SECRETARY CLINTON COMMITS TO EXPANDING SOCIAL SECURITY
At their appearance together last Tuesday (which this week feels like a month ago) as Senator Bernie Sanders endorsed Secretary Hillary Clinton for president, she adopted Sanders's position on Social Security. Here's the short video tape:
A worthy goal for elders and for younger people who depend on Social Security too.
Far less encouraging news is Donald Trump's choice for his running mate, Indiana Governor Mike Pence. He has a shameful record on Social Security and Medicare. From the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare (NCPSSM):
”During his decade-plus tenure in the U.S. Congress, Mike Pence consistently voted in favor of legislative efforts to cut benefits in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid...Few members of Congress have an anti-seniors voting record as consistently strong as Mike Pence.
“Mike Pence was one of Congress’ biggest proponents of privatization. He supports cutting Social Security benefits by raising the retirement age, reducing the COLA, means-testing and turning Medicare into 'CouponCare.' As he told CNN, ‘I’m an all of the above guy.'”
Read more at the NCPSSM.
ELDERS TALK ABOUT SEX
I am fast becoming a fan of Dr. James Hamblin, a young physician and senior editor at The Atlantic who produces a video series for the magazine titled “If Our Bodies Could Talk.”
In this one, he asked some old people at a senior center in Manhattan about sex.
Actually, in this case, the accompanying story at The Atlantic is more interesting than the video. You should go read it – who else could know as much about sex as old people...
BOSTON DYNAMICS' LATEST ROBOT
Of course, I don't know about you, but I find the use of a lethal robot by the Dallas Police Department to be a terrifying precedent. But I also have an ongoing interest in robots who might (will?) become helpful companions to people.
In the past, I have featured the development of robots by Boston Dynamics and this is their latest, the Spot Mini. Take a look at the amazing things it can do:
A JOHN OLIVER WEB EXTRA: FAN MAIL
John Oliver's HBO show, Last Week Tonight does not return from hiatus unti 24 July but as he often does during these absences, he has provided a short video to hold us over.
This one is about his fan mail.
THIS JUST IN REGARDING JOHN STEWART
I had finished writing today's post on Friday morning when an email advised that John Stewart will be joining The Late Show with Stephen Colbert for the two weeks of the political conventions.
And wait till you read the rest of the lineup according to Esquire:
While it's still unclear what Stewart's contribution to the show will be, Colbert's live convention coverage will also include Elizabeth Warren, Anthony Weiner, Jeff Daniels, Allison Janney, Keegan-Michael Key, and John Oliver.”
Can't wait. I'll be glued to Colbert's coverage.
TURNING DESERTS GREEN
Water or, rather, the lack thereof is an increasing global problem and if not a disaster yet, may well become so before long, turning once fertile land into deserts.
So this was some small amount of good news. First the background:
”...many once-fertile lands are turning into desert, and a significant amount of agricultural land is lost every year. What’s more, when governments and nonprofit organizations try to bring back grasslands, forests, and other ecosystems destroyed by agriculture and other human uses, they are often disappointed: Restoration can take decades. It sometimes fails altogether.
A new study comes from E. R. Jasper Wubs, an ecologist at the Netherlands Institute of Ecology who spread soil from healthy heathland – hills dominated by heather – or from grassland, to stripped ground, added seeds from 30 plant species and waited six years.
”Plots with heathland soil were covered with heather and gorse, whereas plots with grasslands soil were overflowing with a variety of grasses. The added soil made the existing land richer...”
Here is the before and after photo:
Everyone involved is encouraged by the success and tests continue on reclaiming “dead” lands:
“This approach could yield new ecosystems in a matter of years, not decades, Wubs says. 'Natural succession takes much, much longer.'”
More details at Science.
Amazingly, when I lived in Manhattan, my small backyard produced a large supply of fireflies at certain times of the year that came out at dusk, just the right time of day to see them at their most magical.
This week, a gorgeous video of fireflies by a photographer, Radim Schreider, came to my attention. He explains:
”In this short movie, I tried to capture my feelings and experiences with fireflies in the woods near my house in Fairfield, Iowa. I wanted to document not only their beauty and magical glow, but also behavior in their natural environment.
“I have chosen not to do any digital manipulation to the video itself, so the footage came straight from the camera.”
He recommends that we watch this video at night, full screen with all the lights off:
Radim Schreider is an award-winning nature photographer. You can see more of his work at his website.
HOW THE DUTCH BUILT A TUNNEL IN ONE WEEKEND
In an extraordinary feat of engineering and hard work, this 70-meter tunnel was built in The Netherlands over one weekend, people working day and night AND in the rain.
Here's the time-lapse video that Darlene Costner forwarded.
GOOD NEWS ON MEDICAL MARIJUANA AND ON DISEASES OF AGEING
According to a new study from the University of Georgia, the use of medical marijuana in states where it is available is reducing the cost of the Medicare Part D prescription drug program:
”The savings, due to lower prescription drug use, were estimated to be $165.2 million in 2013, a year when 17 states and the District of Columbia had implemented medical marijuana laws. The results suggest that if all states had implemented medical marijuana the overall savings to Medicare would have been around $468 million...
“The researchers will explore these consequences further in their next study...which will look at medical marijuana's effects on Medicaid, a joint federal and state program that helps with medical costs and typically serves an older population.”
You can read more at Medical News Today.
In another medical development that affects elders, it appears that the traditional diseases of age are in decline. Take a look at the graph for colon cancer, the rate of which has fallen by nearly 50 percent since the 1980s:
Scientists say there are a number possible reasons for the reduction in cases of cancer, heart disease, stroke, etc. but they can't be certain yet which ones contribute to the health gains, and consider it to be, for now, a mystery:
”...it looks as if people in the United States and some other wealthy countries are, unexpectedly, starting to beat back the diseases of aging. The leading killers are still the leading killers...but they are occurring later in life, and people in general are living longer in good health.”
Read more about this good news at The New York Times.
TAKE ONE LONELY PUPPY, ONE LONELY KITTEN AND...
This short video from the Jo Linn Pet House, forwarded here from TGB reader Ali, may be the cutest thing you'll see all week.
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” 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.