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Posts tagged ‘Medium/Hard’

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Unit 48 – Geometric Analogies

Difficulty: Medium/hard

Time: 3 minutes

The passage below has been adapted from How To Solve It by George Polya.

 

Analogy is a sort of similarity. Similar objects agree with each other in some respect, analogous objects agree in certain relations of their respective parts.
A rectangular parallelogram is analogous to a rectangular parallelepiped. In fact, the relations between the sides of the parallelogram are similar to those between the faces of the parallelepiped:
Each side of the parallelogram is parallel to just one other side, and is perpendicular to the remaining sides. Each face of the parallelepiped is parallel to just one other face, and is perpendicular to the remaining faces. Let us agree to call a side a “bounding element” of the parallelogram and a face a “bounding element” of the parallelepiped. Then, we may contract the two foregoing statements into one that applies equally to both figures:
Each bounding element is parallel to just one other bounding element and is perpendicular to the remaining bounding elements.
Thus, we have expressed certain relations which are common to the two systems of objects we compared, sides of the rectangle and faces of the rectangular parallelepiped. The analogy of these systems consists in this community of relations.
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Unit 44 – The Neurologist’s Concerto

Difficulty: medium/hard

Time: 6 minutes

The passage below has been adapted from an article by Ronan McGreevy, published in The Irish Times, entitled ‘What Makes a Musical Genius?’

Is musical talent down to nature or nurture? Prof Steven Frucht is determined to find out what makes a true musician. What is the ineffable thing that marries the notes in a musician’s head with the ability to translate that into great music flawlessly and in a way that others can only admire?
The relationship between the brain and music has fascinated Steven Frucht, professor of neurology at Mount Sinai Medical Centre in New York and an accomplished violinist himself. Most music lovers are aware that musical talent seems to run in families, but many attribute that to the environment in which a musician is raised and the incentive to practise.
He came to the subject through his work helping musicians with the potentially career-threatening disorder called focal dystonia, also known as musicians’ dystonia. It afflicts musicians who use their hands repetitively in very complicated arrangements and is a neurological condition which can be crippling. He helps them with treatments which include, unusually, botox.
Frucht says great musicians operate at the “outer limits of what human motor control can do with speed and dexterity”. Such musicians have motor controllability which is well beyond the 99 per cent percentile of what most people are capable of doing.
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Unit 41 – Sex Ed Stats

Difficulty: Medium/Hard

Time: 3 minutes

The passage below has been adapted from an article published on guardian.co.uk, written by Rachel Williams. 

 

A survey carried out as part of the 2001 census in the UK showed that fewer than half of teenage mothers were going to school when they got pregnant. About a quarter of boys and a third of girls who left school at 16 with no qualifications did not use contraception when they first had sex, compared to only 6% of boys and 8% girls who stayed on till 17 or over and got qualifications.

A 2008 study of 38 mostly poor, developing countries found that 15- to 17-year-old girls who were enrolled in school were less likely to have had sex than girls who weren’t in education. Nearly 13 million adolescent girls give birth each year in developing countries; a girl growing up in Chad is more likely to die in childbirth than she is to attend secondary school, according to the IPPF. But if a girl in the developing world receives seven or more years of education, on average she marries four years later and has 2.2 fewer children.
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Unit 34 – Experimental Monkey Business

Difficulty: Medium/hard

Time: 6 minutes

The following passage has been adapted from Not A Chimp – The Hunt To Find The Genes That Make Us Human, by Jeremy Taylor

Researcher, Brian Hare, decided to create an experimental set-up where he could frame the ‘seeing-knowing’ question in the context of competition for food between dominant and a subordinate chimp. The two chimps were separated by screens, which could be raised or lowered, from a central chamber which contained two barriers made out of opaque cloth bags. Both animals were allowed to watch while the experimenter placed two pieces of food in the central chamber, sometimes in the open and sometimes behind one of the barriers. Then both chimps were allowed into the chamber. The dominant, of course, took all the pieces of food it could see, and if both pieces had been placed in the open, it grabbed the lot. Occasionally, however, the experimenter had placed a piece of food behind one of the barriers in a way that was difficult for the dominant chimp to monitor. The question was whether or not the subordinate would preferentially go for the food only it could see, because it had been placed on its side of a barrier. The subordinate was given a very slight head start to encourage it to compete with the dominant and to ensure that it was not simply reacting to the dominant’s behaviour on release, but on the remembered ‘who saw what?’ condition when the chamber was baited.
Their measure of the choice the subordinate made was based on the completeness of its approach (half-way toward the barrier), and full approach, when the subordinate crossed the half-way line in the right direction.
Their results showed that subordinates did indeed go toward the food that only they could see much more often than the food that both they and the dominant could see (because it was either out in the open or the dominant had seen it placed behind a barrier). This suggested to Hare that they did understand something about seeing and not seeing. But did they understand anything about seeing being equivalent to knowing?
In a follow-up experiment the subordinate was always allowed to witness one piece of food being placed on its side of one or another of the barriers. In the first condition, the dominant was also allowed to witness the action; in the second condition the dominant was not allowed to see and was thus ignorant of food location; and in a third condition the dominant was misinformed about the food location in that he was first allowed to watch the food being placed, but the food was switched while his screen was subsequently lowered. The screen was always completely lowered on the dominant’s side for a few seconds before the subordinate, then the dominant, were released into the chamber. If the subordinate had remembered whether or not the dominant was looking, in the past, at the crucial moment when food was either placed or switched, and if he could thus compute that looking was akin to seeing (was akin to knowing), he should approach and retrieve the food more often when the dominant was either uninformed or misinformed about where it was, and thus avoid a bashing. He did.
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Unit 32 – Social Philosophy

Difficulty: Medium/hard

Time: 1 minute 30 seconds

The comment below was recently made by philosopher, Slavoj Zizek:

“…When you buy an organic apple, you’re doing it for ideological reasons, it makes you feel good: ‘I’m doing something for Mother Earth,’ and so on. But in what sense are we engaged? It’s a false engagement. Paradoxically, we do these things to avoid really doing things. It makes you feel good. You recycle, you send £5 a month to some Somali orphan, and you did your duty.”

 

1. Which of the following best summarises Zizek’s main point?

  • A      People should send their money to Somalia instead of wasting it on organic apples
  • B      Social consciousness is a myth perpetuated by Western culture
  • C      People have been tricked into operating safety valves that allow the status quo to survive unchallenged
  • D      Vehicles of social change are fuelled primarily by guilt