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2020年01月25日 10:07:12来源:同城互动

Science and technology科学技术Another Earth?另一个地球?Home away from home远离家乡的家ONE of the more memorable slogans to come out of the climate-change talks in Durban over the past few days is:在过去几天的Durban气候变化会谈上提出的较难忘的口号之一就是:there is no planet B.没有星球B,But what if there were?但是如果有呢?Over the past couple of decades astronomers have logged thousands of so-called exoplanets在过去的几十年内,天文学家记载了数以千计的所谓的外行星worlds which orbit stars other than the sun.饶太阳以外的星球轨道运行的宇宙。On December 5th the scientists in charge of Kepler, a space telescope designed to look for such planets, confirmed their instruments discovery of its first Earthlike world.12月5号,负责开普勒号的科学家确认他们的仪器发现了第一个类地球星体,It is dubbed, rather unromantically, Kepler 22b.开普勒号是专门为寻找这样的类地球星体而设计的太空望远镜。The existence of this planet, which circles a star 600 light-years away, in the constellation of Lyra,存在这么一个行星,它环绕天琴座星系中一颗600光年远的恒星运行,之前被怀疑的不存在,had previously been suspected. Kepler, which belongs to NASA, Americas space agency, works by observing dips in a stars brightness as a planet passes in front of it.开普勒号,隶属于美国国家航空与宇宙航行局,即美国航天局,它通过观察当行星通过时恒星光亮度的变化来工作。It flags likely looking reductions as candidate planets, of which Kepler 22b was one.它标识显现的光度弱化可能为候选行星,开普勒22b就是一个。But three passes are needed to confirm a planets existence, and Kepler 22b has now passed this test. Crucially, it orbits well within its stars Goldilocks zone:但是一个行星的确认需要通过三个检测,开普勒22b现在已经通过检验。最重要的是,他环绕着其恒星的适居带很好地运行;neither too close nor too far away for liquid water to exist on its surface.不会太近也不太远液体水可能存在在上面。It joins two other Earthlike planets.它加入了另外两个类地球行星。Gliese 581d and HD 85512 b—discovered by another instrument within the past few years.Gliese 581d 和HD 85512 b—在过去的几年里被另外的仪器发现的。In truth, the term Earthlike is a stretch.事实上,类地球行星这个词言过其实,Kepler 22b has a radius 2.4 times that of Earth, and if it is made from roughly the same stuff its surface gravity will also be about 2.4 times as strong.Kepler 22b半径是地球的2.4倍,如果它和地球的组成大致相同,它的表面引力也将大约高达地球引力的2.4倍。But NASAs astronomers remain unsure whether it is predominantly gaseous, liquid or solid.但是美国国家航天与宇宙航行局的天文学家仍不能确定它主要是气体的、液体的或是固体的。Nevertheless, Kepler 22b is the most promising exoplanet yet found.然而,Kepler 22b 是目前发现的最有希望的外行星。Unlike the others, which skirt the edges of their stars Goldilocks zones, Kepler 22b orbits comfortably within its own.不像其他行星不在恒星的适居带,Kepler 22b 在它的适居带舒适地运行。NASAs researchers reckon its surface temperature is about 22C, compared with 15C on Earth.美国国家航空与宇宙航行局的研究人员通过与地球表面温度15C比较,估算出它表面的温度大概是22C。Its parent star is similar to the sun, again unlike those of the other two candidates, both of which orbit cooler, dimmer stars.它的母恒星与太阳相似,这又与其他两个候选外行星不同,其他两个候选外行星都环绕较冷的、较昏暗的恒星运行。Indeed Gliese 581ds parent is a red dwarf—the tiniest stellar species.Gliese 581d的母恒星确实是一个红矮星-最小的星系。That means its Goldilocks zone is so close to it that the planet may be tidally locked, as the moon is to the Earth.那意味着适居带非常接近它以至于行星可能被潮汐力锁住,就像月亮对于地球一样。If that were the case, one side of Gliese 581d would be permanently lit while the other experienced unending darkness.如果是那样的话,Gliese 581d的一面将会是常年光亮的,而另一面将会是无尽的黑暗。These three potentially habitable exoplanets may soon be joined by many more.很快可能有更多的外行星加入这三个可能适合居住的外行星中。In the two and a half years since its launch, Kepler has spotted 2,326 candidate planets.Kepler自发射以来的2年半里已经发现了2,326候选行星。About 650 others have been discovered by other instruments.其他仪器大约发现了另外650个行星。That plethora allows astronomers to start drawing conclusions about how common various sorts of planets are.大量的行星使天文学家开始得出行星种类繁多的结论。Of Keplers haul, 9% seem to be of a similar size to Earth;Kepler捕获的行星中9%大小与地球相似;a further 29% are Super Earths—planets substantially larger than Earth that are nevertheless rocky.Kepler 发现的行星29%是超级地球-实质上比地球大,不过地球是岩石类行星。Forty-eight of Keplers unconfirmed candidates look as if they orbit within their stars habitable zones; of those, ten seem to be Earth-sized.Kepler未能确认的候选行星48%看起来似乎是在适居带运行;其中,有10个与地球大小类似。The ultimate goal, of course, is to let astronomers make a plausible estimate of the total number of planets in the galaxy, of the number that could conceivably support life, and of the fraction of those that could sustain human colonists.当然最终的目标是让天文学家对系的行星总数、确定可以维持生命的行星数和那些可以维持人类殖民者生命的行星比例做出一个接近可信的估算。If only a few of Keplers possible Earthlike planets turn out to be real, that third number is likely to be in the millions.如果Kepler类地行星中只有很少被明是真的,第三个数可能是数百万。Such knowledge will mark an historic transition, says Chris Lintott, an astronomer at Oxford University who is giving the Kepler team a hand with the data analysis,一位牛津大学的天文学家Chris Lintoot说这些知识是历史转变的标志,他对Kepler团队给以数据分析的援助,since the uncertainties around the question of whether life exists elsewhere will cease to be astronomical and become purely biological.从此关于其他地方是否存在生命问题的不确定性将不再是天文学问题,Based on the preliminary data, it looks as if there are numerous suitable planets.而是变成了纯粹的生物问题基于这些初始数据,似乎有许多合适的行星,The science of exobiology may soon cease to be an oxymoron.外空生物学将不再是一个矛盾修饰。 点击此处下载本期经济学人讲解PDF与音频字幕 /201306/245485。

  • Higher education更烧钱的教育Why textbooks cost so much课本这么贵为啥哩Its Economics 101经济学主要章节STUDENTS can learn a lot about economics when they buy Greg Mankiws “Principles of Economics”—even if they dont it. Like many popular textbooks, it is horribly expensive: 292.17 on Amazon. Indeed, the nominal price of textbooks has risen more than fifteenfold since 1970, three times the rate of inflation.当学生们购买Greg Mankiw写的《经济学原理》,他们可以学习很多经济学知识—即使他们只买不读。如同众多流行教材,它贵的离谱:在亚马逊上要花费292.17美元。确实,课本的虚价从1970年开始疯涨了15倍,是通货膨胀率的三倍。Like doctors prescribing drugs, professors assigning textbooks do not pay for the products themselves, so they have little incentive to pick cheap ones. Some assign books they have written themselves. The 20m post-secondary students inAmericaoften have little choice in the matter. Small wonder textbooks generate megabucks.正像医生们开的药物那样,教授们布置的这些教材并不用他们自己付钱,因此他们对于挑选廉价教材没有太多动力。一些人吩咐学生买他们自己写的书籍。美国两千万的高年级学生经常在这件事上没多少选择。课本产生巨大效益也就不足为奇。But hope is not lost for poor scholars. Foreign editions are easy to find online and often cheaper—sometimes by over 90%. Publishers can be litigious about this, but in 2013 the Supreme Court ruled that Americans have the right to buy and resell copyrighted material obtained legally. Many university bookstores now let students rent books and return them. Publishers have begun to offer digital textbooks, which are cheaper but cant be resold. And if all else fails, there is always the library.但是贫穷的学者们不会丧失希望。网上很容易找到国外版本,而且往往更便宜,有时候价格能低到将近一折。出版商们对此怨念不已,但是2013年最高法院裁决美国人有权购买或重卖合法占有的合法出版物。许多大学书店现在准许学生租借书籍并到时返还。出版商们开始提供电子版教科书,这种更便宜但是不可出售。而且如果所有方法都失败了,图书馆永远对你开放。 /201408/321640。
  • Leaders领导人们Investment management投资管理The rise of BlackRock贝莱德来了In 25 years, BlackRock has become the worlds biggest investor. Is its dominance a problem?贝莱德二十五年间成为世界上最大资产管理公司,一家独大会出问题吗?ASK conspiracy theorists who they think really runs the world, and they will probably point to global banks, such as Citigroup, Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase.问问阴谋论者到底是谁主宰着世界,他们很可能会将矛头指向跨国,比如花旗、美国、根大通,Oil giants such as Exxon Mobil and Shell may also earn a mention.石油巨头埃克森美孚、壳牌可能也会躺。Or perhaps they would focus on the consumer-goods firms that hold billions in their thrall: Apple, McDonalds or Nestlé.或许,还会有人揪着几家资产亿万的消费品公司不放:苹果、麦当劳、雀氏,诸如此类。One firm unlikely to feature on their list is BlackRock, an investment manager whose name rings few bells outside financial circles.有一家公司不大可能会入其法眼,那就是贝莱德集团,这家投资管理公司出了金融界可谓是知之者甚少。Yet it is the single biggest shareholder in all the companies listed above.然而,贝莱德却是上述所有上市公司中最大的一家。It owns a stake in almost every listed company not just in Americabut globally.贝莱德持有几乎所有上市公司的股票,不仅仅持有美国公司的股票,而是世界各国上市公司的股票。Its reach extends further: to corporate bonds, sovereign debt, commodities, hedge funds and beyond.贝莱德涉猎领域远不止这些:企业债券、债权债务、商品期货、对冲基金等其他投资项目都可以看到他的身影。It is easily the biggest investor in the world, with .1 trillion of directly controlled assets and another trillion it oversees through its trading platform, Aladdin.贝莱德直接管理的资产总值为4.1万亿美元,还通过Aladdin交易网络监管着11万亿美元的投资,这就使得贝莱德毫不费力便可登上全球最大投资公司的宝座。Established in 1988 by a group of Wall Streeters led by Larry Fink, BlackRock succeeded in part by offering passive investment products, such as exchange-traded funds, which aim to track indices such as the Samp;P 500.1988年,拉里芬克带着一帮华尔街精英成立了贝莱德集团,公司的成功在一定程度上要归功于推出诸如交易所交易基金的被动投资产品,该产品以同标普500这样的基础指数保持联动关系为目的。These are cheap alternatives to traditional mutual funds, which often do more to enrich money managers than clients.同传统的共同基金相比,该基金成本更低,通常投资公司会比客户收益更高。The sector continues to grow fast, and BlackRock, partly through its iShares brand, is the largest competitor in an industry where scale brings benefits.并且,交易所交易基金的业务增长迅速,在一个规模化才能产生效益的行业中,贝莱德成为了佼佼者。Its clients, ranging from Arab sovereign-wealth funds to mom-and-pop investors, save billions in fees as a result.贝莱德的客户,从阿拉伯的主权财富基金持有者到小投资者却因此省下了数以亿计的费用。The other reason for its success is its management of risk in its actively managed portfolio.贝莱德成功的另一原因在于对投资组合的风险的积极管理。Early on, for instance, it was a leader in mortgage-backed securities.比如,公司在其曾是按揭券行业的领跑者,But because it analysed their riskiness zipcode by zipcode, it not only avoided a bail-out in the chaos that followed the collapse of Lehman, but also advised the American government and others on how to keep the financial system ticking in the darkest days of 2008,通过一步步分析发现风险,不仅规避了雷曼兄弟破产后混乱的救市局面,还在2008年金融市场最黑暗的时候谏言美国政府及其他投资者,如何让市场继续运转下去。and picked up profitable money-management units from struggling financial institutions in the aftermath of the crisis.与此同时,在危机对金融机构带来的冲击余波未息之际,贝莱德自谋出路,甄选可盈利的资金管理项目。Other peoples money借鸡生蛋Compared with the many banks which are flourishing only thanks to state largesse, BlackRocks success—based on providing value to customers and paying attention to detail—is well-deserved.同许多依靠政府援手才能风光无限的相比,贝莱德的成功—基于让客户实现盈利及注重细节—实至名归。Yet when taxpayers have spent billions rescuing financial institutions deemed too big to fail, a 25-year-old company that has grown so vast so quickly sets nerves jangling.然而,当纳税人投入数以亿计的资金拯救一家被视作太大而不可能破产的金融机构时,这家成立仅25年却以惊人的速度发展壮大的公司不免会让人捏一把汗。American regulators are therefore thinking about designating BlackRock and some of its rivals as systemically important. The tag might land them with hefty regulatory requirements.因此,美国监管机构正考虑将贝莱德及其竞争对手定义为极为重要,或许这一标签会让监管部门背上强权机构的恶名。If the regulators concern is to avoid a repeat of the last crisis, they are barking up the wrong tree.如果监管部门想避免上次金融危机重演,那么他们就找错对象了。Unlike banks, whose loans and deposits go on their balance-sheets as assets and liabilities, BlackRock is a mere manager of other peoples money.同借、贷款都会以资产与负债形式计入资产负债表的不同,贝莱德更多只是客户资产管理者的身份。It has control over investments it holds on behalf of others—which gives it great influence—but it neither keeps the profits nor suffers the losses on them.他只是代表客户管理投资—这也让其影响力巨大—却不以投资的盈亏而赚钱或赔本。Whereas banks tumble if their assets lose even a fraction of their value, BlackRock can pass on any shortfalls to its clients, and withstand far greater shocks.只要出现一丁点亏损,便会牵一发而动全身;而无论客户出现任何损失,贝莱德都可以相安无事,即便再大的冲击都是如此。In fact, by being on hand to pick up assets cheaply from distressed sellers, an unleveraged asset manager arguably stabilises markets rather than disrupting them.事实上,通过低价收购亏损方出售的资产,毫无疑问一家独大的投资管理公司能够为市场带来稳定,而非混乱。But for regulators that want not merely to prevent a repeat of the last blow-up but also to identify the sources of future systemic perils, BlackRock raises another, subtler issue, concerning not the ownership of assets but the way buying and selling decisions are made.要不是监管机构不仅希望避免上次金融危机重演,还想确认未来体系风险的来源,贝莱德还会引发另一微妙的问题,不是资产的所有权,而是买入或卖出的决策方式。The trillion of assets managed on its Aladdin platform amount to around 7% of all the shares, bonds and loans in the world.Aladdin交易平台上监管的股票、债券、贷款占世界交易的7%左右,涉及资金总额为15万亿美元。As a result, those who oversee many of the worlds biggest pools of money are looking at the financial world, at least in part, through a lens crafted by BlackRock.正是如此,那些监管世界上最大金库的人在一定程度上是通过贝莱德精心打磨的镜头审视金融界;Some 17,000 traders in banks, insurance companies, sovereign-wealth funds and others rely in part on BlackRocks analytical models to guide their investing.近1.7万来自、保险公司、主权财产基金或其他机构的交易员都会关注贝莱德提供的分析模型,进而指导自己的投资。Aladdins geniusAladdin的高明之处That is a tribute to BlackRocks elaborate risk-management models, but it is also discomfiting.上述成就皆源于贝莱德精心设计风险管理模式的馈赠,但问题也随之而来。A principle of healthy markets is that a cacophony of diverse actors come to different conclusions on the price of things, based on their own idiosyncratic analyses.健康市场的一大原则便是不同的参与者会就价格得出不同的结论,任何资产的价值都是不同意见相互妥协而得出最终价格。The value of any asset is discovered by melding all these different opinions into a single price.不论是从政治角度、还是自然角度、亦或是市场角度来讲,一个有单一思维主宰的生态系统是不健康的。An ecosystem which is dominated by a single line of thinking is not healthy, in politics, in nature or in markets. Such groupthink in finance is a recipe for booms.在金融领域,集思广益是市场繁荣、或是萧条的秘诀。Though Aladdin advises clients on investment decisions rather than making them, it inevitably frames how they think of market risk.Aladdin交易网络向客户提供投资决策的建议,而非强迫客户投资,这必然会让客户对市场风险的分析陷入思维定势。The last crisis had many causes.导致2008年金融危机的原因有很多,One of them, which perhaps lay behind all the others, was that investors stopped thinking critically about what they were buying.其根本原因或许是投资者缺乏批判思维,只知道一味的投资却不思考。Too many decided to trust credit-rating agencies, which assured them, for example, that packages of American subprime mortgages were extremely unlikely to default.太多投资者选择了相信信用评级机构,比如,这些机构向他们保美国次级房贷是最不可能违约的贷款项目。BlackRocks models are no doubt better than the clunkers put out by Moodys or Standard amp; Poors up to 2008:毫无疑问,贝莱德模式要比穆迪、标普在2008年前发布的信用评级信息准确的多:the firms relative recent success has proved that.近期贝莱德的成功便是明。But too many investors relying on a single model sps an unhealthy orthodoxy and is likely to make the markets more volatile than they otherwise would be.但是,过多投资者依赖单一模式会造成一个恶性的正统体系,而这很可能会让市场比起多种模式时更加脆弱。That is probably not a serious systemic risk, for it will be self-limiting: the more money follows BlackRock, the more money there is to be made betting against it.或许,这并不是什么严重的系统风险,因为市场会发挥其自身调节作用:贝莱德监管的资金越多,便会有更多资金。The real danger is for investors.真正危险的是投资者,The more they rely on BlackRocks analysis, the smaller the upside when it gets things right and the greater the downside when it gets things wrong—as, one day, it eventually will.他们越是依赖贝莱德的风险分析,当分析结果正确的时候,股价上扬时利润越小,而当分析错误的时候,股价下跌时赔的越多。终有一天,上述情景便会成为现实。Until then BlackRocks single-minded focus on mastering risk is to be commended.到那时,贝莱德一心致力于风险控制的做法将会受到表彰。If its peers in the financial world had taken the same approach in the run-up to 2008, much of the chaos of the past five years would have been averted.如果金融界的同仁在08年金融危机初始阶段采取了同样的措施,过去五年的混乱局面本可规避。 201401/271826。
  • South Africa is a country that always create an impression,南非是一个总是给人们营造印象的国家,we know of its diverse population, the troubled history of Part take and its rebirth as a global travel destination.我们熟知它的多样化人口,陷入困境的历史及作为全球旅游目的地这个国家的重生。Ive been a fan of this country for many years,多年来我一直深爱着这个国家,but this is my chance to go beyond the obvious South Africa,但这次是我超越显而易见人们眼中南非的机会,to explore on foot and take time to see how light and stunning landscape work today in the new South Africa,步行探索并且花时间看看今天新南非令人吃惊的景观,country thats now came to invite the world.这个国家现在邀请世界人民前往。Hello, welcome to my final South Africa work,你好,欢迎来到我南非的最后一站,this is the village of Ringfast mud,now my look like much.这是灵法斯特穆德村,现在看看我的这身打扮。201309/255562。
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