Santa Clara Valley, south of San Francisco, was famous for its prunes. The valley had acres and acres of prune trees.
In 1939, two young engineers, Bill Hewlett and David Packard, went to work in a garage in the valley. They developed an oscillator, an electronic device.
Today Santa Clara Valley is the most important center of America’s computer and electronics industry, and Hewlett-Packard is one of its major firms. More often than not, Santa Clara Valley is referred to by its nickname, Silicon Valley. (Silicon is an element used in making computer chips.)
Silicon Valley developed because there were entrepreneurs with ideas and capitalists who had the money to back them. Companies are more informal than many American workplaces; some almost seem like college campuses. Jogging is a popular lunchtime activity, and engineers are encouraged to spend time thinking about new ideas.
Silicon Valley has changed over the years. Trends today include more attention to computer software, more partnerships with Japanese companies, and consolidation. One key element remains the same: the emphasis on innovation.
Beginning in the 1600s, the British settled the eastern part of North America. By the time of the American Revolution (1776), the culture of the American colonists (their religion, language, government, etc.) was thoroughly British—with an American "twist." In a sense, then, the British culture was the foundation on which America was built. Also, over the years, many immigrants to the United States have come from the United Kingdom and Ireland.
From 1620 to 1820 by far the largest group of people to come to the United States came, not as willing immigrants, but against their will. These people were West Africans brought to work as slaves, especially on the plantations, or large farms, of the South. In all, about 8 million people were brought from Africa.
The Civil War, in the 1860s, ended slavery and established equal rights for black Americans (see pages 66-68). But many states, especially in the South, passed laws segregating (separating) and discriminating against black Americans. The civil rights movement, in the 1950s and 1960s, helped get rid of these laws (see pages 66-70).
However, the effects of 200 years of slavery, 100 years of segregation, and continued prejudice are not as easy to get rid of. Despite many changes, black Americans are still much more likely than white Americans to be poor and to suffer the bad effects that poverty brings. Today about 12 percent of America’s population is black. Many black Americans live in the South and in the cities of the Northeast and Midwest.
Rip Van Winkle fell into a deep sleep on a bank of the Hudson River. He woke up twenty years later! In his village, as he would soon find out, everyone and everything had changed. But, at first, looking around him at the Hudson River Valley, he had no idea that time had passed. The Hudson River, as always, moved on "its silent and majestic course,… at last losing itself in the blue highlands." It is now 150 years since Washington Irving wrote the story of Rip Van Winkle. And the Hudson River Valley is much the same.
The Hudson River was once very important for commerce. In 1825, when the Erie Canal opened, the Hudson became the main link between the East of the United States and the growing Midwest. This made New York City, at the mouth of the Hudson, the nation’s most important port.
But, even when it was commercially important, the Hudson River—with its fogs and mists, its green banks, and with mountaintops in the distance—was above all a romantic, mysterious, and beautiful river. Its beauty inspired not only writers like Irving, but also America’s first group of painters, who became known as the Hudson River School.
The Babe often partied all night and started the day by eating a huge steak, fried potatoes, and four fried eggs, washed down with a pint of bourbon whiskey. Then—somehow—he
Babe Ruth hits a home run
would go out to the ballpark and hit home runs. He led the New York Yankees to victory year after year. In the days when baseball salaries were still small, his was large. When a reporter pointed out that he earned more than President Hoover, Babe Ruth replied simply, "I had a better year than he did."
The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is located in Cooperstown, New York. There you can see exhibits connected with Babe Ruth and other famous players. Do you have great baseball potential? Probably not. But at the Hall of Fame you can test yourself by trying to hit balls thrown at the same high speeds as the balls that professional players hit.
Spectacular and beautiful, Niagara Falls has alway s been especially popular with two kinds of visitors: thrill-seekers and honeymooners.
It’s easy to see why the thrill-seekers have visited Niagara. In 1859, Frenchman Jean Francois Gravelet, known as "the Great Blon – din," became the first person to cross the falls on a tightrope. Not satisfied with this achievement, he made the trip again, this time with his manager on his back! In 1901, a schoolteacher. Mrs. Annie Edson Taylor, became the first person to go over the falls in a barrel.
It’s less easy to see why so many newlyweds feel they have to begin married life at the falls. We do, however, know when and how this tradition got started: In 1803, Jerome Bonaparte, a nephew of Napoleon, visited Niagara Falls with his bride.
You don’t, of course, have to be a newlywed to visit Niagara (and you shouldn’t be a thrill-seeker, since stunts are now illegal). Each year many people visit from either the American side or the Canadian side. A boat called Maid of the Mist will take you right out to the falls!
After sleeping for twenty years, Rip Van Winkle found his world had greatly changed. In our times, change is much more rapid. Imagine that you slept for twenty years. Write a paragraph describing what you might see and experience upon waking.
• Today a baseball star might earn as much as 7 million dollars a year. In your opinion, are large salaries for professional athletes justified? Why or why not?
• Some people say that because athletes earn so much and because children admire them, athletes should be good role models—that is, set a good example by their behavior. Do you think athletes have this obligation?
The Pueblos include the Норі of Arizona, the Zuni of New Mexico, and other New Mexican groups. In all, the Pueblo population totals about 30,000.
Spaniards conquered the Pueblo Indians in the 1500s. Pueblo is the Spanish word for "town." When the Spaniards arrived, the Pueblos farmed the land and lived in towns, in stone and adobe houses. They still do. Or – aibi, а Норі town, has been continuously inhabited since 1100.
The Pueblos have a great attachment to the land in which they have lived for so long. Many mountains, rivers, and other landmarks are considered sacred.
Pueblo ceremonies reflect this attachment to the land and the belief that humans and nature are united. They also reflect a basic
need of farmers in a dry area: many prayers are above all for rain.
Outsiders are not allowed to attend certain ceremonies but may attend many others.
A Pueblo Indian in traditional dress (Sue Sennen/Adstock)
A pueblo house
In fact, the Zuni Pueblo believe that it would be wrong to keep outsiders from a ceremony they hold for the renewal of the world. At this ceremony 12-foot Shalakos emerge at sundown to dance and sing all night.
The Shalako dances are done only by the Zuni. This is not surprising, since there are great differences among the Pueblos. For example, there are seven different languages, and even people in neighboring villages might speak very different dialects.
This is the Pueblo account of what happened following the creation of the world:
Humans and animals found themselves in a dim world of running water. They traveled from this dim world, the First World, upward into the Second World, Third World, and then
Pueblo women (Jerry Seive/Adstock)
Fourth World. The Fourth World was a paradise, full of flowers, grass, and water. Many people wanted to stay. But they had been told to continue into the Fifth World, so they went on. After some discussion, the animals and plants decided to go with the humans, their brothers, into the Fifth World.
Getting into the Fifth World was difficult. A stone was blocking the entrance hole. The Badger People tried to dig out the stone. When this did not work, the Antelope People used their heads to push the stone away.
When they entered, the god of the Fifth World spoke: "You are welcome. But this land has little food or water. Living here won’t be easy." The people chose to stay.
What does this myth show about (1) the values of the Pueblo people and (2) the natural environment in which they live?
Myths are stories that explain the world and its many aspects. Every culture has its myths. Write a myth you are familiar with. Or, try to write your own myth about the creation of the world and/or events that followed
How did the ancient Indian cultures develop? Put these sentences in the right order so
that they tell the story.
1. By about 10,000 b. c. large numbers of people had reached the Southwest.
2. All five were democratic societies and relied on agriculture despite a dry climate; people grew cotton and wove cotton clothes, and they constructed buildings with several stories.
3. Late in the Ice Age, humans came to North America from Asia, across the Bering Strait.
4. By 700 a. d. five separate cultures had evolved in the Southwest: the Anasazi ("the ancient ones"), Hohokan ("the ones who have vanished"), Sinagua. Salado. and Mogollon.
Man}’ more Americans than ever before are finishing high school and college. More than 20 percent of all adults have finished college, and more than 75 percent have finished high school.
Although the number of years of schooling is going up, there are signs that the quality of education may be going down. This is of great concern, especially since education is considered crucial to the American ideal that each person should achieve all that he or she can.
There are man}’ theories about where the problems lie. Some think that students have too many "electives," or courses they choose, and too few courses in basic subjects. Others think students watch too much TV and do too little homework. Everyone agrees the problems must be addressed.
What are some differences between the educational system in the United States and the educational system in your country? Read the passage again and then write a paragraph describing some of the main differences.