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Darwin Awards 2002

Darwin Award nominees get scarier and scarier every year. (The Darwin Awards are given to the person 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 of it. The 2002 nominations include a 27 year old French woman who lost control of her car on a highway near Marseilles and crashed into a tree, seriously injuring her passenger and killing herself. As a commonplace road accident, this would not have qualified for a Darwin nomination, were it not for the fact that the driver's attention had been distracted by her Tamagotchi key ring (pocket animal), which had started urgently beeping for food as she drove along. In an attempt to press the correct buttons to save the Tamagotchi's life, the woman lost her own. And a man in Alabama who 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 hospitalised. More information on the Darwin web site, (submitted by Barry Pless).

No bullet tax this year

A proposed constitutional amendment to levy a nickel tax on every bullet sold in California will not be considered this year, meaning the first-in-the-nation measure would not reach voters until at least 2004. The measure cleared one Senate committee, but was pulled from consideration recently before it was to be heard in a second committee. Senator Perata had proposed that the 5 cent tax on each bullet go to hospital emergency rooms (from Contra Costa Times (California), August 2002).

Peter Jacobsen who submitted this item comments: “A bullet tax makes sense to me—the top four causes of premature death are, in order: tobacco, motor vehicles, firearms, and alcohol. Would it not make more sense to tax these four instead of income?”