The Null Device

Wired News, veering ever further from its mid-90s WELL-digerati origins, has a brief history of ways to determine if a corpse is really dead, to prevent premature burials, These included everything from tongue-pulling machines and smoke enemas to devices such as the "security coffin" and the "vitae dubiae asylum". And it warns that to this day, we may well be sending the comatose to wake in horror in a buried coffin, especially where the cosmetic practice of embalming isn't practiced.

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