Listen to a conversation between a student and a political science professor.
Student:I’m not sure if you know but I would like to go to the student government this year.
Teacher: Oh, congratulations! I was in student government myself as an undergraduate. It taught me a lot about the political process. In fact, the experience solved my problem of what to do with my life. It really cemented my interest in becoming a political scientist.
Student: Cool! Anyway, the reason I came by is we are getting ready to conduct a straw poll on campus, you know, hold an informal ballot since the general election is just a couple of months away. We want to get a field from the students' bodies political leanings, like who students are planning to vote for, which political party people identify with, that sort of thing.
Teacher: I’m sure. I help students run the straw poll once years ago, uh, it was a lot of work. Mostly because we use paper ballots, and stayed up all night counting them. But if you use computers……
Student: Yeah, we are creating a website for our students to be able to vote online. Em, we are looking for a faculty advisor to help, actually. I was hoping you might be interested.
Teacher: Oh, I’m flattered, John. But my schedule is so jammed. I’m teaching two seminars, your intro-course, finishing up my research. But, what about Professor Clan? She is new in our department. Plus, she is a wiz with computers.
Student: Ok, I will ask her.
Teacher: So, have you decided on the topic for your term paper yet?
Student: Not really.
Teacher: Why not write about your straw poll? Since the paper is not due till after the election, you could include your results. Maybe compare them with the real election results.
Student: But would that be enough? I mean, just comparing numbers?
Teacher: Well, no, you need to provide some analysis, too. But I was thinking, there is a couple of local ballot questions this year. You know, referenda, the voters can either support or not support?
Student: Right. There is one on whether to ban smoking in restaurants, and another one……I think is whether to spend tax dollars for a new sports arena in the city.
Teacher: Ah, Ok. Here is an idea. In regular elections, the vast majority of voters ignore referenda. They vote for their favorite candidates but avoid ballot questions. We believe it's because voters aren’t familiar with the questions or don’t understand them. But actively educating people on ballot questions right before they vote can improve referendum participation rates.
Student: In that case, maybe we could have our straw poll website providing information on the ballot questions, like how each proposal would affect students.
Teacher: Exactly. And when you write your paper, you could compare the students’ referendum voting rate to the general publics. And include you own analysis of the results. Plus, there is plenty of publish research on referendum voting behavior.
Student: Thanks, Professor Miller. I have no idea the straw poll can actually help me in my course work.
Question 1 of 5
Why does the man go to see the professor?
A. To suggest an idea for his research project.
B. To tell her about his election to student government.
C. To ask for her help on a political project.
D. To discuss methods of gathering public opinion.
uestion 2 of 5
What is the professor's attitude toward her involvement in student government as an undergraduate?
A. She is grateful that the experience helped inspire her career choice..
B. She regrets that her involvement took time away from her studies..
C. She wishes that she had been more active than she was..
D. She is glad that her involvement enabled her to help other students..
Question 3 of 5
What is the student government's main reason for conducting a straw poll?
A. To educate students on the candidates' positions.
B. To remind students to vote in the upcoming election.
C. To find out how students feel about the local referenda.
D. To get an idea of students' political preferences.
Question 4 of 5
Why does the professor mention paper ballots?
A. To show how a straw poll differs from an actual election.
B. To stress the importance of keeping accurate records.
C. To indicate that conducting a poll may present challenges.
D. To suggest a way to improve communication between the student body and the student government.
Question 5 of 5
Why does the professor discuss voting behavior on referenda?
A. To encourage the man to vote on the local referenda.
B. To help the man develop a focus for his term paper.
C. To express her skepticism that voting behavior can be changed.
D. To let the man know about her current research project.
Ancient Egyptian Glass
Listen to part of a lecture in an ancient history class.
Professor: Ok, last time we were discussing trade and commerce during the Bronze Age. And I said a little over three thousand years ago, there was quite a lively trade among the countries along the Mediterranean Sea. People are making objects out of bronzes and they were using bronze tools to make other goods. And they develop trade networks to trade these goods with other countries around the Mediterranean. One of the things they traded was glass. And recently there was an archeological excavation in Egypt, on the Nile River around where enters the Mediterranean Sea where they discovered an ancient glass factory. Robert?
Robert: I thought our textbook said the Egyptians imported their glass from other countries.
Professor: Well, until now that’s what the evidence seemed to suggest. I mean, we have some evidence that suggested that the Egyptians were making glass objects, but not glass.
Robert: Ok. Am……Am I missing something? They are making glass but they are not making glass?
Professor: I said they were making glass objects, right? You see, it was previously thought that they weren’t actually making the raw glass itself that they were importing unfinished glass from Mesopotamia, which today is a region consisting of Iraq and parts of Syria and Turkey and Iran, and simply reworking it. Most archeologists believed that the glass factories were in Mesopotamia because that’s where the oldest known glass remains come from. You see, there was two stages of glass making. The primary production stage where they made disks of raw glass. And there was the secondary stage where they melted the raw glass, the glass disks, and created decorative objects, so, or whatever. And from this new Egyptians’ site, we learned that the primary production stage had several steps. First they took quartz, a colorless transparent mineral and crushed it. Then they took that crushed quartz and mixed it with plant ash. A plant ash is just what it sounds like, the ashes left after you burnt plant material. They slowly heated this mixture at a relatively low temperature in small vessels, containers like jars made out of clay. And that yielded a kind of glassy material. They took this glassy material and grounded it up into a powder and then they used metallic dye to color it. After that, they poured the colored powder out into disk-shaped molds and heated it up to very high tem peratures. So that it melted. After cooled, they break the molds, and inside there were the glass disks. These disks were shipped out to other sites within Egypt and places around the Mediterranean. Then in the secondary phase, the disks were reheated, and shaped into decorative objects. Susan?
Susan: So what kind of objects were people making back then?
Professor: Well, the most common objects we found, mostly in Egypt and Mesopotamia, the most common objects were beads. One thing the Egyptian were very very good at was imitating precious stones. They created some beads that look so much like emeralds and pearls that was very difficult to distinguish them from the real thing. Em, and……and also beautiful vessels, ah, with narrow necks. They were probably really valuable so they wouldn’t have been used to hold cooking oil or common food items. They were most likely used for expensive liquids, like perfume. Now the glass made at this factory was mostly red, to get this red color they used copper, in a sophisticated process. Of course, any kind of glass was very valuable so these red bottles would only have been owned by wealthy people. In fact, because it was so difficult to make, and sort of mysterious and complicated, it was probably a product produced for the royal family. And they probably used glass to show their power. Also, beautiful expensive objects made great gifts if you are looking to establish or strength the political alliances. And it is quite possible that the ancient Egyptians were actually exporting glass, not just making it or importing it. The trade with Mesopotamia was probably a friendly mutual trade because a Mesopotamia glass was usually white or yellow. So Mesopotamians might accept something like, we will give you two white disks for two red disks. There is no proof of that, at least not yet.
Question 1 of 6
What is the lecture mainly about?
A. New information about glass production and use in ancient Egypt.
B. Whether Egyptians or Mesopotamians were the first to invent glass.
C. Differences between Egyptian glass and other kinds of glass.
D. Reasons why ancient Egyptians imported glass from other countries.
Question 2 of 6
What is the importance of the archaeological evidence recently found in Egypt?
A. It supports the theory that ancient Egyptians imported glass from Mesopotamia..
B. It proves that ancient Egyptians made glass objects prior to the Bronze Age..
C. It provides the first evidence that glassmaking in the Bronze Age required two different stages..
D. It shows that ancient Egyptians were producing raw glass..
Quertion 3 of 6
The professor describes a process for making glass disks. Summarize the process by putting the steps in the correct order. Click on a sentence. Then drag it to the space where it belongs.
A.Glass-like material is ground up and dyed blue or red..
B.Powdered material is heated at very high temperatures..
C.Crushed quartz and plant ash are heated at low temperatures..
D.Containers are broken to remove glass disks..
Question 4 of 6
Based on the lecture, what are two kinds of glass objects that were valued in ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia? Click on 2 answers.
B. Cooking utensils.
Question 5 of 6
According to the professor, what are two reasons why ancient Egyptians exported glass? Click on 2 answers.
A. To build relationships with foreign leaders.
B. To hold cooking oil that was sold in other countries.
C. To get bronze tools from other countries.
D. To acquire colors of glass not made in Egypt.
Question 6 of 6
Why does the professor say this:
A. To emphasize that glass objects were only made in ancient Egypt.
B. To find out what the student does not understand.
C. To indicate that there was no contradiction in her previous statement.
D. To correct what she said in her previous statement.
The Classification Of Creatures
Listen to part of a lecture in a biology class.
Processor: Ok. There are two major types of classifiers in the world, people we call lumpers and people we call splitters. A lumper is someone who tries to put as many things as possible in one category. Splitters like to work for the differences and put things in as many different categories as possible.
Both lumpers and splitters work in the business of defining biological classifications. The great philosopher Aristotle is generally considered the first person to systematically categorize things. He divided all living things into two groups. They were either animal or vegetable. And these categories are what biologists came to call “kingdoms”. So if it ran around, it was an animal, a member of the animal kingdom. And if it stood still, and grew in the soil, it was a plant, a member of the plant kingdom. This system, organizing all life into these two kingdoms, worked very well for quite a while, even into the age of the microscope.
With the invention of the microscope, in the late 1500s, we discovered the first microorganisms. We thought that some wiggled and moved around and others were green and just sat there. So the ones that moved like animals were classified as animals, and the more plant-like ones as plants. Oh, before I go on I must mention Carolus Linnaeus. A hundred years or so after the invention of the microscope, Carolus Linnaeus devised a simple and practical system for classifying living things, according to the ranks of categorization still in use today——class, order, family and so on.
And by further best aspect of the Linnaeus system, is the general use of binomial nomenclature, having just two names to describe any living organism. This replaced the use of long descriptive names, as well as common names which vary from place to place and language to language. Binomial nomenclature gives every species a unique and stable two-word name, agreed upon by biologists worldwide.
But not everything about this system remained unchanged. Take for example the mushroom, a fungus. It grew up from the ground and looked like a plant. So it was classified as a plant. But using the microscope we discovered that a fungus contains these microscopic thread-like cells that run all over the place. And so it’s actually not that plant-like. So in this case, the splitters eventually won, and got a third kingdom just for the fungus.
And as microscopes improved, we discovered some microorganisms that were incredibly small. I’m talking about bacteria. And we could see that they didn’t have what we call a nucleus. So they got their own kingdom, a kingdom of very tiny things without nucleoli. So then we had several kingdoms for plants and for animals, and the different kinds of fungus like mushrooms, and for these tiny bacteria. But we also had some other microorganisms that didn’t fit anywhere. So biologist gave them their own kingdom. And this fifth kingdom was sort of anything that doesn’t fit in the first four kingdom, which upset some people.
And then there was a question of viruses. Viruses have some characteristics of life but don’t reproduce on their own or use energy. So we still don’t know what to do with them. The lumpers want to keep viruses in the current system. Some of the splitters say to give them a separate kingdom. And the extreme splitters say that viruses have nothing at all to do with living things and keep them out of my department.
Recent research though has moved to see yet another direction. Nowadays when we want to determine the characteristics of something, we look at its biochemistry and its genetic material. And what we’ve discovered is that some bacteria are not like the others. Many of these are called extremophiles. They live in very strange places, in polar ice or in a boiling water of hot springs or in water so salty (that) other organisms couldn’t live there. Extremophiles tend to have a different chemistry from other bacteria, a chemistry that in some case is actually more related to plants and animals than to previously known bacteria. So what to do with this strange bacteria?
Well, one thing we’ve done is creating a new set of categories, the domains, overarching the different kingdoms. Biologists now recognize three domains. But even as we talk about these new domains, well, come back in a few years and it might all be different.
Question 1 of 6
What is the lecture mainly about?A. The importance of classifying living organisms.
B. The history of biological classification.
C. The impact of the microscope on biological classification.
D. The naming of newly discovered organisms.
Question 2 of 6
Why does the professor describe “lumpers” and “splitters”?A. To emphasize one difference between early and modern biologists.
B. To point out that early biological classifications were not based on scientific principles.
C. To give examples of categories in early biological classification systems.
D. To identify approaches that have shaped the development of biological classification systems.
Question 3 of 6
What can be inferred about biologists before the time of Carolus Linnaeus?A. They did not agree on the names of many living things..
B. Very few of them used microscopes..
C. They were puzzled by the discovery of microorganisms that lacked a nucleus..
D. They had to be fluent in several languages in order to publish their research..
Question 4 of 6
What does the professor mention as two characteristics of extremophiles? Click on 2 answers.A. They live in harsh environments..
B. They are much larger than most other types of bacteria..
C. In their structure they may resemble viruses..
D. In their biochemistry, they may be similar to plants and animals..
Question 5 of 6
What is the professor's attitude toward the current system of biological classification?A. She is surprised that biologists have not changed the system for so many years..
B. She is upset that so many unnecessary distinctions have been added..
C. She is not confident that the system has been finalized..
D. She is eager for biologists to adopt a completely new system..
Question 6 of 6
What does the professor imply when she says this:A. The microscope was developed specifically for the purpose of studying and classifying microorganisms..
B. The invention of the microscope enabled scientists to confirm predictions about the characteristics of microorganisms..
C. Organisms discovered with early microscopes were classified according to categories that Aristotle established..
D. Microscopes helped scientists clarify distinctions between the plant kingdom and the animal kingdom..
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