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Science

Doomsday Vault Opens To Give Seeds To Syria (cnn.com) 101

pabloApicco sends word that the The Svalbard Global Seed Vault has opened up in order to give seeds to Syrian scientists who had to relocate their research due to the war. CNN reports: "Known as the 'Doomsday Vault,' this seed bank — operated by the Norwegian government and containing a seed of just about every known crop in the world — is meant to be humanity's backup in the event of a catastrophe that devastates crops. But it was not a natural disaster that has caused scientists to have to dip in and make the first significant withdrawal from the vault. Rather, it was the most preventable of man-made disasters -- war. The bloody conflict in Syria has left scientists at an important gene bank in Aleppo -- where new strains of drought- and heat-resistant wheat have been developed over time -- unable to continue their work in recent years. With no sign of conditions in Syria improving, scientists have begun recovering their critical inventory of seeds, sourced from around the Fertile Crescent and beyond, that have been in safekeeping beneath the Arctic ice."
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Doomsday Vault Opens To Give Seeds To Syria

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  • by fahrbot-bot ( 874524 ) on Monday October 19, 2015 @02:26PM (#50760617)

    The seeds are being returned to Syria, who sent them to the Global Seed Vault as a precaution. From TFA:

    The ICARDA Aleppo center had sent nearly 80% of the seeds and samples to the Global Seed Vault as a backup by 2012, with its last deposit being in 2014.

  • Map of the Place where the "Doomsday Vault" is: http://www.gosur.com/doomsday-... [gosur.com]
  • The knowledge that there is any human who would attack these scientists sickens me. Why isn't there a well known sign, like the red cross for medical workers, that announces and protects humanitarian science?

    Also Lebanon isn't particularly stable. It seems odd to me they would re-open in a war-torn nation right next door.
    • Re:Lebanon (Score:5, Insightful)

      by idji ( 984038 ) on Monday October 19, 2015 @02:36PM (#50760679)
      These people destroy monuments, critically endangered birds northern Bald ibis [bbc.com], and anything that stands in their apocalyptic way, except of course Toyota pickups, infidel weapons and young girls. They don't need no scientists helping them - ridding the world of the infidel will give them Allah's blessing, and presumably feed them.
      • Re:Lebanon (Score:4, Informative)

        by tripleevenfall ( 1990004 ) on Monday October 19, 2015 @02:57PM (#50760827)

        There are no civilians to these people. The red cross, humanitarian aid workers, journalists, and others are just more notable targets for them to hit. They will generate even more media attention and are thus more valuable.

        • Sometimes I wonder if ISIS has become something of a psychopath magnet. Not allowed to murder and torture people at home without ending up in big trouble for being a serial killer? Fly to sunny Syria where you can rape murder and torture to your hearts content with fellow like minded sociopaths from around the world.

    • yes, they behead people for thinking different than they do, they destroy anything that is not in belief with the koran, they kill medical workers already

      do you REALLY think they give a damn about scientists? They are animals
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Why isn't there a well known sign, like the red cross for medical workers, that announces and protects humanitarian science?

      The Doctors Without Borders went as far as sending their coordinates and the US bombed their hospital anyway. If you think a symbol would protect infidel research you have more faith in man than the IS in Allah.

  • by IWantMoreSpamPlease ( 571972 ) on Monday October 19, 2015 @02:33PM (#50760665) Homepage Journal

    Then you've never studied history, nor do you understand how humanity functions.

    • War is completely preventable. Just like I don't kill my neighbour for his wares, people don't need to kill other people for their wares. It's just a bunch of stubbourn greedy idiots with fucked up ideals.
      • by bluefoxlucid ( 723572 ) on Monday October 19, 2015 @03:25PM (#50761095) Journal

        You assume that, given a land area the size of the earth and a large population, power will not concentrate with individuals, leading to social behaviors producing crime, political arguments, and international interactions which inevitably end in shows of force.

        You may as well say you, as a human, have never *wanted* a think your neighbor has, or had sexual desired for another woman before you met or after you married your wife. You may moderate your responses, but they happen; others don't moderate their responses as much.

        It is easiest to obtain power by uniting the goals and thinking of a people. It is easiest to increase and retain that power by directing their attention to an external threat and positioning yourself as the source of protection from that threat. Having done so, you can direct their actions to destroy that threat, thus war.

      • by umghhh ( 965931 )
        Well you know this is always the same story - it could have worked if not for the reality.
        It is like it is theoretically possible that all oxygen molecules in the room you are in now will move to the others side of it letting you suffocate. This is extremely unlikely but a remote possibility exists. For all practical purposes we can assume that this will never happen to anybody. The same with war or violence in general - it will cease to exist when last human dies.
      • by Calydor ( 739835 )

        There are 6 billion units of food.

        There are 8 billion humans.

        Each human needs one unit of food to not die.

        Guess what happens.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          We make more food. There is literally zero food-producing capacity problem.

          The only problem is a society that literally pays people to NOT make food, and "waters down" food in such a way that makes it so stupidly unhealthy to consume because your body freaks out at such a lack of nutrients in something that quite clearly should be full of nutrients.

          Our body relies heavily on ratios, everything is ratios. Screw those ratios up persistently leads to huge failures in your bodily processes, which is the reaso

      • by dcw3 ( 649211 )

        I'd love to share your Utopia, but I'm not a sheep.

    • History only tells us that many wars have been fought (note: past tense), and for what reasons. No doubt religion and conflicts over scarce resources are high on the list. Studying history helps to understand how wars are started, why people participate in them, how they are kept going, etc, etc.

      But that doesn't invalidate the simple fact: in order to end a war, the only thing people have to do, is to stop fighting. Yeah in practice it may not seem much of a choice for some people involved, but it's a ch

      • by Anonymous Coward

        If we look at some of the worst atrocities:

        1) Holocaust
        2) Mao's Cultural Revolution
        3) Killing Fields of Cambodia
        4) Rwanda

        None of these involved scarce resources. Rather, they precipitated scarce resources, yet in none of those situations did the society then make war with other societies. Usually when you lack such resources you're in a very poor position to make war.

        There have been many wars _purportedly_ about scarce resources. The Iraq Wars being two of the most recent and prominent. But predictably they

        • by KGIII ( 973947 )

          You're aware that the stock market crashed and Germany was fucked and the Jewish people controlled the debt, right? (Note, this is not a statement about Jews being bad or anything, just a statement of reality.) Hitler predicted this in his book, he wrote that after a failed coup attempt. It happened. People listened. They already didn't like the Jewish people but now they were also broke. They elected Hitler, democratically, and he had emphatically stated he'd deal with the Jewish problem.

          The Holocaust was,

    • Then you've never studied history, nor do you understand how humanity functions.

      I have studied history, and I think war is preventable. There is far less war in the world today than at any other time in history. There are wars in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan, but these are very small wars by historical standards. The ceasefire appears to be holding in Ukraine. There are no imminent conflicts anywhere else in the world.

      If you look at the reasons for the decline in warfare, all the indicators are moving in the right direction. Globalization and international rules for trade mean tha

      • You outed yourself to be an american.
        Perhaps you should google how many wars we have right now on the planet?
        The ceasefire appears to be holding in Ukraine.
        Is that meant to be a joke?

        FYI: we have right now about 30 wars on this planet and about 420 conflicts with blood shed.

        This decade is the bloodiest since WWII!

        No idea where you get your ideas from.

        • by Chris Mattern ( 191822 ) on Monday October 19, 2015 @04:53PM (#50761741)

          This decade is the bloodiest since WWII!

          Nope. Not even close. See here for some people who have actually been toting up the numbers: http://www.undispatch.com/good... [undispatch.com]

          Their latest figures (2012, 2013) leave out Syria because it's undoubtedly impossible to get any kind of a count there at the moment (and that's why they didn't chart them). But if we assume as many people are dying in Syria as everyplace else combined, we still get a figure one-tenth the peak in the 1970s.

          No idea where you get your ideas from.

          Now you know. Where are you getting yours from seems to be the question.

          • Actually I googled a bit around, and the first links I found a day ago confirm my statement, as it is based on those links.

            Perhaps it was exaggerated as the Vietnam war was quite bloody, nevertheless this and the previous year are quite bloody.

            Your link ... btw ... is more than a year old.

            • Actually I googled a bit around, and the first links I found a day ago confirm my statement, as it is based on those links.

              And those links would be...?

              Your link ... btw ... is more than a year old.

              Which doesn't mean it's wrong.

              • Which doesn't mean it's wrong.
                Ofc it means that. It might have been right over a year ago. It says nothing about today ;D

                I guess for google-ing we or I have to google again.

        • Is that meant to be a joke?

          Why should it be? An acquaintance of mine is an officer in the Ukrainian army, he also told me a few days ago that right now the civil war is indeed coming to naught, probably because Russia is too busy in Syria to assist the rebels.

      • by umghhh ( 965931 )
        What about Yemen.
        Or Nigeria? Or Democratic Republic of Congo? What about war on drugs? There are persistent, low level war like situations from Mexico all the way down to South America. Turkey is in a perpetual up and down of violence between the state and Kurds. There is in fact no day without people being killed in war. The war is not all out industrial enterprise of this little painter from Vienna these days because of dominance of big actors but the war is being wedged all the same. The tools of war a
      • by Anonymous Coward

        I've studied history and psychology--I'm actually very interested in the reasons why the hell people did what to us seems like insanely stupid shit in the past. (If you understand what they were thinking...it sometimes makes sense.)

        The problem is that these very same dispute mechanisms are roughly as good as a judge--and if the judge has already made public statements about how he hopes to see you die in a deliberately bungled execution, are you going to trust him as an arbiter under any circumstances?

        Any

    • Then you've never studied history, nor do you understand how humanity functions.

      Furthermore, there are those who say that the war in Syria was caused by climate change, the very threat that the seed bank was designed to protect against.

      In fact, how would a climate-change caused armed conflict look like? Would it be obvious?

      Though I firmly believe in human-accelerated climate change, I thought that the loonies who claimed that the Syrian conflict was cause by it seemed to be looking for problems to pin on climate change. However, I'm now starting to think that it's partially possibl

      • by dave420 ( 699308 )
        You'd make things easier for yourself if you stopped grouping massive groups of people together for no reason other than convenience. "Us Israelis", "we", "our", etc. don't help, as you are describing millions of people with vastly differing opinions and experiences. There is no way you can be correct in your assertions, which hurts any point you were trying to make (a point with which I agree, by the way).
        • I lump all Israelis together because the situation in Syria is important to all Israelis. Whether you are a Druze on the Golan Heights, or a Muslim tech worker in Tel Aviv, or a Jewish scholar in Jerusalem, or a Christian metalworker in Haifa, the conflict in Syria might one day suddenly spill over into your daily life.
  • >> have been in safekeeping beneath the Arctic Ice

    Wait, I thought all that was melting because the sky is falling.

    >> it was the most preventable of man-made disasters -- war

    Do you have a suggestion to improve gender-equity in disasters?

    • >> have been in safekeeping beneath the Arctic Ice

      Wait, I thought all that was melting because the sky is falling.

      Correct.

      When the ice melts due to global warming, the formerly-arctic area will be sub-tropical. They'll just take the top off the vault, letting in the sunshine and warm rain to start growing all the crops. No need to transport them around the world. :-)

  • The narrator for that article sounded like she grew up on Shatner Overacting Tapes. She really needs to learn to talk normal, especially if she's going to keep reporting on the news.
  • by Mal-2 ( 675116 ) on Monday October 19, 2015 @02:41PM (#50760723) Homepage Journal

    This is a good position for the Doomsday Vault to take. "Send us samples for both the protection of our entire planet, and whatever area they came from originally, because we can always send them back." This is one of those uncommon cases where there is a clear benefit at every level for being altruistic. I just hope they don't return all of them, lest there be another loss and then nobody has any.

    • And of course, seeing if the seeds they sent back out are still viable is good too. I mean, we're talking backups here. And part of a good backup is knowing that your backup is restorable and leaves things the way you expect after they are restored.

      • Re:Good attitude. (Score:4, Interesting)

        by xaxa ( 988988 ) on Monday October 19, 2015 @03:04PM (#50760877)

        And of course, seeing if the seeds they sent back out are still viable is good too. I mean, we're talking backups here. And part of a good backup is knowing that your backup is restorable and leaves things the way you expect after they are restored.

        That's a big part of the research at the Millennium Seed Bank in England, which has a much wider remit (all plants!) but stores much smaller quantities of seed per species. (Svarlbard has sacks full, the MSB may have as few as 10 or 100.)

        The MSB has 13% of species banked so far. Withdrawals have been made, generally to "repair" areas devastated by mining etc.

        http://www.kew.org/science-con... [kew.org]

  • News video by the Asociated Press : https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]
  • it was the most preventable of man-made disasters -- war.

    Maybe I'm too much of a cynic but I don't think war is that preventable.

  • Politics aside, but shouldn't we wait until certain countries stopping bombing the crap out of Syria before sending seeds? Doesn't seem like a great place for a garden right now.

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