问答题 Practice 3 Caesar was right. Thin people need watching. I’ve been watching them for most of my adult life, and I don’t like what I see. When these narrow fellows spring at me, I quiver to my toes. Thin people come in all personalities, most of them menacing. You’ve got your “together” thin person, your mechanical thin person, your condescending thin person, your tsk-tsk thin person, your efficiency-expert thin person. All of them are dangerous. In the first place, thin people aren’t fun. They don’t know how to goof off, at least in the best, fat sense of the word. They’ve always got to be adoing. Give them a coffee break, and they’ll jog around the block. Supply them with a quiet evening at home, and they’ll fix the screen door and lick S&H green stamps. They say things like “there aren’t enough hours in the day.” Fat people never say that. Fat people think the day is too damn long already. Thin people make me tired. They’ve got speedy little metabolisms that cause them to bustle briskly. They’re forever rubbing their bony hands together and eyeing new problems to “tackle.” I like to surround myself with sluggish, inert, easygoing fat people l the kind who believe that if you clean it up today, it’ll just get dirty again tomorrow. (Suzanne Britt Jordan: That Lean And Hungry Look)
问答题 Practice 5 Dell says the problem is that it dropped prices too much. But deeper, more threatening forces are also now at play. The first is the resurgence of rivals, which have caught up with Dell’s low price model. By driving prices down, Dell has unintentionally cut costs for its rivals too. “The supply chain has become as standardized as the components—the money has been wrung out,” explains an expert. Dell, by not working through retail outlets, is still more efficient, but the cost benefits that this once brought have been whittled away. The second factor hurting Dell is that growth in the computer business is coming from the consumer market and emerging countries rather than the corporate market, in which Dell sells around 85% of its machines. Increasing sales to consumers is difficult for Dell because individuals tend to want to see and touch computers before buying them. They also like to be able to return the machine easily if it breaks. Dell’s lack of retail presence, once ballyhooed as a benefit, has turned into grave disadvantage. A third problem facing Dell is its exclusive use of Intel chips rather than lower-priced ones made by Intel’s sworn rivals, AMD. This arrangement lets Dell buy chips inexpensively and benefit from Intel’s generous co-marketing programmes. But it has started to harm Dell’s sales for higher margin computer servers.
问答题 Practice 3 On his 10-day trip to Asia this week, President George W. Bush is likely to get a polite reception for his ambitious agenda. He wants to rally allies to the war on terror, the confrontation with North Korea and the expansion of transpacific trade. He’ll be asking Japan and China to allow their currencies to get stronger, so they will find it cheaper to buy more goods from struggling US manufacturers. Neither the Japanese nor the Chinese will say no outright, but they won’t say yes, either. Below the polite ambiguities, something disturbing is happening, at least from an American viewpoint. For all its military power, political clout and economic might, America could be losing its influence in what is arguably the most dynamic region of the world. Big changes are happening in Asia, for which America’s policies are increasingly out of step. Washington’s preoccupations—-the mess in Iraq, the jobless recovery and the escalating fiscal deficit at home—are not Asia’s preoccupations. When Bush looks into the future, he sees an American Century with a troubled story line dominated by the fight against terror. When Asians look into the future, they see an Asian Century dominated by rising prosperity and the emergence of China, with terror a minor subplot.
问答题 Practice 4 Some critics believe that the very concept of intellectual property is mistaken. Unlike physical property, ideas are non-rivalrous goods that can be used by many people at the same time without making them any less useful. The term “intellectual property” was widely adopted only in the 1960s, as a way to bundle trademarks, copyrights and patents. Those critics argue that today’s rights are too strict and make the sharing of knowledge too expensive. The paradox about intellectual property in IT and telecommunications is that it eases the exchange of technology and acts as a bottleneck for innovation at the same time. The whole system is in a stage of transformation. “Markets require institutions, and institutions take a long time to develop. Today, the institutions for a ‘market for technology’ are not well developed, and it is costly to use this market,” says a specialist. Ideas are to the information age what the physical environment was to the industrial one: the raw material of economic progress. Just as pollution or an irresponsible use of property rights threatens land and climate, so an overly stringent system of intellectual-property rights risks holding back technological progress. Disruptive innovation that threatens the existing order must be encouraged, but the need to protect ideas must not be used as an excuse for greed. Finding the right balance will test the industry, policymakers and the public in the years ahead.
问答题 Practice 5 The popular view when discussing urban transportation in American cities today is to decry its sorry state. Newspaper and journals are filled with talk of “urban transportation crisis,” of the “difficulties of getting from here to there,” and so on at great length. Matters are reported to get worse and very quickly. Everyone has his own favorite traumatic experience to report: of the occasion when many of the switches froze on New York’s commuter railroad; of the sneak snowstorm in Boston that converted thirty-minute commuter trips into seven hour ordeals; of the extreme difficulties in Chicago and other Midwestern cities when some particularly heavy and successive snowstorms were endured. One reason for the talk of an urban transportation crisis in the United States today perhaps lies in a failure to meet anticipations. Many commuters expected to reduce their commuting times as systems improved, but instead found themselves barely able to maintain the status quo in terms of time requirements. Another reason for talk of crisis, almost certainly, is the rate of improvement in the performance of urban transportation systems during rush hours has been markedly inferior to that expected during off-peak hours. Specifically, the ability to move quickly about American Cities during non-rush hours has improved in a truly phenomenal fashion.
问答题 Practice 4 Bluetooth is the newest kid on the technology block, and it holds a lot of promise for the assistive technology industry. Named for a 10th Century King of Denmark who unified the kingdoms of Denmark and Norway, Bluetooth is a shot-range wireless communication specification that promises to improve and increase electronic access to a number of environments by overcoming some of the obstacles typical of current technology. Bluetooth technology will enable devices to communicate and transfer data wirelessly and without the line-of-site issues of infra red technology. So how does it work? Bluetooth devices search each other out within their given operational range. Unlike devices that are wired together, Bluetooth devices do not have to be aware of the capabilities or properties of the devices to which they will connect beforehand. Bluetooth devices have a built-in mechanism that lets each device identify itself as well as its capabilities as it connects into this new Bluetooth network. This dynamic network does have a controlling device that designates itself as the master for the connection. Its programming and the capabilities necessary for the given task determine whether or not a device can be a master. For example, a cell phone may act as a master device when connecting to a headset, an ATM, or an information kiosk. However, the same cell phone or headset may act as a slave device to the information kiosk, now acting as the master device, broadcasting emergency evacuation information. The cell phone and kiosk can function in either capacity depending on the required function and their programming.
问答题 Practice 6 None of us can afford to be complacent about our command of English. For most of the time, of course, there is no problem: we are dealing with family and friends on everyday affairs; and what is more, we are usually talking to them, not writing. It is in ordinary talk to ordinary people on ordinary matters that we are most at home, linguistically and otherwise. And fortunately, this is the situation that accounts for the overwhelming majority of our needs in the use of English. Problems arise as soon as the context is somewhat out of the ordinary. We suddenly need to address a cousin about the death of her husband; or we are writing to our employer to explain temporary absence; composing the minutes of a particularly delicate committee meeting; even just drafting an announcement to pin on the club notice board. This is when we may—or should—pause and wonder about idiom, good usage, the most appropriate way of putting things. There is the risk of sounding too casual, too colloquial, too flippant. There is the converse risk of seeming ponderous, distant, pompous, unnatural; of using an expression which, instead of striking a resonant note, falls flat as a hackneyed cliché.
问答题 Practice 2 We must work passionately and indefatigably to bridge the gulf between our scientific progress and our moral progress. One of the great problems of mankind is that we suffer from a poverty of the spirit which stands in glaring contrast to our scientific and technological abundance. The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. Every man lives in two realms, the internal and the external. The internal is that realm of spiritual ends expressed in art, literature, morals and religion. The external is that complex of devices, techniques, mechanisms and instrumentalities by means of which we live. Our problem today is that we have allowed the internal to become lost in the external. We have allowed the means by which we live to outdistance the ends for which we live. So much of modern life can be summarized in that suggestive phrase of Thoreau: “Improved means to an unimproved end. “ This is the serious predicament, the deep and haunting problem, confronting modern man. Enlarged material powers spell enlarged peril if there is not proportionate growth of the soul. When the external of man’s nature subjugates the internal, dark storm clouds begin to form. (Martin Luther King: Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?)
问答题 Practice 2 The news couldn’t be worse. Three years of recession or anemic economic growth, Argentina’s debt default and collapse and—more recently—Bolivia’s president run out of office by indigenous people fed up with his pro-business, pro-Washington agenda. Taken together, these trials have seemingly erased the promise of prosperity that wafted across the region a decade ago. Now there’s the specter of a return to the dark days of the 1970s and 80s when economic and political chaos were the norm. Social eruptions have prompted a wide-ranging and contentious reappraisal of the economic orthodoxy—the neoliberal model that has shaped policy in Latin America for the past 15 years. Market-oriented structural reforms have succeeded in a few crucial ways: they ended the ruinous era of hyperinflation, and inculcated a sense of fiscal responsibility among profligate governments. But belt-tightening has not led to the robust economic performance promised when reforms began. After enjoying encouraging GDP expansion in the early and mid-1990s, Latin America has stumbled through about five years of economic stagnation that have left the region’s have-nots in a surly mood. Latin America desperately wants increased access to markets in the United States and Europe, but the region doesn’t want to pursue trade deals on what it perceives to be unfair terms. (Newsweek)
问答题 Practice 4 Today I have read The Tempest ...Among the many reasons, which make me glad to have been born in England, one of the first is that I read Shakespeare in my mother tongue. If I try to imagine myself as one who cannot know him face to face, who hears him only speaking from afar, and that in accents which only through the labouring intelligence can touch the living soul, there comes upon me a sense of chili discouragement, of dreary deprivation. I am wont to think that I can read Homer, and, assuredly, if any man enjoys him, it is I; but can I for a moment dream that Homer yields me all his music, that his word is to me as to him who walked by the Hellenic shore when Hellas lived? I know that there reaches me across the vast of time no more than a faint and broken echo; I know that it would be fainter still, but for its blending with those memories of youth which are as a glimmer of the world’s primeval glory. Let every land have joy of its poet; for the poet is the land itself, all its greatness and its sweetness, all that incommunicable heritage for which men live and die. As I close the book, love and reverence possess me. Whether does my full heart turn to the great Enchanter, or to the Island upon which he has laid his spell? I know not. I cannot think of them apart. In the love and reverence awakened by that voice of voices, Shakespeare and England are but one. (George Gissing: Shakespeare’s Island)