Space Exams

I held oral examinations for my class today. I was required to structure the exam exactly like the oral component of the IELTS. Problem is, although I know the structure of the test, my marking guide basically consists of two or three sentences for each band score (IELTS marks are handed out as bands, from 1-9). It’s fairly subjective. I would have benefited from an opportunity to observe a real IELTS exam, however that is wishful thinking.

I found it rather difficult to grade my students. I wanted to grade hard, as I feel that official IELTS examiners won’t take any prisoners during their examination. But I also didn’t want to damage student confidence with is really fragile among language learners. It was tough.

The P.R.C. is going to the moon.

China is now capable of probing the moon and will complete an unmanned lunar probe programin 13 years.

While hardly anyone gives a shit about NASA back in North America, the levels of national pride expressed by the Chinese for their space program is incredible. I’ve always been rather impressed that the Chinese were able to put a man into space on their own, without the incentive of a cold war, but at the same time I find myself asking “What’s the whole point?”

The United States put a man on the moon in 1967. Thirty-seven years ago. Six landings and billions later they decided there wasn’t much there, and haven’t been back since. Recently NASA, Japanese and European interest in the moon has increased slightly because of ice deposits which could provide a fuel source for a future Mars mission, but nobody is gearing up for anything spectacular.

I sort of liken this renewed moonshot to the old world explorers. I would be like England outfitting an expedition to circumnavigate the earth forty years after Magellan (Portugal) did it in 1519. “Well we just spent three years crossing the world, lost three ships, 100 men, 25,000 pounds of sterling and our captain was eaten by a giant tortoise while fraternizing with native girls. We learned absolutely nothing, and it would have been more profitable had we cooperated with Portuguese and Spanish trading companies, but that would have been un-English…dealing with those Catholic pig-dogs! For England!”

Despite that, it is quite prestiguous…being one of three space capable nations. In Canada, we have space arm…

Soccer crazy Canada is humbled when the Canadian U-19 womens soccer team got romped by the Chinese.

The Canadians, deprived of number-one goalkeeper Stacey Van Boxmeer in only the first minute, never quite found their rhythm as China march on to a semi-final date with Brazil at the Supachalasai Stadium on 24 November.

Sino-Canadian relations are at an all time low…

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