<videovortex> don't believe yourtube

Geert Lovink geert at xs4all.nl
Thu Jun 12 09:26:13 CEST 2008

>> http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2008/jun/11/mobilephones.youtube

It appears there is something new we can do with our mobile phones once 
we're bored of snapping, surfing, blogging, tweeting, texting, globally 
positioning ourselves and occasionally calling our loved ones to say 
we're on the bus and ask them if we need milk. If four separate 
homemade videos on YouTube are to be believed, it's now possible to 
cook popcorn using the energy emitted from ordinary ringing mobiles.

In the clips - which feature groups of friends from Japan, France and 
the US casually lounging around tables - a small handful of corn is 
placed in the middle of a circle of phones.

After a few seconds of them ringing, to much delight, the magically 
puffed-up kernels start leaping into the air.

Since first appearing on video- sharing networks last week the four 
clips have been viewed millions of times and have spawned heated 
debates on YouTube and various blogs about their authenticity. Some 
commenters feel the clips provide evidence of the health risks of 
mobile technology, while the independent media site World News links 
the films to claims that 3G phone signals have led to the declining 
population of sparrows in Britain. Others have decided the clips are an 
elaborate hoax.

In reality it appears to be scientifically impossible. Popcorn kernels 
need to be heated to around 450 F before the moisture inside them turns 
to steam, causing them to explode and pop. If mobile phones emitted 
that much microwave energy, the water in the fingers of people holding 
them would heat up every time they used them and our ears would 
literally burn.

In search of the truth we gathered all the phones in the G2 office, 
placed some freshly purchased uncooked popcorn in the centre of them 
and simultaneously dialled them all. The result?

Absolutely nothing.

We're not alone in our disappointment, and now YouTube is filling up 
with videos of groups of friends attempting to replicate the trick and 
subsequently failing to excite a scattering of corn. In terms of 
excitement, it's the exact opposite of the experimental craze that hit 
computer screens last summer when it was discovered that adding a 
Mentos sweet to a bottle of Diet Coke would create giant fountains of 
roaring foam.

All four popcorn videos (you can view them here) can be traced back to 
a pair of French YouTube accounts, which has led to speculation that 
it's part of an elaborate viral marketing stunt. Who for remains a 

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