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The Future of Death-Tech Has No Rules—Yet

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The Future of Death-Tech Has No Rules—Yet
Photograph: DAN DUNKLEY/Science Source

When a company asks permission to pulverize a corpse—to freeze a body solid, then shake it till it shatters—how, exactly, should the government respond?

Last September, Derek Schmidt, the attorney general for Kansas, sat down to ponder the specifics. Interest in a new process for disposing of the dead had trickled across the state; it was up to Schmidt to say whether the technology was even legal. Schmidt’s analysis began on YouTube, where he landed on an animated demonstration that broke down the new mortuary method, known as promession, into steps: First, cadavers are cryogenically frozen; then they’re vibrated into bits, freeze-dried to get the moisture out, and filtered into an urn. In theory, promession would release significantly fewer emissions than fire cremation, which is responsible for 270,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year. […]

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