Swedish Taxi-pod

[Technology & Environment ★★]

89_800px-coco_taxis

(P1) Students in Goteborg, Sweden, need to travel in the busy city center. But now they do not need to take a bus or a taxi. They can use a Taxi-pod, a little yellow battery-powered car with three wheels.

(P2) The company, Burst, wants to solve the problem with traffic in big cities. It would like to offer a perfect service for short trips in the city.

(P3) People on buses usually travel a long way. They are not in a hurry and they do not need to get to their final point. For lots of people, it is very important to travel quicker.

(P4) This service is not only about speed. The makers of these cars also want to improve air quality. They also want to solve traffic jam problems.

(P5) One of the passengers thinks that the Taxi-pods are good for cleaner air, cheap, easy to use in the city, and fun.

WORDS: 150

SOURCE: http://www.newsinlevels.com/products/swedish-taxi-pod-level-1/

VOCABULARY: wheels, offer, trips, makers, improve

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 taxi-pods are a good idea? Why or why not?
  3. How do you move around in a busy city?
  4. Would you buy a taxi-pod if they were available in your city? Why or why not?

READING COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS:

EXPRESSIONS or PHRASES:

  1. The Taxi-pod moves on __________ wheels.
  2. Burst is the name of a ____________.
  3. A lot of people want to travel quickly. (T or F)
  4. The Taxi-pod is a service that’s not only concerned about faster transportation. (T or F)
  5. What 4 things did a user of the Taxi-pod say about the transportation?

What do the following expressions or phrases mean?

  • battery-powered (P1)
  • solve the problem (P2)
  • a long way (P3)
  • their final point (P3)

Cambly Practice Button

Image source: By Jongleur100 Own work – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Coco_taxis.JPG

IBM Working on Bot to Help Elderly Age at Home

[Technology & Health ★★★]

1098606-11-20161229220745

(P1) Assisted living facilities and personal nurses aren’t exactly cheap. And as the Baby Boomer generation ages, finding an affordable means of helping people age in the comfort of their own home could be good not just for seniors, but for their wallets, too. So IBM is working on a prototype bot that could become what Consumerist describes as a “robotic roommate.” Built with sensors that can detect anything from a change in motion to sounds and scents, the so-called IBM Multi-Purpose Eldercare Robot Assistant (MERA) could help track whether stove burners are on or the person has fallen. IBM has been developing the sensors alongside Rice University out of its Aging in Place lab in Austin, Texas, reports Business Insider.

(P2) While a senior technologist says there’s a lot of work ahead before the robot will be brought to market, including sorting out how to customize a bot’s knowledge of a person’s home environment, health issues, and more, “in the near-term, it would be more of the ambient sensors in the home starting to gather all of this data.” The prototype is already capable of reading facial expressions, capturing vital signs, and recognizing speech. Obvious markets include the US, which is home to more 100-year-olds (75,000) than any other country, and Japan, which is a third the size of the US but has 65,000 people over 100 and, as Business Insider reported earlier this fall, has broken its own record of most centenarians per capita for 46 years in a row.

WORDS: 250

SOURCE: http://www.newser.com/story/236122/ibm-working-on-bot-to-help-elderly-age-at-home.html

VOCABULARY: prototype, so-called, sorting out, ambient, centenarians

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 IBM will be successful with the MERA prototype? Why or why not?
  3. What are some jobs you can see robots replacing humans in the future? Why?
  4. Do you know any centenarians? If yes, describe one of them. If no, what do you think it would be like to be 100 plus years?

READING COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS:

  1. According to the article what two things aren’t really affordable for the elderly?
  2. What acronym is mentioned for the bot?
  3. Who is IBM working with to develop this “robotic roommate”?
  4. The prototype bot is already programmed to ____________________, _________________________, and ________________________.
  5. What two countries are mentioned in the article as clear targets for marketing?

EXPRESSIONS or PHRASES:

What do the following expressions or phrases mean?

  • but for their wallets, too (P1)
  • could help track (P1)
  • brought to market (P2)
  • capturing vital signs (P2)

Cambly Practice Button

Image source: by  IBM Research/Flickr

Apple AirPods are a ‘runaway success’, says CEO Tim Cook

[Technology & Business ★★★]

airpods

(P1) The response to Apple’s AirPods may have been mixed so far, but the company described them as a “runaway success”.  Apple CEO Tim Cook, who was recently spotted touring the New York Stock Exchange, told CNBC in an interview the company had a “great holiday” quarter and called the AirPods a “runaway success”.

(P2) “We’re making them as fast as we can,” he added. Apple AirPods, which are a pair of totally wireless headphones, went on sale earlier this month and shipping started shortly after Christmas in the US and other countries.

(P3) Launched alongside the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, AirPods were first unveiled in September. They were originally scheduled to hit the market in October and were priced Rs 15,400 in India. Apple, however, delayed the release saying they needed “a little more time”.

(P4) AirPods are Apple’s first wireless earbuds and they look similar to the company’s wired earphones. Powered by a new W1 chipset, AirPods have sensors that determine when the earpieces are in your ears. AirPods can wirelessly connect to the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus after Apple removed the headphone jack from its current flagships.

(P5) While the AirPods are now available for sale, some users have recently discovered battery-related issues with the charging cradle. The charging case comes with its own battery, and when you place the AirPods inside the case, they will be charged up. Apple claims the battery in the case should last 24 hours, but some users say they are not getting anywhere close to this number.

WORDS: 255

SOURCE: http://indianexpress.com/article/technology/gadgets/apple-airpods-are-a-runaway-success-tim-cook/

VOCABULARY: spotted, on sale, unveiled, flagships, cradle

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. What is your opinion about Apple’s new AirPods?
  3. Do you believe Apple’s claim that the battery lasts 24 hours? Why or why not?
  4. If you don’t have an iPhone 7 or plus now, do you plan on getting one? Why or why not?

READING COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS:

  • So far, the response from consumers about the AirPods has been a mixture of good and bad. (T or F)
  • The CEO of Apple states the sales of the AirPods so far have been a ________________.
  • The AirPods have ________ that know when the buds are in a persons’ ears.
  • Some users have reported ______________ issues with the AirPods.
  • Apple asserts that the battery should last _____________.

EXPRESSIONS or PHRASES:

What do the following expressions or phrases mean?

  • runaway success (title)
  • hit the market (P3)
  • powered by (P4)
  • anywhere close to this number (P5)

Cambly Practice Button

Image source: by  Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP  http://indianexpress.com/article/technology/gadgets/apple-airpods-are-a-runaway-success-tim-cook/

Amazon Delivery by Drone Has Begun

[Technology ★★★]

1096621-11-20161214121628

(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)

Cambly Practice Button

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

Find Love in the Skies With This New Dating App

[Technology, Travel, Lifestyle ★★★]

airdates-home-page

(P1) Whether you’re a passenger prone to making eyes across the aisle or just thinking about the mile high club every time you board a plane, singles have more fun in the skies. And now there’s a new dating app specifically designed to make flights an opportunity to meet new people.

(P2) AirDates, which bills itself as “the only in-flight dating app,” strives to make air travel an opportunity to find love, before, during, and after a flight.

(P3) Users start by building a profile and spell out exactly what (business, social, party, dating) and whom (age, gender, sexuality, location) they’re looking for. Then users are suggested to update their status and let everybody around know their travel plans.

(P4) Before taking off, users can share their itineraries and find travelers that are going to be on the same flight. The app can also be used to find other singles hanging out in the same airport at the same time.

(P5) And while in the air, travelers can open their app and connect with other singles onboard. The app uses WeChat technology (turn on airplane mode, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth) to connect without using data or relying on spotty plane Wi-Fi.  However, the chat feature only works up to 70 meters (230 feet), so those looking to connect with everyone possible on the flight should probably book a seat in the middle of the plane.

(P6) But the app is also practical. For those who travel too frequently to ever use the app to find a relationship, AirDates’s website points out that you can chat with nearby users to share a cab into the city, find out what’s cool a destination, or even uncover secret frequent traveler’s airport hacks.

(P7) The app is currently in beta on iOS but, according to Mashable, will be more widely distributed and updated by February 2017.

WORDS: 302

SOURCE: http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-tips/mobile-apps/in-flight-dating-app

VOCABULARY: prone, strives, spell out, onboard, spotty, hacks

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. Would you use this app to find love in the air? Why or why not?
  3. Do people in your country use dating websites? If so, which ones?
  4. Do you think it’s possible to find the love of your life in an airport or onboard a plane? Why or why not?

READING COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS:

  1. Airdates claims it’s the only _________________________.
  2. Users of the app should give out their travel arrangements to find other people. (T or F)
  3. Airdates doesn’t use another app’s technology to connect people on flights. (T or F)
  4. It’s best to reserve a seat in the _______________ of the airplane because the maximum distance of the technology is limited.
  5. When will the live version of the app be available to some of the public?

EXPRESSIONS or PHRASES:

What do the following expressions or phrases mean?

  • to making eyes across the aisle (P1)
  • to find other singles (P4)
  • what’s a cool destination (P6)
  • widely distributed (P7)

Cambly Practice Button

Image source: by “unknown” http://donthatethegeek.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/airdates-home-page-660×330.png

Seriously powerful weather satellite put into space

[Technology ★★]

goes-r_2

(P1) The USA put a powerful weather satellite into space. It will change how we get weather information. The $1 billion GOES-R satellite will take photos five times faster than other satellites. Photos will be four times better quality. GOES-R will change weather forecasts. It is like the difference between black and white TV and HD TV.

(P2) GOES-R will give real-time photos. They will make us safer. Airplanes will miss turbulence. GOES-R will zoom in on events like hurricanes, flooding and ash clouds. This will warn people about danger and save lives and homes. GOES-R will show the weather, as it looks right now, not the weather of 30 minutes ago.

WORDS: 111

SOURCE: http://www.breakingnewsenglish.com/1611/161123-weather-forecast-0.html

VOCABULARY: powerful, quality, forecasts, safer, turbulence, hurricanes, ash clouds

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 follow the weather for your city? Why or why not?
  3. What is the weather like now in your city?
  4. Does your country experience natural disasters? If yes, which ones? (Ex. hurricanes)

READING COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS:

  1. Who put the satellite into outer space?
  2. What is the value of the GOES-R?
  3. The satellite will help airplanes avoid dangerous air. (T or F)
  4. The satellite will help to save __________ and ___________.
  5. The GOES-R satellite will not display real-time weather. (T or F)

EXPRESSIONS or PHRASES:

What do the following expressions or phrases mean?

  • five times faster (P1)
  • the difference between black and white TV and HD TV (P1)
  • real-time photos (P2)
  • save lives (P2)

Cambly Practice Button

Image source: by “unknown” GOES R [Lockheed Martin] credit: NASA – Public Domain

Apple’s New Laptop

[Technology ★★]

maxresdefault

(P1) Apple unveiled its newest MacBook Pro last week. Tim Cook, the company’s CEO, called it absolutely incredible.

(P2) The laptop is thinner, lighter and comes with a fingerprint reader. There is also the new touch panel, which Apple calls the Touch Bar. It replaces the function keys and changes depending on the currently running application.

(P3) Standard USB ports and SD card slots are gone, but there still is a standard 3.5 mm headphone jack. The new versions cost $200 more than the 2015 models, so the prices are starting at $1,499 in the US.

WORDS: 93

SOURCE: http://www.newsinlevels.com/products/apple-s-new-laptop-level-2/

VOCABULARY: unveiled, incredible, fingerprint, replaces, depending on, slots

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. Would you buy this new laptop? Why or why not?
  3. Do you like Apple products? Why or why not?
  4. Are Apple products popular in your country? If so, why do you think they are?

READING COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS:

  1. Who is the Chief Executive Officer of Apple?
  2. Which two adjectives describes the weight and size of the new laptop?
  3. What does Apple call the new touch panel?
  4. What two things did Apple eliminate from the new laptop?
  5. What is the minimum cost of the new device?

EXPRESSIONS or PHRASES:

What do the following expressions or phrases mean?

  • last week (P1)
  • currently running application (P2)
  • are gone (P3)
  • starting at $1,499 (P3)

Cambly Practice Button

Image source: by “unknown” https://i.ytimg.com/vi/D1OtU3-mjLE/maxresdefault.jpg