2011年12月英语四六级考试必背优秀范文(9)

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2011年12月英语四六级考试必背优秀范文(9)

  17.Evolution of sleep

  Sleep is very ancient. In the electroencephalographic sense we share it with all the primates and almost all the other mammals and birds: it may extend back as far as the reptiles.

  There is some evidence that the two types of sleep, dreaming and dreamless, depend on the life-style of the animal, and that predators are statistically much more likely to dream than prey, which are in turn much more likely to experience dreamless sleep. In dream sleep, the animal is powerfully immobilized and remarkably unresponsive to external stimuli. Dreamless sleep is much shallower, and we have all witnessed cats or dogs cocking their ears to a sound when apparently fast asleep. The fact that deep dream sleep is rare among pray today seems clearly to be a product of natural selection, and it makes sense that today, when sleep is highly evolved, the stupid animals are less frequently immobilized by deep sleep than the smart ones. But why should they sleep deeply at all? Why should a state of such deep immobilization ever have evolved?

  Perhaps one useful hint about the original function of sleep is to be found in the fact that dolphins and whales and aquatic mammals in genera seem to sleep very little. There is, by and large, no place to hide in the ocean. Could it be that, rather than increasing an animal’s vulnerability, the University of Florida and Ray Meddis of London University have suggested this to be the case. It is conceivable that animals who are too stupid to be quite on their own initiative are, during periods of high risk, immobilized by the implacable arm of sleep. The point seems particularly clear for the young of predatory animals. This is an interesting notion and probably at least partly true.

  18.Modern American Universities

  Before the 1850’s, the United States had a number of small colleges, most of them dating from colonial days. They were small, church connected institutions whose primary concern was to shape the moral character of their students.

  Throughout Europe, institutions of higher learning had developed, bearing the ancient name of university. In German university was concerned primarily with creating and spreading knowledge, not morals. Between mid-century and the end of the 1800’s, more than nine thousand young Americans, dissatisfied with their training at home, went to Germany for advanced study. Some of them return to become presidents of venerable colleges-----Harvard, Yale, Columbia---and transform them into modern universities. The new presidents broke all ties with the churches and brought in a new kind of faculty. Professors were hired for their knowledge of a subject, not because they were of the proper faith and had a strong arm for disciplining students. The new principle was that a university was to create knowledge as well as pass it on, and this called for a faculty composed of teacher-scholars. Drilling and learning by rote were replaced by the German method of lecturing, in which the professor’s own research was presented in class. Graduate training leading to the Ph.D., an ancient German degree signifying the highest level of advanced scholarly attainment, was introduced. With the establishment of the seminar system, graduate student learned to question, analyze, and conduct their own research.

  At the same time, the new university greatly expanded in size and course offerings, breaking completely out of the old, constricted curriculum of mathematics, classics, rhetoric, and music. The president of Harvard pioneered the elective system, by which students were able to choose their own course of study. The notion of major fields of study emerged. The new goal was to make the university relevant to the real pursuits of the world. Paying close heed to the practical needs of society, the new universities trained men and women to work at its tasks, with engineering students being the most characteristic of the new regime. Students were also trained as economists, architects, agriculturalists, social welfare workers, and teachers.

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