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Saturday, 12 May 2012

INTERESTING STUFF – 12 May 2012

BIONIC EYES FOR ELDERS
An estimated half million Amercians age 75 and older are afflicted with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) along with, eventually, the resultant blindness. Two years ago, the Federal Trade Commission approved an amazing space-age treatment for some with AMD:

video platform video management video solutions video player

You can read more here.

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY TOMORROW
And if you happen to live in the Spokane, Washington area, have we got a gift idea for you.

Mother's Day Gun Advertisement

Peter Tibbles found this and passed it on. Nothing says love like a family holiday at the shooting range.

WORLD CLASS EDUCATION ONLINE – FOR FREE
On 2 May, Harvard and MIT announced a joint non-profit partnership that will offer free online courses from both universities. And that's only the beginning:

”...Harvard and M.I.T. have a rival — they are not the only elite universities planning to offer free massively open online courses, or MOOCs, as they are known.

This month, Stanford, Princeton, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Michigan announced their partnership with a new commercial company, Coursera, with $16 million in venture capital.”

As good as these educational developments will be for young students, I believe they are an excellent learning source for elders who in retirement have time to pursue interests they were too busy for during the mid-years of life.

A year or so ago, I told you about the free online-only lectures at the then-new Khan Academy. At the time, most of the topics were in mathematics but there is now a growing collection in history and the humanities. I liked this discussion of the famous 1434 painting of Giovanni Arnolfini and his wife by Jan Van Eyck.

SEEING AURAS
Synesthesia is a fascinating neurological condition in which the brain's crossed wires allow some people to, for example, taste colors or hear sounds when they smell certain odors.

Indice_auras2 Now, take a little memory trip and recall that time in the sixties when seeing auras around people was in fashion. It always felt like a hippie dippie kind of thing to me and probably fraudulent. But now researchers in Spain have done some work suggesting that some who claim to see auras may actually see those glowing colors due to synesthesia:

”...synesthetes present more synaptic connections than 'normal' people. 'These extra connections cause them to automatically establish associations between brain areas that are not normally interconnected,' professor Gómez Milán explains. New research suggests that many healers claiming to see the aura of people might have this condition.”

Okay, yet another study filled with weasel words like “may” and “suggest” which means no one knows yet if this is true or not. But I still think it's interesting.

WHO KNOWS WHAT GOES ON IN THE MINDS OF CATS
(Hat tip to Darlene Costner)

WHO SAID THIS, DO YOU THINK, ABOUT ELECTRONIC BOOKS?

“I hate them. It’s like making believe there’s another kind of sex. There isn’t another kind of sex. There isn’t another kind of book! A book is a book is a book."

Give up? It was the author of Where the Wild Things Are, Maurice Sendak, who died last week at age 83. You can read more about him here.

For our celebration of his life today, here is Sendak's interview in two parts with Stephen Colbert.


Interesting Stuff is a weekly listing of short takes and links to web items that have caught my attention; some related to aging and some not, some useful and others just for fun.

You are all encouraged to submit items for inclusion. Just click “Contact” in the upper left corner of any Time Goes By page to send them. I'm sorry that I probably won't have time to acknowledge receipt and there is no guarantee of publication. But when I do include them, you will be credited and I will link to your blog if you have one.


Posted by Ronni Bennett at 05:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post

Comments

Thanks for the posts, especially loved the interviews with Maurice Sendak and Colbert. they are so funny!

I've never heard the term synesthesia before. However, I know that people with autism and other developmental disabilities experience anomalies of sensory processing. The inappropriate interpretation of external stimuli is the cause of much of their dysfunctional behavior. For example, human voices may sound like finger nails on a chalkboard to certain people, causing them to cover their ears and run from human contact.

Love the cat video - will have to come back after work for the rest.

Believe I have a new goal: To grow up to be like Maurice.

That Shooting Range Mother's Day gift is perfect.

Two of my kids wanted to get together and get me something really nice so they settled on Steve paying for the gun and Chris will buy the Ammo.

Who could ask for anything better? Wait! Carol just called to tell me that she will buy me 10 paper targets and Jerry ,not to be outdone,
is supplying the bail money in case I get carried away.....

Lovely stuff. I last studied that van Eyk piece in the '60s, and opinions on it have certainly changed. The interviews are wonderful but the obsession of the cat made me laugh.

Gun lessons in Spokane? Memphis I could understand. My sister saw auras, too--turns out she was schizophrenic. Very interesting topics today! Thanks.

These medical breakthroughs are amazing, but I always wonder, who will benefit from them and how will we pay for them? Tough questions.

Love the cat although cats are not my thing.

Still chuckling. Colbert is a treasure. So glad I got to meet M. Sendak, if only via video.

Glad to know there's hope for AMD sufferers (like me). I wish my Mom could have had that telescope.

As always, thanks for all the Interesting Stuff. It truly was.

Thanks for posting the Colbert interviews. I had not seen them, but heard reference to them on the compilation of the Terri Gross interviews with Sendak following his death this week. I have many Sendak books which I read to my sons over the years(but which I probably enjoyed more than them) but I have so much deeper an appreciation of him after what I have learned and heard this week.

And the cat -- I don't think it's washing dishes. Cats aren't that domestic. I think it's looking for the fish that it expected to find in that bowl.

I was just diagnosed with AMD so it was thrilling to know there is a device available that, should the worst happen, will allow me to see again Thanks for posting the information.

I have always maintained that people see different things in art. I would not presume to think I know what the artist was thinking or what (if any) the symbolism means. To me the Jan Van Eyck painting is simply the painting of a very unhappy looking couple in their boudoir. The thing I find fascinating about it is the detail in the mirror and the skill it took to paint it.

The woman looks pregnant to me even though she is holding the drapery over her abdomen. But what do I know?

Colbert is SOOOOO smart and funny, a good match for Sendak! What a great interview!

A great collection of "stuff!" Funny "stuff," too!

Vision aids cut close to home for me when I think of my mother legally blind for so many years. However expensive in the beginning, over time the opportunity to receive this aid for those who need it will filter down to the ordinary person. We must never be deterred from further research because we're worried about who'll pay for it's implementation -- cross that bridge when we get there, as my Mother was fond of saying.

I continue to be wildly enthusiastic about all the free univ. education.

As always am fascinated by the brain functions many of which I'm exposed to in my work. Charlie Rose has had a series of exceptional programs on his brain series -- this is the second year. Must review and write on the Oliver Sacks book I read a couple years or so ago on synesthesia I recommend to anyone interested.

Meant to add..."may" and "suggest" are weasel words, but there are numerous circumstances when they should be used instead of speaking in absolutes. Does not distract from the content, in fact, serve an important function in presentation rather than wait until certainty present. Those writers who neglect to differentiate between certainty and not so certain do readers a great disservice. Too often some neglect the "weasel" words in the interest of bombastic content, and some readers skip over them when they're present.

Small irony in the add from Spokane is the name of the street on which this is offered for Mama on Mother's day ... the street's name is Freya!

In Norse mythology, Freyja (Old Norse the "Lady") is a goddess associated with love, beauty, fertility, gold, seiðr, war, and death !!!!

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