American history

Several links to help you learn about the most important events in the history of the USA. Feel free to comment and add any other links below!

– Great moments in US history:

– Important events in US history:

– the history of Ellis Island :

– the Statue of Liberty:

– D-Day :

– Rosie the riveter (Idea of progress/myths and heroes) :

Talking about the future….what if everyone had a car?

This video comes from the new BBC series What If? : a series which looks into the future in key areas of science, politics, education and our personal life.

In this video BBC News looks at the ways in which new technology can help to keep us all mobile.

There are more than a billion cars in the world today – and by the middle of the century there could be up to four times as many, as the growing middle classes of countries like India, China and Brazil seek the freedom and status car ownership appears to offer.

But if so many people want to drive – how will we prevent global gridlock?


gridlock= saturation, bouchons (sur la route), impasse (dans des discussions)


Phonebloks – the smartphone that never dies


Could this be the phone of the future? The idea for the world’s first sustainable (durable) smartphone is certainly creating a buzz on the social networks at the moment!

Have you ever broken your phone screen and decided to buy a new phone? Or perhaps you don’t have enough memory for all your music downloads? Would you like to be able to build your own phone? Phonebloks could be the solution.

Dutchman Dave Hakkens is currently developing Phonebloks, a sustainable smartphone made up of small, easily replaced modules. In theory, the smartphone would never have to be replaced, each part is removable and this makes it easier to personalize your phone.  For example, if you like taking photos you could incorporate a better camera model, of the brand of your choice.

The idea is currently making a buzz on the social networks and interested parties or individuals can support the idea via Twitter or Facebook. The developer is not asking for money but wants to know if demand would be large enough to be able to launch (lancer) it.

Some critics have said that it will be impossible to make the idea work, that it will be difficult to make all the different parts compatible. It has also been named « the Lego phone »!

What do you think? Would you be prepared to give up your smartphone for this one?

Watch the video below:

The idea of progress

Do you consider the invention of smartphones a progress?

You can talk to your friends at any time of the day (or night!), keep in touch with friends and family abroad, read your emails, see your friends’ holiday photos on Facebook, comment on the news on Twitter, download music, play games………….

But how many hours do you actually spend on your phone? Have you ever counted?


Do smartphones bring people closer through modern technology or are they making us more isolated? Technology and smartphones are not bad, but they can take too much time out of our lives. They can be major distractions that hinder our relationships.

Another disadvantage of smartphones is the amount of waste generated: new models are constantly being released, creating a « need » to have the latest model. But what do you do with your old phone? Do you sell it? Exchange it? Recycle it? Put it in a drawer?

Read about how phones can be recycled here: learn about recycling

The idea of progress (1)



The Idea of Progress


The Idea of Progress is the theory that the different advances in technology, science, and social organization can produce an improvement in the human condition. That is, people can become happier in terms of quality of life (social progress) through economic development (modernization), and the application of science and technology (scientific progress). 

Progress implies change and evolution  and throughout history most of the advances have been positive. However the rhythm of progress seems to have accelerated over the last few decades and  the technological breakthroughs and scientific developments are causing  some people to question this progress. What effect do these « advances » have on our society? Do they always have a positive effect on the way we live?

Do certain new technologies bring people closer together or do they alienate us?  What effect does this progress have on our culture?

Here are just a few topics to help you illustrate this notion

1. Scientific Progress

– Medical advances:  cures for illnesses such as AIDS and certain cancers

– Cloning

– Performance enhancing drugs

– Genetically modified organisms

– Designer babies

– Space travel

2. Technological Progress:

– Cheap and rapid transportation across the world enabling transport of products all over the world

– Advances in global communications networks facilitating the exchange of information

– Robots, automated production

– The internet – advantages and disadvantages (have we become to dependent on technology, is it isolating us from one another?)

3. Social Progress:

–  Women’s rights :  obtaining the vote for women, the fight for equality, equal pay

– Increased recognition of minority groups: ethnic, racial or religious minorities


What are the ethical, social and environmental consequences of these developments? What effect do they have on our modern-day world?