Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Doofus Of The Day #934

I don't normally make Doofus awards if someone is seriously injured or killed during the incident concerned.  However, the late recipient of today's award did something so egregiously dumb that I'm afraid he gets it anyway.

Sable Scott told investigators that she and her 23-year-old brother, Colin, left a boardwalk near Pork Chop Geyser on June 7 and walked several hundred feet up a hill in search of “a place that they could potentially get into and soak,” Deputy Chief Ranger Lorant Veress told KULR-TV in an interview.

As Sable Scott took video of her brother with her cellphone, he reached down to check the water temperature and slipped and fell into the hot pool, according to the incident report obtained by KULR through a Freedom of Information Act request.

. . .

The next day, workers could not find any remains in the churning, acidic water, Veress said.

“In very short order, there was a significant amount of dissolving,” Veress said.

There's more at the link.

That's a Darwin Award for sure.  How is it possible that this idiot and his sister didn't do even the most basic research on Pork Chop Geyser?  The water in that thermal basin has been measured at no less than 459° Fahrenheit (about 237° Celsius for foreign readers) - well over twice boiling point! - and a pH similar to battery acid;  yet these two doofi were looking for a place to soak???

Ye Gods and little fishes . . .



NotClauswitz said...

OMG - Yellowstone??? It's ALL hot there, nowhere is safe. And these are the children of today? Not those any more.
It's like they view the world simply as a big park in which to frolic, but there are dangers beyond the minor emotional trauma of a Presidency they disagree with.

Rolf said...

Rules of man need to be enforced by man, and that's all they've ever known.

Natural consequences and laws of nature are enforced by the iron laws of physics, and they take no pity on the fool who ignores them. Or, put another way, ignorance of the laws of physics is no excuse.

raven said...

Criticizing the young man is unjustified.

How many of us have done something dumb, and gotten away with it?
How many of us just missed the bullet when we were young?
It takes but a second to go from fun to dead.

My bet is, every person reading this has done a few dumb things, thing that were potentially fatal, and gotten away with it by dumb luck, lived and learned. I know I have, many, many times, and lived to learn through the Grace of God.

This kid did not get the chance to learn. He slipped. And that was that. Show me a world where young men don't take some crazy risks and I will show you a world I don't want to live in. You won't find any John Basilones in that world, or Orville Wrights either.

Tkdkerry said...

Yellowstone seems to invite endless dimwittery. I recall the Japanese tourist who tried to place their young child on an adult bison for a photo op. Then there's the more recent incident where someone "rescued" a baby bison by placing it in the back of their car. Of course the herd rejected it and it had to be destroyed.

Anonymous said...

While at the appropriately named, Hot Creek, two young men dove into the waters. Both were dead before we could reach them. We were there as part of a geologic survey following a recent spat of plutonic activity. As I had been to that creek for several years prior I had gotten to know a number of locals. No one ever jumps into a hot spring. That old adage, look before leaping rings true.

Anonymous said...

These are the types of people who a century or two ago would've been eaten by lions or bears or starved to death over the winter. Society has insulated the stupid from the consequences of their blindingly stupid behavior for several generations now. The stupid continue to breed, usually quite prodigiously, and enhance the level of stupid. The people I encounter in every day life who are as dumb as dirt seems to be increasing at an alarming rate over the past decade or two.

Anonymous said...

How does liquid water go above the boiling point - without boiling into steam? Any additional energy above the boiling point should go into the phase transformation into steam, no? Or does the minerals found in the solution raise the boiling point?

Agree with raven to a point. Young men will do stupid things. Most of us survive them, look back at it the next day and say "Whoa, that was dumb. Let's not do that again.".

Sherm said...

The waters in the Norris Geyser Basin are the hottest in Yellowstone. They call that a clue where I'm from.

25 miles up the road from Norris at about the WY/MT state line is the boiling river. Water from below Mammoth Hot Springs exits into the Gardiner River there and pools are rocked up where you can soak to your hearts content. You simply move about to find the right mix of geyser water and river water for your comfort level. It even has its own parking area, out house, and maintained trail. Half mile walk. We use the restrooms in the Mammoth Campground to change.

Bonus - you stay alive. (Even if you die you'll at least be in one piece.)

Mr. Bubbles (near the Bechler River) is even better but it's an 8 mile hike and only makes for a casual dip if you're already hiking in the area.

Uncle Lar said...

One of the problems with our current coddled society is that children and teenagers get away with making stupid choices with little or no consequence.
Young drivers have higher insurance rates for the good and sufficient reason that they have not yet learned from experience. Sure, we've all had close calls, and learned never to do that again, but when you get away with a bad decision again and again and again you don't learn. And when the odds finally do catch up to you everyone says "oh how unfair."

Anonymous said...

Raven, while it is true that all of us have done "there but for the grace" things, for someone to ignore all the signs, all the warnings, and all the information posted, repeated, and marked at Yellowstone in my opinion crosses the line from young-and-stupid into something else. And I have fussed at parents who let a toddler trot onto the mineral crust at one of the pools. Not "he got away" but "took pictures and chuckled." They were shocked that the warning about boiling water underfoot applied to every single place with springs and geysers, not just at the end of the boardwalk where the sign was. (I'm not a ranger, just the person who would have been in closest proximity to the boiled child if he'd fallen through.)


Anonymous said...

I have not been in Yellowstone in about 40 years, but I seem to recall that there were notices all over the place about staying back from the geysers and/or pools. Plus Park Rangers telling us that the water was extremely hot and could kill you.

Unless things have changed at lot in 4 decades, these two ignored the warnings and paid a very high price.

While I am sorry for the family's loss, I can only shake my head in wonder.

VFM #7916 said...

I think there's a quote:

Some people's lives are meant only to be a graphic warning for the rest of us.

Natural selection is heartless, and absolutely necessary. I say this as a person who has been nearly dead a number of times in life, but for providence and a last second change of decision.

Angus McThag said...

Reponding to Anon:

The mineral content of the water vastly raises the boiling point, along with the acidity.

Mark said...

Boiling is 373.15 K, 212 °F, 100 °C
Twice is 746 K, 883.67 °F, 473.15 °C

Twice the freezing point is not 0 °C, it's 273.15 °C

raven said...

Apparently he was testing the water and slipped. He did not just jump in.

Any of you ever walk in a place where a slip would be fatal? I have, many times. Would you then mock me if I slipped?

Have any of you ever gone beyond a warning sign? To most young men, a warning sign "Danger!" is an attractant. Pajama Boy, of course, obeys every sign.

Oh yes, warning signs? You have got to be kidding me. America is inundated, drowning in warning signs. There are so many the info overload obscures the ones that have any real consequence.

Have you all forgotten your youth to the point of expecting a young man to act like an old lady? Don't go beyond the signs, dear. Wait for the walk signal, dear.

"let him who has never sinned cast the first stone."

Have a heart for his family anyway. Mocking this unfortunate young man is in very poor taste. Forever they shall mourn him and miss him.

Anonymous said...

@Angus McThagg - of course it does, just like salt and boiling cooking water. Got it. Thanks.

Bibliotheca Servare said...

That's horrifying! I get what you're saying aabout it being a staggering example of stupidity, but I think raven has made some points I really can't disagree with. Young, reckless, unshakable confidence in his own immortality, heedless of the warning signs that are beyond ubiquitous these days...sure, he was a fool, but... Y'know? Either way, God help his family. I cannot imagine the pain his parents and sister must be going through right now. I probably sound like a naive idjit, don't I? *shrugs helplessly*

Chris said...

Raven, there is a big difference between a calculated risk (I bet I can take this tight curve at 40 mph instead of 25) and unthinking bravado (let's check the temperature of the pool that all the signs say is hot enough to kill me). Those kind of warning are completely different from the type of silly warning signs like "don't drink the lemon-scented dishwashing liquid". Young man or not, being able to discern such a qualitative difference in the level of danger is what is referred to as a survival trait. There is a reason these stories are called Darwin Awards. That level of cluelessness is something to keep out of the gene pool. I also feel sorry for the family; I would think that they had tried to raise their son to be careful in dangerous places. Too bad it didn't stick.

bart simpsonson said...

I'd bet they voted for Hillary as well.............

JayNola said...

The big issue here is that we've all made mistakes but usually even at our youngest and dumbest had some idea of consequences. The millennial as a rule has never been exposed to serious consequences so has no concept of how badly things can go. They're also so ill informed thanks to an education calibrated to passing tests instead of learning that simple physics eludes them.

Aphael said...

I have a little bit of sympathy, but not much. As some others have said, he didn't deliberately jump in. The problem is that in that area, you don't have to try to find your self in serious trouble. A few years ago, I worked as a researcher in that area, mucking about collecting samples from back-country hot springs. It's not a place you go to without a serious understanding of the danger, something which a "do no enter" sign doesn't really convey. Many areas are unstable, and it's possible that he didn't even slip, as the side of the pool may have just collapsed under his weight.

The hot acid coming up from the deep reservoirs sometimes runs in streams a few inches under the soil, and it takes caution and awareness of what you are looking for to know when you are near one. A few years before I joined this research group, one of the team members put her foot in the wrong spot on apparently solid ground, punched through the crust, and had to be medevaced with severe burns (both thermal and chemical) to her lower leg, from just a second or so of exposure. The soil is saturated with acid as well. If you sit for a few hours on moist ground, you may stand up to find yourself the owner of a brand-new set of assless chaps.

With regard to the extreme temperatures: it's not the salinity/mineral content that makes the temperature so high (although that plays a role). It's pressure. The 400F+ temps aren't measured at the surface, that's down the holes that the water comes from. The deeper you go, the higher the temperature. For the Norris area, surface temps range from 50-95C. Or at least they did when I was there, the region changes constantly.

tl:dr, don't go off the boardwalk.

roamer said...

There's a Heinlein quote that seems particularly appropriate to this:

“Stupidity cannot be cured. Stupidity is the only universal capital crime; the sentence is death. There is no appeal, and execution is carried out automatically and without pity.”

Anonymous said...

Raven said,"Any of you ever walk in a place where a slip would be fatal? I have, many times. Would you then mock me if I slipped?"

If you walked were you were not permitted to go and tumbled into a boiling salt bath, we would raise our glasses and say, Raven will be missed but why in hell did he do something that stupid.


Will said...

Some of you assume that just because these siblings just left college, that they can read and understand warning signs and advisories.

I wouldn't be willing to wager much money on that assumption. I think the term is "functionally illiterate". That, or just plain stupid, as most have decided.