English Challenge 05

I.  Article

A. Extreme Interviews – Article with Questions /

B. Excerpt to Read and Record

  1. Welcome to the strange world of “extreme interviewing,” the latest trend from America in which interviewers throw bizarre questions at candidates to see how they react.
  2. It may seem like a game, but extreme interviewing is deadly serious.  The idea is to see how quickly job-seekers think on their feet and, at a time when 25% of recent graduates are unemployed, it offers employers a new way of separating the brilliant candidates from the merely very good.
  3. This new approach to selecting candidates comes from Silicon Valley in California — where else?  Google, famous for its demanding interview process, asked a recent candidate: “You are stranded on a deserted island.  You have 60 seconds to choose people of 10 professions to come with you.  Who do you choose?  Go!”
  4. One of the early pioneers of extreme interviewing was Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, who could be famously cruel with job seekers.  Faced once with a candidate he considered boring, Jobs suddenly pretended to be a chicken, flapping his arms and making clucking noises round the unfortunate applicant, waiting to see what he would do.  In fact, the secret to extreme interviewing is neither in the question nor the answer.  It is in the candidate’s reaction.
  5. David Moyle, a headhunter with the recruitment agency Eximius Group in London, who admits to using the dinosaur question when selecting candidates, said: “Essentially, that kind of interviewing is used by us to give someone an opportunity to show they are smart and not easily flustered.”
  6. Most candidates actually get something out of it; it’s not about trying to crush them.  We are trying to give them an opportunity to show their personality, rather than just showing how they perform in an interview.”
  7. Of course, getting the job is just the start.  In the modern business world, survival will depend on what sort of dinosaur you really are.

D. Comprehension Questions

  1. What is meant by “extreme interviewing”?
  2. What is the goal or purpose of extreme interviewing?
  3. What is meant by “Silicon Valley”?
  4. Why did Steve Jobs act like a chicken during an interview?
  5. Do interviewees benefit from extreme interviews?

E. Grammar Questions and Notes

  1. In Paragraph 2, why is there a comma – what is the rule?
  2. In Paragraph 3, there is an em dash.  What purpose does it server here?
  3. In Paragraph 4, explain why each comma is required.
  4. In Paragraph 5, in this excerpt:  “that kind of interviewing is used by us”
    What tense and voice is “is used”?
  5. In Paragraph 6, what words could you use in place of “rather than”?
  6. In Paragraph 7, list all prepositions and their objects.

II.  Song

A. Title – Link / Lyrics and Questions /

B. Story

Watch the animated video at the link in II.A, and tell me the story told by this song.

C. Lyrics

01    The fortune queen of New Orleans,
02    Was brushing her cat in her black limousine.
03    On the backseat were scratches from
04    The marks of men her fortune she had won.

05    Couldn’t see through the tinted glass,
06    She said, “Home, James,” and he hit the gas.
07    I followed her to some darkened room,
08    She took my money, she said “I’ll be with you soon.”

09    Dark lady laughed and danced and lit the candles one by one —
10    Danced to her gypsy music till her brew was done.
11    Dark lady played black magic till the clock struck on the twelve.
12    She told me more about me than I knew myself.

13    She dealt two cards, a queen and a three,
14    And mumbled some words that were so strange to me.
15    Then she turned up a two-eyed jack,
16    My eyes saw red, but the card still stayed black.

17    She said the man you love is secretly true
18    To someone else who is very close to you.
19    My advice is that you leave this place.
20    Never come back and forget you ever saw my face.

21    Dark lady laughed and danced and lit the candles one by one —
22    Danced to her gypsy music till her brew was done.
23    Dark lady played black magic till the clock struck on the twelve.
24    She told me more about me than I knew myself.

25    So I ran home and crawled in my bed.
26    I couldn’t sleep because of all the things she said.
27    Then I remembered her strange perfume,
28    And how I smelled, it was in my own room!

29    So I sneaked back and caught her with my man,
30    Laughing and kissing till they saw the gun in my hand.
31    The next thing I knew they were dead on the floor;
32    Dark lady would never turn a card up anymore.

33    Dark lady laughed and danced and lit the candles one by one —
34    Danced to her gypsy music till her brew was done.
35    Dark lady played black magic till the clock struck on the twelve.
36    She told me more about me than I knew myself.

Questions for the Students

  1. How did the Dark Lady make a living?
  2. Who was James?
  3. What time of night did the Dark Lady like to perform her fortune-telling?
  4. How do you think the Dark Lady was able to know so much about her customer (the speaker/singer)?
  5. What made the speaker realize that her husband was cheating on her?
  6. What was the result of the speaker’s jealousy?
  7. Was Dark Lady a nice person?  Support your answer with facts.
  8. Was Dark Lady a rich person?  Support your answer with facts.
  9. Which of these words could be used to describe Dark Lady?
    (a) Fortune teller, (b) Medium, (c) Soothsayer, (d) Witch, (e) Psychic, (f) Wizard, (g) Gypsy

III. TED Talk

A. The Brain-Changing Benefits of Exercise – Link /
Excerpt & Questions /

B. Read and Record – Excerpt

  1. What if I told you there was something that you can do right now that would have an immediate, positive benefit for your brain including your mood and your focus?  And what if I told you that same thing could actually last a long time and protect your brain from different conditions like depression, Alzheimer’s disease, or dementia.  Would you do it?  Yes!
  2. I am talking about the powerful effects of physical activity.  Simply moving your body has immediate, long-lasting, and protective benefits for your brain.  And that can last for the rest of your life.  So what I want to do today is tell you a story about how I used my deep understanding of neuroscience, as a professor of neuroscience, to essentially do an experiment on myself in which I discovered the science underlying why exercise is the most transformative thing that you can do for your brain today.  Now, as a neuroscientist, I know that our brains, that is the thing in our head right now, that is the most complex structure known to humankind.  But it’s one thing to talk about the brain, and it’s another to see it.
  3. So here is a real preserved human brain.  And it’s going to illustrate two key areas that we are going to talk about today.  The first is the prefrontal cortex, right behind your forehead, critical for things like decision-making, focus, attention, and your personality.  The second key area is located in the temporal lobe, shown right here.  You have two temporal lobes in your brain, the right and the left, and deep in the temporal lobe is a key structure critical for your ability to form and retain new long-term memories for facts and events.  And that structure is called the hippocampus.  So I’ve always been fascinated with the hippocampus.  How could it be that an event that lasts just a moment, say, your first kiss, or the moment your first child was born, can form a memory that has changed your brain, that lasts an entire lifetime?  That’s what I want to understand.  I wanted to start and record the activity of individual brain cells in the hippocampus as subjects were forming new memories.  And essentially try and decode how those brief bursts of electrical activity, which is how neurons communicate with each other, how those brief bursts either allowed us to form a new memory, or did not.
  4. But a few years ago, I did something very unusual in science.  As a full professor of neural science, I decided to completely switch my research program.  Because I encountered something that was so amazing, with the potential to change so many lives that I had to study it.  I discovered and I experienced the brain-changing effects of exercise.  And I did it in a completely inadvertent way.  I was actually at the height of all the memory work that I was doing — data was pouring in, I was becoming known in my field for all of this memory work.  And it should have been going great.  It was, scientifically.  But when I stuck my head out of my lab door, I noticed something.  I had no social life.  I spent too much time listening to those brain cells in a dark room by myself.  I didn’t move my body at all.  I had gained 25 pounds.  And actually, it took me many years to realize it.  I was actually miserable.  And I shouldn’t be miserable.  And I went on a river-rafting trip — by myself — because I had no social life.  And I came back thinking, “Oh, my God, I was the weakest person on that trip.”  And I came back with a mission.  I said, “I’m never going to feel like the weakest person on a river-rafting trip again.”  And that’s what made me go to the gym.  And I focused my type-A personality on going to all the exercise classes at the gym.   I tried everything.  I went to kickbox, dance, yoga, step class, and at first it was really hard.  But what I noticed is that after every sweat-inducing workout that I tried, I had this great mood boost and this great energy boost.  And that’s what kept me going back to the gym.  Well, I started feeling stronger.  I started feeling better; I even lost that 25 pounds.

D. Comprehension Questions

1.    List at least three different brain conditions, according to this article.
2.    What is the main theme of this article?
3.    List at least three key areas of the brain.
4.    Where in the brain are long-term memories stored?
5.    What made her change to a different topic in the middle of her research program?

E. Grammar Questions and Notes

  1. In Paragraph 1, there are two “what if” sentences.  What kind of sentences are these – what is their purpose?
  2. In Paragraph 2, one sentence begins like this:  “So what I want to do today is tell you a story…”
    I have previously introduced this kind of sentence structure to you.  What kind of sentence is this called?
  3. In Paragraph 3, one sentence begins like this:   “How could it be that…”
    What is this kind of question asking?  (Reword it in a different but equivalent way to make what it is asking more obvious.)
  4. In Paragraph 4, the phrase “a few years ago” is used.  Of these two time phrases:  “a few years ago” and “a few years before”, which is more flexible (can be used in more situations)?
  5. In Paragraph 4, these sentences are present:

But when I stuck my head out of my lab door, I noticed something.  I had no social life.  I spent too much time listening to those brain cells in a dark room by myself.  I didn’t move my body at all.  I had gained 25 pounds. 

In my opinion, there is a problem with the verb tenses in some of these sentences.  What is the problem?

 

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