Stories tagged static electricity

Dec
08
2011

"Woah. Static electricity is not a curly haired girl's friend. Frizz + static electricity = super frizz. I look like I stuck my finger in an electrical socket! Today, I am carrying my own electrical field.

Wait... is that possible? For the human body to carry a static electricity field? I'll bet we have some kind of background level electrical field. Makes sense because we're composed of electrically charged particles. Doesn't it? I wonder if I can find some info online and blog about it."

That conversation occurred in my head just after lunch today, and I'm sad to report that my two-minute Google search on "human body electrical field" didn't return any credible answers. Consequently, this is not a blog post about the human body's possible electric field. Instead, it is a post about the The Greatest 101 Questions of All Time, as reported in the Telegraph.
?: There are no stupid questions.
?: There are no stupid questions.Courtesy Colin K

Here are my top 5 (you'll have to follow the link for answers):

  • Why do identical twins have different fingerprints?
  • What is OK short for?
  • Why can’t we just fill in the ozone hole with man-made ozone?
  • What is a hiccup?
  • Does chewing gum really stay inside you for years?

What was your favorite question? Answer? Did you have a great question that was missed? Post your response in the comments section below.

...Oh, and if you know of a credible source to answer my human body electric field question, I'd be happy if you'd post that here too.

Feb
25
2008

Electric Lady: Look! She just had an idea!
Electric Lady: Look! She just had an idea!Courtesy YanivG
I initially began this post with a super-hero themed pun. Key phrases: great power, great Price.

Why, JGordon, did you change it?

I'll tell you why: because I respect you. You’re readers, computer literates, science-enthusiasts: you deserve better than punning.

So let’s get down to brass tax: Mavis Price, 60-year-old denizen of Shropshire, like Electro, can shoot electricity out of her body. Sure, it happens randomly, and it kills more electric kettles than it does super-heroes (way, way more electric kettles, actually), but it's still pretty cool.

According to Mavis and her family, a touch from the grandmother will often fatally short out electric appliances, from irons to computers, and that just standing next to her can result in an unpleasant shock (not unusual from grandmothers, in my experience.)

"I went on an IT course, but it was a nightmare because every time I touched the computer it would either freeze or shut down,” claimed Mavis in a British accent. "The technician had to constantly come over to my machine to see what was wrong and he was completely baffled."

Mighty Mavis even has an origin story of sorts: she first recollects her power manifesting more than 50 years ago, as she was plugging in a television set. The TV exploded, and little Mavis was sent “flying across the room.” It could be that she is simply unable to recollect anything at all before being caught in a TV explosion, but we’ll give her the benefit of the doubt.

Unlike scientists. That’s right, scientists, the uber-killjoys, insist that there must be a rational explanation for the Mavis phenomenon. They even suggest that it’s not actually a super power, but a—get this—coincidence! What? Just because it can’t be tested or replicated? Is that what science is supposed to be? Oh. Well, whatever.

Some experts propose that Mavis, or the Shropshire Zapster (as she will no doubt come to be known) is inadvertently perpetuating her condition by building up large amounts of static electricity by walking with a shuffling gate, or by wearing too much nylon like fabric. The friction between nylon clad legs, or old lady feet and carpet, causes a each element to take on a positive or a negative charge, resulting in the kind of zap we’re all familiar with.

But I ask you this: even if this is the answer, what should she do? 1)She’s an old lady—you’d take shuffling away from her? 2) Nylon? Please. What is she supposed to wear? What do you think Electro wears?

Other, less sciencey types, suggest that Mavis’ condition may be similar to the SLI anomaly. SLI, or Street Light Interference, is a similarly less-sciencey phenomenon, which causes street lights to go off as afflicted people (known as SLIders—seriously) walk beneath them. Skeptics point out that this is very probably the result of paranoia combined with a lot of old street lights (dying sodium lights require more voltage, and will shut off sporadically, in such a way that is not to be taken personally). SLIders counter that street light interference occurs with all types of street lights, not just sodium lights. Unfortunately, the SLIders also have no control over their power, and so can’t do it on cue, for, say, a scientific test. Nurts.

But, you know, some people, like Mavis and the SLIders, insist on the reality of their conditions. Anyone here some kind of SLIder, or electro-kid? Check out the Association for the Scientific Study of Paranormal Phenomena website. They might be able to help you out. Somehow.