Practice Questions: Reading Comprehension Verbal Notes | EduRev

UPSC CSAT: Verbal Aptitude

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Paragraph 1

Once surrounded and protected by vast wilderness, many of the national parks are adversely affected by activities outside their boundaries. The National Park Organic Act established the national park system and empowered the Secretary of the Interior to manage activities within the parks. Conditions outside park boundaries are not subject to regulation by the Park Service unless they involve the direct use of park resources. Several approaches to protecting the national parks from external degradation have been proposed, such as one focusing on enacting federal legislation granting the National Park Service broader powers over lands adjacent to the national parks. Legislation addressing external threats to the national parks twice passed the House of Representatives but died without action in the Senate. Also brought to the table as a possible remedy is giving the states bordering the parks a significant and meaningful role in developing federal park management policy. Because the livelihood of many citizens is linked to the management of national parks, local politicians often encourage state involvement in federal planning. But, state legislatures have not always addressed the fundamental policy issues of whether states should protect park wildlife. Timber harvesting, ranching and energy exploration compete with wildlife within the local ecosystem. Priorities among different land uses are not generally established by current legislation. Additionally, often no mechanism exists to coordinate planning by the state environmental regulatory agencies. These factors limit the impact of legislation aimed at protecting park wildlife and the larger park ecosystem. Even if these deficiencies can be overcome, state participation must be consistent with existing federal legislation. States lack jurisdiction within national parks themselves, and therefore state solutions cannot reach activities inside the parks, thus limiting state action to the land adjacent to the national parks. Under the supremacy clause, federal laws and regulations supersede state action if state law conflicts with federal legislation, if Congress precludes local regulation, or if federal regulation is so pervasive that no room remains for state control. Assuming that federal regulations leave open the possibility of state control, state participation in policy-making must be harmonized with existing federal legislation. The residents of states bordering national parks are affected by park management policies. They, in turn, affect the success of those policies. This interrelationship must be considered in responding to the external threats problem. Local participation is necessary for deciding how to protect park wildlife. Local interests should not, however, dictate national policy, nor should they be used as a pretext to ignore the threats to park regions

Example 1: What is the main purpose of the author in writing the passage? 

(a) Argue that rampant timber harvesting is degrading national parks 

(b) Describe a plan of action to resolve an issue 

(c) Discuss different approaches to dealing with a problem 

(d) Suggest that local participation is necessary to solve the problem described 

(e) To assert that national parks are adversely affected by activities outside their boundaries 

Ans: c

Solution: 

If you have mapped the passage correctly, you will notice that most of the passage discusses the different approaches that can be taken to solve the problem of degradation of national parks. 'c' matches best with this.
(a): Though this is mentioned in the passage, it is too specific a choice for the main purpose question. The passage does much more than just this.
(b): There is no one particular plan of action‘ that is mentioned in the passage but several different ones
(c): The Correct Answer
(d): Again mentioned in the passage but too specific to be the answer
(e): Since the passage starts with these lines, it might lead some students to think that this is the main idea of the passage. However, on reading further through the passage, it becomes clear that the scope of the passage is broader as it also discusses approaches to solving this problem. 

 

Example 2: In the context of the passage, the phrase external degradation refers to which of the following: 

(a) Threats to national parks arising from the House of Representative's willingness to address environmental issues. 

(b) Threats to national parks arising from state government environmental policies. 

(c) Threats to national parks arising from local politicians‘ calls for greater state involvement in national park planning. 

(d) Threats to national parks arising from the National Park Organic Act. 

(e) Threats to national parks arising from the lack of local support.

Ans: b

Solution: Go back to the lines before and after the phrase to judge its meaning in context. The phrase refers back to the damage mentioned in para 1 and is expanded on in the lines below. The author believes that the damage outside park boundaries is supported by state governments, as is argued in paras 3 and 4. (b) summarizes the nature of the ―external degradation.
(a): Out of Scope. Not only does (a) not touch on the meaning of the phrase, but it makes no sense: if the House is willing to address environmental issues, why would parks be threatened?
(b): The Correct Answer
(c): Out of Scope. The interest of local politicians in park management is mentioned in para 3. However, there‘s no sense from this that the politicians are threatening the parks; rather, they would be more interested in preserving them since the local economies depend on them.
(d): Out of Scope. While the author thinks that the Act leaves some gaps that need to be filled, there‘s no suggestion that it‘s directly threatening the parks.
(e): Local support comes in the last paragraph and is clearly not what the author implies by external degradation‘.

Question 1:The passage provides support for which of the following assertions? 

Question 2:According to the passage, which of the following developments is most likely if environmental cooperation between the federal government and state governments does not improve? 

Paragraph 2

Every four years, voters across the United States elect a president. Various factors such as choices in campaign locations, the candidates‘ adherence to polling data and use of the Internet by candidates to reach potential voters all influence the preference of those voters, but perhaps none of these is so persuasive as a candidate‘s performance on nationally televised debates just prior to the election. Newspapers and television news programs generally attempt to provide thorough coverage of the debates, further augmenting the effect of good or bad candidate performances. In this way, the news media fulfil the traditional role of educating the public and enabling voters to make better-informed decisions about elected officials. However, the same technology which brings live debates into millions of living rooms across the nation also limits the availability of debate coverage by use of ―pool coverage, the sharing of news coverage with other news organizations. The alternative is unilateral coverage, in which each news organization covers the event independently. Most events subject to pool coverage are so planned by the sponsors because of space limitations or safety concerns for prominent people attending or participating in the events. Since television media require more people and equipment than their print counterparts, television usually is affected more frequently. The pool system, when employed to cover debates between presidential nominees of the major political parties, violates the first amendment. The Constitution‘s mandate for a free press allows restrictions on press coverage only when there is a compelling governmental interest at stake. Presidential debates involve no interest sufficient to justify the admission of one news organization to the exclusion of all others. Pool coverage of a presidential debate means that individual broadcasters are unable to cover the event in their own way and, consequently, to convey a unique account to their viewers; they must purchase and use coverage provided by the pool representative or have no coverage at all. The networks participate reluctantly. Pool coverage denies an opportunity to gain maximum insight from the debate. Indeed, the first amendment freedoms afforded the press exist largely to ensure that the public benefits from the free flow of information. The Supreme Court has noted that ―it is the right of viewers and listeners, not the right of the broadcasters, which is paramount. To overcome the problem of restricted access, television news media could be divided into four categories: domestic networks, foreign news services, domestic news services, and independent broadcasters. Some broadcasters would be denied access, but the critical point is that in the end, the viewers will benefit, for they will have seen different debate coverage and, ultimately, will be better informed.

Question 3:What is the author of the passage primarily concerned with?
 
Question 4:Which of the following claims does the passage provide some support for? 
 
Question 5:The author of this passage would probably give his greatest support to which of the following actions?
 
Question 6:What role does the last paragraph play in the passage? 
 

Paragraph 3

No one is eager to touch off the kind of hysteria that preceded the government‘s decision to move against Alar, the growth regulator once used by apple growers. When celebrities like Meryl Streep spoke out against Alar and the press fanned public fears, some schools and parents rushed to pluck apples out of the mouths of children. Yet all this happened before scientists had reached any consensus about Alar‘s dangers. Rhetoric about dioxin may push the same kind of emotional buttons. The chemical becomes relatively concentrated in fat-rich foods— including human breast milk. Scientists estimate that a substantial fraction of an individual‘s lifetime burden of dioxin—as much as 12%— is accumulated during the first year of life. Nonetheless, the benefits of breastfeeding infants, the EPA and most everyone else would agree, far outweigh the hazards. Now environmentalists say dioxin and scores of other chemicals pose a threat to human fertility—as scary an issue as any policymakers have faced. But in the absence of conclusive evidence, what are policymakers to do? What measure can they take to handle a problem whose magnitude is unknown? Predictably, attempts to whipsaw public opinion have already begun. Corporate lobbyists urge that action be put on hold until science resolves the unanswered questions. Environmentalists argue that evidence for harm is too strong to permit delay. This issue is especially tough because the chemicals under scrutiny are found almost everywhere. Since many of them contain chlorine or are by-products of processes involving chlorine compounds, the environmental group Greenpeace has demanded a ban on all industrial uses of chlorine. The proposal seems appealingly simple, but it would be economically wrenching for companies and consumers alike. With the escalating rhetoric, many professionals in the risk-assessment business are worried that once again emotion rather than common sense will drive the political process. ―There is no free lunch, observes Tammy Tengs, a public-health specialist at Duke University. ―When someone spends money in one place, that money is not available to spend on other things. She and her colleagues have calculated that tuberculosis treatment can extend a person‘s life by a year for less than $10,000—surely a reasonable price tag. By contrast, extending life by a year through asbestos removal costs nearly $2 million, since relatively few people would die if the asbestos were left in place. That kind of benefit-risk analysis all too rarely informs the decisions made by government regulators. As the EPA raises anew the dangers of dioxin, the agency needs to communicate its findings to the public in a calm and clear fashion. John Graham, director of the Harvard Centre for Risk Analysis, suggests that people should strive to keep the perils posed by dioxin in perspective and remember other threats that are more easily averted. ―Phantom risks and real risks compete not only for our resources but also for our attention, Graham observes. ―It‘s a shame when a mother worries about toxic chemicals, and yet her kids are running around unvaccinated and without bicycle helmets.

Question 7:If it appeared in an article that the author read, he would most strongly agree with which of the following statements? 

Question 8:According to the passage, it is dangerous to react drastically to recently posed health hazards for all of the following reasons EXCEPT: 

Question 9: In the context of the passage, the author uses the term ―whipsaw public opinion   (line 19) to refer to: 

Question 10:The primary aim of the passage is

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