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Unit 54 – The Disconnect

The following passage is an extract from The Disconnect by Roisin Kiberd

Not long ago in a charity shop on Capel Street, I found an expensive hoodie. Not expensive in terms of its current price – the Goodwill Thrift Shop was asking for €4 – but its original one. The Hoodie bore no outward sign of branding , but its design was strategically luxurious, sewn from the softest cotton and dyed to a muted, achromatic grey. It had been designed to include the kind of thoughtful details you only notice on second-glance, when you realise the person wearing it is a little wealthier than they first appeared.

Second hand shopping is unpredictable. For every useless possibly cursed item gladly donated by its former owner – the monkey’s paw, the dybbuk box, or the shoes that make your ankles bleed – there’s a miracle find, that ludicrous, beautiful thing which has found its way to the charity shop by chance. I might once have laughed at the idea of owning a designer hoodie, but touching its fabric, I felt myself converted. I pulled the zipper, looked inside to read the label, and noticed spidery text across the back on the inside lining: ‘Making the world more open and connected’.

It was a hoodie given to Facebook employees, likely donated to the shop by someone who had recently left the company. If walking around wearing Facebook’s mission statement was an uncomfortable thought, then walking around wearing it secretly, printed inside my clothing, made me feel even more squeamish.

I put the hoodie back on the rail and moved on.


Unit 45 – Stockholm Syndrome

Difficulty: Medium

Time: 4 minutes 30 seconds

The passage below has been adapted from Culture and Religion – Sharia Law, from the iMinds series.


At first glance two of the 1970’s most notorious bank robberies would seem to have nothing in common. They occurred eight months apart, for different motives, on opposite sides of the globe. But these two incidents would prove seminal to the development and understanding of a curious and once controversial psychological condition; Stockholm Syndrome.
On the 15th of April 1974, the Sunset District branch of the Hibernia Bank in San Francisco was robbed. Security footage showed a young, attractive urban guerrilla brandishing a machine gun and ordering people in the bank to lie face down on the ground.
Bizarrely, the armed robber was wealthy heiress Patty Hearst, who had been kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army just two months before. The image of the then nineteen year old Patty was known across the globe as the victim of a brutal kidnapping. On the night of February 4 three members of the Symbionese Liberation Army had burst into her home and dragged her away, dressed only in her nightgown.
For over fifty days Patty was kept captive in a padded closet where she was constantly verbally and sexually abused by members of the Symbionese Liberation Army. Despite police efforts to find her, the first clue to her whereabouts was the security footage of her aiding her kidnappers to rob the Hibernia bank. Living as an outlaw with her kidnapers, Patty was ultimately arrested on 18 September 1975, exactly two years to the day from her kidnapping. She was subsequently tried for her involvement in the bank robbery.
During her trial, Hearst’s defence team argued that Patty had not acted criminally from her own free will, but rather that she had been suffering from a newly identified psychological condition called the Stockholm Syndrome. The intense media coverage of this sensantional trial seared Stockholm Syndrome into the public consciousness, Patty Hearst had become its most contentious and undoubtedly most famous victim.


Unit 23 – Indicator Processes and Fisherian Mating Advantages

Difficulty: medium/hard

Time: 6 minutes

The following passage has been adapted from Essays in Animal Behaviour, by Jeffrey R. Lucas and Leigh W. Simmons

In addition to indicators, Fisher (1915, 1930) suggested another major mechanism of sexual selection by female choice, which is now associated with his name. Males with traits preferred by females will have a mating advantage. This advantage is inherited by sons of females with the preference. As genes for preference and trait become associated in offspring, the male trait favoured by female choice will carry the female preference with it. A self-reinforcing positive feedback loop, Fisher’s “runaway process,” can therefore develop, bringing trait and preference to more extreme values (Lande 1981). Although they have sometimes been treated as incompatible alternatives, Fisherian mating advantages (“sexy sons”) and viability-based indicator processes are likely to occur together.

The usefulness of the distinction between Fisherian (sexy sons) and indicator mechanisms was recently questioned (Kokko 2001, Kokko et al., 2002, 2003). The critics suggested that it is a false dichotomy, and that the two processes are opposite endpoints along a continuum, without any qualitative difference between them. A conceptual distinction is useful if it helps us better understand some interesting aspect of the world that might otherwise go unnoticed, unexplained, or misunderstood. Does the distinction between sexy sons and indicator mechanisms provide such help? I think it does, in several ways. Genetic indicator processes may be driven by advantages derived from overall genetic condition, such as relative freedom from deleterious mutations; that is, by genetic mechanisms that involve other and much larger parts of the genome than do Fisherian mating advantages. The latter can be based on genes that, in essence, influence only mating preferences and preferred traits. Genetic indicator processes on the other hand can work without any sexy sons mating advantage. This has been shown in genetic models by using strict monogamy mating rules (Andersson 1986), and by preventing build-up of gametic disequilibrium between genes for male display and female choice (Houle & Kondrashov 2001), which is a crucial component of the Fisherian runaway process. The two mechanisms are qualitatively different also in that indicator mechanisms can maintain female choice in the face of direct costs of choice, whereas Fisherian mating advantages cannot do so.


Unit 1.3 – Le French Art

REMEMBER: Calculators are no longer permitted on the exam!

Difficulty: Medium / Hard

Time:   7 minutes 30 seconds


The passage below has been adapted from “But is it Art?” by Cynthia Freeland


A modern-day tourist to France can make short train trips from Paris to visit medieval Chartres on one day and Versailles the next. Having done this tour, I would be hard-pressed to say which place had greater impact. Chartres is fascinating. You catch picturesque glimpses of the cathedral’s mismatched towers from the city’s narrow medieval streets. By comparison, Versailles dazzles by sheer scale and spectacle. The palace is extraordinary, as is its setting amid parks, fountains waterways and gardens. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, gardens were recognised as high artistic achievements. In 1770 Horace Walpole listed gardening along with poetry and painting as the ‘three sisters or graces’. Designers or ‘gardenists’ like Capability Brown in England earned fame and fortune. Andre Le Notre was from a family of gardeners called upon by Louis XIV to design a garden grand enough to fit his image as ‘The Sun King’. Le Notre spent 50 years of his life (beginning in the 1660s) upon the magnificent gardens of Versailles. Designed around the theme of Apollo the sun god (to honour Louis), Versailles’ gardens drew upon Greek mythology: its fountains and statues depicted Apollo’s mother Latona, his sister Diana, etc. The scale was enormous, both in years expended and in hard labour spent transforming the landscape, which started out as a swampy hunting lodge. The Versailles official Web site says that the garden covers 2,000 acres, with 200,000 trees, 210,000 flowers, 50 fountains, 620 fountain nozzles, and 3,600 cubic metres per hour consumed during the annual ‘Full Play of the Fountains’. Water was as much a part of the original design as trees and plants; fountains and waterways had their own designs, with adjustable nozzles to create splashing sculptural effects. Sometimes gondoliers and sailors in costume were hired to ply the waters of the Grand Canal while musicians played on shore. The classical allusions everywhere at work in Versailles would require an educated audience to appreciate them. Like the chateau, the garden served a social, political, and cultural function during the period of absolute monarchy. The garden signified the king’s dominance. But there is also an aesthetic sensibility at work in the garden’s complex geometrically ordered plan, which included broad alleys, low gardens or parterres with embroidery designs, the huge mile-long Grand Canal, and small enclosed wooded alcoves or bosquets, each with its own theme, enhanced by fountains. Gardens did not count as the highest form of art for Immanuel Kant (1724 – 1804), but he took them seriously. Kant’s great work in aesthetics, his Critique of Judgement was published a century after Le Notre began his work. Kant never visited Versailles, though he probably saw engravings of it and knew of gardens emulating it. We remember that Kant emphasised formal features and the idea of ‘purposiveness without a purpose’. Versailles, as a garden aiming at Beauty, did not serve the lowly purpose of growing fruits and vegetables.


Unit 1.1 – An Essay on God & Krsna

Difficulty: Medium/Hard

Recommended time for completion:  6 minutes


The following passage is adapted from The Science of Realisation, a book by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupáda


Ladies and Gentlemen, I thank you very much for kindly participating in this Krsna Consciousness movement. When this society was registered in 1966 in New York, a friend suggested that it be named the Society for God Consciousness. He thought that the name Krsna was sectarian. The dictionary also says that Krsna is a Hindu god’s name. But in actuality, if any name can be attributed to God, it is “Krsna.”

Actually, God has no particular name. By saying He has no name, we mean that no one knows how many names He has. Since God is unlimited, His names also must be unlimited. Therefore we cannot settle on one name. For instance, Krsna is sometimes called Yasodá-nandana, the son of mother Yasodá; or Devakí-nandana, the son of Devakí; or Vasudeva-nandana, the son of Vasudeva.

God has many dealings with His many devotees, and according to those dealings, He is called certain names. Since He has unnumerable devotees and innumerable relations with them, He also has innumerable names. We cannot hit on any one name. But the name Krsna means “all attractive’. God attracts everyone; that is the definition of God. We have seen many pictures of Krsna, and we see that He attracts the cows, calves, birds, beasts trees, plants and even the water in Vrndávana. Therefore if any particular name can be given to God, that name is “Krsna”.