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Watch a car get struck by lightning!
Posted: 19 September 2010 08:46 PM   [ Ignore ]
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And learn why if somebody tells you “this weather really sucks”,
you need to correct them by saying “no, this weather really blows.”

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Posted: 20 September 2010 07:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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As the host mentioned, air is a good resistor to electricity.  The small air gap between the two holes in your household electrical outlet is more than enough to resist ordinary amounts of electricity, preventing the two (or three) holes from shorting, and preventing you from being shocked as you walk by.  So much resistance that it is completely safe.  But lightning is so much more powerful than ordinary household levels of electricity, materials that we normally call electrical insulators are no match for the awesome power of lightning, and they will conduct it.  As the host said, if lightning can travel all the way from a cloud to the roof of a car, then it can certainly make it from the car down to ground. The metal body, chassis, and radial tire belts of the car will conduct most of the electricity, even if the manufacturers use plastic body parts, there is still lots of metal in the car.  But less conductive material means less protection provided by the effect that the video demonstrated. 

BTW, that protective effect is the reason why there is a third hole in your electrical power outlets, there needs to be a third conductor down to ground and you could have the benefits of that effect in your home!  But many people wrongly just install the three hole (grounded) outlets without actually attaching the third conductor, and thus the confuse people to think that they and their electronics are protected, but they are not.  Have a professional check your wiring to see if you are protected by a ground conductor.

There’s a popular saying that electricity takes the path of least resistance.  But actually it takes all paths, its just that most of the electricity travels the path of least resistance.

The only problem that I have with the video is that it gives no warnings.  Sure metal conducts and offers some protection, but lightning is so powerful that it is wild, it doesn’t avoid the materials that we normally call electrical insulators.  Additionally, the conductor will heat as it carries massive amounts of electricity, the more electricity then the more heat.  The heat can burn when it is hot enough.  When lightning has enough power to heat the air into glowing plasma, I wouldn’t bet that the metal in a car is enough to carry it without heating.  So I wouldn’t want to see people take a wreckless attitude about lightning.  Like a bird on a wire, if you KNOW that you aren’t grounded, then you can safely touch a live wire, or a live metal car body, but knowing that you aren’t grounded when lightning is able to travel from the clouds to the ground, penetrating through the materials that we normally call electrical insulators, is the hard part.  The protective effect is real, but will you bet your life that the video proves that you are safe from lightning?

You should ramain cautious despite the video, I warn you.

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Posted: 20 September 2010 08:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Very cool jump in the pit.
Thanks for taking the time for that write up, couple comments and questions.

jump_in_the_pit - 20 September 2010 07:49 PM

BTW, that protective effect is the reason why there is a third hole in your electrical power outlets, there needs to be a third conductor down to ground and you could have the benefits of that effect in your home!  But many people wrongly just install the three hole (grounded) outlets without actually attaching the third conductor, and thus the confuse people to think that they and their electronics are protected, but they are not.  Have a professional check your wiring to see if you are protected by a ground conductor.

Hmmm, could this be why that have those socialist building codes and intrusive unamerican-freedom-destroying building inspectors?

jump_in_the_pit - 20 September 2010 07:49 PM

There’s a popular saying that electricity takes the path of least resistance.  But actually it takes all paths, its just that most of the electricity travels the path of least resistance.

Never heard anyone say that before. Good point.

But, the path of least resistance is a trip - I was always a little blown away by standing on a steel walkway with a guy welding on that same walkway inches away.

jump_in_the_pit - 20 September 2010 07:49 PM

The only problem that I have with the video is that it gives no warnings.

As I was watching it I kept thinking earplugs idiot earplugs, but then the zap was just that high hum.
If I remember right they said it was 800,000 volts, what’s in a lightening bolt?

But, to a basic question, if caught in a bad lightening storm, with little or no high ground around are you better off staying within your (metal exterior) vehicle as clear from the body as possible - with earplugs engages shut eye ?

or do you jump out. . .  and run like hell   tongue laugh

I do know that nothing in creation puts a person in touch with the wrath of god like being close to lightening strikes.
Even atheists can feel it LOL

That reminds me, in that video why didn’t that guy’s hair stand on end as the voltage was cranked up?

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Posted: 20 September 2010 10:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Lightning is on a larger scale than ordinary household electricity, it is on an atmospheric scale.  It breaks the normal rules that we engineers make household electricity follow.

My advice for lightning safety, spend your time in a city, all the buildings with roofs full of grounded equipment help keep everyone safe.  If you buy a lightning rod, pick the one with a tapered point because it is more attractive to lightning than a blunt tip.

If your out in rural wild areas, then you’re dealing with the wild.  Asking for which is better: the car, or running down the hill; that’s like being surrounded by hungry cheetah’s and asking if you should use the shotgun or drive away fast, I don’t know which is safer.  Lightning injuries are very rare, it isn’t a big concern for most people.  But in rare circumstances, people’s lives are at stake.

But personally, I rather rely on more predictable manufactured metal than on a natural hill made of who-knows-what to attract the tremendous electricity away from me.  But like I said, it will take all paths up, down, East, West, South, and North.  Be careful after the lightning bolt that you don’t burn yourself on hot metal.  And if your car is on fire, leave it!

The video proves: 1) The electricity did find a path to ground.  2) The path mostly didn’t (but partially did) include the host.  3) The electricity in the video was puny compared to lightning. The video electricity only jumped from the square electrode with the hole in it, down to ground.  That’s merely a few feet and nowhere near as much as jumping from a cloud thousands of feet in the sky down to ground.  4) The scientists generated (800,000 was it?) volts, we don’t know the current ability nor power rating of the transformers.  The current determines if the car melts, not the voltage alone.  5) The car didn’t melt at that current, but might melt from lightning. 

The spikey hair effect is due to static electricity (potential energy).  The electric bolt in the video was kinetic electricity, there are differences.

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Posted: 21 September 2010 08:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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jump_in_the_pit - 20 September 2010 10:30 PM

And if your car is on fire, leave it!


You mean not call my daughter to tell her to call the insurance company
  tongue wink

thanks for the info

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Posted: 21 September 2010 09:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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citizenschallenge.pm… he’s so tough he uses lightning bolts to light his cigars;
he make cell phone calls to family while sitting in a fiery box; he poops bullets
just so that his enemies can’t sneak up behind him; for his choice of vehicles he
drives a Ducati Streetfighter S that slips through any hole; he only eat raw meat
served as sushi or lox and bagels.  cool grin  LOL

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Posted: 22 September 2010 10:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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You know who probably did light his cigars with lightning bolts?  Nikola Tesla.  That dude was awesome.  He even read by lightning light:

NikolaTesla.jpg

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Posted: 22 September 2010 11:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Dead Monky - 22 September 2010 10:43 AM

You know who probably did light his cigars with lightning bolts?  Nikola Tesla.  That dude was awesome.  He even read by lightning light:

you bet yir bumkin -

Heck, he build his first generating plant right in my backyard - to power gold mines in the Telluride area.

Ever read any biographies on that dude - he was a trip and a half.

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Posted: 22 September 2010 11:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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jump_in_the_pit - 21 September 2010 09:10 PM

citizenschallenge.pm… he’s so tough he uses lightning bolts to light his cigars;
he make cell phone calls to family while sitting in a fiery box; he poops bullets ; he only eats raw meat
served as sushi or lox and bagels.  cool grin  LOL

and he shits in the woods cool smirk

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Posted: 22 September 2010 12:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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you bet yir bumkin -

Heck, he build his first generating plant right in my backyard - to power gold mines in the Telluride area.

Ever read any biographies on that dude - he was a trip and a half.

Yeah, Tesla’s about the closest thing I have to a hero or idol.  The man was basically a mad scientist and was born an easy 50 or 100 years too early.

[ Edited: 22 September 2010 06:59 PM by Dead Monky ]
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Posted: 22 September 2010 01:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Dead Monky - 22 September 2010 12:47 PM

...and was born an easy 50 or 100 years too early.

Don’t tell that to those old dead gold miners.

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Posted: 22 September 2010 04:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Used to love stories about him when I was a kid.  Like, he designed, built, tested, and worked out the bugs in the first alternating current generator all in his head while sitting in the park feeding pigeons. 

Occam

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Posted: 22 September 2010 05:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Top Gear is one my favorite shows. I don’t remember that particular clip with Richard Hammond.  smile

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Posted: 22 September 2010 08:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Occam. - 22 September 2010 04:56 PM

Used to love stories about him when I was a kid.  Like, he designed, built, tested, and worked out the bugs in the first alternating current generator all in his head while sitting in the park feeding pigeons. 

Occam

Yea, you ever hear about his hotel restaurant eating ritual with its seven napkins used to polish his silverware… I don’t know why that part of his eccentricities ... rhymes with electricity - left such an impression but I can literally see him in front of me diligently polishing his silverware before digging into his meal.

All the while his mind lost in some far off quantum mystery.

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Posted: 21 October 2010 08:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Tesla built a power plant at the base of Niagara Falls, they have a wonderful, bigger than life bronze of him, a monument to honor him.  When I visited Niagara I was so annoyed that they didn’t have tours of the defunct power plant, they merely have some boats that they call “Lady of the Mist” which take you near the base of the falls to get wet.  Now-a-days the falls are just a trickle of their former self, as I hear most of the water goes to the new power plant.

[ Edited: 21 October 2010 08:49 PM by jump_in_the_pit ]
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Posted: 17 January 2013 12:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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citizenschallenge.pm - 22 September 2010 11:38 AM
jump_in_the_pit - 21 September 2010 09:10 PM

citizenschallenge.pm… he’s so tough he uses lightning bolts to light his cigars;
he make cell phone calls to family while sitting in a fiery box; he poops bullets ; he only eats raw meat
served as sushi or lox and bagels.  cool grin  LOL

and he shits in the woods cool smirk

He’s ‘The Most Interesting Man In The World’. Lol!

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