روش های یادگیری و آموزش زبان انگلیسی از طریق اخبار
Scientists use windows to trap solar energy
Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have discovered a new way of capturing the Sun’s energy. A team from MIT have created a new technique that involves coating windows with special chemical dyes. The dyes help trap the light from the Sun and send it to special storage cells that then convert the light into electricity. The team’s discovery could transform buildings into energy plants. It could even one day mean that the windows in our houses could power our homes. The scientists say their dyes can produce ten times more power than the traditional solar panels used around the world today. They predict that this clean and renewable energy technology could be available within the next three years.
The idea was first developed in the 1970s but was abandoned. Scientists then found that too much of the collected sunlight failed to reach the solar storage units at the edges of the window. The MIT engineers revived the idea and used coloured dyes to stop the light from escaping. MIT’s development also does away with the need for hundreds of bulky solar cells. Instead, their method only requires cells around the edges of the window. MIT’s Professor Baldo explained: "The coated glass would let through about 10 per cent of the Sun to light up the room, and the remainder would be captured and funnelled to the edges to solar cells to generate electricity…It would look like smoked glass because of the dyes." The new discovery could help fight climate change.
Scientists develop pill to replace exercise
US researchers say they have developed a pill that makes you fit without exercising. Scientists at California's Salk Institute for Biological Studies tested a new drug on genetically engineered “marathon mice” that could run non-stop for hours. They then developed a pill that could reproduce the positive effects of the running. Researcher Professor Ronald Evans said the pill helps cells burn fat quicker and at the same time boosts energy levels. The new discovery could benefit those who do not get the recommended 40 minutes of exercise per day. Professor Evans said: "If you're out of shape, and most of us are…you have to do some exercise.…If there was a way to mimic exercise, it would make the quality of exercise [we] have much more efficient."
Fitness experts are unconvinced by the new discovery. They say there is no substitute for real exercise and a balanced, healthy diet. However, it seems there would be enormous appeal for a pill that does away with the need for strenuous workouts or sweating it out jogging. If the effects can be reproduced in humans, it could become one of science’s biggest money-spinners. It could additionally reduce a large number of diseases related to obesity and seriously cut the number of hospital patients. Scientists also say such a medicine could be used to treat muscle-wasting diseases. The pills are still in the experimental stage and the researchers are not working with any drug manufacturer.
Japanese cars still most reliable
Japanese cars are the most reliable in the world. That’s according to J.D. Power and Associates, an international market research company. J.D. Power’s asked thousands of car owners about problems they had with their cars in the first three years of ownership. The Lexus car topped the reliability list, for the fourteenth year in a row. Lexus is Toyota’s luxury car brand. The survey found that Lexus cars were getting better and better. They had 120 problems per 100 vehicles, down from 145 problems in the 2007 study. "That's a pretty good track record," said Dave Sargent, a J.D. Power's executive. Lexus was first place in six categories, while other Toyota and Honda cars led four categories. Toyota's Prius hybrid was the winning compact car.
Mr Sargent said that reliability in cars is improving every year. In the past two years, the industry average has improved from 237 problems per 100 vehicles to 206. Land Rover, sold earlier this year to India's Tata Motors, was the worst-performing brand, with 344 problems. Sargent also said the “seriousness” of the problems was decreasing. The complaints being reported a few years ago were “hard” problems, such as serious technical defects. Sargent said these were becoming less common. He told reporters it is now more likely that car owners will complain about “soft” problems, like strange noises or wear and tear of the car’s interior. He added that: "Improved quality is good for everybody, [especially] for the consumers, who don't have the annoyance of problems [and costs]."
Baseball was invented in England
Historians in England have uncovered evidence that baseball may not be as American as apple pie. The BBC reports that baseball was played in England in 1755, more than twenty years before America’s independence in 1776. This may come as a shock for lovers of America’s national game, who believe baseball is an American creation. A recently discovered diary is “proof” that Englishmen were hitting home runs long before their cousins across the Atlantic. The diarist was a man called William Bray, who wrote about the game being played in the county of Surrey, south of London. The Surrey History Centre confirmed the diary was authentic and that it contains an entry describing the game of baseball. The BBC says Major League Baseball officials are aware of this news.
It will come as no surprise to many sports fans that baseball originated in England. The English invented the world’s most popular sports, including football, tennis, rugby and cricket. What might come as a surprise is that the original form of baseball was played by both sexes. William Bray’s diary describes a game of baseball played on a spring afternoon in which “young ladies” took part. A Washington Post journalist, Kevin Sullivan, told the BBC that he was not surprised baseball came from Britain. He said: “It's a great American tradition to take things from other places and improve them. We've always known that baseball evolved; it wasn't invented like basketball.” Despite the recent discovery, it seems unlikely that England will overtake the USA as the number one baseball power.
UN boss arrives at work in solar taxi
United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon showed the world the future of green transport on September 12 when he used a solar-powered taxi to get to work. The Solartaxi is the invention of Swiss engineer Louis Palmer. Mr Ban hoped his zero-emission commute would promote the use of alternative energy sources in our day-to-day life. He was very excited and positive about his carbon-neutral journey to work, saying: "I hope that this Solartaxi, one of the alternative sources of energy, can give some good messages to the people around the world that we need to be creative; we need to be practical; we need to really address these energy issues and also address the climate change issues." The Secretary General added: "This is a fantastic experience. I hope I can enjoy another ride."
The Solartaxi is currently on a worldwide tour to highlight the need for more environmentally-friendly technologies. The tour’s climax will be in December, when the energy-saving vehicle arrives in Poznan, Poland. The Polish city is hosting a conference on climate change. This gathering is part of preparations for a bigger meeting in Copenhagen in 2009, which will attempt to replace the Kyoto Protocol. Mr Palmer was very enthusiastic about Mr Ban’s trip in his Solartaxi. He said his taxi showed that there are solutions to reversing the damage humankind is doing to the planet. He congratulated the UN for its efforts: "As climate change doesn't stop at borders, it's a global problem and the UN is playing a central role in the fight to stop global warming," he said.
Protecting Antarctica from tourism
A solution may be at hand for holidaymakers who are finding it harder to get off the beaten track. For those who really want to get away from it all, a new holiday destination has sprung up – Antarctica. However, this new hotspot, or freezing zone, might only be for those with the deepest pockets if a new policy gets under way. Tourism on Antarctica has been increasing dramatically in the past twenty years, from a few thousand people in 1985 to more than 40,000 in 2007. The growing numbers are having a negative effect on the pristine environment of the South Pole. To combat this, researchers from Holland’s Maastricht University have come up with a possible solution: limit the number of tourists allowed to visit and auction the vacations to the highest bidders.
Many environmental protection agencies agree that there is a need to protect the frozen wilderness from the damage created by modern tourism. Antarctica is the last unspoiled place on Earth. It has a very delicate ecosystem that could be easily upset by hordes of tourists landing in airplanes and using skimobiles. A difficulty exists because Antarctica is not a country and therefore has no government to pass laws or guidelines to control the number of visitors. The Maastricht University team’s proposal to auction off a fixed number of tourist places seems a workable solution. It would limit the number of visitors and therefore contain the amount of environmental damage, and the money would be used to protect Antarctica’s future. For further details, consult your local South Pole travel agent.
World’s heaviest man plans to marry
Love conquers all. This is certainly so for the former heaviest man in the world. Mexican Manuel Uribe used to be the world’s most overweight person. He was in the Guinness Book of Records in 2006 after breaking the human weight record. Special weighing scales showed he weighed 560kg. He was so enormous he could not leave his room. He spent his whole life living on his bed, eating huge meals and watching TV. He decided enough was enough and that he wanted to change his life. He also wanted to marry his longtime girlfriend Claudia Solis. Uribe went on a crash diet and lost almost half his body weight. He lost a whopping 250kg and has slimmed down to a lighter 310kg. He still has a long way to go before he can once again lead a normal life.
The secret to 43-year-old Uribe’s success is his love for his fiancée Claudia. The two plan to marry on October 26 in his hometown of Monterrey. Manuel said he owed a lot to the love of his life. He said she encouraged and supported him non-stop to lose weight. After they got engaged two years ago, Uribe promised Claudia he would get into better shape for their wedding day. He went on a diet called the Zone Diet, a special combination of carbohydrates and proteins. His diet was created and supervised by a team of weight loss and obesity specialists. He is still too big to walk on his own and said his dream is to be able to walk again. Manuel told reporters that he will have a big wedding, but the reception would have a “low-calorie banquet”. He added this meant no wedding cake for him.
Historic jumps made above Mt. Everest
Three skydivers made history over Mount Everest on October 5th by being the first people to parachute above the world’s highest mountain. The parachutists, from New Zealand, Britain and Canada, trained for many years to make their jumps. Their plane flew about 150 metres above Everest’s peak when they leapt out. They had to wear oxygen masks and parachutes that were larger than usual to help them in the thin air. The three were in freefall for 30 seconds before their chutes opened and they glided down to land. A member of the jumpers’ support team Krishna Aryal explained to the Reuters news agency what the jumps looked like from the ground: "They looked like tiny birds flying in the blue sky as they jumped from the plane," he said.
The skydivers were over the moon with their jump over Everest. New Zealander Wendy Smith said: "It was stunning. I had never seen so many mountains before. To be on top of the world was simply stunning.” Britain’s Holly Budge agreed, saying her jump was “just spectacular”. Their jumps broke several skydiving records. They entered the record books for making the highest skydiving freefall at nearly 8,900 metres. They also landed on the world’s highest drop zone at 3,761 metres. Twenty-nine more daredevils are waiting for favourable weather conditions to make the same jump. The thrill seekers are part of the ‘Everest Skydive 2008’ event organized by the British extreme sports company High and Wild.
Internet helps families stay more in touch
Much has been said about how anti-social the Internet and mobile phones are. The truth is however, according to new research, communication technology is bringing people closer together. A study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project found family members were keeping in regular contact today more than ever before. And this is all down to e-mail, chat, our cellphones and SMS messaging. It makes sense. Years ago, it took a long time to write a letter, then find an envelope and go to the post office to buy a stamp and post it. Today we write mails while we wait for our change in the convenience store and they’re sent in an instant. Having free Internet telephone calls also helps us to stay in touch more often and for longer. Everyone’s at it, from five-year-olds to tech-savvy grandparents.
According to the Pew survey, technology has a very positive effect on communication within families. Researchers asked 2,252 adults whether new technologies had increased the quality of communication with their family. Fifty-three percent said it increased communication with family members they did not live with, two per cent said technology decreased this. Numbers were similar for those living in the same house as their family. The project director Lee Rainey said: "There's a new kind of connectedness being built inside of families with these technologies”. Survey co-author Barry Wellman agreed: "It used to be [that] husbands went off to work, wives went off to a different job or else stayed home…and the kids went off to school…and not until 5:30, 6 o'clock did they ever connect," he said.