How to cook an egg with two mobile phones

A couple of students in the UK have just developed an innovative new kitchen technique: They’ve used two mobile phones to cook an egg. The instructions are online here, and the concept is basically that you prop up the phones so their antennae are about a half an inch from either side of the egg. Initiate a call from one phone to the other, leave ‘em running for a few minutes, and pretty soon lunch is ready. As the instructions on their site note:

Cooking time: This very much depends on the power output of your mobile phone. For instance, a pair of mobiles each with 2 Watts of transmitter output will take three minutes to boil a large free range egg. Check your user manual and remember that cooking time will be proportional to the inverse square of the output power for a given distance from egg to phone.

Of course, it makes sense that this idea would come from the UK — a country that is simply addled with fear that mobile phones cause brain cancer. While that worry has never really taken off in the US, it’s a staple of British newspaper health coverage. The reality is that the health effects of non-ionizing radiation — the stuff emitted by mobile phones — has been not been closely studied in any longitudinal way, so while we’re probably okay, who knows? Maybe we’ll all grow third eyes. One thing is sure: Power usage alone causes mobile phones to heat up a lot during a prolonged phone call — which is why I suspect this egg trick might actually work.

If you wanted to worry about mobile phones at all, that’d be the concern: Not that radiation will harm your brain, but that the heat will scramble your noggin like a mess of lovely eggs.

(Thanks to William Braine for this one!)

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I'm Clive Thompson, the author of Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better (Penguin Press). You can order the book now at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powells, Indiebound, or through your local bookstore! I'm also a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and a columnist for Wired magazine. Email is here or ping me via the antiquated form of AOL IM (pomeranian99).

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