Sunday, August 26, 2007

Temperature Gradient

While looking around for information on a local theater event called "Spontaneous Combustion," I came upon the linked HowStuffWorks article on Spontaneous Human Combustion.
And what about the images of a burned body with feet or hands left intact? The answer to that question may have something to do with the temperature gradient -- the idea that the top of a seated person is hotter than the bottom. This is basically the same phenomenon that occurs when you hold a match with the flame at the bottom. The flame will often go out without provocation because the bottom of the match is cooler than the top.
I haven't taken a thermodynamics course in 19 years, but that doesn't sound totally correct to me. And I worshipped HowStuffWorks so! This page was particularly useful in graduate school when we were revisiting the architecture of the open rear wheel differential. Maybe the standards are lower in the supernatural section.

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