• DNR Tattoo

    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….

  • photo by Carl Newland

    Day 29: Full Listing of Events for Death Ref John’s Morbid Anatomy Museum Residency

    Morbid Anatomy Museum 424A 3rd Ave Brooklyn, NY 11215 During the month of August, I will be the Scholar in Residence at the Morbid Anatomy…

  • The Guillotine

    Day 25: Death Row Prisoners’ Final Statements and Meals

    From America’s Busiest Death Chamber, a Catalog of Last Rants, Pleas and Apologies Manny Fernandez, The New York Times (June 29, 2013) Texas has executed…

  • Adrian Tomine 'Memorial Plaza' New Yorker Cover July 7 & 14 2014

    Day 22: People Taking Selfies at the 9/11 Memorial, because #America

    Selfies from the 9/11 Memorial Leah Finnegan, The Awl (July 21, 2014) Let us begin Day 22 of the 31 Days of Death posts with…

  • Day 19: Digital Death Bill Marches Onward

    Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act Approved
    A new act approved today by a national law group provides comprehensive provisions governing access to digital assets. The Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (UFADAA) was approved by the Uniform Law Commission (ULC) at its 123rd Annual Meeting in Seattle
    Uniform Law Commission Press Release (July 16, 2014)

    The Death Reference Desk has been so busy this week with all things assisted dying that we missed an important development in the digital death world.

    Earlier this week, the Uniform Law Commission approved a new model law that allows access to digital assets, i.e., photos, documents, social media accounts, etc., by a person other than the original owner if an executor is named.

    The ULC develops proposed legislation for potential use by all 50 US States. This particular bill is important for anyone thinking about who or whom will have access to your digital files, assets, properties, e-mails, photos, etc., after you die.

    We’ve only got the press release to work from right now, which isn’t ideal, but there will more to come about the ULC’s approval.

    The approved bill is summed up this way:

    In the modern world, digital assets have largely replaced tangible ones. Documents are stored in electronic files rather than in file cabinets. Photographs are uploaded to web sites rather than printed on paper. However, the laws governing fiduciary access to these digital assets are in need of an update.

     

    The Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act [UFADAA] solves the problem using the concept of “media neutrality.” If a fiduciary would have access to a tangible asset, that fiduciary will also have access to a similar type of digital asset. UFADAA governs four common types of fiduciaries: personal representatives of a deceased person’s estate; guardians or conservators of a protected person’s estate; agents under a power of attorney; and trustees.

    But don’t worry, if you want to hide embarrassing e-mail messages or make sure that no one knows about your online shenanigans (we’re not judging) then this proposed legislation covers those situations too.

    Just remember: if you don’t want the kids to know about it, then don’t do it online.

    You can read the bill here.

    Unless, of course, we’re all just living in a digital simulation.

    Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act Approved A new act approved today by a national law group provides comprehensive provisions governing access to digital…

  • RoboCop Sherlock Holmes

    Day 13: Online Volunteers Who Identify Unidentified Human Remains

    Online Supersleuths There’s an estimated 40,000 unidentified human remains in the United States. When writer Deborah Halber heard this figure, she did some research and…

  • Skull Clock

    Day 9: Tick-Tock Goes This Mortal Coil’s Clock

    Nothing Focuses The Mind Like The Ultimate Deadline: Death A Swedish inventor came up with a wristwatch that counts down the seconds left in your…

  • Day 5: Choosing a Sci-Fi or Fantasy Book Reading for Your Funeral

    Which Science Fiction Or Fantasy Book Do You Want Read At Your Funeral?
    Charlie Jane Anders, io9 (July 4, 2014)

    The io9 blog and news site (motto: We Come from the Future) is a reliable and entertaining source for science fiction, fantasy, technology, and scientific research information.

    Every once in a while, a death related question or story pops up. A lot of the articles focus on radical life extension, which is to be expected.

    The most recent death listing was different enough that I decided to feature it today on Death Ref.

    Charlie Jane Anders asks a straight-forward but really intriguing question: Which Science Fiction or Fantasy book do you want read at your funeral? I’ll add in Memorial Service in case you don’t have a standard funeral.

    Since my early teen years, the introduction to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams was something I wanted read at my funeral. In case you’re wondering, I really did think about these kinds of questions when I 13. I was a walking Judy Blume character.

    After thinking more about different options, I came back to a perennial death soliloquy favourite. The problem, however, is that it’s in a film. I’m cheating. I admit it.

    The final monologue by Rutger Hauer’s character Roy Batty in Blade Runner always lingers in my brain whenever I think about dying with dignity and grace. Blade Runner is of course based on Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? but Roy Batty’s final bit of dialogue was improvised by Rutger Hauer.

    Talk about sticking the landing.

    You can post your responses on the io9 page or, actually, here in the Death Ref comments section. I will send the requests over to io9.

    Which Science Fiction Or Fantasy Book Do You Want Read At Your Funeral? Charlie Jane Anders, io9 (July 4, 2014) The io9 blog and news…

  • Photo of Andreia

    Day 2: Only 5 Days Left to Help Andreia Start Her Death Studies Ph.D.

      I’m kicking off Day 2 of Death Ref’s 31 Days of Death project with a fundraising appeal. A really smart Brazilian journalist and Anthropologist…

  • The Grim Reaper on the Web circa 1998

    Everything Oldish is New Again: Generation Y Re-discovers the World Wide Web of Death

    An Online Generation Redefines Mourning Expressions of grief take on many public forms in the digital age. By Hannah Seligson, New York Times (March 21,…

  • 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…

  • Selfies at Funerals

    Selfies at Funerals: Why People Freak Out when Technology Mixes with Death

    Selfies at Funerals Jason Feifer, @HeyFeifer   RT If You’re About Someone Dying Katy Waldman, Slate (November 1, 2013)   A Passionate Defense of Selfies…