From a black-and-white series to the Netflix’s hit

How has the image of Wednesday Addams changed over time?

Reading time 9 minutes

Wednesday premiered on Netflix on October 23, 2022. In the first week, he broke the English-language viewing hours record. Took away the championship from Stranger Things (season 4), Wednesday became the absolute leader of the platform. Many viewers and critics noted that Jenna Ortega (main role) played a key role in such a bright start. Her Wednesday Addams turned out to be a deep and atmospheric character, the personification of a mixture between canonical and modern image.

But what is this “canonical image”? And how much has it changed since the first appearance of the Gothic Addams family? Let’s figure it out.

First appearance


Fragment of the original comic by Charles Addams
Fragment of the original comic by Charles Addams

The Addams are a fictional family conceived and drawn in 1938 by American artist Charles Addams for The New Yorker magazine, which is still popular to this day. Addams’s idea was to portray a “perfect” American family through the lens of satire and black humor, which resonated with the magazine’s readers. Wednesday, who is the daughter of Morticia and Gomez Addams, is obsessed with causing pain to others and surprisingly serious for her age.

In the original version of Charles Addams, Wednesday has not acquire her pigtails for a modern audience, and her famous school dress is completely pink. However, such an atypically “bright” image for a member of the Addams family began to crumble very quickly. The catalyst was the emergence of a television series.

First film adaptation: “The Addams Family”
Wednesday in the series "The Addams Family" 60s
Wednesday in the series “The Addams Family” 60s

The comic about Addams family was first adapted for television in 1964, then began airing regularly on ABC. Here Wednesday already acquired characteristic and recognizable features – two pigtails in the middle, a strict black school dress, and a heavy look from underneath. We heard the name “Wednesday” for the first time – Charles Addams picked up the name of his little heroine only when he received an offer to make a family TV show. As it turned out, the name was derived from an old English nursery rhyme “Monday’s Child”:

Monday’s child is fair of face

Tuesday’s child is full of grace

Wednesday’s child is full of woe

Thursday’s child has far to go

Friday’s child is loving and giving

Saturday’s child works hard for his living

And the child that is born on the Sabbath day

Is bonny and blithe, and good and gay.

Since grief and misfortune are exactly what pleases the artsy American family, it was decided to name the girl Wednesday.

Cultural Phenomenon: The 1991 Addams Family Movie
Wednesday performed by Christina Ricci
Wednesday performed by Christina Ricci

The film “The Addams Family”, which released in 1991, gave the world the most famous image of Wednesday Addams performed by Christina Ricci. It’s an image about the girl look from a strange family, making two black pigtails and a black school dress with a high white collar one of the most popular Halloween costumes of the 90s. In the New Yorker comic and the 1960s sitcom, although Tuesday dressed in dark colors and had strange and characteristic Addams hobbies, she was essentially an adorable child, the standard image of a little girl in a family television series. Whereas 1991’s Wednesday is a heroine with a high intellect followed by a serious and sometimes stern demeanor, and all lines are delivered in a monotonous voice with a deadpan expression on her face. In the film, the character of Wednesday was revealed the most, she ceased to be “one of the two children” of the Addams couple and became an independent and bright character – with a memorable gloominess and cruelty.

Christina Ricci’s performance did not change much but finalized the canonical image of Wednesday Addams. Subsequently, the authors of all subsequent adaptations began to rely on it. This is because Wednesday of 1991 has become not just a minor character, but the main character in the eyes of the audience. Her feminist statements and honesty added depth to the heroine, and the external image became more in line with modern cinema than the version of the girl from the 60s.

Conquest of the world of animation
The image of Wednesday from the cartoon
The image of Wednesday from the cartoon

In 2019, the feature-length cartoon The Addams Family was released on the big screens. The animation exaggerated the image of Wednesday, adding to her pale, the ability to move silently (thus frightening unprepared characters), and the lack of a smile throughout the cartoon. Wednesday was voiced by American actress Chloe Grace Moretz, who did not look like her heroine in appearance, but talentedly conveyed the girl’s lack of emotions and gloominess verbally.

Wednesday from the animated film is naturally based on the image that the audience loves, embodied by Christina Ricci, so there were no significant changes in it.

The hit of autumn-winter 2022: A series on Netflix
Wednesday performed by Jenna Ortega
Wednesday performed by Jenna Ortega

The final stage of character development to date is Wednesday Addams, played by Jenna Ortega, in the Netflix series. What immediately catches your eye is the appearance of bangs on the heroine. In an interview, Jenna admitted that she and the director of the project, Tim Burton, wanted to add something new to the famous image that could distinguish it from previous versions. The outfits for Wednesday have also changed. The classic school uniform was replaced by a black zip-hoodie, striped long sleeves, and rough black platform boots. But most of all, the attention of the audience was attracted by the dress that Wednesday wears to the school prom – yes, everything is just as frilly but elegant and not typical of previous generations of Wednesday.

Dress Wednesday in one of the episodes of the series
Dress Wednesday in one of the episodes of the series

In addition, the series also changes the age of the heroine. In the Netflix hit, she becomes a teenager, which, although done rather develop the plot, nevertheless gives a look at the heroine from a new, previously unknown side.

One thing is for sure – a heavy look and love for black remain the eternal companions of the heroine. For more than 80 years, Wednesday has changed significantly on the outside, but inside she always remains a gloomy and mysterious girl, as Charles Addams intended.




233 degrees Celsius: what literature could not be read in the USSR?

Big soviet brother is watching you

Reading time 7 minutes

«It was impossible to find these two volumes on sale, only in libraries and without taking out» – say Kirill Sorvin, HSE sociology professor, about one book which he was looking for when he was a student in USSR. Some literature was banned in USSR due to official ideology. Very few people at the time knew about it. Nevertheless, such books were read and even distributed with Samizdat that was illegal in the country. However, the majority of citizens found out about banned literature only after the collapse of the USSR.

Contradictions of Early and Late Marx

For the first time it became possible to buy «Economic-philosophical manuscripts, 1844» in the USSR only in 1983.
For the first time it became possible to buy «Economic-philosophical manuscripts, 1844» in the USSR only in 1983.

«The work is called Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts 1844, it was the 42nd volume of the Works of K. Marx and F. Engels collection or a separate volume From Early Works. This work was not presented in any other form. Western Marxists discovered in this book another Marx’s philosophy, they called it «Marx-humanist». There was a discussion about the contradiction of «Early and Late Marx», which, of course, was denied in our official philosophy». Accordingly, this work was not among the «canonical» books like «The Capital» which was close to Russian vision of communism.

As a student, Kirill Sorvin tried to exchange a two-volume book of the Strugatsky brothers, which was highly valued among the youth of that time, for «Economic and philosophical manuscripts», but such a book anybody from his classmates did not have.

Second volume of ‘Robinson Crusoe’

The Novel of English writer Daniel Defoe started publishing in Russian Empire in 1762. Only the first part of the series entered the treasury of world literature, which spawned a fashion for pseudo-documentary fiction. Nevertheless, people knew about existing of the sequel and even the book was popular among Europe readers. However, in Russian Empire the second volume was not published and in USSR from 1935 to 1992 it was banned.

In 1971, the publishing house «Pravda» published a retelling of the work with a limited edition.
In 1971, the publishing house «Pravda» published a retelling of the work with a limited edition.

Only In 1971, the publishing house «Pravda» published a retelling of the work with a limited edition. The main reason for this was that Robinson during his Siberian trip faced a lot of corruption and said that Moskovia is «barbaric, powerless and poorly managed mob of slaves».

«In the second part Robinson, among other things, travels in Russia, gives her not all the appropriate characteristics. Why did publishers have to take the responsibility to comment on «such» past of people?» – Kirill Sorvin explains.

George Orwell and Yevgeny Zamyatin

Yevgeny Zamyatin is considered a pioneer in the genre of anti-utopia. The novel «We» became the cause of serious criticism of the writer, and since 1929 his books have stopped at all publishing in the USSR. Zamyatin describes a society of rigid totalitarian control over the individual. Actually «We» is a critic of the Soviet system, with which the genre of anti-utopia began to flourish. Although, for example, Aldous Huxley, one of the first writers in this direction, categorically denied acquaintance with the work of the Russian writer.

Illustration to the novel E. Zamyatin «We»
Illustration to the novel E. Zamyatin «We»

The satirical story «Animal Farm, 1945» by George Orwell depicts the transition of the animal society from their freedom to the dictatorship of a pig named Napoleon. According to playwright Arkady Bartov, «Animal Farm» is an allegory of the 1917 revolution and subsequent events in the USSR. Orwell wanted to portray how easily totalitarian propaganda could control people’s opinions and at the same time to condemn «Stalin’s distortion of socialist ideals». Last but not least fact about this book is that boar Old Major is an allegory of Karl Marx. And how you find out from the first paragraph: Soviet authorities couldn’t stand when somebody represented the idol of their philosophy in «wrong way».

The Russian aphorism «All are equal, but some are more equal» belongs to George Orwell. The complete version in the book «Animal farm» sounds like this: «All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal».
The Russian aphorism «All are equal, but some are more equal» belongs to George Orwell. The complete version in the book «Animal farm» sounds like this: «All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal».

Subsequently, most of the books in this genre, including the Soviet ones, were banned in the USSR. Anti-utopias will appear in Soviet society only with the introduction of a policy of publicity near the end of the 1980s. For example, George Orwell’s most popular novel «1984» was declared anti-Soviet immediately after its release in 1949 and remained banned until 1988. The policy of publicity is a controversial process in the history of the USSR. Some believe that it has undermined the people’s belief in the system, while others thank Gorbachev for it. But the fact is that these books can now be read legally – both online and offline.

Snowden method: how to be invisible on the Internet

Complex instructions in simple words

Reading time 8 minutes

In June 2013, Edward Snowden shared classified information with The Washington Post and The Guardian. It said that the American secret services were doing total surveillance on people all over the world. «It is becoming more and more difficult to be anonymous» – hacker group Cicada 3301 declared this in 2012. But what if a person needs to hide, and he is not a computer geek? Read the step-by-step instructions in this article.

Anonymity and pseudonymity

Before diving into the technical part of the task, it is necessary to understand the purpose of hiding. Anonymity implies a single statement about any information, as in the case of Snowden: someone has told the world something and has «dissolved». To remain anonymous is simple: enough not to make mistakes, which will be listed below. Pseudonymity means creation of alter ego, to which the person plans to return a long period of time. «To keep a virtual» – this was called a pseudonymous activity – much more difficult, because the human factor every day increases the risks that the user will make a mistake somewhere.

Why are we not anonymous on the Internet

The digital footprint might be active and passive. Active one is a message or publication, for example, on a social network. A passive digital trace is created when information about the user is collected without his knowledge, for instance, during a visit to the site. The IP-address is a unique numerical identifier of a device in a computer network. It can be used to get approximate information about your location (country, city, zip code, ISP), restrict access to specific sites or servers, and run a DDoS attack. What should be done to completely anonymize activities on the Internet?

Invisibility Cloak

One of the most reliable ways is Whonix, which was used by Edward Snowden. Technically, a new operating system – Linux – appears on the computer, which exists separately from the main one and runs Whonix. Its system consists of two virtual machines connected via an isolated network. The first, Whonix-Gateway, runs exclusively through Tor and acts as a gateway or an artificial server. The second, Whonix-Workstation, is a workstation that connects to the Internet. Thus, all network connections are possible only through Tor: neither malware nor super-user rights can cause IP address and DNS leaks.


  1. First you need to download VirtualBox and unpack the package. Next, you should install Whonix. It is important not to open the system after downloading, as it has an extension .ova what is the format of the virtual machine file.

    VirtualBox's main window
    VirtualBox’s main window
  2. Starts VirtualBox and imports Whonix via the «Import» button.
    Whonix is installed. It is important to specify that a unique MAC or WIN address for network adapters is generated each time.

    Creating new MAC or WIN addresses is necessary to improve security. This setting forces Whonix to create a new network address for each site.
    Creating new MAC or WIN addresses is necessary to improve security. This setting forces Whonix to create a new network address for each site.
  3. The menu includes two machines: Whonix-Gateway and Whonix-Workstation. You cannot access the Internet through the server: the gateway isolates the workstation, but it works with open Internet traffic. You must run the server part first, and then the working part.

    Whonix system settings window. Here you can change the operating memory, graphics processor, audio input and output devices using by the virtual machine.
    Whonix system settings window. Here you can change the operating memory, graphics processor, audio input and output devices using by the virtual machine.

During the installation process, an error «Kernel driver not installed (rc= -1908)» may occur on MacOS computers. It is solved by admitting the «Oracle America, Inc» software in the system settings of security and safety. If you have any other problems, you should look at the detailed guide about installing Whonix.

To solve many VirtualBox errors on the macOS operating system, it is enough to open the emulator access to the system.
To solve many VirtualBox errors on the macOS, it is enough to open the emulator access to the system.

A window appeared on the computer with the system desktop. At this stage, Internet traffic is fully protected and isolated. Now you should pay attention to the factors that can compromise your security.

The Whonix desktop opens in a separate window as an application. The top right-hand tab has everything you need: an electronic cryptocurrency wallet and a Tor browser.
The Whonix desktop opens in a separate window as an application. The top right-hand tab has everything you need: an electronic cryptocurrency wallet and a Tor browser.

Basic mistakes

  • The phone collects personal information even in «brick» mode when the device is off. The device needs to be disposed of, and it is better to send a phone by courier to another city: it will help to confuse the tracks. Don’t turn on your new phone in places you’ve been before, especially at home.
  • You need to buy a corporate SIM card. Each smartphone has a unique IMEI-code, which is permanently registered in the database of the mobile operator after inserting the SIM card, so you need to use it only on a new device.
  • Do not set the password fingerprint or Face ID. In 2019, so unlocked the phone of the owner of the telegram channel «Prometheus». Biometric identification is much less effective than the password.
  • You can only use cash. Purchases made with bank cards give geolocation or just report online activity. If a person presents his documents anywhere, it will also compromise his location.

Russian Empire writers who was subjected to the cancel culture

Not new phenomenon in Russian literature space

Reading time 8 minutes

In modern space cancel culture is known as a «boycott» of a person, group or brand that has done or said something outrageous or offensive. It is believed that the socio-political term emerged recently in the United States and Europe among African Americans who ignored products that actively expressed racist views. In Russian culture and media, the use of «cancel culture» is perceived as inappropriate copying, but what if the cancelling as a phenomenon lies at the heart of Russian literature? Let’s consider writers who have been ahead of the trend by several decades.


F. Dostoevsky's magazine «Time» , in which he told about Uspensky's works: there is no feeling of «real life's thought».
F. Dostoevsky’s magazine «Time» , in which he told about Uspensky’s works: there is no feeling of «real life’s thought».

Nikolay Uspensky began his writing activity in 1857 after publishing in the magazine «Son of the Fatherland» two debut stories: «Pig» and «Old Woman». The creativity of the young author was immediately warmly welcomed, since the realistic character of the works, which left the exclusively aesthetic narrative, and provided support for Uspensky from such prominent contemporaries as L. Tolstoy, F. Dostoevsky, I. Turgenev and especially N. Chernyshevsky. The latter, in turn, wrote a critical article about the work of Nikolai Vasilyevich «Не начало ли перемен». This was to be a turning point in the writer’s career, who was made to understand that his rightly revolutionary-democratic narrative should not be directed to ridicule the vices of the people, but to support the nascent break in the everyday life and culture of peasants.

However, Uspensky did not begin «rapprochement with the liberation movement». His «truth without a veil» turned into an outspoken «negative fiction», as later F. Dostoevsky reported in his article about the creativity of Nikolay Vasilyevich in the magazine «Time». There was criticism everywhere. Writers and literary scholars did not skimp on harsh words: – «Talentless fictionist with a tiny chicken world-view and a tiny chicken observation». The chanting of the folk became fashionable, and Uspensky’s vision of it was ugly: «… a man certainly or a thief, or a drunkard, or such a fool as the world has not ever produced; every woman is such an idiot that cannot be imagined», – as A. Skabychevsky wrote.

Critics and editors of literary magazines at that time had such informational influence that they were really able to «cancel» Uspensky and later Leskov. For the rest of his life Nikolay Uspensky wandered with his daughter and for a small fee told biographies of authors of Russian classics. For Pushkin took the smallest fee, and for those who were exiled to Siberia or were in prison – most of all.

Uspensky committed suicide by stabbing himself. The «cancellation» had such an impact on his status that many editions have not even printed the obituary.
Uspensky committed suicide by stabbing himself. The «cancellation» had such an impact on his status that many editions have not even printed the obituary.


Most modern people know Nikolay Leskov as modest and harmless author of fairy tale «Lefty». This work appeared in 1881, when the writer had already tried on himself «cancelling» of the literary community. Leskov was active in politics until 1870. Nikolay Leskov, contrary to public opinion, was an outrageous author of provocative articles, held right-wing views. In 1862, the «Northern Bee» published the so-called «Article on Fires», where the writer mentioned and thus spread a rumor about arsons carried by revolutionary students and Poles. The left-wing critic took this as a denunciation, but also the emperor resented because of Leskov’s bold remark about administrative authority: «…to send firefighters to the fires for real help, not for standing up». That’s how Nikolai Leskov’s cancelling began.

Rubahin V. F. «Fire in Apraksin Yard», 1862. Leskov critically reflected this event in his article, which was the reason for «cancelling».
Rubahin V. F. «Fire in Apraksin Yard», 1862. Leskov critically reflected this event in his article, which was the reason for «cancelling».

The editor of «Northern Bee» had to send Leskov on a «long business trip», some kind of reference, after which he wrote the novel «Nowhere». The work is the radical debut of the author, where in a satirical manner he depicted the left-wing lobby of writers, whose criticism will accompany all Russian literature for a long time. However, Nikolay Leskov did not change his views and creative direction, on the contrary, he joined the editor of the right-wing magazine «Russian bulletin » – M. Katkov – and continued to write on the topic of the day. Subsequently, the writer so «crossed the line» that in the 1870 novel «On the Knives» depicted all revolutionaries as criminals. Leskov’s degree of «cancellation» reached its peak, and even his associates, Katkov and Dostoevsky, disowned him.

Illustration of the artist Nikolai Kuzmin to the story of Leskov «Lefty»
Illustration of the artist Nikolai Kuzmin to the story of Leskov «Lefty»

«Cancelled» Nikolay Leskov fell silent. The bold writer returned with much less provocative texts about the mighty folk and religion. Unlike Uspensky, Leskov managed to rehabilitate and earn fame thanks to the famous fairy tale «Lefty».


The history of Vladimir Nabokov is an example of the influence of left-wing critics on Russian literature even after his death. The writer did not become a victim of the cancel culture, but his novel «Gift, 1938» lost a whole chapter. Instead of the text, readers could see this:

The Modern Notes 67, p. 69 (Paris, 1938). The first publication of the novel «Gift» by V. Syrin (Nabokov) with explanation: «Chapter 4, consisting entirely of «Life of Chernyshevsky», written by the hero of the novel, skipped with the consent of the author. – Ed.

One of the variants of the fourth chapter of the novel «Gift»
One of the variants of the fourth chapter of the novel «Gift»

It is believed that the fourth chapter was a felleton on comrade Chernyshevsky, part-time one of Lenin’s favorite writers. Nabokov ridiculed primarily for his lack of aesthetic focus in his literary view of criticism, which, in his view, leads to Bolshevik ideology and repressions.

The cancel culture is present in Russian culture today. As before, it exists in two dimensions: aesthetic and political. However, the modern field for creative statements is rather visual content – movies and clips. Literature has ceased to be a forum for political debate. Individual authors, like Pelevin, still speak on sharp topics, but in the general masses – these are only exceptions.

Crypto winter: why did it happen and how to fill the hole?

Причины, последствия и преодоление встречных ветров криптозимы 2022 года

Reading time 6 minutes

According to CNBC statistics, 2022 rocked the cryptocurrency market, which has lost two trillion dollars since its peak in 2021. This period of market cooling is known as “crypto winter”. But there is something about this latest crash that sets it apart from previous crypto downturns: this year’s crypto winter was marked by a series of industry-wide events that exposed holes in the operating system of the “future money” market.

Stablecoin no longer stable
Coinbase and Bitcoin signage during an Initial Public Offering (IPO) at the Nasdaq MarketSite in New York, USA on April 14, 2021. Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg
Coinbase and Bitcoin signage during an Initial Public Offering (IPO) at the Nasdaq MarketSite in New York, USA on April 14, 2021. Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg

The most important reason for the crypto winter is the explosion of TerraUSD or UST, a currency known as stablecoins designed to reduce volatility in the cryptocurrency market by maintaining a fixed value. The stability of TerraUSD depends on a complex mechanism driven by an algorithm tied to its sister cryptocurrency LUNA rather than a stable reserve asset like gold or dollars. As Nansen reports, in early July, LUNA’s valuation plummeted from $80 to a fraction of a cent, and TerraUSD also collapsed.

Once praised for providing cutting-edge blockchain investments to users around the world, “the collapse of the Terra blockchain and the UST stablecoin was unthinkable,” Clara Medali, director of research at crypto data firm Kaiko, told CNBC.

The sudden collapse of TerraUSD and UST caused panic in the market. The price of bitcoin has fallen to $26,000, 60% from its peak in November 2021, while ether, the next largest cryptocurrency, has lost 30% in value. Coinbase, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges, posted a loss of $430 million. In addition, a tornado swept through crypto networks and hedge funds that had direct contact with UST, in particular the hedge fund Three Arrows Capital or 3AC.

The burden of individual traders
TerraUSD cryptocurrency crash. Source: Coinbase
TerraUSD cryptocurrency crash. Source: Coinbase

The collapse of TerraUSD and LUNA caused a domino effect throughout the electronics industry, including individual investors. Celsius, a company that offered users over 18% returns on staking its cryptocurrencies, filed for bankruptcy in July 2022. In the US, this procedure allows you to restore the corporate debt structure to support the company’s business. Individual investors who have invested their assets in Celsius risk losing them completely.

The risk stems from the fact that the protections and property rights that are used in normal banking legislation for deposits do not apply to cryptocurrency exchanges and exchange contracts. Cryptocurrency translators may disclaim liability for the total deposit amount in accordance with the Celsius terms of use.

Celsius operates like a bank. He will take the deposited cryptocurrency and lend it to other players with high returns. Other players will use it to trade. And the Celsius profit generated from the yield will be used to return back to depositors.

“Players looking for high returns exchanged fiat for cryptocurrency, used lending platforms as custodians, and then those platforms used the funds they raised for high-risk investments – how else could they pay such high interest rates?” said Carol Alexander, professor of finance at the University of Sussex.

Government reaction

As the global financial outlook becomes increasingly cloudy due to rising interest rates, the Special Military Operation in Ukraine, and fuel and grain shortages, consumers are looking for safe investments such as less risky crypto products like ETH. Therefore, it is necessary to issue some rules related to the security of cryptocurrencies in order to minimize the risks and instability of this market.

The Central Bank of Singapore has proposed new measures to regulate the trading of cryptocurrencies and stablecoins, including banning lending companies from taking cryptocurrencies from some retail customers and then lending to others with it – such a scheme does not provide sufficient security for depositors’ assets.

On October 26, the Australian government stated in its budget announcement that investors would be required to pay capital gains tax on profits from the sale of crypto assets through exchanges.

On October 27, the UK Finance Minister added to a bill submitted to Parliament the UK’s right to regulate all cryptocurrencies.

In all the chaos of the crypto winter, imposing rules on all participants, potentially destabilizing the market, will provide the necessary protection to consumers and maintain long-term market stability.





How does Netflix make money and why is it at a loss?

The financial strategy of the global leader in the streaming-on-demand entertainment business

Reading time 8 minutes

During the three-month period, the streaming giant laid off around 450 employees due to a loss of a raft of subscribers. According to the statistics provided by Macrotrends, from 2014 to 2019, the loss of Netflix has only increased, although the situation was rectified in 2020 and the coronavirus pandemic, which brought in a profit of almost two billion USD, 2021 again ended with negative indicators for the platform. Many experts attribute this situation in the market to the economic model in which the platform operates.


In 1999, Netflix started as a DVD rental service, offering customers an unlimited monthly cassette subscription, as well as a personalized movie recommendation system. To create a large movie library, the company purchased the rights and licenses to a wide variety of content, part of an online cinema portfolio that still includes these acquisitions.

A decade later, Netflix pioneered the Internet streaming market, while other media giants offer cable TV subscriptions for $100, Netflix only requires its subscribers from 8 up to 15 dollars. In addition to the pricing policy, viewers are bribed by other factors: multiple people can use the same account from different devices, favorite shows can be viewed at any time, and the library constantly being replenished with hit shows that Netflix buys the rights to and content of its own production.

All this caused consumers to abandon cable subscriptions in favor of streaming, and movie and TV series creators not to release their products on TV, simply because Netflix and its similar companies offered more money than cable channels that were losing money. According to Bloomberg’s statistics in 2018, 6 people give up cable TV every minute, of which in return, many people subscribe to online services.

Flywheel model for Netflix
Flywheel model for Netflix

Despite the removal of these competitors, Netflix is still operating at a loss. This is largely due to their economic policy, known as the “flywheel method”. It works like this: the service takes money from a user’s subscription and spends it on content creation, content distribution and creating a pleasant user experience, which forces the user to renew the subscription theirs and everything went back to the way it was. The problem is that Netflix spends more than $500 per user while it only brings the company about $10. This difference is covered by the new viewer’s subscription, i.e. your payment for one subscription offsets the cost spent by the user who purchased it before you and the amount the next subscriber will reimburse you.

The problems of this plan will become apparent once Netflix hits the subscription threshold – there will simply be no potential buyers left in the US and the world able to cover these losses with their own money. Analysts estimate that the maximum number of Netflix subscribers in the US is 60-90 million and around 200 million in the rest of the world, while in the first quarter of 2022 there were around 80 million people in North America and about 150 million people in the rest of the world.

Simultaneously, due to the peculiarities of the market, a subscriber outside the United States brings the company much less money than an American: for example, the cost of a subscription in India at the start was only $3 – three times less than in the company’s homeland.

By way of explanation, in order for the flywheel to continue working, Netflix is forced to look for new subscribers outside the United States, in the face of the fact that local markets cannot offer a profit comparable to the United States, as well as to raise prices in richer and more developed countries, which already leads to an outflow of subscribers.


For Netflix, the situation is compounded by increased competition: almost every major corporation has already launched or is preparing to launch its streaming service. Coincidently, knowing the need for their competitor to raise prices, other streaming services deliberately underestimate the cost of a subscription: Disney+ asked for only $ 7 at the beginning, while providing exclusive and discussed content like the new parts of Star Wars and the Mandalorian series, as well as absorbing another online movie theater Hulu. In other words, purchasing Disney+ for a price half the price of a subscription to Netflix, the user received two streaming services at once.

Netflix official account tweet saying "Love is password sharing"
Netflix official account tweet saying “Love is password sharing”

Simultaneously, Netflix itself is also forced to take not very pleasant measures for users, along with the mentioned price increase, the company also wants to ban users from sharing passwords with loved ones, and about 1/4 numbers all subscribers do this, although the company previously considered this function as one of the important being.

This policy affects the number of people who unsubscribe. Users are also canceling subscriptions due to the lifting of quarantine restrictions in many countries: people work, study, travel, and less sit at home in front of computers and TVs. As a result, in the second quarter of 2022, one million people canceled their Netflix subscription, and a similar number of unsubscribes is expected before the end of the year.

Netflix's largest shareholder Bill Ackman
Netflix’s largest shareholder Bill Ackman

This situation in the market also affects the investment attractiveness of the company: in the past year, the value of shares has decreased by more than 60%, in such a crash, one of the company’s largest shareholders lost more than a billion dollars, and then sold his entire three million shares.

Despite the unfavorable economic situation and loss, Netflix is unlikely to stop, in a letter to shareholders the company assured that canceling family subscriptions will only lead to new users. Streaming and the loss of subscribers are also tied to macroeconomic factors: the consequences of the pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukrainian territory. In addition, the company will not reduce its content costs: in 2021, online cinemas have spent 17 billion dollars on it.

5 reasons to watch Patrick Melrose

Not recommended for the faint of heart, but still...

Reading time 6 minutes

In 2018, German filmmaker Edward Berger premiered the mini-series «Patrick Melrose», which tells the story of the eponymous hero’s attempts to deal with the traumas of his past and live a life of dignity. The project did not receive an unequivocally enthusiastic response from the audience but was nevertheless extraordinary. This article explains why it’s worth watching.

  1. An atypical role for Benedict Cumberbatch

One of the most in-demand actors, not only in the UK but worldwide, admitted in an interview:

«I think my strength is in my brain, not my muscles. But that doesn’t embarrass me. It is very easy to look clever. It is much harder to play smart. But, because I grew up in high society and went to one of the oldest schools in the world, I have to play asexual sociopathic intellectuals for the rest of my life…»

Benedict Cumberbatch as Melrose Jr.
Benedict Cumberbatch as Melrose Jr.

So Patrick’s eccentric role is an entirely different one. The protagonist claims to be a self-destructive leader in every possible way: alcohol, drugs, promiscuity – the list does not end there. Not every film gives you the opportunity to watch an almost completely demoralized Benedict dancing in a drunken stupor.

  1. Visuals.

«Patrick Melrose» is full of its own aesthetic: in places bright and juicy, like the fruit on the trees that grows outside the luxurious Melrose villa, in places depressing and gloomy, highlighting the spiritual poverty of the individual characters (no spoilers).

Benedict Cumberbatch as Melrose Jr.
Benedict Cumberbatch as Melrose Jr.

The detailed interiors complement the style of the recreated time. The same applies to the choice of locations (the French countryside alone) and the costumes of the characters: together, they create a harmonious picture that is particularly pleasant to look at in natural, warm light.

sun was shining. What else was it supposed to do? - Patrick Melrose
The sun was shining. What else was it supposed to do? – Patrick Melrose
  1. The sound of music

The musical accompaniment to this story also leaves no one indifferent. The retro atmosphere here is not just in the picture, but also in the soundtracks. The pilot episode, for example, is accompanied by the Cat Stevens song «Wild world», as if preparing the viewer for a mental transport to a couple of decades ago. Except that as one gradually delves into Patrick’s childhood and learns details of his interactions with his parents, it becomes difficult to call the nostalgic mood evoked by the music a restful one.

A person can lose their mind because they are experiencing an emotion that they have to suppress. - Patrick Melrose
A person can lose their mind because they are experiencing an emotion that they have to suppress. – Patrick Melrose

The series also has a place for original soundtracks, with emotional responses ranging from anxious and disturbing to melancholy and alienating.

  1. A witty tragicomedy

Patrick’s story is a coherent narrative not only and not so much about the ways in which he destroys his ‘normal’ life, but about the reasons that have made the latter unbearable (primarily mentally). Melrose was born into a well-to-do aristocratic family, but his background and wealth did not make him happy. His mother’s indifference and his father’s unreasonable, perverted cruelty turned little Patrick’s life upside down for many years to come. The relationship within the family is a central theme of Berger’s mini-series, and one which all of us can feel particularly strongly about.

Forgiveness is an important thing, especially when you are forgiven. - Patrick Melrose
Forgiveness is an important thing, especially when you are forgiven. – Patrick Melrose

With each series, the life of the protagonist grows more and more hopelessly detailed.  Nevertheless, his story is presented in an interesting, even amusing and satirical way so that we want to watch it through to the end (even if it is psychologically difficult).

  1. A chance to compare the series’ experience with the books

The plot of the series is based on the series of novels by Edward St. Aubyn, whose work is highly regarded by the performer of the title role. The series of books is called a modern classic, noting the author’s distinctive style with its inherent sincerity, impartiality and irony. It is important to note that the works about Patrick Melrose are largely autobiographical: their idea was inspired by real events in the life of St. Aubyn.


The Mars Chronicle: NASA explores the planet

Space agency will be looking for signs of life on Mars

Reading time 5 minutes

NASA launched the «Mars 2020» mission last July. The rover, named «Perseverance», took off from the US military base at Cape Canaveral and flew for nearly seven months. A successful landing occurred on February 24. Four video cameras filmed the descent of the rover: two were installed on the device, one more – on the landing module and next to the parachute. «Perseverance» landed in the Ezero crater. There are also recorded alien sounds – for the first time ever.

In addition, the rover drove a few meters across the surface, took photographs, and has already transmitted them to Earth.

The photo taken by the Martian satellite shows bright dots - traces of scorched soil from the landing (source: NASA)
The photo taken by the Martian satellite shows bright dots – traces of scorched soil from the landing (source: NASA)

NASA’s main goal of the mission is to understand whether Mars was habitable in the past. To do this, Perseverance will look for traces of water and life organisms, study the climate and collect surface samples. For the latter task, the rover has special tubes with which it will be able to take rocks and soil.

The rover will also test new technologies. In the future, they will be used for other missions – delivering samples to Earth in 2031 and a manned mission to Mars.

A picture of the surface of Mars (source: NASA)
A picture of the surface of Mars (source: NASA)

The Perseverance mission is far from the first attempt to learn the secrets of the red planet: Mars has long been the object of research by scientists. Space programs look for alien life or at least traces of it. For example, scientists have discovered subterranean lakes of saltwater in the planet’s south pole, methane particles in the atmosphere, and the chemical elements necessary for life. These discoveries were made possible by the Mars rover «Curiosity».

«Curiosity» reveals that Mars has red skies during the day and blue sunsets (source: NASA)
«Curiosity» reveals that Mars has red skies during the day and blue sunsets (source: NASA)

Although there is no direct evidence of living organisms on the red planet yet, this has not stopped researchers from trying to send humans there. American engineer and billionaire Elon Musk is a case in point. One of his companies, SpaceX, has been involved in a manned mission to Mars for nearly twenty years. Musk wants to create a space vehicle so people can travel between planets and colonize Mars.

«I think becoming an interplanetary civilization and traveling through space is very important for all humanity. It would take a lot of resources to build a colony on Mars. And I want to contribute as much as I can»,- claimed Elon Musk for Business Insider. The billionaire is prepared to devote his $140 billion fortune to sponsoring the project.

What planetary colonisation will look like (source: SpaceX press materials)
What planetary colonisation will look like (source: SpaceX press materials)

Great artists – truth or myth?

Dispelling myths about 5 great painters

Reading time 6 minutes

Art of the turn of XIX-XX centuries – what is it? Great? Breakthrough? Unexpected? Undoubtedly. But the word «different» better describes the art of this period.

The second half of the 19th and 20th centuries gave us many great artists and genres. And individual masters have become tightly associated with their directions in art. Does no one doubts that Kazimir Malevich – Suprematist, and Auguste Renoir – the pioneer of Impressionism?

But there were artists who did not identify themselves with those styles at all, as is commonly believed. Today we will tell you about five of the most famous of them.

Salvador Dali

Salvador Dalí
Salvador Dalí

What is the question? Obviously, he is surreal… however, stop. In fact, the most famous surrealist painter in 1939 was excluded from the group of surrealists, and for the next 53 years of his work he was not the official representative of this direction. From their conflict, by the way, was born the phrase of Dali «I am not a surrealist, I am surrealism!»

Dali discovered his own unique technique – the paranoid-critical method, which differs from the method of the surrealists. And despite the fact that Dali is now considered the greatest representative of Surrealism, for most of his career he formally belonged to a different style.

Edouard Manet

Edouard Manet, «А Bar at the Folies Bergere», 1882
Edouard Manet, «А Bar at the Folies Bergere», 1882

In many sources, Édouard Manet is ranked alongside Claude Monet and the Impressionist company. In fact, Edouard was their predecessor. Of course, Manet communicated with the Impressionists and was interested in their work, but he himself denied any involvement with this style. On the contrary, throughout his career Manet strove for an official professional appraisal – that is, the recognition of the Salon, which the Impressionists opposed. And Manet never even once exhibited with them.

Edvard Munch

Edward Munch «The Scream», 1893
Edward Munch «The Scream», 1893

Next on our list is the author of the famous «The Scream» and other masterpieces. The direction of the artist, it would seem obvious – expressionism. But no! Expressionism evolved much later and independently of Munch. Meanwhile, the Norwegian master the young expressionists considered the ancestor of the direction and were inspired by his work.

But Munch himself created under the influence of Symbolism – a style of which he was a contemporary.

Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo (years of life: 1907-1954)
Frida Kahlo (years of life: 1907-1954)

The Mexican artist was considered by her contemporaries to be a Surrealist (particularly André Breton). But Kahlo herself categorically denied it (although she actively exhibited with the surrealists). She said that she «painted only her own reality and was not into fantasies». Plus Kahlo had no special education, and in combination with her formal features her work is referred to as the direction of naive art.


Leonardo da Vinci's drawings: Portrait of a Man in Red Chalk (left) and Vitruvian Man (right)
Leonardo da Vinci’s drawings: Portrait of a Man in Red Chalk (left) and Vitruvian Man (right)

Leonardo da Vinci – who was he?

The author of «Mona Lisa», «Vitruvian Man», «The Last Supper» and many other masterpieces which everyone knows for sure. However, the master never positioned himself as an artist. In the Renaissance, science and art were two sides of the same coin, and an outstanding man had to prove himself in different fields. Leonardo da Vinci referred to himself not as an artist but as an engineer (for example, in his resume, which he sent to the Duke of Milan in 1482). Another indication that painting was not his main occupation is how few paintings he painted.

Of course, the boundaries of styles in art are very conditional – everything is adaptive and subjective, each work of art is unique and combines many elements. But we have tried to dispel 5 common myths about well-known artists, based on generally accepted norms.

Почему мы много едим в Новый год?

Расскажем о трёх эволюционных и социальных факторах, вызывающих праздничные переедания

Reading time 6 minutes

Новогодние застолья позади, и мир по традиции охватывает проблема: как пережить праздничные застолья? Ведь затяжные праздники, обилие вкусной еды, родственники и друзья, собравшиеся за одним столом – в общем, у многих Рождество и Новый Год провоцируют переедание и сбои в пищевом поведении. Это стало своего рода культурной нормой не только в России, но и по всему миру.И не случайно: здесь играют роль физиологические и психологические процессы, которые заставляют нас много есть.
Мы расскажем о трёх таких причинах.

Sensory-Specific Satiety (сенсорно-специфическая сытость)
Это один из психологических феноменов, отвечающих за чувство насыщения во время еды. Об этой особенности рассказывает профессор Мэрион Хизерингтон (Marion Hetherington) из Лидского университета.
Вы замечали, что первый кусочек любимой еды самый вкусный? И на протяжение трапезы она становится менее и менее приятной? При этом при появлении нового блюда его всегда хочется попробовать и даже сытость отступает.
Это вполне нормальное поведение для человека, а объясняется оно тем, что мы всеядны. Феномен ССС помогает человеку пробовать разную еду и получать полный спектр полезных веществ. Из-за ССС меняется удовольствие от вкуса еды во время трапезы (оно уменьшается к концу). Но при появлении принципиально нового продукта оно возвращается.
В обычной жизни феномен ССС хорошо нам служит и помогает питаться разнообразно. Но в особых случаях (например, в праздники), когда мы переполняем тарелку разными блюдами – это соблазн съесть слишком много, ибо чем больше вариантов, тем слабее чувство насыщения. И именно поэтому всегда есть место для десерта.
Таким образом, изменение удовольствия и чувство насыщения может относиться не в целом к трапезе, а к конкретному блюду, которое вы едите в данный момент.

Но то, ЧТО вы едите – это одна сторона медали. Играет роли и то, С КЕМ вы едите.

Доктор Бирмингенского университета Хелен Руддок (Dr Helen Ruddock, ) рассказывает о социальных факторах, влияющих на количество съеденного.
На самом деле в каждой компании появляется мини-норма количества еды, и мы неосознанно корректируем свой выбор под эту норму. Поэтому, например, если ваши сотрапезники едят большие порции, то вы, вероятно, последуете их примеру и съедите больше.

Кроме этого, есть свидетельства , что люди склонны есть больше, находясь с друзьями и семьёй (по сравнению с трапезой в одиночестве). Это называют «социальное содействие в еде» (social facilitation of eating). Возможно, этот феномен развился для того, что в моменты совместной трапезы (когда члены коммуны делятся едой) получить максимум пищи. Объяснение у этого самое простое: на протяжении большей части эволюции еда была в дефиците, а распределение ресурсов внутри группы помогало избежать голода отдельных индивидуумов. Но в то же время, способ делёжки всегда провоцировал конфликты. Поэтому единственным путём преодолеть разногласия было есть ровно столько же, сколько и остальные.
В современных условиях еда больше не является дефицитом, нам не надо делиться с родственниками и друзьями, чтобы они не голодали. Но это как раз тот случай, когда эволюционный механизм продолжает руководить нашим поведением. И в некоторых ситуациях (таких, как совместная трапеза) содействовать перееданию.

И ещё один фактор, влияющий на пищевое поведение в праздники – это эмоции. Рождество и Новый год вызывают у нас приятные ощущения, напоминают о детстве. А вкус любимой еды (тем более, если мы едим её только по праздникам) – это сильнейший психологический якорь, возвращающий нас к приятным моментам. И чем сильнее связь между едой и воспоминаниями, чем больше радости они вызывают, тем сложнее нам остановиться во время приёма пищи. В случае новогодних или рождественских блюд мы придаём еде гораздо больше значение, чем обычно.

Так что в силу эволюционных причин, а также из-за сложного психологического и физиологического устройства человека, еда – это не только источник питания. Еда – это процесс, который способствуют сближению и социальному взаимодействию, который формирует и поддерживает приятные воспоминания и ритуалы семейных сборищ.
Так что еда – это важная часть нашей культуры и нас самих. Но помните, что человеческая осознанность позволяет нам контролировать эти процессы. И в Новом году мы желаем вам чувствовать меру, но не ругать себя из-за перееданий, ведь это часть нашей природы. Главное, делайте выводы и заботьтесь и себе!