• 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…

  • 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…

  • 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: 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…

  • Death Salon LA 2013: Better than Death Race 2000

    Death Salon LA 2013 Los Angeles, CA (October 18 and 19, 2013)

    Our good friends at the Order of the Good Death are putting on an enormous Death Fest next week in Los Angeles. Check it out if you can! And here’s some Death Race 2000 just for fun.

    Death Salon LA 2013 Los Angeles, CA (October 18 and 19, 2013) Our good friends at the Order of the Good Death are putting on…

  • Walter Potter’s Anthropomorphic Taxidermy and Dead Animals

    On the Death and Burial of Cock Robin
    Guest Post by John Troyer, Centre for Death and Society, Bath University (August 23, 2013)

    Death Ref’s good friend Joanna Ebenstein, who runs the Morbid Anatomy blog and benevolent empire in Brooklyn, NY, asked me if I would write a guest blog post for her new book on the 19th century British taxidermist Walter Potter. If you don’t know Walter Potter’s work, but like taxidermy, then you really must look him up. Joanna and Walter Potter expert Pat Morris have put together a new book called Walter Potter’s Curious World of Taxidermy.

    Walter Potter is known (and a little infamous, in a late-Victorian kind of way) for his anthropomorphic taxidermy in which dead kittens (for example) have a tea party. There is significantly more to say about all of Potter’s taxidermy work, but I focused on a personal favourite The Death and Burial of Cock Robin.

    The Death and Burial of Cock Robin by Walter Potter

    The Death and Burial of Cock Robin by Walter Potter

     

    Please check it out!

    On the Death and Burial of Cock Robin Guest Post by John Troyer, Centre for Death and Society, Bath University (August 23, 2013) Death Ref’s…

  • 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…

  • The Future of Death, Dead Bodies, and Cemeteries talk on June 20 in London

    Future Death. Future Dead Bodies. Future Cemeteries Illustrated lecture by Dr. John Troyer, Centre for Death and Society at the University of Bath 20th June…

  • SxSW Platforms for Haunting: The Talking Dead Podcast

    Platforms for Haunting: The Talking Dead
    SxSW Interactive 2013

    In March 2013, the Death Reference Desk headed to the South by Southwest Interactive conference.

    A podcast of Death Ref John’s talk has now been released and you can listen to it above.

    He was part of presentation called Platforms for Haunting: The Talking Dead.

    Here is a description of the presentation.

    The relationship between death and technology is as old as human civilisation; from cenotaph to facebook memorial, industries have been built on our desire to remember and be remembered. Technology now enables us to create spine-chilling immersive experiences; allowing us to embody the worlds of our ancestors, enter our ghost stories and even plan a little post-mortem haunting ourselves. We want to move the conversation beyond discussions of data legacy to ask whether we can engender a new form of history, one that allows us to interact with the dead.

     

    Bringing together experts in human remains, memorialisation and new technology this Panel will explore our relationship with mortality in a digital age. The discussion will draw on recent projects which have used new technology to augment cemeteries, populate historic sites with ghosts of their past and instigate twitter conversations with a 1,610 year old woman.

    Platforms for Haunting: The Talking Dead SxSW Interactive 2013 In March 2013, the Death Reference Desk headed to the South by Southwest Interactive conference. A…

  • Death Ref heads to South by Southwest (SxSW) in Texas

    Platforms for Haunting: The Talking Dead South by Southwest Interactive media conference Saturday, March 9 5:00PM – 6:00PM Radisson Town Lake Town Lake Ballroom 111…