Directions: Read the text and answer the question by selecting all the correct responses. You will need to select more than one response.

Question 1.

Researchers are starting to realise the potential of drone technology to monitor wildlife populations, as evidence shows they provide more precise data than ground-based techniques. The tracking of animal populations has to date required teams of researchers to be dispatched to search for and then count vulnerable species.

Drone technology is transforming this process firstly by locating the species being monitored and then by capturing images of them. This technology could pave the way for more ambitious surveys in remote, inhospitable locations such as Antarctica, where conducting surveys in the field presents enormous logistical challenges. Surveying different colonies of penguins are of critical importance, as particular penguin species are considered bio-indicators of changes in their environment. A few hurdles are yet to be overcome. Although drones have been designed to cope with polar winds, they can only fly so far, while computer algorithms for processing the drone images and counting species need fine-tuning.

Question 2.

Rarely visited by tourists, but nonetheless an absolutely fascinating country, Mongolia hosts several large-scale festivals each year. For most Mongolians, however, the Naadam Festival is the one which has the greatest significance. Its popularity can largely be attributed to its long history, which goes back many centuries, and its close associations with Mongolia as a nation. Today the Naadam Festival mainly celebrates the traditional culture of the Mongolian people and the achievements of the Mongolian state.

The principal event is held in July at the National Sports Stadium in the Mongolian capital Ulaanbaatar, although Naadam is also celebrated in different regions. The start of the festivities is marked by elaborate performances by athletes, horse riders, dancers and musicians. Then the competitions commence and last for three days. These are mainly horse-riding events given the extreme popularity of this sport in Mongolia.

Question 3.

Canis Major is a collection of stars found in the southern hemisphere. It was first mentioned by the Egyptian astronomer Ptolemy in the second century and it has always been closely associated with another group of stars called Orion, also known as ‘the hunter’. In fact, the name Canis Major is derived from the Latin words meaning ‘large dog’ because the stars were believed by the ancient Greeks to form a creature which was following the hunter Orion. The Chinese, on the other hand, gave the stars a name which translates as ‘wolf’.

The brightest star in Canis Major is referred to as Sirius A and, with the exception of the Moon and the planets, it is the object which is easiest to notice in the night sky. The ancient Greeks associated the intensity of this star’s glow with heat and believed that the hot weather of summer would not begin until Sirius A rose in the summer sky. However, astronomers in the northern hemisphere should be able to see Canis Major during the winter months, too. As long as you can find the belt of Orion, you can look to the south-west of that and spot the bright light of Sirius A. Most of its components can only be seen through a telescope though.

Question 4.

The term marketing mix refers to a set of tools that companies can use to promote a particular product in a particular market. The original model for the marketing mix was devised in the 1960s and consisted of 4Ps: product, price, place and promotion. However, the marketing landscape has changed dramatically since the 1960s and some people question whether the 4Ps remain relevant today; indeed they have been expanded in recent years to include an additional three Ps. Marketing is no longer about the messages companies decide to communicate to consumers; it’s about companies listening to consumers and fulfilling their needs and wishes. Another persuasive argument against the relevance of the marketing mix is the fact that it provides a ‘one size fits all’ approach which doesn’t address the issue of how to market any specific type of product.

Nevertheless, the core objectives of marketing undoubtedly remain the same today as they were in the 1960s. Consumers are still buying a given product at a given price in a given place, and this product is being promoted to them by the company that’s selling it. Regardless of how prevalent and important digital marketing tools become, those working in this area will only succeed if they utilise the basic tools of marketing that are set out in the marketing mix.

Question 5.

Wearable fitness trackers have become commonplace in recent years. They come with the concept that wearing one will improve activity levels, and, as a consequence, improve health. A recent study, however, has found that these small wearable machines do not have any noticeable effect on the health of the wearer after one year of use. The study of 800 people in Singapore tracked users for 12 months. They monitored their levels of activity, and measured health indicators at different points. In addition, a sub-group of 80 participants were also given financial rewards if they became more active as well as having their activity on the device and overall health monitored.

Although all of the participants recorded slightly higher levels of activity, experts concluded that the increase in activity probably wasn’t sufficient to have an effect on the participants’ overall level of health. In fact, at the end of the 12-month period of the experiment, only people in the group with a financial incentive showed any improvement in blood pressure levels in the first six months of the study. After 12 months, when the promise of a financial reward ended, they too had returned to their previous levels in all of the health indicators. The researchers found no evidence that the device had encouraged weight loss either.

Question 6.

Early travel was not just expensive, it was a slow and dangerous activity, and many undertaking travel would not expect to return. Historically, only the very rich and powerful could afford to see the world beyond their own borders, and they usually went either for business or to go to war, taking just essential servants or troops.

If the definition of tourism is taken as the concept of paying money to go and see unique sights, there is some evidence of that dating back to the 12th century. The appearance of tourism as a fashionable activity came down to three important innovations. The invention of the wheel allowed travellers to take everything they needed on a cart drawn by a horse. A written form of language let them exchange contracts easily. The greatest change came when currency made it possible to reimburse people for things like accommodation more easily than in the days of exchanging animals or goods.

So, although historians have traditionally put the date of the invention of tourism in the 19th century, when visiting foreign cities around Europe for pleasure and status became an option for people on more moderate incomes, the true date appears to be much earlier.

Question 7.

Culture and gender play a role in determining the kinds of activities in which people in coastal areas participate. In these areas, people depend upon the coastal ecosystem to provide the basic necessities to live. Men tend to be engaged in higher-income activities like fishing, whilst women are generally limited to low-income tasks. This can be seen in a notable difference in the share of income derived from the coastal ecosystem.

In a recent study, coastal ecosystems were examined by observing how men and women interacted with them in a recent study. Throughout the observation, women were found to capitalise on parts of the ecosystem exposed at low tide or accessible from land, such as gathering plants that live in saltwater. This contrasted with men, who engaged in activities in deeper water, namely fishing, or further away, for instance, gathering firewood in forests.

Researchers discovered that other areas, namely intertidal zones, the areas of seashore that are covered during high tide and exposed during low tide, were used by males at high tide for fishing while being predominantly female spaces at low tide, when women gather what the sea has left behind. The study highlighted how an understanding of the system is informed by the interaction between people and spaces.

Question 8.

As a concept, the idea of working remotely has seen its popularity rise over a number of years. That is, working away from an official workplace, and either working at home or somewhere else with access to the Internet like a café. Workers cite less commuting time and the ease of working from home as reasons for this change in employment behaviour. However, it is becoming increasingly apparent that all is not as it might seem, as recent research has concluded.

Researchers claim that the lines between working and non-working while at home are often blurred and could therefore cause a lapse in mental health. According to a survey, 41% of remote workers report that they suffer from a relatively high level of stress, whereas only 25% of office workers claim the same. It is thought that the physical absence of a worker from the office creates a feeling of ‘being on the outside’ of the team, and this would eventually lead to a lack of trust.

It also appears that the isolation felt by remote workers is exacerbated by the inability to deal with office conflict face-to-face as well as possible misinterpretations of written communication, especially as the gestures we use in body language remain invisible to the remote employee. Leaders have a vital role to play in the management of remote teams by ensuring they focus not solely on the task at hand, but also on the worker completing the task.

Question 9.

The Turing test was originally proposed by Alan Turing in 1950 to find out whether a computer is capable of thought. The question whether there can be thinking machines has a long history and attempts to answer it have generally begun by defining what ‘thinking’ consists of. Turing deliberately refuses to provide a definition, but gives the question a practical twist by asking “Can machines do what we, as thinking beings, can do?” In the test, a human interrogator is asked to distinguish between a computer and another human when having a natural conversation. The computer’s ability to think is judged by its probability of being mistaken for the human. To date, few programmes have passed the test and those which have, like the robot Eugene, have only done so in a one-off trial. The test has been very influential in the philosophy of artificial intelligence but whether it is truly useful is open to doubt. Human beings of course do not always act thoughtfully or intelligently, and so to pass the test, the computer must sometimes give responses that we would associate with a lack of thought. Moreover, the test assumes that the interrogator has a clear idea of human and computer behaviour and is skilful enough to spot the differences, but this is not likely to be something he or she has practised before, and Turing never makes it clear what these skills are. In reality, researchers in the field of artificial intelligence have devoted little time to the Turing test, as designing an intelligent computer is simply not the same as making it imitate a human being.

Question 10.

When making decisions, we have a tendency to be heavily influenced by the first piece of information that we come across, which we then, often unknowingly, use as a reference or “anchor” point. Psychologists have learned that once this occurs, we tend to be biased toward processing any other information we obtain based on the anchor, which in turn impacts on our decisions. A simple example is when we choose to purchase an item, such as a computer, and we learn what the typical price for it is. Anything lower than that seems reasonable, and we may subsequently end up paying an amount based on that initial figure, even if it is more than what the computer is really worth. 

Research has shown that even seemingly unrelated information can result in us making incorrect estimates. In one study, participants chose random numbers, which then influenced their attempts to answer questions on unrelated topics, like how many African countries were in the UN.
The anchoring effect, also known as focalism, can impact our decisions in a variety of areas. In addition to price estimates, salary negotiations are another prime opportunity for this bias. Studies have shown that the person who makes the initial offer has an advantage as that amount becomes the anchor point for all subsequent discussions. This could work to one’s benefit, as starting with an inflated salary request may lead to a higher result than otherwise anticipated. 

Nevertheless, we must remain aware of the potential drawbacks of this bias. Medical practitioners, for instance, may be overly influenced by first impressions of a patient or information in their records, which could result in inaccurate diagnoses.

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