13. M3U1. Reading—Fog
When Polly left home that morning, the city was already covered in a grey mist. At lunch, the radio forecast that the mist would become a thick fog in the afternoon. At four o’clock, Polly left work and stepped out into the fog. She wondered if the buses would still be running.
No buses to King Street
Once out in the street, she walked quickly towards her usual bus stop.
‘How far are you going?’ the bus conductor asked her before he took her fare.
‘King Street,’ said Polly.
‘Sorry, Miss,’ replied the man, ‘the truth is that it is too foggy for the bus to run that far. Take the Underground to Green Park. The weather might be better there and you might be able to get a taxi.’
A tall man
As Polly observed the passengers on the train, she had a feeling that she was being watched by a tall man in a dark overcoat. At last the train arrived at Green Park station. While the rest of the passengers were getting out, she glanced at the faces around her. The tall man was nowhere to be seen.
When Polly got to the station entrance, it was empty. Outside, wherever she looked the fog lay like a thick, grey cloud. There was no one in sight. Polly set off towards Park Street. As she walked along the narrow street, she heard the sound of footsteps approaching, but by the time she reached the corner of the street, the footsteps were gone. Suddenly Polly felt a rough hand brush her cheek, and she heard a man’s voice in her ear saying ‘Sorry.’ The man moved away. She could feel her heart beating with fear.
The helpful stranger
Then she heard the sound again - soft footsteps behind her. A minute before, she had wished for someone to come along. Now she wanted to run, but fear held her still. The footsteps seemed close now. Then a man’s voice came out of the darkness. ‘Is anybody there?’
Polly hesitated. At last she answered, ‘Hello, I think I’m lost.’
A few seconds later, a hand reached out and grasped her arm. Polly found herself staring up at the face of an old man with a beard.
‘Maybe I can help you. Which road do you want?’ He asked.
‘I live at 86 King Street,’ Poly replied.
‘Just take my hand,’ said the man. ‘Come with me. You’ll be all right.’ He took Polly’s hand. ‘Watch out for the step here.’
In his other hand the man carried a stick. Polly heard it hit the step. ‘I can remember some terrible fogs, but maybe that was before your time. I can’t see your face, but you sound young. How old are you?’
‘Just twenty,’ answered Polly.
‘Ah, twenty! A nice age to be! I was young once. Now we’re at the crossroads. Turn left here.’
‘I’m quite lost now. Are you sure you know the way?’ Polly was beginning to feel frightened again.
‘Of course. You really shouldn’t feel anxious.’ He held her hand more firmly.
The grateful helper
‘Here we are. King Street.’ He stopped.
‘Thank you so much for coming to my aid,’ said Polly in relief. ‘Would you like to come in and rest for a while?’
‘It’s very nice of you,’ said the man, ‘but I’ll be off. There may be more people lost today, and I’d like to help them. You see, a fog this bad is rare. It gives me the chance to pay back the help that people give me when it’s sunny. A blind person like me can’t get across the road without help, except in a fog like this.’
14. M3U1. Project (1)—Shark attacks
There are nearly 400 different types of sharks, but only about 30 types are known to have attacked human beings. Many people know that the most dangerous shark is the great white shark, mainly because they have seen the movie Jaws. However, two other sharks are also rather dangerous: the tiger shark and the bull shark.
Contrary to what many people might assume, evidence shows that sharks seldom attack humans. There are three types of shark attacks. In the main type, the shark attacks you because it mistakes you for a fish, but when it tastes human flesh it decides to give up and swim away. In the second type, the shark pushes you with its nose to find out if you are fit to be eaten, and then bites you if it thinks you are. In the third type, the shark waits for you to swim by, and then attacks you suddenly. The last two types of attack more often result in the death of humans.
To reduce the risk of a shark attack, you should follow these suggestions.
?Do not swim in the dark. Sharks can still see you but you cannot see them.
?Do not go swimming in the ocean if you have a fresh wound. Sharks can smell blood
over a long distance.
?Do not wear bright clothing or jewellery, because sharks are attracted to the flash of
colors and bright objects.
?Stay in groups, as sharks usually avoid large numbers of people.
Recently, shark attacks have been increasing as water sports are becoming more popular. If a shark attacks you, follow the advice below.
?Keep calm. Do not panic.
?Hit the shark on the nose with your fist.
?Stick your finger in the shark's eye.
Don't be frightened by sharks: you are 30 times more likely to be hit by lightning than be attacked by a shark.
15. M3U1. Project (2)—The wonderful world of pigeons
It is night. All is quiet. The soldiers are asleep while a guard watches for the enemy. There is a flash, and the sound of guns! They are being attacked! Hundreds of enemy soldiers rush towards them. They are all going to be killed unless they get help. What should they do?
An officer writes a short message quickly on a small piece of paper: 'Being attacked! Hurry!' He rolls up the paper and puts it into a small case, and then reaches into a cage and gets a bird. Attaching the message to its leg, he sets the bird loose. It immediately flies into the air and disappears in the dark.
Will the bird arrive in time? Will they be saved?
Though it may seem hard to believe, the bird the officer uses is the same bird often seen in public parks—the pigeon. Pigeons have a wonderful sense of direction and can find their way home over long distances. Indeed, pigeons have been known to fly home from as far away as 1,800 kilometres. That is why pigeons have been used since ancient times to carry the news or even the mail. However, it was in war that they found their greatest use. During both World War I and II, pigeons were employed by armies to carry messages to and from the front lines, saving the lives of many soldiers and even helping win some important victories.
How do pigeons find their way? Pigeons appear to have a compass inside them that tells them
which way is north. How this compass works remains a mystery. Of course, since a compass alone is not enough to find one's way, they also appear to use their sight and even their sense of smell to tell them which way they should go. Unlike humans, they never get lost and can always find their way home.
16. M3U2. Reading—English and its history
All through history, people from many different countries and cultures have lived together in Britain. The English language is made up of the grammar and vocabulary these people brought to Britain. That is why English has so many difficult rules that confuse people.
Old English is very different from the English we speak nowadays .In fact, we would not be able to understand it if we heard it today. Before the middle of the 5th century, people in Britain all spoke a language called Celtic. Then two Germanic groups from the European mainland—the angles and the Saxons—occupied Britain. Old English consisted of a mixture of their languages. (Both the English language and the English people are named after the angles; the word Angle was spelt Engle in old English.) Aside from place names such as London, very few Celtic words became part of old English. At the end of the 9th century, the Vikings, people from Northern European countries such as Denmark and Norway, began to move to Britain. They brought with them their languages, which also mixed with Old English. By the 10th century, Old English had become the official language of England.
When we speak English today, we sometimes feel puzzled about which words or phrases to use. This is because English has many words and phrases from different languages, but with similar meanings. For example, the word sick came from a word once used by the Angles and the Saxons, while ill came from a word once used by the Norwegians.
Middle English is the name given to the English used from around the 12th to the 15th centuries. Many things played a part in the development of this new type of English. The most important contribution was from the Normans, a French-speaking people who defeated England and took control of the country in 1066. However, the Norman Conquest did not affect English as m uch as the Angles and the Saxons’ victory about 600 years earlier, which led to old English replacing Celtic. Even though the Normans spoke French for the entire 250 years they ruled
English, French did not replace English as the first language. On the other hand, the English language did borrow many words from French. This resulted in even more words with similar meanings, such as answer(from Old English) and reply(from Old French). It is interesting to learn how the words for animals and meat developed. After the Norman Conquest, many English people worked as servants who raised animals. Therefore, the words we use for most animals raised for food such as cow, sheep and pig, came from Old English. However, the words for the meat of these animals, which was served to the Normans, came from Old French: beef, mutton, pork and bacon.
Old French made other contributions to Middle English as well. In Old English, the Germanic way of making words plural was used. For example, they said housen instead of houses, and shoen instead of shoes. After the Normans took control they began using the French way of making plurals, adding an –s to house and shoe. Only a few words kept their Germanic plural forms, such as man/men and child/children.
After the Norman Conquest, high-class people spoke French while common people spoke English. However, by the latter half of the 14th century, English had come into widespread use among all classes in England. In 1399, Henry IV became King of England. His mother tongue was English, and he used English for all official events.
Modern English appeared during the Renaissance in the 16th century. Because of this, modern English includes many Latin and Greek words. Pronunciation also went through huge changes during this period. Of course, this was not the end of the changes in the English language. The question of whether English will keep on changing in the future is easy to answer. It is certain that this process will continue, and people will keep inventing new words and new ways of saying things.
17. M3U2. Project (1)—The development of Chinese characters
The Chinese language differs from Western languages in that instead of an alphabet, it uses characters which stand for ideas, objects or deeds. Chinese words are formed by putting together different characters. In many cases, a single character can also make up a word. The history of the Chinese language can be examined by looking at how these characters developed.
Chinese writing began thousands of years ago. According to an ancient story, a man named Cang Jie invented Chinese writing. One winter day while he was hunting, he saw the tracks of
animals in the snow and observed that the appearance of each one was different. Then he had the idea that he could use different shapes to represent different objects. The first Chinese characters were drawings of physical objects. Some characters have been simplified and others have been made more difficult over time. However, as a whole, the characters have developed from drawings into standard forms. The character for a mountain was at first three mountaintops together. This became one mountaintop and three lines, and over time turned into the character used nowadays.
Not all characters were developed from drawings of objects. Sometimes to express ideas, some characters were made by combining two or more characters together. For example, ‘rest’ was made up of the characters for a man and a tree. The character ‘prisoner’ was formed with a ‘man’ inside a square. Other character s were developed for directions and numbers. It is easy to distinguish their meanings by looking at them, for example, the characters for ‘up’ and ‘down’, which are opposites of each other.
Though these kinds of characters indicate meanings, one of their shortcomings is that they do not show how they should be pronounced. Therefore, a method was developed to have one part of a character indicate the meaning and the other suggest the pronunciation. Many Chinese characters used today were made this way.
In the 1950s the Chinese government introduced simplified Chinese characters and now they have widespread use in China’s mainland.
18. M3U2. Project (2)—The story of Braille
Usually, when we talk about reading, we think of using our eyes to see letters written in ink on paper. However, this is not always true. For example, blind people cannot see, but they can still read books.
The man who introduced blind people to reading was Louis Braille (1809-1852). Braille lost his eyesight at the age of three as a result of an injury. When he was ten, he went to a school for the blind in Paris. In those days, books for blind people used paper pressed against metal wire to form letters. Since the metal wire was heavy, each book weighed as much as 100 pounds. The whole system was not convenient for use. Indeed, the school library only had fourteen such books in it.
In 1821, a soldier visited the school and showed the students a system for passing messages at night during times of battle. His system used paper with small, raised dots that could be felt with the fingers. Each letter of the alphabet was represented by a different pattern which consisted
of twelve dots. The soldiers would drag their fingers over the raised dots to read the message.
While the students found the so ldier’s idea interesting, the system was too difficult to be of practical use. However, young Louis Braille took the idea and worked on it. At the age of fifteen, he created a system with patterns of six raised dots representing each letter. ‘Braille’, the system for reading used today by blind people around the world, was thus born.
The blind can easily recognize Braille with the fingers. They can also easily write in Braille with a special typewriter. Today, it is the most common system used by blind people for reading and writing, and nearly every language, including Chinese, has its own version of Braille for its people to use.
19. M3U3. Reading—Lost civilizations
Day 1,15 July
I feel lucky to have won a place on this trip. We are in Italy now, and tomorrow we are visiting Pompeii. Next week we are flying to China, and going Loulan, which is known as China's Pompeii in the desert. Both Pompeii and Loulan became lost civilizations long ago.
Day 2,16 July
This morning we attended a lecture about Pompeii. The city was founded in the 8th century BC. In 89 BC, the Romans took over Pompeii. It then became a rich and busy city. Near the city was a volcano. On 24 August AD 79,the volcano erupted and lava, ash and rocks poured out of it onto the surrounding countryside. It continued to erupt for the next two days. Many people were buried alive, and so was the city. How unfortunate!
Day 3,17 July
Today I saw the ancient Roman city of Pompeii as it was 2,000 years ago. How amazing! The city was forgotten for many years until the 18th century when a farmer discovered a stone with writing on it. People started to dig in the area for treasure, which caused much damage. Thus, in 1860,the area was put under government protection so it could be preserved and studied.
When I walked around the city, I saw streets just as they had been, with stepping stones along the road so you did not have to step in the mud on rainy days! I saw several houses which were decorated with wall paintings. I also saw the people who had been buried alive. It turns out that after the ash covered the people who failed to flee the city, their bodies nearly completely broke down and disappeared, leaving empty spaces in the ash. Years later, researchers were able to use these empty spaces to produce true-to-life figures of the people who had died in the disaster. You
can see them today in Pompeii, in the same places where the people fell. The volcano is still there, but looks very quiet now. It's hard to imagine how this peaceful volcano destroyed the whole city!
Day 10,24 July
Finally, we arrived in Loulan after several days of travelling. This commercial city was busy and wealthy about 2,000 years ago. It was a stopping point on the famous Silk Road between the East and the West. It is believed to have been gradually covered over by sandstorms form AD 200 to AD 400. I am so excited to be here!
Day 11,25 July
A scholar from the local cultural institute, Professor Zhang, told us that around the year 1900 the European explorer Sven Hedin discovered the ruins of the Loulan Kingdom. Sven found the remains of buildings buried beneath the sand, together with a lot of treasures including coins, painted pots, material such as silk, documents and wall paintings. When we went to the city, we saw the city walls, palaces, temples, workshops and towers. We found the ruins most interesting. There was an ancient water system that ran through the middle of the city. The desert was once a green land with huge trees, but they were cut down and that resulted in the city being buried by sand——what a pity!
20. M3U3. Project (1)—Ancient Greek statue found in Xinjiang
Researchers announced the discovery of a small statue in northern Xinjiang, China, recently. The metal statue is of a Greek soldier. When asked how a statue from distant Greece could have appeared in China, researchers explained that no doubt this was a result of Alexander the Great’s influence.
Alexander the Great (356-323 BC) was the son of a Greek king who defeated many Greek cities in battle. At the age of twenty, Alexander himself became king after his father died. However, many cities rose up against Alexander, so he led an army to take them back. Though his army had only 3,000 troops, he won every battle and many enemy soldiers joined him.
In 334 BC, he took his army, now with 42,000 men, into the Middle East and then Egypt, defeating every army that stood in his path. Then he turned his eyes east, and marched all the way to India, finding victory wherever he went. It seemed that nothing could stop him from taking control of the entire world. However, his own army grew tired of endless battles and refused to go any further, so he had to turn back. By the age of thirty, he had already occupied more land than
anyone before, and it seemed that more glory was waiting ahead of him. Yet, in 323 BC, he came down with a fever and died. Since he had no son, his generals divided his vast kingdom among themselves.
Alexander the Great spread the Greek culture from Europe to Africa and Asia, influencing the world for centuries to come. The statue of the Greek soldier found in northern Xinjiang probably came to China in the 4th century BC as a result of trade. Like many other ancient objects that show a Greek influence, it can now be seen in a museum in Urumqi.
21. M3U3. Project (2)—The father of Western philosophy
The world 'philosophy' means 'love of wisdom'. Philosophy can be thought of as a way of looking at the world around us, or of answering the great questions of life, such as 'Why are we here?' and 'What is truth?'
The father of Western Philosophy was Socrates (469-399 BC).Socrates was from Athens, in Greece. When he was young, he was a brave soldier. Later, he became a teacher, but he taught for free and earned his salary from being a common worker. Aside from this, we know very little about him. Since he never wrote a book, we also know very little about his philosophy. Yet, Socrates has had a deep influence on Western thought and science.
To understand how this can be true, we must understand how Socrates taught. Socrates taught by asking questions. Through this, he challenged his students to develop and explain their own arguments. In many cases, his questions made his students aware of their own errors. Many students got embarrassed and even angry when this happened, while others changed their opinions. Socrates' way of approaching the truth is now called the Socratic Method. The idea of asking questions until you reach the right answer is the basis of modern philosophy and science.
Unfortunately for him, Socrates questioned too much. He always asked challenging questions to everyone he met, upsetting many people in Athens. Finally, some people had had enough of him, so they took him to court for questioning the existence of the Greek gods and for corrupting the young people of Athens. At his trial, he defended himself by asking his judges yet more questions. This just made a bad situation worse. Finally he was put to death by being forced to drink poison. Through his death, Socrates became the hero of all people who search for the truth.