About: Justin Nobel

We live our lives online. Baby photos are uploaded, homework is emailed in, mates are encountered via Facebook and in nearly every field the web has revolutionized how work is done. And we die online too; obituaries and even funeral services can now be downloaded. We have entered the age of Digital Dying. \r\n\r\nThis blog explores trends in death and the industries it touches, examines perceptions and practices regarding dying, both past and present and also looks at the living, and how we anticipate, recover from and are even inspired by death.\r\n\r\nDigital Dying is written by Justin Nobel, whose stories about science, culture and travel have appeared in publications such as the Chicago Tribune, Audubon, Gourmet.com, Nunatsiaq News, Point Reyes Light and The Smart Set www.justinnobel.com. Comments and ideas can be sent to [email protected].

The Media Is Obsessed with Florida’s Nursing Home Deaths—The Real Problem Is We’ve Abandoned the Elderly

By: Justin Nobel | Date: Tue, September 19th, 2017

The news was devastating, and it came in dribs and drabs. First there were three dead. Then five. Then seven. The tally now rests at eight.

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Hurricane Harvey lonely death

Hurricane Harvey “Lonely Deaths”

By: Justin Nobel | Date: Mon, September 4th, 2017

Hurricane Harvey is responsible for killing at least 47 people in Texas. According to a story last week in the New York Times, at least several of these people died alone.

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The Transgender Cemetery Struggle

By: Justin Nobel | Date: Wed, August 16th, 2017

At the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio last year, Texas Senator Ted Cruz made a powerful and inflammatory statement.

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Just How Many People Will Climate Change Kill?

By: Justin Nobel | Date: Wed, July 12th, 2017

The heat is on.

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Searching for Eternal Life in a Chinese Cave, Or a Florida Spring

By: Justin Nobel | Date: Wed, June 7th, 2017


Step aside Juan Ponce de León, the long-sought secret to longevity may not be a mysterious Florida spring, but a Chinese cave.

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Searching for Ghosts in the Bayous Outside New Orleans with John Desantis

By: Justin Nobel | Date: Thu, May 18th, 2017

John DeSantis is the type of old-school, wild-haired, chain-smoking keeps-a-police-scanner-in-his-car-which-also-serves-as-an-office journalist that Hollywood directors used to make movies about.

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The Mysterious Case of Fumiko Kimura, the Mother Who Drowned Her Children

By: Justin Nobel | Date: Wed, April 5th, 2017

On January, 29, 1985, 32-year-old Fumiko Kimura waded out into the cold waves off Santa Monica Beach on a deadly mission.

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These monkey mothers actually carry around the corpses of their young

By: Justin Nobel | Date: Mon, March 13th, 2017

Imagine a new mother walking down a sunny sidewalk in a big city. She has a coffee in one hand, a bag over her shoulder, and swaddled at her chest is an infant. She is happy. She is going about her daily routine. The only thing strange about the scene: the infant is dead.

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Snow Monkeys

If You Kill 57 Snow Monkeys Do You Go To Heaven?

By: Justin Nobel | Date: Tue, March 7th, 2017

A few weeks ago news broke that Takagoyama Nature Zoo, located not far from Tokyo on Japan’s main island of Honshu had put to death 57 snow monkeys. They were killed by lethal injection. The reason for the grand assault on these Japanese macaques, and our distant cousins: Having sex.

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Louisiana researcher stumbles upon a hidden graveyard of former slaves

By: Justin Nobel | Date: Thu, February 9th, 2017

In the thick woods not far from Louisiana’s capitol city of Baton Rouge is a crumbling graveyard containing the bodies of individuals who were once enslaved. In fact, they tilled the very cane fields that their bones are now resting beside.

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Thomas Proctor Lippincott

My Rock n Roll Dad: A Unique Story of Remembrance

By: Justin Nobel | Date: Mon, January 30th, 2017

The year is 1969. Robert F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. have recently been assassinated. Riots have swept many large American cities. And now a vibrant and subversive new music form called Rock n Roll is sweeping the nation and about to have its largest coup yet, a massive muddy marijuana-filled outdoor festival called Woodstock.

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Playing Dead For The Next Hundred Years – Hibernation Preparation Tips

By: Justin Nobel | Date: Thu, January 5th, 2017

A new season, a New Year. This is a chance to blossom forth with new ideas and plans, or dig our heads deeper into the sand and perhaps disappear for a bit?

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“Arrival,” And The 9 Million Names For Death

By: Justin Nobel | Date: Mon, December 5th, 2016

How do you say death in heptapod?

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Who will be the first human to die on Mars?

By: Justin Nobel | Date: Fri, November 11th, 2016

“The sun is gradually expanding,” Elon Musk told a rapt audience in 2013 at SXSW, the famous media, music and technology conference held in Austin, Texas. “In 500,000 million years, a billion at the outside, the oceans will boil and there will be no meaningful life on Earth—maybe some very high temperature bacteria, but nothing that can build rockets.”

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Trump and Clinton

Death on the Campaign Trail – From Trump and Clinton to RFK and Horace Greeley

By: Justin Nobel | Date: Mon, October 10th, 2016

Donald Trump. Hillary Clinton. It is difficult to remember a presidential battle between candidates who are more disliked than the present two major party nominees. Numerous citizens have no doubt privately wished the worst on both candidates. But what were to happen if the unthinkable happened?

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