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. Long dismissed as a separate species of dinosaur, the Brontosaurus (Thunder Lizard) is enjoying a comeback among scientists. (Learn more at Scientific American) 2. A 100-year-old Japanese woman can swim 1,500 meters in record time. (Learn more at Washington Post) 3. Middle-aged night owls have a much higher risk for diabetes and some other health problems than early-risers. (Learn more at AARP) Get discounts on airfare, car rentals, hotels and more with your AARP …

11 Things We Didn’t Know Last Week – April 1 Edition

News, discoveries and … fun We’ve hidden a few April Fools items in 11 Things this week. Tell us which ones you think they are in Comments below — and no peeking. 1. Among the new species discovered last year is the Tinkerbell Fairyfly, in Costa Rica. (Learn more at the International Institute for Species Exploration) 2. A 1,000-year-old remedy that mixes juices from onion and garlic with bile from a cow’s stomach successfully combats the deadly MRSA superbug. (Learn more at …

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) 4. It’s possible to power a small country exclusively on renewable energy. (Learn …

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 …