Amazon has opened its first automated store to the public. Amazon Go is a grocery store located on the ground level of the corporation’s Seattle headquarters.
The store, which offers food, salads and boxed meals could revolutionize our shopping experience in the future.
As soon as you arrive at the store, a cell phone app connected to an Amazon account registers your presence. Everything that happens in the store is tracked by hundreds of infrared cameras. When you pick up items from the shelves they are automaticallyput into yourvirtualshopping cart. The cameras also detect when you put an item back on the shelves and remove it from your cart. The moment you walk out your account is charged without making any physicalpayment.
The technologies used at Amazon Go are the same as with driverless cars – computer tracking, weight sensors on shelves and complicatedalgorithms.
The 1,800 square foot store has been open to Amazon employees for a year. Now the public can also shop there.
However, not everything has been running smoothly in the store’s opening year.There were hardships to overcome. For example, it’s hard for cameras to distinguish between different flavours or products that look the same. They also have problems handling people who move around or identifying shoppers with similar body sizes and clothes.
Even though there are no checkout counters and cashiers who make you wait in line, there are shop assistants who restock goods and help customers find their way around.
account = here: the services of a company that you use
algorithm = set of instructions that are followed in a fixed order and used for solving problems
automated = using computers, cameras and machines
boxed meal = meal that has already been cooked and is ready to eat
cashier = person who you pay money to in a shop
charge = you have to pay money for the goods you buy
checkout counter = place where you pay for products when you leave a store
complicated = difficult
connect = link
corporation = big company
detect = discover, notice
distinguish = find the difference between two things
driverless = without a driver
employee = a person who works there
even though = although, while
flavour = the taste of something
hardships = problems, difficulties
headquarters = place from where a company operates
however = but
identify = find out the name of someone
infrared = light that gives out heat but cannot be seen
item = product
located = to be found; situated
overcome = solve
physical payment = real money you pay with in a store
presence = someone is present
public = here: everybody
register = record
restock = bring in more items to replace those that have been bought
revolutionize = to change completely the way you do something
shopping experience = the way we shop
similar = almost the same
smoothly = here: the way it should; without any problems
track = watch closely
virtual = not real; here: your Amazon account
weight sensor = small object that finds out if there is something on the shelf or not
California has become the largest American state to legalize the sales of marijuana for recreational use. In November 2016, citizens in the state voted in favour of a proposition that would allow citizens to possesssmall amounts of the substance. It is now legal to grow six plants of your own or have an ounce of pot.
About 90 licences are to be handed outstatewideto shops that want to sell recreational marijuana. In the last two decades, special shops have been allowed to sell marijuana only for medical reasons, in order to treat pain and anxiety. People who want to buy medical marijuana need a prescription from a doctor.
Apart from legalizing the drug, there will be strict controls monitored by state authorities. Californians will not be allowed to consume marijuana in public places or near schools. Local governments will be able to set up their own rules on where smoking is allowed.
Despite this new state law, the federal government still looks at marijuana as an illegal substance. California has become the eighth state to legalize the drug.
In 2016 California produced about 13 million pounds of pot. 80% of it was transferred illegally out of the state.The illegal marijuana market, currently at 5 billion dollars, is expected to grow to 7 billion in California by 2020. In addition, the state will be able to generateadditional taxes from selling legal marijuana.
Shopkeepers who have been able to sell medical marijuana are worried that prices will go up because of additional taxes. Some fear that additional licences could ruin their business.
additional = extra
anxiety = feeling worried about or afraid of something
apart from = besides
authorities = organisation that can make decisions
billion = a thousand million
citizen = person who lives in a place and has rights there
consume = here: smoke
currently = at the moment
decade = ten years
despite = even though
federal government = the government of the United States, not the state government
generate = produce, get
government = people who rule a country or state
hand out = give to someone
illegal substance = drug that is not allowed
in addition = also
in favour of = to be for something
legal = allowed
legalize = allow
licence = here: a document that allows you to sell something
marijuana = illegal drug that is smoked like a cigarette
monitor = to watch carefully
ounce = unit for measuring weight = 28.35 grams
pain = feeling you have when something hurts
possess = own, have
pot = another word for marijuana
prescription = piece of paper on which a doctor writes down what medicine you need
For the second year in a row life expectancy in the United States has decreased. One of the main reasons is the rise in opioid-related deaths, especially with young adults.
Life expectancy in 2016 was 78.6 years, compared with 78.4 years two years earlier. It is the first two-year decline in over 50 years. While life expectancy in other parts of the world is going up, the average American is dying at an earlier age.
According to a recently published report, overdoses of painkillers and other opioids are causing more and more premature deaths. The figures have risen from 6.1 per 100,000 people in 1999 to 21 per 100,000 people in 2016.
Last year 63 000 people died from some form of drug overdose. While 15000 of them were heroinaddicts an alarming 14000 died from other painkillers. Most of them were in the 28-54 year age group.
In many cases, drug abuse is caused by a general dissatisfaction with a person’s personal situation. This results indepression and hopelessness if addicts don’t have a family to support them. Such victims don’t have the stability that they need. As a consequence, they turn to alcohol and drugs.
Opioids are drugs that reducepain by targeting pain receptors in the brain. You need a doctor’s prescription to get them, but more and more people are buying them illegally on the streets.
While many start out with painkilling drugs, they later turn to heroin, also an opioid. In the terminal stages of cancer, morphine is often used to reduce a patient’s pain.
abuse = using something in a way that you shouldn’t
according to = as reported by …
addict = someone who is not able to stop taking drugs
as a consequence = this results in; it leads to
average = normal
brain = organ in your head that control your thoughts, feelings and movements
cancer = very serious illness in which cells in your body grow in an uncontrollable way
compared with= to look at two things and see how they are different
decline = when something goes down
decrease = to go down
depression = a medical condition in which you are unhappy with yourself and cannot lead a normal life
dissatisfaction = here: not being happy with yourself
especially = above all
heroin = powerful and illegal drug made of morphine
illegally = not allowed; against the law
life expectancy = the number of years a person is expected to live
morphine = powerful drug that is used to make people calmer and stop the pain
opioid = a drug that acts on the nervous system to reduce pain
overdose = to take too much of a drug at one time
pain = the feeling you have when part of your body hurts
painkiller = medicine which removes or reduces pain
premature = when something happens before the natural time
prescription = piece of paper that a doctor writes so that an ill person can get medicine
recently = a short time ago
receptor = a nerve ending that gets information and causes the body to react in a special way
reduce = lower
result in = lead to, be the reason for somehting
stability = here: strength
target = attack
terminal stages = the last days, weeks or months before a person dies of an illness
California’s Department of Health has published new guidelines on how to handle cell phones. It warns that radiationemitted from cell phones can be harmful but does not say that cell phones are dangerous.
.Health authorities in California suggest a few measures cell phone users should take. When sleeping, you should keep your phone at least an arm’s length away from your body. You should also avoid keeping your cell phone in your pocket. They also recommend only using cell phones when reception is strong.
Some doctors agree that carrying cell phones close to your body could increase the risk of getting brain tumours , cancer and becoming infertile. It may also lead to headaches, hearing problems and a lossof memory. On the other side, there are many health experts who say that the risks cell phone usage present are not proven
Cell phones emitradiation in the form of low-energy radio waves when they receive and send signals from cell towers. The frequencies that cell phones use could be linked to various illnesses.
The new cell phone guidelines have existed since 2009 but not been published. Recently, a Berkeley professor won a lawsuit against the Department of Health to release the guidelines to the public and push for more action.
authorities = government organisation that can make decisions
avoid = stop; not do something
brain tumour = illness in your brain in which cells increase in an uncontrolled way
cancer = serious disease in which cells in one part of your body start to grow in a way that is not normal
cell tower = high object that sends out and receives cell phone signals
Department of Health = authorities that are responsible for health programs and health information that is given to the public
emit = release, send out
guidelines = instructions on how people should do something or deal with something
handle = use
increase = go up
infertile = if you are not able to have babies
lawsuit = a problem that is settled by a judge in court
loss of memory = when you start forgetting things
public = the people in general
publish = to release official information to all people
radiation = form of energy that is sent out as waves that you cannot see
receive = pick up, get
recently = a short time ago
reception = the quality of the signal you get for your cell phone
Charles Manson, the hippie leader who shocked the world in the 1960s, died at the age of 83. Manson, who has had health problems recently, was serving a life-sentence in a Californian prison.
Charles Manson was the charismatic leader of a group known for murdering seven people in Los Angeles in 1969. Among them was Sharon Tate, a rising Hollywood star and wife of director Roman Polanski. Miss Tate was pregnant at the time she was stabbed to death 16 times. Although Manson was not at the scene of the crimes he ordered his followers to commit the murders.
Manson and his cult members roamed neighbourhoods looting stores and committing random murders. His racist views triggeredwidespread hate against Black Americans. The clan leader was a symbol of free-love and drug-driven California in the late 1960s.
In 1971, Manson and four of his followers were sentenced to death in the gas chamber. The sentences were reduced to life imprisonment when California’s Supreme Courtabolished the death penalty in 1972.
In his youth, Charles Manson dreamed of becoming a rock star but was unsuccessful in his attempts at getting a record contract. This turned into hate against everything that represented the establishment and corporate America. His followers believed in everything he said and committed crimes on his behalf.
abolish = ban, not allow
although = while
attempt = try
charismatic = having the natural talent to attract people and make them like and admire you
commit = carry out
corporate America = here: the big businesses and companies that have a lot of power and can also make political decisions
death penalty = when the state legally kills someone who has committed a crime
drug-driven = here: a time when taking drugs was very common
establishment = group of people who have a lot of power and influence and are often against changes or new ideas
hippie = someone in the 1960s who wore unusual clothes , had long hair and took drugs for pleasure
life imprisonment = being in prison for your whole life
life-sentence = to be in prison your whole life
loot = to steal things from shops that were destroyed
on his behalf = in his name; for him
pregnant = to expect a baby
racist = someone who believes that people of their own race are better than others; they treat them unfairly and sometimes violently
random = without a plan or pattern
reduce = to make something less
recently = a short time ago
record contract = to make music for a company
represent = to stand for something
rising = here: becoming more successful
roam = walk around without a clear direction or knowing what you want to do
sentence = a punishment that a judge gives you for committing a crime
serve = to spend time in prison
stab to death = to kill someone with a knife
Supreme Court = the highest court in the state
trigger = start
unsuccessful = when something does not work out the way you want it to
Entertainment giant Disney has announced that it intends to start its own streaming service in 2019. Subscription prices will be much lower than those of Netflix and other competitors but the new service will not be able to compete with Netflix as far as quantity goes.
In addition to showing films like Toy Story 4 and Frozen 2, Disney is also planning the production of a new Star Wars trilogy, a Star Wars TV series and several Marvel movies. The company is also working on TV adaptations of Pixar’s Monsters, Inc.
Disney will also launch a new ESPN streaming service next year. It will feature many sports events including Major League Baseball, soccer and others.
Netflix has been streaming Disney and Pixar content for several years. Now Disney wants to pull their own content from Netflix’s services. A surveyconducted shortly after the announcement of the new streaming platform showed that two out of 10 Netflix subscribers were willing to switch to Disney.
The world’s largest streaming service has announced that it will spend up to $7 billion on their own productions in 2018. They hope that focusing on original content will make viewers stay on board.
Consumers will have a tough time choosing which service offers the best content. In some cases, they may have to have several accounts in order to watch all their favourite shows and films.
account = here: an agreement that lets you use a service; you have to have a username and password to log in
announce = to say officially, in public
billion = a thousand million
competitor = here: a business that does the same thing and wants to have more success
conduct = carry out
consumer = person who buys something or uses a service and pays for it
content = films and TV shows
focus on = concentrate on; give special attention to
in addition = also
intend = plan; if you want to do something
original content = the films and TV series they produce themselves, not the ones they buy from other companies
quantity = here: the number of TVs shows and films that people can watch
streaming service = a service that shows TV shows and movies on the Internet whenever you want to see them, not when they are broadcast on a TV channel
subscription = here: the money you pay every month in order to watch a streaming service
survey = a set of questions you ask a number of people in order to find out what they want
The American government has released over 3000 documents relating to the assassination of John F. Kennedy in Dallas in 1963. President Trump, however, has ordered some of the documents with sensitive information to be held back for 6 months after a request from the CIA and FBI. In 1992 President George Bush signed a law that required all documents about the JFK murder to be released within 25 years.
The published documents have not provided any sensational new information on the JFK assassination. The public had hoped that the released documents would bring more light into the former president’s murder. Experts say that the decision to withhold some of the documents suggests that the government wants to keep some things secret.
Many of the documents are incomplete and some are only memos. The files show how disorganised government agencies were during the 1960s and how they dealt with the assassination.
In a series of memos, the FBI reports on Lee Harvey Oswald’s visit to Mexico City, where he met with a Soviet agent shortly before the Kennedy was killed. The material shows that authorities were trying to find out if a foreign government – Cuba or possibly the Soviet Union – was behind Kennedy’s death.
There is still no evidence that there was a conspiracy to kill the president. Nothing suggests that Lee Harvey Oswald worked with a partner. There are, however, FBI documents that warned the Dallas police about a threat against Oswald. Kennedy’s killer was shot dead at the Dallas Police Department two days after the Kennedy assassination.
Among the documents are reports that are only indirectly related to the Kennedy killing, for example CIA plans to murder Cuba’s Fidel Castro .
agency = organisation or department in the government
agent = person who works for another government
assassination = the murder of an important person
authorities = organisation or department in the government
conspiracy = a secret plan made by two or more people to do something that is against the law
deal with = handle
decision = to do something after you have thought about it
disorganised = without a plan or system
evidence = proof that something happened
files = documents
foreign = from another country
former = earlier, in the past
government = the people who rule a country
incomplete = not having everything that should be there
provide = to give; make available
public = ordinary people in a country
publish = to make public
relating to = about
release = to make public for everyone to see
request = a formal demand for something
require = here: the law says you have to do something
secret = not for everybody to know
sensitive = something that you have to deal with carefully
series = a few
sign = to put your name on a document
Soviet Union = largest Communist country that existed between 1917 and 1991
threat = when someone says that they want to harm or trouble you
Sidewalk Labs, a Google company, has announced plans to build a futuristic city in Toronto, Canada. The new urban area, called Sidewalk Toronto, aims at turning the waterfront of Lake Ontario into a playground for city developmentand a testing site for new technologies.
The project wants to make cities cheaper, healthier and even more exciting to live in . The new city will offer its residents ultra-fast WiFi connections, lanes for self-driving cars and sustainableenergy sources. Thousands of sensors will report pollution and noise levels, as well as monitor traffic and levels of carbon monoxide.
Planners of Sidewalk Toronto want to find new solutions for overpopulation, waste management , traffic , pollution and other urban problems. Several companies have said that they will make their services available to the new city.
Planners estimate that the project will cost around 1 billion dollars. However, it will also offer tens of thousands of people a place to live, work and have fun. Eventually, similar projects may spread to other parts of the world, helping to build smarter and greener cities.
Google has also announced that it plans to move its Canadian headquarters to Sidewalk Toronto.
aim = wants to , plans to
announce = to officially say something in public
available = here: something that people can use
carbon monoxide = poisonous gas that produces carbon when it is burned
development = to become bigger, more modern and advanced
estimate = think about how much something will cost
eventually = as time goes on, slowly
futuristic = something that looks unusual and very modern
headquarters = the main building or offices used by a large company
however = but
lane = one of two or many areas on the road that keeps cars apart
monitor = watch, observe
overpopulation = too many people live on a small area of land
resident = here: a person who lives in a city
services = work or help that a company gives you
similar = almost the same
solution = way of dealing with a problem
spread = move to another place
sustainable = something that can be used without causing danger to the environment or nature
urban = about a city
waste management = way of getting rid of unwanted materials and dirty water
waterfront = part of a city or town that is next to the sea or lake
WiFi connection = connecting computers and other machines to the Internet by using radio signals
The 2011 tsunami , which led to the nuclear catastrophe at Fukushima, has swept thousands of sea creatures across the Pacific Ocean to the US coast. In the past 6 years scientists have found mussels, starfish, crabs and other marine animals washed up on the American Pacific coast. Marine biologists expect that there are even more species to arrive in the future.
The giant waves caused by the tsunami in Japan were almost 40 metres tall and washed objects into the open sea. In 2012, scientists found debris together with living creatures on them near the Alaskan coast as well as in Hawaii. They were sea animals that have never before been seen there.
Scientists are surprised that marine species have been able to survive over such a long period in such bad conditions. However, most species travelled on plastic or glass objects, things that do not decompose and stay the same for many years. On the other hand, animals that travelled on wooden objects did not make the long journey across the Pacific, because wood lasts only for a short time.
Because the debris moved slowly across the ocean the animals had time to get used to their new surroundings as they travelled the 4,000 mile journey across the Pacific.
With so much plastic and other garbage swimming in the world’s oceans, the danger of marine animals being washed up on foreign coasts has never been greater.
Experts are not sure what effect these new species may have on the local environment. Such invasive species may change the ecosystem of the area they arrive at. They might transport new diseases or kill off existing species . In any case, it will take a decade or more to see the results.
crab= sea animal with a hard shell , five legs on each side and two large claws
creature = animal; living thing
debris = garbage, waste
decade = ten years
decompose = to break down into many smaller parts
disease = illness
ecosystem = the animals and plants in a certain area and they way they live together
effect = result ; change caused by an event
foreign = another country
garbage = waste; things people throw away
however = but
invasive species = plant or animal that does not grow naturally in an area but has come there from somewhere else
journey = trip
local environment = the world around the place that you live in
marine species = animals and plants that live in the ocean
mussel = small sea animal with a soft body that can be eaten and a black shell that is split into two parts
nuclear catastrophe = here: an atomic power plant explodes and sends dangerous radioactive waves into the atmosphere
scientist = a person who is trained in science and works in a lab
starfish = flat sea animal that has five arms and looks like a star
surroundings = the place or natural area around a person or animal
survive = live on after a dangerous situation
sweep – swept = to push something away
tsunami = very large waves, most of the time cause by an earthquake in or near the sea.
The next Olympic Games have been awarded to Paris and Los Angeles. Both cities will host the games for the third time. 2024 will mark the 100th anniversary of the second Paris Olympics. The city had already organised the summer games of 1900. The 2028 Olympics will be held in Los Angeles for the third time, after 1932 and 1984. It is the first time that the International Olympic Committee has named host cities for two summer games at once. Los Angeles originally wanted the 2024 games but agreed to hosting them 4 years later.
The IOC presented the new hosts at a time when the organisation is troubled by corruption and accusations that some members took bribes to vote for the 2016 Rio Olympics.
The 2024 Paris Summer Olympics are expected to provide jobs and growth to the city. According to city officials, the games will generate 11 billion dollars in income and create jobs for 250 000 people in the next seven years. Although Paris already has many venues ready for the games, several new ones will be built. The city wants to attract visitors not only with the best sports stadiums but also with its unique cultural and historical sites.
Los Angeles organizers have also said they want to use many existing structures built in the 1980s in order to make the games as cost-efficient as possible.
After recent terrorist attacks in Paris, London, Barcelona and other major cities , security is expected to be the main factor for both events.
Today, not very many cities are keen on organising major sports events. On one side bidding costs millions of dollars and on the other side holding the games themselves costs local authorities and governments billions.
according to = as said by …
accusation = statement that says someone has done something wrong or against the law
agree = to say yes to something
although = while
award = give to someone
anniversary = date or year in which something important took place
bidding = here: to offer to organize an event
bribe = to give someone money illegally and you expect them to do something for you in return
cost-efficient = here: to save money by using buildings or infrastructure that already exist
generate = produce , create
growth = businesses and the economy grow in a certain region
host = here: city that holds a special event
income = the money you get for the work you do
keen on = happy to do something
local authorities = here: the people who are in charge of ruling a town or city
main factor = most important thing
major = very important; large
mark = celebrate an important event
official = person in an important position in a country
security = safety
several = many
site = interesting place
structure = building
troubled = worried; having many problems
unique = unusually special; very good
venue = here:place where a sports event takes place