レアジョブ英会話 Daily News Article Podcast

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Aussie jokester spends a day on the town with a rubbish bin
28-03-2022
Aussie jokester spends a day on the town with a rubbish bin
During the pandemic, Australia enforced some of the severest lockdowns in the world. But now that the latest coronavirus wave is falling, the nation seems ready to embrace life anew, Aussie style. That means more communication, more fun and a lot more sharing of good humor where you can find it. In Mackay, Queensland, a man named Carl Stanojevic decided to take his neighbor’s words literally when the latter asked him to “take my (trash) bins out please.” The neighbor, Nick Doherty, couldn’t do it himself since he had to get to work. Instead of just taking the single wheelie bin to the curb, Stanojevic loaded it into his car and took it with him to the surf club, the hardware store, a few pubs plus a drive-thru restaurant. Later, feeling in need of a bit of relaxation, Stanojevic and the bin hit a massage and tattoo parlor. The bin, refreshed and tattooed, called home from a phone booth and posed for photos with some sanitation workers. The pair spent five hours in each other’s company, with Stanojevic taking photos every step of the way. The next day, Stanojevic shared the pictures with Nick, who got a huge kick out of them and contacted the local news station. “Bin day not half rubbish for Mackay man doing his neighbour a favour” ran the headline. Stanojevic was quoted as saying: “It’s heartbreaking to see all those businesses doing it tough, so I thought if I could put a smile on a couple of people’s faces, then so be it.” Doherty and his bin are together again but their relationship may have suffered a setback. He later told reporters that Stanojevic has “definitely raised the expectations of my bin now. I’m going to have to start taking it out regularly or it’ll find another owner.” (The Japan Times) This article was provided by The Japan Times Alpha.
Tech World: Wordle
27-03-2022
Tech World: Wordle
This month’s topic isn’t an app or a gadget — but it’s a bona fide internet sensation. Wordle is a word game you play in your web browser. And it’s captured the hearts of people everywhere. The rules are simple: Guess the five-letter word of the day in six tries or less. Colored boxes tell you whether each letter is wrong, right in the wrong place, or right in the right place. A keyboard tells you which letters you’ve used. When you finish, you can share your results on social media as a block of colorful emoji boxes. For the uninitiated, these emojis are baffling, but to Wordle fans they tell a story: This player completed it in two — brilliant! That player had bad luck for four rows but pulled it together to win in the end — what a great effort! Why is Wordle so big? Many reasons. For one thing, it’s deliberately nonaddictive. There’s only one word each day, so you don’t spend hours trapped in the game. The writer, Josh Wardle — yes, he named Wordle after himself — made it for his girlfriend. Both are big fans of crosswords and word puzzles. Another key to Wordle’s success is that the words aren’t difficult. Wardle could have filled it with all 13,000 or so five-letter words in the English language. But his girlfriend didn’t want that. “She just wanted something she could sit down and mindlessly do,” Wardle told Slate.com. So she chose the 2,500 simplest words. Wardle’s girlfriend also had the final vote over the spelling. She’s American and he’s Welsh, so it’s “color” not “colour.” Finally, the game doesn’t nag you to play. Wardle didn’t plan to make money from it. It was a gift to his girlfriend. It caught fire. That’s good enough for him. (T) This article was provided by The Japan Times Alpha.
News Mash-up: Animals
24-03-2022
News Mash-up: Animals
Biden family welcomes Willow, a Pennsylvanian farm cat, to White House The Biden family finally has a cat. First lady Jill Biden’s office has announced America’s first family is excited to welcome a 2-year-old, gray-and-white-striped cat named Willow to the White House. Biden, a community college professor, named the cat after her hometown of Willow Grove, Pennsylvania, said Michael LaRosa, the first lady’s spokesperson. “A farm cat from Pennsylvania, Willow made quite an impression on Dr. Biden in 2020 when she jumped up on the stage and interrupted her remarks during a campaign stop,” LaRosa said. “Seeing their immediate bond, the owner of the farm knew that Willow belonged with Dr. Biden.” The green-eyed, short-haired tabby cat was settling in well at the White House with “her favorite toys, treats and plenty of room to smell and explore,” LaRosa said. (Reuters) Swiss voters reject ban on animal testing Swiss voters rejected a proposal by animal rights activists to make Switzerland the first country to ban medical and scientific experiments on animals in referendums. Only 21% of voters were in favor of the animal experiment ban, with 79% against, according to government figures, in the nationwide referendum held Feb. 13 under the Swiss tradition of direct democracy. Supporters hoped to halt tests but ran into opposition from the powerful pharmaceuticals lobby, which warned of the economic damage such a ban could cause. (Reuters) These articles were provided by The Japan Times Alpha.
Armchair Traveler: Atacama Desert (Chile)
23-03-2022
Armchair Traveler: Atacama Desert (Chile)
Chile’s Atacama Desert is the world’s driest desert. It has been arid for 150 million years, and some parts are thought to be like Mars. NASA even tests equipment here for future missions to the Red Planet. But don’t get the idea that there’s nothing to see. Not all of the desert is Mars-like. Once you start looking, you’ll see there are attractions everywhere. Start at the town of San Pedro de Atacama, your gateway to the main sights. Rent a car and drive about 80 km north to El Tatio. This is a massive field of geysers, the third largest in the world. With the Andes mountains in the distance, explore dozens of vents, fountains and mud pools. Be careful though: Some of the geysers can suddenly send hot water into the air! For a safe and comforting experience, dip your toes into a hot spring. Between El Tatio’s geysers and San Pedro, stop in at the Puritama Hot Springs. It’s a small set of hot springs that seem out of place in such a dry desert. Southwest of San Pedro is the Salar de Atacama, the largest salt flat in Chile. Here you’ll find the large salt lake Laguna Chaxa, a favorite gathering place for flamingos and other birds. A bit further west, the Lagunas Escondidas, or Hidden Lagoons, are popular swimming spots. The water is loaded with salt, making floating effortless. Finally, stargazers will love the night sky in the Atacama Desert. Far from any city’s bright lights, you can easily see the Milky Way. Pitch a tent and wait for the stars to march across the heavens. It’s an inspiring sight. (T) This article was provided by The Japan Times Alpha.
News Mash-up: Celebrities
20-03-2022
News Mash-up: Celebrities
Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver are finally divorced, after more than 10 years Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver have officially finalized their divorce, more than 10 years after proceedings began. Court documents filed on Dec. 28 showed that a final settlement had been reached between the Terminator star and the U.S. journalist, formally ending their 35-year marriage. The terms of the divorce settlement were not made public. Shriver, the niece of slain U.S. President John F. Kennedy, filed for divorce in 2011 after Schwarzenegger ended his term as California governor and admitted fathering a child with the couple’s housekeeper some 14 years previously. (Reuters) After two-year break, Elton John says hello again with resumed goodbye tour British rocker Elton John has resumed his “Farewell Yellow Brick Road” tour, returning to the stage in New Orleans after a nearly two-year hiatus. The Tiny Dancer and Crocodile Rock hitmaker, 74, played the Crescent City on Jan. 19. Marking his retirement from performing on the road, John’s global tour began in September 2018. Like other musicians, he was forced to postpone live shows due to the pandemic. “Wow, we haven’t played a show since the sixth of March 2020. This is a new experience for us, I’ve never had this amount of time off in my life ... playing music, well at least since I was 17 years of age,” the singer told the crowd. (Reuters) These articles were provided by The Japan Times Alpha.
Amazon heads to the mall with prototype clothing store Part 2
19-03-2022
Amazon heads to the mall with prototype clothing store Part 2
Continued from Part 1… Amazon unseated Walmart as the largest clothing seller last year during the pandemic as more people began shopping online. Wells Fargo estimated in March that Amazon’s clothing and footwear sales in the U.S. increased by about 15% in 2020 to more than $41 billion (¥4.6 trillion). That’s about 20% to 25% above Walmart’s sales and an 11% to 12% share of all clothing sold in the U.S. Amazon has been making a big push into fashion in recent years through its own labels. In September 2020, it launched an online shop called Luxury Stores. Shoppers at the Amazon Style store can browse items on display and scan a QR code to see sizes, colors and customer ratings. Shoppers can send items to fitting rooms or directly to the store’s counter. Once in a fitting room, customers can request other items using a touchscreen. “Amazon Style completely reimagines what’s possible in the fitting room, turning it into a personalized space where customers can continue to shop a seemingly endless closet of great styles,” Vasen wrote in an Amazon blog post. Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail, said the prototype store could deepen Amazon’s influence in the sector, especially among clothing shoppers who prefer the experience of exploring and browsing physical stores. And it could empower Amazon with more shopping data. But he also cautioned that Amazon’s success depends on execution. “Traditionally, it is not all that good at creating a great in-store experience,” said Saunders. “It tends to be very solid at technology and operations but can fall short on spirit and soul — both of which are particularly important in fashion, where consumers love inspiration, curation and personal services.” (AP) This article was provided by The Japan Times Alpha.
Amazon heads to the mall with prototype clothing store Part 1
18-03-2022
Amazon heads to the mall with prototype clothing store Part 1
First, Amazon competed with malls. Now, it’s moving inside one. The online retailing giant said that it plans to open a clothing store in a Southern California mall later this year. It’s the latest foray into brick-and-mortar stores for Amazon, which already sells more than 10% of all clothes in the U.S. The store, which will sell women’s and men’s clothing as well as shoes and other accessories, will open at Americana at Brand, a mall in Glendale, California. The entry into malls could become another threat to traditional clothing sellers because of the data and shopper insights Amazon may gain, experts say. Amazon says its algorithms will spit out real-time recommendations as shoppers scan items that they see. Shoppers can also fill out an online survey of their preferences for style and fit. The store will be about 2,800 square meters, about one-third the size of a large department store like Macy’s. However, it will offer more than double the number of styles as traditional stores do because only one of each piece of clothing will be on display, with the rest in a backroom. Items are chosen by Amazon curators who also use feedback provided by millions of customers shopping on Amazon.com. Simoina Vasen, managing director of Amazon Style, declined to comment on rollout plans of the new store or sales projections. Amazon didn’t give a precise date for the opening of the Glendale store. (AP) To be continued… This article was provided by The Japan Times Alpha.
News Mash-up: Popular Entertainment
17-03-2022
News Mash-up: Popular Entertainment
Netflix raises subscription fees in US, Canada Netflix Inc. has raised its monthly subscription price by $1 to $2 (¥114 to ¥228) per month in the United States depending on the plan, the company said on Jan. 14, to help pay for new programming to compete in the crowded streaming TV market. The standard plan, which allows for two simultaneous streams, now costs $15.49 (¥1,779) per month, up from $13.99 (¥1,607), in the United States. Prices also went up in Canada, where the standard plan rose to 16.49 Canadian dollars (¥1,514) from 14.99 Canadian dollars (¥1,376). The price increases, the first in those markets since October 2020, took effect immediately for new customers. (Reuters) Next two Mission: Impossible movies delayed until 2023, 2024 The seventh and eighth movies in the Mission: Impossible franchise, starring Tom Cruise, have been delayed until 2023 and 2024 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, producers Paramount Pictures and Skydance said in a statement. Mission: Impossible 7 had been scheduled to debut in movie theaters in September 2022, followed by Mission: Impossible 8 in July 2023. The new dates for the films are July 14, 2023, for the seventh installment, and June 28, 2024, for the eighth movie in the series. “After thoughtful consideration, Paramount Pictures and Skydance have decided to postpone the release dates for Mission: Impossible 7 & 8 in response to delays due to the ongoing pandemic,” the companies said in a statement. (Reuters) These articles were provided by The Japan Times Alpha.
25 Greatest Inventions of the 20th Century: Talkies
16-03-2022
25 Greatest Inventions of the 20th Century: Talkies
Movies have been around since the mid-1890s, but at the start they were “silent” — actors moved their lips but you couldn’t hear their words. Audiences read dialogue on cards that interrupted the action. In cinemas, a pianist or orchestra played the soundtrack. This simple formula made Hollywood a cultural force. Silent film actors became stars. Then came Vitaphone. This new technology let audiences hear films with synchronized sound. The sound was played separately from the moving pictures, on phonograph records. Vitaphone could synchronize words with the actors’ lips as they spoke. The film that brought Vitaphone to everyone’s attention was The Jazz Singer in 1927. It starred Al Jolson as a young Jewish man who left his family to chase his dream of becoming a musical star. He performed many of the movie’s songs in blackface — something you could never get away with these days. “Talkies” became wildly popular and spelled doom for the silent era — they were just more rewarding to watch. Silent film stars adapted to the new world of talkies or were left behind. Talkies also helped spread English to all corners of the world. In the silent era, dialogue cards were written in the local language, but there were no on-screen cards in talkies. The films were either dubbed or subtitled. You can see how that helped people learn English in countries like Sweden, which embraced subtitles, compared to countries like Spain and France, which prefer dubbing. (T) This article was provided by The Japan Times Alpha.
News Mash-up: Political Trouble
15-03-2022
News Mash-up: Political Trouble
Justin Bieber performs at Saudi F1 race, despite race activists' calls for boycott   Justin Bieber performed to a packed crowd in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia, on Dec. 5. The concert took place even as human rights campaigners and activists called on Bieber to cancel his performance to protest the kingdom’s arrests and crackdown of critics. Only a few years ago, this would have been an unthinkable scene in Saudi Arabia, where ultraconservative norms prevailed. Concerts were banned and unmarried men and women were segregated in public spaces. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is behind the sweeping changes as he works to modernize society, attract foreign investment and create jobs. Human Rights Watch has called on celebrities to boycott the kingdom, saying such events are aimed at diverting attention and deflecting scrutiny from Saudi Arabia’s human rights record. (AP) Johnson's office apologizes to queen for party British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s office apologized to Queen Elizabeth II on Jan. 14 after it emerged that staff had partied late into the night in Downing Street on April 16, 2021, the eve of Prince Philip’s funeral, at a time when mixing indoors was banned. Johnson is facing the gravest crisis of his premiership after revelations about a series of social gatherings during COVID-19 lockdowns, some held when ordinary people could not bid farewell in person to dying relatives. (Reuters) These articles were provided by The Japan Times Alpha.
News Mash-up: Famous Franchises
13-03-2022
News Mash-up: Famous Franchises
First-edition Harry Potter sells for world-record price, says US auction house A first-edition copy of Harry Potter sold for $471,000 (¥53 million) on Dec. 9. The auctioneers, Texas-based Heritage Auctions, said it was a world-record price for a 20th-century work of fiction. Heritage said the hardback copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was “magical, incredibly bright and so very near pristine.” The copy is one of the first 1997 British editions. Only 500 were printed, Heritage said. “Not only is it the most expensive Harry Potter book ever sold, it’s the most expensive commercially published 20th-century work of fiction ever sold,” Heritage Auctions Executive Vice President Joe Maddalena said in a statement. British author J.K. Rowling went on to write six more books about the adventures of the boy wizard. They have sold some 500 million copies worldwide in 80 languages, according to U.S. publisher Scholastic. (Reuters) Spider-Man: No Way Home becomes 1st pandemic-era film to reach $1 billion globally Spider-Man: No Way Home unwrapped the best Christmas gift of all, becoming the first pandemic-era movie to cross $1 billion (¥116 billion) at the global box office. Since its premiere on Dec. 13, Sony’s comic-book epic has eclipsed the $1 billion milestone in a near-record 12 days, tying with 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens as the third-fastest film to reach the billion-dollar benchmark. Only 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War and 2019’s Avengers: Endgame were quicker, smashing the coveted tally in 11 and five days, respectively. It’s impressive that Spider-Man: No Way Home managed to blow past $1 billion in ticket sales worldwide given the rapidly spreading omicron variant. No other Hollywood film has come close to nearing those box office revenues in the last two years. (Reuters) These articles were provided by The Japan Times Alpha.