David Robson Via BBC:
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If you ever doubt the idea that the very clever can also be very silly, just remember the time the smartest man in America tried to electrocute a turkey. Benjamin Franklin had been attempting to capture “electrical fire” in glass jars as a primitive battery. Having succeeded, he thought it’d be impressive to use the discharge to kill and roast his dinner. Soon it became a regular party trick, as he wowed guests with his magical ability to command this strange force.
During one of these demonstrations, however, Franklin became distracted, and made an elementary mistake – he touched one of the live jars while holding a metal chain in the other hand. “The company present… say that the flash was very great and the crack as loud as a pistol,” he later wrote. “I then felt what I know not how well to describe; a universal blow thro’out my whole body from head to foot which seem’d within as well as without; after which the first thing I took notice of was a violent quick shaking of my body.”
Clearly, intelligence doesn’t mean that you are more rational or sensible – a fact that we’ve explored before on BBC Future.