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Old 30th December 2012, 05:53 PM   #1
Ian
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Rita Levi-Montalcini

Rita Levi-Montalcini lived to be 103.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/20...evi-montalcini
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Old 30th December 2012, 06:12 PM   #2
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There's something fishy there. The guy that wrote the article died 14 years before she did. I believe he may have been psychic.
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Old 30th December 2012, 07:09 PM   #3
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It's not uncommon for obituaries to be written far in advance of the subject's death, especially if the subject has been retired for some time.
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Old 30th December 2012, 07:24 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Vermonter View Post
It's not uncommon for obituaries to be written far in advance of the subject's death, especially if the subject has been retired for some time.
Seems shady. How do you know the person is going to die?

Also, I wonder if this piece was a "pay on publication" deal. They'd owe his estate for the article.
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Old 30th December 2012, 08:42 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by marplots View Post
Seems shady. How do you know the person is going to die?

Also, I wonder if this piece was a "pay on publication" deal. They'd owe his estate for the article.
Wild guess?
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Old 30th December 2012, 08:48 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by marplots View Post
Seems shady. How do you know the person is going to die?

Also, I wonder if this piece was a "pay on publication" deal. They'd owe his estate for the article.
Originally Posted by bruto View Post
Wild guess?
Do you suppose there's a data base of obits just waiting around? Could we rummage through it and tweak our own?

It would be cool to do something grand just before you kicked so they'd have to rewrite the obit. Like, say, you hide a bit of important research and just release it a few days before you croak. Or maybe those top secret papers in the safe or something.

It is kinda neat that they did her obit more than a decade before. She would have been just getting to 90. They probably thought, "This old gal can't make it much longer." And then she just kept on going. Pretty sweet.

Last edited by marplots; 30th December 2012 at 08:50 PM.
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Old 30th December 2012, 10:09 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by marplots View Post
Do you suppose there's a data base of obits just waiting around? Could we rummage through it and tweak our own?

It would be cool to do something grand just before you kicked so they'd have to rewrite the obit. Like, say, you hide a bit of important research and just release it a few days before you croak. Or maybe those top secret papers in the safe or something.

It is kinda neat that they did her obit more than a decade before. She would have been just getting to 90. They probably thought, "This old gal can't make it much longer." And then she just kept on going. Pretty sweet.
I think most newspapers and probably news services have or can access a database of obits of famous people, whether or not they're getting very old. It is, after all, a certainty that they will all die eventually, and it behooves any paper to provide a well researched obit very quickly when it's needed. Of course a certain caution is required so that the obit doesn't come out prematurely. It happens from time to time, but usually it's invisible and we don't stop to think how some reporter managed to sum up a famous person's whole life in the few hours between death and publication.
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Old 30th December 2012, 10:19 PM   #8
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Remember the, "Mary Tyler Moore Show," where Mary was tasked with updating pre-written obituaries?
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Old 30th December 2012, 11:28 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by marplots View Post
Seems shady. How do you know the person is going to die?
Do you know someone who isn't?
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Old 30th December 2012, 11:54 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by marplots View Post
Seems shady. How do you know the person is going to die?
Originally Posted by zooterkin View Post
Do you know someone who isn't?
Trying to get me to prove a negative?
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Old 31st December 2012, 01:43 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by zooterkin View Post
Do you know someone who isn't?
Well, everyone I know hasn't died.
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Old 31st December 2012, 07:21 AM   #12
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Here's a clue in the obit of Joseph Rotblat:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/20...ies.obituaries

Quote:
Anthony Tucker died in 1998. His contribution has been revised and updated.
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Old 31st December 2012, 07:57 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by marplots View Post
Trying to get me to prove a negative?
No, but it's the way to bet. And, worst case, if the person doesn't die, then they just don't use the obituary.
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Old 31st December 2012, 08:14 AM   #14
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Apparently, Anthony Tucker was an enthusiastic obituary writer:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/profile/anthony-tucker

What an odd career as a writer: "Yes! A scientist died today. I'm going to get another publishing credit!"

Though it looks like most of the obituaries were either published after his death or, more likely, the earlier ones haven't made it online.
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Old 31st December 2012, 08:43 AM   #15
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On-topic for pre-written obits: Google "Gerald Ford SNL."
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Old 31st December 2012, 08:51 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by zooterkin View Post
No, but it's the way to bet. And, worst case, if the person doesn't die, then they just don't use the obituary.
That gave me an idea. I'm writing my obit with a bunch of glorious accomplishments I haven't done yet. Should give me lots of motivation. Now, how do I go about negotiating peace in the Middle East?
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Old 31st December 2012, 01:26 PM   #17
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Also, this is something to avoid:

http://bigstory.ap.org/article/germa...-bush-obituary
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Old 31st December 2012, 01:41 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by marplots View Post
Do you suppose there's a data base of obits just waiting around? Could we rummage through it and tweak our own?

It would be cool to do something grand just before you kicked so they'd have to rewrite the obit. Like, say, you hide a bit of important research and just release it a few days before you croak. Or maybe those top secret papers in the safe or something.

It is kinda neat that they did her obit more than a decade before. She would have been just getting to 90. They probably thought, "This old gal can't make it much longer." And then she just kept on going. Pretty sweet.
A friend working at a journal told me they jsut have that : a database of obit of well known people, with general facts, and some throw away condoleance sentence, so that they are never really caught unaware. ETA: also for old people generally the last decade is rather uneventful for an obit.
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