel their pain -- we'd probably do the same if it meant we could get some HSDPA out in the boondocks.


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