1. What a Firefighter's Job Is Like ①The damage that a fire can cause is obvious / and this is why the firefighters' jobs are so important. / ②Firefighters are usually the first ones responding to any type of emergency and perform many tasks, / which include putting out burning buildings, / helping out with medical emergencies, vehicle accidents and many other incidents./ ③They must make sure their equipment is clean / and all the items they use are in proper working order. / ④Keeping their skills up to date is necessary. / ⑤Therefore, they will be continually trained with new equipment and techniques. / ⑥Because of the extreme conditions / and also the stress associated with the emergency situations that arise, / the firefighters definitely need to stay in shape for the work they must do. / ⑦They will stay in the fire station while on duty. / ⑧Unless they need to work on the trucks or respond to a call, / they can eat, sleep, shower and watch TV at the fire station, just like at home. (160 words)
①For a long time, aliens have often been in the news. / ②They have always been surrounded by mystery / and interest of people all around the world. / ③People have claimed to have been abducted by aliens. / ④Some have claimed to have actually seen them. / ⑤But is there a sound proof that can prove aliens to be real? / ⑥Alien sightings have mostly been accompanied by sightings of lights in the night sky. / ⑦Some of them have also believed that / the lights came from the spaceships used by the aliens. / ⑧Disk-like objects traveling across the sky / have often been taken as aliens' vehicles./ ⑨At times, people have found blood or hair at the locations / where aliens were sighted. / ⑩Researchers say alien sightings could have probably been a result of human imagination accompanied by fear, / and some of these sightings might have been a result of certain astronomical phenomena. ( 145 words)
3.Computer Eyeglasses ①As computers become a more and more vital part of today's lifestyle and practices,/ new medical conditions are developing as a result of their usage. / ② The most common to date is computer vision problems, / which include eye pain, tired and burning eyes, watering or dry eyes, eye strain. / ③One Would never imagine that such a useful and innovative tool could cause so much physical discomfort ! / ④As
a result of these, science professionals seized the opportunity / to create computer eyeglasses to ease these common conditions / and make computer usage less painful and more comfortable. / ⑤The computer vision problems affect adults as well as children./ ⑥Although children normally have different requirements for near and distance vision glasses, / computer eyeglasses can be used universally for both groups. / ⑦Please note that near and distance vision glasses / should not be used as replacements for computer glasses. /⑧They do not serve the same purpose, / and in some cases will cause more harm than good. (158 words)
4.Labor Day ①International Labor Day, also known as International Workers' Day, / is scheduled for May 1st of each year. /②It is a holiday in celebration of the eight-hour workday. / ③It evolved from efforts of the labor union movement / to celebrate the economic and social achievements of workers. / ④It is celebrated as a national holiday across many countries around the world. / ⑤The idea for a workers' holiday began in Australia in 1856 / but was celebrated on May 1st in 1886 in Chicago. /⑥In China, Labor Day was extended to three days during the 1990s. / ⑦The Chinese government made it a seven-day holiday / by moving the prior and upcoming weekends together with these three days. / ⑧This holiday allowed millions of Chinese people to travel / or take
other activities during this period. / ⑨However, China has reduced the Golden Week holiday down to one day in 2008, / while at the same time reviving some traditional holidays such as Mid-Autumn Festival. (158 words)
5.Negative Effects of Television ①Spending too many hours watching television wastes the precious time / that can rather be spent in fruitful and healthy activities like exercise or reading. / ②It also uses up the time / that you can rather spend with your family and friends. / ③Chatting with your near ones, spending time with your close ones / is a better way of spending time than watching TV. / ④People watching television, especially children and youngsters,/ start identifying with what is shown on TV. / ⑤They relate to television shows and films to such an extent that / they get bored of living a normal and simple life. ! ⑥They are eager for fame and money; / they long for living the lives of their favorite 'IV characters. / ⑦This may lead to a high amount of dissatisfaction for the real world. / ⑧As real life is the contrast of the life shown on TV, / such TV addicts become hungry for power, money and status. (151 words)
6.Family Life in India
①Family life is equally varied in Indian states. /②India is a country with many states / in which people are from different cultures, and so on. /③The languages, clothing, customs, and traditions of people are influenced by the respective regions they live in. / ④Most of the families in India are extended ones, / in which every member has his or her own role, often influenced by age and gender. / ⑤Children are cherished and considered as gifts from God. !⑥Children can look forward to continual family support throughout their lives. / ⑦However, they are expected to respect their elders and parents, their wishes and family relationships. / ⑧The family structure in India is typical, / in which there are many wedding customs, / which have to be strongly followed by people. / ⑨Religion, social status, traditional practices, and regional differences influence family structures. / ⑩Indians are more emotionally attached to the members of their family. / ⑾Husbands and wives are not allowed to openly display their affection for one another. ( 160 words)
7.Society's Influence on Education ①Society plays an important role in education, and influences it both positively and negatively. / ②Social inequalities and unhealthy educational practices are some of the negative influences of society on our lives. / ③Customs and traditions prevent certain sections of
society from exercising their fundamental rights / and get in the way of the well-being of society, / shatter the basic ideas of education and social awareness. / ④Some social groups deny women's right to education, / while others force children to work, / depriving them from a healthy environment / which is good to their growth and development. / ⑤Education is one of the basic human rights. / ⑥If social norms come in the way of social welfare, / it defeats the purpose of education. /⑦Society is an entity that can't be separated from us. / ⑧It is we who make up the society. / ⑨It is entirely in our hands whether to add value to our education or devalue it. (149 words)
8.Choosing the Perfect Hair Color ①Coloring your hair is one way to express your individuality. / ②Choosing the right hair color can be confusing / whether you want to cover gray hair or give yourself a new fresh look. / ③If you are clear about what you want exactly, / it can help while choosing the hair color that is right for you. / ④You can achieve the most flattering look, / if you consider your skin make-up and eye color. / ⑤Hair color that balances your complexion gives the best results. / ⑥For covering gray hair, you can select a shade close to your natural hair color. / ⑦Hair highlights are another way to improve your overall look. /⑧Highlights can look fascinating and make an attractive impression. / ⑨They add
depth and dimension to the base color or natural hair. /⑩Different hair colors suit different complexions. /⑾In order to choose a suitable hair color, / you need to identify the right combination. ( 148 words)
9.Traditional Brazilian Clothing ①Brazil is known internationally for its stylish and
sophisticated clothing. /②Brazilian clothes are comfortable, vivid, beautifully crafted and decorated with attractive laces. /
③Traditional Brazilian clothing is influenced by a combination of different races and immigrants from all over the world. / ④A true traditional Brazilian clothing can be seen in the countryside, / where men's clothing includes shirt, jeans and dresses made from inexpensive cotton. / ⑤In the south of Brazil, the cowboys wear a distinctive dress including loose-fitting trousers, / while in the northeast region they wear coat, hat and leather trousers. / ⑥In the urban areas of Brazil, most people prefer modern clothing. / ⑦Young men wear jeans and T-shirts. / ⑧Short skirts and dresses are very popular among women. / ⑨Brazilian jeans are very common ! and they come in a wide variety of styles and textures. / ⑩Jeans made for women are tight-fitting and loose-fitting near the feet. / ⑾Due to abundance of beautiful beaches, / beachwear is a very popular clothing in Brazil. ( 156 words)
10. Culture Shock Culture shock isn't a clinical term or medical condition. /It's simply a common way to describe the confusing and nervous feelings a person may have /after leaving a familiar culture to live in a new and different culture. /When you move to a new place, /you're bound to face a lot of changes. /That can be exciting and stimulating, /but it can also be overwhelming. /You may feel sad, anxious, frustrated, and want to go home. /It's natural to have difficulty adjusting to a new culture. /People from other cultures may have grown up with values and beliefs that differ from yours./ Because of these differences, /the things they talk about, the ways they express themselves, /and the importance of various ideas/ may be very different from what you are used to. /But the good news is that culture shock is usually temporary.
11.Spy Cell Phones ①A spy phone is a mobile phone or a spy device / that allows a user to monitor and hear or record conversations and other activities taking place over the phone. /②Spy phones can function in different ways. / ③They can be used as listening devices/ whereby secretive conversations can be tracked. / ④They are popularly used by secret agencies to track criminal activities / that are carried out over networks. / ⑤They can
be used for tracking periodic calls and recording the frequency of calls from certain suspicious numbers. / ⑥Also, they can be used for monitoring business and household activities / while the cell phone user is away. / ⑦Although spy cell phones have many positive sides, / they give rise to legal as well as moral concerns, / because spy cell phone software is easily available. / ⑧Cell phones are easily transferable
to spy phones. / ⑨Their ready availability makes them subject to illegal use. (146 words)
12.Water Pollution ①Water pollution is an undesirable change in the state of water, / polluted with harmful substances. /②It is the second most important environmental issue next to air pollution. / ③Any change in the physical, chemical or biological properties of water / will have a harmful effect on living things. / ④Water pollution affects all the major water bodies of the world / such as lakes, rivers, oceans and groundwater. / ⑤Polluted water is unfit for drinking and for other consumption processes. / ⑥It is also not suitable for agricultural and industrial use. / ⑦The effects of water pollution are harmful to human beings, plants, animals, fishes and birds. / ⑧Water problems in the future will become more intense and more complex. / ⑨Our increasing population will tremendously increase urban wastes, primarily sewage.
/ ⑩On the other hand, increasing demands for water / will decrease the amount of water available for dealing with wastes. /⑾Due to water pollution, the entire ecosystem gets disturbed. (150 words)
13.Health Benefits of Red Wine ①We all know drinks containing alcohol are not good for health, / but when it comes to drinking red wine, / it is the other way around. / ②Recent studies have concluded that there are no negative effects on the body, / if red wine is not consumed excessively. / ③Certain compounds in red wine can play a very important role in protecting the heart. / ④It is a heart-healthy drink that can be enjoyed during evening meals. /⑤If you think that red wine is only good for the heart, / then you are wrong. / ⑥Studies have revealed that the substance found in the skin of red grapes, / can restrict cancer's development. /⑦However, the ideal consumption is not 7 to 8 glasses of red wine. /⑧Scientific studies on the potential benefits of red wine recommend that women should not have more than one drink per day; / whereas men can have 2 drinks per day. /⑨The word "moderate" is the key to maximize health benefits of red wine. (160 words)
14.How to Gain Fluency in Another Language ①To gain fluency in another language, / many people will tell
you the only solution is / to travel to a foreign country and immerse yourself completely. / ②This advice may be greatly appealing for some people. / ③But for the majority of people, this solution is both inconvenient and costly. / ④Thankfully, the Internet has brought us new and exciting options for communicating in another language. / ⑤To expand your vocabulary, try reading free articles and original books in another language. / ⑥To begin with, reading may be a slow and frustrating process / as you will have to stop to look up the meanings for many unfamiliar words. / ⑦Before you begin, find an online
dictionary / that will offer you quick translations. / ⑧Hearing a language is the key to learn how to speak it. / ⑨Popular music downloading sites offer free audio files / that you can download and take with you wherever you go. / ⑩And most importantly, one must actually practice speaking the language. (155 words)
Passage 15 Holidays in the US Like other nations, the United States sets aside a number of days each year/to commemorate events, people or public occasions. /These holidays typically are marked by a general suspension of work and business activity, /and by public or religious ceremonies. /Technically, the United States does not celebrate national holidays. /However, Congress has designated 10 legal public holidays. /During such public holidays,
/most federal institutions are closed and most federal employees are excused from work. /Although the individual states and private businesses are not required to observe these, /in practice all states and nearly all employers observe the majority of them. /Since 1971, a number of these holidays have been fixed on Mondays /rather than on a particular calendar date /so as to afford workers a long holiday weekend. / Meanwhile, there are some US state holidays /particular to individual US states.
Passage 16 Harvard University Harvard College was established in 1636. /Harvard is America’s oldest institution of higher learning, /founded 140 years before the
Declaration of Independence was signed./ The University has grown from
nine students with a single master/to an enrollment of more than 18,000 degree candidates,/including undergraduates and students in 10 principal academic units./An additional 13,000 students are enrolled in one or more courses/in the Harvard Extension School./Over 14,000 people work at Harvard, including more than 2,000 faculty./There are also 7,000 faculty appointments in affiliated teaching hospitals./Our mission, to advance new ideas and promote enduring knowledge, has kept the University young./We strive to create an academic environment in
which outstanding students and scholars from around the world /are continually challenged and inspired to do their best possible work./It is Harvard’s collective efforts that make this university such a vibrant place/to live , to learn, to work, and to explore.
17.Organic Coffee ①Today many agricultural products are grown using organic methods / and coffee is no exception. / ②Organic products have a very minimal effect on the environment / because there is no use of pesticides and fertilizers. / ③M1 organic produces are certified to ensure that / their products are grown in such a way. / ④Organic coffee is a multimillion dollar industry / and each year the sales of this coffee are increasing. / ⑤Exports of organic coffee are up in most of Europe and North America. / ⑥Organic coffee is usually grown in many countries such as Africa, Asia and South America. / ⑦All over the world people have become organic coffee drinkers, / but Americans consume the majority of it./ ⑧AI1 organic coffee products in the USA are certified for quality. /⑨The organic coffee is produced in a very specific way / and all operators are at random inspected to ensure that they meet US Department of Agriculture standards. ( 149 words)
Passage18 White Pollution
White pollution refers to plastic pollution./It is a new member of pollution family, but it grows fast./ Unrecyclable plastic lunch boxes line along railroads./Plastic shopping bags dance in the wind./When leaders are busy mapping out blueprints for the future,/one color “WHITE” from white pollution becomes their headache./Everything in the life circle deserves its place on earth./If we continue using plastic lunch boxes, shopping bags and other unrecyclable plastic products,/ what would happen?/ One day they might bury us in an ocean of white rubbish./ Then the earth, our common home, would be a dustbin./To prevent this nightmare from coming true/governments need to work closely with each other and back up their verbal commitment by action./However, it is not enough only to ask what governments can do to get rid of white pollution./We must ask ourselves what we as individuals can do to color the earth green instead of white.
19.Environmentally Friendly Cars ①Environmentally friendly cars are supposed to be the vehicles of future generations. / ②Nevertheless, such cars exist now / and are becoming more popular in the modem car market than traditional vehicles / which work on fossil fuels. / ③The advantages of such cars are not only in their lower harmfulness for the environment and people's health / but also in the lower fuel costs. / ④However, their production is
rather expensive, / so it is still a controversial point / both for the customers and the automobile manufacturers. / ⑤Although they are more expensive to buy, / they pay for themselves in a period of about 5 years / because they consume less expensive fuels. /⑥The common types of environmentally friendly ears include electric cars, fuel-cell-powered cars, crossbreed cars and solar cars. / ⑦And environmentally friendly cars have become the choice of many people / who decided to reduce the influence of burning fossil fuels on the nature. (146 words)
20.Overpopulation ①Overpopulation is the condition / where the number of organisms exceeds the carrying capacity of their habitat. / ②We are facing the effects of overpopulation in our daily lives. / ③Overpopulation has affected the life of common man / and has proved to be one of the most serious difficulties that have to be fought. / ④Overpopulation implies a shortage of resources and economic inflation. / ⑤Living through the negative effects of overpopulation / has made us realize serious problems associated with it. / ⑥It is high time we waken up / and found the causes of overpopulation and worked on them. /⑦Generally, the causes of overpopulation include decline in the death rate, rise in the birth rate, migration and lack of education. / ⑧Not every nation is capable of providing its people with the adequate amount of resources.
/ ⑨The ever-increasing population will eventually fail to provide its people with the resources they need to thrive. /⑩When the environment fails to accommodate the living beings that inhabit it, /
over-population becomes a disaster. (160 words)
21.The Bottled Water ①The bottled water used can be sourced from public water sources, / and the purity and safety depend largely on the regulation of quality adopted within a country. /②The regulation conducted and recorded ensures that / the bottled water's quality is safe. /③The label on the bottled water container or bottle accurately reflects bottle contents, / or at least it is expected to. / ④In many developing and under-developed nations, / these standards are variable. / ⑤This makes the safety of the bottled water controversial. / ⑥There is no doubt about the convenience of bottled water relative to boiling. / ⑦However, bottled water may provide a possibility to unsafe drinking water/ only for those who can afford it. / ⑧The sales of bottled water have surpassed the sales of all other drinks, except some soft drinks. / ⑨And the bottled water companies make a good money / even though the popularity of bottled water has been criticized by environmentalist, economists and care-takers and -givers. (151 words)
22.Online Education ①Online education, or distance learning, has really taken on a life of its own in the past few years. / ②With the availability of the Internet, /it is becoming easier and easier to join one of the approved online colleges /and to get your degree online. /③These colleges are spread out all over the world. / ④If you are truly getting your education online / then you don't have to be in the same city / as if you were getting your degree locally. / ⑤You simply log into the classroom every day to get your assignments, / then you upload them in order to get your grade. / ⑥There isn't even a need to meet the teachers or other students / and you can do it at any time of the day. /⑦Therefore, it won't interfere with your work schedule or your life in general. / ⑧And the great news is that employers are recognizing more and more that / an online education is a great way to go. (160 words)
23.Red Wolves ①Red wolves present a characteristic red colored fur / which is more obvious behind the ears and in the neck and legs. /②Other than these parts, / the fur color of red wolves is brown with black shading in the back and tail. / ③Their big ears help them overcome hot and humid climatic conditions. /④The average size of red wolves is 4 feet in length, 20 inches tall and weight about 45 to 80 pounds. / ⑤Generally,
red wolves attain sexual maturity at the age of 22 months; / however, there are some species that attain within 10 months. /⑥The breeding season of red wolves is during February and March / and their pregnancy period is about 2 months. / ⑦Females give birth to about 1 to 10 children one time around March to April. / ⑧The newly borns usually stay with their parents about two years, / after which, they spread around the wild. /⑨The lifespan of red wolves is around 7 or 8 years in the wild / and about 15 years in captivity. (160 words)
24.The Earth Day ①Our Planet Earth has so much to give us. / ②From the beautiful natural surroundings to the rich types of creatures, / Planet Earth has loads of things to offer / that only make the life more beautiful. / ③However, have you given a thought to how many individuals actually respect this planet? / ④April 22nd is known the world over as Earth Day. / ⑤It is celebrated to create more awareness about our planet / and situations that we need to take care of/to ensure our Planet Earth is well loved and cared for. / ⑥As things are, we need to celebrate it on one day / to remind us of the responsibilities we need to handle in the coming years. / ⑦The importance of Planet Earth is something / that should be taught to children in their early years, at home and in the school. / ⑧Only then will the young and old alike, understand
the issues / such as global warming, energy conservation and the importance of recycling. (159 words)
25.Car Alarm System ①Car alarm systems are basic ways to keep thieves away. / ②The first car alarm system was designed in 1896. / ③Nowadays every car is fitted with advanced electronic sound alarm system. / ④Though car alarm systems do not always stop the theft from happening but they do create troubles, / which act as alarms for both the owner of the car and the thief. / ⑤ There have been innumerable cases / when in spite of the car alarm system being there, / the vehicle has been stolen, / because at times the car alarm system fails to understand what exactly is a car theft. / ⑥Experts are of the opinion that / nowadays thefts occur in spite of the alarm system being there / because nobody bothers much about it. / ⑦People do not pay attention because alarm systems sound / even when there is a strong wind or a pet trying to interfere with the vehicle. / ⑧Moreover, thieves are designing newer ways to make new technologies that are being used failed. (160 words)
26.Domestic Violence and Abuse ①Domestic abuse occurs when one person in an intimate relationship or marriage tries to dominate and control the other person.
/ ②An abuser doesn't play fair. / ③He or she uses fear, guilt, and shame to wear you down and gain complete power over you. / ④He or she may threaten you, hurt you, or hurt those around you. / ⑤Domestic abuse that includes physical violence is called domestic violence. / ⑥Victims of domestic abuse or domestic violence may be men or women, / although women are more commonly victimized. /⑦Except for the gender difference, domestic abuse doesn't discriminate. / ⑧It happens within all age ranges, ethnic backgrounds, and financial levels. / ⑨The abuse may occur during a relationship, / while the couple is breaking up, or after the relationship has ended. / ⑩Despite what many people believe, / domestic violence is not due to the abuser's loss of control over his behavior. / ⑾Actually, violence is a deliberate choice made by the abuser / in order to take control over his wife or partner. ( 165 words)
27.Differences between Chinese and Western Eating Habits ①There are great differences between Chinese and Western eating habits. / ②Unlike the West, where everyone has their own plate of food, / in China the dishes are placed on the table and everybody shares. / ③If you are being treated by a Chinese host, / be prepared for a ton of food. / ④Chinese are very proud of their culture of cuisine / and will do their best to show their hospitality. / ⑤And sometimes the Chinese hosts use their chopsticks to put food in your bowl or plate.
/ ⑥This is a sign of politeness. / ⑦The appropriate thing to do would he to eat the whatever-it-is / and say how tasty it is. / ⑧If you feel uncomfortable with this, / you can just say a polite thank-you and leave the food there. / ⑨And you should never tap on your bowl with your chopsticks, / which can be very insulting to the host. (143 words)
Passage28 High School Dancing Party in US In the United States, a dancing party is held at the end of the senior year for high school students./Smaller schools may hold a dancing party open to the entire student body./Large high schools may hold two dancing parties,/a junior dancing party for those finishing their 11th grade year/ and a senior dancing party for those who are graduating high school./Dancing parties are mostly attended by juniors and seniors,/ but some schools allow all the classes to attend./The Junior and Senior classes may participate in fund raisers throughout the school year / to reduce the cost of prom./Dancing party tickets are sold at school/ and are traditionally purchased by boys for the couple./ It is not unusual for people attending dancing parties as friends/ to purchase a couple’s ticket./The cost of half of one couple’s ticket is generally less than that of one for an individual.
Passage29 Artificial Intelligence
Artificial Intelligence is the intelligence of machines and the branch of computer science which aims to create it./Textbooks define it as the study and design of intelligent agents,/ where an intelligent agent is a system that perceives its environment and take actions/ which maximize its chances of success./ The field was founded on the claim that human intelligence can be so precisely described/ that it can be simulated by a machine./ The discipline of Artificial Intelligence was born in the summer of 1956./Half of a century has passed,/ and Artificial Intelligence has come a long way since its beginning./It has turned into an important field,/ whose influence on our daily lives can hardly be overestimated./Many specialized Artificial Intelligence systems exist that are at work in our cars,/in our laptop computers, and in our personal and commercial technologies./There is no doubt that the impact of Artificial Intelligence on our lives in the future/ will become even more general and universal.
30.Marketing ①Marketing is the process of planning and executing the conception, / pricing, promotion and distribution of ideas, goods, / and services to create exchanges that satisfy individual and organizational objectives. / ②It consists of advertising and promoting your product or service in order to sell it. / ③Your business produces
goods and services. / ④Marketing is to let potential customers know what are available for sale. /⑤Sales, advertising, and public relations are essential components of marketing / and each requires specialized skills and expertise. / ⑥While a small business may have only one person / performing all these functions under the marketing umbrella, / knowledge of each area is important to develop a focused effort. / ⑦A focus on what the customer wants and needs / is essential to successful marketing efforts. / ⑧This customer-orientation should go hand-in-hand with the company's objective of maintaining a profitable volume of sales. / ⑨Marketing is a creative process combining all of the activities needed to accomplish both of these objectives. (156 words)
31.The World Health Day ①The World Health Day is on 7th April. / ②It marks the founding of the World Health Organization / and is an opportunity to draw worldwide attention / to a subject of major importance to global health each year. / ③World Health Day 2009 focuses on the safety of health facilities / and the readiness of health workers who treat people affected by emergencies. / ④Health centers and staff provide vital health care in communities every day. /⑤In disasters, their services are in even greater demand:
/ treating injuries, preventing illnesses and caring for people's urgent health needs. /⑥A safe hospital that continues to function at best capacity during / and after a disaster or other emergency is a safe haven that protects lives. / ⑦Safe health facilities are a joint responsibility, / requiring crucial support from other sectors to ensure essential life-lines. /⑧When health facilities stop
functioning, / it is a double blow to a devastated community. (147 words)
32.Wood Recycling ①Recycling timber is the process of turning waste timber into usable products. /②Recycling timber is a practice that was popularized in the early 1990s / as issues such as deforestation and climate change, / prompted both timber suppliers and consumers to turn to a more sustainable timber source. / ③Recycling timber has become popular /due to its image as an environmentally friendly product. / ④Consumers commonly believe that by purchasing recycled wood, / the demand for green timber will fall and ultimately benefit the environment. / ⑤Recycled timber is now used as a construction product. / ⑥It has been important in both raising industry / and consumer awareness towards deforestation / and promoting timber mills to adopt more
environmentally friendly practices. / ⑦Wood recycling is a subject which has in recent years taken an even greater role in our lives. /
⑧The problem, however, is that although many local authorities like the idea of recycling, / they do not fully support it. ( 151 words)
33.Idioms ①An idiom is defined as a group of words / whose meaning must be known as a whole, / because it cannot be learned from the meaning of the same words used separately. /②Obviously, there is a problem / when you cannot look up individual words in a dictionary and find the meaning, / the usual strategy we all employ when we come across a word or words that are unfamiliar. / ③With idioms, however, we must learn the group of words. / ④In everyday English, idioms are in common use. / ⑤In fact, idioms are so common that / most native speakers do not even realize that they are using idioms. / ⑥It is particularly important to recognize idioms / when you hear them or read them. / ⑦When you are able to use them comfortably in your own speech and writing, / and then you have achieved a higher level of mastery / and fluency in the language. ( 147 words)
Passage 34 The Free Hugs Campaign The Free Hugs Campaign is a social movement/involving individuals who offer hugs to strangers in public places./The campaign in its present form was started in 2004 by an Australian man./Initially, people were
suspicious of the strange man on the street/offering to hug anyone who wanted one./Soon, however, suspicion gave way to enthusiastic acceptance./When authorities tried to stop the campaign,/ over 10,000 people signed to ensure its continuance./The campaign became famous internationally in 2006 as the result of a music video uploaded into the Internet./ The response to the video was astounding. Many people joined this newly created movement, and went out offering free hugs to whoever wanted one. This event demonstrates how the Internet can be used to connect humanity above the boundaries of space and time. /The hugs are meant to be random acts of kindness,/reputedly selfless acts performed by a person for the sole reason of making others feel better.
Passage35 Effects of Cell Phones Cell phones are an unavoidable part of daily life. /Even if you do not own one yourself, /you are exposed to them all the time /whenever you enter the public areas. /Most people think of their cell phones as something that they “just could not live without.” /Make sure you are informed about the potential health hazards associated with cell phone use /that the cell phone companies do not want you to know. /While studies are not conclusive, /scientists are beginning to suspect that cell phone use could contribute to everything from headache to brain cancer. /This is because cell phones emit electromagnetic waves and
small amounts of radiation. /While research done in the 1990’s indicated /that the radiation using a cell phone could expose you to is not really enough to do any damage, /many experts are now abolishing that opinion. /They recommend that, at the very least, /children, teens and young adults avoid using cell phones except in emergencies.
36.Nongovernmental Organization in Denmark ①Danes pursue common interests in leisure, sports, and politics. / ②Associations are essentially nongovernmental, originating in the late nineteenth century, / when farmers and workers formed interest groups. /③Today Denmark has one of the highest proportions of association membership in the world. / ④More than 90 percent of the population belongs to an organization, / and more than 73 percent of the people have multiple memberships in more than three hundred thousand organizations. / ⑤Organizations and associations play three important roles. / ⑥First, they have been able to develop common interests and identities among different groups of people. / ⑦Second, practical improvements in the form of production, increases in salary, / and membership discounts have been achieved. / ⑧Third, organizations participate in the political struggle for the distribution of values and goods in society. / ⑨For example, charities use sophisticated public relations campaigns to raise funds / and employ standard lobbying
techniques with governments. / ⑩Interest groups may be of political importance /because of their ability to influence social and political outcomes. (160 words)
37.E-waste: Dark Side of Digital Age ①What happens to those old computers once they've been abandoned for newer models? / ②The refuse from discarded electronics products, also known as e-waste, /often ends up in landfills instead of being recycled. / ③And that means toxic substances like lead and mercury that are commonly used in these products / can contaminate the land, water and air. / ④The United States generates more e-waste than any other nation. / ⑤Some of that waste is recycled. / ⑥For example, steel, aluminum and copper are often stripped from outdated machines and reused in newer models. /⑦But even recycled parts come at a price. /⑧ An estimated 50 to 80 percent of e-waste collected in the United States for recycling / is exported to areas such as China or India or Pakistan, / where workers taking apart the old machines are handling toxic chemicals / that can pose serious health problems. / ⑨Luckily, some manufacturers are beginning to assume greater responsibility for / what happens to their products after they become out-of-date. (158 words)
38.Children's Health ①It seems we have developed such a fast paced society of convenience / that kids today don't play outside much anymore. / ②But they would rather stay inside and have things done for them. /③They spend too much time inside on the sofa / and neglect any kind of physical activity, / which causes a state of being inactive and unhealthy. /④Inactive kids have a higher risk of becoming obese, / having high blood pressure and a higher risk of heart disease. / ⑤Along with being inactive, / kids today don't get enough personal interaction with other kids, / causing them to have a lack of interpersonal skills. / ⑥Besides, their parents and grandparents allow children to have everything they want. / ⑦Parents' spoiling only makes for an attitude of selfishness. / ⑧To avoid this situation, parents should encourage their kids to spend more time out of the house, / such as playing basketball in a community basketball team. (147 words)
39.Information Age ①The Information Age means something different to everyone. / ②In 1956 in the United States, researchers noticed that / the number of people holding "white collar" jobs had just exceeded the number of people holding "blue collar" jobs. / ③These researchers realized that this was an important change, / as it was clear that the Industrial Age
was coming to an end. / ④As the Industrial Age ended, / the newer times adopted the title of "the Information Age". /⑤Of course, at that time relatively few jobs had much to do with computers and computer-related technology. / ⑥What was occurring was a steady trend / away from people holding Industrial Age manufacturing jobs. /⑦An increasing number of people held jobs as clerks in stores, office workers, teachers, nurses, etc. / ⑧ The Western world was shifting into a service economy. /⑨Eventually, Information and Communication Technology became a significant part of the economy. / ⑩Microcomputers were developed, / and many business and industries were greatly changed by it. (155 words)
40.Obesity ①At the other end of the malnutrition scale, / obesity is one of today's most visible, yet most neglected, public health problems. / ②Paradoxically, co-existing with under-nutrition, / a global epidemic of overweight and obesity is taking over many parts of the world. / ③If immediate action is not taken, / millions will suffer from an array of serious health disorders. /④Obesity is a complex condition, one with serious social and psychological dimensions, / that affects virtually all age and threatens to overwhelm both developed and developing countries. / ⑤As of 2000, the number of obese adults is over 300 million. /⑥Contrary to conventional wisdom, the obesity epidemic
is not restricted to industrialized societies. / ⑦In developing countries, / it is estimated that over 115 million people suffer from obesity-related problems. / ⑧Generally, although men may have higher rates of overweight, women have higher rates of obesity. / ⑨For both, obesity poses a major risk for serious diet-related non-communicable diseases, / including stroke and certain forms of cancer. ( 156 words)
Passage41 Space Junk Space junk, also known as space waste,/ is objects in orbit around Earth created by humans that no longer serve any useful purpose./They consist of everything from entire spent satellites/ to explosion fragments, deliberate insertion of small needles, and many other objects./ As orbits often overlap, the space junk is a potential collision risk for spacecraft./ The vast majority of pieces of space junk are small particles./Contact with these particles causes erosive damage./ The majority of the damage can be eased by adding a thin layer of metal/ outside of the main spacecraft body./ However, certain portions of many satellites cannot be protected in this way,/ the solar panels and windows for instance./ If a collision with larger pieces occurs,/ many of the resulting fragments from the damaged spacecraft / will also be in the 1 kilogram mass range./ Consequently, these objects become an additional collision risk.
42.Customer Service ①Good customer service is the lifeblood of any business. / ②You can offer promotions and slash prices to bring in as many new customers as you want. / ③But unless you can get some of those customers to come back, / your business won't be profitable for long. / ④Good customer service is all about bringing customers back. /⑤And about sending them away happy, / happy enough to pass positive feedback about your business along to others, / who may then try the product or service you offer for themselves / and in their turn become repeat customers. /⑥If you're a good salesperson, / you can sell anything to anyone once. / ⑦But it will be your approach to customer service that determines / whether or not you'll ever be able to sell that person anything else. / ⑧The essence of good customer service is forming a relationship with customers, / a relationship that the individual customer feels that he would like to pursue. ( 152 words)
43.Illiteracy in Africa ①Illiteracy in Africa is at extremely high levels. / ②21 nations have adult literacy rates below 50% / and overall 4 of every 10 Africans are illiterate. / ③Achieving higher rates of literacy is a vital part of the effort to eradicate African poverty. / ④But the relationship
between the two is complex, / because the effects of poverty are a major obstacle to literacy. / ⑤Given the widespread poverty, / few parents can afford to send their children to school. / ⑥Raising literacy rates depends on governments making schools and programs for adult education available. / ⑦Some governments are making a real effort to improve literacy. / ⑧However, many government officials are either indifferent or corrupt, / giving education a low priority, or the government efforts are poorly organized and implemented. / ⑨Non-governmental
organizations can help, / but they must depend on local governments to step up and become a partner, / rather than an obstacle to progress. (i45 words)
44.AIDS ①When AIDS first emerged, / no one could have predicted how the epidemic would spread across the world / and how many millions of lives it would change. /②There was no real idea what caused it / and consequently no real idea how to protect against it. / ③Now we know from bitter experience that / AIDS is caused by the virus HIV, / and that it can destroy families, communities and whole continents. / ④However, experience has also shown us that the right approaches can and do result in lower national HIV infection rates / and less suffering for those
affected by the epidemic. /⑤Already, more than twenty-five million people around the world have died of AIDS-related diseases. / ⑥33 million people around the world are now living with HIV, / and most of these are likely to die over the next decade or so. / ⑦It is disappointing that the global numbers of people infected with HIV continue to rise, / despite the fact that effective prevention strategies already exist. (160 words)
45.Home-schooling ①More and more parents are feeling that / the schools are not up to a suitable standard required to meet their children's needs. / ②Therefore, home-schooling becomes an appealing prospect for parents / who want to remain in control of their children's learning. / ③There are both benefits and drawbacks to home-schooling a child, / but the positives seem to outweigh the negatives in the minds of parents. / ④In UK home-schooling has increased in recent years as the gap between the best- and worst-performing schools has grown. / ⑤Parents increasingly feel excluded from their children's education, / for schools have turned into examination factories. / ⑥In schools, teaching to the test is the norm, / instead of allowing children to explore their own creativity. /
⑦Schools need to achieve good examination results in order to have their higher status recognized, / which obviously has implications for the level of funding they receive. / ⑧Hence, it would almost seem that students are seen as a means to an end, / rather than as the whole reason for a school's existence. ( 166 words)
46.Mail Fraud ①Mail fraud occurs when someone asks for something of value to be sent through the mail, / promising something in return, then fails to deliver. / ②Fraud can also be committed by wire, phone, or e-mail, / but is only considered mail fraud / when it involves things being sent by mail. / ③This fraud can take the form of offering a product or service / which is then not provided or offering employment that turns out to be a scam. / ④It can also be offering a product or service for a price / that is already provided for free by the government. / ⑤Sometimes, you may receive an advertisement for something designed to look like an invoice. / ⑥Some Internet domain registration providers are known for sending mail to owners of domains / registered through competing companies, / urging them to renew their domains. / ⑦But in the process of renewing,/ the domain registration would be transferred to the provider sending the mail, / often at a higher cost. ( 157 words)
47.Lead Time ①Lead time is the period between a customer's order and delivery of the final product. / ②A small order of a pre-existing item may only have a few hours' lead time, / but a larger order of custom-made parts may have a lead time of weeks, months or even longer. / ③It all depends on a number of factors, / from the time it takes to create the machinery to the speed of the delivery system. / ④Lead time may change according to seasons or holidays / or overall demand for the product. / ⑤Manufacturers are always looking for ways / to improve the lead time on their products. / ⑥Lead time can mean the difference / between making the sale and watching a competitor sign the contract. / ⑦If a company can deliver the product weeks ahead of the competition, / it stands a better chance of receiving future orders. / ⑧Because of this, management and labor teams routinely hold meetings / to discuss lead time improvements. ( 154 words)
48.Online Shopping ①With just a click of the mouse, / shoppers can buy nearly any product online, / from groceries to cars, / from insurance policies to home loans. / ②The world of electronic commerce, als0 known as e-commerce, / enables consumers to shop at thousands of online stores and pay for their purchases / without leaving the comfort of home. /③For
many, the Internet has taken the place of Saturday afternoon window shopping at the mall. / ④Consumers expect merchants to not only make their products available on the Web, / but to make payments a simple and secure process. / ⑤However, the same things can go wrong shopping in cyberspace as in the real world. / ⑥Sometimes it is simply a case of a computer bug or poor customer service. /⑦Other times, shoppers are cheated by clever scam artists. / ⑧Therefore, online shoppers need to take sensible pre-cautions / to make their online shopping experiences enjoyable and safe. ( 146 words)
49.Sight ①Sight is very effective at giving exact information over considerable distances. /②If the viewed object is moving, / it can tell us much about the speed and direction of this movement / as well as allowing us to identify it. / ③For all this to happen we need to see it. / ④This means our eyes have to be looking in the correct direction. / ⑤Light waves do not go around objects very well, / so we cannot see an object if it is hidden behind another object. /⑥This does put limits on what sight can achieve. / ⑦Sight is an easy sense to use, / because during the day we are surrounded by light supplied by the sun. /⑧This light bounces off things and brings us information about
them./⑨However, when the sun sets on a cloudy night, / the light is
mostly gone, / and then vision shall become less useful as a sense. (146 words)
50.Aging Problems ①UN has claimed that the number of people on the globe / should as expected reach 9.2 billion in 2050, / which will include elderly persons numbering 1 billion. / One of the surprises is tat/ population growth is most concentrated in the 60 plus age group,/which is expected almost to triple./Whilst many regard the aging of the population as a triumph of a civilized and caring society, /others see it as a major problem facing the community./ The increasing aging population will cause the increase in the dependency ratio./ This means that there will be more people claiming benefits such as state pensions, / and less people working and paying income taxes. /Thus, those in work will have to pay higher taxes. /This could create disincentives to work and for firms to invest,/therefore there could be a fall in productivity growth. / The shortage of workers could push up wages, causing wage inflation. (152 words)