sábado, 31 de enero de 2015

Reading test: When recycling is the second-best option

In this week's reading test, we are going to practise the multiple-choice use of English kind of task with the BBC article When recycling is the second-best option , by Mark Ward.

Read the text below and complete the blanks 1-15 with the best option a, b or c. 0 is an example.

On a warm summer's night they came, bearing the damaged and (0) … , to the place where old things are healed and made whole again. This time they came to the Camden Town Shed, in north London, but next time it (1) … be a church hall, market stall or community centre near you.
Ugo Vallauri and Janet Gunter are the co-founders of The Restart Project, (2) … aims to stop people (3) … broken gadgets and other electrical items and, instead, get them fixed by taking them along to a Restart party. At these (4) … , damaged and broken devices and gadgets are taken apart, and hopefully repaired, by the teams of fixers that the project brings together.
Bamboozling jargon
The idea came out of work Mr Vallauri has (5) … with Computer Aid, a charity that refurbishes old computers for use in developing nations. "They fix almost everything in those places," he said, "they just don't have the money to buy them new."(6) … , he said, in developed nations people have lost the will to fix broken gadgets. A combination of convenience and cultural pressure leads people to buy new (7) … repair. "Also people have lost trust in commercial repairs. They do not know who to go to and who they can trust, especially when it comes to electronics and electrical goods." Just as when people take their car to a mechanic, people often fear that when they take their broken gadgets to a repair shop they will be overcharged or bamboozled by jargon.
The idea with Restart is to (8) … that fear by getting people involved with the repair process themselves.  Opening up a kettle, coffee grinder or laptop and helping to take it to pieces is a powerful way to get over that fear, said Ben Skidmore, one of Restart's roster of regular fixers. That fear tends to evaporate completely if the item in question gets fixed, he said.
The fixers at Restart parties include people like Mr Skidmore who have been tinkering as a hobby for years, to others such as Francis Dove who (9) … an electrical repair shop.  When someone walks in to a Restart party with a damaged or broken gadget, it goes through a "triage stage" during which its owner describes the symptoms and people offer their opinions about what's wrong.  Then, more often than not, it is put on a tabletop, taken to pieces and the repair work begins.  "The best technicians are nosy," said Mr Dove, peering at the exposed circuit board of an LCD TV.
Boombox beats again
(10) … about 20-25 people bring along something in need of repair to a Restart party, said Mr Vallauri.  In Camden, the fixers got to grips with, amongst other things, an LCD TV, a boombox, a digital car radio, a laptop, two digital cameras and a pair of headphones. On the night some, such as the boombox, were easy to fix. The boombox's radio tuner looked broken, but when the case was cracked open it emerged that the piece of plastic that moves when the tuning wheel is turned had simply slipped out of sight. In moments, it was returned to its track and the repair was done.
Others were (11) … . Mr Dove instantly spotted dodgy capacitors on the circuit board of the LCD TV that were responsible for putting it into an eternal standby mode. Ripping them out and replacing them should solve the problem, he said. For Mr Vallauri, the failing capacitors are symptomatic of the way modern electrical equipment is built. Manufacturers could choose to use components that cost a fraction more and radically (12) … the life of the average gadget, he said.
Instead, he said, more often than not they go cheap and produce goods that have obsolescence built in.  Fixing items that suffer this manufacturing neglect is straightforward, (13) … few people know it. Mr Vallauri quoted research which suggests that about 23% of the waste electrical equipment in recycling centres could be refurbished and repaired easily.
Unlocking the value in that could prove a huge boost to local economies in financial and social terms, he said. Unfortunately, he said, that value is hard to realise (14) … most recycling policies involve local authorities signing a deal with a contractor to manage the waste.  That divorces people from being involved with what they discard, said Mr Vallauri. The undoubted convenience comes at a high social cost.
Getting between the authority and the waste management firm is hard, he said, but would reap real dividends.  "We don't like it when we see things that end up in a (15) … , or even recycled by our councils, when they could have a second or third life if only we use some basic repair skills," he said

0 a) broken   b) spoilt   c) used

1 a) must   b) could   c) should

2 a) that   b) what   c) which

3 a) throwing away   b) disposing   c) getting rid

4 a) parties   b) gatherings   c) premises

5 a) fulfilled   b) made   c) done

6 a) In contrast   b) By contrast   c) On the contrary

7 a) rather than   b) instead of   c) unlike

8 a) overcome   b) defeat   c) get on to

9 a) directs    b) takes   c) runs

10 a) Roughly   b) On average   c) More or less

11 a) more accessible   b) funnier   c) trickier

12 a) lengthen   b) extend   c) prolong

13 a) however   b) even though   c) even if

14 a) because   b) due to   c) considering

15 a) ditch   b) yard   c) skip

 Photo: BBC

1B 2C 3A 4B 5C 6B 7A 8A 9C 10B 11C 12A 13B 14A 15C

viernes, 30 de enero de 2015

Ikea, experience the power of a bookbook

Watch this original ad of the latest Ikea catalogue presented as a mobile phone.

Self-study activity:
Watch the video and complete the blanks in the transcript with the missing words. The activity is suitable for intermediate students.

You know once in a (1) ... , something comes along that changes the way we live, a (2) ... so simple and intuitive, using it feels almost familiar.  Introducing 2015 Ikea catalogue. It’s not a digital book, or an e-book. It’s a bookbook.
The first thing to note is no cables, not even a power cable. The 2015 Ikea catalogue comes fully (3) ...  and the battery life is eternal. The interface is 7.5x8 inches, but can expand to 15x8 inches. The navigation is based on (4) ...   ... technology that you can actually feel. Content comes pre-installed via 328 high definition pages of inspiring home furnishing ideas. To start (5) ... , simply touch and grab, right to left to move forward, left to right to move backwards.
Notice something else? That’s right, no (6) ... . Each crystal clear page loads instantaneously, no matter how fast you (7) ... . If you want to get a quick overview, just hold it in the palm of your hand, and using just your thumb to (8) ...  ... the content. If you find something you want to save for later, you can simply (9) ... it and even if you close the application, you could easily find the (10) ... again. Amazing.
What about multiple users, for that we introduced a simple (11) ...   ... system to avoid confusion. If you want to share a particularly inspiring item, you literally share it. Another special feature is password protection, which is voice activated. Excuse me, that’s mine!
At Ikea we feel the technology, this (12) ...-..., should be in the hands of everyone. So the 2015 Ikea catalogue is free. You can download one from your (13) ...   ..., the one you open with a key. If it is not there, try to (14) ... the next day or you can upload yourself to the Ikea store and find one there.
Experience the power of a bookbook.

1 while 2 device 3 charged 4 tactile touch 5 browsing 6 lag 7 scroll 8 speed browse 9 bookmark 10 bookmark 11 colour coding 12 life-enhancing 13 mail box 14 refresh

jueves, 29 de enero de 2015

Are electronic cigarettes safe?

Is there any medical evidence which proves that electronic cigarettes are bad for your health?

Self-study activity:
Watch the video and say whether the statements below are true or false. The activity is suitable for intermediate 2 students.

1 The number of people using e-cigarettes in the UK has doubled in two years.
2 The World Health Organisation has stated that e-cigarettes are safe.
3 Taking nicotine without toxicans is as safe as drinking coffee.
4 People using e-cigarettes are as likely to end up smoking as any other person.
5 Most teenagers have tried e-cigarettes.
6 The Welsh government has banned smoking e-cigarettes in closed public places.
7 According to Professor Robert West, prohibiting e-cigarettes would mean a lot of smokers would continue smoking conventional cigarettes.

They are vaping, not smoking, and they are not alone. New figures today show the number of people using e-cigarettes in the UK has trebled in two years to 2.1m.
I smoked for years and this is potentially better for you, I guess, you know, you haven’t got any tar.
When you’re smoking an e-cig you just get just nicotine and nothing else.
Despite the enthusiasm here, the British Medical Association and the World Health Organisation have recommended banning e-cigarettes in public places. They say there isn’t enough evidence that they are safe or effective.
Queen Mary University in London. Ian is having the levels of carbon monoxide in his body tested.
That’s showing a 4, that’s a non-smoking reading…
Ian now uses an e-cigarette. It works by heating liquid nicotine into a vapour which is then inhaled. The test is overseen by Professor Peter Hyak.
Many people out there think that nicotine itself is a dangerous poison but if nicotine is taken without the accompanying toxicans, then the health effects will be very similar to drinking coffee.
So that’s a four, that’s exactly the same e-reading as before the e-cigarette.
So e-cigarettes contain no discernible toxins or carbon monoxide. The final test, what reading will Ian get after getting a normal cigarette?
So you got 10 less, that’s officially a smoker reading.
Experts say e-cigarettes are orders of magnitude safer than normal cigarettes but do they work? Professor Robert West in one of the country’s leading addiction experts. He studied 5,000 people who were using different methods to try and stop smoking: patches, gum, e-cigarettes and nothing. His results are published next month.
What we found was that there are those who use e-cigarettes were about 60% more likely still not to be smoking than those who use either the licensed product or nothing at all.
Despite that evidence serious concerns remain. Does the market of e-cigarettes make them attractive to children? One study last year found 12% of 14-to-17 year-olds had tried them.
We already have data which can actually check this worry. If a child tries a conventional cigarette there’s a 50% chance that they’ll become daily users. If a child tries e-cigarettes, so far we have no evidence that they’ll progress to regular use.
There are other worries. The Welsh government says e-cigarettes glamorize and will renormalize smoking. They proposed a ban in closed public places.
They’ll question those someone..., you know, looking at someone using that and thinking they’re smoking, so you’ve got to think, okay, so it’s not dangerous to be near someone who is using an electronic cigarette. There’s really no evidence and actually very little reason to believe that it’s going to renormalize smoking, so what’s the problem?
The problem in the end may simply be the word e-cigarette. The vapour that looks like smoke.  A sense that they just don’t feel right.
I can understand people wanting to be cautious but if we fail to take this opportunity that electronic cigarettes potentially are providing, then we’re really condemning people to death, who would otherwise have lived. That’s what’s at stake.
Nonetheless, regulators are clamping down on e-cigarettes. Concerns remain about safety, efficacy and limited regulation.

1F 2F 3T 4F 5F 6F 7T 

miércoles, 28 de enero de 2015

Talking point: Extreme job interview questions

This week's talking point is extreme job interview questions. Here are 20+ questions that interviewers like to ask job-seekers to surprise them and make them think on their feet. It seems that this kind of bizarre, even funny questions are getting more and more popular in job interviews. Before getting together with your friends, go over the questions, so that ideas flow more easily when you get together with your friends and you can work out vocabulary problems beforehand.
  • Which one aspect of your personality would you change if you could, and why?
  • If you could have dinner with anyone from history, who would you choose?
  • If you were an insect, which insect would you be?
  • When did you last lose your temper? Describe what happened.
  • If you had to spend the rest of your life on a deserted island (with plenty of food and water), which two things would you choose to have with you?
  • Which TV or film character would you most like to be?
  • What’s the best (or worst) decision you’ve ever made?
  • If I came to your house for dinner, what would you cook for me?
  • Which three adjectives describe you best?
  • If you were a type of food, what type of food would you be?
  • How do you normally treat animals?
  • Who do you admire most, and why?
  • If you could be a super-hero, what would you want your superpowers to be?
  • Tell me about something in your life that you’re really proud of?
  • If Hollywood made a movie about your life, who would you like to see play the lead role as you?
  • If you could have six months with no obligations or financial limitations, what would you do with the time?
  • You’re stranded on a desert island. You have 30 seconds to choose people of 5 professions to come with you. Who would you choose?
  • What sort of dinosaur would you be, and why?
  • What would you make you kick a dog?
  • What animal would you like to be reincarnated as, and why?
  • What’s the best idea you’ve had in the past month?
  • How would you describe your own personality?
  • If you could retire today on a reasonable pension, what would you do to fill your time?
  • What do you dislike in general?
  • What’s your biggest weakness?
To illustrate the topic, you can watch this famous Heineken video about the selection process of a candidate out of 1,700 for an event and sponsorship job.

What's your management style?
Passionate... Passionate... Passionate...
And what's your biggest weakness?
Being stubborn... stubborn... stubborn I think...
Can you give me one reason why I should hire you...
Because sports is my passion...
I'm really passionate about football...
I really like football...

All job interviews are the same.
Same standard questions. Same prepared answers.
When you are looking for a job... for an interview, paint or brush, you look good, you feel good...
How to find the right talent for an event and sponsorship internship among 1734 applicants?
HEINEKEN presents THE CANDIDATE. The first job interview you can't prepare for...

Hi, hello, how are you...
Vincent Mamela
Ok, Vince
And so you liked it when we were walking hand in hand?
It made me feel comfortable, yes...
Ohm interesting, we'll see what happens...
well thank you very much for your time I suppose...
thank you very much... thank you...

Sir, do you, are you sure...
I'm fine, I'm just... I'll get a little water in a second...
Ok, if you say no
Stay with us
If we'd talk about money, how much money do you think you would like to have...for the position?
Last time this happened it was at a disco...
The discotheque?

Fiery and passionate or cold and calculated...
I would say cold and calculated because...
Wrong answer...
Fiery and passionate ...other people get infected by my enthusiasm...
You think I'm getting infected right now?
We need to go...come on Simon, Mr. Ross...Please...
Come on...we need to get going...
We're missing a hand here... Can you help us please?...
Can you help us? Please. We have a gap here...Sir...
Ok it's Ok...
come on, jump... come on...
The best 3 interviews were voted by the Heineken Internet community on an internal portal.
The most voted candidate was brought to the Juventus Stadium for a final test. JUVENTUS-CHELSEA.
Guy Lutching. You got the job. Guy is now working at Heineken... Still infecting people with his enthusiasm. HEINEKEN. OPEN YOUR WORLD.

martes, 27 de enero de 2015

Madrid Teacher: Andy talks about food

In this week's Madrid Teacher video, Andy talks about food, which gives us a great opportunity to focus on some of the features of spoken English he uses.

First of all, watch the video through to get the gist of what the conversation is about.

Now watch the video more carefully and pay attention to the following:
  • Conversation fillers to gain thinking time: Erm; U; okay; you know; Ah, well
  • Use of so as a linking word
  • Use of adverbs to emphasize adjectives, adverbs and verbs: quite good; quite well; quite nice; very nice; quite hard; really, really soft; just incompatible; I quite like
  • Use of actually and really to introduce a bit of surprising information
  • Reacting to what you have just heard: Oh, that’s not a bad idea!; Oh, yeah?
  • Showing agreement: Oh, no, I’m with you, I like ‘al dente’.; Absolutely
  • Use of definitely to emphasize the information

Now it's over to you. Get together with a friend or relative and talk about how good a cook you are and whether your family enjoys the dishes you make. Like Andy, you can tell each other how to prepare your favourite dish. Do not forget to use some of the features of spoken English we have revised in this post.

Andy, let me ask you a question.
Okay, go ahead.
Can you cook?
Yeah, I think I'm a pretty good cook.
Yeah, what do you like to cook?
Erm, I once lived with this guy, this Italian guy, he showed me a few Italian dishes so I think I’m quite good at a couple of Italian dishes, I don’t know how authentic they are, but this one I make with mushrooms, just basically cutting up mushrooms, frying them and then with a bit of onion, a bit of garlic and cooking the pasta at the same time, and then you add some cream to the onions and the mushrooms, and you just leave it cooking for half an hour and it comes out, it comes out quite well, Michael (like um), it’s quite nice, you mix it with the pasta, what I do,  I tend to do more than actually need and then I keep… I freeze some and then I can eat it later.
Oh, that’s not a bad idea!
Yeah, …save, a good way of saving money and… yeah, and if you are unfreeze pasta it doesn’t taste too bad. Some food, that you freeze, it’s pretty… like potatoes, have you ever frozen potatoes, then unfrozen them, they’re not very nice, but pasta comes out okay.
Alright, so do you do most of the cooking in your house?
Um at the weekend I cook. What happens is my, my wife doesn't actually like the food I cook, okay,
I like spicy hot food, I like curry, for example the pasta I, I like it ‘al dente’, what I say ‘al dente’…
Oh, yes.
… and it’s quite hard and she likes it really, really soft like soggy and I can’t, I can’t eat that.
Oh, no, I’m with you, I like ‘al dente’.
I can’t eat that, so the whole range of things like that, we are just incompatible, but I like her food though, I eat anything really. They used to call me the dustbin at school ‘cause… when people, you know, we were sitting down for lunch and people had finished, and they hadn’t finished all their food, I would always eat it for them.
Oh, yeah?
So I was constantly battling against my weight ‘cause I’ve got this desire to eat lots of food.
Alright! So… if you’ll eat anything, do you have a favorite, a favorite kinda food?
Ah, well Indian food, definitely I just love curry and… but when I eat Indian food I quite like to eat in a restaurant…
And there’s quite a few cheap Indian restaurants here so it’s good.

lunes, 26 de enero de 2015

A Photographer Revisits the Forgotten Land of Song

National Geographic photographer Aaron Huey travels back to Svanetia, a remote region of Georgia, to revisit the people and the place that inspired his future career.

Self-study activity:
Watch the video and answer the questions about it. The activity is suitable for Intermediate 2 students.

1 What was Aaron doing when he first went to Svanetia?
2 What was special about the Svanetia language, according to the German linguist?
3 What was Aaron's plan when the bus stopped?
4 What was Aaron's adopted family celebrating?
5 What did Aaron write in his journals to help him learn about the language and culture?
6 What was the family doing all the time?
7 What are some of the themes that run through the songs?
8 What was Aaron's reaction when he reunited with Nuna, her adopted mother, after 13 years?
9 What does Aaron say the job of a reporter is?

To check your answers, you can read the transcript below.

The first time I went to Svanetia I was not planning on going to Svanetia. I wasn’t a photographer yet.I was a backpacker (1) but this is the story that made me a photographer.
I met
a German linguist who told me about a place where people spoke a language that had never been written (2), that was surrounded by seventeen, eighteen thousand foot peaks, so this German linguist drew a map on a napkin for me and I transferred it into my journal and I left the next day.
And on a bus ride into the mountains a woman turned round me after about two hours and said where are you going and I said, Well 
I'm going to camp when the bus stops at the end of the road (3) and she just looked at me and said, no, God, please don't do that and she took me with her and she took me to a wedding.
that wedding was of the eldest daughter of the family (4) that ended up adopting me in this region and they got me drunk and made me dance and I woke up the next morning in their home and they probably felt some pity on me and thought we should shelter this kid, he doesn't know what he's doing. That started a three-year relationship, that's now I guess a sixteen-year relationship, now that National Geographic sent me back.
Yeah, my journals really are pretty pedestrian at times. I was very young. They’re embarrassing to read sometimes but there are some things I still really love in the journals.
I wrote down recipes and I wrote down vocabulary so I would have like daily language lessons for myself and, of course, the song. I wrote down all the songs (5).
I saw the potential for a story that was a little bit more like poetry, that was revealed more about the soul of people and the space and it was that third year that I returned specifically to try to make a story with pictures and that became my first photo story.
That was some of my first rolls of film. It’s the first story that made me fall in love with the people, with the place. That really is what it is, like the story made me fall in love with a whole community. It was imagery of that family, that family is central to all of those early trips and the photographs. They were beautiful people, they were musical and their home was filled with song. All the time I would wake up to
singing (6). I would go to bed to the family singing together and from the very first trip they taught me their songs. And I remember those songs when I came back 13 years later.
You know I might think,
the songs are about heroes and about love and about your friends having you back (7), all good things that good country songs are about.
The reunion with my adopted family was a little embarrassing because a Georgian television crew followed me and I told them they had to stay back at the gate. It was really emotional for me, you know, and I saw my, my mother from that family, Nuna. I went to her and I, I hugged her and it just
made me start weeping (8).. Like the songs that were really buried in me that, they just came out like I, I love this woman and that came out when I saw her and when I held her and it was exciting to see them and it was confusing to see them in how you restart a relationship after 13 years but the fact that they wanted to bring me in again, that they had not forgotten me, that they still thought of me in that way was very moving to me. And they did, they took me in again.
so I found this, I found all the families again. I sat down with them again, and sang with them again, and talked to them about their lives. And the old man still played chess in the backyard in the same spot. And the girls, the whole family still sings in the kitchen. And there are some other things that just never change and I found a lot of those again.
There were, other scenes that I found that weren't necessarily literally the person in the same place, but I found the same scenes again. I found the dancers and the traditional singers and it brought back that memory of those first images when I see them together side by side like I see what has survived.
These stories are not just about making pretty frames. We, we tell the stories of entire peoples, so if we do the story right, we preserve those things, you know, in…
that's what our job is, to preserve that poetry (9).
 So many people that have never heard of Svanetia or this region in the Georgian Republic or where these people, these ones, this may be the only thing they ever read about these people and I think that's what I look for now in all of my projects is can I can I keep finding that? Can I keep carrying that much?

domingo, 25 de enero de 2015

Extensive listening: Blurred lines, the new battle of the sexes

Blurred lines, the new battle of the sexes is a BBC documentary about changing attitudes to women on today's world. The BBC introduced the programme this way:

"From extreme laddism at universities to rape jokes in the school yard... Kirsty Wark explores whether there's a new culture abroad in which it's acceptable to write about, talk about, and feature women in a sexually offensive, even abusive way. Or whether the female of the species just needs to 'man up', learn to enjoy a gag, and get used to the 21st century world."

You can read the transcript for the first ten minutes of the programme here.

Contains some violent scenes, and strong language and scenes which some viewers may find upsetting from the start.

sábado, 24 de enero de 2015

The core and quirks of English grammar

The core and quirks of English grammar is a site for learning the basics of English grammar different from anything you may find on the net.

It offers explanations of the key points of English grammar  through timelines, visuals and examples.

The grammar points explained on the site so far include:
- The tenses and modal verbs.
- The passive voice.
- Reported speech.
- Conditional sentences.
- Relative clauses.

viernes, 23 de enero de 2015

Atrium history

This is an ad to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Atrium, the oldest shopping mall in Moscow, back in 2012.

Self-study activity:
Watch the video and complete the blanks in the transcript with the missing words. The activity is suitable for intermediate students.

Atrium. History (International Version) from Hype Production on Vimeo.

I have seen how you’ve learned to enjoy things that seem ordinary to you nowadays: the food (1) ... , the multiplex, the shopping mall.
I saw you taking your first steps in those (2) ... shoes at the bowling alley.
I got to know you, when you had no idea what rugula was.
You couldn’t pronounce the word Mojito.
When using chopsticks was a (3) ... .
I witness you falling for (4) ... .
And laugh me at time.
I remember you (5) ... for hours in front of fast fashion outlets only to line up for (6) ...   ... and finally not needing them at all.
Her parties and clubs were replaced by parties and now (7) ...   .... . And that was awesome.
I remember you frozen with (8) ... waiting for a crisis and how shopping became a (9) ... .
How cooking at home became more chic than eating out, (10) ... probably your wallet didn’t agree.
I remember you making fun of hipsters and suddenly starting to dress like one.
Trends change I stay the same.
Atrium to be continued.

1 court 2 clumsy 3 challenge 4 glamour 5 queuing 6 changing rooms 7 moving places 8 fear 9 cure 10 though

jueves, 22 de enero de 2015

Boston Marathon: Father & daughter on saving lives

For 10 years Boston doctor Natalie Stavas and her father, Joe, have been a running duo. In April 2013, as they crossed the finish line, two bombs exploded about a block away.

Self-study activity:
Watch the video and answer the questions about it. The activity is suitable for intermediate 2 students.

1 Why was Natalie running slowly?
2 Why was the race special for Natalie and her father?
3 At what point in the race did the bombs go off?
4 How many people in total did Natalie help or tried to help?
5 Which two life options did Natalie have after her behaviour at the Boston Marathon was made public?
6 What sense of responsibility does she talk about?

To check your answers, you can read the transcript below.

I don’t necessarily believe in fate but if I hadn’t broken my foot (1), if I hadn’t been running so slow, I wouldn’t have been where I was when the bombs went off.
And it hit me right in the left ear, it’s a distinctive sound, I can pick it up, I can replay it, and at that point in time Natalie’s  eyes got as big as saucers, her pupils dialate, Dad I got to be there.
Last year at the marathon I had set out the goal to run with my father, which was probably was going to be our last father-daughter race (2). We’ve been running together for about 10 years.
Natalie is one of our five children and we became empty nesters about two years ago, so there’s a few things we liked to do with our kids to kind of keep connected with them.
And, you know, we ran the whole race together and then we were separated at mile 26 when the bombs went off (3).
I just saw her waving Dad, this way, this way, her pony tail bobbing in the crowd and just disappeared.
When a police officer actually was able to stop me I, I yelled at him and I said I’m a physician, I’m a doctor, and you have to let me help. And that’s when I saw, you know, a young woman on the ground lifeless (4), me and a group of other first responders tried to save her, then I ended up treating four other people with lower extremity injuries. And fortunately, those other four survived (4). Suddenly there was my face on the front of a magazine and it said Boston’s Best. I finally realized that my life was going to be different.
The anger that is there has been far overshadowed in a way by the compassion.
And I could either embrace that difference or I could continue to let it destroy my life (5) and I then chose this path where I decided to embrace it. I’ve pretty much been waking up every day saying is it marathon Monday yet? Please let it be marathon Monday.
It had to be another race, another time to kind of finally close that chapter of all the events that took place.
When all the cameras go away, and when this story is no longer the story, we’re still here, people are still suffering and people still have lost, and I feel a big sense of responsibility now to keep helping people heal (6).

miércoles, 21 de enero de 2015

Talking point: City or country

In this week's talking point we are going to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of living in a city or in the country. Before getting together with the members of your conversation group, go over the questions below, so that you can work out vocabulary problems beforehand and ideas flow more easily the day you get together with your friends.
  • What's the countryside like where you live?
  • Do you ever go to the country? If so, why do you go? Do you enjoy yourself there?
  • How did people who lived in the country 50 years ago entertain themselves? How do they entertain themselves now?
  • What is the difference in relationships between the countryside and the city?
  • Why people migrate to big cities in your country? And the other way round?
  • If you moved to the country, what do you think you would miss the most about the city?
  • If you moved to the country, what do you think you would enjoy the most there?
  • If you live in a village or small town, what do you think you would miss the most if you moved to a big city? What would you enjoy the most about the city?
  • What other advantages and disadvantages of living in the city or in the country can you think of?
  • Do you know anyone who's moved from the city to the country? Why did they move? Did they find it difficult to adapt?
To illustrate the point, you can read The Guardian article City v country: where's the better place to live? and watch this Speakout video (Longman Pearson Publishers), where some people talk about city life.

You can read a transcript of the video here.

martes, 20 de enero de 2015

Madrid Teacher: Horrible neighbours

This week our Madrid Teachers talk about horrible neighbours. First of all, watch the short two-minute video to get the gist of the conversation.

Now watch the video more carefully, paying attention to the following features of spoken English:
  •  Double subject: My horrible neighbour, she’s got this strange thing
  • Use of just to emphasize the information
  • Use of so as a linking word
  • Use of really to emphasize the verb or the adjective
  • Use of repetition for dramatic effect on and on and on and on
  • Use of I mean to paraphrase what you have just said and make yourself clear
  • Conversation fillers to gain some thinking time: you know; like
  • Reacting to what you have just heard: Oh my god; Gosh
  • Showing agreement: Yeah, boy
  • Use of vague language: stuff
  • Showing surprise: Really?

Now it's over to you. If possible, get together with a friend or relative and tell neighbour-related anecdotes that you have lived through or simply heard. Don't forget to use some of the features of spoken English we have just revised in this post.

I couldn’t get any sleep last night. My horrible neighbour, shes got this strange thing that she does after about half past eleven every day. She just starts ranting, just shouting at someone who I don’t ever hear shouting back. So, I don’t know whether she phones, she phones someone that she really hates or her husband. I don’t know, he’s too scared to answer back but you just hear her, on and on and on and on, for about an hour and then she stops and goes to sleep so, I had a horrible night last night. I’m so tired.
We had a neighbour like that once. The, the wife was constantly berating the husband, I mean just insulting him, telling him he, you know, he should just go ahead and die. She was really rough on the poor man. The man would just wander the streets, looking through the garbage. And he just, they just drove him . . .
Oh my god!
. . . she just drove him nuts. It was really incredible.
Gosh.  It’s so hard to, to deal with as a neighbour because it’s their personal problems and. . .
Yeah, boy.
It’s a bit hard to knock on the door and say, “can you keep it down?”
Yeah, or “leaving him, leave him alone!”
Yeah, right? Let them . . .
You can’t, you can’t help but hear that stuff. It’s like, you don’t want to hear it, but it’s horrible stuff.
It’s kind of an invasion of privacy.
Really? Right.
When I was at university, I lived in off-campus housing, and our entire building was all students, I mean, you know, there are times at university when you would like to get some work done, believe it or not, but there’s no way you’re going to get it done when you have an entire apartment building filled with people drinking and partying and, throwing it all to the wind.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. It’s a real challenge, if you can get through that,…
…you can get through anything.
I know, they should give you an extra degree.

lunes, 19 de enero de 2015

Listening test: The VIP Islands

In this week's listening comprehension test we are going to practise the multiple choice kind of task. Listen to some people talking about The Sanjuans, the VIP Islands, and choose the option a, b or c that best completes sentences 1-7. 0 is an example.

0) The San Juan islands are
a a long way away from the continent.
b easily accessible.
c near San Juan of Puerto Rico.

1) The Orca whales can be seen in the San Juan Islands
a at any time of the year.
b in the spring, summer and autumn.
c in the autumn and winter.

2) Orcas Island in the San Juans is so called because
a it was one of the names of the Mexican viceroy who discovered them.
b of the Orca whales that can be seen there.
c the Mexican viceroy came from the town of Horcasitas.

3) Robert Moran, the former mayor of Seattle, lived on Orcas because
a he had been told that he only had a short time to live.
b he wanted to retire somewhere quiet.
c he wished to escape from people who wanted his wealth.

4) Moran
a came from a privileged family.
b came from a very poor family.
c had a typically middle-class family background.

5) The most important fact of the 'Pig War' was
a that Germany played a role in the peace process.
b that new border lines were discussed.
c the low number of victims.

6) Sandy Playa says that the number of residents in the San Juans
a are mainly retired.
b has doubled in recent years.
c has increased more than 10 times.

7) Carl Burger says many famous people live in the San Juans because
a they want to escape from the public eye.
b it brings more glamour to their lives.
c they share similar interests and can work from home.

Only a short drive and ferry ride away from the North American mainland, the ancient evergreen forests, quaint farm valleys, romantic coastline and amazing wildlife of the San Juan Islands attract many visitors. From April through October, Orca whales can be seen here, but Orcas Island, the largest and most spectacular of the San Juans, did not get its name from the whales. When a Spanish expedition led by the Mexican Viceroy discovered the San Juans in the 18th century, each of the larger islands was given one of his names — `Horcasitas' was one of them.
On Orcas, lovers of the old-fashioned lifestyle can stay at Rosario Resort and Spa, which is full of antique teak and mahogany furniture and arts-and-crafts design. Part of the hotel is now a museum. It was built 100 years ago as a private residence by shipbuilder and former mayor of Seattle, Robert Moran, who moved here after being told by his doctors that he would be dead in two years. In actual fact he lived for another 38 years. In order to celebrate, he would wake his guests up at 6 in the morning with a splendid self-playing Aeolian pipe organ, which is still in operation today [sound of organ music] Moran sounds to have been a lucky man: a native New Yorker, he had arrived in Seattle as a penniless 18-year-old in 1875, before going on to build a vast fortune.
The San Juan Islands may not have that many inhabitants, but they do have a colorful history. In 1859, for example, Britain and the United States, which both had claims to the area, nearly fought `the Pig War', after an American settler shot and killed a British pig. Fortunately peace came about, after mediation by Germany’s Kaiser Wilhelm, and the pig was the only victim. More importantly  perhaps, the border between Canada (then a British colony) and the USA was subsequently re-drawn.
At the start of the 21st century, the San Juan Islands face challenges  of a different kind. Sandy Playa, who runs the beautiful timbered Spring Bay Inn on the eastern side of Orcas Island (with her husband Carl Burger) explains.
Well, I think the big change has been brought on by technology. You know, now the internet and cellphone access has enabled people to live here that would only be able to vacation here in the past. I think all probably remote areas are going through that kind of change.
When we first  moved here, there were about 2,500 people and now there’s about 5,000. But even so, that population when we first moved here was mostly made of retired people, some families, but mostly retired. And then kind of the whole dot com thing, you know, was going, just, bananas and... so lots of people were able to be consultants and live here and work from their home here and then they'd maybe have an apartment in Seattle or whatever city that they were based in.

The dot com bubble has burst, but the islands still have their fair share of famous residents. The co-founder of Microsoft, Paul Allen, owns one of them. Here in the San Juans, however, VIPs can live a quiet life, says Carl Burger:
Part of the personality, I think, of the county is that so many folks are here trying to underplay or downplay or stay below the spotlight. We have some very high-powered people who live here, either full-time or part-time, but who want to be, I was gonna say, recognized just for the people they are, rather than the personalities that they are. So there's... there are film directors here, there are authors, there are people from the technological world, there are consultants, there are politicians, but around here, they're just island residents.

1 B, 2A, 3A, 4B, 5B, 6B, 7A

domingo, 18 de enero de 2015

Extensive listening: Christine Lagarde

Christine Lagarde, the head of the IMF, is one of the world's most powerful women. CBS aired a segment about her for their 60 Minutes programme in late 2011.

This is the way correspondent Lara Logan introduced the segment:

"With the world economy teetering on the edge, one woman has emerged at the center of the battle to prevent disaster. Christine Lagarde is an accomplished lawyer who became the first female finance minister of France and is now the first woman to run the International Monetary Fund. She took over the IMF in July after a sex scandal forced her predecessor, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, to resign. At nearly six feet tall with her striking silver hair, Lagarde's physical presence is as formidable as her reputation. She'll need those attributes and then some to keep the overwhelming debts of countries like Greece and Italy from setting off a worldwide recession."

You can watch the video by clicking on the image below or here.

You can read a full transcript for the segment here.

sábado, 17 de enero de 2015

Reading test: School uniforms: A history of 'rebellion and conformity'

This week's reading test is based on the BBC article School uniforms: A history of 'rebellion and conformity', by Jenny Scott, published in early September last year. We'll be using it to practise the kind of 'insert the missing word' kind of task.

In the text below, 15 words or phrases have been removed. Choose the word or phrase from the list below that best fits in the blanks 1-15. 0 is an example.

Please, bear in mind that all the words on the list are written in small letters so as not to give any clues away. In the original text, some of the missing words come after a full stop and, consequently, a word starting with a capital letter is used.

There is a lot of clothes-related vocabulary in the text. It would be more than interesting for learners to read the original text of School uniforms: A history of 'rebellion and conformity' on the BBC site once they have completed the task, so that they could see the pictures which illustrate most of the uniforms mentioned in the article and consolidate their vocabulary.

Picture school uniforms from the past and the top hats and tails of Tom Brown's Schooldays or the cheeky cap-throwing of Just William may come to (0) …  . But in fact, according to historians, school uniforms began life not amid the traditions of the English public school but among charity schools.
Schools (1) … Christ's Hospital, in Horsham, West Sussex, founded in 1552 in London, took up "fatherless children and other poor children" from the parish and educated them. London citizens provided the children with clothes - notably a long blue coat - leading to the famous (2) … for these institutions, "Bluecoat schools". Today the uniform continues to be worn by Christ's Hospital pupils - the school claims it is the oldest uniform still in existence. And indeed, many older schools retain their traditional uniforms - from the straw hats of Harrow to the "Polly Bells" of Dame Allan's, a private school in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, (3) … was founded as a charitable foundation in 1705.
Both are variants on the schools' original uniforms. While the Polly Bells are dusted off only for special(4) … , Harrow tries to maintain its traditions around public-facing places of its site like its chapel. "We relax the rules if the uniform becomes impractical - for example, on windy days, we don't want to see boys (5) … their hats down the high street," said Jenny Simmons, the school's communications manager.
The records of The Ragged School Museum, in London, contain photographs of children wearing very individual uniforms at Hamlet of Radcliff School, a charity school founded in 1910. "The boys are wearing Tam O' Shanters with pom poms, (6) … the girls have starched aprons with gloves," said Erica Davies, the museum's director. "I can't imagine anybody walking around Tower Hamlets wearing that - even in the 19th Century. You would learn to be tough, I suspect." Today the school is known as Stepney Greencoat Primary School, a state school, and it says its pupils wear a modern uniform.
(7) … schools have similarly evolved their styles, via the flat caps of the 1950s and the blazers and ties of the '80s and '90s, to the comfortable, practical style many adopt today. A uniform list for Scorton Grammar School, in Preston, (8) … from the 1960s, now held by the British Schools Museum, has a list of requirements for pupils that include a cap, blazer and tie, a "reindeer green belted mackintosh" and dark grey flannel trousers - or shorts "until he has reached at least his 15th birthday". It states: "At weekends and during holidays, it is left to the discretion of parents (9) … the uniform be worn or not, but it is particularly insisted the uniform should be worn in its entirety or not at all."
"Uniforms give schools a sense of identity and cohesion," said author and historian Alexander Davidson. "When some aspects of society have become much less certain, uniforms suggest schools are there to provide certainty and order." (10) … , school uniforms can be as much about rebellion as conformity, according to Mr Davidson. "If children want to rebel, they can do it in the way they wear their school uniform," he said. "It's an expression of identity." He believes there is "less" uniform in most schools than ever before - and with that, the opportunities for children to (11) … the dress code have diminished. "Little boys no longer have caps they can throw on the top of passing milk floats," he said.
In 2010, former Education Secretary Michael Gove tried to reverse this trend by backing schools who wanted to reinstate a blazer-and-tie uniform. But some schools now aim to create a uniform children - and parents - are happy with - a policy ministers say they want to encourage.
"There is an economic aspect to many schools' decision to adopt a uniform," said Andy Gibbs, curator and manager of the British Schools Museum. "It brings equality to the clothes children wear in school, (12) … of how wealthy their parents are. The widespread use of polo shirts as part of uniforms, for example, is a way of making them more affordable."
Yet polo shirts are not for all pupils. Cottingham High School, in East Yorkshire, has worked with fashion designer Lara Jensen to create a uniform that had pupil-appeal. Jonathan Rogers, assistant head teacher, said pupils had felt a bit "embarrassed" by its previous uniform, which consisted of polo shirts and trainers and could look scruffy. "When we consulted with our pupils, we found some of our fashion-conscious teenagers actually want to make a (13) … to the community," he said. "In the end, we went for slim-fitting, stylish jackets and jumpers in a contemporary cut. I would describe it as quite professional work wear."
And no matter what other implications are, wearing a uniform seems surprisingly important to many pupils. In 2011, Christ's Hospital surveyed its pupils to find out if it should keep its distinctive 16th Century style blue coats and yellow stockings. About 95% said they should. "It is important to (14) … our historic traditions, not only to be unique and special, but it makes a sort of unity between us," said one. "I personally feel proud walking around in my uniform, (15) … what people might say."

mind 0 (Example)
stick to
such as

Christ's Hospital uniform, the oldest still in existence
(Photo: BBC)

1 such as; 2 nickname; 3 which; 4 occasions; 5 chasing; 6 whereas; 7 most; 8 dating; 9 whether; 10 however; 11 transgress; 12 regardless; 13 statement; 14 stick to; 15 despite

viernes, 16 de enero de 2015

The Copenhagen Wheel

This is the first commercial version of the Copenhagen Wheel, now available for sale.

Self-study activity:
Watch the video and complete the blanks in the transcript with the missing words. The activity is suitable for intermediate students.

This is The Copenhagen Wheel. It turns your ordinary bicycle into a smart electric (1) ... by simply replacing your back wheel. Connect it to your Smartphone, download the app, and you're ready to go. Bicycles are a great way to move around, yet sometimes distances are too long. (2) ... can get in the way. And hard journeys to work may leave you covered in (3) ... . The Copenhagen Wheel is here to change all of that.
The technology was developed over several years at (4) ...  together with the City of Copenhagen, one of the world’s most innovative places for cycling. Its original inventors (5) ... the technology and (6) ...  SuperPedestrian, the (7) ...-... where we are now working around the clock to bring the wheel to you. Like the best riding companion, The Copenhagen Wheel learns how you pedal and integrates seamlessly with your motion. It (8) ... your energy when you brake or go downhill, and gives you a push when you need it with three to ten times your regular (9) ...   ...  . It's easy. Ride it just like a normal bike. As you pedal the motor automatically (10) ...   ...  with no additional throttles or buttons.
All technology for The Copenhagen Wheel is contained within the red casing, including motor, removable batteries, wireless connectivity, smart locking, multiple sensors and an embedded control system. Use your Smartphone to (11) ... your ride, monitor your physical activity, gather information from your environment to share with your friends and fellow cyclists. And if you're a software developer, you can even create your own biking apps. So whether you carry yourself, your kids or your (12) ... , hills seem flat, distances (13) ... and you can cycle just about anywhere.
So transform your bike and transform the city: The Copenhagen Wheel.

1 hybrid 2 Hills 3 sweat 4 MIT 5 licensed 6 founded 7 start-up 8  captures 9 foot power 10 kicks in 11 customize 12 gear 13 shrink

jueves, 15 de enero de 2015


Baffled by bitcoin? Confused by the concept of crypto-currencies?  In 190 seconds The Guardian explains what bitcoin actually is, where the idea came from and the impact it's having around the world.

Self-study activity:
Watch the video and answer the questions below about it. The activity is suitable for (strong) intermediate 2 students.

1 What is Bitcoin and what is its main aim?
2 What problems of the current online payment system are mentioned?
3 What is the 'double spending system'?
4 What was Satoshi Nakomoto's proposal in 2008?
5 What can you do with Bitcoin in the UK?
6 What problems of Bitcoin are mentioned?
7 What do people who support the idea of Bitcoin and those who are terrified of it agree on?

You can check your answers by reading the transcript below.

Bitcoin is a digital currency which aims to do away with all the problems we have paying for things online (1). You may think that the system we have is pretty good. But everything we buy today has to go through a bank or credit card company who take a cut of the transaction and who rely on our trust that they'll do everything right. After a while those payments start to build up and added to that is security: you have to trust your card company to keep your details safe (2). Many people have tried to work out how to have a payment system without that middle man but then there's another problem: how do you prove that you've paid for something or even if you have that money at all without someone vouching for you? It's so serious it has a name: the double spending problem (3).
Then, in 2008, a solution was offered by an anonymous programmer going by the name Satoshi Nakomoto. Nakomoto left a paper on a popular cryptography blog which proposed a system of currency that solved all of these fiddly problems. His proposal was that instead of a bank or credit card company recording every transaction in one central ledger, all of the users would record all of the transactions at the same time. As a result, any attempt to fool the community would be noticed and the payment rejected (4). No one user, government, or bank can force a fee on a payment or control its flow. The result is a cheaper, quicker and easier way to spend money, even across national borders.
So this is Bitcoin and it's already starting to have an impact on people's lives. Within months of the proposal it was being used to buy and sell goods. Although not always from the most scrupulous of traders. But it's not all shady businesses. Some shopping sites take it, you can buy pints in London and even pay for your university tuition (5). As you might have heard, there are problems. While some are profiting from getting involved early, others are losing out from this volatile and young market. And people are founding companies to buy up lots of Bitcoins but as it's designed to have a limited amount ever in circulation that might cause problems down the road (6). There's so much uncertainty around Bitcoin some people genuinely think this is the future. Others are terrified it could destroy our economy. But many from both sides agree that if we could get Bitcoin to work or something like it, if we can trust a digital currency to work without the middle men, then the way the world economy functions could be transformed for the better (7).

miércoles, 14 de enero de 2015

Talking point: Television

This week's talking point is television. Before getting together with the members of your conversation group, go over the questions below, so that ideas can flow more easily when you meet up with your friends and you can work out vocabulary issues beforehand.
  • How many hours of TV do you watch a day?
  • Tell your friends about a programme you love and a programme you dislike.
  • Do you ever watch TV programmes on a PC, a tablet or a phone?
  • Are there any TV programmes you switch off as soon as they start?
  • Are there any TV programmes you only watch because the rest of your family like them?
  • Do you ever watch cartoon series on TV? If so, which one(s)? What do you think of them? And when you were a child?
  • Is there a TV series that everyone is watching in your country? Have you seen it? What is it about?
  • Are you hooked on TV series? Do you know anyone who is?
  • Have you ever binge-watched a TV series?
  • How popular are American series in your country? What's the reason for their success?
  • Do you know any internet sites where you can watch TV series and programmes from other countries?
  • Do you think there are enough quality TV programmes to fill all the channels available?
To illustrate the point watch this video about three very famous scenes of Mad Men.

scene 1
Advertising is based on one thing, happiness. And you know what happiness is? Happiness is the smell of a new car. It's freedom from fear. It's a billboard on the side of the road that screams reassurance that whatever you are doing is okay. You are okay.
It’s toasted. I get it.

scene 2
But there is a rare occasion when the public can be engaged on a level beyond flash – if they have a sentimental bond with the product. My first job I was in house at a fur company, with this old pro of a copywriter, a Greek, named Teddy. Teddy told me the most important idea in advertising is “new.” It creates an itch. You simply put your product in there as a kind of calamine lotion. He also talked about a deeper bond with a product: nostalgia. It’s delicate, but potent. Sweetheart. Teddy told me that in Greek, nostalgia literally means the pain from an old wound. It’s a twinge in your heart, far more powerful than memory alone. This device isn’t a space ship, it’s a time machine. It goes backwards, forwards. It takes us to a place where we ache to go again. It’s not called a wheel, it’s called a carousel. It lets us travel the way a child travels. Round and around, and back home again. To a place where we know we are loved.

scene 3
Client: Is that all?
Don: You're a nonbeliever. Why should we waste time on kabuki?
Client: I don't know what that means.
Don: It means that you've already tried your plan, and you're number four. You've enlisted my expertise and you've rejected it to go on the way you've been going. I'm not interested in that. You can understand.
Client:     I don't think your three months or however many thousands of dollars entitles you to refocus the core of our business —
Don: Listen. I'm not here to tell you about Jesus. You already know about Jesus. He either lives in your heart or He doesn't. Every woman wants choices. But in the end, none wants to be one of a hundred in a box. She's unique. She makes the choices and she's chosen him. She wants to tell the world, he's mine. He belongs to me, not you. She marks her man with her lips. He is her possession. You've given every girl that wears your lipstick the gift of total ownership.
Client: Sit down.
Don: No. Not until I know I'm not wasting my time.
Client: Sit down.

martes, 13 de enero de 2015

Madrid Teacher: Whale hunting

Our Madrid Teachers are discussing whale hunting this week, which gives us an opportunity to revise some of the features of spoken English that they use.

First of all, watch the video through to get the gist of what the conversation is about.

Now watch the video more carefully, paying attention to the following:
  • Use of actually to add information to the previous statement
  • Use of hedging to introduce facts and opinions and not sound too dogmatic: I think; I don’t think
  • Showing surprise and reacting: Oh my God; Ridiculous; that’s unbelievable; Oh, wow
  • Use of you see to express a wish that the people who are with us will understand us
  • Use of so as a linking word
  • Use of I mean to paraphrase what we have just said and make ourselves clear
  • Conversation fillers to gain thinking time: Well; like
  • Use of ambiguous language: a huge thing; the seal hunting thing; sort of

Now it's over to you. If possible, get together with a friend or relative to discuss the topic: How do you feel about whale hunting and seal killing? To what extent are these practices justified? What other animals are or were killed in large numbers? Do you know the reasons? Do you sympathize with the organisations that are trying to put an end to these killings?

When you talk, don't forget to use some of the features of spoken English we have revised today.

Vicky: I recently watched an article in the news about a protest, I think it was in Australia actually, er, and the protest was against whaling. Did anyone hear about it? There is a boat called the Ady Gil, which was I think it was the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society who are protesting against the Japanese who are whaling in the vicinity.
Thomas: I’m sorry. People are whaling today?
Vicky and Joyce: Yeah.
Louise: Yes, in the southern ocean.
Thomas: That still happens?
Louise: Absolutely.
Thomas: What for?
Louise: Good question.
Joyce: For the Japanese people it's a delicacy.
Thomas: Oh, it’s for food.
Joyce: It’s considered a delicacy.
Vicky: But it’s not only. Traditionally, whale, the blubber of whale oil…
Thomas: Exactly.
Vicky: …has been used in soaps, cosmetics, shampoos.
Thomas: Oh my God.
Joyce: It used to be used for the oil wax.
Thomas: Yeah, you see, that’s what I m talking about. I grew up in the north east of the States where whaling used to be a huge thing, it’s done now so we just learn in school about historical whaling and the blubber and the oil lamps and we go to whaling museums and see like the [baling] knife handles and stuff. I thought this was all the stuff of yesteryear.
Vicky: Definitely not.
Louise: There’s still a lot indigenous, indigenous people in North America too who’ve always hunted whales so..
Thomas: Yeah, but that’s their subsistence I mean.
Louise, Vicky and Joyce: Yeah.
Joyce: That’s different.
Thomas: That’s kind of sustainable, right?
Vicky: Not commercial.
Louise: No, but still, it’s still happening but er...
Joyce: But in those cases I could justify that. I mean it’s a little bit like the seal hunting thing. I mean, these people, it’s their livelihood.
Thomas: And it’s sustainable.
Joyce: And they do it on a small scale.
Thomas: I don’t think they over do it and ship the hides all over the world.
Vicky: No.
Louise: But even, sorry, the countries that are commercially whaling also have quotas, I mean they have limits.
Thomas: Mmm hmm.
Louise: Er, but I mean I make the same face. I still... I think there must be now with all of the advances in technology chemicals that can replace.
Thomas: Thank you, thank you. Can't we make soap without killing, making some animal extinct?
Vicky and Joyce: Of course, yeah.
Thomas: Ridiculous.
Vicky: The main countries that are pro-whaling are Norway, Iceland and Japan.
Thomas: Norway?
Vicky: Well, obviously Iceland is quite far removed so, obviously they’re still responsible for their actions. Norway, on the other hand, is a European country.
Thomas: I thought they were peaceful people, ha, ha, ha.
Vicky: Well, they’ve got an enormous fishing industry
Thomas: OK.
Vicky: In Norway, so obviously to make an outright ban on whaling, affect many people economically, however, not to, affects everyone on the planet…
Thomas: Yeah.
Vicky: … environmentally, you know.
Joyce: I even read about this Japanese minister, I don t remember his name but, this fellow like to sort of justify whaling he called these particular types of whales, like, cockroaches of the sea.
Vicky: That was minke whales, that’s unbelievable.
Thomas: Oh, wow.
Joyce: Yeah, so to justify, well, it doesn’t matter, we don t need these anyways.
Vicky: Minke whales are gorgeous.
Vicky and Louise: Yeah.
Vicky: Anyway.
Louise: Amazing creatures but this collision, this collision was between a big whaling boat, this protest we were talking about…
Vicky: That’s right.
Louise: It was actually a direct collision between a big whaling boat and a small Shepherd of the Sea that was supposed to be monitoring the commercial whaling so...
Vicky: Well, when you don’t know how to continue your job without some organization getting in the way, just ram your boat into the side of them.
Thomas: That’s what I always said.