① Cars, trains, and planes make travel very easy.
② Unfortunately, when many people travel, pollution and wasted time have measurable side effects.
③ What if a traffic network were more efficient?
④ A seemingly unintelligent slime mold may hold some answers and more.
⑤ Slime molds are not quite an animal or a plant.
⑥ They feed on dead plant material, so they can be found on grass, on trees, and even in air conditioners!
⑦ Slime molds find food by sending out "arms" that reach out like a web.
⑧ When an arm finds food, it grows to transport the food, and other arms that do not find food become smaller, saving energy.
⑨ If this process goes on, inefficient paths are eliminated and efficient paths are made stronger.
⑩ By nature, slime molds are able to find the best way to join two or more areas together.
① In an experiment, scientists put a slime mold where Tokyo would be on a map of Japan.
② They put food where major cities were located on the map.
③ After a few days, the slime mold created a design similar to the actual rail system around Tokyo.
④ If it works for rail networks, could it work for other networks, too?
⑤ Researchers are now looking into whether slime molds can help create better communication networks.
⑥ During natural disasters, people try to contact friends and family, so cell phone use increases a lot.
⑦ A smarter and more efficient network may keep service up, so loved ones can stay in touch.
⑧ One day, the simple slime mold may become a designer for other networks of the future.
① Street corners can be powerful canvases on which artists express their talents and reach the ordinary people.
② They allow us to join the artists' world of imagination while walking along the streets.
③ Graffiti in Berlin- Drawing pictures or letters on city walls is called graffiti.
④ The Berlin Wall in Germany was the largest graffiti canvas in the world.
⑤ During the Cold War, the western side of the Wall was filled with graffiti drawn by artists from around the world, while the eastern side was kept blank.
⑥ A part of the wall still remains and shows the difference between the two sides.
⑦ Flash Mobbing in São Paulo- A flash mob is a large group of people who suddenly assemble in a public place, perform an unusual act, then quickly disappear.
⑧ Teenagers of São Paulo, Brazil love to hang out in a safer environment than their home streets.
⑨ Thousands of text messages invite teenagers to a shopping mall, where they enjoy themselves, singing and dancing together.
① Street installations refer to various objects set in public spaces.
② They are part of the streets people walk along every day.
③ Visit Soho, London, for example, where a telephone booth lies on the street, broken in half.
④ An artist named Banksy built it as a warning against the collapse of human interaction in the age of information.
⑤ Buskers in Seoul- Busking is defined as singing, playing a musical instrument, or performing other forms of art in public spaces, sometimes for money.
⑥ Playing on many street corners near subway stations in Seoul, buskers attract visitors from around the world.
⑦ As in many other countries, their performances are often highly regarded as a unique art form.
① Every year thousands upon thousands of tons of electronics, from air conditioners to smartphones, are thrown out.
② This adds up to huge amounts of waste which has to be managed, especially for smaller countries like Korea.
③ Is it possible that electronics waste is actually a resource?
④ Like a mine in the ground, many people are beginning to think of electronics waste as "urban mines" because of the amount of gold, silver, copper, plastic, and steel that is waiting to be used again.
⑤ To manufacture electronics products, resources such as gold, silver, copper, glass, plastic, and steel must be mined, purchased, or produced.
⑥ As resources become harder to get, urban mines may become a more economical solution.
⑦ About one ton of rock must be dug up in a mine to get around five grams of gold; however, one ton of mobile phones may contain around 300 grams of gold, in addition to other recoverable materials.
⑧ The potential value of urban mines increases when resources become expensive and waste is not recycled.
⑨ Although electronics waste may be seen from an economic point of view, there is another side to this story: the environmental issue.
⑩ Recycling electronics waste can lower ecological damage from traditional mines and decrease air pollution from transporting materials over long distances.
⑪ Moving forward does not always mean making new things; sometimes looking at an old problem from a new perspective is the simplest solution.
① People run street food booths around the world for a number of reasons, such as to get an opportunity to open their own business on a budget, to sell food in a lively place, or to promote their own special recipe.
② The advantage of these kinds of small businesses is that they provide opportunities for owners on smaller budgets.
③ At the same time, consumers benefit because of the variety of food that is available.
④ Special Family Recipes.
⑤ In the crowded cities in Vietnam, people usually keep their doors open, so cooking and eating food on the street is natural.
⑥ Street food businesses in Vietnam are usually owned by the family, and recipes are kept in the family.
⑦ These recipes are often handed down from the mother of the family to her children.
⑧ Meals from the Sky.
⑨ Melbourne, Australia has many small buildings and narrow alleys between them.
⑩ This gave rise to a unique restaurant called Jafflechutes, which sells sandwiches by parachute.
⑪ Three young men wanted to sell sandwiches, but they didn't have the money to rent a ground floor space.
⑫ Instead of customers coming up, they thought why not send sandwiches down?
⑬ Customers can pay online, select a time, stand on an 'X' marked outside the building, and wait for the parachute with their name on it.
⑮ In the United States, food trucks have become very popular among workers in large cities.
⑯ Food trucks can move around, and many sell food that originated in other countries like Mexico, China, Brazil, and Turkey.
⑰ For example, one of many recently popular food trucks, called Kogi, sells a mix of BBQ from Korea and food from Mexico.
⑱ Kogi's marketing strategy uses social networking to announce where it will turn up next.
① Robins are literally the early birds that catch the worms; they are the first to wake up because earthworms are nearest the soil surface early in the morning.
② But what could motivate them to sing in the middle of the night?
③ Well, sometimes birds are woken up by a loud noise, but that doesn't explain such a widespread phenomenon.
④ Many reports come from towns or areas with street lamps.
⑤ At first it was assumed that the birds singing at night had been 'tricked' into singing by the artificial light.
⑥ However, recent research suggests that robins are actually choosing to sing at night because cities and towns are just too noisy during the day.
⑦ At 2 or 3 a.m., most humans are finally asleep and have stopped making noise.
⑧ By singing at night, robins take advantage of the quiet streets to make themselves heard, when only the night owls are still awake to appreciate their song.
① It is sometimes argued that the health of a society can be viewed in terms of energy: when energy consumption is greater than energy supply, the society falls apart.
② The Internet, it turns out, may be able to help us in this regard.
③ To see how, consider the significant benefit of switching from traditional mail to e-mail.
④ As recently as a few decades ago, information was stored not in computers but on endless sheets of paper.
⑤ Beyond convenience, it may be that the technological shift from paper to computers is critical to the future.
⑥ Of course, there are energy costs to the thousands of computers that run the Internet.
⑦ But these costs are far less than the forests of trees and lakes of oil that would be sacrificed for the same quantity of information achieved with paper storage.
① If you have room for a deck or patio garden, planting one might not only make your grocery shopping easier, but also add a great deal of satisfaction to your life.
② For example, I know a couple who decided some years ago they'd rather spend time on their deck tending their plants than running to the market every time they need a tomato.
③ They get a large amount of satisfaction from being the source of much of the produce that goes on their table.
④ What little work they do to tend this simple garden gives them a lot of enjoyment, and they love the feeling of being in touch with nature.
⑤ Also, they've made a point of involving their teenage son in their gardening routine.
⑥ Not only has he been a big help to them, but he has developed an appreciation for plants and nature he might not otherwise have had.
⑦ They've come to treasure the chance to work together as a family at an activity they all enjoy.
① It is estimated that ninety percent of the rubies and sapphires on the world market today undergo heat treatment, a permanent process widely accepted by the gem trade.
② Sapphires are so common in Sri Lanka that the lightest, least valuable ones were once used to decorate rock gardens or buried under the posts of village homes for a blessing.
③ These low-quality sapphires, known as gueda, were not suitable for setting into jewelry.
④ But in the 1970s, Thai gem dealers discovered a heat treatment process that transformed the worthless gueda into valuable gems.
⑤ By "cooking" the stones at high temperatures, they performed something almost magical.
⑥ The titanium melted and mixed better with the iron, deepening the blue color of the gueda.
⑦ The Thais then experimented on different colored sapphires and rubies, and learned that a valuable sapphire or ruby could be made even more valuable through a similar process.
① In warfare, superior technology often makes the difference between victory and defeat.
② In the well-documented battle between Francisco Pizarro and Atahuallpa, vastly superior technology enabled 168 Spanish soldiers to kill 80,000 Indian soldiers.
③ Pizarro, most of all, had his scouts make use of horses for obtaining military information about the war.
④ In doing so, he had a significant tactical advantage over Atahuallpa because his men swiftly told him everything he needed to know about Atahuallpa's army.
⑤ Pizarro also provided horses for warriors equipped with armor for fighting in order to ensure their mobility.
⑥ Further, Atahuallpa's Indian foot soldiers and their primitive clubs were no match for the powerful Spanish soldiers.
⑦ Thus, although the number pointed heavily to an Indian victory, it was ultimately the Spaniards and their technology who were victorious.
① Throughout much of the Cold War era, television and radio broadcasting was a narrow field, because the technologies available for broadcasting were limited.
② Governments either directly ran most television broadcasting or tightly controlled it.
③ This began to change first in the United States with the introduction of cable television, which could carry many more channels than could be broadcast over the air.
④ Then, in the 1980s, other versions of multichannel television began to spread around the world - thanks largely to the falling cost of satellites.
⑤ There is some irony in this.
⑥ The Cold War drove both the Soviet Union and America to put smaller and smaller, stronger and stronger, and cheaper and cheaper satellites into space in order to spy on each other.
⑦ That same technology, though, made it possible for television signals to be broadcast cheaply.
① With the birth of e-mailing and the increased use of it in the workplace, in schools and at home, it has begun to fill a gap that verbal communication and telephone communication could never fill.
② By nature of the medium electronic mail works in, there is, by default, a natural record of the exchanges between sender and recipient.
③ This has become especially important in our world today, where responsibility has become the more urgent issue when it comes to handling tasks in the workplace.
④ Previously, dependence on verbal agreements or statements made in passing made people liable to innocently being made the accused in any controversial situation.
⑤ However, now with e-mailing, people depend on it more to give instructions and distribute various difficult tasks.
⑥ E-mailing is also of great use in making important promises or contracts which guarantee considerable profits.
⑦ All of these can be documented completely, thanks to the people who invented electronic mail, and people can work with fewer concerns.
① At a critical time in my life, when I had lost a job and was going through a period of extreme challenge and trial, I found myself in a cycle of cutting back, letting go, and giving away.
② I cleaned out my closets and donated bags of clothes to the Salvation Army, where soldiers and officers provide aid to the homeless and the poor.
③ I pulled weeds from my garden and lawn, cut my hair shorter, and offered more of my time to work with a nonprofit organization.
④ It was a difficult time for me but a healing one.
⑤ It signaled the end of one season of my life and the beginning of another.
⑥ Those physical actions were just the outer signs of what was taking place within me - clearing out the old and getting rid of the mess.
⑦ Slowly but surely, I created an open space, which allowed wonderful opportunities and needed changes to appear in my life.
① Confucius's moral philosophy extends into the fields of law and punishment.
② Previously, the legal system was based on religion.
③ But he proposed a system based on fairness, doing the same thing for someone that they have done for you.
④ That is, if you are treated with respect, you will act with respect.
⑤ Also, Confucius felt that the best way to deal with crime lay in establishing a sense of shame for bad behavior rather than creating laws and punishments.
⑥ If people are guided by laws and controlled by punishment, they do not learn a real sense of right and wrong.
⑦ On the other hand, if they are guided by example and controlled by respect, they feel guilty for wrong actions and learn to become truly good.
① Bette Graham was an American typist and the inventor of white-out.
② The story of her invention begins when she found work as a secretary.
③ Recently divorced, she badly needed the job to support herself and her son.
④ The problem was, typing wasn't exactly her strong point, and she became increasingly worried that her frequent errors would get her fired.
⑤ Then she had an idea.
⑥ Graham filled a nail polish bottle with white paint and took it to work.
⑦ Whenever she made a mistake, she simply painted over it.
⑧ Before long, coworkers were begging her for her secret, and she started bringing extra to sell.
⑨ In 1962, she was fired for using company time to write letters for her own business, but that turned out to be fortunate.
⑩ Within six years, her Liquid Paper Company was a million-dollar business.
① For many of us, life is faster than ever, we're busier than ever, and we work longer hours than ever.
② We live our lives catching up on our to-do lists.
③ We're in a race against time.
④ Time is precious, so we "buy time," "steal time," and "make time," but still ... "time flies.
⑤ "No matter what we do, it appears that we're simply too busy to be happy.
⑥ The question is, though, how much time does it really take to be happy?
⑦ I suggest that happiness should require no extra time.
⑧ In fact, it requires no time at all.
⑨ In other words, happiness is waiting for your acceptance, not your time.
⑩ A lack of time is not an authentic obstacle to happiness.
⑪ "Lack of time" is a smokescreen - it hides the path to happiness.
① The beautiful shape of the DNA molecule and its clear importance in biology led many scientists to believe it might be the foundation of life itself.
② There was one problem, however, with this belief: DNA could not copy itself without the assistance of proteins.
③ Proteins are also needed for many other chemical reactions considered necessary for life.
④ So, the origin-of-life field became lost in the chicken-or-the-egg question.
⑤ Which came first: DNA or proteins?
⑥ An apparent answer emerged when it was found that RNA (a cousin of DNA) could both copy itself and start chemical reactions.
⑦ In 1986, Walter Gilbert proposed that life began in an RNA world - that is, an RNA molecule that could copy itself was formed, by chance, in a pool of its own building blocks.
① Hugh Moore, a Harvard dropout, forever changed the way we drink water with his invention of the Dixie Cup, the first paper cup.
② It all started in 1909, when Kansas's Board of Health banned drinking from public water wells because they spread disease.
③ Unfortunately, this left Kansans with no way to distribute water.
④ That's when Moore came to the rescue by inventing an ice-chilled dispenser that served customers water in a paper cup.
⑤ Moore's paper cups weren't immediately successful, but they sold well enough to keep him in business until 1919, when he thought of a better name.
⑥ The choice was Dixie.
⑦ Moore stole the name from the Dixie Doll Company in New York, simply because he liked the sound of the word.
⑧ And judging from the increase in sales afterward, so did most of America.
① Orville Redenbacher was a funny-looking farmer with a funny-sounding name.
② He spent time as a high school teacher, but also managed a twelve-thousand-acre farm.
③ Somewhere along the way, he became interested in breeding a new variety of corn.
④ He found a partner named Charlie Bowman, and they worked on more than thirty thousand corn varieties.
⑤ In 1965, they finally came up with the perfect plant for making popcorn.
⑥ They named their new popcorn Red Bow.
⑦ But real success would wait until the day they consulted with a Chicago marketing executive who charged them $13,000 for the following advice: Name the popcorn after the funny-looking farmer.
⑧ "He came up with the same name my mother did for free," laughed Orville Redenbacher years later.
⑨ So Red Bow turned into Orville Redenbacher's Gourmet Popcorn and quickly became the most popular popcorn in the land.
① The word "philosopher" comes from the Greek words meaning "love of wisdom.
② "The Western tradition in philosophy spread from Ancient Greece across large parts of the world, influenced by ideas from the East.
③ The kind of wisdom that philosophy values is based on argument, reasoning, and asking questions.
④ Philosophy rejects believing something simply because someone important has claimed it's true.
⑤ Similarly, for Socrates, wisdom was not about knowing facts or possessing skills.
⑥ He believed wisdom required understanding the true nature of our existence.
⑦ Philosophers today are doing more or less what Socrates was doing.
⑧ They are working to answer some of the most important questions we can ask ourselves about the nature of reality and how we should live.
⑨ Unlike Socrates, though, modern philosophers have the benefit of nearly two and a half thousand years of past philosophy to guide them.
① While the Mona Lisa is probably pretty well protected today, there used to be a time when you could walk into the Louvre and just take it off the wall.
② In fact, somebody did.
③ In 1911, an Italian workman named Vincenzo Peruggia walked into the gallery, took the painting off the wall, and carried it out.
④ He was not exactly the master thief you might imagine, because security was practically nonexistent at that time.
⑤ Of course, it did take police about two years before they located the painting buried in a trunk in Vincenzo's cheap apartment in Florence.
⑥ So what was the working man's motive?
⑦ Not money apparently.
⑧ He claimed that since the painting was painted by an Italian, Leonardo da Vinci, it was part of Italy's national cultural heritage, and he was, in true patriotic spirit, simply taking it back to where it belonged: Florence.
⑨ The painting was returned to the Louvre shortly thereafter.