Friday, 17 August 2018

Aretha Franklin: The soul of soul music

Hello, fantastic people! Since I am sure you have been listening to music these days, here is a list of links concerning the recently deceased Aretha Franklin, who sang soul music in her own unique way. She was inspired by gospel music (church music), which we talked about in our coursebook. This is an intriguing read about how a voice can empower suppressed people and spellbind the following generations. 

What is soul music?

Think: One of her most popular songs

I say a little prayer/ lyrics:

Respect / lyrics:

A compilation of her greatest hits:

Article about her life on the Guardian:

(Use to search the meaning of unknown words in the article above.)

Extract from the article:

...the reason we mourn her death so deeply, is that she taught us so much about the preciousness of our emotions, our inner worlds and desires. She dared to voice and make public the nuanced, emotionally heterogeneous interiority of black womanhood, becoming a conduit for articulating the beauty and sensuousness, the rage and the despair, the sadness as well as the joy of black life transduced through African American female musicianship. She turned the “vocal run” itself into a thousand miles of freedom. The intelligence of her melisma, a kind of singing in which notes upon notes are strung together into one syllable, lifted that musical gesture out of the black church and planted it firmly in the mainstream, transforming the style of popular singing. When it is used most effectively, the melisma exudes sheer visceral power and can ignite existential catharsis. It suggests limitless emotional revelation and spiritual reckoning. Franklin took it to new heights.

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Fire and ashes in Greece

The last days Greek people are shocked with the final and one of the most destructive blazes in Greece’s history.This blaze killed more than 100 people and more than 300 are in hospital.In addition, this blaze not only wounded people physically but also provoked the the mental collapse of the relatives of the injured people and the whole Greece’s people,too.I have to point out that this hazardous and painful event is fortunately over.However,the point is that it's not time for blaming anyone about it,but we have to support the wounded people and find solutions like we can provide them a new home to live in.After we deal with this situation, then we 'll be ready to put the blame to the responsible one.As far as finding  τthe offender is concerned, it is obvious that the majority is going to put the blame on the government as usual.In other words,it strikes me that inhabitants have to take on their own responsibilities.Nonetheless,we have to congratulate the 300  firefighters for risking their lives fighting with flames and for their courage.All in all, Greece is still deploring for the death of the people burnt in fire but now we have to turn over a new leaf and also try to prevent the next attempt of causing such a tragic incident.

A national tragedy

   More than 80 people have been killed after Greece's worldfire hit a region in Athens called Mati.The fire broke out on the afternoon of 23rd July.There is no absolute answer to the controversial questions of how the fire started and if the authorities did their best in order to save as many as possible human lives.
  Dry and windy weather provoked favorable conditions for the fire to spread fastly.For decades, illegally built homes in wooded areas have raised concerns even as the government, which allowed owners to pay light fines to enter into regulation. The disregard for rules and regulations that has often plagued Greece may have contributed to a disaster that not everyone is convinced was natural.All in all, both government and residents should be blamed for this devastating fire.The only thing that now can be done is redesign the areas with arbitrary constructions or demolish them to prevent our country from future more destructive fires. Unfortunately,though, it is too late now to say sorry to people whose relatives and properties were burnt and became ash.

This is a sketch made by Arkas dedicated to the 2 twin girls who were burnt alive.The caption says:Have a nice trip to a better world...

How easily human negligence can become a lethal weapon.

Monday 23 July 2018.It was ought to be a normal day for the permanent and temporary residents of Mati and other regions like all the others.People woke up,went to their jobs,stayed home, went to the beach. A total boring day someone would say.But suddenly everything changed.The beautiful scenery of the dreamy sea view was now transformed into a terrestrial hell.Wherever you looked you saw fire and death. Dead animals,trees,people...The new reality for those people was worse than war. Fire was an enemy impossible to beat and the pine cones were transformed into bombs.In next to no time everything was gone: their houses,their property that they had worked all their lives for was  ashes.The only thing that they could do is run for their lives.The only place that they might have the chance to escape was the sea.But they did not know the way because no one informed them. Some managed to arrive at the beach; some others did not....
But what if all this could be prevented? What if an evacuation plan existed? How many lives could be saved? May  30 or 40 or 90.This plan was worth the effort at least if it saved one life.Also what if everything that blocked their way was legally built in order to secure public safety.So many reasons so many ways to prevent them.But in the aftermath, nothing will be done if no one tries to change.

Aerial view of the area after a wildfire, in Mati

The Wildfire that shocked the Greek Community!

Recently,a huge wildfire took place in Athens and most specifically in an area called Mati.The reason the fire started is still unknown and maybe no one will be able to find the truth behind this tragedy.This Natural Disaster claimed a lot of lives and many properties were burned.Many people claim that they couldn't find the way to the beach and that's the possible reason why so many people died.Moreover, I believe that people should accept all the consequences because by the time they decided to build in this forestry area , they knew that this could happen in time.I don't blame them but I think that they risked their lives without any reason.Almost 100 people died and more than 200 people got injured;some of them seriously and some others had minor wounds on their bodies. I am very sad to see what kind of damage a natural disaster can cause, but I am also aware and whenever a wildfire breaks out, I will know exactly what to do.So I suggest everyone should read about how to be able to survive under these conditions and how to prevent them from happening.Because once they start, they cannot be easily stopped!

              Here are some videos and pictures related to the disaster.The pictures are                                    shocking and I can only imagine the shock these poor people have experienced after all these!

The Remains of the Blazing Destruction in Greece

 In the face of these unexpected and totally detrimental events we must all take some time and contemplate about this issue seriously. It is really important that we manage to point out the causes and factors leading to this extreme destruction and all these lives being vanished in vain , in order to try and prevent another extremity such as this one . Personally , I accuse the government of not enforcing its own legislations and being totally incompetent of handling a proper rescue that wouldn't involve so many innocent lives lost due to irresponsibility. Probably , the citizens also share a piece of responsibility in building unofficial and illegal buildings without any authorization, which however could be avoided if the goverment wasn't so "flexible" and in other words indifferent .     In a nutshell , it was a tragedy of massive dimensions  caused both due to irresponsibility and bad luck , yet no matter how much we criticize the situation what's done is done . Now all that remains is ashes and mourning.

Αποτέλεσμα εικόνας για greece wildfires in matiΑποτέλεσμα εικόνας για greece wildfires in mati

Sunday, 29 July 2018

Stress and how to cope with it

  There is no doubt that people nowadays are members of an extremely stressful worlf with a lot of problems that each individual has to deal with."Stress" is one of those words that provokes a considerable nymber of discussions. Why are people, in our era, so anxious and stressed about everything? I am inclined to believe that the main cause of stress is the constant mind-wandering thoughts. Every human being is worried about different things, in particular living up to expectations, being competitive or planning the future. Needless to say that the intensive and demanding daily routine makes people feel inundated and overwhelmed. A stressful way of living can have many effects on people who try to cope with it in different ways.
  Stress might have perilous effects on a person. To start with, many psychological problems, such as depression, can be caused by this way of living. People's mind whizzes like a washing machine without stopping to appreciate the present moment,which causes unhappiness and makes people feel lost in thoughts about their problems. Consequently, they feel depressed and agitated. Secondly, being stressed distract a person and do not allow them to focus, due to continuous thinking of problems. Hence, even the easiest problem, like what to cook for dinner, is magnified and seems to be very difficult.
  Individuals try to deal with this higly debatable issue in many ways. However, sometimes they do it mistakenly. A striking example of this is resorting to  taking medicine in order to become calm and relaxed. To make matters worse, some people, who cannot find an effective treatment, turn to drugs or alcohol for escaping from their problems and their thoughts.Apart of this way of dealing with stress some people just do nothing. They try to omit and forget the things that cause them stress by burying themselves in work or pretending that they are mindful.Although they might get rid of stress, it is unfortynately temporary.
  As far as positive ways of facing anxiety are concerned, I am convinced that everyone could find an effective way. Meditation could be a succesful way to solve this problem. In fact, with meditation people learn how to pause their mind and being appreciative of the present moment, this is where happiness stems from. It is obvious that it is preferable to learn how to be mindful as a prevention and not as a remedy. Last but not least, other steps could be suggested. This is clearly illustrated by discussing with their family, friend or even with an expert.
  In the light of this evidence, there is no absolute answer to the question of why people nowadays feel stressed and how they can deal with it successfully. From my poiont of view, every idividual has a different way of facing stress which would be effective. I streongly believe that all of us should find it, in order to make world a less stressful place to live in.

Technology in Education

Material provided by the Hellenic American Union for their 2014-15 essay contest: 

Videos and Articles: The History of Technology in Education 

8 Ways Technology is Improving Education 

Computers can’t Replace real Teachers 

What will the School of the Future Look Like 

About flipped classrooms mentioned in the video: 

Flipped classroom or flip teaching is a form of blended learning in which students teach and switch roles with teachers. They also learn content online by watching video lectures, usually at home, and what used to be homework (assigned problems) is now done in class with teachers and students discussing and solving questions more personalized guidance and interaction with students, instead of lecturing. This is also known as backwards classroom, inverted classroom, reverse teaching, and the Thayer Method.