iPods + Lightning = Debate

The debate continues about what effect wearing an iPod has when/if you are stuck by lightning. Some say the earbuds conduct the electricity away from the jogger’s head. Other say that it directs it through his head.

The final word: Don’t jog during thunderstorms. “..much of the very interesting debate that has followed the publication of this case report would perhaps be unnecessary if common sense were as ubiquitous as the iPod,” says the New England Journal Of Medicine.

[WSJ Health Blog]


Edit Your Comment

  1. arachnophilia says:

    this sounds like a job for…

    mythbusters! *da da-da da!*

  2. Trai_Dep says:

    So the take-away from this is, if I must run in a grass field during a thunderstorm wearing my iPod, hold my arm aloft while holding a coat hanger. Because, while skin grafting has advanced remarkably, it’d be agonizing downloading all my songs to a new iPod.

  3. Televiper says:

    I doubt they’ll be able to take the place of a bullet proof bible. It’s not like getting struck by lightening is a harmless experience made harmful by iPod.

  4. darkclawsofchaos says:

    Or even better don’t jog at all, just sit in front of that tv or couch with a bag of chips and large soda regardless of what’s on or nowhere to surf

  5. moorie679 says:

    this is retarded…cant believe I read this… if you are worried about your ipod conducting lightning then you might as well just jump off a building and end your misery……considering the odds of getting hit with a lightning is lower than dying from a coconut falling on your head.

  6. myuu says:

    @moorie679: A coconut doesn’t seem so bad, a durian on the other hand, ouch.

  7. ShadowFalls says:

    This has nothing to do with iPods. I fail to see why they are strictly mentioned when you use earphones on all kinds of different players and have been doing so for years before iPods existed.

  8. Mr. Gunn says:

    He let you slide on buying an ipod – after all, someone may have bought it for you – and he may have let you slide before on jogging in a thunderstorm, but put the two together and you’re just asking for a smiting.

  9. Canadian Impostor says:

    Now that the forum is open for important hypothetical questions, will wearing a bicycle helmet deflect a meteor on a collision course for my head, or will it shatter and drive shards of molten plastic into my brain?

  10. Canadian Impostor says:

    If I’m about to get shot in the face with a fifteenth century ship’s cannon, will wearing eyeglasses lesson the blow?

  11. methane says:

    How does this help me as a consumer? Shouldn’t this be on Gizmodo or something thus reducing the amount of noise on Consumerist? This blog is becomming impossible to read…

  12. @trai_dep: You so win the thread.

  13. Balisong says:

    Shadowfalls beat me to it. I really really really wish consumerist would quit posting this tripe. This has nothing to do with ipods. People have gotten horribly burnt by headphones connected to walkmans long before ipods. Ipods are just the new beast and everyone likes to find something to complain about with them. Don’t put metal in your ears when standing outside during a lightning storm and you’ll be fine.

  14. hypnotik_jello says:

    @methane: Then don’t read it

  15. headhot says:

    I hate these lightning stories, first cell phones, now iPods.

    If you get hit by lightning, your screwed no matter what you have on you.

    It like saying what would happen if you had a pack of matches on you while you were in a plane crash.

    Aside from that, electricity at that voltage behaves very very oddly. Its pretty much impossible to predict what it will do.Labs test aren’t any good because we aren’t even able to develop a 10th of the voltage of a strike.

  16. bbbici says:

    They did something like this on Mythbusters with facial piercings and man-made lightning. A bolt of lightning is so powerful that a couple grams of metal on your head doesn’t affect it at all.

    Putting a dime on a train track won’t derail a train either.

  17. Buckler says:

    This looks like a job for the Mythbusters!

  18. freshwater says:

    @ buckler:

    dude, read the thread.

  19. Chicago7 says:

    What about the effect of a terrorist attack on a person wearing an iPod?

    /All America wants to know!

  20. zentec says:

    Remember how they used to say not to use the telephone during a thunderstorm?


    And yes, I agree; this story is tripe. Having an iPod plugged into your ears does not modify the probability of getting hit. If you want to avoid getting struck, get indoors. And avoid using electronic devices until the storm passes, including those made by Apple.

  21. royal72 says:

    i’d suggest a national study with volunteers and while we’re studying this phenomena, we may as well test this with cell phones as well… so at the first sign of a thunder storm, get your ipods and cell phones ready, ’cause you’re going jogging in the rain kiddies. good luck!

  22. adrock75 says:

    If I have a Zune, I’m fine – right?

  23. Tzepish says:

    @moorie679: According to wikipedia, you have a 1 in 700,000 chance of being struck by lightning in a given year, and a 1 in 3000 chance in your lifetime. And about 10% of those strikes cause fatalities. That’s a little more likely than having a coconut fall on your head.

  24. dthejensen says:

    If the lightning would permanently fuse the iPod to my body, it would probably be worth it.

  25. alhypo says:

    What happens when you’re wearing iPod earbuds and you get attacked by a shark?

  26. alhypo says:

    @Tzepish: Not entirely true. Those probabilities apply to a randomly selecter person. You probably have a much lower chance of being struck because you don’t spend very much time outside in lightning storms… right?

  27. wesrubix says:

    Yeah this is pretty stupid. Sweat is electroconductive because it’s salty. Should I not jog in rain storms? WSJ help me figure out my BASIC DECISIONS?!