Saturday, April 24, 2010
BOB DOUGHTY: People in America, a program in Special English on the Voice of America. Every week we tell about a person who was important in the history of the United States. Today Shirley Griffith and Ray Freeman tell about reporter Ida Minerva Tarbell.
Ida Tarbell was one of the most successful magazine writers in the United States during the last century. She wrote important stories at a time when women had few social or political rights.
SHIRLEY GRIFFITH: Ida Tarbell used her reporting skills against one of the most powerful companies in the world. That company was Standard Oil. Ida Tarbell charged that Standard Oil was using illegal methods to hurt or destroy smaller oil companies.
She investigated these illegal business dealings and wrote about them for a magazine called McClure's. The reports she wrote led to legal cases that continued all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States.
RAY FREEMAN: Ida Tarbell was born in the eastern state of Pennsylvania in November, eighteen fifty-seven. Her family did not have much money. Her father worked hard but had not been very successful.
When Ida was three years old, oil was discovered in the nearby town of Titusville. Her father entered the oil business. He struggled as a small businessman to compete with the large oil companies.
Ida's mother had been a school teacher. She made sure that Ida attended school. She also helped the young girl learn her school work.
Ida wanted to study science at college. Most people at that time thought it was not important for young women to learn anything more than to read and write. Most people thought educating women was a waste of money.
Ida's parents, however, believed education was important -- even for women. They sent her to Allegheny College in nearby Meadville, Pennsylvania. She was nineteen.
Railroad station, Meadville, Pennsylvania
SHIRLEY GRIFFITH: Those who knew Ida Tarbell in college say she would wake up at four o'clock in the morning to study. She was never happy with her school work until she thought it was perfect. In eighteen eighty, Ida finished college. In August of that year, she got a teaching job in Poland, Ohio. It paid five hundred dollars a year.
RAY FREEMAN: Miss Tarbell learned that she was expected to teach subjects about which she knew nothing. She was able to do so by reading the school books before the students did. She was a successful teacher, but the work, she decided, was too difficult for the amount she was paid. So she returned home after one year. A small newspaper in the town of Meadville soon offered her a job.
Many years later, Ida Tarbell said she had never considered being a writer. She took the job with the newspaper only because she needed the money. At first, she worked only a few hours each week.
Later, however, she was working sixteen hours a day. She discovered that she loved to see things she had written printed in the paper. She worked very hard at becoming a good writer.
SHIRLEY GRIFFITH: Miss Tarbell enjoyed working for the newspaper. She discovered, though, that she was interested in stories that were too long for the paper to print. She also wanted to study in France. To earn money while in Paris, she decided she would write for American magazines.
Ida Tarbell found it difficult to live in Paris without much money. She also found it difficult to sell her work to magazines. The magazines were in the United States. She was in Paris. Some of her stories were never used because it took too long for them to reach the magazine. Yet she continued to write.
Several magazines soon learned that she was a serious writer.
Ida Tarbell wrote many stories for McClure's. She did this for some time before returning to the United States. Her writing was very popular. She helped make McClure's one of the most successful magazines of its day.
One of her first jobs for the magazine was a series of stories about the life of the French Emperor Napoleon. The series was printed in McClure's Magazine in eighteen ninety-four. It was an immediate success. The series was later printed as a book. It was very popular for a number of years.
SHIRLEY GRIFFITH: Her next project was a series about the life of American President Abraham Lincoln. She began her research by talking with people who had known him. She used nothing they told her, however, unless she could prove it was true to the best of her ability.
McClure's Magazine wanted a short series about President Lincoln. But Ida Tarbell's series lasted for one year in the magazine. Like her series about Napoleon, the President Lincoln stories were immediately popular. They helped sell more magazines. She continued her research about President Lincoln.
Through the years, she would write eight books about President Lincoln.
RAY FREEMAN: Miss Tarbell's reports about the Standard Oil Company are considered more important than any of her other writings. Her nineteen-part series was called The History of the Standard Oil Company. McClure's Magazine published it beginning in nineteen-oh-two.
Her reports showed that Standard Oil used illegal methods to make other companies lose business. One method was to sell oil in one area of the country for much less than the oil was worth.
This caused smaller companies in that area to fail. They could not sell their oil for that low a price and still make a profit. After a company failed, Standard Oil would then increase the price of its oil. This kind of unfair competition was illegal.
SHIRLEY GRIFFITH: Miss Tarbell had trouble discovering information about the Standard Oil Company. She tried to talk to businessmen who worked in the oil business. At first, few would agree to talk.
John D. Rockefeller
They were afraid of the Standard Oil Company and its owner, John D. Rockefeller. He was one of the richest and most powerful men in the world.
Miss Tarbell kept seeking information. She was told by one man that Rockefeller would try to destroy McClure's Magazine. But she did not listen to the threats. She soon found evidence that Standard Oil had been using unfair and illegal methods to destroy other oil companies. Soon many people were helping her find the evidence she needed.
RAY FREEMAN: Ida Tarbell's investigations into Standard Oil were partly responsible for later legal action by the federal government against the company. The case began in nineteen-oh-six. In nineteen eleven, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled against Standard Oil because of its illegal dealings. The decision was a major one. It forced the huge company to separate into thirty-six different companies.
John D. Rockefeller never had to appear in court himself. Yet the public felt he was responsible for his company's illegal actions. The investigative work of Ida Tarbell helped form that public opinion. That investigative work continues to be what she is known for, even though some of her later writings defended American business. She died in nineteen forty-four.
SHIRLEY GRIFFITH: A picture has survived from the long ago days when Ida Tarbell took on the giant Standard Oil Company. It shows John D. Rockefeller walking to his car. It was taken after his company had lost an important court battle. He is wearing a tall black hat and a long coat. He looks angry.
Several people are watching the famous man from behind the car. One is a very tall women. Mister Rockefeller does not see her.
If you look closely at the picture, you can see the face of Ida Tarbell. She is smiling. If you know the story, her smile clearly says: "I won."
RAY FREEMAN: This Special English program was written and produced by Paul Thompson. I'm Ray Freeman.
SHIRLEY GRIFFITH: And I'm Shirley Griffith. Join us again next week at this time for another PEOPLE IN AMERICA program on VOA.
Ida Tarbell in Wikipedia
1. Ida Tarbell's father wasn't very __________
2. In the 19th Century, educating women was considered __________
3. Ida Tarbell wrote for __________
4. Ida enjoyed working for a newspaper, but she was a little frustrated because she wanted to write stories that were __________
5. Ida Tarbell didn't write a book about __________
6. Ms. Tarbell proved that Standard Oil was guilty of __________
7. She demonstrated that Standard Oil manipulated prices in order to __________
8. John D. Rockefeller was __________
9. Another name for the story could be __________
10. This story is mainly about __________
"The Gilded Age" was the latter part of the Nineteenth Century and beginning of the Twentieth Century when industrialism flourished, but there was a lot of corruption in government and business. Those who wrote about this corruption were called "Muckrackers", such as Ida Tarbell, but they were responsible for important changes in the law, such as the Food and Drug Administration and the Civil Service System.
Sunday, April 18, 2010
I'm Steve Ember.
And I'm Faith Lapidus with EXPLORATIONS in VOA Special English. Today we travel around the world visiting several endangered natural and cultural treasures. Some places like Australia's Great Barrier Reef and Montana's Glacier National Park are threatened by the effects of climate change. Other places are slowly being damaged by pollution and careless visitors.
The book "Disappearing Destinations" explains more about these endangered places and suggests helpful ways to take action.
Earlier this month, the Obama Administration called for increased protection of the world's most southern continent, Antarctica. Scientists say climate change and human activity have increasingly led to the melting of massive pieces of Antarctic ice. The disappearance of ice will not only affect wildlife in the area such as seals and penguins. The melting will also cause oceans and seas around the world to rise.
This represents a major threat, especially to coastal areas. For example, the ancient city of Venice, Italy has long been threatened by rising sea levels. The situation is made worse by the fact that its ancient buildings, built on a body of water called a lagoon, are slowly sinking. When the city was founded about one thousand six hundred years ago, the level of the Adriatic Sea was almost two meters lower than it is today.
Rising sea levels are not the only threat. The salty water is also destroying Venice's famous buildings and artworks. The Italian government is trying to fix the problem with the construction of a seven billion dollar system of moving flood barriers.
Climate change is also leading to the melting of ice in other areas, such as Mount Kilimanjaro in northeastern Tanzania. It is the highest point in Africa, measuring almost six thousand meters. The mountain supports five vegetation zones and many kinds of animals.
The ice glaciers on the mountain are disappearing very quickly. This will have a bad effect on the mountain's ecosystems and on Tanzania's travel industry. Also, a valuable record of thousands of years of weather history will also be lost if the ice melts. Scientists study pieces of glacier to understand weather patterns from thousands of years ago.
In the United States, the icy masses in Glacier National Park in Montana may soon completely disappear because of climate change. In eighteen fifty, there were an estimated one hundred fifty glaciers in the more than four hundred thousand hectare park.
There are twenty-six glaciers remaining today. Scientists estimate that the glaciers will be gone by two thousand thirty. Warming temperatures are also threatening the many kinds of plants and animals that live in this mountain ecosystem.
Venice, Mount Kilimanjaro, Glacier National Park and other threatened places are described in detail in a book called "Disappearing Destinations: 37 Places in Peril and What Can Be Done to Help Save Them." Kimberly Lisagore and Heather Hansen published the book last year.
Both women are reporters who write about travel and the environment. Miz Lisagore says they began to notice how rare it was to find travel writing that recognized environmental problems and solutions. So, the two writers made a list of places that people should see before those places disappear.
The writers tell about the good work being done by scientists and activists to protect each place. They wanted the book to be a hopeful call to action. Miz Lisagore says their aim was to give travelers a more meaningful experience by educating them about the places they love to visit.
"Disappearing Destinations" is organized geographically by continental groupings. Some of the threatened places are very well known. For example, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia is the largest coral reef system in the world.
Rising sea temperatures are greatly harming the reef. In some areas, healthy yellow, brown and green reefs have become a bleached white color. The coral whitens when it becomes stressed by warmer temperatures and expels the algae organisms it needs to survive. Sick or dying coral affects the entire ecosystem of this special underwater area. Water pollution and visits by careless swimmers and divers also threaten the reef.
The famous Galapagos Islands, more than nine hundred kilometers off the coast of Ecuador, are also endangered. This protected area is known for its rich biodiversity of sea and land creatures. One threat to this area is the introduction of foreign plants and organisms. Foreign plants growing in the area can upset the balanced ecosystems of native plants and animals. In fact, today there are more foreign plant species on the islands than there are native plants. Increasing immigration and visits from travelers are also damaging the health of the islands.
"Disappearing Destinations" also discusses places that face environmental threats that are less well known. For example, the Napa Valley in the American state of California is famous for its fine wines. But rising temperatures are threatening the grape harvest and wine industry in the area. To be made into fine wine, some kinds of grapes must grow in a limited range of temperatures. As temperatures rise in Napa, producers may find it harder to produce wine of the same quality. However, rising temperatures have improved the wine harvest in cooler areas.
In the ancient forests of the Lapland area of Finland, many people in the Sami native group make a living raising reindeer. Sami have been raising reindeer in this area for hundreds of years. But intensive logging in this part of Finland has started to threaten the work and culture of this group. Finland's forestry agency cuts down trees that are very old because they earn the most money.
But this logging also ruins the areas where Sami bring their reindeer to feed. Some experts say only five percent of Finland's old-growth forest remains. Continued logging will not only affect the natural environment of this beautiful northern wilderness. It could also forever change the ancient way of life of the area's native Sami people.
Many endangered places in "Disappearing Destinations" are cultural treasures. For example, hundreds of thousands of people a year visit the ancient buildings of Machu Picchu in Peru. These Incan buildings face severe damage if the number of visitors is not more carefully controlled.
And, in Mali, the famous city of Timbuktu was once a cultural capital of West Africa. But today, the climate is drying out the fertile grasslands. This change of climate threatens the local environment and the livelihoods of people living there. The desertification process also threatens Timbuktu's many ancient earth buildings. These buildings have influenced building designers around the world.
Kimberly Lisagore says that she has been very pleased by the response of people who have read "Disappearing Destinations." She says she and Heather Hansen have heard from readers who no longer think of the places they visit as pictures on postcards that are frozen in time. Instead, the readers see these places as easily damaged and always changing.
Miz Lisagore says some readers have decided to work harder to protect the environment. These people learned that the way they choose to live at home has far-reaching effects on the planet. The book also includes a list of organizations working to protect the endangered places described. So readers can learn more information about the groups that interest them. Readers can also learn more about traveling in ways that do not harm the places they visit.
Kimberly Lisagore says she is starting to see a more balanced travel relationship between tourists and the places they visit. She says Americans often take what a place has to offer and then go back home. Miz Lisagore says it is important for travelers to realize that they are visiting a place that is someone's home. And, she hopes that more travelers of all nationalities will see themselves as ambassadors who have a long term responsibility to the places they visit.
This program was written by Dana Demange. Mario Ritter was the producer. I'm Steve Ember.
And I'm Faith Lapidus. You can see pictures of these endangered places on our Web site, voaspecialenglish.com. You can also get transcripts and MP3 files. Join us again next week for Explorations in VOA Special English.
Sunday, April 11, 2010
This lake may be the home of a monster. A place you will read about: "Loch Ness", a lake in Northern Scotland.
In a deep, dark lake in Northern Scotland, a monster may be living. The lake is called, "Loch Ness," and the monster is called "The Loch Ness Monster." The monster's nick name is "Nessie." It is also one of the most bewildering and amazing puzzles of the world.
Many people think that the idea of a monster living in a lake is ridiculous. But, an inhabitant of a town near the lake wouldn't think so. People living near the lake have been aware of reports of the Loch Ness Monster for a long time. The reports date back to the sixth century. At that time, a monk living at the western side of the lake thought he saw a monster. It appeared to be a huge worm that rose above the water.
Since that time, the monster has been seen by many different people. One guess is that about 3000 peopk have seen it. Many of these people were not inhabitants of the area. They were people who visited the lake from all parts of the world. Many inhabitants of the lake region have probably seen the monster. But, those people are cautious when talking to strangers about it. They are aware that some people scorn the idea
of the Loch Ness Monster. They don't want to appear ridiculous. So, the inhabitants discuss it only with each other.
A monster that has been visible to so many people for so long cannot be ignored. The world really started paying attention to Nessie in 1933. Then, a new road was built along the northern shore of the lake. The lake was now more visible to people. Suddenly more and more people caught glimpses of a monster in Loch Ness. One theory is that the monster rose above the water to see what all the noise was about. Usually, noise made the monster hide. Nessie was supposed to be timid. But, the noise from the road construction might have made Nessie curious.
The following year, a man with a camera snapped the first picture of Nessie. Now more people started believing that Nessie was real. Others were still cautious. They said that no such thing as a monster lived in Loch Ness or in any other lake. They said that the picture must be a trick or a joke. The picture was printed in newspapers all over the world. People grew excited at the thought that the monster could possibly be real. People started asking questions. If there really were a monster in Loch Ness, what kind is it? Nearly all of the people who thought they had seen Nessie offered different descriptions. No one had ever seen anything like it before.
Different sizes, shapes, and colors were reported. Some people had seen a long tail. Others had not seen any tail. Some had seen only a long neck. Others had seen growths spreading from the sides of the body. Scientists can't say to which family the monster belongs. Is it a fish, a dinosaur, or a serpent? Today the most popular theory is that Nessie is a sea-going dinosaur.
All these different kinds of stories led to another theory. There must be more than one monster in the lake. After all, the original Nessie would have to be 5000 years old. Scientists agree that no creature could live so long. The monster in the legend must be an ancestor of today's Nessies.
Where, then, were all the old Nessies? Scientists thought the dead monsters must be at the bottom of the lake. The lake has no tides strong enough to wash the bodies to the shore. People said that sea creatures, like Nessie, couldn't live in a fresh-water lake. Scientists said that, indeed, there were some kinds of sea creatures that could. Nessie and hs family must be one of them.
People wanted to know how Nessie got into the lake in the first place. Scientists said that Loch Ness was once part of the sea. During the last Ice Age, the shifting lands made the lake we call Loch Ness and trapped Nessie within it.
People asked why the monster was visible only at certain times. Scientists answered that there might be caves where it hides. Or, Nessie might swim in and out of the lake through passages on the bottom of the lake.
People have searched for Nessie since its first picture was shown to the world. More glimpses have been reported, and more pictures have been taken. Some people have joined expeditions using special equipment to see or hear Nessie. Others have gone alone with only cameras or special glasses. No one has been able to prove that the monster is real.
A new picture of Nessie, taken in 1975, led to a new expedition. Equipped with the
most modern gear, a group the United States for Loch Ness. This group was determined to solve the mystery of the Loch Ness Monster. By September 1976, Nessie had neither been seen nor heard from.
Is it because there is no such thing as the Loch Ness Monster? Or, is it because Nessie is hiding at the bottom of the lake? The mystery continues, and so does the search.
1 The Loch Ness Monster is supposed ___________
2. The legend of the Loch Ness Monster _____
3. The Loch Ness Monster is supposed to have been seen _____
4. The inhabitants around Loch Ness _____
5. Almost everyone who saw the Loch Ness Monster _____
6. The most popular theory is that ____
7. Some scientists have a theory that _____
8. The Loch Ness Monster _____
9. The word closest in meaning to the word "glimpse" is " _____ " .
10. Another name for this story could be _____
11. The main idea of this story is _____
This story is an article from a series of Reading Comprehension Workbooks by Edcon Publishing Group. Edcon Publishing has a very large selection of different types of readings and other
materials for learning. I highly recommend this company. - The Teacher
Loch Ness Video from Youtube:
Does Iceland have its own version of the Loch Ness Monster? Check this out!
Half human and half ape. Other people have reportedly seen a huge creature in a famous lake in Scotland. Today we tell about these and several other mysterious creatures.
In nineteen fifty-eight a young man named Jerry Crew was on his way to work. Mister Crew worked for the Wallace Construction Company in Humboldt County, northern California. Mister Crew drove large construction equipment for the company. It had rained for the past several days and the area where the construction vehicles were kept was very wet and muddy.
As Jerry Crew walked toward the vehicle he would drive that day, he saw something extremely unusual. What he saw frightened him. There, in the mud, were footprints -- footprints that were almost ten times larger than a normal human foot.
Newspaper reporters found out about the huge footprints. They talked to Mister Crew and took pictures of the footprints. They published stories all over California. One newspaper story called the creature that made the prints “Bigfoot.”
In nineteen sixty-seven a man named used a small movie camera to take pictures of an ape-like creature moving from a clear area into a forest. Many people said this proved Bigfoot was real. The movie pictures showed a large ape-like creature walking on two large feet.
Over the years, books and magazine stories were printed about Bigfoot using photographs from Mister Patterson’s film. Large groups of people spent their holiday time searching forests for Bigfoot. Many people worked long hours in an effort to prove that Bigfoot exists.
In two thousand two a man named Ray Wallace died of heart failure. He was the man who owned the Wallace Construction Company where the mystery creature’s footprints first appeared. Soon after Mister Wallace’s death, his family told reporters that Mister Wallace had invented Bigfoot. They told how he had made huge feet out of wood and tied them to his shoes. They said Ray Wallace left the footprints that Jerry Crew found. They said Ray Wallace had done this as a joke.
The Wallace family said the joke became bigger and bigger. They said Ray Wallace just could not stop. He was having too much fun. For example, in nineteen sixty-seven he dressed his wife in a monkey suit with large feet. Ray Wallace and Roger Patterson filmed her walking into the woods. That film became famous among people who really believed the creature existed.
Our story about Ray Wallace and his joke should end here. But the Bigfoot story has not died with Ray Wallace. Many people say the Wallace family is lying. They say Ray Wallace never made the footprints. They say there really is a Bigfoot creature. They say someday someone will find the creature. These people plan to continue their search for Bigfoot. Several organizations of people are still searching for the creature. If you have a computer that can link with the Internet, you can find many stories about Bigfoot.
People have always been afraid of large areas of water, sometimes with good reason. Crocodiles and alligators have attacked people in rivers and lakes. That still happens in several areas of the world. But many people in many different countries tell of other huge creatures that live in deep lakes. In the United States, some people say a creature called Champ is living in Lake Champlain, in New York State.
These beliefs are not new. More than two hundred years ago reports began about a creature named Selma seen in a lake in Norway. Other reports are very recent. In nineteen ninety-seven someone took video pictures of some kind of creature in Lake Van in eastern Turkey.
But the most famous creature that reportedly lives in a very deep lake is the Loch Ness Monster, called Nessie. Many people believe Nessie lives in Loch Ness in the highlands of Scotland. Loch Ness is the largest freshwater lake in Britain. It is about thirty-seven kilometers long and about two kilometers wide. Special equipment shows it is as much as two hundred fifty meters deep.
The first written record of Nessie appeared in the year five hundred sixty-five. A Catholic religious leader named Saint Columba reportedly made the creature disappear after it threatened several people.
Few people visited the Loch Ness area until the nineteen thirties. In nineteen thirty-three a man and woman claimed to have seen a huge animal in the water. It looked like nothing they had ever seen before.
In nineteen thirty-four Robert Wilson took a photograph of an unusual looking animal he said he saw in Loch Ness. The photograph and a story were printed in the London Daily Mail newspaper. That photograph provided the best evidence of the creature for the next sixty years. It showed an animal with a long neck sticking out of the water. It looked like some kind of ancient dinosaur.Doctor Wilson’s photograph can be seen in books, magazine stories and on many Internet Web sites about the famous Loch Ness Monster.
Over the years, scientists have investigated Loch Ness. They have used special equipment to search the deep lake. These include special underwater cameras and sound equipment. Nothing of great importance has ever been found.
In nineteen ninety-three a man named Christian Spurling admitted that he made the monster in the famous photograph. Mister Spurling said this as he was dying. He said it began as a joke with his brother and father. His brother really took the famous photograph. Then they asked Robert Wilson to take the photograph to the newspapers. The Loch Ness Monster became extremely famous after the photograph was printed.
Thousands of people came to Loch Ness each year in hopes that they too would see the famous creature. Each year about one hundred thirty people report that they have seen Nessie or at least something unusual in the lake. Loch Ness has hotels, museums, and boat trips that provide holidays for people hoping to see the Loch Ness Monster.
Many people believe in the truth of the stories about Big Foot, the Loch Ness Monster and other creatures. Research scientists say that it is not good science to dismiss all claims of unusual animals. For example, many scientists dismissed reports of an animal we now know as the gorilla until scientists studied one in eighteen forty-seven.
In nineteen twelve reports of a huge, fierce, meat-eating lizard were confirmed. Today we know this to be the famous Komodo dragon that lives on a few islands of Indonesia. It is the largest lizard in the world.
In nineteen thirty-eight fishermen caught a strange-looking fish. Scientists recognized it as a fish they had only seen as a fossil. They thought the fish had disappeared from the Earth millions of years ago. The fish is called a coelacanth [SEE-la-canth]. Coelacanths are unusual but they are still very much alive.
Scientists say reports from people who claim to have seen unusual creatures are interesting. Photographs reportedly taken of such creatures are also interesting. However reports and photographs are not scientific evidence.
Researchers say some claims have led to real scientific research. However, no one has found the body of Bigfoot or Nessie or the many other creatures reported by people around the world.
Scientists must have a live animal or the body of such a creature to prove that animals like Nessie or Bigfoot really exist. Even the bones would be valuable evidence to study. Scientists must take detailed photographs. They must study the blood, hair, teeth, and genetic material of the animal.
So we have no scientific news to report about any of the mysterious creatures that live on land or in deep lakes. If we do find good scientific information about these creatures we will report it. Until then, visiting the northwestern part of the United States or Scotland’s Loch Ness is still a great holiday -- even if you do not see anything unusual.
This program was written by Paul Thompson. It was produced by Caty Weaver. This is Steve Ember.
And this is Phoebe Zimmerman. Join us again next week for another EXPLORATIONS program in Special English on the Voice of America.