Anagomezgarcia’s Weblog

This is a blog for my students at the Official Language School in Valencia

Sex and Boredom-Key and Who are we supporting? October 20, 2018

Filed under: Uncategorized — anagomezgarcia @ 11:05 am

Sex Boredom Key

1-F  2-T  3-F  4-T   5-F  6-F  7-T  8-F  9-T  10-F

Who are we supporting?Click here.

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Sex boredom October 14, 2018

Filed under: Uncategorized — anagomezgarcia @ 5:48 am

True or False? 

1-Men get bored in monogamous relationships faster than women.

2-Science written by men tends to underestimate women.

3-Studies should focus on spontaneous desire.

4-Women lose interest in sex after they get married.

5-The interviewee’s children are proud of her.

6-Men posses the only organ which is exclusively sexual.

7-Men can be happy when their partners are having an affair.

8-Vibrators, zip wires and scuba diving are no substitute for a good sex life.

9-If a man perseveres, his partner will end up talking about her sexual phantasies.

10-Social mores and science go hand in hand about discoveries in sexology.

To read the text, click here.

 

AMAZON’S AMASSED FORTUNES-KEY October 12, 2018

Filed under: Uncategorized — anagomezgarcia @ 6:11 am

 

1-b)make ordinary Americans richer

2-d)CEO’s were ethical.

3-d)the chain reaction he has triggered to increase the country’s minimum wage.

4-d)Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren

 

Interview with speed shrinking author October 10, 2018

Filed under: Uncategorized — anagomezgarcia @ 6:35 am
 

PLACEMENT TEST October 5, 2018

Filed under: Uncategorized — anagomezgarcia @ 3:04 pm

To do the placement test click here

Take about two or more hours to do the complete test in one go. You have to find out your results for each of the five 30-item parts, vocabulary, structures, reading, writing and listening, in the reverse order (from right to left) because it is easier that way. As you finish each part, don’t forget to write the results before moving on to the next one if you don’t want to lose the information. After question 30 of each part, work slowly and carefully until you find your result.

Example:

VOCABULARY: B2

STRUCTURES:B2

READING: C1

WRITING:B1

LISTENING: B1

 

Good luck!

 

 

2B2 Reading Comprehension October 3, 2018

Filed under: Uncategorized — anagomezgarcia @ 3:57 pm
 

 

AMAZON’S AMASSED FORTUNES, adapted from David Leonhardt’s article (Op-Ed Columnist, New York Times)

Read the questions and the text. The key will be out after the classes start.
1-Increasing government expenditure on education, child care and health can…

a)make America great   b)make ordinary Americans richer  c)raise the minimum wage  d)raise taxes on the middle class

2-Companies paid their workers decent wages between 1945 and 1975 because…

a)the economy improved  b)there were more unionized than non-unionized workers c)the unions fought mostly for their members d)the parties fought mostly for their voters d)CEO’s were ethical.

3-Bernie Sanders’ importance lies in …

a)his support of labor unions  b)his offer of a well-written bill to make Bezos pay his workers more c)the negative attention Amazon’s future second office is in danger of attracting d)the chain reaction he has triggered to increase the country’s minimum wage.

4- … are examples of how political work can reduce the abuse of corporations.
a)Jeff Bezos, Shaun King and John Podesta

b)Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders

c)Peter Georgescu and Shaun King

d)Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren

AMAZON’S AMASSED’S FORTUNES, adapted from David Leonhardt’s article (Op-Ed Columnist, New York Times)

There are two ways to fight the long stagnation in living standards for most Americans. The first is probably the more obvious and the one I spend more time writing about: through government policy.
The government can raise the minimum wage. It can increase the Earned Income Tax Credit, which is effectively a wage subsidy. It can cut taxes on the middle class. It can spend more money on education, child care and health care. All of these are good ideas.
But they’re not the only way to lift living standards. For much of the past century, another approach has been even more important: As the economy grew, American companies paid workers their fair share of the growth.
Until the mid-1970s or so, this was the norm. The middle class and poor received larger raises than the affluent, in percentage terms, during the three decades after World War II.
Labor unions played a central role, using their power to win raises for unionized and non-unionized members alike. And political pressure and cultural norms also mattered. Corporate executives didn’t feel comfortable maximizing their own pay and their company’s profits at the expense of workers.
How can the country return to a time when companies feel the need to pay a decent wage to their workers? Empowering labor unions would make a big difference, but unions aren’t likely to return to their previous strength. So it’s also important to look for other ways to put political pressure on corporate America.
Which brings me to the story about Senator Bernie Sanders and Amazon. For months, Sanders has been criticizing the company for paying its workers too little. He went so far as to offer a bill called the “Stop BEZOS Act,” for Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s C.E.O. The bill was deeply flawed, but it still served to call more attention to the issue. Eventually, the criticism of the company started spreading to the political right, as Jordan Weissmann of Slate points out.
All of this attention wasn’t pleasant for Amazon. It cares about its image. It’s in the middle of a high-profile process to open a second headquarters in a major city. Many of its executives, no doubt, genuinely want both to earn a profit and to improve people’s lives — just as the executives in the mid-20th century did.
Yesterday, as you probably heard, Amazon announced that it was raising its minimum hourly pay to $15. About 350,000 workers will receive an immediate raise as a result. Amazon also called on other companies to do the same and said it would lobby Washington to increase the federal minimum change. A tightening labor market no doubt contributed to Amazon’s decision, but politics was the main factor.
This is how democracy and capitalism are supposed to work.
“Jeff Bezos admitted a real degree of failure here and openly stated that the critics were right and he was wrong,” wrote Shaun King, the writer and Black Lives Matter activist. “Thank you @SenSanders,” tweeted John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s former campaign chairman. Bezos thanked Sanders yesterday as well, in a Twitter exchange.
For more on the importance of changing corporate behavior, I recommend a recent book by Peter Georgescu, the former C.E.O. of a major advertising agency, as well as coverage and analysis of Senator Elizabeth Warren’s new legislation on this topic.

 

 

Honourable Theft, by George Monbiot September 17, 2018

Filed under: Uncategorized — anagomezgarcia @ 9:10 am
Honourable Theft

Posted: 16 Sep 2018 10:53 PM PDT

How one young woman broke down the gates of knowledge

By George Monbiot, published in the Guardian 13th September 2018

 

Never underestimate the power of one determined person. What Carole Cadwalladr has done to Facebook and Big Data and Edward Snowden has done to the state security complex, the young Kazakhstani scientist Alexandra Elbakyan has done to the multi-billion dollar industry that traps knowledge behind paywalls. Her pirate webscraper service, Sci-hub, has done more than any government to tackle one of the biggest rip-offs of the modern era: the capture of research that should belong to us all.

Everyone should be free to learn; knowledge should be disseminated as widely as possible. No one would publicly disagree with these sentiments. Yet governments and universities have allowed the big academic publishers to deny these rights. Academic publishing might sound like an obscure and fusty affair, but it uses one of the most ruthless and profitable business models of any industry.

The model was pioneered by the notorious conman Robert Maxwell. He realised that, because scientists need to be informed about all significant developments in their field, every journal that publishes academic papers can establish a monopoly, and can charge outrageous fees for the transmission of knowledge. He called his discovery “a perpetual financing machine”.

He also realised that he could capture other people’s labour and resources for nothing. Governments funded the research published by his company, Pergamon, while the scientists who wrote the articles, reviewed them and edited the journals did so for free. His business model relied on the enclosure of common and public resources. Or, to use the technical term, daylight robbery.

As his other ventures ran into trouble, he sold his company to the Dutch publishing giant Elsevier. Like its major rivals, it has sustained the model to this day, and continues to make spectacular profits. Half the world’s research is published by five companies: Reed-Elsevier, Springer, Taylor & Francis, Wiley-Blackwell and the American Chemical Society. Libraries must pay a fortune for their bundled journals, while those outside the university system are asked to pay $20, $30, sometimes $50 to read a single article.

While open access journals have grown rapidly, researchers still have to read the paywalled articles in commercial journals. And, because their work is assessed by those who might fund, reward or promote them according to the impact factor of the journals in which they publish, many feel they have no choice but to surrender their research to these companies as well. Science ministers come and go without saying a word about this scam.

After my cancer diagnosis earlier this year, I was offered a choice of treatments. I wanted to make an informed decision. This meant reading scientific papers. Had I not used the stolen material provided by Sci-hub, it would have cost me thousands. Because, like most people, I didn’t have this money, I would have given up before I was properly informed. I have never met Alexandra Elbakyan, and I can only speculate about alternative outcomes, had the research I read not swayed my decision. But it is possible that she has saved my life.

Like people in many countries where scholarship is poorly funded, Elbakyan discovered that she could not complete her neuroscience research without pirated articles. Outraged by the journals’ padlock on knowledge, she used her hacking skills to share papers more widely. Sci-hub allows free access to 70 million papers, otherwise locked behind paywalls.

She was sued in 2015 by Elsevier, which won $15 million in damages, and in 2017 by the American Chemical Society, resulting in a $4.8 million judgement. These were civil cases, concerning civil matters. While the US courts have characterised her activities as copyright violation and data theft, to me her work involves the restoration to the public realm of property that belongs to us and for which we have already paid. In the great majority of cases, the research carried in these journals has been funded by taxpayers. Most of the work involved in writing the papers, reviewing and editing them is carried out at public expense, by people working at universities. Yet this public asset has been captured, packaged, and sold back to us for phenomenal fees. Those who must pay most are publicly-funded libraries. Taxpayers must shell out twice: first for the research, then to see the results. There might be legal justifications for this practice. There are no ethical justifications.

In any case, wherever Alexandra Elbakyan is (she lives in hiding), she is beyond the jurisdiction of the US courts. She moves Sci-hub between domains as it gets taken down. The numerous attempts to intimidate her have failed. One woman, with a small amount of crowdfunding, has smashed the wall erected by a $19 billion industry.

Of course, she is by no means the only person to have challenged the big publishers. The Public Library of Science, founded by researcherswho objected not only to the industry’s denial of public access but also its slow, antiquated and clumsy modes of publishing that hold back scientific research, has demonstrated that you don’t need pay walls to produce excellent journals. Advocates like Stevan HarnadBjorn BrembsPeter Suber and Michael Eisen have changed the public mood. The brilliant online innovator Aaron Swarz sought to release 5 million scientific articles into the public domain. Facing the possibility of decades in a US federal prison for this selfless act, he killed himself.

Among Alexandra Elbakyan’s achievements is to empower libraries to confront the big publishers. Now they can refuse to renew contracts with the companies that had them over a barrel, as their users have another means of getting past the paywall. As the system has begun to creak, government funding agencies have at last summoned the courage to do what they should have done decades ago, and demand the democratisation of knowledge.

Last week, a consortium of European funders, including major research agencies in the UK, France, the Netherlands and Italy, published their “Plan S”. It insists that from 2020 research we have already paid for through our taxes will no longer be locked up. Any researcher receiving money from these funders must publish her or his work only in open access journals.

The publishers have gone ballistic. Springer Nature argues that this plan “potentially undermines the whole research publishing system.” Yes, that’s the point. The publishers of the Science series, who appear to live in a Trumpian world in which reality is inverted and syntax is mangled, maintain that it would “disrupt scholarly communications, be a disservice to researchers, and impinge academic freedom”. Elsevier says “If you think information shouldn’t cost anything, go to Wikipedia”, inadvertently reminding us of what happened to the commercial encyclopedias.

Plan S is not perfect, and the death of the knowledge monopolists has been predicted before. But this should be the beginning of the end of Maxwell’s outrageous legacy. In the meantime, as a matter of principle, do not pay a penny to read an academic article. The ethical choice is to read the stolen material published by Sci-hub.

http://www.monbiot.com