Sunday, 18 August 2019

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

  I just finished reading one of Agatha Christie's most well known books -And Then There Were None. 

  8 strangers were invited to a very large home on an isolated private island. When they arrive they all realise that there is no host or hostage waiting for them but instead, two servants who are simply following orders by the unknown, disappeared hostages. As soon as the first guest drops dead the remaining 9 all begin  to realise that there is a murderer around the island. As the days go by, one by one is being murdered and each cause of death matches a nursery rhyme, about 10 soldiers who are gradually being killed, which is framed and placed in all 10 of their rooms in the house they live in. The criminal manages to go without being  noticed or even suspected at all by his or her victims...

I am a huge fan of Agatha Christie's books. This novel is actually very clever, well though and put together, full of mystery and suspense! I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in murder misteries.


Monday, 12 August 2019

Articles about the dubious uses of online private data

HOW CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA SPARKED THE GREAT PRIVACY AWAKENING
https://www.wired.com/story/cambridge-analytica-facebook-privacy-awakening/


NETFLIX'S THE GREAT HACK BRINGS OUR DATA NIGHTMARE TO LIFE
https://www.wired.com/story/the-great-hack-documentary/amp.


Is Netflix’s The Great Hack the most important documentary of our time?
https://www.stylist.co.uk/long-reads/netflix-the-great-hack-facebook-cambridge-analytica-personal-data-hacking-scandal-documentary/281783

The conclusion of the final article on our list:

CA may have exposed voters to a carpet bomb of biased ads and news reports, but it didn’t force them to check those ballot boxes. They weren’t bullied, or threatened, or coerced into making the choices they did. Their agency was not wrested from them.

It has always been up to us to read beyond the headlines. To do more than skim through the comments on Facebook. To do our own research, to ask questions, to challenge our opinions. To, above all else, form a more well-rounded view of the world – one which allows us to see past the fakery and the falsities when they are forced under our noses by politicians, shady institutions and social media trolls.

We are much more inclined to believe statistics that support our point of view – something that scientists call the confirmation bias – and we’re very energetic in demolishing those that do not. As former NY Times editor Trish Hall previously explained to Stylist: “We are much more inclined to believe statistics that support our point of view – something that scientists call the confirmation bias – and we’re very energetic in demolishing those that do not.

“If we are going to become more cohesive and more able to move the world forward,” she continued, “then we need to understand other points of view. We can do that [by seeking] out media with which we do not agree.”

It is up to us to break the bubble. Because – while we can slap legislations on Cambridge Analytica, and while Facebook may have since updated its privacy laws – we will never be able to get at the whole truth if we allow ourselves to exist within echo boxes of our own making. People will always share their opinions, and we will always be exposed to fake news. And, unless we make smarter, savvier choices about the media we consume, we will always be susceptible to manipulation.

Unless we recognise this enormous responsibility, democracy will die – not with a bang, but with a whimper. And that, friends, is The Great Hack’s most important takeaway.

Sunday, 28 July 2019

Thinking about the death penalty


The C2-level learners of our school who have been attending lessons for some months should be familiar with the story of Troy Davis who was on death row, as it has been brought up in our recent classes. Even though there was no solid evidence against him, this man was executed in the U.S. on 22 September. We now urge our students to read about the whole story here and then find out more about other controversial death row cases.

Keeping all the information in mind concerning both sides of capital punishment, they should try to answer this question: 

When is the death penalty the right answer? Does it constitute an efficient crime deterrent or should it be abolished? 

Here is also a variety of links on the issue along with two interesting quotes that can serve as a springboard for further discussion: 

Capital punishment is a barbaric remnant of uncivilized society. It is immoral in principle, and unfair and discriminatory in practice. It assures the execution of some innocent people. As a remedy for crime, it has no purpose and no effect. Capital punishment ought to be abolished now.
 ~American Civil Liberties Union

I believe that the weight of the evidence--aggregate statistical analyses, evaluations of experiments and quasi-experiments, and studies of individual behavior--supports the view that the rate of crime is influenced by its costs. This influence is greater--or easier to observe- for some crimes and persons than for others.
 ~James Q. Wilson, "Thinking About Crime: The Debate over Deterrence," The Atlantic Monthly, September 1983

Students can double-click on words they do not know on this blog.

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Mindfulness: A series of activities

1) Watch the video: All it takes is 10 mindful minutes
https://www.ted.com/talks/andy_puddicombe_all_it_takes_is_10_mindful_minutes

2) Now answer these questions in a comment or separate post.
(Look here http://159.65.205.66/ted_demo/build/app.html#/shell/contents?page=3 for a full set of amazing activities)

2A) What does meditation mean to you? Which statements do you most agree with? Choose as many or as few as you wish.

Meditation is only for spiritual people.
Scientifically, meditation is not effective.
People only do meditation to escape reality.
Meditation is becoming more popular.
Everyone can benefit from meditation.

2B) What does mindfulness actually mean and which everyday practices can encourage it?

3) Read Marina’s essay on stress and comment on the extent you agree with her:
http://markaki-literature.blogspot.com/2018/07/there-is-no-doubt-that-people-nowadays.html

The questions Marina has answered are the following ones:

What are the main causes of stress today? Explain why. What effect does stress have on most people? What are some of the negative ways of dealing with stress? What positive ways can you suggest for dealing with stress?

Monday, 17 June 2019

"Do schools kill creativity?"

http://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_ says_schools_kill_creativity?

Yesterday,  we were talking about education at my English school; we discussed the educational system and we were wondering if school kills creativity. Inspired by sir Ken's Robinson talk on TED I was thinking that it would be a great idea to express  my opinion about this issue and share it with you. To begin with, I firmly believe that schools kill creativity and this is happening a lot lately. Unfortunately, schools consider that it is enough to  teach us only the basic subjects,  like  Maths and History. However, they should teach us more creative things, like music and arts, in a practical way and not just in a theoretical way.

The curriculum  would definitely be more interesting for students since they may discover some talents they might have like Gillian Lynne as sir Ken Robinson says in his talk , who achieved her goals and made her dreams come true with a lot of work and a great deal of effort! If schools do not help young people live up to their expectations and if they do not help them find the most suitable profession for them, youngsters will be constrained to do something they do not  want to for the rest of their lives,as they will not have the opportunity to occupy with something different like arts.

Schools need to improve children's  creative skills and have expert professors help students think more creatively,if they want to of course! Let me know what your opinion is! Do not forget to check the link with sir Ken's Robinson talk on TED! 


Do schools kill creativity?

https://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_creativity

   I recently watched Sir Ken Robinson's talk on TED with the title "Do schools kill creativity?". To answer this question myself, after taking into consideration what Robinson said, yes, I firmly believe  that schools and education in general nowadays kill creativity and clearly do not motivate students to express themselves through creativity or discover their creative self, which all have.
   Today's educational system includes mostly academic subjects, like maths and history, and focus on teaching theoretical things to children rather how to be creative, which in my belief is a factor that helps with discovering our true personalities, style and looking deeply into ourselves.
  The main goal in today's societies is to produce university professors. This is great for some, however, that way the creative side of children starts to fade away. Students who have a special talent on music, drawing, dance or any other form of art and are not much in favor of academic subjects, find it difficult to adjust to the demanding school curriculum. They do not have the opportunity to express themselves and get involved with something they enjoy and are good at.
All in all, I strongly believe that schools in all countries should add subjects which are going to boost student's creativity and help them find their lost creative selves.

"Do schools kill creativity?" Ken Robinson

https://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_creativity?utm_campaign=tedspread&utm_medium=referral&utm_source=tedcomshare

I was deeply inspired  by the talk sir Ken Robinson gave about schools that try to kill creativity.It made me question a lot, so I thought I could express my thoughts here.

I do believe that schools kill creativity and this is happening more and more as years go by.I think that adults believe that if they put us in  a class and start teaching us  maths and history we will be genius and that is the key to success.And for some maybe it is but what about the others? There are so many kids out there that are unbelievably good at arts and the prize they get for that is to not be able to express it because nowadays we don't even do arts at school or they were thought to be unwell especially in the old days because they just were not compatible with typical school lessons.

I believe that our world would be a better one if we gave children  the opportunities at school to create and do what they feel amazing doing. Everyone should have the right to imagine and decide what they want to do in life.Schools should give the same emphasis on arts as they do on theoretical subjects.We need more creativity !!!!Check out the link if you want to and you will be impressed. Let me know of your thoughts!

Nature Photography Day


 Taking the opportunity of Nature Photography Day I captured this breathtaking picture at the beach the other day.This process made me hear and feel a lot of beautiful sounds. A calm breeze was giving shivers down my spine and the gentle continuesly  sound of the waves was really relaxing.There were many vivid colors and you could see every shade of blue around.The fresh air that sea gives you can make you feel even more alive. It was simply unforgettable !!

Nature Photography Day

Celebrating Nature Photography day. I took this picture in Youhtas Mountain with a lovely view of Arhanes. I chose this picture as this sweet flower reminds me of the fresh and gentle breeze of that bright morning. It was a calm day and I could listen to the lively birds singing.