Question of the Day November




As I looked down on the sleepy Bavarian town from the top of the tower, it was hard to picture the area as being anything other than tranquil. It was, however, a violent and otherworldly event, an asteroid strike occurring approximately 15 million years ago – that led to the strange reality of Nördlingen becoming Germany’s diamond-clad town.


B. event, an asteroid strike,
C. event – an asteroid strike
D. event: an asteroid strike


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About 10,000 years ago, members of the pumpkin and squash family have came dangerously close to extinction. Only our ancient ancestors’ drive to domesticate valuable crops and animals saved these gourds.


B. have come
C. had came
D. came


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Like today’s astronauts, future space colonists are likely to be selected on the basis of their suitability for long-duration spaceflight. They might have good natural resistance to radiation, high bone density, or they possess strong immune systems.


B. possessing strong immune systems.
C. strong immune systems.
D. possess strong immune systems.


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Far from being glorified pricelists, restaurant menus are sophisticated marketing tools that can nudge customers towards certain choices. Restaurant menus can even tell us what to think.

“Even the binding around the menu is passing us important messages about the kind of experience we are about to have,” explains Charles Spence, a professor in experimental psychology and multisensory perception at the University of Oxford. “There are a lot of elements on a menu that can be changed to nudge the customer in one way or another.”


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


A. transmitting
B. denying
C. permitting
D. granting


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Over the past several decades, long-distance running has rushed in popularity. The number of finishers in all US marathons has grown from fewer than 300,000 in 1995 to more than 500,000 in 2016. This year, the entry quota for the largest half-marathon in the US was filled in a record 26 minutes.


B. flooded
C. gushed
D. surged


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In addition to the Macy’s Day Parade in New York City, Macy’s also sponsored Pittsburgh’s Celebrate the Season Parade. Which was held two days after the main event between 2006 and 2013.


B. Parade; it was held
C. Parade, it was held
D. Parade, being held


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Biofuels and lighter engines are an innovation, that could boost fuel efficiency, reducing pollutants and making airplane travel less harmful to the environment.


B. an innovation that could boost
C. innovations, that could boost
D. innovations that could boost


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Gravity forces Earth-bound bodies to work a surprising amount, even when they are at rest. However, such forces no longer apply in space. Muscles quickly grow weaker, and bones become more prone to breakage. Astronauts can lose roughly one to two percent of their bone mass each month, the greatest losses occur in their lower backs and legs.


B. month; and the greatest losses occur
C. month, with the greatest losses occurring
D. month, but the greatest losses occur


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As the crops grown around the world have shrunk to just a handful of foods, regional and local crops have become scarce or disappeared altogether. Wheat, rice and corn, plus palm oil and soybeans, are what we all eat now—the same type and the same amount.


Which of the following would NOT be an acceptable alternative to the underlined word?


A. decreased
B. dwindled
C. compressed
D. declined


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Circadian rhythms dictate many of the body’s most fundamental processes, including eating, sleeping and hormone secretion. Every organism previously studied—from humans to hamsters to fruit flies to bacteria—more or less follows the 24-hour day/night cycle. When the scientists measured the internal clocks of trashline orb weavers, however, they saw something extraordinary: The spiders ran on an 18.5-hour day, the shortest natural circadian cycle ever observed.


The discovery of trashline orb weavers’ 18.5-hour circadian cycle can best be described as


A. unprecedented
B. controversial
C. inexplicable
D. tentative


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Recognized today as one of the world’s leading authorities on the Sphinx, archaeologist, Mark Lehner, has conducted field research on the pyramids at Giza during most of the 37 years since his first visit to Egypt.


B. Sphinx; archaeologist, Mark Lehner
C. Sphinx, archaeologist Mark Lehner
D. Sphinx archaeologist Mark Lehner,


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Coffee rust has plagued farmers for more than a century. When a tree gets infected by it, its leaves produce a brown, thin powder when scratched, pretty much like iron rust. The disease, caused by the fungus Hemileia vastatrix, also de-colors the bush’s leaves from a bright green to a brownish yellow. In the end, the tree loses all its leaves, as well as its ability to produce beans.
Coffee plants flourish in soil that is low in acid but high in nitrogen. In the late 19th century, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, and other countries in Southeast Asia were the world’s major exporters of coffee, but in a matter of decades, their coffee industries were nearly destroyed.


Which of the following provides the best transition to the information that follows?


B. If allowed to spread, the disease can have dramatic consequences.
C. Temperatures in countries outside the tropics are too variable for coffee trees to thrive.
D. Coffee rust typically infects plants grown at elevations below 5,000 feet.


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Native to South America, the cashew plant was brought by the Portuguese to India around 1560 and had spread east into Asia and south into Africa during the seventeenth century.


B. has spread
C. spread
D. will spread


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According to marine biologist Gil Rosenthal, distance and motion often makes it difficult for certain predators to perceive fine details on the bodies of their prey.


B. often make
C. has often made
D. often making


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The architect Renzo Piano earned a reputation as an innovator for his design of Paris’s Pompidou Center. The Center’s exterior consisted of brightly colored tubes and marked a radical break with tradition.


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


A. Center, whose exterior consisted of brightly colored tubes that marked
B. Center, so its exterior consisting of brightly colored tubes marking
C. Center, its exterior consisted of brightly colored tubes that would mark
D. Center; and whose exterior consisted of brightly colored tubes that marked


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In a recent Job Outlook survey, employers rated the “ability to verbally communicate with persons inside and outside the organization” as the most important quality in perspective workers.


B. for perspective
C. in prospective
D. to prospective


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Reading fiction allows people to understand other people’s actions by entering into characters’ minds and seeing situations from their interior points of view. In fact, recent studies suggest that people, who read novels regularly, tend to have higher levels of empathy.


B. people who read novels regularly,
C. people, who read novels regularly
D. people who read novels regularly


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Dinoflagellates emit blue light when disturbed, which is why they can be seen sparkling over wave crests, around boats or when a hand or paddle runs through them. These tiny creatures are the most common source of bioluminescence at the ocean’s surface. So-called bioluminescent bays such as in Puerto Rico and Jamaica are among the best-known places to witness the glow. However, the ephemeral phenomenon can be found throughout the ocean where there are dense gatherings of dinoflagellates. Sometimes dinoflagellates’ population increases rapidly, causing blooms, which by day are coloured a less attractive red-brown, sometimes known as red tides. And some, but not all, of these red tides are poisonous.


The passage implies that a rapid increase in dinoflagellates


A. can be harmful to other creatures.
B. improves dinoflagellates’ ability to produce light.
C. occurs primarily in warm waters.
D. is associated with the emission of blue light.


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Ammonia is a waste product that can be toxic to animals, however, plants, including phytoplankton, prize ammonia as the most energy-efficient way to build new cells.


B. animals however
C. animals however,
D. animals, but


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Hanging low on the horizon, ancient Polynesian mariners were helped by bright stars to navigate between the many islands of the Pacific Ocean.


B. Bright stars, which acted as compasses that helped ancient Polynesian mariners navigate between the many islands of the Pacific Ocean.
C. Bright stars acting as compasses helped ancient Polynesian mariners navigate the many islands of the Pacific Ocean.
D. Bright stars acted as compasses, they helped ancient Polynesian mariners navigate between the many islands of the Pacific Ocean.


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In 1977, the MIT professor Thomas J. Allen examined communication patterns among scientists and engineers and found that the farther apart their desks were, the less likely they were to communicate. At the 30-meter mark, the likelihood of regular communication approached zero. The expectation was that information technology would change that. Recently, therefore, researcher Ben Waber discovered that communication tools intended to erase distance are used largely among people who see one another face-to-face.


B. however,
C. moreover,
D. indeed,


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The planet Venus is believed to have contained Earth-like oceans at some point in they’re history, but these bodies of water evaporated as temperatures rose.


B. their
C. it’s
D. its


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It isn’t yet clear how much plastic is consumed by corals in the wild, or what harm it might do to these important marine organisms, which are already threatened by environmental dangers like warming seas and pollution. But understanding why plastic might appeal to them is important, especially because some particles appear to get stuck in the corals, potentially disrupting their digestive process.


Hundreds of chemicals are mixed into plastics to achieve certain textures or other characteristics. Because the corals sense the presence of food with receptors, it would not be all that surprising if some chemical additives mimicked substances that set off the corals’ appetites, suggested Alexander Seymour and Austin Allen, who were both graduate students at Duke University when they led this study.



In the last sentence, “set off” most nearly means


A. revealed
B. stimulated
C. responded
D. compensated for


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Chunks of ice and dust, which make their home in corners of the galaxy far beyond Pluto, and sometimes become dislodged and enter the solar system as streaky comets.


B. Pluto, they
C. Pluto and
D. Pluto,


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Thousands of years ago, two microscopic spores spawned and created a monster. It grew — up to three feet a year — sending out dark, gnarly, threadlike organs called rhizomorphs that explored the subterranean darkness, foraging for food. Now it’s a nebulous body, a tangled mat beneath the Oregon soil that occupies an area the size of three Central Parks and may weigh as much as 5,000 African elephants.


Its scientific name is Armillaria ostoyae, but you can call it The Humongous Fungus. It’s the largest known terrestrial organism on the planet, according to the United States Forest Service. It’s also a deadly forest pathogen.


Although none (that we know of) are as big, there are many others in the Armillaria genus. These fungi cause root rot disease in plants in forests, parks, orchards and vineyards across North America, Europe and Asia. What sets them apart from other fungi is those stringy rhizomorphs that find weak trees, colonize their roots, kill and eat them.


The passage indicates that “stringy rhizomorphs” are


A. beneficial to trees and other plants.
B. unique to members of the Armilliaria genus.
C. a common characteristic of fungi.
D. destroyed by exposure to light.


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For years, seismologists have been trying to identify microquakes. Earthquakes so tiny they don’t even register on traditional measurement tools. Identifying microquakes can help scientists understand earthquake behavior and help them predict dangerous seismic events.


B. microquakes; earthquakes
C. microquakes, earthquakes
D. microquakes, and earthquakes


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Self-portraiture isn’t just a byproduct of the smart phone. Since as early as the fifteenth century, artists across different mediums use self-portraits as a way to meditate on the world around them and their places within it. More than just capturing physical features, these images allow artists to channel their beliefs into their work in ways that are both revealing and revolutionary.


B. used
C. have used
D. had used


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The strings of letters that make up genes are largely useless on their own; instead, like blueprints for the many proteins in the body. To actually build something, or be expressed, certain genes must be switched on. Spaceflight seems to affect the level of this expression for some genes—especially those that play a role in the immune system, DNA repair, and bone growth.


B. own, instead like blueprints,
C. own. Instead, they are like blueprints
D. own instead being like blueprints


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In some form or another, doughnuts have existed for so long that archaeologists keep turning up what look like fossilized bits of them in the middle of prehistoric settlements. But the doughnut proper, (if that’s the right word), supposedly came to Manhattan, then still New Amsterdam, under the unappetizing Dutch name of olykoeks—“oily cakes.”


B. proper, (if that’s the right word)
C. proper (if that’s the right word),
D. proper (if that’s the right word)


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For cost-conscious clothing shoppers in 1920, it must have seemed like a miracle: men’s suits in a choice of 50 different styles for a mere 60 cents each (about $7.66 today). What’s more, when a suit got dirty, you could easily clean it—with an eraser. The first rubber erasers had been produced in England more than a century earlier. Paper clothing had arrived, largely imported from Germany and Austria, where World War I shortages of wool and other materials had spurred its development.


The writer is considering deleting the underlined information. Should the writer do this?


A. Yes, because the passage does not state that rubber erasers could be used to clean the suits.
B. Yes, because the passage focuses primarily on paper clothing.
C. No, because the passage indicates that paper clothing was erasable.
D. No, because the passage states that the suits seemed like a miracle.


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