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英语四六级口语练习推荐背诵文章(3)        来源:新东方         发布时间:2009-09-01 13:58:00
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09 Suburbanization
        If by "suburb" is meant an urban margin that grows more rapidly than its already developed interior, the process of suburbanization began during the emergence of the industrial city in the second quarter of the nineteenth century. Before that period the city was a small highly compact cluster in which people moved about on foot and goods were conveyed by horse and cart. But the early factories built in the 1840's were located along waterways and near railheads at the edges of cities, and housing was needed for the thousands of people drawn by the prospect of employment. In time, the factories were surrounded by proliferating mill towns of apartments and row houses that abutted the older, main cities. As a defense against this encroachment and to enlarge their tax bases, the cities appropriated their industrial neighbors. In 1854, for example, the city of Philadelphia annexed most of Philadelphia County. Similar municipal maneuvers took place in Chicago and in New York. Indeed, most great cities of the United States achieved such status only by incorporating the communities along their borders.
        With the acceleration of industrial growth came acute urban crowding and accompanying social stress-conditions that began to approach disastrous proportions when, in 1888, the first commercially successful electric traction line was developed. Within a few years the horse-drawn trolleys were retired and electric streetcar networks crisscrossed and connected every major urban area, fostering a wave of suburbanization that transformed the compact industrial city into a dispersed metropolis. This first phase of mass-scale suburbanization was reinforced by the simultaneous emergence of the urban Middle Class, whose desires for homeownership in neighborhoods far from the aging inner city were satisfied by the developers of single-family housing tracts.

  10 Types of Speech
        Standard usage includes those words and expressions understood, used, and accepted by a majority of the speakers of a language in any situation regardless of the level of formality. As such, these words and expressions are well defined and listed in standard dictionaries. Colloquialisms, on the other hand, are familiar words and idioms that are understood by almost all speakers of a language and used in informal speech or writing, but not considered appropriate for more formal situations. Almost all idiomatic expressions are colloquial language. Slang, however, refers to words and expressions understood by a large number of speakers but not accepted as good, formal usage by the majority. Colloquial expressions and even slang may be found in standard dictionaries but will be so identified. Both colloquial usage and slang are more common in speech than in writing.
        Colloquial speech often passes into standard speech. Some slang also passes into standard speech, but other slang expressions enjoy momentary popularity followed by obscurity. In some cases, the majority never accepts certain slang phrases but nevertheless retains them in their collective memories. Every generation seems to require its own set of words to describe familiar objects and events. It has been pointed out by a number of linguists that three cultural conditions are necessary for the creation of a large body of slang expressions. First, the introduction and acceptance of new objects and situations in the society; second, a diverse population with a large number of subgroups; third, association among the subgroups and the majority population.
        Finally, it is worth noting that the terms "standard" "colloquial" and "slang" exist only as abstract labels for scholars who study language. Only a tiny number of the speakers of any language will be aware that they are using colloquial or slang expressions. Most speakers of English will, during appropriate situations, select and use all three types of expressions.

11、 Archaeology
        Archaeology is a source of history, not just a bumble auxiliary discipline. Archaeological data are historical documents in their own right, not mere illustrations to written texts, Just as much as any other historian, an archaeologist studies and tries to reconstitute the process that has created the human world in which we live - and us ourselves in so far as we are each creatures of our age and social environment. Archaeological data are all changes in the material world resulting from human action or, more succinctly, the fossilized results of human behavior. The sum total of these constitutes what may be called the archaeological record. This record exhibits certain peculiarities and deficiencies the consequences of which produce a rather superficial contrast between archaeological history and the more familiar kind based upon written records.
        Not all human behavior fossilizes. The words I utter and you hear as vibrations in the air are certainly human changes in the material world and may be of great historical significance. Yet they leave no sort of trace in the archaeological records unless they are captured by a dictaphone or written down by a clerk. The movement of troops on the battlefield may "change the course of history," but this is equally ephemeral from the archaeologist's standpoint. What is perhaps worse, most organic materials are perishable. Everything made of wood, hide, wool, linen, grass, hair, and similar materials will decay and vanish in dust in a few years or centuries, save under very exceptional conditions. In a relatively brief period the archaeological record is reduce to mere scraps of stone, bone, glass, metal, and earthenware. Still modern archaeology, by applying appropriate techniques and comparative methods, aided by a few lucky finds from peat-bogs, deserts, and frozen soils, is able to fill up a good deal of the gap.
  12 Museums
        From Boston to Los Angeles, from New York City to Chicago to Dallas, museums are either planning, building, or wrapping up wholesale expansion programs. These programs already have radically altered facades and floor plans or are expected to do so in the not-too-distant future.
        In New York City alone, six major institutions have spread up and out into the air space and neighborhoods around them or are preparing to do so.
        The reasons for this confluence of activity are complex, but one factor is a consideration everywhere - space. With collections expanding, with the needs and functions of museums changing, empty space has become a very precious commodity.
        Probably nowhere in the country is this more true than at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, which has needed additional space for decades and which received its last significant facelift ten years ago. Because of the space crunch, the Art Museum has become increasingly cautious in considering acquisitions and donations of art, in some cases passing up opportunities to strengthen its collections.
        Deaccessing - or selling off - works of art has taken on new importance because of the museum's space problems. And increasingly, curators have been forced to juggle gallery space, rotating one masterpiece into public view while another is sent to storage.
        Despite the clear need for additional gallery and storage space, however," the museum has no plan, no plan to break out of its envelope in the next fifteen years," according to Philadelphia Museum of Art's president.

 13 Skyscrapers and Environment
        In the late 1960's, many people in North America turned their attention to environmental problems, and new steel-and-glass skyscrapers were widely criticized. Ecologists pointed out that a cluster of tall buildings in a city often overburdens public transportation and parking lot capacities.
        Skyscrapers are also lavish consumers, and wasters, of electric power. In one recent year, the addition of 17 million square feet of skyscraper office space in New York City raised the peak daily demand for electricity by 120, 000 kilowatts-enough to supply the entire city of Albany, New York, for a day.
        Glass-walled skyscrapers can be especially wasteful. The heat loss (or gain)through a wall of half-inch plate glass is more than ten times that through a typical masonry wall filled with insulation board. To lessen the strain on heating and air-conditioning equipment, builders of skyscrapers have begun to use double-glazed panels of glass, and reflective glasses coated with silver or gold mirror films that reduce glare as well as heat gain. However, mirror-walled skyscrapers raise the temperature of the surrounding air and affect neighboring buildings.
        Skyscrapers put a severe strain on a city's sanitation facilities, too. If fully occupied, the two World Trade Center towers in New York City would alone generate 2.25 million gallons of raw sewage each year-as much as a city the size of Stanford, Connecticut , which has a population of more than 109, 000.

14 A Rare Fossil Record
        The preservation of embryos and juveniles is a rate occurrence in the fossil record. The tiny, delicate skeletons are usually scattered by scavengers or destroyed by weathering before they can be fossilized. Ichthyosaurs had a higher chance of being preserved than did terrestrial creatures because, as marine animals, they tended to live in environments less subject to erosion. Still, their fossilization required a suite of factors: a slow rate of decay of soft tissues, little scavenging by other animals, a lack of swift currents and waves to jumble and carry away small bones, and fairly rapid burial. Given these factors, some areas have become a treasury of well-preserved ichthyosaur fossils.
        The deposits at Holzmaden, Germany, present an interesting case for analysis. The ichthyosaur remains are found in black, bituminous marine shales deposited about 190 million years ago. Over the years, thousands of specimens of marine reptiles, fish and invertebrates have been recovered from these rocks. The quality of preservation is outstanding, but what is even more impressive is the number of ichthyosaur fossils containing preserved embryos. Ichthyosaurs with embryos have been reported from 6 different levels of the shale in a small area around Holzmaden, suggesting that a specific site was used by large numbers of ichthyosaurs repeatedly over time. The embryos are quite advanced in their physical development; their paddles, for example, are already well formed. One specimen is even preserved in the birth canal. In addition, the shale contains the remains of many newborns that are between 20 and 30 inches long.
        Why are there so many pregnant females and young at Holzmaden when they are so rare elsewhere? The quality of preservation is almost unmatched and quarry operations have been carried out carefully with an awareness of the value of the fossils. But these factors do not account for the interesting question of how there came to be such a concentration of pregnant ichthyosaurs in a particular place very close to their time of giving birth.

 15 The Nobel Academy
        For the last 82years, Sweden's Nobel Academy has decided who will receive the Nobel Prize in Literature, thereby determining who will be elevated from the great and the near great to the immortal. But today the Academy is coming under heavy criticism both from the without and from within. Critics contend that the selection of the winners often has less to do with true writing ability than with the peculiar internal politics of the Academy and of Sweden itself. According to Ingmar Bjorksten , the cultural editor for one of the country's two major newspapers, the prize continues to represent "what people call a very Swedish exercise: reflecting Swedish tastes."
        The Academy has defended itself against such charges of provincialism in its selection by asserting that its physical distance from the great literary capitals of the world actually serves to protect the Academy from outside influences. This may well be true, but critics respond that this very distance may also be responsible for the Academy's inability to perceive accurately authentic trends in the literary world.
        Regardless of concerns over the selection process, however, it seems that the prize will continue to survive both as an indicator of the literature that we most highly praise, and as an elusive goal that writers seek. If for no other reason, the prize will continue to be desirable for the financial rewards that accompany it; not only is the cash prize itself considerable, but it also dramatically increases sales of an author's books.

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