May 02, 2019

The Robots are Having a Whale of a Time

The Robots are Having a Whale of a Time
The biggest vobla in Russia. КаспНИРХ

Throwback Thursday

Catherine the Great
Catherine the Great / Wikimedia Commons

Happy birthday, Catherine the Great! Russian Life reviewed a translation of her letters in January 2019. Read some of those letters with a Russian Life digital subscription.

Holy Mackerel, Roach, and Whales!

1. Meet the fish that’s too big to fry. Last week, Astrakhan fishers caught the biggest vobla in Russia. Vobla, or Caspian roach, is a type of fish that Russians like to salt-dry and eat with beer. Usually they range from 17 to 26 centimeters long (that’s 6 to 8 inches for us Americans), but this one was 35 centimeters long (over 1 foot) and weighed 1.055 kg (over 2 pounds). That’s one big fish dinner, you may think, but vobly this big are not to be eaten, but admired and appreciated. According to tradition, the fishers kissed the fish before letting it go, sending along a request for it to bring back even more big fish.

2. Return of the robots. President Putin and his entourage toured a military academy, where the cadets brought out robots and had them do push-ups and headstands. Three cheers for technology!… Right? Well, it turns out that the robots were not actually built by the cadets, but rather assembled from a kit sold by a South Korean company. This obviously doesn’t look good for the cadets. But at least athletes can take heart: they’re not about to be out-trained by robots anytime soon.

Putin watching robots
Robot gymnastics. / Сегодня

3. White whale? More like Navy whale. Norwegian fishermen noticed a beluga whale with an unusual harness snooping around their boats. They called in the authorities, who discovered that on the harness was written “Equipment of St. Petersburg.” Could the whale be a Russian spy? A Russian war museum director claims the whole story is a Western provocation, but Norwegian marine experts are pretty sure something fishy was going on. As for us, we’d like to make a pitch to the 007 franchise managers: Make the next Bond villain a whale.

All things considered, though, it’s a cute whale. / Dagbladet

Blog Spotlight

A sleeping kitty, a walking nose, and loudspeakers: Check out Russia’s 13 most unusual monuments.

In Odder News

  • The RuNet is living proof that, if you try hard enough, literally anything — including a picture of a tick — can be a meme.
And the RuNet said, Let there be memes: and there were memes. / @valera_whatever

Quote of the Week

“Pay your, pay your debts. Don’t wait! When the legal authorities, GIBDD [General Administration for Traffic Safety], ZhKKh [Housing and Communal Services] officials, creditors, and tax collectors come: pay!”

— A parody of Ukrainian pop song “Плакала”, created by Irkutsk officials to educate citizens with a sense of humor about debts

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