2－1 IN SEARCH OF THE AMBER ROOM Frederick William Ⅰ，the King of Prussia , could never have imagined that his greatest gift to the Russian people would have such an amazing history . This gift
was the Amber Room , which was given this name because several tons of amber were used to make it . The amber which was selected had a beautiful yellow-brown colour like honey . The design of the room was in the fancy style popular in those days . It was also a treasure decorated with gold and jewels , which took the country's best artists about ten years to make . In fact , the room was not made to be a gift . It was designed for the palace of Frederick Ⅰ. However, the next King of Prussia , Frederick William Ⅰ,to whom the amber room belonged, decided not to keep it. In 1716 he gave it to Peter the Great. In return , the Czar sent him a troop of his best soldiers. So the Amber Room because part of the Czar's winter palace in St Petersburg.About four metres long, the room served as a small reception hall for important visitors . Later,Catherine Ⅱ had the Amber Room moved to a palace outside St Petersburg where she spent her summers. She told her artists to add more details to it .In 1770 the room was completed the way she wanted . Almost six hundred candles lit the room ,and its mirrors and pictures shone like gold. Sadly , although the Amber Room was considered one of the wonders of the world , it is now missing . In September 1941, the Nazi army was near St Petersburg . This was a time when the two countries were at war . Before the Nazis could get to the summer palace , the Russians were able to remove some furniture and small art objects from the Amber Room . However , some of the Nazis secretly stole the room itself . In less than two days 100,000 pieces were put inside twenty-seven woooden boxs . There is no doubt that the boxs were then put on a train for Konigsberg, which was at that time a German city on the Baltic Sea . After that, what happened to the Amber Room remains a mystery . Recently , the Russians and Germans have built a new Amber Room at the summer palace . By studying old photos of the former Amber Room , they have made the new one look like the old one .In 2003 it was ready for the people of St Petersburg when they celebrated the 300th birthday of their city .
A FACT OR AN OPINION? What is a fact? Is it something that people believe? No. A fact is anything that can be proved. For example, it can be proved that China has more people than any other country in the world. This is a fact. Then what is an opinion? An opinion is what someone believes is true but has not been proved. So an opinion is not good evidence in a trial. For example, it is an opinion if you say “Cats are better pets than dogs”. It may be true, but it is difficult to prove. Some people may not agree with this opinion but they also cannot prove that they are right. In a trial, a judge must decide which eyewitnesses to believe and which not to believe. The judge does not consider what each eyewitness looks like or where that person lives or works. He/she only cares about whether the eyewitness has given true information, which must be facts rather than opinions. This kind of information is called evidence.
2－3 WHO AM I? Over time I have been changed quite a lot. I began as a calculating machine in France in 1642. Although I was young I could simplify difficult sums. I developed very slowly and it took nearly two hundred years before I was built as an analytical machine by Charles Babbage. After I was programmed by an operator who used cards with holes, I could “think” logically and produce an answer quicker than any person. At that time it was considered a technological revolution and the start of my “artificial intelligence”. In 1936 my real father, Alan Turing, wrote a book about how I could be made to work as a “universal machine” to solve any difficult mathematical problem. From then on, I grew rapidly both in size and in brainpower. By the 1949s I had grown as large as a room, and I wondered if I would grow any larger. However, this reality also worried my designers. As time went by, as was make smaller. First as a PC(personal computer) and then as a laptop, I have been used in offices and homes since the 1970s. These changes only became possible as my memory improved. First it was stored in tubes, then on transistors and later on very small chips. As a result I totally changed my shape. As I have grown older I have also grown smaller. Over time my memory has developed so much that, like an elephant, I never forget anything I have been told! And my memory became so large that even I couldn’t believe it! But I was always so lonely standing there by myself, until in early 1960s they gave me a family connected by a network. I was able to share my knowledge with others through the World Wide Web. Since the 1970s many new applications have been found for my. I have become very important in communication, finance and trade. I have also been put into robots and used to make mobile phones as well as help with medical operations. I have even been put into space rockets and sent to explore the Moon and Mars. Anyhow, my goal is to provide humans with a life of high quality. I am now truly filled with happiness that I am a devoted friend and helper of the human race! ANDY – THE ANDROID I’m part of an android football team. About once a year we are allowed to get together to play a game of football. I’m as big as a human. It fact, I look like one too. On the football team I’m a striker so I have to be able to run very fast. My computer ships help me to move and think like a human. For example, I have learned to signal to my teammates in computer language to give me the ball when I am open and have a good for a goal. My first football competition was in Nagoya, Japan several years ago. Last year our team went to Seattle, Washington in the USA. We won second place. Personally, I think the team that won first place cheated. They had developed a new type of program just before the competition. So we need to encourage our programmer to improve our intelligence too. We are determined to create an even better system. In a way our programmer is like our coach. She programs us with all the possible moves she has seen while watching human games. Then she prepares reliable moves to use if a new situation arises. In this way I can make up new moves using my “artificial intelligence”. I could like to play against a human team, for I have been programmed to act just like them. After all, with the help of my electronic brain which never forgets anything, using my intelligence is what I’m all about!
2－4 HOW DAISY LEARNED TO HELP WILDLIFE Daisy had always longed to help endangered species of wildlife. One day she woke up and found a flying carpet by her bed. “Where do you want to go?” it asked. Daisy responded immediately. “I’d like to see some endangered wildlife,” she said. “Please take me to a distant land where I can find the animal that gave fur to make this sweater.” At once the carpet flew away and took her to Tibet There daisy saw and antelope looking sad. It said, “We’re being killed for the wool beneath our stomachs. Our fur is being used to make sweaters for people like you. As a result, we are now an endangered species.” At that Daisy cried, “I’m sorry I didn’t know that. I wonder what is being done to help you. Flying carpet, please show me a place where there’s some wildlife protection.” The flying carpet traveled so fast that next minute they were in Zimbabwe. Daisy turned around and found that she was being watched by and elephant. “Have you come to take my photo?” it asked. In relief Daisy burst into laughter. “Don’t laugh,” said the elephant, “We used to be an endangered species. Farmers hunted us without mercy. They said we destroyed their farms, and money from tourists only went to the large tour companies. So the government decided to help. They allowed tourists to hunt only a certain number of animals if they paid the farmers. Now the farmers are happy and our numbers are increasing. So good things are being done here to save local wildlife.” Daisy smiled, “That’s good news. It shows the importance of wildlife protection, but I’d like to help as the WWF suggests.” The carpet rose again and almost at once they were in a thick rainforest. A monkey watched them as it rubbed itself. “What are you doing?” asked Daisy. “I’m protecting myself from mosquitoes,” it replied. When I find a millipede insect, I rub it over my body. It contains a powerful drug which affects mosquitoes. You should pay more attention to the rainforest where I live the appreciate how the animals live together. No rainforest, no animals, no drugs.” Daisy was amazed. “Flying carpet, please take me home so I can tell WWF and we can begin producing this new drug. Monkey, please come and help.” The monkey agreed. The carpet flew home. As they landed, things began to disappear. Two minutes later everything had gone-the monkey, too. So Daisy was not able to make her new drug. But what an experience! She had learned so much! And there was always WWF…
2－5 THE BAND THAT WASN’T Have you ever wanted to be part of a band as a famous singer or musician? Have you ever dreamed of playing in front of thousands of people at a concert, at which everyone is clapping and appreciating your music? Do you sing karaoke and pretend you are a famous singer like Song Zuying or Lin Huan? To be honest, a lot of people attach great importance to becoming rich and famous. But just how do people form a band? Many musicians meet and form a band because they like to write and play their own music. They may start as a group of high-school students, for whom practicing their music in someone’s hours is the first step to fame. Sometimes they may play to passers-by in the street or subway so that they can earn some extra money for themselves or to pay for their instruments. Later they may give performances in pubs or clubs, for which they are paid in cash. Of course they hope to make records in a studio and sell millions of copies to become millionaires! However, there was one band hat started in a different way. It was called the Monkees and began as a TV show. The musicians were to play jokes on each other as well as play music, most of which was based loosely on the beatles. The TV organizers had planned to find four musicians who could act as well as sing. They put an advertisement in a newspaper looking for rock musicians, but they could only find one who was good enough. They had to use actors for the other three members of the band. As some of these actors could not sing well enough, they had to rely on other musicians to help them. So during the broadcasts they just pretended to sing. Anyhow their performances were humorous enough to be copied by clubs in order to get more familiar with them. Each week on TV, the Mondees would play and sing songs written by other musicians. However, after a year or so in which they became more serious about their work, the Monkees started to play and sing their own songs like a real band. Then they produced their own records and started touring and play their own music. In the USA they became even more popular than the Beatles and sold even more records. The band broke up about 1970, but happily the reunited in the mid-1980s. they produced a new record in 1996, with which they celebrated their former time as a real band. FREDDY THE FROG(II) Not long after Freddy and the band became famous,they visited Britain on a brief tour.Fans showed their devotion by waiting for hours to get tichkets for their concerts.Freddy was now quite confident when he went into a concert hall.He enjoyed singing and all the congratulations afterwards!His most exciting invitation was to perform on a programme called "Top of the Pops."He had to go to London,wear an expensive suit and give a performance to a TV camera.It felt very strange.But as soon as the programme was over,the telephones which were in the same room started ringing.Everybody was asking when they could see Freddy and his band again. They were truly stars. Then things went wrong.Freddy and his band could not go out anywhere without being followed.Even when they wore sunglasses or beards people recognized them. Fans found them even when they went into the toilet.They tried to hide in the reading rooms of libraries,but it was useless.Someone was always there!Their personal life was regularly discussed by people who did not know them but talked as if they were close friends. At last feeling very upset and sensitive,Freddy and his band to which they were never to return,and went back to the lake.