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Shocking scientific news

by David High
Electricity is a wonderful energy source that has been an unquestionable benefit to mankind.  The problem is that it can also be an oddly confusing and wonderful thing at the same time.
I had a sweet great-aunt once – she has since passed – who, in her later years, was under the horrible suspicion that electricity was dripping invisibly all over the house.  It leaked, she contended, out of empty sockets.  She would hastily go around screwing in light bulbs, and if they lighted up it would confirm her fears and she would quickly turn off the wall switch.
Luckily, I stick to the basic scientific facts about electricity and don’t have my great-aunt’s whacked-out ideas and fears.
This leads us to our two-part scientific question for today.  Electricity: What the heck is it, and where does it go after it leaves your microwave oven?
Try this simple experiment:  On a cool, dry day, scuff your feet along a carpet, then while your spouse is asleep – assuming they are mouth breathers – reach into his or her mouth and touch their dental fillings.  Did you see how they twitched and cried out in pain?  This teaches us that electricity can be a fun thing as well as a very powerful force.  It also teaches us that we should never do this to someone you live with who has access to the carving knives.
What happens when you scuffed your feet is you picked up a bunch of electrons, which are very small happy-faced emogee like objects that are weaved into the carpet by manufacturers so it will wear out faster by attracting dirt.
The electrons travel through your body and collect in your finger, where – if you scuff your feet long enough without touching anything – so many electrons will build up that your finger will explode.  But this is nothing to worry about unless, of course, you have a lot of carpet.
One of the early pioneers in electricity was Benjamin Franklin who, while putting up his new invention, the lightning rod, received an electrical shock so severe that he started speaking only in simple random proverbs, such as “A penny saved is a penny earned,”  “The doors of wisdom are never shut” “Hunger never saw bad bread,” and God only knows how many thousands of others.  Eventually, people got so irritated with him they demanded he be made ambassador to France just to get rid of him.
Many other electrical pioneers followed whose names are now part of our terminology, including Anna Lue Amp, Billy Bob Transformer, Usain Bolt and J.J. Watt.
But the greatest Electrical Pioneer of all was Thomas Alva Edison, who despite a lack of a formal education and having a goofy middle name became a brilliant inventor.  His greatest achievement came in 1880 when he invented the plans for future electric companies.
Edison’s design was an innovative adaptation of a simple electrical circuit where the electrical company sends electricity through a wire to the customer, then immediately gets it back through another wire, then sends it right back to the customer.  Since very few customers can understand the bill they get in the mail, the electrical company can then resell the same batch of electricity over and over again.  This is why they have so much spare time to apply for rate increases.
My great aunt would have been so relieved to know that electricity goes somewhere and doesn’t leak out all over the house.