Sherman Alexander Hemsley died today at the age of 74. Perphaps best known for his role as George Jefferson on All in the Family and its spin-off, The Jeffersons, Hemsley's career spanned over four decades, including working on stage, in films, and of course, appearing (or starring in) in many TV shows.
Mortician Caitlin Doughty - founder of The Order of the Good Death - answers some questions. Episodes: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. She also writes a very interesting blog. [more inside]
"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]
Although many people would prefer a painless, instant death—no suffering, just lights out, quickly, permanently—others would have some variation of what seems to be Tolstoy's version of the good death: a conscious one, with acceptance of whatever comes. [more inside]
A few months after he buried his son, Francisco Reynoso began getting notices in the mail. Then the debt collectors came calling. Now, he's suffering a Kafkaesque ordeal in which he's hounded to repay loans that funded an education his son will never get to use — loans that he has little hope of ever paying off. Despite the help of a lawyer, Reynoso has not been able to determine exactly how much he owes, or even what company holds his loans.
The British Columbia Supreme Court has struck down a ban on physician-assisted suicide, in a whopping 1415-paragraph decision. [more inside]
A 73 year old returned, making it seem easy, yet increased traffic left four people dead this weekend. Traffic jams at Mount Everest. [more inside]
On Dec. 21, 1988, Pan Am Flight 103, a Boeing 747 jumbo jet carrying 243 passengers and 16 crew members, took off from Heathrow Airport in Britain, bound for New York.
Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi, Convicted in 1988 Lockerbie Bombing, Dies at 60. [NYTimes.com] Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi, the only person convicted in the 1988 bombing of an American jetliner over Lockerbie, Scotland, has died in Libya, family members told news agencies on Sunday, nearly three years after Scotland released him on humanitarian grounds, citing evidence that he was near death with metastatic prostate cancer. He was 60.
NFL great Junior Seau, who spent the majority of his career with the San Diego Chargers, with additional runs with the Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots, was found dead today of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. [more inside]
The Boundaries of Life and Death is a lovely short animation inspired by the Edgar Allan Poe quotation;
"The boundaries which divide Life from Death are at best shadowy and vague. Who shall say where the one ends, and where the other begins?"[more inside]
While growth prospects in the field are incredibly high, recent trends, such as "tools grow[ing] more advanced" (see Adobe Flash Builder or MS Visual Studio) have had people wondering over the past few years if computer science has much room for growth left. Some question whether it is alive. Others, such as Carnegie Mellon, say not so fast. In any case, employment has been a bit iffy (/.). There is the possibility that Computer Science is simply growing up (PDF), then again the U of Florida decided to say good bye to it this past week. But hey, if you are not going to that University, and still are shooting for computer science, here are some tips.
"...Pam agreed to die in order to save her life—and in the process had what is perhaps the most famous case of independent corroboration of out of body experience (OBE) perceptions on record...Pam later said, she felt herself “pop” out of her body and hover above it, watching as doctors worked on her body. Although she no longer had use of her eyes and ears, she described her observations in terms of her senses and perceptions...with considerable accuracy.Near Death, explained. [more inside]
NDE studies [such as these] suggest that after physical death, mind and consciousness may continue in a transcendent level of reality that normally is not accessible to our senses and awareness."
Here's a thought-provoking interview with Philip Gould in which he describes his reaction to his impending death from oesophogeal cancer. [more inside]
Young Edd Gould always enjoyed drawing comics of himself and his friends. Growing up in the internet age, his doodles evolved into Flash animations of increasing complexity, and in time Edd and pals Tom Ridgewell and Matt Hargreaves teamed up to produce an "Eddsworld" series of online webtoons and comics. At first crude and halting, the group's "eddisodes" progressed from surreal shorts and one-shots into full-fledged productions that pushed the boundaries of amateur web animation, with expressive characters, full soundtracks, complex effects, and a fast-paced, off-kilter sense of humor: MovieMakers - Spares - WTFuture - Rock Bottom - Hammer & Fail (2). At its height, the college co-op was producing shorts for Mitchell & Webb and the UN Climate Change Conference, fielding offers from Paramount and Cartoon Network, and racking up millions of hits on YouTube. Work slowed, however, when Gould was diagnosed with leukemia -- a relatively survivable form, though, and Gould carried on working gamely through his hospital stays. So it came as a shock last week when Matt and Tom announced that Edd had passed away, prompting an outpouring of grief and gratitude from all the fans he'd entertained and inspired in his short 23 years.
Alexis Rivera, Transgender Rights Advocate, Dies In California Masen Davis, Executive Director of Transgender Law Center, in a statement: "She understood that we are stronger together, and she kept organizing until the very end. Alexis' death is a reminder that the fight for equality -- and against AIDS -- is far from over."
In the sixty-odd years since their composition, the Four Last Songs have acquired in many people’s minds an unassailable status as simply the most beautiful music known to them, to be listened to in a dimly lit room and a state of rapt meditation, surrendering to the extraordinary spell of profound, other-worldly calm that they cast. This is not surprising. They were, indeed, the last things of any significance that Strauss wrote, between May and September 1948, at the age of eighty-four. (previously) [more inside]
"Andrea Yates' story tracks so many of the themes we talk about all the time today. The role of religion in family life. The cognitive dissonance of so many marriages. Lingering stigmas about mental illness, especially as they relate to postpartum depression. The Yates trial was a big deal 10 years ago — even though it was overshadowed by the fallout from 9/11." The Atlantic looks back at the Andrea Yates case and how she's doing now.
Need a spouse or uncooperative business associate taken care of? Have no fear! HitmanForHire.net is here.
Jan Berenstain, Co-Creator Of Berenstain Bears, Dies [NPR.ORG] Jan Berenstain, who with her husband, Stan, wrote and illustrated the Berenstain Bears books that have charmed preschoolers and their parents for 50 years, has died. She was 88.
"We want to eat, not be eaten by our food, right?"[TED]. Artist/MIT graduate Jae Rhim Lee's current project explores the possibility of, and interest in ecologically responsible interment. She is currently cultivating personalized Infinity Mushrooms, which in combination with the Mushroom Death Suit will promote postmortem mycological growth, and more importantly intimacy with and acceptance of the physical realities of decomposition as vehicles toward death acceptance. [more inside]
Two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Anthony Shadid has died on assignment. (NYTimes) Shadid, 43, died of an asthma attack while reporting in Syria. His colleague, photographer Tyler Hicks, carried his body over the border into Turkey. [more inside]
A tragic fire in Honduras has claimed the lives of hundreds of inmates as a "hellish scene" unfolded as hundreds of inmates were caught up in a prison fire in Comayagua. [more inside]
She is gone. A Valentines story of love and loss.
"I said before the film has historical importance (and it does), but it's relevance was more recognized in 1978 than the present day. The YouTube generation will be unable to comprehend what purpose the film served thirty years ago, and thus it's difficult to ignore how hopelessly dated Faces Of Death really is." It's relevance may have faded, but the intrigue remains. Deadspin recently interviewed the writer and producer of four compilations of death and gore, John Alan Schwartz. And of course, they discuss the fake gore in the monkey scene (interview clip with special make-up effects creators Allan Apone and Douglas White, with the memorable scene). And what is Schwarts up to today? He and his wife post videos of their movie reviews on YouTube (Tumblr, YouTube profile page, their website).
Top five regrets of the dying. A palliative nurse who has counselled the dying in their last days has revealed the most common regrets we have at the end of our lives.
“Obituaries are not about death. They are a celebration of life." The Art of the Obituary [more inside]
if i die: if i die is the first and only facebook application that enables you to create a video or a text message that will only be published after you die. [more inside]
Diagnosed with cancer, my father decided to have his tongue removed. It’s an extreme treatment, but he’s always known how to make things work out.
The BBC has put up a page presenting statistics dealing with deaths on British roads between 1999 and 2010. A slightly older page presenting mostly the same statistics (up to 2008) can be visited here; this earlier version was published in conjunction with several other articles, including one looking in-depth at a single crash and its aftermath in Stevenage in 2007.
News organizations from around the world are reporting on the death of Cheetah-Mike, the chimp who purportedly played Cheeta, the companion to Johnny Weissmuller’s Tarzan from the MGM and RKO film series of the 30s and 40s. If this is one of the original film Cheetas, it would make Cheetah-Mike, at 80, the longest-lived captive chimp on record. But there’s reason to doubt he’s both that old and was in the films with Weissmuller. First, because this is significantly longer than chimps usually live, and second because this has happened once before.
The Lives They Loved. The New York Times asked readers to send in a photo and short story of someone they lost this year.
Here is the Nethack server at alt.org, Telnet link, Java client, Flash client. Here is a list of most of the ways to die in the game (dates back to 3.1.3). And here are a lot of Nethack spoilers.
I've been advised by doctors to prepare for death. "I believe that there is strength in facing reality, and then planning your demise on your own terms as best you can. And hey, if a miracle happens and we beat the odds, that is only a bonus. Facing reality doesn't mean denying a possible happy outcome. Look at my case for instance--I have surpassed 60 days, and I am not dead yet. I haven't counted how many days I am past my expiration date, but one could say that each day is a miracle now." [more inside]
This past August a murder charge was dismissed against Nga Truong, a young mother who had confessed to Worcester, MA Police interrogators in 2008 that she had smothered and killed her 13 month-old baby, Khyle. A judge later concluded that confession was coerced -- extracted in part by police "deception," "trickery and implied promises" -- and the case was dropped. (pdf). Her case raises questions: What coercive power do detectives have who are driven to extract confessions? Under what circumstances might someone admit to a crime they have not committed? WBUR (Boston's NPR station) investigated Truong's case and has an extensive report, Anatomy of a Bad Confession: Part One and Two [more inside]
Trial of the Will. "Reviewing familiar principles and maxims in the face of mortal illness, Christopher Hitchens has found one of them increasingly ridiculous: 'Whatever doesn’t kill me makes me stronger.' Oh, really? Take the case of the philosopher to whom that line is usually attributed, Friedrich Nietzsche, who lost his mind to what was probably syphilis. Or America’s homegrown philosopher Sidney Hook, who survived a stroke and wished he hadn’t. Or, indeed, the author, viciously weakened by the very medicine that is keeping him alive." [Via]
It’s not a frequent topic of discussion, but doctors die, too. And they don’t die like the rest of us. What’s unusual about them is not how much treatment they get compared to most Americans, but how little.How Doctors Die.
200+ Famous Musicians Who Died Too Young. Ordered by age, from 17 to 54, with brief descriptions and links to their last.fm pages.
How do people die in motor "accidents"? I'll tell you. With the Christmas "Silly Season" is upon us, the Age has republished And this is how you die by journalist Roger Aldridge. A warning - it's pretty graphic. Scroll up for the rest of the article.
Comedian Patrice O'Neal passed away on Monday evening, following a stroke suffered in October. A few clips. Rest easy, Big Man.
Growing up, she was a beloved celebrity in her home country. Thousands of girls were named after her. So was a bestselling perfume. But Josef Stalin's "Little Sparrow," his only daughter, (born Svetlana Stalina) defected to the United States in 1967. Upon arriving in New York, she promptly held a press conference that surprised the world, denouncing her father's regime. Svetlana became a naturalized US citizen, moved to Taliesin West, married an American, changed her name to Lana Peters, then returned to the Soviet Union in 1984, declaring that she had not been free "for one single day" in the U.S., only to once again return to America in 1986. She lived out her remaining days in a small town in Wisconsin. Mrs. Peters passed away from colon cancer on November 22nd, at the age of 85. [more inside]
Even a little too much Tylenol over a few days can cause a liver failure. Paracetamol or acetaminophen, active ingredient of such over-the-counter painkillers as Tylenol, Panadol, Anacin-3 and many, many others, is considered safe - and it is, in prescribed doses. But even a single overdose can lead to liver failure despite treatment, and then only a liver transplant can avert a fatal outcome. [more inside]
Anne McCaffrey, author of Dragonriders of Pern, the first woman to win a Hugo award, is reported dead.
Homicide detectives who have reopened an investigation into the death of Natalie Wood after three decades said on Friday that the film star's husband, actor Robert Wagner, was not considered a suspect. [more inside]
To The Moon is a stunningly good game about death, love and memories. If you love games and you enjoy love stories, I highly urge you to download it and play it immediately. Here's a review, but you shouldn't read it. You should just play it. Warning: Have kleenex handy.