Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home


Things to Do After You Die

Forget “There are so many things I wanted to do before I died...” Live every day after your last.

Tie the Knot
If you, like Tim Burton's Corpse Bride, died “always the bridesmaid, never the bride” then haunt no more. Priests in America might part couples at death, but in China death poses no such barriers. Since 2,000 years ago, ghost marriages have been occurring in China, where corpses are allowed to marry both dead and living people. Back then, spinsters were married off after death to spare them of social embarrassment. These days, dead bachelors are married off. Remember 'The Bachelor'? This is the Chinese version: 'The DEAD Bachelor.' Cool, right?

Turn into a Barbie... Life-size
Since 1996 Japan museum exhibits, such as the BODY WORLDS show, present bodies that have undergone the plastination process: they take out the fat and water, put in rubber silicone and fix your body into a pose. Interesting, huh? We're guessing it will sort of resemble a wax figure. The lucky dolls get to tour the world. Besides, who doesn't want people gawking at them even after they've passed on?

“Hey look, that girl is checking me out again. I was so hot when I was alive.”

Go Green Non-renewable Resource Style
You wanted to reduce wastage of resources and save the planet, but the Grim Reaper had the destruction of mankind all planned out - he wasn't going to let puny you stop him. Well, the story of a good citizen wouldn't end there: nowadays some European crematoriums can harness the energy of your burning body. After all, burning a body uses up a lot of non-renewable resources. Like the smart people they are, the Swedish population in Helsingborg have been using this technology since 1997 to power their city; 10% of it! Seriously, that's a LOT.

Get Product-ised
Bodies are an important commodity. They are required for research, so it would make sense for there to be a Laash Bazaar or Carcass Supermarket with bar-coded body components stacked on the shelves. Well, there isn't yet, but the body business is still big. Selling bodies is, of course, unethical and completely illegal... so the smart entrepreneurs make money off of 'shipping and handling costs'. The business pays and big money leads to big corruption. Which led the State of California into suggesting that the bodies be tattooed with barcodes or have embedded tracking chips. Just to make it harder for shoplifters.

Teach the Cops a Thing or Two
If you watched Bones and you want to be one of those people who taught Brennan her stuff, you're in luck. The University of Tennessee's Forensic Anthropology Centre has a body farm with more than 650 decomposing bodies scattered all over the place. Cops and anthropologists study the bodies so that they know how to identify the time of death and do facial reconstruction.

Crash a Car
If you've seen a car being crash tested in slow motion and leaned towards the TV, in anticipation, in regret, in jealousy of the lucky crash test dummy, this goes out to you. If you want to test the safety precautions of a car, donate your body to the Wayne State University School of Medicine and they will use it to crash test cars. Who wouldn't love that?

Explode in Style
Fireworks are awesome. Anyone will testify to that. So if you could explode into millions of sparks lighting up the sky and rain down on the unsuspecting people down below (mwahahaha), wouldn't you? British 'Heavens Above Fireworks' and California's 'Angel's Flight' mix your ashes with combustible powder and shoot it into the sky to create spectacular fireworks that light up the night sky. You can even customise the show, with your last words spread across the sky, accompanied by your personal choice of music. Now that is awesome.

Make a Student's Life Hell
The pencil. You know the one, the one that breaks in the middle of a test in Class 3 and you keep trying to sharpen it, but it keeps breaking while you curse silently under your breath. That one. Who wouldn't love to be that pencil, watch as the terrified student slowly failed his test, all because of you? Well, we guess someone learnt something from all those 'Autobiographies of an Inanimate Object' that we had to write then because Nadis Jarvis offers to let you experience it firsthand. She will use your ashes to make a total of 240 pencils which will apparently "lengthen death ceremony [sic] to give more time to come to terms with loss."

Harmonise With Your Favourite Records
Ever wanted to be a vinyl recording? Well, Vinyly makes it possible by offering to press your ashes into a vinyl recording of whatever you want. It can be your own singing, other songs or just crackle. Hardcore music fans, this might be your time to shine...

Dream Big Get Anti-frozen
No matter what you've done in your lifetime, it's just not enough. So what do you do? Wait out the Dark Ages until somebody figures out how to revive the dead of course! However, there's been a slight change of plan. Apparently freezing the body damages the tissue due to the anomalous expansion of water. So, scientists have come up with vitrification, where the H2O in your body is replaced with anti-freezing agent, which prevents formation of ice at temperatures below zero. In fact in 2005, scientists vitrified a rabbit kidney and then brought it back to life, so hopefully the vitrified humans have a future.

By Sifana Sohail

Alice In Wonderland

Once so called 'Brother Leader and Guide of the Revolution', Muammar Gaddafi has seemed to have lost his mind when his own people, the mere citizens of Libya stood up against his 41 years of oppression and corruption. With a thousand Libyans dead and counting, when Gadaffi claims that his people still love him it surely suggests that the autocratic leader lives in his magical wonderland where dictatorship fights to live another day. Events from the past few days in Libya mark the level of brutality that Gaddafi has spelled on the Libyans. Muammar Gadaffi's megalomania is nicely portrayed in a YouTube clip, which has received token a of appreciation from many Arabs, including Libyans and has been a source of entertainment for many Libyan protestors. The clip entitled as 'Zenga Zenga' echoes Colonel Gaddafi's repetition of the word zanqa, Arabic for alleyways, and had received 1,739,785 hits.

Dressed strangely, Mr. Gadaffi our Alice in Wonderland has moves of his own, with his arms raised and fist clinched in a certain fashion, which pretty much looks like a dance move in a trance party. Despite many efforts to prevent news from flowing out of Libya, Gaddafi has failed to stop young protestors from uploading live video footages of blood drenched protests in different regions of Libya. Unlike Egypt, Libya didn't get to stand up against Gaddafi's regime through peaceful protests using Facebook pages to garner the strength of innocent Libyans.

However, YouTube and Google, two other marvels of the digital world extended their hand of cooperation to the Libyans. Where CNN and BBC failed to reach, YouTube with its simplified user access has managed to cover the agony of many Libyans looking for help in the death-struck cities of Libya. While leaders around the world are shocked and stirred by this unprecedented turn of events in the Middle East, ordinary citizens around the world rejoice the start of a new era with the birth of virtual and electronic networks of social structure, which truly gives the power to their hands to establish true democracy.

When the web of Internet is shaping up Middle East, our part of the subcontinent, South Asia has fervently embraced the sophisticated network of the World Wide Web to turn the table upside down. With the cheapest available human resource South Asians have proved their versatility and efficiency when it comes to online marketing/business transactions. Online money earning schemes have geared up the growth of web developers, mobile application developers and many more, besides call centre jobs.

Bangladesh with her upgraded fiber optic connection through submarine cable SeaMeWe-4 is no way behind and has successfully managed to stage a competitive environment in online marketing/transactions. Lately online tendering schemes and initiatives of Grameen Communication to resolve the issue of long distance communication between the rural and urban market through developing website like www.gramweb.net is helping entrepreneurs and farmers to flourish and directly take part in the market without the help of 'Matobbors/chairman' or government officials.

However, Personal computer and laptops with wired internet connection are not yet affordable for a significant amount of the rural population in Bangladesh. Besides the price of PC's, unavailability of the grid-connected power supply and lack of computational skills are some drawbacks of this technology that makes it less significant in the rural market of Bangladesh.

On the other hand cell phones or Smart Phones, have even reached out to places where there are no roads. The cell phone with its simplified user access and cheap cost makes the marvel of wireless communication - Mobile Internet - such a big hit among rural and urban populations. Social networks that can be used to unite the citizens of a country can be incorporated into a system that is easily accessible to many Bangladeshis. Through a few technological upgrades, the means of wireless communication can be a strong tool to stand up against injustice and corruption without having to get down to the streets to build a corruption free nation.

With the upcoming 3G network, the telecom operators plan to follow a strategic partnership of voice and data communications by incorporating IP suits and VOIP in their radio access network. Endeavours as such opens up wide opportunities for young application/software developers to take part in changing the world through innovative application/program development rather then being a 'Call center' agent.

Social portals and search engines on the World Wide Web that can be used as a strong tool to stand up against oppression and corruption can be merged with the technology of wireless communication, which we have so fervently embraced in Bangladesh. Now it is our choice to work hard and build a technologically savvy generation which will provide us with heroes like Jawad Karim (Co-founder of YouTube) not autocrats like Muammar Gaddafi. Welcome to the new era of a Virtually Projected Network of the world.

By Adnan Quadri


home | Issues | The Daily Star Home

2010 The Daily Star