jueves, 28 de julio de 2016

London’s first naked dining experience opens

London has a new restaurant serving raw, or "naked" food, and its customers are asked to dress accordingly.

Self-study activity:
Watch the video and answer the questions below.

1 What do customers have at the bar?
2 What are they given in the changing rooms?
3 What restrictions does the dining area have?
4 What did the restaurant open?
5 Apart from being a restaurant, what is Bunyadi?

We are in South London, at a pop-up restaurant called Bunyadi. But unlike most restaurants, this restaurant doesn’t require you to wear any clothes. Let’s see.
Hello, I’m Ignacio, the architect, the manager of the Bunyadi, London, a restaurant where everything is naked. When customers come in, they are welcome to this bar. Some of them travel all around the world to come here and they don’t know what to expect. They have one drink or two, and then they are taken to the changing room, where we give them gowns and slippers. After they get changed, we take them to the dining area, where no phone or any electrical devices are allowed. They are taken to the tables and then they can enjoy and experience the amazing food.
It’s about enjoying nakedness when it comes to bodies, food, nakedness from technology, basically a space where you are free from the modern trappings of the world.
We launched it a couple of weeks ago. We have, are now a waiting list of 4 to 5 thousand people. One of the biggest reasons why we started Bunyadi was naked food, our food is sauce to plate, raw without any preservatives, colour. I think the second reason is liberation from technology while you’re eating. I think we all get annoyed when the phones come out during dinner. So when you go to the toilet, if you’re with someone and you come back, the other person is waiting for you to finish the conversation and not literally on their phones.
Perhaps the most important thing is giving these people the space where they’ll be comfortable. I think, I think it’s not only about a restaurant. It’s a social experiment. There is a big problem all over the world with objectification and sexualisation of bodies, and I think people need to think of ideas which will help to desexualise this aspect of… this very physical aspect of human, humans which everyone has.
So I think you bring all these things together and you’ve got a recipe of a space where people feel comfortable being naked and not judged.

1 one drink or two 
2 a gown and slippers
3 no phone or any electrical devices are allowed
4 two weeks ago 
5 a social experiment

miércoles, 27 de julio de 2016

Talking point: Talent

This week's talking point is talent. Before getting together with the members of your conversation group, go over the questions below so that ideas come to mind more easily the day you get together with your friends and you can work out vocabulary problems beforehand.

How long does it take to learn something well?
What’s the best time of day to learn something new for you?
How important is memory when we learn something new?
Which of these factors are most important to be talented or become successful at something?
genetic make-up and natural ability
support from the community/family
training and practice

Do you know anyone who excels at anything? If so, how did this person reach this level of mastery?

Think of something you’ve done that you have put a lot of effort into. For example:
your job
a free-time activity
study of some kind
playing a musical instrument
learning a language
some craft or art

Make notes about these questions:
What special skills or talent do you need?
What level of ability do you think you have achieved?
Have have you learnt new information necessary for this activity?
Do you need to remember a lot of things to do this well?
How much time have you put into it?

Now tell the members of your conversation group about it.

To illustrate the point, you can watch this video from Britain's Got Talent.

martes, 26 de julio de 2016

Can success be built from failure?

Tavis Smiley, an American journalist and TV personality, is interviewed for MSNBC about the publication of his latest book, Fail up.

Self-study activity:
Watch the video and answer the questions below.

What do the figures below refer to or what does Tavis say about the following?
Two examples of Tavis’s own personal failings
Barak Obama’s failings
two criticisms to Barak Obama
Tavis’s message to Obama today

ANN CURRY: Back now at 8:44am with social commentator and TV host Tavis Smiley. He is celebrating 20 years in broadcasting on PBS and public radio, and his 15th book hits stores on May 1st. It is called, Fail Up: 20 Lessons On Building Success From Failure. Tavis Smiley, good morning to you.
TAVIS SMILEY: Good to see you. Welcome back, we missed you.
CURRY: Oh c'mon! That's sweet of you.
SMILEY: You deserve it, but we're glad to have you back.
CURRY: Well let's talk about this book…
CURRY: …because just in time for graduation you're writing a book about personal feelings that even people close to you don't even know about. You talk about a check-kiting episode that got you arrested. An open-mic incident that spoiled an interview. A relationship with a well-known Hollywood director. And a firing from BET. Now, now why now? Why are you revealing all this now?
SMILEY: I think I'm comfortable in the skin that I'm in. These success scars I'm ready to show now. No one who's successful in any field of human endeavor, if they're being honest, won't tell you that they've learned more from their failures than from their successes. I think we learn more from failure than from success.
CURRY: This is a real effort to help other people with this?
SMILEY: I think so. And I think people can situate themselves in the stories in this book. I start out each chapter talking about my own personal failings. But I love what Samuel Beckett, the great Nobel Laureate once wrote. He said, very simply, "Ever tried? Ever failed? No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better." I love that. "Try again. Fail again. Fail better." Failure doesn't have to be final. It doesn't have to be fatal. And we live in a world right now where everybody is so, I think, frozen by failure individually, in our families, in our country. We are afraid of the future. And I think we can fail through these things if we learn the lessons.
CURRY: You, you chronicle in your book the criticism, for example, that you faced when, when you used your broadcast forums to, to hold President, candidate and then President Barack Obama accountable. We should explain that as a social commentator you had been known…
CURRY: …having a good reputation for holding politicians accountable. So what exactly happened here?
CURRY: Because you were actually, you know, really reviled for this.
SMILEY: Yeah. Well, the short answer is that, that black folk who had waited 400 years for this moment - and I understood that. I was on the anchor desk with Brian Williams and Tom Brokaw the night that NBC called this election for Barack Obama. One of the highlights of my 20 year career - being on that desk, at NBC, that night. But black folk waited 400 years for this moment, I understood that. They wanted him to win, if I can take Malcolm X's phrase, and if by any means necessary. So having somebody talk about holding him accountable - even though I had done that for every presidency during my broadcast career - there was something about this guy, this black guy, who they wanted to see elected and they didn't want to hear any kind of critique or accountability talk about it. So I didn't change, many in black America did. But that's part of what it means to learn from lessons in life. You have to stand in your own truth with courage, conviction and commitment and know, that over time, folk will catch up with you, if you're telling the truth and you're doing it in love.
CURRY: You were called a traitor. You were called a sell-out.
SMILEY: I got called everything. And the funny thing about is, Barack Obama, President Obama is the best example of failing up in this country. He ought to be the poster child. When he ran for the House seat, years ago, against a guy named Bobby Rush - Bobby Rush beat the breaks off of him 3 to 1. He came back a few years later, ran for the Senate, his opponents started falling off like flies. He walks into the Senate. In 2000 he can't get into the building for the Democratic Convention in my hometown of L.A., and in 2008 he's President of the United States. Pardon my English, if that ain't failing up, I don't know what is?
CURRY: Well as president then, since you bring it up, what do you think his greatest failure has been so far?
SMILEY: Well I think he's got a, he's got a full plate. But I think he's gotta be held accountable for a number of different standards. I think he's wrong on these wars. I think he's given too much time, too much attention to the rich and the lucky, not enough attention to the poor. Not enough focus on jobs. Again, there's a lot on his plate and I'm empathetic toward that. But ultimately are you gonna side with the weak or are you gonna side with the strong? And we gotta focus more attention on the weak in this country and less on the strong.
CURRY: You think this budget battle, this, this tangle…
SMILEY: I think…
CURRY: …is an opportunity for the President?
SMILEY: Yeah, I think that budgets are moral documents. Budgets are moral documents. You can say what you say, but you are what you are. And when you put your budget on the table, we know what you believe in and there's some questions, some real questions to be asked. The Republican budget is no better, but budgets are moral documents. And it's this budget here, says a whole lot about what our values and priorities are and quite frankly I don't like any of them.
CURRY: One of the priorities needs to be about finding people jobs.
SMILEY: Absolutely. That's, that's, that is the message.
CURRY: So, so, so what is it that you think needs to be done? What's your message to President Obama…
SMILEY: I think, I think…
CURRY: …and the Congress this morning?
SMILEY: I think the way to cut deficits is to provide jobs. That's the simple answer. If you want to reduce the deficit, get Americans back to work. That's true for Republicans and Democrats. Jobs, jobs, jobs. This country has to fail up as well.
CURRY: Alright. A man who never lacks for an opinion. Thank you so much, Tavis Smiley. The book is called Fail Up.

20 years in broadcasting on PBS and public radio
his 15th book is called Fail Up: 20 Lessons On Building Success From Failure.
Personal failings:
-a check-kiting episode that got you arrested
-an open-mic incident that spoiled an interview
-a relationship with a well-known Hollywood director
-a firing from BET. 
Black folk waited for 400 years to have a black president 
Obama's failings:
-when he ran for the House seat against Bobby Rush, Bobby Rush beat him 3 to 1.
-in 2000 he can't get into the building for the Democratic Convention in  L.A.
Criticisms to Obama:
-he's given too much time and attention to the rich and the lucky and not enough to the poor
-not enough focus on jobs
Message to Obama today: create jobs

lunes, 25 de julio de 2016

Listening test: Stay-at-home dads

Listen to this piece on stay-at-home dads and choose the option A, B or C which best completes each sentence.

1. The number of stay at home dads in the U.S. has
A. doubled.
B. tripled.
C. quadrupled.

2. Economists suggest that today's stay-at-home dads
A. are less educated than working fathers.
B. lost their jobs during the recessions.
C. place a higher priority on relationships than on money.

3. According to the text, one reason women are earning more money now than in the past is
A. jobs performed by women are currently in high demand.
B. laws guaranteeing fairer salaries for women.
C. more women are graduating from college.

4. Being a stay-at-home dad can be good because a father's parenting style
A. develops a child's confidence.
B. is less emotionally involved.
C. is more comforting and reassuring for the child.

5. Working mothers
A. connect well with their children.
B. find it difficult to engage with their children.
C. tend not to have much influence on their children’s upbringing.

6. Stay-at-home dads
A. are likely to lack social recognition.
B. are often unable to go back to their professional lives.
C. usually have little self-esteem.

7. The most satisfied stay-at-home dads are dads
A. who also work from home.
B. who have chosen to stay home.
C. whose wives earn a very comfortable salary.

In the past, being a stay-at-home dad was borderline unthinkable, but recent statistics show that in the past twenty years, the number of stay-at-home dads has doubled in the U.K. and tripled in the U.S. Although families in which the father stays home still represent a very small percentage, the rapid growth may indicate the early stages of a trend.
Economists have speculated that men who were laid off during the two recent recessions have been unable to find another job, thus leaving their wives as the sole breadwinners. Also, according to a recent study in the U.S., 28% of women now earn higher salaries than their husbands; this makes the prospect of being a stay-at-home dad more financially feasible. Women’s increased earning power is thanks to a higher number of female college graduates – and this trend is bound to increase, as women now outnumber men in American universities.
Researchers have suggested that having a stay-at-home dad may actually be better for the child, because a father’s parenting style can be more beneficial for the child’s development in the early years. While mothers usually comfort and reassure kids who are sad or frustrated, fathers tend to encourage a more proactive approach to coping with the situation. This helps the child become more confident and emotionally stable.
In addition, studies have shown that mothers who work outside the home frequently engage with their children despite having a full-time job. This is not the case for men – when the father works full-time, he tends to have little influence or connection with his children. This leads to the conclusion that having a working mother and a stay-at-home dad is the best way for children to form equally strong bonds with both parents.
There are a few cons to reversing the stereotypical gender roles. Stay-at-home dads may face a lack of social support or even be ridiculed for their role in the family. Stay-at-home dads might also struggle with their own self-esteem, feeling that they are less manly because they perform the activities traditionally done by women. Some also worry that they will fall behind in their professional lives, as they are folding laundry and changing diapers while their peers are climbing the career ladder.
In general, men who have made the conscious choice to be stay-at-home dads are more satisfied with their status than men who have been forced into the role due to a layoff.
It is clear that being a stay-at-home dad is a complex issue. From a gender equality standpoint, the fact that men now feel more comfortable taking on this role is certainly positive. However, stay-at-home dads continue to face unique challenges, as this family arrangement is still far from being the norm.

1B 2B 3C 4A 5A 6A 7B

domingo, 24 de julio de 2016

Extensive listening: The truth about Magaluf

Stacey Dooley travels to Magaluf, on the Spanish island of Mallorca, a resort is which is famous for the drunken antics of the British tourists who go there, but Stacey wants to find out what it's like for the thousands of Spanish workers who serve, police and clear up.

What starts out as a regular shift at a bar or cleaning hotel rooms often ends up with Stacey uncovering a darker side that only the workers and residents get to see. Working in a bar Stacey is not only surprised to learn how much free alcohol is on offer to young British tourists, but she's horrified when she witnesses the sexually explicit drinking games the drunk tourists are encouraged to play. When she spends a morning cleaning hotel rooms, not only does she learn about the vandalism and mess tourists leave behind, but she meets one member of staff who's been left traumatised after he saw a young girl fall to her death at the hotel earlier this year, leaving him constantly worried about the safety of inebriated guests. Stacey discovers that the high numbers of tourists who die or are badly injured every year is linked to heavy drinking.

But it's when Stacey rides along with an ambulance crew and a police patrol car over a busy weekend that she discovers things are really getting out of control in Magaluf. She hears how the emergency services have seen their worst year ever, cases of violent fights and rape are on the rise, women posing as prostitutes are ganging up on young, and often British, tourists and robbing them. Sadly this year, they've seen more deaths in the resort than ever before, mainly due to a craze called balconing.

sábado, 23 de julio de 2016

Down to Business English podcasts

Down to Business English is a podcast for people who use English as a Second Language in their work environment and are trying to improve their overall language skills.

In each episode, Down to Business English hosts Dez Morgan, who lives in Tokyo, and Skip Montreux, who is based in Auckland, discuss business stories making the news around the world.

Through their discussions, Skip & Dez introduce business-related vocabulary and phrases, review grammar, and identify cultural differences in international business situations.

Although the 15-minute podcasts are mainly business-oriented, general English learners in the intermediate-to-advanced bracket will greatly benefit from Down to Business English, as most of the topics dealt with have a universal appeal (millenials, music streaming, Uber, youth unemployment, gaming, the future of restaurants, and so on).

The podcasts are free to download and a courtesy transcript is offered to those users who register, but a subscription is required to have access to all transcripts .

viernes, 22 de julio de 2016

Dog Whisperer Trainer Walks Pack Of Dogs Without A Leash

Augusto de Oliveira can walk huge groups of unleashed German Shepherd dogs. The dog trainer, 23, is a web sensation and turns heads wherever he goes.

Self-study activity:
Watch the video and answer the questions below.

1 What is Augusto doing differently today?
2 Where did Augusto grow up?
3 What does Augusto have, according to Cynthia?
4 Why does Augsuto walk the dogs on their leash at first?
5 What does the woman say about her own two dogs?

Leader of the pack Augusto de Oliveira became an internet star after uploading this video of himself walking unleashed dogs through a quiet town, showing an amazing bond with his animals. But today, he's raising the stakes by attempting to repeat the feat on busy city streets.
Augusto grew up on a farm in Brazil with dozens of dogs and he learned from a young age to communicate with them. Today he lives, breathes and even sleeps with his pack, as part of his work, running Griffin Shepherd Kennels.
My dogs know me as part of the pack. I spend a lot of time with them.  I feed them, I let them out, I exercise them. I do everything with them.
Augusto’s landlady, Cynthia, is amazed by what she sees every day.
I believe Augusto has a gift, and his dogs, all dogs, not only his, respond amazingly to Augusto.
To test his training, Augusto has decided to try the unleashed pack walking in a busy environment the dogs aren’t used to.
Today I’m taking my pack for a walk in Boston, Massachusetts. I have Hannah, Jenner, Harmony, Griffin, Brazil and Savannah today. I start with my dogs on the leash, get them used to the position they have to walk in and to stay by my side before I start to let them off-leash.
And then, one by one, Augusto lets the dogs off their leash, keeping each one under control in a distracting environment.
And as they can see they have to remain the same position unless I change them.
Eventually, all six German shepherds successfully walk into Hill and the dogs are proving a big hit with the Bostonians.
I would love to have a dog as well behaved as those. I have two dogs that are horribly behaved and this would be amazing but I don't think I can ever replicate what he does. You can tell that these dogs are amazingly well trained, they’re calm, he has complete control of them.
I love spending time with my dogs. I just feel like there's so much I can do with them, I can spend time training them. I can spend time just taking them places. I can spend time playing with them. I never get tired of it.
After a hard day's work, the pack grabbed the first chance they can for a well-earned nap.
Dogs they had fun?
Yeah, they’re all tired, as you can see.
Time for bed!

1 Walking with his dogs in busy streets. 
2 On a farm in Brazil.
3 A gift
4 To get them used to the position they have to walk in
5 They are horribly behaved