A few months ago, I wrote a short series titled Approaching Death as a way of exploring grief rituals for my upcoming book with Elliott and Thompson (DEATH’S SUMMER COAT). Regardless of where we live or who we are, we must make preparations for the end that awaits us all. Historically, this was a problem of space and health as well as grief and loss. While our ancestors had to bear the burden of sorrow for a missing friend just as we, they also had to deal with pressing practical concerns–such as, what do we do with the body? To leave it lying would attract pestilence; to burn it would use fuel, to bury it would require workable soil. And so, in each culture, burial differs due to climate and geography as well as spiritual practice and cultural assimilation. As part of a series on the Daily Dose, I provide a brief look at death-in-transition–something that many cultures, from Borneo to India to Egypt have in common.… Read the rest
Tag Archives | Death
Something about this story seems sketchy to me, but Seattle CBS affiliate KIRO TV says that they’ve learned that the Seattle Police Department is reopening its investigation into the apparent suicide of Kurt Cobain. They’ll be airing an exclusive interview with the detective responsible for the case and share a photo from the crime scene that has never been seen before. They’ll also discuss “alternative theories” about the singer’s death.
… Read the rest
Nearly 20 years after Nirvana lead singer Kurt Cobain was found dead in his home near Lake Washington, Seattle police have reopened the case.
Last month, police developed four rolls of film that had been sitting for years in a Seattle police evidence vault. The 35 mm film was processed by the King County Sheriff’s Office photo lab under high security.
Though the pictures have a slight green tint because of deterioration, police say they more clearly show the scene than the earlier Polaroid photos taken by investigators.
National media is running with the story (not that that means anything necessarily) that 84 year-old Phelps has been “excommunicated” from his own church and is very near death. Given the highly litigious history of the church , I’ll refrain from guessing (publicly, at least) what kind of deathbed confession would be shocking enough for the virulently homophobic Westboro Baptist Church to cast out their founder – if it’s true.
I don’t know if you’ve ever seen a WBC Protest, but when they actually show up (they often make a big deal about coming somewhere and then are nowhere to be seen), there’s usually just a couple of them with signs, and they usually get the hell out of Dodge within minutes. When I was in college, exactly ONE of them showed up just off the property of my school with a little sign. She bailed in minutes, staying around just long enough to grab some media coverage.… Read the rest
Missouri artist Adam Brown offers a unique memorial service to those seeking to remember deceased loved ones: He paints their portraits using paint mixed with ashes. He doesn’t just limit his services to human beings, either: He’ll do pet portraits, as well. It’s surprisingly affordable, if you’re into that kind of thing.
… Read the rest
After Brown’s clients submit a sampling of sandy ashes, the artist dons a pair of gloves and mixes them with paint to create personalized renditions and imaginings of the dead that span from straight black and white portraiture to dreamy colored abstractions. He carefully preserves any and all unused ashes, ultimately returning them to his client.
The project, titled Ashes to Art, poignantly aims to reconstruct the deconstructed body, fixing delicate cremains with glue and paint; in this way, his paintings work to encapsulate the entirety of the human body and lifetime into one sly smile, one glint of the eye, or one splash of color.
What do you think disinfonaughts. Is death wrong, and should we teach the children that it is?
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Gennady Stolyarov is afraid to die, and not afraid to say so. He also strongly believes that human beings don’t have to die, or at least, will live much, much longer in the future. A writer and transhumanist activist, Stolyarov sees death as something that can be “solved” by technology and science, and one day it will possible to extend life indefinitely. To that end, he’s trying to buck the cultural perception that mortality is inevitable, and he’s starting with kids.
Stolyarov published the children’s book Death Is Wrong in November, and Zoltan Istvan, author of The Transhumanist Wager, unearthed the story in a post on Psychology Today. Now Stolyarov is promoting the book with an Indiegogo campaign, trying to crowdfund $5,000 to print and distribute 1,000 copies of the book and get the anti-death word out.
Do you really want to know that you’re about to die? If so, this test is for you. Report from GeekoSystem:
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You know how you’re supposed to live life to the fullest because any moment could be your last? Turns out, science may have figured out a way to pin that time-frame down a bit for you. With new blood tests, researchers from Finland and Estonia think they can tell whether or not you’re going to live beyond the next five years.
Using a technique called NMR Spectroscopy, these researchers screened 17,000 blood samples, searching for any biomarkers that occurred frequently in the blood of people who died soon after their blood was taken. What they discovered and published in PLOS Medicine journal was that people with elevated levels of four particular biomarkers in their blood (plasma albumin, alpha-1-acid glycoprotein, very-low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) particle size, and citrate) had a super-high chance of dying within five years.
Here is what it is in a nutshell: Fear of death. Which is actually a biggie. I mean you can scoff at it when you are in your 20′s and in perfect health, but if you or a loved one has terminal cancer, for example, it tends to occupy your thoughts.
When faced with death, people really want to know if there is anything on the other side, and if there is then it’s hopefully something pleasant; even heavenly.
The way Christians traditionally worked this out is that death is un-natural. God is love, yet for some reason, perfectly nice relatives and friends are periodically taken from us sometimes, after experiencing protracted periods of horrible pain. The reason for this, theologically, is that death is a judgement; a punishment for sin. God, in his righteousness, had to punish sin but he felt bad about it. He felt so bad about it that he decided to punish himself instead on our behalf, so that we wouldn’t have to suffer and die.… Read the rest
Oddly, the developers’ renderings do not include the massive stacks of corpses of mental patients, slaves, and Civil War casualties which will form the buildings’ base. Via the Huffington Post:
Burial sites found on a college campus have created a potential nightmare for administrators. While surveying land for a new parking lot at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, officials made a grisly discovery: more than 1,000 bodies thought to have been patients at the old Mississippi State Lunatic Asylum.
The unnamed, century-old graves present a problem for the university, whose expansion plans could be halted over the cost of relocating the bodies.
It’s possible there could be more unmarked graves belonging to tuberculosis patients, former slaves, or even Civil War dead. Experts think that future additions to the medical center and other buildings on campus will have to be reconsidered.
ScienceDaily on a study suggesting that the conviction that our souls will survive beyond death is a feeling that emerges intuitively:
… Read the rest
Most people believe they are immortal. That is, that part of themselves-some indelible core, soul or essence-will transcend the body’s death and live forever. But why? And why is this belief so unshakable?
A new Boston University study published in Child Development suggests that our bias toward immortality is a part of human intuition that naturally emerges early in life. And the part of us that is eternal, we believe, is our hopes, desires and emotions.
Researchers have long suspected that people develop ideas about the afterlife through cultural exposure, like television or movies, or through religious instruction. But perhaps, thought Emmons, these ideas of immortality actually emerge from our intuition. Just as children learn to talk without formal instruction, maybe they also intuit that part of their mind could exist apart from their body.
Do rats go to heaven? Via Ghost Theory:
Jim Borjigin of the University of Michigan’s team implanted electrodes on the surface of the brains of nine rats, then injected the animals with potassium chloride, stopping their heart and blood flow. At that point the rats are considered “clinically dead”.
Yet for up to 30 seconds, the researchers’ electrodes detected patterns of synchronized, high-frequency activity known as gamma waves. In humans, some scientists have suggested that gamma waves could play a role in the interplay of perception, awareness, and intent known as consciousness.
“By presenting evidence of highly organized brain activity and neurophysiologic features consistent with conscious processing at near-death, we now provide a scientific framework to begin to explain the highly lucid and realer-than-real mental experiences reported by near-death survivors,” wrote Borjigin’s team.