Question of the Day January



Given that most people imagine robots as large, autonomous machines covered in blinking lights and guided by artificial intelligence, but the reality is that robots come in all sorts of forms and sizes.


B. Although most people
C. Insofar as most people
D. Most people


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Every culture has its own unique music that is unlike the music of any other culture, but some researchers have hypothesized that certain features and patterns hidden among the notes and rhythms are common to all cultures. Until now, however, evidence for these potentially universal features has been lacking.


B. that is like no other culture’s music
C. that is shared by no other culture
D. DELETE the underlined portion


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No matter their design, all skates work by the same common principle: as the blade travels over ice, it melts a thin layer of water that allows the skater to glide. However, the speed and function of a skate depends on the shape and size of the blade and boot. Blade thickness and boot sturdiness affect speed, and a long blade makes for a faster skate.


B. depend
C. has depended
D. would depend


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There are a handful of substances clearly demonstrated to cause sleep. Including a molecule called adenosine, which appears to build up in certain parts of the brains of waking animals and drain away during slumber.


B. sleep, including a molecule called adenosine, which
C. sleep, including a molecule called adenosine; which
D. sleep, they include a molecule called adenosine, which


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As the son of an electrical worker, Einstein learned about physics not only by reading but also by observing firsthand the technology they’re applications could produce.


B. their
C. its
D. it’s


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The brain’s default network consists of a series of regions that are activated when people engage in spontaneous thinking, such as daydreaming and imagining. This network may play a key role in idea generation or brainstorming—thinking of several possible solutions to a problem.


Which of the following is the LEAST acceptable alternative to the underlined word?


A. mobilized
B. stimulated
C. animated
D. inspired


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Recent findings indicate that individuals who demonstrate high levels of creativity are better able to engage brain systems that don’t typically work together. Interestingly, the results are consistent with recent MRI studies of jazz musicians improvising melodies, poets writing new lines of poetry, and illustrators sketching ideas for a book cover.


Which option provides an example most similar to the examples already in the sentence?


B. scientists conducting a laboratory experiment.
C. lawyers doing research for an important case.
D. chefs preparing a complex recipe.


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The complexity of understanding even simple speech is fully appreciated by computer scientists, who since the 1950s have struggled to create a machine capable to respond to human language.


B. in responding
C. of responding
D. responding


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The sandhills of Nebraska form the largest sand dunes in North America. These dunes spread for more than 20,000 square miles, covering more than a quarter of the state.


What is the best way to combine the sentences at the underlined portion?


A. North America, and these dunes spread
B. North America: they spread
C. North America; and spreading
D. North America, but they spread


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Visit the grocery store on an empty stomach, and you will probably come home with a few things, you did not plan to buy. But hunger pangs are not the only culprit behind impulse purchases. The location of store displays also influences shopping choices—and may make or break some healthy eating habits.


B. things, that you
C. things that, you
D. things you


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Some studies show even relatively mild levels of hypoxia (oxygen deficiency) can prevent people from thinking clearly. At oxygen levels equivalent to altitudes above 12,000 feet, he or she may begin to show measurable changes in memory and decision-making abilities. This is why aviation regulations require that pilots wear supplementary oxygen masks if the cabin air pressure is greater than that found at 12,500 feet.


B. one
C. they
D. you


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Along with bees and spiders, snakes have a bad reputation. But contrary to popular belief, these creatures are not normally aggressive. Even rattlesnakes rarely bite unless provoked or threatened. If treated promptly, however, their bites are rarely dangerous.


B. consequently,
C. moreover,
D. meanwhile,


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Physicist Michio Kaku, the author of several best-selling books about science, has gained popularity in the mainstream media because of his deep knowledge, and accessible manner of presenting complex scientific subjects.


B. because of his deep knowledge and accessible manner
C. because of his: deep knowledge and accessible manner
D. because of his deep knowledge and accessible manner,


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The opening of the Empire State building coincided with the start of the Great Depression. As a result, much of the new skyscrapers’ office space remained empty for months.


B. skyscraper’s
C. skyscrapers
D. skyscrapers’s


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The koala, which is found in coastal areas of the Australian mainland’s eastern and southern regions, can be easily recognized by its stout, tail-less body; large head, and spoon-shaped nose.


B. stout, tail-less, body, large head, and spoon-shaped nose.
C. stout, tail-less body, large head, and spoon-shaped nose.
D. stout, tail-less body, large head, and, spoon-shaped nose.


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In ancient Mesopotamia, myths were recorded on clay tablets that writers ascribed with cuneiform derived from Sumerian pictographs. The decision to use clay for a writing surface was ingenious: other writing surfaces people have used in the past deteriorate easily, but not clay, which has proven to be the most durable writing surface ever used.


B. inscribed
C. subscribed
D. prescribed


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Not only have amateur astronomers contributed to many important discoveries, but astronomy also remains one of the few sciences in which non-professionals can still play an active role for.


B. in which non-professionals can still play an active role.
C. where non-professionals can still play an active role.
D. that non-professionals can still play an active role.


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Since the early twentieth century, the advertising industry has been a major cultural and economic force, involving almost every form of popular media. The most common goal of advertising is to drive consumer behavior toward a commercial offering, however, political advertising, which aims to convince voters to favor a particular candidate, occurs frequently as well.


B. offering, however
C. offering however,
D. offering; however,


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Best known as an artist and photographer, Carrie Mae Weems’s first camera was used for political purposes, taking advantage of her position as a union organizer to document the 1960s labor movement.


B. Best known as an artist and photographer, Carrie Mae Weems used her first camera for political purposes and
C. Carrie Mae Weems, who was best known as an artist and photographer, used her first camera for political purposes,
D. First used for political purposes, Carrie Mae Weems was best known as an artist and photographer,


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When Frank Gehry and his wife bought an existing home in 1977 in Santa Monica, California, the neighbors did not have the slightest idea that the corner residence would soon become an architectural landmark. Gehry, however, wanted to transform the house. His solution was daring for the 1970s: he cut walls, dropped ceilings, and wove the remains with a new architectural framework. From the moment the house was built, Gehry’s neighbors were furious, and controversy ensued.


The writer is considering adding the following phrase to the end of the underlined sentence (placing a period after mesh).

made of industrial shell plywood, glass wire, galvanized metal and metal mesh.

Should the writer make this addition there?


A. Yes, because it provides specific details that help the reader picture the house.
B. Yes, because it explains why Gehry chose such unconventional materials for the renovation.
C. No, because it fails to describe the house’s appearance before Gehry transformed it.
D. No, because it blurs the paragraph’s focus on the reaction of Gehry’s neighbors to the house.


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Although it was not the first satellite to be launched, Vanguard 1 was still a remarkable achievement. In addition to demonstrating the technology of a new launcher system, the ground station network, and solar cells, the satellite showed how our planet bulges out around the equator. Equipped with an instrument to measure atmospheric density, it provided the first-ever measurements of the Earth’s tenuous outer atmosphere and an estimate of the number of micrometeorites surrounding the planet – all vital information for future spacecraft.


Based on information in the passage, Vanguard 1 was a “remarkable achievement” because it


A. demonstrated the tenuousness of the Earth’s atmosphere.
B. revealed a lack of uniformity in the earth’s shape.
C. provided an estimate of the number of micrometeorites in space.
D. measured the power generated by solar cells on Earth.


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Scientists have known for many years that caffeine stimulates the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine, which produces the euphoria and pleasant feelings that people often associate to their first cup of coffee in the morning.


B. with
C. on
D. DELETE the underlined word.


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The nine-banded armadillo has two methods of walking through water for short distances, it can walk underwater holding its breath for as long as six minutes, and for long distances, it can increase its buoyancy by swallowing air to inflate its stomach.


B. water, for short distances,
C. water. For short distances,
D. water for short distances


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Problems with food safety can dissuade people from buying and weaken consumer trust in a particular type of food; however, manufacturers and distributors stand to gain from ensuring that the food system is safe.


B. therefore,
C. nevertheless,
D. moreover,


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Swimming with wildlife can be a life-changing experience. Tiny seahorses delight travelers with their strangely curled tails and bright camouflage while dolphins, which mesmerize onlookers with their acrobatic tricks, keen intelligence, and shiny coats.


B. dolphins they mesmerize onlookers with their acrobatic tricks,
C. dolphins that mesmerize onlookers, with their acrobatic tricks
D. dolphins mesmerize onlookers with their acrobatic tricks,


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The current world record for pumpkin growing is held by Beni Meier, a Swiss accountant who grew a pumpkin that weighs in at 2,323.7 pounds – roughly the same as a small car.


B. pounds. Roughly
C. pounds, this is roughly
D. pounds; roughly


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For decades, imaginative engineers and policymakers have dreamt of ways to send human beings to Mars. Some proposals were designed only to inspire. Others truly aimed to put boots on the Martian surface. But they all have one thing in common: they’ve never left the drawing board.


As it is used in the passage, “aimed” most nearly means


A. directed
B. struggled
C. propelled
D. attempted


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Merlin Tuttle, one of the world’s most respected experts on bats and the author of The Secret Lives of Bats: My Adventures with the Most Misunderstood Mammals, aims to demand popular misconceptions about these often-feared denizens of the night. His work focuses on helping people understand that bats are highly beneficial creatures that make safe neighbors for anyone who leaves them alone.


B. challenge
C. surpass
D. beat


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In the 1950s, television was the hot technology of the day. While just 9 percent of homes in the United States boasted a TV set in 1950, 56 percent had owned one by 1954, and sales continued to boom for the following decade.


B. have owned
C. owned
D. own


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Astronomers hunting for planets outside our solar system keep finding them in the most unexpected places. There are boiling-hot Jupiters that hug their stars, rocky worlds like Earth that spin around multiple suns, and even rogue planets that sail unbounded through the galaxy. Now, astronomers using a gravitational magnifying glass have found a Venus-like planet orbiting a “failed star”—a massive but incredibly dim brown dwarf. This rarely-seen pairing offers clues to the way planets and moons form, which may, in turn, help in the quest to find habitable worlds, whether they are Earth-like planets or life-friendly moons.


The passage suggests that the discovery of a Venus-like planet orbiting a “failed star”


A. is a highly infrequent occurrence.
B. definitively accounts for how planets and moons form.
C. could happen again in the near future.
D. might explain why moons can resemble planets.


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Increasingly, we are learning that humans and animals are not the only organisms that use sound to communicate. Plants and forests use them as well. Plants detect vibrations in a frequency-selective manner, using this “hearing” sense to find water by sending out acoustic emissions and to communicate threats.


B. it
C. some
D. these


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