CHART OF MASS KILLINGS 2013-2017
It's been a terrible week for several reasons, the saddest of which is the shooting in Las Vegas. It may seem like it's a unique event but that is so only in the number dead.
There is a mass shooting in the United States almost every day.Here is a graphic showing the horrific number of mass killings in the past five years. The gray are people injured in each incidence. The red are the number who died.
SHAG TEAM FROM CAMP HOLLYWOOD
They call it a shag team – that just means swing dancing and it's so much fun. Thank Darlene Costner for this.
CAT LEGENDS THROUGHOUT HISTORY
Pretty much during all the ages of humankind, cats have been mysterious beings, loved or reviled – depending.
Mental Floss gives us 14 ancient legends about cats. Here are some examples:
”A certain sect of Buddhism once practiced in the former kingdoms of Siam and Burma believed that when you die, if you’re holy enough, your soul is transferred to a cat for safekeeping. In this way, special souls lived in a sort of feline purgatory, and when the kitty died, the chaste soul would ascend to paradise.
”In a few different areas of Europe, it was thought to be ill-advised for a pregnant woman to pick up a cat or let it sleep in her lap. In Portugal, it was once said the cat will afflict the baby with a wart or mole, usually a hairy one, and in England, it was thought the baby will either be born with a cat-shaped birthmark or with the face of a cat.”
”Medieval people thought that cats were the Devil’s personal soul courier, ferrying spirits to Hell. The three hairs on the tip of a cat’s tail were said to be 'the devil’s hairs,' which compelled the cat to stay up all night, prowling, when all Christian creatures should be asleep.Many more cat legends at Mental Floss.
“In the American South, it was thought that anyone who drowned a cat would be punished by the Devil himself (for the lesser crime of kicking a cat, he’d just give you rheumatism).”
HOW SONGS BECOME EARWORMS
A Harvard Medical School psychiatry professor explains a bit about earworms. A couple of excerpts:
"Certain songs are catchier than others, and so more likely to “auto repeat” in your head. When music psychologist Kelly Jakubowski and her colleagues studied why, they found these songs were faster and simpler in melodic contour (the pitch rose and fell in ways that made them easier to sing)."
"In order to get stuck in your head, earworms rely on brain networks that are involved in perception, emotion, memory, and spontaneous thought. They are typically triggered by actually hearing a song, though they may also creep up on you when you are feeling good, or when you are in a dreamy (inattentive) or nostalgic state."
"Some people try to distract themselves from the song, and it works. In one study, the most helpful “cure” tunes were “God Save The Queen” by Thomas Arne and “Karma Chameleon” by Culture Club. Others seek out the tune in question, because it is commonly believed that earworms occur when you remember only part of a song; hearing the entire song may extinguish it."
You can read more about earworms here.
RIGHTS V. PRIVILEGES – ONE REPUBLICAN SENATOR
Watch one U.S. Senator, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, explain that Americans have no rights except to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Everything else - food, shelter and certainly health care, he says - are privileges reserved for those who can afford them. Take a listen as a high school student asks him this question:
Of the 25 wealthiest nations, only the United States does not recognize health care as a right. Read more at Think Progress.
TREES EATING ARLINGTON CEMETERY HEADSTONES
Arlington Cemetery is hallowed ground, the burial place of more than 400,000 military service people. Recently some of the magnificent trees at the cemetery have been absorbing some headstones:
”Find A Grave puts the count at 11 afflicted markers,” explains Atlas Obscura, “with most of the entombed having served in the Civil War, World War I, or World War II.”
Read more at Atlas Obscura.
ARE WE, HUMANS, A MIND WITH A BODY OR VICE VERSA?
Here is a fascinating TedEd talk about what philosophers have had to say about this mind/body problem.
HOW FLYING MESSES WITH OUR MINDS
Airline flight takes a toll on our minds and bodies in more ways than I would have thought. According to a story at BBC.com:
”The reduced air pressure on airline flights can reduce the amount of oxygen in passengers’ blood between 6 and 25% (hypoxia), a drop that in hospital would lead many doctors to administer supplementary oxygen. For healthy passengers, this shouldn’t pose many issues, although in the elderly and people with breathing difficulties, the impact can be higher.”
”The combination of low air pressure and humidity can reduce the sensitivity of our taste buds to salt and sweet by up to 30%. A study commissioned by airline Lufthansa also showed that the savoury flavours in tomato juice taste better during a flight.”
“'Anxiety levels can increase with hypoxia,' explains Valerie Martindale, president of the Aerospace Medical Association at King’s College London. Anxiety is not the only aspect of mood that can be affected by flying. A number of studies has shown spending time at altitude can increase negative emotions like tension, make people less friendly, decrease their energy levels and affect their ability to deal with stress."
And that's just part of the bad news about flying, especially long distances. Read more here.
DOG AND JAGUAR BEST FRIENDS
This Jack Russell terrier and jaguar are best friends, together 24 hours a day at the Akwaaba Lodge in South Africa. Take a look:
Interesting Stuff is a weekly listing of short takes and links to web items that have caught my attention; some related to aging and some not, some useful and others just for fun.
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