Popcorn
Home Faux Images and Videos Making Popcorn With Cell Phones

Making Popcorn With Cell Phones

by Brett M. Christensen

Outline

Several YouTube videos apparently show corn being popped by the radiation from an array of cellphones.

Brief Analysis

False- Videos are part of an advertising campaign for Bluetooth headsets

Example

Subject: Fw: CELL PHONES MAKING POPCORN
Now this may have you rethink having a cell phone – no wonder that guy years ago sued the cell phone company for causing cancer. The first one is French people, next is Orientals, next is Canadian. These videos are all about 20 seconds each, check them out.
Here’s a few videos on how to make popcorn using your cell phone…http://fr.youtube.com/watch?v=kAd0aWxs7kQhttp://fr.youtube.com/watch?v=ju5yIFu4yY8

http://fr.youtube.com/watch?v=V94shlqPlSI

http://fr.youtube.com/watch?v=_NGSk00Jcok

If dried corn reacts to ‘low-level’ microwaves like this, then what’s going on inside your brain cavity…!

 

Detailed Analysis

Several YouTube videos that appear to show a “party trick” in which popcorn is made by placing pieces of dried corn between three or four active cell phones are currently attracting many viewers and a great deal of discussion.

Although the videos may look authentic, the apparent results are due to clever video editing or other trickery.

In fact, it has now been revealed that the videos are a form or “viral” advertising for Cardo Bluetooth headsets. Yet another YouTube video “owning up” to the prank was later published, although it ha snow been removed.

A disclaimer at the end of the video stated:

The content of the initial video is merely a fictitious and humorous optical illusion designed for entertainment. Nothing in the video implies that mobile phones can make popcorn.

Thus, the “mystery” of the popping corn has now been solved although exactly how the stunt was pulled off is not yet clear. Many have suggested that a hotplate hidden under the table may well be the real reason why the corn popped.

And for the record, it is clearly not possible that even four cell phones in an array could generate enough radiation to create popcorn. In an article on Wired.com, University of Virginia physics professor Louis Bloomfield debunks claims that the videos are genuine:

“[The videos] are cute,” said Bloomfield in a phone conversation Monday. “But that’s never gonna happen.”

In a microwave oven, energy excites the water inside popcorn kernels until it turns into highly pressurized gas, causing the kernels to pop. If mobile phones emitted that much energy, the water in the fingers of people holding them would heat up.

“It would hurt like crazy,” Bloomfield said. “Cellphones probably warm your tissues, but studies indicate that’s not injurious.”

The videos show the corn popping just seconds after the cell phones begin ringing. During experiments, even my 500 watt microwave oven took close to 60 seconds to popcorn. And, even after 60 seconds, only one of three corn pieces used actually popped at all. In an article about the safety of cellular telephones, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) notes:

All devices that transmit radio-frequency signals—such as radio broadcast towers and cellular telephones—emit radio-frequency radiation. At sufficient power levels, radio-frequency radiation can produce immediate biological damage, such as burns (thermal effects). The American National Standards Institute’s (ANSI) 1982 standard for radiation exposure indicates that devices operating on 7 watts or less of power at frequencies below 1,000 megahertz will not produce immediate thermal effects. Portable cellular telephones operate on much less than 7 watts of power (up to a maximum of only 0.6 watts) at frequencies between 800 and 900 megahertz.

Thus, the claim that the phones could generate enough heat to popcorn in just a few seconds (or at all) is simply absurd. As Bloomfield indicates, if a phone could generate enough heat to popcorn, the user’s face and hand would very soon become uncomfortably hot..too hot, one could logically conclude, for any conversation to continue past a few seconds. As every mobile phone user knows, this is simply not the case.

Moreover, I conducted my own experiments in which I tried to popcorn using mobile phones. I was completely unsurprised to find that not one piece of corn popped during these experiments.

The videos are similar to another cell phone prank in which it was claimed that an egg could be cooked using two mobile phones. That story also raised a lot of debate on the Internet but had no basis in fact.

Concerned users have long discussed potential dangers associated with mobile phone use and at least some of these concerns may have at least some validity. However, even if you do believe that prolonged exposure to mobile phone radiation may be harmful, you can rest assured that you cannot make popcorn (or cook an egg) using cell phones.



Importance Notice

After considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.

These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.

Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.

And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.

When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.

I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.

A Big Thank You

I would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.

I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.

Closing Date

Hoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.

Thank you, one and all!

Brett Christensen,
Hoax-Slayer