第三册 Unit 1 That must be record!
In 1951, the then director of the Guinness Brewery, Sir Hugh Beaver, wanted to settle an argument about the fastest bird in Europe. After talking to his friends, he concluded that a book which answered such questions might be popular. The Guinness company hired two Englishmen to write what later became the Guinness Book of World Records. The first editions was published in 1955 and has been a best seller ever since.
More than 60,000 new records are sent in to the book each year, but they cannot all be printed. Instead, the editors of the book set down the records and keep track of them in other ways. The records are put into different categories. The Guinness Book of World Records has chapters on the human body, amazing feats, the natural world, science and technology, arts and the media, modern society, travel and transport, and sports and games. You can learn that the oldest person is a woman who lived to be 122 years and 164 days, that the longest moustache reached a length of
  1.6 metres and that the longest poisonous snake is
  5.71 metres long. There are also strange records, like the Englishman who balanced a small car wighing 1
  59.6 kilogrammes on his head for thirty-three seconds!
There are many Chinese records. For example, Tian’anmen Square is the largest square in the world with an area of about 40 hectares. China has the greatest number of hospitals in the world and Urumqi is the most remote city from the sea?it is 2,500 kilometres from the nearest coast. A special and delicious record was set in 1997 to celebrate Hong Kong’s return to China. The world’s largest jiaozi was made, weighing an incredible 480 kilogrammes!
Many of the records in the Guinness Book of World Records come from the world of sports. Among the brilliant athletic achievements, a few records stand out because of the moving life stories behind them. The Guinness world record for the fastest average speed at the Tour de France was set in 1999 by the American cyclist Lance Armstong. Impressive as the record is, it fades next to the story of Armstrong’s struggle against disease. In 1996 Armstrong, the then NO. 1 cyclist in the world, was diagnosed with cancer and many thought that it meant the end of his career, maybe even his life. In 1998, however, Armstrong returned to the world of racing. He went on to set the speed record and achieve his goal of winning the Tour de France six years in a row from 1999 to 20
Why are people so interested in world records? Part of the reason for our interest is probably the same curiosity that led Sir Hugh to write the Guinness Book of World Records in the first place. We want to know what is possible and find out just how far we can push ourselves. Clearly, we are also entertained by accounts of strange and unusual deeds and facts. Whether we are out to set a new record ourselves or simply enjoy reading about champions, the Guinness Book of World Records makes for interesting reading.
Anybody can try to get a record. There are, however, some records that the book does not accept. No records that are dangerous to the person who is attempting it or to others are allowed. If you want to try to set a record, you should first contact the Guinness Book of World Records. The editors will decide if your idea is suitable and then send you rules and the form you need to apply for the record. Afterwards, if all goes well, a Guinness official will come to inspect your attempt. If you are successful, the official will confirm the record and you will get a certificate from the Guinness Book of World Records stating that you are a world record holder!
“Hey man, try that 360 again!” It is Saturday afternoon and a group of teenagers are trying new tricks on the park’s skating ramp. Every weekend, after finishing their homework, Lin Yong and about a dozen of his friends garb their wheels and head down to the park to hang ten.
Lin Yong is seventeen and a skillful skateboarder. He and his friends decided to build the ramp three years ago after watching a skateboarding competition on TV. Together with two of his classmates, Lin Yong went to the local park and told the park administration about their plans.
Two weeks after the manager had given them his permission, the ramp was ready and the friends held a grand opening. “All of our schoolmates were here, as well as many of our parents and other kids from the neighbourhood. There were even some grandparents who came to see what it was all about.” The ramp soon became popular and the teenagers have started a skateboarding club called Fun On Wheels.
Skateboards have been around since the 1970s, but they have recently become popular again. Many teenagers have discovered the skateboard as a result of TV shows, films, and competitions such as the X Games. The X Games are like the Olympic Games for sports that are less familiar to us than sports like football and basketball. A new generation of sports is capturing the hearts and minds of people who are willing to try something new. These new sports are called “extreme sports” and all centre on the “X-factor”?the pure joy of doing something that you did not think you could do and overcoming your fears.
Extreme sports are different from regular sports. Instead of simply trying to defeat the other team or set a new record, many extreme sports are about beauty, harmony and thrills. In fact, some extreme sports are not really “sports” at all, because they do not have clear rules about winning or losing. The goal of a “competition” may simply be to have fun and enjoy the excitement of trying something new.
Lin Yong loves the feeling he gets when he is getting ready for a ride. “It’s hard to describe the feeling. I get excited and my heart beats faster. Then my mind becomes clear and I concentrate on the way body moves in the air.”
Watching Ling Yong and his friends fly through the air makes you wonder whether the sports is too dangerous. “No,” Wang Wei, a sixteen-year-old skater says, “all the riders wear helmets and other equipment to protect themselves. We don’t let anyone try a dangerous trick unless we know that they are skilled enough to perform it safely.” One thing is clear: these enthusiastic teenage skateboarders are enjoying every minute. Everyone smiles after a good ride and there is a strong feeling of friendship among the riders. As Lin Yong says, “Once you are experienced, your life will truly change!”
第三册 上 Unit 2 Crossing limits
Trade and curiosity have often formed the foundation for mankind’s greatest endeavour. To people of early civilizations, the world map was a great puzzle. Marco Polo’s stories inspired Christopher Columbus and other European explorers to search for sea routes to the distant, wealthy Asian lands. However, long before that brave merchants were the real explorers of the Western Ocean.
It is well known that Africa had contacts with India and the Red Sea civilisations from the earliest times. Silk from China found its way over land along the Silk Road to India, the Middle East and Rome, in exchange for spices and glass. Silk was also traded along the coasts of the Indian Ocean. Ceylon, with its central position, was the place where Chinese merchants met with Arab merchants and heard about the westernmost lands. Thus, people of the Han Dynasty knew about Africa and had books with descriptions of the kingdoms on the African coast and the Red Sea. In 97 AD Gan Ying, a Chinese ambassador, went to the East Roman Empire over land and returned to Luoyang with a present from an African king?rhinoceros horns.
Over the next few hundred years, the Swahili kingdoms and the islands off the African coast developed into the world’s trading centre for ivory, spices, rhinoceros horns, shells, animal skins and sugar. They were traded to merchants from the Arabic countries, Egypt, Greece, Rome, India, Ceylon and China.
The Arabic contacts to the African coast led to the next meeting between black people and a Chinese. In the year 751, the Chinese traveler Du huan was taken prisoner by the Arabic army. He escaped, and after a long journey wandering through Arabic countries, he returned to the motherland by boat in 7
  62. There he wrote his Record of My Travels, which gives information on Central Asian, Arabic and African countries.
In he eleventh century, the Africans made several voyages to the court of the Song Dynasty. It was a major development that the Africans were reaching out to China. The earliest Asian cultural relic found in Africa also dates from this period. A small bronze statue of a lion was found in the Swahili town of Shanga. Nothing similar has ever been found in East Africa.
The contacts between China and Africa over the centuries led to the awareness of each other’s existence, but still no accurate maps of the countries around the Indian Ocean existed. By the beginning of the fifteenth century the time was ripe for a grand meeting. In East Africa the coastal towns were reaching the height of their power. In the east, China prospered under a new dynasty. The Ming government had a large navy and the will to use it.
In the years between 1405 and 1433, seven large treasure fleets sailed westwards on voyages of trade and exploration. Under the command of Zheng He, the fleets set sail from the South China Sea across the Inidan Ocean to the mouth of the Red Sea, and then travelled further south, discovering the eastern coast of Afirca.
Zheng He renewed relations with the Kingdoms of the East African coast. One African king sent the Ming emperor a royal present: two giraffes. The wonderful gift and the contact with the black court so excited China’s curiosity about Africa that Zheng He sent a message to the king and to other African states, inviting them to send ambassadors and open embassies in the new Ming capital, Beijing. The response of the African rulers was very generous. They sent the emperor zebras, giraffes, shells, elephant ivory and rhinoceros-horn medicine. In return, the Ming court sent gold, spices, silk, and various other presents. The exchange of goods had a symbolic meaning far more important than the value of the goods themselves. By trading with the fleet the African kings were showing their friendship to the emperor of China.
The fleet made several expeditions before the exploration was stopped, probably for economic reasons. For a short time, China had ruled the seas. After 1433, the Ming court believed that its greatest challenges and opportunities were at home.
By the middle of the 1920s the farthest corners of the earth had already been expored: the continents and the oceans had been mapped, the North and South Poles had been reached, and the origins of the world’s major rivers had been discovered. All that was left to be conquered was the “third pole”, the highest mountain on earth, Mount Qomolangma. Some suggested it could not be accomplished. At that time, going to Mount Qomalangma was like going to the moon.
Climbing at such high altitudes requires great skill and is not without risk. Apart from the cold, thin air and low oxygen levels can cause mountain sickness, which can kill. Some people can never go above 4,000 metres because their body is unable to adjust to these extreme conditions. Above about 5,200 metres, in the “death zone”, humans can only survive for a couple of days, even with extra oxygen.
The Tibetans have lived in the Himalayas for centuries and have adjusted to the conditions at such a great height. To them, the mountains were sacred, and they would not climb them for that reason. When Westerners came to climb Mount Qomolangma, the Sherpas, who live in Tibet, northern India and Nepal, acted as guides. From the first British Qomolangma expedition. Every Qomolangma expedition since then has relied on Sherpa support.
One of the first foreign expeditions to climb Mount Qomolangma arrived in Tibet in 19
  21. They had no idea what they were up against. Two British expeditions made the attempt in 1922 and 1924, but failed to reach the top. The local Tibetans and Sherpas laughed at the strange bottles containing what they referred to as “English air”. In 1924 two British men were lost. When their oxygen ran out. They had no chance of surviving. After World War II, technological advances in clothing and equipment had been made, and more was known about the mountain itself, which by now had been flown over several times by aircraft. The New Zealander Edmund Hillary and the Sherpa Tenzing Norgay, as members of a British team, were the first to make it to the summit of Mount Qomolangma. They reached the top on May 29, 19
In later years the question arose who was the first to reach the top. Whenever he was asked, Sherpa Tenzing Norgay’s answer was, “We climbed as a team, period.” Like winning in the Olympic Games, climbing a mountain such as Mount Qomolangma is a great personal achievement. Climbing the mountain is still one of man’s greatest challenges. After 1953 several hundred people have succeeded in climbing the mountain, some to be the first of their nation and many in attempts to climb the mountain over different slope


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