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Memories of the 28th Century

Disposal of Bodies

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The matter of what to do with the remains of people after they die came to mind again today. I have long thought that putting them in boxes and burying the boxes is a waste of resources and space. I realize that some people want something thing or place where they can go to recall those who have none. All of those desires can be handled in a single method. Burying allows for visiting the remains; although the remains don't notice, and cremation saves space. If we used thermaldepolymerization, we could have those advantages and more.

In thermaldepolymerization, the body chopped and water is added. It is put into a pressure cooker and heated to several hundred degrees for several hours, and the pressure is raised to about 900 psi. After several hours, the gaseous part is vented and condensed. Then the liquids are poured off and filtered. The liquid will have become a light to medium hydrocarbon, much like diesel oil, and the solids will also have depolymerized, so there will be a lot of lime. Thew gas can be used to fuel the depolymerization process, and the oil can be sold or just used to fuel the process. The solids can be mixed with clay and fired a second time to make Portland Cement, with can be used to make a statue or for construction. The amount of cement that would come from a single body would depend on the mass of the bones; big people would make a larger amount of cement, and that means that larger statues could be made from them. There is a problem with obese people, because they are large and weighty, but they do not have bones in proportion; we can make idealized statues of them.

The statues would be much smaller than the person was, maybe a couple feet tall, so they would be easier to store or to display than a full sized statue, but that's another matter. Families could have galleries where everyone would be displayed, but if a family didn't want the statues, then the cement could be used to make a generalized memorial to the dead, and if people were concerned with diminishing resources the lime could simply be plowed into a field.

This system would allow people to be useful even after death, and that would be a new experience for many people, except that they would not personally experience it, but in spirit they would.

People who wanted a larger, more impressive, memorial, could opt for being fossilized, which would entail being submerged in acidic water in which minerals were also dissolved. Over time the minerals would enter the body and replace the original chemicals. This may sound like a very slow process, but the bodies would be mostly mineralized in a few decades, but it would require space and occasional checking to make sure that the chemicals were right. Think of those bodies that have been found in swamps in Europe, except that this method would be more carefully handled, and attention would have to be taken to the minerals, extra silicon compounds would be good, and other soluable minerals would also help..

For immediate use, I was thinking about the statues as an improvement over containers of lime that many people get from the funeral director. Regardless of what will be done with the carcass, the consciousness will go to the recycling facility in the Underworld, so you have nothing to worry about, except for the lack of worries.

I hope that people will not be upset with the title of this one.