Hat tip to Andy Bonner for this humorous look at the copyright mess.

Posted by sursumcorda on Tuesday, August 11, 2009 at 4:49 pm | Edit
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My sister called me a geek because I adorned reserved church pews with such labels as "DSTB 1" and "NMB 2."  To me, that was a compliment, but I still maintain I'm too old to be a geek.  Nonetheless, I was pleased to note that I scored higher than expected on Geek Dad's 100 Essential Skills for Geeks.  (More)

Posted by sursumcorda on Monday, July 20, 2009 at 8:45 am | Edit
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To prove the Front Porch Republic isn't all academic discussions of too much length and intensity for the casual reader, check out Animals Were Definitely Harmed in the Production of this Story, explaining why, unlike modern movies, farm life entails "‘the harming of animals of every shape and in every fashion."

The story is less morbid than amusing, and rings true to life outside of Hollywood.  Here are a few excerpts to tempt you. (More)
Posted by sursumcorda on Thursday, June 18, 2009 at 1:59 pm | Edit
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The lituus is not a test to determine the pH of a substance, although that's how I read it at first.  It's a musical instrument, and one of the last works written for it was J. S. Bach's O Jesu Christ, meins Lebens Licht.  No modern listener has been able to hear Bach's motet as it was intended, however, because the instrument fell out of favor and became extinct.  No one today knows what it looked or sounded like. 

Until now.  Alistair Braden and Murray Campbell, from the University of Edinburgh, at the request of—ta da!—the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis, applied to the problem software they had designed to improve modern brass instruments. (More)
Posted by sursumcorda on Sunday, May 31, 2009 at 11:10 am | Edit
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Wolfram|Alpha is in its infancy, and like any baby it can be quite cute.  Like this example Janet discovered while trying to figure out how much powdered (confectioner's) sugar is in a box.

Posted by sursumcorda on Saturday, May 23, 2009 at 7:34 am | Edit
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For every presidential election in recent history (meaning at least the last 30), I have had one overriding concern:  the nomination of Supreme Court justices.  I was asked once why it would be a problem if President Obama merely replaces retiring liberal justices with more liberals—other than missing the opportunity to "pack" the court to my liking.  That's when I realized that I don't want a biased Supreme Court, at least not in the sense my friend was implying.  But neither do I want a "balanced" Supreme Court.  I want one that will rule based on the Constitution, whether they are for or against me.  I don't want the Judiciary taking over the role of the Legislature.  If our Justices are chosen based on their positions on particular issues rather than for their position vis–à–vis the Constitution and the Law, I think we have little hope for real justice.

But enough heavy thinking!  Mallard Fillmore can make me smile, even about such an important issue.


Posted by sursumcorda on Monday, May 18, 2009 at 10:40 am | Edit
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As if Wolfram|Alpha weren't enough to lure me away from productive work, Phil (not the Phil who comments here) posts this news story.

So of course after that I had to check out more from the same source, and found this one. (More)
Posted by sursumcorda on Saturday, May 16, 2009 at 4:14 pm | Edit
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This Stone Soup cartoon makes me think, not of our children, who have learned from us and built well upon what they've learned, so that we in our turn have learned from them, but about our society in general, as we (re)discover the virtues of thrift and living within one's means; of childbirth as a natural, personal process; of breastfeeding; of small farms and organically-grown food; of respecting, enjoying, and conserving our natural environment.  We knew all this 40 years ago; how did we fail to pass it on?  Probably in the same way our parents' and grandparents' generations failed to pass their virtues on to us....

Not that progress isn't being made:  somehow we've managed to make smoke-free airplanes and restaurants stick, for one thing; and many in the next generation are rediscovering what was lost between our parents' generation and ours:  the blessings of having many children.  :)
Posted by sursumcorda on Saturday, April 25, 2009 at 7:34 am | Edit
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Three diverse takes on China:

Although written nearly a year ago (note the line, "Assuming that the global economy does not decline now, it will at some point"), George Friedman's geopolitical analysis of China (via InvestorsInsight) is perhaps frightening, perhaps reassuring, but certainly fascinating.  The concluding summary provides an introduction to the ideas, though it by no means does justice to the long article. (More)
Posted by sursumcorda on Friday, April 17, 2009 at 8:54 am | Edit
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Around here, we try to reuse sheets of paper that still have one good, blank side, which sometimes results in amusing or confusing combinations, as one wonders, "Is the back side of this page important?"  Or even, "Which is the operative side here?"  Yesterday I was browsing through my book of recipes—okay, my random collection of pages of all sizes and shapes stuck haphazardly in a notebook—when I came upon the recipe for "Nancy's Great Cookies."  On the back was a list of words, probably though not definitely in Heather's handwriting, which would make it quite an old list.  Although the words seemed random, I immediately realized that they were not.

Breathes there the man—or at least the American—with soul so dead, Who never to himself hath said, This is my own, my native land!:  at, all, and, ball, bit, bump, cold, could, did, do, day, it, I, in, house, him, how, jump, go, looked, like, little, mat, made, not, nothing, on, one, out, play, sally, saw, sat, said, so, something, shine, sit, sun, step, that, two, the, too, then, to, there, us, we, was, went, wet, with, wish.
Posted by sursumcorda on Thursday, April 16, 2009 at 10:13 am | Edit
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Where does Stephanie find these things?  I'm four days late but have to share this anyway.  If their country is no longer quite as pristine as when I visited 40 years ago, it's not the fault of these intrepid and dedicated Swiss!

If you liked the little taste of Swiss German you heard, try the next version.  (At least, I think that's Swiss German; I trust one of my faithful readers will set me straight if it is not.)  (More)
Posted by sursumcorda on Sunday, April 5, 2009 at 1:42 pm | Edit
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Is not
A lie, nor
Poetic license,
But homage to Fibonacci.
Posted by sursumcorda on Wednesday, March 25, 2009 at 1:46 pm | Edit
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This showed up in my Google Reader feed, from Jon.  I'm not certain, actually, that this was the video he intended, as I had to guess the url because the link didn't work—but whether or not, this is worth posting so you can see it.  Those Welsh shepherds and their dogs are amazing.

Posted by sursumcorda on Friday, March 20, 2009 at 7:07 am | Edit
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Andy B. posted a link to New Math on Facebook, and it tickled me so I'm passing it on.  Many are funny, some a little odd, one or two potentially offensive.  Here are a few that I liked:

Cleanliness = Godliness - 1
Crazy = Talking to Oneself - (Cell phone + Earpiece)
TV Dinner = The Four Food Groups/4 + Dessert
Onions = Weeping - Catharsis
Rat =  (Mouse x 4) - Cute
Nagging = Reminding + Reminding + Reminding
Uncle = Dad + Fun
Parallel Parking = Bumper Cars - Amusement Park
Escalator = Stairs - Thigh Muscles
Prequel = Sequel - 2
Uniqueness = Uniqueness

And my absolute favorite, the one that inspired this post:

Dissapointment = Expectation/Reality

Very clever; I hope it was meant to be that way....
Posted by sursumcorda on Saturday, February 21, 2009 at 7:33 am | Edit
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The usual disclaimers, I don't usually do "memes," etc.  But when it's books, it's hard to resist.  I found this one over at Percival Blakeney Academy.  The instructions are:

  • Look at the list and bold those you have read—films don't count.
  • Italicize those you intend to read.  ("Intend" may be a little strong.  How about "Would like to read someday, sometime.)
  • Tag somebody if you like.  (I don’t like to tag people.  But I’d love to see other people’s lists and comments.)

I don't know who chose the books on the list, nor why.  It seems varied enough, with books old and new, and several I've never heard of.  And any book list that includes Swallows and Amazons gets big points as far as I'm concerned.  It could only have done better by including George MacDonald.  :)  My comments follow in parentheses. (More)

Posted by sursumcorda on Wednesday, February 18, 2009 at 3:08 pm | Edit
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