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Everyday life

Should we work less?

Reading:

Many of us tend to think of our brain not as muscles, but as a computer: a machine capable of constant work. Not only is that untrue, but pushing ourselves to work for hours without a break can be harmful, some experts say. The idea that you can indefinitely stretch out your deep focus and productivity time to these arbitrary limits is really wrong. It’s self-defeating,” says research scientist Andrew Smart, author of Autopilot. “If you’re constantly putting yourself into this cognitive debt, where your physiology is saying ‘I need a break’ but you keep pushing yourself, you get this low-level stress response that’s chronic – and, over time, extraordinarily dangerous.”

Are men and women treated equally in this country?

Questions for discussion:

  1. Do you believe that you are supposed to act in certain ways and do certain things depending on who you are, a man or a woman?
  2. How has the attitude to women's role in the society changed in the past century? Has it ever changed at all for that matter?
  3. What patterns of behavior are considered to be appropriate for men but inappropriate for women?
  4. Do parents have different expectations for their sons and daughters in their families?

Live-in Relationship VS Marriage

A man is opposite to a woman only on the physiological level. In no other way are they opposite. But we have made such a big issue of it. It is a simple difference nature has made for the perpetuation of the race but because this need is there within you, and because you have a few more sensibilities and stronger emotions compared to an animal, we institutionalized our sexuality. That is what marriage is. And because we have to nurture our children and bring them up, unless there is a committed atmosphere, it is not going to happen properly. So we created this institution of marriage so that your sexuality and caring for progeny is also handled, and children grow up in more stable atmospheres.

A Life of Productivity

Questions for discussion:

  1. Are the tasks you work on during the day the ones with the highest priority?               
  2. Do you make up lists of things to do? Do you use a planner in your cell phone or any other computer program to schedule your day, week, month, six months?
  3. Do you use action plan when working on a task at work? 
  4. Do you use to-do lists when it comes to your personal needs?
  5. How do you proiritise tasks when there is a lot to do?    
  6. Are you stressed about deadlines?

Winter

Questions for discussion:

  1. What do you think of when you think of winter?
  2. What do you like more: winter or summer?
  3. What's the best part of winter?
  4. What's the worst part of winter?
  5. What is the best way to stay warm?

Work-life Balance (revised)

Loving your job is BAD for your career as you work too hard in the evenings and are outperformed by colleagues who come in refreshed

  • People who feel their job is integral to their life may find it hard to be productive
  • These people are less able to successfully disengage from work in the evenings 
  • This limits their energy levels the following morning and their ability to focus

Pets

Dog's dinner: DNA clue to how dogs became our friends

Dogs have been dining on human food scraps since the early days of their domestication, it appears.

Our canine companions developed the ability to digest starchy foods during the farming revolution thousands of years ago, according to DNA evidence. Scientists think dogs may have been domesticated from wolves when they came into settlements, scrounging for food. Modern dogs can tolerate starch-rich diets, unlike their wolf cousins, which are carnivores.

Want to lose weight? Eat off a crinkly plate

Reading:

Jealousy, Prejudice and Discrimination

Reading: Jealousy, Prejudice, and Short People

Short people tend to be more prone to feelings of inferiority and jealousy, a recent study concluded. The researchers polled more than 500 Dutch and Spanish of both sexes in an effort to determine which characteristics made people uneasy with romantic competitors. They discovered a number of universalities, realizing that men and women viewed money, strength, looks, and charm as threatening. However, feelings of unease and nervousness diminished the taller a person's stature. Jealousy was exacerbated in short people.

Extreme Employees

Reading: 

Although some countries like France and Australia have begun to experiment with additional vacation time to balance work and personal happiness, the worldwide trend has progressed in the opposite direction. For example, Japan has long been known for its excruciating workweeks. Employees in other countries are falling victim to longer and longer hours at the office in recent years, too. The result is a new type of employee, called the "extreme employee."

5 Things Successful People Never Do

Reading: 

There are a million things that contribute to your success: your attitude, your people skills, and your ability to lead, listen, and take responsibility, to name a few.

Junk Food Ban

Talking Points

Privacy

Questions for discussion:

  1. What is privacy?
  2. How do you maintain your privacy at home? At school?On the Internet? When using Facebook? When you travel? When talking on the phone?
  3. What are the reasons why privacy is important for you?
  4. To what extent do public officials have a right to privacy?

Hobbies & Interests

Questions for discussion:

  1. What are your hobbies or interests? Have they changed over the years?
  2. How did you discover your hobbies or interests?
  3. What kinds of interesting hobbies or interests do your friends and family have?
  4. How much time every week do you spend on your hobbies?
  5. What do you think are the benefits of doing something you enjoy every day?

Imports versus Domestic

Questions for discussion:

  1. Have the sanctions affected you? If so, in what way ? 
  2. Have you seen the impact of of food import bans? 
  3. Why do you think people prefer Western products (food/cars/electronics)?
  4. Do you think sanctions were reasonably imposed by the west?

  5. Do you think sanctions are here to stay? 
  6. Do you prefer to holiday abroad? If so why or why not? 

Movies

Questions for discussion:

  1. What are your favorite movies? Explain why. 
  2. Do you think big budget movies are tasteless? 
  3. Do you prefer independent films or main stream cinema? 
  4. What are your favorite genres of cinema  and why? 
  5. Do you prefer watching movies in the original language? 
  6. Do you think Russian cinema is under appreciated globally? 
  7. What are some of your favorite actors? 
  8. Who is your favorite director and why? 
  9. Do you watch more movies or TV series?

Alcohol

Questions for discussion:

  1. Is it possible to balance alcohol consumption and a healthy lifestyle?
  2. What is your favorite alcoholic beverage?
  3. Should parents be able to determine drinking age for their children before the age of 18 (as opposed to the government controlling this)?
  4. Drink driving: in some countries it’s ok to drink a little before driving. Is it possible to have similar law in Russia? Why or why not?

Books

Questions for discussion:

  1. How important are books to you?
  2. What would life be like without books?
  3. What kinds of books do you like?
  4. Do you prefer paperbacks or hardbacks?
  5. If you wrote a book, what would you write about?

Cheating

Questions for discussion:

  1. What is your definition of cheating?
  2. Have you ever cheated?
  3. Why do you think that people cheat?
  4. Have you ever cheated in an exam?

Retirement

Questions for discussion:

  1. What is the age for mandatory retirement in your country?
  2. At this stage of your life, are you beginning to make plans for your retirement years? Why?
  3. What would be a perfect retirement for you?
  4. Ranging from 1-10, 10 being the highest, how would you rate your career? Why?

Opinion

Questions for discussion:

Description

1. Describe the best play you have seen in the theatre.

2. Describe the best birthday you have had.

3. Describe the best holiday you have had.

4. Describe someone that you respect deeply.

5. Describe an event that had a strong impact on your life.

6. Describe someone that you look up to.

7. Describe the best book you have read.

8. Describe the most beautiful place you have ever visited.

9. If you had an opportunity to time-travel describe a place that you would have liked to visit.

Questions that will change your life

Questions for discussion:

  1. Why don’t you do the things you know you should be doing? 
  2. What are your values in life? Are you being true to them? 
  3. What does success mean to you?
  4. If you achieved all of your life’s goals how would you feel? How can you feel that along the way?
  5. Do you prefer to be focused on today or tomorrow?

Thought Provoking Questions About Life

Questions for discussion:

  1. When was the last time you tried something new?
  2. What makes you want to do better?
  3. What do you love to do? Do you do it often? If the answer is no, why not?
  4. Have you done anything lately worth remembering?
  5. What can you do today that you could not do a year ago?

Hobbies (new)

1. What hobbies do you have?

2. Name three hobbies that you would have liked to try out and why?

3. Have your hobbies changed throughout the years? How have the changed and why do you think that is?

4. Are there any hobbies that you used to do but don’t do anymore, why do you think that is?

5. Why do you think different countries excel at one sport and not at another?

6. Why do you think people have different types of hobbies in different countries?

Uniqueness

Vocabulary: 

Unique –not typical; unusual 
Characteristic – a distinguishing quality, attribute, or trait 
Extraordinary – very unusual, remarkable 
Exceptional -unusually excellent; superior
Astonish - to fill with surprise or wonder; amaze 
 

Family / Children

Questions for discussion:

  1. What are three things that make relationships successful?
  2. What three qualities did you look for in a partner that you wanted to have a long term relationship with?
  3. Do you think conflicts make relationships stronger?
  4. What do you think about arranged marriages?

Talk about three things (revisited)

Questions for discussion:

  1. Can you talk about three things you like about yourself?
  2. Can you talk about three things you dislike about yourself?
  3. Can you talk about three things you can't do?
  4. Can you talk about three things you need to do everyday?
  5. Can you talk about three things that scare you?

Dream House and Living Arrangements

  1. Do you like spending time at home? Where do you live and lived before?
  2. When you were a child, did you have to share a bedroom with your siblings? Did you like it or did you want your own room?
  3. Which part of Moscow do you live? What are good and bad areas to live in Moscow and in your town?
  4. What would be your ideal living arrangement:
    •  house in a city
    •  flat
    •  studio
    •  cottage
    • castle

Concept of beauty

Questions for discussion:

  1. Do you think the concept of beauty is the same today as it was 100 years ago? If not, how has it changed?
  2. Do you think the concept of beauty is the same in all societies? If not, how might other societies differ?
  3. What sorts of things affect our perception of beauty? What causes us to think that a certain thing is “beautiful”?
  4. Are only young people beautiful?  What makes a person beautiful? What makes a person ugly?

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