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Archive for June 30th, 2011

Why Africa: Lightning kills 22 students, 1 teacher in Uganda

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on June 30, 2011

What’s going on in Africa?

Local police spokeswoman Zura Ganyana said Wednesday that 51 students between the ages of 7 and 16 were injured Tuesday. She said the teacher who died was visiting the Runyanya primary school, about 160 miles (some 260 kilometers) west of Uganda’s capital.

Zombo education official John Ojobi says another school 200 miles (some 320 kilometers) northwest of Kampala was also hit by lightning Tuesday, injuring 37 students and two teachers.

Meteorology experts say school buildings are being hit because they don’t have lightning conductors and are built on high ground.

In the past few weeks, lightning strikes around the country have killed at least 38 people.

Local media reported that a further 21 pupils were burned after lightning struck at a second school in Zombo district, around 380 kilometres north of Kampala. Police could not confirm the incident.

Ms Nabakooba could not provide an exact figure for the total number killed by lightning in recent weeks, but local newspaper The Daily Monitor reported a total of 28 killed and scores injured in the past week, including Tuesday’s incidents.

Uganda is experiencing unseasonably heavy rainstorms and concern about the number of recent lightning strikes has prompted politicians to demand an official explanation from government

Eleven people were killed by lightning in two communities in northern Nigeria during torrential rains, Red Cross and local officials said Wednesday.

Eight peasant farmers were killed and another 12 injured on Tuesday during a thunderstorm outside Balanga village in Gombe State.

 

We see it, we hear it, we feel it, yet, we know nothing about it

The Mystery of Lightning

As common as lightning is, it still sparks considerable confusion among scientists.

Many of the basics are understood, but researchers admit they don’t really understand how lightning gets from there to here. And they’re totally baffled by lightning’s link to X-rays, a discovery made back in 2001.

“Nobody understands how lightning makes X-rays,” says Martin Uman, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Florida. “Despite reaching temperatures five times hotter than the surface of the sun, the temperature of lightning is still thousands of times too cold to account for the X-rays observed.”

That said, Uman added, “It’s obviously happening. And we have put limits on how it’s happening and where it’s happening.”

In new research, Uman and colleagues have taken a step forward in their understanding:

As lightning comes down from a cloud, it moves in steps, each 30 to 160 feet long. In this “step leader” process, X-rays shoot out just below each step millionths of a second after the step completes, the researchers learned.

The finding, based on lightning created in a lab and detailed online this week in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, could eventually lead to better predictions of lightning.

“A spark that begins inside a thunderstorm somehow manages to travel many miles to the ground, where it can hurt people and damage property,” said Uman’s colleague Joseph Dwyer, a professor in the department of physics and space sciences at Florida Institute of Technology. “Now, for the first time, we can actually detect lightning moving toward the ground using X-rays. So just as medical X-rays provide doctors with a clearer view inside patients, X-rays allow us to probe parts of the lightning that are otherwise very difficult to measure.”

But challenges remain.

“From a practical point of view, if we are going to ever be able to predict when and where lightning will strike, we need to first understand how lightning moves from one place to the other,” Dwyer said. “At present, we do not have a good handle on this. X-rays are giving us a close-up view of what is happening inside the lightning as it moves.”

The lab research will continue, and one thing they want to look into: whether lightning strikes to airplanes could produce X-rays harmful to passengers.

 

Source: LiveScience

 

Lightning, Thunder and Rain

In ancient times, most religious scripture taught that lightning bolts were missiles thrown in anger by their gods.9 In China, Taoist scripture regarded the rainbow as a deadly rain dragon.10 In Confucius scripture, the goddess of lightning, Tien Mu, flashed light on intended victims to enable Lei Kung, the god of thunder to launch his deadly bolts accurately.11

Since rain is so necessary to life, ancient people pondered what caused it. Some tried to stab holes in the clouds with spears. The Vedas (Hindu scripture) advised to tie a frog with its mouth open to the right tree and say the right words and rain would fall.

Our Bible also talks about rain, lightning and storms. But it contains none of these superstitious ideas found in the other so- called scriptures. The Judeo-Christian Bible taught that earth’s weather followed rules and cycles. Genesis 8:22. “While the earth remaineth, seed time and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.”

Job stated (28:26): “God made decrees [rules] for the rain. And He set a way for the lightning of the thunder:” Centuries later, scientists began to discern the “rules for the rain” that Job talked about. Rainfall is part of a process called the water cycle. Here’s how the cycle works. The sun evaporates water from the ocean. That water vapor rises and becomes clouds. This water in the clouds falls back to earth as rain, collects in streams and rivers and makes its way back to the ocean. That process repeats itself again and again.

About 300 years ago, Galileo discovered this cycle. But amazingly the Scriptures described this cycle centuries before. The prophet Amos (9:6) wrote that God “calls for the water of the sea. He pours them out on the land.” How did Amos know this? He wrote as he was moved by the Spirit of God.

Actually, scientists are just beginning to fully understand God’s “decrees or rules for the rain.” Since 68 BC it was thought that somehow thunder triggered the rainfall. Now scientists are beginning to realize that as stated in Job 28:26, it is lightning that triggers the rain to fall. Job knew this 3,000 years ago. Certainly his writings were inspired of God (2 Peter 1:21).

 

Source: BibleToday.Com

 

 

 

 

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