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# Space Efficient Cemetery

Save space by making a new type of cemetery
 (+16, -8) [vote for, against]

Basically my idea is that when someone dies, if they choose to be involved in the cemetery, they first be cremated. Their ashes then could be mixed into a liquid metal of some sort, perhaps just good old stainless steel or depending on technology (yeah i know i should research melting points etc but oh well) titanium or something equally as permanent. The metal, which now has their ashes mixed in, would be cast into a plate approximately six inches on each side by perhaps half an inch thick, with all the pertinent gravestone type information stamped into its face. Additionally, depending on the implementation of the idea, i suppose a sort of microchip containing the person's information (medical history, basic biography, or other pertinent data) could also be imbedded into the surface. The size of the plate coupled with it's amount of information and permanence seems ideal for a library type of setup, with a large warehouse organized for easy location where for centuries to come the descendents could go to said warehouse, plug in who they want to visit, and go visit that person's metallic gravestone, which would quit literally be the person, just as a crispy critter encased in a metallic grave.

As to the questions into my definition of Space Efficiency, consider this. (and if my math is off by any significant margin feel free to correct me, but I think I'm quite close.) Consider that if a typical grave is six feet deep, six tall, and four wide (a conservative estimate) it occupies 144 cubic feet for one body. A six inch by six inch by one half inch plate occupies one ninety sixth of a cubic foot. Therefore in the space that one traditional grave occupies, you could house 13,824 plates. Even assuming that slightly less would fit considering space for them to slide into and out of storage without contacting others, this is more than offset by the potential for stacking them vertically. Even assuming it's only a two story building (and in my figuring it would be several more stories than that) and assuming 12 feet per story, you'd still be able to fit nearly fifty six thousand people into the same ground space that one traditional grave occupies.

somebody's best friend. Forever_20Yours_99
[2 fries shy of a happy meal, Jun 27 2005]

plague burial http://www.history..../epiharding.html#1t
where is the logic in single use graves when people died in their hundreds? [po, Jun 27 2005]

Did someone say space? Outer space? Aerial_20Burial
shameless plug. + [sartep, Jun 29 2005]

Who needs a cemetery? Back_20To_20Life_20Co_2e
A really space-eficcient way to get rid of one's rests. [Pericles, Jun 29 2005]

even if it's larger than a typical warehouse, it's still going to be much more space efficient than a conventional cemetery. read the second paragraph.

 — 2 fries shy of a happy meal, Jun 27 2005

 I wonder what "ashes" contain? I assume all the carbon has been burnt. Maybe some oxides of various metals. Nothing distinguishing, and they would become part of the slag in the furnace, anyway.

But a record of your life is more like it. It's one way to leave your mark, other than writing a book, discovering something or pissing on a tree.
 — Ling, Jun 27 2005

Cemetaries could be far more space efficient if they simply started burying bodies vertically. Each plot would then only take up 1 square foot.
 — Minimal, Jun 27 2005

Ashes from fireplaces are mostly carbon, with some silicates and trace elements. At higher temperatures the carbon (and some of the trace elements) are burnt off as CO2 and the silicates melt to form a type of glass, with subtle colouration from the trace remaining elements. My wife is a potter and has had some success in glazing pottery with wood-ash-based glazes. I read a magazine article recently in which a potter described how she had glazed a mug (which she now uses daily) with the ashes from the cremation of her much-loved dog.
 — hippo, Jun 27 2005

//glazed a mug (which she now uses daily) with the ashes from the cremation of her much-loved dog// Bleugh - Breakfast Revisited!
 — coprocephalous, Jun 27 2005

There'd be very little dog left actually - if we were to roast a chicken in our kiln, for example, it would burn away to ash, then the ash would burn away too, leaving a thin glassy film on the kiln shelf. Our kiln reaches about 2250F, cremation kilns reach about 1400F.
 — hippo, Jun 27 2005

I'm going to go with mixing the ashes into concrete for burial vaults - that's how a lot of stuff gets disposed of anyway: burned at the cement refinery and mixed into ready-mix.
 — elhigh, Jun 27 2005

Another smart plan would be to stack the bodies. It doesn't take an enormous backhoe to dig a deeper pit; make the hole ten feet deep and there's your family plot. Make the coffins like Rubbermaid containers or Legos so they nest snugly, and stack until you get to the six-foot mark.
 — elhigh, Jun 27 2005

They used to do that - the fashion for single-use graves only started with the plague of 1665.
 — hippo, Jun 27 2005

 — reensure, Jun 27 2005

 //leaving a thin glassy film on the kiln shelf

Wow--so could you turn this glassy material into, say, a stained-glass window?
 — Etymon, Jun 27 2005



where's the logic in suddenly using single graves, hippo?
 — po, Jun 27 2005

I would guess that the logic lies in not opening a grave containing a plague-ish person.
 — angel, Jun 27 2005

 I worked in a funeral home and got a tour of a crematorium. According to the guy (and IIRC), what's left after the cremation is the calcium. The bodies are cooked at 1500ºF.

As for the question of efficiency, if burial plots are properly priced, then cemetaries are already efficiently sized. If they're subsidized, greater efficiency would be reached by removing any subsidies.
 — js_africanus, Jun 27 2005

Right. No hangers-on going in cheap.
 — reensure, Jun 28 2005

 How is this any different from cremation? Short of having to go to a warehouse instead of having the person you loved perched on your mantle?

 Putting information on the dead could be done without making these "plates." and how many people want to end up a 6"x6"x.5" hunk of steel anyway?

 It seems to me that to save space in public cemetaries (if this is even a problem) is to discontinue public gravesites.

 If people must be buried whole (as opposed to cremation) they can do it at their own expense, and on their own time in a private burial facility. Since, presumably, any such facility would be run for profit, running out of space would not be an issue, short of literal physical constraints. If these constraints were met, then the plot would be a self replenishing facility (paid for by the money of loved ones for upkeep.) If the money dries up, so does the plot. If people can't afford the upkeep, then they'll surely opt for cremation.

Problem solved. And the best part is, this is the practically the way it is today.
 — Blumster, Jun 29 2005

Blumster, I'm not sure what you mean by 'different from cremation' seeing as the very first step I mentioned was cremation itself. You're asking the equivalent of how is a car different from an engine, or how is running different from taking a single step. As to the idea of discontinuing public cemeteries, personally I would opt for discontinuation of all cemeteries. I personally wouldn't want to be involved in my own idea, it just struck me as a lucrative business venture. Religion has been making money off of the fear of nonexistence for essentially all of recorded history, and I thought this idea could cash in too. Personally I say fuck the dead, they don't care what you do with their bodies so we might as well end the idea of cemeteries all together.

 Why don't you just put the ashes in a box?

 Mixing the ashes with molten metal would probably vaporize/dissolve/destroy the ashes. And even if it didn't, it certainly would destroy a significant amount of sentimental value.

Simply putting the ashes in a box doesn't take up THAT much more space. And there's a much more valuable traditional/emotional value when you preserve the ashes to a certain degree in this way.
 — Greenspan, Jun 29 2005

 Why not compact the ashes into a little pendant that you can hang around your neck? Several thousand tons should do the trick.

(Edit: reading back, that might be misconstrued: I meant several thousand tons pressure - not several thousand tons of little pendant)
 — Ling, Jun 29 2005

 > > a sort of microchip containing the person's information (medical history, basic biography, or other pertinent data) could also be imbedded into the surface.< <

The unique DNA-information should be there also in readable form. You walk around with a PDA and some scanner and you see interesting graphs and simulations based on the DNA displayed on your handheld when you pass someone's grave. In the future you let holographic images project of the deceased, making family reunions much more fun, uniting the whole family. Especially now with smaller families, we need the deceased to bring a family of some size together. Perhaps the DNA- info should not be readible to every visitor of the graveyard, to prevent cyber-necrophilia; people walking around with VR-helmets to have virtual sex with the deceased.
 — rrr, Jun 29 2005

About the DNA-based cyber-necrophilia. A prostitute could theoretically choose to give her/his profile away for paying necrophiliacs. The money goes to the children. Famous people can ask more, another impulse to become more famous during your lifetime.
 — rrr, Jun 29 2005

Maybe plates is the wrong way to go. How about cubic bricks? You could put the deceased's details on one face and build something out of the bricks.
 — st3f, Jun 29 2005

 I really don't understand why people think they will be so attached to their dead corpses after they die. WE WILL NO LONGER BE INSIDE THEM!

Plus, our bodies are not ours. They were lent to us by nature, we're supposed to hand them back when we're done using them so that our matter can turn into something else, and this idea doesn't support that cause.
 — Pericles, Jun 29 2005

I don't know that that is true and you don't either.
 — bristolz, Jun 29 2005

Burial Hans Solo style? Bricks are better than alloys...less environmental impact and cost. Myself, I want my ashes to be blended into sake sets and coffee cups.
 — normzone, Jun 29 2005

I'd like to be buried under a field of wheat or corn no marker necessary, but I think Laws prevent that.
 — Zimmy, Jun 29 2005

I want my lifeless body flopped over a tree branch.
 — daseva, Jun 29 2005

"Hans Solo". hehe.
 — st3f, Jun 29 2005

Every time I see the title to this idea I think of a cemetery in space. That might be an interesting idea too.
 — finrod, Jun 29 2005

 Ahh, the corporeal form. Can't die with it, can't die without it.

Hmm. I like the idea of a space cemetary. I like it alot!
 — daseva, Jun 29 2005

 I'll be * if I'm going to go to the "Glory Hole Cemetery". Anything but that.

(* insert expletive here - fucked, buggered etc.)
 — Ling, Jun 30 2005

If they won't let my carcass be thrown to the wolves then I want to be cremated and have the ashes mixed with the water sprayed on Treethedral.
 — 2 fries shy of a happy meal, Jun 30 2005

/Burial Hans Solo style/ - the best thing about that was Han's face staring out. This method could be adapted to allow the deathmask of the departed to be cast into the metal. The plates would not stack as well, unless you had a series of dead people with very similarly shaped and sized faces.
 — bungston, Jun 30 2005

i like the idea. it would be perfect for japan. did you know that their cemetery are on the roof of buildings, including office and apartment buildings, weird...

//Great Rapture // I saw the video of it the other day. I don't know about "great" but Debbie Harry looked pretty hot back then.
 — coprocephalous, Jul 01 2005

 While I also think it wasteful to reduce the total available planetary biomass by sequestering it in coffins, for those who are into that sort of thing, and want to save space in a cemetary, here's a mad idea:

 First, drill a deep oil-well type of hole. It is my understanding that this costs about a million dollars a mile. The hole needs to be roughly 45cm in diameter, which actually isn't much larger than normal. Next, note that if an average height for one person is six feet tall, then 5280 feet/mile divided by 6 is 880 bodies that can fit in this hole, stacked vertically. Each needs to be sealed in a block of cement or something like it, so that the ones at the bottom of the hole can support the weight of the others above. Finally, the most interesting thing is that the million dollars spent on making a mile-deep hole, divided among 880 people, means that each one's final resting plot costs less than \$1200.

[daseva] (below), I do understand that the cost of the plot and the cost of the casket are two different things.
 — Vernon, Jul 01 2005

Well, Vern, I'd say post it, but think it though a bit. I mean, the concrete will raise costs, for sure. Maybe just skewer the bodies with a big long metal rod shooting down to the bottom.
 — daseva, Jul 01 2005

I think the mafia had the "mix-someone-with-concrete" idea first, but this is definately a lot more friendlier. Nice.
 — kuupuuluu, Jul 01 2005

"Dearly beloved of the departed, Harold was...is a pillar of the community he lived in."
 — 2 fries shy of a happy meal, Jul 02 2005

I wonder if some compromise solution is possible, which would allow something approaching a normal burial but still achieve a considerable space- saving. Has anyone seen those big machines which turn a long wide curvy car into a 22-inch cube of metal?
 — Basepair, Jul 02 2005

i just thought of something very depraved, but i won't share it. maybe tomorrow.
 — benfrost, Jul 04 2005

I believe it's already tomorrow in some parts of the world, and this is an international website. Fess up.
 — Basepair, Jul 04 2005

basepair if you're going with that where i think you're going (namely mutilation of corpses via massive compression into bloody cubic chunks) i so want to have your babies.

[adambettinger] - unless you've accidentally left an "M" off the front of your username, I'm afraid it's no dice.
 — Basepair, Jul 05 2005

yeah, well, i get that warm fuzzy feeling from mutilated corpses. it's kind of my thing.