MANITOBA, CANADA. Telephone relay company night watchman Edward Baker, 31, was killed
early Christmas morning by excessive microwave radiation exposure. He was apparently
attempting to keep warm next to a telecommunications feed-horn. Baker had been suspended
on a safety violation once last year, according to Northern Manitoba Signal Relay
spokesperson Tanya Cooke. She noted that Baker's earlier infraction was for defeating a
safety shut-off switch and entering a restricted maintenance catwalk in order to stand in
front of the microwave dish. He had told coworkers that it was the only way he could stay
warm during his twelve-hour shift at the station, where winter temperatures often dip to
forty below zero. Microwaves can heat water molecules within human tissue in the same way
that they heat food in microwave ovens. For his Christmas shift, Baker reportedly brought
a twelve pack of beer and a plastic lawn chair, which he positioned directly in line with
the strongest microwave beam. Baker had not been told about a tenfold boost in microwave
power planned that night to handle the anticipated increase in holiday long-distance
calling traffic. Baker's body was discovered by the daytime watchman, John Burns, who was
greeted by an odor he mistook for a Christmas roast he thought Baker must have
prepared as a surprise. Burns also reported to NMSR company officials that Baker's
unfinished beers had exploded.
here to go to the seven runners up to the 1998 Darwin Award.
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