Both the title of this post and some of the terminology in the USA Today/AP article entitled Static electricity in man’s jacket leads to burns, are not chosen for their scientific accuracy, but never mind, I’ll not lament about that issue today. The effect seems to have been pretty dramatic…..I heard it on NPR, and then Googled.
You know, the above paragraph was going to be the whole post, and then I looked at another article, this one from the Sidney Morning Herald.
There, we see that the voltage has now gone from 30,000 to 40,000 (I guess the editors needed 33.3% more drama), and whereas the USA Today article said
Fire officials took Clewer’s jacket and said it continued to give off voltage.
…the Sidney Morning Herald article said
The firefighters took Mr Clewer’s jacket to the fire station, where it continued to give off a strong electrical current.
Ooooh, the ol’ current-voltage confusion in the media staple. So of course, rather than cycle off for the busstop, I had to check to see what the ABC Online (Australia) article said
The CFA has Mr Clewer’s jacket and says it is continuing to give off voltage.
Hmmm, but I note that they were happy with the less dramatic voltage measurement.
Reuters UK’ artitcle opts for the higher voltage, and reports that
Firefighters took possession of Clewer’s jacket and stored it in the courtyard of the fire station, where it continued to give off a strong electrical current.
So there you have it. Flipping back and forth between current and voltage, depending upon who knows what whim? You see, this is what I’m talking about when I rant on about having somebody in the editorial office know at least a little kindergarten science. It’s no wonder the general public are confused. Sigh. I did end up ranting about this issue after all.
Anyway, Webindia123, in the first line of their article, ticks off the poor guy for wearing polyester, but makes no comment on measurements at the after-party at the firestation.
Finally, the Warrnambool Standard (I get it delivered every day you know) reports that “officers were baffled” (of course), and one of them sought advice from a technician, who said
Mr Clewer’s clothes were at no stage dangerous because they were low in amps which could be deadly.
So watch out for those deadly amps, folks.