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Monday, December 30, 2013

LYRICS: Natalie Maines - Free Life


Natalie Maines - Free Life

Let's take a little trip down where we used to go
It's way beyond the strip, a place they call your soul
We'll sit down for a while and let the evening roll

Don't worry about the time, we'll find a place to stay
The people 'round here seem familiar in some way
Look kind of like we did before we got so cold

And in the air the questions hang
Will we get to do something?
Who we gonna end up being?
How we gonna end up feeling?
What you gonna spend your free life on?
Free life

Let's fall in love again with music as our guide
We'll raise our ready hands and let go for the ride
Down into unknown lands where lovers meet and hide

We got these lives for free, we don't know where they've been
We don't know where they'll go when we are through with them
The starlight of the sun, the dark side of the moon

And in the air the questions hang
Will we get to do something?
Who we gonna end up being?
How we gonna end up feeling?
What you gonna spend your free life on?
Free life, free life, free life

It seems so long ago, those empty afternoons
With nowhere much to go and nothing much to do
But sit up in my room and let the world unfold

And in the air the questions hang
Will we get to do something?
Who we gonna end up being?
How we gonna end up feeling?
What you gonna spend your free life on?

In the air the questions hang
Will we get to do some, do something?
End up being
How we gonna end up feeling?
What you gonna spend your free life on?
Free life, free life, free life, free life

Monday, December 23, 2013

NEWS: Joint Statement Between Mongolia and Thailand

Originally posted by The Ministry of Foreign Affairs on April 29, 2013

Introduction

At the invitation of His Excellency Mr. Norovyn Altankhuyag, Prime Minister of Mongolia, Her Excellency Ms. Yingluck Shinawatra, Prime Minister of Thailand, paid an official visit to Mongolia from 27 to 29 April 2013 and attended, as Guest of Honour, the opening session of the 7th Ministerial Meeting of the Community of Democracies at the invitation of His Excellency Mr. Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj, President of Mongolia.

During the visit, Prime Minister Yingluck called on President Elbegdorj and His Excellency Mr. Zandaakhuugiin Enkhbold, the Speaker of the Parliament of Mongolia, and had a bilateral discussion with Prime Minister Altankhuyag.

A New Chapter

The two Prime Ministers shared the view that the visit, the first ever by a Thai Prime Minister, marks the opening of a new chapter in Mongolia-Thailand relations.

Prime Minister Yingluck commended Mongolia for the remarkable progress made in building a democratic society, a free market economy and for its recent achievements in economic and social development. Prime Minister Yingluck also applauded Mongolia’s active foreign policy in the Asia-Pacific region and international fora. The Thai Prime Minister also reaffirmed the Royal Thai Government’s commitment to deepening ties of friendship with Mongolia.

Laying Down Frameworks for Future Cooperation

The two Prime Ministers witnessed the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of the Kingdom of Thailand and the Government of Mongolia on the establishment of the “Consultative Body on Bilateral Cooperation” and the Agreement between the Ministry of Science and Technology of the Kingdom of Thailand and the Ministry of Education and Science of Mongolia on Cooperation in the Fields of Science and Technology, and the Memorandum of Understanding between the Mongolian National Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry and Banking of Thailand.

Increasing High-level Exchanges

The two Prime Ministers noted with satisfaction the increased high-level exchanges between the two countries in recent years. In particular, the Royal Visits of Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn to Mongolia and the visits of the President and the Prime Minister of Mongolia to Thailand, respectively, have significantly reinforced the momentum for cooperation between the two countries.

Both sides agreed to promote the exchanges of visits at all levels, particularly between the government leaders, ministers, parliamentarians and senior officials.

Expanding Bilateral Trade and Investment

The two Prime Ministers agreed that the two countries hold tremendous economic potential for each other as market, source of imports, investment destination and tourist destination.

Both sides agreed to double the volume of their bilateral trade in the next three years (2014-2017). With a view to realizing their bilateral trade target, they also agreed to conclude the Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreement between Mongolia and Thailand in the near future.

Prime Minister Altankhuyag expressed his appreciation for the presence of Thai investors in Mongolia and expressed his wishes to see Thai companies further explore investment opportunities in Mongolia in the areas of mining, agriculture, food processing, healthcare, tourism, and energy.

Both leaders acknowledged that the Agreement for the Promotion and Protection of Investments is one of the most important legal instruments in promoting investment between the two countries. Both leaders looked forward to the conclusion of the Agreement between the Government of the Kingdom of Thailand and the Government of Mongolia for the Promotion and Protection of Investments.

Continuing Technical Cooperation

Prime Minister Altankhuyag expressed gratitude for the contribution made by the Government of Thailand during Mongolia’s transitional development period through technical assistance and various training programs. The Mongolian side further noted that Thailand’s assistance is crucial to Mongolia at this stage of rapid economic development.

Prime Minister Yingluck also reaffirmed the Thai Government's commitment to continuing technical cooperation with Mongolia through the Thailand International Development Agency (TICA), other relevant Thai agencies, the private sector and academic institutions.

Enhancing Public Awareness and Cultural Cooperation

The two Prime Ministers recognized the need to promote greater awareness and understanding between the peoples of Thailand and Mongolia. Both leaders therefore agreed that the two countries will intensify efforts to promote exchanges at all levels and utilize all frameworks of interaction including Sister-City Relations between Bangkok and Ulaanbaatar, Parliamentary Friendship Groups, and the Mongolia-Thailand Society for Economic Cooperation. Both leaders noted the shared cultural similarities, Buddhist belief and traditions, and historical links. Both leaders agreed that the two countries should take the opportunity of the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations in 2014 to organize cultural and educational activities in their respective countries.

Intensifying Regional and Multilateral Cooperation

Recognizing their shared values, the two Prime Ministers agreed to work together to promote democracy, human rights, environmental conservation, and the empowerment of women; tackle the scourges of terrorism, drugs and transnational organized crimes; as well as to work together in various UN peace-keeping missions.

At the regional level, the Thai Prime Minister noted Mongolia’s interest in joining the East Asia Summit, becoming a dialogue partner of ASEAN, as well as a member economy of the APEC. The Thai Prime Minister also welcomed the appointment of the first Mongolian Ambassador to ASEAN.

On the Mongolian part, Prime Minister Altankhuyag praised Thailand’s initiative to host the 2nd Asia-Pacific Water Summit, under the theme “Water Security: Leadership and Commitment,” and appreciates the cordial invitation extended to the President to attend the event. The Mongolian side promised to dispatch a high-level delegation to attend the Summit.

At the international level, Prime Minister Yingluck congratulated Mongolia on its successful Chairmanship of the Community of Democracies (CD) for 2011-2013 and expressed support for the CD Presidency’s priorities, including education for democracy and regional cooperation. Thailand applauds the Asian Partnership Initiative for Democracy (APID) as a framework to strengthen democratic values in the region and appreciates Mongolia’s invitation to consider joining the APID.

The Prime Ministers exchanged views and agreed to give due positive consideration with respect to each other’s bids and candidatures for positions in the UN and its system organizations, as well as other various international organizations.

Future Directions and Next Steps

The two Prime Ministers agreed to work closely through the newly established mechanism and all channels of communication to ensure concrete outcomes of bilateral cooperation in the years to come.

In this regard, Prime Minister Altankhuyag welcomed Thailand’s proposal to host the first meeting of the “Consultative Body on Bilateral Cooperation” in Thailand next year. The Prime Minister of Mongolia also accepted the Thai Prime Minister’s invitation to pay an official visit to Thailand next year as part of the celebration of the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Thailand and Mongolia.



Definition List:
  • to pay a visit: to visit someone or something
  • bilateral: involving two groups of people or two countries
  • to mark: to be a sign that something new is going to happen
  • chapter: a period of time in a person's life or in history
  • remarkable: unusual or surprising in a way that causes people to take notice
  • to applaud: to express praise for somebody/something because you approve of them or it
  • deepening: becoming stronger
  • ties: a strong connection between people or organizations
  • memorandum: a proposal or report on a particular subject for a person, an organization, a committee, etc
  • Memorandum of Understanding: A memorandum of understanding (MOU or MoU) is a document describing a bilateral or multilateral agreement between parties
  • noted: to notice or pay careful attention to something
  • momentum: the ability to keep increasing or developing
  • realizing: to achieve something important that you very much want to do
  • to reaffirm: to state something again in order to emphasize that it is still true
  • to promote: to help something to happen or develop
  • to tackle: to make a determined effort to deal with a difficult problem or situation
  • scourge: a person or thing that causes trouble or suffering
  • cordial: pleasant and friendly
  • dispatch: to send somebody/something somewhere, especially for a special purpose
  • mechanism: a method or a system for achieving something
  • channel: a method or system that people use to get information, to communicate, or to send something somewhere
Pronunciation MP3:
= paid
= bilateral
= chapter
= remarkable
= applaud
= deepen
= memorandum
= noted
= momentum
= realize
= reaffirm
= promote
= tackle
= scourge
= cordial
= dispatch
= mechanism
= channel

Monday, December 16, 2013

How to Get Flat Abs, Have Amazing Sex and Rule the World in 8 Easy Steps

Originally posted on HuffingtonPost.com on Sept 20, 2013



The covers of most men's and women's magazines have similar headlines: "Get Great Abs" and "Have Amazing Sex."

From the looks of it, these two issues have been recycled over and over (with some other stereotypically gender-relevant articles thrown in) on every Men's Health, Maxim, Cosmopolitan and Glamour cover since the dawn of time. In fact, I'd bet that if we could get a better translation of cave drawings, they would read something like "Grok get flat belly. Make girl Grok moan with joy."

And we keep buying them. We keep buying this lie that these things will make us happy. I've had washboard abs (past tense) and I've had some pretty phenomenal sex. Neither one made me a better person. Neither one completed me or made my life more fulfilling.

We chase this idea of "I will be happy when... "

I will be happy when I have a new car. I will be happy when I get married. I will be happy when I get a better job. I will be happy when I lose five pounds. What if instead we choose to be happy -- right now?

If you can read this, your life is pretty awesome.

Setting aside our first-world problems and pettiness, if you are online reading this, you have both electricity and WiFi or access to them. Odds are you are in a shelter of some sort, or on a smart phone (and then kudos to you for reading this on the go). Life might bump and bruise us, it may not always go the way we plan and I know I get frustrated with mine, but here's the thing: You are alive.

Because you are alive, everything is possible. So about those eight tips...

1. Stop believing your bullshit.

All that stuff you tell yourself about how you are a commitment phobe or a coward or lazy or not creative or unlucky? Stop it. It's bullshit, and deep down you know it. We are all insecure 14 year olds at heart. We're all scared. We all have dreams inside of us that we've tucked away because somewhere along the line we tacked on those ideas about who we are that buried that essential brilliant, childlike sense of wonder. The more we stick to these scripts about who we are, the longer we live a fraction of the life we could be living. Let it go. Be who you are beneath the bullshit.

2. Be happy now.

Not because The Secret says so. Not because of some shiny happy Oprah crap. But because we can choose to appreciate what is in our lives instead of being angry or regretful about what we lack. It's a small, significant shift in perspective. It's easier to look at what's wrong or missing in our lives and believe that is the big picture -- but it isn't. We can choose to let the beautiful parts set the tone.

3. Look at the stars.

It won't fix the economy. It won't stop wars. It won't give you flat abs, or better sex or even help you figure out your relationship and what you want to do with your life. But it's important. It helps you remember that you and your problems are both infinitesimally small and conversely, that you are a piece of an amazing and vast universe. I do it daily -- it helps.

4. Let people in.

Truly. Tell people that you trust when you need help, or you're depressed -- or you're happy and you want to share it with them. Acknowledge that you care about them and let yourself feel it. Instead of doing that other thing we sometimes do, which is to play it cool and pretend we only care as much as the other person has admitted to caring, and only open up half way. Go all in -- it's worth it.

5. Stop with the crazy making.

I got to a friend's doorstep the other day, slightly breathless and nearly in tears after getting a little lost, physically and existentially. She asked what was wrong and I started to explain and then stopped myself and admitted, "I'm being stupid and have decided to invent lots of problems in my head." Life is full of obstacles; we don't need to create extra ones. A great corollary to this one is from The Four Agreements, by Don Miguel Ruiz: Don't take things personally. Most of the time, other people's choices and attitudes have absolutely nothing to do with you. Unless you've been behaving like a jerk, in which case...

6. Learn to apologize.

Not the ridiculous, self-deprecating apologizing for who you are and for existing that some people seem to do (what's up with that, anyway?). The ability to sincerely apologize -- without ever interjecting the word "but" -- is an essential skill for living around other human beings. If you are going to be around other people, eventually you will need to apologize. It's an important practice.

7. Practice gratitude.

Practice it out loud to the people around you. Practice it silently when you bless your food. Practice it often. Gratitude is not a first world only virtue. I saw a photo recently, of a girl in abject poverty, surrounded by filth and destruction. Her face was completely lit up with joy and gratitude as she played with a hula hoop she'd been given. Gratitude is what makes what we have enough. Gratitude is the most basic way to connect with that sense of being an integral part of the vastness of the universe; as I mentioned with looking up at the stars, it's that sense of wonder and humility, contrasted with celebrating our connection to all of life.

8. Be kind.

Kurt Vonnegut said it best (though admittedly, and somewhat ashamedly -- I am not a Vonnegut fan): "There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- 'God damn it, you've got to be kind.'"

Kindness costs us nothing and pays exponential dividends. I can't save the whole world. I can't bring peace to Syria. I can't fix the environment or the health care system, and from the looks of it, I may end up burning my dinner.

But I can be kind.

If the biggest thing we do in life is to extend love and kindness to even one other human being, we have changed the world for the better.

That's a hell of a lot more important than flat abs in my book.

Previously published on Be You Media Group.
For more by Kate Bartolotta, click here.
For more on happiness, click here.



Definition List:
  • headline: the title of a newspaper article printed in large letters, especially at the top of the front page
  • to recycle: to use the same ideas, methods, jokes, etc. again
  • to buy: to believe that something is true, especially something that is not very likely
  • washboard abs (6-pack abs): abdominal muscles with no fat so individual muscles can be seen (which looks like a washboard that is used to wash clothes)
  • phenomenal: very great or impressive
  • to chase: to try to obtain or achieve something, for example money, work or success
  • awesome: very impressive
  • pettiness: caring too much about small and unimportant matters, especially when this is unkind to other people
  • -phobe: a person who dislikes or is afraid of a particular thing or particular people
  • bullshit, crap: nonsense
  • insecure: not confident about yourself or your relationships with other people
  • to tuck [something] away: to hide something somewhere or keep it in a safe place
  • to tack [something] on: to add something to something that already exists
  • to bury: to hide something
  • significant: large or important enough to have an effect or to be noticed
  • to shift: to change from one state, position, etc. to another
  • lack: not having something or not having enough of something
  • infinitesimally: extremely small
  • conversely: in a way that is the opposite or reverse of something
  • vast: extremely large in area, size, amount, etc.
  • truly: used to emphasize that a particular description is accurate or correct
  • existentially: connected with human existence
  • obstacle: a situation, an event, etc. that makes it difficult for you to do or achieve something
  • corollary: a situation, an argument or a fact that is the natural and direct result of another one
  • jerk: a stupid person who often says or does the wrong thing
  • ridiculous: very silly or unreasonable
  • self-depreciating: done in a way that makes your own achievements or abilities seem unimportant
  • to nterject: to interrupt what somebody is saying with your opinion or a remark
  • gratitude: the feeling of being grateful and wanting to express your thanks
  • virtue: a particular good quality or habit
  • hula hoop: a large plastic ring that you spin around your waist by moving your hips
  • dividend: benefit from an action or policy
Pronunciation MP3:
= headline
= recycle
= washboard
= phenomenal
= chase
= awesome
= pettiness
= bullshit
= crap
= insecure
= tuck
= tack on
= significant
= shift
= lack
= infinitesimally
= conversely
= vast
= truly
= existential
= obstacle
= corollary
= jerk
= ridiculous
= interject
= gratitude
= virtue
= hula hoop
= dividend

Monday, December 9, 2013

How to Find Happiness

Originally posted at Wisebread.com



Definition List:
  • relentlessly: refusing to give up or be less strict or severe
  • avarice: extreme desire for wealth
  • eccentric: considered by other people to be strange or unusual
  • subversive: trying or likely to destroy or damage a government or political system by attacking it secretly or indirect
  • resignation: a letter, for example to your employers, to say that you are giving up your job or position
  • ambition: something that you want to do or achieve very much
  • flake: a person who is strange or unusual or who forgets things easily
  • abandon: to leave somebody, especially somebody you are responsible for, with no intention of returning
  • potential: that can develop into something or be developed in the future
  • subtle: not very noticeable or obvious
  • guarantee: a firm promise that you will do something or that something will happen
Pronunciation MP3s:
= relentlessly
= avarice
= eccentric
= subversive
= resignation
= ambition
= flake
= abandon
= potential
= subtle
= guarantee

Monday, December 2, 2013

Mongolians bend over backwards to be world's top contortionists

Originally posted on CNN.com on September 6, 2013

As one woman in glittering Lycra gently bends her legs backwards over her head, another balances on top, slowly twisting her own limbs into a human pretzel.

They move as one -- a fantastical insect bewitching the Las Vegas crowds in Cirque Du Soleil's legendary stage show, called simply "O."

But despite their ethereal demeanor, each petite performer possesses a rare Herculean strength and snake-like flexibility. And almost all hail from one country: Mongolia.

"When you want a top baseball player, sometimes you look in America. Where we need a contortionist we look to Mongolia," said the show's artistic director, Sandi Croft.

"When they dance they have a natural flexibility, even in their folk dance. It is just part of their culture to have this extra bend in delivery with their movement."

Introducing the remarkable contortionists
of Cirque du Soleil's legendary Las Vegas Stage show, called "O."

Why Mongolia?

The bright lights of Las Vegas are a long way from the plains of Mongolia, a sparsely populated country bordering China and Russia.

But in the last 70 years, Mongolia has become a breeding ground for the world's top contortionists, who have performed everywhere from Russia's Bolshoi Theater to the Monte Carlo International Circus Festival.

Indeed, while other well-meaning parents around the world might send their little girls to ballet or piano lessons, in Mongolia they're more likely to drop them off at contortion school.

While Mongolian contortion has some similarities to ancient folk dances and yoga poses, it was the launch of the State Circus in the 1940s that saw it really take off as a professional art form.

When the contortion school's first official trainer, the now legendary Tsend-Ayush, began performing across the country, she quickly inspired a generation of girls hoping to quite literally mold themselves in her likeness.
By eight years old I could do most of the technical moves -- I was considered a professional. - Nomintuya Baasankhuu, former contortionist
One of those children was then-eight-year-old Angelique Janov, now the trainer for Cirque du Soleil's "O."

"We'd never seen anything like Tsend-Ayush before," she said. "It was her combination of strong technical skills and the beautiful way she moved to the music -- she made it look so easy.

"After that, every little girl wanted to be a contortionist."

Of the show's 20 contortionists, almost all are women,
and almost all hail from one country: Mongolia.

Child's play

Of course, training to be a contortionist is far from easy. Students as young as five train for around three hours a day, five days a week. They build up their strength, flexibility and balance through various exercises such as handstands, splits, and push-ups.

"My homework was 300 push-ups a day," said 29-year-old Nomintuya Baasankhuu, former contortionist and Arts Program director at the Arts Council of Mongolia.

"It was intense. But by eight years old I could do most of the technical moves -- I was considered a professional."

There are some risks -- Baasankhuu suffered a knee injury after falling from a human tower three meters high. But many contortionists insist that much like any sport, it is safe if done properly.

"Contortion is not dangerous," said 63-year-old Cirque du Soleil trainer Janov. "It's like yoga -- if you're stretching every day you stay young."

The Cirque du Soleil contortionists train for up to three hours-a-day
in preparation for their spectacular show.

Naturally gifted?

Such rigorous training regimes have been a huge factor in the Mongolians' success around the world. But how much of a role does genetics play?

"Some people are naturally more flexible and this is often due to genetics -- if one of our parents is flexible, we're more likely to be flexible too," said Tim Allardyce of the British Osteopathic Association.

"That said, a naturally flexible person would not be able to get themselves into positions that contortionists can without extensive training -- it is only very gradually, over many months and years, that the ligaments and muscles lengthen, allowing the joints to become more mobile."

World of opportunity

For many youngsters in Mongolia, contortion is seen as more than simply a hobby -- it's a golden ticket to the world.

"Mongolian contortion is globally competitive -- today many performers work for Cirque du Soleil and other international circus companies," said Baasankhuu, who also researched the history of Mongolian contortion at the National University of Mongolia.

"That is why so many girls would like to become contortionists and travel around world and make living from it."

So what is it about these mysterious performers that continues to beguile audiences across the world?

Janov perhaps summed up their allure best: "It's the realization that an individual can do things that seem impossible."



Definition List:

  • glittering: shining brightly with many small flashes of light
  • pretzel: a crisp salty biscuit in the shape of a knot or stick, often served with drinks at a party
  • to bewitch: to attract or impress somebody so much that they cannot think in a sensible way
  • ethereal: extremely delicate and light; seeming to belong to another, more spiritual, world
  • demeanor: the way that somebody looks or behaves
  • petite: small and thin
  • Herculean: needing a lot of strength, determination or effort = From the Greek myth in which Hercules proved his courage and strength by completing twelve very difficult tasks.
  • contortionist: a performer who can twist their body out of its natural shape to entertain others
  • to mold: to shape a soft substance into a particular form
  • splits: an act of leaping in the air or sitting down with the legs straight and at right angles to the upright body, one in front and the other behind, or one at each side.
  • spectacular: very impressive
  • rigorous: done carefully and with a lot of attention to detail
  • regime: a method or system of organizing or managing something
  • to beguile: to attract or interest somebody
  • allure: the quality of being attractive and exciting
Pronunciation MP3s:
= glitter
= pretzel
= bewitch
= ethereal
= demeanor
= petite
= Herculean
= contortionist
= mold
= split
= spectacular
= rigorous
= regime
= beguile
= allure

Monday, November 25, 2013

LYRICS: The Way I Feel by Asa


Asa - The Way I Feel
Album: Beautiful Imperfection

Lyrics:

I feel like I'm floating through
existence.
I feel like I'm living after time.
I feel like I'm forced to break
the silence, is that a crime?
Is that a crime?
I feel like we all following shadows,
And shadows that don't know where
to go.
I feel like I'm waiting for tomorrow,
But today... waste away.

It's not that I don't know,
It's not that I can't see.
It's not like I have notice.
It's driving me insane.
It's not that I don't know,
It's not that I can't see.
It's just the way I feel,
It's just the way I feel.

I feel like a child without a
father.
And mama tries,
Oh lord knows mama tries.
I feel like the world is on my shoulders.
I wonder why, wonder why.
I feel I'm not the only one who's
frustrated.
I feel that something's going
wrong.
I can't escape it.
I feel that the destiny should
fill the men to be the best are in
the hands of liars.
Now the world is on fire.

It's not that I don't know,
It's not that I can't see.
It's not like I have notice.
It's driving me insane.
It's not that I don't know,
It's not that I can't see.
It's just the way I feel,
It's just the way I feel.

I feel we are not angry enough.
That while we wait, time's ticking
away.
I feel... there's gonna be an explosion.

It's not that I don't know,
It's not that I can't see.
It's not like I have notice.
It's driving me insane.
It's not that I don't know,
It's not that I can't see.
It's just the way I feel,
It's just the way I feel.

Monday, November 18, 2013

FYI: How to Be a Better Conversationalist

Originally posted on The Wall Street Journal on August 12, 2013
By Elizabeth Bernstein



For those born without the gift of gab, the art of elegantly starting, sustaining and stopping a discussion takes study and practice. Elizabeth Bernstein joins Lunch Break to explain why experts say small talk is actually a big deal. Photo: Getty Images.

Jason Swett still cringes when he remembers the party in Atlanta 10 years ago, where, drink in hand, he tried "to impress the local Southern belles," he says, by talking—nonstop.

He told the six or so people he'd just met the tale of how once at a grocery store he helped apprehend a thief who'd stuffed steaks down his pants. And the story about the time he spotted a bike at the bottom of a pond in a local park and jumped in to retrieve it. And then the one about how he smoked himself out of his own basement by setting off illegal fireworks.

Eventually, Mr. Swett asked the group, "Wanna hear another one?" The reply was unanimous. "No!" six people shouted in unison.

There is an art to elegantly starting, sustaining and ending a dialogue with strangers or friends. Experts call it conversational intelligence. Others call it the gift of gab. Hard as it may be for chatty people to believe, not everyone is born with it. For many, it takes study and practice.

Some people dismiss small talk as mere chitchat, an unnecessary and annoying waste of time. Many men consider it a female thing. But experts say casual conversation is essential social grease—a ritual that helps us connect with friends, colleagues and people we've just met.

We can use small talk to signal our friendly intent and to get people to like us. It can lead to more-significant conversations that spark friendships and clinch deals. Still, for many it remains a mysterious and challenging art.

Small talk occurs in all cultures but the substance differs. Americans generally have an international reputation for being good at small talk although the content is often seen by other cultures as superficial, says Roger Baumgarte, professor emeritus of psychology at Winthrop University, in Rock Hill, S.C.

Unfortunately, we seem to be getting less good at it. (Been on the Web lately?) So much of our lives have moved online, we've become less adept at in-person interactions. Experts worry that, thanks to videogames and texting, younger generations aren't learning the basics of real conversation.


You can develop your conversational intelligence. It isn't complicated, especially if you keep this rule of thumb in mind: Focus on the other person. "Let it be known that you want to make conversation," says Bernardo J. Carducci, professor of psychology and director of the Shyness Research Institute at Indiana University Southeast, in New Albany, Ind. "Make it easy for the other person."

A successful conversation can be divided into five stages, Dr. Carducci says. In the "Getting Started" stage, you signal your desire to talk with a simple opening line based on something both of you are observing or experiencing in your shared surroundings. ("Hot enough for you?")

In the second stage, the "Personal Introduction," you should mention something about yourself, state your name if appropriate and provide hints for topics to talk about. ("It seems like the whole city is on vacation this week.")

"A good personal introduction helps to move the conversation forward," Dr. Carducci says. He encourages people who aren't adept conversationalists to keep a few "go to" topics in their back pocket.

In the third stage, "Pre-Topical Exploration," you and your conversation partner are looking for common ground. This is a good time to ask questions, and to refer back to and build upon things said earlier. ("Did you get a chance to get away this summer?") When the other person introduces a topic, you should respond—or quickly offer an alternative.

Fear of awkward silences is common in people who aren't natural conversationalists. Expert say don't worry when it gets quiet. The other person is probably just thinking of something to say. I could chat with a tree, and even I was stumped recently after I took my seat on a plane and the man next to me responded to my opening line—"I hate to leave Honolulu"—with "I've been married 24 years."

In the "Post-Topical Elaboration" stage, your job is to keep the conversation going. "Good conversation is topic-building," says Dr. Carducci, so you should make links between subjects. ("I took a 'staycation' and saw some excellent movies.")

As in every stage, you should be careful not to talk too much. This means you should avoid your favorite topic, whether it is yoga or your kid's soccer tournament.

But don't let the other person hog all the airtime, either. If this starts to happen, mention something about yourself when he or she takes a breath. "Bad small-talkers are too self-critical, so they shut themselves down," says Dr. Carducci, who wrote "The Pocket Guide to Making Successful Small Talk."

The final stage is the "Wrap Up." Here, you signal that the end is near and show appreciation ("Nice chatting with you.") Demonstrate that you were listening by summarizing highlights of the conversation ("Thanks for those movie recommendations.") Look for a way to stay in touch, if you would like—offer a business card or ask if the person is on Facebook.

Ask a lot of questions. People love to talk about themselves and often will think you are a great conversationalist if you talk about them and not yourself. Don't let the conversation stall after the person has answered—be ready with follow-up questions or build on the topic. And avoid obvious inquiries. Cathy Svacina, a 60-year-old marbles expert and tournament referee from Kansas City, Mo., likes to ask people what they do for fun. "That immediately tells me more about who they are than what they do for work," she says.

Listening is crucial. Dan Nainan, 32, a comedian from Manhattan, has learned to summarize what the other person says. ("So you think that…" or "So what you're saying is…") "A conversation can go on indefinitely if you do this," he says.

Have a line ready for when you want the conversation to end. Ella Rucker, a 40-year-old freelance writer from Bronx, N.Y., smiles and says, "As much as I've enjoyed our conversation, I'll let you continue with your evening."

Mr. Swett's small-talk epiphany came several years ago, after he read Dale Carnegie's "How to Win Friends and Influence People." In 2010, he joined Toastmasters International, a group that helps people with public speaking. "I learned that people are mostly interested in themselves," says the 29-year-old Grand Rapids, Mich., software engineer. "If you talk to the other person about them, they'll be much more responsive and interested than if you talk about you."

Recently, Mr. Swett had a job interview at a telecommunications firm, where, rather than just talking about himself, he began by asking questions and then responded to questions others raised. One of the executives nodded approvingly and asked, "Did someone coach you on this interview?"



Definition List:
  • gift of gab: [idiom] the ability to speak easily
  • to sustain: to make something continue for some time without becoming less
  • big deal: something that is very special or important
  • belle: [not used in modern times, most popular in the southern USA] a beautiful woman
  • to apprehend: to catch somebody and arrest them
  • unanimous: if a decision or an opinion is unanimous, it is agreed or shared by everyone in a group
  • unison: f people do or say something in unison, they all do it at the same time
  • chatty: talking a lot in a friendly way
  • mere: used when you want to emphasize how small, unimportant, etc. somebody/something is
  • chitchat: conversation about things that are not important
  • to spark: an action or event that causes something important to develop
  • to clinch: to succeed in achieving or winning something
  • superficial: not concerned with anything serious or important
  • adept: good at doing something that is quite difficult
  • rule of thumb: [idiom] a practical method of doing or measuring something, usually based on past experience rather than on exact measurement
  • common ground: opinions, interests and aims that you share with somebody, although you may not agree with them about other things
  • awkward: making you feel embarrassed
  • stumped: to ask somebody a question that is too difficult for them to answer or give them a problem that they cannot solve
  • staycation: a holiday/vacation that you spend at or near your home
  • inquiry: a question intended to get information about someone or something
  • crucial: extremely important, because it will affect other things
Pronunciation MP3:
= gab
= sustain
= belle
= apprehend
= unanimous
= unison
= chatty
= mere
= chitchat
= spark
= clinch
= superficial
= adept
= awkward
= stump
= staycation
= inquiry
= crucial

Monday, November 11, 2013

NEWS: Buddhist School for Girls in Thailand

Originally posted on HuffingtonPost.com on July 31, 2013
by Ann Purcell

Something special is happening in Thailand. Over 400 girls are blossoming like beautiful lotuses at the Dhammajarinee Witthaya School -- the first Buddhist boarding school for girls from kindergarten through 12th grade.


In Thailand, boys who are poor or orphaned can go to a temple as a novice monk and receive an education. This has not been the case for girls. Seeing this inequality, Dhammajarinee Witthaya School was founded by Buddhist nuns as the first Buddhist boarding school for girls in the country. It is also the only free, Buddhist boarding school -- girls come from different provinces all over Thailand, from poor families, broken homes or as orphans.

Girls are the future of every nation. It has been well documented all over the world that when you educate girls, they achieve a higher standard of living and better health. They improve the quality of life in their villages, and their children are healthier and more educated. These girls also go on to impart the importance of respecting others, particularly women.

Unfortunately, in many countries including Thailand, especially in poverty stricken areas, young girls are extremely vulnerable to AIDS, drug abuse, violence and exploitation. The Dhammajarinee Witthaya school provides a safe haven for these girls, as well as a quality education.


By providing a rigorous modern academic curriculum along with Buddhist teachings, the school helps girls to lead better lives, and become the future leaders of their communities. Because many of the students have suffered past trauma, the school also includes yoga and transcendental meditation as part of the daily routine, to reduce stress.


Acharn Yai, a Buddhist nun and principal of the school, says, "The students learn TM at the beginning of the semester when the new students arrive. Coming from different places, their behavior was quite aggressive and they didn't pay attention to their studies that much.

"After learning transcendental meditation, they become more calm and settled. Their aggressive behavior decreases, their grades go up; they pay more attention to whatever we teach them. When they have inner happiness, they soak up whatever knowledge we give, unlike before."

It is beautiful to know that these young precious flowers of Thailand are blossoming into the fullness of who they are, and becoming enlightened leaders for their communities, Thailand, and the world.


For more information about Dhammajarinee Witthaya School, please visit: BuddhistGirls.org




Definition List:
  • inequality: the unfair difference between groups of people in society, when some have more wealth, status or opportunities than others
  • nun: a member of a religious community of women, a female 'monk'
  • boarding school: a school where children can live during the school year
  • to impart: to pass information, knowledge, etc. to other people
  • exploitation: a situation in which somebody treats somebody else in an unfair way, especially in order to make money from their work
  • haven: a place that is safe and peaceful where people or animals are protected
  • rigorous: done carefully and with a lot of attention to detail
  • curriculum: the subjects that are included in a course of study or taught in a school, college, etc
  • trauma: a mental condition caused by severe shock, especially when the harmful effects last for a long time
  • transcendental meditation: a method of making yourself calm by thinking deeply in silence and repeating a special phrase to yourself many times
  • aggressive: angry, and behaving in a threatening way; ready to attack
Pronunciation MP3s:
= inequality
= nun
= boarding school
= impart
= exploitation
= haven
= rigorous
= curriculum
= trauma
= transcendental meditation
= aggressive

Monday, November 4, 2013

FYI: Preserving Kindness in a Busy World: We Are All Connected

Originally posted on TinyBuddha.com
By Kiernan Cressy Anzelc
The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest good intention.” ~Oscar Wilde
Three times in the last two months I have nearly been run over by a fellow shopper’s grocery cart. Each time the customer rushing closely behind me had to suddenly swerve and push past, clearly annoyed with the obstacle, which was me.

As unpleasant as this was, I can relate to that shopper’s sense of urgency. Grocery shopping is one of my least favorite tasks. I focus on my list, sometimes while talking on the phone, and get done as quickly as possible.

There has always been busyness and stress to distract us from one another. Now with the pervasiveness of smart phones, there are requests for our attention always at our fingertips, pulling us away from the people right in front of us.

When I focus exclusively on my own needs I, too, am oblivious to the people around me.

I used to take my grandmother to the grocery store, when she was still determined to do her own shopping. Long suffering with emphysema, it took a tremendous amount of energy for her to get dressed and go on such an outing.

As she rode around in her scooter while I walked in tandem, she always had a smile for the ladies behind the deli counter who remembered her name. At check out, too, the clerks recognized her and would say how good it was to see her. Once in a while another shopper would look at her and share a friendly greeting.

In those moments I glimpsed my grandmother’s younger, playful self as she bantered back and forth, eager to experience those connections again.

I felt overflowing gratitude for these small acts of kindness. These folks could easily have continued about their day without pausing to acknowledge this frail woman. Such a small effort on their part became a high point that would set the tone for the rest of my grandmother’s day.

The reason she persevered in doing her own shopping was not the independence of getting her own groceries; it was the shared humanity she experienced in these small acts of kindness.

The conversations with the salesclerks and the few shoppers who smiled and greeted her buoyed her spirits beyond anything I alone could provide.

In the produce section recently I was considering my mental shopping list when a woman approached. She paused a moment to gaze at the heads of red leaf lettuce. Then she turned to me and beamed,

“Aren’t they just so pretty?!”

She happily picked one up and continued shopping. As I paused in front of the lettuces I realized they were quite lovely. And I smiled.

In one simple, refreshing comment that woman shared an acknowledgement of me.

She saw me, affirmed our shared experience, and presumed that I, too, would value the beauty laid before us.

My life is full. I am not seeking friendship in the grocery store.

But in that simple exchange I was reminded that we are all connected to one another.

I recently read that “among our most powerful human motive is the desire to form and maintain social bonds.” (Baumerstein & Leary.) We are social beings. No matter how busy or independent we are, our actions affect others.

With that in mind, while I was at the grocery today I made a few changes.

Slow down.

I walked at a steady pace. No speeding down the aisles.

At the freezer aisle a lady in a scooter asked me for help. This never happened when I was racing through the aisles. I gladly reached what she needed.

Observe.

I looked around me and made eye contact with several people. I stayed off my phone.

In the cereal aisle I noticed a woman with two young children, and I smiled at her.

Stay present.

At the check out, an older gentleman ahead of me turned around hesitantly. On making eye contact he initiated a conversation about his wife who passed away. It was a brief exchange that never would have happened had I been checking my email on my smart phone.

I will never know how these small acts of kindness affected anyone else today. But I do know that I respected my connection to these strangers by being fully present in those moments.

Being open to others might take us away briefly from our multitasking, busy lives. But by doing so we honor the inherent value in ourselves and each other. And nobody is left feeling like a speed bump in the grocery aisle of life.



Definition List:
  • to swerve: to change direction suddenly, especially in order to avoid hitting somebody/something
  • obstacle: an object that is in your way and that makes it difficult for you to move forward
  • urgency: that needs to be dealt with or happen immediately
  • pervasiveness: existing in all parts of a place or thing; spreading gradually to affect all parts of a place or thing
  • oblivious: not aware of something
  • emphysema: a condition that affects the lungs, making it difficult to breathe
  • scooter: sometimes called a 'mobility scooter', usually an electric 4-wheel chair for people who have difficulty walking
  • deli: short for delicatessen - a shop/store or part of one that sells cooked meats and cheeses, and special or unusual foods that come from other countries
  • to glimpse: a short experience of something that helps you to understand it
  • to banter: friendly remarks and jokes
  • frail: physically weak and thin
  • to buoy: to make somebody feel cheerful or confident
  • produce: things that have been made or grown, especially things connected with farming
  • to gaze: to look steadily at somebody/something for a long time, either because you are very interested or surprised, or because you are thinking of something else
  • to affirm: to state firmly or publicly that something is true or that you support something strongly
  • hesitantly: slow to speak or act because you feel uncertain, embarrassed or unwilling
  • multitasking: the ability to do several things at the same time
  • inherent: that is a basic or permanent part of somebody/something and that cannot be removed
Pronunciation MP3s:
= swerve
= obstacle
= urgency
= pervasive
= oblivious
= emphysema
= scooter
= deli
= delicatessen
= glimpse
= banter
= frail
= buoy
= produce
= gaze
= affirm
= hesitantly
= multitasking
= inherent

Monday, October 28, 2013

TED: How Mr. Condom made Thailand a better place

Original posted on TEDxChange in Sept, 2010

Welcome to Thailand. Now, when I was a young man -- 40 years ago, the country was very, very poor with lots and lots and lots of people living in poverty. We decided to do something about it, but we didn't begin with a welfare program or a poverty reduction program. But we began with a family-planning program, following a very successful maternal child health activity, sets of activities. So basically, no one would accept family planning if their children didn't survive. So the first step: get to the children, get to the mothers, and then follow up with family planning. Not just child mortality alone, you need also family planning. Now let me take you back as to why we needed to do it.

In my country, that was the case in 1974. Seven children per family -- tremendous growth at 3.3 percent. There was just no future. We needed to reduce the population growth rate. So we said, "Let's do it." The women said, "We agree. We'll use pills, but we need a doctor to prescribe the pills," and we had very, very few doctors. We didn't take no as an answer; we took no as a question. We went to the nurses and the midwives, who were also women, and did a fantastic job at explaining how to use the pill. That was wonderful, but it covered only 20 percent of the country.

What do we do for the other 80 percent -- leave them alone and say, "Well, they're not medical personnel." No, we decided to do a bit more. So we went to the ordinary people that you saw. Actually, below that yellow sign -- I wish they hadn't wiped that, because there was "Coca-Cola" there. We were so much bigger than Coca-Cola in those days. And no difference, the people they chose were the people we chose. They were well-known in the community, they knew that customers were always right, and they were terrific, and they practiced their family planning themselves. So they could supply pills and condoms throughout the country, in every village of the country. So there we are. We went to the people who were seen as the cause of the problem to be the solution. Wherever there were people -- and you can see boats with the women, selling things -- here's the floating market selling bananas and crabs and also contraceptives -- wherever you find people, you'll find contraceptives in Thailand.

And then we decided, why not get to religion because in the Philippines, the Catholic Church was pretty strong, and Thai people were Buddhist. We went to them and they said, "Look, could you help us?" I'm there -- the one in blue, not the yellow -- holding a bowl of holy water for the monk to sprinkle holy water on pills and condoms for the sanctity of the family. And this picture was sent throughout the country. So some of the monks in the villages were doing the same thing themselves. And the women were saying, "No wonder we have no side-effects. It's been blessed." That was their perception.

And then we went to teachers. You need everybody to be involved in trying to provide whatever it is that make humanity a better place. So we went to the teachers. Over a quarter of a million were taught about family planning with a new alphabet -- A, B for birth, C for condom, I for IUD, V for vasectomy. And then we had a snakes and ladders game, where you throw dice. If you land on anything pro-family planning, you move ahead. Like, "Mother takes the pill every night. Very good, mother. Move ahead. Uncle buys a condom. Very good, uncle. Move ahead. Uncle gets drunk, doesn't use condom. Come back, start again." (Laughter) Again, education, class entertainment. And the kids were doing it in school too. We had relay races with condoms, we had children's condom-blowing championship. And before long, the condom was know as the girl's best friend. In Thailand, for poor people, diamonds don't make it -- so the condom is the girl's best friend.

We introduced our first microcredit program in 1975, and the women who organized it said, "We only want to lend to women who practice family planning. If you're pregnant, take care of your pregnancy. If you're not pregnant, you can take a loan out from us." And that was run by them. And after 35/36 years, it's still going on. It's a part of the Village Development Bank; it's not a real bank, but it's a fund -- microcredit. And we didn't need a big organization to run it -- it was run by the villagers themselves. And you probably hardly see a Thai man there, it's always women, women, women, women. And then we thought we'd help America, because America's been helping everyone, whether they want help or not. (Laughter) And this is on the Fourth of July. We decided to provide vasectomy to all men, but in particular, American men to the front of the queue, right up to the Ambassador's residence during his [unclear]. And the hotel gave us the ballroom for it -- very appropriate room. (Laughter) And since it was near lunch time, they said, "All right, we'll give you some lunch. Of course, it must be American cola. You get two brands, Coke and Pepsi. And then the food is either hamburger or hotdog." And I thought a hotdog will be more symbolic. (Laughter) And here is this, then, young man called Willy Bohm who worked for the USAID. Obviously, he's had his vasectomy because his hotdog is half eaten, and he was very happy. It made a lot of news in America, and it angered some people also. I said, "Don't worry. Come over and I'll do the whole lot of you."

(Laughter)

And what happened? In all this thing, from seven children to 1.5 children, population growth rate of 3.3 to 0.5. You could call it the Coca-Cola approach if you like -- it was exactly the same thing. I'm not sure whether Coca-Cola followed us, or we followed Coca-Cola, but we're good friends. And so that's the case of everyone joining in. We didn't have a strong government. We didn't have lots of doctors. But it's everybody's job who can change attitude and behavior.

Then AIDS came along and hit Thailand, and we had to stop doing a lot of good things to fight AIDS. But unfortunately, the government was in denial, denial, denial. So our work wasn't affected. So I thought, "Well, if you can't go to the government, go to the military." So I went to the military and asked to borrow 300 radio stations. They have more than the government, and they've got more guns than the government. So I asked them, could they help us in our fight against HIV. And after I gave them statistics, they said, "Yes. Okay. You can use all the radio stations, television stations." And that's when we went onto the airwaves. And then we got a new prime minister soon after that. And he said, "Mechai, could you come and join?" He asked me in because he liked my wife a lot. So I said, "Okay." He became the chairman of the National AIDS Committee and increased the budget fifty-fold.

Every ministry, even judges, had to be involved in AIDS education -- everyone -- and we said the public, institutions, religious institutions, schools -- everyone was involved. And here, every media person had to be trained for HIV. And we gave every station half a minute extra for advertising to earn more money. So they were happy with that. And then AIDS education in all schools, starting from university. And these are high school kids teaching high school kids. And the best teachers were the girls, not the boys, and they were terrific. And these girls who go around teaching about safe sex and HIV were known as Mother Theresa. And then we went down one more step. These are primary school kids -- third, fourth grade -- going to every household in the village, every household in the whole of Thailand, giving AIDS information and a condom to every household, given by these young kids. And no parents objected, because we were trying to save lives, and this was a lifesaver. And we said, "Everyone needs to be involved."

So you have the companies also realizing that sick staff don't work, and dead customers don't buy. So they all trained. And then we have this Captain Condom, with his Harvard MBA, going to schools and night spots. And they loved him. You need a symbol of something. In every country, every program, you need a symbol, and this is probably the best thing he's ever done with his MBA. (Laughter) And then we gave condoms out everywhere on the streets -- everywhere, everywhere. In taxis, you get condoms. And also, in traffic, the policemen give you condoms -- our "cops and rubbers" programs. (Laughter) So, can you imagine New York policemen giving out condoms? Of course I can. And they'd enjoy it immensely; I see them standing around right now, everywhere. Imagine if they had condoms, giving out to all sorts of people. And then, new change, we had hair bands, clothing and the condom for your mobile phone during the rainy season.

(Laughter)

And these were the condoms that we introduced. One says, "Weapon of mass protection." We found -- you know -- somebody here was searching for the weapon of mass destruction, but we have found the weapon of mass protection: the condom. And then it says here, with the American flag, "Don't leave home without it." But I have some to give out afterward. But let me warn you, these are Thai-sized, so be very careful. (Laughter) And so you can see that condoms can do so many things. Look at this -- I gave this to Al Gore and to Bill Senior also. Stop global warming; use condoms. And then this is the picture I mentioned to you -- the weapon of mass protection. And let the next Olympics save some lives. Why just run around? (Laughter) And then finally, in Thailand we're Buddhist, we don't have a God, so instead, we say, "In rubber we trust." (Laughter) So you can see that we added everything to our endeavor to make life better for the people. We had condoms in all the refrigerators in the hotels and the schools, because alcohol impairs judgment.

And then what happened? After all this time, everybody joined in. According to the U.N., new cases of HIV declined by 90 percent, and according to the World Bank, 7.7 million lives were saved. Otherwise there wouldn't be many Thais walking around today. So it just showed you, you could do something about it. 90 percent of the funding came from Thailand. There was political commitment, some financial commitment, and everybody joined in the fight. So just don't leave it to the specialists and doctors and nurses. We all need to help.

And then we decided to help people out of poverty, now that we got AIDS somewhat out of the way -- this time, not with government alone, but in cooperation with the business community. Because poor people are business people who lack business skills and access to credit. Those are the things to be provided by the business community. We're trying to turn them into barefoot entrepreneurs, little business people. The only way out of poverty is through business enterprise. So, that was done. The money goes from the company into the village via tree-planting. It's not a free gift. They plant the trees, and the money goes into their microcredit fund, which we call the Village Development Bank. Everybody joins in, and they feel they own the bank, because they have brought the money in.

And before you can borrow the money, you need to be trained. And we believe if you want to help the poor, those who are living in poverty, access to credit must be a human right. Access to credit must be a human right. Otherwise they'll never get out of poverty. And then before getting a loan, you must be trained. Here's what we call a "barefoot MBA," teaching people how to do business so that, when they borrow money, they'll succeed with the business. These are some of the businesses: mushrooms, crabs, vegetables, trees, fruits, and this is very interesting -- Nike ice cream and Nike biscuits; this is a village sponsored by Nike. They said, "They should stop making shoes and clothes. Make these better, because we can afford them." And then we have silk, Thai silk. Now we're making Scottish tartans, as you can see on the left, to sell to all people of Scottish ancestors. So anyone sitting in and watching TV, get in touch with me. And then this is our answer to Starbucks in Thailand -- "Coffee and Condoms." See, Starbucks you awake, we keep you awake and alive. That's the difference. Can you imagine, at every Starbucks that you can also get condoms? You can order your condoms with your with your cappuccino.

And then now, finally in education, we want to change the school as being underutilized into a place where it's a lifelong learning center for everyone. We call this our School-Based Integrated Rural Development. And it's a center, a focal point for economic and social development. Re-do the school, make it serve the community needs. And here is a bamboo building -- all of them are bamboo. This is a geodesic dome made of bamboo. And I'm sure Buckminster Fuller would be very, very proud to see a bamboo geodesic dome. And we use vegetables around the school ground, so they raise their own vegetables.

And then, finally, I firmly believe, if we want the MDGs to work -- the Millennium Development Goals -- we need to add family planning to it. Of course, child mortality first and then family planning -- everyone needs family planning service -- it's underutilized. So we have now found the weapon of mass protection. And we also ask the next Olympics to be involved in saving lives. And then, finally, that is our network. And these are our Thai tulips.

(Laughter)

Thank you very much indeed.

(Applause)



Definition List:
  • mortality: the number of deaths in a particular situation or period of time
  • tremendous: very great
  • contraceptive: a drug, device or practice used to prevent a woman becoming pregnant
  • perception: the way you notice things, especially with the senses
  • IUD: the abbreviation for ‘intrauterine device’ (a small plastic or metal object placed inside a woman's uterus (= where a baby grows before it is born) to stop her becoming pregnant)
  • vasectomy: a medical operation to remove part of each of the tubes in a man's body that carry sperm, after which he is not able to make a woman pregnant
  • microcredit: The lending of small amounts of money at low interest to new businesses in the developing world.
  • denial: a statement that says something is not true or does not exist
  • airwaves: radio waves that are used in broadcasting radio and television
  • endeavor: an attempt to do something, especially something new or difficult
  • geodesic dome: a dome which is built from panels whose edges form geodesic lines
  • underutilized: not used as much as it could or should be
Pronunciation MP3:
= mortality
= tremendous
= contraceptive
= perception
= intrauterine
= vasectomy
= denial
= airwaves
= endeavor
= geodesic
= underutilized