CSE 271: User Interface Design: Social and Technical Issues

A Darwin Award Nomination
You may or may now know that the Darwin Award is given (usually posthumously) to individuals who do the most to improve the human gene pool by removing themselves from it. Here is the text of a recent Darwin award nomination:
Many transmission lines crisscross the state. These are held up by Transmission Towers of various constructions. Those most commonly installed near urban areas are called "metal Ornamental Towers" (supposedly prettier than wood towers). Sometimes adventurous folks climb the towers in order to enjoy the view and the night air. Most stay away from the wires, and when they get bored, come back down.

Apparently, a man who was forlorn after a recent spat with his girlfriend needed some fresh air to clear his head and decided to climb a tower. He stopped for a 6 pack to help clear his thoughts, went to a tower south of Hartford, next to I-91, and climbed it. Public Service employees later pieced the story together. The man sat there 60 feet above the highway, drank his beer and consoled his bruised ego. After 5 beers, he needed to do what people often need to do after 5 beers. It being such a long hike down, he unzipped and did his business right there off the tower.

Electricity is a funny thing. One doesn't need to touch a wire in order to get shocked. Depending on conditions, 115,000 volt lines, like those supported by the tower, could shock a person as far away as 6 feet. When the man "whizzed" near the conductor (wire), the power arced to his "stream" (urine is an excellent conductor of electricity), traveled up to his private parts, and blew him off the tower. The guys at the power company noted a momentary outage on this line and sent repairmen to see if there was any damage. When they got to the scene of the accident, they found a very dead person, his fly down, what was left of his private parts smoking, and a single beer left on top of the tower.


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Maintained by Joseph Goguen
9 May 1997