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Wednesday, 8 July 2015

7/7 ten years on
(Level: upper-intermediate / B2 / ***)

The fourth bomb exploded on this double-decker bus
Photo credit: www.theguardian.com

Ten years ago, on 7th July 2005, London was viciously attacked by four suicide bombers. 52 people were killed and more than 700 others were injured.

The events are called the 7/7 London attacks: four Islamists detonated bombs hidden in backpacks in quick successive attacks aboard London Underground trains. A fourth bomb exploded later on a double-decker bus.

Here is a timeline by Sky News for you to see how that day unfolded.
You can also watch survivors telling their stories.

Click HERE





You can also watch this video by the BBC looking at how that day unfolded:



You can find the video on the BBC website by clicking HERE




Forth Bridge awarded UNESCO World Heritage Site status
(Level: upper-intermediate to advanced / B2 to C1 / ***)



The Forth Bridge
Photo credit: whc.unesco.org


The Forth Bridge is the UK's 29th site to have been awarded the UNESCO World Heritage Site status (*). 
It is an impressive structure that has carried passengers and freight for 125 years. 


(*) If you are interested, here is the World Heritage list (on the UNESCO website): click HERE  




Before watching:


The following words and notes could be useful:
to overcome (an obstacle): to gain control of     maîtriser ; vaincre
outstanding: extremely good      exceptionnel; marquant; excellent; incomparable 

The Tay (Rail) Bridge Disaster: The Forth Bridge was built after a first original bridge (the Tay Rail Bridge) collapsed during a violent storm in December 1879 while a train carrying over seventy passengers was crossing it. For more details: click HERE

For more details (facts, figures and photos) about the Forth Bridge: click HERE


While watching:


Watch the following report which you can also find on the BBC website (by clicking HERE







No questions this time, but enjoy the nice Scottish accent! 




Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Robots that could change our lives
(Level: upper-intermediate / B2 /***)

Socibot: a very sophisticated robot
Photo credit: www.bbc.co.uk

Robots are becoming more and more sophisticated in that some can now "interpret" human emotions. Because of that, they could even come to replace humans on the workplace. These machines have the potential of changing the way we live! 

You are going to watch a BBC report focusing on the issue.



Before watching:


The following words could be useful:
to cheer someone up: to cause (someone) to feel happier or more cheerful     remonter le moral de qn.
a forklift truck: a small industrial vehicle with  a front platform used to raise, lower or carry a load       chariot élévateur  
to get on with: to progress with ; to get ahead with     poursuivre


Pepper: another sophisticated robot but with a difference
Photo credit: www.bbc.co.uk


While watching:


Answer the following questions:

1. Explain how sophisticated robots are becoming: what can they do? 
2. How are robots like Pepper and Socibot different from each other?
3. Are they becoming a threat to humans now?  Explain!





You can also watch the report on the BBC website: click HERE











When you are finished, you can check your answers:


1
Les robots sont capables d'interactions complexes avec les humains et sont en mesure d'accomplir des tâches de plus en plus élaborées...

Exemples: dans la sphère privée, interpréter les sentiments humains; engager la conversation; posséder des expressions faciales mais aussi en public (dans un magasin par exemple pour inciter le client à acheter certains produits...) et sur le lieu de travail (exemple, le chariot élévateur capable de déplacer des charges sans conducteur...).

2
Pepper n'est pas en mesure d'accomplir beaucoup de tâches mais il est doté d'un dispositif le rendant capable d'avoir une "relation" avec les humains (s'il "sent" que l'humain est triste, il va essayer de lui remonter le moral...)

Socibot, qui lui aussi est doté de caractéristiques "humaines" (expressions faciales...), pourrait très bien devenir vendeur dans un grande surface par exemple (puisqu'il sera "au courant" de nos habitudes en tant que consommateurs et finira par nous inciter à acheter tel ou tel produit...) 

3
Oui car même si certains disent que les robots sont faits pour nous faciliter la vie au quotidien, il est inéluctable qu'ils prennent les postes de certains travailleurs (le conducteur du chariot élévateur; le vendeur ou la vendeuse...). En outre, ils vont surtout faire une apparition plus conséquente dans les entreprises et pas vraiment chez les particuliers (en effet, qui pourra vraiment se permettre ce type d'acquisition?), donc...