Saturday, September 6, 2014

Things I learned this week

The following is a list of some of the things I learned this week from reading the newspaper, watching documentaries, talking with people...

  • Alma mater means "nurturing mother" in Latin. I probably should have known that already.

  • There is no other country in the world whose inhabitants throw away more food than the U.S.A.. 

  • Despite the fact that there is a direct bus connection between our little town and Nagold, there is no way to find out by phone, email, or internet how much it costs to take the bus there because the towns are in different counties and controlled by different transportation associations. The only way to find out the cost is to get on the bus and ask the bus driver (who will not be happy to provide that information if I just get on the bus, ask him, and get off again).

  • Every photo taken with an iPhone is automatically saved in The Cloud. Yet another reason why I am glad I don't have any sort of smartphone. (Then again, the most scandalous photos I take are of statues.) I don't even know if my Handy/cell phone can take photos - I use a camera for that. 

  • Our local butcher is closed next week so the owner and employees can have some time off. Good for them! Bad luck for us.

  • At the Internationale Funkmesse (International Radio Exhibition) in Berlin, an app was unveiled that allows a person to scan a recipe and the app will send a signal to his or her fancy oven to tell it when to preheat, to which temperature, and how long it should be on. And that's really cool because the hardest part of cooking is often turning on the oven to the correct temperature. Not only that, but setting a timer or looking at a clock is just so old-school.

  • There's an app for your coffee maker, too. You can tell your phone to tell your coffee maker to make the next cup stronger. I'll bet there's also an app for flushing your toilet. In 20 years are people going to be able to accomplish anything without a phone in their hands?

  • The Colosseum may or may not have been flooded several times in order for the "performers" to reenact sea battles. I thought this was already accepted fact, but apparently researchers are not able to figure out how it was flooded and drained and are therefore unsure that it was.

  • Freudenstadt is known for its collection of sculptures. You can follow a Kunstpfad (Art Path) around town with the help of a brochure available in the Stadtinfo. The newest piece, which arrived this week, is this 29-ton thing called "Schwarze Wasser*" ("Black Water"), created by Wolf Brüll:

*I would think it should be called "Schwarzes Wasser," but if it is, it's a typo in our newspaper (twice). There is another similar sculpture in another location in Freudenstadt by the same artist called "Schwarzes Wasser." Apparently the patrons liked the first one so much that they wanted to provide another one just like it...?  I took this picture in a sort of "What the heck is that?" mood, and two days later it showed up in our newspaper - the newspaper photo was from almost this exact angle.


  1. I occasionally translate articles about similar apps to the ones you mention. There's also one that will change the lighting in a room depending on which family member is in there and one that will switch on the heating for you as you leave work so the place is nice and warm by the time you arrive home.

  2. Well, I'm out. I prefer my old-fashioned home - and Handy! In fact, the thing about my husband's car that drives me mad is that pretty much everything is automatic - the lights, the a/c, the heat, the windshield wipers... I want to decide for myself when to turn things on and off in the car and what kind of lighting I want when I walk into a room. I cannot begin to imagine what advantage there would be to having or needing an app to switch on a light, an oven, or a coffee maker. I'm probably just too old (-fashioned) for that. :-)