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Friday, 27 March  2009  Friday review

We've seen a few interesting stories this week on English Bites, so today we're going to go back and review them.


Some of these stories were about complicated things like the scientific research - or electricity generation. Let's take a closer look at some of the words and processes involved.

First, let's return to the scientists who are studying the effect of cocoa on the body.

Could it really be healthy?

PATRICK EMMETT: It was about 10 years ago in the jungles of Central America that scientists first suspected the humble cocoa bean might be more than just a raw material for one of the world's favourite sweets. They were looking into why some of the local Indians had an unusually low rate of cardiovascular disease. In fact, their blood pressure would hardly go up as they got older. The common link was they drank large amounts of a concoction made from cocoa beans.

ASSOC PROF JON BUCKLEY, UNISA: There's a growing body of evidence that it does have cardiovascular benefits, and people are looking at its effects on peripheral blood flow and also brain blood flow and the potential benefits for cognitive function, and so there are a lot of health benefits and people are starting to identify potentially new health benefits.

PATRICK EMMETT: Thousands of kilometres away from the jungle John Davison and his team at the University of South Australia are looking into just how good cocoa can be for us. The special ingredient in cocoa is flavonols, antioxidants which make blood vessels dilate so blood flows easier. What the UniSA researchers are studying is whether that may even help people lose weight.

ASSOC PROF JON BUCKLEY: We noted in people who are overweight or obese that they have impaired dilatory function. So say if you're obese and you go for a walk then the blood vessels that supply the blood to your active muscles won't dilate as freely as they will in someone who is not obese. So you have to carry this extra weight and at the same time you're less able to provide adequate blood flow to the muscles, so you are at a double disadvantage.

PATRICK EMMETT: To do their study the scientists will use ultrasound to measure how much blood flows through an artery.

They'll then use this machine to measure fat levels. Over a 12-week period the subjects will then drink a special cocoa drink every day and do a moderate exercise program.

The scientists will then see whether drinking more cocoa has helped some of the group lose more weight.

So cocoa is a dark brown powder that comes from cocoa beans.

Cocoa beans grow on the cacao tree, which grows in Central America.

Cocoa is very popular, because it's used to make chocolate.

Most people know that chocolate is not very healthy, because it's full of sugar. But scientists think that maybe cocoa is good for you.

Where scientists first get that idea from?

PATRICK EMMETT: It was about 10 years ago in the jungles of Central America that scientists first suspected the humble cocoa bean might be more than just a raw material for one of the world's favourite sweets.

They were looking into why some of the local Indians had an unusually low rate of cardiovascular disease. In fact, their blood pressure would hardly go up as they got older. The common link was they drank large amounts of a concoction made from cocoa beans.

It was about 10 years ago in the jungles of Central America. That's where the cacao tree grows.

Scientists thought that the cocoa bean might be more than just a raw material for the world's favourite sweets.

A raw material is an ingredient. It's something that's not cooked yet.

Cocoa is a raw material for the world's favourite sweets - chocolates.

A sweet is anything made from sugar.

It can be a dessert, or something like a lolly.

OK, so the Indians of Central America have very low rates of cardiovascular disease, heart disease.

And they drink amounts of a concoction, or mixture, made from cocoa beans.

Scientists thought there might be a link between these two things. So they set up the study.

Now, let's take a look at a town taking part in a very different type of science.

In Taralga, in NSW, the government has decided to set up a wind farm in order to produce electricity without polluting the environment.

LORRAINE ROSS: We're looking at seeing what our options are and we will fight. You don't lay down for speculators.

PAUL MISKELLY: The swish, swish, swish noise from a wind farm can become a thump, thump, thump sound, and it's there all the time that the wind is blowing, and if you're trying to sleep at night, it's relentless.

So not everyone's happy with the wind farm.

Listen to this man again.

PAUL MISKELLY: Community division has already occurred here. There are some who speak of those of us who object to this as simply being sour grapes, that we're not getting any money for it so we're not going to get anybody else get any money for it.

He says there is community division - there is disagreement in the town of Taralga.

He says some people think the disagreement is simply sour grapes.

Sour is the opposite of sweet.

Sour grapes describes someone who is angry just because they haven't got what they want, they haven't got something their way.

But he says it isn't sour grapes. He says there are real reasons to not want the wind farm. Listen.

PAUL MISKELLY: The swish, swish, swish noise from a wind farm can become a thump, thump, thump sound, and it's there all the time that the wind is blowing, and if you're trying to sleep at night, it's relentless

He says the swish swish swish noise can become a thump thump thump sound.

Swish and thump are both onomatopoeic words - words that sound like the thing they are describing.

Sometimes the turbines go swish, but at other times they go thump.

And that's not good if you're trying to sleep.

Well that's English Bites for this week. Don't forget to visit our website for more on all this week's stories.



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English Bites - Friday review
story notes

cocoa bean
Cocoa is a dark brown powder that comes from cocoa beans. Itís used to make chocolate.


looking into
To look into something is to find out all you can and examine the facts carefullly.

Example: We'll have to look into changing our insurance company.

an
An instead of a is used before words that start with a vowel sound. Foilow the link to listen to the difference.
more information: a & an

rate
Rate refers to the number of times something happens.

cardiovascular disease
Cardiovascular disease is heart disease.

go up
increase

Example: The price of fuel will go up.
For more meanings of the phrasal verb go up, follow the link below to our language library.
more information: go up

drank
Drank is the past tense of the irregular verb drink. Follow the link below to find out more and to listen to some examples.
more information: drink

concoction
mixture

body of evidence
A body of evidence is a collection of evidence. It's all the things known about a certain subject.

Example: The body of evidence about smoking makes it clear that it is definitely not good for your health.
Click here for more idioms and common expressions.

effects
Notice that the noun is effect whereas the verb meaning 'to influence' is affect. Follow the link for more.

are studying
This is the present continuous tense, used for things that are happening now and continuing into the future. Follow the link below to our language library to find out more.
more information: present continuous tense

you're
If you can say you are instead of you're, the word is the contraction of you are and should be spelled y-o-u-'-r-e. Follow the link below to find out more.
more information: your & you're

use
Notice that we pronounce use differently when it's used as a noun. Follow the link below to listen to the difference.
more information: use

ultrasound
An ultrasound is a machine thatís used to look inside the body. It uses sound waves to put an image on a screen.


flows
moves

subjects
The subjects are the people being studied.

moderate
medium

relentless
Relentless means without stopping.
spotlight

Find out more about the irregular verb drink.

view the spotlight >
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