Ever look closely at lightning? These 9 images may give you a new perspective.

Five neat things you may not have known about lightning.

Lightning. Whoa.

Lightning strikes over Las Vegas. Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images.


We've all seen it. It's just a fact of life, something so common that we rarely give it a second thought.

If you dig a bit into the science of lightning, it doesn't lose its mystery — it only gets cooler.

Lightning over a harbor in Poole, England. Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images.

Sure, we all know that lightning is just an electrostatic discharge that occurs during a storm. But what the eff does that even mean?

Let's break it down. During a storm, the water molecules inside a cloud are moving around super rapidly. As a result, electrostatic charges build in the cloud, with the negative charges forming at the bottom.

Those negative charges then attract positive charges from surrounding objects — trees! buildings! people! the ocean! And when those opposite charges build up and build UP AND BUILD UP enough of an attraction ... BAM! Lightning strikes.

Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images.

Lightning in Rio de Janeiro. Photo by Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFP/Getty Images.

So for the sheer sake of lightning's coolness, here are five neat things you may not have known:

1) Y'know that counting trick to calculate how far away lightning is? Yeah, it actually works.

According to NASA, because light and sound travel at relatively constant (but different) rates, you actually can pretty easily estimate how far away lightning is.

First, count the seconds between when you see the lightning strike and when you hear the associated thunder. Second, divide that number by five. That number, in miles, is approximately how far away the lightning is.

Who knew that trick actually worked!? Keep that one in your back pocket for your next thunderstorm.

Lightning is seen amid a cloud of ash billowing from Puyehue volcano near Osorno in southern Chile. Photo by Claudio Santana/AFP/Getty Images.

2) Lightning never strikes the same place twice? MYTH.

NOPE. Just nope. Lightning often strikes the same place twice. The Empire State Building gets struck by lightning an average of 25 times per year.

It's not that lightning is more attracted to a place it has struck before, really. It's just that lightning is like, "HEY, BIG POINTY THING!" strike! ... "HEY, BIG POINTY THING!" strike! ... you get the picture.

Lightning strikes near the Empire State Building in New York City. Photo by Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images.

3) Ever hear that if you touch someone struck by lightning, you'll be electrocuted? That's a myth, too.

Also wrong — humans just don't store electricity like that. So if you see someone get struck by lightning, help them! You certainly will not be electrocuted through them.

Lightning strikes over Johannesburg. Photo by Alexander Joe/AFP/Getty Images.

4) If you get stuck in a lightning storm: Just keep moving to find shelter.

You may have heard that you should lay on the ground in a lightning storm. Don't! That will actually increase your chances of getting harmed by a ground current (which is the current that disperses out from a lightning strike along the Earth's surface).

Just keep moving to find shelter — and no, a tree is not shelter. Standing under trees is a super common way to get injured in a storm.


Lightning over Sydney. Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images.

5) You can see lightning from space. FROM. SPACE.

Well, maybe YOU can't unless you're a badass astronaut like Terry W. Virts. He took this amazing video of India. From space.

So there ya have it. Lightning: powerful, fast, dangerous, and unbelievably awesome.

Heroes

I'm staring at my screen watching the President of the United States speak before a stadium full of people in North Carolina. He launches into a lie-laced attack on Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, and the crowd boos. Soon they start chanting, "Send her back! Send her back! Send her back!"

The President does nothing. Says nothing. He just stands there and waits for the crowd to finish their outburst.

WATCH: Trump rally crowd chants 'send her back' after he criticizes Rep. Ilhan Omar www.youtube.com

My mind flashes to another President of the United States speaking to a stadium full of people in North Carolina in 2016. A heckler in the crowd—an old man in uniform holding up a TRUMP sign—starts shouting, disrupting the speech. The crowd boos. Soon they start chanting, "Hillary! Hillary! Hillary!"

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via EarthFix / Flickr

What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

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Policing women's bodies — and by consequence their clothes — is nothing new to women across the globe. But this mother's "legging problem" is particularly ridiculous.

What someone wears, regardless of gender, is a personal choice. Sadly, many folks like Maryann White, mother of four sons, think women's attire — particularly women's leggings are a threat to men.

While sitting in mass at the University of Notre Dame, White was aghast by the spandex attire the young women in front of her were sporting.

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