October 20, 2016

Can a Martian invasion fix Russia-Europe relations?

Can a Martian invasion fix Russia-Europe relations?

Tip-Top Technologies

1. In a collaboration between Europe and Russia unmatched on Earth, an unmanned probe attempted to land on the surface of Mars...and disappeared from all sensors. The Russian space agency Roscosmos launched the probe, while the European Space Agency was responsible for the spacecraft itself. Signals stopped reaching Earth at the precise moment of scheduled landing on Mars. Diplomatic debacle, or meddling Martians?


2. What do you do with 1 million fake rubles? Stuff the counterfeit notes into an ATM and hope the bank doesn’t notice. Unfortunately for Moscow’s most recent counterfeiters, Sberbank recently started a system for monitoring fake bills in response to rising rates of counterfeiting. Thanks to the system, the bank came away from the ATM shenanigan with zero losses. If you’re iffy about your stack of 5000-ruble bills, just try the local ATM and see what happens.

3. Russia’s Ministry of Defense is working to make the web a bit less world-wide.Aiming to prevent spying and external takeovers, it’s deployed a military Internet– a network for army eyes only. Fun fact: Soviet scientists tried to develop the ultimate secret network as early as the 1960s. Then, they called it “The All-State Automated System for the Gathering and Processing of Information for the Accounting, Planning and Governance of the National Economy, USSR.” Catchy, huh?

In Odder News

  • Charging stations for electric cars have been installed in Moscow – however, in a no parking zone. So, where’s the catch?
  • One way to deal with government pay cuts: have a government made up of only a governor and six deputy ministers. Now that’s thrifty.
  • Jesus Christ may be the messiah, but he is not a superstar – at least, according to an Orthodox group that protested the musical Jesus Christ, Superstar in Omsk.

Blog Spotlight

Of the some 100,000 people seeking refugee status in Russia, many go to Svetlana Gannushkina’s Civic Assistance Committee in Moscow to seek help. Barriers to achieving that status are many, however, meaning that only 770 people of thousands are actually recognized as refugees. Read up on Gannushkina’s organization and what it’s like to be a refugee without refugee status in Russia.

Quote of the Week 

“When I say this number at conferences, I’m always afraid translators will get confused and add ‘thousand’ to it [....] It is difficult to wrap one’s head around the fact that there are just 770 official refugees living in Russia.”
—Svetlana Gannushkina, Chair of the Civic Assistance Committee, on the difficulty of helping refugees in Russia. Gannushkina was considered for the Nobel Peace Prize, but says the prize would have taken time away from her work.

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