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The myth of the antiradiation cactus

Posted on: Sep, 17th 2010
Monitor with giant cactus
Formerly, when still the CRT (Cathodic Ray Tube) monitors were in use, emerge the myth of cactus that absorb the monitor radiations. This swindle probably was thought by some illuminated herbalist that saw the bulky filters antiradiaton that was putting in front of the screen. Surely though that he can win a lot of money selling cactus as substitute of this filters, because a cactus is a lot of more nice and friendly than an authentic filter antiradiation. Follow reading if you want to know why this belief is absurd.

The CRT monitors emit an electron beam that scan every point of the screen and finished it 60 times by second (this is called horizontal refresh). When the electron beam impact in a point of the screen it makes shine the phosphorus of that point, then, this emit the light that we see in the monitor and the terrible and dangerous radiations.

In first place I'm going to clarify that we are talking about electromagnetic radiations. The electromagnetic waves depending on the frequency of oscillation are classified in different kinds. From the lower frequency to the highest would have: the radio waves, the microwaves, the infrareds, the visible light, the ultraviolet light, the X rays and the Gamma rays. The visible light is not dangerous, but from here, when more we go up in the scale of frequencies, the waves are more energetic, have more penetration capacity in the objects and, by the way, is more probable that damage the cells producing cancer.

The kind of radiation of that we are talking about when I speak about the dangerous radiation of a monitor, isn't the visible light, but a level of frequency very low of ultraviolet radiation, specially in the antique monitors, when still wasn't approved the normative about the level of radiation that it could emit. We have to take into account that even these were emitting less ultraviolet radiation than the solar light, by the way being several years in front of a monitor wasn't more dangerous that pass the day in the beach.

The ultraviolet radiation doesn't penetrate in the human body, therefore its prolonged exposure only can cause cancer in the skin. If that was the case, we would have to go as soon as possible to the specialist, because the skin cancer can extend to the vital internal organs. That you go ill of cancer only looking at the monitor is as likely as you go brown doing it.

The visible light is absorbed by any object, the light that bounce is perceived by us, as colours. In that way the plants in general absorb all the visible light except the green, including the ultraviolet light that can't traverse solid objects. Therefore, the cactus doesn't have any special property, which makes them absorb more ultraviolet radiation than other plants, a brick or a sandwich. Say that we have to use a cactus of some determinate kind is nonsense.

If we want absorb any electromagnetic wave we have to be in front of the source that emit because all the electromagnetic radiations goes in a straight line, in all directions and, approximately, at 3.000.000.000 m/s, so if we want protect us against the radiations of a monitor with a cactus, would have that put it in front of us covering all the screen and we would be totally protected, although we couldn't see nothing and the cactus would have a considerable size.

In any case we will can deviate the ultraviolet radiations to make them go to the cactus that we have next to the monitor avoiding that the radiation arrive to us, because the only thing that can deviate it is the gravity, and a cactus doesn't have sufficient gravity to achieved that. We will need something as a supermassive black hole, although if we achieved to create some of this at the one side of the monitor, the ultraviolet radiation would be a minor problem.

Luckily, the monitors TFT-LCD doesn't emit ultraviolet radiations because don't use the phosphorus of the CRT monitors. The light is emitted by LED transistors. However, there are yet a lot of people that likes put the cactus at the side of their TFT monitor. What would be the next? Will they go with the cactus to the beach, instead of use sunscreen?

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Comments
Anonymous
Date: May, 1st 2011 Time: 9:31:55
Hello, I’m an electronic engineer in electronic communications. I must agree with this article. The Cactus sounds like a myth to me, it will have to in front of you if any protection would be possible. From all radiation shielding and absorbing materials I have studied, the cactus seems to have no scientific source of reliable information other than more people circulating the myth.
Anonymous
Date: May, 1st 2011 Time: 9:37:35
I must also note that the ionizing radiation from a CRT monitor contribute to about 0.01mSv/year which is 300-1000 times less than the 3-10mSv/year radiation you absorb from the soil you stand on. Computers, even wi-fi carry no harmful radiation when we compare the levels to current safety standards which is much less than the naturals sources of electromagnetic radiation around us from nature.
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