Section II Reading Comprehension

Part A

Directions: Read the following four texts. Answer the questions below each text by choosing A, B, C or D. Mark your answers on ANSWER SHEET 1. (40 points)

Text 1
Come on –Everybody’s doing it. That whispered message, half invitation and half forcing, is what most of us think of when we hear the words peer pressure. It usually leads to no good-drinking, drugs and casual sex. But in her new book Join the Club, Tina Rosenberg contends that peer pressure can also be a positive force through what she calls the social cure, in which organizations and officials use the power of group dynamics to help individuals improve their lives and possibly the word.

Rosenberg, the recipient of a Pulitzer Prize, offers a host of example of the social cure in action: In South Carolina, a state-sponsored antismoking program called Rage Against the Haze sets out to make cigarettes uncool. In South Africa, an HIV-prevention initiative known as LoveLife recruits young people to promote safe sex among their peers.

The idea seems promising,and Rosenberg is a perceptive observer. Her critique of the lameness of many pubic-health campaigns is spot-on: they fail to mobilize peer pressure for healthy habits, and they demonstrate a seriously flawed understanding of psychology.” Dare to be different, please don’t smoke!” pleads one billboard campaign aimed at reducing smoking among teenagers-teenagers, who desire nothing more than fitting in. Rosenberg argues convincingly that public-health advocates ought to take a page from advertisers, so skilled at applying peer pressure.

But on the general effectiveness of the social cure, Rosenberg is less persuasive. Join the Club is filled with too much irrelevant detail and not enough exploration of the social and biological factors that make peer pressure so powerful. The most glaring flaw of the social cure as it’s presented here is that it doesn’t work very well for very long. Rage Against the Haze failed once state funding was cut. Evidence that the LoveLife program produces lasting changes is limited and mixed.

There’s no doubt that our peer groups exert enormous influence on our behavior. An emerging body of research shows that positive health habits-as well as negative ones-spread through networks of friends via social communication. This is a subtle form of peer pressure: we unconsciously imitate the behavior we see every day.

Far less certain, however, is how successfully experts and bureaucrats can select our peer groups and steer their activities in virtuous directions. It’s like the teacher who breaks up the troublemakers in the back row by pairing them with better-behaved classmates. The tactic never really works. And that’s the problem with a social cure engineered from the outside: in the real world, as in school, we insist on choosing our own friends.

21. According to the first paragraph, peer pressure often emerges as
[A] a supplement to the social cure
[B] a stimulus to group dynamics
[C] an obstacle to school progress
[D] a cause of undesirable behaviors

22. Rosenberg holds that public advocates should
[A] recruit professional advertisers
[B] learn from advertisers’ experience
[C] stay away from commercial advertisers
[D] recognize the limitations of advertisements

23. In the author’s view, Rosenberg’s book fails to
[A] adequately probe social and biological factors
[B] effectively evade the flaws of the social cure
[C] illustrate the functions of state funding
[D]produce a long-lasting social effect

24. Paragraph 5shows that our imitation of behaviors
[A] is harmful to our networks of friends
[B] will mislead behavioral studies
[C] occurs without our realizing it
[D] can produce negative health habits

25. The author suggests in the last paragraph that the effect of peer pressure is
[A] harmful
[B] desirable
[C] profound
[D] questionable

Text 2
A deal is a deal-except, apparently ,when Entergy is involved. The company, a major energy supplier in New England, provoked justified outrage in Vermont last week when it announced it was reneging on a longstanding commitment to abide by the strict nuclear regulations.

Instead, the company has done precisely what it had long promised it would not challenge the constitutionality of Vermont’s rules in the federal court, as part of a desperate effort to keep its Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant running. It’s a stunning move.

The conflict has been surfacing since 2002, when the corporation bought Vermont’s only nuclear power plant, an aging reactor in Vernon. As a condition of receiving state approval for the sale, the company agreed to seek permission from state regulators to operate past 2012. In 2006, the state went a step further, requiring that any extension of the plant’s license be subject to Vermont legislature’s approval. Then, too, the company went along.

Either Entergy never really intended to live by those commitments, or it simply didn’t foresee what would happen next. A string of accidents, including the partial collapse of a cooling tower in 207 and the discovery of an underground pipe system leakage, raised serious questions about both Vermont Yankee’s safety and Entergy’s management– especially after the company made misleading statements about the pipe. Enraged by Entergy’s behavior, the Vermont Senate voted 26 to 4 last year against allowing an extension.

Now the company is suddenly claiming that the 2002 agreement is invalid because of the 2006 legislation, and that only the federal government has regulatory power over nuclear issues. The legal issues in the case are obscure: whereas the Supreme Court has ruled that states do have some regulatory authority over nuclear power, legal scholars say that Vermont case will offer a precedent-setting test of how far those powers extend. Certainly, there are valid concerns about the patchwork regulations that could result if every state sets its own rules. But had Entergy kept its word, that debate would be beside the point.

The company seems to have concluded that its reputation in Vermont is already so damaged that it has noting left to lose by going to war with the state. But there should be consequences. Permission to run a nuclear plant is a public trust. Entergy runs 11 other reactors in the United States, including Pilgrim Nuclear station in Plymouth. Pledging to run Pilgrim safely, the company has applied for federal permission to keep it open for another 20 years. But as the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) reviews the company’s application, it should keep it mind what promises from Entergy are worth.

26. The phrase “reneging on”(Line .1) is closest in meaning to
[A] condemning.
[B] reaffirming.
[C] dishonoring.
[D] securing.
27. By entering into the 2002 agreement, Entergy intended to
[A] obtain protection from Vermont regulators.
[B] seek favor from the federal legislature.
[C] acquire an extension of its business license .
[D] get permission to purchase a power plant.

28. According to Paragraph 4, Entergy seems to have problems with its
[A] managerial practices.
[B] technical innovativeness.
[C] financial goals.
[D] business vision

29. In the author’s view, the Vermont case will test
[A] Entergy’s capacity to fulfill all its promises.
[B] the mature of states’ patchwork regulations.
[C] the federal authority over nuclear issues .
[D] the limits of states’ power over nuclear issues.

30. It can be inferred from the last paragraph that
[A] Entergy’s business elsewhere might be affected.
[B] the authority of the NRC will be defied.
[C] Entergy will withdraw its Plymouth application.
[D] Vermont’s reputation might be damaged.