Darwin Awards III
"Survival of the Fittest"

by Wendy Northcutt

C h a p t e r  
5  S t o r i e s

Technology: Deus Ex Machina
( Excerpt from Chapter 5 )

Deus ex machina is a theatrical term referring to a contrivance of playwrights faced by an irreconcilable plot line, who opt to have a god swoop down and untangle the situation. The heroes in this chapter contrive to find themselves in perilous juxtaposition to their machinery, situations from which they require divine intervention to survive--or not!

Darwin Award: What's That Sound?
Confirmed by Darwin

2 August 2002, Kansas | Police said an Olathe man was struck and killed by a train after his vehicle broke down on Interstate 35. His attempts at repairing his car had failed, and he had stepped away from the busy freeway to call for help. As luck would have it, he chose to stand on train tracks paralleling the road. When the train engineer spotted him standing on the tracks, the man was holding a cell phone to one ear, and cupping his hand to the other ear to block the noise of the oncoming locomotive. Reference: Kansas City Star, KCTV Channel 5 News, eyewitnesses.

Darwin Award: Wounded Wire Bites Back
Confirmed by Darwin

14 February 2002, Pennsylvania Daniel and his friend were practicing their marksmanship by shooting at targets in a farm field. But instead of the usual choices of mice, bottles, or birds, they selected a more worthy adversary: electrical insulators. These pear-shaped glass or plastic devices are intended to hold electrical wires aloft, but after the men shot six insulators off two utility poles, the shattered targets were no longer up to the job. A high-voltage wire fell to the ground and Daniel, attempting to prevent a fire, seized the sizzling wire in his hand, and was electrocuted. An Allegheny Power spokesperson advised people not to shoot at electrical insulators. Reference: Herald Mail

C h a p t e r  5  S t o r i e s

DISCUSSION: Arguments
from the Dawn of Life
What's That Sound?

Pig Jig
Slow Learners
Stay With the Herd!
Coke Is It!
Where's the Chute?
Jet Taxi
Mechanic Mayhem
Path of Least Resistance
Precarious Perch
Sneakers
Think Before You Leap
The Worm Has Turned
Bees 1, Humans 0
Tied Off

The Unkindest Cut
Train of Thought
Wiped Out
Wounded Wire Bites Back
Romanian Trains
High on Grass
(un)Armed and Dangerous
Duct Tape Teacher
Stingy Scientist
Shed Protection
Wild Shot
Nailed!
XYZ
Laser Dim Bulb
Bicycle Blues
Stalled Motorcycle
Electric Safety Lesson

Darwin Awards -  Honorable Mentions -  Personal Accounts

Chapter Links:
Refutations of biological dawn-of-life theories.
Coke Is It! The family's version.
Mechanic Mayhem: More Facts
Tied Off: Eyewitness and Media Reports
Photos of people duct taped to walls.

Author Bio: Wendy Northcutt holds a degree in molecular biology from UC Berkeley. She began writing Darwin Awards in 1993, and founded the website soon thereafter.

 
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**Click this link to buy the book. I earn
   a commission and you support
   the website. -wendy


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