Total Pageviews

Saturday, March 19, 2011


One of our most innovative, popular thinkers takes on-in exhilarating style-one of our key questions: Where do good ideas come from?

With Where Good Ideas Come From, Steven Johnson pairs the insight of his bestselling Everything Bad Is Good for You and the dazzling erudition of The Ghost Map and The Invention of Air to address an urgent and universal question: What sparks the flash of brilliance? How does groundbreaking innovation happen? Answering in his infectious, culturally omnivorous style, using his fluency in fields from neurobiology to popular culture, Johnson provides the complete, exciting, and encouraging story of how we generate the ideas that push our careers, our lives, our society, and our culture forward.

Beginning with Charles Darwin's first encounter with the teeming ecosystem of the coral reef and drawing connections to the intellectual hyperproductivity of modern megacities and to the instant success of YouTube, Johnson shows us that the question we need to ask is, What kind of environment fosters the development of good ideas? His answers are never less than revelatory, convincing, and inspiring as Johnson identifies the seven key principles to the genesis of such ideas, and traces them across time and disciplines.

Most exhilarating is Johnson's conclusion that with today's tools and environment, radical innovation is extraordinarily accessible to those who know how to cultivate it. Where Good Ideas Come From is essential reading for anyone who wants to know how to come up with tomorrow's great ideas.

I think this video from TED also might be interesting:)

Just liked this quotation

If you are interested, you will do what is convenient. If you are committed, you will do whatever it takes.”

Sunday, March 13, 2011


Today on EFL Classroom 2.0 site I came across the topic concerned teaching poetry , how it might be challenging at times, in fact it is really difficult - tomorrow I give a class for Upper-Intermediate teens and it will be all about poetry (metaphor and simile)! I'm a bit nervous today - the thing is I need to get tuned somehow...
Otherwise how will I be able to get my students interested in the lesson material?
So I spent plenty of time just reading and listening to random poems on the net, started making a glogster poster and finally I found this poem. Honestly, it's not  Shakespeare but it touched some cords in me , 'cos it expresses my personal and teaching philosophy.

The Challenge

by Dr. Heartsill Wilson
Blessed is the man, indeed,
Who in this life can find;
A purpose that can fill his days,
And goals to fill his mind!

The world is filled with little men
Content with where they are;
Not knowing joys success can bring,
No will to go that far!

Yet, in this world there is a need,
For men to lead the rest
To rise above the "average" life,
By giving of their best!

Would you be one, who dares to try,
When challenged by the task;
To rise to heights you've never seen,
Or is that too much to ask?

This is your day--a world to win
Great purpose to achieve;
Accept the challenge of your goals
And in yourself, believe!

You will be proud of what you've done,
When at the close of day;
You look back on your battles won,
Content, you came this way!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Just a coincidence?

   The dictionary defines the word coincidence as a striking occurrence of two or more events at one time apparently by a mere chance.  Is a chance just a part of Fate?  Coincidences happen to all of us all the time, we find them really amazing and always enjoy sharing OMG Stories (Oh My God! Stories) with our friends, colleagues and relatives.

Have you ever been caught by a feeling "Oh! That very thing happened to me in the past!"? This phenomenon is called "deja vu" which in French means "I saw it". Do you think it's nothing but a coincidence?

Coincidences fascinate us but only few admit that they believe in that. Men tend to say that being superstitious is just a waste of their precious time. However, deep inside we have an uncanny feeling that something supernatural exists, we just don't allow ourselves to think about it, we say "Things happen" or "c'est la Vie".  Right?

Is it just a coincidence  that a certain number can refer to certain events or certain people? I got struck by that question a  while ago - the main numbers for my family: my husband, my daughter and me are four and two.
For  instance, our Birthday months are in 2 months each - August, November, January. 
As for Birthday dates- (13/17/21) there's 4-day difference. My husband is 4 years older than me. We got married  in 1996 and our daughter was born in 1998 -2  years later when I was 24. Our surname has 4 letters. In fact, there are more examples but  they are either too private or too trivial. 

Personally I find 9/11 ( terrorist attack to New York in 2001) a very impressive example. Did you know that.....

  •  New York City has 11 letters and it's the 11th state
  •  Afghanistan has 11 letters. 
  •  Ramsin Yuseb, the terrorist who intended to raze the Twin Towers to the ground in 1993, and George W Bush have 11 letters in their names.

This might be a sheer coincidence, but this gets more interesting:

  •  The first plane that crashed into Twin Towers was flight #11
  •  Flight 11 was carrying 92 passengers. 9 + 2 = 11
  •  The second plane which also hit Twin Towers, was carrying 65 passengers. 6+5=11
  •  The tragedy was on September 11, or 9/11 as it is now known. 9 +1 + 1 = 11
  • The date is equal to the US emergency services telephone number  911. 9 + 1 + 1 = 11.

 And to stretch the odds even further, 
  •  The total number of victims inside all the hi-jacked planes was   254. 2 + 5 + 4 = 11.
  •  September 11 is a day number 254 of the calendar year. Again 2 + 5 + 4 = 11. 

   If you got intersted, you can learn more about that tradegy coincidences here.
    Is it just a coincidence? In 2000 I started teaching Lesya Basyrova, a girl who was really  bright and determined.( BTW now she's also a teacher of English) From the very beginning  I had a feeling that we were on the same wavelength! 2 years had passed before I asked her who was her first English Teacher. You can imagine how I was amazed to hear that it was the same teacher as mine - Galina Ivanovna Sarayeva, now deceased. She taught both of us for 2 years (5th-6th grades)...

     The history has more remarkable examples, namely, life stories of Abraham Lincoln and John Kennedy (JFK). Have you heard that....
Abraham Lincoln was elected in 1860, JFK became the President in 1960. They were both killed on Friday in front of their wives. Both successors were called Johnson, Andrew Jonson was born in 1808 and Lyndon Johnson was born in 1908. Both assassinators,John Wilkes Booth and Lee Harvey Oswald, were killed before their trial. Lincoln's secretary, named Kennedy, cautioned him against going to the theatre and JFK's secretary whose name was Lincoln also asked him not to go to Dallas. As you know, Lincoln was shot in the theatre and Booth ran to a warehouse. JFK was supposedly shot from a warehouse and Oswald ran to a theatre. It's just a happenstance, isn't it?

Coincidences are a highly exploited topic in the media, for instance various Doppelgangers projects on TV

or  "Samesies" - a project on the Internet  started to highlight how different people from different places happen to take the same photos.
 This guy, Zurab Akhmedov,  is from Russia. He lives in a small town Engels and works as a paediatrician. Like Barack Abama, he has a wide smile, writes with his left hand and likes whisky. Sure they are not twins:)

Yes, things happen. Unfortunately, you seldom know the reason. And anything, which is beyond your  comprehension,  seems to be menacing and daunting. You keep asking yourself "Why?"and get no answer just a crawling thought inside "Isn't it the hand of Fate?" or maybe it's a Matrix or a sort of "information field"?  Anyway, it's not you who take decisions, everything had been predestined before you were born. That might be really demotivating at times.

When I decided to write about coincidences in life, I asked myself if this topic would be interesting for anyone.
Actually, I can only hope that my article finds its reader. Indeed, all people might be roughly divided into three camps- "Believers", "Non-believers"and "Don't- Cares". And what group do you belong to?

PS. I guess you might like this-
Linguistic coincidences:
Arabic akh 'brother' and Mongolian akh 'brother'
Bikol aki 'child' and Korean aki 'child' 
Arabic ana 'I' and Gondi ana 'I' 
Arabic anta 'though' and Japanese anta 'though'
Arabic ard 'earth' and Dutch aard 'earth' 
Hebrew ari 'lion' and Tamil ari 'lion'
Hebrew awir 'air' and Welsh awyr 'air' 
Kyrgyz ayal 'woman' and Parji ayal 'woman'  
English bad and Persian bad 'bad'
English chop and Uzbek chop 'chop' 
English dog and Mbabaram dog 'dog'
- and hundreds of others.