2019-11-12 17:37:04来源:网络




  Section Ⅱ Reading Comprehension

  Part A


  Read the following four texts. Answer the questions below each text by choosing A, B, C or D. Mark your answers on the ANSWER SHEET. (40 points)

  Text 1

  Financial regulations in Britain have imposed a rather unusual rule on the bosses of big banks. Starting next year, any guaranteed bonus of top executives could be delayed 10 years if their banks are under investigation for wrongdoing. The main purpose of this “clawback” rule is to hold bankers accountable for harmful risk-taking and to restore public trust in financial institution. Yet officials also hope for a much larger benefit: more long term decision-making not only by banks but also bu all corporations, to build a stronger economy for future generations.

  “Short-termism” or the desire for quick profits, has worsened in publicly traded companies, says the Bank of England’s top economist. Andrew Haldane. He quotes a giant of classical economies, Alfred Marshall, in describing this financial impatience as acting like “Children who pick the plums out of their pudding to eat them at once” rather than putting them aside to be eaten last.

  The average time for holding a stock in both the United States and Britain, he notes, has dropped from seven years to seven months in recent decades. Transient investors, who demand high quarterly profits from companies, can hinder a firm’s efforts to invest in long-term research or to build up customer loyalty. This has been dubbed “quarterly capitalism”.

  In addition, new digital technologies have allowed more rapid trading of equities, quicker use of information, and thus shortens attention spans in financial markers. “There seems to be a predominance of short-term thinking at the expense of long-term investing,” said Commissioner Daniel Gallagher of the US Securities and Exchange Commission in speech this week.

  In the US, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 has pushed most public companies to defer performance bonuses for senior executives by about a year, slightly helping reduce “short-termism.” In its latest survey of CEO pay, The Wall Street Journal finds that “ a substantial part” of executive pay is now tied to performance.

  Much more could be done to encourage “long-termism,” such as changes in the tax code and quicker disclosure of stock acquisitions. In France, shareholders who hold onto a company investment for at least two years can sometimes earn more voting rights in a company.

  Within companies, the right compensation design can provide incentives for executives to think beyond their own time at the company and on behalf of all stakeholders. Britain’s new rule is a reminder to bankers that society has an interest in their performance, not just for the short term but for the long term.

  21. According to Paragraph 1, one motive in imposing the new rule is the_________.

  A. enhance banker’s sense of responsibility

  B. help corporations achieve larger profits

  C. build a new system of financial regulation

  D. guarantee the bonuses of top executives

  22. Alfred Marshall is quoted to indicate_________.

  A. the conditions for generating quick profits

  B. governments’ impatience in decision-making

  C. the solid structure of publicly traded companies

  D. “short-termism” in economics activities

  23. It is argued that the influence of transient investment on public companies can be__________.

  A. indirect

  B. adverse

  C. minimal

  D. temporary

  24. The US and France examples are used to illustrate____________.

  A. the obstacles to preventing “short-termism”.

  B. the significance of long-term thinking.

  C. the approaches to promoting “long-termism”.

  D. the prevalence of short-term thinking.

  25. Which of the following would be the best title for the text?

  A. Failure of Quarterly Capitalism

  B. Patience as a Corporate Virtue

  C. Decisiveness Required of Top Executives

  D. Frustration of Risk-taking Bankers

  Text 2

  Grade inflation--the gradual increase in average GPAs(grade-point averages) over the past few decades—is often considered a product of a consumer era in higher education, in which students are treated like customers to be pleased. But another, related force—a policy often buried deep in course catalogs called “grade forgiveness”—is helping raise GPAs.

  Grade forgiveness allows students to retake a course in which they received a low grade, and the most recent grade or the highest grade is the only one that counts in calculating a student’s overall GPA.

  The use of this little-known practice has accelerated in recent years, as colleges continue to do their utmost to keep students in school (and paying tuition) and improve their graduation rates. When this practice first started decades ago, it was usually limited to freshmen, to give them a second chance to take a class in their first year if they struggled in their transition to college-level courses. But now most colleges save for many selective campuses, allow all undergraduates, and even graduate students, to get their low grades forgiven.

  College officials tend to emphasize that the goal of grade forgiveness is less about the grade itself and more about encouraging students to retake courses critical to their degree program and graduation without incurring a big penalty. “Untimely,” said Jack Miner, Ohio State University’s registrar,“we see students achieve more success because they retake a course and do better in subsequent contents or master the content that allows them to graduate on time.”

  That said, there is a way in which grade forgiveness satisfies colleges’ own needs as well. For public institutions, state funds are sometimes tied partly to their success on metrics such as graduation rates and student retention—so better grades can, by boosting figures like those, mean more money. And anything that raises GPAs will likely make students—who, at the end of the day, are paying the bill—feel they’ve gotten a better value for their tuition dollars, which is another big concern for colleges.

  Indeed, grade forgiveness is just another way that universities are responding to consumers’ expectations for higher education. Since students and parents expect a college degree to lead a job, it is in the best interest of a school to turn out graduates who are as qualified as possible—or at least appear to be. On this, students’ and colleges’ incentives seem to be aligned.

  26. What is commonly regarded as the cause of grade inflation?

  A. The change of course catalogs.

  B. Students’ indifference to GPAS.

  C. Colleges’ neglect of GPAS.

  D. The influence of consumer culture.

  27. What was the original purpose of grade forgiveness?

  A. To help freshmen adapt to college learning.

  B. To maintain colleges’ graduation rates.

  C. To prepare graduates for a challenging future.

  D. To increase universities’ income from tuition.

  28. According to Paragraph 5,grade forgiveness enable colleges to_________.

  A. obtain more financial support

  B. boost their student enrollments

  C. improve their teaching quality

  D. meet local governments’ needs

  29. What does the phrase “to be aligned”(Line 5, Para.6) most probably mean?

  A. To counterbalance each other.

  B. To complement each other.

  C. To be identical with each other.

  D. To be contradictory to each other.

  30. The author examines the practice of grade forgiveness by________.

  A. assessing its feasibility

  B. analyzing the causes behind it

  C. comparing different views on it

  D. listing its long-run effects

  Text 3

  This year marks exactly two countries since the publication of Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, by Mary Shelley. Even before the invention of the electric light bulb, the author produced a remarkable work of speculative fiction that would foreshadow many ethical questions to be raised by technologies yet to come.

  Today the rapid growth of artificial intelligence (AI) raises fundamental questions:”What is intelligence, identify, orconsciousness? What makes humans humans?”

  What is being called artificial general intelligence, machines that would imitate the way humans think, continues to evade scientists. Yet humans remain fascinated by the idea of robots that would look, move, and respond like humans, similar to those recently depicted on popular sci-fi TV series such as “Westworld” and “Humans”.

  Just how people think is still far too complex to be understood, let alone reproduced, says David Eagleman, a Stanford University neuroscientist. “We are just in a situation where there are no good theories explaining what consciousnesss actually is and how you could ever build a machine to get there.”

  But that doesn’t mean crucial ethical issues involving AI aren’t at hand. The coming use of autonomous vehicles, for example, poses thorny ethical questions. Human drivers sometimes must make split-second decisions. Their reactions may be a complex combination of instant reflexes, input from past driving experiences, and what their eyes and ears tell them in that moment. AI “vision” today is not nearly as sophisticated as that of humans. And to anticipate every imaginable driving situation is a difficult programming problem.

  Whenever decisions are based on masses of data, “you quickly get into a lot of ethical questions,” notes Tan Kiat How, chief executive of a Singapore-based agency that is helping the government develop a voluntary code for the ethical use of AI. Along with Singapore, other governments and mega-corporations are beginning to establish their own guidelines. Britain is setting up a data ethics center. India released its AI ethics strategy this spring.

  On June 7 Google pledged not to “design or deploy AI” that would cause “overall harm,” or to develop AI-directed weapons or use AI for surveillance that would violate international norms. It also pledged not to deploy AI whose use would violate international laws or human rights.

  While the statement is vague, it represents one starting point. So does the idea that decisions made by AI systems should be explainable, transparent, and fair.

  To put it another way: How can we make sure that the thinking of intelligent machines reflects humanity’s highest values? Only then will they be useful servants and not Frankenstein’s out-of-control monster.

  31. Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein is mentioned because it

  A. fascinates AI scientists all over the world.

  B. has remained popular for as long as 200 years.

  C. involves some concerns raised by AI today.

  D. has sparked serious ethical controversies.

  32. In David Eagleman’s opinion, our current knowledge of consciousness

  A. helps explain artificial intelligence.

  B. can be misleading to robot making.

  C. inspires popular sci-fi TV series.

  D. is too limited for us to reproduce it.

  33. The solution to the ethical issues brought by autonomous vehicles

  A. can hardly ever be found.

  B. is still beyond our capacity.

  C. causes little public concern.

  D. has aroused much curiosity.

  34. The author’s attitude toward Google’s pledge is one of

  A. affirmation.

  B. skepticism.

  C. contempt.

  D. respect.

  35. Which of the following would be the best title for the text?

  A. AI’s Future: In the Hands of Tech Giants

  B. Frankenstein, the Novel Predicting the Age of AI

  C. The Conscience of AI: Complex But Inevitable

  D. AI Shall Be Killers Once Out of Control

  Text 4

  States will be able to force more people to pay sales tax when they make online purchases under a Supreme Court decision Thursday that will leave shoppers with lighter wallets but is a big financial win for states.

  The Supreme Court’s opinion Thursday overruled a pair of decades-old decisions that states said cost them billions of dollars in lost revenue annually. The decisions made it more difficult for states to collect sales tax on certain online purchases.

  The cases the court overturned said that if a business was shipping a customer’s purchase to a state where the business didn’t have a physical presence such as a warehouse or office, the business didn’t have to collect sales tax for the state. Customers were generally responsible for paying the sales tax to the state themselves if they weren’t charged it, but most didn’t realize they owed it and few paid.

  Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote that the previous decisions were flawed. “Each year the physical presence rule becomes further removed from economic reality and results in significant revenue losses to the States,” he wrote in an opinion joined by four other justices. Kennedy wrote that the rule “limited states’ ability to seek long-term prosperity and has prevented market participants from competing on an even playing field.”

  The ruling is a victory for big chains with a presence in many states, since they usually collect sales tax on online purchases already. Now, rivals will be charging sales tax where they hadn’t before. Big chains have been collecting sales tax nationwide because they typically have physical stores in whatever state a purchase is being shipped to. Amazon.com, with its network of warehouses, also collects sales tax in every state that charges it, though third-party sellers who use the site don’t have to.

  Until now, many sellers that have a physical presence in only a single state or a few states have been able to avoid charging sales taxes when they ship to addresses outside those states. Sellers that use eBay and Etsy, which provide platforms for smaller sellers, also haven’t been collecting sales tax nationwide. Under the ruling Thursday, states can pass laws requiring out-of-state sellers to collect the state’s sales tax from customers and send it to the state.

  Retail trade groups praised the ruling, saying it levels the playing field for local and online businesses. The losers, said retail analyst Neil Saunders, are online-only retailers, especially smaller ones. Those retailers may face headaches complying with various state sales tax laws. The Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council advocacy group said in a a statement, “Small businesses and internet entrepreneurs are not well served at all by this decision.”

  36. The Supreme Court decision Thursday will

  A. Dette business’ relutions with states

  B. put most online business in a dilemma

  C. make more online shoppers pay sales tax

  D. forces some states to cut sales tax

  37. It can be learned from paragraphs 2 and 3 that the overruled decisions

  A. have led to the dominance of e-commerce

  B. have cost consumers a lot over the years

  C. were widely criticized by online purchases

  D. were considered up favorable by states

  38. According to Justice Anthony Kennedy, the physical presence rule has

  A. hindered economic development

  B. brought prosperity to the country

  C. harmed fair market competition

  D. boosted growth in states revenue

  39.Who are most likely to welcome the Supreme Court ruling

  A. Internet entrepreneurs

  B. Big-chair owners

  C. Third-party sellers

  D. Small retailers

  40. In dealing with the Supreme Court decision Thursday, the author

  A. gives a factual account of it and discusses its consequences

  B. describes the long and complicated process of its making

  C. presents its main points with conflicting views on them

  D. cities some saces related to it and analyzes their implications

  Part B


  The following paragraphs are given in a wrong order. For Questions 41-45, you are required to reorganize these paragraphs into a coherent article by choosing from the list A-G and filling them into the numbered boxes. Paragraph C and F have been correctly placed. Mark your answers on ANSWER SHEET. (10 points)

  A. These tools can help you win every argument-not in the unhelpful sense of beating your opponents but in the better sense of learning about the issues that divide people. Learning why they disagree with us and learning to talk and work together with them. If we readjust our view of arguments—from a verbal fight or tennis game to a reasoned exchange through which we all gain mutual respect, and understanding—then we change the very nature of what it means to “win” an argument.

  B. Of course, many discussions are not so successful. Still, we need to be careful not to accuse opponents of bad arguments too quickly. We need to learn how to evaluate them properly. A large part of evaluation is calling out bad arguments, but we also need to admit good arguments by opponents and to apply the same critical standards to ourselves. Humility requires you to recognize weakness in your own arguments and sometimes also to accept reasons on the opposite side.

  C. None of these will be easy but you can start even if others refuse to. Next time you state your position, formulate an argument for what you claim and honestly ask yourself whether your argument is any good. Next time you talk with someone who takes a stand, ask them to give you a reason for their view. Spell out their argument fully and charitably. Assess its strength impartially. Raise objections and listen carefully to their replies.

  D. Carnegie would be right if arguments were fights, which is how we often think of them. Like physical fights, verbal fights can leave both sides bloodied. Even when you win, you end up no better off. Your prospects would be almost as dismal if arguments were even just competitions-like, say, tennis games. Paris of opponents hit the ball back and forth until one winner emerges from all who entered. Everybody else loses. This kind of thinking is why so many people try to avoid arguments, especially about politics and religion.

  E. In his 1936 work How to Win Friends and Influence People , Dale Carnegie wrote: “there is only one way…to get the

  best of an argument-and that is to avoid it. “This aversion to arguments is common, but it depends on a mistaken view of arguments that causes profound problems for our personal and social lives- and in many ways misses the point of arguing in the first place.

  F. These views of arguments also undermine reason. If you see a conversation as a fight or competition, you can win by cheating as long as you don’t get caught. You will be happy to convince people with bad arguments. You can call their views stupid, or joke about how ignorant they are. None of these tricks will help you understand them, their positions or the issues that divide you, but they can help you win-in one way.

  G. There is a better way to win arguments. Imagine that you favor increasing the minimum wage in our state, and I do not. If you yell, “yes,” and I yell. “No,” neither of us learns anything. We neither understand nor respect each other, and we have no basis for compromise or cooperation. In contrast, suppose you give a reasonable argument: that full-time workers should not have to live in poverty. Then I counter with another reasonable argument: that a higher minimum wage will force businesses to employ fewer people for less time. Now we can understand each other’s positions and recognize our shared values, since we both care about needy workers.






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