And now for proof that some laptops run hotter than a badger. A 50-year old scientist, previously healthy, burned his penis after placing his laptop on his, err lap, for an hour. Oh, he was fully dressed in trousers and underpants, according to this letter printed in the Lancet, the UK's best-known medical journal. (reg req'd, free.)
The following is not for the squeamish:
The next day he noticed irritation and oedema of his penile prepuce. Furthermore, the ventral part of his scrotal skin had turned red, and there was a blister with a diameter of about 2 cm. These findings were verified when I saw the patient 1 day later. There were no signs of phimosis or balanitis. The patient recalled that, while sitting 2 days earlier with his computer on his lap, he occasionally had felt heat and a burning feeling on his lap and proximal thigh, a sensation that was relieved at least temporarily when the computer was moved slightly.
After the first 2 days, the penile and scrotal blisters broke and developed into infected wounds that caused extensive suppuration. More than a week later, the wounds were covered by dry crusts and thereafter were healing quite rapidly. No antibiotic treatment was needed.
Thank goodness. The Register is happy that the patient was in such able hands, but disappointed in the lack of technical detail in Claes-Goran Ostenson's report. What was the make of laptop*? Did it have a desktop chip in it? Roll on Banias.
The unnamed laptop maimer may have to change the caveats in its instruction manual. Ostenson notes the branding iron firm's safety instructions:
Do not allow your portable computer to operate with the base resting directly on exposed skin. With extended operation, heat can potentially build up in the base. Allowing sustained contact with the skin could cause discomfort or, eventually, a burn."
Don't trousers and underpants count?
The 50 year-old scientist has learned a lesson, although we're not sure what. And we are relieved that this is not a case of objectum sexuality, most commonly expressed in sexual love for cars, but also a phenomenon among... owners of PowerMacs (they are nice, aren't they?). Here is a snippet from a recent Wired piece.
That's when Mark realized it wasn't Bryan he fancied, it was his Mac.
"Bryan, my cyberboyfriend, was in a lot of ways, my PowerMac G3, webcam and telephone," Mark wrote on his website. "He literally lived inside of this machine ... that I myself could control like a light switch. The perfect boyfriend."
*Reg Reader Peter Dudek of Switzerland writes:
Just thought I'd mention that by doing a google search with "Do not allow your portable computer to operate with the base resting directly on exposed skin. With extended operation, heat can potentially build up in the base. Allowing sustained contact with the skin could cause discomfort or, eventually, a burn" as the search string, I believe, reveals the mystery laptop brand.
It's a Dell Latitude. The search pulls up a support website from support.jp.dell.com, that has, essentially, the exact same warning in the
"User's Guide". ®