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50972.  Mon Feb 13, 2006 6:56 pm Reply with quote

Quite interesting deaths.

50973.  Mon Feb 13, 2006 7:16 pm Reply with quote

On May 10, 1932, the newspapers reported the suicide of Chosho Goro, a Keio University student, and his sweetheart Yaeko. The two had met at a Christian fellowship meeting and fallen in love, but because of class differences, marriage had been forbidden by both sets of parents. The means of death they chose was both romantic and striking. They jumped into the Sakatayama volcano above the beach at Oiso. The day after the initial news report, all of the national papers published their suicide note, in which they told (the entire nation, as it turned out) that they had died "pure in body and spirit." At Tokyo Nichi Nichi Shimbun, the copy editor had the inspiration to play up the Christian connection, publishing the note under the headline "A Love That Reached Heaven". It was the headline's brilliant balance of spirituality and barely suppressed eros, more than the actual event, which created the greatest sensation and set off the subsequent chain of events. Within days, the suicide was being re-enacted as a play by various small stage troupes using the headline as their title. Radio too picked up the story, first in editorial commentary and then as a radio drama. Record producers released a number of sentimental ballads extolling the pure love of Goro and Yaeko, and Shochiku film company announced it would produce *A Love That Reached Heaven*, with Gosho Heinosuke as director.By this time, the surge of copy-cat suicides (i.e. the "clustering effect") had begun . From mid-May, several couples a day were climbing the slopes of Sakatayama to throw themselves into the volcano....

Now, with the movie, their numbers doubled. At the movie theaters, usherettes had to patrol the aisles as young couples had taken to drinking poison during the showing. By the end of the year, there had been hundreds of suicides. After a brief lull, the Lover`s Suicide Rage flared anew. On January 9 (1933), a pair of school girls climbed Miharayama volcano on Oshima Island, a short ferry trip from Tokyo, and, holding hands, jumped in. The first copy-cat suicides began three days later. As before, the press reacted with sensationalist irresponsibility. Pictures of young lovers creeping up the slope arm-in-arm were published with syrupy thanatopic captions.When the rage finally subsided for good in March, a total of 944 young people had perished in the Miharayama crater.

51123.  Tue Feb 14, 2006 10:01 am Reply with quote

It may not be a particular death, but... I was thinking about the process of dying the other day (not that I'm a morbid person... well, maybe I am), and I couldn't think of a good reason why people really needed to die. Bodies constantly regenerate themselves, so if it weren't for your body's natural aging cycle, it seems logical that you could go on living forever.

Is the body programmed to deteriorate, or is it natural and totally unavoidable? I can understand why your body would want to die off after its function had been accomplished (passing DNA on) to prevent overpopulation, but could it then be possible to find the genes responsible and remove them? Not that it's necessarily a good idea...

51137.  Tue Feb 14, 2006 10:22 am Reply with quote

Death again huh? Death sells so they say *sigh*

post 32821

The first few posts should be of some interest to you.

and post 47973 is of some relevance (the DNA PolIII error rate).

51139.  Tue Feb 14, 2006 10:23 am Reply with quote

Grigori Yefimovich Rasputin

Assassination beliefs
The legends recounting the death of Rasputin are perhaps even more bizarre than his strange life. Having decided that Rasputin's influence over the Tsarina made him too dangerous to the Empire, a group of nobles apparently lured Rasputin to the palace of their ringleader, Prince Felix Yusupov, where they served him cakes and red wine laced with measured amounts of cyanide. According to the legend, Rasputin was not affected (The amount of cyanide, it is rumoured was enough to kill six men). Determined to finish the job, Yusupov went upstairs, then came back down and shot him through the chest with a revolver. Rasputin fell. A half an hour or so later when Yusupov returned to check the body (or as some versions go, Yusupov came back for his jacket), Rasputin sprang to his feet and began to throttle Yusupov, who fled in horror and told the other conspirators.

Heavily drugged by this time, Rasputin muzzily attempted his own escape. He bolted outside and ran across the courtyard toward the gate, threatening that he would tell everything to the Tsarina. Another conspirator shot three bullets that passed Rasputin, then he shot two more which hit Rasputin. The conspirators then clubbed him unconscious and flung him into the icy Neva River, but there was no splash. Rasputin had fallen on the ice (it was winter at this time), so they went down and cut a hole in the ice and stuffed him through it into the icy water. They were finally satisfied that the "Enemy of the State" was dead.

Three days later the body of Rasputin - poisoned, shot twice, and badly beaten - was recovered from the river and autopsied. The cause of death was drowning. His arms were apparently found in an upright position, as if he had tried to claw his way out from under the ice.

Recent evidence
The details of the assassination given by Felix Yusupov have never stood up to close examination. The statement given to the Petrograd police on 16 December; the account he gave whilst in exile in the Crimea in 1917; his 1927 book, and the accounts given under oath to libel juries in 1934 and 1965. No two accounts were entirely identical. Until recently, lack of proof has ruled out any other credible evidence-based theories.

According to the unpublished 1916 autopsy report by Professor Kossorotov and subsequent reviews by Dr Vladimir Zharov in 1993 and Professor Derrick Pounder in 2004/5, no active poison was found in Rasputin's stomach. It couldn't have been said with certainty that he drowned, as the water found on his lungs is a common non-specific autopsy finding. All three agreed that Rasputin had been systematically beaten and attacked with a bladed weapon, but most importantly there were discrepancies regarding the number and calibre of handguns used.

This discovery may have significantly changed the whole premise and account of Rasputin's death. British intelligence reports between London and Petrograd in 1916 indicate that the British were extremely concerned about Rasputin's replacement of pro-British ministers in the Russian government, but more importantly his apparent insistence on withdrawing Russian troops from the First World War. This withdrawal would have allowed the Germans to move their Eastern Front troops to the Western Front, massively outnumbering the Allies and spelling almost certain victory. Whether this was actually Rasputin's intention is in dispute, but it is clear that the British viewed him as a real danger.

According to Professor Pounder, of the three shots fired into Rasputin's body, the third (which entered his forehead) was instantly fatal. This third shot also provides some intriguing evidence. In Pounder's view, concurred by the firearms department of the Imperial War Museum in London, the third shot was fired by a gun different to those responsible for the other two wounds. The "size and prominence of the abraded margin" suggested a large lead non-jacketed bullet. At that time, the majority of weapons used hard metal jacketed bullets, with Britain virtually alone in using lead unjacketed bullets for their officers' Webley revolvers. Pounder came to the conclusion that the bullet which caused the fatal shot was a Webley .455 inch unjacketed round, and was the best fit with the available forensic evidence.

Witnesses to the murder itself have stated that the only man present with a Webley revolver was one Lieutenant Oswald Rayner, a British officer who was attached to the SIS station in Petrograd. This account was further backed up during an audience between the British Ambassador, Sir George Buchanan, and Tsar Nicholas, when Nicholas stated that he suspected a young Englishman who had been an old school friend of Yusopov. Indeed, Rayner had known Yusopov at Oxford University. Another SIS officer in Petrograd at the time, Captain Stephen Alley, had actually been born in the Yusopov Palace in 1876, and both families had strong ties.

Confirmation that Rayner, along with another officer, Captain John Scale, met with Yusopov in the weeks leading up to the assassination can be found in the diary of their chauffeur, William Compton, who recorded all the visits. The last entry was the night before the murder. According to Compton, "it is a little known fact that Rasputin was shot not by a Russian but by an Englishman". He indicated that the culprit was a lawyer from the same part of the country as Compton himself. Dewdney was indeed born some ten miles from Compton's hometown, and throughout his life described himself as a "barrister-at-law", despite never practising that profession.

Evidence that the assassination plan had not gone quite to plan is hinted at in a letter that Alley wrote to Scale eight days after the murder, saying "Although matters here have not proceeded entirely to plan, our objective has clearly been achieved... a few awkward questions have already been asked about wider involvement. Rayner is attending to loose ends and will no doubt brief you".

Upon his return to England, Oswald Rayner not only confided to his cousin, Rose Jones, that he had been present at Rasputin's murder, but also showed family members a bullet which he claimed he had acquired at the murder scene.

None of this is absolutely conclusive evidence of what happened that night of 16 December - 17 December, but it provides a more logical evidence-based account of what occurred. Rayner burnt all his papers before he died in 1961, and his only son also died four years later.

source: Wikipedia



51226.  Tue Feb 14, 2006 1:13 pm Reply with quote

Is the body programmed to deteriorate, or is it natural and totally unavoidable?

I thought it was to do with your telomeres falling off. But I think Swift got the horrors of unending life right with his Struldbruggs in Gulliver's Travels Book III - The Voyage to Laputa.

After this Preface he gave me a particular Account of the Struldbruggs among them. He said they commonly acted like Mortals, till about thirty Years old, after which by degrees they grew melancholy and dejected, encreasing in both till they came to four-score. This he learned from their own Confession; for otherwise there not being above two or three of that Species born in an Age, they were too few to form a general Observation by. When they came to four-score Years, which is reckoned the Extremity of living in this Country, they had not only all the Follies and Infirmities of other old Men, but many more which arose from the dreadful Prospect of never dying. They were not only Opinionative, Peevish, Covetous, Morose, Vain, Talkative, but uncapable of Friendship, and dead to all natural Affection, which never descended below their Grand-children. Envy and impotent Desires are their prevailing Passions. But those Objects against which their Envy principally directed, are the Vices of the younger sort, and the Deaths of the old. By reflecting on the former, they find themselves cut off from all possibility of Pleasure; and whenever they see a Funeral, they lament and repine that others have gone to a Harbour of Rest, to which they themselves never can hope to arrive. They have no Remembrance of anything but what they learned and observed in their Youth and middle Age, and even that is very imperfect. And for the Truth or Particulars of any Fact, it is safer to depend on common Traditions than upon their best Recollections. The least miserable among them appear to be those who turn to Dotage, and entirely lose their Memories; these meet with more Pity and Assistance, because they want many bad Qualities which abound in others.

If a Struldbrugg happen to marry one of his own kind, the Marriage is dissolved of course by the Courtesy of the Kingdom, as soon as the younger of the two come to be four-score. For the Law thinks it a reasonable Indulgence, that those who are condemned without any Fault of their own to a perpetual Continuance in the World, should not have their Misery doubled by the Load of a Wife.

As soon as they have compleated the Term of eighty Years, they are look'd on as dead in Law; their Heirs immediately succeed to their Estates, only a small Pittance is reserved for their Support, and the poor ones are maintained at the publick Charge. After that Period they are held incapable of any Employment of Trust or Profit, they cannot purchase Lands or take Leases, neither are they allowed to be Witnesses in any Cause, either Civil or Criminal, not even for the Decision of Meers and Bounds.

At Ninety they lose their Teeth and Hair, they have at that age no Distinction of Taste, but eat and drink whatever they can get, without Relish or Appetite. The Diseases they were subject to still continuing without encreasing or diminishing. In talking they forgot the common Appellation of Things, and the Names of Persons, even of those who are their nearest Friends and Relations. For the same Reason they never can amuse themselves with reading, because their Memory will not serve to carry them from the beginning of a Sentence to the end; and by this Defect they are deprived of the only entertainment whereof they might otherwise be capable.

The Language of this Country being always upon the Flux, the Struldbruggs of one Age do not understand those of another, neither are they able after two hundred Years to hold any Conversation (farther than by a few general Words) with their Neighbours the Mortals; and thus they lye under the Disadvantage of living like Foreigners in their own Country.

This was the Account given me of the Struldbruggs, as near as I can remember. I afterwards saw five or six of different Ages, the youngest not above two hundred Years old, who were brought me at several Times by some of my Friends; but although they were told that I was a great Traveller, and had seen all the World, they had not the least Curiosity to ask me a Question; only desired I would give them Slumskudask, or a Token of Remembrance, which is a modest way of begging, to avoid the Law that strictly forbids it, because they are provided for by the Publick, although indeed with a very scanty Allowance.

They are despised and hated by all sort of People; when one of them is born, it is reckoned ominous, and their Birth is recorded very particularly; so that you may know their Age by consulting the Registry, which however hath not been kept above a thousand Years past, or at least hath been destroyed by Time or publick Disturbances. But the usual way of computing how old they are is by asking them what Kings or great Persons they can remember, and then consulting History, for infallibly the last Prince, in their Mind, did not begin his Reign after they were four-score Years old.

They were the most mortifying Sight I ever beheld, and the Women more horrible than the Men. Besides the usual Deformities in extreme old age, they acquired an additional Ghastliness in Proportion to their Number of Years, which is not to be described, and among half a Dozen I soon distinguished which was the eldest, although there were not above a Century or two between them.

51282.  Tue Feb 14, 2006 2:30 pm Reply with quote

For a treasury of interesting deaths and their positive input to the human gene pool, there's always

Although I'm sure everybody knows about it because every topic in existence seemed to have been exhausted at these forums. :/

51287.  Tue Feb 14, 2006 2:45 pm Reply with quote

every topic in existence seemed to have been exhausted at these forums

Definitely not. Let's see ... Zimbabwe. Who knows about Zimbabwe? Not me, for sure. Start a thread if you can help me out.

Or double standards. Is it morally consistent for some powers to say 'we're the only ones who can be trusted with nuclear weapons', and then launch an unprovoked attack on a third-world country? Or is this a question in respect of which practicalities simply trump ethics? Or what?

If a new continent with ample natural resources but only sparsely populated by hunter-gatherers was discovered today, what would happen?

If the Chinese had announced that they were going to invade Iraq in order to depose the regime there and then withdraw, what would the Americans have done?

Don't respond here, though. Start a new thread.


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