A while back, I listed the 2015 ?Stella Awards.?
There?s another annual award list, arguably more well-known than the Stella Awards. The list is the Darwin Awards. The annual list is given to persons who did the gene pool the biggest service by killing themselves in the most extraordinarily stupid ways. Most of this stuff is so outrageous, it would be impossible to fabricate it.
For instance, the 2014 winner was a man who was killed by a Coca-Cola machine, which fell on him as he was attempting to tip a free soda from the machine. In the spirit of gender equality, following are the 2015 Darwin Awards.
Semifinalist 1 ? A young Canadian man, searching for cheap intoxication, because he had no money with which to buy alcohol, mixed gasoline with milk. Not surprisingly, this concoction made him ill, and he vomited into the fireplace in his house. The resulting explosion and fire burned down his house, killing both him and his sister.
Semifinalist 2 ? Three Brazilian men were flying in a light aircraft at low altitude when another plane approached. It appears they decided to moon the occupants of the other plane, but lost control of their own aircraft and crashed. They were all found dead in the wreckage with their britches around their ankles.
Semifinalist 3 ? A 22-year-old Reston, Va., man was found dead after he tried to use octopus straps to bungee jump off a 70-foot railroad trestle. Fairfax County police said Eric Barcia, a fast-food worker, taped a bunch of these straps together, wrapped an end around one foot, anchored the other end to the trestle at Lake Accotink Park, jumped and hit the pavement.
Warren Coleman, a police spokesperson, said investigators think Barcia was alone because his car was found nearby. ?The length of the cord that he had assembled was greater than the distance between the trestle and the ground,? Carmichel said. Police said major trauma was the apparent cause of death.
Semifinalist 4 ? A man in Alabama died from rattlesnake bites. It seems that he and a friend were playing a game of catch, using the rattlesnake as a ball. The friend was hospitalized.
Semifinalist 5 ? Employees in a medium-sized warehouse in west Texas noticed the smell of a gas leak. Sensibly, management evacuated the building extinguishing all potential sources of ignition ? lights, power, etc.
After the building had been evacuated, two technicians from the gas company were dispatched. Upon entering the building, they found they had difficulty navigating in the dark. To their frustration, none of the lights worked. Witnesses later described the sight of one of the technicians reaching into his pocket and retrieving an object that resembled a cigarette lighter.
Upon operation of the lighter-like object, the gas in the warehouse exploded, sending pieces of it up to three miles away. Nothing was found of the technicians, but the lighter was virtually untouched by the explosion.
Winner of the 2015 Darwin Award (awarded, as always, posthumously) ? The Arizona Highway Patrol came upon a pile of smoldering metal embedded in the side of a cliff rising above the road at the apex of a curve.
The wreckage resembled the site of an airplane crash, but it was a car. The type of car was unidentifiable at the scene.
Police investigators finally pieced together the mystery. An amateur rocket scientist somehow acquired a Jet Assisted Take Off (JATO), which is a solid fuel rocket used to give heavy military transport planes an extra ?push? for taking off from short airfields. He had driven his Chevrolet Impala out into the desert and found a long-straight stretch of road. He attached the JATO unit to the car, jumped in, got up some speed and fired off the JATO.
The facts as best as could be determined are that the operator of the Impala hit the JATO ignition at a distance of approximately three miles from the crash site. This was established by the scorched and melted asphalt at that location.
The JATO, if operating properly, would have reached maximum thrust within five seconds, causing the Chevrolet to reach speeds well in excess of 350 miles-per-hour and continuing at full power for an additional 20-25 seconds.
The driver, and soon to be pilot, would have experienced G-forces, usually reserved for dog fighting F-14 jocks after full afterburners, causing him to become irrelevant for the remainder of the event.
However, this automobile remained on the straight highway for about two-and-one-half miles (15-20 seconds) before the driver applied and completely melted the brakes, blowing the tires and leaving thick rubber marks on the road surface, then becoming airborne for an additional 1.4 miles and impacting the cliff face at a height of 125 feet, leaving a blackened crater three feet deep in the rock.
Most of the driver?s remains were not recoverable. However, small fragments of bone, teeth and hair were extracted from the crater, and fingernail and bone shards were removed from a piece of debris believed to be a portion of the steering wheel.
It has been calculated that the driver attained a ground speed of approximately 420 miles-per-hour, though much of this voyage was not actually on the ground.