The BrainCraft video collection on YouTube, where you can learn why we behave the way we do, is a good place to practice your English listening. Here are a couple of recent videos:
About Valentine’s Day, sort of:
For “citizens of the planet Earth” — why we tend to group people into “us vs. them”:
Find more videos and extras at BrainCraft’s website.
This video explains how many people you’d need to power your house by bicycle:
A few things:
- American houses use a lot of energy! My apartment only uses about 300 kw/h per month. But we don’t have a clothes dryer or central heating, and it’s obviously a much smaller space. Still…
- That local dish called the “Garbage Plate” looks and sounds, frankly, disgusting. Sorry, Rochester. And students, please don’t judge all “American food” by this example.
Read more here: “Could You Power Your Home With A Bike?” (from NPR)
In American English, left-handed people are called southpaws. Find out why here.
This article from the BBC (“The mystery of why left-handers are so much rarer”) tells us about the history of left-handedness, including some rather surprising statistics and the fact that the origin of the word “left” means “weak”. Statistics are different for people who are “left-eared” and “left-eyed”.
I’ve heard that in the past in Japan, children born left-handed were taught to become right-handed because of a social stigma or some superstition associated with lefthandedness. That doesn’t seem to be true anymore — I know lots of students who are left-handed.
You could also find out more about the symbolism of left/right in politics as a mini-research project.
Japan has just won its 25th Nobel Prize. Or 24th, depending on whether or not you count Shuji Nakamura, a naturalized American citizen born in Japan. Most of the Japanese media seems to be saying 25. Why not, right?
I just saw Professor Osumi explain in a press conference why he has such a big, bushy (by Japanese standards anyway) beard. He said that when he was an exchange student he was told by people that he looked really young, and so he started growing a beard to look older.
Here are three articles from the Nikkei Asian Review where you can find out more about him and his research:
I especially enjoyed the second one, where we learn why he’s stoic (it’s because he’s from Kyushu, says the article) and how he’s not really that competitive; he just loves doing research.
He’ll be on the top page of the Nobel site until the next prize is announced. If you miss it, this is what it looks like. After the next prize is announced, you can find all the information about this medicine prize here.
including this poll and an interview with Professor Osumi.