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Planet Mechanics

A dynamic duo travel around and come up with some bright ideas.

It's good to keep in mind that people are working hard on exciting possibilities for solutions to the problems of global warming and environmental destruction. This month on the National Geographic Channel, the series Planet Mechanics follows two eco-engineers, Dick Strawbridge and Jem Stansfield, as they travel around Europe and the UK. They meet up with various people along the way and help them come up with ways to make their technology environmentally friendly.


In the town of Bath in England, Dick and Jem hang out with a sandwich shop owner who is looking for a good way to deliver sandwiches around town. The hills and cobblestone roads of Bath present a bit of a challenge, so Dick and Jem need to create something small and agile. Motorcycles are convenient, but most of them cause pollution. Their solution: an air-propelled motorbike. Sounds like a great idea, but for it to work, they must manage to fit 5,000 litres of air into a tank that will fit on a bike. At normal pressure, this amount of air would take up the space of an elephant, so the task is tricky and dangerous. That much compressed air could cause an explosion in a collision. Be sure to watch "Air-Propelled Sandwich" to see if it works out, and watch Jem testing the idea by catapulting himself and his bike from an air-powered cannon !

Another episode in the Planet Mechanics series is "Surf Power." In this episode, Jem and Dick travel to the coast of Ireland. Here they attempt to harness the tremendous power of the ocean waves. Their goal is to use the energy of the waves to power a "surf shack" for two surfers who travel around in their portable home.

These episodes and others will lift your spirits and remind you that change is not just possible; it is necessary. And it can be fun.

     
  1.

Which of the following best describes the Planet Mechanics series ?

       
    (A)

It is about finding ways to get things done without causing pollution.

    (B) It is about changing pollution into things we can use.
    (C) It is about fighting against factories and products that cause pollution.
    (D) It is about using only air and waves to power the world.
       
  2. The episode "Air-Propelled Sandwich" shows Jem and Dick _____.
       
    (A) using air to produce cannons that power bikes
    (B) trying to find a way to use air to power a bike factory
    (C)

working on a bike powered by highly pressurized air

    (D) producing a bike that would only work in Bath
       
  3. What difficulty do Jem and Dick face with their goal for the bike ?
       
    (A)  No bike could ever be used on the cobblestones of Bath.
    (B) They have to make a bike that will never crash.
    (C)  It is hard to find so much air for a container.
    (D)

A container filled with air at a high pressure is quite dangerous.

       
  4. In the episode "Surf Power," Jem and Dick _____.
       
    (A) learn from two surfers how waves create energy
    (B) teach two surfers to attach a small surf house to the ocean''s waves
    (C)

try to provide electricity for the mobile home belonging to two surfers

    (D) try to give a mobile surf home enough power to deliver sandwiches
       
      cobblestone   a rounded stone used on the surface of an old-fashioned road
           
      agile   ability to move quickly
           
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  Answers : 1) A    2) C    3) D    4) C
 
 
 
 
 

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