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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » I nominate this guy for the ultimate Darwin Award

   
Author Topic: I nominate this guy for the ultimate Darwin Award
Glenn Arnold
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It's a great website too.
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Sterling
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Wow.
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scifibum
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Sounds like an avaricious and unethical dude, but not stupid. So I would vote against a Darwin award. But it was an interesting read!
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Fusiachi
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Not too long ago, a priest here in Brazil grabbed a bunch of helium-filled balloons so as to fly through the air. He did. He also neglected to let go, and floated out to sea. The balloons were found out in the Atlantic.

I think he's got to be a frontrunner for this year's DA.

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Glenn Arnold
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quote:
Sounds like an avaricious and unethical dude, but not stupid. So I would vote against a Darwin award.
As far as I know, stupidity is not required, merely that it must be beneficial to remove him from the gene pool.
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rivka
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Not quite. Darwin Awards go to those who have successfully (or almost) removed themselves from the gene pool. Stupidity may not be required, but is often implicated.
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scholarette
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You also can only remove yourself from the gene pool. A few years ago, the postdoc almost blew us all up (luckily, he only lit himself on fire, which was quickly put out). So, we went and looked up the rules.
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ketchupqueen
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I liked reading about the scientist who figured out the atmospheric lead thing, though. Especially that he wouldn't be paid off for more favorable results toward the gasoline company.
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Glenn Arnold
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Rivka I can't tell if you're responding to me or to scifibum.
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rivka
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To you.
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Glenn Arnold
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Did you read how the guy died?
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rivka
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I was debating what you said, not the article.
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Sterling
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In a slightly smarter world, you would at least think that an engineer's own invention killing him might cause his other contributions to be viewed with a little more... Scrutiny?...
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scifibum
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quote:
Originally posted by Glenn Arnold:
Did you read how the guy died?

Speaking for myself, I hadn't. *stops, clicks link, finds story of death* I see what you mean now.
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Farmgirl
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It's still recommended that I use a "lead additive" my old 1951 tractor, because it was built for leaded gas, not unleaded...
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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by Fusiachi:
Not too long ago, a priest here in Brazil grabbed a bunch of helium-filled balloons so as to fly through the air. He did. He also neglected to let go, and floated out to sea. The balloons were found out in the Atlantic.

I think he's got to be a frontrunner for this year's DA.

That would take a lot of balloons. or very very big balloons. I used to sell balloons and 40 of them were not enough to make it appreciably easier to lift my arm. They were enough to hold a small stuffed animal a couple of feet off the ground.
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scholarette
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Mythbusters set a kid floating using balloons. It took many, many balloons. The question became is it feasible to make this many balloons in one day (it was). But bigger balloons is a possibility.
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BandoCommando
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quote:
Originally posted by scholarette:
Mythbusters set a kid floating using balloons. It took many, many balloons. The question became is it feasible to make this many balloons in one day (it was). But bigger balloons is a possibility.

They also did an episode in which Adam was lifted rather high into the air by about a dozen weather balloons. So it's not just a possibility; it's verified.
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Glenn Arnold
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quote:
I was debating what you said, not the article.
That's why I was confused. Your statement is basically a rewording of my argument, but it sounded like you were debating me. I still don't understand what the disagreement is.
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Slim
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I think it's because you said "beneficial to remove him from the gene pool" instead of "beneficial to remove themselves from the gene pool."

When I read your post, I thought that's what you meant anyway.

I thought it was funny that the guy who came up with leaded gasoline went on to create chlorofluorocarbons.

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Fusiachi
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
That would take a lot of balloons. or very very big balloons. I used to sell balloons and 40 of them were not enough to make it appreciably easier to lift my arm. They were enough to hold a small stuffed animal a couple of feet off the ground.

He had a pretty good number of balloons with him. It was all over the news for a little while. Then some girl was killed, so the new types latched onto that.

Here's a video.


Edit: In the video, the reporter points out that each balloon they used can lift about half a kilogram. The priest and his equipment, weighing in at about 200kg, required roughly 500 balloons to lift.

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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by scifibum:
Sounds like an avaricious and unethical dude, but not stupid. So I would vote against a Darwin award. But it was an interesting read!

He did end up killing himself unintentionally in a machine he invented after he was paralyzed, to help him sit up in bed. That's award worthy.

I take issue with your assessment though. He was just a guy working in a lab- it was the companies that continued to market tetra-ethyl lead after its effects were fully realized, that are to blame. Everything gets invented by somebody- however shortsighted that person is.

Shocking that we were talking about a fuel crisis a century ago in this country...

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ketchupqueen
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The Mythbusters lifted a small child with regular helium balloons and it took a wareshouse full... Those must have been some balloons.
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Nighthawk
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They pulled a stunt like that in the street on The Late Show with David Letterman.

Of course, they had a tower of balloons four stories high...

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Juxtapose
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quote:
He did end up killing himself unintentionally in a machine he invented after he was paralyzed, to help him sit up in bed. That's award worthy.
Are you serious? That's the exact opposite of my assessment.
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Glenn Arnold
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quote:
It's still recommended that I use a "lead additive" my old 1951 tractor, because it was built for leaded gas, not unleaded...
When unleaded gas was finally banned in the 80's, hot rodders were afraid that using unleaded would cause all sorts of problems with '60 musclecars in particular. They claimed that valves would "recede into the valve seat," because the lead served as a cushion, or lubricant. What actually happened? Unleaded gas runs just fine in older engines. In fact valves were actually gummed up by lead deposits, so unleaded is better.

Gasolines today have all sorts of additives to raise octane, prevent corrosion, and clean deposits from engines. Gas in the '50s was pretty much just distilled petroleum with the lead additive. If you hear your tractor knocking, use a higher octane gas. But using a lead additive is completely unnecessary.

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Glenn Arnold
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I guess the "ultimate" Darwin award might go to Hitler, except that offing yourself in a cowardly way to avoid prosecution as a war criminal doesn't quite fit with the standard of stupidity/extravagance/accident that is assumed with the Darwin awards.
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