A piece of paper

The Times is one of the biggest newspapers in the world and the British national daily newspaper. Norway?s Aftenposten is about a quarter of the size of this monstrosity. First published in 1785 it quickly grew into the largest newspaper in Brittan. It covers both domestic and international news, and has its own magazine and a sister paper. It is known for supporting the conservative party and openly taking sides in various cases. Internationally many other papers have borrowed its name, The New York Times, The Seattle Times and The Canberra Times are all papers that have borrowed the name. There are hundreds of employees working round the clock for the times; columnists, freelance journalists, researchers and editors.

Although the Times is the dominant news informant in paper form, on the screen BBC News is clearly the most influential. Since it is so available to the whole world BBC has a bigger role in the international media flow then The Times does. BBC has a huge reach, and many subdivisions that cover a range of different subjects. For example BBC Click, who made a report on our English class some weeks ago, make weekly episodes covering news and recent developments in the world of consumer technology. They have an audience of 80 million viewers weekly, in many different countries. This program in particular has so much important information, and makes reports from all over the world. This is an example of how English language media is incorporated in the international society.  

Whilst on the subject of English media in the world, one must mention all the reporters and journalists braving dangerous war zones to bring back the latest news. If you turn on any TV in any hotel in the world the first channel to pop up will be BBC World or CNN or any other international news channel. They will be showing reporters walking through rubble or interviewing a local. The world?s population crave information and the news that people want is the bad news. ?No news is good news? is a popular saying, all the media channels report these days is bad news of death and war and shooting episodes. A day with not much news must have been a good day.

In conclusion, media is very important for the people, in general they have a need to know. English media very influential in the sense that it has such a wide reach, and also with the diversity of the information they publish. It's amazing that the amount of news that happens in the world every day always just exactly fits the newspaper.










Earth Day

Today is Earth Day and we are probably the only people in Norway who are sort of celebrating. In class we got the task of finding out and writing about something that can make the earth and out school greener.

Green buildings are becoming more and more common now that the global warming and eco-problems have been put under light in the media. Many big companies with big office buildings wish to look good in the media, and at the same time perhaps do something good for the environment. So when they build new buildings they try to focus on making the structure as ecofriendly as possible. This is what separates the green buildings from any other building.

The materials used in these green buildings are resource-efficient, from design, to construction, maintenance and demolition. The making of such a building takes a lot of cooperation between the engineers, the client, and everyone involved in general. Also characteristic for these buildings is the low cost of building them. The green buildings exceed and complement the classic style of building designs of economy, utility, durability and comfort. Green buildings are also called sustainable buildings, because of the sustainable use of materials. The goal with these buildings is to reduce the buildings environmental impact. If we can reduce the environmental impact each building makes, we will be doing a small thing for our planet.

Sandvika High School is not a Green Building. It has not been built with an eco-friendly aspect in mind. Maybe it is possible to convert an already existing building into a more environmental friendly structure. Below are some examples of how to make the school greener.

A solar panel is a set of solar modules connected and mounted on a supporting structure. The solar panel can be used as a component of a larger photovoltaic system to generate and supply electricity. But how does it really work? Here in Norway it is more common to see cabins with Solar panel- systems than on regular houses, but these kinds of Solar Panels that we see are called: Photovoltaic Solar Panels (photo- light, voltaic means to do with electricity.) PV solar panels produce electricity using photoelectric effect. The photoelectric effect was first noted back in 1839 by a French physicist called Edmund Bequerel. He discovered that certain materials would produce a small electric current when you exposed them to light. This is the principle used by PV solar panels. Solar panels have many solar cells which are small devices that can convert sunlight into electricity. One cell on its own will only provide a very small amount of power. Several cells connected together and fixed in a frame make a solar panel (or a module), which can produce a larger, useful amount of power.


Of course it is really expensive to run or to buy solar panels and it will take a lot time before it ``pays of``, but it`s worth it in the long run, especially if you live in a country like Spain or somewhere in Africa where the clime is different, with a lot of sun and it would be cheaper to use this kind of electricity. Sandvika high school has a big potential because of the size of the roof. Above you can see an aerial shot of our school. You may be able to see the glass part of the roof; this is where we could insert the solar panels. We already have something called a green flag, which means that our school is `` green`` but it would be even better if the school would invest in a solar panel-system. What do you think? Are there any other ways to become greener?

Edward Snowden

Edward Snowden is on the run. He is currently seeking refuge in Russia, the only county in Europe that would take him in. His crime is leaking information from the National Security Agency (NSA) in America. He is "an enemy of the state", and the U.S. government revoked his passport, making it impossible for him to leave Russia. But what did he actually do?

In 2006 Edward Snowden started working for the CIA, as a systems administrator and telecommunications system officer. Snowden has stated that this was not the world's most exiting job, so he quit in 2009 and became a contractor at a private company inside the NSA. Here he was one of the 1000 "sysadmins" allowed to look at many parts of the system without leaving electronic traces. This allowed him to obtain lots of valuable information he sooner would leak to the world. Early in 2013 came the big leak. 1.7 million sensitive files from the NSA went with Snowden when he met with journalists Glenn Greenwald and Lauren Poitras in Hong Kong. He gave his permission for them to publish his name, and soon after the US federal government charged him with espionage. In the leaked documents there was information on several global surveillance programs. Combined these programs could access almost all wireless devices, phone calls, emails and so on. This means that the NSA has trillions of bites of information about people, their whereabouts, their data traffic and internet usage.

Although Snowden is classified as a criminal, he has still been called a hero. The founder of Wikileaks, Julian Assange, claimed he was a hero. In an exclusive interview Snowden said he did what he needed to do, and is not afraid for his life. Because even though he is counted as a hero by some, he does have a few enemies. There have been government officials who have said they would be glad to see him dead. The NSA and their contractors have obtained a substantial amount of information on people from different countries as well as the US. In the interview Snowden states he cannot say whether or not they share this information with these countries, but it does seem like he knows. He also states that the government is more focused on catching the messenger instead of focusing on the leaked information.


President Obama says that Snowden should return to the United States and face court with a lawyer to defend himself. Snowden retaliates, saying the charges they have charged him with do not allow him to defend himself properly. All in all he has done something against the law, and fled the country, so in my opinion he should be punished if he returns, but I do think the government is being a bit harsh charging him with espionage, as he is not using the information to hurt or take anyone down, he is simply doing it for the benefit of the people.    



April Fool's day!

Hooray! It's the first of April, also known as April fool's day, where everything is a joke and you have to look twice before sitting down in fear of being glued to the chair by a humorous coworker. So in this blogpost I'm going to have to apologize for my contractions and informal tongue, so teachers, lay down your red pen and just enjoy a light-hearted text.

So where on earth did this strange tradition of pranking your closest friends and family come from? What good could possibly come from having a day a year when the newspapers can publish utter nonsense, and has it ever gone too far? There're a couple of theories around where this tradition originated, but none of them are certain. One theory was published in an April issue of a history magazine in 1983 by historian Joseph Boskin. He claimed it started during the reign of Constantine, when a group of jesters claimed they could do a better job of running the empire then him. Constantine let one of the jesters be king for a day and was so amused that it became an annual event, around the begging of April. It took a while to realize, but the publishes of the magazine eventually found out that they themselves had been the subjects of an April Fool's joke, as Boskins theory was completely made up.

As mentioned, the origin is unknown, and as I'm sitting here writing this today, on April 1st, I don't know what sources to trust on the internet, so I guess I'll just get down to the fun part: the pranks. People tend to get very creative and go to pretty extreme lengths to execute the best pranks. Some of these include The Guardian making up holiday islands in the Indian Ocean, with typographical references in all the names and attractions, like the northern island being called "Upper Caisse" and the southern being called "Lower Caisse", and the islands themselves creating the shape of a semi-colon. This prank got many people calling in wanting more info on the holiday paradise, but only a few suspicious emails enquiring why they had not heard about this place before. It is said that this stunt is what inspired the British newspapers to take part in the April fool's day shenanigans.


Another genius prank pulled by the chain restaurant "Taco Bell" is that they in 1996 announced to the world that they were buying the Liberty Bell, and renaming their chain "Liberty Taco Bell". This was met by criticism and outrage by the public. In 2008 the BBC announced that their camera crews in Antarctica filming a natural history series had documented flying penguins. And as we all know, penguins can't fly. It's good to know some news reporters have a sense of humor, each year in Norway the newspaper ?Aftenposten? puts in one fake article, which they then reveal in the evening news. I'm looking forward to finding out what they've conjured up this year! Over and out.   

Water crisis of epic proportions

Although I have written about a number of global challenges here on this blog, I have not covered one of the fastest growing challenges our and future generations must face, water. A rapidly growing population and an even more rapidly decreasing freshwater supply naturally presents a gigantic global challenge. The documentary "Last Call to the Oasis" brings the problem to the table in a rather dramatic and depressing way. After watching the film I might rethink how much water I use when showering or how much I use when watering the plants. The film doesn't only illustrate the water crisis we are in due to natural causes like draught, but also the dangers of chemical poisoning of ground water from factory waste.

This is a growing issue in the U.S., but luckily there are people like Erin Brockovich who are working against the big companies who she claims doesn't care about the people. I wrote a blog post about Erin further down after having watched the film made about her. (Link to the post here: http://leahsinternationalenglish.blogg.no/1377612569_erin_brockvich.html ) The chemical poisoning of the water doesn't only come from the factories being irresponsible with the waste, but also from anti-weed chemicals sprayed on the fields. The chemicals enter the ground water and can contribute to diseases. This is especially bad because since many of the rivers and lakes in America are drying up, so people have to exploit the ground water in a larger degree. The ground water is being used up in a matter of decades, although it has been accumulating there for thousands of years.

Luckily for us water is a natural renewable source, but on one condition; we must not use so much that it exceeds its capacity to renew itself. This is what we are in danger of doing, especially in America. The epicenter of the water challenge is California, and the city of Las Vegas alone uses 3 % of the country's water supplies, and considering under 1 % of the earth's water is drinkable the water in America truly is in danger.       

 Not only are human lives dependent on the fresh water, but many species will die out if the polluting of water doesn't stop. People started pollution, people can stop it. Even if a small insignificant breed of fish dies out in one part of a country, that won't make a gigantic impact on the food chain; it only symbolizes an ecosystem that is collapsing.  The water challenge the world faces must be sorted out before we are at a point where nothing can be done.  

In-Depth project

So, in our English class we have been given the most impossible task; choose a topic that interests you and write an in-depth project. What makes this task so difficult is the fact that we have to choose the topic ourselves! There are so many things to write about, so I ended up just pulling a topic out of a hat. No, I didn't really do that, but it was close. I was going backwards and forwards between different subjects that I find interesting, from the history of physics to Thor Heyerdahl and Kon Tiki.


Finally I landed on the Aztec People. Quite random, I know, but history has always interested me, and as we won't be covering this subject in history class this year, I thought it might be interesting to find out more. Since there is so much to cover when writing about a whole civilization, I have decided to pull out the most important points about the Aztecs. They include the culture, social structure, religion, art and archaeological findings today. My thesis question for this project will be: "Who were the Aztecs and what impact have they had on our society??. I will try to answer this in my project, but I will also include other aspects of their culture to make it as interesting and informative as possible.  

The White Tiger

To sum up as shortly as possible, The White Tiger, written by Indian born author Aravind Adiga tells the story of a Bangalore based entrepreneur from his point of view. He writes in letter form, to the Chinese prime minister Wen Jiabao, who will be visiting Bangalore in the near future. He wishes to inform the Prime Minister on how to be an entrepreneur in India is, and states that the people of China are in need of more entrepreneurs. The main character Balram Halwai, also known as ?The White Tiger? writes about his experiences growing up in the ?darkness?, the villages near the river Ganges. He tells about how he rose from being the son of a rickshaw-puller to becoming the head of his own firm.


I have read the first two parts of the book, and my impression so far is that Aravind (the author) definitely has done his research. The attention to detail in his writing is exquisite; he hasn?t missed a single thing. I can however question how much of the detail included is relevant, but I suppose it only gives me as a reader a broader understanding of the culture and situation.  I have yet to see exactly where Balram is going with writing such extensive letter to a Prime Minister who most likely won?t even see it. But as mentioned, what the outcome of the letter will be remains to be seen.            


International English

All over the world people veiw English as the most important spoken language in addition to their own. Most schools teach English to their pupils from an early age, and all the international schools around the world teach in English. There are many countries where English is not a first language, but still so important that most of the population speak it anyway. Examples of this are Jamaica, India and South Africa. Although English is an official language in these countries, not all of the population has it as their first language. There are so many different varieties of English, in India there are eleven varieties of English alone.

So let?s start with India. The history of Indian English dates back to the colonization, in the 1800?s. Naturally the British brought their language and made it official. India was the crown jewel of the British Empire and they of course wished for English to be the only spoken language. Instead the people of India developed different accents and ways of speaking English. English has through India?s economic growth become a lingua franca, a language used to make communication easier for those with different mother tongues. There is a difference between the modern British English and the English spoken in India, some grammatical and some pronunciation wise. Indians have preserved phrases from British English that other English speakers have stopped using, for example out of station is used instead of the common; not in, or out of town. Some words for numbers are also different, like one-hundred-thousand would become one lakh and one million would be ten lakh. One must be careful however when speaking with an Indian-English accent, there can be instances where the same English word can mean different things to different people in different parts of India.

In South Africa English is among the eleven official languages in the country. The main language of government is English even if South Africans often take pride in using indigenous languages for any purpose. The most spoken language in South Africa is English, because like in India it is used to communicate with people who don?t share the same mother tongue(s). The main differences between British and South African English lies in the pronunciation and slight grammatical differences. The first time I heard a South African speak I thought the accent sounded slightly Australian. The South Africans are also fond of adding words from indigenous tongues into their speech, so if they speak fast it may be hard to catch what they?re saying.

There is another variety of English many people think is hard to understand, and that is Jamaican English. Jamaica is a small island in the Caribbean Sea, a popular destination for both British and American tourists, but they will find that it?s not that easy to understand the language as they may think. Although Jamaicans use the same spelling as most words in British English, the pronunciation is completely different. For example if you wish to say beer can in Jamaican you can say bacon in a British accent and they will understand you want a drink and not breakfast. As in India some old British terms have stuck, even though no one in England uses them anymore. For example "sleeping policeman" is used, an alternative to the American term "speed bump?.


The different accents of English are many, but in the end they are all just from different pages of the same book.          

The Great Debaters

Denigrate. There's a word for you. From the Latin word "niger", to defame, to blacken. It's always there, isn't it? Even in the dictionary. Even in the speech of a Negro professor. Somehow, "black" is always equated with failure.

The year is 1935 and Professor Tolson has just held try-outs for the Wiley College debate team. Wiley is a coloured college located in Texas, the heart of the south. The segregation there is very severe, whites and blacks must be kept separated. The Jim Crowe law is relevant and the Africans Americans must be kept "separate, but equal". The three young debaters with the help of their professor stand up to and even defeat all-white colleges, and thus prove that the colour of your skin does not decide anything. The film is based on a true story, and the students "grew up" to become great lawyers, ministers and poets.

There was a great number of challenges they faced that they wouldn't had to if they were white, for instance when James Farmer Senior ran over a white man's hog. He was forced to pay up and was ridiculed in front of his family simply because he was coloured. A simple apology would have sufficed if he had been of Anglo-Saxon origin. The difference was shocking to the team when they came to Boston to debate the Harvard team. The difference between north and south was huge, in Oklahoma they weren't allowed to have the debate on campus, whilst at Harvard they lived on campus.



I'll get back to this post later!   

The Edublog Awards

Hi everyone!


So the edublogs awards are going to be announced soon, so I am going to go ahead and nominate my friend Kristin, http://younginnorway.wordpress.com/. This is a student blog, so natrually I'm nominating it for the best student bolg award. It has many great articles from subjects we have worked with this year! Her blog has even been featured on the radio in Norway, and has clicks from all over the world. There are many good discussions threre, on many interesting topics! In general an awesome and educational blog worth reading :) I also want to nominate my teacher, http://annmic.wordpress.com/ for best teacher blog! 


Gran Torino

This movie is strong and moving in so many ways and works and is great on so many levels. We meet Walt, an old American veteran from the Korean War. He lives in a neighborhood mainly dominated by Hmong?s, a people from South-East Asia, and his neighbors are the Lor family. Walt is an American through and through, old-fashion in his ways, slightly racist, insulting, and pushes away anyone who tries to help him. His character is portrayed brilliantly by Clint Eastwood, who also directed the film. One thing that is absolutely certain about his character is that he changes throughout the film. He starts out as this old, difficult-to-deal-with, altogether bitter man, to become something like a martyr. Calling him a martyr is a slight exaggeration, but he certainly died for the greater good, and most importantly for something he believed in, as well as to protect his friends.

Walt does a great number of things that proves he is a good man, but admits to the priest that he has made terrible choices, especially during the war. They have an interesting conversation in the bar about life and death. Walt tells the priest that it?s not the things they are ordered to do, but the things they are not ordered to do that haunts men. This very statement describes pretty well why many veterans feel so guilty. The things soldiers do on order is to a certain degree fine, but it?s the decisions made on their own that grinds at their souls.

One I would say extraordinary event that takes place in the film, is that Walt allows Thao to borrow his Gran Torino. This event is in my opinion extraordinary because the Gran Torino is one of Walt?s most prized possessions. The fact he is allowing Thao to even touch it again after trying to steal it, shows us a side of Walt we wouldn?t have guessed. By the way he basically guards the car with his life, only someone very special would be allowed to use it apart from himself. Lending it to Thao shows us that he has the ability to trust, and that he trusts Thao. Another thing to point out is that when he dies, the car passes to Thao, not to any family member, which at this point is quite expected, seeing as his relationship to his own family is rather poor.

There is one other remarkable event that takes place towards the end of the film is that Walt finally goes to confess. The priest had been badgering him about it for ages, but all Walt did was brush the pleas away and then proceed to insult the priest in some way. The priest of course gets highly suspicious by his actions, and suspects some sort of revenge mission that may end in bloodshed. Walt also gets a different haircut, and gets a tailored suit, something he has never had before. These may all have been things he meant to do, but never got round to doing. As he said himself; ?I finish things, that?s what I do?. The reason for his suicide mission was probably motivated by the fact that he was ill, and going to pass away soon anyway. He was also obviously thinking about Thao and Sue, when going alone, making it easier for them to live their lives.


Right at the end of the film Walt says ?I am at peace? to the priest, meaning he was at peace with himself, something he hadn?t been before, sa said by the priest during Dorothy?s funeral; in the end, death is bittersweet, bitter because of the pain, sweet because of the salvation.       


Clint Eastwood as Walt. 


Today in class we watched the film Invictus. It?s a documentary-drama about Nelson Mandela first year of presidency in South-Africa. Morgan Freeman portrays him in a way that makes Nelson seem like a very likeable character, something he was in real life as well, he was also a good speaker and a very forgiving man considering his circumstances.

The film also follows the nations rugby team; the Springboks. In the start the team represents apartheid for the black population, so naturally they cheered for anyone opposing them. They represented everything they hated about the old government, so naturally they wanted them gone. The newly elected President prevented this, and instead turned them into a national symbol instead. This helps bring the white and black population together in a discreet way. Even though the country has a new black president they still struggled with racism from the whites. There was also the problem of the blacks not forgiving those who had oppressed them for so many years. This was clearly a problem that could not be fixed overnight.

Nelson Mandela really wanted to bring the country together, to make the whites and blacks cooperate and work together. He starts this on a small scale when he gets his black security team to work with white reinforcements. This teaches them how to work together despite their differences and issues with each other. There are also cultural differences to take into account. To take an example from the film, every morning Mr Mandela askes his escort about his family, the escort answers, but never asked the president about his. One day after Nelson asked the (white) escort about his family, he makes the mistake of asking Nelson about his. This is something you apparently just don?t do, because Nelson is so much away from his family and misses them dearly.


Despite the problems the country has accepting its new government the communication and structure gets back on track pretty fast thanks to Nelson. He is truly a remarkable man, capable of gathering a divided country in such short time.        

Peace One Day, Jeremy Gilley

Today we had the pleasure of skyping with Jeremy Gilley, the founder of Peace One Day. Peace One Day is a non-profit organization founded in 1999 with the goal to make a fixed date on the calendar completely devoted to peace. No country should wage war, and there should be a ceasefire throughout the world on that day.  Jeremy?s request came through and the 21st of September is the official Peace Day.

My impression of Jeremy was that he is an idealistic man with clear, and not to mention achievable goals. Asking for a single day in a year dedicated to non-violence doesn?t seem like too much to ask, and when you look at all the positive consequences there should be no reason at all for it not to be a success.

And what a sucsess it was. In 2012 over 280 million people were aware of the day, that?s 4% of the world?s population. It was estimated that over half of these behaved more peacefully on this day.  Their ultimate goals for Peace Day is for fewer children to be bullied, less domestic violence and les guns fired. They also wish for the largest reductuon in global violnce, as well as the largest gathering of people in the name of peace in the world. 

Since Jeremy is a filmmaker, he decided to make a documentary on how and why 21st of September is a day of ceasefire and non-violence. There he was able to show direct consequences of the actions. For example 1 million children were able to be vaccinated on that day because health personnel were able to access areas they hadn?t before.


Jeremy is a very good speaker and has many great ideas and ways to execute them. He was very engaging, even over Skype and he was very passionate about the subject of peace. He says that peace pays more than wars, for the prosperity and wealth of people. Cynicism kills, once you lose faith in peace and start believing something like Peace Day will never work, the cause is already lost. That?s why Jeremy loves speaking to young people and children, because they have not yet become cynics, and can give peace day a chance. 


Jeremy Gilley skyping with our class. 

The Raft

The short story ?The Raft? is written in the point of view of an unnamed thirteen year old boy, whose grandfather once was a captain on a ship in the South Pacific during the Second World War. We see the events through his eyes, a consequence of this could be that we get a subjective view on the characters and the story.

In the story we get to know the grandfather through the eyes of the thirteen year old. He thinks his grandfather is slightly intimidating, a real military ?toughie?. He is telling a story he has told many times before about the war, but can?t remember he has due to short-term memory loss. Towards the end of the story the grandfather drags the boy into a closet to tell the rest of the story. This setting is different from the other times he has told the story and the boy experiences it as though he is in a confession chamber, where his grandfather is confessing a great sin.

I find it ironic that the grandfather who was once a great, well liked, dangerous sea captain has turned into an old man filled with regret and memory loss. He is still quite terrifying at times, like when he says things like: "Just because I'm smiling, don't assume I couldn't kill you right now. Know that about a man.".   


The climax in the story is defiantly when the grandfather scribbles the three simple words on a notepad: ?BLEW IT UP?. This sums the grandfather?s personality, as well as crating suspense as to what will happen next. This is when the grandson gets dragged into the closet. The themes in this story could be growing up (in the grandsons? case, hearing about horrible events like this forces one to grow up more quickly). Another major theme could be regret, because the grandfather obviously regrets the decision he made, hence the tears and the boy feeling the closet was like a confession chamber.

Illustration by Ralph Giguere 

Website reveiw: http://www.thinkb4u.com/

Out from the name of the website one can guess what the content will be. Thinkb4u, think before you, makes it obvious the website will help you think before you do things on the internet, such as sharing personal information, buying online or chatting. The setup of the website is very clear, special care has been taken to present the material in a simple and straightforward way.

The age group the website deals with is anything from children (with help from their parents) to teenagers/young adults. The themes it highlights and discusses are important for both young and older people.  Also it presents the topic in a fun and interactive way, which makes it more interesting and appealing to read and learn about important subjects such as internet security.

As a first time user of the website it may seem a bit confusing in the beginning, and although it is very well laid out, one may not grasp the purpose before you have watched the first few videos. The videos show short sketches of everyday life situations that could happen to anyone, a device which can help make us aware of the consequences of our actions.


All in all the website is a fun, clever, interactive way to educate young people about safety on the internet.


From the website:   

Espen Barth Eide- a visit from the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Today the Minister of Foreign Affairs came to visit our school, Sandvika. Two hundred students and teachers gathered in the gymnasium to hear what he had to say. He spoke about many different subjects concerning foreign affairs, all of which were very interesting.  A subject he really elaborated on was the conflict in Syria. At the end of the lecture there were many questions regarding the use of chemical weapons in Syria, as well as his personal opinion on the conflict. He was a good speaker and engaged his audience, making it easier for you as a listener to approach the situation. He was well opinionated, but you could see clear ties to his labour party background, and to his post as Minister of Defence.          

Espen specifically emphasized the importance of foreign politics, and how it affects us in the long run. Politics on a domestic level are not nearly as decisive for our place in the international society as foreign politics. A relevant point of view presented by Espen Barth Eide, was the alleged fact that; foreign politics lay the premises and foundation for domestic politics. Without strong relations and alliances between Norway and the world around us, we would in no way be able to uphold and improve our already prosperous living, economy and democracy. According to Espen Barth Eide; a change in government would mean less foreign politics overall. Is this what Norway needs?


Espen Barth Eide at Sandvika:

Erin Brockvich

"Erin Brockovich" is a strong and moving film about a woman with the same name. She is a single mother to three, doesn't have a job when we first meet her, and is practically broke. She is doing her best to manage when she ends up in a car crash which led her to Ed Masry's law firm. Later she went back and asked for a job. There she stumbled upon a curious case she investigated further. She found out that PG&E were letting a chemical called Hexavalent Chromium into the town Hinkley's water supply, causing the families there to fall ill, and doing nothing about it.

All this ended in a huge law suit that involved a bigger law firm a well. In the end the case was not taken in front of a jury, but a single judge who demanded PG&E pay 333 million dollars to be distributed among the residents of Hinkley.


Now this isn't exactly how it went down in real life, but what did happen was that Erin Brockovich put in a huge amount into this case. With no proper law degree she had a slightly different way of doing things. Her language for one is very different from the formal language the "well-educated" lawyers use. It's much more rough and she swears a lot. But the way she talks does have impact on people. They believe in her, she is a good speaker. She manages to convince Ed to give her the job in the first place, then to take on the case and then when she goes round telling all the people about the water, they believe her.


As well as having the job she has, which is extremely time consuming, she has to juggle three children, which puts a great strain on her and her boyfriends relationship. In the film she falls ill, presumably due to stress, but that isn't mentioned.  Whilst the other bigger law firm they were working with only became interested because of the big sums of money they would acquire if the won, Erin cared about and was moved by the people she was helping.


"Say the name Erin Brockovich and you think, strong, tough, stubborn and sexy. Erin is all that and definitely more. She is a modern-day ?David? who loves a good brawl with today?s ?Goliaths.? She thrives on being the voice for those who don?t know how to yell. She is a rebel. She is a fighter. She is a mother. She is a woman. She is you and me."


This quote is from Erin's website http://www.brockovich.com/my-story/. If you watch any clips of her speaking you will automatically agree. She really does fight hard and wholeheartedly. Since the PG&E case in 1993 she has taken on a couple of other big cases, mostly on environmental issues. These include one of the biggest oil spills in US history, testing for hexavalent chromium in Oklahoma, finding the reason behind a sinkhole in Louisiana and a massive fish-kill due to pollution in Ogeechee river, Savannah. She's been on news reports and taken part in debates;  she is an activist as well as an environmentalist. 


On a different note the law suit with Erin and Ed has not been the only investigation done on PG&E. They have been sued a huge number of times, and have had to pay settlement on several occasions. Another major disaster the company has been through happened in San Francisco in 2010. A suburb was badly damaged, and several people lost their lives when a PG&E gas pipeline burst.  PG&E shares fell 8% on the Friday after the explosion reducing the company's market capital by $1.57 billion. The company has had to pay heavily for it's mistakes, and as of 2012 the president of the company has said the clients "have to gain trust in us again".


Through both personal and professional gain and losses, Erin Brockovich remains today an independent woman, although she was arrested on June 7, 2013, in Lake Mead, Nevada a, for operating a boat while intoxicated. 

If you could only see the beauty that comes from the ahes

We watched the short film ?The Butterfly Circus? in our lesson today. In short; the film is about a severely disabled man, who has no limbs named Will. He is in a carnival sideshow, on display like an animal. One day a circus director comes by and Will escapes with him. He then meets other circus artists, who have also had troubled backgrounds and been ?rescued? (for lack of better word) by the kind Director.

?The greater the struggle, the more glorious the triumph?. This quote is brilliant because it really captures the essence of the film. The message it sends is simple: the more difficulty and struggle you go through before achieving your goal, the better it will feel to finally get there. This applies to many of the characters we meet, ?the world?s strongest man? having been in lots of fights for example.


Something that could also reflect the meaning of the film is the Butterfly, or the caterpillar as it was in the start. A little boy (son of one of the performers) keeps a caterpillar in a jar. At the end of the film it breaks out of its cocoon and becomes a beautiful monarch butterfly. This in a way represents Wills emotional journey, going from feeling worthless, ugly, like nobody cares and generally unwanted to being a part of this great circus full of positive and caring people. In the end he really came out of his shell he?d been pushed into and bloomed.  

The film was really inspirational whitch i think was the purpose. Hope was also an important theme, and giving hope to those who may have none, something i find very touching. 

First Post!

First things first; a quick introduction. My name is Leah and I go to Sandvika High School outside Oslo. One of our first assignments was to create and write a post on this blog about being young in Norway and my expectations for this school year, so i guess I should start with the subject of being young. Being young is rather special, even if I sometimes don't appreciate it, because in the end, you're a "grown up" far longer than you're a youth- and there are certain privileges with being young, especially in Norway.

I guess I should also mention the free schooling, a huge benefit that I?m so grateful for. To think that so many young people don?t get that opportunity is really awful. It helps both the education of young peoples (obviously) and it?s a huge help to our social life. In Norway, social life comes before almost everything else, and without sounding to much like a travel guide; Norway offers a wide range of things to do while you?re young.    

Since Norway has such awesome nature and perfect climate (not to cold, not to hot), it's the perfect country for outdoors sports and activities; summer and winter. I personally love skiing and snowboarding, and trust me, there are plenty of slopes to choose from. But being young isn't just about doing the most, although that does seem to be important to people here. People are always rushing around trying to make everything, going from one thing to another. There just doesn't seem to be enough time! Now I don't know if that applies to other youths around the world, but I have a sneaking suspicion us Norwegians aren't the only ones who have no time. That is one of the reasons our long eight-week holiday is much appreciated.  

We?ve just started school again after out holiday, which I thoroughly enjoyed, thanks for asking. This is a great time to start talking about my expectations for the year. All I can say is new year, new opportunities. More subjects, more homework. New subjects, new teachers. These are all things I?m both anticipating and dreading. Homework for one thing is something I?m not looking to forward to, but it?s unavoidable. The teachers I could go on about all night, but I?m mostly content. It?s the opportunities and experience I?ll gain from taking subjects I?ve chosen myself. Also motivation I hope will come a lot easier because I actually want to work with the subjects I have this year.   



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