The Surprising History Of Death In America

Where did our current funeral rituals come from, and as they fall out of fashion, what will we replace them with?

Cemetery

L.A.-based mortician and author Caitlin Doughty thinks we’ve got a lot wrong about death. Image Source: Wikipedia

Humankind has always been fascinated with death. Where faith helps answer the question of where our spirits go when we die, the funeral helps solve the problem of where our bodies go upon death. In the United States, we have a fairly strict and chaste relationship with death — specifically with regard to the funeral — though there are a few key voices calling for reform. One of those voices, both online and off, is Los Angeles mortician and author Caitlin Doughty, who weighed in with ATI on the history of burial practices in America and the problems it faces today.


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History In The Making: SpaceX Just Completed The First Step Towards Colonizing Mars In Our Lifetime

NASA has been dealing with continued assaults on its budget for decades. With increased tightening of those purse strings (just this year, another $300 million were cut from its Earth science program alone, largely as a deliberate snub to its climate change investigations), the field of space exploration has opened up to private companies. Last night, one of those companies achieved a miracle.

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27 Astounding Pictures Of Animal Camouflage In Action

Over the course of millions of years of evolution, the inhabitants of Earth have devised some incredible abilities to ensure their survival. Case in point: The amazing camouflage that animals employ to surprise their prey or evade their predators. Below, we look at 27 incredible examples of animal camouflage in action:

Viewing note: After each picture, the animal will be revealed in the following slide.

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Leaf Tailed Gecko Circled

A Satanic Leaf-tailed Gecko is not only an expert at mimicking leaves and branches, it can also shed its tail to evade predators.

Giraffe Circled

A giraffe melts into the vegetation in Transvaal, South Africa.

American Pika Circled

The American Pika -- a rodent native to the mountainous Western regions of Canada and the United States -- blends in against a rocky surface.

Baron Caterpillar Circled

Native to southeast Asia, the Baron Caterpillar's disguise allows it to feed on mango and cashew nut trees undetected by its predators.

Animal Camouflage Great Gray Owl Circled

A Great Gray Owl -- the world's largest owl by length -- blends into a tree in Oregon.

Asian Vine Snake Circled

An Asian Vine Snake uses surrounding foliage adjacent to water to catch its primary prey, fish.

Leopard Circled

A leopard sits in the underbrush in South Africa's Kruger National Park.

Blue Crowned Parrot Circled

A Blue-crowned parrot disappears in the verdant rain forest of Belize.

Wolf Circled

A wolf peeks behind a tree during fall in Montana.

Brimstone Butterfly Circled

The color and shape of the wings of the Brimstone Butterfly allow it to blend in perfectly with green vegetation while resting.

Buff Tip Moth Circled

The Buff-Tip Moth has developed an astounding camouflage that helps it to hide in plain sight among trees and branches.

Common Snipe Circled

A Common Snipe hides among riparian vegetation in Minnesota.

Great Horned Owl Circled

A Great Horned Owl hides among autumn foliage in Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, Oregon.

Wolf Spider Circled

Found on every continent on the planet, Wolf Spiders are opportunistic predators that will use their surroundings to ambush their prey.

Great Potoo Circled

A nocturnal creature, the Great Potoo hides during the day by perching itself on trees.

Horned Adders Circled

A Horned Adder matches the sand of the Namib Desert, where they disappear completely by burying themselves.

Japanese Macaques Circled

A family of Japanese Macaques hide in plain sight amidst their rocky habitat on Honshu Island, Japan.

Klipspringers Circled

Two Klipspringers camouflage themselves among rocky cliffs in Botswana.

Willow Ptarmigan Circled

A Willow Ptarmigan blends into the snow while foraging in Churchill, Manitoba, Canada.

Lichen Spider Circled

A Lichen Spider perfectly blends into a tree trunk at the Erawan National Park in Thailand.

Male Spotted Deer Circled

A Spotted Deer, also known as a Chital, disappears in a forest in India.

Nighthawk Circled

A Nighthawk conceals itself among rocks in eastern Washington.

Pygmy Seahorse Camouflage

The Pygmy Seahorse is an expert at camouflaging itself in sea corals to evade detection by potential predators.

Snow Leopard Circled

A Snow Leopard peers over the edge of a rock in the Himalayas.

Stone Flounder Circled

A Righteye Flounder is perfectly adapted to going undetected on the ocean floor.

Uroplatus Geckos Circled

Uroplatus geckos, a species of noctural lizards endemic to Madagascar, use cryptic coloration to hide in tree bark during the daytime.

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Thanks to imgur, Daily Mail, and Rant Lifestyle for some of the images above. We also recommend you check out this fascinating video by the BBC on the camouflage abilities of the cuttlefish:

Fascinated by animal camouflage? Check out our other posts on macro photography and the most astounding nature photography of 2014!

10 Hiking Trails That Will Blow Your Mind

When wanderlust takes hold, check out these spectacular hiking trails amid the world’s most gorgeous landscapes.

November 17th is “Take a Hike” day. While you might not be interested in climbing the most dangerous trail in the world, these hiking trails might pique your fancy:

1. Overland Track, Lake St. Clair National Park, Australia

It usually takes six days to travel the Overland Track, which runs 40 miles (65 km) from Cradle Mountain to Lake St. Clair, Australia’s deepest lake. Along this lengthy trek, you’ll encounter a rainforest, moorlands, alpine meadows, and carved valleys, as well as several beautiful summits and waterfalls.

During the busiest walking season (the month of October), you must reserve a spot and pay a fee, but any other time of year guests are welcome to explore at their leisure. As part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, the track has a reputation for being one of the best wilderness trails around.

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