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Both the reading and listening passages discuss Eocene warming. The author proposes three possible reasons that had contributed to the rising of global temperature during that period; however, the lecturer holds these theories to be questionable and offers his own counter arguments.
First, the reading claims that the warming trend that had taken place during the Eocene epoch was caused by the ocean current. According to the author, new directions of the current had caused the ocean water to become warmer than usual and this could account for the warming trend itself. Nonetheless, the lecture points out that the rise in ocean current temperature is not enough of a cause to make Eocene warming a reality. This is because researchers have used computer models to mimic the situation, and they found that the heat itself generated by this change is too limited to make a significant difference; therefore, the changing direction of ocean current could not have been the reason.
Second, the reading suggests that an enormous comet had struck the Earth at the beginning of the Eocene epoch and this was a possible reason for the rise in temperature. Clay samples found in certain areas can certainly attest to this theory. But the lecturer begs to differ. He argues that new findings suggest that the clay did not come from a comet at all, but rather, it was from a cell organ related to certain bacteria. And this clearly indicates that the comet theory does not hold.
Third, the reading passage states that methane, a kind of greenhouse gas, have started to release from the ocean and it was a possible cause for the rise in global temperature. This theory, however, was again rejected by the lecturer who contends that the timing of methane release did not match the warming period at all. This is because in order to have an impact on global temperature, it normally requires thousands of years for methane to accumulate so as to have a substantial effect; and the fact that Eocene warming coincided with initial methane release clearly indicates that this greenhouse gas was not the main culprit that had caused the warming during that period.
Both the reading and listening passages discuss the function of the Roman dodecahedron, which is an object with 12 faces. The author proposes three possible functions; however, the speaker holds these arguments as questionable.
First of all, the reading claims that the dodecahedron might be a candle holder, because archaeologists found one with wax in it. Nonetheless, the lecture points out that archaeologists have found more than 100 dodecahedrons, and only one of them had wax in it. If it was really used for holding candles, more than one should have wax left in it; therefore, the dodecahedron can’t be a candle holder.
Second, the writer suggests that the dodecahedron might be something used with an army flag or some decoration of military functions, but the lecture begs to differ. She argues that researchers found one dodecahedron buried with a woman in her grave. In ancient Rome, only men could be soldiers, and this clearly indicates that females couldn’t be involved in military affairs. That’s the reason why the dodecahedron couldn’t have been used for an army flag or other military awards.
Third, the reading passage states that ancient Roman farmers used the dodecahedron to calculate the height of the sun in the sky in order to decide when to grow their crops. However, the lecturer contends that if it was really used for measuring the sun, it only needed two holes in it and would be made much simpler. The structure of a dodecahedron was too complicated to be a sundial; therefore, the lecturer believes that it must have been something else.