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EC Passage 1
New drone footage gives a glimpse of the damage that parts of Hawaii’s Big Island sustained in the wake of volcanic explosions in recent days. Smoke can be seen billowing off the lavas it creeps down roads and through wooded areas toward homes. Fires are visible with terrifying streams of brightness breaking through the surrounding areas of black. After a day of relative calm, Kilauea roared back in full force on Sunday, spewing lava 300 feet in the air, encroaching on a half mile of new ground and bringing the total number of destroyed structures to 35. There have been 1 ,800 residents evacuated from their homes in neighborhoods where cracks have been opening and spilling lava. In evacuated areas with relatively low sulfur dioxide levels,residents were allowed to return home for a few hours to collect belongings on Sundayand Monday. Officials said those residents– a little more than half of the evacuees were allowed to return briefly, and said they would continue to allow residentsin if it could be done safely.
“Things got pretty active” official said at a Saturday press conference. “The eight vents were pretty active, to the point where lava was spewing and the flow started spreading so we got additional damage out there. l’m not sure what the count is, but we thought it was just continue to go. Fortunately, seismicityhas kinda laid down and the vents have gone quiet now.” But officials had cautioned that while the lava flow was quiet, it wouldn’t be for long. “More vents could open up, the existing ones could get active again, which probably will happen after seeing whathappened this morning,” “There’s a lot of lava or magma under the ground so eventually it’s going to come up.”The island was also rocked by a 6.9-magnitude earthquake on Friday, which caused landslides near the coast, but minimal structural damage. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) said Sunday the island had experienced more than 500 earthquakes– 13 with a magnitude greater than 4.0 — in the 24hours following the 6.9-magnitude quake.The concern for residents continues to bethe lava and gas emitted from vents,though. “This is lava, that is definitely destroying people’s homes — we don’t have an exact count — but it is a devastating situation andit’s going to be everyday that it goes on,”Hawaii County head said Saturday. “there’s no way we could’ve predicted this.”
EC Passage 2
Just as in America, in Britain too the story told by official statistics does not always match people’s lived experience. That is especially true in places like Newcastle, a former shipbuilding city, which lost out to competition from Asia in the 1970s and has seen living standards stagnate ever since. The U.S. economy, we are told, is booming. In the past two quarters, gross domestic product has risen by more than 3%, the stock market is soaring and unemployment is down to a 17-year low of 4.1%. Many people, though, don’t feel that upside.The perception gap is huge. Unemployment, more broadly measured, is higher than the headline number suggests because many people have simply given up looking for work or are working in part-time jobs when they want a full-time job. One of the prime faults of GDP is that it deals in averages and aggregates. Aggregates hide the nuances of inequality. And averages don’t tell us very much at all. Barring a few recessions, the U.S. economy has been on a near relentless upward path since the 1950s. Yet according to a Pew Research Center report, the average hourly wage for nonmanagement private-sector work was $20.67 in 2014, a measly $1.49 higher than in 1964, adjusted for inflation.
Studies suggest that people care more about relative than absolute wealth. If that is true, then as a minority have become richer, the majority have grown more miserable. In a famous experiment carried out at Emory University, two capuchin monkeys were put side by side and given cucumbers as a reward for performing a task. When one of the monkeys was given better-tasting grapes instead, the monkey receiving cucumbers became distraught, flinging its now despised reward at its trainer. The problems with using GDP as a barometer go beyond masking inequality. Invented in the U.S. in the 1930s, the figure is a child of the manufacturing age–good at measuring physical production but not the services that dominate modern economies. How would GDP measure the quality of mental-health care or the availability of day-care centers and parks in your area? Even the Belarusian economist who practically invented GDP, had doubts about his creation. He did not like the fact that it counted armaments and financial speculation as positive outputs. Above all, he said, GDP should never be confused with well-being. That suggests we need to find different ways of measuring our success. For the most part, we have become enraptured with a single measure that offers only limited information.
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CE Passage 2