Saturday, July 29, 2006

Rethinking Disposal

So, people ask me why I have a blog. And my answer is always this: that it protects my friends and family from getting email from me on random topics that I feel I want to express myself about. Self expression is a real drive, and the blog lets me do it without hurting anyone.

This is especially germane now, as I want to talk about disposal of my earthly remains. Imagine getting an email on this topic. Wouldn't that bother you?

I was fascinated in Kenya by the Kikuyu tradition of abandoning dead bodies for the coyotes to eat. This seemed very cycle of life -- the coyotes get temporarily sated, you get rid of the body, and the local coyotes become trained to eat people, which protects your encapment from individuals sneaking up in the dark. This didn't seem like something I could really arrange, but it got me into a process after which I decided that I'd like to be skeletonized and donated to a high school. This is why I'm not an organ donor. Bad for the bones.

However, I was reading about this body farm today, and it struck my fancy. You get to decompose in the open! I've always been super uncomfortable with the idea of enbalming. I've known enough experts not to really trust anyone else to declare that I'm dead, and I personally know a coroner who bagged a living body. But, at the body farm, they just leave you out to rot! That's its purpose.

I'm totally doing that instead.

1 comment:

Tim Garrett said...

An alternative that has always appealed personally is disposal in the diesel engine of a large container ship departing from San Francisco. An estimate of the number of cloud droplet forming particles produced by my pre-dried body is 10^16, which is quite a lot. Aside from propelling the ship a short distance, the consequent change to cloud properties from these particles could be imaged from space:

www.atmos.washington.edu/~robwood/images/images/shiptracks.jpg

I believe this would be the first cremation visible from orbit.