Identifying Negative Facts

1.2 A

Question 1

An important element of drama is that it is a presentation by performers in front of an audience—for example, a ceremony conducted by civic leaders before members of a community. Another aspect is costumes, such as those worn by tribal chiefs who impersonate animals or gods. Moreover, drama involves storytelling—recitation of myths or legends, teaching lessons through stories—to a group of listeners. Sometimes the storyteller imitates the characters in the story by changing his or her voice for different characters.

Question 2

Skin cancer is the most prevalent of all cancers. The principal cause of skin cancer is overexposure to sunlight, according to most medical experts. Chronic sun exposure— especially when it causes sunburn or blistering—results in more skin cancer than does any other risk factor, including exposure to x–rays and a family history of the disease. The most effective preventative measure is sun avoidance.

Question 3-4

.. 1 … Laughter is a key to a good life and good health: it can diminish feelings of tension, anger, and sadness. Just as exercise conditions our bodies, frequent laughter can train our bodies to be healthier. When laughter is a regular experience, it lowers blood pressure and boosts brain chemicals that fight pain. It can also reduce stress hormones that increase vulnerability to illness, as well as increase hormones that have been shown to help produce restful sleep. Laughter is like an instant vacation in the way it changes our psychobiology.
.. 2 … To make laughter a regular part of your life, try keeping a humor journal in which you record some of the amusing things that happen to you. Another technique is to create a weekly fun time to look forward to, such as watching a comedy video or having a dinner with friends that features joke telling. Another sure source of laughter is spending time with children and animals.

Question 5-6

Nearly all animals have a good sense of their own bodies, the trait of physical self– awareness. For this reason, animals do not generally bump into things. Horses know how much room they have around them when they move through narrow spaces. A horse can run between two trees or around large rocks in a way that clearly shows the horse’s knowledge of its own body size. Animals show self–awareness in how they respond to discomfort. A dog, for example, has no trouble knowing where to scratch itself to kill a flea. Many animals show self–awareness when they recognize their own reflection. While looking at itself in a mirror, an elephant may move its trunk over different parts of its body. A chimpanzee will make faces, look inside its mouth, or stick out its tongue in front of a mirror.

Question 7-8

.. 1 … Indian filmmaker Satyajit Ray is still regarded by many film critics as one of the world’s great directors. Ray’s films are known for their compassion, honesty, and quiet dignity. His Apu Trilogy, three films about Bengali life, was hailed as a national epic in the 1950s. The first film, Pather Panchali, is the story of a Bengali family’s noble struggle against poverty and the heartbreaks of life. It was followed by Aparajito, in which the son of the family, Apu, grows to manhood. In the final film, The World of Apu, the young man marries, but fails at his life’s ambitions, and then, after losing his wife, he wanders across the country for several years before returning home to claim his son.
.. 2 … Satyajit Ray’s movies have never been very popular in India itself, but those who appreciate his unobtrusive technique and his compassion for his characters view his films as a poetic record of Indian life.

Question 9-10

.. 1 … Archaeology is the study of prehistoric and historic cultures through the analysis of material remains. Archaeologists interpret the past from the objects made by past peoples. Often these objects lie buried in the ground, so our image of the archaeologist is of a scientist who is always digging. Archaeological digs include ruins of buildings and monuments, and also objects made by people who often had no written language and therefore no other record of their way of life. Tools, weapons, body ornaments, household furnishings, and items used in religious ceremonies are all examples of artifacts that typically turn up in digs.
.. 2 … Like historians, archaeologists establish the sequence of events that occurred in a given place and time period. But unlike historians, they take on a time span of roughly half a million years. Archaeologists try not only to piece together what happened in a particular setting but also to fit these small pieces into a much bigger picture. They aim to document how big changes occurred in the way peoples exploited their environment and one another.

1.2 B

Question 1

In the 1930s, the Great Plains of North America came to be called the Dust Bowl after several large dust storms destroyed the region. The Dust Bowl was the result of human activity and bad weather that led to soil erosion. In the previous decade, farmers had plowed millions of acres of grassland to make room for growing wheat. Consequently, when a period of dry weather struck the region, there were no native grasses to hold the soil in place. The wind lifted the dry soil and carried it away in great clouds. The Dust Bowl was an ecological and economic disaster, resulting in severe soil loss, crop failures, and economic hardship.

Question 2-3

Political parties are necessary in the exercise of democracy in nation states. The enlargement of the electorate—the body of qualified voters—has increased the importance of parties to the point where it is practically impossible for a candidate to get elected without the support of a party organization. This is because the variety of issues facing nation states has complicated the problem of creating an informed electorate that can use its vote responsibly. The job of influencing popular opinion through newspapers, television, the Internet, and other mass media is too complicated and costly for an individual candidate to undertake. Although individual candidates continue to appear at public meetings—to answer questions and shake hands with voters— the influencing of public opinion on a mass scale has become a specialized technique. Building political support on a nation–wide scale carries a high cost, and it requires nationally organized and well–financed parties. Party organizations thus have come to occupy a prominent place in the functioning of democracies.

Question 4

The music called “blues” has deep roots in African–American history. In the Mississippi Delta, men working in the cotton fields and on construction crews chanted and sang as they worked. These work songs and “field hollers” expressed the pain and sorrow of the workers and helped to pass the time. During the evenings, the workers sang these songs, accompanied by guitar and banjo. Live dance bands started playing blues songs, and female singers further developed the style. The blues spread from its birthplace in the Mississippi Delta to other rural areas of the South. Eventually, the music traveled northward with African Americans who moved from the South to cities in the North. The blues contributed to the development of other types of music, such as the big–band jazz of the 1930s.

Question 5-6

.. 1 … Coral reefs are one of the earth’s most ancient ecosystems and also the richest, most diverse, and most beautiful ecosystems in any ocean. The huge cities built by corals provide shelter and food for billions of other marine animals. A quarter of all sea creatures depend on coral reefs during some part of their life cycles.
.. 2 … In the past century, the ocean’s surface temperature has risen an average of 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit. It has taken only this slight increase in sea–surface temperature to sicken the world’s coral reefs. The brilliant blue, purple, green, gold, and pink have begun to disappear as a disease called bleaching drains the color and the life from the reefs. Scientists have reported mass bleaching on reefs in the Caribbean, in southern Japan, in Indonesia, and on the world’s largest coral reef, the Great Barrier Reef, where the corals have bleached to a dirty white.
.. 3 … Bleaching has killed more corals than all other causes combined. More than 16 percent of the world’s corals have sickened and died from bleaching. Millions of aquatic animals that depend directly or indirectly on corals have died as well—anemones, sponges, mollusks, shrimp, crabs, fish, turtles, and seabirds—making the loss of corals a catastrophe for the natural world.

Question 7-8

.. 1 … What made Native American and European subsistence cycles so different from one another in colonial America had less to do with their use of plants than with their use of animals. Domesticated grazing animals and the plow were the most distinguishing characteristics of European agricultural practices. The Native Americans’ relationship to the deer, moose, and beaver they hunted was far different from that of the Europeans to the pigs, cows, sheep, and horses they owned.
.. 2 … Where Natives had contented themselves with burning the woods and concentrating their hunting in the fall and winter months, the English sought a much more total and year–round control over their animals’ lives. The effects of that control could be seen in most aspects of New England’s rural economy. By the end of the colonial period, the Europeans were responsible for a host of changes in the New England landscape: endless miles of fences, a system of country roads, and new fields covered with grass, clover, and buttercups.

Question 9-10

.. 1 … Landscape architects design landscapes in residential areas, public parks, and commercial zones. They are hired by many types of organizations, from real estate firms starting new developments to municipalities constructing airports or parks. They usually plan the arrangement of vegetation, walkways, and other natural features of open spaces.
.. 2 … In planning a site, landscape architects first consider the nature and purpose of the project, the funds available, and the proposed elements. Next, they study the site and map such features as the slope of the land, the positions of existing buildings, existing utilities, roads, fences, walkways, and trees. Then, working either as the leader of a design team or in consultation with the project architect or engineer, they draw up plans to develop the site. If the plans are approved, they prepare working drawings to show all existing and proposed features. They outline the methods of constructing features and draw up lists of building materials.
.. 3 … Newcomers to the field usually start as junior drafters, tracing drawings and doing other simple drafting work for architectural, landscape architectural, or engineering firms. After two or three years, they can carry a design through all stages of development. Highly qualified landscape architects may become associates in private firms, but usually those who progress this far open their own offices.


1 Fact or Opinion? Select a passage from each of the following sources:
  • a science textbook
  • a book of essays
  • the international page of a newspaper
  • the editorial page of a newspaper
Make enough copies of each passage for everyone in your class. In class, identify statements in the passages that are facts and statements that are opinions. Discuss the following questions:
  1.  What is a fact?
  2. Is a fact always true for every person?
  3. What is an opinion?
  4. How do writers use facts and opinions?
  5. How can you distinguish a fact from an opinion?

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