Showing posts from October, 2012

What is an earworm?

An  earworm  is a very short piece of music which the mind involuntarily plays on certain triggers. For example, I hear the city name, Exeter, and a snatch of Bob Marley's Exodus plays in my head. Here's how the august British Psychological Society explain the phenomenon.  The brain has its own jukebox. A personal sound system for your private listening pleasure. The downside is that it has a mind of its own. It often chooses the songs and it frequently gets stuck, playing a particular tune over and over until you're sick of it. Psychologists have nicknamed these mental tunes "earworms" (from the German  Ohrwurm ).  A study from 2009   found that they can last anywhere between minutes to hours, but that they're only unpleasant in a minority of cases. Source This BBC radio documentary   takes a playful look at research into earworms

12 Key Political Terms for English Language Learners?

With thanks to

What is a Republican? And a Democrat?

There are only two major political parties in the US; the Republicans & the Democrats. A representative from one or other party has won every presidential election since 1852. The above presentation briefly describes the key differences between them. How did they get the names Republican and Democrat? This gets very confusing! The  Federalist Party  of  Alexander Hamilton   was opposed by Thomas Jefferson who formed an opposition party in 1792. Jefferson's  party developed into the  Democratic-Republican Party  (1798) and was the forerunner of the modern  Democratic Party . The  modern Republican Party was founded in the 1850s and  key features included opposition to slavery and a support base in the northern states. Abraham Lincoln was a Republican, while the pro-slavery southern states were largely Democrat. Broadly speaking,  the Democratic Party is  left-of-center  and the Republican Party  right-of-center   As the 2000 Presidential Election spectacularly p