Do Mobile Phones Attract Lightning?

from the apparently-they-do-in-China dept

China is warning people not to use mobile phones during thunderstorms after a report that fifteen people were injured when a mobile phone acted as a lightening rod. The story certainly has all the elements of an urban legend, so it seemed worthwhile to dig a bit deeper on this one. According to a hoax-busting site, this story has been making the rounds over email for quite some time, with no facts to support it. In fact, many sites recommend you use a mobile phone rather than a fixed line phone in a thunderstorm, since they're much safer. While the news article quotes a professor claiming that "the electromagnetic waves emitted by mobile phones are quite good conductors of electricity," the hoax busting site quotes someone from Motorola saying: "No, lightning won't 'follow the radio waves' back to your phone.... I really doubt that 600 mW of omnidirectional RF can ionize anything, let alone make a more conductive path between the clouds and ground. It does make a nice urban legend, though." From the sound of all this, it sounds like the injuries in question from the article may simply be because the people struck by lightning were the tallest items around (they were standing on the Great Wall) and not because of the mobile phone someone was using.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    dorpus, Jul 26th, 2004 @ 12:21pm

    What about green lightning from the sky?

    What if someone points an illegal 15-milliwatt laser at an Olympic athlete to temporarily blind them? You can buy these things over the net. The power to blind entire crowds of people at the push of a button.

    http://www.megalaser.com/20.htm

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 27th, 2004 @ 10:51am

    Techdirt attracks dorpus

    Techdirt attracks dorpus

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Me again, Jan 15th, 2007 @ 9:01pm

    all lies

    Myself and many like minded people have high powered laser pointers from sellers such as www.dragonlasers.com

    We do not advocate the unsafe use of laser pointers. Laser pointers are no different from guns. It is the user who is dangerous, not the tool.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    luvlasers, Jan 30th, 2007 @ 12:02am

    lasers are awesome

    As a long time owner of a Wicked Lasers from www.wickedlasers.com, I can tell you that there is no safe uses for these laser pointers. They are overpowered, and too dangerous to use in any setting outside a controlled Class A laboratory. My Wicked Laser is locked up with my service gun in my safe.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Me again, Jan 31st, 2007 @ 7:03pm

    all lies

    luvlasers,

    What I can tell you is Wicked Lasers are not overpowered. From experience, because most of my customers from my website, dragonlasers.com do not own laser power meters, they don't know what they are getting.

    Hell, we send out 50mW lasers when the customers pay for the 125mW lasers, and we almost never get a complaint, beat that Wicked!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    poltergeist, May 16th, 2007 @ 12:51am

    Re: all lies

    This is such an obvious attempt by to defame Dragonalasers. No one with an IQ higher than a retarded cockroache would publicly state they cheat customers.

    Every one else i know who have bought from Dragonlasers and myself have nothing but praise for them. Check any laser forum not owned by wickedlasers for proof to easily substantiate this claim.

    They clearly state on their website at www.dragonlasers.com they have an excellent return policy and if you have a problem, they even offer life support online.

    If you have a personal grudge with Dragonlasers
    I suggest you get a life and do something productive with your time.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Jack Mandeville, Jul 31st, 2007 @ 7:12pm

    Lightning and cell phones

    There are new antenna designs that enable great quantities of energy to enter resonating antennas. While no conventional engineering theory applies, I,for one, will not be using my cell phone in a rain storm.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    William Daniel, Oct 27th, 2007 @ 6:43pm

    NASA's jack mandeville

    Hello Jack,
    are you my solar heat pump buddy who designed space systems at one time?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Jade in Beijing, Mar 9th, 2008 @ 12:49am

    Better safe than sorry

    There might be an unknown mechanism that creates the danger. I wouldnt want to personally test it! Jade Great Wall photos

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Jack Mandeville, Jun 4th, 2008 @ 7:10pm

    Re: NASA's jack mandeville

    William Daniel: You got me. I'm in Nevada now. Let's chat.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    daniel, Oct 9th, 2008 @ 8:46am

    I bought a high power green laser pointer at with awesome cheap price.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    laser pointers, Jul 12th, 2009 @ 8:17pm

    i am using my mobile phone, even there is a lightning, thanks for this story

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    icon
    chloeelvis (profile), May 19th, 2010 @ 1:18am

    astronomy laser pointer

    you will find the special designed astronomy laser pointer on sale in cheap price.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Alex Bony, Jun 2nd, 2010 @ 6:44pm

    thanks for your good story. I have got a high power portable green laser, it's pretty cool!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Alex Bony, Jun 2nd, 2010 @ 6:44pm

    thanks for your good story. I have got a high power portable green laser, it's pretty cool!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    erickson, Jun 29th, 2010 @ 12:08am

    I have some wonderful experience of high power green laser pointer for sharing. They are pretty cool!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    lasersman, Nov 23rd, 2010 @ 7:39pm

    lasersman

    good!!! thanks for your sharing you will find the special designed astronomy laser on sale in cheap price.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    John of Laserpointerworld, Dec 2nd, 2010 @ 7:56pm

    Fine day! It is really good to have a green laser pointer used at night. Visit our collection at a low price. Free shipping is also available.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Laser Pointer, Jul 11th, 2011 @ 2:30am

    Lasers

    That news is an old news I think. But then, There is no proof that the cause of the strike is on the signal of the phone that rings.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Pozorrubians, Jul 27th, 2011 @ 8:11pm

    Pozorrubio

    Now I know not to use cellphone during thunderstorm. Thanks for that!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    Roberto, Oct 15th, 2012 @ 7:34pm

    Green laser pointer

    If you want a ture power laser for cheap I think there will be just one option. http://lazerer.com/

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This