Chocolate – there’s nothing quite like it, is there? Chocolate is simply delicious. What is chocolate? Where does it come from?
Christopher Columbus was probably the first to take cacao beans from the New World to Europe in around 1502. But the history of chocolate goes back at least 4,000 years! The Aztecs, who lived in America, through that their bitter cacao drink was a divine gift from heaven. In fact, the scientist Carolus Linnaeus named the plant Theobroma, which means “food of the gods”
The Spanish explorer Hernando Cortex went to America in 1519. He visited the Mexican emperor Montezuma. He saw that Montezuma drank cacao mixed with vanilla and spices. Cortez took some cacao home as a gift to the Spanish King Charles. In Spain, people began to drink Cortez’s chocolate in drink with chili peppers. However, the natural taste of cacao was too bitter for most people. To sweeten the drink, Europeans added sugar to the cacao drink. As a sweet drink, it became more popular. By the 17th century, rich people in Europe were drinking it.
Later, people started using chocolate in pastries, like pies and cakes. In 1828, Dutch chocolate makers started using a new process for removing the fat from cacao beans, and getting to the center of the cacao bean. The Dutch chocolate maker Conrad J. Van Houten made a machine that pressed the fat from the bean. The resulting powder mixed better with water than cacao did. Now, some call van Houten’s chocolate “Dutch chocolate.”
It was easy to mix Dutuch chocolate powder with sugar. So other chocolate makers started trying new recipes that used powdered chocolate. People started mixing sweetened chocolate with cocoa butter to make solid chocolate bars. In 1849, an English chocolate maker made the first chocolate bar. In the 19th century, the Swiss started making milk chocolate by mixing powdered milk with sweetened chocolate. Milk chocolate has not changed much since this process was invented.
Today, two countries – Brazil and Ivory Coast – account for almost half the world’s chocolate. The United States imports most of the chocolate in the world, but the Swiss eat the most chocolate per person. The most chocolate eaten today is sweet milk chocolate, but people also eat white chocolate and dark chocolate.
Cocoa and dark chocolate are believed to help prevent heart attacks, or help keep from happening. They are supposed to be good for the circulatory system. On the other hand, the high fat content of chocolate can cause weight gain, which is not good for people’s health. Other health claims for chocolate have not been proven, but some research shows that chocolate could be good for the brain.
Chocolate is a popular holiday gift. A popular Valentine’s Day gift is a box of chocolate candies with a card and flowers. Chocolate is sometimes given for Christmas and birthdays. Chocolate eggs are sometimes given at Easter.
Chocolate is toxic to some animals. An ingredient in chocolate is poisonous to dogs, cats, parrots, small rodents, and some livestock. Their bodies cannot process some if the chemicals found in chocolate. Therefore, they should never be fed chocolate.
On January 3, 1961, nine days after Christmas, Richard Legg, John Byrnes, and Richard McKinley were killed in a remote desert in eastern Idaho. Their deaths occurred when a nuclear reactor exploded at a top-secret base in the National Reactor Testing Station (NRTS). Official reports state that the explosion and subsequent reactor meltdown resulted from the improper retraction of the control rod. When questioned about the events that occurred there, officials were very reticent. The whole affair, in fact, was discussed much, and seemed to disappear with time.
In order to grasp the mysterious nature of the NRTS catastrophe, it help to know a bit about how nuclear reactors work. After all, the generation of nuclear energy may strike many as an esoteric process. However, given its relative simplicity, the way in which the NRTS reactor functions is widely comprehensible. In this particular kind of reactor, a cluster of nine-ton uranium fuel rods are positioned lengthwise around a central control rod. The reaction begins with the slow removal of the control ro, which starts a controlled nuclear reaction and begins to heat the water in the reactor. This heat generates steam, which builds pressure inside the tank. As pressure builds, the steam looks for a place to escape. The only place this steam is able to escape is through the turbine. As it passes through the turbine on its way out of the tank, it turns the giant fan blades and produces energy.
On the morning of January 3, after the machine had been shut down for the holidays, the three men arrived at the station to restart the reactor. The control rod needed to be pulled out only four inches to be reconnected to the automated driver. However, records indicate that Byrnes yanked it out 23 inches, over five times the distance necessary. In milliseconds the reactor exploded. Legg was impaled on the ceiling; he would be discovered last. It took one week and a lead-shielded crane to remove his body. Even in full protective gear, workers were only able to work a minute at a time. The three men are buried in lead-lined coffins under concrete in New York, Michigan, and Arlington Cemetery, Virginia.
The investigation took nearly two years to complete. Did Byrnes have a dark motive? Or was it simply an accident? Did he know how precarious the procedure was? Other operators were questioned as to whether they knew the consequences of pulling the control rod out so far. They responded “Of course! We often talked about what we would do if we were at a radar station and the Russians came.
“We’d yank it out.”
Official reports are oddly ambiguous, but what they do not explain, gossip does. Rumors had it that there was tension between the men because Byrnes suspected the other two of being involved with his young wife. There is little doubt than he, like the other operators, knew exactly what would happen when he yanked the control rod.
As used in paragraph 4, which is the best synonym for precarious?
Each nation has its own peculiar character which distinguishes it from others. But the people of the world have more points in which they are all like each other than points in which they are different. One type of person that is common in every country is the one who always tried to do as little as he possibly can and to get as much in return as he can. His opposite, the man who is in the habit of doing more than is strictly necessary and is ready to accept what is offered in return, is rare everywhere.
Both these types are usually unconscious of their character. The man who avoids effort is always talking about his ‘rights’; he appears to think that society owes him a pleasant easy life. The man who is always doing more than his sheer talks of ‘duties’ feels that the individual is in debt to society, and not society to the individual. As a result of their view, neither of these men thinks that he behaves at all strangely.
The man who talks of ‘duties’:
Educational planning should aim at meeting the educational needs of the entire population of all age group. While the traditional structure of education as a three layer hierarchy from the primary stage to the university represents the core, we should not overlook the periphery which is equally important. Under modern conditions, workers need to rewind, or renew their enthusiasm, or strike out in a new direction, or improve their skills as much as any university professor. The retired and the age have their needs as well. Educational planning, in their words, should take care of the needs of everyone.
Our structures of education have been built up on the assumption that there is a terminal point to education. This basic defect has become all the more harmful today. A UNESCO report entitled ‘learning to Be’ prepared by Edgar Faure and others in 1973 asserts that the education of children must prepare the future adult for various forms of self – learning. A viable education system of the future should consist of modules with different kinds of functions serving a diversity of constituents. And performance, not the period of study, should be the basis for credentials. The writing is already on the wall.
In view of the fact that the significance of a commitment of lifelong learning and lifetime education is being discussed only in recent years even in educationally advanced countries, the possibility of the idea becoming an integral part of educational thinking seems to be a far cry. For, to move in that direction means such more than some simple rearrangement of the present organization of education. But a good beginning can be made by developing Open University programs for older learners of different categories and introducing extension services in the conventional colleges and schools. Also these institutions should learn to cooperate with the numerous community organizations such as libraries. Museums, municipal recreational programs, health services etc.
In the context of the passage, what is the meaning of the sentence ‘The writing is already on the wall’?