Death Valley hasn't seen such a wide array of flowers in about 50 years — blue pendants of desert lupine and tiny purple chias growing in clumps, golden California poppies scattering all over hillsides.
The recent storms have turned part of the salt pan around Badwater Basin — normally a brackish puddle a few inches deep — into a reflecting pool about five miles across.
"This isn't a wasteland," Muick said. "It will start looking empty when the flowers are gone, but there's life there at all times."
In addition, perhaps the seventh stage demographic may not be as flaccid as they are usually characterized by mainstream culture.
recent research suggests that much of that slower response is a conscious choice to emphasize accuracy over speed.
"Older people don't want to make any errors at all, and that causes them to slow down. We found that it is difficult to get them out of the habit, but they can with practice," McKoon said.
Accuracy for "associative memory" does decline as people age.
"The older view was that all cognitive processes decline at the same rate as people age," Ratcliff said. "We're finding that there isn't such a uniform decline. There are some things that older people do nearly as well as young people."