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INTERESTING STUFF – 19 October 2019

WE LOST A GREAT MAN THIS WEEK

You cannot have missed the news that Congressman Elijah Cummings died this week at age 69. Too young, too young.

There are many heartfelt obituaries and memories of him around the web – just google his name. This is part of a statement from his wife, Dr. Maya Rockeymoore Cummings who is the chair of the Maryland Democratic Party:

“Congressman Cummings was an honorable man who proudly served his district and the nation with dignity, integrity, compassion and humility.”

“He worked until his last breath because he believed our democracy was the highest and best expression of our collective humanity and that our nation’s diversity was our promise, not our problem,” she added.

“It’s been an honor to walk by his side on this incredible journey. I loved him deeply and will miss him dearly.”

And there is this – part of his first House floor speech in 1996:

May be rest with the angels.

CAN VERTICAL FORESTS HELP CLIMATE CHANGE?

The world is going to need many thousands of good ideas to thwart climate change. Maybe this is one of them – a building in Milan now five years old. What if big cities were full of buildings like this.

VICTOR THE EAGLE DOCUMENTS CLIMATE CHANGE

The YouTube page tell us that

”A white-tailed eagle named Victor has completed five flights over the Alps to promote action on climate change. Breathtaking footage of the flights over Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland and France was filmed with a 360° camera mounted between the bird’s wings.

“EagleWings Foundation, who organised the flights, aim to raise awareness on climate change by highlighting the melting of Alpine glaciers. Some 250,000 cubic metres of ice are in danger of collapsing from the Planpincieux glacier on the Grandes Jorasses peak, in the Alps near Chamonix and Courmayeur.”

HOW THE INTERNET WORKS

I sort of knew this but had forgotten some of it. This video from 2013 follows a “packet” from your fingertips to the host server and back again in less than a second.

AN IRISHMAN'S FUNERAL JOKE

You may have heard this week about the Irishmen who decided to give his friends a good laugh when they gathered to send him off into eternity. Fortunately for us, someone video-taped it.

There is more of the story at Huffington Post.

HOW MUCH IS DEMOCRACY WORTH?

Well, not really but I couldn't resist. It's actually about what the democracy.com domain is worth. It goes on auction under sealed bids on 25 October. The Guardian tells us that

”According to the domain brokerage GoDaddy, the five most expensive publicly reported domain names are CarInsurance.com – $49.7m; Insurance.com – $35.6m; VacationRentals.com – $35m; PrivateJet.com – $30.18m; and Voice.com – $30m. Sex.com sold for $14m and Porno.com – $8.8m.”

Read more at The Guardian.

THE DOG PHOTOGRAPHER

You are likely to have heard of dog photographer William Wegman. He has been photographing his succession of Weimaraners for 45 years. As the YouTube page tells us,

”His work is at measures droll and enchanting, evoking awe in audiences around the world. And, his pups have had their share of the limelight, making appearances on everything from Saturday Night Live and Sesame Street to movies and galleries worldwide.”

Not to mention an interview I produced (I've forgotten the name of the show) with Wegman and two of his dogs in about 1974 or 1975. The host of that show was Matt Lauer long before he ascended to The Today Show and the more recent debacle that concluded with his resignation.

But that doesn't take away from Wegman's dog's charms.

A BABY OCTOPUS IN A PLASTIC CUP

Pall Sigurdsson tells us on the YouTube page:

”We spent a whole dive and most of our air saving this octopus from what was bound to be a cruel fate. The coconut octopus, also known as veined octopus, is born with the instinct to protect itself by creating a mobile home out of coconut or clam shells.

“This particular individual however has been trapped by their instincts and have made a home out of a plastic cup they found underwater.

“While a shell is a sturdy protection, a passing eel or flounder would probably swallow the cup with the octopus in it, most likely also killing the predator or weakening it to a point where it will be soon eaten by an even bigger fish.

“We found this particular octopus at about 20 meters under the water, we tried for a long time to give it shells hoping that it would trade the cup. Coconut octopus are famous for being very picky about which shells they keep so we had to try with many different shells before it found one to be acceptable.”

YOU'VE GOT A FRIEND IN ME

From my friend Jim Stone. No explanation needed for such a sweet video. Just enjoy.


* * *

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.



Comments

How wonderful our cities would be with trees and shrubs from bottom to top not to mention what that could do for mending the climate.

you've got a friend in me.

Thank you

That little girl in the last video stole my heart!

I love Wegman and his dogs and the octopus!

I very much appreciated what you wrote about Elijah Cummings, Ronni. I have deeply admired him since I have known of him.

And you are right: 68 is a far too young age to die.

Thank you too for the excerpt from his first House speech. He was always eloquent. He showed emotion - he spoke eloquently ---

----and for someone born and raised in what we used to call Balmer -- I appreciated him, paid heed to him -- and marveled at the fact that his words always seemed true and right.

ruth-ellen

Elijah Cummings was probably one of the VERY few truly principled politicians we still had. He will definitely be missed--by the entire country.

Both Elijah Cumming's wife's words and that strange little octopus video left me teary eyed; I very much enjoy these 'Interesting Stuff' posts. PS. That green building in Milan.. I feel like we've gotten a (hopeful) glimpse into our future.

What riches in your column today! I got lost exploring them, and other things along the way...

While the Milan project is amazing and perhaps provides some hope for adapting to climate change, I have difficulty with the whole manipulation of nature scenario. Trees develop deep and extensive root systems and they are art of intricate fungal and other underground networks. To expect them to adapt to abnormal environments for long periods may be a bit much. Five years is a very short period of time in the life of a tree. Two maples that have been in front of my house for nearly a hundred years were taken out by the city this summer due to their large roots that were destroying the sidewalk. They were still relatively healthy, and full of leaves each year, and it will be a very long time before replacement habitat can develop for the squirrels, birds and countless insects that called them home.

That's a very good point, Cathy J. Thanks for bringing it up.

And I'm so sorry about the lovely old maples in front of your house.

In Vancouver Canada, where I live, they alter the sidewalks to accommodate the trees, not the other way around. A small bit of sanity in an insane world.

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