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Why You Don’t Want X-Ray Vision

What would the world be like if you could see through anything? That’s the promise of the classic superpower known as “x-ray vision.” Need to see the bad guy behind that wall? No problem. Want to peep the goodies inside a safe? Easy. It seems like a simple superpower with a lot of potential uses, but just like invisibility, super strength and super speed, if you think about x-ray vision scientifically, I don’t think you’d even want it.

X-ray vision has been a superpower for longer than “x-ray specs” have been a creepy scam, and I think it’s so popular because it’s both powerful and easy to understand. Most of us have seen medical imaging using x-rays, so we know x-rays can go through stuff, and so extending that ability to our eyesight is a lateral move. But just as x-ray specs were always a letdown, in my latest episode of Because Science I explain why “real” x-ray vision wouldn’t be nearly as astounding or as useful as you think.

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