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China's River Turns Red

Red is a lucky color in Chinese culture, but not when itcomes to river water.
The red water was discovered last month in the Chinese city of Wenzhou. Some people there alsoreported a strong, sharp chemical
smell in the air.
The local environmental protection agency investigatedthe incident. Officials said they found no sign ofpollutants released from the
factories that line the river.
Wu Yixiu follows water pollution issues for the environmental groupGreenpeace. She says this red river incident shows how
environmentalproblems are increasingly affecting people in cities.
I think the water pollution problem its no longer a remote problem, only in the countryside. Its affecting everyone, even
people in the cities.
Wenzhou is a center for business and industry on Chinas eastern coast. It isalso home to many Chinese Christians and has been
called ChinasJerusalem. After the river water turned red some city residents postedmessages on social media. Their messages said
the red waters were a signof Armageddon - an event described in Christianitys holy book as marking theend of the world.
Environmentalist Ma Jun says the river pollution is not the sign of the end oftimes. But he says it does represent an important time in
Chinas fight againstpollution.
So I think the next 20 years will be quite critical. The government needs tomake efforts to reduce pollution to provide a safe and
healthy environment for this generation.
How many dead pigs can fit in a Shanghai river?
In March of 2013, over 2,200 pigs were found dead in one of Shanghai's main water sources.
The Wenzhou River turning red is the latest of severalenvironmental incidents in China. In 2012, the YangtzeRiver also turned red
because of illegal pollution from afactory. Last year, more than 2,000 dead pigs werefound floating through a river in Shanghai.
In addition, Chinas government has identified severalhundred of what have been called cancer villages. These are areas where the
rates of cancer areunusually high because of industrial pollution.
Ma Jun says there are more than 1,700 water pollution incidents in Chinaevery year. He says many of Chinas rivers, lakes and even
aquifers arepolluted. An aquifer is a layer of rock or sand that can hold water.
China is facing a serious water pollution challenge. Much of our rivers, lakesand even our aquifers have been contaminated
especially in the denselypopulated regions. This has posed a serious risk. Up to 300 million residentsdont have access to safe
drinking water.
Earlier this year Chinese Premier Li Keqiang threatened to launch a war onpollut ion. Environmental activists say that war will depend
on enforcement ofexisting Chinese laws. Residents of Wenzhou would most likely welcomesuch an offensive. Eighty percent of the
water off of Wenzhous coast isconsidered polluted.
Im Anna Matteo.
VOA Beijing correspondent Shannon Van Sant wrote this report and AnnaMatteo adapted it into Special English.
Words in the News
culture n. all the beliefs, traditions and arts of a group or population
pollute v. to release dangerous or unpleasant substances into the air, soilor water (Pollutant and pollution are noun forms of the verb
"to pollute.")
incident n. an event or something that happens
industry n. any business that produces goods or provides services; thework and related activity in factories and offices; all
organizations involved inmanufacturing
Armageddon - n. the site or time of a final and conclusive battle between the forces of good and evil
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provide feedback on theuse of vocabulary and grammar.
Astronauts Train in Underwater Laboratory
Four astronauts recently completed training to helpprepare for a planned visit to an asteroid, or space rock. The four trained in a
special laboratory five kilometers from Key Largo insouthern Florida. They worked and lived 19 meters below the sea surface in the
worlds only underwater research laboratory.
The astronauts spent nine days in the Aquarius laboratory. FloridaInternational University operates the 37-square meter lab.
The training came as part of a project of NASA -- the National Aeronautics andSpace Administration. The project is called NEEMO,
for NASAs ExtremeEnvironment Mission Operations.
The name may lead some people to think of Captain Nemo, the star of JulesVernes book, Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea.
And a little fishcalled Nemo was the hero of the 2003 family film Finding Nemo.
The four NEEMO astronauts lived in conditions like those that they would faceon a visit to a near-Earth asteroid. The astronauts
tested the ability of humanbeings to exist and work in difficult conditions. And they left their underwaterhome only to go into
surrounding ocean waters.
American astronaut Jeanette Epps said she and another astronaut did a kindof spacewalk under the water.
That took a little bit of time to get up and running because we had a fewissues with the communication in our helmets so that we can
be able to talk to the crew inside the habitat and the topside.
Their temporary underwater home was not deep enough to require them todecompress each time they left Aquarius. That meant their
dives could lastlonger. Decompression involves reducing air pressure on a person who has been under high pressure while diving
deep underwater. Decompressionsickness can be deadly.
European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet of France said the crewtested human health and behavior inside the lab. They
wore badges, devicesthat recorded their positions or social interaction. The French astronautdescribed the goal as gaining better
understanding of reactions among peoplein such close surroundings, like those in space.
The four astronauts received help from people who have worked in theundersea lab before. Japanese astronaut Akihiko Hoshide said
thesetechnical experts care for all operating systems on the lab, including thespace suits that the astronauts wore. He said the
technicians knoweverything about the laboratory.
They are the people behind the scenes. We just do the mission but withouttheir help we cant do anything."
Im Jeri Watson.
Words in the News
astronauts - n. a person who travels in space
laboratory - n. a room or place where experiments in science are done
underwater - adj. located or happening below the surface of water
decompress - v. to release or reduce the physical pressure on something
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provide feedback on theuse of vocabulary and grammar.
War in Gaza Also on the Internet
The war in the Gaza Strip is being fought as much on the Internet as it is on the ground. Some people say theincreased use of social
media is changing the way people look at the conflict.
Palestinian activists recently put a video on the YouTube website. The videoshows rescue workers trying to help a Palestinian boy
look for his family. Suddenly, the boy is seen lying on the ground. The video claims he was shotby Israeli gunmen. A second bullet
appears to kill him.
The video is now being shared on social media. VOA could not independentlyconfirm whether the video came from a pro-Palestinian
group called theInternational Solidarity Movement.
The current fighting in Gaza is not the first time the Palestinian people haveseen war. But this is the first time Palestinians get to t ell
their stories to theworld as the direct source of information. Lisa Goldman is with the NewAmerica Foundation, a non-profit group.
She spoke to VOA on Skype.
Before, there were quite a lot of Israelis on Twitter, and this time, there are alot of Palestinians on Twitter, and this is new; this is
really new. Its somethingthat happened in the last year.
Yousef Munayyer heads the Jerusalem Fund, a pro-Palestinian group. Hesays that earlier news reports about the Middle East were
generally pro-Israel. But he says active social media work by the Palestinians is changinghow traditional media report the news.
Because the mainstream is trying to put out what they believe is the truth, butwhen you have this marketplace of information that is
showing different ideas,different images, different realities, they too have to then adjust their coverageto become closer to that
democratized sort of space of information.
The Israeli government understands the power of this new technology.
Social media is on the same par as traditional media in our broader publicdiplomacy efforts and strategy.
Jed Shein is the social media director at Israel's embassy in Washington. Hewarns against thinking that social media truly show how
the public feels aboutissues.
The people willing to comment and react on social media are the people thatmaybe are on the broader ends of each spectrum.
Use of social media to spread the news is not limited to the Palestinianterritories. The Islamic group ISIL has also used the Internet to
spread itsmessage to the world. Recently, Syria blocked Internet access for two hoursacross the entire country. Some people believe
the Syrian action was aneffort to stop ISIL from using social media networks.
Social media websites like YouTube and Facebook remain popular. Butexperts say there is little scientific evidence to prove how
effective they are in the Gaza conflict. Lisa Goldman notes the importance of having news mediaemployees report from conflict
People like Ayman Mohyeldin from NBC News in the States, people likeSherine Tadros for Sky News, Ben Wedeman from CNN.
These are Arabicspeakers, people whove been in the Middle East for a long time and whoknow Gaza very well.
Im Jonathan Evans.
*This report was based on stories by Ayeesha Tanzeem and Matthew Hilburn.
Words in the News
confirm v. to approve; to say that something is true
effect n. the result or change caused by something
evidence n. material or facts that prove something;
a reason for believing
general n. a high military leader; ad. without details;
affecting or including all or almost all
movement n. the act of moving or a way of moving;
a series of acts or efforts to reach a goal
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provide feedback on theuse of vocabulary and grammar.
Woman Works as Bridge to the Dead
All humans share two life events birth and death.
However, people deal with death in many different ways. Culture, religion,personal beliefs and fear all influence our reactions.
Sometimes death seemsso sad that we look for help, for comfort, sometimes in unusual ways.
Abigail McCarthy remembers awakening and walking outside her bedroomone night during childhood in Johannesburg, South Africa.
As a small child I remember, in the house we were staying, and we stayed inquite an old house, and waking up and there a woman at
the top of thepassage -- thinking it was my mother, calling for her. And when she turnedaround, I saw it wasnt my mother.

Later, people told her that the woman she said she saw had died in the houseyears before.
Today, Abigail McCarthy is in her early 40s with long, dark hair and intenseblue-green eyes. She was about six years old when she
believes she startedseeing dead people.
She says that at first, she felt very afraid of talking with what she calls spiritsof the dead. But she got over her fear. She became a
medium, a person in the middle, so to speak, of the world of the living and the world of the dead. She says being a medium, a bridge
to the after-life, did not come easy to her.
She says the more contact she had with the dead, the more she understoodthat she was helping people deal with death.
Ms. McCarthy says that people often struggle to accept the deaths of theirloved ones. This is especially true of those who die in
terrible circumstancesor terrible situations.
People in mourning come to Ms. McCarthy
Ms. McCarthy now works as a medium at a spiritual healing center inJohannesburg. There she has dealt with people at the lowest
points in theirlives -- people who have lost their life partners or parents who have lost alltheir children in auto accidents.
Ive had a father who lost his children, you know, people who have lost theirparents recently or ... but the children, yeah ... when that
happens, the pain isunbearable or somebody losing their partner. You do find a desperationwith them. They are lost.
Ms. McCarthy says her clients often ask her to finish unfinished business things like unsettled anger or hurtful words that may have
been said. Somepeople come to her looking for forgiveness.
How Does a Medium Work?
Abigail McCarthy says her communication with dead people begins on ablank, empty page. She asks her clients people who come
to her -- to tellas little as possible about the person they want her to reach. Then she saysshe just starts talking.
She says she does not really see dead people in the room. Instead, she saysshe feels their presence and sees them in her mind. She
adds that what shesees is not like in the movies .
I literally see in my mind a person or a place or how they look, what they arewearing, what they are saying or trying to get across.
Nothing bizarrehappens. The room doesnt shake. Things aren't knocked over.
Ms. McCarthy does not hurry to call her so-called ability to communicate withdead people a gift.
I hesitate to call it a gift. But yeah, I do believe weve all got our gifts. I dontagree that its something thats special or that youre
above others. I think itsgot to be used in the right way; I think youve got to be very careful that youdont become arrogant with it.
Some religions condemn or forbid attempts to contact dead people. And evenworking with a medium is considered a sin. Ms.
McCarthy feels that it is up to the individual.
I have had a couple of readings with people that are religious and have been abit nervous and have said, Is this okay; should I maybe
not be here? And Ialways say: Well, thats up to you. I certainly dont believe what Im doing isevil. But if you really are that
uncomfortable then maybe you mustnt do it.
Ms. McCarthy says that in the past she often wished that she was not amedium. She wished she had a more normal career. But she
says she haslearned to accept her ability. And she says she enjoys helping other people.
I don't run around preaching love and light. I just do what I do in the time that Ido it. And Ive learned to see that its helpful for
others, and Im seeing that as the good side. And actually, if I had to stop now it would be a littledisappointing. I enjoy helping
Ms. McCarthy understands that some people do not believe her. But thatdoes not change the fact that she believes she is helping
people by givingthem peace of mind.
Im Anna Matteo.
Feel free to share your opinions of this piece in our comment section.
This broadcast was adapted into Learning English by Anna Matteo. It is basedon a report by VOA Johannesburg correspondent Darren
Words in the News
medium n. an individual who is supposed to be a channel of communicationbetween the earthly world and a world of spirits
afterlife - n. a life that some people believe exists after death
circumstance - n. a condition or fact that affects a situation
forgive - v. to pardon; to excuse; to remove guilt (forgiveness n.)
condemn - v. to say in a strong and definite way that someone or somethingis bad or wrong (condemnation n.)
Practice with one of these words in our comments section.
A Big Step Forward in Artificial Intelligence Research
The American computer company IBM says it hasdeveloped a microprocessor -- a computer chip -- thatworks much like the human
IBM calls the chip TrueNorth. It is the size of a postage stamp. The chip has 5.4 billion tiny parts that work like the human brains
neurons and synapses.Neurons and synapses are the cells and electric forces that carry messagesto and from the brain.
TrueNorth has 1 million neurons and 256 million synapses. The human brainhas 100 billion neurons and up to 150 trillion synapses.
IBM says it canprogram the new chip to understand difficult problems and then solve them ashumans would.
The company says the TrueNorth chip could be used as a brain for search-and-rescue robots. It can also be used for controlling new
kinds ofwheelchairs or for recording conversations involving several people and thenmaking a printed record of those conversations.
TrueNorth is still being tested. But IBM says it could be available for public usein two to three years.
The chip is just one example of machines becoming more and more likehumans. This field of study is called artificial intelligence, or
AI. Some expertsbelieve computers will someday become more intelligent than humans.
Researchers are trying to develop ways for humans and computers to worktogether more closely. Someday, humans and computers
may be joined. Thecombination of a human and a computer is called a cyborg.
Jonathan Mugan has written a book about the relationship between humansand computers, called The Curiosity Cycle. He told VOA
by email that it istime to prepare for a future where computers have more control over our lives.
In his words, machines are technology. And technology expands as humanknowledge expands. By contrast, human intelligence
developed throughevolution, which is a much slower process.
Mr. Mugan believes that smarter computers are good for humans. He saysintelligent machines can help humans solve many of our
most difficultproblems.
But he says once computers become broadly smarter than humans, its hardto predict what will happen.
Im Jonathan Evans.
This story was reported by VOA reporters George Putic and Aida Akl inWashington. It was adapted into Special English by Jonat han
Evans, who alsonarrated the report. It was edited by Christopher Cruise.
Words in the News
artificial intelligence (A.I.) - n. an area of computer science that deals withgiving machines the ability to seem like that have human
cyborg - n. a person whose body contains mechanical or electrical devicesand whose abilities are greater than normal humans
intelligence n. the ability to think or learn
neuron - n. a cell that carries messages between the brain and other parts of the body
synapse - the place where a signal passes from one nerve cell to another
Ebola Kills More Than Humans
The Ebola virus has killed more than 1,000 people inWest Africa. But it also threatens wildlife, like theseverely endangered western
lowland gorilla. VOAs Steve Baragona reportsthat the spread of Ebola shows how animal diseases spill over the barrierbetween
animals and humans to infect people.
What killed the chimpanzee?
One day in 1996, boys from a village in northern Gabon found a deadchimpanzee in the forest. They took it home, and the villagers
prepared theanimal for food. The World Health Organization says this started an Ebolaoutbreak that killed 21 people.
Years later, writer David Quammen made a reporting trip to Gabon. He mettwo men from that village who were there during the
Ebola outbreak. Theysaid their families were not the only ones affected.
At the time Ebola was hitting their village, they saw something strange.Nearby in the forest, they saw a pile of 13 dead gorillas.
The killer? Ebola. Mr. Quammen says for the western lowland gorilla, Ebolahas been devastating -- extremely destructive. He spoke
to VOA on Skype.
There has been an epidemic wave of death passing through gorillapopulations across central Africa, a wave of Ebola that has been
killing themas well as occasionally killing humans.
Peter Walsh of the University of Cambridge in England studied gorillas in aCongolese wildlife protection area in the early 2000s. At
that time, two Ebolaoutbreaks struck. Ninety to 95 percent of the gorillas simply disappeared.
Mr. Walsh says he and his team estimated that Ebola would destroy 45percent of the population in just one generation.
Mr. Walsh participated in writing a study of the situation of the western lowlandgorilla. The study resulted in placement of the animal
on the criticallyendangered list.
Disease and the Spillover Effect
For David Quammen, the story of the 13 dead gorillas outside the Gabonvillage shows how new infectious diseases are connecting
humans andanimals.
Mr. Quammen wrote a book called Spillover: Animal Infections and the NextHuman Pandemic. This book describes how these
diseases jump, or move, from animals to people at an increasing rate.
Rats carry many different diseases. The fleas on rats then transmit disease to humans.
This is not new.
Bubonic plague, for example, jumped from rodents likerats to humans through infected fleas, a tiny bitinginsect. That plague killed as
many as 60 percent ofEuropeans in the 14th century.
But David Quammen says many new diseases,especially viruses, seem to be developing.
Something seems to be different because weve seen a lot of these newdiseases, especially viral diseases, emerging over the last five
or six decades. And that, of course, raises the question of, why? Whats different now?
Mr. Quammen says one reason is that the human population is going deeperand deeper into habitats or living areas -- where humans
are finding newcreatures.
There are now seven billion of us on the planet. Were going into thesediverse ecosystems. Were cutting down trees, were building
mines, werebuilding villages and roads. And were coming in contact with these animals. And were giving the viruses those animals
carry the opportunity to jump to anew host, to spill over into human populations.
Contamination Is A Two-Way Street
In the world of diseases, contamination -- spreading germs -- goes two ways.
Peter Walsh says ecotourism has helped protect the living areas of apes. But he says people taking those environmental trips are
killing the apes they cometo see. He says this happens because people bring their viruses with them.
Human respiratory viruses are the number one source of death in habituatedchimpanzees and gorillas. In chimpanzees, half of the
deaths are caused byhuman respiratory viruses.
Mrithi, a 20-year-old male western lowland gorilla.
Mr. Walsh wants apes that come near tourists toreceive vaccine against human diseases such asmeasles.
He and his scientific team also call for betterenforcement of laws against harming the severelyendangered western lowland gorilla. In
addition, theyare asking for better protection of their decreasinghabitat.
But the gorillas are still defenseless to a disease like Ebola that kills bothhumans and our wild relatives.
Im Anna Matteo.
This story is based on a report by VOA reporter Steve Baragona. It wasadapted by Anna Matteo for Learning English.
Words in the News
Epidemic n. (medical) an occurrence in which a disease spreads veryquickly and affects a large number of people
Habitat n. place where a plant or animal naturally or normally lives or grows
Infectious adj. capable of being passed to someone else by germs thatenter the body
Contaminate v. to make (something) dangerous, dirty, or impure by addingsomething harmful or undesirable to it
Ecosystem n. everything that exists in a particular environment
Bubonic Plague n. a very serious disease that is spread especially by ratsand that killed many people in the Middle Ages
And that's Words in the News. Now its your turn to use these words. In thecomment section, write a sentence using one of the words
and we will do ourbest to provide feedback on the use of vocabulary and grammar.
Cambodia Wants China to Limit Visas
An increasing number of Cambodian women are findingtheir way into sham Chinese marriages. Many arebecoming victims of human
trafficking -- for the purpose of forced labor orsex.
Chu Bun Eng is Cambodias Secretary of State for the Ministry of Interior. Shealso heads the National Authority Against Human
She says restrictive visas will help lower the number of trafficked women. She says the government sent a letter to the Chinese
embassy in PhnomPenh. The letter reportedly says many Cambodian women are suffering afterbeing tricked into sham marriages.
A spokesman for Cambodias Ministry of Foreign Affairs says the governmenthas asked for Chinas cooperation. Spokesman Koy
Kuong says the appealalso went to Chinese embassies in Laos, Vietnam, and Thailand, whereCambodian women may request for
He says China has started to have stronger restrictions on visas because theproblem keeps getting bigger. But a Chinese embassy
spokesman, ChengHong Bo, says he cannot say if China is prepared to restrict visas.
He says only that China is ready to work closely with Cambodia on the issue.
Between the two countries, I think that we should put more emphasis on [human trafficking]. I mean to cooperate more closely to
deal with theseissue(s).
The rights group Adhoc says it received 108 reports of cross-border traffickingduring the first six months of the year. Nearly 300
people reportedly wereinvolved. Twenty-nine of them had gone to China.
Lim Mony of Adhoc says trafficked women who escaped from China havereported sexual abuse, overwork and starvation.
She says some of the victims took drugs in an effort to take their life whileothers went into hiding. Some have been kept as slaves.
She adds that traffickers working to set up fake marriages have a deeporganization inside Cambodia and China.
One victim was Chan Rumduol, which is not her real name. She told VOA that her family was persuaded by a middleman to send her
to be married to aman in China. In exchange, her family would receive money every month.
Instead, she says, she was taken by a human trafficker and raped. She saysshe was then given to a Chinese man, who let her live with
him in rural China.
Chan Rumduol says she thought she would only have one husband, but wasforced to change from one Chinese man to another. She
escaped to call hermother, who turned to Adhoc for help. She finally returned home and reportedthe trafficker to the group. The
trafficker has yet to be caught.
Chu Bun Eng says her office will take action on any complaints that reach heroffice. But Adhoc says many victims have reported
complaints andgovernment officials have refused to take action.
Im Marsha James.
This report was based on a story by reporter Thida Win.
Words in the News
restrict - v. to limit; to prevent from increasing or becoming larger
visa - n. the official permission given to a person to enter a country where he or she is not a citizen
trick - v. to cheat; to fool a person so as to get something or make him or herdo something
escape - v. to get free; to get away from; to get out of
persuade - v. to cause someone to do something by explaining or urging
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provide feedback on theuse of vocabulary and grammar.
Listen to this story as you read it: Monkey Expressions
Now, the VOA Special English program Words andTheir Stories.
Monkeys are very similar to us in many ways -- most have ten fingers and tentoes, and brains much like ours. We enjoy watching
them because they oftenact like us. In fact, Charles Darwins theory of evolution says that monkeysand humans share a common
Songwriter William Gilbert, in the musical Princess Ida, wrote:
Darwinian man, though well-behaved, at best is only a monkey shaved.
His words -- sung to Sir Arthur Sullivans music -- make listeners smile. Well,monkeys make us smile, too, because they are
creatures full of playful tricks.
This is why many monkey expressions are about tricky people or playful acts.One of these expressions is monkeyshines, meaning
tricks or foolish acts. The meaning is clear if you have ever watched a group of monkeys playfullychasing each other -- pulling tails,
stealing food, doing tricks. So, when ateacher says to a group of students Stop those monkeyshines right now!,you know that the
boys and girls are playing instead of studying.
You might hear that same teacher warn a student not to monkey around witha valuable piece of equipment. You monkey around
with something whenyou do not know what you are doing. You are touching or playing withsomething you should leave alone.
Also, you can monkey around when you feel like doing something, but haveno firm idea of what to do. For example, you tell your
friend you are going tospend the day monkeying around with your car. Well, you do not have anyjob or goal in mind -- it is just a
way to pass the time.
Monkey business usually means secret -- maybe illegal -- activities. A newsreport may say there is monkey business involved in
building the new airport,with some officials getting secret payments from builders.
You may make a monkey out of someone when you make that person lookfoolish. Some people make a monkey out of
themselves by acting foolish orsilly.
If one monkey has fun, imagine how much fun a barrel of monkeys canhave! If your friend says he had more fun than a barrel of
monkeys at yourparty, you know that he had a really good time.
Monkey suits are common names for clothes or uniforms soldiers wear.
In earlier years in many American cities, you would find men playing musicalhand organs on the street. Dancing to the music would
be the mans smallmonkey dressed in a tight-fitting, colorful jacket similar to a military uniform.So, people began to call a military
uniform a monkey suit.
This VOA Special English program Words and Their Stories was written byMarilyn Rice Christiano. Maurice Joyce was the narrator.
Im Shirley Griffith.
Dog Talk
Now the VOA Special English program Words and Their Stories.
Americans use many expressions with the word "dog." People in the United States love their dogs and treat them well. They take their
dogs for walks, let them play outside and give them good food and medical care. However, dogs without owners to care for them lead
a different kind of life. The expression "to lead a dog's life" describes a person who has an unhappy existence.
Some people say we live in a "dog-eat-dog world." That means many people are competing for the same things, like good jobs. They
say that to be successful, a person has to "work like a dog." This means they have to work very, very hard. Such hard work can make
people "dog-tired." And the situation would be even worse if they became "sick as a dog."
Still, people say "every dog has its day." This means that every person enjoys a successful period during his or her life. To be
successful, people often have to learn new skills. Yet, some people say that "you can never teach an old dog new tricks." They believe
that older people do not like to learn new things and will not change the way they do things.
Some people are compared to dogs in bad ways. People who are unkind or uncaring can be described as "meaner than a junkyard
dog." Junkyard dogs live in places where people throw away things they do not want. Mean dogs are often used to guard this property.
They bark or attack people who try to enter the property. However, sometimes a person who appears to be mean and threatening is
really not so bad. We say "his bark is worse than his bite."
A junkyard is not a fun place for a dog. Many dogs in the United States sleep in safe little houses near their owners' home. These
doghouses provide shelter. Yet they can be cold and lonely in the winter. Husbands and wives use this doghouse term when they are
angry at each other. For example, a woman might get angry at her husband for coming home late, or forgetting their wedding
anniversary. She might tell him that he is "in the doghouse." She may not treat him nicely until he apologizes. However, the husband
may decide that it is best to leave things alone and not create more problems. He might decide to "let sleeping dogs lie."
Dog expressions also are used to describe the weather. The "dog days of summer" are the hottest days of the year. A rainstorm may
cool the weather, but we do not want it to rain too hard -- we do not want it to "rain cats and dogs."
This VOA Special English program Words and Their Stories was written by Jill Moss.
I'm Faith Lapidus.
All About Eyes
Now, the VOA Special English program Words and Their Stories.
Todays program is all about eyes. When it comes to relationships, peopleseyes can be "a window into their hearts." This means that
their eyes can tell alot about how they feel. We will tell a story about a man and woman who areteachers at the same school. The
woman is interested in the man. She usesmany methods to "catch his eye," or get him to notice her. Once he "setseyes on her," or sees
her, she might try to get him interested in her by actingplayful. In other words, she might try to "make eyes at him" or "give him
Let us suppose that this man gets "hit between the eyes." In other words, the woman has a strong effect on him. He wants to spend
time with her to get to know her better. He asks her out on a date.

She is so happy that she may walk around for days with "stars in her eyes." She is extremely happy because this man is "the apple of
her eye" -- a very special person. She might tell him that he is the only person she wants, or "I only have eyes for you."
On their date, the couple might eat a meal together at a restaurant. If the man is really hungry, his "eyes might be bigger t han his
stomach" -- he might order more food than he can eat. When his food arrives at the table, his eyes might "pop out." He might be very
surprised by the amount of food provided. He might not even "believe his own eyes." In fact, "all eyes would be watching" him if he
ate all the food. This might even "cause raised eyebrows" -- people might look at the man with disapproval.
During their dinner, the couple might discuss many things. They might discover that they "see eye-to-eye," or agree on many issues.
They share the same beliefs and opinions. For example, they might agree that every crime or injury should be punished. That is, they
firmly believe in the idea of "an eye for an eye." They might also agree that it is wrong to "pull the wool over" a persons eyes. This
means to try to trick a person by making him believe something that is false. But the man and woman do not believe in the "evil eye"
-- that a person can harm you by looking at you.
The next day, at their school, the woman asks the man to "keep an eye on," or watch the young students in her class while she is out of
the classroom. This might be hard to do when the teacher is writing on a board at the front of the classroom. To do so, a teacher would
need to have "eyes in the back of his head." In other words, he would know what the children are doing even when he is not watching
Words and Their Stories, in VOA Special English, was written by Jill Moss.
Im Faith Lapidus.
Nose and Ear Expressions
Now, the VOA Special English program Words and Their Stories.
A persons nose is important for breathing and smelling. The nose is also used in many popular expressions.
Some people are able to "lead other people by the nose." For example, if a wife "leads her husband by the nose," she makes him do
whatever she wants him to do.
Some people are said to be "hard-nosed." They will not change their opinions or positions on anything. If someone is "hard-nosed,"
chances are he will never "pay through the nose," or pay too much money, for an object or service.
It is always helpful when people "keep their nose out of other peoples business" -- they do not interfere. The opposite of this is
someone who "noses around all the time." This kind of person is interested in other peoples private matters. He is considered "nosey."
Someone who "keeps his nose to the grindstone" works very hard. This can help a worker "keep his nose clean," or stay out of trouble.
One unusual expression is "that is no skin off my nose." This means that a situation does not affect or concern me. We also say that
sometimes a person "cuts off his nose to spite his face." That is, he makes a situation worse for himself by doing something foolish
because he is angry.
More problems can develop if a person "looks down his nose" at someone or something. The person acts like something is
unimportant or worthless. This person might also "turn up his nose" at something that he considers not good enough. This person
thinks he is better than everyone else. He "has his nose in the air."
In school, some students "thumb their nose" at their teacher -- they refuse to obey orders or do any work. Maybe these students do not
know the correct answers. My mother always told me, if you study hard, the answers should be "right under your nose," or easily seen.
I think we have explained the nose expressions. What about ears? Well, I hope you are "all ears," or very interested in hearing more
expressions. We might even "put a bug in your ear," or give you an idea about something. We also advise you to "keep your ear to the
ground." This means to be interested in what is happening around you and what people are thinking.
If you are a good person, you will "lend an ear" to your friends. You will listen to them when they have a problem they need to talk
about. Our last expression is "to play it by ear." This has two meanings. One is to play a song on a musical instrument by remembering
the tune and not by reading the music. "Play it by ear" also means to decide what to do at the last minute instead of making detailed
This VOA Special English program Words and Their Stories was written by Jill Moss.

Get Your Kick with Words
Now, the VOA Special English program Words and Their Stories.
From birth to death, the word kick has been given an important part in expressing human experience. The proud and happy mot her
feels the first signs of life kicking inside her womb. And that same life -- many years later -- comes to its end in a widely-used
expression, to kick the bucket, meaning to die.
The expression to kick the bucket is almost 200 years old. One belief is that it started when an English stableman committed suicide
by hanging himself while standing on a pail, or bucket. He put a rope around his neck and tied it to a beam in the ceiling, and then
kicked the bucket away from under him.
After a while, to die in any way was called kicking the bucket.
Another old expression that comes from England is to kick over the traces, meaning to resist the commands of ones parents, or to
oppose or reject authority. Traces were the chains that held a horse or mule to a wagon or plow. Sometimes, an animal rebelled and
kicked over the traces.
The word kick sometimes is used to describe a complaint or some kind of dissatisfaction. Workers, for example, kick about long
hours and low pay.
There are times when workers are forced to kick back some of their wages to their employers as part of their job. This kickback is
illegal. So is another kind of kickback: a secret payment made by a supplier to an official who buys supplies for a government or
Kick around is a phrase that is heard often in American English. A person who is kicked around is someone who is treated badly.
Usually, he is not really being kicked by somebodys foot -- he is just not being treated with the respect that all of us want.
A person who has kicked around for most of his life is someone who has spent his life moving from place to place. In t his case,
kicking around means moving often from one place to another.
Kick around has a third meaning when you use it with the word idea. When you kick around an idea, you are giving that idea
some thought.
There is no physical action when you kick a person upstairs, although the pain can be as strong. You kick a person upstairs by
removing him from an important job and giving him a job that sounds more important, but really is not.
Still another meaning of the word kick is to free oneself of a bad habit, such as smoking cigarettes. Health campaigns urge smokers
to kick the habit.
This VOA Special English program Words and Their Stories was written by Marilyn Rice Christiano.
Maurice Joyce was the narrator.
Im Shirley Griffith.