The birds of London
There are more than two hundred different species and sub-species of birds in the London area, ranging from the magpie to the greenfinch, but perhaps the most ubiquitous is the pigeon. It has been suggested that the swarms of feral pigeons are all descended from birds which escaped from dovecotes in the early medieval period; they found a natural habitat in the crannies and ledges of buildings as did their ancestors, the rock doves, amid the sea-girt cliffs. ‘They nest in small colonies,’ one observer has written, ‘usually high up and inaccessible’ above the streets of London as if the streets were indeed a sea. A man fell from the belfry of St Stephens Walbrook in 1277 while in quest of a pigeon’s nest, while the Bishop of London complained in 1385 of ‘malignant persons’ who threw stones at the pigeons resting in the city churches. So pigeons were already a familiar presence, even if they were not treated with the same indulgence as their more recent successors. A modicum of kindness to these creatures seems to have been first shown in the late nineteenth century, when they were fed oats rather than the customary stale bread.
From the end of the nineteenth century, wood pigeons also migrated into the city; they were quickly urbanised, increasing both in numbers and in tameness. ‘We have frequently seen them on die roofs of houses,’ wrote the author of Bird Life in London in 1893, apparently as much at home as any dovecote pigeon.’ Those who look up today may notice their ‘fly-lines’ in the sky. from Lincoln’s Inn Fields over Kingsway and Trafalgar Square to Battersea, with other lines to Victoria Park and to Kenwood. The air of London is filled with such ‘fly-lines’, and to trace the paths of the birds would be to envisage the city in an entirely different form; then it would seem linked and unified by thousands of thoroughfares and small paths of energy, each with its own history of use.
The sparrows move quickly in public places, and they are now so much part of London that they have been adopted by the native population as the sparred; a friend was known to Cockneys as a ‘cocksparrer’ in tribute to a bird which is sweet and yet watchful, blessed with a dusky plumage similar to that of the London dust, a plucky little bird darting in and out of the city’s endless uproar. They are small birds which can lose body heat very quickly, so they are perfectly adapted to the ‘heat island’ of London. They will live in any small cranny or cavity, behind drainpipes or ventilation shafts, or in public statues, or holes in buildings; in that sense diet are perfectly suited to a London topography. An ornithologist who described the sparrow as peculiarly attached to man’ said it never now breeds at any distance from an occupied building’. This sociability, bred upon the fondness of the Londoner, is manifest in many ways. One naturalist, W.H. Hudson, has described how any stranger in a green space or public garden will soon find that ‘several sparrows are keeping him company … watching his every movement, and if he sits down on a chair or a bench several of them will come close to him, and hop this way and that before him, uttering a little plaintive note of interrogation — Have you got nothing for us? They have also been described as die urchins of the streets — ‘thievish, self-assertive and pugnacious’ — a condition which again may merit the attention and admiration of native Londoners. Remarkably attached to their surroundings, they rarely create ‘fly-lines’ across the city; where they are born, like other Londoners, they stay.
There are some birds, such as the robin and the chaffinch, which are less approachable and trustful in the city than in the country. Other species, such as the mallard, grow increasingly shyer as they leave London. There has been a severe diminution of the number of sparrows, while blackbirds are more plentiful. Swans and ducks have also increased in number. Some species, however, have all but vanished. The rooks of London are, perhaps, the most notable of the disappeared, their rookeries destroyed by building work or by tree-felling. Areas of London were continuously inhabited by rooks for many hundreds of years. The burial ground of St Deinstalls in the East and the college garden of the Ecclesiastical Court in Doctors’ Commons, the turrets of the Tower of London and the gardens of Grays Inn, were once such localities. There was a rookery in the Inner Temple dating from at least 1666, mentioned by Oliver Goldsmith in 1774. Rooks nested on Bow Church and on St Olave’s. They were venerable London birds, preferring to cluster around ancient churches and the like as if they were their local guardians. Yet, in the words of the nineteenth-century song, ‘Now the old rooks have lost their places’. There was a grove in Kensington Gardens devoted to the rooks; it contained some seven hundred trees forming a piece of wild nature, a matter of delight and astonishment to those who walked among them and listened to the endless cawing that blotted out the city’s noise. But the trees were torn down in 1880. The rooks have never returned.
Answer the questions below using NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS for each answer. Write your answers in boxes 1-4 on your answer sheet.
1. What kind of birds are the London pigeons descended from?
2. What were pigeons given to eat before attitudes towards them changed?
3. What are the routes taken by wood pigeons known as?
4. What TWO activities have contributed to the drastic reduction in the number of rooks?
Complete the notes below. Choose NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS from the passage for each answer.
Word meaning (5)………………….is derived from the bird’s name suited to atmosphere of London because of tendency to rapidly (6)………………………always likely to reproduce close to (7)…………………….characteristic noted: (8)……………………….because of attitude of people in London make a sound that seems to be a kind of (9)……………………..
Classify the following as being stated of
B wood pigeons
10. They are happier with people when they are in rural areas.
11. They rapidly became comfortable being with people.
12. They used to congregate particularly at old buildings.
13. They used to be attacked by people.
Psychology and personality ASSESSMENT
A Our daily lives are largely made up of contacts with other people, during which we are constantly making judgments of their personalities and accommodating our behaviour to them in accordance with these judgments. A casual meeting of neighbours on the street, an employer giving instructions to an employee, a mother telling her children how to behave, a journey in a train where strangers eye one another without exchanging a word – all these involve mutual interpretations of personal qualities.
B Success in many vocations largely depends on skill in sizing up people. It is important not only to such professionals as the clinical psychologist, the psychiatrist or the social worker, but also to the doctor or lawyer in dealing with their clients, the businessman trying to outwit his rivals, the salesman with potential customers, the teacher with his pupils, not to speak of the pupils judging their teacher. Social life, indeed, would be impossible if we did not. to some extent, understand, and react to the motives and qualities of those we meet; and clearly we are sufficiently accurate for most practical purposes, although we also recognize that misinterpretations easily arise – particularly on the pare of others who judge us!
C Errors can often be corrected as we go along. But whenever we are pinned down to a definite decision about a person, which cannot easily be revised through his ‘feed-back’, the Inadequacies of our judgments become apparent. The hostess who wrongly thinks that the Smiths and the Joneses will get on well together can do little to retrieve the success of her party. A school or a business may be saddled for years with an undesirable member of staff, because the selection committee which interviewed him for a quarter of an hour misjudged his personality.
D Just because the process is so familiar and taken for granted, It has aroused little scientific curiosity until recently. Dramatists, writers and artists throughout the centuries have excelled in the portrayal of character, but have seldom stopped to ask how they, or we, get to know people, or how accurate is our knowledge. However, the popularity of such unscientific systems as Lavater’s physiognomy in the eighteenth century, Gall’s phrenology in the nineteenth, and of handwriting interpretations by graphologists, or palm-readings by Gypsies, show that people are aware of weaknesses in their judgments and desirous of better methods of diagnosis. It is natural that they should turn to psychology for help, in the belief that psychologists are specialists in ‘human nature’.
E This belief is hardly justified: for the primary aim of psychology had been to establish the general laws and principles underlying behaviour and thinking, rather than to apply these to concrete problems of the individual person. A great many professional psychologists still regard it as their main function to study the nature of learning, perception and motivation in the abstracted or average human being, or in lower organisms, and consider it premature to put so young a science to practical uses. They would disclaim the possession of any superior skill in judging their fellow-men. Indeed, being more aware of the difficulties than is the non-psychologist, they may be more reluctant to commit themselves to definite predictions or decisions about other people. Nevertheless, to an increasing extent psychologists are moving into educational, occupational, clinical and other applied fields, where they are called upon to use their expertise for such purposes as fitting the education or job to the child or adult, and the person to the job, Thus a considerable proportion of their activities consists of personality assessment.
F The success of psychologists in personality assessment has been limited, in comparison with what they have achieved in the fields of abilities and training, with the result that most people continue to rely on unscientific methods of assessment. In recent times there has been a tremendous amount of work on personality tests, and on carefully controlled experimental studies of personality. Investigations of personality by Freudian and other ‘depth’ psychologists have an even longer history. And yet psychology seems to be no nearer to providing society with practicable techniques which are sufficiently reliable and accurate to win general acceptance. The soundness of the methods of psychologists in the field of personality assessment and the value of their work are under constant fire from other psychologists, and it is far from easy to prove their worth.
G The growth of psychology has probably helped responsible members of society to become more aware of the difficulties of assessment. But it is not much use telling employers, educationists and judges how inaccurately they diagnose the personalities with which they have to deal unless psychologists are sure that they can provide something better. Even when university psychologists themselves appoint a new member of staff, they almost always resort to the traditional techniques of assessing the candidates through interviews, past records, and testimonials, and probably make at least as many bad appointments as other employers do. However, a large amount of experimental development of better methods has been carried out since 1940 by groups of psychologists in the Armed Services and in the Civil Service, and by such organizations as the (British) National Institute of Industrial Psychology and the American Institute of Research.
Reading passage has seven paragraphs A-G. Choose the correct heading for each paragraph from the list of headings below.
List of Headings
i The advantage of an intuitive approach to personality assessment
ii Overall theories of personality assessment rather than valuable guidance
iii The consequences of poor personality assessment
iv Differing views on the importance of personality assessment
v Success and failure in establishing an approach to personality assessment
vi Everyone makes personality assessments
vii Acknowledgement of the need for improvement in personality assessment
viii Little progress towards a widely applicable approach to personality assessment
ix The need for personality assessments to be well judged
x The need for a different kind of research into personality assessment
14. Paragraph A
15. Paragraph B
16. Paragraph C
17. Paragraph D
18. Paragraph E
19. Paragraph F
20. Paragraph G
Choose THREE letters A-F.
Which THREE of the following are stated about psychologists involved in personality assessment?
A Depth psychologists are better at it than some other kinds of psychologist
B many of them accept that their conclusions are unreliable
C they receive criticism from psychologists not involved in the field
D they have made people realise how hard the subject is
E they have told people what not to do rather than what they should do
F they keep changing their minds about what the best approaches are
Do the following statements agree with the views of the writer in Reading Passage 21 in boxes 22-26 on your answer sheet write
YES if the statement agrees with the views of the writer
NO if the statement contradicts the views of the writer
NOT GIVEN if it is impossible to say what the writer thinks about this
22. People often feel that they have been precisely assessed.
23. Unscientific systems of personality assessment have been of some use.
24. People make false assumptions about the expertise of psychologists.
25. It is likely that some psychologists are no better than anyone else at assessing personality.
26. Research since 1940 has been based on acceptance of previous theories.
TITAN of technology
Gordon Moore is the scientific brain behind Intel, the world’s biggest maker of computer chips. Both funny and self-deprecating, he’s a shrewd businessman too, but admits to being an ‘accidental entrepreneur’, happier in the back room trading ideas with techies than out selling the product or chatting up the stockholders. When he applied for a job at Dow Chemical after gaining his PhD, the company psychologist ruled that it was okay technically, but that I’d never manage anything’. This year Intel is set to turn over $28 billion.
When Moore co-founded Intel (short for Integrated Electronics) to develop integrated circuits thirty-five years ago, he provided the motive force in R&D (Research & Development) while his more extrovert partner Robert Noyce became the public face of the company. Intel’s ethos was distinctively Californian: laid- back, democratic, polo shirt and chinos. Moore worked in a cubicle like everyone else, never had a designated parking space and flew Economy. None of this implied lack of ambition. Moore and Noyce shared a vision, recognising that success depended just as much on intellectual pizazz as on Intel’s ability to deliver a product. Noyce himself received the first patent for an integrated circuit in 1961, while both partners were learning the business of electronics at Fair child Semiconductor.
Fair child’s success put money in Moore and Noyce’s pockets, but they were starved of R&D money. They resigned, frustrated, to found Intel in 1968. ‘It was one of those rare periods when money was available,’ says Moore. They put in $250,000 each and drummed up another $2.5m of venture capital ‘on the strength of a one-page business plan that said essentially nothing’. Ownership was divided 50:50 between founders and backers. Three years later, Intel’s first microprocessor was released: the 4004, carrying 2,250 transistors. Progress after that was rapid. By the time the competition realised what was happening, Intel had amassed a seven-year R&D lead that it was never to relinquish.
By the year 2000, Intel’s Pentium-4 chip was carrying 42 million transistors. ‘Now,’ says Moore, ‘we put a quarter of a billion transistors on a chip and are looking forward to a billion in the near future.’ The performance gains have been phenomenal. The 4004 ran at 108 kilohertz (108,000 hertz), the Pentium*4 at three gigahertz (3 billion hertz). It’s calculated that if automobile speed had increased similarly over the same period, you could now drive from New York to San Francisco in six seconds.
Moore’s prescience in forecasting this revolution is legendary. In 1965, while still head of the R&D laboratory at Fair child, he wrote a piece for Electronics magazine observing ‘that over the first few years we had essentially doubled the complexity of integrated circuits every year. I blindly extrapolated for the next ten years and said we’d go from about 60 to about 60,000 transistors on a chip. It proved a much more spot-on prediction than I could ever have imagined, up until then, integrated circuits had been expensive and had had principally military applications. But I could see that the economics were going to switch dramatically. This was going to become the cheapest way to make electronics.’
The prediction that a chip’s transistor-count – and thus its performance – would keep doubling every year soon proved so accurate that Carver Mead, a friend from Caltech, dubbed it ‘Moore’s Law’. The name has stuck. ‘Moore’s Law’ has become the yardstick by which the exponential growth of the computer industry has been measured ever since. When, in 1975, Moore looked around him again and saw transistor-counts slowing, he predicted that in future chip-performance would double only every two years. But that proved pessimistic. Actual growth since then has split the difference between his two predictions, with performance doubling every 1 8 months.
And there’s a corollary, says Moore. ‘If the cost of a given amount of computer power drops 50 per cent every 1 8 months, each time that happens the market explodes with new applications that hadn’t been economical before.’ He sees the microprocessor as ‘almost infinitely elastic’. As prices fall, new applications keep emerging: smart light bulbs, flashing trainers or greetings cards that sing ‘Happy Birthday’. Where will it all stop? Well, it’s true, he says, ‘that in a few more generations [of chips], the fact that materials are made of atoms starts to be a real problem. Essentially, you can’t make things any smaller.’ But in practice, the day of reckoning is endlessly postponed as engineers find endlessly more ingenious ways of loading more transistors on a chip. ‘I suspect I shared the feelings of everybody else that when we got to the dimensions of a micron [about 1986Ị, we wouldn’t be able to continue because we were touching the wavelength of light. But as we got closer, the barriers just melted away,’
When conventional chips finally reach their limits, nanotechnology beckons. Researchers are already working on sci-fi sounding alternatives such as molecular computers, built atom by atom, that theoretically could process hundreds of thousands times more information than today’s processors. Quantum computers using the state of electrons as the basis for calculation could operate still faster. On any measure, there looks to be plenty of life left in Moore’s Law yet.
Choose the correct letter, A, B, C or D.
27. What do we learn about Gordon Moore’s personality in the first two paragraphs?
A It has changed noticeably as his career has developed.
B It was once considered unsuitable for the particular type of business he was in.
C It made him more suited to producing things than to selling them.
D It is less complicated than it may at first appear.
28. What do we learn about Intel when it was first established?
A It was unlike any ocher company in its field at the time.
B It combined a relaxed atmosphere with serious intent.
C It attracted attention because of the unconventional way in which it was run.
D It placed more emphasis on ingenuity than on any other aspect.
29. What is stated about the setting up of Intel in the third paragraph?
A It was primarily motivated by the existence of funds that made it possible.
B It involved keeping certain sensitive information secret.
C It resulted from the founders’ desire to launch a particular product.
D It was caused by the founders’ dissatisfaction with their employer’s priorities.
Do the following statements agree with the information given in Reading -Passage 3? In boxes 30-34 on your answer sheet write
TRUE if the statement agrees with the information
FALSE if the statement contradicts the information
NOT GIVEN If there is no information on this
30. Competitors soon came close to catching up with Intel’s progress.
31. Intel’s Pentium 4 chip was more successful than Moore had anticipated.
32. Moore’s prediction in 1975 was based on too little evidence.
33. Flashing trainers are an example of Moore’s theory about the relationship between cost and applications.
34. Moore has always been confident that problems concerning the sire of components will be overcome.
Complete the summary below using words from the box. Write your answers in boxes 35-40 on your answer sheet.
Gordon Moore’s ability to foresee developments is well-known. In 1965, he referred to the increase in the (35)………………of integrated circuits and guessed that the number of transistors would go on rising for a decade. The (36)………………………..of his prediction surprised him. Previously, the (37)…………………..and main (38)……………………of integrated circuits had been the major (39)……………………..with regard to their development. But Moore observed that the (40)…………………………of integrated circuits was going to improve dramatically. His resulting forecasts concerning chips led to the creation of the term ‘Moore’s Law’.
Academic Reading Practice Tests
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