Busting One of Tech’s Biggest Myths
This article originally appeared in Business Insider.
Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman, the hosts of Discovery Channel’s MythBusters, were keynote speakers at Thursday’s Evernote Conference.
Although not the typical guests you would expect at a tech conference, Savage and Hyneman said Evernote reached out to them because they’re both “esoteric makers” for many different kinds of projects. They’re working on a future collaboration project that will be revealed to the public in the near future.
After the speech, Business Insider caught up with the MythBusters hosts to ask what was the single coolest tech myth they’ve ever busted on the show.
“Using a cellphone will not blow up the gas station,” Savage said, referring to the common myth that you could accidentally blow up a gas station with a cellphone.
He said it’s not the cellphone, but static sparks created when drivers rub themselves on the car that cause most of these fires. A lot of times, the drivers talk on their phones when the spark happens, so it just looks as if the cellphone is the cause of the fire, when it’s actually irrelevant.
“When you’re moving in and out of your car, you’re generating static electricity. If you feel a spark, that’s usually between 10 and 20,000 volts of static electricity—and that’s plenty strong enough to make gas fume,” he said.
In fact, this is something the cellphone industry acknowledges, too. According to an ABC report, two industry studies have concluded there’s no evidence that cellphones are a hazard around gasoline. Instead, it notes drivers should avoid static fires.
Savage said his show might have actually helped raise awareness of this problem. Since that episode aired nearly 10 years ago, the American Petroleum Institute told him, “the number of fires at gas stations has dropped by two-thirds.”
You can see part of that episode below:
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