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The Darwin Awards: Evolution in Action

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Wendy Northcutt, «The Darwin Awards: Evolution in Action»
Plume | ISBN 0452283442 | (April 30, 2002) | PDF | 1.4 Mb | 352 pages



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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

From Publishers Weekly
Anyone who has e-mail has probably already been entertained by the Darwin Awards, honors that stand out from the miasma of e-humor for several reasons: they are often genuinely hilarious and they are supposedly true. For those unfamiliar with these awards, they are given to people, mostly now deceased, whose actions reveal an astounding lack of common sense. The awards go only to those who have either died or rendered themselves unable to breed, confirming Darwin's belief in the survival of the fittest. Among the winners: terrorists who set their bombs on daylight saving time and delivered them on standard time, thus blowing themselves up; and a lawyer who crashed through a skyscraper window while demonstrating its safety. The audiobook also contains an honorable mention category for those who survive their idiotic behavior. This set provides hours of bizarre yet disturbing listening, mostly drawn from the author's popular Web site, DarwinAwards.com. Jason Harris does an excellent job of reading each reported incident; basically, they sound like standup comedy: yarn after yarn of such astounding stupidity that one cannot help but laugh. The lack of common sense exhibited here is undoubtedly comical, but Harris's reading accentuates the fact that beneath the laughter lurks a kind of pathetic sadness. Based on the Dutton hardcover. (Sept.)n



From AudioFile
If you're tickled by the spectacle of a man who electrocuted fish with household current, then waded in to harvest his catch without removing the wire, this bestseller will have you in stitches. These are true stories of those who yanked themselves out of the gene pool and therefore, supposedly, improved the species. For mortally foolish acts, they win an award: The Darwin. The production is first-rate. Jason Harris is almost laughing himself as he reads; the musical interludes punctuate without intruding. I chortled, but couldn't quite shake the suspicion that luck, more than genius, has kept me out of the running. B.H.C. © AudioFile 2002, Portland, Maine– Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine –This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

Salon.com
A warning to all dimwits.

San Francisco Weekly
The Darwin Awards is a riot to read. Deeply entertaining.

The Baltimore Sun
Delightfully funny…taken together they constitute a delicious sermon in support of common sense.

Colorado Springs Gazette
Macabre? Absolutely. But also very funny.

Book Description
"Only two things are infinite-the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not so sure about the universe." -Albert Einstein

Named in honor of Charles Darwin, the father of evolution, The Darwin Awards vividly portrays the finest examples of evolution in action, and shows us just how uncommon common sense can be.

Marvel at the thief who steals electrical wires without shutting off the current. Gape at the lawnchair jockey who floats to a height of 16,000 feet suspended by helium balloons. Learn from the man who peers into a gasoline can using a cigarette lighter. All three – and many more – contend for Darwin Awards when their choices culminate in magnificent misadventures.

These tales of trial and awe-inspiring error–verified by the author and endorsed by website readers–illustrate the ongoing saga of survival of the fittest in all its selective glory.

About the Author
Wendy Northcutt is the bestselling author of The Darwin Awards. She majored in Molecular Biology at UC Berkeley, and worked in biological research. She manages the Darwin Awards web site in her spare time and now works as an internet consultant. –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.