Almanac – 24 August 2010 – Tuesday

Read the text first, then listen to the audio at the bottom of the page.

Kyoto in Summer

Good morning. It’s Monday, August 24, 2010.


On this day in history, in the year 79 A.D. the volcano, Mt. Vesuvius, erupted in Southern Italy, devastating the prosperous Roman Cities of Pompeii and Hurculaneum, killing thousands of people.

A volcanic eruption is a type of natural disaster. It can devastate, or destroy, a community of people, a city, or a particular ecosystem. Here are some similar verbs:

to devastate
to wipe out
to destroy
to overwhelm
to ruin
to ravage
to lay waste to
to obliterate
to annihilate

Listen and Repeat:

Look at these other types of natural disasters:

volcanic eruption
tsunami (or tidal wave)
hurricane (or typhoon)

Listen and Repeat:

Can you think of any other forms of natural disasters? Have you ever experienced a natural disaster? Tell us in the comments below.


And now for the weather in Kyoto: It will be partly cloudy again today, with highs in the lower 30s. Also, today is the first day of the full moon this month. It is called the Sturgeon Moon because this is traditionally the time of year when many sturgeons are caught in the Great Lakes of North America.

‘Highs in the lower 30s’ means that the high temperature will be somewhere between 30~33 degrees. See this scale:

lower 30s = 30~33 degrees
mid 30s = 34~36 degrees
upper 30s = 37~40 degrees

Sturgeon Moon
All moons of the year, traditionally have a name in North America. The moon for August is called the Sturgeon Moon because it is the time of year when many sturgeon are caught in the waters of the Great Lakes. A sturgeon is a very large, fresh water fish.

How’s the Weather Today?
Now I want you to tell me about the weather where you are. How’s the weather in your area? Answer this question. Say your answer aloud.
How’s the weather today?


China is ready to abolish the death penalty for economic crimes. The government plans to no longer execute white-collar criminals.

The death penalty, or capital punishment, is punishment by death for a serious crime. When a government or group puts a person to death, it is called an ‘execution’. In this instance, ‘to execute’ means ‘to put to death by order of law’.

Some countries have the death penalty, while other countries do not. Does your country execute people? Do you believe that execution is an effective way to prevent people from committing crimes? Answer below in the comment section.

White-Collar Crimes
Unlike murder, rape, and other violent crimes, a white-collar crime is generally economic and is carried out without physical violence. It is called ‘white collar’ crimes because the people who commit them often wear white collared shirts with a tie. They do not fit our stereotype of a hardened criminal. Their acts, however, can devastate lives in a different way.

Here are some forms of white-collar crime:

scams (investment, business, internet)
computer crimes
money laundering
insider trading
identity theft

Listen and Repeat:

Have you ever been a victim of white-collar crime? What happened? Tell us in the comment section below.


7 hours is the magic number for sleep. Scientists have discovered that people who sleep more or less than seven hours a day are at increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States.

‘Cardiovascular’ refers to the circulatory system of the body. It consists of our heart (cardio), veins and arteries (vascular).

How many hours a night do you sleep? Is it too much or too little? Share below.


We leave you with a famous haiku from master Bassho:

An old pond!
A frog jumps in –
The sound of water.

News and Weather Summary

Now listen to a summary. If you do not understand everything you hear, go back and read the text again. Look up all the new words in the dictionary.

Download audio file (nw240810.mp3)

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