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Passage 1 Weather in Britain In Britain the weather is news. /A television weather forecast often begins with an interesting fact /– the town with the top temperature of the day or the place with the most rain. /The public like that kind of information. /But the BBC forecasters do not have an easy job. /They are the only presenters on the television who do not use a script, /and they cannot see the map they are describing. /Viewers are often critical, especially of female presenters. /One woman left her job after rude letters and press reports about her clothes. / The British talk about the weather more than almost any other subject, /so it is a surprise to discover /that seventy percent of television viewers cannot remember /what they saw on the weather forecast. /What happens is that people like watching and hearing the forecasts, /but they probably only take real notice when they need to. / (152 words) ____________________________________________________________________ Passage 3 Asian Elephant The Asian elephant is one of the world’s rarest animals. /Unfortunately, its sad condition has not been as well publicized as that of the African elephant. /This is because Asian elephant’s ivory supplies only a small percentage of the world ivory trade. /In fact, we know very little about the Asian elephant. /They live in the remote forests of southern Asia /and it is therefore very difficult to study them. /Most knowledge of Asian elephants is from those that have been captured, or tamed. / Asian elephants are easier to tame than African elephants. / The major reason for the decline of Asian elephants is the harm to their forests. /The huge increase in the human population/ has caused the destruction of the Asian forest. /As a result, the Asian elephants are compelled to scatter in different areas.

/Originally they lived all over the continent, /but now there are only small isolated populations left. /They are vulnerable to extinction. / (159 words) ___________________________________________________________________ Passage 4 Happy Commuters The Golden Gate Bridge joins the beautiful city of San Francisco /with the suburbs to the north. /Each day about one hundred thousand automobiles cross the bridge /taking people to and from the city. /More than half of them cross the bridge during the morning and evening rush hours. /When traffic is so heavy, the trip is not pleasant. /Now, however, there is at least one group of happy commuters. /These are people who travel under the bridge instead of on it. /They go to work by boat /and enjoy it so much that most of them say they will never go by car again. /The ferry they take is spacious, quiet and comfortable. /Commuters can enjoy the sun on deck. /The trip takes only 30 minutes and is not very costly. /Best of all, being on boat seems to make people more friendly toward each other. /There has always been a marriage of two commuters who met on the ferry. / (162 words)

____________________________________________________________________ Passage 5 The Red Cross The worldwide Organization of the Red cross stems from the ideal of Henri Dunant, a Swiss Banker. /On 24th, June 1859, on his way from Geneva to France, /Dunant witnessed a battle. /It was one of the fiercest battles of the 19 th century. /Shocked by the lack of medical supplies and attention given to the wounded, /Dunant decided that volunteer service had to be organized. /He gathered together a number of women /who attended the hundreds of wounded soldiers of all nationalities /and helped the surgeons as best they could. /He determined to form a body of people /who would rally together in times of war and attend to the needs of the wounded and the

dying. /Many Europeans states supported him /and on 22nd, August 1864 the first Geneva Convention was signed. /This lays down that once a soldier is wounded /everyone else who comes to his help ceases to be an enemy. / (154 words) ____________________________________________________________________ Passage 6 Cars in the Future What kind of care will we be driving by the year 2030? /Rather different from the type we know today. /With the next decade bringing greater change than the past 50 years, /the people who will be designing the models of tomorrow believe that /environmental problems may well accelerate the pace of the car’s development. /The vision is that of a machine with 3 wheels instead of 4, /electrically-powered, environmentally clean and able to drive itself along intelligent roads, /equipped with built-in power supplies. /Future cars will pick up the fuel during long journeys /from a power source built into the road. /This view of future cars is based on a much more sophisticated road system. /Cars will be automatically controlled by a computer. /All the driver will have to do is to say where to go /and the computer will do the rest. /It will be impossible for cars to crash into one another. / (155 words) ____________________________________________________________________ Passage 7 Dogs as Pets Most people have had a dog or wanted one as their companion at some time in their life. /If you are thinking of buying a dog, /you should first decide what sort of companion you need. /You must also be ready to devote a good deal of time to train the dog when it is young /and give it the exercise it needs throughout its life. / Dogs are demanding pets. /Whereas cats identify with the house /and so are content if their place is secure, /a dog identifies with its master /and consequently wants him to show proof of his affection. /The best time to buy a baby-dog is when it

is between 6-8 weeks old /so that it can transfer its affection from its mother to its master. /If baby-dogs have not established a relationship with the human being /until they are over 3 months old, /their strong relationship will always be with dogs. / (156 words) _____________________________________________________________________ Passage 8 Why Do We Cry? Why do we cry? /Can you imagine life without tears? /Not only do tears keep your eyes lubricated, /they also contain a substance that kills certain bacteria so they cannot infect your eyes. /Give up tears, and you will lose this on-the-spot defense. /Nobody wants to give up the flood of extra tears you produce /when you get something physical or chemical in your eyes. /Tears are very good at washing this irritating stuff out. /Another thing you couldn’t do without your tears is cry from joy, anger or sadness. /Humans are the only animals that produce tears in response to emotions, /and most people say a good cry makes them feel better. /Many scientists, therefore, believe that crying somehow helps us cope with emotional situations. /It may be that tears discharge certain chemicals from your body, /chemicals that build up during stress. /What do you think will happen to people who restrain their tears? / (155 words) _____________________________________________________________________ Passage 10 The Mars Science fiction writers have often imagined humans going to live on the Mars. /But these days, scientists are taking the idea seriously. /It has a great deal to recommend it, /since it might solve the problem of overcrowding on the earth. /But obviously, it would not be worth making the effort /unless people could live there naturally. /If the atmosphere were like that of the earth, /this might be possible. /Apart

from that, there are other problems to overcome. /For example, the temperature would have to be raised from 6 degrees below zero to 15 degrees above it. /Scientists who study Mars have laid down the program that they can follow. /To begin with, they will have to find out /whether life has ever existed on the planet of Mars in the past. /Secondly, they will have to make a reliable map of its surface. /And finally, they will have to make a list of the gases on Mars. / (159 words) ____________________________________________________________________ Passage 11 Sharks To most of us sharks are the most dangerous fish in the sea and they attack humans. /However, according to Doctor Clark, who has studied the behavior of sharks for 12 years, /humans are not normally on the shark’s menu. /She also found that sharks don’t eat as much as people think. /For instance, a 9-year-old shark only needs two pounds of food a day to keep healthy. /But she says, sharks sometimes starve /and at other times they fill themselves with what they have killed. /Around the world, there are only about one hundred shark attacks on humans each year, /ten of which proved fatal. /If you went underwater-fishing and saw a shark, /you could be in trouble. /The shark might go for the injured fish you have attacked /and take a bite of you at the same time. /If you go into a shark’s territory and threaten it, /it might try to bite you because sharks are territorial. / (160 words) _____________________________________________________________________

Passage 12 Waterways in the US In the early 19th century, waterways in the middle of the United States /provided

North America the most popular form of long distance transport. /Travel by river was often more convenient than taking a wagon over country roads, /especially when shipping heavy loads of farm products or household goods. /When the natural waterways were not adequate, /shallow canals were built. /The Erie Canal, opened in 1825, /connected the Great Lakes with the upper Hudson River. /It allowed residents in the Great Lakes region /to send their crops eastward to New York City at a much lower cost. /The construction of the Erie Canal also encouraged people to move westward. /The city of Detroit and Chicago became flourishing cities. /By the mid 1800, faster and cheaper railroads became more popular /and the canal system declined. /During the first third of the century, however, /transport on the rivers, lakes and canals aided greatly in the growth of the United States. /(158 words) ____________________________________________________________________ Passage 13 The English Language English is increasingly significant in the globalization of the world. /Generally, English is the most important linguistic vehicle in all the human activities carried out worldwide. /These activities include application of science and technology /in medicine, transport, entertainment and information technology /and all the other fields related to human life. / Science and technology cannot do without languages, /which are symbolic systems though not the only ones. /In a world where there are global human enterprises, /a language that is widely understood, /and that can be used across the boundaries of different countries, is a necessity. / English has been extensively used for the purposes of exchanging information. /No matter whether English is more suited to be used as an international language or not, /it is really suited to a great variety of scientific and technological purposes. /It has a very large vocabulary /and all sorts of ways of extending its vocabulary that is already much ample to meet changing needs. /(159 words)

____________________________________________________________________ Passage 14 Globalization People around the globe are more connected to each other than ever before. /“The Era of Globalization” is fast becoming the preferred term for describing the current times. /Globalization is a process of interaction and integration /among the people, companies, and governments of different nations, /a process driven by international trade and investment and aided by information technology. /This process has effects on the environment, on culture, on political systems, /on economic development and prosperity, /and on human physical well-being in societies around the world. Policy and technological developments of the past few decades /have spurred increases in cross-border trade, investment, and migration so large that / many observers believe the world has entered a qualitatively new phase in its economic development. Technology has been the other principal driver of globalization. /Advances in information technology, in particular, have dramatically transformed economic life. /Information technologies have given consumers, investors and businesses /valuable new tools for identifying and pursuing economic opportunities. /(158 words) ____________________________________________________________________ Passage 17 British Pub Culture Visitors to Britain may find the best place to sample local culture is in a traditional pub. / Most pubs have no waiters / --you have to go to the bar to buy drinks. / This may sound inconvenient, / but there is a hidden purpose. / Pub culture is designed to promote sociability in a society known for its reserve. / Standing at the bar for service / allows you to chat with others waiting to be served. / The bar counter

is possibly the only site in the British Isles / in which friendly conversation with strangers is considered really quite normal behavior. / The trouble is that if you do not follow the local rules, / the experience may fall flat. / For example, if you are in a big group, / it is best if only one or two people go to buy the drinks. / Nothing irritates the regular customers while they chat about what to order. (163 words)

_____________________________________________________________________ Passage 18 Coffee

Coffee is a brewed beverage prepared from roasted seeds, / commonly called coffee beans. / Due to its caffeine content, / coffee has a stimulating effect in humans. / Today, coffee is one of the most popular beverages worldwide. / Coffee was first consumed in the ninth century, / when it was discovered in the highlands of Ethiopia. / Coffee has played an important role in many societies throughout history. / In Africa, it was used in religious ceremonies. / Coffee is an important export commodity. / In 2004, coffee was the top agricultural export for 12 countries, / and in 2005, it was the world's seventh largest legal agricultural export by value. / Some controversy is associated with coffee cultivation and its impact on the environment. / Many studies have examined the relationship between coffee consumption and certain medical conditions. / Whether the overall effects of coffee are positive or negative is still disputed. (159 words) _____________________________________________________________________ Passage 19 Buses in London The London Bus is one of London's principal icons. / Although the Routemaster has now been largely phased out of service, / with only two heritage routes still using the vehicles,/ the majority of buses in London are still red / and therefore the red bus remains an iconic symbol of the city./

In Britain bus-type vehicles used for long distances / or where it is not possible to get on at any stop / and buy a ticket are always called coaches rather than buses. / Buses have been used on the streets of London since 1829, / and in 1855 the London General Omnibus Company or LGOC was founded / to regulate the horse-drawn omnibus services then operating in London. / LGOC began using motor omnibuses in 1902, / and manufactured them itself from 1909./ The last LGOC horse-drawn bus ran on 25 October 1911, / although independent operators used them until 1914. (155 words) ____________________________________________________________________ Passage 20 American Food Many meals in America are arranged around popular television shows. / People like to eat in front of the TV, / and they sit in a chair or on a sofa. / Cooking in the USA is not just hamburgers, pizza and fast food. / However, the American fast food restaurant chains / have been very successful at introducing American-style fast food around the world. / Now people from many lands believe / it is what everyone eats all the time in the USA. / Most traditional American foods were introduced by the early European immigrants / but modified to take advantage of the locally available ingredients. / Fried chicken, meatloaf, baked potato, corn, baked beans and apple pie / would be considered traditional American dishes. / Regional cooking varies from state to state / and is highly influenced by the types of ingredients locally available, / as well as the cultural background of the people that settled in the area. / (165 words) ____________________________________________________________________ Passage 21

New York The City of New York has been the most populous city in the United States since 1790, / while the New York metropolitan area / ranks among the most populous urban areas in the world. / A leading global city, / it exerts a powerful influence over worldwide finance, culture, fashion and entertainment. / As host of United Nations headquarters, / New York is also an important center for international affairs./ The city's estimated population exceeds 8.2 million people / living in just under 305 square miles,/ making New York City the most densely populated major city. / New York is notable among American cities for its high use of mass transit, / much of which runs 24 hours, / and for the overall density and diversity of its population. / The city is sometimes referred to as "The City that Never Sleeps", / while other nicknames include Gotham and the Big Apple. /(153 words) _____________________________________________________________________

Passage 22 Public School Public-school education is the most common form of education in the United States / and is provided mainly by local governments, / with control and funding coming from three levels: / federal, state, and local./ Curricula, funding, teaching, and other policies are set / through locally elected school boards by jurisdiction over school districts. / The school districts are special-purpose districts / authorized by provisions of state law. / Generally, state governments can and do set minimum standards / relating to almost all activities of primary and secondary schools, / as well as funding and authorization to enact local school taxes to support the schools. / The federal government funds aid to states and school districts / that meet minimum federal standards. / The first tax-supported public school in America was in

Massachusetts. / The vast majority of adults born in the U.S. have attended a U.S. public school. / (149 words) _____________________________________________________________________ Passage 24 French Fries French fries, or french-fried potatoes are thin strips of potato / that have been deep-fried. / They are popular in many countries / and go by many names in various languages. / A distinction is sometimes made between fries and chips. / North Americans often refer to any elongated pieces of fried potatoes as fries, / while in other parts of the world, / long slices of potatoes are sometimes called fries to contrast them with the thickly cut strips, / which are often referred to as chips. / French fries can contain a large amount of fat or oils from frying. / Some researchers have suggested / that the high temperatures used for frying such dishes may have results harmful to health. / In the United States about ? of vegetables consumed are prepared as French fries / and are proposed to contribute to widespread obesity. / Many restaurants now advertise their use of unsaturated oils. / (158 words) Passage 25 Money Money is anything that is generally accepted as payment / for goods and services and repayment of debts./ The main uses of money are as a medium of exchange, / a unit of account, and a store of value. / Some authors explicitly require money to be a standard of deferred payment. / The dominant form of money is currency. / The term "price system" is sometimes used / to refer to methods using commodity valuation or money accounting systems. / Money is used as an intermediary for trade, / in order to avoid the inefficiencies of a barter system, / which are sometimes referred to as the 'double coincidence of

wants problem'. / Such usage is termed a medium of exchange. / In economics, money is a broad term that refers to any financial instrument / that can fulfill the functions of money. / Modern monetary focuses on the liquidity of the financial instrument used as money. / (158 words) _____________________________________________________________________ Passage 26 Newspapers A newspaper is a publication containing news, information, and advertising. / General-interest newspapers often feature articles / on political events, crime, business, entertainment, society and sports. / Most traditional papers also feature an editorial page / containing columns that express the personal opinions of writers./ Supplementary sections may contain advertising, comics, and coupons./ Newspapers are most often published on a daily or weekly basis, / and they usually focus on one particular geographic area where most of their readers live. / Despite recent setbacks in circulation and profits, / newspapers are still the most iconic outlet for news and other types of written journalism. / By the late 1990s,the Internet posed an ongoing challenge / to the business model of most newspapers in developed countries. / Many newspapers around the world launched online editions / in an attempt to follow or stay ahead of their audience. / However, in the rest of the world, newspapers continue to grow. / (160 words) _____________________________________________________________________

Passage 27 The History of Tea

After water, tea is the most widely-consumed beverage in the world. / The Chinese have consumed tea for thousands of years. / People of the Han Dynasty used tea as medicine. / China is considered to have the earliest records of tea consumption, / with records dating back to the 10th century BC. / Legend has it that master Lao Zi was saddened by society's moral decay and, / sensing that the end of the dynasty was near, / he journeyed westward to the unsettled territories, / never to be seen again./ While passing along the nation's border, / he encountered and was offered tea by a

customs inspector, / who encouraged him to compile his teachings into a single book / so that future generations might benefit from his wisdom. / This then became known as the Dao De Jing, a collection of Laozi's sayings. / A national custom of offering tea to guests began in China. / (158 words) ____________________________________________________________________ Passage 28 Christmas Every year after Thanksgiving, / most people’s thoughts turn to Christmas. / It is the time when professing Christians are supposed to focus on Jesus Christ. / It is the day we celebrate as the birthday of Jesus. / There are special Christmas services in Christian churches all over the world. / But many of the festivities of Christmas do not have anything to do with religion. / Exchanging gifts and sending Christmas cards / are the modern ways of celebrating the Christmas in the world. / And the Christmas has become popular /when Christmas cards appeared in 1846 / and the concept of a jolly Santa Claus was first made popular in nineteenth Century. / Christmas is thought by most to be a wonderful time, / focusing the participants on /giving, family togetherness, beautiful music and decorations, / feasting on special foods and singing Christmas carols throughout the neighborhood. / (150 words) Passage 29 For years, students were assured that with a college degree in hand / they could acquire an excellent job. / In recent years, however, several developments / have

signaled the onset of a change / in the supply-demand relationship in the services of higher education. / Teachers with terminal degrees far outnumber / the available teaching positions in many disciplines. / The chairman of a science department today / may receive three to four hundred applications / for a position that once attracted only half a dozen. / Administrations of colleges and universities must be prepared / to enter into competition with all other suppliers of products and services. / Today’s students are in touch with the reality of the world, / and they realize that while a degree may obtain the first job for them, / keeping the job and advancing depend upon the education behind the degree. (148 words) _____________________________________________________________________ Passage 33 Credit Card Security Credit card security relies on the physical security of the plastic card / as well as the privacy of the credit card number. / Therefore, whenever a person other than the card owner / has access to the card or its number, / security is potentially compromised. / Once, merchants would often accept credit card numbers / without additional verification for mail order purchases. / It's now common practice to only ship to confirmed addresses / as a security measure to minimize fraudulent purchases. / Some merchants will accept a credit card number for in-store purchases, / but many require the card itself to be present, / and require a signature. / A lost or stolen card can be cancelled, / and if this is done quickly, / will greatly limit the fraud that can take place in this way. / (141 words) ____________________________________________________________________ Passage 34 Independent Filmmaking Filmmaking also takes place outside of the mainstream / and is commonly called independent filmmaking. / Since the introduction of DV technology, / the means of

production have become more democratized./ Filmmakers can conceivably shoot and edit a film, / create and edit the sound and music, / and mix the final cut on a home computer. / However, while the means of production may be democratized, / financing, distribution, and marketing remain difficult to accomplish outside the traditional system. / Most independent filmmakers rely on film festivals / to get their films noticed and sold for distribution. / However, the Internet has allowed for relatively inexpensive distribution of independent films; / many filmmakers post their films online for critique and recognition./ Although there is little profitability in this, / a filmmaker can still gain exposure via the web. (139 words) ____________________________________________________________________


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