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Spain’s burnt out ’babysitter grandparents’ urged to strike -----西班牙呼籲累壞的「保母祖父母」罷工

  A call has gone out for grandparents around Spain to down tools recently and go on strike - because they’re sick to the teeth of all that childcare.

  For a country where half of all grandparents look after their grandchildren every day – one in eight for more than nine hours a day – the strike call threatens to disrupt the working lives of a significant proportion of the population and expose the extent to which this unpaid work is propping up the economy.

  "We want grandparents to strike to prove they are a key part of the way this country functions," said Manuel Pastrana, leader of the UGT general workers’ union in the southern region of Andalucia. "Learn to say no" and "don’t feel guilty" are the slogans, aimed at so-called "babysitter grandparents".

  The call is part of a wider attempt to bring the country to a halt with a general strike. But it has also struck at one of the key elements of Spanish society – where grandparents provide the childcare that working parents cannot give and the state does not offer.

  "It is a growing problem because grandparents are cheaper than childminders and they are an easy option when the economy is as bad as it is now," said Dr Jaime Rodriguez, of Spain’s Society of Gerontology. "That is probably fine for most of them, but some cannot cope."


burnt-out(或burned-out): 形容詞,指精疲力竭,尤指因工作或長期壓力而感到疲憊不堪的,如She was burned-out before she was 30. (不到30歲她就已身心俱疲。)

down tools:片語(主要為英國及澳洲用語),指拒絕繼續工作,尤指對薪資或工作條件不滿的情況,如Thousands of Krakow steelworkers downed tools to demand more pay.(數千名克拉科夫的鋼鐵廠工人為要求加薪而罷工。)

be fed up/sick to the back teeth: 片語(主要為英國或澳洲非正式用語),指對某情況拖延太久或對某事一再被討論感到厭煩或生氣,如He’s been treating me badly for two years and, basically, I’m fed up to the back teeth with it. (他惡整我已經兩年了,老實說我已經忍無可忍。)






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Scientists invent invisibility cloak---科學家發明隱形披風


  It sounds like a far-fetched invention from science-fiction or fairytales.

  But US scientists have developed a working invisibility cloak made from small particles of glass.

  When light hits an object, it bounces off the surface and into the naked eye, making it visible. But researchers at Michigan Tech University have found a way of capturing infrared light and bending it around an object, making it invisible.

  At the moment the science is still based in the lab. But if the same results could be achieved with visible light, the shrouded object would disappear from sight.

  Professor Elena Semouchkina has developed a nonmetallic cloak that uses identical glass resonators made of chalcogenide glass, a type of material that does not conduct electricity

  In computer simulations, the cloak made objects hit by infrared waves—approximately one micron or one-millionth of a metre long—disappear from view.

  It is the first time scientists have tried using glass to bend light in this way.

例句:I’m not conviced by your far-fetched excuse.(我不會被你牽強的理由說服。)

(be)made from:片語,(產生本質變化的)由……製成。
例句:The paper is made from wood.(紙是木材做的。)「be made of」則表示由成品可看出原料,例句:The table is made of wood. (這張桌子是木頭製造的。)

chalcogenide glasses:科學名詞,硫系玻璃。









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  The boss of the budget airline Ryanair has called for co-pilots to be removed from the flight deck to save money and suggested that air stewardesses could land planes in an emergency.



  Michael O'Leary claimed that air stewardesses could instead be trained to land an aircraft in the event of an emergency.

  In an interview with Bloomberg BusinessWeek magazine, Mr O’Leary, who has previously suggested that planes could fly with “standing-only” areas for passengers, said: “Why does every plane
have two pilots?

  “Really, you only need one pilot. Let’s take out the second pilot. Let the b----- computer fly it.”

  When asked what would happen if the single pilot fell ill while flying a plane, he said: “If the pilot has an emergency, he rings the bell, he calls her in. She could take over.”

  The idea has been ridiculed by pilots, who questioned Mr O’Leary’s commitment to passenger safety.

  Patrick Smith, an experienced pilot, described the idea as “beyond preposterous”.

  He added: “Even in routine operations it’s important to have a second person there.”

  Jim McAuslan, the general secretary of the British Airline Pilots’ Association, said: “Are there no lengths to which he will not go to get publicity?

  “His suggestion is unwise, unsafe and the public will be horrified.”

  Mr O’Leary also previously raised the idea of charging passengers to use the aircraft lavatories.

  Earlier this year, he introduced an extra baggage charge during the summer holiday season, which vastly increased the cost of checking in luggage for a journey.

  Kate Hanni, the founder of FlyersRights.org, a passenger campaign group, said: “He insults the dignity of the flying public every time he opens his mouth.”






「每日郵報」(Daily Mail)網站報導,這是奧里瑞一連串省錢花招的最新招數。他曾經顯然非常認真的建議,飛機可以只賣站票,也曾提出上洗手間收費的構想。今年夏季假期,他又實施託運行李收費,令許多旅客憤慨。





資歷極深的機長史密斯(Patrick Smith)告訴這家周刊,這個想法「荒謬至極」。



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   Early cavemen in Europe ate human meat as part of their everyday diet, new research suggests.

  A new study of fossil bones in Spain shows that cannibalism was a normal part of daily life around 800,000 years ago among Europe’s first humans.

  Bones from the cave, called Gran Dolina, show signs of cuts and other marks which will have been made by early stone tools.

  Among the bones of bison, deer, wild sheep and other animals, scientists discovered the butchered remains of at least 11 human children and adolescents.

  The bones also displayed signs of having been smashed to get the nutritious marrow inside and there was evidence that the victims’brains may also have been eaten.

  Striek marks on the bone at the base of the skull also indicated that the humans had been decapitated according to the study’s co-author Jose Maria Bermudez de Castro.

  Bermudez de Castro, of the National Research Center on Human Evolution in Burgos, Spain, told National Geographic: Probably then they cut the skull for extracting the brain The brain is good for food.

  Scientists believe that early man ate fellow humans both to fulfill his nutritional needs and to kill off neighbouring enemy tribes.

  Bones of humans that had been eaten spanned a period of around hundred thousand years, indicating that the practice was not just confined to time when food was scare.

  Because human and animal remains were tossed away together, the researchers speculate that cannibalism had no special ritual role linked to religious beliefs.

  Bermudez de Castro said that the area surrounding the caves would have been a rich source of food so there would have been little need to turn to cannibalism as a last resort.

  Instead the practice was probably more widely used as a way of dealing with competition from neighbouring tribes.

  Children will have been targeted as they would have less capable of defending themselves, the study suggests.










    自格蘭多利納洞穴(Gran Dolina)出土的骨頭上,有早期石器切割與作記號的跡象。 在野牛、鹿隻與野綿羊的骨頭堆中,科學家發現至少11具人類小孩與成人遭屠殺的殘骸。這些骨頭也有被敲碎、以取得營養骨髓的跡象。有證據顯示,這些受害者的大腦都被吃掉。


    據作者之一卡斯楚(Jose Maria Bermudez deCastro)研究,頭顱底部的條紋刻紋,顯示這些人曾經被斬首。


    擔任西班牙「國家人類進化研究中心」(NationalResearch Center on Human Evolution)研究人員的卡斯楚告訴「國家地理」(National Geographic)雜誌:「也許他們當時是為了人腦才砍頭。人腦是相當好的食物。」


    科學家相信,早期人類吃掉同類,是為了滿足營養所需,也是藉此殺掉鄰近的敵人部落。 被吃掉的人類骨頭年代,延續數十萬年,表示這種行為並不侷限於食物匱乏的時期。


    人骨與其他動物骨頭被丟棄在一起的情況,顯示這種行為沒有宗教意義。 由於人類與動物殘骸被丟在一起,研究人員推測,同類相食的行為不具宗教意義。


    卡斯楚又說,格蘭多利納洞穴附近區域食物資源豐富,所以他們不太需要以吃掉同類作為最後選擇。 反之,這種行為可能被廣泛用來解決與鄰近部落競爭的方式。


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