Bamboo is used to build large buildings as well as homes. When it is glued in layers, it becomes as strong as steel. On some islands in the South Pacific, bamboo is even used for water pipes. This extraordinary material has many other uses. It is used to make musical instruments such as flutes and recorders. Paper made from bamboo has been highly prized by artists for thousands of years. Bamboo is light and strong, and it bends without breaking. It is cheap, floats on water, almost never wears out, and is easy to grow. Nothing else on earth grows quite so fast as bamboo. At times you can even see it grow! Botanists have recorded growths of more than three feet in just 24 hours! Bamboo is hollow and has a strong root system that almost never stops growing and spreading. In fact, only after it flowers, an event that may happen only once every 30 years, will bamboo die. There are more than 1,000 kinds of bamboo. The smallest is only three inches tall and one-tenth of an inch across. The largest is more than 200 feet in height and seven inches in diameter. No wonder, then, that the lives of nearly half the people on earth would change enormously if there were no longer any bamboo. No wonder, too, that for many people, bamboo is a symbol of happiness and good fortune. 58. What is the main idea of this passage? A. Bamboo has at least 2,000 uses. B. Bamboo grows at an amazing rate and is found primarily in Asia. C. Bamboo is an amazing grass that can be used in multiple ways. D. There are at least 1,000 types of bamboo. E. Bamboo could be considered a flower in some cases. Read the following passage and answer question 59. Every year since 1986, some of the world's most daring runners have gathered in the desert of Morocco. They are there to take part in one of the most difficult races in the world. The Marathon of the Sands, as it is called, covers over 125 miles of desert and mountain wilderness. The runners complete the course in fewer than seven days, and they run with their food, clothing, and sleeping bags on their backs. The Marathon of the Sands was founded in 1986 by Patrick Bauer. His idea was to give the runners, who come from all over the world, a special kind of adventure. Most of the runners in this race have found that they form deep friendships with the other runners during their days and nights in the desert. Facing terrible heat and complete exhaustion, they learn much about themselves and each other. For most of the runners, however, the challenge of the race is the main reason for coming. On the first day, for example, they run 15 miles across a desert of sand, rocks, and thorny bushes. Few runners finish the day without blistered and raw feet. Because they are allowed less than nine quarts of water during each day of the race, they also suffer from a lack of water. Most of all, they are exhausted when they arrive at the campsite for the night.
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