October 18, 2018

Of Rockets and Ruptures


Of Rockets and Ruptures
Skyfall (the not-so-good type)

1. Baikonur, we have a problem. A Russian Soyuz rocket launch failure led to an emergency landing this week. It is not known what triggered a failure signal inside the shuttle, but once the system registered failure, the emergency landing procedure automatically began. Luckily, the emergency landing was successful and the crew, one Russian and one American, both heading for the International Space Station, escaped without a scratch. However, the failure has put future Russian launches on hold, thwarting American short-term ambitions in space as well. Instead of a giant leap, this is a not-so-small step back.

Astronauts safe

Photo: NASA

2. What job is so appealing that 80 people will apply for it (and no, the money’s not great)? Being the official town cat chief! Zelenogradsk recently decided to hire a person to take care of the town’s beloved stray cats. This town’s feline fixation isn’t new; it already has Murarium, a museum entirely devoted to cats. In this new role the town’s cat chief, Svetlana Logunova, is to feed the cats, pet them all they want, and even give them rides in her official bicycle. In addition to her bicycle, Svetlana’s uniform consists of a bright green jacket, black bow tie, and a hat. Everything about this is absolutely purr-fect.

Cat lady for hire

Photo: Kristina Cheryomushkina

3. The Orthodox Church is going through a nasty family feud. This week the Russian Orthodox Church announced that it was severing all relations with the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, which is the seat of the global spiritual leader of Orthodox Christians. This break is in response to Constantinople’s approval of an independent Ukrainian church that is separate from the Russian one. The split is itself largely a response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea, an act that, suffice it to say, soured Russian-Ukrainian relations.

In Odder News:

Trump, help!

Photo: FlashNord

  • In Trump We Trust: One Russian politician asked US President Donald Trump for help in a business dispute

  • Have you ever thought about all the similarities among Russian cities? Well, you’re not alone.

  • Remember Russia’s iPhone obsession? Well, here’s another example: Dagestan is offering an iPhone to the person who can report the most hate speech on the internet

Quote of the Week:

"I alone cannot care for every single one and a helping hand would go a long way”

— Zelenogradsk cat chief Svetlana Logunova, making an offer we suspect few will refuse

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93 Untranslatable Russian Words

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Every language has concepts, ideas, words and idioms that are nearly impossible to translate into another language. This book looks at nearly 100 such Russian words and offers paths to their understanding and translation by way of examples from literature and everyday life. Difficult to translate words and concepts are introduced with dictionary definitions, then elucidated with citations from literature, speech and prose, helping the student of Russian comprehend the word/concept in context.
Woe From Wit (bilingual)

Woe From Wit (bilingual)

One of the most famous works of Russian literature, the four-act comedy in verse Woe from Wit skewers staid, nineteenth century Russian society, and it positively teems with “winged phrases” that are essential colloquialisms for students of Russian and Russian culture.
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Fish: A History of One Migration

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The Moscow Eccentric

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