Thursday, October 30, 2014

Spooky Narrative!!

Under My Bed by Gabriel NA 1
                Sometimes I've been asked, what are you afraid of? Spiders? Ghosts? Spooky skeletons? "Bah! Humbug!" I say "There is NOTHING that could possibly scare me!" But every time I say that I feel really uncomfortable and try to talk about other things. No one could possibly imagine what happens under my bed, no one would believe what happens down there!
                Since a few years ago, every 30th October I hear strange noises and if something falls under there it disappears. One 30th October, an important document  fell under my bed. "Oh, no!" I yelled "I need that paper, I have to get it back from d... down there..." For a moment I thought not to do it, but I had no choice. I took a long breath and ducked to fetch it . It was completely in shreds with claw marks everywhere , "I'm done being a coward" I stammered "I'm going to see what's wrong here!"
Once again I took another long breath but this time my body didn't respond, I couldn't move! After a few minutes frozen I realized that there couldn't be anything supernatural. I ducked with a torch and pointed to something that was moving, that thing tried to jump at me but I suddenly jumped.
                "It was the neighbors' cat all along! But how could it be?  And why did it come the same day year after year!?" In anger, I went to talk with them as soon as possible, I knocked on their door and I told them what happened. They said their cat died 5 years ago and that was impossible.
                The next day I decided to clean my room, especially under my bed. There were a lot of dust and some spiders, but more interesting than that... a box! On one side of the box it was written -Here lies Mr. Whiskers, a nice and lovely cat that unfortunately couldn't resist curiosity- inside the box there were the bones of the poor cat and a note which said "not even death will stop a cat from being a cat."
It was 5 years ago, one dark night, on the same date, the 30th of October, I was driving home when I hit something on the road, it was raining a lot so I thought it was a rock or something. But it was their cat and every year the day of his death he came back to life to scare me and ruin my night. The only thing I cannot answer is...  why under my bed!?

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

If I could be somebody else for a day I would like to be Jane Goodall… (Silvia NA 1)

Jane Goodall is one of the world's most important environmental activists and a noted humanitarian, primatologist and UN messenger of peace.

Her fascination with animal behaviour began in early childhood, she spent her spare time watching birds and animals and making notes and sketches - something I also did on our roof terrace when I was 10. She dreamed of travelling to Africa and at the age of 26, Jane ventured to Tanzania from London with nothing more than a notebook and binoculars. Thus she set off to study the world of wild chimpanzees with the patience and optimism that would characterize her.

Many of her studies of chimpanzee behaviour have been successful despite the fact that she had no formal scientific education and lacked even any degree – she saw chimpanzees making a tool of tree bark to dig out termites. This was an important discovery because at the time, it was assumed only humans made tools. 

She has been concerned about environmental damage and, for this reason, campaigned for many causes. These problems are so serious that she has travelled all over the world encouraging people to do what they can to create a better world.
She is a fascinating woman, the type of person I have always admired: brave, good-tempered and involved in all types of worthy causes.


One day I read an article that impressed me a lot. A journalist was asked to participate in an experiment where he would not use his cell phone for one whole day. That experience taught him a sad lesson about our mobile addiction. I fancy living one day without a cell phone and not die trying. So, I thought that if I could invent a holiday, I would proclaim a “cell phone-less holiday.”
It may seem weird, but on this day millions of people might feel truly liberated, refreshed and rested – and what is the main objective of every holiday? Exactly, to take a break and to rest after our stressful rhythm of life! I know that many of us, like myself, who are old enough to remember how life was before mobile phones, will be pretty excited to become time travellers to the 1990s. It would be strange to start noticing people on the streets, instead of sending Whatsapps, checking e-mails or just surfing the Internet. I can hardly remember those days, when I needed a camera to take a photo, “used” my own memory to remember someone´s home number and had to make a call at a pay phone. Actually, I have not seen a proper functioning pay phone for centuries!
Our younger generation does not know what an Internet café is. It sounds like a café offering free WiFi! But I am old enough to remember how many e-mails I sent by this method, when we did not have laptops and cell phones. By the way, those places were not cheap at all! The cheaper and more advanced the technology is, the more attached to our gadgets we are. We feel connected to friends, business and news from all over the world and it would give us a false sense of security, but when the battery is low or we are out of range, we get lost and start to feel lonely even in the most crowded city of the planet.
The “cell phone-less holiday” could make us take aware of the anxiety than the lack of this piece of plastic during only one day can cause in our minds. I wish we were able to realize and admit that our phone addiction could be out of control soon, for example, all of us saw some couples spending a romantic evening and staring at the displays of their smartphones without talking to each other. It is true, I do not exaggerate.
In my  “cell phoneless holiday” reverie, such behavior will be forbidden by law in order to force us to recover something that, unfortunately, disappeared – the ability to look around, get surprised, say hello and smile at each other.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Kevin NI1, our favorite photographer!

Thanks to Kevin of NI1 for the amazing photo of my favorite corner of this island.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Another Idiomatic Expression from Lorenzo NA1

I received an email message from a student, Lorenzo, who offered another idiomatic expression for our class vocabulary. Here is the message:

" Hello David, I was reading about Formula 1 and I found this idiomatic expression:
  "... The German is reported to be heading to Ferrari where he will take Alonso's seat. Speculation, meanwhile, has Alonso returning to McLaren with whom he spent a troubled year in 2007.The double World Champion, however, is keeping his cards close to his chest.  ..."

The Spanish translation could be "... no muestra sus cartas." As you can see it's a very similar expression."

Thanks to Lorenzo for this offering. In fact, there are a lot of card-related expressions in English and in Spanish, too.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

"Who I am, what I do" (Carla NA1)

(This essay of introduction is very well-written. The author is a trained journalist, so she has quite a gift with words--and with the keyboard!) 

Everybody knows me as Carla but some of my earliest friends call me Camino –that’s my surname. I´m 26 years old and I have no siblings. I´ve lived in Gran Canary Island and in Madrid as well. When I came back from the capital I began dating my boyfriend and, one year after, we decided to live together in a flat. Nowadays a beautiful dog has been included in our family and we also have a leafy garden for her. We really get on well and soon we are going on holidays to Italy, such a romantic trip!
My daily life is like a crossroad with many challenges and several options. I´ve had different jobs in a short period of time –in this sense; I used to think that I was like the American people. On the other hand, I´m fond of studying whatever I like, for instance, idioms –English, French- and I hope I could do a degree to become a teacher in a primary school. But what I really seek out is to live abroad, form new friendships, talk with native speakers of English and know another culture. Probably, if I hadn´t had a fiancé I would already have gone. Nevertheless we don´t really deny that chance.
English had been a duty for me but now it is my passion. I try to keep in touch with that language and keep my ears open when I listen to Vaughan radio or something like this. It is a pity that we spend too many years studying a language and we still speak cannot likea bilingual person. Anyway, I´m enthusiastic about learning even more each day.
I don´t have too much free time but I do sport very often and I usually have a walk with my dog. Sometimes I go to the beach and the cinema. I admit that I have got a hectic life.


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Happy October 1, the Day of the CT Scan

This is the anniversary of the CT or CAT scan.

The first Computed Tomography scan was performed on a patient on October 1, 1971. It's also known as a CT scan or sometimes a CAT scan, for Computed Axial Tomography. A CT scan produces images of cross sections or "slices" of the human body. It makes it possible for doctors to examine the soft tissues of the body, which are difficult to see with traditional X-rays. In 1971, the scanner took about five minutes to capture a single slice, and it took a couple of hours to produce a single image from the raw data. Today's scanners can capture multiple slices and return images, all in under a second.
The first diagnostic scan was performed at Atkinson Morley's Hospital in London, and the first patient was a woman who was suspected of having a tumor in her frontal lobe. The scan — quite blurry by today's standards — revealed what appeared to be a mass. When surgeons opened up the woman's skull, one of them remarked that it looked exactly like the picture. The CT scan had proved its usefulness.
Partial credit for the development of the CT scanner is due the Beatles, according to British radiologist Ben Timmis. That's because the band's recording label, EMI, heavily funded the research of the CT's inventor, Sir Godfrey Hounsfield. Because the Beatles sold so many records and made so much money for EMI, Hounsfield was able to devote four years of full-time work to the development of a commercial CT machine, which was called the EMI-Scanner.
There were five separate researchers working on tomography in the 1960s. Godfrey Hounsfield was the dark horse. He wasn't an academic and didn't publish papers. He didn't apply for any patents until very late in the process, and he was funded internally by his employer, so he never needed to apply for any grants. He had no medical background, and he completed most of his work in secret. The major drawback to his method was that, when the time came to approach practicing neurologists with his invention, he had no track record and was viewed as a crackpot. He finally found an ally in Jamie Ambrose, a consultant radiologist at London's second-best neurological hospital. They began working together in 1967 — again, under strictest secrecy.
Hounsfield tested his scanner first on a preserved human brain, then on a fresh cow brain. Before he tried it on a real patient, he tested it on himself. He performed his first clinical scan for the purpose of diagnosing an actual patient on this date in 1971. He used a prototype scanner installed at Atkinson Morley's Hospital, an old Victorian building up on a hill in Wimbledon. The first patient was a woman whose doctors suspected she had a brain lesion. The scan was pretty blurry by today's standards, but it revealed what appeared to be a dark, circular cyst. When surgeons eventually opened up the woman's skull, one of them remarked that the tumor looked exactly like the picture. The CT scan had proved its usefulness — especially in the area of brain imaging, where accuracy is of vital importance. The CT was about a hundred times more detailed than a regular X-ray. After the successful trial, doctors at Atkinson Morley's Hospital grew fond of saying, "One CT scan is worth a room full of neurologists."