Uncovering Hidden Figures

The movie “Hidden Figures” is a historical drama set in the 1960’s, see the trailer here, based off of the book with the same name written by Margot Lee Shetterly. The story is true and builds on the space race that took place during the cold war, focusing on the work of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The “hidden figures” in the movie are three African-American women who worked for NASA as human computers, a time where there was less capacity in a computer than in a toaster today. They all work at the West Area Computers as “computers”. The focus of the movie is on the 1962 Mercury-Atlas 6 (MA-6), also called Friendship 7, launch with astronaut John Glenn on board.

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Lack of Education

In several parts of the world, poverty is a big social and national problem. Most of the countries in this category are developing countries that are former colonies or were excluded from the global market for a long time. But possibly the biggest issue these nations experience, is the lack of an educated population. Analphabetism and being isolated from the global community is terrible. Getting an education is crucial to be able to co-operate and compete with the global marked and to make a nation grow. But what happens if there is no education available in the countries? Most of developing countries do have schools, but why are so few children, notably girls, attending these schools?

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Gran Torino

Gran Torino is an American movie produced in 2008. The movie is directed by Clint Eastwood, who also plays the main character, Walt, and his experience with losing his wife and having to live amongst Hmong American newcomers in his neighborhood. Cultural differences, racism, and loss are the main themes in the movie. Walt finds himself in a situation where he is forced to deal with the Hmong neighbors and the fact that they do not accept his racial remarks and discrimination. At the same time, Walt develops a relation with one of the Hmong sons, Thao, who has to work for him after an incident involving Walt’s beloved Gran Torino. Later, the previous death of Walt’s wife and Thao’s loyalty will affect the ending of the movie, making Walt undertake an irreversible act.

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Education Abroad

Being the privileged Norwegian teenager that I am, I can not wait until I move out of my parent’s house and start my own life. For a long time, I was also certain I was going to study as far away as possible. Several nights went into researching IB (International Baccalaureate) and UWC (United World Colleges) and finding my favorite schools around the world. However, I did not know what I wanted to study, or what I wanted to become when I grew older. And frankly, I still don’t. The flame later died out, and my focus was shifted to my situation today and how I could make the best out of the life I already was living.

Today in class, however, the topic was international studies. How could we write a good CV for future job applications, and where and what could we study abroad. In addition to education, we were also asked to find two international volunteer programs we would be interested in joining. I had not thought about volunteering in an international organization before, but I have done it here in Norway, so why not do it while learning a new culture in a different continent? (If you are interested in seeing the online CV I made, you can view it here)

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English Everywhere

English is an international language spoken all over the globe. With the Britsh Empire and expansion in the 19th century, the language was spread to almost every country. Today it is the third most spoken language in the world. This also means that there are many different varieties and dialects spoken in the different countries. According to an article from The Economist people from small countries, or with a low population, tend to learn English better. Also, countries without neighboring or similar languages have similar tendencies. English can then be said to be the most used lingua franca in the world, connecting people with many different mother tongues.

Becuase English is spread over such a big area, and between so many different people, new variations of English have occurred. Some are similar to American and British English, while others can almost be labeled their own language. Hard to understand? Scottish is a form of English that many have trouble with understanding (watch this hilarious video), even though Scotland is a part of the British Isles and is closely connected to the Britishanglospeak800pxcountries_li language. But there are even more varieties that can be worse to interpret. Indian English, South African, Kenyan, Chinese English, Spanglish (Spain) and Singlish (Singapore) are only a few of the most known. Down below, the focus is on Indian, Kenyan and Singaporean English, and which factors characterize these stereotypical variants used in these areas.

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Who do you trust?

Is there such a thing as fake “breaking news”? Yes, there is. I spent the last five minutes creating my own breaking news, and you, the reader, probably did not even think it was real. This could be because the picture is posted on my personal blog under the title “Who do you trust?”, it has a spelling mistake, or because it sounds fake and made up. Nevertheless, news like these spread like wildfire on social media more than anyone would like to admit. Should you believe everything you read so easily? And if you do, who’s responsibility is it if you are presented fake news? The possibilities of the internet are close to infinite, but how can you know the difference between reality and fiction? Who do you trust to give you the truth about the world, and how can anyone know if some of the news you are reading are biased?

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The Joy Luck Club or The White Tiger

In class today, we were given the task to choose between two books and read it. The books are written by two different authors with different backgrounds, Amy Tan and Aravind Adiga. We have written about the authors and their books, and chosen which one to read based on our research on both of them. Later in the year, we will use the books for presentations and group projects with the rest of the class.  

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Kiva – Loans to Improve Lives

In 2005, the international nonprofit Kiva was founded. It is based in San Francisco and their mission is to connect people all over the world through lending money to borrowers to alleviate poverty. Borrowers can apply for money to help start or grow a business, go to school, access clean energy or realize their potential. Everything donated to Kiva is given directly to funding loans, Kiva and the administration are paid for through optional donations and support from grants and sponsors. So far, 1.6 million lenders have lent $949.7 million to 2.2 million borrowers. Kiva has a vision that if a loan from them helps a person or group in one place, it will create opportunities for others as well. A ripple effect could shape the future for families or even entire communities.

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Dear President-elect Donald Trump

Why Climate Change is the Single Greatest Threat to a Sustainable Future:

Leonardo DiCaprio was in 2014 presented as one of the UN messengers of Peace, a position where he decided he would focus on the climate changes in the world. When he held his first speech for the UN he stated that “This is the most urgent of times, and the most urgent of messages.” In the 2016 documentary “Before The Flood”, we follow his journey across the globe, experiencing first hand what consequences global warming has had on our planet, already. He talks about how when it comes to saving the environment it is no longer about people simply changing their light bulbs or driving eco-friendly cars, but that the time has come for the big industries and governments around the world to take action.

Here is where, soon-to-be president of the United Stated, Donald Trump, your job begins. You have previously claimed that climate change is “a hoax created by the Chinese”, and after winning the election you have been looking for ways to back out of the Paris climate agreement. You are afraid of “foreign bureaucrats controlling how much energy the United States uses,” focusing on the completely wrong side of the issue.

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Dear Minister of Education

Dear Torbjørn Røe Isaksen, the Minister of Education of the Norwegian government. I am sure you know, but in Norway, just west of the capital Oslo, there lies a school with the name Sandvika High School. At this school, every student and teacher has their own personal computer and each of them uses it for practically every subject. Just recently, this school was awarded the Innovation Award 2017 in Norway for utilizing IT in learning in a holistic manner. And the reason for this post is for you to realize the true potential of using this technology, that most people are familiar with, in schools to assist teaching and promote learning, such as Sandvika has done at their school.

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