Charles Darwin at a green chalkboard.

2013 Darwin Awards

Honoring Charles Darwin, the father of evolution, Darwin Awards commemorate those who improve our gene pool--by removing themselves from it in the most spectacular way possible.

Newcastle Icicle
2013 Darwin Award Winner

reporter takes a selfie before setting out on a quest to understand
homelessness from the inside.

The dead guy featured here was well loved, and an awesome 'Human Rights Memorial' FB page was created in his honor. He was a great guy who won a Darwin Award shortly after his death in 2013, for dying of hypothermia while pretending to be homeless. But should that nomination be rescinded? Review the new information.

(31 March 2013, Newcastle, England) Investigative journalism reached a hypothermic "low" when a 26-year-old reporter apparently froze to death while sleeping rough. He was on a quest to experience and understand the life of an unhoused person in England. A form of investigative journalism intended to advance his career.

Waving aside the concerns of friends and family, he declared, "I will sleep rough, scrounge for food, interact with as many homeless people as possible, and immerse myself in that lifestyle deeply." And so he set out with a sleeping bag, and immersed himself for three days -- before waking up dead in a boarded-up hostel.

Darwin Award winner, right?

But wait! Later a post-mortem was released. The coroner could not determine any cause of death, referring to the event as 'Sudden Adult Death Syndrome.' Hmm. On the one hand, it makes sense that living rough for (3) days figured into his death at only 26. OTOH the coroner did not confirm that common-sense idea.

Investigative journalism--gonzo journalism--is an important way of understanding the lives of an estimated 2,300 people sleeing rough each night (according to 2013). It is socially worthwhile for a journalist to embark on a live-in-their-shoes mission.

Also, the journalist was assisted by two 'cameramen' who filmed in shifts. He was not completely alone on his quest, and he had even teamed up with two actual homeless men who helped him figure it out. In fact, the two men unlucky enough to be in the vicinity and were arrested 'on suspicion.'

They were later released. So what I want to know is, Is this death a Darwin Award or an unforseeable accidental death? I've re-set the vote count on this one. Let me know.
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Reference:,,, BBC Mews

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