Online Listening Comprehension Test, December 2012

Listen to each recording twice; then take ten minutes to answer the questions for each recording.
Write your answers as an e-mail to me or as a text message within vkontakte or Facebook. If you
prefer to use handwriting, you can send me a scan or good-quality photo of your answers.

You may notice ads within the Prostopleer applets--sorry about that!! I didn't choose them. Please
let me know right away if the applets don't work.

You don't need to repeat the question when writing your answer; just be sure to use the part numbers
and question numbers.

Links for returning the answers to me are at the bottom of this page. Please answer by January 6!
(Grades are due to Larisa by January 8.)


PART 1: Brian Marsden and Hair Physics

American English; from National Public Radio's radio program "Talk of the Nation: Science Friday."

Listen or
download Hair Physics and Brian Marsden for free on Prostopleer

Listen to the clip twice and then take ten minutes to answer these questions in your own words:
  1. What was Brian Marsden’s profession, and which special aspect of that profession in particular?
  2. Based in part on Marsden’s work, what planet is no longer considered a full planet?
  3. Why was Ira Flatow talking about Brian Marsden particularly on this day’s program?
  4. The production of what film required attention to the physics of hair? Based on what fairy-tale
  5. How much hair do average people have? (That is, how many individual hairs?)
  6. “You want [animated hair] to look kind of like real hair....” Why would you not want this character’s
    animated hair to behave exactly like real hair?
  7. The producers filmed a human stand-in to prepare their animations. What was that person called?
  8. It’s a fairy tale. You can fudge the physics. It’s allowed.” What does this mean?
Notes: 70 feet = 21.336 meters; 6 feet = 1.829 meters; 80 pounds = 36.287 kg; lichen = лишайник.

PART 2: Richard Branson

British English; excerpt from a interview.

Listen or download TED Richard Branson Interview for free on Prostopleer

Listen to the clip twice and then take ten minutes to answer these questions in your own words:
  1. What positive qualities did Branson display at school?
  2. What disability made studying difficult for Branson? How did it lead to “fascinating” board meetings?
  3. What image or metaphor helped him overcome that “fascinating” difficulty?
  4. What was Branson’s mother’s purpose in requiring him to walk alone the last part of the way to his
    grandmother’s house?
  5. What is Branson’s advice to parents? Do you agree?

PART 3: Martial arts

British English: article from the British Council.

Listen or download Martial Arts Article for free on Prostopleer

Listen to the clip twice and then take ten minutes to answer these questions in your own words:
  1. What films or other media mentioned in the article have featured martial arts in some form?
  2. When Rayner says that Jean Jacques Burnel’s enthusiasm “sometimes got the better of him,” what is
    the writer referring to?
  3. What kinds of mental health problems can be aided by practicing martial arts?
  4. Which American and Russian leaders are associated with martial arts in this article?
  5. In what context did Hashimoto refer to the saying, “If you don’t pay attention to your rival you get
    hit on the head”?
  6. Name three professions (other than soldiers) whose practitioners, according to this article, have been
    trained in the martial arts.

PART 4: Laying Ghosts

British English; excerpt from Wireless Theatre Company radio play.

Listen or download Laying Ghosts-mother and son for free on Prostopleer

Listen twice to the conversation between Connie and Gary and then answer these questions in your own words:
  1. Why is Pearl expected to pay for the funeral?
  2. Why does Connie ask, “Were you sad when your Dad died?” Why isn’t the answer obvious?
  3. Give a definition of “some bloke in IT” or paraphrase it in more formal English or translate it into
    American English. Show that you know the meaning of “bloke” and IT.
  4. Gary says, “Sandra and me—we rowed.” What does he mean?

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