Sunday, February 14, 2010

High Power Workers: There's such a hunger for electricty

An unlikely subject that plays like visual haiku poem. As I was watching, I was increasingly impressed by the utterly calm strangeness of it. High voltage electrical lines out there in the wilderness, high above the ground. Men in white Faraday hot suits riding outside of the helicopters. White arcing bolts of electricity wreathing around a wand in his hand. "A half a million volts pass over my body." A scenario out of science-fiction grounded in the down home "don't give two hoots and a hollar" dialect of the high power worker. I easily can imagine someone watching this 500 years into the future and feeling the exact same thing that I am.

Wikipedia: Faraday Cage:

In 1836, Michael Faraday observed that the charge on a charged conductor resided only on its exterior and had no influence on anything enclosed within it. To demonstrate this fact, he built a room coated with metal foil and allowed high-voltage discharges from an electrostatic generator to strike the outside of the room. He used an electroscope to show that there was no electric charge present on the inside of the room's walls.

Although this cage effect has been attributed to Michael Faraday, it was Benjamin Franklin in 1755 who observed the effect by lowering an uncharged cork ball suspended on a silk thread through an opening. In his words, "the cork was not attracted to the inside of the can as it would have been to the outside, and though it touched the bottom, yet, when drawn out it was not found to be electrified (charged) by that touch, as it would have been by touching the outside. The fact is singular." Franklin has discovered the behavior of what we now refer to as a Faraday cage or shield (based on one of Faraday's famous ice pail experiments which duplicated Franklin's cork and can.

Thanks to Scott Rope

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