Kamis, 28 Februari 2013

Spare that spider

Why, you may wonder, should spiders be our friends ? Because they destroy so many insects, and insects include some of the greatest enemies of the human race. Insects would make it impossible for us to live in the world; they would devour all our crops and kill our flocks and herds, if it were not for the protection we get from insect-eating animals. We owe a lot to the birds and beasts who eat insects but all of them put together kill only a fraction of the number destroyed by spiders. Moreover, unlike some of the other insect eaters, spiders never do the least harm to us or our belongings.

Spiders are not insects, as many people think, nor even nearly related to them. One can tell the difference almost at a glance for a spider always has eight legs and an insect never more than six.

How many spiders are engaged in this work on our behalf ? One authority on spiders made a census of the spiders in a grass field in the south of England, and he estimated that there were more than 2,250,000 in one acre, that is something like 6,000,000 spiders of different kinds on a football pitch. Spiders are busy for at least half the year in killing insects. It is impossible to make more than the wildest guess at how many they kill, but they are hungry creatures, not content with only three meals a day. It has been estimated that the weight of all the insects destroyed by spiders in Britain in one year would be greater than the total weight of all the human beings in the country.
T. H. GILLESPIE Spare that Spider from The Listener

A Spider kills a flys
A Spider kills a fly


Comprehension
Give short answers to these questions in your own words as far as possible. Use one complete sentence for each answer.
a. Why have we reason to be grateful to insect-eating animals?
b. How can we tell the difference between a spider and an insect?
c. What do you understand by the statement 'One authority on spiders made a census of the spiders in a grass field.'?

Rabu, 27 Februari 2013

Finding Fossil Man


We can read of things that happened 5,000 years ago in the Near East, where people first learned to write.
But there are some parts of the world where even now people cannot write. The only way that they can preserve their history is to recount it as sagas--legends handed down from one generation of storytellers to another. These legends are useful because they can tell us something about migrations of people who lived long ago, but none could write down what they did. Anthropologists wondered where the remote ancestors of the Polynesian peoples now living in the Pacific Islands came from. The sagas of these people explain that some of them came from Indonesia about 2,000 years ago.
Human fossil
Human fossil

But the first people who were like ourselves lived so long ago that even their sagas, if they had any, are forgotten. So archaeologists have neither history nor legends to help them to find out where the first‘modern men’ came from.

Fortunately, however, ancient men made tools of stone, especially flint, because this is easier to shape than other kinds. They may also have used wood and skins, but these have rotted away. Stone does not decay, and so the tools of long ago have remained when even the bones of the men who made them have disappeared without trace.
ROBIN PLACE Finding fossil man

flint heads
Flint heads

Comprehension:
Give short answers to these questions in your own words as far as possible. Use one complete sentence for each answer.
a. How can anthropologists learn about the history of ancient people who have not left written records?
b. Why did ancient men prefer to use flint for making tools?


Senin, 25 Februari 2013

The Hotel Service - Video for Listening Comprehension in English Classroom




This hotel employee is very smart in his outfit. The hotel where he works must surely have several stars. But the employees’ elegance isn’t everything.

Indeed, everything must be perfect in a hotel: the organisation, the service and even the smile. It’s surprising to see the number of people who, satisfied with a place, come back to it every year.

Take, for example, a simple breakfast. It seems very ordinary to order a full breakfast and to ask for it to be served to you in bed. But it’s not as easy for the bellboy to bring it to you and not stumble on the stairs. Mind you don’t spill anything!

Sitting in her bed, waiting patiently for her coffee, the guest obviously has no idea of all this. Whatever the time and whatever the event, the waiter must always listen and be at the guest’s service.

The noisiest place in a hotel, and where people are the busiest, is probably the kitchen. The hotel manager, moreover, is found more often there than in his office.

Managing staff is always difficult, especially when it’s a team of chefs who want, at all costs, to accompany the head chef’s dish with a bilberry sauce, when a simple orange sauce, ten times less costly, would be perfectly adequate!

They cut, grate, sprinkle, peel, scale fish... What talent! It’s a true culinary art. The meal is a significant element among those services provided in a hotel and the food must be irreproachable.

Obviously, the produce must be fresh and that requires working with a reliable supplier. The fruits and vegetables are imported from the four corners of the globe and it’s necessary to have complete confidence in the company in charge of delivering the goods.

It’s impossible to plan for two hundred covers without being certain of getting in time, and on time, fresh produce of an excellent quality. The choice of the supplier depends on the best quality-price ratio and the delivery time. It’s not uncommon to call upon the services of several professionals at the same time.

The restaurant opens its doors at the beginning of the evening and it’s not unusual to see customers come in who aren’t staying in the hotel. All the waiters and waitresses are dressed up to the nines: shoes well polished, hair well groomed, ties well done up, skirts well ironed...

As usual for the service sector, a restaurant’s success depends enormously on its reputation. The service must be impeccable. When you have a job in the service sector, never forget that the customer is always right! And if he does happen to be wrong, keep it to yourself!



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Minggu, 24 Februari 2013

Energy and Industrial World - Video for Listening Comprehension in English Classroom



It’s the end of summer, autumn is striding into view, and the leaves are turning into a pretty mixture of green, yellow and red.

This farmer has worked all year so that today he can harvest his crop. He is ensiling maize that will be stored and then given as fodder to livestock.

Thanks to technical and scientific progress, the primary sector has evolved considerably. Farms have gotten bigger and output has increased.

Furthermore, everyone can now cultivate in their garden products which, twenty years ago, were still rare. In a few years’ time, it will probably be the turn of oil to become scarce.

In fact, everybody knows that the future of our industry depends immensely on oil resources that will, one day, run dry.

As of today, we must therefore think of finding new energy sources. Wind, for example, is a natural element capable of producing electricity. Wind power has two advantages: it is inexhaustible and non-polluting.

Moreover, if one day they decided to export wind, Scotland would quickly become a very, very rich country!

Since the 80s, people have become more aware of ecology. They recycle cardboard, plastic, glass and paper. They’ve become aware of the fact that some of industry’s progress, like the development of nuclear power stations, can harm the environment.

Scientists are now thus looking towards other sources of natural energy, like water power. Tidal power stations use the power of the tides to supply households with electricity.

Don’t worry! If there aren’t any tides near you, you’ll still be able to turn on your television or computer! There’s also solar power, but this can only be used sporadically!

The industrial revolution took place hardly two centuries ago and we have already managed to send a man onto the moon and a robot onto the planet Mars.

Elsewhere, work has become more and more automated and individuals have been replaced by machines, which don’t need holidays, and never risk going on strike. Unless the industrialists start giving them very bad quality oil!

We have here a good example of production-line work.

Controlled and run by a few individuals, each machine carries out a precise task. One of them washes the bottles, another fills them, a third sticks on the labels and a final machine puts on the bottle caps.

Fortunately, there aren’t any machines yet to drink the nectar that’s inside!

When a region becomes industrialised, the daily life of towns is completely changed. New needs are created and the construction of new facilities is essential.

Small towns become cities, so make way for the works! People build new houses, shopping centres, roads...

Everything is organised so that the inhabitants can get from one place to another easily and have access to as many services as possible...

Thus, large urban centres come to life and with them come their related problems: traffic, noise, pollution... In fact, the air doesn’t look very healthy here!


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Accounting - Video for Listening Comprehension in English Classroom



To learn how to count really well, you have to start at the earliest of ages! Lessons in arithmetic will follow you from childhood to adolescence. Don't be afraid of going up to the blackboard.

Soon adding, subtraction, multiplication and division will no longer hold any secrets for you and you'll break through the mysteries of this exact science called mathematics.

If your memory fails you, use a calculator. But only when the teacher's back is turned, because he prefers you to think it over for a long time by doing the calculations on paper.

You can also count on your fingers but you won't get any higher than ten, unless you add your toes as well!

Beyond twenty, you can use the forerunner to the portable computer, the abacus. If you like figures, specialise your studies in this area. With your diploma in the bag, you can pursue a career in accounting.

This job demands precision and attention. Otherwise you risk being inundated with work. You therefore need an incredible amount of patience when reorganising all the files.

Accounting consists, among other things, in balancing the credits and debits and it is an activity carried out throughout the world. The ledger enables you to group together all of the accounts and to manage them flawlessly.

Once you've checked the outgoings and revenues, the stock inventory and fixed assets, and once you've taken into account the financial and windfall figures, you can finally move on to the summary and draw up the balance sheet, taking care to balance the liabilities and assets.

Be vigilant because an error can quickly occur! The proof is that you've completely forgotten the provisions for depreciation and everything's got to be redone! But before starting over, take the time to check your funds and make the entries for the end of the fiscal year!

If you can see that the company's capital stock is insufficient, you can suggest an increase in capital to the director, unless the company's banker only agrees to a few middle-term or long-term loans.

Be strict about any cash payments, they too must appear in the accounts. So that you don't overfill the cash box think about getting a safe or investing in companies quoted on the stock market, after taking advice from a finance professional.

But be careful... You may double your outlay... Or lose it all! And then you'll have to redo all the accounts to see what tomorrow may bring or, oh dear, what the day after tomorrow may bring! In any case, look after your files, let your friends take advantage of your attention to detail and you'll soon be back in the race.

And if your office in town seems a little cramped, ask to be transferred to one in the tropics!


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Handling Complaint from Telephone Company - Video for Listening Comprehension




Although answering the telephone all day can prove very tiresome, it remains a job of considerable importance. This switchboard operator works in the complaints department and she's the main contact with dissatisfied customers.

She must first try to calm them down and then assess how serious the situation is. There's no point bothering a manager for a minor problem.

Today, the operator has a very irate client on the phone, who finally hangs up on her.

She informs her superior of what has just happened. He calls the customer back himself to try and find some concrete solutions for a network problem that's lasted a week. The customer threatens to cancel his orders, and angrier than ever, he hangs up again.

This time the problem is serious. Not only must the fault be repaired, but the customer's confidence must be regained. The technical support staff will have to intervene rapidly!

A special meeting is organised. The technical director explains the situation and sets out the measures to be taken.

The source of the error has to be found by the end of the day and it must be repaired by the end of the week. Even if that means working round the clock!

The stakes are very high: losing such large orders would cost the company a huge amount. And that's not counting the bad publicity!

It turns out to be a faulty cable. All the technicians set about finding it. But it's not that easy because it's under the floorboards.

Once the cable's located, the faulty wires still have to be found. Everything will soon be back to normal.

In the meantime, a sales representative tries to pacify the customer by telling him that the situation will be sorted out as soon as possible, but that a last-minute problem might still crop up.

Satellites, for example, sometimes break down, causing enormous problems for both user and installer. When this happens, everyone's in the same boat!

Sometimes the problems are due to slight mishaps. A cup of coffee spilt near a plug can cause a short circuit!

Two days later, the Managing Director receives a telephone call from the customer in question. He's satisfied that everything is working properly.

He apologises for losing his temper so quickly and admits that the technical support staff has done a lot of work. Finally he guarantees that the orders still stand. All's well that ends well!



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Cellular Phones - Video for Listening Comprehension in English Classroom




Bravo! Cellular Phones, the company, has made new innovations that will revolutionise telecommunications!

This company has long been known for its technological lead in the mobile telephone field. Its products are light, aesthetic and functional. They can be installed quickly and cheaply. Today the company is launching a new range of products that will make consumers' lives easier.

The company's network of phone lines means you can be contacted at any time...

...And anywhere in the world! These telephones meet all your needs!

But what is this miraculous new product? It's a 'hands-free' telephone. 'But they've been around for a long time!' you say. Yes, but their installation has always been complex; now though, it's possible to install the system in under an hour.

No more driving with a telephone in your hand: you can put both hands on the steering wheel. No more problems with volume or reception: if you go into a tunnel, you still get a signal. The system is as discreet as it is effective. Cellular Phones aims for perfection.

Say 'yes!' to ease of use! You've got a call? A simple touch lets you hear your caller's voice! The system displays the speaker's name and number, enabling you to screen your calls.

Want to call someone? The speech recognition system will dial the number of your choice from those recorded in your directory.

The Cellular Phones headquarters are in Paris. Its staff number more than 300, all departments included. The company has calculated that every five seconds, hundreds of calls pass through the networks. What a lot of conversations at the same time!

The research and development department is at the forefront of technology. The best engineers are inventing the most efficient networks. No more transmission problems! Cellular Phones' products anticipate all your needs.

So that's how Cellular Phones is working for you! What do you think? Astonishing, isn't it? You're not the only one to think so. The company has already been awarded several prizes at international trade fairs.

If you'd like to know more about 'hands-free' telephones, please contact our sales team. Don't forget that the company will always be there to help you. Cellular Phones, for a brighter future!



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Trade Fair - Video for Listening Comprehension in English Classroom



The organisation of a trade fair begins with the renting of the exhibition centre in the town where the fair will take place. Once the organisers know the number of square metres available to them, they can canvass for clients to hire stands during the fair.

The multinationals book the largest stands, because they've got more clients to see. The smaller companies only take up a few square metres.

Before a trade fair, every company must prepare the sales documents that it wishes to show to potential customers. Typing mistakes or bad colour reproduction would immediately make a bad impression.

The trade fair is taking place in Jakarta, in Indonesia. The sales representatives have to collect their passes from the reception desk. Some sales reps have already begun their demonstrations, trying to highlight the products and services their company is offering.

Even if they're representing different companies, the sales reps all do the same job. A trade fair is a succession of appointments, meetings and demonstrations. There's no let-up! For this man, the day begins at nine o'clock with the representative of an Australian distributor.

It continues at ten with a potential client keen to clinch a distribution agreement. Another appointment's been arranged for eleven. The sales reps get used to the jet lag quickly, but never to the fatigue of a trade fair's first day!

They are exhausted from their toing and froing, and from repeating the same thing a thousand times.

There's no rest at lunchtime either for this rep who's invited his clients to a restaurant to discuss business. It's often here that the foundations for new contracts are laid. What a pity to have travelled so many miles and not be able to visit the country!

The mobile phone is an essential tool at a trade fair. But it can be annoying when your colleagues on the other side of the world call at two in the morning, because they've forgotten about the time difference!

Come the evening, the sales rep meets his clients for dinner. The evening begins in the restaurant with a bottle of champagne. Everyone's satisfied because the terms of the freshly signed contract prove advantageous for both parties.

Once the trade fair's over, the entire sales team returns to the company headquarters. The Chairman is delighted to learn that the products have won prizes, and that numerous contracts have been signed.


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Busy Day At Work - Video for Listening Comprehension in English Classroom



What time is it? Almost seven o’clock. Already! Quick, you’ve got to get ready and go to work.

That’s right, the hardest thing every morning is getting out of bed. Five minutes under the shower, a large cup of coffee and you’ll have a clear head. Now you’re ready to attack the day.

You begin by facing the traffic and the hold-ups. The fear of arriving late makes you forget to close the windows and lock the car door.

You’re one of those stressed people who only think about their work! Don’t rely on your watch, it’s fast!

And did you do your best before going home yesterday, so as not to have too many urgent tasks at the beginning of the morning? Apparently yes, you can thus start the day slowly!

And now the telephone starts to ring. Phew, it’s just one of your friends who’s asking you to go to the cinema tonight. Usually, when the phone rings, it’s a colleague with a lot of questions to ask.

This morning, someone came by your office and left documents you have to reread before the meeting. It seems that every task in this company is urgent!

In the offices next door, they’re just as busy. Obviously, you’re dealing with a professional call and not with an invitation to go to the cinema.

On the telephone, you agree with your various colleagues on the point of view that is to be defended at the next meeting.

This is very important, because if there is no unity among the staff, your superior will ask you to start the work again.

There you go, another file to deal with! As if you didn’t have enough to do already... By the looks of it, you won’t be going to the cinema tomorrow either...

You were concentrating so hard on your work that you didn’t see the time go by, nor the time of the meeting get closer.

You still had to reread your argumentation and make a few photocopies before going to the conference room, where the whole team is waiting for you.

Your superior is very satisfied, your work is impeccable, as usual. He congratulates you. It was well worth getting up early this morning.

Err, let’s just hope that your car hasn’t been stolen!


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