The Booksnob’s Blog

Books… the best, worst, & weirdest…

The Darwin Awards

Darwin AwardsThe Darwin Awards
Wendy Northcutt
Orion Books, London 2000

The things one sees when toiling away at library check-in. This one definitely qualifies for the Weirdest category. Apparently, since 1994 there has been a thriving online community of passive eugenicists who love to gloat over other peoples’ foolish escapades that lead to their deaths in bizarre and spectacular circumstances, thereby removing their defective DNA from the gene pool.

It all started on a Stanford University webserver back in 1994, and the Darwin Awards eventually acquired such a cult following that the Stanford sysadmin politely suggested that they might like to relocate to another server, hence the birth of the Darwin Awards website

Winners of Darwin Awards are evaluated by the following simple criteria:

The candidate must remove himself from the gene pool
The candidate must exhibit an astounding misapplication of judgement
The candidate must be the cause of his own demise
The candidate must be capable of sound judgement
The event must be verified

Candidates who fulfill all criteria except the third (i.e. those who survive to tell their sorry tale) rate an Honorable Mention.

Northcutt, the culprit who started the whole thing, studied molecular biology at Berkeley and later worked in neuroscience, before chucking it all in to become the Darwin Awards webmistress, although she lays the blame for the initial concept at the feet of her cousin Ian.


December 6, 2007 - Posted by | Non fiction | ,

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