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Cell Phone Myths Dispelled


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There are 4 billion cell phones in use all over the World! And with the phones come their stories and myths which buzz with the self-proclaimed experts! Most of the users are not scientifically inclined and gobble up all the mumbo jumbo that they hear!

I came across these four stories which caught my attention. I took them rather seriously, and asked those who were knowledgeable. They laughed and laughed and took it as big joke; a wonderful humor! They said that these stories are the most absurd and contain non-scientific misinformation that must be strongly put down!

The first is a baseless story that the battery of the cell phone runs out faster if you make long distance calls. It takes more energy to reach across states and continents. It stands to reason that the longer the distance, the more power the phone will need to send it all the way. From London to Manchester will take less energy than from London to New York or from London to Bombay. But this is not true because the phone is not doing all the work. The distance which the cell phone signal needs to travel is the same for every call. This is the distance between the cell phone and the nearest relay tower of the service provider. It is the tower which then sends the voice to wherever. The message travels only the distance upto the tower with the power of the cell phone and thereafter it's the power of the phone network system that carries it further. The drain of power from the phone battery that is the amount of power that it expends therefore is not dependant on the distance to the final destination of the call.

The second is a fallacious story that the cell phone is a radio receiver which can receive the FM stations like a normal radio. It's true that you can hear the stations play on your phone, but the programs are not coming from the radio station directly, but through the phone connection through the service provider. If you haven't paid your bill and the phone is disabled by the service provider the radio doesn't work. Another example is when you remove the SIM card In a GSM phone, your radio capability is gone too! This shows that the radio program is coming to you only through the phone signal.

The third is a ridiculous story that when if you hold the phone to one ear, you hear it in both the ears, as waves pass through your head to hit the eardrum of the opposite ear. This is not true. It can be easily disproved by placing a mike at the aperture of the left ear when you have a live conversation by holding the phone to your right ear. The mike will pick up no sound thus proving the myth to be false! The signal to the phone is in the form of microwaves which are converted in the phone to sound waves. Although the microwaves travel through your head to the other ear, these cannot be heard unless they are converted to sound waves which the ear cannot do! Only when your phone is connected to stereo earphones and you wear both the earphones, one in each ear, then and only then that you can hear the voice or music in both your ears.

The fourth is an idiotic story that in vibration mode, when the cell phone vibrates, the phone numbers in the phonebook shake and they get mixed up. This is absolute nonsense as the phone numbers that are stored in the memory of the phone are not beans in a bottle to shake and get mixed up. The numbers are stored by changing the magnetic properties of the storage chip and they are not separate and distinct pieces which can be moved. Please rest assured that no matter how hard you shake the phone or vibrate it your stored numbers are not going to fall out and get mixed up!

I have written this article to dispel the wrong notions about the cell phones, but I have my own doubts as to how many readers are going to believe me. I have a lurking suspicion that these stories will continue circulate amongst the ignorant for their pseudo logic and amongst the enlightened for their in-built humor and laughter! If I hear anyone of these stories again, I wouldn't know whether to cry or to laugh!

Dilip Dahanukar is an IIT Powai alumnus. He is an experienced author having written 2 science fiction books ‘eMaya’ and ‘Alien Man’ which are availablew on Amazon and Borders. He has written articles on the net, which are widely read. Married to an artist, he is an avid gardener and enjoys nature. Visit the webpage of the author: Dilip Dahanukar


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