don't do this

Oncoming Train Crushes Woman Trying to Rescue Her iPad

Let it go. (Flickr)

An East Harlem woman’s failed attempt to grab her iPad should serve as the ultimate reminder to never ever try to never rescue a fallen object — no matter how pricey it might be.

The New York Post reports that Aracelis Ayuso died Saturday afternoon after her Apple device fell onto the tracks at the Union Square station and she was squashed by an oncoming Brooklyn-bound 4 train. Read More

Sad Things

Personal Science Pioneer Seth Roberts Passes Away

Seth Roberts (

Yesterday I got the most unexpected and most awful of texts.

My friend, the peerless professor and scientist Seth Roberts had died. According to his sister, who posted on his popular blog, Seth collapsed while hiking over the weekend.

The news hit me extra hard because on Wednesday Seth had submitted what was to be the first of a long awaited column here at Betabeat called “Personal Science.” And worse, I was overloaded and I put off responding. I starred the email and intended to respond today. Read More

death and taxes

Facebook Is Making it Easier For People to Stalk You After You Die


On the off chance that disaster strikes on your commute home, you might want to delete your more incriminating tagged photos. Facebook has tweaked its policies to make more of  your profile information available to the general public after you die.

Previously, when a user’s account was “memorialized” after their death, it was virtually sealed off so that only friends could view their information, a Facebook blog post says. Now, their privacy settings will be preserved so that even if their account is memorialized, other users will still be able to view whatever information they made public. Read More

Go Home Science You're Drunk

This Handy ‘Death Test’ Gadget Will Tell You When You’re Going to Die

RIP Betabeat staffer. (Photo: Digimegirl)

There’s finally an accurate way to predict when we’re going to die that isn’t the Death Clock: Lasers. British researchers are developing a wristwatch-like device that uses small–but painless–laser beams to puncture your skin to analyze endothelial cells, an essential indicator for how healthy you are. It then tells you when you’re going to die, hence the “death test.” Read More

I Can Haz Sad

Bizzaro New ‘Online Cemetery’ Kind of Makes Us Want to Cry

(Photo: Memmento)

When a netizen dies, what happens to his online body of work?

Many times websites of the deceased are shuttered by family members or slowly kicked down the Google index the longer they sit dormant. Defunct Facebook profiles are turned into online memorials for the dead, where people collect to share their memories and best wishes. Facebook even has a form you can fill out to “memorialize” a deceased person’s profile.

Memmento, a new site that launched today, wants to transition memorials from Facebook onto its own death-dedicated platform. The results are as unsettling as you’d probably expect. The site is a virtual graveyard littered with photos, videos and memories of souls long gone. Users can choose to leave flowers or candles on the “official” pages of deceased stars like Donna Summer and Steve Jobs. They can also write notes and upload photos and videos. Read More

Seed Stage Slaughter

The Seed Stage Slaughter Begins: MyNines Shuts Down, CEO to Rue La La

Mown down by the markets

If you’ve been listening closely at tech parties and events over the last month, you could begin to hear the tectonic rumblings of a reckoning. The bubble in seed stage funding that saw hundreds of start-ups raise capital during 2010 is coming to an end. And many of the companies who raised less than $1 million are now running out of cash.

This morning we got an anonymous tip, since confirmed, that flash sales aggregator MyNines, which raised $750K back in April of 2010, has shut down. The company’s website is currently offline. Founder Apar Kothari has been named vice president, head of business development and strategic partnerships at private sale shopping destination site Rue La La. (Sounds like that emerging talent pool we told you was coming.) Read More

Buy Local

Things to Do With Data When You’re Dead

Can't let my Twitter followers down

Dying in the digital age is tricky, as the dozens of accounts and services someone used while alive persist in cyberspace.  We’ve all heard the stories of Facebook and Twitter users haunted by recommendations they they connect with dead friends.

LifeEnsured, a New York startup with a $150,000 in angel funding (different kind of angel), is focused on carrying out the last rites and rituals a person might need to clean up the stray threads of their virtual life. Read More