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Uterus Groove, The Babypod Lets You Pump Music Into The Womb

"Hello fetus listeners ..." The Babypod is a speaker that, inserted vaginally, will expose a fetus to music of your choice inside the womb. But what kind of music should we choose?

Don't Worry Baby
Don't Worry Baby
Alena Schroder


MUNICH — This column will, for once, deviate from its usual pattern and begin with a small exercise in abstract thinking, as this time around we will not be talking about sex, but about babies. How these two are related is something you might want to Google for yourself. And when you have done that you can rejoice, as 2016 will be known as the year in the history of mankind in which a serious lack of knowledge was successfully addressed.

This lack of knowledge is one that expectant parents have always felt most keenly, as they ask themselves: How can we stimulate our child's intellectual development while he or she is still in the womb?

Spanish researchers have delivered the answer to this most pressing question by developing the Babypod, a speaker that is inserted vaginally and allows a fetus to listen to music. Every unborn little genius can now be exposed to Mozart's music for hours on end, for a mere 150 euros, so that the synapses in his or her brain can form new connections and thrive.

But what to do if parents want more variety for their unborn child? Say, a specifically designed program of music, useful information and entertainment? Never fear: The radio channel 99.9 Radiogaga FM provides a program tailored to the needs of the Babypod user, broadcasting live to the uterus of your choice via the Babypod. Let's listen in for a bit.

"Hello fetus listeners, that last track was Britney Spears with ‘Hit Me Baby, One More Time.' I hope all of you have been kicking along to the beat? Don't forget, if you are kicking, try to aim for the bladder! And for those of you who are already in the head-down-position, a kick to the spleen is also quite neat, especially now that your host is lying down on the couch and trying to relax. Just keep on kicking! You already are the movers and shakers of your generation!"

"Right, let's leave the exercise regime behind and get to the latest traffic news: No further obstructions in the parturient canal. Only little Maximilian Meyer in Unterföhring is experiencing a disturbance through someone coming towards him from the wrong end of the birth canal. But not to worry, that's just your dad and he will be finished in a minute. Let's continue with some music! Here are The Doors with "Break On Through (To the Other Side)"..."

"And here we are again on 99.9 Radiogaga FM. Next up: Chinese vocabulary words of the day. Hétóng means "completion of a contract." Repeat after me: Hétóng. The next word is JiÇŽngjÄ«n, meaning "bonus payment." All together: JiÇŽngjÄ«n. And the last word for today is Bìshuì, meaning "tax-saving model." Repeat after me: Bìshuì. Well? Have you all been able to commit this to your subconscious memory, you sweet little cell amalgamations? And next up, our personal shout-outs to our listeners. Today's shout-out is from Horst Müller of Bad Salzuflen: ‘Dear Sophia Aurelia, I am not your father and your mother is a lying bitch.' Goodness, that was a bit emotional … Let's continue with some more music, this is Madonna with ‘Papa Don't Preach.'"

"Well, here we are again on 99.9 Radiogaga FM, your station for the most boring months of your existence, so boring, in fact, that you won't even remember them later on. Time for some ads now. Are you stressed? Suffer from insomnia and restlessness? Are you longing for inner peace? Then ‘White Noise' is right for you! Available as an MP3, a CD box set or in a special vinyl edition! More than 100 hours of murmuring gurgle sounds await you on this brilliant compilation. Be enchanted by such realistic sounds as ‘hairdryer,' ‘extractor fan,' ‘Mom's flatulencies,' ‘dishwasher' or ‘Mom's heartbeat.' Recommended by all leading psychotherapists! A bit more music now: Here is Metallica with ‘Enter Sandman,' and it's goodnight from me here at the studio. Sleep tight everyone."

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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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