Another iPod Listener Struck By Lightning

from the is-it-a-message? dept

It's happened again: Aaron points us to a story about an iPod listener in Canada who was struck by lightning, suffering major injuries in the process. This isn't the first time someone has been listening to an iPod before getting struck, although it bears repeating that there's nothing about an iPod (or a mobile phone for that matter) that would actually attract lightning (unless you think that God doesn't like iPod listeners, though that can't be demonstrated through science). In this case, the iPod listener happened to be sitting underneath a tree, which probably had a little more to do with it. Doctors think that perhaps the headphones may have caused the electricity to move towards the head, exacerbating the injuries, although the slim chances of this happening to someone probably doesn't justify the cost of getting bluetooth headphones.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    identicon
    Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased), Jul 13th, 2007 @ 9:30am

    Doc's Warning

    Headphones have been on the market for a long time now. The doc says that it is the first recorded case of this occurrence (which I question). Seems like the chances are pretty slim. No need to cause undue alarm to 'warn the public' unless he means reminding idiots not to stand under trees during a lightning storm.

     

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    Killer_Tofu (profile), Jul 13th, 2007 @ 9:41am

    Reading News

    I saw this article and several others that it brought to the surface from the "news" sites. As long as they are not lying about the facts of what scientists of some sort or another said, its the electrical devices themselves that conduct the electricity and fry so well. Having bluetooth headphones then would mean that only your eardrums would blow when they conducted the electricity thats coursing all over you when hit by lightning. At least this way they wouldn't end up with burns from where the headphone cables once were. But the bluetooth ear phones themselves would still conduct it nicely.

    Also, in light of Techdirt talking of this article, I feel the need to post a couple of the Fark headlines of the articles (Fark is awesome just for those tiny headlines, so amusing) (the first one also goes with whats mentioned above):

    *FARK 1*
    Article headline: "Lightning strikes reported by iPod users". Five paragraphs later: "Contrary to some media reports, electronic devices don't attract lightning." Fine-reporting-there-Lou

    *FARK 2*
    Experts warn that getting struck by lighting while using an iPod could injure you. As opposed to other electronic devices, which are made of 100 percent insulated rubber

     

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      boost, Jul 13th, 2007 @ 1:58pm

      Re: Reading News

      However, getting struck by lightning while listening to music on any other media player is completely safe.

       

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    Astro, Jul 13th, 2007 @ 9:47am

    I heard they were both wearing Hanes tagless undershirts also. I'm throwing away my iPod and undershirts today...and I guess I won't sit under any trees during a lightning storm either.

     

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    Haywood, Jul 13th, 2007 @ 9:51am

    Anything that cleans up the gene pool

    While not nearly as annoying as cellphone yackers, Ipod listeners are slightly annoying due to being oblivious.

     

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    Jason Stoberl, Jul 13th, 2007 @ 9:54am

    Honestly

    And the doctor would know nothing about Ohm's Law, the headphone wires would melt to nothing. I saw this on "Today" yesterday and how this is the second recorded case of lightning striking an ipod listener. I agree with the first comment, why would you even be outside when its lightning and raining in the first place. Also saw last year that Florida has the most recorded lightning strikes on people, due to the fact old people love to golf, and storms sneak up on you quick there.

     

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      Dan, Jul 13th, 2007 @ 11:51am

      Re: Honestly

      Actually Ohm's Law doesn't have much to do with a lighting strike other than measuring.

      The headphone wires are made of fine, stranded copper wire. They probably have some measure of sheilding around that too. Odds are good that the high frequencies in the lightning strike would travel along the outside of the headphone wires and not in them.

      Think of lightning flowing over rather than than flowing through.

      There are amazingly large amounts of current that flow through things when the lightning connects but a lot of the time (always when the human survives?) they were actually shocked by one of the streamers that comes off from the main bolt.

      I've been indirectly struck by lightning twice. Once back in the "old days" of corded phones I had my knees literally fold right up while I was standing there talking. It hit me on the chin and boom, down in a heap. The second time was riding my motorcycle, a BMW with crash bars around the cylinders. A fairly close strike caused a very large (guessing 6" or so) static arc from the left crashbar to my knee.

      I think I'll buy an iPod and go for three.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 13th, 2007 @ 10:04am

    Did you know that everyone struck by lighting in the past ten years had teeth! Yes sir I tell you everyone of them!!

    Scientists are still investigation the hypothesis that arms might also be a factor in people being struck by lightning since its rumored that having two of them increases your chance of getting struck by 17.3%. Other items being investigated are watches, wallets, and keys.

    More news at 11.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 13th, 2007 @ 10:04am

    Proof?

    Linking the iPod to lightening strikes is reaching a bit IMO.
    Anyone think this is proof the Steve Jobs has a deal with the devil? iPod users are marked for extinction? I wonder if iPhone users will share the same fate?
    "Look at my shiny new iPhone! I'll go use it beneath that tree to avoid this sudden lightening storm." *bzzzt* - the slight scent of electrically charged apple pie fills the air.
    Couldn't possibly have anything to do with the tree.

    What will Zune users be struck by? Feelings of solitude?

     

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    William, Jul 13th, 2007 @ 10:20am

    Lightning

    I wonder what would happen if MR. T got struck by lightning with all the gold her wears. I think his whole upper body would be vaporized and there would be nothing but a pair of legs standing where he had been.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 13th, 2007 @ 10:25am

    the news was better this time...

    most of the articles i read about this actually stated that it wasn't the ipod's fault and that any electronic device can cause extra damage.

    and also, the article was technically correct when they said electronic devices don't attract lightning. it should say that devices don't attract lightning solely based on being electronic. i mean, a huge antenna is an electronic device that *does* attract lightning... but thats not because its electronic, its due to his physical size and other various properties. an electronic device does not inherently attract lightning just because its electronic.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 13th, 2007 @ 10:29am

    Lessons to be learned

    Don't listen to your ipod outside, while it is raining because:

    1. You will most likely ruin your ipod, due to water damage (duh)

    2. You will be struck down by the wrath of big baby jesus for buying a trendy, overpriced mp3 player

     

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      Brad, Jul 13th, 2007 @ 10:35am

      Re: Lessons to be learned

      Help me, Jesus! Help me, Jewish God! Help me, Allah! Help me, Tom Cruise! Tom Cruise, use your witchcraft to get the [lightning] fire off me! Help me, Oprah Winfrey!

       

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        Dan, Jul 13th, 2007 @ 11:54am

        Re: Re: Lessons to be learned

        Wrong on all counts. May you be struck his great, noodly appendage for appealing to false gods.

         

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      SailorRipley, Jul 13th, 2007 @ 11:28am

      Re: Lessons to be learned

      "overpriced mp3 player"

      right, keep repeating ad nauseum and maybe people will believe you

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 13th, 2007 @ 10:53am

    I guess Apple missed this in QA Testing * shrug * wonder why? :-)

     

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    Some Lurker, Jul 13th, 2007 @ 10:54am

    Correction

    According to this article , the guy wasn't sitting under a tree. He was merely jogging by it. The point some doctors are trying to make is that listening to portable music devices may prevent you from hearing thunder and thus prevent you from taking shelter when appropriate.

    Also (in an ironic twist), the article that appeared in my local paper yesterday claimed that the guy was in a church choir and was listening to some classical religious music at the time of the accident! He suffered 50% loss of hearing in both ears and has since had to leave the choir.

     

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    DocRings, Jul 13th, 2007 @ 11:05am

    With increasing percentage of people listening to iPods when outdoors, it stands to reason that there will be an increase in people who are struck by lightning that will also, by coincedence, be wearing one.
    Mathematically correlated, but not direct "cause and effect"... Understanding these facts is something the general public and reporters are nearly completey ignorant. Statistics should be a full year of training for journalism school, as they "interpret and report" on so many of these types of stories and medical findings to the public. Usually, their reporting is a dis-service, especially when the headlines are so inflammatory and mis-leading to the actual facts.

    Dr. Rings, MD

     

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    Killer_Tofu (profile), Jul 13th, 2007 @ 11:06am

    The News

    After reading the many articles, there have been 2 recorded cases where the people who were hit by lightning were using ipods.
    In one case, the guy was sitting under a tree. In the other, the guy was jogging.
    Both had their eardrums blow to some extent.
    One of them (don't recall which) was in a choir and could no longer participate.
    So, it just depends on if you are referring to the case that just happened, or the one that happened awhile ago as to where the guy was, etc etc.

     

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    anonymous coward, Jul 13th, 2007 @ 11:20am

    it's nice to know that God hates iPod users as much as I do...

     

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    Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased), Jul 13th, 2007 @ 11:22am

    iPods only

    I wonder if it is specifically an iPod or just an mp3 player. I am sure there are plenty of cops/medics who probably don't know the difference, let alone after it was zapped. Was there never another lightning strike on any person wearing a personal audio device (tape/radio/CD/mp3) with headphones since the invention of in-ear plugs? If it was only two strikes for iPods and zero on any of the aforementioned products, then I would freak out!!! Well, not really.

     

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    John, Jul 13th, 2007 @ 12:08pm

    Bill Gates IS God....

    afterall, and some people thought he was the devil!

     

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    Sanguine Dream, Jul 13th, 2007 @ 12:18pm

    Oh dear...

    I hope the politicians don't pick up on this as the flavor of the moment and try to ban listening to portable music players while outside.

    And commentor #7 I'd dare you to find a Zune owner to ask.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 13th, 2007 @ 12:24pm

      Re: Oh dear...

      Let's send an iPod to our officials in Washington D.C. Tell them it really sounds great during a thunderstorm while sitting under a tree!

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 13th, 2007 @ 12:42pm

    Ok so the canadian that got hit by lighting was outside mowing the grass, not fucking jogging (I saw an interview with the kid).

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 13th, 2007 @ 12:46pm

    When you're talking a couple million volts, does the difference in resistance of the earbuds/headphones vs. the resistance of say, a sweaty t-shirt really matter?

     

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    BRUTUS BEEFCAKE, Jul 13th, 2007 @ 1:33pm

    I FEEL SAFER WITH MY ZUNE

    Billy G modified the incredibly robust Windows firewall to also repel lightning.

    Billions of volts will ricochet off you like malware bounces off Windows.

     

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    Simon, Jul 13th, 2007 @ 4:50pm

    Ridicules

    The link between lightening and ipods is ridicules. Would anyone be half as impressed if stats showed that 10 ipod owners die per week? The fact of the matter is that there are now so many ipods on the market that a random lightening strike is sure to hit someone that owns an ipod.

    Total BS reporting.

     

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    BRUTUS BEEFCAKE, Jul 15th, 2007 @ 7:02am

    Does God hate iPod users more than golfers?

    He seems to use golfers for target practice. Maybe keeping sharp for zapping iPod dorks.

    Maybe we are missing something. Could these lightning fatalities actually have something else in common?

    Perhaps every unfortunate lightning rod was listening to "A Prairie Home Companion" podcast. In this light getting zapped by an angry God is entirely understandable.

     

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    Slartibartfast, Jul 15th, 2007 @ 8:32pm

    Wouldn't it be a nice surprise to one day read a report of something in a newspaper that had at least a modicum of scientific accuracy and didn't require the addition of alleged acts by supernatural entities.

     

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      Etaan, Jul 20th, 2007 @ 2:31pm

      Re:

      The cnn.com article covering this even acknowledged that using an iPod or cell phone is not any more dangerous than holding or wearing any other piece of metal in a lightning storm. Of course that didn't stop them from name-dropping the iPod in the title or writing a nice little puff piece on how everyone should still think twice before using the Apple death box in the rain.

       

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    Killer_Tofu (profile), Jul 16th, 2007 @ 7:00am

    Re #33

    Yes, yes it would be nice.
    But I think I have given up on that ...

     

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    Trollificus, Jul 18th, 2007 @ 10:18pm

    This was disappointing

    You mean 10 iPod listeners per week AREN'T being "sacrificed to Thor", as we used to say back in the Viking days??

    Something should be done.

    BTW, users of 'competitively priced' mp3 players have never been struck by lightning. Not once.

    just sayin'...

     

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    homework procrastiners, Dec 17th, 2007 @ 3:19pm

    stupid forigners

    we are scared that we will be hit by lightning now b/c we are ipod listners who like trees.

     

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    homework procrastiners, Dec 17th, 2007 @ 3:23pm

    stupid forigners

    Canadians are stupid, why would you be under a tree in a lightning storm?

     

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      pot somkers, Dec 17th, 2007 @ 4:05pm

      Re: stupid forigners

      you shouldn't be mean to the Canadians, it's not their fault they're stupid.

       

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        vonbontee, Dec 30th, 2007 @ 8:31am

        Re: Re: stupid forigners

        That's right. Living due north of the stupidest nation in the world, some of that is naturally bound to have an effect.

         

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    RunGirlRun, Feb 24th, 2008 @ 6:23am

    Electric Shocks from Headphones

    I noticed that when I let my headphone wire hang loose while running on the treadmil, the wire rubs against the bar and creates like an electric static which cause these very tiny electric shocks in my ear. This happened a few times and I now wear an armband. Has this happened to anyone else?

     

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    Annonymous, Nov 18th, 2010 @ 6:06pm

    In response.

    I dont think ipos users are " oblivious " to what is happening around them. If you take away sight, the hearing becomes more accute, therefore it would mean ones sight would become greater if the ears were covered. Some of the people I know are oblivious and they are NOT ipod users, that is the joke. Everyone is a sheep and they are told to believe it, being totally oblivious! I just like to pop them in and crank it up so i dont have to have a conversation with an idiot who wouldnt get the point if it slapped them on the ass.

     

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