A. Good writers use more verbs. B. However, it is hard to write without verbs. C. The reason is that if unnecessary words are reduced, the verb-percentage goes up as a mathematical necessity. D. So “use verbs” is not really good advice; writers have to use verbs, and trying to add extra ones would not turn out well.
A. The French Revolution created a vision for a new moral universe: that sovereignty resides in nations; that a constitution and the rule of law govern politics; that people are equal and enjoy inalienable rights; and that church and state should be separate. B. The French Revolution invented modern revolution —the idea that humans can transform the world according to a plan—and so has a central place in the study of the social sciences. C. It ushered in modernity by destroying the foundations of the “Old Regime”—absolutist politics, legal inequality, a “feudal” economy (characterized by guilds, manorialism, and even serfdom), and an alliance of church and state. D. That vision is enshrined in the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen of 1789, whose proclamation of “natural, imprescriptible, and inalienable” rights served as the model for the 1948 United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
A. During the 24-hour darkness of the austral autumn and winter, the South Pole Telescope operates nonstop under impeccable conditions for astronomy. B. The atmosphere is thin (the pole is more than 9,300 feet above sea level, 9,000 of which are ice), stable (due to the absence of the heating and cooling effects of a rising and setting Sun) and the pole has some of the calmest winds on Earth, blowing almost always from the same direction. C. “The South Pole has the harshest environment on Earth, but also the most benign,” says William Holzapfel, a University of California at Berkeley astrophysicist, the on-site lead researcher at the South Pole Telescope. D. From an astronomer’s perspective, not until the Sun goes down and stays down—March through September— does the South Pole get “benign.”
A. As "operating systems", Latin and French outlived the strategic pre-eminence of Rome and France. B. Nor will Chinese, Russian, or Indian culture soon shoulder aside the American version-high or low- whose draw is embodied by Harvard and Hollywood. C. Once a standard exists, it tends to perpetuate itself-just like the dollar, for all its ups and downs will not soon yield to the Euro or the Renminbi. D. By such measures, no other rival, not even China, comes close to America, whatever the country's many familiar failings and riches of the rising rest.
A. The oldest fossil grasses are just 70 million years old, although grass may have evolved a bit earlier than that. B. There have been land plants for 465 million years, yet there were no flowers for over two-thirds of that time. C. The equally-familiar grasses appeared even more recently. D. Flowering plants only appeared in the middle of the dinosaur era.
A. Nevertheless, the focus of otherwise very different movements - from cultural feminism to environmentalism to radical jihadism - is fundamentally the same: moral regulation. B. Identity politics constantly demands the creation of new identities and lifestyle groups, often hostile to one another. C. The main beneficiary of this shift from explicit political clashes to new forms of culture war has been identity politics. D. Many of the political battles of the past two decades have actually been battles over cultural values, be it marriage, family, sexuality, abortion, immigration, multiculturalism, Islam or the EU.
A. Patrilineal ownership of lands and the culture of dowry attached to it have turned daughters into bad debts. B. The control of such castes on local politics aggravates masculine hubris. C. The bigotry of our village culture and polity is intrinsically linked to a control of land and agriculture. D. Land makes certain castes ‘kingly’ in rural communities.
A. The Cold War was underpinned by an understanding which allowed the US to maintain hegemony over the capitalist world and which gave the Soviet Union a regional sphere of influence in Eastern Europe. B. The bloody upheavals and wars occurred not in Europe, America or Russia, but in Asia, Africa and the Middle East, and were either directly or indirectly a response to the experience of Western colonialism. C. Despite the aggressive rhetoric of this era, the Cold War was a period of relative peace between hostile geopolitical blocs. D. In retrospect, what was remarkable about the Cold War was the ability of most of the major players to manage their conflict.
A. The Mandate of Heaven indicated divine approval of a king’s right to rule. B. In other words, the Mandate of Heaven gave divine ruling authority to kings that lived a moral life, administered justice, and protected the welfare of his people. C. Whereas Medieval Europeans legitimized their ruling authority by the divine right of kings, Confucian societies used a similar concept called the Mandate of Heaven. D. However, it differed from the divine right of kings in that Heaven’s endorsement depends upon the virtuous conduct of the ruler.
A. General Yi knew that the Ming dynasty was more powerful than Mongols were and judged that if he attacked, the Ming would likely invade Korea. B. Upon his arrival in Kaesŏng, General Yi toppled the government through a military coup and in 1392 CE, he placed himself on the throne —ushering in the Chosŏn Kingdom. C. Due to his prominence in 1388 CE, the anti-Ming (pro-Mongol) faction sent General Yi to expel a contingent of Ming troops stationed on the northern part of the Korean Peninsula. D. Seeing the campaign as a potential disaster, General Yi turned his troops south towards the Koryŏ capital, Kaesŏng.
A. Elite American colleges are now widely suspected of admitting male applicants with lower grades, to even up the numbers. B. At least in the rich world, that wasteful truth has been triumphantly overcome. C. Stendhal once wrote that all geniuses who were born women were lost to the public good. D. Yet, despite this monumental advance, much ability, both male and female, is wasted because of tenacious stereotypes.
A. Hate speech is characterized by a deliberate targeting of communities rather than beliefs. B. What the management must seek to do is to not let political discussions and debates to descend into vituperative attacks and hate speech. C. But such an association will be spurious, as questioning orthodoxy and conservatism is not tantamount to hate speech. D. The student body's activism has been criticized by detractors and it has been sought to be associated with hate speech.
A. The main driving force of the British Empire’s global expansion was the pursuit of commercial interests. B. That entailed helping the weaker side in order to promote a regional balance of power and preventing the rise of a regional power, or at least reducing its impact on British security and interests. C. Creating a balance of power and fostering regional stability could help to realize commercial goals; hence these became the core of the British Empire’s strategy. D. Britain put these practices to use in its continental policy for hundreds of years.
A. The crash in the Alps has launched a search for a solution to the problem of accessing the cockpit from outside if the plane has been commandeered from within. B. Flight safety has so far focused on threats from the passenger side, and the 9/11 terror episode led to fortification of the cockpit. C. But if they are in a position to act, pilots can override this mechanism. D. In exceptional circumstances, such as an emergency affecting the pilot and the cockpit area, the crew can use a code that opens the cockpit door briefly, or it even opens automatically if the pilots are immobilized due to depressurization.
A. Indeed, Indian policy-planners find themselves in a predicament thanks to the continued monetary easing by some nations and the shrinkage in world trade. B. In this context, a fund-starved country like India will do well to focus on foreign direct investment rather than get unduly worried about foreign institutional investment, which will have its ebb and flow depending on the environment outside.. C. With everyone waiting for the other to act first, the onus is definitely on the political bosses to devise quick solutions to accelerate the economy. D. Given this ‘new normal’ kind of an environment, they will have to look at ways to protect the Indian economy from external vicissitudes.
A. Comments have the potential to turn a news website into a democratic polyphony. B. But, there is also a danger of it descending to cacophony if readers do not express opinions in a language that behooves the requirements of a matured public sphere. C. It can become a site for multiple concurrent debates, for registering dissent, for pursuing an idea and finally for building a polity of informed choices. D. The role of the moderators is to retain the space for polyphony and reject voices that breed cacophony.
A. Delisting the content under the parameters of "the right to be forgotten" does not mean the information is taken down from the Internet, but that it's no longer readily available to the public through a simple search on an intermediary such as Google. B. However, those who support this controversial legislation say people shouldn’t be unfairly dogged by inaccurate, irrelevant, or outdated information that turns up when their name is put into a search engine. C. The Court of Justice of the European Union established a "right to be forgotten" in a landmark decision in May 2014, allowing Europeans to ask search engines to delist certain links from results they show based on searches for that person’s name. D. A number of other countries, including Russia, have proposed their own versions of the right to be forgotten, which has led campaigners for freedom of expression to warn that such decisions could limit what content is readily available online in these countries.
A. But that would require a tough look at the economy, at the dearth of productivity, and at how it might be possible to restore conditions of growth. It would require serious investment, risk-taking, and nerve. B. If those currently carping about the tax affairs of the rich really did care about raising tax revenues, they would concentrate on raising the volume of wealth that can be taxed. C. The problem with the eagerness to recast economic problems, from a failure to cut the deficit to the continued inability to restore conditions of growth, as a moral issue and an erring on the part of selfish individuals who just aren’t giving enough back, leaves the real problems untouched. D. The problem with the eagerness to recast economic problems, from a failure to cut the deficit to the continued inability to restore conditions of growth, as a moral issue and an erring on the part of selfish individuals who just aren’t giving enough back, leaves the real problems untouched.
A. A more vital, dynamic and inclusive form of democracy is generated as the risk of corruption reduces, election fever abates and attention to the common good increases. B. As those who have been drafted are exposed to expert opinion, objective information and public debate, voting is not simply based on gut feel, but careful deliberation. C. Renaissance states such as Venice and Florence experienced centuries of political stability by practicing democracy on the basis of sortition, or drafting by lot. D. With sortition, everyone does not vote on an issue few understand, but a random sample of the population is drafted to come to grips with the problem, in order to take a sensible decision.
A. With vaccination, arguably our strongest and most cost-effective defense against infectious disease, urbanization is already presenting challenges. B. It used to be the case that the one-in-five children missing out on a full course of even the most basic vaccines lived in remote rural communities. C. Without strong health systems in place, the higher the population density the more difficult it becomes to prevent and control outbreaks, and not just because of the increased risk of contagion. D. Today, we’re increasingly discovering that many of these hardest-to-reach children are in marginalized urban communities – right in the heart of cities, often hiding in plain sight.
A. Not only can jellyfish withstand the impact of climate change, they also have the capacity to accelerate it. B. At the same time, jellyfish also consume vast amounts of plankton, which are a major means of taking carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and oceans. Their loss can hasten climate change. C. Jellyfish are better prepared than other marine life for the changing ocean environment, such as warmer temperatures, salinity changes, ocean acidification and pollution. D. They release carbon-rich feces and mucus that bacteria prefer to use for respiration, turning these bacteria into carbon dioxide factories.
A. Athletes may not be role models, but they’re certainly digital lightning rods. B. Nearly twenty years ago athletes did as they pleased, only entering the public news scope if an off-the-court/field dustup was so monumental that the nightly news couldn’t afford not to cover it. C. Athletes might want the ability to make millions while still being able to crack off-kilter and slightly offensive jokes without seeing the number of zeroes in their paycheck affected, but that’s not how it works. D. Today, thanks to the advancement in social media with tools like Facebook and Twitter, athletes have signed up for a 24 hour a day news conference.
A. According to scientists from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the current melting of ice in Greenland is already causing the tilt to change at a rate of approximately 2.6 cm each year. B. While a natural event such as this could bring about major changes to the climate, some scientists are warning that there is a possibility for reverse feedback. C. The Earth's orbital tilt is said to vary between 22 and 25 degrees roughly every 41,000 years. D. In other words, instead of an orbital tilt causing climate change, current changes in climate could end up causing changes in the Earth's axial tilt.
A. One of the beauties of Leo Tolstoy’s novel 'War and Peace' is that it does not end when the war ends. B. It ends instead when the hero gets married, and settles down to a life of routine, even boredom. C. In conveying this ceaseless ebb and flow of life, Tolstoy captures its very essence. D. Concluding it at the moment of heroic drama would have destroyed the integrity of the novel.
A. What Darwin discovered on the Galapagos Isles was not the idea that species evolved, or even a possible model for how that evolution might have taken place. B. His ability to see this fact, and exploit it so brilliantly, is why we remember Charles Darwin today. C. Darwin ultimately owes the near-instant success of his theory to the fact that the islands of the Galapagos made such perfect petri dishes for generating that evidence. D. Rather, what he found was a naturally occurring laboratory, one exquisitely shaped to allow the study of speciation and to make his model the first supported by real evidence.
A. This burnt off many living forms and it took a long time before oxygen- using life forms started flourishing about 500 million years later. B. Some of this was ‘fixed’ by iron and organic matter of earth, but the rest soon led the ‘poisonous’ gas, oxygen, attain levels of about 20 per cent in the air. C. Those days, the earth was rich in a set of microbes called cyanobacteria, which started the early events of photosynthesis, wherein the microbe used CO2 for energy production and emitted oxygen gas as the waste material. D. One such massive upheaval of the earth’s atmosphere occurred about 2.4 billion years ago, during what is called the “Oxygen Catastrophe”. E. Cyanobacteria reproduced very fast (doubling every 30 minutes), leading to vast amounts of oxygen in the atmosphere.
A. As people turned to farming, they began to live in fixed settlements, which became small towns. B. Their labors bore fruit; surplus food freed some of the population from farming. C. In about 5000 BC, farmers moved down into the fertile river valleys of Mesopotamia, and built dykes and ditches to irrigate the arid land. D. The cultivation of plants, such as wheat and barley, and the domestication of animals, such as sheep, goats and cattle, began in the Near East in about 8500 BC.
The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) crossed an important milestone with the successful launch of weather satellite INSAT-3DR using a Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) equipped with the indigenous cryogenic upper stage. A. The September 8 GSLV launch marks the third consecutive success; the fact that it is the first operational flight by the GSLV carrying the indigenous cryogenic upper stage is confirmation that India now belongs to the elite club of countries that have mastered the cryogenic technology. B. Likewise, igniting a cryogenic fuel and sustaining the combustion for a prolonged period is a daunting task. C. Maintaining structural and thermal integrity of the engine at very high temperatures during combustion just a few centimeters away from – 250° C, a temperature at which materials behave very differently, is a huge challenge. D. This marks a departure from the long history of failures with the GSLV; except for the first, every launch of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), the workhorse of ISRO, has been a success. The Thursday launch had fully utilized the maximum payload carrying capacity of the GSLV-Mk II by carrying the heaviest satellite (2,211 kg) ever from Indian soil.