My Summer at the Graveyard

Observing That Final Resting Sites Aren’t Always Quite So Final, KCRW’s Warren Olney Considers What He Wants for His Own Remains

We never heard about “recycling” when I grew up, during the Age of Plastics. But, during one summer off from college, I learned that one form of the practice is deeply rooted in human experience. Since the earliest of civilizations, we’ve been recycling our gravesites.

My education began with a jolt while I was a summer maintenance worker at the Mountain View Cemetery in Oakland. I grew curious one day when I noticed a new grave being dug in the older part of the cemetery, at the top of a little …

To Have a ‘Better Death,’ Play With These Cards | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

To Have a ‘Better Death,’ Play With These Cards

Sandy Chen Stokes Wants Everyone to Talk About Their Own Mortality

How can you get people to talk about what they would like the end of their lives to be like?

Here’s one technique I’ve used: get them to play cards.

For …

Our Favorite Christmas Classic Is Really a Study in American Suicide

It’s a Wonderful Life Delivers a Haunting Treatise on the Religious, Legal, and Economic Implications of Taking One’s Life

Isn’t it a little odd that our most cherished Christmas film is about a man seeking to end his life by jumping off a bridge? Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful …

Why Legislators and Doctors Don’t Always Agree on the Definition of Death

While Patients' Families Think Life Ends With Your Last Breath, 50 States Point to Brain Activity

How can you truly know when someone is dead? Historically, death was determined by holding a mirror up to a person’s mouth to see if they were breathing. But this …

My Modest Proposal to Make Property Tax Breaks Live Forever

Rich Old Homeowners Are California's Future, so Why Shouldn't We Take Our Subsidies to the Grave?

To: California Association of Realtors
Re: Death and Taxes

Barring some wild technological advance, all Californians eventually will die.

But why can’t our property tax discounts live forever?

That’s the question …

The 1918 Flu Pandemic That Revolutionized Public Health

Mass Death Changed How We Think About Illness, and Government's Role in Treating It

Nearly 100 years ago, in 1918, the world experienced the greatest tidal wave of death since the Black Death, possibly in the whole of human history. We call that tidal …