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Fluency News #80 – Endless possibilities for plastic recycling

Podcasts 1min

Sejam bem-vindos e bem-vindas a mais um episódio da nossa série de podcasts, o Fluency News!

Hello, everyone!

Sejam bem-vindos e bem-vindas a mais um episódio da nossa série de podcasts, o Fluency News! Aqui você vai treinar a sua escuta e ficar por dentro do que está acontecendo no mundo, sempre com as principais notícias da semana, tudo em inglês! Ao longo do episódio, nós também adicionamos explicações em português das coisas que achamos que precisam de mais atenção, assim você não perde nenhum detalhe! 

No episódio desta semana, nós falamos sobre a mudança de uma lei no Canadá. Nós também falamos sobre as temperaturas absurdas que estão assolando a Índia e o Paquistão, sobre o perfeito funcionamento do telescópio Webb, e sobre a criação de uma enzima que pode mudar o mundo da reciclagem.

Temos uma página de dicas de inglês no Instagram, aproveite para conferir! @fluencytvingles
Toda semana temos um novo episódio do Fluency News, não deixe de escutar! See you!

Transcrição do episódio

What’s up, everyone! Welcome back to Fluency News, Fluency Academy’s news podcast. I’m Scott Lowe, and thank you for joining me today. Can you believe we’re on episode 80 already? If this is your first time here, don’t worry! We bring you the most relevant news stories from around the world each week, so you can improve your English and become informed!

Before we jump into today’s stories, let me just remind you to head over to fluencytv.com to have access to the transcript of this episode and all of our sources. There you’ll also find thousands of free lessons on all the languages Fluency Academy currently teaches, so make sure to check it out. Now, let’s jump in!

Our first story this week comes from Canada, where health officials have removed a ban on blood donations from gay men. 

The old rule prevented donations from men who have had sex with other men within three months of giving blood. Health Canada called the move “a significant milestone toward a more inclusive blood donation system”.

As of September, prospective donors will not be asked about their sexual orientation during the screening process, but instead about whether they engage in any higher-risk sexual behaviors.

The policy change comes after Canadian Blood Services, which collects blood and blood product donations across most of the country, submitted a request last year to scrap the rule. 

Canada’s ban was first put in place in 1992, when HIV was poorly understood and thousands of blood recipients had recently been infected with the virus from donations.

The donation ban was initially for life, but that policy was first eased in 2013, when men who had sex with men were allowed to donate after being abstinent for five years. That was later eased to the current three-month period.

At a news conference on Thursday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the change that was long overdue, calling the current approach “discriminatory and wrong”.

Many countries instituted similar donation bans during the Aids epidemic of the 1980s. 

Experts have found that the bans had little effect, since blood is now systematically screened in advance for viruses such as HIV and Hepatitis B and C. Likewise, sexual orientation is not the cause for such sexually transmitted illnesses; having no correlation to their emergence. 

The UK lifted its own three-month ban on blood donations from gay men last year. France, Greece, Israel, Hungary, Denmark and Brazil have also recently lifted restrictions.

Adjetivos compostos são aqueles que apresentam mais de um elemento, mas tem um sentido único. Nessa história, nós temos alguns exemplos, como higher-risk e three-month. Esses compound adjectives, como são chamados em inglês, são fáceis de identificar, porque são características divididas por um hífen. Existem formas diferentes de formar os adjetivos compostos. Você pode unir duas ou mais palavras, e essas palavras podem ser substantivos, adjetivos, números, advérbios e verbos no “Present Participle” ou “Past Participle”. 

O adjetivo composto aparece na frase antes da palavra (substantivo) a que está fazendo referência, e tem um sentido único, apesar de ser formados por mais palavras. Aqui, higher-risk, por exemplo, é o adjetivo composto de “behavior”, falando de comportamentos de maior risco. 

The James Webb Space Telescope is ready to observe the universe.

The space observatory’s massive mirror, capable of peering into the most distant reaches of space, is now completely aligned, according to the NASA’s Webb team.

Hailed as the world’s premier space observatory, Webb has successfully completed a number of steps within the past few months that were crucial for aligning its 18 gold mirror segments.

Webb will be able to peer inside the atmospheres of exoplanets and observe some of the first galaxies created after the universe began by observing them through infrared light, which is invisible to the human eye.

The first high-resolution images Webb collects of the cosmos aren’t expected until the end of June since the observatory’s instruments still need to be calibrated. But test results released by NASA show the clear, well-focused images that the observatory’s four instruments are capable of capturing. Together, these images share the telescope’s full field of view. Webb’s mirrors are directing focused light from space into each instrument and those instruments are capturing images.

“These remarkable test images from a successfully aligned telescope demonstrate what people across countries and continents can achieve when there is a bold scientific vision to explore the universe,” said Lee Feinberg, Webb optical telescope element manager. 

The telescope team expects that the observatory may even exceed the goals it was meant to achieve because it’s already performing better than expected.

For the next couple months, the team will ensure all of the instruments are calibrated and configured. 

And this winter, we’ll see Webb’s first glimpses that could unlock the mysteries of the universe.

Em inglês, usamos o gerúndio em algumas situações diferentes. O -ING é uma estrutura que pode ser usada de variadas formas e significados. Nessa notícia, temos as palavras by observing. Uma preposição, by, seguida de um verbo no gerúndio, terminando em ING. Sempre que temos um verbo depois de uma preposição em inglês, o verbo vai ser acrescido do ING. Veja alguns exemplos simples:  I’m afraid of going out by myself. He is used to walking in the rain. You should apologize for being so rude. Agora você já sabe, após uma preposição, todo e qualquer verbo deve ser escrito com -ing. Você vai notar essas regrinhas com mais frequência com o uso e contato com o inglês. É possível até que você já tenha sabido disso, só não sabia que sabia! Algumas coisas nós aprendemos por contato e intuição, e não por saber as regras gramaticais!

Temperatures in parts of India and Pakistan have reached record levels, putting the lives of millions at risk as the effects of the climate crisis are felt across the subcontinent. The heatwave is ‘testing the limits of human survivability,’ expert says.

Locals have been suffering through weeks of temperatures that have repeatedly hit almost 50C, unprecedented for this time of year. People have been driven into their homes, unable to work except during the cooler night hours, and are facing critical shortages of water and power.

Last month, New Delhi saw seven consecutive days over 40 degrees Celsius, three degrees above the average temperature for the month of April, according to CNN meteorologists. In some states, the heat closed schools, damaged crops and put pressure on energy supplies, as officials warned residents to remain indoors and keep hydrated.

North-west and central India experienced the hottest April in 122 years, while Jacobabad, a city in Pakistan’s Sindh province, hit 49C on Saturday, one of the highest April temperatures ever recorded in the world.

The heatwave has already had a devastating impact on crops, including wheat and various fruits and vegetables. In India, the yield from wheat crops has dropped by up to 50% in some of the areas worst hit by the extreme temperatures, worsening fears of global shortages following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has already had a devastating impact on supplies.

Sherry Rehman, Pakistan’s minister for climate change, told the Guardian that the country was facing an “existential crisis” as climate emergencies were being felt from the north to south of the country.

Rehman warned that the heatwave was causing the glaciers in the north of the country to melt at an unprecedented rate, and that thousands were at risk of being caught in flood bursts. She also said that the sizzling temperatures were not only impacting crops but water supply as well. “The water reservoirs dry up. Our big dams are at dead level right now, and sources of water are scarce,” she said.

Rehman said the heatwave should be a wake-up call to the international community. “Climate and weather events are here to stay and will in fact only accelerate in their scale and intensity if global leaders don’t act now,” she said.

And our final story today comes from a group of engineers and scientists at the University of Texas. They have created an enzyme variant that can break down environment-throttling plastics that typically take centuries to degrade, in just a matter of hours to days.

This discovery could help solve one of the world’s most pressing environmental problems: what to do with the billions of tons of plastic waste piling up in landfills and polluting our natural lands and water. The enzyme has the potential to supercharge recycling on a large scale that would allow major industries to reduce their environmental impact by recovering and reusing plastics at the molecular level.

“The possibilities are endless across industries to leverage this leading-edge recycling process,” said Hal Alper, professor in the McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering at UT Austin. “Beyond the obvious waste management industry, this also provides corporations from every sector the opportunity to take a lead in recycling their products. Through these more sustainable enzyme approaches, we can begin to envision a true circular plastics economy.”

The project focuses on polyethylene terephthalate (PET), a significant polymer found in most consumer packaging, including cookie containers, soda bottles, fruit and salad packaging, and certain fibers and textiles. It makes up 12% of all global waste.

The enzyme was able to complete a “circular process” of breaking down the plastic into smaller parts and then chemically putting it back together. In some cases, these plastics can be fully broken down to monomers in as little as 24 hours.

Recycling is the most obvious way to cut down on plastic waste. But globally, less than 10% of all plastic has been recycled. The most common method for disposing of plastic, besides throwing it in a landfill, is to burn it, which is costly, energy intensive and spews noxious gas into the air. Other alternative industrial processes include very energy-intensive processes.

Biological solutions take much less energy. Research on enzymes for plastic recycling has advanced during the past 15 years. However, until now, no one had been able to figure out how to make enzymes that could operate efficiently at low temperatures to make them both portable and affordable at large industrial scale. 

Next, the team plans to work on scaling up enzyme production to prepare for industrial and environmental application. 

Você provavelmente já viu o verbo make e a preposição up combinados para formar phrasal verbs diferentes, que tem significados diferentes. Make up pode ser inventar, criar, recuperar, compensar, formar, e mais alguns outros significados. Nessa notícia, vimos que PET makes up 12% of all global waste. Nessa caso, make up significa compõe, no sentido de ser composto por. Então, esse plástico compõe 12% de todo o lixo global. Esse é um dos motivos pelos quais o contexto de uma palavra é mais importante do que o significado individual dela. Assim como no português, uma palavra pode ter mil sentidos, e você só vai saber o correto quando compreender o contexto em que essa palavra está inserida.

And this is where today’s episode ends, folks.

E você sabia que a gente tem uma lista de espera? Se você quer aprender inglês, espanhol, francês, italiano, alemão, japonês, mandarim ou coreano, você pode se inscrever na nossa lista de espera 100% de graça!

Assim você não vai perder a oportunidade de estudar com os superprofessores da FluencyTV quando a gente abrir uma nova turma. É super rápido: aperte o link na descrição desse episódio e faça a sua inscrição.

Remember, there’s a new episode of Fluency News every week, and we look forward to having you with us. See you soon. Peace.


Canada removes ban on blood donations from gay men




The James Webb Space Telescope is fully aligned and ready to observe the universe

‘We are living in hell’: Pakistan and India suffer extreme spring heatwaves



Plastic-eating Enzyme Could Eliminate Billions of Tons of Landfill Waste



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