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《考研英语阅读理解100篇 高分版》 Unit 23 - TEXT FOUR

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2019年02月24日

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Photosynthesis is the basis of life on Earth. Thermodynamics is the order and disorder in the universe. Put them together and you have the makings of a book that may reorder the way you think about the world. And that is what Oliver Morton, news editor at Nature (and who once worked for this paper), has done.
Mr. Morton's thesis is that modern biology has become so focused on the movement of information, in the form of genes, that it has neglected the processes needed to move that information around: in essence, thermodynamics. People talk glibly of “using up” energy when in fact they are doing no such thing. What is actually used up is order. An energy flow drives the process, but it is disorder (or “entropy”, to use the jargon) that changes, by increasing.
A highly ordered system such as a living thing thus needs an abundant supply of negative entropy (or unentropy, or call it what you will) to maintain its internal order. That negative entropy comes from the sun and is captured by photosynthesis, which uses light to split water molecules and combines the resulting hydrogen with carbon dioxide to form sugars. The sugars are a store of negative entropy that can be used elsewhere. The waste product, conveniently for the animals of Earth, is oxygen.
The book, then, is in part a refrain in praise of photosynthesis, the Earth's energy and order currency-exchange market. It is also an entertaining history of how the subject arrived where it is today—and an illuminating insight for the non-scientist into how the magisterial pronouncements of science are every bit as much the result of sausage-making as Bismarck's description of the process of legislation.
The text is peppered with vignettes and asides that highlight science's faltering march forward on the backs of researchers, who are by turns quirky and visionary. The process of discovery is not chronological but is forever folding back on itself, revisiting half-solved problems. Mr. Morton is careful to point out where progress has been impeded by hubris or tucked away in academic literature.
There is also, of course, the inevitable warning. Having perfected the energy-into-order recipe over billions of years, photosynthesis has left a great deal of waste in the Earth, as well as contributing oxygen to the atmosphere. That buried waste—coal, oil and natural gas—is what powers the industrial revolution still sweeping the Earth. By reuniting the two waste products of photosynthesis—oxygen in the air and carbon in the ground—this revolution has fuelled a rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide three times higher than any previous rise that can be measured. The system—the interaction between life and its surroundings: the atmosphere, the oceans and the upper levels of the Earth's crust—has been pushed out of equilibrium.
Mr. Morton argues that the way in which industrialised humanity is interfering with the homeostatic process can be undone—not by way of a single, magic bullet, but by pursuit of a number of ultimately achievable goals. The damage is done but it is, he says, reparable. Humanity had better hope he is right.
1. According to Morton's thesis, which one of the following statements is TRUE of entropy?
[A] What matters is not energy, but entropy.
[B] It is entropy that makes an energy flow possible.
[C] As an energy flows, entropy is decreased.
[D] As an energy flows, entropy is increased.
2. A living thing needs an abundant supply of negative entropy because _____.
[A] there is a lot of entropy in the ordered system
[B] the entropy is constantly decreasing in the system
[C] the order is constantly increasing in the system
[D] the thermodynamic is taking effect in the system
3. The word “refrain” (Line 1, Paragraph 4) most probably means _____.
[A] deny
[B] restrain
[C] repetition
[D] confirmation
4. According to Mr. Morton's book, science can best be described as _____.
[A] vision of some quirky researchers
[B] reconsideration of problems that are partially addressed
[C] deliberate mystery-making to the non-scientists
[D] a process of legislation of academic literature
5. Towards the prospect described by Mr. Morton, the author's attitude can best be described as _____.
[A] positive
[B] negative
[C] skeptical
[D] unclear

1. According to Morton's thesis, which one of the following statements is TRUE of entropy?
[A] What matters is not energy, but entropy.
[B] It is entropy that makes an energy flow possible.
[C] As an energy flows, entropy is decreased.
[D] As an energy flows, entropy is increased.
1. 根据Morton的论文,下列哪项关于熵的陈述是正确的?
[A] 重要的不是能量,而是熵。
[B] 是熵使得能量可以流动。
[C] 随着能量的流动,熵在减少。
[D] 随着能量的流动,熵在增加。
答案:D 难度系数:☆☆☆
分析:细节题。根据第二段:People talk glibly of “using up” energy when in fact they are doing no such thing. What is actually used up is order. An energy flow drives the process, but it is disorder (or “entropy”, to use the jargon) that changes, by increasing. 也就是说,Morton先生在论文中提到,人们消耗的不是能量,而是秩序,随着能量的减少,熵在增加。因此,答案是D。
2. A living thing needs an abundant supply of negative entropy because _____.
[A] there is a lot of entropy in the ordered system
[B] the entropy is constantly decreasing in the system
[C] the order is constantly increasing in the system
[D] the thermodynamic is taking effect in the system
2. 生物需要充足的负熵,因为 _____。
[A] 在有秩序的系统中有大量的熵
[B] 熵在系统中不断地减少
[C] 秩序在系统中不断地增加
[D] 动力学在该系统中起作用
答案:B 难度系数:☆☆☆☆
分析:推理题。根据第二段和第三段,生物需要大量的负熵来维持系统内部的秩序,因为有秩序的系统消耗能量的同时就会产生大量的熵,需要负熵来平衡,这是动力学在起作用的结果。因此,答案为D。
3. The word “refrain” (Line 1, Paragraph 4) most probably means _____.
[A] deny
[B] restrain
[C] repetition
[D] confirmation
3. refrain这个词(第四段第一行)最有可能的意思是 _____。
[A] 否定
[B] 抑制
[C] 重复
[D] 确认
答案:B 难度系数:☆☆☆
分析:猜词题。该词所在的原文是:The book, then, is in part a refrain in praise of photosynthesis, the Earth's energy and order currency-exchange market. 从传统上来说,我们对于光合作用的态度一直是赞扬和歌颂的,但是纵观这篇文章,该书作者的态度是有所保留甚至是相反的。首先,第一段中提出:Photosynthesis is the basis of life on Earth. 结合第一段的其他内容,作者似乎对这个结论有所质疑。文章第三段最后一句:The waste product, conveniently for the animals of Earth, is oxygen. 一直以来被人们称颂的光合作用所产生的氧气在这里却是waste product,相似的词句在第六段中也有所反映:Having perfected the energy-into-order recipe over billions of years, photosynthesis has left a great deal of waste in the Earth, as well as contributing oxygen to the atmosphere. That buried waste—coal, oil and natural gas—is what powers the industrial revolution still sweeping the Earth. 说明这本书并没有在赞扬光合作用,因此,答案为B。
4. According to Mr. Morton's book, science can best be described as _____.
[A] vision of some quirky researchers
[B] reconsideration of problems that are partially addressed
[C] deliberate mystery-making to the non-scientists
[D] a process of legislation of academic literature
4. 根据Morton先生的书,科学可以被描述为 _____。
[A] 一些奇特研究者的幻想
[B] 对一些没有完全解决的问题的重新思考
[C] 对那些不懂科学的人故弄玄虚
[D] 对学术文献进行立法的过程
答案:B 难度系数:☆☆☆
分析:细节题。根据第五段:The text is peppered with vignettes and asides that highlight science's faltering march forward on the backs of researchers, who are by turns quirky and visionary. The process of discovery is not chronological but is forever folding back on itself, revisiting half-solved problems. 即科学一直在研究者背上前行,发现的过程是一直在重新思考未完全解决的问题。因此,答案为B。
5. Towards the prospect described by Mr. Morton, the author's attitude can best be described as _____.
[A] positive
[B] negative
[C] skeptical
[D] unclear
5. 对于Morton先生描述的前景,作者的态度可以说是 _____。
[A] 肯定的
[B] 否定的
[C] 怀疑的
[D] 不清楚的
答案:C 难度系数:☆
分析:态度题。作者最后提到,人们希望他说的是对的,这表明作者对Morton先生的观点其实是抱着一种怀疑的态度。因此,正确答案为C。

光合作用是地球上各种生命的基础,而热力学是宇宙的有秩序和无秩序。将它们放在一起,就可以编出一本书来,而且可能会改变你对世界的看法。《自然》的新闻编辑Oliver Morton(他以前曾供职于该公司)就做了这件事。
Morton先生认为,现代生物学过于关注基因形式的信息的运动,以至于忽视了驱动该信息运动的过程,也就是动力学。人们自如地谈论“用光”产生的能源,而事实却并非如此。实际上,用光的是秩序。能量的流动推动了该过程,但通过增加,真正改变的是无秩序(或用术语来说叫“熵”)。
因此,高度规则的系统(如生物)就需要大量的负熵(或者叫非熵,或根据自己喜好而定)来维持其内部的秩序。负熵来自太阳,靠光合作用摄取,利用光分裂水分子,并将氢气和碳元素结合为糖。糖是储存负熵的地方,并可以用于其他地方。而为地球上的动物留下的废物就是氧气。
该书在赞颂光合作用方面有所保留,光合作用是地球上的能量和秩序流通转换的场所。这本书也是一部讲述生物如何变成今天这个样子的趣味历史,也让不懂科学的人们深刻地认识到科学权威的声明只不过相当于香肠制作的成果,就如同俾斯麦关于立法程序的描述一样。
文本中到处都有小插图,旁边说明了科学是如何在研究者的背上蹒跚前进的,这些研究者时而古怪,时而空想。发现的过程并不是按年代顺序排列的,但这个过程却总是充满了反思以及对未完全解决的问题的重新思考。Morton先生谨慎地指出了哪些进程受到骄傲的阻碍,或是藏匿在学术之中。
这当然也是必然的警告。光合作用在过去几十亿年中把能量转为秩序的方法完美化了,却将大量的废物留在地球上,也将大量氧气排放到空气中。被掩埋的废物,如煤、石油和天然气都是推动至今仍席卷地球的工业革命的能量。将光合作用产生的这两种废物,即空气中的氧气和地上的碳重新结合起来,工业革命使得空气中二氧化碳的含量比以往增加了三倍。而生命及其周围环境相互作用形成的体系,如空气、海洋和地壳的表层已经失去了平衡。
Morton先生认为,工业化的人类干预自我平衡过程的方法可以停止下来,不是靠简单的魔力子弹,而是要靠一系列最终可以实现的目标。损害已经造成,但是还可以补救,他这样说。人们希望他说的是对的。
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