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明星资讯腾讯娱乐2018年01月19日 13:00:29
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Its time to go again to the A Moment of Science mailbag. Alistener writes:又到了科学一刻听众的来信时间。一位听众写道:Dear A Moment of Science,亲爱的《科学一刻》,Im not a math person. In fact, anytime I have to deal with numbers, let alone solve an actualmath problem which, thankfully, is not often its almost painful.我不是很擅长数学。事实上,每次我跟数字一打交道就觉得痛苦不堪,跟别提解决单纯的数学问题了,不过谢天谢地,这种事不常有。First, you should know that youre certainly not alone.首先,你要知道你绝不孤单。Lots of people suffer from whats known asmath anxiety.许多人都遭受数学焦虑症的折磨。And whats most interesting is that, according to one study, people with very highlevels of math anxiety actually experience pain when confronted with a math challenge.最有趣的是,有一项研究表明,严重数学焦虑症患者当面对数学挑战时会实实在在经历疼痛。Notmetaphorical pain actual, real pain.这种疼痛不是一种想象出来的感觉,而是真实的痛感。OK, but what does that mean? How can math cause pain?好的,这意味着什么呢?数学怎么可能造成疼痛呢?Its all in the brain, of course.当然,这与大脑有关。The researchers compared fourteen people with high math anxietyto fourteen people with low math anxiety.研究人员将14名严重数学焦虑症患者与14名轻度数学焦虑症患者进行对比。Each group was given a series of word and mathproblems while an MRI machine scanned their brain activity.每组人员都拿到一系列的文字与数学问题,同时使用核磁共振成像机器对他们的大脑活动进行扫描。Before each problem, either a yellowcircle would appear to indicate that they were about to solve a math problem, or a blue squarewould pop up to signal a word problem.在每一个问题出现前,会有一个黄圈出现,指明他们即将解决一个数学问题,或是出现一个蓝色方框,这是表明弹出的是文字问题。When people with high math anxiety saw the ded yellow circle, theparts of their brain linkedto pain perception lit up like a pinball machine.当严重数学焦虑症患者看到令人惧怕的黄圈时,他们脑部连接痛感的部分立刻如弹球机一般活跃起来。People with low math anxiety didnt show much orany activity in thatpart of the brain.轻度数学焦虑症患者的那部分大脑则没出现太多这种情况,甚至都没有任何反应。So doing math problems caused real pain.因此,解决数学难题真导致真实的疼痛。Not exactly. Its the anticipation of doing math that litup the pain sensors.并非如此。当得知要解决数学难题时,疼痛感知神经即被激活。Actually doing math didnt cause any pain related brain activity.事实上在做数学题的过程中并没有触动任何让人感知疼痛的脑部活动。 201402/276038Free exchangePenury portrait贫困的历史画像The consensus on raising people out of poverty is surprisingly recent直到最近人们才就脱贫问题达成共识,实在令人惊讶Jul 27th 2013 |From the print editionON JULY 17th India released its latest poverty figures. They tell an encouraging tale: just under 22% of Indians were below the poverty line in 2011-12, down from over 37% in 2004-05. With an election not far off, these statistics will not go unchallenged. Naysayers are aly grumbling that the numbers have been released early to make the government look good. But even as political opponents slug it out, it is worth noting what they are not arguing about. Nobody is saying that a decline in poverty is a bad thing. Nor does anyone dispute that policymakers should try to help large numbers of poor people out of penury. This mirrors a worldwide consensus: whether the ed Nations or the World Bank, sundry public officials or high-minded celebrities, everyone thinks that poverty alleviation is both desirable and possible. The debates are about the details.7月17日,印度公布了最新的贫困人口数据。数据表现出一派令人鼓舞的迹象:2011年至2012年间,生活在贫困线以下的印度人口比例从2004至2005年间的37%以上降至22%以下。该数据公布之时恰逢印度国会大选日益临近,因此注定会引发质疑。质疑者已嚷嚷着这些数据提早发布不过是为了彰显政府的政绩。但是,即使政治对手意欲在此问题上与政府争个高下,可争议之外的东西才是值得人们关注的。没人说贫困人口数下降是一件糟糕的事。当然人们也不会就决策层是否应该试着帮助为数众多的穷人脱离贫困展开争论。这一现象反映出一个已在世界范围内达成的共识:不论是联合国(ed Nations)或是世界(World Bank),还是形形色色的公职人员或心系苍生的名人,人人都认为扶贫不仅可取,而且可行。所有的争论都关乎于细节问题。That might sound wholly unsurprising. Yet in a new paper Martin Ravallion, an economics professor at Georgetown University and a former research director at the World Bank, charts the evolution of thinking on poverty over the past three centuries. He reckons that this consensus is of remarkably recent vintage. Not that long ago every element of the received wisdom—that poverty is a problem, that public policy should try to reduce the numbers of poor, and that there are good ways to try to do so without hurting the economy—would have been suspect.这听起来完全不足为奇。然而,曾担任过世界研究局局长的乔治城大学(Georgetown University)经济学教授马丁#8226;拉瓦雷(Martin Ravallion)在一篇论文中记录了过去三个世纪以来人们对贫困的思考的演变历程。他认为直到最近人们才在贫困的认知方面达成共识。就在不久之前,长期积累下来并且为多数人所接受的观念——贫困是个难题,公共政策应该试着减少贫困人口数量,而且有一些既能够达成这一目标而又不伤害经济发展的方式——一直都受到人们的质疑。According to the mercantilist thinking that dominated European thought between the 16th and 18th centuries, poverty was socially useful. True, it was miserable for the poor. But it also kept the economic engine humming by ensuring the availability of plentiful cheap labour. Bernard de Mandeville, an 18th-century economist and philosopher, thought it “manifest, that in a free nation where slaves are not allow’d of, the surest wealth consists in a multitude of laborious poor.” That attitude was the norm.在16世纪到18世纪间占据欧洲思想界的重商主义者看来,贫困对社会是有所帮助的。的确,在当时这对穷人来说不啻于一个悲惨的世界。但是,贫困同样确保了充足的廉价劳动力,维持经济引擎不断高速运转。18世纪经济学家兼哲学家的伯纳德#8226;曼德维尔(Bernard de Mandevill)认为贫困“表明,在一个不允许有奴隶存在的自由国度里,最可靠的财富蕴藏在无数勤恳的穷人手中。”这一观点在当时实属平常。If poor people were regarded as instrumental in ensuring economic development, that explains why there was little appetite for policies to help them leave poverty behind. What action there was tended to be palliative in nature. In the 18th century changes to the Poor Laws were designed to stop adverse shocks like failed harvests or bereavements from making life even harder for aly poor people. Such policies were designed to protect the poor from the worst deprivations, not to raise them up.如果穷人被视为确保经济发展的工具,这就解释为什么在当时几乎没有人愿意制定实行帮助穷人脱离贫困的政策了。为消除贫困而采取的任何行动在当时看来根本就是治标不治本的。18世纪,修订《济贫法》的目的便是避免那些业已陷入贫困的人们遭受更悲惨的打击,比如说农作物歉收或遭受丧亲之痛,以免他们的生活更加艰辛。制定此类政策的目的是保护穷人免于陷入彻底的赤贫,而不是帮助他们脱离贫困。In the late 18th century attitudes towards the poor took on a moralising tone. Thomas Malthus, a clergyman, blamed the plight of the poor on their own flaws. Technological change might drive wages above subsistence levels, but only temporarily because the fecundity of the poor would soon drive wages back down. His thinking inspired the introduction of a new Poor Law in 1834, which tried to make the workhouse their only option. “Outdoor relief”—giving the poor money—needed to be stopped.18世纪后半叶,人们在对贫穷的看法中夹杂了道德论调。身为牧师的托马斯#8226;马尔萨斯(Thomas Malthus)将穷人的困苦归咎于他们自身的不足。技术革新或许会驱使薪资上涨到能维持温饱的水平之上,但是这只是暂时的,因为穷人的多生多育很快就会带动薪资回落。他的思想启发了当时政府在1834年引进实施了一部新的《济贫法》,试图使去济贫院成为穷人唯一的选择。“院外救济”——给穷人发钱——必须终止。Adam Smith took a more humane view. He saw the social and emotional toll poverty could take, and sought to increase support for the idea of redistributive taxation: “The rich should contribute to the public expence [sic], not only in proportion to their revenue, but something more than in that proportion.” But even the father of economics did not provide a coherent strategy for moving people permanently out of poverty.亚当#8226;斯密的观点则更为人性化。他认为贫困会对社会和人们的情绪造成恶劣的影响,同时寻找机会增加人们对税收再分配这一理念的持。“富人应该为公共出贡献出一部分所得,不单单以其收入的比例计算,而是应该高于这一比例。”但是,即便是经济学之父也未给帮助人们永远脱离贫困开出一剂疗效持久的药方。By the 20th century the research of Charles Booth and Seebohm Rowntree had brought the issue of poverty firmly into the public consciousness. This in turn encouraged new thinking about the economic rationale for reducing penury. The classical school believed that the real constraint on growth was aggregate savings. Given that the rich saved more than the poor, this implied that less poverty would mean lower growth. John Maynard Keynes disputed this view, arguing that it was aggregate consumption that mattered, in which case reducing poverty could actually aid growth. But it was not until the 1990s that a coherent theoretical framework emerged to show how high levels of poverty stifled investment and innovation. For example, several models showed how unequal access to credit meant that the poor were less able to invest in their own education or businesses than was optimal, leading to lower growth for the economy as a whole. Scholars buttressed the theory with empirical evidence that high initial levels of poverty reduced subsequent growth in developing countries.20世纪,查尔斯#8226;布斯(Charles Booth)和希波姆#8226;朗特里(Seebohm Rowntree)将贫困问题深深地刻入了公众的意识之中。这一举动反过来鼓励了人们对减少贫困的经济原理有了全新思考。古典学派相信真正制约经济增长的是总储蓄量。由于富人比穷人储蓄的多,这表明贫困人数越少就意味着经济增长率越低。约翰#8226;梅纳德#8226;凯恩斯(John Maynard Keynes)驳斥了这一观点,他认为总消费量起到了至关重要的作用,在这种情况下,减少贫困实际上能够有助于增长。但是直到1990年代,一个统一的理论框架才出现,表明高水平的贫困如何限制了投资和创新。比如说,有些经济学模型表明获得信贷的机会不均等是如何导致穷人比优秀的人更无力于投资自身的教育或是生意,进而导致整个社会的经济增长处于较低的水平。学者们用无可辩驳的据给为之一理论提供了持:在发展中国家,初始的高水平贫困率降低了该国后继的经济增长。Poor relations牵强的联系New theories of poverty were also overturning received notions of why the poor stayed poor. The fault had long been placed at their door: the poor were variously lazy, prone to alcoholism and incapable of disciplined work. Such tropes are still occasionally heard today, but the horrors of the Depression in the 1930s led many to re-evaluate the idea that poverty was mainly the result of people’s own actions. Advances in economic models meanwhile allowed policymakers to see how low levels of education, health and nutrition could keep people stuck in penury. Policies to subsidise education or health care were desirable not merely for their own sake but also because they would help people break out of poverty.新的贫困理论同样也颠覆了人们长久以来对穷人深陷贫穷原因的认知。一直以来都认为穷人是咎由自取:穷人想方设法偷懒,容易酗酒并且不能从事要求纪律性的工作。今天这些陈词滥调依然不时的喧嚣尘上,但是1930年代经济大萧条期间的惨况使一些人重新审视了贫困主要是人自身行为的恶果这一个观念。同时,经济学模型不断完善,使得决策者们认识到低水平的教育、健康和营养是如何使人们陷入贫困难以自拔。补贴教育和医保的政策能够得以执行不单单是因为自身的缘故,同样还因为这政策能够帮助人们摆脱贫困。The growth of “conditional cash transfers”, schemes like Brazil’s Bolsa Familia that give poor people money as long as they send their children to school or have them vaccinated, are logical developments of these ideas. The notion of schooling the poor to a better life seemed absurd in the era of de Mandeville: “Going to school in comparison to working is idleness, and the longer boys continue in this easy sort of life, the more unfit they’ll be when grown up for downright labour.” Such poverty of thinking may sound archaic, but it persisted for longer than you might think.“有条件的现金补助计划”的增多正是这些理念合乎逻辑的演进,比如说巴西的“家庭补助金计划”,只要人们将孩子送去学校或是给孩子接种牛痘疫苗,政府就给他们发放现金。在曼德维尔所处的时代,为了能过上更好的生活而让穷人去上学的理念似乎有些荒谬。“与工作比起来,上学就是懒惰的表现,而且孩子们过这种简单生活的时间越长,长大之后越难以适应完全的体力劳动。”这对关于贫困的想法听起来可能会感觉有些过时,但是它们持续的时间超乎你的想象。 /201308/252415

Business商业报道Casinos in Asia 2亚洲Place your bets买定离手Casinos are popping up all over Asia. Their biggest risk is political亚洲遍地开花。政治成关键因素。Vegas comes to Manila来到马尼拉KABUKICHO, Japans biggest fleshpot, swarms over a crowded one-kilometre block of Tokyo.距离东京1000米的歌舞伎町区是日本最大的场所,其中混杂着各种俗丽酒吧院和破旧的酒店。It is a gaudy patchwork of clubs, massage parlours and seedy hotels, a short walk from what is probably the worlds busiest train station.距离这里几步之远的或许是世界上最繁忙的火车站。Hoodlums from Yakuza crime gangs tout illicit thrills from a well-thumbed of sex, drugs and gambling.来自流氓团体的暴徒们进行着不正当的色情交易聚众吸食毒品。Takeshi Iwaya, a politician, wants to pull gambling out of the seedy company it keeps in Kabukicho and put it into giant family-friendly casinos.政客Takeshi Iwaya希望将从歌舞伎町破旧的公司中转移到巨型家庭之中。He is lobbying for Japan to lift its ban on casinos.他希望通过游说让日本解除对的禁令,A share of Macaus eye-watering gambling revenues is the goal.从而瓜分那令人眼红的收益。Singapore, home to a couple of new upmarket casino resorts, is the model.新加坡这个新兴的度假村形式就是他的范本。Three years ago, the island state allowed Marina Bay Sands, run by Sheldon Adelsons Sands empire, and Resorts World Sentosa, run by Malaysias Genting group, to open.三年前这个岛国允许由谢尔登?埃德森年代金沙帝国经营的金沙和由马来西亚云顶集团经营的综合城开业。They earned 5.9 billion last year, nearly as much as all of the casinos on the Las Vegas strip.去年盈利59亿美元与所有盈利相近。Before it can reach such lofty heights, however, Japan must legalise casinos.对日本而言,要获得如此巨额盈利的前提是是合法化。It has been debating doing so for years, but supporters say they have finally lined up all the ducks.就这一问题各方争论多年,持者称他们最终会规范这个行业。A cross-party group of 140 politicians supports the move, including the prime minister, Shinzo Abe, says Mr Iwaya.他称由包括安倍晋三在内的140位政客组成的跨党派小组持这一想法。Liberalising gambling would fit well with Mr Abes radical reforms to boost Japans sluggish growth.开放业符合安倍晋三的激进改革思路,能推动日本经济复苏。Japans police have dropped their long-standing opposition, and parliament is expected to debate a legalisation bill soon.对此,日本警察的态度似乎稍有缓和,反对意见有所下降。The time is right, says Mr Iwaya.同时国会也希望尽快讨论法案合法化。Iwaya 称:现在是最好的时机Legalisation still has its opponents.但仍有反对者阻止该项法案合法化。Keiko Itokazu, another parliamentarian, worries that the Yakuza gangs have a record of muscling in on legal businesses, from property to banking.一个国会议员Keiko Itokazu担心黑手党会借此干涉合法商业活动,包括所有权及。Mr Iwaya responds that there are aly lots of illegal casinos in Japan; bringing the business out into the open can only make things better.对此Iwaya回应到日本目前已有大量非法,将公开化更有利于管理。Liberalisers also argue that casinos will boost Japans earnings from foreign tourists and, more important, rapidly deliver a tax windfall to the heavily indebted government.持者同时指出经营能够促进外国游客在日本的消费,更重要的是能够通过暴利税缓解政府负债情况。A Japanese business magazine, Toyo Keizai, has argued that Japan is being left behind as neighbouring countries rush to build lucrative gambling resorts, combining casinos with luxury hotels, shops and cultural attractions.鉴于邻国加快建设获利丰富的度假村,与相连的奢华酒店,商店以及由此带来的文化影响,日本的一本商业杂志,东阳经济写到:日本正在落后。Indeed it is: countries across the Asia-Pacific region have abandoned their hostility to gambling and are welcoming the big global casino groups.的确,亚太地区国家已经消除了对事业的敌意并积极引进全球组织。In July it emerged that Stanley Hos son Lawrence, also a casino mogul, had reached a deal to open a casino near Vladivostok in Russias far east.7月份, Stanley Ho之子,巨头Lawrence达成协议将在俄罗斯远东靠近海参崴的地方开设。Vietnam is looking to boost foreign tourism by expanding its casinos, and proponents of gambling are making headway in Sri Lanka and Taiwan.越南也希望通过开设发展旅游业,同时斯里兰卡和台湾的持者也取得了进展。In July Australian lawmakers approved a proposal by James Packer, a billionaire businessman, to open a second casino in Sydney.7月,澳大利亚的立法者通过了一项由James Packer这位亿万富文提交的关于在悉尼开始第二家的提案。His firm, Melco Crown Entertainment, runs casinos in Macau with the younger Mr Ho.他的公司,新濠亚有限公司和小Ho先生在共同经营一家。They are also partners in a casino now being built in the Philippines.他们也共同投资了菲律宾正在建设的一家。Mr Packer has said he is also keen to move into Japan as soon as it liberalises.他表示如果日本开放业,他很有兴趣前去投资。He will face competition closer to home: Tony Fung, a Hong Kong tycoon, plans to build a gambling resort in Queensland.最近在他老家澳大利亚附近他也面临着挑战—Tony Fung,一个香港巨富打算在昆士兰建造一个度假村。A thriller in Manila马尼拉的巨变The Philippine capital is famous for many things—floods and traffic jams for a start—but not for striking architecture.最开始菲律宾首都以洪水和交通拥挤而不是夺人眼球的建筑闻名。Now, however, on a large plot of reclaimed land overlooking Manila Bay, it is getting four big and impressive casino buildings at once.然而,现在站在一大片填海土地上眺望马尼拉湾时,首先映入眼帘的便是4个巨大且令人印象深刻的。The first of Manilas new gambling venues, the Solaire Resort amp; Casino, has opened.马尼拉第一家新兴场馆,the Solaire Resort amp; Casino已经开业。It is a sleek plate-glass affair with a suitably flashy interior created by Paul Steelman, a casino designer from Las Vegas.它由来自的设计师Paul Steelman设计,它有着光滑的玻璃已经舒适华丽的内饰。Operated by the Philippine-owned Bloomberry Resorts and Hotels, Solaire will cost over 1 billion to finish.将耗资10亿美元建设完成Solaire会由菲律宾国营的Bloomberry度假村酒店经营。This was the minimum investment required to win one of the four licences on offer.这是获得四个许可之一的最低投资要求。The other three Manila projects are joint ventures with overseas operators.另外三个马尼拉的项目都是有海外运营商的合资项目。The Belle Grande, to be operated by Melco, is due to open next year.由新濠国际运营的大百丽计划于明年开业。Another, Manila Bay Resorts, is backed by Kazuo Okada, a Japanese billionaire.另外依靠于日本富豪冈田和生的马尼拉湾度假村由于遇到了各种法律上的麻烦可能会推迟开业。It has run into various legal troubles that may delay it, including allegations of bribery and using front companies to own land on its behalf.这些麻烦包括受贿指控以及利用前公司扩占土地等问题。Mr Okadas company says it plans legal action against employees it accuses of making illegal payments contrary to company rules,冈田先生的公司称他们将会运用法律手段与指控其不顾公司规定获取非法收益的员工经行斗争。and that it is co-operating with the authorities to ensure it obeys the law regarding its land ownership.同时它也会与政府展开合作,确保其严格遵守法律获取土地。The fourth project, Resorts World Bayshore, is backed by Genting, a gambling giant with global ambitions.海滨名胜世界作为第四个项目由云顶集团投资。Genting kick-started Manilas casino craze when it opened Resorts World Manila opposite the capitals main airport in .该集团是有着全球野心的巨型企业。年首都机场对面马尼拉云顶世界的开业掀起了马尼拉狂潮。Older casinos had acquired a dubious reputation as smoke-filled dens for solitary gamblers.之前的作为为孤独的赌徒提供烟雾弥漫的窝点已获得了一定地位。RWM demonstrated that a casino complex could appeal to the whole family by incorporating shows, cinemas and posh shops.马尼拉云顶世界则展示了作为一家复合型,它应该为整个家庭提供务,包括综合表演,电影院以及奢侈品店。The formula satisfies both God and mammon;这种经营方式满足了上帝也赚到了钱;it appeased critics of gambling, such as the Philippines influential Catholic church, and made lots of money.它既平息了对来自菲律宾具有影响力的天主教堂对的批判也赚到了钱。RWMs takings were 355m in its first year.第一年RWM就赚到了355,000,000美元。The government hopes the new casinos will boost tourism across the country, with punters moving on to beach resorts to spend their winnings, or cry over their losses into their pia coladas.政府希望这些会带动当地旅游业的发展,让赢家将所赢金钱消费到沙滩度假村,让输家借酒浇愁。Solaire sees a healthy market both from local punters on modest budgets—with bets of as little as 300 pesos—and from VIP tables where the minimum is at least 25,000 pesos.对于仅将7美元作为赌注预算的船夫与那些至少会花25,000pesos的贵宾而言,Solaire都是一个理想的场所。Solaire expects about half of these high-rollers to come from mainland China and another third or so to hail from Japan and South Korea.Solaire表示这些狂赌者有一半以上都来自中国大陆,另外还有三成左右来自日本及韩国。It will send a private jet to pick up the real big spenders, those who think nothing of splashing out 10m over the course of a junket.会派私人飞机接待那些在游览中随便用上1千万美金的真正大款。Solaires owner is Enrique Razon junior, whose family made its money in shipping.其拥有者是小Enrique Razon,他的家族以航海为生。The only cloud on his horizon is geopolitical: the Philippines increasingly acrimonious confrontations with China and Taiwan over disputed territories and waters in the South China Sea.他的眼中只有地理学:在中国南海上的,菲律宾加强了其与中国关于领土领海问题的激烈对抗。 Razon承认道。This does worry us, Mr Razon concedes. When the Chinese government tells people not to go to the Philippines, they dont go.当中国政府告诉人们不要去菲律宾,大家就真的不去了,这让我们很担心。All of the countries in the region have a similar love-hate relationship with China, in which diplomatic spats can all too easily flare up.本区域内的所有国家都与中国有着爱憎关系,这样外交矛盾轻易就会爆发。That is why, as China generates ever larger numbers of well-off consumers with a passion for gambling and a desire to travel, the main concern for the regions many new casino projects is not competition from each other; it is politics.现在中国比以往拥有更多的热爱旅行,热衷的富人。这就是为什么这一地区内项目更关注的是政治而不是同行中的竞争力。 /201309/258012

  

  Yael, do you notice the days changing length over the course of the year?雅埃尔,你有没有注意到一年中每一天的长度在改变么?Sure, Don, it stays light later in the summer and gets dark earlier in the winter.当然了,唐,夏天白天长些,冬天天黑得早些。No, thats not it. I mean the whole day feels longer.不,我说的不是这件事。我的意思是一整天感觉变长了些。Im not sure thats possible, Don arent days always 24 hours long?我不确定它是不是真的,难道一天不总是24个小时么?Well, it actually takes 23 hours, 56 minutes, and 4 seconds for the Earth to rotate on its axis.其实,实际上,地球绕地轴自转一周需要23小时56分零4秒。But in fact the Earths rotation is slowing down all the time because of the gravitational pull of the moon.但实际上,因为有月球的万有引力作用,地球自转一直在变慢。Does this mean that the days really do feel longer?这就意味着一天真让人觉得变长了?Nope. The moon slows us down by about two milliseconds a century, so that even 1 million years ago days were only twenty seconds shorter.不。每过一个世纪,月球使我们慢了2毫秒。因此,即使比起一百万年前的某一天,现在也仅仅慢了20秒。I doubt I would have noticed that.人们会注意到么?Maybe not a million years ago. But 400 million years ago days were 21 and a half hours long, which you would have noticed.可能不是一百万年前,而是4亿年前的某一天,当时一天长21.5小时,这样你可能就能注意到。What you really would have noticed is that the time it takes the Earth to get around the sun hasnt changed, so that back then there were 400 days a year.你真正能意识到的是:地球绕着太阳公转的时间没有改变,所以那时一年有400天。Scientists have found fossil evidence from tropical corals that existed at that time, and they have about 400 daily growth rings per year.从存活在那时的热带珊瑚中,科学家已经发现了化石据。它们每年大约有400个生长日轮。So someone was enjoying all those extra sunny days.所以过去的人能享受这些多出来的日子。 201312/270919。

  

  Once again we go to the mailbag. A listener writes:我们又一次打开邮箱。一位听众写到:Dear A Moment of Science, Besides chimps, which animals do you think are the most likepeople?亲爱的科学一刻,除了黑猩猩,你认为哪种动物最像人类?Scientists have closely studied prairie dog chirps and found that theyre really complex.科学家仔细研究了草原的叫声,发现这很复杂。You know how some animals have warning calls such as warning shrieks or yells that alert theirgroup when a predator is nearby?你知道当有捕食者靠近时,一些动物会发出警号信号比如叫声或呼喊来警告同伴么?Prairie dogs do this, too, but in a way thats impressively detailed.草原也有这种行为。而且在某种程度上,草原的具体行为令人印象深刻。For example, they not only havespecific chirps for different kinds ofpredators, but also for specific details about what the predatorslook like.例如,草原不仅对特定的捕猎者有特定的叫声,对于捕猎者的外貌也有特定的细节描述。Yes. In fact, theyd exchange information not only about your presence but about what you looklike your size, shape, and the color of your clothes.是的,事实上,他们不仅交流你出现的信息,还会讨论你的高矮和体型,你衣的颜色。They did a cool little experiment where they sent the same person into a prairie dog colony atdifferent times, wearing different colored tee shirts.他们做了一个很酷的小实验,在不同的时间里,让同一个人穿着不同颜色的T恤进入草原的领地。When they analyzed the animals alarm callsthey found that they used the same ones for the persons size and shape, but different onesdepending on the color of the tee shirt.当科学家们分析动物的警觉信号时,他们发现动物用同样的叫声表示人的高矮和体型,但是会根据T恤的颜色改变叫声。And it speaks to the larger point that humans are not the only animals with a sophisticatedlanguage system.从更深层次的角度上说,人类不是唯一具有复杂语言系统的生物。Ours may be the most complex, but its only one among many other, nonhuman descriptive languages.我们的语言可能是最复杂的,但是只是许多其它非人类描述性语言中的一种。 /201401/273724

  Business商业报道Consultancy firms咨询公司Strategic moves战略举措Big consulting and accounting firms are making a risky move into strategy work大型的咨询和财务公司正在战略上铤而走险OPERATIONS consultants sit at the front of the classroom, says a partner at a strategy consultancy. Strategy consultants stay in the back, not paying attention, throwing paper airplanes.一家战略咨询公司的合伙人说:运营顾问坐在教室的前排,战略顾问坐在教室的后排投掷纸飞机,But they still get the girls and get rich. Like so many caricatures, this one is cruel but contains a grain of truth.尽管没人搭理,可是他们仍然能金钱美女双收。和众多的讽刺漫画一样,尽管残忍,它却道出了事实。Operations consultants—the fine-detail guys who tinker with businesses internal processes to make them run better.运营顾问是一些细节家伙们,他们对贸易的内部流程进行粗略的处理,以使其运行更流畅。generally do not enjoy the same glamour or financial rewards as strategy specialists, whose job is to advise firms on make-or-break deals, adopting new business models and other big stuff.一般来说他们不如战略专家抢手,也没有他们赚钱多。战略专家则是负责建议公司做孤注一掷的交易,采用新的商业模式或者其他大型事务。Although in practice their work overlaps, the two have until now remained distinct businesses.尽管在实际中他们的工作有重叠的部分,可是这两者至今仍泾渭分明。Strategy firms like McKinsey, Bain and the Boston Consulting Group hire from the top universities, are packed with highly paid partners and whisper their counsel in CEOs ears.战略公司,比如麦肯锡,贝恩和波士顿咨询公司,他们从顶尖大学雇佣大量的高薪员工,专门给总裁出谋划策。In contrast, operations specialists such as IBM, Accenture and the Big Four accounting firms employ armies of lower-paid grunts; and tend to answer to the client firms finance or tech chiefs.相反的,譬如IBM、埃森哲咨询公司和四大会计师事务所这样的操作专家则雇佣低薪大军,往往他们却做上了客户公司的财务或技术主管。This year, however, that line has begun to blur.然而今年,他们的界限就变得模糊了。In January Deloitte became the largest of the Big Four by scooping up the assets of Monitor, a strategy firm that had gone bust.一月,德勤公司通过收购破产的战略公司莫尼托成了四大会计师事务所之一。And on October 30th its closest rival, PwC, said it would buy another strategy firm, Booz amp; Company, for a reported billion.十月三十号它最有力的竞争者普华永道会计师事务所宣称将斥资十亿美元收购另外一家战略公司斯公司。If Boozs partners approve the deal, it will vault PwC back into first place.如果斯的合伙人批准了这笔交易,这将会帮助普华永道重登第一宝座。The accountancies push into strategy has been a decade in the making.会计师们推进战略的形成已经十个年头了。During the late-1990s technology bubble they beefed up their IT-consulting arms.20世纪90年代末期,科技的进步使得他们不得不加强他们的IT咨询武器。But in 2001 Enron, an energy-trading firm, went bust and took its auditor, Arthur Andersen, down with it.但是2001年一家能源交易公司安然破产了,它的审计员也被拖下水了。In response, Americas Congress passed the Sarbanes-Oxley corporate-governance reform, which banned firms from doing systems consulting for companies they audited.于是,美国国会通过了萨班斯-奥克斯利公司监管改革法案,该法案禁止企业为他们审计的公司做系统的咨询。As a consolation prize, the Big Four made a fortune helping clients comply with the new law.作为安慰奖,四大会计师事务所通过帮助顾客遵守新的法律而大发横财。Their advisory businesses, full of potential for conflicts of interest with their auditing side, by now seemed dispensable.他们的咨询业务与他们的审计方面充满了潜在的利益冲突,现在看来也是可有可无了。All but Deloitte had sold off those divisions by 2003.除了德勤其他会计师事务所都在2003年前处理掉了这些部门。Just as the workload from Sarbanes-Oxley began to dwindle, the 2008-09 financial crisis hit, causing consulting revenues to dip.正如萨班斯-奥克斯利法案的出台减少了工作量,2008年到年的金融危机的冲击造成了咨询工资的减少。But once the economy recovered, the climate for the Big Four started to resemble the 1990s.而一旦经济复苏,四大会计师事务所又会像20世纪90年代那样如日中天。They began to rush back into consultancy, encouraged by its high margins and double-digit annual growth rates at a time when revenue growth from auditing and tax work had slowed.当审计和税收工作的工资增长缓慢而咨询的工资年翻一番时,受高利润的诱惑,他们又开始重操旧业。In particular, Deloitte and PwC began gobbling up operations consultancies as they sparred for the top spot.尤其是德勤和普华永道,在坐上头把交椅的过程中,他们狼吞虎咽一般并购咨询公司。For years the strategy firms remained beyond the Big Fours grasp.几年里战略公司都不被四大巨头看重。During the 2000s they had mostly prospered on their own, and their partners shuddered at the thought of being subsumed into giant bureaucracies.2000年里它们自己昌盛了,他们的合伙人想到要卷入复杂的官僚政治就战战兢兢。After the financial crisis, however, midsized strategy consultants hit hard times.然而金融危机之后,中型战略咨询公司遇上了寒冬。Cost-conscious companies with globalising businesses wanted either to hire boutiques with deep knowledge of their industries, or to benefit from the scale of generalist firms with offices everywhere.注重节约成本的全球化企业要么雇佣有着丰富行业知识的精品店,要么就从到处都有办公室的多面手公司的规模上受益。Too big for some clients and too small for others, Monitor went under, and Booz—a spin-off from Booz Allen Hamilton, which now focuses on operations work for governments—went on the block.像莫尼托这样不大不小的公司倒闭了,而现在将重心放在操作工作上的斯艾伦的子公司斯则继续步履维艰。Both Booz and PwC say that the two sides of consulting are converging, and that more clients want a one-stop shop that can both devise a strategy and execute it.斯和普华永道都表示双方正在合并中,而且更多的客户都表示想要既能出谋划策又能去实行策略的一站式商店。Deloitte and Monitor claim their integration is aly bearing fruit.德勤和莫尼托则宣称他们的合并已经初见成效,Theres been a very healthy two-way cross-selling opportunity, says Mike Canning of Deloitte.德勤的迈克坎宁说:双方有着非常良好的交叉销售的机遇。Nonetheless, Boozs leadership still faces a hard sell to get the deal passed.尽管如此,斯的领导地位仍面临一笔艰难的交易的完成。In 2010 the companys partners voted down a proposed merger with AT Kearney, another midsized strategy firm. This marriage involves far more risks.2010年,斯的合作伙伴投票否决了合并另一家中型战略公司科尼尔的决议。A significant number of Boozs clients would immediately be in doubt because PwC audits them—strategy consulting for audit clients is banned in many countries, and even where it is legal it is frowned upon.这桩联姻的风险大得多。相当一部分斯的客户立马就会犹疑,因为普华永道审计他们,在很多国家替审计客户作战略咨询是明令禁止的,即使合法也是令人不悦的。Since the Big Four are structured as associations of national partnerships, Boozs staff would probably end up being divided by country, hindering the global co-operation that many big clients seek.由于四大巨头是国家合作伙伴组织,斯的员工最终可能被国家分开,阻碍许多大客户寻觅的全球合作商机。Most important, each of Boozs 300 partners would have to trade meaningful sway over the direction of a highly profitable firm for a minuscule stake in a diversified, lower-margin empire.最重要的是,为了从高盈利的公司转化成一个极小的股权多元的、低利润的帝国,斯的300个合作伙伴每一个都要作有意义的贸易。If the sale is approved, the test of its success will come in a few years, after Boozs partners receive their full payout and can head off.如果销售被批准了,斯的合作伙伴收到了全额付并能转移方向后,接下来的几年里对它成功与否的考验将会到来。An exodus would leave PwC empty-handed.大批合作伙伴的离去将会使得普华永道一无所获。The Big Four are also running a risk far greater than the cost of their purchases.四大巨头也在运行风险,比他们所购物花销要大得多的风险。A decade ago they placated regulators by retreating from advisory work.10年前他们退出咨询工作稳住监管者。High-profile deals like the Booz-PwC tie-up put the conflict of interest between auditing and consulting back in the spotlight:诸如斯和普华永道的结合这样高调的交易使审计和咨询的利益冲突再度成为人们关注的焦点:after it was announced, Arthur Levitt, a former head of Americas Securities and Exchange Commission, warned that the firms were slipping back towards old, bad habits.消息传出后,美国券交易委员会前任掌门人亚瑟莱维特警告说该公司正在向陈旧和恶劣的习性倒退。Any gains from pushing into strategy work might end up being outweighed by the cost of another regulatory crackdown.推行战略工作的任何收益也将被用在监管镇压的开销而抵消。 /201311/264581Science and technology科学技术Psychosomatic medicine精神身体医学Think yourself well好好反省一下吧You can. But it helps to think well of yourself in the first place你可以的。只是它会首先帮你好好反省一下自己。THE link between mind and body is terrain into which many medical researchers, fearing ridicule, dare not t.大脑与身体之间存在着千丝万缕的联系,但是,因为怕被嘲笑,很多医学研究人员不敢涉足这块领域。But perhaps more should do so.但是,可能应该有更多人来研究它。For centuries, doctors have recognised the placebo effect, in which the illusion of treatment, such as pills without an active ingredient, produces real medical benefits.数个世纪以来,医生们已经认识到了安慰剂的效力,其实是一种错觉治疗达到了真正的药物效应,比如没有实际疗效的药丸等。More recently, respectable research has demonstrated that those who frequently experience positive emotions live longer and healthier lives.最近以来,相当受重视的研究表明, 那些经常以积极的态度生活的人活得更长久,而且更健康。They have fewer heart attacks, for example, and fewer colds too.比如,他们几乎不会有心脏病,而且也很少感冒。Why this happens, though, is only slowly becoming understood.只是这种现象现在还无法解释。What is needed is an experiment that points out specific and measurable ways in which such emotions alter an individuals biology.我们需要的是做一个试验,指明具体的,可衡量以情绪改变人体生物机理的方式。And a study published in Psychological Science, by Barbara Fredrickson and Bethany Kok at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, does precisely that.位于查珀尔希尔的北卡罗莱纳州大学的巴巴拉弗雷德里克松和伯斯尼考克最近进行了一项研究,发表在心理科学杂志,他们的研究正体现了这点。Dr Fredrickson and Dr Kok concentrated their attentions on the vagus nerve.弗雷德里克松教授和考克教授集中于研究迷走神经。This nerve starts in the brain and runs, via numerous branches, to several thoracic and abdominal organs including the heart.这种神经起始端在大脑,通过众多的分与几大胸部和腹部器官,包括心脏相连。Among its jobs is to send signals telling that organ to slow down during moments of calm and safety.它的一项职能就是,发出信号告诉这些器官,在人体处于平静和安全的时候减缓工作步伐。How effectively the vagus nerve is working can be tracked by monitoring someones heart rate as he breathes in and out.你可以通过监测一个人呼吸时的心率来有效地追踪迷走神经的工作过程。Healthy vagal function is reflected in a subtle increase in heart rate while breathing in and a subtle decrease while breathing out.如果迷走神经工作正常的话,你可以从人体吸进空气时心率的不明显增加上看出来,同样,当人体呼出空气时心率也会有微弱的减少。The difference yields an index of vagal tone, and the value of this index is known to be connected with health.如果迷走神经处于不健康状态时,会产生不同的迷走张力指数。Low values are, for example, linked to inflammation and heart attacks.众所周知,这个指数值与健康密切相关。比如,指数值低的话,就可能说明有炎症,及心脏病了。What particularly interested Dr Fredrickson and Dr Kok was recent work that showed something else about the vagal-tone index:特别有趣的是,弗雷德里克松教授和考克教授最近研究也显示了与迷走神经张力指数有关的其它东西。people with high tone are better than those with low at stopping bad feelings getting overblown.在避免让不良情绪扩大方面,指数高的人这方面的能力明显优于指数低的人。They also show more positive emotions in general.这些人平时也会表现出更乐观积极的情绪。This may provide the missing link between emotional well-being and physical health.这可能也弥补了在情感福祉与身体健康之间缺失的一环。In particular, the two researchers found, during a preliminary study they carried out in 2010, that the vagal-tone values of those who experience positive emotions over a period of time go up.特别是,两位研究者发现,在他们2011年的初期实验中,那些一直保持积极乐观情绪的人的迷走神经张力指数也上升了。This left them wondering whether positive emotions and vagal tone drive one another in a virtuous spiral.这个现象让他们想知道,积极情绪和张力指数之间的良性循环,究竟哪个才是真正的驱动呢?They therefore conducted an experiment on 65 of the universitys staff, to try to find out.因此,他们对65所大学中的人员进行了试验,想找出真相。They measured all of their volunteers vagal tones at the beginning of the experiment and at its conclusion nine weeks later.他们测得了刚开始试验时,试验志愿者的张力指数及九周后的张力指数。In between, the volunteers were asked to go each evening to a website especially designed for the purpose, and rate their most powerful emotional experiences that day.在试验期间,志愿者们被要求每晚去一家指定的,特别为这个试验设计的网站,并且为他们每天最强烈的情感体验打分。Dr Fredrickson and Dr Kok asked their volunteers to consider nine positive emotions, such as hope, joy and love, and 11 negative ones, including anger, boredom and disgust.弗雷德里克松教授和考克教授要求志愿者们想着积极的情绪,比如希望,喜悦和爱,还有11种消极的情绪,包括愤怒,厌倦和厌恶。They were asked to rate, on a five-point scale, whether—and how strongly—they had felt each emotion.志愿者们打分的标准分为五级,他们是否感觉到了要求的情绪,有多强烈等。One point meant not at all; five meant extremely.一级意味着没什么;五级意味着极其。In addition, half the participants, chosen at random, were invited to a series of workshops run by a licensed therapist, to learn a meditation technique intended to engender in the meditator a feeling of goodwill towards both himself and others.另外,以随机的方式抽取了一半的参与者,被邀请参加一系列由特许理疗师主持的研讨会,学习冥想技巧,以达到成为一名对自己或者他人心怀善意的禅定者。This group was encouraged to meditate daily, and to report the time they spent doing so.研究人员鼓励这些人每天都冥想,并且要汇报他们花了多长时间做这件事。Dr Fredrickson and Dr Kok discovered that vagal tone increased significantly in people who meditated, and hardly at all in those who did not.弗雷德里克松教授和考克教授发现,这些人的每天冥想,使得他们的张力指数明显上升,而那些没有参与冥想学习的人几乎没什么变化。Among meditators, those who started the experiment with the highest vagal-tone scores reported the biggest increases in positive emotions.在这些冥想者中,那些试验开始时迷走神经张力指数最高的人,在他们身上最大的变化就是保持积极情绪的时间更大长了。Meditators who started with particularly low scores showed virtually no such boost.而开始试验时张力指数特别低的冥想者,他们的变化就没有前者那么大。Taken as a whole, these findings suggest high vagal tone makes it easier to generate positive emotions and that this, in turn, drives vagal tone still higher.总体来说,这些发现表明,在张力指数高的情况下更容易产生积极的情绪,而反过来,积极的情绪又会让指数变得更高。That is both literally and metaphorically a positive feedback loop.而这种现象无论是从字面上还是从修辞上,都称为正面的回馈循环。Which is good news for the emotionally positive, but bad for the emotionally negative, for it implies that those who most need a psychosomatic boost are incapable of generating one.这些对拥有积极情绪的人是个好消息,而对总是弥漫着消极情绪的人可是个坏消息,因为它暗示,那些最需要身心健康的人是无法自己达成这个目的的。A further experiment by Dr Kok suggests, however, that the grumpy need not give up all hope.但考克士进行了一项更深度的试验,认为那些郁郁寡欢的人也不要完全放弃希望。A simpler procedure than meditation, namely reflecting at night on the days social connections, did seem to cause some improvement to their vagal tone.一个比冥想更简单的,在当天晚上即反映其一天社会关系的方式,似乎对这些人的张力指数有些提高作用。This might allow even those with a negative outlook on life to bootstrap their way to a mental state from which they could then advance to the more powerful technique of meditation.这可能让那些拥有消极人生观的人通过他们自己的方式,引导自身进入一种让他们可以拥有更强大冥想技巧的精神状态。Whether, besides improving general health, the mechanism Dr Fredrickson and Dr Kok have discovered helps explain the placebo effect remains to be investigated.除了改善一般健康,弗雷德里克松教授和考克教授发现的生理机制也在某种程度上说明了,安慰剂的效果仍有待研究。But it might, because part of that effect seems to be the good feeling engendered by the fact of being treated.但是,也许安慰剂真的是作用的,因为它们的部分效果似乎产生了良好的幸福感,这是基于病人认为他们正在接受治疗这个事实。More generally, doctors in the ancient world had a saying: a healthy mind in a healthy body.更普遍的是,古时的医生都会说这样一句话:健康的心态,健康的身体。This sort of work suggests that though this proverb is true, a better one might be, a healthy mind for a healthy body.上述研究表明,虽然这种谚语是正确的,可能这种描述会更好些,为了健康的身体,你必须保持健康的心态。 /201401/271236

  

  West Tibet,The roof of the world.世界的屋脊西藏。In the thin air six thousand meters high,a vast area westland as far as I can see,in this remote corner of Western Tibet,lie the ruins of mysterious Kindom.在我望眼所见海拔六千米高空气稀薄的广阔地域上,在西藏一处偏僻的角落,有着一个神秘国度的遗址。A Kingdom whose army was feared by all its neighbors.所有的邻国都惧怕其军队的王国。A kingdom which once dominated the trade of gold,silk and spices between Indian and China.一个曾一度主导印度和中国之间黄金、丝绸和香料贸易的王国。It was a kingdom of fabulous wealth and great religious significance.这是一个有着巨额财富和伟大的宗教意义的王国。Scholars argue that without this Kindom.学者们认为如果没有这个王国。Tibet Buddism would have withered and died centuries ago.西藏佛教几百年前就会枯萎并灭迹。Yet this spiritual and commercial hab,which prosper for seven centuries,vanished almost without a trace since 1630.然而这种精神和商业繁荣了七个世纪,却从1630年开始几乎消失的无影无踪。 201311/264930。

  

  So lets go back in time, back 13,000 years to relive one day in the life of North Americas great ice age plains.让我们穿越到13,000年前,重新感受生活在冰河时代美洲大平原北部的动物们一天的生活。Its early morning at the end of a long, hot summer. Even major rivers are beginning to run low. Colombian mammoth herd follows the river valley. They cant risk being far from the water. Once they’ve quenched their thirst, the next priority is food. They head out to the nearby meadows where they’ll graze most of the day, processing mountains of dry grass.现在正处于清晨,漫长炎热的夏季即将结束。即使是主河流的流速也开始放缓。哥伦比亚猛犸象沿着河谷行进。他们不能远离水源,以免置身脱水的危险。一旦水源问题解决,他们的下一目标便是食物。他们向附近的草原前行,并在那里度过一天中的大部分时光,他们享受着草原上一望无际的干草。Autumn is mating season. And a couple of nomadic males have started shadowing their herd. By sparring, they decide who will have access to the females coming into heat, who will father the next generation. Most power struggles are resolved through ritual intimidation. But if two evenly matched males cross parts, this posturing can escalate into a full-blown fight. Both of these opponents have a broken tusk, letting them get closer to each other during combat. Suddenly a free clash leaves them in a deadlock, inextricably entwined. If they cant free themselves, they will both end up the losers. 秋季是交配的季节。两只流浪的雄性猛犸象已经开始追寻他们兽群的足迹。通过角逐,他们将决定谁来接近即将进入发情期的雌性猛犸象,谁来播种下一代。这种力量上的比拼大多时候是一种形式上的角逐。但是如果两只势均力敌的猛犸象的象牙互相交叉,那么战斗将会扩大,直到拼个你死我活。这两只猛犸象都断了一只象牙,这让他们都在战斗中更靠近对方。突然一个随意的冲击使他们陷入僵局,他们的象牙卡在一起,无法分开。如果他们不能脱离这种僵局,结果他们都将失败。As a constant source of food and water, even when there’s been no rain for months, this valley draws thousands of other grazers.即使数月无雨,这条河谷也拥有充足的水源和食物,这使上千只食草动物来到此处。英文文本来自普特英语,译文属.201305/241305

  

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