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Your English Monthly


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The Lady Gaga Phenomenon


Table of contents Networking




Google+ and Facebook: And the winner is‌.

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An Australian HeroLoses His Head Ned Kelly’s Stolen Skull




Cyclist Mark Cavendish



The Lady GagaPhenomenon



The Sunstone Guide to Navigation How the Vikings got from Norway to America

Issue worksheet


Letter to readers Dear Teachers and Students, Time to lighten those dark winter days that usher in the New Year with some lively reading in English! We don’t want anyone to feel left behind, so our Focus this month is on the rivalry—which often exists only in the mind of the public—between

The publisher is prepared to make payment for any copyright of photographs where the source has been impossible to trace.

Google and Facebook. We’ve a fascinating story from Australia, which combines a legendary folk hero from the land down-under (as Australia is familiarly called) with the latest scientific technology. And news on a new film about the literary-historical issue of whether Shakespeare really was the author of Shakespeare’s works. Science features again as archaeology helps us to understand how the Vikings were able to navigate to the New World. February is Black History month in the U.S.A. (the holiday takes place in October in the U.K.) and we bring you news of it; while U.K. star cyclist Mark Cavendish is profiled as our latest sports hero. As to the arts, there’s Lady Gaga, an article on the Oscar film awards from the US (awarded each February), and a piece on the young American novelist Jonathan Safran Foer, our featured author in this issue’s 20 under 40 series. Enjoy, and don’t fall victim to the winter doldrums! Remember, this is also the month of love, with Saint Valentine’s day coming up.

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Change Up magazine P.O.BOX 6 - 62019 Recanati (MC)

So, here’s wishing you a Happy Saint Valentine’s Day.

Lisa Kramer Taruschio Editor-in-Chief



Google+ and Facebook: And the winner is…. Google is the most popular Web site on earth. But it is worried about the second-most popular site closing in on its title.. That, of course, would be Facebook. Google has made more than one attempt to create a social network to rival* Facebook. It started Orkut, Jaiku, Wave, Buzz — each one a bigger flop* than the one before. There’s a new one now, called Google+ (pronounced, ‘Google Plus’). And this time it may have a real chance to outshine Facebook. There is more to Google’s new strategy for Google+, which is entering the net gradually. In fact, you can’t just go and sign* up for Google+, you must be invited by someone who’s already a member. Google+ looks a lot like Facebook, and there are lots of similarities: there’s a place for Posts (your thoughts and news, like Facebook’s Wall); there’s a Stream (a scrolling page of your friends’ posts, like Facebook’s News Feed); and there is even a little +1 button (like Facebook’s Like button).

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But there’s one massive, brilliant difference: Circles.


Wait for it: On Google+, you put the people of your life into different Circles--groups. Categories. Google starts you off with empty circles called Friends, Acquaintances, Family and Following (people you don’t know, but want to follow, as you would on Twitter). And you add new circles, sometimes tiny ones like “Granny and Gramps”, or big ones like “Family Tree”, or organization-based ones like “Fantasy League Buddies”, or arbitrary* ones that you name yourself, like “Annoying* People”. Creating the circles is a lot of fun. You start with your online acquaintances, a list you compose from your Gmail and

other accounts. Then you drag each one into an on-screen circle. You can drag a person into more than one circle, of course. And every time you share something — a news item, a thought, a photo, a chat invitation — you can specify exactly which Circles receive it. So all at once, Google has solved the privacy problem that has bothered* Facebook for years.

You share each item with only the people who deserve to know. And you can click a Circle’s name to filter the scrolling blurbs. You can view only the workrelated posts, only your college buddies’ posts, or only your grandparents’ posts, with one click each. Facebook has something similar, called Lists. But compared with Circles, it’s a lot less user-friendly*. In Google+, you specify who gets each post or each photo (although it remembers your last selections). The best “Facebook can’t do this” feature of Google+, however, is Hangouts. Technically, it lets up to 10 people join a chat simultaneously, using their Web cams or laptop cameras. A row of tiles showing each participant’s video appears below the big screen. Google+ changes cameras for the big screen automatically, based on whoever’s talking at the moment. A narrow chat window appears on one side for typed remarks, and a YouTube button lets everyone watch YouTube videos simultaneously on the big screen. Nice. This sounds a bit like Skype or iChat, but its integration with the rest of Google+ makes it much better. When you’re feeling social, you can click Start a Hangout, and let friends drop in to visit you. The video chat doesn’t have to be scheduled or formal. Also, it’s always on the Web, so you don’t have to install a program. Another feature: You can share Photos by dragging them from your computer right into the box where you’d type your latest

news. And you view other people’s photos in a beautiful gallery, with comments off to the right. If you have an Android  phone, even more fun awaits. There are Huddles (instant phone-to-phone group chats with your Circles). And when you take a picture with your phone, it goes to a private area on your Google+ page. Later, you can share it with your circles.

There are, of course, a few disadvantages to Google+ It feels uncluttered* and calm, especially compared to Facebook. But can people share your private posts with their circles? And what happens if you remove a couple of people from a circle? Can they still see things you’ve shared in the past? In addition, no other services (like Twitter or, of course, Facebook) are tied* in yet. No games or applications yet. The members so far are mostly geeks*; there are bugs and glitches*. And we suggest you ignore Google’s bizarre promotional/tutorial videos, whose narrators are almost completely inarticulate. But Google calls Google+ a project, and that’s just what it is, an ongoing beginning that is online already so Google can and will constantly fine-tune* it. Personally, we have to wonder why we need MORE social networking. Facebook and Twitter seem to be more than sufficient for anyone’s social agenda. But Google won’t be ignored. So now we have the Dominant Duo ...+1.

Glossary annoying: irritating arbitrary: at random, having no logic bothered: annoyed fine-tune: improve the performance; make fine adjustments flop: failure geeks: people who are proud or enthusiastic users of computers or other technology, sometimes to an excessive degree glitches: small problems rival: to compete with sign up: volunteer arbitrary: random or original tied in: connected to uncluttered: not appearing messy, obstructed, or cramped user-friendly: easy to use


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An Australian Hero Loses His Head

Ned Kelly’s Stolen Skull

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In Australia, the name Ned Kelly is extremely well known. Others in the English-speaking world might think of him as Jesse James, Thomas Paine and John F. Kennedy rolled into one, for he is one of Australia’s legendary folk* heroes


Ned Kelly was born around 1854 to an Irish convict* who had been exiled to Australia. He became a folk hero as a very young man when he fought against a corrupt British police force, robbed banks (for the poor: like a modern Robin Hood), and wrote an explosive manifesto. Kelly was finally captured by the authorities, shot, and arrested in a final shootout in which he wore homemade metal armor. In 1880 he was hanged by the Anglo-Irish establishment he hated. After his execution, Kelly was buried in a mass grave at the Melbourne Gaol*. There his bones might have quietly decomposed were it not for the fact that the gravediggers at the time used a type of lime that slowed decomposition instead of speeding it. When the cemetery was dug up for development

in 1929, workers found many, many skeletons. Officials began to move the remains to another prison, but in a scene of chaos that became a local scandal, a crowd of schoolboys and other onlookers ran amok* and seized bones — including, it was thought, the skull* of Ned Kelly. The bones were reburied at Pentridge prison, and the skulls were recovered soon after being stolen. But for Kelly’s skull it was the beginning of a long and incredible journey through decades of investigation, debate, tantalizing leads*, stalemates* and false starts. . Kelly’s fans* have always wanted to get closer to the legend. His armor, cartridge* bag, boots and a bloody sash* became state treasures. But perhaps the most precious among them is his missing* skull. In the 1970s, a skull was exhibited in a jail museum alongside Kelly’s death mask, a plaster impression made shortly after his execution. (It is unknown whether that mask was the original or a copy.) But in 1978 the skull was stolen again, by a man named Tom Baxter. Baxter held onto the skull for over three decades, promising to return it if the government gave Kelly a Christian burial. The government did not respond, and nothing changed until 2008, when another excavation uncovered more prisoners’ remains. At least 3,000 bone fragments were sent for DNA testing. It was thought that Ned Kelly’s bones might be among them. Shortly after that, Mr. Baxter handed over a fragile, sun-bleached skull to the forensic institute. The institute conducted a 21-month investigation of the skull. Scientists used

historical photographs, cranial plaster casts and a copy of the Kelly death mask to determine whether the skull from Mr. Baxter had been unearthed in the 1929 exhumation. But determining the skull’s genetic material was problematic. DNA is well preserved in bone, but vulnerable to contamination. Finally, the institute sent samples from the skull and other remains to a specialist forensic laboratory in Argentina which successfully extracted DNA from almost all of the samples. Even so, the DNA meant little by itself. The investigators needed something, or someone, to compare it with. Hoping to find DNA in Kelly’s dried blood, they located the boots, bag and

sash he wore the night he was shot. “Dried specimens on cloth can preserve DNA for hundreds, even thousands, of years,” said David Ranson, a pathologist at the institute. But the boot and the bag had no usable DNA. The sash, which they found in a country museum, had been thoroughly washed before it was put on display. And a search for the original Kelly death mask — which might hold a stray eyelash or some skin — was fruitless. The investigators looked for relatives of Ned Kelly and found Leigh Olver, an art teacher who was descended from Ned Kelly’s mother, down a direct line of women. They compared his DNA with that of the skull and finally, in October of 2011, the forensic mystery was finally resolved—at least in part. The results were disappointing. After all this time, after being stolen more than once, placed on display for the world to see, hidden for decades, cherished, handled, sought after and tested, the skull is not Ned Kelly’s.

Above and left: Kelley’s homemade metal armor.

And what of Kelly’s skeleton? Should it be returned to the extended family? Or should there be a public grave? Countless books and movies tell the story of this Australian national hero (including the 2003 film entitled Ned Kelly and starring Heath Ledger, Geoffrey Rush, Naomi Watts and Orlando Blood)—although some see him as a villain. “You can’t just bury the man,” Mr. Olver said. “Someone is going to dig him up again in half an hour.”

Glossary amok: wild cartridge: ammunition convict: prisoner folk: of the people Goal: jail leads: tips or clues missing: not present sash: a fabric belt skull: the head bone or cranium stalemate: a situation with no potential winners

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“Mr. Olver’s DNA and the DNA from the skull do not match,” said Fiona Leahy, a historian and legal adviser at the institute. However, the investigators found a match between the Olver DNA and one set of bones, including a palmsize fragment of skull. So while most of Kelly’s skull is still missing, the rest of him appears to have been found.




Mark Cavendish

“My mum would laugh at me, and I said it was because all my mates had mountain bikes, so I asked for a mountain bike for my 13th birthday and got one. The very nextday I went out and beat* everyone.�

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Mark Cavendish


he seemed arrogant in interviews given immediately after races. Cavenish lives on the Isle of Man, but he has a training base in Quarrata, Tuscany, Italy. Currently he is in a relationship with glamour model and Page Three girl Peta Todd. On 22 October 2011, the couple announced through the media that Todd is pregnant.

Cavendish was born in Douglas, Isle of Man, on May 21, 1985, the son of David Cavendish also from the Isle of Man, and Adele from Yorkshire. He began riding BMX at a young age, racing at the National Sports Centre in Douglas. Cavendish started racing informally at 12, as a mountain-bike rider. He worked in a bank for two years after leaving school, concentrating on earning and saving enough money to support himself as a full time cyclist later on, when he planned to turn professional. He says he has always loved riding a bike and was always getting dropped in little races. As it happened, Cavendish began his career* with the British Track* Cycling team, winning gold in the madison with Rob Hayles at the 2005 UCI Track Cycling World Championships in Los Angeles. It was the first time the two raced together and they finished one lap* ahead of the field to claim* the gold medal, ahead of the Dutch and Belgian teams, giving Britain its fourth gold at the championships. It was Cavendish’s first world champion’s jersey*. Cavendish then went on to win the 2005 European championship points* race. In 2005, he began road racing in 2005, riding the Tour of Berlin and 2005 Tour of Britain Team Sparkasse. In June 2006, with the Continental team, Team Sparkasse, he won two stages and the points and sprint* competitions in the Tour of Berlin. In the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, Australia, he rode for the Isle of Man on the track, riding the

scratch* race. Finally, he won gold in the sprint for the Isle of Man with a race time of 23m 5s, an average 51.9 km/h. Originally Cavenish was a track cyclist specialising in the madison, points race, and scratch race disciplines. He won gold in the madison at the 2005 and 2008 World Championshps, with Rob Hayles and Bradley Wiggins respectively, but he has competed on the road since 2006, rising to fame as a sprinter. He also became the 2011 Road World Champion champion. As a road cyclist he achieved eleven wins in his first professional season, equalling the record held by the Italian Alessandro Petacchi. He has won a total of 20 Tour de France stages which puts him joint 6th on the alltime list with Nicolas Frantz and joint 11th with Costante Girardengo on the all-time list of Grand Tour stage winners with 30 victories. Other notable wins include the 2009 Milan – San Remo classic and the points classification in both the 2010 Vuelta a España and the 2011 Tour de France. Cavendish has been described as confident, possibly even arrogant*. In 2008 he said: “When journalists at the Tour de France ask me if I am the best sprinter, I answer Yes, and that’s seen as arrogance, but if they don’t ask me, I don’t say I’m the best sprinter in the world.” Boy Race, his autobiography, which covers his career to date, was published in June 2009. At a press conference in London just before the 2009 Tour de France began, Cavendish explained that the book was “more a biography of last year’s Tour stage wins” than an autobiography He explained that his biggest motivation* for writing the book had been to explain himself better, especially when

Glossary arrogant: proudly contemptuous beat: to defeat someone in a contest career: long-term or life-long job claim: assert jersey: T-shirt lap: one circuit of a track madison: a type of race motivation: a reason points: a type of track race scratch race: a type of track race sprint: a type of road race track: race course

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Mark Cavendish MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) is a professional road racing cyclist. At the start of the 2012 season he joined Team Sky.



The Lady Gaga

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Her real name is Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta (born March 28, 1986), but of course everyone knows her by her stage name: Lady Gaga. The Lady is an American singer-songwriter, performance artist,  record producer, dancer, businesswoman, and activist who sings and plays the piano, the synthesizer, and the keytar. Gaga was raised in  New York City, the elder of two sisters. She studied at the  Convent of the Sacred Heart where she was teased for her quirky*, eccentric style by her classmates. She then briefly attended  New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts before leaving to focus on her musical career. She started to perform in the rock music  scene of  Manhattan’s  Lower East Side and by the end of 2007, she was signed with Streamline Records. As a songwriter for the record company, she caught the attention of the recording artist  Akon who recognized her vocal abilities and signed her to his label Kon Live Distribution. Gaga’s first studio album*, called The Fame, was released in 2008 and received mostly good reviews from critics. It was this album which brought her to prominence. Its first two singles, “Just Dance” and “Poker Face”, were num-

ber-one singles and the album itself reached the number-one spot on nine record charts worldwide. To promote the album, Gaga went on the Fame Ball Tour and after it, in late 2009, she released an extended play,  The Fame Monster, which contained the international hit singles “Bad Romance”, “Telephone” and “Alejandro”. In order to promote the Fame Monster album, Gaga went on an eighteenmonth long  Monster Ball Tour, which became one of the  highest-grossing* concert tours of all time. Her second album, called  Born This Way,  was released in 2011, and went to the top of the charts on in several major markets. International chart-topping singles from it included “Born This Way”, “Judas” and “The Edge of Glory”. As well as being a recording artist, Gaga has also involved herself with  humanitarian causes and LGBT activism. In her songwriting and performances, Gaga has been influenced by glam rock  artists such as  David Bowie  and  Queen, as well as  dance-pop artists like  Michael Jackson  and  Madonna. She has sold an estimated 23 million albums and 64 million singles worldwide,  which makes her one of the  best-selling music artists of all time. She has won  Grammy Awards and MTV awards, among others, and has appeared twice, consecutively, on  Billboard  magazine’s Artists of the Year (earning* the definitive title in 2010). She has also appeared regularly on lists composed by Forbes and appeared on the  Time  100  list of the most influential people in the world.

Glossary album: a music recording, sometimes including more than one CD, cassette, or record, issued as a single item ballad: a slow, romantic song earning: deserving something highest-grossing: earning the most money quirky: odd


• Her stage name was picked from Queen’s song titled “Radio GaGa”. • When GaGa was 11 years old, she enrolled in acting classes for the first time. • She wrote her first song, Dollar Bills, when she was four years old. • She has a tattoo on her on wrist, on her shoulder blade, on the side of her waist, and one on her lower back. • Lady Gaga is 5’ 1” (1.55 m). • Lady Gaga is Italian on her father’s side and she has French, German, and English roots from her mother’s side. • She learned to play the piano at the age of 4 and by the age of 13, she had written her first piano ballad*. • Lady GaGa is credited for writing all the songs on her album, The Fame. • For the 2010 Haiti earthquake, Lady Gaga donated over $500,000 in proceeds from her current tour, The Monster Ball, and from her online store.

Lady GaGa statistics:

• Her song, Poker Face, quickly became a top three hit in Sweden and a #1 hit in New Zealand, Canada and Australia. Poker Face is her second #1 single, following Just Dance. • Lady GaGa is ranked #100 in 100 Hottest Blondes of AIM. • Her album, The Fame, has gone Platinum in Australia.

• Her current fashion icons include Donatella Versace, Sharon Stone, Casino and Grace Jones. • She designs and makes many of her stage outfits.


(On being bullied in high school) “I remember going to gym class one day and there was all kinds of profanity written all over my gym locker,... ...Just mine. And it just said the most horrendous, awful things, ranging from sexual orientation to race to religion to social status. And it sticks with you and it hurts. And I went home and I cried. I didn’t want to go to school.”

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Lady GaGa and Fashion:



The Sunstone Guide to Navigation

How the Vikings got from Norway to America

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the trick to locate the sun when it was no longer visible.


One of the many Viking legends says that the warrior sailors navigated in bad weather using glowing* sunstones which revealed the position of the sun even when it was obscured by cloud or had sunk beneath the horizon. And while scientists have long disputed the feasibility* of such a trick, new research on a crystal found in a 16th century shipwreck* shows that such stones could indeed have helped the Vikings navigate from Norway to North America. The sunstones are made of crystal calcite*, and may well have helped the Vikings locate the sun in overcast* weather. We know that the Vikings sailed vast expanses of open water to reach North America more than a thousand years ago. We also know that they navigated using the positions of the sun and stars, and the direction of the wind, waves and swell*. Certainly they were ambitious sailors, and their sea voyages were filled with thick fog, cloudy skies and the long twilights* of the polar summer—all of which would have made direct observations of the sun and stars nearly impossible.

Yet there is mention of the enigmatic sunstone used as an extra navigational aid in an ancient Icelandic saga that tells of a sailor called Sigurd. Frustrated by the weather, he holds a sunstone up to locate the sun and set his ship’s course. Speculation about exactly what the sunstone was persisted through the ages. In 1967, Thorkild Ramskou, a Danish archaeologist, theorized that Viking sunstones might have been Icelandic spar*, a clear calcite that is common in the region. Calcite splits* incoming rays of light in two; the same property makes the crystal appear light or dark when held up to light of different polarizations. Now, light is not polarized as it leaves the sun – in other words, the electromagnetic waves vibrate in all directions perpendicular to the direction in which they are travelling. But as sunlight passes through the Earth’s atmosphere, it is scattered* and becomes polarized in a particular direction. It is possible that the Vikings calibrated* calcite crystal sunstones by scanning them across a clear sky and noting the sun’s position when the crystal brightened. They could have then repeated

Recently, a team led by Guy Ropars at the University of Rennes in Brittany, writing in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society A, described tests carried out on a piece of Icelandic spar found aboard a sunken Elizabethan military vessel. The ship was discovered in the 1970s by a fisherman off Alderney in the Channel Islands. A series of experiments that the team conducted led them to the discovery of a different way to use the crystal to locate the position of the sun. They covered the crystal with an opaque sheet that had a hole in the centre. When viewed through the hole, the crystal cast two distinct shadows. Rotating the crystal made one shadow get lighter as the other darkened and vice versa. Further tests showed that they could locate the sun’s position with an accuracy of one degree in either direction by rotating the crystal until the darkness of the shadows matched. As before, the crystal had to be calibrated on a day when the sun was visible. “Such sunstones could have helped the Vikings in their navigation from Norway to America, as the magnetic compass had yet to be introduced in Europe,” Guy said. A crystal measuring 3cm on each side would have been large enough to work, he added. The calcite crystal was probably invaluable* on the Elizabethan vessel. Just one of the cannons on the ship would have disturbed a magnetic compass by as much as 90 degrees, Guy claims. “To avoid navigational errors when the sun is hidden, the use of a [calcite crystal] could be crucial even at this epoch, more than four centuries after the Viking time,” he said. Very cool, we think.

calcite: a colorless or white crystalline mineral that is a form of calcium carbonate calibrated: measured to ensure accuracy feasibility: probability glowing: shining invaluable: extremely precious overcast: cloudy scattered: dispersed shipwreck: a sunken ship spar: (here) any light-colored lustrous mineral that cleaves easily splits: breaks swell: (here) the rising and falling movement of a large area of the sea as a long wave travels through it without breaking twilight: the time between sunset and night

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Issue worksheet Networking

Google+ and Facebook: And the winner is…. 1.

pp. 4-5

a. 2011

b. 2008

c. 2006

True or False:


Google has never attempted a

social website before Google+.




Which of the statements a. You must be invited to join Google+

F pp. 10-11

The Lady GagaPhenomenon 1.

True or False:

Lady Gaga’s real last name is Simonetta.

the people of your


life into different squares


Gaga’s debut album was

c. The Google+ chat feature




b. On Google+, you put

Boy Track is the title of Cavendish’s autobiography.

below is FALSE.

True or False:



is called Hangouts

a. Just Gaga

Which of the following is

b. The Fame

NOT a social network?

c. The Lady Sings the Blues

a. Twitter


In order to promote the

b. Facebook

Fame Monster album, Gaga

c. Wikipedia

went on an eighteen-month long tour that was called:


An Australian Hero Loses His Head Ned Kelly’s Stolen Skull

pp. 6-7

1. Ned Kelly is NOT a. Robin Hood

b. Jack the Ripper

c. Jesse James

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a. The Monster Ball Tour

b. A Famous Monster

c. The Traveling Monster


True or False:


Kelly was of Danish descent



True or False:


Genetic testing is also known


During the polar summer,





Cyclist Mark Cavendish 1.

True or False:

Champion British cyclist


The Vikings sailed to America F

twilight time is

as CAT testing.

True or False: more than 4000 years ago.

pp. 8-9

a. very short

b. very long

c. non-existent


In the phrase “a sunken Elizabethan military vessel”,

to whom does “Elizabethan” refer?

Mark Cavendish used to ride


pp. 12-13

The Sunstone Guide to Navigation: How the Vikings got from Norway to America

comparable to:

mountain bikes.

a. Queen Elizabeth II

Cavendish became Road

b. Queen Elizabeth I

World Champion in which

c. Elizabeth Taylor


Answers on page 23.

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