For those whose taste in fairytales favours a darker touch, we’re traveling to the far reaches of Eastern Europe, and into the enchanting world of animator Jiří Trnka. The late Czech animator (whose name is pronounced “Yershy Trinka”) created nearly two-dozen films over his lifetime, from folksy gems like Grandfather Planted a Beet (1945) to the gutsy anti-Stalin short, The Hand (1965).
Craftsmanship ran in Trnka’s blood. He was born in Bohemia in 1912, where his grandmother sold toys for a living and his mother worked as a seamstress.… Read the rest
Tucked away in a remote forest of birch and pine in the heart of Siberia, 3,000 km away from Moscow, at a place where winters are six months long with temperatures dropping to minus 40 degree Celsius and summers are swaddled with mosquitos, is a city built for scientists and researchers. This frozen wasteland is more suited for polar bears than scientific endeavors, but Nikita Khrushchev felt the distance from Moscow was necessary so that the country’s sharpest scientific minds could work together on fundamental research away from the prying eyes of bureaucracy. This is Akademgorodok, or “Academic Town”—the Soviet Union’s answer to America’s Silicon Valley.
The Academpark Technopark at Akademgorodok. Photo credit: gelio.livejournal.com
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Roscosmos is helping upstart space programs achieve lift off, partly because they want to turn them into customers. The post Russia’s Quest to Build a Space Empire—or Go Broke Trying appeared first on WIRED.… Read the rest
Kambalny, the southernmost volcano in Kamchatka, erupted unexpectedly over the weekend, sending ash up over the Pacific Ocean. The post A Russian Volcano Just Erupted for the First Time in Centuries appeared first on WIRED.… Read the rest
The average metro train doesn’t go beyond a few stories underground. But sometimes the geology and the geography of the region, such as the presence of rivers and swamps, forces engineers to go deep underground. The Arsenalna, a station on Kiev Metro's Sviatoshynsko-Brovarska Line, is such an exception.
Arsenalna station is located 105.5 meters below the surface, making it the deepest metro station in the world. If you made a vertical shaft on earth as deep, you could drop the entire Statue of Liberty into it and still have more than twelve meters of headroom left to drop other stuff. To board a subway train at this station, commuters have to take two seemingly never-ending escalators to the bottom. The journey takes up to five … Read the rest
In the 90s, Russian scientist Kirill Yeskov began to write a story based on the following premise: The Lord of the Rings Trilogy is based on real events. Just as history over time becomes myth, the fantastic elements in LotR can be seen as metaphors for the social dynamics of the time (the year 3019 of the 3rd age).
The story is from Sauron’s perspective and Mordor is a haven for the ugly and the deformed. The evil west depicts these poor creatures as hideous monsters and uses that as justification for an unwarranted invasion.
The book was published in Russia in 1999 and recently Yisroel Markov translated the book into English and you can download the PDF.
The style is somewhat as if John … Read the rest
Yeti (Abominable Snowman – and how would YOU like to be called ‘abominable’?)
Loch Ness Monster (Nessie)
Chupacabra (some kind of giant bat?)
Mokele-Mbembe (a dinosaur of the non-extinct variety)
cryptozoology.com has a glossary with a whole lot more, including the ‘windigo’, an ‘Algonkin sub-arctic zombie’.
The only I thing I’m certain about regarding these creatures is: if they do exist, they smell really bad
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A recent find by archaeologists put the first north Asians in North America 30,000 years ago.
The weird thing is that they used weapons made of ivory – in Siberia.
There used to be wooly rhinoceroses up there, you know.
The main European influx came after 1492, but most know of the Vikings centuries earlier.
It’s interesting to actually read the sagas of Erik the Red.
The standard telling describes the ‘Skraelings’ they found in ‘Vinland’ (perhaps named because the new world was supposedly rich with wild grape) as “They were small, ill favoured men, and had ugly hair on their heads.
They had big eyes and were broad in the cheeks”
Apparently the locals (whether Thule, Algonquin, or other isn’t clear) were just too … Read the rest