IELTS Reading Sample Questions # Big Data

The below passage is 828 words and is more likely to come in IELTS Academic.

You should spend 20 minutes on this task.

In the early decades of the 20th century, Henry Ford devised a manufacturing system of mass production, using specialized machinery and standardized products. It quickly became the dominant vision of technological progress. ‘Fordism’ meant automation and assembly lines; for decades onward, this became the orthodoxy of manufacturing: out with skilled craftspeople and slow work, in with a new machine-made era. But it was more than just a new set of tools. The 20th century was marked by Fordism at a cellular level: it produced a new understanding of labor, the human relationship to work, and society at large.

Big Data not only refers to very large data sets and the tools and procedures used to manipulate and analyze them, but also to a computational turn in thought and research . Just as Ford changed the way we made cars – and then transformed work itself – Big Data has emerged a system of knowledge that is already changing the objects of knowledge, while also having the power to inform how we understand human networks and community. ‘Change the instruments, and you will change the entire social theory that goes with them,’ Latour reminds us. Big Data creates a radical shift in how we think about research. Commenting on computational social science, Lazer et al argue that it offers ‘the capacity to collect and analyze data with an unprecedented breadth and depth and scale’.

It is not just a matter of scale nor is it enough to consider it in terms of proximity, or what Moretti (2007) refers to as distant or close analysis of texts. Rather, it is a profound change at the levels of epistemology and ethics. Big Data reframes key questions about the constitution of knowledge, the processes of research, how we should engage with information, and the nature and the categorization of reality. Just as du Gay and Pryke note that ‘accounting boyd, danah and Kate Crawford. Speaking in praise of what he terms ‘The Petabyte Age’, Chris Anderson, Editor-in-Chief of Wired, writes: This is a world where massive amounts of data and applied mathematics replace every other tool that might be brought to bear. Out with every theory of human behavior, from linguistics to sociology. Forget taxonomy, ontology, and psychology. Who knows why people do what they do? The point is they do it, and we can track and measure it with unprecedented fidelity.

With enough data, the numbers speak for themselves. Do numbers speak for themselves? We believe the answer is ‘no’. Significantly, Anderson’s sweeping dismissal of all other theories and disciplines is a tell: it reveals an arrogant undercurrent in many Big Data debates where other forms of analysis are too easily sidelined. Other methods for ascertaining why people do things, write things, or make things are lost in the sheer volume of numbers. This is not a space that has been welcoming to older forms of intellectual craft. As David Berry writes, Big Data provides ‘destablising amounts of knowledge and information that lack the regulating force of philosophy.’ Instead of philosophy – which Kant saw as the rational basis for all institutions – ‘computationality might then be understood as an ontotheology, creating a new ontological “epoch” as a new historical constellation of intelligibility’. We must ask difficult questions of Big Data’s models of intelligibility before they crystallize into new orthodoxies.

If we return to Ford, his innovation was using the assembly line to break down interconnected, holistic tasks into simple, atomized, mechanistic ones. He did this by designing specialized tools that strongly predetermined and limited the action of the worker. Similarly, the specialized tools of Big Data also have their own inbuilt limitations and restrictions. For example, Twitter and Facebook are examples of Big Data sources that offer very poor archiving and search functions. Consequently, researchers are much more likely to focus on something in the present or immediate past – tracking reactions to an election, TV finale or natural disaster – because of the sheer difficulty or impossibility of accessing older data. If we are observing the automation of particular kinds of research functions, then we must consider the inbuilt flaws of the machine tools. It is not enough to simply ask, as Anderson has suggested ‘what can science learn from Google?’, but ask how the harvesters of Big Data might change the meaning of learning, and what new possibilities and new limitations may come with these systems of knowing. Claims to Objectivity and Accuracy are Misleading ‘Numbers, numbers, numbers,’ writes Latour (2010).

‘Sociology has been obsessed with the goal of becoming a quantitative science.’ Sociology has never reached this goal, in Boyd, danah and Kate Crawford. (2012). “Critical Questions for Big Data: Provocations for a Cultural, Technological, and Scholarly Phenomenon.” Latour’s view, because of where it draws the line between what is and is not quantifiable knowledge in the social domain. Big Data offers the humanistic disciplines a new way to claim the status of quantitative science and objective method. It makes many more social spaces quantifiable. In reality, working with Big Data is still subjective, and what it quantifies does not necessarily have a closer claim on objective truth – particularly when considering messages from social media sites. But there remains a mistaken belief that qualitative researchers are in the business of interpreting stories and quantitative researchers are in the business of producing facts. In this way, Big Data risks reinscribing established divisions in the long running debates about scientific method and the legitimacy of social science and humanistic inquiry.

Questions 1-7

Do the following questions agree with the following information given in the passage?

  1. Automation and assembly lines were considered synonymous with Henry Ford.
  2. Big Data has transformed the objects of knowledge and transformed the way we understand humans.
  3. Most of the tools in the current age tend to get replaced with applied mathematics and computations.
  4. As per David Berry, Big Data lacks the regulating forces of philosophy.
  5. All of the Big Data sources are poor sources of archiving and search functions.
  6. Qualitative researchers are in the business of producing facts.
Answers
  1. True
  2. False
  3. True
  4. True
  5. Force
  6. False

Vocabulary

Let us now learn the vocabulary used in the above passage –

 

WORD MEANING
orthodoxy authorized or generally accpeted theory
computational relating to the process of mathematical calculation
unprecedented  never known or done before
proximity
nearness in space, time, or relationship.
epistemology  the theory of knowledge, especially with regards to its methods, validatiy and scope and the distinction between justified belief and opinion
linguistics  the scientific study of language and its structure
taxonomy the branch dealing with nature of being
ontology the branch of metaphysics dealing with the nature of being
psychology  the scientific study of human mind and its functions
fidelity  faithfulness to a person, cause or belief, demonstrated by continuing loyalty and support
ontotheology  the theology or science of being
epoch  a particular period of time in history or a person’s life
holistic  characterized by the belief that the parts of something are intimately connected and explicable only by reference to the whole
provocations  action or speech that makes someone angry, especially deliberately
reinscribing   to reestablish or rename in a new and especially stronger form or context.

IELTSBAND7

IELTS Reading Vocabulary # Katherine Johnson

SOURCE : NASA

Being handpicked to be one of three black students to integrate West Virginia’s graduate schools is something that many people would consider one of their life’s most notable moments, but it’s just one of several breakthroughs that have marked Katherine Johnson’s long and remarkable life. Born in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia in 1918, Katherine Johnson’s intense curiosity and brilliance with numbers vaulted her ahead several grades in school. By thirteen, she was attending the high school on the campus of historically black West Virginia State College. At eighteen, she enrolled in the college itself, where she made quick work of the school’s math curriculum and found a mentor in math professor W. W. Schieffelin Claytor, the third African American to earn a PhD in Mathematics. Katherine graduated with highest honors in 1937 and took a job teaching at a black public school in Virginia.

When West Virginia decided to quietly integrate its graduate schools in 1939, West Virginia State’s president Dr. John W. Davis selected Katherine and two male students as the first black students to be offered spots at the state’s flagship school, West Virginia University. Katherine left her teaching job, and enrolled in the graduate math program. At the end of the first session, however, she decided to leave school to start a family with her husband.

She returned to teaching when her three daughters got older, but it wasn’t until 1952 that a relative told her about open positions at the all-black West Area Computing section at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics’ (NACA’s) Langley laboratory, headed by fellow West Virginian Dorothy Vaughan. Katherine and her husband, James Goble, decided to move the family to Newport News to pursue the opportunity, and Katherine began work at Langley in the summer of 1953. Just two weeks into Katherine’s tenure in the office, Dorothy Vaughan assigned her to a project in the Maneuver Loads Branch of the Flight Research Division, and Katherine’s temporary position soon became permanent. She spent the next four years analyzing data from flight test, and worked on the investigation of a plane crash caused by wake turbulence. As she was wrapping up this work her husband died of cancer in December 1956.

The 1957 launch of the Soviet satellite Sputnik changed history—and Katherine Johnson’s life. In 1957, Katherine provided some of the math for the 1958 document Notes on Space Technology, a compendium of a series of 1958 lectures given by engineers in the Flight Research Division and the Pilotless Aircraft Research Division (PARD). Engineers from those groups formed the core of the Space Task Group, the NACA’s first official foray into space travel, and Katherine, who had worked with many of them since coming to Langley, “came along with the program” as the NACA became NASA later that year. She did trajectory analysis for Alan Shepard’s May 1961 mission Freedom 7, America’s first human spaceflight. In 1960, she and engineer Ted Skopinski coauthoredDetermination of Azimuth Angle at Burnout for Placing a Satellite Over a Selected Earth Position, a report laying out the equations describing an orbital spaceflight in which the landing position of the spacecraft is specified. It was the first time a woman in the Flight Research Division had received credit as an author of a research report.

In 1962, as NASA prepared for the orbital mission of John Glenn, Katherine Johnson was called upon to do the work that she would become most known for. The complexity of the orbital flight had required the construction of a worldwide communications network, linking tracking stations around the world to IBM computers in Washington, DC, Cape Canaveral, and Bermuda. The computers had been programmed with the orbital equations that would control the trajectory of the capsule in Glenn’s Friendship 7 mission, from blast off to splashdown, but the astronauts were wary of putting their lives in the care of the electronic calculating machines, which were prone to hiccups and blackouts.

As a part of the preflight checklist, Glenn asked engineers to “get the girl”—Katherine Johnson—to run the same numbers through the same equations that had been programmed into the computer, but by hand, on her desktop mechanical calculating machine.  “If she says they’re good,’” Katherine Johnson remembers the astronaut saying, “then I’m ready to go.” Glenn’s flight was a success, and marked a turning point in the competition between the United States and the Soviet Union in space.

When asked to name her greatest contribution to space exploration, Katherine Johnson talks about the calculations that helped synch Project Apollo’s Lunar Lander with the moon-orbiting Command and Service Module. She also worked on the Space Shuttle and the Earth Resources Satellite, and authored or coauthored 26 research reports. She retired in 1986, after thirty-three years at Langley. “I loved going to work every single day,” she says. In 2015, at age 97, Katherine Johnson added another extraordinary achievement to her long list: President Obama awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America’s highest civilian honor.

WORDMEANING
handpickedselect carefully with a particular purpose in mind.
breakthroughsa sudden, dramatic, and important discovery or development.
remarkableworthy of attention; striking.
curiositya strong desire to know or learn something.
brillianceintense brightness of light.
vaultedprovide (a building or room) with an arched roof or roofs.
historicallywith reference to past events.
curriculumthe subjects comprising a course of study in a school or college.
mentoran experienced and trusted adviser.
enrolledofficially register as a member of an institution or a student on a course.
analyzingexamine (something) methodically and in detail, typically in order to explain and interpret it.
turbulenceviolent or unsteady movement of air or water, or of some other fluid.
compendiuma collection of concise but detailed information about a particular subject, especially in a book or other publication.
foraya sudden attack or incursion into enemy territory, especially to obtain something; a raid.
trajectorythe path followed by a projectile flying or an object moving under the action of given forces.
orbitalrelating to an orbit or orbits.
spaceflighta journey through space.
researchthe systematic investigation into and study of materials and sources in order to establish facts and reach new conclusions.
complexitythe state or quality of being intricate or complicated.
worldwideextending or reaching throughout the world.
communicationsthe imparting or exchanging of information by speaking, writing, or using some other medium.
networka group or system of interconnected people or things.
hiccupsan involuntary spasm of the diaphragm and respiratory organs, with a sudden closure of the glottis and a characteristic gulping sound.
blackoutsa period when all lights must be turned out or covered to prevent them being seen by the enemy during an air raid.
authoredbe the author of (a book or piece of writing).
extraordinaryvery unusual or remarkable.
civiliana person not in the armed services or the police force.
IELTS BAND 7

IELTS Dehradun Uttarakhand Tel: 8439000086

IELTS Ghaziabad Utter Pardesh Tel: 7840860007

IELTS Reading # iPhone Successor

The below post has been taken from THE TIME. You can read the post at – THE TIME.

Apple doesn’t usually unveil its new iPhones until September, but the rumors are already circulating about what fans should expect from this year’s model. The successor to the iPhone 7, which may be called the iPhone 7s or iPhone 8, could be a more noticeable departure from the current iPhone’s design. This year’s release will also mark 10 years since the original iPhone launched in 2007.

Here’s a look at what’s been reported about Apple’s next iPhone so far.

Better screen technology

Apple may use an OLED (organic light emitting diode) screen for its next iPhone instead of an LCD display, according to reports from The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg. These types of screens offer better contrast than LCD displays, and are often brighter. The blacks in OLED screens are also deeper than those of LCD displays, making colors pop more prominently.

Apple already uses OLED display technology for the Apple Watch, while other tech giants, like Samsung, have been using variants of OLED screens in their smartphones for years. It’s unclear whether or not all new iProhone models will feature an OLED screen or if Apple will reserve them for its high-end variant, as a report from Nikkei Asian Review indicates.

Apple made several new product announcements on Thursday, most notably a new MacBook Pro laptop with a touchscreen strip above the keyboard.

A curved screen

Certain iPhone models may feature a screen that’s curved on both sides similar to Samsung’s Galaxy S7 Edge, according to Nikkei Asian Review. This rounded model will likely be more expensive than the standard edition and may be 5.5-inches or larger, says the report. If Apple indeed decides to give its next iPhone a curved screen, it will likely use an OLED display, as those types of screens are more flexible than their LCD counterparts.

Facial recognition

Apple could add facial recognition to its upcoming iPhone, according to Cowen and Company’s Timothy Arcuri. In a recent note, which Apple Insider published, Arcuri predicts Apple may place an infrared sensor next to the front-facing camera to enable the phone to recognize a user’s face. Separately, Digitimes has reported that Apple plans to add an iris scanner to its next iPhone, although it’s worth noting the website hasn’t always been accurate about future Apple products in the past. Samsung introduced a similar feature on its ill-fated Galaxy Note 7, which included an iris scanner that allowed owners to unlock their phone just by looking at it.

A new name

Apple traditionally releases its new iPhones on a tick-tock cycle, either giving them a title that includes just a number or a number paired with an “S.” For its next iPhone, however, the company may break this habit by simply calling it iPhone X, as Loup Venture’s Gene Munster predicts.

“Apple will likely break from its historical naming convention and call this iPhone something other than iPhone 7S or iPhone 8 because it will be the 10th anniversary iPhone,” Munster writes. “Like they did with the 10th version of the Mac OS, it seems logical that they’ll call the next iPhone: iPhone X.”

Three models to choose from

The introduction of a curved iPhone could mean that Apple plans to offer its next smartphone in three variants instead of two. Apple may release 4.7 and 5.5-inch iPhones with flat screens and then an additional model with a rounded display, according to Nikkei Asian Review.

A new design with no home button

Apple hasn’t significantly redesigned its iPhone since it unveiled the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in 2014. That could change in 2017. The company reportedly plans to overhaul the next iPhone with a new design that includes an edge-poto-edge glass screen and no home button, according to The Wall Street Journal.

These changes would let Apple get rid of the borders around the iPhone’s display, potentially allowing it to make the phone’s screen larger without having to increase the size of the overall device. Further changes could include a glass back similar to that of the iPhone 4 and 4s rather than the aluminum design of Apple’s more recent iPhones, says a note from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.

Wireless charging

Future iPhone owners may not have to plug their phones into a power cord to charge it. Apple is said to be testing wireless charging technology that could appear in iPhones as soon as 2017, according to reports from Bloomberg and Nikkei Asian Review. Wireless charging has existed in certain Android smartphones for years, but Apple could be exploring a method that makes it possible to power iPhones from a distance, Bloomberg reports. It’s unclear how close that technology is to a commercial release, however.

WORDMEANING
unveilremove a veil or covering from, in particular uncover (a new monument or work of art) as part of a public ceremony.
rumorsa currently circulating story or report of uncertain or doubtful truth.
circulatingmove continuously or freely through a closed system or area.
successora person or thing that succeeds another.
departurethe action of leaving, especially to start a journey.
reportedgive a spoken or written account of something that one has observed, heard, done, or investigated.
contrastthe state of being strikingly different from something else in juxtaposition or close association.
displaysput (something) in a prominent place in order that it may readily be seen.
prominentlywith an important role; to a large extent.
Hig-enddenoting the most expensive of a range of products.
varianta form or version of something that differs in some respect from other forms of the same thing or from a standard.
announcementsa formal public statement about a fact, occurrence, or intention.
touchscreena display device which allows the user to interact with a computer by touching areas on the screen.
roundedhaving a smooth, curved surface.
expensivecosting a lot of money.
editiona particular form or version of a published text.
flexiblecapable of bending easily without breaking.
counterpartsa person or thing that corresponds to or has the same function as another person or thing in a different place or situation.
facialof or affecting the face.
recognitionthe action or process of recognizing or being recognized, in particular:
significantlyin a sufficiently great or important way as to be worthy of attention.
redesigneddesign (something) again or in a different way.
unveiledremove a veil or covering from, in particular uncover (a new monument or work of art) as part of a public ceremony.
reportedlyaccording to what some say (used to express the speaker's belief that the information given is not necessarily true).
Edge-to-edgeto move edgeways
potentiallywith the capacity to develop or happen in the future.
almuniumthe chemical element of atomic number 13, a light silvery-grey metal.
securitiesthe state of being free from danger or threat.
power cordA power cord, line cord, or mains cable is a cable that temporarily connects an appliance to the mains electricity supply via a wall socket or extension cord.
wireless chargingWireless charging is the process of electrically charging battery-powered devices and equipment without the need for a wired electrical power connection. It enables the wireless transfer of electrical charge from a charging device or node to the recipient device.
technologythe application of scientific knowledge for practical purposes, especially in industry.
commercialconcerned with or engaged in commerce.

IELTS BAND 7

IELTS Dehradun Uttarakhand Tel: 8439000086

IELTS Ghaziabad Utter Pardesh Tel: 7840860007

IELTS Sample Reading # Vocabulary

The below article has been taken from TIME. Read the article and learn the meaning of the tough vocabulary words used.

GENDER STEREOTYPES

Gender stereotypes start in elementary school, a study published today in Science suggests. Though five-year-olds don’t discriminate between genders when deciding whether or not a person is brilliant, six- and seven-year-olds overwhelmingly think men are inherently smarter than women. At the same time, the children included in the study also believed that girls receive better grades in school.The reinforcement of these ideas could lead women to be less ambitious than men once it’s time to choose a career, the study claims.

In one part of the study, five-year-olds were told a story about “a really, really smart person” and then asked to guess who the person was, based on two photos. One photo showed a woman, and the other showed a man. Aside from the gender, the pictures were nearly identical, and the five-year-olds generally identified their own gender. But six- and seven year-old girls answering the same question were “significantly less likely” to chose the female photo, reports Bloomberg.

Another section of the study introduced children to two board games: one for kids who are “really, really smart” and another for kids who try “really, really hard.” Both five-year-old boys and girls were interested in playing the game for smart kids; but while the older boys continued to want to play that game, older girls preferred the game for people who tried hard.

Rebecca S. Bigler, a professor of psychology at the University of Texas at Austin, told the Associated Press that one possible reason for this is exposure in early grades to history’s luminaries,who are mostly men. “We need to explain to children that laws were created specifically to prevent women from becoming great scientists, artists, composers, writers, explorers, and leaders,” Bigler said. “Children will then be … more likely to believe in their own intellectual potential.”

WordMeaning
stereotypesa widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person or thing.
elementaryrelating to the rudiments of a subject.
discriminatemake an unjust or prejudicial distinction in the treatment of different categories of people, especially on the grounds of race, sex, or age.
overwhelminglyto a very great degree or with a great majority.
reinforcement the action or process of reinforcing or strengthening.
preferred like (one thing or person) better than another or others; tend to choose.
psychology the scientific study of the human mind and its functions, especially those affecting behaviour in a given context.
luminariesa person who inspires or influences others, especially one prominent in a particular sphere.
scientistsa person who is studying or has expert knowledge of one or more of the natural or physical sciences.
composersa person who writes music, especially as a professional occupation.
explorersa person who explores a new or unfamiliar area.
intellectual a person possessing a highly developed intellect.
potentiala person possessing a highly developed intellect.
IELTS BAND 7

IELTS Dehradun Uttarakhand Tel: 8439000086

IELTS Ghaziabad Utter Pardesh Tel: 7840860007

1 2 3 17