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Thread: Reading Comprehension Exercises

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    Passage 1: Wolves and Dogs

    Scientists know that there were wolves on Earth about one million years ago. Dogs, on the other hand, have not been on Earth nearly as long. The oldest dogs remains, found in Germany, are about 14,000 years old. Scientists have proven that dogs are descended from wolves. Though wolves and dogs share some of the same genes, they are not exactly alike. In fact, there are as many differences as there are similarities between the two.

    First, there are physical differences between the two. Wolves have long legs, larger feet, and broader skull than most dogs. They also walk differently than dogs. A wolf runs on its toes with its heels raised up from the ground. This is more similar to a cat’s walk than a dog’s.

    Second, there are mental differences between the two. Dogs have been domesticated. [A]This means that dogs have been brought under the control of humans in order to provide companionship. [B] Wolves have not been domesticated. They are wild animals. [C] Having a dog as a pet is like having a juvenile wolf. A young wolf will turn into a mature adult, while a young dog does not mature. A dog might seem smart by performing tricks for people. [D] Wolves need to be smart to survive in the wild. While it may not be impossible to have a wolf as a pet, scientists are of the opinion that a wolf could never be domesticated in the same way as a dog.

    It is important to keep in mind that the differences between the two are great, and each should be appreciated in its own habitat or home.

    Questions:
    1. The word “similarities” in paragraph 1 is closet meaning to
    A. Like traits C. Coincidences
    B. Different traits D. Characteristics

    2. Which of the following could best replace the word “survive” as used in paragraph 3?
    A. Revenge C. Protect
    B. Stay alive D. Have babies

    3. According to the passage, which of the following is true about wolves?
    A. They are faster than dogs.
    B. They have larger feet than dogs.
    C. They have been in Germany for 14,000 years.
    D. They like to kill.

    4. Which of the sentences below best expresses the essential information in the highlighted sentence in the passage? Incorrect choices change the meaning in important ways or leave out essential information.
    A. It is not possible to keep wolves as pets because they are different from dogs.
    B. Scientists believe that domesticated wolves are friendlier than dogs.
    C. Though some may keep wolves as pets, they cannot be fully trained like dogs can.
    D. Even though dogs have been domesticated, scientists think that wolves can be better pets.

    5. Look at the for squares [x] that indicate where the following sentence could be added to the passage:
    Scientists, however, have determined that wolves are more intelligent than dogs.

    Where would the sentence best fit? Choose the square[x] where the sentence should be added to the passage.

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    Last edited by fearlessboy38; May 2, 2011 at 10:45 PM.

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    Passage 2: American English

    The English language is recognized as the international language of communication. Tourists as well as business people use it all over the world. English is also the official language in various countries. Each country, though, speaks the English language in subtly different ways. One example of this is American English. One factor that makes American English unique is the various words that it includes from other language.

    Native Americans were the first to inhabit what we now call the United States. They originally came from Asia, and they contributed many of their native words to the English language. Some Native American lived in “tipis” or houses made of wooden poles and bison skin. They wore “moccasins” on their feet. Perhaps the most well-know words from Native American languages, however, are some f the state names in the United States. Arkansas, Iowa, Kentucky, and Minnesota are all Native American words.

    Of course, many other languages have contributed words to American English. [A] For example, American English has acquired many words from the Spanish language. This is easy to understand, since the Spanish people were some of the earliest European settlers of the land now occupied by the United States. [B] Also, consider that the southwestern United States shares a border with Mexico, where the official language is Spanish, and that large percentage of immigrants to the United States have come from Spanish-speaking countries. [C] Thus, there has been a lot of contact with the Spanish language. Many words for food, such as “burrito”, “taco”, and “enchilada” are from Spanish.

    Questions:
    1. The word “ communication” in paragraph 1 is closet meaning to
    A. Talking
    B. Trading goods and services
    C. Education
    D. Exchange words, thought and ideas

    2. The word “contributed’ in paragraph 3 is closet meaning to
    A. Given C. Taken
    B. Denied D. Used

    3. According to paragraph 1, which of the following is true?
    A. American English is very similar to British English.
    B. Different countries speak English in different ways.
    C. English is mainly used on television and in movies.
    D. American English includes very few words from other languages.

    4. According to the passage, which of the following are names of states?
    A. Arkansas and Tipis
    B. Spanish and Kentucky
    C. Iowa and Minnesota
    D. Moccasin and Burrito

    5. Which of the sentences below best expresses the essential information in the highlighted sentence in the passage? Incorrect choices change the meaning in important ways or leave out essential information.
    A. American English is unique because it borrows so many words from Mexico.
    B. What makes American English special is that it incorporates lots of words from other languages.
    C. Most American English comes from British English, so it’s special.
    D. English is the same in every country, just like in America.

    6. Look at the for squares [x] that indicate where the following sentence could be added to the passage:
    Spanish has also contributed many place names to American English, such as the cities of “Santa Fe” and “Socorro” in the state of New Mexico.

    Last edited by fearlessboy38; Jul 30, 2011 at 01:59 PM.

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    Passage 3: Smog

    The oxidation of exhaust gases is one of the primary sources of the world’s pollution. The brown haze that is poised over some of the world’s largest cities is properly called photochemical smog; it results from chemical reactions that take place in the air, using the energy of sunlight. The production of smog begins when gases are created in the cylinders of vehicle engines. It is there that oxygen and nitrogen combine as the fuel burns to form nitric oxide (NO), a colorless gas. The nitric oxide is forced out into the air through the vehicle tailpipe along with other gases.
    When the gas reaches the air, it comes into contact with available oxygen from the atmosphere and combines with the oxygen to produce nitrogen dioxide (NO2), which is a gas with a brownish hue. This nitrogen dioxide plays a role in the formation of acid rain in wetter or more humid climates and tends to decompose back into nitric oxide as releases an oxygen atom from each molecule; the released oxygen atoms quickly combine with oxygen (O2) molecules to form ozone (O3). The brownish colored nitrogen dioxide is partially responsible for the brown color in the smoggy air; the ozone is the toxic substance that causes irritation to eyes.

    Passage 4: Autism
    Autism is a developmental disorder that is characterized by severe behavioral abnormalities across all primary areas of functioning. Its onset is often early; it generally makes itself known by the age of two and one-half. It is not a single disease entity but is instead a syndrome defined by patterns and characteristics of behavior; it, therefore, most likely has multiple etiologies rather than a single causative factor. Autism is not fully understood and thus is controversial with respect to diagnosis, etiology, and treatment strategies.
    (tự kỉ là một rối loạn phát triển đặc trưng bởi những hành vi bất thường, ảnh hưởng lên những chức năng chính)

    Last edited by fearlessboy38; Jul 30, 2011 at 02:14 PM.

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    Passage : Rain
    What makes it rain? We know that rain comes from clouds. Clouds are made of tiny water droplets or ice crystals. But why doesn’t it always rain when there are clouds?
    The water droplets in cloud are very, very small. Many of them are only 1/1000 of a centimeter across. If the air is perfectly still, the droplets can fall. But they only fall about 1 kilometer in 16 hours! Most of the time, the air moves and keeps them from falling.

    We know of two main things that make rain:
    (1) Air pushes the droplets around. The bigger droplets move more slowly than the smaller ones. They bump into each other and become bigger drops. After a while, they become heavy enough to fall. These drops will be a million times bigger than the first droplets. A rain drop is usually about 1/50 of a centimeter across.
    (2) Some clouds are composed of both water droplets and ice crystals. The air dries some of the water droplets. Then, they form again with more ice on the crystals. The air crystals grow until they’re heavy enough to fall. If the air is cold, they will fall as snow flakes or ice pellets. However, if the air is warm enough, they’ll fall as rain.


    Passage : Herbs and Spices
    People all over the world use plants to make their lives better. They use them for food, medicine, and many other purposes .
    We call useful plants “herbs” or “spices”. Usually, we use herbs and spices to flavor our food. However ,an herb can also be a plant we use for medicine or scent. Sometimes, it can ever be a plant that is poisonous.

    Some herbs and spices we eat everyday can also be medicines. One example is peppermint, used in candy or ice cream. Scientists have even studied this plant. Peppermint oil kill germs that cause illness faster than penicillin, a strong modern drug, can. Oregano is another herb used often in food, usually in pizza. Oregano oil is a very powerful medicine for fighting germs, too. And did you know the hair-like tassels on corn, called corn silk, can be used to make tea? Scientists make a medicine from corn silk that is also used to fight infection.

    People in other cultures know how many things about plants. Their foods are some of the best tasting in the world. Many useful and potent medicines are still made from herbs in their countries. Scientists around the world are now looking into these medicines.


    Passage : The Age of exploration
    One important result of the Age of exploration that is sometimes forgotten is the spread of new types of food throughout the world. Many historians tend to focus on the discovery of gold, silver, and new people. However, the globalization of diet was also an important aspect of this time period. Some foods common to the standard diets in many modern countries originated in the New World . Corn ,tomatoes, asparagus, chili peppers, and potatoes are some of the more well-known examples. These foods play an important role in not only modern diets, but in modern economies as well.

    The peanut, for example, is a very popular food worldwide. Some archaeologists believe that peanuts have been a staple in some cultures for at least 3,500 years. They believe that the peanut is native to Peru and another South American country, Brazil. Sailors form Europe first took the peanut with them on ships back to Spain. From Spain, the peanut was then introduced to other European countries. Today, the peanut is a staple in the diets of people in Europe, North America, Africa, and Asia. It is also a key cash crop for many African countries and US States. Indeed, without the peanut, the economies of these areas would be strongly affected.

    In addition to peanuts, Peru is cited as the country of origin for other popular foods today. The artichoke, for example, was another food that explorers carried back to Europe from the New World. Today, artichokes are a popular vegetable in many parts of the world. Reports show that Peru continues to export, about $20 million worth of artichokes each year! The biggest Peruvian crop export, however is asparagus. Today, Peru ships more asparagus to foreign markets than any other country. Asparagus is a green, grass-like vegetable popular in the diets of the French and other European nations.

    Passage: Microphones
    Today, people from many different professions must give presentation. For example, business people might present their new product to an audience of potential clients in order to convince the audience to buy. Medical doctors might present the findings from their research to an audience of other medical professionals. Indeed, the career success of a business person or researcher may depend on his or her ability to communicate effectively during such a presentation. Often, these presentation are done in front of a large group of people in a large room. When this is the case , it is generally necessary to use a microphone. Unfortunately, using a microphone can make some presenters nervous. However, if one keeps in mind a few basic tips about using a microphone, the presentation will go much more smoothly for presenter and audience alike.

    The first tip every presenter should remember is to arrive early to the conference room. It is necessary to test the system before actually standing in front of the audience. To do so, the presenter should stand about six inches from the mike and say, “testing-testing”. If the speaker is too close to the microphone, it will pick up his or her breathing and high tones in the speaker’s voice may cause an annoying, high-pitched noise. The person controlling the volume of the sound system can make adjustments. If it is too loud, the volume can be turned down, and vice versa.

    Also, a presenter should not lean over the microphone. Mike are sensitive enough to pick up one’s voice from a short distance. Bending over the mike will not help the presenter sound better. Instead, it will probably make the presenter look awkward. In fact, by bending over the mike, the presenter makes himself or herself appear smaller and less confident. It is important to project a confident appearance to conduct a successful presentation.

    Finally, presenters should remember not to touch the microphone with their mouths or fingers. Accidentally bumping the mike can make an unpleasant sound. Again, by standing six inches away, the presenter will avoid this problem. By following these tips, any presenter will feel comfortable on the day of his or her next presentation.


    Passage : Fatigue
    One health problem that is becoming more commonly diagnosed by health professionals is fatigue. Often, fatigue is related to a person’s everyday lifestyle. Therefore, when a patient is feeling fatigued, the first thing to do is to find out why. Once the diagnosis is made, the condition can often be improved with a few simple changes to the patient daily routine. The type of fatigue, however, affects the treatment required. There are three categories of fatigue: physical, pathological and psychological.

    Physical fatigue can be caused by heavy exercise or housework. It can also be caused by too little activity, which means that not enough oxygen is being taken into the lungs and distributed through the body. Also poor muscle tone or bad posture such as sitting incorrectly in front of a computer can lead to fatigue. As people spend most of their day in front of computers at work, it is easy to understand how fatigue is becoming more commonly diagnosed. Another important physical cause of fatigue is poor diet. A body needs to get enough A and B vitamins, protein, and carbohydrates to maintain high level of energy.

    Pathological fatigue means the patient’s tiredness might be a sign of a more serious disease, such as cancer or diabetes. It could also be a side-effect of medicines or a result of bad habits such as smoking too many cigarettes or drinking too much alcohol. If the patient’s medication is at fault, the doctor may be able to prescribe a different one.
    Psychological fatigue is caused by emotional stress. If a patient experiences job dissatisfaction or pre-exam anxiety, a loss of energy may result. This type of fatigue is most easily treated with lifestyle changes. A “workaholic” patient may need to find ways to relax. An exhausted housewife may need to hire a babysitter and spend one or two evenings each week engaged in a social activity outside the household.

    Sometimes, fatigue is due to a combination of these three categories. Consultation with a health professional can help a patent learn which type or types may be at work. Fortunately for most patients, a few basic lifestyle adjustment will soon restore past levels of energy.


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    Passage: The Great Barrier Reef
    A reef is a chain of rocks or coral that is near the surface of the ocean. Coral is a rock-like substance that is produced by sea animals. It often has bright colors which make it very beautiful. Reefs are a vital part of the ocean ecosystem. The largest such reef is just off the north-eastern coast of Australia. This area is called “The Great Barrier Reef”.

    Approximately 900 islands and more than 3,000 smaller reefs make up The Great Barrier Reef system. It acts as a home for many different kinds of marine life, from tiny plants and fish to large sharks. The hard edges of the reef protect the marine life within from the strong waves of the ocean. Some notable species that depend on the reef include green sea turtles and the humpback whale, which travel from the Antarctic to give birth to their calves in the warm reef waters. Because of its importance as a diverse marine ecosystem, the Great Barrier Reef has been included on the list of World Heritage Areas. The coral in the reef is also important for maintaining the proper pH level in the water. The pH is a measure of the chemical balance of the water. With an incorrect pH level, plants and fish cannot survive. Thus, the coral not only protects the marine life from strong waves, but it also makes the water suitable for the animal life inhabiting it.

    Recently, The Great Barrier Reef has been suffering damage. Global warming has been increasing ocean water temperatures past the level conducive to coral life. In addition, runoff from local farmland has been polluting the ocean water around the reef, and, by extension, the marine life within it. To compound this problem, this polluted water is believed to be beneficial to the Crown-of-Thorns starfish, a species that actually preys upon coral. AS more and more of these starfish are be able to reproduce, more and more of The Great Barrier Reef will be destroyed.

    Question:

    Give a brief summary of each paragraph.
    1. According to the passage, where are reefs usually located?
    A. Deep underwater C. In the middle of the ocean
    B. In lakes and rivers D. Near the surface of the oean
    2. According to paragraph 2, how does the Barrier Reef protect marine life?
    A. The fish generally do not eat the plants in the reef.
    B. It provides polluted runoff.
    C. The reef is hard and protects the plants and fish from large waves
    D. It protects marine life from the Crown-of-Thorns starfish.
    3. Which of the following is closet meaning to “area” in paragraph 1?
    A. Land beside the sea C. City
    B. Location D. Ocean
    4. As used in paragraph 2, what is the meaning of the word “maintaining”?
    A. Keeping C. Getting rid of
    B. Exercising D. Multiplying


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    Causes of Ice Ages

    Geologists have shown that for about 80 percent of the past 2.5 million years, ice-age conditions have prevailed on the Earth's surface. During the past one million years, increased glacial conditions have run in cycles of approximately 100,000 years.


    Many different factors may contribute to these increases in glaciation at regular intervals throughout Earth's more geologically recent history. The three most prominent factors probably relate to the amount of sunlight that reaches the Earth. This varies over time for three main reasons. First, the planet wobbles as it spins, due to the pull of the sun and moon. Furthermore, the Earth tilts on its axis and the degree of tilt changes over time. Finally, the orbit of the Earth around the sun is elliptical and the length of the major axis of the ellipse changes over a period of about 100,000 years. A mathematician named Milutin Milankovitch discovered in the 1930s that the pattern of insolation, or sunlight, predicted by these eccentricities in the Earth's movement matched the period of the last several eras of intense glaciation.


    These Milankovitch insolation cycles were the dominant theory in ice-age research for much of the twentieth century despite the fact that the match between periods of peak insolation and most intense glaciation were not exact. For example, a cycle of 400,000 years predicted by the Milankovitch theory has never shown up in the climate records obtained through the study of microfossils deposited on the sea floor. Also, recent analysis has shown that the insolation theory predicts peaks of sunlight at intervals of 95,000 and 125,000 years. Climatological data does not support this predicted sunlight peaking. Other damaging evidence was the indication of a precisely measured sudden rise in temperature at a water-filled cave in Nevada, which preceded the increase in solar radiation that was supposed to cause it.


    These and other problems with the Milankovitch cycles led some researchers to seek alternative explanations for the cyclic arrival of extended ice ages. In the 1990s, it was discovered that the orbital inclination of the Earth to the sun and planets could also be responsible for climate changes. If we imagine a flat plane with the sun in the center and the planets revolving around it, the Earth slowly moves in and out of the flat plane by a few degrees, repeating the cycle every 100,000 years. Two scientists, Muller and MacDonald, have proposed that it is this orbital inclination which is ultimately responsible for the periods of glaciation and warming. They argue that because of the oscillation, the Earth periodically travels through clouds of debris, in the form of dust and meteoroids. Such debris could reduce the amount of solar energy reaching the surface of our planet, thus plunging it into regular cold periods.


    The advantage of this theory is that it is not confronted with several of the problems associated with the Milankovitch theory. In particular, the new theory fits well with the analysis of ocean sediments taken from eight locations around the world. This analysis yielded data clearly showing the peak of the last several ice ages with a period of 100,000 years and corresponding to the periods when the Earth's oscillating inclination takes it through clouds of extraterrestrial debris.


    However, many researchers in this field are not yet persuaded by the inclination hypothesis. The main problem is that the amount of dust that falls to the ground when the Earth travels through space debris is relatively small - not enough to produce radical climate changes. Volcanic eruptions, for example, release much greater amounts of ash and dust and have relatively little effect on climate. Supporters have countered that the by-products created by the dust as it vaporizes on entering the atmosphere cause subtle changes to the energy levels. Nevertheless, the necessary physical proof has yet to be found to convince the skeptics.


    Last edited by fearlessboy38; May 18, 2011 at 01:37 PM.

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    Bird Migration

    The phenomenon of seasonal bird migration has been known about for thousands of years, but it is still not fully understood by scientists. Not all birds migrate, but generally speaking the more northerly the breeding ground, the more likely is it that a species will migrate south for the winter. The main reason for this annual shifting of residence is that during the northern winters food becomes scarce and the cold temperatures make survival difficult. Some species are well adapted to these harsh conditions, but for those that aren't, moving south to warmer conditions is advantageous.


    Changes in the weather can trigger the start of the journey south, although birds in the Northern Hemisphere seem to know when it is time to migrate south before the winter. In some species at least, the changes in the length of the day cause glands in the birds' bodies to secrete hormones that produce other changes, which ready the birds for the long flight south. At this time fat starts to accumulate under the skin, and this provides a store of energy for the long flight when they will be expending more calories flying than they can obtain during their brief rest stops.
    In fact, bird-migration patterns are more complex than the simple pattern implied above. Birds that breed in the Southern Hemisphere migrate north to wintering grounds. Other birds travel on an approximately east-west path since milder climates can often be found in coastal areas of continental regions. Some birds find conditions more suitable at lower altitudes in a mountainous region and so migrate to lower levels in winter.


    Perhaps the most mysterious and as yet not totally understood aspect of bird migration is how birds can navigate such long distances and arrive so precisely at their destination. Various possibilities exist. The most obvious explanation is that they learn the topographic features of their route. However, it is not feasible that this method could be used for crossing larger stretches of water or very long trips across whole continents. Another possible explanation is that some birds may use magnetic fields. Scientists have actually detected tiny crystals of magnetite in the olfactory tract of some species, and homing pigeons have been shown to follow magnetic field lines of the Earth.


    A further possibility is that birds can detect the polarization patterns in sunlight. Some light waves from the sun are absorbed in the atmosphere, and some pass through. The resulting pattern of light waves forms a large bowtie-shaped image in the sky. The image has fuzzy ends and is sometimes known as Haidinger's brush after the discoverer of the effect. The image is oriented in a north and south direction and is visible at sunset. Although birds may not see this shape, they can discern gradations of polarization, which give them a kind of compass for determining directions.


    Scientists believe that some birds navigate by use of star positions; this has been established with at least one species. In a series of studies, caged birds were subjected to the projection of the nighttime Northern Hemisphere inside a planetarium. All stars rotate around Polaris, the pole star, and this movement seemed to give the birds the information they needed to orientate themselves in the correct direction. However, some recent research contradicts this. Perhaps it is not the lack of movement of the pole star but rather the constellation patterns that guide them. It has also been found that when fewer stars were visible on the planetarium ceiling, the birds' sense of direction became poorer. And this, too, implies that the general star pattern does have some bearing on orientation.


    The current state of research suggests that all of the above-mentioned methods probably have an influence on bird migration. Different species use one, some, or even all methods at different times and in various situations.

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    Radon

    Radon is a radioactive gas that is invisible and odorless. It forms during the decay of uranium-238, and in decaying, itself produces solid heavy metal radioactive particles of polonium, lead, and bismuth. The parent element, uranium, is distributed in rocks and soils in many regions of the world, although usually in negligible amounts. However, concentrations of this element occur in certain rocks, and under certain conditions it is dissolved by underground water and carried over great distances before seeping into other rocks and soils.


    Since radon is a gas, it can move from the ground into the air, where it is dispersed by the winds. If it infiltrates buildings, however, it can build up over time and lead to serious health problems. In fact, the radon itself is chemically inert and so does not enter into chemical reactions with other substances. It is readily dissolved in blood and circulates through the body until it is expelled, usually before it has had time to decay. The health problems associated with radon activity arise from the radioactive products of its disintegration, mentioned above.



    The products of the decay process, especially polonium-218 and polonium-214, emit radiation, which kills or damages living cells, causing genetic mutations and cancer. These radon progeny are not dispersed harmlessly like radon itself but accumulate as the radon decays. Outside the body, these solid materials can attach themselves to dust particles and surfaces throughout a building and then be inhaled. The decay products can also stick to tobacco leaves during growth and then enter the body when the tobacco is smoked. Inside the body these dangerous by-products of radon become lodged in lung tissue and the bronchial tubes. As these decay, they emit alpha and beta particles and gamma rays. Of these, the alpha particles can do the most damage since they are the bulkiest of the three and therefore cannot penetrate very far into living tissue. Because of this relative immobility, concentrations of the particle form and damage cells in the immediate area. Beta particles and gamma rays are less dangerous since they travel further and are less concentrated in the tissues.



    The primary way that radon penetrates buildings is through foundations. It enters through cracks in basement floors, drains, loose-fitting pipes, and exposed soil areas. Radon also finds its way into water, although if the water is exposed to the atmosphere or agitated, the radon disperses into the air. Because of this, concentrations of this uranium daughter are not high in rivers, but water drawn from underground sources into homes can have elevated levels.



    The chief health risk from inhaling radon or its daughter products is lung cancer. Scientists have concluded that exposure to this carcinogen is the second leading cause of this disease in the United States. Major scientific organizations believe it contributes to approximately 12 percent of the incidence in the United States alone. It is true that some research has cast doubt on the likelihood of residential radon accumulations contributing to cancer rates. Other larger scale studies contradict the neutral findings. For example, a recent study of 68,000 underground miners who were exposed to high levels of radon shows that they are five times more likely to die of lung cancer than the general population. Smokers, whose incidence of lung cancer is significantly higher than the nonsmoking population, are even more at risk if they are exposed to high levels of radon.



    It is now possible to have buildings tested for radon accumulation. In an average home, this is about 1.3 picocuries per liter, which is considered an acceptable although not a totally safe level. If these levels are above 4 picocuries per liter of air, then homeowners are advised to reduce the amount seeping into the living space. This can be achieved through various means including concrete sealing and the installation of active ventilation systems. It is not possible to completely eradicate traces of radon since the natural outdoors level averages 0.4 picocuries per liter, but minimizing the amount is a prudent preventative measure.



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    City
    Most people in developed countries are city-dwellers, many drawn by the irresistible lures of the metropolis. The attractions of the city are many: the cosmopolitan atmosphere (foreign restaurants, different languages, international companies), the stimulation of cultural events or simple hope of finding work. All too many find, however, that the glamorous façade is false. One can be very alone in the city and the anonymity which at first seems to give freedom and protection later leave just loneliness. There is a lot to do but everything is expensive. The cost of living is high. There is pollution not only of the physical but also moral environment and the various pressures of urban life cause cities to breed crime. Above all, perhaps, it is the daily stresses and strains of the city which make life there a matter of survival than of enjoyment. Many a commuter struggling to work through the rush-hour congestions asks, ‘Is it worth it?’

    Issues in Education
    It is interesting that in some countries which are socialist and therefore supposedly classless, the educational system is based on streaming, which means that children are educated according to their ability, with the more talented children separated from the others. Supporters of this system say that more intelligent children will be helped to achieve their full potential in this way and that these children will be held back if they have to share lessons with less clever pupils. Opponents of this system, on the other hand, maintain that it creates an educated elite, a special class of privileged people who are encouraged to think of themselves as superior to the others. Similarity, the others may, as a result of being labeled second-rate, develop some kind of inferiority complex. In a word, such a system is divisive, since it creates a division between people. Another important question in education is the amount of freedom and choice children should be given at school. The conservative view is that a conventional system of strict rules is best. However, critics of this attitude say it causes regimentation, as in the army, and discourages children’s natural imagination and spontaneity. We must ask ourselves what the purpose of education is: to cram children’s heads with facts or to encourage them to develop their natural abilities in their own way?

    Fashion in Clothes
    Most people like to think they are individualists and simply wear whatever they like. Few people will admit to being slaves to fashion. However we are not just talking of the expensive haute couture of the Paris and Milan fashion houses, which not many people can afford anyway. We are talking of fashions and trends in everyday clothes. We say that we wear jeans and sweaters because they are cheap and practical, but isn’t it true that our jeans and sweaters tend to be the same as everyone else wears? Doesn’t that mean that we like to be trendy? Of course the big chain-stores, to some extent, dictate what we wear, but they are always offer a choice and people do, on the whole, like to wear the latest fashion, which extends beyond clothes to make-up, personal ornament (men wear earrings too, nowadays) and hair styles. It is easy to declare that we do not slavishly follow the dictates of fashion, but aren’t we all conformist at heart?



    Project planning
    Project planning is part of project management, which relates to the use of schedules such as Gantt charts to plan and subsequently report progress within the project environment.[1]
    Initially, the project scope is defined and the appropriate methods for completing the project are determined. Following this step, the durations for the various tasks necessary to complete the work are listed and grouped into a work breakdown structure. The logical dependencies between tasks are defined using an activity network diagram that enables identification of the critical path. Float or slack time in the schedule can be calculated using project management software.[2] Then the necessary resources can be estimated and costs for each activity can be allocated to each resource, giving the total project cost. At this stage, the project plan may be optimized to achieve the appropriate balance between resource usage and project duration to comply with the project objectives. Once established and agreed, the plan becomes what is known as the baseline. Progress will be measured against the baseline throughout the life of the project. Analyzing progress compared to the baseline is known as earned value management.[3]
    The inputs of the project planning phase include Project Charter and the Concept Proposal. The outputs of the Project Planning phase include the Project Requirements, the Project Schedule, and the Project Management Plan.[4]


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