The Darwin Awards II: Unnatural Selection brings together a fresh collection of the hapless, the heedless, and the just plain foolhardy among us. Salute the owner of an equipment training school who demonstrates the dangers of driving a forklift by failing to survive the filming of his own safety video. Gawk at the couple who go to sleep on a sloping roof. Witness the shepherd who leaves his rifle unsecured—only to be accidentally shot by one of his own flock.
With over one hundred Darwin Award Winners, Honorable Mentions, and debunked Urban Legends, plus science and safety tips for avoiding the scythe of natural selection, The Darwin Awards II proves once again how uncommon common sense can be.
|Publisher:||Penguin Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||5.30(w) x 7.20(h) x 0.70(d)|
|Age Range:||18 Years|
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
Religions have long waged war against the seven deadly sins. Here's proof that evolution is fighting the same battle. Lust, vanity, gluttony, greed, sloth, envy, and wrath: all are fatal when carried to excess. From sensual skunk play to the vanity of amateur liposuction, indulgence in the deadly vices leads to trouble.
Are you superstitious?
ought to be a force that gives each what he's earned, call it kismet, karma, or destiny. And yet we also believe in the oppositelucky slot machines and winning streaks. Don't you sometimes walk around a ladder, or kiss your exam paper for good luck? Superstitious beliefs are imbedded in our personalities.
of final justice according to the divine laws of nature. Darwin winners suffer a practical form of karma. They prove our theory that if you don't use your head to enhance your survival, you'll be fingered by the impartial hand of fate.
Awards: Charles Darwin's theory of natural selection. In a single lifetime one finds ample proof that natural selection leads to evolution. We've seen evolution happen before our very eyes. Broccoli, dog breeds, nectarines, and modern corn all resulted from random mutations combined with natural (or artificial) selection.
own front lawn.
assorted heights, which scatter their seeds far and wide to begin the process again. But weekly lawn mowing schedules are a new selective pressure! We created a new environmental hazard for dandelions. And they rose, or rather shrunk, to meet the challenge.
ones that hug the ground too closely to be slashed by mower blades, and send up flowers that seed within days to avoid the reaper's scythe. A new short dandelion variant is branching off the general dandelion population. Over time the lawn dandelions may well diverge from the wild dandelions, increasingly specialized for the modern lawn environment, and a new speciesthe lawnlion?will dawn.
the "religion" of the Darwin Awards stands on firm scientific footing. The interesting and powerful mechanism of natural selection is a blindly omniscient tool to increase the long-term survival of the human raceand provide a measure of immortality to comfort our transient personal existence.
to those who ignore religious strictures, and indulge in the seven deadly sins.
David, a forty-four-year-old Mineola man, was more desperate to be rid of his flab than most. Why not save money and allow his friend to perform amateur liposuction on him in his garage? As you might guess, using a vacuum for liposuction is not the safest of weight loss programs. David died in the makeshift medical clinic, the victim of a lidocaine overdose. Anyone foolish enough to lie back and take the medical ministrations of a unlicensed liposuctionist in his garage workshop deserves to win a Darwin for heedless vanity.
The picturesque medieval city of Rothenburg was recently the scene of a dramatic artistic effort. A fifty-three-year-old man from Baden-Würtemberg was posing nude in front of his camera, balanced atop a stone wall, when he lost his balance and fell sixteen feet to the ground below. Unlike its erstwhile owner, the camera remained safely settled on the tripod on the wall, and police plan to develop the film for clues to the man's death. Darwin anticipates that this story will stand as a testament to the self-pruning nature of the tree of life.
The violent unrest in the Middle East has created a new Darwin Award winner. Three friends went to the Eli junction to enjoy a favorite activity: throwing stones at passing cars. They scored on a truck, then one walked into the street, stones in hand, to attack a passing car. The driver tried to swerve away from the man, lost control of his vehicle, and overturned, killing the stone thrower and severely injuring himself. Judea and Samaria district police jointly determined that the accidental crash was caused by the stone-throwing young men.
Chihuahua, Mexico, is home to two hot caverns containing the largest natural crystals known to man. "Walking into either of these caves is like stepping into a sweltering, gigantic geode," described one awed observer. Some of the clear crystals of selenite are over twenty feet long.
below the surface of the earth carry a curse for those who seek to plunder their riches. A man recently tried to steal one of the magnificent crystals from the roof, and might have succeeded if he hadn't stood directly beneath it while chopping it free. He was crushed by the sparkling stalactite as it heeded the call of gravity.
On a warm summer night in the Netherlands, an Italian resident who had picked up the habit of sleeping in the open air during sweltering Mediterranean summer nights decided to bed down on the roof. He climbed to the top of his apartment and arranged a comfortable bed, but paid little heed to the slope of the roof. Perhaps the night would have ended more happily if he had tucked himself in securely. Instead he fell asleep on top of his blanket, rolled down the incline, and plunged to his death.
Germany's image as a peaceful utopia has been tarnished by an acrimonious divorce. After bitter legal proceedings, Uwe of Brandenburg found that he had lost everything but his lederhosen knickerbockers. Among other possessions, the settlement demanded that Uwe turn over ownership of his house to his newly estranged wife.
man decided to follow the sage advice of an obscure German proverb: "If life gives you lemons, burn them."
to bore several holes into a rather large oil tank. He then set fire to the fuel as it poured in erratic streams onto the floor. To his delight, the entire basement was engulfed in flames within seconds.
was now in the middle of a Hindenburg-sized house fire. Despite a valiant effort to save himself, Uwe died in the flames of his own vengeance. His wife got the last laugh.
A man who threatened to "deal with" his wife and her lover, instead dealt with himself in a revenge attempt gone wrong. He blew himself up with a homemade bomb in the far eastern Russian city of Khabarovsk. The device exploded when the man tried to attach it to the door of the lovers' not-so-secret apartment boudoir.
With those murmured words, a Russian professor quaffed an aliquot of clear fluid from a beaker ... and slowly succumbed to alcohol poisoning. The Oxford University professor had been in the habit of drinking laboratory ethanol, until he unwittingly poured his last drink from a bottle of methanol.
solvent that looks and smells like ethanol but is "five times as toxic and five times less intoxicating." Those who drink it invariably drink too much.
had poor vision, and probably misread the label.
Three men attempting to land in the Guinness Book of World Records were hospitalized in Legaspi after eating excessive amounts of chili peppers. They were treated for acute gastritis and high blood pressure, and released with a warning to moderate their intake.
Excerpted from The Darwin Awards II by Wendy Northcutt. Copyright © 2001 by Wendy Northcutt. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Table of Contents
|Introduction: What Are They?||1|
|What Are They?||2|
|Rules and Eligibility||3|
|Darwin's Theory of Evolution||6|
|Where Do Darwins Come From?||9|
|Chapter 1||Penance: Seven Deadly Sins||11|
|Discussion: Kismet, Karma, Destiny||12|
|Darwin Award: Vanity: Liposuction Tragedy||14|
|Darwin Award: Vanity: Perilous Pose||15|
|Darwin Award: Wrath: Throwing Stones||16|
|Darwin Award: Greed: Crystal Daze||17|
|Darwin Award: Sloth: Sleepfalling||18|
|Darwin Award: Envy: Flames of Passion||19|
|Darwin Award: Envy: Moscow Marauder||20|
|Darwin Award: Gluttony: Ethanol Schmethanol||21|
|Honorable Mention: Gluttony: Men Eating Chili||22|
|Personal Account: Lust: Emergency Room Excitement||23|
|Chapter 2||Women: Femme Fatalities||25|
|Discussion: Civilization Memes||26|
|Darwin Award: Fast Food Fatality||29|
|Darwin Award: Enraged Elephant||30|
|Darwin Award: Rubbish!||31|
|Darwin Award: Christmas Tree||32|
|Darwin Award: Testing Faith||33|
|Darwin Award: That Sinking Feeling||34|
|Honorable Mention: Aircraft Airhead||35|
|Darwin Award: Fatal Footwear Fashion||36|
|Honorable Mention: Explosive Mix of Girls||37|
|Honorable Mention: Snow Bunnies||38|
|Honorable Mention: Dumb Drunk||39|
|Personal Account: Eat the Young||40|
|Personal Account: Brush with Stupidity||41|
|Chapter 3||Water: All Washed Up||43|
|Discussion: Weed Seeds and Biodiversity||44|
|Darwin Award: Fishing with No Compass||46|
|Darwin Award: Duct Tape||47|
|Darwin Award: Dodging Drink Dues||48|
|Darwin Award: Walking on Water||49|
|Darwin Award: Dive to Death||50|
|Darwin Award: Passionate Plunge||51|
|Darwin Award: Show-Off||52|
|Honorable Mention: All Aboard||53|
|Honorable Mention: Sewer Shower||54|
|Urban Legend: Brewery Mishap||55|
|Chapter 4||Technology: Engines of Destruction||57|
|Discussion: Car Safety||58|
|Darwin Award: Do It Yourself, Do Yourself In||61|
|Darwin Award: Two Avalanche Alaskan||63|
|Darwin Award: Forklift Safety Video||65|
|Darwin Award: Electrifying Stunt||66|
|Darwin Award: Intersecting Darwins||67|
|Darwin Award: Power Punch Proves Fatal||68|
|Darwin Award: Scooter Snuff||69|
|Darwin Award: Circular Reasoning||70|
|Darwin Award: Sweet Release||71|
|Darwin Award: Snowball's Chance in Hell||73|
|Darwin Award: Sand Surfing||74|
|Honorable Mention: House Hunting Gone Awry||75|
|Honorable Mention: Coors Light and the UltraLight||76|
|Urban Legend: Mad Trombonist||77|
|Personal Account: Robot Reaper||79|
|Personal Account: Prop Arc Safety||80|
|Personal Account: Miracle Mile||81|
|Chapter 5||Men: Male-functions||83|
|Discussion: Online Safety||84|
|Darwin Award: Rappin' on Heaven's Door||87|
|Darwin Award: Fantastic Plastic Lover||88|
|Darwin Award: Bulletproof?||89|
|Darwin Award: New Dating Technique||90|
|Darwin Award: God Saves?||91|
|Darwin Award: Settle the Score||92|
|Darwin Award: Hardheads||93|
|Darwin Award: Ur-inate-iot||94|
|Darwin Award: A Fell Death||95|
|Honorable Mention: Cheez Whiz||96|
|Honorable Mention: Trash Compactor||98|
|Honorable Mention: Archery Practice||99|
|Honorable Mention: Tied to His Work||100|
|Honorable Mention: Chicken with a Train||101|
|Honorable Mention: Toilet Trap||102|
|Urban Legend: The Bricklayer||103|
|Personal Account: Tourist Trap||105|
|Personal Account: Tube Snake||107|
|Chapter 6||Animals: Pall of the Wild||109|
|Discussion: Dogs and Darwinism||110|
|Darwin Award: Hornet Challenge||114|
|Darwin Award: Fish Gag||115|
|Darwin Award: Sheep Sleep||116|
|Honorable Mention: Doggone Foot||117|
|Urban Legend: Cactus Tales||118|
|Personal Account: Polar Bear Lesson||121|
|Personal Account: Feeding the Dolphins||122|
|Personal Account: Horsing Around||123|
|Urban Legend: Lobster Vasectomy||124|
|Chapter 7||Explosions: Out with a Bang!||125|
|Discussion: Intelligent Design Theory||126|
|Darwin Award: Out with a Bang!||129|
|Darwin Award: Grenade Juggler||131|
|Darwin Award: Fireworks Fiasco||132|
|Darwin Award: Shell Shot||133|
|Darwin Award: Guitars 'n' Guns||134|
|Honorable Mention: Kaboom!||135|
|Honorable Mention: Plane Stupid||136|
|Urban Legend: Fifteen Minutes of Flame||137|
|Personal Account: A Medieval Tale||139|
|Personal Account: Workin' on the Railroad||141|
|Personal Account: Man and Cactus||142|
|Personal Account: Man with Gas Can||143|
|Personal Account: Instant Sunrise||145|
|Chapter 8||Outlaws: Crime and Punishment||149|
|Discussion: City Living||150|
|Darwin Award: Human Popsicle||152|
|Darwin Award: Ski Theft Backfires||154|
|Darwin Award: Escaping Conviction||155|
|Darwin Award: Killing Time||156|
|Darwin Award: Just Say No!||158|
|Darwin Award: Stab in the Dark||159|
|Darwin Award: You Said a Mouthful||160|
|Honorable Mention: The Sting||161|
|Honorable Mention: Ferguson 2, Thieves 0||162|
|Honorable Mention: Morsel of Evidence||163|
|Honorable Mention: Call Girl||164|
|Honorable Mention: Bodacious Bud||165|
|Honorable Mention: Siphon!||166|
|Honorable Mention: Planning Ahead||167|
|Honorable Mention: Sobriety Test||168|
|Personal Account: Medical Misadventures||169|
|Chapter 9||Disqualified: Losing Is Its Own Reward||173|
|Not a Darwin: Do Bikes Float?||174|
|Not a Darwin: Underwire Bras Deadly||175|
|Not a Darwin: Texas A&M Bonfire||176|
|Not a Darwin: Body Canyoning||178|
|Not a Darwin: Our Brightest Cheerleaders||180|
|Not a Darwin: Fatal Case of Hiccups||181|
|Not a Darwin: Ice Floe Frolic||182|
|Not a Darwin: Shotgun Pepsi||184|
|Not a Darwin: Mania Strikes Back||186|
|Chapter 10||Classic Dozen: Better Read than Dead||189|
|Darwin Award: JATO||193|
|Darwin Award: Junk Food Junkie||195|
|Darwin Award: Midnight Special||196|
|Darwin Award: Wrong Time, Wrong Place||197|
|Darwin Award: Count Your Chickens||198|
|Darwin Award: The Last Supper||199|
|Honorable Mention: Lawnchair Larry||200|
|Honorable Mention: Revenge of the Gopher||203|
|Urban Legend: Frog Giggin' Accident||204|
|Urban Legend: Metallica Concert Misadventure||205|
|Urban Legend: Scuba Divers and Forest Fires||208|
|Urban Legend: Dog and Jeep||210|
What People are Saying About This
"Delightfully funny, The Darwin Awards, taken together, constitute a delicious sermon in support of common sense." —The Baltimore Sun
"The Darwin Awards is a riot to read. Deeply entertaining." —San Francisco Weekly
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
the things people do! unbelievable! very funny, very disturbing, very odd, the things people do or even think about doing.
The Darwin Awards is a creative concept, but I'm not sure this book is written all that well or in that funny of a manner. I haven't read the other books in this series, so I can't compare it with them, but I didn't get that many laughs out of this one. And heck, maybe there's something wrong with you if you are getting laughs out of other people dying, whether they're dangling from a hanglider with a chainsaw in hand or what have you. I will say that some of the anecdotes are pretty funny, but the humor seemed a bit hit or miss.
This book is filled with funny,stupid, or just plain ironic stories that are sure to make you laugh! This is a great gift I got it for my birthday and been reading it alot. Very funny and a great gift.
If you liked The Darwin Awards, you will find this book to be another winner. Like The Darwin Awards, let me note that if you do not find witless death and mutilation humorous, avoid this book. Three of the mutilation examples have a sexual context and are pretty gross. If you find fatal and grisly mishaps funny, you will enjoy the book greatly. In fact, this has to be the best articulated book ever written about stupid ways to die and lose fertility. Anyone will feel smarter and better about themselves after reading these stories! This book is about people 'removing themselves from the gene pool in sublimely idiotic fashion' in ¿true accidental blunders.¿ The incidents involve ways that people ¿unthinkingly engineer their own downfalls, oblivious to warning signs that the rest of us automatically heed.¿ The book's premise is very well framed to put you in a humorous mood. The idea is that when people do stupid things that get them killed or keep them from having children, they thus perform a service by improving the gene pool for the remaining humans. Ms. Northcutt uses many witty essays and quotes to emphasize this point, and establishes the mood well. She has rules for these awards. To win the Darwin Award, you must (1) die or be unable to procreate after the incident, (2) show ¿an astounding misapplication of common sense,¿ (3) cause your own downfall, (4) have the ability to use sound judgment (are not too young or permanently mentally impaired) and (5) have the incident verified by someone else. If you don't meet all these tests, you can still get an honorable mention, or be described as an urban legend or a personal account. I thought these distinctions made good sense, because the story's focus and credibility weighs heavily on the interest it creates for the reader drawn to this subject. In an improvement over The Darwin Awards, Ms. Northcutt has shared feedback from her readers challenging the veracity of various urban legends, personal accounts, and honorable mentions. As a result, this book is tighter than The Darwin Awards. In another improvement, the stories much more carefully document the victim¿s involvement with illegal drugs and alcohol than in The Darwin Awards. In this way, the cautionary lesson about using these substances is brought home more correctly The stories are grouped around themes: violating the seven deadly sins, women as the genetically removed party, water misadventures, problems with technology, men acting macho, misadventures with animals, explosions, and criminal capers. There is also a chapter on stories that do not qualify, and a dozen of the all-time favorites of on-line readers. Here are a few of my favorite stories: The woman who pretended to have been robbed in her fast food restaurant, and died of hypothermia in the cooler pretending to be immobilized . . . even though she could have walked out at any time before she lost consciousness. The man who jumped off every bridge crossing a river, including a drop of 70 feet into 3 feet of water . . . without checking the depth in advance. The man who wanted to lift off in his lawn chair a few feet into the air with helium-filled weather balloons, and ended up at 16,000 feet along the air lanes into Los Angeles International airport. The heavy man who decided to save money on liposuction by having his neighbor who was not a doctor do the operation in his house. He died of an overdose of lidocaine. The construction workers who cut a hole in heavy concrete 100 feet up around the spot they were standing on. The man who killed himself operating a forklift unsafely while taping a safety video. The woman who drove her car into a canal and called 911 on her cell phone. Told that she should lower the windows or open the door and get out, she refused . . . hoping the water would stay out. She forgot that a back window was open, and drowned. The man who looked down the rocket la