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RC Practice - 6 th May : Geology  


In choosing a method for determining climatic conditions that existed in the past, paleoclimatologists invoke four principal criteria. First, the material—rocks, lakes, vegetation, etc.—on which the method relies must be widespread enough to provide plenty of information, since analysis of material that is rarely encountered will not permit correlation with other regions or with other periods of geological history. Second, in the process of formation, the material must have received an environmental signal that reflects a change in climate and that can be deciphered by modern physical or chemical means. Third, at least some of the material must have retained the signal unaffected by subsequent changes in the environment. Fourth, it must be possible to determine the time at which the inferred climatic conditions held. This last criterion is more easily met in dating marine sediments, because dating of only a small number of layers in a marine sequence allows the age of other layers to be estimated fairly reliably by extrapolation and interpolation. By contrast, because sedimentation is much less continuous in continental regions, estimating the age of a continental bed from the known ages of beds above and below is more risky.

One very old method used in the investigation of past climatic conditions involves the measurement of water levels in ancient lakes. In temperate regions, there are enough lakes for correlations between them to give us a reliable picture. In arid and semiarid regions, on the other hand, the small number of lakes and the great distances between them reduce the possibilities for correlation. Moreover, since lake levels are controlled by rates of evaporation as well as by precipitation, the interpretation of such levels is ambiguous. For instance, the fact that lake levels in the semiarid southwestern United States appear to have been higher during the last ice age than they are now was at one time attributed to increased precipitation. On the basis of snow-line elevations, however, it has been concluded that the climate then was not necessarily wetter than it is now, but rather that both summers and winters were cooler, resulting in reduced evaporation.

Another problematic method is to reconstruct former climates on the basis of pollen profiles. The type of vegetation in a specific region is determined by identifying and counting the various pollen grains found there. Although the relationship between vegetation and climate is not as direct as the relationship between climate and lake levels, the method often works well in the temperate zones. In arid and semiarid regions in which there is not much vegetation, however, small changes in one or a few plant types can change the picture dramatically, making accurate correlations between neighboring areas difficult to obtain.


  

1. Which of the following statements about the difference between marine and continental sedimentation is supported by information in the passage?

(A) Data provided by dating marine sedimentation is more consistent with researchers’ findings in other disciplines than is data provided by dating continental sedimentation.

(B) It is easier to estimate the age of a layer in a sequence of continental sedimentation than it is to estimate the age of a layer in a sequence of marine sedimentation.

(C) Researchers are more often forced to rely on extrapolation when dating a layer of marine sedimentation than when dating a layer of continental sedimentation.

(D) Marine sedimentation is much more continuous than is continental sedimentation.


2. Which of the following statements best describes the organization of the passage as a whole?

(A) The author describes a method for determining past climatic conditions and then offers specific examples of situations in which it has been used.

(B) The author discusses the method of dating marine and continental sequences and then explains how dating is more difficult with lake levels than with pollen profiles.

(C) The author describes the common requirements of methods for determining past climatic conditions and then discusses examples of such methods.

(D) The author describes various ways of choosing a material for determining past climatic conditions and then discusses how two such methods have yielded contradictory data.


3. It can be inferred from the passage that paleoclimatologists have concluded which of the following on the basis of their study of snow-line elevations in the southwestern United States?

(A) There is usually more precipitation during an ice age because of increased amounts of evaporation.

(B) There was less precipitation during the last ice age than there is today.

(C) Lake levels in the semiarid southwestern United States were lower during the last ice age than they are today.

(D) The high lake levels during the last ice age may have been a result of less evaporation rather than more precipitation.


  

4. Which of the following would be the most likely topic for a paragraph that logically continues the passage?

(A) The kinds of plants normally found in arid regions

(B) The effect of variation in lake levels on pollen distribution

(C) A third method for investigating past climatic conditions

(D) Other criteria invoked by paleoclimatologists when choosing a method to determine past climatic conditions.


5. The author discusses lake levels in the southwestern United States in order to

(A) illustrate the mechanics of the relationship between lake level, evaporation, and precipitation

(B) provide an example of the uncertainty involved in interpreting lake levels

(C) prove that there are not enough ancient lakes with which to make accurate correlations

(D) explain the effects of increased rates of evaporation on levels of precipitation


6. It can be inferred from the passage that an environmental signal found in geological material would not be useful to paleoclimatologists if it

(A) had to be interpreted by modern chemical means

(B) reflected a change in climate rather than a long-term climatic condition

(C) was incorporated into a material as the material was forming

(D) also reflected subsequent environmental changes 

RC Practice - 7th May : Economics  

According to Rubina Verma, while the Indian economy has been shifting from being predominantly agriculture employment-based to one where the employment is a mix of agriculture, manufacturing and services, the economy has largely seen a "jobless growth" between the 1980s and 2007. This jobless growth in the Indian manufacturing has been puzzling, states Sonia Bhalotra, and is in part linked to the productivity growth. The major industries that have seen growth in formal employment have been export-oriented manufacturing, software, and local services. However, states Ajit Ghose, the services-based industry has not been "particularly employment-intensive", and its rapid growth has not addressed the unemployment and under-employment problems in India – and the job needs of its growing population – between 1983 and 2010. 

While new census data reveals that unemployment numbers are even direr than was previously suspected, it is not clear that the forecast for Indian entrepreneurship is equally alarming. An article in a major national newspaper suggests that the contraction in hiring at existing companies might result in more new companies being founded. College graduates, unable to find traditional jobs, instead opt to start their own businesses. Where a recession may seem an unpropitious time for such a historically risky endeavor, with no better options, would-be entrepreneurs have little to lose. 

Unfortunately, this situation does not necessarily impact the economy positively. Though the average number of new businesses started per year has been higher during the recession than it was before, the proportion of high-value businesses founded each year has declined. So even if a business manages to stay solvent, it may not bring significant returns. Also, because of an inevitable dearth of angel investors and venture capitalists, many new entrepreneurs are putting their own money on the line. In certain ways, the choice between accepting a traditional job and starting a business is not unlike the choice between renting and buying property. The latter requires a significant initial outlay and carries heavier risks, but sure the rewards can be equally substantial.


  

1. The primary purpose of the passage is to

(A) maintain that college students should form their own companies, especially during economic recessions

(B) argue that the Indian economy in the past has registered jobless growth 

(C) present a nuanced view of a contemporary economic issue

(D) evaluate the viability of low-versus high-value businesses under various environmental conditions


2. According to the passage, that many college graduates are choosing to launch their own companies in the present economic climate leads from

(A) the difficulty in finding outside (angel) investors

(B) the difficulty in landing positions typically open to workers of their experience

(C) an increase in the prevalence of low-value companies

(D) forecasts of the unemployment rates likely becoming less dire in coming years


3. It can be inferred from the passage that over the course of the recent recession, the number of Indian high-value businesses founded per year

(A) has fallen sharply

(B) has fallen moderately

(C) has risen sharply

(D) may have either fallen or risen


4. According to Sonia Bhalotra, the jobless growth in the Indian manufacturing sector

(A) has been consistent with decline in productivity 

(B) has resulted in growth in productivity

(C) can be attributed to a growth in productivity

(D) has been accompanied with a decline in growth rate of productivity


5. The author’s attitude towards the choice of starting a business over accepting a traditional job can best be regarded as 

(A) scepticism

(B) guarded encouragement

(C) dissuasion

(D) enthusiasm


Here is the link to the explanation video: https://youtu.be/VtGczBEJX7E (live at 8 pm today)

RC Practice -  8th May 2020 | Microbiology 1

The past decade has seen a statistically significant uptick in reports of the bacterial strains known as “super-bugs,” so called not because of enhanced virulence, but because of their resistance to many antimicrobial agents. In particular, researchers have become alarmed about NDM-1 (New Delhi metallo-betalactamase), which is not a single bacterial species, but a transmittable genetic element encoding multiple resistance genes. A resistance “cocktail” such as NDM-1 could bestow immunity to a bevy of preexisting drugs simultaneously, rendering the bacterium nearly impregnable.

However, in spite of the well-documented dangers posed by antibiotic-resistant bacteria, many scientists argue that the human race has more to fear from viruses. Whereas bacteria reproduce asexually through binary fission, viruses lack the necessary structures for reproduction, and so are known as “intracellular obligate parasites.” Virus particles called virions must marshal the host cell’s ribosomes, enzymes, and other cellular machinery in order to propagate. Once various viral components have been built, they bind together randomly in the cellular cytoplasm. The newly finished copies of the virus break through the cellular membrane, destroying the cell in the process. Because of this, viral infections cannot be treated ex post facto in the same way that bacterial infections can, since antivirals designed to kill the virus could do critical damage to the host cell itself. In fact, viruses can infect bacteria (themselves complete cells), but not the other way around. For many viruses, such as that responsible for the common cold sore, remission rather than cure is the goal of currently available treatment.

While the insidious spread of drug-resistant bacteria fueled by overuse of antibiotics in agriculture is nothing to be sneezed at, bacteria lack the potential for cataclysm that viruses have. The prominent virologist Nathan Wolfe considers human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which has resulted in the deaths of more than thirty million people and infected twice that number, “the biggest near-miss of our lifetime.” Despite being the most lethal pandemic in history, HIV could have caused far worse effects. It is only fortunate happenstance that this virus cannot be transmitted through respiratory droplets, as can the viruses that cause modern strains of swine flu (H1N1), avian flu (H5N1), and SARS..
1. The author’s main point in this passage is that

(A) The surge in recent times in the number of bacterial strains resistant to drugs, such as the NDM-1, poses a danger to the mankind like never before

(B) The human race faces an unprecedented danger posed by a host of both bacteria and viruses.

(C) Viral infections like the HIV could potentially wipe out the human race if we were not fortunate

(D) The mechanism of viral infections is well documented and is certainly better understood than the mechanism of bacterial strains

2. It can be inferred from the passage that infections by bacteria

(A) result from asexual reproduction through binary fission

(B) can be treated ex post facto by antimicrobial agents

(C) can be rendered vulnerable by a resistance cocktail such as NDM-1

(D) are rarely cured by currently available treatments, but rather only put into remission 

3. According to the passage, intracellular obligate parasites

(A) are unable to propagate themselves on their own

(B) assemble their components randomly out of virions

(C) reproduce themselves through sexual combination with host cells

(D) have become resistant to antibiotics through the overuse of these drugs

4. The main aim of the author in this passage can be expressed most accurately by which of the following?

(A) To contrast the manner by which bacteria and viruses infect the human body and cause cellular damage.

(B) To explain the operations by which viruses use cell machinery to propagate.

(C) To argue for additional resources to combat drug-resistant bacteria and easily transmissible pathogenic viruses.

(D) To compare the relative dangers of two biological threats and judge one of them to be far more important. 

5. Which of the following would weaken the author’s argument?

(A) Humans have survived through ages of bacterial and viral strains.

(B) The infections originating in host cells trigger immunological responses far more effective than the ones triggered by those originating outside the body

(C) Virions are more accessible to drugs than genetic elements in bacterial cocktails.

(D) The bacterial strains in human bodies that get infected by viruses are more dangerous than viral infections 

6. The passage can best be called a/an
(A) Argument
(B) Report
(C) Review
(D) Recommendation


Solutions: https://youtu.be/wvqwXK-Pci4

RC Practice - 9th May 2020 | History of science

 Cosmology used to be a classical subdomain of traditional philosophy: according to a well known partition of the whole of reality into three great spheres (Man, Nature and God), it became customary at a certain time to articulate the so-called systematic philosophy into three branches: anthropology or psychology (the philosophy of Man), natural philosophy or cosmology (the philosophy of Nature), and theology (the philosophy of God).

However, this partition became controversial with the development of modern science, since a certain effect of this development was the conviction that at least some of these domains of inquiry had been removed from the competence of philosophy and passed on to the competence of science. This was the case, in particular, with Nature: in fact, as is well known, the very notion of natural philosophy rapidly changed its meaning, in the sense that what became actually understood under this term was the new physical science initiated by Galileo and Newton. Of course, at least until the end of the 18th century things were not perceived in this light: those people whom we now qualify as scientists were considered — and considered themselves — to be natural philosophers; they were supposed to cultivate philosophy (or at least a part of it), and neither to develop an investigation of Nature which would stand besides (or even at variance with) the philosophical investigation of Nature, nor to promote a new kind of inquiry, which should replace or delegitimate the philosophical study of Nature. Only in the 19th century, and in particular with the positivistic movement, did “science” and “philosophy” become charged with very distinct and even almost opposite meanings.

One incident that could be seen as the germ cell of this conflict was the supernova explosion of 1604. A supernova is a brief stellar explosion so luminous that it can briefly outshine an entire galaxy. While the explosion itself takes less than fifteen seconds, supernovae take weeks or months to fade from view; during that time, a supernova can emit an amount of energy equivalent to the amount of energy the sun is expected to radiate over its entire lifespan. Supernovae generate enough heat to create heavy elements, such as mercury, gold, and silver. Although supernovae explode frequently, few of them are visible (from Earth) to the naked eye.

In 1604 in Padua, Italy, a supernova became visible, appearing as a star so bright that it was visible in daylight for more than a year. Galileo, who lectured at the university, gave several lectures widely attended by the public. The lectures not only sought to explain the origin of the “star” (some posited that perhaps it was merely “vapour near the earth”), but seriously undermined the views of many philosophers that the heavens were unchangeable. 

  

1. With which of the following would the author of this passage most likely agree?

(A) The development of modern science should be credited with debunking superstitions of natural philosophy.

(B) The undoing of natural philosophy can be attributed, at least in some part, to the division, in the first place, of reality into three philosophical subdomains.

(C) Prior to the evolution of modern science, the study of reality was systematically divided into three domains.

(D) Cosmology rightfully belongs to the philosophers, rather than the scientists.

2. The author mentions the supernova explosion of 1604 in order to

(A) pit two conflicting disciplines against each other

(B) cite an example of the various mysteries of the cosmic world

(C) trace the genesis of a dichotomy that the passage as a whole talks about

(D) contradict the main point mentioned in the passage 

3. The primary purpose of the passage is to

(A) give the history of supernovae

(B) describe a shift in thought as a result of a natural event

(C) juxtapose two opposing views about supernovae

(D) explain how science and philosophy interrelate

4. Which of the following can be inferred from the passage?

(A) Supernovae can take over a year to fade from view.

(B) Prior to 1604, no one had ever seen a supernova.

(C) Galileo convinced philosophers of the incorrectness of their views

(D) Science and philosophy have never converged 

5. The author mentions which of the following as a result of the supernova of 1604?

(A) The supernova created and dispersed many heavy elements in the outer space.

(B) Galileo explained the origin of the supernova.

(C) The public was interested in hearing lectures about the phenomenon.

(D) Galileo’s lectures were opposed by philosophers.


https://youtu.be/6YnZ9tOR2EM

RC practice - 10th May | Biology

Until about the dawn of twentieth century, the very idea that peptide hormones might be made anywhere in the brain besides the hypothalamus was astounding. Peptide hormones, scientists thought, were made by endocrine glands and the hypothalamus was thought to be the brains’ only endocrine gland. Because peptide hormones cannot cross the blood-brain barrier, researchers also believed that they never got to any part of the brain other than the hypothalamus, where they were simply produced and then released into the bloodstream.

But these beliefs about peptide hormones were questioned as laboratory after laboratory found that antiserums to peptide hormones, when injected into the brain, bind in places other than the hypothalamus, indicating that either the hormones or substances that cross-react with the antiserums are present. The immunological method of detecting peptide hormones by means of antiserums, however, is imprecise. Cross-reactions are possible and this method cannot determine whether the substances detected by the antiserums really are the hormones, or merely close relatives. Furthermore, this method cannot be used to determine the location in the body where the detected substances are actually produced.

New techniques of molecular biology, however, provide a way to answer these questions. It is possible to make specific complementary DNA’s (cDNA’s) that can serve as molecular probes to seek out the messenger RNA’s (mRNA’s) of the peptide hormones. If brain cells are making the hormones, the cells will contain these mRNA’s. If the products the brain cells make resemble the hormones but are not identical to them, then the cDNA’s should still bind to these mRNA’s, but should not bind as tightly as they would to mRNA’s for the true hormones. The cells containing these mRNA’s can then be isolated and their mRNA’s decoded to determine just what their protein products are and how closely the products resemble the true peptide hormones.

The molecular approach to detecting peptide hormones using cDNA probes should also be much faster than the immunological method because it can take years of tedious purifications to isolate peptide hormones and then develop antiserums to them. Roberts, expressing the sentiment of many researchers, states: “I was trained as an endocrinologist. But it became clear to me that the field of endocrinology needed molecular biology input. The process of grinding out protein purifications is just too slow.”

If, as the initial tests with cDNA probes suggest, peptide hormones really are made in the brain in areas other than the hypothalamus, a theory must be developed that explains their function in the brain. Some have suggested that the hormones are all growth regulators, but Rosen’s work on rat brains indicates that this cannot be true. A number of other researchers propose that they might be used for intercellular communication in the brain.?1. Which of the following titles best summarizes the passage?

(A) Is Molecular Biology the Key to Understanding Intercellular Communication in the Brain?

(B) Molecular Biology: Can Researchers Exploit Its Techniques to Synthesize Peptide Hormones?

(C) The Advantages and Disadvantages of the Immunological Approach to Detecting Peptide Hormones

(D) Peptide Hormones: How Scientists Are Attempting to Solve Problems of Their Detection and to Understand Their Function

 

2. The passage suggests that a substance detected in the brain by use of antiserums to peptide hormones may

(A) have been stored in the brain for a long period of time

(B) play no role in the functioning of the brain

(C) have been produced in some part of the body other than the brain

(D) have escaped detection by molecular methods

  

3. Which of the following is mentioned in the passage as a drawback of the immunological method of detecting peptide hormones?

(A) It cannot be used to detect the presence of growth regulators in the brain.

(B) It cannot distinguish between the peptide hormones and substances that are very similar to them.

(C) It uses antiserums that are unable to cross the blood-brain barrier.

(D) It involves a purification process that requires extensive training in endocrinology.

 

4. The passage implies that, in doing research on rat brains, Rosen discovered that

(A) peptide hormones are used for intercellular communication

(B) complementary DNA’s do not bind to cells producing peptide hormones

(C) products closely resembling peptide hormones are not identical to peptide hormones

(D) some peptide hormones do not function as growth regulators

 

5. Which of the following is a way in which the immunological method of detecting peptide hormones differs from the molecular method?

(A) The immunological method uses substances that react with products of hormone-producing cells, whereas the molecular method uses substances that react with a specific component of the cells themselves.

(B) The immunological method has produced results consistent with long-held beliefs about peptide hormones, whereas the molecular method has produced results that upset these beliefs.

(C) The immunological method requires a great deal of expertise, whereas the molecular method has been used successfully by nonspecialists.

(D) The immunological method can only be used to test for the presence of peptide hormones within the hypothalamus, whereas the molecular method can be used throughout the brain.


6. The idea that the field of endocrinology can gain from developments in molecular biology is regarded by Roberts with

(A) incredulity

(B) derision

(C) enthusiasm

(D) pride

https://youtu.be/9-xOgvHmZLg

RC Practice - 11th May  

A new controversial theory challenges the long-held view of most archaeologists that primitive European societies were patriarchal in both their social and religious structures, by suggesting that the people of ―Old Europe— from 8000 B.C. to 3000 B.C.—lived in stable agricultural societies in which women headed clans and men laboured as hunters and builders. This theory suggests that during the Stone Age there thrived in and around Europe peace-loving, matriarchal communities in which men and women lived together as equals, respected nature, and worshipped a nurturing deity called the Great Goddess.
 

Proponents of this theory contend that this peaceful and harmonious society was shattered in about the year 3000 B.C., when marauders from the Indo-European steppes replaced social and sexual egalitarianism by patriarchy and hierarchy, and warrior gods dethroned the Great Goddess. With the widespread decimation of Old Europe, the goddess-centred religion went underground. However, its symbols have reappeared over the centuries in the forms of the female deities of Greece and Rome, in the Virgin Mary, and in the belief in spiritual forces lurking within the natural world.
 

The theory of the Great Goddess has been hailed by feminist social critics, artists, and religious thinkers for providing an important alternative to traditional, patriarchal mythologies and paradigms, as well as for providing a new and more positive model for the human relationship to the natural world.
 

Yet many other investigators into prehistoric Europe consider the theory an unsubstantiated and idealistic version of history. To a number of critics, the chief problem in this radical theory is one of method. Traditional archaeologists, taking issue with unorthodox speculation on ancient belief systems, contend that archaeological evidence may tell us something about what people ate in the small villages of prehistoric Europe, how they built their homes, and what they traded, but cannot tell us much about what the dwellers of the ancient world actually thought. To them, such speculation is illegitimate. 

 But supporters of the theory of a goddess-worshipping Old Europe counter that such critiques reveal a certain narrow-mindedness on the part of scientists rather than weaknesses on the part of their theory arguing that some degree of speculation is important, perhaps even necessary, for the sake of progress in archaeology and other fields. This element of speculation helps reveal the implications of a theory.

1. Which of the following most closely resembles the new theory’s view of the European society prior 3000 B.C?

A. A nomadic community of hunter-gatherer-builders in which women held positions of importance in clan, as men provided for the family.

B. A female-dominated society with men’s main role limited to labor

C. A warring community where groups were divided into two – one worshipping the male war gods and the other worshipping a kind feminine deity.

D. A pacific community of nature worshippers with well-classified roles for both sexes.


2. Based on the information in the passage, which of the following statements about prehistoric European society would traditional archaeologists most likely consider illegitimate?
A. The people were agrarian and not nomadic.
B.  Food was cooked in clay vessels over a fire.
C. The people were worried about invasion.
D. They had adopted a more patriarchal model
 

3. Which of the following maxims seems most in agreement with the argument that the supporters of the Great Goddess theory put forth in response to criticism?
A. Those who live by the sword will die by the sword.
B. A mind is like a parachute in that it only works when open.
C. He who does not understand his opponent‘s arguments does not understand his own.
D. The early bird gets the worm


4. Which of the following would be contrary to what a proponent of the theory of the Great Goddess most likely believes?

A. The available archaeological evidence does not rule out the idea that Old European matriarchal communities existed.

B. The field of archaeology has been dominated in the past by male- oriented scholarship.

C. Matriarchy is conducive to establishing a healthy relationship with the natural world.

D. The decimation of Old European society wiped away all traces of the Great Goddess religion.


https://youtu.be/qcqQ6EeXwIc

RC Practice - 12th May 2020

In the 1960s, sociologist John McKnight coined the term "redlining" to describe the discriminatory practice of fencing off areas where banks would avoid investments based on community demographics. During the heyday of redlining, the areas most frequently discriminated against were black inner city neighborhoods. For example, in Atlanta in the 1980s, a Pulitzer Prize-winning series of articles by investigative reporter Bill Dedman showed that banks would often lend to lower-income whites but not to middle-income or upper-income blacks. The use of blacklists is a related mechanism also used by redliners to keep track of groups, areas, and people that the discriminating party feels should be denied business or aid or other transactions. In the academic literature, redlining falls under the broader category of credit rationing. 

The term came from the practice of banks outlining certain areas in red on a map — within the red outline, banks refused to invest. With no access to mortgages, residents within the red line suffered low property values and landlord abandonment; buildings abandoned by landlords were then likely to become centers of drug dealing and other crime, thus further lowering property values.

Redlining in mortgage lending was made illegal by the Fair Housing Act of 1968, which prohibited such discrimination based on race, religion, gender, familial status, disability, or ethnic origin, and by community reinvestment legislation in the 1970’s. However, redlining may have continued in less explicit ways, and can also take place in regards to constrained access to health care, jobs, insurance, and more. Even today, some credit card companies send different offers to homes in different neighborhoods, and some auto insurance companies offer different rates based on zip code.

Reverse redlining occurs when predatory businesses specifically target minority consumers for the purpose of charging them more than would usually be charged to a consumer of the majority group. Redlining can lead to reverse redlining — if a retailer refuses to serve a certain area based on the ethnic-minority composition of the area, people in that area can fall prey to opportunistic smaller retailers who sell inferior goods at higher prices.

1. All of the following can be inferred from the passage, EXCEPT

(A) Discriminatory denial of service and differential pricing are characteristic features of redlining

(B) The illegalization of redlining brought about a change in scope and nature of the act.

(C) Access to mortgages is related to higher property values.

(D) Redlining significantly subsided with the passing of the Fair Housing Act in 1968.

2. Which of the following, not mentioned in the passage, would qualify as an example of reverse redlining as defined in the passage?

(A) A hospital refuses to offer medical care to consumers in certain neighborhoods.

(B) Residents of low-income neighborhoods are less likely to be hired for positions than residents of higher-income neighborhoods, even when the applicants have the same qualifications.

(C) An auto insurance company hires an African American spokesperson in a bid to attract more African American consumers.

(D) A grocery store in a low-income neighborhood charges exorbitant prices for products that most residents are unable to buy elsewhere.

3. Which of the following correctly describes a sequence of events presented in the passage?

(A) Subprime mortgages lead to widespread defaults, which lead to landlord abandonment.

(B) Landlord abandonment leads to redlining, which leads to crime and drug dealing.

(C) Redlining leads to reverse redlining, which leads to constrained access to health care, jobs, insurance, and more.

(D) Redlining leads to landlord abandonment, which leads to the use of buildings for crime and drug dealing.

4. Which of the following is the best way to describe author’s description of redlining ?

(A) A vicious cycle of discrimination against certain neighborhoods bringing down their asset value and driving up the service prices.

(B) A linear chain of events starting in discrimination on the basis of race and ending in crime

(C) A complex situation causing social, economic, moral and emotional harm to a social group while benefiting another.

(D) A business practice exploiting an already socially disadvantaged group.

https://youtu.be/fQJSdFOLnd8

RC practice - 13th May 2020 

Boccaccio‘s donnée is of an upper-class milieu where girls and young men can meet socially at ease and move—thanks to wealth—out of plague-stricken Florence. In fact, it daringly reverses the standard form of morality, well summed up nearly contemporaneously by Traini‘s famous Triumph of Death fresco in the Campo Santo at Pisa. There, an upperclass, amorous, hedonistic group of young people is depicted as doomed to die. Boccaccio‘s group consists very much of stylish survivors.

The code of behaviour they assume and also promulgate is impressively liberal, civilized and un-prudish. Seven girls who have met by chance at Mass at Santa Maria Novella plan their adventure and then co-opt three young men who happen to enter the church. The three are already known to them, but it is the girls who take the initiative, in a tactful, well-bred way, making it clear from the start that this is no invitation to rape. One has only to try to imagine Victorian girls—in fiction or in fact—behaving with such a degree of sophistication to see that society by no means advances century by century. Boccaccio is a highly complex personality who, like many another writer, may have felt that his most famous work was not his best. But the Decameron became famous early on, and was avidly read and frequently translated throughout Europe.

The Decameron is a thoroughly Florentine book and a thoroughly social one, down to its structure. After the poetry of the Divine Comedy, it is very much prose, in every way. It glories in being undidactic, entertaining and openly—though by no means totally—scabrous. Eventually it shocked and frightened its creator, who thus unwittingly or not recognized the force of its literary power. He repented and turned moralist and academic, leaving Florence for the small Tuscan town of Certaldo where he had probably been born and where in 1375 he died. 

Part of his religious repentance was perhaps expressed by commissioning two altarpieces (sadly, not extant) for a local church. Whatever the medievalism enshrined in the Divine Comedy, the Decameron speaks for a robustly changed, relaxed vision, one set firmly upon earth. It is the opposite of lonely and ecstatic. It is a vision closer to that of Canterbury Tales than to the spiritual one of Piers Plowman. 

It has female protagonists who seem mundane if not precisely modern compared with the real women mystics and saints of central Italy of a few generations before, women whose fierce, intense, sometimes horrifyingly palpable and semi-erotic visions read like real-life cantos from Dante‘s poem. No doubt Boccaccio has idealized a little, but he puts forward a calm, sane case for freedom and humour and good manners between the sexes which, however palely, foreshadows the Shakespearean world of Beatrice and Benedick. 

The theme of the stories his group exchange is human behaviour—often as it is manifested under the pressure of lust or love. But the group is also shown indulging in chess and music and dancing (even bathing though separated by sex). The ladies frequently laugh and occasionally blush, while never losing their self-possession and their implicit command of the situation.

That the diversions of the Decameron are set brightly against the gruesome darkness of the Black Death is effective and also realistic. The plague is seen working psychologically as well as physically, horribly corrupting manners and morals, in addition to destroying life. Diversion and escape seem not frivolous but prudent, especially when provided by a pleasantly sited, well-stocked villa outside Florence, with amenities that extend to agreeable pictures in its rooms.

1. All of the following can be inferred about the narrative of Boccacio’s Decameron, EXCEPT:

A. The women’s conduct in the work is in stark contrast with the depiction of same in Victorian novels.

B. It is set in the realistic backdrop of a great affliction, which works the characters’ body and mind to the extent of moral liberation.

C. The indulgent and venturesome young women belong to an elite class and their adventurous journey takes them to their inevitable death.

D. The women characters are empowered and unrestrained by mores of their age.

2. Which of the following statements best summarizes the author‘s opinion in regarding Boccaccio‘s view of his own work?

A. Boccaccio held more regard for the Decameron than for his later works.

B. Boccaccio was later dismayed but nonetheless convinced by the literary power of the Decameron.

C. Boccaccio was heartened that the Decameron was avidly read and translated.

D. Boccaccio was overly critical of his own work

3. According to the author, the Decameron differs markedly from its Italian predecessor The Divine Comedy in all BUT that

A. It is set in Florence.

B. It is written in a didactic style.

C. It has a tendency to be tedious.

D. It was actually not humorous in content

4. Which of the following statements is true about Decameron in relation to works by other writers?

A. The semi-erotic visions in this work resemble those in Dante’s poem Divine Comedy. 

B. It was an unprecedented portrayal of spiritual freedom far away from the dogmatic Piers of Plowman

C. It anticipated the easy chemistry between two sexes of Shakespearean works.

D. It was not unlike the Triumph of Death in depicting the moral code of behavior considered appropriate for youth or women.

https://youtu.be/QbNkLhj1IoM

RC practice- 14th May

The deep sea typically has a sparse fauna dominated by tiny worms and crustaceans, with an even sparser distribution of larger animals. However, near hydrothermal vents, areas of the ocean where warm water emerges from subterranean sources, live remarkable densities of huge clams, blind crabs, and fish.

Most deep-sea faunas rely for food on particulate matter ultimately derived from photosynthesis, falling from above. The food supplies necessary to sustain the large vent communities, however, must be many times the ordinary fallout. The first reports describing vent faunas proposed two possible sources of nutrition: bacterial chemosynthesis, production of food by bacteria using energy derived from chemical changes, and advection, the drifting of food materials from surrounding regions. Later, evidence in support of the idea of intense local chemosynthesis was accumulated: hydrogen sulfide was found in vent water; many vent-site bacteria were found to be capable of chemosynthesis; and extremely large concentrations of bacteria were found in samples of vent water thought to be pure. This final observation seemed decisive. If such astonishing concentrations of bacteria were typical of vent outflow, then food within the vent would dwarf any contribution from advection. Hence, the widely quoted conclusion was reached that bacterial chemosynthesis provides the foundation for hydrothermal-vent food chains—an exciting prospect because no other communities on Earth are independent of photosynthesis.

There are, however, certain difficulties with this interpretation. For example, some of the large sedentary organisms associated with vents are also found at ordinary deep-sea temperatures many meters from the nearest hydrothermal sources. This suggests that bacterial chemosynthesis is not a sufficient source of nutrition for these creatures. Another difficulty is that similarly dense populations of large deep-sea animals have been found in the proximity of “smokers”—vents where water emerges at temperatures up to 350℃. No bacteria can survive such heat, and no bacteria were found there. Unless smokers are consistently located near more hospitable warm-water vents, chemosynthesis can account for only a fraction of the vent faunas. It is conceivable, however, that these large, sedentary organisms do in fact feed on bacteria that grow in warm-water vents, rise in the vent water, and then rain in peripheral areas to nourish animals living some distance from the warm-water vents.

Nonetheless advection is a more likely alternative food source. Research has demonstrated that advective flow, which originates near the surface of the ocean where suspended particulate matter accumulates, transports some of that matter and water to the vents. Estimates suggest that for every cubic meter of vent discharge, 350 milligrams of particulate organic material would be advected into the vent area. Thus, for an average-sized vent, advection could provide more than 30 kilograms of potential food per day. In addition, it is likely that small live animals in the advected water might be killed or stunned by thermal and/or chemical shock, thereby contributing to the food supply of vents.

1. According to the author of the passage, which of the following best describes the source of nutrition for deep-sea vent fauna?

(A) It is independent of photosynthesis and relies on bacterial chemosynthesis.

(B) The huge amount of particulate matter falling form sea –surface fulfills much of the need

(C) The drifting of particulate matter from surrounding regions fulfills more nutritional needs than chemosynthesis by bacteria

(D) Photosynthesis may play no smaller role than chemosynthesis in fulfilling food needs near vents.

2. The information in the passage suggests that the majority of deep-sea faunas that live in nonvent habitats have which of the following characteristics?

(A) They do not normally feed on particles of food in the water.

(B) They are smaller than many vent faunas.

(D) They derive nutrition from a chemosynthetic food source.

(E) They congregate around a single main food source.

3. The primary purpose of the passage is to

(A) reconstruct the evolution of a natural phenomenon

(B) establish unequivocally the accuracy of a hypothesis

(C) survey explanations for a natural phenomenon and determine which is best supported by evidence(D)

(D) entertain criticism of the deep-sea research and provide an effective response

4. Which of the following does the author cite as a weakness in the argument that bacterial chemosynthesis provides the foundation for the food chains at deep-sea vents?

(A) Vents are colonized by some of the same animals found in other areas of the ocean floor.

(B) Vent water does not contain sufficient quantities of hydrogen sulfide.

(C) Bacteria cannot produce large quantities of food quickly enough.

(D) Smokers are usually found in the vicinity of warm-water vents..

5. Which of the following, if true, would most weaken the author’s argument?

(A) The number of large animals found in nonvent areas of deep sea is not high.

(B) Warm-water vents with phenomenal amount of bacteria are often present in the vicinity of smokers.

(C) The movement of matter associated with areas in and around deep sea vents with relation to oceanic surface is outward rather than inward.

(D) A considerable number of large animals are found in nonvent areas of deep sea.

https://youtu.be/FG1pqbSX72g

RC Practice - 15th May 2020

In recent years, a growing belief that the way society decides what to treat as true is controlled through largely unrecognized discursive practices has led legal reformers to examine the complex interconnections between narrative and law. In many legal systems, legal judgments are based on competing stories about events. Without having witnessed these events, judges and juries must validate some stories as true and reject others as false. This procedure is rooted in objectivism, a philosophical approach that has supported most Western legal and intellectual systems for centuries. Objectivism holds that there is a single neutral description of each event that is unskewed by any particular point of view and that has a privileged position over all other accounts. The law’s quest for truth, therefore, consists of locating this objective description, the one that tells what really happened, as opposed to what those involved thought happened. 

The serious flaw in objectivism is that there is no such thing as the neutral, objective observer. As psychologists have demonstrated, all observers bring to a situation a set of expectations, values, and beliefs that determine what the observers are able to see and hear. Two individuals listening to the same story will hear different things, because they emphasize those aspects that accord with their learned experiences and ignore those aspects that are dissonant with their view of the world. Hence there is never any escape in life or in law from selective perception or from subjective judgments based on prior experiences, values, and beliefs.

The societal harm caused by the assumption of objectivist principles in traditional legal discourse is that, historically, the stories judged to be objectively true are those told by people who are trained in legal discourse, while the stories of those who are not fluent in the language of the law are rejected as false.

Legal scholars such as Patricia Williams, Derrick Bell, and Mari Matsuda have sought empowerment for the latter group of people through the construction of alternative legal narratives. Objectivist legal discourse systematically disallows the language of emotion and experience by focusing on cognition in its narrowest sense. These legal reformers propose replacing such abstract discourse with powerful personal stories. They argue that the absorbing, nonthreatening structure and tone of personal stories may convince legal insiders for the first time to listen to those not fluent in legal language. The compelling force of personal narrative can create a sense of empathy between legal insiders and people traditionally excluded from legal discourse and, hence, from power. Such alternative narratives can shatter the complacency of the legal establishment and disturb its tranquility. Thus, the engaging power of narrative might play a crucial, positive role in the process of legal reconstruction by overcoming differences in background and training and forming a new collectivity based on emotional empathy.

1. Which of the following would be the closest to objectivism, as it has been defined in the passage?

(A) An editorial written in a newspaper column

(B) A travel blog describing a surreal place

(C) A historical text on events that may have led to the Russian revolution

(D) A biography of a famous painter

2. Which one of the following best states the main idea of the passage?

(A) Some legal scholars have sought to empower people historically excluded from traditional legal discourse by instructing them in the forms of discourse favored by legal insiders.

(B) Some legal scholars have argued that the basic flaw inherent in objectivist theory can be remedied by recognizing that it is not possible to obtain a single neutral description of a particular event. 

(C) Some legal scholars have proposed alleviating the harm caused by the prominence of objectivist principles within legal discourse by replacing that discourse with alternative forms of legal narrative.

(D) Some legal scholars have contended that those who feel excluded from objectivist legal systems would be empowered by the construction of a new legal language that better reflected objectivist principles.

3. According to the passage, which one of the following is true about the intellectual systems mentioned in the passage?

(A) They are inherently flawed, owing to the inaccuracy of an underlying tenet.

(B) They have generally remained unskewed by particular points of view.

(C) Their discursive practices have yet to be analyzed by legal scholars.

(D) They have shaped the philosophy of objectivism in legal discourse

4. Which one of the following best describes the sense of “cognition” referred to in the passage?

(A) the interpretation of visual cues 

(B) dispassionate logical thinking 

(C) sudden insights inspired by the power of personal stories 

(D) the reasoning actually employed by judges to arrive at legal judgments

5. It can be inferred from the passage that Williams, Bell, And Matsuda believe which one of the following to be central component of legal reform?

(A) incorporating into the law the latest developments in the fields of psychology and philosophy

(B) eradicating from legal judgments discourse with a particular point of view

(C) granting all participants in legal proceedings equal access to training in the forms and manipulation of legal discourse

(D) making the law more responsive to the discursive practices of a wider variety of people

6. Which one of the following statements about legal discourse in legal systems based on objectivism can be inferred from the passage?

(A) In most Western societies the legal establishment controls access to training in legal discourse.

(B) Expertise in legal discourse affords power in most Western societies.

(C) Legal discourse has become progressively more abstract for some centuries.

(D) Legal discourse has traditionally denied the existence of neutral objective observers.

7. Those who reject objectivism would regard “the law’s quest for truth” as most similar to which one of the following?

(A) the painstaking assembly of a jigsaw puzzle

(B) the search for a valuable diamond among trinkets

(C) hunt for a legendary animal

(D) comparing an apple with an orange

https://youtu.be/qMIt7NAAn8U

RC Practice - 16th May | CAT 2019 Slot 1 Passage 1(Folk) "Free of the taint of manufacture" – that phrase, in particular, is heavily loaded with the ideology of what the Victorian socialist William Morris called the "anti-scrape", or an anticapitalist conservationism (not conservatism) that solaced itself with the vision of a preindustrial golden age. In Britain, folk may often appear a cosy, fossilised form, but when you look more closely, the idea of folk – who has the right to sing it, dance it, invoke it, collect it, belong to it or appropriate it for political or cultural ends – has always been contested territory. . . . In our own time, though, the word "folk" . . . has achieved the rare distinction of occupying fashionable and unfashionable status simultaneously. Just as the effusive floral prints of the radical William Morris now cover genteel sofas, so the revolutionary intentions of many folk historians and revivalists have led to music that is commonly regarded as parochial and conservative. And yet – as newspaper columns periodically rejoice – folk is hip again, influencing artists, clothing and furniture designers, celebrated at music festivals, awards ceremonies and on TV, reissued on countless record labels. Folk is a sonic "shabby chic", containing elements of the uncanny and eerie, as well as an antique veneer, a whiff of Britain's heathen dark ages. The very obscurity and anonymity of folk music's origins open up space for rampant imaginative fancies. . . . Cecil Sharp, who wrote about this subject, believed that folk songs existed in constant transformation, a living example of an art form in a perpetual state of renewal. "One man sings a song, and then others sing it after him, changing what they do not like" is the most concise summary of his conclusions on its origins. He compared each rendition of a ballad to an acorn falling from an oak tree; every subsequent iteration sows the song anew. But there is tension in newness. In the late 1960s, purists were suspicious of folk songs recast in rock idioms. Electrification, however, comes in many forms. For the early-20th-century composers such as Vaughan Williams and Holst, there were thunderbolts of inspiration from oriental mysticism, angular modernism and the body blow of the first world war, as well as input from the rediscovered folk tradition itself. For the second wave of folk revivalists, such as Ewan MacColl and AL Lloyd, starting in the 40s, the vital spark was communism's dream of a post-revolutionary New Jerusalem. For their younger successors in the 60s, who thronged the folk clubs set up by the old guard, the lyrical freedom of Dylan and the unchained melodies of psychedelia created the conditions for folkrock's own golden age, a brief Indian summer that lasted from about 1969 to 1971. . . . Four decades on, even that progressive period has become just one more era ripe for fashionable emulation and pastiche. The idea of a folk tradition being exclusively confined to oral transmission has become a much looser, less severely guarded concept. Recorded music and television, for today's metropolitan generation, are where the equivalent of folk memories are seeded. . . . Q1. The author says that folk “may often appear a cosy, fossilised form” because: Ans: 1. the notion of folk has led to several debates and disagreements. 2. it has been arrogated for various political and cultural purposes. 3. of its nostalgic association with a pre-industrial past. 4. folk is a sonic “shabby chic” with an antique veneer Q.2 At a conference on folk forms, the author of the passage is least likely to agree with which one of the following views? Ans 1. The power of folk resides in its contradictory ability to influence and be influenced by the present while remaining rooted in the past. 2. Folk forms, in their ability to constantly adapt to the changing world, exhibit an unusual poise and homogeneity with each change. 3. Folk forms, despite their archaic origins, remain intellectually relevant in contemporary times. 4. The plurality and democratising impulse of folk forms emanate from the improvisation that its practitioners bring to it. Q.3 The primary purpose of the reference to William Morris and his floral prints is to show: Ans 1. that despite its archaic origins, folk continues to remain a popular tradition. 2. that what was once derided as genteel is now considered revolutionary. 3. that what is once regarded as radical in folk, can later be seen as conformist. 4. the pervasive influence of folk on contemporary art, culture, and fashion Q.4 All of the following are causes for plurality and diversity within the British folk tradition EXCEPT: Ans 1. paradoxically, folk forms are both popular and unpopular. 2. that British folk continues to have traces of pagan influence from the dark ages. 3. that British folk forms can be traced to the remote past of the country. 4. the fluidity of folk forms owing to their history of oral mode of transmission Q.5 Which of the following statements about folk revivalism of the 1940s and 1960s cannot be inferred from the passage? Ans 1. Even though it led to folk-rock’s golden age, it wasn’t entirely free from critique. 2. Electrification of music would not have happened without the influence of rock music. 3. It reinforced Cecil Sharp’s observation about folk’s constant transformation. 4. Freedom and rebellion were popular themes during the second wave of folk revivalism

Here is the playlist of question-specific analysis: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLPd6FR8N-r5M53ESQ2xDPfbvGt18J2zHY

Vedica successfully completed 100% placement for the Class of 2018-19 in the month of January. Here's a quick snapshot of some of our returning recruiters, new companies on campus and salaries for the batch.

Read the full report here: https://vedicascholars.com/placements-for-2019

Think Vedica for MBA PLACEMENTS.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ExU-dopXmL8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7-Gkpy27Bew

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j8ZtJqFwQR8

https://youtu.be/ETz_d22E1to https://youtu.be/OAyZV_jUgPI https://youtu.be/r9OGS6Xv5VQ

https://youtu.be/ETz_d22E1to https://youtu.be/OAyZV_jUgPI https://youtu.be/r9OGS6Xv5VQ

 RC practice - 17th May | CAT 2019 Slot 1 | Passage 2 (Choice fatigue) 

Contemporary internet shopping conjures a perfect storm of choice anxiety. Research has consistently held that people who are presented with a few options make better, easier decisions than those presented with many. . . . Helping consumers figure out what to buy amid an endless sea of choice online has become a cottage industry unto itself. Many brands and retailers now wield marketing buzzwords such as curation, differentiation, and discovery as they attempt to sell an assortment of stuff targeted to their ideal customer. Companies find such shoppers through the data gold mine of digital advertising, which can catalog people by gender, income level, personal interests, and more. Since Americans have lost the ability to sort through the sheer volume of the consumer choices available to them, a ghost now has to be in the retail machine, whether it’s an algorithm, an influencer, or some snazzy ad tech to help a product follow you around the internet. Indeed, choice fatigue is one reason so many people gravitate toward lifestyle influencers on Instagram—the relentlessly chic young moms and perpetually vacationing 20-somethings—who present an aspirational worldview, and then recommend the products and services that help achieve it. . . . 

For a relatively new class of consumer-products start-ups, there’s another method entirely. Instead of making sense of a sea of existing stuff, these companies claim to disrupt stuff as Americans know it. Casper (mattresses), Glossier (makeup), Away (suitcases), and many others have sprouted up to offer consumers freedom from choice: The companies have a few aesthetically pleasing and supposedly highly functional options, usually at mid-range prices. They’re selling nice things, but maybe more importantly, they’re selling a confidence in those things, and an ability to opt out of the stuff rat race. . . . 

One-thousand-dollar mattresses and $300 suitcases might solve choice anxiety for a certain tier of consumer, but the companies that sell them, along with those that attempt to massage the larger stuff economy into something navigable, are still just working within a consumer market that’s broken in systemic ways. The presence of so much stuff in America might be more valuable if it were more evenly distributed, but stuff’s creators tend to focus their energy on those who already have plenty. As options have expanded for people with disposable income, the opportunity to buy even basic things such as fresh food or quality diapers has contracted for much of America’s lower classes. 

For start-ups that promise accessible simplicity, their very structure still might eventually push them toward overwhelming variety. Most of these companies are based on hundreds of millions of dollars of venture capital, the investors of which tend to expect a steep growth rate that can’t be achieved by selling one great mattress or one great sneaker. Casper has expanded into bedroom furniture and bed linens. Glossier, after years of marketing itself as no-makeup makeup that requires little skill to apply, recently launched a full line of glittering color cosmetics. There may be no way to opt out of stuff by buying into the right things

Q.6 Based on the passage, all of the following can be inferred about consumer behaviour EXCEPT that:

Ans 

1. too many options have made it difficult for consumers to trust products.

2. consumers tend to prefer products by start-ups over those by established

companies. 

3. consumers are susceptible to marketing images that they see on social media.

4. having too many product options can be overwhelming for consumers.

Q.7 Which one of the following best sums up the overall purpose of the examples of Casper and Glossier in the passage?

Ans 

1. They are exceptions to a dominant trend in consumer markets.

2. They are increasing the purchasing power of poor Americans.

3. They might transform into what they were exceptions to.

4. They are facilitating a uniform distribution of commodities in the market.

Q.8 A new food brand plans to launch a series of products in the American market. Which of the following product plans is most likely to be supported by the author of the passage?

Ans 

1. A range of 10 products priced between $10 and $25.

2. A range of 25 products priced between $10 and $25.

3. A range of 10 products priced between $5 and $10.

4. A range of 25 products priced between $5 and $10.

Q.9 Which of the following hypothetical statements would add the least depth to the author’s prediction of the fate of start-ups offering few product options?

Ans 

1. With Casper and Glossier venturing into new product ranges, their regular customers start losing trust in the companies and their products.

2. An exponential surge in their sales enables start-ups to meet their desired profit goals without expanding their product catalogue.

3. With the motive of promoting certain rival companies, the government decides to double the tax-rates for these start-ups.

4. Start-ups with few product options are no exception to the American consumer market that is deeply divided along class lines


https://youtu.be/DhQMblXnuvo

Vocabulary for XAT, IIFT, NMAT, OMETs:

https://youtu.be/UWlFJpfsDpI


RC Practice - 18th May | CAT 2019 Slot 1 Passage 3 (Emperor Penguins)

Scientists recently discovered that Emperor Penguins—one of Antarctica’s most celebrated species—employ a particularly unusual technique for surviving the daily chill. As detailed in an article published today in the journal Biology Letters, the birds minimize heat loss by keeping the outer surface of their plumage below the temperature of the surrounding air. At the same time, the penguins’ thick plumage insulates their body and keeps it toasty. . . .

The researchers analyzed thermographic images . . . taken over roughly a month during June 2008. During that period, the average air temperature was 0.32 degrees Fahrenheit. At the same time, the majority of the plumage covering the penguins’ bodies was even colder: the surface of their warmest body part, their feet, was an average 1.76 degrees Fahrenheit, but the plumage on their heads, chests and backs were -1.84, -7.24 and -9.76 degrees Fahrenheit respectively. Overall, nearly the entire outer surface of the penguins’ bodies was below freezing at all times, except for their eyes and beaks. The scientists also used a computer simulation to determine how much heat was lost or gained from each part of the body—and discovered that by keeping their outer surface below air temperature, the birds might paradoxically be able to draw very slight amounts of heat from the air around them. The key to their trick is the difference between two different types of heat transfer: radiation and convection.

The penguins do lose internal body heat to the surrounding air through thermal radiation, just as our bodies do on a cold day. Because their bodies (but not surface plumage) are warmer than the surrounding air, heat gradually radiates outward over time, moving from a warmer material to a colder one. To maintain body temperature while losing heat, penguins, like all warm-blooded animals, rely on the metabolism of food. The penguins, though, have an additional strategy. Since their outer plumage is even colder than the air, the simulation showed that they might gain back a little of this heat through thermal convection—the transfer of heat via the movement of a fluid (in this case, the air). As the cold Antarctic air cycles around their bodies, slightly warmer air comes into contact with the plumage and donates minute amounts of heat back to the penguins, then cycles away at a slightly colder temperature.

Most of this heat, the researchers note, probably doesn’t make it all the way through the plumage and back to the penguins’ bodies, but it could make a slight difference. At the very least, the method by which a penguin’s plumage wicks heat from the bitterly cold air that surrounds it helps to cancel out some of the heat that’s radiating from its interior. And given the Emperors’ unusually demanding breeding cycle, every bit of warmth counts. . . . Since [penguins trek as far as 75 miles to the coast to breed and male penguins] don’t eat anything during [the incubation period of 64 days], conserving calories by giving up as little heat as possible is absolutely crucial.

Q.11 Which of the following best explains the purpose of the word “paradoxically” as used by the author?

Ans 

1. Heat gain through radiation happens despite the heat loss through convection.

2. Keeping a part of their body colder helps penguins keep their bodies warmer.

3. Keeping their body colder helps penguins keep their plumage warmer.

4. Heat loss through radiation happens despite the heat gain through convection.

Q.12 Which of the following can be responsible for Emperor Penguins losing body heat?

Ans 

1. Plumage.

2. Food metabolism.

3. Reproduction process.

4. Thermal convection

Q.13 In the last sentence of paragraph 3, “slightly warmer air” and “at a slightly colder temperature” refer to ______ AND ______ respectively:

Ans 

1. the cold Antarctic air which becomes warmer because of the heat radiated out from

penguins’ bodies AND the fall in temperature of the surrounding air after thermal convection.

2. the air inside penguins’ bodies kept warm because of metabolism of food AND the

fall in temperature of the body air after it transfers some heat to the plumage.

3. the air trapped in the plumage which is warmer than the Antarctic air AND the fall in temperature of the trapped plumage air after it radiates out some heat.

4. the cold Antarctic air whose temperature is higher than that of the plumage AND the fall in temperature of the Antarctic air after it has transmitted some heat to the plumage.

Q.14 All of the following, if true, would negate the findings of the study reported in the passage EXCEPT:

Ans 

1. the temperature of the plumage on the penguins’ heads, chests and backs were

found to be 1.84, 7.24 and 9.76 degrees Fahrenheit respectively.

2. the average temperature of the feet of penguins in the month of June 2008 were

found to be 2.76 degrees Fahrenheit.

3. the average air temperature recorded during the month of June 2008 in the area of

study were –10 degrees Fahrenheit.

4. the penguins’ plumage were made of a material that did not allow any heat transfer

through convection or radiation.

https://youtu.be/13tHU1r5MPk

RC Practice - 19th May | CAT 2019 Slot 1 Passage 4| Topophilia

As defined by the geographer Yi-Fu Tuan, topophilia is the affective bond between people and place. His 1974 book set forth a wide-ranging exploration of how the emotive ties with the material environment vary greatly from person to person and in intensity, subtlety, and mode of expression. Factors influencing one’s depth of response to the environment include cultural background, gender, race, and historical circumstance, and Tuan also argued that there is a biological and sensory element. Topophilia might not be the strongest of human emotions— indeed, many people feel utterly indifferent toward the environments that shape their lives— but when activated it has the power to elevate a place to become the carrier of emotionally charged events or to be perceived as a symbol.

Aesthetic appreciation is one way in which people respond to the environment. A brilliantly colored rainbow after gloomy afternoon showers, a busy city street alive with human interaction—one might experience the beauty of such landscapes that had seemed quite ordinary only moments before or that are being newly discovered. This is quite the opposite of a second topophilic bond, namely that of the acquired taste for certain landscapes and places that one knows well. When a place is home, or when a space has become the locus of memories or the means of gaining a livelihood, it frequently evokes a deeper set of attachments than those predicated purely on the visual. A third response to the environment also depends on the human senses but may be tactile and olfactory, namely a delight in the feel and smell of air, water, and the earth.

Topophilia—and its very close conceptual twin, sense of place—is an experience that, however elusive, has inspired recent architects and planners. Most notably, new urbanism seeks to counter the perceived placelessness of modern suburbs and the decline of central cities through neo-traditional design motifs. Although motivated by good intentions, such attempts to create places rich in meaning are perhaps bound to disappoint. As Tuan noted, purely aesthetic responses often are suddenly revealed, but their intensity rarely is long- lasting. Topophilia is difficult to design for and impossible to quantify, and its most articulate interpreters have been self-reflective philosophers such as Henry David Thoreau, evoking a marvelously intricate sense of place at Walden Pond, and Tuan, describing his deep affinity for the desert.

Topophilia connotes a positive relationship, but it often is useful to explore the darker affiliations between people and place. Patriotism, literally meaning the love of one’s terra patria or homeland, has long been cultivated by governing elites for a range of nationalist projects, including war preparation and ethnic cleansing. Residents of upscale residential developments have disclosed how important it is to maintain their community’s distinct identity, often by casting themselves in a superior social position and by reinforcing class and racial differences. And just as a beloved landscape is suddenly revealed, so too may landscapes of fear cast a dark shadow over a place that makes one feel a sense of dread or anxiety—or topophobia.

Q.15 Which one of the following best captures the meaning of the statement, “Topophilia is difficult to design for and impossible to quantify . . .”?

Ans 

1. Architects have to objectively quantify spaces and hence cannot be topophilic.

2. The deep anomie of modern urbanisation led to new urbanism’s intricate sense of

place.

3. People’s responses to their environment are usually subjective and so cannot be

rendered in design.

4. Philosopher-architects are uniquely suited to develop topophilic design

Q.16 Which of the following statements, if true, could be seen as not contradicting the

arguments in the passage?

Ans 

1. New Urbanism succeeded in those designs where architects collaborated with their clients.

2. Generally speaking, in a given culture, the ties of the people to their environment

vary little in significance or intensity.

3. The most important, even fundamental, response to our environment is our tactile

and olfactory response.

4. Patriotism, usually seen as a positive feeling, is presented by the author as a darker

form of topophilia.

Q.17 In the last paragraph, the author uses the example of “Residents of upscale residential developments” to illustrate the:

Ans 

1. manner in which environments are designed to minimise the social exclusion of their clientele.

2. sensitive response to race and class problems in upscale residential developments.

3. social exclusivism practised by such residents in order to enforce a sense of racial

or class superiority.

4. introduction of nationalist projects by such elites to produce a sense of dread or

topophobia.

Q.18 The word “topophobia” in the passage is used:

Ans 

1. to signify the fear of studying the complex discipline of topography.

2. as a metaphor expressing the failure of the homeland to accommodate non-citizens.

3. to represent a feeling of dread towards particular spaces and places.

4. to signify feelings of fear or anxiety towards topophilic people.

Q.19 Which one of the following comes closest in meaning to the author’s understanding of topophilia?

Ans 

1. The French are not overly patriotic, but they will refuse to use English as far as

possible, even when they know it well.

2. The tendency of many cultures to represent their land as “motherland” or

“fatherland” may be seen as an expression of their topophilia

3. Scientists have found that most creatures, including humans, are either born with or

cultivate a strong sense of topography.

4. Nomadic societies are known to have the least affinity for the lands through which

they traverse because they tend to be topophobic.


https://youtu.be/MUOD-oCYb_8

RC Practice - 20th May | CAT 2019 Slot 1 | Passage 5 Arabian Nights 

In the past, credit for telling the tale of Aladdin has often gone to Antoine Galland . . . the first European translator of . . . Arabian Nights [which] started as a series of translations of an incomplete manuscript of a medieval Arabic story collection. . . But, though those tales were of medieval origin, Aladdin may be a more recent invention. Scholars have not found a manuscript of the story that predates the version published in 1712 by Galland, who wrote in his diary that he first heard the tale from a Syrian storyteller from Aleppo named Hanna Diyab . . .

Despite the fantastical elements of the story, scholars now think the main character may actually be based on a real person’s real experiences. . . . Though Galland never credited Diyab in his published translations of the Arabian Nights stories, Diyab wrote something of his own: a travelogue penned in the mid-18th century. In it, he recalls telling Galland the story of Aladdin [and] describes his own hard-knocks upbringing and the way he marveled at the extravagance of Versailles. The descriptions he uses were very similar to the descriptions of the lavish palace that ended up in Galland’s version of the Aladdin story. [Therefore, author Paulo Lemos] Horta believes that “Aladdin might be the young Arab Maronite from Aleppo, marveling at the jewels and riches of Versailles.” . . .

For 300 years, scholars thought that the rags-to-riches story of Aladdin might have been inspired by the plots of French fairy tales that came out around the same time, or that the story was invented in that 18th century period as a byproduct of French Orientalism, a fascination with stereotypical exotic Middle Eastern luxuries that was prevalent then. The idea that Diyab might have based it on his own life — the experiences of a Middle Eastern man encountering the French, not vice-versa — flips the script. [According to Horta,] “Diyab was ideally placed to embody the overlapping world of East and West, blending the storytelling traditions of his homeland with his youthful observations of the wonder of 18th-century France.” . . .

To the scholars who study the tale, its narrative drama isn’t the only reason storytellers keep finding reason to return to Aladdin. It reflects not only “a history of the French and the Middle East, but also [a story about] Middle Easterners coming to Paris and that speaks to our world today,” as Horta puts it. “The day Diyab told the story of Aladdin to Galland, there were riots due to food shortages during the winter and spring of 1708 to 1709, and Diyab was sensitive to those people in a way that Galland is not. When you read this diary, you see this solidarity among the Arabs who were in Paris at the time. . . . There is little in the writings of Galland that would suggest that he was capable of developing a character like Aladdin with sympathy, but Diyab’s memoir reveals a narrator adept at capturing the distinctive psychology of a young protagonist, as well as recognizing the kinds of injustices and opportunities that can transform the path of any youthful adventurer.”

Q.20 Which of the following does not contribute to the passage’s claim about the authorship of Aladdin?

Ans 

1. The narrative sensibility of Diyab’s travelogue.

2. The story-line of many French fairy tales of the 18th century.

3. The depiction of the affluence of Versailles in Diyab’s travelogue.

4. Galland’s acknowledgment of Diyab in his diary.

Q.21 All of the following serve as evidence for the character of Aladdin being based on Hanna Diyab EXCEPT:

Ans 

1. Diyab’s narration of the original story to Galland.

2. Diyab’s cosmopolitanism and cross-cultural experience.

3. Diyab’s humble origins and class struggles, as recounted in his travelogue.

4. Diyab’s description of the wealth of Versailles in his travelogue.

Q.22 Which of the following, if true, would invalidate the inversion that the phrase “flips the script” refers to?

Ans 

1. Galland acknowledged in the published translations of Arabian Nights that he heard the story of Aladdin from Diyab.

2. Diyab’s travelogue described the affluence of the French city of Bordeaux, instead of Versailles.

3. The description of opulence in Hanna Diyab’s and Antoine Galland’s narratives bore no resemblance to each other.

4. The French fairy tales of the eighteenth century did not have rags-to-riches plot lines like that of the tale of Aladdin.

Q.23 Which of the following is the primary reason for why storytellers are still fascinated by the story of Aladdin?

Ans 

1. The story of Aladdin is evidence of the eighteenth century French Orientalist attitude.

2. The archetype of the rags-to-riches story of Aladdin makes it popular even today.

3. The traveller's experience that inspired the tale of Aladdin resonates even today.

4. The tale of Aladdin documents the history of Europe and Middle East.

Q.24 The author of the passage is most likely to agree with which of the following explanations for the origins of the story of Aladdin?

Ans 

1. The story of Aladdin has its origins in an undiscovered, incomplete manuscript of a medieval Arabic collection of stories.

2. Galland received the story of Aladdin from Diyab who, in turn, found it in an incomplete medieval manuscript.

3. Basing it on his own life experiences, Diyab transmitted the story of Aladdin to Galland who included it in Arabian Nights.

4. Galland derived the story of Aladdin from Diyab’s travelogue in which he recounts his fascination with the wealth of Versailles.


https://youtu.be/DOGLoQo_Twg