Thursday, September 08, 2005

(*) The Darwin Awards by Wendy Northcutt

These awards are handed out annually to those who thankfully remove themselves from the gene pool. In this manner, over the millenia our species has become ever fitter. However reading this book may bring that into question. In any case, here are 2 excerpts that I enjoyed. In both o these cases, the actual Darwin Award cannot be awarded, since the main characters failed to actually remove their genes. All in all, an easy light humorous read.

Questions and Answers p125
A young man presented himself in the emergency room covered with burns on all exposed skin. Even his hair was singed close to his scalp.

What had caused these injuries? He had posed himself a question, and then, overwhelmed by curiosity, empirically determined the answer. In order to discover the answer to his question, which will soon be revealed, he proceeded to shoot a propane tank with a .22 caliber rifle. Having survived the 1st stage of his stupidity, he gave the propane 10 minutes to leak out, and then held a burning lighter and walked slowly TOWARD the hissing tank.

[So after this description, can you guess this guy’s initial question?]
The question: How close do you have to be [to a leaking] propane tank before it blows up?

[So now can you guess his empirically determined answer?]
The answer: 15 feet

Stingy Scientist p193
There are many toxic jellyfish off the coast of Australia. Our dedicated scientist knew he must test his hypothesis that this gelatinous creature was toting the particular venom that causes Irukandji syndrome [sufferers endure excruciating back pain, sweating and nausea]. And how best to go about this?

He chose the most expedient method available: he stung himself.

Foolish? Yes, but the good doctor was not done yet. To reach dizzying heights of Darwinian grandeur one must ensure that one’s deficient DNA is entirely removed from the gene pool. As Dr. Barnes had already sired an heir, there was only one thing left to do… He stung his 14 yr old son as well!

Despite his truly outstanding effort to place the continued existence of the Barnes lineage in mortal peril – alas it wasn’t to be. Dr Barnes, his son, and the nearby lifeguard whom the good doctor also introduced to the joys of Irukandji syndrome were all rushed to the intensive care unit of a nearby hospital. All 3 survived.

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