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Sabroso Shot #8 - Lightning Maps

LightningMaps.org is a live lightning storm tracker which shows lightning strikes around the world as they happen.

There's little on earth which is more terrifying and awe-inspiring than a lightning storm. The raw unstoppable power they generate seems to make time stand still for a brief moment.

I've never seen anything like this map. It's a bit of an engineering marvel, combining live data from hardware (volunteers set up trackers around the world), laid over a slick Google map. If you zoom out far enough and turn the sound on, you can hear dozens of clicks per minute representing lightning striking all over the world.

It's no surprise that it's been widely covered, with links from 4000+ unique domains.

There's something almost poetic about seeing that insane power represented by a tiny click on a screen. Surely the people around those dots are experiencing the full force of nature, which seems almost impossible to us, looking out on a sunny day.

There's an Adam Smith quote from The Theory of Moral Sentiments which is too long to repeat here. It basically suggests that when something happens thousands of miles away from us, it's easy to ignore its impact and focus instead on our own problems (he gives the issue of a Chinese tsunami rather than a lightning strike, but it's a similar thought).

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