Monday, 7 April 2014

Podcast Extra (2)

I have written previously about my Apple iPod that I use as a relaxation through entertainment mainly at bedtime or occasionally when I am out walking the dogs. I have found myself chuckling away at a comedy program only to get a few strange looks from people walking the towpath. Now I wear a pair of bright pink ear buds which make it more obvious that I am listening to something and that I have not lost the plot. I find that the iPod is ideal in such situations because of its small size. 

For a bit more background on the ever growing world of podcasts you can read my original posting on Podcasts and Podcasting. Click Here.

So what have I been listening to recently in the digital world of podcasting. 

The latest in the list of Podcasts to be downloaded onto the iPod is 'Damn Interesting.' Its hard to say what the content is going to be. It could be a short story. It could be an excerpt from a book. It could have an historical flavour or it could be factual. Out of the current batch of Podcasts (free for download on iTunes) I enjoyed listening to  'The Conductor.'

Lightning is a spectacular natural phenomena. When viewed from a distance, its power can be awe inspiring. When caught in a lightning storm it can be very frighting. Lightning is a discharge of static electricity that occurs when there is an imbalance in the electrical charge between the cloud and the earth's surface. Put very simply, it is a giant electric spark in the sky - a very powerful one. It can stop a person's heart and cook their internal organs. 

A popular saying associated with lightning is chance. How often do you hear the phrase 'as much chance of happening as being struck by lightning.' Yet, on average three people die in the UK each year from lightning strikes. In the UK, up to 60 people every year get struck and survive, but it's estimated that more than three-quarters of them suffer some form of permanent disability.

Men are four times as likely to be struck as women. This is believed to be because men are statistically more likely to be outdoors. Golfers are probably at greatest risk, because they are likely to be caught in the open far from shelter. There are three types of lightning strike. A direct strike is when it hits you and goes to earth through you. A side flash is when it hits another object and jumps sideways to hit you. A ground strike is when it hits the ground then travels through it hitting you on the way.

I was thunderstruck to learn about Roy Sullivan who was a park ranger in Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. He was hit by lightning on several (I'm not going to spoil the story by giving the number of times) occasions and survived all of them. He gained a nickname "Human Lightning Conductor" or "Human Lightning Rod". Roy is recognized by Guinness World Records as the person struck by lightning more recorded times than any other human being. However, the story surrounding each event adds an even more remarkable chapter to his life.  He may have been unlucky each time he was struck, but he was also remarkably lucky each time. As was his wife who was also struck once in her own right.
Who knows maybe you might be able in the future to listen to a podcast with the soft dulcet tones of a dyed in the wool Yorkshire cynic. Who might just wax lyrical about all things good, bad and indifferent. Aspects of life that he comes across as he makes his way along the canal.

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