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.

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Comments on “Another iPod Listener Struck By Lightning”

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Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) says:

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.

Killer_Tofu (profile) says:

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

Jason Stoberl says:


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.

Dan says:

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.

Anonymous Coward says:

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.

Anonymous Coward says:


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?

Anonymous Coward says:

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.

Some Lurker says:


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.

DocRings says:

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

Killer_Tofu (profile) says:

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.

Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) says:

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.


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.

Etaan says:

Re: Re:

The 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.

Annonymous says:

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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