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  1. #1
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Yet another reason not to use Ipod

    http://www.cbc.ca/technology/story/2...ightening.html

    IPods and thunderstorms don't mix, doctors warn ...

    Doctors are warning about the risks of personal stereo equipment after a Vancouver man listening to an iPod was zapped by lightning while jogging in a thunderstorm.

    The 37-year-old man's ordeal is published in this week's New England Journal of Medicine under the title: Thunderstorms and iPods Not a Good iDea.
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    While the study didn't blame the device for attracting the lightning to the jogger, they did say the iPod made his injuries worse.

    "Although the use of a device such as an iPod may not increase the chances of being struck by lightning, in this case, the combination of sweat and metal earphones directed the current to, and through, the patient's head," the doctors wrote.
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    Dr. Mary Ann Cooper, an expert on the effects of lightning on the body, said the iPod didn't draw the lightning to the man.

    "Metal doesn't attract lightning and there is very little metal in iPods anyway," said Cooper, an emergency-room physician and medical professor at the University of Illinois in Chicago.

    "But once electricity contacts the iPod, then the metal will conduct the electricity and can cause secondary burns, as this gentleman had to his chest underneath where the iPod was and up where the wires went up into his ears, and possibly even cause enough muscle contraction that either caused the jaw fracture or perhaps he fell forward onto his jaw."

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    Perhaps just something to keep in mind while cycling in bad weather.

  2. #2
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    I never ride when there's a risk of lightning strikes. Besides, I would never wear an iPod or similar device (I don't even own one!) while riding. Hearing is almost as important as vision to safely operating a bike in traffic.

    Good thing they didn't claim that the metal attracted the lightning. A similar warning a few years ago claimed that holding a mobile phone to your head actually increased the risk of a strike...

  3. #3
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    Put a warning on the box:

    Caution: May cause complications with lightening-related injuries.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Buglady's Avatar
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    Yeowch!! (Academic for me, because I avoid both lightning and personal music players, but interesting in a morbid way!)

  5. #5
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    Aren't you grounded with your rubber tires anyway?

  6. #6
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    Insulated with rubber tyres. This causes higher resistance and impedes the flow of current. The lighting would take a different path with less resitance, like a nearby wet tree perhaps.

    I got zapped by lightning when camping once. It actually hit about 100m away, but I didn't know I had pitched my tent over an old barb wire fence. The lightning flowed down the barb-wire, which was buried about 5cm underground and it zapped me pretty good. Had tingles and cramps all over for days.

  7. #7
    I drink your MILKSHAKE Raiyn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by crydee
    Aren't you grounded with your rubber tires anyway?
    Won't do you any good with the amount of power produced. Besides it would probably arc off the rim anyway.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by crydee
    Aren't you grounded with your rubber tires anyway?
    No. A couple millimeters or rubber are not going to have a significant effect on lightning.

    BTW, is it just me or is this bit of misunderstanding being brought up ALOT recently?

  9. #9
    actin' the foo ragboy's Avatar
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    I'd be a lot more alarmed if the ipod actually attracted lightning. To me, it seems the medical profession has bigger fish to fry.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Michigander's Avatar
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    I heard a radio interview with the daughter of the guy who invented Ipods. She maintained that because she had more money than other people, even though her dad gave it to her, she was better than other people. That solved it for me. **** Ipods.
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  11. #11
    Healthy and active twobikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fuerein
    No. A couple millimeters or rubber are not going to have a significant effect on lightning.

    BTW, is it just me or is this bit of misunderstanding being brought up ALOT recently?
    +1 That bit of misunderstanding is rampant. Can anyone say, "Darwin Award"?

    The doctor did not say an iPod attracts lightning. Web sites on lightning safety caution people to get themselves separated by distance from metal objects of all kinds, like cell phones. Just because the doctor did not make a connection between an electronic device and a lightning strike does not prove a relationship between the two could not exist.
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  12. #12
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by crydee
    Aren't you grounded with your rubber tires anyway?
    Nope.

    First ... are tires really rubber anymore?
    Second ... there's an incredibly small amount of them touching the ground
    Third ... I think their location isn't really in a grounding sort of place ... in other words, the frame isn't in direct contact with the tires
    Fourth ... there was something posted recently about it being OK to drive in a car in lightening because of their cage structure, but bicycles don't have that. I'm not really clear on all that.

  13. #13
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Lightening is a bit of a concern where I live. Apparently this area has the most lightening strikes (hitting trees, power poles, etc. not necessarily hitting people) of all of Canada.

    Just about a month ago, 7 people were struck by lightening while they hid under a tree. One was killed and the unborn baby of his wife was also killed (she had a miscarriage). The rest were badly injured. Last summer, a friend of mine and her husband were struck as they painted the side of their house.

    So it's a bit of a concern here.

    However, the closest I've come to being struck wasn't around here it was back in Winnipeg ... on a couple occasions. One was while I was standing in a backyard ... I've never seen lightening so close as that before or since in my life!! My hair was standing on end! Another time was while crouched in a ditch some distance away from my bicycle. I'd opted to lay it down, walk away, and then hide under a bivy till the storm was over.

  14. #14
    Cries on hills supton's Avatar
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    Machka, a car is a safe place to be (assuming a hardtop, with the windows up) because the electricity from the hit will flow around the car, on the outside. The occupants are safe, as they are in side and not a part of the path. It's an electrical phenomen that high frequency electricity (which lightening is) flows on the outside of conductors, not on the inside of the conductors. A rubber tire does nothing for a bolt that has already traveled a mile or more.

    While an Ipod may increase injury, I suspect one would be already at a high risk of injury, if lightening was a risk to begin with. Lightening is well known to jump and take multiple paths at once. Odds, one might already be a path to begin with--and the Ipod, while not helping, isn't really affecting the odds of being hit--which is what the real story ought to be (News Flash at 9: Lightening Proven to be Dangerous to your Health!).

    I wonder if they ought to say the same thing about metal framed glasses?
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  15. #15
    At least we dig eachother
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    I use my ipod when I ride alone on my local rail trail and take the headphones out to cross the few streets there are. It is like anything else, ppl need to use common sense when using it. I personaly love my ipod and would be lost without it! Not realy, but I use it alot, it has replaced cd's in my car for me, I use it riding on the trail and also at the gym. =D

  16. #16
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    This has to be one of the most moronic medical science articles to hit in a while. One single guy gets hit by lightning where the headphone cords conduct the current and suddenly BEWARE OF IPODS AND LIGHTNING!!!

    How about just beware of lighting?

    I know one surviver of a lightning strike that suffered damage to her temporal lobe causing her to have to relearn how to talk -- and no she wasn't using an ipod or any headphones. I mean who knows maybe this guy was saved from brain damage because the headphone cord directed all the electricity to his jaw?

  17. #17
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    podcasts! Another reason to use an ipod! Yes I am a tad late to the game.
    Take away my ipod and I will swiftly burnout. I love my music, podcasts, and audio books.

    I wonder if I had a steel plate in my head would that affect my chances of being hit by lightning? j/k

  18. #18
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    Also, considering we're riding on Aluminum/Steel/Titanium bikes, I don't think a small iPod will increase the risk that much anyway.....


    Damn carbon users, only ones that are safe......

  19. #19
    Videre non videri
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    Quote Originally Posted by supton
    Machka, a car is a safe place to be (assuming a hardtop, with the windows up) because the electricity from the hit will flow around the car, on the outside. The occupants are safe, as they are in side and not a part of the path. It's an electrical phenomen that high frequency electricity (which lightening is) flows on the outside of conductors, not on the inside of the conductors.
    A car is a safer place to be than outside of one. But it is far, far from a perfectly safe place in case of a lightning strike. There are many cases where the car has been penetrated by the bolt, and the occupants injured (perhaps even killed, but I don't know that), and in other cases, fuel has ignited and set the car (and presumably its occupants) ablaze.

    The safest place, barring any form of "electric bunker", is always inside a regular building, well away from any electrical wiring and water pipes, sinks and other earthed objects.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by SmoothRide
    Damn carbon users, only ones that are safe......
    Except that we have quite a few parts that are made out of metal like our drive train. No one is safe!

  21. #21
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    Then make your own out of carbon. Duh.

    Do you seriously not have spare carbon lying around?

  22. #22
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    I made new silverware out of it. CF forks, knives, and spoons!

  23. #23
    Healthy and active twobikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DataJunkie
    I wonder if I had a steel plate in my head would that affect my chances of being hit by lightning? j/k
    I believe 'Mythbusters' (the TV program) did a segment on a steel plate in the head attracting lightning and concluded it had no effect.

    Trusting in dielectric qualities of a carbon fiber frame to protect you from lightning has no more validity than trusting in rubber tires to protect from a strike. As someone above said, lightning that has already traveled a mile through the skies will not be deterred by a little rubber or carbon fiber.
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  24. #24
    Senior Member stokessd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SmoothRide
    Damn carbon users, only ones that are safe......

    Um, you do realize that carbon is way conductive right? They make motor brushes out of it.

    Lightning can turn a big oak tree into toothpicks. I don't think some 30 gauge wires are going to save or hurt you too much if you are on the receiving end of a lightning strike.

    Odds of being struck by lightning: 1/576,000
    Odds of being killed by lightning: 1/2,320,000

    Odds of drowning in a bathtub: 1/685,000
    Odds of being murdered: 1/18,000

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  25. #25
    RacingBear UmneyDurak's Avatar
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    One of the list of many stupid reasons safety nannies try to push on other people. Even when advice/nagging not wanted.
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