Endangered archive of Siberian indigenous voices to be digitised – Museums Association

“Russian cassette tapes from the Soviet era are particularly fragile and here the process of degradation has been speeded up by water leakages in the building, which have increased the humidity,” Anderson said.

“For the most badly damaged tapes, extracting what they contain requires them to be baked in an oven but after that, you only get one chance at playing them before the recordings are lost.

“We will be working with Russian sound technicians on this process which then requires them to be disassembled, rewound and played at different speeds to remove the interference caused by damage to the tapes, which stick together causing squealing sounds.”
— Read on www.museumsassociation.org/museums-journal/news/2021/10/endangered-archive-of-siberian-indigenous-voices-to-be-digitised/

A World Without Sci-Hub – Palladium

Aaron Swartz was 26 years old when he took his own life. He did so under the shadow of legal prosecution, pursued by government lawyers intent on maximal punishment. If found guilty, he potentially faced up to 50 years in prison and a $1 million dollar fine. Swartz’s crime was not only legal, but political. He had accessed a private computer network and gained possession of highly valuable information with the goal of sharing it. His actions threatened some of the most powerful, connected, and politically protected groups in the country. Their friends in the government were intent on sending a message.

It’s the kind of story you would expect about some far-off political dissident. But Swartz took his life in Brooklyn on a winter day in 2013 and his prosecutor was the U.S. federal government. When Swartz died, he was under indictment for 13 felony charges related to his use of an MIT computer to download too many scientific articles from the academic database JSTOR, ostensibly for the purpose of making them freely available to the public. Ultimately, Swartz potentially faced more jail time for downloading academic papers than he would have if he had helped Al Qaeda build a nuclear weapon. Even the Criminal Code of the USSR stipulated that those who stored and distributed anti-Soviet literature only faced five to seven years in prison. While prosecutors later pointed toward a potential deal for less time, Aaron would still have been labeled a felon for his actions—and to boot, JSTOR itself had reached a civil settlement and didn’t even pursue its own lawsuit.

But Aaron’s cause lived on. This September marks the ten-year anniversary of Sci-Hub, the online “shadow library” that provides access to millions of research papers otherwise hidden behind prohibitive paywalls. Founded by the Kazakhstani computer scientist Alexandra Elbakyan—popularly known as science’s “pirate queen”—Sci-Hub has grown to become a repository of over 85 million academic papers.

The site is popular globally, used by millions of people—many of whom would otherwise not be able to finish their degrees, advise their patients, or use text mining algorithms to make new scientific discoveries. Sci-Hub has become the unacknowledged foundation that helps the whole enterprise of academia to function. 

Even when they do not need to use Sci-Hub, the superior user experience it offers means that many people prefer to use the illegal site rather than access papers through their own institutional libraries. It is difficult to say how many ideas, grants, publications, and companies have been made possible by Sci-Hub, but it seems undeniable that Elbakyan’s ten-year-old website has become a crucial component of contemporary scholarship.  
— Read on palladiummag.com/2021/09/24/a-world-without-sci-hub/

Biden Meets Exiled Belarusian Opposition Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya – Bloomberg

President Joe Biden met the exiled opposition leader of Belarus, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, at the White House Wednesday as the post-Soviet nation is swept by a new round of crackdowns against the opposition, media and civil society.
— Read on www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-07-28/biden-meets-exiled-belarusian-opposition-leader-to-show-support

Stars and Stripes – Monuments and military hardware gain unexpected second lives

Across Europe, monuments, military infrastructure and cold war relics have been given a second life, often with interesting consequences.
— Read on www.stripes.com/living/europe_travel/travel_blog/2021-07-27/karen-bradbury-europe-traveler-blog-2161151.html

Teaching critical race theory isn’t ‘indoctrination.’ Glorifying Stalin is. – The Washington Post

I worked in Cuba and Russia, where schools deny unpleasant history. Do we want to be like them?
— Read on www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2021/07/23/critical-race-theory-indoctrination-cuba-russia/

Space tourism: How the collapse of the Soviet Union aided the birth of paid space travel – The Washington Post

Western billionaires may be taking the lead now, but it was a cash-strapped Russian space agency that opened the door.
— Read on www.washingtonpost.com/world/2021/07/20/space-tourists-russia-soviet/

A Century After His Birth, Dissident Sakharov Divides Opinion – The Moscow Times

The father of the Soviet bomb is sometimes publicly lauded, but his pro-democratic convictions are increasingly glossed over and opposed by the authorities.
— Read on www.themoscowtimes.com/2021/06/02/a-century-after-his-birth-dissident-sakharov-divides-opinion-a74086

Alex Kokcharov on Twitter: “This was reportedly filmed on 10 April in #Luhansk, east #Ukraine, controlled by LPR, the #Russia|n proxies in the Donbas conflict zone: https://t.co/L1XsveVLnx” / Twitter

Alex Kokcharov on Twitter: “This was reportedly filmed on 10 April in #Luhansk, east #Ukraine, controlled by LPR, the #Russia|n proxies in the Donbas conflict zone: https://t.co/L1XsveVLnx” / Twitter
— Read on mobile.twitter.com/alexkokcharov/status/1381172741521440768

Opinion | Putin again threatens war with Ukraine. The West must be ready to respond. – The Washington Post

The recent diplomatic flurry may not deter the Russian president.
— Read on www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/global-opinions/putin-again-threatens-war-with-ukraine-the-west-must-be-ready-to-respond/2021/04/08/7f292d8e-96f4-11eb-b28d-bfa7bb5cb2a5_story.html