• After losing in district court, convicted killer Benjamin Schreiber took an unusual claim to the Iowa Court of Appeals, but was shut down again on Nov. 6, according to The Washington Post.
Schreiber, 66, was sentenced to a life term in 1997, but in March 2015, he suffered a medical emergency in his prison cell that caused doctors to have to restart his heart five times.
Schreiber thus claimed he had briefly "died," and therefore he had served out his life sentence and should be released.
The district judge didn't buy it, though, saying the filing proved he was still alive, and the appeals court agreed, saying, "Schreiber is either alive, in which case he must remain in prison, or he is dead, in which case this appeal is moot." [Washington Post, 11/8/2019]
• A Dutch university now offers students a turn in the "purification grave," a hole dug in the ground where students can lie down and reflect on their lives for up to three hours.
The student chaplaincy at Radboud University initially offered the experience in 2009 as a temporary experiment, but due to increased demand, it's back this year, according to Vice.
Students are not allowed to bring their phones or a book with them into the grave.
"You can see it as a special place of meditation: below you the earth, above you the sky," the university website explains.
"You will then automatically notice what is going through your mind."
If you're skittish about entering the grave, you can sit on the bench nearby. Radboud also offers a finals-season "crying room" and nap pods. [Vice, 10/24/2019]