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Unit 47 – Real Life & Celebs

Difficulty: easy

Time: 7 minutes 30 seconds

The passage below is an adaptation of an article by journalist, Julian Norman, published in The Guardian in June 2012.

 

Seaweed. Marmite. No, egg whites. Or maybe grilled chicken. Actually, hang on, try a handful of unsalted nuts. No bread though. Bread is poison.

The craving ravings of pregnancy? The menu requirements of a capricious Islington four-year-old? No, it’s the food recommendations of the last month from Closer magazine, which urge us to step away from the carbs and into a happy bubble of seaweed-eating. A New You in which it’s possible to leave behind your sad, lonely bread habit and step into a revitalised Beach Body, achieved through the medium of wakame salads and yoga. I discovered this while on a bus one rainy Thursday afternoon. My inclination to get off and walk was minimal and some kind fellow-traveller had left a copy of the magazine behind. I opened it, and began flicking through. I had no idea who the featured celebrities were, so it was rather like reading someone’s banal telephone conversation. Almost all of the stories could be boiled down to 140 characters, so I began to tweet it with the hashtag #Closer. Kerry is a size 10–12 and so she had weight loss surgery. Now she’s “ecstatic with her new body” was a typical tweet. Taken together, they are a fabulous collection of absurdism.

There is a serious point in among the whimsy, though: stories are not actually about the celebrities. They can be categorised into roughly three groups: bodies, food and relationships. In bodies, we learn that the ideal size to be is an 8. Women who fall below that size are said to be “gaunt”, and are usually mourning the end of a relationship. A 10 is acceptable but usually prefaced with the word “curvy”. Women who are over that size will be dieting, and we will get a run-down of their meal plans, or indeed whether they’re eating at all. If they are over a size 12, then their “pals” are quoted, gleefully telling of how the woman in question cries every night over her size, or is disgusted with herself.

Bodies intersect neatly with food. Carbohydrates are generally considered a bad thing, and menu recommendations inevitably focus on grilled fish or chicken with vegetables or salad. Then there will be one food item which creeps in several times per issue, being hyped either by celebrities or by the magazine itself, the magic weight loss food which will attain you that desirable size 8 figure. It was seaweed in the first issue, Marmite in the next.
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Unit 46 – Tomoe Nage

Difficulty: Medium

Time: 4 minutes 30 seconds

This one is quite similar in style and format to a question that came up on the March 2012 GAMSAT in Ireland. It was themed on fishing, and required students to interpret both text and illustrations.

 

The material below has been adapted from ‘Judo Masterclass Techniques: Tomoe Nage’ by Katsuhiko Kashiwazaki

 

The success of this throw depends on two crucial elements; an effective break of balance and an extremely deep entry. Here we see demonstrated the standard sleeve/lapel grip. The kuzushi (breaking of balance) for tomoe nage is markedly different to most other judo throws. As can be seen from the photograph, I pull slightly up with both hands, but also outwards, to ‘open’ my opponent. It is a movement that is maintained throughout the throw: even when I am on my back, my arms are pulling wide. At the same time, I am starting my first step. Of course, in competition the number of steps will most likely need to be reduced, but it is best to begin a tomoe-nage study using a two-step entry.
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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.
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Unit 44 – A Short Poem About Leaving

Difficulty: Medium

Time: 1 minute 30 seconds

Below is a short poem by Irish poet, John Montague

 

No Music

I’ll tell you a sore truth, little understood
It’s harder to leave, than to be left:
To stay, to leave, both sting wrong.

You will always have me to blame,
Can dream we might have sailed on;
From absence’s rib, a warm fiction.

To tear up old love by the roots,
To trample on past affections:
There is no music for so harsh a song.
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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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