De-evolution is no more evident than in how natural selection is beginning to suck at its job. Perfect example: rich "nature" types looking to escape urban gridlock are using Get-Out-Of-Danger-Free devices to page rescue authorities to remote locations. Pansies!

No, seriously. Here's how it works: inexperienced campers shell out cash for a big, yellow box. Let's say they go camping, aaaaaand, hm, one example: a bear goes into a homicidal rage and starts after them up a tree. They get caught up in the tree, with the bear, who is trying to kill them. They are just out of reach of the bear, they've all pissed themselves, and they're more scared than they've ever been in their lives. They hit the "I'd rather not be bear food" magical button—also known as a "personal locator beacon"—and voila: emergency authorities show up to say GO AWAY, BEAR and get their people-friends out of trouble, but not before the bear can sing a sad goodbye song. Everyone is happy, and safe, and the system works like it's supposed to, even if the system only works for people who can afford it. Fair enough! That, I guess, is natural selection. Rich Yuppies who stomped on teh poors survive bear attacks and get songs sung to them because that's where they made it in life. Poor people become bear food. Shit happens.

But let's say some of these people are kinda stupid. Or even: sissies. And maybe they happen to mistake an "inconvenience" for an "emergency." In fact, ask yourself this: What happens when some of these people with too much time and/or money on their hands decided that they were smart enough to go to some of the more remote locations in nature, without guidance, making these expeditions even more dangerous? You know the answer: they push the button! But even in this situation, how is natural selection failing us?


Last month two men and their teenage sons tackled one of the world's most unforgiving summertime hikes: the Grand Canyon's parched and searing Royal Arch Loop. Along with bedrolls and freeze-dried food, the inexperienced backpackers carried a personal locator beacon - just in case.

In the span of three days, the group pushed the panic button three times, mobilizing helicopters for dangerous, lifesaving rescues inside the steep canyon walls.

What was that emergency? The water they had found to quench their thirst "tasted salty."

Like the bitter, acidic feeling in the back of my mouth. Which might be the unique taste of spinal fluid. Somewhere, that In The Wild kid is hitting his head over and over on a very hard surface.