RUSSIA’S FUTURE: KINDERGARTEN APOCALYPSE

We learned this week that if President Putin one day faces the final battle, Russian preschoolers have his back. A report that a local TV station had fired a reporter in the Siberian city of Nizhnevartovsk generated a startling news item featuring a new song now being performed in some Russian schools by children as young as four. Our favorite lyrics include the following:


A hegemon has captured the global population

The European Union doesn’t have its own opinion

The Middle East is groaning from misfortune.

We won’t surrender the ridge to the samurai ever

Sevastopol and Crimea are ours, we’ll preserve them for our children

We will return Alaska to the harbor of the motherland.

There should be peace on earth, but

If the commander in chief 

Calls us to the last battle — Uncle Vova, we are with you.

“Uncle Vova” refers, of course, to Vladimir Putin. The sacked reporter, the mother of a child who performed this song in concert, was fired for publicizing the event in protest. See the creepy video here:

Bottom line: There are strident nationalists in every country on Earth, but its expression has become a bit more institutionalized in Russia. Here’s a kindergarten that teaches revanchist imperialism to kids still learning the alphabet and a TV station firing a reporter for revealing it to outsiders.

Footnote: The fired reporter also noted that her daughter was unable to pronounce the word “hegemon” and instead sang the Russian word for “hippopotamus.”

Coffee is one of the most popular drinks in the world, but that means it creates a lot of waste in the form of cups and used coffee grinds. Every year, we drink out of 600 billion single-use plastic and paper cups, most of which end up in a landfill or our environment. Could coffee also contribute to a more sustainable future? A German company is now recovering leftover coffee grounds from bars, restaurants and hotels, and it's recycling them into reusable coffee cups. In other words, they're creating cups of coffee made from coffee.

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