The Darwin Awards archive was born on a Stanford University webserver
in 1994. Its cynical view of the human species made it a favorite
speaker in classrooms, offices, and pubs around the world. News of the
website spread by word of mouth, and submissions flew in from far and
wide. As the archive grew, so did its acclaim.
The website matriculated to its own domain in 1997, won dozens of Internet
awards, and now ranks among the top 3,000 most-visited websites. It
currently entertains half a million visitors per month in its comfortable
Silicon Valley home. Guests are welcome to set off fireworks and play on
www.DarwinAwards.com is the locus for official Darwin Awards and related
tales of misadventure. New accounts of terminal stupidity appear daily in
the public Slush Pile. Visitors can vote on stories, sign up for a free
email newsletter, and share their opinions on the Philosophy Forum-a
community of free thinkers who enjoy numerous philosophical, political, and
Wendy Northcutt studied molecular biology at
Berkeley, worked in a neuroscience research laboratory at Stanford, and
later joined a biotech startup developing treatments for cancer and
diabetes. She wrote the Darwin Awards while waiting for her dastardly
genetic manipulations to yield results.
Eventually Wendy shrugged aside lab responsibilities in favor of an offbeat
career. She now works as a webmaster, and writes both code and prose for
the Darwin Awards website. Much of her time is spent wishing she could
catch up on work.
In her free time, Wendy chases eclipses, spends time with friends, and
inhabits an increasingly eccentric wardrobe. Interests include reading,
cooking, cats, gardening, and glassblowing. The vagaries of human behaviour
continue to intrigue her.
Annaliese Beery is a graduate student in neuroscience. Annaliese
loves the entire field of biology, from molecular genetics to ecology. She
spent several years teaching high school students AP biology, chemistry,
computer science, and AP environmental science. While it's hard to beat
summers off for field studies and outdoor adventures, Annaliese pried
herself away from teaching and began her Ph.D. program a few years ago. She
still collects biology stories of all kinds.
Annaliese contributed two essays:
Love Bites, page 90.
The Skinny On Fat, page 250.
Stephen Darksyde is a freelance science writer with a strong
background in math and physics. He has a longstanding interest in conveying
the wonder and importance of science to the layperson. Stephen writes
regularly for the Daily Kos, one of the most visited blogs in the world. He
lives near Kennedy Space Center in Florida in "Darksyde Manor" with
Mrs. DS, a cat named Nikki, and a dog named Darwin.
Stephen contributed four essays:
AIDS, Bubonic Plague, and Human Evolution, page 26
Aquatic Apes Are People, Too!, page 66
Endogenous Retroviruses and Evolution, page 150
The End of the Universe, page 283.
James G. Petropoulos was born and raised in Queens, New York
City. He attended Fordham Preparatory School in the Bronx and
Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois (BA, Naval Commission). James
works as an animator and director in traditional drawn media and CGI. He
served as a Naval Reserve officer for eleven years and is now a bandsman
with the 199th Army Band, NY Army National Guard. He is a professional
bandleader and jazz percussionist, as well as a Sunday School teacher,
Freemason, and Darwin Awards moderator.
James contributed the essay,
"Brother, Can You Spare a Banana?", page 118.
Scientist Tom Schneider studies the mathematics of biology.
"Living things are too beautiful for there not to be a mathematics that
describes them." He spends his free time on the contra dance floor, and
cohabits with a cactus named Hairy who has not yet participated in pasta
Tom contributed the parody scientific research paper,
"Origin of the Novel Species Noodleous doubleous."
Norm Sleep teaches geophysics at Stanford
University.His interests include conditions on the Earth and the
habitability of other planets. He was born in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and grew
up in the paper mill town of Parchment. He graduated from Michigan State
University and arrived at MIT during the plate tectonic scientific
revolution. His thesis was on subducting slabs. He taught at Northwestern
University before moving to Stanford. His interest in habitability stems
from his work on hydrothermal circulation at midoceanic ridges and his work
on the feeble tectonic activity on Mars.
Norm contributed the essay,
Chicken Little Was Right, page 182.
Maia Smith will not be returning to school this fall. Instead,
she plans to travel full-time, returning to Martha's Vineyard each summer
to work, hang out with friends, and decompress. Her list of possible
careers includes any combination of midwife, bush pilot, artist, commercial
diver, overseas English teacher, ethicist, and satirist; for now,
"professional vagrant" seems apt. Her most recent travels are chronicled on
her website, www.maiasadventures.com.
Maia contributed the essay,
Forensic Analysis: Achieving Justice,