1. marcoli says

    I was just going to say, PZ, that it is dangerous to go poking around in an appliance like this for exactly that reason. I was cringing. Even unplugged from the wall, an appliance with a large capacitor can kill.
    But what she says is interesting too.

  2. wzrd1 says

    There’d be no charge in the yoke, as it’s inductive in nature and the television is turned off.
    Now, the second anode, that’s another story entirely, as the CRT acts as a capacitor and retains a nice charge. Back in 1988, it’d have been 25 – 27 KV, low current.
    A greater risk would be the low voltage power supply, 125 – 135 volts DC, at the horizontal output transistor, with AC riding on the DC to around 1.5 KV.

    Can you tell what I did for extra money back then? :)

  3. Golgafrinchan Captain says

    @ PZ, yes. That was going to be my comment before I saw yours. They can also store a charge for a reaaaalllly long time unless deliberately discharged.

  4. Golgafrinchan Captain says

    On a semi-related note, do you know the common name for the little click you hear when you get a static shock?

    It’s thunder. Teeny-tiny thunder.

  5. robro says

    Maybe this knowledge helped her get that swan.

    “I read that in a Danish book…” Ha! There’s just something about the way she says that, and the look she gives, that says this is an insider joke.

  6. What a Maroon, living up to the 'nym says

    Given that this is from 1988, and Bjork is still around, I was too worried. Curious to see if she’d get a shock, but not worried.

  7. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I built a Heathkit™ color TV when I was recuperating from writing my dissertation back in the dark ages. I did my own repair upon it, which included the high-voltage area. I shorted all known capacitors before touching anything. Safety first. Kept it for almost twenty years until the CRT died.

  8. dick says

    Robro, I believe that, for the Icelander, everything is perfect in Denmark, (even the weather).

  9. Cuttlefish says

    Björk is adorable, as always. A friend gave me Gling-Gló, and I have loved Björk ever since. Dead swan and all.

    She is right, of course–you should not let poets lie to you. Nor scientists, nor politicians, nor priests, nor musicians. As I tell my students, “don’t believe me just because I tell you; believe me because I am right. Do the work; verify or disprove me!”

  10. occy says

    Bjork was (is? her father is still alive) the daughter of an electrician, and as a muso in the punk movement probably had some experience in dealing with potentially dangerous electrical gear.

  11. unclefrogy says

    why would you worry?
    When she took the back of the set off without using a screw driver I figured it was a set piece and they had probably done it at least once before. there were 2 cameras weren’t there?
    very droll and funny
    the reasoning of poets is one thing the weird description and absurd method by which we become hypnotized to believe that the “vast wasteland” is always telling the truth may be fanciful but the fact remains there is a lot of bullshit pedaled to a lot of people on the tv and now the Internet.
    uncle frogy

  12. Lofty says

    Mmmm, old TV sets. As a lad I used to dismantle a few black and white TVs. If I found a suitable transformer I’d hook it up in reverse to my train set 15VAC supply, make a crude voltage doubler and charge up some of the hand sized 350V cazapitators. Take them outside and discharge them with a carefully guided short circuit wire. The resultant very loud bangs used to result in the local mothers raising their voices. The caps didn’t last very long with that sort of treatment and fortunately none of us suffered from electrocution. The things you do when you’re young and silly.

  13. Menyambal says

    I was worried about the vacuum tube, too. It takes some doing to shatter the CRT, but if it goes boom it is powerful. There’s a little glass tail at the back end you can snap off to let air in.

    CRT stands for Cathode Ray Tube, and there’s an electron gun in there, not a beam of light, stimulating the phosphors. But it was lovely poetry.

  14. AstroLad says

    @PZ #1
    What happens when a biologist tries to talk about engineering or physics. ☺

  15. Mobius says

    Yeah. Seeing her stick her finger close to those circuits was definitely cringe worthy.

    (Really, folks. Don’t do that.)

  16. blf says

    You shouldn’t let poets lie to you!

    I’m perfectly happy let some “lie” to me: Homer, Shakespeare, Poe (E. Allan, not the intertubes troll variety), and others…

  17. ck, the Irate Lump says

    It’s probably best to question the apparent truths told to you by poets more than the lies. Disregarding the obvious lies is harder than disregarding the lies hidden in what we already consider truth.

  18. ck, the Irate Lump says

    blah. That should be, “Disregarding the obvious lies is easier than disregarding the lies hidden in what we already consider truth.

  19. says

    ck, the Irate Lump said what I was thinking.

    I’ve always appreciated Björk’s fine sense of the ironic reversal. It’s hard to see the lie embedded in all those tiny dots of what appear to be empirical truths, so yeah, one is therein hypnotized; poets tell the truth by lying.

  20. Menyambal says

    For those of you who don’t know, a capacitor is an electricity-storage device. If you think of it as a battery for static electricity, you won’t be far wrong, just ‘way underpowered. Capacitors can hold enough electricity to seriously injure you, and they discharge it all at once – pow. They can also hold that charge for a long time. An old-style TV is not safe just because it is unplugged – as my electronics teacher said, the capacitors will wait for you.

    (He also said we’d never in our lives see a 1-farad capacitor. The overpowered car stereo next door has one.)

  21. unclefrogy says

    @25 you got to kick out that base to chest thumping or you wont have any creds.

    uncle frogy

  22. says

    Yeah, I started cringing when she was poking around near the anode cup on the back of the CRT. I worked in an arcade in the late 80’s where there were CRTs aplenty. One slow day I decided to work on a game that had been sitting, unplugged, in the back office for more than a month. Got too close to that cup and *POW*, I was on my ass.

    Quite unpleasant.