Corpses are no longer decaying in many German cemeteries. Instead, the deceased become waxen, an uncanny process that has become so rampant it can no longer be ignored. When bodies don't decompose, their graves can't be reused -- a common practice in Germany. Contrary to many other countries, where final resting places are traditionally maintained in perpetuity, Germany recycles cemetery plots after a period of 15 to 25 years. Experience has shown that the earthly remains of the deceased rot away almost entirely in this amount of time, but only under favorable soil conditions.
"The business of recycling dead humans into medical implants is a little-known yet lucrative trade. But its practices have roused concerns about how tissues are obtained and how well grieving families and transplant patients are informed about the realities and the risks." After an eight month international investigation, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists has published an extensive four-part exposé into the black market for cadavers and human tissue: Skin and Bone: The Shadowy Trade in Human Body Parts (Via) [more inside]
When whales die: Yesterday, a 20-30 foot whale washed up a shore in New Jersey. Officials are going to deal with it by cutting it up into small parts and burying it. In previous incidents, officials tried to explode it into bits that were meant to fall in the ocean and get eaten by seagulls, but that didn't work out [YT] so well, especially for nearby spectators. Even if you want to let it decompose naturally, you have to be careful for spontaneous explosions due to gassy buildup. Especially when transporting it in busy city streets. Oops. When whales die in the ocean, on the other hand, their bodies eventually fall to the sea floor and can start mini ecosystems, where female pink glowstick-like sea worms that harbor the male pink glowstick sea worms inside their bodies live, eat whale bones, and propagate. (Previously on Metafilter: Taiwan explosion)
Peculiar corpses: "Incorruptibles remaining free of decomposition have baffled scientists to this day. These bodies are discovered in many different environments, including environments that would typically cause an accidental or deliberately preserved corpse to decompose rapidly." The photographed examples seem to all be associated with Christian faith. Hmm. "[At Oratorio di San Lorenzo] in Palermo, however, corpses are treated as characters in a play": The Museum of the Dead, reassuringly less preserved.
A Funeral Home With Gory Problems. "A Harlem funeral home has been sued for losing bodies and filching corpses from nearby hospitals. Now it must answer charges that a dead man's body was chewed up by rats." [from the Village Voice]
Barbarism or good ole American capitalism? If you want to see the true face of war, go to the amateur porn Web site NowThatsFuckedUp.com. For almost a year, American soldiers stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan have been taking photographs of dead bodies, many of them horribly mutilated or blown to pieces, and sending them to Web site administrator Chris Wilson. In return for letting him post these images, Wilson gives the soldiers free access to his site. American soldiers have been using the pictures of disfigured Iraqi corpses as currency to buy pornography.
Mutilation of victims and Muslim law The ruling by Sheik Omar Abdullah Hassan al-Shehabi specifies two circumstances in which the desecration of an infidel -- a non-Muslim -- is permitted. One is retaliation "when the enemy is disfiguring Muslim corpses or when it otherwise serves the Islamic nation." The other is when mutilation will "terrorize the enemy" or "gladden the heart of a Muslim warrior."
Preservation by Plastination : Until recently the privilege to view corpses and the human body’s interior has been confined to medicine students and anatomists in dissection rooms. It is only due to the invention of plastination that the general public is now also able to enjoy fascinating insights into the human body.
How About Raising Money for Him Instead of The Star Wars Kid? Perhaps the most faithful of Delhi's unpaid city servants turns 80 on Tuesday, but has no plans to retire. Mohammed Habib has had the grisly task of collecting the city's unclaimed corpses since he was 12. He says he has disposed of hundreds of bodies - and all for free - in a country where millions live in poverty.
Crematory operated for years without burning bodies. Hundreds of decaying corpses found strewn about, and the crematory owners lived next door. Apparently, the furnace broke down, and cost too much to fix. How exactly does one deal with a crime like this? (NYT link)
Interview with the certified forensic entomologist. In other words she examines insects in dead bodies for criminal investigations. Its good to know that there are dedicated professionals doing this just in case I happen to wash up on the shores of Lake Michigan. Hey, it could happen to any of us.
Corpses are great if used to prove points, and they mayor of Taipei wanted to make a point in cleaning up the rivers there so it can become a tourist attraction. I think his point was well made when a corpse of a 50 year old man came floating by.