News, Culture, Sights and Sounds

Steve Mencher writes about culture, politics, the news and other subjects for AARP. He's also a jazz musician with the Willis Gidney Quintet. He has worked for Carnegie Hall, NPR and the Library of Congress as an audio, video and multimedia producer.

11 Things We Didn’t Know Last Week

News, discoveries and … fun 1. A seven-foot long, salamander-like amphibian with razor sharp teeth roamed the earth more than 200 million years ago. (Learn more at Discovery) 2. A ketchup bottle with a slippery interior can end the “anticipation” of waiting to top your hamburger or fries. (Learn more at NY Times) 3. As they age, women’s memories stay sharper than men’s. (Learn more at AARP) Enter the Family Fun Travel Sweepstakes. No purchase necessary. See official rules. » …

11 Things We Didn’t Know Last Week

News, discoveries and … fun 1. Chameleons change colors by enlarging or contracting small crystals in their skin that reflect different hues. (Learn more at USA Today) 2. It’s only human to buy high and sell low, especially in the stock market. (Learn more at AARP) 3. After menopause, female killer whales provide key information that is critical to their pod’s survival. (Learn more at National Geographic) 4. Jimi Hendrix recorded with a group called Curtis Knight & the Squires. (Learn more …

11 Things We Didn’t Know Last Week

News, discoveries and … fun 1. Some Japanese islands have more cats than people. (Learn more at The Atlantic) 2. The length of a man’s fingers might signal how nice he’ll be to women. (Learn more at AARP) 3. EGOT — a word for someone, like Whoopi Goldberg, who has won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony — is in the Oxford Dictionaries Online. (Learn more at Time) 4. Stem cells from wisdom teeth can grow tissue that might lead …

11 Things We Didn’t Know Last Week

News, discoveries and … fun 1. Hippos and whales are cousins. (Learn more at Discovery) 2. In a British variety of soccer, players walk rather than run. (Learn more at The Blaze) 3. New evidence shows that feeding peanuts to babies might help them beat peanut allergies. (Learn more at USA Today) 4. A new mind-controlled bionic hand works almost as well as a flesh-and-blood transplant. (Learn more at Discovery) 5. Godzilla fans will have a new Tokyo hotel to …

11 Things We Didn’t Know Last Week

News, discoveries and … fun 1. Penguins, which swallow their food whole, don’t have much sense of taste. (Learn more at Discovery) 2. Bronzed baby shoes are making a comeback. (Learn more at CBS Sacramento)   3. Snail teeth are made of the strongest natural substance yet discovered, which could be copied to make race cars, boat hulls and airplanes. (Learn more at Quartz) >> Register for Life@50+ Digital Experience. New AARP RealPad Included! Learn More 4. In July, Random House will bring out a never-published …

Who Will Tend Your Memory on Facebook?

A couple of years ago at the South by Southwest Interactive conference in Austin, I met a guy in a superhero costume promoting his start-up, which he cheekily called Dead Social. His company’s mission statement: “Prepare for a Digital Death and Build Your Digital Legacy.” Start-up founder James Norris was onto something then, and Facebook this week joined digital giants Google and Apple in acknowledging that questions of what to do with your digital persona after death now loom large …