Step Away From the iPod, Sparky

lightning.jpg 

Snopes has a disturbing post about what can happen if you’re struck by lightning while wearing your iPod:

While electronic devices don’t attract lightning the way tall trees or lightning rods do, those struck from above while carrying or wearing them are likely to endure far greater injury…For instance, a July 2007 article in The New England Journal of Medicine reported on the injuries sustained in 2005 by a 37-year-old jogger in Vancouver who was struck by lightning while plugged into his iPod. That unfortunate gentleman was thrown 8 feet in the air when a bolt of lightning blasted a nearby tree. In addition to the more usual injuries of second-degree burns on his chest and left leg, he also had two linear burns along his chest, up his neck and along the sides of his face, terminating in substantial burns to his ears. (This path corresponded with the wires between his iPod’s ear buds and the unit itself.)

Snopes  also mentions the case of a Colorado teenager hit by lightning while mowing the lawn and listening to Metallica, and New Scientist reports on the Vancouver case as well. Snopes uses these cases as an opportunity to provide a series of of reminders about what to do or not to do in a thunderstorm… my God, I do love Barbara Mikkelson, she is like the Victorian schoolteacher of my dreams, telling me not to play in the rain.

Photo: Lightning Over Romania, from Wikipedia.

Dark Matter cover photo by Efrain Gonzalez.

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