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Should Facebook control what art you see?

Sir Peter Paul Rubens was a European artist who lived from 1577 to 1640. He is world-famous for his paintings, many of which include nude and semi-naked people and cherubs.

Rubens’ works of nudity are displayed in museums and art galleries all over the world, but one place where you cannot see them is on Facebook where they are censored.

In the above video the social media police protect visitors to a Rubens art gallery from seeing paintings depicting nudity.

Do you agree with Facebook’s social media police?

Please leave your views about this important issue in the comments below!

I am not a number

I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed or numbered. My life is my own.

For official purposes everyone has a number. Yours is number six.

I am not a number. I am a person.

Six of one, half-a-dozen of another.

Is this, is this what they did to you? Is this how they tried to break you…till they got what they were after? In your head must still be the remnants of a brain. In your heart must still be the desire to be a human being again.

This is the most serious breach of etiquette.

The Prisoner

file (verb): place in document box or folder in a special order
stamp (verb): impress with a rubber stamp (like a visa in a passport etc)
index (verb): make a list of names, subjects etc
brief (verb): instruct or inform (someone)
debrief (verb): question (someone, for example a soldier or spy) about a finished mission
half-a-dozen (noun): a dozen is 12, so half-a-dozen is 6
till (conjunction): until; up to the time that
remnants (noun): remains; residue; bits that remain
breach (noun): contravention; violation; failure to observe
etiquette (noun): code of behaviour

Are you a number?

Discuss: How would you give away $1,000,000?

EnglishClub Discussion Point

Imagine this: somebody gives you $1 million on condition that you donate it anonymously to a stranger or to a good cause of your choice.

What would you do?

How would you dispose of it?

(Please leave your ideas in the Comments box below ↓)

on condition that (phrase): with the stipulation that
donate (verb): give (money or goods) to somebody in need or to a charity; give away
anonymously (adverb): in a way that nobody will know it came from you
stranger (noun): a person you do not know
a good cause (noun): a charity

Discuss: Where would you go?

EnglishClub Discussion Point

Let’s suppose you can take a one-month trip anywhere in the world. Money is not a consideration.

Where would you go?

And what would you do?

(Please leave your ideas in the Comments box below ↓)

suppose (verb): think or assume that something is true; imagine
a trip (noun): a journey; a holiday
a consideration (noun): something you have to consider; a potential problem

Discuss: Do you believe in ghosts? Would you sleep in a haunted house?

EnglishClub Discussion Point

Do you believe in ghosts or evil spirits?

Would you be prepared to spend a night alone in a remote, allegedly haunted house?

(Please leave your ideas in the Comments box below ↓)

ghost (noun): the spirit of a dead person, which appears to living people
evil spirit (noun): a bad ghost; a ghost with bad intentions
be prepared to (verb): be willing to; be ready to
remote (adjective): distant; situated far from houses and people
allegedly (adverb): supposedly; it’s what people say but there is no proof
haunted (adjective): lived in or occupied by a ghost or ghosts

Discuss: Can you give me some money to buy a train ticket—please?

EnglishClub Discussion Point

You are approached in the street by a well-dressed man who says that he has lost his wallet. He asks politely and apologetically if you could give him $12.85 to buy a train ticket.

What do you do?

(Please leave your ideas in the Comments box below ↓)

approach (verb): come near; walk up to
wallet (noun): small case for money and credit cards
politely (adverb): with good manners
apologetically (adverb): in a way that shows somebody is sorry

Superlistening – The BUWOG Affair

Here’s a superstory about supercorruption in superclean Europe. Supersound makes for superlistening practice. Great English-language voiceover.

I recommend this video for general listening practice. The English is clear, well pronounced and reasonably slow. The video is a graphic novel that explains “the BUWOG Affair”—one of the biggest cases of corruption in Europe.

Teachers may like to use it in class or for homework. If you create any worksheets to go with it, please let me know!

Please share your opinions in the comments below.

voiceover (noun): a piece of speaking in a film, without an image of the speaker
graphic novel (noun): a novel in comic-strip format, applied here to video
affair (noun): a situation that causes strong public feeling, usually of moral disapproval
corruption (noun): dishonest or fraudulent behaviour by people in power

Your own personal staff. Which will you choose?

Imagine that you win a contest and the 1st prize (free for 1 year) is your own personal

  • secretary
  • driver
  • butler
  • cook
  • housekeeper OR
  • masseuse

Which will you choose? And why?!!

You can tell us your ideas in the comment box below ↓ 🙂

butler Jeeves

Your New Year’s Resolutions for 2016

resolve (verb): decide firmly to do or not to do something (for example: He resolved to discuss the matter with his boss.)
resolution (noun): a firm decision to do or not to do something (for example: He never regretted his resolution to stop drinking.)

New year, new start. Have you made any New Year’s resolutions for the coming year? What have you resolved to do – or not to do? Did you keep your promises last year?

Colour of the Year 2016

Here is the Colour of the Year for 2016 chosen by paint company Benjamin Moore:

It’s WHITE 🙂

Which raises two questions:

  1. Is white a colour?
  2. What’s YOUR colour of the year?

Please leave your answers in the comment box below. Thanks!

Change the World

Change the World
What is this advertisement trying to say? It appears to show two different “worlds”, but which should be changing to which? Should they both be changing to something else? Please give your views about the implications of the photograph.

Why? What? Where? When? How?

extreme (adjective): to the greatest degree; very great; very severe; very serious
poverty (noun): the state of being very, very poor; the state of being extremely poor
inequality (noun): difference in size or amount
combat (verb): fight
do your part (phrase): participate; help
implication (noun): a conclusion that you can draw from something even though it is not actually stated

Ad links to: Shown here as “fair use” for educational purposes.

Hiroshima 80000 / Nagasaki 40000

A Tale of Two Cities

Today, the Japanese city of Hiroshima commemorates the moment 70 years ago that the USA dropped a nuclear bomb on the city, directly killing some 80,000 people. In three days’ time, another Japanese city, Nagasaki, will commemorate the killing of another 40,000 civilians when the USA dropped a second bomb.

Audio, video and quick quiz for learners:

This Week in History: USA Drops Nuclear Bombs On Japan

Who would you have dinner with?

table laid for twoImagine that you could have ONE dinner with any ONE person in the world — rich or poor, famous or unknown etc.

Who would you choose?

Please give your reasons!

Is the world better or worse today?

Do you think the world today is better or worse than it was 100 years ago?

And will it be better or worse 100 years from now?

What would you take to a desert island?

The ChapelYou have to stay alone on an uninhabited desert island for a year. But you can take five things of your choice (no animals).

What five things would you choose to take with you and why?

uninhabited (adjective): without inhabitants; with nobody living there
desert island (noun): a small tropical island in the middle of the ocean, usually uninhabited

Please leave your comments below 🙂

Would you choose the Future or Past?

Somebody locks you in a time-machine and you have to go forward (the future) or backward (the past). You will never come back to “now”.

You can go any length of time, one day, a thousand years, a million years… Which would you choose? Future or past?

And why?

Please leave your comments below 🙂

time-machine (noun): an imaginary machine that lets people travel in time and go to the future (for example tomorrow or next year) or past (for example yesterday or last year)

Would you like to be famous?

Would you like to be famous? And what would you like to be famous for?

If achieving fame meant that you would lose all your friends, would you still want to be famous?

Please leave your comments below 🙂

famous (adjective): known by many people
achieve (verb): successfully get or reach
fame (noun): the state of being known by many people

What Are Your New Year Resolutions for 2015?

resolve (verb): decide firmly to do or not to do something (for example: He resolved to discuss the matter with his boss.)
resolution (noun): a firm decision to do or not to do something (for example: He never regretted his resolution to stop drinking.)

I resolve

2015 is upon us. Pray tell us. What have you “resolved” to do in 2015? Or not to do? ^^

And don’t forget to tell us what happened to Last Year’s resolutions :))

What to call the UK if Scotland independent?

On Thursday 18th September 2014, the people of Scotland will hold a referendum on whether Scotland should be an independent country. Currently, and for more than 300 years, Scotland has formed part of the UK, whose full name is the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Great Britain comprises England, Scotland and Wales. The rest of this united kingdom (which is really a queendom at present with Queen Elizabeth II as head of state) is comprised of Northern Ireland. If Scotland goes independent, what shall we call what’s left of the UK? United Kingdom of England, Wales and Northern Ireland? Disunited Kingdom? Divided Kingdom? Take a look at the map hereunder (and also this explanation of the current UK nomenclature), and please leave your suggestions in the comments below.

map of United Kingdom

referendum (noun): a general vote by the population on a single political question
independent (adjective): free from control by another country; sovereign
kingdom (noun): a country ruled by a king (or queen)
hereunder (adverb): below; under this
nomenclature (noun): the system of names in a particular field

Do you have any New Year Resolutions for 2014?

For 2013 there were nearly 500 answers to a similar question. Have you kept those resolutions, and what do you plan to do this coming year? (more…)

What are your New Year’s Resolutions for 2013?

When we “resolve” to do something, we decide firmly to do it. It’s like a promise to ourselves. The verb is “resolve” and the noun is “resolution”. Typically, at the start of each year, people make New Year’s Resolutions such as: (more…)

Have you ever seen a ghost?





If you ruled the world…

Master of the UniverseIf YOU

were the

master of the universe

for one week,

what would you do?

Who would you like to be today?

Who?If you could change

for one day and

be anybody on earth

(present or historical),

who would it be?

And why?

What do you think you were in your last life?