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Near Death, explained

"...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.

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."
Near Death, explained. [more inside]
posted by anazgnos on Apr 23, 2012 - 111 comments

A Perspective on Death

Here's a thought-provoking interview with Philip Gould in which he describes his reaction to his impending death from oesophogeal cancer. [more inside]
posted by richyoung on Apr 20, 2012 - 13 comments

Death by pimple

The 13 strangest composer deaths in classical music
posted by NemesisVex on Apr 13, 2012 - 34 comments

Eulogy for a pretty swell guy

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.
posted by Rhaomi on Apr 2, 2012 - 5 comments

Rest in Peace

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."
posted by Ruthless Bunny on Mar 30, 2012 - 26 comments

Richard Strauss' "Four Last Songs" sung by Jessye Norman

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]
posted by Trurl on Mar 24, 2012 - 11 comments

Andrea Yates, 10 years later

"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.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Mar 20, 2012 - 145 comments

"As with other online businesses, the site promised convenience and efficiency."

Need a spouse or uncooperative business associate taken care of? Have no fear! HitmanForHire.net is here.
posted by reenum on Mar 11, 2012 - 26 comments

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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.
posted by Fizz on Feb 27, 2012 - 83 comments

Pushing Mushrooms

"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]
posted by obscurator on Feb 22, 2012 - 18 comments

Anthony Shadid, 1968-2012

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]
posted by Madamina on Feb 16, 2012 - 50 comments

Nobody is that bad of a person

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]
posted by RolandOfEld on Feb 15, 2012 - 12 comments

She is gone

She is gone. A Valentines story of love and loss.
posted by ColdChef on Feb 14, 2012 - 28 comments

John Alan Schwartz: From Faces of Death to reviewing movies on YouTube

"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).
posted by filthy light thief on Feb 6, 2012 - 53 comments

Top five regrets of the dying

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.
posted by ClanvidHorse on Feb 2, 2012 - 196 comments

"...obituaries are about the juicy stuff of life..."

“Obituaries are not about death. They are a celebration of life." The Art of the Obituary [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jan 30, 2012 - 14 comments

Step Four: DIE.

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]
posted by Fizz on Jan 24, 2012 - 74 comments

Real Dead Ringer For Love

Is Necrophilia Wrong?
posted by veedubya on Jan 24, 2012 - 248 comments

My Father, Always Fond of a Long Shot, Chose to Have His Cancerous Tounge Removed

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.
posted by Blasdelb on Jan 14, 2012 - 20 comments

Billy Donovan's Secret Sorrow

Three basketball coaches share the experience of a single type of tragedy.
posted by reenum on Jan 5, 2012 - 6 comments

"Without your space helmet, Dave, you're going to find that rather difficult."

Human Exposure to Vacuum
posted by troll on Dec 28, 2011 - 74 comments

Every death on every road in Great Britain 1999-2010

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.
posted by Dim Siawns on Dec 28, 2011 - 13 comments

Long Live Cheeta

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.
posted by Toekneesan on Dec 28, 2011 - 34 comments

Lives They Loved.

The Lives They Loved. The New York Times asked readers to send in a photo and short story of someone they lost this year.
posted by katinka-katinka on Dec 22, 2011 - 26 comments

Nethack over the Net

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.
posted by JHarris on Dec 20, 2011 - 38 comments

60 Days to Live - to record the journey--however long or short it may be.

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]
posted by jcterminal on Dec 14, 2011 - 44 comments

“I‘m not lying!”

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]
posted by zarq on Dec 10, 2011 - 28 comments

Trial of the Will

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]
posted by homunculus on Dec 8, 2011 - 27 comments

How Doctors Die

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.
posted by Foci for Analysis on Dec 5, 2011 - 54 comments

Before their time

200+ Famous Musicians Who Died Too Young. Ordered by age, from 17 to 54, with brief descriptions and links to their last.fm pages.
posted by madamjujujive on Dec 4, 2011 - 71 comments

And this is how you die

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.
posted by mattoxic on Dec 2, 2011 - 95 comments

RIP Patrice O'Neal

Comedian Patrice O'Neal passed away on Monday evening, following a stroke suffered in October. A few clips. Rest easy, Big Man.
posted by VicNebulous on Nov 29, 2011 - 50 comments

"You can’t regret your fate, although I do regret my mother didn’t marry a carpenter."

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]
posted by zarq on Nov 28, 2011 - 39 comments

The pain is killing me

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]
posted by hat_eater on Nov 27, 2011 - 108 comments

Anne McCaffrey, 1926-2011

Anne McCaffrey, author of Dragonriders of Pern, the first woman to win a Hugo award, is reported dead.
posted by Zarkonnen on Nov 22, 2011 - 222 comments

Investigation into Natalie Wood's death re-opened

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]
posted by Trurl on Nov 18, 2011 - 48 comments

To The Moon

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.
posted by empath on Nov 9, 2011 - 26 comments

"Nothing prepares you for this. Nothing is rehearsed or written down."

How a Man Can Grieve for a Deceased Friend -- from The Art of Manliness; an ongoing chronicle of masculinity in the 21st Century.
posted by schmod on Oct 21, 2011 - 95 comments

Whale Fall

Whale Fall (after life of a whale). A video compliment to Radiolab's 'Loops' episode. [Via]
posted by homunculus on Oct 15, 2011 - 18 comments

"It begins with a knock at the door."

Final Salute. Between 2004 and 2005, "Rocky Mountain News reporter Jim Sheeler and photographer Todd Heisler spent a year with the Marines stationed at Aurora's Buckley Air Force Base who have found themselves called upon to notify families of the deaths of their sons in Iraq. In each case in this story, the families agreed to let Sheeler and Heisler chronicle their loss and grief. They wanted people to know their sons, the men and women who brought them home, and the bond of traditions more than 200 years old that unite them. Though readers are led through the story by the white-gloved hand of Maj. Steve Beck, he remains a reluctant hero. He is, he insists, only a small part of the massive mosaic that is the Marine Corps." The full story ran on Veteran's Day, 2005 and won two Pulitzer Prizes: one for Feature Photography, another for feature writing in 2006. A nice single-page version of one section: Katherine Cathey and 2nd Lt. James J. Cathey (via.) The Rocky Mountain News closed in 2009. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Oct 12, 2011 - 12 comments

Dreams of a Life

Joyce Carol Vincent, 38, died in her North London flat in 2003; her skeleton was found three years later, on the sofa; the television was still on, and a pile of unopened Christmas presents lay on the floor. The story was mentioned briefly in the press, but then forgotten. Now, filmmaker Carol Morley has tracked down and interviewed people who knew her before she retreated and reconstructed her story, all the more tragic because of the deceptively promising life it showed. [more inside]
posted by acb on Oct 9, 2011 - 63 comments

My Stillborn Child's Life After Death

"Before I let go of my little boy, I needed to spend time with him. So I brought him home, and our journey began."
posted by mr_crash_davis on Oct 7, 2011 - 182 comments

*crunch*

'Doritos Creator Dead, to be Buried with Chips.' Arch West, a former Frito-Lay executive and creator of Doritos, will be buried with the chips that made him famous.
posted by Fizz on Sep 26, 2011 - 121 comments

Spontaneous Human Combustion

Irishman dies of 'Spontaneous Human Combustion'.
posted by veedubya on Sep 23, 2011 - 140 comments

Troy Davis execution imminent

In 1991, Troy Davis was convicted and sentenced to death for the 1989 murder of policeman Mark MacPhail in a Savannah, Georgia parking lot. Since then, seven of the nine prosecution eyewitnesses have recanted all or part of their testimony, with some citing pressure from the police to make false statements. An exception is Sylvester "Redd" Coles, who made the initial report of Davis’s guilt, and is regarded by the defense as the chief suspect. New witnesses have sworn affidavits that Coles confessed the crime to them. An array of figures have called for a stay of execution, including death-penalty supporters Senator Bob Barr and former FBI director William S. Sessions. Today, the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles denied clemency; barring action from the District Attorney, Davis is set to be executed by lethal injection tomorrow at 7pm. [Previously]
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 on Sep 20, 2011 - 432 comments

Speaking of the Dead

"STANDING THERE on the dais, consider the world as a series of concentric rings of loyalty. The people in the nearest ring, those in the front row, are owed the most. You should speak first to them. And then, in the next measure, to the room itself, which is the next ring, and only then to the physical world outside, the neighborhood, the town, the place, and then, just maybe, to the machinations of life-muffling institutions." from How to Give a Eulogy. [more inside]
posted by storybored on Sep 7, 2011 - 19 comments

"My dead migrant has fingerprints, but nobody claims her. *I* claim her; she is mine."

A year ago this August, 72 migrant workers -- 58 men and 14 women -- 'were on their way to the US border when they were murdered by a drug gang at a ranch in northern Mexico, in circumstances that remain unexplained. Since then, a group of Mexican journalists and writers have created' a "Day of the Dead-style Virtual Altar" Spanish-language website, 72migrantes.com, to commemorate each of the victims, some of whom have never been identified. The New York Review of Books has English translations of five of their profiles. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Sep 7, 2011 - 7 comments

"Everyone has pain. It's your job to find it."

Start a home business, get rich quick, win financial freedom! If you watch late-night TV, you've heard it all before. But what's the story behind these slick pitchmen and their dubious schemes? Enter The Salty Droid, your ornery metal guide to the corrupt underworld of scam-marketing scum. This charmingly acerbic bot (owned and operated by mild-mannered Chicago dog-lover Jason Michael Jones [inter-view, long talk + transcript]) is a valiant crusader against the vile con-men who bankrupt the elderly and the desperate with beautiful lies. Exposed so far: A shadowy "Syndicate" of frauduct-pushing personality cults polluting the media with blogspam and woo-woo talking points. Boiler rooms in the Utah desert where telemarketers farm credit from easy targets with cunning, probing scripts [PDF]. Powerful politicians bought wholesale. Believers left to die in fraudulent new-age vision quests. It's a soul-crushing beat, enough to make one feel like a regular catcher-bot in the digital rye. But somebody's got to do it -- preferably someone with plasma nunchucks and titanium skin.
posted by Rhaomi on Aug 31, 2011 - 47 comments

"Anywhere was home. Where I do good, I stay. When it gets bad and dull, I'm gone."

“Honeyboy” Edwards, the last of the original American delta bluesmen, died last night. [more inside]
posted by magstheaxe on Aug 29, 2011 - 27 comments

Peter Greenaway's "The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover"

Though it is by far Peter Greenaway’s most well known film and, for all of the visceral and intellectual challenges it proposes, probably his most approachable, The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover remains a difficult film to apprehend. (the beginning and the end, both NSFW)
posted by Trurl on Aug 21, 2011 - 37 comments

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