Ben Franklin

[From Bruce Abbott (951027.0850 EST)]

Bruce Abbott (951026.1240 EST)

... When Ben Franklin flew that kite, he wanted to explain lightning,
not electricity.

Not to "pop your bubble" in your example but that is precisely what ol'
Ben did do. Ben was already considered to be one of the worlds' foremost
researchers of the "electric" phenomenon. What he was trying to
determine was whether lighting _was_ electricity or not. I believe that
he was QUIT satisfied that it was!

Not to pop YOUR bubble, Bill, but your reply is no contradiction to my
statement! I said that Ben Franklin wanted to explain lightning (he
believed it to be electricity), and his demonstration did so.

[Bill Leach 951026.20:19 U.S. Eastern Time Zone]

[Bill Powers (951026.1320 MDT)]

But before he could explain lightning, somebody first had to conceive of
electricity so he could use it as an explanation.

Just to show how fair I try to be, I'll "hit" you too.

IT IS BEN FRANKLIN that first conceived of electricity as we presently
understand it! He is the one that first conceived that electricity was a
"single fluid" and not "positive fluid" and "negative fluid". The
"lightning thing" came later.

Yes. But ol' Ben was sure having a bad day when he decided which electrode
to call the "positive" one!

As to the quote from Bill P. above, I agree. But Ben didn't have to wait
for Ohm's Law before applying what he knew about electricity to the problem
of lightning.

By the way, from what I heard, Ben Franklin was the REAL father of our
country, or at least a good chunk of Paris, France! (;->



<[Bill Leach 951027.19:17 U.S. Eastern Time Zone]

[Bruce Abbott (951027.0850 EST)]

What I get I suppose for trying to read too quickly. Yes, I see _now_
that you did say that Ben was researching lightning and not electricity.

Yes. But ol' Ben was sure having a bad day when he decided which
electrode to call the "positive" one!

Yea, but Murphy was having a good time.


I really doubt much of that. Seems that recent "students" of American
history have a tendency to draw quick conclusions. He was even "accused"
of "living in 'sin' with his mistress" in complete ignorance of the
customs of the time. His wife had been married to a sailor lost at sea
(as was quite common in those days). The custom was that if no proof of
death existed that the women could live with another man as though
husband and wife but could not actually marry since the presumed dead
husband might not actually be dead (a waiting time was proscribed of
course before even this was allowed).

As to Paris, it is of course quite possible that ole' Ben fooled around a
lot but again considering the customs of the time, it is not likely. It
is, I think, rather important to note that Ben was popular with the
"common" French people as well as the elite and such would not be too
likely if he was willing to flaunt their moral standards publically.

It is also, again I think, worthy to consider his "standards" that he
stated were his own guide for how he would conduct his life. In
particular, he stated that he believed that he should avoid direct
disagreement with anyone but rather engage the other in discussion and
propose his own beliefs with "humility" suggesting that he recognized
that he might well be wrong.

There are other such statements of Ben's that today we would see as means
for avoiding conflict between independent control systems or encouraging
"going up a level". His letters written to females would suggest that he
carried these beliefs to women as well as men. Indeed, what letters of
his that I have read that were written to females suggests that Ben
displayed a far greater respect than is perceived to have been common of
the times.