nprfreshair:

Plank Bridge Cascille Northern Ireland, equal parts gorgeous and frightening.

It’s a bridge over the River Katun in the Altai Republic, Russia.
Here it is without all the drama, as found on the French Wikipedia article for the river:

Cascille, Northern Ireland, doesn’t exist.

nprfreshair:

Plank Bridge Cascille Northern Ireland, equal parts gorgeous and frightening.

It’s a bridge over the River Katun in the Altai Republic, Russia.

Here it is without all the drama, as found on the French Wikipedia article for the river:

image

Cascille, Northern Ireland, doesn’t exist.

latimes:

Tragedy in Russia: Hundreds have been reported injured after a meteorite crashed near the city of Chelyabinsk in Russia’s Ural Mountains Friday. Said Nadezhda Golovko, deputy head of Chelyabinsk Secondary School No. 130:

When I saw some white narrow cloud moving outside the window I ran up to it and saw a huge blinding flash. It was like the way I would imagine a nuclear bomb. At first, there was no sound at all as if I suddenly went deaf

Russian authorities have rushed to the scene in mass, assessing damage and making sure there’s no increase in radiation levels as a result of the impact.

Read more about the impact over at World Now.

(Photos via Nasha Gazeta / www.ng.kz / Associated Press, Oleg Kargopolov / AFP/Getty Images, Chelyabinsk.ru / Associated Press)

Four at Once: Volcano Quartet Erupts on Kamchatka

A unique show is taking place on Kamchatka these days: Four separate but nearby volcanoes are erupting simultaneously on the Russian peninsula. A Moscow film crew has produced an awe-inspiring 360-degree video of the natural fireworks.

Volcanic eruptions are hardly a rarity. It seems that a new one goes off every few weeks or so somewhere in the world. But a string of four volcanoes erupting in close proximity to one another is virtually unheard of.

That, though, is what has taken place in recent weeks on the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia’s far east. Four different cones and mountains, all within 180 kilometers (110 miles) of each other, have been active simultaneously since late November. Given that volcano experts don’t believe that the four volcanoes are being fed from the same magma source, the parallel eruptions would seem to be the geological equivalent of winning the lottery.

And, as a photography team from the Moscow-based Airpano discovered, the phenomenon presented a fantastic opportunity to produce some awe-inspiring images and videos. Indeed, the quartet of lava and ash-spewing peaks are so close to one another — they lie within 180 kilometers (110 miles) of each other — that that the film crew recently visited all of them in a single day.

That volcanoes erupt in Kamchatka is, of course, hardly news. The peninsula, which has a total land mass that is slightly larger than Germany, is one of the most active parts of the infamous “Ring of Fire,” the zone of volcanic and seismic activity that encircles the Pacific Ocean. Three tectonic plates — the North American Plate, the Okhotsk Plate and the Pacific Plate — collide beneath Kamchatka, with the peninsula’s coastal range boasting 30 active volcanoes.

All four of the volcanoes now erupting have shown significant activity in recent years. Most recently, Tobalchik began spewing lava on Nov. 27 of last year, creating the impressive lava flows visible in the 360 degree video taken by Airpano. Shiveluch, the northernmost of the four, prefers shooting columns of ash high into the air, which it has been doing on a regular basis during the last four years since a magma dome in its crater exploded. Besymjanny awoke with a bang in the 1950s following 1,000 years of dormancy and has been active since then, with huge clouds of ash rising on a regular basis. Finally, the southernmost of the quartet, Kisimen, has been erupting regularly since 2010, and there is concern that it could perform a repeat of the violent explosion which sheered of half of the mountain some 1,300 years ago.

shortformblog:

Russia’s Medvedev hits back after Romney comments
“Smacked of Hollywood”: In the aftermath of President Obama’s awkward hot mic incident yesterday, his chief re-election rival, Mitt Romney, claimed that Russia was America’s “number one geopolitical foe.” Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, the man Obama was talking to during yesterday’s gaffe, didn’t take so kindly to that assertion. “It’s 2012, not the mid-1970s, and whatever party he belongs to, he must take the existing realities into account,” he said, adding that the presidential field ought to “rely on reason, use their heads… that’s not harmful for a presidential candidate.” Of course, should Romney win in 2012, he won’t be even dealing with Medvedev – it’ll be incoming President Vladimir Putin, back in Russia’s top spot after a four-year absence. (Photo by World Economic Forum) source
Follow ShortFormBlog

shortformblog:

“Smacked of Hollywood”: In the aftermath of President Obama’s awkward hot mic incident yesterday, his chief re-election rival, Mitt Romney, claimed that Russia was America’s “number one geopolitical foe.” Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, the man Obama was talking to during yesterday’s gaffe, didn’t take so kindly to that assertion. “It’s 2012, not the mid-1970s, and whatever party he belongs to, he must take the existing realities into account,” he said, adding that the presidential field ought to “rely on reason, use their heads… that’s not harmful for a presidential candidate.” Of course, should Romney win in 2012, he won’t be even dealing with Medvedev – it’ll be incoming President Vladimir Putin, back in Russia’s top spot after a four-year absence. (Photo by World Economic Forum) source

Follow ShortFormBlog

The domesticated silver fox:

The domesticated silver fox (marketed as the Siberian fox) is a domesticated form of the silver morph of the red fox. As a result of selective breeding, the new foxes not only became tamer, but more dog-like as well.
The result of over 50 years of experiments in the Soviet Union and Russia, the breeding project was set up in 1959[1] by the Soviet scientist Dmitri Belyaev. It continues today at The Institute of Cytology and Genetics at Novosibirsk, under the supervision of Lyudmila Trut.
[…]
Domesticated foxes exhibit both behavioral and physiological changes from their wild forebears. They are friendlier with humans, put their ears down (like dogs), wag their tails when happy, and vocalize and bark like domesticated dogs. As a consequence of breeding, they also developed color patterns like domesticated dogs and lost their distinctive musky ’fox smell’.

The domesticated silver fox:

The domesticated silver fox (marketed as the Siberian fox) is a domesticated form of the silver morph of the red fox. As a result of selective breeding, the new foxes not only became tamer, but more dog-like as well.

The result of over 50 years of experiments in the Soviet Union and Russia, the breeding project was set up in 1959[1] by the Soviet scientist Dmitri Belyaev. It continues today at The Institute of Cytology and Genetics at Novosibirsk, under the supervision of Lyudmila Trut.

[…]

Domesticated foxes exhibit both behavioral and physiological changes from their wild forebears. They are friendlier with humans, put their ears down (like dogs), wag their tails when happy, and vocalize and bark like domesticated dogs. As a consequence of breeding, they also developed color patterns like domesticated dogs and lost their distinctive musky ’fox smell’.


Expedition 28 Launch (201106080008HQ) (explored)
The Soyuz TMA-02M spacecraft launches from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan early Wednesday, June 8, 2011 carrying Expedition 28 Soyuz Commander Sergei Volkov of Russia, NASA Flight Engineer Mike Fossum and JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) Flight Engineer Satoshi Furukawa to the International Space Station. Photo Credit: (NASA/Carla Cioffi)

Expedition 28 Launch (201106080008HQ) (explored)

The Soyuz TMA-02M spacecraft launches from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan early Wednesday, June 8, 2011 carrying Expedition 28 Soyuz Commander Sergei Volkov of Russia, NASA Flight Engineer Mike Fossum and JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) Flight Engineer Satoshi Furukawa to the International Space Station. Photo Credit: (NASA/Carla Cioffi)

(via ifuckinglovespace)

via The Dish
Forgot about this until now. Back in late 2008 and early 2009, the American, and international, press jumped all over 10 year old predictions by Russian Igor Panarin that the US would split into six separate republics or realms under foreign influence.
A former KGB analyst and professor at the Diplomatic Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia, Panarin apparently used information about the state of the American economy and society. The split would be the result of a civil war, which would necessitate foreign intervention.
It was also supposed to happen in 2010.
He is also on twitter.

Forgot about this until now. Back in late 2008 and early 2009, the American, and international, press jumped all over 10 year old predictions by Russian Igor Panarin that the US would split into six separate republics or realms under foreign influence.

A former KGB analyst and professor at the Diplomatic Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia, Panarin apparently used information about the state of the American economy and society. The split would be the result of a civil war, which would necessitate foreign intervention.

It was also supposed to happen in 2010.

He is also on twitter.

How to Lose a Country Gracefully

NY Times:

By BILL KELLER

As a reporter, I covered two of the greatest losers of the last century. The superlative “greatest” applies both to the scale of the loss —Mikhail Gorbachev lost Russia and all of its colonies, F. W. de Klerk lost the richest country in Africa — and to the manner in which they lost it.

Our hearts understandably thrill to the courage of those who stand up to power — from Tiananmen Square to Tahrir Square and all the streets that now teem with the young and freedom-hungry. But there is another heroism, scarce and undervalued, that accrues to those who know how to stand down.

What Gorbachev and de Klerk did was not always pretty, and neither man is much celebrated in his own country these days. But each relinquished the power of an abusive elite without subjecting his country to a civil bloodbath. Afterward, they did not flee to the comfort of Swiss bank accounts. On the contrary, they managed a feat that is almost unthinkable in most of today’s erupting autocracies: after succumbing to democracy, they contributed to its legitimacy by becoming candidates for high office — and losing, fair and square. De Klerk, the last white president of a South Africa that oppressed blacks for centuries, actually pressed the flesh and pleaded for votes in black townships, professing a kind of civic kinship I think he genuinely felt. De Klerk and Gorbachev were triumphant partners in their own defeats, and thus in their countries’ victories.

It is always tricky comparing one country’s experience with another’s, but in the examples of these great losers there are some broad lessons for all the countries that are now convulsed by the revolutionary spirit — and for those of us who watch and assess them, not to mention those who bankroll and arm them.

Freedom is a slippery slope. 
Both Gorbachev and de Klerk began as reformers — that is, politicians devoted to making a dreadful system less dreadful, not to actually abolishing it.

Perhaps because of the pressure exerted by years of international boycotts and decades of domestic insurgency, de Klerk was quicker than Gorbachev to recognize that his ruling party’s life project — a South Africa carved into a commonwealth of separate and independent nations, poor black ones and prosperous white ones — was cruelly absurd and ungovernable. By the time I arrived in 1992, he was already dragging his own party and some diehard white separatists into a raucous convention of factions, races and tribes to write a new constitution; white rule was clearly ending, and the only question was how ugly the end would be. Gorbachev, however, thought he was saving the Communist Party, right up to the day that party stalwarts tried to overthrow him.

Those regimes along the Mediterranean rim that are trying to hold back an angry tide by shuffling the cabinet or promising so-called reforms — Jordan, Morocco, Saudi Arabia — may buy themselves some time, but revolutions have a way of overrunning reformers.

[Read More]

Russia Finally Admits That Beer is Alcohol

Slate:

The Russian government recently embarked on an alcohol crackdown. But until now, beer has eluded its grasp. That’s because brewski was (perhaps appropriately) categorized as a foodstuff, allowing brewers to avoid new regulations being rolled out to curb excessive drinking in Russia. On Tuesday, the lower house of the Russian parliament endorsed a bill to classify beer as alcohol. If the Kremlin-backed measure passes, it will limit beer sales at night and bar brew from being sold near schools. Though beer is not Russia’s traditional alcohol of choice, it’s become quite a problem for a people accustomed to kicking back vodka. “With a historic penchant for strong spirits,” writes Reuters, “many ordinary Russians regard beer as a soft drink.” Beer consumption has tripled in Russia over the past 15 years, although it still lags behind the United States. With Russians downing 32 pints of pure alcohol each per year (over twice the max amount recommended by the World Health Organisation), the nation’s alcohol habits are having a severe effect on its population growth. In light of these problems, officials from the ministry of health are cheering on the bill. “Normalising the beer production market and classifying it as alcohol is totally the right thing to do and will boost the health of our population,” said the ministry’s specialist on alcohol and drug abuse.

theatlantic:

Top Importers of Libyan Oil
Libyan oil spreads out from the nation’s ports to the rest of the world. Italy is, by far, the largest importer of Libyan oil. US imports from the country have fallen in recent years, but China, France, and the United Kingdom have all been buying more Libyan oil.

Compare that with the countries from where the US gets its oil, all data from US Department of Energy:

theatlantic:

Top Importers of Libyan Oil

Libyan oil spreads out from the nation’s ports to the rest of the world. Italy is, by far, the largest importer of Libyan oil. US imports from the country have fallen in recent years, but China, France, and the United Kingdom have all been buying more Libyan oil.

Compare that with the countries from where the US gets its oil, all data from US Department of Energy:


Worthy opponent: Putin plays a game of tic-tac-toe against the schoolchildren in Tyumen.

Worthy opponent: Putin plays a game of tic-tac-toe against the schoolchildren in Tyumen.