The Concept of a Tidy Death

Early in childhood, in the same year, I lost two much-loved pets  -- a turtle and a cat.  It is quite unlikely that there was any connection between these deaths.

However, I was left with the impression of how tidy the process was.  Both opted to quietly disappear to a place of their choosing, a place they would associate with contentment while alive.  When found, they were neatly posed and peaceful.  Those deaths did not leave any real negatives, besides the fact that I could no longer interact with them.

Later in life, I lost several close friends and relatives.  Strangley, I judged their deaths by the same criteria as I judged my pets' deaths.  There was a real comfort in seeing them pass tidilly.  And this is exactly what I would want for myself, if I am able to have any say in the matter.  I have not the least desire to stay alive, just for the sake of it, after quality-of-life sinks below a certain threshhold.   Even more importantly -- I would not wish my loved-ones to witness an untidy passing.

How to vaccinate the world’s most vulnerable? Build global partnerships.

Pfizer's partnerships strengthen their ability to deliver vaccines in developing countries.

Susan Silbermann, Global President of Pfizer Vaccines, looks on as a health care worker administers a vaccine in Rwanda. Photo: Courtesy of Pfizer.
  • Community healthcare workers face many challenges in their work, including often traveling far distances to see their clients
  • Pfizer is helping to drive the UN's sustainable development goals through partnerships.
  • Pfizer partnered with AMP and the World Health Organization to develop a training program for healthcare workers.
Keep reading Show less

Why does turkey make you sleepy?

Is everyone's favorite Thanksgiving centerpiece really to blame for the post-dinner doldrums?

(Photo from Flickr)
Surprising Science
  • Americans kill around 45 million turkeys every year in preparation for the Thanksgiving meal, only to blame our favorite centerpiece for the following food comas.
  • Rumor has it our after-dinner sleepiness results from the tryptophan found in turkey.
  • However, it is the meal's overall nutritional imbalance, not just the tryptophan, that make us want to leave the dishes for tomorrow. Or maybe the next day.
Keep reading Show less

How to split the USA into two countries: Red and Blue

Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.

Image: Dicken Schrader
Strange Maps
  • America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
  • Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
  • Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
Keep reading Show less

Why Henry David Thoreau was drawn to yoga

The famed author headed to the pond thanks to Indian philosophy.

Image: Public Domain / Shutterstock / Big Think
Personal Growth
  • The famed author was heavily influenced by Indian literature, informing his decision to self-exile on Walden Pond.
  • He was introduced to these texts by his good friend's father, William Emerson.
  • Yoga philosophy was in America a century before any physical practices were introduced.
Keep reading Show less