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    One evening in February 2007, a student named Paula Ceely brought her car to a stop on a remote road in Wales. She got out to open a metal gate that blocked her path .That’s when she heard the whistle sounded by the driver of a train. Her Renault Clio was parked across a railway line. Seconds later, she watched the train drag her car almost a kilometre down the railway tracks.

Ceely’s near miss made the news because she blamed it on her GPS (导航仪). She had never driven the route before. It was dark and raining heavily. Ceely was relying on her GPS, but it made no mention of the crossing. “I put my complete trust in the device and it led me right into the path of a speeding train,” she told the BBC.

Who is to blame here? Rick Stevenson, who tells Ceely’s story in his book When Machines Fail Us, points the finger at the limitations of technology. We put our faith in digital devices, he says, but our digital helpers are too often not up to the job. They are filled with small problems. And it’s not just GPS devices: Stevenson takes us on a tour of digital disasters involving everything from mobile phones to wireless keyboards.

The problem with his argument in the book is that it’s not clear why he only focuses on digital technology, while there may be a number of other possible causes. A map-maker might have left the crossing off a paper map. Maybe we should blame Ceely for not paying attention. Perhaps the railway authorities are at fault for poor singalling system. Or maybe someone has studied the relative dangers and worked out that there really is something specific wrong with the GPS equipment. But Stevenson doesn’t say.

It’s a problem that runs through the book. In a section on cars, Stevenson gives an account of the advanced techniques that criminals use to defeat computer-based locking systems for cars. He offers two independent sets of figures on car theft; both show a small rise in some parts of the country. He says that once again not all new locks have proved reliable. Perhaps, but maybe it’s also due to the shortage of policemen on the streets. Or changing social circumstances. Or some combination of these factors.

The game between humans and their smart devices is amusing and complex. It is shaped by economics and psychology and the cultures we live in. Somewhere in the mix of those forces there may be a way for a wiser use of technology.

If there is such a way, it should involve more than just an awareness of the shortcomings of our machines. After all, we have lived with them for thousands of years. They have probably been fooling us for just as long.

1.What did Paula Ceely think was the cause of her accident

A.She was not familiar with the road.

B.It was dark and raining heavily then.

C.The railway workers failed to give the signal.

D.Her GPS device didn’t tell her about the crossing.

2.The phrase “near miss” (Paragraph 2) can best be replaced by______.

A.close hit B.heavy loss C.narrow escape D.big mistake

3.Which of the following would Rick Stevenson most probably agree with?

A.Modern technology is what we can’t live without.

B.Digital technology often falls short of our expectation.

C.Digital devices are more reliable than they used to be.

D.GPS error is not the only cause for Ceely’s accident.

4.In the writer’s opinion, Stevenson’s argument is _______.

A.one-sided B.reasonable C.puzzling D.well-based


1.D 2.C 3.B 4.A 【解析】 文章是一篇说明文。文章讲述了一个因为导航仪出错误而引起的事故,告诉大家现代的仪器也会出问题,不要过于依赖他们。人类对于很多技术并不是完全了解,需要加强学习。 1. 细节理解题。根据文章第二段1行“It was dark and raining heavily. Ceely was relying on her GPS, but it made no mention of the crossing天很黑,雨下得很大。塞莉依靠她的全球定位系统,但它没有提到十字路口。所以Paula Ceely 认为事故的原因是她的导航仪没有告诉她这里有十字路口,故选D项。 2. 词句猜测题。根据文章第一段“Her Renault Clio was parked across a railway line. Seconds later, she watched the train drag her car almost a kilometre down the railway tracks.”可知,她的雷诺Clio停在一条铁路线上。几秒钟后,她看着火车把她的车拖下了将近一公里的铁轨。由此可知,她很幸运,九死一生,没有被撞。故选C项。 3. 推理判断题。根据文章第三段“We put our faith in digital devices, he says, but our digital helpers are too often not up to the job.” 他说,我们对数字设备充满信心,但我们的数字助手常常无法胜任工作。由此判断出,Rick Stevenson认为现代的很多装置经常不能符合我们的期望值。故选B项。 4. 推理判断题。根据文章第4段“The problem with his argument in the book is that it’s not clear why he only focuses on digital technology, while there may be a number of other possible causes.”他在书中的论点的问题在于,不清楚他为什么只关注数字技术,而可能还有其他一些可能的原因需要弄清楚。由此判断出,他的争论只是单方的。故选A项。

    Why elephants rarely get cancer is a mystery that has confused scientists for decades. A study was led by researchers at Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) at the University of Utah and Arizona State University, including researchers from the Ringling Bros. Center for Elephant Conservation may have found the answer. According to the results, elephants have 38 additional modified copies of a gene (基因) that encodes p53, a well-defined tumor (肿瘤) suppressor, as compared to humans, who have only two. Further, elephants may have a more powerful mechanism for killing damaged cells that are at risk for becoming cancerous. In isolated elephant cells, this activity is doubled compared to healthy human cells, and five times that of cells from patients with Li-Fraumeni Syndrome, who have only one working copy of p53 and more than a 90 percent lifetime cancer risk in children and adults. The results suggest extra p53 could explain elephants’ increased resistance to cancer.

“Nature has already figured out how to prevent cancer. It’s up to us to learn how different animals overcome the problem so we can adapt those strategies to prevent cancer in people,” says co-senior author Joshua Schiffman, M.D., pediatric oncologist (肿瘤学家) at Huntsman Cancer Institute, University of Utah School of Medicine, and Primary Children’s Hospital.

According to Schiffman, elephants have long been considered a walking problem. Because they have 100 times as many cells as people, they should be 100 times more likely to have a cell slip into a cancerous state and cause the disease over their long life span of 50 to 70 years. And yet it’s believed that elephants get cancer less often, a theory confirmed in this study. Analysis of a large database of elephant deaths estimates a cancer death rate of less than 5 percent compared to 11 to 25 percent in people.

1.Why do humans often get cancer compared to elephants according to the passage?

A.Elephants are bigger than humans.

B.Elephants have more p53 than humans.

C.Elephants are not as clever as humans.

D.Elephants eat more than humans.

2.Which of the following is right according to the passage?

A.Some damaged cells may be dangerous.

B.Some damaged cells are not dangerous.

C.Some damaged cells can’t be cancerous.

D.Some damaged cells in elephants’ bodies are more dangerous than those in humans’ bodies.

3.What can we know from the last paragraph?

A.Elephants have more cells than people. B.Elephants can get cancer easily.

C.Elephants seldom die from cancer. D.Elephants often die from cancer.

4.Which of the following can be the best title for the passage?

A.Elephants help us B.Learn from Nature

C.How to deal with cancer D.Nature helps us prevent cancer


Evening Workshops

Evening Workshops

Optional evening workshops will be held at small restaurants or other meeting places near the conference hotel. Meals and other costs are not included but are also optional. Locations will be announced at the conference site. Workshops are very loosely organized and most represent discussions that have been held at Society for Economic Botany (SEB) meetings over a series of years.

Workshop 1: Student Network


Wednesday evening, Feb. 5th


Hugo de Boer and Arika Virapongse


Society for Economic Botany


Student members of the SEB hold a networking mixer each year in order to meet each other and to become familiar with a variety of educational programs and faculty advisors (大学指导老师). Faculty members who are part of training programs are encouraged to join the mixer to meet and talk with students.

Workshop 2: Botanical Film Making


Wednesday evening, Feb. 5th


David Strauch


University of Hawaii


Digital film making is a particularly useful tool of linking cultural information to recognizable plants. This workshop is aimed towards increasing the quality of material recorded by giving participants greater control over the medium. We will cover technical aspects (e.g. camera settings, audio), technical aspects (framing, lighting, focus), and some ways of presenting the material. Experienced filmmakers are encouraged to attend, and participants are welcome to bring their own camera equipment.

Workshop 3: Collections for Botany

— Collections Development and Management


Friday evening, Feb. 7th


Jan Salick


Society for Economic Botany


SEB is a network of researchers who have been developing standards for the development of collections of artifacts, plant samples and related materials. Participants discuss successes, problems, and funding sources for solving management issues.




1.One of the purposes of a networking mixer held each year is to ________.

A.provide students with greater control over the media

B.link cultural information to recognizable plants

C.help the students to deal with most of the environment issues

D.help the students to be familiar with educational programs

2.Which of the following is true according to the poster?

A.Evening workshops will be held at small restaurants with meals included.

B.Participants have more than one option on Feb.5ththan another night.

C.Workshops have nothing to do with the discussions held at SEB meetings.

D.Faculty advisers can join the mixer without training experience.

3.You are a college student, interested in plants and good at taking TV pictures. Which of the Evening Workshops is most suitable for you?

A.Botanical Film Making. B.Collections for Botany.

C.Student Network. D.Society for Economic Botany.