Watson’s World News no. 9/2010

To read the articles please enlarge them by clicking on the individual pages.

Full issue in pdf  Watson’s World News no. 9

Chimpanzees Outsmart* Humans, Sabotage Traps*

Throughout Africa, people lay traps to catch chimpanzees and other animals for food.
But chimpanzees in the rainforests of the Republic of Guinea, in western Africa have learned how to recognize* the traps and deactivate them.
“They seemed to know which parts of the snares* are dangerous and which are not,” said primatologist Gaku Ohashi.
The chimpanzees used more than one method, but always avoided* touching the dangerous part of the trap, the wire loop.*  “We were surprised when we found this behavior,*” Ohashi said.  “This is the first report of chimpanzees breaking snares without injury.*
There are two important things that scientists have learned from this.  The first is about the way that chimpanzees learn.  “The observations* indicate* that chimpanzees can learn some behavior without trial* and error,”
Ohashi said.  That is because an error
while handling the traps would probably be fatal.  So, they can learn through analysis, which requires more intelligence and imagination.
The second thing is that they are capable of teaching each other and passing down* their knowledge to their children.
Scientists watched as, in one case, an older chimp dismantled* a trap while a younger one watched and then examined the destroyed trap.
Vocabulary:
outsmart – přechytračit
trap – past
recognize – rozpoznat
snare – past
avoid – vyvarovat se
wire loop – drátěná klička
behavior – chování
injury – zranění
observation – pozorování
indicate – ukazovat
trial – pokus
pass down – předávat
succeeding – následující
dismantle – rozložit
Question for discussion:
How smart are animals?

Baby Circumcised* by Mistake

A woman in Florida, USA, is suing* a hospital  after a doctor circumcised her 8 day old son by mistake.  “I didn’t want this for him,” Vera Delgado said.  “I’m opposed to* circumcision.  They didn’t have the right to do it.”
The hospital sees things differently  “The circumcision was an unfortunate* mistake caused by a misread* consent form.*  As soon as the error was discovered, the doctor and nurses let the family know what had occured,*” a hospital spokesman said.  The baby had been kept in intensive care when he was born because of an infection.
“It’s a big deal,*” Delgado said.  “In the future, he’s going to ask why his dad is one way and he’s different.”
Vocabulary:
circumcised – obřezán
sue – žalovat
be opposed to – být proti
unfortunate – nešťastný
misread – chybně přečtený
consent form – formulář dávající souhlas
occur – stát se
big deal – velký problém
Question for discussion:
Should the hospital have to pay?

Penelope Cruz is Pregnant

Penelope Cruz and her new husband, Javier Bardem, are expecting* a baby in February.
Bardem is 41 and Cruz is 36.  It is the first marriage, and first child, for both of them.
They began dating after they appeared* together in Woody Allen’s film Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008), in which they played a couple with a passionate,* but violent,* relationship.
Cruz is currently* filming  Pirates of the Carribean:  On Stranger Tides.
Vocabulary:
be expecting – čekat (dítě)
appear – objevit se
passionate – vášnivý
violent – násilnický
currently – v současné době
Question for discussion:
Will they be good parents?

Bear in Finnish Zoo Does Yoga

Santra, a brown bear at the Ahtari Zoo in Finland, does a 15 minute yoga routine every morning, which delights* the zoo’s visitors very much.
Is it just a learned trick or does the bear actually appreciate* the spirituality of yoga?
Meta Penca, the amateur photographer who took the photo below, said “It was exactly the same as when you see people do yoga – easy, slow, focused* and calm.*  She looked pretty into it, a really straight* face, no looking around just very serious and calm and kept her eyes slightly opened and focused.”
The routine consists of* stretching* both legs before balancing on her bottom* and then pulling her legs up* behind her ears.
Vocabulary:
delight – působit radost
appreciate – ocenit
focused – soustředěný
calm – klidný
straight – vážná (tvář)
consist of – skládat se z
stretch – protáhnout
bottom – zadek
pull up – vytáhnout nahoru
Question for discussion:
Do you do yoga?  Why or why not?

Sleep Prevents* Suicide*

Yang Jun, 30, was so depressed over his broken marriage he decided to kill himself.  He swallowed* more than 50 sleeping pills and then climbed up the Haiyin bridge in eastern China, planning to jump off.  Then, while rescuers* were trying to talk him out of* suicide, he fell asleep.
The rescuers quickly tied* him into a safety harness* and lowered* him to the ground.
“I couldn’t make up my mind which was better – an overdose or jumping.  So I decided to use both,” Jun said.
He was taken to a hospital for observation* and later released.*  He has since been reunited with his wife.
Vocabulary:
prevent – předcházet
suicide – sebevražda
rescuer – záchranář
talk out of – rozmluvit
tie – přivázat
safety harness – bezpečnostní pás
lower – spustit dolů
observation – pozorování
released – propuštěn
Question for discussion:
Why do people commit suicide?

Violent* Video Games Improve* Players Decision Making*

A recent study at the University of Rochester, in New York, USA, shows that certain video games can improve a person’s decision making ability.*
“These benefits of video games stem* only from action games, which almost always means shooter* games, where you go through a maze* and you don’t know when a villain* will appear,*” researcher Daphne Bevalier said.  “Strategy or role playing games don’t have the same effect.”
The study used 26 people between 18 and 25 years old.  Half played action games like “Call of Duty” or “Unreal Tournament” and the other half played “The Sims 2.”  After a few months, they were given a series of tests and the action game half clearly made decisions more quickly and accurately.*
However, other studies have shown that very young children who play these games have a reduced attention span.
Vocabulary:
violent – násilný
improve – zlepšit
decision making – rozhodování
ability – schopnost
benefit – přínos
stem from – vycházet z
shooter – střílecí
maze – bludiště
villain – zloduch
appear – objevit se
accurately – přesně
reduced – snížený
attention span – rozsah pozornosti
Question for discussion:
What video games do you play?