363 posts categorized "Interesting Stuff"

INTERESTING STUFF – 9 December 2017

CHRISTMAS WINDOWS FROM AROUND THE WORLD

The New York Times has a beautiful collection of department store Christmas windows from around the world:

Saks Fifth Avenue, New York City:

Saks03HOLIDAYWINDOWS2

Selfridges, London:

SelfridgesHOLIDAYWINDOW2

Many more to see at the NYT.

10-YEAR-OLD UNLOCKS MOM'S IPHONE

When the Apple iPhone X was released a few weeks go, a big deal was the facial recognition to indentify the owner and unlock the phone.

Apparently, it is not quite as secure as advertised as the parents explain:

”We were sitting down in our bedroom and were just done setting up the Face IDs, our 10-year-old son walked in anxious to get his hands on the new iPhone X. Right away my wife declared that he was not going to access her phone.

Acting exactly as a kid would do when asked to not do something, he picked up her phone and with just a glance got right in.”

Here's a re-creation of the event with mom and the kid:

More explanation at the Wired magazine story.

AMERICAN ELDER HEALTH CARE VERSUS OTHER COUNTRIES

According to the 2017 Commonwealth Fund International Health Policy Survey of Older Adults 65+ in 11 nations finds those in the U.S. are the sickest and most likely to face economic hardship.

The survey focuses on the challenges that adults 65 and older face in 11 countries: Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Here's the salient chart:

CommonwealthChartElderHealthcarebyCountry

Even with Medicare for this age group in the U.S.,

”A disproportionate share of U.S. elderly face economic challenges,” states the report.

“One-quarter reported they often worry about having enough money to buy nutritious meals or pay for necessities like housing. Rates of economic vulnerability are lowest in Norway (3%) and Sweden (4%).”

See more of the health discrepancies among the 11 countries at the Commonwealth Fund website.

THAILAND'S AMAZING, DANGEROUS RAILROAD MARKET

As the YouTube page explains,

”In Samut Songkhram, about an hour outside Bangkok, is Maeklong Railway Market, one of the largest produce and seafood markets in Thailand. But beyond the selection of fresh fruit and fish, the market has become infamous for one thing—the train that runs directly through it.

“In 1905, the Maeklong Railway built a commuter train line through the center of the popular market. But rather than move, the vendors adapted to the new conditions, working around the train that passes through eight times a day, seven days a week.”

Here's a video of it:

INTERESTING DISCUSSION OF TRUMP'S BEHAVIOR FROM BRAIN SPECIALIST PHYSICIAN

There has been a lot of agonizing in the news medis among psychiatrists about whether they are allowed to diagnose President Trump without examining him in person.

It seems to me that one doesn't need a medical degree to know something is not right with the president, but then I ran across this article not by a psychiatrist, but a physician who is a neurologist, a specialist in the diseases of the brain.

Here is part of his overview:

”In turning my attention to the president, I see worrisome symptoms that fall into three main categories: problems with language and executive function; problems with social cognition and behavior; and problems with memory, attention, and concentration.

“None of these are symptoms of being a bad or mean person. Nor do they require spelunking into the depths of his psyche to understand. Instead, they raise concern for a neurocognitive disease process in the same sense that wheezing raises the alarm for asthma.”

Read the whole article at Stat.

WHY DO WE KISS UNDER MISTLETOE?

The biology and mythology of the Christmas mistletoe tradition from TEDtalks.

WILDLIFE IN DECEMBER

This doesn't need an introduction – just enjoy.

THE POLITICAL POWER OF JOHN OLIVER

When the big threats to net neutrality emerge every now and then, the host of HBO's Last Week Tonight show, John Oliver, has stepped in with a forcible rebuttal:

“Oliver’s net-neutrality pieces speak to one of the HBO comedian’s strongest qualities: his ability to inspire passion even around the most arcane of subjects,” writes Laura Bradley at Vanity Fair. “Oliver’s explanations,” she continues, “always replete with humor and gimmicks like the creation of the Web site “gofccyourself.com,” help combat apathy. That might be why he and his viewers have seemingly managed to crash the F.C.C.’s website both times he addressed the subject.”

That's just one short take from Bradley's about the renaissance in 2017 of late-night talk shows – much to the betterment, in my opinion, of needed public political discourse.

Read the whole article at Vanity Fair.

RACCOON RESCUE

From the YouTube page:

”This is just an awesome rescue of a raccoon by some kindhearted individuals who came across him on a Jeep Club outing.

“It appears that the raccoon got trapped when a tree fell and pinned him to the ground. They used the jack from their jeep to raise the tree and free the raccoon. The raccoon appears to OK as he scampers off and climbs another tree.

Here's the video:

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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” at the top of any Time Goes By page to send them. I'm sorry that I 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 include the name of the blog and its URL.


INTERESTING STUFF – 2 December 2017

BEFORE WE GET STARTED TODAY...

Last Saturday I mentioned that Marianna Sheffer, proprietor of Hattie's Web, was in hospice. Today the news is no less sad for not being unexpected – Hattie died on Tuesday. Her daughter Alice wrote:

My mom died peacefully in her sleep last night with my sister Julia and my father Terry by her side. There will be details about a memorial gathering to take place some time in December. I will post those details here once I have them.

“I don't have any eloquent things to say but I do know that you all and this blog were an important part of her life.”

Many of the same people read Marianna's blog and this one and we will all miss her. You can leave messages at Hattie's Web.

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THE FIRST INTERNET MEME – 1996

Do you remember the dancing baby? That strange, horrid, creepy dancing baby?

It was the first meme to take over the internet and it first appeared – I would never have guessed it was this long ago – more than two decades ago. Here is its history:

HOW FRIENDS CAN HELP FRIENDS SURVIVE CHEMOTHERAPY

Research tells us that 40 percent of Americans will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetimes, and I doubt the statistics are much different in other countries.

That means if it's not you, it will be someone you know – probably more than one over time – and, also probably, someone who is close to you.

Jan Adams, who blogs at Where is the Way Forward?, sent a link to this story by Malkia Cyril, with some “real talk” about how friends can help friends through chemotherapy. A couple of examples:

”Support the agency and self determination of those battling cancer. Sometimes you may feel you know best, but the person fighting for their life and those closest to their care are the ones who know best what is needed. Make offers to help in ways that feel right to you, but don’t pressure survivors or their caregivers to accept help they may not want or need.

Wash your damn hands. No, really, personal hygiene is the most important part of helping your loved one survive chemotherapy. Chemo can kill some bone marrow, lowering the body’s resistance to infection...And, don’t just rinse them, wash the shit out of your hands and carry some hand sanitizer around. Especially if you are coming to my house. Do it, often.

The entire list is worth reading and committing to memory. You'll find it here.

HOW AUSTRALIAN EDITORIAL CARTOONISTS REPRESENT TRUMP

The U.S. has some excellent editorial cartoonists. I greatly enjoy them especially when they are on my side of the political divide.

But you haven't seen nuthin' until you've seen some Australian editorial cartoonists and their harsher takes on President Trump. A couple of examples, the first by freelance cartoonist, Judy Nadin:

JudyNadinFreelance

This one if from David Rowe of Australian Financial Review:

DavidRoweAustralianFinancialReview

The Washington Post has collected about a dozen more Australian editorial cartoons about Trump here.

ARE BANANAS GOING EXTINCT?

As the Washington Post reported recently:

”An insidious fungus known as fusarium wilt has wiped out tens of thousands of acres of Cavendish plantations in Australia and Southeast Asia over the past decade. And the fungus recently gained a foothold in Africa and the Middle East, hitching a ride on the boots of workers helping to establish new plantations.

“Scientists say Latin America, the source of virtually all the bananas eaten in the United States, is next.”

I've been reading these warnings for at least a year. Bananas are my favorite fruit. Besides how good they taste and how they go with so many other foods, they come in their own nice, neat packaging, they don't drip down your chin or arm like peaches, oranges and some apples, and they are as sweet as any fancy dessert.

Cavendish is the name for the banana most of us know, the one banana producers have grown almost exclusively for many years and the one that is succumbing to disease:

”William Goldfield, director of corporate communications for Dole Food, one of the largest producers and importers of bananas, said in an email that the company is 'looking at how to develop a disease resistant banana through crop improvement and plant breeding methods,' but he didn’t go into specifics.

“Requests for comment from the three other top banana producers went unanswered,” reports the Washington Post.

There is additional information about how we have come to point of possibly losing bananas altogether at Wired.

MEGHAN MARKLE'S TV FIANCE REACTS TO HER ROYAL ENGAGEMENT

You can't have missed the news that an American actress, Meghan Markle, is engaged to marry into the British royal family, Prince Harry to be specific.

For the past five years or so, Markle has played Rachel Zane on one of my favorite TV dramas, Suits. I got a good laugh at what her co-star Patrick J. Adams (who plays her TV fiance, Mike Ross) tweeted when he first heard the engagement news:

PatrickResponsetoMarkleTweet

Later Adams sent this further message on Twitter and Instagram:

“Playing Meghan’s television partner for the better part of a decade uniquely qualifies me to say this: Your Royal Highness, you are a lucky man and I know your long life together will be joyful, productive and hilarious. Meghan, so happy for you, friend. Much love.”

Here is a very short vid of the official engagement announcement:

WHICH CAME FIRST, THE CHICKEN OR THE EGG?

Here is part of one answer to that age-old question, and it's been a long time since I've heard anyone have as much fun with wordplay:

”How would I tell you, for example, that one of my chickens seems depressed? I might say she’s brooding, that she’s cooped up because she’s no spring chicken. Same thing I might say about your or me of course, but with my broody hen getting her feathers ruffled there is no metaphor involved. When I tell you I get up with the chickens, I mean it!”

You can listen to or read the transcript of Dan Libman's full answer here.

Reed Scherer made a rebuttal to Libman's argument. Here is part of it:

”The classic question you claim to answer was directly stated: 'Which came first, the chicken or the egg?" The question is not, "Which came first, the chicken or the chicken egg?' Given the explicitness of the language, there is in fact an unequivocal answer.”

You can read or listen to Scherer's entire rebuttal here. I find Libman's answer much more persuasive - or, anyway, more fun.

Thank TGB reader Cathy Johnson for this edifying debate.

CAUSE OF NETWORK PROBLEMS

Time was that I was fairly good at figuring out what had gone wrong when my email or web browser wasn't working.

In recent years that has changed – I'm not as good at techie things as I used to be - and I think this Wizard of Id answer, which TGB's Sunday music columnist Peter Tibbles sent, is as good as any other when computer things go wrong.

NetworkProblemscartoon2

Many more cartoons at GoComics.

LUNCH ATOP THE SKYSCRAPER

The name of the construction workers in this iconic photograph are not known, nor is the name of the photographer who was brave enough to get the shot.

Here is the story behind the famous image of these men having lunch 800 feet above the ground.

OSCAR AND PIPI

Here we go again - I cannot resist cross-species friendships.

As the YouTube page tells us, a dog and a pigeon might seem like unlikely friends, but Oscar and Pipi are inseparable when they go for walks by the beach.

That's because Oscar the pigeon was hand-raised by documentary maker Barry Ion and now thinks he's a human, even treating his own kind with “disdain.”

There is more to know about Oscar and Pipi at the Daily Mail, and thank Cathy Johnson again today for this item she send in addition to the one above.

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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” at the top of any Time Goes By page to send them. I'm sorry that I 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 include the name of the blog and its URL.


INTERESTING STUFF – 25 November 2017

BEFORE WE GET STARTED TODAY...

With the amount of time it takes to be a cancer patient, I haven't kept up with many of the websites and blogs that I used to check regularly so I am grateful to Cop Car for letting me know that elderblogger Marianna Sheffer, the proprietor of Hattie's Web blog, has stopped blogging.

Here are the two most recent posts:

November 09, 2017: Hi. I am very unwell. Hope to be able to visit your blogs when I feel better and do a real posting but struggling right now. Thinking about all of you.

November 22, 2017: This is Alice, Marianna's daughter. The cancer has progressed and is no longer treatable and Marianna is starting hospice care at home. She says she is thinking of all of you. She is comfortable at home with her family, visiting close friends and her kitty. I will keep you all updated.

Followup from Alice: Thanks everyone for your kind comments. She is able to read your comments on her smart phone. She just doesn't have the energy for typing. I know it means a lot to her to hear from all of you.

Of course, my thoughts are with Hattie (she's always been Hattie to me) and her family and if you are inclined, you can leave a note for them at Hattie's Web.

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WHY WE LOVE CERTAIN BOOKS

This is one explanation of the reason certain books are important to us. I'm sure there are others but I like this too.

REGARDING OLD LOVE LETTERS

Last week, we had a terrific discussion about what to do with old love letters as we get older. My friend Jim Stone was moved to email me this lovely and touching excerpt from John Steinbeck's novel, The Grapes of Wrath.

This is much lengthier than I usually quote but worth it.

”Ma was just through the door, and she heard his words. Slowly her relaxed face tightened, and the lines disappeared from the taut muscular face. Her eyes sharpened and her shoulders straightened. She glanced about the stripped room. Nothing was left in it except trash.

“The mattresses which had been on the floor were gone. The bureaus were sold. On the floor lay a broken comb, an empty talcum powder can, and a few dust mice. Ma set her lantern on the floor. She reached behind one of the boxes that had served as chairs and brought out a stationery box, old and soiled and cracked at the corners.

“She sat down and opened the box. Inside were letters, clippings, photographs, a pair of earrings, a little gold signet ring, and a watch chain braided of hair and tipped with gold swivels. She touched the letters with her fingers, touched them lightly, and she smoothed a newspaper clipping on which there was an account of Tom's trial.

“For a long time she held the box, looking over it, and her fingers disturbed the letters and then lined them up again. She bit her lower lip, thinking, remembering. And at last she made up her mind.

“She picked out the ring, the watch charm, the earrings, dug under the pile and found one gold cuff link. She took a letter from an envelope and dropped the trinkets in the envelope. Then gently and tenderly she closed the box and smoothed the top carefully with her fingers. Her lips parted.

“Then she stood up, took her lantern, and went back into the kitchen. She lifted the stove lid and laid the box gently among the coals. Quickly the heat browned the paper. A flame licked up and over the box. She replaced the stove lid and instantly the fire sighed up and breathed over the box.”

THE BUCKET SNATCHERS

This is amazing. From 1958 to 1986, the U.S. Air Force’s 6594th Test Group and 6593rd Test Squadron operated from Hickam Air Force Base retrieving film capsules dropped from satellites.

This newly declassified video [2016] details the history of the program and its final mission in April 1986.

CHARLIE AND THE SEAL IN ANTARCTICA

Irish journalist and broadcaster Charlie Bird has a wonderful up close experience with animals and nature when he encounters some seal pups on the beach.

He met the seals while traveling through Antarctica following the route of explorer Tom Crean’s final expedition alongside Ernest Shackleton aboard the Endurance in 1914-15.

OLD, LOST APPLES

Apples have long been a hot commodity for the people of Washington state, but in recent years, many orchards have been left abandoned. As orchards are neglected, many varieties of apples are being lost to culinary culture. David Benscoter is bringing them back.

THE DISTURBING SEXUAL MISCONDUCT PROBLEM

Cartoonist Tom Toles gets it exactly right.

TomToles

TIME MAGAZINE'S PERSON OF THE YEAR

Time magazine is asking for the “people's choice” for their annual Person of the Year. The final choice is up to the magazine's editor's but you can vote here until 3 December.

MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION BY THE NUMBERS

Here's a little video about how legalization of recreational weed is working out in Oregon, Washington state and Colorado.

OVERDOSING ON CUTE: PANDA CUBS

Researchers have been working for decades in the Wolong National Nature Reserve and Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding to boost the numbers of giant pandas in captivity, and to reintroduce some of them into the wild.

Since 2006, the breeding program has released seven captive-bred pandas into the wild, two of which have died. At the moment, there are an estimated 1,864 giant pandas living in the wild in China, with a bit more than 225 living in captivity.

Recently, Atlantic magazine posted a whole lot of great photos of baby pandas at the research base. So cute.

Here, researchers dressed as pandas, give one of the babies a checkup:

Pandas1

Here's one of the babies playing in the snow:

Panda3

A whole passel of baby pandas as one tumbles off the platform:

Pandas2

There are at least a dozen more baby panda photos at The Atlantic.

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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” at the top of any Time Goes By page to send them. I'm sorry that I 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 include the name of the blog and its URL.


INTERESTING STUFF – 18 November 2017

CENTENARIAN SHARES ADVICE WITH STRANGERS IN NYC

Eileen Wilkinson's grandson set up a laptop on an upper west side corner in New York City so that his 100-year-old grandmother could give out free advice to strangers. It seems everyone is getting something good from this. (Thank Jim Stone for sending the video.)

JOHN OLIVER'S LAST WEEK TONIGHT

I haven't featured clips from John Oliver's HBO program Last Week Tonight recently because the show is broadcast on Sunday nights and by the following Saturday, when Interesting Stuff is posted, it's old news. That's how news goes these days.

This, however, is the last show of the current seasons in which Oliver discusses the year that has passed since the election of Donald Trump. Then he enlists the catheter cowboy to teach Trump what he should have learned by now but has not.

Last Week Tonight returns to HBO in February 2018, exact date to be determined.

HISTORY OF THE WORD “DEADLINE” IS DEADLY

Nowadays, “deadline” refers to a time or date when a task must be completed, but it started out much more literally.

Heinrich Hartmann Wirz rose through the ranks of the Confederate Army during the U.S. Civil War to oversee one of the most notoriously awful prisoner of war camps, Fort Sumpter, near Andersonville, Georgia.

During his tenure running that camp that house up to 30,000 Union soldiers, Wirz created a “dead line”. As the Secretary of War reported in October 1865:

”...a line around the inner face of the stockade or wall enclosing said prison, and about twenty feet distant and within said stockade; and so established said dead line, which was in many places an imaginary line...

“he...instructed the prison guard stationed around the top of said stockade to fire upon and kill any of the prisoners aforesaid who might touch, fall upon, pass over or under or across the said “dead line...”

For that and other gross transgressions, Wirz was found guilty of violating the rights of wartime prisoners and hanged on 10 November 1865. More details of the story at Mental Floss.

FAST WORKERS WHO ARE GOOD AT THEIR JOBS

They are amazing to watch and they'll make you smile too.

ALERT: After I posted this, I found that some piece of video is not cleared for replay on some websites (this one, apparently). You can watch on YouTube. It's still fun.

A CERTAIN TREE IN THE WOODS FOR ONE YEAR

A man installed a camera aimed at one tree for a year. Here is some of what happened.

You can find out more here.

25 THINGS YOU CAN DO WITH PEANUT BUTTER BESIDES EAT IT

Someone went to a lot of trouble to find all this. Here are a few samples:

REMOVE GUM STUCK IN YOUR HAIR: The oils in peanut butter make gum less pliable and sticky, therefore easier to massage out of hair. The quick fix also works to free gum from other surfaces like clothing.

COOK SAVORY DISHES: Peanut butter shines in sugary treats, whether in a cupcake or a candy bar. But peanut butter works just as well as a savory ingredient. If you have a jar in your pantry, you can add a dollop to punch up your instant ramen, or use it as a thickener in sauces or stews.

SHINE LEATHER: Your dull leather is only a few dabs of peanut butter away from looking as good as new. Rub it into the material you want to shine by making tiny circles with your fingers, then use a towel or washcloth to wipe it off. The polishing hack also works on leather shoes.

Or so they say at Mental Floss where there are 22 more things to do with peanut butter. I haven 't tried any of them so no guarantees.

WHY INCOMPETENT PEOPLE THINK THEY'RE AMAZING

It has always made me nuts that too often really nice people are not good at what they do. And, that the reverse is also too often true – that unlikable people are really talented.

Here's a sort of explanation :

MAYBE YOUR DOG ISN'T COLOR BLIND AFTER ALL

They've always told us that dogs (and cats also) don't see as many colors or as vividly as humans do. Now “they” are saying that may not be true:

”The finding suggests that, 'if you are planning to train your dog to fetch a ball that fell on the green grass of your garden, think of using a blue, and not red, ball,' said study lead researcher Marcello Siniscalchi, a professor in the Department of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Bari, in Italy...

“It's a common misperception that dogs see only in black and white. Rather, research shows that dogs' eyes have two kinds of cones, the photoreceptor cells responsible for color vision. One cone type is sensitive to yellow and another to blue, Siniscalchi said. This suggests that dogs can see yellows, blues and their different combinations, he said.”

Read more details about this study at Live Science.

CLONE YOUR PET

This isn't a new service. Certainly you remember the first animal clone, Dolly the sheep. A few companies have been cloning people's pets for a decade or more and it is almost common practice now to clone farm animals such as cattle, horses, pigs and sheep.

Recently, TV station KDKA reported on pet cloning at a Texas company that charges $50,000 for dogs. Cat owners get off for half that price. Here's the video.

You can read more at the Washington Post.

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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” at the top of any Time Goes By page to send them. I'm sorry that I 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 include the name of the blog and its URL.


INTERESTING STUFF – 11 November 2017

VETERANS DAY

Today is American Veteran's Day and I like this video that turned up about Captain Simtratpal Singh who is a West Point graduate, a war veteran, an active duty Army officer and a recipient of the Bronze Star.

He is also a Sikh, and successfully sued the U.S. Department of Defense in 2016 to be able to wear his beard and turban with his fatigues.

WHY THERE ARE TWO NAMES FOR THE CURRENT SEASON OF THE YEAR

In the northern hemisphere of the world, the English-speaking part of it, there are two names for the current season of the year: autumn and fall. The other three seasons have only one name each. How did this happen?

”Fall was, in fact, the very last of the four seasons to become codified with a name, or even the designation as a season on par with the others,” explains Atlas Obscura.

“There are mentions of winter, summer, and spring in manuscripts dating back to the 12th century; the name of spring may not have been settled upon, but the idea that it was a full season came much earlier than with fall...

“The word 'autumn' has French roots; in modern French the word is automne. It certainly has Latin roots, coming from the word autumnus, which in turn comes from – somewhere...

“Autumn shows up in English first around the late 14th and early 15th centuries, though it coexisted with 'harvest' as a loose description of the season for another 200 years.

“Fall is different. It first shows up in the mid-16th century in England, primarily at first as “the fall of the leaf,” which was shortened to just “fall.” Like “harvest,” it is descriptive, but more evocative...”

There is much more detail about the naming of the seasons at Atlas Obscura and it's more interesting that you might think.

THE DONKEY BEEKEEPER

This is funny but also a practical solution for a beekeeper in rural Brazil.

Manuel Juraci Vieira needed a way to transport the honey he would collect from his beehives on his farm back to his home. His solution? His donkey, Boneco.

Outfitted in his very own homemade beekeeping suit, Boneco tags alongside Vieira, helping him carry the honey they gather during their hauls. Take a look:

A BRIEF HISTORY OF TIME

Yes, that is the title of a book by physicist Stephen Hawking from 1989, that was cosmic in scope. This, today, has the same name but a different goal, to explain how our system of telling time was created. As the YouTube page mentions,

”Why do we divide the day into 24 hours of 60 minutes each, and put 60 seconds in each minute? Where does the definition of a second come from? And who decides what clock shows the correct time?”

There is some more written information at Mental Floss.

AMERICANS ARE OFFICIALLY FREAKING OUT

Or, so says Bloomberg News:

”The 'current social divisiveness' in America was reported by 59 percent of those surveyed as a cause of their own malaise. When the APA surveyed Americans a year ago, 52 percent said they were stressed by the presidential campaign. Since then, anxieties have only grown.

“A majority of the more than 3,400 Americans polled, 59 percent, said 'they consider this to to be the lowest point in our nation’s history that they can remember.'

“That sentiment spanned generations, including those that lived through World War II, the Vietnam War, and the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11. (Some 30 percent of people polled cited terrorism as a source of concern, a number that’s likely to rise given the alleged terrorist attack in New York City on Tuesday.)”

Here's the chart of what Americans are most worried about:

Bloomberg Stress

I'm personally disappointed that climate change is last on the list. You can read more at Bloomberg.

ARE YOU WASHING YOUR HANDS ALL WRONG?

Because chemotherapy compromises the immune system and makes the patient more susceptible to infection, I wash my hand these days a whole lot more frequently than in the past.

Sometimes I use medical gloves, as when I clean the cat's litter box but mostly I wash, wash, wash.

This video turned up from The New York Times a few days ago, originally published in 2016 about the best, safest way to wash our hands.

BRINGING BACK A RAIN FOREST

What was once 300 acres of coffee and cardamom fields in India’s Southern Ghats is now lush native forest, all thanks to the hard work and dedication of Pamela Gale Malhotra and her husband Anil, explains the YouTube page.

The couple started India’s first private wildlife sanctuary, SAI sanctuary, and for the past two decades they have been nursing the land back to life. Here’s how they did it. It's amazing.

SIMON'S CAT – OFF TO THE VET

Simon's Cat has been a YouTube staple for years now. Some, in my viewpoint, funny and sometimes not. This is new, a full-color, long (13-minutes) “Simon's Cat Special” crowdfunded at Indiegogo.

The YouTube page tells us that Simon’s Cat: Off to the Vet has screened at multiple film festivals around the world and was awarded The McLaren Award for Best British Animation at the Edinburgh International Film Festival 2016. Enjoy.

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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” at the top of any Time Goes By page to send them. I'm sorry that I 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 include the name of the blog and its URL.


INTERESTING STUFF – 4 November 2017

HOW AN IGLOO KEEPS YOU WARM

I always wondered about this. Here's a good explanation:

TURN YOUR CLOCKS BACK TONIGHT

Yes, daylight savings time ends in the U.S. tonight which can give you an extra hour of sleep – you know, that one you lost in the spring.

I didn't have any success in finding a cool video to go with this reminder, but I did find a wonderful one from John Oliver's show from spring 2015 discussing the uselessness of this semi-annual ritual. Enjoy:

IT'S MUELLER TIME

My friend, Jim Stone was the first of many TGB readers to send this fantastic video. As he wrote in his email, “A boy can dream, can't he?”

MORE THAN HALF OF NOMINEES CONNECTED TO INDUSTRIES THEY REGULATE

Undoubtedly some of you, like me, wonder how it is every single presidential nominee to head various federal agencies are people opposed to regulation of the industries they are hired to oversee. Or at least, it seems that way. Are we wrong?

Apparently, the Daily Beast was thinking the same thing, and they looked into the issue:

”The Daily Beast examined 341 nominations the president has made to Senate-confirmed administration positions. Of those, more than half (179) have some notable conflict of interest, according to a comprehensive review of public records,” reported Lachlan Markay and Sam Stein.

“One hundred and five nominees worked in the industries that they were being tasked with regulating; 63 lobbied for, were lawyers for, or otherwise represented industry members that they were being tasked with regulating; and 11 received payments or campaign donations from members of the industry that they were being tasked with regulating.”

So my back-of-the-envelope calculations weren't wrong. You can read more at the Daily Beast.

THE QUEEN OF ENGLAND'S STAND-IN

Who knew? For decades, this woman has been standing in for Queen Elizabeth when the monarch's public appearances are being rehearsed.

ALL CATS ALL THE TIME

Pluto TV is television service that runs on a variety of apps and on the web. I had never heard of it before this week when I was made aware of its all cats all the time channel.

What could be more appropriate for the place, the web, that was built on cat videos and cat memes.

At Pluto TV online, you can watch cat videos 24/7. See it here where there are clip shows around the clock. Find out more about Pluto TV at Wikipedia.

WAR HORSES

These days we most frequently hear the phrase “war horse” as a metaphor in reference to old politicians or sports figures who have been around forever and, sometimes, stage musicals that are frequently revived.

But for centuries, there were real-life war horses. As the YouTube page explains, these “Friesen” horses

”...were originally bred...in the days of knights and armor. As armor got heavier, bigger horses were needed and the Friesens almost became extinct. They are now back and are one of the most beautiful horses in stature as well as gait...

“Their manes and tails are the longest that I have seen and I noticed that when performing on grass, their hoofs do not kick up a divot, as they land flat footed...These horses are native to the Netherlands.

Thank Darlene Costner for sending this.

* * *

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” at the top of any Time Goes By page to send them. I'm sorry that I 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 include the name of the blog and its URL.


INTERESTING STUFF – 28 October 2017

EDITORIAL NOTE: Due to my ongoing computer problems, I haven't read much news this week so I don't have as many items this week, I didn't have time for random web wandering and worst, my safety, backup list of good items is stuck in the broken computer. So today's offering is skimpy and leans heavily on animals. Maybe we all need some lighthearted Interesting Stuff.

* * *

A BEAR OF A HOT DAY

It's been hot, hot, hot in southern California. On the first night of the World Series, the temperature was above 100F. Apparently it was even too hot for a bear family in the San Gabriel Mountains who strolled down to a backyard swimming pool in the town of Monrovia.

ONLY PERSON BURIED ON THE MOON

Well, they surprised me. I didn't know anyone was buried there, but a scientist named Eugene Shoemaker is:

”Shoemaker enjoyed a celebrated career combining his main discipline of geology with more astronomical applications, helping to create the field of planetary science,” Atlas Obscura tells us.

“He studied a number of craters here on Earth, and in the early 1960s, he founded the Astrogeology Research Program within the United States Geological Survey. Shoemaker used his knowledge to train a number of Apollo mission astronauts about what they could expect to find on the surface of the moon, in terms of terrain.”

Eugene Shoemaker

”A close colleague of Shoemaker’s, Carolyn Porco, had decided to try and finally get the deceased scientist, who had wanted to be an astronaut in life but was disqualified for medical reasons, to the moon. Luckily, NASA also liked the idea of honoring Shoemaker by getting his ashes all the way to the lunar surface...”

You can read how that was accomplished at Atlas Obscura.

WHERE DID HE PARK HIS DONKEY?

At least, when you lose your car in a parking lot, there are different colors to help you find it. This poor guy, looking for his parked donkey, has only one color to deal with.

Okay, okay, I know it's just a joke video but it gave me a good giggle.

EVEN REPUBLICANS WANT TO LEGALIZE MARIJUANA

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is beginning a push to further criminalize marijuana. He's on the wrong side of history and as Gallup reported this week, even a majority of Republicans was legalization:

Gallup marijuana

More information and slightly larger graph at Gallup.

DOGGIE/KITTIE SLUMBER PARTY

Anyone who needs a respite from the daily drumbeat of horrible political news might be restored a bit by this lovely, short, little vid.

HONOLULU BANS CROSSING ROAD WHILE USING PHONE

On 1 October this year, new stiffer penalties went into effect in Oregon for people caught red-handed uses telephones in their cars:

”When House Bill 2597 takes effect Sunday, drivers will no longer be able to hold or touch their cell phones or any other electronic device while driving, reported KPKTV.com.”That means you’ll need to be hands-free and using options like Bluetooth or a mounted device. Drivers under the age of 18 can’t use phones or other electronic devices under any circumstances.”

This past week, Honolulu became the first city in the United States to ban using cell phones while walking across a street:

”Under the legislation, people caught manipulating a mobile electronic device while crossing a road or highway can be fined up to $35 for their first offense, as much as $75 for the second, and up to $99 for a third infraction.

“Pedestrians are still allowed to talk on the phone while crossing the street, Honolulu Police Department Sgt. James Shyer said to BuzzFeed News.

"'Looking down and manipulating the phone, like texting, means your eyes are off the road, you are distracted, you are not making eye contact with the drivers, and that's when you're subject to being cited,' Shyer said about enforcing the new law.”

More at Buzzfeed.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN

I had something wonderful for this Halloween weekend, but it's stuck inside the broken computer and I don't know where to find it online again, so this instead: I first published it in about 2007, maybe even earlier. I still think it's funny.

Witch

* * *

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” at the top of any Time Goes By page to send them. I'm sorry that I 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 include the name of the blog and its URL.


INTERESTING STUFF – 21 October 2017

ENGLAND'S OLDEST STUNT MAN

Rocky Taylor has been a movie stunt man for 54 years, he's got the Guinness Record for it length of time at the job and he's not stopping any time soon.

”He’s been in over 14 Bond films, set sail (and sunk) aboard the Titanic, and swashbuckled alongside Indiana Jones,” the YouTube page tells us.

Even a near-death accident while shooting a stunt for Death Wish 3won't stop Taylor. Here's more of his story.

FIRST CHRISTMAS COMMERCIAL?

On Monday, 16 October, I saw a TV Christmas commercial for HSN.com.

Halloween is still two weeks away, Thanksgiving a month later and Christmas more than two months away. It makes me so tired. Can't we have one holiday at a time?

Has anyone else seen or heard a Christmas commercial yet?

REDWOOD NATIONAL PARK IN NORTHERN CALIFORNIA

The workers are finally gaining control over much of the wildfires in California but there has been a horrible loss of life, of property and the forests themselves.

The families of those who died will live with that all their lives. Hundreds of others have lost their homes and everything they owned. The forests, although they will recover pretty much on their own in time, are gone for now too.

Here's a look at how magnificent they can be.

CHECKLISTS ARE BORING BUT BETTER THAN DEATH

The Harvard Gazette this week published a story about how checklists, boring old checklists, can and do save lives.

In the medical world, they started a few years ago at the urging of Atul Gawande, the Harvard professor, surgeon and writer for The New Yorker. He even wrote a book about value titled, The Checklist Manifesto – How to Get Things Right published in 2009.

As the Harvard Gazette reports:

”Checklists, smartphone apps, or other interventions are penicillin-like in their life-saving potential, said Gawande, who spoke Friday at Faneuil Hall as part of HUBweek.

“His checklist takes aim at preventable surgical deaths, the estimated cause of as many as half of all surgery-related deaths. Recently published research on a checklist trial in South Carolina hospitals showed a reduction of 22 percent of all surgical deaths.”

I've been using checklists pretty much every day of my life – for less that life-threatening reasons – and they have saved my bacon many times. So I have no doubt they save thousands of lives in medical situations. You can read more here.

WHY IS IT SO HARD TO CURE CANCER?

As you might imagine, this question is of greater interest to me these days than in the past. In fact, it was more than 50 years ago that I recall thinking cancer would not be an issue in my old age.

Yeah, right. This is a TED-Ed video that explains some of the intricacies that make curing cancer so difficult.

”LOOKING FOR THIS BOOK EVERYWHERE”

That was the message from my friend Jim Stone who sent along this book image he found somewhere online which seems particularly approprate this week as President Trump seems to be entirely off his rails.

Fuck-all-yall-a-memoir-by-the-bitch-who

HOW DA VINCI BROUGHT MONA LISA TO LIFE WITH SCIENCE

This video details how Leonardo Da Vinci made the Mona Lisa interactive using innovative painting techniques and the physiology of the human eye.

The video is adapted by The Atlantic from the new book, Leonardo Da Vinci by Walter Isaacson and his story about it in the magazine:

Read more at The Atlantic.

GUNS, LAS VEGAS AND LIFE

Just so you know my friend Jim Stone is good for so much more than a quick profane laugh as above, he also sent a link to an essay by John Cole published at Balloon Juice following the horrific murders in Las Vegas. Here is a pertinent paragraph:

“It’s a fragile and short and wonderful thing being alive, and your life is really, truly, the only thing you have in this world. And that’s what is so damned maddening about these shootings.

“All of those people had the only thing that mattered stolen from them, literally robbed at gunpoint, just so a few people retain their unfettered right to own a little hand-held killing machine that makes their dick hard or gives them a grin for ten seconds at a firing range.”

Read the entire essay, titled The Selfishness of It All, here.

MONARCH BUTTERFLIES' WINTER MIGRATION

In recent years, the monarch butterly population has been declining while scientists try to work out how to stop it.

Meanwhile, however, they are still “the largest insect migration in the world which ends each year in Michoacán, Mexico.

”Millions of monarch butterflies travel from the United States and Canada to pass the cold months in the towering trees of this beautiful forest. On their incredible journey, the butterflies travel around 2,800 miles.”

Take a look.

* * *

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” at the top of any Time Goes By page to send them. I'm sorry that I 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 include the name of the blog and its URL.


INTERESTING STUFF – 14 October 2017

HOW ELDERS ARE GETTING BY IN PUERTO RICO

This week, President Donald J. Trump tweeted that he is ready to abandon the American citizens of Puerto Rico.

TrumpTweetPuertoRico

When he said this on Tuesday, FEMA estimated that 36 percent of the people still have no access to safe drinking water, food is scarce and 90 percent of the island lacks electricity.

On October 6 and 9, U.S. News reporter, Lisa Esposito, spoke by text and iffy phone with Paul Stearns who happened to be visiting his 81-year-old mother on the Puerto Rican island of Vieques when the hurricane hit and is still there caring for her.

Some excerpts from Esposito's conversation with Stearns:

”Since the storm I am surprised [at not seeing] any special attention being given to older adults and other vulnerable populations here on the island.”
”We are eating and [the] grocery store is open but [with] limited options for a healthy and balanced diet. Fresh vegetables have been nonexistent and [we] mostly count on canned foods. Our home and many others have electric stoves so it is difficult for me to make a balanced meal for her. I am currently using a single Sterno with a hibachi grill supported by two cans of corned beef.”
”After the storm there were people who could not get medicine such as insulin and inhalers because they had no cash. The pharmacy refused and it took a local hotel to front the cash. We are an all-cash society now.”
”On the day Maria arrived landline phone service was cut and we had no way to dial 911 and still don't since cellphone service doesn't reach every part of the island.”
”Some people have already left and more are planning to leave until the electrical infrastructure has returned…It is hard for [my mother] to get a good night's rest without [air conditioning] and some days she is overly hot.”
”One other item I'd like to add is with older adults and their pets: The Humane Society is here and I volunteered with them yesterday. I asked what was specifically being done to help these older adults with pets. There seems to be [nothing].”

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and others have tried to walk back Trump's tweet about abandoning Puerto Rico. We'll see. We'll see.

Read the entire story at U.S. News.

TRUMP “DISGUSTED” AT FIRST AMENDMENT

That tweet (above) was Tuesday. On Wednesday, Trump said in the Oval Office, “It’s frankly disgusting the press is able to write whatever they want to write. People should look into it.” Here is a report about that:

As several reporters have since noted, a 71-year-old native American should know by now that the First Amendment ensures freedom of the press. More at Vox.

TOM TOLES' ON ENDING THE WAR ON COAL AND...

Washington Post editorial cartoonist, Tom Toles, did a masterful job of combining the president's various hints about possible war with North Korea (or some other country, depending on the day) and EPA chief Scott Pruitt's declaration that the “war on coal” is over:

Tometolescoal2

Amanda Marcotte at Salon has a good analysis of the war on coal pronouncement. Some excerpts:

"'The war against coal is over,' [Donald Trump's EPA head] Scott Pruitt announced with great fanfare at an event with coal miners in Hazard, Kentucky, on Monday. 'No better place to make that announcement than Hazard, Kentucky.'

“Pruitt's ostensible reason for this attempted rollback is that the Clean Power Plan was not crafted 'carefully, properly, and with humility,' but he hasn't taken any great pains to hide the real reason he opposes it: The plan encourages states to shift away from coal and towards natural gas or renewable resources to generate electricity...

“'Continuing to prop up the coal industry is bad for the economy, just as it’s bad for the environment,' Michael Brune, the executive director of the Sierra Club, told Salon.

“As Brune explained, the Sierra Club has invested immense resources — 160 of its employees — in the task of monitoring the nation's coal-burning power plants. What they've discovered, he said, is that coal plants are shutting down as other energy sources become 'more accessible and more affordable.' Since 2010, in fact, almost half of the coal-burning plants in the country have either been retired or have a planned retirement date.”

Breathing may become optional thanks to Pruitt.

Whew! That's a lot of hard-to-take stuff. Following is your reward for getting through it starting with

OH NO – HAVING ANOTHER A BAD DAY?

When I check the headlines each morning, I know just how the panda in this gif feels: (Via giphy)

BIRTH OF THE ISRAELI AIR FORCE

Almost every day now I need to find something uplifting or inspirational that restores my faith in the human condition. Here is one.

When Israel declared statehood on May 14, 1948, they had no air force. World War II pilots, mostly Americans, were secretly recruited and trained to help Israel defend itself from the Arab nations and were eager to do so.

The documentary Above and Beyond: The Birth of the Israeli Air Force was produced to tell the story. This is an excerpt.

FALL COLORS PHOTOS

Where I live, the fall color spectacular is in full, gorgeous swing. My friend, Darlene Costner, sent a series of stunning fall foliage photos.

As with most forwarded photo exhibits, there are no credits. This is, of course, no fault of Darlene's. For those of you who do not live near desiduous trees or do live in places on the globe where it is spring, here is a sampling of them.

FallPhoto1

FallPhoto2

FallPhoto3

THE 1940'S/1950'S UK RADIO STATION

An email arrived this week from Jay Lawrence telling me about having found my story on the 1940's recording of Manhattan Tower which will be playing on his U.K. radio programme, The M&M Show soon. (Note my spelling of that word in deference to the origin of the show.)

It is actually two radio stations, referred to collectively as the UK 1940s and 1950s Radio Stations. I had not known of this website before and have been having a fine ol' time listening to songs of my childhood and teen years.

I'm telling you because I'm pretty sure a lot of the people who read this blog would like it too. You can listen live here.

Jay's THE M&M SHOW is broadcast at 6AM & 6PM GMT on the 1950s site. He also hosts a programme titled From Stateside that is heard daily on the UK 1940s Radio Station at 8AM AND 8PM GMT which is where the Manhattan Tower will be broadcast in rotation beginning today.

You can find out what time to listen where you live at this GMT time converter.

CHICKEN FARMER'S SIDE-SPLITTING LAUGH

Frederik van Wijk is a chicken farmer in the Netherlands. Both he and a reporter broke into uncontrollable laughter on camera when the reporter realized that Mr. van Wijk's laugh sounds a lot like a chicken. Take a look:

SAND CAT VIDEO PROBABLY THE FIRST EVER

Sand cats look a lot like your house cat but they are wild cats who live in the extreme weather of the African desert. They are also shy and are hardly ever photographed. This is believed to be the first-ever video of them.

So cute.

The footage was shot by the Sand Cat Sahara Team. There is more to read at the group's Facebook page.

* * *

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” at the top of any Time Goes By page to send them. I'm sorry that I 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 include the name of the blog and its URL.


INTERESTING STUFF – 7 October 2017

CHART OF MASS KILLINGS 2013-2017

It's been a terrible week for several reasons, the saddest of which is the shooting in Las Vegas. It may seem like it's a unique event but that is so only in the number dead.

There is a mass shooting in the United States almost every day.

Here is a graphic showing the horrific number of mass killings in the past five years. The gray are people injured in each incidence. The red are the number who died.

MassKillings

SHAG TEAM FROM CAMP HOLLYWOOD

They call it a shag team – that just means swing dancing and it's so much fun. Thank Darlene Costner for this.

CAT LEGENDS THROUGHOUT HISTORY

Pretty much during all the ages of humankind, cats have been mysterious beings, loved or reviled – depending.

Mental Floss gives us 14 ancient legends about cats. Here are some examples:

”A certain sect of Buddhism once practiced in the former kingdoms of Siam and Burma believed that when you die, if you’re holy enough, your soul is transferred to a cat for safekeeping. In this way, special souls lived in a sort of feline purgatory, and when the kitty died, the chaste soul would ascend to paradise.
”In a few different areas of Europe, it was thought to be ill-advised for a pregnant woman to pick up a cat or let it sleep in her lap. In Portugal, it was once said the cat will afflict the baby with a wart or mole, usually a hairy one, and in England, it was thought the baby will either be born with a cat-shaped birthmark or with the face of a cat.”

Kingcat

”Medieval people thought that cats were the Devil’s personal soul courier, ferrying spirits to Hell. The three hairs on the tip of a cat’s tail were said to be 'the devil’s hairs,' which compelled the cat to stay up all night, prowling, when all Christian creatures should be asleep.

“In the American South, it was thought that anyone who drowned a cat would be punished by the Devil himself (for the lesser crime of kicking a cat, he’d just give you rheumatism).”
Many more cat legends at Mental Floss.

HOW SONGS BECOME EARWORMS

A Harvard Medical School psychiatry professor explains a bit about earworms. A couple of excerpts:

"Certain songs are catchier than others, and so more likely to “auto repeat” in your head. When music psychologist Kelly Jakubowski and her colleagues studied why, they found these songs were faster and simpler in melodic contour (the pitch rose and fell in ways that made them easier to sing)."
"In order to get stuck in your head, earworms rely on brain networks that are involved in perception, emotion, memory, and spontaneous thought. They are typically triggered by actually hearing a song, though they may also creep up on you when you are feeling good, or when you are in a dreamy (inattentive) or nostalgic state."
"Some people try to distract themselves from the song, and it works. In one study, the most helpful “cure” tunes were “God Save The Queen” by Thomas Arne and “Karma Chameleon” by Culture Club. Others seek out the tune in question, because it is commonly believed that earworms occur when you remember only part of a song; hearing the entire song may extinguish it."

You can read more about earworms here.

RIGHTS V. PRIVILEGES – ONE REPUBLICAN SENATOR

Watch one U.S. Senator, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, explain that Americans have no rights except to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Everything else - food, shelter and certainly health care, he says - are privileges reserved for those who can afford them. Take a listen as a high school student asks him this question:

Of the 25 wealthiest nations, only the United States does not recognize health care as a right. Read more at Think Progress.

TREES EATING ARLINGTON CEMETERY HEADSTONES

Arlington Cemetery is hallowed ground, the burial place of more than 400,000 military service people. Recently some of the magnificent trees at the cemetery have been absorbing some headstones:

ArlingtonCemeteryTreeheadstone

Find A Grave puts the count at 11 afflicted markers,” explains Atlas Obscura, “with most of the entombed having served in the Civil War, World War I, or World War II.”

Read more at Atlas Obscura.

ARE WE, HUMANS, A MIND WITH A BODY OR VICE VERSA?

Here is a fascinating TedEd talk about what philosophers have had to say about this mind/body problem.

HOW FLYING MESSES WITH OUR MINDS

Airline flight takes a toll on our minds and bodies in more ways than I would have thought. According to a story at BBC.com:

”The reduced air pressure on airline flights can reduce the amount of oxygen in passengers’ blood between 6 and 25% (hypoxia), a drop that in hospital would lead many doctors to administer supplementary oxygen. For healthy passengers, this shouldn’t pose many issues, although in the elderly and people with breathing difficulties, the impact can be higher.”
”The combination of low air pressure and humidity can reduce the sensitivity of our taste buds to salt and sweet by up to 30%. A study commissioned by airline Lufthansa also showed that the savoury flavours in tomato juice taste better during a flight.”
“'Anxiety levels can increase with hypoxia,' explains Valerie Martindale, president of the Aerospace Medical Association at King’s College London. Anxiety is not the only aspect of mood that can be affected by flying. A number of studies has shown spending time at altitude can increase negative emotions like tension, make people less friendly, decrease their energy levels and affect their ability to deal with stress."

And that's just part of the bad news about flying, especially long distances. Read more here.

DOG AND JAGUAR BEST FRIENDS

This Jack Russell terrier and jaguar are best friends, together 24 hours a day at the Akwaaba Lodge in South Africa. Take a look:

* * *

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” at the top of any Time Goes By page to send them. I'm sorry that I 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 include the name of the blog and its URL.


INTERESTING STUFF – 30 September 2017

HENRY LOWENSTERN ON FALLING

A week ago, I posted an important story about falling prevention. That prompted TGB reader, Henry Lowenstern to email this follow-up ditty titled, Vanishing Vanity:

I constantly think about forestalling
my ever present fear of falling,
but, am as yet too vain
to use a walker or a cane
and may some day end up crawling.

WHAT A REAL LEADER LOOKS AND SOUNDS LIKE

For two years, Americans – nay, the world - has been subjected to the vulgar, offensive, misleading, incomprehensible utterances and fairly constant lies from President Trump.

He can hardly open his mouth without revealing his ignorance, stupidity and lack of interest in anything but his own aggrandizement. The “leader of the free world.” Yeah. Sure.

On Thursday, Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria, superintendant of the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado, in no uncertain terms, took on an incident of racial slurs at the institution in front of all 4,000 cadets. This is leadership. Take a look:

To reiterate General Silveria: “If you can't treat someone with dignity and respect, then get out.”

EMAIL SUBSCRIPTIONS TO TIME GOES BY

Several messages arrived from readers this week notifying me that their email blog posts were not arriving as usual. This is because they are subscribed through Feedburner which hiccups every now and then, throwing people out of the system.

Google owns the email distribution system, Feedburner. They stopped servicing it five or so years ago and it has been deteriorating every since. So from time to time, it stops working for some people.

When it was announced that Google was abandoning Feedburner those several years go, I contracted with a paid email and rss distribution service, Feedblitz. (Yes, the two names are confusing.)

So, if you are still subscribed via Feedburner and want to ensure email delivery of Time Goes By, go to the top right of any page here, fill in your email address under the header “Subscribe” and your delivery problems will be solved.

TWO NAKED GUYS WITH TOWELS

I'm pretty sure I've posted this before – a few years ago – but I can't find it and anyway, it's really funny. Thank Darlene Costner.

AN AMAZING GARDEN GROWN FROM RESCUED PLANTS

This is gorgeous, a 30-year labor of love. Here's what the YouTube page tells us:

”In Bishopville, South Carolina, Pearl Fryar is a local gardening legend. When he first moved to the small town in the 1980s, he was almost unable to build his house because neighbors feared that as an African American, he wouldn’t keep up his yard.

“Determined to dispel that stereotype, Fryar went on to win 'Yard of the Month' from the local garden club. Since then, he’s created a world-renowned topiary garden with more than 300 plants, most of which were rescued from the compost pile of a local nursery.”

GINORMOUS DATA CABLE

This week a gigantic, new trans-Atlantic data cable between the U.S. and Spain was finished. I mean huge: it can transmit 160 terabits of data per second which means, according to USA Today:

”To put that in perspective, when you break it down into the gigabytes we're familiar with, 160 terabits equals 20,000 GB of data. So, let's say you're downloading movies that are 2 GB in size, you could download 10,000 movies in one second.”

Marea

The cable was funded by Microsoft and Facebook. You can read much more about this cable named Marea (Spanish for wave) at USA Today, MIT Technology Review and Engadget among other sources.

THE DUBIOUS FRIENDS OF DONALD TRUMP – PART 3, THE BILLION DOLLAR FRAUD

Zembla is a Dutch public television program. The show has been tracking Donald Trumps questionable financial connections to Russia and other sources. The third installment of the series was released on YouTube this week titled: The Dubious Friends of Donald Trump – Part 3, The Billion Dollar Fraud.

You can watch it right here or at YouTube.

The first two installments, both published last May, can also be seen at YouTube:

The Dubious Friends of Donald Trump: The Russians
The Dubious Friends of Donald Trump: King of Diamonds

Read more about these documentaries at Alternet.

WHY DOUGHNUT BOXES ARE PINK

It's not so at my favorite doughnut shop where I live now, but pink doughnut boxes are pervasive in a lot of other places like New York City and Portland, Maine, where I lived before.

Here's the story about why so many are pink.

WOODPECKER TEACHERS SQUIRREL A LESSON

No explanation needed; just watch.

* * *

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” at the top of any Time Goes By page to send them. I'm sorry that I 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 include the name of the blog and its URL.


INTERESTING STUFF – 23 September 2017

SAFETY FEATURES FOR ELDERS IN NEW CARS

Writing in The New York Times, long-time health reporter Jane Brody tells us that contrary to popular belief, elders are generally safe drivers:

”When a crash occurs involving an older driver, it tends to garner media attention, whereas the same accident with a younger driver would not. 'That’s unfair to the general population of older adults, who are among the safest drivers on the road,' said Jacob Nelson, the director of traffic safety advocacy and research at AAA.'”

That doesn't mean old drivers can't use some helpful safety features and these days Brody, now arrived at elderhood, often writes about our issues. Like me, she sometimes takes her cues from what is happening in her life.

Recently, she bought a new car:

”...driving home from the Subaru dealer with the lane departure feature activated, I immediately saw one benefit: The car beeped me and displayed a visual image every time I got too close to either side of my lane when I wasn’t signaling a turn.

“Backing out of a parking lot, the dashboard backup camera assured me that I wasn’t about to hit another car or pedestrian, though I also used my eyes and mirrors as added insurance.

“...As someone with arthritic hands (among other body parts), I’m aided by power seats that can be preset two ways: one for my best driving position and the other to ease entry and exit from the car.

“Other useful features include power windows and mirrors, a thicker steering wheel that is easier to grip, keyless entry, an automatic tailgate closer and a push-button to start (and stop) the engine.”

I would like to remind us all that safety features of any kind originally meant with elders in mind are always, ALWAYS equally good for younger people.

JIMMY KIMMEL ON THE LATEST REPEAL OBAMACARE BILL

You've undoubtedly heard all the back-and-forth on the Republicans' latest attempt to repeal Obamacare - you know, the Graham-Cassidy bill that will strip coverage from millions of ordinary folks so that rich people can have the huge tax cut candidate Trump promised them during the election campaign..

The Graham-Cassidy bill which Republicans want Congress to vote on without debate or discussion just might repeal Obamacare this time.

Late night host Jimmy Kimmel this week revealed Cassidy's horrendous hypocrisy on the subject. The video is a little longer that I usually post but it is important:

As the week has gone by, more terrible details from Graham-Cassidy have been released - or leaked. Such as this:

Graham

Much more information, including a larger version of that graph, about Graham-Cassidy at Esquire. (Thank you John Starbuck.)

MORE JIMMY KIMMEL

I usually record the monologues of a couple of the late night hosts to watch the next day and it is recently becoming obvious that I have not paid enough attention to Jimmy Kimmel.

He's not always as serious as in the clip above. Sometimes he's pretty funny and in this one, Kimmel identified what he calls “The most uncomfortable display of affection between a husband and wife this year.” It is good to lighten our mood in the midst of Congress's ongoing determination to leave a vast swath of Americans with health coverage.

IT'S JUST A TV COMMERCIAL BUT WOW

It is an eye drops commercial from Germany. You would think, no big deal. Not a word is spoken but you won't miss the amazing point at the end of the 45 seconds. Really clever.

GIVING INJURED STRAYS A SECOND CHANCE

For many years when I lived in Greenwich Village, I regularly saw a man walking his dog who got around in a wheelchair to support his paralyzed back legs. Nicely done, I thought.

Then, a week or two ago I found this video about a man in a town on Taiwan, Pan Chieh, who makes similar wheelchairs for injured stray dogs. Take a look at his inspiring story.

AMAZING 15 THOUSAND DOMINO LINE

It's been awhile since I've posted a domino line. This is not the longest one I've ever seen but I like it anyway. And it has garnered more than 40 million views in one year on YouTube.

NEW DICTIONARY WORDS FOR 2018

Every year, the Merriam-Webster people announce the latest words they have found worthy to be included in their dictionaries. There are 250 new ones this year including:

bibimbap, a Korean dish of rice with cooked vegetables, usually meat, and often an egg, either raw or fried

sriracha, the pungent hot pepper sauce now appearing on even diner counters

Some words get additional meanings. Front is now also used informally to mean "to assume a fake or false personality to conceal one's true identity and character."

Terms like alt-right and dog whistle are from the world of politics. The latter began, of course, as something only for canines, but in political contexts it now refers to an expression or statement with a secondary meaning that only a particular group of people is intended to understand.

You can find out all 250 new words at the Merriam-Webster website. (Warning: a man starts talking as soon as you land there so you might want to turn off your audio.)

THE TRUMP SONATA

TGB friend, Chuck Nyren, who blogs at Advertising for Baby Boomers, sent this item that

”...makes use of Trump as 'raw material' and portrays him from an artistic perspective. The only considerations made by [composer and artis Avnere Hanani] were musical and aesthetic, with a touch of humor.

“Important to notice that no manipulation was made to Trump's speech. I did not touch the pitch or rhythm of his speech (just to make him suit the piano more easily), but rather left Trump's talk natural - "let Trump be Trump".

RARE WHITE GIRAFFE AND HER BABY IN KENYA

You may have seen this – it's been all over the feature news this week but these two exotic animals are so elegant looking that it's worth a repeat here.

They are two rare white giraffes — a mother and a baby — filmed in early August in Kenya after being spotted repeatedly since June in the Garissa County area.

They are white because of a genetic condition called leucism, which causes a loss of pigmentation. Leucism is different than albinism because multiple types of pigment are reduced rather than just melanin.

There is a detailed story about them at The New York Times.

* * *

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” at the top of any Time Goes By page to send them. I'm sorry that I 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 include the name of the blog and its URL.


INTERESTING STUFF – 16 September 2017

PETER TIBBLES' BIRTHDAY

Today is the birthday of TimeGoesBy's inimitable Sunday musicologist. I'm not sure which one exactly but it's in the area of early 70s. His musical knowledge is phenominally wide and deep, and he's funny too.

Let's start the celebration singing along with a short version of the standard birthday song sung, in this case, by The Beatles, supposedly before they were well known.

Peter and I have known one another now for at least nine years; he and his assistant musicologist, Norma, have visited me twice. In between internet chitchat about his columns, Peter is wont to send me funny or messed up news stories from his local, Australian press.

This is his most recent from the Sydney Morning Herald. It's a serious story about a sex offender but someone screwed up the image beside it big time:

PeterCowSexOffenderStory

I have a fondness for fireworks on birthdays so here, Peter, is a video of one of the most creative and beautiful ones I've ever seen:

But no birthday is right without the obligatory cake and I found one that Peter will defintely approve of:

Birthdaycake

So wish Peter a HAPPY BIRTHDAY and don't forget to visit his music column on Sundays.

PARTHENON OF BANNED BOOKS

In Kassel, Germany, at the very site where Nazis once burned over 2,000 books by Jewish and Marxist writers, one artist has built a colossal tribute to free speech.

“The 'Parthenon of Books', YouTube tells us, is a giant temporary replica of the famous Greek temple in Athens. The installation is covered by more than 100,000 books that have been banned at various stages throughout history.

“Created by Argentine artist Marta Minujín, the exhibit is meant to spark debate over censorship in literature. Once the exhibition is over, these books will be handed out to allow the banned to enter literary circulation once more.

As far as I am concerned, there is no book that should ever be banned. Even the hateful and incorrigible should be retained to impart an understanding of evil and as warnings.

SPYING ON WILDLIFE WITH ANIMAL ROBOTS

As YouTube explains:

”Filmmaker John Downer has spent much of his life capturing footage of wildlife, but it wasn’t until he and his team created robotic animals with built-in spy cameras that he was able to record rare footage of animal behavior in the wild, essentially from the perspective of the animal.”

The robots are so realistic that at first I thought it wasn't nice to fool animals this way but then I changed my mind. Take a look:

UNALASKA BELL RINGERS

Remember when I posted a video about eagles in a tiny town in Alaska called Unalaska a few weeks ago? Apparently, for such a small place, a lot of things of interest go on there.

Here is a video about Unalaska's bell ringers:

TRUE NEW YORKER

It has been 11 years since I left New York City and as I tell anyone who is willing to listen to me, I miss it every day. This week, I ran across a website called Women that held a little quiz titled, “Can You Finish These 16 NYC Phrases West Coasters Just Don't Get?”

Of course, I took the challenge and here's my result:

TrueNewYorker

I'm pleased to know I haven't lost my New York chops. You can try the quiz here.

CAT CAFE ON A MOVING TRAIN IN JAPAN

It has been more than a decade since Japan's first cat cafe opened and they are so popular, many countries have adopted the idea. Just recently, one stationary cafe in Japan expanded to include a cat cafe on a train:

You can read more about this cat train at Atlas Obscura.

THE NEW YORKER COVER IF CLINTON HAD WON

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been all over television this week talking up her just-published book about the 2016 election campaign titled, What Happened. Here is the cover the The New Yorker had ready if she had won the presidency.

NYorkerisClintonhadwon

EXTENT OF OREGON'S EAGLE CREEK FIRE

With all the horrendous hurricane damage thse past two weeks, there has hardly been any reporting on the many large and terrifying wild fires throughout the western United States.

One of them in Oregon, named the Eagel Creek Fire, has taken out much more area than I'd realized from local new reports. As of Thursday, it had been confirmed that the fire was started by kids setting off fireworks. Here's what the YouTube page says:

”This Google Earth flyover integrates infrared scanning data to highlight the Columbia Gorge landmarks threatened by the Eagle Creek fire including the Bull Run watershed, the source of the Portland area's drinking water.

“Areas shaded in orange are inside the fire perimeter; red spots indicate intense wildfire heat. The approximate ignition point has been confirmed by the National Wildfire Coordinating Group and eyewitnesses.”

The fire is still raging.

TRIBUTE TO RESCUE DOGS

Last Monday was the 16th anniversary of 9/11 when terrorists (successfully) drove airplanes into the Twin Towers in New York City, the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. and a field in Pennsylvania killing everyone aboard all three planes.

Here is a tribute to the rescue dogs that helped recover the injured and dead at the Twin Towers.

All working dogs, but especially rescue dogs, awe me with their selflessness and eagerness to help humans.

* * *

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” at the top of any Time Goes By page to send them. I'm sorry that I 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 include the name of the blog and its URL.


INTERESTING STUFF – 9 September 2017

ALEX BENNETT INTERVIEWS WIFE No. 2: ME

From 1965 to 1971, I was married to Alex Bennett, a radio talk show host who now does an interview program on the internet and on Wednesday, he interviewed me.

This is a screen grab from the interview; I'm posting it because I don't like most photographs of me and I do like this one.

Ronni with Alex2017_09_06_680

Below is the full interview, about 30 minutes. We recorded it with Skype and had trouble with the audio/video sync so my voice lags a bit; I hope it doesn't bother you too much. Plus, I know the length at the bottom of the video reads 1:56:36, but the video stops at 32.25 where my interview ends.

If you would like to see Alex's entire two-hour show with other guests after me, you can do that at Facebook or Gabnet on Facebook or YouTube or Vimeo.

SHRINKING THE WORLD 87 TIMES SMALLER

Something called Gulliver's Gate are creating miniatures of the world's most famous sites. Here is a short video about them from The New York Times 360 series. (Hold down your left mouse button and scroll around to view the images from other angles.)

You can see much more about the miniatures of Gulliver's Gate at the website.

ANARCHIST ANIMALS

As the Bored Panda site tell us, these are “bad-ass animals that won't follow your stupid rules” and it's really funny how they fool us humans. Two examples:

Bird Repellent

This second one needs a bit of explanation: Someone tried to fool a squid by putting it in front of a background that its camouflage can't possibly handle. No problem, said the squid, and just made itself transparent. So there!

Squid transparent

More at Bored Panda.

HOW FOOD AFFECTS OUR BRAINS

You probably know most of the information in this video about what we should eat but I was interested in how each kind of nutrient affects our brains and, therefore, our bodies.

JEAN ROBERTSON ON HAVING A SOUTHERN ACCENT

Now be honest: all you northerners, like me, think that southern accents sound kind of funny and signal that the person speaking might be none too bright. We're wrong, of course, but it happens.

Here, then. is comedian Jean Robertson on how her southern accent went over in Lansing, Michigan:

FOR OLD PEOPLE ONLY

TGB's Sunday TGB musicologist, Peter Tibbles, sent this Nonsequiter cartoon:

Nonsequiter Cartoon

ECO-FRIENDLY HOBBIT HOMES IN WALES

As the YouTube page explains:

In Pembrokeshire, Wales, the cutest, handmade houses have been popping up around the county. These wee homes, made of natural, locally sourced materials and scavenged bits from the surrounding countryside, embody low-impact living.

“What exactly does that mean? It means that the inhabitants who built these houses, like Simon and Jasmine Dale, grow and cultivate the vast majority of what they consume.

“The two have been living in their very own hobbit-sized house since 2003. And now, they're helping others build similar homes in the Lamma community—the country's first eco-village.

HOW WILL HISTORY JUDGE PRESIDENT TRUMP?

Six historians each take a whack at answering that question in the current issue of Vanity Fair.

It's a long read but worth your time plus the caricatures by Barry Blitt, Edward Sorel, Ross MacDonald, Darrow, Andre Carrilho and Steve Brodner are delightful. Here's one of them, by Carrilho:

Carrilho Trump

You'll find the full story at Vanity Fair.

MAGIC WHEELCHAIRS

Ryan and Lana Weimer celebrate Halloween all year round: The couple from Keizer, Oregon, runs a nonprofit called Magic Wheelchair which the two founded in early 2015 to build elaborate—and free—costumes for kids in wheelchairs.

503613-Magic Wheelchair

Magic Wheelchair—which is funded by individual and corporate donors—relies on teams of local volunteers around the country who work together to build costumes for children in their communities. To be considered for a costume, families fill out an online application, which provides the nonprofit with a kid's biography and a description of their desired ensemble.

Here is a video about the organization:

You can read more at Mental Floss and visit the Magic Wheelchair website.

* * *

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” at the top of any Time Goes By page to send them. I'm sorry that I 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 include the name of the blog and its URL.


INTERESTING STUFF – 2 September 2017

About half of this week's items are about animals. Maybe after such a horrendous political and weather week, it was just time to enjoy the sweet innocence of our furry and feathered friends.

* * *

HURRICANE HARVEY PET RESCUES

A lot of websites posted photos of people and their pets in the watery mess of Hurricane Harvey. Here are a couple of examples.

PetRescue1

PetRescue2

You can see more at The Atlantic and many other places around the web.

WINE MAKING IS 3,000 YEARS OLDER THAN PREVIOUSLY THOUGHT

In terracotta jars in a Sicilian cave, researchers have discovered what may be the worlds oldest wine, made in Italy more than 6,000 years ago.

”Previously scientists had believed winemaking developed in Italy around 1200 BC, but the find by a team from the University of South Florida pushes that date back by at least three millennia,” reports The Guardian.

“'Unlike earlier discoveries that were limited to vines and so showed only that grapes were being grown, our work has resulted in the identification of a wine residue,'” said Davide Tanasi, the archeologist who led the research.”

The article also reports that some people believe winemaking goes back as much as 10,000 years. You can read more at The Guardian.

WHY ARE SLOTHS SO SLOW?

As the YouTube page tells us:

”Sloths spend most of their time eating, resting, or sleeping; in fact, they descend from their treetops canopies just once a week, for a bathroom break. How are these creatures so low energy?

The video explains:

STUMP REMOVAL OPTIONAL

Some people are just amazing at what they can do. Thank TGB reader Darlene Costner for the video of this tree stump sculptor.

WEGMAN'S WEIMARANERS

Many decades ago, I produced a short-lived TV program hosted by Matt Lauer long before the Today and when he still had hair. One of the best interviews we did was with William Wegman who was just then gaining renown for his photographs of his pet Weimaraners being oh so human.

Many books, gallery shows, calendars and more followed and now there is a new Wegman book of his Weimaraner photos through the years. A couple of examples:

Wegman1

Wegman2

Wegman's dog images are always haunting, sometimes disturbing and definitely fascinating. There are more images in a story at The New York Times.

The new book, William Wegman: Being Human, contains photographs going back decades and will be available at the usual book outlets early in October.

SKYWRITING

When I was a kid growing up in Portland, Oregon, I frequently saw skywriters – usually advertisements but sometimes personal messages.

I don't recall seeing skywriting airplanes in any city where I've lived since then but last week I ran across this video about a company that has been skywriting all these years. If you want someone to do that for you, as the YouTube page explains,

”...Greg and Steven Stinis are the guys to call. The father-son team run the Chico, California-based company, SkyTypers, where they pilot airplanes to "write" messages and advertisements in the sky using specialized smoke.”

DOLPHINS CREATE A “NET” TO TRAP FISH

Sometimes it's just amazing how smart animals can be and it's not only crows. Darlene Costner sent this fascinating video from the BBC.

WHY WE CALL OUR PARENTS MOM AND DAD

For TGB word lovers, here's a terrific video about the origins – or, rather, possible origins - of what we call our parents, which is amazingly similar across cultures. Take a look – from Mental Floss.

A HUMMINGBIRD POOL PARTY

It's hot here in northwest Oregon and it's been a hot summer all over the place. Here's a refreshing video of how hummingbirds deal with it. As wildwingsla, who posted this at YouTube, explains,

“A record 30 hummingbirds bathe together at one time during this morning’s wash! You’d never know they will be harassing each other in five minutes’ time...”

If this video has piqued your interest in hummingbirds and you want to know a whole bunch of interesting facts about them, Darlene Costner (yes, she's been busy watching videos this week), sent this additional video you can watch here.

* * *

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” at the top of any Time Goes By page to send them. I'm sorry that I 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 include the name of the blog and its URL.


INTERESTING STUFF – 19 August 2017

EDITORIAL NOTE: After my surgery in June, I stopped publishing Interesting Stuff on Saturdays. I couldn't spend as much time playing around online for good items nor did I have the energy to write it.

I'm slowly coming back and so we have an Interesting Stuff today. I don't promise to do this every week for awhile so let's just see how it goes.

* * *

LONDON'S BIG BEN TO GO SILENT FOR FOUR YEARS

The BBC tells us that the London's iconic Big Ben clock will be shut down for repairs until 2021:

Parliamentary authorities said stopping Big Ben - the commonly used name for the Palace of Westminster's Elizabeth Tower - would protect workers carrying out the repairs. It will still sound for important events including New Year's Eve and Remembrance Sunday.”

Here's a little video about the shutdown:

ATTENTION CROSSWORD PUZZLE FANS

If you are like crossword puzzles, you'll love this excellent profile of Will Shortz who edited The New York Times crossword puzzle for nearly a quarter of a century. He is also a lifelong collector of puzzle memorabilia:

”Mr. Shortz’s collection includes more than 25,000 puzzle books and magazines, dating to 1534, along with pamphlets, small mechanical puzzles and other ephemeral items. It overwhelms the décor of his home in Pleasantville, N.Y., where he lives and works.

“A clock in his office is — well, its face is a crossword puzzle. (The hands? Two stubby pencils.) A display case in the living room holds, among other treasures, the first crossword puzzle ever published — in a 1913 Sunday 'Fun' section of The New York World.”

Shortzprimary

If you like puzzles, you won't be disappointed by this story at The New York Times.

RARE WHITE MOOSE

As the Washington Post reported:

Hans Nilsson has spent three years trying to spot an elusive white moose in the town of Eda, in western Sweden. Last week he got lucky and crossed paths with the ghost-colored herbivore two days in a row.

“When Nilsson saw the moose the first time, he was amazed. On the second day, he was ready.

He whipped out a camera and shot video of the moose, well, being a moose. It waded into a nearby stream. It shook off water. It nibbled on some plants.”

Here's the video:

BUTTER CREAM FLORAL CAKES TOO BEAUTIFUL TO EAT

Bored Panda published these photos of astonishing cakes make by Atelier Soo in Seoul, Korea. Take a look at a couple of them:

Blueflowercake

Cutcake

You can see many others at Bored Panda.

TINY DOG RESCUE

With his crooked nose, large overbite and humped back, Tiny Cletus Spuckler was destined to a difficult start in life. Then a couple fell in love with him. The video tells the story:

HAPPINESS OF LIVING ALONE IN 10 ILLUSTRATIONS

I've lived alone for most of my adult life – decades – and generally I'm happy that way. Bored Panda recently published ten illustrations about the joys of living alone.

The are created by Los Angeles-based painter, illustrator and occasional animator, Yaoyao Ma Van As. Here are three of them.

Happinessalone2

Happinessalone6

Happinessalone8

You can see the whole series of ten in order at Bored Panda.

THE BALD EAGLES OF UNALASKA, ALASKA

I've always liked bald eagles but haven't seen more than a couple of them in my life for real and therefore rely on Youtube videos. As the page explains:

"...on this Alaskan island, our national symbol is as common as a beachside seagull. You can find them everywhere—lurking above the post office, inspecting the trash, waiting patiently for the local fishing boats to return with the day’s catch, even hanging out in front of the town church. In Unalaska, Alaska, everyone has an eagle story."

PS: Who new there was a town named Unalaska.

LETTERMAN RETURNING TO TV

It has been widely reported that retired Late Night host David Letterman will be returning to television before long:

”...for a limited Netflix series. Premiering in 2018, the as-yet-untitled program, which will come out as six, hour-long installments, will find the host interviewing one guest each episode, as well as comedy and 'curiosity' bits outside of the studio.

"'I feel excited and lucky to be working on this project for Netflix,' the host said in a statement. 'Here's what I have learned: If you retire to spend more time with your family, check with your family first.'"

There is more at Rolling Stone.

NUGGET THE CROW TEACHES HERSELF TO FLY

I've been reading stories lately about how smart crows and their avian relatives like ravens are. Nugget the crow, who couldn't fly, spent several months devising an exercise program and teaching herself how to do it. Take a look.

There's a lot more to know about Nugget at Atlas Obscura.

* * *

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” at the top of any Time Goes By page to send them. I'm sorry that I 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 include the name of the blog and its URL.


INTERESTING STUFF – 17 June 2017

A PERSONAL NOTE

My surgery is coming up fast and this will be the last Interesting Stuff for awhile. Like last week, it is shorter than usual - I've been kind of busy.

On one item, you don't need to rely on me while I'm absent. You can always see the main essay from John Oliver's HBO show, Last Week Tonight, on the program's YouTube page which is here.

Click the header “Video” to get the page that lists videos with the most recent first. The Sunday night video is posted there by early Monday morning.

TROLL CAKES

My friend Kirsten Jacobs sent this along. I love it – such a funny, terrific idea. As the website tells it, the sayings on each cake are copied word for word from an internet comment or social media post. Here are a couple of examples:

Trollcake2

Trollcake3

Read more here and order your own Troll Cake here.

JOHN OLIVER - BREXIT II

Once again, the week in politics has been taken up with something other than Oliver's most recent topic. That's a problem in timing - his HBO show, Last Week Tonight, is broadcast on Sunday night so it is a whole week until I post it here.

Even if it seems old, you should watch this one anyway. As the YouTube page says: “In the wake of a divisive election, the UK will begin the process of leaving the European Union. John Oliver and an intergalactic space lord propose a plan.”

Do stick around for the end...

COMING TO AMERICA – HENRY LOWENSTERN

Last week, Henry sent a get well poem for me. Now, this week, he is celebrating 80 years (!) since, as a boy, he arrived in the U.S. from Nazi Germany. The title is Remembering.

Eighty years ago this month,
my parents and two minor sons,
after their way of life was banned,
managed to escape from Nazi-land,

and, with tumultuous emotion,
traversed the Atlantic Ocean,
and, in a rendezvous they'd planned,
landed in the promised land.

Here we began our lives anew,
and as our English speaking grew,
learned how to relate
and appreciate
the transformation we had come through.

I know how fortunate I have been
to have come to and be living in
this land of opportunity
and a be part of this community
together with my next of kin.

Let me give thanks to all of you
whose helpfulness has seen me through
these 80 years in the USA.
I'm glad I came and I think I'll stay.

RICK WILSON'S MONUMENTAL TWEETSTORM...

...“against trump fellators fanboys grunting maga mouthbreathers” goes on for 25 individual tweets. The conservative Daily Beast columnist's rant is not to be missed. Here's your start:

RickWilsonRant

That's just the beginning. The rest is here and it is a magnificent catharsis.

BARRY DYM'S BLOG

In recent months, I've gotten to know a relatively new elder blogger, Barry Dym, via email. He writes on a wide variety of topics but keeps a special section titled, Letters on Aging which are good solid essays and strong thinking.

Here is part of a recent example about the “freshness” that aging brings:

”In a previous essay, I wrote young people seek independence. For older people, freedom comes almost unbidden when the ties that bind us to activities, relationships, and communities take flight.

“Let me begin by counting some of the ways, small and large, that that freedom comes to our doorsteps. There is the freshness of each, unscheduled day.

“I can ask: What shall I do? What do I want to do? At last, the weather plays a role as it hasn’t since childhood. If it’s sunny, I’ll take that walk. If rainy, I may read more, or call a friend. Or a friend might call me, and I can usually respond positively. Spontaneity is my friend again.

Barry's bio is here where you can also read his other blog posts – on aging and other subjects.

A MAN AND HIS DOG

I'm fairly certain I've posted this in the past but you'll understand why it hits home hard at this moment in my life. It's an advert for organ donation and it is lovely.

* * *

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” at the top of any Time Goes By page to send them. I'm sorry that I 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 include the name of the blog and its URL.


INTERESTING STUFF – 10 June 2017

As you may imagine, since the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer and preparation for the coming surgery, I have not had a lot of time to collect material for this weekly compilation of “stuff.”

But here is a shorter-than-usual list of items you might enjoy, as I have.

* * *

YOUR LIFE IN JELLY BEANS

This video is four years old and has been seen by more than 7 million people. See how you have and are spending your days in these bits of candy.

I'm astonished at this guy's patience in creating the video. I would have gotten bored and given up after the first two time periods or so.

JOHN OLIVER ON THE PARIS AGREEMENT

I know, I know. This whole week has been taken up with the Comey hearing in Washington – and compelling it has been.

However, last Saturday on his HBO program, Last Week Tonight, host John Oliver took on President Trump's withdrawal from the Paris accords on climate change. It is Oliver at his best and worth your time.

THE REAL DEAL IN SOY SAUCE

I eat a lot of Japanese food and, of course, use soy sauce with it. As the Youtube page explains about this video:

”Japanese shoyu, or soy sauce, was traditionally brewed in vats over two years in a process that dates back to the 7th century. On the island of Shōdoshima, Yasuo Yamamoto ferments soy beans traditionally in bamboo barrels similar to the ones his family has built for the past 150 years.”

I sure do wish I could taste this soy sauce.

I Am Rooting for You, Ronni

When I was still publishing The Elder Storytelling Place, Henry Lowenstern was one of the most prolific contributors. He specialized in limericks, doggerel, light verse and such - often on current political events and always lovely and/or funny or both. He sent this yesterday titled as the headline for this item, and I love it:

I am betting my last denarius
that your about-to-be excised pancreas
will leave you with an even better hold
on what its like to be getting old
and I hope your recovery is instantaneous.

Thank you, Henry.

KITTY WATCHING HORROR MOVIE

In the comments on one of last week's posts, a TGB reader reminded us of journalist and political activist Norman Cousins who, back in the 1970s, devised his own recovery program that included laughing himself well from a serious, obscure disease.

He recounted his personal laugh treatment in a book, Anatomy of an Illness, later made into a movie starring Edward Asner.

Without taking a whit away from my own upcoming treatment that I completely believe in, I figure a lot of laughing (if the stitches allow) couldn't hurt and might help. Besides, it always feels good.

So I've been looking for stuff I've laughed at a lot in the past. I've posted this one here before but so what. On each re-viewing, I have laughed harder than the last time. I never get tired of it.

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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” at the top of any Time Goes By page to send them. I'm sorry that I 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 include the name of the blog and its URL.


INTERESTING STUFF – 3 June 2017

UPDATE: 4PM PDT: I am overwhelmed with your love and good wishes. I so appreciate them and all of you. There is a rule, apparently, at Typepad that there can be no more than 100 comments which we have now surpassed. I have written to them and asked if they could forgo the rule for this blog post but will probably not have an answer yes or no for awhile. Meanwhile, know that I can read the additional comments offline. I'm so sorry - I apologize for this inconvenience.

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Believe me, this is not what you were expecting today.

Not your normal Saturday Interesting Stuff column. And it is something I never imagined dealing with on TGB. But there you are – shit happens in life. No one ever promised you a rose garden. And all of that.

Yesterday afternoon, I returned home following three nights in hospital, a bunch of tests, an endoscopy procedure to set a stent and having met more new people – professional caregivers of many stripes - in that short time than I've ever met in a whole year before. Diagnosis: pancreatic cancer.

Oooph. That's a kick in the gut. I can't pretend otherwise.

So I wasn't home to write today's Interesting Stuff and Peter Tibbles, the author of the weekly Sunday music column agreed that it's best to “tell readers what's going on,” he said. “They're a smart bunch.” And so you are.

Next Wednesday I'll meet with the surgeon again. He's in his mid-50s, I'm guessing, and get this: his entire specialty his whole career has been the pancreas and only the pancreas. It makes me wonder if there are physicians who treat only one leg or the other, one arm at a time, etc. (That's a weak joke, folks.)

Surgery will follow soon after that meeting – a week or more in hospital and then rehab for a week or two, they say. Of course, details are subject to change but now you know why posting may be spotty for awhile.

Anyone who has sent an email, please forgive me for not answering. I arrived home from the hospital to more than 800 new messages and just hit delete – too tired to sort them.

This isn't going to be easy and I could probably benefit from a crash course in patience about now. Is that an oxymoron, do you think?


INTERESTING STUFF – 27 May 2017

BEFORE WE GET STARTED TODAY

Yesterday, I posted instructions for John Oliver's direct link to the FCC comment page on the agency's net neutrality changes. In case you missed it, here it is again:

To get to the page, go to this URL, click on the word, “express” at the far right of the page. At the next page, you can fill in the form and let them know that you support net neutrality and Title 2.

Here is the procedure – Oliver has made it so much easier than the FCC does:

  1. Navigate in your browser to gofccyourself.com
  2. Click the word “express” on the right side of the page
  3. Fill in the form to support net neutrality and Title 2

It will take you only a few minutes to do this and if enough people do, we can save net neutrality – like last time, three years ago. (If you need a refresher about this issue, click here and scroll down about halfway.)

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THIS IS THE AMERICAN PRESIDENT

This is my president at the NATO meeting in Brussels this week. That's Dusko Markovic, prime minister of Montenegro, he's shoving aside. Watch:

That wasn't Trump's only moment of boorishness in Brussels. I am so embarrassed these days to be an American.

TECH USE INCREASES AMONG ELDERS

Pew Research released its latest survey of technology use among Americans age 65 and older. Although elders' adoption of internet, broadband, tablets, smartphones, etc. is still slower than younger people, it is growing – at least among the youngest old:

ElderTechUse

It doesn't thrill me the way Pew uses such language as “especially limited” among the oldest cohort, particularly when referencing individual devices. Maybe some people aren't interested or don't believe they need a tablet, for example. I don't. And a “dumb phone” may meet the needs of some.

But that's a small quibble in a fairly extensive survey.

Unsurprisingly, many say they need help using technology. All the more reason to have the terrific young women we talked about this week who started GTGTech to help elders get the hang of it.

There is much more the Pew survey than I've covered. You can find it here.

WHY SMART PEOPLE HAVE FEWER FRIENDS

When we discuss loneliness versus being alone here, a large number of commenters – me too - insist they like their alone life. According to this video, that may be because we are among the smartest.

I'm not sure we should take any of this video seriously but it's fun and there is some interesting information.

LEARNING THE CHINESE LION DANCE

According to this video, lion dancing is a demanding a sport. It is also

”...an age-old Chinese tradition meant to ward off evil spirits and welcome good ones. The dance—with its giant, dual-dancer costumes and kung fu-based movements—dates back to the Tang Dynasty of the 7th century.

I enjoyed the lion dancers dozens of times in New York's Chinatown. Here's a video that shows how they are trained:

THE O WORD

Pretty much all media refuses to use the “O word” when referring to “old” people. There are more euphemisms than can be counted and I've written here about how it took me awhile, when I started this blog, to be comfortable attaching the word “old” to myself and to others. Now I barely notice.

Recently, reporter Mary Jacobs wrote an excellent piece (I would have said that even if she hadn't quoted me) titled Getting Old, Getting Loud: Be Proud of the “O” Word. A taste:

”Age may just be a number, but 90 is a really different number than 40, no matter how good you feel. And if it was 'just' a number, California legislators wouldn’t have felt compelled to pass a law last year requiring IMDb.com [the online movie database] to remove ages of actors and directors who don’t want the numbers published on the website.

“Supporters described the law as an effort to combat age discrimination, because actors, especially females, get passed over for roles as they get older. (A judge recently blocked the law.)

“But think about that for a minute. The way to stop age discrimination is to pass a law to enable older people to go underground? Old age is so embarrassing and shameful that we need to legally protect the right to hide it?”

Regular readers of TGB will instantly understand that Mary Jacobs is a woman after my own heart.

Before I link to Mary's website, I must show you the Dumbledore quotation from the Harry Potter books that she uses – it's my new favorite so you'll probably be seeing it here in the future more than once:

“Call him Voldemort, Harry,” he said. “Always use the proper name for things. Fear of a name increases fear of the thing itself.”

Listen to Dumbledore, and read the rest of Mary's story at her website.

109-YEAR-OLD WORLD WAR II VETERAN

That's how old Richard Overton, America's oldest veteran, was when this video was shot. He turned 111 this month and returned home from the hospital just this week after a bout with pneumonia.

In this video shot two years ago in and around his home in Austin, Texas, he gives up some of his secrets to long life. Presented by National Geographic.

GLOBAL SEED VAULT FLOODED

As The Guardian explained last week, the Global Seed Vault, near the Arctic Circle, was flooded recently due to global warming:

“The vault is on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen and contains almost a million packets of seeds, each a variety of an important food crop. When it was opened in 2008, the deep permafrost through which the vault was sunk was expected to provide 'failsafe' protection against 'the challenge of natural or man-made disasters.'”

None of the water gushing in reached the seeds. This time. Here is a short video of the vault:

You can read more at The Guardian and at The New York Times.

WEATHER SERVICE CUTS ARE SERIOUS

On a similar subject, the Trump administration wants to make further cuts to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), of which the Weather Service is a part, even though the United States already lags behind European weather prediction models:

“'It’s gotten to the point that most meteorologists are just discounting the American models, especially for more than three days,' says Doug Kammerer, chief meteorologist at NBCUniversal’s WRC-TV in Washington, DC.,” reported in Wired magazine.

“Weather pros like Kammerer sometimes have to make a judgment call when the American and European models disagree. That’s no biggie when it comes to planning a backyard cookout or soccer game, but it has bigger implications when this year’s hurricane season starts on June 1.

“'When you are looking at a storm, a nor’easter or a hurricane coming up the coast, you need that lead time,' says Kammerer. 'The American models aren’t giving us the lead time we need to properly forecast storms.'”

This is serious stuff, folks. You can read more at Wired.

MITCH LANDRIEU'S AMAZING, MOVING, IMPORTANT SPEECH

A week ago, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu delivered an address about his city's efforts to remove monuments that prominently celebrate the “Lost Cause of the Confederacy” and promote white supremacy.

I would weep to have a president who thinks and speaks like this. (Thank my friend Jim Stone for this video.)

A BUCKET OF WATER IN THE DESERT

A guy put a camera in the bottom of a bucket of water, stuck it in the desert and waited to see what would happen. The YouTube page explains further:

”I was pleasantly surprised during the edit to see that George made an appearance. I know him from all the other rabbits because of the tiny notch in his ear. A burro just happened to come by in time to be included...Note: The swimming bees were rescued.”

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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” at the top of any Time Goes By page to send them. I'm sorry that I 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 include the name of the blog and its URL.