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2007-03-19 17:39沪江论坛

  Questions 11-15

  On New Year's Day, 50,000 inmates in Kenyan jails went without lunch. This was not some mass hunger strike to highlight poor living conditions. It was an extraordinary humanitarian gesture: the money that would have been spent on their lunches went to the charity Food Aid to help feed an estimated 3.5 million Kenyans who, because of a severe drought, are threatened with starvation. The drought is big news in Africa, affecting huge areas of east Africa and the Horn. If you are reading this in the west, however, you may not be aware of it-the media is not interested in old stories. Even if you do know about the drought, you may not be aware that it is devastating one group of people disproportionately: the pastoralists. There are 20 million nomadic or semi-nomadic herders in this region, and they are fast becoming some of the poorest people in the continent. Their plight encapsulates Africa's perennial problem with drought and famine.

  How so? It comes down to the reluctance of governments, aid agencies and foreign lenders to support the herders' traditional way of life. Instead they have tended to try to turn them into commercial ranchers or agriculturalists, even though it has been demonstrated time and again that pastoralists are well adapted to their harsh environments, and that moving livestock according to the seasons or climatic changes makes their methods far more viable than agriculture in sub-Saharan drylands.

  Furthermore, African pastoralist systems are often more productive, in terms of protein and cash per hectare, than Australian, American and other African ranches in similar climatic conditions. They make a substantial contribution to their countries' national economies. In Kenya, for example, the turnover of the pastoralist sector is worth $800 million per year. In countries such as Burkina Faso, Eritrea and Ethiopia, hides from pastoralists' herds make up over 10 per cent of export earnings. Despite this productivity, pastoralists still starve and their animals perish when drought hits. One reason is that only a trickle of the profits goes to the herders themselves; the lion's share is pocketed by traders. This is partly because the herders only sell much of their stock during times of drought and famine, when they need the cash to buy food, and the terms of trade in this situation never work in their favour. Another reason is the lack of investment in herding areas.

  Funding bodies such as the World Bank and-USAID tried to address some of the problems in the 1960s, investing millions of dollars in commercial beef and dairy production. It didn't work. Firstly, no one bothered to consult the pastoralists about what they wanted. Secondly, rearing livestock took precedence over human progress. The policies and strategies of international development agencies more or less mirrored the thinking of their colonial predecessors. They were based on two false assumptions: that pastoralism is primitive and inefficient, which led to numerous failed schemes aimed at converting herders to modern ranching models; and that Africa's drylands can support commercial ranching. They cannot. Most of Africa's herders live in areas with unpredictable weather systems that are totally unsuited to commercial ranching.

  What the pastoralists need is support for their traditional lifestyle. Over the past few years, funders and policy-makers have been starting to get the message. One example is intervention by governments to ensure that pastoralists get fair prices for their cattle when they sell them in times of drought, so that they can afford to buy fodder for their remaining livestock and cereals to keep themselves and their families alive (the problem in African famines is not so much a lack of food as a lack of money to buy it). Another example is a drought early-warning system run by the Kenyan government and the World Bank that has helped avert livestock deaths.

  This is all promising, but more needs to be done. Some African governments still favour forcing pastoralists to settle. They should heed the latest scientific research demonstrating the productivity of traditional cattle-herding. Ultimately, sustainable rural development in pastoralist areas will depend on increasing trade, so one thing going for them is the growing demand for livestock products: there will likely be an additional 2 billion consumers worldwide by 2020, the vast majority in developing countries. To ensure that pastoralists benefit, it will be crucial to give them a greater say in local policies. Other key tasks include giving a greater say to women, who play critical roles in livestock production. The rich world should pay proper attention to the plight of the pastoralists. Leaving them dependent on foreign food aid is unsustainable and will lead to more resentment, conflict, environmental degradation and malnutrition. It is in the rich world's interests to help out.

  11. Which of the following CANNOT be concluded from the passage?

  (A) Forcing Africa's nomadic herders to become ranchers will save them from drought.

  (B) The difference between pastoralist and agriculturalist is vital to the African people.

  (C) The rich world should give more support to the African people to overcome drought.

  (D) Environmental degradation should be the major concern in developing Africa's pastoralism.

  12. The word "encapsulates" in the sentence "Their plight encapsulates Africa's perennial problem with drought and famine." (para. l) can be replaced by ________.

  (A) concludes.

  (B) involves.

  (C) represents.

  (D) aggravates.

  13. What is the author's attitude toward African drought and traditional lifestyle of pastoralism?

  (A) Neutral and indifferent.

  (B) Sympathetic and understanding.

  (C) Critical and vehement.

  (D) Subjective and fatalistic.

  14. When the author writes "the policies and strategies of international development agencies more or less mirrored the thinking of their colonial predecessors." (para.4), he implies all the following EXCEPT that the aid agencies did not __________.

  (A) have an objective view of the situation in Africa

  (B) understand the unpredictable weather systems there

  (C) feel themselves superior in decision making

  (D) care about the development of the local people

  15. The author's main purpose in writing this article in _________.

  (A) to evaluate the living conditions of Kenyan pastoralists

  (B) to give suggestions on the support of the traditional pastoralism in Africa

  (C) to illustrate the difference between commercial ranching and pastoralism

  (D) to criticize the colonial thinking of western aid agencies

  Questions 16-20

  The prospects for finding life beyond Earth may be brightening. Today, scientists are reporting evidence for yet another potential habitat in our solar system: Saturn's moon Enceladus. Scientists mining new data from the Cassini spacecraft say they may have found evidence that Enceladus-the planet's fourth-largest moon-hosts liquid water.

  If the results hold up, this would bring to four the number of bodies in the solar system-including Earth-that display active volcanism. And since life as biologists know it requires liquid water and a source of energy, Enceladus would join Jupiter's moon Europa and Saturn's moon Titan, as well as Mars, as possible spots beyond Earth where simple forms of life may have gained or still maintain a foothold.

  The discovery, however, is bittersweet for many scientists. NASA's proposed budget for fiscal 2007 calls for a 50 percent cut in its astrobiology program. Although the program is a tiny piece of the agency's overall spending plan for science, it's a significant source of money for probing fundamental questions of how and why life emerged on Earth and whether life arose elsewhere in the universe.

  A 50-percent cut "is almost a going-out-of-business-level cut" in a vibrant line of research that stands as one pillar supporting President Bush's vision for space exploration, says planetary scientist Sean Solomon, who heads the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism at the Carnegie Institution of Washington.

  Nevertheless, the research in today's issue of the journal Science is the sort of thing that continues to light a fire under the field. Its report about liquid water under the icy surface of Enceladus is a "radical conclusion," acknowledges Carolyn Porco, who leads the imaging team working with data from the Cassini orbiter. But if the team is right, "we have significantly broadened the diversity of solar-system environments" that might have rolled out the welcome mat "for living organisms," she concludes.

  Images released last fall show the moon ejecting vast plumes of material near its unexpectedly warm south pole. As the team pondered the evidence, they nixed several explanations, including the idea that the particles in the plumes were driven by vapor billowing out as ice reached the surface and immediately turned into a gas. The last idea standing: Liquid water was venting from reservoirs near the surface, perhaps only tens of meters below the frigid crust. This explanation also helped solve the riddle of puzzlingly high levels of oxygen atoms found in Saturn's neighborhood.

  Confirmation could come with additional flybys, if water-and perhaps life-is present, it wouldn't be "luxuriant," notes Jeffrey Kargel, a researcher at the University of Arizona at Tucson. It likely would face tough conditions-nasty chemicals, very low temperatures, and little energy to drive it. Still, he adds, it's premature to cross the moon off the list of possible "outposts" for life beyond Earth. Yet the prospect of building on these results could be dimmer with the threat of budget cuts. The proposed reductions post several challenges, researchers say.

  One is the loss of important financial leverage. While money for experiments and other research related to astrobiology can come from other funding agencies, such as the National Science Foundation or even the National Institutes of Health, NASA's program often provides the crucial missing piece that turns demanding and sometimes dangerous fieldwork into exciting results.

  One of the biggest successes over the program's 10-year history has been to help revolutionize the way science is done. Answering questions about the origins of life on Earth and the prospects for life elsewhere require strong collaborations. From radio astronomers to biologists and geologists studying the evolution of Earth, groups are working together in ways they never thought of a decade ago, adds Edward Young, a geochemist at the University of California at Los Angeles.

  "NASA's made a lot of progress by making a relatively small investment in a way that has brought disparate experts together from the whole spectrum of physical and biological sciences. It's a wonderful lesson on how to make progress by crossing these boundaries," Dr. Solomon says. "It would be regrettable to stop that experiment."

  16. According to the passage, simple forms of life might be found on the following heavenly bodies in the solar system: ________.

  (A) Europa, Titan, Earth's moon and Mars

  (B) Europa, Mars, Titan and Enceladus

  (C) Jupiter, Saturn, Mars and Enceladus

  (D) Earth's moon, Jupiter, Mars and Saturn

  17. When the author says "The discovery, however, is bittersweet for many scientists." (para.3), he most probably means that the discovery _________.

  (A) greatly discourages scientists

  (B) leads to the cutting of NASA's budget

  (C) causes much doubt and argument

  (D) brings scientists both good and bad news

  18. When Sean Solomon says a 50-percent cut in NASA's fiscal budget for 2007 in its astrobiology program "is almost a going-out-of-business-level cut" (para.4), he most probably means that _________.

  (A) the program will go ahead as scheduled

  (B) it will be next to impossible to continue the research

  (C) the research will continue, but with much difficulty

  (D) the program will be delayed unless the budget cut is stopped

  19. According to the passage, one of the biggest successes over the program's 10-year history is manifested by _________.

  (A) the advance in space probing technology

  (B) the strong and smooth multi-disciplinary cooperation

  (C) the great progress with small investment

  (D) the discovery of life on some of the planets in the solar system

  20. Which of the following can serve as the best title of this passage?

  (A) Discovery of liquid water on a moon of Saturn

  (B) President Bush's vision for space exploration

  (C) Water discovery vs. NASA budget cuts

  (D) Budget cut for fiscal 2007: A puzzling issue for NASA

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