The opening night of the 2008 Beijing Olympic summer games was an amazing spectacle: thousands of dancers, acrobats and singers performed in carefully choreographed unison. No detail was too big or too small to be left to chance; from the lovely child performers, to one factor that seemed uncontrollable: the weather. Chinese officials claimed that they prevented the rain by launching rockets into the rain clouds the night before. Right on schedule,the first day of the Olympics was clear, with low humidity – a notable contrast to the usual hot and wet conditions of South East Asia in August.
Does this prove that humans have learned how to control the weather? The idea of humans controlling the weather is not a new one. Back in medieval France, people would shoot cannons into the clouds to try to prevent crop-damaging storms. But it wasn’t until the 1940s that human attempts to influence the weather had any real results. A series of weather modification experiments carried out by General Electric Laboratories showed that releasing chemicals into clouds caused rain drops to turn into ice at higher than normal temperatures.
New satellites and high technological measuring equipment are helping scientists and researchers learn more about the weather patterns of the earth. By mid century you can expect more accurate weather predictions, and eventually controlling the weather itself.
Governments all over the world are researching weather modification. The obvious benefits of controlling local weather would be to increase crop production, decrease the severity of storms, reduce flooding, eliminate water shortages, etc. There are also military uses, such as making sure the weather is clear for a mission or covering the enemy with snow, fog or lightning strikes.
A far better use of weather modification would be if we could someday stop a hurricane like Katrina from ever reaching land.
I. READING COMPREHENSION
ANSWER QUESTIONS 1-3 ACCORDING TO THE INFORMATION GIVEN IN THE TEXT. USE YOUR OWN WORDS.
1 How did the Chinese authorities try to guarantee good weather on the Olympic Games opening night?
- The night before the opening night of the Olympic Games, they launched rockets into the rain clouds, so that the next day they had a clear, low-humidity day.
2 What change has been achieved by General Electric’s experiments on weather control?
3 Give at least three benefits of controlling the weather.
- Controlling weather, people can avoid disasters such us water shortage or floods, improve productions of crops and help in military uses, such as making clear weather or provoking fog when they need it.
ARE THESE STATEMENTS TRUE OR FALSE? JUSTIFY YOUR ANSWERS WITH THE PRECISE WORDS OR PHRASES FROM THE TEXT, OR USE YOUR OWN WORDS.
4 Technology contributes to more accurate weather predictions.
- TRUE. “By mid century you can expect more accurate weather predictions, and eventually controlling the weather itself”. (lines 13-14)
5 China is the only country carrying research into weather control.
II. USE OF ENGLISH
6 FIND IN THE TEXT ONE WORD MEANING “the total field production from a specific area”.
7 FIND IN THE TEXT ONE SYNONYM FOR “wetness” (NOUN).
8 WHICH WORD DOES NOT HAVE THE SAME MEANING?:
- Instrument / advice / device / tool.
9 GIVE A NOUN WITH THE SAME ROOT AS “prove” (VERB; LINE 7).
10 TURN THE FOLLOWING SENTENCE INTO REPORTED SPEECH:
“The doctor said to the old lady: ‘I will not operate on you’”.
11 JOIN THE FOLLOWING SENTENCES USING A RELATIVE. MAKE CHANGES IF NECESSARY:
“The name of the hospital is St Andrew’s. I had a heart operation there”.
12 FILL IN THE GAP WITH A CORRECT FORM OF THE VERB IN BRACKETS:
- “They don’t let people smoke (smoke) in hospitals”.
13 USE THE WORDS IN THE BOXES TO MAKE A MEANINGFUL SENTENCE. USE ALL AND ONLY THE WORDS IN THE BOXES WITHOUT CHANGING THEIR FORM:
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