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About Electricity

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1. Electricity travels at the speed of light -- more than 186,000 miles per second!

2. A spark of static electricity can measure up to 3,000 volts.

3. Electric eels can produce strong electric shocks of around 500 volts for both self-defense and hunting.

4. Lightning is a discharge of electricity in the atmosphere. Lightning bolts can travel at around 130,000 miles per hour and reach nearly 54,000 °F in temperature.

5. Have you ever wondered why birds sitting on a power line don’t get electrocuted? If a bird sits on just one power line it is safe. However, if the bird touches another line with a wing or a foot, it creates a circuit, causing the electricity to flow through the bird’s body. This results in electrocution.

6. Did you know that electricity plays a role in the way your heart beats? Electricity causes muscle cells in the heart to contract. Electrocardiogram (ECG) machines, used by medical professionals, measure the electricity going through the heart. As the heart beats in a healthy person, the ECG machine displays a line moving across the screen with regular spikes.

7. Coal is the world’s biggest source of energy for producing electricity. Coal is burned in furnaces that boil water. The steam from the boiling water then spins turbines that are attached to generators.

8. Google searches account for about 0.013% of the worlds’ energy usage. This equals enough electricity to power 200,000 homes continuously. The energy it takes to conduct 100 searches on Google is the equivalent of a light bulb burning for 28 minutes.

9. The reason birds don’t get electrocuted when they stand on a power line is because both feet are on the same line. If part of its wing or one foot touches another power line while its other foot is still on the first line, a circuit would be created and electricity would flow through the body of the bird, causing electrocution.

10. Only 10% of the energy used by a traditional light bulb generates actual light. The other 90% of the energy creates heat.

11. Enough sunlight reaches the earth’s surface each minute to satisfy the world’s energy demands for an entire year.

12. Currently, hydropower facilities in the United States can generate as much hydropower to supply electricity to 28 million households, which is equivalent to about 500 million barrels of oil.

13. In the average home, 75% of the electricity used to power electronics is consumed while the products are turned off. The average desktop computer idles at 80 watts, while the average laptop idles at 20 watts. A PlayStation 3 uses about 200 watts, both when it’s active and when it’s idle.

14. One ceiling fixture can use $2,000 to $5,000 of electricity over its useful life.

15. On a hot summer afternoon, California consumes the entire output of two large nuclear reactors pumping water.

16. In 2012, wind energy became the top source of new energy generating capacity in the United States, providing nearly 42% of all new generating capacity.

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