White Rainbows Frequent Only 2 Places in the World

[Science ★★★]

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(P1) Waterfalls are among the most reliable places to catch a rainbow, but only two on the planet offers up a regular display of its close cousin, the moonbow: Cumberland Falls in Kentucky and Victoria Falls on the Zambia-Zimbabwe border. Also called a white rainbow, a moonbow appears when moonlight (which is sunlight reflected off the moon) in the days just before, during, and after a full moon hits the mist generated by the falls. Because we can’t see colors well in low light, a moonbow appears white, reports BBC Travel, though photographers can use long exposures to capture its actual colors. Moonbows are occasionally, but not regularly, seen elsewhere in the world, including at Yosemite Falls in California.

(P2) What makes Cumberland Falls and Victoria Falls so unique is that they boast just the right amount of splash along a wide enough (rather than deep and narrow) gorge so that moonlight can reach down and across the mist. CNN notes that because sunlight is much stronger than moonlight, moonbows are rainbow’s fainter cousin. They’re temperamental in other ways: Cloudy nights can prevent the bow from forming, and Niagara Falls on the US-Canada border has lost its moonbow thanks to light pollution. Bustle reports on one photographer who in November caught a similar fogbow, which forms in the fog, arching over a solitary tree in Scotland; it went viral on Instagram and Twitter.

WORDS: 231

SOURCE: http://www.newser.com/story/236138/white-rainbows-frequent-only-2-places-in-the-world.html

VOCABULARY: mist, boast, splash, gorge, fainter, temperamental,  arching

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. Have you ever seen a moonbow? If yes, describe it. If not, would you like to see one? Why or why not?
  3. Are there any beautiful waterfalls in your country? If so, where?
  4. Is light pollution a problem in the city or town you live in? If yes, how can the light pollution be reduced?

READING COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS:

  1. Where is one of the most dependable places to see a rainbow?
  2. The moonbow is paler than a rainbow and appears _________ in color.
  3. Who can catch the true colors of a moonbow?
  4. Which is more powerful, sunlight or moonlight?
  5. What was captured in Scotland that went viral on social media?

EXPRESSIONS or PHRASES:

What do the following expressions or phrases mean?

  • catch a rainbow (P1)
  • offer up (P1)
  • which is sunlight reflected off the moon (P1)
  • across the mist (P2)
  • caught a similar fogbow (P2)

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Image source: by Ian Glendinning via AP http://www.newser.com/story/236138/white-rainbows-frequent-only-2-places-in-the-world.html

Language barriers holding back global science

[Language & Science ★★]

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(P1) Language barriers are holding back science around the world. English is the language of science, but a third of research is not printed in English. Researchers from the University of Cambridge said scientists miss a lot of important research. They said journals should have summaries of a study in many languages. They also said universities should translate research into different languages, especially Chinese, French, Portuguese and Spanish.

(P2) International companies are asking staff to use only English to reduce language barriers. Germany’s Volkswagen announced that English is its official language. It wants to attract employees. Japan’s carmaker Honda said its staff must use English by 2020. Researcher Tatsuya Amano said scientists need to be serious about this. He said the WHO missed important research about avian flu in China because it was in Chinese.

WORDS: 133

SOURCE: http://www.breakingnewsenglish.com/1701/170104-language-barriers-1.html

VOCABULARY: barriers, holding back, printed, journals, reduce, official

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. Is learning English important in your country? Why or why not?
  3. Do you think more international companies should ask their employees to use English? Why or why not?
  4. What is the most difficult skill for you to learn in English?

READING COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS:

  1. How much research in science is not published in English?
  2. Besides English, what other four languages should research be translated into?
  3. Small local companies are asking their employees to speak English. (T or F)
  4. The approved language for Volkswagen is _______________.
  5. WHO is an organization that overlooked a lot of information about the __________ flu because it was written in Chinese.

EXPRESSIONS or PHRASES:

What do the following expressions or phrases mean?

  • English is the language of science (P1)
  • miss a lot (P1)
  • must use English by 2020 (P2)
  • missed important research (P2)

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Image source: by Korea Institute of Science and Technology Information https://worldwidescience.org/archive.html

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)

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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

SCIENCE EXPLAINS WHY WE SQUEEZE CUTE ANIMALS

[Science ★★]

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(P1) Have you ever seen an animal so cute that you just wanted to explode with happiness? Science has finally explained why you feel that way, and why it’s actually good for your mood.

(P2) Student researchers at Yale University decided to name our strong desire to hug things as “cute aggression”. They discovered that if we’re too happy, our body and our brain look for ways to get rid of that energy. The fastest way our bodies can get rid of energy is by being aggressive just a little more than usual. For example, instead of punching people after seeing a cute kitten, you might hug someone a little harder.

(P3) The researchers found out that the cuter the picture was, the more aggressive the volunteers would be. The volunteers were told to pop bubbles after looking at a few pictures. Those who looked at cute pictures popped 40 more bubbles on average than the others.

(P4) There are two theories about why we have cute aggression. The first reason is that we feel a need to take care of the cute creature, so we become frustrated when we can’t. The second is that our brains need to balance out our happiness with negativity, like crying while laughing.

(P5) In the end, most agree that cute aggression is not a big deal. So, continue to hug cute things, or learn to sprint if you’re just too cute.

WORDS: 233

SOURCE: http://easyenglisharticles.com/science-explains-why-we-squeeze-cute-animals/

VOCABULARY: explode, mood, aggression, punching, volunteers, bubbles, creature, frustrated

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. When was the last time you felt or displayed “cute aggression”?
  3. What things in life make you happy?
  4. When was the last time you felt sad?

READING COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS:

  1. What college conducted the research?
  2. The fastest way for our bodies release energy is to be _____________.
  3. Who was popping the bubbles in the study?
  4. How many opinions does the study suggest for “cute aggression”?
  5. Sometimes people display positive and negative feelings at the same time like _____________ and ______________.

EXPRESSIONS or PHRASES:

What do the following expressions or phrases mean?

  • get rid (P2)
  • just a little more than usual (P2)
  • after looking at (P3)
  • on average (P3)
  • a big deal (P5)

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Image source: Photo by flickr user smlp.co.uk

Discovery opens door to new Alzheimer’s treatments

[Science ★★★★]

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These are neurons in culture dishes. The colors highlight the human tau protein in green, a structural component in red and the DNA inside the cell nucleus in blue.
Credit: UNSW/Lars Ittner

(P1) Australian researchers have shed new light on the nerve cell processes that lead to Alzheimer’s disease (AD), overturning previously held ideas of how the disease develops and opening the door to new treatment options that could halt or slow its progression.

(P2) The study is published in the journal Science.

(P3) Studying human brain tissue, the UNSW and Neuroscience Research Australia research team identified a protein, kinase p38γ, which is lost as AD progresses. When they reintroduced the protein into the brains of mice, it was shown to have a protective effect against memory deficits associated with the disease.

(P4) “This study has completely changed our understanding of what happens in the brain during the development of Alzheimer’s disease,” said lead author UNSW Professor Lars Ittner.

(P5) Two of the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s are the presence of protein plaques (made up of amyloid-beta) and tangles (made up of tau protein) in the brain. The accumulation of these plaques and tangles is associated with cell death, brain atrophy, and memory loss.

(P6) The research team has revealed that a crucial step in the process that leads to tangles has been misunderstood. Previously, scientists believed the plaque-forming protein, amyloid-beta, caused a modification, called phosphorylation, to the tau protein resulting in cell death and, ultimately, Alzheimer’s disease. Increased phosphorylation of tau eventually leads to its accumulation as tangles.

(P7) Results from the new study suggest that the phosphorylation of tau initially has a protective effect on neurons and that amyloid-beta assaults the protective functionality until it is progressively lost. This is the stage at which toxicity levels cause the destruction of neurons and results in the cognitive deficits associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

(P8) “Amyloid-beta induces toxicity in the neurons but the first step in tau phosphorylation is actually to decrease this toxicity,” said Professor Ittner.

(P9) “This is a completely new mindset; that the reason tau becomes modified is actually to protect from damage.”

(P10) The study used different mice models and human brain tissue from the Sydney Brain Bank to identify a protein called kinase p38γ, which assisted the protective phosphorylation of tau and interfered with the toxicity created by amyloid-beta.

(P12) “We used mice to screen for a very specific toxicity that we knew from previous work is involved in the progression of the disease,” said Professor Ittner.

(P13) “We set out to find mediators of this progression, which led us quickly to our surprising discovery. It was the opposite of what we expected. It was only when we changed our view of the process involved in the development of AD that these results started to make sense.”

(P14) Studying human brain tissue, Professor Ittner and his team identified that p38γ is lost as AD progresses. However, a small amount does remain in the brain.

(P15) “We found that p38γ, which initially offers protection, fades away early in the brains of people with AD, suggesting a loss of protection,” he said.

(P16) “Part of our study involved reintroducing p38γ and increasing its activity. We saw that, in mice, it could prevent memory deficits from happening, so it has true therapeutic potential. If we can stimulate that activity, we may be able to delay or even halt the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.”

(P17) The next step for the researchers will be to develop their patented discoveries into a novel treatment for humans, subject to new funding.

WORDS: 551

SOURCE: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/11/161117151205.htm

VOCABULARY: deficits, hallmarks, tangles, tau protein, atrophy, amyloid-beta, phosphorylation, mediators

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 there will ever be a cure for AD? Why or why not?
  3. In your opinion, should more money be spent on researching a cure for AD? Why or why not? If yes, where should the money come from?
  4. Do you think animals should be used in lab research to find cures for diseases? Why or why not?

READING COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS:

  1. After more studies, researchers have changed their mind about the AD cycle of advancement. (T or F)
  2. What species is being used in this research to help find a cure for AD?
  3. Amyloid-beta doesn’t generate poison in the neurons. (T or F)
  4. According to Professor Ittner, p38y provides protection in the ___________, but ___________ in patients with AD.
  5. The money to fund the discoverer of a new treatment is still pending for researchers. (T or F)

EXPRESSIONS or PHRASES:

What do the following expressions or phrases mean?

  • have shed new light (P1)
  • is associated with cell death (P5)
  • until it’s progressively lost (P7)
  • a completely new mindset (P9)
  • fades away early (P15)
  • subject to new funding (P17)

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Image source: by Credit: UNSW/Lars Ittner https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/11/161117151205.htm

House on Mars

[Science ★]

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(P1)People want to go to Mars. One million people can live on Mars in 2060. Elon Musk says this.

(P2) People make a model of a house. Houses like this can be on Mars. You can see the model in Greenwich, London.

(P3) The air inside the house is good. The house also gets water for you. The atmosphere on Mars is very humid. The house gets the water from the atmosphere.

(P4) People on Mars can have 3D printers. They can print everything that they need.

WORDS: 84

SOURCE: http://www.newsinlevels.com/products/house-on-mars-level-1/

VOCABULARY: million, model, atmosphere, humid, printers

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 it’s possible to live on Mars? Why or why not?
  3. Do you want to live on Mars? Why or why not?
  4. Do you like humid weather? Why or why not?

READING COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS:

  1. Who says 1 million people can live on Mars?
  2. Where is the model of the house?
  3. The air is bad inside the house. (T or F)
  4. The atmosphere on Mars is dry (T or F)
  5. ________ printers can be on Mars also.

EXPRESSIONS or PHRASES:

What do the following expressions or phrases mean?

  • to go to Mars (P1)
  • Elon Musk says this (P1)
  • in Greenwich, London (P2)
  • The air inside the house (P3)
  • can have 3D printers (P4)

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Image source: By NASA/JPL/Cornell University, Maas Digital LLC – http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA04413 (image link), Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=565283

Eating dairy cheese may protect against sodium-related health risks

[Science ★★★★]

cheese

(P1) Consuming dairy cheese instead of other sodium-laden foods may actually protect against some of sodium’s effects on the cardiovascular system, such as high blood pressure, according to researchers at Penn State.

(P2) The researchers say the protection comes from antioxidant properties of dairy proteins in cheese.

(P3) “This is a novel finding that may have implications for dietary recommendations. Newer dietary recommendations suggest limiting sodium, but our data suggest that eating sodium in the form of a dairy product, such as cheese, may be protective,” said Lacy Alexander, associate professor of kinesiology and co-lead researcher on the project.

(P4) “We are already aware that at the population level, people who eat more dairy typically have lower blood pressure,” Alexander added.

(P5) The data suggest that when sodium is consumed in cheese it does not have the negative vascular effects that researchers observed with sodium from non-dairy sources. The researchers interpret this to mean that the proteins and nutrients in cheese may be protecting the blood vessels from the short-term negative effects of sodium. However, it is not known if this protection extends over the long term.

(P6) For the study, Alexander and colleagues fed participants dairy cheese, pretzels, or soy cheese on five separate occasions, three days apart. They then compared the effects of each food on the cardiovascular system using a laser-Doppler, which shines a weak laser light onto the skin.

(P7) The laser light reflects off red blood cells that flow through the vessels just under the skin, allowing researchers to measure how much the blood vessels dilate in response to skin warming and how much of that dilation is due to the production of nitric oxide, a gas that’s naturally produced in the body to deliver messages between cells.

(P8) The goal was to compare the effect of short-term dairy-cheese consumption to sodium consumption from non-dairy sources.

(P9) Soy served as an additional control to match the fat, salt, and protein content from a dietary source that is not dairy-based.

(P10) “We found that when our subjects ate a lot of sodium in cheese, they had better blood vessel function, more blood flow, compared to when they ate an equal amount of sodium from non-dairy sources, in this case, pretzels and soy cheese,” said Anna Stanhewicz, co-investigator and postdoctoral fellow in the Center for Healthy Aging.

(P12) “We know that more red blood cells mean more blood flow and more dilation. We observed that subjects had more nitric oxide-moderated dilation after eating dairy cheese, compared to after eating pretzels or soy cheese.”

(P13) The researchers reported their findings in the British Journal of Nutrition. Other researchers involved included Billie Alba, a pre-doctoral student in the Department of Kinesiology, and W. Larry Kenney, professor of kinesiology and Marie Underhill Noll Chair in Human Performance.

(P14) An ongoing follow-up study tests the same effects over a longer period of time.

WORDS: 473

SOURCE: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/11/161102102053.htm

VOCABULARY: cardiovascular, antioxidant, kinesiology, dilate, fellow (postdoctoral)

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. Name some types of cheeses that people consume in your country.
  3. Do you think it’s important to obtain a doctorate’s degree? Why or why not?
  4. Do you think it’s important to study the effects of diary-cheese products and non-dairy cheese products in humans? Why or why not?

READING COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS:

  1. What’s the name of the organization that performed the research?
  2. Eating cheese will definitely protect people from cardiovascular diseases like high blood pressure. (T or F)
  3. The aim of the research was to compare long-term consequences of eating diary-cheese to non-diary foods. (T or F)
  4. What’s the name of the person from the Center for Healthy Aging?
  5. Billie Alba is not a postdoctoral student. (T or F)

EXPRESSIONS or PHRASES:

What do the following expressions or phrases mean?

  • a novel finding (P3)
  • if this protection extends over the long term (P5)
  • reflects off red blood cells (P7)
  • soy served as an additional control (P9)
  • an ongoing follow-up study (P14)

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Image source: by “unknown” http://kulinari.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/346-509×264.jpg