Day 17: Saturday, October 31

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!

This morning I cleaned up around the house, and I spent some time online.  I listed my first item on Ebay EVER to see how their posting process works.

In a more Halloween spirit (ha ha), I started reading the book Stiff : The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers again.  I first tried to read it about two years ago while I was still in school, and somewhere along the line it fell by the wayside.

It’s really cool, though, and talks about historical views of how cadavers should be handled vs. current-day applications.

There is a chapter about the “body farm” in Tennessee, where corpses are subjected to a variety of conditions such as being left in the sun, or in the trunk of a car, or in a shallow grave, and scientists measure the rate at which the bodies decompose and the level of particular chemicals that are found in the bodies and surrounding soil at different points during the decomposition.  This helps forensic scientists to better date crime scene bodies and solve cases.  Yay!

Another chapter discusses how cadavers are used in crash tests to improve car safety and to improve other products.  And how there was a market for body snatchers back in the day when no one wanted to donate their body to science because they felt that they would physically need it in the afterlife.  Wow!

And I’m sure that this has been better developed and researched since the time that the book was written, but there is a chapter on the disposal of bodies which talks about “tissue digestion” as an alternative to burial or cremation, where basically the body mass is reduced through water and lye instead of fire (or, I suppose natural reduction from bacteria).  It’s supposed to be cheaper overall and cause less damage to the environment.  Neat!

*****

Later in the evening, Ryan and I went to a Halloween party at our friend’s house.

Halloween2009Guess who we are!

We were all supposed to head to this bar for a costume contest at midnight, however, the contest was held before we got there.  This was a bit of a disappointment considering that the owner of the bar knew that my pal was bringing a lot of folks along specifically for the contest.  Plus, a lot party-goers thought that I would have won.

Bummer!

Either way, we had a great time and met a lot of new people.

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