MYSTERIOUS BALLS OF GOO ARE ROLLING ONTO AMERICAN BEACHES

[ENVIRONMENT ★★★]

MYSTERIOUS BALLS OF GOO ARE ROLLING ONTO AMERICAN BEACHES

Salps

(P1) STRANDED jellyfish are common sights along beaches around the world. Some places can see up to a billion animals coating the sand. But beachgoers along the U.S. East Coast are RUNNING ACROSS a surprising sight this summer: thousands of KNUCKLE-size, GELATINOUS BLOBS washing up from the surf.

(P2) Often called “jellyfish eggs” for their superficial resemblance, these creatures are called salps and they’re more closely related to people than they are to jellyfish.

(P3) In fact, the only thing salps and jellyfish have in common is that both are gelatinous and both float around in the ocean, says Larry Madin, executive vice president and director of research at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts.

(P4) Changes in wind direction or water currents will push the BARREL-shaped animals onto beaches, which happens with some regularity, says Paul Bologna, director of the marine biology and coastal sciences program at Montclair State University in New Jersey.

(P5) That’s what happened in Ocean City, Maryland, on July 11 and 12, and it’s what’s happened up in Cape Cod, where Madin says he’s heard reports of salp strandings this summer.

(P6) The good news is, they’re entirely HARMLESS, unlike some of the other gelatinous things people have reported seeing on beaches in recent years. A PORTUGUESE MAN-OF-WAR WASHED UP in Atlantic City, New Jersey, last week and Bologna says last year a number of BOX JELLIES were sighted off the New Jersey coast.

(P7) Salps are part of a group called tunicates, says Madin, a tunicate specialist. And members of this group have a kind of primitive BACKBONE, which jellies lack. The animals can also “give birth” to long chains of clones, and recent research finds that they may actually be a weapon against global warming.

(P8) The THUMBNAIL-size salps most commonly sighted on beaches are one of about 50 species which range from Antarctica to just south of the Arctic. Some species can get up to almost a foot (30 centimeters) long.

(P9) Part of their life cycle involves asexual budding, where one salp creates a chain of HERMAPHRODITIC clones that stay connected. The chains in some species can get up to 50 feet (15 meters) long. Sometimes, Madin says, the salp chain comes out in shapes; one species creates a wheel of salps, while another species organizes its chains into a double HELIX.

(P10) Eventually, the salp chains break apart. All the individuals that are released turn into females containing one egg. Males from a previous generation of salps will FERTILIZE the females, producing an EMBRYO. The “mother” then develops TESTES and goes on to fertilize the eggs of other nearby salps, all while the embryo continues to grow inside of it. That embryo eventually pops out and grows up to create another chain of clones.

(P11) A salp’s ability to mate and combine different genetic material keeps populations healthy, says Madin, while their cloning abilities let them REPRODUCE very quickly.

(P12) Salps’ cloning TENDENCIES also let them take advantage of ALGAE BLOOMS. The animals GORGE themselves on the algae and pump out chains of salp babies. All that eating also produces large FECAL PELLETS that “sink rapidly, as much as a thousand meters a day,” Madin says.

(P13) This is a salp’s SECRET WEAPON against climate change. The algae that they eat uses carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to grow. The salps then eat the algae and all that carbon. When the animals produce their pellets, that carbon sinks to the bottom of the ocean where it’s essentially removed from the CARBON CYCLE.

(P14) Essentially, salps REPACKAGE carbon into big pieces that sink very quickly into the ocean, says Bologna. “It’s one way of trying to balance out how much CO2 is in the atmosphere.”

(P15) Madin is skeptical that the salps will be able to keep up with the increased carbon in the atmosphere, but notes that salps can eat much smaller particles of PLANKTON than animals like CRUSTACEANS and COPEPODS. “One thing we see with warming temperatures is that the types of phytoplankton species are changing from larger ones, like diatoms, to smaller ones which we call picoplankton,” he explains.

(P16) So “salps may have a competitive advantage as the oceans grow warmer,” Madin says, because they’ll be able to eat the really small plant plankton that will become more common.

(P17) Which means we may see more and more of these gelatinous creatures washing up onto beaches in the near future.

WORDS: 725

SOURCE: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2015/07/150722-salp-beaches-oceans-animals-science/

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. Jellyfish sting humans. Have you ever been stung by a jellyfish or bee, or otherwise hurt by a wild animal?
  3. What is the strangest sight you have ever seen in nature?
  4. Salps are more closely related to humans than to jellyfish because of a particular ANATOMICAL feature that they have. What is it?
  5. Do you get to the beach often in the summer?

EXPRESSIONS TO PRACTICE:

What do the following expressions mean? Practice using each expression in a sentence; extra points if you can use it in conversation.

  • Run across
  • Wash up
  • Secret weapon

PRACTICE ARTICLE NOW

FIVE REASONS WE CAN’T HANDLE MARRIAGE ANYMORE

[LIFE ★]

FIVE REASONS WE CAN’T HANDLE MARRIAGE ANYMORE

Marriage

(P1) Marriages today just don’t work. Why not?

(P2) It’s a pretty simple concept — fall in love and share your life together. Our great grandparents did it, our grandparents FOLLOWED SUIT, and for many of us, our parents did it as well.

(P3) Why can’t we?

(P4) I’ve been divorced myself. But I’m only one of the many people today that have failed at marriage.

(P5) Back when I met my ex-wife in 2004, things were just so different. Social media had yet to explode. I had this desire to ask her about her day simply because I didn’t know.

(P6) Texting was just starting to make its way into MAINSTREAM society, so if I wanted to speak to her, I had to call her.

(P7) If I wanted to see her, I had to drive to her house and knock on her door. Everything required an action on my part, or hers.

(P8) Today, things are different though.

(P9) Looking back nearly 11 years, I began to wonder how different things were for the older generations.

(P10) More importantly, I wonder how different they will be for my children.

(P11) Our generation isn’t EQUIPPED to handle marriages — and here’s why:

(P12) 1) Sex becomes almost non-existent.

(P13) Couples NEGLECT having sex, especially younger ones. Instead, we have sex once every couple weeks, or when it’s time to get pregnant. It becomes this chore.

(P14) It’s not just boredom that stops sex from happening. Everywhere you look, there’s pictures of men and women we know half naked — some look better than your husband or wife.

(P15) It’s no wonder why INSECURITIES LOOM SO LARGELY these days. It seems that you have to be perfect to keep someone attracted to you.

(P16) 2) Finances CRIPPLE us.

(P17) Years ago, it didn’t cost UPWARD of $200,000 for an education. It also didn’t cost $300,000-plus for a home.

(P18) The cost of living was very different than what it is now. The increased cost of living puts STRAIN on marriages today.

(P19) You need to find a job to pay for student loans, a MORTGAGE, utilities, living expenses, and a baby. The problem is, it’s extremely difficult to find a job that can provide an income that will help you live comfortably while paying all of these bills.

(P20) This strain causes TENSION between us. It prevents us from being able to live life.

(P21) We’re too busy paying bills to enjoy our youth. Forget going to dinner, you have to pay the mortgage. You’ll have to skip an ANNIVERSARY gift this year because those student loans are due at the end of the month. Vacations? Not happening.

(P22) We’re trying to live the way our grandparents and parents did in a world that has put more debt on our plate than ever before. This puts us in an awful position.

(P23) Part of life is being able to live. Not having the finances to do so takes away yet another important aspect of our relationships. It keeps us inside, forced to see the life everyone else is living.

(P24) 3) We’re more connected than ever before, but completely disconnected at the same time.

(P25) LET’S FACE IT, the last time you “spoke” to the person you love, you didn’t even hear their voice.

(P26) You could be at work, the gym, maybe with the kids at soccer. You may even be in the same room.

(P27) You told your wife you made dinner reservations … through a text message.

(P28) Your husband had flowers delivered to your job … through an app on his phone.

(P29) You both searched for furnishings for your new home … on Pinterest.

(P30) There’s no physical connection attached to anything anymore.

(P31) We’ve developed relationships with things, not each other. Ninety-five percent of the personal conversations you have on a daily basis occur through some type of technology.

(P32) We’ve forgotten how to communicate yet expect healthy marriages. How is it possible to grow and mature together if we barely speak?

(P33) Years ago, my grandmother wouldn’t hear from my grandfather all day; he was working. But today, if someone doesn’t text you back within 30 minutes, you think they’re cheating on you.

(P34) You want to know why your grandmother and grandfather just celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary? Because they weren’t scrolling through Instagram worrying about what John ate for dinner. They weren’t on Facebook criticizing others. They weren’t on vacation sending Snapchats to their friends.

(P35) No.

(P36) They were too PREOCCUPIED loving and respecting one another. They were talking to each other at dinner, walking with each other holding hands instead of their phones.

(P37) They weren’t DISTRACTED by everything around them. They had dreams and chased them together.

(P38) 4) Our desire for attention outweighs our desire to be loved.

(P39) Even years ago, people would CLAMOR over celebrities. When I think back, I can imagine young women wanting to be like Marilyn Monroe. She was beautiful, all over magazines, could have any man she wanted and, in fact, did.

(P40) But she was a celebrity. And in order to be a successful one, she had to keep all eyes on her. The same holds true for celebrities today. They have to stay in the spotlight or their fame runs out, and they get replaced.

(P41) Social media, however, has given everyone an opportunity to be famous. Attention you couldn’t dream of getting unless you were celebrity is now a selfie away. Post a picture, and thousands of strangers will like it. Wear less clothing, and guess what? More likes.

(P42) It’s more than that though. What about the life you live? I see pictures of people DECKED OUT in designer clothes, in some club with fancy drinks — People that I know are DEAD BROKE. But they PORTRAY themselves as successful because, well, they can. And they get this GRATIFICATION from people who like and comment on their statuses or pictures.

(P43) If you want to love someone, stop SEEKING attention from everyone because you’ll never be satisfied with the attention from one person.

(P44) The same holds true for love.

(P45) Love is supposed to be SACRED. You can’t love someone when you’re preoccupied with worrying about what others think of you. Whether it be posting pictures on social media, buying homes to compete with others, or going on LAVISH vacations — none of it matters.

(P46) 5) Everything is public. Everything is a performance.

(P47) We’ve THROWN PRIVACY OUT THE WINDOW these days.

(P48) Nothing is sacred anymore, in fact, it’s SPLATTERED all over the Web for the world to see.

(P49) Everywhere we go, everything we do — made public. Instead of enjoying the moment, we get lost in cyberspace, trying to figure out what would make the best status update.

(P50) Something as simple as enjoying breakfast has become a PHOTO SHOOT. Vacations are no longer a time to relax, but more a time to post VIGOROUSLY. You can’t just sit back and SOAK IT ALL IN.

(P51) There’s absolutely nothing wrong with sharing moments of your life. I do it myself. But where do we DRAW THE LINE? When does it become too much?

(P52) The worst part about all this? It’s only going to get worse.

(P53) Marriage is sacred. It is the most beautiful SACRAMENT and has tremendous promise for those fortunate enough to experience it. Divorced or not, I am a believer in true love and building a beautiful life with someone. In fact, it’s been my dream since I was young.

(P54) I hope you never experience the DEMISE of your love. It’s painful, and life-changing; something nobody should ever feel.

(P55) I do fear, however, that the world we live in today has put ROADBLOCKS in the way of getting there and living a happy life with someone. Some things are in our control, and unfortunately, others are not.

(P56) People can agree or disagree.

(P57) I’m perfectly okay with that.

WORDS: 1281

SOURCE: http://www.wcnc.com/story/opinion/2015/04/06/5-reasons-we-cant-handle-marriage-anymore/25364945/

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. The author of this essay is very PESSIMISTIC about the future of marriage. Are you pessimistic or optimistic?
  3. The author also thinks that marriages in earlier generations were happier and more DEVOTED. Do you agree or not?
  4. Do you think that social media makes your personal relationships better or worse?
  5. Have any of your family or friends been divorced? Was it very difficult for them?

EXPRESSIONS TO PRACTICE:

What do the following expressions mean? Practice using each expression in a sentence; extra points if you can use it in conversation.

  • Follow suit
  • Loom large
  • Let’s face it
  • Decked out
  • Dead broke
  • Throw out the window
  • Photo shoot
  • Soak in
  • Draw the line

PRACTICE ARTICLE NOW

WHAT BEER-MAKING CAN TEACH YOU ABOUT THE BUSINESS WORLD

[BUSINESS ★★★]

WHAT BEER-MAKING CAN TEACH YOU ABOUT THE BUSINESS WORLD

Capped beer bottles in the filling room

(P1) Next time you are in your local grocery story, step in to look a little more closely at the beer cooler. Amid the brightly colored, creative packaging lies the final battle for the ultimate goal – your purchases.

(P2) But, what battles were fought to get the beer to that particular cooler? More importantly, what might those battles say about larger trends in business today?

(P3) At Miami University’s Farmer School of Business, we designed an EXPERIENTIAL class to go in depth with these issues, LEVERAGING the lessons of the beer industries as a way to better understand larger trends in business strategy and SUPPLY CHAINS.

(P4) Why beer? What is significant about the brewing industry? And what can students take away (besides a new appreciation for HOPS)?

(P5) The beer industry turns out to be a fascinating MICROCOSMS of the larger landscape of today’s business climate. Breweries are VARIED and transparent, PRISMS through which students get to see firsthand the strategies employed by the full SPECTRUM – from tiny pubs to the fastest-growing midsized breweries to the largest brewing facility in the world. In other words, they offer the perfect opportunity to use a HOSPITABLE, popular setting to examine a PLETHORA of questions facing the industry and individual businesses.

(P6) For instance, how can microbreweries survive given their PALTRY MARKET SHARE? (The average US microbrewery has a 0.0041% market share.) Who are they? And how do they compete against the global brands and scale of the macrobreweries?

(P7) We set out to find out for ourselves – and for our students.

(P8) During a three-week intensive examination of the beer industry, we toured 25 breweries and related facilities from Portland, Oregon to Asheville, North Carolina in a field study to get to know the INTIMATE details of the industry’s supply chain.

(P9) And what did we find?

(P10) The OVERWHELMING majority of new market entrants in the beer industry are craft breweries that sell to a very localized consumer base.

(P11) As the dominant market players concentrated on general markets, WIDESPREAD distribution and global uniformity, there were many geographic NICHES for ENTREPRENEURS to claim local identities.

(P12) Now, the craft and local nature of these new beers is capturing the new generation of beer drinkers – indeed, 44% of drinkers aged 21 to 27 report never tasting Budweiser or Bud Light, two macrobrew ICONS.

(P13) In touring the beer industry, students start to understand it at a deeper level.

(P14) Instead, drinking local beer has become part political statement – lowering carbon emissions and supporting local entrepreneurs – and part cultural experience – either as connection to a hometown or as a tourist destination.

(P15) In touring a few dozen breweries, students begin to understand the industry at a much deeper level.

(P16) They see up close the struggles the small brewers go through to survive. They understand the challenges of SCALING UP and maintaining complex businesses with national distributions. They recognize strategies and the logic behind them.

(P17) Yet, they still have to GRAPPLE with large, unanswered questions:

(P18) How many local breweries can the US sustain?

(P19) Will we see a BUBBLE in the beer industry as more investment money pours into brewing?

(P20) In response to declining light lager sales domestically, the major breweries have turned to acquiring smaller craft brands like 10 Barrel, Elysian and Leinenkugel’s, mirroring efforts in the food industries as “big food” YIELDS market share to local, niche brands.

(P21) Similarly, independent craft brewers, like New Belgian and Sierra Nevada, have become national brands, bringing together the opposing forces of ECONOMIES OF SCALE and local branding, REPLETE with high connection with consumers, small BATCHES, and NIMBLE product offerings. But can rapidly growing craft breweries keep their local feel?

(P22) So, some of the questions we ask are: Will acquired local breweries continue having craft appeal with new macrobrewery ownership? What are the quality implications for regional craft beers once they are part of a larger company?

(P23) Interestingly, unlike the big companies, small beer manufacturers tend to view each other as more collaborators than competitors, and openly share stories of assisting a competing brewery when IN A PINCH.

(P24) Because of the craft beer market growth, increasing REVENUE at individual craft breweries has not had to come at the expense of other craft breweries.

(P25) Instead, thousands of craft breweries have formed ALLIANCES, such as the Brewer’s Association, to LOBBY on behalf of smaller breweries to position themselves with better laws, taxes and regulations, in turn decreasing the advantages of large INCUMBENTS.

(P26) This leads to yet another question: Will the collaborative ETHOS of smaller craft breweries turn ugly when craft beer sales begin to decline?

(P27) The bottle of beer on the grocery shelf seems so simple. Yet, it is the result of an INTRICATE ORCHESTRATION of materials and LOGISTICS that takes seeing to grasp.

(P28) Producing glass from train cars of sand; securing contracts for hop futures to avoid severe shortages; MALTING your own barley; breeding superior strains of yeast; locating plants on top of preferred AQUIFERS: all sourcing strategies used to achieve an edge on the competition.

(P29) Students respond AVIDLY when they see an industry in such great depth. They appreciate how complex running a business truly is regardless of size.

(P30) They are stunned at the variety of company cultures, and become more comfortable in finding one right for them. They see the FRUITS of an idea, an entrepreneur and hard work, compelling confidence in many students to start their own VENTURES.

(P31) Students in this class get to experience the “real stuff,” outside the STERILITY of a classroom, and outside their DISCIPLINARY bubbles. As PROMINENT activist and food writer Michael Pollan recently wrote: “One of the problems with the division of labor in our complex economy is how it obscures the lines of connection.”

(P32) Being out IN THE FIELD and being challenged with the complexities of several real businesses each day helps make those connections. So, we do these tours each year. We EMBARK on our next field tour in January 2016.

(P33) Although numerous programs on the science and techniques of brewing have CROPPED UP nationwide, few have explored the breadth and depth of the business in all its intricacies and connections.

(P34) Single-industry classes, such as this one, allow students to see the lines of connection between business functions, across the niches of a marketplace. They also allow them to explore the complexities of supply chains and cooperative strategies that structure the modern-day economies that these graduates are entering.

WORDS:  1056

SOURCE: http://fortune.com/2015/07/23/what-beer-making-can-teach-you-about-the-business-world/

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 rather work for a large company, or own a small business of your own?
  3. Do you have a favorite alcoholic beverage – beer, wine, some other?
  4. What brands of beer (“macrobrews”) are most popular in your country?
  5. Niche products also cost more than MASS MARKET products. Are you willing to spend that extra money to have niche product experiences?

EXPRESSIONS TO PRACTICE:

What do the following expressions mean? Practice using each expression in a sentence; extra points if you can use it in conversation.

  • Supply chain
  • Market share
  • Scale up
  • Economies of scale
  • In a pinch
  • In the field
  • Crop up
  • Mass market

PRACTICE ARTICLE NOW

THIS PLANET IS THE CLOSEST THING TO EARTH YET

[TECHNOLOGY ★★]

THIS PLANET IS THE CLOSEST THING TO EARTH YET

Kepler-452b

(P1) NASA announced on Thursday that it has found the first near-Earth-size planet orbiting in the HABITABLE zone of a star that is similar to our own sun.

(P2) Scientists don’t yet know FOR SURE if the planet spotted by the Kepler space telescope, dubbed Kepler-452b, can support life. It’s in a region where temperatures are right for liquid water and is only about 60 percent larger than Earth, giving it a decent chance of being rocky like our own planet. NASA scientists also expect that Kepler-452b would have a slightly thicker atmosphere than Earth and probably still have active volcanoes, making it a pretty lively place even if it doesn’t have life.

(P3) A year on the new planet is just 20 days longer than a year here and its sun is about the same size and temperature as our own. It’s about 1.5 billion years older than our sun at 6 billion years, but it has nearly the same temperature and mass.

(P4) The age of this distant solar system is also important because it provides plenty of time for life to develop in a form similar to something like what we’re familiar with. In fact, Kepler-452b has had more than a billion-year HEAD START on the Earth.

(P5) “In my mind this is indeed the closest thing we have to another planet like the Earth…to another place that someone else might call home,” said Jon Jenkins, who leads Kepler data analysis at NASA. “Plants would PHOTOSYNTHESIZE just perfectly fine. It would feel a lot like home (in terms of) the sunshine you would experience.”

(P6) There is one difference between Earth and Kepler-452b that distant future visitors would surely notice, however. The newly known planet has gravity nearly twice what we’re used to, but Jenkins suspects that HYPOTHETICAL human colonists would be able to WITHSTAND and adjust to being heavier.

(P7) “Astronauts find that gravity is unpleasant after coming home (from a mission in microgravity),” added NASA’s John Grunsfeld. “You feel really heavy, but your body responds to that.”

(P8) The Kepler telescope has discovered other near Earth-size planets in the habitable zone of their stars. In fact, Thursday’s announcement of Kepler-452b was also accompanied by news of 12 other new planet candidates near Earth size, and in orbit in their stars’ habitable zones. Of those, nine orbit stars that are similar to our sun. These are just planet candidates that have yet to be confirmed like Kepler-452, which is the first confirmed planet spotted that hits the TRIUMVIRATE of being the right size in the right place, and is also around a star that is the right size (at least from an Earth-CENTRIC perspective).

(P9) In recent years, the Kepler mission has helped PAINT A MORE COMPLETE PICTURE of the universe, which it now seems clear is full of planets.

(P10) The discovery of a planet potentially capable of supporting life is, of course, not the same as finding a planet actually HARBORING life. The next generation of ground-based and space telescopes will eventually be able to identify a “breathing” planet.

WORDS: 505

SOURCE: http://www.cnet.com/news/kepler-another-earth-nasa-planet/

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 you were in school, were you more interested in science and mathematics, or in the humanities?
  3. Would you volunteer to travel to another planet?
  4. Do you think that there will be human colonies on the moon or other planets in our lifetime?
  5. Do you enjoy science fiction movies, or do you avoid them?

EXPRESSIONS TO PRACTICE:

What do the following expressions mean? Practice using each expression in a sentence; extra points if you can use it in conversation.

  • For sure
  • Head start
  • Paint a picture

PRACTICE ARTICLE NOW

“WALKIE TALKIE” SKYSCRAPER BLAMED FOR POWERFUL WIND ON LONDON STREETS

[WORLD NEWS ★★]

“WALKIE TALKIE” SKYSCRAPER BLAMED FOR POWERFUL WIND ON LONDON STREETS

Walkie-Talkie-wind-blow-chaos_dezeen_468c_3

(P1) Rafael Viñoly’s WALKIE TALKIE skyscraper in London has once again become a subject of CONTROVERSY, following reports that its curved FACADE is channelling GUSTS of wind strong enough to knock people over.

(P2) Two years after being blamed for reflecting a beam of light intense enough to melt cars, the 20 Fenchurch Street tower has been accused of creating a WIND TUNNEL, thanks to the DOWNDRAUGHT from its 36 storeys.

(P3) An employee at the nearby Molton Brown cosmetics store told The Times: “It has only really been windy since the Walkie Talkie has been here. When they were building it and there were the building works going on, it was fine. But ever since they’ve completed it, the wind really PICKED UP.”

(P4) The manager of a local fast-food restaurant said that the wind had almost caused a food trolley to be blown away, while a local sales assistant said that she “almost got blown over walking past the building”.

(P5) Following the string of complaints about the Walkie Talkie and other skyscrapers, The City of London Corporation is now demanding independent ASSESSMENT of the wind reports submitted at the planning stage, at property developers’ expense.

(P6) “The wind OUTCOME at street level experienced post-construction on a number of projects differs somewhat to the conditions we were expecting from the one OUTLINED in the planning application wind assessments,” said head of design Gwyn Richards.

(P7) “This is why we are asking for an independent VERIFICATION of the wind studies on a number of new schemes to ensure as RIGOROUS and RESILIENT an approach as possible.”

(P8) The issue, known as the “downdraught effect”, occurs when wind hits a building and is forced downwards. It is most FORCEFUL when the wall faces the PREVAILING WIND, which in Britain is from the southwest.

(P9) One of the most serious incidents connected with the effect was in 2011, when a man was crushed to death near the 112-metre-tall Bridgewater Place skyscraper in Leeds, after strong winds caused a LORRY to overturn.

(P10) The Fenchurch Street skyscraper, nicknamed the Walkie Talkie due to its DISTINCTIVE profile, is the first London building by New York-based Uruguayan architect Rafael Viñoly.

(P11) It was nicknamed the Walkie SCORCHIE in 2013, after its facade was reportedly focusing a “death ray” onto nearby streets. Since then non-reflective film has been added to the building’s facade in an attempt to solve the problem.

WORDS: 394

SOURCE: http://www.dezeen.com/2015/07/23/walkie-talkie-skyscraper-rafael-vinoly-blamed-powerful-downdraught-london/

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 addition to the wind and heat effects that it creates, the unusual shape of the Walkie Talkie has also been controversial. Do you think it is an original and interesting building, or do you think it is a JARRING addition to historic London?
  3. What is the most powerful wind that you have ever experienced?
  4. The City of London Corporation is unhappy that planning studies for the Walkie Talkie and other new skyscrapers did not predict the wind and heat effects they have created. Is it always possible to predict such effects, or will there always be UNANTICIPATED CONSEQUENCES?
  5. What is the tallest building that you have ever been in?

EXPRESSIONS TO PRACTICE:

What do the following expressions mean? Practice using each expression in a sentence; extra points if you can use it in conversation.

  • Wind tunnel
  • Pick up
  • Prevailing wind
  • Unanticipated consequences

PRACTICE ARTICLE NOW

FEMALE GRADUATES FIND MORE JOBS, MEN GET HIGHER PAY

[EDUCATION ★]

FEMALE GRADUATES FIND MORE JOBS, MEN GET HIGHER PAY

Female Graduates

(P1) Female graduates are more likely to find jobs after they leave university than their male PEERS, but those men who do find work enjoy higher starting salaries, the latest statistics on graduate employment show.

(P2) While nearly three-quarters of women who graduated last summer had found full- or part-time jobs within six months of leaving university, just 71% of men had done the same. Some 8% of male graduates said they were unemployed at the time of the survey, compared with just 6% of women.

(P3) But the survey found that men were more likely to be employed in professional jobs and on average received higher starting salaries: £21,000 for men, compared with £20,000 for women.

(P4) The gender pay DISPARITY widened higher up the income scale: while more than 10% of male graduates earned annual salaries of £30,000 to £40,000 in their first jobs, only half the number of women earned the same amount. Nearly four times as many men earned more than £40,000.

(P5) The figures were collected by universities and published by the Higher Education Statistics Agency, recording responses from 424,000 students who graduated from undergraduate and postgraduate courses at British universities in summer 2014.

(P6) The data matches recent research on the PERSISTENT PAY GAP between men and women, even at the very start of their careers as graduates from PRESTIGIOUS universities.

(P7) A study that surveyed London School of Economics graduates over five years, found that men gaining a first class degree received 6% higher wages – worth nearly £2,000 a year – while women with firsts reported no significant gains.

(P8) Overall, the survey showed that the labour market for graduates continued to improve along with the economy. The percentage of 2014 graduates in full-time work was 60%, compared with less than 58% the year before. Slightly fewer undergraduates moved into further study, while just 5% were unemployed six months after graduation, compared with 6% in 2013.

WORDS: 314

SOURCE: http://www.theguardian.com/education/2015/jul/23/women-graduates-find-more-jobs-while-men-win-higher-pay

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 men seem to get a much higher percentage of the highest-paying jobs?
  3. What progress have women in business made in your country? Are there many women executives and CEOs?
  4. Women are attending university at higher rates than men in virtually every advanced nation in the world. What effects do you think this will have?
  5. Do you think that women face more challenges than men in balancing family and career?

EXPRESSIONS TO PRACTICE:

What do the following expressions mean? Practice using each expression in a sentence; extra points if you can use it in conversation.

  • Pay gap

PRACTICE ARTICLE NOW

BIRD FLU SPREADING ACROSS WEST AFRICA

[WORLD NEWS ★]

BIRD FLU SPREADING ACROSS WEST AFRICA

bird-flu-4

(P1) A highly CONTAGIOUS strain of avian flu is spreading across West Africa, DECIMATING POULTRY farms and STOKING fears the virus will jump from birds to humans, the U.N.’s food agency warned on Monday.

(P2) Markets and farms in Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Niger, Ivory Coast and Ghana have been hit with the DEADLY H5N1 virus over the past six months, the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said.

(P3) If the virus continues to spread, it could affect more than 330 million people across West Africa, hurting food security and human health in a region still recovering from the Ebola crisis.

(P4) “URGENT action is needed to strengthen veterinary investigation and reporting systems… to TACKLE the disease at the root, before there is a SPILLOVER to humans,” Juan Lubroth, head of the FAO’s animal health division, said in a statement.

(P5) In Nigeria alone, 1.6 million birds have been killed by the virus or CULLED to stop its spread since last year, the FAO said, damaging the economy and robbing citizens of a relatively cheap source of protein.

(P6) H5N1 bird flu first infected humans in 1997 in Hong Kong. It has since spread from Asia to Europe and Africa and has become ENTRENCHED in poultry in some countries, causing millions of poultry infections and several hundred human deaths.

(P7) Other West African countries including Benin, Cameroon, Mali and Togo have not identified bird flu cases and need to continue MONITORING the situation to help prevent its spread, the FAO said.

(P8) Local veterinary officials have been urged by the U.N. to try to trace where infected animals were sold to find sources of the OUTBREAK in order to HALT its spread.

(P9) Poultry production has grown rapidly across West Africa in the past decade. The Ivory Coast alone has seen OUTPUT expand by more than 60 percent, but REGULATORY systems haven’t KEPT PACE, the FAO said.

(P10) The organization is asking DONORS for $20 million to respond to the avian flu outbreak and to help prevent its spread.

WORDS: 329

SOURCE: http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/07/20/us-health-birdflu-west-africa-idUSKCN0PU12720150720

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 there been any serious outbreaks of flu or other contagious diseases in yoiur country in recent years?
  3. What PRECAUTIONS do you take to protect your health?
  4. Do you prefer beef, pork, poultry, or fish? Or are you a VEGETARIAN?
  5. Why are international organizations needed to fight diseases like bird flu?

EXPRESSIONS TO PRACTICE:

What do the following expressions mean? Practice using each expression in a sentence; extra points if you can use it in conversation.

  • Keep pace

PRACTICE ARTICLE NOW