Question of the Day December




In 1872, Yellowstone, the world’s first national park was established, the year the Brooklyn Bridge opened and President Ulysses S. Grant completed his first term in the White House.


B. Yellowstone, the world’s first national park, was established in 1872,
C. The establishment of Yellowstone, the world’s first national park, in 1872,
D. Yellowstone, established in 1872, was the world’s first national park,


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Total solar eclipses are rare events: although occurring somewhere on Earth every 18 months on average, they are estimated to recur at any given place only once every 360 to 410 years.


B. although they occur
C. although they occurred
D. they occur


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Many fiber optic companies install more cables than they need, resulting in a system of underground bundled fibers that could be employed for purposes such as earthquake sensing. Each of these fiber optic lines contains imperfections, however. When a light is beamed down the individual fiber optic strands, irregularities in the structure bounce back a fraction of the light.


B. contain
C. have contained
D. containing


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Medical researchers use laboratory-grown human cells to learn the intricacies of how cells work and test theories about the causes and treatment of diseases. The cell lines they need are “immortal”—they can grow indefinitely, remain frozen for decades, and divided them into different batches that are shared among scientists.


B. divided
C. dividing
D. be divided


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The artificial sweetener Sucralose is increasingly being used as what experts call a “tracer”—a substance that can help identify the origins of environmental contamination. This use is important for maintaining water quality, both in surface waters and in drinking water supplies.


Which of the following would be the LEAST acceptable alternative to the underlined portion?


A. a tracer, which is a substance
B. a tracer: a substance
C. a tracer; a substance
D. a tracer, a substance


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The smart city is the city of the future: a technological and data-driven urban system designed for efficient growth. Their intended to leverage technology and data to improve the lives of citizens and become more responsive to their needs.


B. They’re
C. Its’
D. It’s


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An American street photographer born in New York City, Vivian Maier is considered to be one of the greatest photographers of the twentieth century. Despite her artistic legacy and narrative influence on picturemaking, little was known about her until relatively recently. In 2007, meanwhile, the discovery of 100,000 of Maier’s negatives and slides created a portrait of a woman compelled to photograph life on the street. Maier was often her own subject, capturing herself in mirrors, shop windows, and other reflective surfaces. In some, she discreetly made the pictures, almost as if she was spying on herself; in others, her expressionless face is front and center.


B. however,
C. therefore,
D. moreover,


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In a series of experiments at Princeton University and the University of California, Los Angeles, students were randomly assigned either laptops or pen and paper for note-taking at a lecture. Those whom had used laptops demonstrated a substantially weaker understanding of the lecture, as measured by a standardized test, than the group using pen and paper. The researchers hypothesized that because students can type faster than they can write, the lecturer’s words flowed right to the students’ typing fingers without stopping in their brains for substantive processing.


B. Those who
C. Those which
D. They


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Our diet, antibiotic use, and place of birth influence the composition of bacteria in our stomachs. These factors are all important because even slight imbalances in the makeup of our microbiomes can dramatically affect on our vulnerability to disease.


B. dramatically effect
C. have a dramatic affect
D. have a dramatic effect


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The question of who built the Sphinx has long vexed Egyptologists and archaeologists, but researchers now agree that it was most likely commissioned by Pharaoh Khafre, who ruled in Egypt during the Old Kingdom. It’s known from hieroglyphic texts that Khafre’s father, Khufu, built the 481-foot-tall Great Pyramid, a quarter of a mile from where the Sphinx would later be built. Following this tough act, Khafre constructed his own pyramid, just ten feet shorter than his father’s.


B. impressive feat,
C. fascinating adventure,
D. awesome stunt,


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Regret may be an unpleasant emotion, but it serves an important purpose: it causes people to correct their future behavior in order to avoid harmful consequences. For instance, drivers are understandably furious when they discover their cars have been towed, but they also become more vigilant about reading parking signs and checking for possible violations. Likewise, setting up automatic payments for recurring bills like rent and insurance allows us to reduce the unpleasantness of those transactions.


Which of the following gives a second example most similar to the example already in the passage?


B. after people have had a particular experience several times, their interest in it begins to decrease.
C. shoppers who are sorry about buying an item are unlikely to make that type of purchase again.
D. repeatedly failing to have our expectations fulfilled causes deep feelings of disappointment.


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Words have tremendous power over our food choice. Giving dishes descriptive names can increase sales by up to 27% in some cases. This becomes particularly effective if the description attaches some provenance to the ingredients – “Grandma’s home-baked zucchini-nut muffins” sound much more appealing than plain “zucchini muffins”.

Naming the farmer who grew the vegetables or the breed of a pig can help to add authenticity to a product. Consumers take that as a sign of quality, even if it has been made up. Sensory words can also make a dish seem more appealing.

A recent study published by scientists at Stanford University found that vegetables that have been given indulgent sounding descriptions – such as “dynamite chili”, “sweet sizzling green beans”, and “crispy shallots” – on a cafeteria menu were picked 23% more often because it made them sound more exciting and flavorsome.


Based on the statement that “Consumers take that as a sign of quality, even if it has been made up,” it can be reasonably inferred that


A. consumers find authentic products more appealing than commercially manufactured ones.
B. consumers are unreliable judges of a product’s authenticity.
C. a high-quality dish will appeal to consumers regardless of its description.
D. knowing a product’s origins leads consumers to purchase high-quality goods.


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Coffee plants use caffeine to ward off insects that would otherwise feast on their leaves and beans. At high doses, caffeine can be toxic to insects; however, some species possess taste receptors that help them avoid to ingest that substance.


B. of ingesting
C. by ingesting
D. ingesting


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Recently, a group of planet hunters met in Laramie, Wyoming, to plot better ways to scout for life beyond Earth. Many of these researchers are starting to argue that the existence of liquid water on a planet’s surface (the standard requirement for habitability), is not the factor that should guide exoplanet exploration. Instead, the scientists say, the field should focus on the chances of detecting alien life, should it exist.


B. requirement for habitability, is
C. requirement for habitability) is
D. requirement for habitability is


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There can be no doubt that aircraft cabins are peculiar places for humans to be. Humidity rates are lower then the average desert, while the air pumped into the cabin is cooled as low as 50°F to whisk away the excess heat generated by all the bodies and electronics onboard.


B. than the average desert,
C. than that of the average desert,
D. than those in the average desert,


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The practice of tipping has spread all over the world, but as international travelers to different countries quickly learn, the customs surrounding tipping – when to tip, how much, to whom and why – can differ substantially from place to place.


B. to other countries
C. who are traveling abroad
D. DELETE the underlined portion.


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Unwanted eye contact with strangers makes us squirm, and now researchers have figured out why. According to a Reader’s Digest report, looking into someone elses’ eyes makes us more self-aware — and more self-conscious.


B. else’s eyes
C. elses eyes
D. elses eye’s


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Unveiled this year at the London Design Festival, the Hyperloop — also known as the “maglev” — is a train made up of linked pods. Using passive magnetic levitation, it glides above a track inside a tube at more than 500 miles per hour. Magnets cause the pods to levitate, while linear motors propel them forward. Although trains are normally subject to bad weather or to naturally occurring impediments such as trees that have fallen across the tracks, but the maglev travels in a controlled environment, free from climatic influences.


B. and
C. so
D. DELETE the underlined word


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Some of the most powerful telescopes in the world are now peering across vast distances of space. They are watching for the faintest dip of light or wobble that could suggest the presence of another world.


What is the best way to join the sentence at the underlined portion?


A. space, watching
B. space, and watching
C. space, they are watching
D. space; watching


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Columbus, Ohio won a $40 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Smart City Challenge in 2016. By 2017, the city had developed several public-private partnerships that turned the $40 million into $500 million in private funding aimed at supporting a smart city project focused on transportation systems. It is unclear if other cities could pull off such a financial feat. Without government funding and strong partners off the bat, city leaders’ ability to raise sufficient funds for a smart city is an uphill battle that cannot be ignored.


The passage implies that other cities may be unable to replicate Columbus’s success in supporting smart city projects because


A. they have inefficient transportation systems.
B. they lack coordination between public and private entities.
C. their technological infrastructure is outdated.
D. city leaders are hampered by financial regulations.


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Brought back from the brink of extinction, the South American vicuna, a llama-like animal, has attracted the attention of poachers eager to profit from: its prized wool.


B. eager to profit, from its
C. eager to profit from its
D. eager to profit from, its


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Prey-and-predator arms races are not unusual, in the animal kingdom and neither is deception. Deceptive evolutionary adaptations such as camouflage suggest that illusions are not only “errors of perception” but also provide significant advantages to the creatures that produce them.


B. unusual in the animal kingdom,
C. unusual, in the animal kingdom,
D. unusual in the animal kingdom


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A study from the University of Cologne in Germany showed that by cleverly naming dishes with words that mimic the mouth movements associated with eating, restaurants could increase the palatability of the food. Researchers found words that move from the front to the back of the mouth — such as the made-up word “bodok” — were particularly effective. Therefore, the effect seems to work even when people read silently, perhaps because the brain still stimulates the motor movements required to produce speech when reading.


B. However, the effect seems to work
C. Subsequently, the effect seems to work
D. Indeed, the effect seems to work


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To date, astronomers have catalogued thousands of exoplanets, more than a dozen of them are potentially habitable. The most recent is Ross 128b: an Earth-sized planet orbiting a nearby star, it is probably located at a distance that would allow for liquid water.


B. exoplanets, more than a dozen of which
C. exoplanets; more than a dozen of which
D. exoplanet, more than a dozen of these


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In a study of 39 elite cyclists, Oxford University researcher Kieran Clarke and others found the athletes were able to go 400 meters further in half an hour after drinking a ketone drink than after drinking a carbohydrate- or fat-based energy drink. One reason for the increased performance could be that the ketones prevented their bodies from producing too much lactate, which causes people to feel achy after strenuous exercise. Rats on a ketone diet have also run farther on a treadmill and completed a maze faster than rats on a regular diet.


The passage implies that carbohydrate- and fat-based energy drinks


A. may not inhibit the production of lactate.
B. help athletes work out more strenuously.
C. have no effect on athletic performance.
D. are more effective than ketone-based energy drinks.


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Traditional methods of making pottery are still used by a number of Native American tribes, and wares are produced by them for practical use as well as sale to collectors.


B. tribes, wares being produced by them
C. tribes that produce wares
D. tribes, they produce wares


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There are many theories about why flying might leave passengers more vulnerable to crying – sadness at leaving loved ones, excitement about the trip ahead, homesickness. But there is also some evidence that flying itself may also be responsible. An emerging body of research is suggesting that soaring 35,000 ft above the ground inside a sealed metal tube can have strange effects on our minds, affecting our sleep cycles and causing drowsiness.


B. increasing the pressure in our ears and nose.
C. altering our moods and changing our perception.
D. restricting our movements and causing our muscles to stiffen.


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A major reassessment of dinosaurs that began in the 1960s and finally took hold in the 1980s positioned these creatures not as dull evolutionary failures but as active, warm-blooded, animals.


B. active warm-blooded, animals.
C. active, warm-blooded animals.
D. actively warm-blooded animals.


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The current reality of smart cities is that there aren’t any. At the end of the day, most so-called smart cities are just cities with a few or several standout smart projects. Such projects can take shape in a variety of ways. In Pittsburgh, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is piloting a $30 million smart-signal system that utilizes adaptive traffic signals to read traffic conditions and make adjustments to keep traffic flowing. Kansas City invested nearly $15 million in a smart lighting project that will install 200 lights along its new streetcar line. The lights have built-in sensors and cameras that detect the presence of people and can turn off when no one is around to save 20–30 percent in electricity costs. Both efforts represent the potential of smart city technology, but they certainly do not represent the networked, end-to-end planning of an entire smart city.


The references to “adaptive traffic signals” and “a smart lighting project” primarily serve to


A. celebrate the power of technological innovation.
B. call attention to recent developments in urban design.
C. illustrate the exceptional nature of certain projects.
D. emphasize the growing popularity of smart city technologies.


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Tipping as a phenomenon has long fascinated economists: paying extra, even though we are not legally required to do so, seems to go against our own best interest.


B. economists paying extra –
C. economists, paying extra,
D. economists; paying extra


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Over the last several decades, research has effectively disproved the claim that coffee is harmful to health. In fact, data suggest that coffee may offer some health benefits. In comparison to non-coffee drinkers, for example, drinking about three cups of coffee a day appeared to reduce the risk of heart problems.


B. about three cups of coffee a day can reduce people’s risk of heart problems.
C. heart problems are reduced in people who drink about three cups of coffee daily.
D. people who drink about three cups of coffee a day have a reduced risk of heart problems.


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