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What Happens During a Lightning Storm?



What Happens During a Lightning Storm?
Lightning is like a giant natural circuit breaker. When the balance in the atmosphere's natural electrical charge becomes overloaded, lightning is what flips nature's switch and restores the balance. These bolts of electricity, which emerge from clouds during thunderstorms, can be dramatic and deadly. As atmospheric phenomena go, lightning is extremely common.


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.. is nature's circuit breaker. This common atmospheric phenomenon is a flip switch that restores the natural electrical charge.

At any given moment, a 100 bolts of lightning strike the ground, while cloud-to-cloud strikes happen 10 times more frequently.



Cause Of Lightning

Lightning occurs when the atmospheric charge between a cloud and the ground or a nearby cloud becomes unbalanced. This process builds up a negative charge on the underside and causes the ground below or cloud to develop a positive charge in response.

The imbalance of electrical energy increases until a bolt of lightning is released, either from cloud to ground or cloud to cloud, reinstating the electrical balance.


The Sound Of Thunder

..that is generated by the bolt of lightning is due to the extreme heat produced, causing the air to super-heat and expand. The resulting sonic wave is heard in a 25-mile radius. Light and sound always go together, with the sound following the light.


Facts About Lightning

  • The bolt of lightning is five times hotter than the sun.
  • It travels in a zigzag pattern at the rate of 200,00 miles per hour.
  • At about 150 feet before any impact on the ground (or object), the bolt of positive energy (called a streamer) travels upwards at 60,000 miles per second.
  • About 2000 people are killed every year worldwide by lightning.


Safety Tips During a Thunderstorm

.. as recommended by the National Weather Service:

  • Seek immediate shelter in a house or a structure with indoor electricity and plumbing. Closed vehicles are also safe.
  • Do not seek shelter beneath trees or poles.
  • Avoid metal plumbing or running water
  • Do not use landline phones or desktop computers, as electricity can travel in the cords. Using mobile phones is safe.
  • Stay away from doors and windows.



Two of the biggest innovations

Two of the biggest innovations

Two of the biggest innovations of modern times are cars and airplanes. At first, every new invention looks like a toy. It takes decades for people to realise the potential of it.

Innovation is driven by incentives

There are three types of incentives:

  1. "If I don't figure this out, I might get fired." It will get you moving.
  2. "If I figure this out, I might help people and make a lot of money." It will produce creativity.
  3. "If we don't figure this out now, our very existence is threatened." Militaries deal with this, and it will fuel the most incredible problem-solving and innovation in a short time.

During World War II, there was a burst of scientific progress that took place. The government was in effect saying that if a discovery had any possible war value, then it had to be developed and put in use, regardless of the expense.

The conditions for big innovations to happen

The biggest innovations seldom happen when everyone's happy or safe. They happen when people are a little panicked and worried, and when they have to act quickly.

In 1932, the stock market fell by 89%. It was an economic disaster where almost a quarter of Americans were out of work. However, the 1930s was also the most productive and technologically progressive decade in history. Economist Alex Field writes that in 1941, the U.S. economy produced almost 40 percent more output than it had in 1929, with little increase in labor hours or private-sector capital input.

Simulating a crisis

Simulating a crisis

Modeling systems are used to provide a better understanding of a bad situation and how to possibly prevent it.

Groups of researchers, teams of engineers and companies are d...

Why we use models

  • A model is just a series of calculations that abstractly represent some systems in the real world. We use models all the time.
  • We may work out the routes we could take to get to work at a specific time of the day. We use past data to make predictions about what we can expect in the future in a given set of circumstances.
  • As the volume of data and the number of variables increase, the computational task would increase.
  • Powerful models aim to forecast inherently unpredictable events and make use of machine learning to look for patterns in the data that would otherwise be missed.

The accuracy of a model

You can never accurately predict what's going to happen. Some efforts come close.

For example, models looking at the weather can achieve more than 90% accuracy. But crises are about change, and a model working from historical data may miss a dramatic and new change.

Isaac Newton's productivity

Isaac Newton's productivity

In 1665 Isaac Newton, a young scholar of Trinity College, fled from the Bubonic plague to his home, about sixty miles from the university. While in solitude, he would invent calculus, create the sc...

Newton's brilliance

The idea that the plague woke the brilliance in Newton is wrong and misleading as a measure of how well we apply ourselves during our own plague spring.

Isaac Newton had begun to think about the most pressing questions in science in 1664, a year before the plague broke out. Similarly, when the epidemic finally burned itself out in 1666, Newton kept on doing the same kind of work when he returned to Trinity College. Retreating to the country itself was not the decisive reason for his inventions.

Keep stoking your passion

Doing the work was what mattered to Isaac Newton. He kept at it before the plague, during, and after his return to college. He wrote that during the plague year, he had been in the prime of his age for invention and minded Mathematics and Philosophy more than at any time since.

Newton was able to do what he did not because of the forced solitude, but because of who he was. You should use this time of solitude, not to emulate an impossible standard, but to keep going at whatever aspect of your life that fires your passion.