September 28, 2017

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


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

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Some of Our Books

Bears in the Caviar

Bears in the Caviar

Bears in the Caviar is a hilarious and insightful memoir by a diplomat who was “present at the creation” of US-Soviet relations. Charles Thayer headed off to Russia in 1933, calculating that if he could just learn Russian and be on the spot when the US and USSR established relations, he could make himself indispensable and start a career in the foreign service. Remarkably, he pulled it of.
Stargorod: A Novel in Many Voices

Stargorod: A Novel in Many Voices

Stargorod is a mid-sized provincial city that exists only in Russian metaphorical space. It has its roots in Gogol, and Ilf and Petrov, and is a place far from Moscow, but close to Russian hearts. It is a place of mystery and normality, of provincial innocence and Black Earth wisdom. Strange, inexplicable things happen in Stargorod. So do good things. And bad things. A lot like life everywhere, one might say. Only with a heavy dose of vodka, longing and mystery.
The Pet Hawk of the House of Abbas

The Pet Hawk of the House of Abbas

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.  
The Little Golden Calf

The Little Golden Calf

Our edition of The Little Golden Calf, one of the greatest Russian satires ever, is the first new translation of this classic novel in nearly fifty years. It is also the first unabridged, uncensored English translation ever, and is 100% true to the original 1931 serial publication in the Russian journal 30 Dnei. Anne O. Fisher’s translation is copiously annotated, and includes an introduction by Alexandra Ilf, the daughter of one of the book’s two co-authors.
The Latchkey Murders

The Latchkey Murders

Senior Lieutenant Pavel Matyushkin is back on the case in this prequel to the popular mystery Murder at the Dacha, in which a serial killer is on the loose in Khrushchev’s Moscow...
At the Circus

At the Circus

This wonderful novella by Alexander Kuprin tells the story of the wrestler Arbuzov and his battle against a renowned American wrestler. Rich in detail and characterization, At the Circus brims with excitement and life. You can smell the sawdust in the big top, see the vivid and colorful characters, sense the tension build as Arbuzov readies to face off against the American.
Moscow and Muscovites

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. 
Maria's War: A Soldier's Autobiography

Maria's War: A Soldier's Autobiography

This astonishingly gripping autobiography by the founder of the Russian Women’s Death Battallion in World War I is an eye-opening documentary of life before, during and after the Bolshevik Revolution.
Murder at the Dacha

Murder at the Dacha

Senior Lieutenant Pavel Matyushkin has a problem. Several, actually. Not the least of them is the fact that a powerful Soviet boss has been murdered, and Matyushkin's surly commander has given him an unreasonably short time frame to close the case.
Davai! The Russians and Their Vodka

Davai! The Russians and Their Vodka

In this comprehensive, quixotic and addictive book, Edwin Trommelen explores all facets of the Russian obsession with vodka. Peering chiefly through the lenses of history and literature, Trommelen offers up an appropriately complex, rich and bittersweet portrait, based on great respect for Russian culture.
93 Untranslatable Russian Words

93 Untranslatable Russian Words

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.

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