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Cell Phone Popcorn? It's an Urban Legend.
By David EmeryJune 10, 2008
Question of the hour: can you pop popcorn with cell phones? A YouTube video closing in on one million views this week purports to show a group of people doing just that. In the video, three phones are aimed at a few kernels of popcorn arranged in the middle of a table; the cell phone numbers are dialed; the phones ring; the corn pops instantly. There is no detectable trickery.
Trickery there must be, however, because, as a simple matter of logic, if your cell phone emits enough electromagnetic energy to pop popcorn, it should also make your head explode. When was the last time that happened to you?
The Museum of Hoaxes' Alex Boese figures there must be a heating element hidden under the table. A physics professor consulted by Wired.com concurs, suggesting there may have been some sneaky editing involved as well.
Some folks think the video — which is actually just one of several posted in different languages at roughly the same time — may be part of a viral marketing campaign for some as yet unknown company. Alex Boese points out that the premise is reminiscent of a widely circulated satirical piece many mistook for fact a few years ago claiming it's possible to cook an egg with a cell phone (the yolk was on them).
Update #1: It turns out the video was indeed part of a viral marketing campaign for Cardo Systems, makers of Bluetooth headsets.
Update #2: Cardo Systems CEO Abraham Glezerman reveals how the cell phone popcorn trick was done.
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