February 02, 2009

Six more weeks of winter, says Phil...

Phil is no ordinary weather forecaster. This friendly groundhog from Punxsutawney, Philadelphia, has been responsible for predicting the end of the winter in the US for the past 123 years. Today, Phil once again came out of his hole to announce that he has seen his own shadow, which means people can expect six more weeks of harsh winter in the northern hemisphere. Read all about the world's most famous groundhog clicking here.

January 26, 2009

Happy New (Chinese) Year!

Most people celebrate New Year on January 1st, but in many oriental cultures the New Year falls on a different day every year, because it follows a lunar calendar. Today is the beginning of the year of the Ox! Find out what the Chinese horoscope has in store for you clicking this link. Not sure what animal you are? Just check the year you were born next to each picture - I am a Rabbit!

January 23, 2009

Obama's inaugural speech

A historic moment, no question about. Barack Hussein Obama became this week the 44th president of the United States - and the first African American to do so. If you missed the inaugural ceremony last Tuesday, here's the transcript of the new president's first address to the nation (a new window will open so that you can read and listen at the same time). And you can find part 2 of the video here. Definitely worth watching!

January 08, 2009

The history of Coca Cola

Coca Cola is certainly the most famous drink in the world. But how much do you know about it? Take a look at this slideshow which tells you a bit about Coca Cola's first years and then try the game (scroll down the page and write your name in the box) to see how much you remember about what you read!

January 05, 2009

Happy 2009!

This Coca Cola TV commercial was first aired at Christmas, 1984 and it has been one of its most sucessful campaigns ever. Watch the ad, read the lyrics and then try a simple memory game: how many different people can you describe in one minute?

I’d like to buy the world a home
Furnish it with love
Grow apple trees, honey bees
And snow-white turtle-doves
I’d like to teach the world to sing
In perfect harmony
I’d like to buy the world a Coke
And keep it company
(That’s the song I sing…)

January 03, 2009

Coming back!

Yes, I know, it's been six months already... but the Platypus is back! I've been away from the blog since last June, working on other projects, but I'm ready to start posting regularly now. We'll be back soon!

June 28, 2008

Where is it? A cool game

Where is Canberra? In which country can you find Lake Victoria? This is a very interesting game to test how much you know about where different cities and places are located in the world. Click here and play the game! Precision, as well as speed, is very important and as you get the answers right, you are moved to a more advanced level (there are 12 altogether). Challenge your friends and see who's the expert - good luck!

June 20, 2008

June 20 - World Refugee Day

The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has chosen June 20th as the World Refugee Day. In more than 50 years, the agency has helped over 50 million people around the world, and its 6,300 staff members now work in 110 different countries giving hope to an estimated 33 million refugees. You can find more about this date visiting their page. And here is a message from actress Angelina Jolie, who has been a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador for many years.

June 18, 2008

Japanese immigration in Brazil

On June 18, 1908, the Japanese ship Kasato Maru arrived in Santos (SP) with the first group of Japanese immigrants. One hundred years later, Brazil and Japan celebrate the 100th anniversary of their arrival with a series of cultural events in several cities and the visit of prince Naruhito. Brazil has the biggest Japanese community outside Japan (more than 1,5 million) and their influence is particularly strong in the state of São Paulo.

To celebrate the occasion, here is a short article about the immigrants and an interesting video teaching you how to eat sushi (scroll down the page if you would like to read the transcript too).

Then listen to Mari comparing life in New York and Tokyo and Clare comparing Japan and England. And finally, why not try a quiz about the country?

June 10, 2008

Bella Notte - a Valentine's song

This scene from the movie "The Lady and the Tramp" has been considered the most romantic in the history of the cinema! Watch the video, listen to the song and put the lyrics in the correct order!

___ Oh this is the night,

___ Look at the skies,

___ The night will weave its magic spell,

___ And we call it bella notte

___ And the heavens are right!

___ They have stars in their eyes

___ You'll find enchantment here.

___ Side by side with your loved one,

___ On this lovely bella notte.

___ It's a beautiful night

___ Oh this is the night,

___ When the one you love is near!

___ On this lovely bella notte!

Now check the lyrics clicking on comments!

June 09, 2008

Are women more romantic than men?

Are women more romantic than men? Well, judging from this scene taken from the American sitcom Friends, it certainly looks like it! Watch the video and think: how does Rachel describe the first time she and Ross kissed? How is it different from his description?

If you are preparing for the CAE exam, here are two activities: in the first one, edit the text finding the unnecessary words. In the second, choose the sentences to complete the gapped text.

May 30, 2008

Brazil in the news: Stem-cell research approved

The Brazilian Supreme Court has given scientists the green light to carry out stem-cell research using frozen embryos. Read all about it in this New York Times article.
More about stem-cell research: