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Blog February 2008

The LAEO Blog – Learn English here daily.

February 29, 2008

   

Here’s a really interesting website that allows you to upload your own pictures and then change them with special backgrounds, frames, and effects. Cool stuff! Click on the logo:

February 28, 2008

When it gets really cold outside, you can throw boiling water up in the air and it will evaporate before it hits the ground. This short video is from last year but I could have made it just a couple of weeks ago. It was really cold outside!

 

February 27, 2008

There’s some new material for the red level. Soon each level with have a collection of quizzes so that students can practice their grammar. Students and teachers are welcome to print these out or complete them online.

February 25, 2008

This is a bit troubling for those of us who love the freedom of information and truth:

Pakistan causes worldwide YouTube outage

By PETER SVENSSON, AP Technology Writer (this is an excerpt found from an article on Yahoo! News on 2-25-2008)

NEW YORK – Most of the world’s Internet users lost access to YouTube for several hours Sunday after an attempt by Pakistan’s government to block access domestically affected other countries.

The outage highlighted yet another of the Internet’s vulnerabilities, coming less than a month after broken fiber-optic cables in the Mediterranean took Egypt off line and caused communications problems from the Middle East to India.

An Internet expert explained that Sunday’s problems arose when a Pakistani telecommunications company accidentally identified itself to Internet computers as the world’s fastest route to YouTube. But instead of serving up videos of skateboarding dogs, it sent the traffic into oblivion.

On Friday, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority ordered 70 Internet service providers to block access to YouTube.com, because of anti-Islamic movies on the video-sharing site, which is owned by Google Inc.

The authority did not specify what the offensive material was, but a PTA official said the ban concerned a trailer for an upcoming film by Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders, who has said he plans to release a movie portraying Islam as fascist and prone to inciting violence against women and homosexuals.

The block was intended to cover only Pakistan, but extended to about two-thirds of the global Internet population, starting at 1:47 p.m. EST Sunday, according to Renesys Corp., a Manchester, N.H., firm that keeps track of the pathways of the Internet for telecommunications companies and other clients.

The greatest effect was in Asia, were the outage lasted for up to two hours, Renesys said.

YouTube confirmed the outage on Monday, saying it was caused by a network in Pakistan.

February 24, 2008

In my regular classroom, I often provide students with information about African Americans who have made important contributions to American culture and politics, especially during the month of February which is Black History Month in the United States. But I also try to talk a little about how difficult life can be today for some African Americans who live in poor neighborhoods across the country. These are people who are condemned to a life full of obstacles simply because of the location in which they were born. The people in the video are singing about their neighborhood. (or "hood"). The Hood Diet:

 

February 23, 2008

My 10:00 intermediate level class is studying government. In the United States, there are three main levels of government: federal (national), state, and local. Local government can take the form of a city, a small town, a county, or a metropolitan region.

There are three branches of government at the federal and state levels: the executive branch, the legislative branch, and the judicial branch. Each is equal in power, and each operate under a constitution which describes how the government is elected and what each branch can and cannot do.

*county = a large collection of cities and towns. Hennepin County in Minnesota is made up of 46 cities.

February 21, 2008

Last night there was a lunar eclipse. This occurs only when there’s a full moon. The earth moves directly in front of the sun and the moon is directly behind the earth which creates a very colorful glow. The picture below demonstrates what happens. You can see the moon to the right looks a little orange because of refracted light from the sun.

In the past, these kinds of odd effects on the moon have been thought to create madness in people, which is why the words, "lunacy" (a noun) and "lunatic" (also a noun) are used to describe a crazy person. He’s a lunatic.

February 20, 2008

Things aren’t looking too good for Hillary Clinton. She lost to Barack Obama in Wisconsin and Hawaii by large margins while his popularity nationwide continues to surge. Many political experts are now saying that the nomination is "his to lose." John McCain, who won in Wisconsin and Hawaii, is the likely nominee for the Republicans.

a large margin = a big difference  /  surge = a big increase (can be used as a noun or as a verb)

(one’s) to lose = a person will lose if he or she makes a lot of really dumb mistakes. Examples: It’s his to lose. It’s hers to lose. It’s theirs to lose. The possessive pronoun changes depending on the person or people involved.

February 18, 2008

Today is Presidents’ Day. Here is some information about famous Presidents. Also, in the vocabulary section of the website, you can learn a little about money.  Most U.S. currency has pictures of U.S. Presidents, but there are a few denominations that don’t. Alexander Hamilton was Treasury secretary. He’s on the ten. Sacajawea was a Native American guide. She’s on the dollar coin. Benjamin Franklin was a writer and an inventor. He’s on the 100-dollar bill.

February 16, 2008

To my friends in Iraq and Iran, I’m sorry but email apparently can’t pass easily into these two countries. There are other countries that block email and websites, but these two stand out as recent examples.

February 15, 2008

One of the great things about having a blog is posting cool stuff like this:

 

February 13, 2008

Last night Barack Obama and John McCain were winners in elections held in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington D.C. Now John McCain is clearly going to be the Republican nominee for President, and Barack Obama becomes the frontrunner for the Democratic party. (Do you remember what the word "frontrunner" means? Scroll down the blog if you have forgotten.) Who will be the winner? We will all have to continue to watch and see what happens next.

An interesting fact: The nation’s capital–Washington D.C.–is not located in any one of the fifty states. It’s kind of a city-state all by itself and located on the east coast. It was created to keep the national capital separate from the states. D.C. stands for District of Columbia. There’s also the state of Washington located on the west coast. Both places are named after our first President, George Washington.

February 11, 2008

Today is Monday and the beginning of a new week. My beginning level class will study the difference between count and noncount nouns. This is good to understand because the words used within each category are different. For example, "How many students are in the classroom?" The word "student" is a count noun, therefore I make the question using "how many." How much time do you have this morning to eat breakfast?" The word ‘time" is a count noun and uses "how much" to make the question. One easy way to tell the difference between count and noncount nouns is whether or not the word make the plural with an "s." Count nouns add an "s"; noncount nouns don’t add an "s." For more practice on this click here.

February 8, 2008

My intermediate level class has been studying the ways in which things can be purchased on credit–cars, houses, and every day necessities. Do you have a credit card? In the U.S. most people have one because it’s easier than carrying around a lot of cash, and it helps a person develop a good credit rating. Just make sure you pay the entire balance at the end of the reporting period, otherwise you’ll be charged interest on the amount unpaid.

credit rating: a public report that shows how well you pay back loans and credit cards

balance: the amount of money in your account–money you owe or money you have

February 7, 2008

 Happy Chinese New Year! It’s the Year of the Rat.

February 5, 2008

Get ready. It’s Super Tuesday! Voters in 22 states–almost half of the 50 states–will go to primaries and caucuses to cast their votes for the next President of the U.S. I’ve never seen so much enthusiasm and interest in an election season. Why is that? Perhaps it’s because we’re all so eager to dump Bush and start moving forward again. The century really got off to a bad start.

Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are just about tied. They’re the two remaining candidates in the Democratic Party. Among the Republicans, there are four candidates to choose from: John McCain, Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, and Mike Huckabee. John McCain is leading his opponents.

February 3, 2008

Today the Superbowl is being played in Glendale, Arizona. The New England Patriots, who are undefeated, will play against the New York Giants. This is the biggest sporting event of the year and many Americans watch the game, whether they like football or not. In addition to the game, viewers pay attention to the commercials, too.

February 2, 2008

Today is Groundhogs’ Day in the United States. According to popular lore, if the groundhog comes out of his burrow on February 2 and sees his shadow, he will be frightened back into his hole, and this event predicts another six weeks of winter. A cloudy day — and no shadow — means winter will end early. Of course, this is a myth — especially in Minnesota.

burrow: a place where animals live, usually underground

click here to go to January 2008

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