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Kristine Brock Photo

Kristine Brock of Brookline will be the featured artist at the Hollis Social Library. Shown is her "American Goldfinch."
Monday, January 9, 2012

The Week in Preview: “I am an expert of electricity. My father occupied the chair of applied electricity at the state prison.” – W.C. Fields

Week in Preview


A shocking holiday

There’s one atmospheric difficulty we encounter each winter regardless of how many inches of snow we get: static electricity. You know the drill – little zaps every time you touch a doorknob, a halo of charged hair every time you take off a wool sweater. We’ll explore why this happens today in honor of National Static Electricity Day.

Matter is made up of atoms, which are in turn made up of electrically charged particles. Some types of matter hold on to their negatively charged particles, known as electrons, more strongly than other types of matter. This determines where an item falls in the triboelectric series.

Items that easily give up their electrons upon coming into contact with other items are considered more positive and listed at the top of the series. Items that hold onto their electrons and tend to take electrons from other items with which they come into contact are classified as more negative and rank at the bottom of the series. A human hand, for example, is very positive and a brass doorknob is somewhat negative. When you touch a doorknob, your hand gives up electrons to the doorknob, resulting in a small zap to your fingertips as the electrons are transferred.

Such occurrences are less common in the summer, when the air is more humid, because moist air is a good conductor of electricity. Dry winter air is less conducive to the regular discharge of electrons, so electrons may build up on items and discharge all at once when they encounter another item willing to accept them.

Why not celebrate National Static Electricity Day by having a party? Encourage guests to wear wool sweaters and decorate by rubbing balloons against your head and sticking them to the wall.


Art in bloom

During these cold and barren months, it’s hard not to miss your garden. Get your fill of flowers at a reception for artist Kristine Brock from 6-8 p.m. at the Hollis Social Library at 2 Monument Square in Hollis.

The owner of Harmony Studio in Brookline, Brock creates realistic and abstract portrayals of florals, landscapes and wildlife using watercolors, oils, colored pencils and acrylic media. To learn more about the artist and view a selection of her pieces, visit

Brock’s work will be on display in the library’s art gallery through Saturday, Feb. 18, and can be viewed during regular library hours. For more information, visit or call 465-7721.

West, meet East

If you’re planning to visit China, be sure to pack your own toilet paper – it’s not always available in public restrooms. Get a plethora of little-known tips and valuable cultural insights at “Travel to China: From Preparation to Emersion” at 7 p.m. at the Nashua Public Library at 2 Court St. in Nashua.

Even if you’re not making an excursion to Asia anytime soon, this presentation by photographer and tour operator Richard Ferland is sure to inform and entertain. He’ll discuss everything from what to pack and how to shop successfully for souvenirs to how to interact with the locals and will also present a slideshow of his award-winning photographs of the country.

This event is free and open to the public. For more information, visit or call Carol at 589-4610.


Fat Saturday

You could wait another month and travel down to New Orleans for Mardi Gras or you could just swing by Simple Gifts Coffee House this evening. Immerse yourself in the spirit of the French Quarter at a performance by the Squeezebox Stompers at 7:30 p.m. at Simple Gifts Coffee House at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Nashua at 58 Lowell St. in Nashua.

Enjoy a unique blend of Cajun, Celtic, country, blues and jazz played on accordion, guitar, fiddle, mandolin, bass and drums. From Cajun waltzes to the Delta blues, you won’t be able to resist dancing along – or at the very least, stomping your feet. Take a preliminary listen at

Tickets for adults are $18 at the door and $16 in advance, with a $2 discount for seniors and students with ID, and $10 for children 13 and younger. For more information and advance sales (no credit cards), call 578-9470. To purchase tickets via credit card or PayPal, visit

Paper is close to neutral in the triboelectric series, so The Week in Preview (written by Teresa Santoski) probably won’t give you a static electric shock. Know of an event worthy of filling this space? Call 594-6466 or e-mail