Why knot?

Here’s a short explanation from NPR about why shoelaces come untied and what you can do to prevent it. You can read the article, and listen to the story with or without the transcript. To listen click on the “play” button you’ll see in the top-left corner of the article.

The last paragraph in the transcript has one vocabulary we used in Week 1’s class. And the bad joke which I used for the title of this post.

The article mentions this TED Talk about tying your shoes. This talk has been popular with past students, probably because it’s short and easy to understand. It’s also one of the very first TED Talks. Here’s the link to the TED site, where you can watch with a transcript.

Language usage question:

What does the word “nailed” mean in this context? (This is the second paragraph of the transcript.)

“Global weirding”

Instead of “global warming” we should say “global weirding” say some people. The term became a buzzword back in 2010; it’s a way to preempt climate change skeptics from saying, “But how can it be global *warming* if it’s snowing outside?”

I was listening to a new podcast called “Pod Save America” the other day. It’s a venture by former Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau (not the same guy as the movie director — see yesterday’s topic) and his Crooked Media colleagues. They had Katharine Hayhoe, “sensible Canadian” and climate scientist on the show, and her hopeful, easy-to-understand explanation of where we are and what we can do was inspiring. The interview with Hayhoe begins at about the 37’40” mark of the April 3 episode.

Here’s her Global Weirding YouTube channel, and here’s one of the most recent uploads:

Discussion & writing topics:

  • Do you typically use the term “global warming” or “climate change” in English? What do you say in Japanese? What do you know about the phenomenon? What do you know about the “climate change deniers” and their point of view?
  • Do you think your carbon footprint is small or large?
  • Besides the cliched “eco bag” and “my bottle” answers to the “What can we as individuals do to protect the environment and prevent climate change?” what other answers are there? (You can try summarizing the video above and also add your ideas.)
  • What podcasts do you listen to in Japanese? In English? If you were to create your own, what would the theme be?

For more research, try Skeptical Science.

Here’s one carbon footprint calculator to try (it’s from the UK, so when you answer questions about travel, pretend you’re living in the UK — “domestic travel” — to get a more accurate result), and these are some tips about what you can do to decrease your footprint.

Should we die?

A thought-provoking article about whether death may not be inevitable anymore.

“Should we die?” (from the Atlantic)

This video is funny in parts and eye-rolling in parts. (Unable to embed; click on the screenshot below and the video should open in a new window. If not, you can find it in the article.)

should-we-die

A couple of reactions:

Do you really need a computer to tell you you’ve reached 66% serenity while meditating?

“Will aging dictators be able to stay in power forever?” (a cold chill down my spine)

Writing prompts:

Does having a “death deadline” encourage you to live your life to the fullest?

What aspects of IoT (the Internet of Things) do you think are beneficial to society?