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Business商业报道Alternative law firms 可选择的律所Bargain briefs讨价还价Technology offers 50 ways to leave your lawyer再也不用依赖您的律师了,技术提供了更多方案CONVENTIONAL law firms charge vast hourly fees and then hand the work to underlings while the partners play golf at clubs their clients are too poor to join.通常律师事务所会按小时收取高额费用,而后将工作扔给下属,而合伙人得以出入一些客户都付不起的高尔夫俱乐部。At least, that is how it seems to many clients, whose irritation at being overcharged turned to fury during the recession.至少,很多客户看起来是这样,为此他们很恼怒。在经济低迷期,这种做法更是让他们暴跳如雷。Some clients are switching to unconventional law firms, which claim to offer equally good lawyering for much less money.一些客户于是转向一些非传统律师事务所,这些律所宣称提供同样优质的律师务,但价格更低廉。Take Clearspire.就拿Clearspire来说吧,The firms 20 or so lawyers work mostly from home, collaborating on a multi-million-dollar technology platform that mimics a virtual office.该公司近20名律师大多数在家办公,通过一个虚拟办公室—由一个造价达几百万美元的技术平台所模仿而成—合作。A lawyer checking in on a colleague automatically sees a picture of her on the phone when she is, in fact, on the phone.只要律师打电话给同事就会自动在电话上看到她的图片,而事实上她只是在通话。Clients use the platform too, commenting on and even changing their own documents as they are being drawn up.客户也使用这个平台,提供意见和建议甚至修改他们已经制定好的文件。Conventional lawyers are far less open.传统的律所则没这么开放。From the start, Clearspire offers cost estimates for each phase of a legal job.一开始,Clearspire为法律业务的每个阶段给出一个估价。Employees who underestimate how long it will take cannot simply jack up the bill—they must take the hit themselves.即使律师低估了完成业务所需时间,也不能随意抬高价格—律所必须承担这个风险。But if a lawyer finishes his work faster than promised, he gets a third of the savings.但如果某律师比预期提前完成了工作,他就能拿到三分之一的存款,The client also gets a third, as does Clearspire.客户和Clearspire也各拿到三分之一。This gives everyone a stake in making the process more efficient and predictable.这样一来,更有效更有预见性地完成任务就与每一方都利益攸关。Bryce Arrowood, the founder, notes that law firms reward partners who bring in business, and not necessarily the most brilliant lawyers.创始人Bryce Arrowood注意到律所会奖励带来业务的合伙人,而不一定会奖励最出色的律师。Yet clients priorities are exactly the reverse.但客户的想法却刚好相反。So Clearspire has an unusual dual structure.于是Clearspire想到一个独特的二元结构方案。American law firms cannot have non-lawyers sharing fees with lawyers.美国律所不允许非律师及律师享有同样的叫价。So Clearspire must be two entities: a law firm, with salaried employee-lawyers rather than partners, and a second company that focuses on bringing in business and supporting the lawyers.因此Clearspire必须开两家实体公司:一家是聘请律师而非合伙人的律所;一家是专门物色业务并协助律师完成业务的公司。The discount for clients is sweet.该律所给出的折扣很诱人。George Kappaz is a private-equity boss who recently gave a complex job to Clearspire.某私企老板George Kappaz最近委托Clearspire做一项复杂的业务。He estimates that it cost a quarter of what he would have paid the big firms he used before, and Clearspires work was just as good.他所需付的费用是他曾经付给大公司的费用的四分之一,并且Clearspire完成得很出色。Mr Kappaz predicts that the Clearspire model, or something like it, will revolutionise the legal business.Kappaz认为Clearspire这种模式,或者类似这种模式,将给律师业带来一场大变革。Perhaps so, but for Clearspire it is early days.也许是吧,但对于Clearspire来说还为时太早。Can it make money?这种模式有利可寻吗?A company like 11-year-old Axiom proves that clients have an appetite for alternative models.已有11年历史的Axiom公司实了客户钟情于多选模式。Axiom either seconds some of its hundreds of lawyers to a company, takes on a whole chunk of a client firms legal work, or performs discovery.Axiom会派出它所雇佣的几百名律师中的一部分,或者是去客户公司处理客户所提交的一大卡车的法律文件,或者是去做调查。Rather than charging by the hour for each lawyer, it asks for a single flat fee, or charges for a team by the week or the month.Clearspire不会按小时付律师,而是给出一个统一费率,或者按一周或一个月来付一个团队。Expenses are kept low by having headquarters in SoHo, a chic bohemian bit of New York, and by stashing many lawyers in even cheaper places such as Houston and Hyderabad.由于总部设在SoHo,此外,很多律师还在一些类似Houston和Hyderabad等价格低廉的地方办公,因此Clearspire得以给出比较低廉的价格。The recession was good to Axiom.经济衰退对Axiom来说是件好事。After it sent its consultants, recruited from the likes of McKinsey and Accenture, to clients to help them trim their legal spending, the clients gave Axiom more work.它派出顾问—从McKinsey以及Accenture等地方挖过来的—去帮助客户降低法律业务价格之后,客户就委托Axiom做更多项目。Revenue grew from m in 2008 to m in 2010.公司收入从2008年得5500万美元上升到2010年得8000万美元。This year the firm expects to rake in 0m.今年该公司计划大揽1亿2千万美元。Companies were always under pressure to cut their legal bills, says Mark Harris, Axioms boss.公司总是想方设法减少法律业务开,对此也有压力。But fake pressure before became real pressure during the downturn.Axiom 的老总Mark Harris说道。但在经济低迷期,压力还没真正到来之前,先装一装。Axiom and Clearspire serve some of Americas biggest companies.Axiom以及Clearspire务于美国一部分大型企业。Other entrepreneurs are aiming at small-business clients.其它企业家正准备找一些小公司下手。These would normally take a chance on finding the right sole practitioneror small firm.通常,找新开的小公司都有风险。But on LawPivot, a year-old social-networking website for lawyers and those who need them, potential clients post questions, and lawyers provide free, brief answers.但在LawPivot——某专为律师以及需要律师的人务的网站,已运营一年——上,潜在客户可以在上面提出问题,律师就会免费提供简短的回答。The lawyers make nothing, but use the service to drum up custom. Clients can test a lawyers skill before opening their wallets.律师什么都得不到,无非是利用这个务去吸引客户前往;而客户也得以在掏钱之前测测律师的能力。LawPivot is a social-networking site, not a law firm—it will make its money initially by charging lawyers to upgrade their profiles.LawPivot是一个社交网站,而非律所—它最初会向更新个人资料的律师收取费用。Google Ventures is a backer, and Apples former top lawyer for mergers and acquisitions is a co-founder.谷歌风险投资公司对此表示持,而苹果的前任从事并购业务的高级律师是创始人之一。This kind of heft will bring it up against LegalZoom, the biggest seller of online forms and easy, repeatable legal services for small businesses and individuals.这些重量级的投入将是它成为LegalZoom—为小公司或者个人提供在线表格以及简易法律务的最大销售商—的对手。LegalZoom now wants to put more of its contract lawyers to work directly for clients at a flat rate.如今LegalZoom想按照统一费率派更多的律师直接为客户务。It is more than a decade since the internet made book-buying cheaper and more convenient.网民通过互联网以更方便更低廉的价格购买图书已有十年历史。If technology now helps cut gargantuan legal bills in America and elsewhere, it will be better late than never.如果技术的进步能够在美国以及其它地区削减高昂的法律价格,那还为时未晚。 点击此处下载本期经济学人讲解PDF与音频字幕 /201303/229556。

You notice your tears most after a good cry or while slicing an onion, but actually your eyes are constantly moistened by a thin film of tears.切洋葱或者痛哭之后你会注意到自己流泪了,但事实上,泪薄膜使你的眼睛常常保持湿润这种状态。This film has three distinct layers: an outer, oily layer to prevent evaporation; a middle layer of lacrimal fluid, the main ingredient of tears; and an inner, mucous layer. This three layer film is replenished every time you blink, and it provides essential protection for your eyes.泪薄膜由三个不同的层面组成:外层是防止蒸发的油脂层,中层是眼泪的主要成分——泪腺液体,内层是粘膜层。每当你眨一次眼睛,这三层薄膜就得到补充,这为你的眼睛提供必要的保护。Most of your body is protected by skin of course, and your outer layer of skin is made of dead cells and keratin, an opaque, protective substance. Your eyes need to be transparent,however; they cant be covered by a layer of dead cells and keratin. One of the main functions of tears therefore, is to keep these cells alive.当然你身体的大部分是由皮肤来保护,皮肤外层是由死细胞和角蛋白(即一种不透明的防护物质)组成。然而,眼睛却需要透明的保护层;在眼睛表面不能覆盖有死细胞或者角蛋白。因此眼泪的一个主要的功能就使这些细胞保持活力。Tears are loaded with electrolyte salts, chemicals that are also found deep inside your body. These salts make your outer eye cells feel like theyre inside your body, preventing them from turning into cells similar to skin cells.眼泪含有电解的盐类物质,这类化学物质在你身体的深处也存在。这些盐类物质将外眼细胞与外界隔离,防止它们变得类似于表皮细胞。Tears help your eyes in other ways too. When a speck of dust gets in your eye, its coated with mucous from glands in the white of your eye, then washed out with extra fluid from the lacrimal glands, the main tear producing glands above the eye.眼泪也能从其他方面保护眼睛。当一粒灰尘进入眼睛时,眼白部分的腺体就会分泌粘液将它包裹起来,然后随多余的液体从泪腺中流出。泪腺是产生眼泪的主要腺体。To protect your eyes from germs, tears also contain bacteria fighting enzymes. Whats more, tears provide a good optical surface. They smooth out the microscopically uneven cells of your cornea. Without tears, tiny irregularities in your eye would give you constantly fuzzy vision.为了保护眼睛不受细菌侵袭,眼泪中也含有抗细菌酶。更重要的是,眼泪能够帮助抚平微小不均匀的细胞角膜,从而形成一个良好的视觉表面。没有眼泪,那些微小不规则的角膜就会使视线变得模糊。Although theyre most apparent during a good cry, tears are actually an essential part of everyday life.尽管只有在哭泣的时候才见眼泪,但它的确是日常生活中不可缺少的一部分。原文译文属!201210/205763。

Why Giving Birth Hurts为什么生孩子很痛苦?Don, you sure are lucky dont have to give birth. Im glad were an intelligent species, but boy, that infant head feels mighty large going through that narrow birth canal. And then, after all that, the baby comes out facing down and backwards, which means youre helpless to assist it, or even to untangle it from the umbilical cord.唐,你很幸运不用生孩子。我很高兴人类有着聪明才智,但是天啊,婴儿的脑袋要从狭窄的产道出来,那是很痛苦的。而且,经历过这一切后,宝宝出来是面向下和倒过来的,你根本没办法协助它,或者甚至不能帮忙解开脐带。Well, Yeal. According to evolutionary anthropologists, babies of the earliest humans had a fifty-fifty chance of coming out facing backwards. This was a result of humans learning to walk on two feet. As the pelvis became optimized for walking, the birth canal developed twists and turns that meant the baby had to rotate in order to keep its head and shoulders aligned with the widest part at all times.根据人类进化学家,人类早期时候的婴儿生出来是有二分之一的可能性是面向后面的。这是人类学习用两只脚走路的结果。随着盆骨越来越适应走路,产道就变得迂回曲折,婴儿就得旋转过来保持它的头和肩膀总是与最宽的部分在同一平面上。And then our brains also got bigger.然后头也会变得更大。Which meant more twists and turns.也意味着更多的扭转。And backwards-facing babies, stupid,huh?倒着出生的婴儿,很可笑吧。Well,you know,Yeal.Some of the earliest humans learned to compensate for the difficulty of giving birth by receiving assistance during childbirth, which made a huge difference in terms of survival.你知道吗?最早时期的人类学会弥补分娩的困难,他们通过在分娩是接受援助,这在生存方面起了非常重要的作用。So there might be an evolutionary advantage to having someone help you give birth.因此,也许有一种进化优势能请人帮助你生育。Some anthropologists certainly think so and conjecture that human females who gave birth to backwards-facing babies, and females who had assistance because they felt particularly anxious about the birth, ended up doing better than females who didnt. After all, if problems arise during labor, having another person around can make the difference between life and death.一些人类学家当然也这么想过,并且他们推测那些女性生下面向后面的婴儿,和在生育时得到帮助的女性比没有援助的生育女性生产更顺利。毕竟,在分娩时有问题出现,有人在身边是能够于生死之间起到很大作用。 /201301/222769。

;THE freedom to marry;, wrote Earl Warren, chief justice of the ed States Supreme Court,;has long been recognised as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men.; Warren wrotethat sentence in 1967, by way of explaining why he and his colleagues unanimously ruled that laws banning interracial marriages violated both theequal protection and due process clauses of the fourteenth amendment. Supporters of gay marriage would like to see that same court apply that same reasoning to their cause. On February 7th a federal court in California brought them one step closer.;婚姻自由,长久以来都乃自由之人追求幸福不可或缺之至高无上人权之一。;美国最高法院的首席大法官Earl Warren在1967年时和他的同僚们一致通过裁定,认为禁止不同种族通婚的禁令违反了第十四修正案的平等保护条款和正当程序条款,为了解释这一裁定,他写下了上面这句话。同性恋婚姻的持者们希望看到这同一法庭也将同一理由适用于他们的案件。而加州联邦法庭在2月7日的判决让他们离自己的目标更近了一步。The ed States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that Proposition 8, a ballot initiative passed by Californiarsquo;s voters in November 2008 amending the constitution to prohibit gay marriage, was unconstitutional. That initiative passed fivemonths after Californiarsquo;s Supreme Court overturned an earlier ban on gaymarriage; during that time, California granted marriage licences to some 18,000 gay couples.美国第九巡回上诉法院裁定8号提案违宪。8号提案最早在2008年11月在加州投票通过,修改宪法以禁止同性婚姻。而在8号提案通过的五个月之前,加州最高法院推翻了之前一项关于同性婚姻的禁令;在此期间内(原:就在这五个月期间内),加州为大约18,000对同性;夫妻;颁发了结婚书。The appeals court upheld a lower courtrsquo;s ruling in 2010 that Proposition 8 violated the fourteenth amendment, but did so on far narrower grounds, leaving unanswered the broad question of whether states could ever restrict marriage to heterosexual couples, and finding instead that Californiarsquo;s measure visited a unique harm upon gays and lesbians by stripping them of a right they once enjoyed. Under California law, gays retained the rights to adopt children,file taxes jointly and share bank accounts. Proposition 8 simply denied them the ;official, cherished status; of marriage,leading the court to conclude that its sole purpose was ;to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California;.虽然巡回上诉法院持初级法院在2010年做出的关于8号提案违反第十四修正案的裁定,但它基于的理由却极为狭隘,它回避了一个更广泛的悬而未决的问题;;美国各州是否会将婚姻仅限定于异性夫妻之间;相反地,却只针对;由于加州的做法剥夺了一项同性恋者们曾经享有的权利,反而对他们造成了特定伤害;这一点做文章。加州的法律规定,同性恋(伴侣)享有领养孩子,共同纳税以及共享账户的权利。8号提案只是否决了他们婚姻的;合法的,崇高的地位;,这使法庭断定8号提案唯一的目的就是要;降低加州同性恋者的地位并剥夺他们的尊严;。The case now seems certain to be appealed to the ed States Supreme Court, though other states are simply pushing ahead with allowing gay marriage: on February 8th Washingtonrsquo;s state legislature voted to allow it, though the decision could yet require approval at a referendum. Marriage, far beyond such mundane matters aspensions and bank accounts, is of course a hugely emotive subject. As the Ninth Circuit noted in handing down its judgment, ;Had Marilyn Monroersquo;s film been called lsquo;How to Register a Domestic Partnership with a Millionairersquo;, it would not have conveyed the same meaning.;尽管其他州都在推动允许同性婚姻的进程;;2月8日,华盛顿州众议院投票通过允许同性婚姻的提案,当然决议的最终批准还需公民投票表决;;但现在看来,此案(8号提案违宪一案)一定会上诉至美国最高法院。婚姻,是与情感高度相关之事,远不同于养老金,账户等一般俗务。就像第九巡回上诉法院在宣布其裁决时所指出的那样:;如果玛丽莲梦露的电影叫《如何与百万富翁签订一纸家庭伴侣关系》(而不叫《如何嫁个百万富翁》),意思就大相径庭了。;201203/173766。

Science and technology.科技。Insect acrobatics.昆虫的绝活。Flipping roaches.非常。How cockroaches vanish.是怎么消失不见的?ANYONE who has tried to swat a cockroach will know those insects strange ability, in the heat of pursuit, to disappear. Robert Full and his colleagues at the University of California, Berkeley, have now worked out how they do this-and taught a miniature robot to copy the feat.只要打过的都知道它们特殊的本领——往往在追赶最激烈的时候突然消失不见了。加州大学伯克利分校的Robert Full和他的同事现在已明白它们是怎么做到的,并用一个微型机器人模拟了这个过程。Dr Full had been using high-speed photography to study how cockroaches employ their antennae to sense and cross gaps. When the researchers made the gaps wider, they saw the animals flipping back underneath the ledge at the edge of the gap, rather than jumping across the empty space. As they report in the Public Library of Science, cockroaches running towards a gap suddenly grip the edge with the hooklike claws on their rear legs and swing 180° to land firmly underneath the ledge, upside down. They can pull off this stunt in a fifth of a second-so fast that the animals bodies are subject to between three and five times the force of gravity, and also so fast that the movement is invisible to the human eye.Full士运用了高速摄影技术来研究是如何使触须去感知和穿过缝隙。当研究者把缝隙扩宽,发现直接在缝隙边缘翻转下去,而不是跳过缝隙,正如《科学公共图书馆》所报道的那样,先迅速冲向缝隙,然后用后腿上的钩状爪子抓住边缘,顺势摆动180°,头朝下牢牢抓住平板底部。它们能在0.2秒内完成这项绝技,这么快的速度的身体要承受3到5倍的重力加速度,也正是由于这么快的移动速度才让人类难以发现。Dr Full and his colleagues have since identified similar behaviour in other animals with hooklike toes that are good at escaping pursuit: geckos, for example. They have also teamed up with members of Berkeleys robotics laboratory to program a small six-legged robot that has strips of Velcro attached to its rear legs to do the same trick. Such a robot could be fitted with a camera and used as a surveillance device. Some people, though, might prefer it to be fitted with a miniature machinegun and used as a UCPV (unmanned cockroach pursuit vehicle).Full士和同事后来又发现了其他具有类似特性的生物,它们同样具有钩状的脚趾并擅长逃离追杀,比如壁虎。他们也与伯克利分校机器人实验室合作,设计了一只小型六脚机器人,然后把魔术贴粘在机器人的后腿上,最后成功完成了类似动作。这种机器人可以用来装配相机作为监视装置,尽管如此,一些人更希望它装配微型机变成自动捕杀器。201208/195020。