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Tesla Girls

I recall very dimly as a kid watching something on the telly (it might have been BBC’s magazine show “Nationwide” which shows how long ago this is) about a weird and not well understood phenomenon. Basically some people had enormous problems with electrical stuff breaking down. They got through light-bulbs at a phenomenal rate for example.

I mention this now because my wife’s computer is SNAFU yet again. So Nick is, dear friends, once more under the bench with the posidrive and optimism. She has a hell of a record on PCs. She has something else peculiar about her. We all get the odd static shock from time to time but she gets them all the time. She once touched me and there was a blue spark. It was like Michaelangelo’s Sistine Chapel. With our old telly she had to turn it on and off with a pencil. It wasn’t the TV because it never caused me any problems. Well not until the integrated DVD player went FUBAR. One wonders why?

Are these things related? And does anyone know anything about this phenomenon. I’m curious and that TV show was so long ago I can’t recall what they called this mysterious syndrome or whatever it is.

My first thought is that she has rather long hair and brushing it was causing the static but that was nixxed when I was reminded of when she had very short hair and it happened then as well.

The very short hair was the result of an if not fatal then certainly dying accident. If you have very blonde hair don’t dye it black because when the roots come through you look like you’re going bald. A hairdresser was consulted and it pretty much all had to come off.

Anyway, if any readers can assuage my idle curiosity then I shall be grateful.


  1. Plamus says:

    Probably just a combination of dry skin, dry air in your residence (AC?), rubber slippers, carpeting, and shuffling feet, Nick. A (female) friend had a similar problem, and changing from rubber to leather slippers and getting a humidifier did wonders. I suppose combinations of wollen and nylon clothing can make the problem worse – like a (mostly) nylon t-shirt with a wool sweater on top.

  2. HSLD says:

    A mate of mine could kill anything electrical just by switching it on. We started calling him ” Captain Electro ” ……..

    Something that just might have a bearing on your problem – another mate of mine suffered from a string of computer psu failures and somehow managed to get the electricity company to investigate the quality of his mains supply.
    It turned out that a nearby water pumping station used huge electrical motors on an intermittent basis. When the motors switched on it briefly dipped the voltage to his whole street, and when they switched off there was a corresponding surge. The surge was shortening the life of the psu’s.
    It wouldn’t explain why it’s only stuff your missis touches blows up though.

  3. RayD says:

    Fascinating. I’d never heard of Tesla girls, but my sister has a similar problem and further more can’t wear a battery powered wristwatch, they just stop after a few hours. I put it down to coincidence, cheap watches and so on, but it’s curious that it seems to affect females more than males, isn’t it?

  4. Sam Duncan says:

    It is, Ray. I had a girlfriend like that once. Her work colleagues even told her to stay away from their computers, apparently. She had very long hair, like Nick’s wife; I suppose it might not be the only factor – Mrs. M’s short hair period would tend to bear that out – but it certainly wouldn’t help if static’s at the root of it all. Although I must admit I don’t actually recall any shocks.

    My dad, on the other hand, can’t wear clockwork watches. Even analogue quartz ones tend to stop. We’ve never been able to figure that one out.

  5. NickM says:

    Don’t think it is that though she does have much dryer skin than I. We tend though to wear pretty much the same sort of stuff.

    Tell me about it! I have seen more than enough computers killed or maimed by power fluctuations.

  6. RAB says:

    I used to stop clockwork watches when I was in my 20s, I used to have a fob watch hanging from my belt. The phenomenon seems to have gone away as I’ve gotten older.
    My old boss at the Crown Court was a chronic sufferer though. He would always open the metal filing cabinets with a pen for insulation. He also smoked a pipe.
    One day he forgot, and not only was there a big blue flash, but a very audible bang as well. He bit clean through the stem of his pipe with the shock and pain of it.

  7. ivan says:

    I have found the answer to fluctuations in the mains power is a good quality UPS. Static also builds up in dry conditions especially where there are nylon, or similar, carpets. My daughter used to complain about static shocks until she changed to cotton underwear.

  8. Pogo says:

    Tell her to stop wearing silk knickers… :-)

  9. NickM says:

    This is not underwear related in any way.

  10. Mummy x says:

    I think some people are just ‘more static’ than others. Even with short hair I am still highly charged (oo-er missus). When I was younger I had very long blond hair. We had new carpets put down and for years afterwards if I shuffled my feet (in cheap socks) along the hallway I could touch the nose of one of our cats and propel it backwards along the kitchen side (complete with blue spark). T’was very amusing (well not for the cat). If I wear a wooley pulley, when I pull it off over my head you can hear my hair crackle. As a kid, one of my party tricks was to turn on the tv and then stroke the screen, all my hair would start to float. I wonder if it is something to do with being born with blond hair. Even though mine is now dark brown it still has odd days where contact with certain things will make me look like Medusa (normally when I let it dry naturally, rather than blow drying it). My boys were born with brown hair and they are very non-static, they can’t even do the balloon trick. My daughter however, was born blond and even though her hair is now going brown she still provides us with hours of amusement. She has discovered that when she wears satiny type p.j’s the cats won’t come anywhere near her. They also run for the hills when she brushes her hair.

    Mummy x

  11. NickM says:

    She is very blonde so I think you might be onto something Mummy x.

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