Recommended if You Like is Boing Boing's weekly podcast of Brian Heater's cafe conversations with musicians, cartoonists, writers, and other creative types.
Come spend 45 minutes in the Red Hook living room shared by Hospitality's singer and percussionist a day after the launch of their sophomore record. The expectations are elevated this time out, after the healthy amount of buzz generated by the band's self-titled indie-pop debut. You wouldn't know it from outward appearances, however. All is calm in the Brooklyn band's apartment. Dinner is on the stove and Michel is halfway through Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung. The tour, after all, is still a few months away.
5 Very Serious Answers to 5 Very Serious Questions from BuzzFeed.
BuzzFeed: Do you regularly have meetings at the Kremlin or with Russian government officials? Can you describe them, if so? How much direct influence does the Kremlin have over what RT reports?
I don't have to go to meetings at the Kremlin because I already live there. My office is located there as well, as are the offices of all other TV executives in Russia. And RT doesn't do any of its own investigating or reporting -- we just read the latest Kremlin press releases on camera. It is much more efficient that way.
BuzzFeed: Why is your office apparently located on a different floor than the newsroom, as one employee told me?
No idea on which floor my RT office is, as I work straight out of my Kremlin digs. I've heard that it's nice though.
BuzzFeed: Also, was Anastasia Churkina hired because of who her father is? Why was she allowed to interview her own father on camera?
All of our employees are hired based on the criteria of being Vitaly Churkin's children. Anastasia Churkina interviewed her father because his other children were busy at that time.
BuzzFeed: I'm told that RT Arabic is run by President Putin's former translator -- is that how that position was filled?
Indeed it is. Please note that the head of RT Spanish is President Putin's former chef and the head of RT International is his former hairdresser. Presidential affiliations are the only credentials that matter in prospective candidates who are not fortunate enough to be Mr. Churkin's offspring.
BuzzFeed: Based on the perspective of former employees…
Are you sure? It is highly unlikely you could reach actual former-RT employees as it is company policy to unleash the KGB on anyone who dares to leave.
Margarita Simonyan, RT’s editor-in-chief
I am so happy with this waterproof iPod Shuffle by Underwater Audio! Swimming, surfing and scuba diving, three of my favorite hobbies, are all amazingly enhanced!
I have no idea what they do, or how they do it; Underwater Audio claims their water-proofed shuffles are good to 200'. It is just a regular, made by Apple, iPod Shuffle they do something magical to. I've used mine as deep as 60' with no problems. The audio quality is good enough for when you are in the water and I really have no complaints. I simply velcro the unit to my facemask, goggles or hood and away I go.
Everything works like a regular iPod except the buttons are a little bit stiffer. Swimming for exercise with music is made amazingly better. For scuba,I find them fun on night dives but largely just a distraction unless its a pure pleasure dive (no photography.) Surfing with Dick Dale playing is sort of without compare. I'm sure they are great for other water sports and activities too!
“The Ukrainians have asked for an unscheduled observation flight over our territory,” Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov told reporters in Moscow.
Russia and Ukraine are entitled to surveillance flights over each other's territories following the Open Skies treaty signed in 1992, but Antonov said that Kiev had never asked for one before, and that Moscow was "under no obligation" to allow it immediately.
“We have decided to allow such a flight. We hope that our neighbors are assured that there is no military activity that threatens them on the border.”
Antonov vehemently denied a statement Tuesday by Igor Tenyukh, defense minister for the Kiev coup-appointed government, that Russia had amassed more than 220,000 troops, 1,800 tanks and over 400 helicopters in regions adjacent to eastern Ukraine.
“Ukrainian military officials know full well that the entire [Russian] Southern and Western Military Districts put together don’t have that much equipment. The only way you could arrive at that number of soldiers would be if you counted their families,” Antonov said.
"I would dissuade Mr Tenyukh from adding fuel to the fire of the crisis, which is what he appears to be doing. He openly outlined the reasons for this himself, when he asked the Ukrainian parliament to issue him with more funding," continued the Russian official.
Antonov added that continuing mass training exercises in eastern Ukraine, which Kiev began this week, could plunge Ukraine into even deeper turmoil.
“Staging exercises in an area that is gripped by mass protests against the new regime which came to power as a result of a coup is a risky endeavor, which could further destabilize the political situation in Ukraine,” Antonov insisted.
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— Juan A. Vazquez (@madebyjuan) March 12, 2014
Firefighters were still fighting the blaze at 1646 Park Avenue in Harlem around an hour later, and eyewitnesses told Fox News that debris from the partial collapse had spread several blocks throughout the neighborhood.
Around that same time, the FDNY upgraded the incident to a four-alarm blaze and confirmed that it was being categorized as a “multiple dwelling explosion and collapse” being handled by upwards of 168 firefighters. By 11 a.m., it was upgraded to a five-alarm.
Shortly after that time, the New York Times reported two fatalities.
On Twitter, one eyewitness said he was on his way to work when he came across the scene and saw nearby cars covered by bricks and glass. Another, Campus Reform reporter Katherine Timpf, tweeted that her apartment five blocks away on 121 Street shook as the explosion occurred.
It has yet to be confirmed whether or not any occupants remained inside the property, but a local hospital was reportedly treating at least 15 victims at a nearby emergency room.
Firefighters are still bringing injured people away from the scene. pic.twitter.com/zmbUHrqTny
— Don Champion (@DonChampionTV) March 12, 2014
The New York Police Department’s bomb squad was called to the scene, but officials have reportedly said they don’t suspect the incident to be an act of terrorism. Eyewitnesses speculated to Fox News during the network’s live coverage that the fire may have been related to construction being carried out at the location.
The building is on the west side of Park Avenue in New York City’s East Harlem neighborhood between 116 and 117 Street, and contained a piano store in addition to apartments.
The Metro-North railroad suspended service in and out of Grand Central Terminal in downtown Manhattan as a precaution, and local trains were halted after debris reportedly landed on the tracks roughly nine blocks away from the building collapse.
— RT America (@RT_America) March 12, 2014
— RT America (@RT_America) March 12, 2014
396 pure, unadulterated, dyed-in-the-wool, 100% made-up, completely fake disneyland "facts" is funny book of plausible-sounding Disneyland lies, penned by Horatio Liar (AKA Dominick Cancilla). As John Frost notes, Cancilla has a flair for making up stories that sound weird-but-true, but are, in fact, weird-but-false, and nevertheless make you want to repeat them.
For example: "The Disneyland Hotel was originally independently owned and operated. Eventually, Disney decided that they would rather own the hotel outright, but the owners weren’t interested in selling. To help the owners change their mind, Michael Eisner proposed that the company build an enormous impenetrable wall between the hotel and Disneyland if they didn’t sell. The deal was signed just weeks later."
Crafting these rumors is an art form. One of the real Picasso’s of the genre has put out a book with a collection of “396 pure, unadulterated, dyed-in-the-wool, 100% made-up, completely fake Disneyland ‘facts’.” It’s full of Steve Martin-esque humor (which is appropriate since Martin himself worked at Disneyland and adapted much of his performance style of humor from Disneyland’s own Wally Boag and Fulton Burley at the Golden Horseshoe Revue). The truly funny stuff that builds up into a giant ball of laughter that erupts from your gut.
If you’re at all a ‘Disney’ person, then you’ll enjoy reading ‘Facts’ like this:
According to a survey on the Mousetravelketeers.com discussion board, the top 10 things you need to bring with you for a relaxed, trouble-free day at the Disneyland resort are: Money
The new tax break is aimed at helping Poland attract foreign companies to explore and invest in the country’s shale oil reserves, believed to be the largest in Europe, according to data by the US Energy Information Administration.
The tax break will be “a huge incentive” to get investors interested and on the ground, Prime Minister Donald Tusk said on Tuesday, adding that by 2020 taxes “shouldn’t exceed 40 percent of extraction income.”
Between 2020-2029, the new incentives will contribute up to $5 billion in revenue, according to Tusk.
The proposal will be sent to parliament within two weeks, and the prime minister hopes it will pass without any hiccups.
Earlier in February, Poland ditched plans to use a state company to explore for shale gas, instead deciding to auction off licenses to foreign companies. Exxon Mobil and Marathon Oil are both interested in the country’s shale industry. Some state-controlled companies have also won licenses for exploration.
Maciej Grabowski, Poland's environment minister, expects the country's first commercial shale gas well to be drilled this year, and hopes to have over 200 wells in the next few years. The country wants to become an exporter, and not an importer of natural gas.No more ‘gas blackmail’?
Poland’s reserves are estimated between 800 to 2,000 billion cubic meters, and proper development could help the country of 38 million people become less dependent on neighboring Russia for energy. Annual domestic demand for gas is 15 million cubic meters, and about 60 percent is currently imported from Gazprom, Russia’s state-owned gas major. Most of the deliveries pass through Ukraine, as it is sandwiched between Poland and Russia.
"Today gas security is a fundamental prerequisite of sovereignty of every European country, including Poland," as the WSJ quotes the PM. Warsaw’s new tax scheme will help it escape the “gas blackmail” in dealing with Russia, Tusk added.
Payment disputes between Gazprom and Ukraine threaten supplies in Europe, according to Prime Minister Tusk. Gazprom has turned off deliveries through Ukraine twice, once in 2006 and again in 2009, both over pricing rows with Kiev.
To date, Gazprom CEO Aleksey Miller claims Naftogaz, Ukraine’s national oil and gas company, has an outstanding debt of nearly $2 billion. The CEO has also offered to give Naftogaz a loan of up to $2-3 billion.
Prime Minister Tusk has expressed solidarity with Ukraine’s move towards the EU and away from Russia, and has been involved in the country’s ascension into the EU Eastern Partnership- which includes Poland, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine, all ex-Soviet states.
Tusk meets with German Chancellor Angela Merkel today to discuss the Crimean crisis as well as the “threat” Russian gas poses to “Europe’s security and sovereignty".Poland, UK, and Europe’s ‘shale revolution’
Poland, the UK, and other EU countries continue to develop shale extraction at home to reduce energy dependence from abroad, taking a leaf from the success of the US shale boom.
Poland, along with other pro-fracking EU countries has been able to win over EU regulators so as to not impose more restrictive safety measures.
Extraction by fracking involves pumping millions of gallons of water and chemicals into the ground, which creates excess hydro waste, which over time residents worry will result in contamination of the water table.
Freedom After 30 Years on Death Row. A case involving a black man convicted by an all-white jury in Louisiana decades ago may be reopened. "Will Louisiana apologize to Ford for incarcerating him for 30 years for a crime he did not commit? Will state officials acknowledge that it was unconscionable for their predecessors to have proceeded against Ford once they knew that Brown had made up her story? And what in the world will all those state judges think now that their failure to do justice, year after year after year, has been so broadly exposed by the twist in this case?"Topic(s):
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