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Early ballooning早期的热气球Shifting perspectives转变的观点Two rich tales about men, machines两个有关男人、机械的精故事Falling Upwards: How We Took to the Air.By Richard Holmes.《向上降落》:我们是如何升空的England and the Aeroplane: Militarism, Modernity and Machines.By David Edgerton《英格兰和飞机》:军国主义,现代性和机械制造RICHARD HOLMES, a British author and academic, is something of a Romantic, renowned for biographies of Percy Bysshe Shelley and Samuel Taylor Coleridge. In his last book, “The Age of Wonder”, which came out in 2008, he wrote about science and Romanticism and their common commitment to discovery. In his new book, “Falling Upwards”, he combines the two again to tell the stories of Europes early balloonists.理查德霍尔姆斯是英国的一位作家兼大学老师,生性有点儿浪漫,以为波比雪莱和塞缪尔泰勒柯尔律治作传而出名。在他上一本书《奇迹年代》中,他写了有关科学、浪漫以及它们值得探索的共同点。在新书“向上降落”中,他将二者再度结合,讲述了欧洲早期热气球飞行者的故事。Mr Holmess love of balloons was kindled at a village fete and his enthusiasm is one of the books many pleasures. He refers to the euphoric tone that features in many first-hand ballooning narratives, and it is hard not to discern something similarly joyous in this second-hand account. He describes men and women wrapped up in fur coats under their hydrogen-filled bubbles, fuelled by cold chicken and champagne and looking back to earth to see mankind “for what it really is”.霍尔姆斯先生迷上热气球始于一次乡村节日,他的狂热是本书众多有意思的地方之一。书中他参考了在许多一手的热气球叙事中偏爱运用的欢乐的口吻,所以在他这篇二手的文章中也不难看出类似的欢乐。在他的描述中,男人和女人醉心于穿着皮毛大衣窝在充满氢气的泡泡中,靠生冷的鸡肉和香槟来补充能量,藐看着地球上的人类,看看“他们究竟是什么”。The pioneers included John Money, who took off from Norwich one day in 1785, came down 20 miles from land and was rescued after five hours in the sea; and Sophie Blanchard, darling of the French revolutionary balloonists, whose “basket” was a decorative silver gondola shaped like a childs cradle and who was appointed Aeronaute des Fêtes Officielles by an impressed Napoleon.热气球飞行事业的先驱中有约翰曼尼,他在1785年的一天从诺维奇起飞,下降到距地面20英里的位置,五小时以后在海中得以被救;还有法国革命性热气球驾驶员的爱人苏菲布兰卡德,她的“热气球下的篮子”是装饰性的银色贡多拉,形状似孩童的摇篮。她还被了不起的拿破仑任命为法国官方节日的热气球驾驶员.Mr Holmes makes much of the esoteric side of ballooning, but the book is at its best when examining its more serious applications. In the American civil war, for example, both North and South put observers in tethered balloons to scope out enemy movements. And during the Prussian siege of Paris in 1870-71, balloonists managed to fly out of (if not back into) the city to communicate with the French government in exile in Tours. But the most thrilling tale belongs to Sweden, and Salomon Andrees doomed attempt to fly a balloon from Spitsbergen to the North Pole in 1896. Andrees craft came down on the ice, and he and his companions were unable to walk out of the wilderness. Diaries and film, found with the mens bodies over 30 years later, fill in the poignant details.霍尔姆斯先生在书中介绍了很多热气球的偏门功用,但书中最大的亮点却出现在描述它更正统应用的地方。举个例子,在美国南北战争时期,南北双方均让自己的观察员在系留气球上观测敌方的动向。再有就是在1870到1871,普鲁士围攻巴黎期间,热气球驾驶员设法飞出城市去和法国流亡政府沟通。但是最刺激的故事发生在瑞典。1896年,所罗门安德蕾进行了命中注定的一次尝试:从斯匹次卑尔根岛乘热气球飞到北极。他的船身落到了冰上,他和同伴无力从荒野中走出来。30年后,他的日记和胶卷连同他的尸体才被人发现,日记和胶卷中记录的满是辛酸的细节。“Falling Upwards” contains much of the historians apparatus, such as footnotes and bibliography, but its epilogue refers modestly to what has gone before as “a cluster of true balloon stories”. It does feel a touch light on the more technical aspects of ballooning, and says little about the French Montgolfier brothers who are credited as its inventors. That though seems a small price to pay for such a spirited work.“向上降落”中包含许多历史学家的写作特质,像脚注和参考文献,但其后记却适度提起了“一系列真实的热气球故事”之前所发生的事情。感觉像是更多探讨了热气球科技层面的东西,而对于公认的热气球发明者法国的蒙戈菲尔兄弟却几乎没提。在这本令人鼓舞的作品中,算是些许美中不足吧。Mr Holmess tale ends at the start of the 20th century when the business of flight was being handed over to the airship and the aeroplane. As David Edgertons sure-footed essay makes clear, flying in this next age was a rather more serious affair. Aeroplanes, he notes, were—and to a considerable extent still are—primarily weapons of war, created to serve “national purposes”.霍尔姆斯先生的故事结束于20世纪期初,当时正值飞行事业向飞艇和飞机转型。大卫艾哲顿在其确凿的论文中明确说,飞行在下一个时代会是更加严肃的一件大事。他解释说,飞机曾经是,且以后在很大程度上也仍然是战争中最主要的武器,造飞机的主要目的在于“务国家”。By examining Britain through the lens of its aviation industry, Mr Edgerton suggests that the countrys recent history is both more militant and more technical than many historians claim. British emphasis on the bomber, rather than the fighter plane, he argues, “represented a technological way of warfare” that accepted the killing of the enemy by machines. It was certainly brutal: in the second world war 60,000 Britons were killed by bombing; 118,000 Germans died in Hamburg alone.通过观察镜头中英国的航空工业,埃哲顿先生表明,英国近代历史要比很多历史学家声称的更加好战且科技更发达。相比于战斗机,英国人更多使用轰炸机,他还说,“呈现科技手段的战争”接受机器歼敌这一事实。这确实很残酷:二战期间,有60,000英国人被轰炸致死;而德国仅汉堡一个城市就有118,000人死亡。Like Mr Holmess balloonists, Mr Edgerton sees Britain from an unusual perspective. He digs into research and development spending and the activities of long-gone government ministries in an effort to challenge versions of history that have become fixated on Britains decline. In the 22 years since his books first edition Mr Edgerton says such “declinism” has waned—something he ascribes particularly to New Labour and the birth of a cooler Britannia. He himself can also take some credit; his arguments provide sound backing for the idea that modern Britain is as much a warfare state as a welfare one.和霍尔莫斯先生的热气球飞行者的故事一样,艾哲顿先生也从一个不同角度来窥见英国。他深入挖掘已经没落的政府部门的研发开和各种活动,以此向英国衰落历史的既定版本质疑。自从这本书的首版面市以来的22年里,艾哲顿先生表示,持这种“衰落论”观点的人已经越来越少——他把一些原因特别归于新工党的出现和一个更冷静的大不列颠的诞生。他自己的努力也可以算作一份功劳;他的论点声援了一个观点,那就是现代英国战火虽尤平,但鲜有硝烟,人民过上了还算幸福的生活。 /201405/294428

Don: One thing you listeners dont know about me is that I used to weigh an incredible three hundred pounds. Ever since I started the Moment of Science weight loss program, though, Ive been slimming and trimming until Im now in the spectacular shape you see today.唐:关于我,你的听众们有一件事不知道,我曾经胖得惊人,体重曾重达300磅。自从我参加了科学时刻减肥计划,我就一直在瘦身,直到减成你现在看到的这样。Yael: Don . . . you look the same as you always have.雅艾尔:唐...你看起来一直是这个样子。Don: Well, okay. But I do fidget.唐:哦,好吧。但是我感到坐立不安。Yael: You fidget? What does fidgeting have to do with weight?雅艾尔:坐立不安?你坐立不安与体重有什么关系?Don: Maybe a lot! Researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota did some experiments to try to figure out why some people gain weight more than others do.唐:也许关系很大!位于明尼苏达州的梅奥医疗中心的研究人员做了一些实验,来试图理解为什么有些人比其他人增加更多的体重。Yael: Boy, I can relate to that. Some people can eat whatever they want and they never seem to gain a pound.雅艾尔:孩子,我也有同感。有些人想吃什么就吃什么,而且从来不长一点肉。Don: In this study, volunteers were given a thousand extra calories a day—about two cheeseburgers worth of extra intake.唐:在这项研究中,志愿者每天多摄入1000卡路里,大约相当于2个芝士汉堡所含的热量。Yael: This kind of study Id like to be in!雅艾尔:我想参加这样的实验!Don: Well anyway, they also wore special devices that recorded how much they moved—you know, walking up and down steps and whatnot. Everybody gained weight, but some people gained much less than others. The culprit? Fi—dgeting.唐:不过,不论怎样,他们也会穿上特别的装备来记录他们的运动情况——你也知道,上楼梯、下楼梯以及类似的运动。每人都在增重,但有些人增加的重量比其它人少得多。罪魁祸首是什么?坐立不安。Yael: You mean just drumming your fingers or scratching your neck or something?雅艾尔:你是指敲手指或抓脖子上,还是什么?Don: Any motion takes energy to perform. And little motions like rearranging things on your desk or stretching your back, if you do them all the time, start to add up. We generally only think of large motions, like exercise, as burning calories. But people who have the fidgets may be doing a slow, steady burn all day long.唐:任何运动都需要能量去执行。像整理书桌上的东西或伸展背部这样的小动作,如果你一直做就会累加。我们通常只认为大型运动才会燃烧卡路里,比如锻炼。但那些坐立不安的人们可能会一整天都在缓慢而稳定地燃烧卡路里。原文译文属!201306/243344

Panama hats巴拿马草帽Hold onto your headwear守住你的帽子Ecuador makes them and wants you to know it厄瓜多尔制造了这种帽子并希望你去了解它HATS have been woven in and around Montecristi, a hillside town in Ecuador near the Pacific Ocean, since as long ago as the 17th century. Locally the cream-coloured titfers, which are made from the soft fibres of a palm-like plant, are called toquilla-straw hats. To the rest of the world, however, they are known as Panama hats. Now Ecuador wants to reclaim the brand.蒙特克里斯蒂是厄瓜多尔的一座山地小镇,位于太平洋附近。从17世纪开始,这座小镇及其周边就开始编织帽子了。这种帽子是淡黄色的,用一种叫多基利亚的棕榈状植物的柔软纤维编织而成,当地人称它为多基利亚草帽。但对于世界其它地方的人来说,这种帽子被称为巴拿马草帽。如今厄瓜多尔希望收回这个牌子。The hats became known as “Panamas” because that was where they were primarily sold to international markets. By the 1840s Ecuadorean entrepreneurs were sending them to Panama in the tens of thousands. Prospective gold-diggers bought them as they crossed the isthmus on their way to California. Theodore Roosevelt helped make them fashionable on a visit, in November 1906, to see the construction of the canal.这种帽子被称为“巴拿马帽”是因为它最初销售的国际市场是巴拿马。在19世纪40年代之前厄瓜多尔企业家们将数以万计的帽子运往巴拿马。抱着期望的淘金者们在穿越地峡去往加州时购买这种帽子。西奥多·罗斯福在1906年访问参观巴拿马运河建筑情况时戴着这种帽子,促进了它的流行。The hats fell out of favour in the second half of the 20th century, but data from Ecuadors Central Bank suggest demand is rising. The country exported finished hats worth m in 2013, up from a piffling 7,000 in 2003. The headwear goes mostly to Italy, Britain and the ed States, where they can fetch anything from a few dollars to several thousand for the most intricate designs. According to Andrés Ycaza of the Ecuadorean Intellectual Property Institute, a skilled weaver will earn only about 0 for a hat worth close to ,000, which can take months to make. Without a premium attached to its Ecuadorean origins, it is hard to drive prices higher.这种帽子在20世纪后期开始失宠,但厄瓜多尔中央的资料表明需求仍在增长。2013年国家贸易出口的成品帽子总价值为六百万美元,而2003年仅为517,000美元。这种帽子主要售往意大利、英国和美国,在那里它们的价格不等,最低只有几美元,而最精细复杂的款式可以达到几千美元。据厄瓜多尔知识产权协会的安德列·伊卡萨称,一个熟练的编织工人编织一顶价值接近2000美元的帽子需要数月时间,而他从中只能挣到800美元。因为厄瓜多尔来源地不会为帽子带来额外价值,因此价格很难增高。Mr Ycazas answer is to try and promote the hats roots. In 2012 the weaving of the toquillahat won a place on UNESCOs list of “intangible cultural heritage”. Now IEPI is trying to gain protected designation-of-origin status for the Montecristi hat in trade negotiations with the European Union, which protects everything from Roquefort cheese to Isle of Man Queenies, a type of scallop. “This is the moment to make it known to the entire world that the Montecristi hat is made here in Ecuador,” says Mr Ycaza.伊卡萨给出的解决方案就是尝试发扬帽子的产地。2012年这种手工编织的多基利亚草帽还被列入联合国教科文组织人类非物质文化遗产名录。如今IEPI正试图在与欧盟的商业谈判中为蒙特克里斯蒂的帽子争取原产地名称保护制度,这种制度保护一切东西,如曼岛奎尼扇贝和洛克福羊乳干酪。“是时候让全世界都知道蒙特克里斯蒂帽子产地是厄瓜多尔了,”伊卡萨说。The idea hasnt won universal support. Although Montecristi is home to 500 or so weavers, the city of Cuenca in the southern Andes produces and exports most finished toquilla hats. There they worry that the Montecristi brand wont much help them. “If a weaver from Manabí [Montecristis home province] for whichever reason moves to Cuenca, the hat he makes in Cuenca isnt going to be worse than the one he weaves in Manab,” says Gabriela Molina of Homero Ortega, a family-owned hatmaker.这个想法没有获得广泛持。尽管蒙特克里斯蒂是500多名手工编织艺人的家乡,南安第斯山脉的城市昆卡也制造和出口大量成品多基利亚草帽,他们担忧蒙特克里斯蒂品牌对他们没什么帮助。“如果一名来自马纳比省(蒙特克里斯蒂的所属省)的手工编织艺人迁移到了昆卡,他在昆卡制作的帽子不会比在马纳比制作的差,”家族制帽商奥梅罗·奥特加的加夫列拉·莫利纳说。 /201407/313214

Science and technology科学技术Astronomy天文学The cosmic boogie-box宇宙中的摇滚乐The sky, it seems, is filled with unexpected radio signals看上去,太空中充满了我们意想不到的无线电讯号WHISPER it not, but doing science can sometimes be a bit tedious.可能你会在背后小声议论,但是科学本来就有些单调乏味。Traditionally, a researcher postulates an idea, devises an experiment to test it and then reports the results.一般说来,一名研究人员会做出一个假设,设计出一个实验来验其正确性,然后再报告实验结果。Sometimes those results confirm the postulate; sometimes they confound it.有的时候这些结果和假设相符,有的时候与其相悖。Occasionally, though, something unexpected happens, and that is when the tedious gets exciting.但是,在极少数的情况下,会发生一些意想不到的事情;这时,单调乏味的科学就变得振奋轰动了。One such shock was the discovery in 1964 of the cosmic microwave background, by Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson,一个轰动的例子就是1964年宇宙微波背景的发现。当时射电天文学家阿诺.彭齐亚斯和罗伯特.威尔逊正在对接收器进行测验,a pair of radio astronomers who were testing a receiver they planned to use to search the sky for localised sources of microwaves.他们计划用这部接收器来探寻局部的微波源。The hiss they found at one particular frequency turned out to be evidence for the then-controversial idea that the universe had been born in a Big Bang.这过程中,两位天文学家发现了某一特定频率的嘶音,恰好明了当时争议不断的大爆炸理论。A similarly strange result was reported this week by stargazers gathered at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Long Beach, California.本周在加州长滩举行的美国天文学会上,我们听到了一个有些类似的奇怪结果。Some of them reckon that, besides microwaves, the sky reverberates with the din of radio waves as well.其中一些天文学家认为,除了微波之外,宇宙还同辐射波的杂音一起发生反射。If they are right, something very odd indeed is going on in the universe.如果这种观点正确,那么宇宙中就存在一些非常不可思议的事情了。The astronomers in question work for NASA, America’s space agency.这些天文学家都在美国国家航天航空局工作:Michael Seiffert is based at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, and Alan Kogut at the Goddard Space Flight Centre in Maryland.迈克尔.赛佛来自加州帕萨迪纳市的喷气动力实验室,艾伦.科格特来自马里兰州的哥达德太空飞行中心。The postulate they had planned to test was that the first stars to form after the Big Bang would have left some signs of themselves in the form of radio waves.原本,他们是为了验大爆炸之后形成的第一批星球以辐射波的形式保留下了一些迹象;Their experiment was designed to find these signs.其设计的实验也是为了寻找这些迹象。Their search used radio telescopes launched to the edge of the atmosphere on special balloons from a site in Palestine, Texas.研究在德克萨斯的帕勒斯坦地区展开,他们把射电望远镜置于一些特殊的气球上,发射到大气层边缘。The result they got was not, however, what they were looking for.然而,所得的结果却并非他们的初衷。The microwave background is the earliest snapshot of the universe, taken a mere 300,000 years after the Big Bang and almost 700,000 years before the first stars are thought to have coalesced.微波背景是宇宙最早的形态,它发生在大爆炸之后仅仅300,000年;一般观点认为,其700,000年后第一批星球就已经结合。It reveals the newborn universe to have been a remarkably uniform fireball.这就说明,新生的宇宙是一个非常均匀的火球。Dr Seiffert and Dr Kogut wanted to identify the point at which things stopped being so smooth and the universe started to develop the structures—galaxies, stars, planets and dust—that fill it today.赛佛教授和科格特教授希望能够找出是从何时开始,宇宙开始从均匀的状态转变,发展成今天的多样结构——,星球,还有尘埃。It was for this reason that they were searching for signs of stars.因此,他们一直在寻找星球的迹象。What they found, however, was a background hiss of radio noise, reminiscent of the hiss noticed by Dr Penzias and Dr Wilson.但是,他们却发现了射电噪声的一种背景杂音,这让人联想到彭齐亚斯士和威尔逊士当时注意到的嘶声。After ruling out nearby sources of radio waves, they concluded that their own hiss also comes from beyond the Milky Way and thus constitutes a cosmic radio background.赛佛教授和科格特教授排除了附近辐射波的干扰,认为这种杂音同样来自之外,构成了一个辐射背景。Four papers describing the telescopes, the observations and their possible interpretation have been submitted to the Astrophysical Journal.他们写了四篇论文,对望远镜、观测结果以及有可能的解释进行描述,递交了《天体物理学杂志》。Why a cosmic radio background should be there remains a mystery.为什么那里会存在一个宇宙辐射背景呢?这还是一个谜。It does not appear to be coming from the primordial stars sought by the astronomers—indeed, it completely drowns out any signs of the early stars that were the object of the original quest.但是这看起来不像是天文学家所探寻的原始星球;实际上,这一背景的声音淹没了科学家意图探寻之星球的一切迹象。Nor are there enough radio galaxies around to account for it.周围也没有任何射电星系能够达到这一效果。It looks, therefore, like the sign of a previously unknown phenomenon.因此看起来,这是一个从前不为人所知现象的表现。Of course, some as-yet unidentified error could have been made. In that case, it will be back to the tedium.当然了,在这过程中也可能出现了一些迄今未被识别的错误。倘若如此,科学又回到了单调乏味。But Dr Seiffert, Dr Kogut and their colleagues are hoping that will not be the case, and that their discovery really will turn out to be worth making a noise about.但是赛佛教授、科格特教授以及他们的同事们不希望真的会有什么错误;他们希望,这一发现最终能够名声大“噪”。 /201305/238937

But there is at least one place in Florida where the manatees benefit from humans being around. Clean, hot water released from this power plant turns a man-made inlet into a hot tub. And during winter months when sea temperatures drop below 20 degrees centigrade, manatees gather here to keep warm. It’s actually an artificial version of the natural hot springs where manatees traditionally congregate. But this particular location seems to be extremely popular. During the coldest spells, more than 300 manatees can gather here. 但在佛罗里达,至少还是有一个地方的人类活动能给海牛带来益处的。这里发电厂排出的清洁的热水使这个人工的排水口变成了一个温泉。在冬季的几个月里,海水的温度低于20摄氏度,海牛们则聚集在这里取暖。这其实是一种人工的天然温泉,而海牛则一直喜欢在温泉聚集。但是这里似乎极受欢迎。在最冷的一段时间里,300多只海牛都聚集在这里。With so many of these shy creatures in one place, the power plant has become a tourist attraction. It may not be the most scenic setting, but this is a unique chance to see one of the largest gatherings of manatees in the world. 因为能在一个地方看到这么多的害羞可爱的海牛,此处的发电厂已经成为了一个景点。这里可能不是风景最美丽的,但这确是能看到世界最大海牛聚集地的独特的机会。People have become dependent on industry to support their modern lifestyle, so too it seems has some of North America’s wildlife. Every September, the skies over Portland, Oregon become crowded with vauxs swifts. These birds have chosen a 30-meter chimney stack as a place to roost. Tens of thousands funnel down into the disused chimney where they huddle together for the night. Vauxs swifts traditionally roost communally in the hollow trees, but as many of North America’s forests are destroyed, theyve turned to man-made structures.人们为了保持现代化的生活方式已经越来越依赖工业,而北美的一些野生动物也是如此。每逢九月,俄勒冈州波特兰的上空都会布满沃氏雨燕的身影。这些鸟儿选择了一个30米高的烟囱筑巢。数万只沃氏雨燕挤在着这个废弃的烟囱中过夜。沃氏雨燕之前通常在中空的树中筑巢,但是随着很多北美森林的毁坏,它们便转向了这些人造建筑。英文文本来自普特英语,译文属未经许可不得转载。201401/272874


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