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Old 01-31-2016, 02:45 PM   #1
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Default The Annual Darwin Awards

Okay - I don't know if these are really true or not - but they make for some entertaining reading nonetheless. And we can certainly all hope that they are true because it makes us feel oh so much better about ourselves - doesn't it?
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The annual honor is 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... HONEST!

Read on...And remember that each and every one of these is TRUE.

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. The 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 a 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 railroad 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 sources 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, the winner of this year's Darwin Award (awarded, as always, posthumously):

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 J A T O unit (Jet Assisted Take Off, actually a solid fuel rocket)
that is used to give 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 J A T O unit to the car, jumped in, got up some speed and fired off the J A T O!

The facts as best as could be determined are that the operator of the 1967 Impala hit the J A T O 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 J A T O, 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 actually on the ground.

You couldn't make this stuff up, could you?

.......... AND PEOPLE JUST LIKE T HIS ARE ALL AROUND US, BREEDING & VOTING!!!


John Jensen
The Free Press
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Old 01-31-2016, 04:01 PM   #2
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Damn, I sure wish Hillary was on the list. (Moderator, feel free to remove this if it is considered too political.)
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Old 01-31-2016, 06:23 PM   #3
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octopus straps what is that??
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Old 01-31-2016, 06:47 PM   #4
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I don't know how they decided the winner. All the nominees were so worthy.
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Old 01-31-2016, 07:34 PM   #5
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octopus straps what is that??
Basically your typical multi-colored bungie cords with the metal hooks. I had to look it up since I've never heard that term before either.
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Old 01-31-2016, 07:44 PM   #6
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octopus straps what is that??
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Old 01-31-2016, 08:59 PM   #7
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Too bad the JATO story is false. Never happened.
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Old 02-01-2016, 09:56 AM   #8
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Too bad the JATO story is false. Never happened.
For one thing there is no way someone could attach a JATO unit to a car and not have it rip the %hit out of the car as soon as it was lit. It would rip the chassis through the body or just tear the body right off the car. If you have ever seen how JATO is attached you would know what I mean.
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Old 02-01-2016, 10:46 AM   #9
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Yeah, that's why I wrote the disclaimer. Hard to believe all these things actually took place, or that at minimum they haven't been heavily embellished.
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Old 02-01-2016, 11:48 AM   #10
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Some of these stories are also over 20yrs old. Still funny though, or rather let's just say interesting.

Yep, regarding the JATO thing I had to google it. Couldn't see this going well on a car.

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Old 02-01-2016, 12:04 PM   #11
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In the early years of experimenting with JATO they were trying to mount the units to the wings of a C-130. They gave up after they tore several wings off. They were using mounting pylons three times stronger then the engine pylons and the wing would twist up and rip off. I watched video of it when I was going through A/P school back in the eighties.
Also watched video of them landing a C-130 on a carrier deck and re-launching it with JATO assist. They figured out how to do it and decided never to do it again unless it was a dire emergency. Only if a carrier needs critical supplies will they ever do it.

And from what I have been told when they do it in fat albert the normal engines don't do anything but keep the plane in the proper flight attitude until a certain height is reached and the JATO burns out. The takeoff itself is pretty much just the JATO. If you watch close enough you can see the props feather because the power of the JATO can actually wrench them off the spline if they are in a cruise position.
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Old 02-01-2016, 07:15 PM   #12
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While reading the antics that caused the demise of these brainiacs (even if all are not true), I was reminded of this scene:

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Old 02-02-2016, 01:58 AM   #13
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I'm surprised Levoy didn't make the list....he shoulda made the top 5 anyway.
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Old 02-02-2016, 12:17 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PACman View Post
For one thing there is no way someone could attach a JATO unit to a car and not have it rip the %hit out of the car as soon as it was lit. It would rip the chassis through the body or just tear the body right off the car. If you have ever seen how JATO is attached you would know what I mean.
Theoretically, tying it into the frame of the car would be possible. Due to the (relatively) light weight of the car and lack (again, relatively) of drag, it could go much better than trying to tie it into the wings of a C-130. There have been plenty of successful rocket cars, and the rockets used were not much different from the JATO. If the guy was truly an engineer, it's well within the realm of possibility. Though that's not to say that you wouldn't lose a few parts on the way. Not saying it's true, but it is within the realm of possibility.

Quick numbers I find:
1,000 lbf of thrust for a single JATO unit
50,000 lbf thrust for this rocket car: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ThrustSSC

The main difference is that the JATO is a high-speed thrust engine and most rocket cars use a low-speed thrust engine as far as I know. It's hard to find specific numbers on this, though.

Now obviously there's some engineering differences between a purpose built rocket car and a '67 Impala, but engineered correctly it'd be doable. It even sounds like something an engineer would do- make the car sturdy enough to survive the rocket, but not think about where it will go or how it will behave after firing the rocket.

Edit: In fact, Mythbusters even successfully replicated a '66 Impala that did survive the thrust... it just failed to take off (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JATO_R..._investigation)

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Old 02-02-2016, 12:37 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NotAChemist View Post
Theoretically, tying it into the frame of the car would be possible. Due to the (relatively) light weight of the car and lack (again, relatively) of drag, it could go much better than trying to tie it into the wings of a C-130. There have been plenty of successful rocket cars, and the rockets used were not much different from the JATO. If the guy was truly an engineer, it's well within the realm of possibility. Though that's not to say that you wouldn't lose a few parts on the way. Not saying it's true, but it is within the realm of possibility.

Quick numbers I find:
1,000 lbf of thrust for a single JATO unit
50,000 lbf thrust for this rocket car: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ThrustSSC

The main difference is that the JATO is a high-speed thrust engine and most rocket cars use a low-speed thrust engine as far as I know. It's hard to find specific numbers on this, though.

Now obviously there's some engineering differences between a purpose built rocket car and a '67 Impala, but engineered correctly it'd be doable. It even sounds like something an engineer would do- make the car sturdy enough to survive the rocket, but not think about where it will go or how it will behave after firing the rocket.

Edit: In fact, Mythbusters even successfully replicated a '66 Impala that did survive the thrust... it just failed to take off (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JATO_R..._investigation)
Rocket cars are powered by variable thrust engines, not all the TORQUE at once engines. Horsepower isn't the problem.
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Old 02-02-2016, 01:46 PM   #16
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Hence the differentiation between high-speed thrust and low-speed thrust; but again, I'd argue that it's possible if not necessarily easy. Not a ton of drag on a car, comparatively. It's just a matter of doing the work.
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Old 02-02-2016, 01:57 PM   #17
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I have to imagine steering a car with that rate of acceleration will be problematic.
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Old 02-02-2016, 02:36 PM   #18
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I have to imagine steering a car with that rate of acceleration will be problematic.
If you could get the wheels to turn, I imagine it would make no difference whatsoever. Tires would probably be shredded pretty quickly. If you could keep the nose down. Might be able to get yourself into a tumble, though.
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Old 02-02-2016, 03:25 PM   #19
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You do know that those rocket cars run at around 1/10 throttle don't you? Even the last speed record run was done with jet engines with throttle controls that maxed out at about 1/4 of full throttle. The only thing keeping those guys from going 2000 mph ground speed is keeping the car on the ground and making it strong enough to take the torque. As they find solutions to those two problems they will keep going faster and faster without ever having to use an engine any bigger then the two they used. In fact the only reason they used two engines is because they were counter rotating and kept the car from just spinning wildly. If one of them ever fails at 1/4 throttle they would be lucky to find the remains of the car, let alone the driver. That possibility for failure is much more dangerous then the speed they are traveling.
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Old 02-02-2016, 08:21 PM   #20
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