Cancer Linked to Obesity
ELDER MUSIC: Gordie Revisited

INTERESTING STUFF – 7 October 2017


It's been a terrible week for several reasons, the saddest of which is the shooting in Las Vegas. It may seem like it's a unique event but that is so only in the number dead.

There is a mass shooting in the United States almost every day.

Here is a graphic showing the horrific number of mass killings in the past five years. The gray are people injured in each incidence. The red are the number who died.



They call it a shag team – that just means swing dancing and it's so much fun. Thank Darlene Costner for this.


Pretty much during all the ages of humankind, cats have been mysterious beings, loved or reviled – depending.

Mental Floss gives us 14 ancient legends about cats. Here are some examples:

”A certain sect of Buddhism once practiced in the former kingdoms of Siam and Burma believed that when you die, if you’re holy enough, your soul is transferred to a cat for safekeeping. In this way, special souls lived in a sort of feline purgatory, and when the kitty died, the chaste soul would ascend to paradise.
”In a few different areas of Europe, it was thought to be ill-advised for a pregnant woman to pick up a cat or let it sleep in her lap. In Portugal, it was once said the cat will afflict the baby with a wart or mole, usually a hairy one, and in England, it was thought the baby will either be born with a cat-shaped birthmark or with the face of a cat.”


”Medieval people thought that cats were the Devil’s personal soul courier, ferrying spirits to Hell. The three hairs on the tip of a cat’s tail were said to be 'the devil’s hairs,' which compelled the cat to stay up all night, prowling, when all Christian creatures should be asleep.

“In the American South, it was thought that anyone who drowned a cat would be punished by the Devil himself (for the lesser crime of kicking a cat, he’d just give you rheumatism).”
Many more cat legends at Mental Floss.


A Harvard Medical School psychiatry professor explains a bit about earworms. A couple of excerpts:

"Certain songs are catchier than others, and so more likely to “auto repeat” in your head. When music psychologist Kelly Jakubowski and her colleagues studied why, they found these songs were faster and simpler in melodic contour (the pitch rose and fell in ways that made them easier to sing)."
"In order to get stuck in your head, earworms rely on brain networks that are involved in perception, emotion, memory, and spontaneous thought. They are typically triggered by actually hearing a song, though they may also creep up on you when you are feeling good, or when you are in a dreamy (inattentive) or nostalgic state."
"Some people try to distract themselves from the song, and it works. In one study, the most helpful “cure” tunes were “God Save The Queen” by Thomas Arne and “Karma Chameleon” by Culture Club. Others seek out the tune in question, because it is commonly believed that earworms occur when you remember only part of a song; hearing the entire song may extinguish it."

You can read more about earworms here.


Watch one U.S. Senator, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, explain that Americans have no rights except to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Everything else - food, shelter and certainly health care, he says - are privileges reserved for those who can afford them. Take a listen as a high school student asks him this question:

Of the 25 wealthiest nations, only the United States does not recognize health care as a right. Read more at Think Progress.


Arlington Cemetery is hallowed ground, the burial place of more than 400,000 military service people. Recently some of the magnificent trees at the cemetery have been absorbing some headstones:


Find A Grave puts the count at 11 afflicted markers,” explains Atlas Obscura, “with most of the entombed having served in the Civil War, World War I, or World War II.”

Read more at Atlas Obscura.


Here is a fascinating TedEd talk about what philosophers have had to say about this mind/body problem.


Airline flight takes a toll on our minds and bodies in more ways than I would have thought. According to a story at

”The reduced air pressure on airline flights can reduce the amount of oxygen in passengers’ blood between 6 and 25% (hypoxia), a drop that in hospital would lead many doctors to administer supplementary oxygen. For healthy passengers, this shouldn’t pose many issues, although in the elderly and people with breathing difficulties, the impact can be higher.”
”The combination of low air pressure and humidity can reduce the sensitivity of our taste buds to salt and sweet by up to 30%. A study commissioned by airline Lufthansa also showed that the savoury flavours in tomato juice taste better during a flight.”
“'Anxiety levels can increase with hypoxia,' explains Valerie Martindale, president of the Aerospace Medical Association at King’s College London. Anxiety is not the only aspect of mood that can be affected by flying. A number of studies has shown spending time at altitude can increase negative emotions like tension, make people less friendly, decrease their energy levels and affect their ability to deal with stress."

And that's just part of the bad news about flying, especially long distances. Read more here.


This Jack Russell terrier and jaguar are best friends, together 24 hours a day at the Akwaaba Lodge in South Africa. Take a look:

* * *

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.


The Republican commentators are twisting themselves into pretzels trying to link this horrific Las Vegas tragedy into Muslim terrorism. God forbid that sensible gun laws should be enacted. People are becoming afraid to go to any event where there will be a crowd and it doesn't speak well of what is happening to our country.

Oh, if only human enemies could get along as well as that Jack Russell terrier and the Jaguar.

I listened to the TED talk and decided that I don't care whether I am a body with a mind or a mind with a body. I just want to keep my mind.

Thanks for another Interesting Stuff Saturday, Ronni. The graphic of the representation of mass shootings was certainly grim and clearly reinforces what a large problem this has become. It was good to have the shag dancing video following it to restore the spirit.

Primarily as an interested lay person, I have been studying the mind-body connection for decades. Although vast amounts of material have been produced, there has been little that has provided anything definitive, and, as the video suggests, possibly more questions have come of it than answers. As we've progressed scientifically, we've collected a lot of knowledge that's led to some amazing breakthroughs, but understanding of "from whence" and "why" continues to elude us. It 's rather like the remarkable magic performances that are almost common now, but yet we know they are just skills based on what's been learned by practitioners over time -- they are not "magic" and so they entertain but do not enlighten.

There seems to be no end of miserable reports of appalling attitudes and behavior from Republican members of Congress these days. I wish I could comment on this without sounding so partisan, but the facts are the facts. Tim Murphy, Tom Price, and Ron Johnson are just the ones this week. I can't understand how their constituents can support such apparent hypocrisy and alienation from the common person.

And I love cat stories, especially when illustrated with black cats. I have two of my own and I suspect that, now and then, they may get up and dance around like the one here, late at night, when I am oblivious.

Senator Johnson’s comments about our “rights” misses the point I think. “The pursuit of happiness” - what is that about? The right to be happy....what is that - I think it includes the right to a decent life including food, shelter, meaningful work, good health, etc. However in the minds of too many who control our political system - “pursuit of happiness” means the right to become very wealthy at the expense of others, the right to rip off the Federal government by traveling by charter and government planes, to stay at expensive hotels at government expense, and the right to make it hard to vote, the right to limit access to health care to only those who have lots of money, the right to limit women’s access to health care, the list is pretty endless. They must be “happy” but the rest of those without a great deal of money, not being white male should just drop dead.

Many interesting articles. Thanks for your ongoing efforts to educate and entertain.

How does the esteemed (snark) Sen Johnson (moron) think that there can be life without food and shelter??????????

It's too late now, but it's a shame someone didn't respectfully relocate those graves before they were consumed by the trees. Yet, in a way, it's kind of poetic that they've become a part of the trees.

Is health care a right? I can't decide. Does anyone have a right to take the products and services of another without paying for them in some way? We can choose to provide free health care to everyone, but somebody, somewhere, sometime, has to pay to develop and deliver it.

Those negative effects of hypoxia obviously affect flight crews as well as passengers.

I've often thought that if I don't exercise more, I'll eventually end up like those creatures in Star Trek that evolved (or devolved) into just brains in jars. Which certainly seems preferable to becoming a body without a mind.

The piece on cats is terrific -- I probably think so largely because I think cats are great (I have 3). Ron Johnson? Not so much. Another Deplorable acting/speaking deplorably! He wants to "enlarge" resources by taking a larger cut for himself; see The Orange Apparition's tax "reform" plan.

Shag team eh?
This is another example of Australia and America being two countries separated by a common language, particularly when it comes to slang.

It's not so much that I mind having an earworm, it's just that I'd like to know how to change the station. I've had Roger Miller's "King of the road" playing in there for two day's now.

When reading Peter Tibbles' comment above (and of course recognizing the joke) my mind immediately went to the book I purchased back in '84 before visiting his fabulous "land down under", called Lets Stalk Strine. Separated by a common language, indeed.

With regard to that wiggly- tonsiled Wisconsinite, Ron Johnson, what you are reaching for, sir, or should be reaching for, is the concept of a civilized country. Wiggly Ron misses the point that civilization is where we look after one another for the common good.

Oh, yes, and keep those cat observations coming. Loved that WikiMedia Commons graphic you used to illustrate.

Typical Republican logic from Sen. Johnson. Twisted and mean.

A book by Dr. John Sarno has started me on the mind-body path. Connecting with your mind - reminding it, instructing it, even scolding it - can correct it when it is sending you pain signals that are inappropriate.
For instance, if you're still feeling pain from an injury that happened months or even years ago, it's giving you wrong signals. Something like the "phantom pain" people can feel in an amputated limb.
It seems to be working for me. Hip pain I have felt for years is fading. Sure hope it keeps working.

Good to hear, Charlotte, the ebbing of pain and following what works for you.

Even though most of our formative times are in the past, we continue to have opportunities for growth, learning, changing, etc., sometimes recognized and rather easy, other times a more difficult challenge .

Serendipitous, your mentioning the word 'inappropriate,' as I've been applying 'Is this appropriate?' recently to many conversations with myself, about myself or others. It's become a learning tool for me, sort of like a measurement and clarification of intents, values and choices.

Another fascinating collection of "stuff". The visual shootings graphic is stark! Enjoy seeing the jitterbug continuing on for younger generations today as the dance had mostly faded out of sight except for movie musicals when I reached teen/young adult years. As for cats, a tale I recall hearing was they allegedly could steal a baby's breath.

I am always intrigued with all aspects of brain functioning research. I long ago concluded a person consists of mind, body, spirit, thus being healthy as possible necessitates striving for functional synergy which requires addressing all those parts of ourselves. This view has prevailed for me personally and professionally. What that has meant in the latter instance is, if providing rehab interventions such as for stroke, neurological diseases and injuries to name a few body assaults, the whole person -- each of us unique but the same -- must be considered for healing to be most effective.

Key in the mind is language and the words we use in our heads. This is a bit more complex than what some writers have described in pop media and books that often capture the public's fancy to become the latest "feel good" "quick fix" fad. This is far more than simply "positive thinking" and should not be confused with thinking it is a "Pollyanna" view of life. Those who consider their whole being in life and/or recovery are better poised for their outcome I believe.

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