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Miscellaneous thoughts and ramblings
Thursday, December 08, 2005
Gettin' nothin' but static
I'm in Utah. Temperatures during my stay have ranged from 18 to -8. My question for you science-types: why is it so staticky around here? It's terrible. I turned on the sink, got a shock from the metallic handle, and then another shock from the water flow.
Either the humidity wherever you're staying is causing the shocks, or more likely, Ralphie, you bring a charge, an electricity all your own, wherever you go!
Sounds like a great vacation! What the heck are you doing there?

The answer is that small eletric charges usually dissipate through the humidity in the air. If the air is very dry (as it is when it's very cold) then static can't dissipate and builds up until it discharges in one big spark.

Zap! Hope to see you back soon.
A fascinating thing to do in very cold weather is to take your sweater off in a very dark room. Not only will you hear the crackling of static, you will actually see sparks.

One thing that might help to prevent shocks is to rub dryer sheets all over your clothes. There is also something that comes in a can that you can spray on your clothes to prevent static.

Some people seem to be more vulnerable to static shocks than others, who knows why. It was the thing I hated most about winter when I was a kid in NY, which is why I live in Florida now. We're in the lightening capital of the world, yet you can safely open you car door any time of the year without a nasty electric shock.

The good news about being a good electrical conductor BTW is that if you have a radio that doesn't get very good reception, you can keep your hand on the radio and your hand will serve as a good antenna -- your radio will work better as long as you keep your hand there.
Every time I get out of my car now I get zapped. Bean, don't let me near your computer for a while.
The doc beat me to it.

My favorite is that I have to log my kids into daycare on this big metal thingy - and the buttons are so small, I have to take off my gloves to do it. Major shock EVERY time.

As if leaving my babies isn't bad enough.

I was there on business. Drove up to Park City. Cold.

Ms. Katz - whenever I walk into my bedroom while my wife is watching TV, the picture gets fuzzy. So maybe I am some sort of conductor. Does this mean I need a conductor's hat?

Also, I took your advice about taking off my sweater. It made me cold.
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