June 27, 2012
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Soon after the attacks on the twin towers in America an e-mail began to arrive in many in-boxes claiming that the sixteenth-century astrologer Nostradamus had predicted them. Some ‘genuine Nostradamus poems’ were offered as proof of this claim. There were several different versions of these poems, but the most popular was this one:
In the City of God there will be a great thunder,
Two brothers torn apart by Chaos,
while the fortress endures,
the great leader will succumb.
The third big war will begin when the big city is burning.
On the 11th day of the 9 month,
two metal birds will crash into two tall statues
in the new city,
and the world will end soon after.
Although these lines sound as if they might be talking about the 9/11 attacks, they are not in any of Nostradamus' poems. The final five lines seem to have been written after 9/11 by an unknown hoaxer. Stranger still are the first four lines. They were written before 9/11 by a student named Neil Marshall. He included them in an article about Nostradamus. He wanted to show that if you write something vague enough it can mean almost anything.
Numerous people were fooled by these fake Nostradamus poems. For a short time following 9/11, his name became the most popular search term on the internet.
to claim verb to say that something is true even though you cannot prove it
to predict verb to say something will happen in the future
(-) proof noun a piece of information that shows something is true
to endure verb to suffer something difficult or painful
to succumb verb to stop fighting against something and accept defeat
(a) statue noun an object, usually made from metal or stone, made to look like a person or animal
(a) hoaxer noun person who plays tricks in order to deceive
vague adjective not clearly described
to fake verb a copy of something that is made to look like the original to deceive people
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May 23, 2012
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HOMEOWNER SUES TRESPASSING DUST
An American couple sued the owners of a nearby business claiming that dust and noise had entered their house, and therefore were trespassing. The first court agreed, but a Court of Appeals changed the original verdict. The Appeals Court said that noise and dust are intangible things, and cannot be thought of as trespassers.
HOMEOWNERS SUED BY CLEANING LADY WHO STOLE FIREWORK
A cleaning lady in the US tried to sue her employer for $25,000 after she was injured by a firework she had stolen from a flat that she had cleaned. While eating later with friends at a restaurant, the cleaner lit the firework thinking it was a decorative candle.
The explosion gave the woman burns. She sued the owners of the flat for leaving the firework without a warning on it. The flat’s owners said that they had put the firework in a cupboard to keep it away from their children after someone had left it at their house after a party.
BOWLER SUES ALLEY
A woman sued a bowling alley claiming she had slipped and fell on some ice which resulted in a back injury. She claimed she had had no back problems before, but her medical records showed a lot of back problems during the last 10 years. Bowling alley league records also showed that she completed the remaining 14 WEEKS of the season after the alleged fall. Also, a weather expert said that the weather for that day could not have made ice. The court agreed, and the case was dismissed.
TRESPASSER SUES LANDOWNER
When a man let his two dogs out of his house they began chasing something, and ran across his neighbour’s land. When the dog owner chased his dogs over the neighbour’s land, he injured himself when he stepped into a snow-covered hole, and fell. He then sued his neighbour.
The court dismissed the claim. They said that the man shouldn’t have been on the land, so the owner of the land was not required to make sure his land was safe from people falling into the snow-covered hole.
to sue verb to take legal action against someone or something, especially to claim money because they did something wrong against you
(-) dust noun dry dirt that is on your furniture
to trespass verb to go on land without the owner’s permission
(a) verdict noun decision made at the end of a trial
intangible adjective something that exists but you cannot describe it exactly
decorative adjective something made to look pretty
(a) bowling alley noun place for bowling
to allege verb to say that someone has done something wrong without giving proof chasing
(a) case noun all the facts, arguments and reasons in support of something
Have you read LOONEY LAWSUITS 1?
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May 18, 2012
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We use both / neither / either + noun for two things.
If you are looking at two books you can say:
• Both books are very good. (= The two books)
• Neither book is expensive. (= Not the first book. Not the second book.)
• Either book would be a good present. (= The two books would be good as presents.)
If the subject is understood you can use both / neither / either without a noun:
• A: Do you want potatoes or chips?
B: Either. I don’t mind.
• A: Which shirt do you like?
B: Both look good.
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