通勤學英語 15mins.Today
精選詞彙 Vocab #026: Chinese household cannot afford second child

精選詞彙 Vocab #026: Chinese household cannot afford second child

August 23, 2019



In China, the affordability of a second child is under question. Using the example of a young couple in China, it takes at least of a third of the annual household income to raise a child of two years, compared to a fifth of the annual household income for families in the US.


Vocabulary and Sample Sentences:


Splash out (on) / Splurge on (informal) spend money freely on

  • Chen used to be happy to splash out on skincare and cosmetic products for herself.


  • Every Christmas, Chen would splurge on gifts for the family.


Annual income – yearly income

  • With Chen’s current annual income, she will not be able to afford a second child.
  • James is earning an annual income of US$50,000.

Middle class n. group of people between upper class and lower class. (segmented by income)


Adj. characteristics of middle class, attaching importance to convention and material comfort.

  • Ikea furnitures are targeted at the middle class who earn between USD20,000 to USD30,000 in annual income.
  • Toyota Camry is considered a good middle-class sedan for families.


每日跟讀#662: About Sports - Tennis players and Boxing

每日跟讀#662: About Sports - Tennis players and Boxing

August 22, 2019

Tomic stripped of £45,000 Wimbledon prize money for tanking/托米克因輸得難看,被撤銷4萬5000英鎊溫布頓獎金


Australia’s Bernard Tomic was stripped of his entire £45,000 Wimbledon prize money on Thursday for tanking in his first round match which was over in just 58 minutes.




"It is the opinion of the referee that the performance of Bernard Tomic in his first round match against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga did not meet the required professional standards," the All England Club said in a statement.




"Therefore he has been fined the maximum amount of £45,000 which will be deducted from prize money."




When Tomic was asked if he was happy with the effort he was making on court at Wimbledon, he snapped:"Next question" and refused to answer other questions.




Tomic has run foul of the Wimbledon authorities in the past. Two years ago, he was fined after admitting he had faked an injury and complained of being bored in defeat to Germany’s Mischa Zverev.






Left-handed boxers win more fights 左撇子拳擊手贏更多比賽


Left-handed people are better fighters than their right-handed counterparts because they catch them off guard, new research has found.




Researchers studied data on the careers of 10,000 professional boxers and mixed martial arts fighters. They found that when a left-handed fighter fought a right-handed competitor, around 54 per cent of the time the left-handed fighter got a higher rating.




According to the "fighting hypothesis," right-handed people are more used to fighting fellow right-handers due to the relative rarity of left-handed people. As a result, left-handed people have a competitive advantage in combat because their opponents are likely to be disoriented by their fighting stance.




Source article: https://features.ltn.com.tw/english/article/paper/1308752 ; https://features.ltn.com.tw/english/article/paper/1271824



每日跟讀#661: Taoyuan fisherman nets rare ‘golden bighead carp’

每日跟讀#661: Taoyuan fisherman nets rare ‘golden bighead carp’

August 21, 2019
每日跟讀#661: Taoyuan fisherman nets rare ‘golden bighead carp’


After a magnitude 6.0 earthquake shook the nation on Thursday, fisherman Chang Wen-tien went out fishing on Shihmen Reservoir in Taoyuan. He unexpectedly netted a “golden bighead carp” measuring 75cm from head to tail and weighing 6kg. Chang, over the moon with his catch, says it is the first time he has seen such a large golden-colored fish in all of his 30 years fishing at the reservoir. He believed it had been frightened by the earthquake.




The silver carp is a freshwater fish. As their head is proportionately large compared to the body, they are commonly known as “bighead carp” in Taiwan. Silver carp, a common sight at the reservoir, are also known as the “garbage collectors” as they hoover up algae and plankton as food. Due to their rapid rate of growth, silver carp are also known colloquially as “Big Mac.” Most are a mottled black color.




Chang says this particular bighead carp is not especially large but its golden color is quite unique. Chang consulted a fish specialist who said its special color was probably caused by albinism. The colorful carp caused a sensation with fellow fishermen and tourists who crowded round for selfies, giving Chang his 15 minutes of fame. Several days later, Chang is still floating on cloud nine.




“Elders believe catching a rare fish is a good omen,” says Chang. He speculates that the golden bighead carp, frightened by the earthquake, surfaced from the bottom of the reservoir to a shallower depth and then swam straight into his fixed net.




Chang says that because the carp sustained multiple injuries while being caught, it would only have been able to survive two or three days in a fish tank, so he brought the fish home on the same day it was caught and cooked it for supper. Chang says its flesh was firm but tender and suitable for battering and deep frying or, alternatively, braising in soy sauce. Chang recommends the live fish restaurants within the Shihmen Reservoir for their delicious food.




Source article: http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/lang/archives/2019/08/14/2003720427

每日跟讀#660: About Insects - Roaches are good for humans and can’t be exterminated.

每日跟讀#660: About Insects - Roaches are good for humans and can’t be exterminated.

August 20, 2019

Papa roach: Chinese farmer breeds bugs for the table 蟑螂老爹:中國農民養蟑螂上餐桌


As farmer Li Bingcai opened the door to his cockroach farm in Yibin, Sichuan province, a critter flew into his face. He tossed it back into the dark room where some 10 million more of its kind scurried around.




These creatures may be a bugbear for most, but breeders like Li are turning them into a niche business. While some sell cockroaches for medicinal purposes, as animal feed or to get rid of food waste, Li breeds them for food for human consumption.




A restaurant down the road from his small facility fries them up in famously spicy Sichuan sauce for the gutsier eaters. "People don’t believe how good it is until they try some," Li said, putting one into his mouth.




Known colloquially as American cockroaches, the Periplaneta Americana is one of the largest species and is consumed for a variety of ailments: stomach ulcers, respiratory tract problems, and even simply as a tonic.





Cockroaches could soon be almost impossible to kill with pesticides 蟑螂不久後恐幾乎不可能用殺蟲劑殺死


A new study has found that German cockroaches, the most common species of the insect in the world, are developing cross-resistance to numerous insecticides.




Not only were researchers in some cases unable to reduce cockroach numbers during a six-month study period, even when combining different insecticides, but they found the insects’ resistance increased up to six-fold within one generation.




The team says it was able to keep the roach populations stable during the study period, but could not make a significant dent in their numbers.




With the two-insecticide mixture, the pests even appeared to thrive.




One of the single-insecticide experiments suggested the population was at first vulnerable to the method, and in that case they were able to mostly wipe them out. But, in another trial with 10 percent starting resistance, the population grew despite treatment.




Source article: https://features.ltn.com.tw/english/article/paper/1304126 ; https://features.ltn.com.tw/english/article/paper/1307078



每日跟讀#659: Japan-South Korea trade spat continues to intensify

每日跟讀#659: Japan-South Korea trade spat continues to intensify

August 19, 2019

每日跟讀#659: Japan-South Korea trade spat continues to intensify


Antagonisms between South Korea and Japan, already at a boiling point, deepened with Tokyo’s decision on Aug. 2 to expand controls over exports of sensitive materials by dropping its neighbor from a “white list” of 27 countries granted preferential trade status. The implications of the decision have rippled across the high-tech sector, further shaking up supply chains already rattled by US-China trade tensions.




In retaliation, mere hours after Japan’s move, South Korea announced its intention to remove Japan from its “white list” of trusted trading partners.

Of the three sensitive materials targeted, Japan supplies about 90 percent of the fluorinated polyimides, 90 percent of photoresists and 40 percent of hydrogen fluoride used by South Korean companies, Fitch Ratings said, citing the Korean International Trade Association.





As of July 4, Japanese companies need case-by-case approvals to export to South Korea the three materials, which are used to make semiconductors and displays used in smartphones and other high-tech devices. With the loss of South Korea’s “white country” status, that requirement will apply to dozens more products on a list of items that potentially could be converted to weapons, according to a Japanese trade ministry document.




Japan’s trade ministry says Seoul has undermined a “relationship of trust,” including export controls, with lax controls on re-exports. South Korea denies this. Meanwhile, tensions have risen with some South Koreans calling for boycotts of Japanese products.




South Korea’s trade ministry has acknowledged that from 2015 to March 2019 the government detected 156 cases of unauthorized exports of sensitive materials that could be used for military purposes. A report by the Japanese network Fuji TV that cited government data said the illegal shipments included thermos-cameras, carbon fibers, zirconium and sodium cyanide, among other items, and went to countries like China, Russia, India, Pakistan, Iran, Syria, Turkey and Sri Lanka.




The tightening controls are adding to uncertainty for technology manufacturers. According to IHS Markit, in 2018 Korean firms SK Hynix and Samsung Electronics supplied 61 percent of memory components used in various electronics, relying heavily on Japanese suppliers. “If restrictions remain, Korean chipmakers‘ production lines and therefore global semiconductor supply chains are likely to be disrupted. Korean chipmakers are major actors in global semiconductor supply chains,” Fitch said in a recent report.


緊縮的控制措施給科技廠商增加了不確定性:經濟預測機構 IHS Markit 表示,在二○一八年,全球百分之六十一的記憶元件是由南韓公司SK海力士及三星電子所製造,以供各類電子產品使用,而這些南韓公司極度仰賴日本所供應的原料。惠譽在最近的一份報告中表示:「韓國晶片製造商是全球半導體供應鏈的要角。如果貿易限制仍然存在,南韓晶片製造商的生產線以及全球半導體供應鏈可能會斷裂」。


Adding another layer of ambiguity to the diplomatic dispute, Tokyo also has expressed dissatisfaction over demands for compensation for people forced to work for Japanese companies before and during World War II, an issue Japan says it settled under a 1965 treaty normalizing relations.




Japan and South Korea are both important hosts for US military bases in East Asia, but they’ve been bickering for years over a territorial dispute and over South Korean demands for more contrition and compensation from Japan for its use of forced labor and sexual abuse of Korean women in military brothels during the Japanese occupation of the Korean peninsula in the early 20th century. Until recently, such issues had not affected trade between the two countries, both of which depend heavily on exports.





每日跟讀#658: Lang Lang Is Back: A Piano Superstar Grows Up

每日跟讀#658: Lang Lang Is Back: A Piano Superstar Grows Up

August 18, 2019
每日跟讀#658: Lang Lang Is Back: A Piano Superstar Grows Up


It was late one afternoon this spring, and Madison Square Garden’s 19,000 seats were empty as Billy Joel and Lang Lang began jamming onstage.




Pop’s piano man had invited the superstar classical pianist to make a guest appearance at his sold-out April show at the Garden, and they were rehearsing a duet of Joel’s “Root Beer Rag” during the soundcheck, taking it from fast to blisteringly fast.




Then they started goofing around. Suddenly they were trading riffs from Beethoven’s “Emperor” Concerto. They teamed up on some Bach. Finally, with Joel’s band looking on in surprise, the two launched into the thunderous opening of Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1.




It was as good a sign as any that Lang — the world’s most famous, and bankable, concert pianist — still has his chops, after a career-threatening injury to his left arm in 2017 sidelined him for more than a year.




After rebuilding his strength and technique, he is returning in earnest this fall. He is again appearing with the world’s leading orchestras. He is again promoting a new album — his first in several years — as few other classical musicians can, with appearances on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” and “Good Morning America.”




And he is again arousing the suspicion, if not outright hostility, of the classical field by applying lessons from the pop world to his career, trying to navigate a delicate balance between popularization and artistic integrity.




But he insists he is not the same man, or musician. Lang — who long maintained that his greatest fear was an injury that would leave him unable to play the piano, and therefore, as he once put it, “render me useless for life” — spent his forced sabbatical taking stock.




“I used the time,” Lang said in an interview, “to rethink everything I do.”




His health crisis hit at a pivotal moment. Lang, who recently turned 37, is at an age when he must navigate the next leg of the journey from wunderkind to mature — even veteran — artist. Such transitions are not easy, noted conductor and pianist Daniel Barenboim, a mentor of Lang’s and a former child prodigy himself.




“Either the child goes and the prodigy remains," Barenboim said, “or the prodigy goes and the child remains.”




That Lang has taken the first course is evident to conductor Franz Welser-Möst, music director of the Cleveland Orchestra, who has known the pianist since Lang was a teenager.




“We all go through phases, and I think there was a time when success sort of started to have a negative influence on him,” Welser-Möst said. “Then he was out of the business for health reasons for quite some time, which was a shock for him.





文法跟讀 In-Tense #019: 簡單過去式 Simple Past Tense

文法跟讀 In-Tense #019: 簡單過去式 Simple Past Tense

August 17, 2019

Welcome to 15mins.today the home of English Shadowing.

I'm your host Gavin and this is InTense Episode 19.

In this episode we will be reviewing the simple past tense, so let's get going with the questions.



Did Jane send the email? Yes, she sent the email.

Did Jane send the email? No, she did not send the email.


Did the conference finish on time? Yes, it finished on time.

Did the conference finish on time? No, it did not finish on time.


Did you attend the meeting? Yes, I attended the meeting.

Did you attend the meeting? No, I did not attend the meeting.


Did Peter complete the report? Yes, he completed the report.

Did Peter complete the report? No, he did not complete the report.


Did you stay at a hotel? Yes, I stayed at a hotel.

Did you stay at a hotel? No, I did not stay at the hotel.


Did John and Jane book the tickets? Yes, they booked the tickets.

Did John and Jane book the tickets? No, they did not book the tickets.


Did you visit the museum? Yes, only visited the museum.

Did you visit the museum? No, I did not visit the museum.


Did Jeff reboot the computer? Yes, he rebooted the computer.

Did Jeff reboot the computer? No, he did not reboot the computer.


Did Anna backup the files? Yes, she backed up the files.

Did Anna backup the files? No, she did not backup the files.


Did you update the drivers? Yes, I updated the drivers.

Did you update the drivers? No, I did not update the drivers.

Great job everyone, keep repeating and I'll catch you next time, bye!
精選詞彙 Vocab #025: Pigs are now big part of efforts to cut food waste

精選詞彙 Vocab #025: Pigs are now big part of efforts to cut food waste

August 16, 2019


In the city of Las Vegas, the abundant hotels and restaurants generate a large amount of leftover food and food scraps. Considering the environmental effects of disposing food waste, Las Vegas city has found innovative ways to deal with food scraps by sending them to pig farms, offer unserved banquet foods to food banks, and oyster shells to fill the sea.


Vocabulary and Sample Sentences:


Leftover/s n. food remaining after being consumed.

Leftover adj. surplus, extra

  • Leftovers from the top Michelin restaurants are being sent to pig farms as animal feed.
  • Would you like to take some of the leftover finger food from the conference?

Compost n. decayed material as plant fertilizer

  • There are many YouTube videos teaching people how to be environmentally friendly by making compost from food waste.
  • You have to dry your grass clippings before you can make compost with it.

Landfill n. a place to dispose waste by burying it or covering it with soil.

  • If you don’t put your garbage out on time, you would have to take it to the landfill by yourself.
  • It is not safe to build houses on land that used to be a landfill.
每日跟讀#657: About Europe - Climate change and Greece’s gig economy

每日跟讀#657: About Europe - Climate change and Greece’s gig economy

August 15, 2019

By 2050, London’s climate will be as warm as Barcelona’s/到2050年,倫敦氣候將像巴塞隆納那樣暖和


In 2050, London’s climate will feel more like Barcelona’s, according to a new climate change study.




The study predicted the future climate conditions of 520 major cities worldwide, and paired those predictions with the conditions of cities today. By 2050, Madrid will feel more like Marrakesh, Seattle will feel like San Francisco, and New York will feel like Virginia Beach, according to the study.




Hundreds of other major cities worldwide could be facing droughts, flooding, storms, and other climate catastrophes. European cities are expected to become 3.5 degrees Celsius warmer in the summer and 4.7 degrees Celsius warmer in the winter, the study said.




An estimated 77% of cities around the world will see their climate conditions drastically change, indicating "the global scale of this climate change threat and associated risks for human health," the study warned.




Next 下一篇


For Greeks, burgeoning gig economy means low wages, long hours 對希臘人來說,迅速發展的零工經濟意味著低工資、長工時


When he set up his own business washing boats and cars on the Greek island of Skyros nearly a decade ago, 42-year old Nikos Vourliotis was a young man with dreams and aspirations.




Then the reality of Greece’s austerity regime kicked in. A stipulation by debt-laden authorities that he should pay his annual tax bill upfront killed the business. Now, he has joined the growing ranks of Greeks in a precarious "gig economy" working long hours for low wages and no job security.




In August, Greece will mark the first anniversary of being free from the close financial supervision of lenders whose 280-billion-euro lifeline kept the country afloat for nine years after a debt crisis brought it to its knees.




One in two young people in Greece are unemployed. According to a survey by MRB in late 2016, roughly half of Greeks aged 18-35 lived on financial support from relatives.




Source article: https://features.ltn.com.tw/english/article/paper/1303444 ; https://features.ltn.com.tw/english/article/paper/1305578



每日跟讀#656: About South Korea - Coffee market and worker strike in schools

每日跟讀#656: About South Korea - Coffee market and worker strike in schools

August 14, 2019

South Korea’s coffee market to reach W6.8tr-韓咖啡市場達6.8兆韓元


The size of the South Korean coffee market will reach 6.8 trillion won by the end of this year, according to a report released by the Hyundai Research Institute.




Koreans, aged over 20, drank a total of 353 cups of coffee per person on average last year, the report said. The average per capita coffee consumption in the world was 132 cups in the same year, which is one-third of domestic consumption.




Shinhan Card said Thursday it has started running "Shinhan Face Pay," a facial recognition-based payment system. Its employees are able to make payments with the system at the cafeteria, coffee shop and CU convenience store inside the company’s headquarters building.




Next 下一篇


Irregular workers’ strike disrupts school operations - 非正職勞工的罷工打亂學校運作


Irregular workers at schools went on strike Wednesday, calling for an end to discrimination in wages and welfare benefits vis-a-vis regular workers and disrupting meal services at thousands of schools nationwide.




Six-hour-long negotiations between irregular workers at schools and education authorities fell through the previous day, leading some 22,000 irregular workers at schools - including cooks, nutritionists and administrative workers - to stage a walkout until Friday.




A total of 2,802 of 10,438 public kindergartens and schools were affected nationwide. School meal services were suspended at 2,572 schools. The students were asked to bring their own lunches or else they received bread, milk, juice or other simple food instead of hot meals. Some 230 schools cut classes short.




Source article: https://features.ltn.com.tw/english/article/paper/1301398 ; https://features.ltn.com.tw/english/article/paper/1308192