Good morning and welcome to Summit Up, the world’s only daily column that desperately wants to find a way to harness all that static electricity floating around out there on these dry and chilly winter days and nights. You know what we’re talking about, right? You roll out of bed, rub your eyes, then shuffle toward the kitchen, still sort of dazed from that deep hibernation-like sleep. Minding your own business in the quiet crepuscular light, you reach for a light switch and – POW!!! You’re nailed by a shock that makes your hair stand on end and your gums bleed. Your toenails crackle, your bellybutton glows, your eyeballs snap open … who needs coffee? We’re thinking Michelangelo must have been inspired by one of these jolts when he painted on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel the image of God creating man; that riveting fingertip-to-fingertip scene depicting the penultimate moment, just before God touches Adam’s hand to give him life. You can just picture the sparks flying. It could even be a comic book story: “The Origins of Proton Man.”Anyhow, we’re thinking if there were a way to capture that electricity, we could take a real step toward energy independence in Summit County. Think about it: How many times have you been shocked? Now, multiply that by 20,000 people, each person getting zapped at least a half-dozen times per day. That’s a lot of juice! Plus, if we could figure this out, we reckon we’d become rich and famous, and get to appear on Good Morning America, and we could afford those plush, anti-static angora slippers we’ve been dreaming of.So we did some research. According to http://www.sciencemadesimple.com, one has to understand some basic physics to grasp the origins of a static electrical charge. Everything is made of atoms, and atoms are made of protons, neutrons and electrons. (So far so good.) Protons have a positive electrical charge, electrons a negative charge, neutrons are neutral. (Still with us?) Static electricity is the imbalance of negative and positive charges. No matter how graceful you are, how much Tai Chi you practice, you are bound to build up that imbalance as you walk across the carpet, picking up pesky electrons as you do. The nature of the Universe being what it is, things need to equal out in the long run, so that when you touch a light switch or a door knob or your computer, those electrons insist on jumping back and balancing the cosmic scales.That’s it, pretty much in a nutshell, and we STILL think if we could collect those electrons in a jar, we could keep the lights on for at least a few hours. But in lieu of that invention, we see there are all sorts of products available out there to control static discharge, including sprays, mats and other such items. We may try some and we’ll let you know how it goes. We’re also open to suggestions as to how to best avoid these shocks, so if you have any brilliant ideas, send ’em along to firstname.lastname@example.org.***We out, losing electrons.
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