Thursday, January 1, 2009

Darwin Awards

The website, as well as five books, Darwin Awards is very amusing. The site's purpose is to showcase people removing themselves from the gene pool from acts of stupidity. Some are true and verifiable, others are internet rumors/urban legends, it's difficult to separate fact from fiction. Part of the difficulty is that stupidity knows no boundaries and reality can be/is stranger than fiction. It is kind of interesting that men are so much more likely to be awarded this than women are.

It maybe callous to take enjoyment from people's suffering and the loss of life but the people who receive the Darwin awards often deserve it, bring it upon themselves, at least the majority do. I prefer ones in which people did things out of pure stupidity, i.e. they really should have known better, for instance, the one about an electrician using copper wire as kite string near power lines. The stories in which the action was done out of ignorance, rather than stupidity, I generally do not find nearly as amusing; for example there is one in which a person picks up a poisonous snake and makes a comment about not knowing that there were poisonous snakes in that country (Black Adler in Scotland). In those cases I tend to think things like he should have been taught that. Ignorance can be remedied by knowledge, stupidity can not be stopped regardless.

The best ones are stories in which the person was warned repeatedly but did it anyways. Though the ones in which the person should have known beyond any doubt, been doing the job for years are amusing as well. It is best when a truly stupid, purposely ignorant, person is punished.

Of course there are degree's of idiocy, some on the surface aren't very stupid or had the person not taken one more action it would have been fine. Example of one that wasn't stupid that became stupid: sucking up wasps into a vacuum cleaner, is a perfectly valid way to capture wasps. Had the person simply blocked the opening causing the wasps to eventually die of natural causes nothing would have happened. The stupid part was spraying flammable poison into the vacuum which had a hot motor causing it to catch on fire.

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