Week90

[World News ★] Hot air balloon in Australia

[Science ★] Robots in our lives

[Jobs ★★] Women wearing cosmetics are paid more

[World News ★★] President Obama to visit Hiroshima

[Language ★★★] Tips for Learning & Improving English

[Technology ★★★] Get an electric shock to stop buying things

[Business ★★★] India to become 3rd-largest smartphone market in 2017: report

[Business ★★★★] ExxonMobil CEO: World Needs Our Oil, ‘Like It or Not’

[Science ★★★★] Deep in a Cave, Neanderthals Did Something Remarkable

[Travel ★★★★] Kai Tak – Hong Kong’s Legendary Airport

 

Kai Tak – Hong Kong’s Legendary Airport

[Travel ★★★]

kai-tak-airport

(P1) Kai Tak Airport, in the middle of Hong Kong, was once considered to be the world’s most dangerous place to land. The international airport served as a major Asian transportation hub between 1925 and 1998 when it was closed down. A new airport, Chek Lap Kok, was built on an island in Hong Kong harbor.

(P2) Landing at Kai Tak International Airport was not only a frightening and thrilling event for passengers but also a demanding and difficult task for pilots. It required a lot of training and maneuvering around many skyscrapers and the 700-meter high mountains that surround Hong Kong.

(P3) Pilots had to land manually, so visibility was more important than anywhere else. An orange and white checkerboard in the mountains told pilots where to turn in order to make the final landing approach.

(P4) When it closed down Kai Tak only had one runway, which extended into the sea. It was difficult to land during extreme weather conditions, especially when typhoon winds hit Britain’s former colony. Pilots sometimes aborted the first landing approach, swung the plane up and came around for another attempt.

(P5) In the course of time, Kai Tak outgrew its capacity. In 1996 over 30 million passengers landed every year, even though the airport was only designed to handle 24 million. The airport in the middle of Hong Kong made it difficult for city planners to build new skyscrapers because they would interfere with landing approaches.

(P6) For passengers who had window seats, landing at Kai Tak was an extraordinary experience. Planes flew so slow that you could actually see into people’s living rooms. Today, Kai Tak Airport is a cruise terminal, which can accommodate large passenger vessels and could make Hong Kong into a hub for Asian cruises.

WORDS: 290

SOURCE: http://www.english-online.at/news-articles/travel/kai-tak-hongkongs-legendary-airport.htm

VOCABULARY: hub, harbor, thrilling, skyscrapers, checkerboard, runway, typhoon, aborted, outgrew, extraordinary, vessels

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. Explain how you would feel landing at this airport.
  3. What do you think goes through the mind of the pilots when landing?

READING COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS:

  1. What’s the name of the current airport in Hong Kong?
  2. Is the Kai Tak airport still open?
  3. How did pilots have to control the plane when landing?

EXPRESSIONS or PHRASES:

What do the following expressions or phrases mean?

  • Closed down (P1)
  • Britains former colony (P4)
  • In the course of time (P5)
  • Cruise terminal (P6)

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Image source: by Ywchow https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:KaiTak_CX_Boeing_747_Final_Approach.jpg

Deep in a Cave, Neanderthals Did Something Remarkable

[Science ★★★★]

Prise de mesures pour l’étude archéo-magnétique dans la grotte de Bruniquel

(P1) For tens of thousands of years, the secrets of France’s Bruniquel Cave went unknown, its mouth closed off by a rock slide. That began to change in the late ’80s, the Atlantic reported, when a boy named Bruno Kowalsczewski started clearing away what obstructed the opening; three years later, in 1990, the then-15-year-old’s 100-foot path allowed local cavers entry. One caver made it more than 1,000 feet in and found something wild: two stone rings up to 16 inches high intentionally made from pieces of chopped-up stalagmites (pillar-shaped mineral deposits that stick up from the ground), probably by Neanderthals some 176,500 years ago, scientists now say. A press release notes “until now the oldest formally proven cave use dated back only 38,000 years.”

(P2) While previous research had suggested the structures predated the arrival of modern humans in Europe around 45,000 years ago, the AP reports the notion that Neanderthals could have made them didn’t fit long-held assumptions that these early humans were incapable of the kind of complex behavior necessary to work underground. “Their presence at [1,102 feet] from the entrance of the cave indicates that humans from this period had already mastered the underground environment, which can be considered a major step in human modernity,” the researchers concluded in a study published online Wednesday in the journal Nature. The authors said the purpose of the oval structures—measuring 172 square feet and 25 square feet—is still a matter of speculation, though they may have served some symbolic or ritual purpose.

WORDS: 251

SOURCE: http://www.newser.com/story/225710/deep-in-a-cave-neanderthals-did-something-remarkable.html

VOCABULARY: cavers, stalagmites, pillar, neanderthals, predated, notion, assumptions, incapable, modernity, oval, ritual

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 travel into a cave alone? Why or why not?
  3. Would you like to live in a cave? Why or why not?
  4. Why do you think people lived in caves?

READING COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS:

  1. What’s the name of this underground area that was unknown for many years?
  2. One person reached 1000 plus feet into the cave? (T or F)
  3. The oval designs were probably used for what 2 functions?

EXPRESSIONS or PHRASES:

What do the following expressions or phrases mean?

  • Closed off (P1)
  • Rock slide (P1)
  • Chopped-up (P1)
  • Pillar-shaped (P1)
  • Stick up (p1)
  • Press release (P1)
  • Long-held (P2)

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Image source: © Etienne FABRE – SSAC. http://www2.cnrs.fr/presse/communique/4563.htm

ExxonMobil CEO: World Needs Our Oil, ‘Like It or Not’

[Business ★★]

1069713-13-20160526104649

(P1) Keep the oil taps flowing for the good of the people, the CEO and chair of ExxonMobil appealed to shareholders at what the Guardian says was a “long and fractious” annual meeting in Dallas on Wednesday. Rex Tillerson told attendees the oil giant had already pumped $7 billion into green initiatives, but that technology hasn’t yet reached a point where the company can move away from fossil fuels. “Until we have those technology breakthroughs, just saying ‘turn the taps off’ is not acceptable to humanity,” he said. “The world is going to have to continue using fossil fuels, whether they like it or not.” Tillerson rejected proposals during the meeting that would bring ExxonMobil more on board with addressing climate change, noting the company anticipates oil and gas will still fuel about 60% of the world’s energy needs in 2040. He also said there’s “no scientific basis” for keeping global warming at 2 degrees Celsius or less, per the international climate change accord reached in Paris in December, the Washington Post notes.

(P2) At least some of the shareholders agreed, with the Post reporting a “choked up” attendee telling Tillerson, “You personify all that is best in America. The lives of all of us shareholders are more secure and, in return, happier because of you.” A vocal activist minority, however, had a different take on how the company should be approaching environmental concerns, with 38% voting “aye” to a proposal that would force ExxonMobil to annually document how adhering to climate change rules would affect profits. Critics have called out ExxonMobil for claiming concern about the environmental effects of fossil fuel while simultaneously funneling money to groups that downplay those effects, per the Post. While the shareholders’ proposals were rejected, the Guardian notes that the significant-enough numbers shown in the vote may make it easier for them to get rid of the board’s old guard and suggest members more friendly to renewable energy.

WORDS: 322

SOURCE: http://www.newser.com/story/225715/exxonmobil-ceo-world-needs-our-oil-like-it-or-not.html

VOCABULARY: taps, fractious, fossil, breakthroughs, personify, activist, adhering, funneling, downplay

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 ExxonMobil CEO said, “The world needs our oil, like it or not”. Do you agree with him? Why or why not?
  3. Tell me some renewable energy resources. Should more renewable energy be used? Why or why not?
  4. Is it important for energy companies to invest in renewable energy? Why or why not?
  5. Does your country use renewable energy? If yes, explain. If no, should they start?

EXPRESSIONS or PHRASES:

What do the following expressions or phrases mean?

  • Oil giant (P1)
  • Green initiatives (P1)
  • Turn the taps off (P1)
  • Choked up (P2)
  • Old guard (P2)

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Image source: by AP Photo/Evan Vucci http://www.newser.com/story/225715/exxonmobil-ceo-world-needs-our-oil-like-it-or-not.html

India to become 3rd-largest smartphone market in 2017: report

[Business ★★]

25-top-20-latest-quad-core-smartphones-india

(P1) India is forecasted to overtake Japan to become the world’s third-largest smartphone market next year to rank behind China and the United States, a report said Thursday.

(P2) According to the latest research by industry tracker Strategy Analytics, the revenues from smartphone sales in the Indian market will reach a record $21.06 billion in 2017, up from $16.5 billion in 2016 and $13.09 billion in 2015.

(P3) India’s growth is being driven by low smartphone penetration, expanding retail availability of devices, and wealthier middle-class consumers, the report said.

(P4) The revenues from smartphone sales in Indonesia, the world’s sixth-largest smartphone market in 2015, are expected to reach $10 billion for the first time next year, the report said.

(p5) “Smartphone makers will strengthen their marketing in new emerging markets, such as India and Indonesia for some time,” an industry watcher said.

(P6) Separate data by Strategy Analytics shows that South Korea’s top tech firm Samsung Electronics Co. maintained its status as the No. 1 player in the Indian smartphone market in the first quarter of the year.

(p7) China, which has been the engine of global smartphone growth in recent years by taking more than a quarter of global sales, is expected to reign as the No. 1 player, according to the research.

(P8) Strategy Analytics forecast the revenues from smartphone sales in the U.S. market will be US$63.8 billion in 2016 and $63.2 billion in 2017.

(P9) Smartphone sales in Japan, meanwhile, are expected to drop from $20.3 billion in 2016 to $17.8 in 2017, Strategy Analytics said.

(P10) South Korea is expected to stand as the world’s 8th or 9th largest smartphone market for several years, the research showed.

WORDS: 272

SOURCE: http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/tech/2016/05/419_205593.html

VOCABULARY: forecasted, overtake, penetration, emerging, maintained, reign, meanwhile

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. Which smartphone do you own? Why?
  3. Do you think China will reign as the No.1 player in smartphone growth? Why or why not?

READING COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS:

  1. Who is predicted to jump ahead of Japan in the smartphone market next year?
  2. What are the reasons for India’s expansion in the smartphone market?
  3. Which country is forecasted to see a decrease in sales between 2016 and 2017?

EXPRESSIONS or PHRASES:

What do the following expressions or phrases mean?

  • Industry tracker (P2)
  • Wealthier middle-class consumers (P3)
  • Industry watcher (P5)
  • No. 1 player (P6)
  • The engine of global smartphone growth (P7)
  • To stand as the world’s (P10)

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Image source: by “unknown” http://i1.wp.com/phoneplacekenya.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Latest-Smartphones-Price-List.jpg?resize%5Cx3d500%2C300

Get an electric shock to stop buying things

[Technology ★★★]

160521-electric-shock

(P1) A British firm has developed a new product to help us save money. The product is a wristband that gives us an electric shock if we spend too much money. The wristband is called Pavlok. It is linked to our bank account. It knows how much money we have in the bank. If we go shopping and there is not enough money in our bank account, the wristband delivers a 255-volt electric shock to our wrist. This warns us not to overspend. The company is called Intelligent Environments. It wants to work with banks to help customers with their money. So far, no banks in Britain have said they would offer the Pavlok to their customers. They could start doing this in the future.

(P2) The Pavlok wristband is part of the Internet of Things. This is the idea that everything in our life will be connected to the Internet. The CEO of Intelligent Environments, David Webber, said people liked the idea of the Pavlok. Shoppers would rather get a small electric shock in the store from the wristband than get a big shock later when they see their credit card bill. Mr. Webber said the Pavlok would be great for people who cannot stop spending because they have no willpower or their willpower is weak. He added that many young people suffer from the “ostrich effect“. This is when people stick their heads in the sand and buy things rather than look at how much money they have in their bank.

WORDS: 251

SOURCE: http://www.breakingnewsenglish.com/1605/160521-electric-shock.html

VOCABULARY: firm, wristband, linked, overspread, shoppers, bill, willpower, rather

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 one of these wristbands? Why or why not?
  3. Have you or someone you know ever suffered from the “ostrich effect”? If so, explain.
  4. Do you think this device will fail or succeed? Why or why not?

READING COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS:

  1. The new device assists people to save time when shopping. (T or F)
  2. What is the wristband called?
  3. The wristband is good for shoppers who don’t like to spend money. (T or F)

EXPRESSIONS or PHRASES:

What do the following expressions or phrases mean?

  • Electric shock (P1)
  • Ostrich effect (P2)

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Tips for Learning & Improving English

[Language ★★★]

best-tips-for-improving-your-english

(P1) Whether you are a foreign student or a native speaker, English skills can always be improved. There are many tried and true tips for learning English. These are five English tips that are often taught to the foreign language speakers coming into English. These tips not only help you learn English, but they are also tips on improving English skills.

1.) Read a book, newspaper or journal in English that is just above your current level of reading with a dictionary. This will help you learn new vocabulary words in a fun way. This is also a great tip for improving English in a technical field. Even by spending a mere 15 minutes a day, your skills can improve drastically.

2.) Listen to speeches or watch movies or documentaries in areas you aren’t familiar with are fun tips on improving English. This activity will help improve listening and vocabulary at the same time. At first, you can use subtitles then turn the subtitles off when the listening part of this activity becomes easier.

3.) Although less fun, learning grammar is an essential tool for English. Knowing English grammar inside and out is one of the top tips on learning English. This should be tackled at the same time as both reading and listening exercises so that you understand how the sentence is constructed and can manipulate it later to suit your needs.

4.) Keeping a diary allows you to utilize all of your English skills that you’ve been practicing with reading, listening, and grammar. As a bonus, you can go back over your entries and grade yourself, noting where you can improve more. This is one of the greatest tips on improving English at any stage of learning the language.

5.) When you feel you are ready, go for total immersion. This means surrounding yourself by English speakers. Of all English tips, this one will test all of your skills.

(P2) After all your hard work, don’t forget to reward yourself. Learning English is difficult, but with these tips on learning English, you will get better.

WORDS: 345

SOURCE: http://www.5minuteenglish.com/learn-english-tips.htm

VOCABULARY: journal, mere, drastically, essential, tackled, manipulate, entries, immersion

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 these tips?
  3. Which English skill is more important to you: reading, speaking, listening, or writing? Why?
  4. Which of these tips are you currently using? Do you plan to start using the others? Why or why not?

READING COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS:

  1. How many tips does the article suggest to increase your English proficiency?
  2. Can native speakers also improve their English by using these tips?
  3. The article states learning grammar is more fun. (T or F)
  4. Which tip will force you to use all your English skills?

EXPRESSIONS or PHRASES:

What do the following expressions or phrases mean?

  • Tried and true tips (P1)
  • Suit your needs (tip #3)

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Image source: by “unknown” https://cambridgeesolde.files.wordpress.com/2015/09/top-tips-for-improving-your-english.png