11/06/18: Unit 11 – Wildlife Conservation

In this unit, both articles make us reflect about the fate of animals such as the koala and the rhinoceros who are part of those in the endangered species list. The selfishness of man has pushed them to the verge of becoming extinct.

The reasons why many animals die out are known, and while few species could be increasing in number, this is not sufficient; let alone those who are still less secure. What are some of those reasons? Sure it is hunting, human predation, urban expansión, and fewer natural habitats to name some.

You can take a look at this article that mentions why extinction happens:

 How Does Extinction Happen?

 Species disappear because of changes to the earth that are caused either by nature or by the actions of people. Sometimes a natural event, like a volcano erupting, can kill an entire species. Other times, extinction will happen slowly as nature changes our world. For example, after the Ice Ages, when the glaciers melted and the earth became warmer, many species died because they could not live in a warmer climate. Newer species that could survive in a warmer environment took their places.

People can also cause the extinction of plants and animals. The main reason that many species are endangered or threatened today is because people have changed the homes or habitats upon which these species depend. A habitat includes not only the other plants and animals in an area, but all of the things needed for the species’ survival — from sunlight and wind to food and shelter. The United States has many habitats, from ocean beaches to mountain tops. Every species requires a certain habitat in order to live. A cactus, for example, needs the sunny, dry desert in order to grow. A polar bear, on the other hand, would not live in a desert, because it could not find enough food and water. 

Pollution can also affect wildlife and contribute to extinction. The Nashville crayfish is endangered mainly because the creek where it lives has been polluted by people.

Pesticides and other chemicals can poison plants and animals if they are not used correctly. The bald eagle is one bird that was harmed by pesticides. In the past, a pesticide called DDT was used by many farmers. Rains washed the pesticide into the lakes and streams where it poisoned fish. After eating the poisoned fish, the eagles would lay eggs with very thin shells. These eggs were usually crushed before they could hatch. Today, people are not allowed to use DDT, and this has contributed to the bald eagle being removed from the endangered and threatened species lists needed for the species’ survival — from sunlight and wind to food and shelter.

The United States has many habitats, from ocean beaches to mountain tops. Every species requires a certain habitat in order to live. A cactus, for example, needs the sunny, dry desert in order to grow. A polar bear, on the other hand, would not live in a desert, because it could not find enough food and water. 

People can also endanger plants and animals by moving, or introducing new species into areas where they do not naturally live. Some of these species do so well in their new habitat that they endanger those species already living there, called the native species. These introduced species are called invasive species. For example, when some fish are introduced into a lake or stream, they may prey upon, or eat the food of the native fish. The native species may then have to find a new source of food or a new home, or face becoming endangered or extinct.

Another way that people harm animals and plants is by taking them from the wild. Some people might catch an insect like the Mission blue butterfly for a butterfly collection. Others might capture a wild animal for a pet, or pick a flower because it’s pretty. In addition, some people illegally hunt animals for food, skins, or fur. In the past, lots of American crocodiles were killed so that their skins could be made into shoes and other clothing. This crocodile is now an endangered species.

https://www.epa.gov/endangered-species/learn-more-about-threatened-and-endangered-species

 

Please read the What Do You Think Section on page 200 of your textbooks and answer the three questions in a short paragraph so you can share your ideas about this interesting topic.

28/05/18: Unit 10 – Language and Life

For this unit, you will be reading about languages that are spoken by the largest numbers of people in the world. Needless to say, English is one of those in the top; but, what makes a determined language be widely spoken? What do we owe its dominance too? and, what happens with those languages spoken at a regional range? One thing for sure is that languages are survived by those who speak them: the more it is spread, the more it is used, as it is our most immediate means of communication, an extension of ourselves, of our culture.

Here is an excerpt from an article about the most powerful languages in the world, which you can read fully in the link below:

There are over 6,000 languages spoken in the world today, but some 2,000 of them count fewer than 1,000 speakers. Moreover, just 15 account for half of the languages spoken in the world.

In a globalized world with multilingual societies, knowledge of languages is paramount in facilitating communication and in allowing people to participate in society’s cultural, economic and social activities. A pertinent question to ask then is: which are the most useful languages? If an alien were to land on Earth, which language would enable it to most fully engage with humans?

To understand the efficacy of language (and by extension culture), consider the doors (“opportunities”) opened by it. Broadly speaking, there are five opportunities provided by language:

  1. Geography: The ability to travel
    2. Economy: The ability to participate in an economy
    3. Communication: The ability to engage in dialogue
    4. Knowledge and media: The ability to consume knowledge and media
    5. Diplomacy: The ability to engage in international relations

So which languages are the most powerful?

Based on the opportunities above an index can be constructed to compare/rank languages on their efficacy in the various domains. The Power Language Index (PLI) uses 20 indicators to measure the influence on language. The index measures the usefulness of a language to a representative human being and is not meant to apply to any particular person with their own set of conditions, preferences and geography. Neither is the index a measure of the beauty/merit of a language or its associated culture(s).

A challenge in this exercise is that most often the data are linked with nation states, rather than the languages themselves. Moreover, multiple languages may be associated with a given country, and the different usages and statuses of languages may be complex. For example, a language may have official status in a country even if few people speak it. Other challenges include differentiating between a language and a dialect. Thus a coherent and robust way of mapping national indicators to the various languages associated with a country is required.

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/12/these-are-the-most-powerful-languages-in-the-world/

 

Now, read the What Do You Think Section on page 186 of your textbooks to answer the three questions in a short paragraph so you can share your ideas in relation to the topic.

14/05/18: Unit 9 – Unearthing the Past

Welcome to CLECV Plus 3’s first entry!

I don’t know how attracted -if ever- you were to archaeology, but as I was growing up in those days when no one would ever dream of things such as electronic devices, personal computers, let alone the Internet, reading about the origins of mankind, past civilizations, and ancient cultures was something I was very interested in. Just consider how the Inca civilization was built and how it expanded so much in what later became the Tahuantinsuyo, to later be defeated by the Spanish conquerors.

In regard to the topic, here I found some interesting information about archaeology and how our present can be understood by studying the past.

Past Imperfect

JOE WATKINS / 28 JAN 2016

Who were the first people to arrive in North America more than 12,000 years ago? Did these intrepid explorers originate in Siberia and cross the frozen straits of Beringia? Or were they mariners who bravely struck out into the Pacific, heading east into the blue unknown? Who were the people to first call North America home?

For more than a century, archaeologists have tried to solve this mystery using mainly one kind of evidence: the material objects the first settlers left behind, buried in the dirt. In recent years, however, an important new line of evidence has emerged: the genetic lineages of humans, which allow us to track the migratory histories of people as they’ve moved around the globe. It’s important to consider, however, what exactly each of these kinds of data—material and genetic—can and cannot tell us about our ancestors and ourselves.

As archaeologists, we are both blessed and cursed with the material culture that humans create. I say “blessed” because it is the material aspects of culture that allow us to interpret human behaviors and actions in the past; I say “cursed” because historical objects do not easily reveal the real cultures behind them. What this means, then, is that archaeologists reconstruct cultures using limited evidence. You might have heard about the “Ancestral Pueblo,” “Hopewell,” or “Mississippian” peoples. But these cultures did not really exist. The “Ancestral Puebloans”—a diverse range of people who lived in pueblo villages in the U.S. Southwest between 600 and 1,200 years ago—never called themselves that or considered themselves a unified culture. Rather, archaeologists invented the concept of “Ancestral Pueblo” to describe a certain cultural moment in Southwestern history, based almost exclusively on the materials these people left behind. It’s very hard to deeply understand past people based on material objects alone.

On the other hand, these objects can tell us an awful lot. Typically, material culture found in archaeological sites is comprised of durable objects such as stone and pottery, because these materials tend to be better preserved over time than bones, wood, fibers, and other organic materials. In special circumstances, such as in extremely dry or moist conditions, we get intriguing glimpses of what is missing in the vast majority of archaeological sites. Dry caves in the American Southwest show us the rich variety of materials used by early people. These include animal skins that were made into robes, clothing, and children’s toys; wooden objects crafted into arrow shafts, digging sticks, and split-twig figurines; feathers attached to arrows; plant fibers turned into baskets and sandals; and much more.

As we study people who lived in the past, we use these sorts of materials to help us better understand how ideas and goods were shared between different groups of people. Artifacts can also reveal certain things about how people behaved and what they believed. Such materials are part of an imperfect approach to understanding past cultures, to be sure, but material remains bring us valuable insights into the early cultures of North America that other lines of evidence, such as genetics, simply cannot. What I mean by this is that genetics can help us determine ancestral relationships between individuals who contributed to the cultures of North America, but they do not tell us anything about the actual cultures of those early people.

Genetics can offer scientific answers to questions about biological relationships, but it cannot provide deep insight into people’s cultural lives. For that we need archaeology.


https://www.sapiens.org/column/the-dirt/past-imperfect/

Read the What Do You Think Section on page 160 of your textbooks and answer the questions in a short paragraph, so you can share your ideas in relation to the topic. If you are new to this activity, you should know that -though optional- commenting on the blog will add points to your Tasks (up to five points).

30/10/13: Welcome!

Welcome to the blog that has been specifically designed for Comprensión Lectora en Inglés – Course CLECV Plus 3 – administered by Idiomas Católica.

This blog aims at providing opportunities for participants to exchange information related to the course. Although our reading course is not meant to develop oral or written communication skills, we have noticed that many of you can and wish to “have your say” in English about issues that we look at in the course. Your participation in this blog can award you up to 5 points in the assessment area labelled Tareas de Evaluación Continua.

Ready to begin? It is easy. The questions on the next message are waiting to be answered! You may want to participate twice. The first time, just write your answers to the questions. The second time, you are supposed to reply somebody else’s answer.

Enjoy the experience!

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