In a recent post, Roberts says he thinks that the shift in the 1960s from home-made food to processed food, which has resulted in people having less bacteria in their bodies, has caused corpses to rot more slowly than they used to.
A friend of mine, who went to college at MIT around 1980, had a classmate who was the son of an undertaker. His dad had told him that when he (the dad) had entered the business, you had to work fast. Bodies would start to smell quickly. But now — around 1980 — that was no longer necessary. You could wait a lot longer before they smelled bad.How Fast Do We Rot?
Which I take to mean that around 1980 the average old person, where this classmate came from, had a lot less bacteria in their body than around 1960.
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Mark Frauenfelder is the founder of Boing Boing and the editor-in-chief of MAKE and Cool Tools. Twitter: @frauenfelder. Come and hear Mark speak at the ALA conference in Chicago on July 1.