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Books and Arts; Book Review;Harry Belafontes autobiography;文艺;书评;哈利·贝拉方特自传;Twentieth-century lion;上世纪的名流;My Song: A Memoir of Art, Race and Defiance. By Harry Belafonte;《我的歌:追忆艺术,种族与反抗》哈利·贝拉方特著。IT ALL began with a set of Venetian blinds. In 1946 a couple in a Manhattan apartment building asked their janitor, a biracial Jamaican New Yorker newly returned from naval service in the second world war, to install a set in their flat. The task completed, they gave him two theatre tickets as payment. The janitor, having no money for the dinner that a proper date would have included, went on his own to see “Home is the Hunter”, a play about black servicemen returning to America after the war. He was enraptured. 这一切要从一套百叶窗帘说起。故事发生在1946年的曼哈顿,有对夫妇想在家里安装一套百叶窗帘,于是便叫来一位公寓清洁工,作为报酬,事后给了他两张戏票。想来,邀人看戏起码得请吃个饭,可无奈囊中羞涩,这清洁工就自个儿去美国黑人剧院看了场《家是猎人》。这出戏讲述了一位美国黑人士兵战后返乡的事,看着看着这哥们就陶醉了。The tenants, Clarice Taylor and Maxwell Glanville, performed in the play, which was put on by the American Negro Theatre (ANT). The janitor was, of course, Harry Belafonte.剧中表演者正是那对夫妇,克莱斯·泰勒与麦斯威尔·格兰维尔;而那清洁工呢,自然就是哈利·贝拉方特;说来,那时二战刚刚终了,结束海军役后,这个有着牙买加血统的美籍混血回到纽约,在一幢公寓里做起了清洁工。In short order Mr Belafonte also found his way into the ANT, where he not only acted but made “my first friend in life”, another poor, hustling West Indian named Sidney Poitier. The two of them hatched get-rich-quick schemes—Mr Poitier wanted to market an extract of Caribbean conch as an aphrodisiac—and they shared theatre tickets: they could only afford a single ticket between them, so one would attend before the interval and one after, then each would fill the other in. Mr Poitier got his break first: he took Mr Belafontes place in a play that the latter, still employed as a janitor, missed because he had to collect his tenants rubbish. It took Mr Belafonte several more years of struggling, and he gained fame not as an actor, for which he had trained, but as a singer, for which he had not, filling time during the interval at Lester Youngs concerts, where his first backup band included Max Roach and Charlie Parker.不久后,贝拉方特也找到了通往美国黑人剧院的门路。在那儿,他不仅演戏,还结实了“生命中第一个朋友” 西德尼·波蒂埃。和贝拉方特一样,这个来自西印度群岛的小伙儿生活拮据,为了生计四处奔波。私下里,二人策划了快速致富的计划:加勒比贝壳的提取物可拿来当使,波蒂埃就想带着货去市场卖;此外,哥俩还共用一张戏票。由于只付得起一张票钱,两人就以幕间休息为准,你来半场,我来半场,互换位置。波蒂埃首先打开局面,并在一出戏中挤掉了贝拉方特的戏份。而贝拉方特仍旧干着清洁,因为他还得打扫房客的垃圾,遗憾得错过了机会。又是几年过去了,经过奋斗,贝拉方特终于获得成功。这一次,他没有拾起老本去演戏,而选择从未训练过的职业,做起了歌手:李斯特杨的音乐会上,幕间休息时常见他一展歌喉,那时,在他最初伴奏乐队里还有着像麦克斯·罗奇,查理·帕克这样的人物。Looming over both this book and its subjects life are two ghosts: Millie, his formidable, perpetually dissatisfied mother; and Paul Robeson, whose combination of entertainment and political activism⑾ forged a path that Mr Belafonte would follow. But whereas Robesons activism ran headlong into early cold-war paranoia, blacklists and McCarthyism, Mr Belafonte was luckier: his career rose more or less in tandem with the American civil-rights movement.不论是本书还是贝拉方特的一生中,总有两朵阴霾不肯散去:一个是他的母亲米勒。这女人让人敬畏,而且永不知满足。另一个则是保罗·罗贝孙,他将与政治激进主义糅合,铺下前路,好让贝拉方特遵循。然而,正是他的激进行为,让其猛然栽入早期冷战妄想与麦卡锡主义中,并在各种黑名单上记录在案,与之相比,贝拉方特幸运多了:其职业生涯的崛起,多多少少与美国民权运动相连。Martin Luther King junior sought him out in 1956, just a few months after rising to fame during the Montgomery bus boycott⒀. King was then 26, and a preacher at the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, while Mr Belafonte was 28 and newly crowned “Americas Negro matinée idol”. Mr Belafonte was sceptical of both religion and non-violence (“I wasnt nonviolent by nature,” he explains, “or if I was, growing up on Harlems streets had knocked it out of me”), but was won over by Kings humility. There is an especially touching scene from nine years later in which, following a celebrity-studded civil-rights fund-raiser in Paris, King, then a Nobel peace-prize winner, serves food to the assembled stars as “an exercise in humility, an act of abject gratitude to all these stars for coming out for him.” In a book that is riddled with many of the usual faults of celebrity autobiography—name-dropping, score-settling, preening and a rather ungallant treatment of his first wife and some of his children—Mr Belafontes portrayal of King stands out for its unfussy warmth and unhagiographical affection.1956年,蒙哥马利市爆发巴士抵制运动,一名来自德克斯特大街浸信会教堂的牧师声名鹊起。他,就是马丁·路德·金。几个月后,时年26岁的金找到贝拉方特,那时,后者28岁,新得美誉“通吃美国妇女的小黑哥”。贝拉方特不信教,也不信非暴力,(用他自己说是“我生来刚烈,就算不使用暴力,在哈林区混大,也叫人砸有了。”)却因金的谦逊而折。九年后的一幕最是感人心脾:那是在巴黎举行的一场民权筹款会,到场的尽是知名人士,金,这位诺贝尔和平奖桂冠竟为在场的群星盛放实物, 以此向为他而来的群星们行以“谦恭之举”,表达心中“无尽感激”。贝拉方特的这本书中,明星自传常有的缺点满眼皆是:不是提一笔名人来拔高自己身价,就是报复之辞,要么自我吹捧几句,再不就是描写原配与孩子时,不甚殷切。所以,在对金的刻画,更凸显出他那份知性的温情与平实的情怀。After the 1960s, “My Song” goes downhill quickly, but that is hardly a surprise: maintaining fame is never as interesting as achieving it. The book is also too long. Mr Belafontes ramblings about business deals that went sour and his agonising over the extraordinary privileges his children enjoyed grow tedious. And then there is his political judgment. Standing with Martin Luther King junior to fight injustice and oppression is quite different from standing with practised political oppressors such as Hugo Chávez and Fidel Castro. Still, Mr Belafonte does have a remarkable song to sing. Given its bth, and the welcome disappearance of the segregated world in which it began, such a song will not be sung again.上世纪60年代后,贝拉方特“唱”不动了,事业迅速下滑。但这并不奇怪:追逐名誉时,人们总是乐此不疲,但要永葆不衰,可就难咯。这本同名自传也够冗长的: 不是漫谈生意不顺,就讲孩子享受优待,当爹的很是焦虑的事,读着读着也觉得无聊。书中还叙述了其个人的政治判断:他既和老练得政治压迫者(比如雨果·查韦斯,菲德尔·卡斯特罗)有过交情,也曾与马丁·路德·金并肩,同歧视,压迫做过斗争。两者意义却大不相同。不过,贝拉方特还真有一首别致的歌要唱,但一来这歌受众不广,二来它出炉于种族隔离的时代,如今,人们早已敞开胸怀,愈合这个世界,如此看来⒆,此曲恐为绝唱哩!201207/190580

Business Home entertainment Netflix messes up商业 家庭 Netflix这回弄巧成拙了The terror of the film and television business has become a lot less scary电影和电视业的担忧恐惧都显得微不足道LAST December Jeff Bewkes, Time Warners boss, sneered that Netflix threatened media about as much as the Albanian army threatened world peace. Few were fooled. Netflix, which hires out DVDs through the post as well as streaming films and television through the internet, had aly impoverished Hollywood by training people to rent DVDs instead of buying them. It was starting to lure people away from pay-television. But then the army began marching in the wrong direction, and its general shot himself in the foot.在去年12月,时代华纳的老板Jeff Bewkes曾嘲笑Netflix就像阿尔巴尼亚军队危害了世界和平一样危害了媒体业。Netflix,一个凭借邮递务租售DVD光碟和通过互联网租售流媒体电影和电视节目的公司,由于使得人们不再购买DVD光碟而只是租借它们,早已让好莱坞的收入大为缩水。它在开始引诱人们离开付费频道,但上当者人数寥寥。然而,这军队接下来开始朝着错误的方向进军,这次,这位上将是搬起石头砸了自己的脚。On September 1st Netflix began imposing new prices on its 25m subscribers. Americans had been able to pay .99 a month for DVDs through the post as well as the right to stream some films and programmes. Netflix would henceforth offer them a choice: .99 a month for streaming, or the same price for DVDs. People who wanted both would pay .98.自9月1日起,Netflix开始对2500万订阅用户执行新的收费方案。在这之前,美国人每个月只需付9.99美元,就能享受邮递租借DVD光碟和网络观赏一些流媒体电影、电视节目的务。现在,Netflix给了他们一个选择:要么每个月为流媒体务付7.99美元,要么以同样的价格租借DVD光碟。两种务都需要的人则需每月付15.98美元。Customers dont like it. They have jammed the firms switchboard and posted 82,000 largely hostile comments on its Facebook page. Netflix told investors to expect a rare loss of subscribers, driving its shares down. The companys reputation for top-notch customer service has been tarnished. So Netflixs founder and chief executive, Reed Hastings, tried to explain himself—and made matters far worse.用户们并不喜欢这个方案。许多人的投诉电话蜂拥而至以致电话系统瘫痪,并且在Netflix的Facebook主页上留下了多达82000条的恶意。Netflix告知投资者们要做好因订阅用户人数大幅下降所带来的股份下滑的准备,这所公司以顶级用户务著称的名誉已经蒙上了污点。因此,Netflix的创立人兼总裁Reed Hastings尝试为自己的决定辩解——却只是越描越黑。On September 18th Mr Hastings explained that the company feared being left behind by technological change, like AOL with its dial-up service. It was separating DVDs from streaming because its future lies in streaming. The DVD-by-post service, he said, would move to a new website, with a new billing system, and be renamed Qwikster. Its an odd name (whatever else the US Postal Service is, it isnt qwik) and a big mistake. As The Economist went to press, Netflix shares were trading around 0—a steep decline from their July peak of 9.在9月18日,Hastings先生解释说到他害怕公司会像还在提供拨号上网业务的美国在线务公司那样被日新月异的科技变化抛在背后,之所以要把DVD光碟业务从流媒体业务中分离出来是因为这项业务的未来存在于流媒体技术之中。他说到,邮递租借DVD光碟业务将会被移至一个新的网站,拥有新的付系统,并被重新命名为Qwikster。这真是一个怪名字(不管美国邮政系统该叫什么,都不会叫;qwik;)和一个大错误。在本文交付印刷之时,Netflix的股票成交价大概在130美元左右——与他们在7月份299美元封顶的价格相比下了一个大滑坡。Netflix has made a tactical error and treated its customers shabbily. It has also jumped too hastily into the future—as if Renault were to declare that electric cars are the future and rename its petrol-car division Qwikmobile.Netflix不仅犯了策略性错误,而且对待用户们糟糕透顶。另外,它对未来的规划也太过急进——好比说雷诺公司对外宣称电动车是未来发展的方向,然后就把他们的汽车部门改名为Qwikmobile。Worst of all, Netflix has disregarded a big strategic advantage. DVDs may be old media, but they come with strong legal protections. As soon as a DVD is released by a Hollywood studio, roughly four months after the film appears in cinemas, Netflix can start renting it. To stream a film via the internet, in contrast, Netflix must strike an agreement with the studio or TV firm that owns it. As Netflix has become richer and scarier, negotiations have become harder. The company must wait eight or nine years to stream many studio films. A few media firms refuse to sell any streaming rights at all.而最糟糕的是,Netflix忽略了一个极其重要的战略优势。DVD光碟或许是老式媒介,但是它们有着强力的法律保护措施。当一张DVD光碟从好莱坞片场发布那刻起,大概只要在电影院上映后四个月,Netflix就可以开始租售。相比之下,如果Netflix要通过互联网来播放流媒体电影,则必须先和持有它的片场或电视公司签订协议。随着Netflix变得越来越有钱,越来越胆小,协商日趋困难。公司必须要等到8到9年才能播放许多片场的流媒体电影,一些媒体公司更是拒绝出售任何播放流媒体的权利。When Netflix combined DVDs and streaming, it offered both a vast selection of up-to-date content and the prospect of instant gratification. By forcing customers to choose between the two, it has revealed the weaknesses of both of its offerings. Netflix isnt like the Albanian army—it is far more dangerous than that. But it seems to have trained its guns against itself.在Netflix将DVD光碟与流媒体电影电视两种务结合在一起时,它不仅提供了大量可选购的最新内容,而且很容易使用户感到满意。然而Netflix强迫用户其二而择一的行为,将两者的弱点都暴露了出来。Netflix其实并不像阿尔巴尼亚军队——毕竟他们危险多了。但是这回,看起来他们是把口对准了自己。 /201301/219920

“TAKE a sticker,” urges the woman from Ambush Firearms. “We are giving away two free guns every day to people wearing them.” What your correspondent would do with an semi-automatic rifle, let alone one that also comes in pink, was not obvious. Welcome to the annual convention of the National Rifle Association (NRA)—this year held in St Louis, Missouri. It is a yearly celebration of freedom, the Second Amendment right to bear arms, and, above all else, a festival of guns. Seven acres, to be precise, of guns and gear.“拿张贴纸,”一名伏击步后的女人催促到。“我们每天向佩戴此贴纸的人免费发放两”。我们不清楚一名记者拿着一把半自动步有何用处,更何况这式粉红色的。欢迎来到全国步协会的年度盛会,今年在密苏里州的圣路易斯市举行。宪法第二修正案允许公民持,这不仅是一场自由的庆祝会,更是各色的盛会。更确切地说,整整七英里都摆放着各种和配件。Americans like firearms. According to a report from the Congressional Research Service there were 294m guns in the country in 2007, up from 192m in 1994. More guns might be expected to mean more influence for the NRA, except that the number of households with guns has actually declined fairly consistently since 1973. The people who buy guns, it seems, are usually those who aly own them. One probable cause of this decline is a shift to urban living. Moreover, safety-conscious Americans are increasingly aware that, statistically, a gun is a far greater risk to friends and family than it is of potential use in self-defence.美国人喜欢摆弄。根据国会研究务报道,美国2007年拥有2亿9400万,而在1994年才仅有1亿9200万。尽管数量的增加可能让人觉得全国步协会的影响力不断增加,但实际上拥有家庭的数量从1973年开始一直大幅下降。看起来,买的是那些已经有的人。持家庭数量下降的一个可能原因是居民生活的城市化。而且,人们逐渐意识到:据统计,给家庭和朋友带来的风险远远大于用于自卫的用途。Nonetheless, some Americans hang on to their weapons because they enjoy hunting or target practice, or live in places with too many wild animals or too few policemen. The right to gun ownership is enshrined in the constitution and is regarded by many as an issue of civil liberty—something that Europeans struggle to understand. So even as outrage is sparked over shootings such as that of Trayvon Martin in Florida and former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in Arizona, there is little appetite for gun-control legislation.尽管如此,一些美国人还是喜欢配,因为他们要么喜欢打猎或打靶,要么住在野生动物多或者警察太少的地方。持权利被写入宪法,而且被许多人视为公民自由。然而欧洲人对这却难以理解。尽管人们对福罗里达州的Trayvon Martin击案和前国会女议员Gabrielle Giffords击案极其愤怒,这也没有引发管制的立法。Quite the opposite. Behind the march of pro-gun laws across America (such as “stand your ground” ordinances that allow for the use of force in self-defence, without any obligation to attempt to retreat first, now in effect in more than half the states) is the NRA and its lobbying arm, the mildly-named Institute for Legislative Action. The NRA’s influence on introducing legislation has been remarkable. The debate about guns is no longer over whether assault rifles ought to be banned, but over whether guns should be allowed in bars, churches and colleges.恰恰相反,全美赞成持法案(如“坚守阵地”法案允许使用自卫,在防卫撤退中不负任何责任,这一法令在超过半数的州中生效)的游行队伍中是持全美赞成持法案的是“全国步协会”及其游说分—名字看上去很温和的“立法行动学院”。全国步协会在立法运动中的影响极其显著。人们对于的争论点不再是是否应该禁止使用冲锋,而是在酒吧、教堂和大学里是否应该禁止携带。201204/179178Vaccine makers crack the eggshell and inject the virus into the white stuff surrounding the yolk. Then they reseal the egg, the embryo becomes infected, and the virus is allowed to copy itself trillions of times over. And they use eggs because eggs are easy to infect and are relatively cheap. Right?疫苗生产商打碎蛋壳,把病毒注入蛋黄周围的蛋清里边。然后他们再把鸡蛋密封起来,这样鸡胚就被感染了,病毒就可以上万亿次的繁殖。他们使用鸡蛋培育疫苗是因为鸡胚很容易被感染而且还很便宜,是吧?M: Well,yeah,But...是的,但是...W: But the problem with using eggs to make flu vaccines is that normally there are plenty of eggs to go around, but when theres a sudden outbreak the eggs can run out pretty fast. And thats one of the reasons why researchers are experimenting with a new way to grow flu vaccines.使用鸡蛋培育流感疫苗的问题是,正常来说要有很多鸡蛋才行,但假如疾病突然发生,鸡蛋很快就会用完。那也是为什么研究员们正尝试培育流感疫苗新方法的原因之一。Instead of infecting eggs, theyre trying to grow flu viruses in cultured human and animal cells. When an epidemic occurs, doctors could simply grow a large colony of cells, and then more easily develop enough vaccine.他们正试图在人类和动物细胞里培育流感疫苗,而不是去感染鸡蛋。当传染病发生时,医生可以仅仅是培育一大群细胞,然后很轻易地生产足够的疫苗。And this method may not only save time, but also potentially produce more effective vaccines. Since the vaccine grown in cells may be better than caccine grown in the eggs at mimicking the flu virus that infects people.而且这种方法不仅节约时间,还能尽可能多地生产有效的疫苗,因为细胞里生长的疫苗在仿制流感病毒方面要比鸡蛋里的好。 /201210/202991

Science and Technology Animal behaviour Drip-feeding科技 动物行为 滴定进食Ecology raids the techniques of chemistry生态学里应用上了化学技术。BIOLOGISTS are sometimes accused of physics envy—and there is truth in this accusation. The essential fuzziness of biological systems can never be captured by the precise, mathematically based experiments of something like the Large Hadron Collider. Between physics and biology on the spectrum of fuzziness, though, lies chemistry. And a group of researchers led by Carolyn Nersesian of the University of Sydney has just borrowed one of chemistrys most elegant techniques, titration, to answer a pressing ecological question: how do animals choose where to feed?生物学家们常常被认为非常嫉妒研究物理学的人(事实上确实如此)。他们永远不可能通过像大型强子加速碰撞那样精确、量化的实验来揭示生物学里的一些关键性的奥秘。但是在这种奥秘的;两极;——物理学和生物学之间还有化学。最近由悉尼大学的卡洛琳·涅尔谢相带领的一组研究人员借用化学里一种非常精妙的技术——滴定法来解决一个迫待回答的问题:动物们如何选择觅食场所。Titration, to remind those who dozed through their chemistry lessons, is a way of working out the concentration of a substance in a solution. A reagent of known concentration is dripped (or titrated, to use the term of art) into the unknown solution in the presence of an appropriate indicator molecule (for example litmus, in the case of a reaction between an acid and an alkali). When the tipping point comes, and all of the unknown reagent has reacted, the solution changes colour. The unknown concentration can then be calculated from the amount of known reagent used.滴定法(为了给那些在化学课上打过瞌睡的同学们提个醒)是一种计算溶质在溶液中的浓度的方法。在某种特定的指示分子的参与下(例如,酸溶液和碱溶液的反应中我们使用石蕊指示剂),将一种已知浓度的溶液滴到(专业术语叫滴定)未知溶液中。当滴定终点到来时,所有的未知溶液全都完成了化学反应,溶液的颜色就会发生变化。然后未知溶液的浓度就可以通过被消耗掉的已知溶液的体积计算出来。In Dr Nersesians titration the litmus was a species called the brushtail possum. The two reagents were predators and poisons. In the wild, possums feed mainly on eucalyptus trees. Feeding in trees this way also keeps them safe from ground-based predators, such as foxes. They frequently have to shift from tree to tree in search of non-poisonous leaves, though, because a tree that is being browsed starts manufacturing toxins. Dr Nersesian reasoned that there is probably a measurable point at which a plant becomes so toxic that possums prefer to take their chances with the predators on the ground—and she realised this was a perfect opportunity to do an ecological titration.涅尔谢相士的滴定实验中的;石蕊指示剂;是一种叫帚尾袋貂的动物。那两种溶液是;猎食者;和;有毒物;。在野生环境下,袋貂主要以桉树叶为食。生活在树上也能让它们安全地远离地面上的那些猎食者——例如狐狸。但是他们还得经常从一棵树上换到另一棵树上去寻找那些没有毒的叶子。因为一颗树如果被它们吃久了就会自动分泌毒素。涅尔谢相士认为可能当植物中的毒素达到一个量值的时候,袋貂会选择冒着被猎食的风险(途经地面换一棵树觅食),然后她就意识到这是一个应用生态滴定法绝好的机会。As she reports in the Journal of Animal Ecology, she attempted to imitate the distinction between trees and ground by giving eight possums the opportunity to feed in either of two enclosures. In one, cover was created with eucalyptus branches and light levels were kept low, mimicking an arboreal habitat. Here, the food was sometimes spiked with cineole—a poison often found in eucalyptus leaves. In the other enclosure, the food was always untarnished. However, no cover was provided and fox scent, in the form of faeces and urine, was scattered liberally around, mimicking conditions on the ground.她发表在动物生态学报上报告中写道:她通过给8只袋貂两种桉树来选择觅食来模拟树上和地面的区别。一棵桉树上,有特意放置的桉树枝来遮挡,光照强度也很低,模拟出适合树栖动物习性的环境。但是,这种树上的叶子有时含有桉树脑——桉树叶中常见的毒素。另一棵桉树上,叶子总是无毒的,但是,没有树枝的遮挡。而且通过将一些狐狸的;踪迹;,例如狐狸的脸谱尿液随意四散在周围,来模拟地面环境。To start with, when the level of cineole was low, possums preferred the first enclosure. But as the drip of the titration went up, from 0% to 1% to 2% to 5% and ultimately to 10% of the food being cineole, their behaviour changed. It was not quite the sudden shift from litmus red to blue of an acid being neutralised by an alkali, but it was not far off.开始桉树脑的浓度很低,袋貂都喜欢第一棵桉树。但是随着滴定程度的上升,食物中的桉树脑含量从0%到1%到2%到5% 到最终的10%,它们的行为开始出现变化。虽然不是完全像酸溶液完全被碱溶液中和时石蕊试剂突然从红变蓝那样迅速,但是也差不太多。When the food was toxin-free, the possums spent an average of 40 minutes of every hour eating safely under treelike cover and only 20 minutes in the risky, ground-like enclosure, and that scarcely changed for 1% and 2% cineole. The switch began at 5%, and by the time the cineole level had reached 10% the ratio of time the animals spent in the two enclosures had reversed itself—presumably reflecting, though this remains to be tested, the point at which they change trees in the wild.当叶子无毒时,袋貂们每小时用平均40分钟的时间在树枝状的遮蔽物下安全的进食。而在危险的类地面的桉树上只待20分钟,这时的桉树脑含量变化在1%到2%之间。分界点出现在5%,当桉树脑含量达到10%,这些小动物们呆在这两颗桉树上的时间比完全颠倒过来了——这大致上能反映在野外环境下它们换树进食时的毒素量值,当然这还有待验。Though foxes are of recent introduction in Australia (having been brought for sport by British settlers), many marsupial predators, now extinct, were present before the arrival of man in both his Aboriginal and his European forms, so the ecological system of plants, herbivores and carnivores in the eucalyptus forests would probably not have been that different in the evolutionary past. A neat illustration, then, of co-evolution between three different parts of an ecosystem—and of the value, even in biology, of precise measurement.虽然狐狸是很晚才被引进到澳大利亚的(由英国移民出于狩猎运动的目的而带来的),但是在原始人或者欧洲人到来之前还有很多其他的有袋动物的猎食者(现在都灭绝了)。所以桉树林生态系统中的那些植物,素食动物肉食动物,与进化史中较早的生态系统相比,差别可能也没有那么大。这样一来生态系统中的三个不同角色的(植物,素食动物,肉食动物)协同进化的一张清晰的图表呈现出来。在生物学里也能进行精确的量化计算,这种尝试的价值是巨大的。 /201301/221409Books and Arts; Book Review;Harry Belafontes autobiography;文艺;书评;哈利·贝拉方特自传;Twentieth-century lion;上世纪的名流;My Song: A Memoir of Art, Race and Defiance. By Harry Belafonte;《我的歌:追忆艺术,种族与反抗》哈利·贝拉方特著。IT ALL began with a set of Venetian blinds. In 1946 a couple in a Manhattan apartment building asked their janitor, a biracial Jamaican New Yorker newly returned from naval service in the second world war, to install a set in their flat. The task completed, they gave him two theatre tickets as payment. The janitor, having no money for the dinner that a proper date would have included, went on his own to see “Home is the Hunter”, a play about black servicemen returning to America after the war. He was enraptured. 这一切要从一套百叶窗帘说起。故事发生在1946年的曼哈顿,有对夫妇想在家里安装一套百叶窗帘,于是便叫来一位公寓清洁工,作为报酬,事后给了他两张戏票。想来,邀人看戏起码得请吃个饭,可无奈囊中羞涩,这清洁工就自个儿去美国黑人剧院看了场《家是猎人》。这出戏讲述了一位美国黑人士兵战后返乡的事,看着看着这哥们就陶醉了。The tenants, Clarice Taylor and Maxwell Glanville, performed in the play, which was put on by the American Negro Theatre (ANT). The janitor was, of course, Harry Belafonte.剧中表演者正是那对夫妇,克莱斯·泰勒与麦斯威尔·格兰维尔;而那清洁工呢,自然就是哈利·贝拉方特;说来,那时二战刚刚终了,结束海军役后,这个有着牙买加血统的美籍混血回到纽约,在一幢公寓里做起了清洁工。In short order Mr Belafonte also found his way into the ANT, where he not only acted but made “my first friend in life”, another poor, hustling West Indian named Sidney Poitier. The two of them hatched get-rich-quick schemes—Mr Poitier wanted to market an extract of Caribbean conch as an aphrodisiac—and they shared theatre tickets: they could only afford a single ticket between them, so one would attend before the interval and one after, then each would fill the other in. Mr Poitier got his break first: he took Mr Belafontes place in a play that the latter, still employed as a janitor, missed because he had to collect his tenants rubbish. It took Mr Belafonte several more years of struggling, and he gained fame not as an actor, for which he had trained, but as a singer, for which he had not, filling time during the interval at Lester Youngs concerts, where his first backup band included Max Roach and Charlie Parker.不久后,贝拉方特也找到了通往美国黑人剧院的门路。在那儿,他不仅演戏,还结实了“生命中第一个朋友” 西德尼·波蒂埃。和贝拉方特一样,这个来自西印度群岛的小伙儿生活拮据,为了生计四处奔波。私下里,二人策划了快速致富的计划:加勒比贝壳的提取物可拿来当使,波蒂埃就想带着货去市场卖;此外,哥俩还共用一张戏票。由于只付得起一张票钱,两人就以幕间休息为准,你来半场,我来半场,互换位置。波蒂埃首先打开局面,并在一出戏中挤掉了贝拉方特的戏份。而贝拉方特仍旧干着清洁,因为他还得打扫房客的垃圾,遗憾得错过了机会。又是几年过去了,经过奋斗,贝拉方特终于获得成功。这一次,他没有拾起老本去演戏,而选择从未训练过的职业,做起了歌手:李斯特杨的音乐会上,幕间休息时常见他一展歌喉,那时,在他最初伴奏乐队里还有着像麦克斯·罗奇,查理·帕克这样的人物。Looming over both this book and its subjects life are two ghosts: Millie, his formidable, perpetually dissatisfied mother; and Paul Robeson, whose combination of entertainment and political activism⑾ forged a path that Mr Belafonte would follow. But whereas Robesons activism ran headlong into early cold-war paranoia, blacklists and McCarthyism, Mr Belafonte was luckier: his career rose more or less in tandem with the American civil-rights movement.不论是本书还是贝拉方特的一生中,总有两朵阴霾不肯散去:一个是他的母亲米勒。这女人让人敬畏,而且永不知满足。另一个则是保罗·罗贝孙,他将与政治激进主义糅合,铺下前路,好让贝拉方特遵循。然而,正是他的激进行为,让其猛然栽入早期冷战妄想与麦卡锡主义中,并在各种黑名单上记录在案,与之相比,贝拉方特幸运多了:其职业生涯的崛起,多多少少与美国民权运动相连。Martin Luther King junior sought him out in 1956, just a few months after rising to fame during the Montgomery bus boycott⒀. King was then 26, and a preacher at the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, while Mr Belafonte was 28 and newly crowned “Americas Negro matinée idol”. Mr Belafonte was sceptical of both religion and non-violence (“I wasnt nonviolent by nature,” he explains, “or if I was, growing up on Harlems streets had knocked it out of me”), but was won over by Kings humility. There is an especially touching scene from nine years later in which, following a celebrity-studded civil-rights fund-raiser in Paris, King, then a Nobel peace-prize winner, serves food to the assembled stars as “an exercise in humility, an act of abject gratitude to all these stars for coming out for him.” In a book that is riddled with many of the usual faults of celebrity autobiography—name-dropping, score-settling, preening and a rather ungallant treatment of his first wife and some of his children—Mr Belafontes portrayal of King stands out for its unfussy warmth and unhagiographical affection.1956年,蒙哥马利市爆发巴士抵制运动,一名来自德克斯特大街浸信会教堂的牧师声名鹊起。他,就是马丁·路德·金。几个月后,时年26岁的金找到贝拉方特,那时,后者28岁,新得美誉“通吃美国妇女的小黑哥”。贝拉方特不信教,也不信非暴力,(用他自己说是“我生来刚烈,就算不使用暴力,在哈林区混大,也叫人砸有了。”)却因金的谦逊而折。九年后的一幕最是感人心脾:那是在巴黎举行的一场民权筹款会,到场的尽是知名人士,金,这位诺贝尔和平奖桂冠竟为在场的群星盛放实物, 以此向为他而来的群星们行以“谦恭之举”,表达心中“无尽感激”。贝拉方特的这本书中,明星自传常有的缺点满眼皆是:不是提一笔名人来拔高自己身价,就是报复之辞,要么自我吹捧几句,再不就是描写原配与孩子时,不甚殷切。所以,在对金的刻画,更凸显出他那份知性的温情与平实的情怀。After the 1960s, “My Song” goes downhill quickly, but that is hardly a surprise: maintaining fame is never as interesting as achieving it. The book is also too long. Mr Belafontes ramblings about business deals that went sour and his agonising over the extraordinary privileges his children enjoyed grow tedious. And then there is his political judgment. Standing with Martin Luther King junior to fight injustice and oppression is quite different from standing with practised political oppressors such as Hugo Chávez and Fidel Castro. Still, Mr Belafonte does have a remarkable song to sing. Given its bth, and the welcome disappearance of the segregated world in which it began, such a song will not be sung again.上世纪60年代后,贝拉方特“唱”不动了,事业迅速下滑。但这并不奇怪:追逐名誉时,人们总是乐此不疲,但要永葆不衰,可就难咯。这本同名自传也够冗长的: 不是漫谈生意不顺,就讲孩子享受优待,当爹的很是焦虑的事,读着读着也觉得无聊。书中还叙述了其个人的政治判断:他既和老练得政治压迫者(比如雨果·查韦斯,菲德尔·卡斯特罗)有过交情,也曾与马丁·路德·金并肩,同歧视,压迫做过斗争。两者意义却大不相同。不过,贝拉方特还真有一首别致的歌要唱,但一来这歌受众不广,二来它出炉于种族隔离的时代,如今,人们早已敞开胸怀,愈合这个世界,如此看来⒆,此曲恐为绝唱哩!201207/190580

Carnivorous Bees蜜蜂也吃肉?I guess you never heard of Trigona hypogea, a South American bee that not only collects meat from animal carcasses, but has more recently been discovered to have a taste for live prey as well.你也许从未听过一种南美洲的蜜蜂,它们不仅吃动物尸体,而且最近科学家发现它们还喜欢吃活的动物。Scientists have seen the bees swiftly raid recently abandoned wasp nests, carrying off wasp eggs, larvae, and pupae until the nest is empty. They’ve observed the bees collecting toad eggs too.蜜蜂迅速地袭击被遗弃的蜂窝,拿走蜂卵,幼虫和蛹,把蜂巢搬空。科学家们观察发现蜜蜂还会收集蟾蜍卵。All developing, young bees need protein. Pollen is actually very rich in protein. The adults of most bee species feed predominantly on nectar and save the pollen for their younger colony members. These South American bees simply require a different source of protein. Their anatomy reflects their different eating habits.所有的小蜜蜂都需要蛋白质。花粉是蛋白质含量很高。大多数的成年蜜蜂主要以花蜜为生,并且将花粉留给幼蜂。这些南美蜜蜂只是需要不同的蛋白质出处。解剖学反应出它们不同的饮食习惯。The leg modifications that enable most bee species to transport pollen are largely diminished on these bees. Their mouthparts are sharper, sort of tooth-like.蜜蜂腿上那些能帮助它们运输花粉的装饰物在这些南美洲蜜蜂上大部分已经消失了。它们的口器变得更锋利,有点像牙齿。The bees prepare the meat for later consumption by the younger members of the colony by chewing it and then mixing it with sugary liquids, perhaps collected from fruit. Microbes break the mixture down into a viscous goo, which delivers important nutrients to the young bees.蜜蜂为幼蜂准备的肉是通过咀嚼,然后将肉与含糖的液体,大概是从水果中提取的。微生物将混合物分解成一种粘稠物,这种粘稠物将重要的营养输送给幼蜂。 /201209/198239The store of pollen paints a picture of the plains of 13,000 years ago,花粉纷纷扬扬聚集,勾画出1300年前的大平原。a picture that looks very different from the open prairie grassland of today.同今日辽阔的草原相比,当时的景象则截然不同。But why did this region look so different back then?但为何差别如此之大?The ice sheets to the north, although retreating 13,000 years ago, still dominated the climate here.尽管1300年来冰层不断北移,但该区仍属冰原性气候。It was much milder and wetter than today, ideal conditions for woodland to flourish.气候甚至更为湿润,也更利于林木茂密生长。This is how much of the northern plains must have looked when the first people arrived.这也许是第一批来到此处的人类在北方草原看到的景象。Not open prairies as it is now, but a parkland of trees and grassy meadows.当时这里并不是平原,而是稀树高原和茂密的田野。This is a relic of those times. The Osage orange.这是桑橙树,是一种经历过以前那种气候,一直存活至今的树木。Every autumn it produces these enormous fruits, huge numbers of them, more the size of great fruits than mere oranges.每年秋季这种树就会结出大量果实,而且果实的个头比普通的橘子要大很多。But theres no animal alive today thats big enough to pick and eat them, so this bump of crop just rots.但现今生存的动物身躯不够庞大,无法采摘和食用这些果实,所以这些果实只能烂掉。The Osage orange glory days are long gone.桑橙树繁盛的时代已经过去。But its harvest was once an annual feast for many ice age animals, including mammoths.曾经每年桑橙树收获果实的季节,对冰河世纪许多动物来说是一场盛宴。Fruit must have been a real treat for these grass eaters.比如说猛犸象。对猛犸象这样的食草动物来说,水果无疑是美食。 201304/232539

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