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每日英語跟讀 Ep.K031: Junk food habit affects sleep quality
French fries and hamburgers are popular with teenagers. Everyone knows that these high-calorie foods can lead to chronic illnesses such as heart disease and high blood pressure, but, according to a report published by Medical Xpress, a study led by the University of Queensland in Australia has found that eating too much junk food can also have an impact on teenagers’ sleep quality.
According to the research results, teenagers who drink more than three soft drinks per day were 55 percent more likely to report sleep disturbance than those who only drink one cup per day. Males who ate fast foods on more than four days per week were 55 percent more likely to report sleep disturbance than those who ate them only once a week, while females were 49 percent more likely to do so.
This global study examined unhealthy diets and stress-related sleep disturbance in high school students from 64 countries. The study found that 7.5 percent of adolescents reported having stress-related sleep disturbance, which was more common among females than males and increased with more frequent consumption of carbonated soft drinks, as did the occurrence of sleep problems. Because carbonated drinks often contain caffeine and large amounts of sugar, while fast foods are high in energy but poor in nutrients, long-term consumption can cause nutritional imbalances.
These data were collected from global health surveys conducted by the WHO between 2009 and 2016, which included about 170,000 students aged 12 to 15 years from 64 low, middle and high-income countries in Southeast Asia, Africa, South America and the eastern Mediterranean.
The research team said that frequent intake of soft drinks and eating of fast foods is closely associated with sleep problems in teenagers, and that this phenomenon is particularly clear in high-income countries. The research team said that these findings are worrying because poor-quality sleep has an adverse impact on adolescent health and cognitive development. They suggested that policies should be formulated that target these unhealthy behaviors.
Source article: https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/lang/archives/2021/01/05/2003749938
Hello 通勤家族，歡迎收聽Look Back Sunday回顧星期天，在這個節目John老師會彙整過去一年不同國家與主題的熱門跟讀文章，讓你可以在十五分鐘內吸收2020年最精華的世界時事趣聞！我們這週看看澳洲的趣聞，Let's get right to it!
Topic: Australia’s bushfires: 2019 like nothing seen before
As the bushfires in Australia this year extend across five million hectares, an area larger than many countries, stories of destruction have become depressingly familiar.
So far 24 people and 460 million animals have been killed. In New South Wales (NSW), the worst-affected state, up to 1,365 homes have been destroyed. It is too early for a thorough examination of?the impact on wildlife, including the many threatened species in the fires’ path.
Does this qualify as unprecedented? Plenty of experts say yes, but not all politicians and newspaper columnists are convinced. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison acknowledged the fires were severe, but also adopted a familiar line: Australia has always had bushfires. That’s true. But a key question is whether it has always had bushfires like this.
David Bowman, director of The Fire Centre at the University of Tasmania, says the most striking thing about this fire season is the continent-scale nature of the threat. “The geographic range, and the fact it is occurring all at once, is what makes it unprecedented,” Bowman says. “There has never been a situation where there has been a fire from southern Queensland, right through NSW, into Gippsland, in the Adelaide Hills, near Perth and on the east coast of Tasmania.”
He says one of the less explored issues, though it has begun to receive some attention in recent days, is the economic impact of having prolonged fires that affect so many Australians. “You can’t properly run an economy when you get a third to a half of the population affected by smoke, and the media completely focused on fires,” he says.
There are also fears critically endangered Wollemi pines have burned in the fires tearing through the Blue Mountains. They were thought extinct until discovered by bushwalkers in 1994. Their whereabouts had been kept secret from the public to keep them safe.
Authorities say the smoke that has smothered Sydney, Canberra and other centers and towns in recent weeks has produced pollution up to 11 times greater than the hazardous level for human health. In Sydney, the air pollution has been hazardous for at least 30 days.
The explanation should be familiar by now: greenhouse gas emissions do not cause bushfires, but they play a demonstrated role in increasing average and particularly extreme temperatures and contribute to the extraordinarily dry conditions afflicting eastern Australia.
Scientists cite the near absolute lack of moisture in the landscape as a key reason the fires have been so severe.
Multiple studies, here and overseas, have found the climate crisis is lengthening the fire season.
Source article: http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/lang/archives/2020/01/07/2003728808
Topic: 7.5 billion-year-old meteorite contains oldest material ever found on Earth
Scientists analyzing a meteorite that fell down onto an Australian village in 1969 have discovered that the rock contained many particles of stardust that existed before our solar system was formed, dating them to around 7.5 billion years ago, making them the oldest material ever found on the Earth. The study findings have been published in the American scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The meteorite that was analyzed fell to the Earth in the area around the village of Murchison in Victoria, Australia on Sept. 28, 1969. A team of scientists from the US and Switzerland placed ground particles of the meteorite in acid to remove all the material, leaving only the stardust. They then measured the length of time that this stardust would have been exposed to cosmic rays, in order to determine its age.
According to Philipp Heck, the primary author of the study, they determined that 90 percent of the stardust in the meteorite was dated to between 4.6 billion and 5.5 billion years ago, with the remaining 10 percent being over 5.5 billion years old, of which the oldest was around 7.5 billion years old. By comparison, the solar system started to form around 4.6 billion years ago.
Although this stardust is the oldest material discovered thus far on Earth, Heck believes that there is even more material older than the solar system in the Murchison meteorite and in other meteorites, it’s just that they have yet to be discovered by scientists.
Source article: http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/lang/archives/2020/01/20/2003729528
Topic: About Australia - Australia wins AI ’Eurovision Song Contest’
Dutch broadcaster VPRO decided to organise an AI Song Contest after the country won the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest. The aim was to research the creative abilities of AI and the impact it has on us, as well as the influence it could have on the music industry, according to the official Eurovision website.
Thirteen teams entered the contest, with Australia beating out Sweden, Belgium, the UK, France, Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands to take home the title, giving fans a taste of Eurovision after 2020 contest was cancelled due to COVID-19.
The winning song, titled Beautiful the World, includes audio samples of koalas, kookaburras and Tasmanian devils, and was made by music-tech collective Uncanny Valley as a response to the Black Summer bushfires.
獲勝曲的題目為「Beautiful the World」，含有無尾熊、笑翠鳥與袋獾的聲音樣本，由音樂技術團體「恐怖谷」製作，回應黑暗夏日的叢林大火。
Topic: Night at the museum：Australian police arrest German student over break-in 博物館之夜：澳洲警方逮捕闖入的德國學生
Australian police on Monday charged a German student with breaking into a Sydney museum as security footage showed him allegedly taking selfies next to dinosaur exhibits.
New South Wales（NSW）Police said that Paul Kuhn broke into the Australian Museum on May 10 around 1 a.m. local time, using some nearby scaffolding to gain access, before exploring the exhibits for 40 minutes.
“He’s taken some selfies with some of the displays. He’s also stolen a hat and a picture（from）the wall and eventually left,” Sean Heaney, chief inspector, NSW Police told reporters in Sydney.
The 25-year-old student appeared on Monday in court where he faced charges of stealing a cowboy hat and a piece of artwork.
He was granted bail on the condition that he surrenders his passport and adheres to a curfew.
The Australian Museum is the country’s oldest. It has been closed to the public since August 2019 for renovations.
Source article: https://features.ltn.com.tw/english/article/paper/1374692; https://features.ltn.com.tw/english/article/paper/1373759
Topic: About Australia - Australian stinging trees contain ’scorpion-like venom’
Australia is notorious for its venomous spiders, snakes and sea creatures, but researchers have now identified "scorpion-like" toxins secreted by a tree that can cause excruciating pain for weeks.
Split-second contact with the dendrocnide tree, a rainforest nettle known by its indigenous name gympie-gympie, delivers a sting far more potent than similar plants found in the US or Europe.
Irina Vetter, an associate professor at the University of Queensland’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience, said the research team discovered a new class of neurotoxin miniproteins, which they christened ’gympietides’.
Vetter said the long-lasting pain inflicted by the tree may be explained by the gympietides permanently altering the chemical makeup of the affected sensory neurons － not due to the fine hairs getting stuck in the skin.
Topic: Magpie swoops Australian reporter moments before he goes on air／準備進入現場報導前 澳洲記者遭喜鵲俯衝猛撲
A magpie swooped an Australian reporter in the face on Monday, moments before the journalist went live on air for the evening bulletin.
Nine Network reporter, Brett McLeod, was preparing for his live cross outdoors when the crow-like bird dived at his face but he quickly regained his composure and delivered his piece to the camera.
The black-and-white Australian magpie, not related to the European magpies famous for taking glittering treasures for their nests, tend to attack anyone who comes close to their suburban nests.
Spring is widely known as the ’swooping season’ to Australians when birds, mostly magpies, attack humans and even other birds when they stray too close while its fledglings hatch and nest.
Source article: https://features.ltn.com.tw/english/article/paper/1409467 ; https://features.ltn.com.tw/english/article/paper/1410492
Since the investigations into Russian manipulation of US elections, FB, Twitter and other major social media companies have strived to crack down on fake news and fake information. However, according to social media analytic firms, false and misleading information tripled from Q3 of 2016 to Q3 of 2020. About two thirds of the likes and comments were of the articles published by “false content producers” or “manipulators”. These publishers pose as news sites online.
Vocabulary and Sample Sentences
Disinformation n. false information intended to mislead
Manipulator n. a person who controls or influences others in a clever way
Legitimate adj. conforming to the law or rules
每日英語跟讀 Ep.K030: Russia's Villages, and Their Culture, Are 'Melting Away'
With its winding dirt lanes framed by lilacs, quaint wooden houses and graceful onion-domed church, the tiny farming hamlet of Baruta was once a postcard of Russian bucolic bliss.
No longer. More people lie in the tightly packed church cemetery than inhabit the village. Agriculture is slowly withering, too.
With Russia's natural population growth entering an extended period of decline, villages like Baruta are disappearing from across the country’s continental expanse.
"We have not had a wedding or a baptism for quite some time — we mostly have funerals," said a resident, Alexander Fyodorov, 59, one of just 17 men left in what was a thriving collective of some 500 farmers.
President Vladimir Putin frequently cites hardy population growth as a pillar of restoring Russia's place atop the global order. There is a pronounced gap, however, between the positive terms in which Putin and his advisers habitually discuss demographic trends and the reality of the numbers.
Russians are dying faster than they are being born, demographers said. Given the general hostility toward immigration, the question is to what degree the population of 146 million, including annexed Crimea, might shrink.
The number of deaths exceeded the number of births in 2016 by a few thousand, and the prognosis for the years ahead is poor. From 2013-2015, extremely modest natural growth peaked in 2015 with just 32,038 more births than deaths.
"The statistics and the propaganda are very different things," said Natalya V. Zubarevich, an expert in social and political geography at Moscow State University.
In terms of population loss, Pskov, which borders Latvia and parts of Estonia, is among the worst hit regions in Russia. The population peaked at around 1.8 million in the 1920s, said Andrei Manakov, a demographer at Pskov State University. It is down to 642,000, and projected to drop to about 513,000 by 2033.
Researchers estimate that out of 8,300 area villages in 1910, 2,000 no longer have permanent residents.
Under the most optimistic projections by demographers, Russia’s population by 2050 will stay the same, about 146 million, if immigration from Central Asia — which has also been dropping — balances out low birthrates. Less optimistic figures put the population around 130 million by 2050, and the most pessimistic say fewer than 100 million.
Source article: https://paper.udn.com/udnpaper/POH0067/318780/web/
每日英語跟讀 Ep.K029: How Did Marriage Become a Mark of Privilege?
Marriage, which used to be the default way to form a family in the United States, regardless of income or education, has become yet another part of American life reserved for those who are most privileged.
Fewer Americans are marrying overall, and whether they do so is more tied to socioeconomic status than ever before. In recent years, marriage has sharply declined among people without college degrees, while staying steady among college graduates with higher incomes.
Currently, 26 percent of poor adults, 39 percent of working-class adults and 56 percent of middle- and upper-class adults are married, according to a research brief published from two think tanks, the American Enterprise Institute and Opportunity America.
In 1990, more than half of adults were married, with much less difference based on class and education: 51 percent of poor adults, 57 percent of working-class adults and 65 percent of middle- and upper-class adults were married.
A big reason for the decline: Unemployed men are less likely to be seen as marriage material.
“Women don’t want to take a risk on somebody who’s not going to be able to provide anything,” said Sharon Sassler, a sociologist at Cornell who published “Cohabitation Nation: Gender, Class, and the Remaking of Relationships” with Amanda Jayne Miller last month.
As marriage has declined, though, childbearing has not, which means that more children are living in families without two parents and the resources they bring.
“The sharpest distinction in American family life is between people with a bachelor’s or not,” said Andrew Cherlin, a sociologist at Johns Hopkins and author of “Labor’s Love Lost: The Rise and Fall of the Working-Class Family in America.”
Just over half of adolescents in poor and working-class homes live with both their biological parents, compared with 77 percent in middle- and upper-class homes, according to the research brief, by W. Bradford Wilcox and Wendy Wang of the Institute for Family Studies. Thirty-six percent of children born to a working-class mother are born out of wedlock, versus 13 percent of those born to middle- and upper-class mothers.
The research brief defined “working class” as adults with an adjusted family income between the 20th and 50th percentiles, with high school diplomas but not bachelor’s degrees. Poor is defined as those below the 20th percentile or without high school diplomas, and the middle and upper class as those above the 50th percentile or with college degrees.
Source article: https://paper.udn.com/udnpaper/POH0067/319374/web/
每日英語跟讀 Ep.K028: Welcome to the World's Coolest Kindergarten
It was late Tuesday afternoon at the Pestalozzi Foundation kindergarten, and a few dozen children and their parents were hanging around past the normal pickup hour.
There was no rush to get home, really. They were enjoying the view from the kindergarten’s rear veranda: the inside of Millerntor-Stadion, the 29,546-seat stadium that is home to FC St. Pauli, as it hurriedly filled up for a midweek soccer game.
Staying after class has never been this fun.
Since 2010, the Pestalozzi Foundation has operated from inside the stadium, offering families perks that are most likely unique in the world of early childhood education.
The kindergarten borrows the stadium’s field, tunnels and roof for group activities. Players from the team come by to read to the children. Teachers use the arena’s main stand as a sort of giant break room. And on match days, parents clamor to reserve a spot to watch from the prime vantage point of the kindergarten’s deck, within shouting distance of the rowdy southern stands.
Kindergarten in Germany is closer in concept to preschool in the United States, existing outside the formal school system as it serves children ages 3 to 6. The German word Kindertagesstatte, which is often shortened to Kita, denotes a day care center for children of any age. Since Pestalozzi accepts children 8 months to 6 years old, people referring to it use the words kindergarten and Kita interchangeably.
The kindergarten was conceptualized eight years ago, when FC St. Pauli was renovating the stadium. There was space for a building in the southwest corner, between two large rebuilt stands. The decision to use it as a child care center made sense perhaps only in the unconventional world of the socially conscious club and its neighborhood.
Source article: https://paper.udn.com/udnpaper/POH0067/314555/web/
每日英語跟讀 Ep.K027: UK company sells ‘bottles of air’ for homesick people
The recent outbreak of new variants of the coronavirus in the U.K. has led to more than 40 countries imposing a travel ban on the nation, resulting in many British nationals being unable to return home.
In light of this observation, My Baggage, a relocation company based in the U.K., has recently launched the “bottled air” which allows customers to relieve their nostalgia by breathing in the air of their home country.
According to CNN, My Baggage is currently selling “authentic” air from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, to provide Brits overseas to enjoy the scent of home.
Each 500 ml air bottle is priced at £25 (about NT$942). A bottle will come with a cork stopper so that people can enjoy the scent of home at any time.
What’s more? The company also offers a customized service that people can request a location and the company will go to the specified location to fill the bottles and deliver them to you.
My Baggage said that they once met a customer from Wales who requested a sample of air from the mountainous region of Snowdonia Mountains in northern Wales.
Also, special limited edition bottles featuring air taken from the London Underground or a fish and chip shop in Norfolk are also available.
Source article: https://chinapost.nownews.com/20201223-1950634
每日英語跟讀 Ep.K026: Prepare for Change by Expecting the Unimagined
Self-driving vehicles could upend the transportation sector and eliminate a million or more jobs. Algorithms that decode MRIs put a whole medical subfield at risk. And the list of professions and sectors soon to be obsolete grows steadily by the day.
New technologies are rattling the economy on all fronts. While the predictions are specific and dire, bigger changes are surely coming. Clearly, we need to adjust for the turbulence ahead.
But we may be preparing in the wrong way.
Both history and psychology tell us that our capacity to predict the future is limited, while our capacity to believe in such predictions is unlimited. We have always been surprised.
Rather than planning for the specific changes we imagine, it is better to prepare for the unimagined — for change itself.
Preparing for the unknown is not as hard as it may seem, though it implies fundamental shifts in our policies on education, employment and social insurance.
Take education. Were we to plan for specific changes, we would start revamping curriculums to include skills we thought would be rewarded in the future. For example, computer programming might become even more of a staple in high schools than it already is. Maybe that will prove to be wise and we will have a more productive workforce.
But perhaps technology evolves quickly enough that in a few decades we talk to, rather than program, computers. In that case, millions of people would have invested in a skill as outdated as precise penmanship.
Instead, rather than changing what we teach, we could change when we teach.
Currently, all the formal education most people will receive comes early in life. Specific skills may be learned on the job, but the fundamentals are acquired in school when we are young. This sequence — learn early, benefit for a lifetime — makes sense only in a world where the useful skills stay constant.
But in a rapidly changing world, the fundamentals that were useful decades ago may be obsolete now; more important, new essential skills may have arisen. Anyone helping a grandparent navigate a computer has experienced this problem.
Once we recognize that human capital, like technology, needs refreshing, we have to restructure our institutions so people acquire education later in life. We don’t merely need training programs for niche populations or circumstances, expensive and short executive-education programs or brief excursions like TED talks. Instead we need the kind of in-depth education and training people receive routinely at age 13.
Source article: https://paper.udn.com/udnpaper/POH0067/318780/web/
Topic: Do your bit for farmers and eat more fries, Belgians urged
With potato farmers and processors struggling, Belgians are being urged to eat more fries to offset a slump in demand during the coronavirus pandemic.
Belgium is the world’s largest exporter of fries and other frozen potato products, its processors converting 5.3 million tonnes of potatoes into fries, mash and crisps per year and sending them to customers in more than 160 countries.
Restrictions to halt the spread of the coronavirus have forced the closure of cafes and restaurants, the industry’s prime customers for fries, and processing firms have seen demand fall by as much as 80%.
“We know Belgians like their fries, it’s intangible heritage our frying culture, so we ask Belgians to consume an extra portion of fries to allow us to process more potatoes and to avoid food waste,” Romain Cools, secretary-general of industry group Belgapom, told Reuters TV.
Source article: https://features.ltn.com.tw/english/article/paper/1350979
Topic: France to ban mink farms and use of wild animals in circuses, marine parks
France’s environment minister has announced a gradual ban on using wild animals in traveling circuses, on keeping dolphins and killer whales in captivity in marine parks and on raising mink on fur farms.
Barbara Pompili, France’s minister of ecological transition, said in a news conference on Tuesday last week that bears, tigers, lions, elephants and other wild animals will no longer be allowed in traveling circuses “in the coming years.” In addition, she said that starting immediately, France’s three marine parks will no longer be able to bring in or breed dolphins and killer whales.
“It is time to open a new era in our relationship with these (wild) animals,” she said, arguing that animal welfare is a priority.
Pompili said the measures will also bring an end to mink farming, in which animals are raised for their fur, within the next five years. The ban does not apply to wild animals in other permanent shows and in zoos.
The French government will provide an aid package of more than 8 million euros (US$9.36 million) to help animal shows transition to a new business model.
Around 20 European countries have already banned or limited the presence of wild animals in circuses. In France, many cities already do not allow circuses with wild animal shows to pitch their tents.
Topic: Young and Jobless in Europe:‘It’s Been Desperate’
Like millions of young people across Europe, Rebecca Lee, 25, has suddenly found herself shut out of the labor market as the economic toll of the pandemic intensifies.Her job as a personal assistant at a London architecture firm was eliminated in September.
Lee, who has a degree in illustration from the University of Westminster, sent out nearly 100 job applications. After scores of rejections, she finally landed a two-month contract at a family-aid charity that pays 10 pounds (about $13) an hour.
“At the moment I will take anything I can get,” Lee said. “It’s been desperate.”
The coronavirus pandemic is rapidly fueling a new youth unemployment crisis in Europe. Young people are being disproportionately hit, economically and socially, by lockdown restrictions, forcing many to make painful adjustments and leaving policymakers grasping for solutions.
Years of job growth has eroded in a matter of months, leaving more than twice as many young people than other adults out of work. The jobless rate for people 25 and under jumped from 14.7% in January to 17.6% in August, its highest level since 2017.
Europe is not the only place where younger workers face a jobs crunch. Young Americans are especially vulnerable to the downturn. But in Europe, the pandemic’s economic impact puts an entire generation at risk, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
Young people are overrepresented in sectors where jobs are disappearing, including travel, retail and hospitality. Graduates are facing unprecedented competition for even entry-level positions from a tsunami of newly laid-off workers.
The scarring effects may linger. “If you’re unemployed earlier on in your career, you’re more likely to experience joblessness in the future,” said Neal Kilbane, a senior economist at Oxford Economics.
The European Union is trying to cushion the blow by encouraging businesses to recruit young people. But such programs may have little impact as Europe confronts its worst recession since World War II.
Europeans coming of age in the pandemic are lowering their expectations of the jobs and careers they can get. Many are resorting to internships, living with parents or returning to school to ride out the storm. Young workers without higher education risk sliding even further.
Source article: https://paper.udn.com/udnpaper/POH0067/359091/web/
Topic: Sausage vending machines booming in Germany
Hungry Germans craving a sausage in the dead of night are increasingly turning to vending machines for their bratwurst, bockwurst, and so on. The machines are booming outside German cities where shops are less likely to stay open for long hours, according to a survey by the German Press Agency.
Some butchers’ vending machines sell three or four types of sausages, and punnets of accompanying potato salad – so customers can buy all they need for a traditional hearty German feast anytime.
There are over 570,000 vending machines in Germany, but despite their popularity they are expected to complement, rather than replace traditional shops.
"Vending machines will play a complementary role in brick-and-mortar retailing," Wolfgang Kampmeier of the Berlin-Brandenburg trade association told the Berliner Zeitung newspaper.
Source article: https://features.ltn.com.tw/english/article/paper/1353148 ;
This article is a piece from a few years ago when the UK government began charging for plastic bags with the aims of reducing pollution and waste. Many shoppers were confused with the new 5pence plastic bag policy that came with exemptions for buying pet fish; raw fish, meat or poultry; unwrapped blades (including axes, knives and razor blades); takeout food; or loose seeds and flowers. Many other countries have also banned giving away free plastic bags at supermarkets and retail outlets such as the US, Bangladesh, Rwanda. Plastic bags can take up to 1000 years to decompose.
Vocabulary and Sample Sentences:
Proceeds n. – money obtained from an event or activity
Regulate v. – to control or maintain the speed
Reusable adj. able to reuse again
每日英語跟讀 Ep.K025: Mask price lowered, minimum wage raised: Seven measures from New Year
Several new measures will be in place from the coming New Year’s Day to benefit the public, with the Executive Yuan announcing on Thursday the following seven new measures:
The minimum monthly wage will be increased from NT$23,800 to NT$24,000, and the hourly wage will increase from the current NT$158 to NT$160, a change that will affect about 2.08 million workers.
The farmers’ pensions system will also be launched, in which the government will match the amount farmers pay into their monthly pension payments, to be deposited directly into the farmers’ personal pension account. Farmers paying into their pensions for a total of 40 years will be entitled to receive up to NT$45,000 per month.
The Agricultural Insurance Act and its subsidy program will also take effect. The Act covers natural disasters, epidemics and market risks, and continues to provide one-third to one-half of premium subsidies. An agricultural insurance fund will also be established, with an annual budget of NT$10 billion to stabilize farmers’ income.
The subsidies for school lunch for elementary and middle schools will be increased to NT$6 from NT$3.5 per meal. All meals will use only ingredients produced in Taiwan, with their places of origin traceable.
Basic living expenses will rise to NT$18,200, an increase of NT$7,000, a change that is expected to benefit 2.05 million households when they file taxes in May.
Publishers involved in import/export of books will be eligible to apply for business tax exemptions. Applications will be opened from Jan. 1 next year.
Finally, masks bought under the government’s fortnightly mask rationing program will be available at a cheaper rate, from NT$45 for nine masks to NT$40 for 10, thus reducing the cost by NT$5, and adding one mask.
Source article: https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/lang/archives/2020/12/28/2003749489
每日英語跟讀 Ep.K023: About Japan -Japan to fund AI matchmaking to boost birth rate
Japan plans to boost its tumbling birth rate by funding artificial intelligence matchmaking schemes to help residents find love.
From next year it will subsidize local governments already running or starting projects that use AI to pair people up.
Last year the number of babies born in Japan fell below 865,000 - a record low.
The fast-greying nation has long been searching for ways to reverse one of the world’s lowest fertility rates.
Boosting the use of AI tech is one of its latest efforts.
Next year the government plans to allocate local authorities 2bn yen to boost the birth rate, reported AFP news agency.
Many already offer human-run matchmaking services and some have introduced AI systems in the hope they will perform a more sophisticated analysis of the standardised forms where people submit their details.
Japan set to target zero emissions by 2050 in policy shift 日本政策轉變準備2050年達到零碳排
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga is set to bind Japan to a target for carbon neutrality by 2050, a shift in stance that will bring the country in line with the European Union and more than 60 other nations in efforts to combat climate change.
Japan previously said it would aim to reduce emissions by 80% by 2050 and achieve net-zero emissions sometime in the latter half of the century.
Japan is the world’s fifth-biggest emitter of carbon dioxide. Under pressure from many business sectors, moves are also afoot to increase the use of renewable energy as the government starts forcing the shutdown of older, dirtier coal plants.
Source article: https://features.ltn.com.tw/english/article/paper/1416436 ; https://features.ltn.com.tw/english/article/paper/1421876
每日英語跟讀 Ep.K022: About SKorea -Seoul regulates older vehicles to curb pollution
To combat concerns about fine dust, especially during the winter, the city government of Seoul has toughened regulations on high-polluting vehicles and construction sites in the December-to-March period.
The measure is designed to ease the intensity and frequency of fine dust through tougher regulations. The city aims to reduce 120 tons of fine dust emissions during the four months.
Aging and high-polluting vehicles without devices to reduce emissions are restricted in the city from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays. Violators are charged a fine of 100,000 won per day.
More Koreans giving up looking for jobs 更多南韓民眾放棄謀職
According to a survey on the working age population － those aged 15 or over － by Statistics Korea, the number of discouraged workers stood at 534,000 in December 2019, the month before the novel coronavirus first arrived in Korea.
Since the first case was reported here on Jan. 20, the tally of discouraged workers has showed a general increase, though there were some ups and downs from month to month. Compared to December 2019, the tally for November 2020 grew 97,000 to reach 631,000.
Some research analysts say that the climbing number of discouraged workers cannot wholly be attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Source article: https://features.ltn.com.tw/english/article/paper/1421683 ; https://features.ltn.com.tw/english/article/paper/1420219
每日英語跟讀 Ep.K021: The Not-So-Glossy Future of Magazines
One evening in mid-September, a gaggle of writers and bon vivant editors gathered by the outdoor fireplace and ivy-covered trellis of a West Village tavern. Steak was served, and the toasts lasted late into the night, the revelry trickling out to the nearby sidewalk.
It could have been a scene from the Jazz Age heyday of the Manhattan magazine set — or even the 1990s, when glossy monthlies still soaked up millions of dollars in advertising revenue, and editors in chauffeured town cars told the nation what to wear, what to watch and who to read.
This night, however, had an elegiac tinge. The staff of Vanity Fair was saluting the magazine’s longtime editor, Graydon Carter, who had announced that he was departing after a 25-year run. In the back garden of Carter’s restaurant, the Waverly Inn, star writers like James Wolcott and Marie Brenner spoke of their gratitude and grief.
Carter has always had a knack for trends. Within two weeks, three other prominent editors — from Time, Elle and Glamour — announced that they, too, would be stepping down. Another titan of the industry, Jann S. Wenner, said he planned to sell his controlling stake in Rolling Stone after a half-century.
Suddenly, it seemed, long-standing predictions about the collapse of magazines had come to pass.
Magazines have sputtered for years, their monopoly on readers and advertising erased by Facebook, Google and more nimble online competitors. But editors and executives said the abrupt churn in the senior leadership ranks signaled that the romance of the business was now yielding to financial realities.
As publishers grasp for new revenue streams, a “try-anything” approach has taken hold. Time Inc. has a new streaming TV show, “Paws & Claws,” that features viral videos of animals. Hearst started a magazine with the online rental service Airbnb. Increasingly, the longtime core of the business — the print product — is an afterthought, overshadowed by investments in live events, podcasts, video, and partnerships with outside brands.
The changes represent one of the most fundamental shifts in decades for a business that long relied on a simple formula: glossy volumes thick with high-priced ads.
“Sentimentality is probably the biggest enemy for the magazine business,” David Carey, president of Hearst Magazines, said in an interview. “You have to embrace the future."
Source article: https://paper.udn.com/udnpaper/POH0067/319070/web/
每日英語跟讀 Ep.K024: Taiwanese cakes take London by storm
Taiwanese food has taken many countries by storm in recent years, such as boba milk tea. Recently, the U.S. online media Insider shared a video of the making of “Taiwanese cakes” on its official Twitter account, drawing much attention from social media users.
Food Insider, a popular food channel, posted a video on Dec. 26, introducing a shop called “Wheelcake Island” in London.
The tweet reads, “The popular street food snack is made by sandwiching a filling between two fluffy pancakes — which one would you like to try?”
In the video, Lin explained: “It’s a very popular traditional street snack we have every day in Taiwan.”
He added that they decided to bring the snack to London because they love wheelcakes very much.
Asked about the reason why they used a frog on their logo, Lin said: ” We feel like we like its spirit very much. Very relaxed and enjoying. Feels like he has eaten tons of wheelcakes.”
Fillings, which are made from scratch, include four flavors: classic vanilla custard, milk chocolate, green tea, and adzuki beans.
Each cake costs £3 (about NT$114). In response to the video, one social media user commented, “I would love to make them” while another said “Yummy.”
Source article: https://chinapost.nownews.com/20201228-1965725
Hello 通勤家族，歡迎收聽Look Back Sunday回顧星期天，John老師在這個節目會彙整過去一年不同國家與主題的熱門跟讀文章，讓你可以在十五分鐘內吸收2020年最精華的世界時事趣聞！我們先從台灣的趣聞開始，Let's get right to it!
Topic: Original icon font promotes beauty of Taiwan
日本設計師Holoko和英國工程師Rob攜手創作出100個代表台灣的文字圖標（Taiwan Icon Font)，提供免費下載，期望透過台味十足的圖標，讓世界知道台灣的魅力，吸引更多人來台觀光旅遊。
Holoko and Rob, a Japanese designer and a British programmer, recently joined hands to design a hundred Taiwan-themed icon fonts in hopes of introducing local tourism attractions and attracting more tourists to Taiwan.
But, what’s an icon font? Icon fonts are fonts that contain symbols and glyphs instead of letters and numbers. Internet users can style them with CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) to create original designs in a variety of colors and shapes.
The aforesaid icon font is organized into four types, including sights, products, traffic and more. In addition to famous Taiwan attractions and offshore islands, various cultural features such as pearl milk tea, Taiwan Railways Administration, and YouBike have been converted into cute mini icons.
Taiwan Icon Font官網寫道，創作者的發想理念緣起於2019年8月陸客來台禁令生效，對台灣觀光業造成衝擊，然而，設計師認為來台灣的不只有中國人，台灣的美足以吸引來自世界各地的人，盼能藉由小圖示宣傳台灣之美。
In 2019, China imposed a travel ban that froze individual tourists’ permits to Taiwan, which caused a significant impact on Taiwan’s tourism. Against this backdrop, Holoko and Rob launched this project with the hopes of bringing more people from around the world to discover the beauty of Taiwan, according to the designers’ official website.
In addition, they stressed how “we support Taiwan not only because Taiwan is attractive but also is our friends.” Among other highlights, they remarked that Taiwan-Japan ties have been blooming ties in recent years which can be seen in the pearl milk tea craze in Japan, an increase of Japanese tourists to Taiwan and donations to the Japan earthquake in 2011.
「WE STAND BY TAIWAN」是計畫口號，呼應整體概念。設計師支持台灣自由、尊嚴而開始了這個計畫。目前已經出了第一版，而設計師們也會持續更新改善，讓世界認識台灣。
“We Stand By Taiwan” the slogan of the project, reflects such design concepts. The two foreign creators launched this project with the aim of supporting freedom in Taiwan. So far, the first version has already been released and they will continue to improve their original font to let more people know about Taiwan.
Source article: https://chinapost.nownews.com/20200114-931025
Topic: Legendary singer/actress Barbra Streisand lauds Taiwan’s virus control
In a tweet on April 5, legendary singer and actress Barbra Streisand praised Taiwan for its handling of the COVID-19 outbreak. “Taiwan, despite being just 100 miles from mainland China with regular flights to and from Wuhan, has successfully staved off the worst of the coronavirus pandemic,” the superstar tweeted.
She pointed out that Taiwan had only five deaths at the time, and that most schools and businesses remained open. Later that day, President Tsai Ing-wen retweeted Streisand’s post, saying that it is encouraging to have one of the world’s most distinctive voices speak up in support of Taiwan’s proactive approach against the outbreak.
“We are more than willing to share our experiences with friends around the world as well,” the president wrote, followed by hashtag #TaiwanCanHelp — a slogan signifying Taiwan’s willingness to contribute to the world during the pandemic. Fans have suggested that Streisand stage a concert in Taiwan after the crisis, so she can see this beautiful land in person.
Source article: https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/lang/archives/2020/04/17/2003734741
Topic: Taiwan’s culinary innovations cause a stir in the world of pizza
Forget your pepperoni or other pizza toppings: Pizza Hut Taiwan has teamed up with Menya Musashi, a popular Japanese ramen restaurant chain, to serve up the world’s first ramen pizza, and it has attracted global interest after a CNN report about the new mashup was published on the front-page of its Japanese version.
The new pizza has the toppings of a Japanese-style barbecue pork ramen — complete with thick noodles, barbecue pork slices, fresh chilies and white sesame, as well as a half-boiled egg sitting in the middle. It is also garnished with green onions and bamboo shoots on the side.
Pizza Hut Taiwan told CNN that its creative pizzas are just a way to introduce some fun into the customer experience. “Taiwanese consumers live a high-pressure life with long working hours and a high cost of living. The food scene has become an exciting and creative escape,” said Lily Chou, the company’s marketing director, adding that it is definitely the first ramen to be served as a slice.
The Taiwanese are known for their creativity in making special food and drinks: some of their previous mashups have included matcha green tea pizza, durian pizza, stinky tofu pizza, and even bubble tea pizza. Also known as “boba tea” or “pearl milk tea,” the famous tea of Taiwanese origin mixed with milk and small tapioca balls has become a global sensation in recent years. Domino’s Taiwan even caused a pizza war by launching its “bubble tea pizza” late last year.
“It might be the ultimate meeting of eastern and western cuisine — Taiwan’s famous bubble tea as a topping on a Domino’s pizza,” CNN reported. Domino’s Taiwan originally planned to offer the dessert pizza covered in brown sugar pearls, cheese and honey for a month, but the popularity of the bubble tea pizza secured its spot on the regular menu, and rivals have been trying to join this trend. “In Taiwan everyone loves the texture ‘Q,’ which means chewy or bouncy in the way boba is, and this pizza was indeed very ‘Q,’” Lev Nachman, a US PhD candidate conducting research in Taiwan, told CNN.
Topic: Taiwan to stop, not block, local sales for Chinese TV streaming services
Taiwan plans to stop local sales for Chinese Internet television streaming services operated by the likes of iQiyi and Tencent Holdings, according to regulations released this week, but does not plan on blocking the services.
Democratic Taiwan, claimed by China as its sovereign territory, has long been suspicious of Chinese attempts to sway its population, including by use of fake news spread online and efforts to influence Taiwanese media.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs said late Tuesday that the rules barring Taiwanese companies from selling or operating as sales agents for Chinese Internet streaming services will take effect Sept. 3. The service iQiyi applied in 2016 to set up a Taiwanese subsidiary, but was rejected because Chinese companies cannot operate online streaming services there, the ministry said.
However, Taiwan is not blocking or banning them, the National Communications Commission said. “People can still watch and pay for overseas subscriptions,” commission deputy chief Wong Po-Tsung told Reuters, adding that officials would ensure that subscribers’ rights are not affected.
The commission ruled in May, after months of debate, that Chinese online television service providers would not advertise their services in Taiwan.
Baidu-backed, Netflix-like iQiyi said in a statement issued by unit iQiyi International that it was paying close attention to the situation and that it believed it should “not become the specific target of legislation.” “We wish to see the Taiwanese government departments involved recognize the benefits of an open market economy,” it added. Tencent, which runs Tencent Video, declined to comment.
Taiwan has a free Internet, unlike China, which blocks sites such as Google, Facebook and Twitter. Taiwan also does not ban access to popular Chinese apps like WeChat or sites like Baidu. China does not permit Taiwanese firms to offer Internet television streaming services.
Chinese Internet giants have come under pressure internationally, led by the US, where President Donald Trump ordered ByteDance last week to divest video-sharing app TikTok’s US operations within 90 days, the latest effort to ramp up pressure on the Chinese company over concerns about data security.
The US Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating iQiyi after a short seller accused it of inflating user numbers and prices, it said last week.
Source article: https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/lang/archives/2020/08/23/2003742111
This article contains two stories of how technology is used to inspire and solve problems in everyday life. First, parents to a newborn, Radhika and Bharath Patil, just like other parents with babies have faced disruptions in their sleep patterns. So, to find a solution to sooth their baby, and get better rest, they put their electrical engineering background to good use and built a smartcrib. The smartcrib is said to combine a baby monitor, rocker, bassinet and crib in one. Next story is about how Amazon is developing non-contact payment systems that could help retailers in these times where social distancing is required. Amazon is testing a palm-based detection system. Security level is similar to fingerprint scans, but palm scanning at a distance is more practical.
Vocabulary and Sample sentences:
Sth fly/go out the window ph. – something does not exist or disappeared
Pattern n. – a repeated decorative design or an arrangement/ sequence
Practical adj. - something that can be done or likely to be feasible
每日英語跟讀 Ep.K020: Warming Alters Arctic Food Chain From the Bottom Up
The Arctic Ocean may seem remote and forbidding, but to birds, whales and other animals, it’s a top-notch dining destination.
“It’s a great place to get food in the summertime, so animals are flying or swimming thousands of miles to get there,” said Kevin R. Arrigo, a biological oceanographer at Stanford University.
But the menu is changing. Confirming earlier research, scientists reported Wednesday that global warming is altering the ecology of the Arctic Ocean on a huge scale.
The annual production of algae, the base of the food web, increased an estimated 47 percent between 1997 and 2015, and the ocean is greening up much earlier each year.
These changes are likely to have a profound impact for animals further up the food chain, such as birds, seals, polar bears and whales. But scientists still don’t know enough about the biology of the Arctic Ocean to predict what the ecosystem will look like in decades to come.
While global warming has affected the whole planet in recent decades, nowhere has been hit harder than the Arctic. Last month, temperatures in the high Arctic were as much as 36 degrees above average, according to records kept by the Danish Meteorological Institute.
In October, the extent of sea ice was 28.5 percent below average — the lowest for the month since scientists began keeping records in 1979. The area of missing ice is the size of Alaska and Texas put together.
Since the mid-2000s, researchers like Arrigo have been trying to assess the effects of retreating ice on the Arctic ecosystem.
The sun returns to the Arctic each spring and melts some of the ice that formed in winter. Algae in the open water quickly spring to life and start growing.
These algae are the base of the food chain in the Arctic Ocean, grazed by krill and other invertebrates that in turn support bigger fish, mammals and birds.
Arrigo and his colleagues visited the Arctic in research ships to examine algae in the water and to determine how it affected the water’s color. They then reviewed satellite images of the Arctic Ocean, relying on the color of the water to estimate how much algae was growing — what scientists call the ocean’s productivity.
The sea’s productivity was rapidly increasing, Arrigo found. Last year he and his colleagues published their latest update, estimating that the productivity of the Arctic rose 30 percent between 1998 and 2012.
Source article: https://paper.udn.com/udnpaper/POH0067/307254/web/
通勤學英語今年也榮獲2020年Apple Podcast十大熱門節目獎 (Biggest Shows of 2020)，
與Himalaya Awards 人氣播客冠軍 (Best Podcast Award)!
通勤學英語15min Today Podcast現在已經在網路各大Podcast(播客)平台收聽的到，台灣區以外的通勤家族們也慢慢擴大中。 不論你是 Apple Podcast, Spotify, Google Podcast, Himalaya, Castbox, Mixerbox, SoundOn, 或Firstory都可以收聽到我們的節目。
在教學的部分，我們也產出了第一個線上有聲課程- 社會人核心英語 Business English Essentials，
新的一年即將到來，祝通勤家族2021年事事圓滿 幸福快樂！Happy New Year!
每日英語跟讀 Ep.1019: Mount Everest higher than thought, say Nepal and China
Mount Everest is higher than previously thought, Nepal and China said on Tuesday, settling a long-running conflict over the height of the world’s tallest peak that straddles their shared border.
Kathmandu and Beijing had differed over its exact height but after each sent an expedition of surveyors to the summit they have agreed that the official height is 8,848.86m, a bit more than their previous calculations.
Nepal had never previously measured the height of Mount Everest on its own but had used the 8,848 meters estimate made by the Survey of India in 1954 that includes snow.
A Chinese measurement in 2005 determined that the rock height of the summit was 8,844.43m, about 3.7m less than the 1954 estimate.
Mountaineers had suggested a 7.8 magnitude earthquake in 2015 which killed nearly 9,000 people in Nepal may have altered the height of Everest.
Nepal, which is home to another seven of the world’s 14 highest peaks, sent its first team of surveyors in May last year to measure Everest.
Damodar Dhakal, spokesman for Nepal’s Department of Survey, said the Nepali surveyors had used the Global Navigation Satellite System to get “the precise height” of the giant peak.
Many Western climbers use the slightly greater height of 8,850m determined in 1999 by the National Geographic Society and Boston’s Museum of Science, in a survey that used satellite-based technology to measure the peak.
Everest has been climbed 10,184 times by 5,789 people from both sides since it was first scaled by New Zealander Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay in 1953, according to the Himalayan Database, which maintains records on climbs. At least 311 people have died on its slopes.
Source article: https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/lang/archives/2020/12/14/2003748655