TODAY'S SCIENTIFIC QUESTION IS What Is Electricity? and Where Does It Go After It Leaves TheToaster? Here is a simple experiment that willteach you an important electricallesson: On a cool, dry day, scuff yourfeet along a carpet, then reachyourhand into a friend's mouth and touchone of his dental fillings. Did younotice how your friend twitchedviolently and cried out in pain? Thisteaches us that electricity can be avery powerful force, but we must neveruse it to hurt others unless we need tolearn an important electrical lesson. It also teaches us how an electricalcircuit works. When you scuffed yourfeet, you picked up batches of"electrons", which are very smallobjects that carpet manufacturers weaveinto carpets so they will attract dirt.The electrons travel through yourbloodstream and collect in your finger,where they form a spark that leaps toyour friend's filling, then travelsdown to his feet and back into thecarpet, thus completing the circuit. Amazing electronic fact: If youscuffed your feet long enough withouttouching anything, you would build upso many electrons that your fingerwould explode! But this is nothing toworry about unless you have carpeting. Although we modern persons tend to takeour electric lights, radios, mixers,etc. for granted, hundreds of years agopeople did not have any of thesethings, which is just as well becausethere was no place to plug them in. Then along came the first electricalpioneer, Benjamin Franklin, who flew akite in a lightning storm and receiveda serious electrical shock. Thisproved that lightning was powered bythe same force as carpets, but it alsodamaged Franklin's brain so severelythat he started speaking only inincomprehensible maxims, such as "Apenny saved is a penny earned." Eventually he had to be given a jobrunning the Post Office. After Franklin came a herd ofelectrical pioneers whose names havebecome part of our electricalterminology: Myron Volt, Mary LouiseAmp, James Watt, Bob Transformer, etc. These pioneers conducted many importantelectrical experiments. For example,in 1780, Luigi Galvani discovered (thisis the truth) that when he attached twodifferent kinds of metal to the leg ofa frog, an electrical current developedand the frog's leg kicked, even thoughit was no longer attached to the frog,which was dead anyway. Galvani'sdiscovery led to enormous advances inthe field of amphibian medicine. Today, skilled veterinary surgeons cantake a frog that has been seriouslyinjured or killed, implant pieces ofmetal in its muscles, and watch it hopback into the pond just like a normalfrog, except for the fact that it sinkslike a stone. But the greatest electrical pioneer ofthem all was Thomas Edison, who was abrilliant inventor despite the factthat he had little formal education andlived in New Jersey. Edison's firstmajor invention in 1877, was thephonograph, which could soon be foundin thousands of American homes, whereit basically sat until 1923, when therecord was invented. But Edison'sgreatest achievement came in 1879, whenhe invented the Electric Company. Edison's design was a brilliantadaptation of the simple electricalcircuit. The Electric Company sendselectricity through a wire to acustomer, then immediately gets theelectricity back through another wire,then (this is the brilliant part) sendsit right back to the customer again. This means that an Electric Company cansell a customer the same batch ofelectricity thousands of times a dayand never get caught, since very fewcustomers take the time to examinetheir electricity closely. In fact,the last year any new electricity wasgenerated in the United States was1937; the Electric Companies have beenmerely re-selling it ever since, whichis why they have so much free time toapply for rate increases. Today, thanks to men like Edison andFranklin, and frogs like Galvani's, wereceive almost unlimited benefits fromelectricity. For example, in the pastdecade scientists developed the laser,an electronic appliance so powerfulthat it can vaporize a bulldozer 2,000yards away, yet so precise that doctorscan use it to perform delicateoperations to the human eyeball,provided they remember to change thepower setting from "vaporize bulldozer"to "delicate." (Article unattributed, but written in astyle suspiciously like that of thecolumnist Dave Barry) DIETING UNDER STRESS This diet is designed to help you copewith the stress that builds during theday. BREAKFAST 1 grapefruit 1 slice whole wheat toast, dry 3 oz. skim milk LUNCH 4 oz. lean broiled chicken breast 1 cup steamed vegetables 1 cup herb tea 1 Oreo cookie AFTERNOON SNACK Rest of the Oreos in the package 1 quart Rocky Road ice cream 1 jar hot fudge sauce with nuts, cherries, whipped cream DINNER 1 loaf garlic bread with cheese large pizza with all toppings 4 cans or 1 large pitcher of beer 3 candy bars or 1 bag of candy LATE EVENING SNACK entire frozen cheesecake eaten directlyfrom freezer RULES FORTHIS DIET 1. If you eat something and no one seesyou, it has no calories. 2. Drinking diet soda with any otherfood cancels the calories of the food. 3. Calories don't count if you eat lessthan your dinner partner. 4. Calories from medicinal foods nevercount (i.e., brandy, cheesecake,cookies). 5. If you hang around with fat peopleyou will look thinner. 6. Movie-related foods do not count asthey are part of the entertainmentpackage (i.e., Milk Duds, butteredpopcorn, Cokes, JuJus, Junior Mints). 7. Cookie pieces contain no calories. Breaking causes calorie leakage. 8. Things licked off of knives, spoons,or fingers have no calories, but onlywhen preparing something (i.e., peanutbutter, ice cream, frostings). 9. Foods of the same colour have thesame calories (i.e., spinach andpistachio ice cream).