Monday, January 15, 2007

Nintendo Wii Claims its first victim
A woman participating in a radio contest for a Nintendo Wii died Saturday due to water intoxication (link). The contest entitled "Hold Your Wee for a Wii" involved drinking a cup of water every 15 minutes until without taking a whiz. Whoever is last to go to the bathroom wins.
Apparently, neither the radio station nor the contestants knew how dangerous this could be. They even dismissed a nurse who phoned in her concerns about large water intake. Drinking too much water can dilute the vital sodium/potasium levels in the body to the point where some of your organs cease to work. The woman who died was found dead in her home a few hours after the contest. She said that she did the contest for her children.
I have to say that this is the tragic result of stupidity. Am I being a bit too harsh? Maybe, but people have to realize that anything, taken at high enough doses is pretty much lethal to the human body. That includes H20, which, despite the fact that it makes up 60% of your body is more lethal than a bowl of jalapeno peppers. Maybe if this country put more focus on science instead of "intelligent design" we wouldn't have so many recipients of the Darwin Award.


Mar said...

While I agree that this is a case of "death by stupidity," it's harsh to criticize somebody when stupid actions are being validated by the community. The radio station, the other contestants, a lot of people were ignorant of the risks involved. When a jury of your peers also advocates an action that results in tragedy, it's not so easy to attach blame.

Whereas poison by water dilution is something that any first-year biologist or doctor would know of, what about people who only attended high school? What about people in Africa who can't afford education and don't know that too much alcohol can kill you? Many there might not even know that when you stop drinking milk, you need to get your calcium from another source or else your bones will weaken and break. Of the people who are educated, how many know of Nitrous poisoning when diving too deep too fast? How about people who accidentally combine Reyataz and Rilosec?

Then there's the physical tolerance difference. I've drank an entire bottle of vodka, and just gotten drunk. I knew a person who only drunk a half a bottle, and went into shock from alcohol poisoning. A larger man could have drank more water than this woman, and not been as harmed. Many people don't know their own tolerance level, and even experts don't always know the tolerance level of certain people. Talk to the anesthesiologists who operated on Andre the Giant, and had no clue about how much drugs he should be given during surgery.

There's a limit to what "education" can bring, and even what people are capable of learning. Simply saying that we should ban "intelligent design" doesn't make children pay more attention in biology, or give scientists all the answers.

I don't know why I'm in such an argumentative mood today...I need to drink and party tonight.

Anonymous said...

The main problem IS the validation of stupidity by the community. Those who do stupid things because other people do it are completely responsible for their own actions and are due any blame that would have been placed on them had they been without the confirmation of their peers. In fact, we often ask others "if everyone else jumped off a bridge, would you jump off a bridge too?". So when someone does "jump off the bridge, too", should be spare them the blame?... I think not. Also, it's not hard to imagine that a mother of 3 would have used the same admonishment with her own kids.

Granted, science doesn't answer everything or at least hasn't yet answered everything, but I'm not complaining about the unanswered things. I wanna know why we're so quick to gloss over the things answered by science. Intelligent Design is just the "bling" used to distract people away from seeing an insecure ideology hiding underneath (much like a balding overweight middle-aged man who buys a lamborghini). I don't mean to say that banning intelligent design (ID) is a cure-all for education. I mean to say that ID is systemic of a society that is complacent on education.

Is there a limit on the capacity of learning that education can provide? I say a definitive 'NO'. Even with the implied lack of higher education in Africa, 20,000 doctors manage to leave that continent to work in Western Europe and HERE every year!!! How else can there be a "brain-drain" in Africa if there were no ways to develop said 'brain'? Genetics is certainly not playing a role since these ex-pats' aren't having babies in Africa. If the Africans can still manage to educate themselves, why aren't we?