Lightning strike kills 7 at nursery school party in South Africahttp://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/africa/11/27/south.africa.lightning.strike/index.html?hpt=T2
By Catherine E. Shoichet, CNN
(CNN) -- A lightning strike killed seven people -- including a 4-year-old child -- at a nursery school Christmas party in South Africa, a government spokeswoman said Saturday. Forty others were injured when the lightning struck in KwaZulu-Natal Friday afternoon, said Mashu Cele, a spokeswoman for the province's social development department. "It happened so suddenly. ...They were inside enjoying their Christmas party, and the lightning came through the window into the room that they were in," Cele said. Two parents, two teachers, a gardener and a nursery school director were also killed, she said. About 30 of the victims remained hospitalized Saturday, Cele said, and the province's social development minister was visiting the site to investigate.
DARPA scientists demand lightning on taphttp://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/12/21/darpa_lightning_on_tap/
By Lewis Page
Posted in Physics, 21st December 2009 15:10 GMT
Sometimes it's not so easy being a mad scientist. Narrow-minded colleagues disparage your theories using harsh terms like "crackpot" and "ethically dubious". Persons in charge of critical supplies vital to your experiments - morticians, gravediggers, the people who run the brain depositary* - refuse to cooperate. Even once these hurdles are overcome, and your creation lies ready on the slab awaiting only a lightning bolt to add the vital spark of life, you must often wait weeks or months for the necessary thunderstorm. Well, not any more. Enter those splendid brainboxes from DARPA, the US military research bureau where every lab assistant is hunchbacked, every burst of laughter is hysterical and where living disembodied brains in bubbling jars are de rigueur office accessories. DARPA have now decided that proper scientific enquiry requires that lightning be made available on tap. According to a DARPA announcement issued last week (Word docx ):
Experimental Set-up for Triggering Lightning: Bidders should fully describe how they would attempt to trigger lightning and list all potential pieces of equipment necessary to trigger lightning, as well as the equipment necessary to measure and characterize the processes governing lightning initiation, propagation, and attachment.
The project to provide lightning on tap is known as "Nimbus". According to DARPA, Nimbus lightning-triggering equipment is in no way intended for differently-sane researchers to jumpstart enormous, powerful monsters assembled from assorted body parts and directed by brains recovered from criminal psychopaths. No, it's all about protecting property from lightning damage, or "advances in... science relating to lightning". But then, DARPA claimed that packet-switched networking was all about military communications or something of that sort: whereas in fact it turned out to be predominantly a vehicle for global distribution of pornography. So it would be unwise to believe what they say this time around. It may be time for local residents in the vicinity of DARPA headquarters to start getting out the pitchforks and flickering torches. ®