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Molly Cule
154079.  Tue Mar 06, 2007 7:08 am Reply with quote

what happens to bread in an Eclipse?

It gets toasted. Britain’s first toaster was called ‘The Eclipse’ and was built in Chelmsford in Essex.


The eclipse was made around 1893 and was a bit premature, not many households had electricity except for at night and it probably melted, rusted and started fires like the electric heater brought out at the same time by the same company Crompton & Crompton. In 1909 a more successful toaster, the D-12 was made.

The word comes from the Latin Torrere, Tostum – to scorch or burn. When you toast bread the bread’s surface temperature reaches 310 degrees Farenheit. Then a chemical change called Maillard reaction occurs where sugars and starch in the bread caremelize and change flavour.

154133.  Tue Mar 06, 2007 7:50 am Reply with quote

Why doesn't it catch fire, Molly?

Molly Cule
154323.  Tue Mar 06, 2007 4:20 pm Reply with quote

I don't think the bread gets hot enough to catch fire, 300 is hot enough to smoke but not to combust. I reckon. I dont know for sure though.

154434.  Wed Mar 07, 2007 5:02 am Reply with quote

It's close to the edge, though - many's the time I've crossed that threshold and had to deal with a flaming toaster. (Also called 'f*cking toaster!', at this point.)

154436.  Wed Mar 07, 2007 5:06 am Reply with quote

Q: What gets burned up in an Eclipse?

Molly Cule
154459.  Wed Mar 07, 2007 5:45 am Reply with quote

chris' toast, before he bought a new toaster.

154462.  Wed Mar 07, 2007 5:54 am Reply with quote

Eclipse is also the brand name of a healthy cigarette:

According to the manufacturer, R J Reynolds (RJR), Eclipse cigarettes are "designed to burn only about 3% as much tobacco as other cigarettes." RJR also explains that they "create smoke primarily by heating tobacco rather than burning it"

Eclipse delivers less tar than conventional cigarettes, but more carbon monoxide, so any harm reduction is likely to be limited. No studies have yet shown health benefits associated with switching to Eclipse or similar alternative smoking products.

154463.  Wed Mar 07, 2007 5:56 am Reply with quote


Q: What gets burned up in an Eclipse?


154464.  Wed Mar 07, 2007 5:59 am Reply with quote

Mat (or anyone) - do we know of any sources for those stories about laughably primitive people banging pots and pans during eclipses to drive away the sun-eating dragon? They sound like bollocks to me.

154477.  Wed Mar 07, 2007 6:30 am Reply with quote

The chinese for a solar eclipse is "resh" or "Sun-eat".

According to this from the beeb, but they also say:

If they knew an eclipse was coming, the Chinese would shoot fireworks and bang gongs to scare it away.

154558.  Wed Mar 07, 2007 9:02 am Reply with quote

The Choctaw certainly had an eclipse legend - they believed that an eclipse was caused by an mischievous black squirrel attempting to eat the sun, and they attempted to remedy this by doing their special squirrel chant and by, indeed, banging pots and pans about.

One of the major works on Choctaw history is History of the Choctaw, Chickasaw and Natchez Indians by Horatio Cushman (1899, Headlight Printing, Greenville TX - reissued 1999 by University of Oklahoma Press, Norman OK). Cushman's book is written in a rather condescending tone, but is generally regarded as reasonably factually accurate.

Anyways, Cushman's relating of the eclipse legend is also to be found here:

154578.  Wed Mar 07, 2007 10:45 am Reply with quote

My reason for doubting these legends is

1) that solar eclipses come into each person's life quite a bit less than once in a blue moon, can't be foreseen other than by means of some quite insightful astronomy, and last for very short periods. I mean, no sooner would you run indoors for your pot and maybe a pan to whack against it, than the crisis would be past. (Gray tells me that they last for longer if you're near the equator, but the one in Cornwall in 1999 was a total crock, frankly); and

2) that I haven't bothered to do any research, so I'm just wondering.

I do accept that a solar eclipse is sufficiently odd to cause a very profound impression, of course - ie, it's quite possible that one happened, the court astrologers were asked for an explanation and came up with the dragon or the squirrel or whatever, and that the next generation of astrologers remembered this two hundred years later - but I do wonder how the great pot-banging masses were made aware of it. Remember that the ability to predict an eclipse is predicated on knowing that it isn't caused by squirrels.

154581.  Wed Mar 07, 2007 10:57 am Reply with quote

Q: When's the last total solar eclipse?
A: In 600 million years' time.

Lame question, too lame to consider, I think - but interesting enough for the notes:

Due to tidal acceleration, the orbit of the Moon around the Earth becomes approximately 3.8 cm more distant each year. It is estimated that in 600 million years, the distance from the Earth to the Moon will have increased by 23,500 km, meaning that it will no longer be able to completely cover the Sun's disk. This will be true even when the Moon is at perigee, and the Earth at aphelion.

A complicating factor is that the Sun will increase in size over this timescale. This makes it even more unlikely that the Moon will be able to cause a total eclipse. We can therefore say that the last total solar eclipse on Earth will occur in slightly less than 600 million years.


154584.  Wed Mar 07, 2007 11:01 am Reply with quote

the ability to predict an eclipse is predicated on knowing that it isn't caused by squirrels

Or at least, you'd think so - but:

Herodotus wrote that Thales of Miletus predicted an eclipse which occurred during a war between the Medians and the Lydians. Soldiers on both sides put down their weapons and declared peace as a result of the eclipse. Exactly which eclipse was involved has remained uncertain, although the issue has been studied by hundreds of ancient and modern authorities. One likely candidate took place on May 28, 585 BC, probably near the Halys river in the middle of modern Turkey.

154587.  Wed Mar 07, 2007 11:13 am Reply with quote

The next partial solar eclipse visible from the UK will be on August 1st 2008. and the next total will be on Sep 23rd 2090.


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