Assistant 1: Rawlings Insurance. Good morning. Can I help you?
Elisabeth: Oh, hello. I’m ringing to report an accident.
Assistant 1: A car accident?
Assistant 1: Just hold the line a moment, please. I’m putting you through to our motor insurance department.
Assistant 2: Hello?
Assistant 2: I understand you want to report an accident?
Elisabeth: Yes. My car’s been damaged – someone came out in front of me …
Assistant 2: Could I just check a few personal details before we go any further?
Assistant: Oh yes, sorry.
Assistant 2: Your name, first of all.
Elisabeth: It’s ELISABETH Ricard.
Assistant 2: Is that R–I–K–A–R–D?
Elisabeth: It’s spelt with a ‘C’ not a ‘K’.
Assistant 2: Oh, OK … And your date of birth, please?
Elisabeth: It’s the eighth of October, 1975.
Assistant 2: … And lastly, I just need to check your address.
Elisabeth: Oh, actually I moved house last month so the street name’s different. It’s 60 Forest Road. I think you’ve got 22 Ash Avenue on your records?
Assistant 2: I have. So, I’ll just make a note of that … That’s fine … And is that in the same town still? Callington?
Elisabeth: That’s right.
Assistant 2: Right, now … do you have your insurance policy in front of you?
Elisabeth: Yes, I do.
Assistant 2: Can you give me the policy number please? It’s at the top.
Elisabeth: Oh yes. Five–oh–nine–two–four?
Assistant 2: It’s in a box – it should start with letters …
Elisabeth: Oh, C-Z- double eight–oh–nine?
Assistant 2: That’s the one. And now I want to ask you about the accident itself. Is that OK?
Elisabeth: Yes, that’s fine.
Assistant 2: First of all, did it happen today?
Elisabeth: No, it happened yesterday evening, but by the time I got home it was late, so I didn’t call.
Assistant 2: That’s not a problem. So … let’s see … today’s the thirteenth of September, so it happened on the twelfth. Is that right?
Elisabeth: It is.
Assistant 2: Do you know approximately what time the accident occurred?
Elisabeth: Er … oh dear … I wasn’t wearing a watch, and I was a bit shocked. But I’d say it was between 8.15 and 8.45.
Assistant 2: That’s OK. I’ll just record that it happened at about 8.30. It doesn’t matter exactly … And I don’t suppose you’ve got any supporting evidence, have you? I mean witness statements, that kind of thing?
Elisabeth: I don’t have witness statements I’m afraid, but I’ve got a police report. They came and measured up and checked the marks on the road. But unfortunately, nobody else was around at the time of the accident.
Assistant 2: Any hospital report?
Assistant 2: So I take it you don’t have any medical problems then? Any injuries?
Elisabeth: Only minor ones. It was mainly the car that got damaged luckily.
Assistant 2: Absolutely. But we do recommend that you have a check-up anyway. Within twenty-four hours if possible.
Elisabeth: Yes, OK. I’ll make an appointment today.
Assistant 2: Fine. And now, can you tell me what happened exactly? I’m going to make a few notes.
Elisabeth: I was driving home from the swimming pool and …
Assistant 2: I don’t know Callington at all, so could you describe it for me? Where did the accident happen?
Elisabeth: On the road between New Town and Callington. I was driving from New Town, heading towards Callington, and …
Assistant 2: OK, just let me draw the road layout … Right. OK?
Elisabeth: When you leave New Town there’s a sharp bend in the road and then there’s a railway bridge.
Assistant 2: OK.
Elisabeth: And then about half a kilometre further on there’s a crossroads with traffic lights. And I was just in between the two when it happened. I wasn’t going very fast, in fact I definitely …
Assistant 2: So you’d already gone over the bridge?
Elisabeth: Yes. And I’d passed the park – that’s on the right-hand side. And I was just approaching the petrol station …
Assistant 2: Where’s that then?
Elisabeth: It’s a bit further along, on the opposite side.
Assistant 2: So, on your near side then?
Elisabeth: Yes. As I was approaching it I saw a blue van coming towards me. The driver had stopped in the middle of the road.
Assistant 2: Was he indicating?
Elisabeth: Yes. He was waiting to turn into the petrol station. But then at the last minute, he decided to turn right in front of me. He must have thought he had enough time, but I had to swerve to avoid him. And I came off the road and landed in a ditch on the opposite side.
Assistant 2: Mmm. I don’t suppose he stopped, did he?
Elisabeth: Oh yes. He came over to see if I was OK, but he tried to say it was my fault. And there wasn’t …
Good morning, and welcome to our weekly programme about countryside matters. With me today I have Jacky Lamerton. Jacky works for the nature organization Action for Wildlife, and she’s appealing for volunteers for a project she’s organizing, so if you think you might be willing to help please listen carefully. Jacky …
Lecturer: Thank you. Yes … as you’ve just heard, I represent a charity called Action for Wildlife, which works to protect plants and animals. And I’m here today to talk about a project to save a type of mouse known as a dormouse. We can still find the dormouse in this area, but in the last few decades the number of dormice has seriously declined, not just in this country but across the world. There are several reasons for this – loss of habitat, climate change, competition for food – and this area of the UK is now regarded as one of the last strongholds. So naturally, we want to help the creature to survive here as much as we can.
The aim of the first stage of our project is simply to identify specific locations where dormice are still to be found, and estimate the number we have here. So I’ll just tell you a little bit about the creature, in case you don’t already know. The dormouse is a very attractive, very small mammal – it only weighs about the same as a couple of pound coins. It’s bright golden in colour, and it has a thick furry tail and big black eyes. Now, you’ve probably all seen a picture of a dormouse, but you’re very unlikely to have seen a real one because they’re strictly nocturnal. Also, they hibernate from October to April, so it’s not around at all for about half the year.
So where is the dormouse to be found? Well, dormice need to be near a variety of trees and plants, so they can be sure of a continuous supply of food throughout the spring and summer. They feed on flowers, pollen, fruit, insects, ripe nuts – things that are available in turn as the summer progresses. Here in the UK the dormouse is most likely to live in places like hedgerows, or woods, or at the edges of farmland.
So how do we find out exactly where dormice are? Well, as they’re hard to spot, as I said, we have to use indirect methods. Instead of trying to see dormice themselves, we look for evidence of dormouse activity. Dormice eat hazelnuts, so we’ll be looking for the shells that dormice have opened to get at the nut inside.
A lot of wildlife species eat hazelnuts – it’s not just dormice. But it’s usually possible to tell which particular animal has opened a nut by looking at the marks on the shells. So now, for those of you who would like to help us carry out this survey, let me tell you exactly what to do. You’ll need to get an identification sheet like this from us, then you should spend time looking for hazelnut shells in the bottom of hedgerows, or on the ground in woodlands.
If you find one, use the identification sheet to try and establish what kind of creature has opened it. You’ll see from the pictures on the sheet that different creatures do it in different ways. For example, you’ll see that insects make a small hole in the shell, less than 2 millimetres across. Then there’s another type of mouse called a woodmouse. Woodmice make a hole in the shell too, but they leave parallel tooth marks on the inner rim of the shell, as well as rough scratches on the surface. Thirdly there are little mammals called voles. These creatures don’t leave any marks on the surface, but they leave tooth marks on the inner rim of the hole. And these marks are neat and parallel. So they’re fairly easy to identify. Then there are squirrels and birds. They both open the nuts, leaving half shells that have got jagged edges. And finally, we have our dormice. They make a hole in the shell that has a smooth inner edge. And the tooth marks it leaves are on the surface, at an angle to the hole. And these are the ones we’re looking for of course.
Firstly, if you do find any nuts which you think have been opened by dormice you need to record their location as precisely as possible. You can use the grid references on a map, or you can sketch your own map, but if you do, be sure to include landmarks or road names. It’s very important that we know exactly where the shells came from. Then put the nut shells in a small container. Any kind will do – a film box or a match box – anything that prevents them from being crushed in the post. And then finally, give them a label – just your name and contact details – and send them to Action for Wildlife. When we receive them an expert will look at the shells to confirm your identification. The address to send them to is….
Tutor: Hello you two, have a seat … OK? So, you’re going to tell me about the presentation you’re preparing for next week’s marketing seminar, right?
Jack: That’s right. We’ve drafted this plan for you to look at …
Tutor: OK, thanks. Perhaps you could just talk me through it, could you? Sarah, do you want to begin?
Sarah: Yes. Well, we’re going to compare the websites of two bicycle companies …
Tutor: Right … And they’re called Hills Cycles and Wheels Unlimited?
Sarah: Yes. And first of all, we’ve compared the content of each site, and the presentation. Then we’ve done an evaluation of each one.
Tutor: OK… And did you find much difference between the two websites? Jack?
Jack: Quite a bit, yes. Wheels Unlimited has a lot more pages, for a start … Both companies show their catalogue – I mean pictures of different models of bike, with specifications.
Tutor: And prices?
Jack: Yes, they’re there too, although they list them in different ways – Hills Cycles have got them next to the pictures and Wheels Unlimited show them on a separate page.
Sarah: But Wheels Unlimited advertises lots of other products connected with bikes – like helmets, and clothing, and tools.
Jack: Yes, all kinds of things.
Tutor: And Hills Cycles?
Sarah: No. They only show the bikes themselves.
Tutor: OK. Well … is there anything on the Hills Cycles website that Wheels Unlimited doesn’t have?
Jack: Not really.
Sarah: Yes there is – it’s got a little photo of the original shop, and a paragraph about the history of the company – it’s family owned.
Jack: Oh yes, I forgot about that.
Tutor: Right … That’s the content then. And you compared the functions of the two websites, did you?
Jack: Yes. Hills Cycles doesn’t have any facility for online ordering. You have to ring up to order something, that’s the only way you can do it.
Sarah: Well no, you can send off for a paper catalogue with an order form.
Jack: Oh yes, I suppose so. But with Wheels Unlimited you can order online or in the conventional ways.
Sarah: That’s right.
Tutor: Fine. OK. And what about the presentation? Did you find any particular differences there? Or similarities? What about visuals?
Jack: As I said, both the sites have got pictures, and they’re both quite attractive, but
Wheels Unlimited hasn’t got any moving graphics.
Sarah: Yes. Hills Cycles has got an animated cartoon at the top of the Home Page.
Tutor: Right. Well, it looks as if you’ve got plenty to talk about.
Sarah: There are other things too, but those are the main things we noticed.
Tutor: OK, well you’d better stick to the most obvious differences, because you’ve only got ten minutes for the whole presentation, haven’t you? And you said you’re going to evaluate each site as well, didn’t you? How are you going to do that? I mean what criteria will you use?
Sarah: We thought we’d use three criteria: how attractive each website is, how userfriendly, it is, and how closely it targets its potential customers. Do you think that’s OK?
Tutor: Sounds fine. But I’d look at the criteria in a different order if I were you. Because really you’ve got to look at attractiveness and user-friendliness in relation to the people the website is aiming at. So, I’d deal with that criterion first if I were you.
Tutor: What about the timing? Have you thought of that? Ten minutes is very short you know.
Jack: Yes. We tried it out.
Sarah: Several times!
Jack: And we’ve decided to spend four minutes comparing the two sites, then three minutes evaluating them, and leave three minutes for questions. That’s not really enough, but …
Tutor: Well it sounds about right to me. You’ve got ten minutes altogether and you have got to stick to that limit. It’s good practice, and at least the audience won’t have time to get bored! What visuals are you going to use?
Jack: We’re going to use Powerpoint and a flip chart as well.
Sarah: So we can show two things at once. For example, we’re going to start by showing the Home Pages of each website, and we’re going to put up a list of key features on the flip chart at the same time.
Tutor: OK. And it’s a joint presentation, so have you decided how you’re going to share the work?
Jack: Yes. First, we thought we’d keep taking it in turns to speak – Sarah would say a bit, then I’d take over, and so on. Then we thought we’d just divide it into two equal parts and do one part each. But it was all too complicated. So Sarah’s going to do all the talking, and I’m going to manage the visuals. And hope we can coordinate properly!
Sarah: It’s the only way we can fit everything in.
Tutor: Well, good. You’ve obviously worked hard and you’ve been very careful with the details. Only one thing I would say: make sure that you keep your visuals simple. I mean, if you’re showing a list of key features, for example, you should make it as brief as possible. Just use bullet points and simple phrases, even single words. Your audience won’t have much reading time. It’s a classic mistake with seminar presentations to present so much information that the audience can’t process it quickly enough, and they stop listening to what you’re saying. OK?
Jack: Yes. Right. OK.
Tutor: And now let’s talk about …
Lecturer: In today’s lecture I’m going to continue the theme of animal communication, and I’m going to describe some of the latest research into the largest of all land animals. And that is the elephant, of course.
Let me begin by briefly outlining the structure of elephant society. Elephants live in layered societies. The basic family unit is formed of small groups of adult females, who are related to each other, and their young of both sexes. Now the females remain in their families for life, they’re highly social, but male elephants leave their families at about fourteen years of age. They travel alone or congregate in small, loose groups with other males, occasionally joining a family on a temporary basis. When males are ready to mate they wander widely, searching for receptive females.
The family unit, on the other hand, often contains three generations, and it can remain stable for decades, or even centuries. Then … each family associates with between one and five other families, probably consisting of their more distant relatives. Scientists call these groups of families ‘bond groups’, and bond groups belong, in turn, to even larger groups, called clans.
So elephants have a complex social structure. And like other social animals, they have to be able to communicate. But what baffled early naturalists was their ability to communicate over long distances. So they set about researching this question.
In one experiment, scientists fitted groups of elephants with radio-tracking collars. And what they observed about their behaviour really intrigued them. Because they found that there was some sort of coordination between families. For example, two separate family groups might move in parallel to each other, miles apart, and then change direction simultaneously, either turning or moving towards each other. Now elephants have a keen sense of smell which they use whenever they can. But smell alone couldn’t account for these synchronized movements because the wind often carries odours in the wrong direction. So, the scientists concluded that the elephants were using their hearing instead, and attention then turned to the nature of elephant calls.
In another experiment, scientists from Cornell University in America went to Etosha National Park in Namibia, and they produced a recording of calls made by a female elephant to potential mates. Then they broadcast it. And they did this from a van which was parked more than half a mile from a water hole where several bull elephants were drinking. And two of these looked up, spread their ears wide, and then crunched through the bush towards the loudspeakers. As you can imagine, the scientists may have been alarmed at this point, but the elephants marched straight on, past them and their van, in search of a female elephant. But the striking aspect of this experiment was that, when they replayed their recording, neither the two scientists nor the rest of their team, who were filming from a nearby tower, could hear it. And that’s because the sounds that they had replayed were below the lower threshold of human hearing. In scientific terminology, the sounds are infrasonic.
Elephants can make these extremely low-pitched sounds because although they have a larynx, or voice box, that is similar to those of all other mammals, it’s much larger. But what do the sounds ‘mean’? Scientists from Pittsburgh Zoo in the USA have classified certain infrasonic calls, based on when these occur and how other elephants react to them. They found, for example, that when individual family members reunite after separation, they greet each other very enthusiastically, and the excitement increases with the length of time that they’ve been separated. They trumpet and scream and touch each other. They also use a greeting rumble. This starts at a low 18 Hertz – Hertz is a measurement of sound pitch – crests at 25 Hertz, which is a level just high enough to be audible to humans, and then falls back to 18 Hertz again. In another example, an elephant attempting to locate its family uses the contact call. This call has a relatively quiet, low tone, with a strong overtone which is clearly audible to humans. Immediately after contact calling, the elephant will lift and spread its ears, and rotate its head, as if listening for the response. The contact answer is louder and more abrupt than the greeting call, and it trails off at the end. Contact calls and answers can last for hours until the elephant successfully rejoins her family. A third type of call seems to represent a summons to move on. At the end of a meal, one member of a family moves to the edge of the group, typically lifts one leg and flaps her ears. At the same time, she emits a ‘let’s go’ rumble, which arouses the family, and they start to move on. Finally, mating activity is associated with yet another group of calls.
So, our understanding of elephant communication has increased considerably in recent years. However, even with the use of radio tracking collars it’s technically difficult to document the functions of long-range communication. So although scientists are aware that elephants may know the whereabouts, and possibly the activities of other elephants that are several miles away, there may be a lot of subtle, long-range interactions which are still not evident.