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21
votes
1answer
789 views

Can lightning be used to solve NP-complete problems?

I'm a MS/BS computer science guy who is wondering about why lightning can't (or can?) be used to solve NP complete problems efficiently, but I don't understand the physics behind lightning, so I'm ...
3
votes
5answers
4k views

Can the lightning be captured and used as power source?

I would like to update my knowledge in this area, that is really out-of-dated and stopped somewhere like ten years ago. I asked the very same question on my physics lecture at my studies and got the ...
11
votes
2answers
3k views

Does Fire Conduct Electricity? Why?

Recently, I have stumbled upon a YouTube video by Veritasium describing the conductivity of fire. My question is: how exactly does fire conduct electricity? I am a high school student; therefore ...
1
vote
2answers
859 views

Can energy be extracted from clouds?

Can cloud charge imbalance be used as an energy source? First off quite some energy must be present in clouds: a lightning path is quite long, and electrical breakdown of air requires about 1MV/m. ...
4
votes
2answers
454 views

How does lightning “know” where to go?

If lightning comes down in, say, a large flat field with a lightning rod sticking out of the middle, the lightning will strike the rod. How does it "know" the rod is there? Will it always strike the ...
7
votes
3answers
2k views

Is it safe to use any wireless device during a lightning storm?

I need "educated" reasons whether it is safe to use any wireless device during a lightning storm. Most people said don't use it but they cannot explain why.
5
votes
1answer
317 views

Why are cold thunderstorms rare?

FYI: I imagine the physics of thunderstorms involves wind stripping electrons from condensed water cells (raindrops or snowflakes). Like a Van De Graaff generator, sort of; I'm also using Wilson's ...
8
votes
3answers
346 views

Extended sound of thunder

Why does the sound of thunder last several seconds even when lightning lasts for only fraction of a second?
6
votes
4answers
8k views

Why stay in the car during thunderstorms?

So there appears to be quite a bit of misinformation on the web as to why people should stay in their cars during a thunderstorm. So I'd like to clear some things up. One such non-nonsensical answer ...
2
votes
1answer
74 views

How is the energy of a lightning calculated?

I was wondering how is the energy of a lightning measured? Is it based on the luminous intensity and/or the generated sound? What about the generated heat and energy spent in the production of ozone? ...