人類という種に幸あらんことを

いまや前の会社となってしまったが、そこで縁合って友達になった奥様方とランチ。
私が思わず、会社を辞めた後でも、こうやって会ってくれて嬉しいと口走ったら、

「確かに知り合うきっかけは会社だったけど、それ以降は気が合う友達かどうかだけだよ」

と言ってくれて、またまたほろっときてしまったよ。
ああ全く、年をとると涙もろくなっていかんなあ。(ぐしっ)

* * * * *

【時事】
b0059565_12255135.jpgダーウィンの提唱した”自然淘汰説”は、今日に至っても、教育・宗教論争まで巻き起こすだけの力を持つものとなっております。

彼の説によれば、生存と繁殖に有利な性質が次世代に遺伝し、その遺伝子を持つ個体が増えていくことで進化が起こるわけですが。
中には、こんなもん、世界から消えてしまえ!と言いたくなるような性質というのがあるのも事実であります。
但しその基準は、個々の個体により異なる、ということを大前提にしておかねば、恐ろしい事態を招きかねません。歴史は語る。

人為的に遺伝子を操作するのは、まだまだ倫理的にも技術的にも問題が山積みですが、そういう”劣”遺伝子が自ら滅びてくれる分には、ありがたいことこの上なし。
人類のより良い未来と存続の為に、見事な手段で自らを抹消し、その遺伝子を自分の代で断った人々に向けて、感謝をこめて贈られる賞、というのがこの世には存在します。

ネット内での都市伝説、という形で始まったこの賞は、いつの間にかドメイン名まで取得し、その地位を確立。数冊の本まで著され、ベストセラーにもなっています。
そして先日、待ちに待った2006年度の受賞者が決定された模様です。
さて、その決定はいかに!?



It's that time again... The Darwin Awards are finally out, the annual honor given to the persons who did the gene pool the biggest service by killing themselves in the most extraordinarily stupid way.
Last year's winner was the fellow who was killed by a Coke machine which toppled over on top of him as he was attempting to tip a free soda out.
This year's winner was a real rocket scientist... really!

And the nominees were:

Semifinalist #1
A young Canadian man, searching for a way of getting drunk cheaply, 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.
This resulting explosion and fire burned his house down, 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 that 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 pants 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 rail road 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 Carmichael, a police spokesman, 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," Carmichael said.
Police say the apparent cause of death was "Major trauma."

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 - no doubt a future Darwin Awards candidate - 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 so urces 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. The technician suspected of causing the blast had never been thought of as ''bright'' by his peers.

Now ladies and gentleman, the winner of this year's Darwin Award:

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... had somehow gotten hold of a JATO unit (Jet Assisted Take Off, actually a solid fuel rocket) that is used to g ive heavy military transport planes an extra "push" for taking off from short airfields.
He had driven his Chevy 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 1967 Impala hit the JATO ignition at a distance of approximately 3.0 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 5 seconds, causing the Chevy to reach speeds well in excess of 350 mph 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 under full afterburners,causing him to become irrelevant for the remainder of the event. However, the automobile remained on the straight highway for about 2.5 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 3 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.

Epilogue: It has been calculated that this moron attained a ground speed of approximately 420-mph, though much of his voyage was not on the ground.

* * * * *

友達がわざわざ教えてくれるまで(ありがとー!>私信)、世の中にこんなブラックな賞があるとはついぞ知りませんでした。
笑っていいのか、泣いていいのか。とりあえずナキワライでどうでしょう。

以下のサイトをご参考までに。

 Darwin Awards (Wikipedia)
 The Darwin Awards: Evolution in Action (ペーパーバック)
 darwinawards.com (↑の本の著者が管理するサイト)
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