Microkhan by Brendan I. Koerner

Entries Tagged as 'Soviet Union'

Renewal to the North

October 6th, 2009 · 4 Comments

Aware of our fascination with the current wave of Bhutanese refugees alighting in the U.S., our favorite correspondent from the Nushagak Bay area alerted us to this great A/V feature from the Anchorage Daily News. Apparently a small group of the Lhotshampas have landed in the Land of the Midnight Sun, after a gobsmacking 17 […]

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Daily Bread

July 29th, 2009 · 3 Comments

Last night’s long subway ride afforded us an opportunity to start reading Ian Frazier’s Siberia travelogue in the latest New Yorker. So far, it’s every bit as astounding as we’d hoped—the long digression about Siberian butter, in particular, made our inner magazine geek nearly burst with glee. What can we say, we’re absolute suckers for […]

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The Lunar Also-Ran

July 20th, 2009 · Comments Off on The Lunar Also-Ran

As we spend today celebrating the 30th anniversary of mankind’s first visit to the Moon, it’s worth noting that America’s space-race triumph was far from pre-ordained. In fact, the smart money circa 1963 would have been on the Soviets reaching the goal first, due to the seldom recognized genius of Sergei Korolev. The man responsible […]

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The Molar Index

June 8th, 2009 · 4 Comments

We always love it when The Economist makes a cutting reference to Americans’ preference for bright shiny teeth. It’s almost as if the magazine takes pride in English teeth, as a sign of lack of vanity, wise allocation of health resources, or what have you. The mag’s latest crack got Microkhan thinking about the reasons […]

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Nixon in Ceylon

May 1st, 2009 · Comments Off on Nixon in Ceylon

In 1953, America dispatched Vice-President Richard Nixon to the island nation of Ceylon (still nearly two decades away from being rechristened Sri Lanka). The Eisenhower Administration was mighty worried about reports that Ceylon was shipping strategic materials to newly Communist China, a sign that the former colony might be contemplating an even more dramatic leftward […]

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“It’s Time”

April 8th, 2009 · 2 Comments

Microkhan is off to the Elm City today, so this’ll be the last post for the next, oh, 19 hours or so. Thought I’d keep on this week’s Soviet-invasion theme, by offering up the climactic scene to Chuck Norris’s Invasion USA. I don’t think a spoiler warning is necessary, since no moviegoer with a half […]

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“I Am the Hunter”

April 7th, 2009 · 2 Comments

Following on yesterday’s mention of the brief heyday of Soviets-invade-the-Heartland films, Microkhan feels morally obligated to post the above Red Dawn clip. In the interests of novelty, we’ve steered clear of the obvious—no “Wolverines!”, no “Avenge me!” Today’s pick is the more obscure, but equally delicious scene in which the evil Soviet commander demonstrates the […]

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“Where Was All That Patriotism When It Counted?”

April 6th, 2009 · 12 Comments

Even in their wildest schemes, the Soviets likely never contemplated the invasion of America. Okay, maybe they would’ve liked to bite off an Aleutian Island or two. But sweep into the Heartland and bring the word of Lenin at gunpoint? Yuri Andropov wasn’t exactly Genghis Khan, in terms of expansionist vision. But, oh, how Hollywood […]

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The Overlook Hotel Times Twelve

April 6th, 2009 · 2 Comments

One of my great regrets was not bringing a camera on my 1999 trip to the heart of the Greenland ice sheet. I was there doing a freelance piece on the Air National Guard unit responsible for resupplying polar scientific missions; we spent three days on the ice, learning how to survive in the event […]

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In Post-Soviet Russia…

March 27th, 2009 · 8 Comments

…cops evidently go the extra mile with their community policing methods. Sorry, couldn’t quite conjure up a killer Yakov Smirnoff punchline out of this clip of Russian cops going all Michael Phelps. Free Microkhan t-shirt to anyone who can.

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“A Prohibition So Divine…”

March 23rd, 2009 · 3 Comments

A couple of weeks ago, Microkhan delved into the apparent link between literacy and suicide—the more literate a nation’s population, it appears, the likelier it is to have a high suicide rate. This theory might explain in part why so many post-Soviet nations have serious suicide problems—their citizens are well-educated, but also struggling economically (at […]

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The Downside of Reading

March 5th, 2009 · 7 Comments

In scanning the World Health Organization’s latest compilation of suicide rates, you can’t help but wonder why self-slaughter is so prevalent in Eastern Europe. All of the highest rates occur in countries from the former Soviet Bloc, such as Lithuania (68.1 males per 100,000) and Belarus (63.3). The rate in the United States, by contrast, […]

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The Greatest Hammer Thrower Ever

February 10th, 2009 · 3 Comments

Track-and-field records tumble with alarming frequency nowadays, but Yuriy Sedykh’s hammer-throw mark is a rare exception. The Ukrainian-born athlete set the world record back in 1986, while wearing the Soviet hammer-and-sickle on his uniform. Sedykh competed for another 17 years after that triumph, but he never again came within a meter of that legendary throw. […]

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