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Art, Music, and Humour: How Ukraine is Maintaining Public Morale Amid Conflict with Russia

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More than 13 million Ukrainians have fled their homes, including around five million who have gone to neighbouring countries and millions of others displaced within the country itself. Yet the flames of optimism and unity continue to burn bright among Ukrainian homes and abroad, sparked by art, music, and humour. Here’s how they do it.

Paint Brush Mightier than the Sword

Gamlet Zinkivskiy, a Ukrainian artist, has made headlines after the media took notice of his use of art in fighting back against Russian forces. He creates murals to boost morale in Ukraine’s battle-scarred Kharkiv and help thwart Russian forces.

Although he earns a living through his studio art and wishes to further develop his career in England, Zinkivskiy decided to hang back and participate in the fight by using what he has mastered the most — the paintbrush.

His recruiter, Kizhemyako, is a prominent Ukrainian businessman who founded a volunteer militia against Russia. He also supports other artists, such as celebrated poet and novelist Serhiy Zhadan.

Zinkivskiy’s latest work is a mural titled Hospitality from Hell. It is a 3-metre high painting depicting a gasoline can and petrol bombs, much like what Ukrainian Civilians used to fight back against Russia’s onslaughts against Kyiv and Kharkiv earlier in the year.

The title “Hospitality from Hell” was intentionally picked as a mockery of Russian soldiers that expected to be welcomed in Kharkiv and Kyiv but were met with Molotov cocktails instead.

Other works from Zinkivskiy include I Keep Balance, a painting on two large double doors featuring a man balanced on the edge of a white block, one hand holding body armour with a tourniquet attached, and the other arm supporting two birds.

Zinkivskiy’s work only became widely known recently, while other prominent artists across Europe were already making statements as soon as the war started.

For example, street artist Seth had his fresco, titled Onwards Ukraine, on Rue Biot in France just three days into the conflict. It depicted a young girl with a crown of flowers and ribbons, waving the Ukrainian flag and crushing Russian tanks under her shoes. Prints of the work would later sell out at $55 apiece.

Other artists who have shown support for Ukraine include Italian Tvboy, Andrea Villa, Harry Greb, as well as Big Ben from France, Stanislav Belovski from Bulgaria, and Polish Tuse.

Attention-Grabbing Eurovision Win

Ukraine’s recent success in the Eurovision came highly celebrated by citizens worldwide as it tipped the scales in the country’s favour. To Ukrainians, constantly reminding the world of their existence, music, and culture is vital. It shows that Ukraine matters.

The song that Ukraine’s flag bearer Kalush chose for the finals, Stefania, was a rallying cry cleverly disguised as a tribute to lead singer Oleh Psiuk’s mother.

For instance, Psiuk shouted at the end of the performance, calling for the world to help Ukraine. He also mentioned Mariupol and Azovstal steelworks. Many online users praised this bold way of attracting attention. At the same time, Zelenskyy congratulated Kalush Orchestra and pointed out that such courage from Ukraine impressed the world. A video would later surface, showing one of the soldiers deployed outside Azovstal steelworks singing the Stefania song.

Remaining amusingly human and showing the world that Ukraine matters while subtly resisting Russian forces has worked well for the country. We have seen almost 1,000 companies pull out of Russia to support Ukraine, including popular names such as Amazon, Apple, Starbucks, BMW, Coca-Cola, and Pepsi. Even some of the top online casinos and betting sites like bet365 have boycotted the country.

Dark Humour

There is no better adjective for Ukrainian humour than dark. Ukrainians love their jokes so much that they named April Fool’s Day Humorina, the city’s holiday of humour. In Odessa, it is a day of showing kindness and witty humour.

In the same spirit, Ukrainians have managed to use humour as part of their resistance against Russia. Even in the middle of an invasion, the internet is populated with images of Ukrainian civilians and farmers playing with abandoned Russian artillery.

For example, in one video titled “Ukrainian Tractors Versus Russian Armour,” farmers can be seen using a tractor to tow an abandoned Russian tank across the fields.

If that does not sound funny, wait till you hear these next examples. The country’s Twitter account posted a meme illustrating different types of headaches. There was a head with a red patch at the front for migraines, another had it at the back for hypertension, and for the highlight, one that was entirely red for living next to Russia.

In yet another meme, “Hawkeye” from The Avengers is seen asking a Ukrainian soldier: “Are you one of the Avengers?” The response goes: “No, I am from the Ukraine post,” coming from Serhiy Chizhikov, a postal worker who joined Ukrainian forces after the invasion and amazed the world when he shot down a Russian Su-35 plane.

Furthermore, a meme depicting a Ukrainian soldier flipping off Russia’s Moskva warship was turned into a postage stamp and sold out in days, then started reselling at $100 a piece.

Humour is a big part of Ukrainians’ survival strategies and an important aspect of their national characteristic. Even president Zelenskyy was big on jokes back when he headed Kvartal 95 Studio (which he helped found). The group ridiculed Putin and high-ranking Russian politicians for years. For instance, they once described Putin as a baby who could control his gas. They also ridiculed Prime Minister Medvedev, claiming he supported Facebook’s presence in Russia because the platform was the only place he could get friendships.

Humour is working out well for Ukraine and seems to be a crucial part of preserving the country’s individuality and independence in the face of Russia’s invasion. In any case, humour triggers positive mental and physical changes that offer stress relief. In the meantime, we hope for peace and things to go back to normal as soon as possible.

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Entertainment

Has Technology Changed How We Play Classic Games?

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With technology changing many aspects of our lives, it’s reached into many areas that you might not have considered before now. In terms of the timeless games that people have played in the same way for centuries, what are some of the biggest and most dramatic changes we’ve seen?   

Live-Streamed Games

Live streaming has introduced a new type of entertainment that lets us enjoy the most popular games online. It’s possible to livestream everything from the biggest Scrabble competitions to the latest chess tournaments, capturing the excitement of the games and letting us see how the best players adapt their strategies in the most stressful moments. We can even find streams featuring people playing iconic board games including Catan and Monopoly.

The live streaming method has reached the world of casino games, with live dealer versions of games like blackjack and roulette joined by others with a game show-type presentation. The latest casino bonuses UK allow players to collect rewards for a variety of live games.

Newcomers can try this way of playing varied titles including Boom City, Mega Roulette, and Sweet Bonanza CandyLand, where a human presenter leads the game. 

Chess on the Blockchain

With a history going back centuries, chess is one of the world’s most loved board games and it’s moved with the times too. The traditional way of playing with two players face-to-face over a board is still popular, but technology means that many of the estimated 600 million chess players spread over the planet now take part in games online.

This can mean hooking up with other human players or testing your skills against an AI bot.

One of the most revolutionary changes in the chess world has arrived with the emergence of blockchain technology, which allows players to monetize all their victories. The Chess Polygon platform is a cryptocurrency-based project that lets players mine tokens and earn NFTs by taking part in chess challenges against others in the community.

Chess on the Blockchain

Playing Scrabble in the Metaverse

Will playing games in the metaverse provide the way forward for the games that we’re used to playing in a low-tech setting? This research by CNET looks at various ways of playing in the metaverse that include games based on Scrabble and Pictionary, with players having the freedom to set up the playing area in a way that suits them.

The overall idea with the metaverse is the creation of a virtual universe that blends perfectly with our real-world habits. This is why major brands such as Coca-Cola, Samsung, and Dominos have all entered the metaverse with physical products for sale, leading to the possibility that we can play our favorite games in a way that fits ideally into our existing lifestyles.

The games we’ve looked at have all changed greatly thanks to the latest technology, although it’s interesting to note that in many cases the underlying mechanics and rules have changed very little. By focusing on the presentation, these games have retained their timeless appeal while new ways of enjoying them have opened up.

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A Deck of Wonders: Unveiling the Rich History of Playing Cards

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Playing cards have long been an integral part of human culture, transcending geographical boundaries and spanning centuries. Originating in ancient civilizations, the history of playing cards is a captivating journey that unveils the evolution of this timeless form of entertainment.

Playing in casinos or in the comfort of your own home has been a staple for generations, whether its poker, blackjack or something played in the computer or phone like baccarat online, this article delves into the intriguing tale of playing cards, exploring the development of the suits and faces that have become synonymous with this universally enjoyed pastime.

The Origins

The exact origins of playing cards remain shrouded in mystery, with multiple theories proposing different points of inception. One widely accepted belief suggests that playing cards originated in China during the Tang Dynasty around the 9th century. These early cards were likely used for various games and had a distinct visual language.

The Spread of Playing Cards

From China, playing cards found their way along trade routes and made their way into Persia, India, and eventually reached Europe during the late 14th century. The intricate designs and artistic elements of these cards underwent transformation with each cultural influence, adapting to the preferences of different societies.

The Four Suits

One of the most distinctive features of playing cards is the division into suits. The standard deck we know today typically consists of hearts, diamonds, clubs, and spades. These suits have a fascinating history rooted in medieval Europe, where they were inspired by the socio-economic classes prevalent at the time.

  • Hearts: Originally represented the clergy or the church.
  • Diamonds: Symbolized the merchant class or the wealthy bourgeoisie.
  • Clubs: Depicted the peasantry or the working class.
  • Spades: Signified the military or the nobility.

The evolution of these suits reflects the social structures and power dynamics of medieval Europe. Over time, the symbolism associated with the suits may have changed, but the four-fold division has remained a constant.

The Evolution of Faces

Early playing cards featured simple designs, often just numbers or basic symbols. However, the introduction of face cards added a new layer of complexity and intrigue to the decks. The face cards typically include the king, queen, and jack, each adorned with unique characteristics and symbols.

Initially, the faces on these cards were generic, but as playing cards spread across Europe, they began to take on the personalities of historical or mythical figures. For example, the king of hearts might be inspired by Charlemagne, the king of diamonds by Julius Caesar, and so on.

This transformation added a storytelling element to the cards, making them more engaging for players.

The Standardization of Decks

As playing cards became more popular, various regions and cultures developed their own versions with distinct designs. However, with the advent of printing technology in the 15th century, the mass production of playing cards became possible, leading to the standardization of decks that we recognize today.

This standardization facilitated the widespread popularity of card games and established a common visual language for players around the world. And at the same time made the risk of tampering less apparent for cheaters.

Conclusion

The history of playing cards is a fascinating tapestry woven across centuries and continents. From their mysterious origins in ancient China to the intricate symbolism of the suits and faces in medieval Europe, playing cards have evolved into a global phenomenon.

As we shuffle and deal our decks today, it’s worth appreciating the rich history and cultural significance encapsulated within each card – a testament to the enduring allure of this timeless pastime.

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How Ergonomic Gaming Chairs Enhance Your Performance

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In gaming, every edge counts when it comes to enhancing your performance. Gamers often spend hours on end honing their skills, but one critical aspect that can sometimes be overlooked is the chair they sit in.

Ergonomic gaming chairs have gained popularity for good reason; they come with a host of benefits that can significantly improve a gamer’s overall performance. So, explore how an ergonomic chair for gaming can enhance your experience and elevate your performance to the next level.

Optimal Posture for Prolonged Sessions

Sitting in an uncomfortable chair for extended periods can lead to poor posture, causing discomfort and potentially impairing your performance in activities. Ergonomic gaming chairs, specifically designed with proper posture in mind, are the solution to this problem. They feature built-in lumbar support, adjustable armrests, headrests, and customisable seat height, allowing you to maintain a healthy and proper sitting position.

These chairs are engineered to align your spine correctly, thus preventing the aches and pains commonly associated with bad posture. With their enhanced comfort and support, these chairs enable you to focus more intensely on your game or work without distraction.

Moreover, the ergonomic design of these chairs not only supports long gaming sessions but also promotes overall well-being by reducing the risk of long-term musculoskeletal issues. This makes them a valuable investment for anyone spending significant time at a desk or in front of a computer.

Increased Comfort Equals Longer Playtime

These ergonomic chairs are meticulously engineered for maximum comfort. Featuring high-density foam padding and soft, breathable materials, they provide an exceptional seating experience that enhances endurance during extended sessions. The increased comfort from these chairs translates into longer periods of engagement without fatigue or discomfort.

When you’re not constantly shifting in your seat to find a comfortable position, you can devote more time and concentration to your gaming or work tasks, significantly improving your overall performance.

Additionally, the ergonomic design helps in maintaining proper blood circulation and reduces the risk of strain injuries, further amplifying your focus and efficiency. The adaptability of these chairs, with their adjustable backrests, tilt mechanisms, and height settings, ensures that they cater to a wide range of body types, making them a versatile choice for gamers and professionals alike.

Enhanced Concentration and Focus

In competitive gaming, where every millisecond can be the difference between victory and defeat, ergonomic gaming chairs play a crucial role. They are meticulously designed to keep you engaged in your game by minimising distractions and discomfort. Many of these chairs have advanced features like adjustable armrests, tilt mechanisms, and swivel functions.

These customisable options enable you to tailor the chair to your specific body type and gaming preferences, ensuring that you can maintain peak concentration and focus throughout your sessions.

Additionally, some models include integrated support for the neck and lower back, reducing the risk of strain during long gaming marathons. The chairs’ robust construction and durable materials guarantee longevity and consistent performance, making them a reliable companion for serious gamers.

Reducing the Risk of Health Issues

Sitting for extended periods improperly can lead to various health issues, including back pain, neck strain, and potentially carpal tunnel syndrome. These health risks are heightened for those who spend long hours in front of a computer.

Ergonomic gaming chairs, designed with comfort and posture in mind, are built to mitigate these risks. The lumbar support and headrest provide essential support to your spine and neck, crucial for reducing the strain on these sensitive areas.

Additionally, adjustable armrests can help prevent wrist strain by enabling you to maintain a natural, relaxed hand position while gaming or working. The chair’s adjustable height and tilt functions also contribute to maintaining an optimal sitting position. By investing in an ergonomic gaming chair, you’re not only enhancing your gaming performance but also safeguarding your long-term health and well-being.

Customisation for Individual Needs

One of the most significant advantages of these sitting options is their customisability. Gamers come in all shapes and sizes, and what works for one person may not work for another. These chairs generally offer a wide range of adjustments, from seat height to armrest position and even recline angle.

This level of customisation ensures that it adapts to your body and preferences, allowing you to create the perfect environment. When you’re comfortable and supported, your performance can thrive.

Conclusion

In gaming, where precision, concentration, and endurance are paramount, every detail counts. These chairs have become an essential tool for gamers looking to enhance their performance. With their focus on comfort, posture, concentration, and health, an ergonomic chair provides a multifaceted approach to improving your experience.

Investing in an ergonomic gaming chair isn’t just about upgrading your equipment; it’s about optimising your potential. By maintaining proper posture, increasing comfort, enhancing concentration, reducing health risks, and offering customisation options, these chairs can elevate your gaming performance to new heights.

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