miércoles, 17 de diciembre de 2014

Welcome to the perfect city

"A few years ago, the city council of Monza, Italy, barred pet owners from keeping goldfish in curved bowls...saying that is cruel to keep a fish in a bowl with curved sides because, gazing out, the fish would have a distorted view of reality- But how do we know we have the true, undistorted picture of reality?"
Stephen Hawking

Welcome to the perfect city

Environmental psycology is a field of science that looks at the ways in which we are affected by our surroundings. Almost every aspect of the built environment, from the colour of hospital walls to the type of grass used in parks, can have a dramatic impact on crime, health, education, commerce and happiness. BBC Focus Magazine reports on how psychologists are teaming up with designers to build spaces that are safer and healthier. 

Classic trick

In the mid-nineties in Montreal, it was discovered that playing classical music though the public address system would drive away crowds of loitering teenagers and cut crime. The idea soon caught on. Now, classical music is played in over sixty underground stations in London

Stop signs

Sometimes less is more - towns such as Bohmte in Germany have found that the best way to slow traffic is to remove all road signs and markings, Whitout these guides, drivers have to slow down and negotiate rights of way with other drivers, cyclist and pedestrians.

Dipping distractions

Researchers in Manchester found that pickpockets took advantage of pedestrians distracted by confusing environments. By removing visual clutter and making spaces easier to navigate, pedestrians are more aware of their surroundings and less likely to become victims of crime.

Delays stress

Commuting long distances isn't necessarily stressful, but delays are. A study of rail commuters found the highest levels of stress hormone cortisol among those who perceived their journey as unpredictable. Realtime transport updates, such as a text message sent to your phone letting you know exactly when the next bus will arrive, have been found to reduce stress.

*loitering: vaguear, holgazonear

Complete the sentences with the words in the box

amanities, infrastructure, congestion, abandonment, tolls, regeneration

1. The best thing to do with loitering teenagers is to give them _____(1)________ such a sport facilities
2. The city can't host a major international event because it doesn't have the ________(2)_______ . The transport links are poor and the power supply often fails.
3. The _____(3)_______ of run-down old buildings used to be a real problem where I live, but the area has undergone urban ________(4)_________, so now it's full of nice shops and houses.
4. There's always traffic __________(5)________ in the city centre. They should introduce more ______(6)______, so people have to pay to bring cars into the centre. 

1. amenities, 2. infrastructure, 3. abandonment, 4. regeneration, 5. congestion, 6. tolls.

Making a proposal

"Just to give you a bit of background information, Harrogate council has announced the creation of cycle hubs er, as part of itscycling strategy for the next five years....

3.3.1 Grammar
Making a proposal
introducing your proposal
Just to give a bit of background information…
To start with, I’m going to talk briefly about...
stating the purpose
The aim of the project is to…
The main goal/objective of our proposal is to...
describing your idea
What we plan to do is…
We’re going to do is…
We’re going to build/develop/come up with...
justifying your idea
This solution will help us to…
This idea is feasible because...
listing the benefits
In the first instance, this would mean…
The short-term / long-term benefits include...
summarising your proposal
So, basically, what we’re proposing is to…
To sump up, we’re proposing….
soliciting questions
Does anyone have any questions?
Is there anything that needs clarification?
1.  Underline the correct alternatives to complete the proposal
Just to bit of (1) background information / information background , we’re computer programmers who have travelled all over the world and have contacts everywhere. To start (2) up / with, we’re going to talk briefly about our plan for a website to organise student trips abroad.
The main goal (3) to/of our proposal is to get funding for this internet start-up, and the (4) target/aim of the project is to help students travel abroad for life-changing trips.
OK, (5) how /what we plan to do is create personalized trips according to the client’s interests. We’re going to come (6) up with / down to a menu of travel options linked to the client’s profile.
This idea is (7) possible / feasible because students book everything online and they love travelling, but they also want to avoid the problems of independent travel. This (8) opportunity / solution will help them to realise their dreams.
Here are the benefits: in the first (9) instance / case, our idea would mean the client didn’t have to organize anything. Secondly, there is (10) term long / long term benefit of security. We will plan safe itineraries and we’ll always know where the traveler is.
So, basically, (11) that / what we’re proposing is to tailor holidays for the client using our contacts abroad. To (12) sum up / the sump up, we want to provide amazing experiences for future generations, and you can be a part of this by providing start-up funds for our site.
1, background information; 2. With; 3. Of; 4. Aim; 5. What; 6. Up with; 7. Feasible; 8. Solution; 9. Instance; 10. Long-term; 11. What; 12, sum up
Think of an area you know, for example part of your city, and make notes of the questions below.
What problems does the area have? Think about:
Buildings, user-friendliness, facilities, safety, appearance, noise levels

Just to give a bit of background information,  the council has decided to order the old buildings owners that they rebuilt their buildings.
The aim of the project is to show the best face of the historic center. The council is going to help the owners with some economic aids.
This solution will improve the old streets of the historic center. The long-term the benefits include to an improvement to the tourism because we will have a more beautiful city than nowadays.
To sump up, It is proposing to improve our local economy.

domingo, 14 de diciembre de 2014

Hotel Chelsea


Hotel Chelsea

To say that the hotel Chelsea has an interesting history would be an understatement. Sice the early twentieh century, the hotel has been home to dozens of celebrities.

The fame of the building itself pre-dates its fame as a hotel; when it was constructred in 1883 as a bloc of flats, it was New York’s tallest building. It became a hotel in 1905. Although prosperous at first, during a period of maladministration the hotel began to degenerate. It went bankrupt and changed hands in 1939. Its proactive new managers soon got it up and running again and, in the post-war eta, its fame grew.

As a part of the New York artistic scene, the hotel is irreplaceable. Its famous residents have included actors, artists, singers, writers and numerous anti-establishement figures. Frida Kahlo, Jean-Paul Sartre, Jackson Pollock, Marilyn Monroe, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Madonna and Uma Thurman all lived there for a while, and the hotel has been immortalised (and some would say overesposed) in dozens of songs, books and films (9 ½  Weeks, The Interpreter). 

Always a place of non-conformity, the hotel’s management sometimes allowed penniless residents to pay for their rooms with artworks, some of which still hang in its lobby today. Its famous residents have found the hotel conducive to creativity. Arthur C.Clarke and Jack Kerouac wrote, respectivily, 2001:A Space Odyssey and On the road while living in the hotel, and Madonna used it for a photo shoot for one of her books. 

Unfortunately, the hotel is also associated with artistic misbehaviour and tragedy. One of numerous examples of wild aventures behind its closed doors, the poet Dylan Thomas collapsed in room 205 of the hotel after partyiing too hard. He died four days later.

From “Speakout” Advances by Antonia Clare and JJ Wilson

1 A Read the text again. Find and underline an example of each prefix in the first column of the table

de   ir   im
under   over

mal   mis

pre   post

pro   anti

B Complete the second column of the table with the meanings in the box

negatives/ opposites/ reverse      size or degre  time (before or after)     wrong or bad     attitude or opinion (for or against)   

C Add your own examples to the third column of the table

2. Complete the words by adding prefixes

1. a place that is ________ known to most tourist because it's ______exposed in the media
2. a hotel, restaurant, bar or café that looks ______descript and a bit  ________rated
3. a hotel, restaurant, bar o cafe that you think is _______attractive and a bit ______rated
4. a building that is ______inhabitable becasue it was __________managed in the past
5. a threatened habitant that is ______replaceable, but ______possible to save

3. How many examples of places in Exercice 3 can you think of?

4. Different examples. 

bilingue, bianual, bycicle, binocular
co-producer, co-founder, co-worker, co-owner, coincidence, coeducation, collaboration
intermediate, interact, intercity, intersection, interconnect
minican, minigolf, minibus
outdoor, outplay, outlawed, outbreak, outskirts
semicircle, semigod, semifinal, semi-skimmed
subconscious, submission, submarine

Articles about Chelsea Hotel


de   ir   im
under   over
more /less
mal   mis
pre   post
pro   anti

dehydratate, decode,
nonexpected, unemployed, non-conformity
understatement, overexposed
maladministration, misbehaviour
pre-dates, post-war
proactive, anti-establishments


1. unknown; underexposed
2. nondescript; underrated
3. unattractive; overrated
4. uninhabitable, mismanaged
5. irreplacable; impossible

viernes, 12 de diciembre de 2014

Legal issues

Laws are spider webs through wich the big flies pass and the little one get caught

Honoré de Balzac

Legal isssues

All in our life is surrounded by the legal issues. See the example:

You need to know this terms and what is their meaning. Read the following article and then look for the meaning of the bold words

Basic legal vocabulary

A legal process starts when a person or organization sues another because of some harm that they have caused you. If the case is taken to trial, there is a plaintiff and a defendant. If the defendant can’t afford to pay a lawyer, they can get a public defender. Once in court, the prosecutor and the advocate or defence attorney start a cross-examination in order to discover if the witnesses have been telling the truth. After the jury’s decision, the judge sentences the defendant. Sometimes, the defendant is released on bail if they pay a sum of money to the law court. However, if they don’t agree with the sentence they can appeal to a higher court. If the defendant gets a prison sentence, after a few years they can be released on parole before their period in prison is finished.

Legal Issues in Business: What You Should Know

No matter who you are, you will make mistakes at some point in your business life. Unfortunately the law is not very forgiving - ignorance is not a defence. In this section, we have compiled some of the common legal pitfalls to watch out for when setting up your own business.


A partnership is formed when two or more parties form to start a business, sharing the workload and investing capital to get things going. It is always wise to have a written partnership agreement and get it checked by a solicitor. If you do not have a proper agreement and it all goes wrong, the partnership will be covered by the Partnership Act, whose provisions may not always seem fair.

On the contrary, by setting up your business as an LLC (Limited Liability Corporation) rather than a sole proprietorship, you will remove some of the burden for legal mistakes off of you personally and onto the business.

While you, as the business owner, will still be responsible for illegal practices, operating under an LLC will remove your personal finances from the equation should any legal action be brought against the business by a customer or vendor.If you operate as a sole proprietorship, everything you own, including your home and personal savings, can be seized should you lose a lawsuit. If you operate as an LLC, only business assets are subject.

While these legal issues in business can seem overwhelming, it's not as difficult to navigate as you may think. Just be thoughtful about your decisions, do the necessary research and hire a lawyer when you aren't sure about something.

The saying "better safe than sorry" definitely applies to laws that govern your small business.

Clarify Relationships

You can find yourself in a partnership without realising it, for example, if you run a business with somebody but don't employ them, this often happens with husbands and wives or other family members. In a partnership, each partner is responsible for business debts incurred by other partners and there is no limit to their liability.

Put Everything in Writing

I cannot stress enough how important it is to have everything in writing. If things go wrong you have no legal standing without some form of documentation (which includes all correspondence), contracts are the basis of all business relationships. A contract will include four key components: Consideration, an obligation to pay or a promise to provide something in return for something of value. Certainty, the contract must clearly state what is expected of all parties. The intention to be legally bound and an offer and an acceptance. However, contracts can be oral and it isn't always clear when one has been made.

Confirm every agreement in writing so everyone knows where they stand. What is the brief? Who will pay? When? How much? Are expenses included? What are the acceptance criteria? Who will own copyright? It is important that all aspects are covered and that there are no grey areas.

Make Sure all Employees Have a Contract

It is very important to have a contract of employment in place from day one for all employees. Make sure that all new employees are entitled to work in this country, or you could face heavy  penalties. The contracts act to protect both parties.

Know your Employment Laws

Employment laws in this country are very precise on what you can and cannot do. Before you fire someone, make them redundant or change their terms and conditions of employment, take legal advice. If you don't, you could find yourself open to claims for unfair dismissal, discrimination or breach of contract. Also warn employees that discrimination, sexual harassment and other illegal acts will not be tolerated.

The Importance of Health & Safety

If you fail to carry out your health and safety obligations you may face prosecution, your insurance premiums may rise and you may find difficulty in obtaining insurance altogether. In the worst cases your business may be closed until you adhere to the Health & Safety laws.

Make Sure you are Insured

Insurance is vital from a financial viewpoint. There are also legal requirements for employer's and public liability insurance. If you sell products, product liability insurance will protect you if someone injured by a defect in your product successfully sues you.

Are you Covered?

Many people find it hard to imagine that work they have done will result in a claim for hundreds of thousands of pounds. However, most people only contribute a link in a chain, so the effects of a mistake can be out of all proportion to their individual contribution. If you offer services or advice you must get adequate professional indemnity insurance. Indemnity cover is needed for years after the work has been done, because it has to cover when the claim is made. Failure to do this will leave you open to claims that may make you bankrupt!

Terms and Conditions

If you don't spell out in black and white your terms and conditions of trade (T&Cs) you are giving you customers the licence to pay you when they feel like it. And if they go into liquidation before paying you, you may not be able to reclaim your goods if you do not have a Retention of Title clause in your Terms & Condition’s.

Read the Small Print

Read all loan and overdraft agreements carefully to ensure you understand what you are letting yourself in for. Be very wary of signing personal guarantees. Banks often seek to over secure' their lending. Once you have signed any paperwork you will be legally bound to any terms and conditions that are set out in the small print, no matter how unreasonable they may be. It is imperative that you read all small print before signing anything.

Finally, be careful when signing lease agreements, especially for property. Even if you move and sell the lease on, you could find yourself liable if the next person defaults. Check whether you will be liable to repair and improve the property under the terms of your lease.

Avoiding these common legal pitfalls will help ensure that smooth running of your business and will also prevent you from receiving any unwelcome fines.

Text adapted from:

Listen the following videos about legal vocabulary:

More about legal issues

Contemporary life is played out in an everyday world that is, in fact, flooded with law. Everyday problems concerning, for example, housing, relationships, consumer transactions, employment, accidents, personal finance and government payments are frequently nested in legal rights and obligations. Hence, the importance of having, at least, a general idea of some legal vocabulary.

While civil law involves problems that impact on people's everyday lives like debts, unpaid fines, discrimination, tenancy issues, disputes and more, criminal law practice involves assisting people charged with criminal offences appearing before courts.

The table below gives the names of some types of crimes together with their associated verbs and the name of the person who commits the crimes.

Murder            Killing someone     Murderer Murder
Shoplifting   Stealing something from a shop Shoplifter Shoplift
Burglary    Stealing from someone’s home Burglar Burgle
Kidnapping   Taking a person hostage in Kidnapper Kidnap
   exchange for money
Discrimination    Unfair treatment on grounds of sex, Discriminate
  race or nationality (against)
Embezzlement  Stealing money that is in your Embezzle Embezzler
  care or belongs to an organization
  that you work for
Harassment   Making a person feel anxious and Harass
  unhappy (sometimes for sexual
  reasons, sometimes to get a debt
Money   Moving money obtained illegally Money Launder money
  so that its origin cannot be traced launderer

Blackmail   Threatening to make a dark secret Blackmailer Blackmail
  public in order to get money someboy
Assault Physical attack on another person Attacker Assault
Mugging Attacking someone, often on the Mugger Mug
street, generally to get money

Now, here are some more useful verbs connected with crime and law. Note that many of
them have particular prepositions associated with them.

• To commit a crime or an offence: to do something illegal
• To accuse someone of a crime: to say someone is guilty
• To defend/prosecute someone in court: to argue for or against someone in a trial
• To sentence someone to a punishment: what the judge does after a verdict of guilty
• To acquit an accused person of a charge: to decide in court that someone is not guilty
(the opposite of to convict someone)
• To fine someone a sum of money: to punish someone by making them pay
• To send someone to prison: to punish someone by putting them in prison
• To release someone from prison/jail: to set someone free after a prison sentence

Also, make sure you know the difference between the verbs: steal and rob. The object of the
verb ‘steal’ is the thing which is taken away, e.g. they stole my bike, whereas the object of
the verb ‘rob’ is the person or place from which things are stolen, e.g. I was robbed last night.
A masked man robbed the bank. Remember that ‘steal’ is irregular: steal, stole, stolen.

Do any comment about this topic? If you want we start a discussion

In the course I have found a text about legal issues.

I think that the laws are the same for rich and poor. The problem is when, for instance, Spanish government decides to apply some advantages in some important political case like of the ex president of Balear islands; Jaume Matas, who was condemned to pass 6 years in prison. A few days after that he had entered in prison, the Spanish Government applied him some advantages like not sleep in the prison.

Political decisions as this provokes that people think  that laws are applied in different senses in rich or poor. However, the differences aren't in the law, if not in the government decisions.

The corruption is one of the most important problems of our political. While, the society had the money (thank to the construction) anyone said anything about this corruption (even the journalists). But, when the crisis arrives, society irritates it with this corrupted politicians and it decides to publish a lot of cases about corruption. I think, that this situation is the only positive face of the crisis.

When we are speaking about corrupt politicians, I think that if they are condemned by a judge, they should pass their complete sentence in the prison. Maybe, only in this cases, they will become an exemples for other politicians who thought to become corrupt.

If I was lawyer, maybe I would defend a client who I consider guilty because I think that although to be guilty, our system permits them to have a defense.

As a journalist I have done different trials. I think that it's interesting because you can know the different opinions about the same case.