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What is the difference between fiscal and monetary?

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When economists talk about fiscal policy they are referring to raising and spending taxes. Monetary policy is what central banks do to control the amount of money in an economy. Normally they do this either raising/lowering interest rates. Raising interest rates restricts the amount of money circulating and should reduce inflation. Lowering interest rates encourages expenditure as there is more money available. But as everyone know these are not 'normal' economic times. Interest rates in the advanced western economies have fallen to close to zero - but the recovery remains this. To counter this some central banks have introduced something called quantative easing .  Put simply means pushing more money directly into the economy via the banks - see here for more details.

What is crowdsourcing?

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We figured that consumers would be the best judges for us ... designers  submit ideas and then asks customers to vote on them. Only the top vote getters are offered for sale . Crowdsourcing is the marketing equivalent of 'asking the audience' in a radio show.  The first use of the term  crowdsourcing  is usually attributed to a  2006  Wired  magazine article "The Rise of Crowdsourcing by Jeff Howe. Howe argued that the rise of cheap consumer electronics means that 'the gap between professionals and amateurs has been diminished'. Now companies can tap the knowledge of an informed public: "It’s not outsourcing; it’s crowdsourcing." Interestingly Steve Jobs took the opposite approach, often quoting the apocryphal Henry Ford's line, "If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses." As the joke goes: Q. 'What's the Apple version of a focus group? A. The left side of Steve Jobs' brain talking to the righ

Which eight nations do not have 'official' language?

According to Henry Hitchings new book Language Wars there are only eight nations which do not have an official state language. Can you guess what they are? Here's a clue to help: three of the countries are in Africa and two in Europe. Two are very surprising! Answers in the next post

Where does the word 'posh' come from?

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Not from the accommodation arrangements on ships to India as is commonly claimed. The story goes that the more well-to-do passengers on ships travelling between England and India used to have POSH written against their bookings, standing for 'Port Out, Starboard Home' (indicating the more desirable cabins, on the shady side of the ship). Unfortunately, this story did not make its appearance until the 1930s, by which time the term had already been in use for some twenty years. Added to this, the word does not appear to have been recorded in the form 'P.O.S.H.', which would be expected if it had started life as an abbreviation. ( Source ) A more likely source is the 1890s slang word for a dandy, but there is no agreement about origin.

Most quoted lines from films?

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A partial shortlist below: Humphrey Bogart   Casablanca (1942) "I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship" Renee Zellweger   Jerry Maguire (1996) "You had me at hello" Clarke Gable   Gone with the Wind (1939) "Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn" Arnold Schwarzenegger   Terminator II (1992) "Hasta la vista, baby" Gloria Swanson   Sunset Boulevard (1950) "I'm ready for my close-up" But what makes these lines so memorable? Researchers at Cornell University think they have 'created a computer program to break down the formula behind some of cinema's most enduring lines'.  Hasn't this 'formula' alway been the elusive holy grail for Hollywood? Disney hired top screenwriters for their epic John Carter - only to end up with one of the most expensive flops of all time. In contrast Casablanca was famously chaotic in its development, with actors going into celebrated

What happened to the Mary Celeste?

The words Mary Celeste have a special resonance in English. Here is a brief summary of what we know about the infamous 'ghost ship'. Related teaching resources & learning activities here .