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Yes, Kazakhstan should change its name. This map shows why.

"Life-long Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev has suggested changing his country's name to make it friendlier to investors and tourists. It's obviously a little silly to change your country's name for marketing purposes. But there may be more meaningful reasons for the country to change its name..." An interesting perspective from Max Fisher at the Washington Post.
posted by paleyellowwithorange on Feb 11, 2014 - 33 comments

PLUTONIUM MOUNTAIN

From 1949 onwards, the closed city of Semipalatinsk (now Semey, Kazakhstan) was the test site for 456 nuclear devices. The test site was known as "The Polygon." Testing was stopped in 1989, but the long term effects remained. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Nov 6, 2013 - 11 comments

selection and preservation that bind humans and apples together

Of Sisters And Clones: An Interview with Jessica Rath
Every apple for sale at your local supermarket is a clone. Every single Golden Delicious, for example, contains the exact same genetic material; though the original Golden Delicious tree (discovered in 1905, on a hillside in Clay County, West Virginia) is now gone, its DNA has become all but immortal, grafted onto an orchard of clones growing on five continents and producing more than two hundred billion pounds of fruit each year in the United States alone.
via Edible Geography [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jun 20, 2013 - 52 comments

Found: unused space shuttle

No big deal, just found an abandoned space shuttle.
posted by latkes on Apr 18, 2013 - 43 comments

Mongolian Eagle Hunters

The Last of the Mongolian Eagle Hunters. "In remote Mongolia, a few men continue the dying tradition of training golden eagles to hunt. Australian photographer Palani Mohan describes his project to document what remains of this centuries-old culture." [more inside]
posted by homunculus on Feb 17, 2013 - 11 comments

"The people in these photos park like they're fleeing the zombie apocalypse"

Kazakhstan: Bad Parking Capital of the World? [more inside]
posted by prize bull octorok on Aug 15, 2012 - 44 comments

Kazakhstan and Beyond!

In Pictures: Star City and the Baikonur Cosmodrome
posted by Artw on May 17, 2012 - 24 comments

The Internet never lies!

Maria Dmitrienko, a member of the Kazakh national shooting team, won a competition in Kuwait. At the medal ceremony, the organizers played the fake Kazakh national anthem from the movie "Borat", which praises Kazakhstan for its potassium exports and claims that it has the cleanest prostitutes in the region. [more inside]
posted by Chocolate Pickle on Mar 23, 2012 - 40 comments

Tomorrowland

Astana, the new capital of Kazakhstan, is brash and grandiose—and wildly attractive to young strivers seeking success. [more inside]
posted by Potomac Avenue on Mar 14, 2012 - 23 comments

78 78s

78 78s - In Search Of Lost Time - is a streaming mix of beautiful 78s from around the world, collected and curated by Ian Nagoski. "I started sifting through boxes of junky old 78s that no one else wanted about 15 years ago, and almost right away, I made a rule: Anything that wasn't in English, buy it." [more inside]
posted by carter on Jan 29, 2012 - 15 comments

Massacre feared in Kazakhstan

Seventy feared dead and five hundred wounded by riot police in Zhanaozen, west Kazakhstan. Workers in the oil town have been on strike since May; protests (YT) during independence day celebrations escalated into clashes with security forces. Latest reports suggest protesters are gathering again and 1,500 marines are moving in.
posted by Abiezer on Dec 16, 2011 - 23 comments

*Inhales* hmmm, needs more horse...

"It begins with a freshly showered person riding naked for hours on a clean, washed horse inside a two-meter-high 'forest' of marijuana. Afterwards, the human body and that of the horse are covered with a thick layer of resin mixed with sweat. This produces a substance that is usually dark brown in color, which is then thoroughly scraped off the human and horse's bodies." The Chu (sometimes Chui or Chuy) valley produced much of the marijuana available in the Soviet Union, and continues its unique harvest to this day. Via The World on PRI (audio link). [more inside]
posted by codacorolla on Sep 9, 2011 - 64 comments

Tetsuro Ahiko will not go home to Japan.

The last Japanese man remaining in Kazakhstan: A Kafkian tale of the plight of a Japanese POW in the Soviet Union. This is the story of Tetsuro Ahiko, a Japanese national who was living on Sakhalin Island during WWII, and was sent to gulags after the war instead of being repatriated to Japan. Ahiko has turned down multiple offers to be resettled in Japan and has spent 60+ years in Kazakhstan (what was then the Soviet Union.)
posted by gen on Feb 7, 2011 - 38 comments

Buran - The Soviet Shuttle

In 1976, in response to NASA's development of the Space Shuttle, the USSR began it's own reusable launcher program, the Buran (Snowstorm), based at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in what is now Kazakhstan. [more inside]
posted by jontyjago on Jan 23, 2011 - 49 comments

Ice diving an underwater forest

Lake Kaindy is a lake in Kazakhstan that was created after a huge landslide. A portion of the surrounding forest was submerged, and has since become regionally famous for its underwater trees. The coolest pictures, by far, are from the guys who went ice diving in the middle of winter.
posted by shiu mai baby on Jul 15, 2010 - 18 comments

That's just normal oxidation.

Removing 600 kilos of enriched U-235: the story of how, in 1994, the United States secretly removed from Kazakhstan enough purified uranium to make 24 nuclear weapons. (Full article with one photo.) Russian bomb-grade uranium is now being used in U.S. power plants.
posted by exogenous on Sep 21, 2009 - 50 comments

Horses Were Tamed, Milked, and Probably Ridden 5,500 Years Ago

Riding with the first cowboys – in 3500 BC. Horses were tamed a millennium earlier than previously thought. [Via]
posted by homunculus on Mar 6, 2009 - 14 comments

The Fatherland of Apples

The Fatherland of Apples Orion Magazine chronicles "[t]he origins of a favorite fruit and the race to save its native habitat." More about the origins of the apple and wild apples by Michael Pollan, Jake Fleming (PowerPoint), William J. Bramlage (PDF), Linda McCandless (with the germplasm repository catalog here (PDF)) and Barrie Edward Juniper (Google Books preview).
posted by cog_nate on Jun 20, 2008 - 15 comments

at the crossroads - a photographic journey through central Asia

Canadian photographer Christopher Herwig provides a fascinating glimpse of the people and places of 5 of the "-stan" countries of Central Asia. You can see more work and current projects on his flickr page. Noteworthy photo essays: Arsan Baths in Almatry, Soviet Roadside Bus Stops (seen here before), and his recent The Wheelbarrow Operators of Monrovia.
posted by madamjujujive on Apr 11, 2007 - 16 comments

Russia's discomfort with its Muslim minority

Russia's discomfort with its Muslim minority stems from a fear that the higher-than-average fertility of the Muslim population (6-10 children children per woman among Muslims vs 1.5 per woman among non-Muslims) will make the ethnic Russians of eastern-orthodox persuasion a minority within the state. [More Inside]
posted by gregb1007 on Jan 8, 2007 - 43 comments

I KISS YOU!!!!!

Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan is the newest movie from Ali G creator Sacha Baron Cohen. Unfortunately, it seems to have sparked an honest-to-God diplomatic incident.
posted by EarBucket on Sep 14, 2006 - 51 comments

Kazakhstan HIV

Fourteen infants in Kazakhstan hospitals have been found to have HIV. The chief of the regional anti-AIDS center blamed degenerate parents. Not a bad guess; certainly drug use and prostitution have been the major driving force behind the spread of HIV into Central Asia. In this case, however, the victims were probably infected by tainted blood, a problem largely solved in developed countries but still problematic in much of the world. Attitudes like the official's in this case are a big part of the problem.
posted by thirteenkiller on Jul 23, 2006 - 22 comments

In my country is a problem, and the problem is the news

It's a hard life for Kazakh opposition leaders. Even if you didn't have to worry about the government all up in your grill, or the police picking on your relatives, there would still be people (totally unrelated to the government, of course) trying to kill you over business disputes, or something. No wonder the last guy killed himself.
posted by thirteenkiller on Feb 20, 2006 - 8 comments

Borat Strikes Back

Borat Strikes back after being threatened by the Kazakhstan's Foreign Ministry. I like his website? Do you like his website? Previously mentioned in this post.
posted by reverenddrjice on Nov 25, 2005 - 14 comments

Well, it can't be worse than a very bad gypsy attack.

Borat likes you. Do you like Borat? Not everyone does. Kazakhstan's Foreign Ministry is threatening to sue to prevent the country from being presented in a "derogatory way" by the caricature, a brainchild of UK comedian Sacha Boren Cohen, aka Ali G. [more inside, dziękuję]
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Nov 17, 2005 - 37 comments

Road trip to venus!

Road trip to venus!

The Venus Express was launched on Nov. 9th, 2005 from Baikonur, the historic spaceport in Kazakhstan. It is the first Venus probe sent by the ESA , and you can follow it's progress on the six month journey to the planet.

Exploration of Venus begin in 1962 with Mariner 2, the first space probe to fly by another planet and other flights, including the Russian Venera 7, which was the first probe to land on another planet. The Soviets took quite an interest in Venus and dominated the exploration of the planet through the '70s and '80s. A lot of the images recorded by those early craft have been reprocessed with modern technology.

In the early '90s the Magellan spacecraft spent several years mapping the surface of Venus, providing us many, many, many images and 3D maps of the planet.

As for Venus Express, it's goal is to spend two years making detailed studys of the planet's clouds and atmosphere.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Nov 13, 2005 - 19 comments

A few misconceptions about Kazakhstan

Roman Vassilenko, the press secretary for the Embassy of Kazakhstan, wants to clear up few misconceptions about his country. Women are not kept in cages. The national sport is not shooting a dog and then having a party. You cannot earn a living being a Gypsy catcher Wine is not made from fermented horse urine.
This is a response to Borat, a character from "Da Ali G Show." Previously discussed here, and here.
posted by garethspor on Sep 15, 2004 - 15 comments

Kazakhstan Tolkeinistas

Kazakhstan Tolkeinistas viewed as subversives by the local authorities. A Elbereth Gilthoniel! WTF, penna miriel?!
posted by MrBaliHai on Jan 20, 2002 - 3 comments

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