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A cashless society (1)

A quick tap of a credit or debit card to pay at most retail outlets have made it easier to get around without physical cash – banknotes and coins. In Belgium, France, and Canada over 90% of consumer payments are made by digital means.

Thunderstorms occur virtually everywhere and that puts any buildings at risk. Packing up to 100 million volts of electricity, a bolt of lightning has the power to rip through roofs, explode walls of brick and concrete and ignite deadly fires. At any given moment there are 2000 thunderstorms happening somewhere in the world. Unlike most other weather hazards, lightning is a preventable risk.

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The bursts of light are pure electricity. Inside a thunder cloud there are lots of small bits of ice that bump into each other as they move around. All these collisions cause a buildup of electricity charge. Lighter, positively charged particles form at the top of the cloud, and heavier, negatively charged particles sink to the bottom of the cloud.

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A US research team published in Science in 2014 that global warming significantly increases the frequency of lightning strikes. Warmer weather and increased precipitation lead to more thunderstorms and they become more energetic.

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In the early 1750’s Franklin turned to the study of electricity. He thought electricity and lightning were the same thing and he wanted to prove it. He further hypothesized that metal objects could be used to draw lightning in order to protect homes from being hit.

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Once in a while a person can get lucky and catch shooting stars make a spectacular sight in the night sky. Legend has it that wishing upon a shooting star makes the wish come true.

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