Friday, September 28, 2007

Guardian article about Greek fire damage

WWF in despair over Greek fire damage

· Rare species of animals and plants lost in flames
· Anger rises as developers move in on stricken areas

Helena Smith in Athens
Friday September 28, 2007


Two percent of the surface area of Greece was destroyed by forest fires this summer, including some of Europe's lushest nature reserves. The extent of the damage wrought by the infernos is much larger than initially thought, with rare species of reptiles, mammals and endemic plants being lost, according to the conservation group WWF.

"The destruction by far exceeds our expectations, and is more dramatic and extensive than we imagined," Dimitris Karavellas, who heads the WWF in Greece, said. "These fires were not only the worst on record, they ravaged everything. Very few patches of life, patches that are now refuges for various animal species, were left behind," he said.

Aided by satellite maps, environmentalists have established that in six weeks the flames consumed roughly one-tenth of the country's forests, with large swaths of land inside EU-protected areas also being burned. Among the designated areas was Mount Taygetos, one of Greece's most spectacular nature reserves, which had just begun to recover from devastating blazes in 1998.

The destruction - exacerbated by the hottest summer in 50 years - will doubtless worsen if a winter of heavy rainfall follows, Mr Karavellas said.

The group's grim assessment came a month after fires erupted in the southern Peloponnese, killing 67 men, women and children, many of whom were burned alive as they tried to flee the flames.

The report's release will put further pressure on the recently re-elected conservative government, the popularity of which was badly hit by accusations of ineptitude during the conflagrations.

Alongside mounting anger over the scale of the damage, indignation is rising over the rehabilitation methods officials are resorting to in affected areas. "Everyone, it seems, wants to exploit the situation economically," Nikos Bokaris, the president of the Panhellenic Union of Foresters, said in an interview. "I have been to the stricken region and seen with my own eyes that there is absolutely no coordination of relief efforts. The confusion that allowed the fires to rage uncontrollably is now raging uncontrollably in those areas."

Greeks have been incensed by evidence that investors, scenting profit, are moving in to the Peloponnese, one of the last parts of Greece to have escaped mass tourism.

Ecologists point to a deal that paves the way for construction on up to 10 miles of virgin coastline around the southern seaside town of Zacharo. The deal, signed by the former deputy finance minister Petros Doukas and the mayor of Zacharo, Pantazis Chronopoulos, appears to have gone through, despite the region being on a list of protected sites drawn up by the EU.

The approximately 6,000 people who were made homeless by the fires have also been encouraged to ignore otherwise stringent environmental rules when they apply for housing subsidies. In the absence of a land registry and forest maps, Greeks invariably have been able to build with impunity in areas that would normally be protected.

Trail of destruction

· 300,000 hectares were burnt.

· 30,000 hectares of this were within protected areas.

· Seven designated nature reserves were affected.

· 55% of the razed area consisted of forests and other areas of vegetation.

· Habitats of rare species of golden jackals and red deer were among those destroyed.

· The fires caused a severe degradation of soil and water balance, increasing the risk of flooding.

Guardian Unlimited © Guardian News and Media Limited 2007

Vanessa Vaile
Also blogging from Mountainair NM
at the original Mountainair Arts

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Does subscribe email work ?


How is every one :)

The subscribe email above, I tried three of my diffent email, yahoo,hotmail and gmail. All of them doesn't work and I got a message "Email Address Problem". Btw, anyone has ever recieved the notification email when there are new posted ? I think Blogger itself might have some setting menu to send the notification email to members.

Today, I google about how to write scientific report for my first manual script in english!! eww so dificult for me. In the internet, they are almost the same pattern to write the report but I think I got some problems when I write my report is how to describe something in specific field. In general, I'm also not good in describing a thing. I think because of my lacking of vocabularies.

bye for now

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Guide to Countable & Uncountable

Guide to Countable and Uncountable Nouns
A guide to the basics of countable and uncountable nouns in English for ESL EFL classes including a discussion of commonly confused uncountable nouns as well as the most common container or quantity expressions used with uncountable nouns such as cheese, information, etc.

Test your knowledge of countable and uncountable nouns with these quizzes:

Interactive Quiz with Corrections
Countable and uncountable nouns gap fill quiz

For teachers, here is a lesson plan focusing on countable and uncountable nouns.

More links to resources on countables and uncountables...

Also blogging from Mountainair NM
at the original Mountainair Arts

Sunday, September 16, 2007

common problems & participaton notes

Both polls are closed now. I moved them down the page and will be thinking about more poll topics. Please send suggestions. Your comments about "most common problems" have been excellent. I'll be posting study and practice materials on most if not all of them.
  • Articles
  • Commonly confused words (words that sound and look similar but have very different meanings) and wrong word forms or morphology errors (meaning OK- wrong form of root)
  • Subject-verb agreement
  • Pronouns - agreement, case, gender
  • Verbs - tenses and auxiliary or helping verbs
  • Prepositions: in phrasal verbs, preposition use and prepositional phrases
  • Word order or syntax
  • Interference and language learning

You can and should participate in and share looking for handouts and practice exercises for most of the items on the list above. The last entry, described rather than named, will be more difficult to research. The last two entries are related as well as relating closely to an area of linguistics referred to as "contrastive rhetoric"

Second language learning is an exercise in contrastive linguistics because learners filter and assimilate the second language through the first language. Differences between two languages interfere when you try to learn them. Features any two languages are never a perfect match. The attempt to apply mis-matched features creates intererence.

Before I write more about our common ESL learning problems, it's time for a few words on the class and blog participation.

I wanted and expected MORE responses. Responding and contributing to the discussion was an assignment, which means that EVERYBODY in the class should have responded. I know you don't want to read complaints and nagging about posting everytime you come to Blogging English. I certainly don't want to spend my time complaining either, so I'll just send email reminders to classs members we haven't heard from. If they ignored the notices, then I'll just drop them from the class. Recently I dropped three students and sent several warnings this morning. That takes time too that could be better spent such as on finding interesting study, reading and practice materials for the class.

Blog participation requirements are much more flexible that lesson and assignment completion requirements. If, like Sadamu, Yupaphat, Mata and Kim, you've been in the class a long time and have done a lot of work, you're entitled to be less active from time to time. I do want to hear from you but won't be dropping you from the class unless you want to leave. Juan Manuel, Marina/ Mariko and Mustapha are next on the list of inactive blog members we need to hear more from - and SOON. Not only are they not participating here but they have not been in the class long enough or built up a body of contributions to the class.

By the way, we even have three blog members who are not in this class. Serge, Youngim and Miriam were in my first online ESL class (*E*S*L). I started it long before moving to New Mexico, when I was still at the University of California. Back then, the whole class was conducted by email and on our yahoo group - no blog, no class web page. You could probably say that I invited them for sentimental reasons.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

mailbox sharing - mixed bag

Maybe I should just call this "from the (e)mail bag." And it's quite a "mixed bag" too. I'm sharing some pages / posts / items from my mailbox that you might find useful or at least interesting:

Posted to TESL list:

Online activities from Multi-CulturalEducational Services

From Merton Bland on teaching spoken English:
ÏéÎä ÃÏ (mengxiangwu) wants to know how to teach spoken English. There is no better way than by using the language to communicate real ideas. Please don't try to make your students memorize rules, or recite vocabulary lists. Make them need to express themselves in English. Make them need to understand English. Teach anything else in English: science, history, foreign culture, or whatever. Let them watch movies in English (without subtitles). Have them make reports in English on the VOA or BBC news broadcasts, explaining the importance of individual news items. Do not let any other language be spoken in your classroom, especially announcements that effect them. To teach spoken English, use it.

Copyright-free reading material on the Internet:
Posted on TESL list by a non-native English teacher in the Phillipines:
I am a student teacher here at the University of Santo Tomas, Philippines. I would like to share to you one of the things that I've learned from one of my English professors. According to her, students using English as their second language may tend to think in their native language and translate their thoughts in English as they communicate. This may be why some students ask to translate a certain word to their native language to be able to understand the meaning of that word. However, as English teachers, we should not let our students learn the language this way. Instead, we have to encourage them to think in English so that they will be able to communicate spontaneously. I suggest that in teaching vocabulary to second language learners, we can use context clues. The students may not know the meaning of a word through its translation, but at least they can relate a certain word to their schema and that would make it much easier to decode its meaning. Plus, there is another advantage in using context clues to figure out meanings: it can alsoimprove comprehension skills.

Resources at
  • "Smithsonian Global Sound"found at features a searchable database of collections of music from all over theworld (1000s of tracks). You can get a small sample of each clip forfree and then purchase a track as a download if you want.
  • "Radio Global Sound" streams selections from the site for free at At the Radio Global Sound site, there is a"recording info" button to click on to find out just what you are listening to, because many times, unless you're a longtime fan of"folkways" records, you'll have no clue!
  • "Global Sound Live" section at features videos of live performances of an incredible variety of musical styles from all over the world.

This should be more than enough to keep you busy, give you something to read in English, provide study resources and above all - more to think about.

Needless to say, feedback and comments welcomed and encouraged.

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