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A The 2012 London Olympics had enough problems to worry about. But one more has just been added - a communications blackout caused by solar storms. After a period of calm within the Sun, scie

ntists have detected the signs of a flesh cycle of sunspots that could peak in 2012, just in time for the arrival of the Olympic torch in London. Now scientists believe that this peak could result in vast solar explosions that could throw billions of tons of charged matter towards the Earth, causing strong solar storms that could jam the telecommunications satellites and interact links sending five Olympic broadcast from London. "The Sun's activity has a strong influence on the Earth. The Olympics could be in the middle of the next solar maximum which could affect the functions of communications satellites," said Professor Richard Harrison, head of space physics at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Oxfordshire. At the peak of the cycle, violent outbursts called coronal mass ejections (日冕物质抛射) occur in the Sun's atmosphere, throwing out great quantities of electrically-charged matter.... can disable satellites, cause power failures on Earth and disturb communications," Professor Harrison added. The risk is greatest during a solar maximum when there is the greatest number of sunspots. Next week in America, NASA is scheduled to launch a satellite for monitoring solar activity called the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), which will take images of the Sun that are 10 times clearer than the most advanced televisions available. The Rutherford Appleton Laboratory helped to make the high-tech cameras that will capture images of the solar flares (太阳耀斑) and explosions as they occur. Professor Richard Hold away, the lab's director, said that the SDO should be able to provide early warning of a solar flare or explosion big enough to affect satellite communications on Earth "If we have advance warning, we'll be able to reduce the damage. What you don't want is things switching off for a week with no idea of what's caused the problem," he said. 1. The phrase "communications blackout" in paragraph 1 most probably refers to during the 2012 Olympics. A. the extinguishing of the Olympic torch B. the collapse of broadcasting systems C. the transportation breakdown in London D. the destruction of weather satellites 2. What can be inferred about the solar activity described in the passage? A. The most fatal matter from the corona falls onto Earth. B. The solar storm peak occurs in the middle of each cycle. C. It takes several seconds for the charged matter to reach Earth. D. The number of sunspots declines after coronal mass ejections. 3. According to the passage, NASA will launch a satellite to _________. A. take images of the solar system B. provide early warning of thunderstorms C. keep track of solar activities D. improve the communications on Earth 4. Which of the following might be the best title of the passage? A. Solar Storms: An Invisible Killer B. Solar Storms: Earth Environment in Danger C. Solar Storms: Threatening the Human Race D. Solar Storms: Human Activities to Be Troubled B Nervous suspects(嫌疑犯)locked up in Britain?s newest police station may feel relieved by a pleasant yellow colour on the door. If they are close to confessing a crime, the blue on the wall might tip the balance.

Gwent Police have abandoned colours such as greys and browns of the 20th-century police cell(牢房)and have used colour psychology to decorate them. Ystrad Mynach station, which recently opened at a cost of £5 million, has four cells with glass doors for prisoners who suffer from claustrophobia(幽闭恐怖症). Designers have painted the frames yellow, which researchers say is a calming colour. Other cells contain a royal but line because psychologists believe that the colour is likely to encourage truthfulness. The station has 31 cells, including 12 with a “ live scan” system for drunken or disturbed prisoners, which detects the rise and fall of their chest. An alarm alerts officers if a prisoner?s breathing stops and carries on ringing until the door is opened. Designers and psychologists have worked for years on colour. Blue is said to suggest trust, efficiency, duty, logic, coolness, thinking and calm. It also suggests coldness and unfriendliness. It is thought that strong blues will stimulate clear thought and lighter, soft colours will calm the mind and aid concentration. Yellow is linked with confidence, self-respect and friendliness. Get the colour wrong and it could cause fear, depression and anxiety, but the right yellow can lift spirits and self-respect. Ingrid Collins, a psychologist who specializes in the effects of colour, said that colour was an “ energy force”. She said,” Blue does enhance communication but I am not sure it would enhance truthful communication.” Yellow, she said, affected the mind. Red, on the other hand, should never be considered because it could increase aggression. Mrs Collins praised the designers for using colours in the cells. Gwent is not he first British force to experiment with colour to calm down persuade prisoners to co-operate. In the 1990s Strathclyde Police used pink in cells based on research carried out by the US Navy. 5.The expression “tip the balance” in paragraph 1 probably indicates that the blue might __________. A. let suspects keep their balance B. help suspects to confess their crimes C. make suspects cold and unfriendly in law court D. enable suspects to change their attitudes to colours 6. Which of the following helps alert officers if someone stops breathing? A. Scanning equipment. B. Royal blue lines. C. Glass doors. D. Yellow frames. 7. The passage is mainly concerned with __________. A. the relationship between colours and psychology B. a comparisons of different functions of colours C. the use of colours in cells to affect criminals? psychology D. scientific ways to help criminals reform themselves in prison C Many experts complain that media too often take advantage of the science fiction aspects of nanotech (纳米技术) . Reports of nanotech often refer to K. Eric Drexler?s book Engines of Creations, which predicts an age full of dominant molecular (分子的)manufacturing and a world without material scarcity. Whatever humans need will one day be built cheaply with microscopic self-replicating machines(微细自我复制机)that put atoms together to crate copies of anything alive in the world—from trees to human bodies. In fact, the scientific community is deeply divided over whether self-replication machines are possible. If they are, major dangers could exist. Mr. Drexler himself thought that self-replicating machines could probably go out of control. He writes in his book that man-made “plants” with “leaves no more efficient than today?s solar cells could win over real plants, crowding the earth with leaves that are not suitable to be eaten. Tough ?bacteria? could be more competitive than the real bacteria: They could spread everywhere, replicate swiftly, and reduce the earth to dust in a matter of days.” Critics of nanotech have made use of such images, calling for a delay on commercial nanotech until regulations are established. They also point to the possible military uses of nanotech. Bill Joy, the co-founder of Sun Microsystems, wrote in a Wired magazine essay in 2000 that if nanotech falls into the wrong hands, it could bring dangers to society.

Opponents say Mr. Joy is overreacting. “In a way, calling for bans on research into molecular manufacturing is like calling for a delay on faster-than-light travel because no one is doing it,” says Glenn Reynolds, a University of Tennessee law professor. Professor Reynolds says it is a good idea to regulate nanotech, but in ways the government would regulate any products that could be dangerous. Export controls and certification systems for nanotech companies are examples. US lawmakers have put forth four bills on nanotech research and development. 8.K. Eric Drexler in his book predicts a future world with sufficient material, because . A.man-made plants could replace real plants and grow more quickly B.plants produced by nanotech would be as efficient as today?s solar cells C.man-made bacteria would be widespread and capable of self-replicating D.humans could create copies of anything alive with high technology 9.To call for a delay on commercial nanotech, critics of nanotech make use of . A.current social problems B.science fiction descriptions C.disagreements in the scientific community D.the fact that no one is doing molecular manufacturing 10.Opponents of Bill Joy would NOT agree to . A.control nanotech export B.ban nanotech research to avoid any possible dangers C.put forth bills on nanotech research and development D.establish a certification system for nanotech companies 11.Which of the following statements best summarizes the main idea of the passage? A.Nanotech should not be put into wrong use in the military field. B.The government should regulate products that could be dangerous. C.Nanotech regulations should be established in spite of the divided opinions. D.The media should not take advantage of the science fiction aspects of nanotech. D Professor Reason recently persuaded 35 people to keep a diary of all their absent-minded actions for two weeks. When he came to analyze their embarrassing errors , he was surprised to find that nearly all of them fell into a few groups . One of the women, for instance, on leaving her house for work one morning threw her pet dog her ear-rings and tried to fix a dog biscuit on her ear. “ The explanation for this is that the brain is like a computer, ” explains the professor, “ People programme themselves to do certain activities regularly. It was the woman?s custom every morning to throw her dog two biscuits and then put on her ear-rings. But somehow the action got reversed(颠倒) in the programme .” About one in twenty of the incidents the volunteers reported were these “ programme assembly failures.” Twenty per cent of all errors were “ test failures ”—primarily due to not verifying the progress of what the body was doing . A man about to get his car out of the garage passed through the back yard where his garden jacket and boots were kept , put them on —much to his surprise . A woman victim reported : “ I got into the bath with my socks on .” The commonest problem was information “ storage failures”. People forgot the names of people whose faces they knew, went into a room and forgot why they were there, mislaid something, or smoked a cigarette without realizing it. The research so far suggests that while the “ central processor” of the brain is liberated from second-to-second control of a well-practised routine, it must repeatedly switch back its attention at important decision points to check that the action goes on as intended. Otherwise the activity may be “ captured ” by another frequently and recently used programme, resulting in embarrassing errors. 12. The purpose of Professor Reason?s research is . A. to show the difference between men and women in their reasoning B. to classify and explain some errors in human actions C. to find the causes which lead to computer failures

D. to compare computer functions with brain workings . 13. Which of the following might be grouped under “ programme assembly failures ”? A. A woman went into a shop and forgot what to buy. B. A man returning home after work left his key in the lock. C. A lady fell as she was concentrating on each step her feet were taking. D. An old man, with his shoes on, was trying to put on his socks. 14. The word “ verifying ” in paragraph 3 can be replaced by . A. improving B. changing C. checking D. stopping 15. According to the passage, the information “ storage failures ” refer to . A. the destruction of information collecting system B. the elimination of one?s total memory C. the temporary loss of part of one?s memory D. the separation of one?s action from consciousness


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