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2009 Darwin Award Winners Announced 208

Posted by samzenpus
from the dumber-and-dumberest dept.
Greg Lindahl writes "From the woman who jumped in a swollen creek to rescue her drowning moped, to the man who hopped over the divider at the edge of the highway to take a leak, and plunged 65 feet to his death, 2009 was a year both exceptional and unexceptional for Darwin Award-worthy behavior!"

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2009 Darwin Award Winners Announced

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  • by Dartz-IRL (1640117) on Monday January 04, 2010 @04:54PM (#30645998)

    I have, on more than one occasion, been referred to as a future award winner. Given how epically my attempt at a 3-phase mains-powered coilgun failed... I feel they may be right.

    At least I'll win something in my life. Even if it takes my life to win it.

    • At least I'll win something in my life. Even if it takes my life to win it.

      Actually, by the award criteria, you won't win a Darwin award in your life but rather just off the far end of it.

      (Or, given your dispositions, it might actually be the near end :P)

      • by winwar (114053)

        "...you won't win a Darwin award in your life but rather just off the far end of it."

        Not true. If you lose the ability to procreate before(?) having done so and live you are eligible.

        But you are required to do it in an unusual way. Methods that become common are retired from eligibility.

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Blowing your balls off with a railgun qualifies as unusual in my book.

        • Not true. If you lose the ability to procreate before(?) having done so and live you are eligible

          Thank you for clarifying and correcting me :)

          Though I think my original parent is much more likely to die than self-sterilize; at least the imaginary self-caricature personae is...

        • If you lose the ability to procreate before(?) having done so and live you are eligible. But you are required to do it in an unusual way. Methods that become common are retired from eligibility.

          A direct quote from this year's Darwin Awards: "Catholic priests take vows of celibacy. Since priests voluntarily remove themselves from the genepool, the entire group earns a mass Darwin Award." Priests aren't all that "unusual," and with respect to evolution they're no different from anybody else who chooses no

    • by tool462 (677306)

      Since you just need to remove yourself from the gene pool, you don't have to lose your life. You could just horribly maim your genitals!

  • Weak. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) <taiki AT cox DOT net> on Monday January 04, 2010 @04:55PM (#30646012)

    These are Darwin award worthy?

    First off, the rigor. Minor complaint, but it'd be neat if they linked to a police report, or a newspaper article on these incidents.

    Second off, the stupid. These are by far not the stupidest deaths I've read about last year. the DAs are getting weak.

  • They've slashdotted the Darwin Awards! Anybody have a mirror?
  • by yog (19073) * on Monday January 04, 2010 @04:59PM (#30646056) Homepage Journal

    We're all just one failed experiment or innocent mistake away from being on the Darwin Awards list.

    Sure, that guy who jumped over the barrier to relieve himself should have been more careful. But does that mean we need to celebrate his death?

    That priest with the balloons--OK, he should have bailed earlier, or figured out his GPS in advance of his trip. Clearly he made some mistakes. But he was trying to do something for a charitable cause.

    Lots of smart people make dumb mistakes; we're all only human. An old saying "There but for grace of God go I" seems to apply in many of these situations.

    That DUI woman who drowned in the creek--she's a pathetic sort of person, obviously lacking in common sense. But not knowing the full story (the author speculated and extrapolated an awful lot in this case) I hesitate to condemn her as deserving of the Darwin awards.

    All in all it was a mediocre set of awards this year. I've seen better.

    • I once got a shock during enclosure maintenance when I touched a secondary supply that wasn't powered off. It was a minor shock, but that's partly because I was wearing insulated boots and had the other hand in my pocket. (i.e. there was no path to ground.)

      The kicker is that I had a voltage tester in my pocket but I didn't bother to pull it out that one time.

    • by winwar (114053)

      "We're all just one failed experiment or innocent mistake away from being on the Darwin Awards list."

      Not really. Garden variety stupidity is not supposed to be eligible (killing oneself with a loaded weapon, for instance).

      But a drunk driver who drowns after jumping into a flooded creek trying to save their moped. That is a much higher WTF.

    • by hondo77 (324058)

      Sure, that guy who jumped over the barrier to relieve himself should have been more careful. But does that mean we need to celebrate his death?

      Yes. Yes it does.

      Next!

    • by Quirkz (1206400) <ross@quirkz . c om> on Monday January 04, 2010 @07:38PM (#30648244) Homepage

      We're all just one failed experiment or innocent mistake away from being on the Darwin Awards list.

      No kidding. Just last weekend I was changing the lightbulb in a lamp. Took the bulb out, and noticed a bit of styrofoam or paper in socket. Thought to myself, "that shouldn't be there, it could be a fire hazard!" and stuck my finger in to fish it out. A sudden tingling/burning/biting sensation clued me in to the fact the lamp was still plugged in, and while I'd rotated the switch a couple of times in the process of realizing the bulb was out, I'd apparently left it in the ON position when I stopped.

      So I took my finger out of there, inverted the lamp, and let the styrofoam fall out on its own. No real damage done in that instance, but for a sometimes intelligent person that was a brief moment of serious stupidity.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by lgw (121541)

        Sure, but to get a Darwin award you'd usually need to willfully bypass some safety measure, not merely make a mistake. So if your wife said "honey, that's not safe" and unplugged the lamp, and then you came up with some plan to get her out of the room just so you could plug it back in and electrocute yourself, then maybe. Also, if you inject milk into your scrotum, you've clearly gone beyond "intelligent person but brief moment of serious stupidity".

  • Slashdotted (Score:4, Funny)

    by MrEricSir (398214) on Monday January 04, 2010 @04:59PM (#30646064) Homepage

    We killed the site. Can they get a Darwin Award for that?

    • by jeffmeden (135043)

      My thoughts exactly. Darwinawards.com offers simple HTML and images. That's all, no fancy graphics, interactive multimedia or web 2.0 style forums to ring up traffic. Nevertheless, the site has self-destructed due to an 'unprecedented' (most would call it 'obvious') surge in traffic following the announcement of the 2009 winners.

      Thank you, darwinawards.com, for removing yourself from the internet pool.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      No... in their eyes, that's not stupidity on their part, it's success. ;)
    • Re:Slashdotted (Score:4, Informative)

      by jayme0227 (1558821) on Monday January 04, 2010 @05:12PM (#30646266) Journal

      I'll sum it up for you.

      A 50 year old female goes out on her moped during flash flood, gets drunk, tries to drive home and gets washed into creek. Cop saves her, but she jumps back in to save moped. Dies.

      20-something male has to pee and gets out of car. Jumps over side embankment, only to find out that he's on an overpass elevated 65 feet above the ground. Falls. Dies.

      Two bank robbers use way to much dynamite in attempt to rob an ATM. Take out entire building. Die.

      Priest does a "Lawn-chair Larry" for charity. Winds change and blow him towards water. Doesn't parachute over dry land even though this is the situation for which he has the chute. When over the water, calls for help. Can't figure out how to use the GPS he brought along. Disappears. Dies.
      Is found later.

      Overall, pretty weak. Two of them do not belong as they contain members of our species that were likely not going to reproduce anyway. (priest and 50 year old woman)

      • Re:Slashdotted (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Atzanteol (99067) on Monday January 04, 2010 @05:41PM (#30646684) Homepage

        Priest does a "Lawn-chair Larry" for charity.

        You mean "for the church." I'm not sure many would consider raising money to open chapels for truck drivers "charity" (I know I don't).

      • "20-something male has to pee and gets out of car. Jumps over side embankment, only to find out that he's on an overpass elevated 65 feet above the ground. Falls. Dies."

        How could they possibly know that that was the reason he went over the rail?

        Oh wait. twitter. [penny-arcade.com]

  • It obviously means that people are getting smarter. But they are dying anyway.

  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Monday January 04, 2010 @06:06PM (#30647062)
    Didn't these "Darwin Awards" start as as email spams that mostly consisted of urban legends?
  • by xlotlu (1395639) on Monday January 04, 2010 @06:15PM (#30647184)

    There's two sides to every story. Watch this piece of reporting: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7PbFeIxrilI [youtube.com] -- Don't you start feeling for that guy? Don't you hope he gets rescued? Well, it's the same priest that got the Darwin Award, so how is this possible? Moments ago you were amused by his idiocy...

    Of course the video comes packaged in church marketing, so it's supposed to make you feel like that. But would you still call him an idiot? Or rather a stupid but noble man?

    I for one would call him naive. Naive for the cause he chose, naive thinking he'll be alright after getting drifted away, naive not bailing out when he had the opportunity. And that got him killed, but he didn't give up because he thought his cause was just.

    Maybe we should take pride in such naivety, instead of branding it as utter idiocy.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ceoyoyo (59147)

      I'm going to go with idiot.

      He decided to do something risky, for which he didn't have the right kind of training and he didn't even know how to use his equipment! Being an experience sky diver doesn't help you much as a balloon pilot, but it should have taught him enough to know he should be familiar with his equipment before launching.

      His reason for doing it is also pretty silly. It was a publicity stunt. If he was flying a secret infiltration mission in WWII or something, fine, but a stunt to set a wor

  • you have to click on each one to read the story ? wtf? they couldnt put it all on one page ?

  • by MWoody (222806) on Monday January 04, 2010 @07:06PM (#30647870)

    These things have gone from funny to angry and vindictive. In particular, that overpass-falling one strikes me as an easy mistake. Here in Raleigh, we just had two people do something very similar: an overpass (near the Crabtree area, for locals) looks for all the world like it's a single bridge. But in reality, each lane is its own structure, with about four to six feet between the two that drops straight down to the freeway below. I'd driven by a hundred times and had no idea, and while yes, I'd like to think I'd look before I leaped over, I could easily see paying more attention to traffic than the divider itself and making the same mistake.

    That entry happened, according to the site, in Florida, so it's a different area. But there's certainly not enough information there to make a judgment call on his intelligence.

  • Times have changed (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dragmyfeet (1712972) on Monday January 04, 2010 @07:58PM (#30648534)

    It appears now we ridicule people who do something unusual and pioneering (however naive), like the priest in TFA. Have we had the Darwin awards in centuries past, we would have ridiculed the death of every explorer we ever had instead of mourn it.

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