PTE Reading Fill in the Blanks (R&W)

In a sequence of bestsellers, including The Language Instinct and How the Mind Works, Pinker has argued the swathes of our mental, social and emotional lives may have originated as evolutionary adaptations, well suited to the lives our ancestors eked out on the Pleistocene savannah. Sometimes it seems as if nothing is immune from being explained this way. Road rage, adultery, marriage, altruism, our tendency to reward senior
executives with corner offices on the top floor, and the smaller number of women who become mechanical engineers—all may have their roots in natural selection, Pinker claims. The controversial implications are
obvious: that men and women might differ in their inborn abilities at performing certain tasks, for example, or that parenting may have little influence on personality.

Video-Conferencing Technology
Never has the carbon footprint of multi-national corporations been under such intense scrutiny. Inter-city train journeys and long-haul flights to conduct face-to-face business meetings contribute significantly to
greenhouse gases and the resulting strain on the environment. The Anglo-US company Teliris has introduced a new video-conferencing technology and partnered with the Carbon Neutral Company, enabling corporate
outfits to become more environmentally responsible. The innovation allows simulated face-to-face meetings to be held across continents without the time pressure or environmental burden of international travel. Previous
designs have enabled video-conferencing on a point-to-point, dual-location basis. The firm’s VirtuaLive technology, however, can bring people together from up to five separate locations anywhere in the world – with unrivalled transmission quality.

Australia Higher Education Funding
Financing of Australian higher education has undergone dramatic change since the early 1970s. Although the Australian Government provided regular funding for universities from the late 1950s, in 1974 it assumed full
responsibility for funding higher education – abolishing tuition fees with the intention of making university accessible to all Australians who had the ability and who wished to participate in higher education. Since the late 1980s, there has been a move towards greater private contributions, particularly student fees. In 1989, the Australian Government introduced the Higher Education Contribution Scheme (HECS) which included
a loans scheme to help students finance their contributions. This enabled university to remain accessible to students by delaying their payments until they could afford to pay off their loans. In 2002, the Australian Government introduced a scheme similar to HECS for postgraduate students – the Postgraduate Education Loan Scheme (PELS). Funding for higher education comes from various sources. This article examines the three main sources – Australian Government funding, student fees and charges, and HECS. While the proportion of total revenue raised through HECS is relatively small, HECS payments are a significant component of students’ university costs, with many students carrying a HECS debt for several years after leaving university. This article also focuses on characteristics of university students based on their HECS liability status, and the level of accumulated HECS debt.

Thomas Alva Edison was both a scientist and an inventor. Born in 1847, Edison would see tremendous change take place in his lifetime. He was also to be responsible for making many of those changes occur. When Edison was born, society still thought of electricity as a novelty, a fad. By the time he died, entire cities were lit by electricity. Much of the credit for that progress goes to Edison. In his lifetime, Edison patented 1,093 inventions, earning him the nickname “The Wizard of Menlo Park.” The most famous of his inventions was the incandescent light bulb. Besides the light bulb, Edison developed the phonograph and the “kinetoscope,” a small box for viewing moving films. Thomas Edison is also the first person in the US to make his own filmstrips. He also improved upon the original design of the stock ticker, the telegraph, and Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone. He believed in hard work, sometimes working twenty hours a day. Edison was quoted as saying, “Genius is one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration.” In tribute to this important American, electric lights in the United States were dimmed for one minute on October 21, 1931, a few days after his death.

Impressionism was a nineteenth century art movement that began as a loose association of Paris-based artists who started publicly exhibiting their art in the 1860s. Characteristics of Impressionist painting include visible
brush strokes, light colours, open composition, emphasis on light in its changing qualities (often accentuating the effects of the passage of time), ordinary subject matter, and unusual visual angles. The name of the
movement is derived from Claude Monet’s Impression, Sunrise (Impression, soleil levant). Critic Louis Leroy inadvertently coined the term in a satiric review published in Le Charivari. Radicals in their time, early Impressionists broke the rules of academic painting. They began by giving colours, freely brushed, primacy over line, drawing inspiration from the work of painters such as Eugene Delacroix. They also took the act of painting out of the studio and into the world. Previously, not only still-lives and portraits, but also landscapes had been painted indoors, but the Impressionists found that they could capture the momentary and transient effects of sunlight by painting air (in plain air).

Measuring poverty on a global scale requires establishing a uniform poverty level across extremely divergent economies, which can result in only rough comparisons. The World Bank has defined the international poverty line as U.S. $1 and $2 per day in 1993 Purchasing Power Parity (PPP), which adjusts for differences in the prices of goods and services between countries. The $1 per day level is generally used for the least developed countries, primarily African; the $2-per-day level is used for middle-income economies such as those of East Asia and Latin America.

I am a cyclist and a motorist. I fasten my seatbelt when I drive and wear a helmet on my bike to reduce the risk of injury. I am convinced that these are prudent safety measures. I have persuaded many friends to wear
helmets on the grounds that transplant surgeons call those without helmets, “donors on wheels”. But a book on ‘Risk’ by my colleague John Adams has made me re-examine my convictions. Adams has completely undermined my confidence in these apparently sensible precautions. What he has persuasively argued, particularly in relation to seat belts, is that the evidence that they do what they are supposed to do is very suspect. This is in spite of numerous claims that seat belts save many thousands of lives every year. There is remarkable data from the year 1970 to 1978 in which countries with wearing of seat belts compulsory have had on average about 5 per cent more road accident deaths following the introduction of the law. In the UK, road deaths have decreased steadily from about 7,000 a year in 1972 to just over 4,000 in 1989. There is no evidence in the trend for any effect of the seat belt law that was introduced in 1983. Moreover, there is evidence that the number of cyclists and pedestrians killed actually increased by about 10 per cent.

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