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Thread: Words Of Science And The World

  1. #1 Words Of Science And The World 
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    Here is something that strikes me a bit odd. About something that even the most highly trained and practicing mad scientist. Would if given these words or instructions, feel safe about handling certain substances, with a certain care.

    Yet these words that are like salt and pepper on a dinner table have gone through a massive amount of transition. And in fact have come in and out of existence. And have changed meaning many times.



    Now you can see that combustible is more like the tar pitch or lumps of coal, kerosene, wood, or the home heating fuel oil, that we have come to know and understand as something not flammable. What ever flammable means exactly.



    This does not look like the flammable definition of today does it? Normally today flammable is given with the understanding that violent explosive combustion will take place with any spark or flame.

    Today we tend to think of gasoline as flammable. Something much more dangerous then home heating fuel.

    Yet they no longer put flammable signs out on the gas pumps. Pumping gasoline. Very strange indeed.

    I know that over the years there have been individuals that have been hurt by their misunderstanding or the worlds misunderstanding. Of these terms.

    There have been cases where someone working with paint marked combustible, was astonished to see this combustible marking on paint that he was told was rather violently flammable.
    The new cans of paint came and they were marked combustible. The fellow was actually so happy that they had a formulation that he had just tested, and it worked as well as the old formulation. So happy about it, that he wanted to test the combustibility of the paint, and tell all his friends about it. That is the proper procedure.

    So the fellow during lunch tried the flame test and burned down a building in the park that was just painted. The paint fumes jumped from the test to the building. According to his account.



    Sincerely,


    William McCormick


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  3. #2  
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    In case you don’t know, the English words “flammable” and “inflammable” mean exactly the same thing: namely, that the substance described catches fire easily. The word “inflammable” does not mean “not flammable”.

    Two other other similarly “illogical” pairs of English words are valuable/invaluable and famous/infamous. “Valuable” means that something is worth a lot of money, while “invaluable” means that something is extremely useful (e.g. “your help is invaluable”) – they are not opposites. “Famous” and “infamous” both mean “well known”, the former in the positive sense and the latter in the negative sense.

    This is just a quirk of the English language, for which there is no apparent logical explanation. :? (Or maybe Pendragon or other linguists can shed some light on this?)


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  4. #3  
    Moderator Moderator Dishmaster's Avatar
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    I think the word "flammable" is a recent invention or modification of the original word "inflammable" just in order to avoid this misunderstanding. There is something on that topic here. As far as i know, the actual opposite of (in)flammable is non-flammable. But I'm not a native English speaker, so I might be wrong.
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    Forum Isotope Bunbury's Avatar
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    It is confusing, but there are technical definitions of flammable and combustible that clearly delineate the boundary, based on the flash point. A substance with a flash point above 100 deg F is combustible, and if the flash point is below 100 deg F it is flammable.
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    Administrator KALSTER's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bunbury
    It is confusing, but there are technical definitions of flammable and combustible that clearly delineate the boundary, based on the flash point. A substance with a flash point above 100 deg F is combustible, and if the flash point is below 100 deg F it is flammable.
    Is that like 38<sup>o</sup>C or 39<sup>o</sup>C?
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  7. #6  
    Forum Isotope Bunbury's Avatar
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    37.8. That's the trouble with Celsius. The degrees are too damn big. :P
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  8. #7  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dishmaster
    I think the word "flammable" is a recent invention or modification of the original word "inflammable" just in order to avoid this misunderstanding. There is something on that topic here. As far as i know, the actual opposite of (in)flammable is non-flammable. But I'm not a native English speaker, so I might be wrong.
    I learned combustable/inflammable as in flames it will burn. Or wicked the substance will burn.

    As you mentioned later they added flammable, and this was groups of highly volatile aromatic hydrocarbons. That would ignite explosively, even from, static electricity, sparks, heat or flame.

    But this was never combustible. Combustible meant, things like wood, kerosene, jet fuel, home heating oil.

    However, you must understand that even combustible substances, often create flammable like fumes. Under the right situations.

    In extreme cold, warm room temperature jet fuel, stored in a hanger, may be pulled into the air and made to be extremely flammable or explosive.

    So, it really all depends where something is as well as what it is, in the business of flammability.


    The poor fellow that did the test, is still in an institution from what I understand.

    Sincerely,


    William McCormick
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bunbury
    It is confusing, but there are technical definitions of flammable and combustible that clearly delineate the boundary, based on the flash point. A substance with a flash point above 100 deg F is combustible, and if the flash point is below 100 deg F it is flammable.

    Take a look at this Wiki page. They list diesel/home heating oil as flammable liquids.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inflammability

    Where is the flammable labeling and plaque carding? Where is the UN number corresponding to a flammable liquid? Where is the no smoking sign and no smoking rule, within 25 feet of the diesel tanker.


    Wiki ought to tell someone before they change up newly established standards.


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    William McCormick
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  10. #9  
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    Check out these definitions. I liked infidel as well as infinite.







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    William McCormick
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  11. #10 Words Of Science And The World 
    Forum Freshman theninjapiratestolemytoe's Avatar
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    William

    And your point is?
    Go see the psychiatrist, I don't like the psychiatrist, but you need a psychiatrist, f*** the psychiatrist!!!
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  12. #11 Re: Words Of Science And The World 
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    Quote Originally Posted by theninjapiratestolemytoe
    William

    And your point is?
    he has a scanner and a dictionary?
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  13. #12  
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    I knew something was awry...
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  14. #13 Re: Words Of Science And The World 
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    Quote Originally Posted by theninjapiratestolemytoe
    William

    And your point is?
    I thought that both those definitions were interesting. And they both show a trend, from definitions of old to current.

    I also liked both of those definitions more then newer definitions. I thought they were very refreshing. I do not like most current definitions.

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    William McCormick
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  15. #14  
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    Language is changing. It has been always. Your dictionary is just a glimpse in time. Words had different meanings before its release and will be subject to change in the future. It adapts to cultural and technical changes. I wonder what someone from the 18th century would say about today's language. So, you are only stating the obvious.
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  16. #15  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dishmaster
    Language is changing. It has been always. Your dictionary is just a glimpse in time. Words had different meanings before its release and will be subject to change in the future. It adapts to cultural and technical changes. I wonder what someone from the 18th century would say about today's language. So, you are only stating the obvious.
    Did you notice Wiki's inclusion of diesel fuel into flammable liquids?

    That is an error, because, it will get some foreign individuals to think that diesel is flammable, and then naturally gasoline is not that bad.

    Gasoline if left in a spilled state, can form a very dangerous powerful explosive cloud. Very easily, very quickly. We used to handle the waste from spilled tanker trucks. The response times were immediate.

    They spent tens of thousands to clean up a spill from a gasoline tanker. No expense was spared. Spill pillows placed into open top metal drums, and taken away as hazardous waste.

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    William McCormick
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