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Archive for September, 2009

Sydney dust storm

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

Pictures from the dust storm in Sydney. A storm which blew in from the Australian outback blanketed Sydney in a layer of orange dust. Here, residents describe the bizarre and frightening scene.

Une énorme tempête de sable rouge venu du désert, a fortement perturbé ce mercredi la vie des habitants de Sydney, alors que le pays qui connaît une période de temps chaud et sec, doit également faire face à des incendies dans le Queensland. Les deux photos ont été prises à quelques heures d'intervalles. (REUTERS/Tim Wimborne) – Cliquez pour voir la photo suivanteLes services météorologiques ont émis une alerte en raison des forts vents attendus. (REUTERS/Tim Wimborne) – Cliquez pour voir la photo suivanteLe célèbre opéra de Sydney est à peine visible. (REUTERS/Tim Wimborne) – Cliquez pour voir la photo suivante

pictures from http://www.liberation.fr/monde/1101619-sydney-s-est-reveille-la-tete-dans-le-rouge:i-1

Days of children reading books ‘are numbered’

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

The days of children reading traditional books are numbered, claims the man spearheading a campaign to improve literacy in schools.

 

Publishers must adapt titles to the demands of modern young readers who spend more time on the internet if they are to succeed in persuading the next generation to read, says Jonathan Douglas, the director of the National Literacy Trust.

He made his remarks as researchers prepared to tell a conference starting today that children’s reading habits slump dramatically after they start at secondary school. The typical eight-year-old reads nearly 16 books a year but, by the time they reach 15 or 16, this has dwindled to just over three books per year. The big drop-off starts after the first year of secondary school, when the number of books read falls from nearly 12 a year to just six.

The study, based on interviews with nearly 30,000 pupils aged seven to 16, also shows a growing trend towards reading comics, magazines, newspapers and online articles, and playing computer games, after the first year at secondary school.

“Reading books does not maintain the strength of its hold on young people as an activity,” Mr Douglas said. “It begins to diminish from the age of 11. Publishers and the book trade must reinvent the book. They have to produce more graphic novels. Children are much more visually conscious than they were before – and the book trade must reflect this.

“Reading is not a static activity. It has always changed from one generation to another, depending on where literacy skills sat within society and what texts were available and why.”

A research paper entitled What Kids Are Reading, by Professor Keith Topping of Dundee University, will be presented to a national conference on literacy and numeracy in Stansted today. It also reveals marked differences in the books that girls and boys choose to read.

Among pre-teen girls, Jacqueline Wilson is overwhelmingly their favourite author. Her books explore growing up and teenage relationships and emotional development. Boys prefer adventure stories such as J K Rowling’s Harry Potter novels and children’s books by Roald Dahl.

Many respondents did not believe they were engaging in reading if they were scanning items online. Mr Douglas said: “Twenty-nine per cent did not see themselves as readers but they were spending a vast amount of time reading online.

“They thought reading only related to books. This shows we will have to develop new strategies for promoting reading to children in future.”

One way would to do this would be to ensure that more classic books and novels were made available online with illustrations, he added.

taken from : http://www.independent.co.uk/news/education/education-news/days-of-children-reading-books-are-numbered-955497.html

What about you ? Do you still read novels ?

September 11th

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

Douze couvertures de quotidiens américains le 12 septembre 2001 (DR)

Je voulais vous faire partager une réflexion interessante sur les une des journaux et sur la répétition des images à la une de certains médias.

Suivez le lien ici

Will Michael Moore’s next target be Barack Obama?

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

Read this article (it is quite short) about Michael Moore’s next movie.

Rosie the Riveter

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

As I mentionned Rosie the Riveter in class today, here are a few pictures of this cultural icon.

She represented the American women who worked in war factories during World War II many of whom worked in the factories and manufacturing plants  that produced munitions and materiel. These women sometimes took entirely new jobs and sometimes took the places of the male workers who were in the military. The character is now considered a feminist icon in the US, and a herald of women’s economic power to come.

Real “Rosies” at work :

File:Rosie the Riveter (Vultee) DS.jpg  File:WomanFactory1940s.jpg

Chocolate Patriotism

Friday, September 18th, 2009

Kraft Foods wants to gobble up Cadbury. An alliance of Nestlé and Hershey is rumoured to be considering a rival bid. Shareholders slather like children in the sweetie shop. Should we care that an iconic British company, maker of Dairy Milk, Crunchie, Flake and that budget stick of sweetness, the Fudge bar, looks set to fall into foreign hands?

When gourmets speak of food culture the image is of artisans and rural crafts, of home-baking and unpasteurised cheeses. But Britain’s food culture — like it or not — has long been industrialised and our living heritage includes our classic chocolate bars. Every childhood has pocket-money memories of Flakes stuck in ice-creams and hoarded squares of Dairy Milk. Many an adult has a secret treat in the corner shop. It’s an energy boost with a certain comforting nostalgia.

So the news of a foreign takeover gives me a surge of chocolate patriotism. For while Kraft gave the world the dubious delights of the processed cheese slice, we Brits became world leaders in chocolate bars.The great chocolate-lover Roald Dahl saw the invention in the Thirties of all the confectionary classics, including Crunchie. That decade was, he said, the equivalent of the Italian Renaissance or the golden age of Bach, Mozart and Beethoven. As a schoolboy at Repton, Dahl was part of a tasting panel for a Cadbury’s factory. The excitement of unwrapping the foil for unknown treasure is said to be part of the inspiration for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

The Great British chocolate bar can also claim some eco-cred. One of Cadbury’s brands, Green & Blacks, has made organic chocolate widely available. Last month the company put Fairtrade cocoa and sugar in Dairy Milk. More obscurely they have committed to using free-range eggs in Creme Eggs. Cadbury’s origins, like those of other chocolate companies such as Fry’s and Rowntree, go back to Quakers who were excluded from professions and went into industry. Their empires were built on the good treatment of their workforce and supplying delight at an affordable price.

Tastes change, and some sneer at “chavvy chocolate” such as Cadbury’s Milk Tray. The classic chocolate bar and chocolate box is not the same sort of taste as a posh bar of 70 per cent cocoa solids or truffles from Fortnum’s. But national tastes remain deep rooted. So as my eye sweeps across a counter of colourfully wrapped chocolate, it hurts to imagine their ownership going to a country that produces the likes of the oily Hershey bar.

taken from The Times online edition.

video from the BBC here : http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/8242008.stm (not to difficult ton understand)

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7990080.stm –> une vidéo très sympa sur les chocolats de Pâques chez Cadbury. Cela me rappelle un peu “Charlie Et La Chocolaterie”.

The Four-Day Workweek Is Winning Fans

Friday, September 18th, 2009

more about it here

As early as age 10, kids feel pressure to have a “perfect body”

Friday, September 18th, 2009

© John-Francis Bourke/Corbis

According to a study published in the journal BMC Public Health, children as young as 10- and 11-years-old already have notions about the ideal body. An analysis of more than 4,000 students from Nova Scotia revealed that young girls’ happiness with their body image is directly linked to how thin they are. Boys, on the other hand, were happiest when they were neither too lean, nor too heavy.

 

Given that dissatisfaction with body image is strongly linked with an increased risk for eating disorders, the researchers were particularly concerned to find that the perception of perfection began at such a young age. Overall, 7.3% of the girls included in the study reported that they didn’t like they way they looked, but that increased proportionately as girls’ weight, measured by body mass index (BMI), went up. For girls with normal body weight, 5.7% reported being unhappy with their bodies, among those who were overweight, 10.4% did, and among girls who were categorized as obese, 13.1% were unhappy with how they looked. For girls, the researchers noted, every one unit increase in BMI measurement indicated about an 8% increase in body dissatisfaction.

What’s more, among the girls, but not the boys, those who had lower levels of educational achievement or lived in more rural areas were more likely to report feeling unhappy with their bodies.

Among boys, reported dissatisfaction was slightly higher than for girls, 7.8% compared with 7.3%, but unlike with the girls, their level of contentment did not fall in direct association with increasing body weight. Instead, boys were unhappy if they perceived themselves as too skinny or as overweight. Yet, similarly to the girls, as BMI increased to overweight or obese, there was also a trend of increasing dissatisfaction among the boys. For boys of normal weight, 7.6% reported not liking how they look, of those who were overweight, 8.4% did, and of those considered obese, 8.1% did.

Previous studies have shown that early, school-based intervention to teach children about healthy body weight and body image have actually achieved some success. Considering the prevalence of childhood overweight—which now effects a third of American children, and more than a quarter of Canadian children—understanding how kids perceive themselves, and helping them to build confidence by building healthy behaviors may be vital not only for combating the obesity epidemic, but also diminishing its concurrent health problems, which range from diabetes to depression.

taken from Time.com

What’s your reaction ?

Do you feel some kind of pressure to have a perfect body ?

Kodachrome

Thursday, September 17th, 2009

Une histoire assez peu ordinaire.

Une chercheur tombe par hasard sur des vieux Kodachrome, système qui permet de réaliser les premières photographies en couleur (je ne suis pas spécialiste) et découvre une série de commandes pour le Ministère de l’Agriculture Américaine.

Voici un témoignage émouvant sur l’Amérique de la Grande Depression et du début de la Guerre.

Un diaporama de Time Magazine.

Il me rappelle Apocalypse, que vous avez peut-être regardé ces jours-ci à la télé, sur France 2, sinon ne ratez pas la suite de ce documentaire.

F W de Klerk praises Nelson Mandela

Thursday, September 17th, 2009

F W de Klerk, the last president of South Africa during apartheid, hailed Nelson Mandela as one of the greatest figures of the last century in a 90th birthday tribute on Thursday to his successor.

De Klerk, who stood down after Mandela won the first multi-racial elections 14 years ago, said his co-winner of the 1993 Nobel peace price was a born leader with the “humility and the grace of a true natural aristocrat.”

“He is the most famous South African who has ever lived and is universally regarded as one of the greatest figures of the 20th century,” said De Klerk in a statement.

The former National party leader acknowledged his working relationship with Mandela went through some rough patches both in negotiations leading up to the end of whites-only rule in 1994 and in a two-year stint as deputy president.

“He was a hard, sometimes remorseless, negotiating partner and our relationship was often severely strained,” he said.

“Nevertheless, whenever the situation demanded it …we were able to overcome our differences and take concerted action to defuse the crises as they arose.

“After his inauguration, Nelson Mandela used his personal charm to promote reconciliation and to mould our widely diverse communities into an emerging multicultural nation. This, I believe, will be seen as his greatest legacy.”

Mandela, who turns 90 on Friday, served one term as South African president before standing down and being succeded by the current head of state Thabo Mbeki in 1999.

Taken from Cape Times