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Planking

#Neknomination and 5 other really silly memes that could get you killed

Internet peer pressure is the worst. Every now and again someone comes up with yet another silly thing in a drunken moment that goes viral and, before you know it, everyone else is doing it. The latest in the world of silly things the internet could do without? #neknomination.

Mich Atagana
Mich started out life wanting to be a theoretical physicist but soon realized that mathematics was required. So, she promptly let go of that dream. She then... More

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Neknomination is an extreme online drinking game. The idea is simple: film yourself drinking alcohol (usually beer) in an extreme fashion, say a toilet bowl perhaps, and then nominate a friend of yours to out-do your best efforts. Things have gotten out of hand with the deaths of two Irish teenagers suspected to have been playing the game over the weekend. Facebook has since closed down the pages connected with the game.

This is not the first time that a silly online game has ended in fatalities or serious injuries.

Once there was planking

In 2011 an Australian man fell to his death while attempting to plank. Planking or the lying down game is an activity consisting of lying face down — sometimes in an unusual or incongruous location, like a really high building or balcony.

The Cinnamon challenge

The objective of the challenge is to film oneself swallowing a spoonful of ground cinnamon in under 60 seconds without drinking anything. Forget that cinnamon contains cinnamic aldehyde, which means a part of the chemical acts like formaldehyde. And what does formaldehyde do, class? Binds and “fixes” human tissue, that’s what. American poison control centres received a lot of calls about this one.

Owling is a real hoot alright

This is a variation on planking in which a person squats “like an owl” in a populated and unusual area or on a landmark. You can see the dangers of this. Unlike planking where the body is balanced evenly, owling only uses the feet and hands, while you literally just perch on a ledge.

Batmanning, because Batman is that stupid?

No Batman is not that stupid and you shouldn’t be either. Also in 2011 Batmanning became a thing. Like it sounds, you stand upside down like Batman would. Created by students at Purdue University and not a viral campaign by Warner Bros., the fad was invented because the students wanted to see if they could do it successfully. Seriously?

The Polar Vortex is so cool! Let’s make snow out of boiling water

There were 50 reported cases of people burning themselves because they decided to take the advice of some journalists. During the recent polar vortex that gripped the States, US news reporters demonstrated the trick on air to show the freezing cold weather.

“All you have to do is bundle up, get some boiling water, and throw it out in the sub-zero temperatures and see what happens,” said a journalist in the northern state of North Dakota, while a Minneapolis anchor tweeted: “Threw a pot of boiling water in the air. Kids thought it was awesome. Do it, people,” reported The Independent.

Well done journalists.

These and many silly memes have ended in hospital visits or fatalities. Perhaps it is time we stopped challenging each other to do stupid things. Perhaps we should watch the Dumb Ways to Die video again.

Image: aimee daniells (via Wikimedia Commons).