Friday, February 17, 2012


Physics? Its okay to visit, but I wouldn't want to live with it.

On Fridays, we have an hour to conduct experiments at the Physics lab at school. Today, our teacher gave us an experiment to start us of on the next chapter in our syllabus: Electricity. Inevitably, whenever electricity is involved anywhere in Physics, the first thing that every student thinks of is the Van de Graaff Generator, or, more commonly, the electric machine from Mr. Bean.

I don't know how many volts these things usually have, but my teacher's hair started standing just as he looked at it. There was also some part of the demonstration when he took this glass rod with a ball on the end, and touched the dome with it.
He got shocked.

Of course, all this meant was that all the students became more excited. Several of them tried to touch the dome with their whole hands. They described the feeling as "the best massage ever". I tried to touch it with one finger - on the left hand, just in case anything permanent happened - and that was enough for me. It felt like the very marrow of my finger was being vibrated from the inside outwards. I hastily retracted my hand, and my concious was cleared. None could say that I had chickened out, that I didn't know what it felt like.

So what was the big deal with everyone else? After placing both their hands on the dome, being unsatisfied with the lack of hair-raising (probably because of all that gel), they became bolder and started getting up to all sorts of nonsense. What if two people linked hands and touched the dome together with the remaining hands? What if we created a chain of people, with one end touching the generator and the other end touching the ends of a voltmeter? At the end of the day, one of them was touching the generator with his tongue, for decency's sake!

What's more, one of the students was somehow able to generate static power from the generator. Most of the other students just placed their hands on the round dome, and got nothing. This student did something else. He sort of tapped the dome with his fingers, tap tap tap. But although his fingernail didn't connect with the metal very loudly, there was a lot of crackling, something which didn't happen with the others. Then, by chance, one of his friends touched him, and that's when he got what we know as static shock. I got to know of this when he came past my seat, doubled over with his finger between his knees.

But it didn't end there. If I got a static shock like that, I would be sure to take measures that I didn't get it again under any circumstance. But what do the two pioneers of static do? The first one resumes tapping his finger on the dome, creating crackles, while the other one runs around telling other students to touch him ("Man, you totally got to try this!"), and when those other students receive the shock, what do they do? They come back for more shocks! What's the matter with them? People use electroteraphy to graft ideas into peoples heads, because its supposed to be so darned effective, yet here are a bunch of boys enjoying the sensation! I think something must be wrong with me.

Ever played Defense of the Ancients, or DotA before? Then you might be familiar with a spell known as "Chain Lightning". Some of the students were saying that out static friend there might be able to pull it off.

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