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                    [post_date] => 2021-04-23 11:23:21
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                    [post_content] => We are surrounded by objects made of metals and minerals: from complex machines such as cars, computers and smartphones to simple objects such as batteries, coins and cutlery. All the metals and minerals in these objects are obtained by mining, the process of digging materials out of the ground. This can be done in two different ways. There is surface mining, which scrapes a piece of land to get to the materials below, and there is underground mining, which uses tunnels to reach the metals and minerals directly underground. Any material that cannot be grown must be mined, but this might change: a group of scientists, including Alan Baker from the University of Melbourne, and Antony van der Ent from the University of Queensland (both in Australia), are developing agromining (also called phytomining), which uses plants (rather than bulldozers and excavators) to extract specific metals and minerals from the ground.

 

Mining plants

These scientists have discovered that there are about 700 plants that flourish in metal-rich soils. Their roots suck the metals out of the ground and store them in their sap, stems and leaves. Antony van der Ent is experimenting with macadamia trees, known for accumulating manganese. Dr Baker and some of his colleagues, for their part, are experimenting in a vegetable plot in Malaysia with plants that accumulate the metal nickel. Every few months a farmer harvests part of the plants and, using a simple process, extracts the metal. Nickel is particularly interesting, as two-thirds of metal-loving plants feed on nickel. Scientists like van der Ent and Baker hope that, in a few years, a part of global demand for certain metals and minerals will be supplied by this kind of agriculture. They imagine a future where farmers can farm fruit and vegetables as well as minerals and metals.  

The problems with traditional mining

This is particularly important because there is an increasing demand for certain materials. Nickel is a key element in stainless steel. It is also used in the green economy, to make batteries for electric cars, for example. But the traditional mining of nickel is not an environmentally friendly activity. Mining destroys vegetation in and around the mine. The soil that is dug up is easily eroded and often ends up washed into rivers and seas, causing damage to the local flora and fauna. Furthermore, there have been many cases of water and soil contamination caused by the chemicals used in the nickel mining processes. Mining other metals and minerals also presents similar problems. Furthermore, mining is a hard, dangerous job – miners are often involved in serious accidents.  

Prospects for the future

None of these problems would exist in agromining. Scientists like Dr Baker believe that hyper-accumulating plants could even reduce the environmental costs of traditional mines. In fact, these plants could be grown on old, closed mines: they would extract the remaining metals left in the soil, stop erosion and begin reforestation. Also, agromining could be done in metal-rich soils that are toxic for normal agriculture. It could also be the perfect solution for bringing vegetation back to deforested areas. It would make agriculture possible in what are now poor, deserted areas and provide farming jobs to local populations. Agromining could also serve the medical industry, says Dr van der Ent. There are plants that collect zinc and selenium, for example, which can be used to make food supplements. Perhaps only this is old news: we already know we need to eat vegetables to obtain important metals and minerals. What might be new, in the future, is that we will be cooking and eating those farmed vegetables with cookware and cutlery partly produced with farmed metals.  
USEFUL LINKS 1) Read more about agromining here: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-04-09/trees-that-bleed-metal-could-help-power-the-future/100051066 https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/26/science/metal-plants-farm.html 2) Watch this interview with Dr Antony van der Ent talking about hyper-accumulating plants: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GcLH6WxkVkI 3) Here is an animated video explaining how and why some plants love nickel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L89sLg4H4BA 4) How are metals extracted from plants? Here is a project of the Université de Lorraine explaining how it is done: https://life-agromine.com/en/388-2/ 5) Did you know that some plants can also purify the air, absorbing harmful pollutants? NASA did an interesting study to discover which plants are most effective at this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lPNYdSZRSdg https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NASA_Clean_Air_Study
  COMPREHENSION 1) Read the article and cross out the WRONG alternative (two answers are correct and one is incorrect). 1. Traditional mining includes
  1. surface mining.
  2. agromining.
  3. underground mining.
2. Scientists like Dr Baker and Dr van der Ent want to
  1. improve traditional mining.
  2. find alternatives to traditional mining.
  3. substitute excavators with plants to obtain metals.
3. Metal-loving plants have
  1. roots that suck the metals out of the ground.
  2. leaves that absorb metals from the air.
  3. sap that contains metals.
4. Metal-rich soils are
  1. perfect for a small number of plants.
  2. toxic for most plants.
  3. ideal only for macadamia plants.
5. Agromining scientists focus on nickel because
  1. a very large number of metal-loving plants feed on nickel.
  2. there is a great demand for nickel, for example, in the green economy.
  3. nickel is environmentally friendly.
6. Mining can be a problem because
  1. it harms local plants and animals.
  2. it’s an expensive activity.
  3. it can pollute water and soil.
7. Compared to traditional mining, agromining
  1. requires just as much digging.
  2. is less dangerous for the workers employed.
  3. is less harmful for the environment.
8. According to scientists like Dr Baker, agromining can
  1. clean old mines.
  2. introduce farming where it was not previously possible.
  3. replace traditional agriculture.
9. Agromining can produce
  1. new jobs.
  2. metal rich soils.
  3. materials to make everyday objects.
10. Agromining is
  1. already used on a large, industrial scale.
  2. still in its infancy.
  3. the potential solution to many problems.
  VOCABULARY 2) Complete the sentences with the following words. Put the verbs and nouns in the right form, if necessary. cutlery  *  to scrape  *  roots  *  sap  *  stem  *  plot  *  to harvest  *  key *  steel  *  cookware 1. ‘________’ can mean many things: the story of a book, a secret plan, or a small piece of land. 2. As a noun, the word ________ means a small object used for opening doors; as an adjective it means very important. 3. The ________ are the part of the plant that grows underground. 4. The ________ of a plant is the equivalent of the trunk of a tree. 5. The ________ is a liquid that brings nutrients to all parts of a plant. You can say that it’s the ‘blood’ of the plant. 6. Farmers are very busy in early Autumn when they ________ the fruit and vegetables they grew during the summer months. 7. ________ is a very strong metal, stronger than iron. 8. The utensils, pots and pans one uses to cook are called ________, whereas the utensils used for eating, such as forks, spoons and knives are called tableware or ________. 9. I fell and ________a knee. I need to disinfect it.   GRAMMAR – Past simple and past continuous 3) Complete the sentences using the verbs provided. Use the past simple or the past continuous. 1. I ________ (to interview) Dr van der Ent while he ________ (to work) in his laboratory. 2. Dr Baker ________ (to discover) hyper-accumulating plants while he ________ (to do) research for the University of Melbourne. 3. I ________ (to watch) a documentary on agromining, when I ________ (to realize) how amazing plants really are. 4. I ________ (to see) Dr van der Ent on TV last night. He ________ (to talk) about the properties of macadamia trees. 5. The miner ________ (to mine) for gold, but he ________ silver instead. 6. I ________ (to listen) to the radio when I ________ (to hear) about agromining. 7. While I ________ (to plant) carrots in the vegetable garden, I ________ (to injure) my hand. 8. The scientist ________ (to speak), but nobody ________ (to listen). 9. I ________ (to cut) vegetables when Wendy ________ (to arrive). 10. I ________ (to feel) agitated, so I ________ (to prepare) myself a chamomile tea.   SHORT ESSAY 4) What’s your relationship to plants? Do you have house plants? Do you like gardening? Do you like walking in nature? Do you like eating your greens? Describe. (60-80 words)   5) Read NASA’S list of air-purifying plants (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NASA_Clean_Air_Study). Do you have any of them in your home, or are there any you would like to own? Describe them, say why you like them and where they are (or where you would put them) in your home. (60-80 words)
___ (Carlo Dellonte) (Image credits: Wikimedia Commons, Wikimedia Commons) [post_title] => Harvesting metals from plants [post_excerpt] => Any material that cannot be grown must be mined… until now. Scientists from Australia and other countries are experimenting with amazing plants capable of ‘mining’ metals and minerals. Soon we might farm plants that not only grow fruit and vegetables, but also produce metals such as manganese and nickel. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => harvesting-metals-from-plants [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2021-04-23 12:30:20 [post_modified_gmt] => 2021-04-23 10:30:20 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://aulalingue.scuola.zanichelli.it/?post_type=planet-english&p=18785 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => planet-english [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [1] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 18642 [post_author] => 10 [post_date] => 2021-03-29 18:28:41 [post_date_gmt] => 2021-03-29 16:28:41 [post_content] => This March, the 36th America’s Cup was held off the coasts of Auckland, the capital of New Zealand. The America’s Cup competitors are two boats, representing two yacht clubs. One boat, the defender, is the winner of the previous Cup. The other is called the challenger. The America’s Cup is the most prestigious sailing trophy, and the oldest sporting competition in the world. The first race was held in 1851, 170 years ago. For comparison, the modern Olympic Games began 46 years later, in 1896. The trophy is a large, silver ewer, known as the “Auld Mug” in the sailing community.   

The first race

In 1851, a member of the New York Yacht Club, John Cox Stevens, sailed to England to make some money competing in yachting events. His boat America participated in a race around the Isle of Wight and, unexpectedly, won against 14 British yachts. At the time, Great Britain was considered the dominant power on the seas – a popular patriotic song claimed: “Britannia rules the waves!” Stevens returned to the US as a hero. He donated the trophy to the New York Yacht Club; it was to be “a perpetual challenge cup for friendly competition between nations.” The competition took the name of the boat that won the first race, and so the America’s Cup was born.  

The longest winning streak in sports history

The British wanted the Cup back. In 1870 Englishman James Ashbury raced against 16 American boats, but only came 10th. The following year he asked to race against only one boat and in a best-of-seven match. The Americans accepted, but again Ashbury was defeated. The British tried to win the Cup 14 more times, but always lost. In 1970, a new competition was established – the Challenger Selection Series – to select the challenger among the growing number of competitors that wanted to participate in the Cup. Australian boats began to win this competition and went on to race in the America’s Cup. They were defeated by the Americans 6 times before, finally, winning in 1983. This ended the New York Yacht Club’s 132-year-long reign, the longest winning streak in sports history.  

Italy and the America’s Cup

Since 1983 there have been 11 Cups. The Americans have won 5, New Zealand 4. The only other winner (with 2 wins) is, incredibly, a landlocked country: Switzerland. Britain has never won the Cup, which, curiously, almost seems an exclusive property of its former colonies. Besides the ones mentioned, only one other country has competed in the America’s Cup: Italy. It won the Challenger Selection Series in 1992, 2000 and 2021. Luna Rossa’s victory in 2000 against America One was so hard-fought that it was described as the best two weeks of racing in the history of the competition. Unfortunately, the Italian boats failed to go on to win the America’s Cup. Il Moro di Venezia lost against the Americans in 1992 and Luna Rossa against the Kiwis in 2000. This year, Luna Rossa was back and raced against the defender Te Rehutai of Team New Zealand. It put up a good fight, but eventually lost 7-3.  

Flying boats

Over time, the competing boats saw an incredible technological evolution. This year’s boats almost flew. When they increased speed, two wing-like arms lifted the hull out of the water. In this way, the boats could reach top speeds of 50 knots (93 km/h). In comparison, in 2000 top speeds were around 10 knots (18.6 km/h). Today’s boats are technological marvels that cost millions, designed by engineers borrowed from Formula 1 and the aerospace industry. Indeed, the America’s Cup is brutally selective: only those who can afford big budgets and years of research and training can compete. The America’s Cup is not just a sporting event, it is also a competition of cutting-edge technology and innovation.  
USEFUL LINKS 1) Learn more about the history of the America’s Cup from its official website: https://www.americascup.com/en/history 2) Here are some interesting facts about the America’s Cup: https://www.ybw.com/boat-events/americas-cup/10-interesting-facts-americas-cup-25346 3) Read about Auckland, the venue for this year’s Cup: https://www.britannica.com/place/Auckland-New-Zealand#ref915570 4) How do America’s Cup boats ‘fly’? Here’s an explanation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H98nH-dvNUE 5) Here are some interesting moments aboard the boats during the Challenger Selection Series’ final (this year called The Prada Cup) between Luna Rossa and Britannia of Ineos Team UK: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Toi4vZO4uGs
 
COMPREHENSION 1) Read the article and cross out the WRONG alternative (two answers are correct and one is incorrect). 1. The America’s Cup is
  1. the oldest sailing competition in the world.
  2. the most prestigious sporting competition in the world.
  3. a prestigious and incredibly old sailing trophy.
2. ‘Auld Mug’ is
  1. an affectionate name for the trophy of the America’s Cup.
  2. a trophy thus named because it’s very old and it can contain liquids, like a mug.
  3. a prestigious sailing event.
3. The first America’s Cup
  1. was organized by the New York Yacht Club.
  2. was a race around the Isle of Wight.
  3. was won by John Cox Stevens.
4. The first race officially called ‘America’s Cup’ was held in
  1. America.
  2. 1870.
  3. 1851.
5. James Ashbury
  1. raced in two America’s Cups that had different rules.
  2. tried to win the Cup 14 times.
  3. tried to win the Cup in 1870 and 1871.
6. The New York Yacht Club holds a record:
  1. it was undefeated for 132 years.
  2. it holds the longest winning streak in sports history.
  3. it won every Challenger Selection Series.
7. Since 1983, the winners of the America’s Cup have been
  1. former British colonies and Switzerland.
  2. the US, New Zealand, Switzerland and Italy.
  3. only 3 nations.
8. Luna Rossa
  1. won the Challenger Selection Series three times, in 1992, 2000 and 2021.
  2. won the Challenger Selection Series twice, in 2000 and 2021.
  3. lost the America’s Cup twice.
9. 2021 America’s Cup boats
  1. are much faster than boats from previous competitions.
  2. are designed by engineers who work on Formula 1 cars.
  3. can fly.
10. To participate in the America’s Cup a team must
  1. have a boat that goes faster than 50 knots.
  2. be very rich.
  3. invest in technological research.
  VOCABULARY 2) Complete the sentences with the following words. Put the verbs and nouns in the right form, if necessary. sailing  *  ewer  *  yacht  *  to claim  *  streak  *  to defeat  *  landlocked  *  hard-fought  *  hull  *  to afford 1. Usually, a ________ is defined as a relatively large boat used for recreational or sporting reasons. 2. In a ________ competition, the boats are moved by the wind pushing their sails. 3. In a competition, the winner ________ his/her competitors. 4. You can state that the US is the most successful nation in the America’s Cup, but you can also ________ that New Zealand have today’s strongest team. 5. The ________ of a boat is the body of the ship, that is mostly underwater.  6. The America’s Cup trophy is a ________, which is a large jug. 7. I can’t join the Yacht Club – it’s too expensive. I can’t ________ it. 8. The race was a real battle! It was really ________. 9. A series of similar events (such as victories, losses, bad luck) can be called a ________. 10. A ________ country is a country that has no direct access to the sea.   GRAMMAR – Possessive case and double genitive 3a) Use the words in brackets and the possessive case to complete the following sentences. 1. The ________________ (America / cup) was named after the boat that won the race in 1851. 2. Sailing is very popular in Auckland, so much so that ________________ (Auckland / nicknames) is the “City of Sails”. 3. ________________ (New Zealand / four victories) were achieved in 1995, 2000, 2017 and 2021. 4. ________________ (Italy / Luna Rossa) was very fast, but unfortunately not as fast as ________________ (New Zealand / Te Rehutai). 5. ________________ (The United States / reign) in the America’s Cup is a record that nobody will ever beat. 3b) Use the words in brackets and the double genitive to complete the following sentences. 6. A ________________ (Sarah / friend) went to New Zealand to watch the America’s Cup. 7. A ________________ (mine / cousin) doesn’t like water sports. 8. Sailing is a ________________ (theirs / passion). 9. It was a ________________ (John / good idea) to watch that documentary – we learned many interesting facts about the America’s Cup. 10. A ________________ (hers / neighbour) says the America’s Cup is the Formula 1 of sailing. SHORT ESSAY 4) Did you ever go sailing? Or did you ever participate in water sports, such as canoeing, rowing or surfing, or sports that take place in the water, such as swimming or water polo? Write about your experiences. (60-80 words)   5) Which is your favourite sport or your favourite sporting event? Describe it and say why you like it. (60-80 words)
___ (Carlo Dellonte) (Image credits: Facebook, Wikimedia Commons) [post_title] => The America's cup [post_excerpt] => This March, the 36th America’s Cup was held in New Zealand between the boats Te Rehutai of New Zealand and Luna Rossa of Italy. The America’s Cup is the most prestigious sailing trophy, and the oldest sporting competition in the world, with a rich 170-year-long history. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => the-americas-cup [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2021-04-23 11:27:22 [post_modified_gmt] => 2021-04-23 09:27:22 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://aulalingue.scuola.zanichelli.it/?post_type=planet-english&p=18642 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => planet-english [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [2] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 18208 [post_author] => 10 [post_date] => 2021-01-28 12:25:19 [post_date_gmt] => 2021-01-28 11:25:19 [post_content] => This year, several sections of the world’s longest footpath will open to the public. Work on this incredible project, called the England Coast Path, began more than 10 years ago. As the name suggests, this path follows the entire coastline of England. It joins up with another very long trail: the Wales Coast Path, which, in 2012, became the first footpath to cover the entire length of a country’s coastline. These two footpaths are 2,795 and 870 miles long, respectively. There are many sights and attractions to see along the way. These Paths take you on a tour through nature, history, and legend. You can see the iconic White Cliffs of Dover, for example, or the Jurassic Coast, where you can find wonderful fossils. You can visit the ruins of Tintagel Castle, the legendary birthplace of King Arthur, or the reconstructed Arbeia Roman fort. You can go for a swim in a remote bay, stop in quaint fishing villages, or visit beautiful landmarks, like the famous St Mary’s Lighthouse.  

Slow travel

The opening of several sections of the England Coast Path is happening at an appropriate time. Because of the Covid pandemic, many people had to give up their usual indoor sports and find alternatives. Others had to change their holiday plans and look for a different way to travel. Walking and hiking proved to be very popular alternatives. Even tour operators are adapting: they are promoting various kinds of slow travel close to home. This can mean walking through nature, visiting an archeological site in the countryside, climbing a mountain, camping, biking, horseback riding, or kayaking down a river. For these kinds of holidays, the journey is as important as, if not more important than, the destination. And the slowest, safest and easiest way to travel is to walk.  

An old (Romantic) tradition

Walking for pleasure became popular at the end of the 18th century, thanks to the Romantic movement. Romantic artists believed it was important to be in touch with nature, and walking was the perfect way to make such contact. English poets William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge toured the forests and mountains of the Lake District in northern England. They wrote many poems that celebrated their experiences there. “I wandered lonely as a cloud” recalled Wordsworth in his most famous poem. On the other side of the Atlantic, another group of artists, the Transcendentalists, promoted this outdoor movement. “In the woods, we return to reason and faith,” wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson. His friend Henry David Thoreau, in his lecture ‘Walking’, claimed that contact with nature allowed a person to “grow to greater perfection intellectually as well as physically.”  

The benefits of walking: body, mind, and soul

Modern science agrees with Thoreau. Scientific studies prove that walking and hiking keep us physically fit and are good activities for our brains, too. In fact, nature’s sights and sounds promote mental relaxation. Furthermore, our brains improve various skills such as memory, attention, and spatial navigation when we exercise outdoors. Many people even believe that walking is good for the soul. This, in a way, is ancient knowledge. In fact, another special form of walking existed before the Romantics’ strolls through nature: pilgrimages. People of faith undertook long journeys on foot to visit holy sites. Curiously, many of today’s popular trails are rediscovered pilgrim routes, such as the Pilgrims Way in England, the Camino de Santiago in Spain, and the Via Francigena in Italy. Overall, the simplest of human activities provides incredible benefits. Thoreau expressed it beautifully when he wrote: “I took a walk in the woods and came out taller than the trees.”
USEFUL LINKS 1) Explore the England Coast Path and the Wales Coast Path: https://www.nationaltrail.co.uk/en_GB/england-coast-path-route-description-landing-page/ https://www.walescoastpath.gov.uk/?lang=en 2) Are you interested in the sights and attractions mentioned in the article? You can find them all on Wikipedia. Here are the links to the white Cliffs of Dover and Tintagel Castle: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_Cliffs_of_Dover https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tintagel_Castle 3) Would you like to know more about the Romantic movement? https://wiki.kidzsearch.com/wiki/Romanticism 4) Here is a simple description of Transcendentalism: https://kids.britannica.com/kids/article/Transcendentalism/628223 5) You can find many articles and videos on the benefits of walking. Here is one of them: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MFlb6jWgovE
COMPREHENSION 1) Read the article and cross out the WRONG alternative (two answers are correct and one is incorrect). 1. The England Coast Path 
  1. passes by Tintagel Castle.
  2. is now fully open to the public.
  3. is almost 3,000 miles long.
2. If you follow the England Coast Path you can
  1. find fossils in Dover.
  2. see many landmarks.
  3. visit historic places.
3. Many people became interested in outdoor activities
  1. because of Covid.
  2. as an alternative to indoor sports.
  3. because sections of the England Coast Path opened.
4. A typical example of slow travel is
  1. hiking up a mountain.
  2. driving through the countryside.
  3. biking.
5. Walking for pleasure was
  1. practiced for the first time in the Lake District.
  2. made popular by the Romantics.
  3. a way to get in touch with nature, according to the Romantics.
6. Wordsworth and Coleridge
  1. enjoyed the wilderness of the Lake District.
  2. wrote poems about nature.
  3. wrote the poem ‘I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud’.
7. The Transcendentalists were
  1. interested in nature like the Romantics.
  2. English.
  3. American.
8. Walking through nature
  1. helps us relax our muscles. 
  2. improves many mental skills.
  3. is good for our health.
9. Pilgrims took long journeys on foot
  1. for spiritual reasons.
  2. to keep fit.
  3. to visit sacred places.
10. Pilgrim routes 
  1. are still popular today.
  2. existed before the Romantic movement.
  3. are used today only by people of faith. 
  VOCABULARY 2) Complete the sentences with the following words. Put the verbs and nouns in the right form, if necessary. footpath  *  landmark  *  trail  *  hiking  *  stroll  *  quaint  *  tour operator  *  sight  *  faith  *  holy 1. A slow, enjoyable walk is called a ________.  2. Churches, mosques and temples are examples of ________ places. 3. ________ is a bit like walking, but usually it follows more complicated trails and requires walking uphill.  4. A ________ can be a synonym for footpath; it usually describes a path through the wilderness. 5. ________ usually means believing in a god, but it can also mean having complete trust and confidence in something or somebody. 6. That building is a local ________: it’s a beautiful, historic building that well represents this place. 7. The ________ of London are many: it really is a city full of places worth seeing. 8. This is not a wide road for cars, it’s a narrow ________ for people who like to walk. 9. I don’t like planning my holidays; I prefer to go to a tourist agency and ask a ________ to organize them for me. 10. I think this tea pot is ________: it’s unusual and old-fashioned but also beautiful.   GRAMMAR – Reported speech 3) Rewrite the following sentences using reported speech. Ex. “I wandered lonely as a cloud” wrote Wordsworth. Wordsworth wrote (that) he had wandered lonely as a cloud.   1. Emerson claimed: “In the woods, we return to reason and faith.” _______________________________________________________________________ 2. “I took a walk in the woods and came out taller than the trees,” declared Thoreau. _______________________________________________________________________ 3. “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step,” claims a famous Chinese saying. _______________________________________________________________________ 4. “I regard man as part of Nature, rather than a member of society,” said Thoreau. _______________________________________________________________________ 5. “All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking,” stated the philosopher Nietzsche. _______________________________________________________________________ 6. “In every walk with nature,” said naturalist John Muir, “one receives far more than one seeks.” _______________________________________________________________________ 7. Thoreau said: “An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.” _______________________________________________________________________ 8. Hippocrates, the father of Western medicine, said: “Walking is the best medicine.” _______________________________________________________________________ 9. “I walk slowly, but I never walk backward,” President Abraham Lincoln once said. _______________________________________________________________________ 10. “The best view comes after the hardest climb,” says the proverb. _______________________________________________________________________ SHORT ESSAY 4) Choose one of the attractions that you can find along the England Coast Path mentioned in the article (the Cliffs of Dover, Jurassic Coast…). Research it and then write a short description of it. (60-80 words) 5) Write about your favourite outdoor activity. (60-80 words)
___ (Carlo Dellonte) (Image credits: Pixabay and Pixabay) [post_title] => Walking and its many virtues [post_excerpt] => This year, several sections of the world’s longest footpath, the England Coast Path, will open to the public. This is good news for everyone who, over the past year, rediscovered walking for pleasure, a simple and healthy activity with a noble tradition that goes back to the Romantic movement. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => walking-and-its-many-virtues [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2021-03-29 18:28:50 [post_modified_gmt] => 2021-03-29 16:28:50 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://aulalingue.scuola.zanichelli.it/?post_type=planet-english&p=18208 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => planet-english [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [3] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 17995 [post_author] => 10 [post_date] => 2020-12-03 10:27:24 [post_date_gmt] => 2020-12-03 09:27:24 [post_content] => “We are all in the gutter but some of us are looking at the stars.” What Oscar Wilde meant with these words is that while we all face difficulties in life, some people choose to focus on their goals and aspirations instead. In dark times it is essential to remain positive, to engage in something hopeful, beautiful, or stimulating. A group who has been “looking at the stars” both metaphorically and literally for decades are the people at NASA. Since its founding in 1958, NASA has been advancing scientific knowledge and our understanding of the Earth and the cosmos. Its latest discovery, announced a few weeks ago, was obtained by SOFIA (Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy), a very unusual telescope. SOFIA was not built on the ground, but rather in a Boing 747.  

Going back to the moon

The Earth’s atmosphere makes looking at the sky difficult: there are clouds, light pollution, and the air ‘blurs’ the light coming from the stars. SOFIA can overcome these problems because it flies above the denser, lower atmosphere where it can get a better look at the cosmos. And this is what it has discovered: there’s water on the Moon, in the form of ice. This is great news for future astronauts. Last year NASA presented its Artemis Program, which plans to send a mission to the Moon in 2028 and establish a base there in the 2030s. Japan and China also want to send people to the Moon in the coming years. Even the private enterprises Blue Origin and Space X are planning lunar bases. SOFIA’s discovery is great news for these missions because astronauts will be able to drink ‘lunar’ water instead of bringing water supplies from Earth. Sending stuff into space is expensive – sending a half-litre water bottle, for example, can cost between $9,000 and $44,000!

 

Is this money well spent?

The world is full of problems and is currently facing a global pandemic, so why spend so much effort and money on space exploration? This is a legitimate question, but the same could be asked of other human activities. Every year, for example, the United States spends around $600 billion on the military. In contrast, the money given to NASA is only $22 billion. (It is estimated that with $600 billion NASA could build 4 colonies on Mars.) Several studies show that the more a country invests in science and technology the higher its human development index, a statistic that measures the health and prosperity of its people. Money spent on science provides a good return (think, for example, of the money currently being spent on finding a Covid vaccine). Regarding the Moon, scientists believe that our satellite is like “a museum of the history of the Solar System”. We can learn many things if we visit it, including, they believe, the answer to how life began here on Earth.

 

Pale Blue Dot

Astronomy also helps us reflect on who we are. When Nicolaus Copernicus said the Earth was not at the centre of the Universe, he triggered a revolution that changed the world. Our planet is a tiny speck in the vastness of the cosmos. In 1990 the Voyager space probe (sent into space by NASA in 1977 to explore the Solar System) proved this when it took a picture of our planet. Voyager was so far away that, in the photo, the Earth was smaller than a pixel, a tiny bright spot against the darkness of space. The photo was named ‘Pale Blue Dot’. Astronomer Carl Sagan wrote: “Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it, everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives.” Sagan then reflects on how stupid our divisions are when seen from such a distance: “Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that […] they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot.” On the contrary, he concludes, we have a responsibility “to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.”
USEFUL LINKS 1) What does SOFIA look like? Learn more about SOFIA and its discovery in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U70y8ypCbyA&feature=emb_logo 2) You can read NASA’s press release here: https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-s-sofia-discovers-water-on-sunlit-surface-of-moon/#:~:text=Data%20from%20this%20location%20reveal,spread%20across%20the%20lunar%20surface. 3) Look at the ‘Pale Blue Dot’ photo... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pale_Blue_Dot ... and listen to Carl Sagan’s thoughts on it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wupToqz1e2g 4) Why is everybody going back to the Moon? Find out here: https://www.theguardian.com/science/2019/jul/06/everyones-going-to-the-moon-again-apollo-11-50th-aniversary 5) What incredible things could science and technology do with $600 billion? https://www.forbes.com/sites/startswithabang/2017/11/01/5-incredible-advances-science-could-buy-with-the-governments-600b-military-budget/?sh=5d2ef380902f 6) Interested in the Artemis Program? You can learn about it here: https://www.nasa.gov/specials/artemis/
COMPREHENSION 1) Read the article and cross out the WRONG alternative (two answers are correct and one is incorrect). 1. Oscar Wilde said that, when faced with adversity,
  1. we all follow our dreams.
  2. some of us fail to think positively.
  3. some people keep their eyes on their dreams.
2.  NASA’s SOFIA
  1. is not an ordinary telescope.
  2. was built in 1958 to study the cosmos.
  3. can fly because it was built on a plane.
3. SOFIA can see the stars
  1. better than a telescope on the ground.
  2. without the problems caused by the Earth’s atmosphere.
  3. even through clouds.
4. SOFIA discovered
  1. something useful for future astronauts.
  2. ice on the Moon.
  3. liquid water on the Moon.
5. In the near future, on the Moon, there will be
  1. bases built by private enterprises.
  2. a joint American-Chinese base.
  3. astronauts from different countries.
6. NASA receives
  1. far less money than the military.
  2. enough money to build 4 colonies on Mars.
  3. enough money for the Artemis Program.
7. It’s important to invest in science and technology because
  1. it’s not expensive.
  2. you get something good back.
  3. it makes people healthier and more prosperous.
8. Scientists want to go to the Moon because they want
  1. to raise the human development index.
  2. to learn things about our Solar System.
  3. to discover how life began on Earth.
9. Carl Sagan wants us to consider that
  1. all of our history took place within a tiny dot floating in space.
  2. planet Earth is our only home. 
  3. Earth’s size is less than a pixel.
10. Carl Sagan believed that the ‘Pale Blue Dot’ picture told us that
  1. our world is precious.
  2. we and our world are insignificant.
  3. it makes no sense to fight each other.
  VOCABULARY 2) Complete the sentences with the following words. Put the verbs and nouns in the right form, if necessary. to face  *  gutter  *  to engage  *  to blur  *  to establish  *  supply  *  enterprise  *  to trigger  *  space probe  *  to cherish 1. A ________ is a robotic spacecraft sent into deep space. 2. An ________ can be a project, or a business. It’s also the name of Star Trek’s spaceship! 3. The Moon looked like a vague white disk when the fog ________ its light. 4. Elon Musk created Space X. He ________ it in 2002. 5. He visited NASA last year. He ________ a souvenir he bought there as if it was a piece of gold! 6. She has a passion for astronomy; it’s a hobby that really ________ her interest. 7. It was his remark that ________ the argument. Just imagine, he told the NASA astronaut that the Earth is flat! 8. All the rainwater ends up in the ________ along the side of the road. 9. Water, sandwiches, snack bars, fruit – I think we have more than enough food ________ for our trek in the forest. 10. If somebody tells you to ‘________ the music’, she means that you have to be strong and confront a certain unpleasant situation.   GRAMMAR – Future forms (present simple, present continuous, will, shall, be going to) 3) Complete the sentences with the correct future form. 1. Shall / Will we watch the documentary on NASA? 2. The astronauts are having / shall have their medical check-up today. 3. “I am going to leave / ’m leaving for the moon tomorrow,” said the astronaut. 4. The rocket to the moon leaves / will leave tomorrow, at 7 a.m. 5. The astronauts have / will have a safe journey, I am sure. 6. Okay, I ’ll come / come with you to the observatory tonight. 7. Unfortunately, it’s cloudy – I think we shall not see / are not going to see a single star! 8. If you like, I ’ll lend / ’m lending you my telescope. 9. I’ll tell you as soon as I see / shall see the Moon. 10. I ’m going to become / will become an astronaut! That’s my goal.   SHORT ESSAY 4) Using future forms, imagine you’re an astronaut on a trip to the Moon. How will you get there? What will you do when you land? What do you think you will find? (60-80 words) 4) Do you think the $22 billion spent on space exploration is money well spent? What about the $600 billion spent on the military? Would you spend all this money differently? (60-80 words) 5) Look at the ‘Pale Blue Dot’ picture. Can you see Earth? What are your thoughts and impressions? (60-80 words) (Crediti immagine: Wikimedia Commons)
___ (Carlo Dellonte) (Image credits: Pixabay and Pixabay) [post_title] => Water on the moon [post_excerpt] => NASA’s latest discovery might change the future of space exploration: its telescope SOFIA found water on the moon. We look at what this means for the astronauts that will go to the Moon in the near future, and we reflect on what astronomy in general means to humanity. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => water-on-the-moon [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2021-01-28 12:24:34 [post_modified_gmt] => 2021-01-28 11:24:34 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://aulalingue.scuola.zanichelli.it/?post_type=planet-english&p=17995 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => planet-english [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [4] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 17799 [post_author] => 10 [post_date] => 2020-11-03 17:50:52 [post_date_gmt] => 2020-11-03 16:50:52 [post_content] => In 1788-89, at a time when most heads of state were unelected kings and queens, Americans voted to elect their first president. They chose George Washington, the hero of the American War for Independence. Since then, every four years, there has been a new election. Starting in 1848, election day has always been held on the Tuesday after the first Monday of November. This was decided to suit the religious and agrarian society of the time. November falls between harvest time (a busy period for farmers) and the winter months when travelling was more difficult. Tuesday was ideal because it allowed people to go to church on Sunday, travel to their polling place on Monday, vote on Tuesday, and return home for market day, which was on Wednesday.  

Fearful of kings and suspicious of people

Washington was elected twice and decided not to run for a third term. This became an unwritten rule: for almost a century and a half no president served for more than two terms. Then, in 1940, Franklin D. Roosevelt broke with tradition and was elected for a third term, and, in 1944, for a fourth. In 1951, a maximum of two presidential terms was written into the Constitution. This put an end to a fear that already existed back in 1789: that a president could rule for life, like a king. Curiously, the nation’s founders were also fearful of democracy: what if the people voted for somebody unfit to be president? To prevent this, they made the vote for president indirect. This means that when Americans vote for their candidate, they are actually voting for a group of people called ‘electors’ (who form the Electoral College) who then elect the president. According to the founders, the electors could decide to ignore the popular vote if they believed the winner was unqualified to be president. So far, though, the electors have always respected the popular vote.  

Winners and outsiders

This strange system also has a big problem: the winner of the popular vote does not necessarily win the election. This means that a candidate might receive more popular votes than his opponents, but less electoral votes. Donald Trump did not win the popular vote, but still became president. Also George W. Bush, in 2000, lost the popular vote but won the election. Another issue is that the winner is always a candidate of either the Democratic or the Republican party. Some feel that this limits the choice of the voters to just two alternatives. Third parties have tried to break this duopoly, but unsuccessfully. A famous third-party contender was Eugene Debbs, who ran five times for president. His last attempt was in 1920, when he ran his campaign… from jail. Debbs, head of the Socialist Party, was in prison for protesting against the US intervention in World War I. He received 900,000 votes, not enough to compete with the Republican and Democratic candidates.  

Trump vs. Biden

This year saw a very tough fight between the two main contenders, the incumbent president Donald Trump and the Democratic nominee Joe Biden, who was vice-president under president Barack Obama. This presidential campaign took place during one of the most turbulent times in American history. A time during which the country has been plagued by the Covid pandemic, its terrible economic impact, serious climate change consequences (such as the megafires in California), and widespread racial tension. On these issues, the programmes of the two candidates differed greatly. They outlined two very different future paths for the United States. Due to this, many consider this election one of the most important in US history. The voter turnout was record-breaking, and it favoured Joe Biden who won the majority of both the popular and the electoral votes. (He received 75 million popular votes, the most ever cast for a presidential candidate.) In his victory speech, Biden vowed to bring unity to a divided nation. He will be helped by his running mate, Kamala Harris, who became the first woman, as well as the first African American and Asian American, to be elected vice-president.  
USEFUL LINKS 1) Read these short biographies of the presidents mentioned in the article, Washington, Roosevelt, Bush, Obama and Trump (or any other president) here: https://www.ducksters.com/biography/uspresidents/ 2) Read some fun facts about American presidents: https://kids.nationalgeographic.com/explore/history/presidential-fun-facts/ 3) Confused about how American presidents get elected? You can read this to help you understand: https://kids.nationalgeographic.com/explore/history/us-presidents/what-is-the-job-of-the-us-president/ Or watch this brief video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LY8L6C7tsx8 4)Who was Eugene Debbs? Here is a short video about him: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sMEwR4WtvCg
COMPREHENSION 1) Read the article and cross out the WRONG alternative (two answers are correct and one is incorrect). 1. George Washington  
  1. is considered a hero.
  2. was elected president three times.
  3. was the first US president.
2. In 1848, election day was set on a specific day to suit the needs of
  1. a very religious population.
  2. farmers.
  3. politicians.
3. When Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected four times, he broke
  1. the law.
  2. an unwritten rule.
  3. the record of presidential terms.
4. The founders of the US
  1. didn’t like kings.
  2. wanted to control who became president.
  3. decided nobody should be president more than two times.
5. The Electoral College
  1. must respect the popular vote.
  2. Has always respected the popular vote.
  3. elects the president of the United States.
6. The candidate who gets the most popular votes
  1. might lose the election.
  2. always becomes president.
  3. might receive less electoral votes than his main opponent.
7. Eugene Debbs
  1. became president in 1920 after receiving 900,000 votes.
  2. was not a Democrat or a Republican.
  3. was against the war.
8. Joe Biden is
  1. a Democrat.
  2. the current vice-president.
  3. competing against the current president.
9. Donald Trump and Joe Biden
  1. agree on many issues.
  2. have very different programmes.
  3. fought very hard against each other.
  1.  Joe Biden’s presidency can already be considered historic because
  1. he won both the popular and the electoral votes.
  2. he is the most voted presidential candidate in US history.
  3. his running mate is the first Asian and Black female vice president.
  VOCABULARY 2) Complete the sentences with the following words. Put the verbs and nouns in the right form, if necessary. to break with  *  incumbent  *  head of state  *  to differ  *  polling place  *  to suit  *  to outline  *  widespread  *  to plague  *  founder 1.  A person who is currently holding a specific position, such as the position of president, is defined as ________. 2. Different countries have different ________: the UK has a queen, the US a president.  3. The Coronavirus pandemic is extremely ________: it has reached every corner of the world. 4. Legend says that Romulus and Remus were the ________ of Rome. 5. We ________ on many political issues, but we agree that voting is important. 6. A ________ or station, is a place where people cast their votes. 7. I am ________ with doubt! Did I vote for the best candidate? 8. A politician should be intelligent, competent and care for the citizens. I think that our president does not ________ these qualifications. 9. You don’t have to give me a detailed description of your book, just give me a simple ________. 10. I want to ________ my past – I want to start a new life!   GRAMMAR – PHRASAL VERBS 3) Complete the phrasal verbs with the right particle or preposition. 1. I am working ______ (at/on/with) a project about the American War of Independence. 2. George Washington passed ______ (away/up/around) on December 14, 1799, aged 67. 3. A politician needs to come _____ (with/on/up) with a good catch phrase for his campaign. 4. I hate it when he brings ______ (down/up/around) politics – I really don’t like his views! 5. This is no time to mess ______ (around/down/away) – we need to be serious. 6. He turned ______ (after/up/down) your offer to become our class representative. 7. Hang ______ (on/at/down)! Don’t go without me. 8. I am fed ______ (up/down/after) with studying! Please, let’s take a break. 9. If you really believe in what you do, you should never give ______ (down/up/away) 10. For me, a good politician needs to look ______ (on/down/after) the poor.    SHORT ESSAY 4) Do you think voting is important? In what other ways can you contribute to the future of your society? (60-80 words) 5) Do you see a problem in your society that politicians should solve? Explain what the problem is and what you think could be a possible solution. (60-80 words)
___ (Carlo Dellonte) (Image credits: Wikimedia Commons and Flickr) [post_title] => Electing a new president [post_excerpt] => Since 1788, every four years Americans have voted to elect their president. We look at this age-old tradition and at this year’s election campaign, fought between incumbent president Donald Trump and the Democratic nominee Joe Biden. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => electing-a-new-president [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-12-03 10:29:15 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-12-03 09:29:15 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://aulalingue.scuola.zanichelli.it/?post_type=planet-english&p=17799 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => planet-english [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [5] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 17554 [post_author] => 10 [post_date] => 2020-09-29 17:10:28 [post_date_gmt] => 2020-09-29 15:10:28 [post_content] => 2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the women’s right to vote in the United States. When the US was founded, voting was limited; in most American states only men with property could vote. Eventually, all men obtained the right to vote, but women were still excluded. They were considered unfit or, even, too stupid to vote. Many women fought against these prejudices. They founded women’s activist groups. They organized conventions. The one held at Seneca Falls in 1848 produced a ‘Declaration of Sentiments’ that contained a list of grievances aimed at the American government. The lack of women’s suffrage was the first grievance. Indeed, the struggle was not just about the right to vote. Activist Elizabeth Cady Stanton even said that “I wasn’t ready to vote, didn’t want to vote, but I did want equal pay for equal work.”  

Enemies of women’s suffrage

Not all women were in favour of universal suffrage. There were anti-suffrage women groups that said that politics was a dirty business and women should not get involved. Also, they felt that women acting like men would destroy the family and promote socialism. These women were usually white and upper class; they were afraid that giving rights to the poor (men and women alike) would lead to the loss of their privileges. Others opposed to women’s suffrage included many brewers and distillers. They felt that if women could vote, they would make alcoholic drinks illegal. This is because the women’s movements fought many battles to improve society, and one of these was the fight against alcoholism. Some industrialists were also against women’s suffrage, because they believed (rightly so) that women would support the abolition of child labour.  

The Nineteenth Amendment

In 1890 the National American Woman Suffrage Association was founded. It protested “against the present political organization of society, from which women are excluded.” Things changed radically when the US entered World War I in 1917. Many men were called to arms and had to leave their workplaces. Thousands of women substituted them in factories and offices to keep the nation going. In 1918 President Woodrow Wilson declared: “We have made partners of the women in this war; shall we admit them only to a partnership of suffering and sacrifice and toil and not to a partnership of privilege and right?” In 1920, the Nineteenth Amendment to the American Constitution was passed, granting universal suffrage. The US joined the other nations that had already granted women the right to vote. To name a couple, New Zealand had done so in 1893, Australia in 1902. In other nations, instead, women had to keep fighting, sometimes for many more decades.  

Gender-inclusive language and social activism

What made this struggle so long and hard? Many aspects of American society favour men politically, economically and culturally. This was (and is) the case with many other societies. Even languages can have a male bias. To ease this problem, the European Parliament issued guidelines to change those terms that are “discriminatory because they are only used in the masculine.” Better to say ‘chairperson’ than ‘chairman’ (or ‘chairwoman’). Better ‘humanity’ than ‘mankind’, ‘principal’ than ‘headmaster’, ‘police officer’ than ‘policeman’, ‘artificial’ than ‘man-made’. The United Nations also has guidelines favouring gender-inclusive language and discouraging discriminatory expressions (towards both women and men) such as ‘Oh, that’s women’s work’, or ‘Men just don’t understand’. The fight of women for the right to vote proved, once again, that progressive political reforms are often determined by popular pressure. They are obtained not because politicians propose them, but because millions of people demand them.  
USEFUL LINKS 1) Would you like to read the ‘Declaration of Sentiments’ of the Seneca Falls convention? https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Declaration_of_Sentiments 2) Watch this video on the history of the Women’s suffrage movement, from the writing of the ‘Declaration of Sentiments’ to the signing of the Nineteenth Amendment. Pay attention to the end of the video: who was still not allowed to vote in 1920? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a9LmBgY-F5A 3) Here are 10 reasons why some members of Parliament were opposed to women voting in the UK: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-43740033 4) Did you know that the bicycle was an incredible ally for the women’s movement? Check out this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LPLJgkVsXpE&list=PLeQM5rWQV5hsco9-ZT3z23nxx3F1DzBIG&index=20&t=0s 5) What is gender neutral language and why should we use it? This is what the EU has to say: https://www.europarl.europa.eu/cmsdata/151780/GNL_Guidelines_EN.pdf 6) Here are the UN guidelines for gender-inclusive language: https://www.un.org/en/gender-inclusive-language/guidelines.shtml
COMPREHENSION 1) Read the article and cross out the WRONG alternative (two answers are correct and one is incorrect). 1. When the US was founded
  1. all men could vote.
  2. rich men could vote.
  3. women could not vote.
2. The women’s activist groups fought
  1. for the right to vote.
  2. against the American government.
  3. to obtain equal rights also in the workplace.
3. The women who opposed universal suffrage
  1. feared that poor people (women and men) would vote socialist.
  2. believed women should tend the family and not get involved in public business. 
  3. were usually poor, Caucasian women.
4. People who opposed women’s right to vote were 
  1. people who made whisky, beer and other alcoholic drinks.
  2. the socialists.
  3. industrialists who used child labour. 
5. World War I was
  1. an unlikely ally of the women’s movement.
  2. the reason why many women entered the workforce.
  3. an obstacle for the women’s movement. 
 6. In 1918 President Woodrow Wilson felt that women
  1. took part in the “suffering” and the “toil” of the war effort.
  2. should be allowed to participate in the war effort.
  3. deserved equal rights and privileges. 
 7. The United States
  1. was the first nation to grant the vote to women.
  2. granted universal suffrage 27 years after New Zealand.
  3. amended the American Constitution to allow women to vote.
8. The women’s movement fought a long, hard struggle because
  1. the political organization of the United States favoured men.
  2. American society discriminated against women.
  3. they had to use a language that is biased towards men.
9. The EU and UN institutions believe that language 
  1. should be gender-biased.
  2. should not be discriminatory.
  3. should be gender-inclusive.
10. The EU and the UN believe that language
  1. can discriminate against women. 
  2. can discriminate against both men and women.
  3. only discriminates against men.
  VOCABULARY 2) Complete the sentences with the following words. Put the verbs and nouns in the right form, if necessary. unfit  *  grievance  *  suffrage  *  to toil  *  to declare  *  struggle  *  brewer  *  distiller  *  to grant  *  bias 1. This was very hard work! I ________ in the field for ten hours, picking tomatoes. 2. The right to vote is called ________. 3. She spoke publicly and solemnly, ________ that every adult has the right to vote. 4. He doesn’t know languages very well, so he is ________ to work as a translator. 5. ________ make spirits such as whisky, while ________ make beer. 6. A synonym for ________ is ‘complaint’. 7. If enough people demand a reform, politicians may ________ it. 8. You are not impartial: you have a strong ________ in favour of one side of the argument. 9. I think that life is very hard. It’s an uphill ________!   GRAMMAR – Subordinating conjunctions 3) Choose the correct subordinating conjunction to complete the following sentences. 1. ________ (Before/After/Until) the Nineteenth Amendment was passed, women were allowed to vote. 2. Some women were against universal suffrage ________ (if/because/when) they were afraid to lose their privileges. 3. ________ (While /Until/When) World War I began, women moved into many men’s workplaces. 4. ________ (Because/If/Unless) all adults are allowed to vote, a society is considered democratic. 5. In 1848 Elizabeth Cady Stanton didn’t want to vote ________ (so that/that/because) she wasn’t ready. 6. The EU decided ________ (when/that/where) language needs to be gender-inclusive. 7. _______ (If/Whenever/ Wherever) you use the term ‘mankind’ instead of ‘humanity’, you are using gender-biased language. 8. I get very upset and ready to fight ________ (while/whenever/until) I see injustice. 9. ________ (That/So/Since) you don’t respect me, I prefer not to talk to you. 10. You should say ‘firefighter’ ________ (rather than/as much as/whether) ‘fireman’.   SHORT ESSAY 4) Why do you think it is important to vote? What do you think you need to do to be a responsible voter? (60-80 words) 5) Do you think women are still discriminated against in our society? Is there discrimination against other groups of people? Write down your thoughts on the subject and support them with a couple of examples. (60-80 words) ___ (Carlo Dellonte) (Image credits: Wikimedia Commons, Wikimedia Commons)
[post_title] => Celebrating 100 years of women's suffrage in the US [post_excerpt] => In 1920, women obtained the right to vote in the United States. It was the outcome of a long and hard struggle that involved overcoming many obstacles and prejudices. Some of these can still be seen today in important aspects of our societies and even in our language. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => celebrating-100-years-of-womens-suffrage-in-the-us [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-11-03 17:51:00 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-11-03 16:51:00 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://aulalingue.scuola.zanichelli.it/?post_type=planet-english&p=17554 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => planet-english [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [6] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 17066 [post_author] => 10 [post_date] => 2020-05-15 17:45:28 [post_date_gmt] => 2020-05-15 15:45:28 [post_content] => According to Google Trends, during the months of March and April, there has been a huge increase in the internet searches for ‘cabin fever’. Cabin fever refers to the experience of being forced to stay for a long period of time in a small, confined space with very little to do. The origin of the term probably dates back to early 1900s North America. People who lived in remote areas ended up snowbound and isolated in their cabins during the long winters. This experience was both stressful and boring. Despite containing the word ‘fever’, cabin fever is not a recognized medical condition. This does not mean that it’s just a myth. Surely the experiences of millions of people during the current lockdown prove that cabin fever is very real. Symptoms of cabin fever include negative feelings such as lethargy, irritability, frustration, impatience, anxiety, and anger.   

Space madness

For sure, scientists have been studying this phenomenon for decades. An interest in a special kind of cabin fever called ‘space madness’ began in the 1950s in the United States. It was the dawn of the space age, and astronauts were training for the first manned missions. How would they fare in very small capsules in the great void of space? Science fiction authors had already imagined such a situation. Many of them had written stories of astronauts cracking under pressure and going crazy. NASA psychologists were seriously worried that this might truly happen. They devised experiments that replicated the confinement and isolation that the astronauts would experience. They put astronauts in replicas of space capsules, and kept them there for long hours doing stressful work. Luckily, after more than 60 years of manned missions in space, there has never been a case of space madness. This is also thanks to the scientists at NASA, who are still studying and providing solutions to help astronauts cope with the loneliness and anxiety they might experience.  

Cures for cabin fever

So what are the remedies for cabin fever (and space madness)? The first step is to acknowledge the situation and accept the distress it’s causing. Then, experts suggest that it’s important to establish a routine: you should follow a well-structured daily schedule. It’s important to keep physically active. If a room is all you have, you can still do some calisthenics or dance to your favourite song. Being mentally active is also important. NASA’s Jack Stuster, who has been studying how crews live and work in space, offers some valuable advice. “My primary recommendation,” he says, “is for people to view the self-quarantine as an opportunity, rather than an obstacle.” It’s a chance to work on a meaningful creative project such as writing a book or learning to paint or to cook. Reading can also be a great activity: a book can take you far away from the confines of your home and your current problems.  

Connecting with others

Regarding the people you have to live with, Jack Stuster has this to say: “Set getting along as your highest goal.” He advises being considerate and respectful. He suggests eating together regularly. It’s also important to have group leisure activities such as movie nights or board games (but avoid divisive ones, such as Monopoly or Risk). Stuster also advises respecting each other’s need for privacy. The psychologist Paul Rosenblatt, who studied cabin fever in the 1980s, agrees. He says that families “need a certain balance of togetherness and apartness.” Connecting with those who are not living with us is also important. Luckily today technology offers great assistance. In the past social media have been criticized for depriving us of real social contact, but during the current crisis they can be an important resource. People have found ways to dine, celebrate birthdays, and to participate in weddings using their smartphone or computer. Indeed, the current lockdown could be an opportunity for self-improvement and for re-connecting with others in a meaningful way.  
USEFUL LINKS 1) Do you have cabin fever? How can you cure it? Here is some advice from CNN: https://edition.cnn.com/2020/03/19/health/coronavirus-cabin-fever-definition-quarantine-wellness/index.html 2) Are you interested in the hazards of isolation and confinement in space exploration? Here are a couple of useful links: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FPinASEKA_I https://www.nasa.gov/feature/conquering-the-challenge-of-isolation-in-space-nasa-s-human-research-program-director 3) Read Jack Stuster’s detailed advice on how to deal with the problems of the current lockdown: http://spaceref.com/coronavirus/the-parallels-between-space-missions-and-covid-19-isolation.html 4) Here is some more advice for families under lockdown from The Guardian Australia: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g5Uulo_AS1Q
Puoi svolgere gli esercizi collegati a questo articolo anche in modo interattivo su ZTE.   COMPREHENSION 1) Read the article and complete the sentences with the right alternative. 1. The expression ‘cabin fever’ originates from
  1. a medical condition first discovered in North America.
  2. people being stuck in cabins for long periods of time.
  3. people having a fever during winter.
2. Cabin fever is caused by
  1. confinement and isolation.
  2. the boredom and stress of long winters.
  3. negative feelings such as frustration and impatience.
3. Space madness can be described as
  1. the dawn of the space age.
  2. no more than an invention of science fiction writers.
  3. cabin fever in space.
4. NASA’s psychologists believed that
  1. astronauts could crack under pressure.
  2. it was impossible to replicate the confinement and isolation of space.
  3. space madness was inevitable. 
5. So far, there have been no cases of space madness, probably because
  1. space madness does not exist.
  2. astronauts are taught how to deal with the pressure of their missions.
  3. space missions do not produce stress and loneliness. 
6. When dealing with cabin fever one should first
  1. pretend that all is well.
  2. accept rather than fight against the negative sensations it produces.
  3. get rid of the distress it causes.
7. Jack Stuster says that self-quarantine
  1. is a great opportunity for everyone.
  2. is an obstacle.
  3. can be turned into an opportunity.
8. Creative projects are important because
  1. they are fun activities.
  2. they help you keep mentally active.
  3. they help you keep physically active.
9. Jack Stuster says that you should share time with the persons you live with. He says you should
  1. have dinner together. 
  2. play Monopoly.
  3. dance to your favourite song.
10. Social media
  1. are always a good alternative to real human contact.
  2. are criticized during the lockdown because they are depriving us of real human contact.
  3. can help us feel less lonely during the current lockdown.
  VOCABULARY  2) Complete the sentences with the following words. Put the verbs and nouns in the right form, if necessary. to fare  *  manned  *  to crack  *  to devise  *  snowbound  *  to cope  *  calisthenics  *  leisure  * to acknowledge  *  to dine 1. Instead of saying ‘to have dinner’ you can say ‘________’. 2. Push-ups, sit-ups and jumping jacks are examples of ________. 3. There’s so much snow outside that we can’t even open the front door. We’re ________! 4. In my ________ time I practice my hobbies. 5. ________ with difficult and dangerous situations is an astronaut’s everyday job. 6. NASA has launched several spacecraft; some were autonomous, others were ________.  7. If you ________ something, you admit that it exists or that it is true. 8. The engineers at NASA are trying to ________ a spaceship capable of taking people to Mars. 9. You want to know how I ___________ on my driving test? I passed it! 10. Just like a plank of wood can break under too much weight, a person can ________ under too much pressure.   GRAMMAR – Adverbs of time and of place 3) Complete the following sentences choosing the correct adverb. Adverbs of time: soon, daily, still, ago, later, all day 1. The first manned moon landing happened more than fifty years ________ . 2. I think the lockdown will end ________. 3. I’m tired of staying home ________. 4. We will watch a movie ________. 5. I ________ believe that the quarantine was absolutely necessary. 6. I do my calisthenics ________. Adverbs of place: upstairs, here, somewhere, indoors, nearby, underneath 7. Because of the lockdown, we’re forced to stay ________. 8. My grandparents live ________ but we can’t visit them. 9. I would like to go ________, anywhere, just to get out of the house. 10. Come ________, I have to show you something. 11. I’m going ________, to my room. I need to be alone for a bit. 12. I couldn’t find the remote control. It was ________ the sofa. SHORT ESSAY 1) What have been your best and worst personal experiences during the lockdown? (60-80 words) 2) How is your life and the life of your family different during the lockdown? (60-80 words) 3) Cabin fever is a very popular narrative device. Putting a few antagonistic characters in a confined and isolated place is an excellent setup for creating interesting stories. Find an example in literature, cinema or TV where cabin fever is used. Write a short summary of the story you chose, describing the effects of cabin fever on the protagonists. (60-80 words)
___ (Carlo Dellonte) (Image credits: PixabayPixabay) [post_title] => Cabin fever and its remedies [post_excerpt] => Lethargy, irritability, frustration, impatience: during the current lockdown, millions of people around the world are experiencing the effects of a strange condition called ‘cabin fever’. Luckily it can be ‘cured’ and turned into an opportunity for self-improvement and for re-connecting with others in a meaningful way. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => cabin-fever-and-its-remedies [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-09-29 17:05:24 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-09-29 15:05:24 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://aulalingue.scuola.zanichelli.it/?post_type=planet-english&p=17066 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => planet-english [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [7] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 16928 [post_author] => 10 [post_date] => 2020-04-01 11:08:35 [post_date_gmt] => 2020-04-01 09:08:35 [post_content] => Just like us, billions of people around the world are changing their habitual behaviours because of the coronavirus pandemic. In order to reduce the transmission of the disease, many countries are enacting restrictive social distancing measures. These are steps taken in order to minimise social interaction. Among other things, people are advised to work from home whenever possible and to avoid gatherings with friends and family. In the case that we do meet other people we are told to avoid a very common gesture: the handshake. The reason is that our hands are always touching things, and, inevitably, they pick up many bacteria from the environment. According to one study, on a human hand there are approximately 3.200 bacteria from 150 different species. These germs can hop from one hand to another when we shake hands. This is why it’s always a good idea to wash our hands regularly, whether we shake hands or not.   The history of the handshake Historians tell us that the handshake is at least 3.000 years old. Some believe that it was born as a gesture of peace, a way of showing that one’s hand held no weapons. Most likely, in ancient times it was more solemn than it is today. It was probably used during ceremonies or special occasions to express a strong bond between two people. It could seal an alliance between politicians, friends or spouses. Over the centuries different kinds of handshakes developed. Some secret societies had their own special handshake, which allowed their members to identify each other. The same goes for some college fraternities. In the late twentieth century, African American communities invented the dap greeting which can involve a handshake, palm slapping and bumping knuckles together. All kinds of handshakes are true to their ancient origin: they are a friendly gesture between people. Conversely, refusing to shake hands is considered a hostile act.   Alternatives In our current social distancing period, how can we greet each other in a friendly way without shaking hands? Some suggest using the ‘elbow bump’, but this forces people to come even closer to each other than when they shake hands. The head of the World Health Organization, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, suggested using the Namaste greeting (‘Namaste’ means ‘I bow to the divine in you’) used in India and South East Asia. This is done by placing the palms together with the fingers pointed upwards in front of one’s chest. There’s also a similar traditional Chinese greeting that requires cupping the right fist in the palm of the left hand. Some people are unsure about these alternatives; they think it’s wrong to use gestures that belong to someone else’s culture. Others have suggested more recent – and unusual – alternatives, from the shaka sign of surfers to the Vulcan salute from Star Trek. And what about just waving one’s hand? Dr. Tedros spoke of his own personal preference: “I like to put my hand on my heart when I greet people these days.”   A social need These alternatives share the essence of the handshake: they are  respectful and friendly gestures that bring us closer together. They all satisfy our need to be connected. Some common greetings are even more openly intimate. For example, many people like to greet each other with a hug or a kiss. The Maori of New Zealand instead practice the hongi, where two people press together their noses and sometimes their foreheads, exchanging – it is said – the breath of life in a symbolic show of unity. Scientists proved that friendly physical contact is a way to produce positive chemicals in the body. Hugs, for example, increase the levels of oxytocin, the so called ‘bonding-hormone’, and reduces blood pressure. Our current need for social distancing is absolutely necessary, but it goes against our nature because we are social animals. Hopefully, with the return to normality, we will all find a greater appreciation for the small gestures that we took for granted, such as handshakes, and, as a consequence, respect each other more.  
USEFUL LINKS 1) Check out the content of the Canadian national public broadcaster CBS ‘Coronavirus’ section, like this video on ‘social distancing’: https://www.cbc.ca/kidsnews/ and this one on ‘physical distancing’: https://www.cbc.ca/kidsnews/post/what-is-physical-distancing 2) Here are the social distancing measures taken by the UK government: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-outbreak-faqs-what-you-can-and-cant-do/coronavirus-outbreak-faqs-what-you-can-and-cant-do 3) How are germs transmitted? Check out these interesting experiments: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I5-dI74zxPg 4) Learn more about the history of the handshake: https://www.history.com/news/what-is-the-origin-of-the-handshake 5) Check out these famous historical handshakes: https://www.history.com/news/8-historic-handshakes 6) Watch these videos on alternative ways to greet each other: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=suGWClD5zmA
Puoi svolgere gli esercizi collegati a questo articolo anche in modo interattivo su ZTE.
COMPREHENSION 1) Read the article and complete the sentences with the right alternative. 1. Social distancing measures tell us that
  1. we should not shake hands.
  2. everybody must work from home.
  3. we should meet other people.
2. Originally, shaking hands was a way to show that
  1. you carried weapons.
  2. you did not have hostile intentions.
  3. you wanted to meet another person.
3. Probably in ancient times the handshake was
  1. a very common gesture.
  2. used only by people who sealed an alliance.
  3. a solemn gesture.
4. Many college fraternities invented their own
  1. dap greeting.
  2. special handshake.
  3. knuckle bump.
5. The dap greeting is
  1. more complex than a handshake.
  2. used by African Americans to identify each other.
  3. a simplified version of the handshake.
6. Examples of greeting gestures that avoid physical contact between people are
  1. the elbow bump and the hongi.
  2. the Namaste greeting and the Vulcan salute.
  3. the dap greeting and the shaka sign.
7. These days the head of the World Health Organization does not use
  1. the handshake.
  2. the Namaste greeting.
  3. the hand on the heart.
8. Currently, the hongi is not a good alternative to the handshake because
  1. it brings people too close together.
  2. it belongs to another culture.
  3. only the Maori can use it.
9. The handshake and similar forms of greetings are
  1. intimate.
  2. friendly.
  3. symbolic.
10. Friendly physical contact
  1. is unnecessary.
  2. goes against our nature.
  3. is good for our bodies.
  VOCABULARY 2) Complete the following sentences choosing the right alternative. 1. A short jump is called a hop / cup. 2. The spouse / head of an organization is its president or leader. 3. When people get together we can say that they form a fraternity / gathering. 4. We are true to / We take for granted what we value too lightly. 5. One word that can describe both a husband and a wife is spouse / head. 6. The joint between the upper and lower parts of the arm is called elbow / knuckle. 7. To bond / To seal an agreement means making it permanent. 8. You hop / cup your hand when you curve it in a rounded manner. 10. A social group for male college students is called a fraternity / gathering. 11. To bond / To seal means to form a close personal relationship. 12. If you are true to / take for granted somebody then you are loyal and faithful to that person. 13. Each hand has many elbows / knuckles.   GRAMMAR – Adverbs of degree, frequency, manner 3) Complete the following sentences choosing the correct adverb. Adverbs of degree: almost, fairly, very, terribly 2. He’s ________ good at following all the social distancing rules. He’s a model citizen! 3. We ________ shook hands! We stopped in time and greeted each other with a bow instead. 4. I think it’s ________ difficult to work from home, but it’s not impossible! 5. What’s happening in the world is a tragedy. It makes me ________  sad.   Adverbs of frequency: sometimes, always, usually, rarely 1. I ________ go for a walk after dinner, but not every single day. 2. I ________ do a bit of yoga in the morning – I never miss a day. 3. We ________ watch TV before going to bed because we prefer to read a book. 4. I like staying at home, but I ________ miss going out.   Adverbs of manner: beautifully, foolishly, patiently, quickly 1. The virus spreads ________, so there’s no time to lose! 2. I’m ________ waiting for this crisis to be over. 3. You play the piano ________. Please play again. 4. They ________ went out without wearing their surgical masks.   SHORT ESSAY 4) Investigate a greeting gesture. You can pick one of these alternatives (or find another one): the dap greeting, the knuckle bump, the secret handshake, the Namaste greeting, the traditional Chinese greeting, the shaka sign, the Vulcan salute, the hongi, the elbow bump, the hug, the kiss. How is it performed and when? Does it have a symbolic or special meaning? When was it invented? Who uses it? (60-80 words) 5) What social interaction do you miss most during this period of social distancing? Explain why you miss it and why it is important for you. (60-80 words)
___ (Carlo Dellonte) (Image credits: Pixabay, Pixabay) [post_title] => Social distancing and the handshake [post_excerpt] => We live in a time when we have to limit our social interactions. Among other things, we are advised to avoid a very common and very ancient gesture: the handshake. What is the story and meaning of the handshake and can we find a valid alternative? [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => social-distancing-and-the-handshake [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-05-15 17:45:41 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-05-15 15:45:41 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://aulalingue.scuola.zanichelli.it/?post_type=planet-english&p=16928 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => planet-english [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [8] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 16705 [post_author] => 10 [post_date] => 2020-03-01 21:54:03 [post_date_gmt] => 2020-03-01 20:54:03 [post_content] => It’s all over the news: the Coronavirus epidemic is spreading. Is it a true, global threat, or are we all overreacting? First some facts. The Coronavirus was first detected in the city of Wuhan, China, a few months ago. Since then it has spread to fifty countries. The Coronavirus produces a disease called Covid-19, which is very similar to the ordinary flu, with symptoms such as fever, coughing and sneezing. Although the flu can also be deadly, Covid-19 is more dangerous. So far some 82,000 people have caught it, and nearly 3,000 died. It must be noted that most of its victims were people already in poor health. In other words, a healthy person who contracts the virus will most likely recover from it. Indeed, some 80% of infected people report mild or no symptoms at all.  

Reactions around the world

One of the problems of the Coronavirus is that, like the viruses that cause the flu, it can spread quickly, through the air, person to person. Sometimes it’s hard to detect, just because its effects are so similar to those of the flu. The ways to deal with this epidemic vary around the world. Public statements go from that of US president Donald Trump who claimed that the danger to Americans “remains very low,” to Australian prime minister Scott Morrison who said that the risk of a pandemic was “very much upon us.” In the UK, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that the government is planning for “all eventualities” if the number of Coronavirus cases rise. For sure, many countries are taking measures against the spread of the virus, such as quarantining people from affected areas, cancelling public events or shutting down schools.  

What needs to be done

These measures cannot stop the virus, but they are useful in slowing the contagion. This is very important because it allows the health care systems to deal with this emergency. There are not enough hospitals if too many people get sick at the same time. Correct information is also very important. For example, the UK is launching a mass public information campaign. Informing the public with solid science and good advice is a way to prevent mass panic and irrational behaviour. It is a problem, for example, if people hoard goods, medicines and surgical masks. It is more helpful, as the World Health Organization recommends, to take simple precautions to reduce exposure and transmission such as avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth and washing your hands regularly.  

Side effects

What cannot be overlooked about the Coronavirus outbreak are its side effects. What seems to be spreading faster than the virus is the fear of it. Some countries have stopped traveling to and trading with China and other countries affected by the virus. As a consequence, many businesses that rely on tourism or international trade are in trouble. Some analysts warn that the Coronavirus could trigger a new financial crisis. This irrational fear is also producing another, deadly virus: racism. In many places around the world Chinese people are accused of spreading the disease. There are also many reported cases of discrimination towards infected individuals. Finally, it should be noted that the Coronavirus is distracting people from other far more deadly problems, such as pollution, climate change and international conflicts. It’s time to face the Coronavirus epidemic with rationality and the right perspective.
Useful links 1) How can you protect yourself from the Coronavirus? Here is some advice from the World Health Organization: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019 2) Here is some more advice from the British government: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public 3) Facts or fiction? Find out the myths about the virus you shouldn’t believe: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/coronavirus/2019-novel-coronavirus-myth-versus-fact 4) This map keeps track of the spread of the Coronavirus: https://experience.arcgis.com/experience/685d0ace521648f8a5beeeee1b9125cd
  Mettiti alla prova con gli esercizi dello SPECIALE CORONAVIRUS sulla piattaforma ZTE.
COMPREHENSION 1) Read the article and complete the sentences with the right alternative. 1. The Coronavirus
  1. first appeared in China.
  2. was created in Wuhan.
  3. produces the flu.
2. Covid-19 is
  1. not as dangerous as the flu.
  2. caused by sneezing and coughing.
  3. very similar to the flu.
3. The Coronavirus can be very dangerous
  1. for people who are already weak and sick.
  2. for healthy people.
  3. for 80% of infected individuals.
4. The Coronavirus
  1. spreads slowly.
  2. is very contagious.
  3. is caused by Covid-19.
5. President Trump was
  1. very worried about the Coronavirus.
  2. more optimistic than prime minister Morrison.
  3. more pessimistic than prime minister Morrison.
6. Many countries are taking measures
  1. to stop the virus.
  2. to build more hospitals.
  3. to slow down the spread of the virus.
7. The UK government is inviting people to
  1. hoard medicines and surgical masks.
  2. act rationally.
  3. listen to the World Health Organization.
8. The fear of the Coronavirus is having a negative impact on
  1. international relations.
  2. the World Health Organization.
  3. China alone.
9. The Coronavirus epidemic is dangerous also because
  1. it’s making many people fearful, irrational and racist.
  2. it has produced a new financial crisis.
  3. many people are cancelling their trips to China.
10. Problems such as pollution and climate change
  1. produce fewer casualties than the Coronavirus.
  2. are far less important than the Coronavirus epidemic.
  3. are more dangerous than the Coronavirus.
  VOCABULARY 2) Complete the sentences with the following words. Put the verbs and nouns in the right form, if necessary. outbreak * to overreact * to recover * pandemic * epidemic * to quarantine * to hoard * side effect * to deal with * deadly 1. An _________ happens when a disease spreads quickly and unexpectedly within a certain population. 2. The sudden spread of a disease can also be called an _________. 3. A _________, instead, is when a new disease spreads quickly all over the world. 4. A lot of people _________ medicines: they are buying lots of them and hiding them away. 5. There are many diseases that are more _________ than the Coronavirus. 6. An undesirable secondary effect of a medicine, or of an action, is called a _________. 7. People infected with the Coronavirus are _________, which means that they are isolated from the rest of the population. 8. I can’t _________ all this negative news, it’s making me really anxious. 9. Please look at the facts. You have to act rationally, not _________. 10. I no longer have the flu and I feel great – I have _________ completely.   GRAMMAR – Making questions 3) Look at the answers below. Write the right question for every answer. 1. _________________________________________________________________ No, the Corona virus is more dangerous than the flu. 2. _________________________________________________________________ So far 82,000 people have caught the Coronavirus. 3. _________________________________________________________________ The percentage of infected people who report mild or no symptoms at all is 80%. 4. _________________________________________________________________ Yes, president Donald Trump said that the danger to Americans remains very low. 5. _________________________________________________________________ British prime minister Johnson said that the government is planning for “all eventualities.” 6. _________________________________________________________________ According to the World Health Organization, people should take precautions such as washing hands regularly. 7. _________________________________________________________________ Yes, the government shut down the schools to slow down the spreading of the disease. 8. _________________________________________________________________ Some of the side effects of the Coronavirus epidemic are irrational fear and racism. 9. _________________________________________________________________ Tourism in China and other countries is in trouble because many tourists no longer want to spend their holidays there. 10. _________________________________________________________________ Yes, we can stop talking about the Coronavirus.   SHORT ESSAY 4) What’s your opinion on the Coronavirus? Is it a true, global threat, or are we all overreacting? Write a text on the topic (60-80 words) or discuss with your classmates. 5) Do you think there are other problems around you more dangerous than the Coronavirus? Describe in a text (60-80 words) or discuss with your classmates.
___ (Carlo Dellonte) (Image credits: Pixabay, Pixabay) [post_title] => Coronavirus: a global emergency? [post_excerpt] => It’s all over the news everywhere: the Coronavirus epidemic is spreading around the world. Is it a true, global threat, or are we all overreacting? Let’s look at some facts. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => coronavirus-a-global-emergency [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-04-01 11:08:54 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-04-01 09:08:54 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://aulalingue.scuola.zanichelli.it/?post_type=planet-english&p=16705 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => planet-english [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [9] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 16533 [post_author] => 10 [post_date] => 2020-02-10 16:28:34 [post_date_gmt] => 2020-02-10 15:28:34 [post_content] => One of last January’s highest trending news items in the British press was the surprising ‘divorce’ between the Sussexes and the British Royal Family. It began when the Sussexes – Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and his wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex – decided to “step back” from their roles as senior royals. Their idea was to no longer work full-time for the Monarchy and to “carve out” a new role for themselves. To many people this sounded like a betrayal, and a serious one considering that Prince Harry is not just any member of the Family, but is the grandson of the Queen herself. The media pointed out that there is one precedent to this situation. In 1936, King Edward VIII wanted to marry an American divorcee, Wallis Simpson, but the Archbishop of Canterbury did not allow him to because the Church of England opposed marriage after divorce. The British government also sided against the King. In the end, Edward had to abdicate to marry the woman he loved.  

Under pressure

Like Wallis Simpson before her, Meghan Markle has been the object of public attention. Like Wallis, she is not British but American, and a divorcee. She is also biracial, her father being white and her mother black. Some saw all this as at odds with the traditional, all-British and all-white Royal Family. Always looking for gossip, scoops and drama, some tabloids treated Meghan as an ambitious ex-actress interested in money and titles. They suggested that she did not respect her new role and was not welcomed by other members of the Royal Family. The Sussexes reacted strongly to this. Last year they took legal action against several newspapers, accusing them of spreading false news and violating their privacy. Prince Harry made a direct reference to his mother, Princess Diana, who died in 1997 in a car accident while running away from the paparazzi. “My deepest fear is history repeating itself,” he said. “I lost my mother and now I watch my wife falling victim to the same powerful forces.”  

Megxit (and to Meghan Markle)

All this pressure surely played a role in Harry and Meghan’s surprise decision, on January 8, to step back as senior royals. The usual tabloids called it Megxit – a portmanteau of the words Meghan and Brexit – suggesting her responsibility in this decision. Those that sided with Meghan, instead, coined a new verb: ‘to Meghan Markle’, which means ‘to preserve your own mental wellbeing by leaving an environment that doesn’t value you’. Whatever the reasons, the Sussexes’ idea was to work part-time for the Monarchy while also following their own path. Although the Queen said that she supported “their wish for a more independent life,” she did not agree with how they wanted to achieve this. Buckingham Palace released a statement saying that the Sussexes were very welcome to start a new life, but they could no longer be “working members of the Royal Family,” and, therefore, they could no longer use His/Her Royal Highness (HRH) titles. The Queen’s line was clear: you can’t be half-in and half-out of the Royal Family.  

National identity

If the Sussexes hoped for more privacy, this new situation has increased the media attention on them. But one should wonder: isn’t all this media circus too much? Is it not anachronistic, in the 21st century, to be so interested in the lives of princes and princesses? Is not the Monarchy itself an outdated institution? Apparently British people don’t think so. According to polls, only 14% of Britons think that the United Kingdom should become a republic. There seems to be an emotional attachment to the Monarchy that goes beyond rational consideration of whether a group of unelected people should have a say in the running of the country. The Monarchy is part of national identity. It’s in the national anthem – “God save the Queen” – and in the very name of the nation: the United Kingdom. The Monarchy is also good business. Each year it costs taxpayers £300-350 million, but it generates about £1.8 billion in tourist revenue. No wonder that the story of the Sussexes has received so much attention.  
Useful links 1)Here is the official website of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex: https://sussexroyal.com/ 2)Would you like to know more about a member of the Royal Family? Have a look here: https://www.royal.uk/royal-family 3)Find out how to use the verb ‘to Meghan Markle’ in different situations: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2020/jan/24/to-meghan-markle-verb-how-to-use-it 4) Here is the original January 8 statement from the Duke and Duchess of Sussex: https://sussexroyal.com/about/ 5) Here is Buckingham Palace’s answer to Harry and Meghan mentioned in the article: https://www.royal.uk/statement-her-majesty-queen-0 6) Would you like to learn the British national anthem? You can find it here: https://www.royal.uk/national-anthem There are also other versions of the national anthem. Have a look: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/God_Save_the_Queen
  COMPREHENSION 1) Read the article and complete the sentences with the right alternative. 1. Harry and Meghan at first decided that 
  1. they no longer wanted to work for the Monarchy.
  2. they wanted to work part-time for the Monarchy.
  3. they wanted to leave the Royal Family.
2. In regards to the desire of Edward VIII to marry Wallis Simpson, the British government
  1. sided with the Archbishop of Canterbury.
  2. remained neutral.
  3. sided with the King.
3. In the end, Edward VIII
  1. was told to resign by the Archbishop.
  2. never married.
  3. married, but only when he was no longer king.
4. Meghan Markle was seen as at odds with the Royal Family primarily because
  1. she is a divorcee and an ex-actress.
  2. she is American and biracial.
  3. she is an ambitious woman interested in money and titles.
5. Harry said that Meghan was like his mother because
  1. she is disliked by the media.
  2. she wants to leave the Royal Family.
  3. she is a victim of too much media attention.
6. The noun ‘Megxit’ is used to
  1. suggest that Meghan was responsible for the Sussexes decision.
  2. suggest that Meghan’s decision was wise.
  3. describe the Sussexes wish for a more independent life.
7. The verb ‘to Meghan Markle’ is used to
  1. suggest that Meghan was responsible for the Sussexes decision.
  2. suggest that Meghan’s decision was wise.
  3. describe the Sussexes wish for a more independent life.
8. The Queen
  1. was against Harry and Meghan’s wishes and refused their terms.
  2. supported Harry and Meghan’s wishes as well as their terms.
  3. accepted Harry and Meghan’s wishes, but not their terms.
9. In the UK, the Royal Family is
  1. a popular institution.
  2. an unpopular institution.
  3. liked by only 14% of the population.
10. The members of the Royal Family are
  1. chosen by the Queen.
  2. not elected by the British people.
  3. elected by the British people.
  VOCABULARY  2) Complete the sentences with the following words. Put the verbs and nouns in the right form, if necessary. portmanteau   * path * royal pain  * to carve out * tabloid  * outdated * to run * to step back  * senior * national anthem   1. The verb ______ does not only mean to move faster than walking, but also to manage, to govern 2. Every country has an official song that represents it, called the ______ 3. The word ______, which means a small track or course, can also be used metaphorically.  4. A ______ is a word formed by two words combined. A famous example is ‘brunch’, which indicates a late morning meal, half-breakfast and half-lunch. 5. An older member of a specific group of people (like a family, a club or a school) is usually called a ______, while a young member is usually called a junior 6. ______ is an idiom that indicates something or somebody who is truly irritating. 7.A newspaper more interested in gossip and scoops than in in-depth reporting is called a ______. 8. The opposite of ______ is up-to-date. 9. If he ______ from his position, there are many people willing to step forward and take his place. 10. She is a very talented artist; she ______ her own special place in today’s art world.   GRAMMAR – Indefinite determiners 3) Choose the correct indefinite determiner (some, any, no) to complete the following sentences. 1. ______ of my friends are really interested in the whole ‘Megxit’ drama. 2. Meghan Markle was an actress. Did you see ______ of her films? 3. I have ______ sympathy for royalty – I think Britain should become a republic. 4. I’m sorry, but the newspaper is sold out. There aren’t ______ copies left. 5. The Queen and her grandchildren, William and Harry, are ______ of the world’s most famous people. 6. Do you have ______ idea what it feels like be followed around by the paparazzi all day long? 7. You have ______ excuse for not finishing your homework! 8. I’ve run out of beer. Would you like ______ wine instead? 9. There is ______ coffee left. I have to go out and buy it. 10. I would like to get ______ recognition for my work!   SHORT ESSAY 4) Are you a fan or a follower of a celebrity (or of a member of a Royal Family)? Describe this person and explain why you are interested in him/her. (60-80 words) 5) Did you ever ‘Meghan Markle’? What situation was it? Describe. (60-80 words)
___ (Carlo Dellonte) (Image credits: Wikimedia Commons, Wikimedia Commons) [post_title] => Royal pains [post_excerpt] => Last January Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, and his wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, decided to “step back” from their roles as senior royals. It was an unexpected decision that rocked the Royal Family and sent the press into a frenzy. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => royal-pains [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-03-01 21:54:15 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-03-01 20:54:15 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://aulalingue.scuola.zanichelli.it/?post_type=planet-english&p=16533 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => planet-english [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 1 [filter] => raw ) ) [post_count] => 10 [current_post] => -1 [in_the_loop] => [post] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 18785 [post_author] => 10 [post_date] => 2021-04-23 11:23:21 [post_date_gmt] => 2021-04-23 09:23:21 [post_content] => We are surrounded by objects made of metals and minerals: from complex machines such as cars, computers and smartphones to simple objects such as batteries, coins and cutlery. All the metals and minerals in these objects are obtained by mining, the process of digging materials out of the ground. This can be done in two different ways. There is surface mining, which scrapes a piece of land to get to the materials below, and there is underground mining, which uses tunnels to reach the metals and minerals directly underground. Any material that cannot be grown must be mined, but this might change: a group of scientists, including Alan Baker from the University of Melbourne, and Antony van der Ent from the University of Queensland (both in Australia), are developing agromining (also called phytomining), which uses plants (rather than bulldozers and excavators) to extract specific metals and minerals from the ground.  

Mining plants

These scientists have discovered that there are about 700 plants that flourish in metal-rich soils. Their roots suck the metals out of the ground and store them in their sap, stems and leaves. Antony van der Ent is experimenting with macadamia trees, known for accumulating manganese. Dr Baker and some of his colleagues, for their part, are experimenting in a vegetable plot in Malaysia with plants that accumulate the metal nickel. Every few months a farmer harvests part of the plants and, using a simple process, extracts the metal. Nickel is particularly interesting, as two-thirds of metal-loving plants feed on nickel. Scientists like van der Ent and Baker hope that, in a few years, a part of global demand for certain metals and minerals will be supplied by this kind of agriculture. They imagine a future where farmers can farm fruit and vegetables as well as minerals and metals.  

The problems with traditional mining

This is particularly important because there is an increasing demand for certain materials. Nickel is a key element in stainless steel. It is also used in the green economy, to make batteries for electric cars, for example. But the traditional mining of nickel is not an environmentally friendly activity. Mining destroys vegetation in and around the mine. The soil that is dug up is easily eroded and often ends up washed into rivers and seas, causing damage to the local flora and fauna. Furthermore, there have been many cases of water and soil contamination caused by the chemicals used in the nickel mining processes. Mining other metals and minerals also presents similar problems. Furthermore, mining is a hard, dangerous job – miners are often involved in serious accidents.  

Prospects for the future

None of these problems would exist in agromining. Scientists like Dr Baker believe that hyper-accumulating plants could even reduce the environmental costs of traditional mines. In fact, these plants could be grown on old, closed mines: they would extract the remaining metals left in the soil, stop erosion and begin reforestation. Also, agromining could be done in metal-rich soils that are toxic for normal agriculture. It could also be the perfect solution for bringing vegetation back to deforested areas. It would make agriculture possible in what are now poor, deserted areas and provide farming jobs to local populations. Agromining could also serve the medical industry, says Dr van der Ent. There are plants that collect zinc and selenium, for example, which can be used to make food supplements. Perhaps only this is old news: we already know we need to eat vegetables to obtain important metals and minerals. What might be new, in the future, is that we will be cooking and eating those farmed vegetables with cookware and cutlery partly produced with farmed metals.  
USEFUL LINKS 1) Read more about agromining here: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-04-09/trees-that-bleed-metal-could-help-power-the-future/100051066 https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/26/science/metal-plants-farm.html 2) Watch this interview with Dr Antony van der Ent talking about hyper-accumulating plants: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GcLH6WxkVkI 3) Here is an animated video explaining how and why some plants love nickel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L89sLg4H4BA 4) How are metals extracted from plants? Here is a project of the Université de Lorraine explaining how it is done: https://life-agromine.com/en/388-2/ 5) Did you know that some plants can also purify the air, absorbing harmful pollutants? NASA did an interesting study to discover which plants are most effective at this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lPNYdSZRSdg https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NASA_Clean_Air_Study
  COMPREHENSION 1) Read the article and cross out the WRONG alternative (two answers are correct and one is incorrect). 1. Traditional mining includes
  1. surface mining.
  2. agromining.
  3. underground mining.
2. Scientists like Dr Baker and Dr van der Ent want to
  1. improve traditional mining.
  2. find alternatives to traditional mining.
  3. substitute excavators with plants to obtain metals.
3. Metal-loving plants have
  1. roots that suck the metals out of the ground.
  2. leaves that absorb metals from the air.
  3. sap that contains metals.
4. Metal-rich soils are
  1. perfect for a small number of plants.
  2. toxic for most plants.
  3. ideal only for macadamia plants.
5. Agromining scientists focus on nickel because
  1. a very large number of metal-loving plants feed on nickel.
  2. there is a great demand for nickel, for example, in the green economy.
  3. nickel is environmentally friendly.
6. Mining can be a problem because
  1. it harms local plants and animals.
  2. it’s an expensive activity.
  3. it can pollute water and soil.
7. Compared to traditional mining, agromining
  1. requires just as much digging.
  2. is less dangerous for the workers employed.
  3. is less harmful for the environment.
8. According to scientists like Dr Baker, agromining can
  1. clean old mines.
  2. introduce farming where it was not previously possible.
  3. replace traditional agriculture.
9. Agromining can produce
  1. new jobs.
  2. metal rich soils.
  3. materials to make everyday objects.
10. Agromining is
  1. already used on a large, industrial scale.
  2. still in its infancy.
  3. the potential solution to many problems.
  VOCABULARY 2) Complete the sentences with the following words. Put the verbs and nouns in the right form, if necessary. cutlery  *  to scrape  *  roots  *  sap  *  stem  *  plot  *  to harvest  *  key *  steel  *  cookware 1. ‘________’ can mean many things: the story of a book, a secret plan, or a small piece of land. 2. As a noun, the word ________ means a small object used for opening doors; as an adjective it means very important. 3. The ________ are the part of the plant that grows underground. 4. The ________ of a plant is the equivalent of the trunk of a tree. 5. The ________ is a liquid that brings nutrients to all parts of a plant. You can say that it’s the ‘blood’ of the plant. 6. Farmers are very busy in early Autumn when they ________ the fruit and vegetables they grew during the summer months. 7. ________ is a very strong metal, stronger than iron. 8. The utensils, pots and pans one uses to cook are called ________, whereas the utensils used for eating, such as forks, spoons and knives are called tableware or ________. 9. I fell and ________a knee. I need to disinfect it.   GRAMMAR – Past simple and past continuous 3) Complete the sentences using the verbs provided. Use the past simple or the past continuous. 1. I ________ (to interview) Dr van der Ent while he ________ (to work) in his laboratory. 2. Dr Baker ________ (to discover) hyper-accumulating plants while he ________ (to do) research for the University of Melbourne. 3. I ________ (to watch) a documentary on agromining, when I ________ (to realize) how amazing plants really are. 4. I ________ (to see) Dr van der Ent on TV last night. He ________ (to talk) about the properties of macadamia trees. 5. The miner ________ (to mine) for gold, but he ________ silver instead. 6. I ________ (to listen) to the radio when I ________ (to hear) about agromining. 7. While I ________ (to plant) carrots in the vegetable garden, I ________ (to injure) my hand. 8. The scientist ________ (to speak), but nobody ________ (to listen). 9. I ________ (to cut) vegetables when Wendy ________ (to arrive). 10. I ________ (to feel) agitated, so I ________ (to prepare) myself a chamomile tea.   SHORT ESSAY 4) What’s your relationship to plants? Do you have house plants? Do you like gardening? Do you like walking in nature? Do you like eating your greens? Describe. (60-80 words)   5) Read NASA’S list of air-purifying plants (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NASA_Clean_Air_Study). Do you have any of them in your home, or are there any you would like to own? Describe them, say why you like them and where they are (or where you would put them) in your home. (60-80 words)
___ (Carlo Dellonte) (Image credits: Wikimedia Commons, Wikimedia Commons) [post_title] => Harvesting metals from plants [post_excerpt] => Any material that cannot be grown must be mined… until now. Scientists from Australia and other countries are experimenting with amazing plants capable of ‘mining’ metals and minerals. Soon we might farm plants that not only grow fruit and vegetables, but also produce metals such as manganese and nickel. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => harvesting-metals-from-plants [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2021-04-23 12:30:20 [post_modified_gmt] => 2021-04-23 10:30:20 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://aulalingue.scuola.zanichelli.it/?post_type=planet-english&p=18785 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => planet-english [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [comment_count] => 0 [current_comment] => -1 [found_posts] => 40 [max_num_pages] => 4 [max_num_comment_pages] => 0 [is_single] => [is_preview] => [is_page] => [is_archive] => 1 [is_date] => [is_year] => [is_month] => [is_day] => [is_time] => [is_author] => [is_category] => [is_tag] => [is_tax] => [is_search] => [is_feed] => [is_comment_feed] => [is_trackback] => [is_home] => [is_privacy_policy] => [is_404] => [is_embed] => [is_paged] => [is_admin] => [is_attachment] => [is_singular] => [is_robots] => [is_favicon] => [is_posts_page] => [is_post_type_archive] => 1 [query_vars_hash:WP_Query:private] => 5348561c20de1714fb7134a64e43d1a3 [query_vars_changed:WP_Query:private] => [thumbnails_cached] => [stopwords:WP_Query:private] => [compat_fields:WP_Query:private] => Array ( [0] => query_vars_hash [1] => query_vars_changed ) [compat_methods:WP_Query:private] => Array ( [0] => init_query_flags [1] => parse_tax_query ) )
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