Friday, February 15, 2013

Outer Space

Everybody's talking about the meteor that hit Russia yesterday. Fortunately, everyone in Russia has dashboard cams. Why?:
According to a report last year by Al Jazeera, an estimated one million Russian motorists have dashboard video cameras installed in their cars. This is not to capture moments like the meteor flight or even miraculous survivals of horrifying highway crashes. No, Al Jazeera reported that the cams are there to help stamp out police corruption.

New York Blogger Marina Galperina, who originally hails from Russia, wrote a fascinating piece last year about Russia's dash cam culture. Galperina called the cams "Russia's last hope for civility and survival on the road." The country's roads are "perilous" and, she wrote, "psychopaths are abundant." However Galperina also points to police and government corruption as a driving force behind the Russian dash cam explosion.

"The Russian Highway Patrol is known throughout their land for brutality, corruption, extortion and making an income on bribes. Dash-cams won’t protect you from being extorted for cash, because your ass shouldn’t have been speeding. It will however keep you safer from drunks in uniform, false accusations and unreasonable bribe hikes."

Galperina also notes that along with all the posts on YouTube, numerous Russian Web sites have sprung up to host videos of these uncut crashes and accidents and many of the videos are horrifying. It's not all bad, however. "There are moments of humanity among the crashes, in between the skidding, the burning, the kicking," wrote Galperina, "There are dash-cam videos with happy endings."
Here's Why So Many Russians Have Dash Cams (Mashable)

Of course this is very reminiscent of the 1908 Tunguska explosion. It must be the vastness of Russia that puts it in the way of all these meteors. Then again, maybe that one was caused by Tesla's death ray. Did the U.S. learn something when they raided his files?
Russian nationalist lawmaker Vladimir Zhirinovsky, long known for his flamboyance and outrageous remarks, said Friday that meteorite fragments had not rained down on Russia in the morning, but that the light flashes and tremors in several of the country’s regions resulted from US weapons tests, APA reports quoting RIA Novosti.
“Those aren’t meteors falling, it’s the Americans testing new weapons,” Zhirinovsky, leader of the Liberal Democratic Party, told journalists several hours after the Emergencies Ministry began issuing statements on the incident, which has injured hundreds and damaged scores of buildings.
He also said US Secretary of State John Kerry had wanted to warn Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov about the “provocation” on Monday, but couldn’t reach him – a reference to US State Department comments earlier this week that Kerry had spent several days trying to speak to Lavrov by phone to discuss North Korea and Syria.

Then of course there is the also the asteroid near-miss happening at the same time. Maybe we need to call Sean Connery:

Or else Jackie Chan:

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