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Our Changing World

2

Read the text and for questions 1-14, answer by choosing from the list of new technologies (A-G) on the right below. Some of the choices may be required more than once

So many new technologies have appeared in the past half-century that it's impossible to list them all. But these eight high-tech breakthroughs stand out over the last 50 years because they've revolutionised the way we live.

Organ Transplants

In 1954, Dr Joseph Murray removed a kidney from one human patient and implanted it in another. The recipient accepted the kidney as its own rather than rejecting it as a foreign body. It was more than skilful surgery: Murray had chosen a pair of identical twins, Ronald Herrick and his terminally ill brother Richard, in the hope that their similar genetic make-up would reduce the likelihood of Richard's body rejecting Ronald's kidney. Soon afterward, though, other researchers developed drugs that could suppress a transplant recipient's immune system long enough for the new organ to become incorporated into its new body. Each year, thousands of people receive a new heart, kidney, liver, lung, pancreas or intestine - and are given a new lease of life.

Robotics

The term 'robot' was coined by Czechoslovakian playwright, Karel Capek, in 1920 - 'robota' being a Czech word for tedious labour - but the first real industrial robot was built in 1954 by George Devol. Five years later, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology founded its Artificial Intelligence Laboratory in a quest to mechanically mimic human minds as well as hands. Today,robots assemble products better, faster and often cheaper than manual labourers. Still, some individuals eye such systems with the cynical view of novelist Kurt Vonnegut, whose 1952 story player piano warned that the machines might leave people without a way to make a living or a purpose in life.

Nuclear power

When the Queen herself threw the switch on the world's first atomic power plant at Calder Hall outside London in 1956, nuclear reactors were seen as a source of cheap, pollution-free energy. But a partial meltdown in 1979 at the Three Mile Island reactor in pennsylvania soured the world on nuclear energy as a safe source of power. Nonetheless, in Britain today there are 16 active plants that generate 25 percent of the nation's electricity and they have been steadily increasing their capacity. Will the next 50 years bring a better alternative?

Mobile phone

The idea for a mobile phone service dates back at least to 1947, but the first call was not actually made until 1973. This initial call was made on the pavement out side the Manhattan Hilton by Martin Cooper, a Motorola researcher, who rang up his rival at AT and T Bell Labs to test the new phone. Thirty years later, it appears that almost everyone in the Western world has a mobile device growing out of their ear and cellular networks are beginning to serve Internet access at broadband speeds through thin air.

Space flight

Viewers of the famed moon walk in 1969, who are now deceased, would have been disappointed to learn we never went further than the Moon - no mars colony, no 2001 odyssey to Jupiter, no speed-of-light spaceships. Even the Shuttle is in trouble. But the space race against the Russians that dominated the American psyche (and a good chunk of its budget) in the '60s and '70s pushed the development of hundreds of enabling technologies, including synthetic fibres and integrated computer circuits, necessary to fly astronauts to the moon and back. And, far more importantly, the astronauts brought back a lesson from space: 'We saw the earth the size of a coin, and we realised then that there is only one earth.'

personal computer

Before IBM recast the desktop computer from hobbyist's gadget to office automation tool in 1983 - followed by Apple's people-friendly Macintosh a year later - a 'minicomputer' was the size of a washing machine and required a special air-conditioned room. But the trained technicians who operated the old mainframes already knew computers were cool: they could use them to play games, keep diaries, and trade message with friends across the country while still looking busy. Today, thanks to the PC, we all look busy.

Genetic engineering

Everyone knows Watson and Crick, who unravelled the secret of DNA in 1953. But have you heard of Boyer and Cohen, who constructed the first organism with combined DNA from different species in 1973? They inserted toad genes into a bacterium that then replicated itself over and over, passing the toad's genetic code down through generations of bacteria. Thirty years later, an estimated 70 percent of processed foods contain genetically modified ingredients, such as soybeans or corn engineered for higher crop yields. Of course, the much bigger potential - good and bad - is in engineering humans. It might prevent birth defects, and diseases later in life. But the side effects could be disastrous and, do we really have the right to interfere with Mother Nature?
3 About which news aspects(s) of technology are the following mentioned?
  1. It has become smaller over the years.
    ___

    F

  2. It may prove to have a negative effect on employment.
    ___

    B

  3. It has been the subject of literature
    ___

    B

  4. It required one family member to help another
    ___

    A

  5. The use of an animal advanced its development
    ___

    G

  6. A malfunction caused people to
    view it in a different light.
    ___

    C

  7. It has allowed some people's lives to be prolonged.
    ___

    A

  8. It has allowed farmers to be more productive
    ___

    G

  9. It was named by a person who wrote for the stage.
    ___

    B

  10. There was a long lapse between its conception
    and its invention.
    ___

    D

  11. It led to the invention of many other things.
    ___

    E

  12. It hasn't advanced in line with people's expectations.
    ___

    E

  13. It has been incredibly costly.
    ___

    >E

  14. It once had to be housed in a special place
    ___

    F

Choose from these:

  1. A Organ Transplants
  2. B Robotics
  3. C Nuclear power
  4. D Mobile phone
  5. E Space Flight
  6. F personal Computers
  7. G Genetic Engineering

Take a deep breath

4 Use the words in the brackets to form one word that fits in the gap.



Since this time yesterday, you've breathed in and out approximately 20,000 times. Over a lifetime you'll take in more than a hundred million breaths. And, like every other living (1)
_____
(create),
creature
you will have taken them completely (2)
_____
(instinct).
instinctively
Our lives are (3)
____
(depend)
dependent
on breathing, but, even so, most of us do it (4)
______
(appropriate).
inappropriately


To see the best, really (5)
____
(health)
healthy
breathing, watch a baby's stomach rises and falls. It's extremely (6)
_____
(common)
uncommon
to see poor breathing among children, but by the time most reach secondary school, they're breathing in a shallow and restricted way.

According to American (7)
_____
(research),
researchers
poor breathing plays a role in seventy-five per cent of health problems. Their (8)
_____
investigations
show that correct breathing increases oxygen intake and the efficiency of your body. This makes energy levels rise and stress level fall.

Robots

5 For questions 1-16, complete the following article by writing each missing word in the space. Use only one word for each space.

ROBOTS



The popular idea of a robot is a machine that acts (1)
_____
like
and resembles a human being. But the robots that are increasingly (2)
_____
being
used for a wide range of tasks do not look human-like (3)
_____
at
all. The robots (4)
_____
that/which
work in car factory production lines look something like cranes. The mobile robots used (5)
_____
by/in/as
army bomb-disposal squads look like wheelbarrows on tracks. And children (6)
_____
have
likened a mobil robot used in school to teach (7)
_____
them
computer programming to a giant sweet. Robots (8)
_____
do/can/may
, however, resemble human beings in the range of actions that they can carry out. Instead of repeatedly performing (9)
_____
just/only
one action, like an automatic machine, a robot can perform (10)
_____
a
chain of different actions. Its movements are controlled (11)
_____
either
by oil or air pressure or by electric motors, and its brain is a small computer that directs its movements. Inside the computer's memory (12)
_____
are
the instructions (13)
_____
for
carrying out a tasks - picking chocolates from a container and putting them in the right part of a display box, for example. By changing the programme, the robot can (14)
_____
be
made to vary the task, or do (15)
_____
something
different within the limits of the activities it is designed (16)
_____
for
.




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