Questions English Class 14. 01. 2019

  1. What is the story behind the wall?

Trump´s wall story starts with a tweet in 2014 where Trump said “SECURE THE BORDER! BUILD A WALL!”, and Trump has changed his opinions and his plans for the wall multiple times.

  1. Why is it so important?

Trump and his supporters think it will keep out unwanted illegal immigrants and criminals. The opposite side thinks it is a stupid idea and many think it could be polarizing to divide the two countries in that way. Trump secured a lot of his voters on the premise that he was going to build the wall, so in that way, it is important for his presidency.

  1. What is a government shutdown? Is this the first time this happens?

A government shutdown is when Congress fails to pass sufficient appropriation bills or when the President refuses to sign into law such bills or resolutions. This is not the first time it happened. Recent government shutdowns happened in 2018 and 2013, but it is, however, the longest government shutdown in U.S. history.

  1. Are there any similarities to the building a wall along the Mexican border and Brexit?

Yes, the same tactics were used in both. The used scaremongering. They (the people who are pushing for these policies) made people afraid of immigrants taking jobs and committing crimes. Both have this polarizing effect, and both are based off anti-immigration rhetoric.

  1. Who is affected by this shutdown?

People working within different government organs, mostly middle class and low-income people. Many must work without a wage. For example, 13% of Homeland security, 16 % of the Justice Department and 75% of agriculture workers have been furloughed (as of Dec. 2018).

  1. What does the “Buck stops with me” mean.

The phrase means that the ultimate responsibility belongs to one person, therefore, it cannot be placed on someone else.

Links:

Trump´s Evolving Words on the Wall: here

 

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Is It Brave To Suffer In Silence?

I consider it brave when someone speaks out about their suffering, in order to make a change, rather than suffering in silence. It takes courage to openly talk to others about your suffering because they may perhaps see you as vulnerable. Generally, it takes a lot of motivation and tolerance to pull through in a period of suffering or hardship, however, I do not think suffering in silence is sustainable. If you can´t end your suffering any other way, you should speak up, because that gives other people a chance to solve the issue.

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The style used in his short story A Day´s Wait is very typical to Ernest Hemingway. Hemingway uses really simple dialogue in his stories. He is known for writing easy, simple and direct sentences and paragraphs, and no extravagant adjectives. He recommended young writers to write a mixture of fact and fiction. In Hemingway´s own style, you start with writing a simple, bare minimum sketch, and from there you start adding details. Almost like painting on a canvas.

Good Citizens 12. 11. 2018.

Colin Kaepernick:

I choose to write about the football players who are refusing to stand and sing the national anthem. This is significant because these men are so brave. The fact that they are standing up for what they believe in, even though many politicians in the US are standing against them. Donald J. Trump came out to the public for only a few weeks ago, and he told us that this is wrong and respectless. And numerous of his supporters have joined him, and they have frizzed these football players out. But are these football players standing for freedom, liberty, and justice for all?

Since the action started in 2016, by Colin Kaepernick, few have followed him. And multiple of other professional high school competitors and acknowledged athletes in other many sports have refused to stand for the national anthem. And I think they are doing a great job! We need to split out of the majority, and we need to fight for what we believe. These protests have given the minority a voice. Not only in the US but all over the world. This is absolutely terrific!

Leonardo DiCaprio:

Leonardo DiCaprio is an outstanding citizen because he uses his fame to spread awareness of climate change. He has spoken to President Obama in the past about climate change and has gone to the UN many times to speak to world leaders about climate change. He could’ve kept himself out of politics like many other celebrities, but he chose to raise awareness of it, that is showing of great courage and character. Leonardo DiCaprio also has his own foundation, the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation or LDF for short. The foundation is focused on battling climate change and helping the environment. Did I mention that he funded the documentary from 2016, “Before The Flood”? LDF was founded in 1998, it has funded over 200 projects and has gotten over 100 million in grants. You can be assured that he is doing his fair share in terms of fighting climate change and helping the environment, he has come forward as an example and is a role model for many.

Edward Snowden:

Edward Snowden got international recognition after being known as a “whistleblower”. He worked for the NSA when he leaked information United States Intelligence Program to the Washington Post and The Guardian. Some people see him as a traitor, others see him as a hero, but all he ever did was, to tell the truth to the world, the United States government is certainly not happy about what he did. He will get a strong punishment if he were to be extradited to the USA. According to the Washington Times Snowden said October 19. that “As for the future in Russia and what will happen there, I can’t say I’m safe. I don’t know”. It is uncertain whether he will continue to live in Russia.

Standing Rock, Noth Dakota:

In Autumn of 2016, many native Americans started to protest against the building of the “Dakota Access Pipeline”. The native Americans felt that the company building the pipeline, were destroying their sacred burial grounds and that the pipeline threatened their access to clean water. The pipeline ended up being built and was finished in 2017. It is able to transfer oil from North Dakota to Illinois. The pipeline spans across 4 states. The pipeline ended up costing 3,78 billion dollars and it is owned by Dakota Access LLC and Philips 66. Trump was a big supporter of the pipeline and if it weren´t for government-issued permits, the pipeline wouldn´t be built.

The situation in South Africa

Since 2014 a few things have happened in South Africa. Millions have protested and they have stood up against the regime. The South African country is having a great time. The economy is more stable than ever before. The goods are served to the population as well. Several citizens have voted for Cyril Ramaphosa as a president. Freedom, liberty, and justice for all are all important factors for a great society. And South Africa is moving in the right direction.

Letter to Leonardo DiCaprio

Hello Mr. DiCaprio. We watched your documentary called before the flood, concerning climate change and I think it was well made, but I also got concerned about my own and everybody else´s future. The movie was made in 2016 and some things have changed since then:

  • Trump withdrew from the Paris agreement.
  • UN Says we have 12 years to reduce carbon emissions.

Donald Trump is non-accepting of the science of climate change, furthermore, a lot of Americans are climate skepticists. Having Donald J. Trump as their leader might be unhealthy because he could be seen as a role model by some. He was targeted by the lobbyists from oil companies. That was a factor in why Donald Trump withdrew from the Paris agreement.

Reports from the UN says that we have 12 years to reduce our carbon emissions by 40-50% by 2030 in order to prevent irreparable damage to our earth. The UN´s goal in terms of climate change is to keep the earth going up no further than 1,5 Celsius. The threshold is 2 degrees Celsius. As you talked about in the documentary the US is a big cO2 consumer and in order to make this realistic, the USA is essential.

I have one question for you:

What can the average high school student do to fight climate change?

 

Climate change is the biggest problem of the 21st century and I think the governments of the world needs to come together to solve this challenge. Thank you for reading.

Spare Parts: My review

The movie is based on reality, but there were some parts that were made up for the story to add some dramatic effect. For example, the fights that happened in the movie where Luis had to save Christian from bullies were never documented. Other fun parts of the movie really happened, for example, when Lorenzo asked the teachers to go to Hooters if they won. The substitute teacher from the movie, Fredi Cameron, was actually a combination of two different teachers: Fredi Lajvardi and Allan Cameron.

There was a huge difference in the number of resources each team had. MIT and Stanford had 18000 and 12000, while Carl Hayden Community High School only had under 800 dollars. This was something that really impressed me.  They even used pool noodles for the robot. The students from top universities had an advantage and the High School students were the underdogs, but they managed to prevail. The theme throughout the movie is immigration, the American dream and overcoming odds. How little resources the team from Carl Hayden High School had is what makes it a true success story.

Robots can be used for much more than University competitions. With modern technology, robots are capable of doing some advanced processes that humans could only dream of being able to do. For example, AI was used at a Chinese hospital in Beijing. Doctors said the patients that were trapped in comas were a lost cause, but AI didn´t “think” so. The AI is capable of giving a score of how likely the patient is to recover. Although this is amazing, the robot has made some mistakes while giving people their score.

It is an exciting field, and the hunger and drive of the students portrayed in the movie are captured really well. I believe this was what lead the team to win the competition despite strong opponents and many difficulties.

Sources:

https://www.scmp.com/news/china/science/article/2163298/doctors-said-coma-patients-would-never-wake-ai-said-they-would

http://www.teachwithmovies.org/guides/spare-parts.html

My Reading Of About A Boy

About a boy is a book written by Nick Hornby and released in 1998. I am now going to give you a review of my read of this book.

Theme

Will couldn´t resist it: he had a theory he wanted to test out. “Hey, Fiona. Why don´t you get your sheet music out, and we can murder Both Sides Now´” “Would you like to?”

“Yeah. Sure.”

“Please, Mum. Don´t”

“Don´t be silly. You love singing. You love Joni Mitchell.”

“I don´t. Not anymore. I bloody hate Joni Mitchell.”

You see the theme here especially clear. The theme throughout the story of the book is growing up. In this quote, you read that Marcus finally manages to stand up against his mother and you can see that her influence over him and his actions has weakened over time. In the first part of this quote, you can tell that Will is testing whether Marcus actually has changed and become more independent from his mother. Another theme in this book is depression and suicide. Marcus has throughout the book done anything possible in order to make his mum happy and proud, the only problem is that it doesn´t really help her in the long term. Towards the end, Marcus realizes that he has sacrificed a lot just to make her a tiny bit less miserable. The theme of depression and suicide can be shown in the quote underneath:

His mum was half on and half off the sofa: her head was lolling towards the floor. She was white, and there was a pool of sick on the carpet, but there wasn’t much on her-either she´d had the sense to puke away from herself, or she´d just been lucky. In the hospital, they told him it was a miracle she hadn´t choked on her own vomit and killed herself.

Setting

The story of “About A Boy” is set in London in 1994 in Marcus and his mum´s flat to pinpoint according to the book:

“Flat 2, 31 Craysfield Road, Islington, London, N1 2SF, England, the world, the universe.”

Plot

Marcus is a boy who lives in London in a flat with his single mother. Marcus is described as an introvert by his suicidal mother. At school, he gets teased for wearing cheap clothes and for his interests, particularly his taste in music. Will is a 36-year-old careless bachelor who lives by himself. He prides himself with being a cool and trendy guy. One day Will figures out that there are a lot of single mothers who would like some company, so he fakes being a single father in order to join the local S.P.A.T. club where he meets a woman he starts dating. The woman is a close friend of Marcus´mother and after a date with Will and Angie accompanying Marcus and Angie´s daughter, they discover Fiona who has passed out, lying on the couch in her own vomit. Will and Marcus become friends later on, and Will helps Marcus to adapt to 1990s youth culture by for example buying him Adidas trainers. The turning point is when Marcus and Ellie take the train in order to visit him, but Ellie who is depressed and drunk after the news of Kurt Cobain’s death gets in trouble. Later Will comes to rescue Marcus at the police station. roughout the story, both Will and Marcus become engaged in relationships. Will ends up with a woman called Rachel, and Marcus ends up with Ellie. When I read the novel, I saw the progression in both Will and Marcus´lives. Will become less selfish and Marcus become more social and independent. These quotes from the book describe the plot well:

“No man is an island…”

The quote above shows a conflict between Will´s early views on what is important and the people trying to convince him that there is more to life.

That was his mother. When she wasn’t crying over the breakfast cereal, she was laughing about killing herself.

A fitting description of Fiona´s mental state.

“I can’t be here to watch you all the time”

Marcus tells his mother that he is tired of taking care of her and that he needs to take care of himself.

“I bloody hate Joni Mitchell”

Marcus opposes his mother’s interests, which goes to show how much he has changed and grown up.

Character Development

At the beginning of the book, Will does not really have any tight-knit relations to others, he usually has short affairs and breaks them off before anything serious takes place. Will is a selfish person and don´t care much about others, even though he is invested in looking good at all occasions. Will views himself as an island.  When will and Marcus meet, Will starts changing his opinions on his isolation. Thanks to Marcus Will finds love at the mid-to-late story. And then there is Marcus. Marcus is at the beginning of the story, an insecure and introverted boy and he is being treated poorly both at school and at home. At school, he is being targeted by bullies and at home, he has to suffer at the hands of his deranged mother. Marcus is very committed to making sure that his mum is happy, even in the short term. Marcus turns into a cooler and more social version of himself throughout the book. His insecurities disappear because he knows that he would not be alone without his mother. He meets a lot of new friends and a girlfriend. When I read I saw the similarities between Marcus and Will and I think they helped each other in many different ways.

Examples of character development throughout the book:

Marcus:

“People often thought Marcus was being funny when he wasn’t”

and

“What you singing, Fuzzy?”

To

But one thing had changed… he was alone; now, there were loads of people”

and

“I bloody hate Joni Mitchell”

Will:

His career as a serial nice guy had begun

To

Will had spent his whole life avoiding real stuff

and

Will had never wanted to fall in love

My impression of About A Boy

I believe that the novel was better than I expected. I like the philosophy and the message. What I got from it was that you should be able to carry yourself but also have others who can do the carrying for when you are not able to. I also think that the book was quite hilarious and pretty relatable in some areas. In the “My first impression” task, I wrote that I didn´t really like novels, but I got to tell you that this one is better than other ones I’ve read, so much so that I actually watched the movie as well. The story is really one to my liking and the way Nick Hornby writes it makes it really good.

The Pomodoro technique

The Pomodoro technique is a learning technique that was made in the early 1980´s. The technique was designed to stop procrastination and to make students or workers be more efficient with whatever they were doing.

This is the way you use the Pomodoro technique, step by step:

  1. Turn of all notifications and other distractions that prevent you from working efficiently.
  2. Set a timer to 25 minutes. You can use your phone but be sure to not picking it up in the middle of your working session.
  3. When you have worked concentrated for 25 minutes, the timer will go off and you are free to relax for about 5 minutes, use your time wisely. Take a breath of fresh air, a snack or simply scroll through what you missed while working, but be careful not to take a too long of a break either.
  4. Repeat the process for a certain amount of time that you have/think is necessary.

I have used the Pomodoro Technique for a time now myself, and I can say for a fact that it has helped me with focusing on the subjects that I am working on. I was not aware that it was called the Pomodoro technique, but now I know that as well. I have mostly used the technique to prepare for math exams but I will probably use it more frequently in the future.