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.

This Week in Boomer History: Little Rock 9 … ‘Flying Nun’ … Princess Diana

Notable events from our shared experience Ordered by Gov. Orval Faubus to defy a federal court, armed troops of the Arkansas National Guard bar nine African American students from attending Central High School in Little Rock on Sept. 4, 1957. Three weeks later troops from the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division help escort the students into school. (Pictured at left, Melba Patillo Beals in 2007 at a ceremony dedicating a visitor center at the Little Rock Central High School National Historic …

11 Things We Didn’t Know Last Week

News, discoveries and … fun 1. A cobra can bite and kill someone even 20 minutes after its head is severed. (Learn more at Daily Mirror) 2. Celebrity deaths do not generally come in threes. (Learn more at NY Times) 3. How rare is a blue lobster? One in 2 million. (Learn more at Associated Press) >> 12 Foods Sabotaging Your Sleeep 4. With the national unemployment rate at 6.2 percent in July, 20 U.S. cities are under 4 percent. …

Goodbye, Desktop. Hello, Apps

If you’re not reading this on your smartphone or tablet, you will be soon. We’re in the midst of a revolution in digital media, and a new report offers two striking findings: Most of us are using desktop computers less and mobile platforms more. And those who spend most of their “digital media time” using apps outnumber those who don’t. The report, by the Internet analytics company comScore, breaks down the use of mobile media and apps by age. No …

This Week in Boomer History: Thurgood Marshall … ‘Mary Poppins’

Notable events from our shared experience Despite the popular image, the “hotline” between Moscow and Washington wasn’t red, and it wasn’t a telephone. It was teletype machines first tested for sending direct messages on Aug. 30, 1963 – partly in response to the Cuban Missile Crisis a year earlier. The first message: “The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog’s back 1234567890.” About 250,000 people flood the National Mall in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 28, 1963, as part of …

11 Things We Didn’t Know Last Week

News, discoveries and … fun 1. Bacteria in your gut – some crave sugar, others want fat – might be dictating what you eat. (Learn more at The Atlantic) 2. Having an office window can help you sleep at night, lower your blood pressure and keep you in a better mood. (Learn more at AARP) 3. $100 is worth $115.74 in Mississippi, but only $84.60 in Washington, D.C. (Learn more at Washington Post) >> America’s Best Small Towns 4. The complexity of a …

3 Things You Didn’t Know About the Beatles’ 1964 North American Tour

The second time the Beatles invaded the United States in 1964, a month-long expedition that began Aug. 19, Art Schreiber was one of just two American newsmen on tour. He rode with their chartered planes, stayed in their hotels and night after night witnessed concerts where music was completely beside the point. Now 86 and on a 50th anniversary tour of his own, Schreiber recalls three things you may not know: At the hotel after the concerts, Schreiber’s phone would …