Monthly Archives: April 2015

A Foodie’s Guide to Salo

A foodie’s guide to salo: the Ukrainian delicacy made of cured pork fat

Lard may be staging a gastronomic comeback around the world but it never went out of fashion in Ukraine, where it is best served cold

The love of lard, otherwise known as the secret to a Ukrainian’s heart. Photograph: Katrina Kollegaeva/Russian Revels


At first glance it could be a hard sheep’s cheese or a smoky mozzarella. But the slabs are actually cold, white pork fat – Ukraine’s national dish, known as salo. It is best served covered with garlic, onion and pickles (or something picante), and almost always washed down with a shot of vodka. Continue reading

Is Putin’s Russia Fascist?

By Alexander J. Motyl

Russian President Vladimir Putin (C, front) addresses the audience during a festive concert marking the first anniversary of the Crimean treaty signing in central Moscow, March 18, 2015. (REUTERS/Maxim Shipenkov/Pool)

A growing number of Russian analysts, in Russia and abroad, have taken to calling Vladimir Putin’s regime “fascist.” And they don’t use the term casually or as a form of opprobrium. They mean that Putin’s Russia genuinely resembles Mussolini’s Italy or Hitler’s Germany.
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How do you handle “too much stuff” without being overwhelmed?


RootsTech Videos
If you were unable to attend the FGS 2015/RootsTech conferences in Salt Lake City in, or watch the live streamed sessions online, you can now access 20 different recorded sessions at the RootsTech site. Click here: and then scroll down the page to see all the available sessions.

You can catch the session, Building a Research Toolbox, by clicking here or watching the embedded click above. If you’d like the handout, click here to download it in PDF.



Spotlight on Russia

Vladimir Kara-Murza

Vladimir Kara-Murza's picture

Russia’s Democrats Unite, in Memory of Boris Nemtsov

22 April 2015

MOSCOW — It seems to always take a tragedy for Russia’s pro-democracy forces to unite.

In November 1998, at the funeral of the murdered liberal lawmaker Galina Starovoitova, the leaders of the country’s fragmented democratic parties made a pledge to get their act together. The resulting coalition (initially known as Just Cause, later as the Union of Rightist Forces) won six million votes and three-dozen seats in Parliament in the 1999 election and, under the leadership of Boris Nemtsov, was the principal opposition voice in the Russian Duma for the next four years.

In the last months of his life—until he was murdered a hundred yards away form the Kremlin on February 27th—Nemtsov worked to put together a pro-democracy coalition that would contest the 2016 parliamentary election as a unified force. He did not live to see it. But his goal came to life.

“At this difficult time we want to call on… all those who care about their future and the future of their children to unite,” read last week’s joint statement by former Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov, the sole remaining co-chairman of the People’s Freedom Party, and anticorruption campaigner Alexei Navalny, who leads the Progress Party. “We are certain that it is possible to create a free society in Russia, based on the values of democracy, human rights, honest free labor and entrepreneurship, social justice, and the rule of law. We are ready to present a new program of development to Russian citizens.”

As of today, the coalition includes members of seven political groups, from liberals and social democrats to centrists and democratic conservatives. Mikhail Khodorkovsky, former political prisoner and founder of the Open Russia movement, has voiced support for the initiative. “Our new structure… will help to achieve political representation for millions of normal citizens, who now watch in horror at the madhouse that is called ‘Russia’s legislative branch’ and that is filled with crooks, freaks, and clowns who do not represent anyone but their Kremlin bosses,” observed Navalny.

Since formal electoral blocs are banned under Russian law, coalition members will contest this September’s regional elections and next year’s parliamentary poll on the lists of the People’s Freedom Party—the party of Boris Nemtsov. Thanks to the legislative seat in Yaroslavl that Nemtsov won in 2013, the party has automatic ballot access and is not requited to collect signatures, which are often used by the authorities as a pretext to bar opponents.

“Our goal is not to become members of Parliament,” Kasyanov emphasized. “Our goal is to begin changing our country.” If this goal is achieved, it the will be the best possible tribute to the memory of Boris Nemtsov.

More about:

Europe and Central Asia,


Boris Nemtsov

Dacuda PocketScan – The World’s Smallest Scanner

This seems to be the week for articles about scanners. One new device has been announced but is not yet in production: Dacuda PocketScan. It claims to be the world’s smallest scanner. It is about the size of a stapler. It is so small that it cannot scan an entire page or even a photograph all at once. Instead, the user moves the handheld scanner over the item to be digitized and the PocketScan software automatically stitches the scans together into one image. It will work wirelessly with iPad, Macintosh, Windows, and soon should also work with Android devices.

smalest scanner Continue reading

The Munk Debates—The West vs. Russia

This 90 minute livestream debate pitted: Stephen F. Cohen, Vladimir Pozner who supported engaging Russia in talks vs. Anne Applebaum and Gary Kasparov who supported isolating Putin and his cronies.

How should the West deal with Putin’s Russia? For the U.S. and some European powers the answer is obvious: isolate Russia with punishing economic sanctions, remove it from global institutions such as the G8, and arm the nations directly threatened by Putin. In short, return to the Cold War doctrine that froze Soviet aggression in Europe and helped bring about the collapse of communist Russia. Others argue that such a policy is a dead-end. Putin’s Russia has legitimate grievances against Western and NATO powers meddling in its sphere of influence. Instead of further antagonizing Putin and risking a dangerous escalation of the current conflict, the U.S. and Europe should seek common cause with Russia to address shared threats, from the Middle East to Asia to combatting terrorism.

– See more at:  Click on The Debates then click on Livestream (at the top)
then click the Watch Again arrow

There is a bit of an advertising lead in. The debate is 90 very well-worth minutes.

Mother Gave Birth to her Own Brother and Sister

OK, this gets confusing. Pay attention.

Ellen Bown, a woman from England, gave birth to all three of the children in the picture below. But only one, Maddy, is her ‘official’ child.

mother gave birth

This graphic explains the complicated biological and adoptive relationships that are present in Ellen Brown’s (far right) family. Continue reading