Academic Reading Test 5
Fact Sheet on Meteorites: Western Australian Museum
A. Meteorites are. travellers through time and space that plunge to Earth, sometimes trailing a brilliant light and with a noise like thunder, at the end of a journey that began in the farthest reaches of the solar system as long ago as 45,000 million years. They are solid bodies of crystalline matter thought to have originated deep inside planet-like bodies that were later fragmented. Unlike Earth rocks, the oldest of which date back about 3,800 million years, they have been isolated in deep space since the birth of the solar system. While in space, they are known as meteors. Though their origins cannot be known for sure, there are indications that they are associated with comets, and that they originate from the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. There they remain orbiting the Sun, but any that stray too close to Earth find themselves caught in its gravitational pull and begin to plummet towards its surface. Tearing through the atmosphere they are heated and their surfaces melted by friction. Between 100 and 159 kilometres above Earth they become incandescent and the larger ones are visible as bright lights trailing luminous tails. Some explode with a brilliant flash and a roar like thunder. Most meteo.rs burn up completely on entering the atmosphere, but some survive the journey and land on Earth’s surface. They then become known as meteorites. Meteorites vary in size. Some are the size of small pebbles, others weigh many tonnes. Scientifically, they are extremely valuable. Studying their chemical and mineralogical composition helps us to interpret the origins and nature of the solar system, as well as of Earth itself.
B. The study of meteorites is a comparatively young science, but meteorites. have been known to man since the· earliest days of prehistory. Meteorite falls were described by writers of the Han Dynasty in China and by the philosophers of ancient Greece. In Mecca, Moslems pay homage to the sacred stone of Kaaba, which is apparently a meteorite. American· Indians are also known to have paid homage to meteorites and members of two tribes made yearly pilgrimages to a hill in southern Alberta where the Iron Creek meteorite lay. During the Iron Age, many meteorites were destroyed to make implements and weapons – among some peoples, these weapons were believed to confer supernatural powers on the bearer .In the Middle Ages meteorites were regarded with awe as signs of God’s wrath, so they were ( rarely preserved. It was· not until the early 19th century that scientists became convinced that [ they were perfectly natural bodies; the scientific study of them is only about 150 years old.
C. There are three main types of meteorite – irons, stones and stony-irons. Irons are mainly composed of nickel-iron alloy and have a characteristically dense and metallic appearance. They originate from the ‘core’ of their parent body and because of their metallic nature are more resistant to atmospheric friction than other meteorites. The largest meteorites are usually irons. The first meteorites found in Western Australia were irons discovered by a policeman named Alfred Eaton towards the end of the 19th century. Stones consist largely of magnesium-rich silicate minerals, with varying amounts of nickel iron. There are two main classes of stony meteorites – those that contain substances called chondrules, and those that do not. The chemical composition of the first group – known as chondrites – is very similar to that of the Sun. Stony-irons contain about equal amounts of metallic nickel-iron alloy and silicate material. They are less common than the other two types of meteorite. The stony portion generally occurs as fragments welded by metal. They are probably the result of a high-speed collision in space between a body df iron and one of stone – the metal would have melted at the time of impact.
D. A meteorite ‘fall’ is a meteorite recovered after a witnessed fireball. A meteorite ‘find’ is a meteorite found by chance long after it fell to Earth. Seeing a meteorite fa11 … can be quite spectacular. For example; residents and visitors in Wiluna, Western Australia, for the Annual Race Meeting festivities on 2 September 1967 saw the night sky lit by a flash ‘like a welding arc – white and blue’. One man reported seeing ‘an object about 20 feet [six metres] long throwing out balls of fire’ ;Others reported ‘a terrific rumbling noise’ and ‘six or seven bangs’ . These explosive noises were caused by atmospheric shock waves as the meteorite fragmented on its journey to Earth.
E. The surface of a meteorite is quite different from that of most ordinary rocks. This· is a result of entering the atmosphere at high speed and the outer portions of the meteorite being melted or burned off. Stony meteorites have a glassy, dull black to deep brown fusion crust. This coating is only a few millimetres thick and if part of the surface is broken, the interior looks quite different. Iron and stony-iron meteorites also have fusion crusts, but they are not quite so obvious. Most meteorites contain some metallic iron. This can be recognised as silvery areas or grains on broken surfaces. It means that meteorites are usually heavier than ordinary rocks of the same size. Also, they will attract a magnet. Making a ·positive identification and classifying a meteorite requires expert knowledge and sophisticated equipment.
Internet Censorship: Cory Bernardi
To some, censorship is a powerful example of the loss of personal freedom and a step towards totalitarianism. Others see it as a necessary part of protecting the values that have provided the moral foundation to our society for generations. Censorship is a double-edged sword with the potential to provide great benefits to society or to become itself the rot that destroys the democratic ideal.
At some level, censorship is practised by individuals, families, communities and nations. Our personal moral code, laws and regulations restrict and prohibit all manner of content or behaviour based on personal standards or societal expectations. Of course, no level of censorship can ever be 100 per cent effective. Prohibited material will always be available to those who are prepared to break the rules in order to obtain it. While there are a few civil libertarians who .advocate for personal choice to reign supreme and will oppose any form of censorship, mainstream Australia accepts that the appropriate classification and filtering of content is a reasonable thing to do.
The questions then remain, what is appropriate content and who should be the arbiter of it? The government already appraises most modern forms of media and regulates when and here certain content can appear. This has proved to be a reasonably effective process. However, there is now a suggestion that all internet content should be filtered at the ISP (Internet Service Provider) level and only ‘acceptable’ content be available to home and business users. Apart from the technical aspects of the scheme (which have come under fire from many areas and which I am not appropriately qualified to address), there are a number of more fundamental principles for people like myself. I identify myself as a social and fiscal conservative and most people who know me would agree with that assessment. As such, one c9uld reasonably expect me to support ISP filtering as a means of ensuring inappropriate content remains unavailable via the internet.
Yet I have grave reservations about the Labor Party proposal on mandatory ISP filtering which is described as ‘a clean feed’ – words that just sugar-coat compulsory censorship of whatever the government deems you are not allowed to see. While I strongly believe that anything we can do to prevent access to illegal material is a lawful and moral obligation, there is a world of difference between illegal and inappropriate. The latter is a personal assessment in which I also recognize that my own standards and beliefs are not shared by all in our community.
Further, the nature of the internet means that we can1t really classify content for availability only at a certain time or for certain ages like we can with television, movies or some printed content. This is a concern where young people may be exposed to inappropriate content inadvertently. There are also broader philosophical reservations about allowing government to be the ultimate judge of what people should or should not have access to. I believe in small government – not Big Brother where personal responsibility is subservient to the State.
There are already many PC-based filters available that will prevent access to ‘blacklisted’ sites and allow PC end users to tailor the filters to meet the particular requirements of their households. Critics of these filters claim that they are easily disabled, but as I wrote earlier, prohibited material will always be available to those willing to break the rules. In recent times we have seen evidence of this where pedophiles have been caught using peer to peer networks, bypassing mainstream networks to exchange files. I am advised that such peer to peer networks would not be captured by current ISP filtering technology. Where there is evidence of illegal conduct or content online then filtering is certainly no substitute for sophisticated and well-resourced law enforcement. Wouldn’t it make more sense to increase resources for our law enforcement agencies to strike at the heart of illegal content production and distribution rather than penalize millions of law-abiding citizens?
Where material is legal (many forms of pornography for instance), whilst many will object to its abundant availability, a blanket ban on accessibility via the internet is simply wrong. Among the many advocates for ISP filtering that I have spoken with, no one has been able to explain to me exactly how it will work and what content will (or should) be filtered. It has been suggested that there should be a. rating system for internet content similar to how Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) rates media content. When I have asked how this could work, no one that I have spoken to has any clear idea, yet they all maintain that ‘it needs to be done’. That may be so, but at what cost?
There is no stronger supporter of families than myself. My political life is a commitment to strengthening families and changing our nation through the development of our children. However, I also believe that in most circumstances, families know better than government what is best for their children. Parental responsibility cannot and should not be abrogated to government – if it is, our society will only become weaker.
Yes, illegal content should be banned from the web. It is illegal after all, but it is wrong to give the government a blank cheque to determine what is appropriate for us to view on the internet. That is a job for families, working with government.
Cross-cultural Communication: Melvin Schnapper
A. A Peace Corps staff member is hurriedly called to a town in Ethiopia to deal with reports that one of the volunteers is treating Ethiopians like dogs. What could the volunteer be doing to communicate that? Another foreign volunteer in Nigeria has great trouble getting any discipline in his class, and it is known that the students have no respect for him because he has shown no self-respect. How has he shown that? Neither of these volunteers offended his hosts with words. But both of them were unaware of what they had communicated through their non-verbal behaviour. In the first case, the volunteer working at a health centre would go into the waiting room and call for the next patient. She did this as she would in America – by pointing with her finger to the next patient and beckoning him to come. Acceptable in the States, but in Ethiopia her pointing gesture is for children and her beckoning signal is for dogs. In Ethiopia one points to a person by extending the arm and hand and beckons by holding the hand out, palm down, and closing it repeatedly. In the second case, the volunteer insisted that students look him in the eye to show attentiveness, in a country where prolonged eye contact is considered disrespectful.
B. While the most innocent American-English gesture may have insulting, embarrassing, or at least confusing connotations in another Culture, the converse is also true. If foreign visitors were to bang on the table and hiss at the waiter for service in a New York restaurant, they would be fortunate if they were only thrown out. Americans might find foreign students overly polite if they bow.
C. It seems easier to accept the arbitrariness of language – that dog is chien in French or aja in Yoruba – than the differences in the emotionally laden behaviour of non-verbal communication, which in many ways is just as arbitrary as language. Secondly, we assume that our way of talking and gesturing is ‘natural’ and that those who do things differently are somehow playing with nature. This assumption leads to a blindness about intercultural behaviour. And individuals are likely to remain blind and unaware of what they are communicating non-verbally, because the hosts will seldom tell them that they have committed a social blunder. It is rude to tell people they are rude; thus the hosts grant visitors a ‘foreigner’s licence’, allowing them to make mistakes of social etiquette, and they never know until too late which ones prove disastrous. An additional handicap is that the visitors. have not entered the new setting as free agents, able to detect and adopt new ways of communicating without words. They are prisoners of their own culture and interact within their own framework. Yet the fact remains that for maximum understanding the visitor using the words of another language also must learn to use the tools of non-verbal communication of that culture.
D. Non-verbal communication – teaching it and measuring effect – is more difficult than formal language instruction. But now that language has achieved its proper recognition as being essential for success, the area of non-verbal behaviour should be taught to people who will live in another country in a systematic way, giving them actual experiences, awareness, sensitivity. Indeed, it is the rise in linguistic fluency that now makes non-verbal fluency even more critical. A linguistically fluent visitor may tend to offend even more than those who don’t speak as well if that visitor shows ignorance about interface etiquette; the national may perceive this disparity between linguistic and non-linguistic performance as a disregard for the more subtle aspects of intercultural communication. Because non-verbal cues reflect emotional states, both visitor and host national might not be able to articulate what’s going on.
E. While it would be difficult to map out all the non-verbal details for every language that the Peace Corps teaches, one can hope to make visitors aware of the existence and emotional importance of non-verbal channels. I have identified five such channels: kinesic, proxemic, chronemic, oculesic, and haptic … These five channels of non-verbal communication exist in every culture. The patterns and forms are completely arbitrary, and it is arguable as to what is universal and what is culturally defined. Of course, there is no guarantee that heightened awareness will change behaviour. Indeed, there may be situations where visitors should not alter their behaviour, depending on the status, personalities, and values in the social context. But the approach seeks to make people aware of an area of interpersonal activity that for too long has been left to chance or the assumption that visitors to other countries will be sensitive to it because they are surrounded by it.
(Q.1 to Q.10)
6. crystalline matter
7. (yearly) pilgrimages
8. chemical composition
9. high speed
10. sophisticated equipment
(Q.11 to Q.20)
12. Not given
(Q.21 to Q.30)
22. double-edged sword
23. a clean feed
24. illegal and inappropriate
25. Law enforcement agencies
26. a blank cheque
(Q.31 to Q.40)
40. Not given