That’s So Darwin ~ Late Evening Thoughts …

Absolutely one of my favorite awards to read about are the Darwin Awards:

“Darwin Awards: We watch the watchman watch the watchmen.”
Natural selection deems that some individuals
serve as a warning to others. 
  Who are we to disagree?
The next generation, ever and anon, is descended from the survivors.

Here’s the link to their site  …. for sheer enjoyment ….

The problem with these awards, they are awarded posthumously.  You know, for those who have [thankfully] removed themselves from the gene pool.

As I was wandering around the internet … I discovered some folks that I think I’ll keep and eye on to see if they … um … show up in the awards.

darwin award nominee1 darwin award nominee2 darwin award nominee3 darwin award nominee4 darwin award nominee5 darwin award nominee6 darwin award nominee7These should be fun to follow right???



Early Afternoon Thoughts ~ They’re Not Ignoble ~ Just Ig Nobel

Next to the Darwin Awards (for those who mercifully remove themselves from the gene pool), I love the Ig Noble Awards.  Hosted by Improbable Research each year they award an Ig Nobel Award best described here :These come with little cash, but much cachet, and reward those research projects that ‘first make people laugh, and then make them think'” — Nature

I’m not totally sure about the thinking part, but the laugh part certainly is there.  This year’s awards include a variety of subjects … each seeming somewhat ridiculous.  I suppose there ARE those who need to know what happens when coffee sloshes when you walk, but right now I can’t think of anyone!!! Let me know if you do….

Envelope please ~ the 2012 winners of the coveted Ig Nobel (who  received their awards in an actual ceremony yesterday) are:

PSYCHOLOGY PRIZE: Anita Eerland and Rolf Zwaan [THE NETHERLANDS] and Tulio Guadalupe [PERU, RUSSIA, and THE NETHERLANDS] for their study “Leaning to the Left Makes the Eiffel Tower Seem Smaller”

PEACE PRIZE: The SKN Company [RUSSIA], for converting old Russian ammunition into new diamonds.

ACOUSTICS PRIZE: Kazutaka Kurihara and Koji Tsukada [JAPAN] for creating the SpeechJammer — a machine that disrupts a person’s speech, by making them hear their own spoken words at a very slight delay.

NEUROSCIENCE PRIZE: Craig Bennett, Abigail Baird, Michael Miller, and George Wolford [USA], for demonstrating that brain researchers, by using complicated instruments and simple statistics, can see meaningful brain activity anywhere — even in a dead salmon.

CHEMISTRY PRIZE: Johan Pettersson [SWEDEN and RWANDA]. for solving the puzzle of why, in certain houses in the town of Anderslöv, Sweden, people’s hair turned green.

PHYSICS PRIZE: Joseph Keller [USA], and Raymond Goldstein [USA and UK], Patrick Warren, and Robin Ball [UK], for calculating the balance of forces that shape and move the hair in a human ponytail.

FLUID DYNAMICS PRIZE: Rouslan Krechetnikov [USA, RUSSIA, CANADA] and Hans Mayer [USA] for studying the dynamics of liquid-sloshing, to learn what happens when a person walks while carrying a cup of coffee.

ANATOMY PRIZE: Frans de Waal [The Netherlands and USA] and Jennifer Pokorny [USA] for discovering that chimpanzees can identify other chimpanzees individually from seeing photographs of their rear ends.

MEDICINE PRIZE: Emmanuel Ben-Soussan and Michel Antonietti [FRANCE] for advising doctors who perform colonoscopies how to minimize the chance that their patients will explode. [OK, I just HAD to add to this one … REFERENCE: “Colonic Gas Explosion During Therapeutic Colonoscopy with Electrocautery,” Spiros D Ladas, George Karamanolis, Emmanuel Ben-Soussan, World Journal of Gastroenterology, vol. 13, no. 40, October 2007, pp. 5295–8.]

And there you have it … this year’s winners ….

Helping The Gene Pool ~ Early Evening Thoughts

I have to admit I’ve been watching a lot more “news” television than I should over the last several days. I’ve reached a stage of “You have GOT to be kidding me” over what the talking, frothing heads are choosing to be talking and frothing about. I really was needing something to make the day(s) better – something to offer some kind of hope.

Even though it’s too early for the official “Darwin Awards” – they will come probably in January, there are some nominations that I thought I might share. The published purpose of the awards is stated quite simply:

The Darwin Awards salute the improvement of
the human genome by honoring those who
accidentally remove themselves from it…

These stories have been verified and are not urban legend. . . .

(July 16, 2008, Italy)
Ivece Plattner, 68, was queued at a traffic light in his Porsche Cayenne sportscar. Before one reaches the light, there is a railroad crossing. As you might imagine, given Murphy’s law, a train was coming.

The man did not let the queue progress forward far enough before he crossed the railroad. The safety bars came down, leaving the Porsche trapped on the rails. It took the driver awhile to realize he was stuck, according to witnesses. Finally, he jumped from the car and started to run — toward the oncoming train, waving his arms in an attempt to save his car!

The attempt was successful. The car received less damage than its owner. He was pushed hard enough to land 30 meters away, and attempts to revive him were unsuccessful.

(8 March 2008, Czech Republic)
Steel is valuable, especially the high grade alloy used in steel cable. Scrap metal dealers do not ask questions. They pay in cash. And a good supply of cables can be found in elevator shafts.

This particular goldmine was a towering shaft inside an empty grainery near Zatec, 40 miles northwest of Prague. The cable was tightly fastened, and the far end of it disappeared into the shadowy distance above.

After substantial wear and tear on a hacksaw, our man finally cut through the strong steel cable. At that instant, the counterbalance, no longer held in check, started to move silently downwards, accelerating until it reached the bottom of the shaft.

Result: one proud winner of a “terminal velocity” Darwin Award.


The telephone company was replacing above-ground telephone lines with buried lines. In one sparsely populated farming area, if lines crossed a country road they would dig a trench halfway across, so rural traffic could continue through. Then they would fill in the trench, and dig a trench on the other side.

One morning, local farmers called the sheriff to report a smashed-up pickup. Inside were two ranch hands who were last seen the previous night, heading home after last call. You see…

On their way to the bars, the men had decided to play a prank. They stopped their pickup, and moved the flashing warning signs from the trenched side to the good side of the country road. Crime scene analysis later confirmed that they were the culprits who moved the flashing stands. Investigations also revealed that at the time of the accident, they were driving at an excessive speed with an impressive amount of alcohol in their systems.

No crime scene analysis is capable of determining whether the ranch hands forgot their prank, or chose to see what would happen if they hit that trench at a high rate of speed in the middle of the night.

No good prank goes unpunished.

Snowmobiles and alcohol are a dangerous mix. Then came the rabbit.

After a day spent partying and racing snowmobiles in the wilderness, a group of snowmobilers were headed back to their cabin, when up popped a jackrabbit! They gave chase. Several collisions were narrowly averted, and so all the snowmobiles backed off… except one.

This snowmobiler kept his eye on the quarry and rapidly closed in. The rabbit darted aside to save itself. The snowmobiler closed in again. The rabbit ran toward the road, where there was less snow. Trying to ram his rabbit before it crossed the road, the man accelerated to Mach 1.

But the rabbit had other ideas. It darted into the culvert beneath the road. Witnesses stated that the snowmobiler never even braked. There was a metallic crunch as the accelerating vehicle rammed into the culvert, followed by a blast that shattered the snowmobile into a thousand bits.

This brand of snowmobile had a fuel tank mounted in front. The culvert admitted the tip of the snowmobile, then cut into the cowling, spilling fuel over the hot engine. The body of the snowmobiler was blown twenty feet back into the field.

The rabbit’s whereabouts was unknown.

—Rare Double Darwin!

Three hale and hearty young men had finished their basic training. Before heading out to their respective assignments, they decided to spend their few days of leave with one’s grandmother, who lived in the town where they had completed basic training. The privates descended upon Grandmother, who filled them with home cooking and gave them soft beds to sleep in. Grandmother had a swing job to make ends meet, so the privates were left alone late into the night.

How could they repay her for her kindness?

Grandmother had three children. To commemorate the birth of each child, a pine tree had been planted in the front yard. In the fifty years since the last tree was planted, the pines had grown considerably, and the middle tree now blocked the view from the living room window. The privates decided that they would cut down that tree, letting the sun and the view into the room.

A case of beer went into the planning.

To keep the 50-foot tree from crushing the house, the privates reasoned that they would tie a rope to the top of the tree and pull the rope away from the house as the tree was cut.

The middle pine tree, the doomed one, was slightly closer to the house than the other two. The privates climbed an end tree, wound a rope through its upper branches, and threw the rope to a private in the middle tree. He tied the rope around the trunk. By this device, they could pull the rope from the ground. The middle pine tree would fall away from the house, and the privates were also clear of the path of the falling tree.

Climbing a pine tree is very sappy work, and scrapes and gouges are infliced by the natural roughness of its bark. But the hale and hearty privates completed the preliminaries without complaint. The middle tree was lassoed and levered by the rope running through the end tree.

So far, so good.

Two privates were situated on the ground, each straining to pull the tree away from Grandmother’s house. The third private revved his 20 HP chainsaw and started to cut. Lo and behold, the tree actually fell away from Grandmother’s house! However…

The rope-pulling privates had wrapped the rope around their waists, not considering that the falling pine weighed several tons. As the middle pine tree fell, both privates were ripped off their feet and smashed through the branches of the end pine tree. At the height of their acceleration, they broke through the top branches of the tree, and were briefly airborne before being jerked toward the earth when the middle tree hit the ground. The privates entered into Darwin history, either on the way up through the branches or on the way down to the cold, hard ground.

The event spoke for itself.

Somehow not being able to get the garland hung outside today seems to pale in comparison.

Darwin Awards (2) ~ Early Morning Thoughts

After all that had gone on with and around me in the last few days, I felt that a good laugh/chuckle was in order for a Monday morning – especially if you are one of the ones that does not have today off …

As I mentioned previously there are several lists that I enjoy each year. The Darwin Awards is one of my favorites. I’m continually amazed at what people continually do to themselves and others. Here are some of this years nominees. Here are a couple of entries for the 2007 awards. Some have been reprinted exactly as they were sent to the committee.

A demise by train is almost too common for Darwin Award merit. Yet, some people still forget the three most important rules about trains:

1) Trains cannot be stopped easily. 2) Trains cannot swerve.
3) And most important –
in any confrontation with a train,
the train will always win.

Forgetting these rules, an unnamed 20-year old man was walking down the railroad tracks in Comstock Township (near Kalamazoo) Michigan. This in of itself in not even close to Darwin stupidity. Trains are loud and noisy and usually announce their approach from quite a distance, allowing anyone in their path ample time to clear out of the way. However, our Darwin contender decided to up the odds in the trains favor by wearing a pair of headphones with the music turned up quite loud (louder than the train horn apparently). It wasn’t mentioned what song he was listening to, but I’m guessing it was “Don’t Look Back” by Boston. Not looking back sealed his fate. Despite three or four loud blasts of the horn by the train engineer, our unnamed Darwin contender kept strolling along between the rails in musical bliss until being removed from the gene pool courtesy of Amtrak.

Here’s another attempts at removing genes from the pool:

I used to ride a scrambler motorcycle in my younger days. Mine was a 250-c.c. Kawasaki KL ‘Off-Road’ bike. These machines have very small gas tanks, probably no more than about 3 gallons. As South Africa uses ‘Self-Service’ gas stations, we fill our own gas tanks. It is common practice with bikers to simply straddle a scrambler whilst refueling, place the nozzle in the tank and watch to see when the tank is nearly full as these machines lack a fuel gauge.

Now, when standing up and straddling said scrambler, the tank nestles nicely in the groin area. This day, I was not paying attention while refueling and the tank overflowed. “Oops!” I said as I quickly released the handle of the pump. Too late.

Quite a bit of gas had spilled down the side of the tank onto the forecourt and quite a lot had also run down the front of the tank and soaked my groin area. This was no big deal as I was wearing jeans. I duly replaced the fuel nozzle in the holder and THEN it hit me.

Gasoline on your hands is almost imperceptible other than a cold feeling. In the groin area, it is like rubbing “Deep Heat” on yourself. Fortunately, I had managed to replace the motorcycle’s gas tank cap BEFORE I dropped the bike, did a sideways leap off the saddle and proceeded to rip off my jeans in full view of quite a few bemused onlookers. Once the jeans were around my ankles, I discovered I couldn’t move very well and fell over as I struggled with my gas-soaked underwear, trying to get them away from my very tender skin.

Public indecency laws aside, I tore at my underwear, managed to rip them off and covered myself with my hands. There I sat, waiting for the gas on my jeans to evaporate sufficiently so I could pull up my jeans. It was EXTREMELY painful. My gene ‘repository compartment’ was red-raw, my ‘extension’ to release said genes was equally burnt and the tops of my legs looked like I had ridden a horse bareback and naked for three days.

By now, the forecourt was thronged with very interested onlookers. The interesting thing is; no-one came to my aid! In true ‘biker’ style, I nonchalantly walked back to my motorcycle, kicked it into action and then VERY slowly so as not to lose any ‘cool’, I drove off, gritting my teeth against the searing pain.

Future fueling sessions were performed with a large towel between my anatomy and the motorcycle’s tank. For those who are interested, the gas station in question was the last one at the top of the hill in Hillbrow, Johannesburg, just before the road winds down the hill towards the Ponte apartment complex. I suffered no lasting effects and the redness vanished in a few days.

GRAND RAPIDS, MI — Power was restored to 6,500 people on the southeast side of Grand Rapids after a man nailed a sign on a utility pole and pierced the casing that holds a cable for overhead distribution lines.

The pole, located on the northeast corner of Breton and 28th Street SE, affected the entire Breton substation. There is a protective case around the cable, but the nail pierced it, making contact with 7,200 volts.

The impact started some of the pole on fire, knocked out power to 6,500 customers, and sent a current through the man trying to hang the sign. Witnesses stated that there was smoke coming from his head.

A cashier at the Shell gas station at that corner called 911. The manager ran out and used a fire extinguisher to cool the man down. The victim was taken to a hospital, and it appears he will be fine. The power company was able to restore power to everyone affected around 9:20 a.m..

The company that owns the utility pole, one of 1.5 million it owns across the state, recommend you not post signs on their poles.

My husband worked in 1995 for a farmer from Germany. Franz on Gilkey road in Crabtree OR.

Franz believed that electricity is like a cow. The raw material goes in the mouth and good electricity exited out the tail and left over energy was waste the cow pooped out, i.e. the 3 wires you see in your house black (hot),white (Hot) and green (cold for waste energy). Deryl worked for Franz from August 1995 until this event in around the end of November 1995. A windstorm blew through and took out the electricity for the area. Franz had Deryl hook up a generator. When the electricity came back on the Generator had to be taken off line. Remember, this is a full size dairy, with large leads into the circuit box.

Franz was a cheap man, and had the circuit box 2 times smaller than required. He never kept master plans for the property, so no one really knew where the wiring or the plumbing went, everything had been committed to his memory…

Franz convinced my husband to reconnect the dairy, he would not spend $60.00 to have the main breaker pulled at the pole, so everything in the small box was hot. Deryl put on long rubber gloves, and taped up his wrench. Franz never wore socks so his leather slip on shoes were wet with cow urine and feces, Humidity in Oregon was high (87% or greater), so there was a lot of moisture and cow urine,feces everywhere at the dairy. Franz stood 10 feet back in a shirt and rolled up pants, while my husband wore long sleeves and welding clothes. Deryl got half way through pulling the leads off of there protective poles, 2 off and 2 on.

Suddenly, the poles arced and the lid to the box instantly vaporized. Both men flew backwards, and fortunately, for once, Franz learned that the cow can butt. I met my husband at the door that night to see a man with no face hair, smoking, and a good portion or his chest hair gone. I never saw Franz after this event, but I can imagine. He had less protection. The power company was called the next day and they put things right. Franz never had children, nor should he, thank goodness.

An unidentified man in Xuzhou, China, learned the hard way that it pays to use a bathroom when you have to go. Our hero broke into a power supply office with the help of a partner to relieve it of some spare electrical equipment. However before leaving the premises Mother Nature called, and our hero obediently responded. Without a commode handy, and being in an office that he had just robbed, he decided to simply relieve himself where he stood. Unfortunately he ended up urinating on a fully functional electrical supply switch, resulting in an electric shock and a hasty trip to the hospital.

During a party in Budapest, Hungary, on the 26th, November, 2006, a 26 years old man put the hose of a fire extinguisher into his mouth, and fired the device. While he did this presumably for fun, the outcome proved to be fatal, as he was instantly killed from injuries caused by the pressure, which is up to 14 times of the normal atmospheric pressure.

A 63 year old man in East Germany (Zingst)electrocuted himself when running high-voltage lines (380V) through his yard in an effort to get rid of a mole on his vacation property. Apparently he put several metal rods into the ground and connected these to high-voltage lines. The police had to remove all circuit breakers before they could get on his property. They do not know yet how long he had been lying there before they found him on Wednesday. No word about what happened to the mole.

further nominations later ..