Wednesday, August 19, 2015

20 Year Study of the Darwin Award

Now for those of you that do not recall what the Darwin Awards are all about:  The Darwin Award is given posthumously for a stunningly stupid act or an act so stupid that it brings about the demise of the performer.  Or as Time online puts it so elegantly:  Every year, Darwin Awards are symbolically given to people who manage to die in such an extraordinarily idiotic manner that they ensure the long-term survival of the human species, by removing one idiot from the gene pool.

That being said, a twenty year study of the awards and recipients showed by far that males performed the bulk of award winning performances while the merest fraction went to women.

I thought it would be fun to pass on some of the winning posts as provided by the British Medical Journal.

The award study defined idiotic risks as "senseless... where the apparent payoff is negligible or non-existent, and the outcome is often extremely negative and often final.

The study's authors took the 20 year compilation and discarded the truly adventurous or professional risk takers which  still left them with  318 awards: 282 given to men, and 36 to women.

The Darwin is unlikely to be awarded to individuals who shoot themselves in the head while demonstrating that a gun is unloaded. This occurs too often and is classed as an accident.  In contrast, candidates shooting themselves in the head to demonstrate that a gun is loaded may be eligible for a Darwin Award -- such as the man who shot himself in the head with a "spy pen" weapon to show his friend that it was real."

Another example of a Darwin winner includes the terrorist who didn't put enough postage on his package when sending a mail bomb; it was returned to him, and he promptly opened it and perished. Or the man who attached a shopping cart to the end of a train car, which dragged him to his death.  Or the man from South Carolina who had disguised himself by spray painting his face gold during an armed robbery, and died from the toxic paint fumes.

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