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Do you know what a Red Poppy symbolizes?

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Red Poppies


After World War I, the poppy flourished in Europe. The unusual growth was attributed by the scientists to the soils in France and Belgium, which became enriched with lime from the rubble left by the war. From the debris, dirt and mud grew a beautiful red poppy. It came to symbolize the bloodshed during battle following the publication of the wartime poem "In Flanders Fields." It was written by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, M.D. while serving on the front lines and witnessing the horrors of the war.

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On this date, 15 years ago

Entrance to the Seed Vault during Polar Night, highlighting its illuminated artwork; Photo credit: Subet Wikipedia under CC BY-SA 4.0

Construction on Svalbard Global Seed Vault begins

Far north of Norway, on the remote island of Spitsbergen halfway between the mainland and the North Pole, the date was June 19, 2006. The prime ministers of Norway, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, and Sweden set the official "first stone" of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. The storage, which nowadays has the capacity to preserve 2.25 billion seeds, and has already stored more than 1 million different samples from almost every country in the world.

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Friday Motivational thoughts

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The modern myths: Big Bang Theory

We live in the most amazing universe possible if not the best one. We don't even need to fantasize or devise incredible stories about reality to ignite our fancy. The situation, so far, looks like created by the imaginative pen of a talented science fiction writer. What we know is that a microscopic (I don't know if there is a word coined for such a small thing compared with the sizes of the known Universe) blue bubble - abundant with lifeforms, have somehow appeared after an immeasurable explosion followed by the unbelievable stream of circumstances, which have started from nowhere and have lasted around 13.77 billion years until now. Our planet is supposed to be 4.54 billion years old, so there was a lot of party going on here even before the existence of the only planet with life that we know for the moment. The crude material composing Earth is similar to the other known planets – rocks, metals, gases, and if you had enough chance - water. Using that, Nature made complex organisms like us, and we used the raw elements in such a way that we have access to toasters and computers in our houses. Well, let's imagine that nobody has ever heard of such events, does it sounds like a plausible story? However, the most unbelievable thing is not the plausibility of all the cosmological myths and theories but the fact that anything exists at all. That is the biggest mystery itself. To try to understand this is the most fascinating and exciting challenge in front of humankind. Here lie down the roots of philosophy, science, and knowledge in general. The greatest journey ever taken. It is so infinite and profound that as Albert Einstein once said:


"There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle."


So, let free your curiosity and you won't ever be bored of daily life again. It's all miracle. Or maybe you chose the first option? 

Enjoy your Friday!


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Q&A: Why cultural nuance matters in the fight against online extreme speech

Pining down causality between online extreme speech and offline violence is very difficult, says Prof. Udupa but you can clearly identify trends and correlations. Image credit - LMU Munich

A new project - AI4Dignity - fighting against online verbal violence

Artificial intelligence (AI) used by governments and the corporate sector to detect and extinguish online extreme speech often misses important cultural nuance, but bringing in independent factcheckers as intermediaries could help step up the fight against online vitriol, according to Sahana Udupa, professor of media anthropology at Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Germany.

Factcheckers who operate independently of large media corporations or social media companies can shape and use AI to go beyond keywords to help locate context-specific patterns, according to Prof. Udupa. This is because they are trained to pick up disinformation — and extreme speech is a very close cousin of that, she says.

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The secret troves of Etymology

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Wednesday – the day of Odin

For most of us, Wednesday is just yet another day in the middle of the working week. We seldom ask ourselves what are the meaning and the origins of words that we are used to. Especially, the names of the days, months, countries, planets, constellations, etc. They are laid so deep in our memories and consciousness that we take them for granted. However, each name has its semantic roots and historical background. And believe me, most of the time they are truly amazing and unpredictable. Today, we will follow a bit from the story of one really common name – Wednesday.

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