Thursday, January 17, 2008

At-Home Science Experiment

Dark room + fleece sweatshirt + compact flourescent light bulb = freaky

Explanation: Last night, as I got ready for bed in a dark room, I took off my fleece sweatshirt and tossed it onto the top shelf of my closet. As I was looking for something else in the closet, the light bulb flickered. We have a switch or two in the house that can be in the off position, but not completely off, which leads to flickering lights and other odd symptoms, so I checked the switch only to be reminded that it wasn't one of them. I then stood for a minute and wondered if A) this light bulb was going to cause our house to burn down or B) our house was now haunted.

Then it occurred to me that the sweatshirt had been particularly staticky. The static from the fleece as it passed by the bulb managed to excite the gas enough to make the light flicker.* See? Static isn't just for sticking balloons to the wall and making your hair stand up.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to work my plans for converting an old football stadium into a power plant by installing 100 yards of shag carpeting and then hosting birthday parties with balloon animals there for toddlers in socks.

Special Blog Bonus: Check out Static Electricity by the Sticky Socks:

This video is complements of Bill Nye the Science Guy. You can see the whole episode in three parts here, here, and here.

*Kids, don't try this at home without adult supervision.

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