atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#4523: Why, yes, I science a lot

In order to get an idea of how much snow is falling I like to turn on the post light by the driveway. Problem is, it's got a CFL in it, and when one of those gets too cold it won't start. The bulb is perfectly usable once it's warmed back up, so I just have to keep a spare on hand and swap them as needed. This characteristic is mainly just an inconvenience, because it means I must go outside to put in the warm one; the fixture is about eye level on me and easily accessed, so it usually only takes me a little bit of effort to accomplish.

This evening, though, I just about got sidetracked for the rest of the night.

See, it's been extra-cold (else I would not be replacing the bulb) and the air is therefore very dry. I was at the front door, in the dark, with the bulb in one hand and trying to pull on my parka, which has a polyester inner layer.

The bulb was flickering and I said, "Aw, that is fuckin' cool!"

I know why: it's static electricity generated by rubbing the polyester, traveling through my hand and ionizing the mercury vapor inside the bulb. It's a phenomenon that's extremely simple to understand for anyone who's had a seventh-grade science course that's worth anything at all.

That doesn't keep it from being fuckin' cool, damn it.

I was so delighted I went into the bedroom and woke up my wife to show it to her, and she also thought it was really cool.

(Why were we both asleep at 9 PM? We're getting over colds. She is, anyway, and I'm hibernating? I don't know.)

...but it took an act of willpower for me to go out and install the bulb rather than stand there playing with it all night. That's just how I am.

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