Sunday, October 25, 2009


Rapid globalization has created a tremendous need for people all over the world to better understand and interface with different cultures in the course of their work and travels. Foreign language learning, therefore, has emerged as a pressing need that is critical to the success of emerging economies and global trade. While globalization has increased the interest in language learning in the 21st century, solutions from existing vendors remain stuck in the 90s. The Internet today, with increasing broadband penetration, offers the perfect platform to create a compelling online language learning solution. is an e-learning Web 2.0 start-up, addressed a $20 billion worldwide language learning market fueled by rapid globalization, immigration and travel. LiveMocha is the first of its kind web based language learning solution integrating online instructional content with a global community of language learners.

The website supports six popular languages – English, Spanish, French, Hindi, German, and Mandarin Chinese. Besides that, if you want to learn other languages, there are some uniform courses provided on the website which are submitted by native speakers. In these courses, after you studied and reviewed each unit there are some writing, speaking, reading and listening exercises and there is even a quiz you can take. In addition, for writing and speaking items, for which you naturally need a partner or teacher in order to evaluate yourself, you can have native speakers' feedback and the best part is, it is totally free of charge. But for the six supported languages the story is a bit different. In order to enroll in courses you need to pay the subscription.

For English learners, LiveMocha has provided a unique service, in association with PEARSON, called  Active English. The idea is exactly like communicative method of learning language, which nowadays you can find in almost every language learning institute all around the world. Furthermore, being in a cybernetic space you are provided with multimedia tools which help you learn more effectively.

These are some other advantages of LiveMocha:
- It leverages the native language expertise of its members by allowing them to enhance the content with grammar tips, alternative phrases and colloquialisms.
- You have the option of practicing structured conversation exercises with a native speaker or submitting a writing or an audio sample of an exercise for a native speaker to edit or correct.
- Through competitions, a language buddy system and community encouragement, LiveMocha provides the tools to keep you motivated and making steady progress.

LiveMocha is not only about learning. You can also be a teacher and as compensation you will receive cash or LiveMocha credit, which you can use to learn a language on the website. 
The bottom line is, if you don't have the time of attending a language class but you are really eager for learning, LiveMocha, considering its cost, is the best alternative. 

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


By: Leila Moslemi (

Not only a children's tale, but also a cautionary children's tale with an underlying message that will appeal to all ages. Coraline, the eponymous heroine of this story immediately stands as one of history's great animated females, intelligent, wise and resourceful, she shows that you don't have to be a princess, live in a castle or have a knack for fashion to save the day. The film functions as a crafty cautionary tale on the perils of getting what you want, whether it’s a pair of gloves or a new family. Yet the dazzling colors and unhinged imagination of Selick’s visual palette also have the effect of rendering “Coraline’s” fantasy world that much more eye-ticklingly and dangerously seductive.

Coraline tells the story of a young girl, who feeling neglected by her parents after moving to a run-down apartment, finds a tiny door that leads to an alternate dimension. Within it she finds her apartment now beautifully furnished and her parents, attentive and loving, but why do they have buttons where their eyes should be? It doesn't take long for Coraline to realise that there's a price to pay for this perfect world, and when her 'other-mother' tells her that she has to stay forever and have buttons sewn into her eyes too. Coraline finds herself in a race against time to save herself as well as her real parents.

On the promotional literature for Coraline there's a claim that could almost feel like a gimmick, it's the first animated film to be shot entirely in 3D. However in the careful and capable hands of Henry Selick this lovingly crafted children's tale merges new technology with traditional animation methods to deliver a spectacle that should make both adults and children alike giddy with delight.

Generally speaking, I believe that the whole story of Caroline intends to conclude that we as adults or kids or teenagers (in all ages) should accept our real world. We all achieve that luxurious world in our dreams but nothing is as precious as our own family and our health. It's our duty to take care of our eyes to see bright parts of our life. The sight of darkness is nothing more than exchange of beautiful bright part of our life.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Highway Stressed Out

Driving to my work place, once I was witness to a road rage, which is sort of common conflicts happening every day in major cities like Tehran. A youth driver was maneuvering in the highway regardless other motorists, listening to a laud, irritating rock music.

Never before an old man complained, honking his horn, had I seen such a rude and disrespectful manner. The young fellow gave the man his finger, holding his left arm in the air out of his car's window. His gesture was enough to make a carefree person mad. Let alone a respectable decent old man.

Surprisingly, the old guy did not take it slightly! And sped up chasing the young man. So there they were, racing in the highway, disturbing other drivers, shouting and insulting about and nerving themselves for a confrontation! In my view, on no circumstances did they have the right to mess the highway up and the young guy was the main culprit of this messy situation.

Finally, the old man stopped the fellow, rubbing his car to the young guy's. And they continued their foolishness out of their cars, rowing over nothing! People, who had been watching this happening, mostly stopped by to enjoy a nice rage! regardless of the traffic increasing at their back.
Fortunately, by then, I could scape without getting stuck in the traffic jam, but I kept asking myself “should it really happen!!?”

Friday, October 9, 2009


“tink lIk a wise mang bt communicate in d lngwij of d ppl” 
William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)

Can you read this statement? . . .
No one knows when exactly chatting on the Net and texting on a mobile phone became popular, but the result of this popularity is a new writing language, called Lingo. 

Why people insist on using this characters, while there are some easier ways to type and Lingo seems absolutely useless, is still unknown; but the fact is that you should expect a text message -like the first line- comes to your cell phone or Email or messenger any moment.

Just imagine what an embarrassment it would be, if someone sends you a message like that and you don't know how to read it! But don't worry, there are several websites, like, which you can use to translate this language. is a translation engine with an enriched database and you can easily participate in making it larger by sending new Lingos.
It can translate your English texts to Lingo language and vise versa. I suggest you try it now!

Copy and paste this statement in the translation box and translate in to English, if you can't read it!
f i had a @}--{-- 4 everytime i thawt of U i wud b wlkN n a @}--{-- gRdn 4e

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Luzhin Defence

By: Leila Moslemi 

The Luzhin Defence is a 2000 movie starring John Turturro and Emily Watson and was directed by Dutch director Marleen Gorris. The film centres around a mentally-tormented chess grandmaster and the young woman he meets while competing at a world-class tournament in Italy. THE LUZHIN DEFENSE is an adaptation of the Vladimir Nabokov novel shot by the Dutch director Marleen Gorris (Antonia's Line) in 2000.
It's the early 1920s and Aleksandr Ivanovich 'Sascha' Luzhin (Turturro), a gifted but tormented chess player, arrives in a Northern Italian city to compete in an international chess competition. Prior to the tournament he meets Natalia Katkov (Watson) and he falls in love with her almost immediately. She in turn finds his manner to be appealing and they begin to see each other in spite of her mother's disapproval.
A solitary and eccentric man, Luzhin lives only for the chess game, until the day he meets Natalia Katkov, a young Russian woman who's spending her holiday with her mother in the same resort.
Despite her mother's advice, Natalia accepts Luzhin's advances and falls in love with him. The Russian master defeats his first adversaries and enjoys happiness for the first time in his life. He must now face the Italian world champion who has hired Leo Valentinov, Luzhin's former impresario, in order to unhinge the Russian genius.
Stressed by the events, Luzhin undergoes a nervous breakdown after the first day and is asked by his doctor to give up chess if he wants to live a long life. Natalia takes care of him although her parents strongly disapprove her forthcoming marriage with Luzhin. She also must protect him from Valentinov who has not given up the idea to talk Luzhin into finishing his match with his Italian adversary. 

Competing alongside Luzhin in the championship is Dottore Salvatore Turati (Fabio Sartor), who is approached by Leo Valentinov (Stuart Wilson), a Russian, who is Luzhin's former chess tutor from pre-revolutionary Russia. Valentinov tells the Italian that Luzhin cannot handle pressure and he intimates he will make sure that his former prodigy will be unsettled off-table giving Turati a winning chance.
The competition starts badly for Luzhin who is unsettled by the presence of his former friend and coach. He struggles through the early rounds but he soon begins to win again as his relationship with Katkov becomes closer and intimate. She then informs her parents that she is going to marry him. Meanwhile Luzhin goes onto reach the final and face Turati.
But in the finals the Russian Émigré loses out to the time clock, forcing the game to adjourn. However, outside the venue, he is whisked away by an accomplice of Valentinov who abandons him in the countryside. His former teacher knows that this will completely unhinge him because of the memory of his parents' abandonment many years ago. Luzhin wanders aimlessly until he collapses and is found by a group of Blackshirts.
Luzhin is taken to the hospital suffering from complete mental exhaustion. The doctor informs Katkov that he will die if he keeps playing chess as he is addicted to the game and it's consuming his very being. Nevertheless even while recuperating Valentinov comes around with a chess board encouraging Luzhin to finish the match with the Italian, Turati.
Eventually Luzhin leaves the hospital. He and Natalia then agree to marry at the earliest opportunity. However on the morning of the wedding, Luzhin is put into a car with Valentinov, who tells him that there is the small matter of finishing the competition. In terror, Luzhin leaps from the car. Dazed, cut and mentally confused, he stumbles back to the hotel where he tries to dig up a glass chess piece in the grounds, one which he buried years ago, but he does not find it.

Luzhin, who is in his muddied wedding suit, sits in his room as Natalia and the hotel staff try to open the door. But before they can get in, the troubled chess grandmaster throws himself out of his bedroom window and dies. The tragic death is witnessed by Valentinov who has just arrived by car.
The film then concludes in the competition hall where Natalia completes the competition using her fiance's notes. Turati does exactly what Luzhin expected and loses. Katkov and Turati then leave acknowledging the Pyrrhic victory and the genius of Luzhin.
The Luzhin Defence traces the fine lines that exist between passion, obsession, devotion and madness. Like the madness it portrays, the movie takes some time to peak and then everything goes to pieces at once. While the rising action is beautifully laid out and the climax is tragic, it is the film’s conclusion that finally won me over to The Luzhin Defence. Watson’s portrayal of Natalia is nearly flawless — the film is worth watching just for her performance — and it is through her that the audience is drawn into the action. She knows nothing of chess and yet she throws her full support behind the eccentric Luzhin. The return of his former mentor in the midst of the climactic tournament causes Luzhin considerable stress and puts him off his game. While the tournament scenes will appeal to chess fans, they are limited in number and duration (which non-chess fans will appreciate) as the ultimate focus of the film is the romance between Alexander and Natalia.
Nabokov based The Defense on the life of German chess master Curt von Bardeleben who committed suicide by leaping from a window in 1924.
The film was shot entirely on location in Europe. Budapest, Hungary was used for outdoor scenes set in St Petersburg, these included the Széchenyi Chain Bridge, Hungarian National Museum and Heroes' Square. The chess tournament (although in Italy) was shot inside the main hall of Museum of Ethnography, Budapest. In Italy, the hotel scenes were filmed at The Bergamo, Lombardia, and Lake Como.
The novel plays out almost entirely in the mind of Alexander Luzhin (John Turturro), a shabby prodigy so focused on the 64 square grid that the real world fades into shadow. The movie, by contrast, homes in on Luzhin's fiancée (Emily Watson), who struggles for control of her near autistic knight in a larger game against his malignant former tutor (Stuart Wilson).

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Stranger Than Fiction

Chosen By: Leila Moslemi (

What if you realized the importance of your life only days before you lost it? Even knowing when or how you will die (not such a fatuous idea with the completion of the Genome Project) raises difficult questions about how much we really want to know about ourselves.

Such a theme is usually simplified and subsumed into religious-based tales such as It's a Wonderful Life, but taken as an idea in its own right it has considerable intellectual weight. Harold Crick finds himself the main character in a story as it unfolds, but his annoyance quickly shifts gear as he is aware of the author saying, "Little did he know... it would lead to his imminent death."

Stranger Than Fiction is an abstract blend of the saccharine and the absurd. Using Will Ferrell as the bland protagonist searching for meaning in his life, director Marc Forster tries to make sense of the script but it ends up in a land. Harold Crik is a man of infinite numbers, endless calculations, and remarkably few words. Every weekday for twelve years he lives to the timing of his wristwatch. Until Wednesday. On Wednesday, a voice begins narrating his innermost thoughts, and proclaims that a “ seemingly innocuous event” will result in his “imminent death.” In desperation, Harold steps out of his mold, hoping to find the voice and prevent his fate. He doesn’t know the story will end at the exact moment when he has the most to live for. Not only is it a great story, but it’s a masterpiece in dialogue, characterization, and humor.

Each main character has a counterpart, and most of the character’s stories are entangled. Thus one character getting what they want is detrimental to the other character. The main plot in Stranger Than Fiction is about Harold, trying to save himself from the mysterious narrator, and a writer named Karen, trying to figure out how to kill her main character. These two are at odds. Right off you have the main conflict, and a domino effect occurs. characters should face their fears. However, what struck me in watching Stranger Than Fiction was not that Harold had this big climatic moment where he came up against what scared him most, chooses to fight it, and wins. No. The challenge is that each time he comes up against a fear, it’s an opportunity for him to grow a little, push past it a little, and face it a step at a time.

Misdirection is an important part of dialogue. Have characters answer unspoken questions. Have them talk at cross-purposes. Have them hedge. Take a literal question figuratively, or vice versa.

This builds nuance and humor into dialogue. For example, Karen’s publishers send her an “assistant” named Penny to help her finish the book. This creates an immediate animosity, as Karen thinks Penny is a spy for the publishers. And Penny dislikes Karen’s habit of chain-smoking. In a clash of wills, Penny says,

“I suppose you smoked all those cigarettes.”

“No,” Karen says. She raises an eyebrow. “They came pre-smoked.”

Each character in Stranger Than Fiction can be identified by their physical quirks. For example, Harold wears dull V-neck sweaters, and keeps all the furniture in his house off-white. Ana Pascal surrounds herself with color: floral glass plates, mosaic chandeliers, while surrounding herself with activist posters.

Even the street names, business names, and the characters' last names of Stranger Than Fiction are significant - Crick, Pascal, Eiffel, Escher, Banneker, Kronecker, Cayly, etc. are all puns on mathematicians who focused on the innate order of things. The invitation is to ask what is beyond the symmetry of things.

We sense a life-imbuing process that might even be likened to what an actor does with his character; but the film goes a stage further by drawing a comparison with the essentially lifeless, clockwork existence of the IRS auditor whose only escape is discovering love with Pascal. His quest is aided by fictional plot analysis from Professor Jules Hilbert (Dustin Hoffman) and of course begs the question, what is fiction?