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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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.
A Taste of Chekhov

A Taste of Chekhov

This compact volume is an introduction to the works of Chekhov the master storyteller, via nine stories spanning the last twenty years of his life.
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The Frogs Who Begged for a Tsar (bilingual)

The fables of Ivan Krylov are rich fonts of Russian cultural wisdom and experience – reading and understanding them is vital to grasping the Russian worldview. This new edition of 62 of Krylov’s tales presents them side-by-side in English and Russian. The wonderfully lyrical translations by Lydia Razran Stone are accompanied by original, whimsical color illustrations by Katya Korobkina.
White Magic

White Magic

The thirteen tales in this volume – all written by Russian émigrés, writers who fled their native country in the early twentieth century – contain a fair dose of magic and mysticism, of terror and the supernatural. There are Petersburg revenants, grief-stricken avengers, Lithuanian vampires, flying skeletons, murders and duels, and even a ghostly Edgar Allen Poe.
Turgenev Bilingual

Turgenev Bilingual

A sampling of Ivan Turgenev's masterful short stories, plays, novellas and novels. Bilingual, with English and accented Russian texts running side by side on adjoining pages.
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The story of the epic Spine of Russia trip, intertwining fascinating subject profiles with digressions into historical and cultural themes relevant to understanding modern Russia. 
A Taste of Russia

A Taste of Russia

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Woe From Wit (bilingual)

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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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Jews in Service to the Tsar

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