1. Alphabet (i.e., Google) subsidiary Jigsaw proved you can buy off a Russian troll, and not just for the purpose of crossing a bridge, but to write nasty stuff about your enemies on the internet. And it only cost $250 for two weeks of 730 tweets and 100 blog and forum comments, directed against a Jigsaw-created anti-Stalin website. The Russian “marketing” company, SEO-Tweet, doesn’t even hide in the dark web; anyone can google its website. Some are worried that this will give Russia the opportunity to return-troll Google for interfering in its politics. (Although the directions were to be pro-Stalin, SEO-Tweet decided to interpret that broadly as pro-Putin). However, Jigsaw CEO stands by the research as a low-risk way to inform anti-disinformation campaigns and warn the public about the risk of trolls.
2. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk threatened to challenge Roscosmos head Dmitry Rozogin to a rap battle. Earlier this month, in a mocking response to Musk sending a red Tesla into space, Roscosmos launched their own red toy car with a paper cutout of Rozogin. Both sides have exchanged pleasantries in the past, but given Russia’s (and the US’s) history of challenges to duels, who knows? Throwing down the rap glove could be a serious affair. That’s not a (w)rap yet; we still think it would be hilarious to see these space men get down.
3. Residents of two villages in the Urals really, really hope that this year summer flies by, if only to stop the biblical swarm of flies that has descended upon them. The accused sinner? A farmer that may have illegally used chicken poop as fertilizer, giving the insects ample breeding grounds. Neither the stool-supplier nor the fertilizing farmer say they are to blame, the former pointing fingers at the weather, and the latter seems to have been bitten by the good old fashioned Russian fatalism bug: “Flies have existed for millions of years, and they are everywhere… But no one can tell me what the acceptable or cut-off number of flies is.”
“Most often people buy ice cream in hot weather outside, wishing to cool off. And, as a rule, they try to eat it quickly, before it melts in the sun – herein lies the risk of catching a cold.”
– Surprisingly, not your friendly nearby babushka, worried as ever about you catching a cold; actually, a representative of Moscow’s Health Department.
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