rm091509 - CH301 Random Musings 1 Cell phones and water and...

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CH301 Random Musings, September 15, 2009 1. Cell phones and water and black body radiators. I don’t really like the fact that cell phone companies charge so much to replace cell phones. And I don’t like the idea of buying insurance on something as insignificant and unnecessary as a cell phone. But I am not a careful person, and so losing my cell phone has become a very common, and very expensive, way of life for me over the years. So I changed habits and these days I never let the phone out of my sight, even when I take my four youngest children swimming—which presents its own set of problems…. On four different occasions the last few years, my cell phone has ended up in the water—sometimes it is just me jumping into a pool with the cell phone in my pocket. Even when I am careful it doesn’t work, like the time the phone was ringing over on a chair by the pool, and evidently my three year old heard it, went and got it, and brought it to me (at least that is what I surmised when he started pointing to my phone sitting at the bottom of four feet of water.) I have since decided to not take it to the pool, but that didn’t stop it from ending up in the toilet one day. As you know, cell phones don’t work when they get wet. Now the average person would simply buy another phone, but not me, I am too cheap. I have already bought my older children their own replacement phones several times, and it is cost me a fortune to pay hard cash to send them both to college as well, so I think, “I bet I can save this wet phone.” Being a scientist, and well versed in the ways of the physical world, I decided to bake the phone in the oven at 150 degrees over night, and sure enough, in the morning it worked again, every bit of it. Which isn’t surprising to anyone who knows how the world works—we scientists occasionally do battle with the natural world and win. The only probably is that when it gets humid outside, or when the cell batteries run out of juice and the cell phone is powerless for a while, the phone needs to be baked again for a few minutes. For a while, baking my phone on a weekly basis was simply a part of my routine. Until things went a little awry. One morning, coming inside from working in the yard, I happened on the smell of putrid, acrid burning plastic, and sadly I learned that you can’t be too careful when you put cell phones into ovens, because my cell phone had fallen on top of a black body radiator that is hot enough to melt plastic even if the photons it is giving off are in the infrared region of the spectrum and not the visible
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This note was uploaded on 11/01/2009 for the course CH 301 taught by Professor Fakhreddine/lyon during the Fall '07 term at University of Texas.

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rm091509 - CH301 Random Musings 1 Cell phones and water and...

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