October 05, 2017

Spying for Russia and Flying for Russia


Spying for Russia and Flying for Russia
Big Spies, Little Spies, and Pilots

1. The spy who went out into the cold: British double agent Kim Philby, who defected to Russia in 1963, is getting a new set of honors in his adopted country. A new portrait hangs in the Russian state art gallery, and an anticipated exhibit displays both personal belongings, like a favorite armchair, and many of the secret documents he passed to the Soviets while working in British intelligence. Honoring Philby’s loyalty to Moscow may be a handy way to boost the KGB’s legacy, but however you feel about spies, the spy gadgets make for a great display.  

2. Philby needed a special briefcase to smuggle MI6 documents, but parents today just need a new monitoring service to do the dirty work. The company SocialDataHub has launched such a service, which analyzes kids’ public data on social media and notifies parents if their child seems interested in drugs, weapons, sex, crime, or “radical ideas.” As a bonus, they’ll profile children’s interests and suggest suitable universities and majors. It’s not every service that can offer monitoring and college counseling in one.

3. The sky’s the limit – or it was until this week for Russian girls dreaming of becoming pilots. For the first time in post-Soviet Russia, the Air Force is opening its ranks to young women. Sixteen of them took their army oaths at the Krasnodar Aviation School, starting the path toward becoming military pilots. The Ministry of Defense decided to extend its pilot training program to women after receiving letters from girls across Russia explaining their long-held dreams of the sky and desire to fly for their country.

In Odder News
  • What’s it like to be a female manager in a mostly male industrial factory? Watch and find out.
  • A good day for fidgety fingers: consumer rights watchdog Rospotrebnadzor has ruled that fidget spinners pose no psychological risk to kids wanting to get their spin on.
  • Wisconsin is known for its cheese, Switzerland for its watches, and Dagestan for its wrestlers

Quote of the Week

"For me it doesn’t matter with whom I’m working, man or woman,because it depends on the professional level of the people and their willingness just to hit the target we put together."
—Marina Potoker, managing director of the construction materials company Rockwool Russia, on being a female leader in a male-dominated industry.

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This exciting new trilogy by a Russian author – who has been compared to Orhan Pamuk and Umberto Eco – vividly recreates a lost world, yet its passions and characters are entirely relevant to the present day. Full of mystery, memorable characters, and non-stop adventure, The Pet Hawk of the House of Abbas is a must read for lovers of historical fiction and international thrillers.  
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Moscow and Muscovites

Vladimir Gilyarovsky's classic portrait of the Russian capital is one of Russians’ most beloved books. Yet it has never before been translated into English. Until now! It is a spectactular verbal pastiche: conversation, from gutter gibberish to the drawing room; oratory, from illiterates to aristocrats; prose, from boilerplate to Tolstoy; poetry, from earthy humor to Pushkin. 
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