The Kindness and Caring of a Dog
ELDER MUSIC: Toes Up in 2012 - Part 1

INTERESTING STUFF -29 December 2012

A whole lot I didn't know about how snowflakes work.

On Christmas Eve 2011 in Manhattan, writer Anelise Chen found a teeny-tiny frog in a bag of supermarket lettuce.

”I wasn’t prepared to discover wildlife in my kitchen. Luckily, I have a husband, who caught the frog with a piece of cheesecloth. We punched holes through the top of a plastic Tupperware container and put him inside with some water and a piece of the lettuce he rode in on.”

Next thing, they were taking the frog on a bus trip to Boston. The story is a charmer and you can read the whole thing here. (Hat tip to Tamar Orvel of Only Connect)

In 1945, after a year of digging three tunnels 30 feet underground, 76 allied POWs, mostly RAF, escaped from the German prison camp, Stalag Luft III. There cannot be many readers of this blog who don't remember the classic 1963 film, The Great Escape, with Steve McQueen at the head of a stellar cast.

The escape did not end well. Seventy-three were caught and 50 of them were executed by Nazi soldiers. The main tunnel, nicknamed Harry, was filled in by the Germans.

”So effective was the cover-up that when the remaining prisoners wanted to build a memorial for the 50 men who died, the exact site of the tunnel could not be agreed on.”

Now it has been found and thousands of artifacts left inside have been dug up including this pistol and homemade shovel.

Great escape artefacts

Channel 4 in Great Britain broadcast a documentary about it all earlier this month. Those who missed it or don't live there, can read this detailed story about the discovery here. (Hat tip to Canadian TGB reader Keith Meaden)

Amazing how well the little rat holds its own in competition for the treat.

Forget those expensive brain games; they don't work. But evidence of the relationship between physical activity and brain health keeps piling up.

Recent research suggests that it was our early ancestors' need for meat that created our large brains:

”Early humans had to plan and execute hunts as a group, which required complicated thinking patterns and, it’s been thought, rewarded the social and brainy with evolutionary success. According to that hypothesis, the evolution of the brain was driven by the need to think...

“The broad point of this new notion is that if physical activity helped to mold the structure of our brains, then it most likely remains essential to brain health today, says John D. Polk, an associate professor of anthropology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and co-author, with Dr. Raichlen, of the new article.

“And there is scientific support for that idea. Recent studies have shown, he says, that 'regular exercise, even walking,' leads to more robust mental abilities, 'beginning in childhood and continuing into old age.'”

Aside from reaffirming the healthy-brain benefits of exercise, it's a fascinating report on the latest anthropological thinking in regard to human development from the excellent fitness expert, Gretchen Reynolds. You can read it here.

This remarkably beautiful and thoughtful animation is from a recently-founded, German design studio named finally. Watch the video and then you might want to see what else the group is doing at their Vimeo website.

Hat tip to John Starbuck of For a Dancer

Although she broadcast her Christmas message this year in 3D, Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain has a bit of a stodgy image. But look at this: she had her own email address way back in 1976 when the internet was still called the Arpanet:


The photo was taken in March 1976 by Peter Kirstein...

”...who set up her mail account, choosing the username HME2. That’s Her Majesty, Elizabeth II. 'All she had to do was press a couple of buttons,' he remembers, 'and her message was sent.

You can read more about the Queen and Arpanet here.

I was amused by this letter to Harper's quoted in December in a weekly newsletter I receive from the magazine:

“Dear Harper’s Magazine,

"I am a fervent subscriber (if there can be such a thing) to your excellent magazine: we have nothing equivalent in England, and I am very grateful to you for being so challenging and thought-provoking.

“However, the English pedant in me is reeling at your otherwise excellent Harper’s Weekly in which you announce that “Prince WIlliam and Princess Kate" are having a baby.

“Yikes! They’re the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. She’s not Princess Kate, as she’s not a princess in her own right; she’s Princess William of Wales, otherwise known as the Duchess of Cambridge, until the Prince of Wales dies, when she’ll be the Princess of Wales, and not Kate, Princess of Wales.

“Sigh. I know I am fighting a long and hopeless battle. Even British journalists can’t get it right these days."

And I know I never will.


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.


I loved the puppies playing in the snow. It brought back a memory of a dog we once had. He was a dachshund and, as you know, had short legs. We had a deep snowfall and my son took the dog, named Schultz, out to play in the snow. When my son threw a snowball the dog would chase it. The snow was so deep you couldn't see the dog until he jumped up as he ran after he snowball. It was laughable to see this black dog leaping up out of the snow and disappearing again.

I had a cat some years ago who loved snow - especially the light fluffy kind. He would grab some between his front paws, throw it up in the air and then jump around underneath the falling flakes - in obvious ecstasy - over and over.

The item about Queen Elizabeth using the internet reminded me of her use of TelePrompters. In the early 1950s, on the recommendation of her staff, she began using them when she gave speeches.

Everytime that I see a snarky comment about President Obama using TelePrompters I get a laugh. Are these Americans sixty years behind the British?

What a wonderful collection of goodies. Loved them all, but the puppies in particular have left me feeling all warm and fuzzy. I'm a sucker for puppies, and Goldens have always been my favorites.

Thanks Ronni, and have a Happy New Year.

Great tiramisù (pull me up)! Thank you, Ronni. I'm checking it all out a day late (and keeping Peter Tibbles' jewels in store for tomorrow), but I thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated it. My heart did jump a bit as I read the story of the frog ... and my mind wondered, "What about the zoo?" ... but it was nice to know that a lawsuit wasn't immediately established because of the frog and that Ms. Chen DID care. Was enchanted by the bytesizescience description of snowflakes (didn't you love making the snowflakes on the JL advent calendar?)and very moved by the story and photos of the Great Escape.
Long and hopeless battles over bonton, spelling, punctuation, etc. etc. etc., indeed.
Thank you for the bouncing puppies.
Happy New Year and Happy EVERYTHING!

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