Erith is not twinned with anywhere, but it does have a suicide pact with Dagenham.
Almost all antechinus (marsupial version of a mouse) males are semelparous, meaning they only have one mating season in a lifetime. In their two-week mating season, each male spends up to 12 hours per female, before moving on to the next, trying to mate with as many as possible, and without eating or sleeping. To get the necessary energy, their bodies strip themselves of vital proteins and suppress their immune systems. By the end of the fortnight, they are exhausted, bald, gangrenous, and ravaged by stress and infection, and so they keel over and die.
There are several theories as to what evolutionary edge this offers. Males mate in winter when food is scarce, so it may be that, by taking himself out of the equation, the male reduces competition for food for his offspring, thus increasing their chances of survival. Also, the more females he impregnates, the more likely he is to pass on his genes. The female’s litters can have up to ten young, by several different fathers. Most of the females also die after the young are weaned. Antechinus babies are tiny – six of them weigh no more than a bag of crisps (25g).
Antechinuses aren’t the only marsupials with a suicidal sex drive. The marsupial cats, or quolls, also have one. Female Northern Quolls are subjected by males to bouts of copulation that can last 24 hours, with plenty of biting and screeching. They soon get their own back, though: the post-coital males lose weight, become anaemic, their scrotums shrink, their fur falls out and they get infested with lice. Within a week or two they die, like their mousy cousins, martyrs to their genes.
In 1885 following an argument with a boyfriend, Sarah Ann Henley from Bristol threw herself from the Clifton Suspension Bridge. Beneath her billowing dress she was wearing crinoline petticoats which slowed and cushioned her fall. She was injured but was pulled from the mud, eventually recovered and died in 1948 aged 84.
We hear war called murder. It is not: it is suicide.
King Mithridates VI of Pontus (134-63bc) was so frightened of being poisoned, he built up his immunity to it by taking it constantly in small doses. In 63bc he attempted suicide to avoid capture by the Romans and for some bizarre reason plumped for poison as the method (presumably there was plenty to hand). But his self-immunisation programme had been so effective that it didn't work, and he had to order a slave to run him through with a sword.
Without the possibility of suicide, I would have killed myself long ago.
The composer Jeremiah Clarke became mentally deranged as the result of a hopeless love affair and decided to kill himself, choosing between hanging and drowning on the toss of a coin. The coin landed on its side in mud, so he shot himself.
If I had no sense of humor, I would long ago have committed suicide.
The ‘Deliverance Machine’ is a laptop that's programmed to kill. It's attached to a syringe inserted into a vein in patient’s arm. The ‘Deliverance’ software asks the patient three questions and, if it gets the right answers, automatically administers a lethal injection of the barbiturate Nembutal. It was designed in the mid-1990s by the Australian doctor and euthanasia campaigner Dr Philip Nitschke – known as ‘Dr Death’ but twice shortlisted for Australian of the Year.
The questions the lap-top asks are:
1. Are you aware that if you go ahead to the last screen and press the ‘Yes’ button, you will be given a lethal dose of medications and die?
2. Are you certain you understand that if you proceed and press the ‘Yes’ button on the next screen that you will die?
3. In 15 seconds you will be given a lethal injection… press ‘Yes’ to proceed.
Nitschke’s machine is designed to kill quickly and humanely and remove any causal link between doctor and patient. By effectively answering the same question three times, patients take responsibility for ending their own lives. It was legally used by four of Nitschke’s patients under the Northern Territory's Rights of the Terminally Ill Act 1995, later overturned by the Australian federal government. In his Peaceful Pill Handbook (a guide to assisted suicide published by Exit International in 2006) Nitschke comments: ‘it is every rational person’s right to die in peace and with dignity, at a time of their choosing.’
‘Suicide booths’ are a sci-fi staple, featuring in several Kurt Vonnegut stories. In Soylent Green (1973), based on a novel by Harry Harrison, patients choose a video and music as the drugs begin to work.
In Matt Groening’s cartoon, Futurama, they have three modes of death: ‘quick and painless’, ‘slow and horrible’ and ‘clumsy bludgeoning’.
The thought of suicide is a great consolation: by means of it one gets successfully through many a bad night.
The tiger quoll, the largest land carnivore in Australia, sites its communal dung heap in the middle of bush roads, effectively committing suicide.
People who consume caffeine are less likely to commit suicide.
General Sir William Erskine committed suicide in 1813 by jumping from a window. Apparently his last words were: ‘Why did I do that?’
In 1852, artist Luc Maspero killed himself by throwing himself out of the window because he couldn't work out the secret of Mona Lisa's smile.
Lord Berners put a sign at the bottom of his folly tower saying 'Members of the Public committing suicide from this tower do so at their own risk.'
Writers and artists are 18 times more likely to commit suicide than the average person.
Taiwanese company Foxconn equips its buildings with anti-suicide nets after 14 employes committed suicide from their offices in 2010.
Seven members of the Hemingway family, including Ernest, have committed suicide over five generations.
Worldwide, approximately four times as many men kill themselves as women.
In ancient China, a popular method of committing suicide was to eat a pound of salt.