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:
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.
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.
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.
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.