No-Tears Onion

 

 

Do you know that you can now chop onions without crying?

Alastair Findlay, a British farmer, is proud to say that his experiments in onions is about to end.

He claimed that he developed an onion called Asda Sweet Red which won’t cause odour on your breath and fewer tears will be shed when you chop them.

He started his experiments 20 years ago by tasting 400 to 500 onions every season in order to choose the perfect onion which he plans to sell in the market.

Contributed by: TEACHER NATSU

 

Vocabulary Enhancement:

  1. Experiment – testing of an idea
  2. Develop – make something new
  3. Odour – something you can smell
  4. Shed – pour out in small quantities or as if in drops

 

Perspective Exchange:

  1. What do you think of no-tears onions?
  2. Do you think people should develop these kinds of products? Why or why not?
  3. What are the other fruits would you like scientists to develop?

    Do you know that you can now chop onions without crying? Alastair Findlay, a British farmer, is proud […]


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Level:

Beginner

Mandatory Vacation

 

 

Should the government force their workers to take a holiday?

Japanese office workers are known for working long hours and working overtime for no additional compensation. In 2011, roughly one-third of suicides in Japan were caused by overworking.

Which is why, the Japanese government is planning to require their workaholic citizens to use at least 5 out of 10 paid vacation days per year.

The government has claimed that they are having a problem convincing people to spend their time away from the office. In the past, they have created more national holidays in order to encourage workers to take a day off. However, they believe that it is not enough.

Contributed by: TEACHER NATSU

 

Vocabulary Enhancement:

  1. Compensation – something (such as money) given or received as payment
  2. Roughly – approximately; more or less
  3. Workaholic – a person who works too much
  4. Convincing – causing one to believe the truth of something

 

Perspective Exchange:

  1. What do you think about the attitude of Japanese workers? Are they too workaholic?
  2. Do you agree with the government’s plan? Why or why not?
  3. What should the government do to encourage their workers to take a day off?

    Should the government force their workers to take a holiday? Japanese office workers are known for working long […]


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Level:

Intermediate

US Attractions Banned Selfie Sticks

 

 

Should selfie sticks be banned?

Camera extension devices also known as “Selfie Sticks” have been banned in various tourist attractions in the US.

The Getty Centre in Los Angeles, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture in Washington DC, Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and the National Gallery of Art and the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum are among those attractions that have imposed a ban on the said device.

The reason why they banned the selfie sticks is because of their concern about the safety of the people as well as the art. Additionally, some stadiums in America have also followed the ban like the White Hart Lane Stadium because they believed that these sticks can be used as an offense weapon.

A recent survey of posts in the internet revealed that the Eiffel Tower in Paris is the most popular place to take a selfie. In fact, more than 1 million selfies are taken every day with the Eiffel Tower.

Contributed by: TEACHER NATSU

 

Vocabulary Enhancement:

  1. Ban – to prohibit or not allow
  2. Tourist attraction – places that are popular for tourists when they visit other countries and cities
  3. Impose – force (something unwelcome or unfamiliar) to be accepted or put in place
  4. Concern – worry (someone or something); make anxious

 

Perspective Exchange:

  1. Have you ever tried using selfie sticks? Where?
  2. Do you agree in banning selfie sticks in tourists’ attractions? Why or why not?
  3. Does your country have a similar ban? Can you describe it?

    Should selfie sticks be banned? Camera extension devices also known as “Selfie Sticks” have been banned in various […]


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Level:

Intermediate

Penalty for Parents with Obese Children

 

 

Should parents pay because their children are obese?

A bill is being considered by the lawmakers of Puerto Rico in which they would penalise the parents of obese children. If their children didn’t lose weight, their parents might have to pay up to $800.

Senator Gilberto Rodriguez said that this law will encourage children to improve their health and it will help parents make healthier choices. If the bill is approved, school teachers will alert the social workers about obese children in their school. These social workers will have a meeting with the parents of the obese children and create a diet and exercise programme. After six months, the social workers will visit them again to check if there is an improvement. If there isn’t, the parents will have to pay a penalty.

However, there are some people, including several doctors and parents, who spoke against this bill. They think it is unfair. According to a research, more than 28% children in Puerto Rico are considered as obese compared with some 18% in the US.

Contributed by: TEACHER NATSU

 

Vocabulary Enhancement:

  1. Bill – a draft of a law
  2. Penalise – impose a penalty; punish
  3. Social worker – someone who is employed by the government to provide social services
  4. Spoke against – to criticize someone or something; to testify or argue against someone or something

 

Perspective Exchange:

  1. What do you think about this bill?
  2. Do you agree with Senator Gilberto Rodriguez? Why or why not?
  3. What do you think are the other ways parents can do to help their children lose weight?

    Should parents pay because their children are obese? A bill is being considered by the lawmakers of Puerto […]


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Level:

Intermediate

Drinking Too Much Water Is Not Good

 

 

Is drinking too much water harmful for our body?

Professor Mark Whiteley, a surgeon and founder of The Whiteley Clinic in London, believed that drinking too much water than what your body needs is harmful.

Here’s the list of reasons Professor Whitely gave.

  • Lots of water can make you sweat too much. He said that when your body has too much water, your body will try to get rid of that too much water through sweating.
  • It can cause insomnia. Professor Whiteley said that when you drink two or three glasses of water in the evening before you sleep, your bladder will wake you up, then you will need to go to the toilet and it will be difficult for you to go back to sleep.
  • You can die from water poisoning. If you drink lots of water in a very short amount of time, the kidneys will find it hard to remove extra fluid from your body and it will cause bad things to your blood.
Contributed by: TEACHER NATSU

 

Vocabulary Enhancement:

  1. Surgeon – a doctor who does operations
  2. Founder – a person who founds or establishes some institution
  3. Harmful – capable of causing harm and danger
  4. Get rid of – terminate; end or take out
  5. Fluid – any liquid; water

 

Perspective Exchange:

  1. How many glasses of water do you drink in a day?
  2. Do you believe that drinking too much water is bad for you? Why or why not?
  3. How many glasses of water do you need to drink in a day?

    Is drinking too much water harmful for our body? Professor Mark Whiteley, a surgeon and founder of The […]


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Level:

Beginner

English Words Invented By the U.S. Presidents

 

 

Who invented the words iffy, sugar-coat and belittle?

Sometimes we find it difficult to find a word that best describes our feelings. The Presidents of United States are similar to us, however, in their case, they decided to invent words to describe what they felt.

Franklin D. Roosevelt used the term “Iffy” to ignore questions at press conferences in the 1930s. Nowadays, we use the word “Iffy” to talk about things which are doubtful.

Abraham Lincoln used the word “Sugar-coat” when he was trying to send an urgent message to the Congress. An official government printer found the word too casual and asked Lincoln to change it but he refused. Sugar-coat means, “To make something attractive or acceptable by exaggerating its characteristic.”

In 2010, Washington, D.C. had experienced a huge snowstorm and President Barack Obama described it as “Snowmaggeddon“. It’s a combination of Snow and Armageddon.

Thomas Jefferson likes to write. In fact he invented a lot of words such as belittle, monotonously, pedicure and many more.

Contributed by: TEACHER NATSU

 

Vocabulary Enhancement:

  1. Doubtful – uncertain; not sure
  2. Urgent – requiring immediate action or attention
  3. Exaggerate – represent (something) as being larger, greater, better, or worse than it really is.
  4. Armageddon – end of the world
  5. Belittle – cause to seem less serious; play down
  6. Monotonously – in a boring repetitious manner or lacking in variety
  7. Pedicure – professional care for the feet and toenails

 

Perspective Exchange:

  1. Have you heard of these words before you read the article?
  2. Do you think it’s alright to invent new words to be used? Why or why not?
  3. Do you think it’s better for us to study English harder and use the old words so we won’t forget them? Why or why not?

    Who invented the words iffy, sugar-coat and belittle? Sometimes we find it difficult to find a word that best […]


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Level:

Advance

Valentine’s Day: Traditions from Around the World – Part 2

FEB 15 Happy Valentines Day

 

 

How do you celebrate Valentine’s Day?

Single women in England would place bay leaves on their pillows. They usually place them on all four corners of the pillow and one on the middle. This is done to summon sweet dreams of their future husband while they slept.

Finland doesn’t celebrate love on February 14. Finnish people celebrate Friendship on that day. It’s a nice place for single people if they find themselves alone during that day.

Koreans also adopted the Japanese culture of Valentine’s Day. However, single people also celebrate Valentine’s Day by eating “Jajangmyeon.” It’s a dish made of white noodles with black bean sauce. Couples usually call this this food as “a dish of mourning.”

Germans celebrate Valentine’s by giving gifts which has an image of a pig. According to the Germans, it is their symbol of lust and luck.

Contributed by: TEACHER NATSU

 

Vocabulary Enhancement:

  1. Summon – to ask for (someone or something) to come;
  2. Finnish – someone or something that originated from Finland
  3. Mourning – great sadness felt because someone has died
  4. Lust – sexual desire

 

Perspective Exchange:

  1. What do you think about the traditions other people do to celebrate Valentine’s?
  2. How do people celebrate Valentine’s?
  3. Is it an important event in your country? Why or why not?

    How do you celebrate Valentine’s Day? Single women in England would place bay leaves on their pillows. They […]


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Level:

Beginner

Valentine’s Day: Traditions from Around the World – Part 1

Valentine's Day

 

 

How do you celebrate Valentine’s Day?

Each country celebrates Valentine’s Day in a different way. While Americans celebrate it with stuffed animals and chocolates, other countries celebrate it with different items.

Let’s take a look at each country that has a different tradition during Valentine’s Day.

In Wales, a wooden spoon is carved by a man for the woman he loves. This tradition dates back to 1667.

Japanese women give different kinds of chocolate to signify different relationships. “Honmei Choco” is what they call as the “true feeling” chocolate. It is usually handmade and given to the man they truly love. On the other hand, women give “giri choco” to the man they have no romantic interest with, for example, close male friend, a boss, or a male colleague.

In Denmark, people give “Gaekkebrev” or ‘Joke Letters’ in English. In the past, it is used to write letters and poems and cut in beautiful patterns into the paper. There is no signature. The only clue is the dots for each letter of the man’s name. If the woman guessed the sender correctly, she will receive an egg at Easter. If not; the woman has to buy the correct guy an egg at Easter instead.

Contributed by: TEACHER NATSU

 

Vocabulary Enhancement:

  1. Dates back – belong to an earlier time
  2. Signify – to be a sign of; suggest or imply
  3. Colleague – co-worker
  4. Easter – a holiday that is usually celebrated at the end of March or Early April. Chocolate eggs were being given to kids as a way to celebrate it

 

Perspective Exchange:

  1. What do you think about the traditions other people do to celebrate Valentine’s?
  2. How do people celebrate Valentine’s?
  3. Is it an important event in your country? Why or why not?

    How do you celebrate Valentine’s Day? Each country celebrates Valentine’s Day in a different way. While Americans celebrate […]


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Level:

Intermediate

Valentine’s Day: Americans’ Way to Celebrate

 

 

How do Americans celebrate Valentine’s Day?

Do you know that more than 62% of Americans celebrate Valentine’s Day with flowers, cards, and candies? In fact, an estimate of 1 billion cards is being used for Valentine’s Day each year, more than other holidays in America except for Christmas.

Americans also consume 35 billion heart shaped chocolates are sold and 220 million roses are produced each year. Americans spend almost 20 billion dollars for Valentine’s Day or 130 dollars per person per year.

While candies and flowers are the most popular Valentine gifts, an estimated 20% Americans are spending their money for jewelleries or 4 billion dollars are being spent annually. Additionally, a 6 million Americans are being engaged on the 14th of February.

Contributed by: TEACHER NATSU

 

Vocabulary Enhancement:

  1. Estimate – approximate calculation of quantity, degree or worth
  2. Consume – use (resources or materials) over time in order to function
  3. Annually – by the year; every year

 

Perspective Exchange:

  1. Do you think Americans spend too much money in celebrating Valentine’s Day? Why or why not?
  2. What is the most popular present for Valentine’s Day in your country?
  3. How do people in your country celebrate Valentine’s Day?

    How do Americans celebrate Valentine’s Day? Do you know that more than 62% of Americans celebrate Valentine’s Day […]


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Level:

Beginner

History of Valentine’s Day

 

 

But why do we celebrate Valentine’s Day?

The Valentine’s Day first started as an ancient roman festival called Lupercalia which is celebrated in the middle of February. Romans celebrate it because they believe that it will purify the city and it will release health and fertility. Later on, the Christian church replaced this festival by declaring February 14 as a holiday to celebrate St. Valentine. There are actually two Christian priests whose name is Valentine and one of them was sentenced to death for performing secret marriages for soldiers when Emperor Claudius II banned it because he believed that single men are better soldiers.

It wasn’t until the 1300s that people began to celebrate Valentine’s Day for love and romance. The first Valentine greeting was used in the 15th century and the tradition of sending cards and letters on Valentine’s Day began in the 17th century in Great Britain.

After a few years, Valentine’s Day became popular in United States and the first mass produced cards for Valentine’s Day happened in the 1840s. Now, Valentine’s Day has become a mass consumer holiday, not just in the US and UK but also all over the world.

Contributed by: TEACHER NATSU

 

Vocabulary Enhancement:

  1. Purify – become clean
  2. Fertility – capable of producing children
  3. Declare – announce publicly or officially
  4. Sentenced to death – declared to be killed by the state because of doing a terrible crime
  5. Ban – forbid or prohibit
  6. Tradition – a custom that is being practiced for a long time
  7. Consumer – someone or something that uses goods or services

 

Perspective Exchange:

  1. What do you know about Valentine’s Day?
  2. Is it an important holiday in your country? Why or why not?

    But why do we celebrate Valentine’s Day? The Valentine’s Day first started as an ancient roman festival called […]


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Level:

Intermediate