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INTERESTING STUFF – 17 October 2015

CELEBRATED CELLIST YO-YO MA TURNS 60

With the commonplace time slippage in old age, it feels to me like yesterday or so that I first heard of Yo-Yo Ma in the early 1960s when he was a kid, a child prodigy.

Already now, he is 60 and he spoke on camera recently with the Washington Post about growing old:

LIVING BRIDGES OF INDIA

Having had all I can tolerate lately of glass bridges high above canyons, it was good to watch how the expertise of building and maintaining a living bridge for hundreds of years is passed on to the next generation.

This is from the BBC television programme, The Human Planet.


COUNTERPOINT TO ALABAMA RESTRICTIVE VOTING LAW

In the two most recent editions of Interesting Stuff, I mentioned the terrible new restrictions the state of Alabama has placed on voting, removing 75 percent of motor vehicle deparments in areas where mostly people of color live.

No one has fixed that yet in Alabama but here is an antidote: California just made voter registration automatic when people are issued drivers licenses:

"The law...puts California at the forefront of efforts across the country to increase electoral participation at a time when many states have added new hurdles, like voter identification laws.

“The new law will 'help improve elections and expand voter rights and access in California,' the governor’s office said in a statement."

You can read more at The New York Times.


THE “REAL” NEWS

From Jonathan Pie in England. This is brilliant especially if, like me, you sometimes find yourself screaming at the establishment pap that passes for news reports on way too much of TV, newspapers and the internet.

(For any who are humor impaired, this video is the definition of great satire. Also NSFW)


JOHN OLIVER ON NORTH DAKOTA

You know, John Oliver needs a new headline writer. “North Dakota” isn't much of a grabber but he is, as always, in top form in this segment from his HBO program, Last Week Tonight.

You will laugh, you will cry, you will wonder – as I do – why we are hearing such important information from a British comedian and not the U.S. news media.


SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE FAKE COMMERCIAL

The fake gun commercial with SNL guest host Amy Schumer caused a lot of controversy last week. What do you think?


THE MOST TERRIFYING THING I READ THIS WEEK

The current world population is about 7.3 billion, way more than the planet can support. Now, the United Nations has increased its estimate of the world population for the year 2050 to nearly 10 billion.

MIT2050Trajectory

The reasoning is that people are living a lot longer and not nearly as many children are dying before reaching adulthood. This is good news for people; extremely bad news for the planet which is already overcrowded.

MIT2050FewerDeathsChildren

From Technologyreview.com


IT'S OFFICIAL

We already knew it but The Social Security Administration officially declared on Thursday that there will be no cost-of-living adjustment in benefits for 2016.

In making the announcement at the SSA.gov website, Assistant Deputy Commissioner Jim Borland wrote,

"This news isn’t necessarily bad. When inflation stays at the same rate, your cost of living also stays the same. Prices for goods and services, on average, haven’t increased enough to affect the COLA."

That's a disingenuous claim. Prices for the kinds of things elders spend most of their money on have increased - food, clothing and particularly healthcare. These increases are not offset, as they are for working-age people, by the decrease in gasoline prices since elders don't drive nearly as much or even at all.

Further, as congressional Republicans begin negotiations for raising the debt ceiling, the first thing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell put on the table is a reduction in "entitlements" including a change to decrease future Social Security COLAs. (No surprise there.)

We can discuss these issues further next week.


WHAT YOU DIDN'T KNOW ABOUT EDWARD HOPPER'S “NIGHTHAWKS”

From the terrifying (above) to the sublime.

From the Understanding Art series of Nerdwriter (aka Evan). This video about Edward Hopper's most famous painting is as beautifully produced as his explanations are fascinating.


CORGI PUPPY'S STANDOFF WITH A MINIATURE PUMPKIN

He's about 9 weeks old in the video made last month. His name is Bilbo. Beware of cute overload.

* * *

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 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.

Comments

As usual, best way to start the w/end. Love the humor especially the Brit! God Save the Queen. Dee :)

Terrific mix today - loved the Edward Hopper segment and have bookmarked that site for more of their postings, adorable corgi, Yo-Yo Ma's clarity of being and Pie's outrage at being forced, by others, how to perform and project the news, John Oliver's outstanding reporting and entertainment.

I find more reason to love living in California with its progressive, low-key, no-nonsense Governor Jerry Brown. An honorable elder, and exemplary example of older age competence and intelligence. Recently he signed a right-to-die law as well. And he'll likely be setting his sights on guns down the road.

Ronni:

If there were a bloggers' version of the Pulitzer Prize, I'd put your name in for it. "Interesting Things" keeps getting better; you keep exceeding your own high standards.

By the way, the other state besides California where the DMV automatically registers all eligible citizens is yours, Ronni -- Oregon was the pioneer of this.

Yes, Jan, but I didn't want to boast.

Heading out for a flu shot on a dark, chilly, rainy day here in New England, Thank you, thank you for Interesting Stuff this morning. Smiley here :)

Marc...
I'm pleased and flustered at such high-minded praise but geez, it's just a list of "stuff" I liked during the week with a bit of curating so it has some variety.

Many years ago, it was said of The Ed Sullivan Show that Sullivan programmed it so there would be at least one thing for each member of the family to like. (Remember when families sat down together to watch television?)

That's what I strive for. Some weeks I do better than others.

I f0und the Living Bridges of India video fascinating and wonderful. I'd never heard of "sustainable living architecture" before. I need to go back and watch the video again.

I wasn't sure what to think of the SNL bit on guns. Certainly controversial, but will it change anyone's behavior?

John Oliver does his usual brilliant take on what sounds like a completely mundane topic. The topic is extremely well-researched and presented. The take-away for this--as for many news topics these days--is "Follow the money."

Best Saturday post! Loved the Hopper piece and plan to check out the rest of Nerdwriter's offerings. And John Oliver, why isn't that on the evening news? For awhile my son was unemployed and thinking of heading out to ND but thanks be he found a job here. And Pie! Too good.

Thank you for today's jewels. These all touched the top of the scale.

Sadly, there will be more than a few wingnuts (not on this blog, thank the heavens) who will not 'get' the satire or the humor that some of these portray and more frightening, they are the ones who are determined to vote other wingnuts into our US Congress!!

I have been a huge fan of Edward Hopper's for years so the video piece resonated with me. As I sit here, on my couch in the living room, typing, I can look across the room and see five books about Edward Hopper and his work stacked on my bookshelf.

Great post and comments, too. Unfortunately, I totally agree with Miki D. The reason what's happening in N. Dakota is being allowed to happen is that we have a Congress and Supreme Court that, for the most part, believe corporations are people. "Big Bidness" can do no wrong (or none for which they are held accountable) and "follow the money" has never rung more true. Political office is for sale to the highest bidder (or to the ostentatious narcissist with the money to buy his own election, who remains in contention to become the Repubs' candidate for President).

Evolution produced humans with brains, but do we use them? Not so much. The fact that we are our own worst enemy actually may help to "solve" the overpopulation problem. Never-ending war, climate change overall, increasingly severe storms and other natural disasters, shortages of water and arable land, premature deaths from poor air quality and use of tobacco products in developing countries, and our love affair with guns in the U.S.--all will take their toll. I won't be here to see it, but 2050 may show a different outcome than current projections indicate. Bad for people; good for the planet?

The unknown Greenwich Village diner sort of reminds me of the "Cowgirl Restaurant" on W.10th and Hudson. Large window with a corner location, long bar.

Love your Saturday posts, as usual! John Oliver is just SO good! Amy Schumer's clip was both sad and hilarious. She uses her talents for good on this issue and those of us working for saner gun laws appreciate it.

The darling corgi: "Roll, damn you, roll!" That was my interpretation of what was going on!


Love the Nerdwriter. Thanks for introducing me to him!

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