Yearly Archives: 2017

The Russian Woodpecker

Anyone who listened to shortwave radio or was a ham radio operator from the mid 1970s to the late 1980s will be familiar with a sharp, repetitive “rat tat tat tat” noise that permeated the airwaves disrupting communications and television signals the world over. Nicknamed the “Woodpecker”, the signal came from a massive array of antennas hidden deep in the woods—two located near Chernobyl in Ukraine, and a third one on the Russian Pacific coast, near the island of Sakhalnsk. These antennas formed part of an early warning radar system called Duga, that the Soviets developed to detect incoming ballistic missiles from America.

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Photo credit: Bert Kaufmann/Flickr

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Stop making smart speakers that look like trash cans

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Someone needs to end this madness. This insanity. This horrifying trend of smart speakers that look like trash cans.

Ahead of CES, LG announced its upcoming ThinQ smart speaker with built-in Google Assistant. I haven’t seen it in person, and I have no idea how large (or small) it is, or even how it sounds, but I already can’t stand it because its designers couldn’t come up with a more imaginative look.

It’s time for this trash can aesthetic to end.

It took a few years, but smart speakers with voice assistants that play you music, tell you the weather, control your smart home devices, and order you pizza, are officially Read the rest

The Fortified Villages of Khevsureti

Tucked away in the Caucasus Mountains in the north of Georgia, is the historic province of Khevsureti. Its men were once renowned in martial arts, and especially for their warfare with the Muslim population of the Northern Caucasus including the Chechens, the Kists, and the Dagestans.

Due to the geographic, ethnic and religious complexity and lack of industrialization in the Greater Caucasus, the tribes of the North Caucasus used to frequently attack and rob the mountain-dwelling Georgians. In order to protect their villages, Khevsurs built their houses very close to each other so that they formed a unified defensive wall. These villages played the crucial role of a northern barrier for the whole of Georgia and defended the nation from intrusions of nomadic tribes.

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The fortified Read the rest