MetaFilter posts by gregb1007.
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Now that Kosovo has declared independence, will Abkhazia follow? The Abkhazian "autonomy" within Georgia already has its own president and parliament, as well as an independent army that has managed to expel Georgian presence by 1993. They've even got their own flag. The only thing missing? Official recognition from the UN.
posted on Feb-21-08 at 11:33 PM

Did Vladimir Putin really turn around Russia's economy? Washington Post's Fred Hyatt attempts to refute the conventional wisdom that Putin was responsible for Russia's turnaround from the economic instability of the "disastrous" 90s by offering a thorough counter argument to prove that Putin's effect on the economy was just the reverse.
posted on Jan-18-08 at 2:34 AM

Diversity counterproductive to "social capital?" James Wilson's article in Commentary magazine talks about Harvard sociologist Robert Putnam's essay recently published in Scandinavian Political Studies. In the essay, Putnam publicizes the findings of his research, conducted in rural districts, towns, and cities, whose conclusion establishes that diverse neighborhoods show less "social capital" because ethnically diverse residents seem to distrust each other.
posted on Nov-2-07 at 9:40 PM

French Jewish writer Irène Némirovsky's claim to fame rests on Suite Française, a novel that she wrote about the German occupation of France while awaiting death in Auschwitz but which was not published until 2004. Irène may also provoke interest because her early fiction was steeped in anti-semitic stereotypes and serialized in right-wing newspapers. [More Inside]
posted on Feb-6-07 at 3:15 AM

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 on Jan-8-07 at 1:17 AM

Jews and The Russian Revolution: "More often than not, we picture nineteenth-century Russian Jews as residents of hermetically Jewish shtetls, small hamlets saturated with tradition and authenticity. After the Revolution of 1917 perceptions dramatically reversed, as Jews suddenly appeared as consummate insiders in the young Soviet state. How are we to make sense of these disparate impressions, stemming from two adjacent historical periods?" [More Inside]
posted on Jun-26-06 at 10:45 AM

Discovering Chylum: Swarthmore Professor David Harrison traveled to Siberia to learn about Chulym, a previously undiscovered local language that reflects its population's culture of hunting, animastic belief system, and bear worship. [More Inside]
posted on May-21-06 at 6:36 AM

The 1970s Russian main street was filled with small, grimy stores stocked with ethnic food and kept by unfriendly laconic storekeepers. However, since then this "closed world, one full of sour looks, suspicion, and hopelessly outdated fashion" has disappeared. [more inside]
posted on Apr-23-06 at 6:37 PM

Ukraine is divided on the issue of Russian: The Russian speaking population from the eastern part of the country has increasingly attempted to make Russian into an official language only, provoking bitter opposition from the Ukranian speaking majority in the western part. [More inside]
posted on Mar-28-06 at 8:41 PM

Narrow Casting: This article describes the trend of narrowcasting, a media consumption pattern in which users increasingly turn to specialized, often web-produced media content and away from professionally mass-marketed content shown on TV and sold in record and video stores. [Via]
posted on Dec-22-05 at 2:41 AM

Transit in Detroit details an urban planner's initiative to cut the costs of the city's traffic congestion-relieving highway expansion by proposing a transit system combining light rail and bus-rapid-transit. [More Inside]
posted on Nov-25-05 at 7:13 PM

Communication Breakdown is a problem that often prevents doctors from treating immigrant patients effectively. Language and cultural barriers prevent patients from understanding doctors instructions, sharing their symptoms of illness, and even from being examined by the doctor in cases where religious beliefs prohibit contact with someone of the opposite gender.
posted on Sep-6-05 at 12:34 AM

Are dictionaries the realm of the elite and the educated? For a change of pace, there is an extensive dictionary of Russian swears with hundreds of words translated into French and German .. Oh and it's also two way - French swears and German swears are both translated into Russian. [More Inside]
posted on Jun-20-05 at 5:06 PM

If listening to sound of different languages is something you may be interested in, visit the multimedia language project website hosted by the Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg. It features the sound files of a small blurb from Saint-Exupéry's The Little Prince read outloud in a 100 different languages. The blurbs are also textually transcribed. [See more inside]
posted on May-17-05 at 7:01 PM

The Vepsa are a distinct ethnic people who live in the Russian territory of Karelia, on the border with Finland. They are also scattered throughout the Leningrad and Vologda regions of Russia. Before many were assimiliated to Russian, the Vepsa spoke their own distinct variant of Finno-Ugric. [See more inside]
posted on May-3-05 at 3:57 PM

The Seven Dwarfs of Auschwitz were subjected to experiments by famed Nazi Dr. Mengele. 81-year old Perla is the subject of a 1999 film .
posted on Mar-18-05 at 9:37 AM

Soviet Animation On the heels of the post on Soviet music, here's a link to 10 short video clips of well-known Soviet-era cartoons. (Set your browsers to cyrillic KOI8-R encoding.)
posted on Mar-2-05 at 8:14 AM

Traditional Russian fairytales with beautiful illustrations depicting scenes from the stories.
posted on Feb-23-05 at 10:57 PM

Peridromophile William James Sidis was so fascinated with with streetcar transfers that he wrote a 300 page book about them.
posted on Feb-10-05 at 7:04 PM

A collection of absurdly funny stories. Try Cell Phone, Girl Talk, and A Rose by Any Name.
posted on Jan-14-04 at 12:18 AM

Does our culture actively discourage ethical behavior? The alarmingly high rate of cheating in schools, discussed by David Callahan, seems to imply that cheating is not an aberration in our culture but more like a norm. [More Inside]
posted on Jan-11-04 at 11:24 PM

A challenger to Bush for the Republican nomination?
posted on Jan-2-04 at 9:51 PM

Interesting article on how science will change our understanding of time. [Via AlDaily]
posted on Jan-1-04 at 4:03 AM

An unhealthy obsession? The Internet is full of websites dedicated to a rabid fan's obsession with a celebrity. These websites often reveal their owners' fantasies of sexual encounters with said celebrity. But it's not often the object of such sexual desire ends up being a well known public figure from the Clinton administration.
posted on Dec-24-03 at 8:39 PM

Intelligent Grouping Design is ... a new idea in public transportation. With many vans out and about town, a passenger can be quickly picked up wherever he happens to be and just as quickly conveyed to his desired destination. Via the cell-phone, people call into the central computer with their current location as well as their destination. The computer finds the nearest van whose route is also the most closest to the passenger's destination. The computer then modifies the route slightly to accommodate the new passenger's pickup and dropoff locations. The drivers don't have to exert themselves mentally on figuring out each route change as the vans equipped with satellite guidance technology.
posted on Dec-11-03 at 8:47 PM

Why Poor People are pretty much f*cked. No one can make reading about the growing gap between the rich and the poor as fun as the Onion; but other than describing the issue in humorous terms, the story makes it more accessible than your typical article in a newsmagazine.
posted on Dec-9-03 at 11:30 PM

Dean Campaign and Revival of Community. Robert Putnam's book Bowling Alone charted the decline of communities in America, arguing that people tended to no longer to meet others outside the family for common interests or causes. The NYTimes Magazine argues that the Dean Campaign derives its popularity from reviving such communal connections. [More Inside]
posted on Dec-7-03 at 7:40 PM

Trains vs. Airplanes. Amtrak has reported record ridership levels for the Thanksgiving season. But the success of the rails is indebted to post 9/11 air-travel anxiety. Maybe, it would be better for travelers to stop fearing hijackings and resume flying planes instead of riding intercity trains out of fear. On the other hand, it could be a good thing that rail travel is getting a second look after years of decline.
posted on Dec-3-03 at 9:14 PM

Self-help equals self-harm? Are self-help books harmful rather than helpful? This article argues that dissatisfaction with one's abilities and achievements will not not be helped by affirmations of self-worth. Nor will we succeed in coping with the bitter feelings for those who have wronged us by practing the "anger therapy" of slamming a punching bag. [More Inside]
posted on Dec-1-03 at 11:52 PM

Trashtalking - German Style. Forget talking dolls, Berlin's speechifying its trash cans to thank pedestrians after they dump their litter. But is it appropriate to have immaterial things tell you how to use them? [More Inside]
posted on Nov-23-03 at 10:07 PM

The absence of sexual desire. We often discuss the frustrations of excessive sexual desire but rarely touch upon its absence. A woman who was a virgin before her marriage discusses the adjustments she had to make before she started desiring or even feeling comfortable about having sex with her husband.
posted on Nov-21-03 at 9:53 PM

Oh... the evils of psychotherapy. And they are many - by turning to therapists, we don't get the strong emotional bonds that are the benefit of sharing your trouble with friends. (More Inside)
posted on Nov-18-03 at 4:09 AM

Dean can't carry the south. The New Republic's Jonathan Chait writes in response to Dean's flag gaffe: "What's alarming here is not that Dean wants to win votes from guys with Confederate flags on their pickup trucks. It's that he thinks he actually can... His aggressive secularism, association with civil unions, and antiwar stance all make him culturally anathema in the South. This is one of the many, many reasons Dean would be squashed like a bug in the general election if nominated: Bush could take the South for granted, and concentrate all his resources on battleground states like Pennsylvania. "
posted on Nov-9-03 at 11:54 PM

Florida's New Senator. Bob Graham's retiring and not running for re-election of his senate seat. It's sad to see a good senator go. But not to worry because the end of this Floridian's distinguished senatorial career marks the beginning of another... Katherine Harris for U.S. Senate 2004!
posted on Nov-7-03 at 3:47 PM

Bad Writing = Good Writing? The academic journal Philosophy and Literature used to hold a "Bad Writing Contest" to ridicule dense, unreadable academic prose... but a new book argues headache inducing sentences are necessary to express subtle theoretical points.
posted on Oct-30-03 at 8:02 PM

Pay your electricity bill -- or Fluffy gets it. Russia's First Channel television reported Dalenergo, an electricity company in Russia's Far Eastern city Vladivostok, is so frustrated by customers who owe around 300 million roubles (6 million pounds) that it has decided to confiscate their pets.
posted on Oct-9-03 at 4:55 AM

The Aletheia Forum's searing critique of post-modernism When faced with moral questions, post modernism turns to invention but not truth for answer. The result are insane inventions like totalitarianism. Hence "the deep affinity, the holding hands under the table between postmodern intellectuals and totalitarian regimes."
posted on Sep-20-03 at 3:03 AM

Do Cars force us to give up the outdoors? In jail, prisoners are stuck indoors and aren't allowed to go outside except for an hour at most. But are the car-driving residents of the average American suburb consigned to the same fate? "You go from the box garage in the house to the box car, driving down the street, not touching anything or being part of your environment" says Jessica Denevan. [More Inside]
posted on Sep-16-03 at 12:54 AM

Film Schools obsessed with theory David Weddle complains that in film schools "discussions about movie characters, plots and the human beings who created them are replaced by theories such as semiotics, structuralism, post-structuralism, Marxism, psychoanalytics and neoformalism. [More inside]
posted on Sep-14-03 at 1:19 AM

" Socialism teaches you to avoid taking care of other people. The state will – why should you?  If people in France and elsewhere in Europe take less care of their aging parents, it is because they are taught from childhood to allow others – i.e., the state – to take care of everybody... The bigger the government, the worse the people."
posted on Sep-6-03 at 1:34 AM