Friday, March 26, 2010

Healing technique or a bunch of hooey?

A revolutionary new technique for healing? Watch the video and answer the questions that follow:

1. What does EFT make clear before the video begins? What do we call this type of statement and why is it so common in the USA? (Think of a recent discussion we had in class).
2. Which much older technique is the inspiration for EFT? What does EFT stand for?
3. What is the source of illness, according to the proponents of EFT?
4. When does physical pain start to subside, according to the EFT founder?
Fill in the blanks:
5. One EFT patient (shill?) says as a child he fell down a _______________________. This same man was diagnosed with ___________________. What did EFT do for this man? He says he's 54 and he's doing _________________________.
6. EFT technicians analyze the health of a patient by analyzing the flow of their __________________. They only take a _________________ of a person's blood.
7. According to the philosophy of EFT, what does a sick person not need in order to heal his illness? What famous organization (religion) makes the same claim?
8. Do you think this technique is legitimate or a load of hooey? Why?
9. Would you try this technique if you were ill? Why or why not?
10. Do you think this technique is expensive? How much "training" do you think is necessary to become an EFT practitioner?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Does it make a difference?

Yes, little expressions like this one do make a difference. (And you should learn how to use auxiliary verbs in this way - more on this in class). A native speaker would use this expression fairly often, but I seldom hear my students using it. It means "help" a situation in some way. For instance: "If you're looking for a job, having the PCE qualification can make a difference."
Similarly, "makes no difference" or "doesn't make any difference" have the opposite meaning, eg. It makes no difference who wins the elections. (Being cynical, again - sorry).

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Public domain photo #2

Here's another photo I got from the Library of Congress public domain collection. I have pretty detailed information about the people in the photograph, thanks to the LOC files. Here's a few questions - I know it might be difficult to answer them, but take a crack at it, anyway:
1. When and where do you think the picture was taken?
2. What sort of life do you think the people in the picture lead? What sort of challenges do they face?
3. What can we deduce about their religious convictions? What evidence do you have? Give as much detail as possible.
(Answer questions in your notepads, but do feel free to post a comment sharing your impressions of the photo).

Vocab focus

This one came up in that somewhat macabre video (my apologies if anyone had nightmares) about the Alcor customers, which I posted a few days ago, entitled "You decide..." First check out the definition and pronunciation here:
This is one of those typical words that every native speaker knows, but for some reason goes unnoticed by even the highest level students (like yourselves!) Let's try to remember this word and use it in class once in a while. If someone is in a feisty mood or acting in a feisty fashion, you can say "A bit feisty today, aren't we?"

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A closer look at Noomi

Now that we know who she is, let's get to know Noomi Rapace a little better. Watch this interview and answer the questions:
1. How did Rapace prepare for the role of Lisbeth Salander? Why did she feel these preparations were necessary?
2. Is Rapace's English perfect? Can you detect any errors? Do they impede communication?
3. What do critics say about Rapace's performance?
4. What kind of life did Rapace lead as a teenager?
5. What did Rapace not want to do in the violent scenes of the film?
6. What do we know about Rapace's taste in film? Would she accept a role in a Hollywood film? Do you believe her? (sorry, that's me being cynical again).
7. Do you think Millennium is a "mainstream" novel and film (according the video it is not)? What does mainstream mean, anyway? Examples?
Discussion questions:
1. Have you read any of the Millennium books? If so, why so, and if not why not?
2. Do you think Millennium is a mainstream phenomenon or a fringe cult series?
3. How many books do you read per year? How many movies do you see per year? Why do we tend to see more movies than read books? What's more satisfying? Why?


Here's an interesting one. She's not really famous internationally...yet, anyway. But she is famous in a certain European country. Guess the country and you'll be one step closer to guessing the identity of FPIQ #8.

Monday, March 22, 2010


Yes, this guy is famous! Hint: he's not from an English-speaking country and he's not from Spain, either.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

You decide...

You decide if the content of this video is romantic, sad, tragic, bizarre, surreal, grisly, whatever adjective you choose to describe it. Post a comment with your own impressions and answer the questions that follow in your notepads:

1. More than anything else, what kind of story is this (according to the narrator)?
2. What was Terry like (tall and ______________________).
3. According to Joe, he and his late wife never had a what?
4. What was done with Terry's body the minute after her death?
5. What preparations has Joe made for Terry's "return?"
6. What does Joe drink with each meal?
Discussion Questions:
1. What kind of service does Alcor offer? What is taken for granted by its customers?
2. Would you ever consider hiring the services of a company like Alcor? Why or why not?
3. Do you think technology will exist in the future which will enable us to revive the dead?
4. Was this one of the spookiest videos you've ever seen?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Interview with Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales

This video is a little bit longer than usual, but you only have to watch the first three minutes of it to answer the questions:

1. Is Washington, D.C. a state? What is it, then?
2. According to Stephen Fry, Washington feels more _________________________ than other American cities.
3. Jimmy Wales is the founder of the most _______________________ encyclopaedia ever.
4. How many people actually work for Wikipaedia, according to Jimmy Wales? Do you believe that?
5. Do the paid employees edit Wikipedia? Who does all the administrating for Wikipedia?
6. Does Wikipedia survive on advertising money?
7. Is Jimmy Wales a billionaire, according to him? Do you believe him? (Am I being too cynical?)
8. Wales feels proud that Wikipedia is different from other things people associate with Internet. What are a couple of the negative things he mentions about Internet? How does Wales think Wikipedia is different?
Discussion questions:
1. How often (if ever) do you use wikipedia? Do you find it useful? For what?
2. Do you think wikipedia is a reliable source of information, compared to other sources in the media? Why or why not? Who updates wikipedia? Are you a registered user yourself? Would you like to be? Why or why not?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The secret of success (FPIQ # 6)

Well, sort of. These new-age gurus are always speaking in riddles, so I don't know whether I chose the right title for this entry. Do you know this bloke? He has many high-profile followers: for instance, he is the spiritual adviser for Hillary Clinton, current Secretary of State of the United States.

I'm going to make it easy for you this time. Just click on this link and you'll see a little interview. Answer the questions that follow in your notepads:
1. According to the speaker, what is success not about?
2. How does the speaker measure success, then?
3. What is his formula for having all the time and money in the world?
4. Do you think this guy is a success, by his own definition? Do you think he's a quack? Why or why not? Do you think he just tells people what they want to hear? (OK, OK, I'm being cynical again, I know - let me have it!)

Monday, March 15, 2010


This guy is famous - maybe not when the picture was taken (although he did have a relative who was already famous at the time - and I'm not giving any more hints).

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

No need for lie detector machines

Wanna know how to catch a liar? Here's a video that might help:
You will see a series of steps with flash headings for each telltale sign that a person is lying. Write the headings in your notepads and make notes for each one. Be prepared to discuss in class.

Discussion questions:
1. Do you think this video is helpful for detecting lies? Or is it rubbish?
2. Are there other reasons why a person might perform the actions stated in the video as indicators of lying (i.e. personality, cultural differences, etc.)?
3. Do you think the actors in the video do a good job? What is the "lie" in question here?
Feel free to post comments!
4. Use the techniques you have just learned to determine if James Cameron is lying about how proud he is of his ex in the previous blog entry.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

ex hubby being nice...I think

Who says divorce always ends in bitterness? It seems, in this case at least, James Cameron has a good relationship with his ex-wife. What clues do you get from this short video? Maybe I'm wrong and it's just an act to get good press. What do you think? Post a comment. Also, answer the questions that follow in your notepad.

1. How many times has Cameron seen The Hurt Locker? What special version did he get to see, and what does this suggest about his relationship with his ex?
2. How does Cameron feel about his ex-wife after having seen the film? What role did he play in her decision to direct the film?
3. How does Cameron describe the film?
4. What does Cameron think about all the praise the film has been getting?

Monday, March 8, 2010


OK, here's a good one. Hint: she's managed to make her mark in an industry dominated by men. And you can certainly say her star is on the rise.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

How to have a happy marriage

Here's a little public domain video, which I thought you mind find interesting to watch. Times have obviously changed...but perhaps not that much. Watch and answer the questions that follow.

1. In what country do you think this film was produced and released? What clues are there?
2. In the beginning of the video, the narrator uses three verbs beginning with the letter "b" to describe the different phases of marriage. What are they?
3. What organization do you think sponsored this video? Do you think it was a successful campaign? Were there (or are there today) similar campaigns in your country?
4. What are some of the challenges married couples face, according to the video?
5. Do you agree with the message of the video? Why or why not?
6. In what ways would one say the video is "politically incorrect," by today's standards?

What was once impossible

Here's a brief excerpt of Kennedy's famous moon speech, as well as footage of the moonwalk, in which you will hear the most famous phrase ever uttered by an astronaut. See if you can make it out.
Also, fill in the blanks in Kennedy's speech (below):

"I believe this nation should ____________ itself to achieving the goal, before this ___________ is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth. No single space project in this period will be more impressive to _____________, or more important for the __________________ exploration of space, and none will be so difficult or expensive to ________________."
President John F. Kennedy, speech to U.S. Congress, May 25, 1961.
Discussion questions:
1. Can you find two instances in Kennedy's speech of politically incorrect language, by today's standards?
2. What percentage of the population do you think believed this was an achievable goal?
3. Can this be compared to a world leader today announcing his country's intention to send a manned mission to Mars? Or is Mars a much more ambitious and unachievable goal?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Public domain document

I've discovered a treasure trove (good expression) of old photographs in the Library of Congress archives. Here's one for us to discuss - answer the questions in your notepads to prepare discussion in class:
Pay close attention to detail and click on the photo to enlarge.
1. Where and when do you think this picture was taken?
2. What social reality does it reflect? How have things changed, particularly in recent times, in the country portrayed in the photo?
3. What was this social system called in the US? In South Africa?
4. Do you think this system of discrimination exists elsewhere in the world today?
5. What is the sign in the photo an advertisement for?
6. What is meant by "public domain" and how is it different from "copyright?"
7. Do you think all art should belong in the public domain? Why or why not?

Monday, March 1, 2010


Listen to this brief discussion with Michio Kaku, theoretical physicist and popularizer of space-age science (heir to Carl Sagan). Answer the questions that follow:

1. What is teleportation?
2. What is the record distance for teleportation?
3. What are scientists actually able to teleport at this stage?
4. What does Dr. Kaku believe we will be able to teleport in the foreseeable future?
5. Why would human beings be so difficult to teleport?
6. Many references are made to Captain Kirk. Who is he?
1. Did you know that scientists were teleporting atoms today? Are you surprised?
2. What applications do you see in teleportation?
3. Would you like to be the first human being to be teleported?


OK, the only hint I'm giving you is yes - he's Spanish and I think his star is on the rise, too! And don't even try to cheat - I've taken measures to prevent it!