Anyone who attended this year’s Maker Faire Austin had the joy of catching electrifying live performances by Arc Attack, a team that makes music with two gigantic transformer coils (a.k.a., “Tesla coils”). They’re a popular staple of the festival circuit. Now Caleb Kraft, senior editor for Make, has captured one of…
In a scene eerily reminiscent of Rise of the Planet of the Apes, an escaped chimpanzee sought refuge on the power lines of a Japanese suburb. The chimp was eventually subdued after a frantic two-hour police chase, but you have to wonder: Why didn’t he get zapped by the power lines? Here’s the answer.
Ever since Morpheus explained how the machines use humans as batteries in The Matrix, we’ve been fascinated by the idea. But can the human body actually generate enough current to do anything useful? We decided to find out, by asking experts how long it would take a human brain to charge an iPhone.
This tree branch is screaming — seriously, it actually is making screaming noises — as it catches fire on a group of power lines. But why does this branch spontaneously combust when it hits them, and birds that land on power lines don't?
In the late 1700s scientists were making great strides in the manipulation of electricity and the public wanted in on the fun. Demonstrations of electricity were one of the most popular events of the age. For the audiences members, they were fun and amazing. But for the boys in them, there were just painful.
There's a structure to installing solar panels. The size, the shape, and the configuration are all pretty rigidly prescribed. There's also a direction they face: South. The trouble? They might actually be facing the wrong way.
I love finding new things to put in the microwave. Say, for instance, an incandescent light bulb, which can test your microwave for a number of issues, besides just looking awesome. Even a non-functioning bulb can work, so dig out the dusty old bulbs you have at the back of the closet.
Stick a red or orange LED light into liquid nitrogen and the color will change. Why would cooling down an electrical device give it a higher-energy light? Find out!
Several days ago, a resident of Lachine, Quebec, captured harrowing video of a large electrical fireball that traversed across a power line, prompting everyone to ask: What the hell was that?
We've known for over a century that bacteria can generate electricity. But now, we can put that knowledge to use and turn each toilet flush into a potential source of energy.
Today we have positive and negative charges in an orderly binary system. We owe that orderliness to its original discoverer — Charles Du Fay. If he hadn't stepped in, we might have been calling charges by their colors.
Nothing says awesome more than a picture of Nikola Tesla with a lightning gun and a pigeon. It's the ultimate mad science statement, and it's only $6.
Note to self: DO NOT PLAY WITH POWER LINES.
A bell has been ringing at Oxford for nearly two hundred years. Because no one is willing to stop the bell, and the demonstration that it represents, no one knows the exact mechanism that's making it ring. Learn of the mysteries of the Oxford Electric Bell.
Ever notice a light, a stereo, or other electrical appliance monotonously humming at you? Of course you have. We’ll tell you why it happens. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.
Pratt student Melanie Hoff was curious to know what would happen to a sheet of wood when blasted with 15,000 volts of electricity. So, she decided to run the experiment — with the results being something quite unexpected. Rather than causing it to catch fire or blow up, the electricity created intricate fractal…
In early twentieth century America, the craze for new and futuristic devices was going at full tilt. Instead of lusting after the latest Nexus, you'd crave the latest electrified refrigerator or radio for your home. Here are a few of the items that enraptured people in the 1920s and 30s who were seeking high tech…
What happens when you discharge a 4,500 Volt capacitor into a bucket of copper sulfate? Apparently you raise the spirit of Cthulhu. He just happened to come back to us in the form of a tentacled ball of plasma. Copper sulfate (CuSO4), is a copper atom, a sulfur atom, and four oxygen atoms. Plasma happens when either…
Holy crap this is excellent. Many of you are probably familiar with the intimidating crackle and flash of electricity-generating Tesla coils — but watch what happens when you combine them with wearable suits that behave like Faraday cages. It's like watching a shootout between Raiden and Emperor Palpatine.
Benjamin Franklin is famous for his experiment with a key and a kite — but that's not his only lightning innovation. The famous inventor loved lightning so much, he actually invented a kind of alarm system to let him know when a thunderstorm was about to kick off.