Author Topic: Episode #585  (Read 2189 times)

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Offline arthwollipot

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Re: Episode #585
« Reply #15 on: September 28, 2016, 04:22:21 AM »
How do we submit those pesky science topics that we can't wrap our heads around?

It was explained in the show - you email info@theskepticsguide.org with the subject line "Special Project".

Offline daniel1948

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Re: Episode #585
« Reply #16 on: September 28, 2016, 09:30:55 AM »
Does it mean that the forces literally become the same single force at the unification energy?

Yes.

As to the rest of your questions, I don't have the vaguest idea. But that one is pretty clear. Certain forces become one above a certain energy, and break apart below that energy.

I think I should perhaps be a bit more specific. What I'm really asking is: are they literally the same single "entity" at that point? Or do they just look the like the same thing because we somehow lack the "resolution" to tell them apart, if you catch my drift? For example, in the following graph, the two dashed red lines converge onto the same y value in the limit, but the underlying equations are clearly different, and for anything but the limit there will always be an infinitesimally small difference between their values:



Are the unified forces like these lines, where there is an underlying fundamental difference and they just look identical because the differences are too small to measure (in which case I could maybe sort of understand symmetry breaking a little bit better, but it would lose some of the elegance), or is the similarity not just superficial, but do they in fact somehow become the same single thing (if one can even distinguish between those two options)?

My understanding is that they are actually the same force above the unification energy. Not merely convergent beyond our ability to differentiate, but truly one force.

It's not yet known whether or not all the forces unify at some sufficiently high energy. Thus the search for the "grand unified field theory" is in part an effort to determine if there really is such a thing. Up until now, gravity resisted all efforts to fit it into such a theory.
Daniel
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Offline werecow

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Re: Episode #585
« Reply #17 on: September 28, 2016, 10:18:29 AM »
Does it mean that the forces literally become the same single force at the unification energy?

Yes.

As to the rest of your questions, I don't have the vaguest idea. But that one is pretty clear. Certain forces become one above a certain energy, and break apart below that energy.

I think I should perhaps be a bit more specific. What I'm really asking is: are they literally the same single "entity" at that point? Or do they just look the like the same thing because we somehow lack the "resolution" to tell them apart, if you catch my drift? For example, in the following graph, the two dashed red lines converge onto the same y value in the limit, but the underlying equations are clearly different, and for anything but the limit there will always be an infinitesimally small difference between their values:



Are the unified forces like these lines, where there is an underlying fundamental difference and they just look identical because the differences are too small to measure (in which case I could maybe sort of understand symmetry breaking a little bit better, but it would lose some of the elegance), or is the similarity not just superficial, but do they in fact somehow become the same single thing (if one can even distinguish between those two options)?

My understanding is that they are actually the same force above the unification energy. Not merely convergent beyond our ability to differentiate, but truly one force.

OK, thanks. I can't say that makes it easier to understand, but then it probably just isn't.


On another subject, I thought that Behe had always been an old-earth, theistic evolutionist. I'm pretty sure he said as much in Expelled (2008). Not sure why all the rogues seemed so surprised at that.
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Offline amysrevenge

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Re: Episode #585
« Reply #18 on: September 28, 2016, 10:21:29 AM »

 Regarding the lightning strike, I compiled a fairly lengthy reply for last week only to take a little too long post, and my log in timed out!  Bugger!

  Anyway, just a quicky this time.

  It takes around 30mA across the heart to cause fibrillation.  Voltage is nearly irrelivant as long as there is enough to pass the current required across the heart.  As there is a 'fair' amount of resistance through the body (compared to conventional wiring) there needs to be in the order of 50V to do the job.  Obviously it will take a fair amount more current than this across the chest to get 30mA across the heart specifically, and more again from one foot to the other in the lightning strike senario.  The same for the voltage.
  Step voltage is the correct term as Steve pointed out, and can be as much as (or as little as) 10,000V per meter.  So as the voltage propagates away from the strike (given the right conditions) it can be lethal for upto 10s of meters.  But this will greatly rely on ground composition, and amount of damp soil/dirt/ground at the surface v's the conductivity of the deeper ground.  Usually the deeper you dig into the ground the lower the resistance to 'ground' becomes.  If there is a high resistance to proper 'ground' the more likely you will get the conditions needed for mass deaths from a strike, especially if the surface resistance is low.


Damien

Additionally, you could have another lethal zone - two lethal zones.  One closer to the strike, where the step-voltage induces a current that is high enough for burning deaths.  Then a non-lethal zone with burn injuries, then another lethal zone with heart-stopping deaths, then non-lethal out from there.  With loose edges to the zones accounting for things like height, how far apart feet are, shoe style, etc.
Big Mike
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Offline daniel1948

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Re: Episode #585
« Reply #19 on: September 28, 2016, 03:03:57 PM »

 Regarding the lightning strike, I compiled a fairly lengthy reply for last week only to take a little too long post, and my log in timed out!  Bugger!

  Anyway, just a quicky this time.

  It takes around 30mA across the heart to cause fibrillation.  Voltage is nearly irrelivant as long as there is enough to pass the current required across the heart.  As there is a 'fair' amount of resistance through the body (compared to conventional wiring) there needs to be in the order of 50V to do the job.  Obviously it will take a fair amount more current than this across the chest to get 30mA across the heart specifically, and more again from one foot to the other in the lightning strike senario.  The same for the voltage.
  Step voltage is the correct term as Steve pointed out, and can be as much as (or as little as) 10,000V per meter.  So as the voltage propagates away from the strike (given the right conditions) it can be lethal for upto 10s of meters.  But this will greatly rely on ground composition, and amount of damp soil/dirt/ground at the surface v's the conductivity of the deeper ground.  Usually the deeper you dig into the ground the lower the resistance to 'ground' becomes.  If there is a high resistance to proper 'ground' the more likely you will get the conditions needed for mass deaths from a strike, especially if the surface resistance is low.


Damien

Additionally, you could have another lethal zone - two lethal zones.  One closer to the strike, where the step-voltage induces a current that is high enough for burning deaths.  Then a non-lethal zone with burn injuries, then another lethal zone with heart-stopping deaths, then non-lethal out from there.  With loose edges to the zones accounting for things like height, how far apart feet are, shoe style, etc.

I don't follow your reasoning: If Point A is close enough to the strike to cause death by heart stoppage, then any point closer to the strike than A should also cause death by heart stoppage unless death is caused by another factor first. This, of course, assuming other factors being equal. Obviously one person could be electrocuted while another person right next to him is not due to the orientation of their feet. But an entire "safe" region within the electrocution zone does not make sense to me.
Daniel
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Offline amysrevenge

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Re: Episode #585
« Reply #20 on: September 28, 2016, 03:25:48 PM »
I don't follow your reasoning: If Point A is close enough to the strike to cause death by heart stoppage, then any point closer to the strike than A should also cause death by heart stoppage unless death is caused by another factor first.

You'd think so, but nope.  The lower current heart stoppage isn't due to burning or anything, it's due to electrical interference with the controlling nerves and muscles.  Higher current actually won't stop the heart, because it stops interfering with the controls.  You're "safe" again until the current gets high enough to start burning from resistive heat.  I put up a hand-drawn graph here once, let me see if I can find it...

Big Mike
Calgary AB Canada

Offline daniel1948

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Re: Episode #585
« Reply #21 on: September 28, 2016, 04:43:39 PM »
I don't follow your reasoning: If Point A is close enough to the strike to cause death by heart stoppage, then any point closer to the strike than A should also cause death by heart stoppage unless death is caused by another factor first.

You'd think so, but nope.  The lower current heart stoppage isn't due to burning or anything, it's due to electrical interference with the controlling nerves and muscles.  Higher current actually won't stop the heart, because it stops interfering with the controls.  You're "safe" again until the current gets high enough to start burning from resistive heat.  I put up a hand-drawn graph here once, let me see if I can find it...



Okay, this is new to me.

BTW, there was an episode of Mr. Bean in which some guy has a heart attack on the street. Mr. Bean pulls a couple of wires from a light pole, shocks the guy, and revives him. The guy is so happy he reaches out to shake Mr. Bean's hand, but the latter is still holding the wires, so he inadvertently shocks him again, and kills him.
Daniel
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Offline amysrevenge

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Re: Episode #585
« Reply #22 on: September 28, 2016, 04:50:15 PM »
Oh I know, I've seen it.  Making it AC instead of DC throws a whole other wrinkle in.
Big Mike
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Offline lubbarin

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Re: Episode #585
« Reply #23 on: September 28, 2016, 04:57:45 PM »
I remember in local news they taught us a set of procedures to follow in the eventuality that someone raised the 'mast' of a live (transmission) truck into a power line.
(It's a large pole that telescopes upwards with a microwave transmitter on the top)

They told the employees to hop out, keeping feet together, and take short hops, making sure to keep feet together and make sure they leave the ground and land at the same time.

While it looks plausible on the surface, it always struck me as a kind of a duck-and-cover nuke drill.
Anyone else ever heard of this?

As an aside I'm surprised we keep going back to lightning as the center of the discussion, I would think downed power lines would be a more useful area, as there's more a possibility of extended danger and the need to carefully think about what you're going to do next,
As opposed to lightning strikes, which are a cultural exemplar of something that happens and is done extremely rapidly.
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Offline DamoET

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Re: Episode #585
« Reply #24 on: October 01, 2016, 10:27:01 AM »
@ Lubbarin

In a "high risk" course I have attended and IIRC a first aid course or 2, have spoken about how to deal with step voltage from downed power lines.  The first aid course took the scenario of a first aider approaching a scene where there were power lines down over a vehicle or structure.  It was suggested to approach slowly taking very short steps or shuffling feet along the ground, and paying particular attention to whether you could feel a static building in your body, something like hair beginning to stand on end or similar.  Backing away if this sensation was to be felt, and incident to be left till supply orthority turned up and deemed location to be safe.
  The "high risk" course went into a little detail about how to deal with the scenario of the plant your are in operation of coming into contact with power lines.  It was recommended to jump clear of plant to avoid coming in contact with the body of the machine and the ground simultaneously, and then taking shuffling steps away to prevent large step voltage. 
  As an electrician with quite a few years experience, some of the ideas that were put forth in both courses were a little short on detail and managed to make things too simple to feel safe about.  As everything generally is, electricity is another one of those which can be very complex and a simple explanation can do more harm than good.

  On a couple of occasions doing work, I have had a 'volt stick' (simple pen size device to indicate presence of voltage) in my top pocket light up as I have inadvertently come into contact with a 'live' wire or connection, and become raised to the same potential as the supply.  Usually whilst up a fiberglass ladder using insulated pliers and wearing appropriate rubber soled footware.  Becoming that 'bird on the wire' reinforces how critical being insulated from ground is!  'You' also become aware of other people around you who my compromise 'your' insulation.

  Out of interest and possibly to correct a couple of small social innacuracies.

The general use of "high voltage" frustrate me.  In Australia, "High voltage" refers only to voltage OVER 1000V
Low voltage is from 50 - 1000V
Extra low voltage <50VAC or 100VDC

Mains voltage is 230-240vRMS (root mean square [being alternating current, an equivalent direct current comparison needs to be drawn] which makes the power between AC and DC voltage the same when peak AC voltage is divide by root2)  single phase or 340v peak. 

A 10amp switch will/should have a voltage type indicated (or any current breaking device), as it is far easier to break an AC current than a DC one.  Both AC and DC will draw an arc when a switch starts to open, but because AC is cycling through 0 volts and 0 current 100 times per second, breaking that arc is far simpler.

Leaving a power point on will not result in a pool of electricity on the floor in front of the power point! ;)


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Offline God Bomb

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Re: Episode #585
« Reply #25 on: October 16, 2016, 09:49:50 PM »
I've heard that being wet drastically increases the chances of surviving a lightning strike.
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