Lessons in the "2015" Category

A spoonful of sugar…

“A spoonful of sugar… helps the medicine go down - in a most delightful way.” These lyrics come from the movie Mary Poppins. Is it true?

The World Health Organisation recently urged people to reduce their sugar intake. The new guidelines recommend no more than 10% of a person’s daily energy should come from sugars – around 50g or 12 teaspoons a day. Experts (whoever they are) say that people should aim for 5% - 25g or 6 teaspoons a day. It is said that lowering one’s sugar intake decreases the risk of obesity and tooth decay.

Sarcasm and an understandable English accent give call centres in the Philippines the edge

The battle of the world’s call centres between the Philippines and India appears to have been won for the moment by the Philippines. Its secret weapon is British sarcasm! Filipino call centres in Manila and Cebu also speak clear understandable English. Whilst this is positive for Filipinos, it is not good for their Indian call centre rivals.

To be honest many British people dislike speaking to British companies who have their call centres based in India. This is because they can’t understand what the operator there is saying! Their Indian English accent can be so dreadful you sometimes need a translator!

Easter traditions 2

Today let’s talk about Easter traditions. Every country and region has its own. In this lesson we will look at a few of them.

Most people associate Easter with Easter eggs, Easter bunnies and Easter Egg hunts. Easter though is about Christ. Many Christians celebrate Easter to commemorate the resurrection of Christ. For this reason they go to church over this period.

A European Army?

Does Europe need a European army? According to European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker it does. He says the EU needs an EU army to keep back the Russians.

Mr Juncker said that pooling the defence resources of the 28 EU nations could help send a message to Vladimir Putin that its borders would be protected.

Cobblestones defeat Bond shoot in Rome

The latest James Bond movie to be shot has come up against a new enemy – cobblestones! The producers discovered this unforeseen problem of noisy cobblestones when filming the latest 007 movie Spectre in Rome recently.

The British spy, was involved in a high speed car chase involving his silver Aston Martin DB10 and a Jaguar C-X75. As they sped along the banks of the Tiber river, the sports cars had to drive across cobblestones. Producers noticed with dismay the loud sound created interfered with their audio inside Bond’s car. Post production film audio techniques will no doubt solve this matter.

Australia joins Eurovision

Eurovision Song Contest fans recently discovered that Australia has been invited to join in the fun of the annual singing contest. Hang on a minute sport, Australia is not in Europe! Well, strike me down with a boomerang, you’re right, it’s not! But who gives a didgeridoo about that? Of course, there will be those that say Israel, Morocco and Azerbaijan are not in Europe, but hey, it is after all just a bit of fun, right?

This year’s 60th European Song Contest extravaganza will take place in the Central European country of Austria, in its capital Vienna. The country won the right to host the contest when Conchita Wurst, who was their representative choice of singer last year, won in Copenhagen. A total of 40 countries will compete in this year’s song contest. The final will be broadcast on Saturday 23rd May.

A lesson on Fracking

Today let’s talk about fracking. It’s a subject that is constantly in the news. However, what is fracking? Well, fracking or hydraulic fracturing is the process of drilling and injecting fluid into the ground at a high pressure in order to fracture shale rocks to release the natural gas inside.

The process involves using a lot of water that at the fracking site is mixed with up to 600 different chemicals; including lead, uranium, and mercury. The fracking fluid is then pressure injected into the ground through a drilled pipe. When this mixture reaches the end of the well it causes the nearby shale rock to crack, creating fissures where natural gas flows into the well.

Referendum on family values

Today’s English lesson is inspired by one of my students. When discussing her weekend activities, she told us she had been helping to promote an upcoming referendum on family values that will take place shortly in Slovakia.

There are three questions:

  1. Do you agree that only a bond between one man and one woman can be called marriage?
  2. Do you agree that same-sex couples should not be allowed to adopt and raise children?
  3. Do you agree that schools cannot require children to participate in sex education or euthanasia education if their parents don’t agree?

New Suez Canal for Egypt

A new Suez Canal is being built in Egypt. It will run alongside the current Suez Canal. The idea is simple – by building a second canal it will allow the number of ships passing through to practically double, thus increasing trade. This will mean a lot more money coming into the Egyptian economy.

The idea is the brainchild of Egypt’s President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi who is hoping the new second canal will kickstart the country’s ailing economy. For the last few years it has been down on its knees; due to the Arab Spring happening and ultimately then falling flat on its face.

Time to discuss the time

Two hundred or so years ago every town and city in the UK had a different time. For example, if it was 11.00am in London, in Bristol, which is 200 miles to the west, it would be 10.50am. This is because each had their own time according to a local sundial. Local time had worked for hundreds of years – right across the world in fact!

When the railways started running, a railway timetable was introduced, as trains need to run on a timetable. This meant there could only be one time, from which everything would run from. That time in the UK was Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). The time signal for this ran from the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, London, along cables that ran alongside the railway lines to every station in the UK.