Green Piece – green in the ground?

Green burials have become a growing trend lately. More and more funeral homes start offering this so called eco-friendly service. A survey conducted by funeral industry publishers Kates-Boylston Publications found that 43 percent of surveyors said they would consider a green burial. 

Judging by the number of material used for burials per year, there is definitely a need. According to Mary Woodsen, a science researcher at Cornell University, an estimated 60,000 tons of steel and 4.8 million gallons of embalming fluid are buried each year. That’s enough material to build eight Eiffel Towers. To give the slowly but gradually growing phenomenon even more kudos, there is now a committee called the Green Burial Council.

 Eco friendly burials use predominantly biodegradable material, or e-coffins. Bodies are wrapped in or placed in a pine coffin and put to rest where they then decompose and become part of the earth. It’s a nice idea to know that your body is able to return to the earth after you are put to rest. While it’s definitely a personal choice, it’s comforting knowing that you can still keep your values, even at the end; dust to dust.

The Green Burial Counsel performs ecological surveys of the cemetery grounds and sets rules that include hand-digging the grave, replacement of the same soil that was dug up, and no vault or cement grave liners. Only biodegradable material is allowed to be buried with the bodies.

 

Source: The Weekender – http://www.theweekender.com/news/greenpiece/511065/GREEN-PIECE-Green-in-the-ground

 

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Can I Use My Phone During a Funeral?

A recent study by Co-operative Funeralcare in the UK under 2,000 people over 18 who had attended a funeral, found that funerals considered to be the most inappropriate function where a mobile phone may be used. Second and third were weddings and while driving. However one in six people actually do use their phone during a funeral anyway. Apparently even the Duchess of York was caught texting while attending Margaret Thatcher’s funeral.

 The study also showed that 40 percent of the respondents would not turn off their phone, albeit that a third of that sets their phone to silent. Most however claim they have left their phone on inadvertently, much like people forget to switch off while on a plane. One in six people also said they had seen people (frantically and embarrassed) trying to switch off their phone once it rang.

 In a different study, under funeral directors, it became apparent that one in five funerals gets interrupted by a mobile phone ringing. One ironic anecdote said the ringtone was “If You Are Happy and You Know it Clap Your Hands”.David Collingwood, operations director of Co-operative Funeralcare, said the use of mobiles had “become commonplace at events which would have been considered unthinkable only a few years ago. We are witnessing a cultural shift in society’s stance on funeral etiquette “.

 

It seems like we have double standards when it comes to using our phones at seemingly inappropriate moments and functions.

Source: The Guardian

What Happens When Tributes Are Made Too Soon..

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A father learned that his 13-year-old son had been killed in a road accident when the boy’s public school announced it on its website.

William Avery-Wright had been knocked down by a Land Rover as he crossed a main road on his way to rugby practice.

He was taken to hospital after the accident at £30,000-a-year Worth School in Crawley, West Sussex, where he was later pronounced dead.

His father, Christopher, was contacted but was only told that his son had been injured.

But as he was being driven by police to hospital, he was inundated with messages of condolence on his mobile phone from well-wishers who had read about the death on the school’s website.

Staff had posted a hasty tribute to the youngster before the 48-year-old insurance broker had been informed that he had died.

William’s mother, Lisa, was already at the hospital, but had been advised not to break the news of his death to her husband until he was there.

She said: ‘I was taken to hospital by the police. They said not to tell Christopher what had happened on the phone and that it was an appalling way to break the news.’

But the Roman Catholic boarding school wasted no time in announcing the pupil’s death online, publishing a tribute and sending out an email to parents.

 

Read the entire article HERE

We are the heroes, they are the cowards

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During his press conference following the Boston Marathon bombings, President Obama denounced the perpetrators as “evil” and “cowardly,” contrasting their behavior with the heroic first responders who rushed to aid the injured: “What the world saw yesterday in the immediate aftermath of the explosions were stories of heroism and kindness and generosity and love.” He praised the “good people of Boston” as well as the virtues of the American spirit: “If you want to know who we are, who America is, how we respond to evil, that’s it: selflessly, compassionately, unafraid.”

The unity we presently feel doesn’t represent a kind of self-deception. Splitting under these horrific conditions allows us to weather the immediate trauma.

Obama’s words echo those of George W. Bush speaking on September 11, 2001: “Today, our nation saw evil, the very worst of human nature, and we responded with the best of America, with the daring of our rescue workers, with the caring for strangers and neighbors who came to give blood and help in any way they could.” In the face of a grave external threat, our leaders rush to offer us the same assurance: we may have been confronted by “the worst of human nature,” but Americans embody its finest virtues.

We are the heroes, they are the cowards.

We are motivated by love, kindness and generosity; they feel nothing but hatred.

We are good, they personify evil.

Leaders in other countries no doubt rely on similar language to comfort their people when facing an existential threat. It encourages unity on the home front and inspires patriotic feeling. It identifies the domestic goodness worth defending and mobilizes aggression against the enemy. While personal or political squabbling might dominate during times of peace, we put our differences aside when we face an external enemy. Praising the citizenry of Boston yesterday on MSNBC, Governor Deval Patrick said that “there’s something about America that causes us to come together” at times like this. True, but citizens in many other nations “come together” in the same way when facing a crisis.

 

Read the entire article on The Atlantic

Google’s Inactive Account Manager

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You’ve written your will. You’ve talked to your family about end-of-life care. But have you toldGoogle what you want to happen to your Gmail or YouTube accounts?

That’s the stated purpose behind a tool the search giant announced Thursday: Inactive Account Manager. (In a blog post, the company admitted it was “not a great name.”) It covers all Google accounts, including Blogger, Drive, Google+ and Picasa.

Inactive Account Manager lets you set a “timeout period” of three, six, nine or 12 months. After that, Google will either delete your data or pass it on to a trusted friend or family member.

In case you just happen to be on extended (rather than permanent) vacation, the Account Manager will send a text to your cellphone and an email to a designated non-Google account before taking action.

“This new feature will enable you to plan your digital afterlife in a way that protects your privacy and security,” writes Google product manager Andreas Tuerk.

Of course, it’s hardly the first tool that lets you plan your digital afterlife; we’ve covered a number of services that deal in this morbid and necessary subject. But it does give Google a jump on Facebook, which has an afterlife policy (profiles are turned into “memorial” pages; family members can petition to take them down) but no tool to let users decide ahead of time.

Is Google going about it the right way? What other options should this kind of tool include? Let us know in the comments.

Source: Mashable

Don’t Let Popularity Set Your Standard

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We are in the midst of a “narcissism epidemic,” concluded psychologists Jean M. Twnege and W. Keith Campbell in their 2009 book. One study they describe showed that among a group of 37,000 college students, narcissistic personality traits rose just as quickly as obesity from the 1980s to the present. Fortunately for narcissists, the continued explosion of social networking has provided them with productivity tools to continually expand their reach — the likes of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Foursquare, and occasionally Google Plus.

”Those who had high scores on grandiose exhibitionism tended to amass more friends on Facebook.”

Evidence for the rise in narcissism continues to come up in research and news. A study by psychologist Dr. Nathan DeWall and his team found “a statistically significant trend toward narcissism and hostility in popular music” since the 1980s. Shawn Bergman, an assistant professor of organizational psychology at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina notes that “narcissism levels among millennials are higher than previous generations.”

Researchers at Western Illinois University measured two socially disruptive aspects of narcissistic personalities — grandiose exhibitionism and entitlement/exploitativeness. Those who had high scores on grandiose exhibitionism tended to amass more friends on Facebook. Buffardi and Campbell found a high correlation between Narcissistic Personality Inventory (NPI) scores and Facebook activity. Researchers were able to identify those with high NPI scores by studying their Facebook pages.

Elias Aboujaoude, a professor of psychiatry at Stanford, notes that our ability tailor the Internet experience to our every need is making us more narcissistic. He observes, “This shift from e- to i- in prefixing Internet URLs and naming electronic gadgets and apps parallels the rise of the self-absorbed online Narcissus.” He goes on to state that, “As we get accustomed to having even our most minor needs … accommodated to this degree, we are growing more needy and more entitled. In other words, more narcissistic.”

 

Read the entire article on The Atlantic