Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Resolutions


A New Year's resolution is a commitment an individual makes to a project or the reforming of a habit, often a lifestyle change that is generally interpreted as advantageous. The name comes from the fact that these commitments normally go into effect on New Year’s Day and remain until fulfilled or abandoned.

Labor students: Are you making any New Year's Resolutions for 2010? Maybe working harder at school? Spending less time on Tuenti? Leave your comments and tell everybody what your resolutions for the New Year are!

Most Popular Goals
The most popular goals include:
  • Lose weight 
  • Get out of debt 
  • Become more organized 
  • Maintain a diary 
  • Save money 
  • Improve grades 
  • Get a better job 
  • Get fit 
  • Eat right 
  • Get a better education 
  • Drink less alcohol 
  • Quit smoking 
  • Reduce stress 
  • Take a trip 
  • Volunteer to help others 
  • Be less grumpy 
  • Be more independent 
  • Learn something new (such as a foreign language or music) 
  • Try to get up early in the morning 
  • Time management 
  • Help the poor

Success rate
Recent research shows that while 52% of participants in a resolution study were confident of success with their goals, only 12% actually achieved their goals. Men achieved their goal 22% more often when they engaged in goal setting, a system where small measurable goals are used (lose a pound a week, instead of saying "lose weight"), while women succeeded 10% more when they made their goals public and got support from their friends.

If you want to learn more, you can visit these sites:
New Year Resolutions: Tips, help and ideas

And you can improve your English in just 6 minutes taking this test about New Year's Resolutions

No copyright infringement intended. For educational purposes only.

31st December: New Year's Eve

As you all know, in Spain we eat twelve grapes at midnight. The actual countdown is primarily followed from the clock on top of  the Correos building in Puerta del Sol square, Madrid. It is traditional to eat twelve grapes, on on each chime of the clock. This tradition has its origins in 1909, when grape growers in Alicante thought of it as a way to cut down on the large production surplus they had had that year. Nowadays the tradition is followed by almost every Spaniard, and the twelve grapes have become synonimous with the New Year. After the clock has finished striking twelve, people greet each other and toast with sparkling wine (such as champagane or cider).

After the family dinner and the grapes, many young people attend New Year parties at pubs, discos and similar parties usually until the next morning. These celebrations range from small, personal ones at local bars to huge parties with guests numbering the thousands at hotel convention rooms. Early next morning, people usually gather to have the traditional winter breakfast of  hot chocolate and fried pastry (chocolate con churros).
In English speaking countries they have a somewhat different tradition: of course, it is celebrated with parties and social gatherings, but at the stroke of midnight, people hold each other's hands and sing what is arguably the song most closely associated with this celebration, Auld Lang Syne:

Auld Lang Syne (/ˈɔːld lɑŋˈsəin/) is a Scottish poem part-written by Robert Burns in 1788 and set to the tune of a traditional folf song. By extension, its use has also been common at funerals, graduations, and as a farewell or ending to other occasions.
Its title may be translated into English literally as "old long since", or more idiomatically, "long long ago" o "days gone by" and the song is generally interpreted as a call to remember long standing friendships.
In Scotland, people celebrate Hogmanay (/ˌhɔɡməˈneː/), which is the Scots word for the last day of the year and is synonimous with the celebration of New Year. The most widespread national custom is the practice of "first footing" which starts immediately after midnight. This involves being the first person to cross the threshold of a frend of neighbour and often involves the giving of symbolic gifts such as salt, coal, shortbread (a type of biscuit) and black bun (a rich fruit cake) intended to bring different kinds of luck to the householder (the traditions says that to ensure good luck for the house the first food should be a dark male, and he should bring with him symbolic pieces of coal, shortbread, salt, black bun and a little dram of whiskey; traditionally, one must clean the house, take out ashes from the fire, clear all debts before the bells of midnight). Food and drink (as the gifts) are then given to the guests. This may go on throughout the early hours of the morning and well into the next day. The first-foot is supposed to set the luck for the rest of the year.

If you want to known more, click herehere or here

No copyright infringement intended. For educational, non-commercial purposes only.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010 - Online Translator Showing the Context of Sentences


What is Linguee?

With Linguee, you can search many millions of bilingual texts for words and expressions. Every expression is accompanied by useful additional information and suitable example sentences.

What is the benefit?

When you translate texts to a foreign language, you usually look for common phrases rather than translations of single words. With its intelligent search and the significantly larger amount of stored text content, Linguee is the right tool for this task. You find In which context a translation is used, how frequent a particular translation is, example sentences: How other people translated an expression
By searching not only for a single word, but for a respective word in its context, you can easily find a translation that fits optimal in the respective context. With its large number of entries, Linguee often retrieves translations of rare terms that you don't find anywhere else.:

How do I use Linguee?

Linguee is used like a search engine. You search for a word or a phrase, and you find pairs of sentences that contain the word or the phrase as an exact or similar match. If the search is not successful, it usually pays off to simplify the search phrase and search again. The search result is clearly arranged in groups of expressions and ordered by frequency. By clicking on the "More examples" button you are presented with more example sentences

What Linguee is not

Linguee does not offer an automatic translation of arbitrary texts. Such services may help to get the gist of foreign language texts. However, they are not useful for looking up vocabulary, and you cannot rely on the quality of the generated translations, as a machine cannot understand the subtleties or contexts of language. Linguee takes a different approach: Every entry in the Linguee database has been translated by humans. Currently, there is no viable technical alternative to a human translator, and if you don't have one at hand, there is Linguee.

Where does the text content come from?

The most important source is the bilingual web. Other valuable sources include EU documents and patent specifications.

How exactly do you gather the translations?

A specialised computer program, a web crawler, automatically searches the internet for webpages which are available in multiple language versions. These pages are detected automatically, and the translated sentences and words are extracted. The texts are then evaluated by a machine-learning algorithm which filters out the high quality translations for display. This system is capable of autonomously learning new quality criteria from user feedback to tell the good translations from the bad ones. It has found out, for instance, that a page is usually machine translated if it contains the word "Wordpress" while many words are literally translated. Through this training process, our algorithm is learning to find thousands of such correlations to reliably extract the best translations autonomously. As of now, Linguee software has compared more than a trillion sentences. At the end of the day, only the top 0.01 per cent, i.e. 100 million translated sentences, are retained. Therefore, this automation is the basic reason why Linguee actually works.

No copyright infringement intended. For educational, non-commercial purposes only.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

26th December: Boxing Day


Today is Boxing Day. No, it has nothing to do with the sport of fighting with the fists. This is the reason for the name:
A box, usually of earthenware, in which contributions of money were collected at Christmas, by apprentices, etc.; the box being broken when full, and the contents shared.

So, the name Boxing Day derives from the tradition of giving seasonal gifts, on the day after Christmas, to less wealthy people and social inferiors, which was later extended to various workpeople such as labourers and servants.
The traditional recorded celebration of Boxing Day has long included giving money and other gifts to charitable institutions, the needy and people in service positions. The European tradition has been dated to the Middle Ages, but the exact origin is unknown and there are some claims that it goes back to the late Roman / early Christian era.
In the United Kingdom it certainly became a custom of the nineteenth century Victorians for tradesmen to collect their "Christmas boxes" or gifts in return for good and reliable service throughout the year on the day after Christmas.
As they do not celebrate Epiphany (The 3 Wise Men or Magi) as we do in Spain, among the British and some other English-speaking countries Boxing Day is primarily known as a shopping holiday: January sales, often with dramatic price decreases, start on this day. For many merchants, Boxing Day has become the day of the year with the greatest revenue (much as the day after Thanksgiving in the United States: Black Friday).
If you want to know more: Elaine's Boxing Day Page

No copyright infringement intended. For educational, non-commercial purposes only.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Music: Christmas Lights, by Coldplay

"Christmas Lights" is a song by British alternative rock band Coldplay released on Wednesday December 1, 2010, at 8PM GMT as a digital download. Described by the band as "a mid-tempo number" that is in the key of G major. The cover art is by Yu Matsuoka Pol.

Christmas night, another fight
Tears we cried a flood
Got all kinds of poison in
Of poison in my blood

I took my feet
To Oxford Street
Trying to right a wrong
Just walk away
Those windows say
But I can't believe she's gone

When you're still waiting for the snow to fall
Doesn't really feel like Christmas at all

A group of candles on air flicker
Oh they flicker and they float
But I'm up here holding on
To all those chandeliers of hope

Like some drunken Elvis singing
I go singing out of tune
Saying how I always loved you, darling
And I always will

Oh when you're still waiting for the snow to fall
It doesn't really feel like Christmas at all
Still waiting for the snow to fall
It doesn't really feel like Christmas at all

Those Christmas lights
Light up the street
Down where the sea and city meet
May all your troubles soon be gone
Oh Christmas lights, keep shining on

Those Christmas lights
Light up the street
Maybe they'll bring her back to me
Then all my troubles will be gone
Oh Christmas lights, keep shining on


Oh Christmas lights
Light up the street
Light up the fireworks in me
May all your troubles soon be gone
Those Christmas lights keep shining on

Coldplay began filming the music video on November 24. The video appears to be one continuous shot, but isn't really, though it might have been shot with a single camera. It begins with the starting up of a record player, and the camera panning across a self-playing piano, then the four members of the band. Martin begins to sing the first verse as the camera pans and zooms out to show the piano - which is now next to him - then back. Martin has changed his position, and the rest of the band are nowhere to be seen. Martin rises up from the stage where he is lying, then begins to play the piano, which is now on a stage in front of theThames. Curtains open to reveal the rest of the band, who join in playing the song, accompanied by fireworks and three violin-playing Elvises (who are friends of the band: the British actor Simon Pegg, the 'fifth member' of Coldplay Phil Harvey and Tim Crompton, friend of the band and frontman of The High Wire). One hundred fans of the band appear in the music video; they release coloured balloons from a boat on the Thames whilst singing along to part of the song.

"Credo Elvem Etiam Vivere" is written across the top of the stage. In Latin this means "I Believe Elvis Yet Lives".[9] This is likely connected to the three Elvises appearing in the video, which is, in turn, connected to the lyrics of the song.

The video was directed by Mat Whitecross, a long-time friend of the band and director of several of Coldplay's other music videos, such as "Bigger Stronger" and "Lovers in Japan".

No copyright infringement intended. For educational, non-commercial purposes only.

Friday, December 24, 2010

7 O'Clock News / Silent Night


Recorded on August 22nd, 1966, "7 O'Clock News/Silent Night" is the twelfth and final track on "Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme", a 1966 album by Simon and Garfunkel. The track consists of an overdubbing of two contrasting recordings: a simple arrangement of the Christmas carol "Silent Night", and a simulated "7 O'Clock News" bulletin of the actual events of 3 August 1966.

The "Silent Night" track consists of Simon and Garfunkel singing the first verse twice over, accompanied by Garfunkel on piano. The voice of the newscaster is that of Charlie O'Donnell, then a radio disc jockey. As the track progresses, the song becomes fainter and the news report louder. Matthew Greenwald calls the effect "positively chilling". Bruce Eder describes the track as "a grim and ironic (and prophetic) comment on the state of the United States in 1966".

Simon & Garfunkel are an American singer-songwriter duo consisting of Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel. They formed the group Tom & Jerry in 1957, and had their first taste of success with the minor hit "Hey, Schoolgirl". As Simon & Garfunkel, the duo rose to fame in 1965, backed by the hit single "The Sounds of Silence". Their music was featured in the landmark film "The Graduate", propelling them further into the public consciousness.

They are well known for their close vocal harmonies and were among the most popular recording artists of the 1960s; among their biggest hits, in addition to "The Sounds of Silence", were "Bridge over Troubled Water", "I Am a Rock", "Homeward Bound", "A Hazy Shade of Winter", "Mrs. Robinson", "The Boxer", "Cecilia", and "Scarborough Fair/Canticle". They have received several Grammys and are inductees in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Long Island Music Hall of Fame (2007). 

Their sometimes rocky relationship led to their last album, "Bridge over Troubled Water", being delayed several times due to artistic disagreements and as a result the duo broke up in 1970. But Simon and Garfunkel have reunited to perform and sometimes tour together in every decade since the 1970 breakup, most famously for 1981's "The Concert in Central Park," which attracted about 500,000 people, and they have toured very successfully since then.

The following events are reported in the newscast in the song in the order given:
  • A dispute in the House of Representatives over "the civil rights bill". It is stated that President Johnson had originally proposed a full ban on discrimination for any type of housing — dismissed as "having no chance" — and that "a compromise was painfully worked out in the House Judiciary Committee." 
  • The death of comedian Lenny Bruce from an overdose of narcotics at the age of 42 [actually 40]. 
  • Dr. Martin Luther King reaffirming plans for an open housing Civil Rights march into Cicero, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. It is stated that Cook County sheriff Richard Ogilvie urged its cancellation, and that Cicero police plan to ask the National Guard to be called in. 
  • The grand jury indictment of Richard Speck for the murder of nine [actually eight] student nurses. 
  • Disruption by protesters at House Un-American Activities Committee hearings into anti-Vietnam War protests 
  • A speech by "former Vice-President Richard Nixon" to the Veterans of Foreign Wars [actually to the American Legion] urging an increase in the war effort in Vietnam, and calling opposition to the war the "single greatest weapon working against the United States".
    Take a look at this score and learn the lyrics of the song:

    And now enjoy a video of the song including a transcription of the news bulletin:

    No copyright infringement intended. For educational, non commercial purposes only.

    Thursday, December 23, 2010

    Merry Christmas!


    Labor English Zone wishes you the 
    Season's Greetings

    At Labor English Zone we know what present we want for Christmas!

    I want a hippopotamus for Christmas
    Only a hippopotamus will do
    Don't want a doll, no dinky Tinker Toy
    I want a hippopotamus to play with and enjoy

    I want a hippopotamus for Christmas
    I don't think Santa Claus will mind, do you?
    He won't have to use our dirty chimney flue
    Just bring him through the front door,
    that's the easy thing to do

    I can see me now on Christmas morning,
    creeping down the stairs
    Oh what joy and what surprise
    when I open up my eyes
    to see a hippo hero standing there

    I want a hippopotamus for Christmas
    Only a hippopotamus will do
    No crocodiles, no rhinoceroses
    I only like hippopotamuses
    And hippopotamuses like me too

    Mom says the hippo would eat me up, but then
    Teacher says a hippo is a vegeterian.
    (Short Music Interlude)
    There's lots of room for him in our two-car garage
    I'd feed him there and wash him there and give him his massage

    I can see me now on Christmas morning,
    creeping down the stairs
    Oh what joy and what surprise
    when I open up my eyes
    to see a hippo hero standing there

    I want a hippopotamus for Christmas
    Only a hippopotamus will do
    No crocodiles or rhinoceroseses
    I only like hippopotamuseses
    And hippopotamuses like me too!

    Enjoy the holidays!

    No copyright infringement intended. For educational, non-commercial purposes only.

    Wednesday, December 22, 2010

    Music: Hold my Hand + Like a Rolling Stone

    Yesterday in ESO 4 two students have brought us some music and a fill-in-the-blanks exercise to complete as we listened to the songs.
    Marta Martínez (4 ESO A) chose "Hold my Hand" by Michael Jackson and Akon, while Paloma Díaz (4 ESO B) delighted us with a classic hit: "Like a Rolling Stone" by Bob Dylan.

    There is no original video for Dylan's song (as the concept of video-clip had not been invented at that time) so we offer you now the spectacular video for "Hold my Hand" and a karaoke version. We hope you enjoy it.
    Thanks a lot, Marta and Paloma!

    No copyright infringement intended. For educational, non-commercial purposes only.

    Monday, December 20, 2010

    8 Facts About Spain's El Gordo Lottery


    The following article was published by PR Newswire last 7th December.

    Spain's El Gordo is arguably the most famous lottery game in the world, thanks to its estimated €2.3 billion in prizes available to be won. One of the most lucrative European lotteries, El Gordo takes place on December 22nd each year. Aside from the incredible amount of money players can win with it, many people outside Spain don't know what makes this game a standout among lotteries or why worldwide fans keep playing it year after year.

    Many lottery fans have heard about El Gordo and the ticket-buying frenzy that grows each year as the draw date approaches. Even so, most players don't understand exactly why this game is unique, or why tickets are so prized among lottery fans.

    That's why European Lottery Guild has put together a list of 8 things you should know about El Gordo:

    1. It's mythic: Radios and televisions are tuned to the broadcast, and the cafés are packed with people watching it. The event is carried out with great pageantry, and schoolchildren sing out the results as each number is drawn. The whole ceremony can take up to 3 hours with celebrations lasting through the night.

    2. It's a winner-maker: The game was designed to make as many winners as possible. Family members often buy tickets together. Occasionally, whole villages find themselves wealthier after the draw.

    3. It's a true lottery: Rather than a lotto, in which players pick a combination of numbers, El Gordo tickets come with the numbers pre-printed on them.

    4. It's a number-lover's fantasy: Ticket numbers range from 0 to 84,999 and there are 195 series of tickets. It's traditional to use significant dates to choose a ticket (even unlucky ones). In 2009, tickets printed with the numbers forming the date of Michael Jackson's death - 25609 - were heavily sought after.

    5. It's deeply traditional: The game was started as a fundraiser for orphans and has been drawn each year since 1812. The procedure followed for the draw has not varied.

    6. It's epic: Because of its unique prize structure, El Gordo can create up to 390 millionaires at a time.

    7. It's possible to win up to 7 times on a single ticket.

    8. Its players are famously philosophical: After the draw's done, it's customary for non-winners to console themselves with the platitude "It's health that really matters."

    "Of course, the El Gordo Lottery's prize pool attracts enormous attention," says Elisabeth Moore, Customer Relations Manager for European Lottery Guild. "After all, it isn't every day that a single lottery makes an estimated EUR2.3 billion in prizes available to be won. But there are many other reasons, some rooted in customs and tradition, why Spanish El Gordo is so beloved."

    No copyright infringement intended. For educational, non-commercial purposes only.

    Sunday, December 19, 2010

    Irregular Verbs: The Horrible List

    We are sure most of you try to learn the irregular verbs in alphabetical order. If it works for you, that is ok. But let us show you a more sensible and easier way to do it.
    Try to learn verbs using some mnemonic system: according to their endings, meanings, pronunciation, etc. Print or download this list to your computer and you will learn those dreadful irregular verbs with almost no effort:

    No copyright infringement intended. For educational, non-commercial purposes only.

    Newsy: Google Launches 'Body Browser'


    Google's latest mapping experiment? The human body. 'Body Browser' lets users explore an interactive 3D model of the human anatomy.

    It’s a high-tech, highly detailed look at a human body -- inside and out. No, it’s not the latest TSA scanner. It’s Google’s new experiment, Body Browser.

    SmarTrend News has the story.

    DUFFIE: “Google’s Body Browser has shown at the WebGL camp and uses HTML5 canvas element without additional plug-ins, Flash, or Java. (FLASH) ...a 3D model of the human body complete with skin, bone, muscle, and tissue-layer views. Users can zoom in, rotate, and search various inner-workings of the human anatomy.

    In a quote- “soft” launch on Thursday, the tech giant made a beta version of Body Browser available through Google Labs, allowing users access to the female prototype. (Video:Google Blog)

    A blogger for ScienceBlogs highlights her favorite feature of the experiment -- something which Google, you might say, is well-known for: “ far the coolest function is the search box ... As you type in the box, it guesses what you mean and zooms all over the body from structure to structure, which can be quite amusing. When you finish, it will have zoomed you in on your structure of choice, while fading everything else out.”

    Though most reviews found the Body Browser interesting and easy to use, tech site PCMagazine had trouble getting it to work. And if PCMag can’t get it to work -- well, it might need some tweaks before a full launch. (Video: Google Blog)

    But as interesting as the Body Browser may be, many are wondering -- what’s the point? A writer for Mother Nature Network has a simple answer -- education: “'s still one of the only free, commonly available, in-depth 3-D programs that allows anyone with a laptop and some curiosity to get the kind of insight into the human body that previously only med students and sports medicine professionals had access to. … And what a boon for hypochondriacs.”

    And a blogger for Laptop Magazine sees another educational benefit: “...we can see how this could be useful for teaching kids female anatomy at home or in the classroom. Maybe now they can finally throw out those awful films they made us watch in school.”

    Writer: Tracy Pfeiffer

    No copyright infringement intended. For educational, non-commercial purposes only.

    Saturday, December 18, 2010

    Tackling bad behaviour 'is not our job', teachers claim

    The following article by Graeme Paton, Education Editor for the British newspaper The Telegraph, was published yesterday, last 10th December.

    Teachers are reluctant to tackle badly behaved children because it is “beyond their remit”, according to UK Government research.

    Many teachers chose to refer unruly pupils to senior managers amid fears they could risk injury or lose their job by tackling troublemakers, it was claimed.
    Some staff told researchers that imposing discipline was “out-dated, negative and punitive” and new powers to crackdown on classroom yobs were “too controlling”.
    The disclosure comes despite warnings of a rise in bad behaviour in schools.
    A study earlier this year found more than a quarter of teachers had been confronted with violent pupils in the last 12 months, with staff reportedly being threatened, pushed, scratched, punched, bitten, kicked and spat at.

    Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, warned that teachers were “living in fear of breaking the rules while troublemaking students felt the law was on their side”.
    Last month, he set out a series of reforms designed to give teachers new powers to discipline children in the classroom.
    This includes the right to search pupils for any item they can use to cause disruption, more power to physically restrain troublemakers and allowing staff to impose “same day” detentions - scrapping rules requiring them to give parents 24 hours warning.
    But a report commissioned by the Department for Education suggested many teachers were reluctant to use the new powers.
    The study – based on 45 hours of interviews with teachers in London, Birmingham and Leeds – said staff felt a “huge sense of personal responsibility, pressure and expectations are placed upon them”.
    “When it comes to behaviour, however, they often felt that this can quickly spiral out of their control,” said the study.
    “Their biggest fear was that they may deal with/or be seen to deal with behaviour wrongly or inappropriately and that ensuing consequences will be very serious: damage a child or teacher, especially their career.”
    The report, by marketing firm 2CV, tested the Government’s new proposals on staff.
    But the study said teachers “claimed to find the powers disengaging”.
    “Discipline’ was felt to be too out-dated, negative and punitive, and ‘powers’ too controlling and dominating,” it said.
    One female teacher from a London comprehensive told researchers: “‘Powers’ sounds really antiquated and out of touch with the realities of what it’s like to be a teacher today. It reminds of the slipper and the cane; it’s certainly not aspirational for me as teacher.”
    The report said there was a huge reluctance to physically search or restrain pupils for fear of being accused of assault. Many said this should only be carried out by trained specialists or senior staff.
    A woman from a Leeds comprehensive said: “I don’t think we should have to risk our own personal safety, that’s not what I signed up for.”
    One female teacher from a secondary grammar school in Birmingham said: “There’s a relationship you have to build up with pupils; you can’t just decide to search a pupil half-way through a lesson.
    “It’s not something for the classroom teacher to deal with.”
    A male teacher from a London boys’ secondary school added: “I don’t feel confident that the head would back me up if a student accused me of something while I was searching them or trying to break up a fight. I would get  automatically suspended and it could be the end of my career.”

    Take a look at the readers' comments here.


    No copyright infringement intended. For educational, non-commercial purposes only.

    Wednesday, December 15, 2010

    Best students - 2010/11 1st Term


    Our best students of English during the 1st Term have been:
    1 ESO A - Diego Anido Pereiro (7.21)
    1 ESO B - Mario Quinteiro Sotelo (8.89)
    2 ESO A - Pablo Martínez Álvarez (8.01)
    2 ESO B - Adrián Alonso Núñez (8.84)
    3 ESO A - Iago Borrajo Rodríguez (8.88)
    3 ESO B - Estela Pascual Míguez (9.06)
    4 ESO A - Alejandro Otero Fernández (9.33): Best ESO student of English during the 1st Term!
    4 ESO B - Marta Barros Reguera (8.48)

    And the students with the best overall performance this 1st Term:

    1 ESO A - Diego Anido Pereiro (7.09)
    1 ESO B - Mario Quinteiro Sotelo (8.03)
    2 ESO A - Rodrigo Rodríguez González (8.30)
    2 ESO B - Adrián Alonso Núñez (8.50)
    3 ESO A - Yasmina El Hachimi (8.20)
    3 ESO B - Miguel Romero Zapatero (8.70) - ESO student averaging the highest marks!
    4 ESO A - Sara Pérez Abraldes (7.00)
    4 ESO B - Marta Barros Reguera (7.80)

    Very often the students who get the highest grades are not the most talented ones, but those who try harder, show a positive attitude and have a praiseworthy work ethics.

    Tuesday, December 14, 2010

    Manuel de los Santos: Only Believe!

    Manuel de los Santos is one of sport's most inspirational figures. Growing up in the Dominican Republic, he played baseball from a young age and by 2003 was planning to turn professional. But a motorcycle accident changed his life forever when he lost his left leg above the knee.

    Following this accident, he moved to France and on seeing the film, 'The Legend of Bagger Vance', he was inspired to take up golf. Now 26 years old, Manuel lives in Paris and plays to a handicap of just three, competing in high profile tournaments all around the world. His extraordinary golf swing has become instantly recognisable.

    Peter Montgomery read about Manuel at the end of 2009 and had the idea of making a film about him. This short documentary portrait is the result. His English is not perfect but you will surely understand most of it.

    Manuel is an example to all of us when we complain about some lesser problem or when, confronted with some hazard, we throw in the towel and say "I can't."

    No copyright infringement intended. For educational, non-commercial purposes only.

    Monday, December 13, 2010

    Mona Lisa's eyes may reveal model's identity


    The following article by Tom Kington was published on the Guardian last Sunday 12th December.

    An Italian researcher, Silvano Vinceti, has sparked new controversy over the world's most famous painting by claiming Leonardo da Vinci painted tiny letters into the eyes of the Mona Lisa which may finally reveal the disputed identity of his model.

    To arrive at a theory worthy of The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown's 2003 bestseller, researcher Silvano Vinceti avoided the Mona Lisa's enigmatic smile and instead gazed deep into her eyes with the help of high-resolution images.

    "Invisible to the naked eye and painted in black on green-brown are the letters LV in her right pupil, obviously Leonardo's initials, but it is what is in her left pupil that is far more interesting," said Vinceti, the chairman of the Italian national committee for cultural heritage.

    Vinceti said that the letters B or S, or possibly the initials CE, were discernible, a vital clue to identifying the model who sat for the Renaissance artist. She has often been named as Lisa Gherardini, the wife of a Florentine merchant, but Vinceti disagreed, claiming Leonardo painted the Mona Lisa in Milan. He said he would announce his conclusions next month.

    "On the back of the painting are the numbers '149', with a fourth number erased, suggesting he painted it when he was in Milan in the 1490s, using as a model a woman from the court of Ludovico Sforza, the Duke of Milan," said Vinceti, who claimed earlier this year that he had identified the lost remains of the painter Michelangelo da Caravaggio.

    In The Da Vinci Code, Brown suggests Mona Lisa is an anagram for Amon l'Isa, referring to ancient Egyptian deities.

    "Leonardo was keen on symbols and codes to get messages across, and he wanted us to know the identity of the model using the eyes, which he believed were the door to the soul and a means for communication," said Vinceti.

    He said that while researching the model's identity he had been inspired by a 1960s book by a French art historian, which mentions the letters in her eyes.

    "Under the right-hand arch of the bridge seen in the background, Leonardo also painted 72, or L2, another possible clue," he added. "Two expert painters we consulted on this tell us that all these marks, painted using a tiny brush and a magnifying glass, cannot be an error."

    The eyes have it. Everything you need to know… or at least the clues. And the world famous Mona Lisa is no different. Good Morning America uncovers her hidden symbols.

    REPORTER: “In the right eye, he claims, are the letters ‘LV’ – Leonardo da Vinci, the man who painted her 500 years ago. And in the left eye, symbols, but they’re not as defined. ‘C’ ‘E’, maybe ‘B?’ In the bridge, is that ‘72?’” 

    WHAT DOES IT ALL MEEEEAN?? We have four answers. First, Lalate says the letters in the left eye reveal the real life Mona. That’s if you believe researcher Silvano Vinceti: “Previous researchers had said Lisa Gherardini was the model. Vinceti disagrees, says he has determined the model’s identity, and claims his findings will be released in January.”

    Not so! Just ask Regis and Kelly…and ABC World News Now. Hmph…maybe not the most informed opinions of all time…

    LIVE! with Regis & Kelly
    PHILBIN: “In the right eye, appears to be the letters ‘LV,’ which could well stand for his name.”
    RIPA: “Louis Vuitton?”
    PHILBIN: “’C’ and ‘E’ or ‘B.’”
    RIPA: “Or it could be two ‘G’s for Gucci.”

    ABC MALE ANCHOR: (Photo of ABC News logos in eyes) “We took a closer look and we actually found something a little different. That’s what it says (She’s our mascot). Who knew years ago that da Vinci would be creating this for us?”
    FEMALE ANCHOR: “Well, she’s often to referred to as the world’s most beautiful woman, so it’s only fitting she has the world’s most beautiful show in her eyes.”

    Finally, an art historian on CNN argues it might just be a weird code. He says da Vinci did lots of strange stuff like carry around the painting for years, so no one could touch it: “That’s not only crazy. That’s amazing to me. I love when I hear something like that. As far as why he did those things—I think when you’re that kind of brain faced with all the other normal brains like the rest of us around him, maybe you just get bored…maybe you are writing a secret message.”

    Up next for the researchers….they want to dig up da Vinci’s 500-year-old body to see if his face resembled the Mona Lisa’s. Art history never sleeps, ladies and gentlemen… 

    Writer: Chance Seales

    No copyright infringement intended. For educational, non-commercial purposes only.

    Graded Readers for the 2nd Term (2010-11)


    You MUST buy the books (they are inexpensive: only about 6€ each). Photocopying books is ILLEGAL. You must respect copyright law, writers and editors! Authors make a living from it and lose revenue when you photocopy: COPYING is STEALING!

    ...And if you borrow a book you are taking advantage of another student, who has spent his or her money on that book. Be honest and buy the books: This is certainly one of the best investments you will do in your lives as students. Don't forget that most of the textbooks you are using this schoolyear (and during the last few schoolyears) have been provided by the Education Authorities for free.

    If you want to read and LISTEN to your books at the same time, at Burlington Books Student's Zone you can download the MP3 audio files.

    ESO 1
    The Ghost Teacher (ISBN 978-9963-626-91-5)

    ESO 2
    The Evil Painting (ISBN 978-9963-626-95-3)

    ESO 3
    More Sports Stars (ISBN 978-9963-46-784-6)

    ESO 4
    How to Be a Millionaire (ISBN 978-9963-617-25-8)

    These are the dates for your exams on the books:

    ESO 1 - Wednesday 2nd February 2011
    ESO 2 - Monday 31st January 2011
    ESO 3 - Monday 31st January 2011
    ESO 4 - Monday 31st January 2011

    No copyright infringement intended. For educational, non-commercial purposes only.

    Sunday, December 12, 2010

    Videojug: Get Good at Life


    What is Videojug?

    Videojug is an instructional video website, a digital media company that helps people to ‘get good at life', wherever they are. They offer thousands of videos, articles, answers & people to help you. You can do anything & Videojug will show you how - it's all free, so get involved and get good!

    Their aim is to be a world-leading factual and learning resource for the 100s of millions of global internet users hungry for knowledge on how to perform a million large and little life tasks, as well as practical and valuable information on any subject under the sun: they have created over 50,000 films for Their library covers a wide range of topics appealing to a huge variety of audiences - from beauty tips to financial advice. All of their videos can be embedded on your blog or website and many of them include a transcription.

    As the original UK pioneer of ‘How-To' online video, Videojug has been producing professional, instructional, short-form online video content since 2006. Today their library of video content enables many millions of people everywhere to access straightforward, valuable knowledge and advice across thousands of subjects in a straightforward easy-to-follow tutorial format, through their website at, on their mobile device with their apps for the iPhone and iPad as well as through their syndication network.

    Videojug Corporation Limited can be found at 4th Floor, St John's House, 54 St John's Square, Clerkenwell, London.

    Here is an example of what Videojug can offer: An excellent video on mind-mapping which many of you find useful when trying to learn something and/or studying for an exam. After the video we include the (partial) transcription provided by Videojug.

    How To Mind Map With Tony Buzan

    Tony Buzan is a leading expert on the brain and learning, and inventor of the revolutionary Mind-Mapping technique, which he believes is more efficient than conventional methods of writing notes and ideas. In this film Tony talks about how he developed Mind Mapping and how it can be applied in everyday life.

    Step 1: Problems With Note-taking

    Most people make linear notes that fill a page from left to right, and top to bottom. For most purposes, this not actually the most efficient way for writing notes. 

    Step 2: Developing Mind Maps

    Mind Maps start with a main idea in the centre of the page. This then has branches coming off it for the most important headings. Each of these headings then has further branches coming off it, so that the information in the Mind Map radiates from the centre outwards. This more closely matches the brain's way of arranging information, and is more effective than linear notes from top to bottom. 

    Step 3: Using Mind Maps

    The most effective Mind Maps also contain lots of images and different colours, as these help the brain to remember.
    Mind Maps have many uses. They can be used to write notes in order to revise for exams, brainstorm for ideas, organise large amounts of information etc

    No copyright infringement intended. For educational, non-commercial purposes only.

    Wednesday, December 8, 2010

    ESO 2, 3 & 4 - 1st Term PBL Results


    ESO 2, ESO 3 & ESO 4 Students,

    Before publishing your PBL results, let us remind you what the terms were:

    You had to send your answers in 2 attached files:
    • File #1: a text file (such as Microsoft Word, Windows Write, etc.) but the extension MUST be ".rtf" and not ".doc" including what you think the original Spanish text said, the best possible translation into English and all the necessary comments and explanations.
    • File #2: your new, original design for a hotel room door-knob card in a ".jpg" or ".gif" file including your translation into English.
    • For your ".rtf" file you had to use the K-W-L system:
    What do I KNOW (about this topic)? (Hotels, bookings, rooms, etc.)
    What do I WANT (=need) to know?
    What have I LEARNT?

    If you are wondering why your group has not got 10 points, go through the terms & conditions and check which one(s) you did not comply with... and remember: perfection does not exist!

    And now, here are your marks (if you can't remember what group you belong to, check the PBL post):

    GROUP 2A1: 0 points - message & files not sent :-(

    GROUP 2A2: 3 points.

    GROUP 2A3: 3 points.

    GROUP 2A4: 4 points.

    GROUP 2B1: 6 points.

    GROUP 2B2: 8 points.

    GROUP 2B3: 6 points.

    GROUP 3A1: 4 points.

    GROUP 3A2: 8 points.

    GROUP 3A3: 8 points.

    GROUP 3A4: 3 points.

    GROUP 3B1: 9 points.

    GROUP 3B2: 9 points

    GROUP 3B3: 5 points.

    GROUP 3B4: 6 points.

    GROUP 4A1: 3 points.

    GROUP 4A2: 9 points.

    GROUP 4A3: 9 points.

    GROUP 4A4: 8 points.

    GROUP 4B1: 9 points.

    GROUP 4B2: 9 points.

    GROUP 4B3: 3 points.

    GROUP 4B4: 9 points

    And last but not least, let see some of your door-knob cards:


    No copyright infringement intended. For educational, non-commercial purposes only.

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