2011 Dialogue - The First Day of School (51)
A: This is your first day of school, Helen.
B: I know, mom. I am so happy.
A: That makes me happy, too.
B: I get to meet new friends.
A: Yes you do, and your new teachers.
B: Oh yes. I forgot. I can't wait.
A: Okay, dear. Let's get in the car.
B: Okay, mommy. Let's go.
2027 Dialogue - Time for Dinner (38)
A: Maria! It's time for dinner.
B: Okay, mommy. I'm on my way.
A: Sit on that chair, dear.
B: This one?
A: Yes, Maria. The big chair.
B: I never sat here before.
A: I made chicken tonight.
B: Yum! I love your chicken, mom.
2055 Dialogue - Going Fishing (37)
A: Are we going fishing, dad?
B: Yes, Christopher. Today is the day.
A: Where are we going?
B: To the lake, son.
A: What do I bring?
B: Just get your pole. I got the rest.
A: I'm so happy.
B: Me too, son.
2071 A New Pet (50)
Kate is walking.
She sees a dog.
The dog wags its tail.
Kate likes the dog.
It has no collar.
Kate takes it home.
She washes the dog.
She names him "Toby."
She takes Toby to the vet.
Toby is healthy.
Kate walks Toby every day.
They love each other.
2121 Having Fun on a Swing (54)
Michael and his grandmother go to the park's playground.
There are so many things to do.
Michael runs over to the swing set.
He sits on a swing.
He kicks the ground.
His legs are in the air.
His grandmother pushes him.
He is even higher!
He feels like he can touch the sky.
2124 Being Careless (52)
Two brothers are bored.
They play catch with each other inside the house.
The older brother throws the ball to the younger brother.
He catches it.
He throws it back.
The ball hits the window.
The window breaks.
Their mom hears the loud sound.
She is mad.
She takes the ball away.
2163 Harry Studies Everywhere (53)
Harry thinks his grades are very important.
He studies a lot.
He studies everywhere he goes.
He studies at the library.
He studies when he goes out to eat.
He even studies when he goes to parties!
His friends make fun of him.
Harry does not care.
He gets As all the time.
2181 Best Friends (57)
Kelly and Julie are best friends.
They do everything together.
They walk to school together every morning.
They eat breakfast together.
Kelly eats bacon and eggs.
Julie eats cereal.
They take the same classes.
Kelly is good at math.
Julie is good at English.
They help each other out.
They plan to go to the same college.
2198 Halloween Is Fun (50)
It is Halloween.
Halloween is the time when people dress up.
Young people like to dress up.
Old people just wear regular clothes.
Children like to go trick-or-treating.
They go to a house.
They ring the doorbell.
They say "trick or treat!"
They get candy.
They go to another house.
2206 Feeding Ducks (56)
He goes to the park.
There is lake in the park.
He takes out a slice of bread.
He breaks it up into pieces.
He throws them into the water.
The ducks chase after the crumbs.
He takes out another slice of bread.
He throws the whole slice into the lake.
Two ducks fight over it.
3005 A Five-Pound Note (470)
An elderly man and his sister lived in a small country house some distance
from the nearest market town.
The brother was a stay-at-home type who liked nothing better than reading books in his room.
So the sister had to do all the housework and the shopping.
One day the sister had to go to the nearest market town to do some shopping.
As there was a market day only once a week, on Fridays, she usually bought a week’s supply of food.
So she needed a fairly large sum of money.
Her brother gave her a five-pound note for her shopping.
She set off for the market town.
She travelled by the slow little local train.
There was only one other person in the compartment with her, a shabbily-dressed old countrywoman sitting in front of her.
It was a warm summer day, and the old countrywoman was nodding.
Soon the other old lady, the old man’s sister, was nodding too.
The train stopped at a little station.
She woke up, and suddenly thought it was not very safe to sleep on the train when she had so much money in her handbag.
She opened her handbag to make sure that her five-pound note was still there.
But she got a great shock.
The five-pound note was not in her handbag!
The train started off again, and she wondered if she should call the guard.
She looked at the old countrywoman in front of her: she was sleeping, and on the seat beside her was a worn leather bag.
The sister quietly peeped into the bag.
There was a new five-pound note lying right on top of the contents!
“Well!” the sister thought to herself.
“She looks such a harmless little old lady, but she’s a thief!
I must call the guard.”
But then she thought a little more, and said to herself:
“Poor thing! She’s very old, and her clothes are so shabby.
It was my own fault.
I caused her to be tempted.
It would be too cruel to call the police.
But I can’t do my week’s shopping if I have no money.
What shall I do?”
As the old countrywoman was still sleeping, she decided not to wake her.
She quietly reached out her hand and took the five-pound note from the old woman’s bag.
Then she quietly closed the bag again.
The old countrywoman got out at the next stop, and the sister went on to the market town and did her day’s shopping.
It was nearly tea-time when she returned home.
She had spent every penny of the five-pound note.
Her brother came to meet her at the station.
The first thing he said to her was: “How did you pay for all these goods?
You left the five-pound note on your dressing table.”
3007 The Little Black Book (1,039)
My name is John Hopkins.
Many years ago I worked for an insurance company.
There I met an insurance salesman.
His name was David McFarlane.
He was very kind to everyone and always smiled.
His lifelong motto was, “Families are the most important thing in the world,” and he always tried to follow his motto.
His sales record was very good.
Anyone who met him liked his bright smile and way of speaking.
His talk was so interesting that everyone soon listened to him.
He was a great man.
However, he had one mystery.
That was his “little black book.”
It was a small black book with a lock on the cover.
It looked very old, and he always took it with him when he went out for insurance sales.
If you went to his office, you would see it on his desk.
He would sometimes pull the black book out and write down something in it.
If you picked up his suit coat, you could feel the black book in his coat pocket.
A few months after I started working for the company, I asked one of the staff what the book was for and he answered, “What do you think is in the book?”
I was not the sharpest knife in the drawer and I said, “I have no idea.”
“Oh, come on,” he said.
“David keeps his list of girlfriends in there.”
I was surprised!
Later I asked another person in the company about the black book.
She said, “He is keeping the list of the horses he likes at the race track.”
Again I was very surprised.
Actually, nobody knew what was written in his black book.
For many years, the stories about the little black book continued.
Then suddenly one day, David had a big heart attack and died.
Everybody was very shocked.
Four days later, we had a ceremony at a church to say good-bye to him.
A lot of flowers were everywhere, and when we took him to the church, the place was packed with a lot of people.
I was standing in the back of the church.
The minister went on about what a great man David was and how he was a good example for us.
The minister asked David’s wife to come up and talk about her husband’s character.
Then I saw she was carrying his little black book!
She stood up slowly, looked at us and said, “Thank you all for being here today.
I want to share with you a secret about my husband’s character.”
I thought, “Oh, here it comes!”
She continued, “You see this small book.
Most of you know he always carried it with him.
I would like to read to you the first entry of the book dated April 17, 1972 - Mary Flannery, she is all alone.
The next entry, August 8, 1972 - Frederick W. Pritchard, he is all alone.
The next entry, November 15, 1973 - Frieda M. Gale, she is all alone.
You see, when he visited houses for insurance sales and found the person lived alone at the house, he would write his or her name in this book.
Then, every Christmas Eve, he would call each person and invite them to share a wonderful Christmas dinner at our house.
I want you all to know that this was the true character of my husband.
This is what the little black book is all about.
This year is 2002 and I also want you to know that he did this for thirty Christmases.”
Then, one man suddenly stood up and said, “May I speak just for a while?
My name is Burns.
In fact, I am one of the people who were invited to a Christmas dinner by David.
That was 10 years ago.
At that time, I felt the world was very dark because I lost my wife and children in a car accident.
I was all alone.
One snowy day in December, I was so lonely and sad without my family that I decided to kill myself.
I was about to drink some poison, when somebody knocked on the door.
It was David.
I don’t know why, but I opened the door and saw his big smile.
He started talking in a very friendly way.
‘Hello, my name is David.
I’m a salesperson for health insurance.
I’m here today to tell you that life is very important to you and your family.’
Soon I got interested in his friendly talk.
Again, I don’t know why, but I started to talk about my tragedy to David even though we just met each other for the first time.
I talked about how unfair life was and how unhappy I was.
David just listened to me very carefully without saying anything.
He sometimes just nodded.
After one hour or so, when I finished talking, he just smiled and then prayed, ‘May God be with you.’
“A few days later, on Christmas Eve, I got a phone call from David.
David said, ‘We are going to have a Christmas dinner today.
Why don’t you come to my place and have dinner with us?’
I was very surprised, but happy.
I visited his house in the evening.
When I entered the house, I saw a woman with David and his wife.
David introduced her to me.
‘Well, this is Nancy.
She is one of my clients.’
“Actually, Nancy was also in his little black book and was invited by him on Christmas Eve.
While talking, I found that she also lost her husband because of illness and she was all alone.
From that day, we started to go out together and a few years later, we got married.
I got a new family!”
Burns turned to the woman next to him and said, “This woman sitting next to me now is Nancy, my lovely wife.
Thanks to David’s little black book, I’m still alive and also married.
Today, I’m here to say thank you to David and to tell everyone about what a great man he was.
David taught me we humans cannot live alone and families are the most important thing in our life.”
3012 Too Japanese (960)
“Why do you want to take a month-long vacation?
You will have nothing to do and become tired.”
My boss was really surprised.
“This is the first time in more than 15 years.
No one has asked me for such a long vacation,” he said.
At first, he thought that I was joking.
I was not.
“I haven’t seen my family for two years.
I think that it is about time for me to go back and meet them.
My niece will be two years old very soon.
I have only seen her in photographs.
I want to be at home for her birthday,” I explained.
My boss listened to me very quietly.
“I understand your point,” he said.
“But you don’t need one month.
We Japanese don’t take more than one week to go home.
One week is enough.
You can go home for New Year.”
He had a good point.
However, he was forgetting something.
In Japan if you want to go to Okinawa, Hokkaido or Shikoku, you can get there in a few hours.
Also, there are no time differences.
But, to go to my country, Argentina, I need almost two days.
Yes! Two days.
Please do not think that I swim all the way there.
Of course I take a plane.
Besides, there is a 12-hour time difference.
Besides the two days for the trip, you need several more days to feel normal again.
If I make my point clearer, when it is 1:00 a.m. in Tokyo, it is 1:00 p.m. in Argentina.
Also, while we are enjoying a nice summer in Tokyo, the people down there are having a cold winter.
I explained all this and much more to my boss for a month.
At last, he said, “Twenty five days!
And that is my last word.
Don’t forget to bring me a nice present!”
He was very nice.
He had to talk to the president of the company, and a long time and a lot of work was necessary for him before the president said O.K.
My vacation was going to begin in three months.
Time passed quickly.
I was very busy with work to finish all of my projects.
The day before I left, we had a good-bye party.
I received farewell presents and best wishes from everybody.
The following day I was sitting on a plane for Argentina.
My heart was beating fast.
At last, after two long years, I was back home.
My family and friends were waiting for me at the airport.
You can imagine how we all felt.
I cried like a baby.
At last we arrived at our house.
I took off my shoes and went in.
Dad was very surprised and asked, “What are you doing?”
I looked at everybody.
They were all wearing their shoes.
“No! What are you doing?” I shouted.
Then I remembered that I was not in Japan any more.
My sister said, “You’re too Japanese.”
Everybody laughed, and after kissing each one of them, I went to bed.
I was so sleepy that I couldn’t keep my eyes open.
The following day I went for a walk.
I said to myself, “The city has changed so much!”
I was surprised to find that some “Japanese” companies like McDonald’s and Seven-Eleven were also there.
I met some friends and we went to a coffee shop.
At the table next to us there were some Japanese people.
This was a great chance.
I turned and said in my best Japanese, “How are you?
This is a beautiful day, isn’t it?”
“Are you speaking Japanese?” they asked in perfect Spanish.
“Yes, I am. Did you understand me?”
“Not a single word.
Our grandfather was born in Niigata, but our parents and we were born here.
The only Japanese we know is sayonara.
Well, as you can speak Japanese so well, we want you to do something for us.”
“Sure, no problem. What is it?”
“We received this letter from our aunt.
It is written all in kanji.
None of us can read it.
Can you translate it?”
Everybody was looking at me.
Not only my friends but also all the other people in the coffee shop.
One of the Japanese showed me the letter.
It was written with a brush.
I could see only black lines.
They went from one place to the other with no meaning at all for me.
The only words I could guess were ogenkidesuka at the beginning.
But I could not read even that.
I just thought that the letter probably had those words at the beginning because it was from an aunt.
I was getting hotter.
My face was turning from red to purple.
I didn’t know what to do.
“I can read it!
However, I forgot my glasses in Japan.
I cannot read without them.
I am sorry.”
I didn’t think that most of the people there believed my explanation.
So I called the waiter and, in a very loud voice, ordered drinks for everybody.
Soon, my kanjj problem was forgotten.
But I will never forget it.
It was a good lesson.
It was closing time.
I paid and left with my friends.
Soon after that the waiter came out of the shop, and called, “Sir, sir!”
Something like that happened to me while I was in Japan.
I forgot my bag and the Japanese waiter ran to give it back to me.
I thought, “What have I forgotten this time?”
I turned to him, and said, “Thank you very much.”
“Why?” he asked.
“I think that I have forgotten something and you are bringing it to me.”
“You have forgotten something.
But, I am not bringing anything for you,” he answered.
“How is that?”
“You forgot my tip, sir!”
3018 A Special Day (582)
Alice Jackson’s husband, Henry, was a man of habit.
So at six o’clock in the evening she put a bottle of his favorite beer on the table and looked out of the kitchen window.
She was smiling.
Today was a special day.
It was their tenth wedding anniversary, and some of their best friends were coming over to their house for a party.
There were a lot of food and drinks ready in the kitchen.
There was also a big ice statue of a man and a woman kissing on the table in the living room.
Alice was looking forward to the evening.
She was very happy.
She had a beautiful baby, a lovely home, and a husband she loved.
Henry came home and opened the door at six.
She turned round to kiss him and give him his beer.
“Sit down, Alice, I have something to say to you.”
Alice had no idea that in the next two minutes her whole life was going to change.
“I know this must be a happy day,” he began to speak after being silent for almost a minute.
“But I must tell you that I’m … I’m in love with Kathy.
I’m sorry. ... Bobby won’t miss me: he’s too young.”
She couldn’t believe her ears.
She was in a dream.
“I’ll get ready for the party.”
This was the only thing she could say.
She walked into the living room.
When she returned, she was carrying something big and heavy.
He heard her, and turned.
“What are you …?”
These were Henry Jackson’s last words.
His wife hit him over the head.
At first he didn’t move.
Then he slowly fell to the floor.
Suddenly Alice began to think very clearly.
She took the ice statue back to the living room, and called the police.
Then she turned off the air conditioner, and went upstairs to change her clothes.
The police came quickly.
“Is he all right?” Alice asked.
“I’m sorry. He is dead.”
Alice screamed. “No, no, not Henry! My Henry! Oh Henry!”
Through her tears she told how she had put the baby to bed, and had come downstairs only to find Henry on the kitchen floor.
“Burglars,” said one of the policemen.
They took her into the living room.
“Sit down, Mrs. Jackson. I hope you understand that we have to search the house.
We may be able to find something important.
Jack, get Mrs. Jackson a drink.
It’s very hot in this room.”
The room was still very hot even at this time of night.
Suddenly an arm fell off the ice statue.
Jack went to the statue and picked up the arm from the table.
He broke it into pieces and put some into Alice’s drink.
“Can I have a glass of water, too, Mrs. Jackson? It’s so hot in here.”
“I think we all need one,” said another policeman. “And with ice.”
They were all very hot and thirsty.
Alice’s friends arrived.
“Poor Alice! Poor Henry!”
They were all very kind and tried to comfort her.
“Oh, thank you, thank you,” said Alice.
“Please ... stay and have a drink. Help yourselves.”
They all had drinks.
And they all had ice.
The statue was melting away and was now only small broken pieces of ice and a pool of water on the floor.
“I wonder what the burglar hit him with,” said one guest.
“Who knows?” said another.
Alice heard this talk, and smiled into her glass.
3019 ELIWUNAO (776)
“I found a big box on the road this morning,” Naime said. “I hid it in
the long grass.”
“What’s in the box?” Harao asked.
“I don’t know,” Naime answered. “Let’s go and find out.”
The boys went out of the school yard and ran along the road until they came to some long grass.
Naime showed Harao the box.
“Come on. Let’s open it,” Harao said.
They started trying to open the lid of the box.
It was hard work.
After a while they broke the lid with a large stone.
Inside they found a lot of long, thin, round things.
“It’s only a box of candles!” Naime said.
“I was hoping it would be a box of watches or radios or something like that.”
“Well, we can take them home and use them at night,” Harao said.
“Our parents will be very pleased.
They will save a lot of money.”
He looked at the side of the box.
There was a long word there, printed in big red letters.
“What does that word mean?” he asked.
Naime looked at it for a long time.
Then he shook his head.
“I can’t read it very well,” he said slowly.
Harao looked at the word for a long time too, but he couldn’t read it either.
He tried to pronounce the word.
“The first letter is E, I think,” he said, “and the second letter is L, and the third letter is I.”
The two silly boys didn’t know it, but they were looking at the word upside down.
They thought that the word was like this: ELIWUNAO.
They both tried to pronounce the word and then at last Naime cried out, “I know! It’s ‘Eliwunao’!”
Harao was silent.
“What are eliwunaos, Naime?” he asked at last.
Naime looked at him.
He picked one up from the box and waved it under Harao’s nose.
“You see, this is an eliwunao,” he said.
“They’re just candles.
Come on, let’s hide them somewhere.
I know a good hiding place.”
They picked the box up and carried it back to the school yard.
There was a large pile of leaves in one corner of the school yard.
They hid the box under the leaves, and then they went home.
Every day, lessons began with question time, so, next morning, Harao said to his teacher, “What does ELIWUNAO mean?
It was written on the side of a box.”
“I haven’t heard of that word, Harao,” he said.
“Come up and write it on the blackboard please.”
So Harao went to the blackboard and slowly and carefully printed the word in large letters.
But the teacher still could not tell him the meaning of the word.
Then it was time for morning news.
A girl said the police were looking for a box of dynamite stolen from the back of a truck.
The children talked about the news for a while.
Then they took out their English books and started to do some writing.
As they worked, the teacher looked at the word on the blackboard.
He wrote something on a sheet of paper and turned the sheet around until it was upside down.
Then he put the paper in front of Harao.
“Is this the word that you saw on the box?” he asked.
“Yes sir,” Harao said.
“That’s the word. Eliwunao.”
Slowly the teacher turned the sheet of paper around.
“This word says DYNAMITE,” the teacher said.
“It is very dangerous. What did you do with it?”
“We hid it, sir,” Harao answered.
“Where?” the teacher asked.
“Under that pile of leaves, sir,” Harao said.
Everyone looked out of the window and there they saw the old school gardener by the pile of leaves.
Just then he set fire to them and they began to burn brightly.
The teacher looked horrified.
He hurried to the window and opened it.
“Run for your life,” he shouted.
“What did you say, sir?” the old man shouted back.
He was very old and he couldn’t hear well.
“I said RUN!” the teacher shouted again.
The old man understood that something was wrong, and he ran.
“Everyone, get under your desks!” the teacher ordered.
Suddenly there was a great crash.
The building shook, pictures fell off the walls, the windows broke.
There were leaves and dust and small pieces of glass everywhere.
Luckily, no one was hurt.
The police, the firemen and several ambulances came to the school.
Everyone had something to say to Naime and Harao.
The police asked them questions about finding the box.
The firemen explained how dangerous dynamite was.
The teacher said they should study harder to read properly.
3022 Leaves (170)
Why do leaves on many trees change their colors and fall off?
In the spring and early summer, the leaves of a tree are full of chlorophyll.
It is necessary for the tree to change water, sunlight, and carbon dioxide into its food.
Because of the chlorophyll, the leaves look green till the end of summer.
When autumn comes, chlorophyll flows from the leaves into the tree.
As it goes out, the leaves turn red, orange, and yellow.
These colors are always in the leaves, but they cannot be seen when there is much more chlorophyll.
Then, why does chlorophyll flow out of the leaves?
For some trees, saving water and this chemical is more important than using them to make their food during dry seasons.
So, in autumn, the trees even drop their leaves to keep the chlorophyll from flowing back into the leaves together with water.
The aging and dying of leaves is nature’s way of saving as much water and chlorophyll as possible from year to year.
3037 Cinderella (199)
People have told the story of Cinderella in many different ways.
But the main story is always the same.
A rich boy meets a poor girl who is pretty and kind.
They fall in love.
The boy loses the girl.
Then he finds her again.
After that they live happily.
This story was first written more than a thousand years ago in China.
Since then, many people have told it again in new ways.
Some stories have animals which help Cinderella.
In a story from Scotland, a small cow helps her.
In a story from China, her pet fish helps her.
One story of Cinderella was written by the Grimm brothers.
In their story, Cinderella’s life is hard.
Her father doesn’t like Cinderella.
But some birds help her.
She goes to the dance and meets a young man.
Then she loses her fur shoe.
But the most famous story of Cinderella was the one that Charles Perrault, a French writer, wrote in 1697.
The pumpkin that becomes a coach was his idea.
Cinderella’s glass shoe was his idea, too.
Today, when a poor but good person gets love, money, or happiness at last, people say, “It’s a Cinderella story.”
3058 Seahorse (203)
Seahorses are tiny fishes that are named for the shape of their head, which
looks like the head of a tiny horse.
There are at least 25 species of seahorses.
You’ll find them in the world’s tropical and temperate coastal waters, swimming upright among seaweed and other plants.
Seahorses use their dorsal fins (back fins) to propel slowly forward.
To move up and down, seahorses adjust the volume of air in their swim bladders, which is an air pocket inside their bodies.
Tiny, spiny plates cover seahorses' bodies all the way down to their curled, flexible tails.
The tail can grasp objects, helpful when seahorses want to anchor themselves to vegetation.
A female seahorse lays dozens, sometimes hundreds, of eggs in a pouch on the male seahorse’s abdomen.
Called a brood pouch, it resembles a kangaroo’s pouch for carrying young.
Seahorse young hatch after up to 45 days in the brood pouch.
The baby seahorses, each about the size of a jelly bean, find other baby seahorses and float together in small groups, clinging to each other using their tails.
Unlike kangaroos, baby seahorses do not return to the pouch.
They must find food and hide from predators as soon as they’re born.
3084 Her Love of Food (144)
She ate a lot of food.
She ate cheese burgers.
She ate chips.
She ate sweets.
Every day she ate these types of foods.
She was always hungry.
She did not like vegetables or fruits.
She never drank water.
She only drank soda, or juice.
She was big.
She did not exercise.
She was happy about her appearance.
People made fun of her.
"Lose weight," people said to her.
"Stop eating," people said to her.
"No, thank you," she replied.
"I'm happy with how I look," she said.
She loved eating fattening foods.
Nothing could change her diet.
She went to see a doctor.
The doctor told her to lose weight.
She did not want to lose weight.
Her doctor explained why she had to lose weight.
She could die.
She became scared.
She did not want to die.
She decided to lose weight.
3097 Sally and her Cat (145)
Sally was petting her cat.
Her cat's name is Kitty.
Kitty is a large black cat.
Sally ran her finger down Kitty's back.
She loved her cat.
Her cat smelled like shampoo.
She had been washed that morning.
Cats do not like water.
Kitty, on the other hand, liked water.
Kitty was a friendly cat.
Sally was on her bed.
Kitty fell asleep.
Sally was thirsty.
She did not want to wake up Kitty.
She picked up her cell phone.
She called her little brother.
She whispered into the phone and said, "Get me a glass of water, please."
Her brother said okay.
He was downstairs watching television.
He went to the kitchen.
He got a glass of water.
He took it upstairs to his sister's room.
He did not know Kitty was asleep.
He slammed the door open.
Kitty woke up and ran away.
4002 Interviews with Your Pets (591)
Interviews with Your Pets
1. An Interview with Your Pet – Mr. Dog
Good evening, everyone!
Welcome back to "The Interview Show."
Today, four guests are here with us.
Now, let's start the interview.
First of all, Mr. Dog, could you tell me about your ancestors?
Well, our ancestors were wolves.
They were the first animals humans kept as pets.
It was around 14,000 years ago.
Since our ancestors could run very fast and hear and smell very well, early humans decided to train them to help with catching animals.
In exchange, the wolves got food and a warm place near the fire.
Over time, wolves developed into dogs.
Does this have something to do with your habit of digging?
When our ancestors lived in the wild, it was difficult to get enough food.
Sometimes they had to wait for a long time before they got another meal.
So when they caught an animal, they usually brought some bones back and dug a hole to keep them safe.
Of course we don't need to do that now, but we still dig because of our instinct.
2. An Interview with Your Pet – Ms. Cat
Now Ms. Cat, how did you first come to be a pet?
The first pet cat appeared in Egypt around 3,500 years ago.
Our ancestors were considered useful because they were good at catching mice, like us now.
The Egyptians thought of our ancestors as gods.
We are proud of our ancestors whose figures are painted on the walls of kings' tombs.
I have heard that cats have nine lives.
Is it true?
This idea first appeared in print in England in the 1500s, but it may go back earlier.
People thought that cats could walk away from accidents that might kill other animals.
In fact, I’ve heard that a cat once survived after it fell from a 20-story building.
When we fall, our body turns to a feet-down position.
We can spread our four legs like a parachute and this slows the fall.
3. An Interview with Your Pet – Ms. Goldfish
Ms. Goldfish, it's your turn.
Where did your ancestors come from?
Actually, our ancestors belonged to the carp family!
Between the years 600 and 900, the Chinese began to raise carp.
Over time, the carp's color started to change to a bright orange.
People found them beautiful and a new pet was born: the goldfish!
Do you think we can train fish?
Oh, I think so!
For example, you can teach carp to eat out of your hand.
When you give them food, you always have to do that from the same place and stay there while they eat.
Eventually, they will start to associate you with their meal.
They will swim over to your hand when you put it in the water.
4. An Interview with Your Pets – Mr. Parakeet
Finally, Mr. Parakeet, where did you first become a pet?
Our native home is Australia.
In the 1830s, a British scientist took two of us to England.
We are especially good at speaking like humans, and they soon thought of us as friends who could talk.
So we became very popular.
Thousands of us were brought to England and sold as pets.
Why do birds like to look at themselves in mirrors?
We can't help staring at a mirror.
We actually think we are looking at another bird.
Some of us even try to feed and take care of the imaginary friend.
Sometimes we feel that we like our mirror friend more than we like our human friend.
So, if you want to be your bird's best friend, don't put a mirror nearby.
That's all for today's interview.
Thank you for being with us.
See you next week!
4041 How Asians and Westerners Think Differently (531)
How Asians and Westerners Think Differently
A few years ago, I had a talk with a Chinese student.
He said, “We Chinese tend to look at the whole picture.
We don't think you can understand a part without understanding the whole first.
Westerners, however, generally look at the main objects or people first.”
I found it interesting, so my friend and I started studying how people think differently.
First, we studied American and Chinese children.
We showed them sets of three pictures.
Some examples were “monkey–banana–panda” and “cow–grass–chicken.”
From each set, we asked them to choose the two pictures that go together best.
The results showed something interesting.
The American children grouped objects according to categories such as “animals” and “fruit.”
On the other hand, the Chinese children grouped objects according to relationships.
They said the cow and the grass go together because “the cow eats the grass.”
Do westerners naturally look at the world according to categories?
If so, they may look for similar qualities.
Objects A and B are connected because they have qualities that belong to a category.
In contrast, do East Asians focus less on categories?
If so, they may look for relationships.
The relationship between objects A and B may be important for them.
In order to check this, we looked at three groups of college students: Korean, European–American, and Asian–American students.
We showed them pictures like those below.
Then we asked them to say which group of objects is more similar to the target object in the center.
Most Koreans said the target was more similar to the left group.
This was because it looks like three of those in that group, so it is easy to see why they chose that group.
On the other hand, most European–American said it was more similar to the right group.
There was a simple reason for that.
They looked at the shape.
All four have a straight stem like the target.
Asian–American judgements were in between the two.
Why do Asians usually focus less on categories than Westerners?
This seems a difficult question.
It may relate to culture, history, and perhaps other things, and these may affect how children are raised.
How children are raised may change how they see the world.
Let's take a look at another study on how mothers talk to their babies.
A group of psychologists asked American and Japanese mothers to play with their babies as usual.
They found big differences in the behavior of the mothers.
The American mothers used a lot more object names (for example, “piggy” and “doggy”) than the Japanese mothers did.
The Japanese mothers used a lot more words related to human relationships (“Hello,” “Thank you”).
The American mothers said more things like “That’s a car. See the car? It's got nice wheels.”
The Japanese mothers said more things like “Here! I will give this car to you. Now, give it back to me. Yes! Thank you.”
American children may learn that the world is mostly a place with objects.
Japanese children may learn that the world is mostly about relationships.
Some behaviors may be different from country to country.
Have you noticed any?
4048 Hippo's Secret Substance (284)
Have you ever looked closely at hippos?
They are often covered with a red substance which looks like blood.
However, it is not.
Hippos have more of it when they are on dry land than in the water.
Is it sweat?
No, it is not.
What on earth is this substance?
Hashimoto Kimiko and her colleagues at Keio University believed that the red substance has two functions.
It cools the animals and protects them from the sun and dangerous bacteria.
The research of Hashimoto's team was not easy because hippos are often fierce.
However, they were finally able to take the red substance from two hippos, Satsuki and Jiro, at Ueno Zoo.
They wondered what the substance was.
They examined it and discovered two pigments, one red and one orange.
Because of these pigments, the substance looks like blood.
Next, they tested their theory.
Did the pigments really protect hippos from the sun and kill bacteria?
They found that the pigments absorb ultraviolet rays.
The red pigment also keeps bacteria from growing.
Hippos live in Central Africa, largely in the Nile Valley.
They spend a lot of time in the strong sunlight.
In addition, they often fight with other hippos and receive cuts on their skin.
They need to protect themselves from bacteria.
So the red pigment is very important to hippos.
There is another strange thing.
The color of this substance usually changes to brown, but hippos can keep the red color for several hours.
Why? Researchers have been thinking about this.
They believe it has something to do with hippo mucus.
Now we have found out the colorful secrets of hippos' "sweat blood."
Thanks to this great substance, hippos can stay healthy.
4057 Into the Deep (572)
A new type of deep-ocean vessel was first introduced in September 1996
in Monterey, California.
This vessel is called Deep Flight I.
It was built to explore the deepest parts of the ocean.
Most vessels which explore undersea drop straight down through the water.
Some travel slowly along the ocean floor and collect samples and information.
But Deep Flight I moves around like a fighter plane.
Graham Hawkes, the engineer who designed the vessel, can make it roll, turn, go deeper, and shoot to the surface.
He can get a wonderful view of the dark, silent world under the sea right in front of his eyes.
"Deep Flight I is so small and light that you can send it anywhere," says Hawkes.
For years people have said the last place that we have not yet explored is outer space, not on earth.
But we really do not have to leave our planet.
About 75 percent of the earth's surface is covered with water, and we have seen only a small part of what lies under the sea.
The deep ocean is home to some of the earth's strangest creatures.
They have special bodies that can survive the ocean pressures 5,000 feet down.
Some of them have body parts that can give off light in the dark.
That is how they attract other creatures to eat.
In the even deeper places, researchers have found strange-looking tube worms as long as eight inches, and clams that are the size of dinner plates.
They live in the very hot waters near openings in the ocean floor.
Seawater flows into the earth's crust through these openings and then shoots back up.
Since the temperatures can reach 750°F, it is surprising that anything lives there.
The openings also shoot out minerals like copper and nickel.
In places, the floor of the Pacific Ocean is covered with very large pieces of these minerals.
Some companies are interested in bringing them up from the deep ocean floor.
The ocean floor is not flat.
Mountains and valleys shape the underwater world.
The deepest known point is the Mariana Trench near the Pacific island of Guam.
In 1960 two scientists in an American research vessel traveled 35,800 feet down to explore it.
A Japanese vessel went that deep again in 1998.
Japan has good reason to explore the ocean bottom.
Japan sits on an unstable part of the sea floor where several pieces of the earth's crust meet.
These pieces, or "plates" move a little each year.
Such moves can trigger earthquakes like the one that killed more than 6,000 people in the Hanshin area of Japan in 1995.
Scientists say studying the plates may help them know when earthquakes will happen.
It costs millions of dollars to explore the deep sea.
Not everyone agrees on what part of the deep sea we should explore.
Some scientists say we should explore the part of the ocean that is 20,000 feet deep or less.
That is about 97 percent of the ocean.
Exploring the deepest 3 percent costs more and is also more dangerous.
Other scientists say exploring the very deepest part of the ocean will be worth the risk and cost.
Greg Stone, a scientist studying ocean life, says the day will come when we will find new animals and make other discoveries we cannot even imagine.
"We won't know what it holds until we get there," he says.
4058 The trip that changed my life (701)
In my teens I became deeply interested in the scenery and wildlife of Hokkaido
and other northern places.
I cannot explain why this happened, but it was like falling in love, I suppose.
Somewhere in my young heart I longed for that northern world.
One day I was at a bookstore in Tokyo, and a book of photographs caught my eye.
Inside was a photo, taken from an airplane, of an Eskimo village in Alaska called Shishmaref.
It was a little dot in the middle of the vast Arctic wilderness.
And people were actually living there! I wondered what they were like and what they were thinking.
I found Shishmaref on a map, and decided to write to the head of the village.
So, with my English dictionary by my side, I wrote my first English letter.
"My name is Hoshino Michio. I'm a Japanese student.
After seeing a picture of Shishmaref, I became very interested in your village life.
I would like to visit, but I do not know anyone. I'm willing to work.
Can you introduce me to someone who will let me stay with them?
I'm looking forward to hearing from you soon."
I addressed it, "The Mayor, Shishmaref, Alaska."
About six months later, I received a reply from one of the villagers.
"Sorry for the delay. June and July are the months when we go hunting, so you should come then....
When you know the day, let us know. You can stay with my family."
Suddenly Alaska was in the palm of my hand.
I arrived at Shishmaref in the summer of 1971 aboard a mail plane. I was nineteen.
As the plane landed, the villagers gathered from all around.
Crowds of children came running up.
Opening the door of the plane, I smelled the sea.
Before I had time to find my host, he was by my side with a great smile on his face. "Michio?" "Yes, yes!"
We shook hands, and in my broken English I managed to thank him for answering my letter.
He wore glasses and, when he smiled, his whole face lit up.
He had very friendly eyes.
The Eskimos lived far from Japan, but their faces were like my own.
I already knew that they would be, but it was a surprise to see them all the same.
Shishmaref is located on a tiny island in the Bering Sea.
To the east you can see the mainland of Alaska.
I arrived in the season when there is no night - the time of the midnight sun.
I often watched the sun start to set and then rise again.
The village had only about two hundred people, and I probably met them all in my first two or three days.
The young people spoke English, but the older people used Eskimo all the time.
I tried to learn a little of the Eskimo language every day, but it was very difficult.
The first thing I learned to say was, "I'm hungry."
Their life was very simple and natural.
As you may know, Alaska has many wild animals which the Eskimos hunt.
These provide them with meat, oil, and skins for clothing.
One day when we went hunting, I saw my first grizzly bear.
It was majestic.
This was the most vivid experience of my first stay in Shishmaref.
The three months I spent in Shishmaref left a very deep impression on me.
Staying with Eskimos, I became more and more interested in different lifestyles.
It taught me one important lesson: even in the most remote places, "real" people are living their lives.
That idea really attracted me.
I also began to feel that all of us have one thing in common: each of us has only one life to live.
It is all those single lives that make up our world.
When I got back to Japan, I kept thinking about Alaska.
I felt that one day I wanted to live there.
So, after graduating from university, I decided to become a photographer.
I wanted to know more about Alaska and photograph its wildlife and people.
Finally, in 1978, after studying photography for two years, I chose to make my home there.
4086 Jokes – Laughter Is the Best Medicine (773)
There is a famous saying: “Laughter is the best medicine.”
Indeed, humor plays a very important role in our relationships within society.
In both formal and relaxed situations, jokes are used to break the ice and create a pleasant atmosphere.
A joke that is funny to one person may not be funny to another person, however.
Listeners must understand the context, which sometimes requires some knowledge of history, current events, and so on.
Here are a few examples of popular jokes and the reasons why they are funny.
The key to a joke is that it ends with something that is not expected by the listener.
This part of the joke is called the “punchline” and usually comes at the end.
The part before the punchline, which explains the situation and the characters, is called the “setup.”
Riddles are basically a simple kind of joke and are especially popular with children.
This type of joke uses a question-and-answer format.
Sometimes the question is logical while the answer is correct but unexpected. For example:
Question: Why do lions eat raw meat?
Answer: Because they can’t cook.
At first, the listener may try to think of a scientific or biological reason why lions eat raw meat.
However, the listener probably does not imagine a lion cooking its meat.
When the listener hears the answer, the image that is created – that of a lion in a kitchen – is very amusing.
In this case, the question plays the role of the setup, and the answer works as the punchline.
Another popular type of riddle uses a “what” question.
Often it presents pieces of information that seem to be impossible. Here is an example:
Question: What travels around the world but stays in one corner?
Can you guess the answer?
Of course, an object cannot both “travel around the world” and “stay in one corner.”
However, there is an object that is put in the corner of an envelope or a postcard.
That envelope – and the object – can travel around the world if the letter is sent to another country.
Yes. The answer is “A stamp.”
Many jokes use words or phrases that have two or more meanings.
They draw humor from misunderstandings that may happen when such words are used.
Take this joke, for example:
“A man asks a hotel clerk, ‘Please call me a taxi.’ She replies, ‘Yes, sir. You are a taxi.’”
The phrase “call me x” can mean “call x over for me,” but it can also mean “refer to me as x.”
The man expects the clerk to understand the first meaning, but she uses the second.
Similar jokes use words that sound the same but have different meanings.
In the following example, you need to know that the words “horse” and “hoarse” sound the same.
The latter word means “with a rough voice” or “having some difficulty in speaking, especially because of a sore throat.”
Now see if you understand the joke.
“A pony goes to a restaurant.
He says, ‘I’d like a hamburger and a cola, please.’
The waitress says to the pony, ‘I’m sorry, I can’t hear you very well.’
The pony replies, ‘Sorry. I’m just a little hoarse.’”
The joke is funny because the pony says that he is “a little hoarse,” but the answer could also be taken as “a small horse.”
Some joke formats become so popular that they develop into their own categories.
One such category begins like this:
“A man walks into a bar …”
The story usually involves the “man” asking the bartender a question.
The bartender working at the bar gives a funny response.
Also, the “man” may have an unusual partner, such as an animal, which surprises the bartender. For example:
“A man walks into a bar with a giraffe.
They drink for a long time and the giraffe falls asleep on the floor.
When the man is about to leave, the bartender says, ‘Don’t leave that lyin’ there on the floor.’
The man replies, ‘That’s not a lion. It’s a giraffe.’”
Here, the listener must know that lyin’ and lion sound alike.
Lyin’ is the shortened form of “lying.”
The bartender seems to have confused the giraffe for another animal, but he is really telling the man to pick up his animal.
These are just a few examples of jokes.
A wide variety of jokes exists, and their styles and subjects vary widely among cultures and even among people in different parts of the same country.
However, the purpose of jokes is almost always the same: to laugh, to make others laugh, and to get a little more enjoyment from life.
4095 Space Elevator (729)
A lot of people around the world dream of traveling in space.
But not everyone can be an astronaut.
It is very difficult.
A lot of excellent people try to get into space flight programs every year, but only a few of them are selected.
Even if they are selected, they have to survive the hard training.
In the end, only a very few can achieve this dream.
However, they should not give up their dream too quickly.
Now there is promising scientific technology that may take us into space more easily.
It is called "the space elevator."
Shuichi Ohno, the president of the Japan Space Elevator Association (JSEA), said, "Just like traveling abroad, anyone will be able to ride the elevator into space."
This sounds like a scene from a science fiction story.
According to the JSEA, however, this could become a reality by the middle of this century.
How will the space elevator be built?
First, a stationary satellite will be launched to a point about 36,000 km above the Earth's equator.
This is the place where the Earth's gravity and the centrifugal force are in balance.
Next, a cable will be stretched downward from the satellite, and upward as well to keep the balance.
The downward part of the cable will finally reach the Earth's surface.
When the elevator is fixed to this cable, it will be able to climb up and down along the cable.
How long will it take to go into space on the space elevator?
The elevator is expected to run on electricity at 200 to 300 km per hour.
Therefore, the elevator will take one or two hours to reach the height of the International Space Station (ISS), about 400 km above the Earth.
This is the place where several astronauts always stay.
In order to reach the stationary satellite about 36,000 km above the Earth, the elevator will take about one week.
If linear motor technology is used, the travel time will become much shorter.
The space elevator needs an extremely long cable.
It must be about100,000 km long.
That is about eight times as long as the Earth's diameter!
Such a long cable will be broken by the pull of the Earth's gravity and the centrifugal force.
Therefore, the cable has to be more than 100 times as strong as steel.
Until the 1990s, no one knew what kind of material would be strong enough for this cable.
This had been the biggest problem for the development of the space elevator.
In 1991, Dr. Sumio Iijima, a Japanese scientist, discovered a potential material for the cable of the space elevator.
It is called a "carbon nanotube."
If this material did not exist, the space elevator would remain only in science fiction.
Carbon nanotubes are made of carbon and are the lightest and strongest material on Earth.
They are about 50,000 times as thin as a human hair and 100 to 150 times as strong as steel.
However, there is one problem with carbon nanotubes.
They are still very expensive because they can only be produced in tiny amounts.
As a result, many researchers are working hard to make their mass production possible.
At present, in order to go into space, we have to use rockets.
They require huge amounts of fossil fuel.
On the other hand, the space elevator is much more energy-saving and eco-friendly.
Although the space elevator may use a lot of electricity when it goes up, it can also produce electricity when it comes down.
That electricity can be stored in a battery and used when the elevator goes up again.
The cost of a single trip on the space elevator may be about a hundred times lower than that of a trip on a rocket.
In addition, unlike rockets, the space elevator itself will not produce any carbon dioxide.
With the space elevator, space travel may no longer be a dream.
Someday in the future, even elderly people and children may be able to go into space without any special training.
Also, the space elevator has even more potential.
It might become a gateway to other planets.
Imagine going into space with the space elevator, changing to a space ship, and starting on a journey to Mars or Jupiter.
Such an exciting experience may not be so far in the future.
4113 A Doctor Digging Wells (833)
Nakamura Tetsu, a Japanese doctor, has been digging wells in Afghanistan
Now there are over 1,000 wells built by his group.
These wells are now used by the local people.
But why does a doctor have to dig wells far away from Japan?
Dr. Nakamura, an experienced climber, once visited the high mountains of Afghanistan as a medical doctor on a Japanese expedition team.
He realized that the people he met there lived in bad conditions without any doctors around.
This experience led him in 1984 to volunteer his time at Peshawar, near the Afghanistan border in northwest Pakistan.
Since then, he has been working in Afghanistan and Pakistan for more than twenty years as the executive director of the Peshawar-kai Medical Services (PMS).
One day in 2000, Dr. Nakamura was surprised to see a great number of patients at a clinic of PMS.
Many were suffering from such diseases as dysentery.
The doctor said, "The well at the clinic was about to dry up, but people kept coming to get water even from that well because most of the wells in their villages were almost dry.
People had to drink or use dirty water, and that is what made them sick."
This made him think about what he had to do to prevent disease.
Most of the people in Afghanistan live by farming.
Although they have little rain all year round, the snow on the Hindu Kush Mountains melts into rivers in summer, bringing a rich harvest to farmers.
However, things changed for the worse several years ago.
There has been a great shortage of water ever since.
They have a saying that goes, "You can live without gold in Afghanistan, but not without snow."
The snow and river water have decreased probably because of global warming.
Part of the country has become dry.
This has made large numbers of people leave their villages.
They have lost their health as well, for they could not drink clean water or wash their hands or dishes with clean water.
Without clean water, people easily become sick or die.
"Most of the victims were children.
Many people had to walk for several hours just to get to the clinic.
One such person was a young mother holding her already dead baby, who was now turning cold.
She did not seem to know what to do.
I could not hold back my tears when I saw that," Dr. Nakamura said sadly.
This experience made him start digging wells.
People needed clean water before medical treatment.
In July 2000, Dr. Nakamura and his staff asked the local people to join them, and they all started digging wells to get clean water.
The area was very dry, and the water level was going down.
They had to catch up with the falling water level.
The local people already knew how to dig wells, but did not know what to do when they hit large rocks.
Dr. Nakamura said, "We used gunpowder from landmines to break up the big rocks.
When we hit a large rock, we made a hole in it and put in gunpowder and a fuse.
We were able to do this because some of our staff were ex-guerrillas and knew how to use explosives.
This was our peaceful way of using landmines.
If we hadn't had their help, we couldn't have succeeded."
"To make life better for everyone here," he went on, "we're digging wells and building irrigation canals so that people can return here and go back to being the farmers they used to be."
Thanks to their great work, about 250,000 people were able to stay in their villages, and many other people are making their way back home.
Having worked with the local people for years, Dr. Nakamura has come to realize that we are not as free as we think.
He said, "We face many problems based on social custom, gender, nationality, or religion.
For example, I sometimes had a hard time examining female patients.
Because of their religion, they can't show their skin to men, even to doctors."
This means that female patients are much harder to cure than male patients.
"I always ask their husbands or fathers to be present when I examine them.
We sometimes send a female nurse from Japan especially for them," he said.
"I always keep in mind that we should never push our values or culture on the local people but should respect theirs.
I also believe it is important for practicing doctors to understand each patient's situation and do their best for all of them."
After thinking twice about what he could do for the local people, Dr. Nakamura, even though he is a medical doctor, decided that digging wells was the best cure for all the people in Afghanistan as well as for his patients.
"My experience in Afghanistan helps me see deeply into things," he said.
"Disease can be cured later. First of all, try to stay alive! "
4156 Are We Alone in the Universe (724)
One night a spaceship landed on Earth.
Small aliens with large eyes, strange necks and long fingers came out of the ship.
When the ship took off, one alien was left behind.
Later, a ten-year-old boy named Elliott found him.
He named him E.T., short for "Extraterrestrial."
Elliott and E.T. became good friends and had many interesting and funny adventures together.
Finally, E.T. built a device that could communicate with his spaceship, and the ship returned for him.
This is the story of E.T., a movie made by Steven Spielberg in 1982.
One reason the movie was so popular is that people are interested in the question: Are we alone in the universe?
In our solar system, Mars has always seemed the only planet where we might find life.
In 1906 an American astronomer, Percival Lowell, saw canals across the surface of Mars - 109 canals in total.
He believed that they were built by intelligent beings.
Though the "canals" were found to be just an illusion, the belief in Martians continued for many years.
Many people believe in life on other planets, but scientists need evidence.
In 1996, scientists at NASA claimed they found such evidence - a rock from Mars that landed on the Antarctic ice sheet about 13,000 years ago.
They believe the rock was knocked off the Martian surface by a comet 15 million years ago.
The scientists reported their tests showed tiny fossils of bacteria.
"If the fossils are real, then this is strong evidence of primitive life on early Mars," they concluded.
Skeptical scientists said, "If the shapes on the rock were fossils, it would be evidence of life.
But probably the shapes are natural, not fossils."
In 2000, more evidence came from Mars itself.
Mars Global Surveyor, launched by NASA, sent back photos of Mars which showed a valley with many long ditches.
It is possible that the ditches were made by running water long ago.
Today, most scientists agree that there is some ice below the surface.
However, even if there is some type of life there, it is only very simple organisms.
"E.T." doesn't live there.
Scientists have tried various ways to make contact with extraterrestrials.
Pioneer 10 and Voyager 1 and 2 were launched in the 1970s to other planets.
Each spaceship is carrying into deep space messages about Earth and humankind.
These messages are like notes put inside bottles and thrown into the sea - a very, very big sea.
Pioneer 10 is now traveling far into outer space.
It will reach Alpha Centauri, one of the closest stars to Earth, in 80,000 years.
After traveling for 26,000 years, Voyager 1 and 2 will still be traveling in our solar system.
Here on Earth, Jill Tarter, director of SETI Institute, and her team of scientists are looking for proof that intelligent life exists in our galaxy.
They are searching the sky for signals by using huge radio telescopes.
One of them is on the top of a mountain in Puerto Rico.
It is the largest one on Earth.
Every year, the SETI team examines hundreds of stars that are similar to our sun.
They are waiting for the first "hello" from space.
"There are a lot of stars in our galaxy - about 400 billion," said Jill.
"Perhaps one tenth of them are very much like our own sun.
And the universe has another 100 billion galaxies beyond our Milky Way.
There are lots of other places where intelligent life may exist.
I wish we had evidence already, but I believe we will find it some day."
From time to time, SETI researchers around the world receive mysterious signals.
Most of these signals are "false signals" caused by satellites, radar systems, or radio and television stations.
But more than a few of them remain unexplained.
The amount of data that researchers gather from space is huge.
To analyze it quickly, a program called SETI@home was created in 1999.
By downloading this program, anyone can join the search on the Internet.
Data from SETI telescopes are analyzed by volunteers' computers and sent back to the central computer at the University of California.
Though we have not found "E.T." yet, a place in the history books is reserved for the person whose computer records the first signal from extraterrestrials.
It may be you.
4167 Only One Flower in the World (280)
It was in March 2004.
High school baseball players proudly marched to a song in Koshien Stadium.
The song was Only One Flower in the World.
Every team hopes for the victory in a tournament.
But in the end only one team can win.
What about the other teams?
Are they just losers?
They are all winners.
They practice very hard every day.
They also play very hard in the games.
Each team is the only one in the world, just like the flower in the song.
Some songs have great influence.
Different people find different meanings in those songs.
People sing them in many places and on many occasions.
Take Only One Flower in the World, for example.
The song came out in 2002.
People liked the melody and message at once.
A TV drama used the song, and it became very popular.
Some people sang it and protested the war in Iraq.
They put a new meaning into the song.
Now it is a song for many people.
Why do many people love this song?
The song gives hope and strength to people.
The song goes like this:
Just look at the flowers in the flower shop.
They are all beautiful.
They don't have to be No. 1.
They don't compete with each other.
The song also says:
Do not imitate others.
Do not lose yourself.
Find your own interests, and do your best in your own way.
There are many different people in the world.
All of us have our own ideas and ways.
We should do our best and respect each other.
After all, each of us is the "only one flower in the world."
5040 A Third World War (173)
Bob: Listen, Judy!
I had a strange dream last night.
Judy: What was it?
Bob: A Third World War between animals and humans!
The animals of the world decided to start an international revolution.
Judy: The animals must be very angry with us.
We’ve been killing them for quite a long time.
Bob: I was seriously afraid then.
Just imagine: if there is a war, and the animals win, we won't be able to drink any more milk or eat meat.
They will make us work and we might even become their daily food.
Judy: Of course it's nonsense, but in your dream the animals would like to teach you a lesson, wouldn't they?
Bob: You're right.
Too many people think that we're above the other animals.
I've realized that's so arrogant.
Judy: We need to use other animals for food, clothing, medical research and so on.
Without them, we wouldn't live a happy life.
I really think we should give them the same respect that we give to each other.
5049 Selective Breeding (580)
For many centuries, dogs and humans have been living together.
Humans have enjoyed the companionship and loyalty that dogs provide.
Dogs have enjoyed the care and protection that humans give.
Dogs, however, have been used for more than companionship.
For instance, humans have used the abilities of dogs that make them natural hunters.
Their ability to see clearly in low light is useful in finding targets.
Their great sense of smell is a good tool for hunting.
In addition to hunting, a dog’s strength and patience are useful to humans.
Larger breeds are often used as working dogs, mostly on farms, for carrying heavy loads such as wood.
In addition, it is common for people who are not able to see to employ more intelligent and early maturing breeds as guide dogs.
Many services that dogs provide have made them an invaluable part of human society.
Although dogs have many useful characteristics, humans have long bred dogs to improve their natural abilities.
The hunting dog is one example of selective breeding.
Pairs of dogs are chosen for mating based on the length of their noses and the size of their nose holes.
The babies of the breeding pair still require training to become effective hunters, but they will have an advantage in becoming an expert hunting or sniffer dog.
Selective breeding is also done to improve on a dog’s specific character, size, shape, and attractiveness.
If it were not for selective breeding, for instance, previous types of bulldogs would not have become as kind as they are today, and most poodles would not have coats with just one color.
Over time, selective breeding of dogs has been good for humans.
Many of the dog breeds that we know today are the products of this process.
Selective breeding, however, has also had a negative effect.
People have used selective breeding in order to create larger, stronger and wilder breeds to serve as guard or fighting dogs.
For instance, the pit bull was bred for its strength and ability to move quickly in order to hold down bulls in fighting rings.
Although the practice of bull-baiting is banned in most countries, this breed survives today, often as a family pet.
Many people believe this type of dog is dangerous to humans due to its having been carefully bred.
As a precaution, they believe these breeds should be limited or banned.
Those in favor of banning particular breeds say strongly that genetics shape the animal to be naturally aggressive and potentially dangerous.
Some people insist that aggression is part of a specific breed’s nature.
However, others believe that dogs are not naturally aggressive, but it is humans who teach aggression.
Just as some people choose cars or clothes to present an image of being young or rich, dogs may also be used as status symbols.
For example, people who want to appear strong and potentially dangerous may be interested in specific types of dogs because of the breed’s perceived strength and aggressiveness.
In order to match the desired image, the dog owner may then train the dog to act aggressively.
These owners teach the dog that good behavior includes barking, and in some cases, attacking.
People who are against banning breeds believe that it is not the breed that must be banned.
After all, bad owners will produce bad dogs, regardless of the breed.
Many breed-banning challengers say that owners should be required to get a license before owning and training a dog.
5067 Saint Bernard Dogs (698)
Humans and dogs have had about 15,000 years of friendship together.
During that time, dogs have played many roles for people, such as being their pets, hunting dogs, police dogs, and more recently, guide dogs and therapy dogs.
We have considered them our best friends or companions.
The Swiss people in particular have a strong affection for their giant dog – the Saint Bernard.
The name “Saint Bernard” originates from the Great St. Bernard Hospice in the snowy Western Alps.
The hospice was built around the year 1050 for travelers crossing the Great St. Bernard Pass between Switzerland and Italy.
In the 17th century, Saint Bernard dogs started to work as rescue dogs for the hospital.
At first the monks used them as watchdogs, but they soon realized their wonderful abilities as rescue dogs.
They could smell people buried deep in the snow.
They could even predict storms and avalanches by hearing very low frequency sounds.
In severe climate conditions, they have saved the lives of many victims over 300 years.
Among the dogs of the hospice, one stands out from the rest.
His name was “Barry.”
He saved 41 lives deep in the snowy Alps.
His most famous rescue was that of a young boy.
When he found the boy asleep in a cave, he licked the boy’s face to wake him up and carried the boy on his back to the hospice.
Barry was a very gentle dog, so the boy trusted Barry very much and did not feel any fear while he was clinging to his back.
A Swiss animal psychologist once said, “Never have we seen such a great dog as Barry.
He used to leave the hospice and go out into the snowstorms.
Day after day he would search the mountain for unfortunate people buried under avalanches.
He dug them out and brought them back to life by himself.
When he couldn’t, he rushed back to the hospice for help.”
Barry symbolizes the great reputation of Saint Bernard dogs in Switzerland.
They are often seen as heroes by the Swiss people.
In October 2004, many people in Switzerland were shocked to read the following news in the local newspaper.
Saint Bernard Rescue Dogs: For Sale
Yesterday, the monks at the Great St. Bernard Hospice (2,469 meter high) announced that they would be selling their dogs.
Now that there are only a handful of monks left at the hospice, they have found it difficult to look after the remaining eighteen dogs.
Since the 17th century, the legendary Saint Bernard dogs have been bread at the hospice in the Alps between Switzerland and Italy.
They have long been working as rescue dogs around the Great St. Bernard Pass, one of the hardest routes in the European Alps.
Over the past three centuries, the dogs of the hospice have rescued more than 2,500 lost or injured travelers.
However, in recent years, their rescue role has been taken over by helicopters and modern technology.
Today, they have simply become the face of the hospice.
In the near future, these dogs are expected to be taken to new owners.
Having read this shocking announcement, the Swiss people stood up to help the dogs out of this difficult situation.
They thought it their duty that they should preserve the history of the Saint Bernard rescue dogs.
They worked together to set up a group called the Barry Foundation, named after the legendary rescue dog.
The foundation purchased the eighteen dogs from the hospice.
It is now taking care of them at kennels in the town of Martigny, a western Swiss town at the foot of the Alps.
Only during a four-month period in the summer do they come back to the hospice in order to attract many summer visitors.
Thanks to a large donation from a banker in Geneva, the Saint Bernard Museum was built in Martigny.
It is no wonder that the Saint Bernard is deeply loved and appreciated by the Swiss people.
This is not because it is lovely and friendly, but because the Swiss people have a long and deep relationship with the dog.
This is the very reason why it is the national dog of Switzerland.
5083 An Encouraging Song (576)
There are many songs that help people overcome sadness or troubles.
Makenaide may be one of them.
This song has been encouraging many people for a long time.
The lyrics of Makenaide were written by Sakai Izumi, the vocalist of ZARD.
It became a hit in 1993.
The following year, it was adopted as the theme song for the National High School Baseball Invitational Tournament.
Some schools have also been using this song for graduation ceremonies.
When the Great Hanshin Earthquake occurred in 1995, this song was often aired.
Many people were able to recover their spirits by listening to it.
The song also cheered people up after the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011.
Unfortunately, Sakai passed away in 2007.
However, this song is still popular today.
What makes this song so attractive?
The answer may be in its lyrics.
The song has a message of hope for everyone.
Let's take a look at the first refrain.
Sakai left a piece of paper on which she wrote the lyrics.
It shows that she changed a part of them.
She replaced the words "Don't stop until the end" with "Keep on running until the end."
She may have thought that this sounded more positive.
She changed this part while she was actually recording the song.
“Which words communicate better?” was the question she always had in her mind.
She always searched for words that would encourage people.
Sakai became famous as a singer in the early 1990s.
However, she did not often appear on TV.
She may have preferred producing music to singing in public.
Sakai was good at writing lyrics, so she wrote them for other singers as well.
She once expressed her thoughts about writing lyrics.
She said, "I have always treasured words from the bottom of my heart.
I would like to send my messages to others through my music."
When she wrote lyrics, she always thought about how they could express people's feelings.
In Makenaide, the message of "Hang in there!" was realized in her sincere words.
This song was born from Sakai's wish to cheer up others.
In the rubble of the Great East Japan Earthquake, a high school girl was playing Makenaide on her trumpet.
Her picture was shown in a newspaper.
Some musicians from Tohoku noticed the picture.
They had planned to hold a charity concert, and they decided to ask her to join them.
One member said, "I felt that I could hear her playing when I saw her in the photo.
I wanted to do something for her."
The concert was successful.
The audience was impressed by the performance, and they offered a lot of donations.
The money was used to buy musical instruments for the schools in Tohoku.
Sakai's message seems to have reached many people.
This is because her great sympathy for others is well expressed in her heart felt words.
Michael Jackson did a lot to help children.
He visited many hospitals and orphanages while he was traveling around the world on concert tours.
He emphasized the importance of protecting children who suffer from illness and wars.
Heal the World was released in 1991.
A part of the lyrics is below.
The song fully expresses his desire to make the world a better place.
Later, he established the "Heal the World Foundation" and continued to support it with donations.
Even though his career kept him busy, his passion and efforts for charity never ended.
5089 Cherry Blossoms (296)
Cherry blossoms have been loved by Japanese people since the ancient times.
They often appear in old tanka or haiku poems.
In spring, a lot of people go out to admire cherry blossoms.
The origin of this custom goes back to the Heian era.
Japanese people have been enjoying cherry blossoms for a very long time.
There are about 600 kinds of cherry trees in Japan.
In January, hikanzakura bloom in Okinawa.
In June, chishimazakura bloom in Hokkaido.
So you can see cherry trees in bloom for almost half the year in Japan.
But they only bloom for a short time, about a week.
Now we can see cherry blossoms in other countries, too.
For example, in Washington, D.C. in the U.S., about 3,800 cherry trees bloom along the Potomac River in April.
Those trees were presented to the U.S. in 1909 by Ozaki Yukio, the mayor of Tokyo City.
They were a token of friendship between Japan and the U.S.
In Berlin, over 9,000 cherry trees have been planted since 1990 in the area where the Berlin Wall used to be.
These trees are also a present from Japan to Germany as a symbol of friendship and world peace.
According to a recent survey, the time might come when cherry trees won’t bloom in Japan.
For cherry trees to bloom in spring, the buds must be formed the summer before.
Then in fall those buds go into dormancy and are exposed to the cold of winter.
To go from dormancy to blooming, they need to go through low temperatures.
Therefore, if global warming continues, it seems that the buds will stay dormant and not bloom.
This is why cherry trees don’t bloom in countries with a year-round summer.
Can you imagine spring without cherry blossoms?
5111 The Biggest Jigsaw Puzzle in History (970)
Spring was almost in the air on February 13, 1945, when three waves of
British and American planes bombed Dresden, Germany.
A series of terrible fires resulted from the attack.
They destroyed seventy-five percent of the city and over thirty-five thousand people were killed.
The Church of Our Lady seemed to have survived the fire at first; those who survived remember taking heart on the morning of February 15 from the sight of the dome still rising in the sky, only to see it suddenly go down in rubble, disappearing from the city’s skyline 200 years after its construction.
Why did this happen?
That question was asked by many.
It was one of the most controversial air bombings in the Second World War.
Even one of the pilots who took part in the attack said, "I have asked God to forgive me many times.”
Some historians say the attack was not necessary to bring the war to an end, but others say it surely was.
The city authorities in Dresden had left the Church of Our Lady in ruins for many years during the Cold War as a symbol of protest against war.
So it was only after Germany became one country again in 1990 that the idea of rebuilding the church was seriously discussed.
There was opposition to the plan from those who claimed the reconstruction would be of no use.
In the end, however, the will to reconstruct the church burned more strongly than the fire that destroyed it.
The project to rebuild the church with its 14,326-ton dome began in 1991, but it took more than a year to carefully examine every piece of rubble.
The actual rebuilding started with the placing of an original stone block in May of1994.
“It was like putting together a huge jigsaw puzzle with many pieces missing," said Ulrich R. Schoenfeld, the leading architect of the company that carried out the project.
“At times the work was done with joy, and at other times with pain.
Every day we laughed with one eye, cried with the other.”
Dresden is located about two hours south of Berlin and about two hours north of Prague by train.
Called the “Florence on the Elbe," the city is seen as an important cultural center.
The original church was built between 1726 and 1743 with money donated by the people of Dresden.
It is said to have been the most important example of Protestant church architecture, and must also have been an object of awe and respect for the people of Dresden.
"We started with rubble, with broken fragments of the building,” said Karl-Heinz Schuetzhold, leader of the reconstruction team.
“We had to study every fragment to make sure we understood where it fit."
In all, 9,286 stones were recovered from the ruins, ranging from dressed building blocks to fragments from walls, pillars, and the dome.
Of the 7,110 stones from the outside walls, only 3,539 were judged fit to reuse in the rebuilding of the church.
The rest were too badly damaged by the fire.
“Every stone was carefully numbered and described,” Schoenfeld said.
“We had to understand where the missing or damaged ones belonged in order to cut new stones to use in their places.”
The total cost of the project came to 217 million dollars.
People from around the world donated money to the reconstruction project.
Britain, which led the attack, donated more than 120 million dollars toward its reconstruction.
The Friends of Dresden, an organization of Americans with ties to the city, raised millions of dollars.
Though the war set people apart, this project was helping bring them back together.
The project leaders had only three incomplete sets of drawings of the church to guide them in the reconstruction work.
They had to depend on thousands of old photographs, records kept by church authorities, and people's memories.
"We wanted to rebuild the front doors as they had been, but nobody could describe the carvings clearly enough,” Schoenfeld said.
"So we asked anyone who might have gotten married in the church to send in their wedding photographs or those of their parents or grandparents because couples often took photographs outside the church doors after the wedding."
Every photograph and measurement of stone was put into computers.
The computers, in turn, created more than 10,000 detailed images that showed, for example, the missing sections of the dome judging from the surviving parts.
Without computers, the reconstruction would not have been possible.
At 10:00 a.m. on Monday, October 31, 2005, the bells of the Church of Our Lady rang out across the city.
The ceremony was carried live on German TV.
Outside the church about 60,000 people crowded to watch the service on huge screens.
Many of them had tears in their eyes.
More than a third of the new building is made from the old, dark-colored stones that were recovered from the ruins.
The rest is made up of new, light-colored stones.
Together they create a mosaic of the past and present, and it will, for a long time, serve as a reminder that the original church was destroyed by war.
The reconstruction of the Church of Our Lady returned to Dresden its most famous landmark, and in light of its history, the church has become a symbol of reconciliation between Britain and Germany.
The gold cross on top of the church's dome was created by the son of one of the English pilots who bombed Dresden in 1945.
The rebuilding of the church is a miracle beyond belief.
It is an act of love that shows that people can stop living in the dark past and work together if they try.
By the time the new, light-colored stones darken with age, we hope, the world will have become a better place to live.
5119 Is the Internet Making Us Stupid (1,148)
Over the past few years I’ve had an uncomfortable feeling.
Something has been playing with my brain.
I’m not thinking the way I used to think.
I can feel it most strongly when I’m reading.
Losing myself in a book used to be easy.
My mind would get caught up in the story, and I’d spend hours strolling through long passages of prose.
That’s rarely the case anymore.
Now my concentration often starts to drift after two or three pages.
I lose the thread.
I feel as if I’m always dragging my brain back to the text.
The deep reading that used to come naturally has become a struggle.
I think I know what’s going on.
For more than ten years now, I’ve been spending a lot of time online, searching the Internet.
The Internet has been a great tool for me as a writer.
Research that once required days in libraries can now be done in minutes.
The advantages of having immediate access to such a rich store of information, however, come at a price.
What the Internet seems to be doing is damaging my capacity for concentration and deep thinking.
Because text can be found everywhere on the Internet, we may well be reading more today than we did in the 1970s or 1980s, when television was our medium of choice.
But it’s a different kind of reading, and behind it lies a different kind of thinking.
Because of the way we read things on the Internet, we may be losing our ability to read deeply – a skill that developed from long and complex works of prose, which became widely available through the printing press.
In 1882, Friedrich Nietzsche bought a typewriter.
His vision was failing, and keeping his eyes focused on a page had become painful.
He feared that he would soon have to give up his writing.
The typewriter saved him.
Once he had learned touch-typing, he was able to write with his eyes closed.
Words could once again flow from his mind to the page.
But the machine had an effect on his work.
One of Nietzsche’s friends noticed a change in the style of his writing.
His already tight prose had become even tighter.
Due to the influence of the machine, Nietzsche’s prose changed from arguments to aphorisms and from rhetoric to telegram style.
The human brain is almost infinitely changeable.
A professor of neuroscience says, “Even the adult mind is very plastic.
The brain has the ability to reprogram itself on the fly, changing the way it functions.”
As we use our “intellectual technologies” – the tools that extend our mental rather than our physical capacities – we begin to take on the qualities of those technologies.
The clock, which came into common use in the 14th century, provides a good example.
The clock’s regular ticking helped bring into being the scientific mind and the scientific man.
But it also took something away.
In deciding when to eat, to work, to sleep, to rise, we stopped listening to our senses and started obeying the clock.
The way we adapt to new intellectual technologies is reflected in the changing metaphors that describe ourselves.
When the clock arrived, people began thinking of their brains as operating “like clockwork.”
Today, in the age of software, we have come to think of them as operating “like computers.”
The Internet, an immeasurably powerful computing system, is taking the place of most of our other intellectual technologies.
It’s becoming our map and our clock, our printing press and our typewriter, and our radio and TV.
A new e-mail message, for example, may announce its arrival as we’re reading the latest headlines at a newspaper’s site.
The result is to scatter our attention.
Never has a communication system played so many roles in our lives – or had such broad influence over our thoughts – as the Internet does today.
Yet there’s been little thought on how it’s reprogramming us.
The company that runs the world’s most popular search engine has declared that its mission is “to organize the world’s information and make it available and useful to everyone.”
It seeks to develop “the perfect search engine” – something that “understands exactly what you mean and gives you back exactly what you want.”
In its view, information is a kind of commodity, a useful resource that can be processed with industrial efficiency.
The more pieces of information we can “access” and the faster we can understand their meaning, the more productive we become as thinkers.
Where does it end?
This search engine company was founded by two gifted young men.
They often speak of their desire to turn their search engine into an artificial intelligence.
“If you were to have all the world’s information directly attached to your brain, you’d be better off,” they say.
Their belief that we’d all “be better off” if our brains were replaced by an artificial intelligence is worrying.
It suggests that intelligence is a series of specific steps that can be isolated, measured, and made more efficient.
In their world, the world we enter when we go online, there’s little place for deep thinking.
The human brain is just a computer that needs a faster processor and a bigger hard drive.
Maybe I’m just worrying too much.
Just as there’s a tendency to say all technological progress is good, there’s a countertendency to expect the worst of every new tool or machine.
The arrival of Gutenberg’s printing press, in the 15th century, was unsettling to many.
One Italian humanist worried that having more books available would lead to intellectual laziness, making people “less studious” and weakening their minds.
But the critics were unable to imagine the many blessings that the printed word would deliver.
Perhaps those who say critics of the Internet are nostalgists will be proved correct.
A golden age of intellectual discovery and universal wisdom will begin.
Although the Internet may replace the printing press, it produces something altogether different.
Deep reading is valuable not just for the knowledge we acquire from a writer’s words.
It is also valuable for the intellectual vibrations created within our own minds by those words.
When we read a book quietly and with concentration, we begin to develop our own special ideas.
Deep reading is the same as deep thinking.
If we lose those quiet times, or fill them up with “content,” we will sacrifice something important not only in our selves but in our culture.
The writer Richard Foreman said, “We risk turning into ‘pancake people’ – people who are spread wide and thin as we connect with the Internet by the touch of a button.”
Although we have gained the convenience of instant information at the touch of a button, we face the danger of turning machinelike.
As we come to rely on computers to understand the world, it is our own intelligence that turns into artificial intelligence.
5137 Fashion (871)
Look at this picture!
Can you believe that this dress was introduced in 1947?
This style, called the “New Look,” was designed by Christian Dior of France.
The dress had a flared skirt using expensive fabrics, a tight waist and natural shoulders – without shoulder pads.
During the war, people had to spend their money carefully.
The clothes they wore show this concern.
Most styles were similar – plain and simple without much design.
These dresses were cheap and practical for everyday wear.
After the war, women were longing for a new change in fashion.
This is one reason why Dior’s “New Look” quickly became popular.
It reminded women of the beauty and luxury of fashion.
The New Look started a revolution in women’s fashion and established Paris as the center of the fashion world.
Dior changed fashion dramatically.
We could say that it was new starting point for the history of fashion.
The 1960s was a period of change and rebellion.
In Africa, a lot of colonies won independence.
In the United States, the civil-rights movement finally gave African-Americans more freedom.
There were also many protests around the world against the Vietnam War.
Young people played an important role at this time, not only in these movements, but in fashion as well.
The Beatles, the British rock group, are a symbol of this time.
Their music and fashion expressed something new and exciting.
Millions of young people imitated their fashion to show they shared in this “new hope,” as you can see by the title of their song, “All You Need is Love.”
The fashion model, Twiggy, also made the miniskirt a symbol of the 60s.
The miniskirt and the Beatles’ fashion reflected young people’s rebellion against traditional ways.
Considering the fact that fashion styles are always changing, it’s interesting that we still see miniskirts today.
After all, this style has been around for nearly 40 years.
“Street Fashion” became popular during this time.
The streets in the areas where young people gathered were becoming the birthplace of new fashions.
Street fashion developed in two different ways.
In the first way, designers picked up a street fashion and established it as a popular fashion around the world.
Mary Quant was a pioneer of this approach.
She was watching the girls in short skirts walking along Carnaby Street in London.
Inspired by these short skirts, she designed miniskirts and introduced them at famous fashion shows.
A lot of designers followed her approach in the 70s.
In the second way, young people themselves spread a certain fashion by copying what other young people on the streets were wearing.
One good example of this is the hippie fashion.
Hippies were young people who rejected many of the traditional ways of society.
Having strongly objected to the war, they encouraged people to live in love and peace.
Many of them had long hair and wore bell-bottoms.
Their “hippie style” became popular all over the world and dominated the common fashions of the 1970s.
1980s and 1990s
The status of women in society greatly increased during the 1980s.
In 1979, Margaret Thatcher became the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
Women’s clothes expressed this new “power.”
Dresses had big shoulder pads and narrow waist that also showed their femininity.
In short, women of the 1980s were said to “dress for success.”
Women’s status in society had become established by the 1990s, career women were now common and accepted.
Accordingly, the line between female clothes and male clothes became unclear.
Fashion became unisex and more diverse.
People wore both tight and loose fitting pants; women wore miniskirts and long skirts.
Since 2000, this trend hasn’t changed much – except for small changes in seasonal colors and trends.
In addition, casual clothes have become more common in the business world.
For example, to help protect the environment by saving energy, the “cool biz” style was introduced by the Ministry of the Environment in Japan.
In the summer of 2005, many office workers started to wear this casual style.
Fashions Reflect Our Lifestyle
Fashion reflects people’s desire to be beautiful and stylish.
But this is not everything.
When we look back over the history of fashion, we can understand that fashions are closely related to the culture, art, and social situation of a certain period in time.
Considering this, what can we say about the future of fashion?
Our society seems to have become more tolerant than ever toward accepting various fashions and respecting each person's tastes.
This is a reflection of modern society; our tastes and values have become more diverse.
If this is the case, we may be living in an era when it's no longer appropriate to ask what is most trendy.
We can see this in the attitude of some modern designers.
For example, one American designer, Kate Spade, believes that style begins with a sense of who you are and your self-confidence.
"I think that style is part of the way we live," she says.
"It's important to consider everything around us - books and movies, art, music, travel, and especially people.
By adapting what you've learned you can establish your own style."
Spade's words, "Be fashionable, not trendy" shows her philosophy well.
5142 What if (422)
"I wish I could fly like a bird!"
While looking up at the sky, people have been saying this for centuries.
Although inventors from da Vinci to the Wright Brothers designed flying machines, nobody has been able to fly like a bird.
It seems to be impossible for humans to strap on a pair of wings and fly.
There are three reasons.
First, our arms are not strong enough to flap wings.
Second, we haven't figured out how to make wings that move like a bird's.
Third, and most importantly, a human being's body is too heavy.
Most birds are very light and their bones are hollow, so their flapping wings are able to keep their bodies in the air.
But what if everybody could fly?
The sky would be pretty crowded.
We might even need traffic lights up there!
"If I had studied English harder, I could have got a higher score on the test."
Have you ever wished you could travel back in time and get a second chance?
Unfortunately, time travel may be impossible.
No one seems to have succeeded yet.
If people in the future could travel back in time, we would have surely seen them.
An important historical event, such as the construction of the pyramids in Egypt, would certainly have attracted time travelers.
But no evidence of visitors from the future has been discovered at any archaeological site.
But wait a minute.
If those time travelers were very clever, they might know ways to erase their tracks.
Some of them might be around us.
What if your closest friend were in fact a traveler from the future?
"I wonder how he feels about me.
I wish I could read his mind."
Such a wish seems impossible to fulfill.
However, an American psychologist claims it isn't.
In communication, nonverbal factors, such as facial expressions, play an important role.
Following his experiments, the psychologist said, "Even if a person tries to hide his or her real emotion, a very brief facial expression often occurs unconsciously.
If you notice it, you can tell what the person is really thinking."
Facial expressions last for only a fraction of a second, so you need to develop special skills to perceive them.
With these skills, you could know others' hidden thoughts.
Suppose you had a new hairstyle and your friend said, "That's cool!"
With your new skills, you would know her real thoughts: "Her old hairstyle was cuter."
Do you really want to know others' thoughts?
Oh, never mind, I already know.
5146 The Last Leaf (860)
Sue and Johnsy were painters who lived in an apartment at the top of a
three-story building in Greenwich Village.
They had met at a restaurant and discovered that they liked the same kind of art, the same kind of food, and the same kind of clothes.
So they decided to live together.
That was in the spring.
Toward winter Johnsy became very ill with pneumonia.
She lay on her bed, and she looked through the window at the wall of the house next to hers.
One morning the doctor spoke to Sue.
“She has a very small chance,” he said.
“She has a chance, if she wants to live.
If people don’t want to live, there’s nothing a doctor can do.”
After the doctor had gone, Sue walked into Johnsy’s room.
Johnsy lay there, very thin and very quiet.
Johnsy’s face was turned toward the window.
She was looking out the window and counting back.
“Twelve,” she said, and a little later, “eleven,” and then, “ten,” and, “nine,” and then, “eight,” and, “seven,” almost together.
Sue looked out the window.
What was there to count?
There was only the wall of the next house.
An old ivy vine grew against the wall.
Almost all its leaves had fallen from its dark branches.
“What is it, dear?” asked Sue.
“Six,” said Johnsy very softly.
“They’re falling faster now.
Three days ago there were almost a hundred.
There goes another one.
There are only five left now.”
“Five what, dear?”
“Leaves. On the vine.
When the last one falls, I must go, too.”
“Oh, don’t be silly,” said Sue.
“What do old leaves have to do with your illness?
The doctor told me you had a very good chance of getting well!
Try to eat a little now.”
“No, I don’t want anything to eat,” said Johnsy.
“There goes another.
Now there are only four.
I want to see the last one fall before it gets dark.
Then I’ll go, too.”
“Try to sleep,” said Sue.
“I must see Mr. Behrman.
I won’t be gone a minute.”
Old Behrman was a painter who lived on the first floor of their building.
He was past sixty, but he had had no success as a painter.
He always talked of painting a masterpiece someday, but never actually started on it.
Sue found him in his dark room, and she told him about Johnsy and the leaves on the vine.
“What!” he cried.
“Are there such fools?
Do people die because leaves drop off a vine?
I haven’t heard of such a thing.”
“She’s very sick and weak,” said Sue.
“The fever has put these strange ideas into her mind.”
Johnsy was sleeping when Sue went back up.
Sue closed the curtains.
A cold rain was falling, with a little snow in it, too.
Sue worked through most of the night.
In the morning, Sue went to Johnsy’s bedside.
Johnsy was looking toward the window.
“I want to see,” she told Sue.
Sue opened the curtains fearfully.
But, even after the beating rain and the wild wind, there still was one leaf to be seen against the wall.
It was the last on the vine.
“It’s the last one,” said Johnsy.
“I thought it would surely fall during the night.
It will fall today and I shall die at the same time.”
The day slowly passed.
As it grew dark, they could still see the leaf hanging from its branch against the wall.
And then as night came, the north wind began again to blow.
The rain still beat against the windows.
When it was light enough the next morning, Johnsy again commanded that she be allowed to see.
The leaf was still there.
Johnsy lay for a long time looking at it.
And then she called to Sue.
“I’ve been a bad girl, Sue,” said Johnsy.
“Something has made that last leaf stay there to show me how bad I was.
It’s wrong to want to die.
I’ll try to eat now.”
The doctor came in the afternoon.
“The chances are good,” said the doctor.
“Give her good care, and she’ll get well.
And now I must see another sick person in this building.
His name is Behrman.
He’s old and weak.
There’s no hope for him.”
The next day the doctor said to Sue: “She’s out of danger.
Good food and care now – that’s all.”
And that afternoon Sue came to the bed where Johnsy lay, and put one arm around her.
“I have something to tell you,” she said.
“Mr. Behrman died of pneumonia today.
“When they found him ill yesterday morning, his shoes and clothes were wet and as cold as ice.
Everyone wondered where he had been.
The night before had been so cold and wild.
“And then outside, they found a lantern, and a ladder, and some brushes, and some green and yellow paint, and …
“Look out the window, dear, at the last leaf on the wall.
Didn’t you wonder why it never moved when the wind blew?
Oh, my dear, it’s Behrman’s masterpiece – he painted it there the night that the last leaf fell.”
6011 Mr. Peal (693)
While I was growing up in our small town, Rosemont, I always thought of
my neighbor, Mr. Peal, as a strange and somewhat frightening old man.
He was always yelling at me and my playmates to stay away from his yard and his old truck.
My parents never said much about Mr. Peal and only told me to leave him alone, so I never had any reason to believe he was anything more than an unpleasant old man.
But sometimes, at times and places we least expect, we learn something new about people that changes how we look at them.
Such a thing happened to me last year at my university, a hundred miles from home.
One day I was in the cafeteria talking with a classmate about my hometown.
Suddenly a student who was sitting next to us interrupted and said, "Did you say you come from Rosemont?
Do you know an old man named Peal there?
He drove an old blue truck."
"Why, yes," I answered.
"He's my neighbor. Do you know him?"
"I do! What a coincidence!" said the student and he began to tell me a story.
He told me that he lived in Sunnydale, where the university is, and that one day seven years ago he, his mother, and his little sister decided to spend a day in the mountains near my hometown.
"We had to take a train to Rosemont early in the morning, and then a bus from there into the mountains," he said.
He said that he and his sister began using rocks to make a small pool in a mountain stream.
"We wanted to catch baby fish and collect them in the pool so that the three of us could watch them swim around for a while before we let them escape back into the river."
He was arranging one of the rocks in the wall when suddenly his sister accidentally dropped a large rock right on top of his left hand.
It cut his fingers to the bone and made a terrible wound.
"It hurt so much, and it looked awful," he said.
"Mom wrapped my hand in a towel and told us we had to find a doctor."
But the bus back into town was not due for another four hours.
The three decided they would have to walk down the road back to town.
However, that too, would take more than an hour.
"My mother kept telling me to be brave, but I could tell that she was really worried.
We were all scared."
Just then, a small blue truck came up the road in front of them.
"Mom started waving and yelling, and the truck stopped.
She explained what had happened and asked the driver, an old man, if he would take us into town to see a doctor."
But the man told her that the doctor was out of town and that the only other doctor in the area was another thirty miles away on the other side of Rosemont.
"He told us to hop in and that there was some ice for my hand in a bucket in the truck."
The student continued his story, telling me that he could not remember much about the trip to the doctor.
However, when he finally walked out of the doctor's room with his fingers bandaged, Mr. Peal was sitting in the waiting room with his mother and sister.
"He said he would drive us back to Rosemont so we could catch the last train home.
On the way back he told us that he had no grandchildren, but that his next-door neighbors had a daughter named Sarah around my age, so he knew how Mom must have felt.
You must be Sarah, I guess.
When you see Mr. Peal again, tell him that I'm majoring in music - guitar!
My hand is perfectly fine."
"I'll do that," I answered.
Our university is large, and I never again met the student who had told me this story.
But I did see Mr. Peal again.
I see him with new eyes now, and I am glad I have a neighbor like him.
6014 Mrs. Beakey (633)
My hometown was a sleepy place, safe and clean, but far from the bright
lights of New York City, which shone two hundred miles to the south.
It was, I suppose, a great place to grow up.
As there was little traffic, kids could ride their bicycles anywhere.
There were many gardens and parks full of trees and flowers.
The air was fresh, and the nights were peaceful.
But my hometown bored me and some of my friends.
One day, however, a very special day, all of that changed.
My mother came home from shopping out of breath with excitement and announced that Mrs. Beakey had been bitten by a snake.
"What's so unusual about that?" I asked.
In the woods surrounding the town there lived many snakes, and every once in a while some unfortunate person would put a hand where it should not have gone and would soon regret it.
"Well, it happened in Marci's Department Store, John," she replied.
"What? Are you serious?"
"I sure am," she said.
"She put her hand into a rolled-up carpet and felt something grab her finger."
"Why would she want to do a thing like that?" I remarked.
"Well, Mrs. Beakey is always doing strange things."
Actually, it was pretty hard to say much about Mrs. Beakey, because she was frequently out of town.
Beakey, you see, was a writer and spent a great deal of time on the road doing research for her books.
She was hardly ever home.
"Where is she now, Mom?" I asked.
"Well, I suppose she's at Hope Hospital."
Hope was the town's only hospital, so there was really no place else for someone in Mrs. Beakey's condition to go.
I immediately regretted asking the question.
But before I could change the topic, the doorbell rang.
It was my best friend, Roger.
Roger and I had known each other since elementary school.
He had a very good imagination, and I often thought that he would become an artist or a writer or something.
He didn't, but that's another story.
"What's up?" I asked.
"Did you hear about Mrs. Beakey?" he shouted.
"Yeah, she got bitten by a snake at Marci's Department Store."
"No way. She got bitten by a rare African spider at Merlin's Bakery," Roger insisted.
"Hey, something's wrong here, Roger. I heard it was a snake."
"Okay, let's call Hope Hospital and check," Roger said.
"They're not going to give out that kind of information. It's personal."
"Yeah, you're right. Maybe we should just ask to speak to her."
"Good idea," I replied.
We went over to the phone and made the call.
The operator on the other end was polite, but she sounded slightly annoyed.
"You want to know about Mrs. Beakey, too?" she said.
"Is she all right?"
"Well, it depends on whether you think she has been bitten by a snake, punched by a kangaroo, kicked in the head by a horse...," the operator answered.
"I don't understand," I said.
"Then I'll explain it. You see, I happen to know Mrs. Beakey very well.
She's my next-door neighbor, and she is now in Chicago.
Listen, young man, do you happen to know what day it is today?"
Being a kid, I didn't.
I did not start to be concerned about such things as dates until I got my first job.
"No," I replied.
"Well, it's April 1st, and you know what that means, don't you?"
At that point, the operator, my excited friend Roger, and I shouted, "April Fools' Day!"
All of us, even my usually wise mother, had been fooled.
But we all learned a couple of things from all of that:
stories that travel around in small towns often become wild and crazy, and facts should be checked before you believe anything.
6017 One of These (596)
The world is full of modern technological "conveniences" and
everyone is expected to understand how to use them.
Some people, however, are not so clever at dealing with them as they should be.
I am one of these.
Our television set has a remote control.
With it we can easily change channels or adjust the volume.
This spares us the extra effort of walking across the room, which may be a great help if we have already walked a mile or so for exercise that day.
But even a remote control can be a problem for people like me.
One night the face of the quiz show host suddenly looked unhealthily pale.
My wife said, "It's the TV set. Why don't you fix it?"
In response to my blank stare, she told me to open the little door on the remote control.
Behind this were buttons for adjusting the color, the contrast, and so on.
I tried various adjustments and almost lost the picture entirely.
Then my wife, merely by pressing the buttons a couple of times, brought back the host's health completely.
It made me sick.
I didn't even know the little door was there.
When I first tried to use a cash machine in a bank, I had an unpleasant experience.
I managed to position my card in the right place without too much trouble.
Then I was instructed to punch in my secret number.
I had chosen a number which was familiar to me so that I would always know what it was.
Now, however, I couldn't remember it or where I could find it.
I just had to try and produce the right number from memory.
I knew my chances of success were no better than being appointed head of NASA, but I tried anyway.
My first shot was 5352.
The machine said I had made a mistake and should try again.
So I tried 3255.
The machine wasn't any happier.
Then I tried 2535.
Still the machine was not satisfied, so I reached in to take out my card.
Before I was able to, a razor-sharp door suddenly dropped and nearly cut off the fingers of my right hand.
On the display panel I read: WE'LL CONTACT YOU LATER.
"You came close enough to contact me then," I replied, loud enough for the customers behind me to appreciate my humor.
When I returned to the parking lot, I happened to notice that the license plate number on my car was 60A3552.
So that was it.
How forgetful of me, especially as I had been writing it down all the time when checking in at motels!
Last July I bought two smoke alarms.
I put one of them in the kitchen close to the oven, and the other in the bedroom.
The one in the bedroom, after doing nothing for several months, became bored one night and began to make a high-pitched sound every minute or two.
I've slept through many disturbances, but after a couple of hours of this awful beeping noise I got up and cleverly, I thought, changed the noisy one for the quiet one in the kitchen.
At exactly 3:10 a.m., this one too began to beep even louder, and I threw both of them outside with the trash.
The next day I bought two new ones.
Two days later, a friend of mine remarked casually that one of his smoke alarms had begun to beep to let him know that its battery was weak.
Upon hearing this, I dashed home, but the trash had already been collected.
6021 George (595)
On his first day of elementary school, Johnny came home, banged the front
door open, threw his cap on the floor, and shouted, "Isn't anybody
At dinner he spoke rudely to his father and spilled his baby sister's milk.
"How was school today?" I asked casually.
"All right," Johnny said.
"Did you learn anything?" his father asked.
"I didn't learn nothing," he said.
"Anything," I said. "Didn't learn anything."
"The teacher punished a boy, though, for being bad."
"Who was it?" his father asked.
Johnny thought. "It was George," he said.
"The teacher shouted at him and made him stand in the corner. He was awfully bad."
"What did he do?" I asked, but Johnny slid off his chair, took a cookie, and left.
The next day Johnny remarked at dinner, "Well, George was bad again today. He hit the teacher and was taken to the principal."
On Wednesday George hit a little girl on the head with a blackboard eraser and made her cry.
Thursday, George had to stand in the corner during story hour because he kept jumping up and down.
On Saturday I asked my husband, "Do you think school is too upsetting for Johnny? This George boy sounds like such a bad influence. Johnny has been so different since he started school. All this toughness and bad language is not like him."
"It'll be all right," my husband said.
Almost every day during the second week, Johnny came home late, full of news about George.
George shouted during story hour, hit a boy in the stomach and made him cry, and so on and so forth.
By the end of the week George had become an institution in our family; the baby was being a George when she cried all afternoon; Johnny did a George when he filled his wagon full of mud and pulled it through the kitchen; even my husband, when he caught his elbow in the telephone cord and pulled the telephone off the table, said, "Looks like George."
During the third week, it seemed George had changed.
Johnny reported on Wednesday, "George was so good today. He erased the blackboard and carried some books for the teacher, and she said he was her helper. She even gave him an apple."
"Can this be true, about George?" I asked my husband that night.
"Wait and see," was his reply.
"The P.T.A. meeting is on Monday evening next week," I told my husband the following night.
"I'm going to find George's mother and speak to her."
"Ask her what happened to George," my husband said.
On Friday of that week things were back to normal.
George shouted a dirty word three or four times.
The teacher called the principal.
At the P.T.A. meeting I sat restlessly, looking at each comfortable, motherly face, trying to determine which one hid the secret of George.
None of them, however, stood up in the meeting and apologized for the way her son had been acting.
No one mentioned George.
After the meeting I talked to Johnny's teacher.
"I've been so anxious to meet you," I said smilingly. "I'm Johnny's mother."
"We're all so interested in Johnny," she said.
"He had a little trouble adjusting, the first week or so, but now he's a fine little helper. With occasional problems, of course."
"Johnny usually adjusts very quickly," I said. "I suppose this time it's George's influence."
"Yes," I said, laughing, "you must have your hands full in this school, with George."
"George?" she said. "We don't have any George in the school."
6029 A Wrong Way Pilot (697)
Douglas Corrigan peered out of the window of his airplane.
Below, a thick blanket of fog hid the ground from view.
Earlier that morning on July 17, 1938, Corrigan had taken off from New York.
He hoped to fly nonstop to the West Coast.
Flight across the continent was still unusual, and in a plane like Corrigan's, it was a daring venture.
Corrigan had bought the plane secondhand.
It had been a four-seater built to fly short distances, but he had replaced three of the seats with extra fuel tanks and changed the original engine for one with more horsepower.
Corrigan had worked diligently on every inch of the plane he called Sunshine.
Ever since he had been a boy hanging around the Los Angeles airfields doing odd jobs, he had loved flying.
Corrigan had no money and very little formal education.
His father had abandoned the family, and a few years later his mother died.
By working hard and doing without many things, including breakfast and sometimes lunch, he saved enough money to take flying lessons at the age of eighteen.
Corrigan's dream was to fly across the Atlantic, as his hero, Charles Lindbergh, had done.
But when Corrigan applied for a license to fly to Europe, the inspectors took one look at the condition of the plane and refused to issue him one.
However, Corrigan did talk them into giving him a license to fly nonstop from Los Angeles to New York and, if things went well, to try the return trip from New York back to the West Coast.
Things went well.
In spite of rough weather, Corrigan made the trip east in twenty-seven hours.
He was confident that both he and Sunshine could cross the continent a second time.
Spectators gathered as Corrigan climbed into the plane.
Few supplies were aboard.
Except for a box of cookies and some candy bars, he wasn't taking much with him, not even a parachute.
Sunshine was already carrying a heavy load of fuel, so he didn't want to add any more weight.
As dawn was breaking, the overweight plane rose with difficulty into the sky.
Within a few minutes, Corrigan and his plane were swallowed by the fog.
He soon noticed that one of his compasses didn't work.
But he wasn't worried.
A second compass on the floor of the plane was set for a westerly course.
Corrigan swung the plane around to match the compass setting, and climbed above the fog.
Ten hours later he was still flying above the fog.
As darkness closed around the plane, Corrigan's feet began to feel wet and chilled.
He turned on his flashlight.
The floor of the cabin was covered with gasoline that had leaked from the main tank.
With a screwdriver, Corrigan poked a hole through the cabin floor so that the gasoline could safely drain into the open air.
He wasn't too worried about the loss of fuel.
After all, he thought, he could always land if he ran out of gasoline.
Hour after hour, Corrigan flew on through the night, following his compass needle.
His muscles ached from sitting too long in one position.
His gasoline-soaked feet were numb.
When daylight came, Corrigan was surprised to see water below him.
He checked his compass and realized that in the poor light he had matched his course to the wrong end of the compass needle.
Instead of flying west, toward California, he had flown east, out over the Atlantic Ocean.
He had no idea how far from land he was.
He had no radio, no parachute, and he was running low on fuel.
There was only one thing he could do: keep flying and hope he reached land before running out of gas.
Twenty-eight hours after takeoff, he spotted land.
At a large airfield, Corrigan brought Sunshine safely back to Earth.
He was approached by an army officer.
"Hi," Corrigan said.
"I got turned around in the fog. I guess I flew the wrong way."
He soon found out he had landed near Dublin, Ireland.
And it wasn't long before the whole world knew about "Wrong Way" Corrigan, the man who flew backward into his dream.
6034 Sarah Watson (638)
Sarah Watson was a well-known doctor who often traveled about to treat
One day she was leaving London to see a very sick person in Denton in the north of England.
At the station she took her seat in an empty part of the train for Denton, and told the conductor she would be glad to be alone if she could.
The train was already in motion when a young lady came running down the platform with a porter carrying her luggage.
The man just managed to open the carriage door, push the young lady in and throw her things in after her.
Then the train was off.
The young lady took the seat opposite Dr. Watson.
After a while, Dr. Watson asked politely, "Are you traveling far?"
"Oh yes," said the young lady, "I am going to Denton."
"How strange!" said Dr. Watson.
"That's where I'm going myself."
There was a moment's pause, and then the young lady very modestly said, "I'm going to be married there tomorrow."
They went on talking and became quite friendly.
The train arrived at Rugby and they both got out for a snack.
They were in the carriage again, and the train was already moving, when the young lady called out excitedly, "Stop the train! Don't you see, he's urging me to get out! There, that young man in the brown coat with the beard, that's the man I'm going to marry."
Of course it was impossible to get out, and the young lady grew very upset.
Dr. Watson assured her there was no one standing there, but she would not believe her.
Thinking the young lady must be unwell, Dr. Watson persuaded her to take some medicine.
The train arrived at Stafford and exactly the same thing occurred.
And again Dr. Watson assured her there was no one there, and said, "I think you had better let me give you some more medicine."
After this Dr. Watson felt she could not go on giving the young lady medicine at every station all the way to Denton.
So she decided that if the same thing happened at Crewe, it indicated either that the young woman really had had a vision of the future, or that she was not in a state of health to be married the next day.
Dr. Watson determined to act accordingly.
At Crewe the same thing did happen again.
"Don't you see him? He's urging me more than ever to get out," cried the young lady.
"Very well," said Dr. Watson, "we will get out and go after him," and together they pursued the imaginary figure and of course did not find him.
Dr. Watson had decided to do something, so she took the young lady to the station hotel.
Handing over enough money for the expenses, she left her in their care until the next day, when she would be returning that way after seeing her patient.
Dr. Watson settled in her seat again just as the train departed.
She was feeling sorry for the young lady, who now could not be married the next day, when suddenly the train was involved in a Dr.eadful accident.
Dr. Watson was fortunately unhurt, but part of the carriage, including the seat opposite her, was totally destroyed.
It was a long time before the railway line was cleared, and Dr. Watson arrived at Denton, many hours late, by another train.
There, waiting upon the platform, stood the young man with the beard and the brown coat exactly as he had been described.
He had heard that there had been a terrible crash and was prepared for his worst fears to be realized.
Dr. Watson confirmed that an accident had occurred, but was able to reassure him that his young lady was safe in the station hotel at Crewe.
6044 Her First Date (669)
"We're going," Mimi called out to her mother in the family's
grocery store next to her house.
This was her first date, and Robert Rovere had just arrived to take her to a dance.
She could hardly believe it was happening.
During the long wait she had wondered again and again what to wear, finally putting on her favorite blouse.
Now at last Robert was here.
He looked beautiful to her.
His hair was neatly combed and he wore a yellow sweater she hadn't seen before.
Mimi felt wonderful.
As they stepped out of the door, Mimi's mother popped out of the store and said hello to Robert.
Then she put a package wrapped in white paper into Mimi's hand.
"Limburger cheese for Sally Thompson, Mimi. We got a case of imported Limburger in today. I promised Sally you'd deliver it tonight."
"Tonight!" Mimi echoed, staring down at the cheese. "Why not tomorrow?"
"Sorry, but I promised Sally," her mother said. "Well, have fun you two."
"Oh well. Robert, let's go," she said.
Her first date ever, her first date with Robert Rovere, and she was stuck with a large, smelly, messy package of cheese!
She tried to forget it.
Here I am, she said to herself, going to a dance with Robert Rovere.
She glanced up at him.
"That cheese smells," he said.
She held the cheese in the hand farthest from him, but the smell seemed to be crawling up her arm.
They turned onto Montcalm Street.
Mimi didn't know the house number, but she thought she'd recognize the house because she'd passed there once before.
"Oh, here it is."
She rang the bell but nobody answered.
Then she noticed that the name under the bell wasn't Thompson.
She had come to the wrong house.
Oh, how embarrassing, she thought.
She dropped the cheese into her coat pocket and rejoined Robert.
"Wrong house," she said. "I was sure she lived there."
"What do we do now?" Robert asked.
Mimi bit her lip.
She couldn't bring the cheese home again now.
It would just have to go to the dance with her.
"Let's go," she said.
She was so miserable she couldn't think of another thing to say, and she and Robert walked the rest of the way in a silence as thick as the bad smell of the cheese.
When they arrived at the dance, the place was full of people and there was no room to hang their coats.
Mimi wanted to wash her hands, but Robert led her straight onto the dance floor.
Mimi noticed that Robert smelled sweet, like lily of the valley.
She smelled of Limburger cheese.
Mimi danced with all her heart.
Robert's eyes were closed.
Probably trying to forget her and her smell, she thought.
After a while they went to the snack bar.
As they enjoyed their drinks, Robert stared over Mimi's head.
He's bored, she thought.
Well, the evening was a disaster.
The strong smell rising from her pocket was growing stronger by the moment.
A redheaded boy stopped to talk to Robert.
"Who took off their shoes here?" the boy asked.
Mimi's heart sank.
"Something smells," said the redheaded boy.
Mimi held her breath.
She couldn't look at Robert.
"I don't smell a thing," Robert said. "Do you, Mimi?"
For a moment she thought she'd heard wrong.
Robert was smiling at her in a special way.
She stared at him in astonishment.
"No. I don't smell anything," she managed to say.
"Must be your imagination," Robert said to the boy.
Mimi couldn't believe her ears.
Then she burst out laughing.
How about that!
Robert was sticking up for her.
It was wonderful.
The cheese had suddenly become their secret.
When Mimi and Robert left the dance, the streets were quiet.
They walked close together, humming one of the songs they'd danced to.
The moon was high now, sliced thin, riding like a cheerful boat above them.
"I'm sorry about the cheese," Mimi said.
"Cheese?" smiled Robert. "What cheese?"
6089 Morning type and Night type (858)
People can be grouped into two types: morning-type and night-type.
Morning-type people do better in the morning.
Those who belong to the morning-type category wake up early and always have breakfast.
This type of person is usually energetic and active from early in the morning.
Those who belong to the night-type category usually have trouble getting up since their blood pressure is comparatively low in the morning.
They rarely have a proper breakfast.
They are not very active in the morning, and it takes time for them to get ready for the day.
However, night-type people do better in other ways.
Night-type people can stay up late and often can go on working all night.
Also, they are adaptable to the changes of their sleeping time.
Meanwhile, morning-type people get sleepy early and cannot keep on working until late at night.
They are not so flexible to the changing of their sleeping time, and therefore take time to recover from jetlag.
Today some people prefer reading books on the computer screen to reading them on paper.
They buy "books" online and read the downloaded files.
Sometimes they digitalize the books they have by scanning them and changing them into digital data.
One of the advantages of so-called e-books is that you can read anytime, anywhere, whatever book you like to read.
Instead of going to bookstores to buy books you want to read, you just get on the Net and buy the book online to get the file.
Another advantage is that you don't have to carry heavy paper books anymore.
However big or heavy a book is, it is easy to carry with you once you put it into your computer or other types of digital hardware.
On top of that, digital books are more eco-friendly because they don't use paper.
On the other hand, there are people who don't like reading e-books.
Although it is easy to carry the digitalized data, they think it is easier to read on paper than on a computer screen.
In addition, reading on a screen strains your eyes and may lead to bleary eyes.
Some brain scientists also claim that information you get through reading paper books tends to stay with you longer.
Dogs are different from a lot of other animals we work with because they are hyper-social and hyper-sensitive to everything we do.
Dogs are so tuned in to people that they are the only animals that can follow a person’s gaze or pointing finger to figure out where a piece of food is hidden.
Wolves can’t do it, and neither can chimpanzees.
Dogs are genetic wolves that evolved to live and communicate with humans.
That’s why dogs are so easy to train compared to other animals.
Anyone can teach a dog to sit and shake hands, and most dogs do a lot of self-training as they get older.
The reason dogs can train themselves to perform a lot of behaviors is that our social reactions are reinforcing to dogs.
To train a cat, you have to give it food treats, but a dog is happy when you’re happy.
Over time, a dog notices that his owner acts happy when he waits quietly for his collar, so he learns to wait quietly to make his owner happy.
However, cats aren’t hyper-social.
You can’t use social approval to train a cat, and cats can’t train themselves by picking up on their owners’ reactions the way dogs can.
Dogs serve people, but people serve cats.
On the other hand, cats are not solitary, self-sufficient loners the way a lot of people think.
Cats have social needs.
Unfortunately, we animal behaviorists and ethologists don’t know as much about cats and their emotions as we do about other domestic animals.
However, much of what we do know hasn’t gotten out to the public.
One of the most important things to realize about cats is that they haven’t been really domesticated, at least not nearly to the degree dogs have.
Wolves started evolving into dogs a hundred thousand years ago.
No one knows for sure yet when wild cats started to evolve into cats.
A cat jaw was found in one of the first human settlements on Cyprus, when agriculture had just been invented.
However, some think that hunter-gatherers may have had cats, too.
Considering the fact that contemporary hunter-gatherers take good care of animals they capture and mourn them when they die, it is probable that hunter-gatherers in the past had cats, too.
Yet even if cats and people have lived together for thousands and thousands of years, cats probably haven't been changed that much by their association with people because cats and humans had a mutual relationship instead of the more symbiotic relationship humans and dogs had during domestication.
Early humans needed their dogs to guard their camps and help them hunt, and early dogs needed their humans for food and shelter.
Dogs and humans depended on each other.
On the contrary, with people and cats, it was more a relationship of convenience.
Cats killed mice and rats, and humans provided lots of mice and rats that lived in human settlements.
6196 Silence (493)
Silence is an act of nonverbal communication that transmits many kinds
of meaning dependent on cultural norms of interpretation.
Our tendency to describe silence as an absence of speech reveals a particular cultural bias, implying that something is missing, but silence is a “something” with purpose and significance.
Silent behavior occurs in all societies, although its message varies both between and within different groups.
It conveys meaning, as does all communication, partly from the situational and interactive contexts of its use.
Emphasizing the “use” of silence also focuses on the fact that silence does not simply exist but is actively created by participants.
In American society, silence is required of individuals or groups engaged in several types of encounters.
Most tend to have a ceremonial or formalized character where participants have established roles and behave in predictable ways.
Audiences at ceremonies, governmental or legal proceedings, and theatrical events generally are constrained from speech or are limited to making brief, conventional responses.
Silence or paucity of speech also emphasizes status differences between individuals in various kinds of role relationships, including employer / employee, teacher / student, and adult / child.
In encounters between unequals, imbalanced use of talk or silence reveals underlying social hierarchies.
Individuals of higher status tend to talk more, whereas those of lower rank are expected to be silent or less talkative.
In American society, interpersonal silence is not well tolerated, especially between people who are not intimates.
Greater familiarity leads to greater ability to refrain from speech.
One function of speech is to avoid silence.
This assessment offers a possible explanation of Western behaviors such as conventional greetings, so-called “small talk,” and frequent question-and-answer sequences occurring in much daily conversation.
Because talk is preferred in interpersonal encounters, silence is often given negative interpretations.
Feelings of hostility, contempt, disinterest, or anger are often attributed to silent participants.
Despite these attitudes, silence is sometimes perceived as a mark of an individual’s contemplative thought, respect for others, or desire to avoid conflict.
Contrasting interpretations may be motivated by context or by social or personality attributes of participants.
In other cultures, as expected, the situational and interactive functions of silence are varied, although some cross-cultural similarities are observed.
Among the Western Apache, silence is the norm in situations of ambiguity or uncertainty, such as encounters between strangers, times of mourning, greeting people who have been away for an extended period, and reactions to displays of anger.
These circumstances have a common theme: an individual is interacting with someone who is unpredictable either because he or she is unknown, not known well, has been absent for some time, or is in a distressed psychic state.
When interacting with such people, one must take care to silently observe them in order to pick up clues and anticipate their likely behavior.
It is important, of course, to avoid overgeneralizing or stereotyping any society.
Not all members are equally silent or talkative or adhere to interpretive norms to the same degree.
6231 Dialogue - The First Job (82)
A: I'm trying to find a job, and it's hard.
B: I think it's because you have never worked before.
A: You're right, employers like to see someone with experience.
B: That is unfortunate.
A: I can't get a job if no one will give me a chance.
B: Try to sell yourself.
A: How am I going to do that?
B: Talk about your talents.
A: I can lick my nose!
B: Not that kind of talent.
A: I am the captain of the basketball team.
B: There you go! Try mentioning that.
7020 Watermelon Explosion (122)
The Slow Mo Guys, in the real world known as Daniel Gruchy and Gavin Free,
already have a bit of an online reputation, but their latest sensation
is an explosion of a melon, and it has already gone viral.
They used a large firecracker to blow up the fruit as one of them sat close by only to be covered in its juice and pulp.
They used a high-speed camera that films at 25,000 frames per second, so the footage first shows a bright flash of orange light before the melon bursts into several pieces.
The pair has been filming various things in slow motion, from water balloon fights to golf shots, and posting them on YouTube for the past 6 years.
7041 Iran Nuclear Deal (147)
Trump announced last Monday that he will no longer support the Iran nuclear
deal and the different reactions from the world leaders came out.
Britain, Germany, Australia and France all said that they see Trump’s withdrawal negatively with Britain’s Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Prime Minister Theresa May claiming that the country has no intention of walking away from the Iran deal.
The Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, on the other hand, said that the deal did not push war further away but brought it closer and thanked Trump for his courageous move.
The Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei said that Trump would turn into ashes and food for worms and ants, but the Islamic Republic will stand.
He continued to say that the Iranian officials want to continue the nuclear deal with Britain, France and Germany but he personally does not trust these three countries, either.
7043 Anti-gun Protests in the USA (56)
Students across the United States took to the streets to demand the government
take action against gun violence, and the protests came in the wake of
last month’s mass shooting at a Florida high school.
Thousands of people marched on the White House and Capitol Hill and attracted the support of pro-gun control politicians in Washington.
7044 Hawaiian Volcano Destroys Homes (112)
Lava continues to flow out of fissures from Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano and
has destroyed five homes.
Despite this danger, some residents are not going to evacuate.
One woman said that living in Hawaii is a gamble because in addition to the beauty, you are living on an active volcano.
A man said that it took about three hours for the area to fill up with lava.
Some residents put leaves in the cracks in a road in front of the slow-moving lava as offerings to the Hawaiian goddess Pele.
Scientists say that lava will continue to come out of the volcano, but they are not sure when or where this will happen.
7050 Sugar in Hot Drinks (147)
For many of us, the day does not properly begin until we have our morning
coffee, but a recent analysis shows that what people often drink is not
just milk with caffeine but worrying levels of sugar.
A researcher from the campaign Action on Sugar explained that as hot drinks are not usually associated with many calories and sugar, their frequent consumption may lead to tooth decay and weight gain.
For instance, a can of coke has an average of 9 teaspoons of sugar, but Caffe Nero’s Caramel Latte has 13 teaspoons of sugar, Costa’s Chai Latte has 20 teaspoons of sugar, and the worst offender was a Starbucks hot mulled fruit drink with 25 teaspoons of sugar, which is over 3 times the recommended daily intake.
Generally, the drinks with the highest levels of sugar were found to be flavoured coffee, such as mochas and lattes.
7059 Woman robbed on camera (87)
A Brazilian woman gave an interview to a Brazilian news programme.
Suddenly, in the middle of the interview, a young man appeared.
He tried to snatch the woman’s necklace.
It was interesting that the woman was talking about increased crime in the area.
The woman was not hurt, and the young man did not take the necklace.
When the police showed up, the man was long gone.
The Brazilian TV then showed other robberies on film.
Most of the criminals were young and they had no weapons.
7063 Leopard Eats Too Much (120)
A snow leopard broke into a sheep pen in China and ate so much that he
could not make the jump back over the fence to escape.
He eventually gave up and lay down for a little post-dinner snooze.
Herdsmen later captured the big cat.
Snow leopards are extremely rare, even more so than giant pandas, and are one of the highly-protected animals in China.
They are listed on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species.
People found the leopard just under 1.5 metres in length and weighing around 100 kilograms, but they can get much bigger than that.
Once officers managed to get him moving again, they released him back into the wild.
7075 Five children in Texas (95)
A couple in Texas welcomed not just one baby, but five.
The babies were born at 29 weeks, and they weigh from two pounds and seven ounces to three pounds and six ounces (from 1.1 to 1.5 kilograms).
Around 24 medical staff helped in the birth of the babies.
The babies were really small and cute.
The mother couldn’t wait to get her hands on them.
The couple’s neighbours and friends promised to help with the babies.
The mother miscarried a few times, so she used fertility drugs.
The parents also have a two-year-old son.
7089 Longest Tongue in the World (132)
Californian Nick Stoeberl can officially say that he has the longest tongue
in the world, as his tongue is 10.13 centimetres long.
He beat the former world record holder Stephen Taylor from the UK.
Nick says that his tongue is useful for conventional activities such as licking lollipops, eating ice cream or getting pudding from the bottom of a cup.
However, strangers find his tongue bizarre.
He says that when he meets someone new, he is introduced as having the longest tongue in the world, so he feels like he has to stick it out at them.
That leaves the strangers with a weird impression.
Nick’s extraordinarily long tongue is one the most unusual new records to have made it into the 60th anniversary edition of the Guinness Book of World Records.
7100 Pee-Power (1,254)
Over one billion of the world’s population still lack access to basic electricity.
Could tech that tries to generate power from urine be the answer?
Today, over seven billion people populate our planet, which means on average around 10.5 billion litres (2.8 billion gallons) of human urine is produced and wasted each day.
It’s the equivalent of 4,200 Olympic-sized swimming pools, if anyone was counting.
In fact, some scientists are – and if they have their way, our human waste will be wasted no more.
With around one-seventh of the population lacking access to basic electricity, and as our global supply of oil slowly dwindles and coal continues to add to mounting greenhouse gases, scientists have rushed to find solutions to power the world in more renewable and sustainable ways.
One answer could lie in methods being developed to generate power from perhaps an unlikely source.
Last year, a group of researchers at Bristol Robotics Laboratory in the UK proved they could power a mobile phone with human urine.
Their device uses what’s known as microbial fuel cells, or MFCs, to generate enough energy for a smartphone to text, browse the internet and make short phone calls.
But they believe, in time, it could eventually help power houses, buildings, and maybe even entire off-grid villages.
A microbial fuel cell is essentially an energy converter, which uses bacteria found in nature to breakdown organic matter, and in turn produce electrons that are converted into energy.
It’s a self-renewing system, because the more waste the microbes eat, the more energy the system can generate and for longer.
MFCs hold such promise because they are currently one of the most efficient means of converting waste to energy.
According to Ani Vallabhaneni, co-founder of Sanergy, a start-up that converts human waste to energy and fertiliser in Kenya’s slums, common biogas digesters (which convert waste into mostly methane gas) are around 35% efficient in terms of capturing energy inside the waste.
It’s claimed MFCs have upwards of 85% efficiency.
Research into MFCs is nothing new – they first appeared over a century ago, and methods have advanced in fits and starts ever since.
In the 1960s, Nasa began looking at using microbial fuel cells in space to generate power from rice husks.
In the 1980s scientists started investigating whether these cells could help power developing countries.
But it’s only after 2000 that this research area has really exploded – born of a growing need and increasing opportunity for renewable-energy sources.
Ioannis Ieropoulos, the lead researcher behind Bristol’s pee-powered phone charger, and his team have been working on this technology since 2002; their recent breakthrough has come from adopting a new approach.
Other scientists in this field are trying to improve the efficiency of single cells, so that they produce more electrons, explains Carl Hensman at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which funds Ieropolous’ research.
But the Bristol team’s approach stacks a series of small-scale microbial fuel cells together.
“[Ieropoulos] is redesigning the fuel cell to make it smaller, and put more cells in there to get more electrons coming out,” says Hensman.
The process is similar to what researchers found when attempting to generate more electricity from the old potato light-bulb experiment.
By boiling and then cutting the potato into thin slices to form a parallel series (instead of just using a bigger potato or trying to speed up the chemical reaction inside the potato) they increased the energy output 10-fold.
Microbial fuel cells may be promising, but they aren’t only one way of unlocking the energy inside our urine.
Urine consists of approximately 98% water, and 2% urea, which is made up of carbon, oxygen, nitrogen and hydrogen atoms.
Gerardine Botte, a researcher at Ohio University, recently developed the GreenBox, a device that extracts the hydrogen from urea through a process called microbial electrolysis.
Electrolysis uses a jolt of electricity to split the urea into hydrogen and oxygen atoms, and then captures the hydrogen to produce energy.
The nitrogen can be used for artificial fertilisers.
Unlike Ieropoulos’ MFC system, which simply generates electricity from natural bacteria, Botte’s process requires a constant source of power – the jolt to split the molecules and produce hydrogen.
“If you had a building of 300 people, you are probably going to need a box of about 1 kilowatt of power to clean the water,” explains Botte.
“You cannot get more energy than the energy you put in. Hydrogen is only going to have about 40% efficiency – you’re recovering 40% of the energy you use to clean urine.”
As a result, this process is more about capturing the previously untapped energy in pee during the purification process, than creating an entirely new renewable source of power.
Still, to get fuel-grade hydrogen while decontaminating (removing the ammonium) wastewater can save tremendous energy costs – so the potential benefits are clear.
“The most important contribution is deploying these boxes in water treatment facilities,” Botte says, “where we’re already using energy to clean the water.”
So could pee-power really be the energy of the future?
And can it be a solution not just for developed nations, but for the billion people around the world who lack access to electricity?
The biggest hurdles are currently cost, scale, and output.
At the commercial level, these systems could be applied to wastewater treatment plants, saving tremendous energy costs by effectively recovering energy during the process of treating urine, and feeding it back into the system.
For smaller-scale home or office use, they still don’t quite produce enough electricity from urine to justify the space and expense.
For places without big industrial systems – but in need of both energy and clean water, it’s another story.
“There’s a lot of basic research still going on, a lot to be developed.
I believe it can make it, but the cost has to be really low,” says Korneel Rabaey, president of the International Society for Microbial Electrochemistry and Technology.
Rabaey estimates that if a one-cubic-metre box containing a microbial fuel cell system was installed in a village of 2,500 people – and all their urine was constantly funnelled through that box – you could generate a constant current of around 500 watts. This would equal around 12 kilowatt hours of energy per day, or enough to run only one standard 50-watt bulb for around 240 hours.
Presently, this kind of system would cost between $5,000-$10,000.
While that’s a hefty price tag, it would last for an incredibly long time, says Rabaey, “because these organisms inside are self-renewing.
As long as you feed it waste water, the bacteria is happy.”
While today’s solar panels could certainly deliver more power per unit at that cost, they wouldn’t last for as long – or be able to clean wastewater.
The Bristol Robotics Lab researchers are aiming to crack this price-per-unit issue.
They built their mobile phone-charging prototype for just a few hundred pounds – and in two years they hope to have a cheaper prototype that can be made from locally available materials, anywhere in the world.
“We have to be realistic,” says Ieropoulos, “we cannot be promoting a technology which is not feasible to be implemented in a poor country.”
Rabney agrees. “You cannot expect a chemical engineer to be present in every village.
It has to be simple, robust, long-lived, and self-reporting,” he says.
So even if answering nature’s call can actually help us make calls for the first time in history, don’t expect your next toilet to come with built-in phone chargers – at least, not just yet.