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Unit 1. Is There Life on Earth?. About the writer. Art Buchwald (1925- ): well-known humor columnist for the Washington Post. It is a humorous essay. But after reading it you will surely find that the author is most serious in writing it. Why?. Contents.

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unit 1

Unit 1

Is There Life on Earth?

about the writer
About the writer
  • Art Buchwald (1925- ): well-known humor columnist for the Washington Post.
It is a humorous essay. But after reading it you will surely find that the author is most serious in writing it.
  • Why?
  • Pre-activities: Planets in the Solar System
  • Text Reading: What are these?

Comprehension Questions

  • Language Learning
  • Post-activities: Writing
planets in the solar system
Planets in the Solar System
  • 太阳 Sol (or the Sun)
  • 水星 Mercury
  • 金星 Venus
  • 地球 Terra (or the Earth)
  • 火星 Mars
  • 木星 Jupiter
  • 土星 Saturn
  • 天王星 Uranus
  • 海王星 Neptune
  • 冥王星 Pluto
what are these
the Venus Institute of Technology

the Venus Evening Star

Venus Beings

The Grubstart


the flying saucer

the area of Manhattan

the Consolidated Edison Belt

something that looks like a river

metal particles

stalagmite projections

granite formations

What are these?
Manhattan: the commercial and cultural center of New York City, famous for its all buildings and theaters.
Consolidated Edison Belt: Ther is a radiation zone encircling the earth, called the Van Allen Belt. Consolidated Edison is the company that makes and supplies electricity for much of eastern New York State. They burn a lot of coal, which makes air polluted.
Grubstart: In American English there is a word “grubstake”, which means money supplied to a prospector on the condition of sharing in whatever he finds. Here the author has changed “grubstake” into “Grubstart” to mean a supposed government agency in charge of supplying funds to scientific research programs.
Zlich: zlich is a slang word meaning zero or nothing. In our text it is used as if it were a monetary unit such aas yuan or dollar. A native speaker would immediately see the humor in spending billions and billions of nothings.
comprehension questions
Comprehension Questions:
  • Where did the story take place?
  • What were the people doing and talking about?
  • What are the questions from the reporters and what are the answers to the questions from the scientists?
Sum up briefly the various dangers that a Venus Being might encounter if sent onto Earth.
  • After reading the story, is it humorous to you? What do you think is the author’s purpose of writing the story?
  • What will you do to help protect our environment from being seriously polluted?
This is a humorous and satirical essay, and yet the author is most serious in his intention. Art Buchwald tells us that Venusians are researching the human being and trying to explore the possibility of life on Earth. Venusian scientist have come to the conclusion, based on their satellite findings, that there is no life on Earth.
The author’s aim is to bring our attention to the fact that man has polluted the environment to such a degree that he might destroy himself in the end, unless he takes effective measures.
reading alound and memorizing
Reading Alound and Memorizing
  • There was great excitement on the planet of Venus this week. For the first time Venusian scientists managed to land a satellite on the planet Earth, and it has been sending back signals as well as. photographs ever since.
reading alound and memorizing18
Reading Alound and Memorizing
  • The satellite was directed into an area known as Manhattan (named after the great Venusian astronomer Prof. Manhattan, who first discovered it with his telescope 20,000 light years ago).
reading alound and memorizing19
Reading Alound and Memorizing
  • Because of excellent weather conditions and extremely strong signals, Venusian scientists were able to get valuable information as to the feasibility of a manned flying saucer landing on Earth. A press conference was held at the Venus Institute of Technology.
language learning
Language Learning
  • manage signal as well as
  • name after as to feasibility
  • base on compose survive
  • as far as … be concerned
  • originally hazard indicate
  • unfit add to crash&smash
  • set back proceed spend
manage to do sth
manage (to do sth.)

succeed in handling sth. with an effort

  • The little boy managed to climb up on the stair.
  • He managed not to be angry no matter what she said.
signal n v
signal n./v.
  • send out/back a signal
  • a smoke/ turn (traffic)/ fire/ storm signal

v. send a signal or signals to

  • The chairman signaled silence to the audience.
  • Sailors signal SOS (for help) by flags.
  • The teacher signaled us to come closer.
as well as
as well as

in addition to, besides; both … and

as well as的中心词在前,译时往往先译其后的内容

  • He grows vegetables as well as flowers in his garden.
  • She is a talented writer as well as a politician.
name after
name after

give the same name of

  • The Hudson River is named after the English explorer Henry Hudson.
  • Our eldest son was named George after his uncle.
as to
as to

about; concerning

  • I have no more suggestion as to the project.
  • He has no complaint as to his position and salary.

as to 与as for 用于句首时可互换,当指双方心里都明白的某事时多用as to; 而想转入另一话题时多用 as for

  • As to the matter you just mentioned, we are in complete agreement.
  • Much of the land is under water; and as for the grain, most has been ruined.
feasibility n

possibility of being carried out or done

  • The feasibility of the program is being discussed by the committee.
  • A feasibility study is required before the bank agrees to finance a project.
base on
base on

build or found … on; use … as a basis for

  • We should always base our opinions on facts.
  • The book is based on something that really happened.
compose vt
compose vt.

(of parts or elements of sth.) to form a whole

  • England, Scotland and Wales compose the island of the United Kingdom.

be composed of: be made up of 由…构成/组成

  • The water is composed of hydrogen and oxygen.
  • The committee was mainly composed of teachers and parents
survive v
survive v.

vi. remain alive; continue to live or exist 活下来,幸存

  • According to the Theory of Evolution, only the fittest animals survive.
  • I can’t survive on 100 yuan a month.

vt. 1) remain alive 幸免于

  • Few buildings survived the earthquake.
  • The old lady of 80 survived the operation.

2) live long than 比…活得长

  • In a typical family, the wife usually survives the husband by 5 years or longer.
as far as be concerned
as far as … be concerned

as for; in respect of

  • As far as you are concerned, you should put all your heart in study.
  • As far as work is concerned, I always try my best.
concern v n
concern v./n.

be of great concern

  • The situation is of great concern to us all.

concern about/over

  • He was much concerned over his son.

be concerned in/with

  • He couldn’t prove that he was not concerned with the case.

concerning prep./conj.

  • Concerning your application letter, I’m pleased to inform you for an interview.

concerned adj.

  • concerned look, trying to sound concerned
  • Everyone concerned should be informed.
indicate v
indicate v.


  • Ancient Chinese officials would take up the teacup to indicate that it was time for guests to leave.
  • Early results of the election indicate that the Prime Minister will soon lose his job.
unfit a
unfit a.

be unfit to do sth.: be not suitable to do sth.

  • She is so young that it is unfit for her to live by herself.

be unfit for sth.: be not suitable for sth./ doing sth.

  • He is unfit for a job as a teacher because of his impatience.

Note:It is + a. + to do sth.

add to
add to

put sth. to sth. else to increase or strengthen

  • This adds to our difficulties/ information.
  • The music added to our enjoyment.
  • The word is added to the sentence to give vividness.
crash smash
crash & smash

crash: fall or strike suddenly, violently and noisily

  • The fighter plane crashed to the ground after being hit by enemy gunfire.
  • A strong wind came and the empty vase crashed to the floor.

smash: (cause to) break into pieces violently

  • He was extremely angry at her words, so he smashed everything within reach.
  • Tom keeps smashing neighbor’s windows when he plays football in the alley.
set back
set back

cause to put off or get behind schedule; reverse the progress of

  • Bad weather set back the construction of the building by one month.
  • We shall set our clocks back by one hour when summer ends.
proceed vi
proceed vi.

continue after having stopped

  • He waited for the applause to die down and proceeded with his speech.
  • After the break, we will proceed to discuss the problem of the pollution.
spend v
spend v.

spend on sth. / in doing sth.

spend to do sth. (inf.表目的)

  • The boy doesn’t spend much time on his homework.
  • Why are we spending such a great effort to help him?
words to drill








Words to Drill
words to drill40












Words to Drill
phrases expressions
Phrases & Expressions
  • (be) known as : also publicly called; named
  • name after: give the same name as
  • as to : about, concerning
  • base on / upon : use as a basis or fuondation for
  • ----This novel is based on a true story.
phrases expressions42
Phrases & Expressions
  • for one thing…(for another) : in the first place…(in the second place)
  • be composed of : have as members or parts
  • ---Water is composed of hydrogen and oxygen.
  • 对比:Water consists of hydrogen and oxygen.
phrases expressions43
Phrases & Expressions
  • as far as … be concerned : to the degree that it matters to
  • stick up : stand upright; project
  • ----His hair has stuck up straight with fright.
  • give off : emit; send out
  • set back: delay the advance or development of
study practice vocabulary
Study & Practice---Vocabulary
  • “notice” or “pay attention to”
  • notice 是无意识,不刻意地“注意”;是视觉感知
  • pa attention to 是有意识地留心,注意
study practice vocabulary45
Study & Practice---Vocabulary
  • “notice” or “pay attention to”
  • Eg.1 On the way home from the party Nancy asked her mother if she had noticed anything strange in the way the hostess behaved.
  • Eg.2 Obviously too much attention has been paid to the details.
study practice vocabulary46
Study & Practice---Vocabulary
  • “spend” or “pay” or “cost”
  • spend 与 pay 通常是人做主语
  • spend money /time… on something / somebody
  • spend money /time… doing
study practice vocabulary47
Study & Practice---Vocabulary
  • “spend” or “pay” or “cost”
  • pay…for something
  • pay somebody to do something
  • cost 常是 it 或是物做主语
  • cost money /time…to do something
study practice vocabulary48
Study & Practice---Vocabulary
  • “spend” or “pay” or “cost”
  • eg.1 Peter’s aunt is used to a simple way of living. No wonder she doesn’t spend so much money on food or clothing.
  • eg.2 It goes without saying that everyone has to pay to get into the cinema.
  • eg.3 Does it cost a lot to have the recorder repaired?
  • Skill: Coherence
  • Coherence is one of the most important elements in paragraph writing, which requires that each sentence in a paragraph lead naturally and logically to the next in explaining the central idea.
  • Write a paragraph of 120-150 words about why the Venusian scientists conclude there is no life on Earth. Consider the following points before writing:
    • signals and photographs sent back by the satellite
    • the earth’s surface
    • the atmosphere
    • the Consolidated Edison Belt
    • the water
  • Also you are required to include the given connectives:
    • for one thing , for another also finally