Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder

18 Nov 2010, 0:38 a.m.

Eldritch Arithmetic

Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2010 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.

A thirteen-year-old, even a fairly well-traveled one who can make entertaining conversation, was born in 1997. And she might very reasonably say, "What's Star Trek?" or not object terribly hard if someone prefaces a Pravda/Izvestiya joke by briefly describing what the Soviet Union was.


17 Nov 2010, 15:31 p.m.

I think I told you, I spent a couple of hours trying (and I think failing) to explain to a twentysomething friend exactly what it meant to be eighteen years old in 1989, trying to make sense of Tiananmen Square and the fall of the Berlin Wall.

17 Nov 2010, 16:11 p.m.

How many Pravda/Izvestiya jokes are there, other than "In Pravda there is no izvestiya, and in Izvestiya there is no pravda"?

17 Nov 2010, 17:55 p.m.

It's possible that I am older than my academic adviser. I haven't dared ask.

17 Nov 2010, 18:27 p.m.

There's the joke from Lehrer's Lobachevsky: "Pravda, well, Pravda said [untranslated stream of Russian] -- it stinks. But Isvestya, ah! Isvestya said [a different untranslated stream of Russian] -- it stinks."

18 Nov 2010, 17:50 p.m.

It's kind of weird to look around campus and consider that I was a college graduate before most of the current undergraduates, um, existed.