Ways to Go

Freeze it or Reconstruct the Face:
Dressing Dead Bodies With Fungi

The death of Robert Ettinger, founder of cryonics, and Frank Bender, forensic sculptor extraordinaire, within a few days of each other last week, somehow encapsulates two radically different views of our longing for permanence far beyond our natural expiration dates.
Their obits also extrapolate two curious takes on how we should dispose our earthly remains, when that date does come: put a speed on the organic matter that will feed on the body, or simply burn it and stuff its ashes in lethal bullets. Your choice.
THE BIG (COLD) SLEEP
Ettinger, who died on July 23 at 92, a physics teacher, lived his life as a scientist and sci-fi writer. But with his 1962 book, The Prospect of Immortality, he laid down the basic tenets of cryonics, the radical concept of freezing the body after death, so it can be revived by yet unknown medical techniques of the future.
He went on to found and lead the Cryonics Institute and the Immortalist Society, and became the movement’s most visible figure. That did not prevent his ideas, and the ethical debate over the procedures to make it all possible, from taking a life of their own, completely independent from him, and mostly close to public derision.
His scientific training may have been instrumental in insulating him to it Continue reading

Burning the Midnight Fat

Want to Ruin a Dinner Date?
Try Lighting Up an Old Candle

Lovers have long known that an intimate meal by candlelight can be a promising preamble for a night of romance and dream. Except when you ever so casually disclose, between delicious courses of your newest recipes and repeated sips of a fine vintage, that those wonderfully scented candles are actually made of… human fat.
No need to beg your guest to come back, wait, you forgot your bag, I was just kidding and all that. Chances are, you’ll never see that person again and don’t be surprised if you learn that the words “creepy” and “disgusting” pop up right along your name on an Internet Continue reading