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Roller Coaster Rides Can Help With Painful Condition

Roller Coaster Rides Can Help With Painful Condition
from VOA
 People ride a roller coaster at Worlds of Fun amusement park Saturday, June 2013, in Kansas City, Missouri. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

People ride a roller coaster at Worlds of Fun amusement park Saturday, June 2013, in Kansas City, Missouri. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Roller coasters are fast and exciting. But passing a painful kidney stone is not. The process is painful and can take a long time.

But American researchers have found that a roller coaster ride just might help those suffering from a kidney stone. They say such rides help patients pass the stones with a 70 percent success rate.

The findings come from researchers at Michigan State University. They published their findings in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association.

David Wartinger led the study. He says he became curious after hearing many stories of people who passed kidney stones after going on a fun ride at a theme park in Florida.

Patients told him that after riding a “roller coaster at Walt Disney World, they were able to pass their kidney stones.” One man even said he passed three different stones after going on the ride more than once!

To test whether the claims were true, Wartinger used a 3-dimensional model of a hollow kidney. Inside the model he placed three kidney stones, each no larger than 4 millimeters.

Then he placed the man-made kidney into a backpack. The researchers put the kidney on Disney’s Big Thunder Mountain roller coaster for 20 rides.

There are many variables

Wartinger found that where the person sits on the roller coaster can make a big difference.

He said “in the pilot study, sitting in the last car of the roller coaster showed about a 64 percent passage rate.” Sitting in the first few cars only had a 16 percent success rate.

Researchers decided to expand the study. They rode the same roller coaster with several kidney models. When sitting in the back car, the success rate of passing the stones was 70 percent.

It also mattered where the stones were located in the kidney. The researchers found that stones located in the upper part of the kidney model were passed 100 percent.

Another variable – it depends what kind of roller coaster. When it comes to passing kidney stones, not all roller coasters are equal.

The researchers used 174 kidney stones of differing “shapes, sizes and weights to see if each model worked on the same ride and on two other roller coasters.”

They found that “Big Thunder Mountain was the only one that worked.” The other two roller coasters both failed the test.

Wartinger said the other rides were "too fast and too violent." The movement forced the stones against the side of the kidney. He said that the ideal roller coaster is rough and quick with some twists and turns.

How common are kidney stones?

About 300,000 people in the United States go to hospital emergency rooms with kidney stones each year.

One common treatment for kidney stones -- called lithotripsy -- breaks up larger stones into smaller ones. But Wartinger said the treatment can leave many smaller stones. To solve this problem, he suggested riding a roller coaster “after a treatment when the remnants are still small."

Wartinger thinks roller coaster rides could also be used as a preventative measure. He said that a yearly ride on a roller coaster could even prevent stones from developing.

"You need to heed the warnings before going on a roller coaster," he said. "If you have a kidney stone, but are otherwise healthy and meet the requirements of the ride, patients should try it."

He adds that it’s “definitely a lower cost alternative” to other treatments.

And riding a roller coaster is definitely more fun!

I’m Anna Matteo.

VOANews.com reported on this story. Anna Matteo adapted the story for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

________________________________________________________________

Words in This Story

 

curious adj. having a desire to learn or know more about something or someone

theme park n. an amusement park where the rides and attractions are based on a particular theme

3-dimensional adj. An object that has height, width and depth, like any object in the real world.

hollow adj. having nothing inside : not solid

factor n. something that helps produce or influence a result : one of the things that cause something to happen

variable n. something that changes or that can be changed : something that varies

pilot adj. done as a test to see if a larger program, study, etc., should be done

rough adj. having or causing sudden, violent movements

ideal adj. exactly right for a particular purpose, situation, or person

remnant n. the part of something that is left when the other parts are gone

heed v. to pay attention to (advice, a warning, etc.)

alternative adj. offering or expressing a choice

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What Is the Best Way to Teach English?

What Is the Best Way to Teach English?
 from VOA 

Children attending a summer school program in Cos Cob, Connecticut, last August. Educators are now discussing how to best teach English learners. (Chris Palermo/Hearst Connecticut Media via AP)

Children attending a summer school program in Cos Cob, Connecticut, last August. Educators are now discussing how to best teach English learners. (Chris Palermo/Hearst Connecticut Media via AP)

U.S. Education Secretary John King said the issue is important. That is because one in every 10 U.S. students from grades Kindergarten to 12th grade are English learners.

Most English learners arrive from a country that speaks another language, or have parents from a non-English-speaking country.

There has been progress in recent years, King said. He noted Spanish-speaking students are graduating high school and attending college at higher rates than ever before.

“But in too many places across the country, English learners get less -- less access to quality teachers, less access to advanced coursework, less access to the resources they need to succeed,” King said.

Education Secretary John King

Education Secretary John King

 

King said a new federal law called the Every Student Succeeds Act can help. It allows school districts more ways to use federal money to improve programs for English learners. That includes better training for English language teachers.

Kelly Gonez is a policy adviser at the Department of Education.

She said research shows giving instruction in two languages, English and the student’s native language, is better for English learners.

Although it takes them a little longer to master English, they do better on tests that measure reading and math skills, Gonez said.

So do people who enter dual-language programs already proficient in English, Gonez said. To be proficient means able to read and speak a language.

Sarah Catherine Moore is director of online learning at the Center for Applied Linguistics in Washington D.C.

She said two recent studies found English learners do better if they attend classes that use both English and the student’s native language.

But Gonez said such programs are still not offered by a majority of schools teaching English learners.

One problem is finding enough qualified teachers. Gonez said some school districts are hiring teachers from Spain and China. They are trying to make up for a shortage of teachers in the United States who can offer instruction in two languages.

But such programs are not always easy to set up.

In New York City, for example, the city’s Department of Education says its students speak a total of 180 different languages.

About sixty percent are Spanish speakers, and another 14 percent are Chinese speakers.

It also has 6,546 students who speak Bengali, 6,501 who speak Arabic, and 3,591 who speak Haitian-Creole. Thousands more speak Russian or Punjabi.

Gonez said that it may be hard to find instructors who can speak all the different languages spoken by students. But she said schools can get educational material in many more languages that just Spanish and Chinese.

Terry Richards is in charge of federal programs for the state of Delaware. She welcomes the new federal education law. It will allow state and local education departments to make more decisions about how to teach English learners, she said.

Richards said the law permits local school districts to consider “local” needs in developing English education programs.

I’m Bruce Alpert.

 

Bruce Alpert reported this story for VOA Learning English. ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Mario Ritter was the editor.

We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments Section and share your views on our Facebook Page. Tell us how you learned to speak another language!

_______________________________________________________________

Words in this Story

 

allow -- v. to permit (something): to consider or treat (something) as acceptable​

access -- n. a way of being able to use or get something done

advanced coursework -- n. subjects that are more difficult than basic subjects

resources -- n. a supply of something (such as money) that someone has and can use when it is needed

dual language -- n. programs using two languages

hire -- n. to give work or a job to (someone) in exchange for wages or a salary​

qualified -- adj. having the necessary skill, experience, or knowledge to do a particular job or activity

instruction -- n. the action or process of teaching​

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Wild Surroundings at Black Canyon of the Gunnison

Wild Surroundings at Black Canyon of the Gunnison
October 07, 2016 from VOA
The inner canyon of Black Canyon of the Gunnison

The inner canyon of Black Canyon of the Gunnison

The canyon is so narrow and so deep that sunlight shines only briefly at the bottom at midday. That frequent darkness is what has given this canyon its name.

Welcome to Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park!

Black Canyon seems impossibly steep and narrow. The fast moving Gunnison River formed the canyon over millions of years. As the river flows through the canyon, it drops an average of 18 meters per kilometer. The Gunnison River loses more elevation in its 77 kilometer canyon stretch than the Mississippi River does in 2,400 kilometers from Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico.

This loss in elevation causes the river to gain speed and force. Over time, that force has carved and cut the hard rock, and created the wild and jagged rock formations found at Black Canyon. That process is known as erosion.

The Gunnison River is seen flowing through Black Canyon

The Gunnison River is seen flowing through Black Canyon

 

At its widest, Black Canyon is 14 kilometers. At its deepest point, it is 829 meters from the canyon edge to the floor.

Black Canyon attracted little attention from early Western explorers. In fact, no early Spanish explorers to the southwestern United States reported seeing Black Canyon. The first written record about the canyon came in 1873.

The Ute Indians certainly knew of Black Canyon. But only its rim, never the gorge, shows evidence of past human occupation. Even today, the depth and steepness of Black Canyon make it extremely difficult for humans to access.

Birds, however, have no problem surviving in the canyon environment. Black Canyon is home to many kinds of birds. They live at the canyon rim, along its walls, and by the river. Mountain bluebirds and great horned owls live in the rim area. The owls eat seeds and berries from the pinyon, juniper and oak trees found there.

Great horned owl chicks sit in their nest

Great horned owl chicks sit in their nest

 

Canyon wrens sing loudly within Black Canyon. Visitors are more likely to hear the birds than seen them. They build their nests on flat surfaces of the canyon walls. So do peregrine falcons. They prey on other birds. They dive at speeds up to 300 kilometers per hour to catch them.

American dippers build their nests in the gorge, next to the Gunnison River. A gorge is a narrow valley between hills or mountains. These dippers feed on insects and small fish.

Some people come to Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park for world-class birdwatching.

But, it is the canyon itself that appeals to most visitors. Walking along the rim, seeing the canyon’s towering cliffs, and hearing the powerful flow of the Gunnison River far below is an overwhelming experience.

At Black Canyon, visitors can view some of the planet’s oldest exposed rocks. They are Precambrian rocks. Precambrian accounts for the Earth’s history from its very beginning up until about 540 million years ago.

Precambrian rocks are described as “basement rocks” because they are usually buried deep under the surface. The only become exposed when younger rocks have been cut away by erosion or other forces. At Black Canyon, the Gunnison has eroded the canyon walls so greatly that Precambrian rocks have become visible.

The canyon walls, Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

The canyon walls, Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

 

Often, the canyon’s rock walls look like works of art. Different kinds of rocks fold together and form colorful patterns. The patterns change as the sun hits different parts of the walls.

One area of the canyon is known as Painted Wall. It is the highest cliff in Colorado. Long pink bands of rock cover this section of the canyon, as if a person took a paintbrush to the wall.

The Painted Wall

The Painted Wall

 

This pattern formed as hot liquid from below the Earth’s surface forced its way into rock cracks. As it slowly cooled, large crystals formed. The bands get their pink color from a crystallized mineral called potassium feldspar.

Protecting the canyon

Local people knew how just special Black Canyon was. They began urging Congress to protect the canyon in the 1930s. It became a national monument in 1933. And in 1999 it became a national park.

The park protects more than 22 kilometers of the canyon. Most visitors spend their time exploring the canyon rim by foot or by car. Several kilometers of trails lead to many overlook points. A road also leads to several breathtaking views.

People look out at Gunnison Point

People look out at Gunnison Point

 

The U.S. Congress named the lands below the canyon rim a Wilderness Preservation System. This is meant to “protect forever the land’s natural conditions.”

Some adventurous travelers choose to explore this wilderness by hiking down to the inner canyon. There are no marked trails to guide them. Hikers must first get a wilderness use permit. These permits are free, but only a limited number are available each day.

Many of the paths are difficult to follow. Some are also dangerous. The Warner Point trail, for example, drops more than 820 meters. Walking down takes more than two hours. Walking back up can take up to four hours.

The park service warns that poison ivy grows wildly in the inner canyon. There is also the risk of falling rocks.

But, to reach a place where no humans ever tried to live is the reward. In the words of a 1901 explorer to Black Canyon’s river area, “Our surroundings were of the wildest possible description. The roar of the water...was constantly in our ears...Occasionally a rock would fall from one side or the other, with a roar and crash, exploding like a ton of dynamite when it struck bottom, making us think our last day had come.”


I’m Ashley Thompson.

And I’m Caty Weaver.

 

Ashley Thompson reported and wrote this story with materials from the National Park Service. Caty Weaver was the editor.

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Words in This Story

 

steepadj. almost straight up and down : rising or falling very sharply

elevationn. the height of a place

jaggedadj. having a sharp, uneven edge or surface

erosionn. the process by which something is worn away

rimn. the outer edge of a usually round object

accessn. a way of getting near, at, or to something or someone

cliffn. a high, steep surface of rock, earth, or ice

overwhelmingadj. very great in effect

basementn. the part of a building that is entirely or partly below the ground

adventurousadj. not afraid to do new and dangerous or exciting things

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Plane Evacuated Because of Smoking Samsung Phone

from VOA
Plane Evacuated Because of Smoking Samsung Phone

A customer holds a Samsung Electronics Galaxy Note 7 smartphone at the headquarters of South Korean mobile carrier KT in Seoul, South Korea, Friday, Sept. 2, 2016.

A customer holds a Samsung Electronics Galaxy Note 7 smartphone at the headquarters of South Korean mobile carrier KT in Seoul, South Korea, Friday, Sept. 2, 2016.

A plane was evacuated Wednesday in Louisville, Kentucky, after a passenger reported smoke coming from a Samsung smartphone.

All passengers were safe after getting off the Southwest Airlines plane. The plane was to travel to Baltimore, Maryland.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration confirmed in a statement that a Samsung phone had caused the smoke. The agency did not say which Samsung model was involved and said it is continuing to investigate the incident.

Samsung also did not say which smartphone model caused the emergency. The company said in a statement that it would examine the device.

Samsung issued a recall of its new Galaxy Note 7 device last month after receiving several reports of overheating problems. The company said the overheating was linked to problems with batteries that caused some phones to catch fire. The recall reportedly covered at least 2.5 million phones worldwide.

Sarah Green is the wife of the airplane passenger whose phone overheated. Green told the media that the phone was a new Samsung Galaxy Note 7. She said her husband, Brian, recently got the phone as a replacement following the Samsung recall.

Green told Louisville’s Courier-Journal newspaper that her husband called from someone else’s phone to explain what happened.

He told her the phone began making popping noises and started giving off smoke after he turned it off. “He took it out of his pocket and threw it on the ground,” she told the newspaper. The plane had not yet taken off.

An official with Louisville’s Metro Fire Department confirmed the passenger threw the phone on the ground after it started smoking. The official said the phone caused minor damage to the floor where the device landed.

The Federal Aviation Administration issued a warning to airplane passengers last month about the Samsung phones. It urged passengers not to use Galaxy Note 7 devices during flights. It also urged passengers not to put them in checked baggage.

Flight attendants on many airlines have also added a warning about the Samsung devices during pre-flight safety demonstrations.

I’m Bryan Lynn.

Joshua Fatzick reported this story for VOANews.com. Bryan Lynn adapted it for Learning English, with additional information from reports by the Associated Press and Reuters. Ashley Thompson was the editor.


We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments section, and visit our Facebook page.

______________________________________________________________

Words in This Story

 

evacuate – v. to remove people from a dangerous place or situation

recall – n. – a request by a company for people to return a product because it has a defect or problem

battery – n. power source placed inside a car or other device to supply it with electricity

replacement – n. a thing that takes the place of something else

baggage – n. cases and bags used when people travel

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Wildlife Convention Protects Animals Great and Small

from VOA
Wildlife Convention Protects Animals Great and Small

Delegates from around the world met this week in Johannesburg, South Africa to discuss how to stop the trade in endangered animals.

Representatives from 183 countries attended the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species conference, known as CITES.

Pangolins are mammals found in Asia, India and Africa. They eat insects. Hunters catch pangolins and sell them for their meat and their scales. Some cultures believe the scales can be used in medicine.

They are the most illegally traded animal in the world.

While CITES often deals with the protection of large animals like big cats, elephants and rhinoceroses, it also pays attention to smaller animals.

One of the first agreements to come from the convention was to reclassify all eight species of pangolins. They are now in the most protected group of animals. This means the CITES considers them in danger of extinction.

John Scanlon is the CITES Secretary General. He said they used to call the pangolin “little-known.” But in recent years, Prince William spoke out against the pangolin trade.

Scanlon said he is pleased a famous person brought attention to the pangolin. But he noted that there are still hundreds of small, unknown animals that need help.

“But, we’ve got the snakes here, we’ve got the lizards here, we’ve got the frogs here. And some really interesting ones, the earless monitor [lizard], the Titicaca frog, the psychedelic rock gecko; there are some really interesting animals there that nobody’s paid much attention to.”

Dan Ashe is the director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. He said it is hard to make people aware of strange animals.

“We’re dealing with things like the Delhi Sands flower-loving fly or the Houston toad. These are things which often the public questions, ‘why is this important, why should we save this?"

Jen Creamer is president of Animal Defenders International. She said even a cockroach has a “strange sort of beauty.” Events like CITES provide the chance for discussion of all sorts of animals.

“With certain species it takes time to realize that they’re in trouble.”

One of the species Ashe is happy to see thriving is a small fish called the Oregon chub. It took nearly 20 years to bring the fish’s population back to strong levels.

The Titicaca water frog is another endangered animal that could use the support of a prince, or even a movie star. The Peruvian animal faces the threat of fungal infection and predatory fish.

I’m Christopher Jones-Cruise.

Anita Powell wrote this story for VOANews.com. Dan Friedell adapted it for Learning English. Caty Weaver was the editor.

What do you think of the efforts to protect these animals? We want to know. Write to us in the Comments Section or on our Facebook page.

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Words in This Story

 

endangered – adj. used to describe a type of animal or plant that has become very rare and that could die out completely

mammal – n. a type of animal that feeds milk to its young and that usually has hair or fur covering most of its skin

scale – n. one of many small thin plates that cover the bodies of some animals (such as fish or snakes)

psychedelic – adj. suggesting the effects of psychedelic drugs by having bright colors, strange sounds, etc.

predatory – adj. an animal, fish or insect that lives by eating others

aware – adj. knowing that something (such as a situation, condition, or problem) exists

reclassify – v. to reconsider an arrangement of people or things that have already been grouped by ways they are alike

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'Achievement Gap' Closing Slightly for Young Students in U.S.

'Achievement Gap' Closing Slightly for Young Students in U.S.

 United States President Barack Obama sits with 3- and 4-year-old students in a pre-kindergarten class at Powell Elementary School in Washington, DC, March 2014.

United States President Barack Obama sits with 3- and 4-year-old students in a pre-kindergarten class at Powell Elementary School in Washington, DC, March 2014.


It is no surprise that within many education systems, wealthier students often test better than poorer students.

To education experts this is often called the “achievement gap.”

What is a surprise is that, in the United States, the achievement gap seems to be closing, at least a little. That result surprised researchers at Stanford University in California.

Sean Reardon is a professor of poverty and inequality in education at Stanford. He studied children and how they prepare for kindergarten classes. He also looked at how their preparation has changed since the 1990s.

Kindergarten programs are for boys and girls before they enter first grade. At this level, children need to demonstrate simple counting, an ability to listen and language skills. They need to be able to focus on a project and act responsibly in a classroom.

Reardon found that from 1998 to 2010 the achievement gap closed a small amount. He said it was not a huge change. The important thing, he said, is that the gap is closing.

One way to reduce the gap is to offer pre-kindergarten programs to very young children.

Education experts and some politicians have long pushed for pre-kindergarten classes for all young children. In fact, it has been a promise heard on the political campaign trail -- universal pre-kindergarten classes for all 3- and 4-year-olds.

Such classes are already being offered in some areas around the United States, including the U.S. capital, Washington, D.C. In fact, education reformers may want to look to Washington as a role model.

Vincent Gray is a former mayor of the District of Columbia. When Gray was chairman of the D.C. Council, he wrote the legislation for universal pre-K. His measure gave parents of all children in Washington the choice to begin school at either age 3 or 4.

“We’ve always had some form of early childhood care in the District of Columbia, for decades. But what we didn’t have was universal access. And I did the legislation in 2009 as Chairman of the Council to get it done. And then when I became the mayor, when I was sworn in in 2011, it gave me an incredible opportunity to be able to fully implement the legislation. The reason why I did it is that I believe that the opportunity to learn in a formal sense should not wait until a child is 5 years old.”

Gray says he made sure the legislation was in effect and fully enforced during his four years as mayor. He was defeated for re-election, but is now a candidate for re-election for a seat on the D.C. council.

Today, most of Washington’s youngest children are in school. Gray explains that the pre-K programs are not a requirement in the city. Parents can still choose what is best for their family. But many parents are choosing education.

"We now have in the District of Columbia, we have over 80 percent of our 3-year-olds that go to school. And I might add, it's not mandatory. You’re not required to put your child in school. But virtually no parent at this stage is saying ‘I don’t want my child in school.’ They want them in school because there’s not a cost associated with it, other than the cost of them not having the opportunity to learn. And then we have 94 percent of our four-year-olds who go to school all day. We have essentially reached universality.”

Pre-kindergarten classes for 3- and 4-year-olds offer hope for many youngsters. It is more than learning the ABCs or counting to 100. These classes give the youngest students the chance to learn how to listen, develop social skills, and interact with others.

However, there are theories that say a child does not need schooling at the age of 3 and 4. If we are looking at test results, Finland beats the United States and most other countries in mathematics, reading and science. Yet Finnish children do not start school until age 7.

Perhaps there is not a one-size-fits-all answer. Perhaps different children need school at different times.

Generally, wealthier parents have more financial resources to help their children. Educated parents -- wealthy or not -- may know how to use the resources that are available to them. For example, they may take their children to free events at a public library or recreation center. Washington, D.C. also has many museums with free admission.

Perhaps children who grow up with these types of activities don’t need to start attending school at age 3. However, children who are growing up in what Vincent Gray calls socio-economically challenging situations may not have access to such activities. For some families, he says, starting school at age 3 can be a game changer.

“It’s especially important for kids who may the victims of an achievement gap, especially important for kids who are in socio-economically challenging situations.”

Pre-kindergarten classes do more than educate the child. They also bring parents and caregivers into the schools. This point of contact, explains Gray, is a valuable time to educate families.

A federal study found that, overall, parent involvement increased with such contacts. But it increased even more among low-income parents. It shows schools offer a place where conversations with these parents can happen.

I’m Anna Matteo.

 

Anna Matteo wrote this story for VOA Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

________________________________________________________________

Words in This Story

 

focus v. to direct your attention or effort at something specific

universal adj. done or experienced by everyone : existing or available for everyone : existing or true at all times or in all places : - n. universality

campaign trail n. a route that takes a candidate for office to different places in order to talk to people during a campaign <The candidates talked about the people they met on the campaign trail.>

role model n. a person whose behavior in a particular role is imitated by others

incredible adj. extremely good, great, or large

implement v. to begin to do or use (something, such as a plan) : to make (something) active or effective

mandatoryadj. required by a law or rule

virtuallyadv. very nearly : almost entirely

associatedv. to combine or join with other parts

essentiallyadv. basically

library n. a place where books, magazines, and other materials (such as videos and musical recordings) are available for people to use or borrow

socio-economically adv. in a way that relates to, or involves a combination of social and economic factors

challenging adj. difficult

game changer n. an element or factor that changes an existing situation or activity in a significant way

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Study: Do Fitness Trackers Help You Lose Weight?

October 03, 2016 from VOA
Study: Do Fitness Trackers Help You Lose Weight?

 From VOA Learning English, this is the Health & Lifestyle report.

We begin with bad news for people who bought a wearable fitness tracker in hopes of losing weight.

A new study finds the electronic device probably does not help with weight loss.

The study was a project of researchers from the University of Pittsburgh in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania.

Fitness trackers are designed to record your physical activity. They are usually worn around the wrist, where they measure a person’s heart rate.

The University of Pittsburgh research team looked at two groups of individuals. The first wore a fitness tracker and took part in health counseling. In other words, they spoke with nutrition and physical fitness experts to consider the best weight loss plan.

The researchers compared this group with people who only took part in health counseling.

The study found that those who simply had health counseling lost more weight than those who had counseling and wore a fitness tracker. In fact, those who only spoke with the health experts lost nearly six kilograms. Those who used a fitness tracker lost only 3.5 kilograms.

John Jakicic is the lead researcher. He is also chairman of the university’s Department of Health and Physical Activity. He questioned the use of electronic devices as tools for weight control in place of “effective behavioral counseling for physical activity and diet.”

The study involved 470 subjects between the ages of 18 and 35. Some of them were overweight, while others were heavier and considered obese. Over three fourths of the subjects were women, and 29 percent were minorities.

The researchers told all the subjects to increase their physical activity. The men and women also were told to start on a low calorie diet.

The subjects were told to have their weight measured once every six months over the two-year study.

After six months, researchers divided the group into two parts: one continued with monthly counseling, while members of the other group were given a wearable fitness tracker.

Eighteen months later, both groups "showed significant improvements in body composition, fitness, physical activity, and diet,” with no major difference between groups.

However, when it came to losing weight, the people who spoke with experts lost nearly twice as much weight.

Jakicic said the study’s findings “are important because effective long-term treatments are needed to address America's obesity epidemic.” He warned that “questions remain regarding the effectiveness of wearable devices.”

More information is needed, he adds, to learn how to best use these devices to change “physical activity and diet behaviors” in adults who want to lose weight.

The researchers published their findings in The Journal of the American Medical Association.

I’m Anna Matteo.

 

Matthew Hilburn reported this story for VOANews.com. Anna Matteo adapted it for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

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Words in This Story

fitness ­– n. the quality or state of being fit

tracker – n. a device that is aware of a fact, progression or condition

counseling – n. advice and support that is given to people to help them deal with problems, make important decisions, etc.

calorie – n. a unit of heat used to indicate the amount of energy that foods will produce in the human body

composition – n. the way in which something is put together or arranged : the combination of parts or elements that make up something

journal – n. a magazine that reports on things of special interest to a particular group of people

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Scientists Explore Underwater Volcanoes

October 02, 2016 from VOA  
Scientists Explore Underwater Volcanoes

What covers nearly 29 million square kilometers of this planet beneath the sea?

The answer is seamounts.

Seamounts are mountains, usually volcanoes, that rise up from the sea floor. Some of the volcanoes are ancient, some are still active. But they are hard to find because they do not reach the surface of the water.

Scientists say seamounts cover more of the earth’s area than deserts, tundra, or any other land-based habitats. Marine life gathers at seamounts because they carry nutrient-rich water upward from the sea floor.

In September, a group of scientists set out to explore Cook Seamount. It rises almost 4,000 meters from the Pacific Ocean floor about 160 kilometers off the island of Hawaii. Humans have never seen it up close before.

The Associated Press went with the scientists, and provided exclusive images and information about this seamount and the marine life around it.

"Pisces V surface you're going in. Roger, going in."

Three people went in a submarine down to over 900 meters below the ocean surface to the top of the seamount. As the blue waters became darker, underwater creatures that glow, by chemically creating their own light, began to swim past the submarine.

The scientists dove below the level where sunlight can reach.

They spotted some wonders-- like a rare octopus with big fins that look like elephant ears. One even changed colors as it swam by the submarine.

The scientists also found several kinds of deep sea corals on the seamount’s sides. These included a possible new species of violet-colored coral they named “Purple Haze.”

Conservation International and the University of Hawaii worked together for the trip to Cook Seamount.

Greg Stone is the lead scientist with Conservation International. He spoke to AP news service on the ship.

“This three day expedition is the start of an effort to survey seamounts throughout the Pacific Ocean over the next five years. And we hope to study a total of 50 seamounts.”

He said humans know very little about seamounts, but they are a “key part” of what drives the ocean. Stone said he wants to find out what is living on the seamounts and how they support ocean life.

“From that, we will understand ocean health, and ocean health relates directly to human health.”

M. Sanjayan is Executive Vice President of Conservation International. He told AP that there are “10,000, maybe 100,000” seamounts across the world’s oceans. He called them “hotspots for marine diversity,” and because most have not been explored, he expects that they will see things new to science when they get there.

Sonia Rowley is a researcher at the University of Hawaii who is taking part in the project. She will be studying the samples taken from Cook seamount.
University of Hawaii researcher Sonia Rowley logs coral samples taken from deep ocean seamounts during an expedition to unexplored underwater volcanoes off the coast of Hawaii's Big Island on Sept. 7, 2016. (AP Photo/Caleb Jones)
University of Hawaii researcher Sonia Rowley logs coral samples taken from deep ocean seamounts during an expedition to unexplored underwater volcanoes off the coast of Hawaii's Big Island on Sept. 7, 2016. (AP Photo/Caleb Jones)

“They were really magnificent actually, there were these huge structures that were going like tens of hundreds of meters high, and then on the edges they were kind of encrusted in many places with this beautiful purple Gorgonian sea fan.”

Cook seamount is an extinct volcano, which means it is not active anymore. It is part of a group of undersea volcanoes known as the Geologist Seamounts, that are about 80 million years old and could hold many new animal species. They could also contain elements such as nickel and cobalt that mining companies could extract.

One of the other two seamounts studied on their trip was Lo'ihi, an active volcano.

Lo'Ihi has been studied by manned submersibles over the past 30 years.

The scientists saw an “old friend” on Lo’Ihi—a shark they had seen there before. They also saw a two-meter long eel and a number of new geological formations around the volcano’s crater.

Scientists say Lo'ihi could someday be the newest island in the Hawaii chain as volcanic activity pushes the seamount upward. But do not look for it to break the surface of the water any time soon. Estimates are that it will not be for tens of thousands of years, if ever.

I’m Anne Ball.


Caleb Jones of The Associated Press wrote the exclusive report. Anne Ball adapted his story for VOA Learning English. Mario Ritter was the editor.

We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments Section, and find us on our Facebook page.

_________________________________________________________________

 

Words in This Story

exclusive –adj. not available anywhere else

habitat –n. a kind of place where certain kinds of animals and plants live and grow

marine –adj. having to do with the sea

virtually –adv. through digital technology rather than physically

encrusted –adj. covered, overgrown

crater –n. a round hole at the top of a volcano or caused by the impact of a meteorite

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Meltwater Lakes in Antarctica Show Signs of Trouble

October 01, 2016 from VOA  
Meltwater Lakes in Antarctica Show Signs of Trouble

Antarctica is home to the largest ice mass on Earth.

The continent sits on 14 million square kilometers of rock. About 98 percent of the land surface is covered by ice.

Beautiful lakes have begun to appear on the top of the ice. They look like islands of deep blue in an ocean of white. These lakes are called supraglacial or meltwater lakes.

Although the lakes can be beautiful, the ones scientists studied are a sign of trouble. Amber Leeson is a scientist with Lancaster University in England.

"We really weren't expecting to find lakes as far inland as 20 kilometers, which was the furthest inland lake we found during the study. And it was important that we found the link between the atmospheric temperature and the depth, number, and size of the lakes..."

Scientists say Antarctica has always had supraglacial lakes appearing on the ice during the summer months. But the more lakes there are, the more unstable they make the continent’s ice shelf.

Ice shelves are permanent, but floating pieces of ice that connect to the land. They form where a glacier or ice sheet reaches a coastline and into the sea.

Leeson says water from the lakes can drip down through the glacier, causing the huge river of ice and snow to weaken.

"If they form on the grounded ice, which is the bit of the ice sheet that sits on the bedrock, then the water they contain can drain away through the ice to the base, where it can lubricate the flow of the ice and make it flow a bit faster. If they form on the floating part of the ice, which is where the ice shelf extends over the ocean and begins to float on the sea, by repeatedly filling and draining they can actually weaken the ice shelf."

Leeson and other scientists believe that lakes are partly responsible for the collapse of the Antarctica ice sheets.

"...the Larsen B ice shelf collapsed in 2002 and we think that this is because it was covered in lakes in the years prior to collapse, and that by repeatedly filling and draining, they weaken the ice sheet, leading to its eventual disintegration..."

 And as temperatures rise, the team expects to see more and more lakes appearing in the continent. The scientists fear that all that meltwater could raise the world's sea levels.

I’m Marsha James.

Marsha James wrote this story for VOA Learning English. Her story includes information from an Associated Press report. George Grow was the editor.

We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments section, and visit our Facebook page.

____________________________________________________

Words in This Story

ice mass - n. a large piece of ice

supraglacial lake – n. any pond of liquid water on the top of a glacier

ice sheet – n. a very large and thick area of ice that covers a region

ice shelf – n. a floating sheet of ice permanently attached to a land mass

glacier – n. an large areas of ice formed from falling snow and building up over the years

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US Brings Legal Action Against Chinese Company for North Korea Ties

2016-10-01 from VOA
US Brings Legal Action Against Chinese Company for North Korea Ties

The United States announced criminal charges and economic sanctions against four Chinese individuals and a Chinese company earlier this week.

The U.S. government said it acted to punish them for suspected support for North Korea's nuclear weapons program.

On Wednesday, a State Department official suggested that more Chinese companies and individuals could face investigation for suspected violations of sanctions on North Korea.

The State Department’s coordinator for Sanctions Policy, Daniel Fried, spoke to the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee.

He said, “It would also be useful if Chinese banks and companies understood that increasingly dealing with North Korean companies, especially those that are sanctioned, is going to be risky.”

Two days earlier, the Treasury Department announced criminal charges and economic actions against a Chinese seller of industrial machinery. It named four top officials of Dandong Hongxiang Industrial Developmental Company Limited (DHID).

The four include the company’s chairwoman, Ma Xiaohong. They are accused of plotting to avoid sanctions against North Korea, and using American financial businesses to hide the money they earned illegally.

Chinese officials also are investigating the company. They are looking at its connection with the Kwangson Banking Corporation, a North Korean bank. U.S. and United Nations have said the bank has provided financial services in support of North Korea’s weapons programs.

A State Department officials said, “This shows we can work cooperatively with China; we both see it in our interests to apply greater pressure on North Korea.”

On Tuesday, a Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs official spoke to reporters about the U.S. action. Spokesman Geng Shuang said China was prepared to support U.N. resolutions against North Korea. The resolutions call for sanctions to punish the North for its nuclear and missile tests.

However, the spokesman expressed opposition to other countries using their own laws against companies or people within China.

“I want to stress that we oppose any country enacting so-called ‘long-arm jurisdiction,’ using its own domestic laws against a Chinese entity or individual,” he said.

In March, China agreed to the strongest U.N. Security Council sanctions yet to limit trade with North Korea.

The council's members have approved other actions to punish the country for its nuclear activities and missile program. Those restrictions have largely halted North Korean trade with countries other than China.

North Korea has faced severe international sanctions to punish the country for its nuclear activity and missile program.

Those restrictions have largely halted North Korean trade with countries other than China.

However, new research suggests that North Korean state-operated businesses are using middlemen in China to avoid sanctions.

I’m Mario Ritter.

This story was written from reports by Pete Cobus and Nike Ching for VOA News. Mario Ritter adapted it for VOA Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

_____________________________________________________________

Words in This Story

entity –n. a legal business or organization, something that exists by itself and is separate from other things

middlemen –n. people who buy goods from a producer and sell them to someone else

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プロフィール

srachai

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■近況

2009年の9月15日に脳梗塞を発症、右手が少し不自由になりました。
MRAで脳梗塞の部位を特定でき、素早い処置をとれたので大事に至りませんでした。
快復にむけてリハビリ中です。
(2011/01/01更新)

■自己紹介・リンク

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タイのスラチャイです。
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スラチャイはNHKのラジオ英語会話で現在の英語力を身につけました。
一日僅か15分の学習でも数年間継続すれば相当な学習効果が期待できます。

[ 名前 ]
松井 清 (スラチャイ)

[ 略歴 ]
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[ 座右の銘 ]
Slow and steady wins the race.
遅くとも着実な者が勝利する
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[ 学習の手引き ]
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・ネイティブ発音付辞書活用
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[ English Newspapers ]
Yomiuri
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Asahi
Japan Times
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The Nations
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スラチャイの多国言語学習
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基礎タイ語一覧(タイ文字、ローマ字)
seesaaサイト内リンク一覧:
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04 感謝の言葉と答え方
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06 聞き直すとき
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09 一般的なあいづち
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基礎タイ語一覧(タイ文字、音声付き)
サイト外HPリンク一覧:
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02 別れのあいさつ
03 声をかけるとき
04 感謝の言葉と答え方
05 謝罪の言葉と答え方
06 聞き直すとき
07 相手の言うことがわからないとき
08 うまく言えないとき
09 一般的なあいづち
10 よくわからないときの返事
11 強めのあいづち
12 自分について述べるとき
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15 申し出・依頼を断るとき
16 許可を求めるとき
17 説明してもらうとき
18 確認を求めるとき
19 状況を知りたいとき
20 値段の尋ね方と断り方
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