September 05, 2019

Cosmic Robots, Cosmonaut Rituals, and Classrooms Resplendent

Cosmic Robots, Cosmonaut Rituals, and Classrooms Resplendent
Setting a new standard for alumni contributions. Учителя тоже люди

Quote of the Week

“On the road by the sea, I’ll buy watermelons.
On the beach, we’ll eat corn.
Then, we’ll look at the red sun.
And again, I will sincerely say:
If there is a heaven on earth, it is Krasnodarsky Krai.”

— A viral rap about the beauties of Krasnodarsky Krai

1. Most rich alumni give back to their schools and some may even get a building named after them. But one Yekaterinburg alum went above and beyond all that, redesigning his entire school in the style of a palace. The school now features ceiling mosaics, marble bathrooms, Roman pillars, and gold trimmings that Louis XIV would envy. Explaining his design choices, the alum said he chose this lavish style, “So that the kids don’t have to go to Versailles or the Louvre. It will immediately give them a better mood.” Who said altruism and fancy tastes were mutually exclusive?

2. Having conquered soccer fields and military academies, Russian robots are now conquering the skies. Robot Fedor, an anthropomorphic AI robot, arrived aboard the ISS on August 27 and will head home on September 7 after learning the secrets of dangerous space-borne operations. Although he was dogged with snark from the start, Fedor is learning fast. In just the last few days, he tested the ISS exoskeleton, requested a name change, and gave an interview to human cosmonauts (no video, but reportedly he responded “adequately”). So, never underestimate someone/something that might become your overlord.

Fedor works with a screwdriver. / FEDOR37516789

3. In other space-related news, due to a spacesuit redesign, Russian cosmonauts won’t be able to pee from their spacesuits anymore. This may sound trivial (people in space wear diapers on spacewalks), but it’s actually a big deal. Cosmonauts have a surprising number of weird traditions, one of which is urinating on the back wheel of the bus taking them to the launch pad. The new spacesuit designer has heard of this tradition, but he doesn’t really care and argues that the convenience of his new spacesuit is worth it. One small step for convenience, but a leap backwards for cosmonaut camaraderie.

In Odder News

  • Wholesome Thursdays: A brave Muscovite ran across three lanes of traffic in order to rescue a cat.
Cat rescue from highway
Cat hero of the highways. / Moslenta
  • To celebrate the start of the school year, kids in Chelyabinsk were treated to… songs about vodka. (It later emerged that that was more for the parents than the kids.)
  • Many Russian orphans leave orphanages with little support and know-how for surviving the outside world. This NGO seeks to change that.

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