Article nineteen

The following is about the history of umbrellas, what can be done in New York, a strange story, the change of the earth’s temperature, an important means of transportation in China.

Article 1: The history of umbrellas

To us it seems so natural to put up an umbrella to keep the water off when it rains. But actually the umbrella was not invented as protection against rain. Its first use was as a shade against the sun.

Nobody knows who first invented it, but the umbrella was used in very ancient times. Probably the Chinese were the earliest to use it in the eleventh century BC.

We know that the umbrella was used in ancient Egypt and Babylon as a sunshade. And there was a strange thing connected with its use: it became a symbol of honor and authority.

In the Far East in ancient times, the umbrella was allowed to be used only by royalty or by those in high offices.

In Europe, the Greeks were the earliest to use the umbrella as a sunshade.

And the umbrella was allowed in common use in ancient Greece. But it is believed that the earliest persons in Europe to use the umbrella as protection against rain were the ancient Romans.

During the Middle Ages, the use of the umbrella practically disappeared.

Then it appeared again in Italy in the late sixteenth century. And again, it was considered a symbol of power and authority.

In around 1680, the umbrella appeared in France and later on in England.

By the eighteenth century, the umbrella was used against rain throughout most of Europe.

Umbrellas have not changed much in style during all this time, though they have become  much lighter in weight.

It wasn’t until the twentieth century that women’s umbrellas began to be made in a whole variety of colors.

Article 2: Things to do in New York

There are three airports in New York. When you arrive at one of them you can take a bus or taxi to any place in New York.

Public transport— In New York there’s a good bus and subway service.

If you are planning to use the subway a lot, you should buy a subway ticket for ten journeys because it’s cheaper.

But you don’t have to use public transport— there are lots of places you can go to on foot, like The Empire State Building, 5th Avenue and Central Park.

The New York taxis are a part of the city experience, so you should take at least one taxi during your visit!

Hotels—There are lots of good hotels in New York. The best is The Plaza on 5th Venue but you don’t have to pay a lot to stay in the city; there are lots of smaller hotels and the YMCA near Central Park is great for young people.

Eating out— There are many kinds of food in New York and you shouldn’t eat at McDonald’s every day. There are restaurants in Little Italy and Chinatown, for example.

Shopping— Shopping in New York is fun. There are big shops on 5th Avenue. They are open seven days a week. But be careful when you look at the prices; you have to pay a special 8% tax on everything you buy in New York.

Places to see— Finally, there are a lot of places to see in New York such as Times Square and the Statue of Liberty. And you shouldn’t go home without climbing the Statue of liberty to enjoy the scenery of the city.

Article 3: A strange story

This is a rather strange story but it is quite true. In December 1996, a burglar broke into a golf club in a small town.

When the police arrived to look into it, they found an unusual clue—a piece of cheese with a bite-mark in it.

The burglar had gone into the kitchen, and had eaten some food there. Then he had stolen some cigarettes and a little money.

The policeman in charge of the case guessed that the burglar was a local man.

He thought that professional thieves would not bother to break into a golf club.

He made enquires in the town and asked three suspects to come to the police station.

When he questioned them about the burglary, they all denied stealing in the club.

The policeman then gave each man a piece of cheese and asked them to bite it.

He took the pieces of the cheese to a dentist and asked him to compare the bite-marks with that in the piece of cheese at the scene of the burglary.

The policeman set free two of the suspects and questioned the third one. At first the man claimed that he was innocent.

The policeman knew that the man was lying, so he encouraged him to talk until he began to contradict himself.

The policeman told him about the bite-marks and the man had to admit his stealing.

Article 4: Changes in Earth’s Temperature

Most of us are used to seasons.Each year, spring follows winter, which follows autumn, which follows summer, which follows spring.And winter is colder than summer.

But the earth  goes through temperature cycles over much longer periods than those that we experience.

Between 65,000 and 35,000 years ago, the planet was much colder than it is now.

During that time the temperature also changed a lot, with periods of warming and cooling.

Ice melted during the warm periods, which made sea levels rise.Water froze again during the cold periods.

A new study from Switzerland sheds light on where ice sheets melted during the ice age.

It now seems that the ice melted at both ends of the earth, rather than just in either northern or southern regions.This surprised the researchers from the University of Bern.

Scientists have long assumed that most of the ice that melted was in the Northern hemisphere during the 30,000—year long ice age.

That belief was held because the North Pole is surrounded by land, while the South Pole is surrounded by the Antarctic Ocean.

It is easier for ice sheets to grow on land. If surrounded by sea the ice can easily just slip into the ocean instead of building up.

The researchers used a computer model to look at ways the ice could melt and how it might affect sea levels.

They compared these results to evidence of how temperatures and currents actually changed during that time.

The model showed that if it was only in the Northern hemisphere that ice melted, there would have been a bigger impact on ocean currents and sea temperatures than what actually happened.

Studies suggest that melting just in the Southern hemisphere would have been impossible,too.

The only reasonable conclusion the scientists could make was that ice melted equally in the North and the South.

It is still a mystery as to what caused the temperature changes that caused the ice to mest.

Article 5: Bicycle—An important Means of Transport in China

Bicycles have become more and more popular in China.

People ride bicycles to their work places, to schools, to shoppong centers, and so on. During rush hours, you can often see a boiling sea of bicycles running in all directions.

With the largest number of bicycle riders in the world, China is often referred to as the kingdom of bicycles.

Compared with cars, bicycles have many advantages. Firstly, they are very handy and convenient.

Although a bicycle runs much more slowly than a car, it can carry you to anywhere you like in town and does not need a large parking place.

Secondly, it is not so expensive as a car, and therefore, every family can afford to buy and to repair it.

Thirdly, the car causes air pollution but the bicycle does not. Besides, it does good to your health if you ride it regularly.

However, bicycles have also brought some problems. For example, they have made the streets very crowded and caused many accidents.

For another, some riders park their bicycles here and there, which leaves the city in a state of disorder.

Nevertheless, as long as these problems are taken care of by the local authorities, bicycles will continue to widely used in China.  

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