READING PASSAGE 1
You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 1-13 which are based on Reading Passage 1 below.
Organic farming and chemical fertilisers
The world’s population continues to climb. And despite the rise of high-tech agriculture, 800 million people don’t get enough to eat. Clearly, it’s time to rethink the food we eat and where it comes from. Feeding 9 billion people will take more than the same old farming practices, especially if we want to do it without felling rainforests and planting every last scrap of prairie. Finding food for all those people will tax farmers’ – and researchers’ – ingenuity to the limit. Yet already, precious aquifers that provide irrigation water for some of the world’s most productive farmlands are drying up or filling with seawater, and arable land in China is eroding to create vast dust storms that redden sunsets as far away as North America. “Agriculture must become the solution to environmental problems in 50 years. If we don’t have systems that make the environment better – not just hold the fort-then we’re in trouble,” says Kenneth Cassman, an agronomist at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. That view was echoed in January by the Curry report, a government panel that surveyed the future of farming and food in Britain.
It’s easy to say agriculture has to do better, but what should this friendly farming of the future look like? Concerned consumers come up short at this point, facing what appears to be an ever-widening ideological divide. In one corner are the techno-optimists who put their faith in genetically modified crops, improved agrochemicals and computer-enhanced machinery; in the other are advocates of organic farming, who reject artificial chemicals and embrace back-to-nature techniques such as composting. Both sides cite plausible science to back their claims to the moral high ground, and both bring enough passion to the debate for many people to come away thinking we’re faced with a stark choice between two mutually incompatible options.
Not so. If you take off the ideological blinkers and simply ask how the world can produce the food it needs with the least environmental cost, a new middle way opens. The key is sustainability: whatever we do must not destroy the capital of soil and water we need to keep on producing. Like today’s organic farming, the intelligent farming of the future should pay much more attention to the health of its soil and the ecosystem it’s part of. But intelligent farming should also make shrewd and locally appropriate use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides. The most crucial ingredient in this new style of agriculture is not chemicals but information about what’s happening in each field and how to respond. Yet ironically, this key element may be the most neglected today.
Clearly, organic farming has all the warm, fuzzy sentiment on its side. An approach that eschews synthetic chemicals surely runs no risk of poisoning land and water. And its emphasis on building up natural ecosystems seems to be good for everyone. Perhaps these easy assumptions explain why sales of organic food across Europe are increasing by at least 50 per cent per year.
Going organic sounds idyllic – but it’s native, too. Organic agriculture has its own suite of environmental costs, which can be worse than those of conventional farming, especially if it were to become the world norm. But more fundamentally, the organic versus-chemical debate focuses on the wrong question. The issue isn’t what you put into a farm, but what you get out of it, both in terms of crop yields and pollutants, and what condition the farm is in when you’re done.
Take chemical fertilisers, which deliver nitrogen, an essential plant nutrient, to crops along with some phosphorus and potassium. It is a mantra of organic farming that these fertilisers are unwholesome, and plant nutrients must come from natural sources. But in fact, the main environmental damage done by chemical fertilisers as opposed to any other kind is through greenhouse gases-carbon dioxide from the fossil fuels used in their synthesis and nitrogen oxides released by their degradation. Excess nitrogen from chemical fertilisers can pollute groundwater, but so can excess nitrogen from organic manures.
On the other hand, relying solely on chemical fertilisers to provide soil nutrients without doing other things to build healthy soil is damaging. Organic farmers don’t use chemical fertilisers, so they are very good at building soil fertility by working crop residues and manure into the soil, rotating grain with legumes that fix atmospheric nitrogen, and other techniques.
This generates vital soil nutrients and also creates a soil that is richer in organic matter, so it retains better and is hospitable to the crop’s roots and creatures such as earthworms that help maintain soil fertility. Such soil also holds water better and therefore make more efficient use of both rainfall and irrigation water. And organic matter ties up CO2 in the soil, helping to offset emissions from burning fossil fuels and reduce global warming.
Advocates of organic farming like to point out that fields managed in this way can produce yields just as high as fields juiced up with synthetic fertilisers. For example, Bill Liebhardt, research manager at the Rodale Institute in Kutztown, Pennsylvania, recently compiled the results of such comparisons for corn, wheat, soybeans and tomatoes in the US and found that the organic fields averaged between 94 and 100 per cent of the yields of nearby conventional crops.
But this optimistic picture tells only half the story. Farmers can’t grow such crops every year if they want to maintain or build soil nutrients without synthetic fertilisers. They need to alternate with soil-building crops such as pasture grasses and legumes such as alfalfa. So in the long term, the yield of staple grains such as wheat, rice and corn must go down. This is the biggest cost of organic farming. Vaclav Smil of the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada, estimates that if farmers worldwide gave up the 80 million tonnes of synthetic fertiliser they now use each year, total grain production would fall by at least half. Either farmers would have to double the amount of land they cultivate – at catastrophic cost to natural habitats – or billions of people would starve.
That doesn’t mean farmers couldn’t get by with less fertiliser. Technologically advanced farmers in wealthy countries, for instance, can now monitor their yields hectare by hectare, or even more finely, throughout a huge field. They can then target their fertiliser to the parts of the field where it will do the most good, instead of responding to average conditions. This increases yield and decreases fertiliser use. Eventually, farmers may incorporate long-term weather forecasts into their planning as well, so that they can cut back on fertiliser use when the weather is likely to make harvests poor anyway, says Ron Olson, an agronomist with Cargill Fertilizer in Tampa, Florida.
Organic techniques certainly have their benefits, especially for poor farmers. But strict “organic agriculture”, which prohibits certain technologies and allows others, isn’t always better for the environment. Take herbicides, for example. These can leach into waterways and poison both wildlife and people. Just last month, researchers led by Tyrone Hayes at the University of California at Berkeley found that even low concentrations of atrazine, the most commonly used weedkiller in the US, can prevent frog tadpoles from developing properly.
Use the information in the passage to match the people (listed A-D) with opinions or deeds below.
Write the appropriate letters A-D in boxes 1-4 on your answer sheet.
A Vaclav Smil
B Bill Liebhardt
C Kenneth Cassman
D Ron Olson
1 Use of chemical fertilizer can be optimised by combining weather information.
2 Organic framing yield is nearly equal to traditional ones.
3 Better agricultural setting is a significant key to solve environmental tough nut.
4 Substantial production loss would happen in case all farmers shifted from using synthetic fertiliser.
Do the following statements agree with the information given in Reading Passage 1?
In boxes 5-9 on your answer sheet, write
YES if the statement agrees with the information
NO if the statement contradicts the information
NOT GIVEN if there is no information on this
5 Increasing population, draining irrigation, eroding farmland push agricultural industry to extremity.
6 There are only two options for farmers; they use chemical fertiliser or natural approach.
7 Chemical fertilizer currently is more expensive than the natural fertilisers.
8 In order to keep nutrients in the soil, organic farmers need to rotate planting method.
9 “organic agriculture” is the way that environment-damaging technologies are all strictly forbidden.
Complete the following summary of the paragraph of Reading Passage
Using NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS from the Reading Passage for each answer.
Write your answers in boxes 10-13 on your answer sheet.
Several 10…………………….. approaches need to be applied in order that global population wouldn’t go starved. A team called 11……………………… repeated the viewpoint of a scholar by a survey in British farming. More and more European farmers believe in 12……………………….. farming these years. The argument of organic against 13……………………….. seems in an inaccurate direction.
READING PASSAGE 2
You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 14-27 which are based on Reading Passage 2 below.
Stealth Forces in Weight Loss
The field of weight loss is like the ancient fable about the blind men and the elephant. Each man investigates a different part of the animal and reports back, only to discover their findings are bafflingly incompatible.
The various findings by public-health experts, physicians, psychologists, geneticists, molecular biologists, and nutritionists are about as similar as an elephant’s tusk is to its tail. Some say obesity is largely predetermined by our genes and biology; others attribute it to an overabundance of fries, soda, and screen-sucking; still, others think we’re fat because of viral infection, insulin, or the metabolic conditions we encountered in the womb. “Everyone subscribes to their own little theory,” says Robert Berkowitz, medical director of the Center for Weight and Eating Disorders at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. We’re programmed to hang onto the fat we have, and some people are predisposed to create and carry more fat than others. Diet and exercise help, but in the end, the solution will inevitably be more complicated than pushing away the plate and going for a walk. “It’s not as simple as ‘You’re fat because you’re lazy’,” says Nikhil Dhurandhar, an associate professor at Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge. “Willpower is not a prerogative of thin people. It’s distributed equally.”
Science may still be years away from giving us a miracle formula for fat-loss. The hormone leptin is a crucial player in the brain’s weight-management circuitry. Some people produce too little leptin; others become desensitized to it. And when obese people lose weight, their leptin levels plummet along with their metabolism. The body becomes more efficient at using fuel and conserving fat, which makes it tough to keep the weight off. Obese dieters’ bodies go into a state of chronic hunger, a feeling Rudolph Leibel, an obesity researcher at Columbia University, compares to thirst. “Some people might be able to tolerate chronic thirst, but the majority couldn’t stand it,” says Leibel. “Is that a behavioral problem – a lack of willpower? I don’t think so.”
The government has long espoused moderate daily exercise – of the evening-walk or take-the-stairs variety – but that may not do much to budge the needle on the scale. A 150-pound person burns only 150 calories on a half-hour walk, the equivalent of two apples. It’s good for the heart, less so for the gut. “Radical changes are necessary,” says Deirdre Barrett, a psychologist at Harvard Medical School and author of Waistland. “People don’t lose weight by choosing the small fries or taking a little walk every other day,” Barrett suggests taking a cue from the members of the National Weight Control Registry (NWCR), a self-selected group of more than 5,000 successful weight-losers who have shed an average of 66 pounds and kept it off 5.5 years. Some registry members lost weight using low-carb diets; some went low-fat; others eliminated refined foods. Some did it on their own; others relied on counseling. That said, not everyone can lose 66 pounds and not everyone needs to. The goal shouldn’t be getting thin, but getting healthy. It’s enough to whittle your weight down to the low end of your set range, says Jeffrey Friedman, a geneticist at Rockefeller University. Losing even 10 pounds vastly decrease your risk of diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. The point is to not give up just because you don’t look like a swimsuit model.
The negotiation between your genes and the environment begins on day one. Your optimal weight, writ by genes, appears to get edited early on by conditions even before birth, inside the womb. If a woman has high blood-sugar levels while she’s pregnant, her children are more likely to be overweight or obese, according to a study of almost 10,000 mother-child pairs. Maternal diabetes may influence a child’s obesity risk through a process called metabolic imprinting, says Teresa Hillier, an endocrinologist with Kaiser Permanente’s Center for Health Research and the study’s lead author. The implication is clear: Weight may be established very early on, and obesity largely passed from mother to child. Numerous studies in both animals and humans have shown that a mother’s obesity directly increases her child’s risk for weight gain. The best advice for mons-to-be: Get fit before you get pregnant. You’ll reduce your risk of complications during pregnancy and increase your chances of having a normal-weight child.
It’s the $64,000 question: Which diets work? It got people wondering. Isn’t there a better way to diet? A study seemed to offer an answer. The paper compared two groups of adults: those who, after eating, secreted high levels of insulin, a hormone that sweeps blood sugar out of the bloodstream and promotes its storage as fat, and those who secreted less. Within each group, half were put on a low-fat diet and half on a low-glycemic-load diet. On average, the low-insulin-secreting group fared the same on both diets, losing nearly 10 pounds in the first six months – but they gained about half of it back by the end of the 18-month study. The high-insulin group didn’t do as well on the low-fat plan, losing about 4.5 pounds, and gaining back more than half by the end. But the most successful was the high-insulin-secretors on the low-glycemic-load diet. They lost nearly 13 pounds and kept it off.
What if your fat is caused not by diet or genes, but by germs – says, a virus? It sounds like a sci-fi horror movie, but research suggests some dimension of the obesity epidemic may be attributable to infection by common viruses, says Dhurandhar. The idea of “infectobesity” came to him 20 years ago when he was a young doctor treating obesity in Bombay. He discovered that a local avian virus, SMAM-1, caused chickens to die, sickened with organ damage but also, strangely, with lots of abdominal fat. In experiments, Dhurandhar found that SMAM-1-infected chickens became obese on the same diet as uninfected ones, which stayed svelte.
He later moved to the U.S. and onto a bona fide human virus, adenovirus 36 (AD-36). In the lab, every species of animal Dhurandhar infected with the virus became obese – chickens got fat, mice got fat, even rhesus monkeys at the zoo that picked up the virus from the environment suddenly gained 15 percent of their body weight upon exposure. In his latest studies, Dhurandhar has isolated a gene that, when blocked from expressing itself, seems to turn off the virus’s fattening power. Stem cells extracted from fat cells and the exposed to AD-36 virus with the key gene inhibited, the stems cells don’t differentiate. The gene appears to be necessary and sufficient to trigger AD-36-related obesity, and the goal is to use the research to create a sort of obesity vaccine.
Researchers have discovered 10 microbes so far that trigger obesity – seven of their viruses. It may be a long shot, but for people struggling desperately to be thin, even the possibility of an alternative cause of obesity offers some solace. “They feel better knowing there may be something beyond them that could be responsible,” says Dhurandhar. “The thought that there could be something besides what they’ve heard all their lives – that they are greedy and lazy – helps.”
The Reading Passage 2 has seven sections A-G
Which section contains the following information?
Write the correct letter A-G, in boxes 14-18 on your answer sheet.
NB You may use any letter more than once.
14 evaluation on the effect of weight loss on different kind of diets
15 an example of research which include relatives of participants
16 Example of a group of people who never regain weight immediately after.
17 long term hunger may appear to be acceptable to most of the participants while losing weight
18 a continuous experiment may lead to a practical application besides diet or hereditary resort.
Look at the following researchers and the list of findings below.
Match each researcher with the correct finding.
Write the correct letter in boxes 19-23 on your answer sheet.
List Of Researchers
A Robert Berkowitz
B Rudolph Leibel
C Nikhil Dhurandhar
D Deirdre Barrett
E Jeffery Friedman
F Teresa Hillier
19 A person’s weight is predetermined to a set point by the DNA.
20 Pregnant mother who are overweight may risk their fetus
21 The aim of losing Wright should be keeping healthy rather than attractiveness.
22 mall changes in lifestyle will not have great impact on reducing much weight
23 Researchers should be divided into different groups with their own point of view about weight loss.
Complete the summary below.
Choose NO MORE THAN ONE WORD from the passage for each answer.
Write your answers in boxes 24-27 on your answer sheet.
In Bombay Clinic, a young doctor who came up with the concept ‘infect obesity’ believed that the obesity is caused by a kind of virus, Years of experiment that he conducted on 24………………………
Later he moved to America and tested on a new virus named 25………………………… which proved to be a significant breakthrough. Although there seems no way to eliminate the virus, a kind of 26……………………….. can be separated as to block the expressing power of the virus. The doctor future is aiming at developing a new 27………………………… to effectively combating the virus.
READING PASSAGE 3
You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 28-40 which are based on Reading Passage 3 below.
British Architecture 2
Architecture is about evolution, not revolution. It used to be thought that once the Romans pulled out of Britain in the fifth century, their elegant villas, carefully-planned towns and engineering marvels like Hadrian’s Wall simply fell into decay as British culture was plunged into the Dark Ages. It took the Norman Conquest of 1066 to bring back the light, and the Gothic cathedral-builders of the Middle Ages played an important part in the revival of British culture. However, the truth is not as simple as that Romano-British culture – and that included architecture along with language, religion, political organization and the arts – survived long after the Roman withdrawal. And although the Anglo-Saxons had a sophisticated building style of their own, little survives to bear witness to their achievements as the vast majority of Angle-Saxon buildings were made of wood.
Even so, the period between the Norman landing at Pevensey in 1066 and the day in 1485 when Richard III lost his horse and his head at Bosworth, ushering in the Tudors and the Early Modern period, marks a rare flowering of British building. And it is all the more remarkable because the underlying ethos of medieval architecture was ‘fitness for purpose’. The great cathedrals and parish churches that lifted up their towers to heaven were not only acts of devotion in stone; they were also fiercely functional buildings. Castles served their particular purpose and their battlements and turrets were for use rather than ornament. In a sense, the buildings of the 16th century were also governed by fitness for purpose – only now, the purpose was very different. In domestic architecture, in particular, buildings were used to display status and wealth.
This stately and curious workmanship showed itself in various ways. A greater sense of security led to more outward-looking buildings, as opposed to the medieval arrangement where the need for defense created houses that faced inward onto a courtyard or series of courtyards. This allowed for much more in the way of exterior ornament. The rooms themselves tended to be bigger and lighter – as an expensive commodity, the use of great expanses of glass was in itself a statement of wealth. There was also a general move towards balanced and symmetrical exteriors with central entrances.
With the exception of Inigo Jones (1573-1652), whose confident handling of classical detail and proportion set him apart from all other architects of the period, most early 17th century buildings tended to take the innocent exuberance of late Tudor work one step further. But during the 1640s and 50s the Civil War and its aftermath sent many gentlemen and nobles to the Continent either to escape the fighting or, when the war was lost, to follow Charles II into exile. There they came into contact with French, Dutch and Italian architecture and, with Charles’s restoration in 1660, there was a flurry of building activity as royalists reclaimed their property and built themselves houses reflecting the latest European trends. The British Baroque was a reassertion of authority, an expression of absolutist ideology by men who remembered a world turned upside down during the Civil War. The style is heavy and rich, sometimes overblown and melodramatic. The politics which underpin it are questionable, but its products are breathtaking.
The huge glass-and-iron Crystal Palace, designed by Joseph Paxton to house the Great Exhibition of 1851, shows another strand to 19th century architecture – one which embraced new industrial processes. But it wasn’t long before even this confidence in progress came to be regarded with suspicion. Mass production resulted in buildings and furnishings that were too perfect, as the individual craftsman no longer had a major role in their creation. Railing against the dehumanizing effects of industrialisation, reformers like John Ruskin and William Morris made a concerted effort to return to hand-crafted, pre-industrial manufacturing techniques. Morris’s influence grew from the production of furniture and textiles, until by the 1880s a generation of principled young architects was following his call for good, honest construction.
The most important trends in early 20th century architecture simply passed Britain by. Whilst Gropius was experimenting with the use of reinforced concrete frames, we had staid establishment architects like Edwin Lutyens producing Neo-Georgian and Renaissance country houses for an outmoded landed class. In addition, there were slightly batty architect-craftsmen, the heirs of William Morris, still trying to turn the clock back to before the Industrial Revolution by making chairs and spurning new technology. Only a handful of Modern Movement buildings of any real merit were produced here during the 1920s and 1930s, and most of these were the work of foreign architects such as Serge Chermayeff, Berthold Lubetkin and Erno Goldfinger who had settled in this country.
After the Second World War the situation began to change. The Modern Movement’s belief in progress and the future struck a chord with the mood of post-war Britain and, as reconstruction began under Attlee’s Labour government in 1945, there was a desperate need for cheap housing which could be produced quickly. The use of prefabricated elements, metal frames, concrete cladding and the absence of decoration – all of which had been embraced by Modernists abroad and viewed with suspicion by the British – were adopted to varying degrees for housing developments and schools. Local authorities, charged with the task of rebuilding city centers, became important patrons of architecture. This represented a shift away from the private individuals who had dominated the architectural scene for centuries.
Since the War, it has been corporate bodies like these local authorities, together with national and multinational companies, and large educational institutions, which have dominated British architecture. By the late 1980s the Modern Movement, unfairly blamed for the social experiments implicit in high-rise housing, had lost out to irony and spectacle in the shape of post-modernism, with its cheerful borrowings from anywhere and any period. But now, in the new Millennium, even post-modernism is showing signs of age. What comes next? Post-post-modernism?
Complete the sentences below.
Choose NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS from the passage for each answer.
Write your answers in boxes 28-34 on your answer sheet.
28 The Anglo-Saxon architecture failed to last because the buildings were constructed in …………………………
29 Different from the medieval architecture, the buildings of the 16th century represents ……………………….
30 The costly glass was applied widely as an ……………………….. in those years
31 Inigo Jones was skilled at handling ……………………….. style.
32 William Morris favored the production of ………………………… made in pre-industrial manufacturing techniques.
33 The architects such as ……………………….. provided the landlord with conservative houses.
34 After World War Two, the architect commission shifted from the individual to …………………………
Choose the correct letter, A, B, C or D.
Write your answers in boxes 35-40 on your answer sheet.
35 The feature of medieval architecture was
36 What contributes to the outward-looking buildings in the 16th century?
37 Why were the buildings in the 1660s influenced by the latest European trends?
A Because the war was lost.
B Because the craftsman came from all over Europe.
C Because the property belongs to the gentlemen and nobles.
D Because the monarch came back from the continent.
38 What kind of sense did the British Baroque imply?
39 The individual craftsman was no more the key to creation for the appearance of
A Crystal Palace
B preindustrial manufacturing return
C industrial process in scale
40 The building style changed after World War Two as a result of
A abundant materials
B local authority
C shortage of cheap housing
D conservative views