Archive for Rick English

A Dramatic Increase in Garbage in the Arctic

polar bear garbage

Arctic Garbage slow Arctic Garbage fast

There are very few people living in . You would not expect to find much garbage there. Recently, however, some German researchers have discovered a lot of plastic, glass and other waste in the sea there. They say that there is twenty times more garbage than compared to ten years ago.

polar bear small

The researchers are not exactly sure what is causing the increase in the amount of garbage there. It could be coming from very far away. Ocean currents can spread things over many kilometers. Another factor may be climate change. Ice cover in the Arctic has been shrinking. This has lead to more fishing and tour boats coming into the region. Some of the litter could be coming from these sources.

Ocean garbage is dangerous. Fish and other animals can die. Animals often suffocate when they try to eat plastic bags. Also, it is not healthy for people who eat the fish.

Which do you believe? Please choose one.

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The Arctic is the part of the earth above 66° 34′ N. Above this latitude the sun does not set on the day of the summer solstice (the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere), and does not rise on the winter solstice (the shortest day of the year in the northern hemisphere.

National Security Advisor Resigns

National Security Advisor Resigns slow National Security Advisor Resigns fast

An important politician has resigned in the United States. His name is Michael Flynn. Flynn was President Donald Trump’s National Security Advisor. The National Security Advisor is one of the most important foreign policy positions in the US.

Why was Flynn asked to resign? Before he became an advisor, he telephoned the Ambassador of Russia and later lied about that conversation. Flynn negotiated with the Russian ambassador on the phone, but at that time, Trump was not yet president, and Michael Flynn was not yet a member of the government. There is a law in the USA that says only the government is allowed to negotiate with other countries. That is why Michael Flynn had to resign.

President Trump is now looking for a replacement. Already, Trump’s first choice for a replacement has turned down the offer. His name was Robert Harward, a retired US Navy vice admiral.


UPDATE: President Trump has chosen Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, a military strategist, as his new national security advisor. (Monday, February 20, 2017)

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The Kazuhito Kosaka Story

pen apple pineapple pen

How a Short YouTube Video and Justin Bieber
Changed A Life

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For more than 20 years, Kazuhito Kosaka was trying his best to make it as a Japanese comedian. He was successful enough to be in a 7-11 commercial, but he wasn’t a major star. But his life changed in just 45 seconds.

Kazuhito Kosaka’s stage name is Pikotaro, and one day he made a short and silly YouTube video called Pen, Pineapple, Apple, Pen (PPAP). But once people saw the 45-second song, they went crazy for it. One of the biggest fans of the performance was Justin Bieber, who tweeted that it was his “favorite video on the Internet.” With Justin’s support the video has gone on to get over 52 million hits! And its popularity is still growing.

Of course Justin Bieber and Pikotaro never met in person… until this January, when they filmed a commercial together for Japanese cell phone provider Softbank. Pikotaro doesn’t know if his success will continue or PPAP will turn out to be a one-hit wonder, but he’s trying to enjoy the fame as long as it lasts. And with Justin Bieber now his friend, his star could continue shining for a long time to come!

Level 85

Hater: Let’s Hate Stuff Together!


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Love always gets the credit for bringing couples together. And most most couples would surely agree with that. But thanks to a new dating app just released at the beginning of February, hate will also help start new romances.

Generally, dating apps match up users by mutual likes and preferences. But this new app takes a totally different approach. It brings people together based on their mutual dislikes.

The app is called Hater and was the brainchild of Brendan Alper, a former employee of Goldman Sachs. According to Alper, the idea for the app began as a joke. But soon he started thinking the concept could actually work. Taking the idea more seriously, he looked around to see if there was any research to support his concept. Eventually, he found some studies to backup his intuition.

The app is pretty simple to use. You are given a series of topics ranging from Donald Trump to airplane seats. You swipe up to love and down to hate. With this information Hater will look for potential matches in your area based on what you hate. And with a little luck, maybe you can find that special someone to spend a life griping about things with.

Level 85

Will the United States Build a Wall?

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Trump’s Wall slow Trump’s Wall fast

Donald Trump, the president of the USA, wants to build a wall. He wants to build this wall on the border with Mexico. His plan is causing much anger in Mexico and the U.S.

Currently, there is only a fence on some parts of the border between the two countries. The Rio Grande River makes up about half of the border.

The wall is supposed to stop immigrants. Many people come to the U.S. without permission from Mexico. Trump wants to prevent this.

Many questions about the proposed wall are still unanswered. For example, who will pay for its construction? Trump says Mexico will pay. The President of Mexico completely rejects this idea.

The wall will be 3,100 kilometers long. That is longer than the Danube, the longest river in western Europe.

There is much criticism about Trump’s plans. Many claim that the wall will put people at risk and tear families apart.

What do you think about the wall?

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More content coming!


Hello readers,

I just want to let you know that I will be adding articles on a regular basis. I will no longer have popup definitions for Spanish or Japanese, but you can use the translation button in the sidebar to instantly translate the page into most languages. Also, I have added a new feature: the repetition and shadowing web app. (Try it here!) This app makes it very easy to loop audio phrase-by-phrase or even slow it down. It is especially good for students who use the shadowing method for studying English, which I highly recommend. Find out more about the shadowing method here.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the changes. Thanks for your support.

Best regards,


2016: The Warmest Year Ever

hottest year ever

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Last year the world was hot like never before. That is according to international weather researchers. They say it was due to climate change.

Weather researchers from the United States and Switzerland measured the temperatures around the world. They compared the temperatures ​​with previous years. The conclusion: 2016 set a new heat record for the world. The scientists say that this climate change was caused by human activity.

In 2015, many countries gathered in Paris and adopted a treaty to protect the climate. The countries there agreed that we should not let the earth’s temperature go up more than 1.5 degrees Celsius. These new measurements show that this will be very difficult.

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Dealing with Extreme Summer Heat

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Summer is here and though it is , it is also . Extreme heat . But, you can do something about it.

little sunshine

Heat exhaustion is and . But it can also , which . is especially for the elderly, small children and . However, anyone should be careful and not do when the temperature goes above 35 degrees.

We can do many things . We should , and wear . Also, . Actually, they will cause you .

I hope you can all enjoy your summer days. Just play it safe.

Dealing with Extreme Summer Heat 夏の猛暑対策
the time for outdoor fun and play アウトドアの遊びを楽しむ時
the time to start thinking about protecting ourselves from extreme heat 猛暑から私たち自らを守ることを考え始める時期
can cause serious health problems 深刻な健康問題を引き起こすことがある
a relatively common response to intense heat 猛暑に対する比較的一般な反応である
can cause symptoms such as headaches, dizziness and fainting 頭痛、めまい、失神などの症状を引き起こす
lead to heatstroke 熱中症につながる
must be treated medically 医学的に手当てされなければならない
Heat stress 熱性ストレス
harmful 害を及ぼす
people who already suffer from illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes or hypertension 心臓病、糖尿病または高血圧のような病気をすでに患っている人々
heavy physical activity 激しい身体活動(運動
to protect ourselves from the dangers of extreme heat 猛暑の危険性から私たち自身の身を守る
stay out of the sun 日射しを避ける
drink plenty of liquids 水分をたくさん摂る
light clothing 軽い衣類
avoid drinks that contain alcohol or sugar アルコールや糖分の入った飲み物を避ける
to lose body fluids 体液を失う

Scientists Embarrassed When Space Mystery Solved

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, were excited about . But were from .

The scientists at Parkes in Australia that and come from . In January of 2015, the scientists . “,” said John Sarkissian, .

. So , they . And —the signal was coming from .

It appears that when someone opens the door of the microwave , it that at the observatory.

The microwave .

Scientists Embarrassed When Space Mystery is Solved 謎の宇宙が解かれ、とまどう科学者たち
Recently 最近
some researchers in Australia あるオーストラリアの研究者
messages from a distant galaxy 遠い銀河からのメッセージ
it turns out that (that 以下)〜だと わかる
the signals その信号
a completely different source 完全に異なる発信元
Observatory 観測所
specialize in radio bursts ラジオの電波バーストを専門とする
short pulses 短いパルス
last only fractions of a second ほんの一瞬しか続かない;1秒の何分の1かで
distant galaxies 遠い銀河
started getting repeated strange signals from an unknown source 未知の発信元から度重なる奇妙な (不思議な)信号を受け始める
It was a puzzle それは謎でした
a researcher at the observatory 観測所の研究者の一人
The mysterious signals 不思議な信号
had the space scientists scratching their heads 宇宙科学者たちの頭を悩ませた
with some new highly sensitive instruments いくつかの新しい高度な感知装置で
began to investigate 調査し始めた
what they found 彼らが見つけたものは
was very close to home すぐ近くだった
a microwave in the kitchen of the observatory 観測所の台所にある電子レンジ
while it is still running まだ作動している間に
emits a short pulse 短いパルスを放出する
is detectable by the radio telescope 電波望遠鏡で検出できる
has since been banned from the kitchen それ以来電子レンジが台所から禁じられた
(that 以下)〜だと わかる
未知の発信元から度重なる奇妙な (不思議な)信号を受け始める

A Campaign to Shame Rule-Breaking Drivers

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Shaming Drivers slow Shaming Drivers fast


, a group of young people in Russia . is . The young men wait on a . At first, they . . , however, . The . The stickers .

. One woman in the video . Another . , .

The . , their video .

Click for vocabulary list!

A Campaign to Shame Rule-Breaking Drivers 交通違反ドライバーを恥じさせるためのキャンペーン
Recently 最近
started a campaign キャンペーンを始めった
The aim of the campaign キャンペーンの狙い
to shame drivers who do not follow traffic rules 交通規則に従わない運転手を恥じさせる
footpath 小道
to block motorists who illegally use it as a shortcut 近道に、不法に使うドライバーを阻止する
politely ask the drivers to turn back. 運転手に引き返すよう礼儀正しく頼む
Most apologize and turn around ほとんどは謝罪して、引き返す
Others 他の人たち
are less cooperative 協力的でない
youths 若者たち
stick big stickers on their windshields 大きいなステッカーを彼らのフロントガラスに張り付ける
when they do not cooperate 彼らが協力しなかったとき
are made in such a way that they don’t come off very easily 簡単にとれないように作られている
Some motorists 何人かのドライバー
react very strongly 非常に強く反応する
even threatens to murder the youths その若者たちを殺すとさえ脅迫する
continues driving with one of the young men on the hood of her car 彼女の車のボンネットに若者を乗せたまま運転を続ける
Luckily 幸いに
no one was injured in the video 動画の中で誰も負傷しなかった
movement 運動
has been quite successful とても成功している
So far 今のところ
has had over 1 million views on YouTube YouTubeで100万以上再生されている