Read a CIA manual on assassination

If you're searching for some uplifting bedtime reading, you might enjoy this e-book of a 1953 CIA report titled "A Study of Assassination," made public in 1997 as part of a Freedom of Information Act request. Here are a few choice nuggets:

Assassination is a term thought to be derived from "Hashish", a drug similar to marijuana, said to have been used by Hasan-ibn-Sabah to induce motivation in his followers, who were assigned to carry out political and other murders, usually at the cost of their lives.

It is here used to describe the planned killing of a person who is not under the legal jurisdiction of the killer, who is not physically in the hands of the killer, who has been selected by a resistance organization for death, and who has been sele cted by a resistance organization for death, and whose death provides positive advantages to that organization....

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The essential point of assassination is the death of the subject. A human being may be killed in many ways but sureness is often overlooked by those who may be emotionally unstrung by the seriousness of this act they intend to commit. The specific technique employed will depend upon a large number of variables, but should be constant in one point: Death must be absolutely certain. The attempt on Hitler’s life failed because the conspiracy did not give this matter proper attention...

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It is possible to kill a man with the bare hands, but very few are skillful enough to do it well.

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Last words from 129 films

Filmmaker Candice Drouet "collected images from all the movies I have seen in my life and split them in different themes" for a project titled "My Life In 1.000.000 Frames." The first edited collection, seen here, is titled "(A Story Told With) The Last Words From 129 Films."

Gravity / Zero Dark Thirty / My Own Private Idaho / Punch Drunk Love / Lost in Translation / Flawless / Last Days / The Knight of Cups / Psycho / The Hours / Snatch / 127 Hours / Control / Carrie / Natural Born Killers / Interstellar / Ruby Sparks / The Matrix / The Pianist / High Fidelity / Jaws / The Reader / My Week With Marilyn / StrangerLand / Contagion / Little Miss Sunshine / Drive / Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas / The Terminator / Donnie Darko / Only God Forgives / Snowtown / Slow West / Behind the Candelabra / The Great Gatsby / Kill Bill 1 / Flightplan / Fargo / Being John Malkovich / The Babadook / Breakfast at Tiffany’s / Kill Bill 2 / Little Children / Notes On a scandal / Minority Report / Savages / The Piano / Big Fish / Cosmopolis / Child 44 / The Royal Tenenbaums / Catch me if you can / Barton Fink / The Birds / Walk The Line / The Grand Budapest Hotel / Manglehorn / Dark Shadows / The Kids Are All Right / The Big Lebowski / Dazed and Confused / Goodfellas / Blue Jasmine / American Hustle / Groundhog Day / The Master / The World’s End / Inherent Vice / Macbeth / Raging Bull / Boogie Nights / Ex Machina / Monster / Titanic / Gangs of New York / Mulholland Drive / The Machinist / Insomnia / August Osage County / Wrong Cops / Broken Flowers / Tangerine / Doubt / Dogville / Apocalypse Now / Night Crawler / It Follows / Secret Window / Still Alice / Fight Club / Youth / Edward Scissors Hands / Irrational Man / Casino / Confessions Of a Dangerous Mind / Her / Transpotting / Filth / The Unbearable Lightness of Being / Inglourious Basterds / Philomena / There Will Be Blood / Citizen Kane / Reservoir Dogs / Marie-Antoinette / The Dreamers / The Others / Django Unchained / Pulp Fiction / The Hurt Locker / The Silence of The Lambs / The Queen / City Of God / Inside Llewyn Davis / Taxi Driver / Black Swann / One Hour Photo / The Diary of a Teenage Girl / American Psycho / 2001 A Space Odyssey / Eyes Wide Shut / Holy Motors / O Brother, Where Art Thou ?

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Americans more likely to die younger than people in other developed nations

Americans are likely to die earlier than folks from other developed nations. What could it be?

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Man killed by meteorite, first case in modern history (UPDATE: maybe not!)

UPDATE: NASA says probably not. (NYT)

On Saturday, a falling meteorite is thought to have killed V. Kamaraj, a bus driver at Bharathidasan Engineering College in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu.

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How to prepare to join the Internet of the dead

In January 2015, security researcher and beloved, prolific geek Michael "Hackerjoe" Hamelin died in a head-on collision that also hospitalized his widow, Beth Hamelin. Read the rest

This graph shows causes of death by age

People between the ages of 15-30 are more likely to die from external causes than any other reason. The 60s, 70s, and 80s are cancer years. If you've made it that far, your failing heart is most likely to kill you. Nathan Yau created this stacked area graph that "shows how cause of death varies across sex and race, based on mortality data from 2005 through 2014. Select a group to see the changes. Select causes to see them individually." Read the rest

Watch this film about living with Lou Gehrig's disease (ALS) by a filmmaker who has it

Don't miss this amazing film.

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Keith Richards tells his kids to snort his cremation ashes

"I'll give them a straw," he said, according to The Mirror. You might recall that Richards also made headlines years back after claiming that he snorted his own father's ashes.

He later elaborated on that: "I opened dad’s ashes, and some blew over the table. I asked, should I desecrate them with a broom? So I wet me finger and I shoved a bit of me dad up me fucking hooter. I’m sure he’s still blessing me. The rest I put round a tree.”

(The Mirror) Read the rest

Connecticut kills death penalty

Judges struck down the state's death penalty, commuting 11 doomed killers' sentences to life imprisonment, notwithstanding the fact the state hasn't actually executed anyone since 1960 except Michael Ross.
The divided, 4-3 ruling cited factors that have come up in other states to abolish the death penalty including racial and economic disparities in its use, the costs involved with appeals, the cruelty of the wait for execution and the risk of executing innocent people.
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Somebody stole the skull of Nosferatu director FW Murnau

The skull of FW Murnau, the director of the classic vampire film Nosferatu (1922), has been stolen from his grave in Stahnsdorf, Germany. Read the rest

Memento Mori: the beautiful ways we have kept the dead among the living

Art historian Paul Koudounaris travelled the world, visiting 30 countries to document the practices—ancient to modern, solemn to joyous—by which human remains are displayed. From good luck charms to genocide memorials, his gorgeous art book Memento Mori collects the finds.

Short film: "Denali"

“There's no easy way to say goodbye to a friend, especially when they've supported you through your darkest times.” Read the rest

Existential risks: RPGs versus real life

In 2012, Jim Henley got tongue cancer, but it was the good kind -- his odds are like making a save-against-death throw on a D8 and needing to beat a one. Read the rest

Sending Terry Pratchett home with HTTP headers

In Terry Pratchett's novel Going Postal, an allegory about the creation of an Internet-like telegraph system called "the clacks," workers who die in the line of duty have their names "sent home," by being transmitted up and down the line in the system's signalling layer ("A man is not dead while his name is still spoken"). Read the rest

LISTEN: An uplifting lecture about death

The 2014 BBC Reith lecture with Dr Atul Gawande (previously) continue to amaze, delight and inform, and the third one, "The Problem of Hubris," fundamentally changed how I think about (and what I fear about) death. Read the rest

Lecture on zombies, art, and death

Zombie artist George Pfau sends us, "Zombies Identified: A slideshow-lecture performed for BAASICS 5:Monsters, a free event at ODC Theater in San Francisco." Read the rest

Retro-computing and grieving

Paul Ford has written a haunting, beautiful essay about his voyage into the emulation of extinct, obsolete computers and the way that this has allowed him to come to grips with the death of an older friend and father figure, who helped him through a very difficult period of adolescence through their shared love of computers. Read the rest

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