Cool Trick

compact fluorescent bulbFor lighting our homes at night, technology has marched on.

After most of a century as the familiar round bulb many of us grew up with, incandescent bulbs go back to the Edison years while today LED bulbs are everywhere.

Between them, for a few decades, was the strange looking compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulb. Expensive at the start, yet much more energy efficient, they came into their own for only a few short years as the affordable, and better, way to go.

Longer lasting LED bulbs followed the same path, expensive to start and now have come down in price. Today, they’re the smart way to go.

I’m going to miss CFLs for only one reason . . . there’s a little science trick you can do with them using static electricity. Good to show kids, nice to try it yourself.

Best done at night in a completely dark room and when the air is dry, hold the CFL in one hand and run a comb through your hair several times. Touch the comb to the bulb and it will flicker and flash as the comb discharges.

If you’re in the bathroom, touch the base of the bulb to the metal faucet to ground it better. Repeat as many times as you’d like.

And, if you have one of those plasma globes, even a small one will do, you won’t need a comb!

It isn’t particularly awe-inspiring or anything, just a fun thing to show kids and grand-kids. Even if you’re a grown-up, it’s worth a try just for yourself.

If you do, I’d love to hear about it.


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