KA WORDCAST: Listen and Learn LESSON ONE: Why Waste Water?

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LESSON ONE HERE! 

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In each Listen and Learn broadcast, we present you with additional material that will give your listening comprehension skills and confidence a big boost.  Each week, you will listen to a short passage on a different topic.   The topics are not only interesting and useful in their own right; they are the very topics that test-makers love to include on their exams.  After you listen to the passage, you will take a short quiz—ten comprehension questions that will make sure you understand and retain the information and ideas contained in the passage.  Today’s passage is entitled Why Waste Water?  But before we get started, here are a few things to keep in mind.

  • Always give the passage your complete attention.  That means: no outside distractions, no interruptions, no day dreaming!  (A passage-only track is available on the KA Wordcast website so you can listen to the passage as many times as you need.)
  • It’s a good idea to make brief notes of key points and details.  But don’t let your note-taking distract you from your listening.  You don’t want to get so caught up in writing that you miss an important point or detail!
  • Key vocabulary words from the passage are explained in the bonus track.  Each word is spelled out, clearly defined, and accompanied by its most common synonyms and antonyms.   Sample sentences show you how the word is used—and how to use it.  What better way to build up your active vocabulary!
  • The ten listening comprehension questions that follow the passage “test” three general areas or listening skills: FACTUAL CONTENT, LOGICAL INFERENCE, and PERSONAL JUDGMENT.  (These are explained in detail on the website and are available to download.)  The questions come in three different types: MULTIPLE CHOICE, TRUE OR FALSE, and SHORT ANSWER.  The type of question varies, so be sure to listen to the instructions carefully and to know what you are being asked to do.

 

Why Waste Water?

Listen to Listen and Learn!  

Lesson One PASSAGE ONLY track:

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It’s hard for most of us to imagine life without having all the water we need just by turning a tap.  But according to the charitable organization WaterAid, nearly 800 million people worldwide do not have access to clean drinking water.  Meanwhile, the World Health Organization estimates that some 2.5 billion people, about a third of the world’s population, lack proper toilet and waste disposal facilities and services.  Diseases caused by an inadequate water supply and poor sanitation kill as many as 700,000 children every year.  Hundreds of thousands more are prevented from becoming healthy adults.  But fortunately, help is on the way in the form of several exciting new technologies.

One of the most promising is the Janicki Omniprocessor.  The system, though still in the test stage, aims to turn human waste into water pure enough to drink.   That’s right—human waste!  Developer Peter Janicki says the process is actually quite simple.  Raw “sewage sludge” is first boiled to separate water vapor from the solid waste.  The vapor is then cooled and the resulting water is filtered through a powerful purifying system.  The leftover solids are burned as fuel, producing the electricity needed to run the system’s processor.  There would even be enough surplus electricity, Janicki says, to provide power for the local community.

Microsoft founder and multibillionaire philanthropist Bill Gates recently visited the Janicki Omniprocessor plant in Washington State and tested the water for himself.   In a video posted on his blog, Mr. Gates watches as the human waste is fed into the processor.  He then drinks the end product from a glass.  “The water tasted as good as any I’ve had out of a bottle,” Gates says.  “And having studied the engineering behind it, I would happily drink it every day.  It’s that safe.”

Gates announced that he would be funding a pilot Omniprocessor sanitation project in Senegal later in 2015.  If the results are positive, he plans to begin sending working plants to India and other developing countries soon after.  His goal is to make the processors cheap and accessible enough for entrepreneurs in low- and middle-income countries to want to invest in them, not only as a business opportunity, but also as a way to meet a vital community need.  “If we get it right,” Gates says, “it will be a good example of how philanthropy can provide seed money that draws bright people to work on big problems.”

 

LISTENING COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS

Listen to Listen and Learn Lesson One LISTENING COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS ONLY track: 

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Today’s listening comprehension questions will be MULTIPLE CHOICE or TRUE-FALSE and based on FACTUAL CONTENT and LOGICAL INFERENCE.  Listen to the question carefully and mark your answer.  Feel free to pause the recording if you need a moment or two to think about the question.

 

1. According to WaterAid, how many people worldwide do not have access to clean drinking water?

a) About 2.5 billion people.

b) Over 7,000,000 people.

c) Nearly 800 million people.

d) It is not clearly stated in the passage.

 

2. Decide if this sentence is true or false.

About a third of the world’s people lack proper sanitation. 

a) TRUE

b) FALSE

 

3. Choose the answer that best completes this sentence.

As many as 700,000 children die each year as a result of

a) diseases caused by an inadequate water supply and poor sanitation.

b) being exposed to raw sewage sludge.

c) an inadequate food supply.

d) poor medical services and facilities.

 

4. Decide if this sentence is true or false.

The Janicki Omniprocessor system of turning human waste into clean drinking water is quite complicated.

a) TRUE

b) FALSE

 

5. Choose the answer that best completes this sentence.

Raw sewage sludge is first boiled in the Omniprocessor to

a) eliminate bad odors.

b) test its quality.

c) turn it into a pure liquid.

d) separate water vapor from the solid waste.

 

6.  Decide if this sentence is true or false.

Leftover solids are burned as fuel to produce the electricity needed to run the system’s processor.

a) TRUE

b) FALSE

 

7. According to Peter Janicki, surplus electricity generated from the process

a) could be sold to other industries and manufacturing plants.

b) could provide power for the local community.

c) is unfortunately wasted.

d) could be stored for emergencies.

 

8. Decide if this sentence is true or false.

In a video posted on his blog, Microsoft founder Bill Gates stated that although the water that came out of the Omniprocessor tasted fine, it still didn’t compare to bottled water.

a) TRUE

b) FALSE

 

9. What did Bill Gates announce that he would be providing money for in 2015?

a) Building working water-purification plants in India.

b) A pilot Omniprocessor sanitation project in Senegal.

c) Opening up sanitation businesses in low- and middle-income countries.

d) A project showing entrepreneurs how to start their own businesses.

 

10. Decide if this sentence is true or false.

Gates hopes the processors can be made cheap and accessible enough to encourage entrepreneurs to invest in them.

a) TRUE

b) FALSE

 

 

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Now that you have completed today’s listening comprehension exercise, it’s time to check your answers and see how well you did.  The correct answers will follow immediately after the closing jingle, so stay tuned.  Answers are also available on the KA Wordcast website as a separate track.   You can also download the lesson in PDF format and keep it for your reference.    And be sure to listen to the Key Vocabulary bonus track.   This will improve your understanding of the passage itself and give you a bigger, better active vocabulary.

 LISTENING COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS and ANSWERS HERE! 

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You may also download the lesson in PDF format to keep for your reference.

PDF DOWNLOADKA WORDCAST Listen and Learn Lesson One WHY WASTE WATER

 

 

KA WORDCAST:  Listen and Learn!  Lesson ONE

KEY VOCABULARY

Be sure to listen to the Key Vocabulary bonus track.   This will help you improve your understanding of the passage itself and give your vocabulary a big boost.

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1.   CHARITABLE

But according to the CHARITABLE organization WaterAid, nearly 800 million people worldwide do not have access to clean drinking water. 

In the sentence above, CHARITABLE is the adjective form of the noun CHARITY, which is an organization or activity that helps people in need.

I’m selling Girl Scout cookies to raise money for CHARITY.  Would you like to buy a box?

All the money raised in today’s Roald Dahl Dress-Up Day will be given to a children’s CHARITY.

The adjective CHARITABLE describes any such organization or activity.  Altruistic, humanitarian, and philanthropic are some useful synonyms.

My mom works for a CHARITABLE, non-profit company in Oxford that trains dogs to be helper dogs for the disabled.

Volunteering with a CHARITABLE organization in your spare time looks good on any college or job application.

Hollywood actress Audrey Hepburn devoted her later years to CHARITABLE work. 

CHARITABLE can also describe a person (or policy) that displays a kind or lenient attitude towards others, especially those about to be judged or punished.

“I’ll go easy on you this time,” Mrs. Gleason told her student, “but the next time you turn in your assignment late, I won’t be so CHARITABLE.”

After Tammy was caught taking cash out of the moneybox during the school’s Culture Festival, some of the less CHARITABLE teachers demanded that she be expelled immediately.

 

2.   PREVENT

Hundreds of thousands more are PREVENTED from becoming healthy adults.  

To PREVENT means to stop someone from doing something or to keep something from happening.  Impede, forestall, inhibit, and hinder are some closely related synonyms.

Not even a broken ankle would PREVENT Sheridan from trying out for the cheer squad.

Bad weather won’t PREVENT a determined athlete from going on with his or her training. 

Many of the accidents that have occurred at the intersection could have been PREVENTED by a simple stop sign.

What I want to know is what the government is doing to PREVENT another terrorist attack like the one last week from happening again. 

One adjective form, PREVENTABLE is used to describe something that can be or could have been kept from happening.

Many forest fires are due to human carelessness and are thus PREVENTABLE.

Another useful adjective form is PREVENTIVE, which describes actions taken to keep something from happening.

We have taken PREVENTIVE measures to ensure that such bullying incidents do not re-occur.

 

3.   PURIFY

The vapor is then cooled and the resulting water is filtered through a powerful PURIFYING system. 

In the sentence above, PURIFYING is used as an adjective based on the verb PURIFY (which is itself based on the adjective PURE), meaning to make something perfectly clean by removing harmful, dirty, or other unwanted substances.   Cleanse, refine, strain, and decontaminate are some near equivalents.

These tablets will PURIFY lake or pond water and make it suitable for drinking.

All of the water in our house goes through a saline-based PURIFYING system before it comes out of the taps. 

In some religions, people are PURIFIED, which means to have evil removed from their hearts or souls.

The build-up of internal heat in hot-yoga is said to not only cleanse toxins from your body, but also to PURIFY your soul.

For more than 2,000 years, Hindus in India have PURIFIED themselves during the holy days of the Maha Kumbh Mela festival by bathing in the Ganges River.

PURITY is a frequently seen noun form.  It means the state of being PURE, as in:

The process ensures that the drug has the highest possible PURITY.

 

4.   SURPLUS

There would even be enough SURPLUS electricity, Janicki says, to provide power for the local community.

In the sentence above, SURPLUS is used as an adjective that means extra, that is, more than needed or used.

Every Friday, our school cafeteria donates all its SURPLUS food to a local soup kitchen. 

The SURPLUS electricity that is generated from the solar panels on our roof is sold back to the state power company. 

As a noun, SURPLUS means an amount over or in excess of what is needed.

A warm, wet spring and a hot, dry summer meant that we had a SURPLUS of rice this year.

 

5.   FUND

Gates announced that he would be FUNDING a pilot Omniprocessor sanitation project in Senegal later in 2015. 

The verb to FUND means to provide money for some official purpose.  Synonyms include finance, put up the money for, pay for, and support.

Hannah’s parents threatened to stop FUNDING her college tuition if she didn’t get her grades up by the end of the term. 

A new program, FUNDED by the government, ensures that every child in England under the age of seven receives a free hot lunch.

The noun form is also FUND, which means a sum of money set aside for a specific purpose. The plural form, FUNDS, means available money or ready cash.

The money earned from the concert goes into our school’s fine arts FUND.

I’d like to go to Europe with you, but I’m a little short on FUNDS right now.

And a word you should know is FUNDRAISER, which is an event or activity held to raise money.

Does anyone have any ideas for a FUNDRAISER besides the usual bake sale or jumble sale?

6.   ENTREPRENEUR

His goal is to make the processors cheap and accessible enough for ENTREPRENEURS in low- and middle-income countries to want to invest in them …

An ENTREPRENEUR is a person who sets up or starts a business, especially when it involves risking his/her own money.   An ENTREPRENEUR often shows initiative and takes advantage of an opportunity by filling a niche (that is, providing something that is missing but needed) in a market with a new product or service.

I joined the Young ENTREPRENEUR’S Club at school with the aim of starting my own Internet-based company someday.

One of my favorite television programs features ENTREPRENEURS with bright ideas who are looking for investors willing to fund their business. 

Sir Richard Branson is an English ENTREPRENEUR who is best known as the founder of Virgin Records and more than 400 other companies.   

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PDF DOWNLOAD: KA WORDCAST Listen and Learn Lesson One KEY VOCABULARY