Re: Lightning strikes

1

If they're saying it's 500 megajoules per bolt, that suggests a bolt lasts for 0.413 seconds?


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 11- 4-14 1:46 PM
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2

It sounds Usain when you put it like that.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 4-14 1:47 PM
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3

Is there some fiction or legend (urban or otherwise) that's likely the common source of the notion that lightning gives you powers? I don't think Captain Marvel, the Flash, or Meteor Man count. Or does the idea of a lightning strike just have enough inherent mysticism?


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 11- 4-14 1:53 PM
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4

Hmm. I can already see the future, play the piano, and fuck all night long. Does that mean I'm destined to be struck by lightning, or that I already was, and didn't notice (possibly due to aforementioned fucking)?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11- 4-14 1:53 PM
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5

Shouldn't you know if you're going to be struck by lightning?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 4-14 1:54 PM
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6

It's winter. Lightning season is over.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 4-14 1:57 PM
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7

Shouldn't I be less hot if it's winter?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 4-14 1:59 PM
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8

As JRoth and I know, once you know the future, it's hard to distinguish it from the past.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11- 4-14 2:00 PM
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9

Can't you just look to see if the people are walking forwards or backwards?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 4-14 2:02 PM
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10

The future and the past both have basketball games, so there's a fair bit of walking backward.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 4-14 2:03 PM
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11

It looks like snow is no longer in the forecast for this week, but I think Friday night is going to be the first hard freeze.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 4-14 2:08 PM
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12

Oh my god, tomorrow's high is 58. I'm in love. Today was in the low 80s but overcast and not too bad.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 4-14 2:10 PM
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13

I've always wanted to go out by being struck by lightening. I like the symbolism plus I want to be aware of it when it happens. I'd probably just be thinking ohhhhhh shhshiiiiitttttt!!!!! though.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 11- 4-14 2:11 PM
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14

Plus, 90% odds you'd survive, with a bunch of unpleasant mental and physical symptoms. I think you're better off taking this new job.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 4-14 2:12 PM
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15

I bet if you swallowed a bunch of wire, you could lower the odds.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 4-14 2:13 PM
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16

He swallowed the bird to catch the spider. He swallowed the spider to catch the wire. He swallowed the wire to catch some lightning. I don't know why he swallowed the lighting. Perhaps he's frightening.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 4-14 2:16 PM
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17

Is there some fiction or legend (urban or otherwise) that's likely the common source of the notion that lightning gives you powers?

Frankenstein's monster?


Posted by: Todd | Link to this comment | 11- 4-14 2:17 PM
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18

I looked up "lightning" in a multiple-translation concordance, and although my general biblical ignorance may mean I'm forgetting something, it looks like nowhere in the Bible is God described as actually hitting someone with lightning. Most uses of the word (in 20 chapters) are descriptions of God's power or special effects for a scene like at Mount Sinai. 12 books use it as a simile for something. Twice it's described as a punishment for Egypt, along with thunder and hail, and possibly starting fires; twice it scatters Israel's enemies; and once it hits the enemies' flocks.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 11- 4-14 2:21 PM
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19

Well, with a 90% survival rate, you'd think God would do something more effective.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 4-14 2:23 PM
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20

I thought gods killing with lightning was a Greco-Roman thing.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 4-14 2:24 PM
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21

18. Take that, flocks!


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 11- 4-14 2:25 PM
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22

21 18 s/b 18.last


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 11- 4-14 2:26 PM
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23

20: A particular God, blasphemer!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11- 4-14 2:27 PM
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24

It's winter. Lightning season is over.

I think Stanley would disagree with that.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 11- 4-14 2:27 PM
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25

17: Oh, right, that's probably it. And all Frankenstein's adaptations and thefts.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 11- 4-14 2:27 PM
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26

Lighting once hit and exploded a tree trunk across the street from me when I was walking home. It was pretty impressive, I didn't get any powers though. The thunder clap at ground zero is louder than you're thinking.


Posted by: Asteele | Link to this comment | 11- 4-14 2:29 PM
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27

Take that, flocks fish!


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 11- 4-14 2:29 PM
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28

A friends best friend from grade school suffered from horrible fear of thunder and lightning, which her dad tried to help by holding her on his lap while sitting on the porch during a thunderstorm. Lightning struck the tree in the front yard, scaring everybody shitless. Undeterred, dad repeated the process during the next storm, assuring the young girl that the previous strike had been a fluke. You already know where this is going. Lightning struck the tree again. Dad ended up with a traumatized daughter and no parental credibility whatsoever.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 11- 4-14 2:42 PM
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29

I can however play the piano and fuck all night long, coincidence?


Posted by: Asteele | Link to this comment | 11- 4-14 2:49 PM
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30

28: Hasn't he basically taught her that lightning won't hit her even if it comes close?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 4-14 2:51 PM
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31

28 Wow, that reminds me of how when my brother was a toddler and afraid of spiders my mother picked him up and held him close to a house spider in its web to show him it was no big deal. Fucking spider decides that moment to jump down on a silk thread close to my brother's face.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 11- 4-14 2:59 PM
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32

I was looking for information on a lightning strike I'd read about that killed an enormous flock of sheep (this one, it turns out; scroll down to July 22), but apparently it happens all the time. Sucks to be you, giraffe.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 11- 4-14 3:00 PM
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33

28: I tried finding the Hyperbole and a Half about being scared of riding bicycles as a kid, but I had to quit looking because I kept stopping to read unrelated stories.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 11- 4-14 3:08 PM
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34

Did they make a baseball bat from the tree?


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11- 4-14 3:37 PM
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35

28 and 31 remind me of the time I left the kids in the median strip of a highway. No real lesson was intended, but it seems related.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11- 4-14 3:53 PM
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36

35: Did they find their way home like the pets in The Incredible Journey?


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 11- 4-14 3:58 PM
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37

More seriously, today was a cool milestone: Kids were off school due to voting, so Kai and I were scheduled to walk the 3/4 mile to the Italian neighborhood where our barber is. This trip always includes pizza lunch and bakery treat. Iris (age 10 now) had a playdate scheduled with her best friend*, and so I proposed that they come with us, but then be free to stroll the avenue while Kai and I did our business, and then head home alone. Her parents (one raised in Manhattan, the other on my street) were up for it, and the girls had a great time. They went into the Hallmark store and treated themselves to a dolphin scene and owl, respectively.

*such a fraught relationship. We were already basically best friends with her parents before they were born, so they've been together their whole lives. But they're really very different, and now the BF is hurtling into tweendom (refuses to be tucked in, doesn't want PDA from parents), and so much fucking drama has ensued.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11- 4-14 3:58 PM
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38

My brother's Master's Thesis in agronomy involved collecting rainwater to test it for pesticides. One day, he was hanging out in a thunderstorm, and the water collection receptacle filled up and he had to go run out into the storm and put in a new receptacle. Then, while he was out doing that, he got hit by lightning. He was knocked out cold, in the mud, for five minutes.

He later got a nice visit from a representative of the University, making sure he wasn't going to sue.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 11- 4-14 4:19 PM
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39

The ability to sue might count as a special power conferred by lightning.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 4-14 4:23 PM
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40

38 seems like such a textbook example of "act of God," I'm surprised they'd worry about being sued.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 11- 4-14 4:31 PM
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41

Yeah, I guess its textbook, but there is a also certain amount of negligence involved with "make a grad student hang around in a thunderstorm."

Not that he was smart enough to recognize it was a bad idea. I'd lay odds that he was stoned at the time.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 11- 4-14 4:49 PM
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42

40: The plaintiff could introduce comment 18 into evidence.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 11- 4-14 4:50 PM
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43

We had a bull get struck by lightning on the farm once. It conferred on him the special power to require the largest tractor in the fleet to drag his dead ass to the boneyard.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 11- 4-14 4:52 PM
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44

You know who used to smite people with lightning?

Zeus.

Guy was a badass.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 11- 4-14 4:59 PM
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45

Is there some fiction or legend (urban or otherwise) that's likely the common source of the notion that lightning gives you powers?

Frankenstein's monster?

Not actually brought to life by lightning. At least, not in the book.

"It was on a dreary night of November that I beheld the accomplishment of my toils. With an anxiety that almost amounted to agony, I collected the instruments of life around me, that I might infuse a spark of being into the lifeless thing that lay at my feet. It was already one in the morning; the rain pattered dismally against the panes, and my candle was nearly burnt out, when, by the glimmer of the half-extinguished light, I saw the dull yellow eye of the creature open; it breathed hard, and a convulsive motion agitated its limbs."

No thunderstorm or lightning mentioned, and the description of the weather doesn't sound thundery. He mentions two chapters earlier that he was inspired to study natural science by seeing a thunderstruck tree, but that's it.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 11- 4-14 5:30 PM
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46

Also:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/203137.stm

All 11 members of a football team were killed by a bolt of lightning which left the other team unhurt, a Congolese newspaper has reported.

Thirty other people received burns at the match in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Kinshasa daily newspaper L'Avenir said local opinion - known to believe in charms and spells - was divided over whether someone had cursed the team.

The two sides were drawing 1-1 in the match in eastern Kasai Province when the lightning struck the visiting team.

"The athletes from [the home team] Basanga curiously came out of this catastrophe unscathed," the paper said.

There was no official confirmation of the report - a rebel war affects much of the east of the country.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11- 4-14 5:31 PM
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47

You know who was inspired by a thunderstruck tree?

AC/DC

Totally badass.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 11- 4-14 6:08 PM
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48

In the book Frankenstein, the creature is not brought to life by lightning, you are correct. However, in the Whale movie and, more imporatantly, Young Frankenstein, lightning is used in conjunction with electric doohickeys to bring the monster to life.


Posted by: Miranda | Link to this comment | 11- 4-14 7:14 PM
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49

I really should watch Young Frankenstein at some point.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 4-14 7:18 PM
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48: true. I just thought it was interesting that "brought to life by lightning" is such a famous part of the Frankenstein image, but it isn't actually in the original book. Also, appreciating the "more importantly, Young Frankenstein" line.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11- 4-14 7:36 PM
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51

THAT'S FRONKENSTEEN!


Posted by: OPINIONATED MODERN PROMETHEUS | Link to this comment | 11- 4-14 10:28 PM
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52

I was always fascinated by Shenandoah Park Ranger Roy Sullivan (the guy struck 7 times). Saw him interviewed in the '70s where he said God had told him why it had happened to him but he wouldn't tell. But I had not seen this article from a year or so ago with far more info on him than anyone would ever want to know. Sadly either committed suicide or was shot when he was 71. On his headstone: "We loved you, but God loved you more."


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11- 5-14 12:00 AM
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53

the loudness of a ground zero lightning strike/associated thunder cannot be overstated. a crepe myrtle in the cemetery next to my grandmother's house in savannah got annihilated one night, and husband x and I (alone in the house at the time, barring the ghosts) heard it; it sounded like the world was ending, I mean, goddamn. the next day when we went out to look there were yard-long shards of tree and bark standing upright at various angles in the ground as far as 30 feet away, like fragments of a broken glass fallen into sand, except wood embedded in red clay. one of my brother's classmates died on the soccer field at st. alban's in d.c., sheltered during an interrupted soccer game under a tree with other kids in a storm, selected randomly to conduct a zillion volts into the ground. it was, apparently, horrifying (my bro was not there, but friends were.)


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 11- 5-14 2:37 AM
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54

Regarding electrocution and special powers, I was surprised to see, upon a recent re-watching of Ernest Goes to Jail, that a major plot point of the film was Ernest being sent to the electric chair erroneously, being zapped, and dying getting magical super powers!

Was the death penalty funnier back in 1990? Am I humorless?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 11- 5-14 6:03 AM
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55

You don't accidentally come upon an Ernest movie. What have you done wrong?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 5-14 6:21 AM
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56

Do we need to stage an intervention?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 5-14 6:22 AM
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Regarding electrocution and special powers, I was surprised to see, upon a recent re-watching of Ernest Goes to Jail, that a major plot point of the film was Ernest being sent to the electric chair erroneously, being zapped, and dying getting magical super powers

As discussed on this podcast


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 11- 5-14 6:57 AM
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55-6: Over the summer, the only DVD we had in the house was an Ernest DVD, featuring the Jail, Christmas, and Camp installments.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 11- 5-14 6:57 AM
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59

No streaming services?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 5-14 7:03 AM
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60

58: How exactly does that situation arise? Were you burgled by someone with taste?


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 11- 5-14 7:04 AM
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60: A house full of subletters, so we had only what we had packed in our suitcases. And no one had any DVDs until the one guy remembered the Ernest disc was in his car since forever ago.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 11- 5-14 7:08 AM
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If it wasn't for Redbox and the library, we'd probably never use the DVD player. $1.28 is about as much as I'll pay for a movie.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 5-14 7:11 AM
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63

I always have three films out from Lovefilm (the UK's Netflix, more or less), even leaving aside all the ones I've bought in the past.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 11- 5-14 7:23 AM
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64

I like getting movies from the robot at the grocery store. The robot can only hold so many, making choice less of a problem.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 5-14 7:25 AM
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53.1 is so very right. A few years ago a bolt of lightning hit the building across the street from me (it glanced off the roof and blew a lot of fuses down the block but no serious harm otherwise). I was asleep at the time and as far as I can tell I instantly went from deep sleep to VERY VERY ALERT with nothing in between. The combination of incredibly bright light and loud sound kicked in some seriously old fashioned animal reflexes.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 11- 5-14 9:57 AM
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