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Old 11-06-2007, 08:59 AM
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Battery powered wrist watches stop due to a person's EMF?


I worked with a lady several years ago, who claimed that she could only wear wind-up wrist watches, as battery powered ones would stop working after just a few weeks. She claimed also to have similar adverse effects on other electronics. She didn't seem the irrational type, and I've been told by others, that they've heard of people like this. What gives?



Just to clarify, I'm concerned primarily with objects that one is in close contact with, as opposed to "putting out streetlights".

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Gidian Maker
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Old 11-06-2007, 09:08 AM
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We have done this one a number of times. A lot of seemingly rational people claim that they can kill watches just by being around them but there isn't any good scientific explanation that would suggest how it could be true at all. You can't search because you are a Guest but we can help find some older threads on this topic.

Last edited by Shagnasty; 11-06-2007 at 09:08 AM.
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Old 11-06-2007, 09:08 AM
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Anecdote: My dad could not wear the original LED digital watches back in the 70s. Something about his body (chemical, magnetic, electrical, midichlorians, I dunno) would drain them in a matter of days.

Last edited by KneadToKnow; 11-06-2007 at 09:09 AM.
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Old 11-06-2007, 09:12 AM
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Here is an older thread on this topic:

http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/...s+streetlights
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Old 11-06-2007, 09:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KneadToKnow
Anecdote: My dad could not wear the original LED digital watches back in the 70s. Something about his body (chemical, magnetic, electrical, midichlorians, I dunno) would drain them in a matter of days.
He probably just used them too much.
The LED watches had a really short battery life, even under the best conditions.
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Old 11-06-2007, 02:30 PM
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He probably just used them too much.
The LED watches had a really short battery life, even under the best conditions.
You mean, he checked to see what time it was too often?
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Old 11-06-2007, 02:43 PM
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You mean, he checked to see what time it was too often?
Yep. Those old LED watches chewed batteries up when the display was lit. So, they were designed so that you had to press a button to display the time. Og help you if you had your arms full and just HAD to know what time it was. Pretty useless as functional timepieces, but the geek factor was quite high. I owned a number of them back when they were still cool.
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Old 11-06-2007, 05:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shagnasty
We have done this one a number of times. A lot of seemingly rational people claim that they can kill watches just by being around them but there isn't any good scientific explanation that would suggest how it could be true at all. You can't search because you are a Guest but we can help find some older threads on this topic.
I've not had a lot of success with replaceable-battery-powered quartz watches, but I don't think there's anything magical going on, I put it down to:

-I wasn't exactly buying the finest watches available to humanity, so that's a point against their longevity right there

-Being fairly cheap, the seal probably wasn't all that good after the first battery replacement, permitting the ingress of environmental factors such as moisture and dust

-I was working in a fairly active manual job, so they were exposed to an elevated level of physical shock and disturbance

-My manual job made me sweat - which can't be great for a watch that happens to have a dicky seal.

I never managed to keep one going longer than about six months. I bought a Seiko self-winding(clockwork) one and it lasted ten years. I replaced it with a Citizen eco-drive and that lasted about ten years too - and it was the strap, not the watch, that broke.
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Old 11-06-2007, 08:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Q.E.D.
Yep. Those old LED watches chewed batteries up when the display was lit. So, they were designed so that you had to press a button to display the time.
And some of them had a poor design, where that button tended to collect dirt, and then it would not go off after you released the button, but stick in the on position. Even a fully-charged battery would only survive for a few hours in that situation.
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Old 11-06-2007, 09:22 PM
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Probably people who have a strong EMF are more prone to wanting to know what time it is. I'll bet with all that energy they expend creating their field, they need to snack alot, too, so they get lots of crumbs on their hands and those crumbs migrate to their watches. Then when they wash their hands the moisture gets into the watch.

It must really suck to have such a strong magnetic field. Aside from all the macking on chicks with braces, of course.
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Old 11-06-2007, 09:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Q.E.D.
I owned a number of them back when they were still cool.
You mean they aren't cool anymore?
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Old 11-06-2007, 09:54 PM
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You mean they aren't cool anymore?
Ah! teh tacky! is too much!
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Old 11-06-2007, 09:59 PM
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You mean they aren't cool anymore?
Damn you, making me spend money like that.
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Old 11-06-2007, 10:02 PM
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Meh. It can tell standard time or military time, but not Hammer Time?

On second thought, given the reported (un)reliability of these things, I guess you just wait until the battery runs out.
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Old 10-09-2011, 10:06 PM
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Yes, I agree with you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by beowulff View Post
He probably just used them too much.
The LED watches had a really short battery life, even under the best conditions.

Last edited by Colibri; 10-09-2011 at 10:49 PM. Reason: Removed spam link
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Old 10-09-2011, 10:12 PM
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Yes, I agree with you.
Nice. I've never seen a spambot do that before.
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Old 10-09-2011, 10:13 PM
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Why was it necessary to bump a three year old thread just to say that?

EDIT: Ah, I didn't notice the spam. Reporting.

Last edited by Chronos; 10-09-2011 at 10:13 PM.
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Old 10-09-2011, 10:14 PM
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Why was it necessary to bump a three year old thread just to say that?
Because he added a spam link into the quote from beowulff.

Edit: And by added a spam link, I mean it turned part of his text into a link to a relevant spam site, rather than adding extra text. I'm quite impressed and wonder if this is a sign that the singularity is upon us.

Last edited by Shmendrik; 10-09-2011 at 10:16 PM.
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Old 10-09-2011, 10:35 PM
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Nice. I've never seen a spambot do that before.
Not a bot. Human. Probably earned $0.10 or so doing that.
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Old 10-09-2011, 10:46 PM
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Obviously there was human ingenuity behind it, but it could still be a bot. Program it to search Google for the phrase you want to advertise, find all the message boards where it showed up, quote the relevant post with a generic "I agree with you" text, and put url tags around the key phrase. It'd be all the easier to program, given that so many boards nowadays are all vBulletin.

If there was a human at all after the programmer, it was just some third-world captcha farmer.
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Old 10-09-2011, 11:05 PM
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If there was a human at all after the programmer, it was just some third-world captcha farmer.
Chinese. Their bots are not that sophisticated yet. Or reliable.
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Old 10-10-2011, 03:10 AM
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Chinese. Their bots are not that sophisticated yet. Or reliable.
Yeah. Their bots still have rubber skin.
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Old 10-10-2011, 05:30 AM
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I am not a bot, nor do I have rubber skin, but I can make a g-shock run backwards with 3 months of wearing ... I wear mechanical watches now. [I did it with 3 successive ones. I gave them to mrAru who pulls the batteries, lets them sit for about 6 months then pops a battery in and they work for him. I just decided that since they stopped making the wind up timex I had before it got stolen I would just go to a mechanical watch.]

Though I wish I could influence traffic lights
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Old 04-03-2019, 08:03 AM
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Well, just to be contrarian, I'm going to make an on-topic post. I can make watches run wonky (except for good ol' fashioned wind-up ones). And a standard part of any vacation where we're staying in the same hotel for a week is me stopping by the front desk to get a replacement key card because "Umm, I broke this". I'm learning to keep it in a coat or a bag, but if it's in a pocket or right up against my body, it gets demagnetized.

Now, with a science background, I'm careful not to make a big deal out of this. Don't want to dig my own rabbit hole, nor do I want to brag "Hey, I've got Sooper Electric-Tronic Powers!". And I've got better things to do than to set up a multi-year large-sample-size double blind study.
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Old 04-03-2019, 08:29 AM
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Moderator Note

Thread was bumped by a spammer who has since been wished away to the cornfield.
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Old 04-03-2019, 08:19 PM
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Same thread bumped twice by spammers. Don't know if I'd seen this here before.
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Old 04-03-2019, 08:25 PM
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Moderator Note

Thread was bumped by a spammer who has since been wished away to the cornfield.
You mean his watch stopped?
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Old 04-03-2019, 09:11 PM
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I'm allergic to wrist-watches and other electronics. I have broken too many to count. I don't think I'm irrational. Alien, maybe. Not irrational though. Microwave ovens and remotes are my biggest victims.
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Old 04-04-2019, 12:08 AM
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Since this thread has been bumped, can someone recap the other threads? Can some people stop electrical devises or not?
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Old 04-05-2019, 04:46 PM
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Since this thread has been bumped, can someone recap the other threads? Can some people stop electrical devises or not?
Most devices have off buttons, so yes. Most electrical devices can be damaged by rough treatment, so yes. Can they be damaged by some unusual electrical field possessed by a small minority of people? Very unlikely, and where detailed information about "clock stoppers" are available, two plausible explanations arise:

a) the stopped watches aren't numerous enough, and/or of high enough quality, to preclude random chance
b) the watch wearer is unusually rough on their watch

And there's always a number of available excuses for not putting it to the test:
- I can't afford to by more watches to kill and this mechanical one I bought has worked for years.
- I actually grew out of it.
- Why can't you just take my word for me doing something that is scientifically implausible?!

Last edited by naita; 04-05-2019 at 04:46 PM.
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Old 04-05-2019, 07:27 PM
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Most devices have off buttons, so yes. Most electrical devices can be damaged by rough treatment, so yes. Can they be damaged by some unusual electrical field possessed by a small minority of people? Very unlikely, and where detailed information about "clock stoppers" are available, two plausible explanations arise:

a) the stopped watches aren't numerous enough, and/or of high enough quality, to preclude random chance
b) the watch wearer is unusually rough on their watch

And there's always a number of available excuses for not putting it to the test:
- I can't afford to by more watches to kill and this mechanical one I bought has worked for years.
- I actually grew out of it.
Your suggested explanations/excuses are not applicable to my Wife's circumstances.

Quote:
Originally Posted by naita View Post
- Why can't you just take my word for me doing something that is scientifically implausible?!
Just because one doesn't fit the criteria that you have set forth in the above description, doesn't necessarily deem the phenomena "scientifically implausible".

I am certainly not an advocate of woo, or any other superhuman "powers", but the mere fact that you have set the limiting parameters in this quandary... is sufficient evidence that your conclusion must be dismissed as un-scientific nonsense... because your premise has restricted the outcome to fit your own notions.

All I know for a fact is: My Wife was completely unable to wear electronic devices (watches) during the mid-seventies through the mid-eighties, as compared to the norm... your excuses noted above, accounted for.

Last edited by gogogophers; 04-05-2019 at 07:30 PM.
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Old 04-06-2019, 06:16 AM
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Is that the fact, or is that a conclusion from the facts? If, starting in 1975, she got a new digital watch every month, of a variety of different brands and styles, and it always failed within a month requiring a replacement, and this pattern continued until 1985, then that could be the set of facts behind your statement, and probably would be a sign of something unusual. On the other hand, the fact pattern behind your statement could also be that she had one watch in 1975 that failed quickly, after which she wore a mechanical watch or none at all, and then tried another digital watch in 1985 and it also failed quickly. This would not be remarkable at all, and would not be worthwhile evidence for anything.
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Old 04-06-2019, 09:08 AM
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IIRC, about ten watches over roughly a decade.
I make no conclusion one way or the other, it could be happenstance, (tho it seems unlikely) or, perhaps there is a scientific explanation. There's not enough data here for me to publish a paper.
The one thing we have concluded is: there'll be no more money spent on electronic watches for her.
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Old 04-06-2019, 11:18 AM
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IIRC, about ten watches over roughly a decade.
I make no conclusion one way or the other, it could be happenstance,
To quote myself: "a) the stopped watches aren't numerous enough, and/or of high enough quality, to preclude random chance"

You can't have your cake and eat it to.
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Old 04-06-2019, 04:39 PM
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Your random assumptions aren't very sci-en-tificky.

I previously stated my Wife's situation didn't fit into your box, and yet you persist in attempting to make her experience into some kind of failure to adhere to scientific procedure, when in fact, all that is going on is the failure of your assumptions to be correct.

SIGH... There were a few quality (Seiko) watches involved, that were replaced when they malfunctioned (replacements also failed) so the count is probably higher than ten. Also, the majority of these malfunctions occurred in bunches, early on in the up thread mentioned "decade", so it wasn't like clockwork, no pun intended, whereas exactly one timepiece was obtained every January first, for ten years. I became gun-shy early on in that decade and quickly reduced the frequency of my purchases of such. The last attempt was approximately 10 years (give or take a year or two) after the first.
Her care of fragile items is impeccable, so that can't be the issue either. SIGH...

In my wildest dreams, if I had known 40 years ago that such trivial (to me) information would be challenged by one of the greatest scientific minds of our time, I would have taken better notes.

BTW: Unlike you, I make no claims, be it scientific proof OR woo... But from a scientific perspective, I'd say you've failed to make your point.

My cake remains uneaten.
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Old 04-06-2019, 08:44 PM
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How do you know your wife's situation doesn't fit? Based on what you've told us, it doesn't appear that you even know what your wife's situation is. You don't even know how many watches it was.
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Old 04-07-2019, 06:50 AM
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How do you know your wife's situation doesn't fit? Based on what you've told us, it doesn't appear that you even know what your wife's situation is. You don't even know how many watches it was.
Yep, ya got me there, man. I cannot attest to an exact number... approximately 10 is the best I can do. And now that you mention it, I probably don't really know my Wife of 44 years... she no doubt was sneaking around under the cover of darkness and abusing those poor watches. Mystery solved and enlightenment prevails!
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Old 04-07-2019, 01:04 PM
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I literally wrote that in these situations there is never enough watches involved that you can rule out random chance. And you literally wrote "it could be happenstance".

How you get from that to me making random assumptions I do not know, unless you have problems with the construct "and/or" and think I stated bad quality watches were the explanation in all cases.
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Old 09-10-2019, 05:46 PM
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Yep, ya got me there, man. I cannot attest to an exact number... approximately 10 is the best I can do. And now that you mention it, I probably don't really know my Wife of 44 years... she no doubt was sneaking around under the cover of darkness and abusing those poor watches. Mystery solved and enlightenment prevails!
As the old saying goes, extraordinarily claims require extraordinary evidence. Your claim is extraordinary and you have no evidence at allójust a fuzzy memory of an anecdote.

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My cake remains uneaten.
Thatís not right. Thatís not even wrong.
  #40  
Old 09-10-2019, 05:51 PM
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EdelweissPirate didn't bump this thread; it was a now-deleted spammer. So spare the zombie jokes.
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Old 09-10-2019, 07:16 PM
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Huh, so many spammers. You'd think this thread was on some kinda watch-list.
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Old 09-10-2019, 10:58 PM
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Huh, so many spammers. You'd think this thread was on some kinda watch-list.
Since this last bump has not resulted in any new discussion, and the thread has become a bit of a spam magnet, I think I'll go ahead and close this.

If anyone wants to discuss this subject, feel free to start a new thread.
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