Read the passages and choose the best answer to each question. Answer all questions about a passage on the basis of what is stated or implied in that passage.

Time – 35 minutes

ROAD BUILDING AND THE AUTOMOBILE

1. Car registrations in the United States rose from one million in 1913 to ten million in 1923. By 1927, Americans were driving some twenty–six million automobiles, one car for every five people in the country. Automobile sales in the state of Michigan outnumbered those in Great Britain and Ireland combined. For the first time in history, more people lived in cities than on farms, and they were migrating to the city by automobile.

2. The automobile was every American’s idea of freedom, and the construction of hard–surface roads was one of the largest items of government expenditure, often at great cost to everything else. The growth of roads and the automobile industry made cars the lifeblood of the petroleum industry and a major consumer of steel. The automobile caused expansions in outdoor recreation, tourism, and related industries—service stations, roadside restaurants, and motels. After 1945, the automobile industry reached new heights, and new roads led out of the city to the suburbs, where two–car families transported children to new schools and shopping malls.

3. In 1956 Congress passed the Interstate Highway Act, the peak of a half–century of frenzied road building at government expense and the largest public works program in history. The result was a network of federally subsidized highways connecting major urban centers. The interstate highways stretched American mobility to new distances, and two–hour commutes, traffic jams, polluted cities, and Disneyland became standard features of life. Like almost everything else in the 1950s, the construction of interstate highways was justified as a national defense measure.

4. The federal government guaranteed the predominance of private transportation. Since the 1950s, 75 per cent of federal funds for transportation has been spent on highways, while a scant one percent has gone to buses, trains, or subways. Even before the interstate highway system was built, the American bias was clear, which is why the United States has the world’s best road system and nearly its worst public transit system.

BIRD SONG

1. One instance in the animal kingdom with parallels to human music is bird song. Much has recently been discovered about the development of song in birds. Some species are restricted to a single song learned by all individuals, while other species have a range of songs and dialects, depending on environmental stimulation. The most important auditory stimuli for birds are the sounds of other birds, including family or flock members and territorial rivals. For all bird species, there is a prescribed path to development of the final song, beginning with the subsong, passing through plastic song, until the bird achieves the species song or songs. This process is similar to the steps through which young children pass as they first babble and then mimic pieces of the songs they hear around them, although the ultimate output of human singers is much vaster and more varied than even the most impressive bird repertoire.

2. Underlying all avian vocal activity is the syrinx, an organ unique to birds that is located at the first major branching of the windpipe and is linked to the brain. There are general parallels between the syrinx in birds and the larynx in humans. Both produce sound when air is forced through the windpipe, causing thin membranes to vibrate. However, compared to the human larynx, which uses only about two percent of exhaled air, the syrinx is a far more efficient sound–producing mechanism that can create sound from nearly all the air passing through it.

3. Possibly the most interesting aspect of bird song from the perspective of human intelligence is its foundation in the central nervous system. Like humans, birds have large brains relative to their body size. Song is a complex activity that young birds must learn, and learning implies that higher–brain activity must be complex in the control of song. This control is associated with two song–control centers in the avian brain. If the links between these centers and the syrinx are interrupted, a bird is unable to produce normal song. Moreover, bird song is one of the few instances in the animal kingdom of a skill that is lateralized; the song–control centers are located in the left side of the avian brain. A lesion there will destroy bird song, while a similar lesion in the right half of the brain will result in much less damage. Glossary: repertoire: stock of songs avian: relating to birds windpipe: main airway to the lungs; trachea

MACHIAVELLI

1. Niccolo Machiavelli, an Italian statesman and political philosopher of the early sixteenth century, is considered the founder of modern political thinking. Machiavelli was a product of Renaissance Florence, a city–state that was struggling for expansion and survival among a competing group of similar states. As a public servant and diplomat, Machiavelli came to understand power politics by observing the spectacle around him without any illusions. In 1512, he was briefly imprisoned and then forced to leave public life. He retired to his country estate, where he recorded his reflections on politics. Two of his books would become classics in political theory: Discourses on the First Ten Books of Livy, a set of essays on ancient and modern politics, and The Prince, a potent little book that would shock readers for centuries.

2. Machiavelli saw politics as an affair separate from religion and ethics, an activity to be practiced and studied for its own sake. Politics was simply the battle of men in search of power, and since all men were brutal, selfish, and cowardly, politics must follow certain rules. In his most famous work, The Prince (1532), Machiavelli described the means by which a leader may gain and maintain power. The ideal prince was the man who had studied his fellow men, both by reading history and by observing the present, and was willing to exploit their weaknesses. Machiavelli thought that his own time was too corrupt to permit any alternative to the Renaissance despots that he saw all around him.

3. Machiavelli’s philosophy arose more from a deeply pessimistic view of human nature than from a lack of moral sense, which many readers criticized in him. He was, and still is, misunderstood to have promoted atheism over religion and criminality over other means of governing. Despite the ruthless connotation of the term “Machiavellian,” many of his works, such as the History of Florence (1532), express republican principles. Machiavelli’s supporters saw him not as a cynic who gloried in evil but as a scientist of politics who saw the world more clearly than others and reported what he saw with lucidity and honesty.

4. The cultural impact of Machiavelli’s philosophy was far–reaching, and negative interpretations have persisted. The dramatic literature of the late sixteenth century, notably the plays of Shakespeare, often featured a villainous but humorous character type known as the Machiavel. The Machiavel character loved evil for its own sake, and this delight in evil made all other motivation unnecessary. The Machiavel had a habit of using humorous monologues to comment on his own wickedness and contempt for goodness. Shakespeare’s principal Machiavel characters are the treacherous Iago in Othello, the ruthlessly ambitious Edmund in King Lear, and the murderous title character in Richard III.

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