Giant worms were lurking burrowed into the ancient seafloor 20 milion years ago

Image credit: Y-Y. Pan et al./Scientific Reports 2021

The 20-million-year old lair of an ancient predatory worm 

An international team of scientists, led by the researchers Yu-Yen Pan, Ludvig Löwemark, and Masakazu Nara, have found trace fossils from gigantic ambush-predatory marine worms. The authors of the report believe that these worms were up to 3 meter-long. They were hunting by bursting out at their preys and dragging them into their underground lairs below the seafloor.

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Arthur Schopenhauer: Every truth passes through three stages

Every truth passes through three stages before it is recognized. In the first, it is ridiculed. In the second, it is opposed. In the third, it is regarded as self evident."

Arthur Schopenhauer

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Walter Benjamin: Never stop writing because you have run out of ideas

Photo credit: Akademie der Künste, Berlin - Walter Benjamin Archiv. Via Wikipedia

A modernist thinker

Considered one of the greatest modernist thinkers of the 20th century, Walter Benjamin was a philosopher, cultural critic, and essayist. His works show eclecticism, combining elements from different traditions as Romanticism, German idealism, Marxism, and Jewish mysticism. He made a great and influential contribution to the fields of aesthetics, philosophy, cultural studies, literary criticism, and historical materialism. Some of his best-known seminal works are The Task of the Translator (1923), The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction (1935), and Theses on Philosophy of History (1940). In the academic world, Walter Benjamin is highly-regarded and prominent as a man of ideas. However, a fact less disputed is that he developed a complex, lively, elegant, and refined non-linear writing style. Susan Sontag claimed that in his texts, sentences did not yield to ordinary logic, do not progress into one another, and are as each sentence "had to say everything, before the inward gaze of total concentration dissolved the subject before his eyes", a "freeze-frame baroque" style of writing and contemplation. To elucidate his meditations upon the topic, Walter Benjamin offers thirteen essentials of the writer's technique.

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Arthur C. Clarke: Everything is possible until the opposite is proven

"If an elderly but distinguished scientist says that something is possible, he is almost certainly right; but if he says that it is impossible, he is very probably wrong."

Arthur C. Clarke

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Could that be our first contact with extraterrestrial technology?

Image credit: NASA / ESA / Hubble / ESO / M. Kornmesser.

"1I/2017 U1 'Oumuamua" — the first known interstellar object within the Solar System

In October 2017, a vague point of light was detected by the Pan-STARRS 1 telescope in Hawaii. At first, it looked like a typical small asteroid, but later observations made it possible for astronomers to figure its orbit more accurately. It turns out that it didn't match the behavior of any other asteroid or meteor observed so far. The enigmatic stranger, which was called 'Oumuamua flew past the sun, coming from 'above' the plane of the planets on a highly inclined orbit, with speed fast enough to escape the Sun's gravitational pull and eventually head out of our Solar System, speeding up.

Initially, it was assumed that the object is an interstellar comet since they are thought to be more numerous than interstellar asteroids. The problem was that there wasn't any trace of the typical hallmarks of cometary activity – no evidence of gas emission or dust. Therefore, there is no clue how does it change the anticipated trajectory of its orbit and why does it accelerate its speed.

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A new AI project could change the way we recycle plastic bottles

Photo credit: unilever.com

The Waste Free World project

The co-operation of two of the world's biggest consumer goods firms results in an innovative recycling project. They have created machines that use artificial intelligence (AI) to automatically identify and sort plastic packaging.

The initiative is called The Waste Free World and it was recently announced as a collaboration between Unilever and the Chinese giant Alibaba. The goal of the project is to unite the packaging technologies of the former with the business operating system of the latter to advance and ensure a highly efficient process of returning plastics back into a closed-loop recycling system.

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Insights: Erich Fromm

"The capacity to be puzzled is the premise of all creation, be it in art or in science"

Erich Fromm

Photo: famousquotes123.com 







Stay curious and creative in the face of the unsolvable mysteries of the Universe. Enjoy your weekend!

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Quotes to reflect on

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Jean-Paul Sartre's "Hell is other people"

One of the characters in Jean-Paul Sartre's theatrical play "No exit" claims: "Hell is – other people!". The meaning of this line has proven to be widely misinterpreted over the years. Of course, it doesn't mean that one should avoid other people, or all our problems are connected somehow with the presence of others. It doesn't also say that all social interactions or relations with others are wrong and corrupted.


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What is contemporary art?

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The difference between contemporary art and modern art

There is a widely spread misunderstanding between the terms "Modern", "Modernist" and "Contemporary", especially when they refer to Art. This confusion is not so unexpected if we consider the fact that all of these words mean "something that is happening or referring to nowadays". Well, if we are in the world of Art they have got a completely different meaning. "Modern art" is generally used for the art production made between the huge epoch from 1860 to 1970, whereas the notion "Modernism" or "Modernist" is connected with the intellectual and artistic movements from the early decades of the 20th century. Their art sought new and revolutionary techniques, which could better represent the realities and believes of the modern or future societies. When it comes to "Contemporary art", it just means "art of today or recently made art". Although it sounds self-explanatory, contemporary art has its own historical and philosophical grounds, which could be found in the Avant-garde or the above-mentioned Modernist forms from the beginning of the 20th century. Yet, why it's so hard to define what contemporary art is?

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Uffizi Gallery in Florence unveils barely known illustrations of Dante’s Divine Comedy

credit: gettyimages.com

Why is Dante Alighieri so famous and highly regarded?

In 2021, we mark seven hundred years since the loss of one of the symbols of literature and Humanism, and arguably the greatest and most influential poet of the Western world - Dante Alighieri (c. 1265 – 1321). It would be a difficult task for one to find an educated person that hasn't heard of that name and that's not a result made by an elaborated marketing strategy. In fact, Dante wasn't so popular among his contemporaries and the following epoch. His best-known work – Divine comedy – was considered too "medieval", tragical, and rough for the standards demanded by the rigorous and Classical Greece oriented criteria of the Renaissance. It was during the Romantic era, centuries later, that Dante was re-discovered and awed as one of the most important foundations for establishing the universe of Literature as we know it today. Along with Geoffrey Chaucer and Giovanni Boccaccio, Dante was one of the first poets who published in vernacular language instead of Latin, which was the common one among the scholars and intellectuals at that time. In 13th-14th century Europe that was regarded as a revolution and indeed, it was. For, it made it possible for ordinary people to read and learn in their mother tongue, and not long after that, it gave confidence to them to create and express themselves in their natural verbal patterns.


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The 10 contemporary scientists that changed today’s world

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Some of the most influential scientist from the last decades

Living in the 21st century gives us the privilege to avail ourselves of all the scientific and technical advantages achieved in the past. Nowadays, we have almost effortless access to unlimited opportunities. We travel faster than ever, we could enter into the endless flow of information and search the world wide web just by clicking few buttons on our laptop or even more, on the screen of the mobile computer in our pocket. Every new theory and all the technical advancements expand our perception of the world and grant us new prospects. Thanks to these unnumerable thinkers, scholars, and practitioners. To people from all kinds of spheres and disciplines who devoted their lives to the ideas of knowledge and progress. We are now capable to enjoy our lives better, and moreover, to explore the universe in ever-growing detail and depth. Our human world was slowly shaped throughout thousands of years but, now and then, there was a single person whose activities pushed the evolution of civilization with the speed of light. 



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The Sistine Chapel of the ancients

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Amazonian ancient rock art

A stunning discovery of prehistoric rock drawings depicting humans, animals, and various ancient people's activities was made in the forest labyrinths of the Amazon jungle. The unbelievable number and quality of the pictures spread across miles of cliff faces provoked the researchers to call the site "The Sistine Chapel of the ancients". The archeologists reckon that it would take decades for the scientists to explore and study thoroughly all the figures and ornaments. The leader of the expedition Jose Iriarte says "When you're there, your emotions flow … We're talking about several tens of thousands of paintings. It's going to take generations to record them … Every turn you do, it's a new wall of paintings." These explorations could lead us to yet unknown facts about the life of prehistoric humans and critical knowledge of early human civilizations.

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Weather Photographer of the Year or Nature as You Have (Not) Seen It

credit: Rudolf Sulgan and Royal Meteorological Society

THERE IS NOTHING BETTER THAN BAD WEATHER

No, this post is not about that old European movie with the same title. It is literally about weather.  Good. Or bad. But always different. Always new. And always amazing. If only we had eyes to see it...

Five years in a row, the Royal Meteorological Society (RMetS) which in 2020 celebrated its 170th anniversary, in collaboration with AccuWeather, called on photographers from all over the world to take part in the annual contest "Weather Photographer of the Year 2020" and "Young Weather Photographer of the Year 2020" (17 and under). There were no restrictions in terms of age, experience, equipment or even year. Just photography. And weather...

"Weather is consistently on people's minds because it impacts so much of our daily lives. It also lends itself fantastically to photography" - the organizers said. And the awarded projects absolutely prove it...

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Prof. Una Chaudhuri: Animals Show Us How Much We Still Need to Know, Not Only about Them but Also about Ourselves

image: pixabay.com

OUR BEST FRIENDS. AND OUR BEST TEACHERS

Prof. Una Chaudhuri talks about the book on animal studies and performance - "Animal Acts: Performing Species Today", published by University of Michigan Press. But Prof. Chaudhuri does not talk only about the book. Nor does she talk only about animals and their place in contemporary performance. What she talks about is how we think about animals, about ourselves and about the world we share. About the way animals are trying to create a connection, and the way we, humans, are trying to distort it. She talks about animals. But she actually talks about us…

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The Best New Books on Climate Change for 2020 - Top 5

MUST READ. MUST ACT

Never before has climate change been a main topic in presidential campaigns. Never before have kids animated movies talked about recycling. Never before have we been in a situation like this. Climate is changing. Earth is changing. Are we changing, too? Are we changing our future? Can we??? Let's try to find the answers in the top 5 books on climate change published in 2020...

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50 Homeless People Were Given a One-Time Sum of $7,500. Here Is What Happened Next...

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BREAKING THE STEREOTYPES

Some of us give money to homeless people. Others - don't. Yet, even those who are willing to give cash, don't really believe in the effectiveness of such kind of help. A new study though, conducted in Canada, proves us wrong... And gives a hint (to say at least) how to deal with homelessness.

"The New Leaf Project (is) the world's first direct cash transfer program to empower people to move beyond homelessness". The concept of the program is to make one-time cash transfers of $7,500 CAD (the equivalent of about $5700 USD) to people who recently got homeless in the Vancouver area, and then see what the results would be. And the results are astonishing...

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#TeamTrees or How to Plant 7 Million Trees in a Year

PLANTING TREES

A YouTube challenge, two bloggers (one is an ex NASA engineer), a conservation organization and worldwide people's support... The result? More than 7 million trees been around the globe in a year! And millions more to come!... 

Marc Rober (who worked seven years for NASA, now a world famous YouTuber), together with another YouTube star, Mr.Beast (Jimmy Donaldson), and the Arbor Day Foundation started the one-of-a-kind project #TeamTrees exactly a year ago.  The goal is: 20 million trees planted worldwide by 2020! 365 days later 7.1 millions are already planted!  14 millions planned for 2021! 

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Insights: Failure Is Your Best Teacher to Achieve Success

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THOMAS EDISON: AN INOVATOR AND... A MOTIVATOR 

Thomas Edison, America's greatest investor as they call him, left us  1093 U.S. patents and 2,332 patents worldwide. He was the father of some of the most important inventions that changes our life completely - the authomatic telegraph (a more development version of Samuel Morse's invention), the carbon telephone transmitter, the light bulb, the phonograph, the movie camera and viewer, the alkaline storage car battery... 

And not only this! Thomas Edison was one of the first inventors who worked with teams of researchers and employees, founded the first industrial laboratory for research and development, and thus laid the foundations of organized science.

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Is It Really Too Late to Stop Climate Change? Here Is the Answer...

image: ourworldindata.org

THE QUESTION(s)

Can we stop climate change? Can we reverse the process that seems to threaten our future, our children's future, our planet's future? Can we make a change if we haven't made it so far? These are the questions we need to answer. And we need to find the answers now...

The following 10-minute animation offers a different and smart approach to this matter. It was created by the people who stand behind the website for data analysis Our World in Data & the YouTube channel Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell

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A Revolutionary Green Store by IKEA with 160 "Built-In" Trees and No Car Parking

Image: ikea.com

Sustainable Architecture for Sustainable Living... and Shopping

The world-known Swedish furniture company IKEA is building a revolutionary new store in Vienna, Austria. The main focus is sustainability and green design. The seven-story building (of 21 600 sq.m2) will have green facades, green roof-space and will have no car parking. And most important - it will have 160 trees planted  in the facades and on the roof. The goal is to help purifying the air in the neighborhood and also lowering the temperature in the building with at least 2 degrees Celsius. The store is expected to open its doors in 2021. 

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