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  • What To Do With The Dead

    I was just listening yesterday to Scientific American podcasts on iTunes (for free!) and there was discussion of subjects spoken on at the World Conference of Science Journalists, which I wish would acronym to NERD, but it doesn’t. They brought up the topic of Burial Rites, and that my favorite form of dealing with dead bodies thus far, cremation, is bad for global warming (or good for it, if you’re pro-global warming). Heating up the incinerators to 800+ degrees and then the exhaust is just not a big plus for the environment. Whoever the speaker was on the subject was quick to bring up that graveyards are a horrible use of land too. His optimal suggestion was to dig vertical graves to put the deceased in, planting a tree above. With no more than a burlap around the body.

    I like that idea, but it’s generally illegal in most places here to bury a body un-entombed, probably because of the water table and people being creeped out for whatever reason. But maybe you could start arbor cemeteries in specially zoned locations. I was wondering where they would stand on burial at sea- way out, obviously, and without coffins. That seems to me that it would dispose of the body fairly quickly and maybe even help some sea life out. But, I could be very wrong. Opinions?


    Comment from DrObviousSo
    Time: April 27, 2007, 11:05 am

    Honestly, I wouldn’t mind being composted and being spread in one of the forests I used to go camping in, personally.

    There’s a huge number of problems with unembalmed, unentombed mass burials, from a purely utilitarian POV. Not the least of which is the water table problem. The scavengers alone would make burial grounds in high density areas a nightmare.

    All the good solutions run into strong social barriers that can’t be overlooked. Mass incineration, for example, strikes most people as wrong, for obvious reasons.

    Comment from Parker
    Time: April 27, 2007, 2:55 pm

    I’d be cool with being composted too.

    Comment from Leonard Kirk
    Time: April 27, 2007, 3:30 pm

    There’s always the Soylent Green option.

    Comment from Parker
    Time: April 27, 2007, 4:10 pm

    Wait, I thought those cakes were a combination of Soy beans and Lentils, no…


    Comment from dr. k
    Time: April 27, 2007, 8:02 pm

    I had considered green burial as my preference, but now I’m leaning toward the “Keith Richards’s dad” method.

    Comment from Parker
    Time: April 27, 2007, 8:05 pm

    But what kind of table would you prefer to be snorted off?

    Comment from Brian
    Time: April 27, 2007, 8:05 pm

    Well, there goes my Viking funeral.

    And while were on the subject, no one in that movie ever mentioned just what Soylent green tasted like. If I had to guess, I’d say chicken.

    Comment from Esteban Pedreros
    Time: April 28, 2007, 12:47 am

    Here in Chile, there is a Graveyard with no Tombstones, it’s called “Parque del Recuerdo”.
    Actually, there are small cement pieces on the ground with the name of the person buried there, but otherwise is a big Park, of course, it’s not for the general public to go and do whatever there, is for the families who have their loved ones.

    About the sea…. I don’t know I believe that the current might bring the bodies back to the mainland, and that wouldn’t be such a bright idea.

    Most of the people want to have a Place to go a visit the people they loved and that they can’t see anymore, as stupid as it may seem to go a talk to a piece of stone, it actually gives people a place to feel in touch with their loved ones.

    Now… back to the Global Warming… the main cause of Global Warming is that the USA uses PETROLEUM to produce energy, Electricity, it doesn’t matter how many crematory bussiness are put to rest, they are no competition to the fact that the USA consumes around 25% of the world’s Petroleum, that’s right, one country, yours, consumes 25% of the world’s pretroleum production
    Come one, you have some very bright people at the MIT, put them to work!!

    Comment from Brian
    Time: April 28, 2007, 4:07 am

    Wind, solar, and hydro electric are renewable non-polluting sources of energy that are currently available, we just need to figure out how to make them work in all parts of the country and make them as affordable as oil and gas.

    Comment from Parker
    Time: April 28, 2007, 7:51 am

    I’m with you on ending petroleum, Esteban. I think the focus on cremation was probably an exercise in dealing with an area that might be easier to change than the oil giant. And I meant way WAY out at sea!

    Comment from lpmiller
    Time: April 29, 2007, 5:33 am

    my concern about global warming ends when the lights go out and the door has been shut. I’m dead. For all I know, global warming helps zombies, and if that is the case then the more of you cremated the better, because the more brains for zombie me.

    Comment from Parker
    Time: April 29, 2007, 6:58 am

    Always looking out for Zombie You!

    Comment from Colleen Coover
    Time: April 29, 2007, 3:43 pm

    I wonder what kind of gasses would be produced from submerging a corpse in an acid bath? You could probably re-use the acid, too. Probably pretty lethal, huh? Oh! You could be BOILED like they used to have us do to road kill for extra credit! Then your decendants could have your cleaned-up skeleton to play with! But then you’d have People Soup on your hands, and that’s kind of gross. I’m still leaning toward freeze-dried and ground-up, like worms for fish food. Could make some good fertilizer!

    Comment from zailo
    Time: April 29, 2007, 9:55 pm

    I have every intention of being tanned and skinned when I am dead. Then have my remains fashioned into leather goods to be distributed among my friends. Everytime you reach for your wallet or put on that belt you will think of me.
    Parker gets the leather bound organizer with my face stretched out over it.

    Comment from Parker
    Time: April 30, 2007, 6:56 am

    The Necronomiplanner.

    Comment from zailo
    Time: April 30, 2007, 11:57 am

    glad you got the Evil dead II ref.

    Comment from Chuck
    Time: May 4, 2007, 10:09 pm

    None of you Cretins have come up with the obvious answer – blasting bodies into space. There are many options, and most of the supplies can be found easily and at low, low prices at Crazy Eddie’s at the North Carolina/South Carolina border.

    Obviously, a large enough cluster of bottle rockets tied to the body could easily carry a petite person (say, a senior citizen, female) into a low orbit. A few strategically placed M-80 “boosters” scheduled to “bump” the body into a higher orbit (’bout every year or so) will keep the body in space for as long as you can supply the M-80s. And Crazy Eddie is ALWAYS willing to cut a deal (on account of he’s crazy).

    Larger folks (say, like myself) may need a massive cluster of reverse thrust roman candles, but the M-80 thing will stillwork once I (or any of us) be weightless. Sure, sure, I hear what you’re sayin’, that’s a lot of Roman Candles. But you are forgetting something – Eddie is crazy!! It won’t cost as much as you think!! He’s crazy! And all those Roman candles will be awfully pretty. And cool, lookin’ because they shoot those sequential red balls of fire…aw, hell, you’ve seen a Roman candle, you know what I mean.

    The only foreseeable problem is if the authorities figure out Eddie really is crazy, and the fireworks people stop supplying him with M-80s & Black Cat fireworks and such. Then we’d have to drive into the state of South Carolina further and look for a relative
    of Ed’s – in the fireworks business of course – like Crazy Larry’s. You know they are related because they have the same first name. Hell, I’m not gonna spell it all out for you like you guys and dolls can’t cypher for yourselves. You are smart folks. SAVE THE WATER TABLE!! BLAST YOUR DEAD INTO SPACE LIKE THE RUSSIANS!!! Everybodys doin’ it!

    Comment from Parker
    Time: May 5, 2007, 5:55 am

    The M-80 Boosters are my favorite part of the plan. SOLD.