Via Reuters:

For those facing a run of bad luck and wanting to start things over, one Thai temple has an unusual solution: “rehearse” death with a mock funeral, including lying down in a coffin.

Pram Manee temple in Nakorn Nayok province, 107 km northeast of Bangkok, holds two of the rituals every day: at exactly 9:09 a.m. and 1:09 p.m., since the number nine is believed by Thais to bring good luck.

Participants in a recent ritual stood in front of their designated coffins, holding flowers and praying for bad luck to go away, then asked to receive good luck.

All had paid 180 baht ($6) for the flowers, a white sheet and “merit set” — a collection of necessities sometimes including toothpaste, toothbrushes and food — to be offered to monks, and the promise of a better life …

Granted this video is a promo for the New Scientist‘s recent issue on “existence”, it’s pretty interesting, if you are OK with incomplete answers. (Figuring out how the universe got so large is still a serious head-scratcher.) My takeaway after watching this, is if “something” is not really that different from “nothing” (according to our human perception) then, well, there is still much to ponder …

Shotgun ShellVia Neatorama:

If you’d like to go out with a bang, Holy Smoke LLC offers to pack your cremated ashes (or those of your loved ones) into ammunition cartridges. You tell them the caliber or gauge, ship the remains to them, and they’ll load the cartridges:

Once the caliber, gauge and other ammunition parameters have been selected, we will ask you (by way of your funeral service provider) to send approximately one pound of the decadent’s ash to us. Upon receiving the ashes our professional and reverent staff will place a measured portion of ash into each shot-shell or cartridge.[…]

Our return shipment to the sender will be the finished ammunition, boxed in available labeled ammunition boxes. We also offer mantle-worthy wooden carriers with engraved name plates. Your return shipment will also include any unused ash in a separate, labeled container.

Sounds a bit like panspermia but occurring within our inner solar system. Interesting post from David L. Chandler of MIT News Office: According to many planetary scientists, it’s conceivable that all life…

The magical thing about the United States is that our nation is a rich tapestry — of gonorrhea cases and bankruptcy, that is. Find out what surprising, ignominious category your home state…

SupercontinentAlasdair Wilkins on has a great post about the past and future of our planet’s continents. Definitely worth a read:

Earth’s continents are constantly changing, moving and rearranging themselves over millions of years — affecting Earth’s climate and biology. Every few hundred million years, the continents combine to create massive, world-spanning supercontinents.

Here’s the past and future of Earth’s supercontinets.

Another portion of “the miracle of life” mastered by scientists? Science Daily reports: Researchers at Brown University and Women & Infants Hospital have invented the first artificial human ovary, an advance that…