Author Topic: The "This Might Be A Stupid Question, But...." Thread  (Read 1002524 times)

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cwm

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Re: The "This Might Be A Stupid Question, But...." Thread
« Reply #8835 on: December 16, 2013, 02:01:17 PM »
New question --

I just bought a new treadmill (delivered from Amazon.) The instructions say to plug it into a surge protector instead of directly into the wall outlet.

Is this really necessary? What would happen if I plugged it directly into the wall?
Your treadmill will run fine without the surge protector. 

Your new treadmill has fragile electronics in the control box and/or display.   The surge protector protects those electronics from small power surges, like when your partner turns off a power tool or when a drunk driver hits the power pole in your front yard and when the power company repairs the damage. 

A surge protector will not protect your treadmill or other electronics from a lightning strike, even if that strike does not take out the power to your house.  I learned that the hard way.  I lost a washing machine to lightning.  It was on a surge arrester when the electronics in the control panel were fried. 

I live in Omaha, Nebraska, USA.  That's on the edge of Tornado Alley.  I get lots of storms.  My house is up on a ridge, making it even more vulnerable.  I keep my washer, dryer, and microwave oven unplugged when they are not in use.  I unplug the computer when storms are forecast and I'm not planning to be home.  If I'm home when a storm rolls in I unplug the garage door opener.

I lost a surge protector/power strip to lightning. It hit the house, literally melted holes in the solid metal fuse box frame (two, one incoming and one outgoing, and you could see the spray from where the molten metal had exploded), went up the lines to my bedroom and arced through the power strip back onto itself. Luckily nothing was plugged in and the loose papers I lived with were far enough away that they didn't catch fire, but there was smoke and there's still a charred mark on the floor in that room. All we lost that night was the fuse box, and the power company replaced it for us, but it was terrifying to be home alone that night.

Surge protectors are great for small surges (heater kicking on, someone turning on the microwave, any other minor fluctuations) but nothing will protect anything plugged into the wall from lightning.

Vall

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Re: The "This Might Be A Stupid Question, But...." Thread
« Reply #8836 on: December 17, 2013, 09:54:17 AM »
There are lightning protection systems for homes and businesses.  I was once in a LTR with a man who designed and installed them.  It's a fascinating field.  He did systems for colleges, churches, government buildings, residences and even trees on golf courses.  If DH and I ever have a home built, it will have lightning protection.

Outdoor Girl

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Re: The "This Might Be A Stupid Question, But...." Thread
« Reply #8837 on: December 17, 2013, 10:13:19 AM »
Friends of mine had a lightning strike between their property and the neighbours.  The neighbours had one of those invisible fence things for their dog.  The lightning ran along the fence line underground and blew the controller for the fence inside the house but nothing else.

My friends lost almost all of their electronics that were plugged into the wall.  The lightning hit close to their garage and then travelled the electrical lines from the garage into the house.

I'm going to be having some major kitchen renovations done in the next few years that will involve some electical work.  So I'm going to have the panel replaced and have the whole home surge protection put right on the panel at the same time.
I have CDO.  It is like OCD but with the letters in alphabetical order, as they should be.
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magicdomino

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Re: The "This Might Be A Stupid Question, But...." Thread
« Reply #8838 on: December 17, 2013, 10:37:37 AM »
So far, I've had two surge protectors fry.  One was due to a power surge in the lines that was not lightning related.  I'm lucky in that only the power strip, which happened to be plugged into the outlet closest to the fuse box, died.  Other houses lost appliances.  The owners were trying to get the electric company to pay for the replacements, but I don't know if they succeeded.

Nothing like walking into the house and smelling burned insulation.   :(

cwm

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Re: The "This Might Be A Stupid Question, But...." Thread
« Reply #8839 on: December 17, 2013, 11:07:58 AM »
So far, I've had two surge protectors fry.  One was due to a power surge in the lines that was not lightning related.  I'm lucky in that only the power strip, which happened to be plugged into the outlet closest to the fuse box, died.  Other houses lost appliances.  The owners were trying to get the electric company to pay for the replacements, but I don't know if they succeeded.

Nothing like walking into the house and smelling burned insulation.   :(

I'm sure there is. Walking back to your bedroom and smelling smoke.  :'(

The worst part of the night the house got hit? Sis was at a friend's for a sleepover. Various local grandparents were all out of town. Parents were out to dinner for anniversary, and left their cell phone in the car. I literally could not communicate with anyone. Left a hasty note (which would have been useless had the house actually been on fire) and ran to the neighbor's house. We knew our neighbors well, and they managed to calm me down and keep me safe and warm until parents got home.

Then there was the storm where lightning hit the transformer nearby and knocked out the electronics in the car. Killed the car, meaning there was no more forward momentum. We got caught in a deep puddle that we would have been able to drive through with power.

Then there was the time I was driving south along the highway and lightning kept hitting street lights along the road I was on.

Then there was the time when a tree blocked my car down at an easily flooded area on a river during a thunderstorm and I had to move it by myself before driving back to a camp that was completely deserted.

People still don't believe me when I say that I have justification for being terrified of thunderstorms. The list above is only a partial list of my bad experiences. They still try to tell me it's all in my head, or what's the worst that could happen? I mean, it's only weather, right?

Outdoor Girl

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Re: The "This Might Be A Stupid Question, But...." Thread
« Reply #8840 on: December 17, 2013, 01:04:34 PM »
Wow, cwm.  I think you need to build yourself a rubber room in any house you live in!

(Not the straight-jackets and locked door kind; the insulated kind where no electrical current can get through.)
I have CDO.  It is like OCD but with the letters in alphabetical order, as they should be.
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Virg

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Re: The "This Might Be A Stupid Question, But...." Thread
« Reply #8841 on: December 17, 2013, 01:18:48 PM »
Outdoor Girl wrote:

"Wow, cwm.  I think you need to build yourself a rubber room in any house you live in!"

Or go find the nearest traveling carnival and pay the fortune teller to lift whatever curse you picked up.  That's a lot of storm trouble for one person who doesn't live in monsoon territory.

Virg

Mel the Redcap

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Re: The "This Might Be A Stupid Question, But...." Thread
« Reply #8842 on: December 17, 2013, 03:56:42 PM »
Eeeeeergh. Cwm, I totally agree that you have PLENTY of reasons to feel unhappy/scared about thunderstorms! Intellectually knowing "it's just a storm" and emotionally feeling "HOLY CARP THE WEATHER IS STALKING ME" are two different things! *hugs*
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guihong

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Re: The "This Might Be A Stupid Question, But...." Thread
« Reply #8843 on: December 18, 2013, 08:38:03 AM »
My son asked this, and it wasn't such a "stupid" question, in my opinion:

On Gilligan's Island, why did Skipper, Gilligan and the Professor always wear the same clothes, while the others had many clothes (for a three-hour tour?)?  They aren't really uniforms, after all.  (Sorry if that's too flip a question for the board).



cwm

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Re: The "This Might Be A Stupid Question, But...." Thread
« Reply #8844 on: December 18, 2013, 12:07:58 PM »
My son asked this, and it wasn't such a "stupid" question, in my opinion:

On Gilligan's Island, why did Skipper, Gilligan and the Professor always wear the same clothes, while the others had many clothes (for a three-hour tour?)?  They aren't really uniforms, after all.  (Sorry if that's too flip a question for the board).

My question about that was always who the heck packs that many clothes to bring along on a three-hour tour?! It always made sense to me that Gilligan, Skipper, and the Professor had the same clothes. The others, though, just blew my mind.

Melle

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Re: The "This Might Be A Stupid Question, But...." Thread
« Reply #8845 on: December 18, 2013, 12:15:57 PM »
I have one that's been bothering me for years:

How come "aunt" is pronounced "ant"?

Back when I first started learning English, I just naturally assumed the "au" was pronounced the same way as in "taunt" or "flaunt" but I've never heard it actually said that way...

Diane AKA Traska

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Re: The "This Might Be A Stupid Question, But...." Thread
« Reply #8846 on: December 18, 2013, 01:24:52 PM »
My son asked this, and it wasn't such a "stupid" question, in my opinion:

On Gilligan's Island, why did Skipper, Gilligan and the Professor always wear the same clothes, while the others had many clothes (for a three-hour tour?)?  They aren't really uniforms, after all.  (Sorry if that's too flip a question for the board).

My question about that was always who the heck packs that many clothes to bring along on a three-hour tour?! It always made sense to me that Gilligan, Skipper, and the Professor had the same clothes. The others, though, just blew my mind.

The Howells were embezzlers.  They were planning for a lot more than three hours.  Maryann was their maid, and Ginger?  Well, once you confess to your wife that you're embezzling, having a mistress isn't as big a confession as one would think.
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Betelnut

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Re: The "This Might Be A Stupid Question, But...." Thread
« Reply #8847 on: December 18, 2013, 01:27:14 PM »
I have one that's been bothering me for years:

How come "aunt" is pronounced "ant"?

Back when I first started learning English, I just naturally assumed the "au" was pronounced the same way as in "taunt" or "flaunt" but I've never heard it actually said that way...

A lot of African Americans pronounce it that way (aunt=taunt).  Sorry, I don't know the answer to your question though!
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Pen^2

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Re: The "This Might Be A Stupid Question, But...." Thread
« Reply #8848 on: December 18, 2013, 01:36:41 PM »
I have one that's been bothering me for years:

How come "aunt" is pronounced "ant"?

Back when I first started learning English, I just naturally assumed the "au" was pronounced the same way as in "taunt" or "flaunt" but I've never heard it actually said that way...

"Aunt" is an unusual word, actually, because "au" in English is most often pronounced identically to "or", written as ɔː, but in received English it is not a homophone for "ant" at all. Wiktionary lists 6 pronunciations http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/aunt#Pronunciation. The pronunciation varies a lot from region to region, but the most common one in English speaking countries (with the exception of those in North America) is ɑːnt, pronounced the same way as "aren't". In North America, ænt is the most common pronunciation, the same as in "ant".

"Aunt" comes from Latin "amita". In English outside North America at least, pronouncing the "au" as "ar" is generally thought to come directly from the Latin pronunciation. I have no idea why it's pronounced as "ant" in some places, though. It's certainly a more recent thing. It'd be interesting to know how old this newer pronunciation is. Often, "ar" (ɑː) in British English becomes "a" (æ) in North American English, but I've no clue as to why this is.

camlan

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Re: The "This Might Be A Stupid Question, But...." Thread
« Reply #8849 on: December 18, 2013, 04:26:01 PM »
I have one that's been bothering me for years:

How come "aunt" is pronounced "ant"?

Back when I first started learning English, I just naturally assumed the "au" was pronounced the same way as in "taunt" or "flaunt" but I've never heard it actually said that way...

Where did you learn English? Because the pronunciation of "aunt" varies depending on where you are.

In the US, in New England, a lot of people do pronounce it with the same sound as "taunt" instead of "ant." Especially in the Greater Boston area, there are many similarities in speech with the English spoken in parts of the UK.

I was recently watching a TV show (can't remember off hand what it was) and most of the actors were saying "ant," but one or two were "aunt" all the way. It struck me as odd, because all the characters were supposed to be members of the same family. And you'd think they would all learn the same pronunciation.

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