Growing Percent of Seniors Choose Entrepreneurship Over Retirement

(p. A17) Fed up, Mr. Grupper decided to try something new: being his own boss.
. . .
“The risks have paid off,” he said. “I’m making money doing what I love to do.”
. . .
These “encore entrepreneurs” are increasingly finding their niche: Their numbers are growing more than twice as fast as the population of New Yorkers over 50. Now a new report by the Center for an Urban Future, a nonprofit research and policy organization, has documented the trend using an analysis of census and labor data and dozens of interviews with organizations that work with entrepreneurs.
“Ask most New Yorkers to picture an entrepreneur, and they imagine a 20- or 30-something in jeans and sneakers. But the face of entrepreneurship across New York City is changing,” reads the report, “Starting Later: Realizing the Promise of Older Entrepreneurs in New York City.”
The number of self-employed New Yorkers who were at least 50 rose to 209,972 in 2016, up 63.7 percent from 128,282 in 2000. By comparison, the number of city residents overall who were at least 50 rose just 28.5 percent to 2.67 million from 2.08 million during that same period.
These older New York entrepreneurs are also part of a national trend, driven partly by the financial crisis a decade ago. Still, their numbers have grown even as the economy has rebounded. In August [2018], the national unemployment rate was 3.9 percent overall, and 3.1 percent for those 55 years and over, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
For many, it means no more answering to bosses half their age, or making do with part-time jobs bagging groceries to get by in their golden years.

For the full story, see:
Winnie Hu. “They’re Over 50, and Excited for a New Start(up).” The New York Times (Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2018): A17.
(Note: ellipses, and bracketed year, added.)
(Note: the online version of the story has the date Sept. 17, 2018, and has the title ” of the New York edition with the headline: “Retire? These Graying ‘Encore Entrepreneurs’ Are Just Starting Up.”)

Unemployed Robot Can Open Doors, If the Doors Have the Right Handles

(p. B1) WALTHAM, Mass. — Moving like a large dog, knees bent and hips swaying, the robot walked across a parking lot and into a rain puddle.
There, it danced a jig, splashing water across the asphalt. Then it turned and trotted toward a brick building, climbing over a curb and stopping within inches of a floor-length window. Pausing for several seconds, it seemed to eye its own reflection in the glass.
The scene was mesmerizing — so mesmerizing, it was easy to forget that a woman was guiding the four-legged machine from across the parking lot, a joystick in her hands and a laptop computer strapped to her waist.
The robot was called SpotMini. It was designed by Boston Dynamics, a company widely known for building machines that move like animals and humans. Thanks to a steady stream of YouTube videos from the otherwise secretive robotics lab, its machines have become an internet phenomenon.
But YouTube fame has not translated to very much revenue. In the coming year, Boston Dynamics, which was founded in 1992, plans to start selling the SpotMini, its first commercial robot. The mechanical dog would be a turning point for an outfit that has bewildered people with both its wondrous technology and its seeming lack of interest in making things someone — anyone — would actually want to buy.
Even now, it is not entirely clear what someone would do with one of these robots. That makes it hard to get past a question people have been asking about Boston Dynamics for years: Is this a business or a research lab?
. . .
(p. B4) Walking through the Boston Dynamics lab, Mr. Raibert, 68, wore bluejeans and a Hawaiian shirt, as he does nearly every day. He wants to build robots that can do what humans and animals can do. That was his aim in the early 1980s, when he founded the Leg Lab at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. And it was his aim when he moved the lab to M.I.T.
. . .
No machine comes closer to his vision than Atlas, a 165-pound anthropomorphic robot that can run, jump and even do back flips. Mr. Raibert would not let us shoot video of Atlas or other robots while inside the lab. But he did give a brief demonstration of the machine.
Like the SpotMini, Atlas is controlled by a joystick, a laptop computer and a wireless radio. When Mr. Raibert signaled for the demo, an engineer touched the joystick and the 165-pound robot crashed to the floor. Atlas is so large and so lifelike, you feel bad for it.
. . .
SpotMini is smaller and cheaper and has better balance than Atlas. It can carry (small) items on its back, and it can open doors (provided the doors have the proper handles). This requires an extra limb that attaches between its shoulders.

For the full story, see:
Cade Metz. “‘For Sale: One Robot In Search Of a Job.” The New York Times (Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018): B1 & B4.
(Note: ellipses added.)
(Note: the online version of the story has the date Sept. 21, 2018, and has the title “‘These Robots Run, Dance and Flip. But Are They a Business?”)

Dr. Charles Wilson Had Surgical Intuition, “Sort of an Invisible Hand”

(p. A19) Dr. Wilson sometimes worked in three operating rooms simultaneously: Residents would surgically open and prepare patients for his arrival, and he would then enter to seal an aneurysm or remove a tumor before moving on to the next case.
“He never spent much more than 30 or 60 minutes on each case, and we were left to close the case and make sure everything was O.K.,” Dr. Mitchel Berger, a former resident who is chairman of U.C.S.F.’s neurosurgical department, said in an interview. “It was unorthodox, but it worked. He demanded excellence and we gave him excellence.”
They also gave him silence. He allowed no music, no ringing phones and no idle chatter. Scrub nurses were expected to anticipate his requests.
“He would manage any break of silence with a stern look,” said Dr. Brian Andrews, a neurosurgeon who was one of Dr. Wilson’s residents and also his biographer, with the book “Cherokee Surgeon” (2011). (Dr. Wilson was one-eighth Cherokee.)
Dr. Wilson became world renowned for excising pituitary tumors through the sinus in a surgery called transsphenoidal resection.
. . .
The writer Malcolm Gladwell, in a profile of Dr. Wilson in The New Yorker in 1999, described one of those pituitary cancer surgeries. Looking at a tumor through a surgical microscope, Dr. Wilson used an instrument called a ring curette to peel the tumor from the gland.
“It was, he would say later, like running a squeegee across a windshield,” Mr. Gladwell wrote, “except that in this case, the windshield was a surgical field one centimeter in diameter, flanked on either side by the carotid arteries, the principal sources of blood to the brain.”
A wrong move could nick an artery or damage a nerve, endangering the patient’s vision or his life.
When Dr. Wilson saw bleeding from one side of the gland, he realized that he had not gotten all of the tumor. He found it and removed it. The surgery took only 25 minutes.
Dr. Wilson performed the surgery more than 3,300 times.
He told Mr. Gladwell that he had a special feel for surgery that he could not entirely explain.
“It’s sort of an invisible hand,” he said. “It begins almost to seem mystical. Sometimes a resident asks, ‘Why did you do that?’ ” His response, he told Mr. Gladwell, was to shrug and say, “Well, it just seemed like the right thing.”

For the full obituary, see:
Richard Sandomir. “‘Charles Wilson, 88, Lauded For Excising Brain Tumors, Sometimes Several in a Day.” The New York Times (Monday, March 5, 2018): A19.
(Note: ellipsis, and bracketed year, added.)
(Note: the online version of the obituary has the date March 2, 2018, and has the title “‘Charles Wilson, Top Brain Surgeon and Researcher, Dies at 88.”)

The biography of Wilson, mentioned above, is:
Andrews, Brian T. Cherokee Neurosurgeon: A Biography of Charles Byron Wilson, M.D. Scotts Valley, CA: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2011.

German Bookstore Thrives Selling Bread and Sausage

(p. A7) BAD SOODEN-ALLENDORF, Germany — At five minutes after seven on a Saturday morning, the bookstore in this idyllic town was not yet officially open — that happens at 7:30 a.m. — but Susanne Frühauf had already rung up the first three customers of the day. At a shelf in the corner, behind a rack of discount paperbacks, her husband Wolfgang was working as quickly as he could.
“They’re like moths,” said Mr. Frühauf, genially, of his customers. “As soon as the lights go on, they come.”
With that, he got back to work, stacking not books, but rows of freshly baked bread rolls sprinkled with poppy, pumpkin, flax, sesame or sunflower seeds that have brought townspeople flocking. Next to him stood a small refrigerator hung with “ahle wurst” — a delicious air-dried, salami-like pork sausage that is one of the region’s culinary specialties — while in the center aisle, organic tomatoes and cucumbers vied with crime novels for table space.
. . .
Mr. Frühauf’s grandfather founded a bookbindery nearly a century ago, right here on the ground floor of the family house on the market square; Mr. Frühauf grew up above the bookstore, which his parents and uncle ran together. Five years ago, when he saw the numbers, Mr. Frühauf — who still lives upstairs, with his mother and his wife — said the situation was clear: “We had to do something.”
At the same time, news came that the town’s last two bakeries were closing. For residents like Mr. Frühauf, who remember when half a dozen local bakers strove to make the town’s best cream-covered plum cake, cumin roll or pumpernickel loaf, this blow was followed by hopeful news: Norbert Schill, who had lost his storefront lease, wanted to keep baking.
“I said, ‘before there’s no fresh bakery, I’ll clear a shelf, and we can sell the bread here,'” Mr. Frühauf said. Mr. Schill agreed to give it a try.
The experiment was a success. Mr. Frühauf began keeping baker’s hours, and Mr. Schill’s former customers started coming to the bookstore to buy their daily bread. Some, like Norbert Bergmann, a retired Catholic priest, got into the habit of picking up a book or TV guide, too.
Some of Mr. Frühauf’s regular customers found the idea strange at first, but they came around quickly. “It’s fun to eat breakfast again,” said Regina Kistner, who raised her family here, and had been making do with the processed rolls sold at the supermarket. “These taste good,” she added, leaving the store with two rolls (one rye and one sesame), a tabloid paper (for her neighbor) and the British romance novel “A Summer at Sea.”
Mr. Schill, the baker, said he for one was very happy to have found such an open-minded partner in the bookseller. “There’s a saying, I remember learning as a child, from the old people. ‘Go with the times, or with time, you’ll go.'”
. . .
Locking up after a long, warm morning, Mr. Frühauf paused. He took a look around at the 17th century building that houses his eclectic store, and said he enjoys being at the center of a new network of butchers, bakers and beekeepers. “In Germany, I think there’s a tendency now, to be very backward-looking, to say, ‘everything used to be better,'” said Mr. Frühauf. “But all you really need are some new ideas.”

For the full story, see:
Sally McGrane. “‘To Stay Afloat After 100 Years, a German Bookstore Sells Sausage.” The New York Times (Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018): A7.
(Note: ellipses added.)
(Note: the online version of the story has the title “‘Would You Like Some Sausage With Your Novel?”)

Bezos to Donate $2 Billion for “Montessori Inspired” Preschools

(p. A10) When Jeff Bezos announced last week that he and his wife, MacKenzie Bezos, would create and operate a national network of Montessori preschools, few were more surprised than Montessori organizations and leaders themselves.
In a statement released on Twitter, Mr. Bezos, the chief executive of Amazon and the wealthiest person in the world, said the preschools would be “in underserved communities.” He continued, “We’ll use the same set of principles that have driven Amazon. Most important among those will be genuine, intense customer obsession. The child will be the customer.”
News of the initiative, called the Bezos Day One Fund, came with an eye-popping commitment: $2 billion, some of which will support organizations that help homeless families.
. . .
Montessori’s unique combination of freedom and rigidity — a famously “child-centered” practice with a host of rules and restrictions — can make its classrooms look drastically different from traditional ones.
Students span a three-year age range, say, between 3 and 5. Dressing up or talking about fairies or superheroes is not allowed. Instead of a play kitchen, there may be a real one, where students might pour their own juice into a glass cup, not a plastic one, so that they will learn the lesson that a glass can break if they are careless.
And every day, students get three-hour blocks of unscheduled, uninterrupted “work” time — the word “play” is not used — in which they are free to choose their activities, whether finger-painting or sorting wooden pegs.
. . .
With little else to parse, Montessori leaders pored over Mr. Bezos’ brief statement, which described the planned schools as “Montessori-inspired.” The term “Montessori” is not copyrighted, and any school can choose to describe itself as such.
. . .
Mr. Bezos attended a Montessori preschool in Albuquerque in the 1960s and is one of several tech industry leaders with personal ties to the method. The Google founders, Sergey Brin and Larry Page, have attributed some of their success to their Montessori educations. Dr. Montessori’s reframing of child’s play as “work,” driven by the child’s choices and interests, is, in many ways, a natural fit for Silicon Valley’s culture of founder-driven entrepreneurship and innovation.

For the full story, see:

Dana Goldstein. “‘Money, but Few Details, In Bezos Montessori Plan.” The New York Times (Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018): A10.

(Note: ellipses added.)
(Note: the online version of the story has the date Sept. 21, 2018, and has the title “‘Jeff Bezos Cites a Big Number, but Few Details, in Plan for Low-Income Montessori Preschools.”)

Stylus Line Drawing Found from 73,000 Years Past

(p. A13) Researchers say they’ve found the world’s oldest known line drawing in a seaside cave in South Africa–a red cross-hatched grid sketched on a broken grindstone by early humans 73,000 years ago.
The discovery, made public Wednesday [September 12, 2018] in Nature, offers evidence of an important addition to the artist’s tool kit, the scientists said. Experts in human origins have discovered many images of greater antiquity made by engraving or by painting, but this appears to be the oldest example of a picture made by using a stylus.
“It was definitely drawn with a pen or pencil,” said archaeologist Christopher Henshilwood at the University of Bergen in Norway, who led the team that analyzed the drawing. If so, the abstract image appears to be about 30,000 years older than other early drawings in Europe, Africa and Southeast Asia.
. . .
In the prehistory of human creativity, the invention of drawing combines a new skill and a new tool. Drawing with a stylus of some sort is a breakthrough in portability and spontaneous expression that can turn any surface into a message board. “If you can draw, you can walk across a landscape and leave a message or a symbol anywhere you want,” Dr. Henshilwood said.

For the full story, see:
Robert Lee Hotz. “Ancient Hashtag Reveals Origins of Drawing.” The Wall Street Journal (Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018): A13.
(Note: ellipsis, and bracketed date, added.)
(Note: the online version of the story has the date Sept. 12, 2018, and has the title “Is This the World’s Oldest Hashtag?”)

When Volunteer Bystanders Save More Lives than So-Called First Responders

(p. A1) In the days after the shootings at the Route 91 Harvest festival in Las Vegas, many stories emerged of bystander courage. Volunteers combed the grounds for survivors and carried out the injured. Strangers used belts as makeshift tourniquets to stanch bleeding, and then others sped the wounded to hospitals in the back seats of cars and the beds of pickup trucks.
These rescue efforts took place before the county’s emergency medical crews, waylaid by fleeing concertgoers, reached the grassy field, an estimated half-hour or more after the shooting began. When they did arrive, the local fire chief said in an interview, only the dead remained.
“Everybody was treating patients and trying to get there,” Chief Gregory Cassell of the Clark County Fire Department, said of his personnel. “They just couldn’t.”
The experiences in Las Vegas have implications for the nation. Emergency medical services have changed how they respond to mass attacks, charging into insecure areas and immediately helping the injured rather than standing back. Still, every minute counts, and bystanders can play a critical role in saving lives, as shown in the aftermath to the shooting on Oct. 1 [2017] outside the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.
. . .
(p. A14) In Las Vegas, several factors impeded the arrival of emergency medical workers at the scene of the shooting itself.
Confusion abounded. One fire crew that happened to be passing by during the first few minutes saw people running from the festival and heard what sounded like gunfire. “You got reports of anything?” a member of the fire crew, Capt. Ken O’Shaughnessy of Engine 11, asked a dispatcher over the radio. “That’s a negative, sir,” he was told. Three minutes later, the dispatcher confirmed that there was an active call.
Members of that crew remained nearby, and later assisted injured concertgoers.
“From what it sounds like talking to them, they didn’t identify the hot zone because they didn’t know where it was,” said Mr. Cassell, the fire chief. “They just knew they had dozens and dozens of critical patients.”
More than 10 minutes after the shooting began, a battalion chief advised firefighters to “stage at a distance” and put on protective vests and helmets as he tried to understand the situation and make contact with a police lieutenant on the scene. The battalion chief radioed in seven minutes later that there were reports of gunfire at both the concert grounds and the Mandalay Bay across the street. “We can’t approach it yet,” he said.
The injured were already fleeing and being carried out in several directions. “Those crews making their way to the concert venue were met at every turn by patients in the streets,” Mr. Cassell said. The fire department helped establish several assembly points, and ultimately, about 160 firefighters and emergency medical workers from departments in the region went to the scene.
Inside the nearly empty concert grounds after the shooting stopped, some volunteers remained, roaming among the fallen near the stage, checking pulses and finding some of them unconscious but still breathing.

For the full story, see:
Sheri Fink. “‘First Medics on Scene in Las Vegas: Other Fans.” The New York Times (Monday, Oct. 15, 2017): A1 & A14.
(Note: ellipsis, and bracketed year, added.)
(Note: the online version of the story has the date Oct. 15, 2017, and has the title “‘After the Las Vegas Shooting, Concertgoers Became Medics.”)

The passages quoted above, provide one more example of one of the main messages of:
Ripley, Amanda. The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes – and Why. New York: Crown Publishers, 2008.