Thursday, July 12, 2007

The iPod Is a Very Cool Thing, But...

...don't use one in a thunderstorm, or you might have a truly electrifying experience. Seriously:
Listen to an iPod during a storm, and you may get more than electrifying tunes.

A Canadian jogger suffered wishbone-shaped chest and neck burns, ruptured eardrums and a broken jaw when lightning traveled through his music player's wires.

Last summer, a Colorado teen ended up with similar injuries when lightning struck nearby as he was listening to his iPod while mowing the lawn.

[...]Michael Utley, a former stockbroker from West Yarmouth, Mass., who survived being struck by lightning while golfing, has tracked 13 cases since 2004 of people hit while talking on cellphones. They are described on his Web site,

Contrary to some urban legends and media reports, electronic devices don't attract lightning the way a tall tree or a lightning rod does.

"It's going to hit where it's going to hit, but once it contacts metal, the metal conducts the electricity," said Dr. Mary Ann Cooper of the American College of Emergency Physicians and an ER doctor at University of Illinois Medical Center at Chicago.
Read the whole thing. The most amazing thing to me was that there were reports of injuries to people who were using laptops outdoors in a thunderstorm. I'm way more protective of my MacBook than that. (Also note the clever quote, "When thunder roars, go indoors.")

A really natural way to do yardwork: Need a good way to weed your garden? Buy a sheep; that's the subject of some university research in California, where they're working with the sheep to get rid of the weeds in vineyards while staying away from the precious grapes. (And what's up with the headline writer calling them "sheeps" in the story? Most people learn to pluralize that word when they're "childrens.")

A real "senior trip": We've all heard stories of an elderly person leaving home, becoming disoriented and ending up far from home, but this guy takes the cake: An 87-year-old Utah man left his retirement home and ended up in Pennsylvania, claiming to have hitchhiked at least part of the way.

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