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-   -   So why does this duck quack when flourescent light is switched off then? (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=794769)

Dunmurry 06-03-2016 03:30 PM

So why does this duck quack when flourescent light is switched off then?
 
Well now I have a big plastic duck at home and when somebody walks past it it quacks and we have to put a bit of blu-tack in it to stop it from doing it. And it sits under a table beside a sofa but if somebody switches off the fluorescent lights in the kitchen it quacks only when you switch them off and even with the blu-tack in its mouth when it wouldn't quack if someone walked past it. So what's going on here about this? Anybody able to tell me more about what is happening around here then?

panache45 06-03-2016 04:53 PM

Why do so many of your thread titles end with "then"? Do you want an answer "now," or at some indeterminate future time?

Nothing personal, just asking.

D18 06-03-2016 05:15 PM

^Where I'm from it's a common idiom in spoken English. You've never heard it?

Ignotus 06-03-2016 05:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dunmurry (Post 19378302)
Well now I have a big plastic duck at home and when somebody walks past it it quacks and we have to put a bit of blu-tack in it to stop it from doing it. And it sits under a table beside a sofa but if somebody switches off the fluorescent lights in the kitchen it quacks only when you switch them off and even with the blu-tack in its mouth when it wouldn't quack if someone walked past it. So what's going on here about this? Anybody able to tell me more about what is happening around here then?

I think we have to establish a few more facts before we can answer your question:

1. Is the light from the kitchen visible from the position of the duck? What if you move the duck or close the kitchen door? Will it still quack when you turn the switch?

2. Is the duck plugged into a socket, or does it run on batteries?

Dr. Strangelove 06-03-2016 05:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by D18 (Post 19378578)
^Where I'm from it's a common idiom in spoken English. You've never heard it?

It's more of a British thing; not so common in American English. I mostly know it from Monty Python ("What's all this then?" when the cop shows up).

D18 06-03-2016 06:40 PM

OP, sorry to continue the hijack! I'm from Canada, and we frequently fall in the middle between the Brits and the Americans , but the way the OP uses "then" at the end of the thread title I'd say is common in spoken Canadian English. But if we were to say "What's all this, then" we'd be making a conscious allusion to Monty Python/UK English.

Richard Pearse 06-04-2016 01:12 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ignotus (Post 19378651)
I think we have to establish a few more facts before we can answer your question:

1. Is the light from the kitchen visible from the position of the duck? What if you move the duck or close the kitchen door? Will it still quack when you turn the switch?

2. Is the duck plugged into a socket, or does it run on batteries?

I think we need to establish more than that. To me the OP would make as much sense if "duck" was replaced with "mattress", and "quack" was replaced with "flubber".

1. What kind of duck are you talking about and what is it supposed to do?

Crazyhorse 06-04-2016 02:41 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Richard Pearse (Post 19379552)
I think we need to establish more than that. To me the OP would make as much sense if "duck" was replaced with "mattress", and "quack" was replaced with "flubber".

1. What kind of duck are you talking about and what is it supposed to do?

I think we can assume that it's a motion sensor duck similar to these.

We can also assume the motion sensor in the OP's particular duck is located in its mouth since putting putty in the mouth stops the motion detector from working.

The mystery is why the motion sensor appears to trigger when the light in another room is turned off despite the putty being there.

The bigger mystery is why the OP has taken the trouble to install a motion sensing duck under the table by his sofa only to search for a way to disable it, (as opposed to just not having it or taking the batteries out) but fortunately they aren't asking for an answer to that question.

Without more information about the specific duck and the particulars of what kind of motion sensor it uses there's no way to know for sure, but it's possible enough light is leaking through or around the putty that suddenly turning it off triggers the motion sensor.

glee 06-04-2016 04:21 AM

As an English chap, I'd like to say that putting 'then' at the end of a sentence is certainly not typical.
However there are a few historical phrases used when joking about policemen, and one of them has it:

- now then, now then, what's all this?
- all right, let's be having you
- you're nicked, chummy
- what's going on here then?

gogogophers 06-04-2016 05:23 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Crazyhorse (Post 19379604)
<snip>

The bigger mystery is why the OP has taken the trouble to install a motion sensing duck under the table by his sofa only to search for a way to disable it, (as opposed to just not having it or taking the batteries out) but fortunately they aren't asking for an answer to that question.
<snip>

One odd duck here.

Richard Pearse 06-04-2016 05:33 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Crazyhorse (Post 19379604)
I think we can assume that it's a motion sensor duck similar to these.

Ah yes. You could assume that. I couldn't as I'd never heard of a motion sensor duck.

Aspidistra 06-04-2016 05:47 AM

But now that you have, don't you really really want one?

kayaker 06-04-2016 06:59 AM

Do British households typically have motion sensing quacking ducks (with or without their sensors blocked) in their living rooms?

I've heard about the biscuits/crisps nonsense they're always going on about, but what's with the ducks then?

Fridgemagnet 06-04-2016 07:03 AM

It sounds like Dunmurry's duck is being triggered by the big electromagnetic spike produced when the fluorescent light is switched off. Even if the duck's optical sensor is masked off with Blu Tack the EM noise is finding its way into its electronic gubbins.

Fluorescent strip lights have a large inductive ballast in the circuit. When the light is switched on this inductance will limit the current ramp-up so you won't get much of an EM spike then. With the fluorescent running there will be a current through the ballast inductor that gives rise to a magnetic field, and when this current is removed the magnetic field collapses and all that magnetic energy has to go somewhere, so it gets transformed into a voltage spike. This voltage spike is often large enough to arc over the open switch contacts, so you might see a little flash under the switch upon turn off.

Duck may also be susceptible to the fridge/freezer thermostat turning off due to the large inductance of the compressor motor. To prevent spurious quacking you could either fit surge suppressors to the fluorescent light, or keep the duck in a metal box. Steel is good as being ferromagnetic it will also attenuate magnetic fields as well as electric fields; mumetal is even better, but possibly too exotic and expensive for a randomly-triggered duck workaround.

Richard Pearse 06-04-2016 08:43 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Aspidistra (Post 19379697)
But now that you have, don't you really really want one?

It is tempting. Or maybe a motion sensing llama.

AncientHumanoid 06-04-2016 08:50 AM

Does it ECHO then !?!?!?




.

Spiderman 06-04-2016 12:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Fridgemagnet (Post 19379770)
Steel is good as being ferromagnetic it will also attenuate magnetic fields as well as electric fields; mumetal is even better

Instead of mumetal how about a mumu. If Groucho can get an elephant in his pajamas, surely the OP's duck can wear a mumu.

davidm 06-04-2016 12:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Richard Pearse (Post 19379857)
It is tempting. Or maybe a motion sensing llama.

I want a duck sensing llama, or maybe a llama sensing duck. Same difference.

Thudlow Boink 06-04-2016 12:32 PM

Why a duck?

Suburban Plankton 06-04-2016 06:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Thudlow Boink (Post 19380272)
Why a duck?

They're quite helpful in telling if your houseguest is actually a witch.

Shearer 06-04-2016 06:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by AncientHumanoid (Post 19379866)
Does it ECHO then !?!?!?


Now then, now then

Jesta 06-05-2016 06:32 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Fridgemagnet (Post 19379770)
or keep the duck in a metal box.

May I suggest the garage?

Musicat 06-05-2016 07:17 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Crazyhorse (Post 19379604)
The bigger mystery is why the OP has taken the trouble to install a motion sensing duck under the table by his sofa only to search for a way to disable it, (as opposed to just not having it or taking the batteries out) but fortunately they aren't asking for an answer...

I'd say they are just ducking the question.

Richard Pearse 06-05-2016 08:02 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Thudlow Boink (Post 19380272)
Why a duck?

Because one of its legs is both the same.

Senegoid 06-05-2016 06:39 PM

The OP, at least, knows the sound of one duck quacking.

Bryan Ekers 06-05-2016 06:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Fridgemagnet (Post 19379770)
It sounds like Dunmurry's duck is being triggered by the big electromagnetic spike produced when the fluorescent light is switched off.

Was going to be my suggestion, too. I've got a fluorescent light that when switched on or off makes my flat screen TV cycle flicker, and they're not even on the same circuit.

Princhester 06-06-2016 05:46 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Aspidistra (Post 19379697)
But now that you have, don't you really really want one?

No.

Corner Case 06-06-2016 12:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kayaker (Post 19379767)
I've heard about the biscuits/crisps nonsense they're always going on about, but what's with the ducks then?

So, saying "then" at the end of a sentence is a British Bobby thing, a Canadian English thing, and a Western Pennsylvania thing; got it.

I hope the duck is cousin to the Talking Big Mouth Bass (ebay) and not the Exploding Penguin (youtube).

Atamasama 06-06-2016 03:09 PM

I think the duck is calling for help.

I missed the word "plastic" on my first read of the OP and I was horrified.

Dewey Finn 06-06-2016 03:18 PM

It's the latest thing in the UK; guard ducks.


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