The Selfie

I suppose they could put warnings on cell phones, but I doubt it would do any good. If warnings were effective no-one would smoke.

A few years back there were grave concerns about the health risks involved with cell phone usage. Holding a device to the side of your head that emits various forms of radiation was suspected on increasing your risk of brain cancer.

I don’t know if that cause and effect was ever established. I did have a colleague who swore it was true – and he did die of brain cancer which he maintained was caused by cell phone use.

The risk is probably lessened these days by phones being used more for texting than calling. My phone plan allows me unlimited minutes each month, but I can’t remember the last time I used as much as half an hour of talk time monthly. However, as I discovered in a news report yesterday, cell phones can still be deadly, even if you don’t talk on them.

There is an annual award given for people who do incredibly stupid things. The Darwin awards are posthumously given to people who are examples of Charles Darwin’s concept of survival of the fittest, people “who have supposedly contributed to human evolution by selecting themselves out of the gene pool via death or sterilization by their own actions.

The Darwin Awards came to mind as I read about the rash of deaths of cell phone users obsessed with selfies. These people obviously were not using their brains. I wonder though if they got some great pictures, like the train as it hit them or the edge of the cliff disintegrating underfoot. Maybe not – the sudden change in their situation probably caused them to forget to take the picture. Supposedly 127 people have died worldwide in the past two years while taking selfies. (I say supposedly because I didn’t see any information about the research mentioned in the news story on the websites of either of the educational institutions involved. I had to wonder if it was a prank, but it sounds legitimate. Certainly you can find lots of news stories about people’s last selfie.)

Maybe it is just me, but I don’t see the appeal in taking chances for the sake of a picture. I am constantly frustrated by many of the pictures I do take; I can see a better shot in my head. Sometimes I can see where I should be to take that better shot – but I don’t do it if it involves risking life and limb.

IMG_1406

The village of Manarola, Italy behind me. And no, it isn’t a selfie!

Selfies are certainly popular, and I can understand that. It isn’t all narcissism; sometimes you just want to preserve the moment. With cell phones everyone always has a camera with them.

The researchers in the story want to develop an app for the phones that will warn users when they are in a risky situation. Even if they manage it, I doubt it will do any good. The sort of person who would step in front of a moving train to snap a picture won’t listen to an app telling him it is unwise.

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One comment

  1. To be fair some people would die picking fluff out of their belly buttons if they chose to do it whilst drying their hair in a full bath. Stupid is as stupid does. Don’t think I’d blame selfies and the Darwin awards sounds just about right.

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