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Buckle Up For The Most Boring Conference In The World



Think of the most boring thing in the world: Tupperware? Celery? Jazz music? People talking about jazz music? That cool friend from college who can't stop telling you how motherhood has changed everything...

Now imagine a roomful of people giving enthusiastic talks about all these things, and you have the third annual "Boring Conference," which took place last week in London"s, Bethnal Green.

James Ward, a marketing manager (zzzzz), hatched the idea in 2010 to encourage people to "take the time to examine what we think of as boring just because it’s part of the every day."

[rebelmouse-image 27086078 alt="""" original_size="499x333" expand=1]Big snooze

Writing on the conference's webpage, Ward speaks of his other endeavors into the mundane: The Stationery Club, where members bring stationery and talk about stationery; as well as Crispival "08 - a whole festival dedicated to potato chips (to be fair, that sounds kind of fun).

At the 2012 Boring summit, attendees explored the cutting edge of breakfast options in American chain restaurants and serial numbers of subway cars, taking a break to gorge themselves on the “most boring buffet in the world,” which included bits of cucumber on toothpicks, parsley on flabby white bread, sugarless cookies, tap water.

Technical journalist Leila Johnston spoke of her fascination with IBM automatic cash registers. She photographs every model she comes across, and enters their locations on Google Maps. "The first white cash register I ever saw was the rare IBM ‘surePOS 300." It was my Moby Dick. It was in a drugstore in Sheffield. I shall never forget that day."

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Putinism Without Putin? USSR 2.0? Clean Slate? How Kremlin Succession Will Play Out

Since Russia's invasion of Ukraine, political commentators have consistently returned to the question of Putin's successor. Russia expert Andreas Umland foreshadows a potentially tumultuous transition, resulting in a new power regime. Whether this is more or less democratic than the current Putinist system, is difficult to predict.

A kid holds up a sign with Putin's photograph over the Russian flag

Gathering in Moscow to congratulate Russia's President Vladimir Putin on his birthday.

Andreas Umland


STOCKHOLM — The Kremlin recently hinted that Vladimir Putin may remain as Russia's president until 2030. After the Constitution of the Russian Federation was amended in 2020, he may even extend his rule until 2036.

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However, it seems unlikely that Putin will remain in power for another decade. Too many risks have accumulated recently to count on a long gerontocratic rule for him and his entourage.

The most obvious and immediate risk factor for Putin's rule is the Russian-Ukrainian war. If Russia loses, the legitimacy of Putin and his regime will be threatened and they will likely collapse.

The rapid annexation of Crimea without hostilities in 2014 will ultimately be seen as the apex of his rule. Conversely, a protracted and bloody loss of the peninsula would be its nadir and probable demise.

Additional risk factors for the current Russian regime are related to further external challenges, for example, in the Caucasus. Other potentially dangerous factors for Putin are economic problems and their social consequences, environmental and industrial disasters, and domestic political instability.

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