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Turn grandma into a diamond

28 March 2005

You'd think it was a hoax, but for a modest price a company named LifeGem will make you a real diamond out of the cremated remains of your loved ones, human or animal. They extract the carbon from the ashes to make the diamond, and give you back the rest to bury or place on the mantel.

"How many LifeGems can be made from one individual?" is just one of the FAQs on LifeGem's website. The answer is over 100, which is very convenient if the whole family wants one. Natural diamonds take millions of years to create, but LifeGem's "diamond presses" can speed the process up to a few months. It's not just for bereaved Americans. LifeGems are made in Australia, Canada, England, Hungary and The Netherlands too.

Imagine what the price of a celebrity diamond would be... Any bids on a Princess Diana diamond? Would anyone like to pre-order Solana Larsen earrings? Of course, if I decided to turn myself into diamonds, I couldn't use this other service from the Alcor Life Extension Foundation. These guys will freeze your body until the technology exists to bring you back to life. It's a lot more expensive, but a shot at eternal life might be worth it... Must think more about that before my 99th birthday.

Human remains are eternally political. Check out the openDemocracy article, "The Afterlife of Bodies" by Ken Worpole from about a year ago.

Who's getting rich from COVID-19?

Boris Johnson's government stands accused of 'COVID cronyism', after handing out staggering sums of money to controversial private firms to fight COVID-19. Often the terms of these deals are kept secret, with no value-for-money checks or penalties for repeated failures which cost lives. And many major contracts have gone directly to key Tory donors and allies – without competition.

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Dawn Butler Labour MP for Brent Central and member of the House of Commons Committee on Science and Technology

Peter Geoghegan Investigations editor, openDemocracy, and author of 'Democracy for Sale: Dark Money and Dirty Politics'

Jolyon Maugham Barrister and founder of the Good Law Project.

Peter Smith Procurement expert and author of 'Bad Buying: How Organisations Waste Billions through Failures, Frauds and F*ck-ups'

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