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The Darwin Awards:
Warning: The Darwin Awards are not for the tenderhearted. The vastly popular Web site, now a book, recognizes "individuals who ensure the long-term survival of our species by removing themselves from the gene pool in a sublimely idiotic fashion." Who wins a Darwin Award? Terrorists who set their bombs on daylight saving time and delivered them on standard time, blowing themselves up. Folks who put garlands around a Bengal tiger's neck. Guys in Cambodia who took turns stomping on a land mine they'd brought into a bar. The six Egyptians who drowned trying to rescue a chicken that fell into a well. (The chicken alone survived.) The Buenos Aires husband who threw his wife out an eighth-floor window during a spat, noticed she'd gotten caught in power lines, and jumped after her, "angrily trying to finish the job, or remorsefully hoping to rescue her." He went splat; she escaped unscathed. There are some urban legends, like the sergeant said to have attached a Jet-Assisted Take-Off unit to his Chevy and hit a cliff 125 feet up (not true, says author Wendy Northcutt), and all-too-true honorable mentions, like the man who put weather balloons on his lawn chair, soared to 16,000 feet, crashed into power lines, blacked out Long Beach, California, and told police, "A man can't just sit around." My favorite winner: the man who was bitten nine times by the same king brown snake because he put it in a bag on his car seat and kept sticking his hand back into the bag. Why did he pick up the snake with his left hand? "Because I was holding a beer in my right one." And where did this take place? In Darwin, Australia. If you think somebody up there doesn't have a wicked sense of humor, The Darwin Awards may change your mind. --Tim Appelo [via]