Pat Shingleton: "The First Lightning Report, Augusta Azaleas and the Stink Bug"
Sunday evenings episodes of lightning brought me back to this item. Thomas Dalibard performed the first lightning experiment. His tests were based upon Ben Franklin's "iron-rod" teachings. Franklin wanted to duplicate the French experiment from Philadelphia's Christ Church on October 19, 1752. Three years earlier, physicist Alexander Wilson raised a train of kites 3,000 feet to conduct temperature soundings. According to notes from his diary, Franklin made a small cross of two light sticks, reaching the four corners of a handkerchief. Attached to the top of the stick was a sharp pointed wire, to the end of the twine, silk ribbon and a key. He notes that the lightning will be demonstrated and stream plentifully to ones knuckle. The exact location of Franklin's experiment places it possibly in mid-June in a now vacant lot near the intersection of Eighteenth and Spring Streets in Philadelphia. Another item. Our azaleas have bloomed and when you watch The Masters this week they will be in full bloom. Groundskeepers and horticulturists at Augusta control their blooming by covering the bushes in ice in time for this event. Spring ends for us when the Purple Martins return as signs of the season will also be experienced elsewhere. I remember a column written by Kaitlynn Riely of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette noting a bug that invades the north each April. The brown, shield-shaped insect is native to Asia and was first observed in Allentown, Pa in 1998. It caused widespread damage across the Mid-Atlantic in 2010 and duplicates its complications in 28 states. Similar to our fire ants, it possesses an appropriate name, commonly referred to as… the Stink Bug.
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