People Popsicles??

Hi, i was in physics the other day and the teacher…granted, not the sharpest tool in the shed…told us that a student told her that in Europe scientists freeze human bodies, then use sound waves to break apart the ice, and use the bits of human for fertilizer. I searched all over the internet and i couldnt come up w/ anything to corroborate her claims. If anyone has any websites or articles that back up her story, please let me know. Otherwise, i think our class needs to put to rest this strange and disturbing rumor once and for all.
thanks for any help!

Wouldn’t putting the body through a wood-chipper be far cheaper but just as effective? Low-tech solutions are always the best. :smiley:

There are a million reasons why this notion is absurd. Bodies are subject to strict regulations about their disposal everywhere in the western world, because diseases can be so easily spread by them. Freezing them would make no difference because the pieces would begin to rot as soon as they thawed. So unless the EU has totally different laws on the handling and disposition of dead bodies than the U.S. this would be illegal in every possible way.

Not to mention the fact that you would be able to find any number of news stories about this, because they would have to get the bodies from somewhere. Grave robbing is still a crime everywhere, last I heard.

And the practical implementation of freezing an entire human body and then using sound waves to break up the remains in a field somewhere are as silly as aliens making crop circles.

My hunch is that your teacher was making a joke about the opposite of cremation as a way of disposing of dead bodies and that the humor fell, um, dead.

Not to mention the fact that decaying animal flesh makes for terrible fertilizer. And it would stink to high Heaven. If you think manure smells bad, just try covering a cornfield with shredded meat. Ugh.

Nope, it’s not a joke. Promessa Organics will do it, though it’s still in the testing phase.
Really, a wood chipper would be a lot more energy-efficient, but the squeamish factor , needless to say, would really be up there.

By the way, I learned about this in Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers
It’s quite informative and wonderfully TMI; freezing dead people is the least of it.

I’m almost certain that freezing a human body (except perhaps at extremely low temperatures) would not make it particularly prone to shattering into a million pieces, as rather commonly depicted in the movies; frozen meat is more like wood than ice.

How about in English, for those of us who can’t read Swedish? Much of the information presented there seems questionable to me. For example:

Might be the quality of the translation to English, but it reads much like pseudoscientific mumbo-jumbo.

I dispute their assertion that a human body frozen to minus 18 C would be very brittle. I also suspect that ‘vibration of a specific amplitude’ might actually be a vague enough term as to possibly refer to passing through a woodchipper.

The page contradicts itself anyway: at the top they say “The procedure … does not subject the body to violent or destructive handling.”, but later, they’re describing a process of shredding and freeze-drying the corpse. Not desctructive? Bwuh?

They say the body is frozen to -18 then immersed in liquid nitrogen. I assume the precooling is to minimize the boiling of the liquid N[sub]2[/sub]. Or something.

Ah; I was misreading that bit. I suppose it might get pretty brittle at liquid N[sub]2[/sub] temperatures.

I can’t honestly imagine this to be a particularly eco-friendly option; how much energy must it take to liquefy that nitrogen and freeze-dry the resulting SlushCorpse?

OK, that’s beyond weird.

I skimmed through all the "read more"s, though, and I saw nothing at all that gave any evidence that a) this is legal even in Sweden; b) that anyone has been “buried” this way, or c) that this has even been tested on human remains.

Some quick Googling tells me that they’ve been promising this for several years, with the start date pushed off each time. The last I found was that it would begin sometime in 2006.

Perhaps some better information is out there, but for now I’m extremely skeptical that this will come to pass. Cremation accomplishes much the same thing, and at a fraction of the time and price.

The source for the OP’s teacher’s info is obviously the book Stiff, but the book was also obviously dealing with the promotional material that Promessa has been glurging for years, not with a viable or at least current technology.

Curses! Foiled again!

I just finished Stiff too, and rather enjoyed it.