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05

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QW 053012 “Virtual Viewpoint Discussion 0530”

Climate Change in Greenland Boosts Tourism


Discussion A
1) How do you think your local environment or community has been affected by climate change?
These days, we’re having occasional torrential rains, as we call Guerrilla Rain, which were never been a decade ago. Now our local environment is more likely to be damaged by floods than before.


2) Do you think that people should be worried by the effects of climate change? Why or why not?
It’s not unsure that our worries alone can make things happen. We need to take some actions to contribute to conserving environments.

Discussion B
3) Would you like to try visiting Greenland or a country with a lot of ice? Please explain further.
Well, Greenland is never going to be my No.1 travel destination, but I’m interested in seeing ice-blue glacier. I prefer spending my vacation in much warmers places, to be honest.

4) If you were to travel, what kind of attractions would you like to see or do?
I have general interests in historic sites. Also I like watching local animals both in the wild and in the zoo. Indigenous wide life is one of the best attractions for travelers.

(15 minutes / 199 words)

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QW 052912 “Virtual Viewpoint Discussion 0529”

UK Study Says Mobile Phones Are Safe to Use

Discussion A
1) Do you think people will stop using mobile phones if they learn phones can really cause health problems? Why or why not?
It’s totally a matter of personal decisions, choices, and preferences whether to use officially harmful human devices. If the convenience, necessity, and urge of using mobile phones outweigh health concerns, there would be no other choice but to use the device. I guess that if mobiles phones are proved to cause health problems for real, manufacturers will definitely try developing alternate devices that use less or no harmful technologies. That should help.

2) Aside from possible effects on health, how else can mobile phones affect people?
Mobile phones have enabled us to contact anybody anytime. It means that we can always be connected whether we like it or not, making us more insecure when not connected.

Discussion B
3) Do you think children should be allowed to use mobile phones? Why or why not?
Children can wait to have mobile phones because using the device properly requires certain level of literacy. If I were given a mobile phone at the age of 10 or so, I would soon be hooked on interactions through the phone, talking, texting, Twittering, Facebooking, while consuming huge amount of time. Parents need to be responsible for educating their children until they become mature enough to know the possible risks of using mobile phones and self-regulating the use of such device (I’m mature but have totally failed in self-regulating, though.) That being said, I’d say there’d be no advisable ages for children to start using mobile phones.

4) What are the advantages and disadvantages of younger generations growing up with so much technology?
So called “Digital Native Generation” will demonstrate their presence in our societies in no time. They’ve grown up with this technology, so they’ll be flexible and creative using it. I personally see no disadvantages of those Digital Natives. The only concern for them is that since the technology has our lives inexplicably convenient, some of the younger generation might not be able to accommodate the inconvenience of the live without mobile phones or PCs. Such concerns, however, can also be shared among older generation.

(30 minutes / 381 words)

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QW 052812 “Virtual Viewpoint Discussion 0528”

US Engineers Test Building’s Strength Against Earthquakes

Discussion A
1) Would you say that your country is well-prepared for earthquakes? Why or why not?
First of all, I’d like to point out that no country will be enough-prepared for earthquakes because we’ll never be able to predict what Mother Nature would do to us. Even for an earthquake-prone county like Japan, disaster preparedness is going to be enough and sufficient. That said, our country had a long history to survive or cope with frequent earthquakes, and have built a system to predict and alert upcoming earthquakes to give precaution to the people to the would-be affected areas.


2) How can the government and the people improve on their ability to deal with disasters?
Experiences are always the best teacher. We can learn from our past experiences to develop our skills and knowledge to deal with disasters such as earthquakes. After the Great Hanshin earthquake in 1995, we had opportunities to hear accounts of those who went through the earthquake, and learn from their experiences. For instance, the construction law was tightened a few years later in order to prevent wooden houses from collapsing at the event of a big earthquake.

Discussion B
3) What are the benefits of conducting mock tests like one mentioned in the article?
One of the benefits is to be able to find out what is likely to happen at a real occasion. If something needs to be improved and adjusted, it can be fixed and reflected to develop better systems.

4) Can you think of other mock tests that would personally benefit you or other people?
Although it’s more like training, not a mock test, I think everybody should experience swimming with their clothes on to be well- prepared to survive when drowning. I consider myself as a good swimmer, but I’m not very confident in swimming with my clothes as well as in my swimsuit. If once experienced or trained, you’re unlikely to panic when thrown into water and are likely to deal with a situation to successfully survive.

(30 minutes / 346 words)

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QW 052712 “Virtual Viewpoint Discussion 0527”

Charity Group Encourages Free Access to Scientific Research


Discussion A
1) Do you agree that scientific research should be available to everybody for free? Why or why not?
Well, my initial thought is on who will pay the cost of publishing research data if all of the scientific research is available for free. It could be whether those free-of-charge SNSs supported by advertisers, or the tax money will be spent on managing the publication of research if it’s government-sponsored research. We’d take it for granted that it’s always best to obtain anything for free, but I cannot help wonder who will pay the cost of offering something available for free.

2) Can you think of some types of information that should not be made available to everybody on the Internet? Why should these not be published?
Any information that might invade people’s privacy, threat public security, and influence negatively on children and adolescent. The access of those kinds of information should be limited and under control because they can impair happiness and well-being of people involved.


Discussion B
3) Have you ever subscribed to any journal magazine or newspaper? If yes, what was it about? If no, have you ever thought about subscribing to one? Why or why not?
I’ve subscribed to The Japan Times, New York Times weekly, Newsweek, CNN English Express, usually magazines and newspapers related to English-learning. CNN English Express contributed significantly to developing my listening skills back then.

4) Would you say that the money people spend on buying or subscribing to journals is well-spent? Why or why not?
It may be safe to say that not all the journals subscribed are well-read by their subscribers. I’m talking about it from my own experiences. When novelty wears off, some people will stop reading delivered journals and leave the growing piles of journals untouched. Or even avid readers will read only their favorite articles or sections, not necessarily all the articles in journals. So come to think of it, subscription to journals and magazines can be “investment money never fully-returned”.

(30 minutes / 344 words)

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05

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QW 052612 “Virtual Viewpoint Discussion 0526”

Marathon Organizers Warn Runners of Intense Heat

Discussion A
1) In your opinion, how does temperature affect the performance of athletes like marathon runners?
Now I need to talk just out of my sheer imagination because I’ve never run a marathon in my life. I guess that the heat and high temperature will deprive runners from stamina to sustain themselves for 42.195 kilos. Less experienced runners might have hard time allocating their limited energy and stamina during a race. Even runners with experiences will have to slow down their pace and try not to consume too much of their stamina under the heat. Also runners will need to take more water than on cooler days, which will end up wearing them down.

2) Would you join a marathon in your country if it were held in the middle of summer? Why? / Why not?
I’d never want to join a marathon in the mid-summer, knowing it will risk my life. If someone I know is running a marathon race under such climate, I’d be worried if they survive a tough heat, seriously.

Discussion B
3) Is there a sport or activity that you sometimes enjoy doing even though you have little experience of it?
What came up to my mind instantly is bowling. I’ve never intensively practice bowling and have always been a clumsy, poor player. Still I enjoy games with my buddies from time to time. I’d say sharing excitement among friends is the best part of bowling.

4) Do you think people should give up a sport or other activity they like because others advise them to stop? Why or why not?
Well, I think everything’s up to the individual who does the activity. Even a doctor cannot stop his patient from loving and doing supposedly undesirable activities for them. There’s always a person who’d rather do whatever he/she likes to do while harming and risking their lives, such as those who could possibly quit smoking. Being engaged in your favorite activities can grace your lives beautifully and excitingly. Except the case in which quite obvious risks are posed, we should be 100% responsible for our choices on sports and activities we’d do while “considering suggestions” from people around us.

(25 minutes / 373 words)

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Aya

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