Today, we are going to talk about February 29. The extra day occurs once every four years. It is called a Leap Day and is added to the calendar. When there is a leap year there are 366 days rather than 365 days of the year.
The previous leap year was in 2012. This year sees another leap year. The extra day is added because of the way the Solar System works. A complete orbit of the Earth around the sun actually takes approximately 365.2422 days.
Why are there 29 days in February rather than 30 or 31? This is down to history. During the Roman Empire Emperor Julius Caesar ordered his astronomer Sosigenes to simplify the 355 day Roman calendar, which had an extra 22 days added on every two years. Sosigenes created the 365 day year, with an extra day every 4 years.
Recently, teenage blogger Jordon Cox decided to do a return journey from Shenfield in Essex to Sheffield in northern England. Cox, 18, managed to book himself a cheap £19 ticket for the journey north but discovered the cheapest fare home was £47. An open return would have cost him £97.70. He decided to look for an alternative way to get home.
Following some online research he discovered he could save money on the rail ticket if he included a flight via Berlin in Germany. The ticket would normally have cost £47.00 by train and taken 3½ hours. By going via Berlin it took him an extra 1,017 miles and 13 hours to get home. It also included a quick tour of Berlin.
(Photo: Jordan Cox)
Today let’s talk about Valentine’s Day! In case you didn’t know it is on February 14th. It is celebrated in many countries around the world. These days it is pretty commercial. Known also as St Valentine’s Day it is associated with love! Valentine’s Day symbols include heart shapes, doves and the figure of a winged cupid.
In Britain in the 18th century handwritten greeting cards were sent. Lovers also expressed their love for each other by presenting flowers, and confectionary. By 1900 handwritten cards had given way to mass-produced greeting cards; all these traditions still continue. Nowadays lovers also send SMS messages and email cards. A dozen red roses remain a popular gift to send your lover.
Great Scott Marty! DeLoreans are coming back to the future to be rebuilt! The famous DeLorean sports car made famous by the movie franchise Back to the Future is set to go back into production more than 33 years since the last one was built.
The rights to the DeLorean name are now owned by the Texas-based DeLorean Motor Company (not related to the original). It sells refurbished DeLoreans. However, due to a change in US laws, the cars no longer satisfy modern safety regulations, so as long as no fewer than 325 are made each year, the company will now be able to build the Delorean as well. One executive described this as a ‘game changer!’
Today, let’s talk about where we might like to retire to. There are many thoughts on this subject, which this lesson will hopefully explore.
Most of us look forward to the day when we can sit back and retire. However, where should you retire to? Will it be a place by the sea? Perhaps you might like to live in a country cottage or in a house up a mountain.
Years ago many Brits living in cities favoured retiring to places like Bognor Regis, Margate or Blackpool because a place by the sea is what many dreamed of. Over the last 30 years or so many Brits retired to Spain. The weather is good - with 300 days of sunshine.
Today let’s talk about music legend David Bowie. The singer died in New York on the 10th January 2016 at the age of 69 following an 18 month battle with liver cancer.
Bowie had kept his illness a secret from his fans; only his family and a few close friends actually knew. He told them that he wanted to be remembered for the good times and his music. Shortly after his death he was secretly cremated in New York without any of his family or friends present ‘without fuss’ – no big show, no fan-fare.
Today, let’s talk about great British inventions. There are many. We will look at a few of them.
The jet engine was invented by a chap called Frank Whittle from Coventry. He was fighter pilot. Whittle realised that piston powered flight was old technology. He designed the gas turbine ‘turbo-jet’ in 1930. Thwarted by the military it wasn’t until 1941 that his jet idea took off in the form of a Gloster E28/39 for a 17 minute flight.
Tin cans used for baked beans and vegetables were invented by a man called Peter Durand. He copied the preserved food in a glass jar idea that Frenchman Nicholas Appert had created, doing it this time with a tin can. The first commercial canning factory was opened in England in 1813.
Recently in Paris UN negotiators met to discuss climate change. Delegates wanted to discuss policies to keep a global temperature rise to below 2°C.
Is such a meeting just a lot of hot air and false promises? The last such meeting two years ago in Warsaw proved to be exactly this! Will the UN negotiators actually negotiate a meaningful policy this time round that all nations in the world will keep? Judge for yourself on this point.
Scientists have warned us that temperatures could rise by 5°C above pre-industrial levels by 2100. The meeting of world leaders in Paris hopes to contain this to below 2°C. They pledged to cut emissions of greenhouse gases.
What is the most satisfying job in the world? There are probably many answers. This English lesson will explore a few of them.
You might think being President of the United States or being the British Prime Minister are two of the most satisfying jobs in the world.
Teaching or working in a bank could be equally satisfying. Perhaps not, as the former sees too many teachers quit the profession and in the latter, one just earns a living!
Today I thought we could look at some top inventions and talk about them. Of course, there are thousands to choose from. Trying to reduce this to the top 50 or even the top 20 was difficult. In the end I decided to see what I could think of. You can create your own top 20 list during this lesson.
Recent inventions that people like to buy include the new iPad and iPhone from Apple. The tablet market is growing rapidly. The Kindle from Amazon is now popular for book reading. Some of us like to get our hands on the latest Samsung Galaxy or alternatively the latest Blackberry. But let’s consider other good inventions. These include; the internet, email, the computer, and the telephone.
What would we do today without Google, Facebook or YouTube? The camera was a good invention, as was the video camera. Women (and men) might consider the bra and contraception (Condoms and the invention of the pill) as useful inventions.
Category: Inventions / Technology / Creativity