Friday, 20 January 2023

entente, détente (10. 482)

NATO leaders and affiliates met on the US Air Base in Ramstein with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy to discuss continued commitment to arming the beleaguered nation against Russian incursion and again press donor countries on the issue of the delivery of tanks and other heavy armaments. The US and Germany (newly minted Defence Minister Boris Pistorius on his second day on the job) unwilling to pledge either their Abrams tanks or their Leopard 2 Panzer (many European militaries are equipped with this German-made assault vehicle but cannot export them without German consent) and waiting for the other party to make the first move. This coyness is continued in the argument that stocks of the Soviet era weapons that Ukrainian forces are accustomed to are running low and that Western models are notoriously fussy, high maintenance and require specialised training to operate, but conceals the more salient factor of firing range that puts Russian territory within reach and could swiftly escalate the conflict already characterised as a proxy war between NATO and Russia on one side and dread hesitation on the other.

Saturday, 14 January 2023

8x8 (10. 417)

mouldiness manifesto: a celebration of the architecture of Friedensreich Regentag Dunkelbunt Hundertwasser—see previously here and here 

olympus mons: detailed maps of Martian terrain from the United States Geological Survey 

cobra mist: a tour of the deserted Orford Ness, the UK’s Area 51 

the george santos special: disgraced congressional representative (see previously) has a really specific skill—via Super Punch 

yurt of invincibility: Kazakh community in Ukraine provides warm-banks, accommodations for those without power  

welcome to garbage town: or how three decades of social media urged us to stop talking and start buying things  

portland district: the US Army Corps has a collection of monumental felines with their engineering projects—for those not yet with their 2023 calendars—see previously 

triple aught foundation: revisiting Michael Heizer’s City in the Nevada desert—via Things Magazine

Thursday, 12 January 2023

7x7 (10. 410)

salt of the earth: a tour of Ukraine’s Soledar salt mines—presently under siege 

black mass: Boston is hosting the Satanic Temple’s SatanCon—see previously

verpertilio-homo: what the Great Moon Hoax of 1835 reveals about contemporary misinformation  

lhs 475β: JWST discovers its first exoplanet—via Damn Interesting’s Curated Links  

discretionary time off: salaried Microsoft employees given unlimited vacation leave  

jot and tittle: an unorthodox scholar ferrets out biblical forgeries  

russie d’aujourd’hui: a look back at Soviet boosterism and propaganda publications

Sunday, 8 January 2023

людина з кіноапаратом (10. 396)

Released on this day in 1929, the experimental Soviet documentary by Dziga Vertov—with camera work by his brother, the eponymous Mikhail Kaufman and edited by Vertov’s wife Yelizaveta Svilova—and produced by the studio All-Ukrainian Photo Cinema Administration (ВУФКУ/VUFKU), Man with a Movie Camera (Kinoapparartom) portrays contemporary urban life in six parts from dawn to dusk in Kyiv, Odesa and Moscow. With no actors or intertitles (in the silent film), its innovative cinematography and editing, reverse footage, close-ups, tracking shots, jump cuts and split screens were to radical for most critics, it has been since re-evaluated and recognised as one of the most significant works in movie history.

Friday, 30 December 2022

cccp/cpcp (10. 371)

While recognised as a union of soviet republics since 1919 with a federated, central government based in Moscow, the Soviet Union as it existed (though borders were not static during the seventy-two year period) until its dissolution in 1991 came into being effective this day in 1922 after the signing of the Treaty on the Creation of the Union Soviet Socialist Republics (Декларация и договор об образовании Союза Советских Социалистических Республик), negotiated and approved by delegations from the Russian, Byelorussian, Transcauscasian (containing Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia) and Ukrainian SSRs. The preamble and twenty-six articles outlines the imperative of forging a union as a counterweight to the political ideology of responsible for the Great War through exploitative capitalism, colonialism cultural hegemony with a transnational society based on mutual trust, solidarity and cooperation.

mmxxii (10. 369)

As this calendar year draws to a close and we look forward with anticipation to 2023, we again take time to reflect on a selection of some of the events that took place in 2022. Thanks as always for visiting. We’ve made it through another wild year together, and we’ll see this next one through together as well.

january: Violent protests erupt in Almaty in response to the Kazakh government ending fuel subsidies and lift price caps on petrol and heating oil, prompting a coalition of former-Soviet military forces to intervene. The US reflects on the one year anniversary of the Capitol insurrection and the fragile state of democracy.

Legendary actor Sidney Portier passed away, aged 94, as did singer Ronnie Spector (*1943). Tragically, seventeen individuals are killed in an apartment fire in the Bronx. Disturbingly the US Supreme Court blocks vaccination mandates for private companies-upholding the requirement for public sector workers. Two Democratic senators-who derailed president Biden’s Build Back Better plan-are also opposed to changing legislative rules to overturn the filibuster, allowing Republicans to block the enactment of a voter-rights protection bill. There are widespread calls for the resignation of Boris Johnson over revelations of work-dos during strict lockdown. The Queen strips Prince Andrew of his titles and military leadership roles over his association with sex pest Jeffrey Epstein and allegations of sexual assault. Russia seems poised to re-invade Ukraine, first undermining their cyber capabilities.  The Pacific island group volcano Hunga Tonga-Hunga HaÊ»apai erupted violently, triggering tsunami waves halfway across the world in California and Nova Scotia. Performer Meatloaf has passed away, aged seventy-four as did comedian and actor Louie Anderson at sixty-eight.  Zen Buddhist monk and peace activist Thich Nhat Hanh who protested the Vietnam War and introduced mindfulness to the West dies aged ninety-five.

february: The leader of a defeated though resurgent ISIS, Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Quarshi, is killed in a US airstrike in Syria.

Tensions continue to mount in Ukraine over the spectre of an Russian invasion, with the US suggesting that Russia will stage a false-flag operation as a pretext to advance.   Truckers in Canada protesting COVID restrictions, mandatory passports blockade Ottawa; separately Justin Treudeu, Jacinda Arden and Keir Starmer need police intervention to be rescued from rioters.  The Queen celebrates her Platinum Jubilee with seventy years on the throne.  So called Canadian Freedom Convoys of big rig truckers shut down three key border crossings into the US, causing knock-on effects including factory shut-downs.  Provocatively, Russia begins military exercises in Belarus and on the Black Sea. 
Two powerful, successive windstorms, Ylenia and Zeynep, cause damage through a corridor in German after wreaking havoc in England and Wales (as Dudley and Eunice).  The Candy Bomber, Gail Halvorsen (previously) passes away, aged 101.  As the UK announces the relaxation of legal measures to combat the spread of the COVID virus, the palace announced that the Queen has contracted a mild case of it.  Putin recognises the sovereignty of break-away Ukrainian territories Donetsk and Luhansk and deploys peace-keepers to the regions nearly eight years to the day after applying a similar tactics to Crimea. 

march: Numerous Western companies suspend operations in Russia as sanctions intensify.  Shelling of civilian targets across Ukraine shows no signs of abating though the invasion has not been the easy and instant take-over that was apparently expected. 

Inflation surges as the price for everything spikes with the price of oil.  Many news outlets suspend reporting from Russia following passage of legislation that threatened individuals with fifteen-year sentences for spreading “fake news.” Sustaining a minor infection, US supreme court justice Clarence Thomas was discharged from hospital, a week after he was admitted. The news comes as the congressional panel investigating the 6 January attack on the US Capitol sought testimony from his wife and conservative activist, Virginia Thomas, after the revelation of a text message exchange between her and the White House chief of staff, urging him to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.  People Power Party candidate is narrowly elected president of South Korea.

april:  The US Senate, after much acrimony, confirms Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court. Though vice president Harris would have been the tie-breaker in the case of a fifty-fifty split, no Black woman in this forum had the chance to vote.  Viktor Orbán with fourth consecutive term as leader of Hungary. 

North Korea appears to be on the verge of resuming nuclear tests after a pause of five years, escalating regional tensions, after demolishing a symbolic hotel that held out the possibility of reconciliation. Pakistani prime minister Imran Khan was ejected by a vote of no confidence.  Hundreds die from mudslides in the Philippines and flash floods in South Africa.  Russia retaliates to the destruction of its flagship of the Black Sea fleet with renewed shelling in Kyiv and Lviv, having shifted focused to the southeastern part of Ukraine to create a corridor through rebel-held areas to Crimea and the sea.  Emmanuel Macron holds his presidency against Marine Le Pen.  Twitter agrees to sell itself to Elon Musk.  Moscow confirms Russia assault on Kyiv during visit by UN secretary-general António Guterres, meeting with the Ukrainian leader just after a summit with Putin.

may: A leaked draft opinion from US Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito suggests that the court is poised to over-turn the 1973 precedent that affords women access to abortion. 

The remaining contingent of soldiers holding Mariupol’s bulwark of resistance in the Azov steel plant have surrendered to Russian forces.   Australia’s conservative coalition government is defeated for the first time in a decade and the Labour party takes control.  A gunman espousing the Great Replacement Theory, tying into all the regressive, racist social movements in the United States, murdered ten individuals in Buffalo, New York.  A shooting at an elementary school in Texas takes twenty-one lives.  A dire shortage of baby formula in the US is on-going.  Monkeypox is spreading rampantly.  

june: the UK and the Commonwealth celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. 

Prompted by the publication of the Partygate investigation, Boris Johnson weathers a confidence vote by fellow party members but with more negative ballots than the votes that ended the ministries of Thatcher or more recently May. Portions of the January 6 select committee hearings are being televised.  The US Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade and Planned Parenthood v Casey, prohibiting access to abortion in more than half of America and putting at risk same-sex marriage, gay rights and access to contraceptives. 

july: Russia takes control of the Luhansk region of eastern Ukraine.  Yet another mass shooting occurs in the US, this time at an Independence Day parade in a Chicago suburb. 

Compelled by the resignation of over fifty chief ministers and secretaries (including those appointed a day and a half earlier) ultimately, cumulatively over the Chris Pincher scandal, Boris Johnson announces he will step down as leader of the Conservative Party but plans to hold on to his prime ministership until the party conference in the autumn.  Former Japanese prime minister Shinzō Abe is fatally wounded in an assassination attempt.  Actor James Caan passes away, aged 82. After massive unrest and protesters storming the presidential palace, Sri Lankan leader Gotabaya Rajapaska steps down.  After reaching a deal brokered by Turkey, the first Ukranian grain transport vessel sails into the Bosporus, bound for Lebanon.  Pioneering actor Nichelle Nichols passed away, aged eighty-nine.

august: In the backdrop of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and intensifying incursions from mainland China, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi visits Taiwan.  Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri is killed by a blade-wielding drone in Afghanistan.  The conservative state of Kansas rejects a referendum to outlaw all abortions.  The FBI conducts a search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate for mishandled government documents.  The US congress passes Joe Biden’s Build Back Better act. 

Taking a cue from Belarus, the governors of Texas and Florida are bussing migrants to New York and California.  Olivia Newton-John passes away after a long battle with cancer.  Fashion designer Issey Miyake (三宅 一生) has also died, aged eighty-four.  Actor Anne Heche died after sustaining serious injuries in a car accident.  Salman Rushdie was stabbed by an assailant whilst delivering a lecture in Chautauqua, New York.  Joe Biden announces a jubilee on student debt that will positively impact millions of borrowers.  A redacted affidavit shows that over one hundred eighty classified documents were being sought at Mar-A-Lago, which Trump illegally removed when he left office.  Pakistan is devastated by heavy monsoons.  Ukraine begins a counter-insurgency to retake Kherson.  Mikhail Gorbachev passes away, aged 91.  

september: Liz Truss is chosen as new Prime Minister to replace Boris Johnson.  Queen Elizabeth II passes away, aged 96, with London Bridge protocols enacted.  Ukraine is seen to make major incursions into Russian held territories as municipal officials in Moscow and St Petersburg call for Vladimir Putin’s resignation. 

Charles III is proclaimed as new monarch as UK and Commonwealth enter a period of remembrance and mourning.  A Florida federal judge appoints a Special Master to review documents seized from Mar-a-Lago.  The UK economy tanks after Truss chancellor Kwarteng borrow more to reduce tax on business, garnering rebukes from Germany, the US and the IMF as the Pound Stirling approaches parity with the US dollar.  Iranians rage against their government after a young girl dies in custody of the morality police.  Russia appears to have sabotaged the Nordstream pipelines, rendering them unusable even if the gas is turned back on.

october: A hurricane batters Puerto Rico and Cuba, Florida and South Carolina.  Putin annexes four more regions in Ukraine though the hold is tenuous.  Coolio and Loretta Lynn pass away.  A mass shooting, knife attack takes place at a nursery in Thailand with two dozen children killed.  Joseph Biden pardons all of some six-thousand individuals charged with marijuana possession on the federal level.  Rhetoric over the use of tactical nuclear weapons by Russia is increasing. 

Ukraine damages the twenty kilometre bridge linking the annexed Crimea to the Russian mainland, a key supply route, across the Kerch strait.  In retribution, Russian attacks on civilian targets and infrastructure increase markedly.  Kwasi Kwarteng is dismissed, giving the UK four chancellors in as many months amid wide-spread calls for Liz Truss to resign.  Accomplished actor Robbie Coltrane passes away, aged 72, as does Angela Lansbury, aged 96.  Rishi Sunak becomes prime minister of the UK after being voted leader of the Tory Party. The husband of senior congressional member Nancy Pelosi is attacked by a man with a past of espousing fringe right wing theories with a hammer, the target intended to be the Speaker of the House.  Twitter is delisted from the stock exchange as Elon Musk takes over the platform.  Over one hundred and fifty individuals in Seoul are crushed in a stampede during a Halloween party in a narrow alleyway.  Citing continued Ukrainian drone attacks on its Black Sea fleet, Russia pulls out of a UN brokered arrangement to facilitate grain-shipment.

november: World leaders gather in Sharm el-Sheikh for COP27.   Ukrainian cities contend with power blackouts after Russia targets the country’s infrastructure.  Founding father of election science Sir David Butler passes away, aged 98. The anticipated repudiation of the US Democratic party failed to materialize, counter to polling and pundits’ expectations with those Republican candidates aligned with Donald Trump underperforming and falling short in the broad sense, holding the GOP bastions of Florida and Texas.  The UN announces the world population is at eight billion. 

At a ceremony at Mar-a-Lago, Donald Trump announces his third candidacy for the presidency, much to the dismay of a Republican party whom cannot challenge his bid.  Artemis I launches on its way to the Moon.  Speaker Pelosi steps down as party leader in the House of Representatives.  In response to Trump announcing his intent to run for president, a move in part calculated to frustrate legal action against him, Attorney General Merrick Garland appoints a special counsel to investigate the insurrection that Trump instigated and the US Supreme Court rules that Trump must turn over years of tax returns to Congress.   Mired in controversy, the World Cup hosted by Qatar commences.  Continued Russian airstrikes on Ukrainian infrastructure and utilities have caused a near total blackout in neighbouring Moldova.  Earthquakes cause mass destruction in West Java and Turkey.   The UK Supreme Court blocks a second referendum for Scottish independence.  Fame and Flash Dance singer Irene Cara passes away, aged 63.  Demonstrations against the government and the ruling party not seen in China since Tienanmen Square erupt in China over COVID lockdown protocols and after the emergency response to an apartment fire is apparently delayed due to restrictions and added barriers to restrict movement. Fleetwood Mac singer Christine McVie dies, aged 79. 

december: Chinese authorities begin relaxing COVID prevention measures in response to protests.  The G7 nations and the European Union try to enforce further sanctions against Russia by banning oil shipments by sea and placing an upwards price cap per barrel. In response to massive protests, Iran disbands its morality police.

Scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Labs announce a breakthrough in harnessing the power of nuclear fusion for energy production.  During its final session before dissolving, the January Sixth Committee recommends to the Justice Department to bring four criminal charges, including inciting insurrection, against Trump.  The Specials lead singer Terry Hall passes away, aged 63.  In his first trip abroad since the Russian invasion, Zelenskiy speaks before a joint-session of Congress in Washington, DC––appealing for continued aid from the United States.  Much of the US is pummelled by a bomb-cyclone, a monstrous winter storm that forces the cancellation of holiday travel. Bolivian police detain opposition leader Luis Fernando Camacho for his role in the 2019 protests that prompted then-president Evo Morales to resign. Putin issues a decree prohibiting the export of Russian oil to countries and organizations that adhere to the US$60-per-barrel price cap that Australia, the European Union, and the G7 member states agreed upon earlier this month. The decree will be in effect from February through the summer.  Legendary footballer who made soccer the beautiful game, Pelé, passes away, aged 82, as well as fashion icon Vivienne Westwood.


Tuesday, 20 December 2022

shibboleth (10. 348)

With the blessing of the regional governor, far-eastern Irkutsk is soliciting help from the public to help uncover Ukrainian spies by asking them to pronounce (see previously, catching up some three hundred days later) place-names under the assumption that only loyal locals could say correctly. The social media campaign invites one to test a friend with one word. This theatre of the absurd—the age old question of accent and dialect confirmed and confounded with very modern QR-code—seems to me not terribly effective since the majority of Ukrainians also have a good command of Russian phonetics.

Tuesday, 6 December 2022

8x8 (10. 365)

synthetic cubism: an exhibition of the cut paper figures of Pablo Picasso, a medium rarely shown—via Messy Nessy Chic  

set in stone: a tutorial on reading ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs 

spa-day: new research suggests that Christian modesty (see previously) may not have been the cause in the decline of public bathing  

carbon capture: Microsoft-backed start-up is using limestone powder to pull CO2 (previously here, here and here) out of the atmosphere

illuminated addresses: a graphic design studio rediscovered in Manchester that pre-dates the traditional 1922 beginning of commercial arts 

щедрий вечiр: a Ukrainian choir performs Carol of the Bells (see previously) a century after it debuted at Carnegie Hall  

varly’s swiftwater café: a fish and chips in operation for two decades in remote Whittier, Alaska—a small village in one building  

picassanta: annual tradition of giving a village phone kiosk a makeover, reminiscent of Guernica for this fractious year

Sunday, 27 November 2022

mахновщина (10. 340)

Established on this day in 1918 with the capture of Huliaipole, the home town in the region of Zaporizhzhia and later capital city of the stateless, anarchist society that existed under the aegis, protection of the revolutionary forces of Nestor Makhno, Makhnovshchina (Makhno’s Movement) was under the control of free soviet (unaligned with any party and encouraging workers to self-manage through direct democracy) and libertarian communes until the end of August 1921 when leadership was was forced into exile in Romania. Based on the theories of anarcho-communism, the anti-hierarchical network promoted a government based on popular assemblies and committees and a federated alliance within territories outside of the control of Bolsheviks. The banner of the coalition—white Cyrillic text on a black background—reads “Power breeds parasites. Long live the Anarchy!” Власть рождает паразитов. Да здравствует анархия!

Monday, 14 November 2022

7x7 (10. 305)

eyes wide shut: morbid fascination for both the collapse of Trumpism and Twitter  

massa alimentícia: former pasta factory in Portugal for sale—via Messy Nessy Chic 

slava ukraini: president Zelenskyy visits liberated city of Kherson   

backstory: a modern history of our butts  

pets.com: series of Silicon Valley layoffs  

turbulent indigo: Joni Mitchell reminisces on her career with Elton John  

hidden in plain sight: the anti-MacGuffins of Hitchcock’s Charade—via Language Hat

Monday, 7 November 2022

два вихідні дні (10. 280)

Not the usual variety of holiday-creep but rather in response to the patriarch of the Russian Orthodox church’s propaganising and open support for Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and acquiescing to an already emergent move to more Western traditions that have been present among the populace particularly since 2014—even declaring the Gregorian date a public holiday in 2017 but with appeals stretching back as far as shortly after the 1582 change instigated by Pope Gregory was adopted by neighbouring Poland for civil and religious purposes , the ecclesiastical body, the independent Kyiv Metropolitanate, announced that each parish could hold full Christmas service on 25 December if they wished—whereas the day in the Orthodox calendar was only a solemnity for prayers beforehand. Leaders of the country’s some seven thousand churches are polling parishioners to find out how many would like to have Christmas on the Western date or stick with the Julian calendar (7 January)—with most communities and families expected to observe both.

Sunday, 2 October 2022

8x8 (10. 187)

vendedores ambulantes: the sonic landscape and signature cries (see also) of the street vendors of Ciudad de México—via tmn  

from erdapfel to equator: a globemaker’s glossary of cartographic terms—via the Map Room  

queenhithe: photographer Frank Merton captures London’s churches in the mid-1950s  

anti-cyclone: a proposal to tow a barge laden with jet engines blasting to dissipate the strength of an oncoming hurricane  

hyla orientalis: black tree frogs in Chernobyl demonstrate evolution in real time—via Slashdot 

blogoversary: a belated congratulations to Diamond Geezer on twenty years of posting   

the feral atlas: a journey of discovery and triangulation through our made environments from Stanford University and via Web Curios  

tlaltecuhtli: the iconography of the Aztec pantheon

Friday, 30 September 2022

accession treaties (10. 182)

In a wide-ranging address that included the annexation of the regions of Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, Donestsk and Luhansk (newly-appointed governors pictured) in addition to Crimea as well as the concession that his partial mobilisation was an unpopular imposition for many, Vladimir Putin delivered one of his most combative speeches yet, threatening to use all forces at his disposal to ensure the protection of his ill-begotten new territory. In response, the West, which Putin characterises as ‘satanic’ and determined to undermine Russia with Kleinstaaterei, responded with condemnation and more targeted sanctions and Zelenskiy announced his formal application for NATO membership.

Tuesday, 27 September 2022

8x8 (10. 174)

on pointe: an Australian ballet company recites an alphabet of foot poses  

detour: experts urge adding a Venus-flyby to first crewed mission to Mars  

suaviter in modo, fortiter in re: the Royal Mail’s Investigative Branch is the oldest recognized crime fighting organisation in the world—via Messy Nessy Chic  

puffling: with blása Icelanders help to reset sea bird chicks internal compass  

bisexual lighting: the story of a strange picture and other Wikipedia articles in need of an illustration—via Super Punch  

only you could be so bold: whilst Putin invades Ukraine, a studio in Kyiv is creating the voice of Darth Vader

asteroid! coming in from the void: ripped from the headlines 

tiptoe: performer dazzles with their bottle-walking routine

Thursday, 22 September 2022

partial-mobilisation (10. 158)

In a wide-ranging first address to the public since the announcement of the invasion of Ukraine on 24 February, a desperate and defeated Vladimir Putin declared his intention on Wednesday night to initiate a limited conscription of three-hundred thousand males with military experience (all males from seventeen to twenty-three have a term of compulsory service) to bolster a costly war whose impact on the broader public the Kremlin strove to minimize. Militants in the People’s Republics of Luhansk and Donetsk will be considered as official soldiers of the Russian Federation. Putin additionally repeated his threats to use Russia’s nuclear armaments arsenal against the West—emphasising that it was no bluff. In response to this significant escalation and potential imposition, hundreds of protest rallies broke out in cities across the country, with more than twelve hundred detained. All flights out Russia—to the limited places that have not restricted air-traffic—have been sold out, with the last planes to Istanbul priced at eleven-thousand dollars per seat. Further Putin elaborated on the scheduled referenda for the regions under tenuous Russian-control, the two listed above plus Kherson and Zaporizhzhia to take place this weekend. As happened with Crimea back in 2014, there is expected to be a sham vote in favour of annexation, thus carving out more Ukrainian territory that Russia will try to claim its right to defend as its own. In parallel, a prisoner-exchange was brokered by Tayyip Erdoğan, which saw the release of some two hundred fighters defending the Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol on the condition that they remain in Turkey until the conclusion of the war, with other foreign mercenaries aiding Ukraine set free as well.

Wednesday, 24 August 2022

день незалежності (10. 083)

In response to the attempted coup to restore central party control and Mikhail Gorbachev’s resignation as head of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, the Verkhova Rada (Supreme Soviet) of Ukraine drafted and adopted on this day in 1991 a declaration to reestablish itself as an independent state in a tense, eleven-hour parliamentary session spanning from Friday night into Saturday, passed swiftly and with near unanimity to avoid risking re-subordination and calling for a public referendum the same day. The vote was held on the first of December, with Canada and Poland first recognising Ukrainian independence the following day after the results were tallied and was soon followed by Boris Yeltsin and the rest of the international community—ten days ahead of the scheduled Belavezha Accords in Minsk that dissolved the USSR and established a commonwealth of sovereign nations as a successor entity.

Wednesday, 6 July 2022

cosmic call

The latter of two sets of interstellar radio missives were beamed out to the Cosmos on this day in 2003 from the RT-70 (Radio Telescope with an aerial antenna with a seventy metre diameter and former Soviet Centre for Deep Space Communications) located in Yevpatoria, Crimea. This iteration and the first message sent in 1999 follow the same bitmap structure and include the Dutil-Dumas primer about mathematics, universal constants, chemical elements and physics plus the Arecibo Messages, the Braastad Message (to illustrate concepts of family and procreation, similar to the plaque on Pioneer) and contributions from the staff and public. Transmitted at four hundred bits per second, the message was beamed out over the span of eleven hours and targeted five diverse stars with known exoplanets, with the first arrival date of April 2036 at Gliese 49 β, a superearth orbiting a red dwarf star.

Thursday, 30 June 2022

snake island

Though unclear if the Russian withdrawal was in goodwill as a part of an international effort to open up a corridor to transport grain and advert a famine or were surrendering from a Ukrainian advance to recapture the strategically important Black Sea islet near the port of Odesa, relieving this blockade and restoring control over the waterways to the country—both previously under siege and mined by Ukraine itself in order to prevent a full-om assault unabated by the aggressor, regaining control of Zmiinyi Island (острів Змії́ний, previously here and here) could mean the resumption of staple exports and blunt the likelihood of a land attack in the future on this stretch of coast. This victory comes on the heels of Turkey’s assent for Sweden and Finland’s bid to join the NATO alliance during its summit in Madrid and are expected to sign accession protocols soon for ratification by the thirty current member states.

Friday, 10 June 2022

тот самый

After suspending operations due to the invasion of Ukraine and announcing its withdrawal after thirty-two years, the Russian fast food chain that now controls those franchises formerly operated as McDonald’s will reopen some restaurants over the weekend with this logo, which represents two fries and a hamburger bun—or the Bangladeshi flag and still suspiciously like the Golden Arches—on a green field to symbolise “the quality of products and service” guests are accustomed to. The new identity of the chain has not yet been revealed but there are eight contenders, including the above, which translates to “the same one.” The grand opening coincides with Russian Day, commemorating the 1990 adoption of the declaration of state sovereignty of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic with the intention to establish a democratic state within a liberalised USSR.

Friday, 27 May 2022

memorandum of understanding

Signed in Paris on this day in 1997, the Founding Act on Mutual Relations, Cooperation and Security between NATO and the Russian Federation was a declaration that included confidence-building measures and a framework for cooperation and disarmament that attempted to strike a balance between security and policy interests of both sides. Agreed upon principles included the renunciation of threat or use of force against any other state, respect of territorial integrity and political independence as well as inviolability of borders, the right self-determination and the right to choose the best means of ensuring their own security to be overseen by a joint council. Russia violated the agreement in 2008 with its war in Georgia, in 2014 with the annexation of Crimea and with the current war in Ukraine. In response to aforementioned incursions, NATO for its part has violated its pledge not to permanently station troops in new member states.