• Freezing Yourself like Time in a Bottle

    Cryogenic Preservation Is Changing What It Means to Be Dead
    If you could freeze yourself until a future age, are you sure you’d want to?
    Judith Shulevitz, The New Republic (July 27, 2014)

    Good article in The New Republic on the uses (and abuses) of extreme cold technology for the nearly dead, almost dead, and very certainly completely dead.

    Just remember: cryopreserving yourself for the future may one day be feasible (maybe), but is it desirable?

    That’s the question.

    Besides, the actor Timothy Hutton can only defend the rights of one defrosted humanoid during his lifetime.

    Cryogenic Preservation Is Changing What It Means to Be Dead If you could freeze yourself until a future age, are you sure you’d want to?…

  • Day 30: Bringing the Dead Back to (Some Kind of) Life

    9 Things to Know About Reviving the Recently Dead Greg Miller, Wired Magazine (July 30, 2014) Great article in today’s Wired about research by Dr….

  • Radiolab: Am I Going To Die This Year? A Mathematical Puzzle

    Am I Going To Die This Year? A Mathematical Puzzle
    Robert Krulwich, Radiolab (January 08, 2014)

    Radiolab co-host, Robert Krulwich, posted a fascinating piece on a mathematical approach to determining when a person might die. Krulwich explains how he first picked up this topic:

    A few years ago, physicist Brian Skinner asked himself: What are the odds I will die in the next year? He was 25. What got him wondering about this, I have no idea, but, hey, it’s something everybody asks. When I can’t wedge my dental floss between my two front teeth, I ask it, too. So Brian looked up the answer — there are tables for this kind of thing — and what he discovered is interesting. Very interesting. Even mysterious.

    It turns out that a fascinating 8-year rule emerges for most human lifespans. I will let you read all about it.

    Tick-Tock goes the clock.

    And welcome to 2014.

    Skull Clock

    Am I Going To Die This Year? A Mathematical Puzzle Robert Krulwich, Radiolab (January 08, 2014) Radiolab co-host, Robert Krulwich, posted a fascinating piece on…

  • Radically Extending Life and Choosing to Die

    Living to 120 and Beyond: Americans’ Views on Aging, Medical Advances and Radical Life Extension Pew Research Center (August 2013) If new medical treatments could…

  • Dead Men Do Talk. Sometimes.

    First Interview with a Dead Man Helen Thomson, NewScientist Mindscapes (May 23 2013) Cotard’s syndrome is one of those rare conditions a person reads about…

  • Six-Degrees of Kevin Bacon Flatlining. Poor sad Billy Mahoney

    ‘Erasing Death’ Explores the Science Of Resuscitation
    Fresh Air with Terry Gross (February 20, 2013)

    Terry Gross, of Fresh Air and National Public Radio fame, interviewed Dr. Sam Parnia regarding his new book on human death experiences. It’s one of the most interesting near death/after death discussions that I have heard in a long time. It’s a fascinating topic, laden with metaphysics and theology, but Parnia’s research approach seems to use science, medicine, philosophy, and religion.

    Anyone in Generation X, such as myself, Parnia’s work will automatically conjure images of an after death Kevin Bacon in the 1990 classic Flatliners.

    Poor sad Billy Mahoney.

    ‘Erasing Death’ Explores the Science Of Resuscitation Fresh Air with Terry Gross (February 20, 2013) Terry Gross, of Fresh Air and National Public Radio fame,…

  • Radiolab short on Medical Doctors and their End-of-Life Choices

    The Bitter End Radiolab short (January 15, 2013) We turn to doctors to save our lives — to heal us, repair us, and keep us…

  • Cryopreserve Me into the FUTURE!

    In Pictures: Frozen in Time Photographer Murray Ballard catalogues the world of cryonics, which involves freezing a dead person’s body in liquid nitrogen until technology…

  • Soylent Green is Dead Bodies Eaten by Mushrooms

    Green Burial Project Developing Corpse-Eating Mushrooms Paul Ridden, gizmag.com (July 29, 2011)   The Infinity Burial Project Jae Rhim Lee Every once in a while…

  • Keeping Your Dead Pets Alive Forever

    Furever
    Amy Finkel, Director

    We humans love our pets. A lot. We love them so much that when they die the grieving process can become overwhelming. Over the last ten years the number of companies and funeral homes offering pet memorialization services, products, and bereavement literature have ballooned.

    Meg came across the following in-development documentary on pet loss. The film, Furever, has got chops so we’re throwing its director, Amy Finkel, a Death Ref bone.

    Ok. Enough with the bad metaphors and puns.

    The Death Reference Desk has been running dead pet stories for a long time and we are more than happy to add this one to the list.

    Two words: Freeze Drying.

    Furever is a documentary exploration of pet preservation, or, the processes by which a deceased pet is professionally conserved. I have shot forty hours of footage of one technique, freeze-drying, which produces disarmingly lifelike results. This seemingly bizarre practice offers a unique perspective on mortality, grief, and mourning. The concepts investigated in Furever will disarm anyone who might want to dismiss the subjects as mere oddball caricatures.

     

    Furever contributes to the dialogue on death and grief, bewildering aspects of the human condition, begun by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, dovetailing with the growing trend toward pet anthropomorphism, and the anguish that befalls the owners of deceased pets. Many dismiss or judge pet preservationists for being “unbalanced,” yet the assorted rituals in place for deceased human loved ones, while precious to those who practice them, often seem odd or unusual to outsiders.

    Furever Amy Finkel, Director We humans love our pets. A lot. We love them so much that when they die the grieving process can become…

  • Bye Bye Birdies

    The recent spate of mass bird deaths has taken flight across the Internet—a literal and figurative tweeting and Twittering—and dare I say crowing—on a large…

  • The (Death) Singularity is Near

    Merely Human? That’s So Yesterday Ashlee Vance, The New York Times (June 13, 2010) The Singularity movement sees a time when human beings and machines…