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Sunday, May 06, 2007
Spontaneous Human Combustion -vwv

There was this show on TV about investigations into the phenomenon of spontaneous human combustion. I only watched part of it because the theories, which are really hypothesis, started sounding pretty far-fetched.

One of the "theories" was about a theoretical sub-atomic particle called a pyrotron. This particle is all over the universe but moves so fast that it just flies right through most objects. So far, that fits the description of neutrinos. But here's where it differs from a neutrino. Supposedly, a pyrotron will sometimes hit a human and cause a chain reaction that releases the latent energy in the human's body, thus incinerating it. Needless to say, there is no evidence whatsoever supporting the theory. A high energy physicist who was interviewed on the show said he had never heard of such a particle. I think people who propose the pyrotron theory should really be afraid. What if we have spontaneous planet combustion? That would really suck.

Another theory is also as imaginative. A "doctor" claims that potassium is produced in human cells via nuclear fusion and that by electrical stimulation, he can release the energy from this nuclear fusion in his body. Naturally, the tests they did on him showed no significant change in potassium level.

And that was when I switched off the TV. It was amusing but I don't want to risk getting dumber. It's funny no one ever talks about spontaneous animal combustion. If you think about it, a person has to be reasonably knowledgeable in science to be able to conjure up "theories" like these. But if he's so smart, how can he possibly believe in the theories he created? It's really baffling.

Unless of course it's all in the name of fun. I know SQ has intentionally misinformed people on several occasions on a variety of facts. It's as though the more ridiculous the story you can convince people to believe, the more satisfaction you get. I have difficulty sorting out his mixture of facts and fabrication sometimes. I don't quite like being misled but after some thought, I figured that truth is, after all, rather subjective anyway.

-- permalink --
Yiheng made
6:00 PM


Really? Please share the various instances I managed to misinform you. For theories of spontaneous combustion, I'm going with the theory of mitochondria simultaneously releasing energy. Some guy calculated the amount of energy that would release and it was pretty hot.

Anyway you know I don't tell lies, just different shades of truth. But if you do work beneath my logic that I use to draw those conclusions, then you'll find that many are weak or false. You should meet my boss, I try to fake him, he can pick apart my logic straight away.

By Blogger Soqcrates, at 11:49 PM  

I wouldn't know if you have misinformed me because if I did, then I wouldn't have been misinformed. But I remember you were explaining the origins of certain terms to some GAs which I am sure were totally made up. And Canada most definitely does not mean "nothing here".

With regards to human combustion, there is a lot of energy in the human body. I am certain the nuclear energy in your molecules far exceeds the chemical energy in mitochondria. However, I think the more important issue is not the source but rather the mechanism. If there is no credible mechanism for simultaneously releasing all the energy in mitochondria, then that theory is just as good as aliens zapping humans with invisible combustion rays.

By Anonymous Yiheng, at 12:16 PM  

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