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Stiff

by Bill Osler / November 1, 2009 7:19 AM PST

I've started reading a book called "Stiff" by Mary Roach. She was a speaker on a TED video I saw a while back. The video was so funny I thought I'd check out some of her writing. This book is about human cadavers so it's not the obvious choice in the search for new material for humor, but she has an interesting approach to the subject.

It is obvious that writing about cadavers is different from writing about the recently departed loved ones, and she is careful to make that point by starting off discussing her first contact with a cadaver - her mother's. There is a reason medical school teaching programs are set up to minimize the chances that a student will encounter the earthly remains of somebody he/she knew during life, though it does occasionally happen.

With that in mind, the book seemed appropriate for Halloween weekend.

This is a book about notable achievements made while dead. There are people long forgotten for their contributions while alive, but immortalized in the pages of books and journals.

Cadavers can ... get involved with science. Be an art exhibit. Become part of a tree. Some options for you to think about.

Death. It doesn't have to be boring.

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Re: Become part of a tree
by jonah jones / November 1, 2009 11:35 PM PST
In reply to: Stiff

am i missing something or is that a "Strange Fruit" reference?

,.

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I read or saw something a while back about corpses
by Steven Haninger / November 2, 2009 1:33 AM PST

being used in criminal forensics to help determine time of death. Bodies were left to decay under varying circumstances and monitored over time. A body found in a peat bog or an open field might yield different rate of decay. Temperature and other factors add variables to making an accurate determination of time of death. What I have to wonder is how such experiments are controlled and the bodies protected from predictor animals or even accidental findings by living humans. So, if you go hiking in the woods and find a stiff, it might be there for research purposes.

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Body farms
by Roger NC / November 2, 2009 6:42 AM PST

I learned about them from fiction novel, Body Farm by Patricia Cornwell.

But a better reference would be Jefferson Bass is the writing team of Dr. Bill Bass and Jon Jefferson. Dr. Bass, a world-renowned forensic anthropologist, founded the University of Tennessee's Anthropology Research Facility -- the Body Farm -- a quarter-century ago.

Dr. Bill Bass started and managed the first body farm, now writes novels with another guy. Odd thing is they publish under the name Jefferson Bass, like it was one guy.


And Wikipedia has an article too of course.

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