Last Week’s Links

This blooper from ‘The Carol Burnett Show’ is still one of the funniest outtakes in TV history

Did you, like me, eagerly anticipate The Carol Burnett Show, which ran from 1967 to 1978, every week?

‘We choose to go to the moon…’ again: NASA marks 60th anniversary of JFK speech

As NASA once again prepares to set sail “on the most hazardous and dangerous and greatest adventure” on which humanity has ever embarked, the space agency’s leaders returned to the site where 60 years ago, to the day, President John F. Kennedy reconfirmed that “we choose to go to the moon.”

For links to more related articles, see this page curated by the Flipboard Science Desk.

Letting Go of the Past: Why It’s So Hard to Get Over Painful Memories

We’ve all experienced painful moments during our lives. But if the memories of such experiences become intrusive, here’s “some expert-backed ways to help you process and integrate painful experiences.”

Want to live longer? Influence your genes.

“By making healthy lifestyle choices, you can self-engineer genetic alterations to prevent disease and boost longevity.”

Michael F. Foizen, M.D., discusses the science behind his recently published book The Great Age Reboot: Cracking the Longevity Code for a Younger Tomorrow

The basis of his argument is a process he calls genetic self-engineering: “Each healthy act switches on youth-promoting genes and switches off genes that cause you to age.” By making healthy lifestyle choices now, Foizen writes, “You have the ability to change how your body works and reacts—and ultimately how healthy you are and how long you may live.”

© 2022 by Mary Daniels Brown

Last Week’s Links

4 Essential Books About Queen Elizabeth II

Talk about life stories. Queen Elizabeth II certainly had one. Kirkus Reviews suggests some books for those of us wanting to read about it.

The Elizabethan Aura

Vanity Fair dips into its archives to celebrate Queen Elizabeth.

To mark her 90th birthday, Queen Elizabeth II sat for an unprecedented photo shoot with ANNIE LEIBOVITZ, their second collaboration. On the cover and the next 20 pages, the resulting portraits (some exclusive to V.F., others shared on the royal Web site) provide an intimate, wide-ranging tribute to a steadfast ruler— the longest-serving monarch in Britain’s history. WILLIAM SHAWCROSS analyzes the subtle power of her reign.

The Two Choices That Keep a Midlife Crisis at Bay

For years, scholars mostly didn’t challenge the conventional wisdom that a traumatic midlife crisis was normal, if not inevitable. More recently, however, many have found that a “crisis” is not our unavoidable fate. With knowledge and effort, you (and I) can make two crucial choices that can lead to harnessing the changes and difficulties of aging to instead design a midlife transcendence.

Arthur C. Brooks proposes two strategies people can employ, adding that “if you make the right choices, midlife may just be the best opportunity and biggest adventure you have had in decades.”

Zombie cells central to the quest for active, vital old age

I admit that what mainly drew my attention to this article is the word zombie. Zombie cells are “cells [that] eventually stop dividing and enter a ‘senescent’ state in response to various forms of damage.” The body removes most such cells, but others hang around “like zombies. They aren’t dead,” but “they can harm nearby cells like moldy fruit corrupting a fruit bowl.”

These zombie cells are thought to be linked to “age-related conditions such as dementia, cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis.” This report from the Associated Press summarizes research into the question of whether the build-up of zombie cells in the body can be stopped to prevent the onset of such typically age-related conditions.

Grandmother and grandson visit 62 national parks on adventure of a lifetime

“Joy Ryan, 92, had never seen a mountain. So her grandson decided to take her to every site that has ‘national park’ in its name.”

Here’s a heart-warming story of how a young veterinarian and his 92-year-old grandmother have helped each other since they started visiting national parks in the U.S. in 2015.

Your Doppelgänger Is Out There and You Probably Share DNA With Them

Research has demonstrated that the similarities between unrelated people who look alike has “more to do with their DNA than with the environments they grew up in.”

Stop drinking, keep reading, look after your hearing: a neurologist’s tips for fighting memory loss and Alzheimer’s

Gaby Hinsliff discusses the book The Complete Guide to Memory: The Science of Strengthening Your Mind by neuroscientist Dr. Richard Restak for answers to the following questions: “When does forgetfulness become something more serious? And how can we delay or even prevent that change?” 

© 2022 by Mary Daniels Brown

Last Week’s Links

Jane Fonda, 84, diagnosed with cancer, undergoing chemo treatments

Jane Fonda has announced that she is undergoing chemotherapy for non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma: “This is a very treatable cancer. 80% of people survive, so I feel very lucky.”

16 Great Books About Mental Health for Empathy, Insight and So Much More

“Many of us have a tendency to neglect our own mental health or downplay the struggles we may be experiencing, but it’s important to care for your mental well-being in the same way you would attend to your physical health.” Here are some reading suggestions.

I’m 72, and This Is How I Want to Spend My Remaining Years

for me, longevity is not a goal to which I aspire. I don’t want to live long as much as I want to live well. So, here’s my bucket list of sorts, the things I think will help me live well in my remaining years . . .

See if you agree with Ann Brenoff’s approach for living the rest of her life.

These identical twins married identical twins. Now they have sons.

Just in case you need your mind boggled . . .

Sunset Valley, Montana 1926

“An excerpt of Eileen Joyce Donovan’s forthcoming second novel, published at 73, ‘A Lady Newspaperman’s Dilemma.’ With an introduction from the author.”

“People ask me about my path to publishing later in life,” writes Eileen Joyce Donovan. 

 What We Gain From a Good-Enough Life

“A new book challenges us to abandon greatness in favor of more attainable goals.”

Lily Meyer discusses the recently published book The Good-Enough Life by Avram Alpers:

Alpert does not ask his readers to abandon their goals completely, but he does ask us to acknowledge the unlikelihood of becoming the next Kim Kardashian or creating a workers’ paradise. He also argues that clinging too tightly to such dreams, at the expense of smaller or partial ones, sets us up for both practical and moral failure . . .

© 2022 by Mary Daniels Brown

Last Week’s Links

Big Changes Coming to Medicare Part D Plans

AARP reports on the changes coming to Medicare drug plans as a result of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022: “The new law makes other changes to the program’s Part D drug benefits, including putting a limit on out-of-pocket payments for insulin and making vital vaccines free.”

Why a ‘silver gap year’ can be a golden opportunity, and how to start planning your own

Laura Martin describes the “silver” or “golden” gap year: “often an extended break as opposed to a full year. Nearly a quarter of retirees had taken a year to go travelling in their retirement or would consider doing so, according to 2019 research from retirement accommodation provider Inspired Villages.”

I’m Retiring. Shouldn’t I Be Celebrating?

Michèle Dawson Haber has been planning for years to retire from her job as a labor advocate before age 65. But now, at age 56, she has reached the moment:

I feel on the cusp of loss, despite being certain that this is what I want. Sure, I’ll miss the work and my colleagues, but the anxiety I feel is bigger than that. I know I need to stop moping and pirouette into my blessed new life, but first, I want to figure out what it is I’m losing.

She’s afraid retirement might mean the loss of purpose or the loss of youth. But observing her mother, who has Alzheimer’s disease, makes Laura realize that her retirement won’t mean the loss of self: “I don’t need to worry about holding onto youth, being productive, or staying relevant for others, because that has nothing to do with who I am.”

How America’s ageism hurts, shortens lives of elderly

The Harvard Gazette features an excerpt from the book Breaking the Age Code: How Your Beliefs About Aging Determine How Long & Well You Live by Harvard alumna Becca Levy. A social psychologist, Levy tested “the impact of cultural age stereotypes on the health and lives of older people”:

In study after study I conducted, I found that older people with more positive perceptions of aging performed better physically and cognitively than those with more negative perceptions; they were more likely to recover from severe disability, they remembered better, they walked faster, and they even lived longer.

She describes the purpose of her book this way: “In this book, I will show you how priming, or the activation of age stereotypes without awareness, works, what it says about the unconscious nature of our stereotypes, and how we can strengthen our ideas about aging.”

Can You Pass the 10-Second Balance Test?

“Balance training is an important but often-neglected skill, one that impacts both our longevity and our quality of life, beginning around age 40,” writes Hilary Achauer in this article for the New York Times. She describes some exercises to improve balance.

Yoga versus democracy? What survey data says about spiritual Americans’ political behavior

According to Evan Stewart, assistant professor of sociology at UMass Boston, and Jaime Kucinskas, associate professor of sociology at Hamilton College:

Today – the rise of a politically potent religious right over the past 50 years notwithstanding – fewer Americans identify with formal religions. Gallup found that 47% of Americans reported church membership in 2020, down from 70% in the 1990s; nearly a quarter of Americans have no religious affiliation.

At the same time, “other kinds of meaningful practice” and new secular rituals are on the rise. These sociologists studied whether the new focus on mindfulness and self-care is making Americans more self-centered. Here they discuss their findings, which are published in the journal American Sociological Review.

E. Bryant Crutchfield, 85, Dies; Gave the World the Trapper Keeper

Few objects evoke Gen X or millennial childhood as powerfully as the Trapper Keeper, essentially a large binder for your folders. Mead, Mr. Crutchfield’s employer, introduced it nationally in 1981, and by the end of the decade the company estimated that half of all middle and high school students in the United States had one.

I never had one of these myself (although I did sort of covet one), but I bought a few for my child. I understand they’ve been reintroduced in this year’s crop of school supplies, in some sort of ’80s nostalgia movement.

© 2022 by Mary Daniels Brown

Last Week’s Links

What You Need to Know About Regrets

“How looking backward shows us the path forward.”

“So how do we reconcile with regrets as we age? For older adults, it can be bittersweet to compare what is to what could have been, as our chances for a do-over dwindle,” writes Tove Strandmark. Drawing from the book The Power of Regret: How Looking Backward Moves Us Forward by Daniel H. Pink, she offers some advice and examples.

How some Seattle-area seniors are getting an outdoor escape

Here’s an article about “Cycling Without Age, a global organization trying to enrich the lives of older people by visiting extended living facilities and offering rides piloted by volunteers.” The volunteers use specialized electric bicycles called trishaws.

Old age isn’t a modern phenomenon – many people lived long enough to grow old in the olden days, too

I see a lot of articles explaining that the number of older adults is increasing as advances in fields like medicine and nutrition allow people to live longer. But Sharon DeWitte, professor of anthropology at the University of South Carolina, reminds us that in earlier times people also lived long enough to grow old. She’s a bioarchaeologist, someone who studies human skeletons excavated from archaeological sites to see what life in the past was like. “There’s physical evidence that plenty of people in the past lived long lives – just as long as some people do today,” she writes.

Good Company: Depictions of Older Women in Literature

Jane Campbell has some reading recommendations:

For some time, I have been relishing literature that offers wonderfully varying depictions of old women. They are good company. These are pieces that expose the cruelty inflicted on older women and that impress me with their capacity to pursue the essence of the complex creature that still exists inside the worn-out body. Inside them all is the fight for their independence.

The Real-Life Women’s Baseball League Behind ‘A League of Their Own’

I’ve mentioned before that I like baseball. I eagerly watched the 1992 movie A League of Their Own. Now Amazon has produced a TV series with the same title. In this article Ellen Gutoskey fills in some history of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, which lasted from 1943 until 1954.

You Can Expect to Be Happy in Your 50s and 60s

Psychology Today takes a look at the happiness curve, which suggests that humans overall get happier after midlife:  “The argument, which comes from huge data sets, suggests two ways to think about your own history. Don’t blame yourself so much for the bad time—and be optimistic that things will improve.”

How My Mother’s Dementia Has Made Us So Much Closer

“The most common personality change for people with dementia is apathy or sadness,” according to geriatric psychiatrist Gary Kennedy, a professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Bronx-based Montefiore Medical Center and the Albert Einstein School of Medicine. Though he added that physicians and psychiatrists wouldn’t hear about those patients who become sweeter and more loving because that’s not a problem.

Here Elena Bowes tells one of those stories that we don’t hear about often. Bowes describes how her 88-year-old mother has become “softer, kinder, more loving”—although, Bowes admits, she still occasionally catches a glimpse of her old mother, who was often critical and judgmental.

Medical Mutual Aid Before Roe v. Wade

Linda Thurston tells the story of how and a group of friends at Boston University created a handbook called Birth Control, Abortion and V.D., A Guide for the B.U. Student. There were two editions of the handbook published, the first in April 1969 and the second in January 1970.

I attended Boston University from 1966 to 1970. Although I don’t specifically remember this pamphlet, I do remember what it was like in Massachusetts at the time: “you could only get a legal abortion in the US if you got two doctors to testify that having a baby would kill you.” Massachusetts was particularly strict, with public enforcement of antique laws still on the books that prohibited showing and describing of birth control devices in public. 

© 2022 by Mary Daniels Brown

Last Week’s Links

“I’m Not Proud”: Given a Second Chance, Jane Fonda Probably Wouldn’t Do the Facelift Again

“The actor talked aging gracefully with Vogue.”

“I stay moisturized, I sleep, I move, I stay out of the sun, and I have good friends who make me laugh. Laughter is a good thing too,” Fonda, 85, tells Kenzie Bryant.

Serena Williams to ‘move on’ from tennis after U.S. Open

“She declined to use the term ‘retirement,’ which she said doesn’t ‘feel like a modern word.’ She instead called her decision an ‘evolution.’”

Illuminating the brain one neuron and synapse at a time – 5 essential reads about how researchers are using new tools to map its structure and function

The U.S. Brain Research Through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative is a collaboration among the National Institutes of Health, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, National Science Foundation, Food and Drug Administration and Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity and others. Since its inception in 2013, its goal has been to develop and use new technologies to examine how each neuron and neural circuit comes together to “record, process, utilize, store, and retrieve vast quantities of information, all at the speed of thought.”

“These five stories from our archives cover research that has been funded by or advances the goals of the BRAIN Initiative, detailing a slice of what’s next in neuroscience.”

Even simple exercise may help aging brain, study hints

New research hints that even a simple exercise routine just might help older Americans with mild memory problems.

Doctors have long advised physical activity to help keep a healthy brain fit. But the government-funded study marks the longest test of whether exercise makes any difference once memory starts to slide — research performed amid a pandemic that added isolation to the list of risks to participants’ brain health.

Launching My Debut Novel At 75

Wondra Chang, a native of South Korea, came to the U.S. in 1970. She had begun writing stories as a young child, but after she emigrated to the United States, she spent a long time learning to write English that met her artistic standards. “It was a public affirmation for me when Kirkus Reviews listed my debut novel, Sonju, in its 100 Best Indie Books of the Year in 2021,” she tells us.

Could learning algebra in my 60s make me smarter?

“New Yorker writer Alec Wilkinson struggled with maths at school, finding inspiration in literature instead. But aged 65, in the hope of unlocking a new part of his brain, he decided to put the limits of his intelligence to the test”

When Wilkinson decided to study algebra, he consulted his niece, Amie Wilkinson, a professor at the University of Chicago. He asked her how she thought the process would go.

“If I had to guess, I would say you will probably overthink,” she told him.

Boy, was she right.

But five months (Alec had thought his program of study would take six weeks) later, he had learned a bit about how algebra works and a lot more about how the brain works.

And he’s written a book about the whole experience, A Divine Language: Learning Algebra, Geometry, and Calculus at the Edge of Old Age. This article is “an edited extract” from that book.

© 2022 by Mary Daniels Brown

Olivia Newton-John, Pop Songstress Who Wowed as Sandy in ‘Grease,’ Dies at 73 | Vanity Fair

Olivia Newton-John, the British-Australian pop singer who dominated the pop charts of the 1970s and ’80s with mega hits “Hopelessly Devoted to You,” “Magic,” and “Physical”—and jolted audiences with her naif-to-naughty turn as Sandy in one of the top-grossing movie musicals of all time, Grease—died Monday at her ranch in Southern California, according to a message on her official Facebook page. Newton-John was fighting stage 4 metastatic breast cancer—she’d endured breast cancer on and off since 1992, but it had returned in 2017. She was 73.

Source: Olivia Newton-John, Pop Songstress Who Wowed as Sandy in ‘Grease,’ Dies at 73 | Vanity Fair

Last Week’s Links

A brief history of Esperanto, the 135-year-old language of peace hated by Hitler and Stalin alike

I’ve heard of Esperanto but know very little about it. This article explains how and why it was created as “a way for diverse groups of people to communicate easily and peacefully.”

Pop Culture’s Problem with Middle-Aged Women

“Women of a certain age are still largely invisible and left out of our narratives—or else, she’s a very particular type of middle-aged woman.”

“I never expected that turning fifty would bother me,” writes Lisa Whittington-Hill. She admits that, recently, television and movies have begun to portray more roles for women in middle life. However:

pop culture still has a problem with middle-aged women—something I discovered when, in an attempt to avoid my midlife crisis, I decided to look more closely at this fraught relationship. They are still largely invisible and left out of the narrative or are depicted as wives and moms who are not worthy of their own story lines. Sometimes they are career women, but that also becomes their only identity, and their story line is focused on how they can’t have it all—whatever that all is. When middle-aged women are well represented, it also tends to be a particular type of woman: She is married or divorced and has kids. She is also typically white, straight, cisgender, and thin. All of these trends suggest there is a certain set of expectations of what women must have achieved by the time they reach middle age, and those who don’t conform are largely left out of our stories.

How a Mormon Housewife Turned a Fake Diary Into an Enormous Best-Seller

“‘Go Ask Alice’ sold millions of copies and became a TV movie, but its true provenance was a secret.”

Casey Cep tells the story of Go Ask Alice, first published in 1971. The author was listed as Anonymous, and the story described how the narrator (also unnamed) spiraled down a drug-hazed life after unknowingly drinking a bottle of Coke spiked with LSD at a party.

Cep describes how the book became a best seller, its popularity fueled by the war on drugs as well as by the very controversy its publication created. 

25 Places to Catch a Bit of Baseball History

“Pick up some peanuts and Cracker Jack for a trip through stadiums, museums, and other sites celebrating the old ball game.”

If you live in or will be traveling to anywhere in the eastern half of the United States, here are some suggestions for sites to visit if, like me, you’re watching the build-up toward the postseason. Go Mariners!

How Polio Crept Back Into the U.S.

“U.S. public health agencies generally don’t test wastewater for signs of polio. That may have given the virus time to circulate silently before it paralyzed a New York man.”

I remember being ushered out of my second-grade classroom and lined up along the hallway, where the school nurse progressed up the line giving each of us a shot. I also remember the chilling photographs of rooms filled with iron lungs, each housing a patient paralyzed by polio: “At its peak in 1952, polio killed more than 3,000 Americans and paralyzed more than 20,000.”

Because of those memories, this report from ProPublica terrifies me. Its implications go well beyond a small threat of polio. The emergence of new viruses such as COVID-19 as well as the controversy over vaccination itself have created a situation that could well affect how we deal with the possibility of future worldwide epidemics. 

One last trip: Gabriella Walsh’s decision to die — and celebrate life — on her own terms

After learning that cancer, which had spread from her breast to bones throughout her body, left her with six to eight months to live, Gabriella Walsh didn’t want to extend her life, “but to prioritize the quality of the time she had left.” She decided “to pursue California’s End of Life Option Act, a law that took effect six years ago.”

According to the article, “California one of only 10 states, as well as the District of Columbia, to permit medical aid in dying.” But, author Marisa Gerber acknowledges, “the measure still has many vocal detractors.”

After discussing Gabriella Walsh’ personal history along with medical and legal issues, Gerber covers Walsh’s final month. I’ve never read a more sensitive, touching narrative.

Alexa Could Diagnose Alzheimer’s and Other Brain Conditions—Should It?

“Digital personal assistants could be equipped to diagnose cognitive issues using speech, though the ethics are debatable.”

Joanna Thompson writes:

We can all agree that Alexa’s tendency to eavesdrop is, at times, a little creepy. But is it possible to harness that ability to improve our health? That’s the question that researcher David Simon and his coauthors sought to answer in a recent paper published in Cell Press.

Simon says, “Technologies like this are coming. And I think they’re coming faster than the law is equipped to address in a complete way.” He urges policymakers to start now weighing the legal and ethical issues of privacy and consent alongside the possibile benefits of early diagnosis.

© 2022 by Mary Daniels Brown

What made Nichelle Nichols essential to ‘Star Trek’ as Uhura – Los Angeles Times

Kiss aside, there’s no question Nichols was underused in the series . . . Uhura rarely joins a landing party. But even when she’s not the focus of a scene, she is regularly onscreen, even if just visible at her post on the bridge, completing the picture, contributing to the emotional tenor. (And when she isn’t there, you notice it.) As the communications officer, everything runs through Uhura: She’s the voice of what’s happening elsewhere on the ship, and what’s happening outside the ship, whether announcing the presence of some other spacecraft or relating what’s up with Planet X. Even reciting lines like “I’m receiving Class Two signals from the Romulan vessel” or “Revised estimate on cloud visual contact 3.7 minutes,” she is the picture of the professional. She builds exposition, asks important questions; wordlessly reacting to some bit of business on the viewing screen, she brings an emotion and energy into the scene different from that of her sometimes blustery male colleagues.

Source: What made Nichelle Nichols essential to ‘Star Trek’ as Uhura – Los Angeles Times

Nichelle Nichols, Lt. Uhura on ‘Star Trek,’ has died at 89 | AP News

Nichelle Nichols, who broke barriers for Black women in Hollywood when she played communications officer Lt. Uhura on the original “Star Trek” television series, has died at the age of 89. Her son Kyle Johnson said Nichols died Saturday in Silver City, New Mexico.

Source: Nichelle Nichols, Lt. Uhura on ‘Star Trek,’ has died at 89 | AP News

This is truly sad news. Read the full story from AP to remember the true significance of Nichols’s life and career.

Related Post:

The Sad Story of Nichelle Nichols

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