Here's a Volkswagen plant in Germany that makes me think of the (former) World of Motion ride at EPCOT.  (H/T MMG.)

I'd imagine the cars from such a factory cost a pretty penny cent, but it's still cool.  If I were a worker, however, I'd at least be asking questions about what the side effects might be of all the magnets under the floor.

Posted by sursumcorda on Friday, March 18, 2011 at 7:48 pm | Edit
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If you give up pie for lent, can you still eat Boston cream pie?  The only thing that luscious concoction of cake, pudding, and chocolate icing has in common with pie is that both are round.

Then there’s the kind that is a different shape altogether—at least when I was in school we were taught that it was square.  Personally, I think this video proves that it isn’t square at all, but a very cool dude indeed.

Happy Pi Day, everyone!*


*Technically, it's still the 13th as I post this.  But it's 3.14 in Switzerland, which is good enough for me.  I've decided not to stay up till 1:59 a.m., anyway.
Posted by sursumcorda on Sunday, March 13, 2011 at 10:00 pm | Edit
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I'm still struggling with the book review I'd hoped to post today, so instead you get Jennifer Fulwiler's dry humor.  You can read the whole 7 Quick Takes Friday post at her Conversion Diary blog for other tidbits, like one man's Lenten beer fast (it's not what you think), but here's the section that set me laughing—and thinking—this morning:

Here’s what [Lenten disciplines] I decided on: a decade of the Rosary first thing each morning, and no adding sugar to my morning tea (a small but surprisingly noticeable sacrifice for me). And…well, umm…there’s one other thing that I couldn’t decide if I would admit or not…but I guess I’ll go ahead and say it:

I’m giving up cursing for Lent.

Now, before you form an image of me yelling at my kids to stop jumping on the $%^! couch or asking my husband to pass the $%&*!# salt at dinner, let me say that it’s not that bad. I don’t use bad words in front of the kids, and it’s not like I walk around spewing profanity when I’m around adults. It’s just that I’ve noticed lately that, well, sometimes I just can’t seem to express myself without pulling out a word from my pre-conversion lexicon. So I’m really working on that during Lent, hopefully adopting habits that will last for the long-term.

Giving up adding sugar to drinks was actually a last-minute addition to my Lenten plans. I’d always heard that you should give up something good, but I didn’t really get why, so I just went with giving up cursing for Lent. But then I heard people who had given up something good talking about their plans for Easter, and it all clicked.

For example, someone I know who gave up cheese talked about how she’s going to get a huge, lavish cheese tray for brunch on Easter. When I imagined her going that long 40 days with nary [a] bite of one of her favorite foods, I could see how the ecstatic joy of the Resurrection would hit her at an even deeper, visceral level as she bit into savory chunks of Camembert and felt the luscious Brie melt in her mouth after the long fast.

Then I pictured myself rising on Easter morn’, taking a deep breath, and shouting the f-word. Umm, yeah. That’s why giving up something that’s bad anyway doesn’t quite have the same effect. So no sugar in my tea for Lent.

Posted by sursumcorda on Friday, March 11, 2011 at 7:21 am | Edit
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Ha!  Engish is cool, too.  German has its Eszett (ß) and Spanish its eñe (ñ); the world is full of accents and umlauts and other characters that make life interesting and typing difficult.  By contrast, English is plain and boring.

But it wasn't always so.  We had - ta da! - The Thorn.

From Michael Leclerc of the New England Historic Genealogical Society:

One of the most abused of all letters (and former letters) in the English language is the Thorn. In Latin, the letter was written as Þ (capital) or þ (lowercase). In English, however, the thorn looks like the modern letter “y.” The thorn is no longer used in everyday English. The Thorn was pronounced the same way as the digraph “th” in modern English. In proper usage it is NEVER pronounced as the letter “y.”

It is often found on old gravestones, usually in its y-shape followed by a superscript letter ("Here lies ye body of"), and in the names of stores attempting to appear quaint (Ye Olde Coffee Shop).

Lest you think this is all ancient history, the thorn can also be found in Unicode, on Icelandic keyboards, and in html (þ = þ).

I think that's cool.

Posted by sursumcorda on Friday, March 4, 2011 at 8:07 am | Edit
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With an enthusiastic tip of the hat to PD, I present Hillsborough, New Hampshire's own Bible Hill Boys in this awesome Christmas video, (I Do All My) Christmas Shopping at the Dump.


This is in tribute to our very own UJ, who is the undefeated champion of dump shopping in Connecticut.  In Florida, as in many places, dumps are dirty, smelly, nasty, dangerous things.  But in thrifty New England residents can separate out potentially reusable trash and "dump" it in special locations (at the transfer stations), where others can find treasure.  Sometimes literally:  our UJ once found a diamond ring!  Unable to find the original owner, he presented it to his wife.  Needless to say, she does not consider her husband a chump.  He's a champ!  "UJ's Store" is a great place for shopping, whatever the season.

Enjoy the song!

Posted by sursumcorda on Monday, December 13, 2010 at 11:34 am | Edit
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So, this headline popped up in my news feed today:

US, Israel, PA fail to reach agreement on settlement freeze

and my immediate thought was, "Why is Pennsylvania negotiating directly with Israel?"

Posted by sursumcorda on Tuesday, December 7, 2010 at 4:53 pm | Edit
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In case you haven't seen it, check out the 12 Composers of Christmas.  (H/T musician friend Sarah D.)

The song, of course, reminds me of another favorite, the Twelve Days of a Large Family Christmas(More)

Posted by sursumcorda on Friday, December 3, 2010 at 9:10 am | Edit
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From a BBC News story of the latest Nissan recall (H/T Porter):

Nissan said there had been no accidents reported due to the fault, which can cause the engine to stall while running.

Just what I needed, something more to worry about.  The nighmare scenario had never occurred to me:  We're peacefully asleep in our beds, our car resting in the garage, apparently quite comfortable—but unbeknownst to us suffering an episode of stalling while the engine was not running.

Posted by sursumcorda on Thursday, October 28, 2010 at 6:24 am | Edit
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altNon Campus Mentis:  World History According to College Students, compiled by Anders Henriksson (Workman Publishing, New York, 2001) (Later retitled Ignorance Is Blitz)

This compilation of major historical events was pieced together from the essays and exams of students at a variety of colleges in the United States and Canada.  If you know a reasonable amount of world history and geography, you will find it hysterical, at least till you get to the quiz in the back of the book.

It would be a good book to read aloud at a party, although you would miss some pretty funny misspellings.  Reading it aloud in the car, however, as we did, would be unwise:  If you think texting puts the driver at a disadvantage, you should see what happens when he's doubled over with hysterical laughter.  (More)

Posted by sursumcorda on Sunday, October 10, 2010 at 11:36 am | Edit
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For friends and family who prefer to ignore Facebook:

Jonathan:  Dad, the spaceship book gave me an idea, and I'm going to be working on a project. It requires liquid oxygen....

Anyone have some spare LOX for an ambitious six-year-old?

Posted by sursumcorda on Saturday, September 11, 2010 at 6:16 am | Edit
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For reasons obscure (who needs a reason, anyway?) I was looking up mathematician/musician Tom Lehrer and came upon this.  Enjoy!

Posted by sursumcorda on Thursday, June 10, 2010 at 6:51 am | Edit
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Meet Feudal Effort, the latest addition to the comics list on my Sursum Corda page:


 I find it fun.  Sometimes there's a bit of mildly objectionable language, but nothing the nephews can't handle, and I don't think the grandkids are reading my comic list yet.  :)

You can get to know the characters here.

Posted by sursumcorda on Friday, June 4, 2010 at 11:30 am | Edit
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Is there a word, in any language, for "my daughter's husband's cousin's husband"?  That's what Kevin Michael Johnson is, and I'm proud to claim the family relationship, however distant and awkwardly-phrased.  Kevin is an actor, living in New York City with his lovely singer-songwriter wife, Steph Shaw.  One of his recent triumphs was in the show Wild Black Yonder, which a number of members of our family (but, alas, not I) were privileged to see at "The Kate" in Old Saybrook, Connecticut.

Kevin's latest venture is The Raid, a documentary about the tremendously popular online game, World of Warcraft.  Everything I know about WOW I learned form the Foxtrot comic least until I watched Kevin's promotional video.  The embedded video below is from YouTube, but the link will take you to a video on the official, more informative site, where you can also get involved in the project if it excites you.  You can also check them out on Facebook.

Posted by sursumcorda on Thursday, February 4, 2010 at 7:44 pm | Edit
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Forget whatever witty and informative post I was going to provide tonight.  Go over to The Occasional CEO and read about the latest and greatest economic forecasting tool:  Just Follow the Bones.
Posted by sursumcorda on Thursday, January 28, 2010 at 9:06 pm | Edit
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Nanosurf—the company that put an atomic force microscope on Mars and good Swiss bread on Janet's table—has a cool promotional video.

Disclosure: I receive no direct material compensation for posting this video or anything else about Nanosurf.  It can't be denied, however, that the support of our daughter's family is of considerably more value than receiving a free book.
Posted by sursumcorda on Wednesday, January 20, 2010 at 9:31 am | Edit
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