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全国英语等级考试教材第4级听力 unit 02

Unit 2: Computer and Information (II)

Conversations

1. Two fathers are talking about reducing children’s burden.

Mr. Black: Mr. Brown, I Feel our children are more burdened by school work. .

Mr. Brown: I think you are right there. The more homework they are given, the less play they enjoy. To make it worse, many parents always expect their children to be the best.

Mr. Black: As a result, teachers at school put more pressure on their children. But really, it’s not good for children’s growth. More importantly, it’s not good for developing their comprehensive ability.

Mr. Brown: I can’t agree more. Children are deprived of childhood pleasures.

Mr. Black: I feel happy when I was told that schools may disappear in the future.

Mr. Brown: Disappear? What do you mean?

Mr. Black: I mean they will be replaced by home computer teachers.

Mr. Brown: It sounds good. In that way, children may have great fun while learning.

Mr. Black: That’s what I am thinking. Homework will be done on computer. It’s rather playful.

Mr. Brown: But at the same time, I have some doubts. What about children’s personality development? I mean computer teachers are not good for children’s personality development.

Mr. Black: That’s not a problem. You see, technology is developing so fast. All types of human personality can be programmed to help children grow.

Mr. Brown: That's better. I hope that day will come very soon.

1. What’s Mr. B1ack’s opinion about the fact that teachers at schools put more pressure on their children?

2. What will replace schools in the future?

3. What can be programmed to help children grow?

2. One student is asking his teacher for some information.

Tom: Professor Wang, I hope I’m not interrupting. But I have some questions.

Professor: Not at all. What is it about?

Tom: In class, we learned so many terms. My first impulse is to ask: “What’s new in electronics?” I suppose that would be silly.

Professor: No. the question is all right. You know there’s something new in electronics almost every day. What do I start?

Tom: What about the term “microelectronics”? Does it mean miniaturization?

Professor: No, it’s a step further into, the sphere of micro miniaturization. To me it’s the most exciting field, particularly the mini-computer.

Tom: How “mini” can it be, can you tell me?

Professor: Well, it's already possible to have one hundred and forty distinct circuits on a one-inch disc of silicon.

Tom: I see. Then you can make an apparatus small in size and light in weight.

Professor: Besides, the cost of production can be decreased.

The author says this micro-miniaturization can lead itself to greater safety in another way. How do you think of it?

Professor: Of course, it’s true. In duplicate systems, for example, if one electronic device fails, a relay would automatically switch on a duplicate. But at the same time, the possibility of a failure is also decreased.

Tom: But how?

Professor: These micro-miniaturized devices have no bit of wire soldered here and there. There is no broken joints.

Tom: But what if a fault does occur? How do you repair it?

Professor: Using test equipment, of course. You locate the faulty circuit, then simply withdraw it, throw it away and plug in a new one.

Tom: It’s really wonderful.

1. What’s the most exciting field to the professor?

2. It’s possible to have one hundred and forty distinct circuits on a one-inch disc of silicon?

3. What if a fault does occur?

Passage

Transmission of Information

Human beings are unique creatures on this earth. True, we are similar to other animals in many ways. But some of our characteristics make us human. One of our distinctly human characteristics is our ability to collect and transmit information. In fact, one way to study human history is to study the development of how humans have learned to transmit information. Each method of transmission is both more complicated and faster than the one before it.

The Distant Past

In the distant past, information traveled very slowly. It went from person to person, and traveled only as fast as people could travel. Information could also be transmitted visually (smoke signals and light signals) or aurally (drumbeats whistles, yells). This system worked over short distances if the message was very simple. Other simple information was, recorded on the walls of caves and buildings in the form of pictures. More complicated information could· pass from generation to generation through storytelling.

Writing

With the invention of writing, however, everything changed. People could write down many kinds of information and keep it for a long period of time. They wrote down information about the moon and stars. They wrote down what the king did or what happened in wars and natural disasters. In addition, people began to write down poems and stories and songs. They began to write down their questions and thoughts about life. Writing marked the beginning of news and the beginning of literature.

For a long time, writing was a slow process. Before the invention of paper, people wrote on clay or stone. Around 3000 B. C., the Sumerians invented cuneiform writing (wedge-shaped symbols) , which they stamped into clay. Other writing systems developed, and eventually, in Egypt and in China, paper was invented. Scribes slowly copied information by hand. Written information began to travel from one culture to another.

Printing

The invention of printing in China and later in Europe was probably the most important event in the history of writing. With movable type and a printing press, information could be printed onto paper and copied very quickly. In some countries, books and newspapers became common items in people’s houses. More and more people learned to read, and information traveled faster over longer distances. But information still had to travel over land on foot, by horse, and, after the invention of the steam engine, by steam locomotive. Books, letters, newspapers, and magazines crossed the ocean by ship. It might take two or three weeks for people on the American continent to learn that a war in Europe was over and that everybody could stop fighting. Transmission of information was still slow.

Telegraph, Telephone, and Radio

But in 1844, Samuel F. B. Morse built the first telegraph, which sent coded electrical impulses over wires. Human beings were now able to control electricity and use it to transmit information around the world. Our world has not been the same since that time. Other inventions that used electricity to transmit information developed quickly. By 1900, major US cities had telephone service. In 1895, Marconi sent the first wireless message, and the radio developed quickly after that. Soon people could listen to the news in their own homes. Radiotelephones connected North America to Europe. Information could now travel through the air waves. Later, in 1956, the first transatlantic cable opened more telephone channels across oceans.

Photography, Film, and Television

During the same period, the second half of the nineteenth century, photography developed. It became a popular art and hobby, but it also became another way to record and transmit information. Today, for example, we have a visual record of the American Civil War (1861 -1865) as well as a written one. The first wire-photo was sent in 1904. And of course today every modem newspaper and newsmagazine contains many photographs from all parts of the world.

Motion pictures soon developed after photography. With the addition of sound in 1926, people could go to the movies and see the newscasts along with films of their favorite movie stars. But with the development of television, technology soon took entertainment and news into people’s homes. After World War, television replaced the radio and photography as the most popular entertainment and news medium.

Improvements in television, in audio recording, and in techniques of printing made it possible for people in the world to receive more information, and better quality information, faster than ever before. The entire world could now learn simultaneously about great or tragic moments in history, such as the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963. These moments are captured forever on video, magazines and, books.

The Computer: A Fast Future Ahead of Us

More recently, technology has made the computer a permanent pan of our lives. Computers control the satellites, for example, give us instant pictures and sound from the other side of the world. Computers today transmit and process information faster than the human mind can imagine. The computer, in conjunction with steady refinements in microelectronics and laser technology, is our future.

Most of us today can not visualize the world of 100 years ago, when it took three weeks for a message to travel across the ocean. But in those days, the human -mind could comprehend the process of the transmission of information. Today we cannot. The question for our future is: Will the human mind and spirit be able to keep up the pace?

Questions

1. How did people in the distant past transmit information?

2. According to the passage, how important is the invention of writing?

3. What is the most important event in the history of writing? Why?

4. What made it possible for the entire world to learn simultaneously about the events in history?

5. According to the author, how fast can computers transmit and process information?

Words and Expressions

burden

comprehensive

deprive

deprive sb. of sth.

replace

personality

interrupt

impulse

electronics

silly

microelectronics

miniaturization

sphere

distinct

apparatus

lead oneself to

duplicate

relay

switch on

solder

joint

fault

occur

locate

faulty

plug in

unique

characteristic

complicated

visually

aurally

yell

system

in addition

mark

clay

cuneiform

wedge

eventually

scribe

locomotive

connect...to…

photography

wirephoto

contain

motion

newscast

simultaneously

tragic

assassination

capture

permanent

instant

in conjunction with

refinement

laser

visualize

comprehend

Exercises

Section I: Listening Comprehension

Part A

For Questions I -5, you will hear a passage about Computer Security. While you listen, fill out the table with the information you have heard. Some of the information has been given to you in the table. Write only 1 word in each numbered box.

Information about Computer Security

There is an immediate need for computer (1 )

One way to prevent theft and inappropriate use is to assign access (2 )

Computers should also be protected against natural disasters such as power surges fires and (3 )

It is important to make backup disks and store them in different (4 )

Security will continue to be a problem because computer users continue to (5 )

Clearly, there is an urgent need for computer security. Computer owners must take steps to prevent theft and inappropriate use of their equipment.

One way is to assign access codes that are read by the computer from passwords. The user does not have to remember this number, so the number can be complex. Even if the word is stolen, the word can be changed when the theft is reported.

Another security problem concerns the protection of the operating system and data on the computer. It is essential that security measures protect all operating systems since unscrupulous individuals have found ways to prevent the system to print out a list of users' passwords. Thus, they have access to computers and spread viruses. For this, all sensitive data should be stored and locked up when not in use.

Computers should also be protected against natural disasters such as power surges, fires and earthquakes. At the fundamental level, a good surge protector will rule out most power surges. However, disks do wear out and fire destroys, so it is important to make backup disks and store them in a different location. Still, whatever means is taken; security will continue to be a problem because the number of computers and users continue to grow.

Part B

For Question 6 – 10, you will hear a passage about Video Games in the United States. While you listen, complete the sentences and answer the questions. Use not more than 3 words for each answer.

Video games are the most popular toys in (6 )

The games are only moderately popular with (7 )

The control box contains (8 )

A player can direct the movements of some of the objects on the screen by moving a stick or (9 )

Children who play video games well must be quick with their hands and (10 )

The sound of video games can be heard in private homes and public game centers all across America. Video games are the most popular toys in the United States. The games are only moderately popular with girls. But they are hugely popular with boys. In fact, it seems as if every American boy between the ages of Band 15 likes to play and discuss without end video games.

Home video games are played on a television receiver connected to a control box. The control box contains a simple computer. Different computer programs contain the electronic information for different games. When you put a program into the control box, a picture of the game appears on the television screen like a television picture, the game’s picture is made of many tiny points of light. The light may be in the shape of missiles, enemy spaceships or strange creatures.

These objects move extremely rapidly across the dark glass. As they do, electronic music comes from the television speaker.

By moving a stick or pushing a button on the control box, a player can direct the movements of some of the objects on the screen. The computer directs the movements of other objects. To win, you must defeat the computer-before it defeats you. Many of the most popular home video games reproduce the action in sports. There are electronic versions of football, boxing and karate, for example. Some games are automobile races. You must drive your little car very fast, but keep it on the road. Some games are fights between airplanes. You must keep your plane in the air, and shoot down the enemy planes. Other games let you be the hero in exciting and dangerous searches, battles and rescues. As a hero, you must defeat a number of terrifying enemies who use increasingly deadly weapons. But your weapons and strength also increase.

Children who play video games well must be quick with their hands and sharp-sighted. They also must remember where objects in the games are hidden, in order to win. As we said earlier, most American boys will talk endlessly about video games, but not while they are playing. They seem too busy to talk much.

Part C

You will hear one passage and one monologue. Before listening to each one, read the questions related to it. While listening, answer each question by choosing A,B ,C or D. You will/hear each piece ONLY ONCE.

11. Before being used for commerce, what was the Internet mainly used for?

(A] Education. [B] Transportation.

[C] Management. [D] The army and research work in universities.

12. What is the number one advantage of the Internet, as a means for commerce?

[A) Its speed. [B] There is no national boundaries.

[C] It can help marketing. [D]It can reduce costs.

13. Which of the following is NOT the factor that can make the trade more efficient on the Internet?

[A] Speedy communication. [B] Customers.

[C] Timely updated information. [D] Availability of products for sale on the Internet.

14. What do consumers worry about in e-commerce?

[A] Quality of products. [B] Prices of products.

[C] Speed of transaction. [D] Privacy and security.

I5. What is the passage mainly about?

[A] The development of e-commerce. [B] The function of e-commerce.

[C] The advantages of e-commerce. [D] The disadvantages of e-commerce.

The Internet, as a means for commerce, did not become reality until the 19905. Before this time, it was mainly a tool for the army, and a research device for some American universities. Its popularity grew when it proved to become a fast and efficient means to conduct long distance transactions, as well as an effective way to distribute information.

The number one advantage that e-commerce has is its speed. With increased speeds of communication, the delivery time is greatly decreased and that makes the whole transaction more efficient. Also, you can find practically any product available for sale on the Internet. Even more significant is the fact that information appearing on the Internet can be changed extremely rapidly. This enables business owners to inform customers of any changes to the service that you are offering.

The second advantage of the electronic commerce is the opportunity it offers to save one’s costs. By using the Internet, marketing, distribution, personnel, phone, postage and printing costs, among others, can be reduced. You can start doing business for as little as $ 100. The savings, therefore, are tremendous. There is no national boundaries in cyberspace. That means you can do business all over the world as easily as you can in your own neighborhood. Since the Internet connects everyone in cyberspace, information is transmitted at the speed of sound or the speed of light, depending on your connection. Either way, distance becomes meaningless, which makes you able to link to anyone on the globe and anyone the globe can link to you. The ability to provide links makes doing business on the Internet attractive to customers in any part of the world.

It's true that a potential source of trouble is customer concerns with privacy and security; however, e-commerce is still safer than using credit cards.

16. According to the speaker, six percent of Americans surveyed recently are ___ the Internet.

[A] good at [B] familiar with [C] strongly interested in [D] annoyed at

17. According to the talk, Internet users go on-line to do all the following except ____

[A] chat [B] go shopping [C] trade stocks [D] buy drugs

18. What is the percentage of the people going on-line to chat?

[A] 75. [B] 20. [C] 6. [D] 57.

19. According 10 the speaker, which of the following is NOT true?

[A] The addicts finally realize that they need to withdraw.

[B] The addicts feel all right.

[C] The addicts have tried to reduce the amount of time they waste on-line.

[D] It’s difficult for the addicts to quit going on-line.

20. How does the speaker think of the addiction?

[A] It weakens the stability of addicts' work and home life.

[B] There is nothing wrong with the addiction.

[C] It’s good for addicts' health.

[D] The speaker’s attitude is not mentioned.

Six percent of Americans surveyed recently are addicted to the Internet. I think such addiction threatens the stability of both their work and home lives. My report found that six percent of the 18, 000 people surveyed were addicted to browsing the Internet.

If the result is to take in the US population as a whole, such findings could mean that millions of Americans have found a “new drug”. Personally I think Internet addicts suffer symptoms similar to addicts on drugs or other activities. They said they “almost always” found they lost track of time. Another 83 percent of those surveyed had a preoccupation with going on-line and 58 percent of them wanted to spend more time on-line. Interestingly, as other addictions, addicts eventually realize that they need to either cut back or quit even if withdrawal will be difficult. My research found that 68 percent of Internet browsers have tried in vain to reduce the amount of time they waste online. I designed a questionnaire to question people about their Internet use. A majority of addicts, exactly57 percent, go on-line to chat, and 20 percent of the on-line users go shopping or trade stocks. If you get up in the middle of night to check your mail, you are an Internet addict. If he was fired for spending an average of seven hours a day at work on the Internet, he is also one addict.

Supplementary Reading

Education? Computer, Naturally

From computer lessons in kindergarten to graduate degrees for the elderly, education over the next 5 years will become a lifelong pursuit.

While Institutions called schools will remain places for children to learn basic skills, electronic communications will bring knowledge to people at every age wherever they are -- at home, on the job, by a hospital bed, In the car, as well as In a traditional classroom. “People will be able to say, ‘I’ll learn where and when I want,’ ” says Emest Boyer, president of the Carnegie foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

Key to the expansion of education In the next 50 years will be the computer. In any kind of setting, the emphasis will be on individualized instruction. Teaching In elementary grades will be streamlined not only according to ability and IQ but on the basis of tests revealing how an Individual brain works best and in what environment.

Students, for example, who learn through hearing Information, would receive much of their Instruction aurally, either from a teacher or a computerized recording machine. Visual learners would spend more time reading and writing on computer screens.

In a single classroom, desk-top computers will enable students to work at their own speeds and on different subjects at the same time. New research Indicates young brains grow In spurts-not at a steady, continuous pace, as previously thought. As a result, school curricula will be tailored to match stages of brain development.

Skills such as mathematical reasoning will be emphasized in the age groups 2 -4, 6 -8, 10 -12 and 14 -16 , when the brain Is expanding rapidly, rather than at plateau phases when the brain cannot handle these tasks as well.

Conrad Toepfer, associate professor in the Department of Learning and Instruction at the State University of New York at Buffalo said. “School programs will be much more responsive to what the child is capable of thinking, which will minimize over-challenge and under-challenge.”

By the tum of the century, educators say, there will be a shift from engineering and other applied skills since computers will be able to solve such problems. The focus will be on reasoning with emphasis on the basic subjects of Maths, Chemistry, Physics and English.

Just because students will carry a personal computer Instead of a book bag, teachers will not disappear.

Futurist Richard Dede of the University of Houston at Clear Lake notes that computers will be effective in teaching subjects such as Maths, but “in areas such as aea1ive writing, where there are many different right answers, machines will never teach as effectively as people.”

Fifty years from now, a college education will mean as much as a high school degree for the generation who came of age in World War II. In 2033, more than 60 percent of American adults will have attended college, compared with less than 30 percent today.

That doesn't mean college won't face problems. In this century, a 25 percent drop in the number of 18-to-22-year-olds will doom scores of small private schools. The remaining 3,000 colleges and universities will provide only a part of a person's' never ending education.

Industry, for one, will become much more involved in education and job training. Hundreds of corporations will grant degrees, most often in high technology, science and engineering, where state-of-the art equipment and research will surpass that on most computers.

Use of television, computers and videotapes will also create classrooms in libraries, museums, neighborhood centers and the home. As a result, futurists see a surge in “public” professors -- national experts appearing electronically across the country. In the next century, academia’s motto “publish or perish” could well become “perform or perish”.

As leaning becomes more accessible, more efficient and more rewarding for a greater number of people, the result should be a better-educated citizenry. But educators fear that not all Americans will be part of this march toward better leaning. Children with home computers will outpace those who have none. Libraries and small firms in poor neighborhoods will not be able to offer the same educational programs as wealthier facilities. The Carnegie Foundation’s Boyer warns: “The gap between the educated haves and the have-nots may well Increase.”

The hope for the future is that as the opportunities for lifelong leaning expand, computer literacy will become a basic right for all Americans.
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