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SHOW NOTES: S02E05, "The Invisible Woman"

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This week we're so excited to welcome Lindsay Ribar to the show! Lindsay is the author of four young adult novels, including Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies, which was nominated for the Andre Norton Award, and The Pros of Cons, which she co-wrote with Alison Cherry and Michelle Schusterman. After spending nine years as a literary agent, Lindsay now does contracts and money stuff at DAW Books, a small press specializing in science fiction and fantasy. She loves the following things a little too much: fanfiction, concerts, really good wine, and the color blue.

This episode's death of the week involves a woman who chokes to death alone in her apartment. If you, like us, are afraid to eat alone ever again after watching this, we have good news: There are ways to save yourself from choking, even if no one is around to give you the Heimlich! This is an excellent video that demonstrates a very easy way of dislodging food from your airway. Now you can do your crossword alone during dinner with confidence!

This week's episode teaches us about pre-need funerals, in which a person arranges for (and pays for) their own funeral prior to their death. There are a lot of reasons this can be a good idea—for example, if you want to be buried next to a loved one and want to secure a particular plot, or if you want to take the burden of planning your funeral off of your friends and family—but there are other things to consider as well. Does it seem likely that the funeral home you've chosen will stay in business until your death? If not, will your contract transfer to another funeral home? If you want a casket, where will it be stored? Might there be wear on it before your death? Would the money you're using be better spent on an investment that can grow while you're alive? If you'd like to read more about the pros and cons of pre-needs, this is a good site that takes all these concerns into account.

David makes some unfortunate comments about Emily Previn and autism in this episode, at one point comparing her to the woman who "sat in a hug machine." He's referring to Temple Grandin, who's an author and speaker on autism and animal behavior and a professor at Colorado State University. Grandin has made a number of important improvements to the way cattle are handled, especially at slaughtering plants. Grandin did in fact invent a "hug machine", which according to Wikipedia is a "deep pressure device designed to calm hypersensitive people, usually individuals with autism spectrum disorders." It works well for people who feel safe when they're confined but are overstimulated by other people touching them. Here's what it looks like: 

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If you'd like to hear Temple Grandin speak about how her autism enables her to approach problems in ways neurotypical people might not, here's her TED Talk, entitled "The World Need All Kinds of Minds." Here she is with the cattle she has researched so extensively. 

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We also learn about casket gowns/burial gowns in this episode, which are still in use but look like they were all manufactured in the 1800s from highly flammable materials. We looked some up online and were distressed and fascinated by the results. Here are some of our favorites: the Floral Sprig, the Milady, and the Viscount. (Naturally, the burial gowns for men aren't nearly as atrocious.)

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And finally, we know you need something to wash the taste of Basic Rock Star Nate out of your mouth, so here's the lovely Jennifer Hudson singing her rendition of And I Am Telling You from the Dreamgirls movie. She blows the roof right off.

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