The walnut tree produces wood that is used for countless purposes, and is considered the finest wood in the world. The wood is easy to work with, yet it is very hard and durable—and when it is polished, it produces a rich, dark luster. It also shrinks and swells less than any other wood, which makes it especially desirable for fine furniture, flooring, and even gun stocks. In fact, just about every part of the walnut is unusually hard and strong. The nut of the tree is encased inside a very hard shell, which itself is enclosed in a leathery outer covering called a husk. It requires real effort to break through those layers to get at the tasty meat inside. Yet every part of the walnut is useful to people. The outer husk produces a dark reddish stain that is hard to remove from the hands of the person who opens the nut, and this pigment is widely used in dyes and wood stains. The inner shell is used as an abrasive to clean jet engines. And the meat of the nut is extensively used in cooking, ice cream, flavorings—and just eaten raw. Walnut trees exude a chemical into the soil near their roots which can be poisonous to some trees and shrubs. Fruit trees, for example, will not survive if planted too close to a walnut. Many other plants, such as maple trees or ivy, are not affected by the walnut's presence, and are well-suited to grow in its vicinity. 1. What is the topic of this passage?
a. the use of walnut wood in furniture
b. walnut trees
c. where to plant walnuts
d. trees of North America
2. What is the main idea of the passage?
e. Trees are used for many things.
f. Maple trees grow well with walnuts.
g. Walnuts can kill other trees.
h. Walnut trees are valuable when planted correctly.
3. As used in the passage, the underlined word abrasive most nearly means i. rough.
4. The author of the passage probably believes that
m. walnut trees are endangered.
n. people should recycle more
o. people should grow walnut trees if possible.
p. maple trees are not good for furniture making.
5. As used in the passage, the underlined word exude most nearly means q. give off.
s. smell bad.
t. leave the area.
Today, bicycles are elegantly simple machines that are common around the world. Many people ride bicycles for recreation, whereas others use them as a means of transportation. The first bicycle, called a draisienne, was invented in Germany in 1818 by Baron Karl de Drais de Sauerbrun. Because it was made of wood, the draisienne wasn't very durable nor did it have pedals. Riders moved it by pushing their feet against the ground. In 1839, Kirkpatrick Macmillan, a Scottish blacksmith, invented a much better bicycle. Macmillan's machine had tires with iron rims to keep them from getting worn down. He also used foot-operated cranks, similar to pedals, so his bicycle could be ridden at a quick pace. It didn't look much like the modern bicycle, though, because its back wheel was substantially larger than its front wheel. Although Macmillan's bicycles could be ridden easily, they were never produced in large numbers. In 1861, Frenchman Pierre Michaux and his brother Ernest invented a bicycle with an improved crank mechanism. They called their bicycle a vélocipède, but most people called it a "bone shaker" because of the jarring effect of the wood and iron frame. Despite the unflattering nickname, the vélocipède was a hit. After a few years, the Michaux family was making hundreds of the machines annually, mostly for fun-seeking young people. Ten years later, James Starley, an English inventor, made several innovations that revolutionized bicycle design. He made the front wheel many times larger than the back wheel, put a gear on the pedals to make the bicycle more efficient, and lightened the wheels by using wire...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document