Saturday, August 12, 2017

Should New York City decriminalize turnstile jumping?

This is a turnstile:

Lots of people in New York City 'jump' the turnstile, meaning they are able to climb over it or duck under it and get into the system for free.

Many of these people are arrested by the police and they get criminal records. These criminal records hurt these folks when they look for jobs.

So some folks are arguing that turnstile jumping should be 'decriminalized' - it will no longer be a criminal offense. A person will just receive a fine (a person will have to pay some money to the city) and this will not go on a person's record.

The price of the fare to get into the New York City subway system is $2.75. So that's almost $6 for a round trip ride in New York City. There are a lot of poor people for whom $6 is a lot of money. I have never jumped a turnstile, but there were times when I was a bit poor or running short of money and I realized that $6 was a lot of money for me at that time.

So I tend to think that New York should decriminalize this behavior. Too many lives are being hurt over this situation and the fares are, honestly, too high and the service is too poor. The MTA - New York's transportation system - is a badly mismanaged system. The service should be better and the fares should be lower. When poor people have to jump turnstiles, the city and state are not helping poor people to improve their lives.

Here is an article about this situation:

Vocabulary from this article:

a mayor - the person who leads a city; the person in charge of a city

fare evasion - not paying one's fare (money) to get into the subway

to lack funds - to be without money

legislation - a law or laws

to be arrested - this is when the police take you into custody; you are processed by the police and have to go to a court room for a trial

to take a stance on an issue - to take a position on an issue, to argue for or against some issue

a civil rights activist - someone who works to make sure that people have all the rights that are supposed to be guaranteed to them by the government

a stance - an attitude, a position, a belief

fare beaters - people who don't pay their fares

NYPD - New York police department

the jurisdiction - the power

to issue a summons - this means that instead of the police arresting someone they give the person a ticket and the person has to appear for a hearing in a non-criminal court

to implement something - to do something, to bring something about

prosecuting people - arresting people and forcing them to go to court

to deter other crimes - to try to scare people from committing other crimes; if someone breaks a little law and you arrest him, it will deter (scare) other people from committing that same crime. 'Broken windows' refers to a university study which showed that if a parked car has a broken window which is not immediately fixed, criminals will break into the car and steal as much as they can (because they feel nobody really cares about the car). Basically the argument is that the police should arrest people for small crimes and this shows all criminals, small and large, that the city will not tolerate any type of crime. This will, according to the theory, reduce crime. Here's a video on the 'broken windows' policy:

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

How many calories do you burn while doing nothing?

So the good news is that you burn about 700 calories just sleeping 8 hours a day. Then, even if you do nothing, just sitting at a desk, sitting in a chair, you'll burn another 1,000 or so calories throughout the day. So your body is burning about 1,700 calories a day for you for free - no effort needed. Now, if you want to lose weight, you just have to cut back on the amount of food you eat and increase your activities a little more. The weight should start flying off!

to lose weight - many students will say, "I need to lose my weight." or "Joe is trying to lose his weight." There is no need, however, for a possessive pronoun. 

You should say, "I need to lose weight." or: "Joe needs to lose weight."

Interesting article about burning calories while doing nothing.

Vocabulary from the article:

bowling - I don't know why they included bowling along with these other activities. I have not been bowling in 20 years and I don't think I know one person who regularly bowls. Here is an image of a bowling ball hitting some pins in a bowling alley:

thermal energy - heat energy

body composition - what your body is made up of, the proportion of fat to muscle to bone etc.

There is very simple vocabulary in this article, I just wanted to point out that you don't have to use a possessive pronoun with 'weight'.

Also, as someone who is trying to lose weight, I found this article useful.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Kyrgyzstan breastfeeding controversy

The daughter of the president of Kyrgyzstan posted this photo of herself breastfeeding and then removed it shortly thereafter, when her parents requested that she do so.

{{{photo from the BBC}}}

Do you think it is ok for women to breast feed their children publicly?

Some folks think this woman was trying to show off her (sexy) body more than showing the process of breast-feeding? Was she 'sexualizing' the breast-feeding process?

Do you think Aliya should have taken the photo off of social media?

Article about this topic:

Vocabulary from this article:

a controversy - when a topic causes people to strongly disagree with each other 

to spark - to cause, to initiate

a debate - when a topic is discussed and there are at least two differing opinions

the row - this is an English term meaning the controversy or disagreement or conflict

hyper-sexualized - too sexualized, over sexualized

sexualisation vs. sexualization - sexualisation is how the English spell this word and sexualization is how Americans spell it. So images of women are 'sexualized' when the images are deliberately meant to excite or arouse sexual desire when one sees the image

the caption - explanatory words under an image

immoral - not moral, not ethical, not acting in a right way; if you are doing something immoral you are doing something wrong.

vulgar - dirty, overly and inappropriately sexual

physiological needs - body needs

to disapprove - to express that one does not like something, when one expresses that something is wrong

conservative - someone who is conservative doesn't like things to change; a conservative person is usually not considered to be very open-minded

the outskirts - near the outer border of the city

stylized portraits - not realistic, more attractive and stylish than realistic

the backdrop - the background, what can be seen behind something that you will first focus on

landscapes - wide areas of nature depicted/shown in paintings

a recurring theme - it is something that happens over and over again in her postings

her flat - her apartment

prestigious - famous for being really good or special

a rarity - not common, not usual

the context of a post-Soviet Muslim society - The Soviet Union used to contain many countries including Russia and many smaller countries surrounding Russia. The Soviet Union broke up and these smaller countries gained their independence in the early 1990s. Some of these countries have traditional Islamic values. So the author is pointing out that this young woman is really different from most others in her traditionally Muslim society.

the generation gap - this is when the values and culture of the generation of one's parents is very different from the values and culture of the children. There was a lot of talk about the generation gap in the USA in the 1960s. Parents from the World War II generation generally supported the Vietnam War but their university student children opposed it.

compromise - when both sides in a disagreement meet in the middle

to be ousted - to be kicked out of office, to be removed from office

the incumbent leader - the current leader, the person in charge right now

to pledge - to promise

to meddle in - to get involved in, to interfere in

to cause a stir - to create controversy, to create heated discussion