SPE003 Reading Comprehension

Section 3: Reading Comprehension

Questions 1 – 5: Choose the best multiple-choice answer for each question.

In nature, hermit crabs have a bluish color when they are freshly molted. A hermit crab's front half is covered with a hard exoskeleton, like most crabs, but its long abdomen has a softer exoskeleton that can adapt to fit into a shell. The animals molt as they grow, shedding their exoskeletons—by building up water pressure in their bodies to split them—and creating new, larger ones to accommodate their larger bodies. There are hundreds of species of hermit crabs, and they range in size from a fraction of an inch to nearly the size of a coconut. (Excerpt from 'It would be shellfish not to share these hermit crab facts', Smithsonian.org, 2021)

What is the main idea of the paragraph?

hermit crabs vary in size
why hermit crabs are blue
how hermit crabs adapt
hermit crabs make good pets

Cybercriminals are constantly innovating their tactics, exploiting vulnerabilities, and breaching defences with alarming precision. Consequently, businesses must adopt a proactive approach – one that not only responds to attacks, but also anticipates and thwarts them before they materialise. To help security teams deal with these endless attacks, AI is becoming an essential ally. AI's ability to analyse vast amounts of data, identify patterns, and make intelligent decisions in real time has positioned it as a game-changer in the ongoing battle against cyber threats. As foundational models continue to evolve, AI is a solution businesses should certainly consider implementing when it comes to combatting these risks and threats. (Excerpt from 'Generative AI is changing the cybersecurity game', technologymagazine.com, 2023)

Why is AI considered a game-changer in the ongoing battle against cyber threats?

It can respond to attacks at the same speed as people
It exploits vulnerabilities and breaches defenses.
It can predict and prevent attacks.
It can analyze small amounts of data.

A restaurant in China that challenged its customers to eat more than 100 dumplings in return for a free meal has fallen foul of authorities, who are investigating whether it has violated the country’s anti-food waste law.

Local authorities in Yibin City in the southwestern province of Sichuan swooped on the restaurant after hearing of its “king of big stomach challenge,” the state-affiliated news outlet The Cover reported this week.

The challenge reportedly involved patrons competing to eat 108 chaoshous, or spicy wonton dumplings, as quickly as possible to win a free meal and additional prizes.

To drum up interest, the restaurant had advertised the offer on social media to entice patrons only to find itself in the hot seat when the State Administration for Market Regulation said it would open an investigation into whether it had breached the law surrounding food waste.

While eating contests are relatively common in Western countries and can bring fame for their winners – like Joey Chestnut, who last week won Nathan’s Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest in Coney Island by downing 62 hot dogs in 10 minutes – they can be a sensitive matter in China.

Many in the country still have memories of the famine of the 1950s and 60s that killed an estimated 45 million people.

The Cover said the restaurant, which it did not name, was one of several being probed by the authorities over similar competitions.

Chinese leader Xi Jinping has in the past called food waste “shocking and distressing” and in March this year said agricultural supplies were like the foundation of national security.

The law against wasting food was enacted in 2021, following pointed government criticisms of online bloggers who live-streamed themselves binge eating to draw in viewers. Many of their accounts were subsequently suspended by the social media platforms.

Under the law, restaurant owners can be fined up to 10,000 yuan ($1,400) if their establishments “induce or mislead customers to order excessively to cause obvious waste.”

Radio and television stations, as well as online video and audio providers, face a maximum fine of 10 times that amount if they are found to be involved in “making, publishing, promoting programs or audio messages about eating excessively and binge eating and drinking.”

The restaurant in Yibin “demonstrates behaviors of binge eating and drinking and inducing customers to order excessively,” the Cover said, citing the local market regulator.

However, some Chinese internet users have criticized the authorities for overreaching.

“Is this counted as a waste? Why not let people compete for the biggest eater? Will the food not consumed there actually go to the poor?” wrote one user on Weibo, China’s version of Twitter.

Another user pointed to the country’s poor track record on food safety, which has included scandals ranging from contaminated baby milk powder to the use of “gutter oil” – recycled oil tainted with food waste or even sewage.

“You didn’t regulate food safety … but this?” the user said. (Excerpt from 'Authorities swoop on Chinese restaurant that challenged customers to eat 108 dumplings', cnn.com, 2023)

Why did the restaurant attract the attention of authorities?

Possible violation of regulations regarding excessive food consumption
Failure to comply with social media advertising standards
Hosting an eating contest without proper permits
Offering free meals to customers
Why do eating contests create controversy in China?
They lead to an increase in food prices
They clash with Chinese cultural traditions
They evoke memories of the famine that occurred decades ago
They often result in international media coverage
How did the law against wasting food impact some online bloggers?
Their accounts were suspended due to excessive binge eating content
They were encouraged to participate in eating contests
They were required to promote responsible food consumption
Their social media platforms were criticized for food safety violations
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