November 3, 2017

Dancing with Death

Madagascar plague is spreading because relatives are digging up their corpses and dancing with them.

 Dancing Dead Corpses Madagascar

All Saints Day, otherwise known as the 'Day of the Dead', is a public holiday which takes place on November 1 each year, sees families often gathering at local cemeteries. Madagascans have been told to stop the traditional practice of Famadihana - which sees locals dig up deceased relatives and dance with them before they are re-buried...It is feared to have contributed to the outbreak that has left 120 dead from pneumonic plague - an even deadlier strain of the lethal disease than bubonic plague.

The country's health chief Willy Randriamarotia said: "If a person dies of pneumonic plague and is then interred in a tomb that is subsequently opened for a Famadihana, the bacteria can still be transmitted and contaminate whoever handles the body."


Deadly plague epidemic in Madagascar is now at 'crisis' point and could reach mainland Africa where it will be 'difficult to control', warns expert as World Bank releases $5M of aid

The deadly plague epidemic that has rocked the island of Madagascar could reach mainland Africa, a respected disease expert has warned. The outbreak, which has been described the worst in 50 years’ and has now reached ‘crisis’ point, has prompted World Health Organization officials to place nine African countries on high alert. South Africa, Seychelles, La Reunion, Mozambique, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Comoros and Mauritius have all been told to brace for potential cases in the coming weeks.

Today Paul Hunter, professor of health protection at the world-renowned University of East Anglia, is the first expert to predict it could reach mainland Africa.Speaking to MailOnline exclusively, he said: ‘The big anxiety is that it could spread to mainland Africa, it’s not probable, but certainly possible, that might then be difficult to control.’
--
Earlier today, amid concerns the plague had reached crisis points, the World Bank released an extra $5 million (£3.8m) to control the deadly outbreak. The money will allow for the deployment of personnel to battle the outbreak in the affected regions, the disinfection of buildings and fuel for ambulances. Two thirds of cases have been caused by the airborne pneumonic plague, which can be spread through coughing, sneezing or spitting and kill within 24 hours.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 5:04 PM | Permalink
Categories: Death and Dying

October 28, 2017

Funny tombstones

Bored panda has scads of funny tombstones

 Funny-Tombstones Still Love

 Funnytombstone See Other Side

 Funnytombstone-John Yeast

And in my hometown

 Funnytombstone Revolutionary Whittmore

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:23 AM | Permalink
Categories: Cemeteries and graves

October 26, 2017

"There is a big market for dead bodies"

This Reuters Investigative Report on the trade of human bodies by Brian Grow and John Shiffman will give you second thoughts if you plan to donate your body after your death.

In the U.S. market for human bodies, almost anyone can dissect and sell the dead

Part 1: When Americans leave their bodies to science, they are also donating to commerce: Cadavers and body parts, especially those of the poor, are sold in a thriving and largely unregulated market. Grisly abuses abound.
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Southern Nevada, the inspectors learned, was a so-called body broker, a company that acquires dead bodies, dissects them and sells the parts for profit to medical researchers, training organizations and other buyers. The torso on the gurney was being prepared for just such a sale.  Each year, thousands of Americans donate their bodies in the belief they are contributing to science. In fact, many are also unwittingly contributing to commerce, their bodies traded as raw material in a largely unregulated national market.

Body brokers are also known as non-transplant tissue banks. They are distinct from the organ and tissue transplant industry, which the U.S. government closely regulates. Selling hearts, kidneys and tendons for transplant is illegal. But no federal law governs the sale of cadavers or body parts for use in research or education. Few state laws provide any oversight whatsoever, and almost anyone, regardless of expertise, can dissect and sell human body parts.

“The current state of affairs is a free-for-all,” said Angela McArthur, who directs the body donation program at the University of Minnesota Medical School and formerly chaired her state’s anatomical donation commission. “We are seeing similar problems to what we saw with grave-robbers centuries ago,” she said, referring to the 19th-century practice of obtaining cadavers in ways that violated the dignity of the dead. “I don’t know if I can state this strongly enough,” McArthur said. “What they are doing is profiting from the sale of humans.”
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“There is a big market for dead bodies,” said Ray Madoff, a Boston College Law School professor who studies how U.S. laws treat the dead. “We know very little about who is acquiring these bodies and what they are doing with them.”
__
Body brokers also have become intertwined with the American funeral industry. Reuters identified 62 funeral operators that have struck mutually beneficial business arrangements with brokers.....“Some funeral home directors are saying, ‘Cremation isn’t paying the bills anymore, so let me see if I can help people harvest body parts,’” said Steve Palmer, an Arizona mortician who serves on the National Funeral Directors Association’s policy board. “I just think families who donate loved ones would have second thoughts if they knew that.”
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Last December, Reuters reported that more than 20 bodies donated to an Arizona broker were used in U.S. Army blast experiments – without the consent of the deceased or next of kin.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:56 AM | Permalink
Categories: Dead used for propaganda or profit

The Only Man Buried on the Moon

An ounce of his ashes actually.

Eugene Shoemaker Is Still the Only Man Buried on the Moon

To date, the late scientist Eugene Shoemaker is still the only person whose remains have been sent to the moon. Even casual stargazers are likely to recognize Shoemaker’s name from the famed Shoemaker-Levy comet (which had broken into fragments) that impacted Jupiter in 1994. The comet, which Shoemaker discovered with his wife Carolyn alongside David Levy, was remarkable because it marked the first time humans were able to witness a first-hand planetary collision....

 Eugene Shoemaker Moon Model

Shoemaker enjoyed a celebrated career combining his main discipline of geology with more astronomical applications, helping to create the field of planetary science. He studied a number of craters here on Earth, and in the early 1960s, he founded the Astrogeology Research Program within the United States Geological Survey. Shoemaker used his knowledge to train a number of Apollo mission astronauts about what they could expect to find on the surface of the moon, in terms of terrain.

His fascinating life came to an abrupt end on July 18, 1997, when he died in a car crash while exploring a meteor crater in Australia. ....A close colleague of Shoemaker’s, Carolyn Porco, had decided to try and finally get the deceased scientist, who had wanted to be an astronaut in life but was disqualified for medical reasons, to the moon. "It was legend in the planetary science community that Gene had always wanted to go to the moon as an Apollo astronaut and study its geology firsthand," Porco said. "He said only last year, 'Not going to the moon and banging on it with my own hammer has been the biggest disappointment in life.' I felt that this was Gene's last chance to get to the moon, and that it would be a fitting and beautiful tribute to a man who was a towering figure and a pioneer in the exploration of the solar system."
__
On January 6, 1998, NASA’s Lunar Prospector blasted off for the south pole of the moon, looking for ice, and carrying an ounce of Shoemaker’s ashes. According to a memorial website set-up by Porco, the ashes were carried in a polycarbonate capsule provided by Celestis. It had been wrapped in a piece of brass foil, laser-etched with his name and dates over an image of the Hale-Bopp Comet; an image of Arizona’s Meteor Crater, where he had trained the Apollo astronauts; and a quote from Romeo and Juliet.

 Shoemaker Tribute Composite
Source Tribute composite

On July 31, 1999, the mission ended when NASA deliberately crashed the craft on the surface of the moon, taking Shoemaker with it, and making him the first and only person to be buried off-world.

Eugene Shoemaker - Biographical Memoirs

Eugene Merle Shoemaker

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:52 AM | Permalink
Categories: Funerals, Burials and Cremations | Categories: Great Legacies

October 12, 2017

Preparations for a Royal Funeral in Thailand

King Bhumibol Adulyadej ruled Thailand for 7 decades. 

 King Bhumibol  Adulyadej

The preparations for his funeral have taken a year.  Thailand's Royal Funeral - A Photo Essay

 Aerial View Royal Crematorium
Aerial view of Royal Crematorium (Athit Perawongmetha/Reuters)

Artisans have worked for ten months in Bangkok's ancient quarter to build an elaborate cremation site fashioned after a vision of heaven where Thais believe dead royals return to live above Mount Meru, a golden mountain in Hindu mythology. The late king will be cremated on the night of October 26, when more than 3,000 performers will join in a nightlong final tribute of music and puppet shows to end a year of mourning following King Bhumibol's death in 2016.

King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand was the world's longest reigning monarch.

He was viewed by his subjects as a stabilizliing influence in a country that saw numerous military coups during his reign.
Despite being seen as a benign father figure who remained above politics, he also intervened at times of heightened political tension. And although he was a constitutional monarch with limited powers, most Thais regarded him as semi-divine.
It said much for his skills as a diplomat, and his ability to reach out to ordinary people in Thailand, that his death leaves the country's monarchy far stronger than it was at his accession.

Bhumibol Adulyadej was born in Cambridge in the US state of Massachusetts on 5 December 1927. His father, Prince Mahidol Adulyadej, was studying at Harvard when his son was born. The family later returned to Thailand, where his father died when he was just two years old....His mother then moved to Switzerland, where the young prince was educated. As a young man he enjoyed cultured pursuits, including photography, playing and composing songs for the saxophone, painting and writing....
In 1946, King Ananda died in what remains an unexplained shooting accident at his palace in Bangkok. Bhumibol acceded to the throne when he was 18 years old. His early years as king saw Thailand ruled by a regent, as he returned to his studies in Switzerland. While on a visit to Paris he met his future wife, Sirikit, daughter of the Thai ambassador to France. The couple married on 28 April 1950, just a week before the new monarch was crowned in Bangkok. 
Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:29 AM | Permalink
Categories: Funerals, Burials and Cremations
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Quotes of Note

As a well-spent day brings happy sleep, so life well used brings happy death - Leonardo da Vinci

Dream as if you'll live forever, live as if you'll die today.-James Dean.

I would like to believe when I die that I have given myself away like a tree that sows seed every spring and never counts the loss, because it is not loss, it is adding to future life. It is the tree's way of being. Strongly rooted perhaps, but spilling out its treasure on the wind.- May Sarton

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