Can climate change cause more disease?
Addicted to war
Ice and the origins of life on Earth
Women in politics
What's the point of museums?
How culture affects sadness
Would you eat a Kalette?
Do you get jealous easily?
Are you lonely in a crowd?
Food and mood
How to talk to a climate denier
Losing your mother tongue
The health benefits of apples
Why do we procrastinate?
Doomscrolling: Why do we do it?
Exercise for The Lazy
Can AI have a mind of its own?
Climate change: Are there too many people?
The hidden life of buffets
Introduction How will technology help us in the future? We discuss how things like the metaverse, energy tech, and AI might influence how we live in years to come, and teach you some related vocabulary so you can talk about it too. This week's question According to a 2021 survey by gaming company, Thrive Analytics, what percentage of people who try virtual reality once want to try it again? a) 9 percent b) 49 percent c) 79 percent Listen to the programme to find out the answer. Vocabulary three-dimensional (3-D) having the three dimensions of length, width and height, making objects appear real and solid, not flat phygital combining the features of physical and digital worlds to create a new type of experience sceptical doubtful that something is true or useful unwieldy difficult to move or carry because it’s so heavy, large or strangely shaped augmented reality (AR) technology which augments (adds to) the ordinary physical world by projecting virtual pictures, text or characters on top immersive stimulating the senses and surrounding someone so that they feel completely involved in an experience Transcript Note: This is not a word-for-word transcript Sam Hello. This is 6 Minute English from BBC Learning English. I’m Sam. Neil And I’m Neil. Sam On Saturday mornings I love going to watch football in the park. The problem is when it’s cold and rainy - I look out the bedroom window and go straight back to bed! Neil Well, instead of going to the park, why not bring the park to you? Imagine watching a live version of the football match at home in the warm, with friends. Sound good, Sam? Sam Sounds great! – but how can I be in two places at once? Is there some amazing invention to do that? Neil There might be, Sam - and it could be happening sooner than you think, thanks to developments in VR, or virtual reality. According to Facebook boss, Mark Zuckerberg, in the future we’ll all spend much of our time living and working in the ‘metaverse’ – a series of virtual worlds. Sam Virtual reality is a topic we’ve discussed before at 6 Minute English. But when Facebook announced that it was hiring ten thousand new workers to develop VR for the ‘metaverse’, we thought it was time for another look. Neil Is this programme, we’ll be hearing two different opinions on the ‘metaverse’ and how it might shape the future. Sam But first I have a question for you, Neil. According to a 2021 survey by gaming company, Thrive Analytics, what percentage of people who try virtual reality once want to try it again? Is it: a) 9 percent? b) 49 percent? or, c) 79 percent? Neil I guess with VR you either love it or hate it, so I’ll say b) 49 percent of people want to try it again. Sam OK, I’ll reveal the correct answer later in the programme. But what Neil said is true: people tend to either love virtual reality or hate it. Somebody who loves it is Emma Ridderstad, CEO of Warpin’, a company which develops VR technology. Neil Here she is telling BBC World Service programme, Tech Tent, her vision of the future: Emma Ridderstad In ten years, everything that you do on your phone today, you will do in 3-D, through your classes for example. You will be able to do your shopping, you will be able to meet your friends, you will be able to work remotely with whomever you want, you will be able to share digital spaces, share music, share art, share projects in digital spaces between each other. And you will also be able to integrate the digital objects in your physical world, making the world much more phygital than is it today. Sam Virtual reality creates 3-D, or three-dimensional experiences where objects have the three dimensions of length, width and height. This makes them look lifelike and solid, not two-dimensional and flat. Neil Emma says that in the future VR will mix digital objects and physical objects to create exciting new experiences – like staying home to watch the same football match that is simultaneously happening in the park. She blends the words ‘physical’ and ‘digital’ to make a new word describing this combination: phygital. Sam But while a ‘phygital’ future sounds like paradise to some, others are more sceptical – they doubt that VR will come true or be useful. Neil One such sceptic is technology innovator, Dr Nicola Millard. For one thing, she doesn’t like wearing a VR headset – the heavy helmet and glasses that create virtual reality for the wearer – something she explained to BBC World Service’s, Tech Tent: Dr Nicola Millard There are some basic things to think about. So, how do we access it? So, the reason, sort of, social networks took off was, we’ve got mobile technologies that let us use it. Now, obviously one of the barriers can be that VR or AR headsets - so VR, I’ve always been slightly sceptical about. I’ve called it ‘vomity reality’ for a while because, frankly, I usually need a bucket somewhere close if you’ve got a headset on me… and also, do I want to spend vast amounts of time in those rather unwieldy headsets? Now, I know they’re talking AR as well and obviously that does not necessarily need a headset, but I think we’re seeing some quite immersive environments coming out at the moment as well. Sam Nicola called VR ‘vomity reality’ because wearing a headset makes her feel sick, maybe because it’s so unwieldy – difficult to move or wear because it’s big and heavy. Neil She also makes a difference between VR - virtual reality- and AR, which stands for augmented reality – tech which adds to the ordinary physical world by projecting virtual words, pictures and characters, usually by wearing glasses or with a mobile phone. Sam While virtual reality replaces what you hear and see, augmented reality adds to it. Both VR and AR are immersive experiences – they stimulate your senses and surround you so that you feel completely involved in the experience. Neil In fact, the experience feels so real that people keep coming back for more. Sam Right! In my question I asked Neil how many people who try VR for the first time want to try it again. Neil I guessed it was about half – 49 percent. Was I right? Sam You were… wrong, I’m afraid. The correct answer is much higher - 79 percent of people would give VR another try. I suppose because the experience was so immersive – stimulating, surrounding and realistic. Neil Ok, A, let’s recap the other vocabulary from this programme on the ‘metaverse’, a kind of augmented reality – reality which is enhanced or added to by technology. Sam 3-D objects have three dimensions, making them appear real and solid. Neil Phygital is an invented word which combines the features of ‘physical’ and ‘digital’ worlds. Sam A sceptical person is doubtful about something. Neil And finally, unwieldy means difficult to move or carry because it’s so big and heavy. Sam That’s our six minutes up, in this reality anyway. See you in the ‘metaverse’ soon! Neil Goodbye!
Introduction Can plants 'remember' stressful situations, such as droughts or pests? And if so, does it make them stronger and better able to fight disease? Sam and Neil discuss the topic and teach you related vocabulary. This week's question Trees grow a new ring every year and by counting them we can estimate their age. One of Earth’s longest living trees is The Great Bristlecone Pine, found on the west coast of America. But how long can these trees live? a) over 1,000 years b) over 3,000 years c) over 5,000 years Listen to the programme to find out the answer. Vocabulary immune system cells and organs which protect the human body from infection and disease food chain plants and animals that are linked in a chain because each thing eats something weaker than it, and gets eaten by something stronger opportunistic takes advantage of a situation to gain benefit, often without thinking whether the action is right or wrong hypothesis idea that explains how or why something happens which has yet to be tested to see if it’s correct drought long period of time with little or no rain not bothered (about something) not worried or concerned because it’s not important to you Transcript Note: This is not a word-for-word transcript Neil Hello. This is 6 Minute English from BBC Learning English. I’m Neil. Sam And I’m Sam. Neil Over the past 18 months, we’ve heard a lot about the human immune system – the cells in our bodies that fight diseases like coronavirus. We know that in humans the blood stream carries immune cells around our body. Sam But what about trees and plants? They don’t have blood, so how do they protect themselves? Neil That’s a good question, Sam, and the answer involves memory. Us, humans, store memories in our brain, but our body also remembers things, including stressful situations from the past, which it stores in our genes. The information gets passed on to our children genetically. Sam But surely trees don’t have memories, Neil! I mean, do you think a tree can remember being young or what it was doing last year? Neil Well, not exactly, but trees grow rings – a layer of wood for each year of growth. That could be a kind of memory. Sam In this programme, we’ll be asking whether trees can remember – and if so, does it make them stronger and better able to fight disease? Neil But before that I have a question for you, Sam. As I said, trees grow a new ring every year and by counting them we can estimate their age. One of Earth’s longest living trees is The Great Bristlecone Pine, found on the west coast of America. But how long can these trees live? Is it: a) over 1,000 years? b) over 3,000 years? or c) over 5,000 years? Sam Wow, it’d be a job to count the rings on those trees! I’ll say b) over 3,000 years. Neil OK, Sam, we’ll reveal the correct answer later. Sam Unlike us, trees don’t have blood and bones to protect them from outside attacks, so how exactly does a tree’s immune system work? Neil That’s what BBC World Service programme, CrowdScience, asked bioscientist, Jurriaan Ton. Here’s what he said: Jurriaan Ton Plants in particular need to have a very efficient immune system for two important reasons. Firstly, they sit at the bottom of the food chain so there are a lot of opportunistic organisms out there, including insect herbivores and microbial pathogens who want to tap into that biochemical energy that is stored in plants. The other reason is plants are rooted to the ground – they cannot escape from the stressful conditions in their environment. Sam It’s hard for trees to protect themselves. Unlike animals, they can’t run away, and they’re at the bottom of the food chain – the plants and animals linked in a chain of eating weaker things and then being eaten by stronger ones. Neil Rabbits eat grass and, in turn, are eaten by foxes. Sam Right. If you are at the bottom of the food chain, everything wants to eat you, including opportunistic animals. If something is opportunistic, it takes advantage of a situation to gain some benefit for itself. Tree leaves are opportunities for hungry insects and caterpillars to eat. Neil So, trees need immunity because they’re under attack, either from disease or from living things wanting to eat them. But what about memory, Sam? Sam If trees can remember stress - types of insects that eat it, for example – they might be better prepared in future. Neil For me, stress is a work deadline or moving house, but for trees it’s more basic, something like not getting enough water. Sam Dr Estrella Luna-Diez believes trees record stress in their rings. A small ring, showing that the tree didn’t grow much that year, indicates some outside stress. She explained more to BBC World Service programme, CrowdScience: Estrella Luna-Diez Our hypothesis would be that, depending on the level of that stress – if it was a really long-lasting drought of a few years, then maybe the tree can remember it for a long time because it needs to adapt to that hostile environment. Now, maybe the hypothesis would be the other way around, maybe if it was a very dry July for instance, maybe the tree is not even that bothered and then it forgets within one year because that memory of stress is gonna be holding it back on its growth, for instance. Neil Dr Luna-Diez has a hypothesis – an idea that explains how or why something happens which has yet to be tested to see if it’s correct. Sam Her hypothesis is that trees remember stressful outside events, something like a drought – a long period of time with little or no rain. Neil For a tree which has lived for hundreds of years it might be useful to remember that 1947 was a very dry summer. Sam On the other hand, maybe that stressful year is best forgotten. Maybe the tree is not bothered – not worried or concerned because it’s not important to it. Neil So, trees do have memories - but they don’t let it get them stressed! Sam Maybe that’s the secret to a long life! But what’s the answer to your question, Neil? Neil Ah yes, I asked you how long Earth’s oldest trees, Great Bristlecone Pines, can live. Sam I said b) over 3,000 years. Was I right? Neil You were wrong, I’m afraid, Sam. They live even longer – over 5,000 years, in fact – all the way back to the Bronze Age. Sam What memories those trees must have - if only they could speak! Right, let’s recap the vocabulary we’ve learned, starting with immune system – the body’s way of fighting infection and disease. Neil A food chain describes the ways plants and animals get eaten and eat each other. Sam Opportunistic people take advantage of a situation to get some benefit for themselves. Neil A hypothesis is an idea to explain how or why something happens that hasn’t been tested to see if it’s correct. Sam A drought is a long period of time with little or no rain. Neil And finally, if you’re not bothered about something, you’re not worried because it’s not important to you. Sam Our six minutes are over. Bye for now! Neil Bye!
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Introduction In this programme, Neil and Sam discuss geoengineering – the name for a collection of new scientific plans to remove carbon from the atmosphere and stop global warming. And they teach you related vocabulary so you can talk about this too. This week's question Spraying diamond dust in the sky sounds futuristic, but in the 1960s there was a band who wrote a song called ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’. Which band wrote that song? a) The Rolling Stones b) The Beach Boys c) The Beatles Listen to the programme to find out the answer. Vocabulary nutrient food that plants and animals need to live and grow pod group of whales, also other sea mammals such as dolphins eddy large current of water moving in a circular motion chock-a-block very full of people or things; plenty of something repurpose find a new use for something circular economy economic model which involves sharing, reusing, and recycling existing products as long as possible to avoid waste and to fight climate change Transcript Note: This is not a word-for-word transcript Neil Hello. This is 6 Minute English from BBC Learning English. I’m Neil. Sam And I’m Sam. It’s hard to feel positive when you hear about climate change, don’t you think, Neil? Neil Yes. According to the UN’s COP26 conference, we’re heading for a catastrophic global temperature rise of three degrees by the end of this century… Fires are blazing from the Amazon to the Arctic... And even if we stopped burning all fossil fuels tomorrow, it would take decades to feel the effects. It’s all very depressing! Sam I agree, but there is hope that catastrophes can be avoided thanks to some amazing ideas by some very imaginative scientists. In this programme, we’ll be discussing geoengineering – the name for a collection of new scientific plans to remove carbon from the atmosphere and stop global warming. Neil Also called ‘climate repair’, geoengineering is still in the experimental stages. Some technologies are controversial because they interfere with natural climate systems, and others may not even be possible. Sam One ingenious idea to cool the planet involves spraying diamond dust in the sky to deflect the Sun’s rays. Neil Amazing! But before we find out more, I have a question for you, Sam. Spraying diamond dust in the sky sounds futuristic, but in the 1960s there was a band who wrote a song called ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’. But which band? Was it: a) The Rolling Stones? b) The Beach Boys? or c) The Beatles? Sam I think most people would say the answer is c) The Beatles Neil OK, we’ll find out the answer later in the programme. Now, throwing diamonds in the sky might sound crazy but it’s far from the wildest idea scientists have thought up to decarbonise the planet. Sam Oceans hold sixteen times more carbon than the Earth’s atmosphere and could hold even more if the fish and plankton living there had more available nutrients – food that animals and plants need to grow. Neil But how to provide these nutrients? Believe it or not, one answer involves - you guessed it - whale poo Sam David King chairs the Centre for Climate Repair at Cambridge University. He explained how his unusual idea would work to BBC World Service programme, Discovery: David King Image now a pod of whales all coming up and pooing in the same area of the ocean. This could be in an eddy current, and it could lead to something like 10,000 to 20,000 square kilometres being covered in nutrients, including iron. And as we know from observations today, within three months that region is chock-a-block with fish. Neil Whales live in groups called pods. They swim up to the ocean surface to poo, and this poo can be spread in an eddy – a large current of water moving in a circular motion, like a giant whirlpool. Sam As a result, huge areas of the ocean are covered in nutrients, and become chock-a-block with fish – an informal way to say ‘full of fish’. Neil Another original idea being explored is ‘rock weathering’. Carbon is slowly locked into rocks and mountains over thousands of years by natural geological processes. This literally ground-breaking idea would speed up the process by locking carbon into rocks that have been dug up through industrial mining. Sam Listen as geochemist, Professor Rachael James, explains her idea to BBC World Service’s, Discovery: Rachael James For every tonne of rock that’s mined, only a very tiny proportion, a couple of grams of that, is actually diamond. The rest of it is effectively waste. So, mine waste material is potentially a really great source of material that could be repurposed for enhanced rock weathering, and I think that’s really good because it creates a circular economy. Sam Mining for diamonds creates tonnes of waste rock which could be used to capture carbon. Professor James wants to repurpose this rock – to find a new use for it. Neil Not only would this lock more carbon, it also creates a circular economy – an economic model which involves sharing, reusing and recycling products for as long as possible to avoid waste and to reduce levels of carbon. Sam While these ideas might sound strange, they’re all theoretically possible. And looking to science for positive solutions reminds some people of the early ecological movement which started in the 1960s and now, fifty years later, is being taken seriously. Neil Speaking of the 1960s, it’s time to reveal the answer to my question, Sam. Sam Ah yes, you asked me which sixties band wrote the song, Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. I said, confidently, c) The Beatles. Neil Which was, of course… the correct answer! John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote the song in 1967 but I doubt even they could have predicted that it would inspire a scientific idea to save the planet! Sam OK, let’s recap the vocabulary from the programme, starting with nutrients – food that plants and animals need to grow. Neil Whales and other sea mammals like dolphins live in a group called a pod. Sam An eddy is a large current of water moving in a circular motion. Neil Chock-a-block is an informal way to say ‘full of something’. Sam If you repurpose something, you find a new use for it – a use other than what was originally intended. Neil And finally, the planet’s future might depend on the circular economy – an economic system which values sharing, reusing and recycling over consumption and waste. Sam These incredible scientific innovations might mean that time is not yet up for planet Earth - but time is up for this programme. Neil Join us again soon for more trending topics and related vocabulary here at 6 Minute English. Goodbye for now! Sam Bye!
Note: This is not a word-for-word transcript. Neil Hello. This is 6 Minute English from BBC Learning English. I’m Neil. Rob And I’m Rob. Neil Do you know where the food on your plate comes from? Many people just assume that shops will always be ready with a cheap and plentiful supply. Rob But recently a lack of certain foods in the UK, a situation known as a food shortage, has left supermarket shelves empty of everyday items like eggs, tomatoes, and cucumbers. Some see these food supply problems, which were caused by unusually cold weather combined with rising energy prices, as a warning not to take a reliable supply for food for granted. Neil Like many countries, the UK imports much of its food from abroad, and for years has enjoyed a stable and affordable supply. But with changes in the world economy, inflation, and the effects of climate change, how much longer will this continue? In this programme, we’ll be finding out, and as usual, learning some useful, new vocabulary as well. Rob A reliable food supply is essential. In fact, there’s an English expression about the dangers of not having enough food for everyone: ‘we are only nine meals away…’ but, ‘away from’ what, Neil? Is it: a) a revolution? b) anarchy? or c) famine? Neil I guess the expression goes: we’re only nine meals away from revolution. Rob OK. I’ll reveal the answer later on. Besides difficulties in importing food, some countries are also producing less food than they used to. In the UK, many farmers are selling their apple orchards to housing developers rather than struggle with increasing production costs. Here’s Adam Leyland, editor of The Grocer magazine, speaking with BBC Radio 4’s, The Food Programme. Adam Leyland The forecast is for the lowest levels of production since records began. And when you think about how much investment there has been in glasshouses and polytunnels since 1985 in a way that's transformed UK supply, quite frankly, the fact that this is what's being forecast is extraordinary. Neil Adam says that British food production is at its lowest since records began – a phrase used to mark the point in the past when people started writing down an account of something rather than just remembering it, so that the information could be used in the future. Rob Production is decreasing despite improvements in how food is grown, especially the use of glasshouses and polytunnels. A glasshouse is a large greenhouse – a building with glass sides used for the commercial growing of fruit and vegetables. A polytunnel is a similar structure but made using plastic instead of glass. Neil However, it’s not only Brits who are worrying about the production and supply of their food - changes are happening all around the world. When global demand for food outgrows supply, countries start competing with each other. According to Oxford University’s, Professor Charles Godfrey, an expert on the global food system, we’re now living in a less connected, less collaborative world, a world which he says is ‘de-globalising’. Rob Deglobalisation involves sourcing food nearer to home - domestically or from neighbouring countries. While this sounds positive, Professor Godfrey is worried that deglobalisation makes it harder to supply food to parts of the world which cannot produce enough for themselves. Here, he shares his concerns with BBC Radio 4’s, The Food Programme. Prof Sir Charles Godfrey We think that in the next 30 or 40 years we will probably see global demand for food rising 30 to 50 percent, and I think a question is: should the UK be stepping up to help meet that demand, given that we have a very sophisticated home agriculture… or you could argue completely the opposite, that we live in a country where we are very depauperate for biodiversity - perhaps we should produce less food here and use our land more for biodiversity. My view is that if we plan our land use in a canny way, one can produce more food, and one can increase the biodiversity in the country. Neil Professor Godfrey thinks only a globalised food system can successfully feed the world population. Countries that can produce food should be stepping up to meet demand. If you step up to a situation, you start taking responsibility for doing something to improve things. Rob We need a balance between growing food and maintaining the Earth’s biodiversity – the number and variety of plants and animals living on earth. Depending on their circumstances, countries could use their land either to grow food or to promote biodiversity, but Professor Godfrey thinks both are possible if we are canny – an adjective meaning clever and quick-thinking. Neil Feeding the world is an urgent global challenge with serious consequence, as mentioned in that English expression, so… maybe it’s time you revealed the answer to your question, Rob. Rob Yes. I asked you to finish the saying, ‘We’re only nine meals away from…’. Neil And I guessed it was ‘nine meals away from revolution’? Rob Which was the wrong answer, I’m afraid. Actually, the saying goes ‘we’re only nine meals away from anarchy’. I really hope not, but just in case let’s recap the vocabulary we’ve learned starting with food shortage – a situation where not enough food is produced. Neil The phrase, since records began shows the point in the past when people started keeping written accounts of events, rather than just remembering them. Rob A glasshouse is alarge greenhouse – that’s a building with glass sides used for growing food. Neil If you step up to a situation, you start taking responsibility to act to improve things. Rob Earth’s biodiversity is the variety of plants and animals living in the natural environment. Neil And finally, the adjective canny means clever and quick-thinking. Once again, our six minutes are up. Goodbye for now! Rob Bye bye!
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Neil Hello. This is 6 Minute English from BBC Learning English. I'm Neil. Sam And I'm Sam. In this programme, we'll be hearing about the extraordinary life of a well-known BBC journalist, Fergal Keane. As a BBC war correspondent, Fergal witnessed some of the most violent events in recent history. Fergal's reporting helped his television audiences make sense of the horrors of war, but underneath there were more personal reasons attracting him to the frontline. Neil Despite the danger, Fergal found himself going back again and again to report from war zones. It gave him something he couldn't get anywhere else - a massive rush of adrenaline, and Fergal started to worry that he was becoming addicted to war. Sam In his new book, 'The Madness: A Memoir of War, Fear and PTSD', Fergal discusses living with PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder, a type of psychological suffering that results from witnessing extreme violence. We'll hear about some key events in Fergal's life, and, as usual, we'll be learning some new vocabulary as well. Neil But first, I have a question for you, Sam. The term, PTSD, is quite new, but descriptions of the mental suffering of war go back to ancient times. Something similar to PTSD is mentioned in Viking sagas and in stories about both World Wars. So, what was the name of the PTSD-like condition suffered by many soldiers during the First World War? Was it: a) nostalgia? b) shell shock? or, c) combat stress? Sam I think the answer is shell shock. Neil OK, Sam, I'll reveal the answer later in the programme. Fergal Keane, who was born in Ireland, had seen violence ever since the early days of his career covering the fighting in Belfast. He had already reported from wars all over the world when, in 1994, he was sent to cover the civil war in Rwanda. But what Fergal saw there shocked him like nothing before, as he told Mobeen Azhar, presenter of BBC World Service programme, Lives Less Ordinary. Fergal Keane …and I began to have nightmares of Rwanda. And of course, at that stage, you know, it was obvious that I was traumatised but, again, did I go to a psychiatrist? No, I didn't. I kept doing the job. Mobeen Azhar Did you turn to other things? Fergal Keane Booze. Mobeen Azhar Booze. I mean, how much booze are we talking? Fergal Keane You know, the truth is, I was an alcoholic long before I got to Rwanda. But I was in the kind of functioning alcoholic - what they call, you know, managing it stage of the of the disease. Sam When Fergal returned home from Rwanda, he started having nightmares - upsetting and frightening dreams. It was obvious he was traumatised from the violence he had seen, but still Fergal didn't go to a psychiatrist - a medical doctor who specialises in treating mental illness. Neil Instead, Fergal turned to booze - an informal name for alcohol. Fergal had been addicted to alcohol before he arrived in Rwanda, but now he had another addiction to cope with - the need to keep returning to war. Fergal knew it wasn't healthy, but he couldn't stop. Sam Around the year 2001, it seemed that war was everywhere, and Fergal kept on reporting - in Sudan, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Lebanon. But the nightmares didn't stop, and his mental health got worse and worse. Here Fergal takes up the story with BBC World Service programme, Lives Less Ordinary. Fergal Keane I reach a point where I can't carry that anymore, and it's not dramatic, it's a slow, steady erosion… and that ends with a breakdown, and admission to hospital, and this time diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, and fulfilling the kind of essential criteria as the psychiatrist saw it of hyper vigilance, nightmares, flashbacks… more nightmares than flashbacks… and the sense of being under threat, and anger. Mobeen Azhar How did you feel? Fergal Keane Relief, I think. You know, there's a name to this. Mobeen Azhar You might expect Fergal to call it a day at this point, but that's not how addiction works. He just kept getting pulled back in. Neil Fergal had a nervous breakdown - a period of acute mental illness leaving him unable to cope with life. After the terrible things Fergal had witnessed, you might expect him to call it a day - a phrase meaning to decide to stop what you are doing. But Fergal's addictions made that impossible. Sam After his diagnosis of PTSD, he got support and was finally able to stay away from booze and war. Neil OK, it's time to reveal the answer to my question. I asked about the name of the PTSD-like condition suffered by soldiers during World War One. Sam And I said it was shell shock. Neil Which was the correct answer. Right, let's recap the vocabulary we've learned from the extraordinary life of Fergal Keane, the war correspondent who suffered PTSD or post-traumatic stress disorder - a mental illness experienced after violent or shocking events. Sam A nightmare is an upsetting and frightening dream. Neil A psychiatrist is a type of doctor who specialises in mental illness. Sam Booze is slang for alcohol. Neil A breakdown, is an acute period of psychological illness leaving you unable to cope with life. Sam And finally, the phrase call it a day means to stop what you are doing because you no longer want to. Once again, our six minutes are up. Goodbye for now! Neil
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Introduction Rob and Georgina talk about the famous video game character Super Mario, created in the 1980s and considered iconic. And they teach you related vocabulary. This week's question Many people remember Super Mario Bros. as being the first time we saw Mario, but he first appeared in another game – which was it? a) The Legend of Zelda b) Donkey Kong c) Pokemon Listen to the programme to find out the answer. Vocabulary iconic famous for being connected with something or instantly recognisable a flood of large amount of something in a short period of time cited referenced or noted boom short period of sudden growth unplayable not able to be played holds up standards or quality of something is still as good now as when it was made Transcript Note: This is not a word-for-word transcript Rob Hello. This is 6 Minute English from BBC Learning English. I’m Rob. Georgina And I’m Georgina. Rob Now, Georgina, you recently mentioned in one 6 Minute English programme about NFTs and that you had a collection of Pokemon cards when you were younger. Georgina Yes – I did, and I still can’t find them. Why did you bring that up? Rob Well, Pokemon started out as a video game series that turned into anime movies and trading cards among other things – and in this programme we’re talking about a video game character that is iconic – a word which means widely known and recognised. That character’s name is Super Mario. Georgina Ahhh I spent many hours of my childhood playing with Nintendo’s Super Mario or his rival, Sega’s Sonic the Hedgehog. Rob Now, these days, video games are everywhere, and people of all ages enjoy playing them. There’s also competitive e-sports events where gamers compete for what are often considerable amounts of money. Georgina Yes, and there are also streamers that appear on platforms like Twitch and YouTube who have become celebrities in their own right. Rob Talking about celebrities, I have a question about the famous character we’re talking about in this programme. Many people remember Super Mario Bros. as being the first time we saw Mario, but he first appeared in another game – which was it? Was it: a) The Legend of Zelda b) Donkey Kong; or c) Pokemon Georgina I’m not sure about that – I can’t remember him being in Pokemon, so I’ll go for a) The Legend of Zelda. Rob OK, Georgina, we’ll find out if you’re right at the end of the programme. So, we established at the start of the programme that these days the video games industry is thriving. Georgina True – but it wasn’t always that way. It’s hard to imagine now, but in the 1980s the console market was struggling, particularly in the US. Rob Keza MacDonalds, video games editor for the Guardian newspaper, explains what was happening in the early 1980s. Here she is on BBC World Service programme You and Yours, speaking with Peter White. Keza MacDonald Well, back then, especially in America, there had been a flood of games that were just not very high quality. One of the games that’s often cited as a factor in the collapse was this game called ET on the Atari, which was so bad they ended up burying thousands of copies of it in the desert, because nobody liked it. And, so we’d had that, especially in America, this didn't happen so much in Europe, but in America just been lots and lots of software. None of it was all that great. There hadn't been anything really revolutionary in some years, so the video game boom was really falling off a cliff and Nintendo is what rescued in the US especially. Georgina Keza MacDonald used the term a flood of – meaning a large number in a short period of time – to describe the number of games that were coming out. Rob She used cited, which means referenced or noted, when talking about the game ET being a reference for a factor in the collapse of the console market. Georgina And she said boom – a sudden period of growth. So as ET was mentioned as a factor in the collapse, many people say that Super Mario Bros. was the reason that video games really took off, especially in the US. Rob It’s interesting to consider what might have been if his creator, Shigeru Miyamoto, had never created that character. The question is, why is that game so popular, what made it so fun to play? Georgina Here is Keza Macdonald speaking again with Peter White, on BBC World Service programme, You and Yours, explaining why Mario is just so popular and what makes the original game so satisfying to play. Keza MacDonald It’s just such a joy to play. It's running and jumping, and it's the joy of movement. When, when you play, even the original Super Mario Bros, you just feel this sense of joy in your movement, and it's one of the greatest games ever made. And a lot of games from 35 years ago are basically unplayable now. They might have been a step to something greater, but Mario was one of those few that really holds up today as it did then. Rob Keza Macdonald said that some games from 35 years ago are unplayable – so, not possible to play them. Georgina But she said that Mario holds up – a term used to say that something’s standards or quality has not lessened. Rob It certainly does hold up – in fact, I played it the other day and I had lots of fun with it – it reminded me of my childhood, and it’s still as good now as it was then. Georgina Which reminds me of your quiz question, Rob. Rob Yes, in my quiz question I asked Georgina which game had the first appearance of that famous plumber, Mario. Georgina I went for a) The Legend of Zelda. Rob Which is wrong, I’m afraid! Mario’s first appearance was in Donkey Kong, and his creator, Shigeru Miyamoto, never thought he would be that popular. Georgina Well, I guess we’ve all really learnt something today. Let’s recap the vocabulary from today’s programme about Super Mario, starting with iconic – famously associated with something and instantly recognisable. Rob Then we had a flood of which means a large amount of something in a short space of time. Georgina Cited means reference as or noted. Rob Boom relates to explosion and means a short period of sudden growth. Georgina Unplayable describes something that can’t be played or a game that is very difficult to enjoy. Rob And finally, holds up means that the quality or standards of something hasn’t changed and still looks good or plays well. Georgina That’s all for this programme. Rob Bye for now! Georgina Bye!
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Introduction Is it right for companies selling unhealthy products to sponsor sporting events? Why do some companies that make unhealthy food and drinks advertise during the Olympics? That's what Sam and Neil talk about, as they teach you related vocabulary. This week's question McDonalds had a long history with the Olympic Games until the company ended the partnership ahead of the 2024 games in Paris. But why did McDonalds choose to quit? Was it because: a) they wanted to change the name of French fries to McFries? b) they didn’t want to call their hamburger, ‘Le Big Mac’? or, c) they wanted to be the only company selling cheese for cheeseburgers? Listen to the programme to find out the answer. Vocabulary sponsor pay for an event or tournament in order to advertise a company or brand in return fast food hot, often unhealthy, food such as hamburgers or pizza that is quick to cook and serve brand attachment a deep emotional connection between humans and brands health halo the perception that something is healthy for you even though there is little evidence to support this ultra-processed food foods containing added artificial ingredients that you wouldn’t add when cooking homemade food beverage any type of drink Transcript Note: This is not a word-for-word transcript Neil Hello. This is 6 Minute English from BBC Learning English. I’m Neil. Sam And I’m Sam. Neil The Olympic Games happen every four years and the most recent games were held in Tokyo this summer. Did you watch them, Sam? Sam Yes, I saw British swimmer, Adam Peaty, win a gold medal and - my personal favourite - 13-year-old, Sky Brown, competing in an exciting sport which was added to the Olympics this year: skateboarding. Neil Olympic athletes inspire people around the world to take on new challenges, eat healthily and get fit. So it seems strange that some of the companies that sponsor – or pay for, the Olympic Games also sell food and drink which is linked to obesity, heart disease and diabetes. Sam Tobacco advertising was banned from international sport in 2005 because of the harmful effects of smoking. But other companies selling less-than-healthy products still sponsor big sporting events. Neil These could be sugary drink companies, or others who sell fast food – hot food, like hamburgers, that is quick to cook and serve but which is often unhealthy. Sam In this programme we’ll be asking whether it’s right for companies selling unhealthy products to sponsor sporting events. Neil But first it’s time for my quiz question, Sam. McDonalds had a long history with the Olympic Games until the company ended the partnership ahead of the 2024 games in Paris. But why did McDonalds choose to quit? Was it because: a) they wanted to change the name of French fries to McFries? b) they didn’t want to call their hamburger, ‘Le Big Mac’? or, c) they wanted to be the only company selling cheese for cheeseburgers? Sam Hmm, I think maybe it’s a) because they wanted to call French fries, McFries. Neil OK, Sam, we’ll find out the answer later in the programme. Sam Someone who is worried about the relationship between fast food and sport is Dr Sandro Demaio. He worked for the World Health Organisation specialising in obesity before starting his own public health agency in Australia. Neil Here is Dr Demaio speaking with BBC World Service programme, The Food Chain, about the problem with unhealthy brands and food products: Dr Sandro Demaio By having their brand alongside a young person’s favourite sporting hero, on the chest of their national team, it does two things. First of all, it creates brand attachment, so if you’re a young child you built the connection in your mind that basically fast food equals success. At the same time it also gives a health halo to that brand. Then you start to think in your mind, even subconsciously, that it can’t be that bad… Sam You’ve probably heard of ‘brand loyalty’, where people have a favourite brand they always buy, but Dr Demaio is concerned about brand attachment. Neil Brand attachment is the emotional connection between humans and brands. It goes deeper than loyalty so that people mentally connect a particular company with feelings of winning, being healthy and success. Sam The problem comes when these feelings attach to companies that aren’t healthy at all. Dr Demaio says this creates a health halo – the belief that something is good, like an angel’s halo, even though there is little evidence to support this. Neil On the other hand, fast food and fizzy drink companies invest large amounts of money in sport, over 4.5 billion dollars since the 2016 Rio Olympics, much of it supporting athletes around the world. Sam Yes, with travel, training and equipment the cost of being an Olympic athlete can be huge. And depending on your country and your sport, there may be little financial help. Neil Many athletes are desperate for any sponsorship they can get - but does that make it right to promote unhealthy eating in return? Sam Not according to Dr Demaio, who thinks people should worry about the nutritional value of fast food, as he explained to BBC World Service’s, The Food Chain: Dr Sandro Demaio When we think about foods and beverages of public health concern, we tend to start by talking about highly-processed foods, particularly ultra-processed foods. These are foods that have been really broken down to their basic elements and then built up – they’re more products really than foods – they’re made in a laboratory not a kitchen. Neil Dr Demaio mentions unhealthy foods and beverages – another word for drinks. Sam He’s concerned about the public health risk of ultra-processed food – foods containing extra ingredients like chemicals, colourings and sweeteners that you wouldn’t add when cooking homemade food. Neil A potato, for example, is natural - minimally processed. Bake a potato and it becomes ‘processed’. Make French fries and it’s ‘ultra-processed’. Sam And speaking of French fries, Neil, what was the answer to your quiz question? Neil Yes, I asked Sam the reason behind the decision McDonald’s made not to sponsor the 2024 Paris Olympics. Sam I said it was, a) because they wanted to call French fries, McFries. Neil Which was… the wrong answer! In fact, McDonald’s wanted to be only company allowed to advertise cheese so it could boost cheeseburger sales. Sam This didn’t go down well with officials in France, a country with over a thousand different types of cheese! OK, let’s recap the vocabulary from this programme starting with fast food – hot food that is quick to cook but may be unhealthy. Neil Companies that sponsor sports events, pay for them to happen. Sam Brand attachment is a psychological connection between someone and a brand. Neil A health halo is the perception that something is healthy for you, even if it’s not. Sam Ultra-processed foods are foods containing added artificial ingredients like colourings and preservatives. Neil And a beverage is another word for a drink. Sam That’s all from us, but if you’d like to find out more about the business, science and culture of food, why not download The Food Chain podcast! – it’s updated weekly and available now. Neil Join us again soon for more topical discussion and vocabulary here at 6 Minute English. Bye for now! Sam Goodbye!
https://www.bbc.com/learningenglish/thai/features/6-minute-english_2023/ep-230420?theme=light&utm_source=a_share TRANSCRIPT Note: This is not a word-for-word transcript. Sam Hello. This is 6 Minute English from BBC Learning English. I’m Sam. Neil And I’m Neil. Sam Have you ever made a snowman or enjoyed a cold drink on a hot summer’s day? Slippery in winter and cooling in summer, ice is made when water gets so cold it freezes. But there’s much more to ice than skiing holidays and cold drinks. Neil Yes, in an exciting discovery, the James Webb Space Telescope recently detected the coldest ices ever in outer space, something Nasa scientists think could explain the origins of life on Earth. Sam For years scientists have debated how life started on our planet. Billions of years ago, long before the dinosaurs, animals or even plants existed, the Earth had a watery environment of oxygen-free gases and chemicals known as the primordial soup. It had the potential for life to develop, but something was missing. Neil So how did we jump from the primordial soup to the first living plants, animals, and eventually humans? And how does ice fit into the story? That’s what we’ll be finding out in this programme, and as usual, we’ll be learning some useful new vocabulary as well. Sam But first I have a question for you, Neil. We know ice is frozen water, but do you know the chemical symbol for water? Is it: a) H2O ? b) HO2 ? or c) H2O2 ? Neil Well, I really hope I get this right. I think the answer is H2O. Sam OK. We’ll find out or check if you’re right later in the programme. Astronomer, Professor Melissa McClure, worked with the Nasa scientists who found ice on Europa, one of Jupiter’s moons. Here she explains to BBC World Service programme, Science in Action, one theory linking ice to the beginnings of life on Earth. Professor Melissa McClure There's sort of these two alternatives for how you could have had life arise on Earth, and one is that the very basic building blocks, like water, and methane, and CO2 – like, those molecules were definitely brought to Earth by ices in comets, and maybe once they were on Earth, then they reacted with either geothermal heat or some kind of lightning strike to form more complex molecules. Neil Earth’s primordial soup lacked the building blocks of life – a phrase describing the most basic biological and chemical units needed to support living things, elements like oxygen and carbon. Sam Professor McClure thinks these missing elements were brought to Earth in comets - large bright balls of dirt and ice which travel around the Sun in outer space. Neil It’s possible that when comets hit Earth billions of years ago, elements in the ice were scattered and struck by lightning – a bright flash of light produced by electricity moving in the atmosphere. This resulted in the complex molecules needed for life on Earth. Sam Exactly how this happened is not known, but it involves biomolecules, molecules like DNA which are found in living things. Ice is not a biomolecule, but when it mixes with carbon, the atoms in ice molecules change to produce complex molecules – and that’s when interesting things start to happen. Here’s Professor McClure again, explaining more to BBC World Service’s, Science in Action. Professor Melissa McClure If they have a carbon atom in them then they’re complex organic molecules, so things like very simple alcohols like methanol or ethanol, like what you would drink, are complex organic molecules. And these molecules could react and start a sort of a reaction chain that would eventually lead to something like a biomolecule. Neil Ice can react with other elements to create organic molecules, for example the alcohol, methanol. Here, the adjective organic means related to living plants and animals. That’s different from how we use the word to talk about ‘organic food’, meaning food that hasn’t been grown using artificial chemicals. Sam When these organic molecules met the primordial soup - so the theory goes - it produced a chain reaction – a series of chemical reactions in which one change causes another. It was this chain reaction which created the first living cells and eventually, humans. Quite impressive for a little piece of frozen water! Neil Speaking of water, Sam, what was the answer to your question about the chemical symbol for water? I said it was H2O. Sam Which was the right answer, Neil! Each molecule of water, and ice, contains two atoms of H, that’s hydrogen, joined to one atom of oxygen. OK, let’s recap the vocabulary we’ve learned from the programme, starting with primordial soup – the environment on Earth before there were any plants or animals, which created the conditions for life. Neil The phrase the building blocks of life refers to the most basic biological and chemical units needed to support living plants and animals. Sam A comet is a large object travelling in space which orbits the sun and has a bright, burning tail. Neil Lightning is a flash of bright light produced by electricity moving in the atmosphere. Sam The adjective organic means relating to living plants and animals. And ‘organic food’ means food which has been grown without using chemicals. Neil And finally, a chain reaction is a series of chemical reactions in which one change causes another, which in turn, causes another. Once again, our six minutes are up. Goodbye! Sam Bye bye!
Introduction In this programme, we talk about grime – a style of music which originated in the derelict tower blocks of London. Famous artists are Wiley and Stormzy. We discuss the topic and teach you vocabulary. This week's question Stormzy is one of the most famous grime artists, but what is his real name? a) Michael Omari b) Martin Owusu c) Marvin Appiah Listen to the programme to find out the answer. Vocabulary eclectic describes taste which includes a wide variety of styles contentious creating or causing conflict coming of age becoming an adult predominant the strongest or most important chants sings the same thing over and over again existential relating to human existence Transcript Note: This is not a word-for-word transcript Neil Hello. This is 6 Minute English from BBC Learning English. I’m Neil. Sam And I’m Sam. Neil In this 6 Minute English, we’re talking about music. What sort of music do you like listening to, Sam? Sam Well, I wouldn’t say I have one specific type. My taste in songs is more eclectic – a word that describes taste which includes a wide variety of styles. Neil Well, in this programme, we’re talking all about grime – a style of music which originated in London – specifically in the tower blocks of east and southeast London. Sam Yes – the artists are predominantly young black men and often cite the decaying tower blocks they grew up in as an inspiration for the urban style of music. Neil Well, before we continue talking about grime music, I have a question for you, Sam. Stormzy is one of the most famous grime artists, but what is his real name? Is it: a) Michael Omari b) Martin Owusu c) Marvin Appiah Sam I think I might know this one – I’ll say a) Michael Omari. Neil We can find out if you’re right at the end of this programme. For many people, knowing the origin of a type of music helps them to understand more about the style and lyrics. Sam Here’s writer Jude Yawson talking with BBC journalist Andrew Marr about his experience growing up on an estate in southeast London on the BBC Radio 4 programme, Start the Week… Jude Yawson Yes, so I lived like on an estate. It’s, it’s in Annerley, near Crystal Palace. And for me growing up with this experience was like literally acknowledging the different cultures and peoples that lived within, like this state. And it was around the age of about, say, seven or eight – that’s when things for me and my particular estate started to get a bit more contentious with the other people that were moving in. Kids were coming of age, becoming more like free and venturing out and around the estate. And, you know, police kind of, like. harassing, but... Andrew Marr So you’ve got different cultures knocking into each other and the police knocking into everybody else. Sam So Jude Yawson describes his upbringing. He used the word contentious – likely to cause or create an argument – to describe life on the estate. Neil Yes, and he said the kids were coming of age – meaning transitioning from a child into an adult. In his interview, he goes on to say how a teacher gave him the advice that if he ever got stabbed, not to remove the knife - as he would bleed to death. Sam He says that at the age of 14 when he was told that, he felt grateful and that the teacher was looking out for him, but in hindsight questions why a teenager should receive that information. Neil What this does is give us an insight into life and the background that led to some people, like Stormzy, creating grime music. He says that it started off in the bedrooms and basements of tower blocks and homes in these areas of London, with many artists’ works being broadcast on pirate radio stations. Sam That said, for some people, this type of music represents something different. There are some who think the hard-hitting lyrics and strong beats glorify violence. They see it as an aggressive and violent form of music. Neil However, Jude Yawson, speaking with Andrew Marr on BBC Radio 4 programme Start the Week, has a different interpretation of what grime music is all about. Jude Yawson I describe grime as like a soulful shout… there’s a necessity in literally getting all of this content out of yourself. And one of the most predominant grime artists, Wiley, was basically the first person that created this sound – it’s like 140 beats per minute. Because that’s such a raw tune, but the chorus literally chants like ‘there are lots of signs in life, some that you may not realise’. And, for me, I was listening to that as like an 11- or 12-year-old and it’s very existential. Sam He used the word predominant, which describes the strongest or most important thing, to describe the artist Wiley. That’s who Jude Yawson says was the first person to create the grime sound. Neil He also used the verb chants – sings repeatedly over and over – to talk about the chorus from one of Wiley’s songs. Sam And he described the experience of listening to it as being existential – relating to human existence. Neil Which inspires me to go and listen to some grime music after today’s show, but before we do – I asked you a question about the real name of the grime artist Stormzy. Sam You did. And being a fan of many different music styles – I think I know this one! I said a) Michael Omari. Neil You really do know your music, Sam. You’re right. In fact, his full name is Michael Ebenezer Kwadjo Omari Owuo Jr. I think that I’ll have to make the next question much harder for you! So, before we leave today, let’s recap the vocabulary, starting with eclectic, a word which describes taste which includes a wide variety of styles. Sam Contentious means creating or causing arguments. Neil We also had coming of age – transitioning from child to adult. Sam Predominant refers to something that is the strongest or most important. Neil Chants is a verb which means sing or repeat the same thing over and over again. And existential means relating to human existence. Sam Well, we certainty learnt a lot about grime music and its origin. Neil There are lots more 6 Minute English programmes to enjoy on our website at bbclearningenglish.com. Sam Thanks for listening and goodbye.
Introduction In this programme, Sam and Neil talk about tipping - the act of giving extra money to the waiter or waitress that has served you so well. But are these employees allowed to keep it? And how do they feel when they aren't? We discuss the topic and teach you vocabulary. This week's question The highest restaurant in the world, At.mosphere, is in Dubai, in the building known as the Burj Khalifa – but how high up is that restaurant? Is it: a) 442 metres b) 532 metres c) 622 metres Listen to the programme to find out the answer. Vocabulary discretionary choice or option to do something; non-obligatory consistent acting the same way over time mandatory describes something you must do imposed forced on someone cashless not using cash or coins pool collect, group together Transcript Note: This is not a word-for-word transcript Sam Hello. This is 6 Minute English from BBC Learning English. I’m Sam. Neil And I’m Neil. Sam In this programme, we’re talking all about restaurants – specifically about tipping. That’s giving money to waiting staff for the service you received. Neil Yes, while tipping is discretionary – which means that someone can decide whether they want to give money or not – in most places in the UK it’s an expected practice. Sam But have you ever thought where that money goes or who actually receives it? Do they have to pay tax on it – or is it just a gift? Neil Some people think that the person who brought our food is the one who gets the money, however that isn’t always the case. Sam Well, before we find out more about where our tips go, I have a question about restaurants. The highest restaurant in the world, At.mosphere, is in Dubai, in the building known as the Burj Khalifa – but how high up is that restaurant? Is it: a) 442 metres b) 532 metres c) 622 metres Neil Well, that all sounds really high up, but I’m going to say c) 622 metres. Sam OK, I’ll reveal the answer towards the end of the show. But now let’s talk more about what happens to your tips once you have given them to someone. Neil It seems that different restaurants and businesses have different systems in place across the country. Sam And sadly, that isn’t always to the benefit of all waiting staff – that’s according to James James, a waiter, who was speaking with Peter White on the BBC programme You and Yours. James James, waiter There’s nothing consistent about the tipping system throughout all the different companies – they all have their own, and they’re all unfair in their own equal way. A tip is not mandatory - I have to earn it as a reward for the service I provide. People don’t tip for good food, they already paid for it on the bill. Recently, when I’ve been given cash, I’ve been imposed in more than one company to put it in a jar and split it – the split hasn’t exactly been fair to me. My first week at one job I did £50 in the jar for week – that was just myself and there’s four other servers. And at the end of the week, I was presented with a bag with £2.45 in it. Sam So, James James used the word consistent – which means acting the same way over time – however he used it negatively when talking about the tipping systems in most companies. Neil He also used mandatory – which is something someone must do and is the opposite of the word discretionary. Sam And he also said imposed, which means forced upon someone. Neil So, it seems that James James is not impressed by some businesses’ tipping systems. However, for many restaurants there is a special arrangement with the UK tax body, the HMRC. Sam Yes – it’s called a tronc system – which sees all of the tips collected in one separate independent bank account and stops the payments being charged at the wrong rate of tax. Neil Kate Nicholls, a representative for UK Hospitality, speaking with Peter White on the BBC programme You and Yours, explains more about the intention of a tronc system. Kate Nicholls from UK Hospitality Well increasingly, as we’re moving towards a cashless society – increased use of credit card, particularly over the Covid pandemic, more and more of those tips, gratuities, service charges are coming through on a credit card payment, and a tronc is a special arrangement organised with HMRC that lets businesses pool tips and service charges and then fairly distribute them. Sam Kate Nicholls mentioned that society is becoming cashless – which means fewer people are using paper notes or coins to pay for things, preferring to use credit cards. Neil She also used the verb pool – a word which means collect together or group. It’s very interesting to note that payments which you give to one person may be distributed equally across the business, from kitchen staff to management – depending on a business’s protocol. Sam But that brings me back to today’s question. I asked you how high up is the world’s highest restaurant. Neil You certainly did and they all sounded exceptionally high up – I went for option c) 622 metres in the air – the tallest option. Was I right? Sam I’m afraid not – not this time. At.mosphere is actually 442 metres in the air, so not quite as high as you thought. Neil Well, it still sounds pretty high to me! Now it’s time to recap some of the vocabulary we’ve mentioned today. First off, we had discretionary, which is something that is a choice for the person doing it and is not an obligation. Sam Consistent describes something that acts or behaves in the same way over and over again. Neil Then we had mandatory – which describes something a person must do. Sam If something is imposed on you, it is forced on you. Neil Cashless refers to card or digital payments, rather than notes and coins – while pool is a verb and means group together all in one place. Sam Well, that certainly is food for thought next time you dine out. That brings us to end of this week’s 6 Minute English – but remember that there’s a range of other topics that you can find on our website bbclearningenglish.com or you can also catch them on social media or our free app. Neil That’s right. All you need to do to download the app is type in BBC Learning English on the Play Store or App store depending on what type of phone you have. There’s lots of things on there to check out, and as Sam says, it’s completely free! Sam Thanks for listening and goodbye. Neil Goodbye.
Introduction Smart technology is becoming more and more commonplace in people's homes, but coulld it help with the fight against climate change? With many people now trying to reduce their carbon footprint, is AI the answer? That's what Sam and Neil talk about, as they teach you related vocabulary. This week's question How many tonnes of carbon dioxide are humans responsible for emitting into the atmosphere every year? Is it more than: a) 30 billion b) 40 billion; or c) 50 billion? Listen to the programme to find out the answer. Vocabulary dig something up excavate; remove something from the ground intermittent irregular; not continuous blackouts periods of time without electricity or energy in real time no delay; live machine learning way computers learn and adapt based on collated data simulate produce a computer model Transcript Note: This is not a word-for-word transcript Neil Hello. This is 6 Minute English from BBC Learning English. I’m Neil. Sam And I’m Sam. Neil These days, our lives are filled with devices that were unimaginable only a few years ago – the sorts of things you read about in science-fiction novels, but never thought you’d own. Sam Yes, like those robots that vacuum your floor or voice-activated lights – we call many of these things ‘smart tech’. Neil But while they can help with the little tasks at home, some people are wondering whether they can help fight climate change. Sam Yes, smart homes, regulating things like the temperature, are a step in the right direction. Using AI to learn when the house is occupied and the optimal time to fire up the heating, is one way to limit wasteful use of resources. Neil The problem comes from the origin of the energy which powers these home systems. If it’s fossil fuels, then digging them up – an informal way of saying removing something from the earth - and burning them creates carbon emissions. Sam I suppose that’s why many people are trying to find more renewable forms of energy to reduce their carbon footprint. Neil Well, it’s interesting that you mentioned carbon footprint, because my question is about that today. How many tonnes of carbon dioxide are humans responsible for emitting into the atmosphere every year? Is it more than: a) 30 billion b) 40 billion; or c) 50 billion? Sam Well, Neil, that all sounds like a lot to me, but I’ll go straight down the middle and say b – 40 billion tonnes. Neil OK, Sam, we’ll find out the correct answer at the end of the programme. So you mentioned earlier that people are looking into ways to use more renewable energy, but there are also some problems with that form of energy production. Sam Yes – for example many of these technologies rely on certain weather conditions, which affect the level of energy production. Neil Dr Enass Abo-Hamed, CEO of H2go, is working on a project on Orkney, an island off the coast of Scotland, testing ways of storing renewable forms of energy. Here she is on BBC World Service programme Crowd Science, speaking with Graihagh Jackson, talking about the limitations of renewable energy sources. Dr Enass Abo-Hamed Renewable energy is intermittent by its nature because it’s dependant and relying on the weather. When the Sun shines and when the wind blows, and these by nature are not 24-hour 7 reliable constant. And that means that demand doesn’t always meet supply of renewables – it can mean that we get blackouts, but on the other hand, when the Sun is up and we are producing all that power or when the wind is blowing and were producing that power, we might not be able to use that energy - There’s no demand for it and so it’s wasted. Sam So, Dr Enass Abo-Hamed said the renewable energy is intermittent, which means that something is not continuous and has many breaks. Neil She also said that because there isn’t always a steady stream of energy, we can get blackouts – periods of time without energy. Sam People like Dr Enass Abo-Hamed are trying to find solutions to make renewable energy storage devices – which would make the supply of energy more constant. Neil Smart tech can also help with this problem with renewable sources. Now, of course, not only can computers be used to design efficient models, but smart tech can also be used to improve performance after things like wind turbines have been installed. Sam Here is Graihagh Jackson, science broadcaster and podcaster, speaking about how smart tech can improve efficiency on BBC World Service programme, Crowd Science: Graihagh Jackson Some engineers use something called a digital twin. This is really interesting, actually. This is where lots of sensors are attached to the wind turbine, so it can be modelled on a computer in real time. And then, using machine learning, you can then simulate what’s happening to the wind turbine in specific weather conditions. And this is important because it means they can make sure they’re performing their best. Neil Graihagh Jackson used the expression in real time, which means without delay or live. Sam She also mentioned machine learning, which is the way computers change their behaviour based on data they collected. Neil And she also said simulate – produce a computer model of something. Sam So, while there are issues with the reliability of the source of renewable energy, it’s clear that people are working on solutions such as energy storage to make sure there is always a supply. Neil And that computers can be used to design and operate technology as efficiently as possible. Sam Much in the same way that AI can be used in your home to make it run as efficiently as possible. Neil Yes – all in the hope of reducing your carbon footprint. Sam Which reminds me of your quiz question, Neil. Neil Yes, in my quiz question I asked Sam how many tonnes of carbon dioxide humans produce each year! Sam I went for b) 40 billion tonnes. Neil Which is… the correct answer! Well done, Sam! Sam Wow – I guessed right – but all three of those numbers sound really high! Let’s recap the vocabulary from today’s programme about smart tech and climate change, starting with dig something up – an informal expression to remove something from the ground. Neil Intermittent is used to describe something that is not continuous or steady. Sam Blackouts are periods of time without energy, for example electricity. Neil In real time means without delay or live. Sam Machine learning is the process by which computers learn and change behaviour based on data. Neil And finally, simulate means produce a computer model. Sam That’s all for this programme. Bye for now! Neil Goodbye!
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Introduction It is often said that the qualities of empathy and understanding - often associated with women - are most needed in politics today. Yet, while women make up over half the world's population, only 26 percent of the world's politicians are women. Why is this? Neil and Beth discuss some of the reasons, and teach you related vocabulary as well. This week's question Britain has had three female prime ministers, all from the Conservative party. First was Margaret Thatcher, who was followed in 2016 by Theresa May, and after that by Liz Truss, who resigned after only a short time in office. But for how long was Liz Truss prime minister? a) 45 days b) 1 year and 45 days c) 2 years and 45 days Listen to the programme to find out the answer. Vocabulary misogyny hatred of, or prejudice against, women coached specially trained or instructed in how to improve at a particular skill attire the clothes you are wearing walk a tightrope be in a difficult situation that requires careful and considered behaviour collaborative involving several people working together for a particular aim my way or the highway (idiom) used as a warning that someone will only accept their own way of doing things TRANSCRIPT Beth Hello. This is 6 Minute English from BBC Learning English. I'm Beth. Neil And I'm Neil. Differences between men and women have existed forever, but in modern times imbalances in the opportunities for men and woman have widened. One area where this imbalance is widest is politics. Beth When we think of female politicians, the names Margaret Thatcher, Angela Merkel, Indira Gandhi, or Jacinda Ardern all come to mind. But, while women make up over half the world's population, only 26% of the world's politicians are women. Neil How much of this is because of misogyny - hatred and prejudice against women? It seems that the surprise resignation of New Zealand's prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, was partly because of the misogynistic abuse she received online, so in this programme we'll be asking: why is life so hard for women in politics? And, of course, we'll be learning some useful new vocabulary as well. Beth But before that, I have a question for you, Neil. Britain has had three female prime ministers, all from the Conservative party. First was Margaret Thatcher, who was followed in 2016 by Theresa May, and after that by Liz Truss, who resigned after only a short time in office. But for how long, exactly, was Liz Truss prime minister? Was it: a) 45 days? b) 1 year and 45 days? or, c) 2 years and 45 days? Neil I think the answer is 45 days. Beth OK, Neil. I'll reveal the answer later. One of the biggest barriers for female politicians is that politics has traditionally been seen as a man's world. When Margaret Thatcher became prime minister in 1979, she had to manage a group of men who were not used to being told what to do by a woman. Here, Professor Rosie Campbell, Director of the Global Institute for Women's Leadership, explains to BBC World Service programme, The Real Story, how Mrs Thatcher's solution to this problem was to appear more masculine. Rosie Campbell She was deliberately coached to change her voice and to behave in a way that was more stereotypically masculine, at the same time as presenting herself, in terms of her attire, in a very feminine way which really showed the tightrope she had to walk in order to seem strong enough to be the leader, but not subverting norms of what it is to be a woman. So I think, you know, whatever you might think of Margaret Thatcher, that was a very challenging tightrope walk that she had to do. Neil Margaret Thatcher was coached to behave more like a man, for example by lowering her voice. If you are coached, you are specially trained in how to improve at a particular skill. Beth At the same time she was also advised to appear feminine, especially in her attire - the clothes she wore. In trying to present both male and female sides of herself, Mrs Thatcher walked a tightrope - an idiom meaning to be in a difficult situation that requires carefully considered behaviour. Neil The point is that none of these demands were made of the men in Mrs Thatcher's government. Even today, the way women in politics behave or dress is commented on and criticised far more than men, with the result that fewer women are willing to expose themselves to public scrutiny - a situation which has only got worse since the internet, and with it, sexist and misogynistic abuse on social media. Beth Paradoxically, it is often said that the qualities of empathy and understanding - often associated with women - are most needed in politics today. According to former prime minister Helen Clark, who was New Zealand's first female elected leader, it's not just that women are more caring - they also bring a different leadership style, as she explained to BBC World Service programme, The Real Story: Helen Clark I think that women are known for more collaborative styles and politics, less likely to be the, you know, top down, heavy-handed… you know, my way or the highway, more open to evidenced debate. I think it's certainly informed the way that that I led. I think it also informed the priorities that I had. Neil Helen Clark believes women leaders are more collaborative - they prefer working cooperatively with several people to achieve a common goal. She contrasts this with a stricter, more dictatorial leadership style by using the expression, my way or the highway - an idiom used as a warning that someone will only accept their way of doing things. Beth In fact, adopting such dictatorial approaches has been the end of many political leaders, including Mrs Thatcher and, more recently, Liz Truss… which brings me back to my question, Neil - how long did Liz Truss last as prime minister? Neil I guess it was 45 days. Was I right? Beth That was... the correct answer! Liz Truss was prime minister for just 45 days, the shortest premiership of any British leader ever, male or female. OK, let's recap the vocabulary we've learned in this programme on women in politics, starting with misogyny - the dislike or hatred of women. Neil If you are coached in something, you are trained or instructed in how to improve that particular skill. Beth Attire means the clothes you are wearing. Neil If you have to walk a tightrope, you're in a difficult situation that requires careful behaviour. Beth The adjective collaborative involves several people working together for a particular purpose. Neil And finally, the idiom it's my way or the highway can be used as a warning that someone will only accept their own way of doing things. Once again, our six minutes are up. See you soon! Beth Bye!
https://www.bbc.com/learningenglish/thai/features/6-minute-english_2023/ep-230420 TRANSCRIPT Note: This is not a word-for-word transcript. Neil Hello. This is 6 Minute English from BBC Learning English. I’m Neil. Beth And I’m Beth. Neil London has many tourist attractions, from Big Ben to Buckingham Palace. Would it surprise you to hear that many tourists’ top destination is actually a museum? The British Museum contains thousands of important artefacts – objects of special historical interest, including ancient Egyptian mummies, an Aztec serpent, and the Rosetta Stone. In fact, London has museums on every subject, from trains to fashion. Beth But recently many museums have been criticised for stealing ancient treasures during imperial times – the age of the British empire. Many argue that these treasures, such as the famous Parthenon marbles and Benin bronzes, should be returned. In this programme, we’ll discuss the controversial role of museums in the 21 st century, and as usual, we’ll be learning some useful new vocabulary as well. Neil But first, I have a question for you, Beth. Another of London’s most visited museums, The Natural History Museum, features a grand entrance hall which, for decades, contained an impressive life-size model of a dinosaur. But what was this iconic dinosaur’s name? Was it: a) Dippy the Diplodocus? b) Terry the Terradactyl? or, c) Tyrone the Tyrannosaurus? Beth Ah, I think the answer is Dippy the Diplodocus. Neil OK, Beth. I’ll reveal the answer later in the programme. Anthropologist, Professor Adam Kuper, has written a new book, The Museum of Other People, which discusses the idea that many museum artefacts were stolen and should be given back. Here he speaks to BBC Radio 4 programme, Thinking Allowed, about two sides of the debate: one which saw European culture as superior, and another which didn’t. Prof Adam Kuper These are the two great ideologies of the imperial age. One is that all societies begin from a very rough base… We're all…our ancestors were hunter-gatherers at one stage, and then they go through the stage of farming, industry… all this while they're getting smarter and smarter, their brains are getting bigger and bigger, and they’re moving from primitive magic to sophisticated religion, then maybe on to science. So, it's onwards and upwards. And that's the imperial idea… and we're going to help these other poor benighted people up the ladder with us. And opposed to this there's this other 19 century ideology which says, ‘no, this is an imperialist myth. We have our own culture. There are no better or worse cultures, there are just national cultures’. Beth Imperialists believed that mankind progressed through stages, starting as hunter-gatherers – people who lived before the invention of farming, and survived by hunting and collecting food in the wild. According to this view, white European culture was best because it was the most advanced, so it was their duty to help local cultures up the ladder, meaning to advance or make progress. Adam Kuper uses the phrase, onwards and upwards to describe a situation where things are improving, becoming better and better. Neil Of course, things didn’t get better for everyone, especially the people whose land and possessions were stolen. An opposing view argued that each culture is unique and should be valued and protected. Beth The legacy of colonialism is now being publicly debated, but the question of returning stolen artefacts remains complex. Firstly, since many of these treasures are hundreds of years old, to whom should they be returned? What’s more, the history behind these objects is complicated. In the case of the Benin bronzes, for example, questions can be asked about the actions of local leaders, as well as the European powers. Neil So how can museums display their artefacts to reflect this complex history. Here’s Professor Kuper sharing his ideas with BBC Radio 4’s, Thinking Allowed. Prof Adam Kuper I want to see a lot more temporary exhibitions and the kinds of exhibitions that I would be interested in are not about one particular tradition, but about the relationships between different cultural traditions. Everything is interconnected. Of course, these connections are sometimes violent, sometimes oppressive, sometimes very difficult, sometimes very painful. But things are changing. Neil An exhibition is a display showing a collection of artefacts. Adam Kuper wants exhibitions to tell truthful stories by showing the relationships between cultures, and how events are interconnected – connected or related to each other. And these stories must include all cultures, going back almost to the dinosaurs. Beth And speaking of dinosaurs, Neil, it’s time for you to reveal the answer to your question: what was the name of the famous dinosaur which greeted visitors to London’s Natural History Museum? I said it was Dippy the Diplodocus. Neil Which was the correct answer! The 26-metre-long dinosaur was displayed from 1905 until 2017 when it was replaced by the skeleton of a female blue whale promisingly named, Hope. OK, let’s recap the vocabulary we’ve learned starting with artefact – anobject of historical significance. Beth Hunter-gatherers were people who lived by hunting and collecting wild food rather than farming. Neil If someone moves up the ladder, they advance or make progress. Beth The phrase onwards and upwards describes a situation where things are getting better and better. Neil An exhibition is a display of artefacts in a museum or paintings in an art gallery. Beth And finally, the adjective interconnected describes separate things which are connected or related to each other. Once again, our time is up. Join us again soon for more trending topics. Goodbye, everyone! Neil Bye