Who would have known frying a plasma TV could be that much fun?

For the impatient, start at 3:30.

Map of the Day


Frequency of Lightning Strikes Throughout the World

Plagiarism? You be the judge

Stuff is carrying a story on its frontpage by Harry Pearl and Nicola Brennan-Tupara about two guys hit by lightning.

Near the bottom of the article is this sentence:

The charge of a lightning bolt – a tube of ionised air as thick as a thumb – is about 300,000 degrees Celsius. That’s the same temperature as the surface of the Sun.

An astute reader thought something was amiss…especially about the temperature claim. He thought they should be talking about¬†the unit of electrical charge which is the coulomb.¬†He found that a google search on the exact phrase “a tube of¬†ionised air as thick as a thumb” showed a 2008 article by Carolyne Meng-Yee on the NZ Herald website.

A lightning bolt is a tube of ionised air as thick as a thumb. The charge is about 300,000C – the same temperature as the surface of the sun.

An interesting coincidence of words?

As there is no independent source that Google can find for this or¬†related text, we must then assume that Stuff have clearly plagiarised¬†the NZ Herald content, which in itself is erroneous. Note the order¬†of words is altered, indicating they knew what they were doing. Google is smart enough to show results for “iononized”, but there are no other results other than these two articles.



It is small beer, but one easily found. What do you think?


The Tesla Gun

ŠĒ• Boing Boing¬†and

The Tesla Gun is a hand-held, battery powered lightning machine. It is a spark gap Tesla coil powered by an 18V drill battery. You pull the trigger, and lightning comes out the front.


Yesterday was pretty shocking weather for Auckland:

Almost 12,000 lightning strikes have been recorded over the North Island today. said the thundery weather peaked today and was to finally ease back this evening.

Wild thunderstorms continued in some parts of the North Island tonight, mostly around northern parts of Auckland and central eastern parts of the North Island. Flooding was being reported in west Auckland.

“There was a flash flood immediately after the heavy rains in Atkinson Road,” wrote Ashok Sudhakaran in an email to the¬†Herald¬†about flooding in Titirangi. “A huge amount of water cascaded down the slopes and collected in the front yard of two houses.”

As the evening continued to cool, the thunderstorms would ease. head weather analyst Philip Duncan said storms may pop up in the afternoon tomorrow but were likely to be far more isolated and far less intense.

Mr Duncan said thunderstorms peaked this afternoon with a few thousand lightning strikes detected in just 60 minutes.