Les insolites

  • Unfair


    Suzette Welton has been in prison in Alaska for 17 years based almost solely on now-debunked forensic evidence, but the state's lack of a clemency process means she cannot challenge her life sentence unless she proves "complete" innocence. Alaska Dispatch News says evidence that the fire that killed her son was "arson" was based not on science but on widely believed (but wrong) folklore on how intentional fires burn differently than accidental ones. The bogus arson "trademarks" are similar to those used to convict Texan Cameron Todd Willingham, who suffered an even worse fate than Welton's: Willingham was executed for his "arson" in 2004.

    Publié le 3/07/2017
  • A new word

    A new word

    Merriam-Webster just added "Sheeple" (a portmanteau of "sheep" and "people") to their dictionary and used Apple consumers as an example. The definition reads: "people who are docile, compliant, or easily influenced" and explains that it is a "derogatory term that highlights the passive herd behaviour of people easily controlled by a governing power which likens them to sheep, a herd animal that is easily led about" or those who "voluntarily acquiesce to a suggestion without critical analysis or research in large part because the majority of others possess a similar mindset".

    portmanteau/mot-valise (composé de…) – compliant/accommodant, complaisant – derogatory/péjoratif - herd behaviour/comportement grégaire (herd/troupeau) - to liken/apparenter, assimiler - to be led about/se laisser mener – mindset/mode de pensée, manière de voir

    Publié le 2/06/2017
  • Heal the world

    Heal the world

    An uninhabited island in the South Pacific is littered with the highest density of plastic waste anywhere in the world, according to a study conducted by the University of Tasmania's Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, and the Centre for Conservation Science at the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. Henderson Island, part of the UK's Pitcairn Islands group, has an estimated 37.7 million pieces of debris on its beaches. The island is near the centre of an ocean current, meaning it collects much rubbish from boats and South America. Researchers hope people will "rethink their relationship with plastic". The condition of the island highlighted how plastic debris has affected the environment on a global scale, Dr Lavers said. "Almost every island in the world and almost every species in the ocean is now being shown to be impacted one way or another by our waste," she said. "There's not really any one person or any one country that gets a free pass on this."

    to heal/guérir (Heal the world, titre de Michael Jackson, 1991) - to be littered with/être jonché de – waste/déchets – beach/plage – rubbish/détritus, déchets – researcher/chercheur – condition/ici, situation - to highlight/mettre en relief - on a global scale/à l'échelle mondiale - to get, got, got a free pass/ici, être exempté, être à l'abri

    Publié le 2/06/2017
  • A good idea?

    A good idea?

    A local wing of Austria's Green Party has announced it is holding a special meeting to teach women how to urinate standing up in unclean public bathrooms. The Green Party in Perchtoldsdorf, Lower Austria, which periodically holds "women's breakfasts" to discuss social and political issues, said the theme of the coming Saturday's meeting would be "everything that concerns the pelvic base". The party said the discussion would include instructions on how to urinate from a standing position at music festivals, sporting events, and other locations where unclean restrooms are likely to be found. According to UPI, the participants at the meeting will be instructed on how to build simple devices to assist with standing urination, organisers said.

    wing/ici, antenne, section – bathroom/(US) toilettes, (GB) salle de bains - pelvic base/plancher pelvien – location/lieu – restroom/(US) toilettes – device/dispositif

    Publié le 2/06/2017
  • Did you know?

    Did you know?

    Evidence suggests that the famous Berlin currywurst - a dish of sliced and grilled pork sausage with a sauce consisting of ketchup and curry powder - could not have been invented without the presence of British soldiers in the German city after the Second World War. The Local reports that the snack was first created on September 4th 1949 in the Charlottenburg district of Berlin, on the junction of Kantstraße and Kaiser-Friedrich-Straße by the German woman Herta Heuwer. At the time, the area was under the control of the British. In the post-war period, Allied soldiers were introducing new foods and eating habits to Germany, such as the Americans eating tomato ketchup with steak, which was adapted to eating sausage with ketchup. Curry powder was brought over by the British. According to the Currywurst Museum, Frau Heuwer traded with British soldiers for the key ingredients of ketchup and curry powder.

    evidence (inv.)/preuves, indications – dish/plat - to slice/trancher – powder/poudre – snack/en-cas – junction/intersection – time/époque – area/zone, secteur - eating habits/habitudes alimentaires - such as/ici, tel(les) que - to bring, brought, brought over/amener, faire venir, importer - according to/d'après - to trade/négocier

    Publié le 2/05/2017
  • Shark attack

    Shark attack

    In this March 30, 2017 photo provided by Queensland state paramedic Lisa Smith, a shark is seen stranded in floodwaters in Ayr, northeastern Australia. A powerful cyclone that tore through Australia's tropical northeast has left the ground littered with battered trees, ripped-up roofs - and one very unlucky shark.

    shark/requin - to provide/fournir – paramedic/auxiliaire médical – stranded/échoué – floodwater/eau de crue (flood/inondation) - to tear, tore, torn through/ravager, tout dévaster sur son passage - to be littered with/être jonché de – battered/(fortement) abîmé - ripped-up/arraché – roof/toit(ure)

    Publié le 2/05/2017
  • Justice for all

    Justice for all

    Pro-choice activist Jessica Farrar, a Texas state legislator, introduced a bill in March to create consistency between the state's rigorous regulation of women's reproductive functions and those of men. Because Texas's anti-abortion laws highlight "procreation" as a crucial government interest, she believes male use of erectile-dysfunction drugs should be regulated as abortion is. Under her bill, individual use of Viagra or similar drugs must be preceded by "counseling" similar to that required by abortion laws, and since male masturbation involves the "wasting" of precious sperm cells, it, too, would require "beforehand" counseling.

    pro-choice/pour la légalisation de l’avortement – activist/militant – bill/projet de loi – consistency/cohérence – regulation/réglementation, loi – abortion/avortement, interruption volontaire de grossesse (IVG) – law/loi, législation - to highlight/souligner – drug/médicament – under/en vertu de - counseling (US) = counselling (GB)/conseils, assistance-accompagnement (psychologique) – since/ici, étant donné que - to involve/impliquer, induire - to waste/gaspiller – beforehand/au préalable

    Publié le 2/05/2017
  • New words

    New words

    Donald Trump’s lexicon has had an impact on the English language which is reflected in the latest additions to oxforddictionaries.com, the online reference guide to current English. Additions including "clicktivism" (a pejorative word for armchair activists on social media), "haterade" (excessive negativity, criticism, or resentment), "otherize" (view or treat – a person or group of people – as intrinsically different from and alien to oneself) and "herd mentality" (the tendency for people’s behaviour or beliefs to conform to those of the group to which they belong) all emerged during the 2016 battle for the White House, said head of content development Angus Stevenson.

    current/actuel, ici branché – armchair/en pantoufles (qui n'est pas sur le terrain) – resentment/rancune, ressentiment – alien/étranger – herd/troupeau – head/responsable, chef

    Publié le 22/03/2017
  • Leaking


    Last month, WikiLeaks published thousands of documents purportedly taken from the Central Intelligence Agency's Center for Cyber Intelligence. This release appear to provide an eye-opening look at the intimate details of America's cyberespionage toolkit. The dump of more than 8,000 documents could not immediately be authenticated by The Associated Press and the CIA declined comment but WikiLeaks has a long track record of releasing top secret government documents. Experts who've started to sift through the material said it appeared legitimate - and that the release was almost certain to shake the CIA.

    to leak/laisser filtrer, divulguer – purportedly/prétendument – release/publication - eye-opening/édifiant – toolkit/ici, arsenal – dump/ici, diffusion - track record/historique, antécédents - to sift through/passer au crible - to shake, shook, shaken/secouer, ébranler

    Publié le 22/03/2017
  • Life on mars?

    Life on mars?

    NASA has developed a new strategy for warming Mars up, so people could feasibly survive there. According to James Green, Director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division, scientists are looking at using a giant magnet to transform the planet’s atmosphere into one that would be safe for humans. It would create an artificial magnetosphere that would then protect the planet from the sun’s harmful radiation. Mars was stripped of its atmosphere by solar radiation around three billion years ago, turning it into a desert landscape.

    to warm up/réchauffer (l’atmosphère de) – magnet/aimant – harmful/nocif – radiation/rayonnement - to strip/ici, priver – landscape/paysage

    Publié le 22/03/2017

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