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10 Myths About Lightning

        Science | Storms

8
Wearing Headphones Makes You a Target
Keep on jamming -- you're not a lightning target with your headphones on. Photolyric/Getty Images
Keep on jamming -- you're not a lightning target with your headphones on. Photolyric/Getty Images

The decision to walk around in public with those big, colorful Beats by Dre headphones – or some knock-off version – says a lot about a person: "I like to physically bump into people on the street because I can't hear anything that's going on around me," for instance, or "I could have been an air traffic controller had I just applied myself in high school." While wearing the headphones – particularly while nodding your head vigorously and singing or rapping along on the train or bus – will certainly earn you the scorn of others, it won't make you a stronger candidate for being struck by lightning.

That's because it's height that matters. As the Empire State Building shows, the closer to the sky you are, the more likely a bolt or three will come your way. So if you're less than 100 feet (30 meters) above the ground, you can crank up the hits and gyrate down the street to your heart's content [source: Robinson]. Just, you know, try not to gyrate into anyone else.

The headphone cable might even help you in a lightning strike as it could divert the current away from your heart [source: Robinson]. You'll still get some major burns though, so don't let this minor benefit keep you from seeking shelter during a thunderstorm.


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