“You have a silver tongue.”
1. Trying to predict the next recession in Russia? One researcher suggests tracking illegal homebrews. “With an increase in economic difficulties, the population tries moving from expensive legal alcohol to cheaper self-production or black market alcohol,” explained researcher Alexei Zubets. The observation was simple, but it launched a vigorous debate. One economist argued that actually, homebrewing is an expensive hippie hobby, so it’s the other way around. A news site accused Zubets of furthering “institutional Russophobia.” Zubets ended up walking back his observation as a joke. (Maybe you had to be drunk to get it?)
2. Russians have long been enamored with Elon Musk, but he hasn’t always returned the favor. Earlier this year, after months of what everyone thought was banter, Musk threatened the head of Roscosmos with a rap battle. Still, some Krasnodar entrepreneurs made a plan to win him over. The entrepreneurs bought a billboard near SpaceX and displayed a QR code that linked to this video. Three minutes long, the video features an ode to Elon Musk (including a Musk balloon) and invites him to their annual forum. Sadly, Musk responded ambiguously, but if it’s any comfort, he did so in fluent Russian.
3. Since a Chinese scientist announced the birth of genetically modified twins last June, scientists have been debating how to regulate human genetic modification. But while most debate in public, some Russian scientists took the debate to endocrinologist Maria Vorontsova. Vorontsova is no ordinary doctor — she’s rumored to be Putin’s daughter. Reports have it that she’ll convey their opinions to Putin, who will make the final decision. Vorontsova didn’t commit to either side, but if Putin agrees to greenlight genetic modification, it could be the first step to literally remaking Russia in his image.
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