The Hudson Bay – Canada’s Icebox

[Geography ★★]

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(P1) The Hudson Bay is a large body of water in the northeastern part of Canada. It has an area of about 1.2 million square kilometers and is connected to the Atlantic Ocean. The Hudson Bay is very shallow. Although it is a part of the open sea, the salt level of The Hudson Bay is low because many rivers bring fresh water into the bay. While the eastern coastline is rocky with many islands, the western coast is low and swampy.

(P2) Canada’s greatest body of water lies in the middle of the Canadian tundra. The Hudson Bay is, geologically, the center of the Canadian Shield, an area of Canada that consists of old rock formations.  The weight of the ice during the last Ice Age lowered the surface of the land. After the ice had melted, water filled the bay.

WORDS: 140

SOURCE: http://www.english-online.at/geography/hudson-bay/hudson-bay.htm

VOCABULARY: icebox, shallow, rocky, swampy, tundra, formations, melted

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. Are there any big bodies of water in your country? If yes, describe one.
  3. Are there rock formations in your country? If yes, describe one.
  4. What are some large bodies of water in the world?

READING COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS:

  1. In what part of Canada is the Hudson Bay located?
  2. The Atlantic Ocean and the Hudson Bay are joined together. (T or F)
  3. The western part of the Hudson Bay is ___________ and __________.
  4. What is the Canadian Shield?
  5. The water in the Hudson Bay originally came from what?

EXPRESSIONS or PHRASES:

What do the following expressions or phrases mean?

  • northeastern part of Canada (P1)
  • connected to the Atlantic Ocean (P1)
  • eastern coastline (P1)
  • the weight of the ice (P2)
  • filled the bay (P2)

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Image source: by “unknown” http://www.english-online.at/geography/hudson-bay/hudson-bay.htm

Queen Says ‘Friendly’ Ghosts Haunt This Palace

[Places & Travel ★★★]

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(P1) The home of the Swedish royal family is apparently “spook central”. But Queen Silvia says not to worry, the “small friends … ghosts” that haunt the 17th-century halls of Drottningholm Palace mean no harm and don’t scare her, reports the AFP. “They’re all very friendly but you sometimes feel that you’re not completely alone,” the 73-year-old queen says in a new documentary by the country’s public TV network SVT. Located on Lovön Island off Stockholm, Drottningholm is the principal home of Queen Silvia, Sweden’s longest-serving queen, and King Carl XVI Gustaf, her husband of 40 years. Its UNESCO World Heritage listing describes it as “the finest example of an 18th-century north European royal residence inspired by the Palace of Versailles.”

(P2) While the queen doesn’t get into specifics about individual spirits, Time cites a 2010 Swedish article that references a “gray man” and a “white lady” said to roam there. As for backup, the king’s sister, Princess Christina, agrees the castle is indeed a phantom favorite. “There is much energy in this house. It would be strange if it didn’t take the form of guises,” she tells the filmmakers. The Local reports that those who want to seek out the paranormal guests can indeed do so: Only the southern wing is off-limits to the public.

WORDS: 213

SOURCE: http://www.newser.com/story/236363/queen-says-friendly-ghosts-haunt-this-palace.html

VOCABULARY: spook, halls, spirits, phantom, guises, seek out, paranormal

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 believe that ghosts actually exist? Why or why not?
  3. Would you like to stay for a weekend in this palace? Why or why not?
  4. Are you frightened of anything? If so, what and why?

READING COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS:

  1. What roams the corridors of the palace?
  2. Where is the royal palace situated in Switzerland?
  3. The architecture of Drottningholm Palace was in influenced by _______________.
  4. According to a writing in 2010, supposedly a ____________ and a ___________ wander in the palace.
  5. Which part of the royal palace is closed to visitors?

EXPRESSIONS or PHRASES:

What do the following expressions or phrases mean?

  • is apparently spook central (P1)
  • Located on Lovön Island off Stockholm, Drottningholm (P1)
  • said to roam there (P2)
  • off-limits (P2)

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Image source: by AYImages/Getty Images http://www.newser.com/story/236363/queen-says-friendly-ghosts-haunt-this-palace.html

Cyclist Born in 1911 Sets World Record

[Sports ★★★]

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(P1) A French cyclist has set a new record for riding 14 miles in one hour. If that doesn’t sound so remarkable, the world record is 33.8 miles, consider the category in which Robert Marchand was competing: over 105. The retired firefighter did it the first time riding in under one hour in the over-100 category in 2012, then topped it two years later at age 102, the Guardian reports. He also holds the 100-plus record for fastest 100km (4 hours, 17 minutes). He turned 105 a few months ago and competed Wednesday in the new category created just for him. Marchand circled the Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines velodrome near Paris 92 times with a crowd cheering him on.

(P2) Afterward, he was modest about his feat, telling BFMTV via the BBC that he “could have done better” but missed a sign telling him he had 10 minutes to go. He adds, “My legs didn’t hurt … My arms hurt, but that’s because of rheumatism.” Marchand, who cycles daily and once biked from Paris to Moscow, tells the AP he’s “now waiting for a rival.” Chips in his physiologist: “He could have been faster but he made a big mistake. He has stopped eating meat over the past month after being shocked by recent reports on how animals are subjected to cruel treatment.”

WORDS: 218

SOURCE: http://www.newser.com/story/236417/at-105-cyclist-sets-new-record.html

VOCABULARY: remarkable, velodrome, modest, feat, rheumatism, rival, chips in

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, why do you think the cyclist was able to set a new record in cycling?
  3. If you were over 100 years old, do you think you could accomplish the same thing Mr. Marchand did? Why or why not?
  4. Do you think the elderly should be encouraged to exercise more? Why or why not?

READING COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS:

  1. When Mr. Marchand was working, he used to be a ______________.
  2. How many times did the cyclist go around the bicycle track in France?
  3. What disease affects Mr. Marchand?
  4. In the past, Mr. Marchland cycled from __________ to ____________.
  5. Why did Mr. Marchand quit eating meat?

EXPRESSIONS or PHRASES:

What do the following expressions or phrases mean?

  • the first time riding in under one hour (P1)
  • then topped it two years later (P1)
  • cheering him on (P1)
  • subjected to cruel treatment (P2)

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Image source: by AP Photo/Thibault Camus http://www.newser.com/story/236417/at-105-cyclist-sets-new-record.html

New Year’s Resolutions

[Lifestyle ★★★]

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(P1) Many people make resolutions during the New Year. A resolution is a firm decision to do something. The most popular New Year’s resolutions are losing weight, saving money, getting fit, and to stop smoking. About 45% of Americans make one or more resolution every year. However, only 8% of people actually attain their goal.

(P2) There are several ways to help your chances of achieving your resolution. The first way is to be realistic. Setting small goals is much better than trying to make big life changes. 35% of New Year’s resolutions fail because of this. If you were planning to get in shape, for example, you will have a better chance if you start with a little exercise each day. People who try to run 5 kilometers each morning from January 1st will likely give up soon.

(P3) Another tip is to plan out how to achieve your resolution. If you want to lose weight, for example, decide what kind of food you will stop eating and how often you will exercise. Making a detailed list will help you. Once you have made your plan, stick to it! It is important to always adhere to your plan.

(P4) Another way to make sure your resolution succeeds is to track your progress. If your plan is to lose weight, write down how much weight you lose each week. Make a chart of your weight loss and put it somewhere you can see it. This will help you to keep making an effort. Almost 33% of people who fail their New Year’s Resolutions do so because they didn’t track their progress.

WORDS: 266

SOURCE: http://dreamreader.net/lesson/new-years-resolutions/

VOCABULARY: attain, chances, realistic, adhere to, progress

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 people make New Year’s resolutions in your country? If yes, what are some common ones?
  3. Why do you think a high percentage of people break their New Year’s resolution?
  4. If you would make a New Year’s resolution, what would it be? Why?

READING COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS:

  1. According to the article, what percentage of individuals achieve their resolution?
  2. The number one means to achieve your resolution is being __________.
  3. Once you have a plan for your resolution, you need to ____________ to it.
  4. When using a visual aid to track your weight loss, you should keep it in your sight. (T or F)
  5. What’s the failure rate of people who don’t monitor their work in progress?

EXPRESSIONS or PHRASES:

What do the following expressions or phrases mean?

  • a firm decision (P1)
  • setting small goals (P2)
  • big life changes (P2)
  • stick to it (P3)
  • track their progress (P4)

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Image source: by Ahmet Gur http://megapixelstock.com/singel_photo/5643e3a76952d

Is Spirulina a Miracle Cure-all?

[Health ★★★★]

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(P1) Arguably the “superfood” of the moment, spirulina is associated with a number of health claims, from curing allergies and candida to detoxifying the body and aiding in weight loss. Does this blue-green alga deliver, or is it all health hype?

(P2) As it turns out, these claims are backed by little science and likely surfaced due to spirulina’s impressive nutrient profile. One ounce or approximately 4 tablespoons of dried spirulina contains 81 calories, 16 grams of protein, 60 percent of the daily value of riboflavin, 44 percent of the daily value of iron and thiamin, 14 percent of the daily value of magnesium, and 11 percent of the daily value of potassium.

(P3) The Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database lists all health claims associated with spirulina as having insufficient evidence to rate and warns that women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should avoid it. There also is some evidence that spirulina could interact with anticoagulant, antiplatelet, and immunosuppressant drugs. Due to its high protein content, people with phenylketonuria, or PKU, should not consume spirulina.

(P4) After the Natural Medicines monograph was updated in 2015, a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trial of 40 individuals with hypertension was published in 2016. It found that consuming 2 grams of spirulina for three months led to improved BMI, body weight, and blood pressure in this small sample. While spirulina is very protein-dense and these results seem promising, there is not enough information at this time to recommend it as a supplement for specific health conditions.

(P5) Due to its growing popularity, spirulina is cultivated in ponds and mass-produced all over the world, including Hawaii and China. Spirulina’s distinctive and strong seaweed flavor leads many people to consume it via capsule, while others mix the powder form into water, juice, or smoothies. Contamination by toxins and heavy metals is a serious concern, so it is important to choose a spirulina supplement with reliable third-party testing and quality assurance.

WORDS: 316

SOURCE: http://www.foodandnutrition.org/November-December-2016/Is-Spirulina-a-Miracle-Cure-all/

VOCABULARY: candida, hype, anticoagulant, antiplatelet, immunosuppressant, monograph, assurance

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 vitamins and supplements every day? Why or why not?
  3. In your opinion, do you think spirulina is safe and effective? Why or why not?
  4. In your opinion do you think the supplement industry should be regulated more? Why or why not?

READING COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS:

  1. Spirula is said to be a healing agent for ____________ and _____________.
  2. The nutrients that are contained in this alleged superfood is probably more of a reason than science that people claim it works. (T or F)
  3. It’s highly suggested that woman should not take spirula if they are ______________ or ____________.
  4. Spirula is packed with protein and studies have shown it could help with weight loss. (T or F)
  5. This supplement that is produced in masses has a strong taste of ____________.

EXPRESSIONS or PHRASES:

What do the following expressions or phrases mean?

  • health claims (P1)
  • could interact with (P3)
  • in this small sample (P4)
  • to consume it via capsule (P5)

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Image source: by THINKSTOCK.COM/KESU01 http://www.foodandnutrition.org/November-December-2016/Is-Spirulina-a-Miracle-Cure-all/

Delhi’s Jamia Millia teaching Bob Dylan’s songs as literature long before Nobel recognition

[Literature ★★★★]

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(P1) Literature and music enthusiasts across the globe might be debating the Nobel Prize for Literature awarded to iconic musician Bob Dylan but students at Jamia Millia Islamia have been studying his songs as poems in literature curriculum since 2011.

(P2) The 75-year-old American singer-songwriter was chosen for the coveted award last month for “having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition”, sparking off a debate whether songs qualify as literature or not. However, Dylan’s songs have been taught as literature in Jamia long before he was chosen for the prize. The varsity introduced Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the wind” in its MA English program in 2011 as part of the poetry paper “From the Victorian Age to Contemporary Times”, a compulsory subject for those studying English literature.

(P3) Other poets that are taught along with Dylan include Robert Browning, Ted Hughes, and Dylan Thomas. “Students respond interestingly to Bob Dylan’s literature. Around 40 students are currently studying the course that is taught in the third semester of the MA English program. We have been teaching how Dylan’s songs were used almost as anthems during the American Civil Rights movement in the 60s,” a faculty member of Jamia’s English department said. “However, with Dylan becoming the first musician to bag the Nobel Prize for literature we are hoping that more students from other disciplines will opt for the course under the Choice Based Credit System (CBCS),” he added.

(P4) Jamia, however, is not the only university to be teaching Dylan’s work as literature. Kolkata’s Jadavpur University also has some of his songs in the undergraduate curriculum. According to the Swedish Academy’s permanent secretary, Sara Danius, while Dylan performs his poetry in the form of songs, that’s no different from the ancient Greeks, whose works were often performed to music, a “great majority” on the 18-member jury panel had voted for him.

WORDS: 309

SOURCE: http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-delhi-s-jamia-millia-teaching-bob-dylan-s-songs-as-literature-long-before-nobel-recognition-2277515

VOCABULARY: coveted, varsity (Indian English), compulsory, anthems, permanent secretary, jury panel

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 Bob Dylan should have received the Nobel Prize for Literature?
  3. Can you tell me some famous writers of literature in your country? What work or works are they famous for?
  4. What types of literature do you enjoy reading? Why?

READING COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS:

  1. Who could be arguing about the selection of the 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature?
  2. Which Dylan song has been used at Jamia Millia University for many years?
  3. Bob Dylan is known for his songs that were a part of the __________________________ in the USA in the 1960’s.
  4. So far, only Jamia Millia Varsity uses Bob Dylan songs in its classes. (T or F)
  5. Of the 18 members of the Nobel Prize committee, how many voted for Bob Dylan?

EXPRESSIONS or PHRASES:

What do the following expressions or phrases mean?

  • sparking off a debate (P2)
  • to bag the Nobel Prize (P3)
  • will opt for the course under the Choice Based Credit System (P3)
  • the 18-member jury panel (P4)

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Image source: by “unknown” AZ Quotes

Week122

[People ★] Prince Harry in Africa

[World News ★] Putin Friend to the USA

[Language & Science ★★] Language barriers holding back global science

[Business ★★] Ford Kills $1.6B Mexico Plant, Cites, but Doesn’t Credit, Trump

[Culture ★★] Chinese New Year

[Technology & Health ★★★] IBM Working on Bot to Help Elderly Age at Home

[Sports ★★★] After Bizarre Scene, Rwandan Soccer Bans Witchcraft

[Science ★★★] White Rainbows Frequent Only 2 Places in the World

[World News ★★★★] Woman busted smuggling teen refugee inside suitcase

[Travel ★★★★] The 10 Rules of Packing