Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Darwin Awards

Yes, this year's Darwin Awards have been announced, featuring stories of bizarre and gene-pool improving deaths gathered during 2006. My favourite is this one from Brazil, which came second overall:

August brought us a winner from Brazil, who tried to disassemble a Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG) by driving back and forth over it with a car. This technique was ineffective, so he escalated to pounding the RPG with a sledgehammer. The second try worked--in a sense. The explosion proved fatal to one man, six cars, and the repair shop wherein the efforts took place.

14 more RPG grenades were found in a car parked nearby. Police believe the ammunition was being scavenged to sell as scrap metal. If it wasn't scrap then, it certainly is now!

Read the full Darwin Awards press release here. If I recall previous issues correctly, this year's list is less spectacular than in the past, with fewer stupidity-inflicted deaths. I guess this can be considered anecdotal evidence of an improvement in the general intelligence of the human race.

If you're hankering for the good old days, though, here's a classic Darwin demise from 1996:
Some men will got to extraordinary lengths to prove how macho they are. Frenchman Pierre Pumpille recently shunted a stationary car two feet by headbutting it. "Women thought I was a god," he explained from his hospital bed.

Deity or not, however, Pumpille is a veritable girl's blouse compared to Polish farmer Krystof Azninski, who staked a strong claim to being Europe's most macho man by cutting off his own head in 1995. Azninski, 30, had been drinking with friends when it was suggested they strip naked and play some "men's games". Initially they hit each other over the head with frozen turnips, but then one man upped the ante by seizing a chainsaw and cutting off the end of his foot. Not to be outdone, Azninski grabbed the saw and, shouting "Watch this then," he swung at his own head and chopped it off.

"It's funny," said one companion, "when he was young he put on his sister's underwear. But he died like a man."
You couldn't make it up.

To quote the Darwin Awards' own motto:
"The Tree of Life is Self-Pruning"

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