Text reads: The Mysteries of Life with Tim and Moby


Moby holds an electrical cord. The cord is hooked to Moby's back. Moby tries to plug it into an electrical outlet on the wall. There are more buzzing sounds.

MOBY: Beep.

Tim enters holding an envelope and taps on Moby's shoulder.

TIM: Hey, listen to this one.

Tim is holding a sheet of paper.

TIM: Dear Tim and Moby...

Tim reads from a typed letter.

TIM: ...when I touched the doorknob this morning, I got a shock. Why? Why? Sincerely, Amos (Loudon, New Hampshire). Why, that's static electricity. Static electricity is the result of tiny, subatomic particles called electrons being pulled from one surface to another.

An animation illustrates the movement of electrons between two surfaces rubbing together.

TIM: This can happen if you take off a sweater too fast.

Tim holds his arms up as something pulls off his sweater quickly.

TIM: The difference in electrical charge can cause sparks when you touch a metal object.

An animation shows a hand touching a doorknob and receiving a spark of electricity.

TIM: Lightning is a larger version of the same effect, as masses of air rub against rainclouds.

An animation shows a rural landscape. There is a flash of lightning and a crash of thunder.

TIM: Another kind of electricity, electrical current, consists of a flow of electrons through a conductor.

An animation shows small circles marked "e," moving across the screen, along a path, in single file.

TIM: Electrical current powers many things in our lives.

Images show a desktop computer, a toaster, and a table lamp.

TIM: These appliances all have one thing in common. They all need an electrical circuit to work. An electrical circuit has three parts, an energy source, like a battery or a wall socket; an energy receiver, like a lightbulb; and an energy pathway, like a wire.

A diagram shows a battery and a lightbulb connected to each other by two separate wires.

TIM: Electricity flows through the circuit, delivering energy to the lightbulb.

Electricity moves along one wire from the battery to the lightbulb. The lightbulb illuminates, and electricity returns to the battery along the other wire.

TIM: When electricity flows through an object, a magnetic field is created.

An animation shows two wires connected to a metal bar. A line of electrons moves in a loop inside the bar, indicating that the bar is now a magnet with north and south poles.

TIM: Magnets have two poles called "north" and "south".

Arrows point to the north and south poles of the magnet that is connected to the wires.

TIM: Opposite poles attract each other, while similar poles repel each other.

An animation shows two magnets. When the north pole of one is placed near the south pole of the other, the magnets stick together. When the south poles of both magnets are placed near each other, the magnets move apart.

TIM: The earth itself is a giant magnet. Charged particles flowing through the liquid iron core give the Earth a huge magnetic field.

An animation shows Earth in space and the magnetic forces within Earth. The letters "N" and "S" show the magnetic poles.

TIM: That's why compasses point north.

An animation shows a pocket compass, with its needle pointing north.

TIM: Electricity helps us in many ways, but it's good to be careful when you're dealing with it. It can be dangerous, and you shouldn't mess with it.

Moby falls down.

TIM: Right, Moby?

He looks over to where Moby was standing. Nobody is there.

TIM: Moby?

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.