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Tuesday, December 2, 2008

CHAPTER 71:READING COMPREHENSION

We get three types of passages to comprehend:

  1. Passages from Social Science
  2. Passages from Science
  3. passages from Business

Note: The topic of one of the passages may be about a minority group.

We need not know all the information in the passage to answer the questions, as the questions cover only a small portion of the passage.

We can broadly divide questions into two types:

  1. General questions that demand the comprehension of the main idea and the organization of the passage.
  2. Specific questions that ask us to search answers in specific locations in the passage.

Note: Please take notes, while reading the passage.

Reading Passage

Biologists have long known that some types of electromagnetic radiation such as X rays and gamma rays can be dangerous to human beings. Operating at a frequency of 10 to the power of 18 through 10 to the power of 22 mhz, these rays, which are well above the visible light spectrum, were first detected in the early years of the twentieth century.

However, until now, no one has ever suggested that microwave radiation might also be harmful.In preliminary laboratory results, Cleary and Milham have found elevated growth rates in cancer cells exposed to low doses of microwaves. Cleary exposed cancer cells to levels of radiation that are commonly found in microwave ovens and found that the abnormal cells grew 30 percent faster than did unexposed cells. Milham’s study focused on ham radio operators who are commonly exposed to levels of radiation slightly higher than those emitted by cellular telephones. He discovered elevated levels of myeloid leukemia.

The methodology of Cleary and Milham has been questioned by other scientists in the field. However, no one seriously disputes that their preliminary finding must be taken seriously or that new studies should be set up to try to duplicate their results. Although federal guidelines for how much electromagnetic energy can be allowed to enter the work and home environment have been made more stringent since they were first implemented in 1982, the recent studies pose troubling questions about the safety of microwaves.

The main topic of the passage is

  • the health hazards of X rays and gamma rays.
  • the overly serious federal guidelines on radiation.
  • the potential dangers of microwaves.
  • to compare and contrast the work of Cleary and Milham.
  • the limits of study methodology in science.

READING for MAIN IDEA

Read the first sentence of the first paragraph carefully.

Biologists have long known that some types of electromagnetic radiation such as X rays and gamma rays can be dangerous to human beings.

We make note of a couple of key words on our scratch paper.

Read the closing statement of the first paragraph as well. It gives us some specific details. We can ignore them.

Read the opening statement of the second paragraph.

However, until now, no one has ever suggested that microwave radiation might also be harmful.

The transitional term however’ denotes that the author intends to discuss the danger posed by microwaves rather than that of e-m radiations.

Read the first sentence of the last paragraph.

The methodology of Cleary and Milham has been questioned by other scientists in the field.

Also, read the last statement of the final paragraph.

Although federal guidelines for how much electromagnetic energy can be allowed to enter the work and home environment have been made more stringent since they were first implemented in 1982, the recent studies pose troubling questions about the safety of microwave.

Let us now review the organization of the passage.

The first paragraph: Electromagnetic radiations are dangerous.

The second paragraph: But microwaves are also dangerous.

The third paragraph: Some question the studies on microwave, but the studies merit attention.

As we read, we should look for words of transition such as ‘however’.

Other words of transition:

but

although

even though

though

yet

despite

in spite of

nonetheless

nevertheless

notwithstanding

except

while

unless

on the other hand

in contrast

Some structural terms let us know that there will be no transition, that the same thoughts will continue. Some of them are given below:

firstly, secondly, ---- lastly

in addition

by the same token

similarly

just as

likewise

this

thus

Some passages contrast two opposing views. In such instances, we will come across contrasting structures like the following:

Generally -------------- however, this time

The old (traditional) view -------- however, the most recent view

The widespread belief ------------- but the in-crowd belief

Most scientists think --------- but Dr. Stone believes

On the one hand ------------on the other hand

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