Des roses pour célébrer la centième Journée de la femme

Des roses pour célébrer la centième Journée de la femme

Mardi 8 mars, c'était la Journée Internationale de la Femme. Une journée consacrée aux femmes du monde entier, pour rendre hommage à leur lutte, à leur talent et à leur travail, mais aussi pour ne pas oublier que l’égalité entre l’homme et la femme est encore loin. En 2010, au Parlement européen de Strasbourg, pour célébrer les cent ans de cette journée, une rose a été posée sur les sièges occupés par une femme députée.


Depuis la première Journée de la femme en 1910, le destin des femmes dans le monde a beaucoup évolué. Mais l'égalité avec les hommes est encore bien loin, et cent ans plus tard, ce 8 mars 2011 est l'occasion de faire un bilan sur la condition des femmes dans le monde et sur l’égalité des sexes.
En France, le droit des femmes a évolué tout au long du XXe siècle : elles ont obtenu le droit de vote en 1945 et il y a de plus en plus de femmes en politique et dans la direction des grandes entreprises. Malheureusement, ces avances ne se sont pas faites naturellement : pour parvenir à la parité entre hommes et femmes en politique et à l'égalité des salaires, des lois spécifiques ont été nécessaires.
Malgré ces avancées, des inégalités persistent dans la France de 2011. Les femmes sont toujours responsables de la majorité des tâches ménagères. Elles occupent généralement des postes moins bien payés que les hommes. Et pour un même travail, elles touchent un salaire inférieur à celui des hommes.
La situation de la femme dans le monde est pire encore. On calcule qu’une femme sur deux est victime de mauvais traitements.
Chaque année, la journée internationale de la femme est l’occasion d’une analyse particulière. En 2011, le thème central était la situation des femmes déplacées dans les zones en conflit, qui sont fréquemment victimes de violences sexuelles, de discrimination et d’intimidations.

White House goes green with solar panels

Solar panels will be installed on the White House roof a quarter of a century after they were removed by President Ronald Reagan.

White House goes green with solar panels
A mix of different panels will be fitted in spring 2011 to generate both hot water and renewable electricity.
The move will come as a surprise to many green campaigners after the White House apparently rejected a recent request by environmentalists to install the technology.
It will be the first time since 1986 that solar panels have sat on the White House, since Reagan removed a system installed by his predecessor Jimmy Carter. In 1979 Carter held a conference on the roof, showing off the 32 panels and his desire to reduce the US’s dependence on oil.
The return of solar at the White House follows other symbolic green efforts since Obama took power, including Michelle Obama’s creation of an organic vegetable garden in the White House grounds last year.
Green campaigners have been pressing the president to reinstate solar at the White House. They have been driving around the US in a biodiesel-powered van with one of the original panels installed by Carter.
The campaigners visited the White House in September and made a symbolic demand for the old panel to be reinstalled on the roof. But the request was rejected and no plans for future solar panels were given.
Bill McKibben, who led the campaign, welcomed Obama’s decision to fit new panels: “Solar panels on one house, even this house, won’t save the climate, of course. But they’re a powerful symbol to the whole nation about where the future lies.”
To mark last month’s 10/10/10 day of mass participation climate events around the world, the president of the Maldives also decided to use solar energy. Mohamed Nasheed, whose low-lying island country is at risk from rising sea levels caused by global warming, has installed 50 panels on his presidential home.
Original article by Adam Vaughan, rewritten by Janet Hardy-Gould. guardian.co.uk/weekly/

My best holiday

My best holiday- Russia
I've just come back from a school trip to Russia. It was for students who are studying art or history. The day before we left I was very nervous about going to a country with a culture so different from my own.
We arrived in Moscow at lunchtime. That afternoon we went to Red Square and the Kremlin. It really brought my history lessons alive. Over the next two days we saw a lot of squares and churches. At the end of the third day we took an overnight train to St Petersburg. I only slept for about half an hour because it was really hot. We tried to open the windows, but we couldn't. The next morning we discovered that we had passed an enormous nuclear power plant and the guards had closed all the doors and windows for security reasons!
St Petersburg was even more impressive than Moscow. In the morning we visited some beautiful squares and churches and after lunch we went to the amazing Hermitage Museum. The next day, our last day, in the morning there was snow everywhere and the sky was blue. I think it was the most beautiful sight I’ve ever seen. We all had a snowball fight in a park – it was brilliant fun.
I loved the trip because I saw some brilliant sights, I discovered a new culture and now I feel closer than before to my classmates.

La Gaule, 2 millions de sangliers !

La Gaule, 2 millions de sangliers !
Dans de nombreux départements, le nombre de sangliers a littéralement explosé. Jamais la France n’en avait connu autant, plus de 2 millions soit près de quatre fois la somme des prélèvements annuels effectués par les chasseurs (550.000 en 2010-2011 et 522.000 en 2011-2012). Un phénomène qui ne touche plus seulement le monde rural, mais qui s'étend aux grandes agglomérations. D'où des incursions de plus en plus fréquentes de ces animaux dans les parcs, les jardins et même... des magasins. Plus préoccupant encore, ils sont à l'origine de plus de 60 % des quelque 40.000 accidents de la route. Leurs dégâts annuels se chiffrent à plus de 50 millions d'euros. Au point que, depuis 2009, un «plan national de maîtrise du sanglier» a été mis en place pour permettre aux préfets d'organiser des battues administratives et de réguler la prolifération des sangliers.
D’innombrables photos de sangliers font le bonheur de la presse cynégétique mais cependant pour les chasseurs, l'addition est salée. En 2011, ils ont ainsi dû acquitter la somme colossale de 50 millions d'euros, dont 38 millions versés directement aux agriculteurs, pour rembourser les dégâts dans les cultures imputables au grand gibier et plus particulièrement au sanglier. «Mais ce système de remboursement, décidé il y a plus de quarante ans, est-il toujours justifié et d'actualité? se demande le directeur de la rédaction de Plaisirs de la chasse. En effet, de récentes dispositions réglementaires libéralisent la «destruction» des sangliers, en cas de surpopulation, sans faire appel aux chasseurs. Pourquoi donc les chasseurs devraient-ils continuer à payer?»
D’après Cyril Hofstein . Novembre 2012.

Plus on a d’amis sur Facebook, plus on est stressé

Plus on a d’amis sur Facebook, plus on est stressé
Une étude universitaire montre que les personnes populaires sur le réseau Facebook sont aussi plus anxieuses, car elles doivent gérer leur image auprès de publics très divers. La plupart des étudiants voient le nombre d’amis sur le réseau comme un indice de popularité. Mais cette étude explique que plus on a d’amis plus on ressent du stress.
En multipliant les contacts, on multiplie aussi les horizons auxquels les amis appartiennent. En moyenne, un utilisateur aurait ainsi sept groupes d’amis différents. C’est dans cette diversité que l’anxiété naît. Le stress augmente lorsque les utilisateurs présentent une version d’eux-mêmes inacceptable comme poster des messages insultants ou des photos les montrant en train de boire ou de fumer. De plus avec l’arrivée des parents qui suivraient aujourd’hui l’activité de leur enfant sur le réseau cela se complique. La moitié des employeurs interrogés dans l’étude déclarent avoir déjà renoncé à une embauche de quelqu’un après avoir consulté son profil sur Facebook.
Avant, Facebook était comme une discothèque où les jeunes dansaient, buvaient et flirtaient avec leurs amis. Puis le père, la mère, l’employeur ont débarqué. De sorte que le réseau peut devenir un terrain miné où le moindre faux pas coûte cher socialement.
Une solution simple existe pourtant pour éviter ces situations gênantes. Une solution qui a pour nom «paramètres de confidentialité». Un site américain permet effectivement à ses membres de regrouper les amis par groupe et de choisir quels contenus seront rendus visibles aux différents groupes. Ces quelques minutes d’efforts peuvent épargner les affres du stress!
D’après Quentin Blanc. Décembre 2012.

Ces photos d’ados qui finissent sur des sites porno

Ces photos d’ados qui finissent sur des sites porno
Pour être sûr de ne pas vous découvrir sur un site porno, il n'y a qu'une seule solution: refuser d'apparaître dans des photos sexuellement explicites. C'est ce qui ressort de l'étude menée par la fondation Internet Watch.
88% des contenus sexuellement explicites postés par des jeunes sur Internet, en particulier sur les réseaux sociaux, finissent par être récupérés par des sites pornographiques. En toute illégalité bien sûr. Malgré les avertissements répétés de leurs parents, de nombreux jeunes, continuent de se prendre en photo à moitié dénudés. Un phénomène qui touche principalement les filles. Une fois qu'une image a été récupérée par un site pornographique “parasite”, il est trop tard. Même en la retirant du compte Facebook ou du blog, cela ne changera rien.
Les conséquences sont désastreuses sur la santé mentale de ces jeunes. «Je regrettais d'avoir été naïve pour poster des photos de moi sur Internet et j'essayais de l'oublier. Mais des garçons de mon école ont découvert les images et j'ai été harcelée de remarques… J'ai dû être hospitalisée pour une dépression et une tentative de suicide… », témoigne une jeune fille dans l'étude.
La résolution du problème passe par l'éducation. La seule façon d'endiguer ce phénomène est d'y sensibiliser les jeunes, explique un responsable de Childnet visant à protéger les jeunes sur Internet. «Nous avons développé des ressources concrètes, comme des jeux de rôle, afin d'aider les professeurs à entamer un dialogue avec les plus jeunes. Pour les aider à réfléchir aux conséquences de ce qui leur semble souvent de banals jeux érotiques. Or ces images indécentes restent sur Internet ».
D’après Quentin Blanc. Octobre 2012.

L’ex-millionnaire est un smicard heureux

L’ex-millionnaire est un smicard heureux
(c) Le Figaro Internet
Un homme d'affaires a renoncé à sa fortune pour vivre avec 1000 euros par mois dans une cabane. Il habitait une luxueuse villa dans les montagnes autrichiennes. Un voyage en Amérique du Sud lui a ouvert les yeux : «J'ai réalisé que la plupart des gens pauvres qui vivent là-bas sont plus heureux que l'Européen moyen ». L'homme d'affaires prend une décision radicale : il choisit de vendre toutes ses possessions. Il imagine une méthode originale. Au lieu de mettre sa maison en vente, il organise une loterie et 22.000 personnes achètent un billet à 99 euros dans l'espoir de remporter la maison. Les 2,2 millions d'euros récoltés vont rejoindre la fortune gagnée grâce à la vente de son entreprise dans un fond caritatif consacré aux microcrédits dans les pays en développement. Depuis un an, l'ex-millionnaire vit dans une maison de bois. Sa vie lui semble désormais idyllique. « Le matin je me réveille quand mon corps se réveille. Parfois j'écris pendant dix heures d'affilée, parfois je pars simplement marcher en montagne. » Maintenant ses relations avec les gens sont plus faciles: « Avant les gens que je rencontrais me prenaient pour une tirelire. Désormais, quand quelqu'un s'intéresse à moi, ce n'est plus à cause de l'argent » . De sa maison et de sa vie passée, il n'a rien emporté. La seule chose qu'il regrette, c'est le temps. « Pendant vingt ans j'ai senti que je menais une vie qui ne me convenait pas». Il ne veut rien changer à son nouveau bonheur : « Les possessions matérielles ne représentent rien. Je suis plus heureux aujourd'hui, parce que je vis enfin comme j'aurais toujours dû vivre. »

The decline of children's right to roam

Just one in four primary school pupils are allowed to walk home alone


Free Range Kids: The decline of children's right to roam
Primary school children in England have lost much of their freedom to get about without adult supervision over the last four decades, according to a report published today. British children also have far less time to get about alone when compared to German children of the same age.
Ben Watson, research fellow at the Institute, and one of the authors of the report, said: "Independent mobility has been shown to be good for children's wellbeing and development. The experience from Germany shows that this drop is not an inevitable result of modern life. If we care about the future health of our children, action should be taken to enable them to regain the right to a safe outdoor environment without the need for adult supervision."
Campaigning group Sustrans has recently launched a campaign for 'Free Range Kids' to make it easier for children to travel independently, play outdoors and explore their local community, and have the skills and opportunities to do so safely. Chief executive Malcolm Shepherd said: "Parents don't feel that their local streets are safe. We urgently need to make our communities safer if we are to get kids active by walking and cycling to school and playing outdoors. Parents want to see safer streets."
Children were asked whether they were allowed to cross main roads alone, use buses and bicycles without an adult, come home from school alone, travel to other places on their own or with friends, and to go out after dark alone.
Adapted from The Daily Telegraph January 2013

Headmaster who banned mobile phones makes the right call

Headmaster who banned mobile phones makes the right call
Academic standards at Burnage Media Arts College have soared since pupils were forbidden to use mobile phones. The world, for these youngsters, began not with basic mobiles but with the BlackBerry and the touchscreen. In their lives, face-to-face social contact often takes second place to electronic text, Facebook and Skype. Real life like playing football or simply hanging around with one’s friends is not important in comparison with the virtual.
So it came as something of a shock when, in September of last year, the school’s headmaster, Ian Fenn, banned the use of mobiles by pupils on his premises. They can be brought into school but must be switched off at the gate in the morning and not switched on again until leaving time. Many schools allow the use of phones during break times, but pupils at Burnage who are caught using one must surrender it immediately or face exclusion. Confiscated devices can be recovered only by a parent or other responsible adult.
It seems to have worked in terms of lessening disruption in class, improving learning and reducing cyber bullying. Children are playing football at playtime again and rediscovering face-to-face contact.
Has Mr. F nn considered banning phones altogether at Burnage, given that children once managed perfectly well without them? “They are an extremely effective means of contacting home if someone is stranded or has missed the bus,” he concedes.
Adapted from The Daily Telegraph December 2012

Les baleines pressentent les tsunamis

Les baleines pressentent les tsunamis
Alors qu'il observait avec son équipe un groupe de cétacés au large du Sri Lanka, le photographe britannique Andrew Sutton est resté perplexe lorsque les mammifères ont soudainement disparu de son champ de vision. De la baleine bleue au plus petit des dauphins, tous ont fui au moment même où une alerte au tsunami était lancée sur les côtes. Contrairement à leurs observateurs, les cétacés auraient perçu les secousses sismiques sous-marines avant de disparaître.
Les baleines seraient-elles capables de détecter l'arrivée d'un séisme avant l'homme et ses capteurs? L'attitude de ces mammifères marins lors de récents séismes tend à confirmer cette théorie. Un grand nombre de cétacés se sont échoués sur les côtes japonaises et néo-zélandaises l'an passé, peu de temps avant qu'un tremblement de terre ne touche la région. Pourtant, le spécialiste des cétacés Michel André, du laboratoire d'applications bioacoustiques de l'université polytechnique de Catalogne, est sceptique. Pour ce chercheur, le phénomène dont a été témoin l'équipe d'Andrew Sutton n'est pas suffisant pour confirmer les capacités exceptionnelles des gros animaux. Rien ne dit que les animaux ont fui la zone, ils ont peut-être tout simplement échappé à la vigilance des observateurs dit-il.
Son laboratoire est désormais capable de suivre en temps réel l'interaction entre les cétacés et les bruits associés à toute activité humaine ou géologique. Il faudra donc attendre qu'un groupe de cétacés croise une zone touchée par un tsunami pour observer leurs réactions. On sera alors en mesure de déterminer si, à l'avenir, l'homme pourra compter sur les baleines pour anticiper les tsunamis.
D’après Manon Paulic. Novembre 2012

Les addictions sans substance

Les addictions sans substance
Sexe, sport ou jeux vidéos, les addictions sans substance sont connues. Il en est une toutefois, qui était demeurée insoupçonnée, c'est l'addiction au… bronzage. Faire la crêpe au soleil pourrait parfois se transformer en une véritable drogue.
Trois psychiatres français se sont penchés sur les études menées sur ce sujet. Ces travaux montrent une forte
prévalence de l'addiction au bronzage chez les jeunes. Mais comment se manifeste l'addiction au bronzage ? « Une envie irrépressible de s'exposer au rayonnement UV et un sentiment de manque lorsque cette activité ne peut être menée à bien ». Mais surtout, et c'est là le danger pour la santé, la poursuite de cette recherche du bronzage se fait parfois même malgré l'annonce d'un diagnostic de mélanome. Le bronzage procure une euphorie comparable à l'effet de la morphine. Les drogués du bronzage ressentent une sensation d’euphorie, une amélioration de l’humeur et un effet à la fois relaxant et anxiolytique. Pour prévenir ce type de comportement qui entraîne au mieux des coups de soleil mais aussi un vieillissement prématuré de la peau et surtout des mélanomes, il faut intervenir dès l’adolescence. Cependant une information de qualité est insuffisante si l’addiction est déjà installée. Un des fondements de cette information nécessaire est que « les bancs solaires sont en grande partie responsables de l’augmentation des cancers cutanés » selon les trois psychiatres qui s’appuient sur les indications données par la OMS.
Quant à la prise en charge des toxicomanes aux UV, « il n’existe aucune recommandation particulière », concluent les auteurs. Les rayons solaires naturels et artificiels n’ont pas fini de faire des accros.
D’après Yahoo.com Octobre 2011

Les oiseaux marins menacés de famine à cause de la surpêche

Les oiseaux marins menacés de famine à cause de la surpêche
Cela fait une quinzaine d'années que les océanographes tirent la sonnette d'alarme: les pêcheries industrielles attrapent trop de poissons et dévastent les fonds marins. Autrement dit, les pêcheurs scient la branche sur laquelle ils assoient leur activité. Aucune zone des océans n'est épargnée. Si les captures continuent au rythme actuel, les pêcheurs ne ramèneront bientôt plus dans leurs filets que des méduses ou des crevettes. Les conséquences pour l'ensemble du milieu marin sont multiples. Dans de nombreuses régions côtières de l'Atlantique, du Pacifique ou de l'Antarctique, les oiseaux marins n'ont plus assez de nourriture et leurs populations diminuent.
Pour la première fois, une étude scientifique avance un chiffre précis: si, au large des côtes où des oiseaux marins sont installés, il reste moins d'un tiers des poissons par rapport à un maximum théorique, ces derniers ne peuvent plus se reproduire normalement. Si les pêcheurs dépassent ce seuil critique, les effectifs des colonies s'effondrent. Les chercheurs ont examiné en parallèle les résultats des pêches scientifiques réalisées dans sept écosystèmes différents et l'évolution des effectifs de quatorze espèces d'oiseaux marins dans ces mêmes zones, les conclusions sont significatives. Il est temps de taper du poing sur la table car le monde de la pêche ne veut jamais entendre parler des oiseaux marins. Il est très difficile de découvrir des règles générales en écologie mais cette étude en a découvert une : elle montre qu'il faut une gestion écosystémique de la pêche et ça n'a pas de sens de raisonner par rapport à une seule espèce. La conclusion est simple: si on veut protéger les oiseaux de mer, il faudra leur laisser plus de poissons.
D’après Yves Miserey. Le Figaro Internet.

Learning a new foreign language is never easy

Learning a new foreign language is never easy
Learning a new foreign language is never easy. It is a myth that intelligent people are better at learning languages. Most language learning skills, however, are in fact habits, which can be formed through a bit of discipline and self-awareness.
Just as babies learn to produce language by hearing and parroting sounds, language learners need to practise listening in order to learn. This can reinforce learned vocabulary and structures, and help learners see patterns in language. Listening is the communicative skill that is used most in daily life, yet it can be difficult to practise unless you live in a foreign country.
In language learning, attitude can be a key factor in how a student progresses. Linguists studied attitude in language learning in the 1970s in Quebec, Canada. The study found that Anglophones holding prejudices against French Canadians often did poorly in French language learning, even after studying French for years as a mandatory school subject. On the other hand, learners who are keen about the target culture will be more successful in their language studies.
It does not matter how well a person can write in foreign script, conjugate a verb, or finish a vocabulary test. To learn, improve, and truly use the target language, they need to speak. This is the stage when language students can clam up. In cultures where saving face is a strong social value, EFL teachers often complain that students, despite years of studying English, simply will not speak it. They are too afraid of mispronouncing words in a way that would embarrass them.
Adapted from The Daily Telegraph December 2012

La génération Y

C’est quoi la génération Y ? Il s’agit d’un terme sociologique utilisé dans le monde de l’entreprise, pour désigner les personnes nées entre 1980 et 1999. Elle succède à la génération X : 1960 à 1979. La génération Y serait cette catégorie de jeunes salariés des entreprises qui n’hésite pas à bousculer l’ordre établi du monde du travail. Individualistes, peu attachés à l’entreprise, ils viennent au travail en jean-baskets, imposent de nouveaux horaires, surfent toute la journée sur les réseaux sociaux, le tout en… travaillant.
Contrairement à la génération X, la génération Y ne se laisse pas faire. Ces jeunes salariés baignent dans la crise économique et ne croient plus au système actuel. Pour ces férus d’Internet, il n’y a que le résultat qui compte. Très autonomes, ils ont appris avec Internet à apprendre, et communiquer pour mener à bien leurs missions.
Certains prétendent que la génération Y est un mythe, qu’elle n’existe que dans la tête des DRH. C’est peut-être qu’elle a déjà réussi à faire tomber de nombreuses barrières au point de décomplexer la génération X qui commence à adopter les mêmes codes et les mêmes valeurs.
Bien qu’issus de la génération X, les patrons d’entreprises françaises et américaines comme le regretté Steve
Jobs (Apple) ne sont-ils pas les plus fidèles représentants de la génération Y ? Ils ont troqué depuis longtemps le costard-cravate pour le jean-baskets, ont privilégié la créativité et l’autonomie de leurs employés. De plus en plus d’entreprises et de managers suivent leur exemple et parviennent à profiter du formidable potentiel des jeunes salariés DRH.

Spanish schoolboy fakes kidnap to avoid parents' evening

Spanish schoolboy fakes kidnap to avoid parents' evening
Police officer's 11-year-old son, who claimed he was being driven away in the boot of a car, was found hiding in family home. It was both dramatic and creative, but it was also one of the most over-the-top solutions ever invented for avoiding that well-known childhood nightmare, when parents are called in to talk to their teachers.
Early on Monday afternoon the unnamed 11-year-old son of a Spanish police officer stationed in the northwestern town of Xinzo de Limia sent a text message from his mobile phone to tell his father he had been
kidnapped. When his father phoned back, the boy confirmed the worst. He had been snatched off the street as he was putting out the rubbish, he said, and was locked in the boot of a car. He had no idea where his kidnappers were taking him, but knew that the car was a blue Seat.
It was only two hours later that the boy's father noticed the keys to a spare flat owned by the family were missing. The child was soon discovered there and reportedly explained that he had been terrified by the prospect of his parents going to school to speak to his teachers.
"The civil guard attributed the false alarm to a childish prank that had something to do with the boy's situation at school," the local Faro de Vigo newspaper reported. "The child's poor school grades in recent weeks appear to explain a form of behaviour that no one in Xinzo could understand," said the Voz de Galicia newspaper.
Adapted from The Guardian January 2012.

Hollywood’s connections with Nazi Germany

Hollywood’s Connections with Nazi Germany - Ben Urwand
A controversial new book by Harvard scholar Ben Urwand claims that Hollywood movie studios agreed to the demands of the Nazis and even collaborated with them. “The studio executives wanted to preserve business in Germany all through the 1930s,” says the author. “So they invited the Nazi German consul in Los Angeles to their studios and showed him pictures that could be considered potentially offensive to Germany, and they would allow him to make cuts to their pictures.”
The Nazis, according to Urwand, could also prevent movies from being made. He claims a Hollywood film about Hitler was never produced because of Nazi pressure. The film’s original idea came from the great Hollywood screenwriter, Herman Mankiewicz, who also wrote the script for the legendary Citizen Kane – for some, the greatest movie ever made. Mankiewicz had a script about Hitler’s treatment of the Jews. According to Urwand, the Nazi German consul told studio executives that if any studio made this picture, then all of the Hollywood studios would be banned from the German market.
Steven Ross, Professor of History at USC, sees the studios’ alliance with the Nazis as understandable. He claims that studios were primarily business companies and, therefore, although they were run by Jews, they put their business interests before Judaism. “And it all has to be understood in the context of the times,” says historian Thomas Doherty. He observes that in the 1930’s, the Nazis had not become the universal symbol for absolute evil they are today, “so, to condemn producers for negotiating with the Nazis, to my mind, lacks historical perspective.”

Education Mamas

Education Mamas - lunch box
The first day at primary school is an important event in every child’s life. It can cause the new learner excitement, or it can cause fear. But in education-obsessed Japan, mothers of new pupils also suffer from first-day-nerves. Before the opening of the school year, many read books and magazines to find what to wear to the school’s opening ceremony and what to put into their children’s school bags.
On the first day of school, they accompany their six-year-olds to the opening ceremony in the school hall. Speeches by the headmaster focus on the new pupils’ bright futures. They stress the need to start on the right foot by studying hard and being good citizens. From the beginning until they enter university 12 years later, students will go through a series of examinations.
These exams are almost as much of a trauma for the mothers as they are for the students. The Education Mama is a well-established stereotype in Japan. It applies to those women who push their children to get better and better academic results. Seventy-two per cent of Japanese mothers do not work outside their homes so that they can look after their children.
Their husbands are usually absent during the long work day and the disappearance of extended family units has eliminated the grandmother figure from the home. As a result, many mothers feel isolated and unsure where to turn for advice in raising their children and making them excellent students.
The pressure on the Education Mamas doesn’t stop at educational achievements. Even lunch boxes may become a problem. A poorly presented packed lunch can be enough to provoke bullying by classmates and ridicule by other mothers.

The hardest language

Chinese writtingPeople often ask which is the most difficult language to learn, and it is not easy to answer because there are many factors to take into consideration. Regarding first languages, the differences are unimportant, as people learn their mother tongue naturally. So the question of how hard a language is to learn is only relevant when learning a second language. Some people seem to learn languages without any effort, while others find it very difficult. Besides, people learn languages that they need to use professionally much faster than languages that have no direct use in their everyday life.
Many people answer that Chinese is the hardest language to learn, possibly influenced by the thought of learning the Chinese writing system and by the fact that the pronunciation of Chinese appears to be very difficult for many foreign learners. For example, Japanese speakers, who already use Chinese characters in their own language find learning Chinese writing less difficult than speakers of languages using the Roman alphabet. So, generally, people seem to think that languages which are related to our first language are easier because learning a completely different writing system is a huge challenge.

The connected classroom

The connected classroom
Imagine a classroom where everyone uses a smartphone, laptop, tablet, or other device to search the Web, complete assignments, and help each other solve problems. Students use their devices to record presentations and post the video to a blog. When the students go home, they take their devices with them so they can continue working on projects and contact each other or their teacher. The traditional model of education – one teacher instructing students for a set period of time using a narrow set of resources – is no longer how the real world works. But it is the model that persists today in schools, and it is critical that we transform the current state of education.
Unfortunately, mobile devices are perceived as a distraction, and kids are asked to turn them off. But they can dramatically improve student success by providing access to learning resources. In North Carolina, Project K-Nect began as a pilot programme to discover if smartphones could help students who scored poorly in maths. They learned algebra through their smartphones, which were loaded with educational software and had constant Internet activity. Teachers spent less time on direct instruction, and instead encouraged students to talk and learn from each other. Student results exceeded all expectations, and their grades in maths increased 30%. Students in the programme obtained much better results than their classmates who learned algebra via traditional instruction from the same teacher. Student achievement increased in other subjects as well.
With over 6.3 billion connections globally, wireless technology is now the dominant way people access the Internet. So it isn’t difficult to imagine a day when mobile technologies have a presence in every classroom.

Pour la planète, pour vous

Pour la planète, pour vous
« Si vous ne le faites pas pour la planète, faites-le pour vous ». Une nouvelle campagne de lutte contre les déchets a été lancée vendredi par le ministre de l'Écologie. S'adressant à la fois aux particuliers, aux entreprises et aux collectivités, cette campagne, organisée par le ministère et par l'Agence de l'environnement et de la maîtrise de l'énergie, a été annoncée à l'occasion d'un déplacement du ministre à Rouen. Il a souligné l'importance qu'attachait le gouvernement à la gestion/récupération des déchets. Chaque Français produit en moyenne 590 kilos de déchets par an. La nouvelle campagne veut faire prendre conscience que la prévention et la valorisation des déchets ne sont pas seulement nécessaires pour la protection de l'environnement, mais qu'elles peuvent profiter à chacun, notamment aux entreprises. Pour le grand public, la campagne va chercher à faire baisser le gaspillage alimentaire, qui atteint 20 kilos par habitant et par an. Elle va aussi inciter au réemploi, qui permet d'éviter 850.000 tonnes de déchets, en proposant de donner ou de vendre plutôt que de jeter (« Les bons dons font les bons amis »). En termes économiques, le réemploi et la réutilisation ne sont pas à négliger. Le chiffre d'affaires qui en est retiré est estimé à 1,25 milliard d'euros par an. Au niveau des entreprises, il s'agit de les sensibiliser aux avantages économiques représentés par une meilleure gestion des déchets. Selon une enquête, 90 % des PME1 ne connaissaient pas le coût réel de leurs déchets
AFP publié sur Sciences et Avenir (Texte adapté)

Is the crisis causing an exodus?

Is the crisis causing an exodus?What if the crisis exodus caused by the crisis was not quite as massive as we believe? This is the question asked by a recent study from the Elcano Royal Institute. Based on information gathered from the Spanish consulates, the researcher Carmen González Enríquez notes that only two percent of nationals living abroad are Spanish citizens who left because of the crisis. That is just 39.912 people.
But what if the reality were different? This is what Amparo González Ferrer, a sociologist and demographics specialist at the CSIC National Research Council, claims. She says that the number of emigrants who left the country between 2008 and 2012 is close to 700.000.
That Spain is losing population to emigration is unquestionable in the view of data. But how many Spaniards are actually leaving due to the economic situation? There is a debate among the scientific community because of the absence of a statistical mechanism that can quickly and efficiently register the departure of nationals. González Enríquez feels that the concern over emigration is related to the fact that Spanish society “has been exceptionally static over the last few decades”. According to the researcher, staying close to family and friends “has been a priority for the majority”, which would explain the reticence to leave the country. Now, the majority of people leaving are university educated, that is, highly qualified. “For them, being able to go abroad and find a job is the best option.”

Buying properties in Spain

Buying properties in Spain
Gone are the days when banks were happy to grant 30-year mortgages, and an extra bit of cash for furniture. Those conditions meant getting indebted for life. But these days, with the crisis still around, seven out of every home purchases in Spain are paid in full. There is an explanation for this: the rise in foreign buyers, who now represent 17 percent of the total, according to figures from the Public Works Ministry.
Niger Salmon is the general director of Girasol Homes, a property finder based in Wales that sells homes in Florida, Spain and Portugal. Their clients, he says, are mostly retired people who have been waiting for prices to go down during the last few years, hoping they could finally afford an apartment by the sea. Girasol Homes has listings in the Valencia Region, Murcia and Andalucia for as little as 50.000 euro. Buyers are mostly British, Dutch, Belgian, French and Russian. These have recently been joined by Algerians, because of the good sea and air connections between Alicante and Oran. “They are mid-to high-class citizens in the liberal professions”, says Brigitte Castaño, a realtor at ReMax in Alicante.
Notary statistics show that it is precisely these coastal areas that have been attracting most of the foreign capital. “Although transactions fell again in the first few months of 2013, there are provinces such as Alicante, Murcia, Tarragona and Almeria where sales have picked up”, says Luis Montes, director general of Grupo Banco Sabadell.

Scientific agreement over global warming

Scientific agreement over global warming
The overwhelming consensus among climate scientists is that human-caused climate change is happening. Yet a fringe minority of our populace clings to an irrational rejection of well-established science. This virulent strain of anti-science infects the halls of Congress, the pages of leading newspapers and what we see on TV, leading to the appearance of a debate where none should exist.
In fact, there is broad agreement among climate scientists not only that climate change is real (a survey and a review of the scientific literature published say about 97 percent agree), but that we must respond to the dangers of a warming planet. If one is looking for real differences among mainstream scientists, they can be found on two fronts: the precise implications of those higher temperatures, and which technologies and policies offer the best solution to reducing, on a global scale, the emission of greenhouse gases.
For example, should we go full-bore on nuclear power? Invest in and deploy renewable energy — wind, solar and geothermal — on a huge scale? Price carbon emissions through incentive-based legislation or by imposing a carbon tax? Until the public fully understands the danger of our present trajectory, those debates are likely to continue to fail.

Netflix gain is HBO's loss in subscriber wars

Netflix gain is HBO's loss in subscriber wars
According to a new report from the NPD Group, streaming services have seen a 4% rise in subscribers over the past two years. People can’t get enough Netflix. According to this report, the streaming video service and others like it have been gaining subscribers as premium pay networks like HBO and Showtime have been losing them. The NPD Group, a global information company, says over the past two years, the number of households subscribing to premium networks has fallen by 6%. Online streaming subscriptions, however, have risen by 4%, according to their report.
According to the report, in August 2013, 32% of American households paid for premium networks like HBO or Showtime and 27% subscribed to ondemand digital services. While Netflix is the most widely used service, Hulu Plus and Amazon Prime are gaining in popularity. “It’s fair to say … that some of the shift that you’re seeing is probably caused by Netflix,” Russ Crupnick, a senior vice president of the NPD Group told the Los Angeles Times. “Some of this could be caused by the economy. It could be people looking at their cable bills and saying, ‘I can’t afford this.’”

Cell phone jammer

Cell phone jammer illegal - Uncle Sam
It might look like a walkie talkie, but that little box is more powerfull than you think. When a cell phone jammer is turned on, it can block any cell phone service in the area. Using one is not only a federal crime but is could result in a 16,000 dólares fine and jail time.
But that did not stop Eric, a man from Philadelphia, who was fed up whith the chatty cell phone talkers on the 44 bus. According to a TV channel, Eric would fire up that jammer when he did not want to hear the conversations. "A lot of people are extremely lod, no sense of privacy or anything. When it becomes a bother, that's when I screw on the antenna and flip the switch", Eric told the reporters.
Eric claimed that he did not know it was illegal to block a cell phone signe, and thought it was a "gray area". He said he was under the impression that it was only illegal when blocking television or radio signals. "I guess I'm taking the law into my own hands and, quite frankly, I'm proud of it", he added.
This type of jammers is illegal because they could prevent cell phone communication in emergencies and because they can block other important signals such as police radio. But the bigger issue is that Eric is not alone in this jamming practice. Jammer are easy to buy at sites on the Internet. Police reported that other people in the New Jersey and New York area are using them as well. Maybe Eric's story will remind them all of just how illegal using that powerful device is.

Courses online

Courses online
For those students who struggle to leave their beds for a 9 a.m. lecture, the idea of studying online wherever and whenever you want – including under the duvet with a laptop – may seem like a dream come true. Soon some students will be able to do just that, as will anybody with a computer and internet connection, because a number of universities are planning to offer some of their courses online. Not only will these offer greater flexibility to online learners around the world, they will also be free.
EdX, an online platform founded by Harvard, Berkeley and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has already attracted 800,000 students from 192 countries since it started in autumn 2012. Significantly, the platform has developed an examination process, which means that online learners can graduate from an EdX course with a certificate and a grade.
However, it seems unlikely, for the time being, that online higher education will supersede traditional on-campus university degrees. It is well-known that many leading institutions, including Oxford and Cambridge, are absent from a list of 17 universities that have signed up to give away their course content online.
An obstacle preventing online courses from being taken seriously is the fact that many have a high drop-out rate. For instance, although 155,000 students registered online to take MIT’s courses on electronics on EdX, only 7,200 students completed them. With no tutors or lecturers to help you in person, self-motivation and discipline are required in abundance to see a course through to the end.

Eliminating trans fats

Does your mouth water when you think of potato chips, doughnuts and cakes? Many people prefer "junk food" to healthy food because they develop a taste for it. Processed, baked, and fried foods typically contain a high amount of trans fats. However, trans fat raises the bad cholesterol in your body and lowers the good cholesterol that it needs. Trans fats build up in the body and block blood flow to the heart, so people whose diet contains a high percentage of trans fats are at risk for heart disease and stroke.
Trans fat is a semi-solid type of oil. It is made by adding hydrogen to liquid oil. Food companies and restaurants like to use trans fat oil because it is inexpensive, makes food last longer and also improves its taste and texture. Today doctors know how dangerous these processed foods are. In countries such as the US and Canada there are new government restrictions on food production. Food and drink makers have to attach a Nutrition Fact label to their products. Even fast food chains are being forced to change their recipes. In Europe, food manufacturers have started using a voluntary labelling system at the consumers' request.
We all need some fat in our diet. There are three different types of fats: saturated fats, trans fats, and unsaturated fats. Doctors recommend that we get most of our fatty calories from unsaturated fats. Labels are a good way to avoid eating fatty food that is dangerous for your health. Another way is to avoid eating out and, when shopping for groceries, buy mostly fresh food.

Malala - PAU Andalucía 2014

Malala Yousafzai
“Dear brothers and sisters of the United Nations Youth Assembly, I am Malala Yousafzai, I am sixteen and I was shot on the left side of my forehead on October 9, 2012 by the Taliban. I am just one girl out of thousands of people who have been injured or killed by terrorists because they are frightened of the power of education: they are afraid of books and pens, and they fear the power of the voice of female teachers. This is why terrorists kill innocent students. I remember a boy in our school who was asked by a journalist: ‘Why are the Taliban against education?’ He answered very simply by pointing to his book, and said: ‘A Taliban doesn't know what is written inside this book.’ So I speak not only for myself, but also for all those without a voice. I want them to be heard. I am here to speak for the right to education for every child, even for the sons and daughters of the Taliban. Dear brothers and sisters, we must not forget that millions of people are suffering from poverty and injustice and ignorance. We must not forget that millions of children are out of their schools. We must not forget that our sisters and brothers are expecting for a bright, peaceful future.
Today, we call upon the world leaders and all governments to ensure free, compulsory education all over the world for every child, no matter their caste, creed, sect, colour or religion. Let us fight against illiteracy, poverty and terrorism, let us pick up our books and our pens. Education is the most powerful weapon, and the only solution to change the world.”

Titanic - PAU Andalucía 2014

Titanic
A floating palace sailed from Southampton in 1898 on her first voyage. She was declared unsinkable, and was the biggest and most magnificent ship ever built. Rich passengers enjoyed her luxury as they travelled to America. But the ship never reached her destination. It crashed into an iceberg and it sank with a heavy loss of lives. Most of the people drowned.
That ship existed only in paper, in the imagination of a novelist called Robertson. The name he gave to his fictional ship was Titan. But the fiction soon turned into terrifying fact. Fourteen years later a real luxury ship set out for America. The ship was the RMS Titanic. She was full of rich and important people. Contrary to popular belief, this ship had not been described as “unsinkable” at the time of its making, but only after events came to a tragic conclusion. On her first voyage she collided with an iceberg, sank, and many lives were lost by drowning, as in the novel. It was the night of April 10, 1912.
The similarity between fiction and reality was more than just the name. They were roughly the same size, had the same speed and the same capacity of about 3,000 people. But the strange coincidences do not end there. Both sank in exactly the same point of the North Atlantic.
While the Titanic was sinking, a passenger made a drawing of it. She painted the ship breaking in half. However, this fact was never mentioned until the famous film Titanic, directed by Cameron, proved that to be true. The Titanic went down in two hours forty minutes, taking 1,513 people with her.

Why do we enjoy mysteries so much?

Why do we enjoy mysteries so much?
Have you ever thought about that? Detective stories and legal thrillers are among the most popular genres in literature. Murder mysteries are the only genre of literature which offers you the chance to figure out the story for yourself. Readers love to catch the killer before he or she is revealed. Detective stories are really a game, a puzzle to solve. The reader must put together the clues, and if you do this one step ahead of the detective, you feel really proud.
In no other genre does a team of people spend so much energy to understand the identity of one person. We usually focus on the murderer, but it is really the dead who is the star. To solve the murder, the team of detectives must know the victim’s history. They have to find out who would want to kill them and why. In looking for the killer, they use their brain power to deduce the truth behind the appearances the killer has created. In a mystery, death is explained through reasoning. You can see the dark side of people, but you know that justice prevails. Good will defeat evil.
People who like detective stories usually love forensics shows like CSI or Bones. They are a new variation on an old formula: instead of solving crimes with guns and car chases, the ‘good guys’ use microscopes and DNA, and the investigators, like any detective of the past—Sherlock Holmes or Miss Marple, for example—are intelligent guardians of justice, caught in a battle against an equally intelligent criminal.
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