Sep/Oct 2018 Current Moscow Time: 10:45:48
25 September 2018


  The world’s biggest country, in a magazine. Since 1956.


Thursday, September 28, 2017

The Biggest Cheesecake, The Artsiest Robot, and The Spaciest Station

by Alice E.M. Underwood
Confections, Canvases, and the Cosmos
1. Let them eat cheesecake—all 40,000 of them! Some cities' founding days mean fireworks and looking back at history. In Stavropol, it meant a 4.2-ton dessert. In honor of its 240th anniversary, Stavropol played host to the baking and consuming of the world’s largest cheesecake. The 2.3-meter confection earned its spot in the Guinness Book of World Records, and thousands of Stavropol residents lined up to get a taste.
 
 
2. The art world has discovered the next Monet: a robot. Over the summer, a giant, intelligent mechanical arm created a work of art, and it’s pretty much how you’d expect Claude Monet’s take on Red Square to come out. With the goal of emphasizing how art and technology unite, Rosbank and other companies developed the robot to be interactive with its surroundings and incorporate passersby into its artwork. Watch how this mechanical Monet paints up a storm.
 

 

3. That’s no moon. It’s a space station near the moon. Roscosmos and NASA have agreed to collaborate on Deep Space Gateway, a new international space station in the moon’s orbit. Russian scientists are planning several projects, and say that the first modules could be ready as early as 2024. Representatives signed the collaboration agreement at this week’s 68th International Astronautical Congress in Australia, showing with this peaceful project in the cosmos that Earth politics don’t make it beyond the atmosphere.

In Odder News
  • Is the future here? A flying car is on the road – that is, in the air – for prototyping, with a “practical application” to be unveiled soon.

  • To prep for interplanetary travel, cosmonauts train in isolated and unfriendly spots on Earth. Here’s a firsthand account of prepping for life on Mars.
  • If you’re tired of diamond rings and pearl necklaces, try jewelry featuring shoelaces and chewing gum balls, inspired by the aesthetics of 1990s mass culture.
Quote of the Week

"Imagine climbing up hills, digging in the ground, or soil sampling, and always watching out for polar bears while dressed in a space suit at all times."
—Anastasia Stepanova, a member of a team that spent four months simulating life on Mars, on the month spent in the Arctic.

Want more where this comes from? Give your inbox the gift of TWERF, our Thursday newsletter on the quirkiest, obscurest, and Russianest of Russian happenings of the week.

Toxic Waste, Putin Farms, & Crazy Seals
Toxic Waste, Putin Farms, & Crazy Seals

Tractors for Putin, toxic waste for Kaliningrad, and Reagan and Gorbachev for their modern-day counterparts. Also sweet wine, state secrets, and salt.

Risqué Ballet and Putin's Grannies
Risqué Ballet and Putin's Grannies

The scandal around the Bolshoi's latest ballet, remembering an Internet icon, and pro-Putin pensioners, with a dash of PhotoShop of daredevilry. 

 

 

Royal(ish) Weddings and Toys for the Opposition
Royal(ish) Weddings and Toys for the Opposition

Getting flak for getting hitched, how fidget spinners foster political dissidence, and a new set of wheels around Russia. Plus dandy pigeons and the best totalitarian tourism. 

Parties with Putin and the Ruins of Literature
Parties with Putin and the Ruins of Literature

President Putin visits human rights activists and curious kids, and a famous author falls to pieces. Plus Ivan the Terrible, a terrible auction purchase, and 10 fantastic bridges. 

Paratroopers, Pig Manure, & Plant Killers
Paratroopers, Pig Manure, & Plant Killers

Pranksters solve energy security with pig manure, paratroopers get rowdy, and presidential grants yield surprise winners. Plus, Russia's deadliest plants and getting stuck in an elevator. 

Eating, Drinking, and Putin's New Look
Eating, Drinking, and Putin's New Look

Beachgoers bathe in potable sludge, Russians weigh in on replacements for sanctioned food, and the Kremlin revamps funerals. Plus, Putin goes fishing. 

Zombies, a Swampy Lake, and a New Shirtless Challenge
Zombies, a Swampy Lake, and a New Shirtless Challenge

A not-quite lake makes a splash, zombies on public transit, and problems memorializing history's tragedies. But on the bright side, shirtless men and hippos.

Rap battles, Moscow's move, and mixing dating and politics
Rap battles, Moscow's move, and mixing dating and politics

Elections are the new dinner and a movie. Plus, Moscow's heading east, rap battles get a bad rap, and pickles and melons galore.