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Top 10 Cell Phone Myths Explained

You've probably heard a lot of urban legends about cell phones. They cause cancer. They crash planes. If you sneeze and hiccup at the same time while talking on one, you die. Like many myths and rumors, many of these stories are based on speculation, misunderstanding of technology, and outright lies. Then again, some of them have facts and experts to support them. Here, Switched sorts through the mess and explains some of the most popular rumors and legends. Whether you believe us or not is up to you.



Cell phones crash planes

Myth:
If you use a cell phone while flying, the signal can interfere with the plane's compass and navigation systems, possibly leading to a crash.

True or False?
It's debatable. Anyone who's flown knows that flight attendants ask you to turn off all electronics, including phones, until after takeoff. According to one pilot who was interviewed by ABC News, the reason for this is so you pay attention to safety instructions, and, in the case of an aborted liftoff, "I don't want a laptop flying across the cabin." A UK study in 2003 showed some interference with compasses and navigation systems, but that was done in controlled settings, not on real planes. More recent studies by the NASA and the FAA have found no instances where a cell phone caused a crash, although some pilots claimed otherwise. Currently, the approach is "better safe than sorry," but they say that systems in aircraft are shielded enough not to be disrupted. As soon as it's proven that there's no link or threat, you'll be able to talk someone's ear off instead of watching the crappy in-flight movie.


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