Burned by an iPod

Caught outside in a lightning storm? Listening to a few tunes might seem like a good way to wait it out, but a new report in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests that this is a very bad idea. The paper details several cases of electronic-device-related injuries, including a particularly harrowing account of lightning-meets-iPod. In this instance, an unnamed Vancouver man was running in a park when he took shelter, hoping to wait for a storm to pass. Lightning struck a nearby tree, and witnesses report that the man was thrown about eight feet. On top of that, his iPod and earphones, along with the layer of sweat covering his skin, conducted the bolt's charge. The man's injuries included a burn pattern that extended from his chest, where he'd been holding the device, to his ears, plus a broken jaw and permanent hearing loss. He's not alone: There have been several other reports of this phenomenon. So, next time you're stuck in a storm, pocket your ear plugs and try belting out a few tunes of your own.—Gregory Mone