This video of a guy repairing high voltage cables from a helicopter
has been going around a while -- for instance, it was posted on boing boing
a few months ago, as well as digg -- but it was new to me. It has a surreal, science-fiction quality that makes it seem fake, especially when you see the repair guys sliding down the wires on all fours like spiders, but apparently this really is how live high-voltage wires are often serviced.
The guy doesn't get fried by the electricity because he's wearing a metal-fiber suit that acts as a "faraday cage" allowing the current to flow around him without harming him. Because the helicopter isn't touching the ground, it can safely be brought to the same voltage potential as the line, "like a bird on a line." (I really don't understand the technical aspects of electricity very well, so I'm just parroting the explanation given in the movie.)
The footage comes from an IMAX movie called Straight Up: Helicopters in Action
, which is a Smithsonian documentary about "helicopters and their many and vital roles in contemporary society."