Suicide notes left by people jumping from the Golden Gate Bridge, gathered by Marc Etkind for Or Not to Be: A Collection of Suicide Notes, 1997:
“This is where I get off.” — Harold W., the first suicide, three months after the bridge opened, 1937
“Absolutely no reason except I have a toothache.” — 49-year-old John Thomas D.
“I am sorry … I want to keep dad company.” — 24-year-old Charles G. Jr., whose father had jumped four days earlier
“Do not notify my mother. She has a heart condition.” — Steven H., the 500th person to jump
“Why do they leave this so easy for suicide? Barbed wires would save a lot of lives.” — A 72-year-old man
“I and my daughter have committed suicide.” — A man who jumped with his 5-year-old daughter
In July 1968, ethologist John B. Calhoun built a “mouse utopia,” a metal enclosure 9 feet square with unlimited food, water, and nesting material. He introduced four pairs of mice, and within a year they had multiplied to 620. But after that the society began to fall apart — males became aggressive, females began neglecting their young, and the weaker mice were crowded to the center of the pen, where resources were scarce. After 600 days the females stopped reproducing and the males withdrew from them entirely, and by January 1973 the whole colony was dead. Even when the population had returned to its former levels, the mice’s behavior had remained permanently changed.
There were no predators in the mouse universe; the only adversity was confinement itself. Calhoun felt that his experiment held lessons as to the potential dangers of human overpopulation, and he urged his colleagues to study the effects of high population density on human behavior. “Our success in being human has so far derived from our honoring deviance more than tradition,” he said. “Now we must search diligently for those creative deviants from which, alone, will come the conceptualization of an evolutionary designing process. This can assure us an open-ended future toward whose realization we can participate.”
The Great Basin Bristlecone Pines, or Pinus longaeva, is a long-living species of tree found in the higher mountains of the southwest United States. Bristlecone pines grow in isolated groves in the arid mountain regions of six western states of America, but the oldest are found in the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest in the White Mountains of California. These trees have a remarkable ability to survive in extremely harsh and challenging environment. In fact, they are believed to be the some of oldest living organisms in the world, with lifespans in excess of 5,000 years.