Electricity! Little electrons, running around, making things light up, getting up to all kinds of wacky hijinks. Test your knowledge on the flow of electric charge with this quiz.
AC/DC - it's not just a band. What do these abbreviation stand for?
Alternating current is what come out of the wall; the flow of electricity switches direction constantly. Direct current comes out of batteries and solar cells, and that current only goes in one direction.
What was the late-19th-century "War of Currents" about?
Whether electricity should be distributed as AC - as proposed by Nikola Tesla and George Westinghouse - or DC. Thomas Edison fought hard for DC, for example by having animals electrocuted with AC to persuade people is was dangerous. He lost, obviously. That's AC coming out of your wall.
Which of these inventions is Thomas Edison not associated with?
The ice cream cone. You could definitely eat ice cream while enjoying his other inventions though.
Why is an electric eel's name kind of wrong?
They're definitely electric. They can make 650 volts with organs that work like batteries. But they aren't really eels. They're long and skinny like eels, but they happen to be part of a group called knifefish.
What does a transformer do to electrical cuttent? (Not a Transformer. A transformer.)
It changes voltage. For example, it changes the high-voltage electricity that travels through transmission lines into the low-voltage electricity you want in your house.
Where does most electricity in the United States come from?
Fossil fuels. About half of our electricity comes from coal; the No. 2 source is natural gas, then nuclear power is in third place.
How do power station generators work?
A magnet on a shaft spins, making an electrical current in the wires around it. Different power plants get that shaft to spin in different ways, like by heating up water to make steam or harnessing a handy breeze.
What is the name of the song to which the line dance the "electric slide" is performed?
The song is called "Electric Boogie." Fun fact: The guy who choreographed the electric slide (yeah, apparently someone choreographed it) gets all upset when people post videos on YouTube of the dance being done "wrong." He filed a Digital Millennium Copyright Act notices.
About HowStuffWorks Play
How much do you know about dinosaurs? What is an octane rating? And how do you use a proper noun? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks Play is here to help. Our award-winning website offers reliable, easy-to-understand explanations about how the world works. From fun quizzes that bring joy to your day, to compelling photography and fascinating lists, HowStuffWorks Play offers something for everyone. Sometimes we explain how stuff works, other times, we ask you, but we’re always exploring in the name of fun! Because learning is fun, so stick with us!