Dexway English Magazine: A1 – Edition 4
Ground hog day
A ground hog is a small animal, sometimes known as a woodchuck, which lives underground. Grounds hogs hibernate underground over winter and come out in spring.
There is a legend about ground hogs being able to forecast the weather. For example, they found one ground hog which is very good at telling us when spring will start. In the city of Punxsutawney, in the state of Pennsylvania, lives a ground hog known as Punxsutawney Pete.
On the 2nd of February, every year people from Punxsutawney come to see Pete. They wait in the cold for Pete to leave his borrow. If Pete comes out and sees his shadow, because the sun is shining, then- the legend says- he will get scared and go back into his hole, if that happens, we can expect another two weeks of winter, but if he comes out and does not see his shadow because it is cloudy, then spring will come early.
In Punxsutawney, they say Pete is right 75% to 80% (seventy-five to eighty percent) of the time. Not bad!
In the United States, the 2nd of February is known as Ground Hog-day, but in other parts of the world we call it “Candle-mass day”. Here is a short poem from Scotland:
“If Candle-mas Day is bright and clear, there’ll be two winters in the year”.
Collaboration and communication
Collaboration means sharing ideas.
Collaboration is possible when communication is fluent. Good ideas in a business can come from any employee, so it is important to have a good system of communication and a free flow of ideas.
These ideas are more important if a company is global. Communication is more difficult if employees are in different countries; it is more difficult but also more necessary.
Firstly, everybody needs to speak the same language. English is the language of international business so you have picked the right course!
Secondly, it is necessary to have a place to discuss ideas and collaborate. The Dexway community provides resources to be able to connect to other employees and discuss topics related to your learning process, but the discussions in the study groups don’t have to be about the things you are learning.
You could use the study groups as a place to practice your English by talking about company strategies.
Practicing your English and improving your company’s internal communication has never been more efficient!
Days of the week
Do you have a job that you love? Is Monday your favourite day because you are back at work? Or do you like the weekend because you can relax?
My favourite day is Sunday. I wake up late, watch cartoons on TV with my son and help my wife to cook Sunday lunch. Sunday is a family day, so we normally have lunch with my mother-in-law and brother and sister-in-law.
Do you know what a Sunday roast is? After I eat the delicious meal, I normally read or watch some television. British television programmes are great. I enjoy watching nature documentaries. David Attenborough is considered a “national treasure”, he has contributed to the fields of biology and television production throughout his whole life.
What is your favourite day and why? Do you have a regular weekly routine or is each week different? Which types of television programme do you prefer?
The “discards” are the fish that are thrown back into the sea on commercial fishing ships. Fishermen have to throw back some fish because they cannot sell them because they are too small or there is no demand for them. In Norway fishing discards are monitored closely and areas of water can be closed to fishermen if there are too many discards. This helps to maintain healthy fish stocks in the seas around Norway.
In the European Union it is illegal to have certain fish on board a fishing ship and so if those fish are caught, they are thrown back, but they are normally dead when they are thrown back so this does not have a beneficial effect on the fish stocks in the sea.
Why doesn’t the EU follow Norway’s example? Because discarding unwanted fish means that fishing companies can make more profit. Nowadays we must try to consider how to make a profit in fishing and in all industry sectors without damaging the environment.
The shark proof wet-suit
Western Australia has a shark problem, people who use the water and sharks have always had a bad relationship. Normally one person is killed each year by shark attack in Australian waters. But the number of people being injured has risen, from January to July 2012, 5 people died as a result of shark attack.
One company has designed a shark proof wetsuit. Sharks are colour-blinded, that means they have problems to see certain colours and the designers of these suits are using this point as an advantage. By making suits that are in grey or blue colour, the person wearing it almost becomes invisible to the shark, so the shark cannot them. Another suit is coloured black and white, and this is the colour of danger for them which would mean: “Don´t eat me, I´m not good to eat.”
The designers think that, by having these special shark proof suits, they can lower the number of people killed by sharks so that people will have more confidence to go on enjoying the water.
Is graffiti art or vandalism? This is a question that touches the postmodernist question of “what is art?” It is a complex question. Nowadays many people think that if somebody declares that something is art then it is art, and it does not matter how technically skilful the artist is. But if somebody paints property that does not belong to them without permission, then it is vandalism, even if it is an amazing piece of art, and it is illegal. But there are some famous graffiti artists, like Banksy. If Banksy paints something on your wall then your property might be more valuable! So is it wrong? It is like Banksy is giving you money if he does graffiti on your property. In some cities in England pieces of Banksy graffiti have transparent plastic covers to protect them. It all depends on whether the owner of the property wants the graffiti there.
There are some community projects to provide designated spaces for graffiti. Does this stop people doing graffiti in places where it is not permitted? Probably not, but it is a good way to help artists to meet other artists and form an artist community that is more about art and less about being disruptive.
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