Saturday, August 15, 2009

Reading Comprehension Passages for 15th August

Passage 19

In contrast to traditional analyses of minority business, the sociological analysis contends that minority business ownership is a group-level phenomenon, in that it is largely dependent upon social-group resources for its development. Specifically, this analysis indicates that support networks play a critical role in starting and maintaining minority business enterprises by providing owners with a range of assistance, from the informal encouragement of family members and friends to dependable sources of labor and clientele from the owner’s ethnic group (ethnic group: n.. Such self-help networks, which encourage and support ethnic minority entrepreneurs, consist of “primary” institutions, those closest to the individual in shaping his or her behavior and beliefs. They are characterized by the face-to-face association and cooperation of persons united by ties of mutual concern. They form an intermediate social level between the individual and larger “secondary” institutions based on impersonal relationships. Primary institutions comprising the support network include kinship, peer, and neighborhood or community subgroups.同种同文化之民族)

A major function of self-help networks is financial support. Most scholars agree that minority business owners have depended primarily on family funds and ethnic community resources for investment capital. Personal savings have been accumulated, often through frugal living habits that require sacrifices by the entire family and are thus a product of long-term family financial behavior. Additional loans and gifts from relatives, forthcoming because of group obligation rather than narrow investment calculation, have supplemented personal savings. Individual entrepreneurs do not necessarily rely on their kin because they cannot obtain financial backing from commercial resources. They may actually avoid banks because they assume that commercial institutions either cannot comprehend the special needs of minority enterprise or charge unreasonably high interest rates.

Within the larger ethnic community, rotating credit associations have been used to raise capital. These associations are informal clubs of friends and other trusted members of the ethnic group who make regular contributions to a fund that is given to each contributor in rotation. One author estimates that 40 percent of New York Chinatown firms established during 1900-1950 utilized such associations as their initial source of capital. However, recent immigrants and third or fourth generations of older groups now employ rotating credit associations only occasionally to raise investment funds. Some groups, like Black Americans, found other means of financial support for their entrepreneurial efforts. The first Black-operated banks were created in the late nineteenth century as depositories (depository: n. for dues (due: n. [ collected from fraternal or lodge groups, which themselves had sprung from Black churches. Black banks made limited investments in other Black enterprises. Irish immigrants in American cities organized many building and loan associations to provide capital for home construction and purchase. They, in turn, provided work for many Irish home-building contractor firms. Other ethnic and minority groups followed similar practices in founding ethnic-directed financial institutions.存放处)]应付款)

1. Based on the information in the passage, it would be LEAST likely for which of the following persons to be part of a self-help network?

(A) The entrepreneur’s childhood friend

(B) The entrepreneur’s aunt

(C) The entrepreneur’s religious leader

(D) The entrepreneur’s neighborE

(E) The entrepreneur’s banker

2. Which of the following illustrates the working of a self-help support network, as such networks are described in the passage?

(A) A public high school offers courses in book-keeping and accounting as part of its open-enrollment adult education program.

(B) The local government in a small city sets up a program that helps teen-agers find summer jobs.

(C) A major commercial bank offers low-interest loans to experienced individuals who hope to establish their own businesses.

(D) A neighborhood-based fraternal organization develops a program of on-the-job (on-the-job: adj. training for its members and their friends.在职的)D

(E) A community college offers country residents training programs that can lead to certification in a variety of technical trades.

3. Which of the following can be inferred from the passage about rotating credit associations?

(A) They were developed exclusively by Chinese immigrants.

(B) They accounted for a significant portion of the investment capital used by Chinese immigrants in New York in the early twentieth century.

(C) Third-generation members of an immigrant group who started businesses in the 1920’s would have been unlikely to rely on them.

(D) They were frequently joint endeavors by members of two or three different ethnic groups.B

(E) Recent immigrants still frequently turn to rotating credit associations instead of banks for investment capital.

4. The passage best supports which of the following statements?

(A) A minority entrepreneur who had no assistance from family members would not be able to start a business.

(B) Self-help networks have been effective in helping entrepreneurs primarily in the last 50 years.

(C) Minority groups have developed a range of alternatives to standard financing of business ventures.

(D) The financial institutions founded by various ethnic groups owe their success to their unique formal organization.C

(E) Successful minority-owned businesses succeed primarily because of the personal strengths of their founders.

5. Which of the following best describes the organization of the second paragraph?

(A) An argument is delineated, followed by a counter-argument.

(B) An assertion is made and several examples are provided to illustrate it.

(C) A situation is described and its historical background is then outlined.

(D) An example of a phenomenon is given and is then used as a basis for general conclusions.B

(E) A group of parallel incidents is described and the distinctions among the incidents are then clarified.

6. According to the passage, once a minority-owned business is established, self-help networks contribute which of the following to that business?

(A) Information regarding possible expansion of the business into nearby communities

(B) Encouragement of a business climate that is nearly free of direct competition

(C) Opportunities for the business owner to reinvest profits in other minority-owned businesses

(D) Contact with people who are likely to be customers of the new businessD

(E) Contact with minority entrepreneurs who are members of other ethnic groups

7. It can be inferred from the passage that traditional analyses of minority business would be LEAST likely to do which of the following?

(A) Examine businesses primarily in their social contexts

(B) Focus on current, rather than historical, examples of business enterprises

(C) Stress common experiences of individual entrepreneurs in starting businesses

(D) Focus on the maintenance of businesses, rather than means of starting themA

(E) Focus on the role of individual entrepreneurs in starting a business

8. Which of the following can be inferred from the passage about the Irish building and loan associations mentioned in the last paragraph?

(A) They were started by third- or fourth-generation immigrants.

(B) They originated as offshoots of church-related groups.

(C) They frequently helped Irish entrepreneurs to finance business not connected with construction.

(D) They contributed to the employment of many Irish construction workers.D

(E) They provided assistance for construction businesses owned by members of other ethnic groups.

Passage 20

Species interdependence in nature confers many benefits on the species involved, but it can also become a point of weakness when one species involved in the relationship is affected by a catastrophe. Thus, flowering plant species dependent on insect pollination, as opposed to self-pollination or wind pollination, could be endangered when the population of insect-pollinators is depleted by the use of pesticides.

In the forests of New Brunswick, for example, various pesticides have been sprayed in the past 25 years in efforts to control the spruce budworm, an economically significant pest. Scientists have now investigated the effects of the spraying of Matacil, one of the anti-budworm agents that is least toxic to insect-pollinators. They studied Matacil’s effects on insect mortality in a wide variety of wild insect species and on plant fecundity, expressed as the percentage of the total flowers on an individual plant that actually developed fruit and bore seeds. They found that the most pronounced mortality after the spraying of Matacil occurred among the smaller bees and one family of flies, insects that were all important pollinators of numerous species of plants growing beneath the tree canopy of forests. The fecundity of plants in one common indigenous species, the red-osier dogwood, was significantly reduced in the sprayed areas as compared to that of plants in control plots where Matacil was not sprayed. This species is highly dependent on the insect-pollinators most vulnerable to Matacil. The creeping dogwood, a species similar to the red-osier dogwood, but which is pollinated by large bees, such as bumblebees, showed no significant decline in fecundity. Since large bees are not affected by the spraying of Matacil, these results add weight to the argument that spraying where the pollinators are sensitive to the pesticide used decreases plant fecundity.

The question of whether the decrease in plant fecundity caused by the spraying of pesticides actually causes a decline in the overall population of flowering plant species still remains unanswered. Plant species dependent solely on seeds for survival or dispersal are obviously more vulnerable to any decrease in plant fecundity that occurs, whatever its cause. If, on the other hand, vegetative growth and dispersal (by means of shoots or runners) are available as alternative reproductive strategies for a species, then decreases in plant fecundity may be of little consequence. The fecundity effects described here are likely to have the most profound impact on plant species with all four of the following characteristics: a short life span, a narrow geographic range, an incapacity for vegetative propagation, and a dependence on a small number of insect-pollinator species. Perhaps we should give special attention to the conservation of such plant species since they lack key factors in their defenses against the environmental disruption caused by pesticide use.

1. Which of the following best summarizes the main point of the passage?

(A) Species interdependence is a point of weakness for some plants, but is generally beneficial to insects involved in pollination.

(B) Efforts to control the spruce budworm have had deleterious effects on the red-osier dogwood.

(C) The used of pesticides may be endangering certain plant species dependent on insects for pollination.

(D) The spraying of pesticides can reduce the fecundity of a plant species, but probably does not affect its overall population stability.C

(E) Plant species lacking key factors in their defenses against human environmental disruption will probably become extinct.

2. According to the author, a flowering plant species whose fecundity has declined due to pesticide spraying may not experience an overall population decline if the plant species can do which of the following?

(A) Reproduce itself by means of shoots and runners.

(B) Survive to the end of the growing season.

(C) Survive in harsh climates.

(D) Respond to the fecundity decline by producing more flowers.A

(E) Attract large insects as pollinators.

3. The passage suggests that the lack of an observed decline in the fecundity of the creeping dogwood strengthens the researchers conclusions regarding pesticide use because the

(A) creeping dogwood is a species that does not resemble other forest plants

(B) creeping dogwood is a species pollinated by a broader range of insect species than are most dogwood species

(C) creeping dogwood grows primarily in regions that were not sprayed with pesticide, and so served as a control for the experiment

(D) creeping dogwood is similar to the red-osier dogwood, but its insect pollinators are known to be insensitive to the pesticide used in the studyD

(E) geographical range of the creeping dogwood is similar to that of the red-osier dogwood, but the latter species relies less on seeds for reproduction

4. The passage suggests that which of the following is true of the forest regions in New Brunswick sprayed with most anti-budworm pesticides other than Matacil?

(A) The fecundity of some flowering plants in those regions may have decreased to an even greater degree than in the regions where Matacil is used.

(B) Insect mortality in those regions occurs mostly among the larger species of insects, such as bumblebees.

(C) The number of seeds produced by common plant species in those regions is probably comparable to the number produced where Matacil is sprayed.

(D) Many more plant species have become extinct in those regions than in the regions where Matacil is used.A

(E) The spruce budworm is under better control in those regions than in the regions where Matacil is sprayed.

5. It can be inferred that which of the following is true of plant fecundity as it is defined in the passage?

(A) A plant’s fecundity decreases as the percentage of unpollinated flowers on the plant increases.

(B) A plant’s fecundity decreases as the number of flowers produced by the plant decreases.

(C) A plant’s fecundity increases as the number of flowers produced by the plant increases.

(D) A plant’s fecundity is usually low if the plant relies on a small number of insect species for pollination.A

(E) A plant’s fecundity is high if the plant can reproduce quickly by means of vegetative growth as well as by the production of seeds.

6. It can be inferred from the passage that which of the following plant species would be LEAST likely to experience a decrease in fecundity as a result of the spraying of a pesticide not directly toxic to plants?

(A) A flowering tree pollinated by only a few insect species

(B) A kind of insect-pollinated vine producing few flowers

(C) A wind-pollinated flowering tree that is short-lived

(D) A flowering shrub pollinated by a large number of insect speciesC

(E) A type of wildflower typically pollinated by larger insects

7. Which of the following assumptions most probably underlies the author’s tentative recommendation in lines 51-54?

(A) Human activities that result in environmental disruption should be abandoned.

(B) The use of pesticides is likely to continue into the future.

(C) It is economically beneficial to preserve endangered plant species.

(D) Preventing the endangerment of a species is less costly than trying to save an already endangered one.B

(E) Conservation efforts aimed at preserving a few well-chosen species are more cost-effective than are broader-based efforts to improve the environment.

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