PASSAGE 26 Looking to the Future
When a magazine for high-school students asked its readers what life would be like in twenty years, they said: Machines would be run by solar power. Buildings would rotate so they could follow the sun to take maximum advantage of its light and heat Walls would "radiate light" and "change color with the push of a button." Food would be replaced by pills. School would be taught "by electrical impulse while we sleep." Cars would have radar. Does this sound like the year 2000? Actually, the article was written in 1958 and the question was, "what will life be like in 1978?"
The future is much too important to simply guess about, the way the high school students did, so experts are regularly asked to predict accurately. By carefully studying the present, skilled businessmen, scientists, and politicians are supposedly able to figure out in advance what will happen. But can they? One expert on cities wrote: Cities of the future would not be crowded, but would have space for farms and fields. People would travel to work in "airbuses", large all-weather helicopters carrying up to 200 passengers. When a person left the airbus station he could drive a coin-operated car equipped with radar. The radar equipment of cars would make traffic accidents "almost unheard of". Does that sound familiar? If the expert had been accurate it would, because he was writing in 1957. His subject was "The city of 1982".
If the professionals sometimes sound like high-school students, it's probably because future study is still a new field. But economic forecasting, or predicting what the economy will do, has been around for a long time. It should be accurate, and generally it is. But there have been some big market in the field, too. In early 1929, most forecasters saw an excellent future for the stock market. In October of that year, the stock market had its worst losses ever, ruining thousands of investors who had put their faith in financial foreseers.
One forecaster knew that predictions about the future would always be subject to significant error. In 1957, H.J.Rand of the Rad corporation was asked about the year 2000, "Only one thing is certain," he answered. "Children born today will have reached the age of 43."
1. The high-school students' answers to "What would life be like in 1978?" sound
2. According to the writer, forecasting is fairly accurate in
3. Which of the following statements is not compatible with the writer's comment on future study?
A) Predictions should be accurate
B) Professional sometimes sound like high-school students
C) There have been some big mistakes in the field of economic forecasting.
D) Predictions about future would always be subject to significant errors.
4. The passage "Looking to the Future" was most probably written
A) in 1982
B) in 1958
C) after 1958
D) in 1957
5. H.J.Rand's prediction about the year 2000 shows that
A) it is easy to figure out in advance what will happen
B) it is difficult to figure out in advance what will happen
C) only professionals can figure out in advance what will happen
D) very few professionals figure out in advance what will happen
Common Problems, Common Solutions
The chances are that you made up your mind about smoking a long time ago-and decided it's not for you.
The chances are equally good that you know a lot of smokers-there are, after all about 60 millions of them, work with them, play with them, and get along with them very well.
And finally it's a pretty safe bet that you're open-minded and interested in all the various issues about smokers and nonsmokers-or you wouldn't be reading this.
And those three things make you incredibly important today.
Because they mean that yours is the voice-not the smoker's and not the anti-smoker's-that will determine how much of society's efforts should go into building walls that separate us and how much into the search for solutions that bring us together.
For one tragic result of the emphasis on building walls is the diversion of millions of dollars from scientific research on the causes and cures of diseases which, when all is said and done, still strike the nonsmoker as well as the smoker. One prominent health organization, to cite but a single instance, now speeds 28 cents of every publicly-contributed dollar on "education"(much of it in anti-smoking propaganda) and only 2 cents on research.
There will always be some who want to build walls, who want to separate people from people, and up to a point, even these may serve society. The anti-smoking wall-builders have, to give them their due, helped to make us all more keenly aware of choice.
But our guess, and certainly our hope, is that you are among the far greater number who know that walls are only temporary at best, and that over the long run, we can serve society's interests better by working together in mutual accommodation.
Whatever virtue walls may have, they can never move our society toward fundamental solutions. People who work together on common problems, common solutions, can.
1. What does the word "wall" used in the passage mean?
A) Anti-smoking propaganda.
B) Diseases striking nonsmokers as well as smokers.
C) Rules and regulations that prohibit smoking
D) Separation of smokers from nonsmokers.
2. In paragraph 4, "you" refers to
D) smokers who have quitted smoking
3. It is evident that the author is not in favor of
A) building a wall between smokers and nonsmokers
B) doing scientific research at the expense of one's health
C) bringing smokers and nonsmokers together
D) providing accommodation for smokers.
4. As is suggested, the common solution to the common problem is
A) To separate people from people
B) To work together in mutual accommodation
C) To make us more keenly aware of choice
D) To serve society's interests better.
5. According to the passage, the writer looks upon the anti-smoking wall-builder's actions
Diseases of Agricultural Plants
、Plants, like animals, are subject to diseases of various kinds. It has been estimated that some 30,000 different diseases attack out economic plants: forty are known to attack corn, and about as many attack wheat. The results of unchecked plant disease are all too obvious in countries which have marginal food supplies. The problem will soon be more widespread as the population of the world increases at its frightening rate. Even in countries which are now amply fed by their agricultural products there could soon be critical food shortages. It is easy to imagine the consequences of some disastrous attack on one of the major crops; the resulting famines could kill millions of people, and the resulting hardship on other millions could cause political upheavals disastrous to the order of the world.
Some plants have relative immunity to a great many diseases, while others have a susceptibility to them. The tolerance of a particular plant changes as the growing conditions change. A blight may be but a local infection easily controlled, on the other hand it can attack particular plants in a whole region or nation. An example is the blight which killed virtually every. chestnut tree in North American. Another is the famous potato blight in Ireland in the last century. As a result of that, it was estimated that one million people died of starvation and related aliments.
Plant pathologists have made remarkable strides in identifying the pathogens of the various diseases. Bacteria may invade a plant through an infestation of insect parasites carrying the pathogen. A plant can also be inoculated by man. Other diseases might be caused by fungus which attacks the plant in the form of a mold or smut or rust. Frequently such a primary infection will weaken the plant so that a secondary infection may result from its lack of tolerance. The symptoms shown may cause an error in diagnosis, so that treatment may be directed toward bacteria which could be the result of a susceptibility caused by a primary virus infection.
1. How many diseases are known to attack wheat?
A) Around 30,000
B) Around 140
C) Around 29,960
D) Around 40
2. According to this passage, which of the following would a plant disease result in if left unchecked?
A) A world war.
B) Border conflicts.
C) Rations of grain and meat.
D) Social upheavals.
3. What is the main idea of the second paragraph?
A) Some plants have relative immunity to a great many diseases, while others have a
susceptibility to them.
B) The tolerance of a particular plant changes as the growing condition change.
C) A blight killed virtually every chestnut tree in North American.
D) A blight may be a national infection.
4. According to the passage, some plant diseases can be prevented by
A) killing parasites.
C) Killing insects
D) improving growing conditions
5. Which of the following statements is not true?
A) Some plant diseases may be caused by bacteria.
B) Some plant diseases may be caused by pathogens.
C) Some plant diseases may be caused by fungus.
D) Symptoms are always helpful in identifying diseases.