400 posts categorized "Interesting Stuff"

INTERESTING STUFF – 22 September 2018

BUTCH, SUNDANCE AND ROBERT MUELLER

Washington Post columnist Max Boot, this week, marvelously compared Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III to the sheriff who relentlessly tracked down Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

ButchandSundance2

Yes, that Butch and Sundance who tried mightily to elude the guys who were persuing them:

“'Those guys,' wrote Boot, “turn out to be a collection of the best lawmen in the West, led by a legendary sheriff named Joe Lefors, who have been assembled to finally hunt down the bandits.

“Robert S. Mueller III is the real-life incarnation of Lefors, and his special counsel team is the real-life superposse. Like Lefors in the movie, he never says a word. Instead, he lets his work speak for itself...

“As Mueller’s investigation advances, methodically and relentlessly, Trump is acting as rattled as Butch and Sundance — minus, of course, the charm, wit and good looks of Redford and Newman.”

Exactly. You can read the entire column here.

In case you're interested, Max Boot, who is so much more than an opinion columnist, has become one of my favorite regular reads. You can find out more about him here.

NEIGHBOR SPOOFING

This happens to me once every day of the week at the same time each day:

”More than half of all complaints received by the Federal Communications Commission — more than 200,000 of them — are about unwanted calls. The FCC said Americans received about 2.4 billion unwanted, automated calls each month, according to 2016 estimates.”

The spoofing comes in when you answer a call because the phone number displayed shows your own Area Code so you might think it is a friend or neighbor. (I never learn; it gets me every time.)

You can read more here and this video has some information to help you keep calls to a low roar:

REMEMBER VICTOR BORGE?

When I was growing up, Victor Borge was a staple on television variety shows of the era. I'd forgotten him until I ran across this video with one of his classic comedy routines:

FREE CREDIT FREEZE

Credit freezes are an important tool to keeping your personal financial information safe. As The New York Times

”Security freezes, often called credit freezes, are 'absolutely' the best way to prevent criminals from using your personal information to open new accounts in your name, said Paul Stephens, director of policy and advocacy with Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, a consumer advocacy nonprofit group.”

Before now, the three major credit agencies, Equifax, TransUnion and Experian charged a fee for consumers to freeze their credit. The first two dropped those charges awhile back and now, Experian has joined them in accordance with a new law that went into effect yesterday, 21 September.

Those links above will take you to each agency's credit freeze page. You can read more at The New York Times.

JOHN OLIVER WEB EXCLUSIVE - RETRACTIONS

When John Oliver's HBO program, Last Week Tonight, is on hiatus, he sometimes posts a short, web-only video to carry us over until the next full show.

Here is one about retractions of previous statements he has made in error. Or not.

THE LAST SCISSOR CRAFTSMAN IN JAPAN

Not many people can afford these scissors. It's an amazing story and sad, too, that this man is the last one who knows how to do this.

AIR POLLUTION LINKED TO DEMENTIA

There is a new study linking air pollution to dementia. Here's a short news video:

As The Guardian reports:

”Air pollution has already been linked with cardiovascular and respiratory disease, but this is one of the first studies to examine links with neurodegenerative illness.

“Frank Kelly, professor of environmental health at King’s College London and one of the authors of the paper, told the Guardian: 'The study outcome suggests a linkage [between air pollution and dementia] but cannot inform on the cause. However, I believe that we now have sufficient knowledge to add air pollution to the list of risk factors for dementia.'”

More at The Guardian and the Daily Beast. The full study is at the BMJ [pdf].

@#$%^&* TECHNOLOGY

This is no exaggeration. It happened to me almost word-for-word a few days ago. My friend and attorney John Gear sent it, perhaps in response to Crabby Old Lady's elder tech complaints last Monday.

WINDOWS:
Please enter your new password.

USER:
Cabbage

WINDOWS:
Sorry, the password must be more than 8 characters.

USER:
Boiled cabbage

WINDOWS:
Sorry, the password must contain 1 numerical character.

USER:
1 boiled cabbage

WINDOWS:
Sorry, the password cannot have blank spaces

USER:
50damnboiledcabbages

WINDOWS:
Sorry, the password must contain at least one upper case character.

USER:
50DAMNboiledcabbages

WINDOWS:
Sorry the password cannot use more than one upper case character consecutively.

USER:
50damnBoiledCabbagesShovedUpYourAssIfYouDon'tGiveMeAccessNow!

WINDOWS:
Sorry, the password cannot contain punctuation.

USER:
ReallyPissedOff50DamnBoiledCabbagesShovedUpYourAssIfYouDontGiveMeAccessNow

WINDOWS:
Sorry, that password is already in use.

WOODPECKER VERSUS SQUIRREL

Have I shown you this video before? I know I saw it sometime in the past but I don't recall if I posted it. Anyway, it's just as amusing the second time around for me and maybe for you too.

And let's give the writer a hand – it's a great script.

* * *

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 – 8 September 2018

LET'S HAVE SOME BOOGIE WOOGIE TODAY

As Laughing Squid explained recently:

”When hoodied musician Dr K (Brendan Kavanaugh) of Badass Boogie encountered a couple of teenagers who had never heard of Boogie Woogie, he sat down at the Yamaha Platform 88 public piano and rocked a mean Boogie Woogie tune to school them musically on the finer points of the genre.”

There is something about impromptu public music that is such great fun:

That reminds me of one of my all-time, top favorite boogie woogie tracks. I must have posted this in the past but it is more than worth a rerun. From the late, great Long John Baldry, Don't Try to Lay No Boogie Woogie on the King of Rock and Roll.

MERRIAM WEBSTER DICTIONARY ADDS 840 NEW WORDS FOR 2018

As the dictionary company explains in their introduction to those new 840 words,

”A dictionary is almost like a glossary of life: peek inside and you see descriptions of everything around you. The addition of new words to a dictionary is a step in the continuous process of recording our ever-expanding language.”

I was intrigued right away by this one: TL;DR. Maybe you know it already. I didn't:

”Too long; didn't read — used to say that something would require too much time to read”

Speaking of too long, 840 is a lot of words to wade through. Fortunately, MentalFloss chose 25 of them to highlight. Two examples:

“Hangry (adj.) Irritable or angry because of hunger. People have been hangry (or at least using the word) since 1956.

“Rando (n) According to Merriam-Webster, this 'often disparaging' slang means 'A random person: a person who is not known or recognizable or whose appearance (as in a conversation or narrative) seems unprompted or unwelcome.'”

There are another 23 at MentalFloss, and the whole 840 at Merriam-Webster.

HOW “LOL” CHANGED THE WAY WE TALK

In this short, little video, John McWhorter, a professor of linquistics at Columbia University, talks about how texting and other electronic shorthand has changed how we speak – for the better, he says.

(Apparently, putting annoying, nonsense music behind the speaker's audio is, to the producer, a feature, not a bug. Sorry I can't delete it for you.)

What do you think? Does he have a point?

THE LIBRARY

The Two Ronnies was a BBC television comedy show that aired on BBC One from April 1971 to December 1987. All these years later, their sketches hold up – just as funny now as then. Our good friend Darlene Costner sent this:

PLUGGING A HOLE IN THE SPACE STATION

Do you recall reading Hans Brinker or The Silver Skates when you were a kid? Do you remember the part in the story about the kid who plugged a hole in the dyke with his finger?

Now, there is a modern-day, real-life version:

”It may sound like something straight out of a cartoon,” reports Mother Nature News, “but on the morning of Aug. 30, it was the only thing astronaut Alexander Gerst could think of.

“After receiving word from NASA that the International Space Station was very slowly leaking air, Gerst and five other astronauts starting scouring all over for the source. Upon finding the 2-millimeter (0.08-inch) hole in the docked Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft, Gerst did what many of us would likely do — he stuck his finger over the opening.:”

In what must be one of the most massive understatements ever spoken (well, at least about space), NASA's Mission Control noted:

"'Right now Alex has got his finger on that hole and I don't think that's the best remedy for it.'”

There is follow-up reporting with more detail and new information at The Guardian.

THE MOST POPULAR (sic) SURNAMES IN THE U.S.

Ancestry.com did some digging and came up with the most common surnames in each of the individual United States.

Here's a map with the top three in each state. (I'm pretty sure Ancestry misspoke: certainly they meant to say the most common, not most popular since no one is choosing their surname.)

Surname-Map-1

Well, that's way too small to try to read. Go see a readable version here.

The top three in my state, Oregon, are Smith, Johnson and Miller – which is close to true for almost every state.

You can also search for the origins and meanings of your own or anyone's surname.

LIVING SPACES IN HONG KONG

Living spaces smaller than the dimensions of a parking space. This is incredibly sad. You should watch it anyway.

AMERICAN CITIZENS BEING DENIED PASSPORTS

If you mostly watch cable news or read the front pages of newspapers, the only news happening this week were the Supreme Court nomination hearings and that unknown person who wrote an anonymous Op-Ed description of chaos in the White House published in The New York Times.

Even if it is not widely reported, other news does happen. In this case, one item is about American citizens who are being denied passports by the Trump administration:

"Juan is one of a growing number of people whose official birth records show they were born in the United States but who are now being denied passports — their citizenship suddenly thrown into question,” reports the Washington Post, among other news sources.

“The Trump administration is accusing hundreds, and possibly thousands, of Hispanics along the border of using fraudulent birth certificates since they were babies, and it is undertaking a widespread crackdown.”

Juan's U.S. birth record shows he was delivered by a midwife. “He spent his life wearing American uniforms: three years as a private in the Army, then as a cadet in the Border Patrol and now as a state prison guard,” continues the Post.

“But when Juan, 40, applied to renew his U.S. passport this year, the government’s response floored him. In a letter, the State Department said it didn’t believe he was an American citizen...

“In some cases, passport applicants with official U.S. birth certificates are being jailed in immigration detention centers and entered into deportation proceedings. In others, they are stuck in Mexico, their passports suddenly revoked when they tried to reenter the United States.”

The story is too long to copy here. You should know more about this – most of those affected have brown skin - more at The Post.

Don't ever forget Martin Niemoller's poem: “First they came for the socialists, but I wasn't a socialist...”

THE CHEETAHPULT

As the YouTube page explains:

”A custom-made contraption has catapulted the Oregon Zoo’s cheetahs toward a new level of fitness. Dubbed the 'cheetahpult,' it’s an 8-foot wooden device that flings a ball far enough for a cheetah — the fastest land animal on earth — to chase.

“After more conventional ball launchers fell short, the cheetahpult was designed and built by staff members with the zoo’s speediest residents in mind.”
.

My god, these animals are beautiful.

* * *

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 – 1 September 2018

EDITORIAL NOTE: As I mentioned Friday, my main computer died and I'm on a cranky, old, slow laptop until a new one is procured and set up.

Because I don't have access to my Interesting Stuff notes stuck in the dead computer, this is a shorter, more slapdash edition of Interenting Stuff with what I could pull together quickly.

* * *

NOTORIOUS RBG DOC AIRS ON MONDAY

Here's your chance if, like me, you missed seeing the documentary about Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg titled RBG in a theater earlier this year.

It will be broadcast on CNN Monday (Labor Day) evening at 9PM and again at 12 midnight U.S. eastern time. Here is the trailer:

She's my number one hero for several important reasons. I wouldn't miss this screening for anything.

NEW OPINION SURVEY ON WOMEN IN POLITICS

More women than ever in history are running for public office this year. Pew Research checked out how Americans feel about that:

Wo,/P.menRunningforoffice

Republicans have a way to go to catch up to the prevailing opinion that the number of women on ballots in the midterms is a good thing but men are doing well in accepting that.

You can read more about the survey at Pew Research.

HOW POLLING WORKS

As long as we're speaking of polls, here a short explanation of how a small number of respondents can be representative of an entire population.

What surprises me is that the method doesn't seem to have changed much since, as manager editor of cbsnews.com during the presidential election of 1996, I worked with the head of polling at CBS News.

Do keep in mind as you watch this that the pollsters failed dramatically to predict the winner in 2016.

CLEVER RACCOON

I have first-hand experience with raccoons' ability to foil just about any human attempt to keep them out of the garbage or wherever else they might find food. Take a look at this clever guy:

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ANTLERS AND HORNS

There are, here and there in my life, things I believe I ought to have known about since I was kid. But new ones I'm ignorant of turn up regularly. Here is the latest:

SCREENED OUTDOOR CAT PATIOS

Depending, among other considerations, where you live, it might not be a good idea to let the family cat run free outdoors. But most of them never stop trying to sneak out the door.

Here are some solutions, quite elaborate ones, some people have come up with in Portland, Oregon:

Catio-styles1

Catio-styles2

More photos of cat patios 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.



INTERESTING STUFF – 25 August 2018

NABISCO FREES ANIMAL CRACKERS FROM CAGES

After more than a century, the company that owns Nabisco freed the animals on its Animal Crackers boxes.

”Mondelez International, the parent company of Nabisco, has redesigned the packaging of its Barnum's Animals crackers after relenting to pressure from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals,” reports The Associated Press.

“PETA, which has been protesting the use of animals in circuses for more than 30 years, wrote a letter to Mondelez in the spring of 2016 calling for a redesign.

Here are the before and after. The new boxes on now on shelves in the U.S.

Anim alCrackersBefore

AnimalsCrackersAfter

HE CAN PRONOUNCE THE ENTIRE DICTIONARY

Jacques Bailly is the official pronouncer of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in the U.S. He started his wordsmith career as the 1980 spelling bee champion. Take a look:

There is more at Laughing Squid.

CROWS AS TRASH COLLECTORS

And you thought robots would take all the jobs. In France, it may be the crows: This from The New York Times:

”...the wily crow is getting a makeover. Puy du Fou, a historical theme park in the Loire region about four hours from Paris, has trained six crows to pick up cigarette butts and bits of trash and dump them in a box.

Here's how it goes:

This isn't the first time crows have been trained to do this, just the most recent. Damned clever, they are.

BRITAIN'S GOT TALENT

Isn't magic fun? This one is more than that, it is spectacular. Thank Darlene Costner for sending it.

The magician's name is Marc Spelmann and he was given the first Golden Buzzer of 2018. (I have no idea what that means; I'm just telling you what I read.)

”TRUTH ISN'T TRUTH”

- said Rudy Giuliani on Meet the Press last Sunday.

On Monday, Axios listed more of the infamous Orwellian phrases from the Trump administration:

“Alternative Facts” - Kellyanne Conway on Meet the Press, January 22, 2017

“Fake News” - President Trump every day

“What you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening" - Trump at the VFW National Convention, July 25, 2018

Axios also listed a few from the Party in George Orwell's 1984.

"War is peace”
“Freedom is slavery”
“Ignorance is strength"

There's no daylight I can see between the Trump folks and Orwell's Party.

CARVING A BIRDCAGE ON THE TIP OF A PENCIL

Artist Salavat Fidai uses a jumbo pencil with a diameter of 5mm to do this. I could be convinced that the video is a lot like watching paint dry except for the exquisite payoff of the result.

JOHN OLIVER ON TRADE

On HBO's program, Last Week Tonight last Sunday, host John Oliver took on some of the intricacies of trade. Sound boring to you? No way.

Oliver makes what generally is complicated understandable, compelling and even – as he so capably can do – funny. Oh, while you watch this, keep in mind that on Thursday, Trump imposed another $16 billion in new tariffs on China which immediately retaliated in kind.

FREE NYU MEDICAL SCHOOL TUITION

How about some really good news.

Ten days ago, New York University School of Medicine announced it will cover tuition of all its students regardless of merit or need. The move resulted from NYU's concern that students saddled with tens of thousands of dollars in debt are choosing high-paid specialties rather than family practice, pediatrics, geriatrics and research.

”N.Y.U.’s plan...may spur other top medical schools to follow suit. In a statement, N.Y.U. said that it would be the only top-ranked medical school in the nation to offer full-tuition scholarships to all students.

“The plan, effective immediately, covers all current and future students. Annual tuition is roughly $55,000. There are 93 first-year students, and another 350 students who have up to three years left before obtaining their degrees...

“The plan does not cover room and board or fees, which together are an additional $27,000, on average.”

What great news – for students and for patients. Read more at The New York Times.

RESCUE BEAVER BUILDING DAMS IN HIS HOUSE

What happens when you take in an orphaned beaver...

* * *

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 – 18 August 2018

THE FOREST MAN OF INDIA

Majuli, the largest river island in the world, may disappear in 20 years or so due to soil erosion. Nevertheless, since 1979, when Jadav Payeng, then 16, has made it his life’s mission to save Majuli by planting trees.

The forest is now larger than New York City's Central Park and home to Bengal tigers, rhinoceros and even a herd of more than 100 elephants that visits each year. The film won a passel of awards in 2014.

More information, photographs and maps at Bored Panda.

BIG PHARMA LOBBYING CONGRESS TO REVERSE PART D LEGISLATION

Remember on Wednesday when I mentioned that the Medicare Part D donut hole will close a year earlier than planned, in 2019? Now, wealthy pharmaceutical companies have been spending millions to lobby Congress to roll back that legislation.

As AARP explains:

”So far, no legislation has been introduced that would overturn the donut hole changes, but when lawmakers return to Washington next month, they will have to appropriate money to keep the government running, and big drug companies hope to get a reversal attached to that legislation.”

Here's a short video about what you and I can do.

Yes, I know many of you boycott AARP and the organization is partly responsible for the donut hole to begin with by supporting the Part D legislation with that provision - that only benefits pharmacutical companies - when it was working its way through Congress. But this time, they are on the right side of the issue.

NYPL LENDING ACCOUTREMENTS FOR JOB INTERVIEWS

Lending libraries are branching out. TGB reader doctafil who blogs at Jive Chalkin, sent this item about job seekers who don't own the right clothes for an interview:

”...in New York City, the public library is opening its closet to anyone who needs to borrow fancier accessories—like ties.

“The New York Public Library’s Grow Up work accessories collection, located at the Riverside Library on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, allows library card holders to borrow ties, briefcases, and handbags for three-week periods....

“There are already similar "tie-braries" in Queens, New York and in Philadelphia, but it appears that those don't also offer accessories like purses and briefcases.”

You can read more at Mental Floss.

JOHN OLIVER EXPLAINS ASTROTURFING

It seems that everywhere we turn these days, political, corporate and other advocates are using fake experts, fake crowds and more not-quite-honorable means to convince us of lies they want us to believe.

On the most recent episode of HBO's Last Week Tonight last Sunday, host John Oliver explained how astroturfing works. I found some of this truly shocking.

THINGS THAT ARE A LOT BIGGER THAN YOU THOUGHT

People who work at Bored Panda must have a wonderful time chasing down odd and interesting items for us. This one is a list of 20 things that are much bigger that you thought:

How Many Earths Could Fit in the Sun:

How many earths fit inside sun

Traffic light:

Trafficlight

Full-grown wombat:

Wombat

Geez - all this time I thought wombats were about the size of koalas. There are a lot more surprising big things at Bored Panda.

STARVING DOG RESCUED FROM DESERTED ISLAND

A man on a cruise spotted a dog stranded on a deserted island and knew he had to save her. Here is their story which has totted up more than two million views in under two weeks:

BROWN BEAR LIVE CAM

There are live cams all over the world that we can watch on the internet. One of the best sources with many choices is explore.org.

The Brooks Falls cameras in Alaska's Katmai National Park show us one of the best places on Earth to see bears fishing with their young:

”You'll see the most bear action on this cam in July and August, but keep an eye out for bald eagles and gulls flying overhead...and, if you're lucky, maybe even a wolf or moose!”

There are other bear cams and cams for a load of other animals at explore.org.

THE WEIRD NAMES FOR GROUPS OF ANIMALS

Most of us have heard that a bunch of crows are called a “murder of crows” and a “pride of lions” is common. But did you know any of these:

A prickle of porcupines
A scold of jaybirds
An army of frogs
A shiver of sharks
An audience of squid?

There is a big long list of 99 odd names for groups of animals at Mother Nature Network and you can find out the origin of the funny names at Quora.

SOME GIRLS ARE HARD TO IMPRESS

This has been around the internet for a long time but I haven't seen it in several years. It's a male cockatoo, apparently an Elvis Presley fan, doing a magnificent dance for the lady cockatoo beside him to the tune of Don't Be Cruel.

Darlene Costner sent along the video for us and this time I found myself thinking the lady cockatoo should be named Melania.

Watch closely at about :46 seconds in when she holds off the male with a foot, looking a whole lot like the first lady flicking off the president's hand when he tried to hold hers.

* * *

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 – 11 August 2018

WHAT IS SNAPCHAT DYSMORPHIA?

The Washington Post headline explains it all:

”Patients are desperate to resemble their doctored selfies. Plastic surgeons alarmed by ‘Snapchat dysmorphia'”

In case you are as light on the meaning of “dysmorphia” as I was, here is Merrian-Webster's medical definition:

”...pathological preoccupation with an imagined or slight physical defect of one's body to the point of causing significant stress or behavioral impairment in several areas (as work and personal relationships).”

As The Independent reports:

”According to plastic surgeons and researchers, patients are no longer bringing in photos of celebrities, they are bringing in pictures of their selfies - edited to look like perfect versions of themselves.”

Here is WaPo's video about the phenomenon:

Further, from the Washington Post:

”According to the annual American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery survey, selfies continue to be a driving force behind why people wish to get plastic surgery done.

“In 2017, the survey found that 55 percent of surgeons reported seeing patients who requested surgery to look better in selfies — a 13 percent increase from the previous year’s results.”

It's mostly teens and young adults looking for this sort of change. Do you suppose they'll outgrow it?

ONE MAN – ENDING A FOOD DESERT

Food deserts – lack of affordable, healthy, fresh food within a reasonable distance of home – are increasing in number around the United States. In Conetoe, North Carolina, the Reverend Richard Joyner decided to change that in his community:

DAD SOLUTIONS TO KID PROBLEMS

There are a lot of websites that collect images from around the web on a given topic with, usually, funny results. Sometimes I can get lost in them for an hour, laughing my ass off.

Here are a couple of teaser images for you on this “dad solutions” topic. First: Biker Baby.

Biker baby

And this is Baby Butt Mousepad:

Babybuttmousepad

There are more dad solutions photos here.

NANNY THE CAT GOES ON VACATION

The YouTube page tells us:

”Everybody loves to travel and go on vacation. Cat Nanny is no exception. She traveled from the Rocky mountains in the North, all the way to the Pacific Ocean in the South.”

Take a look:

JOHN OLIVER ON PROSECUTORS

On last Sunday's episode of HDO's Last Week Tonight, host John Oliver took on prosecutors. It's a compelling report and a perfect one for a week when the Manafort trial has been going on.

ROLLING LEMON

This video has been sitting on my “potential” list for Interesting Stuff for several weeks. Even though nothing happens in the lemon's quarter-mile trip, it got a big enough response that the Washington Post wrote a whole story about it.

And I watched to very end. What about you?

THE DETECTIVE LIBRARIANS OF THE NYPL

Decades ago, long before the internet, I relied on the telephone librarians at the New York Public Library to answer questions for me.

Nowadays, even with the internet, they still do that and now there is a special group who track down the titles of books callers can't remember and for which, sometimes, they have only the vaguest description.

”To solve these little mysteries, Glazer recently assembled a team of sleuths from across the branches: Chatham Square, in Chinatown; the Jefferson Market, in Greenwich Village; the Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library, near the Flatiron Building; and the Mulberry Street branch, in Nolita.

“At lunchtime on a recent Wednesday, they were gathered in that computer lab in the library’s offices—across the street from the soaring, spectacular Stephen A. Schwarzman Building (the Main Branch)—to nibble on homemade lemon rosemary cookies and apple, carrot, zucchini bread while they clattered away on their keyboards.”

You can read more about them at Atlas Obscura.

Anyone can call phone the Library question line. (Back when I traveled a lot, I used it not only from various states, but countries from around the world.) They usually answer, often via email now, within 24 hours. The number is 917-ASK-NYPL (917-275-6975).

CHIPPING AWAY AT OBAMACARE WITH CHEAPO HEALTH COVERAGE

If you are not yet old enough (65) for Medicare, the Trump administration changes to Obamacare are going to make health coverage more difficult for you. Here's an explanation from PBS News Hour:

More details at Kaiser Health News.

RACOON DANCE

The more you watch the louder you laugh – that's what happened to me. This guy is having a terrific time and it's easy to enjoy with him. Thank Jim Stone for sending it.

At the YouTube page, it's titled, The Hillbilly Slide And One Mad Coon.

* * *

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 – 4 August 2018

THE MAYOR OF A GHOST TOWN

The town in question is Ballarat in Death Valley, California which has been abandoned for 100 years. The man is Rock Novak and he is the only resident.

Here is his story produced by Michey Todiwala and Monika Delgado.

You can read more at The Atlantic.

MARCEL MARCEAU'S SILENT RESISTANCE TO THE NAZIS

I've never been a mime fan – the art has always felt a little creepy to me but everyone – at least of our generation – has heard of Marcel Marceu and this is an amazing story about him I'd never heard. From the YouTube page:

”...before he cemented his place in performance history, Marceau’s knack for performing made him a unique asset to French resistance against Nazi forces during World War II. As the story goes, Marceau helped a group of children escape Nazi-occupied France by using his skills of mimicry to safely lead them into Switzerland.”

Learn more in this video:

RBG INTENDS TO STAY ON SUPREME COURT

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg - “Notorious RBG” - say she intends to stay on the Court for at least five more years.

After attending a performance of the play, The Originalist, about the late Justice Antonin Scalia, last Sunday, Ginsburg spoke to the press for a few minutes:

"'I'm now 85,' Ginsburg said on Sunday. 'My senior colleague, Justice John Paul Stevens, he stepped down when he was 90, so think I have about at least five more years...

"'My dear spouse would say that the true symbol of the United States is not the bald eagle - it is the pendulum,' Ginsburg said. 'And when it goes very far in one direction you can count on its swinging back.'”

You can read more at CNN.

THE PEACOCK CLOCK OF THE HERMITAGE

One of the great things about the internet that rarely gets mentioned is all the places and things we can see that we would probably never visit in our lifetimes. One for me is the Peacock Clock at the Hermitage museum in St. Petersburg, Russia.

”The clock was brought to Russia in pieces. At Potiomkin's request the Russian mechanic Ivan Kulibin set it in working order.

“From 1797 to the present day the Peacock Clock has been one of the Hermitage's most famous exhibits. It is, moreover, the only large 18th-century automaton in the world to have come down to us unaltered and in a functioning condition.”

There is much more to read at the YouTube page, and thank Darlene Costner for sending this.

JOHN OLIVER ON WORKPLACE SEXUAL HARASSMENT

It has been several weeks since host John Oliver has been at the desk of his weekly HBO program, Last Week Tonight. Last Sunday he was back and in his inimitable way, he examined workplace sexual harassment which has been such a prominent news story this year.

WARNING: CUTE OVERLOAD

A pet otter awakes. That's all you need to know.

TWO-THIRDS OF AMERICANS WANT ROE V. WADE TO STAND

Much is being made of Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh's position on Roe v. Wade – that he apparently would like to see the abortion decision overturned. According to a July Gallup poll, Americans do not agree:

”Sixty-four percent of those surveyed said the 1973 decision that legalized abortion nationwide should stand...That is up 11 percentage points from 53 percent in 2012...,” reports Politico.

“Twenty-eight percent of respondents in the Gallup poll say the ruling should be overturned, down 1 percentage point from 2012. Nine percent said they have no opinion.

“The results showed partisan differences: Eighty-one percent of Democrats are against overturning Roe v. Wade compared with 41 percent of Republicans.”

You can read more at Politico.

A LIFE CHANGING WAVE

According to the Los Angeles Times, Koa Smith caught a once-in-a-lifetime wave:

”Perched precariously on his surfboard, the 23-year-old from Hawaii rode a wave off the coast of Namibia, on the western shore of Africa, for 120 straight seconds.

“He stayed upright for nearly a mile as he traveled through an unheard-of eight barrels — the hollow formed by the curve of the wave as it breaks over the rider's head.

“Smith and videographer Chris Rogers filmed the entire ride using both a drone that hovered overhead, and a GoPro attached to a mouthpiece that Smith wore while he rode.”

Even I, who doesn't give a whit about surfing, was spellbound watching this. Here are both views – first person and then the drone:

THE SMALLEST WILD CATS ON EARTH

I had never heard of rusty spotted cats until now. Native to India and Sri Lanka and endangered, full-grown they are kitten-size – 2.2 to 3.5 pounds (1-1.6 kg) which is 200 times smaller than a lion, they tell us.

Here is a video from a BBC1 program that aired in January:

That was so cute, I wanted more and tracked down this Twitter video of another clip from the BBC1 program showing the little black-footed cat of Africa. It is only slightly larger (1 to 2.5 kg or 2.2 to 5.5 lbs) than the rusty spotted cat.

Read more about these two tiny wild cats here and 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.


INTERESTING STUFF – 28 July 2018

REST IN PEACE, NANCY LEITZ

On Monday, the four children of Nancy Leitz sent out the sad notice that she had died

”...in her sleep early this morning. She not only did not suffer, she passed away quite peacefully. She was 89 years old, and keeping with her usual style, she did it her way. No huge battle, no lengthy hospital stay. She was awesome...”

Yes, she was awesome.

Readers who have been here since before 2014 may recall Nancy from the dozens of marvelous and funny family stories she contributed from 2007 to 2014 at TGB's then-companion website, The Elder Storytelling Place.

Almost all of them starred one or more of her four kids – Jerry, Chris, Steven and Carol – and/or her husband, Roy, and we readers came to feel that we had been there at those family events.

Once, via email, I told Nancy that I suspected she invented all those great punchlines to the stories after the fact and she admitted that was usually true.

When I related that little anecdote to Jerry Leitz a few days ago, he told me the rest of that story:

”As for making up punch lines, you could say that both parents and all four kids have a syndrome a close friend called SLE and no drug on TV could cure it.

“It was just known as the 'Standard Leitz Embellishment'! None of the basic facts have changed, but that punchline, oh yeah, that's fair game!”

I discontinued The Elder Storytelling Place in 2014 but it is still online, all the stories, and you can find Nancy's stories here.

Rest in peace, Nancy. You and your wonderful stories will not be forgotten.

TWIGGY THE WATERSKIING SQUIRREL RETIRES

Surely you know Twiggy, the waterskiing squirrel or her immitators. But Twiggy was the original – well, there were seven Twiggys over her 39 year career.

The latest Twiggy is 10 years old now and she gave her last performance a week ago. Here's her final appearance and a recap of her life.

You can read more about Twiggy here.

WHO WILL BE THE FIRST PERSON TO DIE BY A LEGAL 3D PRINTED GUN?

As of 1 August, that is next Wednesday, Americans will be able to make their own 3D-printed guns following instructions that will, on that date, become legal to download from the internet.

”The choices will include the AR-15, the gun of choice in American mass shootings,” reports USAToday. “All 3D-printed guns will be untraceable, and since you can make them yourself, no background check is required.

“A settlement earlier this year between the State Department and Texas-based [firearm developer] Defense Distributed will let the nonprofit release blueprints for guns online starting Aug. 1, a development hailed by the group as the death of gun control in the United States.”

You can read more here and here and here.

LOST IN THE FIFTIES – ANOTHER TIME, ANOTHER PLACE

There are plenty of online videos with images of past decades but this is one of the best I've seen – this one about the Fifties in the United States that a lot of us at this blog lived through.

The song is Lost in the Fifties Tonight (In the Still of the Night) by Ronnie Milsap.

KIDS SAY THE DARNDEST THINGS

And sometimes they really surprise you with their savvy and understanding.

My friend Autumn, who is also my health care proxy, has a five-year-old daughter, Catherine. A week or so ago she sent me this story that took place while the two were driving to school listening to NPR on the radio.

In her email, Autumn titled it, Parenting Success.

CATHERINE: Mommy, what are they even talking about?

AUTUMN: Let’s say you and your friends are at school and there is a kid we know is a bully who comes to our school. The Bully starts picking on Max (one of The Littles whose name has been changed). What would happen?

CATHERINE: We would help Max.

AUTUMN: Remember, Max is too little to help you if the Bully picks on you.

CATHERINE: We still need to help Max. It is what’s right.

AUTUMN: Ok, now one of you goes and sides with the Bully. That is what they are talking about. You and your friends are NATO. Max is Montenegro. The Bully is Putin.

CATHERINE: And the one who is going to Putin’s side is, let me guess, Trump.

Boom. Parenting success.

CHICKEN WHO BEFRIENDED A PROFOUNDLY DISABLED MAN

Due to a childhood illness, 24-year-old Kyle Monahan is profoundly disabled. One of the joys of his life is a two-year-old chicken named Moto who lays an egg for him in his bed every day. See the video:

You can read more at oregonlive.com.

ATTENTION DOWNTON ABBEY FANS

It has been rumored since the PBS series ended and now it is official: there will be a Downton Abbey movie, says Vanity Fair magazine:

”Focus Features has announced that the show’s principal cast—including Dame Maggie Smith, Michelle Dockery, and Hugh Bonneville—has officially reunited, and shooting will begin this summer. The script was penned by show creator Julian Fellowes, who will also produce...”

No date has been set for release.

I watched the program haphazardly – it was such a richly soapy story in fancy dress that it was hard to resist. But after all six seasons, my favorite line is still the final line of the final episode spoken by the Dowager Countess played by Maggie Smith (which Vanity Fair quoted:

ISOBEL (WILTON): "What else could we drink to? We're going forward into the future, not back into the past."

DOWAGER COUNTESS: "If only we had the choice."

MaggieSmithDownton1

HOW TO THREAD A NEEDLE

No, that is not meant as a metaphor – at least not today.

Sometimes I wonder if we here at TGB are the last generation who will know how to sew. It's not a popular skill these days. Nevertheless, this video turned up somewhere to show me I've been threading needles all wrong.

I tested this method. It worked. Where has it been all my life.

TONY THE GARLIC GUY

Too bad for us that I'm late with this story and the Takoma Park Farmers Market in Maryland held its annual garlic festival last Sunday. The Washington Post reported it, in part, this way:

”The The [Market] will transform into a celebration of all things garlic on Sunday with talks from the Takoma Horticulture Club and a man simply billed as Tony 'the Garlic Guy' about the various types of garlic and how-to’s on growing your own.”

I just want to let you in on it: Tony the garlic guy is my old friend, Tony Sarmiento, who knows all kinds of things about garlic and sends me some ripe bulbs when they are ready each year.

You don't realize – well, I didn't - how unfresh that supermarket stuff is until you've used garlic straight from the garden.

IS THERE ANYTHING BETTER THAN BABY ANIMALS

According to the YouTube page:

”Hector the Nigerian Dwarf baby goat is just 2 days old. His Mama, Amelia Earhart, is a little protective of her only kid (most goats have 3-4 babies at once.)

“While he waits for cousins to be born in the stall next door, he has befriended the three barn kittens. Mom is not so sure about this plan. The kittens did inspire him to climb the wood shavings bale for the first time.”

Here are the newborn baby goat and the barn cats:

There are two live cameras at the website of the Sunflower Farm Creamery in Maine where this baby goat and the kittens live.

* * *

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 – 21 July 2018

THE BETTER WAY TO TRAIN YOUR BRAIN

As the Harvard Medical School website reported in March, as we age,

”...your cognitive skills will wane and thinking and memory will be more challenging, so you need to build up your reserve.”

What helps to maintain a healthy brain are new activities that force you to think and to learn, according to Harvard. Further,

”Research has shown that regular physical exercise is one way to improve cognitive functions like memory recall, problem solving, concentration, and attention to detail.

“However, it is not clear if the physical aspect alone boosts your brain or if a combination of other factors — like the mental challenge of the activity, the frequency you do it, and the desire to improve — also contribute.”

And those expensive brain games? Give them a pass. As Dr. John Swartzberg wrote at Live Science, he was was happy to hear “that 70 leading cognitive psychologists and neuroscientists issued a consensus statement expressing skepticism about brain training.”

”If you want to exercise your brain," says Swartzberg, study Spanish, take up Ikebana flower arranging, or learn a new game like chess or bridge. You may strengthen those neural connections in your brain, and you’ll almost certainly have fun.”

THE KIDS HAVE GOT IT COVERED FOR US

On the eve of Trump's trip to Europe, late night talk show host, Jimmy Kimmel, asked random people in the street to name any country in the world on a map he supplied.

Just when you are ready to give up on Americans (or, perhaps, the educational system), a kid saves the day. Let's hope, for our future's sake, there are a lot of kids like him:

OREGON COAST GHOST FOREST

Neskowin is located along the northern coast of Oregon. When the tide is low enough, the “ghost forest of Neskowin” emerges from under the Pacific Ocean:

Ghostforest

”...this group of some 100 stumps and snags is all that’s left of a 2,000-year-old stand of Sitka spruce, once buried by an earthquake," explains The Oregonian.

“This past weekend, an extraordinarily low tide uncovered much more of the trees than is typically visible, a beautiful scene that attracted photographers, tourists and locals alike, all quietly exploring the remains of an ancient, cataclysmic destruction.”

A lot more photographs and more information are at The Oregonian.

DEATH METAL GRANDMA

Ninety-six-year-old Inge Ginsberg is a Holocaust survivor who, after the War, made her way to the United States where she became a lyricist, with her composer husband, for such well-known singers of the era as Nat King Cole, Doris Day and Dean Martin. But

As Ms. Ginsberg grew older, she kept writing lyrics and poetry, and realized she needed to find new ways to reach an audience. How was she going to gain attention in a society where older women are neglected, silenced and often cast off?”

She found a way, as documentary filmmaker Leah Galant, tells us, with death metal music “where you can shout your lyrics instead of singing them.” But let's let Ms. Ginsberg and Ms. Galant tell the story. (If the video does not play in a reasonable amount of time, try watching it here.)

Read more at The New York Times.

JOHN OLIVER – UNUSED GRAPHICS

John Oliver's HBO program, Last Week Tonight, was on hiatus last Sunday but Oliver, as he explains, left behind this short video for our entertainment.

Oliver is his usual funny, profane self showing some show graphics that never made it to air.

CARE OF ELDERS IN PUERTO RICO ONE YEAR LATER

Kaiser Health News reports that a large percentage of the 4600 Puerto Ricans who died in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria were elders, many of whom died because of delayed medical care.

Now, there may be another disaster in the making:

”...projections show that one-third of Puerto Rico’s population will be 60 or older by 2020, even as the number of young people are increasingly fleeing to the mainland in search of employment, often leaving behind aging parents.

“'We have more [older adults] being left alone to almost fend for themselves, or being cared for by other seniors, instead of a younger family member,' said [Dr. Angel] Muñoz. In addition, Medicaid does not pay for long-term nursing home care in Puerto Rico.

Here is the PBS News report:

You can donate to relief efforts at Public Good or Google “donate to Puerto Rico relief” for more help options.

JANIS IAN'S TEA AND SYMPATHY

In a comment here last Wednesday, TGB reader Charlene Drewry mentioned Janis Ian's song from 1975 or so, Tea and Sympathy.

Ian was only a teenager when she wrote and recorded it but she has always been much older in her soul than her years. Surely she meant this for you and me at this time in our lives.

Here's the song, recently remastered. Lyrics are below the video:

I don't want to ride the milk train any more
I'll go to bed at nine, and waken with the dawn
And lunch at half past noon
Dinner prompt at five
The comfort of a few old friends long past their prime

Pass the tea & sympathy
For the good old days long gone
Let's drink a toast to those who most
Believe in what they've won
It's a long long time 'til morning
Plays wasted on the dawn
I'll not write another line,
For my true love is gone

And when the guests have done
I'll tidy up the room
I'll turn the covers down
And gazing at the moon
Will pray to go quite mad
And live in long ago
When you and I were one, so very long ago<

Pass the tea & sympathy
For the good old days long gone
Let's drink a toast to those who most
Believe in what they've won
It's a long long time 'til morning
Plays wasted on the dawn
I'll not write another line,
For my true love is gone

And when I have no dreams
To give you any more,
I'll light a blazing fire
And wait within the door,
And throw my life away
"I wonder why?" they all will say
And now I lay me down to sleep,
Forever and a day

Pass the tea & sympathy
For the good old days are dead
Let's drink a toast to those who best
Survived the life they've led
It's a long long time 'til morning,
So build your fires high
Now I lay me down to sleep,
Forever by your side

THE WASHINGTON D.C. CAT CENSUS

Good friend Tony Sarmiento sent this story about an upcoming Washington, D.C. cat census that will try to determine how many cats are in the city.

”By spending $1.5 million over three years, a consortium of scientists and animal welfare organizations thinks it can find out with an initiative known as the DC Cat Count, which launches Tuesday.

“The cat census, organized by the Humane Rescue Alliance, the Humane Society of the United States, PetSmart Charities and the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, will help animal advocates understand how many felines are in the city and how to cope with cats that don’t have a home.”

Even with the project's two full-time staffers, 50 cameras and questionnaires sent to homes, anyone who knows anything at all about cats might suspect it is a fool's errand. But I wish them luck anyway.

The project has its own website and be sure to check out the photo at the top of the story at Washington Post - it will make cat lovers smile.

* * *

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 – 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.

* * *

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.

* * *

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.

* * *

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.

* * *

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.

* * *

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.

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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 – 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.

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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 – 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.

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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.