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Ordinary_Guy
09-02-2006, 11:39 PM
Okay, maybe you did know – but I sure didn't (at least not all of them). From the September 06 issue of Discover (http://www.discover.com/issues/sep-06/departments/20thingsdeath/), here's a morbidly interesting list to tickle the imagination of you M/T/S writers:

20 Things You Didn't Know About... Death
Newsflash: we're all going to die. But here are 20 things you didn't know about kicking the bucket.
By LeeAundra Temescu
DISCOVER Vol. 27 No. 09 | September 2006
The practice of burying the dead may date back 350,000 years, as evidenced by a 45-foot-deep pit in Atapuerca, Spain, filled with the fossils of 27 hominids of the species Homo heidelbergensis, a possible ancestor of Neanderthals and modern humans.
Never say die: There are at least 200 euphemisms for death, including "to be in Abraham's bosom," "just add maggots," and "sleep with the Tribbles" (a Star Trek favorite).
No American has died of old age since 1951.
That was the year the government eliminated that classification on death certificates.
The trigger of death, in all cases, is lack of oxygen. Its decline may prompt muscle spasms, or the "agonal phase," from the Greek word agon, or contest.
Within three days of death, the enzymes that once digested your dinner begin to eat you. Ruptured cells become food for living bacteria in the gut, which release enough noxious gas to bloat the body and force the eyes to bulge outward.
So much for recycling: Burials in America deposit 827,060 gallons of embalming fluid—formaldehyde, methanol, and ethanol—into the soil each year. Cremation pumps dioxins, hydrochloric acid, sulfur dioxide, and carbon dioxide into the air.
Alternatively . . . A Swedish company, Promessa, will freeze-dry your body in liquid nitrogen, pulverize it with high-frequency vibrations, and seal the resulting powder in a cornstarch coffin. They claim this "ecological burial" will decompose in 6 to 12 months.
Zoroastrians in India leave out the bodies of the dead to be consumed by vultures.
The vultures are now dying off after eating cattle carcasses dosed with diclofenac, an anti-inflammatory used to relieve fever in livestock.
Queen Victoria insisted on being buried with the bathrobe of her long-dead husband, Prince Albert, and a plaster cast of his hand.
If this doesn't work, we're trying in vitro! In Madagascar, families dig up the bones of dead relatives and parade them around the village in a ceremony called famadihana. The remains are then wrapped in a new shroud and reburied. The old shroud is given to a newly married, childless couple to cover the connubial bed.
During a railway expansion in Egypt in the 19th century, construction companies unearthed so many mummies that they used them as fuel for locomotives.
Well, yeah, there's a slight chance this could backfire: English philosopher Francis Bacon, a founder of the scientific method, died in 1626 of pneumonia after stuffing a chicken with snow to see if cold would preserve it.
For organs to form during embryonic development, some cells must commit suicide. Without such programmed cell death, we would all be born with webbed feet, like ducks.
Waiting to exhale: In 1907 a Massachusetts doctor conducted an experiment with a specially designed deathbed and reported that the human body lost 21 grams upon dying. This has been widely held as fact ever since. It's not.
Buried alive: In 19th-century Europe there was so much anecdotal evidence that living people were mistakenly declared dead that cadavers were laid out in "hospitals for the dead" while attendants awaited signs of putrefaction.
Eighty percent of people in the United States die in a hospital.
If you can't make it here . . . More people commit suicide in New York City than are murdered.
It is estimated that 100 billion people have died since humans began.
Click the Discover website (http://www.discover.com/issues/sep-06/departments/20thingsdeath/) to see some in-list links, their sources and suggested further reading.

Soccer Mom
09-02-2006, 11:59 PM
Cool. very interesting stuff. ANd BTW- glad to see you posting again. ;)

Shwebb
09-03-2006, 01:37 AM
Yep, those are pretty interesting. Thanks!

I say on my blog: my mind is a junk room. Someday, I'll find a purpose for all this stuff.

Jamesaritchie
09-03-2006, 02:43 AM
Great stuff. One I stumbled across I found interesting is this:


Guanajuato.
The half-day tour includes one of the last working silver mines (though not a trip down the shaft), a trip to the Pipila statue—whose scale and local importance are similar to the U.S.'s Statue of Liberty—and also a unique and macabre Guanajuato attraction, the Panteon.

This is a museum of mummified human remains—not swaddled Egyptian style, but exposed for all to see. Apparently, some sections of the local cemetery are so dry that the bodies are preserved. And since the city is short on space, those whose relatives can't afford to keep paying rent on the grave are exhumed—their desiccated bodies shown off in illuminated glass cases along the dark halls. The mummies—they look like leather sculptures—show how differently we greet death. Some seem to scream; others are relaxed, finally at peace.



Renting graves? If some of the US cemeteries get wind of this, we're all in trouble. "Sorry, I know times are tough, but if you can't pay the rent, out your beloved goes."

Fahim
09-03-2006, 05:16 AM
Interesting info - thanks for sharing :) Of course, one I see missing is that Death (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_(Discworld)) rides a horse named Binky :p

MarkEsq
09-03-2006, 06:05 AM
Very interesting, I suppose death fascinates all of us who write in this genre. If you make it to Paris visit the Catacombs, an underground labyrinth filled with neatly stacked bones and skulls. Some find the place uninteresting, I imagine most of us here would find it wonderfully evocative.

Soccer Mom
09-03-2006, 08:43 AM
I visited the catacombs in Roma. Very stinky. No seriously. Dark and dirty and smelly. Dead smells like dead, even at centuries old.

rtilryarms
09-03-2006, 04:47 PM
fascinating

Serenity
09-08-2006, 06:52 AM
Great stuff. One I stumbled across I found interesting is this:
Guanajuato.
The half-day tour includes one of the last working silver mines (though not a trip down the shaft), a trip to the Pipila statue—whose scale and local importance are similar to the U.S.'s Statue of Liberty—and also a unique and macabre Guanajuato attraction, the Panteon.

This is a museum of mummified human remains—not swaddled Egyptian style, but exposed for all to see. Apparently, some sections of the local cemetery are so dry that the bodies are preserved. And since the city is short on space, those whose relatives can't afford to keep paying rent on the grave are exhumed—their desiccated bodies shown off in illuminated glass cases along the dark halls. The mummies—they look like leather sculptures—show how differently we greet death. Some seem to scream; others are relaxed, finally at peace.

I've been to this museum. It's incredibly fascinating. There's acutally one mummy (if my memory serves correctly :P) there that was buried alive. The posture is agonizing to look at for too long.

Jamesaritchie
09-08-2006, 10:01 AM
I've been to this museum. It's incredibly fascinating. There's acutally one mummy (if my memory serves correctly :P) there that was buried alive. The posture is agonizing to look at for too long.

ray Bradbury has a short story written around this museum, and it's a pretty darned good story. I may have to take a trip there one of these days.

Kate Thornton
09-08-2006, 06:11 PM
ray Bradbury has a short story written around this museum, and it's a pretty darned good story. I may have to take a trip there one of these days. "The Next in Line" - you're right, it's a really good story!!!

Alex Bravo
09-18-2006, 07:10 AM
I've read that 98% of all earth species have already become extinct.

arrowqueen
09-19-2006, 01:45 AM
Apparently bodies are taking longer to putrefy these days because we eat so many preservatives in food that they're preserving us too.

DeborahM
09-19-2006, 01:49 AM
5. The trigger of death, in all cases, is lack of oxygen.

I've always said, the secret to life is to keep breathing!

Robert Toy
09-19-2006, 01:54 AM
I've read that 98% of all earth species have already become extinct.
And it is most likely attributed to the remaining 2%...:D

Jamesaritchie
09-19-2006, 09:23 AM
I've read that 98% of all earth species have already become extinct.

And I'm darned glad to be rid of a very high percentage. I can't speak for anyone else, but I'm extremely glad I don't have to contend with velociraptors and Tyrannosaurus rex when going on a camping trip. Or even the sabre-toothed tiger.

My-Immortal
09-19-2006, 11:49 AM
20. It is estimated that 100 billion people have died since humans began.

So, the living is truly a minority.

Akiahara
09-19-2006, 12:48 PM
And I'm darned glad to be rid of a very high percentage. I can't speak for anyone else, but I'm extremely glad I don't have to contend with velociraptors and Tyrannosaurus rex when going on a camping trip. Or even the sabre-toothed tiger.
I don't know... it would truly be survival of the fittest.

Great, natural population control.

Jamesaritchie
09-19-2006, 07:36 PM
I don't know... it would truly be survival of the fittest.

Great, natural population control.

I'm all for survival of the fittest, unless the unfit is me.

Ordinary_Guy
09-20-2006, 12:54 AM
And I'm darned glad to be rid of a very high percentage. I can't speak for anyone else, but I'm extremely glad I don't have to contend with velociraptors and Tyrannosaurus rex when going on a camping trip. Or even the sabre-toothed tiger.
...man...

We could at least stick t-rex in a zoo -- but the mosquitos have got to go!

RJLeahy
09-20-2006, 04:01 AM
And it doesn't matter how many people you have with you at the appointed time, everybody takes that trip-- alone.

Jamesaritchie
09-20-2006, 05:23 PM
...man...

We could at least stick t-rex in a zoo -- but the mosquitos have got to go!

I was afraid to mention mosquitoes. They gang up on me everytime I take a trip into the back yonder as it is. If they hear that I want them to go extinct, they'll come from miles around to get some extra blood.

aka eraser
09-20-2006, 08:53 PM
For some reason this reminds me of one of my favourite Woody Allen lines (paraphrased): "I don't want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve it by not dying."

Ordinary_Guy
09-21-2006, 03:43 AM
Grim subject, I know, but morbidly fascinating.

In the same vein, Popular Mechanics did a story (http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/law_enforcement/1280911.html?page=1&c=y) on the techniques of execution. After a little intro (and some stat graphics), we get an explanation of hanging:

Hanging

Dating back more than 2000 years, hanging is quick and painless–when done correctly. The rope is first boiled in water to remove elasticity, and then it's installed on the gallows, where it is pulled and stretched to remove any remaining elasticity. The familiar noose–13 coils wrapped around a loop–is placed around the condemned's neck with the knot positioned behind the left ear.

The condemned is positioned on a trap door. He wears a hood, and his arms and legs are bound to prevent his gaining a hand- or foothold on the gallows floor. The trap door is sprung by a lever and, ideally, the fall causes the rope to dislocate the third or fourth vertebra. Death is instantaneous.

The problem with hanging is that the drop length, hence the rope length, is critical. The desired result requires 1260 ft.-lb. of force to snap the neck. If the drop is too short, the victim strangles–a horrific episode that can last up to 15 minutes. Too long a drop risks decapitation–an equally unappetizing event. To calculate the correct drop length (in feet), the equation is 1260 divided by the victim's weight...
The article goes on to talk about the electric chair, the firing squad, the gas chamber and lethal injection. It's enough to give a terminal case of the willies...

jpserra
10-09-2006, 04:07 PM
Has anyone seen a 10 most common types of murder?

JPS

Spirit_Fire
10-09-2006, 04:26 PM
5. The trigger of death, in all cases, is lack of oxygen.

I've always said, the secret to life is to keep breathing!

I don't think this is entirely accurate. The only cause of death is lack of life.

Ok, check this one out: http://www.thecourier.com.au/detail.asp?class=news&subclass=local&category=general+news&story_id=302202&y=2004&m=4
(I hope the link works ok).

Some genius has come up with a marvellous idea - to bury people upright in bulk containers.

I like this bit:


Palacom chairman and Skipton resident George Lines said he believed people were willing to be buried upright if the price was right.

People are willing to be buried upright? I think I'd come back as a ghost if my family had me interred in a mass grave.

At least it's cheap.

picsbypat
04-08-2007, 04:52 AM
Remember that cute little TV show with three or four kids, called "Saved By The Bell"?
Ever wonder where the phrase came from? Well, it's not a cute story...

In the middle ages, before scientific methods were developed to declare a person dead, coma victims were sometimes buried alive. They discovered their mistake when some coffins were dug up and moved to make way for a highway. Some of the coffins had scratches on the inside from human fingernails! So a tradition began in which someone was hired to sit by the gravesite of a freshly buried body. The deceased was buried with a bell in the coffin. If they awoke, they would ring the bell, the night watcher (or listener) would hear it and rush to dig up the coffin.
Hence the term "saved by the bell".

Kind of makes you feel tingly and slimly all over, don't it?

Joe270
04-08-2007, 07:09 AM
I'm not so sure of this "Saved by the bell" explaination.

I do recall reading about the bell thing from the black death days, but I don't recall the term 'saved by the bell' in use then. The term seems too modern for the dark ages.

I thought the term came from boxing, where a downed boxer excaped elimination if the bell rang prior to the ten count. The more contemporary feel of the saying fits this, IMHO.

I could be wrong. I normally am, found that out after I got married. I've been wrong for twenty years now.

That creepy "Ring around the rosie, pocket full of posies, ashes to ashes, they all fall down" is still around from the black death days. So saved by the bell might come from this era.

This could be a fun thread, where did the terms originate?

Angelinity
04-08-2007, 08:54 AM
Interesting info - thanks for sharing :) Of course, one I see missing is that Death (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_(Discworld)) rides a horse named Binky :p

LOL, i call one of my kitties Binky -- who knew?? She's was rescued from the clutches of death, likely in her last hours when she was a wee babe; she's white (pale) and very much alive (hyperactive) and 'talks' to me constantly.... maybe i should pay closer attention to what she says...hmm...

DeadlyAccurate
04-11-2007, 07:05 PM
According to Snopes (http://www.snopes.com/language/phrases/1500.htm), the term came from boxing.


Saved by the bell is a 1930s term from the world of boxing, where a beleaguered fighter being counted out would have his fate delayed by the ringing of the bell to signify the end of the round. Need we mention that although fisticuffs were around in the 1500s, the practice of ringing a bell to end a round wasn't?