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Practice Questions Level 2: Speed Building - Notes | Study Level-wise Practice Questions for CAT Preparation - CAT

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This EduRev document offers 10 Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) from the topic Speed Building (Level - 2). These questions are of Level - 2 difficulty and will assist you in the preparation of CAT & other MBA exams. You can practice/attempt these CAT Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) and check the explanations for a better understanding of the topic. 

Question for Practice Questions Level 2: Speed Building
Try yourself:Directions: The passage below is followed by a question based on its content. Answer the question on the basis of what is stated or implied in the passage.

Passage

Bangladesh, a country numbering almost 140 million, whose population is 90 percent Muslim, is a prime example of a nation under siege from a deluge of NGOs. Since 1981, foreign NGOs have created an indigenous mercenary army and set up a parallel government of their own in the country. Given handsome salaries, bribes, awards, vehicles, machinery and huge funds, the nouveau riche mercenaries pretending to be writers, lawyers, teachers, artists and human-right activists, among others, have set up factories, printing presses, and publishing houses.
Bangladesh is probably the world leader in non-governmental organisations, NGOs, perhaps because economically it is near the bottom of the heap. The 20,000 or so NGOs there operate mainly in the country's 86,000 villages, providing education, health, small loans and agricultural development far more efficiently than the corrupt and inefficient government. Yet, while outsiders have lavished praise on the NGOs, Bangladeshis themselves are ambivalent.
Some fear the organisations are becoming a parallel State, financed by foreigners and accountable to nobody.
Most of the foreign money (around $250m a year) goes to a handful of famous NGOs such as the Grameen Bank, the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC), Proshika and the Association for Social Advancement. These are among the biggest rural-development organisations in the world, and they have an awesome reach.
BRAC alone has 19,000 full-time employees, 34,000 part-time teachers, and 2.3m members (96% female) in 66,000 villages. Its schools admit only those who do not attend or have dropped out of government schools, and at least 70% of these must be girls. It hires teachers from each village, of whom 96% are women without teaching qualifications. They run schools in rented thatched huts, set neither exams nor homework, and have flexible school hours that enable children to work in the fields with their parents, reducing the incentive to drop out.
Teachers are paid 600 taka ($12) a month and teach children that government teachers (paid six times as much) cannot.
The Grameen Bank has pioneered small loans to the poor. Commercial banks say it is too risky to make loans of around $100 to people without assets. But, Grameen organises borrowers into groups which guarantee a loan to any member (exerting peer pressure for repayment). Its repayment rate is over 95%. Other NGOs have followed this route, and now more than poor people (almost all women) have obtained small loans for shops, sewing machines, chicken farming and the like.
Micro-credit is one reason for the fall in poverty in Bangladesh, from 59% of the population in 1991-92 to 53% in 1995-96. A more important reason is the attention to women that NGOs have given. By directing education, jobs and credit at women, the NGOs have created a social revolution in a conservative Muslim society. This is mainly why the fertility rate in Bangladesh has crashed from 6.1 births per woman in 1960 to 3.4 births today. It is expected to decline to 2.5 births by 2010. The mullahs hate NGOs for eroding the traditional male-dominated structure, and occasionally attack their offices.
Resentment also comes from politicians, bureaucrats and leftists, all of whose shortcomings have been exposed by the success of NGOs. Leftwing critics accuse NGOs of exploitative rates of interest: BRAC charges 15%, Grameen up to 22%. Yet the high rate of repayment is the best evidence of affordability. In fact, in labour-intensive work, interest charges are a small proportion of total costs.
Grameen Bank has a policy of only giving its loans to women. This has led to calls that its effects are weakening the institution of the family. It is interested in pursuing a policy that will lead Bangladesh to a situation to that we see in the West where the institution of marriage is on the retreat (marriage break down is at an all time high). When one examines who the patrons of the Grameen Bank are things become much clearer. The World Bank, ADB together with the UN, sets the whole agenda of the Grameen Bank. The World Bank is of course the best example of an NGO, whose abject failures at alleviating poverty are all too well documented.
Politicians complain that NGOs have money and power without accountability, embezzle foreign funds and cook their books. The NGOs reply that their accounts are audited, and sometimes not just in Bangladesh, but also to satisfy donors, by auditors abroad. They say they are accountable both to donors and the villagers they serve. The easy availability of donor funds h as encouraged some crooks to set themselves up as NGOs. But, corruption among NGOs is a trickle compared to the rivers in government.

Q. The Grameen Bank has been successful because

View Solution

Question for Practice Questions Level 2: Speed Building
Try yourself:Directions: The passage below is followed by a question based on its content. Answer the question on the basis of what is stated or implied in the passage.

Passage

Bangladesh, a country numbering almost 140 million, whose population is 90 percent Muslim, is a prime example of a nation under siege from a deluge of NGOs. Since 1981, foreign NGOs have created an indigenous mercenary army and set up a parallel government of their own in the country. Given handsome salaries, bribes, awards, vehicles, machinery and huge funds, the nouveau riche mercenaries pretending to be writers, lawyers, teachers, artists and human-right activists, among others, have set up factories, printing presses, and publishing houses.
Bangladesh is probably the world leader in non-governmental organisations, NGOs, perhaps because economically it is near the bottom of the heap. The 20,000 or so NGOs there operate mainly in the country's 86,000 villages, providing education, health, small loans and agricultural development far more efficiently than the corrupt and inefficient government. Yet, while outsiders have lavished praise on the NGOs, Bangladeshis themselves are ambivalent.
Some fear the organisations are becoming a parallel State, financed by foreigners and accountable to nobody.
Most of the foreign money (around $250m a year) goes to a handful of famous NGOs such as the Grameen Bank, the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC), Proshika and the Association for Social Advancement. These are among the biggest rural-development organisations in the world, and they have an awesome reach.
BRAC alone has 19,000 full-time employees, 34,000 part-time teachers, and 2.3m members (96% female) in 66,000 villages. Its schools admit only those who do not attend or have dropped out of government schools, and at least 70% of these must be girls. It hires teachers from each village, of whom 96% are women without teaching qualifications. They run schools in rented thatched huts, set neither exams nor homework, and have flexible school hours that enable children to work in the fields with their parents, reducing the incentive to drop out.
Teachers are paid 600 taka ($12) a month and teach children that government teachers (paid six times as much) cannot.
The Grameen Bank has pioneered small loans to the poor. Commercial banks say it is too risky to make loans of around $100 to people without assets. But, Grameen organises borrowers into groups which guarantee a loan to any member (exerting peer pressure for repayment). Its repayment rate is over 95%. Other NGOs have followed this route, and now more than poor people (almost all women) have obtained small loans for shops, sewing machines, chicken farming and the like.
Micro-credit is one reason for the fall in poverty in Bangladesh, from 59% of the population in 1991-92 to 53% in 1995-96. A more important reason is the attention to women that NGOs have given. By directing education, jobs and credit at women, the NGOs have created a social revolution in a conservative Muslim society. This is mainly why the fertility rate in Bangladesh has crashed from 6.1 births per woman in 1960 to 3.4 births today. It is expected to decline to 2.5 births by 2010. The mullahs hate NGOs for eroding the traditional male-dominated structure, and occasionally attack their offices.
Resentment also comes from politicians, bureaucrats and leftists, all of whose shortcomings have been exposed by the success of NGOs. Leftwing critics accuse NGOs of exploitative rates of interest: BRAC charges 15%, Grameen up to 22%. Yet the high rate of repayment is the best evidence of affordability. In fact, in labour-intensive work, interest charges are a small proportion of total costs.
Grameen Bank has a policy of only giving its loans to women. This has led to calls that its effects are weakening the institution of the family. It is interested in pursuing a policy that will lead Bangladesh to a situation to that we see in the West where the institution of marriage is on the retreat (marriage break down is at an all time high). When one examines who the patrons of the Grameen Bank are things become much clearer. The World Bank, ADB together with the UN, sets the whole agenda of the Grameen Bank. The World Bank is of course the best example of an NGO, whose abject failures at alleviating poverty are all too well documented.
Politicians complain that NGOs have money and power without accountability, embezzle foreign funds and cook their books. The NGOs reply that their accounts are audited, and sometimes not just in Bangladesh, but also to satisfy donors, by auditors abroad. They say they are accountable both to donors and the villagers they serve. The easy availability of donor funds h as encouraged some crooks to set themselves up as NGOs. But, corruption among NGOs is a trickle compared to the rivers in government.

Q. What is the tone of the passage?

View Solution

Question for Practice Questions Level 2: Speed Building
Try yourself:Directions: The passage below is followed by a question based on its content. Answer the question on the basis of what is stated or implied in the passage.

Passage

Bangladesh, a country numbering almost 140 million, whose population is 90 percent Muslim, is a prime example of a nation under siege from a deluge of NGOs. Since 1981, foreign NGOs have created an indigenous mercenary army and set up a parallel government of their own in the country. Given handsome salaries, bribes, awards, vehicles, machinery and huge funds, the nouveau riche mercenaries pretending to be writers, lawyers, teachers, artists and human-right activists, among others, have set up factories, printing presses, and publishing houses.
Bangladesh is probably the world leader in non-governmental organisations, NGOs, perhaps because economically it is near the bottom of the heap. The 20,000 or so NGOs there operate mainly in the country's 86,000 villages, providing education, health, small loans and agricultural development far more efficiently than the corrupt and inefficient government. Yet, while outsiders have lavished praise on the NGOs, Bangladeshis themselves are ambivalent.
Some fear the organisations are becoming a parallel State, financed by foreigners and accountable to nobody.
Most of the foreign money (around $250m a year) goes to a handful of famous NGOs such as the Grameen Bank, the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC), Proshika and the Association for Social Advancement. These are among the biggest rural-development organisations in the world, and they have an awesome reach.
BRAC alone has 19,000 full-time employees, 34,000 part-time teachers, and 2.3m members (96% female) in 66,000 villages. Its schools admit only those who do not attend or have dropped out of government schools, and at least 70% of these must be girls. It hires teachers from each village, of whom 96% are women without teaching qualifications. They run schools in rented thatched huts, set neither exams nor homework, and have flexible school hours that enable children to work in the fields with their parents, reducing the incentive to drop out.
Teachers are paid 600 taka ($12) a month and teach children that government teachers (paid six times as much) cannot.
The Grameen Bank has pioneered small loans to the poor. Commercial banks say it is too risky to make loans of around $100 to people without assets. But, Grameen organises borrowers into groups which guarantee a loan to any member (exerting peer pressure for repayment). Its repayment rate is over 95%. Other NGOs have followed this route, and now more than poor people (almost all women) have obtained small loans for shops, sewing machines, chicken farming and the like.
Micro-credit is one reason for the fall in poverty in Bangladesh, from 59% of the population in 1991-92 to 53% in 1995-96. A more important reason is the attention to women that NGOs have given. By directing education, jobs and credit at women, the NGOs have created a social revolution in a conservative Muslim society. This is mainly why the fertility rate in Bangladesh has crashed from 6.1 births per woman in 1960 to 3.4 births today. It is expected to decline to 2.5 births by 2010. The mullahs hate NGOs for eroding the traditional male-dominated structure, and occasionally attack their offices.
Resentment also comes from politicians, bureaucrats and leftists, all of whose shortcomings have been exposed by the success of NGOs. Leftwing critics accuse NGOs of exploitative rates of interest: BRAC charges 15%, Grameen up to 22%. Yet the high rate of repayment is the best evidence of affordability. In fact, in labour-intensive work, interest charges are a small proportion of total costs.
Grameen Bank has a policy of only giving its loans to women. This has led to calls that its effects are weakening the institution of the family. It is interested in pursuing a policy that will lead Bangladesh to a situation to that we see in the West where the institution of marriage is on the retreat (marriage break down is at an all time high). When one examines who the patrons of the Grameen Bank are things become much clearer. The World Bank, ADB together with the UN, sets the whole agenda of the Grameen Bank. The World Bank is of course the best example of an NGO, whose abject failures at alleviating poverty are all too well documented.
Politicians complain that NGOs have money and power without accountability, embezzle foreign funds and cook their books. The NGOs reply that their accounts are audited, and sometimes not just in Bangladesh, but also to satisfy donors, by auditors abroad. They say they are accountable both to donors and the villagers they serve. The easy availability of donor funds h as encouraged some crooks to set themselves up as NGOs. But, corruption among NGOs is a trickle compared to the rivers in government.

Q. The term `nouveau riche mercenaries` includes all except

View Solution

Question for Practice Questions Level 2: Speed Building
Try yourself:Directions: The passage below is followed by a question based on its content. Answer the question on the basis of what is stated or implied in the passage.

Passage

Is our planet the sole habitat of life? In a universe that contains billions of galaxies, each galaxy containing the order of hundred billion stars like Sun, is there any possibility of the existence of extra-terrestrial intelligence? This latter question, of course, presumes that we humans on the Earth are intelligent. Our ancient mythologies, as indeed those of most ancient cultures, routinely talk of the extra-terrestrials, like the yakshas, kinnaras, and gandharvas. So, does modern science fiction with its high profile versions in Star Trek or Star Wars.
What are the ground (or, rather, space) realities for modern technology to carry out a Star Trek type interstellar exploration? Till the late fifties scientists were cautious about talking of SETI, that is the search for extra-terrestrial intelligence. But today it is a respectable discipline attracting support even from a conservative funding agency like NASA. What has been the key factor in bringing about this change of perception?
In the mid-fifties the astrophysicist Fred Hoyle proposed that gigantic clouds containing molecules might exist in space. But his ideas were considered so radical that he could not get his paper published. So he put it all as part of a science fiction novel called The Black Cloud that was a great success.
Within a few years, however, special dish antennas equipped to receive radiation of a few millimeters wavelength began to detect molecules in space. What is more, these molecules were organic as well as inorganic, with the organic ones being not only large and complex but also recognisable as sub-structures of the DNA molecule known to be basic to all living systems on the Earth. Today we know of gigantic molecular clouds filling the vast spaces between stars, and extending to several tens to hundreds of light years. So, circumstantial evidence suggests that if the basic building blocks of life are seen scattered in space, why not life itself?
Thus in the sixties there started inter-disciplinary discussions about extra-terrestrial life. The astronomers can tell what are the likely sites for life and how many of them are there in our Milky Way Galaxy of stars. Biologists have to decide what is it that triggers the life-mechanism and where among the various astronomical sites it is likely to occur. Then the evolutionists have to say how a simple living system can develop over what time span into a complex intelligent species. Experts in artificial intelligence, communications and information transfer are needed to resolve the problem of contacting such species if they exist. And the social scientists need to assess the lifetime of an advanced civilisation.
In the sixties, Frank Drake, an astronomer from Cornell University, quantified these issues into what has come to be known as the Drake's equation. Simply put, it is a series of factors which, when multiplied together, would give us the total number, N, of extraterrestrial civilisations in our Milky Way, which have progressed beyond us on the technological ladder
The assumptions behind Drake's equation are fairly conservative. They suppose that such a civilisation would exist on a planet moving around a star from which it gets energy for survival. The planet would have to be at an optimum distance from the star, not too near or it will be too hot for survival, and not too far, otherwise, there will be hardly any energy available for sustaining life. The nature of life is also assumed to be not very radically different from the way we perceive it here. It is for the experts from the various disciplines to estimate these factors and thereby arrive at a realistic value of N. If calculations give N = 1 then we are the only advanced civilisation in our Galaxy enjoying a unique, lonely status. If N turns out to be large, say, a million or so, then we do lose our uniqueness but can aspire to a social intercourse in the Galaxy.
The current state of our knowledge is such that we cannot estimate this number. But when you start asking experts, their guesses are many. There are the pessimists who think that we are alone. These are largely the biologists who think that the appearance of life on Earth is a combination of such rare events that not even the astronomical numbers quoted in the beginning can compensate for it. The optimists, and among these are the astronomers who are impressed by the vastness of the Universe, think otherwise. For them, it is the belief that once we know how life originates we will find it not such a rare phenomenon. One argument the pessimists put forward is: If life is so common, why has no one visited us from an alien habitat? At this stage, a UFO-buff will say that we have visited that we are being- visited. There is, however no scientifically valid evidence for this assumption. Visiting even the nearby planetary systems is not so simple. With our present technology, let us suppose we can reach the Moon in 50 hours. How far is the Moon? Rather than quote a distance in kilometres, left me say that light would take approximately a second and a quarter to cover the distance. How long will it take for such a spaceship to come from the nearest star Proxima Centauri to the Earth? Light takes four and a quarter years to make the journey.
Well, I will spare you the arithmetic and give the answer; it will take about six lakh years! No doubt, aliens will have better technology and can reduce the travel time but it shows the enormity of the problem. Many optimists answer the above question in a different way. They invoke the so-called "zoo-hypothesis". We humans have zoos and sanctuaries in which wild animals enjoy a protected life. Animals or birds are remotely observed and their behavioural patterns studied, but there is no interference with their life. Likewise, we on the Earth are being remotely observed and studied by the extra terrestrials and on purpose they do not interfere with our life-system, which they want to study!
Leaving speculations aside how can we look for alien ETs? As seen earlier, with our present technology space explorations with humans or without them are out. The only practical way is the one proposed by two scientists Giuseppe Cocconi and Philip Morrison in 1959. The method involves using the radio wavelength of 21 centimetres for interstellar communications. The atom of hydrogen, the most common element in the Galaxy, naturally emits radiation of this wavelength. Thus it will be known to the ET as it is to per quantum to send out and is less likely to be absorbed en route, compared to other waves. Our atmosphere is also relatively less noisy at this wavelength.
Given these advantages, the best strategy is to erect huge antennas and try to intercept any communication that may be going on between two ET groups. If we can detect and decode intelligent messages, we will be able to locate the sender and the receiver. This wire-tapping on a cosmic scale may have doubtful morality, but the success of the experiment will justify the means. SETI enthusiasts are trying this out as well as the more hone method of sending our own messages to likely sites of ETs and hoping for a reply. But enormous patience needed in carrying out any conversation of this kind. For, if you say "hi" to your ET neighbour going around Proxima Centauri, you will have to wait for eight and a half years for a reply!

Practice Questions Level 2: Speed Building - Notes | Study Level-wise Practice Questions for CAT Preparation - CAT

Q. Drake's equation can best be described as

View Solution

Question for Practice Questions Level 2: Speed Building
Try yourself:Directions: The passage below is followed by a question based on its content. Answer the question on the basis of what is stated or implied in the passage.

Passage

Is our planet the sole habitat of life? In a universe that contains billions of galaxies, each galaxy containing the order of hundred billion stars like Sun, is there any possibility of the existence of extra-terrestrial intelligence? This latter question, of course, presumes that we humans on the Earth are intelligent. Our ancient mythologies, as indeed those of most ancient cultures, routinely talk of the extra-terrestrials, like the yakshas, kinnaras, and gandharvas. So, does modern science fiction with its high profile versions in Star Trek or Star Wars.
What are the ground (or, rather, space) realities for modern technology to carry out a Star Trek type interstellar exploration? Till the late fifties scientists were cautious about talking of SETI, that is the search for extra-terrestrial intelligence. But today it is a respectable discipline attracting support even from a conservative funding agency like NASA. What has been the key factor in bringing about this change of perception?
In the mid-fifties the astrophysicist Fred Hoyle proposed that gigantic clouds containing molecules might exist in space. But his ideas were considered so radical that he could not get his paper published. So he put it all as part of a science fiction novel called The Black Cloud that was a great success.
Within a few years, however, special dish antennas equipped to receive radiation of a few millimeters wavelength began to detect molecules in space. What is more, these molecules were organic as well as inorganic, with the organic ones being not only large and complex but also recognisable as sub-structures of the DNA molecule known to be basic to all living systems on the Earth. Today we know of gigantic molecular clouds filling the vast spaces between stars, and extending to several tens to hundreds of light years. So, circumstantial evidence suggests that if the basic building blocks of life are seen scattered in space, why not life itself?
Thus in the sixties there started inter-disciplinary discussions about extra-terrestrial life. The astronomers can tell what are the likely sites for life and how many of them are there in our Milky Way Galaxy of stars. Biologists have to decide what is it that triggers the life-mechanism and where among the various astronomical sites it is likely to occur. Then the evolutionists have to say how a simple living system can develop over what time span into a complex intelligent species. Experts in artificial intelligence, communications and information transfer are needed to resolve the problem of contacting such species if they exist. And the social scientists need to assess the lifetime of an advanced civilisation.
In the sixties, Frank Drake, an astronomer from Cornell University, quantified these issues into what has come to be known as the Drake's equation. Simply put, it is a series of factors which, when multiplied together, would give us the total number, N, of extraterrestrial civilisations in our Milky Way, which have progressed beyond us on the technological ladder
The assumptions behind Drake's equation are fairly conservative. They suppose that such a civilisation would exist on a planet moving around a star from which it gets energy for survival. The planet would have to be at an optimum distance from the star, not too near or it will be too hot for survival, and not too far, otherwise, there will be hardly any energy available for sustaining life. The nature of life is also assumed to be not very radically different from the way we perceive it here. It is for the experts from the various disciplines to estimate these factors and thereby arrive at a realistic value of N. If calculations give N = 1 then we are the only advanced civilisation in our Galaxy enjoying a unique, lonely status. If N turns out to be large, say, a million or so, then we do lose our uniqueness but can aspire to a social intercourse in the Galaxy.
The current state of our knowledge is such that we cannot estimate this number. But when you start asking experts, their guesses are many. There are the pessimists who think that we are alone. These are largely the biologists who think that the appearance of life on Earth is a combination of such rare events that not even the astronomical numbers quoted in the beginning can compensate for it. The optimists, and among these are the astronomers who are impressed by the vastness of the Universe, think otherwise. For them, it is the belief that once we know how life originates we will find it not such a rare phenomenon. One argument the pessimists put forward is: If life is so common, why has no one visited us from an alien habitat? At this stage, a UFO-buff will say that we have visited that we are being- visited. There is, however no scientifically valid evidence for this assumption. Visiting even the nearby planetary systems is not so simple. With our present technology, let us suppose we can reach the Moon in 50 hours. How far is the Moon? Rather than quote a distance in kilometres, left me say that light would take approximately a second and a quarter to cover the distance. How long will it take for such a spaceship to come from the nearest star Proxima Centauri to the Earth? Light takes four and a quarter years to make the journey.
Well, I will spare you the arithmetic and give the answer; it will take about six lakh years! No doubt, aliens will have better technology and can reduce the travel time but it shows the enormity of the problem. Many optimists answer the above question in a different way. They invoke the so-called "zoo-hypothesis". We humans have zoos and sanctuaries in which wild animals enjoy a protected life. Animals or birds are remotely observed and their behavioural patterns studied, but there is no interference with their life. Likewise, we on the Earth are being remotely observed and studied by the extra terrestrials and on purpose they do not interfere with our life-system, which they want to study!
Leaving speculations aside how can we look for alien ETs? As seen earlier, with our present technology space explorations with humans or without them are out. The only practical way is the one proposed by two scientists Giuseppe Cocconi and Philip Morrison in 1959. The method involves using the radio wavelength of 21 centimetres for interstellar communications. The atom of hydrogen, the most common element in the Galaxy, naturally emits radiation of this wavelength. Thus it will be known to the ET as it is to per quantum to send out and is less likely to be absorbed en route, compared to other waves. Our atmosphere is also relatively less noisy at this wavelength.
Given these advantages, the best strategy is to erect huge antennas and try to intercept any communication that may be going on between two ET groups. If we can detect and decode intelligent messages, we will be able to locate the sender and the receiver. This wire-tapping on a cosmic scale may have doubtful morality, but the success of the experiment will justify the means. SETI enthusiasts are trying this out as well as the more hone method of sending our own messages to likely sites of ETs and hoping for a reply. But enormous patience needed in carrying out any conversation of this kind. For, if you say "hi" to your ET neighbour going around Proxima Centauri, you will have to wait for eight and a half years for a reply!

Practice Questions Level 2: Speed Building - Notes | Study Level-wise Practice Questions for CAT Preparation - CAT

Q. The success of The Black Cloud suggests that

View Solution

Question for Practice Questions Level 2: Speed Building
Try yourself:Directions: The passage below is followed by a question based on its content. Answer the question on the basis of what is stated or implied in the passage.

Passage

Is our planet the sole habitat of life? In a universe that contains billions of galaxies, each galaxy containing the order of hundred billion stars like Sun, is there any possibility of the existence of extra-terrestrial intelligence? This latter question, of course, presumes that we humans on the Earth are intelligent. Our ancient mythologies, as indeed those of most ancient cultures, routinely talk of the extra-terrestrials, like the yakshas, kinnaras, and gandharvas. So, does modern science fiction with its high profile versions in Star Trek or Star Wars.
What are the ground (or, rather, space) realities for modern technology to carry out a Star Trek type interstellar exploration? Till the late fifties scientists were cautious about talking of SETI, that is the search for extra-terrestrial intelligence. But today it is a respectable discipline attracting support even from a conservative funding agency like NASA. What has been the key factor in bringing about this change of perception?
In the mid-fifties the astrophysicist Fred Hoyle proposed that gigantic clouds containing molecules might exist in space. But his ideas were considered so radical that he could not get his paper published. So he put it all as part of a science fiction novel called The Black Cloud that was a great success.
Within a few years, however, special dish antennas equipped to receive radiation of a few millimeters wavelength began to detect molecules in space. What is more, these molecules were organic as well as inorganic, with the organic ones being not only large and complex but also recognisable as sub-structures of the DNA molecule known to be basic to all living systems on the Earth. Today we know of gigantic molecular clouds filling the vast spaces between stars, and extending to several tens to hundreds of light years. So, circumstantial evidence suggests that if the basic building blocks of life are seen scattered in space, why not life itself?
Thus in the sixties there started inter-disciplinary discussions about extra-terrestrial life. The astronomers can tell what are the likely sites for life and how many of them are there in our Milky Way Galaxy of stars. Biologists have to decide what is it that triggers the life-mechanism and where among the various astronomical sites it is likely to occur. Then the evolutionists have to say how a simple living system can develop over what time span into a complex intelligent species. Experts in artificial intelligence, communications and information transfer are needed to resolve the problem of contacting such species if they exist. And the social scientists need to assess the lifetime of an advanced civilisation.
In the sixties, Frank Drake, an astronomer from Cornell University, quantified these issues into what has come to be known as the Drake's equation. Simply put, it is a series of factors which, when multiplied together, would give us the total number, N, of extraterrestrial civilisations in our Milky Way, which have progressed beyond us on the technological ladder
The assumptions behind Drake's equation are fairly conservative. They suppose that such a civilisation would exist on a planet moving around a star from which it gets energy for survival. The planet would have to be at an optimum distance from the star, not too near or it will be too hot for survival, and not too far, otherwise, there will be hardly any energy available for sustaining life. The nature of life is also assumed to be not very radically different from the way we perceive it here. It is for the experts from the various disciplines to estimate these factors and thereby arrive at a realistic value of N. If calculations give N = 1 then we are the only advanced civilisation in our Galaxy enjoying a unique, lonely status. If N turns out to be large, say, a million or so, then we do lose our uniqueness but can aspire to a social intercourse in the Galaxy.
The current state of our knowledge is such that we cannot estimate this number. But when you start asking experts, their guesses are many. There are the pessimists who think that we are alone. These are largely the biologists who think that the appearance of life on Earth is a combination of such rare events that not even the astronomical numbers quoted in the beginning can compensate for it. The optimists, and among these are the astronomers who are impressed by the vastness of the Universe, think otherwise. For them, it is the belief that once we know how life originates we will find it not such a rare phenomenon. One argument the pessimists put forward is: If life is so common, why has no one visited us from an alien habitat? At this stage, a UFO-buff will say that we have visited that we are being- visited. There is, however no scientifically valid evidence for this assumption. Visiting even the nearby planetary systems is not so simple. With our present technology, let us suppose we can reach the Moon in 50 hours. How far is the Moon? Rather than quote a distance in kilometres, left me say that light would take approximately a second and a quarter to cover the distance. How long will it take for such a spaceship to come from the nearest star Proxima Centauri to the Earth? Light takes four and a quarter years to make the journey.
Well, I will spare you the arithmetic and give the answer; it will take about six lakh years! No doubt, aliens will have better technology and can reduce the travel time but it shows the enormity of the problem. Many optimists answer the above question in a different way. They invoke the so-called "zoo-hypothesis". We humans have zoos and sanctuaries in which wild animals enjoy a protected life. Animals or birds are remotely observed and their behavioural patterns studied, but there is no interference with their life. Likewise, we on the Earth are being remotely observed and studied by the extra terrestrials and on purpose they do not interfere with our life-system, which they want to study!
Leaving speculations aside how can we look for alien ETs? As seen earlier, with our present technology space explorations with humans or without them are out. The only practical way is the one proposed by two scientists Giuseppe Cocconi and Philip Morrison in 1959. The method involves using the radio wavelength of 21 centimetres for interstellar communications. The atom of hydrogen, the most common element in the Galaxy, naturally emits radiation of this wavelength. Thus it will be known to the ET as it is to per quantum to send out and is less likely to be absorbed en route, compared to other waves. Our atmosphere is also relatively less noisy at this wavelength.
Given these advantages, the best strategy is to erect huge antennas and try to intercept any communication that may be going on between two ET groups. If we can detect and decode intelligent messages, we will be able to locate the sender and the receiver. This wire-tapping on a cosmic scale may have doubtful morality, but the success of the experiment will justify the means. SETI enthusiasts are trying this out as well as the more hone method of sending our own messages to likely sites of ETs and hoping for a reply. But enormous patience needed in carrying out any conversation of this kind. For, if you say "hi" to your ET neighbour going around Proxima Centauri, you will have to wait for eight and a half years for a reply!

Practice Questions Level 2: Speed Building - Notes | Study Level-wise Practice Questions for CAT Preparation - CAT

Q. As per the passage, serious scientific discussions regarding the possibility of ET life began

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Question for Practice Questions Level 2: Speed Building
Try yourself:Directions: The passage below is followed by a question based on its content. Answer the question on the basis of what is stated or implied in the passage.

Passage

When you first arrive in a new culture, there is a period of confusion that comes from the new situation and from a lack of information. It leaves you quite dependent and in need of help in the form of information and advice. The second stage begins as you start to interact with the new culture. It is called the stage of small victories. Each new encounter with the culture is fraught with peril. It is preceded by anxiety and information collection and rehearsal.  Then the event occurs and you return home either triumphant or defeated.  When successful, the feelings really are very much as though a major victory has been won.  A heightened roller coaster effect is particularly characteristic of this stage. The support needed is emotional support from people who appreciate what you are going through and who can cheer you onward. It often happens that once some of the fundamentals of life are mastered, there is time to explore and discover the new culture. This is the honeymoon stage of wonder and infatuation. In it there is heightened appreciation for the new, the different, the aesthetic. Depending on the degree of cultural immersion and exploration, it may continue for a considerable period of time. During this time there is no interest in attending to the less attractive downsides of the culture.
After a while, a self-correction takes place. No honeymoon can last forever. Irritation and anger begin to be experienced. Why in the world would anyone do it that way? Can't these people get their act together? Now the deficits seem glaringly apparent. For some people, they overwhelm the positive characteristics and become predominant.
Finally, if you are lucky enough to chart a course through these stages and not get stuck (and people do get stuck in these stages), there is a rebalance of reality. There is the capacity to understand and enjoy the new culture without ignoring those features that are less desirable.
This cultural entry and engagement process is both cognitive and affective. New information is acquired and remembered: old schema and perceptions are revised and qualified. An active learning process occurs. At the same time anxiety arises in reaction to uncertainties and the challenges of the learning processes. It must be managed, as must the extremes of feeling that occur in this labile period. Thus, I am describing a learning process that results in valuing and affirming the best in the culture while at the same time seeing it in its completeness, seeing it whole. The capacity to affirm the whole - including those aspects that are less desirable yet are part of the whole - is critically important.
An appreciative process, "appreciative inquiry" is proposed as a way of helping members of different cultures recognise and value their differences and create a new culture where different values are understood and honoured. Executives - those who must lead this culture, change projects - need to understand that equal employment opportunity, affirmative action and sexual harassment policies, as viewed and implemented in organizations, are problem-oriented change strategies. They focus on correcting what is wrong rather than creating a valued future. Executives themselves will need to inquire appreciatively into cultures that too are known to them before they are equipped to lead cultural change in their own organizations.

Practice Questions Level 2: Speed Building - Notes | Study Level-wise Practice Questions for CAT Preparation - CAT

Q. Opening a bank account in a new culture is an example of which stage?

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Question for Practice Questions Level 2: Speed Building
Try yourself:Directions: The passage below is followed by a question based on its content. Answer the question on the basis of what is stated or implied in the passage.

Passage

Outside, the rain continued to run down the screened windows of Mrs. Sennett's little Cape Cod cottage. The long weeds and grass that composed the front yard dripped against the blurred background of the bay, where the water was almost the color of the grass. Mrs. Sennett's five charges were vigorously playing house in the dining room. (In the wintertime, Mrs. Sennett was housekeeper for a Mr. Curley, in Boston, and during the summers the Curley children boarded with her on the Cape.)
My expression must have changed. "Are those children making too much noise?" Mrs. Sennett demanded, a sort of wave going over her that might mark the beginning of her getting up out of her chair. I shook my head no, and gave her a little push on the shoulder to keep her seated. Mrs. Sennett was almost stone-deaf and had been for a long time, but she could read lips. You could talk to her without making any sound yourself, if you wanted to, and she more than kept up her side of the conversation in a loud, rusty voice that dropped weirdly every now and then into a whisper. She adored talking.
To look at Mrs. Sennett made me think of eighteenth-century England and its literary figures. Her hair must have been sadly thin, because she always wore, indoors and out, either a hat or a sort of turban, and sometimes she wore both. The rims of her eyes were dark; she looked very ill.
Mrs. Sennett and I continued talking. She said she really didn't think she'd stay with the children another winter. Their father wanted her to, but it was too much for her. She wanted to stay right here in the cottage. The afternoon was getting along, and I finally left because I knew that at four o'clock Mrs. Sennett's "sit down" was over and she started to get supper. At six o'clock, from my nearby cottage, I saw Theresa coming through the rain with a shawl over her head. She was bringing me a six-inch-square piece of spice cake, still hot from the oven and kept warm between two soup plates.
A few days later I learned from the twins, who brought over gifts of firewood and blackberries, that their father was coming the next morning, bringing their aunt and her husband and their cousin. Mrs. Sennett had promised to take them all on a picnic at the pond some pleasant day. On the fourth day of their visit, Xavier arrived with a note. It was from Mrs. Sennett, written in blue ink, in a large, serene, ornamented hand, on linen-finish paper:
Tomorrow is the last day Mr. Curley has and the Children all wanted the Picnic so much. The Men can walk to the Pond but it is too far for the Children. I see your Friend has a car and I hate to ask this but could you possibly drive us to the Pond tomorrow morning?
Very sincerely yours,
Carmen Sennett
After the picnic, Mrs. Sennett's presents to me were numberless. It was almost time for the children to go back to school in South Boston. Mrs. Sennett insisted that she was not going; their father was coming down again to get them and she was just going to stay. He would have to get another housekeeper. She said this over and over to me, loudly, and her turbans and kerchiefs grew more and more distrait.
One evening, Mary came to call on me and we sat on an old table in the back yard to watch the sunset. "Papa came today," she said, "and we've got to go back day after tomorrow."
"Is Mrs. Sennett going to stay here?"
"She said at supper she was. She said this time she really was, because she'd said that last year and came back, but now she means it." I said, "Oh dear," scarcely knowing which side I was on.
"It was awful at supper. I cried and cried."
"Did Theresa cry?"
"Oh, we all cried. Papa cried, too. We always do."
"But don't you think Mrs. Sennett needs a rest?"
"Yes, but I think she'll come, though. Papa told her he'd cry every single night at supper if she didn't, and then we all did."The next day I heard that Mrs. Sennett was going back with them just to "help settle." She came over the following morning to say goodbye, supported by all five children. She was wearing her traveling hat of black satin and black straw, with sequins. High and somber, above her ravaged face, it had quite a Spanish-grandee air.
"This isn't really goodbye, "she said." I'll be back as soon as I get these bad, noisy children off my
hands". But the children hung on to her skirt and tugged at her sleeves, shaking their heads frantically, silently saying, "No! No! No!" to her with their puckered-up mouths.

Practice Questions Level 2: Speed Building - Notes | Study Level-wise Practice Questions for CAT Preparation - CAT

Q. What is the main insight suggested by the conversation given in the passage?

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Question for Practice Questions Level 2: Speed Building
Try yourself:Directions: The passage below is followed by a question based on its content. Answer the question on the basis of what is stated or implied in the passage.

Passage

Outside, the rain continued to run down the screened windows of Mrs. Sennett's little Cape Cod cottage. The long weeds and grass that composed the front yard dripped against the blurred background of the bay, where the water was almost the color of the grass. Mrs. Sennett's five charges were vigorously playing house in the dining room. (In the wintertime, Mrs. Sennett was housekeeper for a Mr. Curley, in Boston, and during the summers the Curley children boarded with her on the Cape.)
My expression must have changed. "Are those children making too much noise?" Mrs. Sennett demanded, a sort of wave going over her that might mark the beginning of her getting up out of her chair. I shook my head no, and gave her a little push on the shoulder to keep her seated. Mrs. Sennett was almost stone-deaf and had been for a long time, but she could read lips. You could talk to her without making any sound yourself, if you wanted to, and she more than kept up her side of the conversation in a loud, rusty voice that dropped weirdly every now and then into a whisper. She adored talking.
To look at Mrs. Sennett made me think of eighteenth-century England and its literary figures. Her hair must have been sadly thin, because she always wore, indoors and out, either a hat or a sort of turban, and sometimes she wore both. The rims of her eyes were dark; she looked very ill.
Mrs. Sennett and I continued talking. She said she really didn't think she'd stay with the children another winter. Their father wanted her to, but it was too much for her. She wanted to stay right here in the cottage. The afternoon was getting along, and I finally left because I knew that at four o'clock Mrs. Sennett's "sit down" was over and she started to get supper. At six o'clock, from my nearby cottage, I saw Theresa coming through the rain with a shawl over her head. She was bringing me a six-inch-square piece of spice cake, still hot from the oven and kept warm between two soup plates.
A few days later I learned from the twins, who brought over gifts of firewood and blackberries, that their father was coming the next morning, bringing their aunt and her husband and their cousin. Mrs. Sennett had promised to take them all on a picnic at the pond some pleasant day. On the fourth day of their visit, Xavier arrived with a note. It was from Mrs. Sennett, written in blue ink, in a large, serene, ornamented hand, on linen-finish paper:
Tomorrow is the last day Mr. Curley has and the Children all wanted the Picnic so much. The Men can walk to the Pond but it is too far for the Children. I see your Friend has a car and I hate to ask this but could you possibly drive us to the Pond tomorrow morning?
Very sincerely yours,
Carmen Sennett
After the picnic, Mrs. Sennett's presents to me were numberless. It was almost time for the children to go back to school in South Boston. Mrs. Sennett insisted that she was not going; their father was coming down again to get them and she was just going to stay. He would have to get another housekeeper. She said this over and over to me, loudly, and her turbans and kerchiefs grew more and more distrait.
One evening, Mary came to call on me and we sat on an old table in the back yard to watch the sunset. "Papa came today," she said, "and we've got to go back day after tomorrow."
"Is Mrs. Sennett going to stay here?"
"She said at supper she was. She said this time she really was, because she'd said that last year and came back, but now she means it." I said, "Oh dear," scarcely knowing which side I was on.
"It was awful at supper. I cried and cried."
"Did Theresa cry?"
"Oh, we all cried. Papa cried, too. We always do."
"But don't you think Mrs. Sennett needs a rest?"
"Yes, but I think she'll come, though. Papa told her he'd cry every single night at supper if she didn't, and then we all did."The next day I heard that Mrs. Sennett was going back with them just to "help settle." She came over the following morning to say goodbye, supported by all five children. She was wearing her traveling hat of black satin and black straw, with sequins. High and somber, above her ravaged face, it had quite a Spanish-grandee air.
"This isn't really goodbye, "she said." I'll be back as soon as I get these bad, noisy children off my
hands". But the children hung on to her skirt and tugged at her sleeves, shaking their heads frantically, silently saying, "No! No! No!" to her with their puckered-up mouths.

Practice Questions Level 2: Speed Building - Notes | Study Level-wise Practice Questions for CAT Preparation - CAT

Q. It is reasonable to infer from the passage that Mrs. Sennett asked Are those children making too much noise? because Mrs. Sennett

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Question for Practice Questions Level 2: Speed Building
Try yourself:Directions: The passage below is followed by a question based on its content. Answer the question on the basis of what is stated or implied in the passage.

Passage

As a case study in the making of foreign policy, the Vietnam War will fascinate historians and social scientists for many decades to come. One question that will certainly be asked: How did men of superior ability, sound training, and high ideals - American policy-makers of the 1960s - create such costly and divisive policy?
In the first place, the American government was sorely lacking in real Vietnam or Indo-China expertise. In addition, the shadow of the 'œloss of China' distorted reporting. Career officers in the Department, and especially those in the field, had not forgotten the fate of their World War II colleagues who wrote in frankness from China and were later pilloried by Senate committees for critical comments on the Chinese Nationalists. Candid reporting on the strengths of the Viet Cong and the weaknesses of the Diem government was inhibited by the memory. A recurrent and increasingly important factor in the decision making process was the banishment of real expertise. Here the underlying cause was the 'œclosed politics' of policy making as issues become hot: the more sensitive the issue, and the higher it rises in the bureaucracy, the more completely the experts are excluded while the harassed senior generalists take over (that is, the Secretaries, Undersecretaries, and Presidential Assistants). The frantic skimming of briefing papers in the back seats of limousines is no substitute for the presence of specialists; furthermore, in times of crisis such papers are deemed 'œtoo sensitive' even for review by the specialists. Another underlying cause of this banishment, as Vietnam became more critical, was the replacement of the experts, who were generally and increasingly pessimistic, by men described as 'œcan' do guys, - loyal and energetic fixers unsorted by expertise.
A rela ted point - and crucial to government at all times was the 'œeffectiveness' trap, the trap that keeps men from speaking out, as clearly or often as they might, within the government. And it is the trap that keeps men from resigning in protest and airing their dissent outside the government. The inclination to remain silent or to acquiesce in the presence of the great men to live to fight another day, to give on this issue so that you can be 'œeffective' on later issues is overwhelming. As for the disinclination to resign in protest: it seems truer of a government in which ministers have no parliamentary backbench to which to retreat. In the absence of such a refuge, it is easy to rationalize the decision to stay aboard. By doing so, one may be able to prevent a few bad things from happening and perhaps even make a few good things happen. To exist is to lose even those marginal chances for 'œeffectiveness.'
Through a variety of procedures, both institutional and personal, doubt, dissent, and expertise were effectively neutralized in the making of policy. But what can be said of the men 'œin charge'? It is patently absurd to suggest that they produced such tragedy by intention and calculation. But it is neither absurd nor difficult to discern certain forces at work that caused decent and honorable men to do great harm.
Here comes the paramount role of executive fatigue. The physical and emotional toll of executive responsibility in State, the Pentagon, the White House, and other executive agencies is enormous; that toll is of course compounded by extended service. Many of today's Vietnam policy-makers have been on the job from seven years. Complaints may be few, and physical health may remain unimpaired, though emotional health is far harder to gauge. But what is most seriously eroded in the deadening process of fatigue is freshness of thought, imagination, a sense of possibility, a sense of priorities and perspective. Such men make bad policy and then compound it.
To fatigue must be added the factor of internal confusion. Even among the 'œarchitects' of our Vietnam commitment, there has been persistent confusion as to what type of war we were fighting and, as a direct consequence, confusion as to how to end that war. Was it, for instance, a civil war, in which case counterinsurgency might suffice? Or was it a war of international aggression? Who was the aggressor and the 'œreal enemy'? The Viet Cong? Hanoi? Peking? Moscow? Differing enemies dictated differing strategies and tactics. And confused throughout, in like fashion, was the question of American objectives. Given such confusion as to the who's and whys of our Vietnam commitment, it is not surprising, that policy-makers find it so difficult to agree on how to end the war.
A further influence on policy-makers was the factor of bureaucratic detachment, the professional callousness of the surgeon. In Washington the semantics of the military muted the reality of war for the civilian policy makers. In quiet, air-conditioned, thick-carpeted rooms, such terms as 'œsystematic pressure,' 'œarmed reconnaissance,' 'œtargets of opportunity,' and even 'œbody count' seemed to breed a sort of games-theory detachment. There is an unprovable factor that relates to bureaucratic detachment: the ingredient of cryptoracism. Bureaucratic detachment may well be compounded by a traditional Western sense that there are so many Asian, after all; that Asians have fatalism about life and a disregard for its loss; that they are cruel and barbaric to their own people; and that they are very different from us (and all look alike?).
It is impossible to write of Vietnam decision-making without writing about language. Throughout the conflict, words have been of paramount importance especially the impact of rhetorical escalation and the problem of oversell. In an important sense, Vietnam has become of crucial significance to us because we have said that it is of crucial significance. The key here is domestic politics: the need to sell the American people, press, and Congress on support for an unpopular and costly war in which the objectives themselves have been in flux. To sell means to persuade and to persuade means rhetoric. As the difficulties and costs have mounted, so has the definition of the stakes. And once you have said that the American Experiment itself stands or falls on the Vietnam outcome, you have thereby created a national stake far beyond any earlier stakes. Crucial throughout the process of Vietnam decision-making was a conviction among many policy-makers: that Vietnam posed a fundamental test of America's national will. Implicit in such a view was a curious assumption that Asians lacked will, or at least that in a contest between Asian and Anglo-Saxon wills, the non-Asians must prevail.
Finally, no discussion of the factors and forces at work on Vietnam policy makers can ignore the central fact of human ego investment. Men who have participated in a decision develop a stake in that decision. As they participate in further, related decisions, their stake increases. It might have been possible to dissuade a man of strong self-confidence at an early stage of the ladder of decision; but it is infinitely harder at later stages since a change of mind there usually involves implicit or explicit repudiation of a chain of previous decisions. To put it bluntly: at the heart of the Vietnam calamity is a group of able, dedicated men who have been regularly and repeatedly wrong and whose standing with their contemporaries, and more important, with history, depends, as they see it, on being proven right. These are not men who can be asked to extricate themselves from error.

Practice Questions Level 2: Speed Building - Notes | Study Level-wise Practice Questions for CAT Preparation - CAT

Q. Which of the following can`t be said about executives experiencing "Executive Fatigue"?

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