IELTS Practice Reading # New Nation

The article below has been taken from TIME. You can read the entire article by clicking on the link. Today, we are looking at a part of it and try to cover the vocabulary that we come across.

Movies, and sometimes the people who make them, work on us at strange, subterranean levels we can’t even begin to comprehend. That’s why, even though relatively few people have seen it, few know quite how to feel about Nate Parker’sBirth of a Nation, which premiered here at the Toronto International Film Festival on Friday to a rousing response from the audience, some seven months after its sensational Sundance unveiling. Parker’s debut picture—about Nat Turner, the enslaved African American who led a violent revolt against slave owners in 1831—is distinctive for one notable reason: Movies about the history of blacks in this country are rarely made, and if you rule out the usual suspects like Spike Lee and Lee Daniels—and count back to the days before 12 Years a Slave and Selma—they have rarely been made by people of color. But months ahead of its release in the United States, in October, The Birth of a Nation has also become infamous for a thornier reason: In 1999, while they were students at Penn State University, Parker and his roommate and wrestling teammate Jean Celestin—cowriter of The Birth of a Nation—were accused of raping a fellow student. Parker was acquitted. Celestin was found guilty, though the verdict was overturned. Their accuser committed suicide in 2012. In the context of this terrible blot, should Parker be lauded as a filmmaker? Should people show tacit support of him and his actions by seeing the film? Is his work, or his view on anything, in any way trustworthy?

WORDMEANING
 strange unusual or surprising; difficult to understand or explain.
 subterranean existing, occurring, or done under the earth's surface.
 comprehend grasp mentally; understand.
 relatively in relation, comparison, or proportion to something else.
 premiered give the first performance of.;(of a musical or theatrical work or a film) have its first performance
 rousing exciting; stirring;(of a fire) blazing strongly.
 response a verbal or written answer.;a reaction to something.
 audience the assembled spectators or listeners at a public event such as a play, film, concert, or meeting.;a formal interview with a person in authority.
 sensational causing great public interest and excitement.;very good indeed; very impressive or attractive.
 unveiling remove a veil or covering from, in particular uncover (a new monument or work of art) as part of a public ceremony.;show or announce publicly for the first time.
 enslaved make (someone) a slave.;cause (someone) to lose their freedom of choice or action.
 violent using or involving physical force intended to hurt, damage, or kill someone or something;(especially of an emotion or a destructive natural force) very strong or power
 revolt take violent action against an established government or ruler; rebel.;cause to feel disgust.
 slave a person who is the legal property of another and is forced to obey them.;work excessively hard.
 distinctive characteristic of one person or thing, and so serving to distinguish it from other
 notable worthy of attention or notice; remarkable.;a famous or important person
 thornier having many thorns or thorn bushes.;causing distress, difficulty, or trouble.
 accused a person or group of people who are charged with or on trial for a crime.
 acquitted free (someone) from a criminal charge by a verdict of not guilty.
.
conduct oneself or perform in a specified way.
 verdict a decision on an issue of fact in a civil or criminal case or an inquest.
 overturned tip (something) over so that it is on its side or upside down.;abolish, invalidate, or reverse (a previous system, decision, situation, etc.)
 blot a dark mark or stain made by ink, paint, dirt, etc.;a procedure in which proteins or nucleic acids separated on a gel are transferred directly to an immobilizing medium for identification.
 tacit understood or implied without being stated.

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IELTS Reading Sample Question # Victims

Victims of Their Own Success

[A] Young men, spurred on by religious beliefs and encouraged by their peers, gathered on the edges of Asia Minor, waiting to attack the Christian world to the west. Immense kudos was to be won within the Muslim world from inflicting pain and damage on innocent victims: men, women and children who were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Launching attacks could and did cause untold damage to the economy, driving fear and changing the way people lived, moved and thought. Training bases in northern Syria prepared eager would-be soldiers, teaching them the survival techniques needed to infiltrate enemy territory and, of course, how to launch their attacks. And spiritual rewards were on offer too: a place in paradise, if you met your end during the mission. That was Asia Minor 11 centuries ago.

[B]The Roman Empire splintered in two spectacular explosions. First, Rome itself was sacked in 410 and then its western provinces and many of those of North Africa collapsed later in the fifth century. Two hundred years later, ‘the most important parts of the Empire’ did not just remain standing, but were flourishing. Centred on the great city of Constantinople, the East Roman (or Byzantine) Empire, controlled the wealthy grain basket of the Nile delta, as well as Anatolia (modern Turkey), much of the Balkans, Greece, Palestine and Syria. Life looked rosy, as the numismatic  and archaeological records show.

[C]The second expansion brought the Byzantine Empire to its knees as followers of the Prophet Muhammad poured out of the Arabian peninsula in the 630s, forging a vast new world that linked Spain with the Middle East and Central Asia, pushing right up to the border with China by 751. The Empire hung on for dear life, pouring resources into a frontier network across Asia Minor to hold back the tide.

[D]Byzantine generals were realistic about how secure the border could be: there was no hope of stopping bands of motivated, fast-moving individuals from penetrating under the cover of darkness or otherwise: policing a frontier in this way required (and still requires) money, time, resources and people to maintain it. Instead, the Byzantines had to learn how to deal with attacks.

[E]They identified patterns. Timing was predictable; so, too, were the targets: the attackers were more keen on glory than death, on the bragging rights in this world than the next and more keen on enriching themselves than finding out what paradise had to offer. The best approach was to adapt to the reality and prepare for regular pin-pricks, rather than becoming the target of more powerful forces further away. As seen from Constantinople, there would always be problems on the periphery, so it was important to build relations with Baghdad and Cairo and to use official channels to try to rein in troublesome warlords in border zones, whose successes could destabilise not just the Byzantine Empire but the Abbasid Caliphate, too.

[F]In the 10th century, however, the balance began to change. A series of economic shocks rattled the economies of the Middle East and Central Asia, result of a period of climate change. Soul searching in Baghdad opened the door for daring Byzantine raids that knocked out the attack bases that had been used to such great effect for almost 200 years. That, in turn, changed the make-up and fighting practices of the imperial military. Having pioneered defensive tactics to prevent raids causing too much damage, attention now turned to big targets: fortified towns and cities.

[G]Within the space of a generation, the Byzantines had rolled the frontier back hundreds of miles, recovering places long lost to Muslims. The jewel in the crown was Antioch in northern Syria, the gateway to Palestine, but also the protecting valve to defend Asia Minor and the interior. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the century that followed saw an astonishing period of economic and demographic growth, as well as an intellectual and cultural flowering, as artists, scholars and writers like Michael Psellos created some of the treasures of Byzantine culture.

[I]The problem was that when a new threat appeared in the form of the Sekjuk Turks in the 11th century, it took the Byzantines too long to remember how to fight a rearguard action. Instead of dealing swiftly with nimble attackers, a ploy that had worked in the past, the response was to send large, heavy armies that took too long to move and were left chasing shadows.

[J]A similar problem, it seems, is facing the US Air Force today. In a recently published report, Lt General David Barno, former Commander of Military Operations in Afghanistan, argued that the USAF – like the Byzantine army of the 10th and 11th centuries – is a victim of its own success. Not a single American warplane has been shot down by an enemy aircraft since 1991; and not one has been lost to enemy air defences since 2003. ‘As a result’, General Bardo notes, ‘the risk to aircraft and airmen in combat has become nearly negligible’.

[I]At a time when the US is acutely aware of growing ambition and military expenditure by China and Russia, the fact that pilots have never experienced ‘contested air war’ means that investment is needed to prepare for threats of the future and not those of the present. It also means that skills need to be taught and developed in advance, rather than when it is too late. ‘Resilience’, for example, to enable soldiers and airmen to cope when ‘more and more squadrons of their mates don’t come home’, should be impressed on serving a military that has got used to undisputed superiority.

[J]When the going had been good in Constantinople 1,000 years ago, there were voices like those of General Barno, too, who warned about under-funding in the armed forces and the fact that young people did not want to serve the emperor but to feather their own nests by becoming lawyers and making money. By the time anyone listened, it was too late. Whether General Barno’s warning meets the same deaf ears remains to be seen.

VOCABULARY

spurred – a thing that prompts or encourages someone

infiltrate – enter or gain access to surreptitiously and gradually, especially to gain secret information

splintered – break or cause to break into smaller fragments

sacked – dismissed

numismatic – relating to or consisting of coins and medals

squadrons – a number of persons grouped together for some purpose

rattled -knocked or shattered

 

Questions 14-19

Sample Passage 7 has ten paragraphs labelled A-J

Which paragraphs contain the following information?

Write the correct letter A-J in boxes 14-19 in your answer sheet.

NB You may use any letter more than once

  1. During the 4th and 5th century, Rome was divided into two parts.
  2. Bryzantines were in danger from Sekjuk Turks during the period of 1001 to 1100.
  3. General Barno gave a signal that in future the young people of the country will be more interested in working for themselves rather than the country.
  4. The Americans have not lost a single aircraft to enemies in the 20th
  5. The soldiers were convinced to join army saying if they die during the war, they would certainly go to heaven.
  6. Bryzantine dealt with attacks by figuring out patters in them.

Questions 20-24 Choose the appropriate letters A, B, C or D.  Write your answers in boxes 20-24 on your answer sheet.

  1. What caused the shattering of economies of the Middle East and central Asia during the 10th century?
  1. Climate change
  2. War
  3. Both A and B
  4. Neither A or B

 

  1. What kind of army did Byzantines send when they were attacked by the Sekjuk Turks in 11th century?
  1. Small and nimble
  2. Large and slow
  3. Foreign attackers
  4. Neither of the above
  1. What was the warning given by general Barno?
  1. Soldiers will stop working of army
  2. People will prefer working for themselves rather than army
  3. People are more likely to become businessman
  4. There will be no need of army in later years
  1. What was offered to the future soldiers in the Syrian training camps?
  1. Place in paradise
  2. lot of money
  3. security
  4. financial support to the family
  1. How did Bryzantines dealt with the possible terrors possible in the border?
  1. Stopped bands of individuals marching towards border.
  2. Identified patterns of war.
  3. Predicting the timing and targets
  4. Both C and D

 

ANSWERS

  1. B
  2. I
  3. J
  4. J
  5. A
  6. E
  7. A
  8. A
  9. B
  10. A
  11. D

 

 

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A Crush On Mobile # Practice Reading

Source : http://www.economist.com/news/business/21677651-big-merger-shows-where-money-heading-industry-crush-mobile

COMPARE “Candy Crush Saga” with the “Star Wars” franchise (the right or license granted by a company to an individual or group to market its products or services in a specific territory)and it comes as a shock (a sudden and violent blow or impact)that the casual (happening by chance)game’s creator, King Digital Entertainment, would sell for almost 50% more than the $4 billion that Disney paid for Lucas film in 2012. But in paying $5.9 billion in cash and stock for King on November 3rd Activision Blizzard, a giant (a person or thing of unusually great size, power, importance, etc.;major figure; legend)in video games for computers and specialist (a person who devotes himself or herself to one subject or to one particular branch of a subject or pursuit)gaming consoles (to alleviate or lessen the grief, sorrow, or disappointment of; give solace or comfort), is doing more than buying another industry leader. Its purchase is an acknowledgment (recognition of the existence or truth of something)that the future of video games, and of gaming profits, is in mobile, where games are usually given away, and where their creators make money by selling extra features to the most enthusiastic (full of or characterized by enthusiasm)players.

Mobile games have been by far the fastest-growing part of the market in recent years, and have broader (of great extent; large) international (between or among nations; involving two or more nations) appeal (an earnest request for aid, support, sympathy, mercy, etc.; entreaty;petition; plea)because of the penetration (the obtaining of a share of a market for some commodity or service)of smartphones (a device that combines a cell phone with a hand-held computer,typically offering Internet access, data storage, email capability, etc.). By Activision’s reckoning (count), worldwide revenues (the income of a government from taxation, excise duties, customs, or other sources, appropriated to the payment of the public expenses.)from mobile games will almost catch up with those from PC and console games by 2019, reaching $55 billion (up from an estimated $36 billion this year). PC and console games’ sales are projected to reach $57 billion by then.

With “Candy Crush Saga” in its arsenal (a collection or supply of anything; store), Activision will have one of the most successful (achieving or having achieved success)mobile games yet seen, access to an active monthly user base of nearly half a billion people and dozens of new foreign markets where smartphones, not consoles, are the game platforms of choice. Those users might enjoy mobile versions of some of Activision’s hits, like the “Guitar Hero” series. The combined company will become the world’s second-biggest in terms of video-gaming revenues, with close to $7 billion a year, placing it behind only Tencent, a Chinese gaming and social-media conglomerate (a corporation consisting of a number of subsidiary companies or divisions in a variety of unrelated industries, usually as a result of merger or acquisition).

Activision has flailed (an instrument for threshing grain, consisting of a staff or handle to one end of which is attached a freely swinging stick or bar)about in mobile gaming (even if it has had a recent hit with “Hearthstone”, a digital card game). Though King’s shares have weakened (not strong; liable to yield, break, or collapse under pressure or strain; fragile; frail)since it gave a profit warning in May this year, there are worries that Activision may be paying richly for its big move into mobile. James Gwertzman, the boss of Playfab, a provider of back-office technology for game developers, says it is not clear if Activision and King can add that much value to each other’s gaming platforms, in the way that Disney can exploit the “Star Wars” characters and stories across its various businesses.

There is also no guarantee (a promise or assurance, especially one in writing, that something is of specified quality, content, benefit, etc., or that it will perform satisfactorily for a given length of time)that King can establish another runaway success like “Candy Crush Saga”—although it has created a moderately (kept or keeping within reasonable or proper limits; not extreme,excessive, or intense)successful sequel in “Candy Crush Soda”—or that the flagship (a ship carrying the flag officer or the commander of a fleet, squadron,or the like, and displaying the officer’s flag)“Saga” game will remain a hit. The faddish (like a fad)mobile game of the moment, like, say Zynga’s “FarmVille”, can give way seemingly overnight (very quickly)to new franchise hits—in its case, to “Candy Crush Saga” itself.

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IELTS Practice Reading # Does Flying Harm ?

Source : http://content.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1654488,00.html

DOES FLYING HARM THE PLANET?

Given the rage (angry fury) that air travel can provoke (to anger, enrage, exasperate, or vex)in even the most tranquil (free from commotion or tumult; peaceful; quiet; calm)among us these days, it may be surprising (causing wonder)that riot (a noisy, violent public disorder caused by a group or crowd of persons,as by a crowd protesting against another group, a government policy,etc., in the streets)police aren’t a more regular feature at airports. But Sunday’s pitched (to set at a certain point)battle between roughly 500 environmental activists and a phalanx ( a group of heavily armed infantry formed in rank sand files close and deep, with shields joined and long spears overlapping)of baton-wielding police at London’s Heathrow airport wasn’t about long lines, delays, lost luggage or missed connections. Instead, the protesters (an expression or declaration of objection, disapproval, or dissent, oftenin opposition to something a person is powerless to prevent or avoid)— who had demonstrated outside Heathrow all of last week — were trying to draw travelers’ attention to the impact on climate change of the carbon gases emitted by the aircraft in which they fly. A placard (a paperboard sign or notice, as one posted in a public place or carriedby a demonstrator or picketer)from one activist at Heathrow expressed it thus: “You Fly, They Die.”

Airplanes operate on petroleum fuel, which means they release large amounts of carbon dioxide when they fly. Commercial (able to yield or make a profit)air travel is currently responsible for a relatively tiny part of the global carbon footprint —just 3.5% of total greenhouse gas emissions, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. But the unique chemistry of high-altitude jet emissions (an act or instance of emitting)may produce an additional warming effect, while the explosive (tending or serving to explode)growth in air travel makes it one of the fastest-growing sources of carbon gases in the atmosphere. And unlike energy or automobiles, where carbon-free or lower-carbon alternatives (a choice limited to one of two or more possibilities, as of things,propositions, or courses of action, the selection of which precludes any other possibility)already exist, even if they have yet to be widely adopted, there is no low-carbon way to fly, and there likely won’t be for decades.

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