Stockton, California: The Best and the Brightest

By Proof

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My current hometown of Stockton California has taken a lot of abuse of late. The largest city in the US to go into bankruptcy, taking it "on the chin" from late night comedians like Jay Leno:
"Stockton's so broke, Lindsey Lohan wouldn't shoplift there."
"Stockton's so broke, a North Korean missile would raise property values."
So, there's a nice little human interest story to balance the scales a bit. It involves a fourteen year old girl and her science project. Most of us at fourteen might have stuck some wires in a potato to power a clock, or something, but Gianna Chien had something a little more sophisticated in mind.
"A California teen discovered the magnets in iPad 2 tablets and covers are capable of interfering with cardiac rhythm devices, like pacemakers, according to the Heart Rhythm Society. The research, conducted by 14-year-old Gianna Chien of Stockton, Calif , was presented Thursday at Heart Rhythm 2013, the Society’s 34th Annual Scientific Sessions.

“iPad 2s use magnets to help secure the cover to the tablet. Since people hold tablets so close to their chest, I wanted to see if these magnets could affect cardiac device performance,” said Chien, who initially organized the study as part of a school science fair project.

Cardiac rhythm devices can be affected by magnets and radiofrequency energy in products ranging from cellphones to MRI machines, the Heart Rhythm Society reported. When cardiac devices are near magnets, they switch into “magnet mode,” which could potentially disrupt function. With the help of her cardiologist father, Chien asked 26 patients with implantable cardiac devices (ICDs) to hold the iPad 2 at reading distance. At this length, the iPad caused no electromagnetic interference. However, when participants placed the tablet on their chests, as if they had fallen asleep with the iPad there, “magnet mode” was triggered in 30 percent of patients' ICDs, the Heart Rhythm Society reported."
Wow. No telling how many lives might have been saved, or how many Apple engineers are getting to work overtime to redesign the magnetic functions of the ipad2, or how many of Apple's lawyers are formulating the costs of a recall vs. the cost of potential litigation. All from a fourteen year old Stockton girl.

And you want to hear the funny part? Her project wasn't considered the best. Two other people tied for first! The breakthrough research on the effect of ipads on pacemakers came in third!

Some day, when they've put Leno in a home, and he's laying in bed watching reruns of his shows on his ipad, he can thank a Stockton girl that his pacemaker doesn't switch off. You're welcome, Jay!

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Stockton's brightest and Best, II. The day before, there was a story about two 16 year olds, a 17 and an 18 year old, from my old high school, who built a working prosthetic arm for less than $20.00
STOCKTON - Yael Castillo slipped on a prosthetic arm the other day and flexed the device's two prongs to pick up tennis balls and toss them into a bucket, to lift a can of soda and drink from it, even to grasp a pen and sign his name.

Was there anything he couldn't do with the artificial limb? "Maybe use a touchscreen phone," Castillo said.

The prosthesis cost $19.44 to build. It was designed and constructed by Castillo and fellow Stagg High School students Brooklyn Omstead, Anthony Nichols and Gabriel Zuniga. Today at University of the Pacific, Stagg's prosthetic arm just might pick up one more thing. It might grab the Math Engineering Science Achievement, or MESA, state championship.

"For less than $40, they had to design something to replace the arm and hand," explained Stagg's MESA teacher, Andrew Walter.

Cross posted at Proof Positive


  1. This is so great! It takes the ouch off the student/teacher fisticuff story from two weeks ago!
    My husband and I live in the Foothills and shop in Stockton, rather than Modesto. We always go to the Asparagus Festival and get our hockey fix there at the Arena, and plan to catch a couple of ball games at the Stadium. Since changing our diet, Le Kim's on Central is our choice for lunch during the week.
    My dearest wish was to go to UOP, which was way out of my reach.
    Jay Leno has never been to Stockton, but it would do him a world of good of that iPad 2 of his didn't get charged regularly.
    Kudos to Ms. Chien! Glad my husband doesn't have a pacemaker. :)

    1. Don't know what your change of diet was, but have you ever been to Dave Wong's on March? It's one of my faves.

    2. We changed to vegan. Unless you are dying of something serious, don't do it! It is HARD WORK! Anyway, yes, we have been at Dave Wong's, it is across the street from where the donut place used to be. Maybe it's still there. But, thanks for the heads-up, though. We've been eating Vietnamese or Thai, but Thai has a lot of sugar in it, and sodium. As a change of pace DW's would be really nice.

    3. Wasn't that called Krispy Kremes?

    4. Across the street from the doughnut shop. But, yeah. Just off I-5.

  2. Gianna's report was excellent, except for that whole chapter dedicated to tony stark.

    1. True. With Mr. Stark the magnets were necessary to keep the shrapnel from his heart. That should have been a whole separate project! Heh.


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