Your Phone Is Freezing? The Culprit Could Be Cosmic Rays

And the danger could be catastrophic.
Derya Ozdemir

Cosmic rays, or the electrically charged particles they produce, can be found all around the universe, providing clues about objects and events such as the deaths of stars and solar activity. But did you know that they could be to blame for those annoying incidents when your computer or phone crashes or freezes?

They are harmless to living beings, so no need to be concerned. However, a tiny number of these particles have enough energy to cause bit flips in our personal devices' microelectronic circuitry, which is known as a single-event upset, or SEU. While these incidents can be as minor as altering a single pixel in a photograph that you just took or a game glitch, they can also be as dangerous as bringing a passenger jet down.

These events are still uncommon; however, as the number of transistors used in new electronic systems grows, so does the probability of a failure. This video by the YouTube channel Veritasium explains how tiny particles from faraway galaxies mess with our lives, causing plane accidents, election interferences, and game glitches. Make sure you give the video above a watch, and as always, enjoy.

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