Real ⇄ Fake

“Storytelling is what engages us, not facts and figures.”

YES! YES! YES!

This is why I encourage you, students,  to add good discussion questions and your own opinions and experiences into your weekly portfolio pages.

There’s a lot to talk about in this video, including “fake news” and what we believe on the internet … the importance of citing your sources … the difference between fact and fiction. And the motivation behind video editing (or news media decisions). Is it to manipulate the audience?

And BRD students, the correct answer to “Where did you find that information?” is NOT “The internet.” Can you explain why?

Another discussion question: What do you like and dislike about nature documentaries?


I’m taking a break from posting on this Topics site for Golden Week. I’ll be back with more topics on Monday, May 8th, but there are lots of topics in the archives if you’re looking for English input.


☀️ ENJOY YOUR GOLDEN WEEK ☀️

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Diversions and distractions

This short video from The Met explains how different lighting makes us see one famous painting very differently, and probably more as the artist intended us to see it.

… which of course makes me think of the classic movie “Gaslight” and its relevance today. The movie is the origin of the verb “to gaslight someone”.

It also makes me think of the phrase “bread and circuses”

and this amazing circus performance I saw on Colbert the other day:

Discussion and writing prompts:

  • Have you ever been to a circus?
  • Should circuses have real animals?
  • How would you explain the concept of “bread and circuses” in Japanese?  In your own words in English?
  • What do you think are the main “bread and circuses” of today’s society?
  • Have you seen the movie “Gaslight”?
  • How do you say “to gaslight someone” in Japanese? Can you think of an example from the news, history, or a book, movie or manga you have read or seen, of someone being gaslighted?
  • How would you explain the differences between the words “diversion” and “distraction”? Try using both in detailed example sentences.

Should we die?

A thought-provoking article about whether death may not be inevitable anymore.

“Should we die?” (from the Atlantic)

This video is funny in parts and eye-rolling in parts. (Unable to embed; click on the screenshot below and the video should open in a new window. If not, you can find it in the article.)

should-we-die

A couple of reactions:

Do you really need a computer to tell you you’ve reached 66% serenity while meditating?

“Will aging dictators be able to stay in power forever?” (a cold chill down my spine)

Writing prompts:

Does having a “death deadline” encourage you to live your life to the fullest?

What aspects of IoT (the Internet of Things) do you think are beneficial to society?

Fish have feelings

Fish, it appears, experience emotions and can feel pain.

This is an interview from NPR’s “Fresh Air” with the author of a new book called “What a Fish Knows”. You can listen to the interview and follow along with the transcript.

A couple of things you’ll learn: some fish (and even sharks) like to be petted, and herring communicate by farting.

Should we rethink how we catch and kill fish? Should we stop eating fish altogether?