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Organization Won't Rename Star Bearing Putin Slur

Published: July 5, 2014 (Issue # 1818)



  • A certificate showing the adoption of a star named 'Putin-Huilo!'
    Photo: Pale Blue Dot Project

Pale Blue Dot, the organization through which a group of Ukrainian astronomers named a star "Putin-Huilo!," or "Putin is a d*ckhead!," has no plans to rescind the name after discovering its true meaning, the group's founder told The St. Petersburg Times by phone on Friday.

The star, officially designated as KIC 9696936, was adopted through the Pale Blue Dot project, which allows anyone to name a star for a minimum of $10. The proceeds support the research efforts of the White Dwarf Research Corporation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to space research and public education.

"Free speech is now written in the stars," project founder Travis Metcalfe said, pointing out this is not the first time that people have exchanged jabs through their star-naming service.

"We have no plans to censor any of these star adoptions. We appreciate the support for science," Metcalfe added.

The Ukrainian astronomers who named the star drew their inspiration from former Ukrainian Foreign Minister Andriy Deshchytsia, who used the disparaging term to describe Russian President Vladimir Putin during a disorderly protest outside the Russian Embassy in Kiev in June.

Metcalfe said the group named the star some time ago, but only recently did the meaning of the name come to light.

"It says Putin is a d*ckhead, but in Ukrainian so we didn't recognize what it actually said. I wasn't familiar with the term huilo," Metcalfe said. The group only realized what it meant after the Ukrainian astronomers began to publicize their exploits online.

Although Pale Blue Dot keeps its own database, it is the International Astronomical Union that keeps the official record of star names.

"We are actually astronomers, so we know that people cannot name stars," Travis Metcalfe told The St. Petersburg Times by phone on Friday, adding "there's lots of companies out there that do this."

The difference between Pale Blue Dot and the many star-naming services is that "we are the ones that are doing it for science," Metcalfe said, noting the proceeds from the project go toward astronomical research.

The "Putin huilo" slogan, popular among football fans in Ukraine, has became a catchphrase in the aftermath of Russia's annexation of Crimea and has been featured in music videos and printed on an array of T-shirts and accessories.





 

ALL ABOUT TOWN

Wednesday, Sept. 3


Although the Peter and Paul Fortress sand sculptures are more central and therefore more visible to the throngs of tourists, the 300th Anniversary Park of St. Petersburgs own collection closes today. The World Collection of Sand Sculptures that have been on display at the park reaches its final day, so fans of the classic beach activity should get there while they can.



Thursday, Sept. 4


Vladimir I. Danchenkov, Head of Baltic Customs, will be in attendance during AmChams Customs and Transportation Committee Meeting convening this afternoon at the organizations office near St. Isaacs Square at 3 p.m.



Friday, Sept. 5


Scrabble lovers and chess masters get their chance to assert their intellectual dominance at the return of the British Book Centers Board Game Evenings tonight. Held weekly on Friday nights, the event gives both board game lovers and those hoping to improve their English the chance to meet, greet and compete. Check out the centers VK page for more details.



Saturday, Sept. 6


Athletes will relish the chance to get the latest gear and try out something new at I Choose Sport, an annual event at Lenexpo forum that plans to welcome more than 30,000 people this week to the international exhibition center. Not only will visitors get to try their hand at various athletic endeavors but they will also be able to peruse equipment that can fulfill their dreams of becoming a champion.


Local KHL team SKA St. Petersburg open their season this evening at home against Lokomotiv Yarovslavl at the Ice Palace arena next to the Prospekt Bolshevikov metro station. See their website for a full schedule and available tickets.



Sunday, Sept. 7


Check out retro and antique cars at Fort Konstantin on Kronstadt Island in the Gulf of Finland at FORTuna, a yearly car festival that highlights the eccentricities of the Soviet automobile industry. A car race, contests and a stunt show will give visitors a chance to rev their engines.



Monday, Sept. 8


This evening marks the opening of the two-week ballet festival High Season at the Mikhailovsky Theater. Check the theaters website for more details about performances and featured dancers.



Tuesday, Sept. 9


Discuss the latest news and issues at the AmCham Hazardous Waste Management Roundtable this morning in the Tango Conference Hall of the Sokos Hotel Palace Bridge on Birzhevoy Pereulok. Starting at 9 a.m., planned topics include the Krasny Bor landfill and waste transportation between Russia and Finland.


Learn more about the citys modern architectural trends at the SPIBA Real Estate and Construction Committees meeting on the topic Contemporary Petersburg Style: What is It? Participants will get the chance to discuss whats in-demand with RBI Holdings Irina Petrova and Lubava Pryanikova, and the current state of the local real estate market. Please confirm your attendance by Sept. 5 through SPIBAs website if you wish to attend.



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