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INTERESTING STUFF – 3 October 2015

EDITORIAL NOTE: I try to keep this weekly links post to nine items or fewer because I believe that too much choice is no choice at all.

Even so, I've gone overboard today but there was just so much interesting stuff this week – and I omitted as many as I have included.

If someone would like to think up a good name for it, perhaps I could post just one Interesting Stuff item on Tuesdays and Thursdays – days for which I have stopped writing full posts. Or not – just a stray idea for now.

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Can you tell? Look closely at these Bostonians waiting to see movie stars arrive for a film premiere.


As Alan Goldsmith said in his email with this photo, “There is something to be said for analog born.” If you couldn't tell, catch the elder woman in the front row. She's the only one enjoying the moment without a cell phone in front of her face.

More at Huffington Post.


Actually, Grace Brett, at age 104, is the world's oldest “yarn bomber.” It's a thing, yarn bombing. You can look it up. Here's a little video of Grace – be sure to note the phone booth cover:

I first saw this at Senior Planet. If you are interested in knowing more, google “yarn bombing” for additional video and stories about this phenomenon.


In recent years, a worldwide meme has developed in the physical world to scare the pants off everyone with transparent walking areas. Here is one of the latest, a glass-bottomed suspension bridge in China. Take a look (if you dare):

There are more facts about the bridge at the YouTube page (scroll down).


According to the Wall Street Journal:

”...the campaign of Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders said it reached its goal of one million individual online contributions.

“He is the first candidate of the 2016 campaign to announce it had reached this number – and he reached it faster than President Barack Obama did in 2008 and 2012.”

Alternet notes that Bernie's campaign

“ not supported by dedicated Super PACs, as are all of his opponents on the GOP side and Martin O'Malley and Hillary Clinton on the Democratic side.”

In addition, the amount of Sanders' contributions almost matches Clinton's. From Politico:

”Clinton’s operation raised more than $28 million in the third quarter after a grueling fundraising schedule, compared with about $26 million for the Vermonter — who raised his money largely from online donations, and few in-person fundraising events.”


Trevor Noah has weathered his first week in the Jon Stewart chair at Comedy Central's The Daily Show. Quite a number of critics were – well, critical. I watched all four shows. Sometimes jokes fell flat. He was obviously a bit nervous. But overall, I think he's doing fine.

Do remember that it took a good while for Stewart to get his groove when he took over the show in 1999, so let's give Trevor Noah room to grow. Here is his first opening monologue:


You can watch all Daily Shows online at Comedy Central.


Have you realized that four(!) alumni of The Daily Show are now holding forth on late night television? Stephen Colbert on The Late Show on CBS-TV, Larry Wilmore at The Nightly Show on Comedy Central, Trevor Noah also on Comedy Central and John Oliver on Last Week Tonight at HBO.

That makes Jon Stewart quite a successful talent spotter.

John Oliver returned from hiatus last Sunday. An immigrant himself to the U.S., he took at sharp look at the current migrant and refugee crisis:


Oliver's long essays are uniformly brilliant – or damned close. But he also produces a short video each week which I rarely post here. This one, however, is irresistible.

It was reported, without corroboration, that British Prime Minister David Cameron had an interesting episode in college between a private part of his anatomy and a dead pig.

Of course this is something that Oliver could not resist. Look at the video and if you're not laughing out loud as much from Oliver's delight with the story as from the segment itself, you are probably no longer breathing.

For the record, Cameron has denied the episode although it took him a week to do so.

MY APOLOGIES: that the short Oliver video has been removed. It was really funny. If you want to know what it was about, just google "david cameron pig" and you'll get the explanation.


On Thursday, the State of Alabama stopped issuing drivers licenses, which are required to vote, in counties where 75 percent of registered voters are black.

”Due to budget cuts,” reports Raw Story, “Alabama Law Enforcement Agency said that 31 satellite DMV offices would no longer have access to driver’s licenses examiners, meaning that residents will need to travel to other counties to apply for licenses. The move comes just one year after the state’s voter photo ID law went into effect.”

As John Archibald wrote at

”It's not just a civil rights violation. It is not just a public relations nightmare. It is not just an invitation for worldwide scorn and an alarm bell to the Justice Department. It is an affront to the very notion of justice in a nation where one man one vote is as precious as oxygen.”

I don't understand why this is allowed to happen – again and again and again.


Holograms are kind of strange and wonderful but in all the years we have had them, I've never figured out if they are good for anything besides resurrecting fuzzy images of Abraham Lincoln. Now comes a really good hologram idea from Russia. Take a look.

Thank my friend Jim Stone for that video.


My favorite astrophysicist (well, okay, the only one whose name I know but you have to admit he's a cool guy), Neil DeGrasse Tyson, interviewed Pepper the robot at the annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative last week:

There is more about Pepper at Technology Review and Gajitz. and you can find other videos from the Clinton Global Initiative meeting here.


Filmmaker and artist Yann Arthus-Bertrand said this:

“I dreamed of a film in which the power of words would resonate with the beauty of the world. The movie relates the voices of all those, men and women, who entrusted me with their stories. And it becomes their messenger.”

The film is titled Human and Mr. Arthus-Bertrand

”...spent three years collecting real-life stories from 2,000 women and men in 60 countries.

"Working with a dedicated team of translators, journalists and cameramen, Yann captures deeply personal and emotional accounts of topics that unite us all; struggles with poverty, war, homophobia, and the future of our planet mixed with moments of love and happiness.”

Of all the many choices, my friend Jim Stone sent the video below and that's the one I'm showing you too, Francine's Interview:

The goal of the filmmaker was to investigate

“...what it is that makes us human - that Human the movie – many interviews looking into what it is that makes us human? Is it that we love, that we fight? That we laugh? Cry? Our curiosity? The question for discovery?”

There are three feature-length parts to this monumental, amazing, ambitious project. You can see them all for free on YouTube.

Human the movie Part 1
Human the movie Part 2
Human the movie Part 3

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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” 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.


I love the holograms and wish we had them here in the US!

Francine's interview is wondrous, important, life-affirming. Thanks to her mother and Francine's childhood self in those barracks. And thanks to filmmaker and artist Yann Arthus-Bertrand, your friend Jim Stone, and you, Ronni.

PS I prefer anticipating all week your Saturday Interesting Stuff column versus reading one entry per each quieter day at TGB.

Yarn bombing is the most creative, delightful, utterly charming art form I can think of, and it harms absolutely nothing and no one. It brightens communities and brings smiles to everyone. Yarn bombers have actually been invited by the city of Denver to decorate fences in areas that needed a bit of cheer. And some of our statues have been bombed in ways that left us scratching our heads wondering "How did they do that?" because of the height or otherwise difficult access.

Today's blog is mind-boggling. Over the top, fabulous. Thank you for a great start to the w/end. Love Oliver of course & the interview with Francine is beyond wondrous. Thank you, thank you. Dee

So much good stuff to comment on this week that I don't know where to begin. Fist, the interview with Francine was so touching it brought tears to my eyes.

Then Trevor Noah has the tough job of filling some really big shoes. That winning smile and those dimples will help him succeed. He's a most welcome immigrant. Break a leg, Trevor.

John Oliver, another welcome immigrant, is holding America's feet to the tire.. Too bad that You Tube removed the second video. I guess I will never know what that is all about.

Neil DeGrasse Tyson is always delightful and Pepper is so human it's scary.

Speaking of scary - just seeing the video of the glass bridge is enough to provide me with nightmares for the rest of my life. I am shocked to see parents taking their small children on that bridge. It could traumatize them.

Last, but not least, the Sanders fund raiser is exciting news. Go Bernie. Keep on proving those naysayers wrong. Even the NYT that has been ignoring him. had to put the fund raiser news on the front page yesterday.

Dear Ronni, seeing "Francine" made me cry for happy...that they survived, and triumphantly! As for your idea of gifting us with just one of your gems for a couple days a week, I really like the idea. It would fit quite amicably with my short attention span on especially busy days. Thank You, Nancy

Handing you a bouquet of roses for this terrific post, Ronni. John Oliver delights and challenges us with images and their reality that often we can so easily turn away from right after viewing, the hologram is the future to replace signs? - imagine a patrolman popping up on the highway for those speeding - it boggles the imagination with ideas. The lovely lone lady without a phone and the woman who finds such pleasure in her older years.

And lastly there's Human. Following Francine's moving recollection, I went on and listened to Jose, the President of Uruguay, whom I've previously read about and have greatly admired as a human being. I intend to watch every segment and thank you for bringing this gem to our attention.

Something like Human and putting one person/segment twice a week would have been welcome and I'm all for the Tue/Thur inclusions. As for titles - "And another thing...", "A little something with your coffee".. Not so clever - imagine some will come through with better ones.

Way to go Bernie Sanders.

Francine's interview sent shivers up my spine.

A beautiful story.

One Twitter user Ashley Brown said of the Huffington Post photo.

"Living for the moment, and not the memory,"

I loved this thought about the photo of the lone woman just watching events unfold.

Very disappointed that this edition of Interesting Stuff has nothing about cats. (Just kidding of course :)

Francine's story was extremely moving. My heart kept beating faster in anticipation of how it would end. The great enigma to me is why this world is so screwed up, given what good hearts most people, I believe, have. I'm seventy-one years old and still don't understand why the most violent, angry, hateful voices always seem to dominate.

Grace Brett does the most interesting yarn bombing I've ever seen. Amazingly enough, not everyone loves the idea, as occurred recently in the town where I live:

Back in 2012, a San Diego yarn bomber did some wonderful work:

Finally, I like Simone's idea of filling Tuesday and Thursday with one of the Human stories each day.
Being regularly reminded of humanity's goodness would be more valuable, I think, than only two or three visits in a finite period of time. But only if that doesn't burden you with more work Ronni than you care to take on.

Thank you for the Human series. What a wonderful and moving experience. I hope it will be used in schools and churches to offset the brainwashing regarding others and differences.

How about a "Lagniappe" for you little extra on T/TH-- (Louisiana french for:
something given as a bonus or extra gift.

Great, great postings today! No way you'd ever find me on that glass bridge in China, though -- to quote Woody Allen in Casino Royale, "I have a low threshold of death."

Thank you for posting the news regarding the Alabama closing of driver license bureaus in those counties comprised of over 75% blacks, thus effectively barring those people from voting since driver licenses are required identification to vote. This is unconscionable. Can anything be done about it?

Classof65, I'm going to look into this question. Once again the poor are being disenfranchised, marginalized and denied basic rights - this by the Republicans who devoutly believe the Constitution should be strictly followed as written, eons ago, clueless to their actions that speak the opposite! Those unfortunate, often by fate, people are being treated as if invisible.

Since I belong to at least 2 minority groups that are often overlooked, the butt of jokes or mostly disregarded (age & female), I feel it's my moral obligation, or perhaps a privilege, to help those sisters and brothers - my bit may be a tiny bit, but maybe it will become a bite.

More later......

More wonderful interesting stuff. From the woman at the top without a camera to Francine's story - all are great gifts to us readers. I love and have participated in yarn bombing! I am so disgusted by Alabama's barrier to voter registration.

I think if do you find something interesting you'd like to post on your usual days off, you might call it a "pop-up" like the the one-time or temporary stores.

A terrific blog today!!

Love the handicapped hologram idea. We need that here in the US!! I see too much abuse of the Handicapped designated parking spaces.

In San Diego we have what a friend of mine calls the "Slow Patrol" -- Elders who have volunteered to drive around in officially designated patrol cars to do nothing but write tickets out (for I think $250 fine) to people parked in Handicapped spaces! It is amazingly effective!

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