Article eight

The following tells about whether wild animals are dangerous, a smuggling incident, stories about Thanksgiving, views on the Internet, the difference between American English and British English, and the story of throwing starfish.

Article 1: Are wild animals dangerous?

Some people think that all wild animals are dangerous. Actually, very few of them will attack a man if he leaves them alone.

If you met a lion or an elephant, suppose you would run away, but even a lion will keep away from a man unless it is very hungry.

“Lions and tigers only kill and eat men when they have grown too old and too weak to catch their usual food, such as deer and other small animals.

If you saw a wild elephant, perhaps you would be frightened. Elephants usually run away at once unless you attack them.

Some animals get very frightened if they only smell a man, some take no notice but quietly walk in another direction.

Wild animals only attack hunters when they are afraid that the hunters mean to harm their young ones, or when the hunters shoot at them and make them angry.

Article 2: A smuggling incident

Koeler took special notice of the tall woman who was nicely dressed, but she was wearing ugly, thick-soled shoes.

Now the woman was taken to a room for questioning. There it was found that the soles of the shoes were hollow. They were opened.

Some diamonds fell out on the floor. Their total weight was 3377 carats.

The young woman broke down in tears. Then she told her story. For years she had dreamed of coming to live in America, she said.

At last she had managed to get the papers she needed to come to the U.S. Then a strange man called on her.

He said he would pay for her trip and give her one hundred dollars. All she had to do was to smuggle the diamonds past the U.S.Customs.

The man gave her the shoes and also brought her a plane ticket. Just before she got on the plane, he gave her an envelope. He said that it was the hundred dollars he had promised.

The weeping woman handed the envelope to Koeler. He tore it open. There was only eighteen dollars.

She was cheated. In the end the woman was tried and sentenced to eighteen months in prison for her part in the smuggling.

Article 3: Stories about Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Day is always celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November. It is the most traditional American holiday.

The first Thanksgiving Day was held in Massachusetts in 1621. After a year of great hardship, the colonist wanted to give thanks to God for their first harvest.

They invited their Indian friends to join them in a big feast. Today the holiday is still celebrated as a day for giving thanks.

But it wasn’t a regular national holiday until Present Lincoln declared that the last Thursday in November would be there after Thanksgiving Day in 1863.

It is a day of family reunion and it is customary to invite friends to share the meal. In some large cities, there are important football games that are played on Thanksgiving Day.

For Americans, Thanksgiving Day is one of the few days of the year when the entire family gets together.

Everyone is glad to see everyone else and there is a very busy exchange of greetings. The women soon disappear into the kitchen to help prepare the dinner.

The men, meanwhile, settle down to watch a football game on television, or to discuss business or politics.

If weather permits, some of the more athletic men go outside to play ball games with the children.

Then everyone will sit down to dinner, in which traditional Thanksgiving foods such as stuffed turkey, sweet potatoes, chestnuts, and pumpkin pies are served.

After dinner, people will sit around and talk.

Article 4: Views on the Internet

The Internet has become part of teenage life.

A new report on 3,375 students aged from 10 to 18 in seven Chinese cities found that 38 percent of them believe they use the Internet often.

While most of them get useful information and use the Internet to help in their studies, some are not using it in a good way.

In order to help young people use the Internet in a good way, a textbook on good Internet behaviour has started to be used in some Shanghai middle schools this term.

The book uses real examples to teach students all about good ways of using the Internet. The book gives useful advice such as it’s good to read news or find helpful information to study.

Some students also make online friends. But if you are meeting a friend offline, make sure your parents know.

Teachers and parents all think the book is of great help. A teacher said the book would be a guide for teens using the Internet.

She believes it will keep students away from bad sites. “Many students are using the Internet without guidance from their parents,” she said. “The book will teach students how to be a good person in the online world.”

Article 5: The difference between British English and American English

American and British people use different greetings. In the USA the commonest greeting is “Hi”. In Britain it is “Hello!” or “How are you?”.

“Hi!” is creeping into British, too. When they are introduced to someone, the Americans say, “Glad to know you.” The British say, “How do you do?” or “Pleased to meet you.”

When Americans say “Good-bye”, they nearly always add, “Have a good day.” or “Have a good trip.” etc. to friends and strangers alike. Britons are already beginning to use “Have a good day.”

The British usually use “got” in the sense of “have”. The Americans hardly ever do.

AmE: Do you have a car, room, etc.? Yes, I do.

BrE: Have you got a car, room, etc.? Yes, I have.

There are a number of differences between American and British English in the spelling of words, e.g. check(US)/cheque (UK).

Many American words ending in “or”, e.g. honor, labor are spelt in British English with an “our,” e.g. honour, labour. Many verbs in American English with “ize” or “izing” forms, e.g. organize, realizing are spelt in BrE with “ise” or “ising”, e.g. organise, realising.

In American English, “practice” is used both for the verb and noun. In BrE, the verb is spelt “practise”, and the noun “practice.” In American English, one writes “traveler,” while in British English, one writes  “traveller”.

It was once predicted that British and American English would become separate languages finally. But the opposite has happened.

The links between the two countries are so strong that linguistically, and probably culturally too, they are closer together than ever.

Article 6: The story of throwing a starfish

Once upon a time there was a wise man who used to go to the sea to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work.

One day he was walking along the shore. As he looked down at the beach, he saw a human figure moving like a dancer.He smiled to himself at the thought that someone would dance on the beach.

So he began to walk faster to catch up. As he got closer, he saw that it was a young man and the young man wasn’t dancing, but instead he was reaching down to the shore, picking up something and very gently throwing it into the ocean.

As he got closer he called out, “Good morning! What are you doing?’’

The young man paused, looked up and replied, “ Throwing starfishes in the ocean.”

“I guess I should have asked, why are you throwing starfishes in the ocean?”

“The sun is up and the tide is going out. And if I don’t throw them in they’ll die”

“But, young man, don’t you realize that there are miles and miles of beach and starfishes all along it. You can’t possibly make a difference!”

The young man listened politely. Then he bent down, picked another starfish and threw it into the sea, and said, “ It made a difference for that one.”

There is something very special in each and every one of us. We have all been gifted with the ability to make a difference.

And if we can know that gift, we will gain through the strength of our vision the power to shape the future.

We must each find our starfish. And if we throw our starfish wisely and well, the world will be better.

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