Thursday, January 31, 2013

How to write English texts

This post goes to my students, especially because the tests season is about to begin... AGAIN! I came across these tips at English Grammar 4U, which I quite often use in classroom context.

The ideal English text is easy to read and understand. Even scientific texts are usually written in plain English words. So try to keep your sentences plain, clear and well structured. When writing in English, keep the following rules in mind: 
1. Use simple language
2. Keep subordinate clauses short
3. Prefer verbs to nouns (not: The meaning of this is that …, but: This means that …)
4. Avoid slang and techy language
About the sentence:
Note, however:
1. Always use main clauses for important statements - use subordinate clauses only for additional information.
2. Use passive voice sparingly - prefer active voice.
3. Avoid long introductory clauses - always try to put the subject close to the beginning of a sentence.
4. Avoid long subordinate clauses - a subordinate clause in the middle of a sentence should have no more than 12 syllables. 
5. Check out the use of participles in our grammar section. They are very useful for shortening lengthy subordinate clauses.
As to paragraphs, keep the following rules in mind:
1. Concentrate on one main point per paragraph. Summarize this point in the first sentence.
2. All sentences that follow support the main point or limit its scope.
3. The last sentence is used as a transition to the next paragraph. Use a criteria that applies for both paragraphs.
The typical structure of a text is as follows:
1. (Title)
2. Introduction
3. Main part
4. Conclusion
Make your texts interesting. You can achieve this for example by varying the lengths of your sentences. An important statement is best emphasised in a short sentence, especially if that sentence is between two longer sentences. Do also vary the lenghts of your paragraphs and avoid one-sentence paragraphs.
There are various possibilities on how to structure your texts
1. General to specific - general statement followed by details and examples
2. Specific to general - details and examples followed by a generalization
3. Known to unknown - provide new information based on what readers already know
4. Least important to most important - catch and keep readers' attention
5. Chronology (ordering by time), e.g. in biographies.


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Control the rain...

Continuing with the weather issues... 
London, sucj a spellbound city, has only one flaw to me: RAIN! Apart from the typical 'lovely weather for ducks', it is a fascinating place to visit and, eventually, live. Yet, the Brits, with their unique sense of humour, have come up with a way to control the rain. If you visit the Barbican Centre, you'll figure out what I'm talking about. A place not to miss, next time I fly to the city Samuel Johnson once quoted as:'When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life'.
Photo credits: Holi Scarff/Getty Images
"Visitors walk through an art installation called the Rain Room in The Curve gallery at the Barbican Centre in London. The Rain Room is a 100 square metre field of falling water which visitors are invited to walk into. Sensors detect where visitors are standing, and the rain stops around them, giving them an experience of how it might feel to control the rain.The installation opened to the public in The Curve gallery at the Barbican Centre in London on October 4, and is free." In, telegraph.co.uk

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Global warming, please!...

Winter is definitely and roughly amongst us. So here follows a cartoon by Rick McKee, which could also be a resource to use in a lesson about Global Warming, either to introduce or close the topic!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Cold weather idioms

As frigid weather has been sweeping the UK and the US in the last few weeks, this seems the perfect time to present some cold weather phrases. Grammarly.com suggests these:

Photo credits: Reuters/Darren Staples
To come in from the cold (bring in from the cold): to be welcome in or become part of a group, particularly if you are new or alone. E.g. 'Susan brought me in from the cold when she offered for me to join the team.'
To leave someone out in the cold: to refuse or neglect to include someone in an activity, group, or conversation. E.g. 'As soon as she went to the table where the group was sitting, they stopped talking. She was left out in the cold.'
To give someone the cold shoulder: to ignore someone or minimally interact with them, usually as a passive aggressive form of punishment or disapproval. E.g. 'He’s giving me the cold shoulder after our argument last night.'
To be snowed in: to be trapped in a building due to the amount of snow. E.g. 'I can’t make it to the party tonight. I can’t even get out of the garage. I’m snowed in!'
To be snowed under: to be very busy with work, overwhelmed. E.g.'Since we took on the new clients, I’ve been snowed under. There is so much work to be done.'
To be on thin ice: to be on the verge of an unfavorable situation; to be on probation; to push the limits. E.g. 'You’re on thin ice, John. You’ve been late to work a lot lately and could lose your job!'
To put something on ice: to postpone something. E.g. 'We’ve been talking about this project for a while, but haven’t got anywhere. I suggest putting it on ice for now and moving onto another project.'
In, Grammarly

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Friday, January 25, 2013

This and last week in the US

January, 18th - Lance Armstrong unveils the truth
Timothy A. Clary /AFP/Getty Images
Lance Armstrong admits doping to Oprah Winfrey. It was the first question she asked him, and he finally said yes. 'In all seven of your Tour de France victories did you ever take banned substances or blood dope?'  After denying it for years, Lance Armstrong stately plainly and without emotion that he did use drugs to help him win seven Tour de France titles during THIS interview with Oprah Winfrey. In the second part of Oprah Winfrey's interview, the disgraced cyclist wells up as he speaks about his son's denials of his doping. Armstrong also gives his thoughts on receiving the sporting equivalent of the 'death penalty' and how he still harbours hopes to return to competition one day. Source: The English Blog and The Guardian (abridged and adapted) 

January, 20th - Barack Obama's swearing-in ceremony
Under the Constitution, a president’s term ends at noon on January 20th, and the new president has to be sworn in on the same day. The presidential inauguration usually takes place in public, but when Jan. 20th falls on a Sunday, presidents have shifted the public ceremony a day and opted for a swearing-in at the White House, which is what happened this year. Thus the ceremony took place in the Blue Room at the White House, and Obama took the oath of office on Michele Obama's family bible (see photo here and watch the video).
January, 21st - Barack Obama's 2nd term inauguration ceremony
January 21st, which also happens to be Martin Luther King Day, will see a more lavish public reenactment. This public swearing-in is expected to draw about 800,000 to the National Mall to watch the poetry, music and oratory outside the U.S. Capitol and will include several nods to this president’s place in history as the first African American to hold the office. Obama plans to place his hand on two Bibles, one owned by the slain civil rights leader and another used by Abraham Lincoln at his swearing-in on March 4, 1861. Source: The English Blog (abridged and adapted)

The swearing-in ceremony at the White House - Larry Downing-Pool/Getty Images
The Inauguration Ceremony at the Capitol - Getty Images
January 21st - MLK Day
Since it was first observed nationwide in 1986, the holiday commemorating the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr has served as a reminder of his legacy to the causes of civil rights, nonviolent opposition and community service. There are plenty of events to check out on the day itself and over the weekend, including live-music tributes, museum exhibits, readings and more. Celebrations will be observed throughout New York City. Source: Time Out New York (abridged)

Photograph: Elena Olivo
January, 24th 
Remembering the first Macintosh
Photo via Tim Cameresi
On January 24th, 1984 - 29 years ago - Steve Jobs demoed the first Macintosh. Open Culture originally posted THIS video back in 2009, and it seems like the right time to bring it back. It captures the first of many times that Steve Jobs thrilled audiences with the promise of what technology could deliver. The video takes you back to January 1984, when Jobs demoed the first Macintosh. A young Jobs, sporting a bow tie and a fuller head of hair, could barely hold back his smile and some tears, and the crowd simply couldn’t contain its enthusiasm, giving Jobs a five-minute standing ovation. That’s where the video ends, fading happily and suitably to black. We’ll miss you SteveSource: Open Culture (abridged and adapted)

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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Two BBC videos

@The Life Series
Two resources to use in 11th form classes when lecturing the topic 'Our World'. The first is THIS amazing video by David Attenborough. Sir David Attenborough is Britain's best-known natural history film-maker. His career as a naturalist and broadcaster has spanned nearly five decades and there are very few places on the globe that he has not visited. Over the last 25 years he has established himself as the world's leading natural history programme maker with several landmark BBC series, including: Life on Earth (1979), The Living Planet(1984), The Trials of Life (1990), The Private Life of Plants(1995), The Life of Birds (1998), The Life of Mammals (2002) and Life in the Undergrowth (2005). 'The final chapter in the Life series, Life in Cold Blood is surely a grand finale to David’s survey of life on Earth.' 
Source: The Life Series (abridged)

@dougallan.com
The second video is about the Himalayas and it is also an interesting resource for the topic 'The Multicultural World'. The Himalayas are the greatest mountain range on Earth. The vast sweep of peaks runs for 2,400 km (1,500 miles) crossing or abutting five countries, and separating the Indian subcontinent from the Tibetan Plateau. The chain is also home to the planet’s highest peaks, including Mount Everest. Their name translates from Sanskrit as “abode of the snow”, a name that seems appropriate for the largest body of snow and the highest concentration of glaciers outside of the polar regions. But these peaks are not just a magnificent spectacle. They have profoundly shaped the cultures of South Asia and hold the gift of life for billions of people. Their giant size influences weather patterns throughout the region, whilst melt water from the peaks feed the great rivers of Asia, including the Indus, the Ganges, and the Tsangpo-Brahmaputra. This water – and the sediments they hold – form the backbone of agriculture of the whole region. In this film environmental economist Pavan Sukhdev, veteran wildlife cameraman Doug Allan and ecological economist Dr Trista Pattersonreveal the natural beauty and diversity of the Himalayas, as well as the hidden contribution they make to life on the Planet. Source: BBC Future - The Himalayas, Water Towers of Asia

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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Too many passwords?

It's been a while since I've last published a cartoon. Randy Glasbergen has a wonderful selection of Internet cartoons, so here goes one that really made me laught out loud today!...

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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Internet Slang

You surely know what LOL means. But do you know what SMH, YOLO, GUAP and HMU stand for? Check out this Philocko's video on some Internet slang expressions!


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Monday, January 21, 2013

Have you ever been to New York City?

If you haven't, you can now take a look at THIS stunning interactive image of New York, in a detailed 360 degree tour of Manhattan. You might find this an interesting resource to use in class, whenever the topic is 'Traveling', or 'The World Around Us', for instance, either for younger or higher level students.

Manhattan by night. Picture: AirPano
Sergey Semenov is a Russian photographer who has created the image by stitching together thousands of photographs of the city, taken during helicopter tours in 2011. The interactive graphic has also been 'flattened' to create a detailed 2-D image, focused on Central Park and its surrounding skyscrapers. Mr Semenov won the best amateur award from the International Pano Awards, given out for panoric photographs, for the 2-D image. 'The desire to share my impressions with those who can’t travel due to different circumstances led me to the project AirPano.com. The sense of the project itself is to show the people the most beautiful places of our planet in the manner that nobody has ever seen them before: from the bird’s-eye view with unlimited freedom of vision and movement,' he wrote on his website
Source: The Telegraph (abridged)
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Friday, January 18, 2013

This week in the UK

No Trousers on the Tube Day
Photos of London
What better way to show your love for the tube and to celebrate its 150th year than with a naked salute. January 13th saw the 4th return of one of our favourite adopted annual holidays – No Trousers on the Tube Day, an English version of New York’s long-established No Pants Subway Ride. Many Londoners braved the cold and bared their chilly legs while travelling around on the Underground, while others secretly took Instagram pictures. If you weren’t lucky enough to spot one of the bold souls, HERE are some of the highlights… Source: The Time Out London Blog (abridged)

Heavy snowfall across the UK

Shaun Curry, AFP/Getty Images
Parts of Britain were blanketed with up to seven inches of snow sunday night (Jan. 12th) - and with temperatures plummeting, there were fears that roads and rail lines could be plunged into chaos. Last night one train company, Greater Anglia, was branded a ‘national embarrassment’ after cancelling 24 trains even though less than an inch of snow had fallen. In London, The Houses of Parliament were enveloped in heavy snow. Some parts of the capital were blanketed with more than 5 inches of snow. Source: Dailymail.co.uk and TIME (abridged)

British Museum's anniversary (1759)
A museum of the world, for the world. Discover over two million years of human history and culture. Some of the world-famous objects include the Rosetta Stone, the Parthenon sculptures and Egyptian mummies. Over 200 years ago on January 15th, the British Museum opened its doors to ‘all studious and curious Persons’. Celebrate this remarkable date with our range of Museum-inspired products. Source: British Museum

Photo credits: PA
Kate Moss's birthday 
Kate Moss, the British top model, turned 39, January 16th. She defies categorisation. No one can imagine a model universe without her, regardless of her age (there used to be an age limit for models but her career is anything but slowing down). And she continues to diversify. In 2007 her perfume, Kate, launched, as well her clothing range for TopShop. At the Olympics Closing Ceremony, which celebrated 50 years of British music - but also gave a huge nod to British fashion, Kate Moss led a glamorous catwalk show of glittering gold. 
Source: Vogue and MyDaily (abridged and adapted)  

Golden Globe Awards
Photo credits: Reuters
Even though the ceremony takes place in Los Angeles, US, (the title of this post relates to UK events) Adele and Daniel Day-Lewis were two of the British singer and actor who have taken home trophees. Adele won the Golden Globe for best original song for theme to James Bond film Skyfall'It's absolutely amazing, it's very surreal and quite hilarious because this is not my normal field. My inspiration normally comes from heartbreak but I don't think I'm going to be devastated again.' Daniel Day-Lewis scored another British success with a win for best actor in Steven Spielber's Lincoln. Lewis said: 'I'd like to dedicate this to my mum, looking down on me bursting with pride telling everyone around her how well her son is doing in acting.' Source: Telegraph.co.uk (abridged)

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Thursday, January 17, 2013

#Hashtags

"If you have been on Twitter, you may have seen a 'hashtag.' To put it simply, a hashtag is simply a way for people to search for tweets that have a common topic and to begin a conversation. For example, if you search on #LOST (or #Lost or #lost, because it's not case-sensitive), you'll get a list of tweets related to the TV show. What you won't get are tweets that say 'I lost my wallet yesterday' because 'lost' isn't preceded by the hash tag.
Hashtags believed to have originated on Twitter but, interestingly enough, it is not a Twitter function. Some believe it began when the broken plane luckily landed in the Hudson River in early 2009, some Twitter user wrote a post and added #flight1549 to it. I have no idea who this person was, but somebody else would have read it and when he posted something about the incident, added #flight1549 to his tweet. For something like this, where tweets would have been flying fast and furiously, it wouldn't have taken long for this hashtag to go viral and suddenly thousands of people posting about it would have added it to their tweets as well. Then, if you wanted info on the situation, you could do a search on "#flight1549" and see everything that people had written about it.
Take this hashtag for example: #worstjobeverhad. This hashtag would compel many others to share the worst jobs they've ever had, thus contributing to a fun conversation. It can be used for specific searches or individual twitters that begin them for their followers."
Found picture @Asking Smarter Questions

The Urban Dictionary adds this explanation: "Spawned from the ever powerful Twitter Machine, this symbol (#) has become a new way to add a thought, or sum up the thought of a sentence, giving it more clarity, and often, more wit. Most commonly found in tweets, FB status, and comments (in that order): 'Just eat an entire sleeve of oreos cookies in 8 mins #highlife'." 
TIP: Having this in mind, we could ask our students to write, and then roleplay, a conversation, as if they were chatting on twitter or facebook, using hashtags, as a way to highlight the topic/vocabulary in their sentences. E.g.'How do you like your new #school?' 'It's great! It has good facilities and the teachers are nice!' 'Do you miss your old  #school?' Only my friends!'
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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Cover me

What do you do when you come across an English word which has several meanings? Using a monolingual dictionary is always the best option. I strongly advise you the use of these dictionaries, as you can access the online edition at anytime and anywhere, for free. Dictionary.com, Oxford dictionaries and Urban dictionaries are the ones I use the most. Leave the Google translator for occasional doubts. The more you read in English, the more vocabulary you will learn, and, thus, improve your language skills!...

Image via ELLL - English Language Learners Facebook Page
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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Multimedia English


MULTIMEDIA-ENGLISH is a video-tube website designed to help you learn real English while having fun and offers good quality resources for teachers too. It uses authentic material to show you how real English is, mostly videos with transcriptions and explanations. This site offers video pages for all levels, from beginners to advanced, including a section for kids and also for absolute beginners. Don't just sit to study English, get into life through real English and enjoy it all the way.
INTERACTIVITY
Everyone can have access to this website and all its sections for free, but if you register (also for free) you will have extra features and become an active part of the site. You will be able to post comments, rate videos, dedicate songs, create your own video pages and more [see more info]. Additionaly, you can also get into our Facebook page to practise your English with other students or teachers (no matter what your level is).
THE LANGUAGE
When people go to an English-speaking country to learn, they are surrounded by real English and they slowly pick it up. This website provides you with a natural environment to do just so, pick the language up slowly and naturally, preparing you for what you are going to find when you meet English speaking people. The multimedia medium makes the material more real, more accessible and more fun. This is not a place to study, it is a place to relax, enjoy and let the language slowly get into you.  
AUTHENTIC ENGLISH
Most of the language used here is authentic English not adapted to any specific level and taken from real sources. The material on this site comes from different countries, especially the UK and the USA; there are even some non-native speakers too. That way, you train yourself to use and understand English as it is, the English used by natives (not the simplified, artificial language nobody uses in real life) and also by foreigners as an international lingua franca. 
ACTIVITIES
The activities and videos are usually loaded with lots of help and explanations in case you need it. If your level is low, understanding the general idea is more than enough, or sometimes trying to understand a few things here and there will help you progress. If your level is advanced, then you should be able to focus on more difficult aims. Here follows an example of what you can find in this website: QuestionsAnd remember, the more you listen and read, the more you will understand.
Source: Multimedia English (abridged)

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Monday, January 14, 2013

Gonna Wanna Ain't

"Gonna", "wanna", "ain't", "ay'day" and "I 'on memba dat" are five American slang expressions explained in the video below by Philochko. Philip E Jones, best known as Philochko, is a Russian speaking American actor from Brooklyn New York. Discovered in a mall in 2005 by Moji-Solar Percy, he has been featured in Gossip Girl, Sex and the city, Law and Order and many more. He is currently the star of "LEARNING SLANG 4 RUSSIANS". Philochko is on the Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, MySpace... Just 'google' him and you'll learn some tips on how to sound more American!



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Friday, January 11, 2013

This week's birthdays in the UK

Photo via theArtsdesk.com
Take a look at 66 iconic images
of this ever changing star
David Bowie turned 66 this week, on January 8th. English musician, actor, and record producer and arranger, Bowie is a major figure for over four decades in the world of popular music. Bowie is widely regarded as an innovator, particularly for his work in the 1970s. He is known for his distinctive voice, as well as the intellectual depth and considerable eclecticism of his work. David Bowie has released a new single, 'Where Are We Now?', on this date and his first album in 10 years 'The Next Day' will be released in March. The track was put on sale in the iTunes store in 119 countries on Tuesday morning and a video preview posted on his website, which has been relaunched for the occasion. 
Source: The Guardian (abridged)

On Wednesday, January 9th, Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, turned 31! Dailymail.co.uk offers its readers a selection of 31 photos that display Kate's looks which have dazzled the world. Huffingtonpost.co.uk. shows a selection of Kate's funniest photos. 
Photo credits: PA
As the wife of Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, who is second in line to the throne, after his father, the Duchess is expected to eventually become queen consort. Catherine studied Art History in Scotland at the University of St Andrews, where she met the then Prince William of Wales in 2001. Their engagement was announced on 16th November 2010, and they married on 29th April 2011 at Westminster Abbey. Catherine has created a major impact upon British fashion which has been termed the 'Kate Middleton effect'. In 2012, she was selected as one of The 100 Most Influential People in the World by TIME. On 3 December 2012, St James's Palace announced that the Duchess was pregnant and expecting her first child. Source: Wikipedia

Photo via TimeOut London Blog
On the very same day, London's tube celebrated its 150th anniversary!... January 9th marks 150 years since the first ever train travelled under the streets of London. The staple of city life has been chugging along longer than film, longer than the modern Olympics and it’s even older than the oldest person in the world. To celebrate this incredible innovation and how it transformed our lives, we’ve put together a list of our favourite things about the tube, from the practical to the silly (and in no particular order). Read the full article HERE. Google has also decided to mark the tube’s special day with a brilliant Google doodle based on Harry Beck’s tube map. Source: TimeOut London Blog (abridged) 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Child Labour

2013's first entry on The Students' Corner. This text was written by Ana Caetano and Célia Cunha, two Science and Technology students, attending the 10th form.

Célia Cunha, 10thA student
Child labour is work done by children. In many countries, there are children working long hours. This happens in poor countries, such as: China, Brazil or Bolivia… The daily living of these children is to work in factories or fields (agriculture) instead of studying or simply playing. Although child labour is forbbidden, it still exists, especially in third world countries. In spite of the laws that don't allow this kind of work, many families need the finantial help provided by their children.
Ana Caetano, 10thA student
In 2010, Africa had the highest incidence rates of child labour with several African nations witnessing over 50 percent of children aged 5-14 working. Many children don’t get proper nutrition or any health care. They don't have the opportunity to be children. They become adults before time is due. In our opinion every child has the right to have a happy childhood next to their parents. Every child has the right to have a home, a family and affection. We are against child labour, because we feel that childhood is a time of fun; not of hard work! We are lucky because we aren’t victims of child labour and we have our parents' love and affection!
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Wednesday, January 09, 2013

DO or MAKE?

DO and MAKE are often confused. The meanings are similar, but there are differences. Kenneth Beare, an ESL teacher, trainer, and content developer, explains the difference between the two verbs at About.com English as Second Language website:


'Do' for Activities

Use the verb 'do' to express daily activities or jobs. Notice that these are usually activities that produce no physical object.
E.g. do homework - do housework - do the ironing - do the dishes - do a job

'Do' for General Ideas

Use the verb 'do' when speaking about things in general. In other words, when we do not exactly name an activity. This form is often used with the words like 'something, nothing, anything or everything'.
E.g. I'm not doing anything today. - He does everything for his mother. - She's doing nothing at the moment.

Important Expressions with 'Do'

There are a number of standard expressions that take the verb 'do'. These are standard collocations (verb + noun combinations) that are used in English.
E.g. do one's best - do good - do harm - do a favour - do business

'Make' for Constructing, Building, Creating

Use 'make' to express an activity that creates something that you can touch.
E.g. make food - make a cup of tea / coffee - make a mess

Important Expressions with 'Make'

There are a number of standard expressions that take the verb 'make'. In a number of cases the verb 'do' seems more appropriate. These are standard collocations (verb + noun combinations) that are used in English.
E.g. make plans - make an exception - make arrangements - make a telephone call - make a decision - make a mistake - make noise - make money - make an excuse - make an effort

To see if you got it right, take the quiz testing 'do' or 'make'!
Incidentally, go to lovetoknow.com to look up the meaning of the saying displayed in the picture above.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

2012 nineteen craziest words

Brithny Zhang & Shannan Rouss wrote for Glo Magazine about what they consider to be the nineteen craziest words of 2012: 'Calling all wordsmiths and pop culture fiends. After surveying the newest additions to esteemed dictionaries, along with the latest in social media slang and lifestyle trends, Glo rounded up the 19 must-know words of 2012. Stop worrying about your floordrobe, take off your shooties, sit back and prepare for an amazeballs experience that's anything but meh.' 

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE 19 WORDS SELECTED BY GLO

Brain cramp!... Just the word I needed to describe my state of mind when correcting the endless loads of tests!... And nomophobia!... Yeah, it's terrible leaving home without your mobile phone! I totally understand the feeling!... Thank you, , for sharing this information with me! You're definitely amazeballs!
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Monday, January 07, 2013

Person of the Year 2012

TIME Magazine Cover Person of the Year
On December 19th, TIME Magazine elected Barack Obama the winner of Person of the Year 2012: 'We are in the midst of historic cultural and demographic changes, and Barack Obama is both the symbol and in some ways the architect of this new America. In 2012, he found and forged a new majority, turned weakness into opportunity and sought, amid great adversity, to create a more perfect union.' Strong runner-ups were in the shortlist, as well. Malala Yousafzai and Tim Cook were among them. Malala Yousafzai, the Fighter, was the Pakistani schoolgirl that the Taliban tried to silence by shooting on her head. By doing so, they have amplified her voice, as she survived the attemped killing, and is now a symbol of the struggle for women’s rights all over the world. Tim Cook, the Technologist, inherited the most valuable company in the world from one of the greatest innovators in history, Steve Jobs. In 2012 he made Apple his own. Read the full article about Person of the Year 2012 HERE, if you please.
Amazingly Barack Obama had already been elected Person of the Year in 2008. TIME announced him this way: 'In one of the craziest elections in American history, Barack Obama overcame a lack of experience, a funny name, two candidates who are political institutions and the racial divide to become the 44th President of the United States.' You can read the full article HERE. 2010 was Mark Zuckerberg's turn: 'For connecting more than half a billion people and mapping the social relations among them, for creating a new system of exchanging information and for changing how we live our lives, Mark Elliot Zuckerberg was TIME's 2010 Person of the Year.

In TIME Magazine (abridged and slightly adapted)

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Thursday, January 03, 2013

Top Ten commonly Broken New Year's Resolutions

As we all vow to do a whole host of things most of us will not follow through on, TIME Magazine brings you the resolutions most often forgotten:

Picture via Bostinno
  • Lose Weight and Get Fit
  • Quit Smoking
  • Learn Something New
  • Eat Healthier and Diet
  • Get Out of Debt and Save Money
  • Spend More Time with Family
  • Travel to New Places
  • Be Less Stressed
  • Volunteer
  • Drink Less
Losing weight and getting fit is one of the most common New Year's resolutions. After a season of way too many cookies, candies and holiday parties, it's only natural that a vow to lose weight and get fit would follow. Each January, fitness clubs offer deals and promotions to those who want to make good on their resolutions. To those who have been at the gym for the other 11 months of the year, the crowded classes and treadmill lines make the new year a dreaded time. Luckily for gym rats, research says that 60% of gym memberships go unused and attendance is usually back to normal by mid-February. Why is that? Simple: people are lazy. Source: TIME Magazine (abridged and adapted). Read the full article HERE.

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Wednesday, January 02, 2013

NYC New Year's Eve Wishing Wall & Ball Drop


Each year people from around the globe write their wishes for the New Year on pieces of official Times Square New Year’s Eve confetti. Whether it’s a personal goal, a dream for the future or doing something for the very first time, these wishes will be posted on the New Year’s Eve Wishing Wall located in the Times Square Museum & Visitor Center (7th Ave between 46th & 47th Streets, open 7 Days a Week, 8am-8pm). The wishes are collected at the end of the year, and added to the one ton of confetti that flutters down at midnight onto the crowd gathered in Times Square in celebration of the New Year. (Text and picture via Times Square official website)

Photo Reuters
Along with the confetti fluttering down onto the crowd, revelers also watch the New Year's Ball Drop in Times Square. which is perhaps the most famous way to usher in the New Year in the world, and a memorable way to celebrate New Year's Eve in New York City. People have been celebrating New Year's Eve in Times Square since 1904, but the first Ball Drop didn't happen until 1907. Since 1907, the ball has been dropped from One Times Square every year, except in 1942 and 1943 due to wartime restrictions on lighting in New York City. Read about the history of the Ball Drop in Times Square HERE and HERE. There have been several different balls dropped from One Times Square during these many years, but a new ball was introduced in 2008, and it's a 12 foot geodesic sphere, double the size of previous Balls, and weighs 11,875 pounds. The new ball is a year-round Times Square attraction. As the ball drops from One Times Square beginning at 11:59 p.m. on New Year's Eve, there are normally more than one million people in Times Square, not to mention the millions watching the ball drop on nationwide and even more people watching from around the world. Once the ball drops, 1 ton of confetti will be released over Times Square. It is free and there are no tickets to attend the New Year's Eve Ball Drop in Times Square. Source: About.com New York City Travel


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Tuesday, January 01, 2013

2013 New Year's Eve Celebrations

T@PT is back after a short break to welcome the New Year!... Here follows an account of the New Year's Eve Celebrations in two major cities of the world: London and NYC!

LONDON
An enormous firework display in central London has kick-started Britain's New Year celebrations in style. The spectacle in London saw a quarter-of-a-million people gather on the banks of the Thames to watch the 11-minute firework show which followed the traditional counting down of the final seconds by Big Ben. Clips from the 2012 Olympic Games featured in the fireworks display over the London Eye. Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: 'What an amazing end to an incredible year.' Watched by hundreds of thousands in the capital and millions around the globe, London has proved, yet again, that it can pull off spectacular world-class events in style. Many of them waited for hours to secure the best viewpoints on the banks of the Thames, but fortunately it was a dry and mild night. Source: MailOnline (abridged and adapted)

Photos credits: Getty Images


NEW YORK CITY
Every year as the clock nears midnight on December 31st, the eyes of the world turn once more to the dazzling lights and bustling energy of Times Square. Anticipation runs high. New Year's Eve at the symbolic center of New York City has become more than just a celebration - it's a global tradition. The world holds its breath... and cheers as the clocks strike twelve. As the famous New Year's Eve Ball descends from the flagpole atop One Times Square, an estimated one million people in Times Square, millions nationwide and over a billion watching throughout the world are united in bidding a collective farewell to the departing year, and expressing our joy and hope for the year ahead. Source: TimesSquareNYC (abridged)

Psy performing in Times Square during New Year's Eve celebrations
Photo credits: The Associated Press
Photo credits: Postman 1107 via Flickr
Confetti is dropped on revelers at midnight
Photo credits: Reuters
Fireworks, concerts and celebrations unfolded around the globe to ring in the new year and, for some, to wring out the old. Here follows a selection of photos by The Telegraph. Just follow THIS LINK to watch New Year's Eve celebrations around the world in pictures. Time Magazine also presents its selection of the New Year's Eve celebrations in this fantastic photo galleryAnd may you have an awesome 2013!