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Flush and bone: the future of alkaline hydrolysis in Virginia

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The Roanoke Times
Roanoke VA
November 11, 2012

By Phil Olson
Assistant Professor
Department of Science and Technology in Society
Virginia Tech

Thanks to modern chemistry, new alternatives for the final disposition of the formerly living are emerging. If you haven't thought about having your body dissolved in a mixture of water and alkali, you soon might. But Brenda Pogge would rather you didn't. On Jan.10, Pogge, a Republican delegate representing the 96thDistrict in Virginia, introduced House Bill379 to the commonwealth's Health, Welfare and Institutions Committee. The bill would have made it a class one misdemeanor for anyone to dispose of human remains using a relatively new disposition technique called alkaline hydrolysis. The bill did not make it out of committee, but you can rest assured that Virginia's lawmakers soon will resurrect discussions about alkaline hydrolysis.

Read the full article at The Roanoke Times

Thanks to the FCA of Virginia Blue Ridge (Blacksburg VA) for alerting us to this article.

Last Updated ( Monday, 12 November 2012 14:45 )

Death - A Nice Opportunity for Regret

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The New York Times
Published: November 9, 2012

Nothing focuses the mind, or stirs reflection on remorse, like mortality.

THOMAS ARNOLD KEMP was executed this past April through lethal injection. He stole $200 from a college student in Tucson in 1992 and then murdered him. It took seven minutes for Mr. Kemp to die. His last words: “I regret nothing.”


I have been thinking about Mr. Kemp and death and regret, perhaps obsessively. Regret incites us to review and reflect on our actions; when we miss the mark, regret  generates disappointment and grief. Regret would not have kept Mr. Kemp alive. But it might have kept him decent.

Regret is an essential part of repentance in Jewish law, and, as a rabbi and Jewish educator, I find myself thinking about regret each year before Yom Kippur. As part of my research into the subject this year, I handed out index cards to my students from age 18 to over 80, and asked them to list a small regret and a large regret.

Here is a random sampling.

Read the full article at The New York Times


How Thinking About Death Can Lead to a Good Life

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April 19, 2012

Thinking about death can actually be a good thing. An awareness of mortality can improve physical health and help us re-prioritize our goals and values, according to a new analysis of recent scientific studies. Even non-conscious thinking about death -- say walking by a cemetery -- could prompt positive changes and promote helping others.

Read the full article at ScienceDaily


The high cost of saying goodbye

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November 9, 2012

Money Magazine, November 2012

Funeral costs: Laying a loved one to rest typically costs $10,000 or more -- sometimes much more. That's due in part to tactics some in the funeral industry use to manipulate you into overspending.

"A significant expense, a vulnerable time, a real problem comparison shopping, which is the key to any good purchase -- it's the perfect storm," says New York City consumer affairs commissioner Jonathan Mintz.

Read the full article at CNNMoney


PDF File of Money Magazine Article

NFDA Calls Out Money Magazine, Funeral Directors Don’t Prey on Grieving Families

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 21 November 2012 12:10 )

The Online Funeral

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The Wall Street Journal
November 6, 2012

It would be a mistake ... to say that the webcast dehumanized or even sullied the experience.

My grandfather died on Halloween. Thanks to Hurricane Sandy, none of the New York family members could attend the funeral in Massachusetts. Fortunately, another option became available: The ceremony was streamed online, and so my wife, daughter and I gathered around a laptop in our living room to watch the live webcast.

The rabbi began by giving technology center stage, poignantly acknowledging that the virtual participants played an important role in honoring the deceased’s memory. After that, technology receded into the background for the Massachusetts crowd. My grandmother looked like a bereaved widow. Online coverage didn’t affect her demeanor—or anyone else’s.

At my house, however, things were different. The technology raised all sorts of problems and questions.

Read the full article in The Wall Street Journal

Thanks to ConnectingDirectors for alerting us to this article.


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