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Unit 6 A World of Mystery

In-Class Reading The Bermuda Triangle

百慕大三角

1 1945年12月5日,佛罗里达州的劳德代尔堡,天气晴朗,由五架美国海军飞机组成的第19飞行分队从这里起飞。机上共有14名机组人员。飞机状况良好;机上装有当时最好的设备,

包括罗盘和无线电设备,还携带有救生筏。飞机可以在水上漂浮90秒钟。飞机起飞一个半小时后,劳德代尔堡的指挥塔台听到了从其中一架飞机传来的无线电信息。

2 “我不知道我们现在所处的位置。” 

3 之后飞机再也无法和指挥塔台通话,但是飞机之间可以通话,而且指挥塔台也能听到他们

的通话。

4 “磁罗盘简直疯了。” 

5 “我们完全迷失了方向。” 

6 从这之后没有收到其他任何信息。再也没有其他任何人收到过这些飞机的消息或看到过它

们。300架飞机和许多船只搜索了该地区,但没有找到第19飞行分队的任何踪迹。而且其中

一架被派去搜寻的飞机也彻底失踪了。

7 这些飞机是在西大西洋上一个非常神秘的地方失踪的,在这里已经发生了许多奇怪的事

件。这种神秘现象在1945年之前很久就已经出现了,而且自那一年以来,又有许多其他船只和飞机在这一地区失踪。这一地区被称为百慕大三角,是大西洋上一个巨大的三角形海域,

其北端是百慕大岛。

8 飞机和船只在世界的其他地方也会失踪,但是百慕大三角发生的失踪事件要比其他地区

多。多年来科学家们和其他人士对这一神秘现象感到困惑不解。人们做了许多努力,试图解释为什么有这么多的人、飞机和船只在这里失踪。

9 作家约翰·斯宾塞认为,这些船只和飞机被来自另一行星上的飞碟或不明飞行物从海上和

空中劫走了。他的看法是,既然宇宙里有数百万其他行星,那么在宇宙中的某些地方肯定存

在其他有智慧的生物。这些生物喜欢收集人类及其设备,以便仔细观察研究。

10 另一种理论认为,该地区的地理状况是造成船只和飞机失踪的罪魁祸首。百慕大位于地

震带。水下地震导致巨浪突然涌现。这些波浪如此巨大,足以将船只撕成碎片。在空中,由

于突然出现的强风,飞机也会遭遇到类似的厄运。

11 和第19飞行分队一样,许多船只和飞机也曾报告说, 他们的磁罗盘在百慕大三角海域失灵。通常磁罗盘指向磁北极。但是在地球上有两个地方罗盘刚好指向真北,百慕大三角就是其中之一。因此,这一地区的磁性有些怪异。

12 许多人认为这些解释难以置信。而最新的一种理论具有科学根据,因而比较可信。百慕

大海底甲烷的发现促使科学家麦克维尔博士思考如何解释这些神秘现象。(他认为)有时大量甲烷气体会从海底逸出,升入空中。这可能在海面产生巨浪从而使船只沉没。甲烷和空气混合还可能引起船上发动机停转或者起火。同样,甲烷与空气的混合物升入空中会引起飞机

发动机停转或爆炸。而爆炸会把船只或飞机炸成极小的碎片。

13 这一最新理论仍有待证实,但它似乎给第19飞行分队以及所有其他的飞机、船只和人员

为什么会在百幕大三角失踪提供了一种更好的解释。

After-Class Reading

地球之外有生命吗?

1 众所周知,地球具有生命所需要的一切条件,这也是我们在地球上得以生存的原因。但是40亿年之前,当地球形成的时候,出现生命的可能性有多大呢?据生物学家说,可能性非常小,就和你能连续五个星期获得全国彩票大奖的概率差不多。所以我们能够在地球上有今天

是相当幸运的。

2 在其他地方产生生命的可能性有多大呢——比如,在我们自己的星系中?银河系约有四

千亿个恒星。其中有一些(或许大多数)有行星围绕着它们运行,很可能其中有好几百万甚

至几十亿个行星能够提供生命所需的条件。因此,看来确有可能在同一个星系中居住着其他

生命。

3 而且如果你想到,银河系之外还有数不清的其他星系,其中有很多要比银河系大得多,那么,显而易见,在宇宙的其他地方肯定存在着其他形式的生命。

4 但他们也是智慧生命吗,是那种能够建造宇宙飞船来访问我们的生命吗?

5 在地球上曾经有几十亿个物种存在,但是结果只有一个物种有足够的智慧来发展技术并飞

入太空。而且我们人类也不能算特别聪明:人类在学会怎样才能到达银河系的其他地方之前,

很可能早已自我毁灭了。

6 不过让我们假设在我们的银河系中有高级文明,他们已经开发了高速的飞碟。他们会来造访地球吗?

7 首先我们要问:他们为什么想要造访地球?最可能的答案是他们所拥有的太阳行将灭亡,

他们必须找到其他居住的地方。

8 下一个问题是:为什么选择地球?下图显示了银河系中适合于生命居住的区域,这一区域可能聚集了绝大多数可居住的行星。阴影部分是最古老的行星(因而也是最有可能具有高级

生命的行星)。我们(地球)靠近边缘(X所表示的位置)。

9 如果我是寻找新家园的外星人,我想我会先尝试邻近的几百万个行星,然后才会不辞劳苦飞行十亿亿英里来造访地球,因为这一旅程至少需要花上20万光年。

10 然而,那些每年报道的所有目击UFO事件又是怎么回事呢?其实,它们多数是飞机。至于其余的情况,不论它们是什么,肯定不是飞碟。假如你是拥有超凡技术的星外来客,你会怎

么做:是悄悄躲起来,还是登陆并占领地球?我知道我的答案是什么。

11 假如宇宙中地球之外真有其他形式的生命存在(我敢肯定有),那么,它们目前所在的

确切位置便是——地球之外。

课阅读练习答案

Part One Preparation

1 Mysterious Circles

Sample

? I guess these crop circles were man-made. Some teenagers may have made them

as a joke, or some farmers may have made them to attract tourists, because a lot of people would go there to look at the so-called mysterious crop circles. Tourism will bring them lots of income.

?Intelligent aliens from outer space may have made t he circles. I believe there

must be other life forms in outer space. These creatures have been trying to

communicate with us from far away and the crop circles might be messages from

them. Or the creatures may have actually landed on the fields and the circles

were marks left by their spaceship. Anyway, it is hard to believe that any natural force could have created a perfect circle in a grain field.

? The magnetic properties of the area might be responsible for the mysterious

appearance of the crop circles. Wind and rain may also result in such strange

and interesting patterns in the fields. I hope with the rapid development of

science and technology, human beings may, one day, be able to come up with a

rational explanation for crop circles.

?I read an article in the newspaper Can K ao X iao Xi about crop circles. According to Richard Taylor, director of the Materials Science Institute at the University of Oregon, USA, laser, micro waves and GPS (global positioning systems) all play

a role in creating crop circles, the result of physics. But the article I read

didn’t give any details about how these factors work together in producing crop circles.

2 Life in Outer Space?

Sample

?Look at this picture and you can see what an alien from outer space would look like. You may wonder why he looks like a dumpling. Now let me t ell you the story.

Well, one day during the Chinese Spring Festival, an intelligent creature from

outer space landed on the Earth and he was very surprised to see that many people were eating dumplings. The dumplings not only looked good but smelled good as

well. He was invited to try one and thought it tasted delicious. In order to

remember this happy experience on Earth he decided to change himself into a

dum pling. Therefore, we gave him a nickname “Dumpling Superman”. As you can see, on the front of his body there is a pocket called the Doraemon’s pocket (机器猫的口袋). This is a pocket with which he asked his relatives for pocket

money. Looking at his long hands and the special pose you will be reminded of

Astroboy (阿童木) in the Japanese cartoon, who can speak more than 60 different languages and is always fighting against evils. There is a mischievous twinkle

in his eyes. What’s more, the red light on his belly wil l shine when the air around him is polluted. Do you like our Dumpling Superman?

? This is my interpretation of a friend from outer space. He is handsome and

also unique in many ways. On his head is a shining energy ball, showing people

how energetic he is. Below his forehead lies a pair of attractive and multi-functional eyes. He can not only see things clearly at night, but has a

tremendously far vision as well. In addition, he is also capable of seeing things behind obstacles. Then there are the two lovely ears with microphones in each

of them. Apart from these, our alien being has a highly useful mouth. Besides

the basic functions of a mouth we humans have, it can launch missiles when

encountering hazards. What is more, when he is not able to defeat the enemy, the alien will turn into a ball as a last resort. The most unparalleled feature of

the lovely alien is that he owns a “love” heart which will light up when he

meets his Miss Right. Now he is saying HELLO to you. Do you have anything to say to him?

? Please look at the picture. This alien being from outer space is called D.

Luffe. He comes from Stratum. We can see Luffe has three heads and the facial

expressions on his three faces are different. His faces change as his mood c hanges.

When he feels happy, he will smile and the flowers on his heads will bloom. When he feels sad, the flowers will wither away. His body is like a worm, which is

soft and flexible. He can stretch out and draw back his body at will, which makes him an excellent dancer. The most interesting part of his body is the lower part that looks like a crab with many feet. These feet are strong so that he can walk quickly and steadily. His hands are strong and fierce, with which he can fight

against any enemy and protect himself. What’s mo re, his hands are also convenient for him to grab food so that he can have a great meal whenever he wants to.

3 Mystery of the 23rd Floor

Mr. Gadsby was a very short man. He could not reach the button for Floor 23 since it was at the top of the panel. He could only reach the buttons for Floor 1, Floor

2 and Floor 3. Since he was too shy to ask for help, on sunny days he would take

the elevator to Floor 3 and then climb the stairs to Floor 23. But on rainy days, he had an umbrella with him, so he could reach the button for Floor 23 with his

umbrella.

Part Two Reading-Centered Activities

In-Class Reading

Post-Reading

Reading Comprehension

1 Part 1 (Para. 1-Para. 6 ); Part

2 (Para. 7); Part

3 (Para. 8-Para. 13)

Sample

The passage is well organized and clearly presented. It starts with a detailed

description of the accident: When it happened, what the team consisted of, weather conditions of the day, communication between the team and the control tower, and the follow-up search. Then the passage gives a brief introduction of the mysterious Bermuda Triangle. In the third part, the passage lists a few explanations about how these accidents might have happened, from UFOs from

another planet to a kind of gas escaping from the seafloor. Finally, the passage

tells us what the writer thinks about those explanations.

2 1 Flying saucers or UFOs from another planet.

2 Underwater earthquakes / Geography of the area.

3 The strange magnetic properties of the Bermuda Triangle.

4 Large amounts of methane gas escaping from the seafloor of the Bermuda Triangle.

3 1 T 2 T 3 F

4 T

5 F

6 T

7 T

8 T

4 Sample

1 ? I don’t find any of the four explanations convincing. Human errors might

be responsible for the disappearances. If pilots or sailors are not fully aware of the area’s hazar ds or are not experienced enough, this could lead to disasters.

Take the disappearance of Flight 19 for example. It’s reported that all of the

crewmen on the five planes were inexperienced trainees, with the exception of

their commander. But the commander might not have been at his best that day and

might have made some mistakes. Maybe the planes got lost and crashed when their

fuel was exhausted.

? I think underwater earthquakes could be responsible for the disasters, at

least for many of them if not all of them. As the text indicates, Bermuda lies

on an earthquake belt and we know earthquakes happen frequently in these areas.

For example, in recent years, there have been some serious earthquakes in Haiti, Chile, Wenchuan and Northeast Japan. All of them resulted in huge damages and

claimed large numbers of human lives. If land earthquakes are disastrous, underwater earthquakes can also lead to serious results.

2 People are interested in mysteries for several reasons. First, curiosity is

human n ature. People are always curious about things unknown to them or phenomena that cannot be explained. Second, some people find their life boring, so they

want to have something new and exciting to talk about. Finally, people are worried about problems on Earth and are suspicious of new technologies. Perhaps this leads them to explore the unknown world for possible solutions to the problems on Earth. Vocabulary

1 1 A belief B believable

2 A mysteries B mysterious

3 A mixes B mixture

4 A responsible B responsibility

5 A triangular B triangles

6 A explode B explosion

7 A intelligence B intelligent 8 A discovery B discovered

9 A Normally B abnormal

10 A appearance B disappeared C disappearance

2 1 in 2 on

3 off

4 in

5 into

6 off

7 for / of

8 in

9 about 10 over

3 1 properties 2 similarly 3 as to

4 compass

5 escaped

6 offer

7 trace

8 result in

9 unbelievable 10 exploded

Translation

1 Alice’s hard work resulted in a big bonus for her.

2 The plane is going to take off, and we have to fasten our safety belts.

3 A total of 20,000 people visited the museum on the first day it was open to the

public.

4 The accident investigation team consisted of 10 experts, with a vice minister as the team leader.

5 All the afternoon he worked on his project in his lab with the door locked.

Part Three Further Development

1 Grammar Review

1 theoretical; might

2 may; describing

3 planets; must

4 could;

like

5 shouldn’t; feel

6 may; disqualified

7 civilizations; would

8 can;

unsafe

9 needn’t; everyone 10 mixture; would

2 Vocabulary Review

1 A device; B devise; C device

2 A searched for; B searched; C

search

3 A responsible for; B responsible; C responsible

4 A same; B similar; C

same, same

5 A advances; B advancement; C advanced

6 A example; B sample; C example

7 A possible; B possibly; C possibly

3 Nothing Left to Explore?

Sample

? I agree with the point of view. There’s little left for us to explore in the 21st century. We have uncovered most of the planet’s secrets. We’ve explored the Arctic and Antarctica, conquered the highest mountains, traveled across the largest deserts, and exploited deep sea oil. We’ve launched satellites and

spaceships to explore both the Earth and our galaxy. Men reached the moon a long time ago and spacecraft have reached Mars or are still on the way there. All these show that men have done enough exploration on Earth and in the neighborhood.

? I don’t agree with the point of view. Although great progress has been made

in our understanding of the world in the past centuries, there are still mysteries for us to solve in the 21st century. For instance, so far little has been known

about deep sea creatures. Much needs to be done before we can find a cure to such epidemics as AIDS, SARS and other diseases that have claimed thousands and

thousands of human l ives. Even our brain has not fully been understood, let alone

the boundless realm of the universe.

4 Other Mysteries That You Know Of

Sample

In the Tarim Basin in China, some mummies w ere unearthed. They were not Chinese.

They were not even Asian. Evidence shows that these people lived in the Tarim

Basin 4,000 years ago and thrived there for at least 1,500 years but then they

disappeared. So who were they? What language did they speak? Where did they come from? Why did they disappear? These questions have puzzled scientists and scholars. Some believe these people probably migrated to Asia from southern

Russia, and some say they may have come from Iran or Turkey. These mummies r emain

a mystery to us.

5 An Encounter

Sample

E = E.T. H = human being

(E is visiting H at his home.)

E: How do you do?

H: How…how do you do?

E: Well, don’t be afraid. I’m from Mars and I’ve come here to see you.

H: Oh, my gosh! Anyway, it’s nice that you speak the same language as ours.

E: I’ve picked up your l anguage over the years.

H: So, what are you interested in about us?

E: Well, a lot of things, such as your planet, your culture, and especially, the way you treat your planet.

H: What do you think of the Earth, then?

E: Very beautiful, I should say. Much more beautiful than Mars. But you humans

have done too much harm to it.

H: For example?

E: You’ve made a lot of pollution in the air, water, soil, etc. What’s more, you’re killing other creatures mercilessly.

H: Yes, that’s really a problem. What, in your o pinion, is the future of us

humans?

E: To be frank, I’m not so optimistic about it. In fact, if things go on like

this, the Earth will be destroyed sooner or later.

H: That sounds terrible. I hope we’ll do something to stop the mistakes and will have a better future.

Part Four Writing and Translation

1.Translation Practice

1 醉后驾车者严重威胁其他道路使用者(的安全)。

2 你能扼要地向我解释一下它的工作原理吗?

3 她义无反顾地离开了这座她生活了一辈子的城市。

4 简惊奇地望着我。“你真的要去?”她说。

5 史密斯博士度假期间突然心脏病发作。

6 罗杰的婚姻很美满,还有了两个孩子。

7 西蒙有许多激动人心的点子,他迫不及待地想付诸实施。

8 我们仔细考虑过你的建议。不过很遗憾,我们不能接受。

9 过去50年中社会发生了深刻的变革。

10 这次晚会筹备得很匆忙。

2.Writing

Sample

The Sphinx in Egypt is one of the greatest mysteries in history. It has the face of a man, and the body of a lion, and it faces east. It was carved out of a single piece of stone weighing hundreds of tons. Who built it and for what purpose?

When and how was it built? It has long been argued that the Egyptians couldn’t have built the Sphinx. An advanced civilization 8,000 to 10,000 B.C. may have

built it. Whatever the origin of the Sphinx, it has been a symbol of strength

and intelligence of Egyptian culture.

The Bermuda Triangle is an area in the western Atlantic Ocean between Bermuda,

Florida, and Puerto Rico. In the past 100 years over 70 ships and planes have

disappeared mysteriously in this area. The most famous disappearance was the

loss of Flight 19. Five U.S. Navy planes and 14 men on the planes disappeared

without a trace. A search plane was sent and it also disappeared completely.

Many theories have been offered to explain the mystery of the Bermuda Triangle.

Some p eople believe that the ships and planes were taken away by creatures from another planet. Another theory is that the strange magnetic properties of the

area result in the disappearances. The latest theory is that the escape of large amounts of methane gas from the seafloor of the Bermuda Triangle is responsible for the disappearances in that area. But all these theories have yet to be proved.

The Mary Celeste was a large ship that set sail from New Y ork for Genoa on November 7, 1872. She was found abandoned at sea on December 14, 1872. The crew disappeared without a trace, leaving no indication as to why they left the ship. Everything else on the ship was completely normal. A meal was being cooked on the stove

and toys for the daughter of the captain were found on her bed. This disappearance of the crew from an undamaged ship remains one of the most famous sea mysteries.

There are many theories as to why the crew abandoned the ship. Some relate the

disappearance to the Bermuda Triangle, although the ship was not found near that area. Others say the crew were killed by pirates, although there were no signs

of a fight.

Do UFOs r eally exist? Many people claim to have seen UFOs i n real life. The first reported UFO sighting in America was made b y an airplane pilot in 1947. Some people have even taken pictures of UFOs. But do UFOs really exist? Many of the UFOs

sighted have been found to be planes, weather balloons or shooting stars. Others may be explained by optical illusions or people’s psychological desire to interpret the images as UFOs. However, a recent public opinion poll shows that

many people think that UFOs do exist, in spite of the lack of evidence.

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