Men make up a whopping 82 percent of the 648 people that were killed by lightning in the U.S. from 1995 to 2008. Dudes, what gives?
Apparently, standing outside during a lightning storm with a metal pole in your hand seems like a good idea to a lot of men.
Via Popular Science, John Jensenius, a lightning safety expert with the National Weather Service, had this to say:
Men are less willing to give up what they’re doing just because of a little inclement weather… and will continue to engage in pastimes that make them vulnerable, such as fishing, camping and golfing. Recreational or sports-related activities are involved in almost half of all lightning-related deaths.
To put an evolutionary spin on the data, Peter Todd, a behavioral psychologist at Indiana University, said he thinks men are hard-wired to exhibit bold (stupid?) behavior to attract a mate—though unless their ideal mate is their golfing or fishing buddy, it’s not so clear how this strategy works. Are women really impressed by tales of some dope slicing into the woods during a lightning storm?
Evolutionarily speaking, you’d think men with a tendency to hang around outside during storms would have been killed off by now—and maybe that helps explain why only 648 people were killed by lightning over the past 13 years.
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Image: flickr / Axel Rouvin