Photo: Thinkstock

8 of 8



Case No. 8: Taking Your Laptop Literally
"Laptop" is misleading, reported a study at the Technical University of Munich, because you shouldn't actually put it on your lap. After just one hour of improper ventilation—which often happens to machines that rest on thighs—just about every laptop tested was dangerously hot. For the computer, this can mean a shorter life. For us, the risk is "toasted skin syndrome"—when flesh is pressed panini-like—which resembles long-term sun damage. (Another nasty side effect: male infertility, a result of higher scrotum temperatures.)

Try instead: Consider a laptop with a larger screen (like a 17-inch model); the German study found that they run cooler than smaller ones. And, thighs aside, avoid propping your laptop on any soft surface where it can't breathe—especially pillows, blankets and the bed—we're all guilty here. (This is also why not to keep a laptop powered on when not in use—it may "wake up" and overheat in its case or another improperly ventilated place.)

Next: Life skills you may need to relearn