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Darwin Awards #4 Intelligent Design Hardcover – Oct 24 2006

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton; 1 edition (Oct. 24 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0525949607
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525949602
  • Product Dimensions: 14.3 x 2.9 x 19 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 431 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,789,694 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

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 alternate Hardcover edition.

From AudioFile

The fourth in a series of such books by the author, this seamless abridgment reports the antics of real individuals who have acted so stupidly that they sometimes die, thus removing themselves from the reproductive chain. Starting a paper fire under a car engine that is too cold to start, snowmobiling across water, blowing up outhouses, idiotic gun mishaps--these true stories are sometimes funny, sometimes sad. They are told alternately by the two narrators, whose pacing and phrasing serve the material well. Patrick Lawlor Girard's energetic performance includes foreign accents that work more often than not. His vocal skill and reportorial urgency make co-narrator Julie Schaller sound too innocent or casual by comparison. T.W. © AudioFile 2007, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

Inside This Book

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The role model for the Darwin Awards is Wile E. Coyote, whose relentless pursuit of Road Runner leads him to find creative solutions to nonexistent problems, none of which work the way he planned. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Hardcover
Amusing book about the stupid ways people kill themselves by accident. By reading this book and the other books in this series hopefully you will learn not to do what these people did that got themselves killed by accident.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 41 reviews
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Another book in the Darwin Awards series... Oct. 26 2006
By R S Cobblestone - Published on
Format: Hardcover
The Darwin Awards strikes again!

Volume 4 features the latest folk who have removed themselves from the human gene pool (Darwin Award winner) or attempted to (Honorable Mention).

Death isn't required as an endpoint for a Darwin Award, but reproductive fitness must be reduced to zero.

As an example of an Honorable Mention, I submit the case (p. 135) of an unidentified 50 year old entering the emergency room of a hospital in Hong Kong, complaining of abdominal pain. After an x-ray, doctors spotted what appeared to be an eel in his colon! Yes, the man admitted. He had been suffering from constipation, and decided that inserting an eel would be just the ticket to solve this problem. He recovered, so he remains in the gene pool (for those who will have him, and his traits).

And who gets a Darwin Award? Consider the case of the sleep-deprived Romanian (p. 129). He couldn't sleep because of a pesky and noisy rooster. He dreamed of wringing its neck, or, even better, decapitation. One evening he had had enough. He got out of bed, grabbed the rooster, and chopped off its head. Unfortunately, the sleep-deprived man noticed soon after that he had accidentally chopped off his penis instead, and while reflecting on this, his dog came over and ate the discarded member. He did get to the hospital and recover, but he was effectively removed from the gene pool.

See? Death need not be the endpoint. However, I guarantee you that the majority of Darwin Award recipients are no longer of this Earth. And, as compiler Wendy Northcutt would argue, that is just fine for the human gene pool.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Darwin Awards 4 -- Stupid People 0 Dec 14 2006
By Stuart Herring - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Wendy Northcutt & Co. have brought us yet another great set of anecdotes about how NOT to "maximize your reproductive fitness". As has been noted before: it's fun to watch, from a position of safety of course, the antics of the truly foolish and stupid. (Consider the long-standing popularity of clown acts, for example.) We get to laugh in a self-reassuring way, thinking "There but for the grace of...well, Darwin, go I."

We know, or at least we believe, that OUR brains won't be victims of what some wit has labeled "testosterone poisoning", which too often leads to such famous last words as "Hey, y'all, watch this!" (Alcohol poisoning seems to exacerbate the testosterone poisoning, as in the case of the two drunken young men who made a bet to see who could dangle the longer from a freeway overpass one night. They both lost the bet, dying when they fell into traffic after they could no longer hold on.)

So get ready to shake your head in amazement, and have many a chuckle along the way, as you read the latest round-up of human idiocy. You'll learn some other fascinating things too, in the science essays that introduce the chapters. Enjoy!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Laughing at death? Sept. 28 2007
By meDoc - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I've followed the Darwin Awards through the website for many years now, and have often laughed at the sometimes outrageous stories I've read. People apparently have the capacity to get themselves killed in ways nobody could ever have imagined beforehand. This is the first book of the series I've read, and the format suits the contents very well.

One common criticism of the Darwin Awards is the apparent cruelty of laughing at other people's tragedy, especially considering the family and friends who are left behind. Those critics fail to see that we don't laugh at the tragedy of it all, but the stupidity that lead up to it. People who commit acts of monumental stupidity has to be ridiculed as much as possible, because that is the best way of ensuring that other people learn from their mistakes. When someone tries to weld a live handgrenade to a chain in order to clean the chimney, it would be immoral NOT to bring the story to light, and to make sure everybody understands that if they ever do anything remotely similar, they too will be the laughing stock of millions.

Of course, if this view on life and death offends you, this book is not for you. It is also not the book for anybody who has a religious view that conflicts with modern science, because that is another key point in the philosophy behind the Darwin Awards, promoting science and knowledge, as part of the battle against stupidity. A losing battle it might seem, by the constant influx of new material...

This comes across clearly in the extra material in the book. The book is structured with the Darwin Awards themselves sorted into categories which each make a chapter. There is a chapter dedicated to death by explosives and fireworks, another dedicated to death by water. There is also a separate chapter for the female Darwin Award winners, who seem to be a more rare breed than their male counterparts.
Introducing each chapter is a short essay written by various knowledgable people, covering a wide variety of popular science.

Now you know what the book is all about, but the question remains, is it any good?

The answer is yes, it is very good. I'm tempted to give it top marks, but there are a few things that I feel detract a little. First of all, although the stories are for the most part excellent, and clearly worthy winners of the Award, there are one or two who, to me, are less an issue of blatant stupidity and more an issue of being somewhat stupid, but also just unlucky. This is always a personal feeling, and it did little to influence my overall enjoyment of the book, which was still very high. The other point is that the scientific portion of the book occasionally was slightly inaccurate. I was probably more sensitive to that matter as the essay concerned covered my own field of expertise, and I must stress the point that it was overall a good essay.

Those are the "bad" parts. It is not much, but it needs to be mentioned in a thorough review. The good parts are far more numerous, and includes the main part of the book, the stories. There is a lot of them, and they are all very good. Wendy Northcutt is a talented writer and editor, and the stories are usually very well chosen. The essays are all enjoyable and enlightening, and are a nice break from the Awards themselves.

All in all I can highly recommend this book if you enjoy the concept of the Darwin Awards, and if you like to read interesting articles and essays.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Another look at the stupidity of the human race... Nov. 26 2007
By James D. Crabtree - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
... or at least some members of it. Some of the stories of stupid human tricks really do boggle the mind. Putting lit fireworks in your pants? Bungee-jumping onto a ship? Stealing extremely toxic snakes and putting them in plastic bags? What were they thinking? Well, they weren't.

There may be limits to human intelligence but there are NO limits on human stupidity. If you need a laugh or have a need to feel superior, this is the book for you! The illustrations and the commentary which go with some of the stories are first-rate as well.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Darwin Awards 4: Intelligent Design Dec 6 2006
By Per Iocum - Published on
Format: Hardcover
The format is similar to the previous installments. There are ten scientific essays all of which are worth reading, the parody `Noodleous doubleous' and plenty of Darwin Award winners and honorable mentions. Favorites of mine include the "Mile High Club Failure" and "Firewalls". Darwin Awards IV: Intelligent Design is well worth the meager $ 13.57 it costs on Amazon and I would recommend this book to anyone with an interest in science or a sense of humor.