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Bloomer & Keogh Investigate spacer Issue 8
Bloomer and Keogh Investigate
Electricity Can Be Fun
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Tuesday People are in the sky going on their holidays, it's blowy tee shirts, and dusty pigeons for the moment. A day for rhubarb and custards, but I suspect these ones are fake. The dark clouds in the distance make everything glorious Technicolor, life with the knobs turned up. Roasted drivers wait with windows down for the zebra crossing lights in front of me, but I don't trust the green man. My nerves are in tatters and I can't breath through my hair due to a deficiency of pro-vitamin Swiss botanicals, wheat proteins and clarifying sheer volume oxygenating revitalises.
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Its amazing that chewing gum can stick to this kebaby footpath and I wonder how different things would be without drink, the blight of this land. Blue bags, our native tumbleweed, is a rare delicacy for big fat bins and would be an endangered species but that bin down the alleyway looks like it couldn't even cope with rare delicacies at the moment 'cause I think it's about to be sick all over its own wheels. Kentucky fried Kick'n would only dish out crap food. And what a commotion, going on right as we speak under Colonel Kentucky himself.
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The invisible man better start shittin' himself 'cause he's about to get the face boxed off him. Steptoe look at him go, nearly move'n like a butterfly and sting'n like a bee, fancy footwork in the style of a drunk Bruce Lee. He's pullin' off some pretty tasty moves but now he's in a half nelson and he's in trouble. Man down, thrown arse over tit hard on his back, but he takes it well and is straight back on his feet with a couple of Vegas Elvis kicks. His tweeds are testimony to superior tailoring. They look good as new, his lapel accessories now with coleslaw shimmering in the summer sun. He's still got his pride, he gave as good as he got and everyone knows those transparent people are a slippery shower of bastards.
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I think I need a glass of delicious and refreshing cider with ice aged for me. Cutting my tongue on this counterfeit boiled sweet reminds me that I'd better check how Mr Bloomer is getting on with our very important work.
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The Joys Of Electricity:
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I would like to introduce Mr. Keogh to the joy of electricity but try to make it a game perhaps. I could apply a charge and let him guess its current and voltage or we could play electricity high jump. I could join in to try and detract from the cold scientific nature of my work, to try and cure Mr Keogh of his whiskey drinking ways. He fears electricity which is probably justified after all it is invisible and therefore cannot be trusted, it could be under your bed and you would not know it .
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Mr Keogh's internal resistance measured at 1,150,000 ohms. 20 volts: No response 50 volts: Placebo nervous response 150 volts: the subject reports tingly sensation 180 volts: No health giving properties 185 volts: Subject has very unconductive thumbs. No health giving properties. Numb fingers.
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The particular piece of therapeutic plant I'm using is the Legg ac/dc experimental power supply. Despite being the size of a fridge it seems to have failed us, it should reach 230 volts but it seems a bit lazy today. I am tempted to apply it directly across the heart but relent and decide its time to switch to more drastic equipment. I have a high voltage power supply somewhere in here, it was found in a skip behind Queens, a source of many exciting and unidentified artefacts. Despite having had its plug and internal fuse removed presumably as an insurance requirement it's soon up and running so the high jump is raised by a considerable margin
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Bloomer and Keogh Investigate - Electricity Can Be Fun
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1750 volts: slight alleviation of fatigue. Sensation of being hit on elbows with toffee hammer. Makes frightening sounds and interrupts radio four. 3000 volts: administered on damp human causes hands to feel like they're not there. Is quite invigorating. Can light cigarette off plasma.
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From The Mains:
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Mains electricity is very rarely fatal, when it is first experienced it is usually a disappointment and tales of people being thrown across the room by the output of the domestic socket are surely exaggerated. Those who are honest about it should admit that it is no more irritation than a nettle sting and doesn't last as long.
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Nowadays the popularity of rubber footwear, tighter regulations and the use of rcds instead of fuses in modern houses means that fatal electrocution is almost non-existent. Those contemplating suicide would be well advised that if their house has been rewired in the past 5 years they would stand a better chance by throwing the three bar heater in to someone else's bath. Microwave ovens are the most dangerous and also the most exciting appliance in the home they contain unhealthy doses of electricity 5,000V or more and high current may be available momentarily. This is an instantly lethal combination, and everyone knows microwave radiation will cook you from the inside out and will cause you to explode if not stirred regularly. If there is a lot of you this will take longer. The beginner, before investigating microwave internals would be well advised to unplug from the mains and submerge the appliance in the bath to ensure they don't find any nasty surprises. The more confident tinker may find sport in discharging large capacitors with a well insulated screwdriver (always use an old or borrowed one as this can result in quite nasty pitting of the tip). Microwave ovens are usually equipped with more than one safety cut-out which ensures that there are no microwaves emitted while the door is open, these safety features are easily bypassed with only the most basic understanding of electrics and the crudest of tools, easily available on the highstreet. A close second best is the television. TVs and monitors may have up to 35 kV on the CRT but the current is low .
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3500 volts: increased feeling of unrealistic limbs and involuntary spasms.
4000 volts: Mr. Bloomer practices world music dancing when voltage is administered.
4000 volts: on Mr. Keogh causes swearing.
4500 volts: worried expression and fingers smell like a broken electrical appliance.
4500 volts: Mr. Bloomer's fancy dancing continues.
5000 volts: Mr. Bloomer lifts almost a foot in the air. Morale is improving but burnt wiring smell inside nose is disconcerting.
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For some reason the label 'do not remove cover no user serviceable parts inside', serves only as a taunt and it is easy to see that the appliance in question was asking for it. I have on occasion been stuck to the back of a telly as there was no one nearby to hit me with a brush. The last time it was only for about 5 seconds, until the circuit board I had become a part of burnt out, but for that moment it was quite disconcerting and felt like the sound of a sample in a tune I can't remember the name of. The after effects were mild. A grumpy outlook and a lack of motivation for the rest of the day can hardly be considered far ranging. I considered that I did deserve this punishment. At the time I was engaging in experimentation to no practical purpose and was simply tampering with the TV to see how it might react. I got off very lightly, if we are to consider the tragic case of Rod Hull who was simply adjusting his aerial to see the cup final and was not, like me, engaged in sorcery. On one occasion an honest repair job became darker and more interesting than initially expected, the set had not shown any of the warning symptoms, six foot flames and the like. When the TV cover was removed I discovered a lightning style phenomenon occurring on the high tension connection to the tube. Electricity was arcing across a gap of about an inch and a half and triggering a safety cut out. The problem was easily solved by removing the shield and thereby defeating the TV's life preserving feature. The troublesome appliance then worked perfectly despite a halo of purple blue plasma about four inches across on the surface of the glass tube, and emissions of white noise and ozone.
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Bloomer and Keogh Investigate - Electricity Can Be Fun
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The plasma halo which resembled a flyer for an acid techno night proved more interesting than the screen and it was difficult to resist poking it with a screwdriver. The cheeky plasma jumped onto the screwdriver, up the steel shaft, neatly skipped off when it reached the handle and arced on to my finger, through my body to the earth where it had been trying to get for ages. Feeling foolish I downed marigolds and poked the plasma with my finger, the effects were similar. I couldn't however offer any explanation of why this occurred so resolved to end my meddling with the unknown for that day.
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5500 volts: Mr. Bloomer is thrown across the room.
5500 volts: Seems to evoke a religious response in Mr. Keogh and complains of oddness in hands.
Experiment halted due to the inadvertent application of 5500v across both experimenters hearts. The initial invigorating effect subsides into fatigue and suspected lowering of IQ. Feel happy as Larry but is hard to concentrate Mr. Keogh is confused and despondent but seems content.
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In summing up I would say that electric shocks which do not kill should be considered a good thing but I do not advocate a casual attitude to high voltages. Start low and work your way up, wear your wellies, always keep one hand behind your back to avoid creating a direct connection across your heart, and if in doubt try to get someone else to try it first.
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Technical Supplement:
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The danger from electricity is the possibility of your body providing a conducting path, particularly through your heart. In most cases we are saved by having a relatively high resistance R (the ability to obstruct the flow of electricity) thanks to ohms law (I =V/R) which states that a current I (which can for our purposes be considered the volume or amount of the electricity) cannot travel very far through a conductor (in this case the human body) unless the voltage V (pressure or motive force) is great enough to get it there. This is why overhead power cables travelling long distances have a very high voltages. High voltages are popularly considered dangerous but it is the current that actually stops your heart. A small current of about 30 mili amps and a low voltage applied directly across the heart with electrodes which penetrated the skin would cause instant death. Very high voltages with a low current such as shocks from static electricity is often thousands of volts but only a few thousandths of an amp, the current can travel through the human body with relative ease but is harmless and the stuff of practical jokes.
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Here is an example: Mr. Keogh's resistance measured from one finger tip to the other is 1,150,000 ohms if we connect him to the mains making one finger on one hand live (brown wire) and the other finger on the other hand neutral (blue wire); mains electricity is 230 volts 230/1150000 = 0.002 we can calculate that two two thousandths of an Amp might flow through his heart this is unlikely to cause death. In most of our experiments voltages were applied from the thumb to a finger on the same hand to ensure the path of least resistance and that preferred by electricity did not include our hearts thereby greatly reducing the possibility of death Very high voltages can even travel though air by arcing. The arc is a plasma of hot ionised gas; 12,000 Volts will jump approximately anywhere from 3/8 to 3/4 inch in dry air, the plasma observed in my TV occured in fairly damp environment.
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Bloomer and Keogh Investigate - Electricity Can Be Fun
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