Will Quality Eat up the US Lead in Software?
If US software companies don't pay more attention to quality, they could kiss their business good-bye. Both India and Brazil are developing a world-class software industry. Their weapon is quality and one of their jobs is to attract the top US quality specialists whose voices are not listened to in their country.
Already, of the world's 12 software houses that have earned the highest rating in the world, seven are in India. That's largely because they have used new methodologies rejected by American software specialists. For example, for decades, quality specialists, W. Edwards Deming and J. M. Juran had urged US software companies to change their attitudes to quality. But their quality call mainly fell on deaf ears in the US - but not in Japan. By the 1970s and 1980s, Japan was grabbing market share with better, cheaper products. They used Deming's and Juran's ideas to bring down the cost of good quality to as little as 5% of total production costs. In US factories, the cost of quality then was 10 times as high: 50%. In software, it still is.
Watts S. Humphrey spent 27 years at IBM heading up software production and then quality assurance. But his advice was seldom paid attention to. He retired from IBM in 1986. In 1987, he worked out a system for assessing and improving software quality. It has proved its value time and again. For example, in 1990 the cost of quality at Raytheon Electronics Systems was almost 60% of total software production costs. It fell to 15% in 1996 and has since further dropped to below 10%.
Like Deming and Juran, Humphrey seems to be winning more praises overseas than at home. The Indian government and several companies have just founded the Watts Humphrey Software Quality Institute at the Software Technology Park in Chennai, India. Let's hope that US lead in software will not be eaten up by its quality problems.
1 Which country has more highest-rating software companies in the world?
B The US.
2 Which of the following statements about Humphrey is true?
A He is now still an IBM employee.
B He has worked for IBM for 37 years.
C The US payed much attention to his quality advice.
D India honors him highly.
3 Why could Japan seize its large market share of software products by the 1970s and the 1980s?
A Because its products were cheaper and better.
B Because its advertising was successful.
C Because the US hardware industry was lagging behind.
D Because it hired a lot of Indian software specialists.
4 The founding of Watts Humphrey Software Quality Institute symbolized
A the Indian determination to move ahead with its software.
B the American ambition to take the lead in software.
C the Japanese efforts to solve the software quality problem.
D the Chinese policy on imparting software.
5 What is the writer worrying about?
A Many US software specialists are working for Japan.
B The software quality has become a worldwide problem.
C The US will no longer be the leading software player in the world.
D India and Japan are joining hands to compete with the US.
Renewable Energy Sources
Today petroleum provides around 40% of the world's energy needs, mostly fuelling automobiles. Coal is still used, mostly in power stations, to cover one-quarter of our energy needs, but it is the least efficient, unhealthiest and most environmentally damaging fossil fuel. Natural gas reserves could plug some of the gap from oil, but reserves of that will not last into the 22nd century either. Most experts predict we will exhaust easily accessible reserves within 50 years. We could fast reach an energy crisis. We need to rapidly develop sustainable solutions to fuel our future. Less-polluting renewable energy sources offer a more practical long-term energy solution. They may benefit the world's poor too. "Renewable" refers to the fact that these resources are not used faster than they can be replaced.
The Chinese and Romans used watermills over 2000 years ago. But the first hydroelectric （水电的） dam was built in England in 1870. Hydroelectric power is now the most common form of renewable energy, supplying around 20% of world electricity. China's Three Gorges Dam, which has just been completed, is the largest ever. At five times the size of the US's Hoover Dam, its 26 turbines （涡轮机） will generate the equivalent energy of 18 coal-fired power stations. It will satisfy 3% of China's entire electricity demand. Surprisingly, some argue that hydroelectric dams significantly contribute greenhouse gases.
In 2003, the first commercial power station to harness tidal currents （潮汐发电） in the open sea opened in Norway. It is designed like windmills, but others take the form of turbines.
As prices fall, wind power has become the fastest growing type of electricity generation - quadrupling （变成四倍） worldwide between 1999"and 2005. Modern wind farms consist of turbines that generate electricity. Though it will be more expensive, there is more than enough wind to provide the world's entire energy needs. Wind farms come in onshore and offshore forms. They can often end up at spots of natural beauty, and are often unpopular with residents. And turbines are not totally benign （无豁的） - they can interfere with radar and leave a significant ecological footprint, altering climate and killing sea birds. Migrating birds may have more luck avoiding them. Scotland is building Europe's largest wind farm, which will power 200,000 homes. The UK's goal is to generate one-fifth of power from renewable sources, mainly wind, by 2020. But this may cause problems, because wind is unreliable.
6 According to the passage, the most popular form of renewable energy in the world is
A hydroelectric power.
B solar energy.
C wind power.
D tidal power
7 China's Three Gorges Dam is
A the first hydroelectric dam in the world.
B of the same size as the US's Hoover Dam.
C capable of supplying 3% of the world electricity demand.
D now the largest of all the hydroelectric dams in the world.
8 Which country has the first commercial power station that makes use of tidal currents?
9 Which of the following statements is true of wind power?
A There is plenty of wind to provide the world's entire energy needs.
B It is the most rapidly growing type of electricity production.
C It may be more expensive.
D All of the above.
10 According to the last paragraph, which of the following statements about wind farms is true?
A Onshore wind farms are better than offshore ones.
B Most residents favour wind farms.
C Wind farms also have disadvantages.
D Wind farms may become a spot of natural beauty.
The value of childhood is easily blurred, （模糊） in today's world. Consider some recent developments: The child-murderers in the Jonesboro, Ark. schoolyard shooting case were convicted and sentenced. Two boys, 7 and 8, were charged in the murder of an 11-year-old girl in Chicago.
Children who commit horrible crimes appear to act of their own will. Yet, as legal proceedings in Jonesboro showed, the one boy who was able to address the court couldn't begin to explain his acts, though he tried to apologize. There may have been a motive - youthful jealousy and resentment. But a deeper question remains: Why did these boys and others in similar trouble apparently lack any inner, moral restraint?
That question echoes for the accused in Chicago, young as they are. They wanted the girl's bicycle, a selfish impulse common enough among kids.
Redemption （拯救） is a practical necessity. How can value be restored to young lives distorted by acts of violence? The boys in Jonesboro and in Chicago will be confined in institutions for a relatively short time. Despite horror at what was done, children are not - cannot be - dealt with as adults, not if a people wants to consider itself civilized. That's why politicians' cries for adult treatment of youthful criminals ultimately miss the point.
But the moral void （真空） that invites violence has many sources. Family instability contributes. So does economic stress. That void, however, can be filled. The work starts with parents, who have to ask themselves whether they're doing enough to give their children a firm sense of right and wrong. Are they really monitoring their activities and their developing processes of thought?
Schools, too, have a role in building character. So do youth organizations. So do law enforcement agencies, which can do more to inform the young about laws, their meaning, and their observance （遵守）.
11 The two boys in Chicago were
D set free.
12 The boys in Jonesboro and Chicago apparently lacked a sense of
A right and wrong.
13 According to politicians, when children commit crimes, they should be treated in the same way as
14 Which of the following does the writer cite as a source of moral void?
A Official corruption.
B Social injustice.
C Family instability.
D Racial discrimination.
15 Which of the following statements is NOT true according to the passage?
A Parents should strengthen moral instruction.
B Schools should help create a moral sense in children.
C Law enforcement agencies should do more to help children understand laws.
D Youth organizations have no role to play in building character.
1. D 2. D 3. A 4. A 5. C
6. A 7. D 8. B 9. D 10. C
11. C 12. A 13. D 14. C 15. D