Academic reading practice test 7 The Canals of De Lesseps
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The Canals of De Lesseps
Two of the most spectacular engineering feats of the last 200 years were of the same type though thousands of miles apart. They were the construction of the Suez and Panama canals. The Panama Canal joins the Pacific and Atlantic oceans while the Suez joins the Red Sea (Indian Ocean) and the Mediterranean (Atlantic Ocean). Both offer ships huge savings in time and mileage. For example, a nine hour trip on the Panama Canal would save a total of 18,000 miles on a trip from New York to San Francisco. Amazingly enough the same French
engineer, Ferdinand de Lesseps, played a major part in the construction of both.
The Ozone Hole
Ozone is a bluish gas that is harmful to breathe. Nearly 90% of the Earth’s ozone is in the stratosphere and is referred to as the ozone layer. Ozone absorbs a band of ultraviolet radiation called UVB that is particularly harmful to living organisms. Stratospheric ozone is constantly being created and destroyed through natural cycles. Various ozone depleting substances however, accelerate the destruction processes, resulting in lower than normal ozone levels. Reductions in ozone levels will lead to higher levels of UVB reaching the Earth’s surface. The sun’s output of UVB does not change; rather, less ozone means less protection, and hence more UVB reaches the Earth. Studies have shown that in the Antarctic, the amount of UVB measured at the surface can double during the annual ozone hole. Laboratory and epidemiological studies demonstrate that UVB causes non melanoma skin cancer and plays a major role in malignant
melanoma development. In addition, UVB has been linked to
OLIVE OIL PRODUCTION
Olive oil has been one of the staples of the Mediterranean diet for thousands of years and its popularity is growing rapidly in other parts of the world. It is one of the most versatile oils for cooking and it enhances the taste of many foods. Olive oil is the only type of vegetable/fruit oil that can be obtained from just pressing. Most other types of popular oils (corn, canola, etc.) must be processed in other ways to obtain the oil. Another important bonus is that olive oil has proven health benefits. Three basic grades of olive oil are most often available to the consumer: extra Virgin, Virgin and Olive Oil. In addition to the basic grades, olive oil differs from one country or region to another because of the types of olives that are grown, the harvesting methods, the time of the harvest, and the pressing techniques. These factors all contribute to the individual characteristics of the olive oil.