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Old 10-20-2006, 07:56 AM  
K2eoj
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Default Static electricity and superstition.

Living in a dry cold climate I'm reasonably certain we get more static electricity from walking across carpet, etc,etc. Some of the things I do every day, I'm sure to get zapped on. I found, (and maybe someone told me or i read it somewhere), that if I touch wood first before i touch metal I don't get zapped. The theory is that the wood will un-charge you but not quite as fast as the metal so you don't feel the swift discharge.

So my theory is that this is where the phrase "touch wood" or "knock on wood " came from.

I know. I don't have much on my schedule today.



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Old 10-21-2006, 10:48 AM  
glennjanie
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Hello K2eoj:
I never heard of wood being a conductor of electricity but that doesn't mean I know everything. My wife is very prone to shocking, even in the summer. She puts a dryer sheet in her pocket sometimes and thinks it helps. I just hit objects with the tips of my fingers; that way I don't know whether I got hit or shocked.
Glenn



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Old 10-21-2006, 11:43 AM  
K2eoj
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Quote:
I never heard of wood being a conductor of electricity
Not a very good conductor but it can probably move around a few valance electrons. It's just my theory based on a slow day. I like the dryer sheet idea. Anything that would discharge electrons slowly I think would be the key. Touching the earth or the ground should discharge without a zap.
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Old 11-30-2006, 03:41 PM  
Kerrylib
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Hold a key or coin, or something metal in your hand. Then use that object to discharge the static to a doorknob, faucet, or other grounded metal point. The spark will jump from the key to the ground. The charge will be dissipated across the whole surface of your skin in contact with whatever you are holding, rather than the point where the spark jumps normally.

This is actually quite fun to do. If you close the distance very slowly, you can reach a point where you can hear it start to "sizzle" before the spark jumps. Also if you have a large charge built up on your body you're hair is likely to be trying to stand up. Maybe not enough to look like Einstein, but just a little bit. When you discharge all that static, you will feel your hair fall back to your head. Normally the sharp sting from the shock on your fingertip overrides your feeling much of anything else at that moment.

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Old 12-01-2006, 08:59 AM  
glennjanie
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Hey K2eoj:
I just re-read your post on static electricity. I think the "knock on wood" thing came from the Dutch; they did it to raise the spirits in the wood for their protection.
Glenn

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Old 12-01-2006, 04:28 PM  
K2eoj
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glennjanie View Post
Hey K2eoj:
I just re-read your post on static electricity. I think the "knock on wood" thing came from the Dutch; they did it to raise the spirits in the wood for their protection.
Glenn
Probably the case but the next time you know your going to get zapped, "Touch wood"

Raising spirits could have more than one meaning. They had wooden shoes, maybe they had wooden mugs.
I wonder what the ancients though of static electricity. It was probably more rare because of materials for floors and shoes but probably they got hit occasionally.


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