Swedish man bursts into flames at train station.

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Re: Swedish man bursts into flames at train station.

#21  Postby Blackadder » Jul 03, 2014 9:36 am

Templeton wrote:I'm betting on spontaneous combustion


I'm betting on whacko bullshit. That's The Reverend Whacko Bullshit to you.
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Re: Swedish man bursts into flames at train station.

#22  Postby Soral » Jul 03, 2014 9:39 am

Veida wrote:This was in Gothenburg, though. On the west coast right at the sea. So the air would have been pretty humid even in winter. Static electricity therefore seems unlikely.


More likely than combustion through a biologically impossible method. The ignition point for polyester is >500 F. Biological activity for thermophiles in comparison tops out at about 250. Human flesh ignites at a temperature higher than polyester.
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Re: Swedish man bursts into flames at train station.

#23  Postby Soral » Jul 03, 2014 9:44 am

Varangian wrote:Someone more conversant in physics than me can probably calculate the electric discharge needed to reach the flashpoint for, say, nylon or polyester, but it sounds a bit farfetched. If it was possible, it would be more common in colder climes.


Actually, I find that these strange cases of people ''bursting into flames'' pretty much exclusively happened between the November-February months - the months where static is logically at its most 'prevalent' .

The term they use is ''static flash fires''. Susan Motteshead, (if her account is true) had this happen to her clothing, fortunately she was wearing flame-resistant pajamas at the time:

In winter 1980, Cheshire, England, resident Susan Motteshead was standing in her kitchen, wearing flame-resistant pajamas, when she was suddenly engulfed in a short-lived fire that seemed to have ignited the fluff on her clothing but burned out before it could set anything properly alight.


Dry skin + static + wrong clothes combination + poor grounding + cold weather + sheer bad luck on how the spark discharges would make it unlikely but not impossible.
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Re: Swedish man bursts into flames at train station.

#24  Postby tolman » Jul 03, 2014 10:43 am

Soral wrote:Is is too unlikely that this unfortunate man just so happened to be one of those people who wore the wrong thing on the wrong day? Some people seem to be more susceptible than others at generating a charge on their clothing. Lightning is a form of static electricity and that can and has caused fires.

Lightning is a pretty energetic example of static electricity.

Soral wrote:Wasn't there a case long ago, about a man's jacket spontaneously combusting after it accumulated too much static? I think the bloke was there for a job interview, my memory is hazy, correct me if I'm wrong. :coffee:

Sparks from everyday static do pose some risk in the case of flammable vapours or dust, since in those situations, only a very small amount of energy in a small volume may be needed to start a reaction going.
In the case of solid materials, there's usually a rather higher amount of energy needed to melt/vapourise and ignite the material. Even in the case of fabric with fine filaments of material exposed, ignition isn't necessarily easy - very fine filaments might be easy to heat up but in isolation can be too fine to support combustion - the rate of energy loss to the surrounding air can often be rather greater than the rate of energy release from combustion.

For a jacket to catch fire, even if some exposed fibres could potentially get heated by a spark, those (low mass) fibres need to generate enough excess energy from combustion to set the bulk material alight.
A jacket hairy and flammable enough to catch fire in such a situation would seem likely to be a fire hazard in all manner of other situations, such as the briefest touch of a lighter flame.

But in reality, it seems you're probably thinking of a story where a man going for an interview supposedly melts carpet and/or sets carpet smouldering due to the charge he supposedly built up in his jacket. However, the original reports of that story do seem to be a bit confused on technical issues.
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Re: Swedish man bursts into flames at train station.

#25  Postby Spearthrower » Jul 03, 2014 11:32 am

Soral wrote:http://news.yahoo.com/swedish-man-bursts-flames-train-station-211300445.html



Don't you have security cameras in train stations in Sweden? Surely video evidence must be available?
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Re: Swedish man bursts into flames at train station.

#26  Postby Templeton » Jul 03, 2014 4:06 pm

A common symptom of fanaticism is a lack of humor - :nono:
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Re: Swedish man bursts into flames at train station.

#27  Postby kennyc » Jul 03, 2014 4:42 pm

What I'm pissed about is that this is a three year old bullshit story and embarrassed that I didn't notice the date right away. :oops:

and that the story is full of shit: "Spontaneous human combustion is a rare but not unheard of phenomenon."

which is plain shit. There has never been even one documented case of what the believers claim is spontaneous human combustion. There has always been a scientific reason behind the incidents. And it irks me that the ignoramuses keep bring it up.
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Re: Swedish man bursts into flames at train station.

#28  Postby Varangian » Jul 03, 2014 5:59 pm

kennyc wrote:And it irks me that the ignoramuses keep bring it up.


Yeah, I hope they catch fire and die.
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Re: Swedish man bursts into flames at train station.

#29  Postby Veida » Jul 03, 2014 6:25 pm

I've been reading through all the swedish newspaper articles about the incident at Gothenburgh. They all say that he was burning when discovered. One says that he set himself on fire. No article claims that it was a case of spontaneous combustion.

I conclude that claims that this was a case of spontaneous combustion are pure conjecture without any supporting evidence.
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Re: Swedish man bursts into flames at train station.

#30  Postby kennyc » Jul 03, 2014 6:34 pm

Varangian wrote:
kennyc wrote:And it irks me that the ignoramuses keep bring it up.


Yeah, I hope they catch fire and die.


:lol: :lol: :lol:

I'd be glad to help, if that is allowed. :D

Wonder if they weigh the same as a duck?
Last edited by kennyc on Jul 03, 2014 8:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Swedish man bursts into flames at train station.

#31  Postby Soral » Jul 03, 2014 6:45 pm

kennyc wrote:What I'm pissed about is that this is a three year old bullshit story and embarrassed that I didn't notice the date right away. :oops:

and that the story is full of shit: "Spontaneous human combustion is a rare but not unheard of phenomenon."

which is plain shit. There has never been even one documented case of what the believers claim is spontaneous human combustion. There has always been a scientific reason behind the incidents. And it irks me that the ignoramuses keep bring it up.


I'm more concerned that people actually believe it is biologically possible.

I recall having a conversation with a woman twice my age, who was adamant that spontaneous human combustion was possible. Her argument went something like this;

''Well your whole metabolism is a chemical reaction so yes fire is a chemical reaction also.''
I then asked her how an actively metabolising piece of tissue is going to reach the combustion temperature when functional proteins melt at around 200 degrees, when flesh ignites at about 1000. (There is a reason why a high fever can be lethal.)

Her response was;
''science doesn't know anything.''

It isn't about knowing. It's fundamental chemistry.
I never understood why many people want to believe in such bull.

A person's clothing spontaneously combusting from an unfortunate static discharge (when no other source of ignition can be postulated) may seem unlikely, but the mechanism is at least a possibility.
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Re: Swedish man bursts into flames at train station.

#32  Postby orpheus » Jul 03, 2014 7:08 pm

I'll bet 10 to 1 odds he was a drummer for Spinal Tap.
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Re: Swedish man bursts into flames at train station.

#33  Postby kennyc » Jul 03, 2014 8:34 pm

Soral wrote:
kennyc wrote:What I'm pissed about is that this is a three year old bullshit story and embarrassed that I didn't notice the date right away. :oops:

and that the story is full of shit: "Spontaneous human combustion is a rare but not unheard of phenomenon."

which is plain shit. There has never been even one documented case of what the believers claim is spontaneous human combustion. There has always been a scientific reason behind the incidents. And it irks me that the ignoramuses keep bring it up.


I'm more concerned that people actually believe it is biologically possible.

.......


Well then fucking say that instead of posting idiotic links to ancient stories under misleading subject titles.
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Re: Swedish man bursts into flames at train station.

#34  Postby Soral » Jul 03, 2014 8:38 pm

1. I didn't know it was an old story. I saw it posted on SciForums yesterday, so I assumed it was recent.
2. It isn't a habit of mine to check dates on news stories.
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Re: Swedish man bursts into flames at train station.

#35  Postby kennyc » Jul 03, 2014 8:48 pm

Soral wrote:1. I didn't know it was an old story. I saw it posted on SciForums yesterday, so I assumed it was recent.
2. It isn't a habit of mine to check dates on news stories.


Thank you. I clearly missed the date the first time as well, but better to either just ignore this this sort of thing rather than propagate it or to point out it's improbability along with the link.

No offense intended but we do get a lot of disingenuous posters here as you might imagine.
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Re: Swedish man bursts into flames at train station.

#36  Postby Varangian » Jul 04, 2014 3:07 am

kennyc wrote:No offense intended but we do get a lot of disingenuous posters here as you might imagine.


Also the highest concentration of Swedes in a RatSkep thread in human memory.
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Re: Swedish man bursts into flames at train station.

#37  Postby Veida » Jul 04, 2014 8:12 am

And we all know how hot Swedes are.
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Re: Swedish man bursts into flames at train station.

#38  Postby Varangian » Jul 04, 2014 10:46 am

Yep. If only the Swedish single ladies would realise that.
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Re: Swedish man bursts into flames at train station.

#39  Postby Spearthrower » Jul 04, 2014 10:52 am

Soral wrote:
I'm more concerned that people actually believe it is biologically possible.


Even with a biological background and clearly skeptical of the claim, I'm more worried that a purported phenomenon would be dismissed a priori because of a prejudgment that it's impossible. By definition, if a phenomenon is rare and unrecorded, then we can't be sure whether it's possible or not without reviewing the alleged evidence. We can't really decide in advance that something is impossible based on a data set that doesn't include the purported phenomenon. Obviously, I doubt very much that spontaneous combustion is a plausible facet of biology on Earth, but it surely doesn't hurt to examine each case individually?

However, I do agree with you regarding your tale of the woman claiming knowledge of it - that's a far more egregious mistake.
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Re: Swedish man bursts into flames at train station.

#40  Postby Spearthrower » Jul 04, 2014 10:54 am

kennyc wrote:
Soral wrote:1. I didn't know it was an old story. I saw it posted on SciForums yesterday, so I assumed it was recent.
2. It isn't a habit of mine to check dates on news stories.


Thank you. I clearly missed the date the first time as well, but better to either just ignore this this sort of thing rather than propagate it or to point out it's improbability along with the link.


Personally, I think that's the express remit of this particular subforum - to debunk claims like this. It's not propagation to post it on a site which aims to be rationally skeptical.

kennyc wrote:No offense intended but we do get a lot of disingenuous posters here as you might imagine.


That, however, is true.... but might I suggest it's still not a reason to dismiss any given topic out of hand.
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