Grammarly

Before our exams this year my class were so lucky we got to try Grammarly. Grammarly is a program that continuously overlooks your text makes sure you get rid of small grammatical errors, wrong spelling and poor vocabulary usage.

The program can be downloaded as a Chrome extension as well as an extension in programs like Word. When using it in Chrome, the extension will help you write mistake free in Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, Tumbler and so on. It works in the same way in Word. As you write green and red lines pop up underneath the words and sentences Grammarly wants you to change.

.grammarly

When you see these lines, you can click on them and Grammarly will suggest another way of spelling the word or another word entirely. It can also help you rephrase sentences that are too long or too complicated.

Having a program like Grammarly on my written exam was brilliant. Or in my case brilliant for a while. I don’t know why, but whenever I use Grammarly it works great the first few paragraphs, but then, for some reason I don’t know, it won’t correct my writing anymore. It sais it is processing my text, but it fails to find any mistakes. I find this really annoying because it means the first part of my text has a lot fewer mistakes than the rest. When reading my text later it just looks like I got tired and lost focus while I was writing.

However, this little issue, I’m sure, is fixable. I really recommend Grammarly to all those of you who are struggling with spelling and vocabulary. Using Grammarly gives you confidence because you don’t have to worry about embarrassing mistakes.

If you are still in doubt whether Grammarly is a program you should use or not, you can check out their website. https://www.grammarly.com/

UK Election day 2015

Today at 07.00 the around 50.000 polling stations around the country opened, and will remain open for people to vote until 22.00 tonight.

The election is a vote for MPs and 650 new MPs are to be elected. More than 50 million people are registered to vote this year.

As well as the general election more than 9000 are being contested across th UK.

It’s reckoned the first results will be in by midnight and the final results Friday night.

uk electionA map showing an interesting turn from previous elections. The Scottish nationalists seem to make a clean sweep in Scotland. This probably has a lot to do with the referendum last autumn.

Furthermore we see from the map that there are no contenders to the two major parties. However they might struggle to get more than 50% of the votes this year. This is very uncommon in British elections.

Therefor I can’t say for sure who I believe will be the next prime minister, but I am absolutely certain that it will be either David Cameron or Ed Miliband.

Sources:

http://www.bbc.com/news/election-2015-32618577

http://www.aftenposten.no/nyheter/uriks/Dette-er-den-viktigste-grafen-for-a-forsta-det-britiske-valget-7979000.html

Carthage by Joyce Carrol Oates – first impressions

I’ve only just started reading the novel Carthage, and I have to say it is an intriguing story. Joyce Carrol Oates writes well, but i think a little complex. The language is a bit heavy and it takes time to read. But already the book has gotten my attention and I am certain that I will find the rest of the book as exciting as the first bit. When I have finished I will post full review here on my blog, so stay tuned.

Thatcher, the miner strike and gay rights in the UK during the 1980’s

Margareth Thatcher was the prime minister of the UK from 1979 to 1990 and leader of the Conservative party from 1975. During her leadership, she was nicknamed “the iron lady” as a result of her uncompromising politics and leader style. Thatcher was the first female leader of a major political party in the UK. She led the country and fought the National Union of Mineworkers during the huge strike in 1984-85. When the strike was over in 1985 Thatcher and her government was seen as winners of the dispute. When the striking part decided to go back to work, the British trade union movement was weakened. The NUM had been one of the most powerfull trade unions in the country and was completely overruled by Thatcher and her government.

In addition to being hard on the striking miners, Mrs. Thatcher was an eager antagonist of gay rights and through the 80’s she supported a campaign basically saying being gay gives you aids.

The miners and the gays are not naturally two groups of people one expects to get along nicely. Today, however, we watched a film that gave an example of the opposite.

In the film “Pride” a gay community decides to support the miners in their strike by collecting money and donating them to the strikers. At the beginning of the film, there are som complications as the conservative miners are sceptical to accept the help from this untraditional alternative group of people. This hostility is probably due to the hefty Aids campaign going on.

The gays choose to help the miners despite the hostility because they know what it is like to be treated in the same unfair manner as the government are treating the miners in the film. In addition, I believe the gays want to show the world that they are better than those who are against them because they can see beyond the hate and help others despite all. In the end of the film the gays are attending a gay rights march in London. Just as they are about to begin the miners arrive in buses from their village in Wales to support the gays and show how grateful they are for what the gay community did for them.

Rand Paul

rand

Rand Paul is an American senator and the son of Congressman Ron Paul.

Rand Paul became senator in 2010 after campaigning for his fathers run for president in 2008 and gaining popularity trought this.

Paul defeated democrat Jack Conway in the general election in 2010 with 55,7% of the votes  (http://no.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rand_Paul)

Immediatly after his win in the senate he criticized the Civil rights act from the 1960’s. He claimed that the law was conflicting with private ownership and that people owning land or buildings should be free to choose who are welcome or not. This created a lot of controversy and he was faced with massive national criticizm for his comments.

Paul is also known for his support of the Tea Party movement. The Tea Party movement got its name from the Boston Tea Party, an important event in American History. The Tea Party movement is known for its conservative positions and ideas. It demands a reduction in the US national dept through lower public spending. In addition they want lower taxes.

Rand Paul is the first ever senator so closely connected to the tea-party movement.

On April 7, 2015, senator Paul announced on his website that he would be running for president in 2016. “I am running for president to return our country to the principles of liberty and limited government,” he said.

Rands most important cases are to take control over the economy and limit politicians terms.

He says, “We are currently spending roughly $7 million per minute and this reckless habit has gone on for way too long.  We currently face a deficit of over $18 trillion. This is unsustainable. The fiscal crisis that faces our nation must be taken seriously and immediately addressed.”(https://www.randpaul.com/issue/spending-and-debt)

About the terms he says  “It is time to put an end to the profession of “career politician,” and impose limits on how many times a member is allowed to seek re-election. As a Senator, I introduced legislation that would limit the amount of time a member of the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate may serve.” (https://www.randpaul.com/issue/term-limits>)

House of Commons responsibilities.

The House of Commons is the chamber of Parliament elected by the public. The House of Commons debate the big political issues of the day and proposals for new laws.

Making new laws is one of Parliament’s most important tasks. First a bill is draftet and examined either by select committees in the Commons or Lords or by a joint committee of both Houses. A bill is a new law or a change of an allready existing one. A bill can start both in the House of Commons or the House of Lords, but has to be approved in the same form by both houses before becomming an act.

passage of a Bill

A drafted bill becomes a law or an act as soon as both houses approves. If an act is to be changed this happens through the passing of another Act or delegated legislation.

A delegated legislation lets the government change a law to certain degrees without having to push through a new act.

Another important role for the House of Commons are the debates. Debates are designed to assist MPs and Lords to reach an informed decision on a subject. Votes are often held to conclude a debate. Either approving a new law or not, or simply registering their opinion on a subject.

Lions for Lambs

1. Lions for Lambs is a 2007 American drama film about the conection between a platoon of United States soldiers in Afghanistan, a U.S senator, a journalist and a California college professor. They are connected to each other in several intricate ways. The soldiers are on a mission in Afghanistan on orders from the senator, the senator is being interviewed by the reporter on American foreign engagement. And then there is the professor who were the soldiers professor in college before they joined the army.

The professor did not like the idea of his students becoming soldiers, but actually, he was the one who gave them the idea. They were assigned a task on American engagement in America and how to solve their own problems before engaging in other confilcts. The soldiers thought thay had found the solution by joining the army and thereby creating a safe environment for Americans to solve their own problems.

2. The professor asks Todd to get involved. Todd needs to make a choise. He has been skipping classes, but as a rather clever student he still does well in school. The professor wants him to focus on school and exploit his potential.

3. There is a connection between social conditions in America and US involvement in wars. Many believe that America spends too much of their tax money on “helping” others with their involvement in foreign conflicts., and not enough dealing with social problems in their own cities.

4. Wednesday President Obama laid out his plan Wednesday to go after the terror group with “strength and resolve”. The discussion about what he said and what it means for America and ISIS is just getting started. I don’t know what the general thought amongst the people on this matter is, but I am guessing it is not Obama’s most popular decision, since he has managed to keep the country from going to war during his time in offeice.

Westminster tour and Warner bros. studios

Thursday was our last day with an agenda. First on our program was a guided tour around Westminster. Our guide was very good and shared a lot of interesting facts both about the history of Westminster and its architecture, as well as the people living and working in the area. A fun thing about Westminster is that the area is flooding profilic politicians, and as we stood in Victoria Tower Gardens listening to our guide, John Prescott walked by!

Walking round Westminster we saw the Big Ben and the Parliament, the palace of Westminster, Westminster Abbey and the Westminster school of preforming arts as well as the Royal Collage of St. Peter in Westminster. On our tour we also visited the house of Thomas Edward Lawrence, better known as Lawrence of Arabia. He lived Barton street, Westminster while writing Seven Pillars of Wisdom which was published in 1922.

Lawrence’s houseThe Big Ben

Westminster Abbey

After our tour around Westminster, and some lunch, we got on a bus to Warner Bros. studios in Watford.

I have been a huge fan of Harry Potter since my mother read me the first book when I was 6 years old. Seeing how the movies were made was really intersting and I had a great time. I think, for me, the visit to WBS was the best thing on our trip. It was fantiastic walking around the studio knowing it was where the movies were filmed. We saw the Griffindor common room, the great hall, the diagonalley and every prop used in the films. They also displayed the full model of Hogwarts, used in scenes showing the castle from above and outer angles.

The pictures from the top: The Great hall, the Griffindor commonroom, the knight bus, the broomsticks, the quidditch ball set and the wands of the main characters.

BBC-tour and Churchill war rooms

Wednesday a small group in our class got to visit the BBC! I was one of lucky 11! We got a small tour around the studios and we got to see the famous 24 hour live news room, and walk around whist on air. Then we were taken up to radio 1 and 1xtras studios. We saw how they made their radioshows and their research rooms. The guide told us that they often had famous artists visiting them doing live preformences.

After lunch the next post on our programme was the Churchill war rooms. We went under ground to the chambers from which Churchill and his war time government worked during the war. What was really cool about this museum was how everything was displayed as they were during the war.

Photo 14.01.15, 16.16.28Photo 14.01.15, 16.16.30pictures of the kitchen.

Photo 14.01.15, 15.43.39picture of the meeting room where many important decisions were made.

What made the museum very special was that it also captured the atmosphere and how it must have been to work and spend som much time in such a tight space. Access to the site and public knowledge remained highly restricted until the late 1970s, when the Imperial War Museum began preserving the site and its contents, making the place accessible to a public audience.

Sources:

http://www.iwm.org.uk/visits/churchill-war-rooms/about

Tate Modern

Max Ernst ‘Celebes’, 1921 © ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2015

Monday, our first day in London. First stop this week, Tate Modern museum.

Tate is a museum of modern art with a lot of different exhibitions and pieces.

Especially one piece (the picture above) caught my attention. Therefor I have chosen to dedicate this blogpost to the artist who painted the picture, Max Ernst.

Max Ernst, born in 1891, was a German sculptor, painter, graphic artist and a poet. Ernst is known as a pioneer within dada and  surrealism.

In 1909 Ernst began at  the University of Bonn, studying philosophy, art history, literature, psychology and psychiatry. Max Ernst spent some of his time in mental hospitals and found great inspiration in the art of the mentally ill patients. During the 1. world war he was enrolled in the German army and served at both the western and eastern front. He wrote in his auto biography: “On the first of August 1914 Max Ernst died. He was resurrected on the eleventh of November 1918”

In 1919 he married Luise Straus, an art-history student whom he had met before the war.  The same year he also travelled Europe studying paintings and other pieces. He was especially inspired by the French artists and spent some time visiting his friend Paul Klee in Munich. Together they studied the work of Giorgio de Chirico, an Italian artist, famous for inspiring surrealist artists through the scuola metafisica art movement.

Also in 1919 Ernst, social activist Johannes Theodor Baargeld, and several colleagues founded the Cologne Dada group. In 1919–20 Ernst and Baargeld published various short-lived magazines such as Der Strom and die schammade, and organized Dada exhibitions.

The painting in the beginning of this post was made in 1921. It is a special picture since it combines the dreamlike atmosphere of Surrealism and the collage aspects of Dada. Ernest once said that the name of the painting, Celebes, was taken from the first line in a German schoolboy’s rhyme.

Der Elefant von Celebes

Hat hinten etwas Gelebes

Der Elefant von Sumatra

Der vögelt seine Grossmama

Der Elefant von Indien

Der kann das Loch nicht finden

(The elephant from [C]elebes

has sticky, yellow back grease

The elephant from Sumatra

The memory lane of his grandmother

The elephant from India

one can never find the hole)

sources:

http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/ernst-celebes-t01988

http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artists/max-ernst-1065

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Max_Ernst