[真题] CET4 2015年6月(卷3) 阅读 Passage 2

Kodak's decision to file for bankruptcy (破产) protection is a sad, though not unexpected, turning point for a leading American corporation that pioneered consumer photography and dominated the film market for decades, but ultimately failed to adapt to the digital revolution.

Although many attribute Kodak's downfall to "complacency (自满), "that explanation doesn't acknowledge the lengths to which the company went to reinvent itself. Decades ago, Kodak anticipated that digital photography would overtake film–and in fact, Kodak invented the first digital camera in1975–but in a fateful decision, the company chose to shelf its new discovery to focus on its traditional film business.

It wasn't that Kodak was blind to the future, said Rebecca Henderson, a professor at Harvard Business School, but rather that it failed to execute on a strategy to confront it. By the time the company realized its mistake, it was too late.

Kodak is an example of a firm that was very much aware that they had to adapt, and spent a lot of money trying to do so, but ultimately failed. Large companies have a difficult time switching to new markets because there is a temptation to put existing assets into the new businesses.

Although Kodak anticipated the inevitable rise of digital photography, its corporate culture was too rooted in the successes of the past for it to make the clean break necessary to fully embrace the future. They were a company stuck in time. Their history was so important to them. Nowtheir history has become a liability.

Kodak's downfall over the last several decades was dramatic. In 1976, the company commanded90% of the market for photographic film and 85% of the market for cameras. But the 1980s brought new competition from Japanese film company Fuji Photo, which undermined Kodak by offering low erprices for film and photo supplies. Kodak's decision not to pursue the role of official film for the 1984Los Angeles Olympics was a major miscalculation. The bid went instead to Fuji, which exploited its sponsor ship to win a permanent foothold in the marketplace.

[真题] CET4 2015年6月(卷3) 阅读 Passage 1

Junk food is everywhere. We're eating way too much of it. Most of us know what we're doing and yet we do it anyway.

So here's a suggestion offered by two researchers at the Rand Corporation: Why not take a lesson from alcohol control policies and apply them to where food is sold and how it's displayed?

"Many policy measures to control obesity (肥胖症) assume that people consciously and rationally choose what and how much they eat and therefore focus on providing information and more access to healthier foods, "note the two researchers.

"In contrast, "the researchers continue, "many regulations that don't assume people make rational choices have been successfully applied to control alcohol, a substance–like food–of which immoderate consumption leads to serious health problems."

The research references studies of people's behavior with food and alcohol and results of alcohol restrictions, and then lists five regulations that the researchers think might be pronfising if applied to junk foods. Among them:

Density restrictions: licenses to sell alcohol aren't handed out unplanned to all comers but are allotted (分配) based on the number of places in an area that already sell alcohol. These make a cohollesseasy to get and reduce the number of psychological cues to drink.

Similarly, the researchers say, being presented with junk food stimulates our desire to eat it. So why not limit the density of food outlets, particularly ones that sell food rich in empty calories? And why not limit sale of food in places that aren't primarily food stores?

Display and sales restrictions: California has a rule prohibiting alcohol displays near the cash registers in gas stations, and in most places you can't buy alcohol at drive-through facilities. At supermarkets, food companies pay to have their wares in places where they're easily seen. One could remove junk food to the back of the store and ban them from the shelves at checkout lines. The other measures include restricting portion sizes, taxing and prohibiting special price deals for junk foods, and placing warning labels on the products.

[真题] CET4 2015年6月(卷2) 阅读 Passage 2

Some of the world’s most significant problems never hit headlines.One example comes from agriculture.Food riots and hunger make news. But the trend lying behind these matters is rarely talked about. This is the decline in the growth in yields of some of the world’s major crops. A new study by the University of Minnesota and McGill University in Montreal looks at where. and how far. this decline is occurring.

The authors take a vast number of data points for the four most important crops:rice, wheat, corn and soyabeans(大豆). They find that on between 24% and 39% of all harvested areas, the improvement in yields that took place before the l980s slowed down in the l990s and 2000s. There are two worrying features of the slowdown. One is that it has been particularly sharp in the world's most populous(人口多的) countries, India and China. Their ability to feed themselves has been an important source of relative stability both within the countries and on world food markets.

That self-sufficiency cannot be taken for granted if yields continue to slow down or reverse. Second, yield growth has been lower in wheat and rice than in coll and soyabeans. This is problematic because wheat and rice are more important as foods, accounting for around half of all calories consumed. Corn and soyabeans are more important as feed grains. The authors note that "we have preferentially focused our crop improvement efforts on feeding animals and cars rather than on crops that feed people and are the basis of food security in much of the world."

The report qualifies the more optimistic findings of another new paper which suggests that the world will not have to dig up a lot more land for farming in order to feed 9 billion people in 2050, as the Food and Agriculture Organisation has argued. Instead, it says, thanks to slowing population growth, land currently ploughed up for crops might be able to revert(回返) to forest or wilderness. This could happen. The trouble is that the forecast assumes continued improvements in yields which may not actually happen.


The endless debate about “work—life balance” often contains a hopeful footnote about stay at home dads.If American society and business won’t make it easier on future female leaders who choose to have children,there is still the ray of hope that increasing numbers of full—time fathers will.But based on today’s socioeconomic trends,this hope is,unfortunately,misguided.

It’s true that the number of men who have left work to do their thing as full—time parents has doubled in a decade,but it’s still very small:only 0.8% of married couples where the stay—at—hone father was out of the labor force for a year.Even that percentage is likely inflated by men thrust into their caretaker role by a downsizing.This is simply not a large enough group to reduce the social stigma(污名) and force other adjustments necessary to supporting men in this decision.even if only work more than their family.

Even shorter times away from work for working fathers are already difficult.A study found that 85% of new fathers take some time off after the birth of a child—but for all but a few.it’s a week or two at most.Meanwhile,the average for women who take leave is more than lo weeks.

Such choices impact who moves up in the organization.While you’re away,someone else is doing your work,making your sales,taking care of your customers.That can’t help you at work.It can only hurt you.Women,of course,face the same issues of returning after a long absence.But with many more women than men choosing to leave the workforce entirely to raise families,returning from an extended parental leave doesn’t raise as many eyebrows as it does for men.

Women would make more if they didn’t break their earning trajectory(轨迹) by leaving the workforce,or if higher-paying professions were more family friendly.In the foreseeable future,Stay at home fathers may make all the difference for individual families.but their presence won’t reduce the numbers of high potential women who are forced to choose between family and career.


Across the rich world, well-educated people increasingly work longer than the less-skilled. Some 65% of American men aged 62-74 with a professional degree are in the workforce, compared with 32% of men with only a high-school certificate. This gap is part of a deepening divide between the well-educated well-off and the unskilled poor. Rapid technological advance has raised the incomes of the highly skilled while squeezing those of the unskilled. The consequences, for individuals and society, are profound.

The world is facing an astonishing rise in the number of old people, and they will live longer than ever before. Over the next 20 years the global population of those aged 65 or more will almost double, from 600 million to 1.1 billion.The experience of the 20th century, when greater longevity(长寿) translated into more years in retirement rather than more years at work, has persuaded many observers that this shift will lead to slower economic growth, while the swelling ranks of pensioners will create government budget problems.

But the notion of a sharp division between the working young and the idle old misses a new trend, the growing gap between the skilled and the unskilled. Employment rates are falling among younger unskilled people, whereas older skilled folk are working longer. The divide is most extreme in America, where well-educated baby-boomers(二战后生育高峰期出生的美国人) are putting off retirement while many less-skilled younger people have dropped out of the workforce. 

Policy is partly responsible. Many European governments have abandoned policies that used to encourage people to retire early. Rising life expectancy(预期寿命), combined with the replacement of generous defmed-benefit pension plans with less generous defined-contribution ones, means that even the better-off must work longer to have a comfortable retirement. But the changing nature of work also plays a big role. Pay has risen sharply for the highly educated, and those people continue to reap rich rewards into old age because these days the educated elderly are more productive than the preceding generation. Technological change may well reinforce that shift: the skills that complement computers, from management know how to creativity, do not necessarily decline with age.


If you think a high-factor sunscreen(防晒霜) keeps you safe from harmful rays, you may be wrong. Research in this week's Nature shows that while factor 50 reduces the number of melanomas(黑瘤) and delays their occurrence, it can't prevent them. Melanomas are the most aggressive skin cancers. You have a higher risk if you have red or blond hair, fair skin, blue or green eyes, or sunburn easily, or if a close relative has had one. Melanomas are more common if you have periodic intense exposure to the sun.Other skin cancers are increasingly likely with long-term exposure.

There is continuing debate as to how effective sunscreen is in reducing melanomas the evidence is weaker than it is for preventing other types of skin cancer. A 2011 Australian study of 1,621 people found that people randomly selected to apply sunscreen daily had half the rate of melanomas of people who used cream as needed. A second study, comparing 1,167 people with melanomas to 1,101 who didn't have the cancer, found that using sunscreen routinely, alongside other protection such as hats, long sleeves or staying in the shade, did give some protection. This study said other forms of sun protection not sunscreen seemed most beneficial. The study relied on people remembering what they had done over each decade of their lives, so it's not entirely reliable. But it seems reasonable to think sunscreen gives people a false sense of security in the sun.

Many people also don't use sunscreen properly applying insufficient amounts, failing to reapply after a couple of hours and staying in the sun too long. It is sunburn that is most worrying recent research shows five episodes of sunburn in the teenage years increases the risk of all skin cancers.

The good news is that a combination of sunscreen and covering up can reduce melanoma rates, as shown by Australian figures from their slip-slop-slap campaign. So if there is a heat wave this summer, it would be best for us, too, to slip on a shirt, slop on(抹上) sunscreen and slap on a hat.

[真题] CET4 2014年12月(卷3) 阅读 Passage 2

Alex Pang's amusing new book The Distraction Addiction addresses those of us who feel panic without a cellphone or computer. And that, he claims,is pretty much all of us. When we're not online, where we spend four months annually, we're engaged in the stressful work of trying to get online.

The Distraction Addiction is not framed as a self-help book. It's a thoughtful examination of the dangers of our computing overdose and a historical overview of how technological advances change consciousness. A "professional futurist", Pang urges an approach which he calls "contemplative(沉思的) computing." He asks that you pay full attention to "how your mind and body interact with computers and how your attention and creativity are influenced by technology."

Pang's first job is to free you from the common misconception that doing two things at once allows you to get more done. What is commonly called multitasking is, in fact, switch-tasking, and its harmful effects on productivity are well documented. Pang doesn't advocate returning to a Internet world. Instead, he asks you to "take a more ecological(生态的) view of your relationships with technologies and look for ways devices or media may be making specific tasks easier or faster but at the same time making your work and life harder."

The Distraction Addiction is particularly fascinating on how technologies have changed certain fields of labor-often for the worse. For architects, computer-aided design has become essential but in some ways has cheapened the design process. As one architect puts it, "Architecture is first and foremost about thinking.., and drawing is a more productive way of thinking" than computer-aided design. Somewhat less amusing are Pang's solutions for kicking the Internet habit. He recommends the usual behavior-modification approaches, familiar to anyone who has completed a not smoking program. Keep logs to study your online profile and decide what you can knock out, download a program like Freedom that locks you out of your browser, or take a "digital Sabbath(安息日)" : "Unless you're a reporter or emergency-department doctor, you'll discover that your world doesn't fall apart when you go offline."


Children are a delight. They are our future. But sadly, hiring someone to take care of them while you go to work is getting more expensive by the year.

Earlier this month, it was reported that the cost of enrolling an infant or small kid at a childcare center rose 3% in 2012, faster than the overall cost of living. There are now large strips of the country where daycare for an infant costs more than a tenth of the average married couple's income.

This is not necessarily a new trend, but it is a somewhat puzzling one. The price of professional childcare has been rising since the 1980s. Yet during that time, pay for professional childcare workers has stood still. Actually caregivers make less today, in real terms, than they did in 1990. Considering that labor costs are responsible for up to 80% of a daycare center's expenses, one would expect flat wages to have meant flat prices.

So who's to blame for higher childcare costs?

Childcare is a carefully regulated industry. States lay down rules about how many children each employee is allowed to watch over, the space care centers need per child, and other minute details. And the stricter the regulations, the higher the costs. If it has to hire a caregiver for every two children, it can't really achieve any economies of scale on labor to save money when other expenses go up. In Massachusetts, where childcare centers must hire one teacher for every three infants, the price of care averaged more than $16,000 per year. In Mississippi, where centers must hire one teacher for every five infants, the price of care averaged less than $5,000.

Unfortunately,I don't have all the daycare-center regulations handy. But I wouldn't be surprised if as the rules have become more elaborate, prices have risen. The trade off(交换)might be worth it in some cases;after all, the health and safety of children should probably come before cheap service. But certainly, it doesn't seem to be an accident that some of the cheapest daycare available is in the least regulated South.


Various studies have shown that increased spending on education has not led to measurable improvements in learning. Between 1980 and 2008, staff and teachers at U.S. public schools grew roughly twice as fast as students. Yet students showed no additional learning in achievement tests.

Universities show similar trends of increased administration personnel and costs without greater learning, as documented in Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa's recent book Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses.

A survey shows that 63% of employers say that recent college graduates don't have the sldlls they need to succeed and 25% of employers say that entry-level writing skills are lacking. Some simplistically attribute the decline in our public education system to the drain of skilled students by private schools, but far more significant events were at work.

Public schools worked well until about the 1970s. In fact, until that time, public schools provided far better education than private ones. It was the underperforming students who were thrown out of public schools and went to private ones.

A prominent reason public schools did well was that many highly qualified women had few options for worldng outside the house other than being teachers or nurses. They accepted relatively low pay, difficult working conditions, and gave their very best.

Having such a large supply of talented women teachers meant that society could pay less for their services. Women 's liberation opened up new professional opportunities for women, and, over time, some of the best left teaching as a career option, bringing about a gradual decline in the quality of schooling.

Also around that time, regulations, government, and unions came to dictate pay, prevent a custments, and introduce bureaucratic(官僚的) standard for advancement. Large education bureaucracies and unions came to dominate the landscape, confusing activity with achievement. Bureaucrats regularly rewrite curriculums, talk nonsense about theories of education, and require ever more admires trators. The end result has been that, after all the spending, students have worse math and reading skills than both their foreign peers and earlier generations spending far less on education–as all the accumulating evidence now documents.

[真题] CET4 2014年12月(卷2) 阅读 Passage 1

New Yorkers are gradually getting used to more pedaling(骑车的) passengers on those shining blue Citi Bikes. But what about local bike shops? Is Citi Bike rolling up riders at their expense? At Gotham Bikes in Tribeca, manager W.Ben said the shop has seen an increase in its overall sales due to the bike-share program. "It's getting more people on the road," he said. James Ryan, an employee at Danny's Cycles in Gramercy also said Citi Bike is a good option for people to ease into biking in a city famed for its traffic jams and aggressive drivers. "They can try out a bike without committing to buying one," he said.

Rentals are not a big part of the business at either Gotham Bikes or Danny's Cycles. But for Frank's Bike Shop, a small business on Grand St., the bike-share program has been bad news. Owner Frank Arroyo said his rental business has decreased by 90% since Citi Bike was rolled out last month. Arroyo's main rental customers are European tourists, who have since been drawn away by Citi Bikes.

However, Ben said the bike-share is good for bike sales at his shop. "People have used the bike-share and realized how great it is to bike in the city, then decide that they want something nicer for themselves," he noted.

Christian Farrell of Waterfront Bicycle Shop, on West St. just north of Christopher St., said initially he was concerned about bike-share, though, he admitted, "I was happy to see people on bikes."

Farrell's early concerns were echoed by Andrew Crooks, owner of NYC Velo, at 64 Second Ave. "It seemed like a great idea, but one that would be difficult to implement, "Crooks said of Citi Bike. He saidhe worried about inexperienced riders 'lack of awareness of bildng rules and strong negative reaction from non-cyclists. However, he said, it's still too early to tell ff his business has been impacted.

While it's possible bike-share will cause a drop in business, Crooks allowed that the idea is a positive step forward for New York City.