Reading Comprehension - 1
Scientists recently discovered that Emperor Penguins—one of Antarctica’s most celebrated species—employ a particularly unusual technique for surviving the daily chill. As detailed in an article published today in the journal Biology Letters, the birds minimize heat loss by keeping the outer surface of their plumage below the temperature of the surrounding air. At the same time, the penguins’ thick plumage insulates their body and keeps it toasty. . . .
The researchers analyzed thermographic images . . . taken over roughly a month during June 2008. During that period, the average air temperature was 0.32 degrees Fahrenheit. At the same time, the majority of the plumage covering the penguins’ bodies was even colder: the surface of their warmest body part, their feet, was an average 1.76 degrees Fahrenheit, but the plumage on their heads, chests and backs were -1.84, -7.24 and -9.76 degrees Fahrenheit respectively. Overall, nearly the entire outer surface of the penguins’ bodies was below freezing at all times, except for their eyes and beaks. The scientists also used a computer simulation to determine how much heat was lost or gained from each part of the body - and discovered that by keeping their outer surface below air temperature, the birds might paradoxically be able to draw very slight amounts of heat from the air around them. The key to their trick is the difference between two different types of heat transfer: radiation and convection.
The penguins do lose internal body heat to the surrounding air through thermal radiation, just as our bodies do on a cold day. Because their bodies (but not surface plumage) are warmer than the surrounding air, heat gradually radiates outward over time, moving from a warmer material to a colder one. To maintain body temperature while losing heat, penguins, like all warm-blooded animals, rely on the metabolism of food. The penguins, though, have an additional strategy. Since their outer plumage is even colder than the air, the simulation showed that they might gain back a little of this heat through thermal convection—the transfer of heat via the movement of a fluid (in this case, the air). As the cold Antarctic air cycles around their bodies, slightly warmer air comes into contact with the plumage and donates minute amounts of heat back to the penguins, then cycles away at a slightly colder temperature.
Most of this heat, the researchers note, probably doesn’t make it all the way through the plumage and back to the penguins’ bodies, but it could make a slight difference. At the very least, the method by which a penguin’s plumage wicks heat from the bitterly cold air that surrounds it helps to cancel out some of the heat that’s radiating from its interior. And given the Emperors’ unusually demanding breeding cycle, every bit of warmth counts. . . . Since [penguins trek as far as 75 miles to the coast to breed and male penguins] don’t eat anything during [the incubation period of 64 days], conserving calories by giving up as little heat as possible is absolutely crucial.
Question 1 Which of the following can be responsible for Emperor Penguins losing body heat?
A Food metabolism.
C Reproduction process.
D Thermal convection.
Option A: It has been mentioned that food metabolism is used to maintain body temperature. But it cannot be inferred that heat is lost due to food metabolism. Option B: The colder temperature of plumage results in slight heat gain from the surrounding air. Hence this option is incorrect. Option C: In the last paragraph of the passage, it has been mentioned that heat is very important for the breeding of Emperor Penguins. So it can be inferred that this conserved heat might be used in the reproductive process of Emperor Penguins. Hence C is the answer. Option D: Consider the line: "Since their outer plumage is..........................thermal convection—the transfer of heat via the movement of a fluid (in this case, the air)." It is clear that the process of thermal convection is responsible for heat gain and not heat loss.
Hence D is incorrect.
Question 2 All of the following, if true, would negate the findings of the study reported in the passage EXCEPT:
A the penguins’ plumage were made of a material that did not allow any heat transfer through convection or radiation.
B the average temperature of the feet of penguins in the month of June 2008 were found to be 2.76 degrees Fahrenheit.
C the average air temperature recorded during the month of June 2008 in the area of study were -10 degrees Fahrenheit.
D the temperature of the plumage on the penguins’ heads, chests and backs were found to be 1.84, 7.24 and 9.76 degrees Fahrenheit respectively.
The primary findings of the study conclude that Emperor Penguins reduce the heat loss by keeping the temperature of the outer surface of their plumage lower than the surrounding air. In fact, they gain a little heat from the surrounding air through thermal convection. Option A: If the plumage did not allow thermal convection, it would contradict the findings of the study. Hence A is not the answer. Option B: Since the transfer of heat takes place through the plumage, variation in the average temperature of feet will not affect the conclusions of the study. Hence B is the answer. Option C: The average temperature of plumage should be lower than that of the air. It has been mentioned in the passage that the temperatures of the plumage on their heads, chests and backs were -1.84, -7.24 and -9.76 degrees Fahrenheit respectively. If the temperature of the air is -10 degrees Fahrenheit, Penguins would not be able to gain the heat. Hence, this will negate the study findings. Option D: All the temperatures mentioned in this option are higher than the temperature of the air, but the study assumes the surrounding air temperature to be higher. This option will also negate the study findings.
Question 3 Which of the following best explains the purpose of the word “paradoxically” as used by the author?
A Keeping their body colder helps penguins keep their plumage warmer.
B Heat gain through radiation happens despite the heat loss through convection
C Heat loss through radiation happens despite the heat gain through convection
D Keeping a part of their body colder helps penguins keep their bodies warmer.
The word "paradoxically" has been used by the author to indicate the two contradictory characteristics mentioned in the statement. Option A: This option states the exact opposite conclusion mentioned in the passage. As per the passage, penguins keep their plumage colder to keep their body warmer. Hence A is incorrect. Option B: It has been mentioned that the penguins lose heat through radiation and gain heat through convection. Hence B is incorrect. Option C: Although this statement is true, it does not contain self-contradictory parts. It has been mentioned that the heat loss and heat gain happen through the given processes but one has no relation to the other. Hence C is not the answer. Option D: This statement combines two contradictory qualities. The penguins are keeping their plumage colder, which is responsible for the heat gain from the surrounding air and making their body warmer. Hence D is the answer.
Question 4 In the last sentence of paragraph 3, “slightly warmer air” and “at a slightly colder temperature” refer to ______ AND ______ respectively:
A the cold Antarctic air whose temperature is higher than that of the plumage AND the fall in temperature of the Antarctic air after it has transmitted some heat to the plumage.
B the cold Antarctic air which becomes warmer because of the heat radiated out from penguins’ bodies AND the fall in temperature of the surrounding air after thermal convection.
C the air trapped in the plumage which is warmer than the Antarctic air AND the fall in temperature of the trapped plumage air after it radiates out some heat.
D the air inside penguins’ bodies kept warm because of metabolism of food AND the fall in temperature of the body air after it transfers some heat to the plumage.
Option A: Consider the sentence: "As the cold Antarctic air cycles around their bodies, slightly warmer air comes into contact with the plumage and donates minute amounts of heat back to the penguins, then cycles away at a slightly colder temperature." It has been mentioned in the passage that the plumage temperature is lower than the surrounding air temperature. Hence, "slightly warmer air" refers to the Antarctica air that surrounds the plumage and "at a slightly colder temperature" refers to the fall in temperature due to heat loss. Option B: The process of convections and not radiation is involved in this case. Hence the first part of the option is incorrect. B is not the answer. Option C: The passage does not mention air trapped in plumage. Hence this option is rejected. Option D: "slightly warmer air" refers to the Antarctica air and not the air inside the penguins' bodies. Hence D is incorrect.
Reading Comprehension - 2
Contemporary internet shopping conjures a perfect storm of choice anxiety. Research has consistently held that people who are presented with a few options make better, easier decisions than those presented with many. . . . Helping consumers figure out what to buy amid an endless sea of choice online has become a cottage industry unto itself. Many brands and retailers now wield marketing buzzwords such as curation, differentiation, and discovery as they attempt to sell an assortment of stuff targeted to their ideal customer. Companies find such shoppers through the data gold mine of digital advertising, which can catalog people by gender, income level, personal interests, and more. Since Americans have lost the ability to sort through the sheer volume of the consumer choices available to them, a ghost now has to be in the retail machine, whether it’s an algorithm, an influencer, or some snazzy ad tech to help a product follow you around the internet. Indeed, choice fatigue is one reason so many people gravitate toward lifestyle influencers on Instagram— the relentlessly chic young moms and perpetually vacationing 20-somethings—who present an aspirational worldview, and then recommend the products and services that help achieve it...
For a relatively new class of consumer-products start-ups, there’s another method entirely. Instead of making sense of a sea of existing stuff, these companies claim to disrupt stuff as Americans know it. Casper (mattresses), Glossier (makeup), Away (suitcases), and many others have sprouted up to offer consumers freedom from choice: The companies have a few aesthetically pleasing and supposedly highly functional options, usually at mid-range prices. They’re selling nice things, but maybe more importantly, they’re selling a confidence in those things, and an ability to opt out of the stuff rat race. . . .
One-thousand-dollar mattresses and $300 suitcases might solve choice anxiety for a certain tier of consumer, but the companies that sell them, along with those that attempt to massage the larger stuff economy into something navigable, are still just working within a consumer market that’s broken in systemic ways. The presence of so much stuff in America might be more valuable if it were more evenly distributed, but stuff’s creators tend to focus their energy on those who already have plenty. As options have expanded for people with disposable income, the opportunity to buy even basic things such as fresh food or quality diapers has contracted for much of America’s lower classes.
For start-ups that promise accessible simplicity, their very structure still might eventually push them toward overwhelming variety. Most of these companies are based on hundreds of millions of dollars of venture capital, the investors of which tend to expect a steep growth rate that can’t be achieved by selling one great mattress or one great sneaker. Casper has expanded into bedroom furniture and bed linens. Glossier, after years of marketing itself as no-makeup makeup that requires little skill to apply, recently launched a full line of glittering color cosmetics. There may be no way to opt out of stuff by buying into the right thing.
Question 5 Which one of the following best sums up the overall purpose of the examples of Casper and Glossier in the passage?
A They are exceptions to a dominant trend in consumer markets.
B They are increasing the purchasing power of poor Americans.
C They might transform into what they were exceptions to.
D They are facilitating a uniform distribution of commodities in the market. Answer: C
Explanation: Option A: The startups Casper and Glossier are certainly breaking the trend of choice anxiety. Yet, the author argues that they are turning into something that they intended to disrupt. Hence, this does not capture the purpose of the author. Option B: The author argues that even these startups are targeting select few mid-range customers rather than the lower classes. Hence, this option directly contradicts the author's claim. Option C: These startups initially started as an exception to offering a wide variety of choices. Yet, due to limited customers, and want of steep growth, they might transform into a type of company that they intended to disrupt. Hence, this option correctly resounds the authors fear and captures his purpose of argument. Hence C is correct Option D: This option is largely vague and can have multiple interpretations. One interpretation can be that these startups are targeting a selected band of customers and do not have offering for lower-class customers. Hence, there is no uniform distribution.
Question 6 All of the following, IF TRUE, would weaken the author’s claims EXCEPT:
A the annual sale of companies that hired lifestyle influencers on Instagram for marketing their products were 40% less than those that did not.
B product options increased market competition, bringing down the prices of commodities, which, in turn, increased purchasing power of the poor.
C the empowerment felt by purchasers in buying a commodity were directly proportional to the number of options they could choose from.
D the annual sales growth of companies with fewer product options were higher than that of companies which curated their products for target consumers.
Explanation: Option A: Paragraph 1 says "choice fatigue is one reason so many people gravitate toward lifestyle influencers on Instagram". Hence, as per the passage, a company with wide range of products and a lifestyle influencer is likely to perform better than a company with only wide range of products. Hence, this statement negates the claim of the author. Option B: "As options have expanded for people with disposable income, the opportunity to buy even basic things such as fresh food or quality diapers has contracted for much of America’s lower classes." The author argues that variety of products are offered only for a certain class of consumers other than the lower class. If variety of options indeed helped the poor, then his argument is weakened. Option C: "Research has consistently held that people who are presented with a few options make better, easier decisions than those presented with many". "Americans have lost the ability to sort through the sheer volume". Clearly, people are overwhelmed by options and prefer lesser variety. Hence, option C is contradictory. Option D: This option is largely vague and leaves unanswered questions behind. Also, the author doesn't make any comparison between the growth of these two type of companies. The author only says that, as the company targets only few consumers, for the want of growth they are likely to expand to variety of products. As there is no information about their growths, this option neither strengthens nor weakens the claim.
Question 7 Based on the passage, all of the following can be inferred about consumer behaviour EXCEPT that:
A having too many product options can be overwhelming for consumers.
B too many options have made it difficult for consumers to trust products.
C consumers tend to prefer products by start-ups over those by established companies.
D consumers are susceptible to marketing images that they see on social media.
Explanation: Option A: Paragraph 1 says "Since Americans have lost the ability to sort through the sheer volume of the consumer choices available to them" Since the product options are overwhelming, they are unable to sort through the options. Hence, option A can be inferred from the passage. Option B: Paragraph 1 says "Research has consistently ..... industry unto itself." As people experience choice anxiety due to overwhelming options, they are unable to trust products while selecting. Hence, they look-out for celebrities and curators to make a decision. Option C: There is no such comparison in the passage that shows people's preference towards products by startups. Hence, option C cannot be inferred. Option D: Paragraph 1 says "a ghost now has to be in the retail machine, whether it’s an algorithm, an influencer, or some snazzy ad tech to help a product follow you around the internet". Due to our inability to sort, we depend on influencers or we are vulnerable to snazzy ads to purchase products. Hence, D can be inferred.
Question 8 A new food brand plans to launch a series of products in the American market. Which of the following product plans is most likely to be supported by the author of the passage?
A A range of 10 products priced between $5 and $10.
B A range of 25 products priced between $5 and $10.
C A range of 10 products priced between $10 and $25.
D A range of 25 products priced between $10 and $25.
Explanation: The author principally argues for lesser choices. He says that choice anxiety is overwhelming and people make better decisions with lesser choices. He is also critical about companies targeting only certain band of well-off customers and critiques them for not offering products for consumers of lower classes. Hence, a product group with lesser variety, and targeted to lower class customers would be most acceptable to the author.
Question 9 Which of the following hypothetical statements would add the least depth to the author’s prediction of the fate of start-ups offering few product options?
A An exponential surge in their sales enables start-ups to meet their desired profit goals without expanding their product catalogue.
B Start-ups with few product options are no exception to the American consumer market that is deeply divided along class lines.
C With Casper and Glossier venturing into new product ranges, their regular customers start losing trust in the companies and their products.
D With the motive of promoting certain rival companies, the government decides to double the tax-rates for these start-ups.
Explanation: By "Depth", the author suggests a scenario that adds value or supplies additional information which supports his claim. Option A: If the startup products grow exponentially and are self-sufficient and do not expand to other products, this scenario directly contradicts the author's probable prediction of these companies. Hence, it would add the least depth to the author's argument. A is the correct answer. Option B: Lets consider that startups with few product options already exist. In such a case, these startups are no exceptions. For the sake of steep growth and surviving, they might have to expand into different product categories. Hence it adds some depth to the author's prediction. Option C: "There may be no way to opt-out of stuff by buying into the right thing." The author is clearly displeased with startups ending up with overwhelming variety. Losing regular customers for better growth further invigorates the author's claim against numerous choices. Hence, it adds some value to his criticism. Option D: If the government doubles their tax rates, as these startups are dependent on select customers for income, they might have to venture into other products and varieties to accentuate their returns and keep the company afloat. Hence, their fate would likely end up the way author predicted it to be