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BAD project idea: cell phone popcorn

Filed Under: food, electronics, Don't-it-yourself

frightened manYou know, there are some DIY projects that are such a bad, bad, bad idea that you can't imagine people need to be told NOT to do them, and yet they're out there! Here we have just such a bad, bad, bad idea.

It's the cell phone hoax -- you know, the one where someone apparently makes a kernel of popcorn explode using their cell phone? Seems it's done by taking the magnetron out of your microwave and cooking the kernel from under the table. Do we really, really need to explain that a magnetron is dangerous? That there's a good reason it's carefully housed inside a casing inside your microwave?

That reason would be radioactivity. You know, the stuff that causes cancer, mutations, sterility and/or death, which is really not something you want to broadcast willy-nilly all over your kitchen.

So, yes, you likely can pop a popcorn kernel this way. And your future children may all be born with three eyeballs. Are you sure it's worth it?


  • mjdennis

    Yes, it is dangerous.
    No, it is NOT radioactivity.
    It is electromagnetic (EM) radiation, which shares an unfortunate naming convention with ionizing (nuclear) radiation.
    EM radiation occasionally causes the listed problems, the same way too much sunlight does - heating too much.

  • Hop Frog

    It is NOT "radioactivity". Microwaves are radiation which is lower in energy than visible light. They do NOT cause cancer. They do not disrupt chemical bonds. They are non-ionizing radiation. Exposure of tissue to microwaves simply cooks the tissue just as exposure to the coil on a stove cooks the tissue. The wikipedia article on microwaves is essentially correct. Perhaps you should read it.

  • John B

    Oh good, I thought I was the only only one who passed physics class in high school. Micro waves are not radioactive.

  • Edsel

    When I took college physics, microwave ovens didn't exist.

    Boy O'Boy, am I'm feeling old......

  • Ilona

    I stand corrected. You are all right, of course: microwaves are not radioactive. Surprisingly, I did pass physics in high school, but I haven't had much to do with it since... As shows in this article, huh?

    Off I go to read the Wikipedia article!

  • Frank Townend

    No need to get out your physics textbooks. One of the posters provides the best scientific assessment for us:

    "i repair microwave since 15 years
    and when you doing right it's not dangerous at all."

  • molly

    im lossttttttt.

  • aznriceboi

    * A microwave oven passes (non-ionizing) microwave radiation (at a frequency near 2.45 GHz) through food, causing dielectric heating by absorption of energy in the water, fats and sugar contained in the food. Microwave ovens became common kitchen appliances in Western countries in the late 1970s, following development of inexpensive cavity magnetrons.

  • GK

    You still can easily go blind from heating your eyes with a microwave, just like the clear egg yolk turns white when cooked. Not kidding. You are not supposed to look at microwaves for this reason.

  • 9 Comments / 1 Pages

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