Portrait: Ayn Rand, the voice of libertarian Objectivism

24 June 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Portrait

Ayn Rand quote - American Adventure - Epcot Center - Walt Disney World © flickr.com - Cory Doctorow/cc-by-sa-2.0

Ayn Rand quote – American Adventure – Epcot Center – Walt Disney World © flickr.com – Cory Doctorow/cc-by-sa-2.0

Ayn Rand< was a Russian-American writer and philosopher. Rand was born Alisa Zinovyevna Rosenbaum on February 2, 1905, to a Russian-Jewish bourgeois family living in Saint Petersburg. She is known for her two best-selling novels, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, and for developing a philosophical system she named Objectivism. Educated in Russia, she moved to the United States in 1926. She had a play produced on Broadway in 1935 and 1936. After two early novels that were initially unsuccessful, she achieved fame with her 1943 novel, The Fountainhead. In 1957, Rand published her best-known work, the novel Atlas Shrugged. Afterward, she turned to non-fiction to promote her philosophy, publishing her own periodicals and releasing several collections of essays until her death in 1982. Rand advocated reason as the only means of acquiring knowledge and rejected faith and religion. She supported rational and ethical egoism and rejected altruism. In politics, she condemned the initiation of force as immoral and opposed collectivism and statism as well as anarchism, instead supporting laissez-faire capitalism, which she defined as the system based on recognizing individual rights, including property rights. In art, Rand promoted romantic realism. She was sharply critical of most philosophers and philosophical traditions known to her, except for Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas and classical liberals. Literary critics received Rand’s fiction with mixed reviews and academia generally ignored or rejected her philosophy, though academic interest has increased in recent decades. The Objectivist movement attempts to spread her ideas, both to the public and in academic settings. She has been a significant influence among libertarians and American conservatives.   read more…

2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia: The venues

7 May 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Sport

© FIFA

© FIFA

The 2018 FIFA World Cup will be the 21st FIFA World Cup, a quadrennial international football tournament contested by the men’s national teams of the member associations of FIFA. It is scheduled to take place in Russia from 14 June to 15 July 2018, after the country was awarded the hosting rights on 2 December 2010. All but one of the stadium venues are in European Russia, west of the Ural Mountains to keep travel time manageable. The Lushniki Olympic Stadium in Moscow shall be the venue of the opening match and the final. Of the 12 venues used, the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow and the Saint Petersburg Stadium (the two largest stadiums in Russia) will be used most, with 7 matches being played at each of these stadiums. In March 2018, the German Federal Criminal Police Office issued a clear warning about “high threats of terrorism” during the World Cup, so that it is recommended to visit the venues only after the World Cup (additionally: U.S. Department of State – Russia Travel Advisory). All other Western security services have issued similar warnings. The venues are similar to those of the FIFA Confederations Cup 2017, which was considered a dress rehearsal for the World Cup. Russia has had to reduce the overall budget for the World Cup several times due to the country’s persistent economic problems, so that the original planning for the World Cup, with the approval of the FIFA, can no longer be met. The venues are:   read more…

Saint Petersburg in the Tampa Bay

25 August 2017 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General

Downtown_Saint_Petersburg © John O'Neill/cc-by-sa-3.0

Downtown Saint Petersburg © John O’Neill/cc-by-sa-3.0

St. Petersburg is a city in Pinellas County in Florida. The population is at 261,000, making it the fifth-most populous city in Florida and the largest in the state that is not a county seat (the city of Clearwater is the seat of Pinellas County). St. Petersburg is the second-largest city in the Tampa Bay Area, after Tampa. Together with Clearwater, these cities comprise the Tampa–St. Petersburg–Clearwater Metropolitan Statistical Area, the second-largest in Florida with a population of around 2.8 million. St. Petersburg is located on a peninsula between Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, and is connected to mainland Florida to the north. St. Petersburg was founded in 1888 by John C. Williams, who purchased the land, and by Peter Demens, who brought the railroad industry into the area. As a part of a coin toss bet, the winner, Peter Demens, named the land after Saint Petersburg in Russia, while Williams opted to name the first hotel built which was named the Detroit Hotel, both named after their home towns respectively. St. Petersburg was incorporated as a town on February 29, 1892 and re-incorporated as a city on June 6, 1903.   read more…

2017 FIFA Confederations Cup

17 June 2017 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Sport

© GazThomas402/cc-by-sa-4.0

© GazThomas402/cc-by-sa-4.0

The 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup will be the 10th FIFA Confederations Cup, a quadrennial international men’s football tournament organised by FIFA. It will be held in Russia, from 17 June to 2 July 2017, as a prelude to the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Russia was announced as the host on 2 December 2010 after the country was awarded the hosting rights of the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The matches will be played in four different stadiums across four cities: Saint Petersburg, Moscow, Kazan, and Sochi. It will be the first time Russia hosts the tournament, and the third time the Confederations Cup is held in the European continent. As hosts, Russia qualified automatically for the tournament; they will be joined by the six winners of the FIFA confederation championships and the 2014 FIFA World Cup champions, Germany. The final tournament will be played in two stages: a group stage and a latter knockout stage. In the group stage, each team will play three games in a group of four, with the winners and runners-up from each group advancing to the knockout stage. In the knockout stage, the four teams will compete in single-elimination matches, beginning with the semi-finals and ending with the final match of the tournament. A third-place match will also be played between the two losing semi-finalist teams. The following teams have qualified for the tournament: Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup hosts, Germany 2014 FIFA World Cup winners, Australia 2015 AFC Asian Cup winners, Chile 2015 Copa América winners, Mexico 2015 CONCACAF Cup winners, New Zealand 2016 OFC Nations Cup winners, Portugal UEFA Euro 2016 winners and Cameroon 2017 Africa Cup of Nations winners.   read more…

Theme Week Russia

14 April 2015 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Theme Weeks, UNESCO World Heritage

Moscow International Business Center © flickr.com - Deensel/cc-by-2.0

Moscow International Business Center © flickr.com – Deensel/cc-by-2.0

Russia is a country in Eastern Europe with a vast expanse of territory that stretches across Northern Asia. At 17,125,200 square kilometres (6,612,100 sq mi), it is the largest country in the world by area, covering more than one-eighth of the Earth’s inhabited land area, spanning eleven time zones, and bordering 18 sovereign nations. About 146.79 million people live in the country’s 85 federal subjects (including the disputed Crimea and Sevastapol) as of 2019, making Russia the ninth most populous nation in the world and the most populous nation in Europe. Russia’s capital and largest city is Moscow; other major urban areas include Saint Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg, Nizhny Novgorod, Kazan and Chelyabinsk.   read more…

The Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg

3 December 2014 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Museums, Exhibitions, Palaces, Castles, Manors, Parks, UNESCO World Heritage

Winter Palace at night © Robert Breuer/cc-by-sa-3.0

Winter Palace at night © Robert Breuer/cc-by-sa-3.0

The State Hermitage is a museum of art and culture in Saint Petersburg. One of the largest and oldest museums in the world, it was founded in 1764 by Catherine the Great and has been open to the public since 1852. Its collections, of which only a small part is on permanent display, comprise over three million items, including the largest collection of paintings in the world. Beside the Louvre and the Prado, Hermitage Museum houses one of the most important collections of classical European art.   read more…

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