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      In 1951, the then director of the Guinness Brewery, Sir Hugh Beaver, wanted to settle an argument about the fastest bird in Europe. After talking to his friends, he concluded that a book which answered such questions might be popular.
      Hey man, try that 360 again! It is Saturday afternoon and a group of teenagers are trying new tricks on the parks skating ramp. Every weekend, after finishing their homework, Lin Yong and about a dozen of his friends grab their wheels and head down to the park to hang ten.
      Starting a stamp collection is easy and not very expensive. Before you start, you need to decide what kind of stamps you want to collect. Most people collect stamps that have something to do with what they are interested in: a certain country, a type of animal, a famous person or even a sport.
      Trade and curiosity have often formed the foundation for mankind's greatest endeavour. To people of early civilisations, the world map was a great puzzle. Marco Polo's stories inspired Christopher Columbus and other European explorers to search for sea routes to the distant, wealthy Asian lands.
      By the middle of the 1920s the farthest corners of the earth had already been explored: the continents and the oceans had been mapped, the North and South Poles had been reached, and the origins, of the world's major rivers had been discovered.
      The unknown southern land was an imaginary continent, appearing on European maps from the fifteenth to the eighteenth century. It was first put there by a Greek map maker in the first century AD.
      Modem Australia is made up of six states and two territories: Western Australia, South Australia, Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, Australian Capital Territory and Northern Territory.
      Australia is as old as time. It was probably once connected to South America, but the continents separated as the earth's plates moved. Having been separated from other continents for millions of years, Australia has many plants and animals that cannot be found anywhere else in the world.
      Australia was discovered about 53,000 years ago. It is possible that the first people crossed into Australia from Asia on a great land bridge when the water level of the oceans was lower.
      Before the eighteenth century, botany was merely a branch of medicine. Until then, mostly doctors and surgeons studied herbs. Attempts had been made by others to classify plant species into groups, but the breakthrough came with the work of Carl Linnaeus.
      In his youth Charles Darwin enjoyed all the freedom to experiment and do whatever he liked. The study of physics, chemistry, and later botany, was his hobby. At the age of 22, Darwin was invited to join the scientific expedition on the Beagle.
      The study of natural history is not something to be left to biologists. In fact, their capacity in terms of the time they can spend away from their offices is very limited. Even if all professors in universities and research institutes could devote all their time to the study of nature, their contribution, although important, would still be quite small.
      Ads are tbund almost everywhere they are broadcast on TV and over the radio, posted on the Intemet and printed in newspapers and on posters in our cities. Advertising is a highly developed industry. The develooment of radio, television and other media has gone hand in hand with the development of advertising.
      Talk is cheap, but in the world of advertising, the right word at the right time can make millions. The language used in ads differs from ordinary language. Ad-makers choose words and brand names very carefully in order to create a positive image of the product they are promoting. A good ad often uses words to which people attach positive meanings.
      The planning of an advertising campaign usually begins long before the product is introduced to customers. Advertisement professionals meet with representatives of the company to discuss how the product should be presented and promoted.
      In the spring of 1845, my father read a book about California. This account of the wonderful land beyond the Rocky Mountains gave him the idea to move there. Less than half a year later we packed all our things onto a wagon and left our farm.
      R: Our program today is about the eightieth, anniversary of the Anchorage-to-Nome dog sled race. Mr Parks, can you tell us something about the history of the race?
      Once, in a dream, a boy called Chris Everyman took the advice of a wise man to go on a journey. The wise man pointed his finger across the land and told him to go through the gate at the end of the fields to enter the City of Happiness.
      E: That's a poor excuse for picking a man's pocket every twenty-fifth of December! Anyway, I suppose I will have to let you have it. But make sure to be early in the office the day after! Now, who's here? It's my nephew Fred.
      G: That's not what life is about! You only have an eye for money. All your other hopes and dreams have flown into one single ambition. I've seen your nobler aspirations disappear one by one, until only one, Gain, was left.
      On a cold November night in 1775, Miss Lucie Manette, who had grown up in England, traveled to France to meet her father, whom she thought was dead. Eighteen years before, her father, Doctor Manette attended to a young peasant boy and girl, who had been wounded and died at the hands of two brothers of the Marquis St Evremonde.
      Learning a language is obviously more than just memorising words, phrases and structures. When we learnt our mother tongue, we did not receive much formal instruction.
      Many language learners think that the best way to learn a language is to spend time in a country where the language is spoken. In the past, studying abroad was a distant dream for most people.
      On the subject of reading, Francis Bacon, who lived at about the same time as Shakespeare, wrote these words: Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested.
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