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Georgias history格鲁吉亚的历史Bad location糟糕的位置Despite its unhappy history and dire geography, Georgia is doing well虽然历史坎坷,位置糟糕,格鲁吉亚现在做得不错Edge of Empires: A History of Georgia. By Donald Rayfield.《帝国的边缘:格鲁吉亚的历史》。作者:Donald Rayfield。Georgia: A Political History since Independence.《格鲁吉亚:自独立开始的政治历史》。作者:Stephen Jones。TO MOST outsiders Georgian history is a closed book. Indeed for English-speakers there are practically no books at all. Georgia mostly features on the edges of other peoples histories. Xenophon, describing Greek mercenaries attempts to get home in 400, wrote the first description of it. Books about the Soviet Union highlight Georgias role as a rebellious captive and as the birthplace of Josef Stalin, its most infamous son. A flurry of recent accounts describe the brief, disastrous war with Russia in 2008. Now Donald Rayfield of the University of London and Stephen Jones of Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts have written ambitious and comprehensive histories of a complex country.大多数非格鲁吉亚人对格鲁吉亚的历史一无所知。实际上基本没有一本关于格鲁吉亚历史的书籍是用英语写的。大多数情况下,格鲁吉亚只能在别国历史的边边角角里看到。公元前400年,描述希腊雇佣兵为回家而努力的色诺芬第一次提到了格鲁吉亚。关于苏联的史书将格鲁吉亚要么视为叛逆的俘虏,要么视为其最罪名昭著的国民约瑟夫·斯大林的诞生地。最近出版的一系列书描述了格鲁吉亚与俄罗斯在2008年展开的那场灾难性的短暂战争。现在,伦敦大学的Donald Rayfield和马萨诸塞州曼荷莲女子学院的Stephen Jones为读者描绘出这个复杂的国家恢弘而又全面的历史。The authors are among a handful of foreigners to have mastered Georgian. Part of the small and ancient Kartvelian language family, it is related to no others, though some have fancifully claimed a distant cousinhood with Basque. Its roots are as obscure as the origins of those who speak it. Mr Rayfield starts around 1100, with the first mention in an Assyrian source of the “Mushki”. The first Georgian king, Parnavaz, was born in 326.这两名作者是少数几个掌握格鲁吉亚语的外国人。尽管有些人异想天开地宣称格鲁吉亚语和巴斯克语许久之前同系一源,但其实格鲁吉亚语是卡特维利语族的一个古老的小分,和其他语言都不相关。格鲁吉亚语的起源和格鲁吉亚人的起源一样湮灭在历史的尘埃中。Rayfield从公元前1100年左右开始写起,亚叙的史书在那时第一次提到“Mushki”。第一个格鲁吉亚国王Parnavaz诞生于公元前326年。The scope of Georgian history may be a humbling shock for those who thought the country appeared on the map only when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. But the er needs to take a deep breath, for the next 200 pages could be mistaken at times for a stray appendix from J.R.R. Tolkiens “The Lord of the Rings”. The tersely told stories involve hundreds of unknown but like-sounding people and places which appear and disappear in quick succession. The beheadings, castrations, sodomisations, rapes and eye-gougings—a local speciality—that dot the pages are jolting. But a little more in the way of analogies, signposts, interpretation and characterisation would have lightened the mixture.对于那些认为格鲁吉亚在1991年苏联解体时才出现在地图上的人来说,格鲁吉亚历史的源远流长可能是个令人羞愧的发现。但是读者需要深呼吸一下,因为之后的200页有时候会被人误以为是J.R.R.托尔金所著的《指环王》丢失的附录。一个个用词简练的故事里有着成百上千个不知名却听起来都很像的人物和地点,这些名字快速地出现,又快速地消失。在这部分,不时出现的砍头、阉割、、强奸和挖眼情节让人看得触目惊心。如果多点类比、线索、解释和特征描述将会使这部分读起来不那么沉重。The most cheerful pages concern Georgias golden age—around 1212 at the height of Queen Tamars reign. The country has never since been bigger, stronger or safer, stretching 800 miles (1,288km) from what is now Trabzon in Turkey to the shores of the Caspian sea. Georgias fortunes depend on the weakness or goodwill of its much larger neighbours: Russia to the north, Persia to the south-east, Turkey to the west. Mr Rayfields powerful theme is of brief periods of prosperity and security, ended by invasion, conquest, looting and despoliation. Georgians have had to get used to rule by outsiders: they often outwit them. Kremlin rule began with mass murder and ruinous economic planning, but in later decades Georgia was one of the most prosperous and enjoyable places to live in the Soviet Union. It was a similar story in the 19th century under Russian imperial rule.在该书中,读起来最让人心情愉快的部分与格鲁吉亚的黄金时代有关—格鲁吉亚的黄金时代在1212年左右塔玛皇后执政时期达到顶峰。那时的格鲁吉亚的疆域最大、国力最强、局势最稳。其疆域绵延800英里(1288公里),从现在位于土耳其的特拉布宗一直到里海的海岸。只有在那些比格鲁吉亚大得多的邻国处于衰弱时期,或者对格鲁吉亚态度友好时,格鲁吉亚才得以繁荣。这些邻国有北部的俄罗斯,东南部的波斯以及西部的土耳其。在Rayfield宏大的著作中,格鲁吉亚每次短暂的繁荣和稳定后都是列强的侵略和肆意抢劫。格鲁吉亚人不得不习惯于被外国人统治:但他们常常比统治者更聪明。苏联占领格鲁吉亚初期展开大屠杀和毁灭性的计划经济,但在随后的几十年里格鲁吉亚是苏联最繁荣最适宜居住的地方。19世纪格鲁吉亚被俄国君王统治时也是相似的情形。Georgias rulers own penchant for internal divisions and double-dealing has played a big role in prompting the countrys many disasters. So too has the failure of faraway outside powers to reciprocate Georgias pro-Western sentiments. The story of the years 1918-21, when the Georgian Democratic Republic made repeated vain appeals to Britain and other Western powers, before the Bolsheviks invaded, make poignant ing. They echo previous episodes involving Georgian rulers entreaties to the Byzantine empire and Venice—and foretell, perhaps, the let-down that many Georgians felt when nobody came to their aid in 2008.格鲁吉亚的许多灾难都是因为该国统治者喜欢内部斗争和耍两面派造成的。遥远的外部力量没能回应格鲁吉亚亲西方的感情也是因为这些统治者。1918至1921年间,格鲁吉亚民主共和党一次又一次向英国和其他西方列强求助无果,最后被布尔什维克侵略,这个故事读起来让人辛酸。这与该书之前讲到的格鲁吉亚统治者向拜占庭帝王和求助的故事惊人地相似。这个故事也许还预示着2008年因为无人帮忙许多格鲁吉亚人会品尝到失望。Mr Jones deals at book-length with the years covered by Mr Rayfields final chapter. Georgias disastrous rebirth, amid economic collapse and civil war, gave way to a period of sleazy stagnation under Eduard Shevardnadze, who had run the place in Soviet times and then served as Mikhail Gorbachevs foreign minister.Jones的书涵盖的年份和Rayfield的书中最后一章相同。先是格鲁吉亚在经济崩溃和内战后充满灾难的重生,随后就是Eduard Shevardnadze领导下的经济停滞。Eduard Shevardnadze在苏联时期管理格鲁吉亚,后来成为米哈伊尔·戈尔巴乔夫执政时期苏联的外交部长。Amid much useful detail, Mr Jones snipes at the record of Mikheil Saakashvili, who became president after the “Rose Revolution” of 2003. His party narrowly lost the parliamentary election this year. To the surprise of those who saw Putinesque tendencies in his camps authoritarian approach, Mr Saakashvilis party has calmly conceded defeat.Jones的书提供了很多有用的细节。其中的一个是米哈伊尔·萨卡什维利的执政履历。萨卡什维利在2003年的“玫瑰革命”后成为总统。他所在的政党在今年的议会选举中惜败。然而令那些认为该党独裁的统治方式越来越接近普京时,萨卡什维利所在的政党平静地承认了失败。That came too late for either book, which is a pity because it would offset many of Mr Joness criticisms of Georgias failure to meet his perhaps rather unrealistic standards of “virtuous” democracy. Much of the country outside the capital, Tbilisi, is still dfully poor; institutions are imperfect; government pressure on the media and judiciary can be heavy-handed or even nastier. But for a place that was a failed state only 20 years ago the progress is startling, especially given the near- constant pressure, subversion and denigration from Russia.可惜他的竞选失利对于这两本书而言都来地太晚了。如果这发生地再早些,就能推翻Jones对格鲁吉亚没能达到他可能相当不实际的“高尚”民主标准的许多批评。首都第比利斯以外的许多地区仍然极度贫困;各类机构问题百出;政府对媒体和司法的压力很大,有时甚至会采用下流的手段。但对于一个20年前还被认为是“失败国家”的地方来说,特别是考虑到该国几乎一直受到俄罗斯的压迫、暗中破坏和抹黑,其进步还是非常惊人的。Mr Jones skates over the problems caused by Russia and underplays the real achievements of the Saakashvili years. These include bringing the country closer to the West, eliminating petty corruption, for example in the customs service and the traffic police, modernising public services, attracting foreign investment and establishing an open if rough-hewn political system. Georgia is now a country where the opposition has a real chance of winning power, and all sides abide by the constitution. Readers of Mr Rayfields book may feel that in the past 2,500 years Georgians have seldom had so much to be happy about.Jones一笔带过俄罗斯给格鲁吉亚造成的问题,轻描淡写萨卡什维利执政时期取得的成就。这些成就包括使该国与西方关系更紧密,消灭了诸如在海关和交警的基层腐败,使公共务现代化,吸引外商投资,并创建了一个开放的、可能还不健全的政治体系。格鲁吉亚的反对党有可能赢得政权,而且所有各方都遵守宪法。Rayfield的读者们可能觉得在过去的2500年,格鲁吉亚人民从没有像现在一样有这么多值得高兴的事。 /201406/305806。

Leaders社论Minimum wages最低工资标准The logical floor多少才合理Moderate minimum wages do more good than harm. They should be set by technocrats not politicians实施适度的最低工资标准利大于弊,但是它们应该由技术专家而不是领导层来设定。ON BOTH sides of the Atlantic politicians are warming to the idea that the lowest-paid can be helped by mandating higher wages.欧美各国领导人逐渐开始赞同提高工资水平可以帮助贫困人群这一观点。Barack Obama wants to raise Americas federal minimum wage by 40% from 7.25 to 10.10 an hour, and more than three-quarters of Americans support the idea.奥巴马总统打算将联邦最低工资标准提高40%,时薪从7.25美元升为10.10美元,对此四分之三以上的美国人表示持。In Germany, one of the few big rich-world countries still without a national wage floor, the incoming coalition government has just agreed on an across-the-board hourly minimum of 8.50 from 2015.尚且没有设定最低工资标准的发达国家寥寥可数,德国是其中之一,但新成立的联合政府已经协商达成一致,计划于2015年起全面实行时薪8.50欧元的最低工资标准。In Britain, which has had a minimum wage since 1999, the opposition Labour Party is keen to cajole firms into voluntarily paying higher living wages.而英国在1999年起就已经实施最低工资标准,其反对党工党比较擅长于游说企业主们自愿付更高的最低生活工资。For free-market types, including The Economist, fiddling with wages by fiat sets off alarm bells.对于包括本刊《经济学人》在内的劳动力自由市场而言,通过法律规定来调整工资水准的做法会带来一定弊端。In a competitive market anything that artificially raises the price of labour will curb demand for it, and the first to lose their jobs will be the least skilled—the people intervention is supposed to help.对于竞争激烈的市场而言,任何人为提高劳动力成本的举措都会抑制劳动力的需求,而且首当其冲的失业者会是那些缺乏专业技术的工人们—这样一来人为干预是有一定作用的。That is why Milton Friedman called minimum wages a form of discrimination against the low-skilled; and it is why he saw topping up the incomes of the working poor with public subsidies as a far more sensible means of alleviating poverty.这就是为什么米尔顿·弗里德曼称最低工资标准是对那些没有专业技术的劳动者的歧视;此外,他认为通过分发国家补贴的方式来提高贫困人群的收入从而缓解他们贫困状况这种做法更为明智。Scepticism about the merits of minimum wages remains this newspapers starting-point.本刊对于实行最低工资标准的好处一直持怀疑态度。But as income inequality widens and workers share of national income shrinks, the case for action to help the low-paid grows.但是,随着收入差距扩大以及工人们所获收入占社会总工资比例下降,帮助贫困工人一事显得日益紧迫。Addressing the problem through subsidies for the working poor is harder in an era of austerity, when there are many other pressing claims on national coffers.在今天这个法制社会里,通过给贫困工人们分发国家补贴的方式来解决此问题甚是艰难,因为还有诸多其他方面需要政府开。Other policy options, such as confiscatory taxes, are unattractive.诸如征收没收性赋税等措施也并不可取。Nor is a moderate minimum wage as undesirable as neoclassical purists suggest.正如新古典主义纯粹主义者所言,设定适度的最低工资标准同样不会取得理想效果。Unlike those in textbooks, real labour markets are not perfectly competitive.不同于书本上的描述,现实中的劳动力市场其实并不属于绝对竞争市场。Since workers who want to change jobs face costs and risks, employers may be able to set pay below its market-clearing rate.由于那些想跳槽的工人们面临着一定成本和风险,雇主们便可能以低于其公开规定工薪的水平来付他们的工资。A minimum wage, providing it is not set too high, could thus boost pay with no ill effects on jobs.只要最低工资标准设定的不算太高,那么它就能够在不影响就业的情况下提高工资水平。French lessons法国的前车之鉴Empirical evidence supports that argument.历史的经验验了以上观点。In flexible economies a low minimum wage seems to have little, if any, depressing effect on employment.在较灵活的经济体中,实施最低工资标准似乎对就业的影响即使有也是很小的。Americas federal minimum wage, at 38% of median income, is one of the rich worlds lowest.美国联邦最低工资标准是其中值工资的38%,这一标准是发达国家里最低的。Some studies find no harm to employment from federal or state minimum wages, others see a small one, but none finds any serious damage.一些研究表明联邦或者州设的最低工资标准并不会对就业产生消极影响,另一些研究也表明这种影响很小,但是目前还没有数据显示设定最低工资标准会严重影响就业,Britains minimum wage, at around 47% of median income, with a lower rate for young people, also does not seem to have pushed many people out of work.英国的最低工资标准是其人均工资水平的47%,并且对于年幼者而言更是有所下降,但是这似乎也并未使很多人失业。High minimum wages, however, particularly in rigid labour markets, do appear to hit employment.然而,如果最低工资标准较高,尤其是在那些管制较严的劳动力市场,就业似乎也会受到影响。France has the rich worlds highest wage floor, at more than 60% of the median for adults and a far bigger fraction of the typical wage for the young.法国的最低工资标准是发达国家中最高的,其中成年人的占中值工资的60%以上,年幼者的最低工资标准占中值工资的比例则更大。This helps explain why France also has shockingly high rates of youth unemployment: 26% for 15- to 24-year-olds.这也是为什么法国的失业率较高的原因——法国15到24岁年轻人的平均失业率为26%。Theory and practice suggest two lessons for governments contemplating setting or changing minimum wages.理论与实践两方面的经验给了各国领导人关于是否设定或者更改最低工资标准两点启示。The first is to ensure that the level is pretty low—say, less than 50% of the median, with lower levels for less productive people such as the young and long-term unemployed. Germany risks breaking this rule.其一是要确保最低工资标准相对较低,务必要低于中值工资的50%,并且对于那些生产效率较低人群,比如年幼者和长期失业者这一标准要更低。Its proposed level is, by one calculation, 62% of the median wage.德国的做法很可能与此相背,他们的最低工资标准为中值工资的62%。One in six German workers is paid less than that, suggesting that jobs will be lost, especially in the less productive east of the country.而六分之一德国人的工资低于这一水平,这意味着很多人将面临失业,尤其是在劳动力效率较低的东德。Similarly the living wage which campaigners are calling for in Britain is 20% higher than the minimum wage.与此类似,在英国一些人倡导的最低生活工资比最低工资标准还要高出20%,That could hit employment.这会严重影响到就业。Though Americas proposed increase is huge, the minimum wage would still be only about 50% of the median.尽管美国对最低工资标准的提升幅度较大,但是其最低工资标准仍然将只占中值工资的50%。A second lesson is that politicians should give the power to set minimum wages to technocrats.其二是领导层应该将设定最低工资标准一事留给技术专家们解决。In Britain, the floor is adjusted annually on the advice of economists and statisticians in the Low Pay Commission; it has generally advanced gradually.在英国,这一标准每年都会根据低工资委员会的经济学家和统计学家的建议予以适当调整;并且总体来看呈逐年上升趋势。In America, the federal floor is set by politicians and adjusted irregularly in huge increments.而美国联邦最低工资标准是由领导层设定的,而且每次调整增幅较大,也没什么规律可言,That does no favours to American workers or their employers.这对美国的劳动者和企业雇主而言都没有益处。Finally, governments should remember that minimum wages are a palliative.最后,各政府应该谨记实施最低工资标准只能起到有限的作用。They should not distract attention from more fundamental causes of low wages—such as a lack of education and skills—and the efforts to address them.他们不能忽略导致部分劳动者工资水平过低的根源—例如受教育程度不高和缺乏相关技术培训,当然各国在此问题上所做的努力也是不够的。 201401/272134。

Money-market funds货币市场基金Faking the buck伪造面值America sets new rules for a common short-term investment美国针对常见短期投资设定监管新规IT IS a huge investment class: a 2.8 trillion one, to be exact. And it had long been thought of as a mundane one, just a notch more adventurous than a current account. Yet writing new rules for Americas money-market funds, which invest in short-term commercial and government debt, has been “one of the most flawed and controversial” deliberations ever undertaken by the Securities and Exchange Commission, Wall Streets main regulator, according to Luis Aguilar, the only one of the five commissioners in office throughout the process.货币市场基金是一个巨大的投资产业:准确而言,其资产规模达2.8亿美元。它长期以来都被认为无甚特别,只是比活期账户稍具风险性罢了。然而,据美国交会办公室五个委员之中唯一参与整个监管新规制定进程的路易斯阿吉拉尔称,美国券交易委员会目前针对投资于短期商业和政府债务的货币市场基金出台了新规,这份规章是作为华尔街主要监管机构的交会有史以来“最具缺陷的和争议”的商议之一。By a 3-2 vote on July 23rd, the SEC at last approved two big changes. The first allowed funds to impose fees on redemptions or suspend them for up to ten days to prevent runs. The second requires that the most volatile funds, which cater to institutions and invest in corporate debt, disclose the value of a share to a fraction of a penny.7月23日,美国券交易委员会的五名委员以3比2的投票结果批准了两项监管规定的大变革。其一是允许基金在赎回时征收流动性费用或将赎回期暂缓十天,以防止挤兑;其二是要求投资公司债券、面向机构投资者的优质市场基金不再维持每单位1美元的固定股价。The second change is more important than it sounds. By convention, money-market funds are priced at a steady dollar a share; changes in value are reflected only in the interest they pay. Variations in the value of the underlying assets are small because they mature in a matter of days, but they do occur. In the past, that has been hidden by tiny amounts of rounding. Though this ruse will now be banned for some funds, those that cater to individual investors will still be allowed to use it.第二个变革比听起来更加重要。按照惯例,货币市场基金的价格固定为每单位1美元,价值的变动仅仅反映在付的利息上。因为数日后即已到期,其资产价值变动很小,然确实有变化。在过去,资产价值的变动一直被微量的四舍五入所隐藏。虽然现在一些资金已禁止进行此类处理,那些面向个人投资者的基金仍被允许继续使用这种手段。That matters, since the fixed value contributed to the impression that money-market funds offered the safety of bank deposits with higher returns. In September 2008 that notion was punctured when the Reserve Fund, which had a little over 1% of its assets invested in debt issued by Lehman Brothers, was forced by the investment banks collapse to “break the buck”: reveal a decline in the value of its shares to slightly less than 1. That sparked panicked redemptions at it and other funds.这很能说明问题,固定价值给人的印象便是货币市场基金拥有可比拟存款的安全性,且能提供更高收益。然而就在2008年9月,这一概念被撤下神坛。主要储备基金将其略高于1%的资产投资于雷曼兄弟发行的债券,其后,雷曼投行破产,储备基金的单位资产净值“跌破面值”:每单位价格下降至略低于1美元,引发储备基金和其他基金大规模恐慌性赎回。The panic, in turn, crunched credit for firms that relied on short-term debt and fanned fears of a systemic meltdown. In response, the Treasury provided temporary guarantees for money-market funds, now lapsed. In 2010 and again in 2012 the SEC tightened restrictions on the kinds of securities funds could buy. But it rejected a plan to require funds to hold buffers of capital like banks, for fear it would further dent a battered business.这股恐慌情绪反过来影响到依靠短期债务的企业信贷,激起人们对系统性崩溃的担忧。对此,美国财政部不得不对货币市场基金提供临时担保。在2010年与2012年,美国券交易委员会加强了对各类券资金的购买限制。但它否决了一项要求基金如般持有缓冲资本方案,以免其进一步削弱遭受重创的业务。Mary Jo White, the SECs chairwoman, says the new rules will “protect investors and the financial system in a crisis.” But the two dissenting commissioners fear they may do more harm than good. Allowing funds to suspend redemptions may actually spark runs, as investors rush to pre-empt any curbs, argues one of them. The other worries that the changes will divert the gullible to even more misleading investments, notably “stable value” funds. These cater to much the same niche as money-market funds and, despite their name, offer no guarantees. Rather than trying to protect investors from risk, the SEC might do better to ensure that the risks they are running are clearly disclosed.美国券交易委员会的女主席玛丽?乔?怀特说,新规则将“于危机中保护投资者和金融体系。”但是存有异议的两个委员担心此举可能弊大于利。其中一人认为,由于投资者遇到困境时总会匆匆先发制人,基金的暂缓赎回实际上可能激发挤兑风潮。另一人则担心这些变革将轻信的人转至更为误导性投资,尤其是“稳定价值”基金上。略去它们的名称,这类基金与货币市场基金面向大致相同的市场,且未提供担保。比起试图保护投资者使他们免于面临风险,美国券交易委员会最好还是确保对运作中的风险进行明确披露。 /201407/315256。

Business商业报道Biotechnology生物科技Fever rising持续升温There are reasons to hope that the latest biotech boom will not be followed by another bust 我们有理由相信此次生物技术的繁荣不会伴随一次衰退 AS INVESTORS and executives crammed into a New York ballroom for a conference held this week by the Biotechnology Industry Organisation, the mood was jittery.本周,生物科技产业组织举行了一场投资者大会,当业界投资人和高管鱼贯进入舞厅充当的会场时,气氛颇为紧张。The previous week eight biotech firms had launched initial public offerings in America, together raising more than 500m.就在上周,有八家生物技术公司在美国上市,募集的资金总和超过一亿美元。In a discussion panel on whether the industrys latest boom will last, a prominent investor, Oleg Nodelman, joked that he still had suitcases of cash for any firm that wanted it. 在一个关于此次生物科技产业的热潮是否会延续的小组讨论中,知名投资人奥列格?诺德曼开玩笑说:如果还有哪家公司需要资金,我这还有几皮箱现钞可以供应。 Biotechnology is the creation of drugs and other useful products by making use of natures toolkit—that is, by adapting or exploiting processes found in living organisms.生物技术是一种使用自然的工具箱,即通过来改造或利用生物体内的过程来创造药物及其他有用产品的技术;For example, Argos Therapeutics, one of the latest batch of firms to raise money, is working on ways to trigger patients own immune systems to fight kidney cancer or HIV infection. 比如说,最近上市的众多生物技术公司中的Argos Therapeutics,现在正在研究的通过激活患者自身的免疫系统来治疗肾癌和艾滋病的疗法。The industry has undergone cycles of boom and bust since its inception in the 1970s, pioneered by firms such as Genentech.由基因泰克等公司开创于上世纪70年代的生物技术产业自从其建立以来就不断经历繁荣与衰退的循环。As the chart shows, last year more biotech firms joined American stock markets, raising more money, than at any time since the golden year of 2000.如上图所示,自2000年以来,去年是美国生物技术公司上市最多、募集资金总额最多的一年。在In the past 12 months, even as the Samp;P 500 share index has risen by 20%, shares in biotech firms have surged by almost three times as much. 过去的12个月中,尽管标准普尔500股票指数已经上涨了20%,生物技术公司的股价飙升幅度还是有其三倍之多。 One of the main causes for the millennial boom was that investors, flush with money they had made from internet firms, became excited about the Human Genome Project.千禧年生物技术股市繁荣的一个重要原因是,在互联网行业赚得盆满钵满的投资者们对人类基因组计划感到兴奋不已。They hoped that this massive, government-backed effort to lay out the entire genetic code of Homo sapiens would lead to a proliferation of profitable new treatments.他们希望这项由政府持的,旨在铺陈出现代人类整个遗传密码的宏伟工程能够催生出海量有利可图的新疗法。Biotechs flowering is taking some time, however. Biology is complex.但是,生物学是很复杂的,药物搞不好不是毒性太大就是疗效不佳。Drugs have a habit of being too toxic or not working as well as they should. 生物技术的开花结果往往需要很长时间。 Indeed, creating new drugs through biotechnology is at the risky end of a business in which superhuman stamina and bottomless pockets are minimum requirements.事实上,通过生物技术制造新药物是风险最大的行业,超人的耐力和充裕的资金只是最低要求。The Boston Consulting Group reckons that 90% of the money spent researching new treatments, conventional or biotech, goes on drugs that ultimately fail.据波士顿咨询公司估计,用于研制新药的资金,有90%都打了水漂。把之前的试错的损失算在内,After spending as much as 2 billion, accounting for all the failures, a company just might have a medicine that works.一个公司在花了20亿美元后,则有可能获得一种有效的药物。But then it must win the favour of the worlds most stringent regulators, and convince governments, insurers and patients that the drug is worth paying for. 然后你还必须通过世界上最严格的监管程序,最后还要费尽心思向政府、保险公司和患者推销你的药物。 Overcome these obstacles, however, and the returns can be fabulous.然而,在克层层磨难后,得到的回报会高得难以置信。Stelios Papadopolous, a veteran biotech investor, argues that much of the recent rise in share prices is due not to froth, but because the industry is beginning to deliver promising treatments.以为生物科技界的资深投资人斯特里奥斯帕帕多普洛斯认为最近该行业股价的上升大多不是泡沫引起的,而是因为有一批有前途的新疗法开始涌现。In December Americas Food and Drug Administration approved Sovaldi, a treatment for hepatitis C.去年12月,美国食品和药物批准了治疗丙型肝炎的药物Sovaldi,It could now earn revenues of more than 3 billion this year for its maker, Gilead, a biotech firm from California.这项药物今年可为其制造者,加里福利亚州的吉利德公司创造30亿美元的营收。Biogen Idec, a firm based in Massachusetts, is expected to earn more than 1 billion a year from Tecfidera, a pill for multiple sclerosis that the FDA approved last year. The firms shares rose by almost 90% in 2013.百健艾迪一家是总部位于马萨诸塞州的制药公司,有望凭借其去年通过FDA审查的治疗多发性硬化症的小药丸每年盈利10亿美元。But the question is whether such triumphs are aberrations or hints of other victories yet to come. 去年,百健艾迪在的股价上涨了接近90%。但问题是,这些公司的成功究竟底是个例,还是生物技术领域整体繁荣的前兆。 There are several reasons to hope that even if the current share-price and IPO frenzy subsides, biotech firms will continue to prosper.有几点理由能让我们认为即使现在生物技术行业的股价开始下降,IPO狂潮开始平息,生物技术公司依然会继续勇往直前。First, many smaller firms have become the research engines for bigger ones, explains Kevin Starr of Third Rock, a venture-capital firm.首先,三石风险投资公司的凯文?斯塔尔解释称,如今很多小型公司已经变身为大公司的研发引擎。For example Sanofi, a French pharmaceutical giant, now depends on Regeneron, an American biotech company, to help drive its growth.比如说现在的法国制药业巨头赛诺菲,现在依靠美国的生物技术公司Regeneron来推动自身的发展。This year alone, Sanofi will pump about 1 billion into Regenerons research programme.单单今年,赛诺菲就向Regeneron的研发计划注入了10亿美金。The goal is not to Sanofise Regeneron or any other partner, says Christopher Viehbacher, Sanofis chief executive.我们的目的并不是将Regeneron或我们其他的合作伙伴赛诺菲化。Rather, it is to combine Regenerons capabilities in researching new treatments with Sanofis skill in bringing them to market. 赛诺菲得的首席执行官解释说,而是将Regeneron的研发能力和赛诺菲将信品导入市场的能力结合起来。 Celgene, one of Americas larger biotech firms, has a similar distributed model of research. It helps finance the scientific work at smaller companies, then usually takes over a drugs development as it moves into clinical trials.塞尔基因公司,美国的一家大型生物技术公司在研发环节同样使用这种分包模式。Besides being costly, these require expertise that younger, smaller firms often lack. 它先是资助小公司的研发工作,然后在药物开发进入到临床试验阶段是接手,因为此阶段的开发不仅费用高,而且要求小公司缺乏的专门技能。 Second—and more important—firms are at last starting to reap the rewards of studying the human genome.第二点,也是更重要的一点,生物技术公司终于开始在人类基因组的研究上有所斩获。As researchers illuminate the underlying genetic causes of a disease, they open up new routes to developing treatments.一旦研究人员弄清导致一项疾病隐蔽的遗传学原因,就同时为此疾病的治疗提供了一种新途径。For example, Vertex has a drug to treat a subset of patients with cystic fibrosis, thanks to a better understanding of the faulty gene that causes it.比如说福泰制药公司有一种可以治疗患有囊胞性纤维病的特定人群的药物,就是得益于对导致这一疾病的缺陷基因更好的理解。Bluebird bio, one of Celgenes small partner firms, which Third Rock also financed, is working on a treatment for sickle-cell disease that inserts into the patients blood cells a properly functioning version of the faulty gene that causes the inherited ailment. 又比如塞尔基因的一个合作公司蓝鸟生物,同样也是三石风投投资的公司,现在正致力于一种治疗镰状细胞病的疗法:把造成此种遗传疾病的缺陷基因的校正后再插入患者的干细胞内。 Advances in genomics are making clinical trials smaller and cheaper, since it is now easier to identify which patients have the specific genetic trait that a new drug is aimed at.基因组学的发展史的临床试验的规模更小和成本更低,因为现在若要确甄别出具有试验药物针对的那种特定遗传学特征的患者变得更加容易了。This makes it more worthwhile to research diseases that are rare, and those that have so far proved intractable.这样就使得那些对经被罕见的和一直被认为难以治愈的疾病的研究变得更有价值了。The FDA gives special consideration to drugs that treat such ailments, so companies can expect a speedier path to approval. FDA对治疗这类疾病的药物会给予特殊的考虑,所以制药公司会有望快速拿到批准。 Learning from mistakes 吸取经验教训The venture capitalists who back biotech firms are trying to avoid the mistakes they made in the past.投资生物技术的风投家们也正努力避免以前犯过的错误。Index Ventures, based in Geneva, does not shower companies with cash to build lavish headquarters.总部位于日内瓦的指数创投没有挥金如土去盖奢华的总部大楼,Instead it assembles a tiny team of scientists and executives to oversee the research on a promising new line of treatment, outsourcing the bulk of the work to external contractors.而是召集一个有科学家和高管组成的小组来监控有前景的新疗法的研发,并把大部分的工作外包出去。This makes the costs more predictable. It also makes it easier for Index to halt a project when it looks like failing. 这样不仅使得成本更具可预见性,也能方便指数创投叫停可能失败的项目。 Despite all these reasons for optimism, there is no guarantee that the current boom will last.尽管有这么多令人乐观的理由,我们不能肯定这次的繁荣会一直持续。In these sunny times, it is tempting to forget the dark days that companies have endured.快乐的日子总是会诱使人忘却曾让你备受煎熬的黑暗往事。Twenty-five years later, quips Leonard Schleifer of Regeneron, Im an overnight success.我等了25年,Regenron的CEO莱纳德?施莱弗尔自嘲道,我终于一夜暴富了。It is also uncertain that insurers and governments will continue to pay biotech firms high prices.我们同样不能确定保险公司和政府是否会继续高价购买生物技术公司的产品。Vertexs treatment for cystic fibrosis costs a staggering 294,000 for each course. 福泰制药的治疗囊胞性纤维症的药物疗程的费用就高达骇人的294,000美金。 The most important question is whether research has indeed become more productive.最重要的问题是,我们不知道生物科技领域的研究工作是否真的变得极富成效。More than 80% of those recently polled by Mark Schoenebaum, an analyst at ISI Group, said yes.国际战略投资集团的分析师Mark Schoenebaum在调查了80%的生物科技公司后,得出的是肯定的。Mr Schoenebaum himself, however, is unconvinced. Im not arguing definitively that it hasnt happened, he muses, but I havent been entirely persuaded.但他本人却对此结果存疑。我不是否认这一结果,Schoenebaum沉思道,我只是没有被完全说。There are no data yet, he says, to draw firm conclusions. And for all the advances in genomics, and the increased sophistication of biotech firms and their investors, there is still a lot of luck involved in Ramp;D.尽管基因组学取得长足进步,生物技术公司与其投资者的经验也在不断增长,但医药研发极富不确定性的情况不会改变。 /201402/276031。

I really like May, because things are calming down, the sharks are gone.我很喜欢5月,因为万物都很平静。鲨鱼全走了。And the males and females actually have some nice interactions.雌雄海豚在一起合作。The males arent harassing the females like they do, 6 to 8 months earlier.每年的6,7,8月份雄海豚不可以骚扰雌海豚。With the big sharks finally gone, Samu has survived the most dangerous first moths of his life.鲨鱼走了,莎木最大的威胁消失了。Seeing Samu growing up so strong and independent bodes well for his future.莎木长得很强壮,未来独立的生活会很不错。Hes aly showing all the signs of becoming one of the Bays top males.它有成为鲨鱼湾最优秀的雄性海豚的潜质。But one day, he too, will have to leave the loving companionship of the Beachies.但总有一天,它也会离开比奇家庭的怀抱。At 33 years old, Pucks long reign of the Beachies will soon come to an end.帕克33岁了,它在比奇家庭的领导地位会很快结束。This wonderful dolphin has taught Janet more than any other.这只优秀的海豚教会了珍妮特很多。A wise and gentle mother, Puck showed her children how to survive in the dangerous waters of Shark Bay.这位聪明有礼貌的海豚妈妈教会了孩子们在危险的鲨鱼湾求生。And showing us the richness of dolphin family lives, if we just choose to look beneath the surface.也给我们留下了海豚家庭生活的宝贵资料。201407/309552。

Science and technology科学技术Marine biology海洋生物Flea market跳蚤市场A newly discovered virus may be the most abundant organism on the planet一种新发现的病毒可能是地球上最丰富的物种。WHAT is the commonest living thing on Earth?地球上最常见的生物是什么?Until now, those in the know would probably have answered Pelagibacter ubique, the most successful member of a group of bacteria, called SAR11, that jointly constitute about a third of the single-celled organisms in the ocean.直到现在,那些很专业的人可能会说是遍在远洋杆菌—细菌群中最成功的细菌,称为大洋微小细菌,占了海洋单细胞有机体的三分之一。But this is not P. ubiques only claim to fame, for unlike almost every other known cellular creature, it and its relatives have seemed to be untroubled by viruses.但是,这不是它成名的原因,因为它和它的亲戚不像其它大部分已知的细胞生物,它们似乎是些不会给你造成麻烦的一族。As Jonathan Swift put it in a much-mised poem, So, naturalists observe, a flea/Hath smaller fleas that on him prey.就像乔纳森-斯威福特的一首诗表达的一样—虽然这里引用很不贴切,所以,物学家们观察,正在捕食的跳蚤/小跳蚤们。Parasites, in other words, are everywhere.换句话说,寄生虫无所不在。They are also, usually, more abundant than their hosts.通常,它们的数量也远远多于它们的寄主。An astute observer might therefore have suspected that the actual most-common species on Earth would be a flea that parasitised P. ubique, rather than the bacterium itself.精明的观察者可能因此会猜测,地球上真正最常见的特种是一种跳蚤—寄生的遍生远洋杆菌,而不是细菌本身。The absence of such fleas has puzzled virologists since 1990, when the SAR11 group was identified.自从1990年研究SAR11组群以来,病毒学家对没有发现这种跳蚤—即以所谓攻击细菌的噬菌体的形式存在—而感到很困惑。Some thought the advantage this absence conferred explained the groups abundance. But no.一些人认为没有发现这种组群的好处解释了它们之所以大量存在的原因。但是,事实不是这样的。As they report in this weeks Nature, Stephen Giovannoni of Oregon State University and his colleagues have discovered the elusive phages.正如本周自然杂志上刊登的一样,俄勒冈州立大学的斯蒂芬尼-乔凡诺尼和他的同事们发现了这种难以发现的噬菌体。Swifts wisdom, it seems, still holds good.看起来,斯威福特的智慧仍旧闪闪发光。Tracking down a particular virus in the ocean makes finding a needle in a haystack look a trivial task.与在海洋中跟踪一种特定的细菌相比,大海捞针简直是小菜一碟了。A litre of seawater has billions of viruses in it.一公升的海水中有数十亿的细菌。Modern genetic techniques can obtain DNA sequences from these viruses, but that cannot tie a particular virus to a particular host.现代基因技术可以猎取这些细菌的DAN序列,但是却不能把一种特定的细菌固定在一个特定的寄主身上。To do so, Dr Giovannoni borrowed a technique from homeopathy: he diluted some seawater to such an extent that, statistically speaking, he expected a 100-microlitre-sized ali to contain only one or two viruses.为了实现这个目标,乔凡诺尼士借用了顺势医疗论的一项技术:他把一些海水的浓度稀释到,从统计学角度上讲,即稀释后的100微升海水中只含有一种或两种病毒。The difference between his approach and a homeopaths was that what homeopathy dilutes almost to nothing are chemicals, and thus cannot breed. A virus can, given a suitable host.他的方法和顺势疗法的区别是,后者将药液稀释后几乎没有什么合成物了,因此也无法培育繁殖。而提供一个合适的寄主的话,病菌就可以继续繁殖。So he mixed each of several hundred alis into tubes of water containing P. ubique.因此,他把稀释后的海水分成几百份,再把每一份混合到含有遍在海洋杆菌的水里。Then he waited.然后他就等待着。After 60 hours, he looked to see what had happened.六十小时后,他看到了结果。In most cases the bacteria had thrived.在大部分试验品中,病菌都繁殖得很好。In a few, though, they had been killed by what looked like viral infection.但是,在少数的试验品中,病菌似乎由于某种病毒感染而消失了。It was these samples that he ran through the DNA-sequencing machine, in the knowledge that the only viral DNA present would be from whatever it was had killed the bacteria.这些少数试验品就是他用DNA测序仪检测,想知道仅有的病毒DNA,无论是不是它杀了病菌,为什么会出现的原因。His reward was to find not one, but four viruses that parasitise P. ubique.他最终发现了不只一种病菌,而是四种寄生的遍海洋杆菌。He then compared their DNA with databases of DNA found in seawater from around the world, to find out how abundant each is.后来,他把发现病菌的DNA与世界海洋的DNA数据库相对比,发现:The upshot was that a virus dubbed HTVC010P was the commonest.四种中的每一个的存在数量都非常多。It thus displaces its host as the likely winner of the most-common-living-thing prize.结果是,一种称为HTVC010P人病菌是最常见的。因此,它便取代了它的寄主,成为可能最常见的生物。That does depend, of course, on your definition of living thing.当然,这不是你们所定义的那种生物。Some biologists count viruses as organisms.一些生物学家认为病菌是微生物。Some do not.一些则不这么认为。The reason is that a virus relies for its growth and reproduction on the metabolic processes of the cell it infects.原因是,病菌依靠它所感染细胞的新陈代谢来生长和繁殖。This means viruses themselves are hard to parasitise, since they do no work on which another organism can free-ride.这就意味着病毒本身很难寄生,因为在其它可以免费寄生的微生物上它们无法正常生存。Which is why the next two lines of Swifts poem, And these have smaller fleas to bite em/And so proceed ad infinitum, are wrong—and why, because HTVC010P itself can have no parasites, it probably really is the commonest organism on the planet.这也解释了为什么斯威失特接下来的两句这些更小的跳蚤在咬它们,因此这些进程循环往复着是错误的,也是HTVC010P为什么是地球上最常见的微生物,因为它本身没有寄生虫。 /201312/269447。