Can a blind person see the flash of a bomb?

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In a 1945 publication of the Albuquerque Journal, a journalist reported that Georgia Green, a blind 18-year old girl, was traveling 50 miles north of Trinity Site (where the first atomic bomb was tested) when the atomic bomb was detonated. bomb2.jpgAccording to their records, she "saw" the flash of light from the detonation, and said to her brother who was driving the car, "what's that?" People began to believe that this girl saw the flash because the bomb was so bright, even from 50 miles away. This urban legend is poorly and mysteriously supported; we can use a few of the principles of scientific thinking to evaluate the validity of this urban legend. atombomb.jpg

First, there is an issue of correlation versus causation; we do not know for sure that the reason Georgia Green said "what's that" had anything to do with the bomb's detonation, it could have been caused by something else that happened at the same time. Which leads us to the next principle: replicability. If she would have been placed in the same situation but at a different time, would the same thing happen? Lastly, we can evaluate t
he urban legend using the principle that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. There would have to be extraordinary evidence to support the argument that blind people acquire or experience some kind of reaction to the radiation produced by the atomic bomb, for example.

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This page contains a single entry by Mary published on October 9, 2011 7:18 PM.

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