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Animatronic Zeus

Tourist attraction (and too-close-tourist attacker) and lightning attractor for scientific study
  [vote for,

An electrically insulating, animatronic statue of Zeus is constructed in a lightning-prone location, ideally somewhere in Greece.

He holds over his head a large steel framework in the shape of a lightning bolt bundle, as seen in the picture at [1]. The more central steel members have very strongly constructed wiggly xenon flash tubes running along them, and the peripheral ones are branchy and have sharp points sticking out in random directions.

In Zeus's head is a system for detecting lightning. There is a radio receiver for detecting approaching storms, and an electric field detector for detecting imminent strikes.

As Zeus detects the buildup of the electric field in preparation for a strike, his eyes begin to glow bright blue-white. When it's about to strike, Zeus swings his lightning bolt and slams it into the ground. An ultraviolet laser in the top of the lightning bolt fires upward at the storm cloud, producing an ionized path through the air, inviting lightning to strike Zeus's bolt. When it does, some of the current passes through the xenon tubes, producing a flash, and some streamers are thrown off by the pointy bits on the periphery. Zeus's lightning bolt is also connected to his hair, so that it lifts up (like the hair of a person touching a Van de Graaff generator) and throws off streamers too.

After the lightning has struck, and after waiting for any re-strikes, Zeus raises his lightning bolt back over his head, and calls out the statistics of the lightning strike (current, total energy, etc.) in a deep, booming voice.

This statue should attract tourists to the area to view lightning at closer range than is usually possible. It should also serve as a good place for scientists to study lightning—currently, lightning is studied at a few places by shooting rockets trailing wires upward into storms, which is probably a bit inconvenient to do.

N/A [2019-03-31]

notexactly, Mar 31 2019

[1] Zeus's Lightning Bolt http://mythology.wi...s%27_Lightning_Bolt
Said to be used for "Highly Advanced Smiting" and "Divine Slaying". Stand back! [notexactly, Mar 31 2019]


       If inquisitive audience members get too close, they could easily be fatally electrocuted. [+]
8th of 7, Apr 03 2019

       Nice. If the bolt descended into a bed of sand piled around intricately placed wires with differing metallic salts surrounding them you can make one-of-a-kind fulgurite glass God-sculptures impossible to reproduce.   

       Might eventually pay for the initial installation costs.   

       This is awesome! Can the atmospheric charge build-up be reliably detected?
neutrinos_shadow, Apr 03 2019

       Is it possible to rent the facility for a short while? I have in mind a particularly nasty right-wing politician to whom I wish to show this thing.
UnaBubba, Apr 03 2019

       Can we have it do "ONE-POINT-TWENTY-ONE GIGAWATTS!" in Christopher Lloyd's voice every October 21st?
RayfordSteele, Apr 03 2019


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