Posts Tagged ‘Russia’
Bread is the staff of life, but beer is life itself.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, snacking
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has signed a bill that officially classifies beer as alcoholic. Until now anything containing less than 10% alcohol in Russia has been considered a foodstuff.
The full story at BBC.com
As we revisit our food pyramids, we might spare a sweet thought for William A. Mitchell, the food scientist who invented Pop Rocks candy, Cool Whip, the orange drink mix Tang, quick-set Jell-O Gelatin, and powdered egg whites; he died on this date in 2004. In his 35 year career at General Foods he received over 70 patents.
click here (and again) for a larger image
[TotH to Brainpickings]
Along these same lines, readers might also be interested in the “Perpetual Notion Machine” (which includes, as a bonus, the story of Dmitri Mendeleev and the “real” Periodic Table…) See also the Periodic Table of Typefaces (“‘There are now about as many different varieties of letters as there are different kinds of fools…’“) and the Periodic Table of Visualization Methods (“Now See Here…“).
As we constructively stack our writers’ blocks, we might wish a thoughtful Happy Birthday to Immanuel Kant; he was born on this date in 1724 in Königsberg, Prussia (which is now Kaliningrad, Russia). Kant is of course celebrated as a philosopher, the author of Critique of Pure Reason (1781), Critique of Practical Reason (1788), and Critique of Judgment (1790), and father of German Idealism (et al.).
But less well remembered are the contributions he made to science, perhaps especially to astronomy, before turning fully to philosophy. For example, his General History of Nature and Theory of the Heavens (1755) contained three anticipations important to the field: 1) Kant made the nebula hypothesis ahead of Laplace. 2) He described the Milky Way as a lens-shaped collection of stars that represented only one of many “island universes,” later shown by Herschel. 3) He suggested that friction from tides slowed the rotation of the earth, which was confirmed a century later. Similarly, Kant’s writings on mathematics were cited as an important influence by Einstein.
More posing pointers at Russian Drunk Yoga Poses.
As we limber up, we might recall that it was on this date in 1965 that the Righteous Brothers’ recording of Cynthia Weil/Barry Mann/Phil Spector’s “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’” hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 (it also reached #1 in the UK and #2 on the U.S. R&B chart).
Centered on the vocals of “Brothers” Bill Medley and Bobby Hatfield, with instrumental work by “The Wrecking Crew” and a background contribution from a very young Cher, the record is a classic example of Spector’s “Wall of Sound” approach. Landing as it did in the midst the the “British Invasion,” Spector and the boys were concerned that the tune was too slow and (at 3:45) too long for DJs increasingly looking pick up the pace of their shows. There was nothing to do about the tempo; but they printed the record label to indicate a running time of 3:05… and tricked enough spinners to launch the hit. In this version and many covers, “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’” had more radio and television play in the United States than any other song during the 20th century (according to performing-rights organization BMI).
So, it turns out that Rene Descartes and Andre Benjamin of Outkast have in common rather unconvincing proofs…
From (medical student and nice guy) Sanjay Kulkarni’s wonderful web comic Cowbirds in Love.
As we ponder the the depths of demonstrability, we might recall that it was on this date in 1962 that Izvestia informed its Russian readership that baseball had actually been invented by Russians (and transmitted to the U.S. by emigres who’d brought a 14th century game, lapta, with them).
A game of lapta, c. 1900 (source)
The shortwave radio station UVB-76 is known to DXers (serious shortwave listeners) as “The Buzzer” because it has been broadcasting a short, monotonous buzz tone (hear it here), repeating at a rate of approximately 25 tones per minute, 24 hours per day, since 1982… that is, until this past weekend, when it stopped.
Satellite photo of the UVB-76 transmitter near Povarovo, Russia
Many believe that UVB-76 was being used to transmit encoded messages to spies, as is generally assumed for the many numbers stations that populate shortwave frequencies…. though no nation’s government will confirm or deny the existence of the stations or their purpose. Or the constant transmission of its characteristic sound may have been signaling the availability or readiness of some kind of installation– a kind of “dead man’s switch” of a military or other installation– possibly for the infamous Dead Hand system.
But a more benign explanation is that the constant buzz was a High-Frequency Doppler used for ionosphere research of the sort described in the Russian Journal of Earth Sciences, in which radio waves are reflected from ionosphere inhomogeneities. (This method involves comparing a continuous radio transmission which is reflected by the ionosphere with a stable basic generator.) As it happens, the continuously-transmitted carrier frequency currently used for this research is the same as that of the UVB-76 (4.625 MHz).
Rest in peace (and quiet).
TotH to Above Top Secret.
As we keep our ears to the ground, we might note that this date, June 9, was a big one for the fifth and final Roman emperor of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, Nero: On this date in 53 CE, he married his step-sister, Claudia Octavia. Then on their anniversary in 62 CE, he had her executed. And on this date in 68 CE, Nero committed suicide, after quoting Homer’s Iliad. (On hearing the approach of horsemen who’d been dispatched by the Senate, which had declared Nero a public enemy, the deposed Emperor declared “Hark, now strikes on my ear the trampling of swift-footed coursers!”)