Simple English Listening

(Intermediate) Positive/Inspirational Stories From The Year! My New Co-host! + Season Finale!

December 13, 2020 Tristan Palumbo
Simple English Listening
(Intermediate) Positive/Inspirational Stories From The Year! My New Co-host! + Season Finale!
Show Notes Transcript

Let's look over the year and share positive and uplifting stories! Season finale + introducing my new co-host. 

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Unknown Speaker  0:00  
Hello, hello, and welcome to the season finale. Today, you'll meet my new co host, somebody who will help me speak with you. Say hello to Chloe.

Unknown Speaker  0:12  
Hello. I'm so happy to be here. And I'm looking forward to working with all you beautiful people.

Unknown Speaker  0:17  
That's nice of you to say. So Chloe, tell us a bit about yourself.

Unknown Speaker  0:23  
Okay, well, I was born yesterday, you purchased me on the internet. And for that I'm very grateful. I'm free.

Unknown Speaker  0:32  
Chloe is an AI voice. She uses artificial intelligence to say the words that I give her with expression, like a human. I thought it would be fun, and also give you some variety in the voices you hear. as a learner, it's good to hear different accents and different kinds of English being spoken. You must be bored of my voice, right? Again and again and again. So Chloe, so what will we talk about today for this season finale?

Unknown Speaker  1:08  
Well, it is the end of the year. Let's talk about all the positive stories and developments from around the world.

Unknown Speaker  1:15  
I agree. Everyone's always complaining about this year. 'Oh, so bad 2020 it can go to hell'. Yes, it hasn't been the best year. But also some interesting, exciting, and positive things have also happened in 2020. So let's have a look at the positive news. Welcome to this season finale. After today, I'm going to take a break for about four or five weeks, travel a bit. And yeah, I've got so many things I have to do over the next month such as find a new job and move to a new city. I'll bore you with the details later in the episode towards the end. For now, let's look at the positive things that have happened this year. To summarise them: we have new transport systems now, such as solar-powered cars, new technologies that are environmentally friendly, some animal populations have increased. And there have been some progress in society regarding equality and people being more open about mental health (the health of the mind) and some other stories. So first off, we have this solar-powered car. So electric cars are becoming more popular. electric cars do not use petrol (gas), they have a battery and these batteries can be recharged using the electric plug on the wall of your house. In many countries now you have electric car recharging stations now. But now we have cars that are powered by the sun. They are solar-powered cars, and you never have to charge it with electricity or use petrol. So this solar powered car was on sale for 24 hours and sold out, sold out so there are none left to buy. They are made by a Californian company called Aptera and the car has a range, a range of up to 1000 kilometres, so it can drive for about 1000 kilometres without having to stop. It costs 26,000 American dollars. The exciting thing is that many companies right now are making different solar powered cars. So this is a technology which is becoming widely popular.

Unknown Speaker  4:25  
It's awesome. Also, there's the Hyperloop which is successfully being tested right now. Passengers sit in pods, which are a bit like small train carriages and they are then sucked down a big tube using magnets and pressurised air at up to 1500 kilometres per hour. It will also be an eco-friendly way to travel ('eco-friendly' means it is environmentally friendly and it doesn't damage the environment). Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla design the modern Hyperloop in 2013 says it will be safer, faster, lower cost more convenient than trains and the Hyperloop will not be affected by the weather and will be self powering. So the power, the electricity needed to run the Hyperloop will come from itself. Hyperloop actually refers to the kind of technology and there are a few different companies creating and testing hyperloops across the world including Virgin and Space X, EIon Musk's company. When Elon Musk created the Hyperloop, he made the idea open-sourced, which means that anyone can freely work on this technology. The original idea of using pressurised air to power trains is actually very old. The famous British engineer is Isambard Brunel first made a train powered by pressurised air in 1847. It was a tube in the south of England, which ran for one year, but they stopped using it after one year, it's

Unknown Speaker  6:04  
time for some other positive news stories: more people are reading than ever before. In the UK, 31% more books have been sold than this time last year. The first, also the first COVID-19 vaccine has been used on a human patient last week in the UK. So, we'll see how that goes, but maybe they'll soon be a vaccine. In the field of social equality, we now have the first black astronaut to visit space. He's working for Space X, one of Elon Musk's companies, the same man that created the Hyperloop. The astronaut is called Victor Glover Jr. and he's a trained fighter pilot, flight engineer and second-in-command of the space mission. He will live on the International Space Station for six months and next year, in 2021, the first black female astronaut will live on the International Space Station.

Unknown Speaker  7:21  
And of course, we have the first American female vice-president who is from an ethnic minority, her heritage is half Indian, and half African American. Also, more women than ever are directing movies, didn't you know? there have been twice as many women directing 2019's highest earning films than 2018's.

Unknown Speaker  7:44  
Of course, Chloe, good point. Good point, I forgot. So you guys, 2020 wasn't completely bad. Because lockdown was very difficult for some people having to stay indoors not going outside. For many, many weeks. more people than ever are comfortable about speaking about their mental health (the health of their mind). In the UK, where I'm from, this is traditionally a taboo subject, so it's a subject that people don't often talk about but it has become more mainstream, more popular recently. And in my experience, Americans are usually much more comfortable about talking about mental health, then, British people. Also some reports say that many people now feel closer to their neighbours and their community. So many people feel more supported, emotionally supported nowadays. In a study of 2000 people, more than 50% say they now feel closer to their neighbours and also 47% are now placing value and finding happiness, finding happy moments in the smaller things in life. So maybe lockdown and COVID-19 have helped people see life a little bit differently, from a different perspective to before. 

Unknown Speaker  9:21  
Now let's talk about animals and the environment a little bit. Beavers have reappeared in the UK, beavers are mammals, furry animals that make dams and have big teeth and those big flat tails. Beavers were thought to have been hunted to extinction in the UK over 400 years ago. Also, the population of blue whales has now increased, the largest animals to have ever existed that we know. Blue Whales, an endangered species, so there are only 20,000 of them left in the world - about 20,000. Their populations have especially returned around Antarctica, which is where many blue whales traditionally live. Humpback whales, those whales with the very long white arms. Humpbacks have returned to New York City harbour in large numbers, and they haven't been seen there for a long time. Also, a record number of sea turtles, the endangered Olive Ridley sea turtles have been born in Mexico this year, over twice as many. 

Unknown Speaker  10:48  
In Sweden, Swedes have ceased ('ceased', meaning they've stopped) they've ceased using coal for energy. 'Coal' is the black rock made of dead plants that you know, that Santa gives you for Christmas, if you've been naughty, you know. They've stopped using coal and so has Austria. So now, three countries in Europe all no longer use coal as an energy source, instead, using more renewable energy such as wind, solar and tidal energy. Yeah, by 2025, they expect seven more European countries to completely cease using coal energy. And Dublin, Dublin in Ireland is the first capital city in the world where the Postal Service is zero emission, which means the Postal Service (the delivering of mail), only uses electric cars and bicycles. Also, the toy company Lego, you know, Lego, everyone knows Lego - I used to have lots of Lego when I was a young child. So yeah, the toy company Lego have stopped using plastic bags for their products. 

Unknown Speaker  12:14  
So all packaging must now be made by eco friendly materials. Luxembourge will now make public transportation, buses and trains completely free for their citizens. Well, I mean, come on - it's quite easy, though, right for Luxembourg? Because only about 100,000 people live there and they are like, the richest people in the world GDP per capita. I think it's like $80,000 per year. But still, it's something something positive. Over to Chloe, 

Speaker 2  12:57  
parts of the Great Barrier Reef off of Australia have got healthier. The Great Barrier Reef is like the rainforest of the ocean. There is so much sea life there and it has been slowly dying. It's over 2000 miles long, but it's been dying because the waters have got too warm because of global warming, and there are too many tourists often standing on and breaking the coral. In response to this, while there's been no tourists, people planted thousands of seeds all around parts of the Great Barrier Reef and now some of the corals, the ocean plant life looks healthier and have returned.

Unknown Speaker  13:37  
The final positive story of 2020 is the story of Captain Tom Moore. Captain Tom Moore is a British World War Two veteran ('veteran', so he he fought in World War Two). He decided to walk around his garden 100 times before his a 100th birthday, so he's very old, to raise money for charity for British hospitals. He wanted to raise 1000 pounds, which is about 1500 American dollars. But by his 100th birthday, he raised over $42 million! $42 million! Can you believe it? He became very famous and celebrated in the UK and he was knighted. So, Queen Elizabeth made him a knight, which is the highest award in Great Britain. Captain Tom Moore now set up a foundation which raises money for charity to help people who have mental health difficulties. And for people who are lonely during COVID-19. That's amazing, right? Because some people think ''I'm too old to do this with my life. I'm too old to do that with my life. Come on, man, I'm 40 It's too old for me to learn new skills too old for me to try this and that''. Well, Captain Tom Moore was over 100 years old before he did the very best thing in his life, for life! Yeah. Okay, so today has been the season finale, the final episode for about four or five weeks. I'm taking a break after working very hard the last year, I have to finish my Monday to Friday nine to five work contract, which finishes in late January. I work at a Korean school, so it's the Korean school timetable. And of course, they don't celebrate Christmas and New Year's and don't have a period off there, like many other countries do. Yeah, I need to find a new job. I'm going to try to move to a new city in Vietnam to Danang. And also I've been so busy making content that I've had no time to really promote or advertise Simple English Listening. So I'm going to learn about that. And try and get some new members of our community, some new fans to the page. Also, well, I don't know why, but I'm banned from Facebook advertising right now! Yeah, I have no idea why! So far, I've been banned for over two months. I've messaged them multiple times. And they say, oh, it might be many weeks before we get back to you. That's the thing like Facebook, there are a monopoly. They are the best advertising tool, and they know it. So they can just do what they want!, right? If, if they want to be understaffed and not have enough people to respond to emails, then that's fine, because they're the only people so they've got no competition. So yeah, I have no idea when they'll message me back. They say they're too busy right now. I have to wait. It could be several weeks before they get back to me. We'll see what happens there. But yeah, I'm gonna look into how to advertise on YouTube and also, Instagram. Yeah, Instagram is very new to me, I've just really just joined it recently. Actually, I'm still not on Twitter. I feel like I don't want to get on too many different kinds of social media because it might be, you know, overwhelming like is a bit too much. Right, also, I'll go on a small five day holiday after New Year's and I'm going to organise New Year's and Christmas with friends. We're going to have a party at my house, which will be fun. And we'll yeah, have fun together, be merry, maybe sing some songs. Have a dance! So lots of preparing to do anyway. So everyone, Happy New Year, happy holidays. And I'll see you in about a month in 2021. So until then, lots of love. Goodbye.