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I cannot recall a midterm election that has so dominated the country's and my own attention. So engrossed am I in the day-to-day campaigning that I'm barely keeping up with any news or information related to aging.
Perhaps it is my astonishment at the painfully high number of obviously unqualified candidates that keeps me glued to my computer and television screens. In keeping with that, lets begin today with a video from babelgum.com titled, Elect the Willfully Ignorant:
LONG LIVE PRINT BOOKS
Yes, I know I've told you that I recently bought a Kindle, but that is a supplement – it does not supplant my interest in paper books and apparently I am not alone. Even college kids, a generation weaned on electronics are, according to The New York Times, recognizing advantages:
”In two recent studies — one by the [National Association of College Stores] and another by the Student Public Interest Research Groups, a national advocacy network — three-quarters of the students surveyed said they still preferred a bound book to a digital version.
“Many students are reluctant to give up the ability to flip quickly between chapters, write in the margins and highlight passages, although new software applications are beginning to allow students to use e-textbooks that way.”
That “flipping quickly between chapters” is a difficulty I've already discovered with the Kindle along with a lack of page numbering I can understand.
You can read more here.
DROWNING OUT THE CONTEMPTIBLE
Someday I'll tell you why I have a soft spot in my heart for Hell's Angels. For now, here is another set of bikers who are doing something that endears them to me.
Certainly you know about members of the Westboro Baptist Church who appear at military funerals, where families are burying their sons and daughters killed in our wars, carrying signs and shouting such slogans as “Thank god for IEDs” and “Thank god for dead soldiers.”
Recently, members of the Patriot Guard Riders placed themselves between the shouting Westboro contingent and a family funeral at Arlington National Cemetery.
“The riders — many of whom are veterans — revved their motorcycles to drown the protesters out.
"'There's very few things on Earth louder than a V-Twin Harley Davidson,' said Dylan Waite, an Army first lieutenant and Patriot Guard volunteer who used his car alarm to contribute to the noise.”
Good for them, I say. Westboro may have a right to free speech (the Supreme Court is reviewing Westboro's activities), but so do the bikers and they have put it to compassionate use. Read more here.
WALK FOR BRAIN HEALTH Researchers at the University of Illinois say that in adults age 59 to 80, moderate walking for 30 minutes three times a week can do more for keeping brain circuitry working than an equivalent amount of toning and stretching.
“At the end of the year, DMN connectivity was significantly improved in the brains of the older walkers, but not in the stretching and toning group, the researchers report.
“The walkers also had increased connectivity in parts of another brain circuit (the fronto-executive network, which aids in the performance of complex tasks) and they did significantly better on cognitive tests than their toning and stretching peers.”
This does not mean toning and stretching aren't good for people too; but it does give us another reason to get out and move around. Read the complete story here.
Pharmaceutical companies often pay physicians to deliver talks about their drugs to other physicians, and hundreds of those doctors have questionable backgrounds as ProPublica has discovered.
“Drug companies say they hire the most-respected doctors in their fields for the critical task of teaching about the benefits and risks of their drugs.
“But an investigation by ProPublica uncovered hundreds of doctors on company payrolls who had been accused of professional misconduct, were disciplined by state boards or lacked credentials as researchers or specialists.”
Propublica has put together a database of more than 17,000 doctors who have received payments from seven of the largest pharmaceutical companies. Read the whole story here and you can check for your own physicians in the database here.
RADIO FLYER CAR
Darlene Costner of Darlene's Hodgepodge sent along this video that's sure to make you smile and maybe even produce a bit of envy. That's all I'll say – just watch this.
A WOODCUTTER CHANGES HIS MIND
Mary Jamison sent along this poem she found at The Writer's Almanac. It is by David Budbill.
When I was young, I cut the bigger, older trees for firewood, the ones
with heart rot, dead and broken branches, the crippled and deformed
ones, because, I reasoned, they were going to fall soon anyway, and
therefore, I should give the younger trees more light and room to grow.
Now I'm older and I cut the younger, strong and sturdy, solid
and beautiful trees, and I let the older ones have a few more years
of light and water and leaf in the forest they have known so long.
Soon enough they will be prostrate on the ground.
AN ANOMALY THESE DAYS – FUN POLITICS
We started with politics today and let's end with it too. My friend John Brandt forwarded this astonishingly well-done spoof about President Obama set to a song from The Pirates of Penzance.