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Tomorrow's World

Read the passage and do the task that follows

Aircraft capable of flying at ten times the speed of sound are being designed for the future. They will take off from an ordinary runway, climb through the atmosphere to the edge of their destination. One day in the 21st century, people will be landing in Tokyo just one hour after taking off from Heathrow Airport in London.

Most of our energy comes from coal, oil and gas. One day these fossil fuels will all be consumed. We should be careful now how we use them and make plans for using less. Our attitudes to energy in the next 20 years will affect the entire planet for centuries. Generating electricity from the wind is a good, clean source of energy to come, but an intrusion on the landscape to others. One critic described them as "like toilet brushes disfiguring the countryside."

Tropical forests are immensely rich. They may cover only six per cent of the earth's surface, but they support over two-thirds of the world's plant and animal species. Scientists believe that a quarter of a million plant species could be made extinct in our children's life time largely because of forest destruction. The forests are a vital source of medicinal plants and so by destroying forests, we may be destroying the drugs which could cure cancer and other serious diseases. In the time it takes you to do this exercise, four more species will have become extinct.

More than three-quarters of the world's fresh water is locked in the ice-caps of the Artic and Antarctica. A small amount of this pure water would be sufficient to transform the dry areas of the world into fertile land. Engineers think that it would be possible to transport an iceberg of up to 10 kilometres in length using a tug the size of a supertanker to pull it. The Sahara desert has the advantage of being close to the sea and could be irrigated using water from the iceberg without the expense of long-distance pipelines.

Pedestrians in the cities of the future could speed through the streets at up to 15 kilometres per hour just by standing still. A network of moving pavements could reduce travelling time and end rush-hour traffic jams forever. A Swiss company has invented a system of high speed moving pavements. Pedestrians will be able to step on and off them as easily as using an ordinary escalator.

Most people would be happy to find a way to stay younger longer and scientists have been working on experiments with hormonal treatments and chemicals to reduce the oxygen content of the blood. But the most promising method of retarding age is through diet. Research has shown that a diet containing all the essential ingredients but with the calorie intake reduced to only three-fifths the normal level could lead to a lifespan of two-fifths longer.

 

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