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2007-01-14
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Ball Lightning Created in Brazil

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Early in 2006, Israeli scientists cooked up ball lightning using a magnetron to create molten slag. The process, however, was short lived unlike real ball lightning that has reportedly been observed for minutes at a time. John Abrahamson and James Dinniss proposed a new theory that ball lightning is the result of lightning vaporizing silicon in soil. A team of Brazilians tested the theory and reproduced ping-pong ball sized fireballs lasting up to eight seconds. According to Abrahamson, the vaporized silicon holds together from electric charge and glows as the silicon reacts with oxygen. At present, there are no leads on physical applications for ball lightning, though rumors abound for using them as exotic weapons, a gateway to fusion devices or more simply to vanquish dragons.



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