- from Rain & Snow
Before Ben Franklin came along, people thought lightning was a terrifying type of fire. Then, in 1751, Franklin tied a key to a kite’s tail and flew it in a thunderstorm.
He was lucky not to be zapped by lightning. A small electric spark jumped from the key. That proved lightning was really electricity. It also helped Franklin invent the lightning rod, which is still placed on tall buildings to protect them from lightning strikes.
Today, when something is not likely to happen, we may joke that “there’s a better chance of getting hit by lightning.” But Earth gets about 100 lightning strikes per second. Lightning remains the second-biggest weather-related killer after floods. It also causes more than half of all forest fires. The beauty of nature’s fireworks can turn deadly.