Swiss crows prefer Swiss cheese

Since I’ve been spending more time at home due to the Covid pandemic, I’ve been experimenting with feeding my neighborhood crows.

I’ve tried everything.

They have almost no interest in foods that are pure carbohydrates, such as unsalted peanuts.  But they like salted peanuts and scarf them up. It amazes me how they can somehow sense or smell the salt.

They will eat meat, cooked or raw, as well as chicken and fish, cooked or raw.

But there is nothing – NOTHING – that they prefer than their favorite snack: CHEESE.

 

I’m not quite sure why they like cheese so much, since milk products are not typical bird fare (birds have very small breasts so I assume their own milk is negligible).

I assume it is probably the combination of protein and fat, particular in the colder weather as it is now.

Long story short, I put out a bit of cheese, and crows come for miles to fight over it.

Train text

Here’s a snap of a tanker wagon that I took at a railroad siding in Interlaken.  I was amazed at how much writing was on the wagon – old symbols like stars that were probably innovations in their day, and modern messages like an email address.  I am quite sure all this information is documented, but I am guessing it would be a Herculean effort in Google to find it all out.

The Rhine Rider at Lake Zürich

Since 1997 I’ve followed the tradition of naming my vehicles.

In 1997 while studying physics and living in Urbana, Illinois, I bought a 1983 Oldsmobile for USD $200 from a good friend of mine, Andrei Botschkarov, at the time one of the top semi-conductor physicists in the world. (He was not personally a semi-conductor, but rather he did research on them). Anyway, it had a maximum speed of 40 mph, it turned itself off after 20 minutes, and the tires were so flat that the steel was mostly worn away. That car was classy – and there was no other approach than to give it a classy name: Urbana Cruiser. Sadly, I don’t have any photos.

There followed the Eiger Chopper, the Zurich Cruiser, the Euro Cruiser, and now the latest addition to my personal fleet: the Rhine Rider:

No, that’s not the Rhine. That’s Lake Zürich, also known as Zürisee.

 

Washing clothes in Switzerland

Washing machines in Germany and Switzerland are smaller and more energy efficient than those in the U.S. A normal washing cycle can take as long as 90 minutes, and a deep cleaning can take up to 3 hours!

Here is the room in my apartment building where the washing machines are kept:

The spin cycle of the better machines can reach over 2000 revolutions per second – this is an amount that is so high, in many cases the more delicate clothes cannot handle the stress and they are damaged. Needless to say, after spinning at these high speeds the clothes are effectively dry when they leave the machine.

Here is the little box where you add the detergent and, if you use it, the softening agent:

In my building, the machines were in use nearly 24×7 – and we have 8 washing machines and 8 dryers!  Well, it turns out the machines were not being used by the residents, but rather the friends of residents – whole families even!

So recently they installed a charging mechanism.  You can charge up a little chip here:

Then to activate a washing machine or a dryer, you hold the chip up to this device mounted next to the machine you want to use:

The costs are almost negligible – I think CHF 0.50 to wash clothes and to dry them. But . . . since the charging mechanism was installed, now the machines are only used by people in the building. Generally speaking, there are always at least 2-3 machines available whenever I want to use one!