Archive for ‘Getting older’

September 8, 2012

Zeit Guy Links – 9/8/12

BMW Never-Too-Old Assembly Insures Against Lost Engineers Bloomberg

In 2007, the luxury automaker set up an experimental assembly line with older employees to see whether they could keep pace. The production line in Dingolfing, 50 miles northeast of BMW’s Munich base, features hoists to spare aging backs, adjustable-height work benches, and wooden floors instead of rubber to help hips swivel during repetitive tasks.

The verdict: Not only could they keep up, the older workers did a better job than younger staffers on another line at the same factory. Today, many of the changes are being implemented at plants across the company.

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NASA Explains how We Caused the Hottest Decade and are generally screwing ourselves over (Video) Juan Cole

NASA’s 5-minute video explains why the last decade has been the hottest ever (we did it) and what climate change means for our hot, thirsty future. It is entitled “Piecing together the Puzzle” and is narrated in a slow, calm voice. But it should be entitled “Run for the Hills!” and should have been narrated by Jennifer Granholm. Here’s the relevant NASA website.

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Drone Use Takes Off on the Home Front  WSJ

With little public attention, dozens of universities and law-enforcement agencies have been given approval by federal aviation regulators to use unmanned aircraft known as drones, according to documents obtained via Freedom of Information Act requests by an advocacy group.

The more than 50 institutions that received approvals to operate remotely piloted aircraft are more varied than many outsiders and privacy experts previously knew.

December 22, 2008

Arianna, Tina and the Bag Lady Papers

Arianna Huffington’s success with her Huffington Post blog evidently has inspired Tina Brown to create a blog of her own, The Daily Beast. Brown’s site is also an aggregator, but one that comes from the sensibility she displayed when she was editor of the New Yorker. I find that her bloggers are more interesting than the legions of folks who write for the Huffington Post. Arianna gets points for comprehensiveness, but the style points go to Tina.

Two examples: Stanley Crouch on The Hip-Hop Inauguration, refreshingly politically incorrect commentary on hip-hop culture. The other is by Alexandra Penney who lost her life’s savings and income stream to the last (I hope) great icon of the Age of Greed, Bernie Madoff. She is now writing The Bag Lady Papers – a confessional grounded in the next great boomer fear: Oh my God, I’m going to outlive my money. Good stuff, the writing that is.

October 30, 2008

He Never Dreamed it Would Turn Out This Way

None of us is spared the specificity of a fate. Alan Greenspan’s fate is the loss, not of his head, but of his reputation. And as old as he is, virtually impossible to recover. Unfortunate and sad to be seen a fool near the end of life.

June 24, 2008

I’m Not Getting Older, I’m Getting Googler

Has your reading changed since spending 10 years with the Web? Mine has. Age? Or the Age of Google? Oddly, I read more books now than I have in the past few years. Giving up cable TV helps. But I admit that long, dense reads are a tougher go. In any event, the article below attempts to come to grips with the effect of the Web on reading and “thinking.”

‘Tis worth a look, er, I mean read. I’ve included it in full below. Or click here to read it at TheAtlantic.com

“Is Google Making Us Stupid?” by Nicholas Carr from The Atlantic Magazine

“Dave, stop. Stop, will you? Stop, Dave. Will you stop, Dave?” So the supercomputer HAL pleads with the implacable astronaut Dave Bowman in a famous and weirdly poignant scene toward the end of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. Bowman, having nearly been sent to a deep-space death by the malfunctioning machine, is calmly, coldly disconnecting the memory circuits that control its artificial brain. “Dave, my mind is going,” HAL says, forlornly. “I can feel it. I can feel it.”

I can feel it, too. Over the past few years I’ve had an uncomfortable sense that someone, or something, has been tinkering with my brain, remapping the neural circuitry, reprogramming the memory. My mind isn’t going—so far as I can tell—but it’s changing. I’m not thinking the way I used to think.

read more »

March 31, 2008

A Boomer’s Reflection on Aging

In the April 7 issue of The New Yorker, Michael Kinsley reflects on aging, both his own and that of his generation. I’ve excerpted a small piece below.

We are born thinking that we’ll live forever. Then death becomes an intermittent reality, as grandparents and parents die, and tragedy of some kind removes one or two from our own age cohort. And then, at some point, death becomes a normal part of life—a faint dirge in the background that gradually gets louder. What is that point? One crude measure would be when you can expect, on average, one person of roughly your age in your family or social circle to die every year. At that point, any given death can still be a terrible and unexpected blow, but the fact that people your age die is no longer a legitimate surprise, and the related fact that you will, too, is no longer avoidable.

 

With some heroic assumptions, we can come up with an age when death starts to be in-your-face…

 

Anyway, the answer is sixty-three. If a hundred Americans start the voyage of life together, on average one of them will have died by the time the group turns sixteen. At forty, their lives are half over: further life expectancy at age forty is 39.9. And at age sixty-three the group starts losing an average of one person every year. Then it accelerates. By age seventy-five, sixty-seven of the original hundred are left. By age one hundred, three remain.

 

The last boomer competition is not just about how long you live. It is also about how you die. This one is a “Mine is shorter than yours”: you want a death that is painless and quick. Even here there are choices. What is “quick”? You might prefer something instantaneous, like walking down Fifth Avenue and being hit by a flower pot that falls off an upper-story windowsill. Or, if you’re the orderly type, you might prefer a brisk but not sudden slide into oblivion…

The boomer conversation on aging, like the aging itself, goes on. Click here for the entire article in print friendly format. Well worth the read if you’re a boomer or have boomer family or friends.