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Examining the Darwin Awards 106

cmuncey writes "Salon has two articles about those perennial geek favorites, the Darwin Awards. This includes an interview with "Darwin" and their current favorites from the winners and nominees. (The official site is here.) Any nominations that they have missed? "
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Examining the Darwin Awards

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  • by ChrisUK ( 92178 ) on Monday January 03, 2000 @03:35AM (#1412444) Homepage
    The guy who tried to get a first post and tripped over the cables connecting his monitor and knocked himself out when the monitor fell on him, and then he, uh, became impotent due to a bizarre cat-related event straight afterwards.
  • I remember this one time, at band camp, a guy fell into a tuba full of pudding and died of hypothermia.

  • This wouldn't count for a Darwin, because the guy didn't die, but what about that Dutch scientist who stared at the sun for 14 minutes before going permanently blind, just to find out how long people could stand to stare at the sun?
  • by Invicta{HOG} ( 38763 ) on Monday January 03, 2000 @03:49AM (#1412448)
    I always thought that this particular exercise was a pretty funny idea. I was able to enjoy it primarily because I DID think that they were all fabricated (I still believe that many are). However, two years ago I was sharing it with one of my friends who I knew was from one of the towns mentioned (Woodbridge, VA, site of the death of a young man who liked to dig pits on the beach and sit in them)and, to my surprise, it was a good friend of his. I guess that the deaths are still humorous to some, but after seeing that these are actual deaths that are being laughed at, they have lost all their comic appeal to me...


  • My vote goes for the millions of "intelligent" IS types who were inexplicibly suffocated this weekend when they tried pulling their feet out of their mouths when their heads were all ready firmly lodged in their posterior regions

    yeah yeah moderate me down to non-existance
  • by rde ( 17364 ) on Monday January 03, 2000 @03:52AM (#1412450)
    That's what I am. This horrible, senseless celebration of death shouldn't be allowed.

    There. I've said it, so no-one else needs to. So let's get on with the business of laughing at morons.

    My own personal favourite will always be actor Jon Erik Hexum (sp?), who shot himself in the head with a blank, cunningly forgetting that blanks are lethal up to a few metres. He was starring in some godawful series about models and spies at the time; the title escapes me but I still wake up screaming when the dialogue haunts my dreams.

    However, as a way to go I reckon autoerotic asphyxiation has yet to be beaten (so to speak). What better way to be remembered than with your eyes bulging, and your tongue and your dick hanging out?
  • Anyone living in Israel can confirm that this story [] is for real. It was all over the news here.

    Moderate this down (-1, i^2)

  • Someone should submit the RIAA and the DVDCA for the Darwin Awards for shooting themselves in the foot and inadvertently promoting the software and formats that they want to restrict!

  • Here is the sequence of events. The guy started by shooting himself through the head with a fish gun The spear went in one ear and out the next ( literally ) and he was delivered to the hospital with this 4 foot steal rod about half way through his head.

    While he was in hospital "recovering" he was discovered missing from his bed and the nurse just managed to catch him on his way out the window.

    He was tied to the bed after that which wouldn't have been a problem if he didn't keep trying to lodge food in his throat. I.e. He would swallow a piece of dumpling until it blocked his windpipe and then sit there and tried to pretend everything was fine until he started to turn blue.

    And yes this really happened. I got it from the officer who investigated the case and the one who was stationed at his bedside. Too bad I don't know what became of him afterwards. Although 4 butched suicides in one day speaks volumes :)
  • Cover Up was the show. It was about a woman who's husband was a spy and got killed, so she took over. Training is apparently optional. Their "cover" was that of a modeling agency, which allowed for lots of women in skimpy clothing carrying guns and beating up large stupid men. There was the token stud to escort all these women, and Jon Erik Hexum was him for half a season, before kicking off with the blanks.
  • Did anyone call to find out who is at that number? Hmmm..... phone numbers being slashdotted. There's a concept. ;-)
  • How did it feel sharing 10 portapotties with 2 million other people in Times Square?
  • It's a KFC in Lees Summit, Missouri... told me so... Probably some disgruntled chicken-flippin' employee.
  • However, as a way to go I reckon autoerotic asphyxiation has yet to be beaten (so to speak).

    *groan* :-)

    I must say, that pun was a stroke of genius!
  • One of my favourite Darwin awards of all time must be the one where a guy was demonstrating how strong the window was by running straight at it. As fate should have it he went straight through and plunged 25 stories to his untimely end.

    I guess what made it memorble was the thought by Adam Spencer, "25 stories is just about enough time to realise what an idiot you were"...

    PS it's always strange how we find wierd and whacky deaths so humourous really. I mean if all this stuff is true then their respective families and friends mightn't laughing as much as we are...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 03, 2000 @04:36AM (#1412467)
    A while ago, a friend on the net said that a friend of theirs had died. They recounted the tale, which was awful. Shortly after, I saw a chewed-up version of this circulating on the Darwin nominees list that someone forwarded to me. That's the first time I realised that at least some of the stories were at least partly true. Previously I'd just thought that giggling at urban legends was a bit pathetic. Since this time I knew what the friends were putting up with (prurient media interest and police interest at a time when they had just lost a friend) I didn't find it remotely funny. I realise that much humour is derived from slapstick and pratfalls, but I just don't like it. I don't watch the shows on TV which have home videos of people doing stupid things for the same reason.

    Someone is going to tell me to 'lighten up' now. This being Slashdot, it will be put less politely. But when you laugh at this lot, bear in mind that half of them were done whilst drunk (have you never done something life-threatening when drunk yourself? It might be you next time...) and all of them involve people who had relatives and friends who had thousands of people laughing whilst they dealt with someone's death. Of course, this is Slashdot, where the discussion of one person's death became the subject most riddled with the most appalling comments, so I suppose it's fit fodder for here. Go ahead and laugh. My friend lost a friend.

  • by clyons ( 126664 ) on Monday January 03, 2000 @04:37AM (#1412468)
    I realise that the post is probably a troll. With that in mind, I'm still going to reply. :)

    Do you think being blind to that which God has created and set in motion is faith? To deny the existance of evolution and natural selection is to deny one of the most grand parts of God's creation. If anyone has been misled, it is you; for you have thrown out those things that are clearly evidenced in the world that God created. God wants you to have faith, but God certainly does not want one to dismiss what they can see and feel. Do you not believe that God is capable of creating a system where the most desirable traits are passed on and emphasised, and the least desirable are phased out?

    It is my belief that this particular Anonymous Coward is a member of the Kansas Board of Education. :)

    o/~ So tonight we're gonna party like it's 1699! o/~

  • by Anonymous Coward
    I forget when they had it listed on the Darwin Awards (I think it was last year) but one of them involved a man & women who, for some reason, were throwing M80's or some such out their car window while drunk/stoned/whatever. Apparently, they forgot at one point they had rolled up the window and the lighted M80 bounced back into the car, severly injuring the passengers. It was in Andover, New Jersey, the neighboring town to mine (Sparta, New Jersey). Beleive me, we're in the backcountry of NJ up here and after having lived here for over fifteen years, I can believe the people here can be that stupid!

    Kevin Christie
  • "being ridiculous doesn't kill" -- too bad it's true for ACs.
  • This is starting to get sooooo off-topic, but I couldn't let it lie...
    Darwin was actually a religious man.. he didn't hate OR deny God. Hi was a botanist who wanted to study how species diverged despite geographical separation. It was accidental that his studies resulted in a theory (that has now been accepted as wrong by anthropologists, incidentally) which didn't agree with the creationist six-day theory.
    Darwin's work, and more since, solidified the idea of natural selection, which is easily witnessed even by lay-people of today, and this is the whole point of the humour behind the Darwin awards.
    An example: Two types of butterfly lived in Manchester over a hundred years ago... a pale one, and a dark one. They lived on birches, which are naturally silvery white. Along came the industrial revolution, which polluted the birches into blackness. The white ones suddenly became very visible to predators in their natural habitat, all but died out, having been dominant for many centuries. They were "naturally selected" out of existence.
    Then the city of Manchester worked on its pollution laws, the silver birches became silver again, and the pale butterflys, now camouflaged, were naturally selected back in again.
    OK... seriousness aside, Darwin's "survival of the fittest" may not agree with your personal idea of where we came from, but his notions happen to fit very well with the humour in the Darwin awards, and so in a perverse way, the name of said awards satisfies the weak anthropic principle... it exists because the conditions are correct for its existence.

    Rant over. Let the games continue.
  • ... what about that Dutch scientist who stared at the sun for 14 minutes before going permanently blind

    Did he die staring at the sun (or subsequently)? That's the number one rule [] to be elligible for a Darwin award. Quoted from their site:

    "we commemorate those who unintentionally douse the gene pool with chlorine by innovating moronic ways of killing themselves, thereby helping eliminateu ndesirable weaknesses from the genome."
  • This has got to be a joke
  • by Anonymous Coward one where a guy who was robbing a car used the butt of a gun to break the car window. The only problem is that he forgot to take his finger off of the trigger and blew his head off.
  • I was disappointed to find out that a couple of my favorites are in fact urban legend. The JATO rocket story is unconfirmed and the story of the two guys at the Metallica concert has been assigned "Urban Legend" status. Rats.

    I guess I should be uplifted (instead of bummed) that these are fiction, not fact. But I continue to believe that people are stoopid enought to do that - it's just that this time fiction got there first.
  • Must have been a small guy to fit inside a tuba? And it begs the question, why the hell was the tuba full of pudding? Did the tuba player really like pudding or something, and planed to suck it all down before starting to play?
  • i was there and i didnt use the portable loos...just used the one in the penn station a coupla blocks down..very few people actually used that one sinc ehte main station entrance was closed (but the side one wasnt). other than the cold, times square was kewl.
  • I think I actually WANT a Darwin Award - at least my death would've made someone laugh, and that's valuable. I shall henceforth stick my fingers into as many electric sockets, play with as much traffic, and use as many Microsoft products as I can find.
    Chris Worth []
  • by cmuncey ( 66980 ) on Monday January 03, 2000 @05:08AM (#1412479)
    My all time favorite Stupidity Award (non-fatal) nomination was one that happenend near here in Ceres, CA in the early 90's. Custodians at a elementary school there caught a gopher that had been causing problems. (No, now that you ask, none of them looked like Bill Murray.) Their problem was what to do to get rid of it.

    You see they didn't want to stand around whacking it with shovels while the kids watched. So, being the mental giants they were, they put the animal in a bucket, and took it to a storage room. There they decided to gas/freeze it to death using a spray for freezing chewing gum on sidewalks so it can be chipped off. They closed the metal door behind them and started spraying into the bucket. Unfortunately they also decided to do something else (in the interests of sound time management, of course) they couldn't do in front of the kids.

    They lit up some cigarettes.

    Well, that got a response. If they had bothered to read the labels, they would have known that the propellant (good name in this case) in the spray cans was quite flammable. Maybe propane. The resulting detonation blew the door completely off its hinges, and put the custodians in the hospital for a day.

    Oh, and the gopher? According to the Modesto Bee, witnesses stated that the animal not only survivied the incident, but was last seen crossing the road in front of the school, trying to get away at a high rate of speed. Smart move.

  • by cmuncey ( 66980 ) on Monday January 03, 2000 @05:13AM (#1412481)
    As the Salon story may mention, the JATO Impala urban legend is the all time most popular (and most submitted) Darwin Award story. There is a great, if long, story here [] by someone who claims to have started the story. I have rarely laughed so hard.
  • Actually the Toronto story about the man who smashed his body into the 24th or 25th floor window to prove they were "invulnerable" is true. And yes, it was in the news, it was in the Toronto Star ( - not sure about the other papers since I don't get them) so you can try looking into it.

  • like i said, he didn't die, so it doesn't count. i remember one other nominee from a few years back that didn't die, though. it was the guy who tied a bunch of balloons to a lawn chair and floated away, only to drift over the pacific ocean, necessitating a helicopter rescue...
  • When I lived near the railroad tracks in Washington D.C., several kids became living (?) examples of Ohm's law when they decided to play on top of some railroad cars, directly underneath the 14 KV power lines that are used to power electric locomotives.

    At my previous residence, elevator surfing was a popular fad until one of the little moppets made the fatal discovery that you shouldn't put your body in between the cab and the wall of the shaft.

  • Anybody else notice how both runners up are named Daniel? I'm not going to go into the possible implications, but...
  • And I do remember seeing the explosion scene of this year's winner story [] with my very eyes.

    Moderate this down (-1, This Doesn't Count)

  • Lets see, the criteria...

    1) Died - Yep
    2) From Stupidity - Ditto

  • I read an article in "Outside" (I think) magazine last night that would qualifiy for the Darwin Award. This year a BASE jumper was killed jumping off of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. The jumper was killed when her parachute failed to deploy during her 3000' fall. Oddly enough, the jumper was killed during a jump to memorialize another jumper that was killed, not by the jump off of El Capitan, but by drowning in the Merced River trying to flee park rangers.
  • by Frank Sullivan ( 2391 ) on Monday January 03, 2000 @05:31AM (#1412489) Homepage
    I just got the awards in my mail this morning, and couldn't believe it... the first runner-up is *still alive*!!! Worse, his genitalia are still intact, and he might still breed (he only blew his face off with the blasting cap in his mouth). That, my friends, is unworthy of a Darwin Award.

    Way back when they first started, nominees actually had to die in order to be considered. A few years later, they added the "honorable mention" category for those who merely maimed themselves. But this year, they seem to be handing out full nominations for mere stupidity... i saw nominations this year that involved no bodily harm whatsoever! (like the guy who tried to steal the letters from the board for his mug shots)

    I really hope the Darwin Awards staff will reconsider their methodology and return to their previous high standards, lest they become another Golden Globe, or worse yet, America's Funniest Home Videos.

    chars is barely sufficient
  • The palestines who bombed themselfs were on the papers quite a while ago, I remember at the time the investigators were scratching their heads as to how it happened. Later on this daylight-saving time fact came up...
    As for the firemen, it made the "funny-but-tru" news on tv a few months ago....

    Yes, I know I ramble and my spelling isn't quite up to scratch. If you wish to complain,
  • by Tackhead ( 54550 ) on Monday January 03, 2000 @05:38AM (#1412491)
    If you enjoyed the site referenced in the Salon article, try the real McCoy. The Cult of Father Darwin Mailing List has been around for a good many years, and we love a good culling.

    Clueless twits with the "FAQs are for pussies" gene need not apply. Before signing on, for the love of Uncle Chuck, please read The CoFD FAQ [].

    (On second thought, don't bother. We love flaming helminthic parasites who can't read FAQs into smoldering piles of ash...)

    I can assure you that, unlike , the CoFD has never, and will never pull any punches when it comes to "sensitive" deaths. Hell, we had a fsckin' field day over the "don't wear a seatbelt and let your chauffeur drive drunk" gene (ex-Princess Die), the "trees are your friends" gene (Sonny Bono, $DEADKENNEDY), and the "Hey, I can fly in this fog" gene ($DEADKENNEDY, closely related to "Hey, I can drive" gene posessed by yet another $DEADKENNEDY).

    For Y2K, I personally celebrated by laughing heartily at news footage of some dumb bloke in California standing up on a light pole and reaching up to grab a couple of nearby wires for support. Presumably, he had the "electrical safety is for pussies" gene. Darwin be Praised, he fell down and went boom (actually, "zzap-thud" was more like it) shortly afterwards. Verily, I could almost hear the Voice of Darwin echoing in the Y2K crowd. YOU. Yes, YOU, on the streetlight. Outa the gene pool. NOW.

    For any who object - I quote the final lines of the CoFD FAQ:

    "Finally? There is no finally, for Evolution, under the guiding hand of the Father continues ever on; you can but stave off the inevitable for a few decades, but eventually your time will come and you will die.

    It is up to you to determine if your genetic line will be found Worthy, or whether you will become a statistic in some journalist's copysheet and a scorned entry in this list.

    Go forth and multiply."

  • At my previous residence, elevator surfing was a popular fad until one of the little moppets made the fatal discovery that you shouldn't put your body in between the cab and the wall of the shaft.
    People talk about how violent computer games have no redeeming value, but that's a mistake no quake player would ever make.
  • by acb ( 2797 ) on Monday January 03, 2000 @05:45AM (#1412494) Homepage
    Many years ago, there was an incident in Melbourne, Australia, in which a teenager eliminated himself from the gene pool in a similar fashion. He was a member of a graffiti gang, who snuck into train yards to do aerosol art/vandalise trains; on the side, they would do all sorts of other train-related tricks, such as lever open the doors of moving trains and climb onto the roof.

    Now this guy, apparently having smoked a little too much dope, decided that it would be really cool to go surfing in the City Loop (the underground section of the Melbourne train system, running under the city centre). He did not count on the height of the tunnel abruptly decreasing ahead of him. He hit a wall of concrete face first at something like 60km/h. Apparently he died some hours later in hospital.

    There were memorial aerosol-art murals to him all over the Melbourne train system for several years. Guess they didn't have Darwin Awards back then...
  • I know these are fictional but these two from the movie Clerks always crack me up. I guess their funny because they seem like the kind of stories that are true but no one wants to fess up to.
    • The old guy who had a heart attack while masturbrating in the restroom of a convenience store with a borrowed porn mag.
    • The guy who broke his neck trying to give himself a blowjob.

  • Yes he could have popped the ballons.. in fact he had brought a b-b gun for that very reason. However being several thousand feet above the ground tends to deter one from severing the connection between you and terminal velocity. FYI he did commit suicide about a month later. That is why he was allowed to be in the Darwin awards.
  • Its the fact that they are real that causes me to laugh. They wouldn't be nearly as funny if they were just made up.

    I realize its tragic for people who know someone who died and is nominated for an award, but personally I try not to associate with morons -- to cut down on my risk of being in that situation.

  • From what I remember if you submit a story to them it has to be written up in atleast one newspaper, or have some other kind of validation. If I were able to get through to there site right now I'd check on their guidelines, I'm sure they are on there. Either way, there are certain guidelines to getting a Darwin award, ie. it must have happened / be true
  • by SEGV ( 1677 ) on Monday January 03, 2000 @06:13AM (#1412502) Homepage
    The fatal flaw with the Darwin Awards is obvious to anyone who has read The Selfish Gene (or is otherwise familiar with genetics).

    They don't remove themselves from the gene pool, if they have already reproduced. Hell, if they orphan their children, then someone else has to take care of their offspring. They're ahead.

  • I can't wait to see the DA for the fool who tries to get on top of his house by shooting a RL at his feet.
  • Yeah. I remember reading that. Incidentally, it was a protest, so they new they would have to surrender their equipment, so she didn't take her reserve chute (didn't want to give it up). Course, I wouldn't think you would have much time to use a reserve on a BASE jump. The woman was 60 plus years old and had done a ton of jumps.
  • He would only be eligable if he were to have subsequently removed his genitalia (local anesthesia not required), recognizing that any furtherance of his genetic lineage would be a disservice to the species as a whole.

    Contrary to popular myth, you can survive an act of collassal stupidity and be eligable for the darwin awards, provided you are no longer capable of pro-creating.
  • Also being from NJ, I remember that one as well being on the news.
  • The guy who clipped his own dome with a chainsaw must have been looking to die. That could not possibly have been an unforseen consequence. Is it even possible to get that drunk?
  • They aren't necessarily morons, just people who suffered a monumnental lapse of judgement. Usually it is because they're drunk, often because they are young, sometimes because they spend too much time around dangerous things like explosives or machine tools and let their guard down.

    If the Darwin awards have any redeeming social value, its to remind people that they are mortal.

    As you get older and collect your share of knee, back, and other injuries, you'll discover that most of the time when you hurt yourself, it's preceded by a little voice in your head that says "I shouldn't be doing this". Eventually, you learn to listen to that voice and wear those safety classes, clamp that piece of work, to climb down and move the ladder a little more often while your painting your house.

    The guy who got himself wrapped around a car's drive shaft wasn't doing anything more dangerous than a lot of weekend mechanics do. It's just as stupid to get yourself crushed because you didn't chock your car wheels well enough bit happens often enough.

  • by Sancho ( 17056 ) on Monday January 03, 2000 @07:46AM (#1412509) Homepage
    Yes, but the stories are embellished. I live in College Station, TX and attend Texas A&M University. We have a tradition of building and burning a bonfire every year, and this year it fell, killing and harming several of us. The story got to Darwin and they put it on the site, however it was grossly exaggerated and thrown well out of context. Not only that, but they flat out lied about some things, in order to make the story more amusing.
    Now I've always thought the Darwin Awards were funny, but if our situation is any indication, their complete exaggeration of truly horrible events in order to get some laughs is simply not laughable.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    It is my belief that this particular Anonymous Coward is a member of the Kansas Board of Education. :)

    So what if I am? I am proud to have served my state in the glorious name of God. I am proud to have erased the last vestiges of Darwin's Theory of the Damned from our public schools. In Kansas, nearly every town has held public book burnings, where we dispose of the hellish "science" books. Biology books are gone (they teach evolution.) Same with astronomy books (they teach heliocentrism, also they teach about objects that are more than 6000 light years away from Earth, which is a temporal impossibility.) Same with history and geology books. Here in Kansas, we've discovered that the only book that is needed is the Bible. All the rest have been burned, and the state legislature is considering passing a measure to criminalize ownership of non-Biblical books.

    I am convinced that the educational system here in Kansas will be the envy of administrators around the world. The back-to-the-Bible movement here will spread. I guarantee it. We will spread it to other states and countries, and they will like it. If they don't like it, well, we can make them like it. See, we folks here in Kansas think guns are real, real nifty.
  • Actually, I believe the "Y2K bloke" was in Las Vegas, Nevada. It looked like he got to the arm of the light pole, but wanted to get a little bit higher, so he reached up the high voltage wire.
  • Stull offers:

    I heartily endorse the CoFD Mailing list, having laughed my ass off regularly at the expense of those discussed there.

    Fools are not suffered gladly, just ask DJ Lee, Richtard, Xerxes~, and a few other memorable dofusses. Humorous twisted on topic tales are in order and welcomed by the several hundred listmates.

    Please read the FAQ of the list and lurk for a bit to avoid public embarassment on your part.

    WT Stull
  • As far as I remember, the protest was, in fact, against the park service banning BASE jumping. She was trying to prove that it was so safe that even a 60 year old woman could do it...tragic.
  • Don't forget about the troll who rendered himself sterile by pouring hot grits down his pants . . .
  • ... has to go to the scientists [] who have developed an infertility technique that may help some infertile men to father children. This could "help childhood cancer survivors to become fathers".

    Sorry to seem heartless about this, but doesn't this mean the gene for childhood cancer stays in the gene-pool? Is this a Good Idea?

    Regards, Ralph.

  • The old guy who had a heart attack while masturbrating in the restroom of a convenience store with a borrowed porn mag.

    Yeah, but he still managed to have sex after he died, so those could be some winning genes!
  • Please note - I am entering this as a personal comment, unrelated to my employment.

    My favorite web site for looking up stories to see if they are Urban Legends is that of the San Fernando Valley Folklore Society [] Very well researched and documented, plus well written. I could do without the cutsie effects on the home page, however. I frequently refer people there, for example, after having received yet another copy of the "Bill Gates is giving away $1000 just for forwarding e-mail" hoax.

    The so-called "official Darwin Awards" site and its mailings don't seem to me to be in the spirit of the original Darwin Awards which, as others have noted, always referred to people who died for their stupidity. Nowadays, there's a mixture of Urban Legends and real stories, most of which do not involve an individual's removal from the gene pool.

    Steve Lionel

  • JFK Jr. He dies because of his own stupidity. He didn't have the necessary amount of experience to pilot a plane under the conditions of when he crashed.

    I believe that he was intentionally left out because of who he was. His act was one of blatent and stinging stupidity and he should get a Darwin award for it.

  • A while ago, a friend on the net said that a friend of theirs had died. They recounted the tale, which was awful.
    Many urban legends are passed around by being told as if it happened to a friend, or to a friend-of-a-friend. The proper label for many stories is "Uh..We Don't Know That".
  • Yes, but people in Missouri think tactical nukes are much more fun.
  • Um, I know this dates me, but speaking of the stupid, remember the late Chicago guitarist Terry Kath, who was playing around with what he *thought* was an unloaded handgun and shot himself in the head? Wonder if he's on the Darwin site...
  • And then claim that the "Milkman" did it? :P
  • JFK Jr. He dies because of his own stupidity.

    He wouldn't be considered because it's not funny. The Darwins are chosen to make readers have a nervous laugh and feel bad about it, and to marvel at the stupidity while enjoying a sad yet amusing story. If I step out in front of a train because I didn't look both ways before crossing the tracks, I may be stupid, I may have made a bad judgement, but it's not that interesting. JFK Jr. died in a plane crash, and he happened to be famous. It's not like he was trying to fly it from the wings.

    The Good Reverend
  • Yeah, it is definitely a shame. I didn't catch the fact that she was 60. I still have to say that if I disagreed with her position I would think her jump to be poetically ironic, being a protest against the ban.

    Personally, if you want to BASE jump, go ahead, but you should have to put a deposit down to cover the expense of some unlucky soul having to scrape you off the ground.

  • It sure beats that 'Hey if you you forward this to 10 ppl you will get 1000 dollars next week' email. If you got the darwin awards in your email it means one of your mates are nice enough to pass a good laugh on to you.

    Why doesnt someone start a mailing list for ppl that send spam??

    The message could read -

    Hi, someone has subscribed you to this mailing list because of all the annoying messages you send them. To unsubscribe, forward this message to 10 people by midnight....


    iRobot []

  • Now this guy, apparently having smoked a little too much dope, decided that it would be really cool to go surfing in the City Loop (the underground section of the Melbourne train system, running under the city centre). He did not count on the height of the tunnel abruptly decreasing ahead of him. He hit a wall of concrete face first at something like 60km/h. Apparently he died some hours later in hospital.

    Actually, a few days after that happened I ended up sitting behind some of his friends on a city-bound train, while they were discussing it. He, and most of the ones I overheard discussing it, had gone 'over the top' in the loop several times before. This time, however, he'd been wearing a jacket, the jacket snagged on the 1500V overhead line, and the train raced out from under him, bashing him on the roof before dropping him on the tracks.

    That, at least, is what his friends thought had happened to him. It puts some of my stupid teenage exploits into perspective. Especially since they were talking about picking up a few others to go trainsurfing *again*!

    There were memorial aerosol-art murals to him all over the Melbourne train system for several years. Guess they didn't have Darwin Awards back then...

    What amazed me was that they seemed to consider him a hero...

  • I agree, the comment about the guys with the land mine who their wives couldn't find the pieces of made me realize: "Oh, no, they may have already reproduced!"

    One of the problem with safety precautions is that they let the unsafe and dangerous amongst us continue to live.
  • There should have been bonus points for his death, due to his status as a lawyer.

    Darwin + Lawyer = +5 points on Darwin scale
  • Seriously, I live in Wuss City, formerly known as Seattle. As the "Darwin" awarder said, there might be some uses for risk-taking genes - and there are cases of people where they both have them (Paul Schell and the WTO) and then chicken out (Paul Schell and the No New Years At The Space Needle).

    In my time in the military (ok, so you all don't believe that some of us do stupid things like that) I've seen MANY examples of pre-Darwin behaviour. Like playing with loaded guns, drinking large quantities of vodka before messing with explosives (including anti-personnel mines and tank mines), grabbing an M-90 one minute after it "didn't go off" (it then went off - just before his hand got it - and good thing he had thick glasses or he'd be blind).

    Still, from a genetic point of view - they all "deserved to die". A lot of people take stupid risks like that and live - most of them shouldn't. And, most of the time, alcohol or other drugs are involved.

  • Oh, C'mon, any Aggie has got to have done at least two things that almost made him/her eligible for the Darwin Awards!

    After all, if not, they can't be Aggies!

    And, no, I didn't go to UTA ... but I used to belong to the Texas Folklore Society and I remember many a tale of an Aggie that just missed the Golden Darwin ring by a hair ...
  • In my opinion, the funniest thing on the Darwin site is the date shown on the "pending" items. The web site correctly shows "01/01/00", but subsequent dates are set 1900 years earlier: "01/02/100" and "01/03/100".

  • I am the woman behind the Darwin Awards website. Back when the idea was young and the Awards were circulated in emails in college circles, the chance of a relative finding out about a loved one's nomination were virtually nil. Back then, it was OK to take the "We don't pull no fuckin' punches" attitude that Tackhead espouses.

    Nowadays, Darwin Awards enjoy increasing visibility and are therefore capable of causing anguish to families of the deceased. My intent is to provide sick humor, not to shove a hot poker into the emotional edifices of families. [] doesn't use last names, avoids going for the easy and sleazy celebrity punches, and, when requested by survivors, will edit a story to remove references that make it obvious who is being slammed.

    This is ethical and considerate behaviour.

    Meanwhile, my favorite Darwin Award is the fellow who kept a loaded gun on his nightstand. One night, the phone rang...

I've noticed several design suggestions in your code.