Two things in life are certain: death and taxes. We can handle taxes (or hire an accountant). But death? It’s the ultimate mystery… How will it happen? More importantly, how will it happen TO ME?
On the list of avoidable ways to die is “while taking a selfie,” which has become a veritable trend. Look no further for proof than Wikipedia’s extensive list of the tragic events dating back to 2011. A new word for the phenomenon has even emerged: “killfie.”
Researchers have taken note: Carnegie Mellon data scientists analyzed the topic and discovered some overall themes:
- Most deaths by selfie were due to falls from heights, both natural and man-made.
- The second biggest cause of death was posing near bodies of water, which afforded many opportunities for accidents – such as getting knocked over by a wave, or capsizing a boat. (Unfortunately the outcome was always the same.)
- The third greatest cause was a combination of both height AND water.
- Coming in fourth was trains, and
- Fifth, weapons.
Another interesting finding was that India was host to the most killfies, at double the sum of all other countries combined. And perhaps not surprisingly, this killfie trend is primary seen among younger people.
Curious about other surprising causes of death? Here are a few things to watch out for, if you don’t already:
A selection of unusual ways to die (average number per year in the US):
|Avalanche, landslide and other earth movements||15|
|Carpal tunnel syndrome||1|
|Crocodile or alligator||1|
|Dental carries (i.e., cavities)||3|
|Exposure to sunlight||1|
|Hot Air Balloons||2|
Perhaps the great mystery of how death will visit is something best not to know. Avoiding taking selfies in dangerous places is one way to keep the mystery alive – and far away. Not today, death. Not today.
Consumer Product Safety Commission, ATV Annual Report, 2015, https://www.cpsc.gov/s3fs-public/atv_annualReport2015.pdf
Are Vending Machines More Deadly than Sharks?, https://www.thoughtco.com/are-vending-machines-more-deadly-than-sharks-3970604
Me, Myself and My Killfie: Characterizing and Preventing Selfie Deaths https://arxiv.org/pdf/1611.01911v2.pdf
How Deadly is Hot Air Ballooning? Fatalities Are Rare, Stats Show https://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/hot-air-balloon-accident/how-deadly-hot-air-ballooning-fatalities-are-rare-stats-show-n102116
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Underlying Cause of Death https://wonder.cdc.gov/ucd-icd10.html