Audio Transcripts:
Without your liver, your body wouldn’t be operational—it has over 500 vital
responsibilities! It cleans your blood, removing the toxic chemicals in alcohol and
medication. It also stores vitamins and minerals. Perhaps the most amazing
thing, however, is that it can regenerate itself if it gets damaged.
Audio Transcripts:
The stomach performs many digestive functions, but it acts mainly as a
storage unit for food. An adult’s stomach can expand up to four times its normal
size. Stomach cells produce an acid that kills bacteria. It’s strong enough to
dissolve metal razors, so germs don’t stand a chance!
Audio Transcripts:
The skin is the body’s largest organ. In fact, adults are covered in over two
square meters of it! Skin insulates your body from high temperatures, protects
you from infection, and even manufactures vitamin D from the sunlight it absorbs.
Every minute, you drop 30,000 dead skin cells, so your body has to make a new
layer of skin every month!
Audio Transcripts:
Organs aren’t all internal. Some are external, like the nose. The nose filters
the air that enters your lungs. In an adult, it purifies up to 20,000 liters of air each
day! It also adds moisture to the air that you breathe in. And if all that doesn’t
impress you, listen to this: the nose can identify 10,000 odors!
Audio Transcripts:
Welcome to Fantastic Science, the game show that tests your scientific knowledge!
Today’s contestants are Jordan and Van, and they’ll decide if controversial
statements made about the human brain are facts or myths. (Audience cheers.)
The first question is for Jordan. Myth or fact: listening to classical music will
enhance your mental capability.
Jordan: Fact.
Host: Wrong! Listening to your favorite music causes the brain to release feel-good
chemicals, but it doesn’t make you a more acute thinker. Nice try. Van, brain size
increases intelligence levels.
Host: Correct! The average adult brain weighs three pounds, but a sperm whale’s brain is
17 pounds! Jordan, video games may be popular, but they hinder players’ brain
Jordan: Myth.
Host: Right! They can actually improve gamers’ mental alertness. Now to Van. Your brain
isn’t operational while it’s sleeping.
Uhh . . . fact?
Host: No, myth! Scientists have found that the brain can reinforce recently learned
information during sleep, so you’re more likely to remember things when you wake
up. We’re going to a break, and then it’s on to round two!
Audio Transcripts:
Roy: Hey. Sorry I’m late.
Jennie: We were supposed to meet at 6:30 to study, and now it’s 8:00! Where
were you, Roy?
Roy: I was watching a DVD with my friends and lost track of the time. I’m here
now though. Let’s get down to business!
Aaron: We started studying an hour and a half ago! Plus, it’s Friday, and I have
plans to go to a party. We’re getting ready to call it a day.
Jennie: Aaron, this test accounts for 30 percent of our final grade! I think we
should prolong our study session.
Aaron: The test isn’t until Monday. We have plenty of time to get cracking again
on the weekend, so I’m going to pack it in.
Jennie: Oh, please stay.
Aaron: Sorry, but I’m knocking off. I’ll see you guys tomorrow, OK?
Jennie: Well, I never anticipated that we would study individually, but I guess if
you’d rather leave early, I’ll continue on my own.
Roy: Look, Jennie. In all likelihood, I will fail this test without your help. If you
don’t mind helping me, I’ll study with you for as long as you’d like.
Jennie: Really? Well then, let’s hop to it, Roy!
Audio Transcripts:
Zoe: Pizza is the perfect midnight snack! Thanks for bringing some.
Emily: It’s the one benefit of working at a pizza parlor.
Zoe: I shouldn’t even be eating pizza. I have to watch my figure if I’m going to
be a fashion model.
Emily: That sounds like a flight of fancy if I ever heard one.
Zoe: Hey, be nice. I’m sure that you have a pipe dream of your own.
Emily: I’d like to be a writer after I graduate, but it’s difficult to earn enough
money to live on by writing. My wish is just pie in the sky.
Zoe: That’s not an impossible endeavor for you. I’ve read some of your work,
and you seem like a good writer to me.
Emily: You’re way too kind.
Zoe: Not at all! To tell you the truth, I have another castle in the air. I’d love to
open a coffee shop chain.
Emily: What? That’s so random.
Zoe: Not really. I’m addicted to coffee!
Emily: Well, even if our ideas are only wishful thinking, I think it’s good that we
visualize ourselves doing things we are passionate about.
Audio Transcripts:
Judy: Hey, Dave. Employee evaluations are next week, and I’d like to get your
Dave: OK. Let’s start with whom you plan to promote.
Judy: I was planning to give Morgan a promotion. But she messed up one of our
best customers’ orders last month, and I had to refund them $150. How
can I not find fault with that?
Dave: That was unfortunate. But otherwise, her performance is perfect. Let’s
promote her.
Judy: I’d rather promote Kevin. He has the highest sales numbers, so he has
brought in substantial profits.
Dave: Sorry, but I have to pick holes in that plan. You know that I frown on
disrespectful people, and he has been nothing but insulting to me since he
Judy: Oh. I didn’t know that. What about Kerrie?
Dave: She is really friendly, but I have to jump all over her to motivate her to
Judy: Luke is the same way! He seems to lack enthusiasm for his job. I guess
neither of them deserves to be considered.
Dave: Well, I think a good incentive to get them to work harder would be to
promote them.
You are going to see the following phrases in the article. What do the
underlined words mean? Look them up in a dictionary and explain their
meanings to your partner in English.
mental feats /developmental disorder / aptitude for music
severe brain damage / unbelievable calculations / mysterious organ
Now select the questions you think the author will answer.
a. What are some unusual side effects of severe brain injuries?
b. Can all people with an aptitude for music do fast calculations?
c. Why will the body’s most mysterious organ never be fully understood?
d. What questions are most commonly discussed by doctors regarding
the brain?
e. What are some surprising talents that people with disorders have?
Disabilities and Genius
Even after years of being studied, the brain continues
to hold many secrets. One mystery is why some people
who struggle to complete simple tasks are able to
perform mental feats that would challenge even the
most intelligent. These individuals may hold the key to
discovering how the brain can be trained to work at its
Disabilities and Genius
Ellen Boudreaux was blind by four months old and was later diagnosed
with autism, a developmental disorder. It took her until the age of four to
learn how to walk. Soon after, she taught herself to determine where
obstacles are by making sounds as she moves. Doctors postulate that her
amazing sense of hearing combined with the sounds she makes create a
type of sonar*, like what bats use to fly at night. Her extraordinary hearing
has also given her an aptitude for music. By using her ability to recognize
different tones, she has mastered several instruments. She can recall any
song that she hears and then play it perfectly.
* sonar: a system that uses sound
waves to find the position of objects
Disabilities and Genius
When Kim Peek was born, he had such severe brain
damage that it was believed he could never live
independently. This ended up being partly true. While he
was alive, Kim had difficulty with physical movements,
such as buttoning his shirt; however, he had reading
powers that can only be described as miraculous. When
Kim read, he read one page with his left eye and one with
his right eye. What’s even more impressive is that he
could remember everything he read. He could recall the
content of at least 12,000 books from memory!
Disabilities and Genius
* seizure: a condition in which one’s body
moves uncontrollably for a short time
Although he wasn’t diagnosed with autism until the age of 25, Daniel
Tammet started showing signs of remarkable genius after a series of
childhood seizures*. Daniel can relate colors, shapes, and textures to every
number. To him, these figures look like beautiful landscapes, which makes it
easy for him to do unbelievable calculations in his head. He claims that 333
is the most attractive number. Additionally, Daniel can learn languages with
bewildering ease. Once, Daniel was challenged to learn a language in a
week. He learned the language so well that a native speaker successfully
interviewed him at the end of the week.
These geniuses are examples of why the brain is such a mysterious
organ. If scientists can find the reasons behind the vast variations in mental
abilities, they will achieve great things in the future.
‧ Discussion ‧
Helen Keller was struck deaf and blind after falling ill as a
child. Despite this, she learned to speak and “hear” by
touching others’ lips as they spoke and later became a
motivational speaker. Whom do you consider more talented:
someone who is born with impressive natural abilities or
someone who works hard to reach their goals? Do you know
any related inspirational stories?
A. Complete the Sentences
Fill in the blanks with words from the article. Use the hints to help you.
1. She was _____________
with breast cancer, but fortunately it was
discovered at an early stage. (identify an illness)
miraculous underwater escape from a locked
2. The illusionist made a(n) _____________
box. (unbelievable)
postulated that a person’s height is an inherited trait.
3. It has been _____________
bewildering array of information about interior design
4. You can find a(n) _____________
online. (confusing)
5. The musician showed a natural _____________
for mastering musical
instruments and composing difficult pieces at a young age. (capacity)
disorders frequently experience
6. Some people who suffer from eating _____________
depression. (disease)
B. Make Inferences
Check the statements that the writer would most likely agree with about each person.
Ellen Boudreaux
v 1. Ellen could walk in an unfamiliar area alone.
v 2. If Ellen held a concert, the audience would be impressed.
____ 3. Before turning four years old, Ellen developed normally.
Kim Peek
v 1. Kim could have been a triumphant game show contestant.
____ 2. It is probable that Kim could have learned to cook his own meals.
v 3. After Kim read a movie script, he was able to recite the actors’ lines
while watching the film.
Daniel Tammet
____ 1. Daniel can only master languages similar to his mother tongue.
v 2. Daniel would be successful at a career in translation.
v 3. Daniel is capable of solving difficult math questions quickly.
C. Multiple Choice
Circle the answers.
1. What is the reason for Ellen’s fantastic musical abilities?
a. She learned music to fight off boredom.
b. She can hear individual sounds distinctly.
c. Her parents are celebrated musicians.
d. She knows how far sound travels.
2. What is NOT said about Kim?
a. He could read two pages simultaneously.
b. He was unable to fasten his clothing.
c. It was easier for him to memorize facts that he found fascinating.
d. Kim could answer perplexing questions about things he had read.
C. Multiple Choice
Circle the answers.
3. Why is Daniel able to do complicated calculations so easily?
a. Daniel’s brain perceives a link between numbers and other elements.
b. He has memorized thousands of calculations, so he recalls them easily.
c. The answers come to him during seizures.
d. He relates numbers to different sounds.
4. Which of the following statements is TRUE?
a. Only people that have difficulties will excel at certain tasks.
b. For a brain to function abnormally, it must be damaged in early childhood.
c. It won’t be long before the mysteries of the brain are solved.
d. Research still needs to be done to discover the brain’s full potential.

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