Section IV Reading Comprehension (40 points )
Directions: There are 4 passages in this part. Each passage is followed by some questions or unfinished statements. For each of them there are four choices marked A, B, C, and D. You should decide on the best choice and blacken the corresponding letter on the ANSWER SHEET 1 with a pencil.
Questions 51 to 54 are based on the following passage:
Less than 40 years ago in the United States, it was common to change a one-dollar bill for a dollar"s worth of silver. That is because the coins were actually made of silver. But those days are gone. There is no silver in today"s coins. When the price of the precious metal rises above its face value as money, the metal will become more valuable in other uses. Silver coins are no longer in circulation because the silver in coins is worth much more than their face value. A silver firm could find that it is cheaper to obtain silver by melting down coins than by buying it on the commodity markets. Coins today are made of an alloy of cheaper metals.
Gresham"s Law, named after Sir Thomas Gresham, argues that "good money" is driven out of circulation by "bad money". Good money differs from bad money because it has higher commodity value.
Gresham lived in the 16th century in England where it was common for gold and silver coins to be debased. Governments did this by mixing cheaper metals with gold and silver. The governments could thus make a profit in coinage by issuing coins that had less precious metal than the face value indicated. Because different mixings of coins had different amounts of gold and silver, even though they bore the same face value, some coins were worth more than others as commodities. People who dealt with gold and silver could easily see the difference between the "good" and the "bad" money. Gresham observed that coins with a higher content of gold and silver were kept rather than being used in exchange, or were melted down for their precious metal. In the mid-1960s when the U.S. issued new coins to replace silver coins, Gresham"s law went right in action.
51. Why was it possible for Americans to use a one-dollar bill for a dollar"s worth of silver?
A. Because there was a lot of silver in the United States.
B. Because money was the medium of payment.
C. Because coins were made of silver.
D. Because silver was considered worthless.
52. Today"s coins in the United States are made of ______.
A. some precious metals
B. silver and some precious metals
C. various expensive metals
D. some inexpensive metals
53. What is the difference between "good money" and "bad money"?
A. They are circulated in different markets.
B. They are issued in different face values.
C. They are made of different amounts of gold and silver.
D. They have different uses.
54. What was the purpose of the governments issuing new coins by mixing cheaper metals with gold and silver in the 16 th century?
A. They wanted to reserve some gold and silver for themselves.
B. There was neither enough gold nor enough silver.
C. New coins were easier to be made.
D. They could make money.
Questions 55 to 58 are based on the following passage:
By the mid-nineteenth century, the term "ice-box" had entered the American language, but ice was still only beginning to affect the diet of ordinary citizens in the United States: The ice trade grew with the growth of cities. Ice was used in hotels, taverns, and hospitals, and by some forward-looking city dealers in fresh meat, fresh fish, and butter. After the Civil War (1861-1865), as ice was used to refrigerate freight cars, it also came into household use. Even before 1880, half the ice sold in New York, Philadelphia, and Baltimore, and one-third of that sold in Boston and Chicago, went to families for their own use. This had become possible because a new household convenience, the icebox, a precursor of the modem refrigerator, had been invented.
Making an efficient icebox was not as easy as we might now suppose. In the early nineteenth century, the knowledge of heat, which was essential to a science of refrigeration, was rudimentary. The commonsense notion that the best icebox was one that prevented the ice from melting was of course mistaken, for it was the melting of ice that performed the cooling. Nevertheless, early efforts to economize ice included wrapping the ice in blankets, which kept the ice from doing its job. Not until near the end of the nineteenth century did inventors achieve the delicate balance of insulation and circulation needed for an efficient icebox.
But as early as 1803, an ingenious Maryland farmer, Thomas Moore, had been on the right track. He owned a farm about twenty miles outside the city of Washington, for which the village of Georgetown was the market center. When he used an icebox of his own design to transport his butter to market, he found that customers would pass up the rapidly melting stuff in the tubs of his competitors to pay a premium price for his butter, still fresh and hard in neat, one-pound bricks.
One advantage of his icebox, Moore explained, was that farmers would no longer have to travel to market at night in order to keep their produce cool.
55. What is the main idea of this passage?
A. The influence of ice on the diet.
B. The transportation of goods to market.
C. The development of refrigeration.
D. Sources of the term "ice-box".
56. According to the passage, when did the word "icebox" become part of the American language?
A. In 1803.
B. Around 1850.
C. During the Civil War.
D. Before 1880.
57. The word "rudimentary" in paragraph 2 is closest in meaning to__________
58. The sentence "Thomas Moore had been on the right track" (para.3) indicates that__________
A. Moore"s farm was not far away from Washington
B. Moore"s farm was on the right road
C. Moore"s design was completely successful
D. Moore was suitable for the job
Questions 59 to 62 are based on the following passage:
Today, the computer has taken up appliance status in more than 42 percent of households across the United States. And these computers are increasingly being wired to the Internet. Online access was up more than 50 percent in just the past year. Now, more than one quarter of all U.S. households can surf in cyberspace.
Mostly, this explosive growth has occurred democratically. The online penetration and computer ownership increases extend across all the demographic levels —— by race, geography, income, and education.
We view these trends as favorable without the slightest question because we clearly see computer technology as empowering. In fact, personal growth and a prosperous U.S. economy are considered to be the long-range rewards of individual and collective technological power.
Now for the not-so-good news. The government"s analysis spells out so-called digital divide. That is, the digital explosion is not booming at the same pace for everyone. Yes, it is true that we are all plugged in to a much greater degree than any of us have been in the past. But some of us are more plugged in than others and are getting plugged in far more rapidly. And this gap is widening even as the pace of the information age accelerates through society.
Computer ownership and Internet access are highly classified along lines of wealth, race, education, and geography. The data indicates that computer ownership and online access are growing more rapidly among the most prosperous and well educated: essentially, wealthy white people with high school and college diplomas and who are part of stable, two-parent households.
The highest income bracket households, those earning more than $75,000 annually, are 20 times as likely to have access to the Internet as households at the lowest income levels, under $10,000 annually. The computer penetration rate at the high-income level is an amazing 76.56 percent, compared with 8 percent at the bottom end of the scale.
Technology access differs widely by educational level. College graduates are 16 times as likely to be Internet surfers at home as are those with only elementary-school education. If you look at the differences between these groups in rural areas, the gap widens to a twenty-six-fold advantage for the college-educated.
From the time of the last study, the information access gap grew by 29 percent between the highest and lowest income groups, and by 25 percent between the highest and lowest education levels.
In the long nm, participation in the information age may not be a zero sum game, where if some groups win, others must lose. Eventually, as the technology matures we are likely to see penetration levels approach all groups equally. This was true for telephone access and television ownership, but eventually can be cold comfort in an era when tomorrow is rapidly different from today and unrecognizable compared with yesterday.
59. How many U.S. households have linked to Internet today?
A. More than 25 percent.
B. By 29 percent.
C. More than 42 percent.
D. More than 50 percent.
60. According to the text, the computer use by the high-income level is that by the lowest income levels.
A. 8 percent more than
B. 76.56 percent more than
C. nearly 10 times as many as
D. about 20 times as many as
61. According to the author, which of the following prevents people from gaining access to the Internet?
A. Income level.
B. Poor education and low-income level.
C. Participation in the information age.
D. Telephone access and television ownership.
62. Judging from the context, what does "digital divide" (Dara.3) probably mean?
A. The government"s analysis.
B. The divide between the poor and the rich.
C. The pace of the information age.
D. The gap between people"s access to the computer.
Questions 63 to 65 are based on the following passage:
Just over a year ago, I foolishly locked up my bicycle outside my office, but forgot to remove the pannier (挂蓝). When I returned the pannier had been stolen. Inside it were about ten of thelittle red notebook I take everywhere for jotting down ideas for articles, short stories, TV shows and the like.
When I lost my notebooks, I was devastated; all the ideas I"d had over the past two years were contained within their pages. I could remember only a few of them, but had the impression that those I couldn"t recall were truly brilliant. Those little books were crammed with the plots of award-winning novels and scripts for radio comedy shows that were only two-thirds as bad as the ones on at the moment.
That"s not all, though. In my reminiscence, my lost notebooks contained sketches for many innovative and incredible machines. In one book there was a design for a device that could turn sea water into apple cider; in another, plan for an automatic dog; in a third, sketches for a pair of waterproof shoes with television screens built into the toes. Now all of these plans are lost to humanity:
I found my notebooks again. It turns out they weren"t in the bike pannier at all, but in a carrier bag in my spare room, where I found six months after supposedly losing them. And when I flipped through their pages, ready to run to the patent office in the morning, I discovered they were completely full of rubbish.
Discovering the notebooks really shook me up. I had firmly come to believe they were brimming with brilliant, inventive stuff—— and yet clearly they weren"t. I had deluded myself.
After surveying my nonsense, I found that this halo effect always attaches itself to things that seem irretrievably lost. Don"t we all have a sneaking feeling that the weather was sunnier, TV shows funnier and cake-shop buns bunnier in the not-very-distant past?
All this would not matter much except that it is a powerful element in reactionary thought, this belief in a better yesterday. After all, racism often stems from a delusion that things have deteriorated since "they" came. What a boon to society it would be if people could visit the past and see that it wasn"t the paradise they imagine but simply the present with different hats.
Sadly, time travel is impossible.
Until now, that is. Because I"ve suddenly remembered I left a leather jacket in an Indonesian restaurant a couples of years ago, and I"m absolutely certain that in the inside pocket there was a sketch I"d made……
63. By "only two-thirds as bad as the ones on at the moment," the author means__________
A. better than
B. as bad as
C. worse than
D. as good as
64. As soon as the author read me lost notebooks ,he_________
A. reported the fact
B. found it valueless
C. registered the inventions
D. was very excited
65. Which of the following would the author most probably agree with? __________
A. Yesterday is better.
B. Yesterday is no better than today.
C. Self delusion sometimes is necessary.
D. Things today have deteriorated.
Directions: Read the following passage carefully and then give short answers to the five
questions. Write your answers on the ANSWER SHEET 2.
A television ad features a ship drifting on a twinkling ocean as the voice-over intones words to this effect, "When was the last time the world revolved around you?" Whenever my husband and I see this, we can"t help but laugh. Pointing to our daughter, we shout, "When didn"t it?"
But it"s a rueful chuckle(苦笑). Somehow our family does revolve around our child: her sports, her homework, her social commitments. My husband and I have lives too. It"s just that we must fit them into whatever scrap of time is left over.
Somewhere in the last two generations, we shifted our focus from marriage as the family foundation to children. It"s been a subtle change, and you have to look closely to see its impact on marriage.
Compare the time your parents spent exclusively together to the amount you and your mate do. Parents of earlier generations went out on Saturday nights. Today"s families cart the kids to parties with family friends. Is it good for the parents and kids to be together?
Parents once supported each other"s needs, and children"s preferences came second. "Turn off that television. Your father deserves some peace when he comes home" and "No, you can"t sit in the front. That"s your mother"s seat" were perfectly reasonable things to say. Many couples took half an hour at the day"s end to share a drink and conversation. Children were expected to play independently.
Bedroom doors were closed and parents" beds sacred. Sex was an adult secret enjoyed by parents who were confident that their children wouldn"t walk in without knocking. Now, parents can"t find time or privacy. Children centredness has gone too far.
How did we make marital love second to parental love?
The increasing balance of power between the sexes that resulted from women achieving more economic independence cut ruthlessly into the time women have for their children. A marriage-centred family was once a father-centred family. Parents spent time together when Dad came home. Today Mum might spend that half hour reading a story to her son. He too wants to reconnect, and in a child-centred family, that takes precedence. When time is limited, we put our children first.
Dad"s position has been eroded by the demands of an ever more competitive childhood. Child experts have shown us the benefits of early stimulation, socializing, being read aloud to. To afford a child these advantages requires 1000 gymnastics visits, music lessons, tutoring.
Intellectual achievements are all fast-tracked now too. Children arrive in kindergarten having long since learned the letters and colours once lovingly taught during that first year of school. And good schools are the ones assigning more homework, requiring more parent participation.
66. What is the-author"s attitude towards children centeredness?
67. Why does the author say "It"s been a subtle change"?
68. What does the word "erode" mean?
69. Give examples to show "an ever more competitive childhood".
70. Mention two factors that have made the shift from marital love to parental love.