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Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Cell phone is a perfectly good egg cooker?

Egg Cooker 1 of 2If you find yourself out and without any other method of cooking your eggs, you can use your cell phone according to two Russian journalists. In their experiment, they placed a raw egg in a porcelain cup between two phones that were talking to one another. The article reports that no change was observed during the first 15 minutes, but at 25 minutes the shell became hot and at 40 minutes the shell became hard; the egg was fully cooked after 65 minutes.

This article is part of a string of reports that as of late points out that cell phone radiation is harmful and may cause brain tumors. My experience is that after using a cell phone for a long time (60+ minutes continuously) my ear and head get hot. That aside, it isn't clear whether the heat is due to harmful radiation or just heat emitted by electronics. I don't think there is anything to worry about heat because if this was the case then everyone would have brain tumors from taking hot showers or soaking in hot-tubs.

Egg Cooker 2 of 2The other thing that should be noted here is that their experiment isn't very scientific. Their remarks about the egg are purely qualitative and they don't propose any mechanism by which the egg cooks. The lack of any experimental design means that their findings are nothing more than a cool trick. If these reporters hope to be taken seriously they need to properly interact with the scientific community by publishing their findings in a peer-reviewed journal so their work can be scrutinized and repeated.

My biggest problem with the media is how they skew facts and draw bold conclusions akin to sensationalism and yellow journalism from the early 20th century. Journalists are always looking for the big story and in the process twist findings and observations to fit their pre-formulated conclusions. This is in part why I started this blog to highlight fact from fiction. Until this is study in a more controlled environment I wouldn't consider this more than just some journalists looking for acknowledgement.

Ironically, I don't think people would stop using their cell phones if an accurate study was done and showed that they caused brain tumors; we are too attached to our gadgets.


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