29 diciembre, 2012

The Spanish crisis from another point of view

Listen to the video. Try not to look at the subtitles.  Then you can check everything you didn't understand. you can learn a lot of vocabulary about economy.

Welcome to Spain. Welcome to a country deep in recession where all you hear about is real estate crisis, banking crisis, debt crisis,downgradingrisk premium, speculation against Spain, 25 percent unemployment, bailing.

But we, who run in front of bulls for fun, aren’t about to complain or to feel sorry for ourselves, because what we see (you know, the “is the glass half-empty or half-full?” bit) is a country full of opportunity.

In the midst of the crisis we've already had some great news. Have we mentioned we’re the World and European football champions? But seriously, it’s not all about football. The Spanish tourism sector is at an all-time high. In 2011 tourism revenue grew by fourteen percent and we are the country with the second-highest tourism revenue in the world, second only to the United States. Last year we had 57 million foreign visitors. Spain has a population of 46 million, and that figure will be even higher in 2012. 

Our exports of goods and services grew by 18% between 2009 and 2011, and we reduced our trade deficit balance significantly. We also reinforced our efforts to globalize our companies. Do you know who was leading the Panama canal expansion? Who is going to construct the first high-speed train in the Middle East between Mecca and Medina? A consortium of Spanish companies. Who manages airports in cities such as London, Orlando and Bogota? Who is going to construct offshore wind farmsin Scotland? Who supplies wind turbines to the world's leading economies? Who is building desalination plants in Adelaide and the Atacama Desert? Whose systems were used to manage most of your flight bookings to come here? Who Germany put in charge of their air-traffic control system, saving time and fuel? Who is developing a vaccine for Alzheimer’s disease? Or who supplied the weather station for the Curiosity Mars rover?

Dale a tu cuerpo alegría Macarena, eeeeeh Macarena!

Oops, sorry. Yeah, we did that too. That's right, Spanish companies are doing all these things and more, led by qualified creative sustainability-conscious professionals. Ironically in the midst of the banking crisis and according to Euromoney, we have the best bank in the world and another one that isn’t too far behind. Solid banks. Even while the industry has been shaken to its foundations. We have an innovative global telecommunications company able to provide service to over 300 million customers in twenty-five countries. Our companies are at the forefront of growth sectors such as cleantech, and 13% of our energy consumption comes from renewables. We are the world's leading country in installed solar energy and the fourth-largest in wind energy. We also have giants of the global fashion industry and multiple companies in this industry able to dress and supply footwear for the planet.

This is a country which today, in these turbulent times, is incubating a growing number of new dynamic companies ready to make the leap and take their place in the world rankings. The economic crisis is harnessing the entrepreneurial spirit endeavour and creativity of Spaniards. No matter what anybody says, we work as hard as we party

But now let's talk about Grant Thornton Spain, where despite the current economic situation we're investing in top-level talent, in strategic sectors such as finance, insurance, cleantech, in reinforcement or expansion of our services (mergers and acquisitions, restructurings, outsourcing), all with the end of being right beside these companies at the most important stage of their development and helping them unlock their potential for growth and also growing with them, of course. We believe in the value of investing in advertising and institutional relations that reinforce the Grant Thornton brand. Investing in our clients’ satisfaction and in their loyalty. Investing in the continued training of our talent, and in new offices. Because we are going to be there with our current and future clients through thick and thin, making yourselves indispensable. We want to transmit our instinct for growth to everyone. In fact it's possible the current crisis is making us think about how we can do things better.

Okay guys, they say Spain is a fantastic country to live in. Perhaps it's because of our sunshine, our gastronomy or our diversity, or perhaps because of our health care system. After all, Spain has the third highest life expectancy in the world, according to the OCDE. We can raise that to number two if you're lucky enough to be female. I think we can also say that we have a big heart. Well, that's actually been proven, Spain has the highest organ donation rate in the world and last year the number of transplants increased by 12%, yet another reason to be optimistic. 

Welcome to Spain. We hope you enjoy your stay.

28 diciembre, 2012


a. 2. can't be  3. must be 4. might be doing/could be doing 5. can't have been 6. must have been 7. might have gone 8. might not have thought 9. should be.

b. 2. the disease is likely to 3. you will probably be able to 4. is unlikely to be 5. we are bound to 6. It's very unlikely that 7. she's bound to be 8. she will definetely.

23 diciembre, 2012

Books for Advanced

Choose one of Following:
‘Tales of the Unexpected’ by Roald Dahl. (Penguin) 
This collection showcases sixteen of Roald Dahl's finest tales, taken from "Kiss Kiss" and "Someone Like You". There are tales of the risk-takers, such as the man who wagers his daughter's hand in marriage to a wine connoisseur, or the traveller who throws himself overboard on a cruise liner to win a bet. Here too is the understated cruelty of "Edward the Conqueror," in which a mysterious cat seems to threaten domestic life, or the innocuous-seeming "Landlady," whose guests stay for longer than they intend. Not forgetting the satisfyingly shocking tales of revenge, such as "Nunc Dimittis" or "Lamb to the Slaughter".

‘About a Boy’ by Nick Hornby. (Indigo)
Will is 36 but behaves like a teenager. He’s single, rich and cool. He has no responsibilities – no parents, no children, no family.
Marcus is 12 and behaves like an adult. He has just moved to London with his mum, Fiona. He isn’t much like other kids of his age and he’s having trouble at his new school. Fiona, meanwhile, is heading for a breakdown.
Will and Marcus meet by chance on the day that Fiona tries to kill herself. She recovers, but Marcus thinks she will try again and leave him on his own. He realises that Will can teach him how to be a kid and fit in at school. Will doesn’t know how to cope with a suicidal mother, but he does know what trainers to wear and what music to listen to.

To Kill a Mockingbird  by Harper Lee published in 1960. It was immediately successful, winning the Pulitzer Prize, and has become a classic of modern American literature. It tells of Scout and Jem's childhood in Alabama and how a series of events shook their innocence, shaped their character and taught them about human nature. Lee examines racism and other prejudices through a page turning story told in a wonderful, Southern voice. This is a must read American classic.
‘The no 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency’ by Alexander McCall Smith. (Abacus)
When Precious Ramotswe decides to use the money her beloved father left her to open the first ever Ladies’ Detective Agency in Botswana, everyone is skeptical. "Can women be detectives?" asks the bank’s lawyer. Mma Ramotswe herself feels unsure of her success. After all, her only assets are a tiny white van, two desks, two chairs, a telephone, an old typewriter, a teapot, and three teacups. But she does possess the intangible assets of intuition and intelligence. These she has in great supply, along with perseverance, a keen knowledge of the human mind and heart, a steadfast sense of right and wrong, and a personality that inspires trust and loquaciousness in nearly all who meet her.
‘Moon Palace’ by Paul Auster. (Faber & Faber)
It is a novel written by 
Paul Auster that was first published in 1989. The plot is set in Manhattan and the U.S. Midwest, and is centered around the life of the narrator Marco Stanley Fogg and the two previous generations of his family.
'Restless' is an espionage novel written by William Boyd,
The novel depicts the tale of a young woman who discovers that her mother was recruited as a spy during World War II. The book continually switches between time periods and, in doing so, from first to third person.

'Life of Pi' by  Yann Martel
The protagonist, Piscine Molitor "Pi" Patel, an Indian boy from Pondicherry, explores issues of spirituality and practicality from an early age. He survives 227 days after a shipwreck while stranded on a boat in the Pacific Ocean with a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker.
The Plot Against America  by Philip Roth.
Water for Elephants  by Sara Gruen.
A circus elephant, a love story, and a Prohibition-era thriller. It tells the story of Jacob, a young man who joins the circus and ends up falling in love with both a woman and an elephant (in different ways, thank goodness).

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
 December 2002, Mikael Blomkvist, publisher of the Swedish political magazineMillennium, loses a libel case involving allegations about billionaire industrialist Hans-Erik Wennerström. He is sentenced to three months (deferred) in prison, and ordered to pay hefty damages and costs. Soon afterwards, he is invited to meet Henrik Vanger, the retired CEO of the Vanger Corporation, unaware that Vanger has checked into his personal and professional history; the investigation of Blomkvist's circumstances has been carried out by Lisbeth Salander, a brilliant, but deeply troubled, young woman who works as a surveillance agent with Milton Security.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon
The story is written in the first-person narrative of Christopher John Francis Boone, a 15-year-old boy living in Swindon, Wiltshire in 1998, who is described as having Asperger syndrome, although the behaviour he displays throughout the novel suggests a far more severe condition on the autism spectrum.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid is a realistic fiction novel by Jeff Kinney. It is the first book in theDiary of a Wimpy Kid series. The book is about a boy named Greg Heffley and his struggles in middle school.

The Elegance of the Hedgehog (French: L'Élégance du hérisson) is a novel by the French novelist and professor of philosophy Muriel Barbery. The book follows events in the life of a concierge, Renée Michel, whose deliberately concealed intelligence is uncovered by an unstable but intellectually precocious girl named Paloma Josse. Paloma is the daughter of an upper-class family living in the upscale Parisian apartment building where Renée works.

The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella
Workaholic attorney Samantha Sweeting has just done the unthinkable. She’s made a mistake so huge, it’ll wreck any chance of a partnership.
Going into utter meltdown, she walks out of her London office, gets on a train, and ends up in the middle of nowhere. Asking for directions at a big, beautiful house, she’s mistaken for an interviewee and finds herself being offered a job as housekeeper. Her employers have no idea they’ve hired a lawyer–and Samantha has no idea how to work the oven. She can’t sew on a button, bake a potato, or get the ironing board to open. How she takes a deep breath and begins to cope–and finds love–is a story as delicious as the bread she learns to bake. But will her old life ever catch up with her? And if it does…will she want it back? 

16 diciembre, 2012


3A Passive (all forms)
a. 1. The road was opened when it was safe.
   2. My camera has been stolen.
   3.  My house is being cleaned.
   4.  A meeting will be held next week.
   5. I was fined for travelling without ticket.
   6. You can be arrested for drink-driving.
   7. She thinks she was being followed last night.
   8. The house had been sold a long time ago.
b. 1. It is believed that the robbers are local men. The robbers are believed to be local men.
    2. It is said that the muggers are extremely dangerous. The muggers are said to be extremely dangerous.
   3. It is thought that the burglar entered through an open door. The burglar is thought to have entered through an open door.
   4. It is thought that the killer is hiding nearby. The killer is thought to be hiding nearby.
   5. It is expected that the trial will last three months. The trial is expected to last three months.
3B Future perfect and future  continuous.
a. 1. will be flying. 2.  will have saved. 3. Will be driving. 4. will be having. 5. will have paid 6. will have finished.
b. 1. won't be lying 2. will be working 3.will have disappeared 4. will have doubled 5. will be moving 6. will have grown 7.will have run out 8. will have invented 9. will be driving.
3C Conditionals and future time clauses.
a. 1. I'm not feeling 2. won't be going 3. she'll be sleeping 4. aren't wearing 5. we'll have moved 6. die.
b. 1. before  2. in case  3.unless  4. when  5. after  6. if  7. in case  8. until.

14 diciembre, 2012



a. 2. X get to the point 3. X got broken 4. X get the bus 5. √ 6. X get paid 7. √ 8. X get   Gareth to look     9. X got the kitchen painted 10. X got to the nearest petrol station.

b.  2. Paying a lot to get your hair cut is a waste of money.
     3. The best way to get rich is to work hard.
     4. Getting hurt is usually a learning experience.
     5. People get wiser as they get old.
     6. Cheating is fine provided you don't get caught.
     7. Giving presents is better than getting them.
     8. School doesn't help you to get anywhere in life.


Hi all,
Yesterday you asked me for a link to understand adverbs. This a good link to study them.

05 diciembre, 2012


a 2. It seems that men are more at risk....
   3. It appears that she has changed her mind...
   4. It seems that you are unable to deal...
   5. It seems that the weather is improving...
   6. It appears that the robbers were wearing...

b 2. A spokesman is expected to make an announcement
   3. More than half the population are believed to suffer from headaches.
   4. St Petersburg is said to be one of the...
   5. At least 70 people are thought to be injured...
   6. The economy is expected to grow...

c  Underline:
   according to, do not appear to have been used, apparently, there are said to be, it has been suggested, may have broken down.

02 diciembre, 2012


Hi all,
This is a site where you can read and listen to some research about multitasking, the topic we worked with last week.
Below there is a video about the same topic. Listen to it once without reading the script, the second time you can check those words you did not understand. Enjoy it.

Stanford University.
Back in 2010, we decided to study what would happen
when kids were chronically multi-tasking.
Using email while on Facebook, while trying to do their homework,
while listening to music, texting, etc., etc.
Would it change the way their brains work when they weren't multi-tasking?
 [music playing]
The very powerful and surprising result of that 2010 study
was high multi-taskers - kids who multi-task all the time -
even when they were asked not to multi-task, when they were only doing one thing,
showed less ability to filter out irrelevancy,
much more difficulty managing their working memory
and ironically even the ability to multi-task.
We then decided to look at a different domain
namely emotional development. We focused on 8 to 12 year old girls
because that is the most important age for social development in girls.
So we created this study, a survey of 3400 girls and looked at
how much they used media. We also asked about multi-tasking.
And then we asked a bunch of questions about their social and emotional development.
How likely were they to succumb to peer pressure?
How good did they feel about themselves?
How much they slept? How many kids their parents thought were bad influences?
And the results were incredibly upsetting.
Kids who were heavy media users, heavy multi-taskers, showed much worse social and emotional development.
So what's happening is, kids are not practicing basic emotional skills.
There seems to be a pretty powerful curative,
a pretty powerful inoculant to this. And that is face-to-face communication.
As your kid grows up, that old-fashioned saying of "Look at me when I speak to you"
should come back. Yes, it was annoying for me as a kid, yes it is annoying, but it is annoying for an important reason.
It's hard work. But it's a hard work that leads to incredibly positive outcomes.
For more, please visit us at stanford.edu