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    Being Mortal: Atul Gawande’s Rx for How to End Our Lives

      Atul Gawande sits across from me in a cafe in Berkeley, California, sipping an Izze fruit drink and trying to catch his breath. He just came from an appearance across the bay, in San Francisco, and is soon headed to a radio interview down the street, followed by a drive via the Golden Gate […]

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    A Grandfather’s Final Gift Recalls a Different Way of Life

    One evening four years ago, photographer Andrea Tese received a phone call from a home-care nurse. Could she come to her grandfather’s house to assess the situation? the nurse asked. Her grandfather had been very ill and had stipulated he did not want to die inside a hospital; he wanted to stay at home. But […]

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    Animals’ Wildly Varying Reactions to the Smell of Death

    The stinkhorn fungus (officially known as Phallus impudicus—“impudent penis”—for obvious reasons) draws in flies with the rotting-flesh smell of putrescine.ƒred via Flickr To us humans, the scent of a rotting corpse is universally abhorrent, the very definition of disgusting. But as strong as that reaction is, many other animals don’t share our unalloyed revulsion. Goldfish […]

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    Drop-Dead Famous

    If we are to learn how to die, we need teachers.

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    Planes, Trains, & Automobiles. And Death.

    If you’ve ridden in a car piloted by a young or inexperienced driver lately, chances are you’ve had an unwelcome epiphany. When driving your own car every day, navigating familiar streets, the vehicle is an extension of your body and your home, a wee castle on wheels that protects you, obeys you, and gets you […]

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    Why Autopsy Gandolfini? Death Is Certain; Its Cause Is Not

    When Italian authorities confirmed Wednesday that James Gandolfini had just died in Rome of an apparent heart attack, many of the US reports fronted the fact that Gandolfini’s body would be autopsied, “as required by Italian law.” They fronted this news for understandable reasons—an autopsy on someone who died in medical care seemed unusual. In […]