Article #1. Louis Pasteur
Louis Pasteur was one of the greatest scientists of all time. Pasteur made very important discoveries in biology and chemistry, and the techniques he developed helped greatly to develop medical science and the agricultural and food industries.
Pasteur was born in a small town in France during the year 1822. When he was a young
man, Pasteur studied science at a university in the city of Paris. He soon did some
excellent work in chemistry, and later began his famous study of germs.
Pasteur was one of the first scientists to understand that many diseases could be caused
by extremely small, invisible organisms. Only a few other scientists had believed this
before Pasteur. He advised doctors to wash their hands thoroughly before treating
Pasteur also demonstrated that life forms did not arise spontaneously. His research
confirmed the idea, developed by previous scientists, that a living organism would not
appear unless other individuals of its kind were present.
One of Pasteur’s most important contributions was a technique that has been named
after him: pasteurization. Pasteurization kills the germs that are found in drinks such as
milk or beer. Because of Pasteur’s technique, people are no longer infected with
diseases by drinking these liquids.
Just as important as pasteurization was a technique called immunization. Pasteur found
that a person or animal could be made safe, or immune, from a disease, by injecting the
person with some weakened germs that cause the disease. The body can resist the
disease after being immunized in this way. Today, many diseases are prevented by the
use of this technique.
Pasteur’s discoveries also helped to save people who had already been infected with
diseases. One such disease is rabies. Rabies is a disease that sometimes occurs in
animals. This disease usually kills the animal, but before dying, the animal becomes very
aggressive, and may spread the disease by biting a person or another animal.
One day, the parents of a young boy came to Pasteur. Their son had been bitten by a dog
that had the rabies disease. The parents knew that their son would die from the disease,
unless something could be done to save him. Pasteur agreed to help the boy, and the
immunization technique saved the boy’s life.
Pasteur died in 1895. He was greatly admired around the world for his achievements,
which have helped all of humankind. Today, Pasteur is considered to be the greatest
figure in the history of medicine.
Article #2. Psychology
Are you interested in the behaviour of people and animals? If you are, then you might
enjoy the study of psychology. Psychology is the study of behaviour, but this is a very
large area of study. There are several different branches of psychology, each of which
studies a different aspect of behaviour.
Social psychologists study interactions among people. For example, a social
psychologist might try to learn about the situations that cause people to behave
aggressively. Another question studied by social psychologists is why certain people
become attracted to each other. One of the interesting problems in social psychology is
conformity: what causes people to behave in the same way, and to follow what others do
Cognitive psychologists study thinking, memory, and language. One problem studied by
cognitive psychologists is how people remember numbers. For example, what is the best
way to memorize some numbers? Is it better to repeat the numbers to oneself, or to try to
attach some meaning to these numbers? A cognitive psychologist might also study
language. For example, why can young children learn a second language so quickly and
easily? Cognitive psychologists are also interested in the ways that people learn to solve
problems, such as finding a new place.
Clinical psychologists study mental illnesses. For example, a clinical psychologist might
try to find out the causes of depression and to figure out ways of helping people who are
depressed. Other clinical psychologists might study the behaviour of people who suffer
from addiction to drugs, so that this problem can be prevented and treated. Another topic
of interest to clinical psychologists is violent behaviour. It is very important to find ways
of preventing violence and to change the behaviour of persons who act violently.
Some psychologists are interested in the measurement of psychological characteristics.
For example, psychologists might develop tests to assess a person’s intelligence,
personality traits, or interests. These tests can be used to help people make decisions
about education, occupation, and clinical treatment.
Psychologists who study the behaviour of animals are called ethologists. Ethologists
often go into wilderness areas to watch the activity of birds, fish, or other animals. These
psychologists try to figure out why it is that some animals have “instincts” for various
behaviours such as parenting, mating, or fighting. Some ethologists have learned very
much about the unusual behaviours observed in many animals.
These are only a few of the many areas of psychology. Truly, psychology is one of the
most interesting areas of knowledge!
Article #3. Corruption
When an official of a government or business is acting dishonestly, we say that this
person is corrupt. Corruption is a serious problem in many countries around the world.
There are several different kinds of corrupt practices, including bribes, kickbacks,
nepotism, and embezzlement.
A bribe is a payment of money or some other benefit, in exchange for a decision that
would not otherwise be made. For example, an accused criminal might bribe a judge so
that the judge would make a decision of “not guilty.” Another example is that a business
owner might bribe a government official so that the official would allow the construction
of very unsafe buildings.
A kickback is similar to a bribe, except that the official receives some part of the money
in a dishonest business deal. For example, governments sometimes decide which
company should build a road. A company might offer money to the government official
who makes the decision, so that this company will be chosen, even if it is not the best
company for the job.
Nepotism happens when an official unfairly gives advantages to his or her relatives. For
example, a government official might hire a brother or sister to do a job even though
other people would be much better qualified for the job. Of course, all of us want to help
our relatives, but it is wrong to do this at the expense of the public.
Embezzlement happens when an official secretly steals some money from a company or
government. For example, a manager at a company might secretly move some of the
company’s money to his or her own bank account, or that manager might lie about his or
her expenses in order to receive more payment from the company.
Corruption has very bad effects on people, in several ways. Sometimes it can lead to
very dangerous situations. One example of this is when unsafe construction projects are
approved by officials who have been bribed. Another example is when criminals are
freed as a result of bribes. Also, a country’s economy can be damaged by corruption. For
example, if companies must pay bribes in order to do business, then they may decide to
leave the country. Also, if people’s tax money is stolen by corrupt officials, this makes
the people poorer. In addition, when company officials are corrupt, it makes the company
less able to compete with other companies.
How can corruption be stopped? An important step is for each person to decide not to
act in ways that are corrupt. People must agree to take this problem seriously. Also, each
company and each government must have strict rules about corruption. It must be very
clear to all employees-from the lowest to the highest-that corruption is totally
Article #4. Canada – Provinces and Territories
Canada is one of the largest countries in the world. It is located in the northern half of the
continent of North America, above the United States. Canada is divided into ten
provinces and three territories, each of which is different from the others.
The province of British Columbia is located at the far western end of Canada. British
Columbia stretches from the Pacific Ocean, at the west, to the Rocky Mountains, at the
east. British Columbia contains the city of Vancouver, where two million people live. Most
of the land of British Columbia is very mountainous, with vast forests covering the
mountains. In British Columbia, forestry is an important industry, providing wood for
people around the world.
Moving east from British Columbia, the next provinces are Alberta, Saskatchewan, and
Manitoba. These are known as the prairie provinces, because they are mostly made of
flat, grassy land called “prairie.” Alberta is the province where the flat prairie meets the
tall and beautiful Rocky Mountains. In Alberta, there are many fields where oil and gas
are found, and there are also many farms where cattle are raised. Saskatchewan is the
Canadian province that grows the most wheat. Wheat from Saskatchewan is sent around
the world to make bread and pasta for many people. Manitoba is the other prairie
province. Its largest city, Winnipeg, is about halfway between the Pacific and Atlantic
oceans. Winnipeg has the coldest winters of any large city in the world, with
temperatures sometimes reaching -40 degrees Celsius!
Moving east, the next province is Ontario. The land in the northern part of Ontario is very
rocky and contains many thousands and thousands of lakes. Many mines are found in
northern Ontario. In the southern part of Ontario, there is good farmland, and there are
also many cities where factories produce cars and steel. Ontario contains Canada’s
largest city, Toronto, as well as the capital city of Canada–Ottawa. In the southern part of
Ontario are four of the largest lakes in the world, known as the Great Lakes.
Next to Ontario is the province of Quebec. Unlike the other provinces, where most people
speak English, most of the people in Quebec speak French. The capital of Quebec is
called Quebec City, and this is one of the oldest cities in North America. Quebec City
contains many buildings that are hundreds of years old. Also in the province of Quebec
is the city of Montreal. Of all the French-speaking cities in the world, only Paris is larger
In the eastern part of Canada are the Atlantic provinces, which are next to the Atlantic
Ocean. These provinces are New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and
Newfoundland. In the Atlantic provinces, fishing is an important industry. Tourism is also
important as many people come to see the beauty of these provinces. The people in
these provinces are said to be the friendliest in Canada.
In the far north of Canada are the three territories that lie beside the Arctic Ocean: Yukon,
Northwest Territories, and Nunavut. Many of the people in these territories are the Native
people of Canada, known as the Indians and the Inuit. The northern areas have very cold,
dark winters. The summer is short, but the days are very long and bright.
Article #5. Two Great Artists – Leonardo and Michelangelo
Many people admire the paintings and sculptures that artists create. Some very beautiful
paintings and sculptures were created by two men who lived in the same country at the
same time. These men were Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo. They both lived in Italy
around the year 1500.
Leonardo da Vinci is most famous for his painting called the Mona Lisa. This is perhaps
the best-known painting in the world. The Mona Lisa shows the head and shoulders of a
dark-haired woman. When people look at this painting, they are often captivated by her
smile and by her eyes, which have a look of mystery.
Another painting of Leonardo’s is called The Last Supper. This painting shows a famous
scene from the Christian religion. In this painting, Jesus Christ is seated at the middle of
a long table, with his followers (the disciples) seated around him. Many of the paintings
that were created at this time have a religious theme.
Leonardo was not only an artist; he was also interested in engineering. He actually
worked for some time as an advisor to a military leader, helping him to develop new
machines for use in war. Leonardo also made rough drawings of machines that are
similar to those that were invented much later, such as submarines and helicopters.
Obviously, Leonardo was an extremely creative man.
Michelangelo was about 23 years younger than Leonardo. In addition to being a painter,
Michelangelo was also a sculptor, and many experts consider him the greatest sculptor
of all time. One of his most famous sculptures is David, which is a statue of a young man
who was a famous figure in the Bible. Another great sculpture of Michelangelo’s is called
the Pieta. The Pieta shows Mary, the mother of Jesus, holding the body of her son across
Michelangelo is also famous for painting the ceiling of a church known as the Sistine
Chapel. The leader of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Julius, asked Michelangelo to
paint the ceiling of this new church. This project required many years of hard work, and
the Pope complained that it took too long. However, when the work was finished, the
ceiling of the Sistine Chapel was covered with beautiful paintings of many scenes from
Fortunately, many of the works of Leonardo and of Michelangelo can still be seen today
in the art galleries of Europe. During the past 500 years, the color of the paintings had
faded somewhat, but in recent years, some work has been done to restore the paintings
to their original appearance.
Article #6 The Viking
About a thousand years ago, people known as the Vikings were known and feared
throughout Europe. The Vikings were the people of the northern part of Europe, called
Scandinavia, which includes the modern countries of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden.
The Vikings made their living by farming and fishing. However, by about the year 700,
they began making attacks, or raids, upon towns along the coasts of Europe in order to
steal the wealth of those towns.
The Vikings made their attacks very quickly and without any warning. They were very
cruel to the people of the towns they attacked, and they sometimes destroyed the towns
by burning down the buildings. In some parts of Europe, the local kings would often fight
against the Vikings. Sometimes, however, the kings would pay the Vikings in order to
persuade them not to attack.
Although the Vikings were known as fierce warriors, they also built excellent ships. The
wooden Viking ships, called longboats, were able to sail even in very bad weather. Many
Viking longboats were about 20 metres long, but some were nearly 90 metres long. The
Viking sailors used both sails and oars to move their ships.
The Vikings travelled across a large area. They made many of their attacks in Britain,
France, and Germany, but sometimes sailed south, into the Mediterranean Sea. Other
Vikings moved to the east, and then south along the rivers of Russia. Some even went as
far as the area that is now the country of Turkey. In some places, the Vikings decided to
stay. Many Vikings settled in England and in France, and eventually they mixed with the
local people. Other Vikings settled in Russia and also mixed with the people there.
The most famous travels of the Vikings were in the Atlantic Ocean. Vikings sailed
westward to the island of Iceland where many of them stayed. Today, the people of
Iceland are descended from the Vikings. Some Vikings sailed farther west to the cold
island of Greenland. Vikings lived in Greenland for several generations, but eventually
they died out. Some Vikings had gone even further west and reached the Canadian island
of Newfoundland. The Vikings only stayed for a few years, but they had reached North
America about 500 years before Christopher Columbus!
Gradually, the Vikings became converted to the Christian religion. They also stopped
raiding the towns of Europe, and instead of fighting, they began trading with their
neighbors. Today, the Scandinavian countries are known as very peace-loving nations.
Article #7 William Shakespeare
There have been many great writers in the history of English literature, but there is no
doubt about which writer was the greatest. Many people consider William Shakespeare to
have been the best writer who ever lived.
William Shakespeare was born in the town of Stratford, England, in the year 1564. When
he was a young man, Shakespeare moved to the city of London, where he began writing
plays. His plays were soon very successful, and were enjoyed both by the common
people of London and also by the rich and famous. In addition to his plays, Shakespeare
wrote many short poems and a few longer poems. Like his plays, these poems are still
Shakespeare’s most famous plays include Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, Hamlet, King Lear,
Othello, and Julius Caesar. Usually, Shakespeare did not invent the stories that he told in
his plays. Instead, he wrote his plays using stories that already existed. However,
Shakespeare’s plays told these stories in a more interesting way than ever before. Some
of the stories were tragedies, some were comedies, and some described historical
In his plays, Shakespeare revealed a very wide knowledge of many areas of life. The
characters in his plays discuss many different topics, often with the knowledge of
experts. But what is even more impressive about these plays is Shakespeare’s use of the
English language. His vocabulary was very large, and Shakespeare seems to have
introduced many words to the language! Also, many of the phrases that are said by
Shakespeare’s characters are now used in everyday conversation. Today, writers often
use quotations from Shakespeare’s plays in their own works.
But perhaps even the most impressive features of Shakespeare’s plays are the
characters within them. The many characters in his plays seem very different from each
other, but they seem very realistic. The emotions they feel, the words they say, and the
actions they perform are all easily understood. Many people who watch one of
Shakespeare’s plays will find that they know people who remind them somewhat of the
characters in those plays.
Shakespeare died in the year 1619, but his writings are still popular today, 400 years after
they were written. The poems and plays are greatly admired by experts in literature, but
also by people in general. Each year, hundreds of thousands of people enjoy attending
performances of Shakespeare’s plays. No other writer in the English language has
remained so popular for such a long time.
— — — Article #8 Ice Hockey
One of the most popular sports in northern countries is the game of ice hockey. Each
winter, this sport is played by hundreds of thousands of children and adults in North
America and in Europe. Ice hockey is a fast and exciting game that can make winter
much more enjoyable.
The game of ice hockey is played on a flat surface of ice called a rink. The rink is about
60 metres long, and about 25 or 30 metres wide. At any time, each team has six players
on the ice. On their feet the players wear skates, whose thin metal blades allow fast
movement along the ice surface. Learning to skate requires time and practice, but many
people can skate very quickly and smoothly.
In many ways, ice hockey is similar to soccer. However, unlike soccer, there is no large
ball used in hockey. Instead, the players use a hard, black, rubber disk, which is called a
puck. The players skate around the ice, trying to get the puck. They do not use their
hands or their feet to control the puck. Instead, they carry long wooden sticks, which are
shaped in such a way that it is easy to push the puck along the ice. The players can pass
the puck to each other by sliding it across the ice.
To score a goal, a hockey player must shoot the puck into the net of the opposing team,
but this is a difficult task. The net is less than two metres wide, and it is protected by a
player called the goaltender. However, some players can shoot the puck very suddenly
and with great power.
Sometimes, the sport of ice hockey can be quite rough. Players try to take the puck from
their opponents by bumping into them at a high speed. This is called a “body check.”
Players are not allowed to hit each other with their sticks. If a player does this, then that
player may be given a penalty by the referee, who enforces the rules of the game.
Naturally, the sport of ice hockey is most popular in countries that have cold winters. The
sport was first played in Canada, but it is also very popular in many countries of Europe,
including Russia, Sweden, Finland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and Germany. In
addition, many people play hockey in the United States.
In previous generations, ice hockey was considered a sport for men and boys only.
However, in recent years, women and girls have been playing hockey much more
frequently than in the past. Not only do many girls enjoy playing hockey for fun, but now
women’s hockey is officially a sport at the winter Olympics.
Article #9 Chinese People in North America
In recent years, many people have moved to North America from China, but many people
do not know that Chinese people have a long history in Canada and the United States.
During the nineteenth century, both Canada and the United States were rapidly
expanding to the west, toward the Pacific Ocean. In those days, there were of course no
cars or airplanes to allow people and goods to move across the land. Instead, the best
method of long-distance transportation was the railroad. Railway trains could move
quickly across the countryside. However, there was one problem: before the railway
trains could run, railroads had to be built across very long distances.
To build the railroads was a very big job. Many men would be needed because the
distance was so long and the land was so difficult, with many mountains and rivers to be
crossed. For the men who owned the railroad companies, it would have been too
expensive to hire Canadian or American men to build the railroads because those
workers would only work for high wages.
The railroad owners decided to get workers from overseas. Many Chinese men were
willing to work for low wages because they were very poor. These men would work very
hard and send much of the money back to their relatives in China.
Thousands of Chinese men were brought to North America to work on the railroads. They
did good work, but their employers treated them badly. The work day was very long, and
working conditions were very unsafe. Many Chinese men died in accidents while
constructing the railroads. Some Chinese women also came to North America, but there
were many more men than women.
After the railroads were completed, by about the year 1900, very few Chinese people
were allowed to come to North America. Most people in Canada and the United States
were not familiar with Chinese people and did not want strangers to come to their
countries. Any Chinese person who came to North America had to pay an expensive tax.
This made it difficult for Chinese men to bring their wives and families to join them in
North America. Later, the governments of Canada and the United States made Chinese
Eventually, the people of Canada and the United States realized that their laws had been
unfair. They changed the rules so that Chinese people could immigrate in the same way
that people from other countries could do so. In recent decades, many Chinese people
have moved to North America, and have formed a very lively and successful community.
Many cities, such as Toronto, Vancouver, San Francisco, and New York, have been
enriched by Chinese culture. Chinese people are now very prominent in North America,
just as they were many years ago.
Article #10 The History of the English Language
Most people know that the English language is spoken by many millions of people
around the world. However, few people are aware of the history of the English language.
Today, English is one language, but in some ways it is a mixture of many different
The English language is most closely related to a group of languages called the
Germanic languages. This group also includes languages such as German and Dutch.
About 1500 years ago, these languages were not yet distinct from each other. Some of
the people of Germany and the Netherlands then moved to England. Those people were
called the Anglo-Saxons, and their language then evolved into English. Most of the basic
words of the English language are derived from these very old Anglo-Saxon languages.
For example, the words for the parts of the body, for numbers, and for animals are mostly
Some new words were brought to England over 1000 years ago by people who came
from the Scandinavian countries of northern Europe. Many words that begin with the
letters “sk”, such as skin and skill, are Scandinavian words.
A major change happened in the English language after the year 1066. In that year,
England was conquered by a king from the northern part of France. He and his followers
spoke French, so French became an important language in England. During the next few
hundred years, the English language absorbed a very large number of French words. In
fact, today’s English dictionaries contain more words of French origin than of Anglo-
Saxon origin. Part of the reason why the English language has so many words is that it
often has two words for each idea-one word of Anglo-Saxon origin, and one word of
Many more words entered the English language a few hundred years ago, when science
and technology became more widespread. Most scientific and technical words are
derived from words of the ancient languages of Latin and Greek. Because there are so
many of these scientific and technical words in the English language today, the influence
of Latin and Greek has been quite large.
Other languages have also contributed many words to the English language. Some
words have come from the Celtic languages, spoken in Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.
Many words have been added to the English language by immigrants who came to North
America from various countries of Europe. Also, many more words have been adopted
from the Native languages of North America, Australia, and the Pacific, and from the
languages of peoples in Africa and Asia. All of these words have made English a very
Article #11 African Slavery in the Americas
One of the most tragic parts of the history of North and South America is the period of
African slavery. For hundreds of years, many people were taken from Africa, by force, to
work in the fields of many different countries in North and South America.
When Europeans first came to the Americas, some of them realized that they might make
money by growing crops and selling them in Europe. However, in order to make money,
they would need a cheap source of labor. Few Europeans would come to the Americas to
work for low wages, so instead, the landowners looked for slaves. In the areas of the
great farms, or plantations, there were few Indians, so they used another source of
The plantation owners usually obtained slaves by buying them from local kings in
western Africa. This led to many wars between rival kings within Africa, who tried to
capture each other’s people in order to sell them as slaves. A few kings tried to avoid the
slave trade, but this was very difficult.
During a period of several hundred years, from the 1500s to the 1800s, about 12 million
people were taken from western Africa to the Americas. Many more people died as slaves
before leaving Africa, and many more died on the ships that took them to the Americas.
This was because the conditions on the ships were extremely unhealthy: the ships were
far too crowded, and there was little food and water.
When the African slaves arrived in the Americas, the plantation owners made them work
on farms that produced goods such as cotton and sugar. In many places, the work was
very hard, and many of the slaves died from overwork. They were then replaced by other
slaves who arrived from Africa. However, many slaves survived despite the brutal
conditions. In some places, the African slaves were able to revolt against the plantation
owners. However, this was difficult because the slaves who had recently arrived spoke
many different languages. Some slaves escaped into wilderness areas and were able to
remain free from the plantation owners.
As time went by, many people in Europe and in the Americas realized that slavery was
wrong. By the 1830s, slavery had been ended, or abolished, in islands owned by the
British, and in parts of the United States. In the southern United States, slavery was
ended in the 1860s, during the Civil War. In some countries, such as Brazil and Cuba,
slavery only ended in the 1880s.
Today, many millions of people in North and South America are the descendants of
slaves who were brought from Africa. The effects of slavery have lasted for many
generations, and there was much racial prejudice against African people even when
slavery ended. However, some have achieved success despite these disadvantages.
Today, the people of African background in North and South America are a very
important part of the population in many countries.
Article #12 Worries About Physical Appearance
Most people would like to have an attractive physical appearance, but some people
become very worried about the way they look. This can sometimes lead them to do
things that are unhealthy.
For example, many women believe that they must be very thin in order to be attractive.
They see pictures of fashion models who are very thin and then believe that an attractive
woman must look the same way. However, many men prefer the appearance of women
who are not so thin.
In order to become thin, some women try to reduce the amount of food that they eat.
When this is taken to an extreme, a woman might eat far too little food to remain healthy.
Her weight may become dangerously low, as she tries to become thinner and thinner.
This condition is called “anorexia,” and it affects many thousands of women in Western
Anorexia is one of several conditions known as eating disorders. Another eating disorder
is called “bulimia.” A woman who has bulimia will sometimes eat large amounts of food,
but then will try to eliminate the food, by vomiting. This is intended to prevent any weight
gain, but it is also a very unhealthy behavior.
Unfortunately, some women are concerned about being very thin, but some women have
different concerns related to the appearance of their body. For example, some women
believe that their breasts are not large enough, and undergo surgery to enlarge their
breasts. In this surgery, some artificial substance is implanted inside the breast to make
it larger. Many women have had this surgery, but many of them have suffered serious
health problems as a result.
In recent years, many men have also become very concerned about their physical
appearance. For example, some men believe that they must become very muscular in
order to have an attractive appearance. To achieve this appearance, some men use drugs
called steroids, which make it possible to gain large amounts of muscle. However,
steroids can have very unhealthy side effects. In addition to drugs, some men have used
surgery to change their physical appearance. For example, some men have had implants
to make their arms, legs, or chest appear larger.
It is unfortunate that so many people feel so unhappy about their physical appearance
and that they do unhealthy things to change the way they look. Of course, everyone
should try to be healthy, but people must also learn to accept their physical appearance.
Many different body types can be attractive, and there is no single ideal body type. There
is no need to use unnatural methods of changing one’s body.
Article #13 Physical Fitness
In modern society, many people find that they do not get very much exercise. They travel
by bus, train, or car, and they can move up or down in elevators. They have machines
that do most of the heavy work that was once done by people. However, exercise is
important for staying healthy. A person who exercises frequently will be “physically fit.”
There are different aspects of physical fitness.
One important element of being physically fit is called cardio-vascular fitness. The word
“cardio-vascular” refers to the heart and lungs. If one’s heart and lungs are in good
condition, then one can exercise at a steady pace without soon getting tired. To develop
cardio-vascular fitness, it is important to perform some exercise that makes one’s heart
beat quickly. For example, a person can improve cardio-vascular fitness by riding a
bicycle, by running, by swimming, by rowing, or even by walking quickly. Some people
go to special places, called “health clubs” or “gyms,” where they can use different
exercise machines to develop their cardio-vascular fitness. But many people improve
their cardio-vascular fitness by playing recreational sports, such as tennis or soccer, or
by dancing vigorously. By having good cardio-vascular fitness, one is less likely to suffer
from heart disease. Of course, there is one way to improve cardio-vascular fitness that
does not involve exercise: stop smoking!
Another important aspect of physical fitness is called flexibility. Flexibility refers to one’s
ability to stretch comfortably. For example, a healthy person should be able to touch his
or her toes without bending the legs. People can perform various stretching exercises to
improve flexibility. By being flexible, a person can avoid injuries that might otherwise
affect their body.
Yet another important aspect of physical fitness is the strength and endurance of one’s
muscles. Many people suffer from injuries that result, in part, from weakness of the
muscles. Muscular strength and endurance can be improved by a variety of exercises.
Some of these exercises involve lifting a weight, but other exercises simply involve
pushing or pulling against the weight of one’s own body. One example is an exercise
called the “push-up.” In this exercise, a person lies on the floor, with the face pointing
down. The person bends his or her arms, so that the palms of the hands are on the floor,
next to the shoulders. The person then pushes with his or her arms, lifting the upper part
of the body above the ground until the arms are straight.
Before starting to do any exercises, it is a good idea to have a medical check-up. Some
people do not want to exercise because they think it will be too much work. However,
many people find that they feel very good when they exercise. Exercising can be an
enjoyable and fun way to maintain health and fitness.
Article #14 The History of Trial By July
In most English-speaking countries, a person who is accused of a crime has the right to
a “trial by jury.” In a trial by jury, the guilt or innocence of the accused person is decided
by a group of 12 people, called jurors, who must listen to the evidence about the case.
The idea of trial by jury is over 800 years old, but there was a time when criminal cases
were decided in other ways. Today, many of these methods seem ridiculous and cruel.
Many accused people were forced to undergo a trial by ordeal. There were several
different kinds of this trial. For example, in the ordeal by fire, an accused man was forced
to carry a red-hot piece of iron in his hand. People believed that if the man were innocent
then the gods would protect him, and his hand would not be burned or blistered by the
Another form of the trial by ordeal was the ordeal by combat. If one person accused
another of a crime, they would be forced to fight each other with some weapon. People
believed that the gods would help the man who was right and allow him to win the fight.
Yet another kind of ordeal was the ordeal by water. If a woman was accused of a crime,
such as witchcraft, she might be thrown into a river with rocks attached to her. People
believed that the gods would help an innocent woman and allow her to float on the water.
Gradually, people realized that the trial by ordeal was a completely worthless way to
judge a person’s innocence or guilt. They wanted a less barbaric way to decide criminal
cases. During the twelfth century, a new method was introduced by one of the kings of
England, Henry the Second. Henry said that criminal cases should be decided by the
opinions of twelve honest men who knew about the crime, the victim, and the accused
person. This was the beginning of trial by jury in English-speaking countries, and the
method soon became very popular. People trusted this new method much more than
they trusted the old methods.
Later, the system of trial by jury changed somewhat. Instead of having a jury of twelve
men and women who knew about the crime, juries were chosen so that the twelve people
did not know anything about the crime. This change ensures that the jurors do not have
any bias or prejudice about the case. When jurors do not know any of the people
involved in the case, their decisions are more likely to be fair and accurate.
Today, citizens in many countries are called occasionally for jury duty. This can be
inconvenient for people who are busy with their work and family life. However, many men
and women are willing to serve on juries because of a feeling of responsibility to society.
The use of juries in criminal cases helps to ensure that justice is done.
Article #15 Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin was one of the most famous people in American history. He was never
a President of the United States, but he made great achievements in many areas of life,
including business, literature, science, and politics.
Benjamin Franklin was born in the city of Boston, during the year 1706. In his early years,
Franklin was very poor. As a young man, he worked for his older brother, who was a
printer. However, the two brothers soon argued with each other. Benjamin decided to
leave, and he moved to the city of Philadelphia. He worked very hard and soon became a
successful printer. He published his own newspapers, and he also published books
called almanacs, which contained many wise sayings. Many of the wise sayings in
Franklin’s almanacs are still repeated today.
Franklin’s printing business was very successful, but he was also very interested in
science. He performed experiments on the topic of electricity. Some of these experiments
were very dangerous. In one experiment, Franklin was almost killed when he went
outside during a lightning storm and flew a kite that had a metal key attached. However,
Franklin was lucky enough to avoid injury, and he learned new facts about electricity.
In addition to scientific research, Franklin was also an inventor. He invented a new kind
of eye-glasses called “bifocals.” Bifocals are eye-glasses that allow people to see things
that are far away, but also allow them to read things that are very close. Another
invention was a new kind of stove for burning wood. This new stove was much more
efficient than the older stoves had been. He also invented a lightning rod, which keeps
houses safe from lightning.
Franklin was also interested in making his city a better place to live. He started a public
library, and he helped to organize a hospital and a fire department. In addition, he
supervised the postal service, which operated profitably under his command. In his later
years, Franklin became heavily involved in politics. For most of Franklin’s life, the United
States was not yet a country. Instead, the states were still colonies of England, but
Franklin encouraged other Americans to become an independent country. When the
United States became a country, Franklin became the American ambassador to France.
The French people liked Franklin very much. Franklin later returned to the United States,
and he died in 1790.
Today, many Americans still admire the brilliant achievements of Benjamin Franklin, who
did so much to improve people’s lives. The picture of Benjamin Franklin can be seen on
the American hundred-dollar bill.
Article #16 Preservation of Forests
Many thousands of years ago, much of the world’s land area was covered in forests.
Since that time, people have needed to clear the forests by cutting down the trees in
order to make room for their farms and cities. Today, forests are still being cleared, and
many people are worried that too much forest area is being lost.
There are many reasons why it is important to preserve forests. One reason is that the
trees inside the forests help to remove carbon dioxide from the air and put oxygen back
into the air. This is important, because scientists believe that too much carbon dioxide in
the air might be causing the world’s temperature to increase quickly. The forests might
help to reduce this problem by absorbing carbon dioxide from the air.
Another reason for preserving forests is to maintain many different species of plants and
animals. The forests are the home of a huge variety of plants and animals, which will
become extinct if the forests are destroyed. These plants and animals are both beautiful
and interesting, but they also have practical benefits for people. For example, doctors
believe that many diseases might be treated by chemicals that are obtained from forest
Forests are also important for providing wood, or lumber, but sometimes people cut
down too many trees for lumber. To preserve the forests, it is important to ensure that the
amount of wood removed is not more than the amount of new wood that grows in the
forest. Otherwise, the forest will gradually disappear.
In many parts of the world, forests have already been cleared. In recent years, many
forests have been cleared in South America, Africa, and southeast Asia. In other parts of
the world, the forests had already been cleared a long time ago. There are only a few
areas of the world where very large areas of forests have not yet been changed by people.
These areas include the Amazon rain forest of Brazil, and the northern forests of Canada,
Alaska, and Siberia.
Some countries have passed laws to protect their forests from being cleared. For
example, a country can declare its forest areas to be a national park and prevent the
forests from being cut down. However, this is very difficult for poor countries to do. The
people may want to cut down the forests to obtain wood, to gain access to natural
resources in the forest areas, or to have new land for farming. When forests are cut down
to gain new farmland, however, people usually find that the soil is not very good for
It is a difficult challenge to provide opportunities for poor people of these countries, and
to protect the forests at the same time. However, it is very important that this challenge
be met successfully because the forests will be needed by future generations of people.
Article #17 Violence on Television
Nowadays, the issue of violence on television is often debated. Many people are
concerned that the images of violent acts might cause the viewers to become more
aggressive. Some of these people believe that there should be restrictions on violent
television programs. Other people feel that individuals should be able to choose what
they want to watch on TV. Many of these people believe that violent television is unlikely
to affect people’s behaviour.
One of the concerns that some people have about violent TV is that viewers might imitate
aggressive acts. For example, consider a TV program that shows professional wrestlers.
Some people believe that children who watch the program might copy the actions of the
wrestlers and that this could lead to serious injuries. As another example, consider a TV
program that shows people shooting guns at each other. Some people believe that
viewers of such a program might be more likely to use a gun in their disputes with others.
Another concern that some people have with violent TV is that it might make people less
sensitive to the effects of violence. In other words, people who watch many acts of
violence on television might no longer be shocked by violent acts. They might then
become quite tolerant of the use of violence.
Some people do not believe that violence on television is likely to have harmful effects.
They point out that many terrible acts of violence occurred long before television. They
also argue that people can tell the difference between television and real life. That is,
they say that people are unlikely to imitate violent acts, and are unlikely to become less
sensitive to violence in real life. Also, they argue that parents are able to prevent their
children from watching violent television.
Psychologists have conducted some research studies on the effects of violent television.
Some studies have shown that children who watch a lot of violent TV do become slightly
more aggressive as adults. Other studies have found that people behave somewhat more
aggressively after watching a violent program. This is especially true for people who
have an aggressive personality. Finally, some other research has found that rates of
murder tend to increase slightly in the days following a televised boxing match. Nearly all
psychologists now agree that violence on television does contribute to aggressive
behaviour in everyday life.
The issue of violence on television is difficult because it is a conflict between public
safety and individual freedom. Some people feel that violent TV should be restricted
because it might have harmful effects on society, but other people feel that individuals
should be free to watch the programs that they like.
Article #18 The Inuit
Not many people would want to live in the Arctic areas of northern Canada, Alaska, and
Greenland. In these places, the summers are very short, and the winters are extremely
cold and dark. However, there are some people who have made this land their home for
many generations. These people are called the Inuit. The word “Inuit” means “person” in
the language of the Inuit, which is called Inuktitut.
Before modern times, the Inuit had to survive by hunting. Because their homeland was in
such a cold, northern place, the Inuit could not make a living by farming or by gathering
plants. Many of the animals that the Inuit hunted are mammals that live in the water. For
example, the Inuit used boats to hunt whales. Also, they hunted seals by waiting for the
seals to rise to the surface of the water. Sometimes, the Inuit would hunt land mammals,
such as polar bears.
When eating the meat of the animals they had hunted, the Inuit often ate the meat raw.
This was necessary because only raw meat could provide them with enough nutrients to
survive in a place where fruits and vegetables were not available. In previous times, the
Inuit were known as the “Eskimos,” which means “people who eat raw meat.” However,
the Inuit did not like this name.
The Inuit invented many useful tools for surviving in the cold, northern areas. They
sewed warm clothing from the furs and skins of the animals they hunted. For
transportation, they used dogs, which could pull them in sleds across the snow. For
making heat and light, they used lamps that burned the fat and oil of whales.
The Inuit were famous for their houses made of snow, which were called igloos. The
igloos were made by cutting blocks of snow and then using these blocks to build a small
round-shaped house. People could enter or exit the igloo through a narrow tunnel.
In recent decades, the Inuit have had much contact with the modern world. Inuit children
now attend schools, and Inuit adults work at a variety of occupations. In some ways, the
Inuit have found it difficult to adjust to the changes from their traditional ways, but the
Inuit are meeting this challenge. In Canada, there is a new territory in the far north, called
Nunavut, where most of the people, including the leaders, are Inuit.
The Inuit are famous for their beautiful artwork. In particular, Inuit carvings or sculptures
are known for their excellent quality. These carvings, which nowadays are made from a
kind of stone called soapstone, depict people or animals such as bears, seals, or whales.
In addition to paintings, Inuit artists have produced beautiful sketches and paintings of
Article #19 Kings and Queens of England
Today, in the early twenty-first century, most countries no longer have kings and queens.
However, some countries have remained as monarchies, including England and its
former colonies. However, even in these countries, the monarch is a ceremonial figure
who no longer has any real power over his or her subjects. These countries are called
constitutional monarchies because they are democracies in which the monarch remains
the official head of state.
Many years ago, the kings and queens of England did have real power, but gradually this
power was transferred to the people and their elected officials. It is interesting to
examine how this transition occurred.
Even in very early times, the king of England did not have absolute power. He was the
most powerful man in the country, but he could not entirely force his will upon others. If
he became too demanding, he might face opposition from powerful local land-owners.
These men, called the barons, might resist a king who tried to become too strong.
This is exactly what happened in the year 1215. The king of England had made many
unreasonable demands upon the country, and the barons decided to resist. They forced
the king to agree to a list of rules that would limit his power. These rules were written in a
famous document called the Magna Carta. This document described not only the rights
of the barons, but also of the common people of England.
During the next few hundred years, the kings still had much power. However, some other
people, such as the landowners and the richer men of the towns, also had influence.
Their meetings became known as Parliaments, and the king had to share power with the
parliament. During the 1640s, one king tried to rule without Parliament, and tried to take
away the rights of Parliament. This led to a civil war, and the king was defeated. England
soon became a monarchy again, but it became clear that Parliament would have more
power than the king. Until the twentieth century, the Parliaments of England became
more democratic, as more and more people were allowed to vote.
Today, England still has a constitutional monarchy. But not all English-speaking
countries recognize the English queen. For example, the United States became an
independent country over 200 years ago and has been a republic ever since.
In some countries, there is debate about the future of the monarchy. Canada, Australia,
and New Zealand still recognize the queen of England as their own queen even though
those countries are no longer governed by England. Many people in those countries
want to abolish the monarchy. They believe that their countries should now have their
own head of state. On the other hand, some people in those countries want to keep the
monarchy because it reminds them of their country’s early history. This is an ongoing
topic of debate for Canadians, Australians, and New Zealanders.
Article #20 Alcohol
Alcohol is the oldest drug that is used in Western countries. For thousands of years,
people have made alcoholic beverages. These beverages are made by allowing a process
called fermentation to occur. Alcoholic fermentation happens when yeasts or bacteria
break down the sugars that occur in some liquids, and convert some of those sugars into
alcohol. Many liquids, such as fruit juices, can ferment.
Thousands of years ago, alcoholic drinks were common in the Middle East. However, the
Islamic religion forbids alcohol, so very little alcohol is consumed in this part of the
world. In European countries, and in other parts of the world, many different kinds of
alcoholic beverages are produced and consumed.
In warmer areas of Europe, people make wine by allowing grape juice to ferment. In
cooler areas of Europe, people make beer by fermenting liquids made from water and
various grains. The process of fermentation is also used to make stronger drinks known
as “spirits.” These drinks include vodka, whiskey, and rum. The techniques for making
good wine, beer, and spirits have been developed over hundreds of years, and require
scientific precision. Some people have developed a great appreciation for well-made
wine, beer, or spirits, and have become experts about the many different varieties of
Many people appreciate the taste of alcoholic beverages, but many also enjoy the
feelings that alcohol causes. Alcohol belongs to a category of drugs called
“depressants” because it “depresses” the central nervous system, causing a person to
feel less inhibited or restrained. Many people enjoy this feeling, but when a person drinks
a lot of alcohol, he or she loses co-ordination, balance, and judgment. Speech may
become unclear, and the person may speak too much. Some people become aggressive
or depressed. When a person is under the influence of alcohol, the person is said to be
One of the problems that can result from alcohol consumption is known as “drunk
driving.” Some people try to drive a car after having consumed alcohol, but this is
extremely dangerous. Each year, thousands of people are killed by drunk drivers who
lose control of their cars. In recent years, attempts have been made to reduce this
problem, by public education campaigns and by strict laws and punishments. If you drink,
Another problem associated with alcohol is addiction, known as alcoholism. Some
people drink so frequently that they develop a physiological addiction to alcohol. This
problem can have terrible consequences for a person’s health, personal relationships,
Alcoholic beverages are firmly a part of Western culture, and of many other cultures also.
On the one hand, drinks provide many people with much enjoyment and appreciation. On
the other hand, alcohol is a drug that can be abused, leading to accidents and addiction.
Article #21 The Origins of Canada and The United States
Most people are aware that Canada and the United States are two very large countries in
North America. However, most people do not know how these countries came to exist.
The story of the creation of these countries is a very interesting one.
During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, some people from England and from
France moved across the Atlantic ocean. English people lived on what is now the east
coast of the United States, and French people lived in what is now Quebec, in the eastern
part of Canada. The kings of England and France were often at war with each other. This
meant that there was often fighting in North America between the soldiers of England
By about the year 1750, there were many more people in the English colonies than in the
French colonies. When the next war began, the English king was determined to defeat
the French and gain complete control of North America. The English assembled a large
force of ships and soldiers and attacked the French at Quebec. The French fought
bravely, but they were too few in numbers, and the English won the war. England then
gained control of all of North America.
After this war, the people of the English colonies in North America began to feel
dissatisfied with their government. They were not represented in the English government,
but they had to pay taxes to the English king. The taxes were used to pay for English
soldiers who defended the American colonies, but the Americans did not want these
In 1775, the American settlers began to rebel, and in 1776 the Americans declared their
independence. For several years, there was much fighting between the Americans and
the English soldiers. For a while, it appeared that the Americans would lose, even though
they fought bravely. Then, the king of France decided to help the Americans. He sent his
ships and soldiers to America, and they helped the Americans to defeat the English
forces. England recognized the United States of America as an independent country in
- However, England kept control of Canada.
When the American colonies rebelled against England, some of the people who lived in
those colonies did not rebel. Those people were called “Loyalists” because they were
loyal to the king. When the war ended, the Loyalists had to leave the country. They
moved northward to Canada, where they started new English-speaking colonies. During
the year 1812, the Americans invaded Canada, but they were not able to conquer the
During the nineteenth century, the people of Quebec continued to speak French and to
maintain their French culture. Meanwhile, many more people moved to the English-
speaking areas of Canada. In the year 1867, Quebec and the English-speaking colonies
agreed to form a single country, Canada. By this time, there were two very large
countries in the northern part of North America!
Article #22 Hawaii
Of the fifty states in the United States, forty-nine are located on the mainland of North
America. The other state is Hawaii, which consists of several islands in the middle of the
Pacific Ocean. Hawaii is known as an especially beautiful and interesting place.
The Hawaiian islands were formed by volcanic eruptions that pushed molten rock, called
“lava,” above the surface of the ocean. Some of the islands no longer have any volcanic
activity, but there are still active volcanoes on two Hawaiian islands, Oahu and the “big
island” (which is known simply as Hawaii). One of these volcanoes, Mauna Loa, still
erupts sometimes, with spectacular explosions of lava. Another volcano, called Mauna
Kea, is now dormant. These volcanoes are both very tall and reach over 4000 metres
above sea level. The air above Mauna Kea is so clear and thin that scientists use the
mountain as a base for observing the stars.
The islands of Hawaii are located in the tropics, and they are known for their beautiful
weather. The temperatures are usually in the range of 20 to 30 degrees Celsius, and the
days are usually sunny. This weather allows people to enjoy swimming and surfing on
the beautiful beaches of Hawaii. Despite the sunshine, most of the islands also receive
enough rainfall to support many beautiful flowers and trees.
The first people to live in Hawaii were Polynesian groups who arrived from other islands
in the Pacific, well over 1000 years ago. The islands were visited by European explorers
during the late eighteenth century. During the early nineteenth century, the islands
became unified under a single king. However, during this time, many Hawaiians died
from diseases that were brought by European and American visitors.
The Hawaiian islands are excellent places for growing sugar cane and pineapples. In the
late eighteenth century, some Americans began large farms, called “plantations,” in
Hawaii. The Americans eventually gained control of the government, and Hawaii became
a territory of the United States. The United States built a naval base on the island of Oahu,
at Pearl Harbor. This base was attacked by Japan in 1941, but it was soon repaired. The
naval base is still in use today.
During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, there was great demand for labour on the
sugar and pineapple plantations. People came to Hawaii from many lands, and Hawaii
became a place of many cultures. The native Hawaiians mixed with people from places
such as Japan, China, Korea, the Philippines, Portugal, and Puerto Rico, as well as the
mainland United States. Today, many Hawaiians can claim a diverse heritage.
In 1959, Hawaii became the 50th state of the United States, with the city of Honolulu as its
capital. Today, there are more than one million people in Hawaii, more than half of whom
live in Honolulu. Each year, many more people visit Hawaii as tourists, to experience the
beauty of these islands.
— — — Article #23 Charles Darwin
Charles Darwin made what might be the most important scientific discovery of all time-
the theory of evolution by natural selection. It was Darwin who first understood how it
was that plants and animals evolved over time to produce new and different species. At
first, this theory faced much opposition, but since that time it has been supported by
evidence from many areas of science.
Darwin was born in a small town in England in 1809. When he was a young man, he went
to university, first to study medicine, and later to study religion. However, Darwin found
his schoolwork to be very boring. Instead, he preferred outdoor activities and was very
interested in nature.
While Darwin was at university, the British navy was planning to send one of its ships,
called the Beagle, on a voyage of exploration. As part of this voyage, the ship would need
a naturalist, who could study the various plants and animals that might be found. Darwin
was recommended for this job by one of his professors, who had been impressed by
Darwin was chosen as the naturalist of the Beagle, and the ship left England in 1831. The
ship’s voyage took Darwin around the world, and he observed many species of plants
and animals on his trip. In one place near South America, known as the Galapagos
Islands, Darwin observed many unusual species of birds. Several of these birds seemed
closely related to each other, but they differed in interesting ways. For example, some
birds had long beaks that could reach insects hidden in the bark of trees, but other birds
had thick beaks that could break open the shells of nuts.
What Darwin realized was that certain characteristics could help an animal (or a plant) to
survive and reproduce. Individuals that lacked those characteristics would be more likely
to die without reproducing. Over many generations, the useful characteristics would then
become more and more common, as the surviving individuals passed the characteristics
on to their offspring. Eventually, after many generations, the changes would be so great
that a new species would exist. In this way, a single species could divide into two or
more new ones. This was called the “process of evolution by natural selection.”
When Darwin returned to England, he studied plants and animals in more detail. After
much research, he began writing a book about his theory of evolution by natural
selection. When the book, The Origin of Species, was published in 1859, it was very
popular and very controversial.
During the next twenty years, Darwin continued his scientific research, and he wrote
several more books. By the time of his death, in 1882, many biologists had realized that
Darwin had made one of the most important scientific discoveries of all time. For the first
time, scientists could understand the origin of the many different species of plants and
Article #24 Jazz
One of the most popular forms of music is known as jazz. Each year, hundreds of
thousands of people attend jazz concerts and festivals in cities around the world. Jazz
music, both old and new, is played on the radio and on home stereos.
Two of the most important features of jazz music are “improvisation” and “syncopation.”
Improvisation means that music is created spontaneously by the musician during a
performance. In other words, the musician modifies some existing music in a new and
interesting way. Syncopation means that the regular patterns found in music may be
broken up, with new accents and uneven patterns being created. The features of
improvisation and syncopation are difficult to use with skill, and require great creativity
on the part of the musician.
Jazz music originated in the southern United States, during the late nineteenth and early
twentieth centuries. It was based on African-American music that was derived in part
from rhythms in western Africa. The earliest jazz musicians were influenced by a music
style known as “ragtime,” which was popular during the late nineteenth century. Jazz
music also incorporated some aspects of a related kind of music called the “blues.”
By the beginning of the twentieth century, a fully developed form of jazz was being
played in New Orleans, a city in the southern United States. Jazz musicians played
instruments such as the trumpet, saxophone, cornet, and piano. Jazz soon became
popular and was played on the riverboats that travelled along the Mississippi River.
Some jazz musicians moved north to the city of Chicago, and young musicians in that
city developed some new forms of jazz music.
By the 1920s and 1930s, jazz was popular in many parts of the United States, and some
musicians began forming large bands, comprising many musicians and many different
instruments. This began the period known as the “big band” era when a popular form of
jazz known as “swing” music was played. During the 1940s and 1950s, other forms of
jazz, known as “bop” and “cool” jazz, were developed. Some people preferred these
newer kinds of jazz, but others preferred the older varieties.
By the 1960s, some jazz musicians began to experiment with different kinds of musical
instruments and with other kinds of music. Some musicians incorporated musical styles
from other parts of the world, or combined jazz with rock music, and today some
musicians have blended jazz with rap music. However, some people prefer the more
traditional forms of jazz music.
Of course, most of the great jazz musicians of the early twentieth century-people such as
Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Dizzy Gillespie, and Billie Holliday-are no
longer alive. However, many great jazz musicians are still active, and many younger
musicians have continued this form of music. People will continue to enjoy jazz music
for a long time to come.
Article #25 Australia : Nature
Australia is the only country in the world that is also a continent. Located in the southern
hemisphere, between the Pacific and Indian oceans, Australia is one of the largest
countries in the world.
Despite its vast size, Australia does not have a large population. In the year 2000, there
were about 19 million people in Australia. Most Australians live within a short distance of
the ocean, because much of the interior of Australia is extremely dry. The remote areas of
Australia, known as the “outback,” contain several sandy, rocky deserts. Some parts of
the outback receive somewhat more rainfall, and can support some grassy vegetation. In
these areas, there are many ranches, or farms, where sheep and cattle are raised.
Although the outback of Australia is a harsh place, some parts of it are quite beautiful. In
the middle of the Australian continent, a large red rock known as Uluru stands in the
desert. It is nearly 350 metres tall and is nearly 10 kilometres around. Tourists come from
all over the world to see this huge and beautiful rock in the middle of a flat desert.
In contrast to the dry interior areas, the northern coast of Australia receives a great deal
of rainfall. This area is covered in thick, lush vegetation, with tropical rainforests whose
exotic trees and flowers are found nowhere else in the world. Off the north-east coast of
the continent, a large coral reef known as the Great Barrier Reef is found. A coral reef is a
structure that consists of the bodies of small underwater animals called coral, whose
dead bodies create this unusual structure beneath the surface of the water. The reef and
the underwater life surrounding it are especially beautiful.
Australia was separated from the rest of the world for millions of years. As a result, many
of the plant and animal species in Australia are very different from those in other parts of
the world. For example, many of the animals in Australia belong to a special category
called the “marsupials.” Marsupials are mammals, but they are a special kind of mammal,
because they give birth to offspring that are not yet well developed. In many marsupials,
the offspring continue to develop, after being born, inside a pocket or “pouch” on the
The most famous marsupial is the kangaroo. Kangaroos can travel at great speeds by
hopping on their hind legs and using their large tails for balance. The kangaroo is a
rather large animal, with the larger individuals sometimes weighing 90 kilograms.
Another famous marsupial is the koala. This animal is sometimes called a koala bear
because it looks somewhat like a small bear. The koala lives in the branches of trees
called eucalyptus trees. Koalas eat the leaves of eucalyptus trees.
Of course, Australia also has people. We will discuss the people of Australia in the next
Article #26 Australia : People
The first people who lived in Australia were known as the Aborigines. The Aborigines
came to Australia by boat more than 40,000 years ago. They are the first people in the
world who are known to have used boats for transportation.
Even though many parts of Australia were very inhospitable places, the Aborigines
survived. They lived by hunting and gathering throughout the continent, even in the
desert areas where survival is almost impossible. The Aborigines felt a deep spiritual
attachment to the land, and they made many beautiful paintings upon the rocks of many
parts of the country. Their most famous invention is a curved hunting stick known as the
“boomerang.” The design of the boomerang is remarkable, because it can be thrown in
such a way that it will turn around and return to the person who threw it.
Until about two hundred years ago, the Aborigines had only a very limited amount of
contact with people in the outside world. The next people to migrate to Australia were
from the British Isles. Beginning in the late eighteenth century, Australia was used as a
prison colony, where common criminals and political prisoners were sent from Britain.
By the middle of the nineteenth century, many British people moved to Australia
voluntarily to begin farms or to search for gold. By the late nineteenth century, Britain
stopped sending its prisoners to Australia, but migration continued.
After the arrival of the British colonists, the Aboriginal population declined sharply. This
was partly due to disease, partly due to cruel treatment by settlers, and partly due to the
loss of their traditional way of life. Today, the Aboriginal population is growing again, and
the Australian government has taken some steps to correct the injustices of the past.
The various parts of Australia were governed at first as separate colonies, but in 1901
they joined to form a single country. Australia continued to grow during the twentieth
century, and after World War Two it attracted many immigrants from countries in Europe.
During the past few decades, many people have moved to Australia from various parts of
Asia and from other parts of the world.
Today, Australia consists of one territory (the Northern Territory) and six states (Western
Australia, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, New South Wales, and Queensland).
Tasmania is a small island off the southern coast, and Victoria, New South Wales, and
Queensland are found in the eastern part of the country.
The two largest cities in Australia are Sydney and Melbourne, both of which are in the
southeastern part of the country. Sydney has a beautiful harbor that is one of the largest
in the world, and Melbourne has many beautiful parks and gardens. The capital city of the
country is Canberra, which is located between Sydney and Melbourne. Other large cities
in Australia are Brisbane (in the northeast), Perth (in the southwest), and Adelaide (in the
Article #27 The Earth Revolves Around the Sun
One year is the time required for the earth to travel around the sun. For most of history,
however, people did not know that the earth moved around the sun. Instead, people
believed that the sun moved around the earth.
The old idea that the sun moved around the earth is known as the “geocentric” theory.
This idea was first made famous by an ancient Greek scientist, Ptolemy, who lived in
Egypt nearly 2000 years ago. Some other Greek philosophers had suggested instead that
the earth might travel around the sun. However, this idea, which is known as the
“heliocentric” theory, was not widely accepted. For centuries, people in Europe did not
seriously question Ptolemy’s geocentric theory.
During the early fifteenth century, however, a Polish astronomer named Nicolaus
Copernicus began to think that the heliocentric idea was right, and that the geocentric
idea was wrong. Shortly before his death, Copernicus wrote a book that described the
mathematical details of his theory that the earth revolved, or travelled, around the sun.
Later astronomers came to agree with Copernicus’s view. One of the most famous of
these was Galileo, an Italian scientist. Galileo was famous for demonstrating that light
and heavy objects fall at exactly the same speed, unless an object is so light that it is
slowed by the air. Galileo was also the first astronomer to use a powerful telescope to
observe the sky. He discovered many unknown features of the moon, the sun, and the
When Galileo announced that he believed in Copernicus’s theory that the earth revolved
around the sun, some officials of the Roman Catholic Church were angry. They argued
that this theory was against the beliefs of the Church. Some church officials disagreed
with this view, but the authorities decided that Galileo should be punished by “house
arrest.” (In other words, Galileo was not allowed to leave his house.) Also, Galileo was
forced to make a public statement that renounced his belief in the heliocentric theory.
At about the same time that Galileo supported the heliocentric idea, another astronomer
did some important work that supported Copernicus’s view. This astronomer was
Johannes Kepler, who lived in Germany. Kepler used the observations of previous
scientists to figure out the motion of the planets around the sun. He realized that the
planets did not travel in circular paths, but instead in paths that were elliptical, or oval, in
shape. Kepler’s discoveries showed mathematically how the planets would revolve
around the sun.
Today, everyone knows that the earth moves around the sun; but for a long time, it
seemed more reasonable to believe that the sun moved around the earth. We can thank
the great scientists of the past who discovered the surprising truth.
Article #28 George Washington Carver
George Washington Carver is possibly the most famous agricultural scientist of all time.
He invented hundreds of products that could be made from crops such as peanuts and
sweet potatoes, and he changed the methods of farming in the southern United States.
The story of George Washington Carver’s life is interesting and inspiring, as it shows
how some people can achieve success despite adversity.
George Washington Carver was born in a small town in the American state of Missouri, in
1864 or 1865. He was named after the first President of the United States. George’s
parents were slaves. His father was killed in an accident, and his mother was kidnapped
and later died. George and his brother were raised by a married couple, the Carvers, who
had owned George’s mother.
George was often sick during his childhood, but he showed an intense interest in nature.
The Carvers taught George to read and write, and he became known locally as an expert
on plants. Later, the Carvers sent George to a school for African-American children in a
nearby town. After his graduation, George Washington Carver continued his education in
the state of Iowa.
While a student in Iowa, Carver had very little money and had to work at many jobs to
afford the costs of his education. However, his knowledge of plants was very impressive,
and after receiving his Master’s degree, he became a teacher at the college he had
attended as a student.
Soon, however, Carver moved south to the state of Alabama, where he worked as a
teacher and researcher at a college for African-American students. It was here that
Carver stayed for the rest of his life, and it was here that he performed his important
One problem for farmers in the southern United States was that the most widespread
crops, cotton and tobacco, tended to remove nutrients from the soil. Carver realized that
this problem could be solved, to some extent, by “rotating” the cotton and tobacco crops
with other kinds of crops, such as peanuts and sweet potatoes, which could help to
preserve the nutrients in the soil.
Carver’s discoveries made the peanut, the sweet potato, and the soybean very useful to
southern farmers. He invented the food product known as peanut butter, plus hundreds
of other products. For example, Carver found ways to produce plastics, ink, cooking oil,
paints, and cosmetics from peanuts and other crops. Carver also developed a new
variety of cotton.
Carver received many awards for his scientific research, but he was never interested in
fame or fortune. When Carver died, in 1943, the American government made his
birthplace a national monument. Today, Carver is still known as a great agricultural
Article #29 The Rights of the Accused
In English-speaking countries, the rights of an accused person are taken very seriously.
Over many centuries, laws evolved in such a way that people could not be arrested or
charged without a very good reason.
Of course, every country needs to enforce its laws. This means that police officers are
needed, and so are “prosecutors”-the lawyers whose job is to make criminal charges
against people who break the laws, and to prove that those charges are true. However, it
is very important that people’s freedoms are not taken away wrongly. People should not
be punished unfairly, and people who are accused of crimes must have the opportunity
to defend themselves.
In some parts of the world, people can be arrested and imprisoned for long periods of
time, without any criminal charges being made against them. One of the most important
principles of justice in English-speaking countries is that a person cannot be held by the
police unless that person is charged with a crime. This principle is known by the Latin
term, “habeas corpus.” According to the idea of habeas corpus, the police are not
allowed to detain a person for more than a certain period of time (usually, twenty-four
hours), unless some charge is made against the person. A judge will order the release of
a person who is not charged with a crime.
Another important feature of justice systems in most English-speaking countries is that
accused individuals have the right to be represented by a lawyer. Most accused people
want to hire an expert lawyer. However, even if a person cannot afford to hire a lawyer,
the criminal court must provide a lawyer who will represent that person. The lawyer for
an accused person is required to defend that person as thoroughly as possible.
One of the most important aspects of justice systems in the United States and the British
Commonwealth is that an accused person must be fully informed of any charges made
against them. Also, any evidence that will be used to show the accused person’s guilt
must be shared with the accused person and with that person’s lawyer. In this way,
accused persons can challenge the truth of any evidence that will be used against them.
Similarly, any person who acts as a witness against an accused person can be cross-
examined by the accused person’s lawyer. This means that the statements of a witness
can be challenged by the accused person.
Another important element of most English-speaking justice systems is that evidence
must be obtained fairly. Police officers cannot simply enter a person’s home to look for
evidence of a crime. They must first have a good reason to believe that a crime has been
committed, and they must obtain permission from a judge to enter the person’s property.
This permission is called a “search warrant.” Because search warrants are required,
people are free from arbitrary invasions of their property by the police.
Finally, another important aspect of most English-speaking justice systems is that trials
must be held in public, where other citizens can watch the trial. An accused person is not
tried secretly. Moreover, as discussed in another passage, the accused person has the
right to be tried by a jury of other free citizens. All of these rules ensure that order can be
maintained without taking away the freedom of innocent people.
Article #30 New York City
New York City is the largest city in the United States, and one of the largest cities in the
world. The city of New York has a population of over seven million people, and the
surrounding urban areas bring the total to about twenty million people. However, New
York City is not merely a very large city; it is also known as one of the world’s leading
centers of financial, artistic, and media activities.
Compared with most of the great cities of the world, New York is very young. The first
permanent settlements were established during the seventeenth century, by settlers from
the Netherlands. Those people named their town “New Amsterdam.” Soon, the colony
was taken over by English settlers, who re-named the city “New York.” New York grew
quickly, and by the nineteenth century it was the largest city of the United States.
New York was usually the place where new immigrants to the United States would arrive.
In the nineteenth century, immigrants from Germany and Ireland were numerous in New
York. In the early twentieth century, New York City was the home of many Jewish
immigrants, and also immigrants from Italy. In addition, many African-American people
arrived in New York from other parts of the United States, and many persons came to
New York from the American territory of Puerto Rico, a Spanish-speaking island in the
Caribbean. In more recent decades, immigrants have arrived in New York from places all
over the world.
One of the most famous features of New York City is its dramatic skyline. New York has
more tall buildings, called “skyscrapers,” than any other city in the world. Many of the
tallest and most interesting buildings in New York-including the Woolworth Building, the
Chrysler Building, and the Empire State Building-were constructed during the early
decades of the twentieth century. In addition to these impressive buildings, New York is
also known for the huge bridges that join the island of Manhattan to the surrounding
areas. The Brooklyn Bridge is the most famous of these remarkable and old bridges.
Of course, New York is famous for much more than just its architecture. New York City’s
financial district, Wall Street, and its theatre district, centered on Broadway, are the most
important in the United States. Central Park is one of the world’s great urban parks, and
the art galleries, museums, and concert halls are among the greatest to be found
anywhere. The United Nations has its headquarters in New York City. People around the
world recognize the famous Statue of Liberty, which stands on an island in the harbor of
New York, and the bustling Times Square, located in the mid-town Manhattan area.
Visitors to New York find it to be an extremely busy, fast-placed city and are struck by the
extremes of wealth and poverty that surround it. Many people love New York City, but
even those who would not want to live in New York do agree that it is a very interesting
Article #31 California
By far the most populous state of the United States is California. Located in the
southwestern corner of the United States, California is home to a great diversity of
natural environments and cultural influences. In the year 2000, over 33 million people
lived in California.
California’s many mountains and valleys produce a wide variety of climates and natural
regions. In the interior, southeastern parts of the state are many areas of desert. For
example, Death Valley, which is so deep that it is below sea level, is extremely dry.
Temperatures in Death Valley sometimes exceed 50 degrees Celsius. Other valleys are
more pleasant and hospitable places. In the central valley, many farms grow vast
amounts of fruits and vegetables.
California also contains many tall, snow-covered mountains. On the slopes of some
mountains are forests that have very large trees. Some of the giant redwood trees of
California reach heights of 100 metres or more.
Many of the cities in California have Spanish names. This is because many of those cities
began as religious missions that were started by Spanish priests. Mexico owned
California during the early nineteenth century, but few Mexican people lived there. The
United States gained control of California during the 1840s, and the discovery of gold
brought many Americans and others to California.
Today, California contains some of the largest cities in the United States. Within the
greater Los Angeles area, one can find Hollywood, known as the movie capital of the
world. Many rich people live in suburbs such as Beverly Hills, and many poor people live
in other neighborhoods throughout the city. The Los Angeles area is home to over 15
million people, many of whom have immigrated to the United States from Mexico and
from many Asian countries. Los Angeles is a very large city that has spread across a
great area. As a consequence, the city has many traffic jams and air pollution, or smog,
is sometimes a problem.
Further north is the city of San Francisco, one of the most beautiful cities of the United
States. The image of the Golden Gate Bridge, which crosses the harbour of San
Francisco, is famous around the world. Also famous are the hilly streets of San
Francisco and the trolley cars that provide transportation along them. San Francisco’s
Chinese community is one of the largest in North America, and the city also contains a
vibrant artistic and cultural life. San Francisco was destroyed by an earthquake in 1906
and was damaged again in 1989.
California has always had a special place in the imagination of Americans. This is hardly
surprising, given the variety and diversity of this vast state!
Article #32 Drug Use Among Athletes
Drug use is a common problem in many sports competitions today. In both professional
and amateur sports, many athletes use drugs that are designed to improve athletic
performance. The use of these drugs may have harmful effects on the future health of
athletes, but they also give an unfair advantage in athletic competitions.
Some of the most widely-used performance-enhancing drugs are called “anabolic
steroids.” Anabolic steroids are drugs that are very similar to the male hormone,
testosterone. These drugs allow athletes to develop larger and stronger muscles, and to
increase the intensity of training. For sports that require strength, power, or speed, the
use of steroids can provide advantages. In past years, many famous sprinters and
weightlifters have been found to have used steroids.
However, anabolic steroids have many negative side effects. To give just a few examples,
steroids can cause changes in mood, including irritability and anger, and can also cause
skin problems such as acne. In men, steroid use can lead to reduction in the functioning
of the testicles. In women, steroid use can interfere with menstruation. In both men and
women, long-term side effects include an increased risk of some forms of cancer.
Another widely-used drug is known as EPO. EPO is a hormone that helps to produce red
blood cells, which carry oxygen to the muscles. When taken by athletes who compete in
sports that require great endurance, EPO may provide an advantage by allowing the
athletes to maintain their speed for a longer time and distance. During 1998, there was a
scandal at a famous bicycle race, the Tour de France, when it was found that many of
these long-distance cyclists were using EPO to gain an advantage over their competitors.
EPO has side effects. For example, it increases the likelihood of developing blood clots,
which increase the risk of a stroke or heart attack.
One difficulty in preventing the use of performance-enhancing drugs is that it is not
always possible to detect the use of the drugs. Tests have been developed to detect the
drugs, but new varieties of the drugs are often not detected. Also, athletes who stop
using the drugs well before a drug test may avoid being detected.
Preventing the use of performance-enhancing drugs in athletes is difficult, but it is
important. Most athletes want to compete without using artificial substances that provide
easy advantages, and they do not want to risk their health by using these substances. If
those athletes are to have a fair chance, it is necessary to prevent other athletes from
gaining advantages due to the use of these drugs.
Article #33 Scotland
Scotland is the country that is located on the northern part of the island of Great Britain.
The Scottish people are one of the four main nationalities of the British Isles, together
with the English, the Welsh, and the Irish. Scotland and its people have played an
important part in the history of the English-speaking world.
Scotland can be roughly divided into two main regions. The lowland areas, in the
southern part of Scotland, contain most of the population and the two main cities,
Edinburgh and Glasgow. Most of Scotland’s agriculture and industry are located in the
lowland areas. The Highland areas, together with the islands that lie off the coast of
Scotland, are not so heavily populated. The lakes and mountains of the highlands are
known for their beautiful scenery.
One of the main themes of Scottish history is conflict with England. During the Middle
Ages, the English and Scottish kings were often at war. Around the year 1300, the Scots
repelled some invasions from England. During the 1600s, though, Scotland and England
had the same king, and the countries were officially joined as “the United Kingdom” in
For people in the highlands of Scotland, the eighteenth century was very difficult. Most
people worked as farmers on land that was owned by a few wealthy landlords. The
landlords decided that they could make more money on the land if they evicted the
farmers, so many of the farmers were forced to leave. The highlanders rebelled against
the King in 1745, but they were defeated. During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries,
many people left the highlands of Scotland. They moved to the United States, Canada,
Australia, and New Zealand. During the nineteenth century, Scotland was the first
country to have universal public education for children. The country produced a great
number of famous scientists and inventors during that time.
Scotland is famous for its national costume. This costume includes the “kilt,” which is a
knee-length skirt worn by both men and women. The kilt is made from a fabric that
contains stripes of different colors and widths, which cross over each other to produce a
pattern that is called a “tartan.” In the Scottish highlands, groups of related families,
called “clans,” have their own unique tartan.
Another famous part of Scottish heritage is the musical instrument known as the
bagpipes. The bagpipes have a distinctive sound that is easily recognized. Bagpipes
were originally played to intimidate enemies in battle, but today Scottish people play the
bagpipes at parades and other celebrations. People of Scottish heritage around the world
celebrate their heritage on January 25th of each year. This day celebrates the birthday of
Robbie Burns, the famous Scottish poet. People celebrate this day at parties, where
people eat a famous Scottish food called haggis.
Today, Scotland remains part of the United Kingdom, but some Scottish people would
like Scotland to become independent. Whatever the Scottish people decide, their country
will remain a unique and interesting place.
Article #34 London
The city of London is one of the most famous cities in the world. In previous centuries,
London was the centre of the British Empire. Today, it is one of the most important cities
of the emerging European Union.
London is located in southeastern England, on the Thames River (pronounced “tems”).
The greater London area contains about 12 million people, and the surrounding areas
contain several million more. London was the first city in the modern world to have
reached a population of one million people.
London is a very old city, and many of its neighbourhoods maintain their distinct
character. One of the most famous parts of London is the East End, where people speak
with an accent known as “Cockney.” One of the features of the Cockney accent is that
the letter “h” is often not pronounced.
London’s population is very cosmopolitan. The city contains, in addition to people of
English background, large communities of South Asian, Chinese, African, and Caribbean
people. Most of these people have their origins in countries that belong to the British
Commonwealth of Nations.
Many of the most famous buildings in London are located in a small central area. This
area contains several huge churches, including Westminster Abbey, where many famous
people are buried. Another famous church is St. Paul’s Cathedral, which was re-built after
the original was destroyed by fire in the year 1665.
The Houses of Parliament are also found in central London. These buildings are famous
for their Gothic architecture and for the sound of the large clock, known as “Big Ben.”
The Tower of London, which was formerly used as a prison, is now a popular tourist
attraction. Buckingham Palace, the residence of the royal family, was first opened for
public viewing during the 1990s.
London is also famous for its many impressive museums, art galleries, and theatres. For
example, the British Museum contains priceless objects from all parts of the world. The
National Gallery holds a great collection of artistic masterpieces. The Globe Theatre has
been re-built to appear as it did during the time of Shakespeare.
Despite its age, London remains a vibrant and busy city. Most of the cultural and
financial institutions in England are located in London, and the city attracts many young
people from other parts of England and around the world. Of course, London is popular
with tourists who come to see the many attractions of this city.
Article #35 Soccer
Soccer is the most popular sport in the world. The basic rules of the sport are simple:
two teams of eleven players try to kick the soccer ball into the opposing team’s goal.
Only one player on each team, the goal-keeper, is allowed to touch the ball with hands or
arms. Perhaps part of the reason for the popularity of soccer is its simplicity. The game
requires no expensive equipment, merely a ball and a playing surface, preferably a large
grassy area. For children in most parts of the world, soccer is the sport that is played
Soccer is also known as football, especially in England. However, soccer should not be
confused with American Football, Australian Rules Football, and Rugby Football, which
are very different sports.
Although the basic rules of soccer are easy to learn, it is very difficult to master the skills
of the game. The best soccer players have developed, through natural talent and hard
work, a remarkable ability to control the soccer ball with their feet, knees, torso, and
head. They can pass the ball very accurately, or shoot the ball very hard.
The most famous soccer tournament is the World Cup. Every four years, teams
representing countries from around the world play in a tournament to decide which
country has the best soccer team in the world.
Because soccer is such a popular sport, it is not possible for every country in the world
to be represented at the World Cup tournament. To decide which countries may
participate in the World Cup, it is necessary to have tournaments within various regions
of the world. The countries that perform well within their parts of the world can then
proceed to the World Cup. In the past, most of the available places at the World Cup have
been reserved for teams from Europe and from South America. The reason for this is that
soccer has been extremely popular in these continents, which have produced the
winning teams in previous World Cup tournaments.
Recently, however, several African and Asian countries have played quite well at the
World Cup, so there are now additional places provided for teams from Africa and Asia.
Someday, teams from these areas will win the World Cup. However, there will no doubt
be strong competition from countries that have traditionally had very strong teams, such
as Argentina, England, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands.
In many parts of the world, soccer has been an increasingly popular sport for women.
There are now many soccer leagues and tournaments available for women athletes, and
it seems likely that the number of women who play soccer will someday equal the
number of men who play soccer. Among children in many parts of the world, soccer is
equally popular for boys and girls.
Article #36 Extinctions
Ever since human beings appeared on the Earth, we have had a serious impact on other
living things. One of the most serious results of the human presence has been the
extinction of other species. Since the arrival of humans, many species of animals and
plants have died out as a result of human activity.
The extinction of species is a serious problem. When certain species are eliminated, this
may disrupt the balance of nature, leading to overpopulation of some species and
extinction of others. These changes may have an impact on humans. Also, some of the
species that become extinct might have had benefits for human beings. For example,
scientists believe that some of the plants growing in rain forest areas might be valuable
for treating human diseases. If these plants become extinct as a result of human activity,
then these treatments will never be found.
The earliest extinctions caused by humans occurred very long ago. Modern humans
emerged in Africa over 100,000 years ago, and some of those people migrated to other
parts of the world. When they reached new areas, they found that it was very easy to hunt
the large animals, which had not previously been hunted by humans. As these
prehistoric people moved into Europe, Australia, and the Americas, they killed large
numbers of large animals. Within a few hundred years, many species of animals had
become extinct. For example, prehistoric people reached New Zealand less than 1000
years ago, but they soon hunted a huge bird, called the giant moa, to extinction.
With the beginnings of modern technology, several hundred years ago, many other
species were driven to extinction. Hunters armed with guns were able to kill vast
numbers of animals. In North America, this led to the extinction of bird species such as
the passenger pigeon, which had previously been very numerous. Other species were
nearly wiped out, such as the large prairie mammals called bison. There were once
millions of these animals, but now only a few thousand remain.
Today, many more species of animals and plants are going extinct. Sometimes this
happens because of human expansion into areas that are the habitat of certain species.
When people clear a forest, some species may be lost.
In the near future, many other extinctions are possible or likely. In some cases, the
problem is due to human greed. For example, some people buy ivory that is taken from
the bodies of animals such as elephants or rhinoceros. Hunters sometimes kill these
animals simply to take their ivory, and the result is a tragic decline in populations.
Another example involves bears in North America. Some people buy the sexual organs of
these animals for use as aphrodisiacs, or sexual stimulants. The result is that hunters kill
bears simply to obtain these organs, and this leads to a reduction in the number of bears.
Fortunately, many countries have laws to prevent the hunting of species that are facing
extinction, known as “endangered species.” However, some hunting of these endangered
animals continues. Only by refusing to buy the products that are made from endangered
species can we prevent this terrible crime.
Article #37 Obesity and Nutrition
For people in many countries, one of the great triumphs of modern life is that there is a
great abundance of food. In those places, problems such as starvation and malnutrition
are no longer prevalent, and people do not worry about going hungry.
Despite the fact that there is plenty of food in modern countries, people still face many
health problems that are related to their diet. One problem is that modern technology has
made it possible to produce cheap and tasty food that is not very healthy. This leads to
the problem that many people are obese, or very overweight.
One example of this is the “fast food” that is served by many restaurants. This food is
often cooked by frying. Fried food contains a high proportion of fat. Also, fast food meals
are often very large. When people frequently eat large amounts of fried “fast food,” they
will likely eat too much fat. This excess can lead to weight gain. Of course, many people
enjoy the taste of fried fast food and like to eat it occasionally. However, eating this kind
of food too often is bad for one’s health.
Another example of health problems caused by modern food products involves soft
drinks and other sweetened beverages. These drinks, sometimes called “pop,” have a
sweet taste that many people enjoy on occasion. However, these drinks contain large
amounts of sugar. When people drink soft drinks very frequently, they consume a great
deal of sugar. This excess sugar can lead to weight gain.
The weight gain that can result from consuming too much fast food and too many soft
drinks can have several harmful effects. For example, people who are very obese have an
increased risk of heart disease and of diabetes. Of course, fast food and soft drinks are
not the only causes of obesity. Other eating habits may be involved, and so are lack of
exercise and genetic factors.
To avoid the health problems that are associated with obesity, it is important that one
does not eat too much food. However, this does not mean that one should try to eat as
little as possible. People need an adequate amount of food in order to stay healthy. Also,
it is important to avoid new “fad” diets that become popular from time to time, because
these are often unsafe. Some of the diets that are recommended in popular books do not
contain adequate amounts of nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals.
Instead, one should try to eat foods that are nutritious. For example, foods such as fruits,
vegetables, grains, and lean meats have many vitamins and minerals that are needed for
good health. People whose diet consists mainly of these foods will probably be much
healthier, on average, than people whose diet contains too many foods that have high
levels of fat or sugar. In addition, many of these nutritious foods are also very tasty and
enjoyable to eat!
Article #38 Sexual Harassment
When an employee is subjected to unwanted sexual advances or comments by a co-
worker or an employer, we say that the employee is experiencing sexual harassment. In
some workplaces, sexual harassment is a serious problem.
In its most blatant form, a boss may demand sexual favours from an employee and
threaten to fire the employee if she fails to comply. Similarly, the employer might promise
a promotion or raise in exchange for some sexual favor. Whenever an employer uses the
prospect of reward or punishment as a way of obtaining sexual access to an employee,
sexual harassment has occurred.
This is not the only form of sexual harassment. Sometimes, an employee may be
subjected to demeaning comments by her employer or co-worker. For example, a boss
might make vulgar comments about the physical appearance of the employee. Another
example is that a co-worker might make remarks that speculate about the sexual
behaviour of the employee. In both of these cases, the employee is treated
disrespectfully on the basis of her sex, so both cases would represent sexual
Some forms of sexual harassment are more subtle. If a group of workers exchanges
offensive jokes of a sexual nature, in such a way that they can be easily overheard by
other workers, then this is also a form of sexual harassment. Similarly, if workers post
pornographic pictures in their workplace, in such a way that they can be seen by other
workers, then this also represents sexual harassment. In both cases, the workplace
becomes an environment in which the employee is made to feel uncomfortable because
of her sex.
Sexual harassment usually involves a female employee who is being bothered by a male
employer or co-worker. In some cases, a woman might sexually harass a man, or one
person might sexually harass another person of the same sex. However, these cases are
not as common. Also, in some cases, the person who commits sexual harassment is not
a boss or co-worker, but a customer or a visitor to the workplace.
Sexual harassment is a form of intimidation and abuse of power that causes much stress
for many employees. In recent years, many steps have been taken to reduce the
occurrence of sexual harassment. Educational campaigns have been designed to teach
people that sexual harassment is wrong. Stronger penalties for sexual harassment have
Another way to reduce the prevalence of sexual harassment is to develop a culture of
respect in the workplace. People need to be aware of how their jokes or comments might
be perceived by others, and to imagine how they would feel if one of their relatives were
subjected to sexual harassment. Employers and employees must recognize that sexual
harassment is a serious concern and treat potential cases of sexual harassment very
seriously. Each company should have clear policies about sexual harassment, and each
should establish a fair and efficient process for dealing with complaints of this kind. In
this way, the workplace can be a comfortable environment for all persons.
Article #39 Cultural Differences : Individualism and Collectivism
The many cultures of the world differ in a great variety of ways. One of the most
interesting ways in which cultures vary is in the extent to which they are “individualistic”
or “collectivistic.” An individualist society and a collectivist society are different in many
In an individualistic culture, each person tends to think of himself or herself in terms of
his or her own characteristics and preferences-the things that make the person unique or
different from others. In a collectivistic culture, each person tends to think of himself or
herself in terms of his or her social relationships and roles-the things that make the
person a part of a larger group, such as an extended family or an ethnic group.
Another difference between individualist and collectivist cultures involves the tendency
to help others. In an individualist society, people feel some obligation to help persons
who share some group identity-such as their distant relatives, or persons from the same
town-but this obligation is not nearly as strong as in collectivist cultures. On the other
hand, people in collectivist cultures tend to feel very little inclination to help other people
who do not belong to their groups, whereas people in individualist cultures are more
often willing to help others even if they do not belong to the same group.
Another difference between individualist and collectivist cultures involves the
relationship between people and the groups to which they belong. In an individualist
culture, people usually join or leave groups when it is in their personal interest to do so.
In a collectivist culture, people usually stay with one group for a long time. For example,
people in individualist societies are more willing to quit their job, and take a new job at
another company. People in collectivist societies usually prefer to stay with one company
throughout their career. Similarly, people in individualist countries usually get married
for reasons of personal choice, and are more likely to get divorced. However, people in
collectivist societies usually get married according to the wishes of their relatives, and
are less likely to get divorced.
Western countries, such as those of western Europe and North America, are usually
considered to be very individualist. However, not all individualist countries are similar in
every way. For example, the individualism of the United States is viewed as more
“competitive” than that of socialist countries, such as Sweden. In contrast to Western
countries, the countries of most parts of Asia and Africa are usually considered to be
very collectivist. Collectivist countries also differ from each other in many ways.
The idea of individualism versus collectivism is an interesting way to understand some
of the differences between cultures. By learning about ideas like this, one can better
appreciate the customs of other peoples.
Article #40 The Protestant Reformation
Until about 500 years ago, there was only one Christian church in western and central
Europe. People from Portugal to Poland all belonged to the Roman Catholic Church.
However, soon after the year 1500, people in many parts of Europe broke away from the
Roman Catholic Church and began their own churches instead. This was known as the
The leader of the early Protestant movement was a German theologian named Martin
Luther. Luther believed that many of the priests of the Roman Catholic Church had
become too concerned about wealth and luxury. Also, he disapproved of some practices
in the Church. One such practice was that priests allowed people to pay money to the
Church in exchange for committing various sins. Luther believed that it was wrong to
allow people to buy the freedom to commit acts that were against the teachings of the
Luther began to criticize the Roman Catholic Church in public, and he refused to
acknowledge the authority of the Church. He said that instead he would follow the
teachings of the Bible as he understood them. The officials of the Church declared that
Luther was a heretic. However, the local German rulers did not punish Luther. Many of
them resented the power of the Church and welcomed his ideas.
Luther and other Protestant leaders disagreed with the Church on several important
issues. The Protestants believed that priests should be allowed to marry, whereas the
Roman Catholic Church believed that priests should remain celibate. The Protestants
believed that people should read the Bible for themselves, whereas the Roman Catholic
Church believed that priests should interpret the Bible for the people.
During the decades that followed Luther, the Protestant movement spread throughout
much of Europe. Over time, many different Protestant churches were formed. During this
period, many wars were fought between local rulers who favoured Protestantism, and
other local rulers who supported the Roman Catholic Church. In the end, many parts of
Europe became Protestant, such as Scandinavia, England, and parts of Germany, Holland,
However, the people and rulers of many other areas of Europe preferred to remain in the
Roman Catholic Church. These areas included most of southern Europe, as well as
Poland and Ireland. The Roman Catholic Church changed a few of its practices in
response to Protestant criticism, but kept its most important beliefs.
In recent times, relations between the Roman Catholic Church and the various Protestant
churches have become much more friendly. Some discussions have been held between
Catholic and Protestant officials, in order to resolve some of their disagreements.
Article #41 Modern Engineering Wonders
During the twentieth century, there were great improvements in engineering technology.
These new developments allowed the construction of many amazing tunnels, bridges,
towers, and office buildings.
For centuries, people had dreamed about the possibility of connecting the island of Great
Britain to the mainland of Europe. However, it was only in 1994 that such a link was
completed, when a tunnel was dug under the English Channel, between England and
France. The Channel Tunnel, also known as the “Chunnel,” actually consists of three
separate railway tunnels. These tunnels are about 50 kilometres long. They are located
about 150 metres below the bottom of the sea. Obviously, this was an extremely
challenging project to undertake. As a result of the Chunnel, it is now possible to travel
between London and Paris by train. And the trip takes only three hours, of which only 20
minutes are spent inside the tunnel!
A suspension bridge is a bridge that is supported by strong wires that hang from tall
towers. The world’s longest suspension bridge is the Akashi-Kaikyo bridge, near the city
of Kobe, Japan. This bridge is nearly 4 kilometres long, and the two towers near the
middle of the bridge are about 2 kilometres apart! It took almost 20 years to design this
bridge, and 10 years to build it. This bridge was designed to withstand extremely strong
winds, because Japan often experiences wind storms called typhoons. The bridge was
also designed to withstand powerful earthquakes, which sometimes hit Japan.
At the beginning of the twenty-first century, the world’s tallest free-standing tower was
the Canadian National Tower, or the CN Tower. The CN tower is 553 metres tall. It is
located in the city of Toronto, within the Canadian province of Ontario. This structure was
built in 1975 as a television and radio tower. Before the CN tower was built, TV and radio
reception in the Toronto area was poor. This was because the TV and radio signals were
blocked by the buildings of downtown Toronto. When the CN tower was built, this
problem was solved. Of course, the CN tower is also a famous tourist attraction. People
can ride in the very fast elevators that take them to observation areas, which are at about
350 and 450 metres above the ground.
Although the CN Tower is the world’s tallest tower, it is not an office building. The tallest
buildings in the world are the Petronas Towers, in the city of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia,
and the Sears Tower, in the American city of Chicago. The Sears Tower, which is 442
metres tall, was completed in 1974. It has 110 floors, and its top floor is the highest office
floor in the world. However, the Petronas Towers reach slightly higher, to a height of 452
metres. The Petronas Towers were completed in 1998.
Obviously, the late twentieth century witnessed some amazing achievements of
engineering. It will be very interesting to see what new wonders will be constructed in the
Article #42 Anne Sullivan and Helen Keller
The story of Anne Sullivan and Helen Keller is the story of a dedicated teacher and an
eager student. This story is very remarkable and inspiring because the teaching was
done without sight and without sound.
Helen Keller was born in the American state of Alabama in 1880. She was a happy and
healthy baby, but before she reached the age of two, she was struck by a severe fever. As
a result of this fever, she became both deaf and blind.
After her illness, the young Helen Keller learned to use her other senses. For example,
she touched other people’s hands to figure out what they were doing. In this way, she
also learned that people could communicate by moving their lips. Helen could not talk;
instead, she communicated with her family by making sign movements with her hands
and body. However, Helen became very frustrated by her inability to see, hear, and talk.
She often became very angry and had many “temper tantrums.”
When Helen Keller was six years old, her family took her to see Dr. Alexander Graham
Bell, who was an expert on educating deaf children. (This man was also famous for
inventing the telephone.) As a result of this visit, Helen’s parents hired a tutor for their
daughter. The tutor was a very intelligent deaf woman named Anne Sullivan.
At first, it was difficult to teach Helen because she still made many angry outbursts.
Gradually, Anne Sullivan gained Helen’s trust. One day, Anne began to teach Helen to
communicate. Anne took Helen to a well and pumped some water onto Helen’s hand.
Then, Anne used her finger to write the letters w-a-t-e-r onto Helen’s hand. By repeating
this, Anne was able to teach Helen how to write the word “water.”
As soon as Helen learned that things could be named in this way, she wanted to learn the
names of many other objects and actions. She was curious about many things, and
learned a great number of words. She also learned to read by using the Braille alphabet.
This alphabet allows the reader to feel letters and words, which are represented by
bumps on a page. Also, Helen learned to talk, by feeling and then copying the
movements of people’s mouths.
When Helen Keller was 16 years old, Anne Sullivan went with her to college. Anne acted
as Helen’s interpreter, and Helen was very successful in her studies. After her graduation,
Helen dedicated her life to improving conditions for the blind, the deaf, and the poor.
Anne Sullivan died in 1936 and was remembered as the “Miracle Worker” for her triumph
in educating Helen Keller.
After Anne’s death, Helen continued to give lectures in countries around the world, and
was active in many political causes. She met with presidents and prime ministers, and
helped to improve conditions for people who were deaf or blind. At the time of her death,
in 1968, Helen Keller was one of the most admired people in the world.
Article #43 The Automobile, or Car
In many ways, the automobile has been one of the most important inventions of the
modern age. People have been able to travel much more freely, and across much greater
distances, than was possible in the past. The automobile, which most people refer to as
the “car,” has also had some harmful consequences, such as pollution and accidents.
However, it is clear that life has changed profoundly as a result of the car.
Modern cars are very complicated, but the basic idea of how a car works can be
described briefly. When the keys are turned in the ignition of the car, this creates a spark
that ignites some gasoline vapour inside a cylinder. Then, the rapid expansion of this
vapour pushes against a part called a piston. The movement of the piston then causes a
turning motion in a shaft that is connected to the wheels. The wheels turn, and the car
The invention of the car, and the engines used by cars, happened gradually in the late
nineteenth century, mainly in France and Germany. In the early twentieth century, an
American engineer named Henry Ford developed a new way of making cars. Instead of
having one worker produce an entire car, he had each worker perform one part of the
production of many different cars. This system was very efficient and allowed the mass
production of cars. The first car to be produced in large numbers was called the “Model
The Model T Ford and other cars that were soon produced in large numbers were cheap
enough that many people could afford to buy them. Many new roads were built and
paved throughout North America to allow cars to be driven from town to town. People
were able to travel much more easily and to visit places that had previously been difficult
Some problems also came with the widespread use of cars. One of these problems was
air pollution, because car engines burn gasoline, which produces poisonous exhaust
fumes. Gradually, new laws and new technology have led to reductions in the air
pollution that is caused by cars. Moreover, cars today are much more “fuel efficient” than
they were in the past, requiring less gasoline to travel a given distance. However, this
pollution is still a problem because of the many millions of cars that are used each day.
Another problem has been car accidents, which have caused many thousands of deaths
each year. During the 1960s, some journalists brought attention to the unsafe features of
many cars. As a result, the safety of cars has been greatly improved. In addition, the use
of seat belts is now required by law. However, car accidents continue to be a serious
The future is likely to bring many interesting new changes to the car. Improvements in
the safety of cars, in fuel efficiency, and in the cleanliness of car emissions are
continuing to be made. Also, the increasing use of the car in economically developing
countries will probably have important effects upon people’s lives around the world.
Article #44 Sexual Attitude and Behavior
During the past several decades, there have been major changes within most Western
countries in people’s attitudes toward sex, and in sexual behaviour. For people who have
lived throughout this period, the changes have seemed quite remarkable.
Until the early twentieth century, people in most Western countries did not have
permissive attitudes regarding sexuality. For the most part, young people were expected
to wait until marriage before having sexual intercourse. Of course, some premarital sex
did occur, and prostitution was not rare. However, sexual behaviour was relatively
As the twentieth century progressed, there was a gradual trend toward liberalization of
attitudes toward sex. However, this trend was greatly speeded after 1960, when the first
birth control pills became available. These contraceptive pills made it possible for
women to engage in sexual intercourse without much risk of an unwanted pregnancy. As
a result, many women were more willing to have premarital sex than was previously the
Also during the 1960s, Western countries were reaching high levels of wealth and
education. A new and very large generation of young people was approaching adulthood,
and there was a mood of rebellion against traditional norms. There was an increase in
the number of people who engaged in sex before marriage, and also a greater openness
about such behaviour.
By the 1970s, sexual attitudes had become quite liberal, and many young people were
quite promiscuous in their sexual behaviour. However, this pattern reversed somewhat
during the 1980s. There was increased concern about sexually transmitted diseases,
including AIDS; moreover, many young women had been uncomfortable with the idea of
unrestricted sexual behaviour. As a result, sexual attitudes became slightly more
conservative during the 1980s and 1990s, although they remained much more liberal
than in previous decades.
In the early twenty-first century, most young people in Western countries begin having
sex during their high school years, although some people wait until they are
considerably older. Some young people are promiscuous, but most engage in
monogamous relationships that typically last for a period of several months or a few
years. When one relationship ends, another usually begins soon after. This pattern
usually continues until marriage. After marriage, most people have sex exclusively with
their spouse; however, some people do commit adultery.
Sexuality has changed a great deal in recent decades. It will be very interesting to see
how people’s sexual attitudes and behaviour will change in the future.
Article #45 The Mississippi River
The Mississippi River is the longest river within the United States, and the fourth longest
river in the world. This river holds a special place in American history and literature, and
in the imagination of ordinary Americans.
The Mississippi River begins in the hills of northern Minnesota, near the Canadian border,
and flows southward about 3700 kilometres, through ten states, before draining its water
and silt into the Gulf of Mexico. Traditionally, the river is viewed as a natural boundary
between the eastern and western halves of the United States.
Until the year 1803, the areas to the west of the Mississippi River, and the areas around
the mouth of the river, were claimed by Spain and by France. In that year, the French
emperor, Napoleon, decided to sell this land to the United States of America. This sale,
which is called the Louisiana Purchase, was very important for the United States. By
controlling the Mississippi River, the Americans would be able to use it for transporting
goods and people in this rapidly developing area.
For many years, river-boats were the main method of long-distance transportation for
people living near the Mississippi. Steam-powered boats, with large “paddle wheels” that
pushed the boat forward, were very popular in the time before cars and airplanes.
One of the famous cities along the Mississippi River is St. Louis. This city is known as
the “gateway to the west.” During the nineteenth century, St. Louis was the last large
town that people would pass through on their way to new farmland farther west. Today,
St. Louis is famous for the “Gateway Arch,” a tall monument that welcomes people to the
west. St. Louis is also known as the city where the music known as “the Blues” began.
Near the mouth of the Mississippi River is another famous city, New Orleans. In terms of
the style of buildings, New Orleans is said to be the most unusual American city, because
it is influenced so strongly by Spanish and French traditions. Even today, the traditional
festival of “Mardi Gras” is celebrated in New Orleans each year. New Orleans and the
surrounding areas of the state of Louisiana are famous for spicy “Cajun” food. This style
of cooking was developed by the French-speaking settlers of Louisiana.
The Mississippi River is famous in many stories of American literature. For example, The
Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, which were written by the author Mark
Twain, are both set along the Mississippi River.
Today, the federal and state governments of the United States are working to preserve
the natural environment along the Mississippi River. People recognize the importance of
keeping this river healthy and clean.
Article #46 Doctors Without Borders
In 1999, the Nobel Prize for Peace was won by the organization known as “Doctors
Without Borders.” This is the English name of the organization, based in Belgium, which
won the prize for its humanitarian assistance to people around the world, in areas that
have been struck by disaster.
The fundamental ideas of Doctors Without Borders is that people who suffer from a
disaster have the right to receive professional help as soon as possible. The organization
helps people regardless of their nationality, race, religion, ethnicity, sex, or political
opinions. Also, the assistance provided by Doctors Without Borders is given in response
to all kinds of disasters, such as famines, earthquakes, and wars.
The people who belong to Doctors Without Borders are experienced medical workers
who volunteer their time, effort, and skills in an attempt to help people who are in need.
These volunteers include doctors, nurses, surgeons, anesthetists, laboratory technicians,
and other medical workers. There are also some non-medical volunteers who work for
Doctors Without Borders in positions of administration or logistics.
Volunteers must first take a course before participating in a humanitarian mission. They
promise to abide by a code of professional ethics, and they promise to remain neutral in
any conflicts within a disaster area. A mission typically lasts about six months, but the
duration varies. The volunteers are insured by the organization, but they are not paid in
any way for their work.
When Doctors Without Borders began in 1971, it consisted of only a few French doctors
who wanted to provide humanitarian aid to people in disaster areas. Over the years, it
grew rapidly, and by 2001, Doctors Without Borders had 2500 volunteers working in 80
countries around the world. They have helped people by providing emergency health
care, vaccinations, medicine, water, and basic food, and also by developing improved
water and sanitation systems. In many areas, Doctors Without Borders has also helped
to provide basic medical training to local people.
Although Doctors Without Borders remains neutral in any conflicts within a disaster area,
the organization does speak out against abuses of human rights. By remaining
independent of the influence of governments and corporations, Doctors Without Borders
is able to criticize the people and organizations who cause suffering. The volunteers are
witnesses who tell the world about the cruelty that is inflicted upon innocent people.
Obviously, the work of Doctors Without Borders is extremely important. The volunteers
of this organization are brave and selfless people whose efforts have relieved the
suffering of millions of people.
Article #47 Chicago
Chicago is one of the most famous American cities. Some cities in the United States-
such as New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco-may be more glamorous, but many
people agree that Chicago is the city that best represents the United States.
Located in the middle of North America, Chicago has derived much benefit from its
geography. The city’s central location has made its O’Hare International Airport the “hub”
for most airlines in the United States. Its location on the shores of Lake Michigan has
made it a major port and business centre, where the agricultural and industrial products
of the American Midwest are shipped overseas.
Until about the 1830s, Chicago was a minor trading post. But then it grew rapidly as the
most important town in the rapidly developing areas of the midwestern United States. In
1871, the city was destroyed by a fire. It is often said that the fire started when a cow
knocked over an oil lamp. It took about 20 years for the city to be completely rebuilt, but
it continued to expand. In 1882, the first skyscraper was built in Chicago.
Around the turn of the century, the population of Chicago was growing quickly. Many
African-American people moved to Chicago from the southern United States, and many
immigrants from Eastern Europe also arrived in Chicago during this time. Because of the
busy and active atmosphere of the city, an American poet described Chicago as “the city
of broad shoulders.”
Chicago became notorious for organized crime during the Prohibition Era of the 1920s,
when the sale of alcohol was illegal. Mobsters such as Al Capone became rich by
smuggling liquor, and many people were killed in conflicts between rival gangs of
criminals. But the influence of organized crime later became weaker.
In the decades following World War Two, Chicago experienced some problems with
crime, poverty, and racial conflict. However, the city has recently prospered, and social
conditions have improved for many people in Chicago. Compared with other large cities,
Chicago is viewed as an affordable place to live, with a high quality of life. The city has
efficient transportation, and many beautiful parks along the Lake Michigan shoreline.
Chicago is famous for its many attractions, including the Art Institute of Chicago, the
Field Museum of Natural History, the Shedd Aquarium, the Sears Tower, and the “Miracle
Mile” shopping district. Indeed, Chicago is one of the most interesting cities in the United
Article #48 Women and the Right to Vote
In most countries today, people think it is obvious that all adults should have the right to
vote in democratic elections. But it was not so long ago that women did not have this
right. Only after a long struggle did women gain the right to vote.
By the early nineteenth century, modern democratic forms of government were
appearing in the United States, Great Britain, and some European countries. In these
countries, most adult men had the right to vote in democratic elections. Some men were
denied this right if they were poor or if they belonged to a racial minority group, but
gradually this right was extended to all men.
It took much longer for women to gain the right to vote. Only in special cases, such as
that of a widow who owned land, could a woman be allowed to vote. Many men believed
that it was not necessary for women to vote, because they assumed that the husband
should decide on behalf of his wife. Some men believed that women did not possess the
intelligence or the discipline to vote carefully. Some women also believed that women
should not be involved in politics, but many others wanted the right to vote.
By about the year 1850, some women began to organize in an effort to change the laws
regarding women and the vote. This movement was known as the “woman suffrage”
movement, because the word “suffrage” means voting. Leaders such as Susan B.
Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton brought attention to this issue, and persuaded
many people that women should vote.
The first part of the United States to recognize women’s right to vote was Wyoming, in
the year 1869. During the following decades, many other states recognized women’s right
to vote, particularly in the western part of the country, where women had a high social
status. However, the United States was not the first country to recognize women’s right
to vote at the national level.
The first country to recognize women’s right to vote was New Zealand, in 1893. Soon
after, Australia also allowed women to vote, and so did the Scandinavian countries of
northern Europe. But in countries such as the United States, Canada, and Great Britain,
women could not yet vote. Women in those countries struggled to gain the vote. For
example, in Great Britain, Emmeline Pankhurst and her daughters participated in hunger
During World War One (1914-1918), women’s work efforts were very important to winning
the war, and people’s attitudes were increasingly in favor of women having the right to
vote. Women then gained the right to vote in Canada, the United States, and Great Britain.
Gradually, other democracies around the world also recognized women’s right to vote.
Today, it seems difficult to believe that women were not allowed to vote only a few
generations ago. But there is still progress to be made. In most countries, women are
under-represented among political leaders. Perhaps the day will soon come when women
are elected as often as men.
— — — Article #49 Charles Dickens
Charles Dickens is considered one of the greatest writers in the history of English
literature. Dickens wrote his many novels during the nineteenth century, but those novels
remain popular even today. Literary experts admire his genius at describing the lives and
personalities of the many characters in his books.
Charles Dickens was born in England in 1812. His father was a clerk who worked for the
Navy. Unfortunately, his father was not good at managing money, and the family soon
went deeply into debt. In those days, people who owed money were sent to prison, and
their families were sent to places called “workhouses.” When Charles’s father was
unable to pay the debts, Charles was sent to a workhouse, where he had to work long
hours, and Charles’s father was sent to prison. After a few years, the family regained its
freedom, but the experience had a lasting effect upon Charles.
As a young man, Charles Dickens worked as a journalist in the law courts and in
Parliament. But he soon began writing stories for newspapers. These stories were very
popular with the readers. Soon, Dickens began writing entire novels for the newspapers.
Each month, the newspaper would publish another chapter of Dickens’s latest novel.
One of Dickens’s most famous early novels is called Oliver Twist. This is the story of a
young man who is poor and alone in the city of London, and becomes involved in
criminal activities to support himself. The characters in this novel have a very wide range
of personalities, but seem very real to the reader. This book exposed the conditions that
faced the poor people of London, and helped to encourage reforms aimed at improving
Perhaps Dickens’s most popular novel is A Christmas Carol. In this story, a rich but
stingy old man, Ebenezer Scrooge, refuses to give his employee a day off work at
Christmas, and refuses to donate money to help the poor. But, while sleeping, Scrooge is
visited by ghosts from his past, present and future. These ghosts show Scrooge how
badly he has behaved. When Scrooge wakes up, he becomes a kind and generous man
who fully appreciates the spirit of the Christmas holiday.
Another famous novel of Dickens is A Tale of Two Cities. This is a story of the violence
and upheaval during the French Revolution. The story is famous for the heroic act of
sacrifice that is made by one character for the benefit of the others.
Dickens was famous as a public speaker, and large crowds assembled to hear his
performances. When he died in 1870, he was a very famous man.
The novels of Charles Dickens allow the reader to experience the life of nineteenth
century London, showing the poverty and injustice that were so common. The characters
of these novels show the range of human behaviour, from cruelty and selfishness to
kindness and love. It is no surprise that Dickens is viewed as one of the great figures of
Article #50 Samuel Clemens, or Mark Twain
Mark Twain was the author of some of the greatest works of American English literature,
such as Tom Sawyer, Life on the Mississippi, and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
Mark Twain’s real name was Samuel Langhorne Clemens. He used Mark Twain as his
Samuel Clemens was born in the American state of Missouri in 1835. As a child he
enjoyed many outdoor activities, such as swimming and fishing. When Samuel was
eleven years old, his father died, and he began working to help support his family.
As a young man, Samuel Clemens began to write stories for newspapers. However, he
took a job working as a navigator on the steamboats that travelled up and down the
Mississippi River. Clemens greatly enjoyed this period of his life, during which time he
gained much knowledge about life on the river. He also learned much about human
behaviour by observing the many people on the boats and along the river. It was as a
result of this time that Clemens began using his pen name, Mark Twain. This name is
taken from a term that was used by the men who worked on the river. It is used to
describe water that is just deep enough to be navigated safely.
The earliest of Mark Twain’s really famous novels was The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.
This novel describes a boy who engages in much mischief, but who has a kind heart. The
story contains several scenes that are quite funny. In one of these, Tom is working at the
boring task of painting a fence. He persuades several other boys to help him, by
pretending that painting the fence is a fun and enjoyable activity.
Another famous novel by Mark Twain was Life on the Mississippi. This book describes
many interesting characters similar to those that Twain actually observed while working
on a steamboat. This story gives the reader a vivid image of the people who lived and
worked along the Mississippi River.
Probably the best novel by Mark Twain was The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. This
novel tells the story of a boy who runs away from his violent father. The boy, whose
name is Huckleberry Finn, is joined in his escape by a man named Jim. Jim is a slave
who has decided to run away from his owners. Huck and Jim travel north along the
Mississippi, hoping to reach the areas where slavery is not allowed. In this story, the
reader can experience the moral sense of Huckleberry, who must make several important
decisions during the escape.
Mark Twain died in 1910, after writing many more novels and many stories of his travels
around the world. Twain’s works are still widely read today. His books are appreciated for
their humor, for their interesting descriptions of life in nineteenth century America, and
for showing both the good and evil that people can do. Many critics consider Twain to
have been the greatest American writer.
Article #51 The Islands of the Caribbean
The Caribbean Sea is the large body of water that lies north of the northern tip of South
America. Within the Caribbean sea are many islands that have played an important role
in the history and culture of the Western hemisphere.
By far the largest island in the Caribbean is Cuba. Cuba was formerly a colony of Spain,
but became independent in 1902. Cuba became a Communist country in 1959, when a
revolution overthrew an unpopular government. After the revolution, many Cubans fled
to the United States. Today, the American city of Miami, in the state of Florida, has been
greatly influenced by Cuban culture. Tobacco is widely grown in Cuba, and the country is
famous for the cigars that are produced in the capital city, Havana.
The island of Hispaniola is located just east of Cuba. This island is divided into two
countries. In the west is Haiti, where the people speak a variety of the French language
that has been influenced by African languages. In the east is the Dominican Republic,
where the people speak Spanish.
Another important Caribbean island is Puerto Rico. This was previously a Spanish colony,
but it is now governed by the United States. Many people from Puerto Rico have moved
to the mainland United States, especially the New York area.
In many other islands in the Caribbean, English is the main language. The largest of
these islands is Jamaica, which is located just south of Cuba. Most Jamaicans are the
descendants of African people who were brought to work as slaves on sugar plantations.
Jamaica is famous as the birthplace of the style of music called “reggae,” which was
popularized in other countries by Bob Marley, a famous Jamaican musician.
Another important English-speaking Caribbean island is Trinidad. This island is located
just north of South America. The population of Trinidad is very diverse. The largest
groups of people are descended from people who came from Africa and India, but there
are many other nationalities also. Trinidad is famous for a style of music known as
“calypso,” and for musicians who produce pleasant sounds by playing steel drums.
There are also many other, smaller islands in the Caribbean, each with its own unique
features. Many of these islands possess fine beaches, and are popular tourist
destinations. The warm weather of the Caribbean makes it a popular place for North
Americans who must live through cold winters!
— — — Article #52 North American Indians
The first people who lived in North America were the Indians. The name “Indians” is
actually not very accurate, because the people are not from India. But when the first
Europeans came to North America, they mistakenly believed that they had reached India,
so they referred to the people as Indians. In different parts of North America, the Indians
had very different cultures and very different ways of making a living.
On the west coast of North America, many large rivers flow into the Pacific Ocean. In
these rivers is an abundance of fish, such as salmon. The Indians in these areas
obtained much of their food by fishing. They lived in settled villages, and became experts
in carving wood from the tall trees of the area. They carved large canoes for traveling on
the rivers and oceans, and they also carved tall “totem poles.” Totem poles were
carvings of various animal or human figures, and often the poles had a mythical or
spiritual significance for the people who carved them. Many beautiful totem poles can be
seen in cities such as Vancouver or Victoria, in the Canadian state of British Columbia; or
Seattle, in the American state of Washington.
The Plains Indians lived in the central prairie of North America. The various nations of
the Plains lived by hunting large animals called buffalo, or bison. Horses were brought to
North America in the sixteenth century by the Spanish. The Indians who lived in the
prairie areas had learned to become experts at riding horses, and on horseback they
could hunt the giant herds of bison. They followed the buffalo from place to place. The
Plains Indians lived in portable houses called “teepees,” which were made by sewing
together buffalo skins, and holding them in place with wooden poles.
In the southwestern United States, some Indians lived by farming. In this dry area, the
Indians raised several crops, such as corn, beans, and squash. Many of the Indians in
these areas lived in large settlements, where the houses were made from stone or dried
mud. The people were experts at weaving, and they made clothing and blankets that had
beautiful artistic designs.
Near the eastern coast of North America, many Indians lived by a combination of farming
and hunting. These people lived in fortified villages, some of which were inhabited for
many years at a time. In some places, they built large earthworks that can still be seen
In the forests of northern Canada, the Indians lived primarily by hunting, fishing, and
gathering. Like the Indians of the prairie regions, they often moved from place to place in
search of game animals to hunt.
Today, the Indians of North America no longer live in their traditional ways. However,
several Indian languages are still spoken by many thousands of people. Also, many
Indians in the United States and Canada are very interested in maintaining the cultural
traditions of their ancestors.
— — — Article #53 How the First World War Started
During the summer of 1914, many people in Europe felt very optimistic about the future.
Modern technology was improving people’s lives. Political freedom was gradually
increasing in many countries. New artistic styles and scientific discoveries were being
made. But later that summer, a terrible war began.
In the early twentieth century, the various countries of Europe competed with each other
in an attempt to be the most powerful country on the continent. In each country, many of
the political leaders wanted to control more land, more people, and more resources.
The First World War began when the archduke of Austria-Hungary was assassinated.
Austria-Hungary wanted to punish the assassin, who was from the small country of
Serbia. This led to a serious dispute, and soon other countries were involved. Within a
few weeks, a war had begun. On one side were Germany and Austria-Hungary, and on the
other side were Russia, France, and Britain.
The people in these countries at first welcomed the news of a war. Many people were
intensely patriotic, and supported the war effort without thinking carefully about the
reasons for the war. Some people thought that war would bring adventure and glory to
their lives, and they cheered enthusiastically in the streets.
After the war started, it soon became clear that it was a terrible disaster. In the western
part of Europe, the opposing sides fought many bloody battles. Soldiers on both sides
lived in filthy trenches that had been dug out of the ground. Sometimes, hundreds of
thousands of men were killed in battles that lasted only a few days. In most cases, these
battles did not result in large gains or losses of territory.
The war continued for more than four years. When the war was finally over, millions of
people had been killed. Many people realized that their eagerness to fight against other
countries had led them into a great disaster. This disaster did not end when the war
ended in 1918. During the next thirty years, there would be many violent revolutions in
Europe, and a second major war that would be even worse than the first.
Today, people in most European countries no longer view other nations as enemies.
They have no interest in fighting wars with their neighbours. Instead, they are interested
in trading with the other countries, and in visiting those countries as tourists. The
lessons of the twentieth century have reminded people that wars can have terrible
Article #54 Abraham Lincoln
When historians are asked to choose the greatest Presidents in the history of the United
States, one of the names most frequently mentioned is Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln was
President during the greatest ordeal that ever faced the United States-the Civil War.
Abraham Lincoln was born in 1809 in the state of Kentucky, but when he was a child, the
family moved to the state of Indiana. Abraham’s parents, Thomas and Nancy Lincoln,
were farmers who were very poor, and they received only a few years of education. When
Abraham was only nine years old, his mother became ill and died. About one year later,
Abraham’s father remarried.
As a young man, Abraham continued to work on the family farm, and he also worked as a
laborer. During this time, the Lincolns moved to the state of Illinois. Abraham became
known to the local people as an excellent athlete and story-teller. He educated himself by
reading many books, most of which he borrowed from neighbours.
Lincoln was interested in politics, and when he was in his mid-20s, he was elected to the
Illinois state legislature. During this time, Lincoln also studied law, and soon became
known as an excellent lawyer. People called Lincoln “Honest Abe” because of his
personal integrity. In 1842, Lincoln married a woman named Mary Todd.
During the 1850s, Lincoln became strongly opposed the expansion of slavery into the
western parts of the United States. Lincoln held several famous debates against a
supporter of slavery named Stephen Douglas.
In 1860, Lincoln was a candidate in the election for President of the United States. During
this election, the issue of slavery and its expansion was very prominent. Lincoln won, but
soon after, several of the southern states decided to secede from the United States, and
form their own country. A few months later, fighting started between those southern
states and the federal government, which was supported by the northern states.
Lincoln managed the Civil War with skill and determination. Gradually the North began to
win the war. In 1863, Lincoln made the “Emancipation Proclamation,” which freed the
slaves. Later that year, Lincoln gave his most famous speech, the Gettysburg Address.
The Civil War had brought terrible suffering to many Americans, and people were very
bitter after the war. But Lincoln wanted the country to become united again, and he urged
people to forgive. However, in April of 1865, only months after the war ended, Lincoln
was shot and killed by an assassin. Many people, even Lincoln’s critics, mourned his
In the generations that have passed since Lincoln’s death, he has continued to be viewed
as a great President. Some historians have criticized Lincoln for not being more strongly
opposed to slavery, but others have defended him, saying that Lincoln’s approach to the
issue was realistic and humane. But nearly all historians agree that Lincoln was an
honest and brave leader during the most difficult period in American history.
Article #55 Two Great Musicians : Mozart and Beethoven
Much of the music of eighteenth and nineteenth century Europe is still enjoyed by many
people. Two of the greatest musicians of that time were born only thirty-four years apart,
and actually knew each other for a short time. These great musicians were Mozart and
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born in Austria in the year 1756. As a child, Mozart was a
musical prodigy. He began composing music before his fifth birthday, and by the time he
reached his teenage years, Mozart had already written many symphonies and other
As a young man, Mozart worked as a “concert-master” for the Archbishop of Salzburg, in
Austria. He also travelled to various European cities. When he was in his mid-twenties,
Mozart moved to the city of Vienna. Mozart had difficulty earning a living, but during this
time he wrote some excellent operas and string quartets. Many people did not yet
appreciate the greatness of Mozart’s music.
In his early thirties, Mozart became the court musician for the Emperor of Austria, and
during the next few years Mozart continued to write many beautiful works of music.
Mozart died in 1791, but although his life was short, his productivity had been enormous.
The beauty, grace, and technical precision of his music is still greatly admired, and he is
considered one of the greatest musicians of all time.
When Mozart was in Vienna, he met a young musician named Ludwig van Beethoven.
Beethoven performed some music for Mozart, who was greatly impressed by the talent of
this young man. Beethoven had been born in Germany in 1770, and from an early age he
had displayed a great aptitude for music.
Beethoven moved permanently to Vienna in 1792. He studied music under some famous
composers, and became known for his outstanding skill in playing the piano. Beethoven
began to compose more of his own music, and these works became very popular. When
in his late twenties, Beethoven began to lose his hearing. He continued to compose
excellent music, but he became more withdrawn, and performed less frequently.
By the year 1817, Beethoven had become completely deaf, and he could no longer
perform music. However, his creative genius did not deteriorate. Instead, Beethoven
created many of his greatest works despite his deafness. It was Beethoven’s influence
that began the “Romantic” era of music, which followed the “classical” era of the
nineteenth century. Beethoven died in 1827, but his music remains famous for its beauty
and originality. His greatest symphonies, such as the Fifth Symphony, are among the
world’s best-known works of music.
Today, the works of Mozart and Beethoven are still popular among those who appreciate
great music. Music fans can look back with wonder at the musical creativity that
flourished in Vienna more than two centuries ago.
Article #56 Amelia Earhart
Amelia Earhart was one of the most famous airplane pilots of all time. She is famous for
the impressive travels that she made in her airplane, for the mystery surrounding her
death, and for showing that women could perform great feats of aviation.
Amelia Earhart was born in the American state of Kansas, in the year 1897. After
graduating from high school, Earhart studied to become a nurse. She worked as a
military nurse in Canada during World War One, treating injured soldiers. After the war,
she returned to the United States, and became a social worker. But in 1920 she saw
airplanes in a stunt-flying exhibition, and early the next year she took her first ride in an
airplane. It was then that Amelia Earhart decided to become a pilot.
Within a few months, Earhart saved her money and bought a small airplane. She flew
frequently, and improved her skills as a pilot. In 1928, she joined two men in a flight
across the Atlantic Ocean.
But Amelia Earhart’s greatest exploits were still to come. In May 1932, she attempted to
become the first woman to fly “solo,” or alone, across the Atlantic Ocean. She flew east
from the island of Newfoundland, and faced cold weather, high winds, and dense fog. But
she successfully crossed the ocean, and landed her airplane in a farmer’s field in Ireland.
When news of her flight reached the United States, Amelia Earhart had become very
Later flights by Amelia Earhart were equally impressive. She became the first person to
fly from Hawaii to California, across 4000 kilometres of the Pacific Ocean. She also
became the first person to fly from Mexico City to the New York City area. But in 1937,
she planned her most ambitious flight: a journey around the world.
On June 1st, 1937, Amelia Earhart took off from Miami, Florida. She was accompanied by
her navigator, Fred Noonan. They flew east, making stops along the way. Within one
month, they had flown across three-quarters of the globe, reaching the Pacific island of
New Guinea. On July 2nd, Earhart and Noonan took off from New Guinea, flying toward
Howland Island. This very small island was over 4000 kilometres from New Guinea, and
was very difficult to find in the middle of the vast ocean.
During this flight, Earhart and Noonan were in radio contact with some ships from the
U.S. Navy. However, bad weather made it impossible to see the stars at night, so
navigation was very difficult, and the plane became lost. Earhart and Noonan never
arrived at Howland Island. The U.S. Navy undertook a massive search, but they never
found the lost airplane. Earhart and Noonan had been lost at sea.
Amelia Earhart’s death was a great tragedy, but she had lived an exciting life that was full
of achievements. She had helped to show that very long flights could be made, and that
women could perform feats of flying that were equal to those of men. Even today, many
people are inspired by the courage and endurance of Amelia Earhart.
Article #57 Life in Academia
A person like me, who teaches and conducts research at an academic institution, is
called “academic.” The academic institution may be a form of a university, a college or
another post-secondary institution. I have been working in universities for almost eleven
years. While enjoying my life in academia, we “academics” also have a lot of stress and
often go through a large amount of stress and frustration.
Firstly, we have pressure from the university we are working at to become effective
teachers. As the environment (in terms of the society and the marketplace) has become
more dynamic and competitive, we, as teachers, must provide students with necessary
skills and knowledge so they can become successful in their society. It requires a lot of
preparation, updating of material, self-learning, and continuous improvement in teaching.
For these reasons, teaching and learning should complement each other.
Secondly, we have pressure from both our university and our academic peers to become
active and effective researchers. What we teach to our students in class is no doubt
closely related to what we have learned or discovered from our research activities.
Thirdly, we have pressure from the university and the community to become good
corporate citizens through active participation in various university committees and/or
the community at large. A university and the community it belongs to must work closely
together to identify common interests and to conduct projects that could benefit both
Even with a high degree of the aforementioned pressures, I love my job as a teacher,
scholar, and citizen. There is a high level of freedom and flexibility. Academia is a place
to meet new people, to create new ideas, and for everyone in that community to learn. It
is a place where both teaching and learning always take place.
— — — Article #58 Education Systems in Canada
In Canada each province is responsible for its own education systems. In general, there
are three levels of education systems in Canada: (i) Kindergarten to Grade 8; (ii) Grade 9
to Grade 12; and (iii) Post-Secondary education. Kindergarten may further be divided into
Junior and Senior Kindergarten for four and five years old children, respectively.
Grade 9 to 12 students are enrolled in a secondary school system, which is similar to a
high school system in the U.S.A. Some cities and towns may have a junior high school
system, which accommodates children from Grade 7 to Grade 9. In the Province of
Ontario there is Grade 13, which is a required step for all students who want to attend a
degree-granting university. This feature has been unique for Ontario, but the Province
has decided to abolish it in order to be consistent with other provinces’ secondary
education systems. By Year 2003, when Grade 13 is completely abandoned, the number
of students entering a university or college is expected to be almost double (called
Post-secondary education system in Canada includes universities, community colleges,
university colleges, and other private institutions providing post-secondary education,
such as skill training and continuing education. A university is a standing-alone, degree-
granting institution that offers certificates, diplomas, and Bachelor/Master/Ph.D. degrees.
There are about 50 universities throughout the country, most of which are publicly
funded institutions. Some of the most recognized universities include the University of
Toronto, McGill University, the University of British Columbia, and Queen’s University.
A community college offers a variety of programs for students who want to learn
technical skills, skills that they can apply to the real world quickly. These programs are
usually one or two years in length emphasizing hand-on experience in classroom setting.
It grants certificates and diplomas and offers a variety of training courses for people who
want to upgrade themselves with the current markets and new technologies.
A university college, as the name implies, is somewhat in between a community college
and a university. This type of institution is common in British Columbia, the most
western province in Canada. It grants certificates and diplomas by itself. However, it is
not able to grant university degrees alone, although it often offers all the courses
required for a university degree. The curriculum for a degree program is usually
designed in conjunction with a university, which actually grants degrees to the university
Article #59 Business Education
What is business? A business includes all the activities involved to create and sell a
product or service. The most important functional areas of business include: accounting,
finance, marketing, production/operations, and human resources management.
Accounting is a field of business that records and reports the flow of funds through a
firm on a historical basis and produces important financial statements such as balance
sheets and income statements. It also produces forecasts of future conditions such as
projected financial statements and financial budgets, and evaluates the firm’s financial
performance against the forecasts.
The finance area of business supports a firm in decisions concerning the financing of the
firm’s business and the allocation and control of financial resources within the firm.
Major activities of finance include cash and investment management, capital budgeting,
financial forecasting, and financial planning. The cash and investment management
activities forecast and manage the firm’s cash position and short-term and other
securities. The capital budgeting activity involves evaluating the profitability and risk of
proposed capital expenditures. The financial planning process evaluates the present and
projected financial performance of the firm and projects the firm’s future financial needs.
The marketing function of business is concerned with the planning, promotion, sale, and
distribution of existing products or services in existing markets, and the development of
new products and new markets in order to better serve existing and potential customers
with quality products and services. It is also responsible for customer relationship
management, product planning, pricing, advertising, after-sale service, and market
research and forecasting.
The production/operations function focuses on the management of all activities
concerned with the planning and control of the processes producing goods or services.
These activities include purchasing of raw material and parts, product design, inventory,
manufacturing processes, facilities location and layout, quality control, and such other
logistics as distribution and transportation.
The human resource management function involves the recruitment, placement,
evaluation, compensation, and development of a firm’s employees. With the main goal of
the effective and efficient use of a firm’s human capital, the human resources
management function supports planning to meet the personnel needs of the business,
development of employees to their full potential, and control of all personnel policies and
While each of the aforementioned functional areas within a firm used to operate
somewhat independently with its own objectives and resources, information and other
computer technologies have integrated all business functions within the firm and created
something called “an Internet worked e-business enterprise.”
Article #60 Strategic Uses of Information Technology
What is information technology? How can information technology be used in an
organization to improve its efficiency? How much investment should an organization
make in information technology? What are the business benefits and opportunities an
organization may achieve from using information technology? These are some of the
most important questions many organizations ask themselves before investing their
capitals in information technology.
In an academic term, information technology is defined as hardware, software,
telecommunications, database management, and other information processing
technologies used in computer-based information systems. There are many ways that
organizations may view and use information technology. However, in today’s competitive
business environment technology is no longer an afterthought in forming business
strategy, but it is the actual cause and driver. In other words, for a firm to maintain or
improve its business competitiveness it must use information technology to achieve
Information technology can help a company substantially reduce the cost of business
processes and lower the costs of customers or suppliers.
Information technology can help a company differentiate its products and services from
Using information technology, a firm can create new products and services or make
radical changes to business processes.
A firm can use information technology to manage regional and global business
expansion or to diversify and integrate into other products and services.
A firm can use information technology to create virtual organizations of business
partners or to develop alliances with customers, suppliers, and other business partners.
Information technology can dramatically improve the efficiency of business processes
and the quality of products and services.
Using information technology, a firm can build a strategic information base of all the
Some experts argue that use of information technology has become a strategic necessity
rather than a strategic advantage, because most competitive advantages don’t last more
than a few years. Whether the statement is true or not, most companies may not want to
wait too long before investing in information technology because it would be tough to
catch up later once you get behind your competitors, especially when everyone is
playing with newer, better technology.
Article #61 E-Commerce
Electronic commerce (or simply e-commerce) is more than just buying and selling
products or services online. It encompasses the entire online process of developing,
marketing, selling, delivering, servicing, and paying for products and services. E-
commerce systems rely on the resources of the Internet and other computer networks to
support every step of the process. Through an e-commerce system, customers can order
and make payment for the products or services they purchase online and receive support
at the company’s websites through the Internet. It also allows customers and suppliers to
participate in product development via Internet newsgroups and E-mail exchanges. There
are three basic types of e-commerce applications: business-to-business (B2B), business-
to-consumer (B2C), and consumer-to-consumer (C2C).
Business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce is the online automation of purchase and sale
transactions from business to business. Many companies use secure Internet or
extranets for their business customers and suppliers to access to their websites while
some may rely on electronic data interchange (EDI) systems. Cisco Systems, a leading
manufacturer of computer networking equipment, makes about 40 percent of its sales
online. These activities include order taking, credit check, production scheduling and
technical support to their customers. General Electric and the United Parcel Service
(UPS) are a few of many other firms that offer B2B e-commerce sites.
Business-to-consumer (B2C) e-commerce creates electronic marketplaces where
businesses promote and sell products and services directly to consumers. In this form of
electronic commerce, which has grown into a multibillion dollar market, businesses can
bypass intermediaries such as distributors or retail outlets. Companies like Amazon.com
and Dell Corporation offer e-commerce websites that provide virtual storefronts and
multimedia catalogs, interactive order processing, secure electronic payment systems,
and online customer support.
Consumer-to-consumer (C2C) e-commerce is an important alternative for business-to-
business or business-to-consumer e-commerce. In this form of e-commerce, consumers
can buy and sell products and services with each other in an auction process at an
auction website. Through an online auction site like e-Bay, one of the most successful
C2C e-commerce models, consumers or businesses can participate in or sponsor
consumer or business auctions. Other forms of consumer-to-consumer e-commerce
include personal advertising of products or services by consumers at electronic
newspaper sites, consumer e-commerce portals, or personal websites.
— — — Article #62 The First Five Years of My Life in Canada
I left Korea 25 years ago for Toronto, Ontario, Canada. I was 17 years old at that time.
Now everyone knows how old I am. As any immigrant who left his or her own country for
a new place looking for a better life, I believe the first five years of my living in Canada
were the most challenging ones.
It did not take long time for me to realize that I would have to face one of the biggest
challenges in my life: the language problem. Although I had learned English in high
schools for almost for five years before coming to Canada, I did not find it useful in day-
to-day living at this new place. My frustrations, stemming from lack of my English
conversation skills, included ordering food at a fast-food restaurant, phone conversation,
and conversations with neighbors.
The most frustrating moment was my inability to explain to other people when I was
accused of something I did not do. Knowing that I was not able to defend myself properly
due to lack of conversation skills, a few people often took advantage of me for their own
However, throughout the years I met a lot of good people who gave me strength and
encouragement. Among those people in my heart I still remember Mrs. Overholts. Mrs.
Overholts was working in the Counsellor’s Office at the high school I attended for two
years, and she gave me a lot of valued advice and directions in regards to my academic
life, as well as my personal one.
My dear friends in my high school also helped me not only to survive in the new country
but also taught me the new cultures and systems. Some of them went to the same
university as I did, while others went to different institutions. I am still in contact with
many of them, but wherever they are I believe they are making a positive contribution to
I owe the most to my father; my mother, who passed away seven years ago; and my
brothers. We were neither rich nor poor, but we stuck together all the time. My parents
taught me love, care, and kindness through their actions, not just their words. It was
from my family that I got strength when I was weak. It was my family who listened to me
when I needed to talk. It was my family who really was happy for me when I told them
The first five years of my life in Canada surely was one of the most difficult times in my
life. I believe, however, that it was also an important time period in my life for me to
become a more mature and independent human being. I thank all of those who played a
role in some way to help me out during the transition period of my life.
Article #63 Great Lakes
The Great Lakes are a group of five large freshwater lakes in North America that are
interconnected by natural and artificial channels. They are (from east to west): Lake
Ontario, Lake Erie, Lake Huron, Lake Michigan, and Lake Superior. Most of them, except
Lake Michigan, which lies entirely within the United States, form part of the border
between the United States and Canada.
The Great Lakes are bordered by the Canadian province of Ontario and by eight U.S.
states including (from west to east) Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio,
Michigan, Pennsylvania, and New York. Large cities like Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, and
Toronto lie on the shores of the Great Lakes system. The Great Lakes system, with a
combined surface area of 244,100 sq km, holds about 20 percent of the world’s fresh
Lake elevations decrease to the east and south. Lake Superior, the largest lake at 82,100
sq km, is also the largest freshwater lake in the world. Its outlet is the Saint Mary’s River,
which enters Lake Huron after falling about 7 metres over a series of rapids. Lake Huron
and Lake Michigan lie at the same elevation. Water flows from Lake Michigan to Lake
Huron. Lake Michigan is deeper than Lake Huron, but the latter is larger in area, at 59,600
Lake Huron drains into the Saint Clair River, which falls about 3 metres between Lake
Huron and the small, shallow basin of Lake Saint Clair. Lake Saint Clair is connected to
Lake Erie by the Detroit River. At its northeast end, Lake Erie empties into the Niagara
River, which drops 99 metres as it flows north to Lake Ontario, which is the smallest of
the Great Lakes at 19,010 sq km. Lake Ontario is linked with the Atlantic Ocean via the St.
The Great Lakes, interconnected by rivers, straits, and canals, are a natural resource of
tremendous significance in North America; they serve as the focus of the industrial
heartland of the continent and together form one of the world’s busiest shipping arteries.
The lakes also form an important recreational resource with about 17,000 km of shoreline,
rich sport fisheries, and numerous beaches and marinas.
Article #64 Canadian Rocky Mountains
Some of the best-known mountain scenery on Earth is concentrated in a set of seven
parks in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. There are four national parks in the Canadian
Rockies – Banff, Jasper, Yoho and Kootenay, and three British Columbia provincial parks
- Mount Robson, Mount Assiniboine and Hamber. The seven preserves located along the
Alberta-British Columbia border attract more than nine million people annually.
Banff National Park became Canada’s first national park in 1885, and the birthplace of
Canada’s national park system. It is home to a variety of distinctive natural features and
cultural and historical sites. Rugged mountains, glaciers, icefields, alpine meadows,
beautiful blue cold-water lakes, mineral hot springs, deep canyons and hoodoos
compose the natural landscape and habitat for a great variety of mammals such as elk,
bighorn sheep, black and grizzly bear, and caribou.
Jasper National Park is the largest and most northerly of the Canadian Rocky Mountain
Parks. The park is less commercialized than Banff, so it can still keep many natural
beauties and scenery. Its scenery includes deeply gouged Maligne Canyon, picturesque
Maligne Lake, the thunder of Sunwapta Falls, the serene beauty of glacier-covered Mount
Edith Cavell, and Miette Hot Springs.
As one of 39 national parks in Canada, Kootenay National Park represents the south-
western slopes of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. From glacier-clad peaks to semi-arid
grasslands, where even cactus grows, Kootenay is rich in variety and is one of the
largest protected areas in the world.
Yoho National Park, representing the western slopes of the Rocky Mountains region,
holds the secrets of ancient ocean life, the power of ice and water, and unique plant and
animal communities that continue to evolve today. Awe and wonder is a natural response
for this place of rock walls, spectacular waterfalls and soaring peaks. The Burgess Shale
contains one of the world’s most significant finds of soft-bodied, Middle Cambrian-age
marine fossils, with about 150 species, including some bearing no resemblance to known
These four Canadian National Parks account for 14,300 square miles. The four National
Parks along with the three British Columbia provincial parks form the UNESCO Rocky
Mountain Parks World Heritage Site-one of the largest protected areas in the world.
Article #65 For the Record
What is the world’s tallest mountain and highest elevation? Of course, Mt. Everest, on the
border of Nepal and Tibet, China, is the world’s tallest mountain and highest elevation
with a peak at 29,035 feet (or 8850 m). The National Geographic Society revised the
height of Mt. Everest in 1999 from 29,028 feet (or 8848 m) due to new GPS calculations.
What is the world’s tallest mountain from base to peak? Mauna Kea in Hawaii is the one.
Its base is on the sea floor, and it rises 33,480 feet (or 10,314 meters) in total, reaching
13,796 feet (or 4205 m) above sea level.
In reference to its towering height of 20,320 feet above sea level, Mt. McKinley in Alaska
is the tallest mountain in North America. It has been named “The Roof of North America”
or “The Chimney of North America.”
Located about 55 kilometers drive from Amman, Jordan the Dead Sea in the Middle East
region is the lowest point on Earth. The sunset touching distant hills with ribbons of fire
across the waters of the Dead Sea brings a sense of unreality to culminate a day’s visit to
the lowest point on earth, some 1,320 feet (or 400 meters) below sea level. En route a
stone marker indicates “Sea Level,” but the Dead Sea itself is not reached before
descending another 400 meters below this sign. As the name suggests, the sea is devoid
of life due to an extremely high content of salts and minerals. But it is these natural
elements which give the waters their curative powers, recognized since the days of
Herod the Great, more than 2,000 years ago. They also provide the raw materials for the
renowned Jordanian Dead Sea Bath Salts and cosmetic products which are marketed
Badwater basin, the floor of Death Valley National Park in California, is the lowest point in
the western hemisphere with 282 feet (or 85 meters) below sea level. Death Valley
National Park, established in 1933, has more than 3.3 million acres of spectacular desert
scenery, interesting and rare desert wildlife, complex geology, undisturbed wilderness,
and sites of historical and cultural interest.
Article #66 Canadian Universities
There are about fifty standing-alone, 4-year degree-granting universities in Canada.
Unlike the higher education system in the United States, most of the universities in
Canada are publicly funded institutions although there are a few private institutions.
These public universities are funded and regulated by the province to which they belong.
In British Colombia there are four publicly funded universities: University of British
Columbia, Simon Fraser University, University of Victoria, and University of Northern
British Columbia; and one private university: Trinity Western University.
In Alberta the three publicly funded universities are University of Alberta, University of
Calgary, and University of Lethbridge.
In Saskatchewan the two publicly funded universities are University of Saskatchewan
and University of Regina.
Moving into Manitoba, there are three publicly funded universities in the province. They
are University of Manitoba, University of Winnipeg, and Brandon University.
Ontario is not only the most populated province in Canada but also has the largest
number of universities. It has 17 publicly funded universities. They are (from west to east
and south to north): University of Windsor, University of Western Ontario, University of
Guelph, University of Waterloo, Wilfred Laurier University, McMaster University, Brock
University, York University, University of Toronto, Ryerson University, Trent University,
Queen’s University, University of Ottawa, Carleton University, Laurentian University,
Nipissing University, and Lakehead University.
The Province of Quebec has seven publicly funded universities with many of them
having several branch campuses throughout the province. They are University of
Montreal, University of Quebec, Laval University, Concordia University, McGill University,
University of Sherbrooke, and Bishop’s University. While French is the official language
of instruction at most of these institutions, English is the official one at both Concordia
University and McGill University.
Canada’s Atlantic Provinces have the rest of the fifty universities in Canada. They are
University of New Brunswick and University of Moncton in the Province of New
Brunswick; Acadia University, Dalhousie University, Mount Allison University, Mount
Saint Vincent University, Saint Mary’s University, and Nova Scotia Agricultural College in
the Province of Nova Scotia; University of Prince Edward Island in the Province of Prince
Edward Island; and University of Newfoundland in the Province of Newfoundland and
Article #67 Banff National Park
Banff National Park is Canada’s oldest and most famous national park. It was founded in
1885 after the discovery of the Cave and Basin Hot Springs. From humble beginnings as
a 26 square kilometre hot springs reserve, Banff National Park now consists of 6,641
square kilometres of unparalleled mountain scenery nestled in the heart of the
magnificent Canadian Rockies. Each year, millions of visitors come to Banff to marvel at
the emerald waters of Lake Louise, walk amongst the flower-filled heavens at Sunshine
Meadows, and drive beneath the towering jagged peaks lining the Ice fields Parkway
between Banff and Jasper.
Ten thousand years ago, natives camped on the shores of the Vermilion Lakes beneath
the windswept peak of Mount Rundle. They were the only people here to enjoy the
mountain landscape, the beautiful sunrises and the hot springs. Nearly ten millennia later,
a struggling nation forged a crazy dream of connecting itself from sea to sea with steel
rails, and from this railway venture was born Canada’s most famous park, Banff National
Banff National Park contains some of the most spectacular mountain scenery in the
world. Snow-capped peaks, glistening glaciers, ice fields, alpine meadows, blue cold
crystal clear lakes, raging rivers, mineral hot springs, deep canyons, hoodoos and
sweeping vistas are just one part of the allure of Banff National Park. The park is also the
home of some of North America’s wildest creatures, including black and grizzly bears,
caribou and wolves.
Banff and Lake Louis are two major towns in Banff National Park. As the largest town in
the park, Banff is “Canada’s Highest Town” at 1384 m (4540 ft) above sea level. Lake
Louise, with its blue-green water set against the stark backdrop of Victoria Glacier, is the
highest permanent settlement in Canada at 1,536m (5,039 feet) above the sea level and
probably the most beloved and most photographed scene in the Canadian Rockies.
In Banff National Park, driving through the Bow Valley Parkway, one of the world’s most
scenic highways, is a good opportunity to see animals, particularly deer, bears and
moose. Banff National Park is part of the UNESCO Rocky Mountain Parks World Heritage
Article #68 Sport Canada
Sport Canada is the name of Canada’s federal government program to help support
athletes. The purpose of Sport Canada is to develop and encourage sport, health, and
exercise programs for all Canadians. However, Sport Canada’s main emphasis is on
high-performance athletes training for major international athletic competitions, such as
the Olympic Games.
Sport Canada was created in the 1970s as a response to the perceived need to help
athletes train and compete in international sport. Before the 1970s, athletes wishing to
train and compete in sport had to support themselves financially. Athletes were either
independently wealthy, or were supported by family or friends. Unfortunately, many high-
caliber athletes without such financial support simply could not afford to train and
compete in international competition.
Also, before the early 1970s almost all international sports events were amateur. Amateur
rules meant those receiving funds from government programs or corporations were
breaking the rules of sport. Athletes receiving money were disqualified from competition.
As a result, the amateur rules generally limited training and competition to those athletes
who came from wealthier families. Less fortunate athletes, many of whom likely would
have performed well for Canada in international competitions, simply could not afford to
Sport Canada has been a role model for many government-run sport programs around
the world. With its central administrative offices in Canada’s capital of Ottawa, Sport
Canada efficiently provides administrative, coaching, and financial help for athletes
across the country. Athletes can concentrate their efforts full-time on training and
competition. As a result, Canada’s share of the medal totals in the Olympic Games has
risen since the 1970s.
Recently, Sport Canada’s programs have been criticized by some who feel that the
program does not provide enough money for athletes. While it does provide financial
assistance to athletes, the amount paid is well below Canada’s minimum wage. Critics
point out that athletes work full-time and perform an important function for the Canadian
government and people. As a result of this criticism, the Canadian government has
provided more money for athletes. However, the amount is still below the minimum wage
level. As a result, the amount paid to athletes is likely to rise in the future.
As long as it effectively manages problems such as funding, Sport Canada will continue
to provide the Canadian public with international-caliber athletes who compete with the
very best in the world.
Article #69 The National Hockey League
The National Hockey League (or NHL) is the largest and most successful North American
professional hockey league. The NHL provides Canadians and Americans with the
highest caliber and most entertaining hockey on the continent.
The NHL was created in 1917 by a group of Canadian and American businessmen. Their
two central goals were to create a league that provided the most entertaining hockey in
North America and generated revenues and profits. This was a somewhat new idea at the
time. While there were some for-profit leagues in existence, most were amateur. This
meant that players, coaches, and owners of teams were not allowed to make money from
playing the game of hockey.
It took several decades for the NHL to become the most dominant league. In the early
days, a few professional or commercial leagues competed with the NHL for the public’s
entertainment dollar. Leagues competed vigorously for the best players in order to be
successful and attract spectators and fans. While this was beneficial to players because
they could command higher salaries, it was bad for business because owners’ expenses
skyrocketed. As a result, many teams and leagues went bankrupt.
By the 1930s, however, the NHL remained as the only major professional league in North
America. This effectively kept players’ salaries down and reduced expenses. The NHL’s
team owners realized that in order for the league to be a successful commercial business,
they would have to stop competing against each other off the ice. This was best
accomplished by ensuring that only one major league existed, so that competition was
reduced. To this day, the same business model is followed, and the NHL is still the only
major professional hockey league in North America.
For several decades in the mid-twentieth century, the NHL owners were extremely
successful financially. They generated very high profits because, having a monopoly on
in the hockey market, they could limit the sale and trade of players. When players signed
on to a team, they generally did so for life, and at the pay rate determined by the owner.
Players were forced to accept these conditions because there were no other leagues in
This all changed in the 1970s when players organized to form a players’ union. Through
the collective bargaining process, players gradually fought owners for higher pay and
greater rights. Today, many players are very wealthy for this reason. If it was not for the
players’ union, it is likely they would still be working in similar conditions to those during
the early days of the NHL: low pay and little freedom to move from team to team.
With NHL owners and players cooperating, the NHL continues to be the most successful
and entertaining hockey league in North America. Teams across Canada and the United
States compete for the prized Stanley Cup, the most sought-after trophy in North
Article #70 Drug Use in Sport
Athletes using drugs to enhance performance has become one of the greatest problems
facing elite international sport. Major sports organizations, such as the International
Olympic Committee, are putting a lot of time, effort, and money into the detection of
drugs. The race between athletes using drugs and detection agencies seems to be just
as fierce as sport competition itself.
Athletes have been using drugs or other stimulants to enhance performance for
centuries. Even athletes in the ancient Olympic Games in Greece used various
stimulants to enhance performance. However, since the 1950s the degree of drug use
has risen to a level never before seen in human athletic history.
Drug testing began in the Olympic Games in the 1960s. One of the first sports to
encounter drug use was cycling. During the 1960 Summer Olympic Games in Rome, Italy,
a cyclist died from amphetamine use. In 1967, another cyclist died in the Tour de France
cycling race. Around the same period, body-builders in the United States were
experimenting with newly developed synthetic steroids that built muscle mass. As a
result, the International Olympic Committee started testing for steroids during the 1976
Olympic Games in Montreal, Canada.
Probably the most famous case of an athlete using drugs was Canadian sprinter Ben
Johnson. After winning the 100-metre sprint in the 1988 Summer Olympic Games in
Seoul, South Korea, Johnson’s drug test was found to be positive. Johnson took a
synthetic steroid to build muscle mass and enhance power. Eventually, Johnson was
stripped of his gold medal.
In the aftermath of Johnson’s positive drug test, the Canadian government conducted a
federal inquiry into drug use in Canadian sport. The government inquiry was the largest
one to have been conducted in any country up to that point in time. The results of the
inquiry found that drug use among Canadian athletes was very common. The inquiry
stated that there were problems beyond just individual athletes, such as Johnson, taking
drugs to enhance performance. Indeed, it was stated that there was a moral crisis
Today, the race between drug detection agencies and athletes who use drugs continues.
In January 2000, the International Olympic Committee created a new agency to detect
drug use: the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). WADA has provided increased
resources for drug detection, especially in Olympic sports. Hopefully, WADA will be able
to keep pace with the current moral crisis in sport.
Article #71 Participation
“ParticipAction” was the name of the Canadian government program designed to
encourage Canadians to get and stay physically fit. Created in 1971 by the federal
government, ParticipAction was successful in encouraging Canadians to be active and to
ParticipAction was created by the Canadian Liberal government of Prime Minister Pierre
Trudeau. Trudeau believed that sport and recreation should play an important role in the
lives of Canadian citizens. His government took two steps towards the accomplishment
of this goal. First, a government agency was created to provide funds for high
performance athletes, such as those training and competing in the Olympic Games. A
second agency was created to encourage participation and physical activity in the
general Canadian population. It was out of this second agency that ParticipAction was
ParticipAction became famous in the 1970s because of a series of television
commercials. In these commercials, a young Canadian in his 20’s was seen being out-
run by a 60-year old Swedish man. The message was that Canadians had become lazy
and inactive. This was probably true of Canadians at the time. Physical fitness was not
highly encouraged in schools, especially for women. Also, the government played little
role in encouraging physical activity before ParticipAction.
The result of ParticipAction was impressive. Canadians became more active in the years
following the program’s inception. Also, fitness and activity were encouraged through
physical education programs. ParticipAction was seen as a positive program because it
got Canadians active while reducing health care costs caused by inactivity and poor
Recently, ParticipAction was terminated by the federal government because of a lack of
funding. Many people thought this was a shame given the positive messages the
program gave to otherwise inactive Canadians. Despite the program’s termination,
ParticipAction has made a long-lasting impression on Canadians. Hopefully, its positive
example of physical fitness for Canadians will continue in the future.
Article #72 The Olympic Games
The modern Olympic Games began in the late-nineteenth century as a revival of the
ancient Greek Olympics. Now just over one hundred years old, the modern Olympic
movement is the biggest and most important sports movement in the world. In fact, many
people believe the Olympic Games to be the most important cultural event of any kind in
The modern Olympic Games were the brainchild of Frenchman Baron Pierre de
Coubertin. De Coubertin’s dream for an international sports event and cultural movement
became a reality in 1894 at the International Athletic Congress in Paris. After the Games
were constituted in 1894, the first Olympic Games was held in Athens, Greece, in 1896, in
recognition of the ancient Greek Olympic Games.
The original purpose of the Olympic Games in de Coubertin’s mind was to celebrate and
strengthen the physical, mental, and cultural qualities of humanity. The Games would
blend sport with culture, tradition, and education. The philosophy of Olympism is based
on the joy of physical and mental effort and the respect for universal ethical principles.
De Coubertin envisioned creating a more noble and sympathetic humanity through the
The sports events themselves de Coubertin modeled after the English public school
sport system. He saw in upper-class English boys’ sport the qualities of camaraderie,
nobility, and honesty. Most importantly, however, was adherence to the rules of sport, in
particular the rule that stated sport ought to be amateur in nature. De Coubertin believed
participants should never participate in sport for the purpose of making money. To do so
would contradict the underlying philosophy of sport. Breaking the amateur rule in de
Coubertin’s time was as serious a violation as taking drugs to enhance performance is in
today’s world of sport.
Over time, the Olympics grew to be the largest international festival of any kind. Today,
debates exist as to the degree to which the modern Games adhere to de Coubertin’s
original intent. On the one hand, Olympic sport is truly international in nature, as de
Coubertin would have wanted it. On the other hand, it is doubtful that de Coubertin would
have admired the existence of politics, commercialism, and drug use in sport. The
Olympics have become truly international, but perhaps at a price.
There is little question that the Olympic Games hold out the possibility for fulfilling de
Coubertin’s original goal of sport contributing to a better, more peaceful, and
Article #73 Sport in Canada
There is a long and rich history of sport participation in Canada. Many of the sports and
games Canadians currently play can be traced back to the early days of Canadian history.
In the nineteenth century, sport and games in Canada were not highly organized. Few
people had the time or money for playing games. The harsher aspects of everyday life
took precedence. However, around the turn of the century, several amateur sport
organizations emerged. These groups attempted to organize sports competitions, set
rules, and develop teams and leagues. As a result, organized competitions quickly grew
in number around this period in time, especially in the 50-year period between 1870 and
Some of the earliest organized sports in Canada were rifle shooting, rowing, track and
field, rugby football, skating, cricket, and golf, among others. Many of these sports were
imports of sporting traditions from Great Britain. This made sense given that many of the
leaders of early amateur sports organizations were recent British immigrants to Canada.
An example of early Canadian sport can be seen in the sport of rowing. Imported from
the rowing traditions in England, rowing was one of the most famous sports in early
Canadian history. Although relatively few Canadians actually rowed themselves, many
participated as spectators. Rowing races between Canadian oarsmen and between
Canadians and international competitors were famous events. Also, gambling or betting
on the outcome of races attracted many spectators.
The most famous Canadian athlete of the times was Ned Hanlan (1855-1908). An oarsman,
Hanlan remains to this day one of the most famous athletes in Canadian history. In fact,
during his life he was famous throughout the world. A Canadian and world champion
several times over, Hanlan was a fierce competitor. However, Hanlan was also famous for
his appeal to spectators. He made a regular practice of gaining a seemingly
insurmountable lead over his rival and then stopping to wave at the crowds on the
shoreline. He would even slow down during a race, allowing his competition to catch up
to him, only to take the win at the last moment. These exploits made Hanlan one of the
first showmen in sport; he recognized the importance of the entertainment value of sport.
Sport in Canada has developed rapidly since Hanlan’s time. Today, Canada has a
complex system of amateur sports organizations and professional leagues. In addition,
in the 1960s the federal government of Canada became directly involved in the pursuit of
healthy lifestyles and sporting traditions of Canadians. Today, the government provides
funds for elite amateur athletes preparing for World Championships and the Olympic
Games. The athletic role models produced by these government programs are crucial to
Canadians in general.
Article #74 Professional Sport in Canada
Canada is a relatively young country, existing as a separate national and political entity
only since 1867. As a result, its sporting traditions are relatively young as well. Most of
the professional teams and leagues in Canada developed only in the last 30 years or so.
However, athletes playing their respective sports for money dates back to the late-
nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Canada has six National Hockey League (NHL) teams, eight Canadian Football League
(CFL) clubs, two Major League Baseball (MLB) clubs, and one National Basketball
Association (NBA) team. There are also smaller professional soccer and lacrosse
leagues in Canada. It is estimated that professional sports and leagues throughout the
country contribute over $600 million in value to the country’s economy, and account for
over 23,000 jobs.
Of the professional sports, hockey has the longest history and the greatest cultural
influence on Canadians. The NHL has been in existence since 1917; however, organized
professional and amateur leagues existed in Canada long before then. Many small-town
teams competed for local or provincial championships, and had a strong influence on
those Canadians who had little access to, or knowledge of, big-city teams in Toronto or
Montreal. In fact, it was not until NHL games were broadcast on the Canadian national
radio “Hockey Night in Canada” radio broadcasts that many Canadians had experienced
an NHL game. Indeed, despite the fact that the NHL was considered Canada’s most
prestigious league, it was not until the advent of television in the 1950s that most
Canadians had even seen an NHL game.
Today, all professional sport in Canada is in one way or another affected by the more
powerful American leagues. In the sports of baseball and basketball, Canada has no
professional leagues of its own. Instead, Canadian teams play in the American-
dominated leagues. These leagues require a large concentrated audience in order to
generate revenues for the team and, in turn, the league in general. As a result, the major
team franchises exist in the large urban centres: Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver. Even
between those cities, the teams are not evenly spread. Probably the most famous teams
in the American-dominated leagues are both Toronto teams: the “Blue Jays” in Major
League Baseball and the “Raptors” in the National Basketball Association.
Many Canadians worry that the American dominance of professional sport is a threat to
Canadian independence. As an important component of national culture, sport reflects
and reinforces the norms and values of Canada. However, the most sought-after and
visible teams in Canada are ones in American-dominated leagues. Even the National
Hockey League-once considered a secure Canadian sports icon-has its corporate offices
in New York. Debates about the threat of American-dominated professional sport to
Canadian sovereignty will undoubtedly continue in the future.
Article #75 Ned Hanlan
Edward (Ned) Hanlan (1855-1908) was one of the most important athletes in Canadian
history. Hanlan, an oarsman, helped shape the direction of Canadian sport in its early,
formative years. His combination of athletic success and popularity with rowing
spectators helped promote the cause of rowing and professional sport.
In the late-nineteenth century, rowing was one of the, if not the, most popular sports in
Canada. The sport received as much if not more press coverage and general public
interest than any other sport. In addition, the sport’s long history in Canada, Great Britain,
Australia, and the United States developed into well-organized national and international
championships, including one of the first regularly held World Championships in any
sport. In fact, Hanlan was a regular winner of World Championship titles.
Part of the popularity of rowing involved gambling and lucrative prizes. Spectators
regularly bet on single sculling, in much the same way they do on horse racing today.
Hanlan quickly rose to fame in the late-nineteenth century through a combination of
careful financial planning of his athletic career and his mastery of the sport. Perhaps his
most ingenious invention was the now-common “sliding seat.” By fixing wheels onto a
wooden seat, Hanlan gained an advantage over his competitors, who slid back and forth
in the boat on grease. The extra use of his legs translated into greater boat speed for
Hanlan was also note-worthy for his methods of gaining popularity with fans.
Recognizing the importance of the entertainment value of sport, Hanlan would regularly
wave to the crowds and perform rowing “tricks” such as removing his hands from the
oars in the middle of the race. He was even known to fake an injury in the middle of a
race, only to recover just in time to win the race. Of course, the additional purpose of this
strategy was to raise gambling odds, thus making himself and his financial handlers
wealthier from his victories.
In the 1870s and 1880s, Hanlan won and then successfully defended his World
Championship title seven times. He also competed in commercial exhibitions and rowing
tours around the world. After his competitive career ended, Hanlan went on to coach
younger oarsmen in two North American universities: Toronto and Columbia. So famous
was Hanlan that one major newspaper in Canada claimed he was the single greatest
agent for attracting new immigrants to the young country. Today, a bronze statue stands
in Toronto in honour of his success, and an island just off the shores of the city of
Toronto is named after Hanlan.
Article #76 Rowing
The sport of rowing is one of the oldest organized sports in the Western world. The
modern version of the sport was developed mainly in England in the nineteenth century,
especially in the public school system. However, boat races somewhat similar to the
modern sport took place in ancient Greece during the ancient version of the Olympics.
In the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries, rowing gained much popularity. The
sport was particularly famous in countries with a history of immigration from Great
Britain: Canada, Australia, and the U.S.A. Most of the main colonial countries had
national championships, and a world championship was regularly held. The sport
developed either in private clubs or in elite educational institutions. In 1852, a race
between Yale and Harvard universities in the U.S. was the first organized athletic
competition of any kind.
The turn of the century saw the sport’s ascendancy to one of the largest spectator sports.
Many regularly held races depended on betting or gambling to attract spectators. The
biggest international matches attracted thousands of spectators, and much money was
wagered. Canadian Ned Hanlan was perhaps the greatest of the early rowing champions.
In the late nineteenth century he dominated international rowing races. Hanlan also
combined his rowing skill and prowess with his own unique brand of showmanship to
attract spectators. Hanlan is also known for having invented the “sliding seat.” His
wooden seat set on wheels greatly increased his efficiency and speed and gave him a
distinct advantage over competitors. Before Hanlan’s time, rowers would wipe grease on
a wooden platform in the boat and slide over the grease. The older technique was less
reliable and did not allow as much leg drive as Hanlan’s newly invented seat.
As the twentieth-century unfolded, rowing lost some of its earlier public support and
distinction. In North America, as professional sports attracted the attention of spectators
and television viewers, other amateur sporting traditions, such as rowing, lost support.
Today, rowing maintains a strong tradition under the administration of the world
governing body for the sport. However, the yearly world championship does not typically
receive the attention of other major sports events, such as track and field. The highlight
of rowing competition is undoubtedly the Olympic Games. However, older traditional
races, such as the English Henley and the yearly Oxford-Cambridge Boat race, still
attract large crowds.
A more recent development in rowing is recreational and Masters rowing. In an attempt
to regain popularity in the sport, many clubs in North America are offering less
competitive recreational programs and encouraging older Masters rowers to participate.
This is probably a positive move in at least two reasons. One is that the sport will attract
many more participants. However, the other equally important reason is that the sport
might dispense some of the “elitist” image many people have of the sport as an “English
Article #77 Tiger Woods
One of the most dramatic moments in golf occurred on April 13, 1997. On that day,
Eldrick “Tiger” Woods, at the young age of 21, won the prestigious Masters golf
tournament. Not only was Woods the youngest ever to perform the feat, Woods’ score of
270 set a record for the tournament. His victory was also seen by many as a symbolic
victory over years of racism in the sport of golf, and U.S. society in general. Woods’
victory in 1997 came just two days after the fiftieth anniversary of the day American
baseball players broke the colour barrier in professional baseball. Also, Woods’ victory
came in a sport long recognized for racial exclusion. The Augusta National Golf Club
excluded blacks from playing in the Masters tournament until 1975, and the Professional
Golfers Association only removed its “Caucasians only” rule in 1961.
Woods was born in the state of Florida in 1975. He rose to fame quickly, winning the US
amateur tournament from 1994-96, National Collegiate Athletic Association champion in
1996, and US Junior championship from 1991-1993. In the first year that Woods turned
professional, it is estimated that over $650 million (U.S.) in extra revenue was generated
in golf. Television ratings soared in the sport, and the Professional Golfers Association
negotiated huge contracts with American television networks as a result of Woods’ fame.
Woods has also negotiated record-breaking private sponsorship deals with major firms
such as Nike, Buick, Titleist, American Express, and many others. In fact, Woods
negotiated deals in the millions even before he turned professional. Truly an international
sports celebrity, Woods sees himself as someone destined not only to be a great athlete,
but also a person who will have some significant social or political impact on the world. It
is not clear, however, what that impact will be. But there is little question that he will be
one of the, if not the, richest athletes in history. Woods is destined not just to be a multi-
millionaire, but a billionaire.
Heralded by some as the first black champion in a traditionally racially secluded sport,
he has also been received more cautiously by those who see the limitations of using
black sports stars as role models for youth. Only a tiny fraction of African Americans
have even a remote chance of becoming sports stars in any sport, especially golf. The
odds, in fact, are so small that there is a much greater chance of winning a lottery.
However, by some accounts as many as 80% of African American youth aspire to make a
living from playing sports. Meanwhile, 45% of African American children live below the
poverty line in the U.S.
If the trajectory of Woods’ career continue on its current path, it is possible he will satisfy
his father’s wishes for Tiger: “to make an impact on the world. . .it will be spiritual and
humanitarian and will transcend the world of golf.”
Article #78 Globalization and Sport
One of the most recognized and widely debated terms in recent times is “globalization.”
While there is little consensus as to what it actually is, there is little doubt that the world
has in one way or another become more inter-connected. Mass communications and
transportation technology, in addition to the rise of transnational corporate culture, have
combined to produce a new global culture.
At the same time, sport has become one of the most recognized elements of global
culture. In fact, it has been claimed that there are no other events in the world that attract
the attention of more people around the world than sports events, especially the Olympic
Games and the World Cup football (soccer) tournament. It is difficult to think of other
events that attract the world’s attention in the same manner as sport.
Global themes infuse international sporting events in several ways. One of those ways is
in advertising. Major transnational corporations using major events like the Olympic
Games advertise with global themes and images. In addition, media coverage of major
events often emphasizes national and international themes. These themes can be both
positive and negative. For example, sport can reinforce international cooperation and
cultural learning, but it can also be used to reinforce themes of aggressive nationalism
and create tension between countries. This was clearly the case during the Cold War
from World War II to the late-1980s, in which West Bloc and East Bloc nations regularly
did battle at the Olympic Games.
More recently, additional global themes have appeared. The international immigration
and movement of athletes is one theme. Increasingly, professional and elite amateur
athletes are attracted to other. Football (soccer) is one sport that practices “athlete
immigration” frequently. Many professional teams in Europe, for example, have many
players from outside the team’s nation.
An additional global theme that has appeared lately is sport used for international
advertising and marketing. Sport provides a very useful device for transnational
marketing and advertising because the symbols provided by sport are often recognizable
internationally, and sport provides many of the themes and images important to
advertising: speed, strength, competition, perseverance, and so forth. Major
corporations such as IBM and Coca-Cola regularly use sport to advertise their products,
even though these corporations don’t sell sport-related products directly.
Some critics have claimed that major international events such as the Olympic Games
are being used less for international understanding and culture sharing as they are for
making big corporations a lot of money. While it is clear that the sport-related images
and symbols used by these corporations are recognized worldwide, it is not so clear
what positive benefits are accrued from this. In any case, there is little doubt that sport
will continue to play a vital role in the globalization process.
Article #79 Women in Sport
The struggle to attain equality for female participation in sport has been a long and hard-
fought one. One hundred years ago, a majority of people-many women included-would
have thought it unnatural, if not immoral, to permit women to participate in sports. Today,
women’s participation is widespread and accepted by most. However, there are still many
sports and sport-related institutions and organizations that have not achieved full
equality. Some sports, such as football or boxing, encourage very little female
participation, although even these so-called “masculine” sports are changing. Women’s
boxing, for example, will probably be included in the Olympic Games by the end of this
In the late 1800s and early 1900s, when sports and physical education programs were
first organized in North America, women were forbidden from participating for so-called
“scientific” or “medical” reasons. Physicians as a group often spoke out against female
athleticism, using the argument that physical activity would damage reproduction.
Others claimed that it was quite simply “unnatural” for women to participate in sports.
Little real evidence was provided to support these claims. In truth, the so-called
“evidence” was more a reflection of physicians’ cultural assumptions about women’s
place in society in general.
The 1920s and 1930s witnessed a short “Golden Age” in women’s sports. Individual
athletes and teams or leagues formed to support female athletics. Track and field, tennis,
softball, programs in physical education, and other activities were encouraged, at least
for those women lucky enough to have the time and money to participate. There was
even a Women’s Olympic Games movement in the 1920s and 1930s. At one point, the
regular Olympic Games organized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), became
concerned that the Women’s Olympics would gain enough power to challenge the
superiority of the IOC’s Olympics. As a result, the IOC included a few more women’s
events in their Games, although not many.
The Golden Age of women’s sports was followed by a long drought. The post-World War
II era was one of very conservative traditional family values in North America. However,
in the 1970s the current boom in women’s sport began. One of the driving forces in the
movement was East Bloc countries, particularly the Soviet Union and East Germany,
both of which encouraged female athletes at the highest level-the Olympic Games.
Female athletes with strong and muscular bodies emerged on the international sports
stage. At first, this raised concern among the male-dominated sports establishment.
However, after years of struggle, the muscular and strong female athletic body has
become common in international sport.
In the late-nineteenth century, the founder of the modern Olympic Games, Pierre de
Coubertin, said that the sight of women participating in sport was an affront to the
human eye, and unnatural. We’ve come a long way since then.
Article #80 Sport and Television
There is little question that television has radically changed the sporting world.
Television has done more than just make existing sports more accessible to a mass
audience. It has been argued that the very nature of sport and spectators’ experiences of
sport has been shaped by the medium of television.
The first televised sporting event took place on May 17, 1939. A baseball game between
two American schools-Princeton and Columbia-marked the beginning of a new era in
sport. The first broadcast, however, was not of particularly high quality. Viewers could
hardly see the players on the television screen, the technology at the time being of very
low quality. In addition, very few people owned television sets at the time. Only 400 TV
sets were in circulation, and the average cost of $600 made owning a set impossible for
This situation would soon change. Television as a popular and affordable medium grew
rapidly in the 1940s and 1950s. By the end of the 1950s, American televised sport entered
a “Golden Age.” It was during this period of time that major sporting organizations, such
as professional leagues, and major amateur organizations, such as the International
Olympic Committee (IOC), realized the benefits of television. Not only could TV make
competitions available for a huge number of spectators, it could actually make money for
these organizations. Television companies, in turn, could make money by attracting
viewers and selling advertising space at increased rates. Television and sport entered
what some observers call a “symbiotic” or mutually beneficial relationship.
The business relationship developed between the American TV company ABC and the
Olympic Games is a clear example of the TV-sport symbiosis. In the 1960s and 1970s,
ABC recognized the importance of using international sport to attract viewers. By being
recognized as “The Olympic Network,” ABC quickly rose from being the third biggest
commercial network in the U.S. to being the leading network. At the same time, ABC paid
higher and higher “rights fees” to the IOC, and the IOC, in turn, began to take a more
commercial and professional approach to the Olympic Games. The ABC role model has
paved the way for other television networks around the world. Today, television rights
pay for the majority of Olympic Games expenses.
The television and sport relationship has come a long way since the first
Princeton/Columbia baseball game. Today, more people experience sport as spectators
through the medium of television than they do as regular participants in sport. The
television and sport relationship, then, presents a bit of a paradox. While on the one hand
it has made sport more visible for more people, it has perhaps done so at the expense of
actual participation in sport.
Article #81 Nike
Nike and its swoosh corporate symbol are among the most recognized brand names in
world, alongside McDonalds, Coca-Cola, and Disney. Starting in 1964 as a sport shoe
outlet, the company grew to become the market leader in footwear and apparel. Nike has
since diversified into a range of activities, including sports event promotion.
Owned by Phil Knight, Nike has become synonymous with world-class sport, especially
through its sponsorship of events and elite athletes such as Michael Jordan and Tiger
Woods. Nike is so ever-present in the sports consumers’ minds, that a survey conducted
during the Atlanta Summer Olympic Games in 1996 revealed an extremely high
awareness of Nike, despite that fact that Nike was not an official sponsor of the Games.
Nike’s success has, to a great extent, been due to the fact that the company and its
swoosh symbol have become ubiquitous in consumers’ minds. Nike has even run
television commercials without even mentioning its own name, being confident enough
that the checkmark swoosh is more than enough to make the company known.
Phil Knight has been the main inspiration behind Nike and its corporate direction. A
competent, although not elite, middle distance runner at the University of Oregon, Knight
went onto Harvard business school where the Nike idea emerged out of a paper he
developed for a class on entrepreneurship. Knight’s former coach, Bill Bowerman,
developed lightweight running shoes that became the new company’s trademark in the
early days. From these modest beginnings, Nike eventually grew to become the sports
giant it is today.
Ironically, part of Nike’s status in the world of competitive sports merchandising has
come from the attention it’s received by critics. A short article published in the early-
1990s in Harper’s Magazine quickly mushroomed into an international outcry against
Nike’s practice of placing their factories in underdeveloped countries and paying workers
below-subsistence wages. Nike quickly responded to the criticisms with a number of
tactics to either divert attention away from the criticisms (ones that Knight, interestingly,
at first denied), or by acknowledging the practices but claiming Nike was “cleaning up its
In many cases, Nike has made an effort to create better working conditions for those in
underdeveloped countries making shoes and other merchandise. However, the overall
effect of Nike’s changes is not known, and several groups around the world regularly
check, and often criticize, Nike’s labour practices.
Nike’s recent marketing extravaganzas include a $200 million (U.S.) deal with the
Brazilian National Soccer Federation. It has been rumoured that Knight’s ego has much
to do with Nike’s marketing strategies. Some critics have suggested that Knight’s hidden
agenda is no less than controlling sports marketing and merchandising throughout the
world. Nike’s corporate headquarters in Oregon reflect these aspirations. Nike’s
buildings and surrounding grounds are constructed very much like a religious cathedral,
only with elite athletes, and Knight himself, as the gods.
Article #82 Arthur Ashe
Arthur Ashe (1943-1993) was one of the most exceptional tennis players in the history of
the sport. Born in Richmond, Virginia, Ashe served in the United States Army and had a
good early amateur career. By the end of his life in 1993, Ashe was recognized not only
for his tennis, but also for his political campaigns on behalf of racial equality in the
United States, Haiti, and South Africa. Also, as a victim of AIDS, Ashe campaigned for
AIDS research near the end of his life.
When Ashe turned professional in 1969, he was an African American player in a sport
completely dominated by whites. At the peak of his career in the 1970s, Ashe won the
Australian Open, Wimbledon, and doubles titles at the French and Australian Opens.
Interestingly, Ashe encouraged young blacks not to waste their energies on sports.
Instead, he recommended channeling energy into academic and vocation-related studies.
His recommendation seems appropriate to this day. While it is the case that sports can
provide positive role models and encourage hard work and discipline, it is also the case
that many young athletes dream unrealistically of professional careers at the exclusion
of school. The odds of successfully making a professional league are statistically next to
impossible. Despite his own success, Ashe recognized this.
Mindful of racism in American society, Ashe always thought of his own career in terms of
the general experience of blacks in America. He wrote several books recounting these
ideas. Ashe’s historical writing on the history of African Americans in sport spawned a
multimedia series, A Hard Road to Glory.
Today, while a few more blacks have been successful in sports traditionally dominated
by whites, it is still the case that whites dominate. The recent successes of athletes like
the Williams sisters in tennis and Tiger Woods in golf sometimes conceal the fact that
these sports are still predominantly white. According to Ashe’s thinking, it would be a
mistake to take one role model, such as Tiger Woods, and from that conclude that race
problems in sport no longer exist. Like any institution, race relations in sport should be
thought of for their long-term trends, not individual exceptions.
Arthur Ashe contracted the HIV virus through a blood transfusion and died of AIDS in
1993, aged 50. While since his death he has become revered and respected, in the 1980s
near the end of his life he was unpopular for his ideas. However, his combination of
political campaigning and athletic prowess has made him a revered figure in American
Article #83 Bjorn Borg
The professional career of tennis player Bjorn Borg was one of the most interesting ones
in recent sports history. Borg’s success in his sport came at an early age. Borg won
Wimbledon when he was only 20 years old. However, by the time he was 26, and in the
prime of his career, Borg inexplicably retired from professional tennis.
Borg, who began playing tennis at the age of nine, was the number one ranked junior
player by the age of 14, and had won the Italian and French Open titles at the age of 18.
These were the first of several major championships won by Borg in the late-1970s and
early-1980s. Probably his greatest achievement was a winning streak at Wimbledon that
spanned five years. Between the years 1976 and 1982, Borg enjoyed almost complete
dominance in competitive tennis.
His retirement in 1983, then, was a bit of a puzzle. Although his tennis skills waned
somewhat in the previous year, he was still one of the top players on the tour, and only
26 years old. Even stranger was the fact that Borg refused to reveal the reasons for his
Following his retirement, Borg encountered a number of personal problems, which kept
him in the media spotlight even though he was no longer playing competitive tennis. Five
years after his retirement, an emergency hospital procedure saved his life. While Borg
claimed he had food poisoning, it was suspected he had a barbiturate overdose. In 1991,
Borg attempted to make a comeback on the professional tennis tour, only to fail
miserably. His insistence on using a wooden racket at the time, when all of the world’s
top players were using synthetic fiber rackets didn’t help matters. At the same time,
Borg’s second wife attempted to commit suicide, and the couple divorced in 1993.
Eventually, Borg disappeared into obscurity, and there is little news of his life today.
These sad stories about the latter part of his career aside, Borg was an important figure
in modern tennis history. He was the sport’s first modern media star and icon. Teenage
girls conferred upon him a status comparable to a rock star. His face adorned t-shirts and
other merchandise, making him the most marketable tennis player in history. Borg’s
career was a catalyst for Swedish tennis players. Those who followed in his footsteps
and held him up as their hero included tennis stars Mats Wilander and Stephan Edberg.
Perhaps most important of all, Borg gave to the sport of tennis a degree of showmanship,
visibility, and marketability that was used as a role model for the sport in future decades.
Article #84 “Babe” Didrikson
Mildred “Babe” Didrikson (1913-1956) was one of the most celebrated female athletes of
the first half of the twentieth century. Competing in the 1930s and 1940s, when
conventional attitudes regarding women’s participation in sport dominated North
American culture, Babe Didrikson rose to fame by dominating not just one, but a number
Didrikson flouted conventional notions of femininity and “proper” female activity by
excelling in field events such as javelin and shot-put, in addition to traditionally male-
dominated sports such as baseball, swimming, and golf. Interestingly, Didrikson would
always have to battle popular accounts that attacked or questioned her femininity and
sexuality. As a woman with a large, muscular and athletic body, Didrikson was often
accused of having an “unfair advantage” over other women, and often regarded as not
being a “real woman.”
Born in the state of Texas, Didrikson rose to athletic fame quickly, representing the U.S.A.
in the 1932 Olympic Games in Los Angeles where she won and set records in the javelin
and 80 metre hurdles. Later in her career, Didrikson turned her athletic attention mainly
to golf, a sport in which she was immensely successful. Interestingly, however, Didrikson
tired of the popular innuendo regarding her “unfeminine” appearance and made a
conscious effort to change her image in favour of a more traditionally feminine one: she
donned dresses and make-up in place of her sweat pants and makeupless appearance.
Didrikson’s controversial career underwent a twist when she fought the American
Athletic Union (AAU), which had stripped her of her amateur sports status after she
allowed her image to be used in endorsements for cars. When offered amateur status
reinstatement, Didrikson refused, challenging what she believed to be the AAU’s
antiquated rules and regulations.
Aside from her incredible athletic accomplishments, Didrikson is an important historical
figure because of the challenge she made to the male-dominated institution of sport.
Didrikson challenged those within the institution of sport to question gender values at a
time when the political environment made it difficult to do so. Didrikson prefigured by
several decades the challenges to sport made by other female athletes such as Billie
Jean King, Martine Navratilova, and Florence Griffith Joyner. Didrikson forced a re-
examination of the meaning of sports, making many aware of the social and political
importance of an institution typically not thought of as such.
Article #85 The Dubin Inquiry
The Dubin Inquiry was a Canadian federal government inquiry into the state of amateur
sport in Canada, more specifically into the use of performance-enhancing drugs by
Canadian athletes. The inquiry followed in the footsteps of Canadian sprinter Ben
Johnson’s disqualification in the 1988 Seoul Olympics. The inquiry was named after
Charles Dubin, a Canadian judge who presided over the proceedings.
Johnson won the Olympic men’s 100-metre final in a world record time of 9.79 seconds.
However, his post-race mandatory drug test was positive. Johnson was found to have
taken the steroid Stanozolol. The subsequent stripping of Johnson’s gold medal turned
into probably the most famous case of drug use in the history of sports. It also sent
shock waves rippling through the Canadian sports establishment, with various members
of government and the sport bureaucracy pointing fingers at each other.
Many observers of the sports establishment around the world followed the Dubin Inquiry
and the Johnson case. Several countries were dealing with the growing problem of their
own athletes using drugs to enhance performance, so the results of the inquiry were
eagerly anticipated. The inquiry heard testimony from a large number of athletes,
coaches, sports administrators, and others. The most interesting submissions were
made by Johnson’s coach Charlie Francis, his physician Jamie Astaphan, and of course
from Johnson himself. The inquiry disclosed drug taking on a scale never before
suspected. It was discovered that, besides the common practice of coaches encouraging
athletes to take drugs, many others were guilty of turning a ‘blind eye’ to the problem and
In the aftermath of the inquiry, a new organization, The Canadian Centre for Drug-Free
Sport, was created to combat the problem. This organization has taken various measures
in its attempt to combat drug use by Canadian athletes. However, critics of the Dubin
Inquiry have accused the inquiry of being little more than a government inquisition, the
real purpose of which was to direct attention towards individual athletes and coaches
and away from the government itself.
Increasingly in the 1980s, Sport Canada-the governing body responsible for the
administration of elite amateur sport in Canada-had taken a “success-oriented” approach
to Canadian sport: emphasizing winning medals above all other goals. The result, critics
have pointed out, was to put immense pressure on Canadian athletes, leading in turn to
drug use–among many other extreme measures–to enhance performance. The Dubin
Inquiry, in other words, has had mixed reviews.
A further indication of the effectiveness of the Dubin Inquiry can be seen in the state of
Canadian sport since the inquiry. Despite attempts by The Canadian Centre for Drug-Free
Sport to educate athletes and coaches on the dangers of drug use, there is little doubt
that rampant drug use continues. This has led some observers of the Canadian sport
scene to claim that drug use is less a reflection of individual athletes who cheat, but
more a reflection of a cultural and institutional epidemic in sport. Drug use has perhaps
become so common in the culture of elite sport that dealing with the problem by
punishing individual athletes might be ineffective.
Article #86 FIFA
Created in 1904 with seven member nations, FIFA (Federation Internationale de Football
Associations) is the international governing body of soccer. Soccer is the most widely
watched and played game in the world. FIFA organizes the World Cup, which takes place
every four years.
In many ways, the development of FIFA follows the organization of the sport of
football/soccer itself. At the start of the twentieth century it was primitive in its
organization and loosely structured. However, by the end of the century, FIFA had
affiliations in all six continents, with over 170 member countries. Alongside the
International Olympic Committee, FIFA is the largest sports organization in the world.
At the time of FIFA’s creation, soccer had gained a following in several countries, in large
part due to British settlements. It was not until 1863 that the sports of soccer and rugby
were formally separated in England. While both sports were important in British culture
in the nineteenth century, it was soccer that took off around the world at a much more
accelerated rate. As the twentieth century progressed, countries like Holland, Germany,
Spain, Brazil, and many others became as good as, and in many cases better at the game
than, the founding country.
The World Cup began in 1930 in Uruguay. By then, FIFA had attained enough power and
the game was so widespread that a world championship was justified. By the time the
1998 World Cup was staged in France, 112 countries competed. Despite the sport
originating in England, that country did not win a World Cup until 1966.
One notable exception to the soccer fanaticism that is seen in many countries around the
world is the U.S.A. There has always been a problem developing soccer in the country
that dominates so many other professional and amateur sports. One of the main reasons
for this is the country is inundated with its professional sports system. For one reasons
or another, the U.S.A. has opted for sports traditionally played in relatively few countries:
American-style football, basketball, and what many consider to be the quintessential
American sport, baseball. There is also the problem soccer presents for American
Successful sports in the U.S.A. have usually been ones appropriate for commercial
television. Soccer, with its two 45-minute halves and long, uninterrupted play, is less than
ideal for commercials and advertising-based American television.
The most recent evolution in soccer has been in the women’s game. The 1999 Women’s
World Cup held in the U.S.A. was an unqualified success. Indeed, FIFA’s president
proclaimed that “the future of football is female.”
Article #87 International Olympic Committee
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) was formed in 1896 to govern the
organization and development of what were understood to be a modern version of the
Greek Olympic Games. Its first president was Dimitros Vikelas, a Greek, and its secretary
was Frenchman Pierre de Coubertin. De Coubertin’s energy and his vision have been the
true inspiration behind the modern Olympic movement.
The IOC has effectively governed the Olympic movement for over 100 years. However,
that period of time has seen many conflicts and controversies within the IOC and in the
Olympic movement as a whole. At first, the main obstacle de Coubertin faced to creating
an international Olympic movement was the lack of organization of sport internationally.
Early sports organizations-most of them amateur-had trouble organizing their own sports
and leagues nationally. As a result, cooperating with the IOC internationally was an
In the early years, de Coubertin’s own vision for the Games dictated much of the IOC’s
policies and procedures. His prejudices also influenced the movement. For example, de
Coubertin was adamant in his rejection of female athletes’ participation in the Games. An
embodiment of Victorian ideals and prejudices, de Coubertin thought women’s place was
in the home, and bearing and raising children. Indeed, he thought of women’s
competition as unnatural, immoral, and “indecent.” As a result of de Coubertin’s
powerful position within the IOC, it would take many years to have women participating
in any significant way.
The IOC has always claimed a “hands-off” approach to political struggles and
controversies surrounding the Games. Claiming, now for over 100 years, that the IOC is
not a political organization, and that sport in its purest sense (one represented best by
the IOC, of course) is inherently nonpolitical, the IOC has always had trouble answering
critics who point out obvious exceptions to the claim. At the simplest level, the act of
competing under national flags-something the IOC encourages-is a political event. At a
higher political level, the Olympic Games have been used for political demonstration
through boycotts, and the Olympic movement was probably the most visible means of
symbolically fighting the Cold War.
The post-World War II years were lean ones for the Olympic movement. The IOC and
hosting cities and nations often had trouble breaking even. At its worst, the Games went
into great financial debt, most notoriously in the Summer Games in Montreal in 1976.
However, since that time, the Games have taken a more “market friendly” approach,
encouraging private sponsorship and negotiating massive television contracts with
networks around the world, especially those in the U.S.A. As a result, the IOC is a much
more financially solvent organization than it was a few decades ago. However, it is not
clear that the IOC is following its founder’s original plan for the movement. After all, de
Coubertin was a pure amateur at heart. The current commercially oriented Olympics
would make de Coubertin concerned, to say the least.
Article #88 Earvin “Magic” Johnson
Earvin “Magic” Johnson is recognized as one of the best basketball players in the history
of the sport. He will also be remembered as the first sports performer of international
stature to declare openly that he had contracted the HIV virus.
Magic Johnson was born in the state of Michigan, and quickly rose to fame in the state
by becoming an outstanding player for Michigan State. At 6 foot 9 inches, Magic was a
formidable player. An enthusiastic sports reporter gave “Magic” the nickname to him
during his high school years. During his college years, he developed a rivalry with
another future National Basketball Association (NBA) superstar, Larry Bird, then playing
for the Indiana State basketball team. Their rivalry would be one of the main forces to
generate interest in the NBA in the early 1980s.
During his playing days in the NBA, from 1979 to 1991, Johnson was named the league’s
Most Valuable Player three times. He also became attractive to commercial advertisers
during a period when it had become less taboo to use African American athletes to
endorse products. Johnson, however, was always guarded about his comments
regarding racial issues. However, he was active in charity work, and in general
maintained a very positive light in the public’s eye throughout his career.
On announcing his retirement, Johnson stated that he had contracted the HIV virus from
unprotected heterosexual sex. However, tales and rumours circulated in the press and in
popular discourse about Johnson’s sexual exploits during his days as a NBA superstar.
Ironically, Johnson, upon retirement, became a spokesperson for safe sex. Another
famous sports star, tennis player Martina Navratilova, criticized Johnson and pointed out
that if the same comments had been made publicly by a female, she would have been
labeled a “slut.” Navratilova probably made a good point. Not only was Johnson’s public
image a positive one, but also he was actually seen as a role model for heterosexual
The events and controversies surrounding Johnson’s retirement probably raised his
status as an athlete in the public eye, making his career that much more notable. There is
little question, then, that the combination of incredible athletic prowess and the events
surrounding his retirement will bestow upon Magic Johnson a prestigious position in
Article #89 Michael Jordan
Michael Jordan is one of the most recognized sports figures in the world. To understand
the breadth of his fame, it is probably best to think of Jordan in two senses: as a person
and an athlete with incredible athletic prowess and skill, and as a cultural and media icon.
The second way of thinking about Jordan is probably equal to the first. After all, it was
his endorsement of dozens of commercial products, spots in movies, and in general his
commercially- and market-produced image that made Jordan so famous worldwide.
Jordan was born in 1963, one of three sons of a corporate executive. He attended North
Carolina University from 1981-84, and was then drafted to the National Basketball
Association’s (NBA) Chicago Bulls. During the same year, he co-captained the U.S.A.
basketball team to gold in the 1984 Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles.
Jordan’s fame was quickly accelerated with the help of his agent and a marketing firm.
After winning the NBA’s Rookie of the Year distinction, Jordan quickly began signing a
series of marketing contracts that would eventually create the iconic image known
throughout the world. The most notable marketing endorsement contract came with Nike
Corporation. Nike built much of its marketing and commercial strategy around Jordan in
the 1980s and early 1990s. With his own line of Nike-produced basketball shoes and
clothing, Jordan established himself as a marketable commodity. The relationship
between Nike and Jordan would be a mutually beneficial one. It elevated Jordan to
international prominence, while helping push Nike to number one status as world sports
Jordan’s athletic status was also aided by the fact that his was a career with relatively
little controversy, unlike many other superstar athletes. Social and political controversies
surrounding Jordan were rare, and when they did occur these were minor. In 1992, he got
himself into a bit of trouble when he did not allow his image to be used by the NBA for
the licensing of leisure wear and memorabilia in the run-up to the Summer Olympic
Games. In addition, once at the Games, Jordan, being contractually committed to Nike,
refused to wear the official sponsor Reebok’s warm-up suits. The issue was resolved
when Jordan and his teammates wore the U.S. flag and extra long lapels to cover the
In 1993, Jordan made a surprise announcement of his retirement from the NBA at the age
of thirty. He signed as a free agent to play Major League Baseball with the Chicago White
Sox, and played-unsuccessfully as it turned out-with the White Sox minor league affiliate.
Jordan then made a brief comeback in the NBA, only to retire soon after. History will
recognize Jordan not only for his athletic prowess-arguably the best the sport of
basketball has ever seen-and for his iconic status in the later-twentieth century world of
sport’s marketing and image production.
Article #90 Billie Jean King
During her competitive days, Billie Jean King was one of the most successful players in
women’s tennis. However, King is probably more recognized for her political support of
women’s tennis, and her fight to achieve respect for lesbian and gay athletes in tennis,
and in sport in general.
Born in Long Beach, California in 1943 as Billie Jean Moffatt, she began playing tennis at
the age of 11. King learned the game playing on municipal courts, rather than the route
most successful players take in tennis in the private clubs. When King began competing
in the elite levels of tennis, the sport was strictly amateur. She first entered Wimbledon in
1961, and only two years later she advanced to the final. She won her first Wimbledon
title in 1966, at the young age of 22. Her first place prize for winning was a $60 gift
voucher for Harrods department store. By the end of her remarkable career, King would
amass a remarkable 39 Grand Slam titles.
Although women’s tennis was amateur, King and a few other players began arguing for
professional status. Indeed, King’s competitive performances and training regimen took
on a very professional tone. In fact, it was King, and not men’s player John McEnroe,
who started the practice of arguing against umpires’ decisions on the court, although it
is the latter player who is better known for such antics. King’s training and competitive
practices made her a truly modern and “professional” player, but they also cost her
much public support.
King’s major initiative was to start a professional tour, which began in 1968. Operating
outside the auspices of the “official” tournaments and organizations, the new
professional tour had trouble attracting many of the top international players.
Interestingly, Wimbledon allowed professionals soon after King’s tour started. The rest of
the world’s tours permitted professionals soon after.
Among King’s other major political initiatives, she aligned herself with the pro-abortion
movement, Title IX legislation in the U.S. (the purpose of which was to equalize girls’ and
women’s funding in education), and she negotiated a deal with the Philip Morris Tobacco
Company to set up the Virginia Slims tour. Finally, the famous match between herself and
self-styled “male chauvinist pig” Bobby Riggs in 1973, which King won, brought much
public attention to King and to the growing women’s athletic movement.
Finally, in 1981, it was revealed that King had a lesbian relationship with her secretary. At
first King denied the allegation, but later she admitted to the relationship. Instead of
hiding her sexuality, which is what female lesbian athletes had been doing for years,
King was the first major sports superstar to come out. As such, King will be justifiably
recognized as one of the first and most important fighters for the sexual rights of gays
and lesbians in sport.
Article #91 Marathon
Few sports events integrate the competitive side of sport with the social and playful side
of sport like marathon running. This might seem like a strange thing to say about what is
such a rigorous and physically challenging event. However, major city marathons attract
both serious competitors and less serious runners in the same event, and often generate
a citywide party atmosphere leading up to and during the event.
The competitive marathon was introduced as part of the modern Olympic Games in 1896.
The purpose of the event was to mimic the ancient Greek Games, despite the fact that no
such event was held in ancient Greece. However, according to legend, in 490 BC a Greek
soldier ran from Marathon to Athens to take news of a Greek military victory over the
Persians. The runner collapsed with exhaustion and died. Interestingly, the first winner of
the modern-day Olympic marathon in Athens, Greece, was Spiridon Louys, a Greek
As the twentieth century unfolded, major track and field meets integrated the marathon
into their schedules. However, the marathon grew in popularity due mostly to the
emergence of several urban-based marathons. Some, notably the Boston Marathon, had
been around for decades; however, many new ones emerged, especially in the 1970s and
1980s. The emergence of these popular races coincided with a late-twentieth century
boom in the sports and exercise industry. As a result, the sport of running took off.
Also, lasting images from top international competitions began to attract people to
marathon running. In the Olympic marathon in 1952, Emil Zatopek won the race after
having competed-and also won-in the 5,000 and 10,000 metres races. In 1960 and 1964,
Ethiopian Abebe Bikila won the marathon, making himself a national hero. Images of
Bikila running barefoot in his first victory in 1960 are engrained in most serious
Women entered marathon running in the 1960s and 1970s, although their participation
was met with great resistance. While women had run marathons for decades (the first
recorded time came in 1926 by Violet Percy), it was Kathy Switzer’s run in the 1967
Boston marathon that was one of the most important symbolic runs for women. In the
middle of the marathon, a Boston official spotted Switzer running and tried to yank her
off the course. Switzer and fellow supporters resisted, and she went on to finish the race.
Switzer’s effort motivated other women to take on marathon running, and the
participation rose, although slowly. It was not until 1984 that the women’s marathon was
included in the Olympic program.
Today, major city marathons in Boston, New York, London, Berlin, and cities around the
world make the race one of the most attractive participatory and spectator amateur
sports events in the world.
Article #92 National Football League
The NFL (National Football League) is one of the, wealthiest and most powerful sports
organizations in the world. Many of the single franchises or teams are worth $200-300
million each. As such, each team should be thought of as a major corporation.
American-style football, of which the NFL maintains a complete monopoly over the elite
professional ranks, has its roots in English rugby, which was played in U.S. Eastern
colleges and universities in the nineteenth century. However, rugby did not have features
in keeping with American cultural norms. So U.S. football arose out of norms consistent
with American society, such as clearly measured possession of territory and the
expansion of frontiers through conquering new land.
Walter Camp, a Yale player, devised the rules of the American game. In 1880, he
introduced “downs” into the game, or breaks so that teams could re-assess their
position and prepare for the next attack. This was in stark contrast to rugby’s non-stop
and more flowing play. This move would years later be crucial to the sport’s success.
With natural breaks in play, the game would be one conducive to American commercial
television, which relies on advertisement breaks for the generation of revenue. Equally
important was the later inclusion of the forward pass into the game. This made the game
appear more offensive, and the famous “Hail Mary” long pass is to this day one of the
most dramatic plays in sport.
Football’s success as a dominant American sport (alongside baseball) was secured in
the 1960s with some important contracts with television networks. The ABC television
network sponsored a rival American Football League to compete with the other dominant
National Football League. ABC television did not hide the fact that the rival league was
created for the sole purpose of creating more leverage with advertisers. After gaining
greater legitimacy and earning more revenue, the up-start AFL was able to negotiate
independently with other television networks and sign on big-name players. The most
notable was star quarterback Joe Namath. With the AFL rising as a legitimate business
competitor, the NFL and AFL negotiated a merger, resulting in the NFL league, as it is
known to this day. Since the merger, the NFL has maintained almost a complete
monopoly over American professional football.
Football’s success, then, has been a reflection of the ideals of American society and,
more specifically, of American-style commercial enterprise. The league’s success has, in
no small part, been due to the relationship between the media and the sport. In a sense,
football is a perfect example of a modern media-generated sport, successfully linking
American norms and values with a sport tailor-made for commercial profit.
Article #93 Jackie Robinson
On April 15, 1947, Jackie Robinson (1919-1972) became the first African American to play
in the Major League Baseball league. On that day, he started for the Brooklyn Dodgers.
The so-called “colour-line” had existed in baseball and many other sports for decades in
American sports: the complete segregation of whites and blacks into separate leagues
There had been blacks in the sport of baseball for many years. In fact, in the nineteenth
century blacks had played alongside whites in several leagues in the U.S. However, an
1896 court case reinforced the segregation baseball players according to the colour of
their skin. As a result, black players were excluded from major league baseball, relegated
either to the position of mascot for the Major League team, or forced to organize their
own loosely structured “Negro” teams.
Robinson, the son of a sharecropper and grandson of a slave, excelled in several sports
before serving in the U.S. army. Initially a player in the Negro Leagues, Robinson played
in a period when there was increasing support for breaking down the colour barrier. The
Brooklyn Dodgers’ manager took on Robinson mainly because Robinson was a solid
player, not because he was interested in challenging the colour barrier. Also, he felt it
would increase attendance at the Brooklyn games, especially of African American fans.
In 1946, Robinson went to Florida to play for the Montreal Royals, the Dodgers’ farm team.
This move was risky on Robinson’s part, as racism was still rampant in the U.S.,
especially in the South. In Florida, there were segregation laws that prohibited blacks
and whites from sharing the same restaurants, hotels and other public places, including
the baseball field. Robinson was forced to stay in a “coloureds-only” hotel. It was
believed that there would be a greater chance of Robinson being integrated into the
minor league in the more liberal and open environment of Canada.
Eventually, Robinson played his way into the Major League. However, the transition was
not a smooth one. In his first year, he had many pitches thrown his way and was
regularly taunted by fans and players. However, his season was a successful one, and he
was voted Rookie of the Year. Robinson’s Major League career lasted 10 years. Despite
his initial success in breaking the colour line in baseball, it would take many decades
before there would be complete acceptance of black players. To this day, there is under-
representation of blacks in management and coaching positions in baseball.
Robinson died in 1972. His headstone bears an epitaph that he wrote: “A life is not
important except in the impact it has on other lives.”
Article #94 Title IX
In 1972, the United States Congress passed Title IX of the Educational Amendments. This
instituted a law that would seriously affect all U.S. educational institutions’ sports
programs. The law specified that it was unlawful to discriminate on the basis of sex in
any federally funded education program. This meant, among other things, that boys and
girls, and men’s and women’s sports programs would have to receive equal funding and
support under the new law.
The law was passed in a time when feminist-inspired movements in many countries
around the world were fighting for equality for women. While Title IX was a law directed
at equality in education in general, it is sports programs that received the most attention.
This was perhaps because of the visibility of sports and the prominent place they play,
especially in American post-secondary education. Initially, Title IX met with mixed
reviews. Especially vocal in opposition to the law were those who had a lot invested in
men’s sports programs in the bigger educational institutions. Also, those that had
administered male sports programs for years felt that the changes necessary to conform
to Title IX’s standards would be difficult and expensive.
In the aftermath of Title IX, a battle emerged between the National Collegiate Athletic
Association (NCAA) and a group that had administered women’s sports, the Association
of Intercollegiate Athletics for Girls and Women (AIAW). The NCAA had avoided
equalization for years, being devoted almost exclusively to men’s sport. In fact, it was in
opposition to the NCAA that the AIAW formed in the first place. However, with federal
funding now legally devoted to equalization, the NCAA made an about-turn and suddenly
supported equalization. In what many consider to be an obvious and unfortunate power
move, the NCAA absorbed the AIAW. The long-term effects of this move were to wrestle
control of women’s sport out of the hands of women. The AIAW was administered by
women for women; however, with the take-over the administration of women’s sport fell
into the hands of men.
Title IX did not manage to equalize funding between the sexes, at least not at first. The
legislators of Title IX probably couldn’t imagine the resistance to equalization in sport
that would emerge. Nor did they probably realize the extent of male privilege in school
sport, especially at the upper, more elite levels. Almost thirty years after the legislation,
there is still not equalization in many cases, although an increasing number of schools
have fallen in line with the law.
Today, women’s sport has achieved a much higher level of respectability and support in
schools. However, there is still resistance to complete equalization, and female-
supportive administrators continue to fight legal battles in support of girls’ and women’s
participation in sport.
Article #95 O. J. Simpson
It has been argued that the trial of Orenthal James (O.J.) Simpson for murder was the
defining cultural experience of the U.S. in the 1990s. It dominated the front pages of
newspapers in the U.S. and many other countries for several months. Indeed, Simpson
was for a period of time probably the most talked about person in the world, but very few
of the discussions were about his athletic career.
Until his internationally famous trial, Simpson was a relative unknown outside the U.S. A
very wealthy and highly decorated former professional football player, Simpson made the
transition to acting and television commentating after his illustrious football career.
However, when he was charged in June of 1994 with the murder of his estranged wife
Nicole Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman, and after his dramatic suicide getaway
attempt captured by television cameras, Simpson became known throughout the world
Simpson was born in San Francisco in 1947 to a poor family. His father abandoned the
family, and it was his mother who encouraged Simpson to pursue sport, mainly to
compensate for some physical problems he had developed as a child. Simpson became
a solid baseball and football player early in his life and went on to enroll in the City
College of San Francisco, where he continued to play impressive football. With offers
from over fifty other universities to play football, Simpson went to the University of
Southern California. There, he played out a distinguished college career and earned
himself the 1968 Heisman Trophy for top college player in the U.S.
Simpson began his professional career by dropping out of school before graduation and
immediately signing a three-year endorsement deal with Chevrolet for $250,000. Drafted
by the Buffalo Bills in 1969, the first few years of Simpson’s professional career were
undistinguished ones. However, from 1972 on, a new coach for the team made Simpson
the central figure in the team’s offence. As a result, Simpson would go on to shatter
several running records in the National Football League. At the conclusion of his career,
Simpson was inducted into the Professional Football Players’ Hall of Fame.
After his professional football career, stories about Simpson’s alleged abuse of his wife
began circulating. Nicole Simpson made the first call to police after an incident at a 1989
New Year’s Eve party, in which Simpson was fined $200. Over the next few years Nicole
would make thirty emergency calls to the police, none of which led to formal charges.
After the incidents surrounding Nicole’s death and Simpson’s subsequent flight from
police, an exhaustive months-long trial ensued, leading to Simpson’s famous acquittal.
More than just a murder trial, however, O.J. Simpson’s trial highlighted the racial
tensions in the U.S. In fact, history will undoubtedly remember Simpson more for his trial
than for his illustrious football career.
Article #96 Fosbury Flop
American athlete Dick Fosbury devised the high jump technique known as the “Fosbury
Flop.” His new technique revolutionized one of the oldest events in track and field
competition. While Fosbury never broke the world record using his new technique, other
high jumpers were inspired by his gold medal at the 1968 Summer Olympic Games in
Mexico City, where he introduced his new jumping technique.
Fosbury was born in 1946 in Oregon and went to Oregon State University. He won the
gold medal in the Olympic Games at the very young age of 21. It was assumed that his
odd-looking new method for clearing the bar was based on a careful study of the physics
and biomechanics of high jump technique. However, Fosbury claimed it was the product
of pure intuition.
Prior to Fosbury’s invention, most high jumpers used a “straddle” technique. In this
older style of jumping, the front leg led the jumper up and over the bar in a face down
position. Fosbury’s technique involves approaching the bar in a curve with a last second
acceleration. Then, at the point of take-off, the body rotates, positioning the back to the
bar and leaping backwards. The head faces the sky as the body arches over the bar with
the mid-body and legs trailing behind.
Fosbury had begun experimenting with the technique when he was only sixteen years
old. In a meet in 1968 in which Fosbury used his new technique, a local newspaper’s
headline read, “Fosbury flops over the bar.” Thus, the name of the newly invented
technique was born.
Since Fosbury’s competitive days, his technique has been widely copied. Once
experienced jumpers mastered the technique, records started to fall in the sport, due
mostly to the Fosbury Flop, but also to better equipment and running surfaces. Dick
Fosbury will always be known for his revolutionizing of the sport of high jump.
Article #97 Free Agency
“Free agency” refers to the ability of athletes to negotiate their own contracts and
working conditions in professional sport. Before the 1970s, most professional sports had
some sort of reserve system for athletes. In their reserve systems, players were forced to
play for a single team-usually for the duration of their careers-under the conditions set
by the team owner and the league bosses.
Historically, the sport of baseball had the most notorious reserve system, which had
been intact and strictly enforced for decades. The purpose of the reserve system was to
allow owners of professional teams to control the movement of players and reduce their
salaries. By being forced to play for only one team, players had little choice but to accept
the contractual terms and conditions set out for the player. The player, in short, did not
have the freedom to offer and negotiate his services on the open market, as is done on
all other industries. This significantly reduced owners’ payroll expenses, and increased
profits greatly. In North America, the major professional leagues-in the sports of baseball,
football, hockey and basketball-all had some form of reserve system.
In the late-1960s and 1970s, however, the reserve system encountered a number of
challenges. The most important challenge came from a baseball player, Curt Flood of the
St. Louis Cardinals. Flood refused the terms of a trade and offered his services on the
open market of the Major League Baseball. When no offers were made, Flood filed suit in
American courts under the Sherman Antitrust Act, which makes it unlawful for any
business or combination of businesses to maintain a monopoly in any commercial
industry. While Flood did not win the case, a series of subsequent legal decisions made
it apparent that baseball owners had unreasonable control over their labourers-the
The baseball players’ union became more militant as a result of the Flood case. In 1976, a
court decision granted players free agency and the right to negotiate the conditions of
their labour services much more freely than they had in the past. The move to free
agency changed the character of the relations between professional sports clubs and
Previously, owners worked or colluded together to limit the movement of players.
Professional sports clubs acted like a well-organized club. Free agency meant a more
competitive environment for players, and of course player salaries have risen
substantially as a result.
Today, sports fans often complain that players’ salaries are too high. While certainly at
times it seems difficult to justify the huge salaries of today, it should be kept in mind that
before the current era of free agency and big contracts, players barely made a
subsistence wage, and often worked under conditions of servitude. The situation now
might be less than perfect; however, it’s certainly a vast improvement over the pre-free
Article #98 New Zealand
New Zealand is a country that is located in the South Pacific ocean. The country is made
up of two large islands, the North Island and the South Island, which are separated by a
narrow channel of water. Although New Zealand has many beautiful mountains and
forests, much of the land is used for farming. In fact, New Zealand has almost 70 million
sheep, but only four million people! New Zealand’s farms are also famous for their
delicious fruit, especially apples and kiwi fruit.
About ten percent of the people who live in New Zealand belong to an ethnic group called
the Maori. The Maori came to New Zealand by boats from small Polynesian islands. They
arrived about 1000 years ago, and lived by farming, hunting, and fishing. About 200 years
ago, many more people came to New Zealand. These people were from the British Isles,
and they came to New Zealand to begin farms. Today, most of the people of New Zealand
are descended from people who came from Britain.
During the 19th century, some wars started between the Maori and the British settlers.
After years of fighting, the two sides signed a treaty to end the wars. Today the Maori
have achieved equal rights, but there are still some disagreements about land ownership.
In recent years, many more people have come to New Zealand, mostly from Asian
countries and from other Pacific Islands.
There are three large cities in New Zealand. Auckland is the largest city, with more than
one million people. It is located in the northern part of the North Island. The capital city of
New Zealand is Wellington. It is located in the southern part of the North Island. The
largest city of the South Island is Christchurch. The cities of New Zealand are very
modern and clean. Many tourists enjoy visiting the cities of New Zealand, but they also
enjoy the beautiful countryside. New Zealand is an excellent place for outdoor recreation,
such as climbing or walking.
Most of New Zealand has a mild, or temperate, climate. The summer is not very hot, and
the winter is not very cold. Because New Zealand is in the southern part of the world,
summer begins in December and winter begins in June. The South Island is cooler than
the North Island, but both islands have similar amounts of rain. This rain gives the fields
and forests of New Zealand a beautiful green colour. Each year, many tourists visit New
Zealand, to experience the beautiful countryside and the interesting cultures of its people.
Article #99 Track and Field
In many parts of the world, the sport of track and field is very popular. Actually, the sport
of track and field includes many different sports. In some of these sports, the athletes
run on a track. The athletes race against each other to find out who can run the fastest.
Some of these track events require great speed for a short distance. In the 100 metre race,
the athletes must sprint as quickly as possible. Some athletes can run 100 metres in only
Other track races are much longer, and these events require great endurance. In the
marathon, the athletes must run a distance of 42 kilometres. Because this is such a long
distance, the athletes cannot run too quickly at the start. Instead, it is important to run at
a steady pace and keep some energy for the end of the race. Some athletes can run the
marathon in little more than two hours!
Some races are called middle distance races because the distance is not very short, yet it
is also not very long. For example, the 1500 metres requires a mixture of speed and
endurance. Some athletes can run the 1500 metres in less than four minutes! There are
also some track events for people who use a wheelchair. Wheelchair athletes can race
even faster than athletes who run!
Some of the races on the track are for teams of four runners. Each athlete carries a small
stick called a baton. After running a certain distance, the runner must hand the baton to a
team-mate, who then runs with the baton. To win this race, the team’s runners must be
very fast, but they must also cooperate very well with each other.
In the field events, athletes compete by jumping or throwing. In the long jump, the
athletes run up to a line, and then try to jump as far forward as possible. In the high jump,
the athletes must try to jump over a very high bar. Another field event is called the shot
put. In this event, the athletes try to throw a heavy metal ball as far as possible. Yet
another field event is called the javelin throw. In this event, the athletes try to throw a
long spear as far as possible. Athletes who compete in the throwing events must be very
Both men and women compete in the sport of track and field. Many boys and girls enjoy
track and field as part of their education in school. Those boys and girls who have much
talent, and who work very hard, might someday compete in the Olympics. But for most
people, track and field is just a fun and healthy way to get exercise and to make friends.
Article #100 Thomas Edison
Thomas Edison was one of the most famous inventors of all time. He was born in a small
town in the United States during the year 1847. When he was a young boy, Thomas found
school to be very boring. A teacher once told Thomas’s mother that he believed the
young boy was rather stupid. However, Edison’s mother knew better. She understood
that her son was very intelligent. She then took him away from school and began to
teach him herself.
As a young man, Thomas Edison became very interested in inventing new machines.
One of his first inventions was a small electrical machine that could be used for counting
votes. However, the government was not interested in his invention. But Edison was not
discouraged. He continued inventing, and his next invention was an electrical machine
that could be used for recording the prices of stocks. This invention was very popular
Probably the most famous invention of Edison’s is the electric light bulb. Before Edison,
there had been some electric lights, but these were very expensive. In 1879, Edison
invented a new kind of light bulb that could shine for a long time. Within a few years,
Edison’s electric lights were used on the streets of cities in many countries. Soon after,
people began using electric lights in their homes.
Another invention of Edison’s is no longer used today. That invention was called the
phonograph. It was a machine that could be used to record sounds, such as music and
conversation. When Edison invented this machine, in 1877, it was the first time that
anyone had been able to preserve sounds. Today, people do not use the phonograph any
more. Instead, they use compact discs (or CDs) to record music and other sounds.
Edison also helped to improve some inventions that already existed. For example, he
made improvements to the telephone and to the cameras that are used in making movies.
However, Edison is most famous for his inventions, such as the light bulb and the
Edison lived to an old age, and he died in 1931. Although Edison was an extremely
creative man, he believed that his success was due to many hours of hard work. He once
said that “Genius is one per cent inspiration, and ninety-nine percent perspiration.” In
other words, a successful person should have good ideas, but the most important thing
is to work very hard.
Article #101 Capital Punishment, or The Death Penalty
In some countries, there has been much debate surrounding the issue of capital punishment.
“Capital punishment” is another term for the death penalty-the idea that some crimes should be
punished with death for the criminal who commits them.Capital punishment has existed at some time within virtually all countries. In English-speaking countries, the use of capital punishment is much more limited nowadays than it was in the past.
For example, in 18th century England, there were over 200 “capital crimes,” including petty theft and forgery! Few criminals were actually put to death for these minor offences, but the laws were changed so that only very serious crimes, such as murder or treason, would be punished by death.
During the 19th and 20th centuries, many people began to believe that capital punishment was always wrong. They argued that the death penalty was a cruel form of punishment, and that no state had the right to take the life of an individual. Many countries began to abolish the death penalty, and today most countries no longer use capital punishment.
Several countries, such as China and Saudi Arabia, continue to use capital punishment.
Among English-speaking countries, the United States is the most prominent example of a country that still has the death penalty. However, some of the states within the USA have eliminated capital punishment.
There has been much debate within the United States (and other countries) about capital punishment.
Some people are in favor of the death penalty, for several reasons. Some argue that a person who commits an evil crime such as murder deserves capital punishment. Others argue that the death penalty may deter criminals from committing crimes. Others argue that capital punishment is the only way to be certain that a criminal will not commit crimes again.
Many other people are against the death penalty, for several reasons. Some argue that it is simply cruel and immoral to kill another person, even as punishment for committing terrible crimes. They argue that the death penalty does not really deter crime, and that the death penalty is usually applied to people who are poor or who belong to minority groups. They also point out that innocent people are sometimes mistakenly convicted and executed, and that the death penalty does not allow those mistakes to be corrected.
The issue of the death penalty will probably continue to attract debate for many years to come.
But it seems that capital punishment is gradually being eliminated throughout the world.
Article #102 Continental Drift
Did you know that Europe and North America are slowly moving away from each other,
at the rate of about four centimetres per year? This movement seems far too slow to be of
any importance, but over a period of millions of years, continents can move great distances
across the surface of the Earth.
Until the early 20th century, scientists assumed that the locations of the continents were fixed.
But a young German scientist named Alfred Wegener began to question that assumption.
He noticed several facts that suggested the possibility that continents could move.
First, Wegener noticed that the coastlines of some continents seemed that they could fit together.
A good example of this is the west coast of Africa and the east coast of South America.
This suggested that these continents had long ago “broken apart” from each other.
Also, Wegener knew that some similar species of animals lived on continents that were very far apart. This made him wonder if those species had once been a single species that lived in one homeland. Those species would then have diverged when the continents divided.
In addition, Wegener found that some of the landforms on distant continents were quite similar.
For example, the rocks that make up the mountains of Scotland are similar to the rocks that make up the mountains of the eastern United States.
At first, Wegener’s idea was ridiculed by many scientists. They thought that his theory of continental drift was absurd. Part of the reason for this was that Wegener did not know how this movement of continents could happen. Unfortunately, Wegener died in 1930, at the age of 50, when he was on a scientific expedition to Greenland.
During the 1960s, scientists realized that Wegener had been right. New discoveries showed that
the continents rested on top of giant “plates,” that could slide around the Earth, above a layer of molten rock.
Today, the idea of continental drift has been shown to be basically correct.
The movement of continents accounts for the creation of many mountain ranges, which rise when continents slowly collide. It also accounts for the creation of many valleys, which sink when continents slowly break apart. Continental drift also explains why the fossils of tropical plants and animals are sometimes found on islands in very cold places: those islands had once been located in warmer parts of the earth!
Wegener’s theory of continental drift was a revolutionary and radical idea. Eventually, however, this theory turned out to be correct. It is too bad that Wegener did not live to see the
acceptance of this theory.
Article #103 Evolution and Creation In school
Ever since Charles Darwin proposed the theory of evolution by natural selection, in 1859,
there has been controversy surrounding that theory. Today, scientists continue to debate
the details of evolutionary theory, but the basic correctness of Darwin’s ideas has been
firmly established by massive evidence. Among the general public, however, there is still
much debate about the idea that modern species-including people-evolved from common
Throughout the 20th century, there were arguments about whether or not the idea of
evolution by natural selection should be taught in schools. Many people believed that the
theory of evolution was contrary to traditional Christian religious teachings, which state
that the world was created in seven days. Those people argued that the theory of evolution
should therefore be kept away from schools. In some places, laws were passed to make
the teaching of evolution illegal.
During the 1920s, there was a famous court case in the American state of Tennessee.
A young teacher had been teaching the theory of evolution to his students, even though
this was illegal. While two famous lawyers argued the case, newspapers in North America
and Europe followed the case closely. In the end, the teacher was found guilty, and had
to pay a fine of one hundred dollars. However, the trial showed that the law was based
on a rejection of scientific inquiry. The teaching of evolution became more widespread
after the trial.
Even today, however, many people in North America believe that evolution should not be
taught in schools. Instead, they would like the schools to teach the story of divine creation
that is told in the Christian Bible. But many religious people disagree. Some churches,
including the Roman Catholic Church and several Protestant churches, accept the scientific
basis of the theory of evolution. They believe that humans uniquely possess souls,
but they do not interpret the biblical story of creation as a scientific explanation for the
origin of the earth and its people. That is, there are many people who have strong religious
faith, but who accept the idea that modern humans evolved by a long process of natural
Even today, some people argue that evolution and creation should be taught as two
alternative theories in school science classes. However, scientists point out an important
difference between the two explanations for the origins of modern life. The theory of evolution
was based on an analysis of many diverse facts about nature, and it generates testable
predictions which have been strongly supported by new data. On the other hand, the idea
of divine creation was based on a religious text rather than on the process of scientific inference. Unlike scientific theories, the idea of creation does not generate testable predictions. The debate about the theory of evolution may be over for scientists, but this debate will probably continue for some time within society at large.