#43 Oil

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 Oil

Hi. Good morning. How are you? Today, I want to try and talk to you for 10 minutes about oil … petroleum. Let’s see how we go. This is a big topic. Three two one go.

What is oil? Well, petroleum comes from the Latin “Petra” which means “rock” and “Oleum” which means “oil”. So, it’s basically rock oil. But, of course, is not from rock. How is oil made? Well, millions of years ago, animals, plants, dinosaurs, living things died and their matter fell into the oceans and gradually, over millions of years, layers of sediment, layers of sand, built up on top of them. As this sand increased it became extremely heavy and great weight … great mass causes intense heat and pressure. And this intense heat and pressure basically cooked these animal parts and broke them down into their oils and gas. Now this oil and this gas stays in certain pockets. Some of it has disappeared. Some of it is still there, but there are pockets of oil and gas all over the world. Continue reading

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#42 The Monty Hall Problem

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The Monty Hall Problem

Hi. Good morning everybody. Today, I’m going to explain the Monty Hall problem to you. Okay? Now this is not as confusing as people think. The Monty Hall problem was based on a 1970s game show called “Let’s Make A Deal” and the host was called Monty Hall, hence the name of the problem. Continue reading

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#41 The Fibonacci Sequence

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The Fibonnaci Sequence

Right. Good morning everybody. How are you today? Today, I’m going to try and talk to you for 10 minutes about the Fibonacci sequence. This is actually very interesting. Right. Here we go.

Ok. What do these numbers have in common? 1 1 2 3 5 8 13 21 34 55 and so on. What do they have in common? Well, that is the Fibonacci sequence. How do those numbers go together? What’s the pattern? Well, you probably already know. One one. One plus one is two. One two. One plus two is three. Two three. Two plus three is five. Three five. Three plus five is eight and so on and so on, ad infinitum. You can work these numbers out easily. Well, you have this formula which I’m going to put here. Fn=Fn-1+Fn-2. Basically, any Fibonacci number equals the sum of the two numbers in the sequence before it. It’s pretty easy to work out. You can work out any Fibonacci number you like. Continue reading

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#40 Nuclear Bombs

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Nuclear Bombs

Okay. Hi. Nuclear bombs. Ten minutes. Go. Right we’re going to talk about nuclear bombs today. We can’t talk about nuclear bombs without talking about how they work. So, we have to try and understand two different processes: fission and fusion. I’m going to try and explain both these processes, however my background is in English literature not in physics, so I’ll do my best. Here we go. Fission first. Fission means splitting up of something. In this case, splitting up of an atom. What happens in nuclear fission is you get an unstable isotope, usually something like uranium 235, and what that is is an atom that has the same number of protons but a different number of neutrons. And they fire a neutron at that atom very very fast. And when that neutron hits the atom it makes it unstable and the atom breaks into two halves. In the separation process it releases a vast amount of energy and also it releases neutrons again, and those neutrons hit another atom which split that up and those neutrons hit another atom, and this keeps going. We have a cycle. It goes critical. OK? That’s how nuclear fission works. Nuclear fission is used in any nuclear power station … nuclear reactor. They use nuclear fission to produce energy. They use the energy to heat water. They use this resulting steam to drive a generator which makes electricity, of course. The problem with nuclear fission is you get a leftover product. You get a lot of radioactive matter that’s left behind and that has to be stored and it stays radioactive for tens of thousands of years. So, they have to bury it in different places. A lot of problems with that. Continue reading

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10 minute series #8 The Great Wall of China

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The Great Wall of China – Transcript

Hi, good morning. Thanks for coming again. How are you? I hope you’re well. I’m wonderful. Sorry I didn’t get to make a video again last week. I’ve been running around getting stressed about things that I don’t need to get stressed about. Never mind. Today’s topic is the Great Wall of China. By coincidence, over the weekend I watched Matt Damon’s movie The Great Wall of China. Which, although not historically correct, is actually quite interesting. I rather enjoyed it. It didn’t get excellent ratings, but I kind of enjoyed it. If you get a chance, go and watch it. Watching movies is a great way of improving your English. Watch them without the subtitles and then watch them with the subtitles. See how much you understood. Continue reading

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10 minute series #7 The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World

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Seven Wonders of the Ancient World – Transcript

Hi, good morning, everybody. Thanks for coming today. Today, I want to try and talk to you for 10 minutes about the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. I’m going to try to. I’m afraid I have something in my right eye, so if I squint at you a little bit too much, I’m very sorry. I’m not winking. All right, 10 minutes about the ancient world.

Don’t forget if you click on the link below here, and so many people don’t do this, if you click on the link below here you can find the transcript for this talk, you can find questions, essay type, multiple choice type, you can find sample answers. You can also download the MP3. If you try the questions, it will help you understand the talk and it will help your English improve. Try the essay questions too, they’re useful. You could even speak them and that would help your speaking as well. Continue reading

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10 minute series #6 London Bridge

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London Bridge – Script

Hi. Thanks for coming this morning. Today, I want to talk to you for ten minutes about London Bridge. I’m sorry I couldn’t make a video last week. I was on my summer vacation. Now I’m back, so hopefully I’ll get back into the swing of things. Don’t forget, as always, if you click on the link below here in the description, you can find the script for this talk, you can also find questions, multiple choice and essay type, and you can find sample answers. Many people that watch this video, they don’t actually click on the link down there. They don’t go and look at those questions. You should. They’ll help you understand this talk more, but also, they’ll help you practice your English. I’m convinced, if you practice your English, you will get better. Please try. Continue reading

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10 minute series #5 The Dust Bowl

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The Dust Bowl – Script

Hi. Good morning everybody. How are you? Today I want to talk about the Dust Bowl, which happened in the 1930s, in the center of North America. I’m going to do it in ten minutes because it’s too big a topic to cover in five minutes. Don’t forget, if you click on the link down in the description you can find the script for this, you can find questions and answers. Please try the questions. You can practice your listening skills and your writing skills. Your English will improve if you try that.

Here we go. Ten minutes on the Dust Bowl. Three, two, one, go. OK. I live in Japan, here, right now, and every year we have a problem with sand blowing across from China, from basically the Gobi Desert. Happens once or twice a year. The particles of sand blow across and our things get covered in sand. It only happens a couple of times a year. Why is that relevant? Well, you’ll find out in a little bit.

Let’s talk about America. We’re going to talk about the plains of America. The plains are the central part of Central North America. America is basically bowl shaped. You’ve got mountains over here, mountains over here, and it’s flat in the middle. That flat bit is the plains. It spreads from Canada in the top, down as far as Mexico. Because the plains are in the center of the American continent, the North American continent, they suffer from continentality. What that means is that the center of continents don’t have the warming and cooling influences of the sea, so they get much hotter. They have more extremes of temperature. They get very hot in the summer, very cold in the winter. And this area of course has very strong wind. And it’s also very susceptible to droughts. Now, this is going to become important in a minute as well. Continue reading

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10 min series #4 Walmart

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Walmart – Script

Hi. Good afternoon. Today, I want to try and talk to you for ten minutes about Walmart, the American supermarket chain. And, before that though, don’t forget, if you click on the link in the description below here, you can find the script for this talk, you can find sample questions, answers and the MP3. Practice your English. You will get better. I promise you.

All right. Ten minutes about Walmart. Here we go. Three two one go.

Before we had Walmart, before we had supermarkets, one hundred, hundred and fifty years ago, early shops were much different to they are today. A shop would be small, obviously, and you would have assistants. You wouldn’t touch the produce yourself, you would tell the assistant what you want, and they would go and get the things for you. Things were not canned, they were usually loose in bags or baskets or drawers, and you would say to the assistant how much of something you want, and they would weigh it out for you. Shops only sold things that were grown very locally, of course, because there was no way of getting them around, there was no distribution network. You would buy fresh local produce, sometimes dried things, and that would be it. Continue reading

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10 min series #3 The Printing Press

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The Printing Press – Script

Hi. Good afternoon. Thanks for coming. Today, I want to talk to you for five minutes about the printing press. OK. This is going to be tricky but I’m going to do my best. Here we go. Five four three two one go.

Many people say the printing press is the most important invention after fire and the wheel. And there are many arguments to … that agree with that. I mean, do you read? Do you read books, newspapers, magazines, textbooks, adverts, posters? Everything pretty much we have in the world around us has been made because of the printing press. Do you know anything? Do you have knowledge? That’s because of the printing press and we’re going to talk about that in a second. Continue reading

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