Charles Darwin with a purple swarm around his head, contemplating the twist of fate that natural selection sidestepped these still-living honorable mentions.

2004 Honorable Mention

Next Prev Random Honorable Mentions have misadventures that stop short of the ultimate sacrifice. Nevertheless we salute the spirit of their colossal blunders with an Honorable Mention. Better luck next time!

White Russians
2004 Honorable Mention
Confirmed True by Darwin

(11 June 2004, Siberia) Khabarovsk is as far east as you can get in Siberia without falling into the Sea of Japan. It's home to military installations which conducted top-secret operations the Cold War.

A few soldiers were poking around in the dump at their base and found a can full of a white powdery substance. At least 25 servicemen began using the handy substance, adding it to their tobacco when they rolled cigarettes, dusting it on their sweaty feet, and even snorting it. Within a short time, many of them became mysteriously ill and their hair began falling out.

Tests showed that the alluring white powder was thallium, an element once used as rat poison, but found to be so toxic that it is banned in the United States and several other countries. Extensive thallium exposure can cause liver and kidney damage, and organ failure.

Several soldiers were airlifted in serious condition to the St. Petersburg Academy of Military Medicine. They may not have earned a medal for their creative recycling efforts, but they did earn an Honorable Mention from Charles Darwin scribbles on a great green chalkboard. .

More About Thallium © 1994 - 2020
Submitted by: Bruce Pennypacker, marius
Reference: BBC News, Verdens Gang

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