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Test 1 / 15
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You will hear a journalist reporting on a scientific expedition to a volcano in Papua New Guinea


The journalist comments that themade up the majority of the expedition team.

TVfilm crew

To provide for the team,were grown in the jungle six months in advance.

sweet potatoes

An advance party, led by an expert on, went into the volcano crater before the rest of the team.

climbing

The teeth of afound in the crater were unusual.

frog

Inside the volcano, butterflies the size of awere observed by the team.

paperbackbook

A new species of caterpillar may be given a name based on theof a well-known politician.

eyebrows

Naturalist Steve Backshall’s search for new species was concentrated around theinside the crater.

streams

By using what’s known as athe team was able to discover one of the world’s largest rats.

camera trap

As part of the expedition, some members of the team tried to make a map of theon another island.

caves
Test 2 / 15

You will hear a nutritionist talking about the production and uses of mastic, a spice that is found in the Mediterranean area.


Mastic is collected from a tree which looks like a smaller form of the tree.

olive

Mastic resin will only in the region around the Mediterranean.

harden

Basic tools like are employed to remove impurities from the mastic.

pinssimple pins

Crystals of mastic have been referred to as in literature.

tearssilver tears

The sale of mastic crystals is handled by a to ensure that the growers get a fair deal.

co-operativelocal co-operativecooperativelocal cooperativelocal co-opco-op

It is thought that mastic was first used as by ancient peoples.

chewing guma chewing gum

When mastic is added to it slows down the melting process.

ice creamice-cream

Flavoured drinks are made in which have had mastic burned under them.

potsclay pots

Some people believe that mastic can help in the treatment of health problems, especially some conditions.

stomach
Test 3 / 15

You will hear a radio programme about Biomimicry, the science of copying nature in order to create new technologies.


Biomimicry imitates nature’s structures, processes and to create new ideas.

systems

Velcro was developed after its inventor observed the sticking qualities of one particular plant’s

seed heads

Wood has the beneficial feature of being able to

hold nails

The synthetic ‘wood’ created for the post office will not according to surrounding environmental conditions.

change shape

The Namibian Fog Basking beetle uses its ability to in order to live in harsh conditions.

harvest moisture

A on the beetle’s shell repels water and aids the formation of large droplets.

waxy finish

The Sahara Forest project utilised this concept in the design of a .

greenhouse

The ‘Able Project’ uses from the composting process as an input to the fish farm.

worms

The extinction of one species of has prevented scientists from finding a cure for excess stomach acid.

frog

Architecture, chemical processes, material sciences – all these faculties are beginning to be touched by ideas which are inspired by nature. Where in, the past, man’s inventions have been considered all-powerful, engineers are now turning to nature, over the last 3.8 billion years, has developed a wealth of successful innovations. So, over the last decade there has been a new wave of scientific interest in Biomimicry, measures which emulate nature’s genius. And we are not restricted to copying the structures found in nature. We can also imitate its processes and its systems.

One of the most famous products inspired by nature is the sticky fastening, Velcro, invented in 1941 by the Swiss engineer George de Mestral, who noticed how the seed heads of burdock got tangled in his clothes and his dog’s coat. Meanwhile, engineers at the Centre of Biomimetics at Reading University, have developed a material based on the properties of wood. One of the reasons why wood is so useful to us is that its ability hold nails when they are driven into it. This property is down to the structure of hollow cells, and fibres which hold the nail in place. The new material uses equivalent fibres made of glass fibres, and resin to hold everything in place. The result is a material with the same geometric arrangement as wood, but which has none of the disadvantages of wood – that it changes shape according to moisture levels and temperature. The substitute wood has been developed for the post office. They wanted a container which could contain threatening packages, directing the blast safely and holding any explosive fragments.

But the second realm of Biomimetic is imitating not the just physical form of natural substances, but also the processes that take place in nature. A perfect example of this is the Sahara Forest Project, which has utilised a processed used by the Namibian Fog Basking Beetle. This beetle is able to live in very harsh, desert conditions using its ability to harvest moisture from the air. The beetle comes out into the desert only at night and, due to its black shell, is able to maintain a temperature cooler than that of its surroundings. The moist breeze blows in from the sea, and droplets of water condense on the beetles shell. At sunrise, the beetle lifts its shell, drinks and returns to its hole. What is even more interesting is that the beetle has hydrophilic bumps on its shell which attract water, separated by a waxy finish which repels water. Consequently, the water gathers in tight, spherical droplets, so that hardly any water is wasted. The Sahara Forest Project uses a process which is, in effect, identical to that of the beetle. Seawater evaporates from the front wall of the greenhouse to create ideal cool growing conditions, and condenses to form fresh water on the downwind side of the greenhouse.

However, just mimicking the structure and processes in nature is not enough, if, in doing so, we create tonnes of waste. Human designs are linear. We take resources from the earth, use what we need, and the rest goes to waste. But in the natural world, systems are cyclical. Waste from one organism goes on to become nutrients for another. One scheme which has taken advantage of nature’s cyclical design is ‘the Able Project’ based in Wakefield, Yorkshire. Here, everything is recycled and reintegrated into the system. Consequently the project is able to turn cardboard into caviar. The cardboard is used as animal bedding, and is then composted using vermiculture. The worms are then used to feed fish. Excrement from the fish is collected and recycled into the system.

The age of Biometry is still in its infancy. The novel and yet proven ideas which are inspired by nature are attractive to industries. But we need to be careful. As we lose more animal habitats to development, extinction rates are increasing. And with this we lose the wisdom and ideas embodied in these species. Already, we’ve seen the loss of the Gastric Brooding Frog, an animal able to turn off its production of stomach acid. Had we been able to study this animal before its demise, we could have found a way to alleviate the problems experienced by many sufferers of excess stomach acid.

Test 4 / 15

You will hear someone called Kate Charters describing her career.


Kate’s first job involved selling by phone.

classified advertising

Three years later, she started working for a company called .

Soundcraft Electronics

When she joined Visnews, she first worked in the company’s

film library

The videos was made by Visnews were on topics of special interest.

documentaries

The videos was made by Visnews were sold in shops and by methods.

direct marketing

At the Castle Communications, one “site deal” involved holding a at a theme park.

launch event

She returned to Visnews and is currently in charge of its .

Special Locations Departmentoperation

Kate’s present job involves providing companies with the services of as well as with certain facilities and technology.

camera crews

Throughout her career. she has been given valuable assistance by someone who is employed by a .

PRPublic Relations Agency