407 posts categorized "Interesting Stuff"

INTERESTING STUFF – 10 November 2018

EDITORIAL NOTE: Again this week, my selections are heavy on animals. I hope you enjoy them.

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YOU THINK THREE RIBS ARE GOING TO STOP JUSTICE?

That's what Bryant Johnston, long-time physical fitness trainer to 85-year-old Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg told a reporter after RGB fell last week and broke three ribs:

"To all the stressed out people in America," Johnson told The Cut, "remember that the justice is TAN. Now, I always use that acronym: TAN. She’s tough as nails. You think three ribs are going to stop Justice?

"We probably won’t train at least for another week or so just to give the ribs a chance to heal because the ribs are just very sensitive areas that you just gotta give them a chance to heal. And then we’ll pick back up just like we usually do, and I’ll take in account for the ribs and we’ll just kinda ease and move in a little bit easier around ‘em."

Thank god she is TAN. We need that woman on the Court.

WHAT ANIMALS DO WHEN WE'RE NOT LOOKING

Julien Tabet is a young French artist who says he likes to surprise people.

”...imagining the improbable fascinates me...,” he says. “My works deal mainly with animals for a lot of reasons. Animals are different from humans because they are so much more humble and innocent.

“But what I like the most is that they can be mysterious due to their anonymity. I love to dream up the way animals act when we aren't watching them, kind of like Toy Story.

I think his work is magic:

ElkWithHarpHorns

LionWithWings

SwanWithPenguinsandPolarBear

There are more fantastical images at Bored Panda and at Tabet's Instagram page.

HOW CONGRESS STOPPED WORKING

We may have elected a Democratic-majority House of Representatives on Tuesday but that doesn't mean Congress will suddenly function.

The Washington Post and ProPublica got together to produce a short animated video, How Congress Stopped Working, that includes some predictions about whether it will soon get better.

Warning: This is not encouraging:

You can read more at the Washington Post and at ProPublica.

ONE TOUGH LITTLE RAT CHASES OFF A SCAREDY CAT

The YouTube page tells us:

”An inquisitive cat in the Luxembourg city of Esch-sur-Alzette, saw something move across the street and immediately trotted over to investigate. Upon discovering it was a rat, the cat began the chase.

“This tough little rat, however, turned right around and instead became the chaser...nipping at the poor kittie’s heels all around the streets.”

GERMAN SHEPHERD WATCHES OVER TEENY TINY BABY QUAIL

This is so cute:

”A noble German Shepherd named Thorin,” says the YouTube page, “very gently sniffed out a bevy of baby quails who were chirping away while crawling around on a comfy shag rug. After meeting these little birds, Thorin sat down and stood guard over them, remaining completely affable even when they climbed upon him.”

A SMALL AMOUNT OF GOOD CLIMATE NEWS

I may have mentioned that I can no longer read stories about climate change. Just the headlines make me weep for our beautiful big blue marble home in space.

Then there is this from the BBC. It won't change much, but it's good to read:

”The ozone layer, which protects us from ultraviolet light, looks to be successfully healing after gaping holes were discovered in the 1980s. The Northern Hemisphere could be fully fixed by the 2030s and Antarctica by the 2060s.

“A new United Nations report says it's an example of what global agreements can achieve.”

Read the entire story at the BBC.

MERCATOR MAP ANIMATED GIF

Undoubtedly you know that maps made for a flat surface distort the size and shape of land masses. Climate data scientist and interactive mapmaker, Neil Kaye, has made an animated gif to show the differences in the size of countries between flat and globe-shaped maps.

”Because the Mercator Map distorts land size in accordance with increased distance from the Equator, countries like Greenland, Russia, Canada and the United States look so much larger than much of the rest of the world.”

World-Projection-Actual-Size-Animation

Read more at Laughing Squid.

HISTORY OF CEMETERIES

A succinct little video about the way humans bury their dead has changed from the earliest days of humankind to the present.

HOW TO RID YOURSELF OF EARWORMS

Most of us get stuck with annoying earworms from time to time, a tune stuck in our brain that won't go away.

Susana Martinez-Conde, writing at Mental Floss, has five suggestions for banishing them. One of them is to listen to a “cure tune”:

”The same study also found that some subjects used competing songs, or 'cure tunes,' to control their earworms. The researchers identified 64 such tunes, with six of them named by more than one person.”

Another suggestion is to chew gum:

”Chewing might hinder the motor programming involved in speech articulation, and therefore could keep people from subvocalizing (saying the words to the songs in their heads). They found that vigorous gum-chewing did reduce the number of unwanted musical thoughts, but...”

Read the rest at Mental Floss. I have no idea of any of these work.

COMEDY WILDLIFE AWARDS

The Comedy Wildlife awards are back again this year with some of the funniest animal photography you've ever seen. A sampling of finalists:

Flyinghyena

SplitSquirrel

WildlifePhotogrbear

The 2018 winners will be announced next Thursday, 15 November, in a ceremony at Foyles in Charing Cross, London.

Meanwhile, you can see a lot of more of the finalists at Bored Panda (click through for the entire five pages of entries) or at Comedy Wildlife Photos.

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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.




INTERESTING STUFF – 3 November 2018

DON'T FORGET – CHANGE THE CLOCKS TONIGHT

For most of the United States, it's time to change our clocks tonight to standard time – one hour back.

FallBack

Some of our tech clocks make the change on their own but I still have some old-fashioned analog clocks I need to do by hand. Just before bedtime.

DON'T FORGET – VOTE ON TUESDAY

Vote I happen to believe voting is not just a civic duty, but a moral one. Aside from laws that apply to everyone, voting is the only thing a democracy asks of all citizens. Please, please do it on Tuesday.

HUNDREDS OF YEARS OF HUMAN BONES

This is amazing, what reader Nana Royer sent. It is about the Sedlec Ossuary (The Bone Church) in Kutna Hora, Czech Republic. It is a world Heritiage Site containing the skeletons of between 40,000 and 70,000 people.

Wait until you see all the ways they are displayed.

TINY DRONES COOPERATE TO OPEN HEAVY DOOR

According to the YouTube page,

”Researchers from Stanford University and the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne in Switzerland built small drones, which they call FlyCroTugs, that can move heavy objects by coordinating their actions.”

It takes these little, electronic critters a couple of minutes to get going but you sense them communicating with each other.

7TH GRADER WINS TOP SCIENCE PRIZE

My friend John Gear sent this item about a 13-year-old (!) who won an important prize for a new science invention. Business Insider reports:

A 13-year-old boy from Oregon has won the Young Scientist Challenge by inventing an artificial intelligence treatment for pancreatic cancer.

“Rishab Jain created an algorithm to improve cancer treatment by using AI to locate and track the pancreas in real time.

“A prime challenge in radiation treatment is locating the pancreas itself, which is often obscured by the stomach or other organs, resulting in healthy cells being inadvertently hit. Rishab's algorithm improves accuracy and increases the impact of radiation treatment, according to organizers of the competition.”

All I have to say about this is THIRTEEN? The rest of us might as well not bother. Read more at Business Insider.

NOTE FROM RONNI: All the remaining items are about animals. I had so many this week I could have done the entire post on animals. I restrained myself. Since I was told of my latest cancer predicament nearly four weeks ago, there is been a noticeable and fairly large uptick in my interest in the natural world.

TRACKING BIRDS OF PREY

The You Tube page tells us:

”On a remote mountaintop in Eastern Nevada, a dedicated team of conservationists has been keeping watch for over 30 years. Their mission? To count and record every single raptor and bird of prey that flies past to keep track of their populations.

“Over the years, HawkWatch International has counted over 13 million birds across their network of observation sites. Since hawks sit on the top of the food chain, any drastic changes in their populations signals problems with the balance of their eco-system.

“If these hawks start to disappear, HawkWatch is the first to blow the whistle so we can take steps to address the problem.:

REMY THE HARVARD CAMPUS CAT

Harvard University has communal cat.

091218_Remy_0008

The Harvard Gazette explains:

”Jessica Shires, department administrator in Harvard’s History and Literature Department, said that when she started the Facebook page 'Remy the Humanities Cat' with a couple of colleagues, she was surprised to learn how many fans the feline had made in his travels.

“'Little did I know how far his visits spread across campus,' Shires said. 'Occasionally I’m reminded by Law School, STEM, and museum friends of Remy that he’s not just a humanities cat. I suppose now I’d probably be more inclined to call him ‘Remy the Interdisciplinary Cat.’”

“Remy’s owners have known about his double life at Harvard for years now through the many phone calls they receive — up to 10 a day, as late as 2 a.m. — from across campus. 'We have picked him up from numerous Harvard buildings over the years,' Watton says.”

There is much more about Remy, including a recent disappearance and retrieval at the Harvard Gazette.

DOGGIE AMBASSADORS

Yes, this appears to be a sort of commercial for the Fairmont Hotels but it such a nice idea that I can't object to posting it. The Youtube page tells us:

”Since 2001, Fairmont Hotels around the world have been home to a highly esteemed (extremely adorable) fellowship program. Fairmont’s Canine Ambassadors aren’t just a hotel guest’s best friend and the perfect four-legged concierge—they’re family.

“These formally-trained pups know the halls of the hotels and the people who work there. They’re also experts in mountaineering, constantly exploring the landscapes surrounding Fairmont Banff Springs and Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise.”

GARY AND SEAL IN THE SCILLY ISLES

This is so adorable you will not help but kvell at underwater videographer Gary Grayson's encounter with a friendly seal:

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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.




INTERESTING STUFF – 27 October 2018

MY FRIEND THE GARLIC GURU

My friend, Tony Sarmiento, grows his own garlic in his backyard and is considered a guru of garlic. Recently, reporter Adrian Higgins of the Washington Post took notice:

”Tony Sarmiento, who gardens in the Woodside neighborhood of Silver Spring, is a guy versed in the theory and practice of garlic cultivation.

“From simple raised beds between the neighboring garage and his own vine-clad garden shed, he cultivates approximately 120 bulbs a year, setting the cloves in loamy soil in simple grids a hand span apart.”

Here's Tony in his garden, photographed by Higgins.

Tony Sarmiento Garlic Guru

If you're interested in growing your own garlic, the Post story has some useful information.

PEANUT BUTTER AND MAYO – I AM VINDICATED

I grew up eating peanut butter sandwiches with mayonnaise. Whatever else might be included – banana, cucumber, jelly, etc. - there was peanut butter on one slice of bread and mayo on the other.

To this day, that is the only way I enjoy peanut butter sandwiches but when it has come up in conversation that I use mayonnaise, people recoil. Not only are they disgusted, they've never heard of it. Now I learn from Atlas Obscura:

”During the Great Depression, people valued high-calorie combinations of protein and fat. Meat and dairy were costly, and consuming enough energy could prove challenging. Enter peanut butter and mayonnaise on white bread.

“The combination became a staple in Southern households in the United States and, in some regions, it was as ubiquitous as peanut butter and jelly.

“For the next 30 years or so, the PB&M was a favorite in many American kitchens, perhaps because adding mayonnaise to the era’s rustic, coarse nut butter may have been key for spreadability. Newspapers from the 1940s in Salt Lake City, Utah, and Troy, New York, both advised adding mayonnaise to 'moisten' or 'thin' peanut butter before adding bacon or shredded American cheese.”

So you see? I'm vindicated at last. You can read more here.

MONARCH BUTTERFLY ANNUAL MIGRATION

The largest insect migration in the world ends each year in Michoacán, Mexico. Millions of monarch butterflies travel from the United States and Canada to pass the cold months in the towering trees of this beautiful forest. On their incredible journey, the butterflies travel around 2,800 miles.

Take a look:

CANNON BEACH'S BUNNY PROBLEM

According to the Oregon Public Broadcasting website, the coastal town of Cannon Beach is overrun with bunny rabbits. It seems that many years ago, someone released pet bunnies into the town and nature took its course.

”Pets don’t usually do well in the wild. They can’t easily find food and aren’t well prepared for predators. But for some reason, these rabbits survived to do what their species does best: Reproduce, again and again and again.”

And now Cannon Beach is split between those who love their fluffy neighbors and those who want them gone. As one resident, Melodie Chenevert, explains, she and her husband

”'...took to buying 10 pound bags of organic carrots at Costco. We’d cut them up,' she said. 'And every morning Gary would put the flag up and pretty soon there were 10 or 12 bunnies sitting in the driveway staring at him.'”

Cannon Beach Bunnies

That image is taken from the banner of the Facebook page Mrs. Chenevert started for the bunnies.

You can read more about the controversy here.

THE BECKHAM CREEK CAVE HOUSE

Take a look at this huge and astonishing cave house in the Ozarks near Parthenon, Arkansas. (The most fabulous shot is at the every end.)

The Cave House was for sale earlier this year. Another source says rooms can be rented overnight, hotel-style. There is more information and some additional photos at Travel and Liesure magazine.

OR, HOW ABOUT LIVING IN AN ORIGAMI APARTMENT?

A company called Orisystems (derived from origami, the art of paper folding) has designed a one-room apartment that hides several other rooms – more or less.

Here is the company's sales video:

As the sales copy explains:

”Guided by the principal that interior space, particularly in high-density urban innovation centers around the world, has become too expensive to be static and unresponsive, Ori’s breakthrough innovation, technology and design create dynamic environments that act and feel as though they are substantially larger.”

What do you think?

You can learn more at the Orisystems website and The New York Times.

THE ACHOO AFFECT

Have you ever heard of the “Achoo Affect”? I never had. Here's how it's explained:

”Have you ever stepped out on a sunny day only to be struck by a bout of sneezes? If yes, you likely suffer from a rare genetic condition that has been baffling scientists for millennia. Photic sneeze reflex — also known as autosomal compelling helio-ophthalmic outburst, or ACHOO—affects 10% of the world’s population.

“Scientists from Aristotle to Francis Bacon have had their own conjectures about the syndrome, but modern science has proved all these theories wrong. As scientists today continue to try to solve the ACHOO effect, the answer might not be as simple as you think.”

Here is more about it:

WHO INVENTED THE REAR-VIEW MIRROR AND WHY?

It had never occurred to me to ask and now I discover that the reason it was invented isn't what I - or you, probably - would think.

THE HISTORY OF HALLOWEEN

Halloween is nearly upon us and you undoubtedly already know that the holiday goes back centuries. I sort of recalled that but I was fuzzy on details. National Geographic got me back up to speed.

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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.




INTERESTING STUFF – 20 October 2018

81-YEAR-OLD-MARATHONER

The latest video in Nike's Just Do It series is a woman who took up marathon running at age 81:

”A few years after her husband had passed away, New York-native Marjorie struck up a conversation with her friend, a marathoner, at the dog park one day. 'Do you think it would be okay for me to run the marathon?' Marjorie asked her.

“Seven months later, Marjorie was at the starting line of New York City’s most prestigious race for her first 26.2. With 50,000 other runners.”

My friend, Erik Martin, a Nike employee here in Portland, Oregon, pointed out the video to me. We agreed that in general, neither of us is fond of news stories, ads and promotions, etc. that hold up elders as paragons that all people of age should aim for in extreme sports situations that few people of age can reasonably handle.

But we like this one beause it is well done and it is important to see elders included in the overall idea of Just Do It. Even if we can't all run a marathon or climb Mt. Everest, there are plenty of other games and sports we can participate in.

You can view all the Just Do It series of videos here and read more about Marjorie here.

SEARS FILES FOR BANKRUPTCY

Most Americans our age can recall when the name was Sears, Roebuck & Co. back when we were kids, and now we see the passing of an American icon.

My first thought on hearing the news of the Sears bankruptcy is that it had been the Amazon of its day – it certainly was in my household when I was growing up - and I'm not the only one who had that thought. There's a story about Sears' importance in American life at The New York Times.

The Washington Post has the business particulars that led to the bankruptcy.

PAPER PROPS FOR MOVIES AND TV

A gazillion details go into the magic of making movies and TV shows appear to be as real as real life, and if the people who create those details do their jobs well, you and I never notice the make-believe.

This guy creates paper props and there's a lot more to it that I'd ever bothered to think through.

”Ross MacDonald makes his paper by making paper. For the last 25 years, he’s created tens of thousands of paper props for movies and television shows like Baby’s Day Out, Silver Linings Playbook, Boardwalk Empire and Parks and Recreation..

“From handwritten letters to driver’s licenses, each piece is custom made and thoughtfully imbued with backstory. Step into Ross’s Connecticut workshop to see how movie magic gets illustrated, aged, cut and copywritten.”

IF YOU CAN WATCH THIS VIDEO AND NOT VOTE...

...you must be dead inside. (From friend Jim Stone.)

OBITUARY RECOUNTS THE MYSTERY OF ONE MAN'S LIFE

The Washington Post reported on the obituary of Rick Stein, age 71, who recently died in a plane crash - a man about whom his closest family and friends could not agree. His daughter wrote the obit:

“He owned restaurants in Boulder, Colorado and knew every answer on Jeopardy, she tells us. “He did The New York Times crossword in pen. I talked to him that day and he told me he was going out to get some grappa. All he ever wanted was a glass of grappa.

“She quotes Stein’s brother as saying Stein couldn’t have been a pilot; the two owned a jewelry and Oriental rug gallery together. His sister says she thought Stein was a cartoonist and freelance television critic for The New Yorker.

“Then the rest of the family weighs in:

“David Walsh, Stein’s son-in-law, said he was certain Stein was a political satirist for Huffington Post while grandsons Drake and Sam said they believed Stein wrote an Internet sports column for ESPN covering Duke basketball, FC Barcelona soccer, the Denver Broncos and the Tour de France.

“Stein’s granddaughter Evangeline claims he was a YouTube sensation who had just signed a seven-figure deal with Netflix.”

The daughter, Alex Walsh, said her father had “an endless appetite for comedy.” To not spoil the fun, I'm sending you to the entire obituary at Delaware Online to read the whole thing. You must read clear to the end to really get it.

WILDLIFE CROSSINGS SAVE LIVES

This seems so obvious I cannot understand why the crossings are not standard requirements for every highway that runs through a wildlife area.

THE KEEPER OF THE GHOST TREES

This is a beautiful story not only for the oddity of the flora but the man who keeps watch.

”Hidden deep in the woods of the Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park is a small cluster of unusually pale, phantom trees. These 'ghost trees' are albino and extremely rare. Out of the roughly 400 albinos in the world, there are 13 in the park.

“Due to threats to their ecosystem, only a select few people know of the trees’ exact locations. Dave Kuty is one of them. As the unofficial caretaker of the albino trees, his love for these redwoods has followed him the past 40 years.”

MARJUANA LEGALIZATION

As I have mentioned in the past, I use a tincture of cannabis (THC) as a sleep agent and it works quite well. It's easy for me because I live in one of the U.S. states that has legalized use of marijuana for medical and/or recreational purposes.

This week, Canada became only the second country in the world (after Uruguay) to legalize recreational use of marijuana nationwide. The first dispensaries opened their doors last Wednesday.

”Adults will be able buy cannabis oil, seeds and plants and dried cannabis from licensed producers and retailers and to possess up to 30 grams (one ounce) of dried cannabis in public, or its equivalent,” reports the BBC.

“Edibles, or cannabis-infused foods, will not be immediately available for purchase but will be within a year of the bill coming into force. The delay is meant to give the government time to set out regulations specific to those products.”

The BBC also included a map of marijuana use throughout the world:

WeedUseInternational

A couple of weeks ago, Pew Research published findings on support for nationwide legalization of recreational marijuana in the United States – about 62 percent approve:

”As in the past, there are wide generational and partisan differences in views of marijuana legalization. Majorities of Millennials (74%), Gen Xers (63%) and Baby Boomers (54%) say the use of marijuana should be legal.

“Members of the Silent Generation continue to be the least supportive of legalization (39%), but they have become more supportive in the past year.”

GOT A PEST PROBLEM? CALL THE QUACK SQUAD

“They’re short, they waddle, and they come to eat the snails,” the blurb tells us.

“Meet the quack squad, nature’s very own pest control. Every morning, duck farmer Denzel Metthys releases over 1,000 Indian Runner ducks on the Vergenoegd Winery in South Africa. Trained to march in a long line en route to the vineyard, these ducks mean business.”

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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.




INTERESTING STUFF – 13 October 2018

2.8 PERCENT COLA ANNOUNCED

On Thursday, the U.S. Social Security Administration announced the cost of living increase (COLA) for 2019: 2.8 percent that will show up in checks or deposits in January.

You can read more about the increase here and here.

TREATING BEARS BURNED IN WILD FIRES

This video has been hanging around the universal list since last summer and even if it's a bit out of date, it's a good story about good Samaritans. As the YouTube page tells us,

”...a Veterinarian from the University of California Davis is using Tilapia fish skins to treat bears that have been burned in forest fires. Veterinarian Jamie Peyton is working with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to try and help these two bears recover from having their paws severely burned in the Thomas Fire.

“Not being able to walk would be a serious impediment for any wild animal so if the tilapia skins can help them recover it will be a happy ending for these bears.”

NEW TYPEFACE SAID TO HELP READERS REMEMBER MORE

Friend Chuck Nyren sent along this story about a new typeface called sans forgetica that is supposed to help people retain more of what they read. Take a look:

You can download the font and a Chrome extension, or hear more from the team who created it at the sans forgetica website. You can read more here and here.

TURTLE BODY PAINT

This is astonishing. As Big Geek Daddy tells us:

”This illusion of a sea turtle is so well done I bet you watch the video twice. This cool video features a work from Johannes Stötter, a fine art body painter. (For the record, yes - I did watch it twice.)

See others at the artist's website.

AUTO SHREDDING BANKSY PAINTING

Even with the approach of a horrible hurricane in Florida this week, the murder of journalist and the continuing awfulness of the leadership of the United States, this event made a splash:

”The people at this Sotheby’s art auction were shocked to see a million dollar painting being shredded right after it was auctioned off. World famous street artist Banksy has either created his most famous painting or pulled off the greatest joke ever on the buyer and the art world.

“I would imagine Sotheby’s had detected the shredder and knew this would occur so my guess is that Banksy did it as a publicity stunt. Regardless, I’m willing to bet the shredded painting is now worth several million dollars as it truly is an original work of art.”

I have no idea if that second paragraph is a possibility but for the record, here is a video of the shredding at Sotheby's. Imagine if you'd been the one who just spent more than a million dollars for it:

More information and discussion at The Conversation.

ON TURNING NINETY

It's been a while since reader Ann Pitkin sent this poem. Although the title references turning 90, given the medical news I reported about myself yesterday, it feels just as relevant for this 77-year-old.

The poet is Edmund Keeley. You can read a bit about him here.

It can be laughable
to stand in a room
and not know why
you came in there,
familiar as it still is
for the work you once brought
to lighten its dullness
now the best place
for putting things away,
so why do you still stand there
saying to yourself
what am I doing here?
turning over answers
none of which touch
what still seemed possible
so very recently,
replaced now by the gathering
of things not yet done
and the crowded mess of things
that once seemed important
stuffed into boxes
under the old desk
or piled in curious stacks
on shelves with no room left
and the date book open there
with fading addresses
but now so out of date
and the calculator needing batteries—
why did I come in there?
Yet there’s no point pretending
you can dodge the touch of nostalgia
rising as you wait for an answer,
this sense of a life that gathered
enough good moments to remain
cause for hoping the memory
of what really counted will stay,
the imagination’s awakening
and its flowering as time would have it
while teaching you the secrets of nature,
the green fields of loving,
the heart’s selfless companions,
the friends who remained faithful,
these gifts the gods brought
when they managed to glance your way,
and much else beyond understanding
since the luck of your arriving
and your staying this long
still to find those things
so worth laughing about,
so worth singing about,
after you discover that memory
has its own bargain with time
for what remnant life it can carry
whether or not you remember
why you happen to be
where your path has chosen to bring you
on any given day.

PACHELBEL’S CANON IN C(HICKEN)

A reader who identified himself only as Joe sent this video and it is such a wonderfully silly thing. I have misplaced the origin of this intro but here it is anyway:

”Eddy, a violinist from YouTube duo TwoSet Violin, has created a multitracked version of Johann Pachelbel’s beautifully romantic wedding classic – his Canon in D – with the assistance of four rubber chickens.

“The most impressive thing is that he can actually play the chickens in tune. There’s also a particularly beautiful, squawk-filled moment around 1:51, when the final two lines of semiquavers join together.”

If that's not enough for you, you will find Strauss's Blue Danube Waltz in Chicken here.

CONGRESS BANS PHARMACY GAG RULE

Some good medical price news for 2019: Congress has banned the “pharmacist gag rule.” Kaiser Health News (KHN) explains:

”For years, most pharmacists couldn’t give customers even a clue about an easy way to save money on prescription drugs. But the restraints are coming off.

“When the cash price for a prescription is less than what you would pay using your insurance plan, pharmacists will no longer have to keep that a secret.”

The new rules affect Medicare and Medicare Advantage beneficiaries along with commercial employer-based and individual policies

There is a catch, however. (Of course there is; there always is):

”Under the new legislation, pharmacists will not be required to tell patients about the lower cost option. If they don’t, it’s up to the customer to ask.”

And this:

”While the legislation removes gag orders, it doesn’t address how patients who pay the cash price outside their insurance plan can apply that expense toward meeting their policy’s deductible.”

Obviously, there is more to know so it behooves us to keep watch for additional information. Meanwhile, here is the entire KHN story.

DOG AND JAGUAR ARE BEST FRIENDS

You know how much I enjoy interspecies friendship. Here's another:

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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.



INTERESTING STUFF – 6 October 2018

MURPHY BROWN RETURNS

Back when Murphy Brown a staple on prime time television, I was a fan. Not only was it a well-done sitcom, it was set within my then-professional milieu – network television production. It was well done and I enjoyed it.

Well, it's back. Murphy, played again by Candace Bergen has, along with the original regulars, grown as older, as we have, and they are not pretending otherwise.

The premier episode aired a week ago and it was a load of fun including this cameo from a recent presidential candidate playing “Hilary Clendon” applying for the job of Murphy's secretary. Here is that scene:

The show is broadcast Thursdays at 9:30PM on CBS.

COMMERCIAL FOR NEW, BIGGER IPHONE

Continuing my own personal meme from last week's Interesting Stuff, here is another television commercial that charms me – for the new, bigger iPhone:

7 WAYS CONGRESS MIGHT MAKE AIR TRAVEL LESS AWFUL

Does anyone without a private jet think air travel is fun anymore? Or even vaguely comfortable?

I get invited to visit friends here and there, but I can't bring myself to get on an airplane. Now, perhaps, it might get a little less awful as Congress considers a bill to reduce the effect of some of the terrible things airlines inflict on passengers, Among them:

A prohibition on the use of electronic cigarettes aboard aircraft.

A ban on talking on cell phones aboard commercial flights

A requirement that the FAA establish minimum seat dimensions on passenger airlines.

It's probably not enough for me to get back on an airplane but maybe, if Congress really does this, it is a start for a return to basic needs and requirements for human beings to be shut up inside a metal tube for hours.

You can read the rest of the seven proposals at Roll Call.

ANOTHER AGEIST PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT

My friend Chuck Nyren sent this video. Adweek calls it “comically savage” and apparently it is supposed to make young people want to vote. See what you think:

There is no question that it's a good idea to find creative ways to get people (of all ages) to vote. But to do so by demeaning one age group over another is unconscionable, and it tells us exactly what the creators think of old people.

More at Adweek.

FIRST ROBOTIC FARM IN U.S.

They say Iron Ox is the first farm in the United States run entirely by robots, something that becomes more important now that there are no longer enough immigrants allowed into the country to do this kind of work. Take a look:

The farm's website is here and you can read more at the San Francisco Chronicle.

RUTH BADER GINSBURG – MISJUDGED

“Misjudged.” That's the title of Jill Lepore's story in the current issue of The New Yorker about Ruth Bader Ginsburg's unlikely path to the Supreme Court. It begins:

”Ruth Bader Ginsburg blinked behind giant, round eyeglasses. It was the first day of her confirmation hearings, in July of 1993, the year after the Year of the Woman, and Joe Biden, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, was very pleased to see her...

“She sat with the stillness of a watchful bird. 'Judge Ginsburg, welcome,' Biden said, heartily. 'And, believe me, you are welcome here this morning.' You can read it at the magazine or listen to it being read on the same page.

GinburgBio150In case you are as interested as I am, a new biography, Ruth Bader Ginsburg: A Life, by Jane Sherron De Hart will be published on 16 October. It was written, according to the Amazon page, with the cooperation of Justice Ginsburg and based on interviews with the justice, her husband, her children, her friends, and her associates.

2017/18 FLU SEASON BROKE ALL PREVIOUS RECORDS

And not the good kind. The Centers for Disease Control tell us this week that this past influenza season was the deadliest in at least 40 years. CNN reported,

“Influenza killed about 80,000 people in the 2017-2018 season, according to figures released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The previous high for a regular flu season, based on analyses dating back more than three decades, was 56,000 deaths.”

According to the Washington Post, the CDC's report is

”...the most detailed picture of the devastating reach of the respiratory virus, which sickened millions of people as overwhelmed hospitals pitched tents to treat patients.”

Get your flu shot this year. Don't blow it off. It's free at any pharmacy. Do it.

You can read the CDC report here.

HAWK RESCUE ON THE DADDYKIRBS FARM

Blake Kirby wrote on the Youtube page of this video:

“When we first saw the wild animal we thought he was a dead chicken floating in the rain tank. Then I noticed he was still alive and NOT a chicken! I knew I needed to help this beautiful bird.”

And so he did.

* * *

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.




INTERESTING STUFF – 29 September 2018

ELDERS USING CANNABIS

I may have mentioned that for the past five or six months I have been using a cannabis tincture of THC to help me sleep. It works well. Bud tenders at dispensaries I visit have told me that the majority – more than half – of their customers are people in my age group that is, elders.

About a week ago, the Washington Post reported on a new study of the age of marijuana users:

”The latest release of a massive federal drug use survey shows monthly marijuana use has skyrocketed among older Americans...

“As recently as the early 2000s, teens were more than four times more likely to use marijuana than 50- and 60-somethings. But as of 2017, Americans ages 55 to 64 are now slightly more likely to smoke pot on a monthly basis than teens ages 12 to 17...

“The oldest age group — seniors age 65 and older — has seen steep increases in marijuana use, as well. In the mid-2000s, monthly marijuana use among this group was effectively at zero percent. As of last year, 2.4 percent of seniors used marijuana monthly, and nearly 4 percent were using on at least an annual basis.”

Here's the chart:

Marijuanausebyage

It makes sense to me to me for several reasons. Cannabis is a effective treatment for a number if ailments that effect elders more than young people, an increasing number of states have legalized marijuana for medical and recreational use and old folks are, to a large degree, the Woodstock generation. We've been here before.

You can read more at the Washington Post.

HOSPITAL FOR SPECIAL SURGERY COMMERCIAL

About 95 percent of the time, I mute television commercials or skip through them if I'm watching a recording. But not this one.

Without making it clear what is it they do there, the commercial promotes the Hospital For Special Surgery, it has been running for many months and is titled, The Way You Move.

It always makes me feel good. How about you?

The music is Do Your Thing by Basement Jaxx.

IF ALL THE ICE MELTS WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO EARTH

Although leaders of the world have essentially done nothing, scientists have warned us for decades now that the polar ice is melting and many of us have seen videos of near-continent-size chunks of ice breaking off into the sea.

As a result of all this ice becoming water, scientists expect the seas to rise. And to rise more dramatically that I previously understood.

Here's a video about will happen to Earth if all the ice melts. (The video was released a year ago which accounts for the promotion of a film that was being released then.)

EXTRAORDINARY NYT PRINT EDITION FRONT PAGE

On the morning of the Blasey-Ford/Kavanaugh hearings, the print edition of The New York Times published this amazing front page – an image of Judge Kavanaugh's youthful calendar.

NYTFrontPage20180927680

There is a larger image here. [pdf]

CLEVER TV COMMERCIAL WITH A WONDERFUL SURPRISE ENDING

Two things about this item:

  1. TV commercials seem to be a theme of today's post. I don't know how that happened but there you are.

  2. I have a vague memory of possibly having posted this one in the past but I'm not sure. Either way, it is extraordinary. Not a word spoken and you know exactly what it's all about.

WHY OBVIOUS LIES MAKE GREAT PROPAGANDA

With the thousands of lies the U.S. president tells that has also given permission to others with such a bent to do the same, I have had a sense for a long time now that truth – even the idea of truth is being lost to us.

New Yorker writer, journalist and activist, Masha Gessen, says in this video:

”There is no such thing as truth. Whoever has objectively more power owns reality.”

This video from Vox gives us a fascinating lesson in how lies relate to power.

CANCER PATIENTS' GUIDE TO CLINICAL TRIALS

This is one of the most useful medical reports I have ever found.

ProPublica recently published a story about how cancer trials are conducted including a long list of answers to questions that any potential participant would want to know.

”Most trials are run at academic medical centers and conducted by researchers there,” writes ProPublica's Caroline Chen. “Patients outside those centers often aren’t aware that clinical trials are an option, or they may wonder what joining a study entails. For patients who might consider a clinical trial, here are answers to some common questions.”

Such questions, among others, are these:

Why should I join a clinical trial?
What are the risks of joining a clinical trial?
Will I be given a placebo?
How much time does it take to participate in a trial?
What if I cannot find a trial that will accept me?

This is worth not only a read but a good thing to set aside for when you or someone you know might want the information. You will find the entire story at ProPublica.

BABY OTTERS FIRST SWIMMING LESSON

Otters, even the grownups, are the cutest things. Here is a big otter family giving the babies their first swimming lesson. From BBC Earth.

AN INTERESTING STUFF EXTRA

This Twitter video came in at the last minute from friend Jim Stone as I was putting together today's post. It seems to me after the terrible, no good, awful political week we have been through, we really need this catharsis:

* * *

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.




INTERESTING STUFF – 22 September 2018

BUTCH, SUNDANCE AND ROBERT MUELLER

Washington Post columnist Max Boot, this week, marvelously compared Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III to the sheriff who relentlessly tracked down Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

ButchandSundance2

Yes, that Butch and Sundance who tried mightily to elude the guys who were persuing them:

“'Those guys,' wrote Boot, “turn out to be a collection of the best lawmen in the West, led by a legendary sheriff named Joe Lefors, who have been assembled to finally hunt down the bandits.

“Robert S. Mueller III is the real-life incarnation of Lefors, and his special counsel team is the real-life superposse. Like Lefors in the movie, he never says a word. Instead, he lets his work speak for itself...

“As Mueller’s investigation advances, methodically and relentlessly, Trump is acting as rattled as Butch and Sundance — minus, of course, the charm, wit and good looks of Redford and Newman.”

Exactly. You can read the entire column here.

In case you're interested, Max Boot, who is so much more than an opinion columnist, has become one of my favorite regular reads. You can find out more about him here.

NEIGHBOR SPOOFING

This happens to me once every day of the week at the same time each day:

”More than half of all complaints received by the Federal Communications Commission — more than 200,000 of them — are about unwanted calls. The FCC said Americans received about 2.4 billion unwanted, automated calls each month, according to 2016 estimates.”

The spoofing comes in when you answer a call because the phone number displayed shows your own Area Code so you might think it is a friend or neighbor. (I never learn; it gets me every time.)

You can read more here and this video has some information to help you keep calls to a low roar:

REMEMBER VICTOR BORGE?

When I was growing up, Victor Borge was a staple on television variety shows of the era. I'd forgotten him until I ran across this video with one of his classic comedy routines:

FREE CREDIT FREEZE

Credit freezes are an important tool to keeping your personal financial information safe. As The New York Times

”Security freezes, often called credit freezes, are 'absolutely' the best way to prevent criminals from using your personal information to open new accounts in your name, said Paul Stephens, director of policy and advocacy with Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, a consumer advocacy nonprofit group.”

Before now, the three major credit agencies, Equifax, TransUnion and Experian charged a fee for consumers to freeze their credit. The first two dropped those charges awhile back and now, Experian has joined them in accordance with a new law that went into effect yesterday, 21 September.

Those links above will take you to each agency's credit freeze page. You can read more at The New York Times.

JOHN OLIVER WEB EXCLUSIVE - RETRACTIONS

When John Oliver's HBO program, Last Week Tonight, is on hiatus, he sometimes posts a short, web-only video to carry us over until the next full show.

Here is one about retractions of previous statements he has made in error. Or not.

THE LAST SCISSOR CRAFTSMAN IN JAPAN

Not many people can afford these scissors. It's an amazing story and sad, too, that this man is the last one who knows how to do this.

AIR POLLUTION LINKED TO DEMENTIA

There is a new study linking air pollution to dementia. Here's a short news video:

As The Guardian reports:

”Air pollution has already been linked with cardiovascular and respiratory disease, but this is one of the first studies to examine links with neurodegenerative illness.

“Frank Kelly, professor of environmental health at King’s College London and one of the authors of the paper, told the Guardian: 'The study outcome suggests a linkage [between air pollution and dementia] but cannot inform on the cause. However, I believe that we now have sufficient knowledge to add air pollution to the list of risk factors for dementia.'”

More at The Guardian and the Daily Beast. The full study is at the BMJ [pdf].

@#$%^&* TECHNOLOGY

This is no exaggeration. It happened to me almost word-for-word a few days ago. My friend and attorney John Gear sent it, perhaps in response to Crabby Old Lady's elder tech complaints last Monday.

WINDOWS:
Please enter your new password.

USER:
Cabbage

WINDOWS:
Sorry, the password must be more than 8 characters.

USER:
Boiled cabbage

WINDOWS:
Sorry, the password must contain 1 numerical character.

USER:
1 boiled cabbage

WINDOWS:
Sorry, the password cannot have blank spaces

USER:
50damnboiledcabbages

WINDOWS:
Sorry, the password must contain at least one upper case character.

USER:
50DAMNboiledcabbages

WINDOWS:
Sorry the password cannot use more than one upper case character consecutively.

USER:
50damnBoiledCabbagesShovedUpYourAssIfYouDon'tGiveMeAccessNow!

WINDOWS:
Sorry, the password cannot contain punctuation.

USER:
ReallyPissedOff50DamnBoiledCabbagesShovedUpYourAssIfYouDontGiveMeAccessNow

WINDOWS:
Sorry, that password is already in use.

WOODPECKER VERSUS SQUIRREL

Have I shown you this video before? I know I saw it sometime in the past but I don't recall if I posted it. Anyway, it's just as amusing the second time around for me and maybe for you too.

And let's give the writer a hand – it's a great script.

* * *

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.




INTERESTING STUFF – 8 September 2018

LET'S HAVE SOME BOOGIE WOOGIE TODAY

As Laughing Squid explained recently:

”When hoodied musician Dr K (Brendan Kavanaugh) of Badass Boogie encountered a couple of teenagers who had never heard of Boogie Woogie, he sat down at the Yamaha Platform 88 public piano and rocked a mean Boogie Woogie tune to school them musically on the finer points of the genre.”

There is something about impromptu public music that is such great fun:

That reminds me of one of my all-time, top favorite boogie woogie tracks. I must have posted this in the past but it is more than worth a rerun. From the late, great Long John Baldry, Don't Try to Lay No Boogie Woogie on the King of Rock and Roll.

MERRIAM WEBSTER DICTIONARY ADDS 840 NEW WORDS FOR 2018

As the dictionary company explains in their introduction to those new 840 words,

”A dictionary is almost like a glossary of life: peek inside and you see descriptions of everything around you. The addition of new words to a dictionary is a step in the continuous process of recording our ever-expanding language.”

I was intrigued right away by this one: TL;DR. Maybe you know it already. I didn't:

”Too long; didn't read — used to say that something would require too much time to read”

Speaking of too long, 840 is a lot of words to wade through. Fortunately, MentalFloss chose 25 of them to highlight. Two examples:

“Hangry (adj.) Irritable or angry because of hunger. People have been hangry (or at least using the word) since 1956.

“Rando (n) According to Merriam-Webster, this 'often disparaging' slang means 'A random person: a person who is not known or recognizable or whose appearance (as in a conversation or narrative) seems unprompted or unwelcome.'”

There are another 23 at MentalFloss, and the whole 840 at Merriam-Webster.

HOW “LOL” CHANGED THE WAY WE TALK

In this short, little video, John McWhorter, a professor of linquistics at Columbia University, talks about how texting and other electronic shorthand has changed how we speak – for the better, he says.

(Apparently, putting annoying, nonsense music behind the speaker's audio is, to the producer, a feature, not a bug. Sorry I can't delete it for you.)

What do you think? Does he have a point?

THE LIBRARY

The Two Ronnies was a BBC television comedy show that aired on BBC One from April 1971 to December 1987. All these years later, their sketches hold up – just as funny now as then. Our good friend Darlene Costner sent this:

PLUGGING A HOLE IN THE SPACE STATION

Do you recall reading Hans Brinker or The Silver Skates when you were a kid? Do you remember the part in the story about the kid who plugged a hole in the dyke with his finger?

Now, there is a modern-day, real-life version:

”It may sound like something straight out of a cartoon,” reports Mother Nature News, “but on the morning of Aug. 30, it was the only thing astronaut Alexander Gerst could think of.

“After receiving word from NASA that the International Space Station was very slowly leaking air, Gerst and five other astronauts starting scouring all over for the source. Upon finding the 2-millimeter (0.08-inch) hole in the docked Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft, Gerst did what many of us would likely do — he stuck his finger over the opening.:”

In what must be one of the most massive understatements ever spoken (well, at least about space), NASA's Mission Control noted:

"'Right now Alex has got his finger on that hole and I don't think that's the best remedy for it.'”

There is follow-up reporting with more detail and new information at The Guardian.

THE MOST POPULAR (sic) SURNAMES IN THE U.S.

Ancestry.com did some digging and came up with the most common surnames in each of the individual United States.

Here's a map with the top three in each state. (I'm pretty sure Ancestry misspoke: certainly they meant to say the most common, not most popular since no one is choosing their surname.)

Surname-Map-1

Well, that's way too small to try to read. Go see a readable version here.

The top three in my state, Oregon, are Smith, Johnson and Miller – which is close to true for almost every state.

You can also search for the origins and meanings of your own or anyone's surname.

LIVING SPACES IN HONG KONG

Living spaces smaller than the dimensions of a parking space. This is incredibly sad. You should watch it anyway.

AMERICAN CITIZENS BEING DENIED PASSPORTS

If you mostly watch cable news or read the front pages of newspapers, the only news happening this week were the Supreme Court nomination hearings and that unknown person who wrote an anonymous Op-Ed description of chaos in the White House published in The New York Times.

Even if it is not widely reported, other news does happen. In this case, one item is about American citizens who are being denied passports by the Trump administration:

"Juan is one of a growing number of people whose official birth records show they were born in the United States but who are now being denied passports — their citizenship suddenly thrown into question,” reports the Washington Post, among other news sources.

“The Trump administration is accusing hundreds, and possibly thousands, of Hispanics along the border of using fraudulent birth certificates since they were babies, and it is undertaking a widespread crackdown.”

Juan's U.S. birth record shows he was delivered by a midwife. “He spent his life wearing American uniforms: three years as a private in the Army, then as a cadet in the Border Patrol and now as a state prison guard,” continues the Post.

“But when Juan, 40, applied to renew his U.S. passport this year, the government’s response floored him. In a letter, the State Department said it didn’t believe he was an American citizen...

“In some cases, passport applicants with official U.S. birth certificates are being jailed in immigration detention centers and entered into deportation proceedings. In others, they are stuck in Mexico, their passports suddenly revoked when they tried to reenter the United States.”

The story is too long to copy here. You should know more about this – most of those affected have brown skin - more at The Post.

Don't ever forget Martin Niemoller's poem: “First they came for the socialists, but I wasn't a socialist...”

THE CHEETAHPULT

As the YouTube page explains:

”A custom-made contraption has catapulted the Oregon Zoo’s cheetahs toward a new level of fitness. Dubbed the 'cheetahpult,' it’s an 8-foot wooden device that flings a ball far enough for a cheetah — the fastest land animal on earth — to chase.

“After more conventional ball launchers fell short, the cheetahpult was designed and built by staff members with the zoo’s speediest residents in mind.”
.

My god, these animals are beautiful.

* * *

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.




INTERESTING STUFF – 1 September 2018

EDITORIAL NOTE: As I mentioned Friday, my main computer died and I'm on a cranky, old, slow laptop until a new one is procured and set up.

Because I don't have access to my Interesting Stuff notes stuck in the dead computer, this is a shorter, more slapdash edition of Interenting Stuff with what I could pull together quickly.

* * *

NOTORIOUS RBG DOC AIRS ON MONDAY

Here's your chance if, like me, you missed seeing the documentary about Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg titled RBG in a theater earlier this year.

It will be broadcast on CNN Monday (Labor Day) evening at 9PM and again at 12 midnight U.S. eastern time. Here is the trailer:

She's my number one hero for several important reasons. I wouldn't miss this screening for anything.

NEW OPINION SURVEY ON WOMEN IN POLITICS

More women than ever in history are running for public office this year. Pew Research checked out how Americans feel about that:

Wo,/P.menRunningforoffice

Republicans have a way to go to catch up to the prevailing opinion that the number of women on ballots in the midterms is a good thing but men are doing well in accepting that.

You can read more about the survey at Pew Research.

HOW POLLING WORKS

As long as we're speaking of polls, here a short explanation of how a small number of respondents can be representative of an entire population.

What surprises me is that the method doesn't seem to have changed much since, as manager editor of cbsnews.com during the presidential election of 1996, I worked with the head of polling at CBS News.

Do keep in mind as you watch this that the pollsters failed dramatically to predict the winner in 2016.

CLEVER RACCOON

I have first-hand experience with raccoons' ability to foil just about any human attempt to keep them out of the garbage or wherever else they might find food. Take a look at this clever guy:

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ANTLERS AND HORNS

There are, here and there in my life, things I believe I ought to have known about since I was kid. But new ones I'm ignorant of turn up regularly. Here is the latest:

SCREENED OUTDOOR CAT PATIOS

Depending, among other considerations, where you live, it might not be a good idea to let the family cat run free outdoors. But most of them never stop trying to sneak out the door.

Here are some solutions, quite elaborate ones, some people have come up with in Portland, Oregon:

Catio-styles1

Catio-styles2

More photos of cat patios here.

* * *

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.




INTERESTING STUFF – 25 August 2018

NABISCO FREES ANIMAL CRACKERS FROM CAGES

After more than a century, the company that owns Nabisco freed the animals on its Animal Crackers boxes.

”Mondelez International, the parent company of Nabisco, has redesigned the packaging of its Barnum's Animals crackers after relenting to pressure from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals,” reports The Associated Press.

“PETA, which has been protesting the use of animals in circuses for more than 30 years, wrote a letter to Mondelez in the spring of 2016 calling for a redesign.

Here are the before and after. The new boxes on now on shelves in the U.S.

Anim alCrackersBefore

AnimalsCrackersAfter

HE CAN PRONOUNCE THE ENTIRE DICTIONARY

Jacques Bailly is the official pronouncer of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in the U.S. He started his wordsmith career as the 1980 spelling bee champion. Take a look:

There is more at Laughing Squid.

CROWS AS TRASH COLLECTORS

And you thought robots would take all the jobs. In France, it may be the crows: This from The New York Times:

”...the wily crow is getting a makeover. Puy du Fou, a historical theme park in the Loire region about four hours from Paris, has trained six crows to pick up cigarette butts and bits of trash and dump them in a box.

Here's how it goes:

This isn't the first time crows have been trained to do this, just the most recent. Damned clever, they are.

BRITAIN'S GOT TALENT

Isn't magic fun? This one is more than that, it is spectacular. Thank Darlene Costner for sending it.

The magician's name is Marc Spelmann and he was given the first Golden Buzzer of 2018. (I have no idea what that means; I'm just telling you what I read.)

”TRUTH ISN'T TRUTH”

- said Rudy Giuliani on Meet the Press last Sunday.

On Monday, Axios listed more of the infamous Orwellian phrases from the Trump administration:

“Alternative Facts” - Kellyanne Conway on Meet the Press, January 22, 2017

“Fake News” - President Trump every day

“What you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening" - Trump at the VFW National Convention, July 25, 2018

Axios also listed a few from the Party in George Orwell's 1984.

"War is peace”
“Freedom is slavery”
“Ignorance is strength"

There's no daylight I can see between the Trump folks and Orwell's Party.

CARVING A BIRDCAGE ON THE TIP OF A PENCIL

Artist Salavat Fidai uses a jumbo pencil with a diameter of 5mm to do this. I could be convinced that the video is a lot like watching paint dry except for the exquisite payoff of the result.

JOHN OLIVER ON TRADE

On HBO's program, Last Week Tonight last Sunday, host John Oliver took on some of the intricacies of trade. Sound boring to you? No way.

Oliver makes what generally is complicated understandable, compelling and even – as he so capably can do – funny. Oh, while you watch this, keep in mind that on Thursday, Trump imposed another $16 billion in new tariffs on China which immediately retaliated in kind.

FREE NYU MEDICAL SCHOOL TUITION

How about some really good news.

Ten days ago, New York University School of Medicine announced it will cover tuition of all its students regardless of merit or need. The move resulted from NYU's concern that students saddled with tens of thousands of dollars in debt are choosing high-paid specialties rather than family practice, pediatrics, geriatrics and research.

”N.Y.U.’s plan...may spur other top medical schools to follow suit. In a statement, N.Y.U. said that it would be the only top-ranked medical school in the nation to offer full-tuition scholarships to all students.

“The plan, effective immediately, covers all current and future students. Annual tuition is roughly $55,000. There are 93 first-year students, and another 350 students who have up to three years left before obtaining their degrees...

“The plan does not cover room and board or fees, which together are an additional $27,000, on average.”

What great news – for students and for patients. Read more at The New York Times.

RESCUE BEAVER BUILDING DAMS IN HIS HOUSE

What happens when you take in an orphaned beaver...

* * *

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.




INTERESTING STUFF – 18 August 2018

THE FOREST MAN OF INDIA

Majuli, the largest river island in the world, may disappear in 20 years or so due to soil erosion. Nevertheless, since 1979, when Jadav Payeng, then 16, has made it his life’s mission to save Majuli by planting trees.

The forest is now larger than New York City's Central Park and home to Bengal tigers, rhinoceros and even a herd of more than 100 elephants that visits each year. The film won a passel of awards in 2014.

More information, photographs and maps at Bored Panda.

BIG PHARMA LOBBYING CONGRESS TO REVERSE PART D LEGISLATION

Remember on Wednesday when I mentioned that the Medicare Part D donut hole will close a year earlier than planned, in 2019? Now, wealthy pharmaceutical companies have been spending millions to lobby Congress to roll back that legislation.

As AARP explains:

”So far, no legislation has been introduced that would overturn the donut hole changes, but when lawmakers return to Washington next month, they will have to appropriate money to keep the government running, and big drug companies hope to get a reversal attached to that legislation.”

Here's a short video about what you and I can do.

Yes, I know many of you boycott AARP and the organization is partly responsible for the donut hole to begin with by supporting the Part D legislation with that provision - that only benefits pharmacutical companies - when it was working its way through Congress. But this time, they are on the right side of the issue.

NYPL LENDING ACCOUTREMENTS FOR JOB INTERVIEWS

Lending libraries are branching out. TGB reader doctafil who blogs at Jive Chalkin, sent this item about job seekers who don't own the right clothes for an interview:

”...in New York City, the public library is opening its closet to anyone who needs to borrow fancier accessories—like ties.

“The New York Public Library’s Grow Up work accessories collection, located at the Riverside Library on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, allows library card holders to borrow ties, briefcases, and handbags for three-week periods....

“There are already similar "tie-braries" in Queens, New York and in Philadelphia, but it appears that those don't also offer accessories like purses and briefcases.”

You can read more at Mental Floss.

JOHN OLIVER EXPLAINS ASTROTURFING

It seems that everywhere we turn these days, political, corporate and other advocates are using fake experts, fake crowds and more not-quite-honorable means to convince us of lies they want us to believe.

On the most recent episode of HBO's Last Week Tonight last Sunday, host John Oliver explained how astroturfing works. I found some of this truly shocking.

THINGS THAT ARE A LOT BIGGER THAN YOU THOUGHT

People who work at Bored Panda must have a wonderful time chasing down odd and interesting items for us. This one is a list of 20 things that are much bigger that you thought:

How Many Earths Could Fit in the Sun:

How many earths fit inside sun

Traffic light:

Trafficlight

Full-grown wombat:

Wombat

Geez - all this time I thought wombats were about the size of koalas. There are a lot more surprising big things at Bored Panda.

STARVING DOG RESCUED FROM DESERTED ISLAND

A man on a cruise spotted a dog stranded on a deserted island and knew he had to save her. Here is their story which has totted up more than two million views in under two weeks:

BROWN BEAR LIVE CAM

There are live cams all over the world that we can watch on the internet. One of the best sources with many choices is explore.org.

The Brooks Falls cameras in Alaska's Katmai National Park show us one of the best places on Earth to see bears fishing with their young:

”You'll see the most bear action on this cam in July and August, but keep an eye out for bald eagles and gulls flying overhead...and, if you're lucky, maybe even a wolf or moose!”

There are other bear cams and cams for a load of other animals at explore.org.

THE WEIRD NAMES FOR GROUPS OF ANIMALS

Most of us have heard that a bunch of crows are called a “murder of crows” and a “pride of lions” is common. But did you know any of these:

A prickle of porcupines
A scold of jaybirds
An army of frogs
A shiver of sharks
An audience of squid?

There is a big long list of 99 odd names for groups of animals at Mother Nature Network and you can find out the origin of the funny names at Quora.

SOME GIRLS ARE HARD TO IMPRESS

This has been around the internet for a long time but I haven't seen it in several years. It's a male cockatoo, apparently an Elvis Presley fan, doing a magnificent dance for the lady cockatoo beside him to the tune of Don't Be Cruel.

Darlene Costner sent along the video for us and this time I found myself thinking the lady cockatoo should be named Melania.

Watch closely at about :46 seconds in when she holds off the male with a foot, looking a whole lot like the first lady flicking off the president's hand when he tried to hold hers.

* * *

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.




INTERESTING STUFF – 11 August 2018

WHAT IS SNAPCHAT DYSMORPHIA?

The Washington Post headline explains it all:

”Patients are desperate to resemble their doctored selfies. Plastic surgeons alarmed by ‘Snapchat dysmorphia'”

In case you are as light on the meaning of “dysmorphia” as I was, here is Merrian-Webster's medical definition:

”...pathological preoccupation with an imagined or slight physical defect of one's body to the point of causing significant stress or behavioral impairment in several areas (as work and personal relationships).”

As The Independent reports:

”According to plastic surgeons and researchers, patients are no longer bringing in photos of celebrities, they are bringing in pictures of their selfies - edited to look like perfect versions of themselves.”

Here is WaPo's video about the phenomenon:

Further, from the Washington Post:

”According to the annual American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery survey, selfies continue to be a driving force behind why people wish to get plastic surgery done.

“In 2017, the survey found that 55 percent of surgeons reported seeing patients who requested surgery to look better in selfies — a 13 percent increase from the previous year’s results.”

It's mostly teens and young adults looking for this sort of change. Do you suppose they'll outgrow it?

ONE MAN – ENDING A FOOD DESERT

Food deserts – lack of affordable, healthy, fresh food within a reasonable distance of home – are increasing in number around the United States. In Conetoe, North Carolina, the Reverend Richard Joyner decided to change that in his community:

DAD SOLUTIONS TO KID PROBLEMS

There are a lot of websites that collect images from around the web on a given topic with, usually, funny results. Sometimes I can get lost in them for an hour, laughing my ass off.

Here are a couple of teaser images for you on this “dad solutions” topic. First: Biker Baby.

Biker baby

And this is Baby Butt Mousepad:

Babybuttmousepad

There are more dad solutions photos here.

NANNY THE CAT GOES ON VACATION

The YouTube page tells us:

”Everybody loves to travel and go on vacation. Cat Nanny is no exception. She traveled from the Rocky mountains in the North, all the way to the Pacific Ocean in the South.”

Take a look:

JOHN OLIVER ON PROSECUTORS

On last Sunday's episode of HDO's Last Week Tonight, host John Oliver took on prosecutors. It's a compelling report and a perfect one for a week when the Manafort trial has been going on.

ROLLING LEMON

This video has been sitting on my “potential” list for Interesting Stuff for several weeks. Even though nothing happens in the lemon's quarter-mile trip, it got a big enough response that the Washington Post wrote a whole story about it.

And I watched to very end. What about you?

THE DETECTIVE LIBRARIANS OF THE NYPL

Decades ago, long before the internet, I relied on the telephone librarians at the New York Public Library to answer questions for me.

Nowadays, even with the internet, they still do that and now there is a special group who track down the titles of books callers can't remember and for which, sometimes, they have only the vaguest description.

”To solve these little mysteries, Glazer recently assembled a team of sleuths from across the branches: Chatham Square, in Chinatown; the Jefferson Market, in Greenwich Village; the Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library, near the Flatiron Building; and the Mulberry Street branch, in Nolita.

“At lunchtime on a recent Wednesday, they were gathered in that computer lab in the library’s offices—across the street from the soaring, spectacular Stephen A. Schwarzman Building (the Main Branch)—to nibble on homemade lemon rosemary cookies and apple, carrot, zucchini bread while they clattered away on their keyboards.”

You can read more about them at Atlas Obscura.

Anyone can call phone the Library question line. (Back when I traveled a lot, I used it not only from various states, but countries from around the world.) They usually answer, often via email now, within 24 hours. The number is 917-ASK-NYPL (917-275-6975).

CHIPPING AWAY AT OBAMACARE WITH CHEAPO HEALTH COVERAGE

If you are not yet old enough (65) for Medicare, the Trump administration changes to Obamacare are going to make health coverage more difficult for you. Here's an explanation from PBS News Hour:

More details at Kaiser Health News.

RACOON DANCE

The more you watch the louder you laugh – that's what happened to me. This guy is having a terrific time and it's easy to enjoy with him. Thank Jim Stone for sending it.

At the YouTube page, it's titled, The Hillbilly Slide And One Mad Coon.

* * *

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.




INTERESTING STUFF – 4 August 2018

THE MAYOR OF A GHOST TOWN

The town in question is Ballarat in Death Valley, California which has been abandoned for 100 years. The man is Rock Novak and he is the only resident.

Here is his story produced by Michey Todiwala and Monika Delgado.

You can read more at The Atlantic.

MARCEL MARCEAU'S SILENT RESISTANCE TO THE NAZIS

I've never been a mime fan – the art has always felt a little creepy to me but everyone – at least of our generation – has heard of Marcel Marceu and this is an amazing story about him I'd never heard. From the YouTube page:

”...before he cemented his place in performance history, Marceau’s knack for performing made him a unique asset to French resistance against Nazi forces during World War II. As the story goes, Marceau helped a group of children escape Nazi-occupied France by using his skills of mimicry to safely lead them into Switzerland.”

Learn more in this video:

RBG INTENDS TO STAY ON SUPREME COURT

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg - “Notorious RBG” - say she intends to stay on the Court for at least five more years.

After attending a performance of the play, The Originalist, about the late Justice Antonin Scalia, last Sunday, Ginsburg spoke to the press for a few minutes:

"'I'm now 85,' Ginsburg said on Sunday. 'My senior colleague, Justice John Paul Stevens, he stepped down when he was 90, so think I have about at least five more years...

"'My dear spouse would say that the true symbol of the United States is not the bald eagle - it is the pendulum,' Ginsburg said. 'And when it goes very far in one direction you can count on its swinging back.'”

You can read more at CNN.

THE PEACOCK CLOCK OF THE HERMITAGE

One of the great things about the internet that rarely gets mentioned is all the places and things we can see that we would probably never visit in our lifetimes. One for me is the Peacock Clock at the Hermitage museum in St. Petersburg, Russia.

”The clock was brought to Russia in pieces. At Potiomkin's request the Russian mechanic Ivan Kulibin set it in working order.

“From 1797 to the present day the Peacock Clock has been one of the Hermitage's most famous exhibits. It is, moreover, the only large 18th-century automaton in the world to have come down to us unaltered and in a functioning condition.”

There is much more to read at the YouTube page, and thank Darlene Costner for sending this.

JOHN OLIVER ON WORKPLACE SEXUAL HARASSMENT

It has been several weeks since host John Oliver has been at the desk of his weekly HBO program, Last Week Tonight. Last Sunday he was back and in his inimitable way, he examined workplace sexual harassment which has been such a prominent news story this year.

WARNING: CUTE OVERLOAD

A pet otter awakes. That's all you need to know.

TWO-THIRDS OF AMERICANS WANT ROE V. WADE TO STAND

Much is being made of Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh's position on Roe v. Wade – that he apparently would like to see the abortion decision overturned. According to a July Gallup poll, Americans do not agree:

”Sixty-four percent of those surveyed said the 1973 decision that legalized abortion nationwide should stand...That is up 11 percentage points from 53 percent in 2012...,” reports Politico.

“Twenty-eight percent of respondents in the Gallup poll say the ruling should be overturned, down 1 percentage point from 2012. Nine percent said they have no opinion.

“The results showed partisan differences: Eighty-one percent of Democrats are against overturning Roe v. Wade compared with 41 percent of Republicans.”

You can read more at Politico.

A LIFE CHANGING WAVE

According to the Los Angeles Times, Koa Smith caught a once-in-a-lifetime wave:

”Perched precariously on his surfboard, the 23-year-old from Hawaii rode a wave off the coast of Namibia, on the western shore of Africa, for 120 straight seconds.

“He stayed upright for nearly a mile as he traveled through an unheard-of eight barrels — the hollow formed by the curve of the wave as it breaks over the rider's head.

“Smith and videographer Chris Rogers filmed the entire ride using both a drone that hovered overhead, and a GoPro attached to a mouthpiece that Smith wore while he rode.”

Even I, who doesn't give a whit about surfing, was spellbound watching this. Here are both views – first person and then the drone:

THE SMALLEST WILD CATS ON EARTH

I had never heard of rusty spotted cats until now. Native to India and Sri Lanka and endangered, full-grown they are kitten-size – 2.2 to 3.5 pounds (1-1.6 kg) which is 200 times smaller than a lion, they tell us.

Here is a video from a BBC1 program that aired in January:

That was so cute, I wanted more and tracked down this Twitter video of another clip from the BBC1 program showing the little black-footed cat of Africa. It is only slightly larger (1 to 2.5 kg or 2.2 to 5.5 lbs) than the rusty spotted cat.

Read more about these two tiny wild cats here and here.

* * *

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.



INTERESTING STUFF – 28 July 2018

REST IN PEACE, NANCY LEITZ

On Monday, the four children of Nancy Leitz sent out the sad notice that she had died

”...in her sleep early this morning. She not only did not suffer, she passed away quite peacefully. She was 89 years old, and keeping with her usual style, she did it her way. No huge battle, no lengthy hospital stay. She was awesome...”

Yes, she was awesome.

Readers who have been here since before 2014 may recall Nancy from the dozens of marvelous and funny family stories she contributed from 2007 to 2014 at TGB's then-companion website, The Elder Storytelling Place.

Almost all of them starred one or more of her four kids – Jerry, Chris, Steven and Carol – and/or her husband, Roy, and we readers came to feel that we had been there at those family events.

Once, via email, I told Nancy that I suspected she invented all those great punchlines to the stories after the fact and she admitted that was usually true.

When I related that little anecdote to Jerry Leitz a few days ago, he told me the rest of that story:

”As for making up punch lines, you could say that both parents and all four kids have a syndrome a close friend called SLE and no drug on TV could cure it.

“It was just known as the 'Standard Leitz Embellishment'! None of the basic facts have changed, but that punchline, oh yeah, that's fair game!”

I discontinued The Elder Storytelling Place in 2014 but it is still online, all the stories, and you can find Nancy's stories here.

Rest in peace, Nancy. You and your wonderful stories will not be forgotten.

TWIGGY THE WATERSKIING SQUIRREL RETIRES

Surely you know Twiggy, the waterskiing squirrel or her immitators. But Twiggy was the original – well, there were seven Twiggys over her 39 year career.

The latest Twiggy is 10 years old now and she gave her last performance a week ago. Here's her final appearance and a recap of her life.

You can read more about Twiggy here.

WHO WILL BE THE FIRST PERSON TO DIE BY A LEGAL 3D PRINTED GUN?

As of 1 August, that is next Wednesday, Americans will be able to make their own 3D-printed guns following instructions that will, on that date, become legal to download from the internet.

”The choices will include the AR-15, the gun of choice in American mass shootings,” reports USAToday. “All 3D-printed guns will be untraceable, and since you can make them yourself, no background check is required.

“A settlement earlier this year between the State Department and Texas-based [firearm developer] Defense Distributed will let the nonprofit release blueprints for guns online starting Aug. 1, a development hailed by the group as the death of gun control in the United States.”

You can read more here and here and here.

LOST IN THE FIFTIES – ANOTHER TIME, ANOTHER PLACE

There are plenty of online videos with images of past decades but this is one of the best I've seen – this one about the Fifties in the United States that a lot of us at this blog lived through.

The song is Lost in the Fifties Tonight (In the Still of the Night) by Ronnie Milsap.

KIDS SAY THE DARNDEST THINGS

And sometimes they really surprise you with their savvy and understanding.

My friend Autumn, who is also my health care proxy, has a five-year-old daughter, Catherine. A week or so ago she sent me this story that took place while the two were driving to school listening to NPR on the radio.

In her email, Autumn titled it, Parenting Success.

CATHERINE: Mommy, what are they even talking about?

AUTUMN: Let’s say you and your friends are at school and there is a kid we know is a bully who comes to our school. The Bully starts picking on Max (one of The Littles whose name has been changed). What would happen?

CATHERINE: We would help Max.

AUTUMN: Remember, Max is too little to help you if the Bully picks on you.

CATHERINE: We still need to help Max. It is what’s right.

AUTUMN: Ok, now one of you goes and sides with the Bully. That is what they are talking about. You and your friends are NATO. Max is Montenegro. The Bully is Putin.

CATHERINE: And the one who is going to Putin’s side is, let me guess, Trump.

Boom. Parenting success.

CHICKEN WHO BEFRIENDED A PROFOUNDLY DISABLED MAN

Due to a childhood illness, 24-year-old Kyle Monahan is profoundly disabled. One of the joys of his life is a two-year-old chicken named Moto who lays an egg for him in his bed every day. See the video:

You can read more at oregonlive.com.

ATTENTION DOWNTON ABBEY FANS

It has been rumored since the PBS series ended and now it is official: there will be a Downton Abbey movie, says Vanity Fair magazine:

”Focus Features has announced that the show’s principal cast—including Dame Maggie Smith, Michelle Dockery, and Hugh Bonneville—has officially reunited, and shooting will begin this summer. The script was penned by show creator Julian Fellowes, who will also produce...”

No date has been set for release.

I watched the program haphazardly – it was such a richly soapy story in fancy dress that it was hard to resist. But after all six seasons, my favorite line is still the final line of the final episode spoken by the Dowager Countess played by Maggie Smith (which Vanity Fair quoted:

ISOBEL (WILTON): "What else could we drink to? We're going forward into the future, not back into the past."

DOWAGER COUNTESS: "If only we had the choice."

MaggieSmithDownton1

HOW TO THREAD A NEEDLE

No, that is not meant as a metaphor – at least not today.

Sometimes I wonder if we here at TGB are the last generation who will know how to sew. It's not a popular skill these days. Nevertheless, this video turned up somewhere to show me I've been threading needles all wrong.

I tested this method. It worked. Where has it been all my life.

TONY THE GARLIC GUY

Too bad for us that I'm late with this story and the Takoma Park Farmers Market in Maryland held its annual garlic festival last Sunday. The Washington Post reported it, in part, this way:

”The The [Market] will transform into a celebration of all things garlic on Sunday with talks from the Takoma Horticulture Club and a man simply billed as Tony 'the Garlic Guy' about the various types of garlic and how-to’s on growing your own.”

I just want to let you in on it: Tony the garlic guy is my old friend, Tony Sarmiento, who knows all kinds of things about garlic and sends me some ripe bulbs when they are ready each year.

You don't realize – well, I didn't - how unfresh that supermarket stuff is until you've used garlic straight from the garden.

IS THERE ANYTHING BETTER THAN BABY ANIMALS

According to the YouTube page:

”Hector the Nigerian Dwarf baby goat is just 2 days old. His Mama, Amelia Earhart, is a little protective of her only kid (most goats have 3-4 babies at once.)

“While he waits for cousins to be born in the stall next door, he has befriended the three barn kittens. Mom is not so sure about this plan. The kittens did inspire him to climb the wood shavings bale for the first time.”

Here are the newborn baby goat and the barn cats:

There are two live cameras at the website of the Sunflower Farm Creamery in Maine where this baby goat and the kittens live.

* * *

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.




INTERESTING STUFF – 21 July 2018

THE BETTER WAY TO TRAIN YOUR BRAIN

As the Harvard Medical School website reported in March, as we age,

”...your cognitive skills will wane and thinking and memory will be more challenging, so you need to build up your reserve.”

What helps to maintain a healthy brain are new activities that force you to think and to learn, according to Harvard. Further,

”Research has shown that regular physical exercise is one way to improve cognitive functions like memory recall, problem solving, concentration, and attention to detail.

“However, it is not clear if the physical aspect alone boosts your brain or if a combination of other factors — like the mental challenge of the activity, the frequency you do it, and the desire to improve — also contribute.”

And those expensive brain games? Give them a pass. As Dr. John Swartzberg wrote at Live Science, he was was happy to hear “that 70 leading cognitive psychologists and neuroscientists issued a consensus statement expressing skepticism about brain training.”

”If you want to exercise your brain," says Swartzberg, study Spanish, take up Ikebana flower arranging, or learn a new game like chess or bridge. You may strengthen those neural connections in your brain, and you’ll almost certainly have fun.”

THE KIDS HAVE GOT IT COVERED FOR US

On the eve of Trump's trip to Europe, late night talk show host, Jimmy Kimmel, asked random people in the street to name any country in the world on a map he supplied.

Just when you are ready to give up on Americans (or, perhaps, the educational system), a kid saves the day. Let's hope, for our future's sake, there are a lot of kids like him:

OREGON COAST GHOST FOREST

Neskowin is located along the northern coast of Oregon. When the tide is low enough, the “ghost forest of Neskowin” emerges from under the Pacific Ocean:

Ghostforest

”...this group of some 100 stumps and snags is all that’s left of a 2,000-year-old stand of Sitka spruce, once buried by an earthquake," explains The Oregonian.

“This past weekend, an extraordinarily low tide uncovered much more of the trees than is typically visible, a beautiful scene that attracted photographers, tourists and locals alike, all quietly exploring the remains of an ancient, cataclysmic destruction.”

A lot more photographs and more information are at The Oregonian.

DEATH METAL GRANDMA

Ninety-six-year-old Inge Ginsberg is a Holocaust survivor who, after the War, made her way to the United States where she became a lyricist, with her composer husband, for such well-known singers of the era as Nat King Cole, Doris Day and Dean Martin. But

As Ms. Ginsberg grew older, she kept writing lyrics and poetry, and realized she needed to find new ways to reach an audience. How was she going to gain attention in a society where older women are neglected, silenced and often cast off?”

She found a way, as documentary filmmaker Leah Galant, tells us, with death metal music “where you can shout your lyrics instead of singing them.” But let's let Ms. Ginsberg and Ms. Galant tell the story. (If the video does not play in a reasonable amount of time, try watching it here.)

Read more at The New York Times.

JOHN OLIVER – UNUSED GRAPHICS

John Oliver's HBO program, Last Week Tonight, was on hiatus last Sunday but Oliver, as he explains, left behind this short video for our entertainment.

Oliver is his usual funny, profane self showing some show graphics that never made it to air.

CARE OF ELDERS IN PUERTO RICO ONE YEAR LATER

Kaiser Health News reports that a large percentage of the 4600 Puerto Ricans who died in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria were elders, many of whom died because of delayed medical care.

Now, there may be another disaster in the making:

”...projections show that one-third of Puerto Rico’s population will be 60 or older by 2020, even as the number of young people are increasingly fleeing to the mainland in search of employment, often leaving behind aging parents.

“'We have more [older adults] being left alone to almost fend for themselves, or being cared for by other seniors, instead of a younger family member,' said [Dr. Angel] Muñoz. In addition, Medicaid does not pay for long-term nursing home care in Puerto Rico.

Here is the PBS News report:

You can donate to relief efforts at Public Good or Google “donate to Puerto Rico relief” for more help options.

JANIS IAN'S TEA AND SYMPATHY

In a comment here last Wednesday, TGB reader Charlene Drewry mentioned Janis Ian's song from 1975 or so, Tea and Sympathy.

Ian was only a teenager when she wrote and recorded it but she has always been much older in her soul than her years. Surely she meant this for you and me at this time in our lives.

Here's the song, recently remastered. Lyrics are below the video:

I don't want to ride the milk train any more
I'll go to bed at nine, and waken with the dawn
And lunch at half past noon
Dinner prompt at five
The comfort of a few old friends long past their prime

Pass the tea & sympathy
For the good old days long gone
Let's drink a toast to those who most
Believe in what they've won
It's a long long time 'til morning
Plays wasted on the dawn
I'll not write another line,
For my true love is gone

And when the guests have done
I'll tidy up the room
I'll turn the covers down
And gazing at the moon
Will pray to go quite mad
And live in long ago
When you and I were one, so very long ago<

Pass the tea & sympathy
For the good old days long gone
Let's drink a toast to those who most
Believe in what they've won
It's a long long time 'til morning
Plays wasted on the dawn
I'll not write another line,
For my true love is gone

And when I have no dreams
To give you any more,
I'll light a blazing fire
And wait within the door,
And throw my life away
"I wonder why?" they all will say
And now I lay me down to sleep,
Forever and a day

Pass the tea & sympathy
For the good old days are dead
Let's drink a toast to those who best
Survived the life they've led
It's a long long time 'til morning,
So build your fires high
Now I lay me down to sleep,
Forever by your side

THE WASHINGTON D.C. CAT CENSUS

Good friend Tony Sarmiento sent this story about an upcoming Washington, D.C. cat census that will try to determine how many cats are in the city.

”By spending $1.5 million over three years, a consortium of scientists and animal welfare organizations thinks it can find out with an initiative known as the DC Cat Count, which launches Tuesday.

“The cat census, organized by the Humane Rescue Alliance, the Humane Society of the United States, PetSmart Charities and the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, will help animal advocates understand how many felines are in the city and how to cope with cats that don’t have a home.”

Even with the project's two full-time staffers, 50 cameras and questionnaires sent to homes, anyone who knows anything at all about cats might suspect it is a fool's errand. But I wish them luck anyway.

The project has its own website and be sure to check out the photo at the top of the story at Washington Post - it will make cat lovers smile.

* * *

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.




INTERESTING STUFF – 14 July 2018

PETRA – ONE OF THE GREAT MYSTERIES OF THE ANCIENT WORLD

The ancient city of Petra has fascinated me for decades and although I've been to Jordan, been to Israel nearby, I've never visited and doubt I will now.

But here is a new video of the interiors of some of the buildings I've never seen before. I don't know that I believe this video narrator's speculations but they are no worse than anyone else's and I like seeing the inside of the rooms.

BEST LEVI'S COMMERCIAL

At least that's what TGB reader and my friend Darlene Costner says and certainly she's not far off.

The latest Emmy Award nominations were published this week but television commercials are every much an art form (they have their own award, the Cleo). This is a fine example from 2011.

TRUMP WANTS A NEW AIR FORCE ONE PAINT JOB

In a Thursday morning scoop, here is what Axios imagines he wants it to look like:

Air Force 1

Axios reports that

”...Trump had one specification for the plane that could cause tension with the Air Force and surprise around the world...

“We’re told that Trump wants a color scheme that "looks more American" and isn’t a "Jackie Kennedy color." He doesn’t think the current blue (technically "luminous ultramarine") represents the USA. The president's preferred design is believed to include red, white and blue.

"'He can do it,' said a source familiar with the negotiations, when asked about whether Trump can make the change. But the change could cause friction with the Air Force. We're told some top officers like the current look, which they point out is 'known around the world.'"

By Friday, the internet had run with Trump's idea, posting their own ideas of a Trump Air Force One paint job. Here is one of the more polite ones:

HairForceOne

There are more of the web's paint job ideas at Huffpost. And you can read more at Axios.

SPIDERS CAN TRAVEL ACROSS OCEANS

Did you know that? I sure didn't. Here's our science lesson for the day from, in this video, The New York Times:

You can read more about spiders' travel at The New York Times and at PBS.org.

GLASS GEM CORN - WOW

Take a look at this – and yes, it's real corn:

Glass gem corn

As Atlas Obscura tells us:

”Carl Barnes, a part-Cherokee farmer from Oklahoma, liked to experiment with ancestral corn varieties. After breeding several varieties together, the result was vibrantly-colored corn...

“The fresher the corn is, the shinier its kernels. But since it’s flint corn and not sweet corn, it’s not too tasty when it’s fresh. However, it can be made into cornmeal, and is just fine as popcorn.”

Available at your favorite online giant retailers.

DAD ADOPTS FOUR KIDS AT ONCE TO GIVE THEM THE LIFE HE NEVER HAD

After all the ongoing, horrible stories of how the U.S. government treats small children, we can use this story of love and selflessness. Take a look:

My friend Jim Stone sent this and your can read more here. You can donate to Comfort Cases here.

FOREIGN MILITARY RECRUITS BEING DEPORTED

Just when you think the U.S. federal government couldn't possibly behave worse in regard to immigrants, they prove you wrong. As the AP reports:

”Some immigrant U.S. Army reservists and recruits who enlisted in the military with a promised path to citizenship are being abruptly discharged...”

NPR follows up:

”The immigrants who were recently discharged had all signed up as part of the Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest, or MAVNI, program. It was established in 2009 to create an opportunity for the military to enlist people with specialized knowledge, including highly sought-after language and medical skills.”

Margaret Stock, in the AP video below, is an Alaska-based immigration attorney and a retired Army Reserve lieutenant colonel who helped create the immigrant recruitment program, said she's been inundated over the past several days by recruits who have been abruptly discharged:

Read more at the AP YouTube page and New York Times.

TIMES SQUARE MAGICIAN – GREAT CARD TRICK

From Darlene again. Enjoy:

CATS CRADLE

Bruce and Terry Jenkins take in dozens of older cats who have been abandoned due to death or sickness of a previous owner. As the YouTube page notes:

“'The cats come with different neuroses from where they were before…it’s very gratifying to see the transition from what they were when they came here to what they become,' says Bruce.

“'It’s like they bloom,' adds Terry. 'They get to be what they’re meant to be.'”

You can read more at The Atlantic and you can visit the Cat's Cradle website here.

* * *

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.




INTERESTING STUFF – 7 July 2018

PERSONAL NOTE: Regarding the biopsy of the big-ass lump on the side of my neck that I mentioned in yesterday's post, I finally received the test results yesterday afternoon: BENIGN. What a relief. It's even got a name: Warthin's Tumor.

* * *

STRIP POKER

The is an old video, maybe about 10 years and I posted it a long time ago. When I ran across it for the first time in years recently, I had a good laugh. Maybe you will too.

ATTORNEY CLIENT PRIVILEGE – ITS HISTORY AND SCOPE

Although it has been out of the news for a couple of days, the doctrine of attorney-client privilege has been in the news lately due to the rumors that former Trump attorney, Michael Cohen, may “flip” on the president.

In all the discussion, there has been a lot of misinformation. The Washington Post published a good video explanation of how it works.

VAN GOGH: MADE IN CHINA

Chinese copy artist Zhao Xiaoyong spent 20 years painting more than tens of thousands of copies of Van Gogh reproductions. Just Van Gogh, no other artists. He longed to visit the Netherlands to see the originals and finally got to do so. Watch what happens:

My friend Jim Stone sent me this video pointing out that the vendor, who has made hundreds of thousand of euros over decades selling Zhao's paintings wouldn't even pay for his flight from the Netherlands to China and back.

LAST SATURDAY'S MARCH IN NEW YORK CITY

Jim Stone (again) send me this note about his trip from the Boston area to New York City last weekend to participate in the march there:

"Hotter than blazes. The crowd slow-walked over the Brooklyn Bridge for four straight hours. I stayed until the end of that, then headed up to New York Port Authority and caught a bus home.

“I'd been feeling a wee under the weather for a day or two, and the heat didn't do that any favors, but I felt it was important to be there. It did an old hippie's heart a world of good to see such a turnout - young and old, all colors and creeds, with one uniting commonality: disgust at the inhumanity of our idiot-in-chief, and a desire for embrace of human decency.

“Nary a discouraging word was heard by me, no skirmishes in this sodom of liberal democracy. All was peace and love overlaid with loud and frequent chanting, none of which was particularly complimentary of the current administration.”

Did any of you attend a march?

JOHN OLIVER ON GENE EDITING

Now don't go thinking this is boring. John Oliver never is and the subject, as Oliver shows us, is important. From last Sunday's HBO program, Last Week Tonight. The usual language warnings apply.

TWO PLUS TWO EQUALS – UH, 22?

As the YouTube page puts it:

”A well meaning math teacher finds herself trumped by a post-fact America in this excellent short film that will make you laugh and make you cry all at once.”

RICK'S CAFE IN CASABLANCA

Do you think there anyone – at least of our generations – who doesn't know Rick's Cafe from the beloved classic film, Casablanca?

Of course, it is fictional but since March 2004, there has been a Rick's Cafe in Casablanca, Morocco which is designed to look as much as possible like the movie version. It was conceived and is owned by former American diplomat, Kathy Kriger.

Recently, The New York Times published a feature story about the restaurant and its 72-year-old owner who, after the 9/11 attacks wanted to fight the backlash against Muslims in the U.S.

”She decided that a good way would be to show that an American woman, operating alone in a Muslim society, could start a business like Rick’s Café, to act as an exemplar of tolerance, a refuge in a troubled world.

“Ms. Kriger cashed in her 401(k) plan and found a wreck of an old stately home in the Ancienne Medina, the old city of Casablanca, which was then and is still a shabby, litter-strewn place.”

Like Rick's Cafe in the movie, Ms. Kriger's version is a success, drawing customers from all over the world.

”Ms. Kriger, 72 and divorced, said she planned to spend the rest of her days in Rick’s Café, holding up her corner of the bar when she is not mingling with customers. 'This is my assisted living center,' she quipped. Or as Humphrey Bogart’s character, Rick Blaine, put it in the movie: 'I’m going to die in Casablanca. It’s a good place for it.'”

There isn't much good video of the Cafe. Here is a short one I found that gives a sense of it.

The Times story is worth the read.

SEPSIS IS THE THIRD LEADING KILLER IN THE U.S.

Did you know that? I sure didn't and I've spent a lot of time in hospital in the past year. I didn't even know what it is. According to STAT, it is a blood infection that

”...can lead to organ failure and even death...Sepsis kills over 250,000 people a year in the United States — more than any cause other than cancer and heart disease. But still, many people have never heard of it. And hospitals often fail to notice the warning signs when a patient is spiraling downward.”

There may soon be a better test that could help save more lives:

”Last month, for instance, the Food and Drug Administration gave market clearance to a new test that will more rapidly identify the bug triggering a patient’s infection, potentially allowing doctors to give more targeted antibiotics.”

Here is a video from STAT explaining what sepsis is:

You can read more at STAT.

BABY BURROWING OWLS

Nothing much happens beyond cuteness but it is a calming, relaxing video, a respite from politics.

* * *

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.




INTERESTING STUFF – 30 June 2018

WHY BRITISH AND AMERICAN SPELLING DIFFER

A quick little history of why the Brits (and Australians for the most part) spell it “colour” and Americans spell it “color.” It was probably more ad hoc than you thought.

ONE REASON TO DISLIKE GETTING OLD

From cartoonist Jimmy Johnson, sent in by TGB's Sunday music columnist, Peter Tibbles. All I can say about the punch line is, me too.

Cartoonhatemybody

TWO TOWNS THAT TURNED OUT THE LIGHTS AT NIGHT

As the Youtube page tells us:

”As our cities grow bigger and brighter, fewer Americans get to take in the breathtaking grandeur of the Milky Way. Sensing this, the residents of Westcliffe and Silver Cliff, two small towns in Colorado, purposefully dimmed their towns' lights.

“Their night skies are now among the darkest on the planet and have become a Mecca for stargazers.

Have any of you visited these towns?

FED PLAN TO STOP REPORTING HOSPITAL INFECTION RATE

Each year, more than 600,000 hospital patients contract an infection, and sepsis alone kills about 270,000 people a year. Now, according to USA Today, a new Trump administration proposal will

”...halt the public disclosure of the 'super bug' MRSA, post-operative sepsis and surgical site infections, as well as accidents and injuries ranging from bedsores to respiratory failure after surgery.”

Since 2005, that kind of information has been (and still is for now) available at the Medicare Hospital Compare website. Further, reports USA Today,

"'I am shocked that they want to reverse course on this,' says Jeanine Thomas, who founded the MRSA Survivors Network after nearly dying of the infection after ankle surgery 18 years ago. 'In fact, they should do more.'

“CMS [The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services] chief medical officer Kate Goodrich said the agency 'is committed to transparency of quality and cost information' and denied that it was proposing to remove the information from Hospital Compare. She also emphasized that the changes are up for public comment.”

Unless the proposal is removed from the plan, the information will stop being released in 9 November this year. You can sign a letter of protest here. And you can see the entire 500-page plan here.

1947 PSA LOOKS AND SOUNDS LIKE IT WAS PRODUCED YESTERDAY

This public service announcement was produced by the U.S. Department of Defense, Department of the Army and the Office of the Chief Signal Officer in 1947. Given political events of the past 18 months, it could have been produced today. Take a look:

That video (thank you, Jim Stone, for sending it) prompts me to publish again this famous statement from Martin Niemöller (1892–1984). If you are unfamiliar with his name, he was a prominent Protestant pastor who emerged as an outspoken public foe of Adolf Hitler and spent the last seven years of Nazi rule in concentration camps:

“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Socialist.

“Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

“Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Jew.

“Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”

(If you are familiar with other versions of this, it is due to the fact that Niemöller usually spoke the words publicly and they changed slightly from telling to telling.)

U.S. FDA APPROVES FIRST MARIJUANA-DERIVED PRESCRIPTION DRUG

Although people have been using cannabis to treat a wide variety of ailments for centuries, it has taken this long for the U.S. Federal Trade Administration to approve one for medical use.

Epidiolex680

As STAT reports, the medication

”...treats two rare and devastating forms of epilepsy.

“The drug, GW Pharmaceuticals’ Epidiolex, is made of cannabidiol, or CBD, a component of marijuana that does not give users a high. It is given as an oil, and in clinical trials, it was shown to reduce the number of seizures by about 40 percent in patients with Dravet or Lennox-Gastaut syndromes.”

Read more at STAT and at Leafly.

DON'T JUDGE TOO QUICKLY

My friend Tony Sarmiento sent this video – a collection of TV commercials for Ameriquest produced from 2005 to 2007. These are the sort of things that make me laugh out loud but I don't recall ever seeing them. I can't imagine how I missed them.

DOES THAT ELEVATOR CLOSE-DOOR BUTTON REALLY WORK?

Like me, you probably suspect that those “close door” buttons in elevators don't really work. Now we are vindicated in our belief:

”Karen W. Penafiel, executive director of National Elevator Industry Inc., a trade group, said the close-door feature faded into obsolescence a few years after the enactment of the Americans With Disabilities Act in 1990,” reported The New York Times.

“The legislation required that elevator doors remain open long enough for anyone who uses crutches, a cane or wheelchair to get on board, Ms. Penafiel said in an interview on Tuesday. 'The riding public would not be able to make those doors close any faster,' she said.”

Recently, Mental Floss reported that the buttons DO work in Britain:

”A spokesman for the Lift and Escalator Industry Association told the newspaper that not all elevators have the button, but when they’re present, they do work. Again, the time it takes for the doors to shut after pressing the button varies from lift to lift.”

There is more than you would think to read about all this at those two links.

THE OWL AND THE PUSSYCAT

As you have undoubtedly figured out from reading this Saturday post, I really like stories of interspecies friendship. In addition, I think owls are fascinating and I love all sorts of kitty cats. So this is the perfect story for me. Maybe for you too?

There are a bunch of videos of Fum and Gebra at play together here.

* * *

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.




INTERESTING STUFF – 23 June 2018

LET'S RETIRE TO A CRUISE SHIP

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:

CAN YOU DISTINGUISH BETWEEN FACT AND OPINION IN NEWS

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:

FactOpinionChart

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.

DISASTER ROBOTS

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:

GAWANDE NAMED CEO OF AMAZON HEALTH VENTURE

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.

Atul-Gawande

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.

ROYAL ASCOT HATS 2017

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:

AscotHat1

AscotHat3

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

AscotHat2Queen

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

KRISPY KREME DONUTS

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.

75% OF AMERICANS SAY IMMIGRATION IS A GOOD THING

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:

GallupImmigration

Read more about the survey at Gallup.

IS A NEW STAR TREK TV SHOW WITH PATRICK STEWART IN THE WORKS?

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.

GORILLA KOKO DIES AT AGE 46

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 koko.org.

* * *

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.