March 02, 2017

Cats, droids, and acrobatic rock & roll

Cats, droids, and acrobatic rock & roll

Do androids dream of electric trains?

1. Long commute got you down? Metrosha the metro station robot is sure to give you a boost – and if you’re lucky, a wink. Maybe he’ll even transform his LED eyeballs into hearts. Those are just a few of Metrosha’s charms: he’s also got a touch-screen on his chest and the ability to answer simple questions, recognize names and faces, and take and print pictures. Introduced by the Moscow Metro to lift riders’ moods, Metrosha will grace stations around Moscow on holidays and special occasions.

2. At long last: Moscow is building a multi-billion-ruble dance complex for acrobatic rock & roll, and it’s going to be run by a Kremlin official with family ties to Russia's new National Guard – which some call Putin’s private army. Haven’t heard of acrobatic rock & roll? It’s only the favorite sport of Katerina Tikhonova, rumored to be President Vladimir Putin’s youngest daughter (though he’s notoriously silent about his family). Where Putin leads in politics, Tikhonova triumphs in cutting a rug.  


3. On March 1, Russia celebrates World Cat Day. And you know what that means: a whole day of looking at cat memes and not having to feel guilty about it. The Moscow Cat Museum unofficially heralded March 1 as Cat Day in 2004, and Russians have celebrated their feline friends on that day ever since. Other countries celebrate Cat Day on August 8, the date chosen by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and other animal rights groups. Whichever day you prefer, any excuse to click through cat pics.

In Odder News

  • Not a cat person? Friendly robots not your commuting style? Maybe Siberian sled dogs are more your speed. Learn about the breeds, with more pictures than you can wag a tail at.
  • Some athletes will do anything to win. Including the Russian bandy team that scored 11 own goals so that they’d lose – and face an easier opponent in the next round.
  • A news anchor on state-run Russian TV, presenting a report on counter-extremism and Islam in Britain, said Manchester was a city of “nothing but mosques.” The internet responded.

Blog Spotlight

Russia may have a law criminalizing so-called “gay propaganda,” but it still has a vibrant – if underground – LGBT community, including drag queen performers like Mona Pepperoni, Vladislav Mamyshev-Monro, and the Birds of Paradise drag collective. For some it’s immoral; for other it’s a mode of expression. But as a political statement and a counter-culture art form, it’s a self-labeled “freak party” worth reading about.

Quote of the Week

“It’s easier for people to be hidden and not stick their necks out. It’s self-defense.”
—Grigory Zaritovsky, aka drag performer “Mona Pepperoni,” on drag as an aesthetic practice most performers prefer to keep separate from political activism.

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