Russia's in trouble. Time for Putin to take his shirt off.

As we all know, photos are a key part of showing the public who a politician is and what he/she stands for. This weekend, ten years after becoming Boris Yeltsin's heir, Vladimir Putin posed for another set of mostly-shirtless vacation photographs (and a video here). I've been lucky enough to receive secret memos pairing these photos with the specific messages Putin's handlers wanted to send. 

"Can build his own fire...with the help of 8 people and two boats."

"Forces rivers to flow backwards with his mind"

"Remembers to remove his shirt when lost"

"Kind and sensitive to his trusty steed...and owns a killer pair of Foakleys"

"Is a freakin' sea monster"

More seriously, the Moscow Times points out the collapse of the Russian economy and oil prices have barely affected Putin's popularity among Russians (H/T to MW).



Tuesday map: Berlin's luxury car arson outbreak

Over the last six months, more than 170 luxury cars have been set on fire in Berlin. Authorities are blaming the mysterious crime spree on left-wing radicals. But this is Google-age radicalism, as Australia's The Age explains:

A mysterious, single page website, (Burning Cars of Berlin), shows the number of cars set alight and where the crimes occurred, revealing clusters in ‘‘richer’’ areas, or in suburbs where gentrification and redevelopment are changing the demographic of local neighbourhoods.

Here a link to the page. Weird stuff.

Hat tip: Boing Boing