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Law enforment the Twitter way

Law enforment the Twitter way

Spain's National Police have made effective use of the social network to raise their profile.

“In 2009, I asked for a police presence on the social networks, the same as we have on the streets,” says Juan José Esteban, director of communication for Spain’s National Police. Five years later, more than 1,140,000 people follow @policia on Twitter, including many informants who have helped arrest around 500 criminals, among them some of Spain’s most-wanted. The police’s Twitter account has also been used to promote safety campaigns, such as this summer’s drive to encourage people to be more aware of the dangers of swimming along the country’s shoreline. It has also provided information about Ebola, and is working to stamp out student hazing rituals.
Using informal language -which sometimes borders on the adolescent- and taking a provocative tone, the National Police’s Twitter account has certainly helped raise the force’s profile. When a man was arrested this summer accused of a series of sexual assaults against children in a Madrid neighborhood, the police received 200,000 tweets congratulating it. Over the course of an average day, they get sent around 3,000 tweets, around 200 of which are “useful” investigative leads that have helped them make drugs seizures, stop the distribution of child pornography, and even prevent threats against television personalities.
Last week, National Police Director General Ignacio Cosidó presented the book @policia: Success Stories, which charts the initiative. No other Spanish institution has managed to capture the public’s attention in the same way – the Twitter feed has four times the number of followers as the government’s @desdelamoncloa. “We’re not promoting anybody here, it’s not about this or that minister, we’re not promoting the police even, we’re just serving the public,” Cosidó said.

Scientists invent anti-ageing chocolate


Imagine a new chocolate that keeps you looking younger. It seems too good to be true, but a team of scientists believes that they have invented anti-ageing chocolate. A laboratory working with the UK's Cambridge University has been working on a method to keep away wrinkles and keep the skin looking younger. It has called its new product 'Esthechoc'. This is a combination of the words 'esthetic' (meaning all things beautiful) and 'chocolate'. The new product is also called Cambridge Beauty Chocolate. The makers will start selling it from next month. The laboratory has not said anything about the price yet, but it is likely to be quite expensive. The lab hopes young, rich business executives will buy it.
The laboratory used a special chemical called an antioxidant in the chocolate. The antioxidant they used is one that gives flamingos their pink colour. The scientists say that the antioxidant can bring parts of the skin of a 50 to 60-year-old person back to the levels of a 20 to 30-year-old. They said people who ate the chocolate could see changes in their skin within just three weeks. A spokesman for the laboratory said it took a decade of research and trials with more than 3,000 volunteers to produce Esthechoc.
The chocolate bar will only be sold in boxes of 21 bars – one a day for three weeks. Other scientists say more research is needed for people to know whether or not Esthechoc actually works.

È morta Whitney Houston

È  morta  nel  giorno  dei  Grammy,  alla  vigilia  degli  Oscar  della  Musica:  Whitney  Houston,  48  anni,  una pioggia di statuette, 170 milioni di dischi venduti e una vita da diva che da anni era diventata un inferno, non  ce  l'ha  fatta  a  sopravvivere  alla  sua  fama  in  declino.  La  Regina  del  Popla  Voce,  come era  stata nominata. Ma non solo. Anche il Corpo della Musica, lo splendido corpo di "The Bodyguard", il film che ne  ha  incastonato  la  carriera  prima  che  la  depressione  e  la  droga strangolassero  la  sua  voce  e  la  sua anima.
Whitney  si  trovava  a  Los  Angeles per  partecipare  a  un  evento  collegato  alla  consegna  dei  Grammy.  Il corpo  senza  vita  è  stato  trovato  nella  sua  stanza  d'albergo  al  quarto  piano  del  Beverly  Hilton  hotel,  a Beverly Hills.
Leggendari i suoi successi, da "How Will I Know" a "I Will Always Love You", così come le battaglie con l'alcol e gli stupefacenti. E nel mito dello showbusiness è già entrato il suo matrimonio con Bobby Brown, anche quello tempestoso come la sua carriera.
"Withney, riposa in pace, non ci sarà mai più un'altra come te": così, sulla sua pagina Facebook, Lenny Kravitz ha aperto i necrologi vip.

Lesen: Buch oder Internet?

Lesen: Buch oder Internet?
Im  Laufe  des  letzten  Jahres  war viel  von  der  mangelnden Lesekompetenz der österreichischen SchülerInnen  die  Rede.  Daher wurde  auch  in  den  Medien  viel  zu  diesem Thema  geschrieben.
Das Ergebnis: Jugendliche lesen nicht schlechter, sondern anders.
Befunde zur  Lesekompetenz  und Lesebereitschaft,  Lesearten  und Lesegewohnheiten  sind  im Umbruch.  Lesen  gilt  heute  als Basistechnik  in  der Multimediagesellschaft,  die Bedeutung  des Lesens  wächst  im  Zeitalter  der  neuen  Medien.  Die  Lesezeit  für  Bücher  und Zeitungen  sinkt (zwar nicht dramatisch, aber doch deutlich). Dafür steigt aber die Lesezeit in den neuen Medien: Jugendliche  lesen  Texte  im  Internet;  sie  surfen,  chatten,  e-mailen  und  downloaden.  Aber auch Medien  wie  CD-ROMs,  Computerspiele  (samt  Gebrauchsanweisung),  das  Handy  (SMS)  oder CD-Covers  erfordern  Lesekompetenz  und  werden  gelesen.  Hypertext  lesen  stellt  sogar  höhere Anforderungen  an  die  Lesefähigkeit  als  das  traditionelle  lineare  Lesen  (reine  Schrifttexte Buchstabe  für  Buchstabe,  von  links  oben  nach  rechts  unten),  das  im  Alltag  immer  weniger wichtig  wird.  Anstelle  dessen  tritt  multimediales,  mehrkanaliges  Lesen:  Text,  Bild,  Logo,  Ton, Grafik,  Filmelemente treten kombiniert auf und müssen gleichzeitig erfasst und gelesen werden;  Texte werden –etwa im Internet– nicht mehr kontinuierlich dargeboten, sondern müssen durch Links als Hypertext vom Leser selbst zusammengestellt werden. Aber Eins zeichnet sich klar ab: Lesen in Zukunft heißt nicht „Buch oder Internet“, sondern „Buch und Internet“.
Die  Jugendlichen  sind  auf  die  Herausforderungen  dieses  neuen  Lesezeitalters  generell  gut vorbereitet,  Lesekompetenz  und  Lesebereitschaft  sind  besser  als  oft  in  Vorurteilen  behauptet.
Die  heutige Jugend liest nicht schlechter als frühere Generationen, auch  nicht  weniger, sie  liest anders.

Payés par la Nasa pour rester au lit pendant 10 semaines

Payés par la Nasa pour rester au lit pendant 10 semaines
L’agence  américaine  cherche  à  tester  la  résistance  du  corps  à  un  long  voyage  dans l ́espace. Une expérience qui ne sera pas de tout repos.
Cela  ressemble  au  travail  le  moins  stressant  du  monde:  rester  couché  pendant  dix semaines à lire, à regarder la télévision ou à surfer sur Internet. C ́est ce qu’a proposé la Nasa en  ouvrant  les inscriptions sur son site Internet. L’agence  spatiale  américaine  souhaite  évaluer les conséquences sur le corps humain d’un long voyage dans l’espace, en position allongée.
Construits  sur mesure pour les besoins de l’expérience,  les  lits  seront  inclinés  de  six degrés,  tête  en  bas.  Assez  pour  provoquer  un  léger  stress  cardio-vasculaire  proche  de celui ressenti par les astronautes dans l’espace. L’objectif: évaluer les effets de la microgravité sur le corps, pour mieux préparer de futurs vols spatiaux.
« Les  volontaires vont voir leurs muscles s’atrophier  progressivement,  tout  comme  leur densité musculaire », confie  le  docteur  Cromwell.  Maux  de  tête,  nausées,  nez  bouché*, ... les  symptômes d’une longue position allongée sont nombreux. Les amateurs de poses paresseuses sur  leur  canapé  ne sont  donc  pas  les  candidats idéaux.
« Nous  cherchons  des  gens  en excellente santé, physiquement et mentalement », insiste le porte-parole de l’agence spatiale.
Les quelques volontaires ne resteront pas immobiles. Ils devront mimer certaines activités des astronautes: s’extraire  d ́un  véhicule,  déplacer  des  objets  lourds,  etc.  Une  douche  mobile, une séance quotidienne de massage, recevoir des visites devraient rendre le séjour un peu plus plaisant.
D’après Le figaro. fr,2013

Un alpiniste découvre un trésor sur un glacier du Mont-Blanc

Un alpiniste découvre un trésor sur un glacier du Mont-Blanc
Un jeune alpiniste a découvert pour plusieurs dizaines de milliers d ́euros de pierres précieuses  sur  un glacier du  Mont-Blanc,  provenant probablement  du crash d’un avion indien vieux d’un demi-siècle.
Les  pierres  précieuses,  des émeraudes,  saphirs  et  rubis,  ont été  remises  à  la gendarmerie de Bourg-Saint-Maurice (Savoie). Leur valeur a été estimée entre 130.000 et 246.000 euros par un joaillier local. Le jeune alpiniste, qui souhaite garder l’anonymat, les a découvertes alors qu’il évoluait sur le glacier des Bossons.
Il a aperçu une boîte métallique. À l ́intérieur, se trouvaient des petits sachets, dont certains  portaient  la mention  « Made  in  India »,  contenant  les  pierres  précieuses.  « C’est un  jeune  homme  honnête  qui a  très vite  compris que ça appartenait à quelqu’un  qui  était mort  sur  le  glacier. Il  aurait  pu  garder ça pour  lui,  mais  il  a  préféré  les  amener  à  la gendarmerie », a expliqué Sylvain Merly, commandant de la compagnie d’Albertville.
Deux  avions  indiens  se  sont  écrasés  sur  le  Mont-Blanc  en  1950  et  1966.  Depuis, les  alpinistes découvrent régulièrement des morceaux d’avion,  des  valises  ou  même  des restes   humains.   En août 2012,   deux alpinistes avaient   ainsi   découvert   une   valise diplomatique qu’ils avaient remise aux autorités indiennes.
Dans  le  cas  des  pierres  précieuses,  « si  on  ne  retrouve  pas  le  propriétaire,  un article  de  loi prévoit  que  ça  pourrait  revenir  au  jeune  alpiniste ». Les  autorités  françaises devraient prendre contact avec les autorités indiennes afin de retrouver le propriétaire.
D ́après Libération, 26 septembre 2013

Cup of tea? - PAU Madrid 2015

Cup of tea? PAU Madrid 2015
Tea  is  a  huge  part  of  British  culture  and  heritage.  They  treasure  tea  breaks, teacakes,  tea  parties,  afternoon  teas  and  high  tea.  And  despite  the  increase  in coffee houses, tea remains their preferred beverage. So much so, they consume over 165 million cups of it every day.
Tea  was  a  relative  latecomer  to  British  shores.  Although  it  dates  back  to  the third millennium BC in China, it wasn’t until the mid-17th century  that  the beverage  made  its  appearance  in  England.  Samuel  Pepys  first  mentioned drinking  tea  in  his  journal  entry  for  September  1660.  Since  Pepys  was  a member  of  the  wealthy  and  fashionable  London  set,  his  failure  to  mention  tea earlier suggests that it was still unusual at that time.
Yet  it  became  known  in  Europe  very  quickly  after  its  introduction  there.  Two years  later  King  Charles  II  married  Catherine  of  Braganza.  Catherine  was  a Portuguese  princess,  and  a  tea  addict,  and  it  was  her  love  of  the drink  that established it as a fashionable beverage at court and among the wealthy classes.
Tea was particularly interesting to the Western world because it was very easy to  prepare  and  it  revived  the  spirits  and  cured  mild  colds.  In  fact,  in  the  18th century tea was thought to be a wonder cure for all manner of illnesses. It even played  a  big  part in the  Industrial  Revolution  because  the  stimulants  increased the number of hours labourers could work in factories.
Nowadays, whatever the occasion, the nation puts on the kettle for a cup of tea. It’s a drink that cheers and consoles, and it’s good for health and well-being.

Soap operas - PAU Madrid 2015

Soap Operas
Watching  TV  is  a  very  popular  pastime  in  Britain,  but  what  kind  of programmes  do  British people  like  to  watch?  Well,  the  most-watched  TV programmes  are  dramas  based  in  one  neighbourhood  that  try  to  depict ordinary life. We call these dramas “soap operas” or “soaps”.
Most soap operas these days are shown in the evening. Each show will have several  different  storylines  happening  at  once  that  continue  over  several shows.  The  same  actors  will  appear  in  every  show  too.  There  are  lots  of different  soaps  on  in  the  UK  these  days,  but  there  are  three  main  popular
ones.
Coronation  Street has  been  on  since  1960.  It  is  set  in  a  suburb  of Manchester and it’s supposed to represent working class life in the north of England. Then there’s Eastenders, which started in 1985, set in the East End of London. And we should not forget Emmerdale, which is set on a farm in Yorkshire, in the north of England.
In  the  early  days  of  TV,  most  of  these  daytime  dramas  were  aimed  at entertaining  the housewives  who  would  traditionally  be  at  home,  probably doing the washing. Companies selling washing powder would advertise their products   at   times   when   these   dramas   were   on,   and sometimes   those companies would even sponsor the drama. Hence the word “soap”. So what about the word “opera”? Well, that’s because these dramas are often an exaggeration of real life. They are supposed to represent ordinary lives but, to  make  them  entertaining,  lots  of  dramatic  events,  like  murders, divorces, affairs,  etc.,  all happen  probably much  more  regularly than  they would in a normal neighbourhood.

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Central Park renovation programme

Central Park renovation programme
In terms of its size and beauty, Central Park is the envy of cities the world over. Its safety record is, however, less impressive. Things reached an all-time low one night in 1989 when a female Wall Street executive went out jogging, only to be brutally raped and beaten by a gang of black teenagers. This example of inter-racial violence became an international news story. Irate black community leaders pointed out that on the same night a Harlem woman was murdered under even more gruesome circumstances and this episode was hardly mentioned in the local press.
Race relations in America may be as bad as ever, but Central Park has come bouncing back. The northern section of the Park, where the attack took place, has been the subject of a costly renovation programme that has begun to bear fruit. The Harlem Meer lake, for example, has been transformed from a marshy swamp into a playground where locals of all ages can go fishing and sunbathing. In actual fact the Parks and Recreation Department was working hard to improve things before 1989. Fun projects like Steve “Wildman” Brill´s “eating tour” of Central and other Parks were a case in point. Brill´s tour does not take you to restaurants: it shows the edible plants that are yours for free. Throughout the city, smaller parks are being transformed from havens for low-lifes into places where normal people can go and relax. The case of Central Park is a bit like that of New York as a whole: in spite of the image problem, things were probably never that bad. After all, Jackeline Kennedy Onassis used to go jogging in Central Park every day and the only people who used to bother her where the press photographers.
(adapted from Speak Up, nº 121)

Learn about the Earth, Moon, and Sun

Each day we learn more about the Earth, the Moon, and the Sun.
From far out in space, Earth looks like a blue ball. Since water covers three-fourths of the Earth’s surface, blue is the colour we see most. The continents look brown, like small islands floating in the huge, blue sea. White clouds wrap around the Earth like a great blanket. The Earth is shaped like a sphere or a ball. It is 25,000 miles around! It would take more than a year to walk around the whole planet. A spaceship can fly around the widest part of the sphere in only 90 minutes.
Even though spaceships have travelled to the Moon, people cannot visit the Moon without special suits. The Moon has no air or water. Plants and animals can’t live there either. Astronauts first landed on the Moon in 1969. After that, there were six more trips to the moon.
They brought back Moon rocks, which scientists are still studying. There are holes, or crates, all over the Moon’s surface. Scientists believe that meteorites smashed into the Moon millions of years ago and formed the craters.
The Sun is the closest star to Earth. A star is a hot ball of burning gas. The Sun looks very big because it is so close. But the Sun is just a medium-sized star. Billions of far away stars are much bigger than our Sun. The burning gases from the Sun are so hot that they warm the Earth from 93 million miles away! Even though the Sun is always glowing, the night here on Earth is dark. That’s because the Earth rotates, or turns around, every 24 hours. During the day, the Earth faces the Sun. Then we see light. During the night, the Earth turns away from the Sun. Then it faces the darkness of space.
Each day we learn more about the Earth, the Moon, and the Sun.

Qui contrôlera le savoir à l’avenir?

Eurpopeana - Pensez culture
Qui contrôlera le savoir à l’avenir ? Alors que la numérisation de la culture humaine s’accélère, les éditeurs et les universitaires ont été amenés à se poser la question. Jusqu’à présent, la réponse la plus vraisemblable était Google. Le moteur de recherche numérise des livres et les diffuse en ligne depuis 2004.
Mais un concurrent est en train d’apparaître. En 2010, Robert Darnton, historien de la culture et directeur des bibliothèques de Harvard, est bien décidé à ne pas laisser une entreprise privée monopoliser l’accès au savoir de l’humanité. Son projet de bibliothèque numérique ouverte à tous devrait être prêt pour 2013. Elle rassemblerait les fonds numérisés des grands instituts de recherche américains, mais intégrerait aussi d’autres supports que le texte –vidéos, musique, films- ainsi que les archives du web conservés par l’association Internet Archive.
Comme dans le cas de Google Books, il s’agit de numériser le patrimoine culturel de l’humanité, afin de conserver les œuvres des auteurs, intellectuels et artistes, et d’en assurer une large diffusion. La différence, c’est que cette bibliothèque ne serait pas gérée par une entreprise privée. Elle serait accessible à tous, partout et à tout moment, gratuitement.
M. Darnton a exprimé pour la première fois son idée lors d’un discours à l’université Harvard : « Ce n’est pas l’utopie d’un prof de fac, assure-t-il. C’est quelque chose de tout à fait faisable. ». Et il continue : « C’est une idée qui trottait dans la tète de pas mal de monde depuis vingt ans. Mais dans le cas présent l’élément déclencheur a été le service Google Recherche de livres. À mesure que le projet Google a évolué il est devenu clair que ce serait une entreprise commerciale en situation de monopole. Un monopole plein de bonnes intentions peut-être, mais pas forcement au service du bien public, car Google rend d’abord et avant tout des comptes à ses actionnaires. »
En Europe, un projet similaire, Europeana (europeana.eu), a été lancé dès 2008. Cette bibliothèque numérique inclut le résultat de la numérisation des différentes bibliothèques nationales européennes. Elle compte à ce jour 20 millions d’objets numérisés et entend atteindre les 30 millions d’ici à 2015.
Courrier International. Février 2012 (texte adapté)

Le rire n’est pas toujours drôle

Le rire n’est pas toujours drôle
Dans une interview accordée l’an dernier, le professeur de psychologie Peter McGraw, auteur d’une étude sur l’humour dans le monde, expliquait pourquoi les gens rient et pourquoi le rire peut être thérapeutique.
« Nous rions quand quelqu’un a fait quelque chose de mal. Quand il existe une menace, mais qu’il n’y a pas de réel danger. C’est ce que j’appelle la théorie de la violation bénigne. Prenons un exemple : dans une comédie, quelqu’un est blessé, on lui a tapé sur la tête avec un marteau. Or vous savez que la personne n’est pas réellement blessée parce que c’est un acteur, ou parce qu’elle continue de se comporter comme avant. Par contre, dans la réalité, taper sur la tête de quelqu’un avec un marteau, ce n’est pas drôle : il ya vraiment quelque chose de mal. »
« Mais le rire n’est pas toujours l’expression d’un amusement. Robert Provine, un psychologue qui a catalogué les situations dans lesquelles on rit dans le monde réel, a conclu que moins de 20% des cas étaient drôles. Entre autres choses, il a montré que le rire peut être une forme de politesse (« nous ponctuons nos phrases de rires et ils semblent faciliter nos interactions sociales »). Et le rire n’est pas toujours associé à des expériences positives. C’est sûr ! En 1962 on a parlé d’une épidémie de fou rire en Tanzanie. Elle a commencé chez quelques jeunes filles d’un pensionnat et ce serait propagée comme un virus, d’une personne à la suivante, d’un village à l’autre. Pour finir, on a fermé l’école et renvoyé les pensionnaires chez elles. Nous nous sommes rendus en Tanzanie pour rencontrer les personnes « contaminées ». D’emblée, ce qui nous a paru clair c’est que le pensionnat était très religieux et que la vie y était dure. (... …. ….). Nous sommes arrivés à la conclusion qu’il s’agissait d’un cas d’hystérie collective, une sorte de pathologie psychosomatique déclenchée par le stress. Le rire n’en est qu’un des symptômes »
« Enfin, on parle tout le temps des effets du rire sur le corps, et il ne fait aucun doute que le rire possède des effets physiques bénéfiques. Mais son intérêt va bien au-delà : Il peut changer notre manière de percevoir le monde. Assister à un événement menaçant ou tragique et en rire, c’est rire de ses difficultés ; cela permet de les voir différemment, de les dédramatiser. »
Courier International. Mars 2015. (Texte adapté)

From classroom to office

From classroom to office - Young entrepreneurs
Getting an education and going into business are both hard work. But some teenagers manage to start their own companies while they are still at school! So, how did they do it? Has their age been a problem? I talked to some young entrepreneurs to find out.
Andrew Butt is the twenty-year-old manager of a computer software business. When he was twelve, he offered to do small jobs at a local helicopter training centre after school. At first, he made people cups of tea, then he began programming the centre´s computer system. During his time at the centre, Andrew realized that he might have the ability and experience to work for himself. Unfortunately, his teachers disagreed with him! At fifteen, Andrew left school. He hired a tutor, and by the age of sixteen he was running his own company, which was called Enable Software.
Harlem Lyrics Cards was launched by Chauncey Holloman in Arkansas, USA, when Chauncey was only sixteen. Her greeting cards are brightly-coloured, and they often feature hiphop characters and informal, colloquial language. Chauncey explained that she started designing cards because she couldn´t find anything suitable for her friends´ birthdays.
In California, seventeen-year-old student Ryan Glasgow has started his seventh company! His latest business is Pure Five Audio, which is an online shop that sells more than 700 products. Ryan certainly wasted no time in getting started in the business world. He started his career by selling locally-picked fruit to friends- before the age of eight!
All these young people became very successful entrepreneurs at an early age. All are very positive, ambitious people, who were prepared to give their all in fulfilling their dreams. But has their commitment to business had any negative impact on their lives? Andrew wonders whether some of his friendships might have been damaged by his decision to leave school early. If he hadn´t left school, it would have been easier to stay in touch. In general, however, he feels very glad that he took the risk! Chauncey has been able to rely on her family to help with her company. She has missed a few days of school, but she hopes to finish her education and go to business college. Ryan thinks that it is a challenge to keep school, business, and a social life in balance, but he feels that it is a challenge that he can meet. In conclusion, it seems that age is no barrier to business success. All you need is a good idea, confidence, and a willingness to put in a lot of hard work. After that, the sky is the limit!

Pas de sexe à l’école

Pas de sexe à l’école: cours d’éducation sexuelle

Les nouveaux programmes scolaires en Croatie provoquent l’ire de l’Église catholique.

Le jour de Noël, les croyants venus assister à la messe dans une église de Split ont été surpris par une décoration atypique : la Sainte Famille avait été placée dans une cage à oiseaux. Ils ont dû attendre l’homélie du père dominicain qui y officie pour comprendre le sens de cette installation conceptuelle. « En Croatie, la chrétienté se trouve de nouveau en prison », a-t-il dit. Le même jour, dans l’église Saint Pierre, le prêtre n’a pas eu recours à la métaphore. Il a dit haut et fort que l’éducation sexuelle à l’école était « le refuge du diable »
Ces deux histoires illustrent bien le conflit qui fait actuellement rage entre le clergé et le gouvernement. Le torchon brûle entre l’Église et le gouvernement social-démocrate croate depuis que le ministre de l’Éducation, Zoran Jovanovic, a introduit dans le programme scolaire obligatoire des cours d’éducation sexuelle, dont un petit module traite de l’homosexualité et de la procréation médicalement assistée.
Selon le clergé, cet enseignement « initie les jeunes à la pornographie, à la masturbation, à l’homosexualité et favorise la propagation des maladies sexuellement transmissibles ». Le cardinal Bozanic a estimé que « l’éducation sexuelle menait à l’anéantissement de l’homme » alors qu’un théologien de renom, Adalbert Rebic, a affirmé que « la Croatie était en train de rejoindre le complot mondial des pédés et des gouines, qui menacent la société toute entière de leur déchéance »
Et pendant que les ministres se chamaillent comme des commères avec les évêques, on a l’impression de voir la société croate revenir avec un immense plaisir à son état naturel, celui de la guerre idéologique permanente. Parce que même si les croates ne vivent plus dans un système totalitaire, mais dans un pays démocratique, en démocratie le pouvoir est éparpillé, atomisé entre plusieurs instances. Et cela l’Église le sait : elle ne tient pas les commandes du ministère de l’Éducation, mais elle n’a pas perdu le pouvoir. Ni à la télévision, ni dans la sphère des affaires économiques ni dans les manuels scolaires.
Courrier International. Janvier 2013 (texte adapté)

Food for thought

Food for thought - Super size me - Morgan Spurlock
What would happen if you ate nothing but fast food for a month? Film-maker Morgan Spurlock wanted to find out, so he made a documentary called ‘Super Size Me’. Morgan ate fast food meals three times a day, and he had large or ‘supersize’ servings whenever he was offered them. It was hard work, and after just two days he wished he had never started.
He was pushing his body to its limits, and his new diet made him ill. Several weeks later, his health had deteriorated so badly that doctors advised him to stop. ‘Unless there is an improvement in Morgan’s diet, he runs a risk of permanently damaging his liver´ said one medical expert. But it was not just Morgan’s body that was suffering - fast food was also having a negative influence on his mind. He would feel great just after he had eaten, then an hour later he would be grumpy, angry and tired. Even though he was suffering, Morgan continued this experiment for thirty days. Unfortunately, it took him nearly a year to return to previous levels of health and well-being!
Morgan Spurlock was not the first person to explore the connection between food and behaviour. Towards the end of the last century, American researchers carried out an investigation into diet and development. They analysed the behaviour of a group of children over several years, with surprising results. At eight years old, the children who ate a larger than average amount of junk food were more likely to get into fights than their healthy-eating peers.
Aged eleven, the same children were often more aggressive, bullying and attacking other classmates. By the age of seventeen, a large percentage of this group had left school, and they were more likely to have problems with drugs or alcohol. A few of these teens were victims of peer pressure; others had a difficult family background. However, they all had one thing in common: they all had bad diets. The study concluded that an unhealthy lifestyle was one of the most significant reasons for their behavioural problems.
Despite these grim statistics, fast food restaurants still feed more tan 45 million people a day! So why do we continue to eat this junk? In ‘Super Size Me’, Morgan Spurlock eventually got used to his diet of hamburgers and chips. After a while, he even started to enjoy it.
The sweet, fattening food is so tempting that many of us, like Morgan, develop an addiction to it. That is the problem with fast food: it is just too tasty!

Green Gyms

Green Gyms
We all know what a gym is: every month you pay money, you exercise indoors with machines, usually on your own. You become fitter …but then often, especially by this time of the year, you abandon the whole thing! A Green Gym is different: it is free. In a Green Gym, a group of people work together outdoors, in a green space, to improve the environment, to increase biodiversity.
Green Gyms work in parks and forests, in abandoned and forgotten spaces, in schools and in prisons. In London, residents and visitors can participate in Green Gym activities most days of the week. For tourists, this is a great way to meet real Londoners and to discover the city in a different way.
The Green Gym was the idea of an English doctor, William Bird. About 12 years ago, Dr. Bird realised the benefits of working outdoors for his patients. It helped combat excess weight, diabetes and depression, for example. Working outside is stimulating and is good for stress levels. The colour green has a calming effect. Activity in nature reduces stress and diminishes blood pressure. Working with other people, growing and creating things is also good for people’s confidence.
The Green Gym idea certainly came at the right time. Physical inactivity costs the UK economy billions of pounds a year. Obesity figures are the highest in the European Union; nearly a quarter of British adults are officially obese. Mental health problems affect one in four people at some point in their lives.
A Green Gym group consists of a variety of individuals who come for different reasons: to lose weight, to learn new skills, to meet new people and to make a difference. Green Gyms are forming all over the country, and the concept is being exported to other countries like Australia.
 (adapted article from SPEAK UP 312)

Changing consumer behaviour

Changing consumer behaviour
The present economic situation is affecting people’s spending habits. As living costs rise and incomes fall, consumers need to control their finances, cut spending habits and start saving. There is a general change in consumer attitudes and behaviours.
Consumers have a more selective attitude to shopping, they want good value. Price is important but products must offer more than low prices. They must be perceived as good value, that is, a combination of best price and best quality.
Consumers are planning their shopping. They do not want to waste money, food, time or fuel so they are shopping less and buying only what they need. They go shopping less frequently out-of-town to save fuel, cutting down on big shopping centres and increasing visits to local shops or supermarkets.
Leisure and entertainment occur at home and in local venues. This saves costs of travel and leisure activities. People dine at home with family and friends instead of visiting restaurants and they go to local coffee shops to meet rather than pubs and wine bars. They prefer downloading the latest film rather than going to the cinema.
Online shopping saves travel and time costs. Consumers can have easy access to instant information on prices, vouchers and promotions.
There are also changes in different age groups. Young shoppers are not immune to the economic crisis. Unemployment, university fees, inflation and poorer support from parents are seriously impacting their spending capabilities. Meanwhile, the older generations are expanding in number and becoming a large market but with restricted spending power.

Technology is eating my family

Technology is eating my family
I once wrote the article “Technology ate my marriage”. Since the introduction of the Internet, mobile phone and PC, my wife and I spent less and less time in face-to-face contact. Now, things have become worse. Technology is eating my family –myself included. Virtual space is eating physical space.
I asked my daughter not to ask for a tablet for Christmas. I knew very well what would happen. Since 25 December, she has spent 20% of her free time completely out of Earth contact. Computer games are now her principal family. My son sent me once an sms from his bedroom to ask for a cup of tea.
I cannot simply watch a film on TV together with my wife. She is tweeting simultaneously and she spends more time with her eyes on the computer than on the TV. Until I insisted she stopped, she used to take her computer to bed and surf while I was trying to get asleep.
I thought I was the exception to this virtualisation of family life, but I have gradually changed. Now I access my computer to check my tweets. I suffer from “tweet incontinence”. In the evenings, I often play Scrabble* online with a friend when I used to play real Scrabble with my wife.
The web has made the world more interesting. Too interesting. Real life, real people, real members of the family are monotonous and problematic in comparison. However, they have a unique advantage: they are real!
Adapted from article written by Tim Lott. 

Vegetarian UK

Vegetarian UK - eat right
Vegetarianism is increasing in the UK. A recent survey estimated that there are over 3 million vegetarians in the UK today. Vegetarians (people who don’t eat meat), and vegans (people who don’t eat or use any animal products) are becoming increasingly common in UK culture. Visit a British supermarket and you will see a wide range of vegetarian products and prepared meals including vegan cheese, vegetarian sausages and burgers.
So why are more and more British people changing to a meat-free diet? Many people do not eat meat or animal products for ethical reasons. They are unhappy about the cruel treatment of the animals and the effects of meat and fish production on the environment. People can also be worried about food safety (for example ‘mad cow disease’). Others change to improve their general health. According to the Vegetarian Society, a meat-free diet could help reduce the risk of certain cancers and the possibility of heart disease, as well as other health problems such as obesity and high blood pressure.
Another rising trend in the UK’s food culture is related to how our food is produced. Many people reject GM (genetically modified) food. They want their food to be organically produced. Organic food is produced in a more 'natural' way. Organic farmers use very few or no chemicals, pesticides or fertilisers. Organic meat is produced without the use of drugs and antibiotics. Although it’s often more expensive, fans of organic food say it tastes much better!

The world's movie capital is not Hollywood but Bollywood

The world's movie capital is not Hollywood but Bollywood
Bollywood is the nickname given to the Indian film industry. It is a combination of the word Hollywood and theletter “B” from Bombay (now known as Mumbai), a big city in India. Indian movies are becoming more and more popular around the world. Fourteen million Indians go to the movies every day (about 1.4% of the population of 1 billion) to see any of the over 800 films produced in Bollywood each year. That is more than twice the number of films produced in the United States.
Most Bollywood movies follow a similar format. They are three to four hours long. They have dozens of songs and dances with top stars and a hundred choreographed dancers. Between the songs there is a love story without any kissing or sexual contact, lots of action and a happy ending.The stars of Bollywood are very popular and highly paid. Movies are made so fast that actors can be working on four films at the same time.
Bollywood's biggest problem is piracy; not all films make more money than they cost to make, even though they can be seen by millions of people. Another problem is that younger generations sometimes find the stories a bit predictable and boring. Film-makers are trying to solve this by changing the movies to reflect real life stories.
The future looks good for Bollywood. Big US film companies such as Warner Bros and Twentieth Century Fox have opened offices in India. Indian film-makers have found it difficult to compete with Hollywood's special effects and this is seen as the next big area for Bollywood to develop.

Les découvertes scientifiques et les inventions qui changent le monde

Les découvertes scientifiques et les inventions qui changent le monde
À quel âge sont faites les grandes découvertes scientifiques et sont mises au point les inventions qui changent le monde ? C’est la question à laquelle ont tenté de répondre les auteurs d’un article publié par le prestigieux Bureau National de Recherche Économique (NBER) américain. Pour cela, ils ont examiné les moments clés des carrières des grands inventeurs et des scientifiques ayant gagné un prix Nobel au XXème. siècle.
Il ne s’agît donc pas d’une étude produisant de nouvelles données, mais plutôt d’un travail de recoupement et d’analyse permettant d’avoir une vision d’ensemble des nombreuses recherches effectuées sur le lien entre l’âge et le génie scientifique. Le résultat ? La fin de la trentaine est le moment où le génie scientifique a tendance à s’exprimer le plus, ce qui place par exemple Albert Einstein, qui a publié sa théorie de la relativité à 36 ans, dans la moyenne.
Les auteurs de l’étude écrivent : « Contrairement à une idée reçue, la plupart des grandes contributions scientifiques ne sont pas le produit de jeunes précoces, mais arrivent plutôt de manière disproportionnée à un âge mûr. »
En même temps, les découvertes capitales se font ensuite moins nombreuses en vieillissant parce que l’on investit moins dans l’apprentissage à un âge avancé, et parce que le savoir que l’on a devient de moins en moins pertinent.
Enfin, les mêmes auteurs ont trouvé que les personnes qui excellent dans des domaines abstraits comme la physique, ont tendance à être plus jeunes que ceux qui gagnent des prix dans des matières qui requièrent plus de contexte comme l’histoire ou la médecine. Une étude de 1977 avait montré que les prix Nobel de physique avaient en moyenne 36 ans, contre les 41 ans pour ceux de médecine, par exemple.

Grégoire Fleurot. 17/02/2014. slate.fr (Texte adapté)
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