KA WORDCAST: Listen Up! Lesson 12 THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN ARM

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Lesson TWELVE HERE! 

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Entrance exam season is right around the corner, and we’re here to make sure you are 100 percent ready for it.  For the next several weeks, we will be providing you with additional listening material that you can use to practice and improve your aural comprehension skills.

Each week, you will listen to a short passage on a different topic—one that is interesting and useful in its own right, but one that is also the type of topic test-makers love to include on their exams.  Then, after listening to the passage, you will answer ten comprehension questions.  Before we listen to today’s passage, The Man with the Golden Arm, here are a few tips:

  • It goes without saying that you should always listen to the passage carefully.  Give it your undivided attention.  That means: no outside distractions.  (A passage-only track is available on the KA Wordcast website so you can listen to the passage a second or third time.)
  • You can make brief notes of key points and details, but don’t let your note taking distract you from your listening.
  • Key vocabulary words are explained in the bonus track.  Each key word is clearly defined and accompanied by common synonyms and antonyms as well as sample sentences that show you how the word is used, and how to use it.  What better way to augment your active vocabulary!
  • The comprehension questions “test” three general areas: FACTUAL CONTENT, LOGICAL INFERENCE, and PERSONAL JUDGMENT.  (These are explained on the website and are available to download.)  The questions come in three different types or formats: MULTIPLE CHOICE, TRUE OR FALSE, and SHORT ANSWER.  The question format will vary, so be sure to listen to the instructions carefully before you answer the questions.

PDF DOWNLOAD KA WORDCAST Listen Up! Lesson 12 THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN ARM

 

The Man with the Golden Arm

Listen to Listen Up! Lesson TWELVE:  PASSAGE ONLY TRACK

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“An hour of your time is a lifetime for someone else,” says James Harrison, who is no doubt the world’s champion blood donor.  In 1950, Harrison was just fourteen when he underwent major chest surgery, for which thirteen liters of blood were needed to keep him alive. “I was in the hospital for three months,” the now 77-year-old has said, “and the blood I received saved my life, so I made a pledge to give blood as soon as I was eighteen,” which is the legal age for donating blood in Harrison’s native Australia.  True to his word, for nearly 60 years, about once each month, Harrison has donated his unique blood, which has saved the lives of over two million babies.  That’s right—two million babies!

In the 1950s, thousands of Australian babies were dying every year of Rhesus disease, a severe form of anemia, that occurs when there’s an incompatibility between the mother’s blood and that of her unborn baby: one (either the baby or the mother) has Rh-positive type blood, and the other Rh-negative.  Most of the newborns died at birth, and those who managed to survive often suffered permanent brain damage.  Upon Harrison’s first trip to the blood bank in 1954, doctors detected an unusually strong and persistent life-saving anti-body in his blood that they hoped could prevent the disease.  Harrison then volunteered to undergo a series of more subtle tests.

This eventually led to the development of the Anti-D vaccine, a drug given to one in ten pregnant women whose blood is potentially incompatible with that of their children.  The vaccine, which is concocted from rare blood plasma like Harrison’s, has enabled millions of mothers to give birth to healthy babies. It is also given to newborn babies to prevent them from developing the disease and is currently on the World Health Organization’s list of vital medicines for basic health care.

Joy Barnes, a Red Cross Blood Bank worker in Sydney, Australia, is one of the mothers James has helped.  Before receiving the treatment, she had had a number of failed pregnancies.   “Without you, I would never have had a healthy baby,” she said, while speaking to James on an Australian TV program.  “I don’t know how to thank you enough.”  James’s own daughter Tracey was also able to give birth to a Rhesus-disease-free son thanks to her father’s precious blood.

In September 2014, James reached a major milestone: he gave blood for the one-thousandth time.  “I’ve never thought about stopping.  Never,” he says.   Not even the loss of Barbara, his beloved wife of 56 years, could keep him from his pledge.   A week after her death, James was back at the hospital giving blood.  “Losing her was sad,” Harrison explained. “But life marches on, and we have to continue doing what we do.”  Because James’s blood has been deemed so valuable, his life has been insured for one million Australian dollars.  He is nicknamed the “Man with the Golden Arm,” and no wonder.

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Today’s questions will be MULTIPLE CHOICE and based on LOGICAL INFERENCE and your understanding of key vocabulary words.

Listening comprehension questions fall into three main types or areas to be tested, as explained below:

FACTUAL CONTENT

  • The answer is specifically stated as a detail in the text.

If the text reads, “John Birks Gillespie was born in 1917 in Cheraw, South Carolina,” you might be asked where Gillespie was born or in which year was he born.

LOGICAL INFERENCE

  • The answer may not be directly stated in the text, but can be understood or inferred from the details given. A direct hint may be given, from which you would have to work out the most logical answer (usually based on a MULTIPLE CHOICE or TRUE OR FALSE question).

For example, if the text describes a “hot and muggy afternoon,” you might be asked what season it is. If the text reads, “In 1872, an abandoned railroad track in the mountains of Pennsylvania became the first roller coaster ride in America,” you may be asked a question like:

“The railroad tracks …

  1. were made of poor quality steel.
  2. had not been used for a while.
  3. were dug up and replaced with roller-coaster tracks.
  4. were too damaged to use.

You must use the hints given in the passage to work out the most likely answer.  In this case, the answer, based on “hot and muggy,” to the first question would be “summer,” and the answer to the second question would be B, with the hint being the word “abandoned.”

PERSONAL JUDGMENT

  • The answer is not directly stated in the text and you might have to read more deeply or “between the lines.”

You may be asked to describe a character’s feelings, reactions, or intentions.  For example, if the question is, “How do you know Joanna felt sad on the last day of school?” you would have to find evidence in the descriptive language the author uses.  Perhaps Joanna had tears on her cheeks, or she was walking with her head hanging low, or perhaps she had a frown on her face.

Listen to the question carefully and write your answer.  Feel free to pause the recording if you need a moment or two to think about the question.

 

LISTENING COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS

1. What made James Harrison decide to begin donating blood?

a) He had to have major chest surgery and needed blood in order to survive.

b) He turned eighteen—the legal age to donate blood in Australia.

c) He was grateful for the blood he had received when he had major chest surgery.

d) He wanted to save the life of his fourteen-year-old friend who needed blood for surgery.

 

2. In the 1950s, thousands of Australian babies were dying every year of a severe form of anemia that occurs when

a) the mother receives blood from a donor.

b) there is an incompatibility between the mother’s blood and that of her unborn baby.

c) the mother loses blood while giving birth.

d) donated blood does not match the blood type of the baby who receives it.

 

3. When a baby suffers permanent brain damage, it means that

a) he or she will never have normal brain function.

b) he or she may recover with the proper treatment.

c) he or she will most likely die soon after birth.

d) his or her brain is abnormally small.

 

4.  What did doctors discover soon after Harrison began donating?

a) A cure for Rhesus disease.

b) That Harrison was Rh negative.

c) That further, subtler, tests were needed.

d) That there was a life-saving anti-body in Harrison’s blood.

 

5. When a woman’s blood is potentially incompatible with that of her unborn child, it means that

a) any child she gives birth to will certainly die.

b) her blood type may not match the blood type of her child.

c) her blood type is likely to be a match with that of her child.

d) she is usually Rh positive.

 

6. The World Health Organization has listed the Anti-D vaccine as a vital medicine because

a) it enables mothers to give birth to healthy babies.

b) it prevents newborn babies from developing Rhesus disease.

c) it is essential for basic health care.

d) all of the above.

 

7. Why did Red Cross worker Joy Barnes thank James Harrison on Australian TV?

a) Because he donated blood at the blood bank in Sydney where she worked.

b) Because she had a healthy child thanks to the treatment that James made possible.

c) Because she appreciated his commitment to giving blood.

d) Because he donated blood to her, which prevented a failed pregnancy.

 

8. James reached a major milestone when

a) he saved the lives of over two million babies.

b) his own daughter received the treatment and gave birth to a disease-free son.

c) he donated blood for the one-thousandth time.

d) he appeared on Australian television.

 

9. Why was James’s life insured for one million Australian dollars?

a) Because he has become a hero to the Australian people.

b) As a reward for being so generous with his blood.

c) Because he threatened to stop donating blood.

d) Because his blood is so valuable.

 

10. Why do you think Harrison was nicknamed “The Man with the Golden Arm”?

a) Because his blood, which is drawn from his arm, can be said to be as valuable as gold.

b) Because he is a world-champion blood donor.

c) Because he so often goes to the blood bank and rolls up his sleeve to donate blood.

d) Because he is the only person in the world with his particular blood type.

 

 

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Now that you have completed today’s listening comprehension exercise, it’s time to check your answers and see how well you did. Answers to today’s listening comprehension questions will follow immediately after the closing jingle , so please stay tuned in. 

Listen to the Listening Comprehension Questions and Answers HERE: 

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You may also download the lesson in PDF format to keep for your reference.

PDF DOWNLOAD KA WORDCAST Listen Up! Lesson 12 LISTENING COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS and ANSWERS

 

 

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KA WORDCAST:  Listen Up!  Lesson TWELVE KEY VOCABULARY

Be sure to listen to the Key Vocabulary bonus track.   This will help you improve your understanding of the passage itself and give your vocabulary a big boost.

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“I PLEDGE allegiance to the flag…”

1. PLEDGE

“The blood I received saved my life, so I made a pledge to give blood as soon as I was eighteen,” the legal age for donating blood in Harrison’s native Australia.

In the sentence above, the noun PLEDGE is a formal word for promise, guarantee, or commitment.

When you make a PLEDGE, I expect you to keep it!

I gave Jonathan my PLEDGE that I would vote for him, because in my eyes, he was by far the best candidate for Student President.

More than 500 students have signed a PLEDGE promising to never get in a car with someone who has been drinking alcohol. 

PLEDGE is also a verb that means to commit to something by making a solemn promise.  Some synonyms include vow, swear, and give one’s word.

When you join the Boy or Girl Scouts, you must PLEDGE to do your best, to do your duty to God, to help other people, and to respect the Scout law.

“I PLEDGE allegiance to the flag of the United States of America” is a promise that all American kids used to have to make at the beginning of each school day.

The verb to PLEDGE also means to make a promise of money to a charity or other cause.

If you PLEDGE $500 or more to Public Television, you will receive a coupon that entitles you to a free meal for two at any participating restaurant.

The famous actress PLEDGED her salary from her next movie to fund the building of an animal shelter in Johannesburg.

 

Investigators DETECTED tiny footprints leading to the crime scene.

2. DETECT

Upon Harrison’s first trip to the blood bank in 1954, doctors detected an unusually strong and persistent life-saving anti-body in his blood that they hoped could prevent the disease.

DETECT is a verb that means to discover or notice something, especially something that is not easy to see, hear, smell, and so on.  Discover and identify are the closest equivalents.

Just after the earthquake, investigators DETECTED a small amount of radium seeping from the nuclear power plant.

Scientists in labs around the world have been able to train bees to DETECT not only explosives but also illegal drugs, fruit spoilage, decay odors, and counterfeit products.

“Do I DETECT a hint of cynicism in your essay, Mr. Hunt?” my political science professor asked me.

 

 

A PERSISTENT cough should be treated immediately.

3. PERSISTENT

Upon Harrison’s first trip to the blood bank in 1954, doctors detected an unusually strong and persistent life-saving anti-body in his blood that they hoped could prevent the disease.

PERSISTENT is an adjective that means continuing to exist or stay on over a longed period of time.

I’ve taken medicine and even took a couple of days off from school, but I still can’t seem to shake this PERSISTENT cough.

A PERSISTENT headache may be a sign of something more serious, so if I were you, I would make an appointment to see a doctor.

Hunger is a PERSISTENT problem in many parts of the world.

When describing a person’s character, PERSISTENT means determined to do something despite difficulties or opposition.  On the negative side, someone who is PERSISTENT can be considered annoying or unreasonable because he or she keeps bothering you.

Frank is very PERSISTENT and never gives up until he has accomplished what he set out to do.

Dominic can be very PERSISTENT when he wants something done his way. 

How do you deal with PERSISTENT telemarketers who always seem to call at the most inopportune time?

 

 

What are you CONCOCTING in your science lab today?

4. CONCOCT

The vaccine, which is concocted from rare blood plasma like Harrison’s, has enabled millions of mothers to give birth to healthy babies.

CONCOCT is a verb that means to make something such as a food, drink, or medicine by mixing different ingredients.   Prepare is the closest synonym.

Our task for the chemistry final was to CONCOCT an odor-less cleaning solution out of environmentally friendly ingredients. 

Things got out of hand when the teenagers started CONCOCTING cocktails out of the different liquors they found in the liquor cabinet.

More figuratively, CONCOCT also means to invent or dream up a story, plan, or excuse.    Synonyms include fabricate, make up, and invent.

Sheila CONCOCTED an elaborate excuse to explain why she didn’t come to my birthday dinner, but I think she just forgot about it.

The children were split into groups and told to CONCOCT a story using the key vocabulary words they had studied in class.

 

 

PRECIOUS jewels are housed in the Tower of London.

5. PRECIOUS

James’s own daughter Tracey was also able to give birth to a Rhesus-disease-free son thanks to her father’s precious blood.

Something that is PRECIOUS is very valuable and not to be wasted.  Invaluable and priceless are two close synonyms.

You are wasting PRECIOUS time, Pamela.  Stop procrastinating, or you’ll never get your homework done in time.

In the West, we tend to take water for granted, but water is a PRECIOUS commodity in many parts of Africa. 

PRECIOUS also means rare and worth a lot of money.

The Tower of London houses some of the world’s most PRECIOUS jewels. 

PRECIOUS metals, including platinum and plutonium, are often traded on the black market.

PRECIOUS is also used to describe someone or something that is loved or cherished.   Synonyms include valued, treasured, and prized.

I’m happy to loan you my copy of The Secret Garden, but please take good care of it.  It is very PRECIOUS to me.

These photo albums are filled with pictures of some of my most PRECIOUS memories, so I could never part with them.

PRECIOUS can also mean sophisticated in a way that seems phony or arty.

The novel’s story and characterization are first-rate, but I found the prose a bit too PRECIOUS.

 

  

Only comments DEEMED appropriate will remain on the website.

6. DEEM

Because James’s blood has been deemed so valuable, his life has been insured for one million Australian dollars. 

DEEM is a verb that means to regard or consider in a certain way.  Some close equivalents include consider, regard as, see as, and believe to be.

Aidan’s birthday party was DEEMED a success by all those who attended.

Only those candidates DEEMED to have potential will be called back for a second audition. 

Website moderators will screen every post and comment and delete anything they DEEM inappropriate or irrelevant.

The judge allowed the accused to go free on bail because the man was not DEEMED a flight risk. 

 

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PDF DOWNLOAD KA WORDCAST Listen Up! Lesson 12 KEY VOCABULARY