How are setting and conflict manipulated to explore topics/themes?

OBrien manipulates setting in the chapterSweetheart of Song Tra Bongin order to explore the topic of obligations in as different way than he could using the common setting of the book. OBrien focuses on obligations being hard for soldiers to uphold during the war as they are suddenly forced to change their life while fighting in the warHe does this by setting the story that takes place in this chapter in a very remote place which does not have much supervision and is also not directly involved in fighting in the war. Due to this, the soldiers have a very different attitude towards the war which does not resemble the usual mood that is present in the rest of the book. The soldiers are playing volleyball all day and they have much less work to do that what the general expectation would be. They also dont nearly as much about dieting due to the war or about being attacked as they are in a position were they do not have to go and fight every day. This is described on page 88 ofThe Things They Carriedwhere the author wrote: “There was plenty of cold beer, three hot meals a day, a tin roof aver his head. … You could let your hair growand you didnt have to polish your boots or snap off salutes or put up with the usual rearechelon nonsense.”  In comparison, with the rest of the book this chapter allows for the story to show a different side of the soldiers that is usually hidden as they normally have to follow strict rules. By having this setting OBrien shows the reader that the soldiers dont always have a great attitude towards the war and that they are not always motivated to keep up with the regulations. The characters in this story also show that the soldiers often want to have normality in their life which may seem like noting special to ups but is very rare for them. The chapter shows that the obligations that the soldiers have been often hard for them to uphold as they are not used to living in these circumstances. The unique setting also highlights the fact that the soldiers who are fighting in this war are mostly peopled who are not used to being in war and are used to the things we would consider normal. Due to this it is difficult for them to change their life to such a large extent. This can be seen especially well in this chapter as they are trying to get closer to what they are used to having by playing volleyball, eating 3 hot meals and not wearing all of their equipment throughout the day.


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English Summer Reading Blog Post

Is it courage or shame that motivates bravery?

In general, I would say that bravery is motivated by courage as bravery usually requires having courage. Even though there are probably some situation where shame also plays a big role in motivating bravery, it is more often courage that causes a person to act bravely. In the book that we are reading I would say that shame may be a part in some cases especially in group situations if people convince each other to do something as not participating could make them feel ashamed to some sense. However, I do not think that this is as common when talking about war as it is a very big commitment for someone if they sign up for the military. I would also assume that courage plays a bigger role than shame as going to war generally requires people to have courage as they go somewhere to risk their lives fighting for their country.


After reading the book, I somewhat changed my mind about courage being the primary motivator for bravery as a large part of the book is about O’Brien not wanting to go to the war as he does not agree with the reasons behind it. He considered leaving the country as they had send him a draft letter which would have required him to join the army. However, after reaching the US-Canadian border he decided that he did not want to be called a coward for not fighting for the US in the vietnam war. Due to this, he decided out of shame to take part in the war. As he was in a boat looking across at Canada he imagined seeing people telling him he is a coward and he feels ashamed for wanting to escape from having to join the war. For that reason, the book largely talks about shame being the motivator for bravery and not courage which is different from what I would have thought initially. I changed my mind somewhat about courage being the primary motivator for bravery after having read more about how it was like for O’Brien one he received the draft notice. I now think that same can be just as big of a motivator as the book showed a perspective of the how it can be like for people who are forced to fight by their country which I did not think about as much. I also previously thought that pressure from the community surrounding someone would have an effect on smaller decisions but I did not think that it would play such a big role in perhaps life changing decisions. After reading the book however, I know think that the community of someone can have a huge effect on life changing decisions as well.



Should everyone learn to code?

In my current design unit, the topic is coding. After learning the very basic functions of Python for a few weeks and creating some simple applications such as hangman, a prime finding program, and a somewhat working sentence generator, we were asked if everyone should learn to code while they are at school. After re

After having looked at how integrated computer science is in our world at the moment and after having learned a small amount about how to create programs, I think it is a very important skill which should be taught in class. Much like the other sciences, computer science and coding are now a skill which is being used in all sorts of different jobs and taught for all sorts of university courses. For example, coding can be found in medicine, marketing and of course in more obvious places such as statistics, engineering, and many other sciences.

Coding is being widely used in so many different jobs and places and more and more business sectors are starting to use computer science

“To make computer science opportunities accessible to all students, we need to start in elementary school, where the playing field is still relatively level.” (Hadi Partovi , 2014)

I do think that coding can be a very useful life skill which is why I think that it should be tought at school to students from a young age so that they have these skill when they grow up.

Thank you for reading,




Teach Coding As Early as Possible:


Koch Snowflake Real World Application

In this blog post, I am looking at an example of a fractal which is the Koch Snowflake. The Koch snowflake is made by adding triangles half the size of the original to each side of the triangle. This is repeated as can be seen above, and n represents the number of times new triangles have been added.


In this investigation, I looked at the perimeter of the triangle, which can be found from the formulaScreen Shot 2017-01-18 at 08.34.53.png.

By using this formula, you can find out the perimeter of the triangle with any given number of sides. However, since I wanted to compare this to a distance I used this formula to find another which gives the definition of n  based on the perimeter. By doing this I compared some very long and some shorter lengths to n to show how far the triangle perimeter would be if it were to be flattened out completely.

First I looked at Zurich Airport to John F. Kennedy Airport in NYC.


As you can see above n would only be equal to 67.62 transitions which would obviously not be possible since it has to be a whole number, but it shows how a triangle with an area of less than 1 cm^2 could theoretically be stretched out to cover a much larger distance.


Next I looked at the distance from earth to Mars. That would be an average of 225 million kilometres, and the snowflake would only have to be slightly over its 104th transition for this distance to be covered.

Next I decided to look at Earth to the nearest galaxy which, as it turns out is 23651300000000000000 kilometres or 2.5E+06 light years. I also looked at the furthest known galaxy from earth which would be 129612000000000000000000.00 km or 1.37003E+10 light years. These distances would be equal to the perimeter when n is 192 and about a fifth and 222.193. This shows that the perimeter of the Koch Snowflake as with all fractals is able to reach any distance as the perimeter will eventually reach infinity.



This can be seen very clearly as with slightly less than 223 transitions the perimeter could theoretically reach the furthest known distance from earth.


To find the value for which version of the Koch Snowflake’s perimeter would be able to cover a certain distance, I used my calculator and wrote the formula Screen Shot 2017-01-18 at 08.34.53.png and changed the P to be the Y so that it could create a graph. I also created an Excel sheet to calculate the perimeter based on the version of the snowflake. There I multiplied 3 by (4/3) to the power of n-1 (n being the version of the triangle).

I then looked for values on the calculator based on the distance that I wanted to cover. I then checked if what I got was correct in the excel sheet.

I also had to convert the kilometer values from the internet into cm so that it worked with the formula I was using since the Snowflake was measured in cm.

All of the calculations were quite exact since they were based purely on the mathematical equations and the units were also converted. However, since the snowflake’s version can not be in between two whole numbers, in order for the perimeter to actually reach a certain distance it would have to be rounded up. As the distance increases rounding up will result in a much, much longer perimeter than actually required as there is more and more distance added to the perimeter with each new version.


Thank you for reading,


Letter to Mr. Hewlett Johnson

Dear Mr. Hewlett Johnson,

I am writing to you to encourage you to rethink what you had said when you visited the Soviet Union. In a quote, you said: “Nothing strikes the visitor of the Soviet Union more forcibly than the lack of fear.” However, I have to disagree with you, since people were forcefully employed and they worked as much as the possibly could because they feared not having enough food or worse getting punished. The system people live in is not nearly the way you describe it. Everyone is employed, yes, but they are often forced to live in horrid conditions. You say “lack of fear”, but actually so much of what is happening is because of fear.


“Nothing strikes the visitor of the Soviet Union more forcibly than the lack of fear.”


I agree with you that there are none that are unemployed, however, the jobs given to some are extremely harsh and some that were unemployed were just sent away no matter what had caused them to be in this state. People made sure that they strictly  followed regulations, not because everything was perfect but because they knew what had happened to others.

There were many improvements, which increased societies welfare from what it had been before, but this was all at a very high cost. People’s lives might have been improved to some extent now, but this was at a high cost. Many people had to die to make this transition possible, and the civilian population that survived was still scared from what had happened around them.

I hope this has caused you to reconsider your stand on what the Soviet Union is like, since even though people seem taken care of, due to no unemployed, their situation is still far away from being free of fear.



How to inspire creativity

Since I have been asked to do write about what things you can do to inspire creativity, I will talk about my own experiences with this topic. To inspire my own creativity I often listen to music as well as move around in different spaces so that I am not constantly in the same exact space. To do this I sometimes go outside or just move around in the area I am currently in, also depending a lot on the weather. If it is nice outside I often work there depending on whether this is practical or not. If I need lots of stuff with me I usually stay inside, often at my desk. If I feel that I can’t think of ideas for a project I usually change the environment I am in which helps me think more creatively.

Laptop on a desk with headphones and a notepad

As well, I also listen to music for many of the things I do where creativity is needed for example in design, art or creative writing. Psychology Today also states that “Music seems to increase creativity” as well as saying that walking can also increase the creativity of a person. When working for longer times taking a break can often be beneficial to creativity especially if, like suggested by Psychology Today you go walking for a few minutes.

Do you agree with these methods or do you use other ways to increase your own creativity?



Thank you for reading.























Literature and Understanding Different Cultures.

How does literature affect your understanding of a culture?

Literature such as Persepolis is able to improve understanding of a different culture by giving you new thoughts about how life there might be like. Especially if you only consider what you hear about in the news or from social media, one’s thoughts about what a culture is like can differ greatly from what it is actually like to be part of it. Books that have been written by people that come from other cultures give you information that is much more whole and looking at all parts of the culture than for example news, which is usually focused on very specific parts which do not give you a good idea what the culture is like.Persepolis is a good example of this because it is written by someone who experienced a culture because she grew up there and talks about her experiences. Most of the time, when we get information from foreign places it is from someone that does not live there and has not experienced the culture the same way that perhaps a local person would have. Having lived in the culture gives people the ability to give much more accurate information that will help readers understand that culture better.

Persepolis is a good example of this because it is written by someone who experienced a culture because she grew up there and talks about her experiences. Most of the time, when we get information from foreign places it is from someone that does not live there and has not experienced the culture the same way that perhaps a local person would have. Having lived in the culture gives people the ability to give much more accurate information that will help readers understand that culture better.

Literature plays an important role in allowing people to understand more about different cultures due to having the ability to make you imagine what it is really like, not by viewing it from a distance but almost like actually being part of that culture.

Thanks for reading.


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What does it mean to be a global citizen?


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In this very short post, I will look at Chris Jordan’s “Running the numbers” artworks about how different resources are being used or wasted in the United States. I found his artwork called Toothpicks which he made in 2008 the most significant image because it shows the number of trees that are being cut down within the US just to make junk mail which is just thrown away by the people that receive it. To depict the trees used each year for this purpose he used 100 million tothpicks. I find this an important message because it shows how people consume recourses without even considering their purpose.  



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Junk Mails by 0Four


Links to resources used:


Thanks for reading!