New scientist "special report" on death
There are loads and loads of articles here, http://www.newscientist.com/channel/opinion/death if anyone wants to add it to the article.
Of particular grim nature was this, http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg19626252.800 posted Oct 17, 2007. --Robert W King 19:16, 29 October 2007 (CDT)
The intro currently says All known multicellular organisms eventually die. Are single-celled organisms immune? Can we just drop the "multicellular"? I know about spores, but I wonder if they are alive. I suppose they are.. but I'd say they are more like 'suspended animation'. I would think that eventually any individual one-celled organism will die, after a long enough period of activity? Or am I confused about that? J. Noel Chiappa 13:36, 17 April 2008 (CDT)
Historical glorification of death
As a military historian, I would question the Light Brigade especially, and to a fair extent the Alamo, as legends glorifying death. Even poetically, the Light Brigade was more of a glorification of duty and obedience; in reality, it was a monumental command failure. It's not necessarily well known that they didn't even charge the right guns, or that once a cavalry charge starts, there's really no way to turn back. A better metaphor might be the sacrifice of the U.S. torpedo bomber squadrons at the Battle of Midway. Those pilots did have the physical ability to escape; the tactical doctrine never called for them attacking alone. Nevertheless, they knew they had Japanese carriers in front of them and, as far as they knew, they were the only ones with a chance of attacking. While they did not get a hit, they charged the right guns. The very few survivors only later knew that their sacrifice distracted the Japanese fighter cover,and, within two minutes, the dive bombers arrived and, essentially with little opposition, sank three carriers.
An epitaph that included them said "we do not mourn that such men are dead. We celebrate that they lived."
I've been through the Alamo and the San Jacinto battlefield many times, and I don't really know if the people at the Alamo really understood that they were buying time for the Texican forces to regroup. Had Santa Anna simply bypassed the Alamo and moved aggressively against the other scattered units, Texas might still be part of Mexico. It was an example of a total tactical defeat and a strategic victory, but, standing there, trying to visualize it, I don't think they welcomed death; indeed, some surrendered but were shot. Duty comes closer.
Even in cultures where one can make an argument for the glorification of death, the beliefs were complex. The Meiji Rescript to Soldiers and Sailors said "duty is heavier than a mountain; death is like a feather." Duty was the responsibility. The custom of suicide rather than surrender is also culturally complex. The kamikaze considered themselves already dead, or doomed, and chose to make death as meaningful as possible. If one prefers a Western metaphor, consider HMS Birkenhead? Glory. No.
Might I suggest that this might be worthy of a separate article, but it might be oversimplifying in a mostly biomedical article on death? Howard C. Berkowitz 05:52, 13 January 2009 (UTC)