Thursday, March 22, 2018


By: Michael Shermer
Level of Difficulty: **
Click “listen here” to the right of the screen, listen to the text being read out loud, read along and highlight the main ideas and important details.
1.       The writer makes the following statement in the first paragraph: “This is where the trouble begins.” What trouble is he referring to?
2.       Why are dystopias the dark mirror of utopias?
3.       Watch the following video: This example proves that …..
4.       The New Harmony community didn’t work because of…. (Two answers, find both)
5.       Watch the following video: Why didn’t any of them wreak the kind of havoc Soviet collectivization of farms did?
6.       Watch the following short video: Why did the King and Queen of Spain turn into dystopian murderers?
7.       Watch the video: Why is the typical answer given to the trolley experiment significant? Because it implies that……………
8.       Read the thought experiment involving the ER doctor. What is this type of thinking called?
9.       Watch the documentary on Stalin’s experiment with apes and humans: What was the justification for such experiments?
10.   What conclusion can be drawn from all the atrocities committed in the 20th century with the view of creating a so called ‘utopia’?
11.   What realization on the part of Hitler contributed to his large following? His realization that…
12.   Read the remainder of the text. A protopia is considered better than a utopia because it aims at realizing…
13.   All the examples provided in this last section of the text prove that…
This thought provoking text is a little gem encapsulating history, political thought and even philosophy yet it is straightforward and easy to follow. It is also a well written argumentative essay and should lead to some lively discussion. Books like 1984 and Brave New World could be assigned as follow up.
1.       The failed social experiments, repressive political regimes, and overbearing economic systems that result from utopian dreams put into practice
2.       Because a perfect society is designed for an imperfect species
3.       Utopias are especially vulnerable when a social theory based on collective ownership, communal work authoritarian rule and a command-and-control economy collides…
4.       Nature’s own inherent law of diversity / the individualities of persons and circumstances and the instinct of self preservation
5.       Without large numbers of members, they lacked political and economic power
6.       They believed that the only thing preventing them from unifying Spain was heresy
7.       It would be easy to convince people in autocratic states with utopian aspirations to kill 1000 to save 5000, or to exterminate 1.000.000 so that 5.000.000 might prosper
8.       Utilitarian utopianism
9.       Leon Trotsky’s utopian vision (OR write it out in full)
10.   When you have to murder people by the tens of millions to achieve your utopian dream, you have instantiated only a dystopian nightmare
11.   The realization that human beings, at least intermittently, want struggle and self-sacrifice
12.   Incremental progress in steps towards improvement, not perfection.
13.   A protopian future is not only practical, it is realisable

Monday, March 19, 2018


Agricultural robots ile ilgili görsel sonucu

By: Henry Mance
Level of Difficulty: ***
·         Biocarbon engineering  presentation video
·         Tiny, Robotic Bees Could Change the World | National Geographic
·         The farming robots of tomorrow
·         Robots and drones
·         Drones and the future of farming
Access the text, click listen here to the left of you screen and listen.
1.       The most effective way of going unplugged is to… Why?
2.       We understand from the second paragraph that the world of tech is like the free market economy/ quicksand/ a vicious circle/ a black hole. Mark the odd one out.
3.       Select a subtitle for the paragraph beginning “Behind”: Green versus Intervention / Beware of Humans/ Conservation Now/ The Cane Toads Won.
4.       Where in the paragraph beginning “Yet” would you place the following sentences:
·         It needs to be remembered that it is people that wreak havoc on nature not technology.
·         In short it is how modern technology is used that counts
5.       Why is including thinking machines in the process of conserving nature a good idea?
6.       Read the story of S’Albufera national park to the end. What conclusion can we draw from this story: It is necessary to resort to ………….because the whole carp problem is ……………
7.       Read the account of the project designed by Fletcher to the end. What makes this project of aerial planting efficient? Tweak the text to make it fit the question.
8.       Look at the same section. The main stumbling block for this project is … 
9.       Read the examples of the use of technology to conserve nature. What conclusion can we draw from these examples?
10.   Read the story of the bees to the end. What is the conclusion we can draw from this section:
·         There is usually a techno-fix for most problems in the modern world
·         Robo-bees are really spyware designed as pollinators
·         Because robo-bees don’t biodegrade, the lack of bees will disrupt the food chain
·         Scientists are still a long way off from being able to fix the bee problem using tech
11.   What is the take home point for the whole section?
12.   Read the two paragraphs concerning pest control. Now watch the short video: We understand from this section that in the current situation, we seem to have no choice but to resort to….in order to protect the coral reefs.
13.   Where in the paragraph beginning “But” would you place the following sentences:
·         There are some very real concerns about devices used for conservation
·         It seems very clear that we need to understand the implications of this new venture
14.   It seems very likely that we will have to accept the fact that…
15.   Read the section of the text describing machines as gardeners. The basic assumption is that these machines would be useful because they would…
16.   Like The Garden of Eden, the wilderness is now lost to us because…
17.   Wildness is described in the text as ……….
18.   The next section of the text concerns reactions to machines as gardeners. Read it to the end. Mark the sentences below T/F according to this section.
·         Humans don’t know what they are doing
·         Humans are bound to make things worse
·         Humans are gambling with the future of the planet
·         Humans are just trying to play God
19.   Refer to the same section. What is Kingsnorth’s major objection to machines as gardeners?
20.   Where, in the paragraph, describing Ellis’ views would you place the following sentence: He has a healthy distrust of robots as gardeners
21.   Read the last section of the text, the rebuttal or the refutation.  For robotics to work the major focus should be on….Plus, we don’t really have any choice but to use robots because…
22.   Where in the paragraph beginning “After all…” would you place the following  sentence:
·         If we set the right goals and have the right attitude, automated systems could be extremely beneficial. (There are two places it could go depending on what connectors you use; find both)
Read the last paragraph of the text and write an essay in which you discuss to what extent you agree with the writer. Refer back to all that has been covered, the text and the videos.
This futuristic text covers the major arguments concerning the use of robots, drones and similar technologies in agriculture and conservation. The text is a well planned argumentative text written in a way students will recognize at once. The writing task demands that students draw on three videos as well as the text so it should be challenging.
1.       To leave the phone at home and to walk through the nearby woods / Because nature and technology seem to pull us in different directions
2.       The free market economy
3.       Beware of Humans
4.       After the first sentence, before “You might…”/ Right at the end
5.       Humans are grown so powerful that they have become a force of nature – and forces of nature are those things which, by definition, are beyond the power of humans to control.
6.       New smart technologies / (an) intractable (environmental war)
7.       It takes less time and the cost is less
8.       Preventing forests from being destroyed for agriculture and forestry in the first place
9.       Conservationists are exploiting technology to guide decision making. (Make the wording of your answer fit the question)
10.    The last
11.   We should beware of the seductive and misleading idea that these inventions present a quick techno-fix.
12.   A robot capable of identifying the crown-of-thorn starfish and injecting it with poison
13.   After the first sentence, before the sentence beginning “Autonomous…” / Right at the end.
14.   Any forest would be preferable to no forest
15.   Cut out destructive, top-down human intelligence from the picture
16.   Humans have irrevocably changed the climate, acidified the oceans, and altered the conditions of life for almost every species on the planet
17.   A sense of awe and astonishment that seem to be attainable in landscapes that have been transformed by humans, so long as the influence of other natural processes is evident
18.   All true
19.   All we can do is argue for more of the same: more onward momentum, more technological mediation, more control
20.   After the first sentence
21.   Genuine conservation / Robotics, sensors and machine learning could adaptively enhance natural processes much better than we have been able to (at least up till now)
22.   Preceded by however, right at the beginning / Preceded by in short, right at the end.

Monday, March 12, 2018


blood diamonds ile ilgili görsel sonucu

Diamonds have been the most popular gemstone for hundreds of years. As such, the mining of diamonds has also been big business. However, the ugly truth concerning what diamond mining entails should be better known. Do your research to learn about the effects of diamond mining and write an essay discussing them.
Familiarize yourself with the issue
·         Blood diamonds: 'Blood diamonds' dug from African mines by children as young as 11, gold taken from 25m underwater by kids aged 9: The slave labour scandal behind the jewellery hanging around your neck
Reading material to make notes on
·         Editorial Observer; To Prevent Conflicts, Look to Commodities Like Diamonds
·         Diamonds: a war’s best friend  
·         Labor and community  
Videos to take notes from
·         Blood Diamonds  
      Refer to my second blog, The Essay Archive, for sample essays:

Wednesday, March 7, 2018


“The urge to belong is universal. So would a better understanding of it help tackle loneliness – and explain why stalkers, spree killers and jihadists turn their pain on others?”
By: Leo Benedictus
Level of Difficulty:***
·         How To Address Inappropriate Attention-Seeking Behaviors
·         Dealing with Attention Seeking Behavior
Read the first two paragraphs and answer the questions:
1.       Mark Zuckerberg, probably established Facebook because he knew…
2.       Understanding what people need attention for would help get a better perspective on…
Read from the beginning of paragraph three (Attention…) to the end of the paragraph beginning “People who feel…”
3.       Craving the attention of others has an evolutionary value because if people were not created the way they are…
4.       The positive attention people get from others should be…in order not to create anxiety. That can only happen if those providing the attention …
5.       Why is the Red Cross involved in the study of loneliness?
Read from the paragraph beginning “The word loneliness…” to the end of the paragraph beginning “Some lonely people themselves…”
6.       What misconception does the writer correct?
7.       What does “which” refer to in the phrase “which is where the belonging comes from”
8.       The difficulty in getting more attention is that you can’t…
9.       Assuming that….is unfair but it is ingrained in people as a species
10.   Acting up in a classroom and similar disruptive behavior can be seen as an example of an effort to…
Read from the paragraph beginning “One way to seek attention…” to the end of the paragraph beginning “Now Jewitt…”
11.   Read Jewitt’s story to the end. What was Jewitt referring to when he said “but it is hard to tell the difference”? Explain.
12.   What does “that crap” refer to?
13.   Which of the following are true according to this section:
·         Jewitt and Thurlow are still good friends probably because they really got to know each other
·         Jewitt’s attitude to followers on Instagram underwent no radical change
·         Jewitt’s shares on instagram are more public spirited than they used to be
·         Jewitt is more interested in presenting himself as he is than he used to be
14.   What does “This” refer to in the phrase “This corrodes your feeling of belonging”?
15.   Some murderers try to get actively involved in the investigation, they try and make contact with the police. The crimes they commit could be described as ….and one reason they commit the crimes could be…
16.   The two types of stalker described in the text have something in common. What is it?
17.   What surprising revelation does Spitzberg make?
Read on from the paragraph beginning “Sadly…” to the end of the paragraph to the end
18.   Why is ostracism worse than negative attention? Because it means there is….
19.   In a sense spree killers can be said to have achieved their ultimate purpose because…
20.   The statistics presented in the text concerning spree killing support the contention that…
21.   What possible conclusion can be drawn from the Demos interviews?
22.   The best way to tackle the problem of attention seeking is to provide more opportunity for…
Use all the information that you have gleaned to write an essay discussing the effects of attention seeking.
This brilliant text links a lot of what is going on in the modern world to one phenomenon: attention seeking. It is beautifully argued and well written. It should lead to some lively discussion and a good writing task. The task is divided into sections so it can be broken up.
1.       Everyone needs attention like we need to eat
2.       Everything people do from art to crime, from romance to terrorism
3.       They wouldn’t have the motivation to do the things that are required to pass their genes down the generations
4.       Accurate / have spent a lot of time with the individual or person
5.       Because people who feel they don’t belong suffer terribly, and experience health problems comparable to obesity or smoking
6.       That loneliness seems to be a matter of a lack of social connections
7.       You’re creating bonds of reciprocity
8.       Have more high quality attention than people want to give you
9.       Lonely people don’t deserve attention
10.   Search for a feeling of belonging not always in the best way
11.   Between real friendship and friendship on Instagram
12.   The hours upon hours of intense conversation
13.   The second is false; the rest are true
14.   The fact that any approval that you get is not for your full and whole self
15.   Crimes of attention / the loneliness and craving for attention created by a fixed belief that they are not worth liking
16.   A desire for the attention they think they deserve.
17.   Most intimacy-seeking stalking is something almost anyone is capable of
18.   No attention
19.   We paid more attention to their feelings
20.   They are crimes of attention made possible by the new media
21.   J. violence feeds a craving for attention that they clothe in…
22.   High quality attention

Sunday, March 4, 2018


space rubbish ile ilgili görsel sonucu

The problem of space debris may not be a problem the average man on the street is aware of but it is becoming a serious issue. Do your research to discover the extent of the problem, the danger space debris presents and what can be done about it. When you are ready, write an essay in which you discuss the problem and suggest solutions.
Familiarize yourself with the issue:
·         What can be done about space debris?
Reading material to make notes on
·         Meet the space custodians: debris cleanup plans emerge
·         Space junk menace: dealing with the orbital debris threat
Videos to watch and take notes from
·         Space debris - a journey to Earth
·         Time to take out the space trash
Refer to my second blog, The Essay Archive, for sample essays: