READING SELECTION A Why Smaller Refrigerators Can Preserve the Human Race By Appletree Rodden [1] Why has this change in size and complexity occurred (appear) in America? It has not taken place (happen) in many areas (parts) of the technologically advanced world (the average West German refrigerator is about a yard high and less than a yard wide, yet refrigeration technology in Germany is quite advanced). Do we really need (or even want) all that space and cold (capacity)? [2] The benefits of a large refrigerator are apparent (obvious): a saving of time (one grocery-shopping trip a week instead of several), a saving of money (the ability to buy expensive, perishable items in larger, cheaper quantities), a feeling of security (if the car breaks down or if famine strikes, the refrigerator is well stocked). The costs are there, too, but they are not so obvious. [3] Cost number one is psychological. Ever since the refrigerator began to grow, food has increasingly become something we buy to store rather than to eat. Few families go to market daily for their daily bread. The manna in the wilderness could be gathered (collected) for only one day at a time. The ancient distaste (hatred) for making food a storage item is echoed (responded) by many modern psychiatrists who suggest (believe) that such psychosomatic disorders as obesity are often due to (because of) the patient's inability to come to terms with the basic transitoriness of life. Research into a relationship between excessive corpulence and the size of one's refrigerator has not been extensive, but we might suspect one (correlation) to be there. [4] Another cost is aesthetic. In most (most part) of Europe, where grocery marketing is still a part of the daily rhythm, one can buy tomatoes, lettuce, and the like picked on the day of purchase. Many European families have modest (smaller) refrigerators for storing small items (eggs, milk, butter) for a couple of days, but the concept (idea) of buying large quantities of food to store in the refrigerator is not widely accepted. Since fresh produce is easily available in Europe, most people buy it daily. Which brings to mind another price the large refrigerator has cost us: the friendly neighborhood market. In America, time is money. A large refrigerator means fewer time-consuming trips to the grocery store. One member of a deep-freeze-owning family can do the grocery shopping once or twice a month rather than daily. Since shopping trips are infrequent, most people have been willing to forego (give up) the amenities (pleasure) of the little store around the corner in favor of the lower prices found in the supermarket. [5] If refrigerators weren't so large -- that is (namely/ i.e.), if grocery marketing were a daily affair -- the "entertainment surcharge of buying farm-fresh food in a smaller, more intimate (friendly) setting (environment)" might carry some weight (is meaningful). But as it is (in fact/ actually), there is not really that (so) much difference between eggs bought from Farmer Brown's wife and eggs bought from the supermarket which in turn bought them from Eggs Incorporated, a firm operated out of Los Angeles that produces 200, 000 eggs a day from chickens that are kept in gigantic (huge) warehouses lighted artificially on an eighteen-hour light-and-dark cycle and produce one-and-a-half times as many eggs -- special breed of chickens who die young and insane. Not much difference if you don't mind eating eggs from crazy chickens. (yard chicken) [6] Chalk up (jolt down/ write down) Farmer and Mrs. Brown as cost number four of the big refrigerator. The small farmer can't make it (succeed) in a society dominated by supermarkets and big refrigerators; make way for super farmers, super yields, and pesticides (cost number five). (yard
chicken). [7] Cost number six of the big refrigerator has been the diminution of regional food differences. Of course the homogenization of American fare (market) cannot be blamed solely (only) on the availability of frozen food. Nonetheless, were it (=if it were) not for the trend toward turning regional specialties into frozen dinners (food), it might still be possible to experience novelty (sth. new) closer to home. [8] So much for the disadvantages of the big refrigerator. What about the advantages of the small one? First of all (Above all/ Most important of all), it would help us to "think small", which is what we must learn anyway if the scary (frightening) predictions of the Club of Rome (The Limits of Growth) are true. The advent (arrival) of smaller refrigerators would set the stage for reversing the “big-thinking” trends brought on with the big refrigerator, and would eventually (finally) change our lives. [9] Ivan Illich makes the point in Tools for Conviviality (Happiness) that any tool we use (the automobile, standardized public education, public-health care, the refrigerator) influences the individual, his society, and the relationship between the two. A person's automobile is a part of his identity. The average (ordinary) Volkswagen owner has a variety of characteristics (income, age, occupation) significantly (greatly) different from those (those people) of the average Cadillac owner. American society, with more parking lots than parks, and with gridded (straight) streets rather than winding lanes, would be vastly (great) different without the private automobile. Similar conclusions can be drawn about any of the tools we use. They change us. They (Tools) change our society. Therefore, it behooves (make) us to think well before we decide which tool to use to accomplish a given task. Do we want tools that usurp power unto themselves, the ones called "non-convivial" (unpleasant) by Illich? (achieve a goal/ usurp : rob sb. of sth./ a nation on the wheel) [10] The telephone, a "convivial (pleasant) tool", has remained under control; it has not impinged (influenced) itself on society or on the individual. Each year it has become more efficient, and it has not prevented other forms of communication (letter writing, visits). The world might be poorer without the telephone, but it would not be grossly (greatly) different. Telephones do not pollute, are not status symbols, and interact only slightly (if at all) with one's self-image. (showy) [11] So what about the refrigerator? Or back to the more basic problem to which the refrigerator was a partial answer: what about our supply of food? When did we decide to convert the emotion-laden (loaded) threat of starvation from a shared community problem (of societal structure: farm-market-home) to a personal one (of storage)? How did we decide to accept a thawed block taken from a supermarket's freezer as a substitute for the voluptuous (colorful) shapes, smells, and textures of fresh fruits and vegetables obtained from complex individual sources? [12] The decision for larger refrigerators has been consistent with a change in food-supply routes from highly diversified "trails" (from small farms to neighborhood markets) to uniform, standardized highways (from large farms to centrally located supermarkets). Desirable meals are quick and easy rather than rich and leisurely. Culinary artistry (cooking) has given way to efficiency, the efficiency of the big refrigerator. [13] People have a natural propensity (tendency) for running (turning) good things into the ground (ordinary). Mass production has been a boon (gift) to mankind, but its reliance on homogeneity precludes its being a paradigm (example/ a case in point) for all areas of human life. Our forebears (forefathers) and contemporaries have made it possible to mass-produce almost anything. An equally challenging task now lies with (facing us) us: to choose which things of this
world should be mass-produced, and how the standards of mass production should influence other standards (values) we hold dear (value). [14] Should houses be mass-produced? Should education? Should food? Which brings us back to refrigerators? How does one (anyone/ anybody) decide how large a refrigerator to buy, considering one's life, one's society, and the world, and not simply the question of food storage? [15] As (when) similar questions are asked about more and more of the things we mass-produce, mass production will become less of a problem and more of a blessing (gift). As cost begins to be measured not only in dollars spent and minutes saved, but in total richness acquired, perhaps smaller refrigerators will again make good sense (meaningful). A small step backward along some of the roads of "technological progress" might be a large step forward for mankind, and one (step) our age (era) is uniquely qualified to make. (1, 252 words) ABOUT THE AUTHOR Appletree Rodden has danced with the Staatstheatre Ballet Company and was at one time a biochemical researcher at Stanford University. His essay here, first published in Harper's in 1975, asks us to consider whether "bigger and more necessarily means better when it comes to (as far as sth. is concerned) technology". Once, long ago, people had special little boxes called refrigerators in which milk, meat, and eggs could be kept cool. The grandchildren of these simple devices are large enough to store whole cows, and they reach temperatures comparable to those at the South Pole. Their operating costs increase each year, and they are so complicated that few home handymen attempt (try) to repair them on their own (independently). EXERCISES I. Reading Comprehension Answer the following questions or complete the following statements.
  1. The writer suspects that there is a correlation between . A. obesity and the size of a refrigerator B. transitoriness of life and obesity C. psychosomatic disorders and corpulence D. inability and excessive corpulence
  2. Many European families have modest refrigerators because . A. small refrigerators save space B. fresh produce is easily available C. their daily rhythm is quite fast D. they love daily shopping
  3. By saying "entertainment surcharge of buying farm-fresh food in a smaller, more intimate setting", the author means "buying farm-fresh food in a smaller, more intimate setting . A. costs more B. is inconvenient C. offers extra pleasure D. is important
  4. Who is Mrs. Brown mentioned in the text? A. A brand name of a well-known refrigerator. B. A name of a chain supermarket. C. One who likes daily shopping. D. A general name for the small farmer's wife.
  5. The author of this article believes that availability of frozen food is . A. nonetheless the trend toward diminution of regional food differences B. a major but not the only cause of homogenization of American fare C. hardly influential on turning regional specialties into frozen dinners D. possibly good for experiencing novelty closer to home
  6. Ivan Illich makes the point in Tools for Conviviality that .
A. owners of Cadillac are much richer than owners of Volkswagen B. American society would be very different with winding lanes C. the tools used by mankind exerts influence on man and its society D. there is an interactive relationship between tools and mankind
  7. What will big refrigerators do to the art of cooking according to the text? A. Cooking will be easier and more leisurely. B. The art of cooking will be more of a personal problem. C. Fast food will soon dominate our supply of food. D. Cooking will be fast, and food will be the same.
  8. What does the author think about mass production? A. Mass production is both beneficial and challenging. B. Mass production should not be encouraged. C. Mass production should be applied to all areas of human life. D. Mass production is supposed to determine the size of refrigerators.
  9. The cost of refrigerators is supposed to be measured not only by time saved and money spent, but also by . A. the amount of blessing given B. the good sense gained C. the total richness acquired D. technological progress
  10. The author suggests by the last sentence of this text that . A. degradation of mankind is often caused by technological progress B. progress for mankind is determined by technological progress C. technological progress results in progress for mankind D. setbacks in technology facilitates human progress II . Vocabulary Choose the hest word from the four choices to complete each of the following sentences.
  1. The disorder of his life: the succession of cities, of loves, inevitably led to his worsening psychosomatic problems. A. transitional B. transiting C. transitory(adj.) D. (in)transitive
  2. They are told not to store apples in the refrigerator because fresh fruit like (such as) apples are . A. perishable B. destructive C. scary (scar/ scare/ scarce) D. vanishing(vi.)
  3. The providers claim that they have the right to make a for delivering the goods outside of the city limits. A. substitute(n./ vt.) B. proposition C. benefit (sb./ ~from sth.) D. surcharge
  4. Mr. Bint has a to put off decision to (postpone sth. untill sometime) the last minute. A. propensity (tendency) B. probability C. complexity D. consistency
  5. A constitutional amendment any president from serving more than two terms, with only one exception during World War II. A. precludes B. usurps(rob sb. of sth./ deprive sb. of sth./ deny sb. sth.) C. resists D. defies (disobey)
  6. And with the of television, the cinema chains virtually (actually) abandoned the b-movies overnight.
A. diversity B. advent (arriv
 

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