The Rise of Empires – Ottoman on Netflix

This is part of the new breed of historical programs on Netflix that are part dramatisation and part recitation of historical facts from learned professors in the area. I have watched some about Russian history too namely the Czars. I will write about this also in due course.

This series has 6 episodes covering the legendary siege of Constantinople in 1453. This was conducted by Mehmet the second against Roman Emperor Constantine the 11th. It is narrated by Charles Dance the man who voiced Tywin Lannister in Game of Thrones.

I think this is a fascinating period of history starting with the astonishing takeover where 23 armies including his fathers had failed before him. Each episode covers a different bit of the siege from the initial plans, the artillery attack, naval attack to sneakier tactics and finally the success.

This follows on from previous posts I have written about the Ottoman Empire and when I eventually visit Istanbul there will be some more as the city is bound to yield many interesting things to write about.

The Byzantine Empire was much earlier and I have already written about that too in a couple of posts. Byzantines.

Best wishes

Angela

The Wonders of the Universe by Brian Cox

This is a 4 part series on BBC 4 where he uses information gained from previous series of his like The Planets, The Wonders of Life or Forces of Nature, to explore in ever increasing detail how and when our world came to be formed.

The first part Destiny talks about how entropy was discovered by accident using the 2nd law of thermodynamics. This is a given for those that like trains, maths or physics which is usually the same people but it explains how time travels in one direction only and therefore we can see the difference between the past and the future. Cause and effect means you can define your place in time by looking at the state of decay of your surroundings. The Arrow of Time indicates the passage of time which we are all subject to even the stars although their timescale is much, much greater than our own.

Part 2 is about Stardust. Here he analyses the fact that everything in the universe is made of the same 92 elements. We can discover that we are in fact the same as stars by looking at the reactions of those chemical compounds. It turns out that to create all of the elements necessary for life stars have to die. The bigger the star, the more elements are created due to the energy given off from the heat that is created from its destruction.

The 3rd part deals with gravity and is entitled Falling (No Alicia Keys here;)) Falling as it turns out is an essential way to explain how gravity works using Einstein’s theory of relativity as our guide. Newton’s laws of physics can only take us so far and in fact they are not sufficient to explain things like the odd elliptical orbit of Mercury. When talking about gravity you have to mention black holes from which nothing not even light can escape.

Part 4 is on Messengers. This is about the different forms light can take from straight forward white sunlight to a rainbow to infra red and even radio waves. Heat itself is just another form of light only on a different wavelength. Here he talks about the age of the universe and how while it was relatively easy to break the sound barrier it was much more difficult to break the speed of light. For much of history even didn’t even know that light had a speed until it was discovered that the speed of the orbit of Io one of Jupiter’s moon seemed to differ depending on what time of year it was. The orbit in fact never changed just our position in relation to it. As we got further away light took longer to reach us therefore we thought it was changing rather than ourselves. The speed of light is now what is termed a light year and this is used to measure how far away distant stellar objects are.

To compare methods I also watched a program on the Discovery Science channel done by Stephen Hawking about whether “God did create the universe or not.”

It is his belief that a divine creator could not possibly have had time to create anything because of the quantum laws of physics. This is how the universe could be created out of nothing utilising Einstein’s theory of relativity – E = MC2. As time didn’t exist before matter/energy and space was created by the Big Bang; nobody else did either.

Best wishes

Angela

The Code on Netflix

Here in a 3 part series, mathematics is examined to find out the underlying rules of the universe. Famed mathematician Marcus du Sautoy looks into the Golden ratio, Pi and other notable numbers to find out how they define and rule our lives without us even realising. This is pure mathematics for those geeks out there that have a need to understand the workings of the universe. There is no theory here.

Episode 1 is all about those iconic numbers that we learn about at school to help us work out angles, and all those other things required in mathematics.

Episode 2 looks at how nature utilises this knowledge to build honeycomb structures like the Giants Causeway in Ireland or a bee’s nest.

Episode 3 looks at how chaos theory turns things that look completely random like the life cycle of a lemming into something that can be understood in a logical way. It also covers probability theory by trying to predict who is going to win in a rock, paper, scissors contest.

Although this may sound dull especially in comparison to someone like Brian Cox we need different kinds of people for different jobs.

Best wishes

Angela

Advocating for autism

As a proud autistic adult I have written 2 new books and these are about how to deal with the traumatic and emotional events that life throws at us like dealing with grief, social occasions, adolescence etc

Imagina and A Life of Ice and Fire.

This is in addition to Autistic Communication and Autistic Education.

My other books are on How to learn the Greek language, Greek life, More Greek, How to learn languages and finally A Life of Halcyon Days which is a romantic chick lit book set in Greece.

Best wishes

Angela

On listening, enjoying but not understanding (Hyperlexia or just Autism?)

I’ve just realised that as much as I enjoy listening to the songs by Giorgios Sabanis and especially his Logia pou Kaine (Words that burn) album; I haven’t the faintest idea what he is talking about upon reading the English translations – Giorgios Sabanis lyric translations.

I’ve listened to the lyrics as he has sung them with accompanying written lyrics, even reading them at the same time but there meaning seems to have slipped my mind. I’ve watched the videos to his songs and thought that I had intuited the meaning since there are generally evocative and seem to go well with the song but I haven’t grasped the finer points in the slightest.

This should make me depressed but I see it as another aspect of autism. It is after all a social communication disorder. It took until I was a teenager to start to get the finer points of socialising in English so you could look upon my progress in Greek as though I am a teenager again. If I have to do this with every language I want to learn it’s going to be one painful nightmare repeated over and over again. I really hope this isn’t necessary. The emotional growth is nice but does it have to be so painful each time?

Best wishes

Angela

Grammar is essential to interpretation in foreign languages

https://lyricstranslate.com/en/se-sena-stamatise-i-kardia-σε-σένα-σταμάτησε-η-καρδιά-heart-stopped-you.html

My heart stopped with you

This is a song that immediately struck me the first time I heard it. It’s a pop/ rock song but it’s also strangely calming as it’s streamlined. I’ve listened to it countless times and I thought I understood the lyrics as they are quite passionate and evoke your emotions. I therefore thought I knew what the song was about because his speech is relatively clear and distinct. To me it was about love but an all encompassing love that disables you from functioning. It describes the feeling when you are head over heels for someone and it’s just like a bolt from the blue as we say to explain something completely unexpected.

While this is not completely the theme of the song upon reading the actual lyrics, it never occurred to me before despite the fact I have most likely looked up this song before and I’ve certainly tried to analyse its content. I have been passively watching and listening to songs for years with an inkling of their meaning from the emotions that I perceived from the videos but they haven’t been correct. I need to translate the words to get the full picture. My arrogance at my own ability and my naïveté have probably both contributed to this. Plus being selfish and not allowing anyone to critique me as I was too emotional and sensitive myself. I didn’t have enough life experience or emotional maturity to comprehend the message of the song.

The song explains that love is blind as the guy is still stuck on his ex. He can’t get over her as much as he wants to as there are still so many reminders of their relationship. He is still wondering what he has done to lose her. He wants to get back with her as he still loves her and thinks that this will stop the pain he is feeling. He is becoming bitter towards the end and wants to cut out all trace of her from him.That’s certainly different to usual and no wonder I never picked that up.

Have you ever had that before?

Best wishes

Angela

When you try to control everything, it ends up controlling you

With one look – Μ´Ενα Σου Βλέμμα by Γιοργιος Σαμπανης Giorgios Sabanis and the lyrics https://lyricstranslate.com/en/μ’-ένα-σου-βλέμμα-your-sight.html

Pop music doesn’t usually make videos that makes you think about real world issues but this one was so evocative that I had to watch it again and again to get what it truly was about. The words went too fast for me to read initially so I paused it several times and with the help of Google to make sure I was translating correctly, I managed to get the full gist of things.

The first girl’s story,

I thought I was stronger than food. I could put it in me whenever I wanted but also take it out again. Finally I got what fed me to destroy me….

Νόμιζα ότι είμαι πιο δυνατή από φαγητό. Όποτε θέλω το βάζω μέσα μου, όποτε το βγάζω. Κι έφτασα τελικά ο, τι με τρέφει,να με καταστρέψει …

The first guy’s story

I had a passion for and was addicted to social media. This was the only way that I could cope with my life. But this was not living.

Το πάθος μου κι ο εθισμός μου για την εικονική πραγματικότητα, ήταν ο μόνος τρόπος που είχα για να αντέχω την πραγματικότητα. Αλλά η δειλία δεν είναι ζωή.

The second girl’s story

Sometimes he beats me to show me his love. Afterward he asks for my forgiveness. He tells me that he will change. Eventually I changed.

Καμία φορά με χτυπάει, για να μου δείξει την αγάπη του. Μετά μου ζητάει συγνώμη. Μου λέει θα αλλάζει. Τελικά άλλαζα εγώ.

The second guy’s story

I didn’t care how I made the money. I just did it to ensure I had a good standard of living. The resulting guilt and loneliness made all the victories pyrrhic.

Δε με ένοιαζε ο τρόπος. Μόνο να βγάζω λεφτά για να ζω καλά … Με νίκησαν στα σημεία, η ενοχή και η μοναξιά …

Its a distillation of what it is to be Greek but a modern Greek who is worldly so experiences what everyone else in the world struggles with – Food in the form of Anorexia and Bulimia, Internet addiction, Monetary Greed in the form of being a ruthless and cutthroat business man, Gluttony, Loneliness, Domestic Abuse, Depression and feeling subhuman like you have lost yourself and your humanity.

I feel this needs to be part of the Thriving Autistic Adult Series

Best wishes

Angela

Architecture

I recently went to Tenerife on holiday and while I was there I took numerous pictures of the different styles of buildings. I’m a very visual person so I like line, shape, form, colour and all those things which an architect might consider when designing a building. I had also been watching the Art of Design on Netflix along with the Art of Architecture on Sky Arts.

Amistrad Circus
Amistrad Circus

Whenever I go anywhere the buildings are what interest me as I like to see the craftsmanship that has gone into making them. You can tell just by looking whether it was put in a hurry or whether it was a labour of love over many years. This may seem an odd thing to contemplate while you are away but I’ve never been like anyone else. Also when everyone your surrounded by is in involved in building or property in some way it seems in if it didn’t already reside in you.

Since I like drawing, painting and photography it would seem natural for me to be drawn to art galleries and museums. While in Tenerife I went to pretty much everything available in Santa Cruz which is the capital. I gained an insight into their culture and the light which is available there.

College of Ildelfonso
College of Ildelfonso

When I was in Berlin I also went to many art galleries and museums but there is so much more to absorb here that you need to take a break. I got overwhelmed with the amount of information that I was taking in and physically couldn’t read anymore. The architecture here is more of the kind that while is impressive, it’s so dark that it’s not the kind of thing you want to be pictured by. The history associated with these buildings is immense and thought provoking. There certainly not the happy colours of Tenerife.

The Reichstag - German parliament
The Reichstag – German parliament

How to evolve work to benefit autistics

I read Digital Darwinism this morning on Blinkist and it spoke about changing businesses to account for the internet in the way we did for first electricity and then secondly computers. These have become integral parts of our lives but it took some time to accept them in roles that were more than just bolt-on additions. We need to do this with our workforce’s. We need to utilise location independence and free ourselves from the restricting 9-5 m-f culture. This is another barrier that can be removed with some innovative thinking. It mentions the perils that come from not adapting but also the successes that can come from revolutionising employment. For more information about different work practices read or listen to on Audible Cal Newport’s various books or Scott H Young for inspiration.

We need to evolve work so that it benefits autistic people.

  • Autistic people are kind, caring, idealistic and often put the needs of others before themselves.
  • This means that they will help others often to the detriment of themselves in the workplace.
  • They will also not promote themselves so they won’t get the due rewards that comes from their achievements.
  • They are also extremely empathetic to the point that your unresolved issues will cause them emotional distress.
  • This means that we don’t fare well in the closeted atmosphere of the typical office. We are not to be found gossiping around the water cooler and certainly not about what happened last night on Love Island etc.

It is shocking that only 1 in 6 autistics are in work. Not having work is a major contributor to depression. This is highly prevalent in the autism community. Anxiety is another factor that ranks highly and is caused by uncertainty. Not knowing what your going to do in your life or how your going to survive from one day to the next makes you ill. A lot of autistics feel suicidal as it affects them that much.Monique Botha

We have difficulty blocking out the trauma of the world yet to the average person everyday life isn’t traumatic. We can’t desensitise like you do. We are present in life much more than you. We are worrying about the bigger issues of the world like Greta Thunberg for instance. We are not often motivated by money or material possessions. We are striving for self actualisation.

There are reasons we like gardening (Alan Gardner), animals (Temple Grandin) or computer science (majority of Silicon Valley). These are all unemotional things in terms of human emotions. This is what disables us so we are unable to communicate. We are have a lot to offer we just have to be given an environment in which to do so.

My personal experience

I tried to become a part of the workforce but I’m too stubborn and resistant to allow myself to enter something so completely alien to me. When I went for interviews I never sold myself as I didn’t really want the jobs. I just felt I had to go through the motions and somehow I would earn a living. It always felt completely inauthentic. Even the clothing was distasteful to me!

I would like to work but I’ve never found anywhere that was comfortable for me because the energy present was toxic. I am a person that will walk into somewhere and if it’s too noisy I will walk straight back out again. I have done on several occasions. The people I have been with are sometimes ok with this and sometimes not. I have never found social environments inviting because of this unsettling behaviour. Since all workplaces have people they can be classed like that.

I have also never understood the way the average person keeps going into work even though they hate it. It completely drains them so they live for the holidays or the weekend. They numb themselves with alcohol and moan to their colleagues yet do nothing to improve their situation. When such things are classed as normality is it any wonder I have stayed far away from that.

Best wishes

Angela

Shadowing

  • This is a new technique that I have learnt that helps to address what is usually lacking in your language studies if your an introvert like me and really dislike talking to people.
    1. You need to get hold of some clear audio (an audiobook) that is at your current level.
      You also next to get hold of the corresponding text (e and physical is the most beneficial but you choose which is the best for you).
      Next you need a recording device, there is one on your phone.
  • When choosing your text make sure that the subject matter is interesting to you otherwise it will not be as useful to you and you will be wasting your time.

      Have the text in front of you and listen to the audio at the same time.
  • If you are someone like me this is quite difficult because I absorb information at light speed. I’m not really reading but seem to pick up the gist as quickly as a sponge sucks up water. (Most of the time)

    1. In this example though we are going for pronunciation practice here. So we’re trying to assimilate as much of the sound in terms of its physical qualities. By that I mean it’s intonation, spacing, pitch, rhythm, accent, emotion etc as possible. All of the different components are important here to get an authentic sound which is what we are aiming for.This is so that we can repeat it into the recorder as accurately as possible. This round is on a phrase by phrase basis.
      Then we try to repeat as much of it as possible listening to the audio recording from the beginning again. This is so that we can get a flow to the whole piece rather than isolating each sentence.
      Next we are going to compare our recorded speech with that of the prerecorded speech to check for differences.
      Finally we repeat the process until we cannot distinguish our own speech from that of the recording. (This maybe optimism as you may get bored if this doesn’t happen quickly).

    Again if you are like me, your reluctant to listen to your own voice recordings because what you hear doesn’t sound anything like you think you sound. It’s sounds pretty awful as it’s weak, pathetic and indistinct a bit like a newborn mewling kitten.

    This is the link if you wish to learn Russian from Max its creator Shadowing.

    If you have been following my blog you will know that this approach is next to impossible to apply in Greek. I have recently found audio books on YouTube but I have had to separately purchase the e and physical books from Amazon. It took quite some time to arrive as even though they were on Amazon UK, it had to be shipped from Germany.

    I have started to follow a lady on WordPress un petite bibliophile (this platform unless your reading this on my fb page) who reviews Greek children’s books in Greek. However, without access to the texts themselves; they are of limited use to me for this particular technique. They are simple children’s books but they can still teach valuable concepts. I like to use them for grammar and reading practice. It helps my comprehension and understanding having her texts there to consult.

    Best wishes

    Angela