Though the cell phone isn't a particularly new invention, it's surprising how little most people know about them. So it's not particularly shocking that a number of widely-held “facts” regarding cell phones and cell phone usage are still regarded as absolutely true. Let's rectify that situation by clearing the air and putting some of the most popular and persistent cell phone myths to bed.
5 Myths About Cell Phones That Everyone Thinks Are True
Cell Phones Cause Cancer
While the connection between cell phones and brain cancer has yet to be demonstrably proven, it's an idea that persists amongst the general populace to this day. Scientific American has a great piece detailing the arguments for and against the idea of cancer caused by your cell phone. The short version is this : cell phones use non-ionizing radiation to broadcast and receive signals, so in principle they're safe. Only time and further research will tell us if this myth is true or not.
You Can Crash An Airplane With Your iPhone
We're all familiar with the instructions many airlines broadcast over the PA system on planes to turn off all cell phones and mobile devices during takeoff. But can your Blackberry actually crash a 747? An investigation by ABC News found scant evidence of electromagnetic interference from cell phones interfering with a plane's navigational equipment. This one appears to be a myth which isn't backed by hard science.
Cell Phones Interfere With Pace Makers
In many hospitals, you'll see often see signs warning you about using cell phones around “sensitive medical equipment” and patients with chest implants. The idea is that the signals from your phone can interfere with pacemakers, leading to heart attacks and other misfortunes. It would make for a great story, if it were true. Unfortunately, a study by the world-famous Mayo Clinic found cell phone interference in hospitals to be essentially harmless.
They Can Burn Down A Gas Station
A popular myth holds that a static spark from a cell phone can actually ignite gasoline fumes at the service station pump. There's absolutely no basis to this urban legend. In fact, there hasn't been a single gas station fire that's been attributed to cell phone usage ever reported. The MythBusters tested out this modern wives tale, and proved it false in a fairly undramatic segment.
Cell Phones Can Unlock Cars
One mildly plausible rumor states that a car can be unlocked by using a smart phone to play a custom ring tone which emulates the sound of your remote key fob. This one's completely false, as the Remote Keyless Entry system for a car transmits encrypted data in the 300 MHz range. Cell phones operate at frequencies above 800 MHz, so it wouldn't work even if you could break the encryption.
Like the old saying goes, most individuals won't let the truth get in the way of a good story. Many of the myths debunked above will probably live on in one form or another in the collective consciousness for years to come. But at least you've gained a bit of knowledge about cell phones, the limits of their functionality, and what they're actually capable of doing.