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How are you doing?

The last month of year-round, December, arrives today. And it has  Father's Day in itself. What Father's Day is? Read its story at below if you want to know.

 

Father's Day in Thailand in 2019

 
 Father's Day is a celebration that honours the role of fathers and forefathers. It is a modern holiday, though the ancient Romans did have a tradition of honouring fathers, every February, but only those who had deceased.

Around the world, Father's Day is celebrated on different dates, though the day is celebrated in a similar manner, usually involving giving gifts to fathers and family activities.

When is Father's Day?

The most popular date for Father's Day is the third Sunday in June. This date was first observed in the USA and has since been adopted by many countries. 

In Spain, Italy and Portugal, Father's Day is celebrated on 19 March, which is the Feast of St. Joseph who is the patron saint of fathers.

In Germany, Father's Day is celebrated on the same date as Ascension Day.

Across Scandinavia, the tradition of a Father's Day was adopted in the 1930's. Originally the American date was used, but in 1949 the Nordic countries decided to move it to the second Sunday in November. This was partly to place it half a year away from Mother's Day but also it was chosen to increase sales in an otherwise quiet trading period before Christmas. The only country who didn't fall in line was Denmark. They forgot to inform the public and press about the date change, so Father's Day remained on the same day as their other early June holiday, Constitution Day.

In Taiwan, Father's Day is celebrated on 8 August as the Chinese for eight is 'ba', while a colloquial word for father is 'ba-ba' - so the eighth day of the eighth month sounds similar to 'daddy'. This was also the date for Father's day in China, but the date was moved to the third Sunday in June.

History of Father's Day

In the USA, the first noted Father's Day celebration was held on July 5, 1908, in Fairmont, West Virginia. It was first celebrated as a church service at Williams Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church South, now known as Central United Methodist Church.

It is said that Grace Golden Clayton suggested the service to the pastor as a memorial after a mine explosion in nearby Monongah had killed 361 men the previous winter. Another explanation for the service was Mothers' Day, which had been celebrated for the first time two months prior in Grafton, a town that was 15 miles away.

An alternative claim for the inventor of Father's Day is the president of the Chicago branch of the Lions' Club, Harry Meek. He is said to have celebrated the first Father's Day with his organization in 1915; and the day that they chose was the third Sunday in June, which was the closest Sunday to Meek's birthday.

A key figure in the establishment of Father's Day was Mrs. Sonora Smart Dodd, whose father, the Civil War veteran William Jackson Smart, as a single parent reared his six children. Mrs. Dodd initially suggested June 5, the anniversary of her father's death as a date for Father's Day. It is claimed she did not provide the organizers with enough time to make the arrangements, and thus the celebration was put back to the third Sunday of June.

The first Father's Day in June was celebrated on June 19, 1910, in Spokane, WA. In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge recommended the day as a national holiday.

President Lyndon Johnson made Father's Day a holiday to be celebrated on the third Sunday of June in 1966, though the day was not officially recognised until 1972, during the presidency of Richard Nixon.

 
Did you know?

Three facts about Father's Day

In Germany, Father's Day is celebrated on the same date as Ascension Day.
In Taiwan, Father's Day is celebrated on 8 August as the Chinese for eight is 'ba', while a colloquial word for father is 'ba-ba' - so the eighth day of the eighth month sounds similar to 'daddy'.
In 1972, President Richard Nixon signed into law a permanent U.S. Father's Day to be observed on the third Sunday of June
 MORE FACTS ABOUT FATHER'S DAY

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Is Music Similar Across Cultures?

November 30, 2019

Khmer traditional musicians play one of the Khmer traditiional music for the Cambodian-American Heritage Dance Troupe dancers to perform for a big audience at the Library of Congress, in Washington D.C., in May, 2017. (Courtesy photo of Cambodian-American Heritage Dance Troupe)
Khmer traditional musicians play one of the Khmer traditiional music for the Cambodian-American Heritage Dance Troupe dancers to perform for a big audience at the Library of Congress, in Washington D.C., in May, 2017. (Courtesy photo of Cambodian-American Heritage Dance Troupe)
 
Is Music Similar Across Cultures?
 

Love songs, dance tunes, bed time songs for children – all of these kinds of music share patterns across cultures, a new study finds. Researchers who set up the study say this suggests a commonality in the way human minds create music.

The findings were reported in Science magazine.

Samuel Mehr was the lead author of a report on the study. He is a research associate in psychology at Harvard University in Massachusetts.

Mehr noted that the study supports “the idea that there is some sort of set of governing rules for how human minds produce music worldwide.”

He and other researchers studied musical recordings and ethnographic records from 60 societies around the world. They looked at a mix of very different cultures, such as the Highland Scots in Scotland, Nyangatom nomads in Ethiopia, and Aranda hunter-gatherers in Australia.

The researchers found that music had a link with behaviors such as dancing and loving, among others.

Manvir Singh is a graduate student in Harvard’s department of human evolutionary biology and a co-author of the study. Singh noted that childrens’ lullabies were likely to be slow and fluid while dance songs tended to be fast and lively.

Another co-author of the study was Luke Glowacki, an anthropology professor at the Pennsylvania State University. He noted that the social purpose of the music influences how it sounds.

He said: “Dance songs sound a certain way around the world because they have a specific function. Lullabies around the world sound a certain way because they have a specific function ... If music were entirely shaped by culture and not human psychology you wouldn’t expect these deep similarities to emerge in extremely diverse cultures."

Glowacki noted how amazing the musical patterns across cultures were.

He said: “The fact that a lullaby, healing song or dance song from the British Isles or anywhere else in the world has many musical features in common with the same kind of song from hunter-gatherers in Australia or horticulturalists in Africa is remarkable.”

I'm Jonathan Evans.

 

Will Dunham reported on this story for Reuters. John Russell adapted it for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

________________________________________________________________

Words in This Story

pattern – n. the regular and repeated way in which something happens or is done

author – n. a writer of a book or report

ethnographic – adj. from the noun ethnography, the study of human races and cultures

graduate student – n. a person who has successfully completed a bachelor's degree and is continuing their studies

lullaby – n. a song used to help a child fall asleep

function - n. the special purpose or activity for which a thing exists or is used

amazing – adj. of or involving great surprise or wonder

feature – n. a quality or property of something

horticulturalist -- n. people or scientists who grow fruits, vegetables, and flowers

We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments Section.

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Study: Planting Trees near Factories Can Help Reduce Pollution

November 29, 2019

This file photo from July 14, 2010 shows smoke pouring from the United States Steel Corp.'s Clairton Coke Works in Clairton, Pa. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File)
This file photo from July 14, 2010 shows smoke pouring from the United States Steel Corp.'s Clairton Coke Works in Clairton, Pa. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File)
 
Study: Planting Trees near Factories Can Help Reduce Pollution
 
 

New research suggests that planting trees and other plants near factories could reduce pollution by almost one-third.

The addition of plant life may even cost less and be more effective than technology designed to cut pollution, a new study found. The findings were reported in the publication Environmental Science & Technology.

The lead author of the study was Bhavik Bakshi. He is a professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio.

Bakshi and other researchers collected data about air pollution and plant life in 48 of the 50 American states. They studied public records from every state other than Alaska and Hawaii.

The researchers knew that trees and plants are already capturing large amounts of harmful emissions from the air. So they attempted to find out whether new vegetation could lessen air pollution’s effects.

The study attempted to show how this vegetation could reduce the most common pollutants from industrial areas, including the production of energy from coal, oil and gas.

The researchers found that restoring vegetation to land cover, where possible, could cut air pollutant levels an average of 27 percent in the areas studied. They also found that in 75 percent of the areas, it would cost less to use plants and trees to reduce air pollution than to add new air cleaning technology.

“The fact is that traditionally, especially as engineers, we don’t think about nature,” Bakshi said in a statement. “We just focus on putting technology into everything.”

People seeking to solve air pollution problems “need to start looking at nature and learning from it and respecting it,” Bakshi said. He added that nature-based methods could result in “win-win” solutions that save money and are better for the environment.

The study found that in most cases, less money would be spent creating vegetation solutions than building and operating air cleaning equipment. It found that only one piece of equipment was estimated to be more cost effective than trees and plants. That device is an industrial boiler.

The research suggested that in manufacturing, both natural solutions and technology could offer cost savings, depending on the kind of factory.

The study did not identify which kinds of trees or plants would be best at reducing air pollution. But Bakshi said the kind of vegetation likely would make a difference in air quality and that further study is needed.

The researchers predicted that the addition of trees and plants could help lower air pollution levels in both cities and rural areas. However, success rates would differ widely depending on how much land was available and current air quality levels.

I’m Bryan Lynn.

 

Bryan Lynn wrote this story for VOA Learning English, based on reports from Ohio State University and Environmental Science & Technology. George Grow was the editor.

We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments section, and visit our Facebook page.

_________________________________________________________________

Words in This Story

 

emission – n. the act of releasing something, such as gases from vehicles or factories

vegetation – n. plants and trees that grow in a given area

restore – v. improve something or bring it back

focus – v. to direct your attention or effort at something

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6 Minute English

INTERMEDIATE LEVEL

How intelligent is the octopus?

EPISODE 180802 / 02 AUG 2018

The octopus uses its senses of vision and taste like we do. Its large nervous system is a sign of intelligence. Philosopher of science Peter Godfrey-Smith wonders how the octopus - a solitary creature - became so smart. Neil and Catherine chat about this curious animal and teach you six items of vocabulary.

This week's question:

What is the correct plural form of octopus? Is it:

a)    octopuses

b)    octopodes  /ɒkˈtɒpəʊdɪːz/

c)    octopi

Listen to the programme to find out the answer.

Vocabulary 

cephalopod
the group of animals to which the octopus belongs 

publicity stunt
something a company might do to grab your attention and promote its products 

a common ancestor
a distant relative from which two different species evolved

comparable to
similar to

vertebrates
animals that have a spine

protean
(adjective) adaptable and changeable

Transcript

Note: This is not a word for word transcript

Neil
Hello and welcome to 6 Minute English. I'm Neil.

Catherine
Hello. And I'm Catherine.

Neil
Now, Catherine, how do you feel about cephalopods?           

Catherine
Er …cephalopods

Neil
Yeah. You do know what cephalopods are, don’t you?

Catherine
Yes, of course I do. It’s a new kind of ipod, isn’t it? 

Neil
Not exactly, no. A cephalopod is a kind of sea creature, like a squid or octopus. 

Catherine
Oh, cephalopods, yes, of course. I know what a cephalopod is.

Neil
Of course you do. Well, today’s programme is all about one of these squishy creatures, the octopus, which apparently is a pretty clever animal. To start, here’s today’s quiz question. What is the correct plural form of octopus? Is it:
a)    octopuses
b)    octopodes  /ɒkˈtɒpəʊdɪːz/
c)    octopi

What do you think, Catherine?

Catherine
OK. I think this is a trick question. I think people think that it's 'octopi', but it's actually, there's a technical term for it, which is the correct term and that's 'octopodes'. But some people think, like children and stuff, they just put the plural 's' on so they say 'octopuses'. So I'm going for answer b) octopodes. 

Neil
Wow! Listen out for the answer at the end of the programme, just to see how right or wrong you are. Now, apparently the octopus is a remarkably intelligent creature. They have the ability to solve some complex problems and in one famous case one was even able to predict the result of World Cup football matches. 

Catherine
Oh yes, that was Paul the octopus. I don't think he was really psychic though. It was just a publicity stunt by the zoo that had him, as a way to promote their zoo. 

Neil
It may have been a publicity stunt, but he was actually quite accurate. In fact, he correctly predicted the result of 12 matches out of 14 - that's 86%. Not bad, eh? 

Catherine
That's amazing. I didn't know he was that good. Anyway, Neil, tell us more about the octopus. 

Neil
Well, I’ll leave that to Peter Godfrey-Smith, philosopher of science and author of Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness. He is quite a fan of our eight-tentacled friends. On the BBC Radio 4 programme Start the Week he said that humans and the octopus have a common ancestor. This is a term in science which means 'a creature from which both species evolved'. Like a very distant relative. How long ago does he say this common ancestor lived?

Peter Godfrey-Smith
We got the octopus as a very special evolutionary product. It’s an animal that’s removed from us by a lot of evolutionary distance. The common ancestor that we share with an octopus lived about 600 million years ago or actually even a bit longer than that. But it has a large nervous system in a range comparable to vertebrates.

Catherine
So our common ancestor lived about 600 million years ago – or maybe a little bit longer than that. 

Neil
And he says that the octopus has a nervous system that is comparable to vertebratesComparable means 'similar to', like, and vertebrates is the term for the group of animals that have a spine or backbone. We humans are examples of vertebrates. 

Catherine
So what Godfrey-Smith is saying is that the squishy octopus has a nervous system which has some similarities to our own in that it's quite large. 

Neil
And a large nervous system is a sign of intelligence. He goes on to talk a bit more about how we might be able to relate to the octopus. He talks about the protean nature of its body. Protean is an adjective which means 'adaptable or changeable', and the octopus's body is certainly that. Why might that be a problem for us? 

Peter Godfrey-Smith
The sensory world of an octopus has, in some way it’s recognisable. They’re very visual animals, they’re very taste-oriented animals and those things make sense to us. But the absence of hard parts, the protean nature of the body and the sort of extent of the sensitivity makes it a hard thing to think about. 

Catherine
This is interesting, isn’t it? So the octopus uses its senses of vision and taste, like we do, and this is something we can recognise, but what is tricky for us is that its form is so completely different from ours. The octopus isn't a vertebrate so it can change its form and its shape very easily. 

Neil
Yes, we’re not used to thinking of soft squishy things having intelligence. And speaking of intelligence, we’ve been very careful not to use the plural of octopus so as not to give away the answer to today’s question which was: what's the correct plural form?
a)    octopuses
b)    octopodes  /ɒkˈtɒpəʊdɪːz/
c)    octopi 

Catherine, you said… 

Catherine
Well, I said that some people think it's 'octopuses', a lot of people think it's 'octopi', but the actual answer is 'octopodes'. 

Neil
And you're completely right. Congratulations!

Catherine
Thank you. So let's review today's vocabulary. Cephalopod is the name of the group of animals to which the octopus belongs. 

Neil
A publicity stunt is something a company might do to grab your attention and promote its products. Like claiming an octopus can predict the winner of football matches. 

Catherine
common ancestor is a distant relative from which two different species evolved. 

Neil
Comparable to means 'similar to' and vertebrates are animals that have a spine. 

Catherine
And then finally we had protean, this adjective means 'adaptable and changeable'. 

Neil
Time now for us to say goodbye but remember you can find us on ­­Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube as well as our website, bbclearningenglish.com. So be sure to check us on one, several or all of those before joining us again. Goodbye.

Catherine
Bye!

......................................................

Military offers some explanations to Thanathorn's queries, mum on wealth of generals

Nov 30. 2019
Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit
Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit

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By THE NATION

1,875 Viewed

Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, the leader of Future Forward Party (FWP), has asked the Defence Ministry about its budget use, and in response to his many queries Army representatives offered explanations on Saturday (November 30).

He also asked the Defence Ministry to show details on:

1 Income from using radio waves in the past 10 years;

2 List of companies managing radio wave concessions and their contracts;

3 Contracts between the Army and Channel 7 dating back to 1969;

4 Income from allowing concession to Channel 7 every year dating back to 1969;

5 Income from rental multiplexer;

6 Agreement between the Defence Ministry and the Finance Ministry on budgets;

7 Details of off-budget funds types 1 and 2.

Thanathorn explained that his doubts on these issues were possibly related to the unusual wealth of those generals, and which people were curious to know about.

 

“According to the accounts presented to the National Anti-Corruption Commission in late May, there were 81 generals in the National Legislative Assembly holding Bt78 million of assets, or who earned around Bt12.72 million per year.

“Their income was three times their salaries, which means most of them were having a side business,” Thanathorn said.

Responding to the queries, General Pornpipat Benyasri, the commander-in-chief, responded that the fund set aside from the budget of up to Bt18 billion was managed by the Budget Bureau, while the disbursement was operated normally without special treatment.

On income transparency, he said that members of the National Legislative Assembly had already disclosed their properties before and after taking up their position. He also confirmed that relevant authorities will submit the documents about other details to Thanathorn later.

Meanwhile, General Apirat Kongsompong confirmed that some of the money was income from the military hospital, which will be used for management. Regarding the multiplexer cost, he said that the contracts with Channel 5 and Channel 7 had expired in 2018. He said the military already had a plan to reduce both the number of generals and the size of the military. However, Apirat did not answer the question of the unusual wealth of the generals.

Thanathorn asked about details on fund management and who was responsible for the management. He insisted that he would like to see the financial statements of all Army race courses and asked why it must be under Army control since it is not the Army’s main mission.

....................................................................

Father’s Day means Dad dines for free at the Square

Nov 27. 2019

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By THE NATION

2,699 Viewed

Treat the old man to an excellent Father’s Day feast at the Novotel Bangkok Platinum Pratunam restaurant the Square on December 5 – he’ll be eating for free, after all.

His dining companions pay Bt999-net each, and that includes tea, coffee and soft drinks.

On offer will be freshly shucked oysters, Alaskan king crab, New Zealand mussels, prawns, rock lobsters, crab on ice and grilled river prawns from the live station.

These and other delights can be barbecued if you prefer, or you might like an oven-fired pizza, made-to-order pasta or the unlimited foie gras.

The Chinese station will have home-made dim sum, roast duck, BBQ pork and crispy pork belly.

All this is to be considered, plus international, Thai and Asian dishes, including fresh sashimi and nigiri, organic salads, cold cuts and cheeses.

Finally, there will be home-made desserts and ice-cream, while all dads receive a cupcake and a family Polaroid.

 .................................................

FINISHED 

December 1, 2019

 

 

 



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