Monday, 17 September 2012

Topshop friends Facebook for fashion first


The British high street fashion retailer Topshop is looking to break new ground with its upcoming show at London Fashion Week. The brand - which is part of billionaire Philip Green's retail empire - has been stepping up its expansion into North America recently, and is exploring opportunities in China. Topshop's Chief Marketing Officer Justin Cooke says by livestreaming its catwalk show on its website, its hoping to connect with customers wherever they are.
"We wanted to use this live experience to connect these audiences around the world and we're going to use this show to do that, so we're going to think about every platform, every device." Cooke says what Topshop has planned for its upcoming show will mark a fashion first in more ways than one, and he's giving Reuters TV an exclusive first look. "We are doing the first time ever anyone has ever customized the catwalk, so as key looks come down the runway customers will be able to click and change the colour and order the look they want which is, we think, revolutionary. We've also developed a very innovative piece of technology with Facebook. So when you want to socialize and share your favourite moments from the show you click and the screen flashes a little bit like when you do a screen save on your iPhone and you can share that immediately with your friends without leaving the show experience which we think is really exciting." Tracy Yaverbaun is in charge of European fashion partnerships at Facebook. She says Topshop is going beyond others in the industry have attempted. 
 "Very innovative brands like Burberry have allowed people to buy from catwalk but never really relinquished control to consumers so I think it's actually a pretty big step." And she predicts, the impact of the social tools will be closely watched by many in the fashion industry. 
 Tracy Yaverbaun "most traditional brands would stream their show and wait for editorial to pick up on key looks for the trends of the season. What Topshop are doing is they're allowing their fans and customers to capture the look first and for them to decide what is going to be the next key look for the season and share that with their friends and the people they care about." Topshop is also integrating a live Twitter stream and an iTunes widget on its site, allowing people to see and download the music from the show. Even the time the models take to the runway - Sunday afternoon in London - has been selected for maximum social exposure. 
 "It's the down time. So if you think globally across all of the different continents its the time where you're going to get the highest engagement on a Sunday where people are having they're lazy time online and also don't forget the live experience is one thing but then it flips to on demand and at that point you've got people with all this shareability - I'm imagining about 9PM UK time, I'm hoping it's going to be crazy. Global trending topics and everybody sharing looks from the show with one another - that's the minimum we can ask for and if we sell out of everything within 24 to 48 hours then even better." So the stage is set for a social experiment with a distinctly fashionable flare.

Matt Cowan, Reuter

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Young cannabis smokers run risk of lower IQ, report claims

Young people who smoke cannabis for years run the risk of a significant and irreversible reduction in their IQ, research suggests.

The findings come from a study of around 1,000 people in New Zealand.

An international team found those who started using cannabis below the age of 18 - while their brains were still developing - suffered a drop in IQ.

A UK expert said the research might explain why people who use the drug often seem to under-achieve.

For more than 20 years researchers have followed the lives of a group of people from Dunedin in New Zealand.

They assessed them as children - before any of them had started using cannabis - and then re-interviewed them repeatedly, up to the age of 38.

Having taken into account other factors such as alcohol or tobacco dependency or other drug use, as well the number of years spent in education, they found that those who persistently used cannabis - smoking it at least four times a week year after year through their teens, 20s and, in some cases, their 30s - suffered a decline in their IQ.

The effect was most marked in those who started smoking cannabis as adolescents.

For example, researchers found that individuals who started using cannabis in adolescence and then carried on using it for years showed an average eight-point IQ decline.

Stopping or reducing cannabis use failed to fully restore the lost IQ.

The researchers, writing in the US journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that: "Persistent cannabis use over 20 years was associated with neuropsychological decline, and greater decline was evident for more persistent users."

"Collectively, these findings are consistent with speculation that cannabis use in adolescence, when the brain is undergoing critical development, may have neurotoxic effects."

One member of the team, Prof Terrie Moffitt of King's College London's Institute of Psychiatry, said this study could have a significant impact on our understanding of the dangers posed by cannabis use.

"This work took an amazing scientific effort. We followed almost 1,000 participants, we tested their mental abilities as kids before they ever tried cannabis, and we tested them again 25 years later after some participants became chronic users.

"It is such a special study that I'm fairly confident that cannabis is safe for over-18 brains, but risky for under-18 brains."

Robin Murray, professor of psychiatric research, also at the King's College London Institute of Psychiatry but not involved in the study, said this was an impressive piece of research.

"The Dunedin sample is probably the most intensively studied cohort in the world and therefore the data are very good.

"Although one should never be convinced by a single study, I take the findings very seriously.

"There are a lot of clinical and educational anecdotal reports that cannabis users tend to be less successful in their educational achievement, marriages and occupations.

"It is of course part of folk-lore among young people that some heavy users of cannabis - my daughter calls them stoners - seem to gradually lose their abilities and end up achieving much less than one would have anticipated. This study provides one explanation as to why this might be the case.

"I suspect that the findings are true. If and when they are replicated then it will be very important and public education campaigns should be initiated to let people know the risks."

Prof Val Curran, from the British Association for Psychopharmacology and University College London, said: "What it shows is if you are a really heavy stoner there are going to be consequences, which I think most people would accept.

"This is not occasional or recreation use."

She also cautioned that there may be another explanation, such as depression, which could result in lower IQ and cannabis use.

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Russia calls time on alcohol adverts


Russia may be the home of vodka but its advertising industry is having to sober up. A new law banning alcohol adverts from print and online media comes into force next year. It's an attempt by the Russian Government to curb excessive drinking. Mike Gibson from Ark Connect advertising agency thinks his sector will adapt but the print industry could suffer.
"There's a highly emotional reaction to it, and like everything, it seems like it's not possible anymore, but if you actually, you know, take a deeper look, there's still a lot possible, and for some people it will actually be good for them. But if you're a magazine, I think it won't be so good for you, because you'll lose all of your alcohol print ads." In-store advertising IS still allowed. But TV and radio commercials were stopped last month along with outdoor billboards. Consumer group head Dmitry Yanin says it's a step in the right direction.
 "If the new generation does not see the image of success in beer and vodka, if they see it in some other things, and if hard liquor costs more, then we will stop being the country with the biggest drinking problem in the world." Russia currently drinks double the critical amount according to the World Health Organisation. And one-in-five men die from alcohol related causes. Not everyone's convinced the new measures will have an effect.
"Russian people will drink the way they always have. Nothing's going to happen."
"No, drinking less is not going to happen, people are going to drink more. They'll just start making home-brew instead." Annual price hikes are also part of the Government's battle with booze. The minimum spend for a bottle of vodka is now over 4 dollars.
Ivor Bennett, Reuters

Face2Face Pre-Int - Unit 4 - Quiz Present Perfect or Past Simple

The attraction of solitude

Living alone is on the rise all over the world. Is this bad news?

Aug 25th 2012
from the print edition

THE protagonists of “Sex and the City”, a once-popular American television show about single thirty-somethings in New York, are unlikely role models for Middle Eastern women. The second movie was partially set in Abu Dhabi, but the authorities stopped it from being filmed or even screened there.

Yet the single lifestyle appears to be catching on even in the Gulf. According to the latest statistics from the United Arab Emirates’ Marriage Fund, a government body that provides financial assistance to the affianced, about 60% of women over 30 are unmarried, up from 20% in 1995—a trend that Said al-Kitbi, a government spokesman, calls “very worrying”.

If it is any comfort, the UAE is far from alone. Singledom is on the rise almost everywhere. Euromonitor, a research firm, predicts that the world will add 48m new solo residents by 2020, a jump of 20%. This means that singletons will be the fastest-growing household group in most parts of the world.

The trend is most marked in the rich West, where it has been apparent for some time. Half of America’s adults, for instance, are unmarried, up from 22% in 1950. And nearly 15% live by themselves, up from 4%. But singles are multiplying in emerging economies too—and are changing consumption patterns. In Brazil annual sales of ready-made meals—much favoured by lone-rangers—have more than doubled in the last five years, to $1.2bn; sales of soups have tripled.

Although the phenomenon is global, the factors that drive it vary. Dilma Rousseff, the unattached president of Brazil, leads a country where rapid industrialisation has gone hand in hand with people getting married less and later. In Japan women are refusing to swap their careers for the fetters of matrimony. Even in Islamic Iran, some women are choosing education over marriage.

Three explanations apply in general, however. First, women are often marrying later as their professional opportunities improve. Second, thanks to increased longevity, spouses are outliving their partners for longer than the widows and widowers of yesteryear. And third, changing social attitudes in many countries mean that the payoffs of marriage—financial security, sexual relations, a stable relationship—can now often be found outside the nuptial bed.

The spread of singledom has drawbacks. One-person households have a bigger carbon footprint than joint dwellings and drive up housing costs. Singles tend to have fewer children, increasing the burden on the young to support an ageing population. And single people appear more vulnerable and thus potentially costlier to society than those who have a partner: numerous studies have confirmed the psychological and health benefits of stable romantic unions.

Yet these worries may be overdone. The term “single” lumps all unmarrieds into one basket, making it hard to distinguish between true loners and those who cohabit out of wedlock or live with friends or family. Even those who live alone are not necessarily solitary. “Living alone, being alone and feeling lonely are three different social conditions,” says Eric Klinenberg, a sociologist at New York University and author of a recent book, “Going Solo”.

Far from being loners, Mr Klinenberg argues, singles are more likely to spend time with friends and neighbours, and to volunteer in civic organisations. This explains why singlehood proliferates in places where such networks can crystallise, he says: in many urban centres and in Scandinavia, where strong social safety nets free people to pursue their own goals. By 2020, Euromonitor predicts, almost half of households in Sweden will contain only one person.

Some governments are now trying to stem the tide. The UAE’s Marriage Fund, for instance, has spent almost $16m this year in one-off grants to encourage couples to tie the knot. It also sponsors mass weddings, and publishes a regular information bulletin whose title translates as the Journal of Passion. In America the Obama administration has continued to fund the “Healthy Marriage Initiative”, a programme launched by George W. Bush, to encourage unmarried parents to get hitched, at a cost of $150m a year.

Such efforts may not work, or may even backfire. Recent studies of marriage promotion in America suggest that it is ineffective when directed towards non-white or poor families, for whom financial security seems to have a higher priority than improving intimate relationships.

More broadly, some of the things that make marriages today more unstable—their voluntary nature and women’s higher standards in relationships—also explain why, when marriages work, they are fairer and more intimate than ever before, points out Stephanie Coontz, the author of “Marriage: A History”.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Why more Americans don't travel abroad.

The numbers tell the story: Of the 308 million citizens in the United States, only 30% have passports.

That's just too low for such a rich country, said Bruce Bommarito, executive vice president and chief operating officer for the U.S. Travel Association.

There were 61.5 million trips outside the United States in 2009, down 3% from 2008, according to the Office of Travel and Tourism Industries. About 50% of those trips were to either Mexico or Canada, destinations that didn't require a passport until 2007.

Despite the high number of American passports in circulation, 30% is still low compared to Canada's 60% and the United Kingdom's 75%.

Tourism experts attribute Americans' lack of interest in international travel to a few key factors, including: the United States' own rich cultural and geographic diversity, an American ignorance about international destinations, a work culture that prevents Americans from taking long vacations abroad and the high cost and logistics of going overseas.

"We're not a travel culture," he said. "Countries are travel cultures when they put more of an emphasis on leisure time, and Americans tend to choose money over leisure time."

Even those who do receive a vacation time don't use it all, and those who do seem to take shorter, more frequent trips, Arndt said.

"There are some differences in terms of vacation time that are hugely influential," Byrne said. Workers in Europe receive between six and eight weeks of vacation, while Americans average about 16.6 paid vacation days as of 2005, according to the Families and Work Institute. Thirty-six percent of those surveyed didn't plan to use their full vacation.


Kate Middleton's style reigns


For the third year in a row Kate Middleton tops Vanity Fair's international best dressed list. Known for her effortless style, the Duchess of Cambridge has dazzled in high-end looks and off-the-rack pieces. Although her royal status entitles her to a personal dresser, it is said she has refused the perk, opting to shop for herself. Her classic, yet trendy style is mimicked all over the world, which has caused many royal watchers to dub her influence on fashion as the "Kate effect". Middleton shares her title with her brother-in-law Prince Harry, who makes the list for the first time. The Princess shares the September cover with list newcomer actress Jessica Chastain. Alicia Powell,

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Signs - A short film

Directed by Patrick Hughes in conjunction with Publicis Mojo and RadicalMedia. (Sydney Australia - March, 2008)

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Emerging-market companies are trying to build global brands

Aug 4th 2012

AMERICANS can stop worrying about China’s plans to take over their country. The worst has already happened: on July 25th Lenovo, a Chinese computer firm, announced a deal to sponsor the National Football League.

Lenovo was founded in 1984 by 11 engineers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences. It spent years building its business in China. The company is now the second-largest PC maker in the world and hopes to grab the top spot from Hewlett-Packard soon.

Lenovo is one of several emerging-market firms striving to become global brands. They are no longer content to do the grunt work for Western firms, for two simple reasons: non-branded companies typically earn gross margins of 3-8% and are constantly at risk of being undercut by cheaper rivals. Branded firms enjoy fatter margins (15% or more) and more loyal customers.

Yet becoming a global brand is exceedingly hard. Emerging-market firms must struggle with limited budgets and unlimited prejudice. GfK, a consumer-research company, found that only one-third of Americans were willing even to consider buying an Indian or Chinese car. Only four emerging-market brands make Interbrand’s list of the world’s 100 most valuable: Samsung and Hyundai of South Korea, Mexico’s Corona beer and Taiwan’s HTC.

How can others make the leap? “The New Emerging-Market Multinationals”, a book by Amitava Chattopadhyay, of INSEAD, and Rajeev Batra, of the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, offers some clues.

First, they must exploit their two basic advantages—economies of scale and local knowledge—to expand into new markets. Some have become so dominant in their home markets that they can hardly avoid expanding abroad. Turkey’s Arcelik, for example, controls 50% of the Turkish market for domestic appliances and is now expanding rapidly in Europe. Lenovo gets 42% of its sales from China and has 40 times more stores there than Apple has worldwide. Some firms use their understanding of local markets to expand globally: India’s Marico produces shampoo suited to the highly chlorinated water that flows from Middle Eastern taps. Others move swiftly to exploit opportunities: Turkey’s Evyap established itself as a leading seller of cheap soaps and scents in Russia when the Soviet Union collapsed.

Messrs Chattopadhyay and Batra argue that emerging-market companies need to add three more ingredients to these basics. The first is focus: they should define a market segment in which they have a chance of becoming world-class. Natura Cosm├ęticos, a Brazilian cosmetics-maker, zeroed in on the market for “natural” cosmetics with ingredients extracted from the rainforest. Lenovo focused on computers for corporate clients before expanding into the consumer market. Haier, a Chinese maker of dishwashers and fridges, focuses on consumers that many of its rivals neglect, such as students.

The second ingredient is innovation: firms need new products and processes that generate buzz. HTC produces 15-20 new mobile-phone handsets a year. Natura releases a new product every three working days. Haier keeps producing new ideas such as fridges with locks on them (to keep dormitory mates from snaffling your tofu), compact washing machines (for clothes for pampered Japanese pets) and freezers with compartments that keep ice-cream soft. Ranbaxy, an Indian drug firm, has developed controlled-release systems that allow patients to take only one pill a day instead of several small doses.

The third ingredient is old-fashioned brand-building. Emerging-market bosses must grapple with many traditional branding puzzles. Should they slap the company’s name on the product (as Toyota does) or another name (as Procter & Gamble does with its stable of brands, from Gillette razors to Pampers nappies)? How can they market themselves effectively in multiple countries without busting the budget?

Still, there is little doubt that emerging-world brands are on the rise. HTC is one of the biggest-selling smartphones in America. Huawei, a Chinese firm, has just overtaken Sweden’s Ericsson to become the world’s largest maker of telecommunications equipment. BYD, another Chinese company, produces 85% of the world’s lithium-ion batteries for mobile phones.

Emerging-market firms are evolving in much the same way as Japanese firms did in the 1960s and 1970s, from humble stitchers to master tailors. In 1985 Philip Kotler of Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management observed that Japanese companies had shifted from “injuring the corners” of their Western competitors to attacking them head-on. The same pattern is beginning to repeat itself, but on a much larger scale.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Kindle ebook sales have overtaken Amazon print sales, says book seller

For every 100 hardback and paperback books it sells on its UK site, 114 ebooks are downloaded in 'reading renaissance' has said that sales of its Kindle ebooks are now outstripping its sales of printed books.

Underlining the speed of change in the publishing industry, Amazon said that two years after introducing the Kindle, customers are now buying more ebooks than all hardcovers and paperbacks combined. According to unaudited figures released by the company on Monday, since the start of 2012, for every 100 hardback and paperback book sold on its site, customers downloaded 114 ebooks. Amazon said the figures included sales of printed books which did not have Kindle editions, but excluded free ebooks.

In a surprise move in May, the company went into partnership with the UK's largest bricks-and-mortar books retailer, Waterstones.

Much to the consternation of the publishing industry, Amazon has refused to release audited figures for its digital book sales, something it does for printed books. It told the Guardian that the company would not discuss future policy on the matter.

The company said its figures also showed that British Kindle users were buying four times as many books as they were prior to owning a Kindle, a trend it described as a renaissance of reading.

"As soon as we started selling Kindles it became our bestselling product on so there was a very quick adoption … [And they] are buying four times more books prior to owning a Kindle," an Amazon spokeswoman said. "Generally there seems to be … a love of a reading and a renaissance as a result of Kindle being launched."

Despite revealing that more than half a million Kindle books are priced at £3.99 or less, Amazon said a boost in ebook sales was not just about cheap books and argued that much of its printed range was also sold at a low price.

Studies have shown that not taking vacations is linked to health problems.

More brokers throwing in the towel.

Aug 6 - The number of brokers is shrinking according to a new study- a result of the recent tough times for the brokerage business and a signal of a very different future for the industry.

The baby boomers have been a bust for the brokerage industry- and more and more brokers are calling it quits. The total number of personal financial advisors fell for the third year in a row- down 2.3 percent or 7,000 last year according to Cerulli Associates. Senior Analyst Tyler Cloherty: "Everyone thought all the baby boomers were going to be retiring, there is going to be this big flow of assets that comes out, everyone is going to need advice. People are working longer. Their retirement hasn't been as lucrative." For that- investors have been blaming their advisors- and taking their business elsewhere:  "Coming out of the recession it was very much of a fire the incumbent approach- that whoever I was working with didn't work with me or didn't protect me so whether I was with a Morgan Stanley or a Merrill Lynch or whether I was with a Schwab, I am going to switch because whatever I was doing wasn't working." Back in 2007, the armies of brokers at big firms used to control close to half the market in terms of client assets. But their market share has been shrinking- and Cerulli Associates projects it will be down to 34 percent by 2014. A lot of that money is going to Registered Investment Advisors, who offer a more holistic approach to wealth management. Client assets there surged 14 percent last year. "They look at financial planning, estate planning and try to look at the life financial plan rather than just asset appreciation; looking at your market returns. I think coming out of the recession people are no longer as drawn to the big brand names as they were in the past." The ranks of RIA's are projected to rise 5 percent a year through 2016- more proof investors are more willing to buy advice than pay for commissions.
Bobbi Rebell, Reuters.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Grads turn to video to land first job

The U.S. job market is not getting better, as indicated by weak payroll gains in April, not a good sign for the thousands of graduating college students looking for their first jobs. One company, Readyforce, helps college students get a leg up in the job search with video interviews...and it's had some success.

Foreign languages and thinking

May 8th 2012

Many people report feeling like different people when they speak a foreign language. I've been sceptical of these claims, since many of them seem to line up too neatly with national stereotypes: "I feel warmer and more relaxed in Spanish," "German makes me reason more carefully" and the like. But a new study seems to show that people really do think differently in a foreign language—any foreign language. Namely, people are less likely to fall into common cognitive traps when tested in a language other than their mother tongue. The study is “The Foreign-Language Effect: Thinking in a Foreign Tongue Reduces Decision Biases” by Boaz Keysar, Sayuri L. Hayakawa and Sun Gyu.

Writers like Daniel Kahneman, Richard Thaler, Cass Sunstein, Dan Ariely and others have written extensively about our propensity for flawed reasoning. Mr Kahneman, in particular, has focused on loss aversion: people's willingness to take irrational risks (mathematically speaking) in order to avoid suffering a loss. But this effect, it seems, disappears when subjects are tested in a foreign language. One group of native English-speakers who also spoke Japanese was divided into two. One half was given a version of Mr Kahneman's loss-aversion game in their native language (English). The second was given the same test in their foreign language (Japanese). The tendency to take risky, irrational bets to avoid losses nearly disappeared for those tested the foreign language (Japanese). A second test, of Koreans who speak English, found the same thing: the Koreans made more balanced, cautious choices in English.

This fits Mr Kahneman's thinking nicely. He posits two general systems of thinking: System 1, intuitive and quick, good for most purposes, but prone to those pesky cognitive traps; and System 2, deliberative and slow, better at higher reasoning but effortful to activate and keep active. The brain, which minimises effort where it can, leans on System 1 wherever possible. But modern life presents many problems better suited to System 2.

The hypothesis behind the "foreign-language effect" is that speaking the foreign language activates System 2 in advance of tackling the tricky questions. This would not have been obvious from the outset, though. Another possible result might have been that using the foreign language tires the brain, and that this fatigue might make people more, not less, prone to mistakes. Mr Kahneman, after all, describes "ego depletion" leading to bad choices in other studies. But in this study, the effect of priming System 2 appears to have been stronger than any fatigue effect.

Yet more reason to learn a foreign language, dear readers. Yet an irony emerges: if the hypothesis is correct, the better cognition should only obtain when people are using their foreign language with some effort. If you become so fluent that you are nearly a balanced bilingual, would the effect disappear? More research awaits, but Johnson certainly hopes that this result won't discourage anyone from polishing up their foreign languages.

People's introspection on their own thinking and language-use is often unreliable. Nonetheless, this study seems to indicate that there's something there. So a question: do you think differently when using different languages? And if so, how?

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Global Teen - Unit 5 - Ask Zac Efron.

You are going to interview Zac Efron for the school newspaper.

Ask Zac his full name.
Ask him his age.
Ask him where he was born.
Ask him his parents' names.
Ask him if his father is a doctor.
Ask him what his father does.
Ask him if he has brothers or sisters.
Ask him his brother's age.
Ask him if his brother is an actor, too.
Ask Zac's date of birth.
Ask him if he can drive.
Ask him if he would like to visit Brazil.
Ask him if his girlfriend lives in Los Angeles.
Ask politely if you can ask him a personal question.
Ask him if he could sing when he was a kid.
Ask him if he is shy.
Ask him if he was shy when he was a little kid.
Ask him his best friend's name.
Ask him if his best friend liked High School Musical.
Ask him when he met his best friend.
Ask him what young actors should do to be famous in Hollywood.
Ask him if he had a dream when he was younger.
Ask him what his mother thought when he decided to be an actor.
Invite Zac to visit your country.
Ask him when he came to your country.
Ask him how often he travels abroad a year.
Ask him how often his girlfriend calls him a day.
Ask Zac what book he is reading.
Ask Zac what his hobbies are.
Ask Zac how he will celebrate if The USA team wins the football world cup.
Ask Zac where he will spend his honeymoon if he marries his girlfriend.

Face2Face Int to Upper Int - Telling a story.

Background: Struck - A Short Film

On his way to work one day, Joel (Bodhi Elfman) is struck by an arrow. But it doesnt harm him. And it won't come out. So Joel has to learn to deal both with the arrow and his own painful loneliness. He tries to go to work, to date women, but no one seems ready to accept his problem. Little does he know, his life is about to change forever...

Tell the story using your own words.

Face2Face Int to Upper Int - NARRATE A STORY.

Tell the story as you watch the film.

The plan.


1) What was the plan?
2) Why do you think Mitch left Claudia?
3) What impression did you have of Eve? What does she have in common with Mitch?
4) Why do you think Claudia kept calling Mitch?
5) Why did Eve write on the back of the picture, "Now, we're even!"?
6) How do we know Eve liked Mitch?

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Global Teen - Unit 5 - Dictogloss

Reading: The best of me - by Nicholas Sparks - Upper Int to Advanced

The Best of Me

 “Everyone wanted to believe that endless love was possible. She’d believed in it once, too, back when she was eighteen.”

In the spring of 1984, high school students Amanda Collier and Dawson Cole fell deeply, irrevocably in love. Though they were from opposite sides of the tracks, their love for one another seemed to defy the realities of life in the small town of Oriental, North Carolina. But as the summer of their senior year came to a close, unforeseen events would tear the young couple apart, setting them on radically divergent paths.
Now, twenty-five years later, Amanda and Dawson are summoned back to Oriental for the funeral of Tuck Hostetler, the mentor who once gave shelter to their high school romance. Neither has lived the life they imagined . . . and neither can forget the passionate first love that forever changed their lives. As Amanda and Dawson carry out the instructions Tuck left behind for them, they realize that everything they thought they knew—about Tuck, about themselves, and about the dreams they held dear—was not as it seemed. Forced to confront painful memories, the two former lovers will discover undeniable truths about the choices they have made. And in the course of a single, weekend, they will ask of the living, and the dead: Can love truly rewrite the past?

Optimism helps the heart.

Global English - Unit 3

Past Continuous Tense, Describing Past Activities.

There was a blackout last night.
What were you doing when the lights went out?

McDonald's profits on value meals

McDonald's serves up hamburgers, Parisian style, in a McBaguette at restaurants in France - as it adds regional cuisine to its core menu. It's a strategy that seems to be paying off, particularly in hard-hit Europe, its top revenue market. 
 "You are seeing some macroeconomic measures and austerity measures impact results in Europe and other markets as well, but at the same time I think McDonald's, given that they have so many structural advantages between lowest cost from suppliers a wide advertising budget, I think the resiliency in the numbers here is really the story here and I would expect that to continue. I think McDonald's is positioned to thrive in just about any macroeconomic environment." McDonald's, the world's biggest hamburger chain, reported higher quarterly profit, thanks to the growing popularity of its low-priced value menu around the world, restaurant makeovers, and expanded hours at established restaurants in the U.S. and Europe, where it continued to outpace rivals Burger King and Wendy's.
"The company is firing on all cylinders at this point the only criticism would probably be that they have been a little bit slow to address the China market where they are a clear number two competitor to YUM brands but I think we are starting to see a solid game plan." This summer marks a significant change for the company when CEO Jim Skinner retires. He'll be replaced by COO Don Thompson, considered the mastermind behind recent product successes and this summer's new offerings.
 "They've got a couple of premium products on the menu too that will do very well on the slate later for this summer you know English pub burgers being one of the them, couple other beverage extensions." McDonald's forecasts a 4 percent rise in global established restaurant sales in April. Just a taste of what many analysts expect to see under the new CEO's leadership.
Jill Bennett, Reuters

Friday, 20 April 2012

Employees prepared to work longer for less.

Survey shows that one in five works longer hours since the onset of the recession, while 16% have seen their salary reduced.

UK employees are increasingly accepting the business argument that they should work longer hours and accept pay freezes or even cuts in the aftermath of the recession, a survey of workers' attitudes for the Guardian suggests.

The poll of 5,002 working adults reveals that one in five work longer hours since the onset of the recession, with 16% saying their annual salary has been reduced.

Pessimism was revealed about the likely pace of economic recovery, with almost a quarter saying they did not expect to receive a pay rise in the next three years despite soaring consumer inflation. Only one in 10 said they expected a promotion at work during the next 12 months.

Yet far from feeling embittered or disengaged, 72% said they were happy in their jobs and only 27% considered it unlikely they would still be working for their current employer in five years' time. The survey also highlights the financial pressures faced by many workers. One in three respondents said they thought they could only survive for a month or less without their salary, with half saying their savings would last a maximum of three months.

Attitudes towards retirement were also revealing. Two-thirds said they expected to retire by the age of 65, yet less than half that proportion feel they have made adequate financial provision for old age. Recent research from Scottish Widows claimed UK workers need to save an extra £58 a month on average to prepare adequately for retirement.

The trend towards acceptance of austerity measures in the workplace comes despite a recent analysis by the High Pay Commission showing how executive salaries were once again rising fast and that the pay gap between rich and poor was spiralling out of control. A separate survey, also conducted by ICM, revealed that 72% of the public thought high pay makes Britain a grossly unequal place to live.

"Average pay growth was slowing before the recession, wages took a real hit during the recession, and we're now seeing very slow wage growth coupled with high consumer inflation," said Nicola Smith, chief economist with the TUC. "There are real issues of fairness at a point when workers are facing the greatest squeeze in living standards for decades."

Is 35 really the best age to be?

A survey claims that by 35 people have reached certain milestones but have good years ahead of them.

What's the best age to be? Carefree 16 or a young-enough-to-have-fun but old-enough-to-leave-home 21? Or maybe a wise 65? No – it's 35, according to research by insurer Aviva.

It asked more than 2,000 adults from across the age ranges what they thought the best age was to be, and the average came out as 35. By 35, those questioned said they expected people to have reached milestones like buying a house, finding a partner and having a first child, but have several years to go before reaching the peak of their career at age 39. According to the same survey, 35 is also an age when you can be at or around the peak of your earnings. When Aviva asked people about their household income it found that those aged 25-34 had most coming in, earning an average of £27,444 a year.

However, these groups said they needed the most extra money to feel financially secure. Among 25-34-year-olds an extra £627 a month was considered necessary to feel comfortable; while 35-44-year-olds felt they would like an extra £596 to live on. Among the over-65s the figure was just £23 a month.

In 2010, research by relationship counselling group Relate suggested 35 was the beginning of the misery years for some, with work and relationship pressures taking their toll on many.

So how about you? Has 35 been a golden age or do you look forward to reaching it? Or do you look back with a shudder and feel glad the 30s are behind you?

A beautiful day for record stores.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

"Did you know?"

Dealing with love in the workplace.

38% of workers say they have dated a co-worker at least once. Alison Kosik tells you how to avoid compromising your job.

A lesson from Germany.

Key Vocabulary:

on the outskirts
sleepy town
to avoid
niche market
at the cutting edge
to outsource
vocational training
one of a kind

Global Teen - Unit 4 - Dictogloss

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Good news for US economy.

TRANSCRIPT: Retailers got a pleasant surprise from the American consumer in March. Total retail sales rose 0.8 percent last month, which far exceeded economists forecasts, and that follows up a slightly downwardly revised 1.0 percent gain in February. The rise defied expectations of a slowdown in spending caused by higher gasoline prices. Some economists note those higher gasoline costs were offset by lower home-heating bills due to unusually warmer temperatures. A stronger consumer is a positive indicator of economic growth, which gets two-thirds of its strength from shopping activity. Therefore, economists are fine-tuning expectations as the data suggest the economy may not have slowed down as much as feared in the opening months of the year.


1) What was the pleasant surprise mentioned in the report?
2) What does this suggest, "which far exceeded economists forecasts" ?
3) Why did economists expect a slowdown in spending?
4) Why were unusually warmer temperatures good news for the economy?
5) Why is a strong consumer a positive indicator of economic growth?
6) What does the last sentence suggest?

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Market Leader - Upper Int - Unit 6

Face2Face Upper Int Unit 2 - Get used to

"get used to" indicates that you have adapted or become accustomed to something you may or may not like. At first you don't like something, then you "get used to it."

Video - New York City - 10 Things You Need To Know

Video - Dinner for two.

Video - About London

Friday, 13 April 2012

Super foods.

Reporter Mary Ellen Hopkins tells us how eating smart can help us lose weight and fight disease.

Havaianas flip-flops

Global Teen - Lisa in London - Beginner Level

Global Teen - Unit 3 - Reading: Lisa in London

Where is Lisa from?

What is Lisa’s last name?

Where is she going to study English?

How long is she going to stay in London?

Where is she going to stay in London?

When she arrives in London, does she know which school she is going to study?

Who gives her a tip about a good school in London?

What is the name of the school?

Where is the school?

Why does the secretary of the school say, “Sit down. Michael is coming.”?

Who is Michael?

Why did Michael confuse the school with the studio?

Who is Miranda?

Who is Mr. Craig?

Why does Mr. Craig want a model?

Why doesn’t Mr. Craig accept Miranda as the model?

What color is Lisa’s hair?

Why did Mr. Craig like Lisa so much?

How does Michael try to convince Lisa to be a model?

What would Lisa like to be after studying English in London?

Who helps Michael to convince Lisa?

Why was it safe to take the photos near many lions?

How long does Michael need to take all the photos for Hairspray?

What two gifts does Michael take to Lisa to convince her?

What idea did Michael have to finally convince Lisa?

Why is Hong Kong mentioned in the story?

When does Michael tell Lisa that he loves her?

Why can’t Lisa stay in London with Michael?

What two facts were important for Lisa to accept that she can be a model?

What was the end of the story?

The lucky one - Face2Face Upper Intermediate


When U.S. Marine Logan Thibault finds a photograph of a smiling young woman during his third tour of duty in Iraq, his first instinct is to toss it aside. Instead, he brings it back to the base for someone to claim, but when no one does, he finds himself always carrying the photo in his pocket. Soon Thibault experiences a sudden streak of luck—winning poker games and even surviving deadly combat that kills two of his closest buddies. Only his best friend, Victor, seems to have an explanation for his good fortune: the photograph—his lucky charm.

Back home in Colorado, Thibault can’t seem to get the photo—and the woman in it—out of his mind. Believing that she somehow holds the key to his destiny, he sets out on a journey across the country to find her, never expecting the strong but vulnerable woman he encounters in Hampton, North Carolina—Elizabeth, a divorced mother with a young son—to be the girl he’s been waiting his whole life to meet.

Thibault keeps the story of the photo, and his luck, a secret. As he and Elizabeth embark upon a passionate and all-consuming love affair, the secret he is keeping will soon threaten to tear them apart—destroying not only their love, but also their lives.

Filled with tender romance and terrific suspense, The Lucky One is Nicholas Sparks at his best—an unforgettable story about the surprising paths our lives often take and the power of fate to guide us to true and everlasting love.

Watch the trailer of the film based on the novel.

Discussion Questions

1. After Thibault finds the photo of a girl wearing a shirt that says lucky lady across the front, his best friend Victor convinces him that the photo is his lucky charm. Do you believe in lucky charms? Do you think the photo is Thibault’s lucky charm, or is his good luck just a coincidence?

2. Do you find it strange that Thibault walked across the country to find the girl in the photograph, a woman he knew next to nothing about? Why is Thibault so determined to find this woman?

3. Thinking about how difficult marriage is, Beth remembers her grandmother’s saying: “Stick two different people with two different sets of expectations under one roof and it ain’t always going to be shrimp and grits on Easter.” Do you agree? Do you think marriage is worth the hardship that often accompanies it?

4. Compare the main male characters in the novel - Thibault, Clayton and Drake. How are they different and how are they similar?

5. Thibault, we learn, was a soldier in the Iraq war, but when we meet him he looks and acts nothing like a soldier. How has the war affected Thibault and in what ways are his actions in this novel determined by his time spent in Iraq?

6. Victor seems to think that Thibault is in love with Beth even before he’s met her. Do you think it is true that Thibault fell in love with Beth before he ever met her?

7. Beth is somewhat guarded and she doesn’t allow herself to fall in love with Thibault easily. What, besides her past romantic failures, makes her initially afraid of Thibault?

8. What role does Nana play in bringing Thibault and Beth together?

9. Why doesn’t Thibault reveal the truth about himself to Beth earlier? Do you think he acted dishonestly and do you think Beth is right to be upset when he finally tells her the truth? Should she have forgiven him?

10. Do you think Thibault and Beth are destined to be together? Do you believe in fate?

11. What do you make of Clayton? Do you dislike him? Do you understand why he behaves the way he does? Is he a good father to Ben? Does your own opinion of him change by the end of the book?

12. What role does Zeus play in this story?

13. Describe Ben and Thibault’s relationship. How does Ben change as he and Thibault become close?

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