Ipods and Lightning



  • http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&articleId=9026919&intsrc=news_ts_head


    To sum it up, one of the latest news stories is about a recently published medical article, stating that if you get struck by lightning while wearing an iPod, you risk serious injury.

     
    Erm, OK. And in related news, if your house collapses on top of you while you are chopping onions with a sharp knife, you are more likely to cut yourself.

     



  • Ah yes. A summary:

    "Getting hit by lightning while wearing electrically conductive devices can cause serious injury"

    It makes me wonder just how easy it would be to be a technical writer. If this type of story gets through and published, then I'm a shoe-in!





  • @Pap said:

    http://www.willitblend.com/videos.aspx?type=unsafe&video=iphone

     

    "iPod-fused-to-electrocuted-human smoke.  Don't breathe this." 





  • @FraGag said:

    @Pap said:

    http://www.willitblend.com/videos.aspx?type=unsafe&video=iphone

    Why not make it safe? http://www.willitblend.com/videos.aspx?type=safe&video=iphone.

     

    Mmm, querystring wizardry!  Now let's go sue them because we followed a link that told us to try ridiculous things at home ;)



  • I heard about this on the local (well, national but based here) morning talk radio program a few days ago, and I got the impression that it meant that wearing an iPod in a thunderstorm made you more likely to get struck by lightning - is that not the case?



  • @Random832 said:

    I heard about this on the local (well, national but based here) morning talk radio program a few days ago, and I got the impression that it meant that wearing an iPod in a thunderstorm made you more likely to get struck by lightning - is that not the case?

     That's not the case.  Here's a quote from the original NEJM article: "Although the use of a device such as an iPod may not increase the chances of being struck by lightning,3 in this case, the combination of sweat and metal earphones directed the current to, and through, the patient's head. "

     And in case you're really interested, this is the reference they cited: 3. Farragher RM. Injury from lightning strike while using mobile phone: statistics and physics do not suggest a link. BMJ 2006;333:96-96.<!-- HIGHWIRE ID="357:2:198:3" -->



  •  

    Edit: aaand, someone posted way more succinctly and credibly than me while I was typing this inbetween doing work.  I stand by it though!  ;) 

    @Random832 said:

    I heard about this on the local (well, national but based here) morning talk radio program a few days ago, and I got the impression that it meant that wearing an iPod in a thunderstorm made you more likely to get struck by lightning - is that not the case?

    Yeah, that was the assertion made when I heard it on the news here as well. I don't particularly buy it though, as if the header charge for a lightning strike wants to come down close enough to you for it to catch the lead coming up from your iPod as opposed to up from any closer, taller, more conductive or more grounded object, then you're going to get injured from the traversal anyways.  "OHNOES, lightning entered my iPod instead of the street sign 5 feet from me; I am 49% more injured."  Yes, you are much more likely to die if it enters the ground through you as opposed to entering you through the ground, but the path-finding charge accrued from standing near the grounding of a lightning strike has been known to stop hearts in healthy individuals ANYWAY.  So it's more like knowing you're going to be in a 60 mph car crash, but getting to pick whether you're in a large truck or in a smart car.  Can I have the option of not colliding with a vehicle please!

    Here's a better plan for these people who are concerned about this sort of thing:

    DON'T GO JOGGING IN A THUNDERSTORM.

    Stay inside doucheface; who are these people?  If you have to go anywhere, drive or take the bus or somehow utilize a vehicle with big rubber tires with air in them.  Really, anything between you and ground that's less conductive than a half inch jogging runner sole with water running over the sides of it would be a wiser plan.

    This makes you probably about 97% less likely to get hit by lightning. 

    I can see that if you have to be outside during an electrical storm, shutting off and/or removing the batteries from electronic devices would be the next logical step in protecting oneself from being struck, but really, if you're out in the rain, and you don't turn your electronic devices off when they're potentially getting wet, then you're sooooooortof an idiot anyway. Cuuuuz you're gonna short and wreck it.  "but Grant," you say, "iPods and most other personal audio players are sealed!"  But as someone who has personally repaired an iPod with nothing but a finishing nail and a steak knife, and left no trace of having been inside, I can tell you they're not as sealed as Apple might have you believe.  More importantly, water can get in via the headphone jack, power jack, dock connector...  it may be unlikely but why would you chance frying your expensive audio device?  I lost a cell phone to a hot tub once even though I had it "sealed" in heavy duty ziploc...  okay yes I was drunk and forgot I put it in my pocket, it was only sealed to keep it from getting splashed by the poolside and immersion did in the bag and the phone...  but still...  okay I think my credibility is now 100% shot, never mind :)

    Okay, but I'll shut up after saying this:  a lot of people from a quick google blame their iPod for their lightning encounters because their earphones melted and there was an exit burn through the side of their device...  but is this a cause, or an effect?  You've just been struck by lightning dude.  Your level of surprise that your earphones might melt and your batteries might explode is way too high.


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