Week120

[Lifestyle ★] Extreme Christmas House

[Animals ★] Reindeer in Finland

[Travel ★★] Vietnam

[People ★★] Man lived in the woods for 27 years

[Science ★★] Scientists unlock secrets to seahorses

[Health ★★★] Vitamins

[Technology ★★★] Amazon Delivery by Drone Has Begun

[Sports ★★★] Fifa corruption crisis: Rafael Callejas & Alfredo Hawit get life bans

[Environment ★★★★] Food-like smell on plastic may lure seabirds to eat it

[Travel ★★★★] Dark beer and dumplings in Bavaria: a visit to the world’s oldest monastic brewery

 

Dark beer and dumplings in Bavaria: a visit to the world’s oldest monastic brewery

[Travel ★★★★]

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(P1) Weltenburg Abbey stands on a bend of the upper Danube, deep in a wooded gorge where the river cuts through the white limestone cliffs of the Fränkische Alb mountains, about 25 miles west of Regensburg in Bavaria. The abbey church, a spectacular concoction of late-baroque flamboyance, is worth the journey, but the main draw for most visitors is alcoholic rather than spiritual. The abbey houses the oldest monastic brewery in the world, which first started brewing in 1050 and produces a number of beers, the most popular being a dark, almost black, beer known as Kloster Barock Dunkel. It’s a lovely thing to sip in the beer garden in the abbey courtyard, accompanied by roast schweinshaxe (pork knuckle) and Bavarian dumplings, and is also available in bottles to take away.

(P2) The abbey was founded in AD620, but the current buildings date from the early 18th century. The highlight is the interior of St George church, designed by late-baroque architects Cosmas and Egid Asam, with a combination of frescoes, stucco, and sculpture. Outside the monastery, there are great walks through the deep wooded gorge and into the surrounding hills.

(P3) As there is no road through the gorge, visitors arriving by car must park in nearby Weltenburg village and walk along the riverside track. Much better, however, is to park on the quayside in Kelheim, three miles downstream, and catch one of the frequent boats that follow the winding gorge to the monastery landing stage. And if you end up overdoing the Kloster Barock Dunkel, there’s aways the option of overnighting in the monastery guesthouse (from €54 a night B&B).

WORDS: 268

SOURCE: https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2016/dec/14/dark-beer-bavaria-oldest-monastic-brewery-in-world-weltenburg-abbey-germany

VOCABULARY: gorge, concoction, baroque, flamboyance, monastic, frescoes, stucco, quayside

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly, summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. Describe the picture above of Weltenburg Abbey and it’s surroundings.
  3. Are you interested in going to this destination for a weekend getaway? Why or why not?
  4. Describe the architecture of a building in your country.

READING COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS:

  1. What is the name of the waterway that Weltenburg Abbey overlooks?
  2. The abbey used to be a place of worship where monks resided (T or F)
  3. Beer in bottles can be consumed in the abbey as well as purchased for _________.
  4. There are plenty of parking spaces at the abbey for visitors. (T or F)
  5. Where can you sleep overnight at the abbey?

EXPRESSIONS or PHRASES:

What do the following expressions or phrases mean?

  • the river cuts through (P1)
  • in bottles to take away (P1)
  • the riverside track (P3)
  • winding gorge (P3)

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Image source: by Val Thoermer/Getty Images https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2016/dec/14/dark-beer-bavaria-oldest-monastic-brewery-in-world-weltenburg-abbey-germany

Food-like smell on plastic may lure seabirds to eat it

[Environment ★★★★]

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(P1) Whether it’s steak and potatoes or spaghetti and meatballs, the smell of dinner can be irresistible. Certain species of seabirds have a similar reaction to the scent of food. They use a particular odor to track down a meal. But that can be a problem as more plastic trash finds its way into the ocean. Plastic can absorb a scent that should point to prey. This can trick the birds into eating that plastic, researchers now report.

(P2) Plastic is a huge problem for ocean animals, notes Gabrielle Nevitt. She is a zoologist at the University of California, Davis. When animals eat plastic, it can make them sick. It might even kill them. It has not been clear why they have been eating it, especially because plastic doesn’t look like sea-based food.

(P3) Nevitt and colleagues started to think about what other senses, aside from sight, are important to ocean animals. To seabirds, such as petrels and albatrosses, “smell is super important,” she says. To find food, they rely on the odor that comes from a chemical called dimethyl sulfide (Dy-METH-ul SUL-fyde), or DMS. It is released into the air and the water when single-celled ocean life called phytoplankton are eaten or crushed. “To us, DMS smells a bit like seaweed or like an oyster,” Nevitt says. To the birds, it smells like dinner.

(P4) Studies have shown that phytoplankton and other tiny critters can grow on plastic in the ocean. Scientists call this biofouling. Earlier research had shown that seabirds such as petrels eat a lot of plastic. Nevitt and colleagues wanted to know if there was some connection to that biofouling.

(P5) To find out, the researchers put mesh bags of plastic beads into the ocean. They tethered the beads to ocean buoys for three weeks. When they came back to pick them up, the beads were covered in slime. And that slime gave off the scent of DMS. The odor was so strong that petrels and similar seabirds would definitely be able to smell it, the scientists report.

(P6) Nevitt and colleagues then used statistics to check the connection among the seabirds, DMS and how much plastic, birds ate. Species that hunt using DMS ate much more plastic than did birds that don’t use this scent to find food. The researchers reported their finding November 9 in Science Advances.

(P7) This idea that plastic can fool birds into thinking it is food is ominous, says Alistair Dove. He is a marine scientist at the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta. He was not involved in the new work but studies other animals, such as whale sharks, which might also be affected by food-scented plastic debris.

(P8) The new research is “pretty convincing stuff,” Dove says. “If you want to truly understand what impact we have on ocean life, you have to put yourself in the animals shoes and try to experience the changing ocean the way they do,” he explains. “In this case, the scientists asked ‘what would plastic smell like to a bird?’ And the answer was surprising and informative.”

(P9) These odor signals don’t operate in isolation. They work as part of a complex landscape of aromas, a “smellscape,” Dove explains. The next logical step in this research is to look at mixtures of odors that act as cues for food. Some smells block other signals. Some smells make other scents stronger. One important question is whether plastics trap smells important to other filter-feeding animals, such as baleen whales, manta rays and whale sharks, he says.

(P10) Sadly, it’s too late to do anything about the plastic that is already in the ocean. All people can do is prevent more plastic from getting in there, Dove says. “It’s going to take all of us governments, companies, conservation advocacy groups, and consumers; to get it done.”

WORDS: 629

SOURCE: https://www.sciencenewsforstudents.org/article/food-smell-plastic-may-lure-seabirds-eat-it

VOCABULARY: prey, phytoplankton, critters, tethered, buoys, ominous

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly, summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. In your opinion, what can be done to prevent plastic from entering our water sources like oceans?
  3. What do you think it would be like to be in the shoes of a seabird?
  4. Should governments get more involved in the environmental issues? Why or why not?

READING COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS:

  1. Plastic bags can ___________ an odor that could make it smell like another sea creature.
  2. Which sense in seabirds is super sensitive?
  3. What does phytoplankton smell like to humans?
  4. According to Alistair Dove, people need to put themselves in the _________ of the sea creatures to experience what they do.
  5. According to the article, something can be done to remove plastic materials from the ocean. (T or F)

EXPRESSIONS or PHRASES:

What do the following expressions or phrases mean?

  • track down a meal (P1)
  • sea-based food (P2)
  • other senses, aside from sight (P3)
  • mesh bags of plastic beads (P5)
  • pretty convincing stuff (P8)
  • that act as cues for food (P9)

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Image source: by JJ HARRISON/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS (CC-BY-SA 3.0) https://www.sciencenewsforstudents.org/article/food-smell-plastic-may-lure-seabirds-eat-it

Fifa corruption crisis: Rafael Callejas & Alfredo Hawit get life bans

[Sports ★★★]

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(P1) Two former senior officials who have pleaded guilty to criminal corruption charges have been banned from football-related activity for life by Fifa.

(P2) The sport’s governing body began its own investigation into Rafael Callejas and Alfredo Hawit after they were among 16 football officials arrested by US authorities in Zurich in December 2015.

(P3) Hawit and Callejas pleaded guilty to racketeering and wire fraud conspiracy charges in the US earlier this year. They are due to be sentenced in 2017.

(P4) Fifa’s ethics committee says the men, both Honduran nationals, took bribes from marketing companies over the awarding of commercial rights for World Cup qualifying matches. It said the bans would come into force immediately.

(P5) Hawit, a former Fifa vice-president, was interim president of Concacaf when he was held in Switzerland last year. Concacaf governs football in North America, Central America, and the Caribbean.

(P6) Callejas, Honduras’ president between 1990 and 1994, was a member of Fifa’s marketing and TV committee when the arrests were made in a dawn raid at the same hotel where seven other top Fifa officials were held in May 2015.

(P7) The pair were arrested on suspicion of accepting millions of dollars of bribes, at the request of the US authorities.

(P8) Speaking at the time, US attorney general Loretta Lynch said: “The betrayal of trust set forth here is outrageous. The scale of corruption alleged herein is unethical.”

(P9) Callejas will be sentenced in the US on 27 January, while Hawit, who has also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to obstruct justice, will be sentenced on 24 March.

WORDS: 256

SOURCE: http://www.bbc.com/sport/football/38370767

VOCABULARY: racketeering, fraud, bribes, interim, raid, betrayal

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly, summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. In your opinion do you think the two individuals should have received a life ban from FIFA? Why or why not?
  3. Do you think bribery happens in every country? Why or why not?
  4. Why do you think people take bribes?

READING COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS:

  1. Where were the two Hondurans taken into custody?
  2. What high ranking FIFA position did Hawit hold in the past?
  3. Callejas was the _____________ of Honduras in the early 1990’s.
  4. What country asked for the two Hondurans to be arrested on bribery charges?
  5. Both Callejas and Hawit will be sentenced on the same day. (T or F)

EXPRESSIONS or PHRASES:

What do the following expressions or phrases mean?

  • for life BY FIFA (P1)
  • the sport’s governing body (P2)
  • Honduran nationals (P4)
  • dawn raid (P6)
  • the scale of corruption (P8)

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Image source: by “unknown” Getty Images http://www.bbc.com/sport/football/38370767

Amazon Delivery by Drone Has Begun

[Technology ★★★]

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(P1) Amazon has made its first delivery by drone. The inaugural “Amazon Prime Air” delivery took place last week but was just reported by the company Wednesday. The long-anticipated air delivery took just 13 minutes, CNET reports. Amazon’s goal for Prime Air is for deliveries to take 30 minutes or less. A customer in England ordered an Amazon Fire TV stick and a bag of popcorn, and a GPS-guided drone dropped it off in his backyard. TechCrunch calls it “a major step for Prime Air, which looked like little more than an early April Fools’ joke when Amazon first announced” it.

(P2) The private UK beta program, which allows for deliveries of certain items during daylight hours as long as weather permits, is so far serving just two customers, but will eventually expand to dozens and then hundreds more in the Cambridge area, Ars Technica reports. In the US, however, drone deliveries are essentially banned for now, since FAA regulations require a drone operator to be able to see the drone while it’s flying. As Fortune points out, there are other hurdles, including the fact that drones can so far carry packages weighing only up to five pounds, and can only deliver to customers within a relatively small area around a fulfillment center.

WORDS: 211

SOURCE: http://www.newser.com/story/235460/amazon-delivery-by-drone-has-begun.html

VOCABULARY: inaugural, beta, essentially, hurdles, fulfillment center

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly, summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. Why do you think Amazon wants to use drones to make deliveries?
  3. Do you think Amazon’s idea will succeed or fail? Why?
  4. Do you prefer to shop online or physically in stores? Why?

READING COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS:

  1. What the name of the delivery service by drone?
  2. Amazon’s aim is to deliver packages by drone in 30 minutes or __________.
  3. According to the article, drones can deliver packages in any weather conditions. (T or F)
  4. Drones are legal to use in the USA as long as the person operating the device can see it. (T or F)
  5. How much weight can a drone handle to make deliveries?

EXPRESSIONS or PHRASES:

What do the following expressions or phrases mean?

  • dropped it off (P1)
  • April Fools joke (P1)
  • as long as weather permits (P2)
  • only up to five pounds (P2)

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Image source: Amazon.com http://www.newser.com/story/235460/amazon-delivery-by-drone-has-begun.html

Vitamins

[Health ★★★]

vitamins-title

(P1) Vitamins are substances that the body needs to survive.  Different kinds of vitamins provide the body with different benefits.  For example, vitamin B helps the skin stay healthy.  Teeth and bones need vitamin D.  Vitamin K assists with making new blood.

(P2) Luckily for us, vitamins are commonly found in nature and in the food we eat.   For example, milk and fish have large amounts of vitamin B12.  Fruit and vegetables usually have some amount of vitamin C.  Many people don’t have the time or energy to eat healthy foods all the time.  As a result, they need to take pills called multivitamins or vitamin supplements.

(P3) Multivitamin companies make a lot of money from selling these pills.  Their annual global revenue is around $68 billion.  Many consumers think that multivitamins can help maintain a healthy lifestyle.  But is it dangerous to take too many vitamins?

(P4) Several scientists and organizations are worried that people are taking too many vitamins.  The World Health Organization (WHO) has told consumers that excessive vitamin A might cause birth defects.  The National Cancer Institute found that people who took too much vitamin E had an increased risk of cancer.  Some doctors have cautioned patients that taking excessive vitamin C can make people very sick.  Scientists and health professionals have started to understand the reason for these problems.  Bodies that are too full of one vitamin have no room for other vitamins.

(P5) Nutritionists say that the best way for consumers to avoid overdoing their vitamins is to eat healthier food.  They recommend that vitamin purchasers get more information.  For example, they advise using the Internet to find out more about their own diets and what vitamins they really need.  You should also consult with your doctor for advice on healthy eating.  Finally, always read the package on any multivitamin to make sure it doesn’t overload your body.

WORDS: 309

SOURCE: http://dreamreader.net/lesson/vitamins/

VOCABULARY: supplements, revenue, defects, nutritionists, overdoing, overload

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly, summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. Do you take supplements as part of your daily diet? Why or why not?
  3. In your opinion, do multivitamin companies make too much money? Why or why not?
  4. Should people consult their doctors before taking supplements? Why or why not?

READING COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS:

  1. Which vitamin helps to maintain healthy skin?
  2. Vitamin B12 can be found in ___________ and ____________.
  3. Companies who manufacture and sell supplements earn high profits. (T or F)
  4. Excessive vitamin A might lead to _______________.
  5. Reading the labels when you buy supplements is useless. (T or F)

EXPRESSIONS or PHRASES:

What do the following expressions or phrases mean?

  • the body needs to survive (P1)
  • maintain a healthy lifestyle (P3)
  • taking excessive vitamin C (P4)
  • overload your body (P5)

Cambly Practice Button

Image source: by “unknown” http://dreamreader.net/lesson/vitamins/

Scientists unlock secrets to seahorses

[Science ★★]

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(P1) Scientists now know the secrets to one of the world’s least understood fish, the seahorse. Researchers worked out the genetic map of the tiger tail seahorse. Scientists can now find out why seahorses are so different to other fish. They have no teeth. Male seahorses carry babies and give birth to them instead of females. Also, seahorses do not swim forwards and sideways like other fish; they swim vertically (up and down).

(P2) Seahorses started to get their unusual shape about 100 million years ago. They began to look like the neck and head of a horse. There are 54 different seahorses. The scientific name for a seahorse is Hippocampus. This word comes from the Ancient Greek words hippos (‘horse’) and kampos (‘sea monster’).

WORDS: 123

SOURCE: http://www.breakingnewsenglish.com/1612/161217-seahorses-1.html

VOCABULARY: secrets, genetic, sideways, unusual, greek

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly, summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. Do you think seahorses are beautiful fish? Why or why not?
  3. Have you ever seen a real live seahorse? If yes, where? If no, would you like to see one?
  4. Are fish common to have as pets in your country? Why or why not?

READING COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS:

  1. What’s the name of the type of seahorse that scientists studied?
  2. Which seahorse gender gives birth to babies?
  3. How do seahorses swim?
  4. How long ago did seahorses get the looks of a horse?
  5. What is the greek name for a seahorse?

EXPRESSIONS or PHRASES:

What do the following expressions or phrases mean?

  • least understood fish (P1)
  • carry babies (P1)
  • like other fish (P1)
  • comes from (P2)

Cambly Practice Button

Image source: by “unknown” http://www.theage.com.au/content/dam/images/2/b/k/j/d/image.related.videoThumbnail.620×349.2bkj0.png/1355803232790.jpg