The Morbid Anatomy Museum, a treasure trove of pathological and funereal curiosities, antique medical models, and anatomical art pledged to "exploring the intersections of death, beauty, and that which falls between the cracks," has opened its doors to the public in Gowanus, Brooklyn. [more inside]
Charlie Barsotti, one of the great cartoonists, passed away. Charlie drew close to fourteen hundred cartoons for The New Yorker over the years, beginning in the nineteen-sixties and continuing right through last week’s issue.
Many more here. Previously.
Many more here. Previously.
What hospitals can learn from flight safety measures. After his wife died due to a mistake during a very simple procedure, Martin Bromiley decided to use his pilot experience to examine how such mistakes can be avoided in the future. It involves changing the whole hierarchy of the hospital environment.
“Hindus are, on average, richer and more educated than Muslims. But oddly, the child mortality rate for Hindus is much higher. All observable factors say Hindus should fare better, but they don't. Economists refer to this as the Muslim mortality puzzle. In a new study, researchers believe that they may have found a solution to the puzzle. And, surprisingly, the solution lies in a single factor – open defecation.” [more inside]
Indian court asked to rule on whether Hindu guru dead or meditating: Since January 29 of this year, Sri Ashutosh Maharaj, founder of the Divya Jyoti Jagrati Sansthan religious sect, has been residing in a freezer in his ashram in Punjab. His followers claim he is in a "deep meditative state (samadhi)." Doctors, however, have declared Maharaj clinically dead and his family have sued to have his death be investigated and to have his body released for cremation. The guru's son also alleges that Maharaj was murdered and that his followers are trying to gain control of his estate, said to be worth $170 million. While traditional yogis have claimed extraordinary powers, including the power to stop one's heart, the evidence for these claims has been lacking.
“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” ― Maya Angelou 1928 - 2014
War robots are now so real that "87 countries sat down at a United Nations-convened conference from May 13th to the 15th to discuss banning the things." A country on the forefront of development is Russia. They have announced that armed roaming robots would be standing guard over 5 ballistic missile bases, and there are plans for a new military robot laboratory. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said "We have to conduct battles without any contact so that our boys do not die, and for that it is necessary to use war robots." Defense experts say within 10 years nearly every country will have robotic weapons, mass produced and exported by countries like the US, China and Russia.
This is a collection of Francisco "Puree Tomatoes" Taccir's blog posts from Myspace and Friendster from 2005 – 2010. Tomatoes was a writer, artist, and addict who was born on February 26. 1977. He died on October 10, 2010 from a heroin overdose. [more inside]
Given word that he has a few months left to live, a man with lung cancer decides to throw a wake at the New Orleans jazz fest. Everyone at the party wore nametags with brief descriptions of their backgrounds. The honoree of the night, Louis Misko, wore one that was, like the man himself, abrupt and unflinching: "The Louis," said the message written in red marker. "Soon to be deceased." Gaunt, but smiling, Misko circulated through the crowd, relishing conversation with his guests at Pascal's Manale restaurant, most of whom he expected never to see again. He was holding his own memorial, in advance of his death from lung cancer.
Bob Hoskins, legendary British actor, has died aged 71. He is perhaps best known for his roles in Who Framed Roger Rabbit (clip), Hook (clip), Mona Lisa and The Long Good Friday, where he delivered one of the best movie endings ever. [more inside]
Ken Tanaka and David Ury’s ‘Everybody Dies’. A book about death.
Post-operative Check: "It's okay that you don't remember me. My name is Shara, and I'm part of the surgical team. I'm checking to see how you're doing after your surgery. Do you know where you are right now?" [more inside]
How Americans Die - a visual tour through surprising trends in mortality among Americans in the last several decades
A couple's final journey. "Chris MacLellan and Bernard Richard Schiffer never exchanged “for better or for worse” vows. As a gay couple, marriage wasn’t an option in Florida. Instead, they lived together and loved each other for 11 years."
Malaysian human rights activist Irene Fernandez died on March 31st 2014 at age 67 from heart failure. She was arrested and charged with one year imprisonment in 1996 for "publishing false information with the intention to harm" after publishing a report on abuses of migrant workers in detention camps in Malaysia, and was acquitted in 2008 after multiple delays due to losses of important files. She received a Right Livelihood Award in 2005 for her human rights and migrant advocacy work. She is remembered by activists in Malaysia and overseas, politicians, and international media. [more inside]
36 variant covers of the upcoming issue of Life with Archie commemorate his upcoming death. The penultimate issue (#36) involves Archie "heroically sacrificing his life to save that of a dear friend", with the final issue reflecting on the lives of Riverdale residents one year on.
A Certain Kind Of Death is a documentary about what happens to those who die with no next of kin. (Warning: Bodies, sadness)
How long can your digital life keep up the appearance of your actual life? A Michigan woman quit her job in 2008 and told her neighbors she was going abroad. Her bills were paid automatically and her neighbors mowed the lawn until her money ran out in 2013, when the bank foreclosed on her house. A mummified body believed to be hers was discovered in the garage, but authorities are struggling to definitively identify it. There's a Facebook page set up by her family dedicated to finding out what happened to Pia Farrenkopf.
James Rebhorn, an actor often playing a man in a suit, Dies at 65 after a 12-year struggle with skin cancer.
Mr. Rebhorn had memorable supporting roles in major films and worked consistently in television and theater. He appeared in more than 50 films, including “Meet the Parents,” “Independence Day,” “My Cousin Vinny” and “Cold Mountain.”He penned his own obituary which can be read here.
The Murders at The Lake. "In the summer of 1982 the city of Waco was confronted with the most vicious crime it had ever seen: three teenagers were savagely stabbed to death, for no apparent reason, at a park by a lake on the edge of town. Justice was eventually served when four men were found guilty of the crime, and two were sent to death row. In 1991, though, when one of the convicts got a new trial and was then found not guilty, some people wondered, Were these four actually the killers? Several years after that, one of the men was put to death, and the stakes were raised: Had Texas executed an innocent man?" [more inside]
Fred Phelps, longtime head of the Westboro Baptist Church previously previously previously previously previously previously previously, is "now on the edge of death" in a Topeka hospice, says his son Nate previously in a piece in the Topeka Capital-Journal. Media reaction has been, in a word, unmixed. [more inside]
What do you get when your funeral director is a former women's magazine writer who describes herself as "a Kundalini-yoga-practicing Buddhist Presbyterian on the board of Brooklyn Heights Synagogue"? It's Amy Cunningham's blog The Inspired Funeral, chronicling trends, products, history, music and ideas related to all sorts of grieving traditions. (From this NYT article about boomers gravitating towards greener burials and funerals.) [more inside]
Deathigner is an animated, charming look at how mortality personalities learn to do what they do.
Sherwin Nuland, surgeon and award-winning author who challenged idea of dignified death, has died at age 83. The son of first generation immigrants, Nuland survived a troubled childhood and succeeded in medical school only to face near-paralyzing depression, for which he was successfully treated with electroconvulsive therapy (first-person TED talk). His award-winning book, "How We Die: Reflections on Life's Final Chapter", included realistic descriptions of the process of death and helped to frame the national debate on assisted suicide. [more inside]
"Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?" an upcoming graphic memoir from Roz Chast is excerpted in the New Yorker online.
"Why am I not constantly grieving?" The wonderful Roger Angell on love, loss, sex, death, time, and the view from age 94.
How many people die in Death Wish 3? The answer may surprise you! (SLYT)
Here is a 1981 Pulitzer Prize winning article about the death of Playboy Playmate and rising star Dorothy Stratten.
So, I calmly announced to my wife: “I’m going to build my own coffin. I just thought you should know.”
The Ultimate End of Life Plan. "...Torn, I called my mother's internist. 'I know your mother well enough, and I respect her,' he said. 'She doesn't want to risk a surgery that could leave her debilitated or bound for a nursing home. I think I would advise the same decision if it was my Mom.' I called my mother and said, 'Are you sure? The surgeon said you could live to be 90.' 'I don't want to live to be 90,' she said. 'I'm going to miss you,' I said, weeping. 'You are not only my mother. You are my friend.' That day I stopped pressuring my mother to live forever and began urging her doctors to do less rather than more. A generation of middle-aged sons and daughters are facing this dilemma, in an era when advanced medical technologies hold out the illusion that death can be perfectly controlled and timed."
Nineteen years with an old friend: In today's installment of his blog The Bleat, James Lileks recounts the final two days of his dog Jasper, who passed away Friday afternoon.
In El Salvador and Nicaragua, Chronic Kidney Failure accounts for more deaths than HIV, diabetes, and leukemia combined. In affected communities, 69% of sugar cane workers are affected. "CKDu" is the second leading cause of death in El Salvador among men, and between 20 and 25 thousand men have died in the last 8 years of the disease. NYT Photos.
The pedestrian truth that you live one day at a time didn’t help: What was I supposed to do with that day? My oncologist would say only: “I can’t tell you a time. You’ve got to find what matters most to you.” —neurosurgeon Paul Kalanithi on coming face to face with his own mortality. SLNYT.
Danish Crown is the world's largest exporter of pork, killing approximately 100,000 pigs a week to cater to the growing global demand for meat. Alastair Philip Wiper visited the company's abattoir in Horsens to capture a behind-the-scenes look at the entire process, starting at the pens where the pigs arrive and moving through the spaces where the animals are slaughtered, butchered and packaged for sale.
On Thursday morning, Ohio executed Dennis McGuire for the 1989 rape and murder of Joy Stewart. However, due to an embargo on the common used lethal injection drug pentobarbital, the state used an untried combination of midazolam, a sedative, and hydromorphone, a morphine derivative, for the execution. The procedure took 24 minutes, during which McGuirse was reported to have been "choking and snorting" and was described as "horrific". [more inside]
What we knew of Angus was this: Angus—the only name we had for him—was a flight surgeon our mother had fallen in love with during World War II, planned to marry after the war, but lost when the Japanese shot him down over the Pacific. Once, long ago, she had mentioned to me that he was part of the reason she decided to be a doctor. That was all we knew. She had confided those things in the 1970s, in the years just after she and my father divorced. I can remember sitting in a big easy chair my dad had left behind in her bedroom, listening to her reminisce about Angus as she sat with her knitting. I remember being embarrassed, and not terribly interested. I was interested now. Even 30 years before, her affair with Angus had been three decades old. Now, 60 years after he had fallen into the sea, she wanted to follow him.[more inside]
"Danger in the Ring." According to Karen, a doctor in the emergency room asked her over the phone: “Was your daughter using birth control?” Karen said, “Yes, NuvaRing.” He removed the device and said, “I thought so, because she’s having a pulmonary embolism.” [more inside]
"After two to three hours, the body is transformed into a sterile coffee-colored liquid the consistency of motor oil that can be safely poured down the drain, alongside a dry bone residue similar in appearance to cremated remains." GOOD magazine: The emergence of the sustainable death industry.
“I am going to put you on a bit of morphine,” I said, like I was used to saying such things, announcing to dying patients that I was going to put them on a drug named for Morpheus, the god of sleep, descended from Thanatos, the god of death." A doctor reflects on the art of dying in 21st century America.
The public radio science program Radiolab recently wrapped up a tour featuring their latest live show, Apocalyptical. It is, as you might have guessed, about the end times. The show, hosted by Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich and featuring live performances from comedians Kurt Braunohler and Reggie Watts and an appearance from dinosaur puppets, is now available for free on YouTube.
In 1986, Sandra Clarke was working as a staff nurse at Sacred Heart Medical Center in Eugene, OR when a dying man asked her to sit with him. She agreed but first needed to make her rounds and the man died alone in his room before she was able to return. Troubled, and feeling that she had failed a patient, she resolved to gather volunteers to stay with those who were alone and close to death. Ms. Clarke enlisted her entire hospital for a bedside vigil system to help ensure that patients would not be alone when they died. In 2001, Sacred Heart formalized the program as No One Dies Alone (NODA) and over the last decade, it has spread to hospitals across the US. "Susan Cox Is No Longer Here" offers us a glimpse into the NODA experience in Indianapolis. [more inside]
The imminent Childish Gambino album 'Because the Internet" (as rumored, recorded at Chris Bosh's house) leaked over the weekend so the rapper/actor provided a streaming link to an iTunes site so that his fans could hear it while supporting him. The record features songs about: Oakland, World Star Hip Hop (in reaction to being shot at in Atlanta), being The Worst, and Death (so much death).
TBN head Paul Crouch died Saturday, November 30 at 79. Under Crouch, TBN grew to “84 satellite channels and over 18,000 television and cable affiliates around the world.” But he was a controversial figure, even among televangelists. (Previously on Metafilter, [via Slacktivist])