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August 31, 2015


Sara would like to say hi and thank you for the nice outfit she's wearing today. She's very happy about it, can't you tell?

August 29, 2015

The English we speak


This BBC series The English we speak is a fantastic source of new expressions. I recommend you dowload its programs and listen to the definition of for example red tape.

Have a good day

August 26, 2015

Where does English come from?

When we talk about ‘English’, we often think of it as a single language. But what do the dialects spoken in dozens of countries around the world have in common with each other, or with the writings of Chaucer? Claire Bowern traces the language from the present day back to its ancient roots, showing how English has evolved through generations of speakers.

August 24, 2015


Over 40% of people in the U.S. say they are not doing enough to manage their stress, and the consequences of that could lead to all sorts of health-related problems. A recent study published in the journal Neuron showed people who are stressed have more difficulty with self-control and are more likely to choose to eat unhealthy food. If you’re like many Americans, you often be stressed about work and money, but there are good reasons to take time out of your day to relax. Here’s some examples of how stress affects your entire body. Source: Time magazine
How about you? Do you think Spaniards are equally stressed? How does stress affect you?

August 22, 2015

Were you a picky eater when a child?

picky, adjective, Informal. Very difficult to please, choosy, fastidious
Mac and cheese: macaroni prepared in a cheese sauce

Despite the fact that many doctors dismiss picky eating as just a phase, a new study shows it may be a sign of deeper issues

Rare is the child who will eat pretty much anything. Most toddlers develop specific favorite foods and, of more concern, absolute no-go foods.

To a certain extent, that’s normal. But when eating preferences make it difficult for the child to eat with others, that could be a sign of more serious sensitivities, say scientists in a report appearing in Pediatrics.

August 17, 2015

The incredible history of China's terracotta warriors

In 1974, farmers digging a well near their small village stumbled upon one of the most important finds in archaeological history – vast underground chambers surrounding a Chinese emperor’s tomb that contained more than 8,000 life-size clay soldiers ready for battle.
Source: TED Ed            

  1. What insights can the Terracotta Warriors provide us about Chinese history?
  2. Why would some emperors wish to have “company” in the afterlife? What might that reveal about their beliefs about life and the world?
  3. What might the emperor have been considering in burying more than just soldiers in the tombs?
  4. The Terracotta Warriors were discovered in __________ by ____________ who were digging a ________.
  5. Terracotta, or also known as “_______” is a type of ______ clay.
  6. _____________ commissioned the building of the Terracotta Warriors.
  7.  The reason he had the Terracotta Warriors built was because he was obsessed with his _________

August 14, 2015

Richard Blanco's poem Matters of the sea


At the reopening of the American Embassy in Havana, I though it would be nice to listen to Richard Blanco's poem written for the occasion, “Matters of the Sea” or ” “Cosas Del Mar.”

Blanco, who is the son of a Cuban exile family, said that the poem was one of the most emotional and complex poems he’d written:

August 13, 2015

Here’s Why Email Puts You in a Nasty Mood

A combination of anxiety for work during non-work hours and emails make for stressed out workers.

It’s already been shown that emailing after business hours can be psychologically damaging, but new research published in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology confirms what you probably know in your gut to be true: workers who are expected to be available even when they aren’t at work experience an elevated stress response.
Psychologists from the University of Hamburg asked 132 people from 13 workplaces to complete a daily survey over a period of eight days—four on which they were expected to be available for work, four on which they were not. They were all surveyed, and half the the participants also provided saliva samples that were measured for cortisol. (Cortisol is the hormone released in response to stressful situations.)

The results showed that during times when a person was expected to be reachable, people had elevated cortisol levels and reported being stressed. While that might be expected, what is interesting is that when a person is not required to be physically available at the office, there’s still a significant uptick in cortisol.

August 09, 2015

This is what enduring love looks like

This is a beautiful talk about lasting, durable love. Do you agree with it? Do you know any other couple who experienced long lasting love?

Source: Ted Talks

August 02, 2015

What is a calorie?

We hear about calories all the time: How many calories are in this cookie? How many are burned by doing 100 jumping jacks, or long-distance running, or fidgeting? But what is a calorie, really? And how many of them do we actually need? Emma Bryce explains how a few different factors should go into determining the recommended amount for each person.

July 31, 2015

Travelling expressions

Now that vacation time has arrived, you may need some useful travelling expressions. Listen to them at HotEnglish

July 26, 2015

What's the big deal with gluten?

If you've been to a restaurant in the last few years, you’ve likely seen the words gluten-free written somewhere on the menu. But what exactly is gluten, and why can’t some people process it? And why does it only seem to be a problem recently? William D. Chey unravels the facts behind celiac disease, wheat allergies and non-celiac gluten sensitivity.

  1. Your friend tells you she is on a gluten-free diet. You want to take her out for a birthday dinner. What might the menu consist of? (Be sure to meet her dietary needs without causing her stomach issues!)
  2. Explain why gluten sensitivity is difficult to diagnose.
  3. How may this gluten-free food craze have led to the "nocebo" effect? Imagine and describe a scenario in which the "nocebo" effect may occur.
Source: Ted Lessons

July 20, 2015

Here’s Why Skin Cancer Rates Are Up—and How to Protect Yourself

Skin cancer rates have risen significantly, what's the best way to stay protected?
The rate of skin cancer has doubled over the last 30 years, according to new federal data.
Melanoma, specifically—which is the deadliest kind of skin cancer—is on the rise, and according to the latest research, the yearly cost of treating it is estimated to triple to a total of $1.6 billion in the year 2030.

One way to prevent skin cancer is to cover up, and sunscreen is typically a go-to to protect skin in the summer heat. However, recent data has suggested that while sunscreens add protection, they aren’t necessarily up to snuff and often brands make coverage claims they can’t really deliver. There’s also the fact that many Americans still don’t wear it daily (and many still use indoor tanning beds).

A recent report from the Environmental Working Group showed that many sunscreens offer poor coverage or have ingredients that the organization views as worrisome. Some brands market their SPF 70 or SPF 100+ even though they don’t really have much more protection than SPF 50.

New, better sunscreen ingredients could help. Recently, legislation was passed to make the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to more quickly respond to pending applications for new ingredients to add to sunscreens. Many of these ingredients have already been available in sunscreens abroad for years. The law is supposed to make the agency act more promptly, and hopefully result in sunscreens with better protection for Americans.

The FDA also said years ago that it would crack down on sunscreen regulation, by putting a cap on SPF at a max of SPF 50, establish standards for testing the effectiveness, and enforce better labeling.

So what’s the best way to stay protected? Keep wearing sunscreen (data suggests Americans could do a better job), but abide by other measures too. Health experts recommend covering exposed skin with clothing, avoiding time in the sun between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m, and remembering to reapply sunscreen—a teaspoon per body part—at least every two hours.


July 16, 2015

How plants tell time

Why not listen to this interesting information?
  • What was the flower clock?
  • How do plants tell the difference between morning light and afternoon light?
  • Phytochrome molecules detect....
  • Where are phytochromes located in a plant?
  • What is starch?
  • What is more important when a plant is deciding to create blooming flowers: the time of the day or the season of the year? Why? 

July 13, 2015

Royal Idioms

Why not learn some idioms related to the royalty? From Macmillan


July 10, 2015


Dear all,

I wanted to tell you that my daughter Sara is already here. She came on July 5th, earlier than expected, but she is in good shape. She weighted 2.5 kg.
Isn't she cute?
Hope you are having a good summer!

July 09, 2015

Confessions of an Idiom

Everyone has Skeletons in their Closet but what happens if one day the Elephant in the Room decides to make the Skeleton in the Closet bring the truth to light? The Skeleton isn’t one to confess to his crimes so easily. Mayhem ensues in this power struggle with a world full of idioms.
How many idioms can you recognize in this short, clever animation?

Confessions of an Idiom from Amanda Koh on Vimeo.

July 06, 2015

Non-verbal Communication

Did you know that 85% of our message is communicated through body language? How can the body communicate? What signs do they mention in the video?

July 03, 2015

A conversation with white people on race

This short documentary features interviews with white people on the challenges of talking about race.