Interesting Stuff is a weekly listing of short takes and links to web items that have caught my attention; some related to aging and some not, some useful and others just for fun.
You are all encouraged to submit items for inclusion. Just click “Contact” in the upper left corner of any Time Goes By page to send them. I'm sorry that I probably won't have time to acknowledge receipt and there is no guarantee of publication. But when I do include them, you will be credited and I will link to your blog if you have one.
THIS WEEK'S VIRAL ANIMAL VIDEO
Amazing slow-motion approach of an owl...
CONTEMPLATING YOUR OWN DEATH
That drawing by Emily Kasriel, which asks the question, “Should doctors help us contemplate our own death?” is the programme image for today's episode of the BBC World Service show, The Forum on just that topic.
Among the guests is 93-year-old Diana Athill who I know some of you are familiar with from her most recent memoir, Somewhere Towards the End. Here is Ms. Athill in an excerpt from the show (transcript below the audio):
"I don’t think you have to think very deeply about it [death] but I do think you have to think about it fairly regularly. Someone said, ‘You ought to think about death for about 15 minutes every day.’ I think that’s overdoing it, but I do think that saying to yourself, ‘What do I think about death?’ fairly regularly, familiarises you with the idea so that you’re no longer frightened about it.
“I never have been, for a very long time. I haven’t been frightened by it. And getting it into your head, that it’s a part of life.
"And now I live surrounded by old people in a house, with I think 40 old people, well I haven’t taken a vote from everybody, but those who I know well, none of them are scared."
Also on the programme are U.S. surgeon Pauline Chen who says,
“I would like to change the way doctors, nurses and other caregivers approach death. When a patient dies, most caregivers, and particularly doctors, tend to scatter, if not in presence, then in mind. My idea is that across the world…there be a mandatory five-minute moment of silence when a patient dies.”
The third guest is poet Paul Muldoon who speaks of his sister's early death:
“She bought a grave, and realised that it wasn’t the right grave…she needed a bigger grave, so she bought a queen size grave as it were or maybe king size. But she also asked me to write something to put on her headstone. And I wrote a little couplet:
“'She stood where you stand, bright eyed, brave, and took the measure of her grave.’”
99 PERCENTER CALCULATOR
With all the #occupy news, there is a lot of talk about the 99 percenters. The Wall Street Journal this week posted a calculator that computes where you fall in the income scale of the 99. You can try it here.
10 WEIRDEST THINGS TO DO WITH YOUR ASHES
The one that most caught my attention is this Fredric J. Baur who designed the original Pringles can and in 2008, was laid to rest inside an empty, original-flavor can, per his dying wish.
You can read about the other nine weirdest possibilities for yours or a loved ones ashes – melt them into a diamond, tattoo them on someone's skin, etc.
SIMON'S CAT – CAT AND MOUSE
After posting a Simon's Cat video here last week, I wondered if there are others I've missed since I last checked in with this cartoonist several months ago. Sure enough – and something like this happens almost every day at my house.
STAYING IN SHAPE IN VENICE
Claude of Photoblogging in Paris has been traveling again and she posted this photo from Venice.
“Once,” writes Claude, “I asked an old lady for directions, (when I say old, old she was, she told me she was 89) and she said she would walk me wherever I was going. So I immediately protested, in my broken Italian, explaining that I did not want her to get tired because of me, and she told me that walking was life.
“As I wondered whether all those steps were not too much for her, she said that living in Venice kept you going, as no matter what you did, you had to cross all those bridges. She told me she went shopping every day.”
You can read more at Claude's blog.
ELDER CARE IN PAPUA, NEW GUINEA
My friend Stan James of wanderingstan sent this clip of a tribal chief from New Guinea visiting London for the first time who is completely befuddled by the western practice of not keeping elder parents at home.
This clip is from a documentary series titled, Return of the Tribe about the trip to London by the chief and five of his subjects. I'm part way through watching the several hours and it's fascinating. You can watch it here.
HIGH-TECH GHOST TOWN
It is being reported that a company named Pegasus Global Holdings will build a town called The Center in New Mexico. It will be large enough to house 35,000 people but will remain entirely empty. According to Engadget:
“...it'll be rented out to companies wanting to test their technology in a real urban environment, rather than just testing it out in a real urban environment.
“Companies can examine things like residential solar panel efficiency, smart traffic systems or the best way to secure wireless networks in dense areas.”
I lean more toward Occam's Razor for explanations than conspiracy theories, but this announcement about the reasons for an empty town in the middle of a desert seems particularly lame to me and I'm not the only one who is skeptical/suspicious/etc.
WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD
More charming than what you are expecting. Raymond (no, not Russell) Crowe at the Royal Variety Show - from Darlene Costner.