391 posts categorized "Interesting Stuff"

INTERESTING STUFF – 14 July 2018

PETRA – ONE OF THE GREAT MYSTERIES OF THE ANCIENT WORLD

The ancient city of Petra has fascinated me for decades and although I've been to Jordan, been to Israel nearby, I've never visited and doubt I will now.

But here is a new video of the interiors of some of the buildings I've never seen before. I don't know that I believe this video narrator's speculations but they are no worse than anyone else's and I like seeing the inside of the rooms.

BEST LEVI'S COMMERCIAL

At least that's what TGB reader and my friend Darlene Costner says and certainly she's not far off.

The latest Emmy Award nominations were published this week but television commercials are every much an art form (they have their own award, the Cleo). This is a fine example from 2011.

TRUMP WANTS A NEW AIR FORCE ONE PAINT JOB

In a Thursday morning scoop, here is what Axios imagines he wants it to look like:

Air Force 1

Axios reports that

”...Trump had one specification for the plane that could cause tension with the Air Force and surprise around the world...

“We’re told that Trump wants a color scheme that "looks more American" and isn’t a "Jackie Kennedy color." He doesn’t think the current blue (technically "luminous ultramarine") represents the USA. The president's preferred design is believed to include red, white and blue.

"'He can do it,' said a source familiar with the negotiations, when asked about whether Trump can make the change. But the change could cause friction with the Air Force. We're told some top officers like the current look, which they point out is 'known around the world.'"

By Friday, the internet had run with Trump's idea, posting their own ideas of a Trump Air Force One paint job. Here is one of the more polite ones:

HairForceOne

There are more of the web's paint job ideas at Huffpost. And you can read more at Axios.

SPIDERS CAN TRAVEL ACROSS OCEANS

Did you know that? I sure didn't. Here's our science lesson for the day from, in this video, The New York Times:

You can read more about spiders' travel at The New York Times and at PBS.org.

GLASS GEM CORN - WOW

Take a look at this – and yes, it's real corn:

Glass gem corn

As Atlas Obscura tells us:

”Carl Barnes, a part-Cherokee farmer from Oklahoma, liked to experiment with ancestral corn varieties. After breeding several varieties together, the result was vibrantly-colored corn...

“The fresher the corn is, the shinier its kernels. But since it’s flint corn and not sweet corn, it’s not too tasty when it’s fresh. However, it can be made into cornmeal, and is just fine as popcorn.”

Available at your favorite online giant retailers.

DAD ADOPTS FOUR KIDS AT ONCE TO GIVE THEM THE LIFE HE NEVER HAD

After all the ongoing, horrible stories of how the U.S. government treats small children, we can use this story of love and selflessness. Take a look:

My friend Jim Stone sent this and your can read more here. You can donate to Comfort Cases here.

FOREIGN MILITARY RECRUITS BEING DEPORTED

Just when you think the U.S. federal government couldn't possibly behave worse in regard to immigrants, they prove you wrong. As the AP reports:

”Some immigrant U.S. Army reservists and recruits who enlisted in the military with a promised path to citizenship are being abruptly discharged...”

NPR follows up:

”The immigrants who were recently discharged had all signed up as part of the Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest, or MAVNI, program. It was established in 2009 to create an opportunity for the military to enlist people with specialized knowledge, including highly sought-after language and medical skills.”

Margaret Stock, in the AP video below, is an Alaska-based immigration attorney and a retired Army Reserve lieutenant colonel who helped create the immigrant recruitment program, said she's been inundated over the past several days by recruits who have been abruptly discharged:

Read more at the AP YouTube page and New York Times.

TIMES SQUARE MAGICIAN – GREAT CARD TRICK

From Darlene again. Enjoy:

CATS CRADLE

Bruce and Terry Jenkins take in dozens of older cats who have been abandoned due to death or sickness of a previous owner. As the YouTube page notes:

“'The cats come with different neuroses from where they were before…it’s very gratifying to see the transition from what they were when they came here to what they become,' says Bruce.

“'It’s like they bloom,' adds Terry. 'They get to be what they’re meant to be.'”

You can read more at The Atlantic and you can visit the Cat's Cradle website here.

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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.



INTERESTING STUFF – 7 July 2018

PERSONAL NOTE: Regarding the biopsy of the big-ass lump on the side of my neck that I mentioned in yesterday's post, I finally received the test results yesterday afternoon: BENIGN. What a relief. It's even got a name: Warthin's Tumor.

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STRIP POKER

The is an old video, maybe about 10 years and I posted it a long time ago. When I ran across it for the first time in years recently, I had a good laugh. Maybe you will too.

ATTORNEY CLIENT PRIVILEGE – ITS HISTORY AND SCOPE

Although it has been out of the news for a couple of days, the doctrine of attorney-client privilege has been in the news lately due to the rumors that former Trump attorney, Michael Cohen, may “flip” on the president.

In all the discussion, there has been a lot of misinformation. The Washington Post published a good video explanation of how it works.

VAN GOGH: MADE IN CHINA

Chinese copy artist Zhao Xiaoyong spent 20 years painting more than tens of thousands of copies of Van Gogh reproductions. Just Van Gogh, no other artists. He longed to visit the Netherlands to see the originals and finally got to do so. Watch what happens:

My friend Jim Stone sent me this video pointing out that the vendor, who has made hundreds of thousand of euros over decades selling Zhao's paintings wouldn't even pay for his flight from the Netherlands to China and back.

LAST SATURDAY'S MARCH IN NEW YORK CITY

Jim Stone (again) send me this note about his trip from the Boston area to New York City last weekend to participate in the march there:

"Hotter than blazes. The crowd slow-walked over the Brooklyn Bridge for four straight hours. I stayed until the end of that, then headed up to New York Port Authority and caught a bus home.

“I'd been feeling a wee under the weather for a day or two, and the heat didn't do that any favors, but I felt it was important to be there. It did an old hippie's heart a world of good to see such a turnout - young and old, all colors and creeds, with one uniting commonality: disgust at the inhumanity of our idiot-in-chief, and a desire for embrace of human decency.

“Nary a discouraging word was heard by me, no skirmishes in this sodom of liberal democracy. All was peace and love overlaid with loud and frequent chanting, none of which was particularly complimentary of the current administration.”

Did any of you attend a march?

JOHN OLIVER ON GENE EDITING

Now don't go thinking this is boring. John Oliver never is and the subject, as Oliver shows us, is important. From last Sunday's HBO program, Last Week Tonight. The usual language warnings apply.

TWO PLUS TWO EQUALS – UH, 22?

As the YouTube page puts it:

”A well meaning math teacher finds herself trumped by a post-fact America in this excellent short film that will make you laugh and make you cry all at once.”

RICK'S CAFE IN CASABLANCA

Do you think there anyone – at least of our generations – who doesn't know Rick's Cafe from the beloved classic film, Casablanca?

Of course, it is fictional but since March 2004, there has been a Rick's Cafe in Casablanca, Morocco which is designed to look as much as possible like the movie version. It was conceived and is owned by former American diplomat, Kathy Kriger.

Recently, The New York Times published a feature story about the restaurant and its 72-year-old owner who, after the 9/11 attacks wanted to fight the backlash against Muslims in the U.S.

”She decided that a good way would be to show that an American woman, operating alone in a Muslim society, could start a business like Rick’s Café, to act as an exemplar of tolerance, a refuge in a troubled world.

“Ms. Kriger cashed in her 401(k) plan and found a wreck of an old stately home in the Ancienne Medina, the old city of Casablanca, which was then and is still a shabby, litter-strewn place.”

Like Rick's Cafe in the movie, Ms. Kriger's version is a success, drawing customers from all over the world.

”Ms. Kriger, 72 and divorced, said she planned to spend the rest of her days in Rick’s Café, holding up her corner of the bar when she is not mingling with customers. 'This is my assisted living center,' she quipped. Or as Humphrey Bogart’s character, Rick Blaine, put it in the movie: 'I’m going to die in Casablanca. It’s a good place for it.'”

There isn't much good video of the Cafe. Here is a short one I found that gives a sense of it.

The Times story is worth the read.

SEPSIS IS THE THIRD LEADING KILLER IN THE U.S.

Did you know that? I sure didn't and I've spent a lot of time in hospital in the past year. I didn't even know what it is. According to STAT, it is a blood infection that

”...can lead to organ failure and even death...Sepsis kills over 250,000 people a year in the United States — more than any cause other than cancer and heart disease. But still, many people have never heard of it. And hospitals often fail to notice the warning signs when a patient is spiraling downward.”

There may soon be a better test that could help save more lives:

”Last month, for instance, the Food and Drug Administration gave market clearance to a new test that will more rapidly identify the bug triggering a patient’s infection, potentially allowing doctors to give more targeted antibiotics.”

Here is a video from STAT explaining what sepsis is:

You can read more at STAT.

BABY BURROWING OWLS

Nothing much happens beyond cuteness but it is a calming, relaxing video, a respite from politics.

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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 – 30 June 2018

WHY BRITISH AND AMERICAN SPELLING DIFFER

A quick little history of why the Brits (and Australians for the most part) spell it “colour” and Americans spell it “color.” It was probably more ad hoc than you thought.

ONE REASON TO DISLIKE GETTING OLD

From cartoonist Jimmy Johnson, sent in by TGB's Sunday music columnist, Peter Tibbles. All I can say about the punch line is, me too.

Cartoonhatemybody

TWO TOWNS THAT TURNED OUT THE LIGHTS AT NIGHT

As the Youtube page tells us:

”As our cities grow bigger and brighter, fewer Americans get to take in the breathtaking grandeur of the Milky Way. Sensing this, the residents of Westcliffe and Silver Cliff, two small towns in Colorado, purposefully dimmed their towns' lights.

“Their night skies are now among the darkest on the planet and have become a Mecca for stargazers.

Have any of you visited these towns?

FED PLAN TO STOP REPORTING HOSPITAL INFECTION RATE

Each year, more than 600,000 hospital patients contract an infection, and sepsis alone kills about 270,000 people a year. Now, according to USA Today, a new Trump administration proposal will

”...halt the public disclosure of the 'super bug' MRSA, post-operative sepsis and surgical site infections, as well as accidents and injuries ranging from bedsores to respiratory failure after surgery.”

Since 2005, that kind of information has been (and still is for now) available at the Medicare Hospital Compare website. Further, reports USA Today,

"'I am shocked that they want to reverse course on this,' says Jeanine Thomas, who founded the MRSA Survivors Network after nearly dying of the infection after ankle surgery 18 years ago. 'In fact, they should do more.'

“CMS [The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services] chief medical officer Kate Goodrich said the agency 'is committed to transparency of quality and cost information' and denied that it was proposing to remove the information from Hospital Compare. She also emphasized that the changes are up for public comment.”

Unless the proposal is removed from the plan, the information will stop being released in 9 November this year. You can sign a letter of protest here. And you can see the entire 500-page plan here.

1947 PSA LOOKS AND SOUNDS LIKE IT WAS PRODUCED YESTERDAY

This public service announcement was produced by the U.S. Department of Defense, Department of the Army and the Office of the Chief Signal Officer in 1947. Given political events of the past 18 months, it could have been produced today. Take a look:

That video (thank you, Jim Stone, for sending it) prompts me to publish again this famous statement from Martin Niemöller (1892–1984). If you are unfamiliar with his name, he was a prominent Protestant pastor who emerged as an outspoken public foe of Adolf Hitler and spent the last seven years of Nazi rule in concentration camps:

“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Socialist.

“Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

“Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Jew.

“Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”

(If you are familiar with other versions of this, it is due to the fact that Niemöller usually spoke the words publicly and they changed slightly from telling to telling.)

U.S. FDA APPROVES FIRST MARIJUANA-DERIVED PRESCRIPTION DRUG

Although people have been using cannabis to treat a wide variety of ailments for centuries, it has taken this long for the U.S. Federal Trade Administration to approve one for medical use.

Epidiolex680

As STAT reports, the medication

”...treats two rare and devastating forms of epilepsy.

“The drug, GW Pharmaceuticals’ Epidiolex, is made of cannabidiol, or CBD, a component of marijuana that does not give users a high. It is given as an oil, and in clinical trials, it was shown to reduce the number of seizures by about 40 percent in patients with Dravet or Lennox-Gastaut syndromes.”

Read more at STAT and at Leafly.

DON'T JUDGE TOO QUICKLY

My friend Tony Sarmiento sent this video – a collection of TV commercials for Ameriquest produced from 2005 to 2007. These are the sort of things that make me laugh out loud but I don't recall ever seeing them. I can't imagine how I missed them.

DOES THAT ELEVATOR CLOSE-DOOR BUTTON REALLY WORK?

Like me, you probably suspect that those “close door” buttons in elevators don't really work. Now we are vindicated in our belief:

”Karen W. Penafiel, executive director of National Elevator Industry Inc., a trade group, said the close-door feature faded into obsolescence a few years after the enactment of the Americans With Disabilities Act in 1990,” reported The New York Times.

“The legislation required that elevator doors remain open long enough for anyone who uses crutches, a cane or wheelchair to get on board, Ms. Penafiel said in an interview on Tuesday. 'The riding public would not be able to make those doors close any faster,' she said.”

Recently, Mental Floss reported that the buttons DO work in Britain:

”A spokesman for the Lift and Escalator Industry Association told the newspaper that not all elevators have the button, but when they’re present, they do work. Again, the time it takes for the doors to shut after pressing the button varies from lift to lift.”

There is more than you would think to read about all this at those two links.

THE OWL AND THE PUSSYCAT

As you have undoubtedly figured out from reading this Saturday post, I really like stories of interspecies friendship. In addition, I think owls are fascinating and I love all sorts of kitty cats. So this is the perfect story for me. Maybe for you too?

There are a bunch of videos of Fum and Gebra at play together here.

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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 – 23 June 2018

LET'S RETIRE TO A CRUISE SHIP

Back in 2013, I published what I thought was a fable floating around the internet about retiring to a cruise ship. In my intro I wrote, “Maybe you need a silliness break as much as I do.”

Well, not so silly anymore. Take a look at this video from 2016:

Apparently it's becoming a thing now with “apartments at sea.” This from last year:

CAN YOU DISTINGUISH BETWEEN FACT AND OPINION IN NEWS

The U.S. president labels a lot of factual news as fake and journalism in general is not in good standing with a large percentage of the American public. But maybe that has more to do with news consumers' critical reading skills than with reporters.

The Pew Research Center recently conducted a fascinating survey to see how well respondents could distinguished between statements of fact and opinion in the news. Here are the overall results:

FactOpinionChart

Some of the conclusions from the survey include:

Americans most often disagree with factual statements they incorrectly think are opinions

Those with high political awareness are far better able to identify factual and opinion statements

Digitally savvy Americans fare far better at classifying factual and opinion statements

Those with greater trust in the news media are more likely to correctly classify factual and opinion statements

You too can take the quiz at the Pew website. For the record, I identified all 10 fact or opinion statements correctly but I've been working in journalism all my life.

The entire report of the results is here. Or you can get the PDF of the final report here.

DISASTER ROBOTS

Many people are suspicious of robots. At minimum we worry about their taking jobs from humans, and the robot pets, usually marketed to elders, seem more than a little creepy to me. But then there are disaster robots – a really good idea. Take a look:

GAWANDE NAMED CEO OF AMAZON HEALTH VENTURE

Surgeon, author and New Yorker contributor, Atul Gawande, has been named CEO of the health care venture by Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and J.P. Morgan. This item is included today because I have been a fan for a long, long time. The man is brilliant, thoughtful and most important, a dedicated activist for improving healthcare.

Atul-Gawande

As Gawande said in a press release announcing his new job:

”I have devoted my public health career to building scalable solutions for better healthcare delivery that are saving lives, reducing suffering, and eliminating wasteful spending both in the US and across the world.

"Now I have the backing of these remarkable organizations to pursue this mission with even greater impact for more than a million people, and in doing so incubate better models of care for all. This work will take time but must be done. The system is broken, and better is possible."

Gawande begins his new job on 9 July. You can read more about him and the new project here, here and here.

ROYAL ASCOT HATS 2017

The annual Royal Ascot horse races held just outside London each year are winding up today. Like the U.S. Kentucky Derby, it is an event for attendees to wear their most outrageous headgear. Some examples:

AscotHat1

AscotHat3

And, of course, the Queen of England herself in a hat slightly more elaborate than her everyday hats.

AscotHat2Queen

There are a whole lot more images of people in amazing hats at The Atlantic magazine.

KRISPY KREME DONUTS

For months after my cancer surgery, I was urged to eat as many calories each day as possibly. It didn't matter what kind – sugar, fat, meat, etc., and doughnuts were among my choices.

Yes, this video is pretty much a commercial for Krispy Kreme, but I like watching the donuts go through the machine and thinking about the months I could eat as much as wanted of anything I craved – doctors orders.

75% OF AMERICANS SAY IMMIGRATION IS A GOOD THING

Given the president's disgusting rhetoric about immigrants, it might seem that his is the view of a majority of U.S. citizens. The response to putting tiny children in baby jails puts that to rest.

Further, according to a Gallup poll conducted between 1 June and 13 June, three-quarters of Americans think immigration is a good thing, and 65% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents agree. 39% say immigration should be kept at present level, 28% say it should be increased. Here's the chart:

GallupImmigration

Read more about the survey at Gallup.

IS A NEW STAR TREK TV SHOW WITH PATRICK STEWART IN THE WORKS?

Huffington Post has reported that there are rumors that a new Star Trek: The Next Generation with actor Patrick Stewart reprising his role as Captain Jean-Luc Picard may be in the works.

When the Hollywood Reporter first mentioned the possibility, they mentioned only anonymous sources. Here's what Stewart himself hints:

I'm not much of a sci-fi fan, but Star Trek: TNG? That's a whole different thing. Make it so.

GORILLA KOKO DIES AT AGE 46

Koko, the beloved gorilla who was widely known for her extensive vocabulary of sign language, died this week in her sleep at age 46.

Koko was a year old when she began working with Francine “Penny” Patterson, an psychologist who believed that what makes humans special is speech. If animals had something like that, she believed, they could express themselves, too.

"And while they may not give us Beowulf, they could at least make their thoughts and feelings known,” reports Time. “So Patterson worked with what Koko did have — her dextrous, expressive hands — taught her American Sign Language, and with that opened the door to an extraordinary mind.

“It wasn’t just that Koko knew her nouns — toy and apple and dog and cookie. She did know hundreds of them, but for all animals nouns are the low-hanging fruit — solid objects that can be associated with labels.

More impressive were the verbs; more impressive still was the language of mood and emotion and spatial relations — more and sad and in and stupid and please and hurry and out. And there was also mine — a primitive idea for both animals and humans, signaling, as it so often does, greed or aggression or indifference to others, and yet an idea nonetheless that no animal before had ever been known to grasp abstractly.”

Here's a video about Koko with the cats she loved throughout her life:

There is much more about Koko at The Gorilla Foundation at koko.org.

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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 – 16 June 2018

WHY THE TOWER OF PISA DOESN'T FALL OVER

And why it leans in the first place:

More at the Washington Post.

YOUR BRAIN ON READING

On Monday in these pages, Crabby Old Lady complained about video/audio only news stories and explained (along with many commenters) why she prefers reading. Then, a few days ago, she ran across this story at Medium.

”Your brain on books,” explains writer Thomas Oppong, “is active — growing, changing and making new connections and different patterns, depending on the type of material you’re reading.”

He goes on to explain that reading heightens brain connectivity, enhances the ability to reason, improves emotional intelligence and concentration. In addition,

”Reading involves several brain functions, including visual and auditory processes, phonemic awareness, fluency, comprehension, and more.

“The same neurological regions of the brain are stimulated by reading about something as by experiencing it.

“According to the ongoing research at Haskins Laboratories for the Science of the Spoken and Written Word, reading, unlike watching or listening to media, gives the brain more time to stop, think, process, and imagine the narrative in from of us.

'Reading every day can slow down late-life cognitive decline and keeps the brains healthier.”

TGB readers probably don't need to be told to read but this is a good reminder anyway that audio- and video-only news reports fall short in maintaining brain health. Read more here.

WHY FLOWERS ARE NOT ALLOWED IN CONGRESS

Well, I can't say that I ever noticed or knew about the rule before watching this video but it's fun knowing this obscure little piece of political history.

This video has been removed due to complaints from readers. Sorry. I guess I screwed up the html although quite a number of readers have said they had no problem with it.

HOW NOT TO BE AN INVISIBLE OLD WOMAN

TGB reader NWpup sent this video from Alice Bad titled Se Cree Joven (She Thinks She's Young):

HAS SCIENCE INVENTED A WAY TO PULL CARBON DIOXIDE OUT OF THE AIR

Scientists at Harvard together with a company called Carbon Engineering, which is funded by Bill Gates, say they have created a way to cheaply pull carbon out of the air and that it can be done to scale.

“'What we’ve done is build a [direct-air capture] process that is—as much as possible—built on existing processes and technologies that are widespread in the world, said David Keith, a professor of applied physics at Harvard and the lead author of the new study. 'That’s why we think we have a reasonable possibility of scaling up.'”

And,

“'The strongest part of this paper, in my opinion, is the fact that they’ve actually tested the technology in a prototype plant for a few years. That’s a big deal, and offers a proof of principle that’s way stronger than simple calculations or computational models,' says Scott Hersey, an assistant professor of chemical engineering at Olin College.”

Of course there is a lot more to know and a lot more development first. But it worth reading about at The Atlantic and at Technology Review.

JOHN OLIVER ON THE MUELLER INVESTIGATION

Among the many reasons to keep up with host John Oliver's weekly HBO program, Last Week Tonight are the clarity he brings to complex topics and his sense of moral outrage at the politics under which we live these days in the U.S.

On last week's show, he dismantled the right wing's “stupid Watergate” method of attacking the Mueller investigation.

NEW WAY TO TREAT CAVITIES WITHOUT DRILLING?

Terrible teeth run in my family. Both my parents lost all of theirs by the time they were 40 and what left of mine are a few on my lower jaw. So this story is too late for me, but if it is real, if it becomes fact, what a boon for people like me and my family:

”Scientists have developed a new substance to treat dental cavities without making a costly and unpleasant trip to the dentist.

“Inspired by the proteins in our bodies which form teeth, the new product uses peptides—which are structurally similar to proteins—to repair the enamel on the part of the tooth which requires treatment...

“The researchers hope that the formulation could one day be sold in over-the-counter products such as toothpaste to prevent and treat tooth decay, or put into clinical products used by dentists.”

Some scientists are skeptical about the new research but after a lifetime of having spent tens of thousands of dollars on my teeth, a girl can hope even if it's too late for her.

Read more here.

KLM'S CANINE LOST-AND-FOUND WORKER

If I cared to check, I'm almost certain I've posted this video before but I want to believe it's real - it's so damned cute so here it is again. (Apologies to whoever sent it; I misplaced your name.)

Okay, I'm sure you already figured out the real story is that the video is a publicity stunt. You can read about it at the Washington Post.

* * *

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 June 2018

THE VANISHING LINGO OF NEW YORK SODA JERKS

There is a fascinating article at Atlas Obscura about the slang of soda jerks during the heyday of their existence. There were

”...half a million employed at tens of thousands of soda fountains across the United States in the 1930s and 1940s. They had white coats, swift fingers, and even swifter tongues—indeed, their linguistic concoctions were as much of a draw as the sweet treats they served up.”

SodaJerkLOC

Some examples of those linguistic concoctions:

• All Black: Chocolate soda with chocolate ice cream
• Add Another: Coffee
• Baby: Glass of fresh milk
• Black Bottom: Chocolate sundae with chocolate syrup
• Black Cow: Root beer
• C. O. Cocktail: Castor oil prepared in soda
• Canary Island Special: Vanilla soda with chocolate cream
• Choc In: Chocolate soda
• Choker Holes: Doughnuts
• Coffee And: Cup of coffee and cake
• Cowcumber: Pickle
• Draw Some Mud: Coffee

Visit Atlas Oscura for more of the soda jerk slang and the story of the now long-gone drug store phenomenon.

TWINKIES IN THE PARK WITH GOD

Trust me – you're going to be charmed by this:

SHERLOCK HOLMES ACTOR FENDS OFF CYCLIST ATTACKER

Actor Benedict Cumberbatch has played a fine Sherlock Holmes in a television series set in the modern day and co-produced by the BBC and WGBH. Recently, in London, the actor went to the aid of a bicyclist attacked by a muggers:

”His actions meant the attackers fled, it was claimed, as he bravely fended the perpetrators off who allegedly smashed the cyclist over the head with a bottle,” reported The Telegraph.

“According to witnesses, he dragged the four muggers off the victim, who was in his 20s, after screaming at them to leave him alone. One of the men had tried to steal the cyclist’s bike, but nothing was stolen.”

And it all happened just around the corner from 221B Baker Street, here is Cumberbatch with Martin Freeman who plays Dr. John Watson in the series.

Dr_john_watson_benedict_cumberbatch

CANON ENDS SALE OF ITS LAST FILM CAMERA

A sign of the times, the end of era.

Actually, the company stopped production of their last film camera, the EOS-1v, in 2010, since then they have been selling remaining stock.

”The translated page from Canon’s website delivers the news casually: 'Thank you very much for your continued patronage of Canon products. By the way, we are finally decided to end sales for the film single lens reflex camera ‘EOS – 1v...'

“Although this means Canon is no longer selling any film cameras, it doesn’t spell the death of film — at least, not yet. Nikon still sells two film cameras, the F6 and FM10.”

One more thing we will need to explain to the younger set – that we used to drop off film (what's film? they will ask) at the drugstore and wait a week to see our photos.

More information at The Verge.

THE FEATHER FAMILY OF FRANCE

As the YouTube page explains:

”Since 1929, Maison Février has been responsible for adorning cabaret performers in an extravagant array of gear and garb. They have created elaborate costumes for greats, such as Josephine Baker and Zizi Jeanmaire. Today, under the watchful eye of Editte Février, the latest generation of the 'feather family' continues the legacy, spending months creating showstopping garments for the storied cabaret, Moulin Rouge.”

CUCLI

At 17 minutes, this video is a good deal longer than I usually post but I think you will find it worth your time.

It tells the story of Ramon, a widow and long-distance truck driver who lives with his parents. He has a special companion on those trips who has helped lift his grief and taught him a new kind of love.

There is some more information at Aeon.

CARTOONIST BLOWBACK

Whatever you think of Donald Trump, he has given new life to editorial and political cartoonists. In fact, he supplies so much material that there is hardly any other subject for cartoonists these days.

Darlene Costner emailed this one after the U.S. Supreme Court sided with the baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple.

TrumpBakery

LIVING IN THE ROUND

According to the YouTube page:

Located about an hour outside Amsterdam is a village of spherical homes straight out of your futuristic fantasies. From a distance, Bolwoningen’s domes appear to be a set of golf balls, but up close, they are the architectural masterpiece of Dutch artist and sculptor Dries Kreijkamp.

“Built in 1984, each home contains three levels with round windows that give view to the scenic canal. The intent of the complex was to bring residents closer to nature.

ANOTHER INTERSPECIES FRIENDSHIP

If you've been here for awhile, you know I can't resist interspecies friendship. Here's another from reader Cathy Johnson – a prairie dog and a German shepherd.

* * *

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 June 2018

WORLD'S OLDEST BLOGGER

She lives in Sweden. She's 106 years old. She didn't get her first computer until she was 100 years old. Her blog name is Bojan; her real name is Dagny Carlsson:

NOTE: Since I originally posted this video, it has been removed from embedding. You can watch it here.

Her blog is called Blogga Med Mig (Blog With Me) and you can see it here. (Thank TGB reader Joared for sending this item.)

UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANT SAVES LITTLE BOY

You must have seen this by now but it's too good to ignore. A 22-year-old immigrant from Ghana, Mamoudou Gassama, didn't hesitate to risk his own life to save this little boy hanging from a high balcony in Paris.

What an inspiration Gassama is and a rebuke to anyone who would close our borders to all immigrants. He has been hailed as a hero worldwide, met with French president Emmanuel Macron who offered him citizenship and has accepted a 10-month internship with the French fire brigade. Read more at the Daily Mail.

FREE CREDIT FREEZE

A year or more ago, when my personal information was caught up in one of the massive data breaches that happen so frequently these days, I froze my credit report at all three of the major credit reporting agencies – Equifax, Experian and TransUniion.

That meant no one (except companies with which I already do business) could see my reports unless I lifted the freeze. Here's the catch: it cost me $10 at each agency to freeze those reports and there would be additional fees to unfreeze them if I was applying for a loan, credit card or other transaction that needs a credit report.

I was fairly pissed off since it's not my fault those three agencies can't or won't keep their electronic files safe from thieves.

But now, Congress has done us this small favor: Tucked in that awful bill reversing many Dodd-Frank banking provisions put in place after the 2008 crash, is a requirement that there be no fee for credit freezes.

”By Sept. 21,” reports the Washington Post, “everyone will be able to place and remove a 'security freeze' on their credit files for free.

“Such a freeze — also called a 'credit freeze' — blocks lenders from pulling your credit reports. It’s a powerful tool to thwart identity thieves from using your financial information to open credit cards or take out loans.”

There are more details at the Washington Post story.

IS THERE ANYTHING YOU CAN DO TO AFFECT CLIMATE CHANGE?

The effects of climate change are awful for the future of mankind and for the planet in general, and it seems impossible that anything a single individual, like you or me, can do could change anything. But maybe not.

Just because you and I can't make a large difference in carbon emissions doesn't mean we each should not do what we can. There is more information especially about the effect of plastic on planet Earth in the latest issue of National Geographic and at the magazine's website.

A GRANDFATHER'S MEMORY BOOK

From The New York Times' Op-Docs video series, Colin Levy’s charming, illustrated remembrance, 'My Grandfather’s Memory Book.

NEW MEDICARE CARD IS ON ITS WAY TO ME

A couple of days ago, I got this email:

MedicareCardEmail

Yes. Medicare is sending the new Medicare cards to my state, Oregon, this month along with California, Alaska, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and some U.S. territories. Here is the map the email directed me to:

NewMedicareCardShipped

So sometime this month I'll have that new card. If you are signed up for MyMedicare, you too can receive an email to let you know when cards are being shipped to your state. Or sign up here.

COMMON PHRASES YOU DON'T KNOW ARE QUOTING SHAKESPEARE

This is fun – everyday phrases that started with William Shakespeare or were used in his era.

Knock, Knock. Who's there? - Macbeth, Act II, Scene III
"Knock, Knock. Who's there, in th' other devil’s name?” - Porter

Geez, he even invented the knock-knock joke?

Green-eyed monster - Othello, Act III, Scene III
"O, beware, my lord, of jealousy! It is the green-eyed monster, which doth mock the meat it feeds on." — Iago

Kill with kindness – The Taming of the Shrew, Act IV, Scene 1
"This is a way to kill a wife with kindness, and thus I'll curb her mad and headstrong humor." — Petruchio

Mental Floss has 18 more familiar phrases most of us don't know are from Shakespeare.

PRO GUN RALLY – FROM THE DAILY SHOW

Comedy Central's The Daily Show host, Trevor Noah, sent one of the program's contributors, Roy Wood, Jr., to a pro-gun rally in Helena, Montana. Weirdness ensues. (Thank TGB reader Jim Stone for this.)

JAKE THE DIAMOND DOG

If you love baseball and dogs then you’ll appreciate the work that Jake the Diamond Dog does at minor league baseball games. Jake has been trained to retrieve the bats as well as to deliver water to players and referees on hot summer days.

* * *

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 – 26 May 2018

REMAKING LONDON'S ICONIC RED PHONE BOOTHS

Since just about everyone has a mobile phone now, old fashioned phone booths are going the way of dodo. People in London, however, are finding interesting new uses for their iconic red booths. Two examples - a defibrillator and a community library:

DefibrillatorPhoneBooth

Communitylibraryphonebooth

Both photos by Andrew Testa for The New York Times where there are more photos and an interesting story to go with them.

WHAT WOODY ALLEN TOLD DIANE KEATON ABOUT DEATH

Friend and TGB reader, Richard Lombard, sent this quotation in response to my announcement earlier this week of Ollie the cat's death.

Last June, Richard explained in his email, the American Film Institute (AFI) presented actor Diane Keaton with a lifetime achievement award. Here is what Woody Allen told Keaton when he presented her with the award – video and transcript below:

”She's always had a morbid fear of death. And I tell her there's nothing to worry about. Because if you've ever had a colonoscopy, they give you an injection and you're out! And it's black and peaceful and nice. And so death is like a colonoscopy. The problem is that life is like the prep day."

At the end of his message, Richard noted to me, “Ollie is in the beautiful place. We are still doing the prep!”

INTERIOR DEPARTMENT TO LIFT RESTRICTIONS ON HUNTING BEAR AND WOLVES

According to NBC News (and many other news organizations),

”The Trump administration is moving to reverse Obama-era rules barring hunters on some public lands in Alaska from baiting brown bears with bacon and doughnuts and using spotlights to shoot mother black bears and cubs hibernating in their dens.

“The National Park Service issued a notice Monday of its intent to amend regulations for sport hunting and trapping in national preserves to bring the federal rules in line with Alaska state law.

“Under the proposed changes, hunters would also be allowed to hunt black bears with dogs, kill wolves and pups in their dens, and use motor boats to shoot swimming caribou.

“These and other hunting methods — condemned as cruel by wildlife protection advocates — were outlawed on federal lands in 2015.”

My heart is breaking. It has always baffled me what people get out of shooting animals for sport.

The public has 60 days from Tuesday 22 May to comments on the proposed roll-back of sane hunting regulations. You can do that at the regulations.gov website.

In the search box, type "RIN (1024-AE38)" (with the quotation marks). When the next page loads, click on the “Comment Now” button.

When the comment page loads, type your message and include the words “National Park Service” or “NPS”. And maybe you could pass this on to your readers or friends.

TWO LYNX MEET ON AN (ALMOST) DESERTED ROAD

A testy conversation ensues:

(The internet tells me the plural of lynx is lynxes. I think that sounds weird, so I made the plural lynx for today.)

“EMPATHY” CARDS THAT SAY WHAT YOU'RE THINKING

My friend Ann Burack-Weiss sent these/ The sentiments are honest, real and hard to find:

Empathycards

You can purchase these cards and many other more “traditional” ones at Emily McDowell Studio along with a variety of other products. (Warning: this website is heavily commercial – many things for sale – but they are much more clever and interesting than many.)

TRUE FACTS ABOUT ANTS

As the Big Geek Daddy page explains:

”This is the latest video in the True Facts series from Ze Frank. Each episode is like a miniature science lesson from a teacher full of humor and sarcasm that any student would find entertaining.”

I agree – see if you do too.

RULES FOR AIRLINE PASSENGERS

My friend Dave Delaney posted these rules on his LinkedIn page. You wouldn't think grownups need to be told such things as, but apparently not:

Only jerks recline their seats on domestic flights. Passengers are already packed like sardines up there.

Avoid the airport seats near power outlets if you’re not going to use them. Be sure to unplug and share that power once you are all juiced up.

If the person you strike up a conversation with doesn’t ask you questions, it’s time to be quiet.

You can read the rest of Dave's rules at his LinkedIn page.

HOW HAS YOUR U.S. COUNTY CHANGED FROM 2000-2016

Pew Research compiled the statistics on how some demographics have changed over 16 years in every U.S. county. Just as useful, Pew allows embedding this interactive feature.

Just type in the name of your county and click on the correct one in the dropdown menu. Your selected county information will appear:

If for some reason this doesn't work here, you'll find the Pew Research page here which also has more information about the survey.

THE SOLDIER AND THE KITTEN

As you might imagine, I've been thinking a lot this week about how important our pets are to us. In this case, a soldier with PTSD and a stray kitten rescued each other.

* * *

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 May 2018

NEW SHINGLES VACCINE FOR ELDERS

I'm betting that most TGB readers had chicken pox when they were kids. That means we are at risk for shingles. The vaccine that has been available, [Zostavax], is not all that effective but a new one, called Shingrix, is:

”In clinical trials,” reports the Washington Post, “Shingrix was 96.6 percent effective in adults ages 50 to 59, while Zostavax was 70 percent effective.

“The differences were even more marked with age: Effectiveness in adults 70 and older was 91.3 percent for Shingrix, compared with 38 percent for Zostavax. Shingrix also provided longer-lasting protection than Zostavax, whose effectiveness waned after the first year.”

For those reasons and others, I've never taken the Zostavax shot but Shingrix will be at the top of my questions for my primary care physician when I see him in a few weeks.

”The [Centers for Disease Control] CDC,” reports AARP, “estimates that for every 1 million people 60 to 69 years old who receive Shingrix, there will be 87,000 fewer cases of shingles, as well as 10,000 fewer cases of postherpetic neuralgia (severe pain in the location of a previous shingles rash).”

Shingrix can be pricey - $280 for the two-shot series – so check your drug coverage.

IT'S OFFICIAL – I WILL NEVER FLY AGAIN

At a trade show in Hamburg, Germany, in April, a new kind of airline seat – actually a sort of standing saddle – was offered as a way for airlines to cram more passengers into economy class.

As the video notes toward the end, certain existing rules probably won't allow this new “seating” to be installed in planes anytime soon. But if you live in the United States these days, you know how easily regulations can ben ignored or ditched entirely.

Photos and more information at Newsweek.

3D PRINTED HOMES FOR THE WORLD'S 1 BILLION HOMELESS

On the brighter side, a company is making very low-cost 3D printed homes that could provide that could provide affordable, sustainable and customizable homes for the one billion global homeless population. Here's a video:

You can read more and see other videos at the websites of the two companies who created this project, New Story and Icon.

THEY KEEP TRYING TO TELL US BRAIN GAMES WORK, BUT...

Study after study says they don't, as I've mentioned here many times.

Last fall, the fellow-blogger Chuck Nyren had had just enough when the latest overblown research claimed that brain games could ward off dementia:

Those who did the speed of processing training” Chuck quotes, “were 29 per cent less likely to have developed dementia than people in the ”control group.

But…

It is possible that any improvements seen in the processing speed training group may have been due to chance, and not directly caused by the training itself.

And then he laid out his own inimitable thoughts:

”I’m having trouble directly speed processing the above information. It sounds to me like you could’ve had them all play tiddlywinks for ten years and had the same results – a chance that a certain percentage might or might not have developed dementia, but not necessarily because they played tiddlywinks.”

There is more at Chuck's Huffpost piece.

THE PUPPETEER BEHIND YODA AND JABBA THE HUT

I've lost track of the more recent Star Wars movies (are there nine films in the series now?), but the first three? I'm still a fan of those – particularly of Yoda, Jabba the Hut and I'm one of the few people on earth, apparently, who thinks Jar Jar Binks is a hoot.

Here's a new video about David Barclay, the puppeteer behind Star Wars characters.

HOW THE DIGESTIVE SYSTEM WORKS

You can understand, after having my gall bladder, duodenum, part of my pancreas and a few other bits and pieces surgically removed a year ago, why I'm interested in how the digestive system generally works. Maybe you are too. Here's a good TEDed Talk on that.

NET NEUTRALITY WIN IN THE SENATE

On Wednesday, Senate Democrats, joined by three Republicans, pulled off 52-47 vote approving a resolution that would undo the FCC’s 2017 repeal of Obama-era net neutrality rules.

To reinstate the net neutrality rules, the House now needs to vote on the bill. Even though polls show that 86 percent of Americans want to keep the net neutrality rules, Congressional Republicans

”...described the effort to reinstate 'net neutrality' rules as 'political theater' because the GOP-controlled House is not expected to take up the issue and the Senate’s margin could not overcome a presidential veto,” reported Talking Points Memo.

“Democrats, however, were undeterred, saying their push would energize young voters who are tech savvy and value unfettered access to the internet.”

Maybe once again you could call your Congressional representative and urge him or her to help bring the bill to the floor of the House and vote for it. You can do that here.

LIVE ANIMAL CAMS

Just what you need, right – more sites to keep you glued to your screens.

I've just discovered explore.com which bill itself as the “world's leading philanthropic live nature cam network and documentary film channel.” There many live cams include dozens of kinds of animals. Here is the famous Decorah Eagle came with this year's brood of chicks.

At explore.org, you'll find live cams for many types of birds and fish; walruses and seals brown, grizzly, polar and panda bears; tigers, lions and elephants; farm animals; even dogs and cats and much more along with highlight reels from the hundreds of cams.

* * *

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 – 12 May 2018

THE AVERAGE PERSON HIDES 13 SECRETS

Secrets, the YouTube page tells us, are not something you should keep locked away. Do that, and they'll eat you from the inside out:

Curiosity reports:

”According to a May 2017 study, you likely have around 13 secrets brewing in that head of yours — five of which you'll never tell a soul. The researchers say that it isn't the number of secrets you keep that's significant. Rather, it's the burden of those secrets — they weigh on you, literally.”

There are other effects you can read at Curiosity and at The Atlantic.

I don't recall 13 secrets, but most of the ones I do have, that I'll never tell you, are the times I behaved badly and am still ashamed of. What about you?

REAL-LIFE RAPUNZELS

The YouTube page tells us that for thousands of years, the Yao women of Huangluo Village have been keeping up an incredible beauty regimen, growing long, luxurious locks.

Believed to symbolize beauty, wealth and longevity, long hair is considered sacred, and women in the village only cut their hair once in a lifetime. Take a look:

REANIMATING PIG BRAINS

This story freaks me out, a nightmare to end all nightmares. MIT Technology Review explains:

”In a step that could change the definition of death, researchers have restored circulation to the brains of decapitated pigs and kept the reanimated organs alive for as long as 36 hours...

“The work was described on March 28 at a meeting held at the National Institutes of Health to investigate ethical issues arising as US neuroscience centers explore the limits of brain science.”

Ethical issues? No shit. Imagine your living brain sitting in a box somewhere – wait. It's better if I quote MIT:

The setup, jokingly dubbed the 'brain in a bucket,' would quickly raise serious ethical and legal questions if it were tried on a human.

“For instance, if a person’s brain were reanimated outside the body, would that person awake in what would amount to the ultimate sensory deprivation chamber, without ears, eyes, or a way to communicate? Would someone retain memories, an identity, or legal rights? Could researchers ethically dissect or dispose of such a brain?”

It is madness to contemplate this act, even on a pig or any other animal.

More at MIT Technology Review and at Alternet.

WHAT ARE BITCOIN AND BLOCKCHAIN?

According to The New York Times, Goldman Sachs will open a Bitcoin trading operation on the New York Stock Exchange:

”Some of the biggest names on Wall Street are warming up to Bitcoin, a virtual currency that for nearly a decade has been consigned to the unregulated fringes of the financial world...

“Many corporations and governments have expressed interest in the technology that Bitcoin introduced, particularly a form of database known as the blockchain.

“The moves by Goldman and Intercontinental Exchange, or ICE, the parent company of the New York Stock Exchange, mark a dramatic shift toward the mainstream for a digital token that has been known primarily for its underworld associations and status as a high-risk, speculative investment.”

Oh dear. Apparently the time has come for me to figure out what Bitcoin and blockchain are.

I've tried to understand this without much success. It's a huge puzzle. But this New York Times video gave me my first inkling that with some more work, I might just figure it out.

Clear as mud, right? Read more at The New York Times.

FAKE FOOD FOR REAL RESTAURANTS

In Japan, it's customary for restaurants to display their offerings inside their front windows. Think restaurant window shopping.

The displays come from one city only: Gujo. This ancient town is the epicenter of artificial food. The people who make the displays are real artists, but the "food" they create is not.

It may be one city in Japan, but I have seen this amazingly real-looking food in U.S. restaurant windows in several cities.

SAVING DUCKLINGS FROM CERTAIN DEATH

Is bad news the only kind there is these days? It sure feels that way but then TGB reader Joan McMullin sent this video. My god, there just keep coming and coming and coming.

(This is getting irritating. You may need to click the link in the video to watch on YouTube. If I had time, I would substitute another video but not today. I'll be more careful with my choices in the future to avoid this.)

LETTER TO MY BOSS

All of Congress, both houses, even those members who are not rabid opportunists feeding at the public trough, enrage me these days. A handful come out of their caves now and then to “bravely” denounce the president's latest stupidity or outrage, but then scurry back to hibernation bunkers.

They do nothing at all and every one of them deserves to be booted. So this email from Darlene Costner that is making the rounds gave me some relief for a few moments:

“I have enjoyed working here these past several years. You have paid me very well, given me benefits beyond belief. I have 3-4 months off per year and a pension plan that will pay my salary till the day I die and a health plan that most people can only dream about.

“Despite this I plan to take the next 12-18 months to find a new position. During this time I will show up for work when it is convenient. In addition I fully expect to draw my full salary and all the other perks associated with my current job.

“Oh yes, if my search for this new job proves fruitless, I will be back with no loss in pay or status. Before you say anything, remember that you have no choice in the matter. I can and will do this.

“Sincerely,
Every Senator or Congressman running for President."

Try that at your job and tell me how it works out.”

ANOTHER FROM DARLENE COSTNER

A baby elephant who appears to believe he is a lapdog. Irresistible.

THE WORLD'S TOUGHEST JOB

Interviews for the world's toughest job. Yes, it's a joke, but it's a good one. Stick around for the ending.

* * *

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 – 5 May 2018

[EDITORIAL NOTE: At last, a new Interesting Stuff that has been missing for two Saturdays in a row due to my hospital visits. I always have fun doing this so I'm glad to be back at it.]

OLDER VOTERS LEANING AWAY FROM THE REPUBLICAN PARTY

Particularly since the 2016 election, it has baffled and embarrassed me that the majority of elder voters identify as conservatives and/or Republicans often when it is in their own best interests to vote otherwise.

Now, after more than a year of President Donald Trump, that may be changing. Here is a new survey from Reuters about how Americans 60 and older are moving toward the Democrats:

”The potential impact of any swing to Democrats is magnified given that older, educated adults are reliable voters. They also make up a sizeable portion of the voting population in many districts where elections are close.

“How they vote could decide elections in as many as 26 competitive congressional districts where Democrats have a shot at winning a seat.”

Personally, I think it is way too early to predict what will happen in the midterm elections – a lot can happen to sway people in different directions between now and then. Here's the Reuters chart:

ReutersVotersOver60Poll2018B

You can Read more here and here.

HISTORY OF BREAD PACKAGE CLOSURES

I've always been a sucker for the history of small, unimportant things. Here's one about the humble bread bag clip:

”The tiny piece of plastic keeping your bread fresh is all thanks to one family. Through the company Kwik Lok, the Paxton sisters have been carrying on their grandfather’s legacy, selling over a billion bag clips every year.”

Let's go to the video tape:

CHOCOLATE TO GO EXTINCT?

Oh, no. Just because my sweet tooth has inexplicably faded since my Whipple surgery nearly a year ago doesn't mean I don't care about this news. As my Salem, Oregon, friend John Gear says, “this is serious.”

”Cacao plants are slated to disappear by as early as 2050 thanks to warmer temperatures and dryer weather conditions,” reports the World Economic Forum. “Scientists at the University of California are teaming up with Mars company to try to save the crop before it's too late.

“Cacao plants occupy a precarious position on the globe. They can only grow within a narrow strip of rainforested land roughly 20 degrees north and south of the equator, where temperature, rain, and humidity all stay relatively constant throughout the year.

“Over half of the world's chocolate now comes from just two countries in West Africa — Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana.”

You can read more here.

FRIEND AND TGB READER LAUDED FOR ELDER ORPHAN WORK

My long-time friend Wendl Kornfeld has been given the Samuel Sacks Achievement Award for her volunteer work at Temple Emanu-El in New York City.

She also works with and is an expert on elder orphans, people who are without family in their old age. Congratulations, Wendl, for the award and thank you for your ongoing hard work.

You can read more here.

WHERE DO CORPORATE PROFITS REALLY GO?

John Oliver tells us on his HBO program, Last Week Tonight. It's a long-ish video but always worth the time.

MEDICARE CARDS BEING MAILED

U.S. Medicare has begun mailing out the new Medicare cards – the one's that do not expose our Social Security numbers. They look like this:

NewMedicareCard

Medicare has now posted a chart showing whether the cards have been mailed yet to your state. Here is the current update:

MedicareMailingMap

You can sign up here to be notified when mailing begins for your state.

LUCKIEST UNLUCKY MAN

Any one of the accidents this man has lived through would be enough for me to consider myself lucky.

LITTLE PINK HOUSE

TGB reader Bill Griffith sent this movie trailer for the film, Little Pink House about the U.S. Supreme Court case, Kelo v. City of New London and the doctrine of eminent domain.

I followed the case closely over the years it was happening, eventually disgusted with the outcome. You might be interested too – that a big, fat, billion-dollar company can take your home just because.

TINY DOORS IN U.S. CAPITOL BUILDING

Here's a little bit of political history for you – the reason for tiny doors throughout the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.

NOTE: For some reason this video refuses to play. There is another video about the tiny doors in the Capitol Building at Roll Call. Just click the link.

* * *

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 April 2018

Oops – I don't mean to fool you. My intention, after missing last week, was to post an Interesting Stuff today but there was just too much catchup to accomplish yesterday after nearly a week in hospital again.

There is, however, a growing collection of Interesting Stuff so you can look forward to that in coming Saturdays.

For today, here is a simple one I can show you – the Mission Impossible squirrel. It's nearly eight years old so you may have seen it but I don't think you'll enjoy it any less this time.

They're clever littler buggers aren't they, those squirrels?



INTERESTING STUFF – 7 April 2018

REFLECTION ON A LONG LIFE

Following up on last week's poetry day here, this is from long-time TGB reader, former contributor to The Elder Storytelling Place and master of what he calls doggerel, Henry Lowenstern: Reflection he titles it:

In my life so far, I have fit the mold
of husband, father, head of household
and have generally assumed that my role
was to be in full control.
But now, the years have passed,
and I am at last,
retired and relaxed,
though not yet collapsed,
and, despite some aches and pain,
in full possession of my brain.
In sum, I want you to behold,
that I am enjoying being old.

SECRETS OF THE SNOWY OWL

Some researchers hooked up a young snowy owl named Baltimore with a solar powered tracker. And then, one guy followed Baltimore from a beach in Maryland to a island way up in Canada. This video follows the journey. (Thank you, Cathy Johnson, for this.)

NO ONE OVER 40 INVOLVED IN THE ROYAL WEDDING???

Next month, the world will watch what is shaping up to be the biggest royal wedding since Charles and Diana: the nuptuals at Windsor of Prince Harry and his American bride, Meghan Markle.

According to Vanity Fair magazine, the couple is calling on friends for some of the preparation instead of relying entirely on the usual royal wedding planners who are steeped in ancient royal protocol.

”Although Markle and Prince Harry have hired two leading events organizers and catering firms to help them oversee their wedding (there’s apparently a ban on anyone over 40 getting too involved)...”

What can we make of this? Surely Queen Elizabeth will be allowed to attend.

THIEVING SEAGULLS GOT A MAN BANNED FROM VICTORIA HOTEL FOR 17 YEARS

There are no photos or video to show you with this story, but it's really funny. Here's a starter for you:

Back in April 2001, Nick Burchill was traveling for business from Nova Scotia to Victoria, B.C. He arranged also to visit with some old Navy buddies while he was there and he filled a suitcase with a local Halifax delicacy for them, a special pepperoni.

The airline lost the suitcase for day and when Nick retrieved it, he was concerned about the sausage spoiling. So, he left it all on a table near the open window at the Empress Hotel in Victoria to keep it cool while he went out and until he could deliver the gift to his friends.

Here is his description of the hotel room when he returned:

”I remember walking down the long hall and opening the door to my room to find an entire flock of seagulls in my room. I didn’t have time to count, but there must have been 40 of them and they had been in my room, eating pepperoni for a long time.

“In case you were wondering, Brothers’ TNT Pepperoni does NASTY things to a seagull’s digestive system. As you would expect, the room was covered in seagull crap. What I did not realize until then was that Seagulls also drool. Especially when they eat pepperoni.”

That is an excerpt from a letter to the management of the Empress Hotel that Nick recently sent to try to get his ban from staying at their hotel lifted. You can – and should - read the entire story on his Facebook page.

There is some additional information at the CBC and at Bored Panda.

Thanks to doctafil for this funny story.

GOOGLE INTRODUCES ACCESSIBILITY MAPS

Google announced in a blog post that it is introducing to its maps wheelchair accessible information for city streets, transit and general navigation.

”To access the 'wheelchair accessible routes,' type your desired destination into Google Maps. Tap 'Directions' then select the public transportation icon. Then tap 'Options' and under the Routes section, you’ll find 'wheelchair accessible' as a new route type.

When you select this option, Google Maps will show you a list of possible routes that take mobility needs into consideration. Starting [15 March 2018], this feature is rolling out in major metropolitan transit centers around the world, starting with London, New York, Tokyo, Mexico City, Boston, and Sydney.

“We're looking forward to working with additional transit agencies in the coming months to bring more wheelchair accessible routes to Google Maps.”

This is useful not only for those who use wheelchairs, but for people pushing baby carriages, pulling grocery carts, who use crutches and for elders for whom walking and stairs have become difficult.

Here is Google's promotional video:

Google will be rolling out accessibility maps for other cities soon.

THE DIFFERENCE AMONG CARAMEL, TOFFEE AND BUTTERSCOTCH

You are free to say that my taste buds are less discerning than they might be, but I have never been able to tell the difference among caramel, toffee and butterscotch. Apparently I'm not the only one. Here is Mental Floss's explanation:

”[Caramel and butterscotch] are both made with melted sugar, but they use different ingredients. Caramel is a mix of white granulated sugar, heavy whipping cream, butter, and a dash of vanilla. Butterscotch, on the other hand, is made with brown sugar instead.”

Go visit Mental Floss to find out where toffee fits into the mix.

THE PAPER AIRPLANE GUY – WOW, AMAZING

John Collins, better known as 'The Paper Airplane Guy,' has devoted himself to designing, folding, and flying the world's finest paper airplanes.There is no reason for me to say more – just watch this vedeo and be amazed:

You can read more at Wired. John Collins' website is here.

THE GREAT PACIFIC GARBAGE PATCH

This, the great Pacific garbage patch has been giving me heartburn and heartbreak since I first learned of it several years ago.

”Accuweather.com tells us that the Great Pacific Garbage Patch - the massive collection of plastic and floating trash - continues to expand in a region halfway between Hawaii and California - is now three times the size of France...

“A recent study published in the journal Scientific Reports on Thursday, March 22, found that the GPGP has grown to more than 600,000 square miles, which is twice the size of Texas or three times the size of France.
“Accumulated in this area are 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic, weighing 80.000 metric tons, the equivalent of 500 jumbo jets.”

Here is a video about the patch and what it will take to clean it up:

Read more at accuweather and at CNN.

SQUIRREL GETS REPLACEMENT PAWS

Humans can be so evil. And they can be so kind too.

* * *

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 – 31 March 2018

REST IN PEACE, RAMONA MOORMAN

About 10 years ago, I posted several stories from readers who were of the “oldest old” generation. One of them was Ramona Moorman who, when her husband died, took over publishing a local weekly paper, the Marcellus News, in Marcellus, Michigan.

On Thursday, TGB reader Beth left a comment on that post to tell us that Ms. Moorman had died on 24 March:

”We knew her from that little town in Southwest Michigan,” wrote Beth. “She was the cornerstone of our community and the mortar that held it together. She not only edited, owned and operated the Marcellus News, she WAS the Marcellus News, and so much more. She will be missed by all who knew and loved her.”

You can read Ramona Moorman's Oldest Old story here.

DISTRIBUTION OF NEW MEDICARE CARDS BEGINS

Starting on Monday and continuing for a year after that, new Medicare identification cards will be mailed to every beneficiary.

The card will be mailed to you automatically. You don't need to do anything. But if your snailmail address is out of date, you can correct it at Medicare.gov. The most important reason for the change to to protect your Social Security number from fraud and/or identity theft.

Here is a little video with all the information you need:

MILLION-DOLLAR MINIATURE RAILROAD

I have always liked miniatures. As a kid, my dollhouse was a big favorite. Later in life my mother built dollhouses – electrified ones – from scratch and even built a lot of the furniture. She surprised me one birthday many years ago with a dollhouse that perfectly replicated my New York City apartment.

I have zero interest in living in a tiny house, but watching online videos about them has become almost an addiction. I have no explanation for my interest in miniatures – it just is.

So of course, I couldn't resist this video for you:

SNOOPY ON LIFE AND DEATH

In response to a TGB blog post last week, reader Nana Royer sent this single panel of Charlie Brown and Snoopy philosophizing. Perfectly.

Snoopylives

WILLIE NELSON AND KRIS KRISTOFFERSON REMEMBER JOHNNY CASH

”Johnny Cash: Forever Words” is a collaborative album, to be released in April, consisting of 16 songs created from Johnny Cash's unknown poetry, lyrics, and letters set to music by an astounding array of contemporary artists.

Rolling Stone explains:

”Opening the album is a moving performance from Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson, both of whom collaborated with Cash throughout their careers.

“Led by Nelson's acoustic guitar and Kristofferson's narration, the song features an instrumental version of Cash's 1958 single I Still Miss Someone, which is repurposed as the backdrop for the final poem the Man in Black ever wrote.”

Here is that opening track:

You can read more about the album and its artists at Rolling Stone.

THE MOST CROWDED ISLAND ON EARTH

Two hours off the coast of Colombia is a small island home to over 1,200 people. As the entirety of Santa Cruz del Islote only spans the length of two soccer fields, residents live in close quarters, the YouTube page tells us.

“Despite the circumstances, the community makes the most of their limited surface area, packing in a school, two shops and one restaurant. Only 150 years ago, the island was uninhabited; today, generations of families are proud to call Santa Cruz del Islote home.”

You can read more about the island at The Guardian with a lot of photos showing more of the island than the video does.

TINY, PERFECT HANDMADE STAIRCASES

From the Atlas Obscura page:

”Since the Middle Ages, France’s 'compagnons' have lived idiosyncratic existences, steeped in mystery, ritual, and a devotion to their trades...

“The name 'compagnon' translates to 'companion,' relating to the brotherhood between members and the shared identity of a movement that, today, encompasses around 12,000 permanent, active members...

“Professions usually fall into one of five “groups,” depending on their principal material: stone; wood; metal; leather and textiles; and food...

Historically, woodworkers have often chosen to produce a tiny, intricate staircase as their 'masterwork.' Over 30 years, the art dealer and collector Eugene V. Thaw, who died at 90 in January 2018, amassed an incredible collection of these staircase models, dating from between the 18th and 20th centuries. Measuring only a few inches in height, they are self-supporting, graceful, and impossibly delicate.”

Here are three of them:

Stair4

Stair2

Stair3

There are more tiny staircases and more fascinating information about the compagnons and their work at Atlas Obscura. The BBC has an equally interesting story about the compagnons' modern-day work.

THE MAN OF A THOUSAND VOICES

As the man behind over 250 of your favorite characters, Phil LaMarr is one of the most prolific voice actors in the biz, says the YouTube page.

But beyond his vocal prowess, LaMarr has left his mark on all your favorite movies and TV shows, from an appearance in Pulp Fiction, to a featured regular role on MADtv. Here's a video about him.

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF AN ANCIENT ATHENIAN

Here's a good, little explanation of how democracy worked in ancient Athens – From TEDEd.

CAT WATCHING GOLDFISH

There is nothing I need to say about this – just laugh.

Funny-Cat-Watching-Gold-Fish-HD-Wallpaper

* * *

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 – 24 March 2018

NEW CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET PRESERVES FUNDING FOR IMPORTANT ELDER PROGRAMS

Remember three weeks ago when I told you about the cuts to elder programs that President Trump, in his budget, wanted to cut? Things like cuts to Medicare and Medicaid, to the Social Security administration budget and replacing about a quarter of SNAP funding with what became the much derided box of food delivered to SNAP beneficiaries by the Department of Agriculture.

As I noted then, any president's budget has little or no chance of passing Congress - it is a formality - and late Thursday night, saner minds in Congress passed their own budget which preserves important programs for elders and even slightly improves a couple of them.

Here is how Max Richtman, President and CEO of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare (NCPSSM) explained on Friday morning:

"[Social Security Administration] gets an increase of $480 million over the previous fiscal year, including $100 million for reducing the backlog in Social Security Disability Insurance hearings – which some 10,000 Americans died waiting for in 2017.

"The funding bump – which the National Committee has long advocated – should also alleviate some of the excessively long wait times for customer service on SSA’s toll-free phone line and in-person at SSA field offices.

"The Omnibus bill also includes $59 million more for Older Americans Act Senior Nutrition programs and an increase of $250 million for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), while the State Health Insurance Program (SHIP) receives a modest increase in funding.

"The spending plan also gives a $414 million boost to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for Alzheimer’s and dementia research.

"We applaud Congress for maintaining spending for senior programs that President Trump proposed to eliminate in his FY 2018 budget, including the Senior Community Service Employment Program, the Community Development Block Grant, and the Community Services Block Grant, which helps to pay for Meals on Wheels."

This is a small amount of good news in what is generally a terrible budget. I have zero proof of this but just maybe all our telephone calls, email, snail mail letters, etc. to our Congressional representatives helped get these important elder programs into the mix. Even if that's not true, let's be grateful and celebrate a little for a day or two. Elders need these programs and need them properly funded.

STEPHEN COLBERT PUMPS IRON WITH NOTORIOUS RBG

This week, Late Show host, Stephen Colbert went to the gym with Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. What I makes me feel terrific about a healthy future is that all the exercises she does in the video are ones I've done for years.

There is a nice story at Mental Floss about 15 Things You Should Know About Justice Ginsburg.

HOW TO DELETE YOUR FACEBOOK ACCOUNT

With the revelations this week about Cambridge Analytica's use of personal information from millions of Facebook pages to nudge the U.S. presidential election toward the winner they wanted, many users are trying to delete their Facebook accounts.

Here's a hint: you can't. Take a look.

There is additional information at The New York Times. If you want more, maybe different, information about how to extract yourself from Facebook, just google “delete facebook” without the quotation marks. You get nearly four million returns.

FOR WORD MAVENS

Mental Floss gives us some wonderful, old-fashioned synonyms for “happy.” Here is a sampling:

Chirky: for cheerful

Gaudeamus: From the Latin for “let us rejoice,” this oldie refers to a merry jamboree

Delira and Excira: A term the Irish use to mean “delirious and excited”

Gladsome: This classic is from the 14th century

Read the rest of the 15 here.

JOHN OLIVER WRITES A BOOK TO TROLL MIKE PENCE

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence has a pet bunny rabbit named Marlon Bundo. This month, he published a book about Marlon Bundo. Then John Oliver came along and published his own book about Marlon Bundo that immediately shot to number on Amazon's best seller list.

And that's all I'm going to tell you. Just watch Oliver explain it on his HBO program, Last Week Tongiht from last Sunday. It's wonderful as only Oliver can be.

By Tuesday, Oliver's bunny book was number 1 on Amazon, such an instant hit that all copies were sold out. More are being printed and I've bought mine. Here are the bunny book covers side by side.

Bunnybooks

A NEW SONG FOR THE MARCH FOR OUR LIVES

Today in Washington, D.C. and other places around the U.S., young people are taking to the streets for gun control in the March for Our Lives. Maybe some of you are participating.

Two Broadway musical superpowers recently teamed up to release a song for the march. Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda and Dear Evan Hansen's Ben Platt unveiled the video for Found Tonight, a mash-up of songs from their respective shows.

Here's the official video from Atlantic Records featuring Miranda and Hansen.

OH MY, THE FUTURE OF COMPUTING IS HERE - ALMOST

And it is the world's smallest computer. Wait until you read this:

”IBM kicked off its Think 2018 conference today with a bombshell announcement: It has made the world’s smallest computer...,” reports Digital Trends.

“The computer itself is smaller than a single grain of salt, coming in at 1 millimeter by 1 millimeter and reportedly has about the same computing power as a 1990s era CPU.”

TinyComputerSalt

CNET explains further:

”...despite its size and cost (each will be less than 10 cents to make)[it] can 'monitor, analyze, communicate and even act on data.' Each computer can hold as many as one million transistors, while network communication is handled by LEDs and a solar cell provides power.”

Okay, I won't pretend to understand all this; I just think it's cool. But it be awhile until we see how it will be used in real life. CNET reports that according to IBM, “...clients could have samples in the next 18 months and within the next five years they'll reach the marketplace.”

LAST MALE SOUTHERN WHITE RHINO IN THE WORLD DIES

This makes me cry. Rhinoceroses have been on earth a whole lot longer than humans have been - 50 million years.

Take a good look. Sudan was the last of his kind. Oh, there is a daughter and granddaughter but there is the obvious problem with that. And all other species of rhinos are endangered too.

You can read more at BBC News.

DOONESBURY NAILED TRUMP 41 YEARS AGO

TGB reader Joan McMullen sent this Doonesbury panel from 41 years ago in which Gary Trudeau nails Trump.

Doonesbury_mao

URBAN FALCONRY AND THE POOPMASTER 6000

Downtown Portland, Oregon, had a crow problem. Thousands and thousands of crows were befouling the streets, sidewalks and parks.

“They left us a lot of droppings on the sidewalk to clean up, so much so that it just became impossible to keep up with it,” said Jeri Jenkins of Portland Mall Management...

“'And then I had a friend say to me, “Have you thought about falconry?’” she recalled...

“'There were a lot of unknowns going into this. One of the most obvious was how well the hawks would operate at night. We also weren’t certain how well the crows would respond to hawks,'" says [Kort] Clayton, a biologist who turned falconry into a business.

Although the OPB website provides what what they say is an embed code for the video story, I can't make it work – undoubtedly my failing. But you can view it at the OPB website. It's a terrific story, worth the effort to make the click and you'll find out what the Poopmaster 6000 is.

* * *

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 March 2018

A VERY SHORT HISTORY OF ST. PATRICK'S DAY

Are you wearing green today? How is it, do you think, that everyone is Irish on St. Patrick's Day?

This video doesn't answer all the questions anyone might have about this holiday, but there were a couple of things I didn't know.

FIRST WOMAN ON CANADIAN MONEY

Civil rights pioneer Viola Desmond this week became the first woman to be featured on Canadian currency. This is how Desmond's sister reacted to the honor for her late sibling. (Thank you Jim Stone.)

More about Viola Desmond here.

HELEN MIRREN BEFORE AND AFTER

My friend Chuck Nyren (May I call you my friend, Chuck?) posted a terrific blog story last week about his love for actor Helen Mirren:

”I hate it when I love someone everybody else loves. I feel like I’m just a boring, average, celebrity-obsessed dunderhead. But I do love Helen Mirren.

“Not just lately. I remember her in the 1970s (Oh, Lucky Man!), before long she hid out (from me) doing theatre in England, then popped up again in the 1990s. She was great in The Madness of King George.

“Since then Helen’s made a few flicks and TV shows. What she did a few days ago knocked me out.

What she did was allow herself to be photographed sans makeup for the Oscar show with a followup photo after the artists finished their work on her face and hair. And then, AND THEN, she published the photos to Instagram. I would expect nothing less from her because she is as much a favorite of mine, for all the many good reasons, as for Chuck. Here are the before and after:

MirrenFinal

You can read Chuck's entire post at Advertising For Baby Boomers.

SHKRELI'S JAILED BUT 5000% PRICE HIKE IS STILL IN EFFECT

Remember that little creep Martin Shkreli who bought the rights to the drug Daraprim and then increased the price by 5000 percent?

This past week he was sentenced to seven years in prison – but for a different lawbreaking, not Daraprim:

”Martin 'Pharma Bro' Shkreli was sentenced Friday to seven years in prison and a $75,000 fine after he was found guilty of defrauding his investors last year,” reports Huffpost.

“Shkreli, however, is best known for an affront to the American public: hiking up the price of the lifesaving drug Daraprim by more than 5,000 percent in September 2015.”

But guess what. Even with all the terrible publicity and condemnations, the drug still costs $750 per pill:

”HuffPost contacted a representative Vyera Pharmaceuticals, Turing Pharmaceuticals’ new name. A company representative confirmed that Daraprim still costs $750 out of pocket, with a reduced price for patients who meet certain federal poverty guidelines.”

What makes it even worse is that there is no alternative for Daraprim. You can read more here.

A NIGHTCLUB DEEJAY BRINGS HIS SKILLS TO A BUDDHIST TEMPLE

”Gyosen Asakura’s temple is not your average place of worship,” the Youtube page tells us. “Using his training as a professional DJ, Asakura combines Buddhist scripture with techno beats to create a unique experience. His innovative services have attracted a new generation of people with hundreds flocking to witness the DJ Monk bring his temple to life.”

Take a look:

LONDON BEEFEATERS' SECRET PUB

For hundreds of years there has been a secret pub hidden inside the Tower of London. It is private, just for the Beefeaters and their guests. Here's a short video:

Read more about the pub at Atlas Obscura.

VENEZUELAN EAGLE PROTECTOR

Watching harpy eagles being destroyed in the wilds of Venezuela, Alexander Blanco Márquez decided to take matters into his own hands.Now, he’s going to extremes to protect these eagles, often putting his own life on the line.

A FEEL GOODER

That's what Jim Stone said in his email sending me this and I agree:

AN AMAZING MOMENT WITH WILD GORILLAS

Damian Aspinall and his wife, Victoria, made a special trip to a gorilla sanctuary in Gabon. The Gorillas had met Damian before but they had never met his wife. This is the moment where the gorillas decide if Victoria is welcome or not.

Thank you, Darlene Costner, for 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 – 10 March 2018

THE BABY WHISPERER

According to the YouTube page:

”Over the last 12 years, David Deutchman has held and soothed over 1,200 babies at the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite Hospital. He’s a 'baby buddy,' a person who spends time comforting babies who are delivered prematurely or who may require special medical attention.

“Nicknamed 'the baby whisperer' by nurses, David’s nurturing support has become a godsend for parents while they are away at work or caring for children at home.”

DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME TONIGHT

Don't forget to “spring forward” tonight by changing your clocks by one hour as daylight saving time begins.

Daylight-saving-time

Most of us loathe this ritual each March and November – I certainly do - and the state of Florida is trying to do something about that:

”Lawmakers in Florida are tired of the whole fall back and spring forward rigamarole. So they've approved a bill to keep Daylight Saving Time going throughout the year in their state,” reports CNN.

“It took the state Senate less than a minute Tuesday to pass the "Sunshine Protection Act." There were only two dissenters. (The House passed it 103-11 on February 14.)

“The bill now goes to the desk of Gov. Rick Scott -- but it's far from a done deal after that, Even if the governor approves, a change like this will literally take an act of Congress.”

But it's a step in the right direction. Maybe more states will join in to convince Congress it is time to let go of this irritating semi-annual ritual. You can read more about Florida's move here.

HOW PEOPLE WOKE UP BEFORE ALARM CLOCKS

The Mental Floss website, ever eager to pass on obscure information, historical and contemporary, gives us seven ways people woke up at the hour they wanted before there were alarm clocks. Here are two of them:

The Knocker-Up
“The Knocker-Up (also referred to as a Knocker-Upper) gained prominence during the Industrial Revolution, using a long stick with wire or a knob affixed to the end to rouse customers at a desired time. Clients would agree verbally in advance, or simply post a preferred time on doors or windows.

“For a few pence a week, clients could rest assured knowing their Knocker Upper would not leave until he (Knocker Ups were almost always men) was certain a person was awake. Larger factories and mills often employed their own Knocker Ups to ensure laborers made it to work on time.”

Bladder Control
“Early man drank tons and tons of water if he needed to wake up before the sun. Why? Well, if you're over the age of 30 or so, you probably know what getting up in the middle of the night to urinate is all about. The custom of 'over-drinking' before bed was even utilized by Native Americans well into the 20th century.”

You can read about five more early wake-up systems at Mental Floss.

JOHN OLIVER ON THE NRA

On his HBO program, Last Week Tonight, host John Oliver explores the weird world of NRA-TV (National Rifle Association). As always, he has most of the best political jokes of the week and it is definitely worth the investment of your time.

If you're interested in checking out NRA-TV for yourself, you will find it here.

MATTEL'S 17 NEW BARBIE DOLLS

In honor of International Women's Day this past week, toymaker Mattel released three new “inspiring” Barbie dolls along with 14 Shero dolls. Here's a video report from a local TV news program in Columbus, Ohio:

You can see each of the 17 new Barbies side-by-side with photos of their real-life counterparts at Bored Panda.

20 DESIGNERS

TGB reader and friend, Darlene Costner, sent this video of 20 designs for modern homes, mostly space savers that are quite cleverly thought out. They may not all be to your taste, but be sure to stick around for the last one: so silly.

SOME GOOD NEWS: NET NEUTRALITY GOES TO COURT

As reported in these pages a couple of weeks ago, Federal Communications Commission chairman Ajit Pai, filed a ruling to take effect on 23 April that will reverse the net neutrality provisions put in place to protect consumers by the Obama administration.

Go to the link above to get the full story on why net neutrality is so important to consumers and to the the country.

Several states had threatened to sue and now a judicial review panel announced that challenges to the rollback will be heard by a San Francisco appeals court. Reuters reports:

”The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict litigation said it randomly selected the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court...to hear the consolidated challenges. The FCC declined to comment on the decision.

“A dozen challenges have been filed by 22 state attorneys general, public interest groups, internet companies, a California county and the state’s Public Utilities Commission seeking to block the Trump administration’s repeal of landmark rules designed to ensure a free and open internet from taking effect.

“The suits were filed in both the Ninth Circuit and District of Columbia appeals court. Of the Ninth Circuit court’s 24 active judges, 18 were appointed by Democratic presidents and six by Republican President George W. Bush. There are six current vacancies and President Donald Trump has nominated two candidates.”

You can read more here about this important challenge to one of the many Trump administration efforts to curtail public access to information.

SOME BAD NEWS: TRUMP TO REINSTATE IMPORTATION OF WILD ANIMAL TROPHIES

On Tuesday, Trump revoked another Obama administration ruling disallowing import of wild animal trophies from Africa. Here is an NBC News report about the change:

You can read more details here.

MY ALL-TIME FAVORITE CAT VIDEO

Most Saturdays I end this Interesting Stuff column with a cat or, at least, an animal video. There is no dearth of such material on the internet so that I am never at a loss for something new to show you.

Sometimes, however, a repeat is more than worth it. This video of a cat watching a horror movie was the number one viral video of the year in 2016, so I am certainly not alone in laughing out loud no matter how many times I see it.

* * *

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 March 2018

MACARONI AND CHEESE RECIPE FROM 1784

I often think “mac and cheese,” as it appears to be called nowadays, has been fetishized beyond on all reason. Nevertheless, it is a great winter or comfort food that I like a lot.

So it was fun, this week, to run across this video of a macaroni and cheese recipe from 1784. Take a look:

This also turned up recently – count them - 38 macaroni and cheese recipes.

THE BEAST FROM THE EAST BLOWS INTO BRITAIN

As I write this on Friday, the east coast of the United States is being pummeled by a massive and destructive nor-easter. In Britain this past week, they called a similar storm with freezing Arctic winds, “The Beast From the East.”

The New York Times put together a video of it from around the country.

REMEMBER THAT TERRIBLE TAX OVERHAUL TRUMP SIGNED?

According to CEO Warren Buffet, Trump's recent tax cut for the rich, has given Buffet's company, Berkshire Hathaway, a $29 billion dollar windfall without his having lifted a finger:

”Berkshire’s $29 billion bonus stems from unrealized gains on equity investments getting taxed at a rate of 21 percent instead of the previous 35 percent rate,” reports the Daily Beast.

“The gain helped push Berkshire’s net earnings in 2017 up to $44.94 billion, nearly double the $24.07 billion recorded a year earlier. Buffet said while the gain is 'real,' it 'did not come from anything we accomplished at Berkshire.'”

LONDON'S SLIM HOUSE

It seems like every big city has a skinny house. The one in New York City, on the street where I lived, was 9.5 feet wide.

This one, in London, measures only 7.5 feet wide. According to the You Tube page:

”The narrow building features 3 floors, 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms and was renovated by architects alma-nac, who added features to the house to maximise every inch of the limited space.”

Here is a video tour:

JOHN OLIVER ON HIS HBO SHOW, LAST WEEK TONIGHT

You may think Oliver's topic last Sunday, Italy's political difficulties, are irrelevant to the U.S. and a lot of other countries, but you would be wrong. Oliver at his best and funniest.

THE MOST FAMOUS ACTOR YOU'VE NEVER SEEN

This guy has been in more than 150 movies, but you would probably not recognize him if you saw him in the street.

”Doug Jones has been every creature, monster and villain known to Hollywood having portrayed the Amphibian Man in The Shape of Water, the Silver Surfer in Fantastic Four and the Thin Clown in Batman Returns, for example.

Here's an interview with him with a whole bunch of clips of the monsters he has played.

LIFE WITHOUT PAPER

Nothing ever dies on the internet and I suspect I posted this five years ago when it was new. But I had such a good laugh at it again that I didn't even check to see if I'm repeating myself. Enjoy.

A WALK THROUGH A FLOODED NATURE PRESERVE

When it rains a lot, the Rio da Prata river runs of slower form, causing its damming, thus increasing the water level of the Olho D'Água river, explains the YouTube page.

”Despite the flood, on the day the video was recorded the waters of the Olho D'Agua river remained crystal clear due to their conserved riparian forest and being inside a Private Reserve of the Natural Patrimony - PRNP, a type of Conservation Unit.

“This was a rare episode, and by the end of the day the river had returned to its normal level.”

ELEPHANTS RESCUE A BABY WHO FELL INTO A POOL

If the number of internet videos are an indication, baby elephants have a habit of falling into and getting stuck in waterholes. Then the grownups step in to save them. It is always heartwarming and fun to watch.

This one is from TGB reader Joan McMullen.

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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 – 24 February 2018

WHAT IT'S LIKE TO RIDE A FOUR-PERSON BOBSLED

This video, shot with a GoPro camera, gives us a glimpse of the excitement involved with bobsledding. This is a four-person bobsled but the camera is at the front so we don't see the driver of other three men.

FEMALE VERSIONS OF MALE U.S. PRESIDENTS

A Reddit user who calls him/herself ygdrssl created these makeovers of American presidents with an app called FaceApp using only an iPhone.

There is no reason for this. There is no statement to be made. But it's fun to look at – every president since 1900. Thank Jim Stone for sending this. Here are some samples.

FemalePresidents

There are more at the Bored Panda website and this is the Reddit page.

JOHN OLIVER ON WHAT TRUMP HAS DONE TO AMERICA

Hurray! John Oliver is back hosting a new season of his HBO program, Last Week Tonight. Among the questions he tackles is this: Is anything about Trump funny anymore?

Be sure to stick around for the end where Oliver manages to work dinosaurs and the New York Gay Men's Chorus into the finale.

SURPRISING FACTS ABOUT WINTER

It's been extra cold for the past week where I live in Oregon. Even a bit of snow. But the crocuses are already up and the daphne is blooming so spring can't be too far behind.

But before we leave this season behind, here are some surprising facts about winter:

More than 22 million tons of salt are used on U.S. Roads Each Winter. That comes to about 137 pounds of salt per person.

The Snowiest City on Earth is in Japan. Aomori City in northern Japan receives more snowfall than any major city on the planet. Each year citizens are pummeled with 312 inches, or about 26 feet, of snow on average.

Snowflakes aren't always unique. Snow crystals usually form unique patterns, but there’s at least one instance of identical snowflakes in the record books. In 1988, two snowflakes collected from a Wisconsin storm were confirmed to be twins at an atmospheric research center in Colorado.

There are 12 more facts about winter at Mental Floss.

A SHORT HISTORY OF SPORTS

According to this video, the first recorded sport in history was spear throwing which started in about 70,000 BC. Bowling was the first known ball game – in Egypt in 3200 B.C.

There is plenty more to know about the history of sports in this video.

5 PLACES REPUBLICANS BAN GUNS FOR THEIR OWN SAFETY

It is doubtful you have missed the news of the terrible shooting in Florida last week and the continuing inspiration of the high school's survivors to confront our lawmakers about better gun control.

During all the discussion, town halls, funerals, sadness and pain, this turned up - a list of five places Republican ban guns for their own personal safety:

  1. The White House
  2. The Republican National Convention
  3. Mar-a-Lago
  4. U.S. Capitol Building
  5. Republican Town Halls

It's worth your time to read the full story at Alternet.

TEMPERATURE DROPS 70 DEGREES IN 40 HOURS IN DENVER

A lot of winter items in this list today. This one is ab out the astonishing 72-degree drop in the temperaturfe in Denver in fewer than 48 hours:

There is a bit more information at CBSnews.

HEDGEHOG HIGHWAYS IN LONDON

They are cute little buggers, hedgehogs are. London has always had a large population of hedgehogs but numbers have been dropping precipitously due to habitat destruction.

To the rescue is an organization building tiny little highways to help the critters get to the parks and gardens wooded areas and other vegetation they like. Here are some photos:

HedghogHighway

Hedghog

Find out a lot more at Atlas Obscura.

YALE WHIFFENPOOFS ADMIT FIRST WOMAN EVER

Yale's Whiffenpoofs just admitted the first woman into their a capella singing group.

”The campaign for the Whiffs to accept women gained momentum only recently,” reports The New York Times. “After the Whiffenpoofs voted against admitting them in 2016, a record number of female singers auditioned anyway and an online petition circulated urging the Whiffs to reverse the decision.”

Here are the 2017 Wiffenpoofs singing their signature song.

Read more about the first woman Wiffenpoof and how it came about 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 – 17 February 2018

TIME GOES BY DONATION WEEK
Hurray. Just one more day left of the 2018 TGB donation drive to help support the increasing costs of maintaining Time Goes By. You can read the details on Monday's post.

Whether you donate or not, nothing will change. TGB will always remain advertising-free with never a membership fee or paid firewall. If you would like to help support the work that goes on here, click the button below. If not, which is perfectly fine, scroll down for today's post.

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MAN SURPRISED TO FIND OUT HE'S 99 YEARS OLD

A lot of people have gotten a good laugh out of this video from Jukin Media: It got more then 3.5 million views on YouTube in only 10 days:

JIMMY KIMMEL'S OLYMPIC COVERAGE

As he reminds the audience, NBC, where the Olympics is being broadcast in the U.S., does not allowed Kimmel to show clips on his ABC show. So he did this.

THOSE MAGAZINES JUST KEEP COMING

Thank TGB's Sunday music columnist, Peter Tibbles, for this cartoon from Pearls Before Swine. I know just how the guy feels and for me, it's about this particular magazine.

As much as I love The New Yorker, I'm always playing catchup with it.

PearlsBeforeSwineCartoon

Find more Pearls Before Swine cartoons here.

B.B. KING IN A DRESS

That headline is what a commenter said about Sister Rosetta Tharp on the YouTube page. A lot of people don't remember her or never heard of her but my mother was a fan so I grew up singing along with recordings of Ms. Tharp.

She is often referred to as “The Godmother of Rock and Roll” or “The Original Soul Sister”. This video is from 1964 in Manchester, England: Didn't It Rain. See what you think.

WATERFALL SWING

Wait 'till you see this: Swinging in the rain (ahem) without getting wet.

The Big Geek Daddy page explains how swingers stay dry:

”Sensors mounted on the swing set send data to a software program that determines when to release the water so it misses the person swinging beneath the waterfall. The water used for this is recirculated from the collection pool beneath the swings so it’s not using a lot of water.”

STUNNING REPORT ON COST OF SOLAR/WIND POWER

The U.S. president is doing everything he can to promote old, dirty energy production which, as it turns out, is actually more expensive that renewable energy.

”A widely-used yearly benchmarking study — the Levelized Cost of Energy Analysis (LCOE) from the financial firm Lazard Ltd. — reached this stunning conclusion: In many regions 'the full-lifecycle costs of building and operating renewables-based projects have dropped below the operating costs alone of conventional generation technologies such as coal or nuclear,” reports ThinkProgress...

“Since power from new renewables is cheaper than power from existing coal and nuclear, it’s no surprise that the lifetime cost of new renewables is much cheaper than new coal and nuclear power. And that gap is growing.

“Lazard notes that in North America, the cost for utility scale solar and wind power dropped 6 percent last year, while the price for coal remained flat and the cost of nuclear soared.”

The cost savings are even greater in some other countries. Read more at ThinkProgress.

THE SNOW GUARDIAN

Gothic, Colorado is one of the coldest places in the United States. It is also been a ghost town since the 1920s. As the YouTube page further explains:

”For more than 40 years, current resident billy barr has lived in a small cabin, recording data about the snowpack to pass the time.

“In this short film, Morgan Heim of Day’s Edge Productions profiles the legendary local who inadvertently provided scientists with a treasure trove of climate change data.}

AT LAST, JOHN OLIVER RETURNS

Tomorrow night, Sunday, the inimitable John Oliver returns for Season 5 of his HBO show, Last Week Tonight. My god I've missed him. Here's the trailer for his new season:

If you don't subscribe to HBO, you can watch it on the YouTube page or see the best part here next Saturday.

SHE SAYS SHE IS NOT A CRAZY CAT LADY

Lynea Lattanzio is a certified cat lady who would "rather have 800 cats than another man." The founder of The Cat House on The Kings oversees a 12-acre sanctuary in California with close to 800 adults and 300 kittens.

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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.