«Curiosity is the engine of achievement» Ken Robinson
«Любопытство – двигатель достижений» Кен Робинзон
THE CHILD PRODIGY
Do you know what a prodigy is? There is an amazing fact about a real prodigy child, who was born in Lubeck, Germany, in 1721. Two month after his birth, he was already able to speak intelligible German. At the age of one, he read the Pentateuch. In his third year, Christian devoted his time to the study of history and geography, and learned to read both French and Latin.
THE WORLD`S SMALLEST FROG
The smallest frog in the world is only 7 millimeters long. It was discovered in Papua New Guinea in 2009. This frog has a voice that doesn`t sound like a frog at all. It sounds like an insect.
SOCKS INSTEAD SHOES
A Swiss company has invented a pair of unusual socks. They are so strong that you can walk in them without shoes. And they feel very comfortable. The Swiss designers believe that these socks are ideal for people who like to go barefoot and could be used for outdoor activities such as running and rock climbing.
Read more in Speak Out № 4 (92) 2012; № 5 (111) 2015
WHAT A BITE
Everyone knows about the powerful jaws of the great white shark, but it`s nothing compared to the crushing bite of a giant prehistoric fish. Dunkleosteus was a huge fish that lived about 360-380 million years ago. It could be 10 metres long and weigh 3 tonnes! And it had very strong jaws.
Read more in Speak Out № 3(97) 2013
The state of Florida in America is being attacked by giant snails! The giant African land snail can grow as big as a rat! These snails eat their way through stucco walls for the calcium they need to grow shells. They also attack gardens and fields. It is believed that they were first brought into Florida as pets.
The pyramids of Egypt are the most well known, but there are other pyramids in the world. It is believed that there are about 100 pyramids in the Shensi Province of China. They are 4,500 years old and are made of clay which has turned to stone over time. Many of them are flat at the top and have temples on them.
GOOD-BY TO BAD BREATH
There is nothing worse than the smell of bad breath. However, it may soon be a thing of the past! Scientists have found that the key to freshness isn`t mint but the bark of magnolia. Rather than covering up the smell like chewing gum does, the magnolia kills almost 100 percent of all the smelly bacteria that live in the mouth.
Read more in Speak Out № 6 (2008); № 5 (2009)
SARAH WINCHESTER`S HAUNTED HOUSE
Sarah Winchester was the widow of a wealthy gun magnate. She believed she was haunted by the ghosts of the people her family`s weapons had killed. A medium told her that the ghosts would leave her alone if she made a house for them. This strange house has doors that open into blank walls, windows that look into other rooms in the house and a staircase that leads to the ceiling.
WHERE TWO CONTINENTS MEET
Istanbul is the only city in the world located on two continents. One part of the city is in Europe, the other part is in Asia. It`s the largest city in Turkey and the fifth largest city in the world. In its long history, Istanbul has served as the capital city of the Roman Empire.
WHEN YOU DOGS FLY
BASE –jumper Dean Potter is very fond of his pet dog. So when he jumps from cliffs, he sometimes takes it with him. He even made a film about their joint jump called «When dogs fly». This short film shows the dog jumping on its owner`s back. Animal rights activists, however, don`t like Dean Potter`s idea.
In the past, people believed that wells had magic powers. Many thought that wells could cure illnesses or even help women to have babies! There also lots of stories about wells and human heads. Druid priests who lived in England before Roman times made human sacrifices. They believed, that if a human head was thrown into a well, the water would have extra magic powers!
(Read more in Speak Out № 2(90) 2012)
Kelbrun Castle is a large castle in Scotland. It was built in the 13th century and it’s the family home of the Earl of Glasgow/ A few years ago experts told the owners of Kelbrun Castle that its concrete facing should be replaced in order to save the stonework. At the suggestion of his children, Lord Glasgow invited four Brazilian graffiti artists to paint the walls.
(Read more in Speak Out № 2(90) 2012)
Sculptor Stuart Murdoch has built what he hopes will be the world`s largest deckchair/ The huge chair weighs almost six tonnes and is eight and a half metres tall.
(Read more in Speak Out № 2(90) 2012)
HOW TO FEED YOE PETS BY SMARTPHONE
A revolutionary invention has been made by Carlos Herrera from Los Angeles. He has created a wireless feeder for pets. Now pet owners can feed their animals when they are away – smartphone. Read more in Speak out: № 6 (94) 2012.
PROTECTIVE SHOES FOR POLICE DOG
Police dog in Germany will be given special shoes. Now their paws will be protected from broken glass in dangerous situations like clashes with football hooligans. Dog`s paws are sensitive and easily hurt. They can easily cut themselves on broken glass and a bad cut can put a police dog out of action for six month, said one of the police officers. But the most difficult thing is to persuade the dog`s to keep the things on. When they first try them on they just pull them off with their teeth. They need about two weeks to adapt, he added.
We think of the pyramids as being old stone structures in Egypt or Mexico. But I.M. Pei, a famous Chinese-American architect, built a glass pyramid as the entrance to the famous Louvre Museum in Paris in the late 1980s.
BETTER THAN DRONES
Authorities in Lima, the capital of Peru, use birds instead of drones to catch people who dump rubbish in the streets. They have trained ten vultures to fly around the city and find rubbish tips. Each bird wears a video camera. It`s hoped the birds will help make the city cleaner.
Read more in Speak Out № 2 (2013); № 6 (2015)
HOW WELL DO CATS HEAR?
A cat has 32 muscles in each ear. That`s why it can hear so well.
A FEW FACTS ABOUT T-SHIRT
Do you know why T-shirt is called T-shirt? That`s because it is just like a capital letter T in shape. Most of us wear them, especially in summer, and some people have quite a few of them in their wardrobe. The T-shirt began its life many centuries ago, as underclothing. But in the 1940s American sailors began to wear their T-shirts as if they were shirts. In the 1950s, the T-shirt was taken up by Hollywood movie stars who thought it gave them a cool, tough guy image. Soon almost every young man wanted one, although it took a few more years for the T-shirt to become common dress for women.
The world`s first vertical forest is rising in Milan, Italy. The two apartment houses will be covered in 900 treess! The aim is to create a microclimate. The trees will catch dust, take in vcarboon dioxide and produce oxygen.
Read more in Speak out 2 (96); 3 (97)
DINING IN JAPAN
If you are invited to dinner in Japan, be prepared for a few surprises. First of all, you may find yourself seated on the floor. Before starting a meal, you will be given a hot towel to wash your hands with, and than someone will offer you a drink. Usually the youngest person at the table or the hostess herself serves her guests. The first course will probably be some sort of soup, but there will be no spoons on the table. It means that you can pick up the bowl and drink the soup. There is a magic phrase you can always use: «Uhitsurei shimasu» which means «please excuse me».
If you use the same pencil to take a test that you used for studying for the test, the pencil will remember the answers. That`s what experienced American students say.
WORLDS TALLEST BUILDING
The Burj Khalifa in Dubai is the tallest building in the world. It`s 828 m. tall! In fact, it`s twice as tall as the Empire State building in New York. The steel-and-glass building looks like a giant needle piercing the desert sky. And it passes through several climatic zones The temperature at the top is up to 10 degrees C cooler than at the bottom. It has the highest swimming pool in the world, on the 76th floor and the highest mosque in the world on the 158th floor. The Burj Khalifa is so tall that architects are calling it not just a skyscraper but a «superscraper». The building has already been used by several base jumpers.
Read more in Speak out 1 (77) 2010
The century plant which can be found I Mexico flowers in 25 years and then dies.
The waters of the Sea of Japan are full of giant jellyfish. They can be 2.2 meters in diameter and can weigh more than 300 kg. Local fishermen don’t` know what to do. The creatures are ruining their nets. One fishing boat was even capsized after a giant jellyfish got caught in its net. I have never seen anything this big before said one of the fishermen.
THE VERY LIGHT CAR
The very light car will soon be seen in the streets of many cities. At just 376kilograms the VLC is much lighter then other cars, which usually weigh about 1,500 kilograms. It means that the car will be very economical because lighter o0bjects need less energy to move. It also means that it will be greener than today`s car. Like a race car, the VLC has a long, narrow body with wheels on the outside, allowing it to move very smoothly.
THE WORLD`S FIRST BIONIC MAN
Scientists have created the world`s first bionic man. Rex, as they named him, has the face of a man, a working heart, lungs, kidneys and arms and legs that move. He even has blood running through him/ Actually, Rex`s organs are not real, but he is made up of all the different parts that people can have as transplants. Now Rex is on display at the Science Museum in London.
It was built between 70 and 80 BCE in Rome, the capital city of the Roman Empire. Amazing shows were held here: gladiator fights, animal hunts, pretend sea battles and public executions. Its nickname, the Colosseum, means huge place. It`s real name was the Flavian amphitheatre.
GHOST TOWN BODIE
One of the best preserved of America`s ghost towns is Bodie. It has been empty since the 1940s. It started in 1859, when William S. Bodey discovered gold here. At the height of its success the town had 2,000 buildings and a population of 10,000 people. Its Main Street had 65 saloons. However, as the meaning industry went into the decline, it also started to empty. It is now a National Historic Landmark and its open to tourists.
Read more in Speak out 1 (137) 2020; 6 (106) 2014
A FOREST GUITAR
A farmer in Argentina planted a forest in the shape of a guitar! The guitar is so large, that you can only enjoy it from a plane.
ROBOT ARTIST GETS FIRST EXHIBITION
i-Da is the first realistic humanoid robot in the world to stage an art exhibition. Named after Ada Lovelace – who wrote the first ever computer program – Ai-Da can use a robotic arm and a pencil or pen to draw what it sees. With a little human help, it can create sculptures when hooked up to a 3D printer. Ai-Da was designed to look and act like a human. It has a face covered in silicone skin. 3D printed teeth and gums and cameras in its eyes. A team of 15 programmers build Ai-Da`s software.
200,000 GLASSES OF MILK
Although a cow has no upper front teeth, it grazes up to 8 hours a day, taking in about 45 kg of feed and the equivalent of a bath tub full of water. A healthy cow gives about 200,000 glasses of milk in her lifetime.
Read more in Speak Out #124, 2017
IT WILL VANISH WITHOUT EVEN ASH
A diamond is the hardest natural substance on earth, but if it is placed in an oven and the temperature is raised to about 763 degrees Celsius, it will simply vanish, without even ash remaining. Diamonds are formed over a period of a billion or more years deep within earth`s crust about 150 km deep – and are pushed to the surface by volcanoes. A diamond is 58 times harder than the next hardest mineral on earth, corundum, from which rubies and sapphires are formed. It was only during the 15th century that it was discovered that the only way to cut diamonds was with other diamonds. If you hit one hard with a hammer, it will shatter.
HOT AIR BALLOONS
A sheep, a duck, and a rooster were the first passengers in a hot air balloon. More than 200 years later, the quest to become the first to circumnavigate earth in a hot air balloon grabbed the attention of the world.
THE SALTIEST LAKE IN THE WORLD
The saltiest lake in the world is in Antarctica. It is called Don Juan Pond. Scientists say that it is the saltiest nown body of water on Planet Earth. It is 18 times saltier than see water and twice as salty as the Dead See. Discovered in 1961, the lake is about 330 metres by 100metres in size and it`s very shallow. Even though it`s in Antarctica, Don Juan Pond doesn`t freeze. That`s because it`s so salty.
THE WORLD`S TALLEST EDUCATIONAL BUILDING
Moscow State University is the tallest educational building in the world. It is 240 meters tall, has 32 floors and 40,000 rooms.
A SWIMMING POOL FOR DOGS
A swimming pool for dogs has been built in a Spanish town. Dogs of all shapes and sizes can enjoy it. The swimming pool has a water-slide, as well as special inflatables for dogs. Many people don`t realise that dogs really love the water but they often don`t get the chance to enjoy it.
Many people like to see celebrities, but celebrities don’t usually like being looked at. However, there is one place in London where you can meet lots of celebrities – at once! This is Madame Tussauds, one of the most popular wax museum in London, it has smaller museums in a number of other major cities. It was founded by wax sculptor Marie Tussaud. Madame Tussauds is a major tourist attraction in London, displaying the waxworks of famous and historical figures, as well as popular film and television characters from famous actors.
Read more in Speak out 5 (111) 2015, Speak out 6 (112) 2015, Speak out 6 (106) 2014
Young people in modern society
A man’s age is something impressive, it sums up his life: maturity reached slowly and against many obstacles, illnesses cured, griefs and despairs overcome, and unconscious risks taken, maturity formed through so many desires, hopes, regrets, forgotten things, loves. A man’s age represents a fine cargo of experiences and memories.
Christmas: history, customs and traditions
Christmas is the most popular and colorful holiday celebrated by Christians all over the world. The word Christmas comes from «Christ’s Mass», the Mass said in the Roman Catholic church to honour the birth of Jesus Christ. It is generally held on December 25th, but other Eastern Orthodox churches (they follow the Julian calendar) celebrate Christmas on January 7th. There are a lot of traditions connected with Christmas. Some of them go back to pagan times, others are relatively new.
A teddy bear is a stuffed toy in the form of a bear. History of teddy bears is not that old as we can imagine. The first teddy bear toy was invented in 1903 in Giengen. Germany by Margaret Steiff in her family’s small toy factory on her nephew Richard Steiff’s advice. Teddy bears are among the most popular gifts for children and are often given to adults to signify love, congratulations, or sympathy.
Read more in Speak out 4 (110) 2015
Manga is very popular in Japan and all children and adults read manga cartoons. These Japanese manga cartoons have in depth stories and are sometimes also available as paperbacks. 3D manga models like manga boys and manga girls are used in advertising and it shows the brilliance of the manga artists. Manga Characters are highly fashionable and express the Japanese culture very beautifully.
Read more in Speak out 2 (132) 2019
The Grand Canyon
The Grand Canyon is one of North America’s greatest wonders. This vast canyon carved by the Colorado River is 277 miles (446 km) long, over 1 mile (1.6 km) deep, and up to 18 miles (29 km) wide. It is one of Earth’s very largest, longest and deepest gorges. The Grand Canyon is known for its visually overwhelming size and its intricate and colorful landscape. Every year, The Grand Canyon receives approximately five million visitors and the area is now protected as a national park.
Read more in Speak out 5 (129) 2018
The € euro symbol
The symbol € was the fifth letter in the ancient Greek alphabet. It`s called epsilon and was said like our lettere. It`s also the first letter of the word Europa. She was a princess in ancient Greek mythology and Europe was named after her.
The coloured part of your eye is called the iris. It contains pigments, which are materials that give colour. If there`s a lot of pigment, your eyes will be dark brown. If there is only a little pigment, your eyes will be pale blue. Between those two, there are many other possibilities, giving all the different eye colours. The amount of pigment depends on your parents, grandparents and other ancestors. We call this heredity.
Some people think all pigs have curly tails like this one in the photo. But that`s not always true. Breeders have created different varieties of pigs that we see today. Some have curly tails and others have straighter tails. Wild boars and wart hogs have tails that hang down. Some pigs have no tails at all.
Read more in Speak Out # 3 (127) 2018