Net Neutrality Died on 11 June



Back in 2013, I published what I thought was a fable floating around the internet about retiring to a cruise ship. In my intro I wrote, “Maybe you need a silliness break as much as I do.”

Well, not so silly anymore. Take a look at this video from 2016:

Apparently it's becoming a thing now with “apartments at sea.” This from last year:


The U.S. president labels a lot of factual news as fake and journalism in general is not in good standing with a large percentage of the American public. But maybe that has more to do with news consumers' critical reading skills than with reporters.

The Pew Research Center recently conducted a fascinating survey to see how well respondents could distinguished between statements of fact and opinion in the news. Here are the overall results:


Some of the conclusions from the survey include:

Americans most often disagree with factual statements they incorrectly think are opinions

Those with high political awareness are far better able to identify factual and opinion statements

Digitally savvy Americans fare far better at classifying factual and opinion statements

Those with greater trust in the news media are more likely to correctly classify factual and opinion statements

You too can take the quiz at the Pew website. For the record, I identified all 10 fact or opinion statements correctly but I've been working in journalism all my life.

The entire report of the results is here. Or you can get the PDF of the final report here.


Many people are suspicious of robots. At minimum we worry about their taking jobs from humans, and the robot pets, usually marketed to elders, seem more than a little creepy to me. But then there are disaster robots – a really good idea. Take a look:


Surgeon, author and New Yorker contributor, Atul Gawande, has been named CEO of the health care venture by Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and J.P. Morgan. This item is included today because I have been a fan for a long, long time. The man is brilliant, thoughtful and most important, a dedicated activist for improving healthcare.


As Gawande said in a press release announcing his new job:

”I have devoted my public health career to building scalable solutions for better healthcare delivery that are saving lives, reducing suffering, and eliminating wasteful spending both in the US and across the world.

"Now I have the backing of these remarkable organizations to pursue this mission with even greater impact for more than a million people, and in doing so incubate better models of care for all. This work will take time but must be done. The system is broken, and better is possible."

Gawande begins his new job on 9 July. You can read more about him and the new project here, here and here.


The annual Royal Ascot horse races held just outside London each year are winding up today. Like the U.S. Kentucky Derby, it is an event for attendees to wear their most outrageous headgear. Some examples:



And, of course, the Queen of England herself in a hat slightly more elaborate than her everyday hats.


There are a whole lot more images of people in amazing hats at The Atlantic magazine.


For months after my cancer surgery, I was urged to eat as many calories each day as possibly. It didn't matter what kind – sugar, fat, meat, etc., and doughnuts were among my choices.

Yes, this video is pretty much a commercial for Krispy Kreme, but I like watching the donuts go through the machine and thinking about the months I could eat as much as wanted of anything I craved – doctors orders.


Given the president's disgusting rhetoric about immigrants, it might seem that his is the view of a majority of U.S. citizens. The response to putting tiny children in baby jails puts that to rest.

Further, according to a Gallup poll conducted between 1 June and 13 June, three-quarters of Americans think immigration is a good thing, and 65% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents agree. 39% say immigration should be kept at present level, 28% say it should be increased. Here's the chart:


Read more about the survey at Gallup.


Huffington Post has reported that there are rumors that a new Star Trek: The Next Generation with actor Patrick Stewart reprising his role as Captain Jean-Luc Picard may be in the works.

When the Hollywood Reporter first mentioned the possibility, they mentioned only anonymous sources. Here's what Stewart himself hints:

I'm not much of a sci-fi fan, but Star Trek: TNG? That's a whole different thing. Make it so.


Koko, the beloved gorilla who was widely known for her extensive vocabulary of sign language, died this week in her sleep at age 46.

Koko was a year old when she began working with Francine “Penny” Patterson, an psychologist who believed that what makes humans special is speech. If animals had something like that, she believed, they could express themselves, too.

"And while they may not give us Beowulf, they could at least make their thoughts and feelings known,” reports Time. “So Patterson worked with what Koko did have — her dextrous, expressive hands — taught her American Sign Language, and with that opened the door to an extraordinary mind.

“It wasn’t just that Koko knew her nouns — toy and apple and dog and cookie. She did know hundreds of them, but for all animals nouns are the low-hanging fruit — solid objects that can be associated with labels.

More impressive were the verbs; more impressive still was the language of mood and emotion and spatial relations — more and sad and in and stupid and please and hurry and out. And there was also mine — a primitive idea for both animals and humans, signaling, as it so often does, greed or aggression or indifference to others, and yet an idea nonetheless that no animal before had ever been known to grasp abstractly.”

Here's a video about Koko with the cats she loved throughout her life:

There is much more about Koko at The Gorilla Foundation at

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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” 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.


Older Americans living at sea? Not so outlandish ... it is one of the solutions Albert Brooks' 2011 novel, "2030 - The Real Story of What Happens to America" posits as inter-generational warfare and other heretofore unimaginable phenomena come into play as life as we know it in this country unravels.

Thank you, thank you for Koko and the lessons she and Penny Patterson taught us...a reminder that differences in appearance don't mean differences in heart and soul.

I'd love to live on a ship, but it's not in my budget. Love Koko. I always have. I do like all the hats. They offer a wonderful break from Trump. Love those donuts too...but only when fresh. This entry is certainly fresh.

I identified two of the "opinion" statements as factual because I thought, "Well, there actually have been scientific and/or statistical studies on those very issues. I've seen them. If a statement can be fact-checked, it should be treated as a factual statement."

But of course, most people who say those things are not talking on the factual level at all. So I was wrong. (It's a mistake I keep making.)

I answered all ten questions in the Pew survey correctly. I didn't think it was very difficult.

I do think that many in later generations than mine (I am 69 yrs old) have not been taught critical thinking within their public education experience. I believe that critical thinking and "teaching to the test" are mutually exclusive skills, and that parroting information as opposed to analyzing information in the early school years leads to difficulties in developing the ability to form logical conclusions in later years.

I can tell fact from opinion and given the statements on the survey I am quite distressed that at least 95% of people can't seem to just based on innate understanding of the morphology of language. We have much to learn from Koko.
But then,it takes a willingness to learn.
I'm sorry this is snarky sounding, but I just listened to a recap of the past week's news on NPR and I am in general state of distress. It's hard to cultivate calm, much as I try.

Thrilling news about Gawande's appointment! It's just too bad we don't have 100 of him to really re-make health care. He has a great mind and a great heart.

Great post on so many levels today! I'm excited with the news about Gawande. I don't think critical thinking or logic is taught much anymore (my opinion backed by my observation turoing in public schools). That's a loss. Some year's back the late comedian Steve Allen, a prolific writer, authored "Dumbth: The Lost Art of Thinking with 101 Ways to Reason Better and Improve Your Mind." He sets out ways to improve critical thinking and reasoning and laments the "dumbing" down of schools to the lower common denomnator. I think it's still more relevent today. He also wrote for the California based group " The Sceptic's Society."

Those hat photos are fabulous darling!

Oops, typo! Tutoring in schools.

So many good stories this morning. Loved the one about rescue robots.

Koko is my favorite story today. I hope that another Gorilla is being taught sign language and that the Gorilla can teach the 'haters' empathy. Well, I can dream. We have much to learn from animals who do not have the the power of speech.

I don't know how the women can walk without toppling over from some of the hats. And I'll bet that those who have to sit behind or next to them do not like them very much. But then, that's a tradition one has to make allowances for if one attends the Royal Ascot races. I think the Queen's hat is pretty and some of her others are more outlandish than this pretty pink hat.

I was able to distinguish fact from opinion and only wish that so many -rump believers were able to also.

The other stories were equally interesting. Great selection, Ronni.

Re: Pew Survey's answer to question 9 of the Survey about the $15 minimum wage

I'm all in favor of the wage. But I did not believe the answer should have been "fact". Here's why. The Washington Post sums it up in their story on Jan. 11, 2018 following this headline: "What does the $15 minimum wage do to the economy? Economists are starting to find out." In a few words, the date are preliminary and the studies are divided in their conclusions. The article ran 17 months ago.

Correction for mistake within text. The WaPo's story's date was Jan. 11, 2017.

Like Leslie Burnham, I didn't think the fact/opinion survey was tough; but then, like journalists, scientist-engineers are supposed to be able to tell the difference. Unlike Leslie Burnham, I have seen evidence that younger generations have been/are being taught to discriminate between factual statements and opinion statements, which gives me great hope for the future. (And, unlike Leslie Burnham, I am 80 years old.)

10 out of 10, also.

I thought of you last night, Ronni. I drove down to Lewis and Clark College yesterday for the reunion of my overseas study group...people I had not seen for 50 years!!! Wished I could just pop in for a visit in Lake Oswego, too, being so close. :-)

Not sure how I feel about living full time on a cruise ship. I like to cruise, but by the end of a long cruise, I am usually ready to get off again. Being pampered is pretty nice, though....

Apropos Koko, many years ago I had the opportunity to visit the program at Central Washington University which taught chimpanzees to sign. I remember being impressed that no only could they use the signs that they were taught but they could combine them to create new descriptive terms. For example, someone brought in fruit leather, which they had never seen before. One of them called it 'plum blanket'....

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