Lessons in the "2011" Category

A degree in slavery

In today’s world is an internship simply a degree in slavery? That’s the question Britain’s Daily Mail discussed recently. It said it is the employment scandal of our age. Highly educated graduates working for nothing as interns in supposedly glamorous jobs.

The paper names the people who are exploiting them – Britains MPs, celebrities, publishers and even charities. Certainly, it is an interesting question whether or not an internship is a degree in slavery? The paper says the graduates of the cream of a generation are now skivvies. It mentions tales of bullying, humiliation and says abuse abounds.

It makes you ask why do people work for nothing, when at the end of the day they probably won’t get a job out of it. Certainly, employers are still taking full advantage of employing interns for free. Graduates though are desperate for experience and want something good to put on their CVs in order to secure possible future work.

Category: Education / Interns / Students

The origins of the word ‘OK’

There are many thoughts as to the origin of the word OK. It is likely to have had African origins. The first written use of the word OK was in Tennessee, America, in 1790. An Andrew Jackson wrote: "Proved a bill of sale from Hugh McGary to Gasper Mansker, for a Negro man, which was O.K.”

However, in the American Choctaw Indian language, there is a word okeh, which means "it is so". It is likely this word was used in some American communities in the early 19th century.

In 1815, a William Richardson who had travelled from New Orleans wrote in his diary: ‘We travelled to NY we arrived OK.’ The Boston Morning Post is credited with introducing the word ‘OK’ (all correct) on 23rd March 1839 in the midst of a long paragraph. In 1840, one presidential candidate Martin van Buren was nicknamed ‘Old Kinderhook’ (OK), as he was a native from Kinderhook, NY.

During the 1830s & 1840s comical abbreviations flourished in the American press, thus helping spread the word. In the 1860s, British people were taught not to use this ‘American word’, as one wouldn’t be speaking ‘correct’ English.

Category: USA / Origin of Words / OK

Forest loss slows as Asian nations plant

Forest loss across the world has slowed, largely due to a switch from felling to planting in Asia. China, India, Vietnam, and the Philippines have all seen their forested areas increase in size. There are also gains in North America and Europe, but forests are being lost in Latin America and Africa driven by rising demand for food and firewood. The findings come in the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation’s (FAO) State of the World’s Forests report.

The FAO’s reports formal launch recently at the UN headquarters in New York co-insides with the start of the UN’s International Year of Forests. The initiative aims to raise awareness of conservation among governments and other stakeholders. The FAO is urging governments to explore ways of generating income from forests that do not depend on chopping trees down.

Forests now cover 40m sq km – just less than one third of the earth’s land surface. Although 52,000 sq km were lost between 2000 and 2010, that was a marked improvement on the 83,000 sq km annual figure seen during the previous decade. Europe traditionally has been the region with the biggest increase but now Asia has overtaken it. A net loss in Asia during the period 1990-2000 has been transformed into a net gain in the decade since.

Category: UN / Forests / Conservation

Horse enjoys a refreshing pint in his local pub

A horse walks into a pub and says, “Mine’s a pint please!” Really? Well, Basil the horse does! The Welsh Cob stallion visits his favoured watering hole every Sunday at the Meynell Ingram Arms in Burton, Staffordshire. In fact, Basil finds nothing more relaxing than a refreshing pint in his local pub.

He enjoys mingling with the locals as he relaxes and sups on his favourite tipple in the country boozer. His favourite drink is the locally brewed ale Marson’s Pedigree, which is always waiting for him at the bar in his very own glass.

Category: England / Pubs / Horse in Pub

Coffee and chocolate are the key to a long life

Coffee and chocolate are among the key foods and drinks needed to live a long and healthy life. Tea is another. These form part of a list of 20 “lifespan essential” foodstuffs that has been drawn up by Professor Gary Williamson from the department of food science at Leeds University in England.

Fruits and vegetables dominate the list. All are rich in naturally occurring chemicals, known as polyphenols, which have been linked to a variety of health benefits including protection against heart disease.

The 20 suggested lifespan essential foodstuffs on the list: apples, blackberries, black tea, blueberries, broccoli, cereal bran, cherries, cherry tomatoes, coffee, cranberries, dark chocolate, green tea, oranges, peaches, plums, raspberries, red grapes, red onions, spinach and last but not least strawberries.

Category: Lifestyle / Food / Science

NFE General Knowledge Quiz - March 2011

Score 10 points for every correct answer – Score 5 points if half right! Play a JOKER in one round and get DOUBLE points in that round. Show it before you start the round. There are 12 rounds with 6 questions in each round.

Topics include:

  1. Music
  2. Geography General
  3. The World Today
  4. Sport
  5. World history
  6. Europe
  7. Famous People
  8. Pot luck
  9. UK
  10. Geography Middle East
  11. Authors / books / plays
  12. Film

Category: Quiz / General knowledge / English

The difference between Czechs and Slovaks

What’s the difference between a Czech and a Slovak? This is not a joke! It could be but for now it is a question for you to think about.

Generally speaking the Czechs, who live in the ‘heart of Europe’, are culturally assertive, more dynamic and are mostly atheist. Their men more ‘cunning’. Having formerly lived under Austrian rule they are regarded as rational good administrators. They look to Germany as a role model, preferring to distance themselves from Eastern Europe.

The Slovaks who had been a part of the Hungarian Empire are regarded as more friendly, proud of their nationality, and are more hospitable. Slovaks are more temperamental, mostly Catholic and are regarded as more romantic. Slovak men are more aggressive. It is said that Slovak women are the most beautiful in the world. They are certainly more beautiful than Czech women.

Czechs have a different mind set and different habits to Slovaks. Czechs like to regard themselves as more superior than Slovaks. This of course is absolute rubbish as both are equal. But it is known the Czechs like to look down on the Slovaks as the poorer class. Czechs are a bit snobbish about their Slovak neighbours...

Britain’s dementia shame: 50,000 forced into care homes

Getting old is a thing most people dread. As we get old people develop different forms of illnesses. ‘Pill popping’ becomes the norm. Young people take little notice of the old, preferring to enjoy life. Yet one day they too will become old.

One particular illness older people suffer from is dementia. The most common is either Alzheimer’s disease, in which brain cells deteriorate or vascular dementia that is caused by the supply of blood to the brain. About 75% of people diagnosed with dementia will have either one or the other or a combination of both.

Category: England / Healthcare / Dementia

Places to visit in England: East Anglia

Today let’s look at the region of East Anglia in England. The area covers the East of England and includes the counties of Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, Suffolk and Essex. In fact, if you want a short break, be it a weekend away, a week or more then why not try East Anglia?

It has many seaside resorts dotted all along its coastline that all have caravan parks to stay in. In Norfolk there are the delightful Victorian resorts of Hunstanton and Cromer. The former is near Sandringham where the Queen lives for part of the year. You can also visit Sandringham Gardens. Hunstanton faces west even if it’s on the east coast!

Top holiday seaside resorts include Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft. Southwold is very traditional. Further south are the Essex seaside resorts of Walton, Frinton, Clacton and Southend.

Category: Places to Visit / England / East Anglia

The domino effect: Tunisia, Egypt – Who is next?

It started in Tunisia when one young unemployed man set himself on fire in a stance against unemployment, price rises and poverty. Sidi Bouzid’s death created a revolution in the country that forced regime change. In fact, the sudden flight of President Ben Ali revealed how weak his dictatorship was.

Tunisia, known for its tourism, had been slammed by the UN for its state brutality of beatings and sleep deprivation. Interim control has now passed to Rachid Ghannouchi who returned from exile in London. The Tunisian revolution marked the start of a new era in the Arab world.

Category: North Africa / Arab countries / Regime Change