#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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5 minute series #6 The Microwave

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The Microwave – Script

Hi. Good afternoon everybody. Thank you for coming again. Today, I want to talk to you for five minutes about the microwave. I forgot my clock. So, I’m going to use the timer on my watch. Are you ready? Here we go. Three. Two. One. Go.

The microwave oven. I’m sure nearly all of you have used a microwave oven at some point in your life, or at least seen one on TV. What do we use microwave ovens for? We use them for heating up our food. Now, how do they work? Well, inside the box that is your microwave you have something called a magnetron. The magnetron releases microwaves … radio waves. You know the shape of a wave. Like that. A microwave, each wave is about 12.2cm wide and the waves travel at 2.45GHz. One hertz is one wave a second, basically. So, 2.45GHz, if I can calculate that right, means about 2.5 billion waves a second. 2.5 billion times a second. That’s incredible. Continue reading

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10 minute series #2 The Elevator

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The Elevator Script

Hi. Good afternoon everybody. Thank you for coming. I’ve still got a bit of a cold. I’ve got a very stuffed up nose, so hopefully you’ll be able to hear me. And it keeps running as well, so I’ll try not to let it run too much during the talk.

Today I want to talk to you for five minutes about the elevator, although I am from England where we say lift rather than elevator, so, if I do occasionally say lift, I mean elevator, and vice versa. Hopefully you’ll understand. OK? Are you ready? Here we go. Five minutes about the elevator in three, two, one, go. Continue reading

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10 minute series #1 The Statue of Liberty

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The Statue of Liberty – Script

Hi. Good morning everybody. Thanks for coming. I hope you’re well. Today, I want to talk to you about the Statue of Liberty. I’m going to give myself ten minutes for this one. I find if I don’t time these talks, I just tend to go on and on and on. Waffle on. So, I’m going to give myself ten minutes. OK. Are you ready? Here we go. The Statue of Liberty in ten minutes. Three, two, one, go. Continue reading

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