28 May 2016


Is it the end of language teaching and language learning as we know them? Meet the PILOT:
Being lost in translation has happened to everyone while traveling, even us, and that's exactly how the idea was born. Waverly Labs is at the convergence of wearable technology + machine translation, developing the world's first smart earpiece language translator.
Using the latest technologies in speech recognition, machine translation and the advances of wearable technology, our smart earpiece allows wearers to speak different languages but still clearly understand each other. Simply put, when one person speaks, the other hears it in their language. Science fiction has called it many things, but we call it Pilot. 

26 May 2016

Palestinian 'tricked' into selling Banksy art for $175 - BBC News

A Palestinian man says he was tricked into selling a mural by the artist, Banksy, that is estimated to be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. Rabie Darduna told the BBC he was given less than $175 (£118) for the image drawn on the only remaining door of his house in Gaza. It was one of thousands of homes destroyed during last year's conflict. Yolande Knell reports.


Some of the images displayed below are masterpieces of abstract art, created by great artists. The rest were painted by an ape. Can you tell which is which?

After each picture indicate what it is. Hit the Submit button when done. The quiz will be graded and you will see the correct answers.

Art or vandalism: German railways to test anti-graffiti drones

Germany's national railway company, Deutsche Bahn, plans to test small drones to try to reduce the amount of graffiti being sprayed on its property.
The idea is to use airborne infra-red cameras to collect evidence, which could then be used to prosecute vandals who deface property at night. READ MORE

Banksy: artist or vandal?

21 May 2016


It is certainly the case that in usage these two adverbs are often confused and can sometimes be used with the same meaning.
specially - for a particular purpose
However, when specially is used to mean for a particular purpose, this form of the adverb is the norm:
  • This shower gel is specially designed for people with sensitive skins.
  • This computer programme is specially for children with learning difficulties.
  • My father made this model aeroplane specially for me.
especially - particularly / above all
We tend to use especially for emphasis, meaning particularlyor above all:
  • These butterflies are particularly noticeable in April and May, especially in these meadows.
  • You'll enjoy playing tennis at our local club, especially on weekdays when it's not so busy.
Before adjectives,  especiallymeaning particularly, is more usual:
  • The road between Cairo and Alexandria is especially dangerous at night.
  • It is a bit nippy, but it's not especially cold for this time of year.
special - especial
Note that the adjective especial is rarely used nowadays. Its use is confined to particular contexts where it collocates with particular nouns, e.g. especial interest, especial value when we want to emphasise the exceptional nature of this interest or value:
  • The police took especial interest in his activities and watched the house continuously.
  • The Koh-i-noor diamond, now among the British crown jewels, has especial value as its history dates back to the 14th Century.
In all other cases and contexts, when it means important or different from normal, special is preferred:

  • You're a very special person in my life - never forget that.
  • On special occasions we have wine with our meal, but certainly not every day.
  • In special cases, prisoners are allowed out on day release twice a week.
  • He has such ability, I think he'll be the next special adviser to the President.
  • The special effects in the Lord of the Rings films are quite mind-blowing.
  • The grapes at the supermarket are on special offer - less than half price.

17 May 2016


I was reading The Guardian and this headline struck me as odd:

Queen's birthday honours: Angelina Jolie made dame in thousand-strong list

US actor receives honorary title for anti-rape campaign as gender-balanced awards span 19- to 99-year-olds  READ MORE...
I didn't know that actor can be used to refer to a woman.
In this podcast from the BBC, you'll learn about the history of these terms and why actor is preferred over actress. CLICK HERE TO LISTEN.   You can also read the SCRIPT

10 May 2016


Click here to do a listening exercise on crime in America.
Crime in Spain

Spain’s crime rate is among the lowest in Europe: according to figures released by the Spanish Interior Ministry in 2006, Spain has an incidence of nearly 50 crimes per 1,000 inhabitants, the lowest in the EU apart from Portugal and Ireland. In the UK, figures are 105 crimes per 1,000 inhabitants and in Germany, 80.   READ MORE

8 May 2016


It's the rags-to-riches story of a poor boy done well. Sadiq Khan is the son of a London bus driver and a seamstress. He grew up on a government funded housing estate in a poorer area of the city and attended a local state school.
But what is behind the rise of the likely new mayor and what will he do as chief politician of one of the world's most powerful cities?