Q. Your lover just bought you a 25-karat-gold ring from a pawnbroker–”a
steal of a deal.” Now where should you tell your lover to go?
A. To a jeweler’s to test what’s really in the ring. Pure gold is 24 karat, so 25 karat is impossible, a scam: 12K would be 50 percent pure, 18K 75 percent pure, etc. Some markings use 3-digit numbers, such as 375 (9K), 500 (12K) or 917 (22K). These are decimal fractions with the decimals dropped.
Q. If you really want your body to last after death, what’s your best bet?
A. Bodies have survived for centuries in relatively good condition under circumstances where they were initially disinfected, as with embalming or soaking in alcohol, kept away from insects or animals, and sealed in an airtight casket, says Kenneth Iserson, M.D., in “Death to Dust.” But truly airtight is hard to achieve, say scientists who search for “pure ancient air” in old sealed caskets.
A better bet–unless you can get yourself frozen deep inside a glacier–is to have your body embalmed and then embedded in a block of plastic. This “should work wonders.” The danger is that it may work too well. Many specimens not nearly this well preserved are on display in museums, which is where you may wind up centuries hence. “Perhaps this method should only be tried by the ultimate exhibitionist.”