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  1. #1
    Musicaholic Forums Moderator ForeverAutumn's Avatar
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    Beware of iPods in the rain.

    TORONTO (CP) - Wearing the device that is said to put "1,000 songs in your pocket" during a thunderstorm may have sent millions of volts surging through the head of an unlucky Vancouver jogger.

    The man, who played in a church orchestra and was listening to religious music on an iPod while he ran, was injured when lightning struck a nearby tree, then snaked out to zap him as well.

    His eardrums were ruptured, his jaw fractured and he suffered first-and second-degree burns from his chest - where the device was strapped - up into his ear channels, along the trail of the iPod's trademark white earphones. He also had burns down his left leg and foot, where the electricity exited his body, blowing his sneaker to smithereens in the process.

    The freak accident has all the hallmarks of a biblical smiting, but the man at the centre of the bizarre case doesn't see it that way, according to the lead author of a report on the incident to be published Thursday in a letter to the New England Journal of Medicine.

    "I don't think he put that spin on it," chuckled Dr. Eric Heffernan, a radiologist at Vancouver General Hospital, where the hapless (and unidentified) jogger was treated in the summer of 2005.

    Heffernan said the man's experience ought to be a cautionary tale for anyone wearing earphones outdoors during a thunderstorm.

    "Using things like this, a mobile phone or an iPod, there isn't actually an increased risk (of incurring a lightning injury)," Heffernan said from Vancouver.

    "But we just suggest that if you are unlucky enough to be hit by lightning while listening to anything with earphones you may be more likely to do yourself some damage."

    That's a fact Jason Bunch knows all too well.

    Bunch, 18, was listening to Metallica on his iPod while mowing the grass at his home in Castle Rock, Colo., last July when lightning struck a nearby tree and knocked him unconscious. Bunch sustained similar burns and ruptured eardrums. He still suffers some hearing loss, but it is mild.

    That is not the case of the Vancouver jogger. When Heffernan contacted him last week to alert him to the pending publication of the story, the man, now 39, gave Heffernan an update on his status two years later.

    He has about 50 per cent hearing loss in both ears and wears two hearing aids. He no longer plays in the church orchestra because of his hearing deficit. "There are probably many notes he can't hear," Heffernan said.

    In addition to the perforated tympanic membranes (eardrums), the man suffered dislocation of the tiny bones in the middle ear known as the ossicles, which conduct sound to the cochlea of the inner ear.

    Surgery was needed to patch the eardrums with grafts as well as to reset the jaw, which was dislocated from both joints, and to fix the bone, which had been broken in four places. Heffernan said with this type of damage to the jaw it's likely the man will develop arthritis in it, and at an early age.

    People who witnessed this close encounter of the electrical kind reported the man was thrown about 2.4 metres by the lightning's impact.

    Rather than a direct strike, these cases may have been what is called a side flash or a side splash - when lightning coursing through an object breaks out and strikes something else nearby as well.

    When that something is a person, the current is often conducted over the exterior of the body, because skin conducts electricity poorly. That phenomenon is called a flashover.

    "But it's things like sweat and metal in contact with the body like this guy had that just caused some of the current to go through him," Heffernan explained.

    (Heffernan, who is from Ireland, didn't actually work at Vancouver General when the man, who at that point couldn't hear a thing, was brought in for treatment. When Heffernan arrived at the hospital last summer to start a two-year radiology fellowship, he heard about the case and convinced two other radiologists - including one who was involved in the man's care - to write it up, arguing it belongs in the medical literature.)

    Dr. Mary Ann Cooper, an expert on the effects of lightning on the body, said burns and punctured eardrums are common and displaced ossicles have also been reported in people injured by lightning.

    Cooper, an emergency room physician and medical professor at the University of Illinois in Chicago, 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," she said from 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."

    Neurologist Dr. Ernest Nitka said the man would have suffered harm regardless, but the iPod accounted for his peculiar pattern of injury.

    "Once there was a flashover from the tree the shock would find an easy resistance path," Nitka said in an e-mail from Denver, Colo., where he works with the Lightning Data Center at the St. Anthony Hospitals.

    "This is where the iPod came in to the story. The particular injuries were made possible, if you will, because of the iPod. Without the iPod, the spectrum of injuries would have been different but there would have been injuries nonetheless."

    Cooper said the iPod contributed in another way as well.

    "Our recommendations are: When thunder roars, go indoors," she said. "If you're on a cellphone or if you've got an iPod, you're not going to hear the first and best warning that lightning is in the area, which is the thunder."

    As for the offending iPod, well, it was "damaged beyond repair. Absolutely burned to a crisp," Heffernan said.

    The man has bought another, the doctor reported. But as the old adage goes, once burned, twice shy. He no longer wears an iPod when he goes out for a jog.

  2. #2
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    Yup. There was something on the network news about this last night. A million songs on your iPod and a million volts in your head! They said the guy got a burn in the shape of a wishbone on his chest. Apparently there are headphones/earbuds that are metalic. The price we pay for convenience huh?

  3. #3
    Class of the clown GMichael's Avatar
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    I read this in the local paper this morning. Imagine, having your audio system turn on you like that. It's just not right.
    WARNING! - The Surgeon General has determined that, time spent listening to music is not deducted from one's lifespan.

  4. #4
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    That's gotta suck...some people's one in a million wins them millions of dollars, some people get electrocuted.

    Love the Metallica reference - I'm gonna go spin "Ride the Lightning" now.

    No word of a lie, I know twins that were both struck by lightning golfing on the same day. Both survived amazingly enough, one is no longer the shy introvert type he was prior though.

    Gotta wonder what it feels like?

  5. #5
    Musicaholic Forums Moderator ForeverAutumn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kexodusc
    That's gotta suck...some people's one in a million wins them millions of dollars, some people get electrocuted.

    Love the Metallica reference - I'm gonna go spin "Ride the Lightning" now.

    No word of a lie, I know twins that were both struck by lightning golfing on the same day. Both survived amazingly enough, one is no longer the shy introvert type he was prior though.

    Gotta wonder what it feels like?
    I just found myself wondering why god would strike down such a nice church-going young man.

    I know a guy who got struck by lightning when he was a kid. He's a bit of a dick, but I doubt that has anything to do with the lightning. He is afraid to go out in the rain though. Can't say that I blame him.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kexodusc
    Gotta wonder what it feels like?
    Really! Can you imagine having a sneaker blown to smithereens?

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    Remember FA, Metallica is "Devils Music".

  8. #8
    Class of the clown GMichael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kexodusc
    That's gotta suck...some people's one in a million wins them millions of dollars, some people get electrocuted.

    Love the Metallica reference - I'm gonna go spin "Ride the Lightning" now.

    No word of a lie, I know twins that were both struck by lightning golfing on the same day. Both survived amazingly enough, one is no longer the shy introvert type he was prior though.

    Gotta wonder what it feels like?
    I once came home to find a foot of water in our basement. Wondering why the pump wasn't running, I splashed my way to the back of the garage. The float was stuck. So I reached in to dislodge it. The pumped kicked in and all my muscled locked up. I fell in the water shaking and flailing around. Seems the motor was under water and the safety failed. Good thing the breaker tripped or I would have been soggy toast.
    My guess is that being hit by lightning would be thousands of times worse. You don't really want to know what it feels like. trust me.
    WARNING! - The Surgeon General has determined that, time spent listening to music is not deducted from one's lifespan.

  9. #9
    Musicaholic Forums Moderator ForeverAutumn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rich-n-Texas
    Remember FA, Metallica is "Devils Music".
    Yeah, but the guy who's sneaker was blown to smithereens was listening to religious music.

  10. #10
    Suspended 3-LockBox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ForeverAutumn
    The man, who played in a church orchestra and was listening to religious music on an iPod while he ran, was injured when lightning struck a nearby tree, then snaked out to zap him as well....Bunch, 18, was listening to Metallica on his iPod while mowing the grass at his home in Castle Rock, Colo., last July when lightning struck a nearby tree and knocked him unconscious. Bunch sustained similar burns and ruptured eardrums. He still suffers some hearing loss, but it is mild.
    I guess there are still some who didn't get that memo a long time ago that read something like:

    DO NOT PLAY OR WORK OUTSIDE DURING THUNDERSTORMS!!!

    I wonder if any of these people are driving around in restored Pintos, like they were a classic or something (seen that first hand in Bellingham - a college kid...nevermind).

    That lightning is a funny thing man, and should be given the utmost in respect. No, I-Pods nor cellphones (another urban legend from a decade ago) don't attract lightning - us mineral filled, carbon based, water bags do very well on our own.

  11. #11
    Suspended 3-LockBox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GMichael
    I once came home to find a foot of water in our basement. Wondering why the pump wasn't running, I splashed my way to the back of the garage. The float was stuck. So I reached in to dislodge it. The pumped kicked in and all my muscled locked up. I fell in the water shaking and flailing around. Seems the motor was under water and the safety failed. Good thing the breaker tripped or I would have been soggy toast.
    My guess is that being hit by lightning would be thousands of times worse. You don't really want to know what it feels like. trust me.
    Knowhatamean Vern? Yes, water is an excellent conductor of electrical current and you were standing in a foot of it...Yes, you are very lucky the breaker tripped, and I guess to an extent...so are we.

    Actually, lightning is akin to static electricity, which is more like DC (direct current), which is instantaneous. AC (alternating current) does just what you described, it grabs you really really hard; feels like a bite. I tend to think AC is a more insidious way to get zapped because since it isn't as fast as DC, and is pulsed... you get a few seconds to realize whats happening to you.

    Working on aircraft in the Navy, I had the occassion (or three) to get zapped by both, but I couldn't tell you I preferred one over the other...they both suck.

  12. #12
    Class of the clown GMichael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3-LockBox
    Knowhatamean Vern? Yes, water is an excellent conductor of electrical current and you were standing in a foot of it...Yes, you are very lucky the breaker tripped, and I guess to an extent...so are we.
    Awww.... thanks.

    Quote Originally Posted by 3-LockBox
    Actually, lightning is akin to static electricity, which is more like DC (direct current), which is instantaneous. AC (alternating current) does just what you described, it grabs you really really hard; feels like a bite. I tend to think AC is a more insidious way to get zapped because since it isn't as fast as DC, and is pulsed... you get a few seconds to realize whats happening to you.
    True. It's different. Like being stabbed with a thousand smaller knives instead of one huge sword.

    Quote Originally Posted by 3-LockBox
    Working on aircraft in the Navy, I had the occassion (or three) to get zapped by both, but I couldn't tell you I preferred one over the other...they both suck.
    Ouch, glad you are still around to talk about it.
    Yeah, they both suck. They suck the life out of ya.
    WARNING! - The Surgeon General has determined that, time spent listening to music is not deducted from one's lifespan.

  13. #13
    Super Moderator Site Moderator JohnMichael's Avatar
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    Thanks for one more excuse not to jog.
    JohnMichael
    Vinyl Rega Planar 2, Incognito rewire, Deepgroove subplatter, ceramic bearing, Michell Technoweight, Rega 24V motor, TTPSU, FunkFirm Achroplat platter, Michael Lim top and bottom braces, 2 Rega feet and one RDC cones. Grado Sonata, Moon 110 LP phono.
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  14. #14
    Class of the clown GMichael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnMichael
    Thanks for one more excuse not to jog.
    ....during a thunderstorm. Do not jog during a thunderstorm. It's fine on sunny days.
    I'll start if you will.
    WARNING! - The Surgeon General has determined that, time spent listening to music is not deducted from one's lifespan.

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    Close 'n PlayŽ user Troy's Avatar
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    I was once caught out on a High Sierra lake in a small metal rowboat when a sudden electrical storm appeared. Strikes were happening on the mountainsides all around us. I never rowed so fast in my life.

    I've been in some very close calls with lightning out in the southwest. Once, a strike hit the stoplight I was waiting at on the outskirts of Albuquerque. Deafening.

    This was in Southern AZ about 8 years ago. The very wide lens hides the fact that that strike hit just across the road.

  16. #16
    Indifferentist Slosh's Avatar
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    Troy,

    I'm stealing that photo for my screen saver. Awesome pic.

    NP:
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Originally Posted by Troy: She has that same kind of cleft-pallet, slightly retarded way of singing that so many other people find endearing.


  17. #17
    JSE
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    Whatever, I'm listening to mine right now in the.........................................

  18. #18
    Suspended 3-LockBox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slosh
    I'm stealing that photo for my screen saver. Awesome pic.
    I just did the same thing

    Troy - I've put off saying this for sometime: you talented, multifaceted artist types make me jealous sick..

    I need to visit your website.

  19. #19
    _ Luvin Da Blues's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3-LockBox

    Actually, lightning is akin to static electricity, which is more like DC (direct current), which is instantaneous. AC (alternating current) does just what you described, it grabs you really really hard; feels like a bite. I tend to think AC is a more insidious way to get zapped because since it isn't as fast as DC, and is pulsed... you get a few seconds to realize whats happening to you.
    Uhhh??? I'm thinkin the speed of electricity is the same regardless if it's AC or DC (don't quote me but is around 80% the speed of light). The pulse you mentioned is at 60Hz (or 50Hz for you Europeans) not a "few" seconds.

    Having said that, DC is a "hotter" voltage compare to AC for the same voltage due to the effective voltage (RMS of the peak voltage).
    Back in my day, we had nine planets.

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    You're cookin' now LDB! Thanks for the basic electronics refresher!

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    Quote Originally Posted by JSE
    Whatever, I'm listening to mine right now in the.........................................
    Shower? More info than we really needed JSE.
    Quote Originally Posted by FA
    Yeah, but the guy who's sneaker was blown to smithereens was listening to religious music.
    Sorry FA. That was a long read while I was at work. I have to keep management happy once-in-a-while...

  22. #22
    _ Luvin Da Blues's Avatar
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    Thanks Rich,

    The speed I mention was for a copper conductor at room temp..it will have different speeds in different mediums ie; in a vacuum.

    My point being...if you have 2 identical circuits hooked up to a say light bulb and one is AC and the other is DC and they are turned on at the exact same time the 2 bulbs will start to light up at the exact same time. Of course the DC lamp will get to full brightness quicker..because the voltage doesn't fluctuate. But we're talkin milliseconds.
    Back in my day, we had nine planets.

  23. #23
    Musicaholic Forums Moderator ForeverAutumn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slosh
    Troy,

    I'm stealing that photo for my screen saver. Awesome pic.

    NP:
    Me too! That's a beautiful picture. Nicer than the Pacer even.

  24. #24
    _ Luvin Da Blues's Avatar
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    Sorry FA..got carried away. Didn't mean to highjack this thread.
    Back in my day, we had nine planets.

  25. #25
    Musicaholic Forums Moderator ForeverAutumn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luvin Da Blues
    Sorry FA..got carried away. Didn't mean to highjack this thread.
    Hey, I'm all about letting a thread take it's natural course and letting folks discuss whatever they want to. I think that the notion of hijacking a thread is silly. Feel free to take this thread in whatever direction interests you.

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