The London School of Economics Students’ Union Economics Society has an essay competition.
Entry is open to students in their final two years of secondary school, or in sixth form college (including students taking A-Level, the International Baccalaureate, or any other equivalent curriculum). Entrants do not have to be studying at schools within the UK – we accept essays from any school from all countries!
This year the questions are:
“We as a nation, lost $817 billion dollars on trade. That’s ridiculous and it’s unacceptable.” – President Donald Trump.
Do you agree that a trade deficit is always harmful to a country’s economy?
“If economists could manage to get themselves thought of as humble, competent people on a level with dentists, that would be splendid.” – John Maynard Keynes
Do you agree with Keynes? Justify your answer.
Should governments bail out banks that go bankrupt?
Recently, there have been proposals to introduce a 3-day weekend. To what extent is this economically feasible and would this benefit the economy?
The website Statista provides statistics and charts on business, industry, etc. Now you can easily cite them in your assignments. For example:
On the right of this chart’s Statista page you can see the Citation option:
Choose Harvard and you get this reference:
Facebook. (2019). Number of monthly active Facebook users worldwide as of 1st quarter 2019 (in millions). Statista. Statista Inc.. Accessed: July 17, 2019. https://www.statista.com/statistics/264810/number-of-monthly-active-facebook-users-worldwide/
You can copy this reference and paste it into your assignment.
Stephen B. Heard, whose blog Scientist Sees Squirrel we mentioned last week, is a biologist at the University of New Brunswick in Canada. He has written a book, The scientist’s guide to writing (Princeton University Press, 2016).
In the preface he says, “This book is designed for students and early-career scientists across the natural sciences (including mathematics).” There is a chapter for non-native speakers of English.
From the chapter titled Brevity:
Now, that was fun to write, but if advising writers to “be brief ” was all it took, you and I could both just skip this chapter. We can’t. I’ve reviewed, formally or informally, somewhere around a thousand manuscripts over my career, and all but a handful should have been shorter.
There are, of course, other books on scientific writing: for example, Writing science by Joshua Schimel, and Academic writing for international students of science by Jane Bottomley (printed copies in the Resource Centre).
If you’re like me, you’re continually frustrated by the fact that undergraduate students struggle to understand statistics. Actually, that’s putting it mildly: a large fraction of undergraduates simply refuse to understand statistics; mention a requirement for statistical data analysis in your course and you’ll get eye-rolling, groans, or (if it’s early enough in the semester) a rash of course-dropping.
Heard argues that:
we consistently underemphasize the single most important thing about statistics: that this complication is an illusion. In fact, every significance test works exactly the same way.
He goes on to explain how statistics classes can be made simpler.
Here, in a corpus consisting of 707 452 scientific abstracts published between 1881 and 2015 from 122 influential biomedical journals, we show that the readability of science is steadily decreasing. Further, we demonstrate that this trend is indicative of a growing usage of general scientific jargon.
The authors conclude:
more than a quarter of scientific abstracts now have a readability considered beyond college graduate level English.
So if you find a scientific article hard to understand, it may not be your fault!
The Little Book of Norwich by Neil R. Storey was published in 2015.
This book does not pretend to be a history, concise almanac or even a guide to Norwich; instead it is a collection of ephemeral, nostalgic and miscellaneous facts about a city brimming with history and full of fascinating stories.
It has chapters on unrest, royalty, crime, entertainment, sport, religion, food and many other topics.
For example, in 1272 the citizens of Norwich burned down the local monastery, killed many people and looted everything of value. The King arrived to punish the ringleaders, who were subsequently hanged. Even the Pope got involved.
Seven hundred years later (in 1971) boxing champion Muhammad Ali visited Norwich – to promote Ovaltine.
You’re not supposed to cite Wikipedia in your assignments, but hey, let’s stick it to the man. And there are occasions when citing Wikipedia is appropriate. Maybe you’re writing an assignment about Wikipedia!
For the year of publication, use the year when the Wikipedia page was last modified. This information appears at the bottom of the page:
This page was last modified on 17 August 2017, at 17:34.
Here is the format for a Harvard reference to a Wikipedia article about lithic flakes (archaeology).
(‘Title of article’, Year)
Channel flakes are caused by the fluting of particular Paleo-Indian projectile points ('Lithic flake', 2017).
‘Title of article’ (Year) Wikipedia. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… (Accessed: date).
'Lithic flake' (2017) Wikipedia. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lithic_flake (Accessed: 26 June 2019).
The same format is used when citing other wikis:
'Caxambu Style Borborygmus Potion' (2018) Harry Potter Wiki. Available at: https://harrypotter.fandom.com/wiki/Leaky_Cauldron (Accessed: 27 June 2019).
'Corybas limpidus' (2018) Wikispecies. Available at: https://species.wikimedia.org/wiki/Corybas_limpidus (Accessed: 27 June 2019).
'Law of Cosines/Proof 3' (2016) Proof Wiki. Available at: https://proofwiki.org/wiki/Law_of_Cosines/Proof_3 (Accessed: 27 June 2019).
The Sherlock Holmes stories have been adapated many times for television and the cinema. The TV series that is most faithful to the stories is probably the one made by Granada Television between 1984 and 1994 and starring Jeremy Brett as Holmes.
There were seven seasons, grouped as follows. (The links go to playlists in BoB, where you can watch the entire series.)
A Study in Scarlet is the book in which Dr Watson first meets Sherlock Holmes, and therefore perhaps the best book to start with. If you prefer short stories, you could start with The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.
The definitions of four SI base units – the kilogram, ampere, kelvin and mole – have been changed.
The new definitions are based on fixed numerical values of the Planck constant (h), the elementary charge (e), the Boltzmann constant (k) and the Avogadro constant (NA) respectively. They came into force on 20th May.
The smartphone you may be using right now to look at this unique Periodic Table is made up of some 30 elements – over half of which may give cause for concern in the years to come because of increasing scarcity. The issue of element scarcity cannot be stressed enough. With some 10 million smartphones being discarded or replaced every month in the European Union alone, we need to carefully look at our tendencies to waste and improperly recycle such items.
A podcast that’s enthusiastic about linguistics! Make your boring commute or chores feel like a lively, nerdy, language-y dinner party with real linguists! Gretchen McCulloch (All Things Linguistic) and Lauren Gawne (Superlinguo) bring you into fascinating and hilarious half-hour conversations about the patterns behind language which you never realized you were already saying.
A new episode comes out every month. You can listen to the podcasts and/or read the transcripts. There is (so far) a single video episode, Why do we gesture when we talk?
Some recent topics:
You heard about it but I was there – Evidentiality
The verb is the coat rack that the rest of the sentence hangs on
The Age of Uncertainty is a BBC television series about the evolution of economic thought from Adam Smith onwards. It was written and presented by the post-Keynsian economist John Kenneth Galbraith and broadcast in 1977.
In response the free-market economist Milton Friedman made a TV series called Free to Choose.
Nineteen Eighty-Four is a novel by George Orwell. It was published in June 1949 – 70 years ago this month. It has been translated into numerous languages.
In the year 1984 Britain is a province of a superstate ruled by the Party. It is a society of meaningless slogans and worship of the Party leader, Big Brother. There is no privacy and dissent is punished by torture, brainwashing and death. The main character in the novel, Winston Smith, tries to rebel against the system.
The ELT Journal has been published since 1946. Until 1981 it had a section called The Question Box, which answered readers’ questions. Three examples from the earliest issues:
Question: I have recently come across fry-pan for frying-pan. Is this form considered correct?
Answer:Fry-pan is not accepted as standard English and is considered incorrect by most grammarians. It is probably an American form. Similar forms are swim-suit and fly-bomb, both to be found in newspapers in Great Britain. It is likely that such forms will spread and be accepted in time. Grammarians will explain that the correct forms are swimming suit, made up of the noun suit modified by the gerund swimming (a suit for swimming), and flying-bomb, made up of the noun bomb and the participle flying (a bomb that flies). The ordinary user of language does not trouble himself about nice distinctions between gerunds and participles. If the root form of the verb (fry, swim and fly) expresses the meaning, the gain in brevity will in time probably result in the adoption of the shorter forms.
Question: Should we, in English, use Netherland or Netherlands as an attributive adjective? The bank named after the Midlands is the Midland Bank, and the regiment that derives its name from the highlands is called the Highland Light Infantry.
Answer: Usage requires the use of the plural form, as in The Netherlands Indies. For the foreign student of English it would be helpful if there were uniformity in these matters, but unfortunately there is not uniformity.
Language Log has produced an alternative ranking of language difficulty, based on a survey of the blog’s readers. These are some examples. The higher the score, the harder the language (e.g. written Chinese at 5.11 is harder than Spanish at 1.7).
To create an essay, just enter three keywords: for example, international + students + Britain.
Educatee has not, and probably never will be debauched but not excessive. Society will always mortify international; some at executioner and others to the area of theory of knowledge. Great Britain which might be the allusion lies in the search for semantics together with the realm of semiotics. Seeing as international annotates postlapsarian utterances, humanity should incarcerate United Kingdom immediately.
As I have learned in my theory of knowledge class, educatee is the most fundamental analysis of humankind. While interference transmits plasmas, the same pendulum may counteract two different gamma rays at a scrutinization. The plasma inverts to oscillate. Information for the reprobate is not the only thing a neuron on comments which provision the people in question implodes; it also receives a neuron of Britain. From disseminating dictators, particularism with students can be more equitably proliferated. The assumption that should analytically be mastication and laments a demolisher by educatee changes the recondite United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
The casuistry of reports, often on epitome, enjoins International. The more patter is lavish, pertinacious, and contemptuous, the more celebrations to an authentication for the administration magnetize the authorization or matriculate. Additionally, presumption, especially with demarcations, authorizes pupil. My retort accedes. Even so, knowing that a probe will be the quarrel that expedites demonstrations, many of the assassins at my pledge provide recount. Our personal salver for the response we contravene may hastily be an excessively atrocious declaration but articulates the inspection. Admiration that proceeds of Great Britain arranges exposures to altruists with my agronomist equally. an apprentice is scrupulously peripheral, not a reprover on executioner. In my reality class, just about all of the commencements for our personal explanation with the inquiry we surround intensify scenarios or surprise fetish. Because most of the circumscriptions are occluded by student, propagandists which hovers adhere to the same extent of student.
The regrettable Britain, frequently on the allegation, might be synecdoche. As a result of commencing, an abundance of United Kingdom can be more rapaciously sequestered. Additionally, students, typically at increasing advocates, can remarkably be the circumstance and is prelapsarian, pusillanimous, and professed. Our personal account by the avocation we perform intercedes. an oration should, still yet, be squalid in the extent to which we promulgate proclamations but concede the assiduously but probingly blustering excommunication. In my experience, all of the assemblies to my civilization compensate agriculturalists for plethora. Pupil which recounts confrontation appeases assimilationists but aggregates validation at our personal agronomist with the orator we complete too. an allegation for malcontent is livid yet somehow assiduous, not a device that will be the development. Our personal precinct on the admonishment we attenuate gloats. Abandonment that might vehemently be the allegation to Britain changes International which is vehement but not frugal and edifies comptroller.
Britain will always be a component of human society. Nonetheless, armed with the knowledge that the query verifies domains which bluster or commission pilfering, some of the inquiries by my injunction enlighten the performances involved. By the fact that adjurations are belittled of United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, a dictate at United Kingdom can be more culpably delineated. Educatee has not, and doubtlessly never will be eternally masochistic. International is the most generous diagnosis of human life.
If this fools an automated scoring system, maybe it could also fool your teacher…
The ICAO Radiotelephony Alphabet (aka NATO Phonetic Alphabet) is a spelling alphabet used to say letters aloud on the radio or telephone. It is used internationally by airlines, armed forces, the police, etc.
It can also be used by international students when (for example) spelling their names. So, if your family name is Zhang, you would say Zulu Hotel Alfa November Golf.
English language learners can measure the size of their English vocabulary at VocabularySize.com.
There is an online test of 140 questions. Teachers can create class tests.
It has been claimed that you need to know at least 98% of the words in a text to be able to understand it fairly easily. On this basis you need a vocabulary size of 8,000 to 9,000 words to read a newspaper.
A study of 205 international foundation students concludes that overall IELTS score (OIS) “is not a good predictor of overall receptive vocabulary size. The data shows the relationship is particularly weak for Chinese students.”
Students with OIS scores as high as 6.5 and 7.0 are likely to still encounter a large number of unknown words in writing intended for educated native-speakers and it should not be assumed that a student with OIS 7.0 has no further need for acquiring language. Many students at the lower end of the range of receptive vocabulary knowledge evident at IOS 5.5 and 6.0 will face what is likely to be an insurmountable level of difficulty in reading authentic academic texts…
The Open Dictionary is Macmillan’s crowdsourced dictionary, where you can suggest new words and expressions for us to add. The Open Dictionary started in 2009, and since then more than 4000 new words and phrases have been added. About half of these new words have been “promoted” to become full entries in the Macmillan Dictionary.
The Renaissancepolymath Leonardo da Vinci died 500 years ago today, on May 2nd, 1519. He was a painter, sculptor, draughtsman, architect, designer, engineer, inventor, writer, astronomer, musician, mathematician, cartographer, geologist, anatomist, botanist and scientist.
You can read about him at Grove Art Online. The article includes some images and links to many more.
You would be forgiven for walking past this book in a bookshop … but in fact, you would be missing a treat, because, in its own understated way, A History of IATEFL is a real page-turner. … a fascinating story of the squabbles, the plotting, and the occasional full-blown revolts that went on in the early days between the founders and those who wanted IATEFL to take a more radical path. There were some colourful figures and some big egos involved…
Rather than just presenting you with information, Mathigon challenges you with problems and allows you to interact with diagrams. It is one of the most accessible and engaging maths resources available on the web, a true mathematical wonderland. The text is well-written, the pages are beautifully designed and presented, and it covers a large array of topics.
The International Phonetic Alphabet is really one of those useful life skills that everyone should learn. Trying to write about speech sounds without the IPA is like trying to write about music sounds by just making up your own musical notation.
Some non-native speakers of English appear to confuse L and R sounds. People from Japan are particularly famous for this. It is a stereotype sometimes used in films with Asian characters, such as Lost in Translation.
This video looks at the different L and R sounds in English (such as clear L, dark L, tapped R and bunched R) and why native speakers of Japanese, Korean, Mandarin and Cantonese may have difficulty pronouncing them.
Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how people perceive the world and interact with others.
Autistic people see, hear and feel the world differently to other people. If you are autistic, you are autistic for life; autism is not an illness or disease and cannot be ‘cured’. Often people feel being autistic is a fundamental aspect of their identity.
Autism is a spectrum condition. All autistic people share certain difficulties, but being autistic will affect them in different ways. Some autistic people also have learning disabilities, mental health issues or other conditions, meaning people need different levels of support. All people on the autism spectrum learn and develop. With the right sort of support, all can be helped to live a more fulfilling life of their own choosing.
The value of the THE rankings, but not their price, is drastically reduced by their lack of transparency so that it is impossible, for example, to tell whether a change in the score for research results from an increase in publications, a decline in the number of staff, an improved reputation or an increase in research income.
The paper describes the THE citations indicator as “bizarre and ridiculous”:
Here are some of the universities that appeared in the top 50 of last year’s citation indicator which supposedly measures research influence or quality: Babol Noshirvani University of Technology, Brighton and Sussex medical School, Reykjavik University, Anglia Ruskin University, Jordan University of Science and Technology, Vita-Salute San Raffaele University.
For example, you find this book in Google Books. Paste the URL (https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=mT-jBQAAQBAJ) into the ZoteroBib search box. Choose a style, such as Cite Them Right 10th edition – Harvard. ZoteroBib creates and formats the reference for you:
Nilsson, N. J. (2014) Principles of Artificial Intelligence. Morgan Kaufmann.
Next you find this article. You could paste its URL into the box or use the DOI (10.1007/s11036-017-0932-8). ZoteroBib adds it to your bibliography:
Lu, H. et al. (2018) ‘Brain Intelligence: Go beyond Artificial Intelligence’, Mobile Networks and Applications, 23(2), pp. 368–375. doi: 10.1007/s11036-017-0932-8.
You find this book on Amazon and use the URL or the ISBN (978-1292153964). Your next source is a web page and you use its URL (https://futureoflife.org/background/benefits-risks-of-artificial-intelligence/). You even cite a Wikipedia article – though your teacher will not be happy!
When you’ve finished, copy the bibliography and paste it into your document. Here it is:
‘Artificial intelligence’ (2019) Wikipedia. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Artificial_intelligence&oldid=889698756 (Accessed: 27 March 2019).
Benefits & Risks of Artificial Intelligence (no date) Future of Life Institute. Available at: https://futureoflife.org/background/benefits-risks-of-artificial-intelligence/ (Accessed: 27 March 2019).
Lu, H. et al. (2018) ‘Brain Intelligence: Go beyond Artificial Intelligence’, Mobile Networks and Applications, 23(2), pp. 368–375. doi: 10.1007/s11036-017-0932-8.
Nilsson, N. J. (2014) Principles of Artificial Intelligence. Morgan Kaufmann.
Russell, S. J. et al. (2016) Artificial intelligence: a modern approach. Third edition, Global edition. Boston Columbus Indianapolis New York San Francisco Upper Saddle River Amsterdam, Cape Town Dubai London Madrid Milan Munich Paris Montreal Toronto Delhi Mexico City Sao Paulo Sydney Hong Kong Seoul Singapore Taipei Tokyo: Pearson (Prentice Hall series in artificial intelligence).
Time is out of joint: the transmedial hauntology of David Bowie
If you have no idea what that means, well, it’s the title of an article in the academic journal Celebrity Studies. The current issue is dedicated to the study of Bowie.
Other recent issues have articles on (for example) The Great British Bake-Off, Super Voice Girl, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, X-Men, Doctor Who, Haruki Murakami, Amy Winehouse, Beckham, Beyoncé and Trump.
With access through UEA Library, you can read all of these online.
For example, the latest issue has a news item about the use of anti-depressant drugs in Northern Ireland:
Findings show that anti-depressants were prescribed to 12% of NI’s population in 2011 with this rate rising to 14% by 2015. “Over the entire five-year period 24% of the population were prescribed anti-depressants,” says Professor Shevlin. “Existing figures for 2013 show that proportionately more anti-depressants were prescribed in NI than 23 other countries worldwide…”
If you need background music for a video or slideshow, you could try the Free Music Archive.
The music is arranged by genre – Blues, Classical, Country, Electronic, etc. – and then sub-genre, such as Rock > Loud-Rock > Noise-Rock > Sludge. (More suitable, perhaps, as background music are genres such as Instrumental > Ambient.)
Tracks can be downloaded as mp3 files and then added to your project. Most of them have Creative Commons licences such as Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike.
As an explanation of the title, the author writes:
Mark Twain once said that if the first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog, you can go through the day with the satisfaction of knowing that that is probably the worst thing that is going to happen to you all day long.
I could not find the source for this quotation. It appears in various forms on motivational websites, in collections of quotes, etc., but never with any bibliographical details. Project Gutenberg’s collected works of Mark Twain include references to frogs, but nothing that I could see about eating them.
First choose an area such as Forensic or Clinical or Occupational. Then you can see the places of work for that area (for example, hospitals or prisons) and the training route (such as a degree), likely salaries, useful links, etc.
Studying Economics offers advice, help and information for economics undergraduates. Besides the tips on study skills, careers, etc., there are some distractions – links to economics-related videos, songs, games, etc.
For example, there’s a catchy song from the Bank of Ghana about their new currency unit and a video of Yoram Bauman, Ph.D., a “stand-up economist”, in which he simplifies Gregory Mankiw’s 10 Principles of Economics for a general audience: