{Patreon Special} Arsenio’s Business English Podcast | Season 6: Episode 36 | Success & Change: Macro Achievement

Have you ever started something that you didn’t know would be very beneficial to humanity? I have — and it’s this podcast. When I started it just over 3 years ago, I had no idea that it would be the number 1 TOEFL, TOEIC and IELTS podcast across all big platforms. I found a niche market, provided a service, and now I have an amazingly growing community.

In today’s podcast, we’ll be discussing just that, and big achievements throughout our lives.

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IELTS | Reading | T/F/NG | Walking with Dinosaurs

We’re back! It’s been a long time since doing one of these videos, but I’m absolutely ecstatic to be bringing it to you, as always! Today, we’re going to be diving into each T/F/NG question so you guys have a more thorough understanding. So, let’s get into it!

Peter L. Falkingham and his colleagues at Manchester University are developing techniques that look set to revolutionize our understanding of how dinosaurs and other extinct animals behaved.

The media image of paleontologists who study prehistoric life is often of field workers camped in the desert in the hot sun, carefully picking away at the rock surrounding a large dinosaurs bone. But Peter Falkingham has done little of that for a while now. Instead, he devotes himself to his computer. Not because he has become inundated with paperwork, but because he is a new kind of paleontologist.

What few people may consider is that uncovering a skeleton, or discovering a new species, is where the research begins, not where it ends. What we really want to understand is how the extinct animals and plants behaved in their natural habitats. Drs Bill Sellers and Phil Manning from the University of Manchester use a ‘genetic algorithm’ — a kind of computer code that can change itself and ‘evolve’ — to explore how extinct animals like dinosaurs, and our own early ancestors, walked and stalked.

The Fossilized bones of a complete dinosaur skeleton can tell scientists a lot about the animal, but they do not make up the complete picture and the computer can try to fill the gap. The computer model is given a digitized skeleton, and the location of known muscles. The model then randomly activates the muscles. This, perhaps unsurprisingly, results almost without fail in the animal falling on its face. So the computer alters the activation pattern and tries again…. usually to a similar effect. the modeled ‘dinosaurs’ quickly ‘evolve’. If there is any improvement, the computer discards the old pattern and adopts the new one as the base for alteration. Eventually, the muscle activation pattern a stable way of moving, the best possible solution is reached, and the dinosaur can walk, run, chase or graze. Assuming natural selection evolves the best possible solution too, the modeled animal should be moving in a manner similar to its now-extinct counterpart. And indeed, using the same method for living animals (humans, emu and ostriches) similar top speeds were achieved on the computer as in reality. By comparing their cyberspace results with real measurements of living species, and Manchester team of paleontologists can be confident in the results computed showing how extinct prehistoric animals such as dinosaurs moved.

The Manchester University team has used computer simulations to produce a model of a giant meat-eating dinosaur. It is called an acrocanthosaurus which literally means ‘high spined lizard’ because of the spines which run along its backbone. It is not really known why they are there but scientists have speculated they could have supported a hump that stored fat and water reserves. There are also those who believe that the spines acted as a support for a sail. Of these, one half thinks it was used as a display and could be flushed with blood and the other half think it was used as a temperature-regulating device. It may have been a mixture of the two. The skull seems out of proportion with its thick, heavy body because it is so narrow and the jaws are delicate and fine. The feet are also worthy of note as they look surprisingly small in contrast to the animal as a whole. It has a deep broad tail and powerful leg muscles to aid locomotion. It walked on its back legs and its front legs were much shorter with powerful claws.

Falkingham himself is investigating fossilized tracks, or footprints, using computer simulations to help analyze how extinct animals moved. Modern-day trackers who study the habitats of wild animals can tell you what animal made a track, whether that animal was walking or running, sometimes even the sex of the animal. But a fossil track poses a more considerable challenge to interpret in the same way. A crucial consideration is knowing what the environment including the mud, or sediment, upon which the animal walked was like millions of years ago when the track was made. Experiments can answer these questions but the number of variables is staggering. To physically recreate each scenario with a box of mud is extremely time-consuming and difficult to repeat accurately. This is where computer simulation comes in.

Falkingham uses computational techniques to model a volume of mud and control the moisture content, consistency, and other conditions to simulate the mud of prehistoric times. A footprint is then made in the digital mud by a virtual foot. This footprint can be chopped up and viewed from any angle and stress values can be extracted and calculated from inside it. By running hundreds of these simulations simultaneously on supercomputers. Falkingham can start to understand what types of footprint would be expected if an animal moved in a certain way over a given kind of ground. Looking at the variation in the virtual tracks, researchers can make sense of fossil tracks with greater confidence.

The application of computational techniques in paleontology is becoming more prevalent every year. As computer power continues to increase, the range of problems that can be tackled and questions that can be answered will only expand.

  1. In his study of prehistoric life, Peter Falkingham rarely spends time on outdoor research these days.

The media image of paleontologists who study prehistoric life is often of field workers camped in the desert in the hot sun, carefully picking away at the rock surrounding a large dinosaurs bone. But Peter Falkingham has done little of that for a while now. Instead, he devotes himself to his computer. Not because he has become inundated with paperwork, but because he is a new kind of paleontologist.

2. Several attempts are usually needed before the computer model of a dinosaur used by Sellers and Manning manages to stay upright.

The Fossilized bones of a complete dinosaur skeleton can tell scientists a lot about the animal, but they do not make up the complete picture and the computer can try to fill the gap. The computer model is given a digitized skeleton, and the location of known muscles. The model then randomly activates the muscles. This, perhaps unsurprisingly, results almost without fail in the animal falling on its face. So the computer alters the activation pattern and tries again…. usually to a similar effect. the modeled ‘dinosaurs’ quickly ‘evolve’.

3. When the Sellers and Manning computer model was used for people, it showed them moving faster than they are physically able to.

Assuming natural selection evolves the best possible solution too, the modeled animal should be moving in a manner similar to its now-extinct counterpart. And indeed, using the same method for living animals (humans, emu and ostriches) similar top speeds were achieved on the computer as in reality.

4. Some paleontologists have expressed reservations about the conclusions reached by the Manchester team concerning the movement of dinosaurs.

There is no mention of other paleontologists; only the Manchester team.

5. An experienced tracker can analyze fossil footprints as easily as those made by live animals.

Falkingham himself is investigating fossilized tracks, or footprints, using computer simulations to help analyze how extinct animals moved. Modern-day trackers who study the habitats of wild animals can tell you what animal made a track, whether that animal was walking or running, sometimes even the sex of the animal. — THERE IS NO MENTION OF EXPERIENCED TRACKERS

6. Research carried out into the composition of prehistoric mud has been found to be inaccurate.

A crucial consideration is knowing what the environment including the mud, or sediment, upon which the animal walked was like millions of years ago when the track was made. Experiments can answer these questions but the number of variables is staggering. To physically recreate each scenario with a box of mud is extremely time-consuming and difficult to repeat accurately. This is where computer simulation comes in.

Podcast

IELTS | Speaking | 1 on 1 Coaching | Full Consultation on Speaking Parts 2 & 3

Happy March, everyone! This was a consultation I had done back in December of last year and it was FIRE! To hear the golden nuggets that my student had given me can really be useful for a lot of you out there. So, please tune in to this podcast, have your notepad and stuff ready, and get ready to be amazed!

Update: As of December 15th, Bruna received the following scores.

Overall: 8.0
Listening: 8.0
Reading: 7.5
Writing: 7.0
Speaking: 8.5

Podcast

Arsenio’s Business English Podcast | Season 6 | Sales | Investigating Complaints: Reporting to Customers

This is a LONG story in terms of how to deal with complaints, whether it’s in your professional life or personal life. There’s a fine line between constructive criticism, and there is just the ungrateful. Do you often continue doing work with people who have complained before? In my experience here in Thailand, I worked with companies in the outskirts of Bangkok before who had complained about me having a great personality — true story. These companies don’t deserve an amazing trainer like me, and going forward, I established a value system that helps me in choosing companies, clients, gigs.  In today’s podcast, we discuss just that.

Podcast

TOEFL iBT | Reading | Techniques for Inference & Complete the Table Questions

We’re back with another reading part. In today’s podcast/video/blog, we’re going to discuss another question type that was requested by some TOEFLtakers. Inference questions, which prove to be the most difficult, will be broken down, as well as a detailed “complete the table” section. So, it’s time to dive in!

Complete The Table

“Complete The Table” question requires you to read and understand the whole text. However, unlike the “Complete The Summary” question, instead of choosing major ideas and themes from the text, you need to pick out and categorize minor details. There is no limit on how many answers you can choose, but remember, not all the choices will be used. I will show you an easier way to saving more time in not having to read the entire text.

This question type defers from the “Complete The Summary” question type. You will be categorizing minor details instead of major ideas. 

Let’s look at an example….

[1] A tree is a perennial plant that consists of a long stem, trunk, branches and in most species, leaves. They have evolved their structure to compete for sunlight with other plants. Trees usually live for a long time, up to thousands of years old and they have existed on the planet for 370 million years. A tree has woody tissue and is surrounded by bark that protects the plant. The root of a tree anchors it in place and the branches carry leaves that capture light and process it into sugar by photosynthesis. 

[2] The function of trees in our environment is invaluable. They release oxygen into our atmosphere and remove carbon dioxide, storing carbon in their own tissues. Trees prevent soil erosion by soaking up water in areas with high rainfall. In tropical rainforests and various other regions of the world, trees provide a habitat for a vast number of animal and plant species. Other functions of trees are in the provision of wood for fuel, cooking, heating, construction, paper production and fruit. 

[3] The leaves of trees are formed for photosynthesis. The broad sizes and shapes of deciduous trees attract the light to be converted to energy. Coniferous trees sometime have needles which are adapted to environments with less water, such as frozen regions with a higher latitude and altitude. {B} The thin shape of the needles and position of evergreen branches allow the leaves to shed snow. Broad-leaved trees in temperate zones of the world shed their leaves as days get shorter in the autumn and winter seasons. This is because the leaves are no longer making new chlorophyll through photosynthesis due to less light. The red and yellow pigments of the leaves’ blades become visible, causing the bright orange, red and yellow-colored autumn leaves. The synthesis of auxin – a plant hormone – also stops. Once the production of auxin ceases, the cells at the junction of the twig and the petiole of the leaf weakens and the leaf breaks off and falls on the ground. In regions of the world with more sun exposure, trees may not shed their leaves. 

[4] There are several other reasons that trees shed leaves and twigs. During a drought season, trees often shed about ten percent of their leaves, thus losing less water. Another reason for leaf-fall is when vigorous trees shed excessive leaves to adjust to the summer heat. Moreover, leaves near the base of the tree are more likely to drop off due to lack of sunlight. Another cause is insect-tunnelling of leaf stalks, leaving short, fragile petioles which leads to more leaf-fall. Disease, such as Dutch elm disease or root rot, or injuries to the tree, is another source of leaf-fall. Fungus, such as leaf-spot disease, also causes increased shedding of leaves. Fungi such as anthracene and apple scab defoliate crab apple trees, sycamore, ash, white oak and maple. 

[5] Squirrel activity or twig- girdling insects can also cause clusters of fallen leaves that are attached to short twigs. There are specific tree species, such as poplars, that shed twigs during moisture stress period. The end of the twig will be like a smooth curve. The metallic wood boring beetle prefers red oak and other oak trees. They lay eggs onto twigs. Once hatched, the larvae bore into twigs in a spiral fashion until there are clusters of dead leaves. The longhorn beetle is gray-brown in color. The adult beetles appear at the end of the summer. The female beetle chews the twig, girdling it and laying eggs on it. The twig then withers and dies. The new larvae thrive in the dead twig. The behaviour of these two insects could be another explanation of excessive twig fall.

Complete the table by matching the phrases below

Directions: Select the appropriate phrases from the answer choices and match them to the Radiocarbon Dating and Faunal Analysis to which they relate. Some of the answer choices will NOT be used. 

This question is worth 4 points.
Coniferous treesDeciduous trees
    
  • A. Needles are shaped upward to prevent leaf-fall.
  • B. Needles are shaped specifically to allow the shed of snow.
  • C. Broad leaves help to cause a faster rate of photosynthesis.
  • D. Leaves become orange and red due to the increase of the hormone auxin.
  • E. Adapted to regions with higher altitudes due to the then shape of the needles.
  • F. Autumn-colored trees are caused by the increase in yellow, red and orange pigments as chlorophyll drops.
  • G. Leaves are shed in autumn and winter seasons due to less light.

Arsenio, before showing me the answer, can you show me the techniques to answer this question?

Sure! But before we begin, please keep in mind that there is no logical order of steps or any real techniques to help you solve this question. 

Pronunciation Course | Phase III | Word Stress in Numbers

Happy New Years! It’s officially 2021 and we’re back with the follow up from “compound nouns” yesterday. If you’re reading this on Facebook or the blog, know that price changes won’t happen on Patreon; therefore, every badge will have my pronunciation (audio) course. Be sure to tune in!

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{Patreon Special} Pronunciation Course | Phase III | Word Stress in Compound Nouns

Boom! Excited to debut this one today, on the cusp of New Years’. In today’s special pronunciation course, we’re going to talk about word stress in compound nouns. Here’s a snippet of what will be discussed.

Listen for the primary stress in the following words:

Password forgot my password

Deadline met the deadline

Post office the nearest post office

· Note: if the second nouns are made out of the material in the first noun, stress both nouns, but put the primary stress on the second noun (wool coat, cream cheese, plastic bags, paper towels, and apple pie).

Available in all Patreon tiers!

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{Patreon Template} Arsenio’s Business English Podcast | Season 6 | Sales | Customer Objections – Closing

Welcome back to another Patreon Template! With all my podcast episodes, there are templates and additional tasks, works, and exclusive articles on my Patreon Badge. In this specific template, I talk about customer objections and what you should do if they have questions. It’s kind of like what I’ve been through in terms of my own coaching. I realize that if they have questions, I should do a better job clarifying everything. If I don’t, I could lose a potential client. So, you have a listening, template, conversation and details of what to do….all down below in my Business English Podcast Badge!

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{Patreon Special} TOEFL iTP | Grammar | Incomplete or Missing Comparisons

Welcome back to another TOEFL iTP special. In this episode, we’re going to talk about errors that contain comparisons. In both the structure and written expression, you will see these (once or twice) and if you can identify them, that’s +1 score!

You need to understand how sentences compare similar things or concepts and how if they compare two dissimilar things, “those of” is used in place of it. Also, like/alike, unlike/not alike will be discussed.

This episode will debut the 20th of January, but on my TOEFL iTP badge and Early Access (down below), you will get it a month early! Tune in!

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{Patreon Special} TOEFL iTP | Grammar | Items Involving Misplaced Modifiers

So, some of you are thinking “what the hell is a modifier?” Well, it’s a participial phrase or another modifier that comes before the subject, but does not refer to the subject.

Example: Incorrect:Driving down the road, a herd of sheep suddenly crossed the road in front of Liza’s car.

Correct:As Liza was driving down the road, a herd of sheep suddenly crossed the road in front of her.

In today’s podcast, I will discuss present/past participle, appositives, reduced adjective clauses, adjective phrases, and expressions with like or unlike…as misplaced structures. This will be extremely beneficial for a lot of you out there, so just to make a point, this podcast will debut January 6th to the public. The audiocasts and extra work is only available on my TOEFL iTP badge, and this podcast is available on Early Access in the link down below!

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