Ok, is this diagram correct? Am I understanding all this right?
Your diagram looks good to me, but I checked wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lightening) If you read it, you'll see it's more complicated. You have a good general idea, though.
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- goes to +, I'm absolutely sure of it.
Check this out, it tells you how to build a static flying thing with tinsel, PVC, and a bit of fleece. http://www.sciencebob.com/experiments/videos/video-static_orb.php I made one and it really works! Just like in the video!
The ground is usually taken to be 0V. But (through various processes) clods become charged and at a few million volts discharge through the atmosphere. Not necessarily to the ground though. L