h a l f b a k e r y
Strap *this* to the back of your cat.
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Consumer products with video and audio recording
capability are now widespread. The obvious candidates for
this idea are video doorbells, but that isn't a category.
Dashcams and surveillance cameras would work and the
sheer numbers of cell phones mean that someone will have
one exposed to
the sky at any given moment.
The idea is simple, based on the simple fact that the sound
of thunder takes 5 seconds longer per mile to reach a
device than the flash of lightning. In our scenario, a
selection of video doorbells scattered around a
neighborhood detect a flash of light. Some will not, they're
pointed the wrong way, but enough will, and the timing
can be noted. Lightning is extremely broad spectrum &
high signal/noise as light goes, so it will be easy to spot.
Then, thunder arrives, again, thunder is pretty easy to spot
as a big broad low frequency rumble. Now we plot the
light-sound gaps and draw virtual circles for the thunder
distance. Where the circles overlap, is the approximate
location of the lightning strike.
This dataset can be fed back to whatever evilcorp is
running the phone/security camera/doorbell network and
probably used to sell non-conductive umbrellas or some
such. More usefully, it can generate fine detail on storm
movements and potential fire locations in dry regions.
Lightning Myths: Lightning always strikes the tallest object
[a1, Jun 13 2021]
||//This dataset can be fed back to whatever evilcorp is
running the phone/security camera/doorbell network and
probably used to sell non-conductive umbrellas//
||So, it's an evilcorp, so wouldn't it make more sense to
this the first stop instead of the doorbell thing, but with
conductive umbrellas, get your strike data directly rather
than extrapolating from triangulation of the flash.
||Market them as umbrella phones to help explain the built in
satnav & large whip aerial (lightning rod) on top.
||You can sell the nonconductive ones after.
||// this has been done for years //
||But blitzortung requires purpose-designed lightning
detectors. I read bs0u0155's idea as leveraging a
of consumer electronic devices, which is new.
||I have a similar idea that I haven't posted yet. Not
detection but something else using crowd-sourced
video doorbells and other consumer grade security
||//but with conductive umbrellas, get your strike data
directly rather than extrapolating from triangulation of
||What are we using as a marker for the lightning strike on
the phonebrella? Stops pinging the nearest tower? That
could just be inside a big building. Bill non-payment?
There's a long lead time on that. You'd have to make an
electronic device that can squeal "AAAGH! I've been
struck by lightning" to the phone network before it's
destroyed by the lightning. Which is a challenge to say
||//this has been done for years//
||Ha, that's interesting, but it isn't the same thing. It's just
picking VLF radio* spikes with a dedicated bit of
hardware. The trouble is, there aren't many of them.
There's millions of the doorbells. In addition, the thunder-
lightning gap gives you an internally calibrated distance.
With just the lightning and a real time clock, you're
subject to possible errors - you need pretty sharp timing
equipment to spot differences at light speed. Sound
however, is slow enough to be useful as a marker even
with consumer-grade equipment.
* You can consider lightning as a rather large spark-gap
radio transmitter. Interestingly, the FCC regulates radio
transmission and spark gap transmitter operation is a
felony in the US, so God's in a lot of legal trouble, which
might explain the conspicuous absence.
||//Stops pinging the nearest tower?//
||Yep, cross referencing to the billing company can discount
disconnections & a fresh signal after leaving a building would
result in a previous strike record being deleted,
consider it a work in progress, we'll find ways around false
positives as they crop up.
||//Incidentally its fun to watch Blitzortung when there's a
storm as the display shows the strikes before the sound
arrives so you can wait for the boom from strikes that you
don't happen to see.//
||So if there's an electrical storm, you have your head down
looking at a radio lightning detector?
||//I guess the engineer in me//
||Ah. This goes somewhat toward an explanation.
Personally, I like to use the high-resolution visual
detection system mounted in the front of my head, that
also works at the speed of light so I can know about
||What we need is a way of detecting the direction of a
lightning strike before it happens. It's annoying if you miss
lightning by looking the wrong way or only see a
||//What we need is a way of detecting the direction of a
||Just make them happen where you want them, we've
been doing that for years, it's called a lightning rod, you
just need to make sure your personal erection is the
biggest in town & there aren't any nearby natural features
that will supersede it & then you always know where it's
going to strike.
||We can probably do something about when
as well if we really want but it's likely to leave you're
home looking like something Igor threw together for the
||[skewed], thats not true. While lightning will
*usually* strike the highest point, its not always
the case. See lightning myths <link>. On the plus
side, you did get to say erection.
||I'm well aware it's not the 'highest point' but the
path of least resistance, so I'll pass on reading about what I
already know thanks,
& that can be engineered very effectively if you know what
you're doing & pretty effectively even when you don't really
know what you're doing (such as with the copper lightning
rods we've likely used for centuries as already mentioned).
||//On the plus side, you did get to say erection//
||I did didn't I, it's almost like it's the only reason I