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Tag Archives: english

EnglishSmacks – Real life English words and phrases

English Smacks logoThe-English-Patient.Com – a ground-breaking service for learning English – has recently released a preview of its brand new service: EnglishSmacks!

The app tests your English language skills! Just listen to the phrases and fill in the gaps typing the words missing in the transcript.

There are 5 levels of difficulty. Phrases are taken from world news (CNN, BBC), science movies, pop music etc. I am sure that you will enjoy gathering “tambourines”. Good luck!

Download EnglishSmacks from Google Play!


Key features

  • Huge base of phrases
  • Daily updates of exercises
  • Reliable sources (CNN, BBC, movies)
  • Awesome phrases from real life situations

Feel free to download, rate and review the app!

Symphony of Slang

Looking through the latest videos by Philochko on Youtube, I came across a couple of ones that I really liked and enjoyed watching. In the videos, he explains a lot of slang words and expressions that were used in a really amazing cartoon by Tex Avery – “Symphony in Slang“. It is really awesome!!!

According to Wikipedia, “Symphony in Slang” is a 1951 cartoon short directed by Tex Avery, written by Rich Hogan and released by MGM. Minimalist and abstract in style (many of the “gags” are created either with single, still frames or limited animation), it tells the story of a man John Brown, who finds himself at the Pearly Gates explaining the story of his life to a bewildered Saint Peter and Noah Webster using slang of that era. The majority of the short is made up of sight gags based on Peter and Webster’s imagined, literal understandings of such phrases as “I was born with a silver spoon in my mouth” and “Outside it was raining cats and dogs.”

If you like English, you must WATCH IT!

And here are the clarifications from Philochko.

Have fun! 🙂

[English Essay] Creating New Society

Nuclear explosionAgain, new English homework. Essay on the topic “Creating new society”.

There are a lot of stuff on the internet concerning this extremely boring topic and I could have easily copied it… But I was so lazy to google, so I just wrote down some of my thoughts. If you are still interested in reading this bullshit, here it is. But don’t say that I didn’t give you a warning. Read more of this post

Table description: Leisure time in Someland

Task: Write a report for a university lecturer describing the information in the table below.

Hours of leisure time per year in Someland

Possible model of answer.

The table shows the average amount of leisure time among different age groups per year in Someland. Seven age groups are covered from teens to 70+ and 6 different activities are mentioned, specifically: watching TV, socializing with 4 or fewer people, socializing with more than 4 people, individual exercise, group exercise, cinema.

The highest amount of spare time people of all ages spend watching TV and videos, with the maximum being equal to 1,200 hours in teens. The vast majority of elderly people aged 70 watch TV 1,100 hours per year. The least popular activity is cinema. People spend their leisure time in cinema about 50 hours per year, with the highest number being 100 in teens. The table shows that teens and people in their 20s tend to socialize with 4 or more people, while other age groups usually socialize with less number of people. The same pattern can be observed for individual and group exercises. The latter is more popular among the youth: teens spend 450 hours per year being involved in group sports, which is 3 times as many as the number of hours of individual exercises.

On the whole, the table shows that a quarter of their leisure time watching TV and videos and only about 1/6 of time corresponds to physical activity. The youth spend more time socializing with many people and doing some group sport activities. But the numbers are gradually decreasing with the age.

[Presentation] Artificial heart.

Hello! Sorry, I don’t have time to write anything here at the moment.

Have a look at my presentation on Engineering – Artificial Heart. This presentation is based on the article “Artificial Heart” which was taken from the book “Encyclopedia of Heart Diseases” by Dr. Gabriel Khan. I also used some materials from Wikipedia. The pictures and photos are from the Internet.

You can download presentation using links at the end of the article. Read more of this post

Presentation: Academic Grading

Again, we have another presentation here. The topic for today is Education. Let’s see what presentation I created.

Education: Academic Grading

[Greeting] Good morning, everyone. My name is Anton Danshin. I’m a student of Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology.

In my today’s presentation I’m going to tell you about the academic Grading in different countries.

[Why?] The topic is very interesting and the information I’ll give you might be useful for those students who want to continue their education abroad.

[What?] There is an infinite variety of academic grading systems in different counties and there is no way to cover all these systems. And I will cover only common ones.

First of all, I’ll tell you what an academic grading is. Secondly, I’d like to tell a few words about the system that is used in Europe. Thirdly, I’ll familiarize you with the american grading system. Then I’ll tell a little bit about Russian system and systems used in the countries of CIS. And finally, I’ll highlight the main points of my presentation and make a conclusion.

[How?] The presentation won’t take long – just about 10 minutes. You may ask your questions at the end.

Lets get started!

What is an academic grading? The answer is quite obvious. The academic grading is the way of measurement of student’s knowledge and skills in a certain subject which he or she acquired during study at educational institution.

A perfect academic grading system should provide an objective assessment of the quality of student’s knowledge, rather than the quantity. Let’s see what functions a perfect grading system should fulfil.

  • Firstly, it should help to compare stated aims with results achieved by a student.
  • Secondly, it should reveal the main difficulties which students have.
  • Thirdly, it should determine the quality of teachers work.
  • And finally, a perfect grading system should motivate student to study.

Now that we know what academic grading is all about and what it stands for, we can move on to the next point of my presentation.

European Grading System: ECTS

In Europe the most common grading is so called ECTS – European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System. It is a standard for comparing the study attainment and performance of students of higher education across the European Union and other collaborating European countries.

For successfully completed studies, ECTS credits are awarded. One academic year corresponds to 60 ECTS-credits that are equivalent to 1500–1800 hours of study in all countries irrespective of standard or qualification type. To get bachelors degree it is necessary to have at least 180 – 240 ECTS-credits, and 300 credits for masters.  ECTS also includes a standard ECTS grading scale, intended to be shown in addition to local (i.e. national) standard grades. The ECTS grading scale is shown on the slide.

That’s all I wanted to say about European grading system. Now let’s pass over to the American academic grading system.

American academic grading

In the Unated States of America they also have letter grades scale but it is very different from European one. They use 4-points scale. In addition, there is not any rating system, the Grade Point Average (GPA) is calculated instead.

Most graduate schools require a 3.0 (B) average to take a degree, with C or C- being the lowest grade for course credit. Most undergraduate schools require a 2.0, or C average to obtain a degree with a minimum of D or D− to pass a course. But this all depends on laws of a certain state.


That’s all about the USA. Let’s move on to the next point and see what we have in Russia and some neighbouring countries. As we can see from the table, some countries from Eastern Europe tend to have 10-point scale. Our country still has 5 point scale, but is it enough to represent the knowledge of students? Or there is no difference? These (actually difficult) questions bring me to the end of my presentation.


Let’s go over the main points I covered.

  • Academic grading is a way to assess the quality of students’ knowledge and skills.
  • A perfect grading system has to fulfil a lot of functions and there is obviously no the perfect one.
  • There are a lot of different grading systems.
    • Europe: ECTS
    • the USA: 4-point scale + GPA
    • Russia: 5-point scale

It’s quite difficult to decide which one is the best. But I think that the main problem is not in the grading scale at all! The main problem is in student’s ability and desire to study.

As the proverb says: ‘You can bring a horse to the water. But you can’t make it drink’. In other words, you can design any kind of grading scale but the final choice to study or not is up to students.

Thank you very much for your attention. Now you can ask your questions.


You can easily download my presentation from Google Docs:

Let me know if you find a mistake. Good luck with your English!

Anton Danshin

Presentation: Software design patterns


For my previous English class a had a task to create a presentation on design. This topic was pretty hard for me because I am not very good at describing design and I am not an expert in it!

I’ve spent nearly 2 hours just to choose what I wanted to speak about in my presentation. And finally I came up with an idea to create a presentation about software design patterns. I know, it is rather boring topic to speak about because is quite technical, but I’m just know about it way more than I know about design of furniture or design of cars.

Presentation: Software Design Patterns

Good morning everyone. My name is Anton. I’m a student of MIPT. Today in my presentation, I’m going to speak about Software Design patterns. My presentation will take about 15 minutes. Feel free to interrupt me and ask a question.

The plan of my presentation is shown on the slide. Let’s start!

Design Patterns

Simplicity is the soul of efficiency.
— Austin Freeman, “The Eye of Osiris”

The first thing I want to tell you about is what a software design pattern is. Does anyone know the answer to this question?

In software engineering, a design pattern is a general repeatable solution to a commonly occurring problem in software design. A design pattern isn’t a finished design that can be transformed directly into code. It is a description or template for how to solve a problem that can be used in many different situations.

Now that we know what it is we can move on to the question “Why do we use design patterns?”

Why do we use design patterns?

Design patterns can speed up the development process by providing tested, proven development paradigms. Effective software design requires considering issues that may not become visible until later in the implementation. Reusing design patterns helps to prevent subtle issues that can cause major problems in the future.

In addition, patterns allow developers to communicate using well-known, well understood names for software interactions. More than that, common design patterns can be improved easily.

Also, design patterns improve code readability for coders and solution architects. The code becomes understandable and maintainable.

So, the design patterns is actually a good thing! And there are over 30 patterns to solve almost any problem. This brings me to the next point.

Classification of design patterns

There are a lot of design patterns and they all are divided into four classes: creational, structural, behavioural, and concurrent.

Creational design patterns

These design patterns are all about class instantiation. This pattern can be further divided into class-creation patterns and object-creational patterns. While class-creation patterns use inheritance effectively in the instantiation process, object-creation patterns use delegation effectively to get the job done.

Structural design patterns

These design patterns are all about Class and Object composition. Structural class-creation patterns use inheritance to compose interfaces. Structural object-patterns define ways to compose objects to obtain new functionality.

Behavioural design patterns

These design patterns are all about Class’s objects communication. Behavioural patterns are those patterns that are most specifically concerned with communication between objects.

Concurrent patterns

These patterns help to control the execution flow of the applications and provide solutions to problem of concurrent access.

Now, lets have a look at an example of a simple but very useful creational design pattern – Singleton



  • Ensure a class has only one instance, and provide a global point of access to it.
  • Encapsulated “just-in-time initialization” or “initialization on first use”.


Application needs one, and only one, instance of an object. Additionally, lazy initialization and global access are necessary.


Singleton should be considered only if all three of the following criteria are satisfied:

  1. Ownership of the single instance cannot be reasonably assigned
  2. Lazy initialization is desirable
  3. Global access is not otherwise provided for

The example of the implementation of Singleton in Java you can see on the slide.

The main disadvantages of this implementation are that deleting a Singleton class/instance is a non-trivial design problem and this implementation is not thread-safe.

OK. Design patters are good. But what about the other side of the coin? Let’s  have look at its bad points.


The concept of design patterns has been criticized by some in the field of computer science.

Targets the wrong problem

The need for patterns results from using computer languages or techniques with insufficient abstraction ability. Under ideal factoring, a concept should not be copied, but merely referenced. But if something is referenced instead of copied, then there is no “pattern” to label and catalogue. Paul Graham writes in the essay Revenge of the Nerds.

Peter Norvig provides a similar argument. He demonstrates that 16 out of the 23 patterns in the Design Patterns book (which is primarily focused on C++) are simplified or eliminated (via direct language support) in Lisp or Dylan.

Lacks formal foundations

The study of design patterns has been excessively ad-hoc, and some have argued that the concept sorely needs to be put on a more formal footing. At Oopsla 1999, the Gang of Four were (with their full cooperation) subjected to a show trial, in which they were “charged” with numerous crimes against computer science. They were “convicted” by ⅔ of the “jurors” who attended the trial.

Leads to inefficient solutions

The idea of a design pattern is an attempt to standardize what are already accepted best practices. In principle this might appear to be beneficial, but in practice it often results in the unnecessary duplication of code. It is almost always a more efficient solution to use a well-factored implementation rather than a “just barely good enough” design pattern.

And final bad point is that design patterns are very bad when they are used improperly or overused. So, DO NOT OVERUSE IT!

Let’s move on to my next point which I want to cover in my presentation.


Anti-patterns are complete opposite to patterns. Patterns, as you now know, are the examples of good programming practice. In contrast, anti-patterns are the examples of mistakes, which are made in solving different problems.

Here are the most common anti-patterns:

  1. Copy and Paste Programming
  2. Spaghetti Code
  3. Golden Hammer
  4. Magic Numbers
  5. Hard Code
  6. Soft Code
  7. Reinventing the Wheel
  8. Reinventing the Square Wheel
  9. Blind Faith
  10. Brute Force Coding
  11. Boat Anchor
  12. God Object
  13. Unnecessary comments
Choose the one you like, and I’ll explain what this anti-pattern means.


Now, I’d like to make a conclusion to my whole presentation. Let’s go over the main points.

  1. Design pattern is a general solution to a commonly occurring problem in software design
  2. Using design patterns makes your code better
  3. Design patterns are divided into:
    • Creational
    • Behavioral
    • Structural
    • Concurrent
  4. Do NOT OVERUSE design patterns
  5. Creating your software avoid anti-patterns.


Here you may find all about software design patterns and anti-patterns.


Thank you very much for your attention! 🙂

Download my presentationSoftware Design Patterns (.pps, 500 kB)

If you find any mistake, let me know. Good luck with your English.

Anton Danshin

P.S. My presentation should have been shorter. But it is not possible to cover this topic in 10 minutes! Sorry, my dear teacher. I should have also learn the speech by heart, but we had too little time to get prepared.  🙂

Report: Comparison of Nikon Coolpix 4600 and Coolpix L1


My today’s post is my English homework. I was given a task to write a report on the Nikon digital cameras Coolpix 4600 and Coolpix L1. All necessary information and technical features of these cameras were given in my course book. I had to use appropriate linking words and active vocabulary. Here is my report.

Nikon Coolpix 4600 vs. Nikon Coolpix L1

We were asked to compare the above mentioned models of digital cameras.

The 4600 model is cheaper than L1. However, the picture quality is better and battery life is excellent. It’s quite quick at starting up: it takes only 3.5 seconds to be ready for taking pictures after power turns on. In addition, you have to wait just under 2 seconds before taking shots. The camera can record video, but sound is not supported. It has a very short shutter delay. Consequently, it is very good for action shots.

The Coolpix L1 has a very stylish classic design. Although it is more expensive, it has a quite powerful zoom lens (38mm-190mm) and a large LCD screen. Therefore, it is good for composing and reviewing photos. The shutter delay is rather long – 0.9 seconds. As a result, it cannot be used for taking action shots.

Our opinion. We were a little disappointed in the Nikon Coolpix L1 test results. We found that its picture quality was below the average. Also, it is rather slow. In contrast, the Coolpix 4600 appeared to be very quick and with better picture quality. Moreover, it is good for shots in bad light. So, considering its relatively low price, we can conclude that the Nikon Coolpix 4600 is a very good buy.

All linking words and expressions are underlined. If you find any mistake, please, let me know.

Anton Danshin

[Video] A Day Made of Glass

Hi there!

I found a very interesting video on YouTube recently. You should probably watch it and enjoy.

Translation: Use modal verbs

Hello. This is my new English homework 🙂

1. Вам не нужно делать презентацию этого изобретения сегодня. Вы сможете сделать ее через неделю.

You don’t have to make a presentation of this invention. You will be able to make it next week (in a week).

2. Они, должно быть, знают много о нашем инновационном проекте, но я не уверен.

They might know a lot about our innovative project but I’m not sure.

3. Я не думаю, что вам следует расспрашивать незнакомого художника о его планах на будущее. Вы бы лучше пришли на его выставку.

I don’t think you should ask unfamiliar artist about his future plans. You had better visit his exhibition.

4. Возможно, они сейчас как раз обсуждают вопрос о начале производства инженерного оборудования. Они должны были подписать все документы вчера.

They might be discussing a question about start of production of engineering equipment. They must have signed all of the documents yesterday.

5. Не может быть, что ему сорок лет. Он выглядит гораздо моложе. Должно быть, он следит за своим здоровьем.

No way he is 40. (He can’t be 40 years old) He looks much younger. He must be taking care of his health.

6. Современный покупатель выбирает долговечные удобные для пользователя приборы, выпускаемые в различных вариациях цвета и формы.

Modern consumer chooses durable and usable appliances produced in different varieties of colour and shape.

7. Необходимо, чтобы достижения современной науки имели положительное влияние на жизнь людей. Кроме того, новые технологии должны быть экологически чистыми.

Advances of modern science must have a positive impact on people’s lives. More than that,  new technologies must be environmentally friendly (eco-friendly).

8. Основной причиной успеха этой продукции является то, что она оправдывает свою стоимость и ее производство хорошо отлажено.

The main reason for success of the product is that it is a value for money and its production is streamlined (well established).

Active Vocabulary

  • invention – [count noun] something, typically process or device, which was designed or created;
  • innovative – [adjective] featuring new methods; advanced and original;
  • durable – [adjective] able to last for very long; able to stand wear, pressure and damage;
  • usable – [adjective] easy, comfortable to use;
  • advance – [count noun] achievement, development or improvement; forward movement;
  • streamlined – [adjective] smooth, with very little resistance to flow of water or air, increasing speed and ease of movement; efficient and effective (well established);
  • value for money – something that is worth its price; practical;
  • would rather / had better
  • environmentally friendly – not damaging or polluting environment.

Anton Danshin

P.S. I’ll probably add some explanation grammar soon.

Last modified: 23 Feb 2012