Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Education Chart

The following chart compares the education systems in Slovakia, The UK, and the US:

 The UK
 The USA
  a Nursery (Jasle): Age 1-4
Playgroup (Škôlka): Age 2-4
  a Nursery: Age 1-4
Pre-K (Nursery School): Age 3-4
Head Start Programs – for poor children in big cities: Age 3-4
Jasle: Age 1-3
Škôlka: Age 3-6
 Primary Education
Infant School (The first year is called Reception): Age 5-8
Junior School: Age 8-11
Elementary/Grammar School:
Kindergarten – 6th Grade: Age 5-11
Základná škola
Age: 6-15 (11 for some students)
Secondary Education
Comprehensive Schools: state
Academies: Fancy name for a comprehensive school.
Grammar Schools: state schools that require an entrance exam, called The 11 Plus
Free Schools: independently controlled state schools
Private Schools: charge a fee
Public Schools: high status private schools, like Eton, Harrow
GCSE Exam (Age 16)
College (2 years) – preparation for University. Age 17-18
Middle school: Grade 7th – 8th Ages 12-14
High School: Grade 9th – 12th Ages 14-19
Public Schools: state schools
Private Schools: are private J
Charter Schools: like free schools.
Magnet Schools: specialize in one subject. They choose students by lottery or entrance tests.
Pilot Schools: a school created as an experiment in education.
Home Schooling: Parents teach you
Day Care: afterschool childcare for working parents. It’s privately run.
Stredná škola:
Gymnazium: preparation for university.
Stredná odborná škola: vocational school.
Združená stredná škola: a combined school.
Učilište: trade school with no Maturita, and you can’t go to university.
 School Traditions
Prom/School Formal: spring dance, Age 16, and again at 18
Homecoming Dance: fall dance, for 1st football game on home field.
Senior Prom: spring dance, last year of high school.
Ples: fall dance for 2nd year students.
Stušková: fall event for seniors
1. Failing schools
2. Grammar Schools are elitist.
3. Do you mix students with
    different abilities or not?
4. Confusing system keeps
5. University has become too
6. Easy universities with grade
    inflation are giving “Mickey
    Mouse” degrees.
1. Funding & Failing Schools
2. Teachers’ Unions, Tenure &
    Firing Bad Teachers
3. Standardized Testing
4. Religion & Prayer in School
5. School Vouchers
6. Bilingual Education
7. Textbooks & Censorship
8. Affirmative Action, Segregation, &    
    School Busing
9. Creationism vs. Evolution
1. School Funding
2. Teacher Salaries
3. Corruption
4. Schools lowering
    their standards,
    due to low
5. easy universities
     giving “Mickey
   “Mouse” degrees.
 Graduation Exams
GCSE for Secondary School.
None for college. You don’t graduate, there’s no ceremony.
Final Exams: every year, and
Senior State Exams: like the Maturita, and different in each state
Maturita: state exam with different difficulty levels.
 University Placement Tests:
A Levels: one test for all university applications
SAT (east & west coast)
ACT (mid-west)
Prijímačky – each school is different
Higher Education
Undergraduate Degree:
Graduate Degrees:
£.9000 (€11125,00)
Bachelor’s Degree: 3 years*
* 1 year extra for practicum in architecture, engineering, surveying, foreign languages (study abroad)
Master’s Degree: 2 years
College (private)/University (public)
Community College: cheaper, less reputable.
$28,500 a year (€20886) (average)
Scholarships: need-based & academic.
Bachelor’s Degree: 4 years
Graduate School:
-Law School: 3-4 years
-Med School: 8 years
2+ years for a Master’s Degree
4+ years for a PhD
Vysoká škola
0 (€2000 for dorm and travel)
Bachalarska diplom: 3 years
Diplom: 2 years
Phd: 3 years


Sunday, March 2, 2014

Mass Media: Famous News Sources

News In the United Kingdom




News In the USA


http://abc.go.com/ http://www.nbc.com/ http://www.cbs.com/  http://www.pbs.org/

Network Channels: ABC, NBC, CBS, and PBS (Public Broadcasting Service), which is state owned. Each of these networks provides local and national news. PBS's News Hour, Frontline, and Nova programs are some of the most trusted news sources in America, although some complain of liberal bias. PBS also shows educational programs for children.

Cable TV became popular in the 80's, and is now common in most people's homes. Cable news channels include:

CNN (Cable News Network): It's a 24 hour news network, famous for showing live footage of famous events, such as the Iraq War, and the 911 attack. It's not as good or as popular as it used to be. They give headlines, but not much detailed news.

FOX News: It's news with a neo-conservative viewpoint. It seems like 24 hour news, like CNN, but only four hours a day is officially "news". The rest of the time they show "opinion pieces" with such pundits as Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, Glen Beck, Sarah Palin, and Carl Rove.

MSNBC: It's a liberal response to FOX News, 24 hour news with liberal pundits like Rachel Maddow.


NPR (National Public Radio): A state owned radio network, it's famous for it's news programs, Morning Edition and All Things Considered. It's also famous for telethons where they beg for money for weeks at a time, so they can continue to broadcast. They are also considered to have a liberal bias. When not telling the news, NPR plays jazz and classical music.


The New York Times: a famous newspaper, currently struggling to survive due to free news on the Internet. It was famous for getting secret information about the illegal activities of President Nixon, in the 70's. Some people today complain it's too liberal.

The Wall Street Journal: A famous newspaper, focusing on business and finance. It's moderately conservative.

The Onion: A fake newspaper that creates funny stories every week. They specialize in dark humour. It started on the internet in the 1990's.


Time Magazine: A magazine started by the NY Times, it's famous for its photographs, interviews, and it's Person of the Year. Every year they choose the most influential person in the world, whether good or bad, and talk about him.

US News & World Report: It's much like Time Magazine. They're famous for publishing a yearly college guide, ranking the best and the worst universities in America.

Newsweek: Another news magazine, similar to Time, but always a bit dumbed down. Over the years, Time has become more and more like Newsweek.

Foreign Policy: A monthly political magazine with guest writers in every issue. Every article is an essay by a famous professor, politician, or other "expert". They talk about everything happening now in the world in great detail, and also show great photos.

The Nation: News with a very liberal viewpoint. If you want to read news free from the influence of major businesses, this is it.

The New Yorker: A weekly literary magazine, it also includes investigative journalism, on major news stories.

Atlantic Monthly: A monthly literary magazine, it also includes investigative journalism, on major news stories.

Harper's: A monthly literary magazine, it also includes investigative journalism, on major news stories.

Rolling Stone: A music magazine that also reports news stories, with a strong liberal bias. They're famous for the recent story on General McChrystal, former head of the armed forces in Afghanistan who had to resign after it was published.

Other Famous American Magazines

Science News: National Geographic, Discover, Scientific American, Nature, MIT Tech Review
Sports News: Sports Illustrated, famous for its yearly Swimsuit Issue.

News in Slovakia




Sunday, February 23, 2014

Food: Wine Basics

Learning Wine

Wine is fermented juice, usually grapes. Other fruit wines are made from apples, and elderberries. The oldest wine production comes from 6000 BC, in Georgia. There are many kinds of wine, some white, some red, with a variety of flavours, based on the kinds of grapes used, the quality of a vintage, and the fermentation process. The longer a wine ferments, the drier and more bitter it becomes. These factors determine whether a wine is sweet or dry (bitter). While some wines from a good vintage can age a long time, most wines turn bad after about 8-10 years.

The three main factors that can ruin a wine are heat, oxygen, and sunlight. The perfect storage temperature is 12.7° C. To keep oxygen out, you should store wine on its side (or at a diagonal to keep sediments at the bottom). This keeps the cork wet, so it won’t shrink, letting in air. If you go to a wine shop and see every bottle standing on shelves, that tells you how little the owner knows about wine.

Wine Varieties

When a wine has 75% or more of one kind of grape, it’s called a varietal wine. Otherwise, it’s called a blended wine. Wine labeled Bordeaux is usually a blended wine. Both varietal and blended wines can be very fine quality and expensive. There are many species of grapes, including:

Neutral Whites: Chardonnay (Everywhere, started in Burgundy)
Neutral Reds: Tempranillo (Spain)
Bitter Reds: Cabernet Sauvignon (Everywhere, started in Bordeaux), Merlot (Everywhere, started in Bordeaux)
Fruitier Reds: Pinot noir (Burgundy), Gamay Noir (Loire Valley)

Sweet Wines

They’re not so popular, which is good because there’s less of it. It’s harder to make – for example, waiting till grapes are overripe and/or crushing frozen grapes before dawn, before they thaw. Or, you can turn grapes to raisins first. These processes make much less wine than a normal process, making them more expensive.

Hungarian Tokaji Eszencia is one of the sweetest wines in the world, taking years to ferment. Other sweet wines include Sherries, Vin de Paille in France, Comandaria in Cyprus, and Vin Santo wines in Tuscany. Portuguese Port adds brandy to stop the fermentation process, making the wine sweeter and with more alcohol, about 20%. Madeira wine is similar, but then it’s heated to 130° F – a stronger wine you can open and keep for months, or cellar it for centuries. Some Madeiras are over 300 years old, and still drinkable.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Shel Silverstein "Sick"

"I cannot go to school today,"
Said little Peggy Ann McKay.
"I have the measles and the mumps,
A gash, a rash and purple bumps.
My mouth is wet, my throat is dry,
I'm going blind in my right eye.
My tonsils are as big as rocks,
I've counted sixteen chicken pox
And there's one more–that's seventeen,
And don't you think my face looks green?
My leg is cut, my eyes are blue
It might be instamatic flu.
I cough and sneeze and gasp and choke,
I'm sure that my left leg is broke
My hip hurts when I move my chin,
My belly button's caving in,
My back is wrenched, my ankle's sprained,
My 'pendix pains each time it rains.
My nose is cold, my toes are numb,
I have a sliver in my thumb.
My neck is stiff, my voice is weak,
I hardly whisper when I speak.
My tongue is filling up my mouth,
I think my hair is falling out.
My elbow's bent, my spine ain't straight,
My temperature is one-o-eight.
My brain is shrunk, I cannot hear,
There is a hole inside my ear.
I have a hangnail, and my heart is–what?
What's that? What's that you say?
You say today is . . . Saturday?
G'bye, I'm going out to play!"