Wed, Jun 07, 2017 - Page 4 News List

Professor debunks story of cacti’s protective powers

By Wu Po-hsuan and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Cacti cannot protect computer users from electromagnetic emissions, National Taiwan University of Science and Technology professor of electronic engineering Hsiao Hung-chin (蕭弘清) said, debunking stories circulating online about their efficacy.

Although stories about electromagnetic wave shielding provided by “energy crystals” and cacti have long proliferated online, they do not have any scientific basis, Hsiao said.

It is widely accepted that maintaining a distance of 50cm from devices helps reduce exposure to electromagnetic waves, he said.

The idea that cacti can help remind people to keep a distance between themselves and their computer — as people tend to avoid the thorns — may be the source of the myth, Hsiao said.

The only way to be completely insulated from electromagnetic emissions from devices is to stop using them, but the solution is “a practical impossibility,” he said.

“The second-best solution is for people to keep a distance from electronic devices,” he said. “If it is not necessary, people should not be glued to their smartphones and should use the speaker for calls to reduce exposure to electromagnetic waves.”

Improving posture, reducing device usage and keeping distance from computers are better ways to mitigate risk than trusting rumors about crystals or cacti, Hsiao said.

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