Getting buried in this suit of mushrooms could help save the planet.

Death: It's bad for us.

People who are actually dead have to deal with that whole not-being-alive thing, which is less than awesome. But those people probably aren't reading this right now. (And if you are, please tell me your secret!)

For the rest of us, losing a loved one can be tough on our emotional state. Every loss is different, and I can tell you from experience that they all suck in their own special way.



GIF from "Beetlejuice."

But death is also bad for our wallets.

Between the coffin, the service, and everything else, the average funeral costs a whopping $7,000.


GIF from "Ghostbusters."

On top of that, death is even killing the environment.

According to Scientific American, it takes more than 30 million board feet of wood annually to produce enough caskets. There's also the issue of those 800,000 gallons of embalming fluid used each year, which contain toxic carcinogens like formaldehyde that seep into the soil once the body decomposes. (And also turns embalming into a risky career.)

Cremation isn't much better either. More than 500 pounds of carbon dioxide get released into the atmosphere every time a corpse gets put through the furnace. Based on the average cremation rate of 38%, that's nearly 250,000 tons of CO2 every year, or the equivalent annual output of 50,000 cars.


GIF from "Parks and Recreation."

What else can we do with our bodies? One option is to feed our corpses to carnivorous mushrooms that will nourish the soil with our decomposing flesh. Seriously.

That's what artist/inventor Jae Rhim Lee wants to do, anyway. She calls this radical idea the Infinity Burial Suit, and it looks like this:


GIF via Sustainable Human/YouTube.

Here's how they describe it on the official website:

"[The Infinity Burial Suit] is embroidered with a special type of thread infused with infinity mushroom spores. When buried, the mushroom spores act to cleanse the body of many toxins and gently return the it to the earth. The end result: our bodies are transformed into vital nutrients that enrich the earth and foster new life."

It's basically a bodysuit made from biodegradable netting that's woven with specially cultivated mushrooms that help breakdown the cadaver into clean compost. Lee jokingly described this suit as "ninja pajamas," which you'd think would have more mass appeal than "sustainable mushroom death suit."

More importantly, it retails for a scant $999, which is waaaaaay less than you'd pay for a standard funeral with a fancy casket. Did I mention it's also available for pets?


It's like this. Kind of. But for dead people. GIF from "Super Mario World."

But wait: It gets even weirder.

Apparently it's difficult to breed a special hybrid mushroom strain in a laboratory. So Lee has been growing standard shiitake and oyster mushrooms by ... um ... feeding them toenail clippings, loose hairs, skin cells, and whatever else naturally sheds from her body. Over time, this trains the mushrooms to, well, develop a taste for people.

OK, so it might not sound like the most conventional way to go about it. But when you start to think about it, it makes a lot of sense.

"I realize this is not the kind of relationship that we usually aspire to have with our food," Lee said with a laugh. "We want to eat, not be eaten by, our food. But as I watch the mushrooms grow and digest my body, I imagine the Infinity Mushroom as a symbol of a new way of thinking about death and the relationship between my body and the environment."


GIF via Neil Bromhall/YouTube.

Are you grossed out but intrigued? You're not alone. Lee's TED Talk has more than a million views ... which means she's onto something.

No matter how much we try to talk around it or avoid the subject all together, death is part of our lives. And while it can be sad, it doesn't have to be bleak — in fact, it can be kind of beautiful in a bittersweet way. Because it's all part of the wondrous cycle of life.

As Lee says at the end of her TED Talk, "Accepting death means accepting that we are physical beings who are intimately connected to the environment. [...] We came from dust and will return to dust. And once we understand that we're connected to the environment, we see that the survival of our species depends on the survival of the planet. I believe this is the beginning of true environmental responsibility."

GIF via TED/YouTube.

The Infinity Burial Suit helps us confront some uncomfortable truths about mortality.

Death might be inevitable, but we shouldn't have to pay extra for it while also poisoning the Earth.

Besides, what better legacy is there to leave behind than a better, brighter world for the next generation to enjoy with the knowledge that you literally gave your life to help the planet thrive?

GIF from "Scream Queens."

Watch Jae Rhim Lee's full TED Talk below. You might find yourself surprisingly inspired.

True

This year more than ever, many families are anticipating an empty dinner table. Shawn Kaplan lived this experience when his father passed away, leaving his mother who struggled to provide food for her two children. Shawn is now a dedicated volunteer and donor with Second Harvest Food Bank in Middle Tennessee and encourages everyone to give back this holiday season with Amazon.

Watch the full story:

Over one million people in Tennessee are at risk of hunger every day. And since the outbreak of COVID-19, Second Harvest has seen a 50% increase in need for their services. That's why Amazon is Delivering Smiles and giving back this holiday season by fulfilling hundreds of AmazonSmile Charity Lists, donating essential pantry and food items to help organizations like Second Harvest to feed those hit the hardest this year.

Visit AmazonSmile Charity Lists to donate directly to a local food bank or charity in your community, or simply shop smile.amazon.com and Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price of eligible products to your selected charity.

via Brittany Kinley / Facebook

Brittany Kinley, a mother from Mansfield, Texas, had a hilarious mom fail her and she's chalking it up to being just another crazy thing that happened in 2020.

When Kinley filled out the order form for her son Mason's kindergarten class pictures, there was an option to have his name engraved into the photos. But Kinley wasn't interested in having her son's name on the photos so she wrote "I DON'T WANT THIS" on the box.

Well, it appears as though she should have left the box blank because the computer or incredibly literal human that designed the photographs wrote "I DON'T WANT THIS" where mason's name should be.

Keep Reading Show less
True

A lot of people here are like family to me," Michelle says about Bread for the City — a community nonprofit located in Washington DC that provides local residents with food, clothing, health care, social advocacy, and legal services. And since the pandemic began, the need to support organizations like Bread for the City is greater than ever, which is why Amazon is Delivering Smiles to local charities across the country this holiday season.

Watch the full story:

Amazon is giving back by fulfilling hundreds of AmazonSmile Charity Lists, and donating essential pantry and food items to help organizations like Bread for the City provide to those disproportionately impacted this year.

Visit AmazonSmile Charity Lists to donate directly to a local charity in your community, or simply shop smile.amazon.com and Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price of eligible products to your charity of choice.
via Twins Trust / Twitter

Twins born with separate fathers are rare in the human population. Although there isn't much known about heteropaternal superfecundation — as it's known in the scientific community — a study published in The Guardian, says about one in every 400 sets of fraternal twins has different fathers.

Simon and Graeme Berney-Edwards, a gay married couple, from London, England both wanted to be the biological father of their first child.

"We couldn't decide on who would be the biological father," Simon told The Daily Mail. "Graeme said it should be me, but I said that he had just as much right as I did."

Keep Reading Show less
via UDOT / Facebook

In December 2018, The Utah Department of Transportation opened the largest wildlife overpass in the state, spanning 320 by 50 feet across all six lanes of Interstate 80.

Its construction was intended to make traveling through the I-80 corridor in Summit County safer for motorists and the local wildlife.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports that there were over 100 animal incidents on the interstate since 2016, giving the stretch of highway the unfortunate nickname of "Slaughter Row."

Keep Reading Show less