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Old 05-27-2015, 02:38 PM   #21
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In fact, what I wrote was, " Armed with more complete information, one has a much better chance of determining what is factual and what is merely opinion..."

One still has to do research. One still has to be able to discern the difference between high quality information and that from a website (or other source) which has no credential, education, or experience in the topic at hand. One's must be able to resist cherry-picking information that will only confirm one's pre-existing beliefs. One must be willing to consider the possibility that one's pre-existing beliefs may be wrong. One must be willing to have one's theory (perspective) and data subjected to peer review. Some people are not capable of doing these things, and are thus poorly equipped to come to an accurate conclusion, or to be a scientist theselves.

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Bureaucrats like to pontificate. There are no restrictions on if bureaucrats can be scientists or not. Those who must publish to keep the public (tax funded) dollars rolling in are not immune from pontificating.
Choosing to believe that scientists pontificate, but really don't know anything about their chosen field is a serious problem (for civilization, in general) especially when combined with "I don't know anything about that field, but I sure know more than them bureaucrat scientists". Where then, does one get quality information about lightning strikes, or any other complex topic outside of one's own personal expertise? Refusing to consider educated and experienced viewpoints is Dark Ages thinking. (I could explain, again, why crouching and putting feet close together can help prevent more serious lightning injuries, but apparently one has to be an electrical technician, or engineer, or at least have some understanding of basic electricity, so I will not waste the space).

So, please feel free to continue to base things on a fundamental misunderstanding of basic statistics. Don't bother to try to avoid dangerous weather. Don't consider trying to find some type of shelter. Don't even bother to get off your Seg while lightning is crackling around you. Perhaps you'll even want to get some personal proof that your perspective is correct, and those stupid bureaucrat scientists are all wrong, and head for open high ground during the next few lightning storms! If it turns out that reality trumps your personal opinion, I am willing to submit your "test results" to the Darwin Awards for consideration.

Have a nice day.

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Old 05-27-2015, 08:59 PM   #22
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Wonderful.

I make my living as an electro-mechanical engineer, and you have dismissed that. Good for you.

I do not recall ever saying that your theory about squatting was electrically unsound. You were the one who called it a theory in your first mention of it.

I did say on several points that your guesses and estimations were most likely reasonable.

I am simply saying that they are not necessarily germane.

There are lots of people, when asked a question that has no reasonable answer, because the variables are too great and uncontrollable, will answer anyway. It makes them feel smarter, because they answered the unanswerable question.

Can what you say make you more likely to survive a lightening strike? Maybe. I never said it wouldn't. All I said is that you are more likely to hurt yourself trying to squat in a ditch than to simply go home.

You can tell all that are reading (both of us) that I am an ignoramus. I probably am. But that will not stop me from telling nice older women that if they are afraid of being struck by lightening, it is unlikely, and their best plan of action is to go home. Even if it is already raining.

Except for your attacking my postings and my personal conclusions based on the research that I did, and you said I should do, you have not offered any substantiation of any survivors who squatted in a ditch to become survivors.

So, since you cannot and choose not to offer any conclusive proof that what you say will actually apply to the situation, you attack my statements that while some will answer, the truth is that question has no real answer.

The OP, in post #1, asked for safety advice, when caught in the rain on a seg. The safest thing to do is go home. That is what she did. She even mentioned that she had a rain coat with her, but had reasoned it was better to make the dash for home rather than stop and put it on. Again, she did the most prudent thing. I believe she was right. She survived to tell us so. Evidence would indicate that her plan was a good one, although there is no conclusive evidence that it was the only good one.

I do find it entertaining when you post that I don't understand basic electricity, instead of acknowledging that there is a difference between a "book" correct answer and a common sense, real world appropriate action.

For any who may be still reading, if you are sure you are about to be struck by lightening, feel free to squat in a ditch with your heels together, as instructed. If you are already mobility impaired, that may be difficult, but do not worry. If you are not, and you spend enough time squatting in ditches in the rain, I suspect your knees will let you know what a good plan that was, long before the lightening actually proves me wrong, and soon enough you will join the ranks of the mobility impaired.

Additionally, my apparent lack of basic electrical understanding which my employer is luckily unaware of, has not overly impacted my ability to earn a living in an electromechanical engineering capacity, because I use my skills to provide a service for which I am compensated for, and that compensation pays for my ability to provide for my family.

One last question. Does the titanium in my knee (thanks to Army doctors) impact if I should be pointing my knees toward the impending lightening bolt? Am I more likely to be hit on my right knee (because of the metal in it) than the left one? Oh well, I guess that was two. It is okay, I also lack the basic understanding of mathematics and counting...
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Old 05-28-2015, 11:36 AM   #23
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KSAGAL's answer, "just go home and get out of the rain" is good advice, but the The original post specifically asked, "but what is safe if you get caught in a storm on your seg? Common sense says avoid if at all possible.. But some of these storms are coming up pretty fast and I'm not always that close to either home or shelter, so safety tips would be welcome." (emphasis is mine).

So this thread is about what to do if one gets caught in a lightning storm while Segging. "Just glide home" is not a valid answer to that question, and is not a strategy that is suggested or promoted by anyone who has actual knowledge of lightning events.

I don't know whether every electromechanical engineer has a good understanding of the properties of electricity. I personally know of many "field engineers" who are educated as repair technicians, not engineers, and, perhaps surprisingly, may not have a good understanding of electricity. This lack of understanding does not mean these people are not permitted to have "Field Engineer" on their business card, or that they are unable to make a living....at the right type of job. However, when I lay out the reasoning behind crouching on the balls of one's feet, if one is exposed in the open to lightning, and it is dismissed without any technical reasoning to support the dismissal, the facts lead me to wonder whether the electrical issues are understood.

Yes, I said it was a "theory", but the question isn't whether taking the squatting pose does as advertised, minimizing high current from a nearby ground strike directly through the body (it clearly does), but rather whether it is a better safety strategy than laying flat on the ground. Laying flat minimizes the likelihood of being struck directly, but crouching on the balls of your feet, with feet touching, minimizes the through the body damage of a nearby earth strike. I gave both safety strategies in my original post, and the reasons behind them.

What followed was not a discussion of potential life saving strategies, but rather repeated attempts to dismiss the need for taking any precautions. This is based, in my opinion on a completely inaccurate perception of lightning strike statistics, and how they apply to someone who is actually caught in the open in a lightning storm, coupled with refusal to consider what lightning experts (referred to as "bureaucratic scientists") consider to be prudent actions.

Below, I've reposted my first response. It's still the only real advice in this thread for Lily (or others), unless you count "just ignore the storm and glide home".

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...Tires or other rubber items do very little to protect one from a lightning strike. What helps in a car is the metal body, which acts as a Faraday cage. Lightning that strikes a vehicle travels through the metal wrapper and to the earth below. On the bottom side of the car, it either travels through the tires (there's lots of conductive carbon in those "rubber" tires") or arcs directly to the earth. Remember that lightning has already arced down from the cloud. It can certainly arc another foot from the bottom of the car to the ground. If you don't touch the metal parts of a car inside, you'll likely be OK. Aircraft get struck all the time.

With an approaching storm, you must get OFF the Seg and get away from it. Standing upright, it's like you are standing on a ladder. You're a prime target for the "leaders" which are looking for the easiest path to the earth. Don't shelter under trees, as they can sometimes quite literally explode when hit by lightning, driving splinters of wood into anything nearby.

If you are caught in a storm with lightning and you really have zero shelter, such as being in a field, crouch down with your arms wrapped around knees, and feet positioned so that they touch each other. It's better to do this in a depression in the earth, if you have the option. There are arguments that say laying down prostrate is a better solution, but I subscribe to the "potential difference" theory. Lightning which strikes the earth electrifies the area around. The point of strike has the highest instantaneous voltage with respect to the earth, and the voltage drops as the distance increases from the strike point. If lightning strikes the earth near to you, and your feet are far apart, there will be a large voltage across your body, and electrical current could flow through your body. This might actually be worse that being struck directly. With your feet close together, there will be relatively less voltage across your body. BTW, there seems to be agreement that umbrellas are good for shedding rain, but you don't want to be holding one in a lighting storm.

Most storms don't come out of nowhere and start flinging off lightning bolts within seconds or minutes. It takes time for the storm to build. Get yourself a good warning application, such as Storm for iPhone, which notifies you when lightning or precipitation are approaching. If you're going gliding in storm season, maybe make a plan for where and how you would shelter safely, and, perhaps pack a folded plastic trash bag for rain protection.

My research says that if the lightning flash-to-thunder time is less than 25 seconds, you're already in the potential danger area for a lightning strike.

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Old 05-28-2015, 05:58 PM   #24
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I haven't yet been able to find specific instances of people who were struck, or avoided being struck, while in the crouching "lightning safety position". Obviously, if they were not struck, it was a non-event and there is less likelihood of statistics.

Additionally, it is becoming apparent that the official position is changing to "There is no safe position when in the open. Run for a safe location!". One of the documents I linked to below indicates that the change is because some people apparently thought that the lightning safety position made you SAFE. This is not correct. It may make you safer than standing upright (or on a Seg), but not "safe". Lying prone on the ground is still specifically counseled against, as it makes one particularly vulnerable to the ground current of nearby strikes. (see below)

Of course, if you're in a dangerously exposed location, and not able escape, outrun, or shelter indoors from the storm, what are your best options? This was Lily's question, I think.

I admit that I haven't been able to find specific examples of people who were actually in the lightning safety position when they were struck. Based on a quick assessment of how and where people were struck, my > guess < is that most of them had no idea they were at risk, and hence took no safety precautions. Some were just too stupid. (See the photos of smiling people with their hair standing on end from high voltage static electric field)

For those who might be having difficulty in understand the science behind the crouching lightning safety position, here are some links that explain lightning ground current. The first link explains how ground currents work and includes provides safety tips. The second demonstrates how having your feet apart at a normal distance could put 50,000 Volts across your body. The third link is to a document about back country safety, where you might not be able to get to a safe location before the storm gets to you. The web pages explain exactly what advantages the crouching position has, and the science behind it. These include easy-to-understand graphics and photos.

If you're caught in the open, with no reasonable chance for getting to a real shelter, get off of your Seg because it's tall, and that's bad. Standing up can make you taller than the surrounding area. That's bad too. Crouch down so you're not the highest point. Curl into a ball to minimize the possibility of providing a launch point for "streamers" which reach up from the ground just prior to the strike. Keep feet close together, or touching, to minimize voltage across your body due to ground currents.



http://www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov/...d_currents.htm

http://www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov/..._lightning.pdf

http://www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov/..._lightning.pdf
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Old 05-29-2015, 12:51 PM   #25
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Well, I am not the only bloviator here.

1. I never dismissed the technical aspects of the crouching position. I said several times it may be electrical appropriate, but not appropriate to tell older mobility impaired people, as crouching in a ditch is more likely to cause discomfort than the far rarer occurrence of being struck by lightening.

2. The OP did not set the scenario where she was alone on a plain, with no shelter or other opportunities. She set the scenario where she was gliding home from church. Unless her church is a wide open field, and and she only also has wide open fields between that and her home,... NO, she actually said she was a few blocks from home, that indicates she is in some community with blocks, roads and cross roads. She also indicated with questions that she was gliding between buildings and trees and other tall structures.

So, the presumption that she was in a wide open plain was not supported by her own words. What she said was that she did not have shelter nearby. This is subjective. Perhaps she could have knocked on the door of a nearby house, but not knowing the people who lived there, did not consider it appropriate shelter. I do not know, but neither does the only other poster here.

The Last posting, where it says it is becoming apparent that the official position is that you should not try to stay in the open but run for a safe location surely seems more like my advice than the other poster's. He has maligned me as best as he can, and after thousands of words as why I am ignorant and foolish, and most likely not aware of how electricity works, he has come full circle to say that that the 'official position' is more similar to my advice to go home, or go to safety, than his advice to squat in a ditch in the rain.

One final note.

I was mowing my rear lawn yesterday, and saw the dark clouds gathering, and heard the clap of thunder. I did consider diving off my lawn tractor, and squatting while the rains came, but I resisted. I mowed a bit longer, and when the drops first started coming down, I finished that row, and then drove the tractor to the shed. By the time I backed it in, the downpour was fully engaged.

I ran to my camper that happened to have the awning out... I ran to the next shelter from the rain, and eventually got back to my back porch, where I found the dog, waiting to come in, under a roof over hang.

The two of us (dog and I) went into the house, and waited for the rain to pass.

On some level I wonder if my life would have been different if I just squatted there in my back yard and waited it out. I suspect not much different. But, had my wife been home, she may have been tempted to call those guys with the white coats and the giant butterfly net...
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Old 06-01-2015, 11:19 AM   #26
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I should know better.

Lily's original post asks, "I understand that auto tires will insulate you from lightning, but what is safe if you get caught in a storm on your seg? Common sense says avoid if at all possible.. But some of these storms are coming up pretty fast and I'm not always that close to either home or shelter, so safety tips would be welcome.

This general statement/question is somehow conflated with a single example (coming home from church) that Lily provides a couple of posts later.

I provided the best information that I could find about what to do if you're caught in the open with a lightning storm approaching, with no reasonable chance for getting to a real shelter. Apparently, the thought of being caught in a bad situation is beyond comprehension, for some.

The only other "advice" is to dismiss pretty much everything suggested by lightning experts (because they are "bureaucrats" who will write/say anything whatsoever just to get published}, followed by sarcastic comments about cows on Segs, and not-so-humorous stories about coming in out of the rain.

Such comments, devoid of useful content, take up space, but do not provide answers to Lily's questions, or anyone else's. I took Lily's request for information as serious. Others essentially laughed at her concerns, because they believe (based on a faulty understanding of statistics), that nobody should be concerned about lightning. This thinking is similar to blithely swimming among a group of hungry feeding sharks, because you "know" that shark attacks are statistically so rare. Poor critical thinking is resolved by nature, given enough time. One can only hope that it doesn't slop over to other people before such resolution.

I'm happy to help Lily.

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Old 06-01-2015, 02:21 PM   #27
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LOL. Yes it was a serious question. I simply didn't want to be a rolling lightning rod. I had no idea it would keep so many so well occupied!
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Old 06-01-2015, 07:02 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Civicsman View Post
I should know better.

Lily's original post asks, "I understand that auto tires will insulate you from lightning, but what is safe if you get caught in a storm on your seg? Common sense says avoid if at all possible.. But some of these storms are coming up pretty fast and I'm not always that close to either home or shelter, so safety tips would be welcome.

This general statement/question is somehow conflated with a single example (coming home from church) that Lily provides a couple of posts later.

Actually, not conflated with anything. Lily never said anything at all about being in a field, you were the only one who mentioned this situation. She offered a couple examples of her not having shelter, one was the trip home from church, another time was the question about buildings and trees in the area, etc. In YOUR mind, you were responding to her question, but in FACT, you were only responding to YOUR interpretation of her question.

I provided the best information that I could find about what to do if you're caught in the open with a lightning storm approaching, with no reasonable chance for getting to a real shelter. Apparently, the thought of being caught in a bad situation is beyond comprehension, for some.

I also included quotes from experts. You continually refuse to accept that two of my three references were similar to yours, but berate and malign me just the same.

Getting caught in a bad situation is not beyond my comprehension, but clearly we have different definitions of being caught in a bad situation, both the bad situation part, and the caught part.

Lily herself indicated that she was gliding between buildings, and also that she considered herself not available to shelter. I simply offered that she could take shelter in a home that was not her own, if the situation was bad enough, and you suggested that we disregard her suggestion of being among other buildings, and she was alone in a field. This is not a situation of my not being able to understand her question, but rather to have the gall to have a different solution path than you came up with.


The only other "advice" is to dismiss pretty much everything suggested by lightning experts (because they are "bureaucrats" who will write/say anything whatsoever just to get published}, followed by sarcastic comments about cows on Segs, and not-so-humorous stories about coming in out of the rain.
I did not, and do not dismiss pretty much everything suggested by experts. I did and do pretty much dismiss the applicability of the suggested solution you came up with which was to have nice old ladies squatting in ditches.

You yourself posted that the experts have basically come to the conclusion that you most likely should consider going to shelter, like I said, instead of squatting in ditches, as you said. Are you now suggesting that you know better than the experts who said to go to shelter rather than stay in the open?

Such comments, devoid of useful content, take up space, but do not provide answers to Lily's questions, or anyone else's. I took Lily's request for information as serious. Others essentially laughed at her concerns, because they believe (based on a faulty understanding of statistics), that nobody should be concerned about lightning. This thinking is similar to blithely swimming among a group of hungry feeding sharks, because you "know" that shark attacks are statistically so rare. Poor critical thinking is resolved by nature, given enough time. One can only hope that it doesn't slop over to other people before such resolution. This is a most ridiculous suggestion that coming in out of the rain is the same as swimming with a group of hungry feeding sharks. Talk about faulty understanding of statistics! That is pretty special. I suggest that she should come in out of the rain, and you take that to mean she should swim with hungry feeding sharks. WOW.

I'm happy to help Lily.
You are happy to offer one and only one solution, and berate anyone else who offers a different slant on the solution.

Why have I suggested that squatting in ditches for this questioner is not appropriate? Because it is not appropriate.

Why have you never commented on the likelihood of your suggestion to squat in ditches will cause more discomfort and damage to this woman than going home on her segway, when you also posted that your experts have started to realize there is no safety in being exposed, and the appropriate thing to do is go to shelter?

I think it is beyond your comfort level to think of whom you are answering questions to.

Again, I challenge you to answer my simple question.

Is squatting in a ditch more likely to offer discomfort or danger to a mobility impaired older person than going home in that same storm?

Why are you so unable or unwilling to answer that simple question?
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Old 06-02-2015, 09:33 AM   #29
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I could try to answer the questions above, but the questions themselves stem from faulty understanding of the situations, and I have already answered most of them several times, seemingly without being able to convey any understanding.

Take this gem as an example:
Quote:
This is a most ridiculous suggestion that coming in out of the rain is the same as swimming with a group of hungry feeding sharks. Talk about faulty understanding of statistics! That is pretty special. I suggest that she should come in out of the rain, and you take that to mean she should swim with hungry feeding sharks. WOW.
I have repeated stated that the advice of taking the lightning safety position (squatting in a ditch) is an answer to "...if you're in a dangerously exposed location, and not able escape, outrun, or shelter indoors from the storm, what are your best options?" This is apparently beyond comprehension, as KSAGAL consistently conflates "dangerously exposed and not able to escape" to ridiculous would-be analogies, such as simply going inside his house when it starts raining in his yard. A coherent discussion cannot be had when one party steadfastly clings to personal beliefs, and refuses to consider the circumstances under discussion.

This failure of understanding and imagination is seen in the position stated in KSAGAL's very first post on this topic:

Quote:
Interesting things to concern yourself with.

It is exceedingly rare to be struck by lightning, and rarer still to do this while on a segway.

I will not comment on the advice previously given, and have no reason to believe that any of it is faulty, but you may wish to consider that I do not think it particularly likely that you will get struck by lightning, even though you clearly can do things that may or may not make your odds change.

I believe it is kind of like asking for advice on how to with the lottery, or some other thing that have the odds fantastically stacked against you.
Apart from essentially dismissing Lily's concerns as insignificant, KSAGAL goes on to misrepresent the likelihood of being struck by lightning, while in a lightning storm (on Segway or not), as having fantastically low odds, similar to winning the lottery. It is this dogged failure of understanding that leads him to twist my position of being caught in a lightning storm to his position of "coming in out of the rain".

This closely-held personal belief then leads to him to conclude that "This is a most ridiculous suggestion that coming in out of the rain is the same as swimming with a group of hungry feeding sharks.", thus demonstrating again that he does not understand the basic issues, that getting caught, exposed in the open, in a lightning storm is a HIGH RISK situation. This ain't "coming in out of the rain", and general statistics about the rarity of lightning strikes (or shark bites) do not apply. As with getting shark-bit, one's risk of being struck by lightning can be MUCH higher, depending on the situation, which KSAGAL seems unwilling to consider.

Armed with the best information of lightning experts, Lily, and anyone else who happens to read this, can make their own decision (you know...they can take personal responsibility) about what action to take if they are caught in a bad situation. Armed with real information (instead of personal beliefs only) they can make their OWN decision about whether to run for it or not. They can decide for themselves whether it's better to have a little knee pain from hunkering down in a lightning storm, or to significantly increase their likelihood of being struck by lightning and having a lifetime of neurological difficulties....assuming they survive.

I believe very much in taking personal responsibility, but I also believe that not being appropriately informed before making an important decision is just dumb.

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Old 06-02-2015, 02:12 PM   #30
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Lots of ranting, lots of lies, lots of saying what I believe when simply reading what I said would tell the truth, and even dis-owning what he said about swimming with sharks.

And still never answering my continual question, if he believes that Lily is more likely to be injured or discomforted by squatting in a ditch or being struck by lightening on any particular day, in any particular thunderstorm, or on any particular segway outing.

The fact that ranting with mis-information is the choice, instead of simply answering the simple question says all that needs to be said.
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