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Selfies Kill More People Than Shark Attacks 160

HughPickens.com writes: The Independent reports that so far this year more people have died while trying to take a 'selfie' than from shark attacks. So far, 12 people have lost their life while trying to take a photo of themselves but the number of people who have died as a result of a shark attack was only eight. Some recent selfie-fatalities: A 66-year-old tourist from Japan recently died after falling down some stairs while trying to take a photo at the Taj Mahal in India, a Mississippi woman was gored to death by a bison while visiting Yellowstone National Park, and in August a man trying to take a selfie was gored to death during a running of the bulls in Villaseca de la Sagra, Spain. Some groups have been trying to get on top of the wave. In June Disney banned selfie sticks in its amusement parks. And foreseeing the selfie crisis in a very specific way, New York State passed a bill in June 2014 to prohibit people from having their photo taken (or taking it themselves) while "hugging, patting or otherwise touching tigers."
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Selfies Kill More People Than Shark Attacks

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  • ... and selfie is just the causal action. Same way as surfing/swimming is the causal action in death by shark. Apples to Oranges.
    • by bickerdyke ( 670000 ) on Wednesday September 23, 2015 @10:13AM (#50582269)

      Kind of.

      The intresting common point here is that somehow people seem to think that activities like petting or hugging tigers, bull running, walking on railroad tracks or the ledge of a wall somehow become magically less dangerous and not completly suicidal if you're wielding a cellphone/camera.

      In "normal" live, people just know how incredibly stupid this is. But give them a camera and they're still doing it against better knowledge.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 23, 2015 @10:23AM (#50582377)

        Or maybe there is high correlation between people who take selvies and people who do dangerous, suicidal and stupid things.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        The intresting common point here is that somehow people seem to think that activities like petting or hugging tigers, bull running, walking on railroad tracks or the ledge of a wall somehow become magically less dangerous and not completly suicidal if you're wielding a cellphone/camera.

        Nothing new at all. Ignroing warnings is a tradition of park visitors [yellowstonepark.com].

        In "normal" live, people just know how incredibly stupid this is. But give them a camera and they're still doing it against better knowledge.

        No, wrong. Some people recognize dangerous activities as dangerous. These also aren't the people taking a cell phone to get a picture of themselves petting the cute buffalo calf. The ones you are thinking of never learned how to recognize a danger, they were taught a specific set of rituals that preserve their lives in the same environments their parents knew. Any change (at all, not just visiting nature) has a noteworthy mortality r

      • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Wednesday September 23, 2015 @10:52AM (#50582649) Homepage

        You know, my fear is these people would be just as stupid without the camera.

        I'm of the opinion that by the time you've, say, bought a selfie stick that you're sufficiently vain and vacuous that you really might not always be demonstrating any common sense.

        Are the cellphones/cameras making people stupid? Or merely providing a way for existing stupid to manifest?

        • It is the same thing as cell phone use in cars. The people who didn't get in accidents didn't matter, and the people who previously got in accidents changing their radio station were not compared in the statistics. No it is the evil cell phones causing a rise in accidents!

          • by tnk1 ( 899206 )

            Changing the radio station is not the same level of inattention as talking on a phone is, or texting. Yeah, it is increased inattention, but you're turning a dial. You can do that while watching the road just by either using your ear or these days, you have the presets and also the tuner simply lists the stations for you.

            You can see people visibly driving slowly or erratically when they have that phone up to their ear. It is much better when they have handsfree operation, but they're still distracted som

        • You know, my fear is these people would be just as stupid without the camera.

          I don't think so. It's incredible what you can get away with when you have a big video camera sitting on your shoulder and a guy with a fake boom mike.

        • Either way, it's got to be good for the gene pool.

        • You know, my fear is these people would be just as stupid without the camera.

          People may still be stupid without the camera, but they may at least be stupid and paying attention.

          • Or, more likely, they just act stupid and it's not documented. How many instances of "sure, I can do this" end up in injury, don't involve cameras at all, and thus don't wind up "going viral"?

            • Or, more likely, they just act stupid and it's not documented. How many instances of "sure, I can do this" end up in injury, don't involve cameras at all, and thus don't wind up "going viral"?

              People always have and always will be stupid. I do it myself a lot. As they say growing old is compulsory, growing up is optional. But I can't imagine improving my success rate doing stupid things while holding a selfistick. If anything it just adds another item to mix on which I could impale myself.

        • You know, my fear is these people would be just as stupid without the camera.

          I've got to agree. How many people die from similar stupid stunts minus the camera aimed at them? The running of the bulls one seemed highly dangerous but easily documented so I checked and found this article [independent.co.uk] that said 7 people were killed at running of the bulls ceremonies in a one month period. I'm guessing one might be our selfie-taker but what about the other 6 then?

          I'm not saying that selfies aren't stupid at times. That g

      • Because no one has fallen down stairs, or been gored by a bison, or gored during the running of the balls without a camera? What evidence do you have that people think things are less dangerous with a camera?

        I would expect there to be a group of people who think doing those things is worth the risk just in and of itself. Then there'd be a group of people who think the risk is worth it for some incentive (from they get a cool picture to put on facebook, being paid a million dollars, walking on a ledge to rea

        • That's certainly true. I suppose one could make two arguments about selfies:

          1) People are taking pictures of themselves, not only diverting their attention in a potentially dangerous situation, but literally turning their backs to it.
          2) People are trying to frame themselves in an interesting photo, and are in essence "daring themselves" to do something outrageous or risky for the benefit of the photograph in question.

          As such, there may be a slightly elevated risk of freak accidents while trying to take a s

        • the running of the balls

          ouch

      • On the bright side the Darwin Awards are alive and well
    • causal action

      Perhaps that phrase means something different where you come from.

      Here, you're completely wrong.

  • I'm so glad I now know that taking a selfie while swimming with sharks is not a good idea.

    • I'm so glad I now know that taking a selfie while swimming with sharks is not a good idea.

      I propose that you're wrong for two reasons. The first is the infamous "two bombs on an airplane" theory: the number of people killed by sharks while taking a selfie (go ahead, mis-attribute my clause there and claim the shark has the camera!) is infinitesimal, so if you're going to swim with shartks, be sure to take a selfie.
      The second is the well-known "cancellation Hearts" rule: each dangerous item cancels out the other.

  • by bbsguru ( 586178 ) on Wednesday September 23, 2015 @09:44AM (#50582009) Homepage Journal
    Next month on the Discovery Channel!
    A deadly epidemic reaches around the globe and across cultures:
    See it all on...

    Selfie Week!
    • Yeah, my first thought was when will discovery channel start advertizing selfie week. But lucky for us, thanks to twitter and facebook, every week is selfie week.

    • by bkr1_2k ( 237627 )

      A full week of shark attacks on people taking selfies. Justice is served!

  • by Chrisq ( 894406 ) on Wednesday September 23, 2015 @09:45AM (#50582015)
    If you get attacked by a shark take a selfie. That way your chance of death will be lower.
  • by hyperar ( 3992287 ) on Wednesday September 23, 2015 @09:49AM (#50582047)
    The less narcissistic pricks the better.
    • So you don't mind pricks, as long as they aren't excessively narcissistic.

      (ProTip: We have the word "fewer" for a reason.)

      • by fisted ( 2295862 )

        Protip: You wouldn't camel-case "protip". It only makes you look like a JavaProgrammer....Same goes for child.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Actually, camel-case is the correct usage. The term was coined by an old gaming magazine called GamePro, and that's how they wrote it.

          • by fisted ( 2295862 )

            Actually, camel-case is the correct usage.

            No.

            The term was coined by an old gaming magazine called GamePro

            Yes.

            and that's how they wrote it.

            No. [kym-cdn.com]

            Wouldn't you think it's sensible to verify your claims before uttering them as factoids?

            But hey, two "informative" upmods already, way to go.

      • I have no doubt he finds morons who can't understand what they read equally offensive.
    • Natural selection only works if the selfie-takers haven't reproduced yet. So bad traits that don't hinder reproduction can propagate. The deterioration that comes with old age is bad but since it happens way past child bearing age, there's no evolutionary benefit to remain healthy when you reach 100.

      Narcissism itself may have an evolutionary advantage if this has the side effect of maintaining the narcissist's attractiveness to the opposite sex (sexual selection).

      • Natural selection only works if the selfie-takers haven't reproduced yet. So bad traits that don't hinder reproduction can propagate. The deterioration that comes with old age is bad but since it happens way past child bearing age, there's no evolutionary benefit to remain healthy when you reach 100.

        Narcissism itself may have an evolutionary advantage if this has the side effect of maintaining the narcissist's attractiveness to the opposite sex (sexual selection).

        Not really, as long as they don't reproduce anymore, that's a good thing.

  • by mykepredko ( 40154 ) on Wednesday September 23, 2015 @09:50AM (#50582051) Homepage

    Seriously, while a couple of the accidents listed are acts of God and could have happened anyway, many of them, from the human gene pool perspective, deserved to die.

    Putting a gun to your head while taking a picture? Turning your back on bulls and or bisons? Having to be told to NOT touch or hug tigers? I do agree with Disney on their policy however, as a selfie-stick on a ride is most likely to hurt somebody behind the person taking the shot.

    Sorry, for the sake of the human species, these people should be allowed to remove themselves from the reproductive population.

    • by LWATCDR ( 28044 )

      "Sorry, for the sake of the human species, these people should be allowed to remove themselves from the reproductive population."
      Too late. I fear that most are already past their prime reproductive years.

    • by Jamlad ( 3436419 )
      So you come from the school of 'removing the safety labels from everything and let the problem solve itself'? The problem with common sense is that it ain't. At this stage, owing to the omission of personal liability, it's near a goddamned superpower. Either that or the human brain isn't developed enough to deal with modern distractions. My (blonde) roommate nearly broke her ankle checking her phone while walking down the stairs. I was afraid I was going to have to carry her to A&E.
      • So you come from the school of 'removing the safety labels from everything and let the problem solve itself'? The problem with common sense is that it ain't. At this stage, owing to the omission of personal liability, it's near a goddamned superpower.

        That just comes around to the idea that we should remove the safety labels so as to reinstate personal liability. I don't actually believe that, though. There's no reason why anybody should be allowed to sell something dangerous without labeling it as such. However, having labeled it, and put it in a suitable container, their job should be done.

      • Then I guess only those parents that did not pack their kids in bubble wrap 'til they're 18 and allowed them to learn that actions have consequences will see grandchildren.

        Can't say I'm too unhappy with that.

      • #multitaskingainteasy

        i think part of the danger is that, you know, to get that awesome selfie, you've gotta put your back to the really cool/super dangerous thing.

        at least in the wild-predator case, you're going from "creature that is aware that i'm there and may be able to defend itself" to
        "stalking successful" mode... voluntarily.

        The first is a cake in a box.
        the second is a piece of cake, plated with a fork in it.

        just so much more inviting no?

    • I wonder if the count includes that Romanian guy who fell off a mountain clip while trying to take a selfie and died. It happened about two weeks ago.
      Earlier this summer, a Romanian woman was swept away by sea waves while taking a selfie as well.

      Probably that count is severely underestimated.

    • by Greyfox ( 87712 ) on Wednesday September 23, 2015 @06:59PM (#50586261) Homepage Journal
      Yeah but think of the consequences, man! The surviving generation will be better at taking selfies! And the one after that even more so! One day people will be able to safely take selfies while being lit on fire while simultaneously exploding! And it's probably already too late to stop it!
  • by edxwelch ( 600979 ) on Wednesday September 23, 2015 @10:01AM (#50582165)

    The guy who posted this never bothered checking out his own links. If you read the story about the guy gored to death by a bull, he was filming two bulls fighting, not actually taking a selfie. Also, the bison death seems unrelated to selfies... so that would mean shark attacks come out ahead, yeh! The sharks win!

    • by Quirkz ( 1206400 ) <ross AT quirkz DOT com> on Wednesday September 23, 2015 @11:05AM (#50582797) Homepage

      It's true people often display a surprising lack of sense around large animals in the national parks, though. After a return trip from Grand Teton I was flipping through my pictures and wondered why I apparently had one of a middle-aged woman standing in a field. Then I saw the brown dot farther out, and remembered the moose. It was sixty yards away from the road in a field. I, along with a hundred or so other tourists, pulled our cars to the shoulder for a picture, but this one woman was more than halfway out into the field shouting, "Moose! Hey moose!" trying to get it to look up at her and pose for a close-up.

      • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )

        I was doing my open water certification dives in a lake in Jasper National Park. I had just finished suiting up and was about to carry my tank down to the lake when my friend pointed out there was a bear by the shore. So I put the tank down (to wait for the bear to leave) and picked up my camera (to be ready if the tourists swarming it learned the difference between teddy bears and real ones).

    • by capitan ( 40588 )

      There was a Mississippi woman who was attacked by a bison while taking a selfie at Yellowstone. She got away with minor injuries and a lot of ribbing from her co-workers. (We work at the same place.) So bad timing for a selfie, but no death thankfully.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Selfies don't kill people.

    People taking selfies kill people.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    For journalists, a "selfie" is any photograph, apparently. Logic and semantics be damned, they're desperate to use the trendy new word.

  • There were more deaths via selfies than deaths on the moon this year.

  • by Sir_Eptishous ( 873977 ) on Wednesday September 23, 2015 @10:15AM (#50582287) Homepage
    that selfies have Jumped the Shark?

    ...I'll be here all week.
  • Bullshit (Score:5, Informative)

    by JustAnotherOldGuy ( 4145623 ) on Wednesday September 23, 2015 @10:23AM (#50582367)

    A shark attack is a direct mechanism of death — a thing that produces actual, physical harm. A selfie, on the other hand, is what health statisticians might classify as an “underlying mechanism” or an “intermediate mechanism,” depending on the exact circumstances: a thing that’s involved in, and maybe precipitates, an accident, but doesn’t actually cause any physical harm. (Unless your phone electrocutes you or something, but that’s a different situation.)

    That may seem like a small distinction, but it’s actually pretty huge. Let’s turn to the World Health Organization to see how it breaks down the issue. WHO gives the example of a woman tripping over something on the floor and hitting her head on the counter; you’d never say that the thing on the floor killed her — that’s just the underlying mechanism. (Also, stupid.) The direct mechanism was hitting her head, just as in most “selfie deaths,” the direct mechanism is being struck by a car, falling down, what have you.

    We could, for the sake of argument, compare the number of deaths from falling down the stairs to the number of deaths from shark attacks. Or we could compare the number of deaths while taking selfies to the number of deaths while swimming in the ocean.

    But if we did that, we’d come to the boring conclusion that selfie-related deaths are total anomalies: a microscopic sliver of the big ole Death pie chart, scarcely even worth mentioning.

    • Ok, then selfies gone wrong kill more people than swimming in the ocean gone wrong.

      Better?

      • then selfies gone wrong kill more people than swimming in the ocean gone wrong

        Except that they don't - because then you have to add in drownings, jellyfish attacks, lightning strikes, etc...

        • Except that they don't - because then you have to add in drownings, jellyfish attacks, lightning strikes, etc...

          Exactly. Or being hit by boats, getting swept out to sea, moray eels, undertows, etc etc.

          One might as well say that more people are "killed by ladders" than sharks. It's not the ladder that kills you, it's some activity that involves a ladder.

    • A shark attack is a direct mechanism of death â" a thing that produces actual, physical harm. A selfie, on the other hand, is what health statisticians might classify as an âoeunderlying mechanismâ or an âoeintermediate mechanism,â depending on the exact circumstances: a thing thatâ(TM)s involved in, and maybe precipitates, an accident, but doesnâ(TM)t actually cause any physical harm. (Unless your phone electrocutes you or something, but thatâ(TM)s a different situation.)

      The headline reads "Selfies Kill" but the summary clearly states that the story is about people who died while taking selfies. Just Another Old Guy indeed! ;-P

    • Isn't this kind of like saying, "Guns didn't kill this guy, he died from blood loss"? Selfies can cause a dangerous lack of attention/focus and possibly contribute to dangerous behavior -- although if we're talking 12 deaths / 7 billion population, then blaming those deaths on selfies should consider whether the average person spends less than 0.0000015 seconds per day taking selfies.

      I suspect that overall, you're far less likely to die while taking a selfie than while not, which isn't the same thing as say

    • The proper way to measure the risk of an activity is to calculate a death rate relative to exposure rate. Shark attacks are relatively rare (more people are killed by deer) because the time people spend exposed to sharks is relatively short. Although millions of people visit the beach every day, the aggregate time they spend in the water and thus expose themselves to possible shark attacks is comparatively short. That's why a disproportionate number of shark attacks are on surfers and body boarders - the
    • It's worse than that. When one thinks "died because they took (or tried to take) a selfie, one thinks of tumbling off a cliff edge or getting hit by a car on the edge of a road.

      The story lists a guy who just fell over and died of a heart attack, coincidentally taking a selfie. Unless they propose lifting one's arm or some other exertion triggered it, coincidental deaths should not count.

    • You're a medical coder aren't you?

  • by tekrat ( 242117 ) on Wednesday September 23, 2015 @10:28AM (#50582417) Homepage Journal

    Is this what we used to call DARWIN AWARD WINNERS!

    Even before the Web, Usenet distributed texts yearly of the Darwin Awards, wonderful stories of people who took themselves out of the gene pool.

    Selfies killing people?
    Sound like a public service was performed.

  • by MrKaos ( 858439 ) on Wednesday September 23, 2015 @10:36AM (#50582507) Journal

    I don't need a multi million dollar study to determine that if you have factory ships taking out all of the fish from the local region then you are going to get more shark attacks as they look closer to shore for food.

    Want less shark attacks, have less factory ships.

  • Shoot they did a PSA sheet on it after some deaths:

    http://www.theguardian.com/wor... [theguardian.com]

    The little images are classic, my favorite is the person who appears to be jumping in front of a train while taking a selfie.

    • by Nidi62 ( 1525137 )
      I like the one that apparently says not to take selfies while your boat is in the process of capsizing. And the one that says no selfies during avalanches.
    • Awww, how typically Russian. Everything's forbidden.

      I prefer the US model. Everything's allowed, let God/evolution (either is fine with me) cull stupidity.

      • Awww, how typically Russian. Everything's forbidden.

        I prefer the US model. Everything's allowed, let God/evolution (either is fine with me) cull stupidity.

        Clearly there's nothing in between the two extremes.

        Life's so easy when everything's a binary choice isn't it?

  • Since we don't have large-scale wars, we need something else to cull the population of such imbeciles. Every little bit helps.
    • On what planet do "we" not have large-scale wars?
    • large scale wars tend to kill off a disproportionate number of healthy young males. Quite why this would have any evolutionary advantage is unclear to me.
  • Think of it as evolution in action.

  • So taking a picture while hugging a lion or jaguar is still ok? What about Ligers? This seems like way too specific of a law.
  • Just because we are able to cure many diseases that used to kill us doesn't mean evolution is halted. Yes, having a weak immune system is no longer lethal. But thankfully being too stupid to survive still is.

    Don't try to mess with it. It can only improve the gene pool.

  • The statistic at hand - 12 people dead with phone in hand - doesn't take into account deaths that were caused by the sheer intention to take a selfie afterwards. The guy that recently fell from a 25m tall statue in Paris comes to mind... It's not just the act of having using a phone with a dangerous background that kills - sometimes the problem comes from getting to the place with that background. Problem, obviously, is the dead aren't here to talk about it anymore.
  • I think I've seen this headline as clickbait before.
  • This seems disingenuous, if I were at risk of shark attack, I would much rather be armed with a large, expandable metal stick than with only my bare hands.

  • Despite the hysteria, shark attacks are exceedingly rare. Enough so that entire years go by without a death. More people win the lottery than die from shark attacks. Lots more.
    And also, the article is wrong. Nobody has ever died from taking a selfie. They died from a related or unrelated accident while taking or as a result from a selfie.
    • Previously there has been hysteria over "Death by iPod!' from zoned out ipod listeners getting mowed down by cars and trains.

      Blame the car? Blame the driver? Blame the walker? Blame the iPod?

      How about blame whatever makes the best headline...

      Many more examples of such bad sensationalist journalism, but that one came to mind first.

    • Nobody has ever died from taking a selfie. They died from a related or unrelated accident while taking or as a result from a selfie.

      Nobody ever died while drunk driving. They died while slamming into a bridge pillar.

  • OMG! Is this worse than NASCAR driving?

  • by Cro Magnon ( 467622 ) on Wednesday September 23, 2015 @12:02PM (#50583277) Homepage Journal

    If someone falls into the ocean while taking a selfie, and gets eaten by a shark, does that count as a selfie death or a shark death?

  • New York State passed a bill in June 2014 to prohibit people from having their photo taken (or taking it themselves) while "hugging, patting or otherwise touching tigers."

    In related news, the government of India passed a law to prohibit people from having their photo taken (or taking it themselves) while "hugging, patting or otherwise touching the Statue of Liberty."

  • A new study shows that more people died while sleeping than from drunk driving. This proves that sleeping is more dangerous than drunk driving.
  • These sorts of articles that compare unrelated statistics are meaningless. It is relevant how many people die of selfies vs how many die of sharks vs how many die of lightning.

  • Guy with the bull up on him, horn sticking out his chest, it's a shoo-in for selfie of the year.
  • Where I can take all the tiger-selfies I want!

Two percent of zero is almost nothing.

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