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Author Topic: Death by "Going" on Third Rail  (Read 10812 times)
K0OD
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Posts: 2557




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« on: July 09, 2013, 06:45:21 PM »

"A drunken man was electrocuted and killed relieving himself on the third rail in Brooklyn this morning, sources said," reads the report. But, both the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and law enforcement officials have denied a "whiz-3rd rail connection" to the Wall Street Journal's transportation reporter Tedd Man. So, it sounds more like the man fell while peeing onto the third rail and then got electrocuted and died. But, that doesn't mean it's not possible to die in such a manner. We investigate."

http://www.theatlanticwire.com/national/2013/07/it-really-possible-die-peeing-third-rail-investigation/66950/

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N3HFS
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« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2013, 07:02:44 PM »

According to Mythbusters, "In most instances, a urine stream would break into droplets before making contact with the rail."

http://dsc.discovery.com/tv-shows/mythbusters/videos/peeing-on-third-rail-minimyth.htm
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K8AXW
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« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2013, 09:42:24 PM »

I saw that episode of Mythbusters and they couldn't get urine to conduct electricity.
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KE7TMA
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Posts: 471




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« Reply #3 on: July 10, 2013, 01:44:34 AM »

Remember, Mythbusters is entertainment that occasionally uses slight of hand disguised as science.

Just because it's on the teeeeeveeeee this doesn't mean it's true. Roll Eyes
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W1JKA
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« Reply #4 on: July 10, 2013, 01:56:43 AM »

If it's true it's a pissy way to die.
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G3RZP
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« Reply #5 on: July 10, 2013, 02:54:32 AM »

Having seen someone going on an electric fence, I am certain that urine does conduct. He couldn't even walk for about 5 minutes, while the rest of us nearly collapsed with laughter!
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K0OD
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« Reply #6 on: July 10, 2013, 05:43:33 AM »

So could a urine stream be used as a better antenna for hams lost in the wilderness with only an HT and ducky? 
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K0JEG
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« Reply #7 on: July 10, 2013, 06:07:52 AM »

Having seen someone going on an electric fence, I am certain that urine does conduct. He couldn't even walk for about 5 minutes, while the rest of us nearly collapsed with laughter!

Also proven on Mythbusters.
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KE3WD
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« Reply #8 on: July 10, 2013, 06:35:17 AM »

Although we know from high speed videography that the urine stream is indeed broken up into droplets and is an intermittent "stream" - urine contains enough salts to be conductive. 

A voltage (potential) that is high enough to create arcing, or even the conductivity of a nitrogen plasma between those droplets, could conduct enough current to the human body to do something like stop the heart. 

And, this news story is a bit more empirical than a Mythbusters show.  After all, there is a human being in the morgue to proof the situation, and apparently there were witnesses as well. 


73
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KD0REQ
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Posts: 934




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« Reply #9 on: July 10, 2013, 08:51:05 AM »

I present herewith direct evidence that if you are the "grid leak" onto an electric fence, you have also passed a country boy rite of passage, while proving that conduction of an electric current may also cause paralysis during the conduction across muscle.

in other words, it feels rotten and you can't stop.  if that was not a pulsed charger, I would not be arguing the point.
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AC4RD
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« Reply #10 on: July 10, 2013, 09:24:28 AM »

"Mythbusters" can be entertaining, it's fun ... but some of their "testing" is so bizarrely primitive as to be absolutely worthless.

For instance: pickup truck, better MPG with tailgate up or down?

Mythbusters got two trucks and drove them together 100 miles or something, one tailgate up and one down.  This does not prove ANYTHING.  What you need is a crossover study with 3 or 5 pickups in each group (your statistics software can tell you how many you need to get a statstical significance from the expected differences).  Drive each one either up or down for a week.  Every week you "cross over" and trucks that were up are now down, etc.  Measure all the miles drive and all the gas burned, and load the numbers into your statistics software.   THAT is a meaningful test. 

Again, the show is often entertaining, but it's NOT good science.
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W1JKA
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« Reply #11 on: July 10, 2013, 10:23:19 AM »

I suspect KD0REQ may have been farm raised same as me, as such I second the fact that the results of peeing on an electric pasture fence is NO myth ,in fact it hurts about 4 times more than putting your tongue on the wire. I can see why Myth Busters is a big hit with city folks.
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N3HFS
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Posts: 212




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« Reply #12 on: July 10, 2013, 10:25:26 AM »

"Mythbusters" can be entertaining, it's fun ... but some of their "testing" is so bizarrely primitive as to be absolutely worthless.
...
Again, the show is often entertaining, but it's NOT good science.
Actually, I find that the show makes some folks think in a "meta-science" sort of way - that is, it provokes thought about how something can and should be tested.  It inspires criticism and deeper thought into applications of the scientific method.  This effect seems to have applied to you to some degree as well.  Wink

I can agree with you that the show is entertaining, but the part about it not being "good science" only applies rather superficially - and if you accept their findings (and judgments of a myth being "busted," "confirmed," or "plausible").  You shouldn't mind leaving the shows' endings open to criticism.

Judging by how many times the show revisits some myths, even the producers know that empirical flaws can be very valuable to their ratings!

So, how does one test whether it is possible to conduct a lethal electrical circuit via a urine stream?
Whoever it was above that spoke of arcing between conductors on high voltages certainly seems to have brought up an important clue as to how to go about improving on the Mythbuster findings!
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AA4PB
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« Reply #13 on: July 10, 2013, 10:29:58 AM »

You have to eliminate all variables except the one you are testing for. For example, did the guy die from electrocution or did he die when he was hit by the train?  Roll Eyes
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W0BTU
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« Reply #14 on: July 10, 2013, 03:14:17 PM »

I've heard enough stories from different folks through the years to know that you should NEVER pee on an electric fence because you WILL regret it.  Wink  Those powerful fence chargers such as 'weed burners' can cause permanent damage. Enough said. Don't even think about it.
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