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Activity Trackers May Undermine Weight Loss Efforts

Wearable activity monitors can count your steps and track your movements, but they don’t, apparently, help you lose weight. In fact, you might lose more weight without them.


The fascinating finding comes from a study published today in JAMA that found dieting adults who wore activity monitors for 18 months lost significantly fewer pounds over that time than those who did not.

这项非常有趣的发现来自《美国医学会杂志》(The Journal of the American Medical Association)今天发表的一项研究。该研究发现,在18个月的时间里,戴活动监测设备的成人减肥者体重下降的磅数,明显少于不戴活动监测设备的人。

The results suggest that activity monitors may not change our behavior in the way we expected, and raise interesting questions about the tangled relationships between exercise, eating, our willpower and our waistlines.


There have been tantalizing hints in a few studies recently that new technologies such as wearable activity monitors, which tell us how much we are moving and how many calories we have burned during the day, might help some people to drop pounds.


Those studies, however, had typically been small scale and short term, so it was still unclear how much activity monitors might aid in weight loss.


So for the new study, University of Pittsburgh scientists from the Physical Activity and Weight Management Research Center and their colleagues gathered almost 500 young, overweight men and women who wanted to lose weight. The recruits ranged in age from 18 to 35 since, presumably, these younger volunteers would be familiar with and competent using technologies such as activity trackers and any learning curve would be slight.

就前文提到的新研究而言,匹兹堡大学(University of Pittsburgh)来自身体活动与体重管理研究中心(Physical Activity and Weight Management Research Center)的科学家和他们的同事招募到了近500名想减肥的超重青年男女。他们的年龄在18到35岁之间,因为这些较年轻的志愿者大概会对活动追踪设备这类技术比较熟悉,能够正确使用它们,需要学习的话也会较为容易。

The volunteers were weighed and their general health and fitness assessed.


Then, for the first six months of the study, the volunteers followed a straightforward, low-calorie diet designed to provide steady weight loss and were urged to start moving more, aiming for at least 100 minutes of moderate activity each week. They kept daily food and exercise diaries and attended weekly counseling sessions.


By the end of six months, everyone had lost weight. And then the actual experiment began.


The scientists now divided their volunteers in half. One group was told to start logging their daily exercise sessions onto a study website.


The others were given a monitor designed to be worn on the upper arm that would track their physical activity and provide feedback about whether they were achieving goals for step counts, calorie expenditure and so on.


“We were pretty confident” that the volunteers in the group using the activity monitors would exercise more, monitor their calorie intake better, and lose more weight than the people in the self-monitoring group, says John Jakicic, a distinguished professor in the department of health and physical activity at the University of Pittsburgh and the study’s lead author.

匹茨堡大学健康与身体活动系的著名教授、这项研究的第一作者约翰•亚基奇科(John Jakicic)说,“我们本来非常相信”使用活动监测仪那个小组的志愿者会加大运动量,更好地监测热量摄入,因而减肥效果也会比自我监控小组的人好。

For 18 months, the volunteers logged into the study website or wore the monitor on most days. Counselors occasionally checked with everyone by phone and sent encouraging text messages.


After 18 months — and two years after the beginning of the study — all of the volunteers returned to the lab to repeat their measurements from the start.


Most were thinner now than at the start of the study (although many had regained some of the weight that they had lost during the first six months).


Those who had not worn activity monitors were, on average, about 13 pounds lighter now than two years ago.


Those who had worn the monitors, however, weighed only about 8 pounds less than at the start.


“We were definitely surprised,” Dr. Jakicic says.


The reasons for the difference in weight loss are not immediately clear, he says.


Theoretically, those using the monitors might have been so inspired to exercise that they moved a lot, developed large appetites, and overate, blunting any weight loss from the workouts, he says.


But in fact, the data from the monitors shows that those wearing the technology generally exercised less than those in the other group.


So perhaps the monitors resulted in less motivation to move, Dr. Jakicic says. It is possible, he says, that when those wearing the trackers realized they would not reach their daily exercise goal, they simply gave up, leading to relatively low caloric expenditure on those days, and less weight loss overall than among those not using the technology.


The people using the monitors may also have assumed that, in some roundabout way, the technology removed responsibility from them for monitoring their energy intake, Dr. Jakicic says. “People may have focused on the technology and forgotten to focus on their behaviors” and ate too much, he says.


Dr. Jakicic and his colleagues hope to conduct follow-up studies that will directly examine how activity monitors affect exercise motivation and subsequent weight loss.


“What these results say to me is that we still have a great deal to learn” about how monitoring technologies affect real-life actions, Dr. Jakicic says. People’s responses to a monitor strapped to their arm may not always be rational and could result in behaviors that are the opposite of those that the monitor would be expected to encourage.


In other words, we humans are strange and often our own worst enemies, especially when it comes to trying to increase our exercise or reduce our weight.

Researchers Confront an Epidemic of Loneliness

BLACKPOOL, England — The woman on the other end of the phone spoke lightheartedly of spring and her 81st birthday the previous week. “Who did you celebrate with, Beryl?” asked Alison, whose job was to offer a kind ear.


“No one, I …” And with that, Beryl’s cheer turned to despair.


Her voice began to quaver as she acknowledged that she had been alone at home not just on her birthday, but for days and days. The telephone conversation was the first time she had spoken in more than a week.


About 10,000 similar calls come in weekly to an unassuming office building in this seaside town at the northwest reaches of England, which houses The Silver Line Helpline, a 24-hour call center for older adults seeking to fill a basic need: contact with other people.

在英格兰西北区的这个海滨小镇,每周都有大约1万通类似的电话打进此地一栋不起眼的办公大楼。它是Silver Line求助热线的所在地。这是一个为老人服务的24小时热线中心。这些老人家打电话来,是为了满足生活的某种基本需求:与他人保持联系。

Loneliness, which Emily Dickinson described as “the Horror not to be surveyed,” is a quiet devastation. But in Britain, it is increasingly being viewed as something more: a serious public health issue deserving of public funds and national attention.

诗人艾米莉•狄金森(Emily Dickinson)把孤独感描述为“不可丈量的恐怖”,那是一种悄无声息的伤害。不过在英国,人们逐渐认为,它的危害甚至更严重:它是应该被严肃对待的公共卫生课题,值得公共资金的投入和举国关注。

Working with local governments and the National Health Service, programs aimed at mitigating loneliness have sprung up in dozens of cities and towns. Even fire brigades have been trained to inspect homes not just for fire safety but for signs of social isolation.

与地方政府和国家医疗服务体系(National Health Service)合作、致力于减缓孤独现象的计划正在数十个城镇兴起。就连消防队也受了相关训练,除了查看民宅的防火安全,他们也要注意屋主是否有与世隔绝的迹象。

“There’s been an explosion of public awareness here, from local authorities to the Department of Health to the media,” said Paul Cann, chief executive of Age UK Oxfordshire and a founder of The Campaign to End Loneliness, a five-year-old group based in London. “Loneliness has to be everybody’s business.”

“从地方当局、卫生署到媒体,各界对这件事的关注在迅速提高,”保罗‧坎恩(Paul Cann)表示。他是老龄英国(Age UK)牛津郡分部的行政主管,也是有五年历史的伦敦“终结孤独”倡议行动(The Campaign ot End Loneliness)的发起人。“每个人都该关心孤独这件事。”

Researchers have found mounting evidence linking loneliness to physical illness and to functional and cognitive decline. As a predictor of early death, loneliness eclipses obesity. “The profound effects of loneliness on health and independence are a critical public health problem,” said Dr. Carla M. Perissinotto, a geriatrician at the University of California, San Francisco. “It is no longer medically or ethically acceptable to ignore older adults who feel lonely and marginalized.”

学者已经发现,越来越多的证据显示,孤独与生理疾病还有行为与认知能力下降都有关联。孤独也比肥胖更可能预示人的早逝。“孤独对个人健康与自主生活能力的深刻影响,是很重要的公共卫生问题,”加州大学旧金山分校的老龄医学专家卡拉‧M‧佩里西诺托(Dr. Carla M. Perissinotto)说。“不论从医学或道德的眼光来看,我们都不能再忽略那些觉得自己孤单或不受重视的长者了。”

In Britain and the United States, roughly one in three people older than 65 live alone, and in the United States, half of those older than 85 live alone. Studies in both countries show the prevalence of loneliness among people older than 60 ranging from 10 percent to 46 percent.


While the public, private and volunteer sectors in Britain are mobilizing to address loneliness, researchers are deepening their understanding of its biological underpinnings. In a paper published earlier this year in the journal Cell, neuroscientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology identified a region of the brain they believe generates feelings of loneliness. The region, known as the dorsal raphe nucleus, or DRN, is best known for its link to depression.

就在英国的公共部门、私人机构、义工团体都动员起来对付孤独的时候,研究人员也在更深入了解它的生物学基础。在今年稍早发表于《细胞》(Cell)期刊的一篇报告里,麻省理工学院(Massachusetts Institute of Techonology)的神经科学家认为他们找到了人脑产生孤独感的区域。这个叫做中缝背核(dorsal raphe nucleus, DRN)的部位最为人所知的是它和忧郁症的关联。

Kay M. Tye and her colleagues found that when mice were housed together, dopamine neurons in the DRN were relatively inactive. But after the mice were isolated for a short period, the activity in those neurons surged when those mice were reunited with other mice.

戴琦(Kay M. Tye)与她的同事发现,实验用小鼠住在一起的时候,鼠脑中缝背核里的多巴胺神经元比较不活跃。不过老鼠被隔离一小段时间再放回鼠群里的时候,这些神经元的活动会大幅增加。

“This is the first time we’ve found a cellular substrate for this experience,” said Tye, an assistant professor at the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory at MIT and a senior author of the paper. “And we saw the change after 24 hours of isolation.”

“这是我们第一次发现孤独感的细胞学根源,”戴博士说。她是麻省理工学院皮考尔学习和记忆研究所(Picower Institute for Learning and Memory)助理教授,也是该篇报告的主要作者。“在小鼠隔离了24小时之后,我们开始看到这种变化。”

John T. Cacioppo, a professor of psychology at the University of Chicago and director of the university’s Center for Cognitive and Social Neuroscience, has been studying loneliness since the 1990s. He said loneliness is an aversive signal much like thirst, hunger or pain.

约翰•T•卡奇奥波(John T. Cacioppo)是芝加哥大学(University of Chicago)心理学教授,也是该校认知与社会神经科学中心(Center for Cognitive and Social Neuroscience)主任。他自20世纪90年代以来就一直在研究孤独感。他说,孤独感与口渴、饥饿、疼痛很相似,是一种反向讯号。

“Denying you feel lonely makes no more sense than denying you feel hunger,” he said. Yet the very word “lonely” carries a negative connotation, Cacioppo said, signaling social weakness, or an inability to stand on one’s own.


The unspoken stigma of loneliness is amply evident during calls to The Silver Line. Most people call asking for advice on, say, roasting a turkey. Many call more than once a day. One woman rings every hour to ask the time. Only rarely will someone speak frankly about loneliness.

这种没有被言说的污名,从打给Silver Line的电话里很能看得出来。大部分去电寻求建议的人,问的都是,比方说,“怎么烤火鸡”这种问题;有些人一天会打上好几通。有位女性每小时都会打这条专线问时间。只有极少数人会坦诚地讨论自己的孤单感受。

Yet the impulse to call in to services like The Silver Line is a healthy one, Cacioppo said.


Sophie Andrews, chief executive of The Silver Line, said she was surprised by the explosion of calls shortly after the service began operating nearly three years ago. The Blackpool call center now receives some 1,500 calls a day.

Silver Line的执行主管苏菲‧安德鲁斯(Sophie Andrews)表示,这条专线在近三年前开通后,很快就涌入大量电话,她很惊讶。如今他们在布莱克浦的中心每天接听大约1500通电话。

Andrews said she was most concerned not about those who called The Silver Line, but those who were too depressed by their isolation to pick up the phone. “We need to raise awareness with the people who are the hardest to reach,” she said.


Cacioppo lauds efforts like The Silver Line, yet he warns that the problem of loneliness is nuanced and the solutions not as obvious as they might seem. That is, a call-in line can help reduce feelings of loneliness temporarily, but is not likely to reduce levels of chronic loneliness.

卡奇奥波对Silver Line这类努力表示赞许,但他也警告,孤独的问题还有很多细分,解决之道也不如表面看来那么显而易见。也就是说,电话专线能帮人暂时缓解孤独的感觉,却不太可能降低长期的孤独感。

In his research, Cacioppo has shown that loneliness affects several key bodily functions, at least in part through overstimulation of the body’s stress response. Chronic loneliness, his work has shown, is associated with increased levels of cortisol, a major stress hormone, as well as higher vascular resistance, which can raise blood pressure and decrease blood flow to vital organs.


Cacioppo’s research has also shown that the danger signals activated in the brain by loneliness affect the production of white blood cells; this can impair the immune system’s ability to fight infections.


It is only in the past several years that loneliness been examined through a medical, rather than psychological or sociological, lens. Perissinotto, the University of California, San Francisco geriatrician, decided to study loneliness when she began to sense there were factors affecting her patients’ health that she was missing.


Although plenty of research into loneliness takes place in the United States, Britain remains well ahead in addressing the problem.


“In the U.S., there isn’t much recognition in terms of public health initiatives or the average person recognizing that loneliness has to do with health,” said Julianne Holt-Lunstad, a professor of psychology at Brigham Young University, whose studies also link loneliness to deteriorating health.

“美国的公共卫生行动还不怎么认可这个问题,一般人也不太了解孤独感会影响健康,”杨百翰大学(Brigham Young University)的心理学教授茱莉安‧浩特─朗斯泰德(Julianne Holt- Lunstad)说。她的研究也显示出孤独感与健康损害有关。

Age UK, an organization similar to AARP in the United States, oversees an array of programs aimed at decreasing loneliness and coordinates efforts with fire brigades to look for signs of loneliness and isolation in the homes they enter.


Another charity, Open Age, runs some 400 activities each week in Central London — sewing circles, current events discussions, book clubs and exercise and computer classes, held at church halls, sport centers, housing projects — and its employees also visit people in their homes to try to get them out and about.

另一个慈善组织Open Age每周在伦敦市中心组织400多种活动:缝纫团体、时事讨论会、阅读俱乐部、体能锻炼、电脑班。活动举办地点则在教堂大厅、运动中心或社会住宅。该组织员工也会上门探视,想办法让老人出门走走。

“We try to work out what it is that’s preventing them from leaving the house,” said Helen Leech, the organization’s director.

“我们会去了解是什么原因使他们不愿出门,”Open Age的主任海伦‧利奇(Helen Leech)说。

Men and women differ greatly in how they grapple with loneliness. Seventy percent of the calls to The Silver Line are from women.

男女应付孤独感的方式大不相同。打给Silver Line的有70%是女性。
Turning Negative Thinkers Into Positive Ones

Most mornings as I leave the Y after my swim and shower, I cross paths with a coterie of toddlers entering with their caregivers for a kid-oriented activity. I can’t resist saying hello, requesting a high-five, and wishing them a fun time. I leave the Y grinning from ear to ear, uplifted not just by my own workout but even more so by my interaction with these darling representatives of the next generation.


What a great way to start the day!


When I told a fellow swimmer about this experience and mentioned that I was writing a column on the health benefits of positive emotions, she asked, “What do you do about people who are always negative?” She was referring to her parents, whose chronic negativity seems to drag everyone down and make family visits extremely unpleasant.


I lived for half a century with a man who suffered from periodic bouts of depression, so I understand how challenging negativism can be. I wish I had known years ago about the work Barbara Fredrickson, a psychologist at the University of North Carolina, has done on fostering positive emotions, in particular her theory that accumulating “micro-moments of positivity,” like my daily interaction with children, can, over time, result in greater overall well-being.

我和一个因抑郁症不时发作而遭受折磨的男人共同生活过50年,很能明白消极情绪会带来多大的挑战。我真希望自己多年前就了解北卡罗来纳大学(University of North Carolina)的心理学家芭芭拉•弗雷德里克森(Barbara Fredrickson)在培养积极情绪方面做的工作,尤其是她的这样一个理论:“激发积极情绪的微瞬间”不断累积,假以时日,会让整体健康状况得到改善。我和孩子们每天的交流就属于这种微瞬间。

The research that Dr. Fredrickson and others have done demonstrates that the extent to which we can generate positive emotions from even everyday activities can determine who flourishes and who doesn’t. More than a sudden bonanza of good fortune, repeated brief moments of positive feelings can provide a buffer against stress and depression and foster both physical and mental health, their studies show.


This is not to say that one must always be positive to be healthy and happy. Clearly, there are times and situations that naturally result in negative feelings in the most upbeat of individuals. Worry, sadness, anger and other such “downers” have their place in any normal life. But chronically viewing the glass as half-empty is detrimental both mentally and physically and inhibits one’s ability to bounce back from life’s inevitable stresses.


Negative feelings activate a region of the brain called the amygdala, which is involved in processing fear and anxiety and other emotions. Dr. Richard J. Davidson, a neuroscientist and founder of the Center for Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin — Madison, has shown that people in whom the amygdala recovers slowly from a threat are at greater risk for a variety of health problems than those in whom it recovers quickly.

负面情绪会激活脑部一个名为杏仁核的区域,它与恐惧、焦虑等情绪的处理有关。威斯康星大学麦迪逊分校(University of Wisconsin — Madison)健康心灵研究中心(Center for Healthy Minds)创始人、神经科学家理查德•J•戴维森(Richard J. Davidson)博士发现,遇到威胁后杏仁核平复较慢的人,会比杏仁核平复较快的那些人面临更大的出现各种健康问题的风险。

Both he and Dr. Fredrickson and their colleagues have demonstrated that the brain is “plastic,” or capable of generating new cells and pathways, and it is possible to train the circuitry in the brain to promote more positive responses. That is, a person can learn to be more positive by practicing certain skills that foster positivity.


For example, Dr. Fredrickson’s team found that six weeks of training in a form of meditation focused on compassion and kindness resulted in an increase in positive emotions and social connectedness and improved function of one of the main nerves that helps to control heart rate. The result is a more variable heart rate that, she said in an interview, is associated with objective health benefits like better control of blood glucose, less inflammation and faster recovery from a heart attack.


Dr. Davidson’s team showed that as little as two weeks’ training in compassion and kindness meditation generated changes in brain circuitry linked to an increase in positive social behaviors like generosity.


“The results suggest that taking time to learn the skills to self-generate positive emotions can help us become healthier, more social, more resilient versions of ourselves,” Dr. Fredrickson reported in the National Institutes of Health monthly newsletter in 2015.

“这些结果显示,花时间学习自行产生积极情绪的技巧,有助于我们变成更健康、更合群、更具复原力的人,”2015年,弗雷德里克森在国立卫生研究院(National Institutes of Health)的每月简报中表示。

In other words, Dr. Davidson said, “well-being can be considered a life skill. If you practice, you can actually get better at it.” By learning and regularly practicing skills that promote positive emotions, you can become a happier and healthier person. Thus, there is hope for people like my friend’s parents should they choose to take steps to develop and reinforce positivity.


In her newest book, “Love 2.0,” Dr. Fredrickson reports that “shared positivity — having two people caught up in the same emotion — may have even a greater impact on health than something positive experienced by oneself.” Consider watching a funny play or movie or TV show with a friend of similar tastes, or sharing good news, a joke or amusing incidents with others. Dr. Fredrickson also teaches “loving-kindness meditation” focused on directing good-hearted wishes to others. This can result in people “feeling more in tune with other people at the end of the day,” she said.

弗雷德里克森在其新书《爱的方法》(Love 2.0)中表示,“比起一个人独自体验的积极情绪,共同的积极情绪——两人沉浸在同一种情绪中——甚至可能对健康产生更大影响。”想象一下和一个趣味相投的朋友一同观看有趣的戏剧或电影或电视剧,或者与人分享好消息、笑话或趣事的情形吧。弗雷德里克森还教人练习以给予他人善意祝福为重点的“慈心奉爱冥想”。她说,最终,这会让人“觉得与他人更合拍”。

Activities Dr. Fredrickson and others endorse to foster positive emotions include:


Do good things for other people. In addition to making others happier, this enhances your own positive feelings. It can be something as simple as helping someone carry heavy packages or providing directions for a stranger.


Appreciate the world around you. It could be a bird, a tree, a beautiful sunrise or sunset or even an article of clothing someone is wearing. I met a man recently who was reveling in the architectural details of the 19th-century houses in my neighborhood.


Develop and bolster relationships. Building strong social connections with friends or family members enhances feelings of self-worth and, long-term studies have shown, is associated with better health and a longer life.


Establish goals that can be accomplished. Perhaps you want to improve your tennis or read more books. But be realistic; a goal that is impractical or too challenging can create unnecessary stress.


Learn something new. It can be a sport, a language, an instrument or a game that instills a sense of achievement, self-confidence and resilience. But here, too, be realistic about how long this may take and be sure you have the time needed.


Choose to accept yourself, flaws and all. Rather than imperfections and failures, focus on your positive attributes and achievements. The loveliest people I know have none of the external features of loveliness but shine with the internal beauty of caring, compassion and consideration of others.


Practice resilience. Rather than let loss, stress, failure or trauma overwhelm you, use them as learning experiences and steppingstones to a better future. Remember the expression: When life hands you a lemon, make lemonade.


Practice mindfulness. Ruminating on past problems or future difficulties drains mental resources and steals attention from current pleasures. Let go of things you can’t control and focus on the here-and-now. Consider taking a course in insight meditation.


Travis Kalanick, Uber’s C.E.O., to Take Leave Amid Inquiry Into Workplace Culture

SAN FRANCISCO — Travis Kalanick, Uber’s chief executive, said he would take a leave of absence from the ride-hailing service after an investigation into the company concluded that Uber must repudiate its aggressive startup culture.

旧金山——在一项针对公司的调查断定优步(Uber)必须消除其侵略性的创业文化后,这家叫车服务公司的首席执行官特拉维斯•卡兰尼克(Travis Kalanick)表示自己将休假。

The developments were part of a flurry of actions at Uber on Tuesday morning, which began with an internal email from Kalanick right before a staff meeting got underway. In the email to employees, Kalanick said he would take a leave of absence to work on himself and reflect on building a “world class leadership team” for the company. He did not specify how long he would be away.


Minutes later, Uber released 13 pages of recommendations to change the company, which were the result of an investigation into its culture conducted by former Attorney General Eric Holder and his law firm, Covington & Burling.

几分钟后,优步公布了13页的公司改革建议。这是前司法部长埃里克•霍尔德(Eric Holder)和他所在的科文顿-柏灵律师事务所(Covington & Burling)对该公司的文化进行了调查后得出的结果。

The recommendations included limiting Kalanick’s responsibilities by reallocating some of his duties, with an increased emphasis on a chief operating officer at the company. Uber also should appoint an independent chairman and create an oversight committee on the board, in an effort to bolster the checks and balances on management, according to the recommendations.


The proposed changes amounted to a rejection of the methods and culture that Uber has used to build itself into a nearly $70 billion company that has upended the transportation status quo worldwide. Under Kalanick, Uber flouted rules and regulations to bring its ride-summoning service to hundreds of cities, prized growth above all else, and often turned a blind eye to corporate misbehavior.


That ballooned into a crisis starting in February, when a former employee wrote a blog post detailing what she said was a history of sexual harassment and lack of response from management at the company. The post set off a deluge of other complaints from staff about Uber’s culture, exposing a toxic environment.


Uber has since moved to clean up the situation. It has fired 20 employees in the last few months for transgressions including sexual harassment. Emil Michael, a top lieutenant of Kalanick’s, left the company this week. And many other executives have departed, leaving something of a leadership void at the company.

自那以后,优步采取了清理环境的行动。过去几个月里,该公司因包括性骚扰在内的过失解雇20名员工。本周,卡兰尼克的左膀右臂埃米尔•迈克尔(Emil Michael)离开优步。其他很多高管也离开了,导致优步出现了某种领导真空。

“Implementing these recommendations will improve our culture, promote fairness and accountability, and establish processes and systems to ensure the mistakes of the past will not be repeated,” Liane Hornsey, Uber’s chief of human resources, said in a statement.

“实施这些建议将改善我们的文化、促进公正和责任并建立相应的程序和制度,以确保过去的错误不会重演,”优步首席人力资源官利亚纳•霍恩西(Liane Hornsey)在一份声明中说。

Fake News on Facebook? In Foreign Elections, That’s Not New.

HONG KONG — Facebook rumors force a well-known politician to publish proof of his heritage. Fake images show a prominent female leader in a hangman’s noose. A politician’s aide decries violent crime with a Facebook photo of a girl’s corpse — an image that turns out to come from another country.


Another day on social media for Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Donald J. Trump? Think again.

这又是贝拉克•奥巴马、希拉里•克林顿(Hillary Clinton)和唐纳德•J•特朗普(Donald J. Trump)在社交网络上的遭遇?不见得。

Those incidents took place in Indonesia and the Philippines, where social media’s outsize place in politics is widely acknowledged, even as that role is coming under sharper criticism in the United States.


Well before last week’s American election threw Facebook’s status as a digital-era news source into the spotlight, leaders, advocacy groups and minorities worldwide have contended with an onslaught of online misinformation and abuse that have had real-world political repercussions. And for years, the social network did little to clamp down on the false news.


Now Facebook, Google and others have begun to take steps to curb the trend, but some outside the United States say the move is too late.


“They should have done this way earlier,” said Richard Heydarian, a political analyst in the Philippines, one of Facebook’s fastest-growing markets. “We already saw the warning signs of this years ago.”

“它们早该这么做了,”菲律宾政治分析人士理查德•海达里安(Richard Heydarian)说。菲律宾是Facebook增长最快的市场之一。“多年前我们就已经看到令人警惕的迹象。”

On Thursday, President Obama, speaking in Berlin and standing alongside Chancellor Angela Merkel, criticized Facebook and other social media for disseminating fake news. He became so impassioned that at one point he lost track of the question he was answering.

周四,奥巴马总统在德国总理安格拉•默克尔(Angela Merkel)的陪同下在柏林发表讲话时,指责Facebook和其他社交媒体传播假新闻。他情绪激动,以至一度偏离了正在回答的问题。

“If everything seems to be the same and no distinctions are made, then we won’t know what to protect,” Mr. Obama said.


The impact of Facebook and other social media platforms on international elections is difficult to quantify. But Facebook’s global reach — roughly a quarter of the world’s population now has an account — is difficult to deny, political experts and academics say.


Some governments are pushing back, sometimes with undemocratic consequences. Ms. Merkel has said she is considering plans to force social networks to make public how they rank news online. Some African countries have banned the use of Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter before elections. Indonesia’s government has closed sites that it says promote fake news, though experts say some portals were also targeted for political reasons.


Facebook said on Thursday that the social network was a place for people to stay informed and that what people saw in their news feed was overwhelmingly authentic. The Silicon Valley company previously denied that it failed to deal with misinformation and said it continues to monitor the social network so that it meets existing standards.


“I think the idea that fake news on Facebook, which is a very small amount of the content, influenced the election in any way — I think is a pretty crazy idea,” Mark Zuckerberg, the company’s chief executive, told a tech conference days after the American presidential election. “Voters make decisions based on their lived experience.”

“我觉得,认为Facebook上的假新闻以某种方式影响了选举是非常疯狂的想法,那些内容的数量非常小,”美国大选结束几天后,该公司首席执行官马克•扎克伯格(Mark Zuckerberg)在一次科技会议上说。“选民会根据生活中的经验作出决定。”

Facebook’s power is often stronger overseas than it is in the United States. In many developing countries with populations new to both democracy and social media, experts said, fake stories can be more widely believed. And in some of these countries, Facebook even offers free smartphone data connections to basic public online services, some news sites and Facebook itself — but limits access to broader sources that could help debunk fake news.


One such place is the Philippines, where a spokesman for its populist president, Rodrigo Duterte, shared on Facebook an image of a corpse of a young girl believed to have been raped and killed by a drug dealer. Fact checkers later revealed that the photo had come from Brazil. Despite the debunking, proponents of Mr. Duterte’s bloody crackdown on reported drug dealers and addicts still cite the image in his defense, according to political analysts.

菲律宾便是这样一个地方。该国的民粹主义总统罗德里戈•杜特地(Rodrigo Duterte)的发言人在Faebook上分享了一张照片,上面是一名年轻女孩的遗体,据信是被一名毒贩奸杀的。调查人员后来透露,其实这张照片来自巴西。据政治分人士介绍,尽管真相被揭穿,但支持杜特地血腥镇压被举报毒贩和瘾君子的人,依然用这张照片为他辩护。

Tens of thousands of Philippine Facebook users also recently shared a story claiming that NASA had voted Mr. Duterte “the best president in the solar system.” While many commenters on the Facebook post took it as a joke, some appeared to take it seriously. And an image of Leila de Lima, a local lawmaker and a critic of Mr. Duterte, depicted her facing a hangman’s noose.

最近,菲律宾数万名Facebook用户还分享了一则声称美国航空航天局(NASA)评选杜特地为“太阳系最杰出的总统”的新闻。尽管在Facebook上的这篇帖子下面留言的很多人都把它当做笑话,但一些人似乎当真了。此外,在一张图片中,菲律宾议员、对杜特地持批评意见的莱拉•德利马(Leila de Lima)被人套上了绞索。

“Facebook hasn’t led to empowerment of the average citizen, but empowerment of professional propagandists, fringe elements and conspiracy theorists,” said Mr. Heydarian, the Philippines political analyst. “Voices that were lurking in the shadows are now at the center of the public discourse.”


In Indonesia, where Facebook is so popular that some people confuse it with the broader internet, the service has considerable sway.


When Joko Widodo, Indonesia’s president, was running for office in 2014, he was accused through social media of being a Chinese Christian and a communist — severe criticism in the deeply Islamic country. The Indonesian politician released his marriage certificate to prove he wasn’t Chinese and made a pilgrimage to Mecca just before voting.

在2014年竞选时,印尼总统佐科•威多多(Joko Widodo)在社交媒体上被指是一名华裔基督徒和共产主义者。在一个伊斯兰教深入人心的国家,这是颇为严厉的抨击。为了证明自己不是华裔,这位印尼政治人物公开了自己的结婚证书,还在大选前夕前往麦加朝圣。

“The fake news had a very big impact in our campaign,” said Tubagus Ramadhan, who helped Mr. Widodo run his social media campaign during the election.

“假新闻对我们的竞选影响非常大,”在选举期间帮助威多多管理社交媒体活动的图巴古斯•拉马丹(Tubagus Ramadhan)说。

Even in long-established democracies like Germany, Spain and Italy, false news reports and hate speech on social media have whipped up grass-roots populist movements, which have often targeted the recent influx of Middle Eastern refugees, to garner wider electoral support.


Now, many European politicians are questioning what role social media has had in deciding what voters can and cannot see. They also have forced social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Google to sign up for voluntary — so far — standards to police hate speech online.


In Germany, Ms. Merkel’s push to require American social network companies to publish how they rank news is intended to give voters greater control over what they read online.


“Algorithms must be more transparent,” Ms. Merkel has said, “so that interested citizens are also aware of what actually happens with their own media behavior and that of others.”


Police in England Report Fatalities at Ariana Grande Concert

MANCHESTER, England — At least one explosion thundered through a Manchester concert arena on Monday night just as a performance by the pop star Ariana Grande ended in what the police described as a “terrorist incident.” They said at least 19 people were killed and 50 wounded as panicked spectators including children screamed and fled.

英国曼彻斯特——星期一晚上,流行歌手阿丽亚娜•格兰德(Ariana Grande)在曼彻斯特体育场的演唱会结束之际,发生了至少一起爆炸。警方称之为“恐怖主义事件“,他们表示至少有19人遇害,50人受伤,包括许多孩子在内的现场观众恐慌不已,尖叫并四处逃散。

There was no immediate word from the police on the precise cause of the blast but it immediately evoked the terrorist attacks in Paris in November of 2015, which included a deadly assault inside a concert arena where the Eagles of Death Metal had been playing.

警方暂时并未说明爆炸发生的确切原因,但这一事件立刻令人回想起2015年11月在巴黎发生的恐怖袭击,其中就包括在金属乐队“死亡之鹰”(Eagles of Death)演唱会现场发生的致命袭击。

“This is currently being treated as a terrorist incident until the police know otherwise,” the Manchester police said in a Twitter posting.


People at the concert at the Manchester Arena said they heard what sounded like explosions at the end of the show around 10:30 p.m.


One concertgoer, Sasina Akhtar, told The Manchester Evening News that there had been an explosion at the back of the arena after the last song. “We saw young girls with blood on them, everyone was screaming and people were running,” she said.

现场观众萨希娜•阿赫塔尔(Sasina Akhtar)告诉《曼彻斯特晚报》(The Manchester Evening News)说,在最后一首歌唱完后,体育场后部发生了爆炸。她说:“我们看到年轻女孩身上有血迹,大家都在尖叫,有人在跑动。”

Ariana Grande, a 23-year-old singer with a big voice who started her career as a star on a Nickelodeon TV series, is on an international tour supporting her 2016 album, “Dangerous Woman.”

23岁的阿里安娜•格兰德是一位知名歌手,曾是尼克国际儿童频道(Nickelodeon TV)一部剧集中的明星,现在正在进行国际巡回演唱会,为她2016年德专辑《危险女人》(Dangerous Woman)做宣传。

The tour was scheduled to continue on Thursday at the O2 Arena in London. Two additional acts, Victoria Monét and Bia, performed as openers.

根据计划,下一场演唱会将于周四在伦敦O2体育馆举行。另外两名歌手维多利亚•莫内(Victoria Monét) 和比亚(Bia)担任开场嘉宾。

”Ariana is O.K.,” said her publicist, Joseph Carozza. “We are further investigating what happened.”

“阿里安娜情况还好,”她的公关人员约瑟夫•卡罗扎(Joseph Carozza)说:“我们正在调查发生了什么事情。”

Videos posted on Twitter showed concertgoers running and screaming from their seats. Hannah Dane, who attended the performance, told The Guardian that she had heard “quite a loud explosion heard from inside the Manchester Arena.”

在Twitter上发布的视频显示,观众们离座跑动、尖叫。观看表演的汉娜•丹恩(Hannah Dane)告诉《卫报》,她听到“曼彻斯特体育场内部传来了很大的爆炸声”。

She added, “It shook, then everyone screamed and tried to get out”.


The Manchester Arena, opened in 1995, can hold up to 21,000 spectators; it was not clear how many people were in the crowd for the concert.


The stadium is next to a train terminus, Victoria Station, which was evacuated.


Karen Ford, a witness, told the BBC that she was leaving the concert when “everyone was just getting out of their seats and walking toward the stairs when all of a sudden a huge sound, which sounded like an explosion, went off.”

目击者卡伦•福特(Karen Ford)当时正要离开演唱会现场,她告诉BBC,“就在大家刚刚离开座位,走向楼梯的时候,突然间发出一声巨大的声音,像是爆炸声。”

“Everyone tried to push people up the stairs,” she recalled, adding that in the chaos, people tried to push past a woman in a wheelchair as children screamed.


She said there was no smoke, just one very loud bang. “It was very, very loud.” She said her husband thought he had heard a second explosion.”there were shoes on the floor,” left behind by people who had fled, she recalled.


“Just chaos,” she said. “I was trying to tell people to calm down.” She added that the crush of people trying to flee created a perilous situation: “We were being crushed.”


Outside, Ms. Ford said, parents awaited their children who were attending the concert, checking their smartphones in a panic. “Everyone was trying to find each other.”


The Long, Lonely Road of Chelsea Manning

On a gray morning this spring, Chelsea Manning climbed into the back seat of a black S.U.V. and directed her security guard to drive her to the nearest Starbucks. A storm was settling over Manhattan, and Manning was prepared for the weather, in chunky black Doc Martens with an umbrella and a form-fitting black dress. Her legs were bare, her eyes gray blue. She wore little makeup: a spot of eyeliner, a smudge of pink lip gloss.

今年春天一个多云的早晨,切尔西•曼宁(Chelsea Manning)爬进一辆黑色SUV车后座,指示保安人员开车送她到最近的星巴克。曼哈顿上空正酝酿着一场暴风雨,曼宁已经为此做好了准备,她脚穿粗重的马丁靴,带着雨伞,身上是一件彰显身材的黑色连衣裙,裸露着双腿。她画着淡妆:灰蓝色的眼睛周围有眼线的痕迹,一点点粉红色的唇彩。

At Starbucks, she ordered a white-chocolate mocha and retreated to a nearby stool. Manning has always been small (5 foot 4), but in her last few months at the United States Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, she jogged religiously, outside in the prison yard and around the track of the prison gym, and her body had taken on a lithe sharpness, apparent in the definition of her arms and cheekbones. She looked healthy and fit, if a little uneasy, as people who have served long spells in prison often do.


She had been released only eight days earlier, after serving seven years of a 35-year sentence. Her crime, even in hindsight, was an astonishing one: handing WikiLeaks approximately 250,000 American diplomatic cables and roughly 480,000 Army reports from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Collectively the largest leak of classified records in American history, the disclosures cleared a path for Edward Snowden and elevated the profile of Julian Assange, then little known outside hacker circles. “Without Chelsea Manning,” P.J. Crowley, an assistant secretary of state from 2009 to 2011, told me recently, “Julian Assange is just another fringe actor who resents what he sees as American hegemonic hubris.” To an extraordinary extent, Manning’s actions, in the words of Denver Nicks, the author of a book on her case, represented the “beginning of the information age exploding upon itself”: a new era in which leaks were a weapon, data security was of paramount importance and privacy felt illusory.

她被判35年徒刑,服刑七年后,她在八天前得到释放。即便事后看来,她的罪行也足以令人震惊:她将美国在阿富汗和伊拉克战争期间的约25万份外交电报和约48万份军队报告交给了维基解密(Wikileaks)。这些泄露加在一起,构成了美国历史上最大的机密记录泄漏事件,为爱德华•斯诺登(Edward Snowden)扫清了道路,并且令朱利安•阿桑奇(Julian Assange)的形象得到提升,此前阿桑奇在黑客圈以外少有人知。“要不是切尔西•曼宁,”2009年至2011年担任助理国务卿的P•J•克劳利(P.J.Crowley)最近告诉我,“朱利安•阿桑奇无非就是另一个处在边缘地位,对他心目中美国霸权主义傲慢感到愤怒的小角色。”丹弗•尼克斯(Denver Nicks)曾经写过一本关于曼宁案的书,用他的话来说,曼宁的行为从广义上来说,代表着“信息时代自身开始爆炸”:一个新时代,现在内情泄漏可以成为武器,数据安全至关重要,而隐私则让人感到虚幻。

In January 2017, after being locked up at five different facilities, in conditions a United Nations expert called “cruel” and “inhumane,” Manning had received a surprise commutation by President Barack Obama. Four months later, she was free, trying to adjust to life in a world she helped shape. Finishing her coffee, she fished her iPhone out of her purse and asked her security guard for a lift back to the apartment where she was staying while in Manhattan. The one-bedroom was furnished sparsely, with a wide glass table and a tan couch, opposite which Manning had set up an Xbox One video-game console. The art was of the anodyne motel variety — an old-masters-esque tableau, a canvas of a zebra standing in a forest. We were many floors up, suspended in the storm clouds, and through the window, I could see the spires of the skyscrapers on the other side of the Hudson River.

曼宁曾先后被关押在五个不同的地方,一个联合国专家称她所处的环境是“残酷”且“不人道”的,2017年1月,她终于从贝拉克•奥巴马总统那里得到了出乎意料的减刑。四个月后,她重获自由,开始努力适应身边这个自己参与塑造的世界。喝完咖啡后,她从手袋里摸出iPhone手机,让保安开车送她回到她在曼哈顿的公寓。这是一个一室一厅的房子,装修简朴,有一个宽阔的玻璃桌和一张棕褐色的沙发,沙发对面,曼宁放了一个Xbox One游戏机。公寓里的艺术品是平淡乏味的汽车旅馆风格——一幅早期大师风格的人物画,一幅描绘森林里一匹斑马的油画。楼层很高,仿佛悬浮在酝酿暴风雨的云层之中,通过窗户,我可以看到哈德逊河对岸摩天大楼的尖顶。

Manning, who is 29, tapped an unplugged microwave next to the door and asked me to place my laptop inside: The Faraday cage in the microwave would block radio waves, she explained. But the unplugged microwave was already full of devices, including two Xbox controllers. “You can put it in the kitchen microwave,” Manning said; then, intuiting the strangeness of the request, she added with a shrug, “You can’t be too careful.”


She recalled that she last gave an in-person, on-the-record interview to a journalist in 2008, on the occasion of a marriage-equality march in New York. For almost a decade after that, barred by prison officials from communicating directly with the public, she remained silent as her story was told in books, an opera, an Off Broadway play and countless magazine articles, almost all of them written before Manning had come out as transgender. “It wasn’t the whole story,” she told me, “my whole story.”


Absent her own voice, a pair of dueling narratives had emerged. One had Manning, in the words of President Donald Trump, as an “ungrateful traitor.” The other positioned her as transgender icon and champion of transparency — a “secular martyr,” as Chase Madar, a former attorney and the author of a book on her case, recently put it to me. But in Manning’s presence, both narratives feel like impossible simplifications, not least because Manning herself is clearly still grappling with the meaning of what she did seven years ago. When I asked her to draw lessons from her journey, she grew uneasy. “I don’t have. … ” she started. “Like, I’ve been so busy trying to survive for the past seven years that I haven’t focused on that at all.”

虽然她自己的声音是缺席的,但是关于她,出现了两种水火不相容的叙事。第一种叙事把曼宁描述为——用唐纳德•特朗普的话来说——“忘恩负义的叛徒”。另一种叙事则把她奉为跨性别者的偶像与信息透明的捍卫者,就像曾经当过检察官的蔡斯•马达尔(Chase Madar)最近对我说的,是一个“非宗教的殉道者”,他也曾经写过一本关于曼宁案的书。但是在曼宁面前,这两种叙事似乎都简化到了不可思议的地步,尤其是因为曼宁自己显然仍在努力思考,想要弄清她七年前所做的事情究竟意味着什么。我问她,从这段经历中学到了什么,她变得非常不安。“我没有……”她开始说道。“这个,过去七年里,我一直忙着生存下去,我根本没有重点关注这个。”

But surely, I pressed, she must have some sense of the impact she had on the world. “From my perspective,” she responded, “the world’s shaped me more than anything else. It’s a feedback loop.”


As far back as Chelsea Manning can remember, to her earliest days in Crescent, on the far edge of the Oklahoma City metro area, she suffered from a feeling of intense dislocation, something constant and psychic that she struggled to define to herself, much less to her older sister, Casey, or her parents, Brian and Susan. During one of our interviews, I mentioned that I heard a clinical psychologist compare gender dysphoria to a “giant, cosmic toothache.” Manning flushed. That was it exactly, she agreed: “Morning, evening, breakfast, lunch, dinner, wherever you are. It’s everywhere you go.”


At the age of 5, Manning recalled, she approached her father, an I.T. manager for Hertz, and confessed that she wanted to be a girl, “to do girl things.” Brian responded with a lengthy and awkward speech on the essential differences in “plumbing.” But Manning told me, “I didn’t understand how that had anything to do with what you wore or how you behaved.” Soon she was sneaking into her sister’s bedroom and donning Casey’s acid-washed jeans and denim jackets. Seated at the mirror, she would apply lipstick and blush, frantically scrubbing off the makeup at the slightest stirring from downstairs.


“I wanted to be like [Casey] and live like her,” Manning said.


When she was still in elementary school, she came out as gay to a straight male friend. The friend was understanding; the other kids at school, less so. Manning tried, unsuccessfully, to retract her confession, but the teasing continued. “I would come home crying some days, and if my dad was there, he’d say: ‘Just quit crying and man up. Like, go back there and punch that kid in the face,’ ” she said. It was the late 1990s, when the trans movement was very much on the fringes of American society. “The closest I came to knowing anything was from the portrayal of drag-queen-style cross-dressing on sensational TV shows” like Jerry Springer’s, Manning told me. She spent more time inside, on the computers that her father was always bringing home, playing video games and dabbling in basic code.

还在读小学的时候,她便向一个直男朋友出柜,告知对方自己是同性恋。那位朋友理解她;学校里的其他孩子则没有那么善解人意。曼宁试图收回自己的坦白之词,但没有成功,继续遭到戏弄。“有些日子,我回到家会哭出来,如果我父亲在场,他会说:‘别哭了,爷们些。比如,回去朝那小子脸上擂一拳,’”她说。那是1990年代末,跨性别者权利运动在美国社会中还处于极为边缘的位置。“耸动的电视节目中关于变装皇后式异性着装的描绘,是我最接近相关信息的渠道”——比如杰瑞•斯布林格(Jerry Springer)的节目。她花更多时间待在家中,摆弄她父亲总是会带回家的电脑,玩电子游戏、尝试鼓捣基本代码。

Her parents had issues of their own. When Manning was about 12, Susan swallowed an entire bottle of Valium. Casey called 911, only to be told that the nearest ambulance was a half-hour away. Casey loaded her mother into the car; Brian, who Manning says was too drunk to drive, sat shotgun, leaving a terrified Chelsea in the back to make sure her mother kept breathing. She told me the incident was formational. “I grew up very quickly after that,” she said. (Brian could not be reached for comment.)


In Susan’s native Wales, where Manning moved with her in 2001 after her parents split, Chelsea says she took over full control of the household, paying bills and handling much of the shopping. There was freedom there, too: She could buy her own makeup at the convenience store, wear it for a few hours in public and jam it into a waste bin on her way home. She passed many evenings on her computer, in L.G.B.T. chat rooms. Her worldview shifted. While in Crescent, Manning had imbibed her father’s conservative politics — “I questioned nothing,” she told me. But at Tasker Milward, a school in the town of Haverfordwest, she studied the civil rights movement, the Red Scare, the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II. In a term paper for a history class, she expressed skepticism about the rationale for the American invasion of Iraq.

父母离婚后,曼宁于2001年随苏珊搬到其老家威尔士。切尔西说,在那里,她全盘掌管家中事务,付账单并负责很多东西的采购。那里也给了她自由:她可以在便利店给自己买化妆品,带妆在公共场合出现几个小时,然后在回家的路上将化妆品扔进垃圾桶。很多晚上她都是守着电脑在LGBT聊天室里度过的。在克雷森特生活的时候,曼宁曾吸纳父亲的保守派政治观点——“我一度不质疑任何事,”她告诉我。但在哈沃福维斯特镇的塔斯克尔•米尔沃德中学(Tasker Milward),她学习了与民权运动、红色恐慌以及二战期间日裔美国人被囚禁有关的知识。在历史课的学期论文中,她表达了对美国入侵伊拉克合理性的怀疑。

When Manning returned to the United States in 2005 to live with Brian and his new wife in Oklahoma City, she was a changed person, if not a wholly transformed one: She wore eyeliner and grew out her hair and dyed it black. “I thought, Maybe I want to just eradicate this gender thing and be gender neutral, like androgynous,” she told me. She found a job at an internet start-up and, through a matchmaking site, met her first boyfriend, who lived 70 miles away in the town of Duncan. But her stepmother, Manning said, forbade her from setting foot in the kitchen: “She felt that I was unclean.”


Manning confided to no one what she was increasingly coming to understand: that she wasn’t gay, wasn’t a cross-dresser. She was a woman. In the summer of 2006, she and her boyfriend parted ways, and she lit out from Oklahoma for good, all her belongings piled high in the cab of her red Nissan pickup truck. A spell of itinerancy followed — out to Tulsa, Okla., to work at a pizza parlor; up to Chicago to work at Guitar Center; east to the suburbs of Washington to live with her aunt, with whom she enjoyed a connection she never shared with her parents. She did four sessions with a psychologist, but got no closer to unburdening herself than she had with friends or family members. “I was scared,” Manning said. “I didn’t know that life could be better.”

曼宁没有向任何人坦白她日益意识到的一件事:她不是同性恋,不是异装者。她是一个女人。2006年夏天,与男友分道扬镳后,她把自己的物品高高堆在红色尼桑皮卡的驾驶室里,永远离开了俄克拉荷马市。随之而来的是四处漂泊的生活——前往俄克拉荷马州塔尔萨,在一家比萨店工作;还曾抵达芝加哥,在吉他中心(Guitar Center)工作;往东到了华盛顿郊区,和一个姑妈一起生活,与姑妈同住期间,她感受到了和父母之间从未有过的那种亲密。她在一名心理医生处接受过四次咨询辅导,但减压效果并没有超出与朋友或家人交流的程度。“我当时很害怕,”曼宁说。“我不知道生活可以变得更好。”

Brian Manning had often fondly recounted for Chelsea his days in the military: It had given him structure and grounding, he said. Manning hadn’t been ready to listen then. Now she was. Enlisting might be the thing to “man her up,” to rid her of the ache. Besides, while her ideas about American foreign policy had become more nuanced, she still considered herself a patriot — in the Army, she could use her analytical skills to help her country. “I remember sitting in the summer of 2007 and just every single day turning on the TV” and seeing the news from Iraq, she told me. “The surge, the surge, the surge. Terrorist attacks. Insurgents. … I just felt like maybe I could make a difference.”


That fall, Manning reported for basic training at Fort Leonard Wood in the Missouri Ozarks; within a few days, she had suffered injuries to her arm. “The drill sergeants were acting like I was malingering or something,” she said. “But I was like: ‘No, I’m not trying to get out of anything. I just really can’t feel my right hand.’ ” A soldier who spent time with Manning in Missouri later recalled for The Guardian that Manning was routinely called a “faggot.” “The guy took it from every side. He couldn’t please anyone. And he tried. He really did,” the soldier said.

那年秋天,曼宁报名在密苏里州欧萨克的伦纳德伍德堡接受基础训练;几天后她的胳膊受了伤。“教官表现出来的样子就好像我在装病之类的,”她说。“但我的内心独白却是:‘不,我并非试图逃避什么东西。我只是真的无法感知到我的右手。’”一名曾和曼宁一起待在密苏里州的士兵后来向《卫报》(The Guardian)回忆,曼宁常常被称为“娘炮”。“到处都有人这么叫。他无法取悦任何人。他试过。他真的努力尝试过,”那名士兵说。

The Army, in need of more bodies to fight the insurgencies in Afghanistan and Iraq, allowed Manning another shot at boot camp. In 2008, she graduated to intelligence school at Fort Huachuca in Arizona, which to her felt like a kind of community college. There, she was trained to sort what the military terms “SigActs,” or significant actions — the written reports, photos and videos of the confrontations, explosions and firefights that form the mosaic of modern war. Manning told me she fit in well with the intelligence types at Fort Huachuca, who shared her intrinsic geekiness. “There were more like-minded people there,” she said, adding, “It wasn’t ‘Rah, rah, you need to do this.’ They encouraged us to speak up. They encouraged us to have opinions, to make our own decisions.”


At her first official duty station, Fort Drum in upstate New York, Manning was charged in part with helping to build a digital tool that would automatically track and sort SigActs from Afghanistan, where Manning’s unit initially expected to be deployed. For hours a day, she watched spectral night-vision video and read reports from distant battlefields. Already, she was being exposed to the bloodshed that would serve as inspiration for her leaks. But she was handling the material at a spatial and emotional reserve: She remained, she told me, “eager” to get to the front lines. “I was hungry.”


Through a gay dating site, she met a bookish Brandeis student named Tyler Watkins. She started driving to visit Watkins in the Boston area, where she became a regular at Pika, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology co-op, and visited Boston University’s Builds, a hub of the local hacking community. At the Pika gatherings, she found friends that approached coding the same way she did: as outlet, pastime and calling. She often stayed up late into the night talking. Yan Zhu, then an undergraduate student at M.I.T., remembers Manning as “obviously intelligent,” if “nervous.” It was clear to Zhu that Manning was “haunted by something.” But she never had a chance to find out what: That fall, Manning’s unit was deployed to Iraq.

通过一个同性恋交友网站,她结识了就读于布兰迪斯大学、书卷气十足的泰勒•沃特金斯(Tyler Watkins)。她开始驱车造访波士顿地区的沃特金斯——在那里她成了麻省理工大学(Massachusetts Institute of Technology)的合作生活社区Pika的常客;还曾到访波士顿大学(Boston University)的Builds——当地黑客群体的一个枢纽。在Pika的聚会上,她找到了和自己看待编码的思维一致的朋友:视之为情感的发泄、消遣和使命。当时在麻省理工读本科的朱岩(Yan Zhu,音)回忆说,曼宁“显然很聪明”,虽然“有些焦虑”。朱岩清楚地知道,曼宁那时候“正被什么事情困扰着”。但她从未有机会找出答案:那年秋天,曼宁所在的部队被派往伊拉克。

When Young Chinese Ask, ‘What’s Your Sign?’ They Don’t Mean Dragon or Rat

BEIJING — China, the birthplace of the Chinese zodiac and some of the world’s oldest and most sophisticated fortunetelling techniques, has a new obsession: Western astrology.


What remains a largely niche interest in the West has in recent years become a mainstream cultural trend in China, especially among the younger generation. At dinner tables and in coffee shops, friends and strangers trade the latest gossip and tidbits about their astrological profiles.


Online, social media accounts with millions of fans dispense weekly horoscope forecasts. On dating websites, users list their zodiac signs alongside other basic information like age, salary, and car and home ownership status.


Starting in the 1990s, Western astrology began to seep into China, mostly through variety shows from Taiwan, which caught the astrology bug early on. After the spread of the internet, a seed of interest soon blossomed into a torrid love affair.


While concepts like the traditional Chinese zodiac are still relevant, they are often dismissed by millennials here as “the older generation’s pastime.” Western astrology, on the other hand, is seen as more fun. Much as some Westerners have embraced Eastern practices like Buddhism, young Chinese are gravitating toward Western astrology because they say it is new and exotic.


“People don’t get as excited about traditional culture because it’s too familiar,” said Liu Hongchen, an astrologer known as Eskey among his more than nine million followers on Weibo, a popular microblogging site. “The younger generation likes Western culture more, and the interest in Western astrology is a perfect example of this.”


More and more Chinese are consulting the ancient practice for celestial guidance on all kinds of major life decisions: relationship advice, making friends, having babies — even hiring employees.


Que Gangjian, a manager at a car sales company in the southern Chinese city of Changzhou, said that true to his nature as a Pisces, he was better at handling the so-called softer side of the business. So when it came time to recruit a sales representative, Mr. Que considered what skills would be best suited to the demanding job and would complement his own.


After listing the mandatory requirements — a hardworking attitude, a driver’s license and a quick tongue — Mr. Que inserted another line into the online job posting: “Scorpios, Capricorns and Geminis preferred.”


“People who fall under these three signs tend to be more persistent — they don’t give up as easily,” Mr. Que said in a telephone interview. “So really this is just to save time and make the hiring process more efficient.”


It is not the only instance of what has become known in China as “zodiac discrimination.” A recent survey showed that 4.3 percent of college graduates looking for jobs in China had experienced discrimination based on their Western or Chinese zodiac sign. On Baidu Baike, the Chinese version of Wikipedia, there is even an entry for the term “xingzuo zhaopin,” or job recruitment based on Western zodiac signs.


Of the 12 horoscope signs, Virgos, or those born between Aug. 23 and Sept. 22, have an especially rough time. Described as perfectionists, Virgos — and Virgo men in particular — are considered to be constantly on the defensive. While the criticism is mostly tongue in cheek, the sign has become so tarnished that some Chinese employers go out of their way to emphasize in job postings that, yes, Virgos are welcome to apply, too.


The derision has prompted much introspection among Virgos.


“Sometimes I think about whether my personality has been shaped by the stereotype,” said Yan Rubin, 35, a Virgo and an electronics engineer in the northern Chinese city of Xi’an. “I wouldn’t say it’s discrimination, necessarily, but I guess we’re just different from the other signs.”


Hu Xiaofei, like many of her friends, had a strong aversion to Virgos until she discovered that her boyfriend’s birthday fell within the ill-fated range.


“Well, he wasn’t a true Virgo,” said Ms. Hu, 28, a Taurus who works in public relations in Shanghai. “His mom changed his birthday when he was younger so he could make the age cutoff for school.”


In any case, Ms. Hu said she did not take horoscopes that seriously. “It’s just something to read everyday when I’m bored on the subway,” she said, adding that they certainly they did not influence her life decisions.


Well, that is, with one exception.


“Oh, I would never date a Cancer,” Ms. Hu said adamantly. “They might be good family men but most of the Cancer guys I know dabble outside their marriage. It’s really bad.”


Over the centuries, China developed a set of sophisticated divination techniques for use within and outside the imperial court. Today, many Chinese still consult fate-calculating practices like bazi, which determines a person’s fortune based on birth year, month, date and hour.


And the traditional Chinese zodiac, which features 12 animals representing 12 years, is so widely referenced that in 2014, several provinces reported a spike in births among young couples hoping to have their babies in the last weeks of the auspicious Year of the Horse to avoid the less favorable Year of the Sheep.


China is, of course, not the only place where interest in the occult thrives. A survey by the National Science Foundation, published in 2014, found that in recent years the number of Americans who said they believed that astrology was “sort of scientific” or “very scientific” was on the rise.

当然,中国不是唯一一个对神秘学产生浓厚兴趣的地方。美国国家科学基金会(National Science Foundation)2014年发布的一项调查发现,近些年,声称自己认为占星术“有点科学”或“非常科学”的美国人的数量在上升。

The difference in China is the visibility of the phenomenon. Unlike in America, there is little embarrassment about believing in Western astrology. Determining your fortune based on the interaction between the sun, the stars and the planets is just what Chinese have been doing for hundreds of years.


At the root of Western astrology’s popularity, some astrologers say, is a growing thirst for spiritual guidance.


“In America, you have religion,” Panda Cao, a Chinese astrologer based in Washington, said. “But in China, most people don’t have a defined belief system. They don’t have a godlike figure to help them find a solution or guide them in a certain direction. So Western astrology helps fill that gap.”


Never mind all the skeptics who say astrology is a pseudoscience.


“Didn’t Reagan like astrology?” Ms. Cao asked, referring to Nancy Reagan, the former first lady who is said to have kept an astrologer on retainer while her husband, President Ronald Reagan, was in the White House. “So I don’t think you can say that it’s completely false.”

“里根总统不也相信星座吗?”判答问道。她指的是前第一夫人南希•里根(Nancy Reagan)。据说她的丈夫罗纳德•里根总统(Ronald Reagan)在白宫时,南希经常咨询一名占星师。“所以我觉得你不能简单地将星座定义为迷信。”

For some astrologers, the growing obsession has translated into big business. Cai Yuedong, also known as Tongdao Dashu, shot to online fame in recent years with his satirical zodiac-themed cartoons.


In December, Meisheng Culture, a local investment firm, spent $32 million to acquire a 72.5 percent stake in Tongdao Dashu’s company. There are now plans to spin off the popular social media account, which has over 12 million fans on Weibo and many more on Tencent’s messaging app WeChat, into a sprawling zodiac-themed franchise.


To be sure, China has plenty of astrology skeptics. In December, Guokr, a popular science website, organized an online lecture that used scientific arguments to defend against the growing prominence of Western astrology.


“Western astrology is the most annoying trend,” said Yu Jun, a science editor at Guokr and a die-hard skeptic. “A person’s personality has nothing to do with his or her star sign.”


But every once in a while, Mr. Yu said, he finds himself succumbing to the celestial pressure.


“Sometimes I’ll joke about horoscopes with my friends,” Mr. Yu, a Pisces, admitted. “But my star sign is the sign that is least likely to believe in star signs.”


Why Libraries Are Everywhere in the Czech Republic

PRAGUE — In the age of Amazon and the internet, the idea of going to a public library to borrow a book may seem ever more quaint and old-fashioned in many parts of the world, but one country, at least, is clinging to it tenaciously: the Czech Republic.


There are libraries everywhere you look in the country — it has the densest library network in the world, according to a survey conducted for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. There are more libraries than grammar schools. In fact, there is one library for every 1,971 Czech citizens, the survey found — four times as many, relative to population, as the average European country, and 10 times as many as the United States, which has one for every 19,583 people.

放眼望去,捷克到处是图书馆:根据比尔及梅琳达盖茨基金会(Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation)进行的一项调查,该国有全世界密度最高的图书馆网络,数量比文法学校还要多。事实上,这项调查发现,每1971位捷克人就有一间图书馆,依人口比例算来是平均欧洲国家的4倍、美国的10倍(美国每19583人才有一间图书馆)。

Why so many Czech libraries? Well, for decades they were mandatory — every community, from a big city down to a tiny village, was required by law to have one.


The law was enacted in 1919, soon after Czechoslovakia emerged as an independent country. The idea was to promote universal literacy and education after the country was free of the German-speaking Austro-Hungarian Empire. And it worked.


“Czechs developed a strong reading habit, and even today, those who visit libraries buy more books — 11 a year, on average — than others,” said Vit Richter, director of the Librarianship Institute of the Czech National Library.

“捷克人养成了很强的阅读习惯,即便在今天,会上图书馆的人买书也更多,一年下来平均会买11本书。”捷克国家图书馆附设图书馆学中心的主任维特‧李希特(Vit Richter)表示。

The library law survived the German occupation, the communist era and even the breakup with Slovakia in the early 1990s. What it couldn’t survive, in the end, was budgetary pressure. To save money, the requirement was dropped in 2001, when there were about 6,019 libraries in the country; since then, about 11 percent have merged or closed.


Rather than just linger on as an eccentricity from a bygone age, though, the surviving Czech libraries are doing what they can to stay vibrant and relevant. They serve as polling places for elections and as local meeting venues. They organize reading clubs and art exhibits and offer computer literacy courses, and they welcome droves of schoolchildren and retirees during the day.


But mostly, they do what 92 percent of Czechs still want them to go on doing, according to the Gates Foundation survey: They lend books.


Malta’s Walls Are Covered in Murals, and Street Art Is Covered in Schools

A visitor’s eyes never quite adjust to Malta.


The fierce glare of the sun. The ocher-colored tones that adorn the island’s medieval architecture. The unimaginable blue of the Mediterranean Sea.


And perhaps most shocking — the graffiti.

Most cities around the world denounce, or grudgingly tolerate, painting on public property. But on the Mediterranean island of Malta, the process is encouraged.


In the shade of a pedestrian bridge, where old men and women sit on the concrete benches, staring out to sea, a wall has been splashed with color and the spray-painted words “NO WAR.”

在人行天桥下的阴凉处,老人们坐在水泥长凳上远望大海。这里的一面墙被泼上颜料,喷绘着“NO WAR”(不要战争)。

The phrase is part of a mural of a crying child carrying a teddy bear that’s been shot in the head.


This wall, like many on the island, was earmarked by the local council for street art.


Malta is so fond of what other cities would call graffiti, a government agency, Arts Council Malta, teaches street art in schools and even in some retirement homes.


James Grimaud, the artist who painted the antiwar mural, teaches students to sketch, make stencils and use spray paint.

詹姆斯•格里莫德(James Grimaud)是一位绘制反战壁画的艺术家,他还教授学生素描、制作喷刷磨具和喷绘。

Sandra Borg, of the arts council, said the street art projects “engage with numerous communities and contribute directly to urban regeneration.”

艺术理事会成员桑德拉•博格(Sandra Borg)认为,街头艺术项目“连接接洽了无数社区,并且直接为城市的新生做出了贡献。”

The island’s streets had traditionally been dotted with works of devotional art, depicting figures like the Virgin Mary, and Mr. Grimaud said “there isn’t a history of vandalism on the island.”


That might be part of why the modern murals, which are more likely to focus on political corruption or the commercialization of the island, are still treated with a kind of secular reverence.

Bob Dylan the Writer: An Authentic American Voice

“I’m the first person who’ll put it to you,” Bob Dylan said in a 1978 interview, “and the last person who’ll explain it to you.”

“我是第一个把它放在你面前的人,”鲍勃•迪伦(Bob Dylan)在1978年的一次采访中说道,“也是最不愿意向你解释它的人。”

The Swedish Academy, which awarded Mr. Dylan the Nobel Prize in Literature on Thursday, has put it to us, and it has no explaining to do to most readers and listeners, however much they might have been pulling for Philip Roth or Don DeLillo or Margaret Atwood.

星期四,瑞典文学院(Swedish Academy)把诺贝尔文学奖颁给了迪伦,他们把这个结果放在了我们面前,但是却没有为大多数读者与听众提供解释,不管这些读者们是多么看好菲利普•罗斯(Philip Roth)、唐•德里罗(Don DeLillo)或玛格丽特•阿特伍德(Margaret Atwood)。

This Nobel acknowledges what we’ve long sensed to be true: that Mr. Dylan is among the most authentic voices America has produced, a maker of images as audacious and resonant as anything in Walt Whitman or Emily Dickinson.

这次把奖颁给他,等于是确认了我们一直以来的一个感觉是真的:迪伦已经跻身美国最为真诚的声音之列,他所创造的意向如同沃尔特•惠特曼(Walt Whitman)或艾米莉•迪金森(Emily Dickinson)的一样大胆、令人产生共鸣。

It has never hurt that Mr. Dylan’s words were delivered, as the English poet Philip Larkin once put it, in a “cawing, derisive voice” that seemed to carry the weight of myth and prophecy. Mr. Larkin was not Mr. Dylan’s greatest fan. He found the lyrics to “Desolation Row” to be “possibly half-baked.”

正如英国诗人菲利普•拉金(Philip Larkin)指出的,迪伦的歌词是用一种“鸦叫般的嘲弄之声”唱出,这嗓音从来无伤大雅,似乎承载了神话与预言的重量。不过拉金并不是迪伦最大的歌迷。他觉得《荒凉小径》(Desolation Row)的歌词“可能是半成品”。

It took a different Englishman, the venerated critic and scholar Christopher Ricks, to make the case most fully for Mr. Dylan as a complicated and complicating poet. In Mr. Ricks’s sly 2004 book “Dylan’s Visions of Sin,” he persuasively compared Mr. Dylan at various points with personages as distinct as Yeats, Hardy, Keats, Marvell, Tennyson and Marlon Brando.

彻底把迪伦作为一个复杂难解,且还在不断变得更加扑朔迷离的诗人来研究的,是另一位英国人——备受崇敬的评论家与学者克里斯托弗•瑞克斯(Christopher Ricks)。瑞克斯在2004年那本俏皮之作《迪伦的原罪想象》(Dylan’s Visions of Sin)一书中,从各个方面把迪伦同范围广泛的各路名人进行了令人信服的对比,包括叶芝(Yeats)、哈代(Hardy)、济慈(Keats)、麦尔维尔(Marvell)、丁尼生(Tennyson)与马龙•白兰度(Marlon Brando)。

“Dylan’s in an art in which sins are laid bare (and resisted), virtues are valued (and manifested), and the graces brought home,” Mr. Ricks wrote. He added, “Human dealings of every kind are his for the artistic seizing.”


Mr. Dylan, born Robert Allen Zimmerman in Duluth, Minn., in 1941, was inspired when young by potent American vernacular music, songs by performers like Woody Guthrie, Hank Williams and Robert Johnson. When his voice became fully his own, in his work of the mid-to-late 1960s that led up to what is probably his greatest song, “Like a Rolling Stone,” no one had ever heard pop songs with so many oracular, tumbling words in them.

迪伦原名罗伯特•艾伦•齐默曼(Robert Allen Zimmerman),于1941年出生在明尼苏达州的德卢斯,年轻时,他深受强大的美国民间音乐的影响,包括伍迪•格瑟里(Woody Guthrie)、汉克•威廉姆斯(Hank Williams)与罗伯特•约翰逊(Robert Johnson)等人的歌曲。他渐渐形成了完全属于自己的声音,在其20世纪60年代中后期的作品《像一块滚石》(Like a Rolling Stone)中,众多如同神谕般云里雾里的字眼前所未有地出现在流行歌曲之中,而这首歌或许也是他最伟大的一首歌。

When Bruce Springsteen inducted Mr. Dylan into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988, he described the opening seconds of that song this way: “That snare shot sounded like somebody’d kicked open the door to your mind.” The words that followed pulled that door from its hinge. In the chorus, they posed a question that has not stopped ringing over American life: “How does it feel/To be on your own/with no direction home.”

1988年,布鲁斯•斯普林斯汀(Bruce Springsteen)引荐迪伦进入摇滚名人堂(Rock and Roll Hall of Fame)时这样描述这首歌的开头几秒钟:“军鼓的声音就像有人一脚踢开通向你头脑的大门。”其后的歌词更是把这扇门整个拆了下来。副歌中提出的问题多年来一直回响在美国人的生活之中:“孤身一人的感觉怎么样/没有回家的方向。”

At the time, Dylan wrote in his masterful memoir “Chronicles: Volume One” (2004), “I just thought of mainstream culture as lame as hell and a big trick.” That memoir demonstrated that Mr. Dylan could write prose as fluently as lyrics. This needed proving only because Mr. Dylan’s sole novel, “Tarantula” (1966), written when he was 25, is a largely unreadable wordstew, written so as to defeat the hardiest of his idolators.

迪伦在他精彩的回忆录《编年史:第一卷》(Chronicles: Volume One,2004)中写道,那个时候,“我觉得主流文化蹩脚极了,就是一个大笑话。”这本回忆录表明,迪伦可以像写歌词一样流畅地书写散文。这一点之所以还需要证明,只是因为迪伦的唯一一本小说,他在25岁那年创作的《狼蛛》(Tarantula, 1966)是几乎难以读懂的文字大杂烩,只是用来打击他最铁杆的崇拜者。

As Elvis Costello said in his own recent memoir, “If you want a long career, you have to drive people away now and again, so they realize they miss you.”

正如埃尔维斯•科斯特洛(Elvis Costello)在前不久出版的回忆录中写到的,“如果你希望拥有长久的事业生涯,就得时不时地赶走人群,好让他们意识到他们对你的想念。”

Everyone has his or her own private anthology of favorite Dylan lyrics. Mine come from songs including “Idiot Wind” (“blowing every time you move your teeth”), “Brownsville Girl” (“Strange how people who suffer together have stronger connections than people who are most content”), “Hurricane” (“How can the life of such a man/be in the palm of some fool’s hand?”), “Sweetheart Like You” (“It’s done with a flick of the wrist”) and “Yea! Heavy and a Bottle of Bread,” written with the Band (“Pack up the meat, sweet, we’re headin’ out”).

所有人都有自己最心爱的“迪伦歌词选”。我喜欢的歌词来自《白痴风》(Idiot Wind,“每当启齿就呼啸而来”);《布朗斯维尔女孩》(Brownsville Girl,“一起受苦的人比心满意足的人更加紧密团结,这件事可真是奇怪”);《飓风》(Hurricane,“这样一个男人的生活,何以落入愚人之手?”);《甜心如你》(Sweetheart Like You,“就在手腕轻颤之间”),还有《耶,沉沉的一大瓶子面包》(Yea! Heavy and a Bottle of Bread),是他与“乐队”(the Band)合写的(“带上点肉,宝贝,我们要出发了”)。

Then there’s this, from “Blind Willie McTell”:

然后还有《盲眼威利•麦克代尔》(Blind Willie McTell)里的歌词:

Well, God is in His heaven,

And we all want what’s his.

But power and greed and corruptible seed,

Seem to be all that there is.


Before this Nobel Prize, Mr. Dylan has been recognized by the world of literature and poetry. In 2008, the Pulitzer Prize jury awarded him a special citation “for his profound impact on popular music and American culture, marked by lyrical compositions of extraordinary poetic power.”


His songs have always packed social and political power to match the imagery. In his book “The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood,” Ta-Nehisi Coates spoke of what Mr. Dylan’s songs meant to his father as well as to a generation:

他的歌中总是包含与这个描述相衬的社会与政治力量。塔-奈西希•科特斯(Ta-Nehisi Coates)在《美丽的斗争:一位父亲,两个儿子与难以置信的成人之路》(The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood)一书中说起迪伦的歌曲对自己的父亲,乃至整整一代人的意义:

“Dylan’s voice was awful, an aged quaver that sounded nothing like the deep-throated or silky R&B that Dad took as gospel. But the lyrics wore him down, until he played Dylan in that addicted manner of college kids who cordon off portions to decipher the prophecies of their favorite band. Dad heard poetry, but more than that an angle that confirmed what a latent part of him had already suspected.” What was confirmed was this: The Vietnam War was a moral disgrace.


Songs are not poems, exactly. Songs prick our senses in different manner. Many of Mr. Dylan’s lyrics can no doubt, as Mr. Larkin put, look half-baked when set starkly alone on a white page.


But Mr. Dylan’s work — “with its iambics, its clackety-clack rhymes, and its scattergun images,” as the critic Robert Christgau wrote — has its own kind of emblematic verbal genius. His diction, focus and tone are those of a caustically gifted word man; his metrical dexterity is everywhere apparent. He is capable of rhetorical organization; more often he scatters his rhetoric like seed, or like curses.

但是,正如评论家罗伯特•克里斯戈(Robert Christgau)所写到的,迪伦的作品“带着抑扬格,带着咔哒作响的清脆节奏,带着机关枪般的意象”,呈现出独特的标志性语言天分。他的措辞、焦点和语调都属于一个具有尖刻才华的文字创作者;歌词中对韵律的敏锐随处可见。他擅长组织修辞,经常把自己的雄辩像种子抑或诅咒一般播散在歌曲之中。

This award is also a sign —after last year’s laureate, Svetlana Alexievich, whose work is made up of interviews — that the Swedish Academy is increasingly open to nontraditional forms of writing.

这个奖项也是一个标志——继去年把桂冠颁给了主要作品为访谈的斯韦特兰娜•阿列克谢耶维奇(Svetlana Alexievich)之后,瑞典文学院对非传统形式的写作有了更加开放的态度。

In what feels like a blow for common sense and scalding wordplay, the academy has attended to Mr. Dylan’s lyrics in “Lay Lady Lay,” to wit: “Why wait any longer for the one you love/When he’s standing in front of you?”

说句似乎有点打击常识,而且非常尖刻的俏皮话吧,瑞典文学院肯定是看了迪伦《躺下吧,女士》(Lay Lady Lay)的歌词,就是那句“当真爱就站在你的面前/为什么还要再去等待”。

In a 2004 interview in The New York Times, Mr. Ricks summed up my sense of the best of Mr. Dylan’s oeuvre: “I just think we’re terrifically lucky to be alive at a time when he is.”

After Quake, an Italian Crisis Unit Races to Rescue a Region’s Heritage

AMATRICE, Italy — The rescuers worked tirelessly under a scorching sun. Wearing white masks to fight off the dust, they formed a human chain, passing from hand to hand all they could salvage from the gravelly destruction of the earthquake that struck this region in August. They had to work quickly, fearing the precariousness of an adjacent building splintered by wide fissures.


It was not lives they were saving on this recent day, nor corpses they were retrieving from the mounds of stone ruins, but the history of Amatrice itself. Working alongside firefighters, the team included a specialized art squad of Italy’s carabinieri police that had been deployed specifically to vacate the city’s municipal archives — 300 years in the making.


At least 296 people died in the violent shaking on Aug 24. Many more were left homeless and injured. But those few, fraught and devastating minutes also placed at risk thousands of books, dossiers and folders amassed since past earthquakes destroyed this town in 1639 and 1703. There were also countless pieces of art and artifacts in churches and museums across the earthquake zone, which touches towns in four Italian regions.


“For now, we have secured a trace of Amatrice’s past — that’s the principal thing, that the community has preserved its history,” said Maria Letizia Sebastiani, the Culture Ministry official who oversaw that afternoon’s recovery.

“目前,我们找到了阿马特里切的过去的痕迹,这个地区保留了自己的历史,这是主要的,”负责那天下午的抢救工作的意大利文化部官员玛丽亚•莱蒂齐娅•塞巴斯蒂安(Maria Letizia Sebastiani)说。

The crisis unit of the Culture Ministry was created after an earthquake engulfed central Italy in 1997, severely damaging a number of monuments, including the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi. It has since been deployed in dozens of disasters, both natural and man-made, in Italy and abroad, and last year was formally instituted via a ministerial decree.

1997年,意大利中部发生地震,导致大量历史遗址,包括阿西西的圣方济各宗主教圣殿(Basilica of St. Francis)严重受损。之后,意大利文化部成立危机应对小组。自那时以来,该小组参与了意大利国内外数十场灾难的救灾行动,既有自然灾害,也有人为灾难。去年,文化部下令,该小组正式成为一个机构。

This year, the Culture Ministry even created a task force that works with UNESCO to carry Italy’s long-standing restoration expertise to war-torn corners of the world. United Nations officials had hoped to send it to Syria, where the monumental ruins in Palmyra were badly damaged after the Islamic State entered the ancient city in 2015. But the Syrian conflict has remained too intense for the team to enter.

今年,意大利文化部甚至还成立了一个工作组,与联合国教科文组织(UNESCO)合作,将意大利历史悠久的修复技术带给全世界遭受战争破坏的角落。联合国官员本希望将其派往叙利亚。伊斯兰国(Islamic State)在2015年进入叙利亚古城巴尔米拉后,那里的历史遗迹受到了严重的破坏。但叙利亚冲突的局势太紧张,不适合工作组前往。

“We’re operative, ready to go at a moment’s notice,” said Capt. Michelange Stefàno, an official with the carabinieri art squad and a member of the UNESCO-trained task force.

“我们一直在行动,做好了一得到通知就出发的准备,”宪兵队艺术小组的官员、接受联合国科教文组织培训的工作组成员米凯兰杰•斯特凡诺(Michelange Stefàno)说。

For now, in any case, there is work to be done in Italy.


The crisis unit was dispatched in the first hours after the earthquake. As emergency operations were winding down, trained experts began inspecting buildings to assess the damage to the area’s cultural patrimony.


Since then, squads of rescuers and Culture Ministry officials have entered churches, museums and town halls, all with an eye to saving the territory’s heritage, and its very memory of its past.


Paintings, statues and ecclesiastical objects, like crucifixes and processional crosses, have been bundled and sent to what amount to field hospitals for art and artifacts, for preservation and an early evaluation of the damage.


The work has been risky and painstaking. Many buildings in Amatrice and elsewhere are still in danger of collapse, and weeks after the quake, aftershocks continued to strain already-weakened structures.


The teams photograph and document artifacts, and recover what can be easily removed from some sites — “those that we can enter; many are still in a bad state,” Stefàno said — with the assistance of firefighters and civil protection rescuers.


The crisis unit’s immediate task was to safeguard monuments as best as possible, “to halt any further deterioration,” said Prefect Fabio Carapezza Guttuso, the unit’s leader, who acts as a liaison between art experts and firefighters and civil protection officials.

上述危机应对小组的首要任务是尽可能让历史遗迹得到最好的保护,“防止受损情况进一步恶化,”该小组的组长法比奥•卡拉佩扎•古图索(Fabio Carapezza Guttuso)说。他也是艺术专家、消防员和民事保护官员之间的联络人。

He described it as a complex but harmonious synergy of individual expertise. Experience gained in every disaster that the unit has dealt with “has improved our capacity to intervene,” he said.


In the weeks since the quake, the crisis unit has emptied Amatrice’s municipal museum, as well as some churches here and in towns including Accumoli and Arquata del Tronto, which were also badly hit.

地震发生后的这几周里,危机应对小组清空了阿马特里切市博物馆,还有这里以及同样受灾严重的阿库莫利(Accumoli)和阿尔夸塔德尔特龙托(Arquata del Tronto)等城镇的一些教堂。

But thousands of artifacts still need to be salvaged from unsteady churches and palazzos, many in remote areas. “One by one, we will get to them all,” the prefect said.


Though each operation is being carried out with every possible precaution, an element of urgency prevails. “We’re at 1,000 meters altitude,” Carapezza Guttuso said. “There will be snow in a month.”


Some priorities were identified, the prefect said, like an 18th-century replica of the Shroud of Turin, the linen that faithful believe wrapped the body of Jesus. It was removed from a church in Arquata del Tronto and placed in the Cathedral of Ascoli Piceno.

古图索说,他们确定了一些优先事项,譬如都灵裹尸布(Shroud of Turin)——据信曾包裹过耶稣尸身的亚麻布——的一件18世纪的复制品。他们把它从阿尔夸塔德尔特龙托村的一座教堂里转移出来,放进了阿斯科利皮切诺大教堂(Cathedral of Ascoli Piceno)。

“It was important for the population,” he said. “It had the value of a relic.”


Restorers with the crisis unit have also begun to pick out ancient stones and bricks from the rubble, which will be reused when possible in a reconstruction.


“As much as possible, the idea is to build as it was, where it was,” the prefect said. “We want to render the idea that we are salvaging artifacts and construction materials” so that the towns will be as authentic as possible, he added. “That is the profound sense of what we’re doing.”

Chinese History, Writ in Stunning Stone

What a shock to wake up one morning and find armed men, who spoke no language you knew and looked like no people you’d ever seen, roaming the streets of your city. And more shocking still to learn that your protectors — your leaders, your army — had fled in the night. This scene repeated itself many times in China beginning in the third century A.D., when the Han dynasty collapsed and non-Chinese nomads swept down from the north and breached the Great Wall.


They brought fear with them, but other things, too: knowledge, beliefs, and cultural curiosity, which turned into respect, or something like it. That respect worked two ways. Gradually, the invaders came to look, and sound, and be Chinese. And the Chinese began to have an expanded, sharper sense of themselves.


Exchange is the dynamic that animates “Art in a Time of Chaos: Masterworks From Six Dynasties China, 3rd-6th Centuries,” the inaugural exhibition at China Institute Gallery’s new home in Lower Manhattan, on Washington Street. The show is a jewel, and let me just say up front, I don’t know how China Institute Gallery, now 50 years old, does what it does.

华美协进社中国美术馆(China Institute Gallery)迁至曼哈顿下城华盛顿街后的首展“乱世绝响:六朝艺术,三至六世纪”(Art in a Time of Chaos: Masterworks From Six Dynasties China, 3rd-6th Centuries)背后的动力正是这种交流。这场展览是一块瑰宝,请允许我先说一句:我不知道已有50年历史的华美协进社中国美术馆是如何做到这一点的。

Season after season, it brings extraordinary treasures to New York, many directly from China, loans that even big-budget museums might have trouble nailing. With this material it creates exhibitions that advance scholarship (some of the catalogs are instant classics) but also give unalloyed pleasure, partly because the scale is always right. The galleries in the institute’s old Manhattan premises on East 65th Street were two tiny rooms. The new ones are larger, but still ideal. You spend your time and energy on looking, not on walking.


Yet within a compact space, the show covers a vast swath of history. After Han rule ended, political discord reigned. China was effectively split in half, with the north ruled by foreigners, the south by Chinese. Each half further splintered into successions of rival kingdoms fighting among themselves. The centerlessness lasted for nearly four centuries.


This is the barest-bones version of a very tangled history, one to which even a large show couldn’t do full justice. This one doesn’t try. Instead, it views the period known as the Six Dynasties — or, in China, as the Northern and Southern Dynasties — through some of its distinctive cultural achievements, which included refinements in celadon porcelain, the growth of Buddhism, and advances in calligraphy and painting. And it draws its illustrative material from three of China’s major regional art institutions: the Shanxi Museum in the north, and the Nanjing Museum and Nanjing Municipal Museum in the south.


With its elusively colored glazes — jade-green, kingfisher-blue, smoky-sunset-yellow — celadon was thought to have near-magical properties. Production of it exploded during the Six Dynasties, particularly in the south, answering the need for everyday tableware, collectibles, luxury items and grave goods.


A little asparagus-colored water container in the shape of a toad would have been equally suited to home or tomb. A splendid wine jar embossed all over with lotus petals must have been the prized possession of some Buddhist-minded owner. The Buddha himself appears on a chunky pot called a “soul urn.” Such vessels were made to accompany the dead in the afterlife, and this one is capped by a sculptural tableau. The Buddha sits in a mini-pavilion, amid flocks of sprites and birds, looking out with a smile as if to say: “No worries. Come join the fun.”


Buddhism probably arrived from India during the Han dynasty, but was embraced with panicked intensity in the disordered and disorienting era that followed. Brought overland by Indian monks traveling the Silk Road, it entered China from the north, where it took monumental visual form in the giant cave sculptures of Shanxi province. Unsurprisingly, some of the show’s most beautiful images come from the museum there: the sandstone figure of a bodhisattva wrapped in a breeze-ruffled cloak, and the carved foot-high head of a gender-fluid spiritual being lost in a dream of peace.


Buddhist art had a troubled run in China. It never entirely escaped suspicion as an alien import. Calligraphy, by contrast, was embraced as Chinese to the core, and found its most famous exemplar, Wang Xizhi (A.D. 303-361), in the Six Dynasties period. In the fourth century, he and his family were among the many upper-class northerners who relocated south to Nanjing. There he devoted himself to Buddhist and Daoist studies, which in his case entailed some serious partying. And one party made him immortal.


One bright day in 353, he and 41 of his scholarly friends gathered at a picnic spot, the Orchid Pavilion, to drink wine and compose poetry. The plan was to collect the poems in an album, and at some point in the hard-drinking day, Wang Xizhi decided to provide a preface for it. He called for ink and a brush and, in fluent script, wrote an account of the feelings the gathering inspired in him.


The result was a kind of lyric lamentation on the transient beauties of emotion, friendship and nature, and a call to turn attention toward those things, and away from the demands of professional ambition and civic life. The message sounded a note of political resistance in a Chinese culture shaped by Confucian ethics. Wang Xizhi’s validation of individualism and vulnerability, implied by the polygraphic movement of the brush in his hand, had deep resonance in an insecure time.


The resonance lasted. “Preface to the Poems Composed at the Orchid Pavilion” became the most widely emulated work of calligraphy in Chinese history, the model for a new standard of expressive writing. Although Wang Xizhi’s original manuscript was lost long ago, the touch of his brush was preserved and replicated countless times in copies traced on silk or paper, or carved into stone tablets. Any link to his spirit, at whatever degree of separation, is valued, and the show has one in a different calligraphic text: the carved stone epitaph of the great calligrapher’s young cousin Wang Xingzhi (A.D. 310-340), unearthed in 1965 in the family burial ground near Nanjing.


The expressive connection between calligraphy and painting was always close, though Six Dynasties painting, like writing, survives mostly in secondhand form. And the exhibition — organized by Willow Weilan Hai of the China Institute; Annette L. Juliano, an art historian at Rutgers University; Gong Liang, director of the Nanjing Museum; Bai Ning, former director of the Nanjing Municipal Museum; and Shi Jinming, director of the Shanxi Museum — concludes with a few examples.

书法与绘画在艺术表达上的关系总是很近,虽然南北朝时期的绘画和书法一样,大部分以二手形式留存下来。这次展览包含其中几个例子。该展览由华美协进社中国美术馆的海蔚蓝、罗格斯大学(Rutgers University)的艺术史学家朱安耐(Annette L. Juliano)、南京博物院院长龚良、南京市博物馆前馆长白宁,以及山西博物院院长石金鸣共同策划。

One is a dim image of cosmological creatures sketched on a scrap of tomb fresco. Another is a figurative tableau originally created in raised linear relief on a set of clay bricks, and preserved now as a pair of painting-size ink rubbings. Titled “Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove,” the overall image recalls the Orchid Pavilion affair, but has fewer participants, with each — whether writer, musician, or celebrity lush — carefully personalized.


Like Wang Xizhi’s friends, they were historical figures and Daoist rebels, though, according to legend, more far out, more willing to say no to power and put themselves in danger. The most outrageous of the seven, the drunkard Liu Ling, hired a man to follow him everywhere with a shovel and gave him standing instructions: If I suddenly drop dead, bury me on the spot.


I like to imagine this sage as the one who was shocked by nothing; as the one who treated foreigners as, by definition, friends; and the one who regarded great walls as delusional, built to be breached, and would say so out loud to whoever. I bet he did.


On an Island Named for Ice, the Poets Are Just Getting Warmed Up

Iceland, it seems, is full of hidden poets.


When they’re not at their day jobs, a great many of the island’s 330,000 inhabitants dabble in verse, including politicians, businessmen, horse breeders and scientists who study the genetic isolation of the island in pursuit of medical breakthroughs. Even David Oddsson, who was prime minister in 2002 (when Iceland’s banks were privatized) and central bank governor in 2008 (when they collapsed), is a poet by training.

在从事本职工作之余,岛上33万居民中有许多人会寄情文字,包括政治人物、商人、马匹育种师和为追求医学突破而苦苦研究该岛屿遗传隔离性的科学家们 。即便是2002年(那一年冰岛的银行实行了私有化)当上冰岛首相、2008年(那一年冰岛的银行破产了)当上冰岛中央银行行长的大卫•奥德松(David Oddsson),也是科班出身的诗人。

Birgitta Jonsdottir, the leader of the anarchist-leaning Pirate Party, which did well in a recent general election, describes herself rather loftily as a “poetician.” Her first published poem, “Black Roses,” written when she was 14, is about a nuclear holocaust.

带有无政府主义倾向的海盗党(Pirate Party) 在近期的选举中表现良好,其领袖比吉塔•约恩斯多蒂尔(Birgitta Jonsdottir)颇为高傲地自称是“诗治家”(poetician)。她发表的第一首诗《黑玫瑰》(Black Roses)讲的是一场核灾难。

Kari Stefansson, one of the world’s leading geneticists and the founder of Decode Genetics, recalled a poem he wrote in 1996, a few months after the birth of Dolly, the cloned sheep.

卡里•斯特凡松(Kari Stefansson)是世界顶尖的遗传学家之一,也是解码遗传学的创始人,他回忆了1996年克隆羊多丽(Dolly)诞生几个月后他写下的一首诗。

“I was a little bit depressed,” Mr. Stefansson said in his office, which, with its slit windows and computer screens, looked a bit like the interior of a spaceship. “One of my ways to deal with that was to write a small poem,” he said, before proceeding to recite it:

“当时我有点郁闷,”斯特凡松在自己的办公室里说,狭长的窗子和电脑屏幕在一起,把这里变得有点像太空船的内部。 “我处理这种情绪的办法之一,就是写一首小诗,”接着他背诵起来:

Where do I find, lost in the brightness of a sunlit day,

The happiness of an unhappy man

Fortunate only to be just one copy of himself.

Everything else stinks.





Poetry is a national pastime, but not a particularly “specialist activity,” said Sveinn Yngvi Egilsson, a professor of Icelandic literature at the University of Iceland. “It’s part of being an Icelander,” he said. “Yes, it’s charming, isn’t it?”

诗歌是一种全民消遣,但并不是什么特别的“专业活动”,冰岛大学冰岛文学教授斯温•伊格维•埃吉尔松(Sveinn Yngvi Egilsson)说。 “这是冰岛人的一部分,”他说。“是的,很迷人,不是吗?”

In earlier times, verses were an integral part of social gatherings and were often improvised, he said. Poetry contests were held, with the prizes going to the wittiest, sharpest verses. The most popular verse form, he said, is called “ferskeytla,” four rhymed lines that can be divided into two parts.


Icelanders are unusually prolific readers and writers, and books of verse tend to sell well in Iceland. Poetry was the third-largest category of books published in the country in 2014, after fiction and the arts, according to figures from the national library. Far more poetry books were published in Iceland that year than books about economics or public administration. (There were apparently none at all about finance.)


The cold oceanic climate and long winter nights may also have something to do with it. “People usually get bored, and they try to humor each other,” Professor Egilsson said. “One of those ways is poetry.”

这可能也同这里寒冷的海洋气候与漫长的冬夜有关。 “人们往往会觉得无聊,于是就试着相互逗个乐,”埃吉尔松说。 “其中一种方式就是诗歌。”
Carrie Fisher, Child of Hollywood and ‘Star Wars’ Royalty, Dies at 60

Carrie Fisher, the actress, author and screenwriter who brought a rare combination of nerve, grit and hopefulness to her most indelible role, as Princess Leia in the “Star Wars” movie franchise, died Tuesday. She was 60.

演员、作家、编剧凯丽•费雪(Carrie Fisher)周二去世,享年60岁。在扮演其最令人难忘的角色,即《星球大战》(Star Wars)系列电影中的莱娅公主(Princess Leia)时,费雪难能可贵地将勇敢、坚毅和充满希望这些特质融为了一体。

A family spokesman, Simon Hall, confirmed the death in a statement, saying Fisher died at 8:55 a.m. She had had a heart attack on a flight from London to Los Angeles on Friday and had been hospitalized in Los Angeles.

家族发言人西蒙•霍尔(Simon Hall)在一份声明中证实了这一消息,称其于上午8点55分去世。她在从伦敦飞往洛杉矶的航班上心脏病发作,随后在洛杉矶入院治疗。

Fisher, the daughter of pop singer Eddie Fisher and actress Debbie Reynolds, went on to use her perch among Hollywood royalty to offer wry commentary in her books on the paradoxes and absurdities of the entertainment industry.

费雪的父亲是流行歌手埃迪•费雪(Eddie Fisher),母亲是演员黛比•雷诺兹(Debbie Reynolds)。后来,她利用自己在好莱坞权贵阶层中的地位,在多部著作中对娱乐业的矛盾和荒诞进行了揶揄和评论。

“Star Wars,” released in 1977, turned her overnight into an international movie star. The film, written and directed by George Lucas, traveled around the world, breaking box-office records. It proved to be the first installment of a blockbuster series whose vivid, even preposterous characters became pop culture legends and the progenitors of a merchandising bonanza.

1977年发行的《星球大战》让她在一夜之间成了国际影星。由乔治•卢卡斯(George Lucas)编剧和导演的该片在全球上映,打破了多项票房纪录。它成为了一个大片系列的第一部。该系列生动乃至荒谬的角色成了流行文化传奇和电影周边衍生品富矿的鼻祖。

Fisher established Princess Leia as a damsel who could very much deal with her own distress, whether facing down the villainy of the dreaded Darth Vader or the romantic interests of the roguish smuggler Han Solo.

费雪把莱娅公主塑造成了一个完全能够应对自己痛苦的姑娘,不管是在打败可怕的达斯•维达(Darth Vader)的邪恶行为,还是在压制恣意妄为的走私犯汉•索罗(Han Solo)的爱意时。

She reprised the role in three more films — in “The Empire Strikes Back” in 1980, in “Return of the Jedi” in 1983 and, 32 years later, in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” by which time Leia had become a hard-bitten general.

之后,她又三次扮演莱娅公主,分别是在1980年的《帝国反击战》(The Empire Strikes Back)、1983年的《绝地归来》(Return of the Jedi)和32年后的《星球大战:原力觉醒》(Stars Wars: The Force Awakens)中。到最后一部时,莱娅已经成了一名顽强不屈的将军。

Offscreen, Fisher was open about her diagnosis of bipolar disorder. She channeled her struggles with depression and substance abuse into fiercely comic works, including the semiautobiographical novel “Postcards From the Edge” and the memoir and one-woman show “Wishful Drinking.”

在银幕外,费雪坦承自己患有躁狂抑郁性精神病。她将自己与抑郁症和滥用药物的斗争变成了喜剧效果强烈的作品,包括半自传体小说《来自边缘的明信片》(Postcards From the Edge)和回忆录、独角戏《怀着愿望畅饮》(Wishful Drinking)。

Carrie Frances Fisher was born on Oct. 21, 1956, in Beverly Hills, California. She was the first child of her highly visible parents (they later had a son, Todd).


Any semblance of a normal childhood was impossible for Fisher. At 15, she played a debutante in the Broadway musical “Irene,” which starred her mother, and appeared in Reynolds’ Las Vegas nightclub act. At 17, Fisher made her first movie, “Shampoo” (1975), Hal Ashby’s satire of Nixon-era politics and the libidinous Los Angeles culture of the time, in which she played the precocious daughter of a wealthy woman (Lee Grant) having an affair with a promiscuous hairdresser (Warren Beatty).

对费雪来说,难以拥有普通孩子那样的童年。15岁时,她在由母亲主演的百老汇音乐剧《艾琳》(Irene)中首次登台,并参与母亲在拉斯维加斯的夜总会表演。17岁时,费雪拍了自己的第一部电影《洗发水》(Shampoo)。该片由霍尔•阿什比(Hal Ashby)导演,是对尼克松时代的政治以及当时淫乱的洛杉矶文化的讽刺。她在片中扮演一名女富豪(李•格兰特[Lee Grant]饰)早熟的女儿,与放荡的理发师(沃伦•比提[Warren Beatty])有一段风流韵事。

She partied with the Rolling Stones during the making of “The Empire Strikes Back,” hosted “Saturday Night Live” and had romantic relationships with Dan Aykroyd (with whom she appeared in “The Blues Brothers”) and Paul Simon. She and Simon had a marriage that lasted less than a yearr.

她在拍摄《帝国反击战》期间与滚石乐队(the Rolling Stones)一起开派对,主持过《周六夜现场》(Saturday Night Live),还与丹•艾克罗伊德(Dan Aykroyd,两人合作过《布鲁斯兄弟》[The Blues Brothers])和保罗•西蒙(Paul Simon)有过交往。她和西蒙的婚姻维持了不到一年。

In “The Princess Diarist,” she admitted what many fans had long suspected: During the filming of the first “Star Wars” movie, she and Harrison Ford (who was married at the time) had an affair.

在《日记的公主》(The Princess Diarist)中,她证实了很多粉丝长期以来的怀疑:在拍摄第一部《星球大战》期间,她曾与哈里森•福特(Harrison Ford,当时已婚)相恋。

Her survivors include her brother, Todd; her daughter, Billie Lourd, from a relationship with the talent agent Bryan Lourd; and her half sisters, Joely Fisher and Tricia Leigh Fisher, the daughters of Eddie Fisher and Connie Stevens.

费雪仍在世的亲人包括弟弟托德、她与明星经纪人布莱恩•劳德(Bryan Lourd)所生的女儿比利•劳德(Billie Lourd),以及同父异母的妹妹朱莉•费雪(Joely Fisher)和特里西娅•利•费雪(Tricia Leigh Fisher),她们是她父亲埃迪•费雪和康妮•史蒂文斯(Connie Stevens)所生。

Sheryl Sandberg Finds Comfort for Herself and Offers It to Others


Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy

By Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant

226 pp. Alfred A. Knopf. $25.95.

《B选项:面对逆境,建设恢复力,寻找快乐》(Option B: Facing Adversity Buildong Resilience, and Finding Joy)

谢莉尔•桑德伯格(Sheryl Sandberg)与亚当•格兰特(Adam Grant)著

226页,阿尔弗雷德•A•克诺夫(Alfred A. Knopf)出版,25.95美元

You could almost hear the collective gasp when news broke, in May 2015, that the internet entrepreneur Dave Goldberg had died suddenly while on vacation in Mexico with his wife, Sheryl Sandberg. Their marriage had become a public one ever since the publication, two years earlier, of “Lean In,” her book about women and leadership. In it she had written some revolutionary things about marriage (she called it having a “partner,” but the book was so much about redefining gender roles that she clearly seemed to be talking about husbands). Deciding to get married — and the choice of whom to marry — weren’t just central to one’s private life, she wrote. Together they made up the “most important career decision that a woman makes.” She observed that most women at the top aren’t the lonely, single women of clichés; they are married women whose husbands support their ambitions and take equal responsibility for making a home. She said that her great success (she is the chief operating officer of Facebook, which has made her a billionaire) would have been impossible without the unwavering support of her husband. Now, in the cruelest way, she had lost him.

2015年5月,当消息传来时,你几乎可以听到所有人都倒抽了一口气,与妻子谢莉尔•桑德伯格(Sheryl Sandberg)在墨西哥度假期间,互联网企业家戴夫•古德伯格(Dave Goldberg)突然去世。自从两年前桑德伯格出版了关于女性与领导力的《向前一步》(Lean In)一书以来,她的婚姻已经成为一个公开话题。书中她就婚姻写下了一些开创性的文字(她把婚姻叫做找一个“伴侣”,但是书里有大量内容都是关于重新界定性别角色,谈的显然是她的丈夫和前任)。她写道,结婚的决定以及结婚对象的选择不仅仅是私人生活的核心。它们共同构成了一个女人“最重要的职业决定”。她指出,大多数处于领导地位的女性不是老一套说法中的那种孤独的单身女性;她们是已婚女人,丈夫支持她们的抱负,承担平等的家庭义务。她表示,如果没有丈夫的坚定支持,自己就不可能取得这样大的成功(她是Facebook的首席运营官,这令她成为亿万富翁)。现在,她以最残酷的方式失去了他。

“Lean In” sparked a movement, but it had its critics, among them single mothers, women who worked outside corporate America, and those who could not afford to hire the nannies and helpers upon whom the Sandberg-Goldberg household clearly depended. There were also those who thought the principal value underlying the book was flawed. They didn’t want to find ways to make their work more exhilarating; they wanted to find ways to accommodate it to their lives as parents. The tragedy was a vicious reminder of the truth we work hard to forget: Life is cruel. It will casually take away the people we love the most. Even the vaunted “C-suite” job is cold comfort when it cost you hours with a lost loved one. Now, two years after Goldberg’s death, Sandberg has written a new book, “Option B,” which forthrightly addresses all of these issues. It is a remarkable achievement: generous, honest, almost unbearably poignant. It reveals an aspect of Sandberg’s character that “Lean In” had suggested but — because of the elitism at its center — did not fully demonstrate: her impulse to be helpful. She has little to gain by sharing, in excruciating detail, the events of her life over the past two years. This is a book that will be quietly passed from hand to hand, and it will surely offer great comfort to its intended readers.


“I have terrible news,” she told her children, after flying home from Mexico. “Daddy died.” The intimacy of detail that fills the book is unsettling; there were times I felt that I had come across someone’s secret knowledge, that I shouldn’t have been in possession of something that seemed so deeply private. But the candor and simplicity with which she shares all of it — including her children’s falling to the ground, unable to walk to the grave when they arrive at the cemetery — is a kind of gift. She was shielded from the financial disaster that often accompanies sudden widowhood, but in every other way she was unprotected from great pain.


As she did in the memorable Facebook post composed a month after the death, she reports turning in her misery to the psychologist Adam Grant, a friend who had flown to California to attend the funeral and is an expert in the field of human resilience. She told him that her greatest fear was that her children would never be happy again. He “walked me through the data,” she writes, and what she learns offers comfort. Getting “walked through the data,” is as modern a response to grief as the notion that “resilience” is some kind of science. The book includes several illustrative stories that seem to come from Grant’s research, but they are not memorable. It is Sandberg whose story commands our riveted attention, and it is her natural and untutored responses to the horror that are most moving. “This is the second worst moment of our lives,” she tells her sobbing children at the cemetery. “We lived through the first and we will live through this. It can only get better from here.” That is grief: Somehow, you find a language; somehow you get through it. No research could have helped her in that moment. She is the one who knew what to do and what to say. They were her children, and she knew how to comfort them.


Death humbles each of us in different ways. Suddenly a single mother, Sandberg realized how hollow her “Lean In” chapter about the importance of fully involved husbands (“partners”) must have been to unmarried women. If only she had known how little time she would have with her husband, she thinks, she would have spent more of it with him. But that’s not the way life works; Dave Goldberg fell in love with a woman who wanted to lead, not one who wanted to wait for him to come home from the office. The unbearable clarity that follows a death blessedly fades with time. We couldn’t live with it every day.


Sheryl Sandberg followed the oldest data set in the world, the one that says: The children are young, and you must keep going. Slowly the fog began to lift. She found she had something useful to offer at a meeting; she got the children through their first birthdays without their father; she began to have one O.K. day and then another. She made it through a year, all of the “milestone days” had passed and something began to revive within her. Grief is the final act of love, and recovery from it is the necessary betrayal on which the future depends. There is only this one life, and we are the ones who are here to live it.

How ‘Star Wars’ Defined My Generation

Three important things happened in the middle of 1977, each separated by a little more than a month: “Star Wars” was released, I celebrated my 11th birthday and Elvis Presley died. One of those things is not like the others, I know, and strictly speaking there wasn’t then and isn’t now anything beyond calendar coincidence that links them together. But those random events nonetheless go a long way toward explaining my relationship to popular culture.

1977年中期发生了三件重要的事,时间分别间隔一个月多一点:《星球大战》(Star Wars)上映、我庆祝11岁生日、还有埃尔维斯•普莱斯利(Elvis Presley)去世。我知道其中一件事和另外两件不大一样,而且严格来说,无论是在当时还是现在,除了日期上的巧合,这三件事之间其实没什么联系。不过,这些随机事件仍然可以在很大程度上解释我同流行文化之间的关系。

And not only mine, of course. Modern life is a series of generational milestones. We calibrate our collective identities according to the shared experience of public events, including hit movies and popular songs. Whether we like them or not, those become part of the architecture of our private selves and also a kind of currency we trade with our peers. Elvis, in his mid-40s at the time of his death, was for kids like me immutably the property of the old, a reminder of the moment in our parents’ youth when everything had changed. The Beatles represented a similar, slightly more recent earthquake: They too belonged to the past. We had sung their songs in nursery school and heard them on “Sesame Street.” Nostalgia had claimed them. “Star Wars” was different. It was ours — our own special tectonic shift, after which the landscape was forever altered.

当然,不仅仅是我一个人同流行文化的关系。现代生活由一系列不同世代的里程碑组成。我们用公共事件中的共同体验来精确调整我们的集体身份认同,热门电影和流行歌曲也在在这些公共事件之列。无论我们喜欢与否,它们都参与建构了我们的个人身份,也是我们与同龄人交流的一种硬通货。猫王去世时40多岁,对于我这样的孩子来说,他属于旧时代的产物,这一点是无可改变的,他提醒我们想起父母的年轻时代,那时候一切都变了。披头士(The Beatles)乐队象征着类似的文化地震,只是时间距现在更近一点:然而他们也属于过去。我们在幼儿园里唱他们的歌,在《芝麻街》(Sesame Street)里听到他们的歌。他们已经属于怀旧了。但《星球大战》是不同的。它是我们的——属于我们自己的地壳板块漂移,之后大陆的面貌永远改变了。

Or so the story goes, in both its heroic and tragic versions. The wild success of the film now known as “Episode IV — A New Hope” has been held responsible for much of what followed, the good along with the bad. “Star Wars” supposedly helped put an end to the risk-taking and artistic ambition of 1970s New Hollywood and ushered in an era of blockbuster domination that continues to this day. Twenty-first century grown-ups who bemoan the hegemony of fantasy-based franchise movies — which is to say most of us, at one time or another — have only our own youthful enthusiasms to blame. But the first “Star Wars” trilogy is also credited with opening up a dazzling world of fan culture, liberating nerds and geeks from the condescension of their elders and the mockery of their classmates and placing their passions at the center of the universe. Like rock ’n’ roll before it, this cultural dispensation may not have been immediately respectable, but it proved to be instantly profitable and endlessly renewable.

故事就这样发展下去,无论是其中英雄的一面还是悲剧的一面。这部电影如今被称为《星球大战第四集——新希望》(Episode IV — A New Hope),它的巨大成功导致了其后发生的许多事情,好坏参半。据说《星球大战》在终结1970年代新好莱坞的冒险精神与艺术野心方面发挥了作用,令我们迎来了持续至今的大片统治时代。21世纪的成年人——我是指我们当中的大多数人——时不时就会哀叹一下奇幻商业大片的霸权,但这只能怪到我们自己年轻时代热衷的东西。不过,第一个《星球大战》三部曲也被誉为开辟了一个令人目眩的粉丝文化世界,让那些怪胎和书呆们得以摆脱长辈的居高临下与同学们的嘲笑,在宇宙中心释放自己的激情。就像之前的摇滚乐那样,这种文化系统可能不会立即受到尊重,但它被证明可以很快带来利润,并且可以无休止地自我更新。

How new was it, really? History has a way of making novelty look secondhand. Elvis made his indelible mark on baby boomer consciousness by putting a white face and an adolescent pout on a style of black Southern music that had been around a long time. Beatlemania was built mostly on echoes of Elvis and Chuck Berry. “Star Wars” was, if anything, an even more self-conscious throwback, a film student’s act of promiscuous homage, a hodgepodge of styles and allusions.

这种事到底有多新鲜?历史有一种特点,可以让新奇的东西看上去像是二手货。猫王为一种南方黑人的音乐风格赋予了一张白人的面孔和青春期少男的阴郁神情,从而在婴儿潮一代心中留下了不可磨灭的印记。披头士狂热主要建立在猫王与查克•贝里(Chuck Berry)的回声之上。如果说有什么不一样的话,《星球大战》是一个更具自我意识的回归,是一个电影学生五花八门的致敬,是各种风格与典故的大杂烩。

In his generous, slightly patronizing New York Times review, Vincent Canby noted the movie’s evocation of “Flash Gordon” serials and “a variety of literature that is nothing if not eclectic: ‘Quo Vadis?,’ ‘Buck Rogers,’ ‘Ivanhoe,’ ‘Superman,’ ‘The Wizard of Oz,’ ‘The Gospel According to St. Matthew,’ the legend of King Arthur and the knights of the Round Table.” George Lucas’s fellow cinephiles could point out his debts to John Ford and Akira Kurosawa. “Star Wars” might have looked like science fiction and played like an aerial-combat film, but it was also a western, a samurai epic and, at least when Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford were on screen together, a screwball comedy. An exemplary act of what some of us would learn, in college a few years later, to identify as the distinctive postmodern aesthetic strategy of pastiche.

文森特•坎比(Vincent Canby)当年在《纽约时报》上发表了一篇宽宏大量、略带降尊纡贵之感的评论,他指出,这部电影令人想起《飞侠哥顿》(Flash Gordon)系列,以及“各种各样的文学作品,只能说是无所不包:《暴君焚城记》(Quo Vadis?)、《巴克罗杰斯》(Buck Rogers)、《劫后英雄传》(Ivanhoe)、《超人》(Superman)、《绿野仙踪》(The Wizard of Oz)、《马太福音》(The Gospel According to St. Matthew)、还有亚瑟王和圆桌骑士传奇故事”。乔治•卢卡斯的影迷可以看出他对约翰•福特(John Ford)与黑泽明(Akira Kurosawa)的借鉴。《星球大战》看上去可能很科幻,又表现得像是空战片,但它同时也是西部片和日本武士片,当凯莉•费雪(Carrie Fisher)和哈里森•福特(Harrison Ford)在银幕上并肩而立的时候,看上去也像是怪诞喜剧。几年之后,我们当中的一些人将在大学里学到,这是一个典范之作,被视为独特的后现代美学集大成策略。

But what, at the time, did any of us know about any of that? If you were 11 in 1977, “Star Wars” was something new under the sun. Which doesn’t mean we thought it came out of nowhere. There were action-adventure movies, multi-sequel science-fiction allegories, comic books that had initiated generations of fans in the pleasures of serial narration. There was “The Lord of the Rings” (the books and Ralph Bakshi’s animated movie); “Planet of the Apes” (the movie and the animated Saturday morning cartoon spinoff); “Star Trek”; Mad magazine. Plenty of fuel to feed a fan’s budding imagination.

但在当时呢,我们当中有谁知道这些事?如果1977年的你是个11岁的孩子,《星球大战》对你来说就是这个世界上的新鲜事物。但这并不意味着我们认为它是凭空而来的。在这之前,动作冒险电影、系列科幻小说和漫画书已经吸引了好几代的粉丝享受连载叙事的乐趣。还有《指环王》(The Lord of the Rings,包括原著小说和拉尔夫•巴克希[Ralph Bakshi]的动画片);《猿人星球》(Planet of the Apes,包括电影和周六上午播放的漫画改编动画);《星际迷航》(Star Trek);以及《疯狂》(Mad)杂志。它们都为粉丝萌芽中的想象力提供了丰富的燃料。

All of those were the kindling, and it’s possible that if Mr. Lucas hadn’t struck the match, the explosion would have happened anyway. What ignited in the summer of 1977 may not have been only — even primarily — the love of a particular film. In retrospect, the larger phenomenon of “Star Wars” represented what looks like the inevitable product of demographic and social forces.


The “great man” theory of history always does battle with more deterministic accounts. Here was the nascent population not yet known as Generation X, hungry for novelty, distraction, comfort, order, mythology, heroism — whatever it was that our post-’60s, recessionary moment seemed not to be supplying. All we needed was a baby boomer to give it to us, get rich in the process and incur both our worship and our resentment for the rest of our lives. He would be the inventor, but we would be the end users, and we would make the thing ours. What was true of “Star Wars” would be true, a few years later, of the personal computer. And both would eventually provide a further generational bridge, between the now-graying X-ers and the ascendant millennials.


But more about that in a minute. I’m the ancient mariner here, and this is still my story. I’m not sure how many times I saw “Star Wars” the year it came out, but I am certain that until the arrival of my children, a DVD player and a copy of “Toy Story 2,” there is no movie I have seen as often in such rapid succession.

但这点容我以后再讲。在这里,我是那名老水手,这依然是我的故事。我不确定《星球大战》上映那一年,我看了有多少遍,但我敢肯定,直到我的第二个孩子出世、DVD播放机出现,以及《玩具总动员2》(Toy Story 2)上映之前,我从来不曾以那么快的频率把一部影片看过那么多遍。

The novelist Jonathan Lethem, two years older than I am, has written (in a piercing essay called “13, 21, 1977”) about seeing it 21 times, usually by himself, during an especially painful period in his life. I can’t quite match that total, and there was no pattern to the viewings. I think my parents took me the first time. Later, I took my little sister. Another time I went with a girl from my sixth-grade class on some awkward early approximation of a date. At least one friend’s birthday party involved a “Star Wars” outing. Going to see it was, in my recollection, a casual habit. You would be in someone’s rec room playing air hockey, or trying to pop wheelies on your bike, and you’d get bored with that and, if you hadn’t already spent your allowance, you’d head to the theater where the movie had been playing continuously since the end of the previous school year. It was something to do.

比我大两岁的小说家乔纳森•莱瑟姆(Jonathan Lethem)曾经在一篇名为《13, 21, 1977》的文章中)写过,他看了21遍,通常是一个人,而且在他人生中尤其痛苦的一段时期。我看的次数没那么多,也没有什么观影规律。我想第一次应该是父母带我去的。后来,我带着妹妹去看。还有一次,是和我所在的六年级班级里的一个女孩一起去看,那算是我早期经历的一次有点尴尬的类似约会的活动。至少有一个朋友的生日会有安排去看《星球大战》。在我记忆里,去看这部电影就是一种习惯。你会在某人的娱乐室玩桌上曲棍球,或者尝试把车头抬起的自行车特技,但你会厌倦。要不是零花钱已经用完,你就去剧院了,那里从上个学年末开始就在连续播放这部电影。也算有事可干。

For some, like Mr. Lethem, it was also a gateway into more sophisticated cinematic pleasures, and a first step on a backward path through movie history. In his case, “Star Wars” was replaced first by “2001: A Space Odyssey” and then by “The Searchers,” both of them, not coincidentally, among the identifiable ancestors of “A New Hope.” Others held fast to childish things and formed a Rebel Alliance against the Empire of adulthood. It’s hardly an accident that J. J. Abrams, director of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” is one of us. He turned 11 about two weeks before I did.

对有些人来说——比如莱瑟姆——它是通往更高深的电影娱乐的大门,是回溯电影历史的第一步。对莱瑟姆来说,《星球大战》首先被《2001太空漫游》(2001: A Space Odyssey)、而后被《搜索者》(The Searchers)所取代。这两部电影显然都是《星球大战4:新希望》的鼻祖,这并非偶然。还有些人固守孩童的本真,组成了一个反叛者联盟,对抗成人的帝国。《星球大战7:原力觉醒》(Star Wars: The Force Awakens)的导演J•J•艾布拉姆斯(J.J. Abrams)也是我们中的一员,这也绝非偶然。他比我大约早两个星期度过11岁生日。

The legend of “Star Wars” was something that arose later. In 1977, we were innocent of Joseph Campbell and the further annotations Mr. Lucas and others would provide. The allegorical meanings — the battle of good and evil, the mystery of the Force — rest lightly on the jaunty surface of “A New Hope.” There would be richer intimations of depth and darkness in “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi,” or maybe, since we were a few years older, we were more inclined to see them.

《星球大战》的传奇是后来才出现的。1977年,我们不了解约瑟夫•坎贝尔(Joseph Campbell),也没有体会到卢卡斯等人提供的进一步暗示。那些寓意——正邪之战,力量的神秘之处——肤浅地停留在《星球大战4:新希望》欢快的表面。《星球大战2:帝国反击战》(The Empire Strikes Back)和《星球大战3:绝地归来》(Return of the Jedi)对深度和黑暗的暗示更丰富,或者,也许是因为我们又年长了几岁,所以更容易看出这些。

And then we kind of moved on, at least until 1999, when Mr. Lucas returned with “The Phantom Menace” and the Gen X legacy of ambivalence and confusion blossomed anew. That movie was terrible! So was “Attack of the Clones.” But it didn’t seem to matter. Everyone went to see those movies anyway, and the awfulness cast a rosy and perhaps unmerited glow on the first trilogy. Those movies weren’t all that good either. And that didn’t matter. They existed — the whole cosmos, or gestalt, or whatever it is, exists — in a realm beyond such judgments, and also beyond the ordinary operations of nostalgia. “Star Wars” is an old movie now, older now than Elvis Presley’s first records were in 1977. The film moves slowly and shows its predigital seams. It’s more charming than sublime, a silly pop-culture throwaway full of funny creatures, terrible dialogue and breathless acting. It’s exactly the same as I remember it, and watching it again I wonder what I ever saw in it. I find my lack of faith disturbing. And yet, I’m still a believer.

然后,我们算是放下了,至少直到1999年,卢卡斯携《星球大战前传1:幽灵的威胁》(The Phantom Menace)回归,X一代的矛盾情绪和迷惑再次爆发。那部电影糟糕透了!《星球大战前传2:克隆人的进攻》(Attack of the Clones)也是如此。不过,这似乎无关紧要。反正大家都去看了那些电影,它们的糟糕给第一个三部曲带上了它不配有的美丽光环。其实,第一个三部曲也没有那么精彩。那无关紧要。它们——整个宇宙,或者说格式塔,或者随便叫什么——存在于另一个层面,它们超越这些判断,也超越寻常的怀旧。到现在,《星球大战》算是一部老电影了,比1977年时猫王的早期专辑还显得古老。这部电影推进得很慢,还暴露出前数字时代的破绽。它最多只能算是“迷人”,远谈不上“绝妙”,它就是一部愚蠢的流行文化消费品,充满好玩的生物、糟糕的对白和气喘吁吁的表演——和我记忆中的一样。我再次观看时,很想知道自己从前是看上了它哪一点。我为自己不再崇拜它感到不安。不过,我依然是一个拥有信仰的人。

To Stay in Love, Sign on the Dotted Line

A few months ago my boyfriend and I poured ourselves two beers and opened our laptops. It was time to review the terms of our relationship contract.


Did we want to make changes? As Mark and I went through each category, we agreed to two minor swaps: my Tuesday dog walk for his Saturday one, and having me clean the kitchen counters and him take over the bathtub.


The latest version of “Mark and Mandy’s Relationship Contract,” a four-page, single-spaced document that we sign and date, will last for exactly 12 months, after which we have the option to revise and renew it, as we’ve done twice before. The contract spells out everything from sex to chores to finances to our expectations for the future. And I love it.


Writing a relationship contract may sound calculating or unromantic, but every relationship is contractual; we’re just making the terms more explicit. It reminds us that love isn’t somaething that happens to us — it’s something we’re making together. After all, this approach brought us together in the first place.


Two and a half years ago, I wrote a Modern Love column about how Mark and I had spent our first date trying a psychological experiment that used 36 questions to help two strangers fall in love. That experience helped us to think about love not as luck or fate, but as the practice of really bothering to know someone, and allowing that person to know you. Being intentional about love seems to suit us well.


In the past, expecting a relationship to work simply because the people involved loved each other had failed me. I spent my 20s with a man who knew exactly what he wanted and how he wanted to be. All I had wanted was for him to love me.


We were together for almost a decade, and in that time I somehow lost track of my own habits and preferences. If I wanted to split the grocery bill, he suggested I buy only things we both liked. If I wanted to spend weekends together, I could go skiing with him and his friends. And so I did. I made my life look like his.


It wasn’t until I moved out that I began to see that there hadn’t been room for me in my relationship. And not merely because my ex hadn’t offered it — it had never occurred to me to ask. I was in love, and love meant making compromises, right? But what if I had loved him too much?


Years earlier I had read Virginia Woolf’s “A Room of One’s Own” and thought I understood it, but I hadn’t. At 20, I gave myself over to love, and it wasn’t until the relationship ended, when I was 29, that I discovered what it meant to fully inhabit my days and the spaciousness of my own mind. It was such a joy to find that my time was mine, along with every decision from what to cook to when to go to bed.

多年前,我曾经读过弗吉尼亚•伍尔夫(Virginia Woolf)的《一个人的房间》(A Room of One’s Own),当时我觉得自己看懂了,其实并没有。在20岁的年纪,我放手让自己去爱,直到那段关系终结。到了29岁,我明白了完全享有自己的时间意味着什么,知道了我内心的想法有多么丰富。发现时间完全属于自己,从什么时候做饭到什么时候睡觉,这一切都可以由自己决定,这真让人开心。

I resolved that in my next relationship I would love more moderately, keeping more of me for myself.


When I met Mark, he fit into my life so easily it surprised me. My friends liked him. My dog, Roscoe, yelped with happiness at the sight of him. But when we started talking about living together, I was wary.


I worried that the minutiae of domesticity would change us into petty creatures who bickered over laundry. More than that, I worried I might lose myself again, to a man and a relationship, overtaken by those old ideas about how love conquers all.


Mark had his own reservations. “I don’t want to do it just because it’s what we’re supposed to do,” he said. “I only want to live together if it’ll make our lives better.”


We spent weeks anxiously enumerating the pros and cons of cohabitation.


Months earlier we had come across a book — “The New I Do: Reshaping Marriage for Skeptics, Realists and Rebels” — that recommends short-term marriage contracts. We liked the idea and realized we could take this approach to living together.

几个月前,我偶然看到一本书——《“我愿意”新解:为怀疑者、现实主义者和叛逆者重塑婚姻》(The New I Do: Reshaping Marriage for Skeptics, Realists and Rebels)——其中建议签订短期的婚姻合同。我们喜欢这个主意,也意识到我们可以用这种方式一起生活。

Many of us don’t notice the ways romantic love acts as an organizing force in our lives, but it is powerful. Some use the term “relationship escalator” to describe the way we tend to follow familiar scripts as we proceed in a relationship, from casual dating to cohabitation to marriage and family. These scripts that tell us what love should look like are so ubiquitous they sometimes seem invisible.


In my last relationship, I had spent a lot of time worrying about whether we were moving up the escalator. I wasn’t even sure what I wanted, but trying to figure that out through conversation seemed terrifying. Instead, I picked fights, about money or chores or how to spend the weekend. If I was angry, it was somehow easier to be honest.


With Mark, I wanted to do better.


Our contract addresses much of what must be negotiated in any relationship, especially when cohabitating. It begins with our reasons for being together: “We aspire to help each other be more ethically-minded and generous friends, community members and global citizens.” I know it sounds idealistic, but I’ve had relationships that left me feeling lonely and small. This time I wanted to be more intentional about looking outward as much as we look in.


The terms range from the familiar (“We will take care of each other when one of us is sick”) to the fanciful (“If we’re both sick, it’s all up to the dog”). In fact, Roscoe gets an entire section, detailing his walking schedules, vet visits and even how sweet we think he is.


We have a houseguest section (guests can stay for up to two weeks but must be mutually vetted) and an item that deals with Mark’s sweaty running clothes (“He agrees to hang these up in the spare room or on the back of the bathroom door but he wants Mandy to know that this may be a fairly common occurrence”).


We agree to split the bill when eating out with one exception: “Special meals (date night, celebrations, etc.) will not be split so one person can treat the other.”


It was important to me to eat breakfast together because this was something my family did growing up, so we put that in writing. It’s amazing how empowering this can feel: to name your desires or insecurities, however small, and make space for them. It’s such a simple thing, but it wasn’t easy. I wasn’t used to knowing what I wanted in a relationship, much less saying it aloud. Now, I have to do both.


We wanted to take nothing for granted, which has meant having the kinds of conversations I previously avoided.


Our contract isn’t infallible, or the solution to every problem. But it acknowledges that we each have desires that deserve to be named and recognized.


As we concluded the recent renewal of our contract, Mark typed a new heading near the end: Marriage. “So what do you think?” he asked, sitting back as if he had just asked where I want to get takeout.


I stared into my beer. This wasn’t the first time we had talked about marriage, but now, with the contract open, it felt official. I squirmed, knowing that part of me wanted to say, “Let’s do it,” while another part wanted to reject the institution altogether and do love and commitment on our own terms.


“What would marriage offer us that we don’t already have?” I asked.


“Good question,” he said.


“It would be nice to hear our friends make funny and heartwarming speeches about us,” I told him. “But I don’t really want to plan a wedding, or pay for it.”


He agreed. And yet, we like this thing we have created.


I know that a lifetime commitment is supposed to involve a surprise proposal, a tearful acceptance and a Facebook slide show of happy selfies. But if it’s the rest of our lives, I want us to think it through, together.


Finally Mark typed: “We agree that marriage is an ongoing topic of conversation.”


It seemed a trivial thing to put in writing, but talking — instead of just waiting and wondering — has been a relief to us both.


As I type this, Mark is out for a run and the dog is snoring at a volume that is inordinately sweet, and I am at home in the spaciousness of my own mind. I have failed at my goal of loving more moderately, but for the first time in my life I feel as if there is room for me in my relationship, and space for us to decide exactly how we want to practice love.


It may look as though we’re riding the relationship escalator, but I prefer to think we’re taking the stairs.

Today in 1930, a dancing frog set a new standard in animation.

“Fiddlesticks,” featuring Flip the Frog, was a stand-alone cartoon with synchronized sound.

《Fiddlesticks》是一部有声卡通片,主角是“青蛙弗利浦”(Flip the Frog)。

By that year, music had been widely used to accompany animations. Some of the more laborious animations were even in color. Then around 1930, those two features were combined.


In Germany, Lotte Reiniger’s character silhouettes of the 1920s used changing background colors to create atmospheric scenes. In the U.S., “King of Jazz” in 1930 featured a short color animation with synchronized sound.

在德国,1920年代洛特•赖尼格(Lotte Reiniger)的角色造型使用了不断变化的背景色,以创造出独特场景。在美国,1930年的《爵士之王》(King of Jazz)则展现了一部声音同步化的彩色动画短片。

In “Fiddlesticks,” Flip the Frog tap-dances his way through a world of merry animals, but then is moved to tears as he plays the piano alongside a violin-playing rodent that resembled Mickey Mouse.

在《Fiddlesticks》里,青蛙弗利浦一路跳着踢踏舞,穿过一群欢乐的动物,然后当他在一个形似米老鼠(Mickey Mouse)、拉着小提琴的老鼠旁弹起钢琴,他落泪了。

The animation was released by Ub Iwerks, who had helped produce Mickey Mouse, shortly after he left Walt Disney’s growing enterprise. The Flip franchise ended in 1933, and Mr. Iwerks returned to work at Disney.

这部动画是乌布•伊沃克斯(Ub Iwerks)在离开华特•迪士尼(Walt Disney)这家不断成长的企业后推出的,他还曾帮助制作《米老鼠》(Mickey Mouse)。青蛙弗利浦系列于1933年结束,伊沃克斯也随即回归迪士尼工作。

But he never stopped innovating.


His obituary noted that he invented “a panoramic camera arrangement.” Imagine his excitement if he could see today’s 360-degree cartoons.

Forty years ago today, Earth received a transmission from aliens. Maybe.

Scientists are still debating a signal 30 times louder than the background noise of space that was picked up by a radio telescope at Ohio State University on Aug. 15, 1977.

科学家如今仍在就一个信号展开争论,该信号是1977年8月15日由俄亥俄州立大学(Ohio State University)的射电望远镜接收到的,比太空的背景噪声分贝要高30倍。

A few days later, a volunteer astronomer named Jerry Ehman was reviewing a printout of data from the telescope, called Big Ear, which was scanning for alien messages.

几天之后,一个名叫杰瑞•伊曼(Jerry Ehman)、志愿工作的天文学家正在评估这台名为“大耳”(Big Ear)的射电望远镜收集到数据的打印资料,当时“大耳”在扫描寻找来自外星人的信息。

He noticed a series of letters and numbers that represented a crescendo in the surrounding static. He circled the sequence and wrote an exclamation next to what became known as the “Wow!” signal.


The signal’s bandwidth was off-limits to human broadcasts. Even weirder, the frequency was about 1420 megahertz, the same as that emitted by hydrogen, the most common element in the universe. As such, scientists have reasoned that alien civilizations might use it to communicate.


The possible origin was narrowed to somewhere in the constellation Sagittarius, but despite many searches the noise was never heard again.


What was it? Theories include a military broadcast, a sound deflected off orbiting space junk, a malfunction, a yet-to-be-understood space phenomenon — and aliens. Scientists sent a reply to the signal in 2012, but it has — as yet — gone unanswered.

The Smithsonian Institution, which Congress created on this day in 1846, is now composed of 19 museums and galleries that are devoted to “the process of developing an American national identity.”

史密森学会(The Smithsonian Institution)由国会在1846年的今天设立,如今已经拥有19座博物馆和画廊,致力于“发展美国国家认同的这一过程”。

It is intriguing, then, that the Smithsonian’s founding patron, James Smithson, never set foot in the U.S.

这么一来,为史密森学会创立提供资助的詹姆斯•史密森(James Smithson)从未踏足美国的这一点,就十分有趣了。

Smithson was born in Paris as Jacques-Louis Macie, the illegitimate son of a wealthy English duke. He eventually changed his name, became a British citizen and built a solid reputation as a scientist. (A mineral, smithsonite, is named for him, and he is credited with coming up with the term “silicates.”)

史密森生于巴黎,原名雅克-路易•梅西(Jacques-Louis Macie),是一名富有的英国公爵的私生子。最终,他改了名字,成为了英国公民,作为科学家树立起了良好的声誉(有一种矿物菱锌矿[smithsonite]正是以他来命名的,据称他也是为硅酸盐[silicates]命名的人)。

When Smithson died in Italy in 1829, he left behind an unusual will: If his nephew, his sole heir, died without children, his entire estate would go to the U.S. to found “at Washington, under the name Smithsonian Institution, an establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge.”


Only theories exist to explain why Smithson gave the U.S. his wealth, which amounted to more than $500,000, about 1/66th of the U.S. budget at the time.


Even the Smithsonian concedes that “we are left to speculate on the ideals and motivations of a gift that has had such significant impact on the arts, humanities and sciences of the United States.”


As Alibaba’s Profit Surges, Its Shares Catch Up With U.S. Online Giants’

HONG KONG — This year may finally be the year that global investors put Chinese internet companies alongside American giants like Facebook and Amazon.


On Thursday, Alibaba Group, the Chinese e-commerce giant, said its profit for the three months that ended in June almost doubled, while its revenue rose more than half. But just as impressive a jump was its stock price, which has increased more than 80 percent so far this year. Now Alibaba and its biggest Chinese rival, Tencent Holdings, have valuations that hover around $400 billion.


By contrast, Amazon.com has a valuation of about $470 billion, while Facebook is at about $490 billion.


Investors are becoming more aware that Alibaba and Tencent have become central to the day-to-day entertainment, shopping and spending habits of China’s middle class. Tencent, which offers extremely popular video games and social media services, reported on Wednesday its own surge in quarterly profit, sending its shares higher still.


But like its American peers, high valuations lead to high expectations.


The Numbers


Alibaba said its fiscal first-quarter profit rose 94 percent to $2.2 billion, thanks to strong sales. Sales across its e-commerce businesses rose 56 percent.


Alibaba’s sales have surged as Chinese statistics show consumers in the country continue to do more and more of their shopping online. In that sense, Alibaba’s growth is tracking China’s efforts to transform its economy to rely more on American-style consumption and less on government spending.


That does not make it infallible. Alibaba’s results rely on its online marketplaces, which face growing competition and could someday be hit by a slowdown in growth either from the Chinese economy or from internet adoption in a still-developing country. To diversify, Alibaba has been expanding into entertainment and cloud computing and looking for new opportunities overseas, where it faces competition from its American peers.


The Technology


The strong growth also cloaks a more complicated picture. Over the past year, Alibaba’s increase in revenue has outstripped the actual value of the goods being sold on its e-commerce websites. That means that the company has been able to earn more off the vendors who sell everything from name brands to knickknacks on its sites.


Alibaba makes money from vendors by charging them for advertising on its platforms, among other services. New technology and some of its corporate deals have given it access to new and better data that give it more power to target those vendors.


That approach has kept Alibaba’s results strong despite a slowdown in growth of the total value of goods being sold on its platform. But it is not clear how long it can keep that phenomenon going, fueling its effort to find new consumers and expand into new businesses.


Jack Ma Goes to Washington


As part of that push, Jack Ma, Alibaba’s charismatic founder, has been barnstorming across the American political landscape over the past year. A sort of ambassador for the company, Mr. Ma met with President Trump and held a conference in Detroit. His goal has been to persuade more American vendors to get on Alibaba and sell to a Chinese middle class that craves foreign goods.


By attracting more vendors from overseas, Alibaba is able to bring in more big advertising spenders, and support its revenue growth.


Helping his cause was a settlement announced this month between Alibaba and Kering, the luxury goods giant that owns the Gucci brand and had filed a lawsuit in 2015 charging counterfeit goods had been sold from Alibaba’s e-commerce websites.


The Amazon Aspect


As Alibaba looks abroad, it may finally directly compete with that other e-commerce giant, Amazon. In Southeast Asia, where Alibaba owns an online commerce platform called Lazada, it will probably face a new Amazon initiative in the region.


Some have wondered whether Mr. Ma is simply following Amazon’s game plan. Just as Amazon has done, Alibaba has started a cloud computing business, bought into a high-profile newspaper, worked to begin creating its own entertainment content, and more recently made bold predictions about unmanned retail stores that will use smartphones to automatically charge customers.


Still, there are some ways in which Alibaba is different. The biggest one is its financial affiliate, Ant Financial, which is responsible for trillions of dollars in money transfers each year. As it looks to expand the business overseas, it has bid for MoneyGram, a remittance company that would give it new exposure to America. As American regulators review that deal, much will depend on Mr. Ma’s political maneuverings.

马克斯•加维(Marcus Garvey)诞辰130周年
Today is the 130th anniversary of the birth of Marcus Garvey, a founder of the black nationalist movement and the Rastafari prophet.
今天是马克斯•加维(Marcus Garvey)诞辰130周年。他是黑人民族主义运动的创始人和拉斯塔法里的先知。

Born in Jamaica, Garvey throughout his life advocated for black people to return to Africa and reclaim it as their own.


“He was the first man to give Negroes a sense of dignity and destiny,” the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said in 1965.

“他是第一个给了黑人尊严和命运之感的人,” 1965年,马丁•路德•金牧师曾这样说。

But in preaching his message, Garvey unintentionally spawned a religion when he said: “Look to Africa, when a black king shall be crowned, for the day of deliverance is near.”


In 1930, Ras Tafari Makonnen — known thereafter as Haile Selassie — ascended to Ethiopia’s throne, which was taken as a fulfillment of Garvey’s words. Rastafarians immediately hailed Selassie as Jah, the Black Messiah.

1930年,拉斯•塔法里•马科宁(Ras Tafari Makonnen)——后来被称为海勒•塞拉西(Haile Selassie)——登上了埃塞俄比亚的王位。这被看作是实现了加维的话。拉法塔西亚成员立即将塞拉西敬为Jah——黑人的救世主。

Garvey was not a follower himself, but Rastafari spread across the globe several decades later with the help of reggae musicians, most prominently Bob Marley.

加维本人不是追随者,但几十年后,拉斯塔法里在雷鬼音乐人的帮助下传遍全球,其中最突出的是鲍勃•马利(Bob Marley)。

Selassie died in 1975, but Rastafarians remained convinced he was the living God. As Marley explained in an interview with The Times in 1977, “Many people, dey scoffers.”


“How can God die, mon?” Marley continued. “That’s why I wrote ‘Jah Live.’ ”

“上帝怎么会死呢,蒙?”马利接着说。“这就是为什么我写了《上帝活着》(Jah Live)这首歌。”
What Are the Purple Dots on Michael Phelps? Cupping Has an Olympic Moment

RIO DE JANEIRO — Olympics trivia: What has 19 gold medals and a bunch of purple circles?


If you watched a certain swimmer’s Rio Games debut on Sunday night, when he propelled the United States 4×100-meter relay team to a gold medal, you know the answer: Michael Phelps.

如果你看了周日晚上某位游泳运动员在里约奥运会上的首秀,看到他力助美国队赢得4×100米接力赛冠军,你就知道我在说谁:迈克尔•菲尔普斯(Michael Phelps)。

While it may look like the athletes have been in a bar fight, the telltale purple dots actually are signs of “cupping,” an ancient Chinese healing practice that is experiencing an Olympic moment.


In cupping, practitioners of the healing technique — or sometimes the athletes themselves — place specialized cups on the skin. Then they use either heat or an air pump to create suction between the cup and the skin, pulling the skin slightly up and away from the underlying muscles.


The suction typically lasts for only a few minutes, but it’s enough time to cause the capillaries just beneath the surface to rupture, creating the circular, eye-catching bruises that have been so visible on Phelps as well as members of the United States men’s gymnastics team. If the bruising effect looks oddly familiar, it’s because it’s the same thing that happens when someone sucks on your neck and leaves a hickey.


Physiologically, cupping is thought to draw blood to the affected area, reducing soreness and speeding healing of overworked muscles. Athletes who use it swear by it, saying it keeps them injury free and speeds recovery. Phelps, whose shoulders were dotted with the purple marks as he powered his 4×100 freestyle relay team to a gold medal Sunday, featured a cupping treatment in a recent Under Armour video. He also posted an Instagram photo showing himself stretched on a table as his Olympic swimming teammate Allison Schmitt placed several pressurized cups along the back of his thighs. “Thanks for my cupping today!” he wrote.

从生理学上讲,拔罐是为了把血吸到患部,减轻酸痛,加速过度疲劳的肌肉恢复。用过这种方法的运动员称,它能让他们免于受伤,加速康复。周日菲尔普斯力助美国队赢得4×100自由泳接力赛金牌时,他的肩上布满这种紫色印记。在前不久发布的Under Armour运动服装品牌的视频中,他在接受拔罐治疗。他还在Instagram上发了一张照片,展示自己平躺在桌子上,他的奥运会游泳队队友艾莉森•施米特(Allison Schmitt)在他的大腿后侧放置了几个加压的罐子。“谢谢今天给我拔罐!”他写道。

While there’s no question that many athletes, coaches and trainers believe in the treatment, there’s not much science to determine whether cupping offers a real physiological benefit or whether the athletes simply are enjoying a placebo effect.


One 2012 study of 61 people with chronic neck pain compared cupping to a technique called progressive muscle relaxation, or PMR, during which a patient deliberately tenses his muscles and then focuses on relaxing them. Half the patients used cupping while the other half used PMR. Both patient groups reported similar reductions in pain after 12 weeks of treatment. Notably, the patients who had used cupping scored higher on measurements of well-being and felt less pain when pressure was applied to the area. Even so, the researchers noted that more study is needed to determine the potential benefits of cupping.


Another experiment involving 40 patients who suffered from knee arthritis found that people who underwent cupping reported less pain after four months compared to arthritis sufferers in a control group who were not treated. But the cupped group knew they were being treated — it’s not easy to blind people about whether a suction cup is being attached to their leg or not — and so the benefits might have been due primarily to a placebo effect.


Still, a placebo effect can be beneficial, and for athletes at the Olympic level, any legal edge, however tenuous, may be worth a few eye-catching bruises.


“A placebo effect is present in all treatments, and I am sure that it is substantial in the case of cupping as well,” said Leonid Kalichman, a senior lecturer at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel, who recently co-authored a commentary reviewing cupping research in the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies. “A patient can feel the treatment and has marks after it, and this can contribute to a placebo effect.”

“所有治疗都有安慰作用,我确信它在拔罐中也占很大成分,”以色列内盖夫本-古里安大学(Ben-Gurion University)的高级讲师列昂尼德•卡利切曼(Leonid Kalichman)说。前不久,他在《身体锻炼和运动治疗报》(Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies)上与他人联合发表了一篇拔罐研究的述评文章。“患者能感觉到治疗,而且会留下印记,这会起到安慰作用。”

Even so, Kalichman said he believes the treatment has a real physiological effect as well. It may be that cupping, by causing local inflammation, triggers the immune system to produce cytokines, small proteins that enhance communication between cells and help to modulate the immune response.


A few years ago the Denver Broncos player DeMarcus Ware posted a photo on Instagram showing his back covered with 19 clear cups as a therapist held a flame used to heat the cup before placing it on the skin. Celebrities including Jennifer Aniston and Gwyneth Paltrow have also been photographed with cupping marks on their skin.

几年前,丹佛野马橄榄球队(Denver Broncos)的球员德马库斯•韦尔(DeMarcus Ware)在Instagram上发了一张照片,展示自己的背部放着19个透明杯子,治疗师用火把杯子加热,放到皮肤上。詹妮弗•安妮斯顿(Jennifer Aniston)和格温妮丝•帕特罗(Gwyneth Paltrow)等名人也被拍到皮肤上有拔罐的印记。

Last year, Swimming World magazine noted that some college programs had begun using cupping therapy as well as the former Olympian Natalie Coughlin, who has posted a number of photos of herself undergoing the treatment.

去年,《游泳世界》杂志(Swimming World)指出,有些大学项目开始使用拔罐疗法,前奥运会游泳选手纳塔莉•考夫林(Natalie Coughlin)也发了几张自己接受拔罐治疗的照片。

The American gymnast Alexander Naddour was sporting the purple dots during the men’s qualifying rounds on Saturday in Rio de Janeiro. He told USA Today that he bought a do-it-yourself cupping kit from Amazon. “That’s been the secret that I have had through this year that keeps me healthy,” Naddour told USA Today. “It’s been better than any money I’ve spent on anything else.”

周六,美国体操运动员亚历山大•纳道尔(Alexander Naddour)在参加里约奥运会的男子体操预选赛时,也露出紫色圆圈。他在接受《今日美国》(USA Today)采访时说,他在Amazon上买了一套自助拔罐器具。“那是我今年保持健康的秘诀,”纳道尔对《今日美国》说。“它比我在其他任何东西上花的钱都值。”
Zika, a Formidable Enemy, Attacks and Destroys Parts of Babies’ Brains

The images tell a heartbreaking story: Zika’s calamitous attack on the brains of babies — as seen from the inside.


With a macabre catalog of brain scans and ultrasound pictures, a new study details the devastation done to 45 Brazilian babies whose mothers were infected with Zika during pregnancy. The study, published Tuesday in the journal Radiology, is the most comprehensive collection of such images so far, and it reveals a virus that can launch assaults beyond microcephaly, the condition of unusually small heads that has become the sinister signature of Zika.


Most of the babies in the study were born with microcephaly, but many of them also suffered other impairments, including damage to important parts of the brain: the corpus callosum, which connects the two hemispheres of the brain; the cerebellum, which plays a significant role in movement, balance and speech; the basal ganglia, which are involved in thinking and emotion.


“It’s not just the small brain, it’s that there’s a lot more damage,” said Dr. Deborah Levine, an author of the study and a professor of radiology at Harvard Medical School in Boston. “The abnormalities that we see in the brain suggest a very early disruption of the brain development process.”

“不只是脑袋小,还有许多其他损伤,”这项研究的作者之一、位于波士顿的哈佛医学院(Harvard Medical School)放射学教授黛博拉•莱文(Deborah Levine)博士说。“我们在大脑中看到的异常表明对大脑发育的阻碍出现得非常早。”

The findings also raised worrisome concerns about whether babies born without such obvious impairments could develop brain damage as they grow. For example, almost all the babies in the study had problems in the cortex, including clumps of calcium and neurons that did not reach the right location in the brain. Because the cortex keeps developing after birth, Levine said, “we’re concerned that there might be mild cases that we haven’t seen yet, and we should keep monitoring the babies after birth to see if they have cortical abnormalities.”


The images studied came from 17 babies whose mothers had a confirmed Zika infection during pregnancy and from 28 without laboratory proof but with all indications of Zika.


The images include scans of twin girls, who both developed microcephaly. The pictures show folds of overlapping skin and a sloping forehead, indications not only that the brain is smaller, but also that the forebrain has not developed normally, Levine said.


How to Be Mindful While Brushing Your Teeth

“Everyone should be brushing their teeth twice a day, bookending the day,” says Dr. Fern White, a dentist in Australia who practices mindful dentistry. “If you do so mindfully, you can also be ‘brushing your brain.’”

“每个人每天应该刷两次牙,标记一天的开始和结束,”澳大利亚执业的正念牙科牙医弗恩•怀特博士(Fern White)说,“如果你用心去做,还可以同时‘清洗你的头脑’”。

Apply the toothpaste to your toothbrush.


Begin to brush. Breathe through your nose, slowly and deliberately.


Relax your neck and jaw.


Loosen your grip on the toothbrush. Feel the bristles moving over your teeth and the gums.


Taste the toothpaste.


As you rinse, breathe deeply through your nose. Notice your clean teeth.


Feel gratitude for your teeth and all that they allow you to do — chewing, smiling, speaking.


Mindful brushing, says Dr. White, gives your brain a chance to rest and “sets a peaceful tone for the day ahead or the night ahead.”


No time to work out? Try exercising on the job

Young people frequently say that they want to exercise, but they just can’t find the time.


The solution just might be in-office interval training. That means taking part in short bursts of intense exercise — while in the office. Recent studies show that very short but intense exercise rapidly builds and maintains fitness and health, even when the workout is only a few minutes long.


Work the stairs


You can complete an excellent, effective — and very brief — workout in an office stairwell, says Martin Gibala, a professor of kinesiology at McMaster University in Canada and an expert on interval training.

加拿大麦克马斯特大学(McMaster University)运动机能学教授、间歇性训练专家马丁•吉巴拉(Martin Gibala)说,你可以在公司的楼梯间内出色地完成短时高效的锻炼。

Stairwell interval training requires only one minute of strenuous exertion, he says.


For a study that he and his colleagues presented earlier this year, they asked 12 out-of-shape women in their 20s to warm up for two minutes by slowly walking up and down stairs in a campus office building. Then the women ran up the steps “as fast as safely possible,” Dr. Gibala says, for 20 seconds. They walked down and along a flat corridor for two minutes, ran back up the stairs for another 20 seconds, walked for two minutes, and ran up for a final 20 seconds. They then cooled down with three minutes of stair and corridor walking. The entire session lasted 10 minutes, which would easily fit into a lunch break. (If you do this, you may want to bring and change into workout clothing to avoid sweating in your work clothes and freshen up afterward with a bird bath in an office restroom.)


They completed three of these abbreviated stair workouts per week for six weeks. By the end, their aerobic fitness had improved substantially, the researchers reported, by about as much as if they had been running or cycling each week for hours.


Lift weight at your desk


To change body shape, you almost certainly need to also perform some type of weight training, exercise scientists agree. As with the stair training, weight work can be done during your workday. Keep a five-pound dumbbell near your desk and perform arm curls while you are on the phone. Stand on the edge of a stair during a midmorning break and let your heels drop, then slowly rise up until you are standing on your tiptoes on the stairs. Repeat that exercise 10 times and you can strengthen and tighten muscles throughout your legs.


Fidget your way to fitness


Parents and teachers may once have urged you to sit still, but wiggling, tapping your toes, standing briefly, and otherwise fidgeting as much as possible at your desk is in fact good for your body. In one recent study, college students showed healthier blood flow in their lower legs if they fidgeted than if they did not. Even better, a 2008 study found that among office workers, those who frequently fidgeted burned as many as 300 calories more each day than those who resolutely stayed still.


Find seven minutes to exercise


For a fast, full-body weight-training and interval program, close your office door and cue up the Scientific 7-Minute Workout. The program targets muscles in the upper body, lower body and core, improves aerobic endurance, and can be completed in less time than most of us spend dithering about how to get to the gym.


Good News for Older Mothers

The first time I got pregnant, I was a comparatively young mother, for my demographic: I was 25, in medical school, surrounded by classmates who, for the most part, were not reproducing yet. By the third pregnancy, 11 years later, I was over 35, which classified me, in the obstetric terminology I had learned in medical school, as an “elderly multigravida,” that is, someone who was having a child but not her first child, after 35. (If it was your first child, you were an “elderly primigravida,” or “elderly primip” for short — even as a medical student, I had a strong sense that no woman had invented this terminology.)

第一次怀孕时,就我所在的群体——25岁、医学院学生、身边的同学大部分都还没生孩子——而言,我是一个相对年轻的妈妈。到11年后第三次怀孕时,我已经过了35岁了。按照我在医学院学到的产科术语,我属于“高龄经产妇”(elderly primigravida),即在35岁之后生孩子但不是第一个孩子的人(如果是第一个孩子,那就是“高龄初产妇”——即便作为一名医学院的学生,我也强烈地觉得发明这个术语的人不是女性)。

So by certain standards, I have experience as both a somewhat younger mother and a somewhat older mother, though not at the extremes in either direction.


National Vital Statistics Reports data released in January showed that in the United States, birthrates shifted in 2015: The birthrate for teenagers dropped to 22.3 births per 1,000 females ages 15 to 19 that year, a record low for the nation. And for women 30 through 44, the birthrates were the highest they have been since the baby boom era of the 1960s.

1月公布的《国家生命统计报告》(National Vital Statistics Reports)数据显示,2015年美国的出生率发生了变化:青少年中的出生率跌至每1000名15到19岁的女性生育22.3个孩子,创下美国历史最低水平。而在30到44岁的女性中,出生率达到了60年代婴儿潮时期以来的最高点。

And as birthrates shift toward somewhat older mothers, researchers continue to look at what that says, both about who is getting pregnant when, and how that is associated with how their children do, especially when it comes to cognitive outcomes. (There’s also been some interesting research recently on paternal age, but these studies focused on the mothers.)


The trend all over the developed world in recent years has been more women having more children later; mean age in the United States at birth of a first child increased from 24.9 to 26.3 from 2000 to 2014. And whether it’s a first child or a later child, more women giving birth are 35 and older, which is still classified as “advanced maternal age” (well, it beats “elderly”).

近年来,发达国家的趋势是,更多女性会在年龄大一些的时候要更多的孩子。美国生第一个孩子的年龄中位数从2000年的24.9岁增大到了2014年的26.3岁。无论是不是第一个孩子,在35岁及以上的年纪生孩子的女性增加了。这些人依然被归为“高龄产妇”(advanced maternal age,好吧,advanced好歹比elderly好一点)。

In a study published in February in the International Journal of Epidemiology, researchers looked at evidence from three different large longitudinal studies in Britain, from 1958, 1970 and 2000-2, each involving around 10,000 children. They were looking at the association between maternal age at children’s birth and children’s cognitive ability when tested at age 10-11.

在2月刊登在《国际流行病学杂志》(International Journal of Epidemiology)上的一项研究中,研究人员研究了来自英国三项不同的大型纵向研究的证据。这三项研究分别是在1958年、1970年和2000~2002年之间进行,各自都有大约1万名儿童参加。他们研究了母亲生孩子时的年龄,和孩子在10到11岁时所测得的认知能力之间的关系。

In the two earlier studies, there was a negative association; maternal age 35-39 at birth was associated with poorer cognitive scores in the children, tested a decade later; the children who had been born to mothers 25-29 did better. On the other hand, for the most recent study, that association was reversed; the children born to the 35- to 39-year-olds did significantly better on the cognitive testing than the children born to the younger mothers.


What had changed over time? The researchers found that they could explain this reversal by correcting for the social and economic characteristics of the mothers; different women, in different circumstances, were having their children later in life.


Alice Goisis, a research fellow at the London School of Economics and Political Science and the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research in Germany, and the lead author on the study, said, “the characteristics of older mothers have changed drastically over time.” In the older studies, she said, the women who were having children into their late 30s were more likely to be women who had many children, and possibly poorer, whereas in the later study, the millennium cohort study done in 2000-2, the older mothers were more likely to be educated, and socioeconomically better off. Twenty-six percent were giving birth to their first child at ages 35-39, as opposed to 11 percent in the 1958 study.

这篇论文的第一作者、在伦敦政治经济学院(London School of Economics and Political Science)以及德国罗斯托克的马克斯•普朗克人口研究所(Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research)担任研究员的艾丽斯•寇希斯(Alice Goisis)说,“随着时间的推移,高龄母亲的特征发生了巨大变化。”她说,在早前的研究中,那些在30多岁的年纪生孩子的女性,更有可能育有多个子女且较为贫穷,而在后一项研究,也就是于2000至2002年开展的千禧世代研究中,大龄母亲更有可能受过良好教育,有着较高的社会经济地位。在35至39岁之间生育第一个子女的女性占比26%,相比之下,在1958年的研究中这一比例是11%。

“One question I am often asked is whether these results are suggesting that women should wait to have children so they will have smarter children, and the answer is that our results are not addressing that,” Dr. Goisis said. “These women tend to be advantaged,” she said, and to take better care of themselves during pregnancy; they were less likely to smoke and more likely to breast-feed, compared to the younger mothers.


“Nowadays children of older mothers have, on average, better outcomes because of the characteristics of women who tend to have children at older ages,” Dr. Goisis said.


Other researchers have looked at the question of how parenting attitudes and practices change as mothers grow older. In a study published online in December, researchers looked at how parenting practices and children’s development varied with maternal age in a group of 4,741 families in Denmark. Older mothers were less likely to be harsh with their 7- and 11-year-old children, either in terms of scolding or of physical discipline, they found, and their children were less likely to have behavioral, social and emotional problems.


“Older mothers seem to thrive better,” said Tea Trillingsgaard, an associate professor of psychology at Aarhus University in Denmark, who was the lead author on the study. “The mothers have more psychological flexibility, more cognitive flexibility, more ability to tolerate complex emotional stimuli from the children.”

“年纪较大的母亲似乎能更好地养育子女,”该论文的第一作者、丹麦奥胡斯大学(Aarhus University)心理学助理教授迪•特里林斯戈德(Tea Trillingsgaard)说。“这些母亲有着更强的心理适应能力,更强的认知能力,更能包容来自子女的复杂情绪刺激。”

Again, the researchers looked to see whether these differences were explained by another factor, by educational level or socioeconomic status, but even after controlling for all the demographic and socioeconomic factors they had, they still found that older maternal age itself continued to be associated with these more positive outcomes. “Emotional well-being tends to increase with age,” Dr. Trillingsgaard said. “Age in itself may be an advantage.”


We all know that fertility issues increase with older childbearing, with a large and complex fertility industry growing up in part to meet the needs of women who may have more difficulty conceiving later in life. But since having children is for most of us a huge and complicated decision, involving relationships, socioeconomic factors, geography, and the whole package of individual factors roughly summed up as life, love and the pursuit of happiness, decision making often doesn’t allow for simple planning where you target one age or another.


The clear message is that the children of women with more support and better health habits do better cognitively, so it’s important to support mothers of any age. What you learn as you grow up, intellectually and emotionally, may help you in the complicated job of taking care of your own children. And after all, growing up and helping people grow up is what this is all about.

Researchers Track an Unlikely Culprit in Weight Gain

For middle-aged women struggling with their weight, a recent spate of scientific findings sounds too good to be true. And they may be, researchers caution.


Studies in mice indicate that a single hormone whose levels rise at menopause could be responsible for a characteristic redistribution of weight in middle age to the abdomen, turning many women from “pears” to “apples.” At the same time, the hormone may spur the loss of bone.


In mouse studies, blocking the hormone solves those problems, increasing the calories burned, reducing abdominal fat, slowing bone loss and even encouraging physical activity.


The notion that such a simple intervention could solve two big problems of menopause has received the attention of researchers and has prompted commentaries in prestigious journals like The New England Journal of Medicine and Cell Metabolism.

这种据称可以解决更年期两大问题的简单干预措施,得到了研究人员的关注,并得到《新英格兰医学杂志》(New England Journal of Medicine)和《细胞-代谢》(Cell Metabolism)等著名期刊的报道。

“It’s a super interesting idea,” said Dr. Daniel Bessesen, an obesity expert and professor of medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. With obesity rising, “we definitely need some new ideas.”

“这是一个超级有趣的想法,”科罗拉多大学医学院肥胖问题专家和医学教授丹尼尔•贝塞森(Daniel Bessesen)说。随着肥胖问题的增加,“我们肯定需要一些新的想法。”

The work began when Dr. Mone Zaidi, a professor of medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, became curious about whether a reproductive hormone — F.S.H., or follicle-stimulating hormone — affects bone density.

这项工作始于纽约市西奈山伊坎医学院(Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai)的医学教授莫尼•扎伊迪(Mone Zaidi),他对FSH生殖激素(或称促卵泡激素)给骨密度带来的影响感到好奇。

It had long been assumed that the hormone’s role was limited to reproduction. F.S.H. stimulates the production of eggs in women and sperm in men.


Researchers knew that blood levels of F.S.H. soar as women’s ovaries start to fail before menopause. At the same time, women rapidly lose bone — even when blood levels of estrogen, which can preserve bone, remain steady.


Dr. Zaidi reasoned that F.S.H. could be a culprit in bone loss. So he and his colleagues created an antibody that blocked F.S.H. in female mice whose ovaries had been removed.


Since the mice were making no estrogen at all, they ought to have been losing bone. Indeed, the bone marrow in such mice usually fills with fat instead of developing bone cells. Much the same happens in women: That’s why their bones become less dense.


But in Dr. Zaidi’s lab, the mice that received the antibody did not developed fat-filled bone marrow — and, to his enormous surprise, they lost large amounts of fat.


“This is a weird, weird finding,” he recalled telling his friend Dr. Clifford J. Rosen, a bone specialist at Maine Medical Center Research Institute. Dr. Zaidi persuaded Dr. Rosen to help repeat the experiments independently, each in his own lab.

“这是一个非常奇怪的发现,”他回忆自己当时把这个发现告诉了朋友、缅因州医学中心研究所(Maine Medical Center Research Institute)的骨科专家克利福德•J•罗森(Clifford J. Rosen)。扎伊迪劝说罗森,在后者的实验室中独立地重复这一实验。

At first, Dr. Rosen was dubious: “I said, ‘I don’t believe it, I think it’s not going to work, and it will cost a lot of money.’” But he received a grant for the research, and the two labs got started.


Two and a half years later, they had their results — and they replicated Dr. Zaidi’s original findings. The researchers also came up with a theory that might explain increased metabolic rates in mice in which F.S.H. is blocked.


There are two kinds of fat in the body: White fat primarily stores energy, and brown fat burns calories and throws off heat.


Brown fat is more common in children, but researchers have found that adults also carry small amounts. In the experimental mice, white fat was being converted to brown fat.


At the moment, Dr. Rosen is withholding judgment about whether the results will apply to humans. “I think the idea has some credibility,” he said. “But does it mean anything? I don’t know.”


But these are not the only researchers to find a link between obesity and the strange interplay of hormones.


Wendy Kohrt, a professor of medicine at the University of Colorado, has been studying the effects of menopause on women’s body fat and the amount of calories women burn.

科罗拉多大学医学教授温迪•柯尔特(Wendy Kohrt)一直在研究更年期对女性体脂以及女性卡路里燃烧的影响。

Dr. Kohrt has given healthy premenopausal women a drug that blocks production of estrogen and F.S.H., putting them into a reversible state of menopause.


Within five months, she found, the women’s fat moves to their abdomens, increasing by 11 percent on average. And they burn 50 fewer calories per day.


The effect is reversed when the participants stop taking the drug or when Dr. Kohrt gives them estrogen.


Why Does Hair Turn Gray at a Young Age?

Q. What causes hair to turn gray? Why do some people go gray at a young age? Is there any evidence that rapid weight loss, slow weight loss or intense exercise accelerates graying? I’ve noticed that women in dieting “after” pictures commonly have a new hair color, while older male marathon runners are more gray and haggard than average.


A. Hair goes gray as cells called melanocytes at the base of each hair follicle get damaged by disease, environmental exposures or simply age.


Everyone has some gray hairs throughout life, but the balance tends to tip in the 40s or 50s, with the rate of change varying by genetics, gender and ethnicity, said Dr. James Kirkland, director of the Robert and Arlene Kogod Center on Aging at the Mayo Clinic. Blacks tend to go gray later than Caucasians, with Asians falling somewhere in between. Women generally gray later than men. The age you go gray is determined primarily by genetics, so if one or both parents went gray at an early age, you would be more likely to go gray at a younger age as well.

梅奥医院罗伯特和艾琳娜•克哥特老龄化中心(Robert and Arlene Kogod Center on Aging at the Mayo Clinic)的主任詹姆斯•柯克兰(James Kirkland)博士说,每个人在一生之中都会出现白发,但变化通常发生在四五十岁的时候,而头发变白的速度和基因、性别和种族有关。黑人头发变白的时间往往比白种人晚,亚洲人则介于两者之间。女性头发变白往往比男性晚。你到了什么岁数时头发开始变白是由基因决定的,所以如果你父母其中一人或者双方的头发都是早早变白,那么你就很有可能在比较年轻的时候有白头发。

Smoking can also accelerate color change, and early graying could be a sign of autoimmune, thyroid or heart disease. “If you’ve got heart disease and your hair is gray, it’s a sign of worse heart disease,” Dr. Kirkland said.


Some people held in concentration camps during World War II who were deprived of proper nutrition also went prematurely gray, said Dr. Wilma Bergfeld, a dermatologist at the Cleveland Clinic, who specializes in hair disorders. “Everything is determined by the health of the pigment-producing cell,” she said.

克利夫兰医疗中心(Cleveland Clinic)的皮肤科医生、威尔玛•贝格费尔德(Wilma Bergfeld)博士专门研究头发问题,她说,“二战”期间被关在集中营的一些人由于得不到适当的营养补充,头发很早变白。“它完全是由生产色素的细胞是否健康决定的,”她说。

Dr. Bergfeld said she doesn’t know of anyone who has gone gray because of weight loss or exercise. Most activities that are damaging to the hair, like rapidly losing more than 20 pounds or getting chemotherapy treatment, will cause hair loss rather than a change of color, she said.


Unfortunately, there are no medications approved to restore hair color, though in early testing of the anti-hair-loss drug minoxidil, Dr. Bergfeld said that she and other researchers noticed the drug sometimes also restored hair color, suggesting it was rejuvenating the melanocytes.


It’s not clear whether chronic stress turns hair gray. Although President Obama’s hair turned gray during his time in office, studies that have looked at stress and hair color have been inconclusive, Dr. Kirkland said. (He also aged from 47 to 55, a time when many people’s hair turns gray.) “The consensus is that stress possibly does it,” he said. “But that’s a gut feeling rather than convincing evidence.”


Why It’s So Hard to Admit You’re Wrong

Despite your best intentions and efforts, it is inevitable: At some point in your life, you will be wrong.


Mistakes can be hard to digest, so sometimes we double down rather than face them. Our confirmation bias kicks in, causing us to seek out evidence to prove what we already believe. The car you cut off has a small dent in its bumper, which obviously means that it is the other driver’s fault.


Psychologists call this cognitive dissonance — the stress we experience when we hold two contradictory thoughts, beliefs, opinions or attitudes. For example, you might believe you are a kind and fair person, so when you rudely cut someone off, you experience dissonance. To cope with it, you deny your mistake and insist the other driver should have seen you, or you had the right of way even if you didn’t.


“Cognitive dissonance is what we feel when the self-concept — I’m smart, I’m kind, I’m convinced this belief is true — is threatened by evidence that we did something that wasn’t smart, that we did something that hurt another person, that the belief isn’t true,” said Carol Tavris, a co-author of the book “Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me).”

“认识失调是我们在自我认知——我是聪明、善良的,我坚信这是真的——受到证据挑战时产生的感受,这些证据显示我们做了不聪明的、伤害其他人的事,证明我们之前的想法是错的,”《错不在我》[Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me)]一书的作者之一卡罗尔•塔夫里斯(Carol Tavris)说。

She added that cognitive dissonance threatened our sense of self.


“To reduce dissonance, we have to modify the self-concept or accept the evidence,” Ms. Tavris said. “Guess which route people prefer?”


Or maybe you cope by justifying your mistake. The psychologist Leon Festinger suggested the theory of cognitive dissonance in the 1950s when he studied a small religious group that believed a flying saucer would rescue its members from an apocalypse on Dec. 20, 1954. Publishing his findings in the book “When Prophecy Fails,” he wrote that the group doubled down on its belief and said God had simply decided to spare the members, coping with their own cognitive dissonance by clinging to a justification.

或许你会为自己的错误去辩解,以此作为应对。心理学家利昂•费斯廷格(Leon Festinger) 在上世纪50年代提出了认知失调理论,当时他研究了一个小型宗教团体,该团体认为飞碟能在1954年12月20日世界末日来临时拯救其信众。他在发表这项研究发现的《预言破灭时》(When Prophecy Fails)一书中写道,这个团体进一步强化了自己的信仰,称上帝只是决定饶其成员一命,这是通过死死抓住一种解释来应对自己的认知失调。

“Dissonance is uncomfortable and we are motivated to reduce it,” Ms. Tavris said.


When we apologize for being wrong, we have to accept this dissonance, and that is unpleasant. On the other hand, research has shown that it can feel good to stick to our guns. One study, published in the European Journal of Social Psychology, found that people who refused to apologize after a mistake had more self-esteem and felt more in control and powerful than those who did not refuse.

当我们为错误道歉,就必须接受这种失调,那是令人不快的。另一方面,研究显示固执地坚持自己的观点则让会人感觉良好。一项发表于《欧洲社会心理学杂志》(European Journal of Social Psychology)的研究发现,相比于不拒绝道歉的人,犯错后拒绝道歉的人自尊心更强,也会感觉自己更有掌控力、更强大。

“In a way, apologies give power to their recipients,” said Tyler Okimoto, an author of the study. “For example, apologizing to my wife admits my wrongdoing; but apologizing also gives her the power to choose whether she wants to alleviate my shame through forgiveness, or increase my shame by holding a grudge. Our research has found that people experience a short-term increase in their feelings of personal power and control after refusing to apologize.”

“从某种程度讲,道歉是把力量交给了接受道歉的一方,”这项研究的作者泰勒•冲本(Tyler Okimoto)说。“比如,向妻子道歉等于承认我的错误;但道歉也让她有权选择是否通过原谅来减轻我的耻辱感,还是心怀怨念继而加重我的羞耻感。我们的研究发现,在拒绝道歉之后,人们的力量感和控制感会在短时间内上升。”

Feeling powerful may be an attractive short-term benefit, but there are long-term consequences. Refusing to apologize could potentially jeopardize “the trust on which a relationship is based,” Mr. Okimoto said, adding that it can extend conflict and encourage outrage or retaliation.


When you refuse to admit your mistakes, you are also less open to constructive criticism, experts said, which can help hone skills, rectify bad habits and improve yourself over all.


“We cling to old ways of doing things, even when new ways are better and healthier and smarter. We cling to self-defeating beliefs long past their shelf life,” Ms. Tavris said. “And we make our partners, co-workers, parents and kids really, really mad at us.”


Another study, from the Stanford researchers Carol Dweck and Karina Schumann, found that subjects were more likely to take responsibility for their mistakes when they believed they had the power to change their behavior. This is easier said than done, though, so how exactly do you change your behavior and learn to embrace your mistakes?

斯坦福大学研究者卡萝尔•德韦克(Carol Dweck)和卡林娜•舒曼(Karina Schumann)的另一项研究发现,人们在相信自己有能力改变自己的行为时,更可能为自己的错误承担责任。不过,这个说起来容易,做起来难,所以你到底该如何改变自己的行为,学会接受自己的错误呢?

The first step is to recognize cognitive dissonance in action. Your mind will go to great lengths to preserve your sense of identity, so it helps to be aware of what that dissonance feels like. Typically, it manifests as confusion, stress, embarrassment or guilt. Those feelings do not necessarily mean you are in the wrong, but you can at least use them as reminders to explore the situation from an impartial perspective and objectively question whether you are at fault.


Similarly, learn to recognize your usual justifications and rationalizations. Think of a time you were wrong and knew it, but tried to justify it instead. Remember how it felt to rationalize your behavior and pinpoint that feeling as cognitive dissonance the next time it happens.


Mr. Okimoto said it also helped to remember that people were often more forgiving than you might think. Traits like honesty and humility make you more human and therefore more relatable. On the flip side, if it is undeniably clear that you are in the wrong, refusing to apologize reveals low self-confidence.


“If it is clear to everybody that you made a mistake,” Mr. Okimoto said, “digging your heels in actually shows people your weakness of character rather than strength.”



Coffee May Protect Against Cancer, W.H.O. Concludes

An influential panel of experts convened by the World Health Organization concluded on Wednesday, June 15, that regularly drinking coffee could help protect against some types of cancer, a decision that followed decades of research pointing to the beverage’s many health benefits.

6月15日(周三),世界卫生组织(World Health Organization)一个颇有影响力的专家小组得出结论,经常喝咖啡有助于预防某些癌症。数十年来,很多研究发现这种饮料具有很多健康益处。

The announcement marked a rare reversal for the panel, which had previously described coffee as “possibly carcinogenic” in 1991 and linked it to bladder cancer. But since then a large body of research has portrayed coffee as a surprising elixir, finding lower rates of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, neurological disorders and several cancers in those who drink it regularly.


In their report issued Wednesday, the scientists did identify one surprising risk for coffee and tea drinkers. They said that drinking “very hot” beverages was “probably carcinogenic” because the practice was linked to esophageal cancer in some studies. But researchers say that may be caused by excessively hot beverages inflaming the lining of the throat — something that people could easily avoid by letting their hot tea or coffee cool off for a few minutes before drinking them.


Much of the evidence for coffee’s health benefits stems from observational studies, which cannot prove cause and effect. But the favorable findings on coffee consumption have been so consistent across so many studies that numerous health authorities have endorsed it as part of a healthy diet.


Last year, a panel of scientists that shaped the United States government’s 2015 dietary guidelines said there was “strong evidence” that three to five cups of coffee daily was not harmful, and that “moderate” consumption might reduce chronic disease. Another group, the World Cancer Research Fund International, reported in recent years that coffee protects against multiple cancers. And the authors of one systematic review of studies said that coffee consumption should be encouraged in people with chronic liver disease because it seems to lower their risk of dying.

去年,为美国政府2015年膳食指南提供咨询的一个科学家小组称,“有力的证据”表明,每天喝三至五杯咖啡是无害的,“适度”喝咖啡也许能减少慢性病。另一个名叫世界癌症研究基金会(World Cancer Research Fund International)的组织称,咖啡能预防多种癌症。一项系统性研究回顾的作者们称,应该鼓励慢性肝病患者饮用咖啡,因为咖啡似乎能降低他们的死亡风险。

The World Health Organization is the latest group to suggest a daily cuppa Joe might be good for health. The organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer, or IARC, said it assembled a team of 23 scientists who reviewed more than 1,000 studies and found no conclusive proof that coffee causes cancer. But the studies did suggest it was protective against some types of cancer, such as liver and uterine cancers.

世界卫生组织是最近一个表明每天喝咖啡可能有益健康的组织。该组织的国际癌症研究机构(International Agency for Research on Cancer)称,它召集了一个由23名科学家组成的团队,回顾了1000多项研究,发现没有确定性证据表明咖啡致癌。但是,那些研究表明,它能预防某些癌症,比如肝癌和子宫癌。

It is not entirely clear why. But scientists say coffee contains many antioxidants and other compounds that are being studied for their anti-cancer properties. Studies have linked decaffeinated coffee consumption to lower rates of chronic disease too, suggesting coffee’s benefits are not simply due to caffeine.


Whatever the mechanism, the news is sure to be welcomed by many Americans — about half of whom drink coffee every day. Around the world, more than 1.6 billion cups of coffee are consumed daily, making it one of the world’s most popular drinks behind tea.

Helpless to Prevent Cancer? Actually, Quite a Bit Is in Your Control

Americans seem very afraid of cancer, with good reason. Unlike other things that kill us, it often seems to come out of nowhere.


But evidence has increasingly accumulated that cancer may be preventable, too. Unfortunately, this has inflamed as much as it has assuaged people’s fears.


As a physician, I have encountered many people who believe that heart disease, which is the single biggest cause of death among Americans, is largely controllable. After all, if people ate better, were physically active and stopped smoking, then lots of them would get better. This ignores the fact that people can’t change many risk factors of heart disease like age, race and family genetics.


People don’t often seem to feel the same way about cancer. They think it’s out of their control. A study published in Science in January 2015 seemed to support that view. It tried to explain why some tissues lead to cancer more often than others. It found a strong correlation between the number of times a cell divides in the course of a lifetime and the risk of developing cancer.


In other words, this study argued that the more times DNA replicates, the more often something can go wrong. Some took this to mean that cancer is much more because of “bad luck” than because of other factors that people could control.


Unfortunately, this simple explanation is not really what the study showed. Lung cells, for instance, divide quite rarely, and still account for a significant amount of cancer. Cells in the gastrointestinal tract divide all the time and account for many fewer cancers. Some cancers, like melanoma, were found to be in the group of cancers influenced more by intrinsic factors (or those we can’t control), when we clearly know that extrinsic factors, like sun exposure, are a major cause.


Further, this study was focused more on the relative risks of cancer in one type of tissue versus another. What we really care about is how much we can reduce our own risk of cancer by changing our behavior.


A more recent study published in Nature argues that there is a lot we can do. Many studies have shown that environmental risk factors and exposures contribute greatly to many cancers. Diet is related to colorectal cancer. Alcohol and tobacco are related to esophageal cancer. HPV is related to cervical cancer, and hepatitis C is related to liver cancer.


And you’d have to be living under a rock not to know that smoking causes lung cancer and that too much sun can lead to skin cancer.


Using sophisticated modeling techniques, the researchers argued that less than 30 percent of the lifetime risk of getting many common cancers was because of intrinsic risk factors, or the “bad luck.” The rest were things you can change.


Most recently, in JAMA Oncology, researchers sought to quantify how a healthful lifestyle might actually alter the risk of cancer. They identified four domains that are often noted to be related to disease prevention: smoking, drinking, obesity and exercise.

最近,在《美国医学会期刊•肿瘤学》(JAMA Oncology)上发表的论文显示,研究者试图量化健康的生活方式可以如何实质性地改变罹患癌症的风险。他们找出了四个经常被指出与疾病预防有关的因素:抽烟、喝酒、肥胖和运动。

They defined people who engaged in healthy levels of all of these activities as a “low risk” group. Then they compared their risk of getting cancer with people who weren’t in this group. They included two groups of people who have been followed and studied a long time, the Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, as well as national cancer statistics.

他们把在这四个方面保持健康水平的人列为“低风险”人群,然后把他们患癌症的风险与不在此列的人作比较。其中包括被追踪和研究了很长时间的两组人,即护士健康研究(Nurses’ Health Study)和医药卫生从业人员随访研究(Health Professionals Follow-up Study)的参与者,还参考了全美的癌症数据。

Of the nearly 90,000 women and more than 46,000 men, 16,531 women and 11,731 men fell into the low-risk group. For each type of cancer, researchers calculated a population-attributable risk, which is the percentage of people who develop cancer who might have avoided it had they adopted low-risk behaviors.


About 82 percent of women and 78 percent of men who got lung cancer might have prevented it through healthy behaviors. About 29 percent of women and 20 percent of men might have prevented colon and rectal cancer. About 30 percent of both might have prevented pancreatic cancer. Breast cancer was much less preventable: 4 percent.


Over all, though, about 25 percent of cancer in women and 33 percent in men was potentially preventable. Close to half of all cancer deaths might be prevented as well.


No study is perfect, and this is no exception. These cohorts are overwhelmingly white and consist of health professionals, who are not necessarily like the population at large. But the checks against the national data showed that if anything, these results might be underestimating how much cancer is preventable by healthy behaviors.


As we talk about cancer “moonshots” that will most likely cost billions of dollars and might not achieve results, it’s worth considering that — as in many cases — prevention is not only the cheapest course, but also the most effective.


Simple changes to people’s behaviors have the potential to make sure many cancers never occur. They have a side benefit of preventing health problems in many other areas, too. Investment in these efforts may not be as exciting, but it may yield greater results.


Plumes From Saturn’s Moon Enceladus Hint That It Could Support Life

Could icy moons like Saturn’s Enceladus in the outer solar system be home to microbes or other forms of alien life?


Intriguing new findings from data collected by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft suggest the possibility.


Plumes of gas erupting out of Enceladus — a small moon with an ocean of liquid water beneath its icy crust — contain hydrogen. Scientists infer a lot from that: that there are hydrothermal chemical reactions similar to those that occur at hot fissures at the ocean bottoms on Earth.


On Earth at least, hydrothermal vents thrive with microbial life, offering up the potential that icy moons far from Earth — called “ocean worlds” by NASA — could be habitable.


“That’s just going to be a tremendous opportunity to test our theories and see if there’s life there,” said James L. Green, director of planetary science at NASA.

“这将是我们检验理论的一个难得的机会,看看那里是不是真的有生命存在,”NASA行星科学部主任詹姆斯•L•格林(James L. Green)说。

This is the latest discovery by Cassini, which is heading into its final months after 13 years of exploring Saturn, its moons and rings. On April 22, Cassini begins a journey that will take it between the planet and its rings for 22 orbits before its mission finally ends with a crash into Saturn’s atmosphere in September.


Cassini’s findings also show that levels of carbon dioxide, hydrogen and methane measured in the Enceladus plume were out of equilibrium, an imbalance that could provide an energy source that organisms could tap into for food, according to a paper published Thursday in the journal Science.


“It indicates there is chemical potential to support microbial systems,” said J. Hunter Waite Jr., program director for the space science and engineering division at the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio and lead author of the Science paper.

“它表明那里有支持微生物系统的化学势,”发表在《科学》的那篇论文的主要作者、位于圣安东尼奥的西南研究院(Southwest Research Institute)的太空科学与工程部项目主管小J•亨特•韦特(J. Hunter Waite Jr.)说。

In a separate paper published Thursday in The Astrophysical Journal Letters, another team of researchers, using the Hubble Space Telescope, once again spotted what appears to be a similar plume rising from Europa, one of Jupiter’s big moons that also possesses an ocean beneath an icy exterior.

在周四发表于《天体物理期刊通讯》(Astrophysical Journal Letters)的另一篇论文中,另一组研究人员用哈勃太空望远镜(Hubble Space Telescope)又一次观测到木星的大型卫星之一欧罗巴(Europa)似乎也在释放类似的气体,这个卫星也有包裹在冰冻外层之下的海洋。

Cassini had earlier found that there are seas of methane on Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, a discovery that has inspired some scientists to suggest sending a boat there.


At a mere 310 miles wide, Enceladus was considered too small to be geologically interesting; scientists suspected that its interior had frozen solid long ago. But 11 years ago, Cassini spotted plumes rising from the south pole region, one of the biggest, most surprising discoveries of the mission.


The tidal forces of Saturn pulling and squeezing Enceladus appear to generate enough heat to melt the ice. From additional Cassini observations, scientists concluded that not only is there a pool of water near the south pole of Enceladus to generate the plumes, but a global ocean that lies beneath the moon’s ice.


In October 2015, Cassini swooped to within 30 miles of the surface of Enceladus, and one of its instruments collected and identified particles in the plume spray. It was mostly water molecules, but Dr. Waite and his colleagues also found hydrogen molecules, up to 1.4 percent by volume.


While hydrogen is the most common element in the universe, it was not expected to be found in any quantity on a moon as small as Enceladus, where the gravity is too slight to hold on to the gas for long.


“Just finding hydrogen was a surprise,” said Christopher R. Glein, a geochemist at the Southwest Research Institute and another author of the Science paper.

“单单发现氢就已经是个意外,”发表在《科学》杂志那篇论文的另一位作者、西南研究院地球化学家克里斯托弗•R•格莱茵(Christopher R. Glein)说。

After considering a variety of ways that could continually generate hydrogen, the scientists concluded that hydrothermal reactions offered the most likely explanation for producing that much of the gas. Each water molecule consists of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom. Geophysical models indicated that as hot water flows past the rocks, minerals in the rocks were grabbing the oxygen atoms and releasing hydrogen, the scientists reported.


There appeared to be enough energy to support microbes. “This is the first time we’ve been able to make a calorie count of an alien ocean,” Dr. Glein said. Asked what that calorie count was, Dr. Glein said it was the equivalent of 300 pizzas per hour.


“This is a great result for the habitability of Enceladus,” said Christopher P. McKay, a planetary scientist at the NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, Calif., who was not involved with the research.

“对衡量恩塞拉多斯的可居住性而言,这是个很不错的结果,”与这项研究无关的加州山景市NASA艾姆斯研究中心(Ames Research Center)行星科学家克里斯托弗•P•麦凯(Christopher P. McKay)说。

Dr. McKay said the hydrogen levels are far above what microbes need.


Still, the presence of hydrogen does not prove that life exists on Enceladus. It might suggest the opposite.


At hydrothermal vents on Earth, the hydrogen is quickly gobbled up by microbes. That so much hydrogen is rising through Enceladus’s ocean and reaching space could mean there is no life on the little moon to take advantage of it. At a department meeting, say, “if you have those stacks of pizzas, they disappear,” said Mary A. Voytek, head of NASA’s astrobiology program.

在地球上的热液排放处,氢很快就会被微生物吸收。有那么多氢从恩塞拉多斯的海洋中产生、升至太空,有可能意味着这个小卫星上没有生命体可以利用这些氢气。比方说,在开部门会议时,“你叫了很多的披萨,它们便会被消灭掉”,NASA天体生物项目负责人玛丽•A•沃伊泰克(Mary A. Voytek)说道。

Or life could exist, but is limited by other factors. “If there is biology there, it isn’t very active,” Dr. Voytek said.


Scientists will not get any more data for a long time.


Cassini will make no more close flybys of Enceladus. The spacecraft is low on fuel, and the mission will come to a close in September. For the last few months, Cassini has shifted to a different orbit that will allow it to probe the interior properties of Saturn and take a close look at the inner part of its rings.


NASA has at present no plans to return to Saturn or Enceladus. But it is currently soliciting proposals for a mission with a price tag of up to $850 million, and one of the areas in which NASA specified an interest is a mission to explore Enceladus and Titan.


The Enceladus findings also aid the design of Europa Clipper, NASA’s next big planetary mission, which is to launch in the 2020s to study Europa.

恩塞拉多斯的发现也会对NASA下一个重要行星飞行任务欧罗巴快船(Europa Clipper)的设计有所帮助,后者将于本世纪20年代发射,对欧罗巴卫星进行探测。

In the new Astrophysical Journal Letters paper, researchers led by William B. Sparks of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore report on a Hubble Space Telescope observation in 2016 that revealed a likely plume of water vapor rising from the same spot on Europa where the researchers saw a similar plume two years earlier.

在发表于《天体物理期刊通讯》的那篇新论文中,由巴尔的摩太空望远镜科学研究所(Space Telescope Science Institute)的威廉•B•斯巴克斯(William B. Sparks)领导的研究团队报告了他们2016年用哈勃太空望远镜观测到的情况,其中显示卫星欧罗巴上有类似水蒸气的东西升起,地点就在研究人员两年前看到类似烟缕的地方。

In addition, NASA’s Galileo spacecraft in the 1990s found that this location on Europa was unusually warm, and scientists would not be surprised to find hydrothermal vents there, too. “The geophysics is similar everywhere,” Dr. Voytek said.


In ‘Enormous Success,’ Scientists Tie 52 Genes to Human Intelligence

In a significant advance in the study of mental ability, a team of European and American scientists announced Monday that they had identified 52 genes linked to intelligence in nearly 80,000 people.


These genes do not determine intelligence, however. Their combined influence is minuscule, the researchers said, suggesting that thousands more are likely to be involved and still await discovery. Just as important, intelligence is profoundly shaped by the environment.


Still, the findings could make it possible to begin new experiments into the biological basis of reasoning and problem-solving, experts said. They could even help researchers determine which interventions would be most effective for children struggling to learn.


“This represents an enormous success,” said Paige Harden, a psychologist at the University of Texas, who was not involved in the study.

“这是巨大的成功,”德克萨斯大学(University of Texas)的心理学家佩奇•哈登(Paige Harden)说。她没有参与这项研究。

For over a century, psychologists have studied intelligence by asking people questions. Their exams have evolved into batteries of tests, each probing a different mental ability, such as verbal reasoning or memorization.


In a typical test, the tasks might include imagining an object rotating, picking out a shape to complete a figure, and then pressing a button as fast as possible whenever a particular type of word appears.


Each test-taker may get varying scores for different abilities. But overall, these scores tend to hang together — people who score low on one measure tend to score low on the others, and vice versa. Psychologists sometimes refer to this similarity as general intelligence.


It’s still not clear what in the brain accounts for intelligence. Neuroscientists have compared the brains of people with high and low test scores for clues, and they’ve found a few.


Brain size explains a small part of the variation, for example, although there are plenty of people with small brains who score higher than others with bigger brains.


Other studies hint that intelligence has something to do with how efficiently a brain can send signals from one region to another.


Danielle Posthuma, a geneticist at Vrije University Amsterdam and senior author of the new paper, first became interested in the study of intelligence in the 1990s. “I’ve always been intrigued by how it works,” she said. “Is it a matter of connections in the brain, or neurotransmitters that aren’t sufficient?”

阿姆斯特丹自由大学(Vrije University Amsterdam)遗传学家、这篇新论文的责任作者丹妮耶勒•波斯杜马(Danielle Posthuma)从上世纪90年代开始对智力研究产生兴趣。“我一直想知道它是如何运转的,”她说,“它与大脑内部的连接有关,还是与神经递质是否充足有关?”

Posthuma wanted to find the genes that influence intelligence. She started by studying identical twins who share the same DNA. Identical twins tended to have more similar intelligence test scores than fraternal twins, she and her colleagues found.


Hundreds of other studies have come to the same conclusion, showing a clear genetic influence on intelligence. But that doesn’t mean that intelligence is determined by genes alone.


In 2014, Posthuma was part of a large-scale study of more than 150,000 people that revealed 108 genes linked to schizophrenia. But she and her colleagues had less luck with intelligence, which has proved a hard nut to crack for a few reasons.


Standard intelligence tests can take a long time to complete, making it hard to gather results on huge numbers of people. Scientists can try combining smaller studies, but they often have to merge different tests together, potentially masking the effects of genes.


As a result, the first generation of genome-wide association studies on intelligence failed to find any genes. Later studies managed to turn up promising results, but when researchers turned to other groups of people, the effect of the genes again disappeared.


But in the past couple years, larger studies relying on new statistical methods finally have produced compelling evidence that particular genes really are involved in shaping human intelligence.


“There’s a huge amount of real innovation going on,” said Stuart J. Ritchie, a geneticist at the University of Edinburgh who was not involved in the new study.

“出现了大量真正的创新,”爱丁堡大学(University of Edinburgh)的遗传学家斯图尔特•J•里奇(Stuart J. Ritchie)说。他没有参与这项新研究。

Posthuma and other experts decided to merge data from 13 earlier studies, forming a vast database of genetic markers and intelligence test scores. After so many years of frustration, Posthuma was pessimistic it would work.


“I thought, ‘Of course we’re not going to find anything,’” she said.


She was wrong. To her surprise, 52 genes emerged with firm links to intelligence. A dozen had turned up in earlier studies, but 40 were entirely new.


But all of these genes together account for just a small percentage of the variation in intelligence test scores, the researchers found; each variant raises or lowers IQ by only a small fraction of a point.


“It means there’s a long way to go, and there are going to be a lot of other genes that are going to be important,” Posthuma said.


Christopher F. Chabris, a co-author of the new study at Geisinger Health System in Danville, Pennsylvania, was optimistic that many of those missing genes would come to light, thanks to even larger studies involving hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of people.

该研究的合作者克里斯托弗•F•查布里斯(Christopher F. Chabris)对此表示乐观,他认为很多遗失的基因会被发现,因为会出现涉及数十万甚至数百万人的更大型的研究。这项新研究是宾夕法尼亚州丹维尔市的盖辛格健康系统(Geisinger Health System)组织进行的。

“It’s just like astronomy getting better with bigger telescopes,” he said.


In the new study, Posthuma and her colleagues limited their research to people of European descent because that raised the odds of finding common genetic variants linked to intelligence.


But other gene studies have shown that variants in one population can fail to predict what people are like in other populations. Different variants turn out to be important in different groups, and this may well be the case with intelligence.


“If you try to predict height using the genes we’ve identified in Europeans in Africans, you’d predict all Africans are 5 inches shorter than Europeans, which isn’t true,” Posthuma said.


Studies like the one published today don’t mean that intelligence is fixed by our genes, experts noted. “If we understand the biology of something, that doesn’t mean we’re putting it down to determinism,” Ritchie said.


As an analogy, he noted that nearsightedness is strongly influenced by genes. But we can change the environment — in the form of eyeglasses — to improve people’s eyesight.


Harden predicted that an emerging understanding of the genetics of intelligence would make it possible to find better ways to help children develop intellectually. Knowing people’s genetic variations would help scientists measure how effective different strategies are.


Still, Harden said, we don’t have to wait for such studies to change people’s environments for the better. “We know that lead harms children’s intellectual abilities,” she said. “There’s low-hanging policy fruit here.”


Large Sections of Australia’s Great Reef Are Now Dead, Scientists Find

SYDNEY, Australia — The Great Barrier Reef in Australia has long been one of the world’s most magnificent natural wonders, so enormous it can be seen from space, so beautiful it can move visitors to tears.


But the reef, and the profusion of sea creatures living near it, are in profound trouble.


Huge sections of the Great Barrier Reef, stretching across hundreds of miles of its most pristine northern sector, were recently found to be dead, killed last year by overheated seawater. More southerly sections around the middle of the reef that barely escaped then are bleaching now, a potential precursor to another die-off that could rob some of the reef’s most visited areas of color and life.


Severe bleaching last year on the northern Great Barrier Reef affected even the largest and oldest corals.

“We didn’t expect to see this level of destruction to the Great Barrier Reef for another 30 years,” said Terry P. Hughes, director of a government-funded center for coral reef studies at James Cook University in Australia and the lead author of a paper on the reef that is being published Thursday as the cover article of the journal Nature. “In the north, I saw hundreds of reefs — literally two-thirds of the reefs were dying and are now dead.”

“我们原以为再过30年大堡礁也不会出现这种程度的毁坏,”澳大利亚詹姆斯库克大学(James Cook University)一个由政府资助的珊瑚礁研究中心的主任、《自然》杂志周四将要发表的一篇有关珊瑚礁的封面文章的主要作者特里•P•休斯(Terry P. Hughes)说。“之前我看到北部基本占到大堡礁三分之二的成百上千的珊瑚礁快要死亡,现在它们真的死了。”

The damage to the Great Barrier Reef, one of the world’s largest living structures, is part of a global calamity that has been unfolding intermittently for nearly two decades and seems to be intensifying. In the paper, dozens of scientists described the recent disaster as the third worldwide mass bleaching of coral reefs since 1998, but by far the most widespread and damaging.


The state of coral reefs is a telling sign of the health of the seas. Their distress and death are yet another marker of the ravages of global climate change.


If most of the world’s coral reefs die, as scientists fear is increasingly likely, some of the richest and most colorful life in the ocean could be lost, along with huge sums from reef tourism. In poorer countries, lives are at stake: Hundreds of millions of people get their protein primarily from reef fish, and the loss of that food supply could become a humanitarian crisis.


With this latest global bleaching in its third year, reef scientists say they have no doubt as to the responsible party.


They warned decades ago that the coral reefs would be at risk if human society kept burning fossil fuels at a runaway pace, releasing greenhouse gases that warm the ocean. Emissions continued to rise, and now the background ocean temperature is high enough that any temporary spike poses a critical risk to reefs.


“Climate change is not a future threat,” Professor Hughes said. “On the Great Barrier Reef, it’s been happening for 18 years.”


Corals require warm water to thrive, but they are exquisitely sensitive to extra heat. Just two or three degrees Fahrenheit of excess warming can sometimes kill the tiny creatures.


Globally, the ocean has warmed by about 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit since the late 19th century, by a conservative calculation, and a bit more in the tropics, home to many reefs. An additional kick was supplied by an El Niño weather pattern that peaked in 2016 and temporarily warmed much of the surface of the planet, causing the hottest year in a historical record dating to 1880.


It was obvious last year that the corals on many reefs were likely to die, but now formal scientific assessments are coming in. The paper in Nature documents vast coral bleaching in 2016 along a 500-mile section of the reef north of Cairns, a city on Australia’s eastern coast.


Bleaching indicates that corals are under heat stress, but they do not always die and cooler water can help them recover. Subsequent surveys of the Great Barrier Reef, conducted late last year after the deadline for inclusion in the Nature paper, documented that extensive patches of reef had in fact died, and would not be likely to recover soon, if at all.


Professor Hughes led those surveys. He said that he and his students cried when he showed them maps of the damage, which he had calculated in part by flying low in small planes and helicopters.


Professor Hughes said he hoped the die-off this time would not be as serious as last year’s, but “back-to-back bleaching is unheard-of in Australia.” The central and southern part of the reef had already been badly damaged by human activities like dredging and pollution.

The Australian government has tried to combat these local threats with its Reef 2050 plan, restricting port development, dredging and agricultural runoff, among other risks. But Professor Hughes’s research found that, given the high temperatures, these national efforts to improve water quality were not enough.

澳大利亚政府一直在竭力应对当地的这些威胁,它制定了《大堡礁2050年计划》(Reef 2050),限制港口发展、清淤和农田径流等威胁。但修斯的研究发现,考虑到现在海水温度比较高,单单依靠这些改善水质的全国性举措不足以解决问题。

“The reefs in muddy water were just as fried as those in pristine water,” Professor Hughes said. “That’s not good news in terms of what you can do locally to prevent bleaching — the answer to that is not very much at all. You have to address climate change directly.”


With the election of Donald J. Trump as the American president, a recent global deal to tackle the problem, known as the Paris Agreement, seems to be in peril. Australia’s conservative government also continues to support fossil fuel development, including what many scientists and conservationists see as the reef’s most immediate threat — a proposed coal mine, expected to be among the world’s largest, to be built inland from the reef by the Adani Group, a conglomerate based in India.

随着唐纳德•J•特朗普(Donald J. Trump)当选美国总统,最近达成的一项应对这个问题的全球协议《巴黎协议》(Paris Agreement)似乎面临危险。澳大利亚的保守派政府还在继续支持矿物燃料发展,包括一项在许多科学家和环保人士看来对珊瑚礁构成最急迫威胁的计划——提议建造的一座有可能为全世界最大的煤矿,由总部位于印度的大企业集团阿达尼集团(Adani Group)从大堡礁向内陆建造。

“The fact is, Australia is the largest coal exporter in the world, and the last thing we should be doing to our greatest national asset is making the situation worse,” said Imogen Zethoven, campaign director for the Australian Marine Conservation Society.

“事实是,澳大利亚是世界上最大的煤炭出口国,对于这个国家最宝贵的资产,我们最不应该做的事情就让情况恶化,”澳大利亚海洋保护协会的宣传主管伊莫金•扎托文(Imogen Zethoven)说。

Australia relies on the Great Barrier Reef for about 70,000 jobs and billions of dollars annually in tourism revenue, and it is not yet clear how that economy will be affected by the reef’s deterioration. Even in hard-hit areas, large patches of the Great Barrier Reef survived, and guides will most likely take tourists there, avoiding the dead zones.


The global reef crisis does not necessarily mean extinction for coral species. The corals may save themselves, as many other creatures are attempting to do, by moving toward the poles as the Earth warms, establishing new reefs in cooler water.


But the changes humans are causing are so rapid, by geological standards, that it is not entirely clear that coral species will be able to keep up. And even if the corals do survive, that does not mean individual reefs will continue to thrive where they do now.


Within a decade, certain kinds of branching and plate coral could be extinct, reef scientists say, along with a variety of small fish that rely on them for protection from predators.


“I don’t think the Great Barrier Reef will ever again be as great as it used to be — at least not in our lifetimes,” said C. Mark Eakin, a reef expert with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, in Silver Spring, Md.

“我不觉得大堡礁会重新变得像以前一样壮美——至少在我们有生之年不会,”国家海洋与大气管理局的礁石专家C•马克•埃金(C. Mark Eakin)在马里兰州银泉说。
A New Formula to Help Tame China’s Yellow River

Each year thousands of tourists flock to a reservoir along the Yellow River in China to witness a ritual cleansing so violent that it can look as if the earth just exploded. At the end of June and the start of July, for as long as two weeks before the flood season, Chinese officials open large portals along the walls of the Xiaolangdi Dam, releasing clear and muddy water simultaneously from the reservoir above to the river below. It gushes out, and in some years clouds the color of doom ascend beyond the dam’s walls.


The Yellow River is considered the cradle of China’s civilization — but also its sorrow. Its vast floodplains coaxed people in for agriculture. Yet its violent floods have killed millions.


The precautionary purging at the Xiaolangdi Dam, which has occurred annually since 2002, is the latest high-tech attempt to prevent flooding and tame the Yellow River, which today threatens more than 80 million people. It carries sediment more concentrated than in any other river in the world — so much that tiny particles of sand and silt clog reservoirs, raise riverbeds, break levees and cause potentially catastrophic floods. During what is called the Water and Sediment Regulation Discharge Project at Xiaolangdi Dam, muddy water evacuates sediment from the reservoir, and clear water washes sand out from the channel below to reduce flood risk.


The annual purge can lower the riverbed by about six feet a year on average, but a surprising discovery about the river’s bottom, as well as its unusual capacity to carry high loads of sediment, could one day mean that the purge may not be as effective at preventing floods. In a study published last month in the journal Science Advances, researchers suggest new considerations to take into account when conducting this yearly event.

泄洪能把河床平均每年降低约六英尺,但是一项关于河底的意外发现,以及黄河运送大量沉积物的不寻常能力,可能意味着将来有一天,这种泄洪方式在防洪方面不会产生同样的效果。在上个月《科学前沿》(Science Advances)杂志发表的一项研究中,研究人员建议在今年的泄洪工作中,将一些新的因素考虑在内。

Previous models couldn’t explain how the Yellow River transports about a billion tons of sediment thousands of miles to the sea each year. Compared with the Mississippi River, it holds three times as much sediment and just a tenth of the water. But Hongbo Ma and Jeffrey A. Nittrouer, both geologists at Rice University and lead authors of the study, examined historical data and scanned the bed of the river with 3-D sonar.

之前的模型不能解释黄河如何每年携带约10亿吨沉积物,奔流数千英里,运到海里。黄河运送的沉积物量是密西西比河的三倍,而运送的水量仅为它的十分之一。不过,赖斯大学(Rice University)的地质学家、这项研究的主要作者马宏博和杰弗里•A•尼特劳尔(Jeffrey A. Nittrouer)研究了历史数据,用3D声纳设备扫描了黄河河床。

“It was very striking to see that the Yellow River bottom is basically flat,” Dr. Ma said.


It was assumed that the river’s flow produced relatively tall, closely spaced dunes that slowed the water and sucked up energy that might otherwise be available for sediment transport. But the Yellow River, with its fine sediment particles, had low dunes spaced far apart, freeing more energy to move the sediment.


With this discovery, the researchers and their colleagues developed a universal formula that could be used on all kinds of rivers to predict the exact sediment amounts traveling in the fluid. They can better predict where and when floods will occur or new land will be formed.


“We want to make the Yellow River the poster child of rivers and deltas around the world,” Dr. Nittrouer said.


At the Xiaolangdi Dam, competing systems may simultaneously lower the riverbed as clear water flushes away sediment and raise it as sandy water forms dunes that slow the sediment flow. Combining the new formula with the old model could help operators prevent more floods by achieving a better balance between the systems.


Last year, officials unexpectedly canceled the release because there wasn’t enough water or muck to need flushing, possibly because of lighter rainfall.


To not disappoint tourists, they released clear water from the dam for just 15 minutes.


It’s unclear what to expect this year. “It would have to be the end of June or July,” Dr. Ma said, “but honestly we’re not aware of whether this event will happen or not.”

English Village Becomes Climate Leader by Quietly Cleaning Up Its Own Patch

ASHTON HAYES, England — This small village of about 1,000 people looks like any other nestled in the countryside.


But Ashton Hayes is different in an important way when it comes to one of the world’s most pressing issues: climate change. Hundreds of residents have banded together to cut greenhouse gas emissions — they use clotheslines instead of dryers, take fewer flights, install solar panels and glaze windows to better insulate their homes.


The effort, reaching its 10th anniversary this year, has led to a 24 percent cut in emissions, according to surveys by a professor of environmental sustainability who lives here.


But what makes Ashton Hayes unusual is its approach — the residents have done it themselves, without prodding from government. About 200 towns, cities and counties around the world — including Notteroy, Norway; Upper Saddle River, New Jersey; and Changhua County, Taiwan — have reached out to learn how the villagers here did it.

然而,真正使得阿什顿海斯与众不同的是他们的做法──这些行动都是村民在没有政府驱策的情况下自发而为的。全世界有200多个城镇与国家都来取过经,想学习这些村民是怎么办到的,其中包括了挪威的讷特岛(Notteroy)、美国新泽西州的上马鞍河(Upper Saddle River) ,还有台湾的彰化县。

As climate science has become more accepted, and the effects of a warming planet are becoming increasingly clear, Ashton Hayes is a case study for the next phase of battling climate change: getting people to change their habits.


“We just think everyone should try to clean up their patch,” said Rosemary Dossett, a resident of the village. “And rather than going out and shouting about it, we just do it.”

“我们只是觉得每个人都该把自己的地方打理好,”村民罗斯玛莉‧杜赛特(Rosemary Dossett)表示。“与其到外头去嚷嚷这个主张,我们不如就实践它了。”

One of their secrets, it seems, is that the people of Ashton Hayes feel in charge, rather than following government policies. When the member of Parliament who represents the village showed up at their first public meeting in January 2006, he was told he could not make any speeches.


“We said, ‘This is not about you tonight, this is about us, and you can listen to what we’ve got to say for a change,’” said Kate Harrison, a resident and early member of the group.

“我们说:‘今晚的主角不是你,是我们。你可以听听我们对变化有什么话要说。’”村民凯特‧哈里森(Kate Harrison)说。她也是这个团体的早期成员。

No politician has been allowed to address the group since. The village has kept the effort separate from party politics, which residents thought would only divide them along ideological lines.


The project was started by Garry Charnock, a former journalist who trained as a hydrologist and has lived in the village for about 30 years. He got the idea a little more than a decade ago after attending a lecture about climate change at the Hay Festival, an annual literary gathering in Wales. He decided to try to get Ashton Hayes to become, as he put it, “Britain’s first carbon-neutral village.”

这个减排计划是由盖瑞‧查纳克(Garry Charnock)发起的,他是水文学家出身,曾当过记者,在阿什顿海斯住了大约30年。10年多一点之前,他在海伊艺术节(Hay Festival)听了一场关于气候变化的演讲,产生了这个想法。这个一年一度在威尔斯举办的艺术节是个文学性聚会。查纳克决意让阿什顿海斯成为——用他的话来讲,就是“英国的第一个碳中和村庄”。

“But even if we don’t,” he recalls thinking at the time, “let’s try to have a little fun.”


Sometimes, efforts to reduce greenhouse gases involve guilt-tripping or doomsday scenarios that make people feel as if the problem is too overwhelming to tackle.


In Ashton Hayes — about 25 miles southeast of Liverpool, with a 19th-century Anglican church and a community-owned shop that doubles as a post office — the villagers have lightened the mood.


They hold public wine-and-cheese meetings in the biggest houses in town, “so everyone can have a look around,” and see how the wealthier people live, said Charnock, executive director of RSK, an environmental consulting company. “We don’t ever finger-wag in Ashton Hayes.”


About 650 people — more than half of the village’s residents — showed up to the first meeting, Charnock said. Some in the village were less keen, but little by little, they began to participate.


Some have gone further. When they were looking to build their energy-efficient home and heard about Ashton Hayes’ carbon-neutral project, Dossett and her husband, Ian, thought it might be the perfect village for them.


They moved from nearby South Warrington and found two old farm cottages, which they converted into a two-story brick house, and installed huge triple-glazed windows, photovoltaic cells on the roof, a geothermal heat pump that heats the home and its water, and an underground cistern to hold rainwater for toilets and the garden.

他们从邻近的南沃灵顿(South Warrington)搬来此地,找到两间老农舍并改建成一栋两层楼的砖房。这栋房子加装了大片的三层玻璃窗、屋顶有光电池、有地热泵给房子供暖与加热水源,还有一个收集雨水的地下储水槽提供厕所与花园用水。

“I wouldn’t want anyone to think we live in a mud hut,” Dossett said, sitting on a couch in her warm, well-lit living room.


The Dossetts also have a vegetable garden, grow grapes for wine, brew beer and keep two cows, which mow the lawn and may also eventually become food in a few years. They pay about 500 pounds (about $650) a year for electricity and heating.


Though deep cuts across the globe are still required to make broader progress, actions to reduce emissions, even by small towns, are a step in the right direction, say experts who study community action on climate change.


“The community-building element of all this has been as important as the environmental impact so far,” said Sarah Darby, a researcher at Oxford University’s Environmental Change Institute.

“对所有的减排行动来说,建立社区意识都和行动所造成的环境效应同样重要,”牛津大学环境变化中心(Environmental Change Institute)的研究员莎拉‧达比(Sarah Darby)表示。

She added that Ashton Hayes was in a good position to take on these kinds of projects — it is a small village of well-off and well-educated people, so simply taking fewer flights each year can have a big effect.

达比又说,阿什顿海斯有很好的条件来执行这类计划── 该村规模小,居民富裕且教育程度高,所以他们就算每年只是少搭几趟飞机也能产生很大影响。

Residents were able to cut emissions by about 20 percent in the first year alone, according to surveys used to calculate carbon footprints that were developed by Roy Alexander, a local professor, and his students.

根据当地教授罗伊‧亚历山大(Roy Alexander)与他的学生建立的碳足迹测量法,该村居民光是在采取行动的第一年就可以减少20%的碳排放。

Some have had even more significant reductions: Households that participated in surveys in both the first and 10th years shrank their energy use by about 40 percent.


Charnock said he thought the village could get the cuts in its 2006 carbon footprint to 80 percent in the next few years with the help of grant money to buy and install solar panels on the local school and other buildings.


The next thing they have to do, he said, is to get the county government to be as committed to cutting emissions as Ashton Hayes is.


“There’s so much apathy,” Charnock said. “We need to squeeze that layer of apathy jelly and get it out.”


Laser Scans Unveil a Network of Ancient Cities in Cambodia

SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA — For decades, archaeologists here kept their eyes on the ground as they tramped through thick jungle, rice paddies and buffalo grazing fields, emerald green and soft with mud during the monsoon season.


They spent entire careers trying to spot mounds or depressions in the earth that would allow them to map even small parts of Angkor, the urban center at the heart of the Khmer empire, which covered a vast region of what is now Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam and Laos from roughly 802 to 1431. In modern times, little material evidence existed beyond a network of monumental stone temples, including the famed Angkor Wat, and the sprawling settlements that presumably fanned out around the temples long since swallowed up by the jungle.


But this year, the archaeologists Shaun Mackey and Kong Leaksmy were armed with a portable GPS device containing data from an aerial survey of the area that is changing the way Angkor is studied. The device led them straight to a field littered with clods of earth and shot through with tractor marks. It looked to the naked eye like an ordinary patch of dirt, but the aerial data had identified it as a site of interest, a mounded embankment where the ancestors of today’s Cambodians might have altered the landscape to build homes.

但在今年,考古学家肖恩•麦基(Shaun Mackey)与贡•里克斯米(Kong Leaksmy)配备了手提GPS设备,里面存储了这一带的空中勘测资料,一举改变了对吴哥古迹的研究方式。这种设备可以直接把他们引向一片满是土块和拖拉机痕迹的田地。肉眼看上去,这里只是一片普普通通的土地,但是空中勘测数据显示它是一处有价值的地点,是一处隆起的堤坝,柬埔寨人的祖先或许曾在这里改变地貌,建造家园。

Almost immediately after stepping onto the field, Mackey, his eyes glued to the ground, pounced on a shard of celadon pottery. Soon the team had turned up a small trove of potsherds and began taking copious notes.


“It’s not sexy, like a temple, but for an archaeologist it’s really interesting that we have this representation of cultural activity,” he said. He and Kong Leaksmy are part of a consortium of scholars called the Cambodian Archaeological Lidar Initiative, or CALI, which uses a technology known as lidar to shoot ultraquick pulses of light at the ground from lasers mounted on helicopters. The way they bounce back can show the presence of subtle gradations in the landscape, indicating places where past civilizations altered their environment, even if buried beneath thick vegetation or other obstructions.

“这不像寺院那么迷人,但是对于考古学家来说,这些文化活动的象征真的非常有趣,”他说。他和贡•里克斯米隶属于一个名为柬埔寨考古光学雷达行动(Cambodian Archaeological Lidar Initiative)的学者团,简称CALI,他们使用一种名叫光学雷达的技术,用直升机上搭载的激光器向地面发射极快的激光脉冲。它们反射回来的方式可以显示地面的细微变化,指示古代文明曾经改变过地表环境的地点,就算被厚厚的植被或其他障碍物所掩盖也能勘测出来。

The soft-spoken, fedora-clad Mackey, a 14-year veteran of fieldwork here, noted that before lidar’s availability, an accurate ground survey of archaeological features in the Cambodian landscape entailed years or even decades of work.


“We had hit a roadblock in terms of technology until recently,” said Damian Evans, the archaeologist who heads the initiative. “The vegetation was obscuring these parts of Angkor and other monumental sites. The lidar allowed us to see through the vegetation.”

“我们遇到了技术方面的障碍,不久前才解决,”该行动的领导者达米安•伊文思(Damian Evans)说。“植被淹没了吴哥古迹的这些部分,以及其他重要遗迹。光学雷达技术可以帮助我们透过植被看清地貌。”

The Secrets of an Empire


The result, Evans said, has been an unprecedented new understanding of what the Khmer empire looked like at the apex of its power, with lidar-generated maps revealing an intricate urban landscape stretching across several provinces of modern-day Cambodia, along with a sophisticated network of canals, earthworks and dams the Angkorians used to control the flow of water.


“It is pretty amazing,” he said. “The larger the temples are, the larger the urban infrastructure around it is likely to be, so they weren’t lost, in the sense that we assumed that they must be there. But, of course, that is an entirely different thing from being able to see it in incredible detail and how it works and how it functioned, how it evolved, the morphology of these places.”


The group is using the maps to make more targeted excursions into the field, “ground-truthing” the lidar data to ensure that it is accurate and to determine where digging might be useful. On a recent mission, Mackey barreled down a freshly paved road in a pickup truck driven by Kong Leaksmy.


Although the Khmer empire’s great stone monuments have endured for centuries, spawning a $60-million-a-year tourism industry and preserving information about the dynasty of god-kings who ordered their construction, the stuff of everyday life at Angkor, made from wood, mud, thatch and brick, has long since rotted away in the hot and humid climate. Almost nothing has been known about the lives of those who built the temples and served its rulers — who they were, how they lived, what they believed.


David Chandler, a professor emeritus at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, and a leading historian of Cambodia, said the new lidar data was particularly exciting because it was providing more information than ever about how ordinary people lived in the Khmer empire.

澳大利亚墨尔本莫纳什大学荣退教授、柬埔寨史顶尖学者大卫•钱德勒(David Chandler)说,新的光学雷达数据非常令人兴奋,因为与以往相比,它提供了更多关于高棉王国普通人的信息。

“People imagined it was a city, but they didn’t know how to imagine it, because they didn’t know what it looked like, Chandler said. “Now they do.”


“This is where Angkorian research is going to go from now on: research into the people who built the temples, not the people whom it was built for,” he added. “It’s putting the population of the city back in view.”


Being able to see the true scope of the city has led to discoveries in other areas, too. Lidar has helped find the giant quarry field where most of the sandstone to build the temples was taken from, and has identified mysterious earthen spirals close to Angkor Wat and a few other temples that might have served aesthetic or religious purposes.


At a remote but massive temple called Preah Khan of Kompong Svay, which Khmer King Jayavarman VII used as a base to raise an army against invaders from the east, scholars had worked for more than a decade to determine what lay below the surface, with little success. They ultimately concluded that the area was not thickly settled. But the lidar data revealed a dense cityscape that even included the same spirals seen at Angkor Wat, and helped pinpoint areas for archaeologists to dig that had not been looted.

有一处偏远的巨大庙宇名叫孔蓬思维圣剑寺(Preah Khan of Kompong Svay),高棉王国的阇耶跋摩七世(Khmer King Jayavarman VII)曾在这里组建军队,抵抗从东而来的侵略者,学者们研究了十几年,想判定地表之下究竟埋藏了什么,但一直没有什么成果。最终,他们确定这个地方没有密集的古迹。但是光学雷达发现了一片密集的城市景观,甚至有和吴哥窟附近一样的螺旋,它协助考古学家们定位出精确区域,以便发掘遗迹中尚未被劫掠的部分。

In other cases, what lidar has not found is just as revealing. At the temple Banteay Chhmar, on the Thai border, archaeologists had also struggled to find evidence of settlement. The lidar data confirmed this, leading Evans to conclude that it was not the center of a city but perhaps a temple or a garrison that saw only waves of temporary settlement.

在其他例子中,光学雷达虽然没有发现什么东西,但结果同样有意义。在位于柬埔寨与泰国边境的卜迭色玛寺(Banteay Chhmar),考古学家们也曾努力寻找居民定居点的证据而无果。光学雷达数据肯定了这一点,令伊文思得出结论,这里不是城市的中心,或许是一座庙宇,又或是曾有过一支驻军,只经历了几波临时定居。

Perhaps most crucially, the long-held narrative of the collapse of Angkor is being recast by lidar evidence. Based on stone inscriptions in the temples, scholars have long believed the empire fell in 1431 after its capital was sacked by an invading Thai army, and the population of the city moved closer to Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s current capital.


But when these areas were scanned, there was no evidence of an influx of refugees. This suggests that while there might have been a political schism in 1431 that induced members of the royal family to move closer to Phnom Penh, the vast majority of people stayed near Angkor and only gradually moved away.


This understanding is unfolding day by day as the research continues. At Site 305, for example, Mackey and Kong Leaksmy uncovered bits of water jars, showing that the area included households, and shards of blue-and-white Chinese tradeware dating from after the 1400s.


“This helps feed into the concept that Angkor wasn’t really abandoned,” Mackey said.


“When myth becomes such entrenched history, archaeology is a way of challenging the written record, particularly because history is often written by the powerful who give voice to their own agendas,” he said. “But the material remains.”


To Kong Leaksmy, a recent university graduate who used lidar data to write her thesis on a small temple called Banteay Sra, the takeaway was simpler.

贡•里克斯米是一个刚从大学毕业的学生,她使用光学雷达来写论文,内容是一座名叫Banteay Sra的小寺院,对于她来说,它的益处就更简单了。

“I can see many, many points that I cannot see just by eye,” she said of the new tool. “It’s amazing for me.”


How We Got Here: DNA Points to a Single Migration From Africa

Modern humans evolved somewhere in Africa roughly 200,000 years ago. But how did our species go on to populate the rest of the globe?


Did humans flood out of Africa in a single diaspora, or did we trickle from the continent in waves spread out over tens of thousands of years? The question, one of the biggest in human evolution, has plagued scientists for decades.


Now they may have found an answer.


In a series of unprecedented genetic analyses published on Wednesday in the journal Nature, three separate teams of researchers conclude that all non-Africans today trace their ancestry to a single population emerging from Africa between 50,000 and 80,000 years ago.


“I think all three studies are basically saying the same thing,” said Joshua M. Akey of the University of Washington, who wrote a commentary accompanying the new work. “We know there were multiple dispersals out of Africa, but we can trace our ancestry back to a single one.”

“我觉得三组研究基本上说的都是同一件事,”华盛顿大学的约书亚•M•阿基(Joshua M. Akey)说,他为这个新研究撰写了一篇解释性文章。“我们知道,非洲有多次向外界传播人口,但现在我们可以追溯自己的祖先,把他们归结到同一个来源。”

The three teams sequenced the genomes of 787 people, obtaining highly detailed scans of each. The genomes were drawn from people in hundreds of indigenous populations around the world — Basques, African pygmies, Mayans, Bedouins, Sherpas and Cree Indians, to name just a few.


The DNA of older indigenous populations may be essential to understanding human history, many geneticists believe. Yet until now scientists have sequenced few whole genomes from people outside population centers like Europe and China. The new findings already are altering scientific understanding of what human DNA looks like, experts said, adding a rich diversity of variation to our map of the genome.


Each team of researchers used sets of genomes to tackle different questions about our origins, such as how people spread across Africa and how others populated Australia. But all aimed to settle the question of human expansion from Africa.


In the 1980s, a group of paleoanthropologists and geneticists began championing a hypothesis that modern humans emerged only once from Africa, roughly 50,000 years ago. Skeletons and tools discovered at archaeological sites clearly indicated the existence of modern humans in Europe, Asia and Australia.


Early studies of bits of DNA also supported this scenario. All non-Africans are closely related to one another, the studies found, and they all branch from a genetic tree rooted in Africa.


Yet there are also clues that at least some modern humans lived outside Africa well before 50,000 years ago, perhaps part of an earlier wave of migration.


In 2011 Eske Willerslev, a renowned geneticist at the University of Copenhagen, and his colleagues reported evidence that some living people descended from this early wave.

2011年,哥本哈根大学著名遗传学家埃斯克•韦勒斯勒夫(Eske Willerslev)和同事们发现,有证据表明有些现代人是这批早期移民潮的后裔。

Willerslev and his colleagues reconstructed the genome of an aboriginal Australian from a century-old lock of hair kept in a museum — the first reconstruction of its kind. The DNA held a number of peculiar variants not found in Europeans or Asians.


He concluded that the ancestors of Aboriginals spit off from other non-Africans and moved eastward, eventually arriving in East Asia 62,000-75,000 years ago. Tens of thousands of years later, a separate population of Africans spread into Europe and Asia.


It was big conclusion to draw from a single fragile genome, so Willerslev decided to contact living Aboriginals to see if they would participate in a new genetic study. He joined David W. Lambert, a geneticist at Griffith University in Australia, who was already meeting with aboriginal communities about beginning such a study.

仅凭一份脆弱的基因序列很难得出这样重大的结论,所以韦勒斯勒夫决定联络尚健在的澳大利亚土著人,看他们是否愿意参与新的基因研究。澳大利亚格里菲斯大学的遗传学家大卫•W•兰伯特(David W. Lambert)也加入进来,他已经和若干土著人社区会面,商讨进行类似研究。

Their new paper also includes DNA from people in Papua New Guinea, thanks to a collaboration with scientists at the University of Oxford. All told, the scientists were able to sequence 83 genomes from aboriginal Australians and 25 from people in Papua New Guinea, all with far greater accuracy than in Willerslev’s 2011 study.


Meanwhile, Mait Metspalu of the Estonian Biocentre was leading a team of 98 scientists on another genome-gathering project. They picked out 148 populations to sample, mostly in Europe and Asia, with a few genomes from Africa and Australia. They sequenced 483 genomes at high resolution.

与此同时,爱沙尼亚生物中心(Estonian Biocentre)的迈特•麦特斯帕卢(Mait Metspalu)领导着一个由98名科学家组成的团队,进行另一项基因组收集工作。他们找来了148个族群作为样本,大都来自欧洲和亚洲,也有一些基因组来自非洲和澳洲。他们以高解析度为483个基因组做了基因测序。

David Reich, a geneticist at Harvard Medical School, and his colleagues assembled a third database of genomes from all five continents. The Simons Genome Diversity Project, sponsored by the Simons Foundation and the National Science Foundation, contains 300 high-quality genomes from 142 populations.

哈佛医学院遗传学家戴维•赖希(David Reich)及其同事们从五大洲收集了第三个基因组数据库。西蒙斯基因组多样性计划(The Simons Genome Diversity Project)由西蒙斯基金会(Simons Foundation)与国家科学基金会(National Science Foundation)赞助,它从142个族群中获取了300个高质量的基因组。

Reich and his colleagues probed their data for the oldest evidence of human groups genetically separating from one another. They found that the ancestors of the KhoiSan, hunter-gatherers living today in southern Africa, began to split off from other living humans about 200,000 years ago and were fully isolated by 100,000 years ago.


Earlier studies had estimated that the split between living groups of humans occurred much more recently. The new findings indicate that our ancestors already had evolved behaviors seen in living humans, such as language, 200,000 years ago.


Metspalu and his colleagues ended up with a somewhat different result when they looked at the Estonian Biocentre data. They compared chunks of DNA from different genomes to see how long ago people inherited them from a common ancestor.


Almost all the DNA from non-Africans today could be traced back to one population that lived about 75,000 years ago — presumably a group of Africans who eventually left the continent and settled the rest of the world. That squares with the conclusions of the other two studies.


But in Papua New Guinea, Metspalu and his colleagues found, the story was a little different. They could trace 98 percent of each person’s DNA to that 75,000-year-old group. But the other 2 percent was much older.


Some people in Papua New Guinea — but no one else in the analyses — may carry a trace of DNA from a much older wave of Africans who left the continent as long as 140,000 years ago, and then vanished.


The second wave — the one from which the rest of the world descends — departed over 60,000 years later, the researchers suggest. The ancestors of the people of Papua New Guinea interbred with those first pioneers on their way east, which is why their descendants carry remarkable DNA.


Why leave Africa at all? Scientists have found some clues as to that mystery, too.


In a fourth paper in Nature, researchers described a computer model of Earth’s recent climatic and ecological history. It shows that changing rainfall patterns periodically opened up corridors from Africa into Eurasia that humans may have followed in search of food.


Oldest Fossils of Homo Sapiens Found in Morocco, Altering History of Our Species


Fossils discovered in Morocco are the oldest known remains of Homo sapiens, scientists reported Wednesday.


Dating back roughly 300,000 years, the bones indicate that mankind evolved earlier than had been known, experts say, and open a new window on our origins.


The fossils also show that early H. sapiens had faces much like our own, although their brains differed in fundamental ways.


Until now, the oldest fossils of our species, found in Ethiopia, dated back just 195,000 years. The new fossils suggest our species evolved across Africa.


“We did not evolve from a single cradle of mankind somewhere in East Africa,” said Phillipp Gunz, a paleoanthropologist at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Liepzig, Germany, and a co-author of two new studies on the fossils, published in the journal Nature.

“我们并非是从东非某地的唯一人类摇篮开始进化,”德国莱比锡马克斯•普朗克演化人类学研究所(Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology)的古人类学家菲利普•贡兹(Phillipp Gunz)说。他是发表在《自然》(Nature)杂志上的两篇关于化石的新论文的联合作者。

Today, the closest living relatives to H. sapiens are chimpanzees and bonobos, with whom we share a common ancestor that lived over 6 million years ago.


After the lineages split, our ancient relatives evolved into many different species, known as hominins. For millions of years, hominins remained very ape-like. They were short, had small brains, and could fashion only crude stone tools.


Until now, the oldest fossils that clearly belonged to H. sapiens were discovered in Ethiopia. In 2003, researchers working at a site called Herto discovered a skull estimated to be between 160,000 and 154,000 years old.


A pair of partial skulls from another site, Omo-Kibish, dated to around 195,000 years of age, making these the oldest fossils of our species.


Findings such as these suggested that our species evolved in a small region — perhaps in Ethiopia, or nearby in East Africa. After H. sapiens arose, researchers believed, the species spread out across the continent.


Only much later — roughly 70,000 years ago — did a small group of Africans make their way to other continents.


Yet paleoanthropologists were aware of mysterious hominin fossils discovered in other parts of Africa that didn’t seem to fit the narrative.


In 1961, miners in Morocco dug up a few pieces of a skull at a site called Jebel Irhoud. Later digs revealed a few more bones, along with flint blades.

1961年,摩洛哥矿工在一个叫做杰贝尔依罗(Jebel Irhoud)的遗址挖出了几片头骨。后来又有几块骨骼以及火石刀片出土。

Using crude techniques, researchers estimated the remains to be 40,000 years old. In the 1980s, however, a paleoanthropologist named Jean-Jacques Hublin took a closer look at one jawbone.

研究人员借助简陋的技术方法估计,这些遗迹来自于4万年前。但在1980年代,一位名叫让-雅克•胡布灵(Jean-Jacques Hublin)的古人类学家对一块下颌骨进行了更仔细的研究。

The teeth bore some resemblance to those of living humans, but the shape seemed strangely primitive. “It did not make sense,” Hublin, now at the Max Planck Institute, recalled in an interview.


Since 2004, Hublin and his colleagues have been working through layers of rocks on a desert hillside at Jebel Irhoud. They’ve found a wealth of fossils, including skull bones from five individuals who all died around the same time.


Just as important, the scientists discovered flint blades in the same layer as the skulls. The people of Jebel Irhoud most likely made them for many purposes, putting some on wooden handles to fashion spears.


Many of the flint blades showed signs of having been burned. The people at Jebel Irhoud probably lit fires to cook food, heating discarded blades buried in the ground below. This accident of history made it possible to use the flints as clocks.


Hublin and his colleagues used a method called thermoluminescence to calculate how much time had passed since the blades were burned. They estimated that the blades were roughly 300,000 years old. The skulls, which were discovered in the same rock layer, must have been the same age.


The people of Jebel Irhoud were certainly sophisticated. They could make fires and craft complex weapons, such as wooden handled spears, needed to kill gazelle and other animals that grazed the savanna that covered the Sahara 300,000 years ago.


The flint is interesting for another reason: Researchers traced its origin to another site about 20 miles south of Jebel Irhoud. Early H. sapiens, then, knew how to search out and to use resources spread over long distances.


Similar flint blades of about the same age have been found at other sites across Africa, and scientists have long wondered who made them. The fossils at Jebel Irhoud raise the possibility that they were made by early H. sapiens.


And if that’s true, Gunz and his colleagues argue, then our species may have been evolving as a network of groups spread across the continent.


John Hawks, a paleoanthropologist at the University of Wisconsin who was not involved in the new study, said that it was a plausible idea, but that recent discoveries of fossils from the same era raise the possibility that they were used by other hominins. The only way to resolve the question will be to find more hominin fossils from the time when our species emerged.

与该项新研究无关的威斯康星大学(University of Wisconsin)古人类学家约翰•霍克斯(John Hawks)说,这是一个合理的想法,但最近发现的来自同一时代的化石,揭示了其使用者是其他古人类的可能性。解答这个问题的唯一办法是:找到来自我们物种出现之时的更多古人类化石。

Elon Musk’s Plan: Get Humans to Mars, and Beyond

GUADALAJARA, Mexico — Elon Musk’s plans to get to Mars start with a really big rocket. He still needs to figure out how to pay for it.

墨西哥瓜达拉哈拉——埃隆•马斯克(Elon Musk)的火星登陆计划以一枚超级大的火箭为起点。他目前尚需想出为它买单的办法。

For years, Musk, the billionaire founder of the SpaceX rocket company, has been offering hints and teases of his desire to colonize the big red planet.


In a talk on Tuesday at the International Astronautical Congress here, Musk finally provided engineering details, optimistic timelines and a slick video.

周二,马斯克参加了在这里举办的国际宇航大会(International Astronautical Congress),他在发言中终于公布了技术细节、颇为乐观的日程表,以及一段精美的视频。

“What you saw there is very close to what we’ll actually build,” Musk said, referring to the rockets and spacecraft in the video.


Musk estimated it would cost $10 billion to develop the rocket, and he said the first passengers to Mars could take off as soon as 2024 if the plans went off without a hitch. For now, SpaceX is financing development costs of a few tens of millions of dollars a year, but eventually the company would look to some kind of public-private partnership.


Each of the SpaceX vehicles would take 100 passengers on the journey to Mars, with trips planned every 26 months, when Earth and Mars pass close to each other. Tickets per person might cost $500,000 at first, and drop to about a third of that later on, Musk said.


To establish a self-sustaining Mars civilization of a million people would take 10,000 flights, with many more to ferry equipment and supplies.


“We’re going to need something quite large to do that,” Musk said.


Musk has talked of his “Mars Colonial Transporter,” but a couple of weeks ago, he suggested that its capabilities would be much greater.

马斯克曾经谈起过他的“火星殖民运输系统”(Mars Colonial Transporter),但几个星期前,他说它的性能应该更加强大。

He now calls it the Interplanetary Transport System. The booster would include 42 of SpaceX’s new, more powerful Raptor engines.

如今他将之称为“行星际运输系统”( Interplanetary Transport System)。SpaceX新研制的更为强大的“猛禽”(Raptor)火箭引擎可能也为他提供了强心剂。

What is less clear is how SpaceX will raise the money needed to bring its Mars dreams to fruition.


Scott Pace, a former NASA official who is the director of the Space Policy Institute at George Washington University, said Musk’s vision was plausible technically, but added, “Other than emotional appeal, however, it didn’t really address why governments, corporations or other organizations would fund the effort.” His bottom-line opinion: “Possible, but not probable.”

前NASA官员斯科特•佩斯(Scott Pace)是乔治•华盛顿大学空间政策学院的院长,他说马斯克的设想在技术上是可行的,但他补充说,“除了诉诸感情,这个计划无法说动任何政府、公司或其他组织提供赞助。”他的根本观点是:“有可能,但不是特别有可能。”

China Tops List of Fastest Computers Again

SAN FRANCISCO — A new list of the world’s fastest supercomputers provides more evidence that the once-yawning technology gap between the United States and China is closing.


China dominates a biannual ranking of the world’s 500 fastest supercomputers, called the Top500, that was published on Monday. Not only does China have the world’s fastest machine for the seventh consecutive time, it has the largest number of computers among the top 500 — a first for any country other than the United States.


Also for the first time, the world’s fastest supercomputer uses Chinese-made microprocessor chips instead of chips from Silicon Valley’s Intel.


Supercomputers are viewed in scientific circles as an indicator of national technology leadership, and they are vital for research in areas ranging from the development of new weapons and medicines, to the design of cars and consumer products. American computing experts and business executives have warned for years that leadership in supercomputing is vital to a range of national interests.


“Today even consumer detergent bottles are designed with supercomputers,” said Eric D. Isaacs, a physicist and provost of the University of Chicago. “The Chinese are getting good at building these computers, and it’s a competitive issue now for U.S. industry and national security.”

“今天,甚至连民用洗涤剂的瓶子都是用超级计算机设计的,”芝加哥大学物理学家、教务长埃里克•D•艾萨克斯(Eric D. Isaacs)说。“中国越来越善于建造这些计算机,现在对美国的产业和国家安全来说,这成了一个竞争力的问题。”

The United States primacy on the Top500 list has slipped for a number of reasons. Government support for supercomputing has been slowed by long-running debates on the level of federal spending on basic scientific research, as well as opposition to funding for industrial innovation that is not directly related to national security.


In the private sector, companies like Google, Microsoft, Facebook and Amazon invested billions of dollars in cloud-computing centers that don’t focus as much on solving scientific problems.


And last year, the United States blocked the sale of a number of advanced microprocessors to China over concerns they were being used in nuclear weapon development, which most likely accelerated the development of China’s own technology, said Jack Dongarra, a University of Tennessee computer scientist who helped create the list of the world’s fastest computers in 1993.

去年,美国封锁了一些先进微处理器对中国的出口,担心中国利用它们发展核武器,田纳西大学(University of Tennessee)的计算机科学家杰克•唐加拉(Jack Dongarra)说,这些处理器极有可能用来加快中国的自主技术研发。他曾在1993年参与创建最初的全球最快计算机榜单。

The Top500 list is maintained by Dr. Dongarra and Erich Strohmaier, a physicist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Individual computing centers report descriptions and performance to them twice a year.

这个500强榜单是由唐加拉和劳伦斯伯克利国家实验室(Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory)的物理学家埃里希•施特罗迈尔(Erich Strohmaier)共同维护的。各计算中心每两年向他们汇报一次情况和性能。

In 2001, there were no Chinese supercomputers on the Top500. Now, China has 167 systems on the list compared to 165 from the United States. China also leads a more obscure category — total processing power, or the combined computing speeds of all of its supercomputers on the list.


The fastest machine, the Sunway TaihuLight System, was installed this year at the National Supercomputing Center in Wuxi, in China’s Jiangsu province.


Despite those achievements, Intel still provided the chips for 91 percent of the machines on the list. And China is still catching up with the United States in state-of-the-art technologies, like software and the networking that links the thousands of chips in a modern supercomputer.


But that could soon change. Officials at the Semiconductor Industry Association, a trade group, said the Chinese government has an ambitious $150 billion program to acquire as well as develop new technologies in various kinds of chips.

但这种情况可能很快就会发生改变。行业组织半导体行业协会(Semiconductor Industry Association)称,中国政府制定了一个野心勃勃的计划,打算投入1500亿美元购买和开发各类芯片的新技术。

After years of neglect, the United States does appear to be taking the competitive threat seriously, said John Neuffer, president of the S.I.A. “It’s an opportunity for us to double down on supercomputing and get ourselves back on track,” he said.

该协会的主席约翰•诺伊弗(John Neuffer)表示,多年忽视此事的美国似乎的确很重视这个竞争威胁。“这是我们在超级计算上加倍投入,重振旗鼓的机会,”他说。

Last year, the Obama administration began a new effort to develop a so-called “exascale” supercomputer that would be 10 times faster than today’s fastest supercomputers. (An exaflop is a quintillion — one million trillion — mathematical instructions a second.) Computer scientists have argued that such machines will allow more definitive answers on crucial questions such as the danger posed by climate change.


Until President Obama signed the National Strategic Computing Initiative last July, the construction of the fastest American supercomputers had largely been driven by the nation’s Stockpile Stewardship and Management program, which was created in 1995 to simulate the testing and maintenance of nuclear weapons.

在奥巴马总统去年7月签署国家战略计算计划(National Strategic Computing Initiative)之前,建造美国最快的超级计算机的工作主要由美国核武储备管理计划(Stockpile Stewardship and Management)推动。该计划1995年启动,旨在模拟核武器的测试和维护。

While the Chinese have perfected the manufacture of traditional supercomputers pioneered by American companies like IBM and Cray, the United States may focus on new, more efficient supercomputers that might lead to machines intended for challenges like artificial intelligence, according to Larry Smarr, a physicist who directs the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology at the University of California, San Diego.

中国完善了IBM和克雷(Cray)等美国公司开创的传统超级计算机的生产,然而美国现在的侧重点可能是效率更高的新型超级计算机。据加州大学圣迭戈分校加州通信与信息技术研究所(California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology at the University of California, San Diego)所长拉里•斯马(Larry Smarr)介绍,这种超级计算机可能会催生专门应对人工智能等挑战的计算机。

One of the design challenges of the fastest computers is their vast power consumption. The world’s fastest supercomputer in China, which could fill a large warehouse, requires the same electric power needed to run roughly 15,000 homes. An exascale supercomputer will very likely require more than twice that amount of power, or roughly the amount of power produced by the Copper Mountain Solar Facility, the largest producer of solar power in the United States.

最快的计算机面临的一个设计挑战在于它们巨大的功耗。中国那台全世界运行速度最快的超级计算机的体积相当于一个大仓库,用电量大致相当于1.5万户家庭。艾级超级计算机的用电量很有可能是它的两倍多,或者说相当于美国最大的太阳能发电设施铜山太阳能项目(Copper Mountain Solar Facility)的发电量。

At the same time, even if the United States is able to design an exascale computer within the next decade, the Chinese could get there first. According to Dr. Dongarra, the Chinese government is committed to reaching the exascale goal by the end of this decade.


Because of funding shortages and technology challenges, “there has been a delay in getting the exascale launched in the U.S., and as a result, we’re further behind than we should be,” he said.


The Sunway supercomputer in Wuxi is a marvel of Chinese manufacturing prowess, Dr. Dongorra noted. The computer is based on 10.6 million processor “cores” spread across 40,960 microprocessors that work together. The chips are relatively slow individually — about the speed of the processor in Apple’s iPhone 6.

唐加拉称,无锡的超级计算机神威是中国制造实力的象征。该计算机的基础分布在40960个微处理器上的1060万个处理器“核”。这些芯片单独运行时速度相对较慢,大约相当于苹果iPhone 6的处理器速度。

The Sunway machine does have its shortcomings. It has older memory-chip technology, meaning it is limited in the speed with which it can move data in and out of each processor when compared with the most powerful American supercomputers. And the new Chinese supercomputer is still based on American-made optical network technology that is used to connect the thousands of microprocessor chips.


Despite the fact that the Chinese now have the most supercomputers on the list, the United States still dominates the top 20, with 10 machines. There are now 105 supercomputers in Europe. Japan has 29 systems on the list, down from 37 systems in November.


Several American scientists compared what is going on now to the 1980s, when they worried that the nation was losing ground to Japanese supercomputers.


“Scientists might be saying, ‘I have to go to China to run my computations,’” said Dr. Smarr.


How Cold Brew Changed the Coffee Business

Summer officially starts this year on June 21, but that’s only the solstice, the day when the sun reaches its highest position in the sky. Down on street level, summer really begins on the first humid, sun-streaked day, when even the thought of sipping a hot cup of coffee is too much to bear. It’s as if, just as birds know instinctively when to migrate, we wake up one bright morning and agree that it’s iced coffee season.


Gregory Zamfotis, the owner of Gregorys Coffee in New York City, which is about to open its 24th location, starts tracking the temperature in early May. “I literally look at the weather forecast and send emails to my store leaders,” he said. Zamfotis estimated that 75 percent of the coffee he sells is hot and 25 percent is iced for most of the year. With the start of iced coffee season, those numbers flip, and 65 percent of the coffee he sells is iced.

纽约市格雷戈里咖啡店(Gregorys Coffee)的第24家分店即将开业,老板格雷戈里•赞弗提斯(Gregory Zamfotis)从5月初就开始跟踪温度。“我看天气预报,还发送电邮给我的分店店长,”他说。赞弗提斯估计,在一年的大部分时间中,他卖的咖啡中有75%是热的,25%是冰的。随着冰咖啡季节的开始,这些数字将会翻转,他出售的咖啡中会有65%是冰的。
At All Day, a coffee shop in Miami that’s on the must-visit list of coffee fanatics, cold brew is the foundation of the menu.
迈阿密咖啡店全日(All Day)是咖啡迷必去之地,冷翠咖啡是这里的镇店之宝。

That change can happen overnight. “You don’t want to get caught and run out by 9 a.m.,” he said.


The danger of running out is real. All of the iced coffee at Gregorys Coffee is cold-brewed, a process that takes 12 hours and yields a drink often described as smooth, round and lush. Zamfotis estimates that he sells 10,000 servings per day at the peak of the season.


There’s no way to rush cold brew. If you’re running a coffee shop, you need to anticipate demand. Every year, that demand is increasing: The United States is becoming a cold-brew nation.


In the past, coffee sales lagged during the summer and rose sharply during the holiday season. But cold brew now drives a surge in demand during warmer months, too, far more so than other iced coffee drinks. Coffee sales spike when the mercury rises. Cold brew is also attracting an entirely new audience for coffee: millennials, many of whom are making it their drink of choice.


“It’s pheromonal,” said James Freeman, the founder of Blue Bottle Coffee. “And the feedback loop encourages more iced orders — watching other people order iced coffee inculcates the desire.” It’s the coffee version of “I’ll have what she’s having.”

“它能产生跟风性,”蓝瓶咖啡(Blue Bottle Coffee)的创始人詹姆斯•弗里曼(James Freeman)说。“这个反馈回路会促成更多冰咖啡订单,看到其他人订购冰咖啡又会激起欲望。”这是 “她吃什么我就吃什么”的咖啡版。

What was once a regional curiosity largely limited to New Orleans and the South is now found throughout the country. The shift started about 10 years ago, when cold brew was adopted by innovative coffee shops like Blue Bottle (which sells what it calls New Orleans-style iced coffee, a milky cold brew flavored with chicory) and Stumptown Coffee Roasters (which sells nitro cold brew, a coffee infused with nitrogen so that it’s slightly fizzy, with the thick, creamy head of a good stout).

一度仅限于新奥尔良和南方的一种地区性奇特饮品,现在全美国都能找到。这种转变开始于大约10年前。当时,蓝瓶咖啡(卖的是一种被其称作新奥尔良式冰咖啡的菊苣口味牛奶冷萃咖啡)和斯顿普敦咖啡烘烤(Stumptown Coffee Roasters,销售氮气冷萃咖啡,这种咖啡里含有氮,因此会稍微起泡,像上乘烈性黑啤那种厚厚的奶油状泡沫)等有创意的咖啡馆开始采用冷萃法做咖啡。

Cold brew was still a relatively niche market until 2015, when Starbucks introduced the drink in a number of stores; it is now available at every one of its more than 13,000 locations in the United States, 800 of which also offer nitro. It’s a coffee with both mass-market appeal and indie credibility. Today, you can find cold brew at a coffee shop where everything is meticulously crafted by hand, and at a Dunkin’ Donuts.


What is cold brew? Essentially, it is a preparation. You steep coffee grounds in room-temperature water (which isn’t “cold,” strictly speaking) for six to 20 hours (depending on the recipe) to make a concentrate that can be diluted with water and served over ice. By giving up heat, you have to add time.


Cold brew is more than a slowed-down version of hot coffee; it’s a noticeably different product. Hot water will bring out the acids in coffee, a characteristic that professional tasters call “brightness.” Cold water doesn’t but still gets the full range of mouthfeel and sweetness. The absence of acidity in cold brew is even more pronounced when compared with the iced coffee from the dark ages (of a few years ago), when it was almost always made with hot coffee that was chilled in the refrigerator. When hot coffee cools, even more acids develop, many of them unpleasantly harsh.


But cold brew has a poor reputation in some coffee circles. According to those critics, cold brew’s selling point — its absence of acidity — is a flaw. The best coffees in the world, the ones grown at high altitudes, command higher prices specifically because of their complex acidity: Brightness is a virtue. Why give up one of the defining characteristics of a great coffee?


In addition, detractors say, the long exposure to air during the steeping process can leave cold-brewed coffees tasting flat and oxidized. Some coffee shops treat cold brew as a dumping ground for lesser coffees — old beans that are losing their flavor or uninteresting beans that couldn’t stand up to conventional brewing.


“The main argument is the lack of acidity, that it’s very one-note,” said Jenny Bonchak, who started Slingshot Coffee Co. with her husband, Jonathan. “But that’s not how we want to drink coffee. We wanted something that was balanced, and that was going to be juicy.”

“主要原因是没有酸味,非常平淡,”和丈夫乔纳森(Jonathan)共同创立斯林绍特咖啡公司(Slingshot Coffee Co.)的珍妮•邦查克(Jenny Bonchak)说。“但那不是我们想喝的咖啡。我们想要的是味道均衡、给力的东西。”

Bonchak uses high-quality beans from Counter Culture Coffee, a roaster based in Durham, North Carolina, and Slingshot Coffee is praised by the kind of coffee nerds who usually wouldn’t touch cold brew with a 10-foot straw.

邦查克用的是来自北卡罗来纳州达勒姆的烘烤公司Counter Culture Coffee的优质咖啡豆。斯林绍特咖啡受到了一些咖啡迷的称赞,这类咖啡迷往往即便用一根10英尺(约合300厘米)长的吸管,也不愿碰冷萃咖啡。
In Armenia, ‘What Do You Want to Be?’ Is Asked in Infancy

Children in Armenia start thinking about their careers at a very young age — around six months or so.


When an infant’s first tooth arrives, typically in four to seven months, a celebration takes place known variously as the “agra hadig” or “atam hatik.”

当婴儿长出第一颗牙时——往往是在四个月到七个月大期间——会举行一场庆祝活动。人们对这个活动的叫法不一,有人叫它agra hadig,也有人叫它atam hatik。

As part of the ritual, objects symbolizing different professions are arrayed in front of a child: a microphone for an entertainer, a stethoscope for a doctor, scissors for a tailor or money for a banker. Whichever object the baby chooses first is thought to be a sign of where the child’s professional aptitude lies.


With the appearance of teeth, a child can begin to eat solid food, and the acquisition of this skill is believed to be a propitious time to foretell what the future holds, said Yulia Antonyan, a professor in the department of cultural studies at Yerevan State University in Armenia’s capital.

位于亚美尼亚首都的埃里温国立大学(Yerevan State University)文化研究学院教授尤利娅•安东尼扬(Yulia Antonyan)说,随着牙齿的长出,孩子可以开始吃固体食物,获得这种能力的时候,被认为是预测孩子未来的最佳时机。

There are no obligatory objects, but sets available for purchase will often include traditional artisan tools and choices epitomizing a more modern lifestyle. Parents are free to add to or omit from the mix as they wish.


“Parents may orchestrate the future life of their offspring by choosing only those objects that symbolize prestigious and desired professions,” Professor Antonyan said. “A book for a scientist or writer; a pencil for an architect, designer or artist; a calculator for an accountant.”


Parents can also game the selection by positioning objects nearer to or farther from their infant’s reach. At one recent ceremony, “the father of the baby asked to place a ladle a bit far from his daughter to save her from a destiny of a housewife,” Professor Antonyan said.


At the foundation of the ritual, and reflected in its names, is a magical association between teeth (agra or atam) and grain (hadig or hatik), according to Professor Antonyan.


The ceremony begins by pouring various cereal grains over and around the child. Typically but not always, the baby’s head is protected by a piece of fabric, a pair of hands or sometimes even an umbrella.


The ritual sprinkling is thought to ensure that the child will have healthy, even teeth. It could also have fertility associations, akin to throwing rice at a wedding, according to Levon Abrahamian, a cultural anthropologist in Yerevan.

仪式上抛撒谷物这个环节被认为是确保孩子将拥有一口健康、整齐的牙齿。据埃里温的文化人类学者列翁•阿布拉哈米安(Levon Abrahamian)称,这么做还和子孙兴旺的寓意有关,类似于在婚礼上撒大米。

Today, teeth-shaped cakes, toys, candy and balloons are popular party favors at these celebrations, which are widely practiced in Armenia and across the Armenian diaspora.


In the earliest written references to the ritual, from the 19th century, just two objects were put before the teething child. The prediction then was not about an adult profession but the sex of the next sibling: Grasping a knife meant a brother was on the way, a comb (or mirror) a sister.


“The divination for the future profession was developed much later in the urbanized and modernized environment of Soviet Armenia and the diaspora,” Professor Antonyan said, “when the future career would determine the baby’s life.”


How Whales Became the Biggest Animals on the Planet

Whales are big. Really big. Enormously big. Tremendously big.


Fin whales can be 140,000 pounds. Bowhead whales tip the scales at 200,000 pounds. And the big mama of them all, the blue whale, can reach a whopping 380,000 pounds — making it the largest animal to have ever lived.


But for as long as whales have awed us with their great size, people have wondered how they became so colossal.


In a study published Tuesday in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, a team of researchers investigated gigantism in baleen whales, the filter-feeding leviathans that include blue whales, bowhead whales and fin whales. The marine mammals became jumbo-size relatively recently, they found, only within the past 4.5 million years. The cause? A climatic change that allowed the behemoths to binge-eat.

周二,在一项发表在《英国皇家学报》B辑(Proceedings of the Royal Society B)的研究中,一组研究人员对须鲸科的“巨人症”进行了研究,这一滤食性庞然大物包括蓝鲸、弓头鲸及长须鲸。研究人员发现,这种海洋哺乳动物是在较为近期,仅在过去450万年间才变成巨无霸的。原因?一场导致这种巨型生物大量进食的气候变化。

Whales have an interesting evolutionary history. They began as land-dwelling, hoofed mammals some 50 million years ago. Over several millions of years they developed fins and became marine creatures. Between about 20 million and 30 million years ago, some of these ancient whales developed the ability to filter-feed, which meant they could swallow swarms of tiny prey in a single gargantuan gulp. But even with this feeding ability, whales remained only moderately large for millions of years.


“But then all of a sudden — ‘boom’ — we see them get very big, like blue whales,” said Nick Pyenson, the curator of fossil marine mammals at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History and an author of the paper. “It’s like going from whales the size of minivans to longer than two school buses.”

“但突然间——‘轰’地一下——它们变得非常巨大,比如蓝鲸”,史密森尼学会国立自然历史博物馆(Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History)策展人、该论文的作者尼克•佩尔森(Nick Pyenson)说。“鲸鱼的体型变化就像从小货车变得比两个校车还大。”

Dr. Pyenson and his colleagues measured more than 140 museum specimens of fossilized whales, and then plugged that data into a statistical model. It showed that several distinct lineages of baleen whales became giants around the same time, independently of one another. Starting around 4.5 million years ago, giant blue whales were popping up in oceans across the world alongside giant bowhead whales and giant fin whales.


The researchers suspected that an environmental change happened during that time that essentially caused the baleen whales to bulk up. After some investigation, they found that this time period coincided with the early beginnings of when ice sheets increasingly covered the Northern Hemisphere.


Runoff from the glaciers would have washed nutrients like iron into coastal waters and intense seasonal upwelling cycles would have caused cold water from deep below to rise, bringing organic material toward the surface. Together these ecological effects brought large amounts of nutrients into the water at specific times and places, which had a cascading effect on the ocean’s food web.


Throngs of zooplankton and krill would gather to feast on the nutrients. They would form dense patches that could stretch many miles long and wide and be more than 65 feet thick. The oceans became the whales’ giant all-you-can-eat buffets.


“Even though they had the anatomical machinery to filter-feed for a long, long time,” said Jeremy Goldbogen, a comparative physiologist from Stanford University and author of the paper, “it wasn’t until the ocean provided these patchy resources that it made bulk filter-feeding so efficient.”

“尽管它们有着能够长期滤食的生理结构,”斯坦福比较生理学家、论文作者杰里米•戈登伯根(Jeremy Goldbogen)说,“直到海洋提供了这些大片资源,才使得大量滤食如此有效。”

The baleen whales could now gulp down much larger amounts of prey, which allowed them to get bigger. But that was only part of the equation.


“Plentiful food everywhere isn’t going to get you giant whales,” said Graham Slater, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Chicago and the study’s lead author. “They have to be separated by big distances.”

“到处都是充足的食物是无法让让鲸鱼变成巨型的,”芝加哥大学进化生物学家格雷厄姆• 斯莱特(Graham Slater)、论文的主要作者说。“必须被遥远的距离分隔开才行。”

Because the ecological cycles that fuel the explosions of krill and zooplankton occur seasonally, Dr. Slater said the whales must migrate thousands of miles from food patch to food patch. Bigger whale ancestors that had bigger fuel tanks had a better chance of surviving the long seasonal migrations to feed, while smaller baleen whales became extinct.


If the food patches were not far apart, Dr. Slater said, the whales would have grown to a certain body size that was comfortable for that environment, but they would not be the giants we see today.


“A blue whale is able to move so much further using so much less energy than a small-bodied whale,” Dr. Slater said. “It became really advantageous if you’re going to move long distances if you’re big.”

Leaders Move to Convert Paris Climate Pledges Into Action

PARIS — Before the applause had even settled in the suburban convention center where the Paris Agreement was adopted by consensus Saturday night, world leaders warned that momentum for the historic accord must not be allowed to dissipate.

巴黎——上周六晚间,各国在巴黎郊外的会议中心一致通过《巴黎协议》(Paris Agreement)。就在会议中心里的热烈掌声仍然响彻耳际之时,世界领导人已经发出警告,绝不允许这个具有历史意义的协议的动力有所消退。

“Today, we celebrate,” said Miguel Arias Cañete, the European Union’s energy commissioner and top climate negotiator. “Tomorrow, we have to act.”

“今天,我们欢呼庆祝,”欧盟能源委员、首席气候谈判代表米格尔•阿里亚斯•卡涅特(Miguel Arias Canete)说。“明天,我们就必须行动起来。”

With nearly every nation on earth having now pledged to gradually reduce emissions of the heat-trapping gases that are warming the planet — a universal commitment that had eluded negotiators and activists since the first Earth Day summit meeting, in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 — much of the burden for maintaining the momentum now shifts back to the countries to figure out, and put in place, the concrete steps needed to deliver on their pledges.


The task may prove most challenging for India, which is struggling to lift more than half of its population of 1.25 billion out of poverty and to provide basic electricity to 300 million of them. Rich countries are intent that India not get stuck on a coal-dependent development path.


“It is essential that the developing countries are able to transform their energy system before they develop a level of dependence on coal that we have in the industrialized countries,” said Jan Burck of the activist group Germanwatch.

活动人士组织德国观察(Germanwatch)的扬•伯克(Jan Burck)表示,“重要的是,发展中国家在达到像发达国家一样的对煤炭的依赖水平之前,能够改变能源系统。”

During negotiations, India insisted that it would not be able to make the transition without assistance.


“There will have to be new mechanisms,” Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar told reporters after the agreement was adopted.

印度环境部长普拉卡什•雅瓦德卡尔(Prakash Javadekar)在该协议获得通过后对记者表示,“必须要有新机制。”

China, meanwhile, is investing so heavily in clean energy that some observers think its carbon emissions might have hit a peak — a milestone that China had only promised to reach by 2030.


Its top climate negotiator, Xie Zhenhua, said Saturday that “China will actively implement its nationally determined contributions so as to reach a peak as soon as possible,” but privately its officials have expressed pride that it no longer has the coal-stained reputation it had during the 2009 climate talks in Copenhagen, Denmark.


Giza Gaspar Martins, an Angolan diplomat who represents the Least Developed Countries, which negotiated in Paris as a bloc, said of the accord: “This is but one stop on a long journey. This puts a system in place to do climate action, but we will have a lot of work to do.”

最不发达国家组织(Least Developed Countries)作为一个阵营在巴黎参加谈判,其代表、安哥拉外交官吉扎•加斯帕•马丁斯(Giza Gaspar Martins)提到该协议时说,“这只是漫漫长路中的一站。它提供了一个采取气候行动的系统,但我们还有很多工作要做。”

He said the pledges were designed to emphasize participation rather than ambition, but now “we have to make sure our national contributions are aligned with what the scientists tell us we need to be doing.”


Leaders here agreed that while legislation and regulation are essential to set the ground rules for the marketplace, the ultimate goal of replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy will require accelerated research and investment, and technological breakthroughs.


By calling — albeit indirectly, and in delicately crafted phrases — for net carbon emissions to be effectively brought down to zero “in the second half of this century,” the Paris Agreement could mark “the beginning of the end of the fossil-fuel era,” as Marcelo Mena Carrasco, a Chilean biochemical engineer and climate negotiator, put it.

就像智利生化工程师、气候谈判代表马塞洛•梅纳•卡拉斯科(Marcelo Mena Carrasco)说的那样,通过要求——虽然是以间接、小心准备的措辞提出——“在本世纪下半叶”实现温室气体净零排放,《巴黎协议》可以算是标志着“终结化石燃料时代的起点”。

That is certainly the hope of the Obama administration. Secretary of State John Kerry said the U.S. government had helped catalyze the agreement by toughening fuel-efficiency standards for cars and light trucks, cracking down on emissions from coal-fired power plants, and reaching a deal with China, the only country that emits even more greenhouse gases.

这肯定是奥巴马政府希望看到的。美国国务卿约翰•克里(John Kerry)表示,美国政府曾通过收紧汽车及轻型卡车的燃油效率标准,控制燃煤发电站的排放量,与中国达成一致,在一定程度上推动了协议的达成。中国是唯一一个比美国排放更多温室气体的国家。

President Barack Obama has endorsed the idea of a price on carbon — in the form of a tax, or a cap-and-trade system like California’s — and leaders of Canada, Chile, Ethiopia, France, Germany and Mexico endorsed the idea at the start of the Paris conference, but there was not nearly enough support to incorporate it into the Paris Agreement.


While attention is shifting to the marketplace, the U.N. process will move ahead. The Paris Agreement’s provisions will not kick in until 2020. Indeed, though adopted “by consensus,” no nation has signed it. Countries will be invited to do so in a ceremony at the U.N. headquarters in New York on April 22; the agreement officially will take effect after at least 55 countries, representing at least 55 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions, have signed on.


The United States will be one of them; through careful legal craftsmanship, the Paris Agreement will not be considered as its own treaty under U.S. law but rather as an extension of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, which the Senate ratified in 1992.

美国将是签署国之一;经过谨慎的法律制定,《巴黎协议》不会被视作依据美国法律制定的条约,而是《联合国气候变化框架公约》(United NationsFramework Convention on Climate Change)的延伸,美国参议院于1992年批准了该公约。

The United Nations has several short-term priorities. One is to get the remaining countries that have not submitted emissions-reduction pledges to do so. Venezuela and St. Kitts and Nevis submitted their plans Saturday, bringing the total to 188.


By May, the U.N. climate staff will update its estimate for the combined impact of the national pledges (now known as nationally determined contributions, the qualifying word “intended” having been dropped). Estimates of the first round of pledges suggested that, if carried out, they would still result in a rise of 2.7 to 3.5 degrees Celsius (4.9 to 6.3 degrees Fahrenheit) above preindustrial levels — far above the newly adopted aspiration of an increase of just 1.5 degrees Celsius.


Climate activists have long used a “power of the people” approach to promote sustainability and organize globally, and the world leaders who met here credited “civil society” for keeping up the pressure.


“Now the work to hold them to their promises begins,” U.S. environmentalist and activist Bill McKibben wrote on Twitter, moments after the gavel fell on the Paris Agreement. “1.5? Game on.”

“如今,让它们信守承诺的工作开始了,“美国环保人士、活动人士比尔•麦克奇本(Bill McKibben)在《巴黎协议》敲定后不久在Twitter写道。“1.5度?游戏开始了。”

A Paid Hour a Week for Sex? Swedish Town Considers It

A local official in Sweden has a novel proposal to improve work-life balance and lift the local birthrate: give municipal employees an hourlong paid break each week to go home and have sex.


Sweden is already celebrated for its generous welfare state, including 480 days of paid parental leave, universal health care and a common ritual of coffee and pastry, known as fika, which is considered sacrosanct.


Per-Erik Muskos, a 42-year-old councilman from the northern town of Overtornea, wants to add to those benefits, by offering the municipality’s 550 employees the right to subsidized sex. In introducing his proposal this week, he told fellow members of the town council that it would give a nudge to the dwindling local population, add spice to aging marriages and improve employee morale.

来自北方城镇上托尔内奥(Overtornea)的42岁地方议会议员佩尔-埃里克•穆斯克(Per-Erik Musko)想再增加一项福利,即给550名市政雇员提供有补贴的性生活。在本周介绍自己的提议时,他告诉市议会的其他议员,这将有助于解决本地人口逐渐减少的问题,为陈旧的婚姻增添情趣,还能提振雇员的士气。

The idea quickly got attention all over Sweden, where for at least some, it was a welcome distraction from President Donald Trump’s vague reference to problems the country was having with immigration, which were strongly denied by baffled Swedes.


Noting that “sex is also a great form of exercise and has documented positive effects on well-being,” Muskos suggested that local municipal employees could use an hour of the workweek already allotted for fitness activities to go home and have sex with their spouses or partners instead. The motion, which is expected to be voted on in the spring, needs a simple majority to be passed by the 31-member council. As of now, opinion on the council is divided.


“We should encourage procreation. I believe that sex is often in short supply. Everyday life is stressful and the children are at home,” Muskos explained in his motion in Overtornea, a town of about 4,500 in the picturesque and remote Torne Valley. “This could be an opportunity for couples to have their own time, only for each other.”


His proposal has generated praise, ridicule and criticism. Some critics fear single workers could while away their working hours on the dating app Tinder trying to find a date for their weekly interlude.


When Muskos introduced the motion Monday, some council members giggled while others said they were not amused. But befitting a progressive country which has long been perceived as a beacon of sexual enlightenment — including blissfully kitsch performances at the Eurovision Song Contest — the proposal was taken in stride.

穆斯克周一提出这项动议时,一些议员笑了起来,另一些人则表示并不觉得好笑。但与一个一直被认为是性启蒙灯塔——包括欧洲歌唱大赛(Eurovision Song Contest)上欢快的媚俗(kitsch)表演——的进步国家相称的是,这项提议获得了从容应对。

It made headlines across Sweden and beyond. “Suggestion: Let the staff have sex during working hours,” a headline in the newspaper Expressen declared, under a photograph showing a couple in bed.


Muskos told colleagues the proposal was no joke, though he acknowledged practical problems like enforcement. It would be difficult to tell, for example, if an employee eschewed sex in favor of a walk in the country.


Sweden has among the highest fertility rates in the European Union, according to Eurostat, the bloc’s statistic agency, in part because of the country’s generous parental leave systems and immigration. But the fertility rate has nevertheless been decreasing recently.

欧盟(European Union)统计机构欧洲统计局(Eurostat)的数据显示,瑞典属于欧盟生育率最高的国家之一,部分原因在于这个国家有着慷慨的产假和移民制度。但尽管如此,该国的生育率最近也一直在下降。

Malin Hansson, 41, a sexologist and specialist in reproductive health in Gothenburg, applauded the initiative, arguing that sex reduced stress, improved sleep and strengthened immunity, while enriching intimacy between couples.

哥德堡41岁的性学家和生殖健康专家马林•汉松(Malin Hansson)对这项倡议表示称赞,称性生活有利于减压,可以改善睡眠、增强免疫力,还能增加夫妻之间的亲密度。

“If it was up to me, I would introduce this across the country,” she said, adding: “In Sweden, sex is considered just another activity.”


Stefan Nilsson, a Green Party member who sits on the health and welfare committee of the Swedish parliament, said he was skeptical that taxpayers would want their money to finance work-hour sex, but allowed that the idea might be a canny investment in physical activity, noting that healthier workers cost the government less.

担任瑞典议会健康与福利委员会委员的绿党成员斯特凡•尼尔松(Stefan Nilsson)表示,他对纳税人愿意拿自己的钱支持工作时间做爱持怀疑态度,但也承认这个想法或许是对身体活动的一项精明投资,指出员工更健康可以让政府减少支出。

Others were less persuaded.


Tomas Vedestig, 42, a left-leaning municipal councilman in Overtornea, said that when Muskos made his pitch, his colleagues were so taken aback that they thought they had misheard him. Vedestig said the proposal was intrusive and threatened to embarrass people who do not have sexual partners; do not want to have sex; or had medical conditions that precluded sex.

42岁的上托尔内奥左倾地方议员托马斯•韦德斯蒂(Tomas Vedestig)表示,当穆斯克提出这项方案时,他的同事们大吃一惊,还以为自己听错了。韦德斯蒂表示,这项提议有点唐突,有可能会让没有性伴侣、不想做爱或因为健康状况无法做爱的人感到尴尬。

“I don’t think it’s the employer’s business to to say ‘go home for an hour and make babies,’” he said. And some proponents worried the proposal was too stingy: “I spoke to a couple of older gentlemen who said, ‘One hour? That is not enough time.’”


Venice, Invaded by Tourists, Risks Becoming ‘Disneyland on the Sea’

VENICE — “You guys, just say ‘skooozy’ and walk through,” a young U.S. woman commanded her friends, caught in one of the bottlenecks of tourist traffic that clog Venice’s narrow streets, choke its glorious squares and push the locals of this enchanting floating city out and onto drab, dry land. “We don’t have time!”


Neither, the Italian government worries, does Venice.


Don’t look now, but Venice, once a great maritime and mercantile power, risks being conquered by day-trippers.


The soundtrack of the city is now the wheels of rolling luggage thumping up against the steps of footbridges as phalanxes of tourists march over the city’s canals. Snippets of Venetian dialect can still be heard between the gondoliers rowing selfie-snapping couples. But the lingua franca is a foreign mashup of English, Chinese and whatever other tongue the mega cruise ships and low-cost flights have delivered that morning. Hotels have replaced homes.


Italian government officials, lamenting what they call “low-quality tourism,” are considering limiting the numbers of tourists who can enter the city or its landmark piazzas.


“If you arrive on a big ship, get off, you have two or three hours, follow someone holding a flag to Piazzale Roma, Ponte di Rialto and San Marco and turn around,” said Dario Franceschini, Italy’s culture minister, who lamented what he called an “Eat and Flee” brand of tourism that had brought the sinking city so low.

“如果你是坐大船抵达的,下了船,你有两三个小时,跟随某个举着小旗子的人前往罗马广场(Piazzale Roma)、里阿尔托桥(Ponte di Rialto)、圣马可广场(San Marco),然后就要往回走,”意大利文化部长达里奥•弗兰切斯基尼(Dario Franceschini)为他口中的快餐式旅游感到惋惜,这种业态已经让这个下沉的城市的情况变得愈发糟糕。

“The beauty of Italian towns is not only the architecture, it’s also the actual activity of the place, the stores, the workshops,” Franceschini added. “We need to save its identity.”


The city’s locals, whatever is left of them anyway, feel inundated by the 20 million or so tourists each year. Stores have taken to putting signs on the windows showing the direction to St. Mark’s Square or Ponte di Rialto, so people will stop coming in to ask them where to go.

每年约有2000万名游客涌入威尼斯,让这座城市的居民——不论还剩下多少——有被淹没其中之感。各店铺不得不往窗户上放标牌,指明圣马克广场(St Mark’s Square)或里亚尔托桥所在的方向,以免人们纷纷跑进来问路。

The majority of the anxiety has centered on the cruise ships that pass through the Grand Canal, blotting out the landmarks like an eclipse blocking out the sun.

担忧主要集中在穿行于大运河(Grand Canal)中的游轮身上,它们遮蔽着一处处地标,就如同月球的影子遮蔽着太阳。

Some of the roughly 50,000 Venetians who remain in the city, down from about 175,000 in 1951, have organized associations against the “Big Ships,” selling T-shirts that show cruise boats with shark teeth threatening fishermen. In June, almost all the 18,000 Venetians who voted in an unofficial referendum on the cruise ships said they wanted them out of the lagoon.


“One problem is the ships,” said Franceschini, who called their passage in front of St. Mark’s Square “an unacceptable spectacle.”


But the ships bring in money, and since Venice is not the trading power of yore, it needs all the euros it can get. The cruise ships don’t just bring fees into the city, they also create jobs down a whole supply chain, benefiting mechanics, waiters and water taxis. The gondoliers who change into their striped shirts early in the morning and put sunscreen on their bald heads have steady work.


Many of Venice’s locals reside in the Castello section of the city, far enough from San Marco Square, the center of tourist gravity, to enjoy a semblance of normal life. But only a semblance.


“If you want to get some prosciutto, you can’t because the salumeria is gone,” said Tommaso Mingati, 41.

“如果你想要买点火腿,是买不到的,因为熟食店消失了,”现年41岁的托马索•明甘蒂(Tommaso Mingati)说。

His family kept a small apartment here but, like most former residents, had moved out to Mestre, the mainland section that no one has ever called Queen of the Adriatic. As his mother regretted the city’s becoming a “Disneyland on the Sea,” Mingati said that the expanding empire of bed-and-breakfasts was now forcing people out of Mestre.


All of those bed-and-breakfasts, and the city’s roughly 2,500 hotels, produce a lot of towels and linens that need laundering. Venice no longer has the capacity for such an undertaking. So, at dawn, boats carry the dirty laundry and garbage out to Tronchetto, an artificial island and parking lot for trucks coming from the mainland.


In turn, they deliver fresh towels but also untold gallons of drinking water, foodstuffs, bottles of orange Aperol to make the city’s ubiquitous Aperol Spritz and anything else consumed inside the lagoon.

回程时,它们会载满干净的毛巾,还有大量饮用水、食品、一瓶瓶橙色的柳橙苦酒——用以制作该市随处可见的鸡尾酒Aperol Spritz——以及在这里用得上的其他任何东西。

One weekend a year, during the Feast of the Redeemer in July, Venetians take back the city. They flow back in from Mestre to drink wine on the banks of the Grand Canal and wait for a fireworks show that puts New York’s Fireworks by Grucci to shame.

每年7月的一个周末过救赎节(Feast of the Redeemer)的时候,威尼斯人都会拿回对这座城市的主导权。他们纷纷从梅斯特赶回来,在大运河边喝葡萄酒,等待观看一场会让纽约的格鲁西烟花公司(Fireworks by Grucci)感到汗颜的烟花秀。

This year, the celebration coincided with the Venice Biennale, which draws thousands of sophisticated, globe-trotting visitors to Venice to check out the latest in art, dance and theater. The locals and the art enthusiasts have developed a sort of alliance against the crowds who march on St. Mark’s.

今年的救赎节撞上了威尼斯双年展(Venice Biennale),后者把成千上万来自全球各地的高端游客吸引到威尼斯,欣赏最新的艺术、舞蹈和戏剧作品。当地人和这些艺术爱好者,已经结成了某种抗衡前进在圣马克广场上的人潮的联盟。

“We are a model of what could be,” said Paolo Baratta, the president of the Biennale, as he watched the fireworks from the terrace of the festival’s headquarters. The people emptying out of the cruise ships, he said, “aren’t concerned with what happens in Venice.”

“我们提供了一种关于这座城市的可能前景的范本,”威尼斯双年展主席保罗•巴拉塔(Paolo Baratta)一边在双年展总部的露台上看烟花,一边说道。他说,从游轮中倾巢而出的那些人“并不关心威尼斯发生了什么”。

At night, many of the tourists return to their cruise ships or tuck in after early dinners. The result is a momentary reprieve but also, like Venice in its slow winter months, a time warp to an earlier Venice.


For me it is the one I first encountered nearly 20 years ago, before Google Maps, when I could get lost and stumble onto seemingly deserted or forgotten campos. At night, away from the city center, a couple of tourists celebrating their wedding at a divey cafe was not cloying, but charming.


Those enchanting hours stretched into the early morning, before the tourists stirred, when St. Mark’s Square itself was empty except for the pigeons and the early risers headed to work.


Those hours, with the shadows still long and the light reflecting off the lagoon and the triforia windows, reminded me of what Raffaelle Nocera, who otherwise sounded depressed about the state of his city, told me as he navigated a water bus around the Grand Canal.

那些时光——其间,地上的影子依然很长,光亮反射在泄湖和拱形窗上——让我想起本来似乎对这座城市的状态颇感沮丧的威尼斯人拉法埃莱•诺切拉(Raffaelle Nocera),一边在大运河上驾驶水上巴士一边对我说过的话。

“If you get up early enough,” Nocera said, “you get all of Venice to yourself.”


It reminds you of why it is so worth protecting, and why Italians have been taking a stand.


“Today it’s Piazza San Marco or Ponte di Rialto,” Franceschini said. “In a few years it could be that the problem spreads.”

New York’s Sidewalks Are So Packed, Pedestrians Are Taking to the Streets

Ivette Singh hardly bothers to walk on the sidewalk on her way to work in Midtown Manhattan anymore. Too many people, too little space. Not enough patience.

在去曼哈顿中城上班的路上,伊维特•辛格(Ivette Singh)几乎不再走人行道。因为人太多,空间太小。耐心不够。

Instead, Ms. Singh can be found on the wrong side of the curb as she makes her way from Pennsylvania Station to her job on Third Avenue near 40th Street, and then back again. She prefers dodging yellow cabs and bicyclists to navigating sidewalks teeming with commuters, tourists and cart-pushing vendors, all jostling for elbow room.

倒是可以在马路边看到她在宾夕法尼亚站(Pennsylvania Station)和位于40街附近的第三大道上的工作单位之间往返的身影。她宁愿躲避黄色的出租车和骑自行车的人,也不愿在挤满了争抢活动空间的上班族、游客和推车小贩的人行道上穿行。

“I don’t mind the walk, it’s just the people,” Ms. Singh, an account coordinator for the Univision television network, said. “Sometimes, they’re rude. They’re on top of you, no personal space. They’re smoking. It’s tough.”


Ms. Singh is just one among many pedestrians experiencing a growing phenomenon in New York City: sidewalk gridlock.


While crowding is hardly a new problem in the city, the sidewalks that cemented New York’s reputation as a world-class walking city have become obstacle courses as more people than ever live and work in the city and tourism surges. The problem is particularly acute in Manhattan. Around Penn Station and the Port Authority Bus Terminal, two of the city’s main transit hubs, commuters clutching coffee cups and briefcases squeeze by one another during the morning and evening rushes. Throngs of shoppers and visitors sometimes bring swaths of Lower Manhattan to a standstill, prompting some residents of the area to cite clogged sidewalks as their biggest problem in a recent community survey.


Foot traffic has slowed to a shuffle along some of the city’s most famous corridors. On Fifth Avenue, between 54th and 55th Streets, 26,831 pedestrians — enough to fill Madison Square Garden and Radio City Music Hall combined — passed through in three hours on a weekday in May 2015, up from 20,639 the year before, according to city data.


Transportation officials are taking measures to alleviate the congestion. To help accommodate foot traffic, they are adding more pedestrian plazas around the city, expanding the presence of a streetscape feature first embraced by the Bloomberg administration. One is scheduled to open soon on 33rd Street near Penn Station. There are also plans to widen a half-dozen sidewalks in Flushing, Queens, in the next year (the city’s sidewalks vary in width, but must be at least five feet wide).


While a crowded sidewalk is simply a symptom of a crowded city, it resonates deeply because it affects almost everyone. Unlike overstuffed subways or tourist attractions like, say, Times Square, there is no going around the sidewalks. They are to New York what freeways are to Los Angeles: an essential part of the city’s infrastructure. Sidewalks not only get people from Point A to Point B, but also serve as a shared public space for rich and poor, native and tourist alike.


“Sidewalks are the unifying glue of the city,” said Mitchell L. Moss, director of the Rudin Center for Transportation Policy and Management at New York University. “It’s the one part of the city that everyone has to use. You cannot avoid sidewalks.”

“人行道是城市的粘合剂,”纽约大学鲁丁交通政策和管理中心(Rudin Center for Transportation Policy and Management at New York University)主任米切尔•L•莫斯(Mitchell L. Moss)说。“是城市里所有人都会使用的地方。根本避不开人行道。”

Crowded sidewalks are not just a New York problem. They have created bottlenecks and logistical hurdles and have raised safety concerns in cities across the country. Since 2013, public works officials in San Francisco have widened two sidewalks in Fisherman’s Wharf and the Castro, popular tourist areas with a lot of foot traffic. A third sidewalk project is planned for Second Street, one of the main routes to AT&T Park, the baseball stadium where the Giants play.

人行道拥堵的问题不仅限于纽约。它们给全美的城市造成了瓶颈和物流障碍,引起了对安全的担忧。自2013年以来,旧金山的市政工程官员拓宽了渔人码头和卡斯特罗的两条人行道。这两个地方颇受游客欢迎,步行的人流量很大。计划中的另一个人行道项目涉及的是第二街。它是通往巨人队(Giants)的棒球场AT&T球场(AT&T Park)的主要道路之一。

In Seattle, a busy stretch of East Pike Street in the Capitol Hill neighborhood that is lined with restaurants, bars and clubs was closed to cars on three Saturday nights last summer to make room for pedestrians overflowing from the sidewalks. “It just feels so jammed with humanity it becomes a rough situation,” said Joel Sisolak, sustainability and planning director for Capitol Hill Housing, a community development corporation that has worked with city officials to address the issue of crowded sidewalks.

在西雅图,东派克街经过国会山地区的路段交通繁忙,路两边遍布着餐馆、酒吧和夜总会。去年夏天,为了给被挤出人行道的行人留出空间,该路段有三个周六的晚上禁止车辆通行。“就感觉太挤了,环境变得很恶劣,”社区发展公司国会山住房(Capitol Hill Housing)的可持续与规划总监乔尔•西索拉克(Joel Sisolak)说。该公司与市政官员合作,在解决人行道拥挤问题。

Space on New York City’s sidewalks is at a premium at a time when the city’s population of 8.5 million is higher than ever. Add in the record 59.7 million visitors who are expected to descend on the city this year, up from 48.8 million in 2010, and it’s a recipe for thoroughfares packed like sardine cans. Chris Heywood, a spokesman for NYC & Company, which oversees the city’s tourism efforts, said his group was increasingly highlighting attractions outside Manhattan in hopes of dispersing visitors across the city.

随着纽约城人口突破850万,人行道的稀缺程度达到前所未有的水平。2010年有4880万游客前来纽约观光,预计这个数字今年将达到创纪录的5970万,所以交通要道就像沙丁鱼罐头一样拥挤。克里斯•海伍德(Chris Heywood)在市里负责旅游事务的纽约城公司(NYC & Company)担任发言人,他说,公司团队在加强对曼哈顿之外景点的宣传,希望将游客分流到城市各处。

Scott Gastel, a spokesman for the Transportation Department, said the department had conducted research into pedestrian behavior at crosswalks and had monitored pedestrian volumes at 100 street locations around the city to track long-term trends in neighborhood commercial corridors. Along bustling 34th Street, the city has added about 20,000 square feet of pedestrian space in recent years, including so-called bus bulbs that extend the sidewalk pavement to give bus riders more room to wait.

市交通局发言人斯科特•加斯特尔(Scott Gastel)称,他们对人行横道上行人的行为进行了研究,在全市100处街头地点对社区商业走廊的长期趋势进行了追踪。近几年来,市里在繁华的34街增加了2万平方英尺左右的步行空间,其中包括“公共汽车等候处”(bus bulbs)。这指的是延伸到路上的人行道,可以让公交乘客有更多的空间来等车。

In Lower Manhattan, overcrowded sidewalks topped the list of residents’ concerns in a survey conducted last year for the local community board. The problem was aggravated in some areas by sidewalk clutter such as construction scaffolding, large garbage bags, vendors and fixtures like lights, signs, newsstands, benches, planters and recycling bins. “You add all that up, and it’s difficult to walk on the narrow sidewalk,” said Catherine McVay Hughes, the community board’s chairwoman.

在曼哈顿下城,地方社区委员会去年做的一项调查显示,在最受居民关注的问题中,拥挤的人行道位居榜首。人行道上的障碍物,比如施工脚手架、大垃圾袋、摊贩,以及路灯、招牌、报摊、长椅、花架和垃圾回收箱这些东西,让部分地区的这一问题更加严重。“所有这些加在一起,要在狭窄的人行道上走路就很困难了,”社区委员会主席凯瑟琳•麦克维恩•休斯(Catherine McVay Hughes)说。

If there is an epicenter of crowded sidewalks in New York, it is near Penn Station, where pedestrians, food carts and newsstands all vie for space. Only London and Tokyo have sidewalks as congested, said Daniel A. Biederman, president of the 34th Street Partnership, which oversees the business district in the area. As many as 14,000 pedestrians an hour walk in front of the Modell’s Sporting Goods store on Seventh Avenue near West 34th Street, according to 2015 data collected by the partnership.

如果说纽约拥挤的人行道上有个震中位置,那就是在宾州车站附近了。在这里,行人、食品车和报摊互相争夺空间。负责该地商务区的34街合作管理委员会(34th Street Partnership)主席丹尼尔•A•比德曼(Daniel A. Biederman)表示,这里人行道的拥挤程度只有伦敦和东京可以相提并论。他们2015年搜集的数据显示,每小时有至多1.4万行人走过第七大道近西34街的麦多体育用品店(Modell’s Sporting Goods)门前。

The commuter crowd is also growing. An average of 92,314 riders boarded New Jersey Transit trains at Penn Station each weekday in fiscal year 2015, up from 79,891 riders in fiscal year 2010. In the same period, average weekday boardings on New Jersey Transit buses at the Port Authority terminal also increased, to 78,006 riders from 72,506.

通勤人数也越来越多。在2015年财年,平均每个工作日有92314名乘客在宾州车站搭上新泽西公共交通(New Jersey Transit)列车,而在2010年财年这个数字为79891人。在同一时期,在港务局码头搭乘新泽西公共交通大巴的乘客也从72506人增加到78006人。

Veteran pedestrians have tried to adapt. They shoulder their way into bike lanes or walk purposefully on the street alongside cars — eyes ahead, earphones in — forming a de facto express lane. They move en masse along Seventh and Eighth Avenues like a storm system on a weather map, heading north in the mornings and south in the evenings.


“You know how the system works,” said Roque Santos, 48, a stagehand who commutes daily from Jersey City. “I cross the street even before the light changes to beat the crowd.”

“你知道这种事是怎么个情况,”48岁的罗克•桑托斯(Roque Santos)说。他是舞台工作人员,每天往返泽西市。“为了抢在人群前面,我甚至会在变灯之前就穿过马路。”

Peter Raskin, a sports marketing executive, has made walking in the street part of his daily routine. He zipped north on Seventh Avenue the other morning, even when there was room on the sidewalk. “I’m used to it,” he said. “I stay in the street with my head down.”

在街上步行是体育营销高管彼得•拉斯金(Peter Raskin)每日例行的活动。有天早上,他在第七大道的车道上快步朝北走着,尽管人行道上也有地方。“我习惯了,”他说。“低着头在街上走。”

But bad things can happen when foot traffic spills into the streets. In 2016, there have been 55 pedestrian fatalities as of Sunday; still, that was an improvement from the 79 fatalities for the same period in 2013.


Michael D’Angelo, an accountant who works in Midtown, said that in the past year he had seen a half-dozen pedestrians walking in the street struck by cyclists. Still, Mr. D’Angelo said he often had no choice but to step off the curb because he could not get by all the people along Eighth Avenue. His bus home to Pennsylvania leaves the Port Authority at 5:55 p.m., with or without him.

在曼哈顿中城工作的会计师迈克尔•迪安杰洛(Michael D’Angelo)表示,去年他看到过五六起行人在车道上走而被自行车撞到的事故。但迪安杰洛说他通常没有选择,只能离开人行道,因为他无法从第八大道上拥挤的人流中穿过。他的家在宾夕法尼亚州,回家的公交车每天下午5点55从港务局出发,晚了车就开走了。

“Everybody is trying to beat everybody,” he said, “because everybody has someplace to go.”


Then there are the inattentive walkers, those who text on their phones or read newspapers while moving, and the meandering tourists who seem oblivious to the ways of the street. They stop midstride, step on someone’s heel or cut off people without warning. The result? Sidewalk rage.


“When you get out-of-towners and New Yorkers, it’s like mixing Clorox with ammonia, it doesn’t work — there’s a chemical reaction,” said Jato Jenkins, a street worker, as he swept a stretch of Seventh Avenue. “The New Yorkers walk their normal route, and the out-of-towners are going the opposite direction, like salmon going upstream.”

“外地人和纽约客碰到一块,就像把漂白剂和氨水兑在一起,行不通——会有化学反应,”清洁工哈托•詹金斯(Jato Jenkins)说,他正在打扫第七大道上的一片地方。“纽约客走自己惯常的路线,外地人则走相反的方向,就像逆流而上的鲑鱼。”

Mr. Jenkins said everyone was miserable and on edge, especially in the sweltering summer months, so that even the slightest bump could set off tempers. He said he had seen women cursing at each other and men pushing each other and grabbing each other’s shirts.


Virginia Garcia said she had been on the receiving end of such outbursts. “People are running around like crazy, and they don’t stop,” said Ms. Garcia, who stands at the intersection of Seventh Avenue and West 36th Street with a sign advertising a local pub. “They push you, they hit you and they don’t care.”

维尔吉尼娅•加西亚(Virginia Garcia)说有人就朝她发过火。“人群像疯了一样东奔西跑,停不下来,”加西亚说。她站在第七大道和西36街的交叉口处,手里举着一家本地酒吧的广告牌。“他们推你,打你,根本不在意。”

David Wentz, a mail carrier who pushes a 50-pound cart around the garment district, said he tried to arrange his day around the busiest times for foot traffic. “It’s chaotic,” he said. “It’s like Disney World down here.”

邮递员戴维•温茨(David Wentz)推着一辆50磅重的推车在服装区附近走,他说自己努力安排如何在行人最多的高峰期前后工作。“很混乱,”他说。“就好像这里是迪士尼乐园。”

But for Mr. Moss, of the Rudin Center at N.Y.U., crowded sidewalks show how far the city has come. During the 1970s, he pointed out, people used to avoid the sidewalks in the East Village and other parts of the city for a different reason: They feared criminals and felt safer walking out in the open, down the middle of a street.


Today, “people want to be in New York,” he said. “A crowded sidewalk is a sign of vitality.”

Put One Foot Wrong in This Town and You’ve Left the Country

At De Biergrens beer shop, you can walk in from the Netherlands through one door and walk out into Belgium through another. There are two telephones, one connected to the Belgian telecom system and one plugged into the Dutch. There are even two cash registers, at opposite ends of the shop — one in each country.

在De Biergrens啤酒屋,你能从荷兰的一个门走进去,从另一门出去走到比利时。那里有两部电话,一部连接的是比利时的电信系统,另一部连接的是荷兰的电信系统。店的两侧甚至有两个收银台,每个国家一个。

That’s par for the course in Baarle, a village about 65 miles south of Amsterdam that is sliced and diced by what is probably the world’s craziest stretch of international border. It zigzags up and down streets and right through the middle of stores like De Biergrens, and even people’s living rooms and gardens.

在阿姆斯特丹以南约65英里的村庄巴勒(Baarle),这是常有的事。这里被也许是世界上最疯狂的国界线分割。国界线曲折地穿过街道,穿过De Biergrens这样的店铺,甚至穿过人们的客厅和花园。

The bewildering layout dates from the 12th century, when wars and land spats kept morphing the dividing line between the holdings of rival noble families. When Belgium seceded from the Netherlands in 1830, those untidy lines hardened into a national frontier, but they left a number of enclaves: isolated bits of one nation’s territory surrounded by the land of the other. Today, Baarle lies within the Netherlands, but it has 22 Belgian enclaves that, in turn, have seven Dutch enclaves within them.


Confused? Baarle has a system to help. The border is marked on the town’s pavements with white crosses and metal studs. Outside Den Engel, a cafe, visitors can stand with a glass of wine in the Netherlands and lean over a white cross to drink it in Belgium. When closing times differed in the two countries, divided restaurants would move their tables to the Belgian side of the room when last call came on the Dutch side.

是不是很让人迷惑?巴勒有一套系统来解决这个问题。小镇路面上用白色十字和金属钉标明国界线。在Den Engel咖啡馆外,游客们可以站在荷兰领土上拿着一杯红酒,倾斜身子越过白色十字线,在比利时领空饮用。两国的打烊时间不同时,如果荷兰那边的打烊时间已到,被国界线分割的餐馆就把桌子挪到比利时那一侧。

Addresses go by the voordeurregel, or front-door rule: If it opens on the Belgian side of a street, you live in Belgium, wherever the rest of the house may lie. (For easy identification, the national flag is usually painted next to the house number.) A shop like De Biergrens, with entrances in both countries, gets an address for each door.

地址是按照前门原则来确定的:如果前门开在街道的比利时一侧,那你就是住在比利时,不管房子的其余部分在哪里(为了方便辨认,门牌号旁边通常会画一个国旗)。像De Biergrens这样在两个国家都有入口的店铺,会给每个门弄一个地址。

The intertwined halves of the town — formally, the Belgian parts are Baarle-Hertog and the Dutch parts Baarle-Nassau — have separate town halls, churches and fire departments, but they recently merged their police departments. None of this bothers people at De Biergrens, which is slightly more in the Netherlands but sells mostly Belgian beer. “Yes, we have two addresses, two telephones and two cash registers,” said Karlean Vermonden, an employee. “But it’s not a problem. That’s just a way of life here.”

小镇互相纠缠在一起的两部分(以前,比利时部分被称为巴勒海托赫[Baarle-Hertog],荷兰部分被称为巴勒纳绍[Baarle-Nassau])各自设立市政厅、教堂和消防局,不过前不久警察局合并了。但是,De Biergrens啤酒屋一点也没觉得困扰,这家店在荷兰的部分稍大一些,但主要是售卖比利时啤酒。“是的,我们有两个地址、两部电话和两个收银台,”店员卡琳•弗蒙顿(Karlean Vermonden)说,“不过,这没什么问题。这就是这儿的生活方式。”



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