February 18, 2007

Odd Bods

Dr Stephen Juan’s latest The Odd Body, part 3, reveals:

Each year three people in Australia die while using their tongue to test if a 9-volt battery still works.

Don’t try the tongue test at home folks, and don’t be stingy, just buy a new battery, okay.

In 1997 eight Australians cracked their skulls after passing out while throwing up into the toilet.

Seems the bucket may be a safer option.

Via The Age, book reviews, February 17, 2007


  1. Are the deaths directly caused by the battery? Or is it via some peripheral object? Say, touching your tongue to the tip of the battery gives you a little more of a shock than you were expecting, making you stumble and trip over that inconveniently placed Ming vase and, as a consequence somersaulting down the stairs?

    Or maybe breaking the Ming vase and committing suicide because you can't live with the loss? I reckon it'd be fair to chalk that one up to the battery, too.

  2. By the way, new Blogger does suck. I wish I could go back in time and slap my hand away from the mouse just before I clicked that "Switch to the new Blogger" button.

    Some dramatic music while that's all going on would be a nice touch, and maybe me diving in slo-mo towards the mouse, yelling "noooooooo" in a deep slow-mo voice would work, too.

  3. I was interested in why people feel compelled to use their tongues to test 9-volt batteries James.

    Do they not test AA batteries in the same manner?

    Or are 9-volt batteries more lethal than, say, a D-size battery?

    Your "whoops" theory is intriguing, but it only works if there happens to be a a long stair case handy, and a conventiently placed Ming vase.

    Do people who own stair cases and Ming vases own more 9-volt battery appliances, for example, yet prefer to spend their money on vases, and keeping the stairs polished, than on new batteries?

  4. Caz, the terminals of 9v batteries, as distinct from AA to D batteries, are conveniently configured for access by tongue. 9v battery powered appliances seem quite rare these days.

    As a kid I often did that tonguey thing with 9v batteries. (Required behaviour for the then-emerging trannie generation.) Maybe I've a stronger metabolism than some, but it never seemed to knock me about all that much.

    I can see a devilishly ingenious episode of Jonathan Creek where our hero is called in to investigate just such a death-by-misadventure.

  5. I see James.

    Explains a lot.

    Smoke alarms.

    That's about the only place you find a 9-volt these days.

    Now you stay off ladders James, and step away from the fire alarm, 'kay?