Archive for the ‘7. Science Fact, Science Fiction’ Category

Like vs As

April 20, 2010 Leave a comment

Have you ever experienced any  difficulties in distinguishing  like /as when writing a composition? Our colleague Encarni has prepared a wonderful tutorial for you all to understand it once and for all. Thank you Encarni for such a thorough work.

Take this test on As vs Like to check you understood it all.


How to write a Good Book Review

April 19, 2010 Leave a comment

The book reviewer has to summarize and discuss the content and the theme, assess the author’s ability to express and explore this theme, and provide an opinion of the novel.

The aim of a book review is to communicate to the reader’s mind the ideas and sensations you experienced while reading the book.

A good review should include:

  1. The setting—where does the story take place? Is it a real place or an imaginary one?
  2. The time period—is the story set in the present day or in an earlier time period? Perhaps it is even set in the future! Let your reader know.
  3. The main character(s)—who is the story mostly about? Give a brief description. Which is your favorite character?
  4. The plot—what happens to the main character? WARNING! Be careful here. Do not fall into the boring trap of reporting every single thing that happens in the story. Just summarize the basics. In this particular book review we are far more interested in your opinions than in a rewrite of the plot, so keep it simple.
  5. Your opinion. Once you have described the basics the book, you can tell what you think about it. Some questions you might want to answer are:
  • Did you like the story? Why or why not?
  • What was the best part of the book? Why? And the worst?
  • How did the story make you feel? Did you feel different things at different points in the story?
  • Would you change the end or any other part of the story?
  • Would you recommend it to friends? Why (not)?
  • Would you read other books by this author?
  • What interesting vocabulary did you learn from this book?

Find below nice expressions to use in your summary:

About the author:

Wordle:  Author

The writer

The author

wants to

intends to

show that…suggest that …

indicate that ….

make us feel that ..

make us realize that ..

make us understand that ..

wants the reader to feel that …us to realize that …

the audience to understand …

us to  …..

About the book in general:

Wordle: describing books

•  What I find the most striking










this .. is that …
•  What strikes me the most in


…. is the fact that…is the notion that…

is the idea that…

•  It makes me think of / It reminds me of / This obviously refers to, alludes to…

You can also use the latest collocations we have learnt: breathtakingly beautiful, notoriously difficult, hilariously funny, exceedingly harsh, utterly devoted, blissfully happy…

We can´t wait to set our eyes on your reviews!!

Future Time in the Verbs

April 16, 2010 2 comments

Have a look at this tutorial about the different future expressions and try and complete these exercises. Thank you Encarni for sharing this great work. (key)

Top 10 ‘inventions’ that changed the world

April 15, 2010 24 comments

A panel of 20 experts from the British Science Association drew up the list of the innovations to mark National Science and Engineering Week. Here is the list in full:

1. GPS Technology

Originally developed as a navigation system by the United States military, the Global Positioning System uses a network of satellites around the Earth to pinpoint the exact position of a receiver anywhere on the planet.

2. The Sony Walkman

In 1979 Sony spawned the era of wearable technology with its iconic personal stereo. It enabled music fans to listen to their music while on the move without inflicting their choices on those around them. This wearable technology has now evolved, thanks to Apple, into the iPod and has changed music for ever.

3. The Bar code

These boring sets of black and white lines can now be found on almost every single item bought from a shop. They have fundamentally changed the way we shop. Norman Woodland first developed an early form of the bar code in 1949 by combining ideas from movie soundtracks and Morse code to help him speed up store checkouts.

4. TV Dinners

Food on the go has been around since the time of Ancient Greece, but convenience food really took off in the 1970s and transformed the way families ate meals, the high-street, the countryside and national health.

Traditional family dinners around the table disappeared and pre-packaged “ready meals” eaten on the sofa became the norm. Due to hectic lifestyles, the products, which were often frozen, were designed to make life easier for time-pressed consumers.

The popularity of processed food, however, is also blamed for driving the obesity crisis. With high fat, salt and sugar content to make the meals last longer on the shelves, the diet of the Western world has deteriorated.

5. PlayStation

Although games consoles had been around for some time, Sony’s PlayStation took gaming out of spotty teenager’s bedrooms and into adult living rooms when it was released in 1994.

Here was a computer with more power than the average family PC. As of July 2008 more than 102 million PlayStation units have been sold, while the next generations, PlayStation 2 and PlayStation 3, have also been turned into best sellers.

The gaming industry is now worth almost as much as the film industry, taking in more than £15 billion in 2008.

6. Social Networking

Around the world, every day, more than three billion minutes are spent by computer users on Facebook. Along with other social networking sites such as MySpace and Twitter, it has completely changed the way we interact and who we interact with.

Millions of people now communicate tiny details of their professional and personal lives by poking, twittering and posting. Online social networking has allowed people to rekindle friendships with friends they lost touch with years ago.

7. Text messages

Text messaging has created a new vocabulary and new grammar that is almost incomprehensible to those who do not use it. LOL and FYI have now passed into everyday English. Among 13-17 year olds, text messaging now outweighs old fashioned phone calls by seven to one.

8. Electronic Money

In the UK there were 7.4 billion purchases made during 2008 with plastic cards. Combined with internet banking, cards have made the cheque almost redundant.

Credit cards gave us greater convenience for spending, greater security and the ability to spend money anywhere in the world. They also brought us internet fraud and record levels of debt that have contributed to the global credit crunch.

9. Microwaves

Not the ovens, but the electromagnetic waves. Microwaves – electromagnetic radiation with wavelengths ranging between 1 millimetre and one metre – are used by mobile phones, wireless broadband internet and satellite television.

10. Trainers

Nightclub bouncers might not like them, but trainers changed fashion and the feet of generations. The Goodyear Metallic Rubber Shoe Company was the first to use a new manufacturing process that melded rubber to cloth in 1892, but it was not until the 1970s they took off.

With the help of celebrity endorsements by sporting superstars such as basketball legend Michael Jordan, trainers turned from being purely practical clothing for sport into a fashion item.

The Army now reports that young people are increasingly growing up without ever wearing leather shoes and their feet are now too soft to wear traditional military boots.

What is “your “ top invention? We look forward to reading your comments!

Technology at the service of mankind; brainport or lingual vision

April 14, 2010 Leave a comment

Can you imagine seeing through your tongue? Well, technology will allow you to do just that, as it does for Craig Lundberg, who having lost his eyesight he can now see using his tongue to see with.

A British soldier left blind by a grenade in Iraq has told how his life has been transformed by ground-breaking technology that enables him to “see” with his tongue.

Lance Corporal Craig Lundberg, 24, can read words, make out shapes and walk without assistance thanks to a device developed in the United States which could revolutionize life for other blind people.

Lundberg, from Liverpool, completely lost his sight after being struck by a rocket-propelled grenade while serving in Basra in 2007.

Faced with a life of relying on a guide dog, he was chosen by the Ministry of Defence as the first person in the country to trial the BrainPort device, which could revolutionize treatment for the blind.

It converts images into electrical pulses which are sent to the tongue, where they cause a tingling sensation.

The different strength of the tingles can be interpreted so the user can mentally visualise their surroundings and navigate around objects.

The device consists of a tiny video camera attached to a pair of sunglasses which are linked to a plastic “lollipop” which the user places on their tongue to read the pulses.

Watch this BBC clip to see the brain port in use and meet him in London.