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21世纪大学英语读写基础教程 Unit1

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Unit 1

Text A

Many people often turn a blind eye to the "ordinary" things in life. They are not aware of the existence and importance of the sun, water and air. In this text, the writer tells us how important the sun is to all living things on the earth and what would happen if the sun did not reappear the next morning.

Great Baee of Fire

Hugh Downs

In an interview following my 1965 voyage across the Pacific in a small sailboat, I was asked what power I had on that boat. "Atomic power," I told the reporter.
I wasn't kidding: The boat did have an auxiliary1 engine and a limited fuel supply; but its main power was its sails. The sails, of course, did nothing unless there was wind, but the wind would not blow if there were not a temperature difference that made cooler air move into the space vacated by the rising warm air.
And there would be no warmer air unless something heated it.
That something is an atomic furnace 93,000,000 miles away that pours its radiation constantly on the day side of the turning Earth. It heats the air, makes it rise, sucks in other air, makes it blow on the sails and causes the boat to be pushed. So every sailboat is powered by an atomic engine—the sun.

You Gotta Love It
Although the sun is very large compared to the Earth, it is one of myriad2 stars in a very large galaxy3, which is one of myriad galaxies4 in a very large universe. But the sun is special to us because it is the closest star; it holds us in its gravitational grip. And its energy, raining down on the home planet, is utterly5 necessary for the maintenance of all life.
I've often thought that among the things humans have elected to worship over historic and prehistoric6 eras, the sun is the most appropriate visible object. Sun worshippers were not too far off the mark.
For life to continue here, the sun must keep on shining. Scientists say that if it died (unlikely in the extreme—it's good for another 5 billion years), in less than two weeks nothing would move on the Earth's surface. Nothing would remain alive.
This is easily seen when you think about how it gets cooler after the sun goes down, and is coolest just before it comes up the next morning. If it's 80 degrees Fahrenheit7 at sunset and goes down to 60 just before dawn, the only reason the temperature goes back up is that the sun reappears and starts warming things up again.

When Hell Freezes Over
Suppose it didn't do that.
In two days the temperature would go to 40, and then 20 (all water would start to turn into ice) and the next day zero, and then 20 below and 40 below, and so on.
In about 10 more days, when the temperature was close to absolute zero, the gases of the atmosphere (nitrogen and oxygen) would freeze, putting a light snow of solid nitrogen onto the ground, followed by a fine powder of oxygen.
The Earth would then have no liquid water, no atmosphere, and no life.
Perhaps these facts refute the foolish sage8 who once said the moon was more important than the sun, because the moon shines at night, when we need the light, while the sun shines in the daytime when we don't need it!
(509 words)
New Words

interview
n. a meeting in which a person is asked about personal views, activities, etc. 采访,访问

voyage
n. a journey or travel, esp. by water 航行,航海

sailboat
n. any boat that is moved by a sail or sails 帆船

atomic
a. of atoms; having to do with atoms 原子的

reporter
n. 记者

kid
v. tease playfully; talk in a joking way 开玩笑

auxiliary
a. 备用的;辅助的

engine
n. 发动机

limited
a. kept within limits; restricted 有限的

fuel
n. anything that can be burned to produce heat or power 燃料

vacate
vt. make vacant 腾出,空出

furnace
n. 炉子;熔炉

radiation
n. the act or process of giving out light, heat, electricity, or other radiant energy 辐射;发热;发光

constantly
ad. without stopping; again and again 不断地;经常地

suck
v. draw (liquid)into the mouth; draw into a position 吸,吮;吸入

gotta
v. (have) got to 必须

myriad
a. countless9 无数的

* galaxy
n. 星系

universe
n. 宇宙

gravitational
a. of or having to do with gravitation 重力的;地心引力的

grip
n. tight grasp; firm hold 掌握;控制

planet
n. 行星

utterly
ad. completely; totally; absolutely 完全地;彻底地;绝对地

maintenance
n. the act of maintaining or the state of being maintained 维持;保持;维修,保养

human
n. a person; man 人;人类

worship
vt. show great admiration10 for and respect to 崇拜;尊敬

historic
a. of or having to do with history; famous or important in history 历史的;历史上著名的

prehistoric
a. 史前的

era
n. a historic period 时代

appropriate
a. right for the occasion; suitable 适当的;合适的

visible
a. capable of being seen; apparent 看得见的;明显的

worshipper
n. 崇拜者

unlikely
a. not likely; not probable 不大可能的

extreme
a. in or to the greatest degree; very great 极端的;极度的
n. an extreme degree 极端

billion
n. 十亿

easily
ad. 容易地

sunset
n. the going down of the sun; the time when the sun goes down 日落;日落时分

dawn
n. the beginning of day; the first morning light in the east 黎明;拂晓

reappear
vi. come into sight again 再出现

warm
v. (使…)变暖

hell
n. 地狱;阴间

absolute
a. complete; perfect; not allowing any doubt 绝对的;完全的;确定无疑的

gas
n. 气体;煤气;汽油

atmosphere
n. the air that surrounds the earth 大气;空气

nitrogen
n. 氮气

oxygen
n. 氧气

onto
prep.to a position or point on (sth.) 在…之上

powder
n. 粉,粉末

liquid
n. 液体

* refute
vt. prove (a person) to be in error; show (a claim, opinion, or argument) to be false or incorrect 驳斥;反驳

sage
n. a very wise and widely respected person 圣人;哲人

daytime
n. 白天;日间

Phrases and Expressions

of course
naturally; certainly 自然,当然

rain down (on)
fall in showers or like rain 如雨一般降下;倾泻

off the mark
missing the desired object or end; off the subject 不准确;不相关,不切题

keep on (doing sth.)
continue; go on 继续(做某事)

in the extreme
extremely 非常,极度

good for
able to last or be used for 能持续…,能保持…有效

go down
disappear below a surface or from sight; become low in price, value, etc. (日、月等)落下;(价格、价值等)下降

warm up
make or become warm or warmer (使)暖和起来

turn into
(使)成为

and so on
and other things of that kind 等等

Proper Names

Hugh Downs
休·唐斯

Pacific, the
太平洋

Fahrenheit
华氏温度计(的)


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1 auxiliary RuKzm     
adj.辅助的,备用的
参考例句:
  • I work in an auxiliary unit.我在一家附属单位工作。
  • The hospital has an auxiliary power system in case of blackout.这家医院装有备用发电系统以防灯火管制。
2 myriad M67zU     
adj.无数的;n.无数,极大数量
参考例句:
  • They offered no solution for all our myriad problems.对于我们数不清的问题他们束手无策。
  • I had three weeks to make a myriad of arrangements.我花了三个星期做大量准备工作。
3 galaxy OhoxB     
n.星系;银河系;一群(杰出或著名的人物)
参考例句:
  • The earth is one of the planets in the Galaxy.地球是银河系中的星球之一。
  • The company has a galaxy of talent.该公司拥有一批优秀的人才。
4 galaxies fa8833b92b82bcb88ee3b3d7644caf77     
星系( galaxy的名词复数 ); 银河系; 一群(杰出或著名的人物)
参考例句:
  • Quasars are the highly energetic cores of distant galaxies. 类星体是遥远星系的极为活跃的核心体。
  • We still don't know how many galaxies there are in the universe. 我们还不知道宇宙中有多少个星系。
5 utterly ZfpzM1     
adv.完全地,绝对地
参考例句:
  • Utterly devoted to the people,he gave his life in saving his patients.他忠于人民,把毕生精力用于挽救患者的生命。
  • I was utterly ravished by the way she smiled.她的微笑使我完全陶醉了。
6 prehistoric sPVxQ     
adj.(有记载的)历史以前的,史前的,古老的
参考例句:
  • They have found prehistoric remains.他们发现了史前遗迹。
  • It was rather like an exhibition of prehistoric electronic equipment.这儿倒像是在展览古老的电子设备。
7 Fahrenheit hlhx9     
n./adj.华氏温度;华氏温度计(的)
参考例句:
  • He was asked for the boiling point of water in Fahrenheit.他被问到水的沸点是华氏多少度。
  • The thermometer reads 80 degrees Fahrenheit.寒暑表指出华氏80度。
8 sage sCUz2     
n.圣人,哲人;adj.贤明的,明智的
参考例句:
  • I was grateful for the old man's sage advice.我很感激那位老人贤明的忠告。
  • The sage is the instructor of a hundred ages.这位哲人是百代之师。
9 countless 7vqz9L     
adj.无数的,多得不计其数的
参考例句:
  • In the war countless innocent people lost their lives.在这场战争中无数无辜的人丧失了性命。
  • I've told you countless times.我已经告诉你无数遍了。
10 admiration afpyA     
n.钦佩,赞美,羡慕
参考例句:
  • He was lost in admiration of the beauty of the scene.他对风景之美赞不绝口。
  • We have a great admiration for the gold medalists.我们对金牌获得者极为敬佩。
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TAG标签:   大学英语  读写教程  基础教程  unit
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