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You Can Have Your Ashes Pressed Into Vinyl

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Deciding how your body will live on after you’re gone is a big decision with an increasing number of possibilities. One such route involves sending your remains onto an analog music format: the vinyl record.

And Vinyly is a UK-based service founded in 2009 by a man named Jason Leach. "I didn’t expect much from it," Leach told Bloomberg in 2012. "It was just for fun." But word soon spread and business boomed, suggesting a major untapped market in people who aren’t content with standard afterlife traditions.

While an eternity on vinyl might be less expensive than a funeral, it still isn’t cheap: the "Basic Package" is £3000 (about $4000) and gets you 30 copies of the memorial record, each of which contains some of the provided ashes. The audio itself can be anything—from beloved ballads to a spoken track to birds singing to pure silence (if you’re a John Cage type), or you can hire musicians through the company who will write and record a track, or series of tracks, for you. Each one costs £500 (about $650), and you’ll need more than a quick tune to fill the 24 minutes each record allows (12 minutes per side).

Other upgrades include cover art in the form of a portrait done by National Portrait Gallery artist James Hague, which runs for £3500 (about $4600). And Vinyly also does “FUNerals” for £10,000 (about $13,150) and accepts pet ashes if your darling pooch was an avid music fan. You can also have your—or your dearly departed's—album distributed to "reputable vinyl stores worldwide" if part of the preferred legacy means traveling the world and maybe going home with some strangers.

Visit the And Vinyly site for more information and be prepared for a cheeky dose of gallows humor à la this delightful pun: "Live on from beyond the groove!" For something a bit more heartfelt, a recent—and quite lovely—short film called Hearing Madge chronicles one customer’s experience with making an And Vinyly record for his deceased mother, and includes Leach himself speaking about the company, the process, and his own inevitable aural remembrance. The trailer is below.

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What Do Morticians Do With the Blood They Take Out of Dead Bodies?
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Zoe-Anne Barcellos:

The blood goes down the sink drain, into the sewer system.

I am not a mortician, but I work for a medical examiner/coroner. During an autopsy, most blood is drained from the decedent. This is not on purpose, but a result of gravity. Later a mortician may or may not embalm, depending on the wishes of the family.

Autopsies are done on a table that has a drain at one end; this drain is placed over a sink—a regular sink, with a garbage disposal in it. The blood and bodily fluids just drain down the table, into the sink, and down the drain. This goes into the sewer, like every other sink and toilet, and (usually) goes to a water treatment plant.

You may be thinking that this is biohazardous waste and needs to be treated differently. [If] we can’t put oil, or chemicals (like formalin) down the drains due to regulations, why is blood not treated similarly? I would assume because it is effectively handled by the water treatment plants. If it wasn’t, I am sure the regulations would be changed.

Now any items that are soiled with blood—those cannot be thrown away in the regular trash. Most clothing worn by the decedent is either retained for evidence or released with the decedent to the funeral home—even if they were bloody.

But any gauze, medical tubing, papers, etc. that have blood or bodily fluids on them must be thrown away into a biohazardous trash. These are lined with bright red trash liners, and these are placed in a specially marked box and taped closed. These boxes are stacked up in the garage until they are picked up by a specialty garbage company. I am not sure, but I am pretty sure they are incinerated.

Additionally anything sharp or pointy—like needles, scalpels, etc.—must go into a rigid “sharps” container. When they are 2/3 full we just toss these into one of the biotrash containers.

The biotrash is treated differently, as, if it went to a landfill, then the blood (and therefore the bloodborne pathogens like Hepatitis and HIV) could be exposed to people or animals. Rain could wash it into untreated water systems.

This post originally appeared on Quora. Click here to view.

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Stephen Hawking’s Memorial Will Beam His Words Toward the Nearest Black Hole
Frederick M. Brown, Getty Images
Frederick M. Brown, Getty Images

An upcoming memorial for Stephen Hawking is going to be out of this world. The late physicist’s words, set to music, will be broadcast by satellite toward the nearest black hole during a June 15 service in the UK, the BBC reports.

During his lifetime, Hawking signed up to travel to space on Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic spaceship, but he died before he ever got the chance. (He passed away in March.) Hawking’s daughter Lucy told the BBC that the memorial's musical tribute is a “beautiful and symbolic gesture that creates a link between our father's presence on this planet, his wish to go into space, and his explorations of the universe in his mind.” She described it as "a message of peace and hope, about unity and the need for us to live together in harmony on this planet."

Titled “The Stephen Hawking Tribute,” the music was written by Greek composer Vangelis, who created the scores for Blade Runner and Chariots of Fire. It will play while Hawking’s ashes are interred at Westminster Abbey, near where Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin are buried, according to Cambridge News. After the service, the piece will be beamed into space from the European Space Agency’s Cebreros Station in Spain. The target is a black hole called 1A 0620-00, “which lives in a binary system with a fairly ordinary orange dwarf star,” according to Lucy Hawking.

Hawking wasn't the first person to predict the existence of black holes (Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity accounted for them back in the early 1900s), but he spoke at length about them throughout his career and devised mathematical theorems that gave credence to their existence in the universe.

Actor Benedict Cumberbatch, a friend of the Hawking family who portrayed the late scientist in the BBC film Hawking, will speak at the service. In addition to Hawking's close friends and family, British astronaut Tim Peake and several local students with disabilities have also been invited to attend.

[h/t BBC]

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