Boing Boing 

Russian city "bans yoga" because of "occult character"

OCCULT According to the Moscow Times, yoga studios in Putinland have been told to stop hosting classes, lest they spread the occult.

One of the letters, seen by Kommersant and addressed from Nizhnevartovsk First Deputy Head Sergei Levkin to the head of social and youth policy Marianna Parfenova asks that she take all necessary measures to stop Hatha yoga lessons from taking place at the stadium.

The move is crucial "in order to prevent the spread of new religious cults and movements," reads the letter.

A second letter, sent to the heads of the departments for physical culture and education, refers to Hatha yoga as "inextricably linked to religious practices" and as having "an occult character," Kommersant reported Friday.

We laugh, but Putin's hilariously macho photos help him "stay in power"

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Amanda Taub and Johnny Harris analyze the bizarrely-staged photo ops in which the Russian president is seen to enjoy a "Walter Mitty-esque fantasy life" where he "subdues tigers, rides horses, and communes with dolphins:" this is politics in Russia.

It's a reminder to the Russian public — and to the Russian elite, whose support Putin relies on — that Putin is healthy, he is in control, and he is going to stay that way. All of that matters a great deal in Russia. Russian political power is centralized with Putin, and if he were to suddenly die or become ill, it's not at all clear what would happen next. … Photos of Putin looking shirtless, healthy, and powerful are a way to reassure the public that there's no need to worry. If Putin is fine, then Russia is fine. But consider the implication of that assertion: if Putin is not fine, then neither is Russia. The scary part is that's probably correct.

CNN interview with author of discredited Sunday Times story on Snowden is painful to watch

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If you haven't seen it, you owe it to yourself to watch this video. It's CNN's George Howell interviewing Sunday Times buffoon Tom Harper about his now-discredited report that said the governments of Russia and China have decrypted files leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

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Russia's troll factory

An outstanding expose of Internet Research Agency, a St Petersburg, Russia-based army of trolls for hire who post pro-Kremlin messages to comment forums all day.

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Putin foe's grave sudden illness: "spoiled yogurt" or "something else" to blame

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Vladimir Kara-Murza of the anti-Putin, pro-democracy Open Russia movement is in a Moscow hospital after he suddenly fell unconscious.

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Laptop killing booby-trapped USB drive


The USB Killer is a booby-trapped, hand-made USB drive that will "burn down" your laptop if you insert it into your USB slot.

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Selfie-taking naked Russian guy in the snow blocks traffic

Another exemplary Russian video: dashcam, bad tempers, likely vodka abuse, and an abrupt ending leaving you wanting more.

R2D2 handbags


These embroidered felt R2D2 handbags ($185, 17" high) are made to order in Moscow by Krukrustudio. (via Bonnie Burton)

Pizza condoms


Marina Malygina's mock-ups for a pizza-themed condom in its own little pizza box is intended to help resolve the American love of both food and sex.

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Russia bans trans people from driving


Under an insane new Russian "safety law," people with "mental disorders" may not drive.

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The ruble is sinking almost as fast as bitcoin

The falling price of oil is causing problems for Russia's economy, says Matt O'Brien of the Washington Post. The ruble is down 50% against the dollar this year. The Russian central bank raised interest rates from 10.5 to 17 percent in an attempt to prop up the value of the ruble, but this move will "send Russia's moribund economy into a deep recession."

The only asset, and I use that word lightly, that's done worse than the ruble's 50 percent fall is Bitcoin, which is a fake currency that techno-utopians insist is the future we don't know we want. And this is only going to get worse. Russia, you see, is stuck in an economic catch-22. Its economy needs lower interest rates to push up growth, but its companies need higher interest rates to push up the ruble and make all the dollars they borrowed not worth so much. So, to use a technical term, they're screwed no matter what they do.

Sorry, Putin. Russia’s economy is doomed

Beautiful steampunk creatures


Igor Verniy creates amazing steampunk animal junkbots from watch parts, car parts and electronic junk (here's his Etsy store); in this Bored Panda interview, he explains his process.

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Brian Krebs's "Spam Nation"

In Spam Nation: The Inside Story of Organized Cybercrime-from Global Epidemic to Your Front Door, Brian Krebs offers a fascinating look at the mass-scale cybercrime that underpins the spam in your inbox and provides an inside peek at a violent fight among its principle players. Cory Doctorow reviews.Read the rest

Vladimir Putin takes the gloves off

In a virulently anti-Western and uncharacteristically blunt speech, Russian spy-turned-president Vladimir Putin set out his agenda for Russia and its relationship to "western elites." The speech wasn't widely reported in the west, but Dmitry Orlov has helpfully translated, transcribed and summarized it.

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Gallery of Russian criminal tattoo police file photos

The dollar bills, skyscrapers and machine gun with the initials ‘US’ stamped on it convey this inmate’s love for the American mafia-like lifestyle. The eyes signify ‘I’m watching over you’ (the other inmates in the prison or camp). The epaulette tattooed on the shoulder denotes the inmates 'rank' among the criminal caste.


The dollar bills, skyscrapers and machine gun with the initials ‘US’ stamped on it convey this inmate’s love for the American mafia-like lifestyle. The eyes signify ‘I’m watching over you’ (the other inmates in the prison or camp). The epaulette tattooed on the shoulder denotes the inmates 'rank' among the criminal caste.

Fuel has a new book out with 180 photos of Russian criminal tattoo from the 1960s-1980s. It is a Kickstarter-funded project.

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Lena Finkle's Magic Barrel: Bad romance, Russia and writer's angst

Anya Ulinich's 2008 debut novel Petropolis, marked her out as a master of tragicomic romance; now she's back with a huge, hilarious, bitter graphic novel about sex, immigration, the Russian soul, and heartbreak. Cory Doctorow reviews Lena Finkle's Magic Barrel: A Graphic Novel.Read the rest