Do you actually use your laptop, y'know, on your lap? I sure don't — that heat's a killer. Turns out, a burning MacBook and the like can do some real damage to your familial future. If you don't know how to sit, that is.
A team led by urologist Yefim Sheynkin of Stony Brook University in New York enlisted 29 men, all between 21 to 35 years old, to perform three separate tests where the men used a computer sitting in different positions for an hour. One group kept their legs together — the most common way to do it if you're not at a desk — the second did the same but used padding to stave off the heat, and the third kept their legs apart at a 70 degree angle, using the same "shield" as group number two to keep the laptop stable. All the men went through each test once (performing only one a day) as sensors monitored the temperature of their scrota.
The results? A laptop on your lap is always going to get things cooking, but with your legs spread you'll only see a 1.4° C increases, whereas keeping your legs together or using a cushion will feel a 2.2° C and 2.3° C rise, respectively. As you can see, putting something between you and the laptop may make you feel better, but it doesn't always beat the heat. For the record, a man's scrotum is super sensitive to heat, and even a few degrees can slow down sperm (making them less likely to fertilize an egg), lower sperm count or even stymie production for weeks or months.
So, what does the study recommend? Well, you'll be happy or unhappy to hear — depending on how you prefer to get your computing done — that you should really stick to a desk or a table, and keep your laptop off of your lap.