Sep 30


Most bees would rather leave you alone than sting you. The honeybee has an especially good reason not to want to sting anyone. Other bees and wasps have smooth stingers, but a honeybee’s stinger is barbed, and gets stuck in the person or animal it stung. After the bee stings, some of its organs stay behind with the stinger, and the bee soon dies.

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Aug 19


Bees are important insects that pollinate flowers, and some make honey. Bees usually don’t want to sting, because they will die after stinging. Wasps are similar, yellow-and-black insects that can sting, but they can sting more than once. Wasps can pollinate, but their main benefit is eating other insects. Bees are fat and hairy, while wasps are slim and smooth. A wasp’s legs hang down in flight. The biggest wasp in the world is the Asian giant hornet.

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Jul 01



Hermit crabs are known for living in the discarded shells of other animals. They trade their shells for bigger ones as they grow. Sometimes they fight over the best shells. Sometimes they use other objects when no good shells are available. They have ten legs, but only six are used for walking. The others are inside the shell.

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Jun 03


Many cats have stripes, but only a few kinds of cats have spots! The Egyptian Mau is a very old breed. They are small, slim, short-haired cats, and very fast. Their voices are said to be very beautiful. Sometimes you can see a scarab beetle in the markings on a Mau’s forehead.

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Apr 15



An auto-antonym is a word that is its own opposite. “Auto” means “self” (an autobiography is a book you write about yourself; an automobile is something that moves itself), and “antonym” means “opposite”.




One example of an auto-antonym is “oversight”. It means watching over work to make sure it is done correctly, but it also means failing to see something (overlooking it). Another is “clip”, which means both “attach” (if you clip papers together) or “cut” (for example, when cutting hair).

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Mar 25

uehonmachi_mar25“I told him it was for school, but he saw straight through me.” 「学校の宿題だと言ったが、彼にはお見通しだった。」

誰かが「sees straight through you」とは、嘘をついていること、企んでいることが全部バレバレだという意味です。考えていることがすべてお見通しだというわけです。

If someone “sees straight through you”, they know if you are telling a lie or planning something secret. All your thoughts are visible to them.

“He was looking straight through me. It was creepy.” 「こちらを見ているのに私が見えていないという感じで不気味だった。」

「Look straight through you」の場合は、顔がこちらを向いているのに目が自分に向けられていないということです。まるで自分が透明で相手が後ろの何かを見ているように感じるかもしれません。相手がこちらを向いているのに自分を見ているわけではないときにこうなることがあります。例えば、考え事をしているときなど。

If someone “looks straight through you”, they are facing you but their eyes are unfocused, as if they are looking at something behind you. This sometimes happens when someone is looking toward you but not actually paying attention, perhaps because they are lost in thought.

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Feb 25


The fastest land animal in the world is the cheetah. Cheetahs can accelerate to 96 km/h in 3 seconds. But they can only run for about half a minute. They cannot roar like lions, but they can purr like housecats. They can’t retract their claws or climb trees like other cats.

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Jan 28


Seahorses can be as small as 1.5cm and as big as 35cm. They live in the sea, and look a little like horses, but they are actually fish. However, they don’t have scales. When seahorses have eggs, the fathers keep them in a pouch until they hatch.

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Dec 03



The joker is a playing card that doesn’t belong to any of the four suits. It was created in the Civil-War-era U.S. for a game called euchre, but is now used in many games as a wild card. In the 1940s, packs of playing cards began to include two jokers, for the game Canasta. Some decks may have three or even six jokers. Jokers often have pictures of clowns or jesters.

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Nov 05


The earliest known playing cards appeared around 700 years ago in China. The 52-card deck with the four suits we use most commonly today was developed in France, based on similar cards from Germany, which had arrived in Europe via Egypt. The hearts, diamonds, clubs and spades were other objects in other types of decks, including cups, coins, swords, bells, acorns, shields, roses and leaves.

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