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How’s it going my geeks, we’re going to jump into this as quickly as possible, so I’ll just remind you that I love you all, this is an open dialogue if you have something to add or correct, and you can be a part of the discussion in the YouTube comment section, or on any social media. Just Like, follow, and subscribe to Geek Therapy Radio on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Youtube. If you happen to be watching this on YouTube, I don’t have a Patreon because I have business sponsors. I wouldn’t feel right double-dipping, so all I’d ask of you is to consider subscribing, sharing, and not to be afraid of being a vocal participant in the comment section. My show is all about discovery and sharing knowledge, so I’d be a ignorant fool to assume I alone can provide that alone. Life is a museum and I am your Mental Curator, not an expert in any one exhibit…so let’s share knowledge, love, and fascination with each other.This is an oasis from politics and the media status-quo. You can dive back into that quagmire later.For now, let’s geek out.Disclaimer this week. This topic, while fascinating, is going to delve into some possibly graphic aspects of our imaginations. So, I don’t know. Maybe not best for a 5 year old to think about.Ok, Here we go. Strap in.
What would happen if you put your head in an operational microwave?
Ok, first, there are some pretty major variables in all of this that amount to the final answer being everything from A) “nothing, you’ll be fine” to Z) “more physical hell than you can possibly experience while dying a slow and painful death.”
So first, so you can all sleep at night and not develop an irrational fear of Hot Pockets, if your home microwave malfunctioned and you reached your hand in to a running microwave to retrieve your food, the brief exposure would do nothing. Almost like running your finger quickly through a candle flame. The exposure is so brief that nothing would stick out in your mind. You’d feel nothing.
However, If you left your hand directly in the microwave beam for any prolonged period of time, your skin would start to burn gradually, and the burn would be isolated to the area directly in the path of the narrow beam. That’s why the platter rotates your food, so the beam hits everything as evenly as possible.
Another variable to length of exposure is the actual frequency of the electromagnetic beam. Don’t freak out, visible light is also electromagnetic radiation…this isn’t like gamma rays or some other type that can cause cellular cancer from even brief exposure. It is irrational to fear your microwave and still go to the beach. The sun will actually give you cancer. Moving on…
Some professional restaurant microwaves operate at 900mhz the same frequency as the cell phones we’ve used for years…all be it much, much more powerful. Most home microwaves operate around 2.4ghz, the same as your WiFi router, again, albeit at a much, much more powerful amount of energy.
Quick side note, no matter the frequency, microwaves don’t interfere with cell phones and WiFi routers (unless it’s extremely close to the phone or router) because the radiation produced is contained in a Faraday Cage. That’s the mesh behind the glass. Those little holes in the metal mesh are smaller than the beam. The beam can’t easily escape, nor can any other radiation (bigger than the holes) enter. You can test this by turning your phone screen on, watching your signal bars, and putting it into a microwave (DON’T TURN IT ON). Your cellular signal and WiFi bars will start do disappear.
There are other phenomena in play with a Faraday Cage including radiation coiling itself around the mesh openings…but that’s getting way too far off track for this discussion.
Back to the differing frequencies microwave ovens use. Without going into deep physics, the 900mhz beam penetrates more deeply than 2.4ghz. You can almost think of it like the way you can feel musical bass frequencies in your chest but can’t “feel” high frequencies. Almost. The principle is the same. Lower frequencies penetrate the energy more deeply.Also in very brief, because we’re about to move on to the main course, microwaves work by making dielectric molecules resonate and vibrate against each other. Water being the most effected. Rub your hands together firmly and quickly. That’s what microwaves are doing to the water molecules in your food…or flesh.
I’m going to move on to the main point of this topic, since we can go on for hours about the physics surrounding microwaves.
So to take a short breather here. Wash the physics jargon out of your head for a moment. All you need to remember is that the physical human damage depends on the frequency, power, and duration of exposure.So, from this point forward, we are going to assume the WORST case scenario for a domestic, run of the mill, home microwave.Let’s imagine we’ve disabled every safety mechanism, and jammed our head inside the innocent wedding gift from creepy Uncle Fred, and turned it on.2.4Ghz are pumping into your face, right between the eyes, at about 1,000 watts, for an absurd amount of time. Any reasonable human would immediately jerk themselves away within seconds, but let’s assume you didn’t.
First, you’d get dizzy, your vision would blur, and you’d go blind in a matter of moments as your delicate retinas are destroyed. Shortly after, your eyes themselves would explode since they are mostly water. You’d likely still be alive at this point since your eyes are very exposed compared to the brain shielded by layers of skin and dense bone. The skin and flesh would heat first, but gradually enough to ensure excruciating, unimaginable pain as your brain also begins to burn as the radiation gradually penetrates. All the while, every cell and nerve ending in your skin would begin to rupture causing the most intense physical pain a human can possibly experience without immediate death.
Now, about your brain. Since the brain controls your entire body, as different regions begin to stimulate from the heat, your motor functions, speech, memory centers, etc would go absolutely haywire. The pain would become literally unimaginable as your body spasms horrifically and your brain potentially fires off hellish nightmares the likes of which would make Satan himself wet the bed. All the while, since every muscle would be affected by the spasming, you’d be oxygen starved as you simultaneously suffocate and have a heart attack as both organs palpitate uncontrollably.
I said POTENTIAL nightmares because the way your brain would start to malfunction could very well induce some sort of euphoria…but given the physical hell leading up to that point, I severely doubt it. Any euphoria induced by lack of oxygen, blood flow, or simulated fever would be induced after you very vividly experience going blind, feeling your eyes explode, and feeling your watery flash and muscles begin to boil. (technically super-heat…it’s a little different than technical boiling…but whatever).As anyone who has experimented with psychedelic drugs will tell you, the thoughts and feelings you lead into the “high” with dictates the “trip” you’ll likely experience. If your last experience is your eyes exploding and being burned alive…I can’t imagine it’d be a pleasant hallucination that follows.In the end, if the induced spasms don’t cause your heart to stop and lungs cease working, aka you don’t suffocate and have a heart attack first, eventually the proteins in your muscles, but brain especially, would be damaged so severely that the simple processes conducive to life would cease. Your brain would cease the electrical functions required to make your biological processes work.