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Depending on whom you believe, the average American will, over a lifetime, wait in lines for two years (says national public radio) or five years ( according to some customer-loyalty experts).

The crucial word is average, as wealthy Americans routinely avoid lines altogether. Once the most democratic of institutions, lines are rapidly becoming the exclusive province of suckers (people who still believe in and practice waiting in lines). Poor suckers, mostly.

Airports resemble France before the Revolution: first-class passengers enjoy "elite" security lines and priority boarding, and disembark before the unwashed in coach, held at bay by a flight attendant, are allowed to foul the Jet-way.

At amusement parks, too, you can now buy your way out of line. This summer I haplessly watched kids use a $52 Gold Flash Pass to jump the lines at Six Flags New England, and similar systems are in use in most major American theme parks, from Universal Orlando to Walt Disney World, where the haves get to watch the have-mores breeze past on their way to their seats.

Flash Pass teaches children a valuable lesson in real-world economics; that the rich are more important than you, especially when it comes to waiting. An NBA player once said to me, with a bemused chuckle of disbelief, that when playing in Canada—get this—"We have to wait in the same customs line as everybody else. "

Almost every line can be breached for a price. In several U. S. cities this summer, early arrivers among the early adopters waiting to buy iPhones offered to sell their spots in the lines. On Craigslist, prospective iPhone purchasers offered to pay "waiters" or "placeholders" to wait in line for them outside Apple stores.

Inevitably, some semi-populist politicians have seen the value of sort-of waiting in lines with the ordinary people. This summer Philadelphia mayor John Street waited outside an AT&T store from 3: 30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. before a stand in from his office literally stood in for the mayor while he conducted official business. And billionaire New York mayor Michael Bloomberg often waits for the subway with his fellow citizens, though he's first driven by motorcade past the stop nearest his house to a station 22 blocks away, where the wait, or at least the ride, is shorter.

As early as elementary school, we're told that jumping the line is an unethical act, which is why so many U.S. lawmakers have framed the immigration debate as a kind of fundamental sin of the school lunch line, Alabama Senator Richard Shelby, to cite just one legislator, said amnesty would allow illegal immigrants "to cut in line ahead of millions of people. "

Nothing annoys a national lawmaker more than a person who will not wait in line, unless that line is in front of an elevator at the U. S. Capitol, where Senators and Representatives use private elevators, lest they have to queue with their constituents.

But compromising the integrity of the line is not just antidemocratic, it's out-of-date. There was something about the orderly boarding of Noah's Ark, two by two, that seemed to restore not just civilization but civility during the Great Flood.

How civil was your last flight? Southwest Airlines has first-come, first-served festival seating. But for $ 5 per flight, an unaffiliated company called BoardFirst. com will secure you a coveted "A" boarding pass when that airline opens for online check-in 24 hours before departure. Thus, the savvy traveler doesn't even wait in line when he or she is online.

Some cultures are not renowned for lining up. Then again, some cultures are too adept at lining up: a citizen of the former Soviet Union would join a queue just so he could get to the head of that queue and see what everyone was queuing for.

And then there is the U. S. , where society seems to be cleaving int

A.Lines are symbolic of America's democracy.

B.Lines still give Americans equal opportunities.

C.Lines are now for ordinary Americans only.

D.Lines are for people with democratic spirit only.

  • Working-class families in the United States are usually nuclear, andmany studies indicate

    Working-class families in the United States are usually nuclear, and

    many studies indicate that working-class couples marry for love, not

    for money. Upper-class couples may marry for love, but their commitment

    of love is sometimes compromised by the recognition of their marriage 【M1】______

    as a way to preserve their class identity. Middle-class couples may also

    marry for love, but the overridden task of middle-class families is also 【M2】______

    an-economic thing—to enhance the earning power of the breadwinner. 【M3】______

    Of course, working-class people are also affected by the economic

    realities for their families must operate like economic units as well. 【M4】______

    However, the economic tasks of families are more a part of their dreams 【M5】______

    about marriage than they are a part of the reality of their married life.

    Indeed, to many a working-class couples, love provides a way to escape 【M6】______

    from the difficulties of their parents’ home and starts their own family life. 【M7】______

    Another distinctive feature of working-class families is the majority 【M8】______

    of them have limited choices about the work available to them. Their

    "choices' are often the "leftovers" in the job market. People from working-class

    families do seek serf-esteem and personal confirmation, and they come 【M9】______

    to their jobs full of hopes. However, given the way which production 【M10】______

    and consumption are organized in advancing societies like the U.S.,

    members of the working-class often experience exploitation in struggling

    at jobs that may be less meaningful.


  • 阅读理解: (1)It's 7 pm on a balmy Saturday night in June, and I have just ordered my first beer in I Cervejaria, a restaurant in Zambujeira do Mar, one of the prettiest villages on Portugal's in this sout

  • Sixty-eight percent of America's wealth is generated by manufacturing. If the United State

    Sixty-eight percent of America's wealth is generated by manufacturing. If the United States hopes to continue to maintain a position of prestige and remain competitive in the global economy, it must have a strong manufacturing sector.

    What has been done to maintain the competitive position of the United States as a major manufacturing nation? Unfortunately, it would appear too little has been done. While spending about $150 billion per year on research and development — more than the U.K., France and lapan combined — the United States has not paid sufficient attention to manufacturing and technology transfer. The National Science Foundation spends only 13 percent of its budget on engineering and only 1.2 percent on manufacturing. In Germany, 30 percent of the research funding goes to engineering and 15 percent to manufacturing. The U. S. Department of Commerce has only five government-run technology centers while Japan has 170 government-run technology centers bringing new manufacturing techniques to business.

    In terms of scientific research, the United States has done very well. About one third of the world's scientific papers are produced by the United States. The nearest competitors are the United Kingdom with 8.2 percent, Japan with 7.7 percent and the former Soviet Union with 7.6 percent. Almost 50 percent of all references cited in other scientific papers are American; the nearest competitors are all below 10 percent.

    Some of the problems of American industry can be illustrated by a few examples:

    The number of hours it takes to build an automobile in the United States has increased; in

    Japan it has decreased (by 60 percent between the years 1970 and 1981 alone).

    It now takes half as much time to assemble a Toyota as to assemble a General Motors automobile.

    It took nine years for the United States to go from research to production of Numerically Controlled (NC) machine tools; in Japan it took only two years.

    Typical Japanese machine tool accuracy and repeatability are better than that of equivalent U.S. machines.

    The use of robots in the United States lags behind other industrialized nations:

    Japan 550,000

    Europe 69,000

    Former Soviet Union 62,000

    United States 37,000

    The Japanese use five times more Flexible Manufacturing Systems (FMS) than the United States.

    What would the author probably suggest in the section that follows this passage?

    A.The U.S. should reduce the time needed to assemble an automobile.

    B.Achievement of world class manufacturing is essential to the U. S..

    C.The U.S. should take pride in her scientific research.

    D.Japan is the leader in technology transfer.