Death is big business in Japan, with 1.2 million people a year passing away and overtaxing the country’s cemeteries and crematoriums. With the average wait for disposal at least several days, and space running short in funeral homes, “corpse hotels” have opened in many cities, with climate-controlled “guest rooms” renting for the equivalent of about $155 a night, with viewing rooms where relatives can visit the bodies daily until cremation is available.
In July, a surgeon from Britain’s Oxford Radcliffe Hospital announced a cure for a 57-year-old man with a rare condition that made, in his mind, audible and ever-louder sounds whenever his eyeballs moved. “Superior canal dehiscence syndrome” elevates the interior sounds of the body (such as heartbeat and the “friction” of muscles moving against muscles) to disturbing levels.
n “Miami Invaded by Giant, House-Eating Snails” (up to 10-inch-long snails that attach to, and slowly gnaw on, stucco walls).
n “Scientists Develop Blood Swimming ‘Microspiders’ to Heal Injuries, Deliver Drugs” (spider-like “machines,” made of gold and silica, smaller than a red blood cell yet which can travel through veins carrying drugs and be directionally controlled by researchers).
DMV dangerous place
n The Department of Motor Vehicles office in Roseville, Calif., was closed for a week in July after a driving school student crashed into the building and left a five-foot hole in the wall.
n A young man taking a test at the drivers’ center in Brisbane, Australia, in August lost control of his vehicle and crashed into a bench outside the building, hitting his mother, who was waiting for him.