Learning English Podcast Endangered Species, Vegas Weddings, Top Tech
Welcome to Learning English, a daily 30 minute program from The Voice of America. I'm Ashley Thompson. And I'm Dan Novak. This program is designed for English learners, so we speak a little slower and we use words and phrases, especially written for people learning English. Coming up on the program, Dan Friedell reports Coming up on the program, Dan Friedell reports Coming up on the program, Dan Friedell reports on the 50th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act. I have a story on how New Year's Eve could set the record for weddings in Las Vegas.
Bryan Lynn brings us a story on the year in technology. Bryan Lynn brings us a story on the year in technology. Bryan Lynn brings us a story on the year in technology. And Andrew Smith and Jill Robins presents the Lesson of the Day.
the endangered Species Act had widespread support when President Richard Nixon signed it into law late in 1973. In the 50 years since, the effects of the legislation have been both successful and complex. Most Americans celebrated the law that helped save animals, such as the bald eagle and bison. But when the law stood in the way of economic progress, many questioned whether it was too strong.
The act took effect around the same time as other laws designed to protect natural resources such as water, air and the wilderness. In the 1960s and 1970s, no other country in the world had put such wide protections into place. Concerns came later when the law prevented projects such as a hydroelectric dam in Tennessee from moving forward. The concern? A small river fish no one had ever heard of.
That fish is called the snail darter. Plans to protect the fish hold up progress on the telecom dam for more than two years. Biologists eventually decided to catch the small fish and move it to other rivers. The fish population grew over time and the snail darters were removed from the endangered species list in 1984. About one year ago, the fish had fully recovered.
Jim Williams was the first so-called fish guy in the Office of Endangered Species when his group listed the fish. He recalled the decision made a lot of people upset. He said his director told him not to list the fish. But Williams said he planned to follow the law and make decisions based on facts, not on possible public reaction.
The snail darter decision showed the U.S. government that the law was going to be difficult to manage. Some said the government should not try to save all species. Others said all animals and plants should be safe from extinction. The debate continues today.
Many more disputes over the protection of species came up over the next 45 years. In each case, employees at the Endangered Species Office made decisions that upset some people but ultimately saved the animals. In northern Minnesota in the 1980s, the gray wolf population had recovered from only around a few hundred to about 1000. The Endangered Species Act had helped save the gray wolf.
With the population growing, people wanted permission to hunt the animals. The Fish and Wildlife Service sought to cooperate with the state of Minnesota and open the gray wolf to hunting. The move required a regulation showing that a hunting season would help the wolves and was the only way to control their population. Ron Nowack was a wolf expert in the Endangered Species Office at the time. The Fish and Wildlife Service told Nowack to write the regulation. And I said it would be illegal.
Nowak said the Fish and Wildlife Service found someone else to write the regulation. Conservation groups took legal action and called Nowak as a witness. He traveled to Minnesota to tell the government that wolves should not be open to hunting. Laverne Smith started working in the Endangered Species Office in 1978. Soon after came a major decision involving the California Condor, the largest bird native to North America. By 1982, only 23 California condors were left.
Biology tests were looking at whether the species could be saved. The office made a plan to move the remaining birds into a safe and closed area and breed them. The plan worked.
Today, there are more than 400 California condors. They can even be seen flying over the Grand Canyon. Smith said The day I saw one sail over the Grand Canyon, I was like, my God.
That was all worth it. Later in her career, Smith led the effort to list the polar bear as endangered. It marked the first time an animal was listed as endangered because of climate change.
Mark MLA began working at the Endangered Species Office in 1971, two years before the current Endangered Species Act was passed. Emily is an expert on mollusks. Small animals, including snails, mussels and slugs. He had concerns that hydroelectric dams were putting freshwater mussels in danger in states such as Missouri and Tennessee. At one point, Emily decided to make a phone call to a conservation group in Missouri to tell them that a planned dam would put the muscles in danger.
The call worked. He got locals to pay attention to the organism, and the dam was stopped in time. His work prevented a number of dams from being built. While some could argue that Emily slowed economic progress, he said in other cases, he found a way to help development move forward.
Time and time again, he said, you can work with a developer to save high quality land. I'm Dan Friedel. For better or for worse. The number of couples getting married in the city of Las Vegas, Nevada on New Year's Eve could set a record.
That is because the date 12 3123 is known in the Las Vegas wedding industry as a specialty date. The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that the repeating number pattern of one, two, three one, two, three is very popular. What makes it even more special is that the date falls on a holiday famous for big celebrations. It's a double whammy, said Melody Willis Williams, president of Vegas Weddings, which owns several wedding venues.
Any time you get these specialty dates, they're always hugely popular. But tie that in with New Year's Eve and it's a showstopper. Well, Las Vegas is famous for fast marriage ceremony. And many marriages take place there every year.
The number to beat on New Year's Eve is 4492. That is the single day record for marriages in Las Vegas sets on July 7th, 2007, the second most popular specialty wedding date on record with the county's marriage bureau is November 11th, 2011, when 3125 couples married. Since 2018, somewhere between 450 and 550 marriage ceremonies take place each year in Las Vegas on New Year's Eve, the Review-Journal reported. This year. The company Vegas Weddings is fully booked for midnight at all its venues, including a church in downtown Las Vegas. Willis Williams said her company expects to marry more than 120 couples on New Year's Eve.
Five of those couples will marry as the clock is counting down to midnight. Clark County Clerk Lynn Marie Goya said couples married on a specialty dates in Las Vegas have described them as magic dates that are easy to remember. I think the celebration that has a group dynamic is really appealing, Goya said.
When everyone is in line and they're all getting married and excited about being in love, it just enhances their own experience. I think the past year marked the rise of chat, tea and other artificial intelligence. A.I. tools. But here is a look back at some of the other noteworthy technology stories we covered in 2023. Both Apple and Google faced lawsuits accusing them of carrying out unfair business methods linked to their app stores. The cases might cost the companies billions of dollars and change the way similar app stores do business.
A decision in the Apple case was reached earlier this month when an American jury found Google's App store operates as an illegal monopoly. The case was brought by video game company Epic Games. One of the main questions in the case was whether Google had the right to require app developers to use Google's app stores payment systems. The jury ruled Google's monopoly covered both its app selling system and payment processing within the app.
Google condemned the decision and appealed the ruling. Epic brought a similar lawsuit against iPhone maker Apple that was decided in April. In that case, a judge in California mostly sided with Apple, But the judge did order Apple to permit developers to add their own links to process payments within iPhone apps.
The worldwide demand for electric vehicle EV batteries continues to grow, but suppliers of the materials used to make them are limited. Currently, China controls most mining and processing of a group of 17 metals known as rare earths. One of the main materials used to produce the batteries is lithium, A light metal substance. Other necessary materials include the metallic elements cobalt, manganese and nickel. Even those, some of the minerals are mined in nations outside China.
Chinese companies still hold ownership over the operations. In an effort to avoid a dependance on Chinese controlled materials, the United States and other countries are seeking to mine and process more materials at home. In February, U.S. President Joe Biden announced federal assistance programs President Joe Biden announced federal assistance programs President Joe Biden announced federal assistance programs to help companies mine and process lithium and other rare metals. Similar efforts were announced in other countries, including Britain and Germany. In addition, major automakers said they were seeking new EV engine designs that are less dependent on rare earth minerals.
EV market leader Tesla said it plans to remove rare earths from its next generation EVs. Other automakers said they are in the process of researching or developing EV motors that use little or no rare earth minerals. These include General Motors, Jaguar, Land Rover and BMW. We covered several developments involving Robotaxis items.
A team of American researchers announced it had built a humanlike robot that can play soccer at a high level. The robot, named Artemus, is one of only a few humanoid robots that can run. It also can walk and jump on different kinds of surfaces without losing its balance. The robot can also kick a ball and remains standing even when kicked or hit. The team said in Germany, many companies, large and small, turned to robots to fill jobs as the country faced a severe labor shortage. The International Federation of Robotics estimate later that about 26,000 robotic machines were put into use in Germany last year.
Experts say increasing robotic operations are a sign that robots have become easier to use with no special skills required. However, the risks of using machines in the workplace were demonstrated in South Korea, where an industrial robot crushed a worker to death at a vegetable processing center. Police said the victim was an employee of a company that deploys industrial robots to businesses. Nasser even tested a snake like Explorer designed to search for signs of life in hard to reach places. The American Space Agency said the robot is equipped to move in ways that traditional Explorer vehicles called rovers cannot.
In the future, Nasser plans to send the robot to space to search for signs of life in an underground ocean on Saturn's moon Enceladus. I'm Bryan Lynn. Bryan Lynn joins me now to talk more about his year end technology report. Thanks for being here, Bryan. Thanks for being here, Bryan. Sure, Dan, Glad to be here.
This week, you look back at some of the top technology stories from the past year and some of the topics covered seem likely to keep developing into the New year as well, right? Yes, I would certainly say so. The lawsuits against Google and Apple are two examples. The recent jury ruling against Google is far from over.
The next step in that case is for a judge to hear arguments about how Google will need to change its business operations to improve fair competition. And that process could begin in a couple of weeks. And the Apple decision has been appealed. So it is possible there could be a new decision in that case as well. The report noted a lot of developments in the electric car industry, especially in the area of battery production. What do you think we can expect to see in that industry in 2024? Yes, this industry has seen a lot of development in recent years.
The EV market continues to grow, as does demand for batteries and currently it seems a lot of companies, both EV makers and independent manufacturers, are trying to come up with new ways to produce batteries at home. As the report mentions, a lot of these efforts are at an early stage at this point and will surely develop further. And generally major efforts are ongoing to try to invent new battery technologies that can keep batteries in service longer and produce models that can keep cars running longer on a single charge. Great. Thanks again for being here, Bryan. You're welcome. Thank you. Dan. Hello.
My name is Anna Matteo. My name is Jill Robbins and my name is Andrew Smith. You're listening to The Lesson of the Day on the Learning English Podcast. Today we begin level two of Let's Learn English.
In this lesson, Ana is working as a journalist. She learns many things about her new home, Washington, D.C. In the videos, the professor, but character explains the grammar of each lesson. That is a funny little character, Professor Bot. Can you tell me about why he is in this series? Jill.
Yeah, we wanted to have more detailed explanations of the grammar in the main videos in this level, in level one. As you know, we had three videos, one with the story, one for teaching the vocabulary and new grammar points and a third for pronunciation. In level two, we decided to make just one video.
So Professor bot appears in the breaks in the video to explain grammar in less than one of this level two. We hear about Ana's work life. So there are a lot of words related to working and occupations. Let's listen to the first part. Listeners see what work words you can pick out.
Oh! Important meeting everyone must come Well, back to work and my boss has called a meeting. I wonder what it's about. Maybe we're all getting raises. there's Jonathan.
Maybe he knows. So, Jonathan, what do you think today's meeting is about? The email sounded important. Well, I have heard people in the building talking about budget cuts. Budget cuts? Wait, who has been talking about budget cuts? Mark in accounting. Mark in accounting. That's one person.
That's not people I know. But Mark knows everything that goes on at the studio. That is true.
But wait. Look at us. We shouldn't gossip. That's how rumors start. We'll just go to the meeting and see what happens. Yeah, you're right.
No more talk about budget cuts. If you were listening carefully, you would have heard one important word. Meeting.
Yes. Business people love those meetings. It's helpful to think about which verb we use with it. Carl, we heard. And my boss has called a meeting. Right. We say we call a meeting.
We've used the word boss before. In honest case, her boss or employer is Miss Weaver. Ana uses another work word when she guesses the meeting is to tell everyone they are getting raises.
A raise is an increase in what you are paid or your salary. That's something we all like. Another phrase you hear is budget cuts.
That is what happens when a business needs to spend less money than they usually do. But remember, that was a rumor about budget cuts. A rumor is some piece of information people talk about without really having the facts. Yeah, another word for rumor is gossip.
That is often when people tell others unkind things about another person. It's not a good idea to spread rumors or to gossip or talk about things you are not sure about. I agree. But let's find out what happens when the rumor spreads in the next part. Keep listening for those work related words. You'll hear some names of jobs in this part.
Budget cuts. no. I just heard Ana and Jonathan talking about budget cuts. That must be what the meeting is about.
When their budget cuts, people lose their jobs. Not you. You're a good reporter, and it's not you. You've done such a great job as a videographer. I. I can't go back to being a detective.
Criminals scare me, and I can't go back to being a teacher to high school. Kids scare me. Penelope, have you heard the news? Today's meeting is about budget cuts.
That's awful. What should I do? Update your resume. I've already updated mine. I'll see you at the meeting. Let's see. The job names I heard were.
Reporter videographer, detective and teacher. Did you hear any other work words? Andrew, I heard Kaveh talk about updating a resume. That is a list of the skills you have and the jobs you have had, as you can hear in this first part. First, two coworkers, Amelia and Kaveh. Then another Penelope happened to overhear this gossip.
They get worried about losing their jobs. I think they are worried because they heard Kaveh guess about the subject of the meeting. That must be what the meeting is about. When their budget cuts, people lose their jobs. To lose a job means to no longer have it.
And another expression will hear is to get fired. That is the danger of rumors. They can make people worry. As you may remember, Penelope is honors friend who has moved to Washington, D.C.. I think we should find out what's really happening in this meeting, don't you, Jill? Yes. Let's see what Miss Weaver has to say.
Hello, everyone. Quiet, please. Quiet, please.
This meeting won't take long. Then you can all leave. What is wrong with everyone? You look like I'm going to fire you. What? Seriously, What is wrong with everyone? Excuse me, Miss Weaver? Yes, I'm going to. Well, everyone has been worrying about.
You know, we've been worrying that you were going to fire us. I'm not going to fire any of you know, the reason for this meeting is to tell you what a good job you've been doing and give out new assignments. Budget cuts have been happening, but only one person has lost their job. Mark in accounting. Now, let's talk about those new assignments, She just wanted to praise them for doing their jobs.
Well, except maybe poor Mark in accounting. He may lose his job or get fired because of the budget cuts. Let's review some of the jobs we heard about in this lesson.
A reporter is someone who finds and writes about the news. Amelia tells Kaveh, You're a good reporter and we learned that Amelia is a videographer. That's someone who records and edits videos.
And it's not you. You've done such a great job as a videographer. But she talks about a past job as a detective, a person who tries to find out about crimes. Usually, this is a police officer. I, I can't go back to being a detective.
Criminals scare me. And Convy used to work as a teacher. You all know about that job. And I can't go back to being a teacher.
To high school. Kids scare me. Now we have some more questions for you. What job do you have now or want to have if you are not working yet? Do you enjoy your job? Why or why not? You can email us at learning English at VOA News.com or put your comments on our YouTube video for this podcast.
And it'll be great if you share the lesson of the day with your friends and family. Remember that You can also find us on YouTube, Instagram and Facebook. Thanks for listening. I'm Andrew Smith. And I'm Jill Robbins.
And that's our program for today. Join us again tomorrow to keep learning English through stories from around the world. I'm Ashley Thompson.
And I'm Dan Novak. And I'm Dan Novak.