来源：上外培训网 发布时间：2015-09-10 作者：
Owning an encyclopedia—or “a set of encyclopedias”, as we used to say—was a pretty big deal for families of modest means, an unaffordable luxury for many of the folk in my hometown. And now it's all free—or will be as soon as Britannica works out the bugs.
The reason it's free is the Britannica, whose hard-copy sales are down some 80 percent since 1990, is forced to compete with Microsoft-s dominant Encarta Encyclopedia.
But the encyclopedia is just one small illustration of the explosion both in knowledge and in our access to it since Thomas Jefferson's modest book collection formed the nucleus of the Library of Congress.Not only does my own house now contain more books than Jefferson ever owned, but my access to public libraries, bookstores and, of course, the Web, gives my family information resources beyond the imagination of world-class scholars a short time ago.
I've just had a phone call from a friend who tells me that, in preparation for an upcoming trip to Benin, she's downloaded 75 to 100 pages of information, from a score of sites, on that West African country—information on everything from the local currency, political situation and weather to the latest local news and the street address of the American embassy.
“I'm starting to feel almost like I know the place, even though I've never been there,” she said. Marco Polo, eat your heart out.
7. Which of the following best expresses the meaning of the sentence “Marco Polo, eat your heart out.” (Para.4)?
(A) Marco polo would be sad to know about the easy access to information about the world.
(B) Marco polo would sincerely welcome the information age.
(C) Marco polo would be happy to learn to use the Web.
(D) Marco polo would never believe the story from the author's friend.
Nor is it just information that is so profusely available.
Think of the difficulties confronting a 19th-century music lover. He could, of course, hear local folk artists.
But if he had a fondness for, say, Bach or Beethoven, he'd have to hire an orchestra and a place for it to perform—which means he'd have to be wealthy. Today, any teenager with a CD player (or even an FM radio) can hear almost any music of his of her choosing, performed by top musicians, virtually at will. The same youngster could, at a whim, look at tens of thousands of paintings from the National Gallery of Art.
Think of laws forbidding anyone to teach slaves to read. Think of Hitler's book burnings. Think of all the attempts over the years to enforce either orthodoxy or the status quo by putting learning off-limits, and you begin to sense the power of what is happening. The walls of caste and class have not been razed, but they are suddenly, irrevocably, more porous.
Think of… Think of… Think of：并列的内容不太可能成为主题
And yet not completely porous.
The pertinence of the “digital divide” is a reminder that some Americans remain cut off from the power of the knowledge revolution.
cut off from：被……排除在外
We have to get serious not merely about the technology but also the psychology of bridging that divide. We have to infect our turned-off adults and our uninspired children with the desire to know more of what is within their grasp already and the oceans more that shortly will be.
We have to…We have to 并列句，不太可能是主题句
If that's true of end-of-the-century America, it is immeasurably worse for much of the rest of the world. As U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan remarked in a recent speech, “Half the worlds population has never even made, or received, a telephone call.”
9. The author quotes U.N. Secretary Generals remark in the last paragraph mainly to demonstrate that _________.
(A) telephone is more important to the Web than the poor
(B) digital revolution will be welcomed by the poor
(C) the gap between the rich and the poor can be wider in the information age
(D) half the world's population will benefit from knowledge explosion
10. The last two paragraphs of the passage can be perceived as __________.
(A) the summary of the whole passage
(B) the introduction of the concept “digital divide”
(C) the prediction about America in the new century
(D) the warning of issues behind technological progress
8. Which of the following is NOT true according to the passage?
(A) Both Compton's and World Book are encyclopedias.
(B) Encarta Encyclopedia is giving way to Encyclopedia Britannica.
(C) The sales of Encyclopedia Britannica have been going down dramatically over the past decade.
(D) Encyclopedia Britannica opens its Web site to attract more readers.
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