Read the passage below and summarise it using it using one sentence. You are usually given 10 minutes to finish summarising each paragraph. Your response will be judged on the quality of your writing and on how well your response presents the key points in the passage
- By far the most popular and most consumed drink in the world is water, but it may come as no surprise that the second most popular beverage is tea. Although tea was originally grown only in certain parts of Asia – in countries such as China, Burma and India – it is now a key export product in more than 50 countries around the globe. Countries that grow tea, however, need to have the right tropical climate, which includes up to 200 centimetres of rainfall per year to encourage fast growth, and temperatures that range from ten to 35 degrees centigrade. They also need to have quite specific geographical features, such as high altitudes to promote the flavor and taste of the tea, and land that can offer plenty of shade in the form of other trees and vegetation to keep the plants cool and fresh. Together these conditions contribute to the production of the world’s consumers. There is green tea, jasmine tea, earl grey tea, peppermint tea, tea to help you sleep, tea to promote healing and tea to relieve stress; but above all, tea is a social drink that seems to suit the palates and consumption habits of human beings in general.
- With all the discussion about protecting earth and saving the planet, it is easy to forget that we also need to preserve the many species of fish that live in the oceans. In developed countries, much larger quantities of fish are consumed than was the case a century ago when fish only featured on the menu once a week. These days, fish has become a popular healthy alternative to meat and this has created a demand for species such as cod, mackerel and tuna that far outstrips the demands of the previous generation. Throughout the world too, increasing consumption during the past 30 years has meant that the shallow parts of the ocean have been overfished in an effort to supply homes, shops and restaurants with the quantities of fish that they require. Yet despite the sophisticated fishing techniques of today, catches are smaller than they were a century or more ago. What is more, boats have to drop their nets much deeper into the oceans and the fish they are coming up with are smaller and weigh less than they used to. While government controls have had some effect on fish stocks, the future does not offer a promising picture. Experts predict Large-scale extinctions and an irreversibly damaging effect on entire ecosystems, unless greater efforts are made to conserve fish stocks and prevent overfishing in the world’s waters.
- Most sea creatures, from whales and dolphins to fish sharks, shrimps and possibly even anemones respond to sound, and many can produce it. They use it to hunt and to hide, find mates and food, from and guide shoals, navigate ‘blind’, send messages and transmit warnings, establish territories, warn off competitors, stun prey, deceive predators, and sense changes in water and conditions. Marine animals click bones and grind teeth; use drum-tight bladders and special sonic organs to chirp, grunt, and boom; belch gases; and vibrate special organs. Far from the ‘silent deep’, the oceans are a raucous babel. Into this age-long tumult, in the blink of an evolutionary eye, has entered a new thunder: the throb of mighty engines as 46,220 large vessels plough the world’s shipping lanes. Scientists say that background noise in the ocean has increased roughly by 15 decibels in the past 50 years. It may not sound like much in overall terms; but it is enough, according to many marine biologists, to mask the normal sounds of ocean life going about its business. At its most intense, some even say noise causes whales to become disoriented, dolphins to develop ‘the bends’, fish to go deaf, flee their breeding grounds or fail to from shoals – enough to disrupt the basic biology of two thirds of the planet. Undersea noise pollution is like the death of a thousand cuts’, says Sylvia Earle, chief scientist of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. ‘Each sound in itself may not be a matter of critical concern, but taken all together, the noise from shipping, seismic surveys, and military activity is creating a totally different environment than existed even 50 years ago. That high level of noise is bound to have a hard, sweeping impact on life in the sea.’
- Humans have been cultivating chillies as food for 6,000 years, but we are still learning new things about the science behind their heat and how it reacts with our body. In the late 1990s, scientists identified the pain nerves that detect capsaicin: the chemical in chillies responsible for most of the burning sensation in our mouth. But it’s only during the last few years that scientists have also learnt why chillies evolved to be spicy in the first place, and they have managed to cultivate new varieties that are up to 300 timeshotter than the common Jalapeno. The hottest part of a chilli is not the seeds, as many people think, but the White flesh that houses the seeds, known as the placenta. But why did chillies evolve to be hot in the first place? Most scientists believe capsaicin acts mainly as a deterrent against would-be mammal predators such as rodents. But recent research suggests this may not be the whole story. Us scientists working in Bolivia have studied how hot and mild chillies differ in their susceptibility to a certain harmful fungus, leading the researchers to propose that heat may have evolved to help chillies deal with harmful microbes, as well as hungry mammals.
- Inequality between world citizens used to be determined in equal measures by class and location. New research, however, reveals that People’s fortunes are being dictated primarily by where they live. As a result, economic migration has become the key way for individuals from developing countries to improve their economic standing, and governments will not be able to alleviate the pressure of migration on their societies until global inequality is reduced. In Global Inequality: from class to location, from proletarians to migrants, Branko Milanovic, of the University of Maryland, examines the differences in income between countries and concludes that a key priority for policy makers should be aid and support for developing countries. ‘Not only is the overall inequality between world citizens greater in the early 2Ist century than it was more than a century and a half ago, but its composition has entirely changed; from being an inequality determined in equal measures by class and location, it has become preponderantly an inequality determined by location only,’ finds the report. ‘Analysis of incomes across countries for different members of the population reveals a wide gap between the underprivileged in wealthy societies and in less wealthy countries. This fact is of great political and economic significance. Individuals can now make large from migrating to wealthier countries.’
- English is the world’s lingua franca, the language of science, technology, business, diplomacy and popular culture. That probably explains why it is the world’s most widely spoken language. It probably also explains why worth the effort. In 2005, the European Commission carried out a survey of the European Union’s 25 member states. The two with the lowest rates of bilingualism – defined as being able to hold a conversation in more than one language –were the UK and Ireland. About two-thirds of people in these countries speak only English. It’s a similar story wherever English is spoken as the mother tongue. Only about 25 per cent of US citizens can converse in another language. In Australia, the rates are even lower. Compare that with continental Europe, where multilingualism is the rule rather than the exception. More than half of EU citizens are bilingual, and not just because they live in countries like Luxembourg with multiple official languages. Even in France, which has only one official language and is immensely proud of its linguistic heritage, most people speak a second language. Again, that is largely down to the dominance of English. Across Europe, English is by far the most commonly learned language. High levels of bilingualism are not driven by a general desire to learn languages but a specific need to learn English.
- Times are fraught, and overstretched executives are constantly on the lookout for a way to clear their minds so they can work in a calmer, more effective, and more responsive way. Cultivating a special state of consciousness called ‘mindfulness’ – an intense awareness of the here and now – is proving attractive to a growing number of senior managers, both in the US and elsewhere. Mindfulness is achieved by meditation techniques, often involving sitting on a cushion, eyes closed, concentrating on the inflow and outflow of your breath. Or you might spend 10 minutes studying, sniffing, tasting and finally eating a piece of fruit. That might make it sound like a remnant of the navel-gazing 1960s and 1970s, but the evidence for mindfulness’s effectiveness is good enough to have impressed hard-nosed companies such as Google (which has invited mindfulness gurus to speak at the Googleplex), General Mills, price water house Coopers, Deutsche Bank, Procter & Gamble, AstraZeneca, Apple, Credit Suisse, KPMG, Innocent, Reuters and many more. According to Don McCormick, assistant professor of management at California State University and a dedicated meditator, it ‘can help individuals to manage workplace stress, perform tasks more effectively, enhance self-awareness and self-regulation, experience work as more meaningful, improve workplace relationships, increase ethical behavior, and make perception more accurate’. It is said to pay dividends for leaders and managers, by improving the quality of their listening and communicating.
- One of the many critiques of academic research that one runs across is that a lot of research done by a faculty at universities across America doesn’t ‘do’ anything: it doesn’t have an obvious social value. After all, people don’t create jobs; it doesn’t have an obvious social value. After all, people argue, do we really need studies that chart the maturation of catfish? Or that explore the nuances of a minor poet? What is all this for? As a consequence of attitudes like these, many people – particularly politicians and business persons – argue that the research function should be stripped from academia, or at least those parts of academia that aren’t the major research institutions. Then universities wouldn’t need so many faculties, and costs could be contained. Academics like me offer lots of standard objections to this line of thinking: that research keeps one fresh and up-to-date in the discipline; that the faculty often works with students on their research, thus providing students with invaluable training for their future careers and so on. All of this is true, but I want to add a different point: the power of chance. In 1990, I took an appointment at the University of Alabama-Huntsville. I had a police officer student who invited me for a ride along. I went – ultimately many times. The book that emerged from the research project I established from that First ride was later included on a list of ‘must read’ books on public administration by the Government of Canada. I have no problem with accountability. But if you had asked me what my purpose was when I took my first ride along, and you had demanded to know what use the research could be put to, I would have told you, ‘I have no idea’.
- Current research into the nature of the relationship between participation in physical activity / sport and educational performance has produced mixed, inconsistent and often non-comparable results. For example, some cross-sectional studies illustrate a positive correlation between participation in sport and physical activity and academic success (e.g. maths, reading, acuity, reaction times). However, critics point to a general failure to solve the issue of direction of cause – whether intelligence leads to success in sport, whether involvement in sport enhances academic performance, or whether a third factor (e.g. personality traits) explains both. Longitudinal studies also generally support the suggestion that academic performance is enhanced, or at least maintained, by increased habitual physical activity. Yet such studies are criticized for not being definitive because some do not use randomized allocation of pupils to experimental and control groups (to control for pre-existing differences), others tend to use (subjective) teacher-assigned grades to assess academic achievement, rather than standardized and comparable tests; and some programmes include parallel interventions, making it difficult to isolate specific effects. More generically, one key piece of research illustrates that both acute exercise and chronic training programmes have small, but beneficial, positive impacts on cognitive performance. However, this study concludes that as experimental rigour decreased, effect size increased. Further, generalization is limited because effect size is influenced by the nature and type of exercise, the type of participants, the nature of the cognitive tests and the methodological quality of the study.