Improve your ability to speak English


W:   What are you doing, Billy?
B :   I’m doing research. I found a lot of great websites.
W:   You know, I think you might want to go to the library and look at some books.
B :   I don’t want to. It takes too much time, and besides, this is fast, easy, and fun. This paper will be done in no time.
W:   The Internet is great for finding information. But it is also full of misinformation and lies. You don’t really know what you are looking at unless you are at a reliable site. It’s safer to get some books first and then search for more information.
B :   Grandma, I love you, but I think you are a little old-fashioned. Look at all this great information! My report is on Albert Einstein. Now, according to this site, he was born in 1979, came up with the theory of relatives, and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1922.
W:   Your information is wrong. Albert Einstein was born in 1879 and developed the theory of general relativity. He won the Nobel Prize in 1921.
B :   Wow! That means all this stuff is inaccurate. How did you know all that?
W:   Come with me to the library and I’ll help you find the books with those facts.
B :   Thank you, Grandma. You’re a real life-saver!

A New Calculator

W:   Hi. I’d like to see your calculators.
M:   Did you have a certain model in mind, ma’am?
W:   I’m not thinking of any specific model. I want something simple for basic math.
M:   Is it for personal use?
W:   Yes. I just need it for shopping and keeping track of my bills.
M:   Well, the great thing is that these simple calculators are very inexpensive and small. Here is a solar model that never needs batteries. It is thin, too.
W:   It’s too small. I can’t read the numbers very easily.
M:   How about this one? It is a pocket calculator. It’s a bit bigger. The display is easier to read.
W:   Yes, I can see the numbers better. It is easier to hold, too. Is it also solar?

M:   Yes, it is. It is battery-powered, as well. It has an eight-digit display. This calculator also has a memory key.
W:   How much is it?
M:   It is only five dollars plus tax. It comes with a one-year warranty.
W:   I’ll take it.

Racing Robots

M:   I have been interested in robots for as long as I can remember. The first thing I did when I entered high school was join the Robotech robot-making club. We get together after school every day and create our own robots. Nowadays it is very easy to find kits to build your own robot and these are what we use.
The highlight of the year for us is the annual Robot Maze race. Everyone who wants to take part has to make a small computer-controlled robot. You need to race it to the center of a maze. We work together in teams of three or four. This year, I am working with two students who won last year’s competition, so I think we have a really good chance of winning.
Our robot is about 30 centimeters high. It weighs two kilograms. It should be really quick. We have been practicing often, and we have already equaled last year’s speed, so we just need to get a little faster. We are keeping the design of our robot secret. If we win, we will get $500. I hope this will be my lucky year.

Online Chatting

W:   Philip, are you still chatting online? It’s 9:30 p.m. You have an exam tomorrow.
B :   Yes, Mom. I’ll get off in a minute.
W:   I read some articles about chatting online. I’m not so sure you should be spending so much time in front of your computer.
B :   Mom, that seems unfair. It can be very educational. You meet people from all over the world who talk about lots of different things.
W:   OK, maybe these people share their knowledge. I still think it is better to join clubs and socialize with real people.
B :   Do you think chatting online causes bad behavior?

W:   Online chatting can be very addictive, not to mention expensive.
B :   Well, if you have DSL, chatting is not expensive. Also, not everyone who chats is an addict. Disabled people are better able to socialize online. You know, not every area is wheelchair-accessible.
W:   True. However, I’ve read that there are lots of strange people online who are dangerous.
B :   I’ll be careful. Besides, you can always see what I am writing and who I am writing to. In my opinion, the biggest fault with chatting online is the lag time or delay in the system.
W:   I agree, I have noticed that there is some lag time in you getting off the computer!

The Nobel Prize

W:   One of the greatest achievements in the world is to win the Nobel Prize. It has been given to people since 1901. There are prizes for physics, chemistry, and medicine. There are also prizes for literature, economics, and peace. The Nobel Prize is named after Alfred Nobel. He was born in Stockholm, Sweden, in 1833. Alfred Nobel invented dynamite in 1866. Dynamite is used in mining, construction, and war. Before he died, he wrote that all of his money should be used to create the Nobel Prize. He died in 1896. The first prize was given in 1901.
Each prize has three parts: a diploma, a gold medal, and money. The money has increased since 1980. It is now ten million Swedish crowns. This is about one million euros. How are the winners chosen? Five committees secretly meet to pick the winners. The Nobel Prize for Economics is the only one that is not decided that way. That is because it was created in 1956 by the Bank of Sweden in honor of the fiftieth anniversary of Alfred Nobel’s death. The Bank of Sweden decides who gets the Nobel Prize for Economics. Since 1901, over 750 people have won the Nobel Prize.

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