full transcript
"From the Ted Talk by Jared Diamond: How societies can grow old better"

Unscramble the Blue Letters

Well, what has changed in the status of the elderly taody compared to their status in traditional societies? There have been a few changes for the better and more changes for the worse. Big changes for the better include the fact that today we enjoy much longer lives, much better hetlah in our old age, and much better recreational opportunities. Another change for the better is that we now have specialized retirement facilities and programs to take care of old people. Changes for the worse begin with the cruel reality that we now have more old people and fewer young people than at any time in the past. That means that all those old people are more of a burden on the few young people, and that each old person has less individual value. Another big chnage for the worse in the status of the elderly is the breaking of saicol ties with age, because older people, their children, and their fndeirs, all move and scatter independently of each other many times during their lives. We Americans move on the average every five years. Hence our oledr people are likely to end up living ditanst from their children and the friends of their youth. Yet another change for the worse in the status of the elderly is formal retirement from the wfcorkore, carrying with it a loss of work friendships and a loss of the self-esteem associated with work. Perhaps the biggest change for the wosre is that our eelrldy are oljbeitvecy less useful than in traditional societies. Widespread literacy means that they are no longer useful as roepsiroiets of knowledge. When we want some information, we look it up in a book or we Google it instead of finding some old person to ask. The slow pace of technological change in traditional societies means that what someone lrenas there as a child is still useful when that preson is old, but the rapid pace of technological change today means that what we learn as children is no longer useful 60 years later. And conversely, we older people are not fluent in the technologies essential for srivvunig in merodn society. For example, as a 15-year-old, I was considered outstandingly good at multiplying nmrbues because I had memorized the multiplication tables and I know how to use logarithms and I'm qcuik at manipulating a sidle rule. Today, though, those skills are utterly useless because any idiot can now multiply eight-digit numbers accurately and instantly with a pocket calculator. crelnvseoy, I at age 75 am incompetent at skills essential for erdevayy life. My family's first TV set in 1948 had only three knobs that I quickly mastered: an on-off switch, a volume knob, and a channel selector knob. Today, just to watch a prgoarm on the TV set in my own house, I have to otpraee a 41-button TV remote that utltery defeats me. I have to telephone my 25-year-old sons and ask them to talk me through it while I try to push those wrechted 41 buttons.

Open Cloze

Well, what has changed in the status of the elderly _____ compared to their status in traditional societies? There have been a few changes for the better and more changes for the worse. Big changes for the better include the fact that today we enjoy much longer lives, much better ______ in our old age, and much better recreational opportunities. Another change for the better is that we now have specialized retirement facilities and programs to take care of old people. Changes for the worse begin with the cruel reality that we now have more old people and fewer young people than at any time in the past. That means that all those old people are more of a burden on the few young people, and that each old person has less individual value. Another big ______ for the worse in the status of the elderly is the breaking of ______ ties with age, because older people, their children, and their _______, all move and scatter independently of each other many times during their lives. We Americans move on the average every five years. Hence our _____ people are likely to end up living _______ from their children and the friends of their youth. Yet another change for the worse in the status of the elderly is formal retirement from the _________, carrying with it a loss of work friendships and a loss of the self-esteem associated with work. Perhaps the biggest change for the _____ is that our _______ are ___________ less useful than in traditional societies. Widespread literacy means that they are no longer useful as ____________ of knowledge. When we want some information, we look it up in a book or we Google it instead of finding some old person to ask. The slow pace of technological change in traditional societies means that what someone ______ there as a child is still useful when that ______ is old, but the rapid pace of technological change today means that what we learn as children is no longer useful 60 years later. And conversely, we older people are not fluent in the technologies essential for _________ in ______ society. For example, as a 15-year-old, I was considered outstandingly good at multiplying _______ because I had memorized the multiplication tables and I know how to use logarithms and I'm _____ at manipulating a _____ rule. Today, though, those skills are utterly useless because any idiot can now multiply eight-digit numbers accurately and instantly with a pocket calculator. __________, I at age 75 am incompetent at skills essential for ________ life. My family's first TV set in 1948 had only three knobs that I quickly mastered: an on-off switch, a volume knob, and a channel selector knob. Today, just to watch a _______ on the TV set in my own house, I have to _______ a 41-button TV remote that _______ defeats me. I have to telephone my 25-year-old sons and ask them to talk me through it while I try to push those ________ 41 buttons.

Solution

  1. surviving
  2. modern
  3. elderly
  4. objectively
  5. distant
  6. numbers
  7. conversely
  8. everyday
  9. learns
  10. program
  11. health
  12. today
  13. wretched
  14. worse
  15. workforce
  16. utterly
  17. friends
  18. change
  19. older
  20. repositories
  21. person
  22. slide
  23. social
  24. quick
  25. operate

Original Text

Well, what has changed in the status of the elderly today compared to their status in traditional societies? There have been a few changes for the better and more changes for the worse. Big changes for the better include the fact that today we enjoy much longer lives, much better health in our old age, and much better recreational opportunities. Another change for the better is that we now have specialized retirement facilities and programs to take care of old people. Changes for the worse begin with the cruel reality that we now have more old people and fewer young people than at any time in the past. That means that all those old people are more of a burden on the few young people, and that each old person has less individual value. Another big change for the worse in the status of the elderly is the breaking of social ties with age, because older people, their children, and their friends, all move and scatter independently of each other many times during their lives. We Americans move on the average every five years. Hence our older people are likely to end up living distant from their children and the friends of their youth. Yet another change for the worse in the status of the elderly is formal retirement from the workforce, carrying with it a loss of work friendships and a loss of the self-esteem associated with work. Perhaps the biggest change for the worse is that our elderly are objectively less useful than in traditional societies. Widespread literacy means that they are no longer useful as repositories of knowledge. When we want some information, we look it up in a book or we Google it instead of finding some old person to ask. The slow pace of technological change in traditional societies means that what someone learns there as a child is still useful when that person is old, but the rapid pace of technological change today means that what we learn as children is no longer useful 60 years later. And conversely, we older people are not fluent in the technologies essential for surviving in modern society. For example, as a 15-year-old, I was considered outstandingly good at multiplying numbers because I had memorized the multiplication tables and I know how to use logarithms and I'm quick at manipulating a slide rule. Today, though, those skills are utterly useless because any idiot can now multiply eight-digit numbers accurately and instantly with a pocket calculator. Conversely, I at age 75 am incompetent at skills essential for everyday life. My family's first TV set in 1948 had only three knobs that I quickly mastered: an on-off switch, a volume knob, and a channel selector knob. Today, just to watch a program on the TV set in my own house, I have to operate a 41-button TV remote that utterly defeats me. I have to telephone my 25-year-old sons and ask them to talk me through it while I try to push those wretched 41 buttons.

ngrams of length 2

collocation frequency
older people 27
traditional societies 23
tribal societies 5
younger people 4
young people 4
younger patients 3
big societies 3

Important Words

  1. accurately
  2. age
  3. americans
  4. average
  5. big
  6. biggest
  7. book
  8. breaking
  9. burden
  10. buttons
  11. calculator
  12. care
  13. carrying
  14. change
  15. changed
  16. channel
  17. child
  18. children
  19. compared
  20. considered
  21. conversely
  22. cruel
  23. defeats
  24. distant
  25. elderly
  26. enjoy
  27. essential
  28. everyday
  29. facilities
  30. fact
  31. finding
  32. fluent
  33. formal
  34. friends
  35. friendships
  36. good
  37. google
  38. health
  39. house
  40. idiot
  41. include
  42. incompetent
  43. independently
  44. individual
  45. information
  46. instantly
  47. knob
  48. knobs
  49. knowledge
  50. learn
  51. learns
  52. life
  53. literacy
  54. lives
  55. living
  56. logarithms
  57. longer
  58. loss
  59. manipulating
  60. means
  61. memorized
  62. modern
  63. move
  64. multiplication
  65. multiply
  66. multiplying
  67. numbers
  68. objectively
  69. older
  70. operate
  71. opportunities
  72. outstandingly
  73. pace
  74. people
  75. person
  76. pocket
  77. program
  78. programs
  79. push
  80. quick
  81. quickly
  82. rapid
  83. reality
  84. recreational
  85. remote
  86. repositories
  87. retirement
  88. rule
  89. scatter
  90. selector
  91. set
  92. skills
  93. slide
  94. slow
  95. social
  96. societies
  97. society
  98. sons
  99. specialized
  100. status
  101. surviving
  102. switch
  103. tables
  104. talk
  105. technological
  106. technologies
  107. telephone
  108. ties
  109. time
  110. times
  111. today
  112. traditional
  113. tv
  114. useless
  115. utterly
  116. volume
  117. watch
  118. widespread
  119. work
  120. workforce
  121. worse
  122. wretched
  123. years
  124. young
  125. youth