Portal:Death

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Death

Death is the termination of the biological functions that define a living organism. It refers both to a particular event and to the condition that results thereby. The true nature of the latter has, for millennia, been a central concern of the world's religious traditions and of philosophical enquiry. Belief in some kind of afterlife or rebirth is a central aspect of many religious traditions. Within the scientific community, many suppose death to terminate mind or consciousness. The effect of physical death on any possible mind or soul remains for many an open question. Cognitive science has yet to explain the origin and nature of consciousness; any view about the existence or non-existence of consciousness after death remains speculative.

Humans and the vast majority of other animals die in due course from senescence. Remarkable exceptions include the hydra, and the jellyfish Turritopsis dohrnii, which is thought to possess in effect biological immortality.

Intervening phenomena which commonly bring about death earlier include malnutrition, disease, or accidents resulting in terminal physical injury. Predation is a cause of death for many species. Intentional human activity causing death includes suicide, homicide, and war. Roughly 150,000 people die each day across the globe. Death in the natural world can also occur as an indirect result of human activity: an increasing cause of species depletion in recent times has been destruction of ecosystems as a consequence of the widening spread of industrial technology.

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Selected article

A condemned prisoner being dismembered by an elephant in Ceylon. Drawing from An Historical Relation of the Island Ceylon by Robert Knox (1681).
Execution by elephant was, for thousands of years, a common method of capital punishment in South and Southeast Asia, and particularly in India. Asian elephants were used to crush, dismember, or torture captives in public executions. The trained animals were versatile, able to kill victims immediately or to torture them slowly for a prolonged period. Employed by royalty, the elephants were representative both of absolute power and the ruler's ability to control wild animals.

The use of elephants to execute captives often attracted the horrified interest of European travellers, and was recorded in numerous contemporary journals and accounts of life in Asia. The practice was eventually suppressed by the European empires that colonised the region in the 18th and 19th centuries. While primarily confined to Asia, the practice was occasionally adopted by western powers, such as Rome and Carthage, particularly to deal with mutinous soldiers.

Selected picture

Tomb sculpture
Credit: Jastrow

Sculpture of Johann Baptista Gislenus' (1670) tomb, Church Santa Maria del Popolo in Rome. The inscription reads "neither living here", "nor dead there".

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Michiel Jansz van Mierevelt - Anatomy lesson of Dr. Willem van der Meer.jpg
Danse macabre by Michael Wolgemut.png
Rudolf Schiestl (1878-1931) - Tod von Basel.jpg

Anniversaries of death

Obituaries

Wikinews Obituaries
  • February 3: DR Congo opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi dies
  • January 29: Black Sabbath ex-keyboardist Geoff Nicholls dies
  • January 18: Former NASA astronaut Eugene Cernan dies aged 82
  • January 11: Roman Herzog, former German president, dies aged 82
  • January 9: Former Irani president Rafsanjani dies, aged 82
  • January 6: Indian actor Om Puri dies

Disasters and accidents

Wikinews Disasters and accidents
  • March 21: 20 confirmed dead after Kintampo freak tree accident
  • January 26: Rescue helicopter crash kills six in Abruzzo, Italy
  • January 26: Official death toll from Nigerian refugee camp airstrike passes 100
  • January 25: UK Civil Aviation Authority issues update on Shoreham crash response
  • January 18: Nigerian jet attacks refugee camp, killing dozens
  • January 18: Cargo plane crashes in Kyrgyzstan, killing over 30

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Quote

"If we were sensible we would seek death — the same blissful blank which we enjoyed before we existed."

H. P. Lovecraft "Nietzscheism and Realism"
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Major topics

Death project

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The Death WikiProject is a collaboration that helps to assemble writers and editors interested in Death.
The aim of this project is to standardize and improve articles related to Death, and to create any missing articles
To become a member of this WikiProject (anyone may join), simply click here - and add {{user|username}}.
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