Read, listen & learn a littleEnglish

Mess Makes You More Creative – Read, listen and learn a little English!

According to Kathleen Vohs, a marketing professor at the University of Minnesota, working in a messy space can boost creativity.  In an experiment, she put 48 people into messy or tidy rooms, and asked them think of new uses for Ping-Pong balls.  The people in both rooms came up with about the same number of ideas, but, the messy room subjects came up with more highly creative ideas; five times more to be precise.  So, do you need to make your workplace messier?  Maybe not!  When interviewed by Inc. Vohs agreed that a messy room may be best for brainstorming, but an orderly setting might be better for a fast meeting where a quick decision is required.

What’s your way to stay creative?


Listen below

Read by Amy Larson (U.S accent)

Study the words

Messy- untidy
Boost- increase
Came up with- invented, thought of
To be precise- exactly
Messier- more untidy
Orderly setting- tidy space

Listen on audioboo (and subscribe to i-tunes podcast) here

Do the takeaway test: Mess Makes You More Creative

Rooftop Vegetables – Read, listen and learn a little English!

Montreal company is showing how cities can feed themselves with rooftop gardens. Lufa Farms, founded in 2009, built the world’s first commercial rooftop greenhouse in 2011. Customers order on-line, the food is harvested in the morning and delivered a few hours later to pick-up points around the city.  So there is no waste.  For $30 a week, customers get a weekly basket of fresh organic food.  As the world population continues to grow, good farmland is rapidly disappearing. Farming on rooftops gives urban residents access to local produce that they would otherwise have imported from hundreds of miles away.

Listen below

Read by Cristina Faita, EASI English (Canadian accent).

Study the words

feed- provide food for
founded- started
harvested- collected, picked from the plants
pick-up points- collection areas
waste- products which have to be thrown away
organic- produced without using harmful chemicals
urban residents- people who live in cities
otherwise- in different circumstances

Listen on audioboo (and subscribe to i-tunes podcast) here

Do the takeaway test: rooftop vegetables

Do Penguins Really Need Sweaters?- Read, listen and learn a little English!

By Gilad Rom from Israel (Chinstrap Penguin) [CC-BY-2.0 ], via Wikimedia Commons

Recently a story began spreading via social media that knitters were needed to make sweaters for penguins hurt in an oil spill.  Soon, some people claimed it was a hoax.  In fact, it seems that the sweaters will not be worn by real penguins, but by toy penguins.  However, these toys will be sold to raise funds for the penguin foundation.  So if you really want to knit a penguin sweater, go ahead — but bear in mind that the cost of shipping it to Australia won’t be cheap.  Alternatively, you might just want to donate some money directly to the Penguin Foundation or even adopt a penguin. 

Listen below

Read by Tina (Australian accent)

Study the words

Spreading- being passed from person to person
Sweaters- pullovers, jumpers
Oil spill- accidental release of oil into the sea
Claimed- said
Hoax- a fraudulent story
To raise funds- to collect money
Go ahead- just do it
Bear in mind- consider
Cheap- inexpensive

Listen on audioboo (and subscribe to i-tunes podcast) here

Do the takeaway test:Do Penguins Really Need Sweaters?

The Battle of the Oranges – Read, listen and learn a little English!

By Giò [CC-BY-2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

The Italian town of Ivrea is preparing 500 tonnes of oranges for its annual Carnival festival.  The oranges aren’t for eating, however, they are for throwing.  In fact, teams of locals will re-create a historic battle between the townsfolk, on foot, and a ruling tyrant and his men, in carts.  The oranges, which are leftovers from the winter crop, are thrown at full force and bruises and other injuries are not uncommon.  Spectators who don’t want to be pelted should wear a red cap at all times.  It’s a colourful, cheerful and deliciously orange-scented event.

Listen below

Read by Michelle (English accent)

Study the words

Throwing- propelling by hand
Battle- fight
Townsfolk- residents of the town
Ruling tyrant- dictator
Leftovers- unused
Crop- harvest
At full force- in a powerful way
Bruises- yellow purple contusions caused by trauma to the body
Injuries- damage to the body
Pelted- hit
At all times- always
Orange-scented- smelling of oranges

Listen on audioboo (and subscribe to i-tunes podcast) here

Do the takeaway test: The Battle of the Oranges

Woman Walks off Pier Because… – Read, listen and learn a little English!

 A tourist from Taiwan had to be rescued after falling off a pier in Melbourne, Australia because she was checking her Facebook page.  The woman, who couldn’t swim, was taken to hospital for a check-up but was unhurt.  Incredibly, she didn’t even lose her phone: she kept hold of it throughout the ordeal.  According to research, accidents like these are on the rise.  The age group most at risk for cell-phone related injuries while walking is adults under 30.  Other incidents include walking in front of moving traffic and falling off bridges.  The senior police Constable in Melbourne warned people to pay more attention when using social media around water.

Do you ever check Facebook while walking?

Listen below

Read by Tina (Australian accent).

Study the words

Rescued- saved
Pier- wooden structure leading to the sea, where boats are secured.
Check-up- medical examination
Unhurt- not injured
Kept hold- did not drop
Ordeal- bad experience
On the rise- increasing
At risk- in danger

Listen on audioboo (and subscribe to i-tunes podcast) here

Do the takeaway test: Woman Walks off Pier Because…

A Coffee, Please! – Read, listen and learn a little English!

1422527_581621235224718_1298662611_n-2If you visit a café and the staff are rude you can choose not to go back, but what happens when it’s the customers who are impolite?  A French Café has decided to reward polite customers and punish rude ones by implementing some unusual coffee price variations.  According to the menu board, ‘a coffee’ costs €7 while ‘a coffee, please’ costs a more affordable €4.50.  Of course, there’s an even cheaper option:  ‘hello, can I have a coffee, please?’ will cost you just €1.40. Sometimes it pays to be polite and if you are in a bad mood you can always choose another café.

Listen below

Read by Sarah Bevis (English accent)

Study the words

Rude- not polite
Reward- give a prize
Punish- discipline (for bad behavior)
Implementing- putting into practice
Affordable- not too expensive
Pays- has a positive result
in a bad mood- feeling unhappy and negative

Listen on audioboo (and subscribe to i-tunes podcast) here

Do the takeaway test: A Coffee, Please

Glasgow Keeps its Cone – Read, listen and learn a little English!

The statue of the Duke of Wellington outside t...

The statue of the Duke of Wellington outside the Glasgow Museum of Modern Art in Glasgow, Scotland, with a traffic cone on his head.  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The people of Glasgow have managed to convince the city council not to kill off a much-loved tradition.  For years, locals have repeatedly placed a traffic cone on the Duke of Wellington’s head  (on a statue of the Duke on his horse). The council complained that it cost £100 a time to have the cone removed and revealed plans to raise the statue to stop people from climbing up.   The people responded by launching a petition, which gathered 10,613 signatures in less than 24 hours.  The petition organizers said ‘The cone on Wellington’s head is an iconic part of Glasgow’s heritage.

Listen below

Read by Claire (English accent).

Read by Annette ( Scottish accent)

Study the words

Kill off- end
Repeatedly- over and over again
Complained- said they were not happy
Raise- lift, make higher
Launch a petition- collect a list of signatures to protest against something
Gathered- collected
Iconic- famous, representative
Heritage- culture

Strange things happen in Glasgow…

Listen on audioboo (and subscribe to i-tunes podcast) here

Do the takeaway test: Glasgow Keeps its Cone

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