viernes, 16 de abril de 2010

Final thoughts about English 8

Well, this post is too look back on this past 3 months, and what I have learnt during my English 8 course.

I have learnt many things; for starters I opened my own blog, which was a completely new thing for me, but I really grew fond of it; making it pretty and posting my opinion on a certain topic made me feel like I could express myself; I also got a twitter account after listening to the teacher talking about it and it turns out it's a great way to get the latest news, and keep in touch with other people, moreover I ended up doing something I never thought I would, since this is supposed to be a written English course I figured I'd just write, but NO! I ended up reading so much! , every time we were told to choose a topic I'd just cringe in my seat because I'm such an indecisive type of person, so whenever it was a free topic ( which now that I think about it must have been 99% of the time...) I'd start reading news articles and internet information and sources to find a topic that would interest me enough to write about it with passion; sometimes I'd just read and read and THEN realize " Oh my god I haven't picked a topic yet" so I can say that I really put a lot of effort into every single post in this blog.

Even if this whole course doesn’t end with a perfect score (which would have been great but I guess you can't always get what you want...) I did take a lot from it and hopefully others can see it the same way I see it; in the end I guess I'm kind of sad that the whole English class cycle is coming to an end, but then again hey my entire college career is almost over, so maybe I should just be happy about it

Final Essay -- Benefits of leading a healthy lifestyle

The final essay--- here I go!

ok , so here's an essay about something most people on modern society take for granted, and that is leading a healthy lifestyle.



1.- Benefits of following a good diet
A) Helps you maintain your weight
B) Meets your nutritional needs

2.- Benefits of sleeping well

A) Sleep helps repair your body
B) Helps you improve your memory
C) Reduces stress

3.- Benefits of exercising
A) Exercise improves your mood
b) Combats chronic diseases
C) Helps you sleep better


By Andrea Moreno

People should always look after themselves, so we worry about crime and insecurity, accidents, natural disasters and many other things, but what we don’t realize is that sometime we can be our own worst enemy. Our lives could be so much easier if we lead a healthy lifestyle. There are countless benefits in many areas, so, what are these benefits?

First of all we can establish that a healthy lifestyle consists of following a good diet, sleeping well and exercising, among others; for one thing there is following a good diet , this helps you maintain your weight as eating well is crucial if you are to maintain a suitable weight. Eating the wrong food, or simply over-eating, will lead to weight gain, and all the problems associated with it. Most people who lose weight with fad diets gain it right back again when they go back to their normal eating patterns. With a healthy diet that you maintain for life, you will lose that weight once and maintain it long term. In addition following a good diet helps you meet your nutritional needs; for instance your daily food intake should include some amounts of grain, fruit, vegetables, dairy and protein, you should consider that there are vitamins and minerals in healthy foods which can boost your immune system and shield you from many common illnesses. In some cases, by eating a healthy diet you can actually reduce the risks that are often linked with such serious diseases as cancer and diabetes. On the whole, once you implement a healthy diet, you will be surprised at how fast you will start to feel the benefits and this how they will continue to reward you for the rest of your life.

Furthermore, there is another aspect of healthy living that should be considered along with it´s benefits, and that is one we usually take for granted, sleeping well; for the most part we all consider sleep as a good thing to do , but we don’t really know how this activity benefits us; for one sleeping helps you repair your body, while we are asleep our body produces extra molecules that help mend the body so that the damage we suffer during the day from things such as stress , pollutants, sun exposure and so on, is repaired while we are off to dreamland. In addition, sleep helps to improve our memory; namely, when people do not have enough sleep, they cannot concentrate well the next day and have problems forming memories, researchers believe that during sleep, neurons can shut down and repair any damage done during the day. So without these repairs, the neurons may not function correctly causing us to feel drowsy and unable to concentrate enough to retain information in our brain. Likewise having good sleeping habits results in reducing our levels of stress, for instance, a good night's sleep can lower blood pressure and the elevated levels of stress hormones which are a natural result of today's fast paced lifestyle, there are physical effects of stress on your body, and an increase in the aging and degeneration of organs, cells and other body parts. By reducing high levels of stress, sleep helps to reverse these effects and encourages a state of relaxation. Pretty amazing thing this sleep isn't it? And it's something most of us take for granted.

Last but not least, another important aspect of a healthy lifestyle is exercising, and this is something we all know and have been told ever since we were children! , but as time goes by people change, habits change. In no way are kids today even close to practicing the amount of physical activity that children practiced 30 years ago, and this is really a regrettable thing since there are many benefits to exercising; just to name a few we have how exercise helps improving your mood, due to the chemicals it releases in the brain called endorphins, it gives you an overall feeling of well-being, This is the same chemical that being in love or eating chocolate induces! You'll also look better and feel better when you exercise regularly, which can boost your confidence and improve your self-esteem. It is believed that regular physical activity can even help prevent depression. Moreover, sleeping well can aid when battling chronic diseases such as heart diseases, osteoporosis, or even diabetes and cancer. Likewise exercising can even help you sleep better, if you have trouble sleeping you should try exercising a few hours before going to bed, you´ll be tired enough from the workout so you won’t turn in your bed all night long unable to sleep; just make sure you don’t do it immediately before going to bed otherwise it may have the opposite effect and get you all hyped up! With so many great reasons to exercise, there's nothing more to say, except: "Get moving!"

In any case the good news is you don't have to train like an Olympic athlete, eat like a nutritionist or sleep all day long to enjoy the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. The secret is in repeating a chosen healthy pattern as a part of your daily or weekly activities. After all a healthy lifestyle is a way of life.

jueves, 8 de abril de 2010

Writting an essay! ~ Benefits of learning a foreign language!

It's been kind of a long time since my last post... but here I am again! This time the post is about writing a complete three paragraph essay following an outline, this is a practice before the final essay so I hope I can do it properly in order to write a good one at the end of this trimester


Title: Benefits of learning a foreign language

I. Languages connect people

A) Socially

B) Professionally

II. They make people more open minded and culture sensitive

A) Enables the achievement of a more profound cultural understanding

B) Makes a difference in the way of seeing the world

C) Makes people more open toward ideas and ideologies

III. Helps people develop their mental ability

A) Accelerates cognitive development

B) improves analytical and interpretative capabilities

C) Turns people into more effective problem solvers



At one point or another we have all faced interacting with someone in a different language than our native one, taking myself as an example I realized that I have never really taken any time to analyze just how important it is, and so I came up with a very important question ,how can learning a foreign language benefit you?

Well first of all, languages, what is language? we can establish that language is the systematic use of sounds or symbols in order to communicate with other people, so one of the most important reasons to study and learn a second language is obviously because it connects people, they connect us not only in a social way but also in a professional way; they connect us in a social way as well , because when looking for ways to practice the new acquired language we might meet people who speak it as their native language, we can also socialize with the group of people who are also new to the language and try to learn it together!, there is always need for practice so the interaction with others is practically inevitable: In the professional sense having knowledge of a foreign language will always give you the upper hand when it comes to competing for a work position, professionals who speak a second language are called for travel and business purposes . Moreover such people also get to use new technologies and ideas; speaking a second language also helps you gain the trust of international business people making the job of convincing them into a business venture all the more simple. If one speaks in native language to a foreigner then it’s easy for the foreigner to get comfortable with such sales or business person

Following this train of thought, we can name another benefit of learning a new language, and that is that it makes you more open minded and culturally sensitive. How does learning a new language change you way of thinking?, well it does, first by allowing you to experience another culture and enabling people to achieve a more profound understanding of their own; nowadays the new generations have become more and more interested with traveling and experiencing different parts of the world, which is something our forefathers couldn’t have even imagined!, certainly there is no need and it would be basically impossible for people to learn the language of every place in the world they wish to visit but it's an undeniable fact that the traveler who knows the language of their travel destination has an easier time solving everyday problems associated with the travel , but they will most likely have a more pleasant experience and greater understanding of the foreign country and their culture, therefore there will be no frustrations or isolation as you travel around the world, in the end it's just more fun to vacation somewhere and know the language, not only do the locals treat you better , because they see that you made an effort to learn their language but you end up getting better service in shops and restaurants because you can read the signs, understand the menus, and converse with the staff. this learning process also makes a difference in the way you see the world and the way you see other people, of course that knowledge of a foreign language is not guaranteed to create empathy with the native speakers of the language, however the desire to understand and empathize with the members of a certain society is greatly facilitated by language study. Furthermore, foreign language study helps dissolve misconceptions and often leads to the creation of feelings of sympathy for native speakers of the language especially if the study is begun early and continues for a long period of time. Another popular believe is that bilingual people are more open minded towards ideas and ideologies this is based in the fact that people take interest in the customs and rituals of the culture to which the language they study belongs to, there's also the case when people take interest in the culture of a certain country in the first place, and after being fascinated by the music, the literature, their history and culture, wish to learn the language in order to have a deeper knowledge in all aspects of such a culture.

The benefits of learning a foreign language are not limited to social aspects such as socializing and learning about culture, there's a more scientific and physical benefit to it and that is that it helps to develop an individual’s mental ability. It is said that studying a foreign language accelerates the cognitive development of the brain; there was a time when learning a foreign language was regarded primarily as a mental discipline for developing intellectual capacity. Even though it is now clear that learning a new language has numerous applications of both a practical and a humanistic nature, researchers recognize that it is also helpful for other academic areas, for many decades researchers have tried to find evidence and there have been studies that show how students in elementary, middle, and high school as well as those in college that study a foreign language have a tendency of having a higher average score than those students who do not take any sort of additional study, the average level of grades would increase depending on the time they had been studying a certain discipline .For example if they had dedicated special studies to certain areas such as math, biological sciences, physical sciences, and social studies, the average score would be higher but with the difference that with each additional year of language study brought a further rise in scores, so the scores of students who had taken four or five years of a foreign language were higher than scores of students who had studied any other subject for an equal length of time. Impressive isn’t it? But that is not all when it comes it the mental development that comes with language studies. It is also said that people become more effective problem solvers ; bilingual subjects in various tests have outperformed similar monolingual subjects on verbal and nonverbal tests of intelligence; this discovery has led some researchers to speculate that bilinguals may have a language ability that enables them to achieve greater mental flexibility, this , along with the certainty that people who know more than one language and culture can communicate more effectively with people of other countries and cultures, it is indeed possible that through learning another language and culture, people gain the ability to solve problems in an easier and more logical manner and are closer to achieving solutions to social problems because of an increased awareness of a wider set of options.

Whatever may be the reasons to learn a foreign language the bottom line remains that second language acquisition is an incredible experience, with incredible benefits, this learning process is one of the most satisfying ones because you can use it on your day to day activities, not only for understanding what a block of text says but it changes you as a person not only in the cognitive and perceptional way but it makes you aware of other cultures and other people.

jueves, 18 de marzo de 2010

Environmental issues

Environmental Issues; this issues are situations that affect us not only in the present but , rather they are situations and behaviors that if continue to occur will only bring negative and devastating consequences; that is why we must be aware and make others take awareness of them!

Nowadays there are a high number of environmental issues that affect our entire planet, among these global issues, there is overfishing and ecological disruption; and as far as my local community there is the issue of drought.

The issue that interests me most would be the one in my local community; but what is drought?

First of all Drought is an extended period of months or years when a region notes a deficiency in its water supply. Generally, this occurs when a region receives consistently below average precipitation. It can have a substantial impact on the ecosystem and agriculture of the affected region. Drought is a normal, recurring feature of the climate in most parts of the world.

Some of its causes are, the fact that generally, rainfall is related to the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere, combined with the upward forcing of the air mass containing that water vapor. If either of these is reduced, the result is a drought. Also oceanic and atmospheric weather cycles such as the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) make drought a regular recurring feature of the Americas along the Pacific coast and Australia, which explains why my country and local community goes through longs periods of time with an insufficient water supply that will satisfy the needs of the resident population.

As a result of this environmental issue we can see there can be agricultural, health, economic and social consequences; this result can vary according to the communities' vulnerability. Drought is rarely if ever the sole cause of famine; socio-political factors such as extreme widespread poverty play a major role. Drought can also reduce water quality, because lower water flows reduce dilution of pollutants and increase contamination of remaining water sources. A few common consequences of drought include:

ü --*Diminished crop growth

ü --*Famine due to lack of water for irrigation;

ü --*Habitat damage, affecting both terrestrial and aquatic wildlife.

ü --*Malnutrition, dehydration and related diseases;

ü --*Mass migration, resulting in internal displacement and international refugees;

ü -*Reduced electricity production due to insufficient available coolant for power stations; and reduced water flow through hydroelectric dams.

ü -- *Shortages of water for industrial users

ü --*Social unrest

The reason why the local issue interests me more than the global one, is because the consequences affect me directly so I would like to know more about the causes and have a deeper knowledge and information on the subject, in order to take part in an initiative that can help find a solution to this problem which affects us all as a living community.

Visit the following link to find some incredible statistics regarding the planet WE all live in!

--> EARTH CLOCK! <--

viernes, 5 de marzo de 2010

Research Activity/ Natural Disaster

Date of disaster:
December 26, 2004

Type of Disaster:
Undersea megathrust earthquake

Description of Disaster:
On december 26, 2004 an undersea megathrust earthquake occurred at 00:58:53 UTC , with an epicentre off the west coast of Sumatra, Indonesia. The quake itself is known by the scientific community as the Sumatra-Andaman earthquake. This earthquake resulted in a tsunami wich is usually refered to as the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, Asian Tsunami, Indonesian Tsunami, and Boxing Day Tsunami.

Visuals of the Disaster:

According to the U.S. Geological Survey a total of 227,898 people died . Measured in lives lost, this is one of the ten worst earthquakes in recorded history, as well as the single worst tsunami in history.
The tsunami caused serious damage and deaths as far as the east coast of Africa, with the furthest recorded death due to the tsunami occurring at Rooi Els in South Africa, 8,000 km away from the epicentre. In total, eight people in South Africa died due to abnormally high sea levels and waves.

Relief agencies report that one-third of the dead appear to be children. This is a result of the high proportion of children in the populations of many of the affected regions and because children were the least able to resist being overcome by the surging waters. Oxfam went on to report that as many as four times more women than men were killed in some regions because they were waiting on the beach for the fishermen to return and looking after their children in the houses.

In addition to the large number of local residents, up to 9,000 foreign tourists enjoying the peak holiday travel season were among the dead or missing, especially people from the Nordic countries.

States of emergency were declared in Sri Lanka, Indonesia, and the Maldives. The United Nations estimated at the outset that the relief operation would be the costliest in human history. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has stated that reconstruction would probably take between five and ten years.

jueves, 4 de marzo de 2010

About the advantages and disadvantages of certain technologies

Technology, it's impossible to not be under the influence of technology if you live in the 21st century! It's very useful and convenient, as long as it's used wisely of course; but we can't look at everything through rose-colored glasses, there are not only advantages but also disadvantages to its use.
In this post I'll be writing a paragraph based on a tree diagram about the advantages and disadvantages of something related to technology, in my case I chose social networking.

Social Networking is very popular nowadays as it brings many people together in one place and allows them to interact, based on similar preferences, tastes and other common criteria. Of course it's not perfect, after all nothing in this world is; it has its pros and cons.

Some of the advantages to social networking are its low cost, the fact that they provide social contact, and how they supply the user with quick and updated information exchange.
Social networks provide social contact as it makes it very easy to meet new people who share the same interests and likes, not only that, but you can also stay in touch with a group of friends or regain contact with a person you had lost touch with; furthermore it supplies quick and updated information exchange, this can be seen trough networks such as twitter who in their short 140 character publications, spread just about everything! From peoples personal thoughts, to entertainment updates and news coverage. Last of all, it has a very low cost and saves time, rather than calling your old friend, or new group of people to set up a meeting you can just leave them a message on their page; and regarding the news you can even save money from having to buy the morning paper.

As they are useful and resourceful there can also be certain disadvantages to social networking ; to mention a few there is a lack of anonymity; after all you are putting out information about your name, location, age, gender, and many other types of information that you may not want to let others know. Another downside to using social networks is that they can be used for scams and harassment; while many sites apply certain measures to keep any of these cases of harassment, cyber-stalking, online scams, and identity theft to a minimum, you still may never know. That is why you should choose your contacts wisely and make sure that you maintain confidentiality as much as possible. Unfortunately, the internet has made it easy for individuals to claim to be someone they are not, this will not only lead to disappointment when you find out, but it could also put you in a dangerous situation. Finally there’s the disadvantage that social networking can be quite time consuming, specially for kids and teenagers who instead of going out and interact with other people while enjoying the physical activity and contact prefer to sit at home in front of their computer all day.

Here's the tree diagram I made in order to organize my ideas related to the paragraphs above :

viernes, 26 de febrero de 2010

Advantages and Disvantages of E-mail

E-mail is one of today's most utilized forms of communication; it has many advantages ; first of all it's very convenient, in addition it saves time and finally it makes it very easy to stay in touch.

It's convenient; specially, because e-mails may be sent any time of day or night , likewise you don't have to worry about interrupting someone when you send email. It helps you save time because it arrives inmediately and you can distribute information quickly to many people for the time it takes to email one person. Also it makes it easy to stay in touch, since you can write to your friends easily and it's the cheapest way to communicate.

On the other hand, despite being very helpful and full of advantages , e-mails also have some disadvantages; for one thing it's less personal, another reason is that it's easy to make a mistake and last of all you need equipment in order to send an e-mail.
It's less personal because you can't see the person's face or reaction when reading the e-mail, y
ou have to be careful with humor or sarcasm, since it's easy for someone to take your message the wrong way. Another disadvantage is the fact that it's very easy to make a mistake like sending messages to the wrong person or sending private/ confidential information, another disadvantage is the need for equipment in order to send the e-mail you need either a fast computer or a smartphone and both of these can be quite expensive; there's also a need for an internet connection, nowadays it's very common o have wi-fi signal in most places but sometimes when you need it the most an internet connection is not available.