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This morning I was chauffeuring a couple of friends, both in their 30's, to the outdoor mall near my home for lunch.

The clouds opened up and it poured. Then there was a flash, followed closely by a big boom! The storm cell was right overhead (I explained about counting the number of seconds between flash and boom, and how it was the lightning, not the thunder, that you should fear). By the time you hear it, it's too late.

My companions were frightened by the storm and wanted to get out of the car and stand under a colonnade for safety.

I said something like, "Don't worry. We're perfectly safe in the car."

They protested that the car was made of metal and the lighning could strike it at any time.

I said it was a Faraday cage, not to worry. Please close the windows and doors.

Neither of them, both college graduates, had ever heard of a Faraday cage, nor did they understand it when I explained how the tires isolated the body of the car, etc. Introduction to Science 101.

I suppose you could defend their ignorance by mentioning that both majored in English. Pshaw! I majored in Philosophy; doesn't get any more liberal arts than that. And even I know what a Faraday cage is.

No, theirs was just ignorance of basic science, in a supposedly enlightened and educated scientific era.

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