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赏析版2012年4月经济学人文章(英汉双语对照)汇集


赏析版2012年4月经济学人文章(英汉双语对照)汇集
Contents
[2012.04.28]The pen is mightier无冕之王更有力量 1
[2012.04.28]Transport in Japan:Bullet v budget 子弹头列车VS廉价航空 4
[2012.04.28]Asian economic rankings 亚洲经济排名 7
[2012.04.28]For ever and ever 人类对长生不老的痴迷 8
[2012.04.28]The great divide 巨大差异 10
[2012.04.28]The world's deadliest bioterrorist 全球最致命的生物恐怖 12
[2012.04.28]Right man, wrong job 正确的人选,错误的工作 15
[2012.04.28]Blue notes 英国新小说: 蓝色音符 18
[2012.04.26]Names for superheroes 超级英雄的名字 20
[2012.04.24]Avatar 2: Made in China? 阿凡达2:中国制造? 21
[2012.04.21]Murray Lender穆雷?兰德尔:贝果梦想家 25
[2012.04.21]Feeling peaky 石油产量接近极限 28
[2012.04.21]Reshaping banking 重组银行业 30
[2012.04.21]Deathless data 网络信息财产:斯人已逝,数据流芳 39
[2012.04.21]Intellectual property: Still murky 知识产权保护: 前路茫茫 41
[2012.04.21]Sexual strategies: I just called… 我只是挂电话… 44
[2012.04.21]The third industrial revolution 第三次工业革命 46
[2012.04.21]Truly, madly, deeply 爱得真挚,爱得疯狂,爱得深刻 50
[2012.04.21]Bell Labs and innovation贝尔实验室及技术革新 52
[2012.04.21]A fishy tale 鱼与科学进程之间不得不说的故事 54
[2012.04.21]Couples & housework: The ironing lady 烫衣娘子 55
[2012.04.14]Facestagram’s photo opportunity臉书的照片分享商机 57
[2012.04.14]Opening the books: 打开税簿说亮话 59
[2012.04.14]Zimbabwe: Move over, Mugabe 津巴布韦:穆加贝让位 62
[2012.04.14]A too-cosy world? 电子书行业太舒服? 65
[2012.04.14]Capital controversy 中国的投资是否过度? 67
[2012.04.14]Scottish independence: It’ll cost you 苏格兰独立代价不小 71
[2012.04.11]Big men with guns 持枪壮汉 74
[2012.04.10]Facebook and photo-sharing: Instariches 臉书和照片共享 76
[2012.04.09]Women and Children First? 妇女和儿童优先? 78
[2012.04.07]Social habits and marketing社会习惯与市场营销:看透你 80
[2012.04.07]Myanmar: The Yangon spring 仰光的春天 83
[2012.04.07]Geothermal energy in Japan: Storm in a hot tub 日本的地热能 86
[2012.04.07]Musing on muons 凝望μ-介子 88
[2012.04.07]The perils of panflation 普遍膨胀的危险 90
[2012.04.07]Beyond the mandate 提升健康水平——强制之外的因素 92
[2012.04.07]China’s military rise 中国的军事崛起 94
[2012.04.05]The anatomy of a coup rumour 剖析一则政变流言 98
[2012.04.04]The Anti-Grimm 反格林而行 102
[2012.04.xx]From Gere to Grimm 从基尔到格林-朱莉亚 罗伯茨电影回顾 105

[2012.04.28]The pen is mightier无冕之王更有力量
Bagehot 白芝浩专栏

The pen is mightier无冕之王更有力量[注]

Why the British press holds such sway over politicians
为什么英国媒体对政治家的影响如此之大
Apr 28th 2012 | from the print edition

WHEN Britain’s biggest tabloid claimed credit for a Conservative general election victory with the front-page headline “It’s the Sun wot won it”, its proprietor, Rupert Murdoch, was not pleased. Giving evidence on April 25th to a public inquiry on press ethics, Mr Murdoch explained that he had administered “a terrible bollocking” to the Sun’s then editor, Kelvin MacKenzie. A “tasteless” claim, he said. “We don’t have that sort of power.”
英国销路最广的小开型日报曾声称保守党在大选中的胜利是它的功劳。它在头版大标题中写道:“这是《太阳报》拿下的胜利。”但该报的所有者鲁珀特?默多克(Rupert Murdoch)并不欣赏这句话。他在4月25日有关媒体道德的公开听证会上作证时解释道,他曾“狠狠地臭骂”了当时的《太阳报》编辑凯尔文?麦肯锡(Kelvin MacKenzie)一顿。他说这种说法太不得体;“我们没那种影响力,”他说。

The inquiry—chaired by Lord Justice Leveson, a judge—this week shone a light on ties between the media and politician. The most dangerous revelations were e-mails apparently detailing contacts between News Corporation, Mr Murdoch’s company, and David Cameron’s government during the firm’s abortive bid to buy BSkyB, a satellite-television outfit. The relationship was sometimes friendly, sometimes tense, but always close—and rarely craven on the part of the media firm.
由上诉法院法官列维森勋爵(Lord Justice Leveson)主持的听证会本周曝光了一些媒体与政治家之间的关系。其中最具杀伤力的是披露的一批电邮;它们显然列举了默多克的新闻集团(News Corporation)在收购英国天空广播公司(后来收购失败)时与卡梅伦政府的接触情况。二者关系时而友好时而紧张,但总是很密切;而且媒体公司方面很少有怯懦的时候。

Another milestone in the Sun’s political coverage does not seem to have earned a proprietorial rebuke. It happened in 1992, on the night that Britain was forced out of the European Exchange Rate Mechanism. The prime minister of the day, John Major, telephoned Mr MacKenzie to ask how the Sun would be covering the story. “Actually,” Mr MacKenzie replied, “I have a bucket of shit on my desk, prime minister, and I’m going to pour it all over you.” Asked if this tale was true during his own appearance at the Leveson Inquiry, Mr MacKenzie enthusiastically re-enacted it.
《太阳报》政治报道的另一个里程碑似乎没有让老板如此光火。那是1992年英国被从欧洲汇率机制封杀出局的时候。当时的首相约翰?梅杰给麦肯锡挂电话,问《太阳报》将如何报道此事。“首相先生,”麦肯锡回答:“说真的,我的办公桌上现在有一桶狗屎,我正要把它全都倒到你身上。”麦肯锡在列维森听证会上作证时被问及此事是否属实,结果他十分起劲地复述了一遍。

Mr Mackenzie’s cheerful thuggery is unusual, even in Fleet Street. But the fact that he talked to a prime minister that way and kept his job suggests that relations between the British press and politicians are pretty unusual. Does that mean that the press wields democracy-threatening power?
即使在伦敦新闻界,像麦肯锡这种能博人一笑的粗鲁措辞也是不多见的。但他这么跟首相说话却没被解职,这说明英国媒体与政治家间的关系很不寻常。这是否意味着媒体有能力威胁民主呢?

The answer is complicated by the oddity of Britain’s media market. In America, News Corporation is just one of five important media firms. In contrast, its British arm is a local titan. The Sun has 2.6m readers in a country of 60m people: scale that up, and an American equivalent would sell 13m copies a day. Seven British dailies have circulations larger than the biggest-selling French national newspaper.
由于英国媒体市场的古怪,这个问题三言两语说不清。在美国,新闻集团只不过是五大重要媒体公司之一;相比之下,它在英国是新闻界霸主。《太阳报》在英国这样一个6000万人口的国家里有260万读者;依此比例放大,这样一家报纸在美国的日销量就是1300万份。有7份英国日报的发行量大于法国销路最广的全国性报纸。

That many titles have been out of control is not in dispute. Just ask Lord Justice Leveson, hearing allegations of illegal phone-hacking, bribery and paparazzi intruding on funerals. But press savagery towards the rich and powerful also taps into an ancient British tradition, that of instinctive derision for the strutting toff or politician, amid the battle-cry: “Who does he think he is?”
因此,许多报纸胡说乱道是无可争议的。这一点只要问问聆听了这么多非法电话监听、行贿和狗仔队强闯葬礼的故事的列维森勋爵就可以了。但这种针对富人和当权者的媒体野性也符合英国的古老传统:普通人本能地嘲讽自鸣得意的上层人物或政治家,同时还要振臂高呼:“他当他是谁?”

If prodded, politicians will insist (through gritted teeth) that press savagery is vital to democracy. They are more skittish about whether they think newspapers decide elections.
如果被逼急了,政治家们也会咬紧牙关坚持说媒体野性对民主至关重要。但被问到是否认为报纸能左右选举结果时,他们的回答就没这么郑重其事了。

In his memoirs, Tony Blair—whose 1997 win was preceded by an endorsement by the Murdoch press—writes about a 1995 flight to address a News Corporation conference in Australia (a pilgrimage that outraged the left). Mr Blair explains himself with a rhetorical question. Murdoch newspapers had hitherto been “rancorous in their opposition to the Labour Party”. On being invited into the “lion’s den”, Mr Blair argues: “You go, don’t you?”
托尼?布莱尔1997年大选获胜前得到了默多克的新闻王国支持。他在回忆录中写到了他1995年飞赴澳大利亚出席新闻集团大会并发表讲话这件事;如此“朝圣之旅”曾令左翼政坛大哗。对此布莱尔以一个反诘问句自辩。默多克旗下报章此前一直“满怀恶意地反对工党”,现在他得到了“身入虎穴”的邀请,对此布莱尔宣称:“你会去的,对不对?”

Addressing the Leveson inquiry, Mr Murdoch told how relations with Mr Blair’s successor, Gordon Brown, soured after his newspapers switched their support from Labour to Mr Cameron’s Conservatives. Once he and Mr Brown swapped tales of Scottish ancestors and their young children played together, he said. When his papers turned, Mr Murdoch claims that Mr Brown called to declare “war” on his companies. As for Mr Cameron, when the furore about press abuses took off in 2011, he declared that all party leaders had turned a blind eye to warning signs, because they were “so keen to win the support of newspapers”.
在列维森听证会上作证时,默多克说到了他与布莱尔的继任人戈登?布朗的关系是如何在他的报业转而支持卡梅伦的保守党之后恶化的。他说,他们的幼年子女曾在一起玩耍,他们还向对方说起过自己苏格兰祖先的故事。据默多克说,在他的报纸转向之后,布朗挂电话给他,向他的公司“宣战”。至于卡梅伦,当2011年人们开始对媒体野性感到愤怒时他宣布,所有的党派领袖都漠视已有的警示,因为他们“太急于得到媒体支持了”。

Newspaper campaigns clearly influence policy-making. Former Blair aides have credited Mr Murdoch, a tireless Eurosceptic, with helping to keep Britain out of the euro. But arguably their greatest day-to-day influence is indirect. British political leaders are drawn from an increasingly narrow, metropolitan pool. When tabloids bellow that they know the mind of the ordinary voter, it requires some self-confidence for an Oxbridge-educated, sushi-munching minister to ignore them.
媒体的宣传显然会影响政策的制定。默多克是一个不知疲倦的反欧盟分子;布莱尔过去的助手们赞扬默多克,说他在英国不加入欧元这件事上很有贡献。但人们认为,宣传最大的经常性影响是间接的(尽管并非人人都赞同这一说法)。英国的政治领袖正来自一个日益狭窄的都市人才库。当报章大声疾呼,说它们知道普通选民想法时,一位牛津大学毕业、咀嚼日本寿司的部长想要不受影响还是很需要一点自信的。

Britain is an outlier in other ways. In lots of European countries politics encompasses angry extremes, with the hard-right and far-left attracting hefty votes. By contrast, newspapers in such countries are often small-circulation, centrist, and prim. Britain does things the other way round. Partly because of first-past-the-post voting, the big parties cluster at the political centre. The brass-band blare of dissent comes from a fiercely partisan press.
在其他方面英国是另类。在许多欧洲国家中,政治舞台上有狂热的极端分子,极右与极左派都能拿下不少选票。然而在这些国家中的报纸发行量通常比较小、大多持中间立场而且一本正经。英国的情况与此恰好相反。部分由于英国的简单多数制选举,令大政党集中在政治中心。听上去特别喧闹的政治异见不过是来自带有强烈党派色彩的媒体。

Call my diary secretary让我的日记秘书来一趟

Optimism may be hard this week. But the current stink could signal a general cleaning of the stables. Political leaders have already opened their diaries to disclose meetings with proprietors and editors. In parallel, fresh scandals over party fund-raising have revived efforts to reach a cross-party deal on donations, perhaps by capping the sums that individual donors can give.
本周人们很难乐观。但一时之痛可能意味着问题的长远解决。政党领袖们已经打开了他们尘封的日记,披露他们与媒体业主和编辑们见面时的情形。同时发生的还有筹集党派资金方面的新丑闻,它们可能会让各党派重新努力,以达成政治捐金方面的协议;这一协议或许会规定捐赠者的捐款上限。

Such reforms could help, says a senior politician. Donors, editors and proprietors have less influence than is commonly assumed. But they have enjoyed excessive access to party leaders, who for years devoted too much time to meeting them. Transparency over diaries should reduce such contacts. A cap on donations would do the same. If politicians meet media bosses and donors more sparingly and simply as professional contacts, that would be a good thing.
某高层政治家认为这类改革可能会有助益。捐赠者、编辑和媒体老板并不像人们通常认为的那么有影响力。但他们接触党派领袖的机会过多,多年来二者会面时间过多。增加这些会面的透明度能减少这类接触。为捐赠数额设定上限也会有同样效果。如果政治家们不再频繁会见媒体老板和捐款者,而只与他们保持职业上的必要联系,那将会是一件好事。

Such a change is overdue. Journalists and politicians can never be truly friends. Lowly reporters and MPs always knew this: given a big enough story, each will turn on the other. For too long, their respective bosses seemed to forget. Not any more.
这样的改变早就应该有了。新闻工作者和政治家永远不会成为真正的朋友。地位较低的记者和国会议员一直知道这一点:如果某一事件的分量够重,它就能让他们互相攻击。高级报人和政党领袖好像早就忘了这一点。现在他们总算想起来了。

[注]"The pen is mightier than the sword" 是英格兰剧作家 Edward Bulwer-Lytton 1839年的话剧Richelieu; Or the Conspiracy 中的一句:
True, This! —
Beneath the rule of men entirely great,
The pen is mightier than the sword. Behold
The arch-enchanters wand! — itself a nothing! —
But taking sorcery from the master-hand
To paralyse the C?sars, and to strike
The loud earth breathless! — Take away the sword —
States can be saved without it!
http://ecocn.org/thread-66855-1-1.html 译者:悠悠万事97

[2012.04.28]Transport in Japan:Bullet v budget 子弹头列车VS廉价航空
Transport in Japan
日本交通

Bullet v budget
子弹头列车VS廉价航空

Can low-cost airlines beat bullet trains?
廉价航空能在与高速列车的竞争中胜出么?

Apr 28th 2012 | TOKYO | from the print edition

THE world’s busiest train route, and one of the busiest air routes, is between Tokyo and Osaka, Japan’s two biggest metropolitan areas. On that corridor, the shinkansen, as Japan’s bullet trains are known, were born in 1964. They whizz 120,000 passengers a day smoothly from one place to another, on trains that leave every ten minutes. Although humans, not robots, are at the controls, the average delay is a miraculous 36 seconds. To take all those passengers by air would require 667 aircraft, each with 180 seats, or five times Japan’s fleet of Boeing 737s, estimates Macquarie, an investment bank.
东京与大阪之间的铁路线是世界上最繁忙的线路,这两个日本最大的都市区之间的航线也在全球最繁忙的航线之列。日本子弹头列车(被称为“新干线”)于1964年在这两个城市之间投入运营。新干线列车运行平稳,穿梭在两个城市之间,每天运送旅客达12万名, 每隔十分钟就有一班。尽管新干线不是全自动线路,而是由人工控制,但每班列车平均晚点时间只有36秒,堪称奇迹。据投资银行麦格理(Macquarie)估计,如果用飞机来运送这些旅客的话,需要667架180座的飞机,这相当于日本国内所有波音737飞机运能的五倍。

Undeterred, between March and August three low-cost airlines will have started operations in Japan. It would be a miracle if they could help hammer down train and plane fares in Japan, which are excruciating. For example, a one-way shinkansen ticket from Tokyo to Osaka costs ¥14,000 ($170), and there are no discounts for return fares or for booking early. But compared with Europe and other parts of Asia, where budget airlines have quickly gained market share, in Japan the low-cost model is expected to take time to take off.
然而廉价航空公司并没有因为新干线的优势而退缩,在3月到8月之间,三家廉价航空公司陆续在日本开展业务。现在日本的火车票和机票价格都高得离谱,如果这些廉价航空公司能够拉低票价,那将是一个奇迹。举个例子,如果乘坐新干线的列车,从东京到大阪的单程票价是14,000日元(相当于170美元);而即便你购买双程票或者提前预定的话,也无法享受折扣。欧洲及亚洲其他地区的廉价航空已经迅速抢占了市场份额,与这些地区相比,日本的廉价航空模式要发展起来尚待时日。

There are three main reasons for that, analysts say. First, all three newcomers have established parents. Peach, which started flying in March, and Air Asia Japan, which starts in August, are part-owned by ANA, one of Japan’s two main carriers. Jetstar Japan, which launches operations in July, is one-third owned by Japan Airlines (JAL). Such ties have usually hobbled low-cost airlines elsewhere: incumbents hate to cannibalise their own business. (Australia, where Qantas owns Jetstar, is an exception.) Analysts say the upstarts will thrive only if ANA and JAL step out of their way, letting them shake up the domestic tourist market. The big boys could then concentrate on long-haul and business travel.
分析人士称:之所以做出上述判断,有三个主要原因。首先,这三家新成立的廉价航空公司的母公司都是规模很大的企业。Peach在3月份就已经开始运营,日本亚洲航空(Air Asia Japan)也将于八月份开展业务,这两家公司都有部分股份由全日本航空公司(ANA,日本最大的航空公司之一)持有。捷星日本(Jetstar Japan)也将于七月份加入竞争,其三分之一的股份由日本航空公司(Japan Airlines)持有。其他地区的经验显示航空公司之间类似的关系往往会限制低成本航空的发展:现在市场的占有者不愿意拆东墙补西墙(澳大利亚是个例外,该国的澳洲航空持有捷星的所有股份)。分析人士表示,只有全日本航空公司和日本航空公司不阻挠各廉价航空公司的发展,让国内市场在新航空公司的竞争下重新洗牌,它们才能发展起来。而这些大型航空公司随后应该将精力主要放在长途航空与商务旅行方面。

Second, the budget airlines may struggle to make similar profits to their lucrative low-cost counterparts in other countries because, despite deregulation, airport costs and fuel taxes in Japan remain among the highest in the world. That could limit expansion, though Jetstar Japan is boldly aiming for 100 aircraft by the end of the decade, up from three at its launch.
其次,日本的低成本航空公司要想与其他国家的同行一样赚得较高利润可能比较困难。因为,尽管政府放松了管制,但日本仍然是全球机场建设费及燃料税最高的国家之一。这可能会限制低成本航空公司扩大自身规模。虽然刚成立时只有3架飞机,但捷星日本仍然设定了一个大胆的目标:到2020年底,将飞机增加到100架。

Third, it will be hard to convince finicky Japanese passengers that low fares make up for the lack of comfort and convenience they are used to. Jetstar and Air Asia are using Narita airport as their hub, which is expensive and time-consuming to get to from Tokyo. The main carriers use Haneda, which is closer to the capital and cheaper.
最后,虽然价格便宜,但是廉价航空在舒适与便捷性上稍显逊色。要说服这些习惯了上述优点的、挑剔的日本乘客选择廉价航空将比较困难。捷星日本与日本亚洲航空公司将成田机场(Narita)作为中转中心,从东京赶到这里车费较贵,而且耗时更长。主要的航空公司都以羽田机场(Haneda)作为中转中心,这个机场离东京更近,因此交通费也更便宜。

The shinkansen zoom out of the city centre, with no reservations needed.Miyuki Suzuki, the boss of Jetstar Japan, says her company’s strategy is to use low fares to persuade people to make trips they would otherwise not have made at all. More tourists, she hopes, will start visiting Japan’s most far-flung islands. She says she will not go head-to-head with the shinkansen (though her airline will fly between Tokyo and Osaka). Peach and Air Asia Japan have their sights not only on domestic flights but also on the route between Tokyo and Seoul, the nearest foreign capital. They may be eyeing the East Asian market, where low-cost penetration lags behind the rest of Asia.
新干线的线路从东京与大阪的市中心往外围辐射,而且不需要提前订票。捷星日本(Jetstar Japan)的老板美雪铃木(Miyuki Suzuki)表示,她们公司的战略是要利用低价优势吸引民众旅行,在低价航空出现之前他们可能根本不会考虑这样的旅行。她希望有更多的游客去游览日本最外围的岛屿。她说,她们不会与新干线直接竞争(尽管她们公司也开通了东京到大阪的航线)。Peach与日本亚洲航空不仅将目光放在了国内航线上,它们还将目光投向了东京到首尔(离日本最近的外国首都)的航线。这两家航空公司可能已经在关注东亚市场了,与亚洲其他地区相比,这个地区低成本航空的发展还相对落后。

Alas, none of Japan’s new budget carriers is expected to be as cut-throat as low-cost carriers elsewhere. Ms Suzuki says Jetstar Japan will allow its passengers to book through travel agents, which are still ubiquitous, as well as online. “This is Japan,” she says, with a sympathetic air unusual for a budget-airline boss. “It’s not all going to be self-service.”
不过,与其他地区的低成本航空公司不同,日本这几家新成立的廉价航空公司不需要与同行进行激烈的竞争。铃木女士(Ms Suzuki)表示,旅客可以通过旅行社(旅行社在日本仍随处可见)或者在线预订捷星日本航空公司的机票。“这就是日本”,她说,言语中透露出一丝同情,一位廉价航空公司老板口中透出这样的语气并不常见。“并不是所有的服务都会实现自助”。
http://ecocn.org/thread-66832-1-1.html 译者:Dezazer

[2012.04.28]Asian economic rankings 亚洲经济排名
Asian economic rankings
亚洲经济排名

A game of leapfrog
一场你追我赶的竞赛

South Korea may soon be richer than Japan
南韩可能很快就会比日本富有
Apr 28th 2012 | from the print edition

THE Tokyo Sky Tree, a broadcasting and observation tower that will officially open on May 22nd, is 634 metres high (2,080 feet), making it the tallest building in Asia. Is this Japan’s last bid to stay on top? For years, Japan was Asia’s richest and most powerful economy. It was the first Asian economy to industrialise, and the emerging Asian tigers—Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and later China—merely followed in its tracks. Now, however, Japan is steadily being overtaken.
作为广播传送和观光塔的东京天空树将于4月22日正式开放,634米(2,080英尺)的高度使它成为亚洲最高的建筑。这是日本试图保持领先的最后一搏么?很多年来,日本曾拥有亚洲最富有和最强劲的经济。它是第一个工业化的亚洲经济体,新兴的亚洲四小龙——香港,新加坡,南韩,台湾和最近的中国大陆——仅仅是追随它的足迹。不过,现在日本正在被稳步的超越。

China’s economy is now bigger than Japan’s, but less noticed is the fact that Asia’s so-called newly industrialised economies (NIEs) are, one by one, becoming richer than Japan. Most economists reckon that the best way to compare living standards is to take GDP per person measured at purchasing-power parity (PPP), which adjusts for differences in the cost of living in each country. On this gauge, Japan was overtaken by Singapore in 1993, by Hong Kong in 1997 and by Taiwan in 2010. But the most humbling re-ranking will be when South Korea becomes richer than Japan. The latest forecasts from the IMF suggest that this could happen within five years (see chart). That would be a remarkable turnabout. In 1980 South Korea’s GDP per person was barely a quarter the level of Japan’s.现在中国的经济规模大于日本,但是很少被提及的事实是亚洲所谓的新型工业化经济体(NIEs)一个接一个的变得比日本富有。大部分经济学家认为最好的比较生活水平的方法是用平价购买力(PPP)测算人均GDP,其可以调整生活在每一个国家所需的不同费用。按照这个标准,日本在1993年被新加坡超越,1997年被香港超越,并在2010年被台湾超越。不过最令人羞愧的重新排名将会是南韩变得比日本富有。来自IMF的最新预测暗示这将在五年内发生(参见图表)。那将会是一个标志性的转变。在1980年南韩的人均GDP仅仅只有日本四分之一的水平。

Calculated at market exchange rates, Japan’s per-head income is still higher than all the NIEs except Singapore. Yet Japan’s high prices, especially for housing and food, bring down the country’s true standard of living. PPPs are tricky to calculate and economists come up with different numbers, so the IMF’s figures are contentious. Some other yardsticks, such as car-ownership rates, still suggest that Japan has a comfortable lead over South Korea. But the trend is clear: the tigers are outpacing their teacher.
按市场汇率计算,日本是人均收入仍然比除新加坡以外的所有新兴工业化经济体高。不过日本的高物价,尤其是房价和食物支出,拉低了日本的真实生活水平。由于平价购买力的难以计算和经济学家意见的不同,IMF的数字是有争议的。另外一些指标,例如私家车拥有率,仍然表明日本仍然大幅领先南韩。不过趋势是明显的:学生们正在超越他们的老师。
http://ecocn.org/thread-66811-1-1.html 译者:rcm5433

[2012.04.28]For ever and ever 人类对长生不老的痴迷
Immortality
For ever and ever
人类对长生不老的痴迷

Four narratives and an actuary
四个说法和一个精算师

Immortality: The Quest to Live Forever and How It Drives Civilisation. By Stephen Cave. Crown; 320 pages; $25. Biteback Publishing; £20. Buy from Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk
《长生不老:对永生的追求及其如何推动人类文明》作者:斯蒂芬.卡夫,皇冠出版社。

IMMORTALITY is an age-old obsession. Plenty of literature deals with the subject, from the Sumerian Epic of Gilgamish to the poems of Homer and the writings of the Old Testament. The quest to live for ever has motivated medieval alchemists, modern techno-Utopians and mystics through the centuries.
长生不老是人类世世代代所痴迷的目标。从苏美尔的吉尔伽美什史诗到荷马史诗,再到旧约故事,数不清的文学作品触及到这个主题。从中世纪的炼金术士到现代的科幻乌托邦主义者和神秘主义者,千百年来人们孜孜不倦地追求着永生。

In his survey of the subject, Stephen Cave, a British philosopher, argues that man’s various tales of immortality can be boiled down into four basic “narratives”. The first is the simplest, in theory at least: do what the medieval alchemists never managed and discover an elixir to simply avoid dying. The second concerns resurrection, or coming back to life after dying, a belief found in all three of the Abrahamic religions. The idea of an immaterial soul that can persist through death dates back, in a formal form, at least to Plato, and forms Mr Cave’s third narrative. His fourth narrative deals with immortality through achievement, by becoming so famous that one’s name lives on through the ages.
英国哲学家史蒂芬.卡夫在对这个主题的研究中,把人们关于永生的观念概括为四个基本的“说法”。第一个,也是最简单的(至少在理论上):找到中世纪炼金术士们从未找到的一种神药,从而避免死亡。第二个是再生,即死而复生,这是所有三个亚伯拉罕系宗教(基督教、犹太教和伊斯兰教)所共有的信仰。第三个“说法”是关于非物质的灵魂不死的理念,这种理念的正式形态,至少可以追溯到柏拉图。第四个,是通过个人成就获得永生,即,一个人可以使自己变得非常有名,以至于人们将世代记住他的名字。

For the aspiring undying, Mr Cave unfortunately concludes that immortality is a mirage. But his demolition project is fascinating in its own right. The section on the soul is an able attack on the related doctrines of “vitalism”, the soul and mind-body dualism—the intuitive and still widely held body of ideas that hold that living creatures are animated by some sort of supernatural spark, and that an individual’s personality or consciousness can survive death. The chapters on resurrection will interest Christians, as Mr Cave examines how the literal recreation, by God, of dead people’s bodies remains the doctrine of most branches of Christianity. The idea of one’s soul, as opposed to one’s body, ending up in heaven or hell is a subsequent embellishment.
谈到那令人神往的永生,很不幸,卡夫先生的结论是,长生不老只是一种幻想。不过,他摧毁这种幻想的论证过程还是很精彩的。在关于灵魂的章节里,作者对与永生相关的“活力论”信条作了有力的抨击。活力论是一种灵魂(及心灵)与肉体的二元论,这种理念很直观,并且仍然被广为接受。它认为,生物是被某种超自然的力量所激活的,个人的特性和知觉在死后仍然存在。书中关于复活的章节肯定会使基督徒们感兴趣,卡夫先生在其中讨论了上帝使死人复活的故事,解释了为什么复活到现在仍然是大多数基督教派的信条。接下来,卡夫延伸了这个话题,讨论了人的灵魂上天堂或入地狱的问题。

If anything, readers might want more of Mr Cave’s crisp conversational prose. There could be more on living longer; Mr Cave barely has time to give even the briefest overview of the emerging science of life extension, which has allowed researchers to lengthen the lifespans of mice by a third or more in the lab.
卡夫先生的文体清新,像对话式的散文。但读者可能会觉得他应当涉及更多的话题。比如怎样能够更长寿。卡夫先生甚至没有对新兴的抗老医学做简单的介绍,抗老医学的研究者们已经可以在实验室里把老鼠的寿命延长三分之一甚至更多。

There are a few quibbles. Mr Cave’s repeated claim that the quest for immortality drives every human activity feels overdone. Others might dispute his definition of immortality itself. Mr Cave’s chief argument against the desirability of living for ever (even assuming it is possible) is the familiar one of boredom. As the uncountable billions of years tick away, the argument runs, even the most vivacious will come to realise that they have done everything there is to do, hundreds of times. With yet more billions of years looming ahead they will be struck down with a debilitating ennui.
对卡夫先生的书,我有几点吹毛求疵的意见。例如,他反复强调,对永生的追求是人类所有行为的推动力,这一点似乎言过其实了。另外,他对永生的定义本身可能也会引起争议。再者,卡夫先生不赞成追求永生(假定能够实现)的主要论点,仍然是常见的“永生会造成厌倦”的见解。这种见解认为:在活过了算不清的数百万年之后,即便是最生动活泼的人也终会意识到,世上所有能做的事都被做了几百次了;如果再活数百万年的话,简直会无聊死了。

That argument only applies if these notional immortals are also invincible, and therefore impervious to accident. But that is an odd definition, and not one that crops up very often, especially in scientific research into ageing. The holy grail there is simply to arrest the ageing process. Indeed, Mr Cave quotes an actuary who has estimated that the average “medical immortal” would persist for around 6,000 years before dying in a plane accident or a car crash or the like. And besides, boredom seems to be a non-problem: after all, if an immortal does ever get truly bored of his vastly extended life, there would be nothing to prevent him from ending it.
然而,这种见解能够成立的前提是:这些假想的长生不老者同时也是刀枪不入者,因而不会被任何事故所损伤。但这种前提是难以成立的,特别是与研究老化的科学成果相悖。这种科学的目的仅仅是延缓老化。确实,卡夫先生引用了一位精算师的估算结果:即使在医学意义上能够长生不老的人,平均寿命大约也只有六千年,因为他们也终会由于飞机失事或汽车事故而死去。此外,厌倦看起来不是什么问题:假如一个长生不老的人实在由于活得太长而厌倦了,他随时可以结束自己的生命嘛。
http://ecocn.org/thread-66807-1-1.html 译者:西米

[2012.04.28]The great divide 巨大差异
Buttonwood
梧桐树

The great divide
巨大差异

Why American house prices have corrected more than those in Europe
为何美国房价的回落幅度比欧洲的更大

Apr 28th 2012 | from the print edition

ANDREW MELLON, Herbert Hoover’s treasury secretary, advised the president to “liquidate real estate” as part of a plan to “purge the rottenness out of the system”. Eighty years later, America has pretty much followed his advice. House prices have lost nearly all the real gains they notched up in the bubble period (see chart). That makes for a marked contrast with Europe, where prices may be off their peaks but have not lost all their real gains. Why the difference?
赫伯特?胡佛(Herbert Hoover)的财政部长安德里?默龙(ANDREW MELLON)曾向总统建议把“清算房地产”作为“涤荡经济中的腐败”计划的一部分。80年后,美国基本是照着他的建议做的。不计通胀,美国房价已几乎跌至泡沫时期前的水平(见图表)。这与欧洲形成了鲜明对比。欧洲目前的房价与房价最高时相比可能有所回落,但和泡沫时期前相比还是有实际增值的。造成这种差别的原因何在?

Many people think that owning a house is a certain moneymaker, but this is not the historical experience. In his recent book “Safe as Houses? A Historical Analysis of Property Prices”, Neil Monnery presents data from an array of nations going back (in some cases) several centuries. What he discovers is that real house prices have generally been flat over time, or have increased by at most 1% a year. Rather like gold, then, house prices have been a good store of value rather than an automatic route to riches.
很多人想当然地认为拥有一处房产就能赚大钱,但根据历史经验,事实并非如此。在Neil Monnery的新书《安全如房产?房价的历史分析》中,他列出了一系列国家的历史房价数据(其中一些是几百年来的数据)。他发现一直以来实际房价总体上没什么变化,年增长率最高不过1%。所以房产如同黄金,与其说是一种必然能致富的手段,不如说是一种保值的资产。
The exception is the period of the past 15 years or so, when real house prices took off in a few countries. But not everywhere. In Germany and Switzerland the trend has been flat-to-lower. In Japan there has been a decline which has pretty much wiped out the rise in house prices that occurred between 1970 and 1990. So there are really three types of market to explain: America and Japan, where real prices rose sharply then corrected; those where they rose sharply but have yet to lose all their gains; and those where the markets have been flat in real terms.
而过去大约15年这段时期却是例外,那时一些国家的房价暴涨,但并非各国都如此。在德国与瑞士,房价趋平,甚至有所下降。在日本,房价下跌的幅度几乎大于二十世纪70至90年代之间的上涨幅度。所以,现在实际上要对三种类型的房地产市场进行解释:第一种是美国与日本的,其实际房价在急剧上涨后又回落了;第二种,房价暴涨但实际仍有增值的市场;第三种,扣除物价因素后房价稳定的市场。

It is hard to find an explanation for price movements that applies across markets. Some cite low real interest rates as the main reason that prices have held up in Europe. But real rates have fallen sharply in America as well. For homebuyers, the best measure of the real rate is the gap between the average mortgage rate and annual wage growth. In America this is close to its lowest level in 24 years but the housing market is still flat as a chapati. Indeed, if you divide that period into three, house prices rose faster when rates were high than when they were low. In Britain, real house prices fell by a third between 1973 and 1977, even when real interest rates were sharply negative.
很难用一个原因来解释以上三种房地产市场中的房价变动现象。有人提出实际利率太低是欧洲房价高企的主要原因,不过美国的实际利率同样也大幅下跌。对于购房者,衡量实际利率的最佳尺度就是平均按揭利率与年薪增长率之差。在美国,这个值接近24年来的最低水平,但其房地产市场仍然像恰巴提(印度的一种面包,译者注)一样平抑。实际上,若将那个时期分成三段,就会发现房价在利率高时的增长速度比利率低更快。1973年至1977年间,英国的实际利率明显为负,但即便如此,当时的英国房价仍下跌了三分之一。

Just as the best way to view equities is as the discounted value of future cashflows, the best way to view property is as the discounted value of future rents. The temptation is to think that, as real rates fall, the present value of housing must rise. But why are real rates low? They are being held down by central banks which are worried about the economic outlook. If the central banks are right, then rents will surely grow more slowly in future. A paper* by Christian Hott and Terhi Jokipii calculates that on this basis, British, Irish and Spanish house prices are still well above their “fundamental” value, while those in America are about right.
衡量股票价值的最佳方法是看未来现金流的折现价,同样,衡量房产价值的最佳方法是看未来房租的折现价。人们很容易会这样想:随着实际利率的下降,房产的现值一定会上升。但为什么当前的实际利率那么低?压低利率的其实是那些担忧经济前景的央行。若各央行的想法正确,那么将来的房租肯定会涨得更慢。据此,Christian Hott和Terhi Jokipii所写的一篇论文估计,目前英国、爱尔兰及西班牙的房价仍远高于其“基本面”价值,美国的房价反而大致合理。

Explore and compare global housing data over time with our interactive house-price tool
点击互动房价工具,查看并比较全球房价数据

Another potential explanation for America’s housing collapse relates to supply. Developers went on a building spree in places like Florida and California, and the result is a glut of empty condominiums. In contrast, Britain’s strict planning laws mean that too few houses have been built to satisfy demand. But overbuilding in Ireland or Spain reached chronic levels, too, and yet their house prices have not corrected to the same extent as those across the Atlantic.
导致美国房价下跌的另一个原因可能是供应方面的问题。开发商们在佛罗里达州和加利福尼亚州这些地方大肆建房,以致于出现了大批闲置的公寓。英国则相反,由于规划法很严格,故所建房屋太少,无法满足需求。但过度建房在爱尔兰和西班牙也是长期存在的问题,只是这两个国家房价的跌幅却不及大西洋彼岸的国家。

What about demand? Houses behave more like a financial asset than a consumer good: as prices rise, demand seems to increase. In addition, there has been a trend towards smaller households (thanks to divorce, greater longevity and so on). But high house prices and tighter lending standards may have brought that process to a halt. Young people are forced to live with their parents or flat-share with contemporaries. These trends are pretty widespread, and it is hard to use them to explain national differences.
那需求方面呢?房产与其说是消费品,还不如说是一种金融资产:随着其价格上涨,需求似乎也在增长。此外,(由于离婚、人均寿命延长等原因)如今的家庭呈小型化的趋势。不过高房价和更严格的贷款标准可能会阻止这一趋势继续发展。现在的年轻人不得不与父母同住或与朋友合租。以上这些趋势十分普遍,很难用来解释各国房价差异。

So perhaps the difference is institutional. American banks had poorer lending standards and have been quicker to foreclose on properties; borrowers have been readier to walk away from their homes. In European countries, owners have been able to sit tight in the hope that prices will recover. European markets are certainly a lot less liquid. Irish transaction volumes dropped by 83% from their peak and Spanish ones by 64%, but American deals fell by just 46%. Europe is going in the same direction as America. It is just getting there more slowly.
所以,各国的房价差异可能源于体制问题。过去,美国的银行贷款标准更宽松,在赎回抵押房产赎方面动作更快;借款者更愿意放弃他们现有的房产了。而在欧洲国家,业主们却能够安坐家中,期待着房价回升。欧洲市场的资产折现力当然远低于美国。爱尔兰的房产成交量比峰值时下跌了83%,西班牙则下跌了64%,但美国仅下跌了46%。其实欧洲的房价走势和美国一样,只是步调比美国慢罢了。
http://ecocn.org/thread-66800-1-1.html 译者:contrary

[2012.04.28]The world's deadliest bioterrorist 全球最致命的生物恐怖
Scientific freedom and security
科学自由与安全

The world’s deadliest bioterrorist
世界上最致命的生物恐怖主义者

Nature likes biological weapons more than human villains do. The best defence is more research, not less
大自然比任何人渣都更喜欢生物武器。要最好地进行防御,人类应该更多而不是更少地研究自然
Apr 28th 2012 | from the print edition

SOME things are best kept secret. It is hard, for instance, to argue that public interest dictates publishing the blueprints for an atom bomb. The matter is less clear-cut, however, when scientific information that has the potential to wreak havoc might also stop that havoc happening.
有些事情最好保密。比如,因为公众有兴趣就该公布原子弹的设计图纸,这就没什么道理。然而, 如果具有造成大规模破坏潜力的科学知识或许也能阻止这种破坏,这时如何决定就不易抉择。

Take bird flu. It has killed more than 330 people since 2003. That may not sound many, but it amounts to 60% of the 570 known cases of the disease. The only reason the death toll is not higher is that those who succumbed caught the virus directly from a bird (usually a chicken). Fortunately for everyone else, it does not pass easily from person to person.
就拿禽流感来说吧。自2003年以来至少有330人死于该症。这一人数听上去并不多,但该症只有570例确诊患者,这就让死亡率高达60%。死亡人数仅限于此的唯一原因,是因为只有直接与病鸟(通常是鸡)接触的人才会感染病毒、罹患此症。对所有其他人来说很幸运的是,这种病不易在人与人之间传播。

But it might. That is the burden of research carried out last year by two teams of scientists, one in America and one in the Netherlands. They tweaked the bird-flu virus’s genes to produce a version which can travel through the air from ferret to ferret. And ferrets are, in this context, good proxies for people.
但这也不是不可能的。美国与荷兰的两个科学家团队去年研究了这一课题。他们略为改造了禽流感病毒的基因,产生了一种可通过空气在雪貂之间传播的新品种。而在这一类研究中,雪貂经常作为实验动物替代人类,效果良好。

The researchers’ motives were pure. The mutations they combined to produce their ferret-killing flu virus are all out there in the wild already. There is every chance those mutations could get together naturally and unleash a pandemic. By anticipating that recombination the two teams highlighted the risk, gave vaccine researchers a head start in thinking about how to counter it and, by fingering the mutations, spurred surveillance efforts, which have often been half-hearted.
这些科学家的研究目的很纯。他们结合采用多种基因突变方式,最后生成了可令雪貂死亡的病毒;但这些突变方式都是自然界中已有的,这一人工组合有可能天然产生,造成流行病。由于这一基因重组大有可能自然发生,其风险便会得到重视,因而疫苗研究专家就有了先手之利,可以考虑如何对症下药,预防新的病毒品种。而且,由于他们指出了造成新品种的突变方式,这就会推动病毒监控工作,而此前人们对之时常有些漫不经心。

Or, rather, they would have done had they been allowed to publish their results. They weren’t. Both the American and the Dutch governments saw not a sensible anticipation of a threat, but a threat in its own right. Their fear was that bad guys somewhere might repeat the experiment and weaponise the result. So in December they banned publication of the papers revealing the technical details of what the teams had done.
或者可以这样说:这些效果只有他们可以公开发表研究成果时才会有,但当局却没有允许他们发表。美国与荷兰政府都觉得发生这种威胁的可能性不大;威胁更大的是实验方法本身。他们担心有些坏人可能会重复这一实验来制造生物武器。因此,去年12月他们禁止这两个团队发表披露具体技术细节的论文。

The threat from influenza is real. So-called Spanish flu, which infected 500m people in 1918-19, claimed the lives of one in five of those who caught it. Subsequent flu epidemics, though not as bad, have still cut swathes through humanity whenever they have arisen. But terrorism is real, too. Though there is no known case of biological warfare in the past 100 years, many countries have experimented with the idea; and there is concern that some terrorist groups, motivated not by specific political grievances but by a general hatred of the West, might unleash the uncontrollable mayhem of a viral epidemic purely out of spite. So who is right—the researchers who want to publish their findings, or the governments that want to stop them?
流感的威胁是实实在在的。曾在1918-19年间肆虐的所谓西班牙流感传染了5亿人,五分之一的罹患者丧生。后来的大规模流感虽说没有这么严重,但每次都让人类社会元气大伤。而恐怖主义的威胁也是实实在在的。尽管过去100年并未发生过生物战,但许多国家曾就这一想法进行过试验。某些恐怖主义组织并非在政治上有什么特别的不满,而是笼统地憎恨西方;人们担心,他们可能会出于单纯的仇恨引发病毒传染病,造成对人类无法控制的残害。那么究竟谁对?是那些想要发表他们的研究成果的科学家,还是那些想要阻止他们的政府?

In this particular case, probably the researchers. And, to their credit, the authorities seem to have recognised that. After months of fraught deliberation involving the world’s leading virologists, journal editors, security experts, ethicists and policymakers, the Americans reversed their stance on April 20th (see article). The Dutch were reconsidering theirs as The Economist went to press.
就这一特例来说,或许那些研究人员是正确的。而且当局似乎也意识到了这一点,值得称道。在世界顶级病毒学家、学术杂志编辑、安全专家、伦理学家和政策制定者参与下,经过几个月的认真审议,美国政府4月20日转变了原来的立场(见另文)。在本期《经济学人》付印时,荷兰政府正在重新考虑他们的立场。

The reason is that, as bioterrorists go, humans pale in comparison with nature. Even America’s security services, which might be expected to err on the side of caution, seem to agree that the odds of a bioterror attack are long. Biological weapons require skilled scientists working in state-of-the-art facilities. Even then, they are unpredictable—and therefore difficult to control. A deadly bug might come back to bite its maker, possibly before it had been made into a weapon. Aum Shinrikyo, a sect with sophisticated scientific capability, toyed with anthrax in 1993. But for its most brazen attack, when it killed 13 people in the Tokyo metro two years later, it preferred nerve gas. In September 2001 al-Qaeda plumped for aeroplanes.
这样做的原因是:人类生物恐怖主义者的水平无法与自然相提并论。即使平时过于谨慎的美国安全部门似乎也认同生物恐怖袭击可能性很低这种观点。研制生物武器需要深谙此道的科学家,使用最先进的装置。即便如此,生物武器的性能也难以预料,因此难于控制。某种致命的微生物可能在被制成武器之前就反噬它们的制造者。具有高超科学能力的奥姆真理教曾在1993年考虑过利用炭疽发动袭击;但他们两年后在东京地铁站发动最猖狂的袭击、造成13人丧生时选择的是神经毒气;基地组织在2001年的911事件中认准的是飞机。

Nature, by contrast, has form in this area. From the Black Death via Spanish flu to AIDS, bacteria and viruses have killed on a scale that terrorists and dictators can only dream of. The more you gag scientists or hide data, the harder it is for them to look for cures; you also probably drive bright young researchers away towards less fraught, blander areas.
与此相反,自然在这方面有犯罪记录。从黑死病 [注]到西班牙流感到艾滋病,细菌与病毒以恐怖主义者与独裁者梦寐以求的规模杀人。人们越是堵住科学家的嘴巴或是藏起他们的数据,他们就越是难以找到对付传染病的方法;这也可能会迫使年轻有为的科学家转投挑战性较低的平淡领域。

Natural-born killers
天诞杀手

At the moment, then, the natural threat seems greater than the artificial one. And it is brave of America’s authorities to recognise that. If a terrorist outrage does happen, they will surely get the blame. By contrast, “acts of nature” are more easily shrugged off as, as it were, acts of God.
这就是说,当前自然的威胁大于人为威胁。美国当局敢于承认这一点确实很勇敢。如果真有生物恐怖暴行发生,他们肯定会受到追究。反之,因为“自然的行为” 是“上帝的意志”,所以人们会更觉得自己无能为力;过去似乎就是如此。

This case does, however, highlight a problem that is only going to grow. The atom bomb is a child of physics. Nerve gas is a child of chemistry. These are both old, mature sciences. Biotechnology is new. Its potential and limits are obscure. This time America has made the right decision. It is to be hoped that the Dutch will soon follow suit. But it behoves everyone—politicians and scientists alike—to keep a close eye on a fast-changing technology and on any shift in the balance of risks.
但这一个事例强调了一个刚开始受人关注的问题。原子弹是物理学的产物。神经毒气是化学的产物。这是两门古老、成熟的科学。生物技术是一门新兴科学,人们尚不清楚它的潜力与极限。美国政府这次做出了正确决定。人们希望荷兰政府也会很快仿效美国。但包括政治家和科学家在内的每一个人都理应密切关注一项迅速改变的技术,以及风险平衡的任何变动。

[注]这里的黑死病指14世纪中期发生在欧洲的鼠疫,估计当时欧洲约三分之一的人口丧生,总数达2500万人。
http://ecocn.org/thread-66769-1-1.html 译者:悠悠万事97

[2012.04.28]Right man, wrong job 正确的人选,错误的工作
London’s mayoral race
伦敦市长竞选

Right man, wrong job
正确的人选,错误的工作

Boris Johnson deserves another term as mayor of London. He also deserves a proper job
鲍里斯?约翰逊理应连任伦敦市长一职。这份工作还应该给他更多权力大展拳脚
Apr 28th 2012 | from The Economist print edition

IT IS one of the world’s great cities—with problems to match. London is Britain’s economic engine, generating more than one-fifth of its wealth. Yet its greatest industry, finance, is perpetually under attack. London’s immigrants, who give the capital its energy, also put huge pressure on hospitals and transport. The city’s schools are bursting. It is an obvious terrorist target. Sadly few of London’s difficulties, or its greatness, are evoked by the race to become the city’s next mayor.
这是世界上最伟大的城市之一,困扰它的问题也最困难。伦敦是英国的经济发动机,该国五分之一的财富都来自这里。但是其最重要的行业金融业却一直遭受攻击。伦敦的移民人群虽然给它带来活力,也在医院和交通方面造成巨大压力。伦敦的学校人满为患。伦敦是恐怖袭击很明显的目标。但是遗憾的是,伦敦的困难或伟大几乎都不是由于下任市长选举引起的。

The election, which takes place on May 3rd, pits Boris Johnson, the Conservative incumbent (pictured right), against Ken Livingstone, a left-winger who ran London between 2000 and 2008. The battle between the two main challengers has been dominated by niggling personal issues and trivial disputes. Is Mr Livingstone’s use of a (legal) tax-avoidance vehicle inconsistent with his socialism? Did Mr Johnson spend too much money on some retro-chic double-decker buses? Were Mr Livingstone’s tears at a campaign broadcast genuine? Is Mr Johnson sexist? The incumbent has a slight lead in polls. But his party has grown toxic in London. The vote should be close.
市长选举将于5月3日举行,两名主要竞选者是现任伦敦市长保守党的鲍里斯?约翰逊(图右)和曾于2000年至2008年担任伦敦市长的左翼人士肯?列文斯通。这两位竞争对手之间的战争主要围绕琐碎的个人小事和争议展开。列文斯通先生(合法)避税是否有违他的社会主义思想?约翰逊先生是否在翻修双层巴士一事上花费过多?列文斯通在一次宣传广播中流下的眼泪是不是真诚的?约翰逊先生是否歧视女性?约翰逊市长目前略微领先,但是他的党派在伦敦却声名狼藉。二人得票应该会势均力敌。

Mr Johnson has been a good mayor rather than a great one. His image of tousle-haired disorganisation is not merely a pose. He has a habit of fastening on social problems, setting up an advisory group, then losing interest. Under great pressure—following last summer’s riots, for example—he can wilt. Mr Livingstone ran London as a machine; Mr Johnson occasionally appears to forget where the levers are.
约翰逊先生的市长工作做得不错,但是并不出色。他头发蓬乱,不修边幅,这不只是装模作样出来的。他习惯关注社会问题,建立顾问团,然后就对问题失去兴趣了。在巨大的压力之下-比如去年夏天的暴乱发生以后-他可能会畏缩。列文斯通掌管下的伦敦运行犹如一台机器;约翰逊先生时不时就会忘记杠杆在哪儿。

Yet he has two great things to recommend him. The first is that, on the big issues, his instincts are right. The mayor defended bankers and called for a cut in the top rate of income tax when both positions were deeply unfashionable. He is socially liberal. For years he has been enthusiastic about immigration, and has even called for an amnesty for illegal immigrants, although he has bowed to a harder, more conventional line in the past few days. He has also done a good job of getting cash for infrastructure from central government.
但是他有两个优点。第一,在大事上直觉很准。银行家和收入税都非常不受人待见,约翰逊市长却维护银行家,并且呼吁减少最高收入税率。他是社会自由派人士。很多年都热衷于移民问题,甚至还提出大赦非法移民,尽管在过去几天里他不得不屈服于更严格更传统的路线。他还做了一件好事,就是从中央政府那里获得了很多基建现金。

His second advantage is that he is not Ken Livingstone. London’s first elected mayor began boldly. Belying his left-wing instincts, he introduced a congestion charge inspired by Milton Friedman and cosied up to the City. This newspaper backed him for a second term. Disappointingly, though, Mr Livingstone has gradually conformed to the “Red Ken” stereotype. He claims he can cut public-transport fares and even the rents Londoners pay private landlords. Over time, an ugly side to Mr Livingstone’s personality has emerged. He has shown startling insensitivity towards Jewish people. This would be unattractive in any politician. In the mayor of a diverse and occasionally tense city, it is intolerable.
约翰逊不是肯?列文斯通,这是他的第二个优点。伦敦第一任选举产生的市长列文斯通上任伊始时行事大胆。他隐藏了自己的左翼倾向,对交通堵塞收费,这是由米尔顿?弗莱德曼提出的,假意抚慰伦敦。本报当时支持他连任。但是令人大失所望的是,列文斯通先生逐渐变成了“红色肯”。他声称会减少公共交通费甚至是伦敦人付给私人房东的租金。随着时间的流逝,列文斯通先生个性丑陋的一面逐渐显现出来。人们发现他对犹太人态度冷漠得残酷。对任何政治家来说,这一点都不会受欢迎。作为伦敦这样一个多元化偶尔局势紧张的城市的市长,这一点更是无法容忍的。

Give him something important to do
给他点重要的事情做

This newspaper would like Mr Johnson to serve another term—and pull his finger out. We do not imagine, though, that he will abruptly be transformed into an English-accented Michael Bloomberg. For that to happen, the mayoralty itself would have to be radically changed.
本报希望约翰逊先生可以成功连任-并且大展拳脚。但是我们当然不会奢望他瞬间变身一口英国腔的迈克尔?布隆伯格。如果那真的发生,市长职位本身也得完全改变。

A big reason the mayoral race has degenerated into squabbles over personal taxes and the shape of buses is that the candidates do not have much more to talk about. London’s mayor has great power over transport, as well as rather less power over housing and planning. He has almost no sway over education and health. The legislatures of Scotland and Wales, with a combined population roughly equal to London’s, are much more powerful. Most emasculating of all, less than 10% of the money London’s mayor spends comes from local property taxes. The rest comes from central government, which often tells the mayor how to spend the cash.
市长选举之所以恶化变成围绕个人税务和巴士形状这些小事的你争我吵,一个重要原因是两位候选者都没什么可值得谈论的。伦敦市长在交通问题是权力很大,但是在住房和规划方面权力则相对很少。在教育和医疗问题上几乎没什么权力。苏格兰和威尔士加起来的人口数量与伦敦人口几乎相等,它们的立法机构权力要大得多。最无奈的是,伦敦市长支配的钱只有不到10%来自当地的不动产税。其他则来自中央政府,中央政府时常告诉市长应该怎样支配这笔现金。

If the mayoralty is to become a serious job, attracting serious candidates, this must change. One thing Mr Johnson has demonstrated is that London’s police chief cannot hold on to his job if the mayor wants him gone. That power should be made formal. There is a case, too, for giving the mayor more sway over education: power is rightly being devolved by local authorities to individual schools, but Westminster still keeps too much to itself. As America shows, mayors are often the boldest education reformers: Mr Bloomberg is not the only mayor who has transformed local schools. Most of all, London’s mayor should be allowed to raise more money locally.
要想伦敦市长一职变得重要能吸引更重量级的候选者,以上现状就需改变。约翰逊表示如果市长不想让伦敦警察总长继续做下去,后者就守不住自己的饭碗了。这应当成为正式权力。还有就是在教育方面更有影响力:虽然从地方权威到学校都有一定权力,但是英国政府还是拥有过多权力。正如在美国发生的情况证明的,市长通常是最大胆的教育改革者:布隆伯格不是唯一一个改革当地学校的市长。首先,伦敦市长应该有权在地方筹集更多资金。

London’s mayor has the biggest personal mandate in British politics. He, or she, is a model to other cities that are toying with the idea of elected mayors. Mr Johnson has carried his responsibilities rather lightly. Time to increase his burden.
伦敦市长是英国政界中个人权力最大的角色。他或她为其他不严肃对待选举市长一事的城市树立了榜样。约翰逊先生承担的责任相对不重。是时候增加他的负担了。
http://ecocn.org/thread-66738-1-1.html 译者:千杯之心

[2012.04.28]Blue notes 英国新小说: 蓝色音符
New British fiction 英国新小说

Blue notes 蓝色音符

Exploring knowledge and self-knowledge 探索知识与自我认识
Apr 28th 2012 | from the print edition

The Missing Shade of Blue: A Philosophical Adventure. By Jennie Erdal. Little, Brown; 309 pages; £12.99. Buy from Amazon.co.uk
《缺失的蓝色调[注]:惊悸哲人之旅》,珍妮?俄达尔(Jennie Erdal)著,小布朗出版公司出版,309页,售价12.99英镑,可点击Amazon.co.uk网购

JENNIE ERDAL is a British translator, the author of several non-fiction books and a memoir of her life as an editor and ghost writer. “The Missing Shade of Blue: A Philosophical Adventure”, her first novel under her own name, is a wry, intelligent work. Reminiscent in mood and setting of the early fiction of Iris Murdoch, it follows clever people as they make a sad mess of their lives.
珍妮?俄达尔是一位英国翻译,著有几部非小说著作和一部讲述她作为编辑和代笔作家生活的回忆录。《缺失的蓝色调:惊悸哲人之旅》是她以本名发表的第一部小说,一本带有讽刺意味的睿智之作。这本书让读者目睹了几个聪明人误入的纷乱与惨淡的人生,让人想起爱丽丝?默多克早期小说的气氛和情节设计。

It tells a story of adultery, madness and suicide, all of it conveyed in hindsight. The narrator is Edgar Logan, who has come to Edinburgh from Paris to translate the work of David Hume, a Scottish Enlightenment philosopher. While in Scotland, he becomes intrigued by the personality of a colleague, Harry Sanderson, a man in his early 60s and, at the end of his career, suffering and self-aware.。
全书以后知后觉的观点描述了一个偷情、疯狂与自杀的故事。故事的讲述者是埃德加?洛根(Edgar Logan),他从巴黎来到爱丁堡,翻译苏格兰启蒙哲学家大卫?休谟的著作。来到苏格兰后他受到同事哈利?桑德森(Harry Sanderson)的性格吸引。后者刚过60,已临近退休,但思想痛苦,同时也对自己有了清醒的认识。

At the centre of the novel is a high-definition portrait of Sanderson. His marriage to the much younger Carrie has degenerated into a series of suspicious and hostile exchanges. As seen through the eyes of Edgar, he is a wreck of a man with flaking skin and bloodshot eyes, swigging whisky and red wine in equal measure, and talking endlessly about failure. Suspended from his job after weeping in the lap of a prim American student, Sanderson is surprised by the sudden success of his hack academic book, “Happiness”, which leads to television interviews in which he remains intransigently gloomy and belligerent.
小说的核心是对桑德森形象的高清晰描绘。他与比自己年轻得多的卡莉(Carrie)结婚,但婚后关系恶化,相互猜疑、敌视,争执不休。通过埃德加的眼睛,读者看到的桑德森形容枯槁:他皮肤粗糙斑驳、眼睛血丝密布,却不停地豪饮等量的威士忌和红葡萄酒,口中喋喋不休地诉说着自己的人生败绩。桑德森因趴在一个举止端庄的美国大学生怀里痛哭而被停职;但随后他受雇写作的一本学术著作《幸福》突然一炮打红,这不单让他本人吃惊,还让电视台采访了他;但即使在采访过程中他也还是一如继往地阴郁、盛气凌人。

As well as being the narrator, Edgar has a role in the novel as a good listener and a friend. He is also a participating detective. He notes signs that his room has been disturbed while he is out, which leads him to do some night-time snooping on Sanderson and Carrie. As the narrative moves between past and present—between past tense and present tense and between recollected events and dramatised scenes—the spreading bleakness is lightened by enjoyable observations of Edinburgh and a background cast of students, university bureaucrats and overly cheerful television presenters. There are tense episodes, some dangerous, some absurd, as well as many ironic observations on the jargon of professionals and the language that conceals feelings. Sly jokes give ordinary events a philosophical twist. The novel is further lifted by moments of joy—fly fishing with Sanderson, collecting shells on the sea shore and the pleasures of art, literature and film. Quietly ambitious, it is a book that stays in the reader’s mind.
埃德加不但是故事的叙述者,也是桑德森的朋友和善于倾听他的人。他甚至还是参与故事的侦探。他注意到他不在时有人进过自己的房间,这让他半夜三更去窥探安德森和卡莉。故事的叙述在过去与现在之间跳跃——语言在过去时与现在时之间交错,事件在往事的回忆与戏剧性的场面之间穿梭;与此类似,故事中令人压抑的阴霾四处伸展,但由于爱丁堡令人心旷神怡的景色和背景人物——大学生、大学中墨守成规的官员和过分欢快的电视节目主持人——的衬托,整个场面却也不算太压抑。书中有些令人紧张的插曲,有些很惊险,有些很荒唐;还有许多对专业人士的学术术语、和掩饰感情的语言的辛辣讽刺。风趣而又深刻的笑话让寻常的事件跟哲学搭上了关系。书中也描述了一些欢快的时刻,如跟安德森一起飞蝇钓鱼、在海边拾贝以及欣赏艺术、文学和电影时的欣喜等,这更进一步提高了书的档次。作者以不事夸张的平静笔触抒写着雄心,是一部能在读者胸臆中刻下隽永印记的好书。
http://ecocn.org/thread-66730-1-1.html 译者:悠悠万事97

[2012.04.26]Names for superheroes 超级英雄的名字
Names for superheroes
超级英雄的名字

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's just some dude in tights
那是只鸟吗?还是架飞机?猜错了,那只是个穿紧身衣的老兄

Apr 26th 2012, 16:30 by N.B.

IN “AVENGERS Assemble”, Marvel's new superhero blockbuster, Jeremy Renner plays a sharp-shooting archer code-named "Hawkeye"—not that you’d know it from the film. Renner’s character is introduced as “the hawk”, and from then on he’s known as Agent Barton, even in radio communications, when a code-name might have made sense.
在Marvel公司最新的超级英雄大片《复仇者联盟》中,Jeremy Renner扮演一位代号“鹰眼”的弓箭神射手,但是你在电影中听到的可不是这个名字。Renner的角色出场时被称为“飞鹰”,之后就一直被称为巴顿特工了,就算是在照理应该用代号的无线电通话中人们也是这么称呼他的。

He’s not the only superhero to be stripped of the name he’s had in several decades of Marvel comics. In “Avengers Assemble”, Captain America is invariably addressed as Captain Rogers, Iron Man is always Tony Stark (except in one snippet of a news report), and Dr Banner nicknames his alter ego “the other guy”, rather than sticking to the more familiar appellation, the Incredible Hulk. Super-names, it seems, have gone out of fashion.
他并不是唯一一位Marvel漫画里叫了几十年的代号遭到褫夺的超级英雄。在本片中,美国队长几乎在所有情况下都被称为罗杰队长。钢铁侠被称为托尼?斯塔克(只有在片中一瞬即逝的一则新闻报道中他被叫作钢铁侠),而班纳博士管他的另一重人格叫“那个家伙”,而不用更常见的大名——“”神奇浩克”(注:绿巨人)。这么看来,超级绰号现在已经过时了。

There are examples of this cultural cringe in every recent superhero film. In Ang Lee’s “Hulk”, the jolly green giant is labelled “Angry Man”. In “The Dark Knight”, Gary Oldman’s Commissioner Gordon is so reluctant to say “the Joker” that he mumbles “the clown” instead. And even when a film does use a bona fide, old-fashioned super-name, it’s always preceded by some throat-clearing and foot-shuffling. In “The Fantastic Four”, the characters grumble when their corny brand names are foisted on them for marketing purposes. In Sam Raimi’s “Spider-Man” and its sequels, it’s a newspaper editor who brainstorms the villains’ soubriquets so he can use them in his headlines. In “X-Men”, Patrick Stewart’s Professor Xavier blames the pupils at his school for coining the term X-Men. Gone are the days when a self-respecting supervillain would stand on a rooftop and bellow, “Henceforth, the world shall know me as ... the Grey Gargoyle!”
在最近的几部超级英雄电影中每一部都有这种文化畏缩现象。在李安执导的《绿巨人》中,这个快乐的绿色巨人被称为是“愤怒者”。在《黑暗骑士》中,Gary Oldman扮演的高登队长非常不愿意叫出“Joker”一名,取而代之他嘟囔的则是“那个小丑”。就算电影里确实启用了货真价实的老牌绰号,在念这些名字前总有一个清喉咙或者移脚的动作。在《神奇四侠》中,四位主角的陈旧招牌代号是为了宣传而强加于他们头上的,他们对此都牢骚不断。在Sam Raimi的《蜘蛛侠》和其续集中,那些反面角色的诨名都是一位报纸总编为了用在他自己的报纸头条上而想出来的。在《X战警》中,Patrick Stewart扮演的泽维尔博士把X战警一词的由来归咎于其学校的学生们。自重的超级恶棍会傲然挺立于屋脊之上,自豪地大声宣布“从此刻起,这个世界将会称我为……灰石怪!”那个时代早就过去了。

This could just be a natural stage of superhero evolution. After all, the cape-wearing of the 1930s (DC’s Batman and Superman) became less common in the 1960s (Marvel’s Spider-Man and Fantastic Four). But in today’s Marvel and DC comics, super-names are still used without embarrassment. It’s only in the more naturalistic world of the cinema that they’re deemed unsuitable. (Rappers and WWF wrestlers, too, tend to drop their outlandish stage names when they make the transition to the big screen.)
这也许是超级英雄进化的一个自然阶段。说到底,20世纪30年代那飘扬的斗篷(DC的蝙蝠侠和超人)到了60年代就不那么常见了(Marvel的蜘蛛侠和神奇四侠)。但今时今日,Marvel和DC漫画还是使用超级绰号,丝毫不觉得其尴尬。只有在更写实的电影世界内这些绰号让人感觉格格不入。(饶舌歌手和WWF的摔跤手在转型到大银幕上的时候往往也会抛弃他们夸张的艺名)

Presumably, film-makers have calculated that we can accept people with superpowers, we can accept that they’d use those superpowers to have mid-air punch-ups with each other, and we can accept that they’d dress in brightly coloured jumpsuits while doing so. But as for funny names ... that would just be childish. To paraphrase the slogan of “Superman: The Movie”, “You’ll believe a man can fly—but not if he’s called Superman.”
也许,制片人估量我们可以接受有超能力的人,我们可以接受他们用超能力在半空中互殴,我们也可以接受他们这么做时穿着的是色彩鲜明的连衣裤。但是那些滑稽的名字……这也太幼稚了吧。借用一下1978年《超人》电影的宣传短语略作修改——“你会相信有个人可以飞翔……但那个人如果叫超人就另当别论了。”

Maybe Hollywood is right to turn the Incredible Hulk into the green monster that dare not speak its name. But there’s something undeniably weird about making something gritty and grown-up out of a concept as wonderfully daft as superheroes. Wouldn’t it be simpler to follow the example of Pixar’s “The Invincibles”, and make an exciting, exhilarating superhero movie that’s aimed unashamedly at all ages?
也许好莱坞把神奇浩克改写成一个不敢说自己名字的绿色怪兽是正确的。但是要想在一个像是超级英雄那么不切实际的概念里硬加入一些逼真成熟的元素本身不可否认就很奇怪。难道就不能学习皮克斯的《超人总动员》那样,创造一部刺激惊险、振奋人心,且一点也不羞于面对各个年龄层观众的超级英雄电影吗?那样不是更轻松吗?
http://ecocn.org/thread-66713-1-1.html 译者:nayilus

[2012.04.24]Avatar 2: Made in China? 阿凡达2:中国制造?
The international film industry
国际电影业

Avatar 2: Made in China?
阿凡达2:中国制造?

Apr 24th 2012, 7:29 by G.E. | BEIJING

FOURTEEN years ago James Cameron’s film “Titanic” shattered box-office records in China, as it did nearly everywhere else in the world. Its impact was especially shocking in a market that was captive to a conservative, state-dominated film industry, with no ability to produce a blockbuster of its own. Mr Cameron’s ballyhooed “Avatar” broke China’s records again in 2009 and 2010, despite more than a decade of development. Now the film bureaucrats in Beijing have a chance to accomplish something that would have been unthinkable until very recently: co-producing Mr Cameron’s “Avatar” sequels.
十四年以前詹姆斯?卡梅隆(James Cameron)的电影《泰坦尼克号》在中国和在世界上所有地方一样打破了票房记录。当时的中国电影市场受制于思想保守、被中央控制且无力自己制作大片的电影业。在这样的环境下,该片带来的冲击尤为令人震撼。尽管中国经过了十多年发展,在2009/10年,卡梅隆大肆宣传的《阿凡达》一片还是再次大破票房记录。现在北京的电影官员有机会完成一件直到最近还是想都不敢想的创举:和卡梅隆共同制作《阿凡达》续集。

Mr Cameron arrived in Beijing on Saturday and will soon be attending a screening of “Titanic 3D” at the Beijing International Film Festival (the re-release opened earlier this month to staggering sales in China). But his most important business will be conducted in private meetings, including with state-owned China Film Group. Speaking in an interview on Sunday, he said a priority of this trip was to explore a co-production deal with the Chinese firm on “Avatar 2” and “Avatar 3”. Mr Cameron says he would need to be satisfied in advance that his planned films would meet the approval of censors. If that key condition can be met, he is keen on the potential payoff. “There are economic advantages,” as he puts it.
卡梅隆星期六抵达北京,不久将会出席北京国际电影节上的《泰坦尼克号3D版》公映(这次重版本月早些时候开始上映,在中国票房表现非常出色)。但是他这次到访最重要的事务则是进行私下会晤,会晤对象包括国有企业中国电影集团公司。在星期日接受访问时,他提到这次行程的首要任务为和中影探讨共同制作《阿凡达2》和《阿凡达3》的可能性。卡梅隆说中方必须要事先保证这些计划拍摄的影片之后可以通过中国电影审查,且这一保证要能让他满意。如果这一关键条件可以满足,他对于这次合作潜在的回报有很大的兴趣。正如他所说的:“(合作)有巨大的经济优势”。

The economic advantage he has in mind would be on the tail end, when the box office takings are divvied up. Mr Cameron does not need funding assistance for his films (a common reason for other foreigners in search of Chinese partners), but he would like China to share more of its blockbuster revenues with him. When “Avatar” made $200m in Chinese ticket sales, China was returning to Hollywood only 13% to 17% of the receipts on imported films, a far lower share than the American studios receive from other foreign markets. Going forward China will share up to 25% of the takings from imports, per an agreement announced during Xi Jinping’s visit to Los Angeles in February. That remains lower than Mr Cameron might be able to negotiate in a co-production deal. Chinese producers, after all, can collect up to 45% of the box office for domestic films, the 55% remainder going to satisfy the cinemas and distributors.
他所想的经济优势将会是在电影销售终端的,指的正是票房收入的瓜分。卡梅隆并不需要中方协助为其电影出资(外国找中国合拍电影通常是为了这个原因),但他希望能分到中国大片收入中更大的一部分。《阿凡达》在中国票房收入2亿美元,但好莱坞只拿到了该进口电影收入的13%到17%,这和美国制片厂从其它外国市场回收的比例比起来要低得多。根据习近平二月访问洛杉矶时宣布的一项协议,未来这个比例将会升高到最多达25%。卡梅隆如果成功签下共同制片协议可能拿到的份额将高于这个数。说到底,中国制片商从国产电影票房中最多能收回整整45%,剩下的55%则落入电影院和电影发行商的口袋。

Mr Cameron’s meetings this week come shortly after the news that “Iron Man 3”, starring Robert Downey junior, will be a Chinese co-production. The gravitational pull of the Chinese movie market, nonexistent less than a generation ago, is now an undeniable force, sucking in all Hollywood blockbusters (and lesser projects) that venture within its event horizon. Hollywood studios, independent producers and directors regularly cycle through Beijing in search of partnerships with Chinese production houses—often seeking money to finance their movies, as well as access to a suddenly lucrative market.
卡梅隆本周会晤的消息传出前不久,《钢铁侠3》(小罗伯特?唐宁/Robert Downey junior 主演)将会和中国共同制片的消息浮出水面。中国电影市场仿如一个黑洞一样将所有冒险踏入其“视界线”的好莱坞大片(以及一些制作规模相对较小的电影)吸进中心。这种现象在仅仅20几年前还是完全不存在的,而现在其吸引力似乎无可抵挡。好莱坞制片厂,独立制片商和导演们经常在北京遍寻中国制片厂进行合作,通常其目的都是为了给自己的影片出资,也为了让影片可以打入这个突然之间利润丰厚的市场。

This year China will surpass Japan as the world’s second-largest movie market, after America. Chinese box-office takings totalled 13 billion yuan ($2.06 billion) in 2011, an increase of 30% from 2010, which in turn had been more than 60% higher than in 2009. The number of movie screens has doubled in five years to more than 10,000 (and is projected to reach 15,000 in speedy fashion), and the new screens are mostly digital and 3D-capable. Meanwhile America’s market is stagnating. Takings in North America (America and Canada combined) declined by 4% in 2011, to $10.2 billion. Mr Cameron suggests that by the time “Avatar 3” is released later this decade, China may well rival America as the top movie market. That may be a stretch, but then just wait till “Avatar 4”; Mr Cameron calls it a possibility. He says he has stopped producing non-Avatar films or even considering non-Avatar scripts. “I’m in the Avatar business. Period, that’s it. I’m making ‘Avatar 2’, ‘Avatar 3’, maybe ‘Avatar 4’,” he says. “I think that within the Avatar landscape, I can say everything I need to say that I think needs to be said, in terms of the state of the world and what we should be doing about it.”
今年中国将赶超日本成为世界第二大电影市场,仅次于美国。中国2011年票房总收入达到130亿人民币(20.6亿美元),比2010年上升了30%,而2010年的票房又比2009年上升了超过60%。5年之内,中国的电影放映厅数目已经翻了一番,超过了1万(预计将会迅速达到1万5千)。大多数新建放映厅都是数字银幕,也可以放映3D电影。同一时期美国的电影市场停滞不前。北美(包括美国和加拿大)2011年票房总收入为102亿美元,比2010年减少了4%。卡梅隆提出等到10年代尾《阿凡达3》上映时中国做为电影市场也许已经能和美国角逐世界第一的宝座了。这样的估计可能过份乐观,不过就算没那么快等到《阿凡达4》也应该差不多了——卡梅隆现在已经表示有可能将该系列一直出到4。他提到自己已经暂停制作阿凡达以外的电影,甚至都不考虑阿凡达以外的剧本。他说:“我现在专做阿凡达。句号,没有别的了。我会出品《阿凡达2》、《阿凡达3》,也许《阿凡达4》.我觉得我可以在阿凡达的剧情范围内,就有关世界所处的现状以及我们应该做点什么的问题阐述所有我觉得需要阐述的观点。”

What Mr Cameron had to say in “Avatar”—about environmental exploitation, about the rights of people to their land—was rather political (Mr Cameron proudly declares it “not a subtle film”). The film resonated with some viewers in China as mildly subversive, and it did not receive quite the same blessing from Beijing as did “Titanic” (Jiang Zemin, then China’s top leader, was a fan). But it did not run afoul of censors. A famous scene in “Titanic”, in which Kate Winslet’s character poses nude for a drawing, was censored for the 3D re-release in China. Mr Cameron counts that as progress; he says that “somewhat” more was censored the first time the film was released in China. He surely has the leverage, with the value of “Avatar” as a franchise, to get the script assurances he would need to make a co-production work. He also says that he will not let any political concerns about China or its human-rights record interfere with his doing business here. “I’m going to do what’s necessary to continue having this be an important market for my films,” he says. “I’m going to play by the rules that are internal to this market. Because you have to.”
卡梅隆想要通过《阿凡达》阐述的观点,包括环境开发,人享有自己土地的权力等等,都是相当政治化的观点(卡梅隆很自豪的宣称这“并不是一部隐讳的电影”)。中国某些观众觉得该电影有点略带颠覆性,北京当局对于这部电影的赞赏也不如当初的《泰坦尼克号》(中国前主席江泽民很喜欢该片)。但《阿凡达》还是顺利通过了审查。《泰坦尼克号》里面有一幕著名场景,其中凯特?温斯莱特(Kate Winslet)扮演的角色作为绘画模特全裸上镜。这一幕在中国的3D版上映中被删除了。卡梅隆认为这可以算是个“进步”,他提到上一次上映时删除的镜头“一定程度上”更多。当然,由于《阿凡达》系列的价值,他有大量的谈判筹码,可以迫使中方对剧本保证,使得共同制片变得可能。他也说自己不会让针对中国或是其人权记录的政治担忧干涉他在中国的电影业务。他说:“我会做好自己所需做的,确保中国继续做为我影片的一个重要市场。我会根据这个市场内部的规则行事。因为你不这么做不行。”

Indeed, as in many other industries, China has the market leverage to get what it wants from the foreign potentates who once dominated the film business. But what would China get in exchange for giving up some of its take at the box office to Mr Cameron? For one, Han Sanping, the powerful chairman of China Film Group, would affix his name to what could be one of the biggest blockbusters of all time, “Avatar 2” (and “3”, etc). Co-producing a James Cameron film would mark quite a symbolic turnaround for China, from the days of “Titanic”. Mr Han is often referred to in film circles as the godfather of Chinese film. If Mr Han wants a producer credit, Mr Cameron may find himself not terribly inclined to refuse.
确实,和许多其它行业相似,中国拥有巨大的市场筹码,可以从那些曾主宰电影业的外国权贵身上获得自己想要的条件。但是中国把一部分票房收入让给卡梅隆到底得到什么好处了呢?中影集团位高权重的董事长韩三平将能在历史上最大的巨片之一《阿凡达2》(以及3,等等)上印上自己的名字。和卡梅隆共同制片对于中国来说将会是从《泰坦尼克号》以来的一次具有巨大象征意义的逆转。电影圈经常把韩三平称为中国电影教父。如果韩三平想要把自己列入制片人名单中,也许卡梅隆会发现自己不太方便反对。
http://ecocn.org/thread-66650-1-1.html 译者:nayilus

[2012.04.21]Murray Lender穆雷?兰德尔:贝果梦想家
Obituary
讣告

Murray Lender
穆雷?兰德尔:贝果梦想家

Murray Lender, bagel-promoter, died on March 21st, aged 81
穆雷?兰德尔,贝果推广者,卒于3月21日,终年81岁
Apr 21st 2012 | from the print edition

WHEN Murray Lender talked about bagels, as he did all the time, he could wax philosophical. A bagel, he said, was a paradox. Shiny-brown and crispy on the outside; chewy and soft on the inside. Boiled, then baked. The personality was complex, since that hole-in-the-roll was never the same shape twice. But the sheer deliciousness was simple. He liked his warmed, though on TV ads he would demolish them toasted, the butter just melting, with an irresistible crunching sound. Close your eyes, munch a Lender’s bagel, and you were as near as you could get to heaven without seeing the Pearly Gates.
每当谈及贝果之时,穆雷?兰德尔总会换上一副哲人的口吻。他说,每个贝果皆为一个矛盾体,外表金黄闪亮,表皮酥脆爽口,内在劲嚼不厌,而又松软柔和;先经沸水略煮,后以焙制烘烤;圆环形状绝无重样,特点千奇百变,然而个中滋味纯粹简单,始终如一。尽管兰德尔在电视广告中推出的贝果刚是经烘烤的形象,但他还是喜欢微热的贝果,黄油融溢,咬一口,脆得咔嚓响,令人无法抵挡。闭上双眼,咬一口兰德尔贝果轻轻咀嚼,虽未见天堂之门,却早已如临仙境。

Everything, he proclaimed, was Better on a Bagel. Cream cheese and lox, for sure. But why be Jewish about it? Why not spread this “Jewish English muffin” with jelly, paté, peanut butter, Swiss cheese—bacon, even? And why stop at breakfast, when you could lunch and dine on them too? Tasty, satisfying, convenient, and at a bargain price! What’s not to like?
兰德尔曾说,搭配贝果,一切都会愈加美味。与奶油芝士和熏鲑鱼组合?更是妙不可言。何必一切遵循犹太传统?不如将这种“犹太英式小松饼”涂抹上果酱、鱼酱、花生酱以及瑞士奶酪——甚至来点培根!只做早点不免可惜,午餐晚餐享用也未尝不可。如此可口怡人,便利实惠,还有什么理由不喜爱这一美味?

Behind the patter was a giant vision: to bagelise America. The family firm in Baldwin Street, New Haven (Poppa, Momma, himself, three brothers) was baking as fast as it could go by the 1950s, but still not making much money after 30 years. Over hellish Saturday nights and Sunday mornings they would produce 3,000-6,000 dozen bagels, stirring the heavy dough, rolling, shaping (that expert twist of the fingers, slap on the table), boiling, baking. The wondrous smell brought in crowds. But bagels were still seen as a local, ethnic, weekend edible. Mr Lender wanted to sell bagels all week, and all across the country.
这一番连珠妙语的背后,兰德尔规划了一副宏伟远景:将贝果推广至全美国。二十世纪五十年代前,这间位于纽黑文市鲍德温街的家庭作坊(包括父亲、母亲、兰德尔自己以及三个兄弟)一直在尽可能快地生产贝果,然而,30年间所赚并不多。在无数个炼狱般的周六之夜和周日清晨,一家人要赶制3000到6000打贝果,不停地搅拌稠面糊、擀面团、捏出形(手指功夫要娴熟灵巧,扭过面团后再将其摔打到桌上),入水煮,最后放入烤炉烘焙。兰德尔贝果的浓香吸引了大批顾客纷纷前来购买。可是,尽管如此,贝果仍然叫好不叫座——在人们眼中,它只是一种本地犹太特色风味,可作周末小吃。兰德尔想要更多,他希望他的贝果可以全周供应,走向全国。

From 1955, working full-time on no salary, he began to buzz with good ideas. Put six bagels in a plastic bag to give them a three-day life, rather than seven hours. Sell them in grocery stores to create an all-week, everyday demand. Tickle those gentile taste buds with onion, egg, cinnamon ’n’ raisin flavours. Even better, pop them in the walk-in freezer his father already had, and make them last so long that you could ship them everywhere. Pile them in the frozen-food cabinets with the juice, and there was breakfast ready, oven-fresh, from the east coast to the west.
从1955年起,兰德尔开始全职工作,不领分文薪水。这时他的灵感也纷涌而来:以往贝果只可存放七个小时,兰德尔将其六个封入塑料袋,这样便可贮藏三天之久。他把贝果销往食品杂货店,以便实现每日供应,全周销售。兰德尔还开创了洋葱、鸡蛋、肉桂及葡萄干口味,让非犹太人也品尝得津津有味。更好的主意还在后面,贝果一做成,兰德尔就将其放入父亲的冷藏间内,此法可以保持贝果新鲜,便于通过空运陆运送至各地。把贝果放成一堆和果汁一并放入冷冻柜,刚出烤箱的现成早餐就这样从东海岸的厨房端上了西海岸的餐桌。

Frozen bagels were slippery little critters; Mr Lender had the idea of pre-slicing them, saving both the nation’s fingers and its early-morning time. He fell so deep in love with freezing that he managed in 1984 to get March declared Frozen Food Month, became chairman of the National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association, and sported its penguin symbol ever afterwards, on his tie or lapel or on his socks.
针对冷冻贝果会变得粘腻,兰德尔想出一招——将其事先切片。这样美国家庭早餐品尝贝果时就不必担心手指变粘,同时也可享受更加充裕的早间时光。兰德尔对冷冻法十分钟爱。1984年,在他的成功争取下,当地三月被定为了“冷冻食品月”。他还担任了国家冷冻食品协会的主席,从那以后一直把该协会的企鹅标志随身佩戴在领带上、翻领上或是袜子上。

His marketing ploys, on a tiny budget, became legend. In 1956 he went to the Catskills to put Lender’s frozen bagels into the best hotels, snaring the Jewish holiday trade. Then, with just six employees and a bakery in a garage, he went knocking on the doors of Kraft, Maxwell House and Minute Maid to suggest cross-promotions. Their national-brand coupons on his packaging, his coupons on theirs. The giants hardly knew what a bagel was; but one look at this gleeful, owlish figure (a bag of bagels under one arm, a toaster under the other), and everyone signed up. Sales soared. The ethnic barrier tumbled, he thought, when he sold 50 cases of frozen bagels in Arkansas.
兰德尔的小成本营销策略一时间被奉为传奇。1956年,他来到卡兹基尔,把兰德尔牌冷冻贝果推广进了当地的顶级酒店,在犹太节日食品售卖中大放异彩。随后,仅仅凭借六名雇员以及一间车库面包房,兰德尔一路敲开了卡夫、麦斯威尔以及美汁源的大门,寻求交叉促销合作[注],倡议双方在外包装上互贴优惠券。商界巨头们几乎不知贝果为何物,但是看看兰德尔欢快而又坚定的样子(他一手上挽着一袋贝果,另一手则拿着烤面包器),老板们无一拒绝。生意开始如日中天,当50箱冷冻贝果销往阿肯色州之时,兰德尔知道,贝果背后的种族的藩篱终于被打破了。

The Sales-rep Cantata
销售员的康塔塔之歌

Still the stunts kept coming. For St Patrick’s Day he made green bagels saying “Erin go Bragh” and “Shalom”. For one G7 summit he made bagel-heads of world leaders, with a lipsticked one for Margaret Thatcher. Oval bagels were sent to the Oval Office, and a man-sized one greeted Johnny Carson on “The Tonight Show”. When the world’s biggest bagel (714lb) was baked in 1998, Mr. Lender planted a kiss on it. By this time sales of Lender’s bagels, growing from 1965 to 1996 by double-digit leaps every year, had long been too huge for Murray and his brother Marvin to manage. So in 1984 Murray had arranged a “marriage of the century” with Kraft, striding down the aisle with a six-foot “Len Bagel” to plight his troth with “Phyl”, or a Kraft Philadelphia Cream Cheese.
大获成功之后,兰德尔依旧屡出奇招,新鲜不断:圣帕特里克节,他制作了绿色的贝果,打出“爱尔兰永存[注]”以及“平安[注]”的宣传口号。七国峰会上,他制出了各国首脑的贝果头像,其中一个头像涂有口红,送给撒切尔夫人。椭圆贝果走进了椭圆形办公室,主持人约翰尼?卡森在“今夜秀”节目上收到一个真人大小的贝果。1998年,世界上最大的贝果(重达714磅)诞生了,兰德尔亲吻了自己的杰作。1965年至1996年间,兰德尔贝果的销售额每年呈两位数增长,而长期以来,这份产业对于兰德尔和兄弟马文来说已经力不从心。于是,在1984年,兰德尔筹划了一场同卡夫食品公司的“世纪联姻”——兰德尔带着六英尺高的“兰贝果”走过礼堂长廊将其许给了“菲尔”——来自卡夫旗下的费城奶油芝士。

It was all a far cry from the days when little Murray’s job had been to count out 12 bagels and thread them on twine, for his brother Hymie to hang on shop doors. He thought he was bound to be a baker. Very early, though, he became the family’s salesman: theatrical, sporty, sociable, and with skills picked up at the kitchen table, where his mother Rose would urge coffee and cake on anyone who ventured by.
旧日时光一去不复返了。当年,兰德尔的工作是负责分出12个贝果,将其逐一穿在线上,再由他的哥哥海米将其挂到店门上。兰德尔曾以为自己注定要做一名面包师。尽管在早年,他是家族里的销售员:声情并茂、时髦花哨、善于社交,在家里的餐桌边耳濡目染了一套销售技巧——每每有人“胆敢”靠近餐桌,母亲罗斯一定会劝他喝杯咖啡再来块蛋糕。

He was also the most competitive of the brothers, always pushing to expand and modernise. When eating got healthy, Lender’s bagels did too: all-natural, whole-grain, and “with more complex carbohydrates than a whole bowl of cereal!” One ad, which featured him lounging on a supermarket shelf, was an echo of how he had spread the word in the early days, handing out bags of bagels in shops.
兰德尔在兄弟几人中求胜心最盛,一直积极谋求拓展生意,推进生产现代化。当人们开始注重膳食健康时,兰德尔贝果便紧随潮流:纯天然,全麦加工,“所含复合碳水化合物要比一碗谷物还多!”在一则广告中,兰德尔慵懒地靠在超市货架上——这正是他早年的写照,当初他就是这个样子在商店里分发一袋袋的贝果,将其推广开来的

When a cruel stroke robbed him of speech in 1998, he found he could still compose cantatas for sales reps to sing. And he could play the drums. He did both joyously. Much of the money he made from bagels was given quietly to charities, but his name was publicly attached to a children’s playground on the site of his father’s old bakery. You could have almost as much fun there as he had all his life, tirelessly turning America into Bagel Nation.
1998年,一场严重的中风夺去了兰德尔的语言能力,但他发现自己还可以为销售员谱写康塔塔小曲,而且他还可以敲敲鼓,兰德尔带着欢乐去做这两件事情。从贝果生意中赚来的钱,他多数都悄悄做了慈善募捐,毫不张扬。不过,兰德尔的名字被人们镌刻在了一片儿童运动场上,该运动场建在兰德尔父亲老面包房旧址。在那里随便走走,你便可以感受到兰德尔一生所体会到的不多的快乐:孜孜不倦,把美利坚打造成为一个贝果王国。
http://ecocn.org/thread-66701-1-1.html 译者:je331ca

[2012.04.21]Feeling peaky 石油产量接近极限
The economic impact of high oil prices
高油价对经济的影响

Apr 21st 2012 | from the print edition

AS THE developed-world economy tries to gain momentum, it faces a persistent headwind. The oil price remains stubbornly over $100 a barrel, acting like a tax on Western consumers. Some blame the high price on evil speculators—Barack Obama unveiled plans to increase penalties for market manipulation on April 17th. But there is a simpler explanation: that supply is inadequate to keep up with rising demand.
正当发达国家的经济试图加快发展时,迎面却是一阵经久不息的顶头风。油价高企,每桶价格超过100美元,西方消费者负担甚重。有人将高油价归咎于奸诈的投机商(巴拉克?奥巴马在4月17日公布了计划,要加重对市场操纵行为的处罚)。不过还有一个更简单的解释:石油供应跟不上日益增长的需求。

The concept of peak oil—the idea that global crude production may be at, or close to, its limit—is far from universally accepted. One leading asset manager talked recently of the world being “awash with energy” because of the exploitation of American shale gas. Nevertheless, oil is still the main fuel for cars and trucks. And crude output (as opposed to alternatives such as biofuels and liquids made from gas) has been flat since 2005.
石油峰值,即全球原油产量可能已经达到或接近极限,这个概念远未被世人普遍认同。近日一家知名资产管理公司谈到,由于美国的页岩气已被开发使用,如今世界简直是“能源过剩”。不过,石油仍然是汽车和卡车的主要燃料。而原油产量自2005年以来并没有增加(其替代品如生物燃料、液化天然气则相反)。

A number of countries (including Britain, Egypt and Indonesia) have turned from net oil exporters into importers in recent years. And although rich countries have curbed their energy-guzzling a little, demand continues to surge in emerging markets.
近几年,包括英国、埃及和印度尼西亚在内的许多国家已从石油净出口国变成进口国。而尽管发达国家大肆挥霍能源的行为已稍有收敛,新兴市场对能源的需求仍继续急剧上升。

This has left the oil market very vulnerable to temporary supply disruptions, such as the war in Libya. Speaking at a conference in Dublin this week, organised by the Institute of International and European Affairs and the Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas, Chris Skrebowski, a consulting editor of Petroleum Review, argued that spare capacity in the oil market could be eroded by 2015.
这令石油市场特别容易因短暂供应中断而受到影响,如利比亚战争(所引起的供应中断)。本周,一个由国际与欧洲事务研究院及石油及天然气峰值研究协会组织的会议在都柏林召开。《石油评论》的顾问编辑Chris Skrebowski在会议上发言,他认为到2015年石油市场的闲置产能可能就会耗尽。

The peak-oil concept was devised by the late M. King Hubbert, who correctly predicted in 1956 that oil output in the lower 48 states of America would peak by around 1970. At the conference Michael Kumhof, an economist at the International Monetary Fund, presented the findings of a forthcoming working paper which showed that adding the idea of a “Hubbert peak” to energy production greatly improved the ability of a model to forecast oil prices. Based on an expected 0.9% annual increase in production over the next decade, the model predicts that real oil prices will nearly double over the same period.
石油峰值这个概念是已故的M. King Hubbert提出的,他曾在1956年预言美国48个州(除阿拉斯加和夏威夷外)的石油产量将在1970年左右达到峰值,后来预言应验了。在会议上,国际货币基金组织的一位经济学家Michael Kumhof展示了一份即将发表的工作论文中的一些调查结果。这些结果表明,在能源生产(的模型)里融入Hubbert峰值的概念将会大大提高一个油价预测模型的预测准确度。未来十年石油的年产量预计将会提高0.9%,据此,这个模型预测同期实际的石油价格将会增加近一倍。

The economic damage caused by such a rise is predicted to be modest, perhaps 0.2% of global GDP a year. In the past changes in oil prices have had a limited long-term impact, since any losses to oil importers are matched by gains by oil exporters. To the extent that high oil prices played a role in the recessions of the early 1980s and 2008-09, the main reason is that oil-producing countries tend to have a lower marginal propensity to consume their income, denting global demand.
这样的油价上涨预计不会为经济带来很大的影响,可能只会使全球GDP每年下降0.2%。过去,油价变动对经济的长期影响都十分有限,因为石油进口国所有的损失都会被石油出口国的收益所抵消。如果说高油价对二十世纪八十年代初及2008年至2009年对经济有什么影响的话,主要是因为石油生产国的边际消费倾向往往较低,因此全球需求有所下降。

Nevertheless, Mr Kumhof worries that if oil prices are high enough, the economic impact might increase substantially. On the most extreme assumptions, it could be 2% a year.
不过,Kumhof 担心若油价太高,经济受到的影响可能会越来越严重。在最极端的假设下,全球GDP可能会每年下降2%。

Even if the world can find more oil—in the Arctic or tar sands, say—the longer-term question is whether the era of “cheap energy” is over and how the world can adjust if it is. Developed economies are built on easy access to cheap energy, importing goods that are transported from around the world, with consumers driving many miles to work in air-conditioned offices and then flying off to sunny climes for their annual holidays. Persistently high oil prices would clearly lead to substitution (electric cars, natural-gas-powered trucks) but the transition costs could be significant.
即便世界各国能够找到更多石油(比如在北极或焦油砂中),更长远的问题是:“廉价能源时代”是否已一去不返?若是,那各国又能如何应对?能够轻易获得廉价能源和从世界各地进口商品是发达国家经济的基础,这些国家的消费者每天长途驱车到有空调的办公室上班,每逢年假就飞到阳光明媚、气候宜人的地方度假。显然,油价高企会令人们转而使用其他能源(电动车、天然气卡车),但这种改变的代价可能十分巨大。

Furthermore some potential substitutes for, or new sources of, oil (such as biofuels and tar sands) are a lot less efficient, in the sense that they require significant amounts of energy simply to produce. To the extent that this equation (energy return on energy invested, or EROI) is deteriorating, that must surely have an effect on economic growth.
再说,可能替代石油的一些能源(如生物燃料),又或是新的石油资源(如焦油砂,光是生产它们就要消耗大量能源;在这个意义上,这些能源的利用率远比现在的低。如果能源投资回报率(回报的能源除以投入的能源,即EROI)下降,经济发展一定会因此受到影响。

“What is the minimum EROI that a modern industrial society must have for its energy system for that society to survive?” ask Carey King and Charles Hall in a recent paper*. The academics’ answer: “Complex societies need a high EROI built on a large primary energy base.”
“在一个现代工业社会中,其能源系统的EROI必须高于哪个值这个社会才能继续发展?”Carey King和Charles Hall在最近的一篇论文中提出了这个问题。学术界的回答是:“结构复杂的社会要有很高的EROI值,而且前提是要有大量一次能源。”

This issue is not much considered by mainstream economists, who are too busy focusing on monetary policy, the impact of fiscal austerity or the need for labour-market reforms. But just as the industrial revolution was built on coal, the post-second-world-war economy was built on cheap oil. There will surely be a significant impact if it has gone for good.
主流经济学家并不怎么关注这个问题,他们只顾思考货币政策、财政紧缩带来的影响或是是否需要改革劳动力市场,根本忙不过来。但是,如同煤奠定了工业革命之基,廉价石油奠定了二战后的世界经济之基。若廉价石油不复存在,那经济肯定会大受影响。
http://ecocn.org/thread-66699-1-1.html 译者:contrary

[2012.04.21]Reshaping banking 重组银行业
The retreat from everywhere 全面撤退

Led by European banks, the world’s lenders are pulling back to their home markets
以欧洲银行为首,全世界的银行正向本国市场撤退
Apr 21st 2012 | from the print edition

SOME signs are subtle. Foreign lenders operating in America are tightening loan standards more sharply than domestic rivals; Hong Kong property developers are scrambling to issue bonds for want of other funding. But others—the “for sale” signs hung on the overseas assets of many European lenders—are pretty blatant. The ability and willingness of banks to compete across borders is unravelling.
有些迹象不易察觉:在美国营业的外国银行的贷款标准现在变得比它们的美国同业更为严格;香港房产开发商因缺乏其他资金而争先恐后地发行债券。但其他的迹象则相当明显:许多欧洲银行为在它们的国外资产打上了“待售”标签。银行在国外竞争的能力与意愿正在消散。

The years before the financial crisis saw rapid growth in the cross-border activities of banks. According to the Bank for International Settlements, the average year-on-year growth rate for cross-border bank credit to non-banks during the 2000-07 period was a sizzling 15.2%, compared with 6.7% for total bank credit. Since then cross-border credit has fizzled (see chart 1) and looks likely to fall further.
在本次金融危机之前的一些年里,银行业的国外业务发展迅猛。据国际结算银行(Bank for International Settlements)统计,外国银行向非银行业的信贷在2000–2007年间的平均年增长率为令人咂舌的15.2%,而整个银行业的这一增长率仅为6.7%。在此之后,外国银行信贷就一直在萎缩(见图表1),而且看来可能还会进一步萎缩。

European lenders were in the vanguard during the era of internationalisation, and around a third of their assets are outside their home markets. They are now under pressure to slim down their balance-sheets quickly, partly to shore up capital and partly because of funding strains. The IMF this week projected that banks in the European Union would undergo a $2.6 trillion deleveraging over the next two years. Much of that will be achieved by running for home.
欧洲银行是资本国际化时代的先锋,它们资产的大约三分之一不在国内市场。但现在它们承受了迅速压缩其资产负债表的压力,这部分出于加强资本的需要,部分出于资金紧缺。国际货币基金组织(IMF)本周预测,欧盟各国银行在今后两年间将有2万6千亿美元的去杠杆资金回流,其中许多将通过撤回国内完成。

In March the Reserve Bank of Australia revealed that the departure of European lenders, in particular French banks, had left an A$34 billion ($35 billion) funding gap in the syndicated-loan market for local companies. The story is similar in the Middle East, where a rush this year to issue Islamic bonds, or sukuk, is attributed to a withdrawal of European lenders. Within Europe, too, national boundaries are being reinforced as lenders cut back their exposures to weaker markets (see chart 2). Non-European banks are also trimming their foreign portfolios as they rationalise their businesses: Citigroup agreed to sell its Belgian retail arm in December; HSBC is offloading businesses from Costa Rica to Pakistan.
澳大利亚联储(the Reserve Bank of Australia)三月份披露,由于欧洲银行特别是法国银行的撤离,该国公司的财团贷款市场出现了340亿澳元(350亿美元)的资金缺口。中东的情况类似。由于欧洲银行撤退,人们今年仓促加发了伊斯兰债券(阿拉伯语sukuk)。欧洲内部也同样如此:银行减少了在疲软市场内的运营,加强了在自己国内的经营(见图表2)。非欧洲银行在使其运营理性化的同时也在缩减它们的国外投资组合:花旗集团(Citigroup)去年12月同意出售它在比利时的零售银行业务;汇丰银行(HSBC)正在出售它在哥斯达黎加和巴基斯坦等国的旗下公司。

Some of this is cyclical. After the first contraction of international activity in 2008-09, a rebound occurred, and something similar might be seen in response to the provision late last year of three-year liquidity by the European Central Bank (ECB), which has temporarily eased the strains on euro-area banks. But there is good reason to believe the retrenchment represents a structural change.
这里有些是周期现象。国际商业活动在2008–2009年间第一次收缩之后曾有反弹;欧洲央行(European Central Bank (ECB))去年年底提供了3年期贷款,暂时缓解了欧元区各银行的压力;这可能会使国际商业活动发生类似反弹。但人们有充分理由相信,这次收缩其实是一次结构性改变。

Retrenchment need not be disastrous. Much pre-crisis cross-border lending was foolish, after all; think of all the German money in subprime American mortgages. And foreign banks are not the only suppliers of cross-border capital: the importance of foreign direct investment and portfolio flows as a proportion of gross inflows has steadily risen over the past three decades.
收缩并不一定会引起灾难。当然,经济危机前的许多跨国借贷十分愚蠢;这一点只要想想德国人在美国次贷市场上投入的总资金就十分清楚。但提供跨国资本并非外国银行的专利:过去30年中,作为总流量的一部分,外国直接投资与外国投资组合资金流的比例在持续上升。
But banks matter. There is evidence that cross-border banking relationships between pairs of countries encourage other types of capital flow; reduce them, and the other flows may dry up too. And the availability of bank financing is vital to smaller businesses or long-term asset-based activities such as infrastructure projects. “The alternatives to cross-border banking are autarkic financial systems, which means relying on domestic capital formation and thus higher costs, or international flows via bond markets, which are more volatile,” says Peter Sands, the boss of Standard Chartered, an emerging-markets bank.
但银行起的作用很大。有证据说明,两国间的跨国银行业关系能激励其他种类的资本流量;这些关系的减弱可能也会使其他资本的流量枯竭。能够从银行融资对较小的企业至为关键,对那些如基建项目一类长期资产型企业也是如此。一家新兴市场银行渣打银行(Standard Chartered)的总裁冼博德 (Peter Sands) 说:“可以用自给自足式金融系统替代跨国银行业,但这意味着依赖国内资本形成,因此成本颇高;或通过债券市场形成的国际流动,但这种流动更不稳定。”

Home is where the taxpayer is 纳税人在国内

Three powerful centripetal forces are at play: politics, regulation and deleveraging. Take politics first. The financial crisis, and the sovereign-debt crisis that followed it, have left no one in any doubt about the relationship between banks and the state. If big lenders get into trouble, taxpayers end up bailing them out.
有三种向心力令银行回归:政治、法规和去杠杆。首先说政治。这次金融危机和随之而来的主权债务危机让所有人都对银行与政府间的密切关系无可怀疑。出了麻烦的大银行最终得由纳税人拯救。

Now it is payback time. Banks have come under pressure from their governments to prioritise the customers that rescued them. “Project Merlin” set Britain’s biggest banks targets for their lending to small and medium-sized enterprises; Commerzbank, a bailed-out German bank, is committed to concentrating its lending on Germany and Poland. In December Crédit Agricole, a French bank, outlined plans that included the closure of corporate- and investment-banking operations in 21 countries. “Crédit Agricole is mobilised on a day-to-day basis to support the plans of the French people,” ran the press release.
现在是回报的时候了。银行受到各自政府的压力,要它们把曾经拯救了自己的顾客放在首位。“梅林项目”为英国最大的银行设立了对中小企业贷款的目标;接受过拯救的德国商业银行(Commerzbank)承诺集中对德国与波兰贷款。去年12月,法国农贷银行(Crédit Agricole)扼要说明了它今后的计划,其中包括终止在21个国家中的对公和投资银行业务。“农贸银行将全面动员,以支持法国人民的计划作为自己日常工作的基础,”该行的新闻稿如是说。

In the case of banks in the euro zone’s peripheral nations, the politics of patriotism also mean propping up the debt of their governments. Italian and Spanish banks have used the ECB’s three-year loans to boost their holdings of domestic government bonds. Spanish lenders increased their holdings by 26% in the two months to January; Italian banks upped theirs by 31% in the three months to February. This reflects, in part, a calculation that few banks can survive without a sovereign that looks solvent.
对那些欧元区边缘国家的银行来说,爱国主义政治也意味着支持它们政府的债务。意大利与西班牙银行动用欧洲央行的三年期贷款增持本国政府国债。在截至今年1月为止的两个月内,西班牙银行增持本国国债量26%;在截至今年2月为止的三个月内,意大利银行增持本国国债量31%。这部分反映了这样的考虑:没有几家银行能在主权政府看上去没有偿付能力的情况下生存。

Regulations are also steering banks (and insurers) into holding domestic government debt. Rules on capital and liquidity label government debt as safe and render domestic government debt peculiarly so. The overall effect is to make balance-sheets look a lot more patriotic. Huw van Steenis of Morgan Stanley reckons that euro-zone banks have an average of 6% of their assets invested in domestic sovereign debt, and that their holdings are growing by the day.
法规也迫使银行(及保险公司)持有本国国债。资本与偿付能力的相关法规把政府债券定义为安全投资,这就很奇特地让本国政府的债券成了安全投资。这样做的综合效果就是让资产负债表看上去爱国得多。摩根?斯坦利(Morgan Stanley)的休?冯斯蒂尼斯(Huw van Steenis)认为,欧元区银行已平均使用6%的资产投资本国主权债务,且其持有量仍在与日俱增。

Many other rules that are designed to make finance safer also risk making it more parochial. A big lesson of the crisis is that banks which are global in life are national in death. The bankruptcies of Lehman Brothers and MF Global showed regulators how assets could easily get trapped in foreign jurisdiction s, leaving a bigger bill for taxpayers back home. There are signs that, in response, regulators are treating foreign assets more harshly than domestic ones. Bankers say that stress tests carried out on American lenders by the Federal Reserve in March put their foreign loans under greater pressure than American ones. Recent guidance from Britain’s Financial Services Authority on lending in areas like commercial property jacked up risk charges on exposures where there is a lack of historical data; Bob Penn of Allen & Overy, a law firm, argues that this has the effect of privileging lending in home markets. With capital scarce, such tinkering matters.
许多其他规定旨在让金融业更安全,但它们也有令其活动范围更为地区化的风险。金融危机的一个重大教训是:那些兴旺时全球捞钱的银行在破产时祸害的是自己的国家。雷曼兄弟银行(Lehman Brothers)和全球曼氏金融(MF Global)的破产让银行监管者清楚地看出,资产很容易陷在国外司法辖区内,结果给本国纳税人留下了更大的债务。有迹象表明,有鉴于此,银行监管者对国外资产的管理比对本国资产更为严厉。银行家们认为,在今年3月美联储对美国银行进行的“压力测试”中,他们在国外的贷款受到了比国内贷款更大的压力。最近英国的金融服务局(Financial Services Authority)下发了对商业房产类的贷款指南,提高了对缺少过往数据地区贷款的风险收费;安理国际律师事务所(Allen & Overy)的鲍勃?佩恩(Bob Penn)认为此举带有给予国内市场优惠的效果。由于资本匮缺,这样的小规模调整甚为有效。
As national regulators seek to stamp their authority on international finance, conflicts and inefficiencies arise in all sorts of areas. Britain has filed lawsuits against the ECB for its proposal to prohibit clearing-houses outside the euro area from being able to handle more than 5% of trading in euro-denominated instruments. Differences between proposed American and European rules on derivatives may mean that banks build separate infrastructures on either side of the Atlantic. Things that matter could fall into the cracks opening up; many worry that trade finance, the lifeblood of cross-border trade, will be heavily penalised under new liquidity rules.
由于各国监管者企图对国际金融施加其权威影响,结果就在各领域内造成了冲突并影响了效率。欧洲央行提议,任何不在欧元区的票据交换所最高只能处理以欧元结算的金融工具中5%的业务;英国为此已将该行告上了法庭。美国与欧洲在金融衍生物上的不同规定可能会使银行必须在大西洋两岸建立不同的基础金融机构。有些重要业务可能因两者日益增大的差别归于流产;许多人担心,作为跨国贸易生命线的贸易金融可能会因为新的流动性规定而遭受沉重打击。

Resolutions and reality分拆与现实

Planning for bank failures is the area where the interests of national regulators collide most forcefully with hopes of international co-ordination. The Financial Stability Board, a global watchdog, wants the big regulators of cross-border banks to work together in the event that banks need resolving, and many banks hope for such agreements. But the regulators’ focus is on their national interests, not those of the world, or of the banks.
各国监管者与希望国际协调的人们最激烈的利益冲突是对银行倒闭做出防患于未然的计划这一领域。全球监察机构金融稳定委员会(Financial Stability Board)希望,当银行需要分拆时,跨国银行最大的监管者能采取共同行动解决问题,许多银行也希望有这样的协议。但监管者关注的是他们的国家利益,至于全球或银行利益则另当别论。

As Simon Gleeson of Clifford Chance, a law firm, points out, no government will care as much about treating foreign creditors fairly as it cares about compensating its own people. Iceland, which screwed its banks’ foreign creditors in favour of domestic depositors, is a case in point. A typical regulator wants banks in its purview to have enough assets both to keep operating in times of crisis and to pay back domestic creditors in case of failure, whether the banks are domiciled there or not.
正如高伟绅律师事务所(Clifford Chance)的西蒙?格里森(Simon Gleeson)指出的那样,没有哪个政府会像关心本国人民获得补偿那样关心外国债权人受到的待遇是否公平。冰岛政府在本国银行倒闭时保护本国储蓄者而压榨外国债权人,这是一个恰当的例子。一个典型的监管者应该监督银行(无论该行属于哪个国家),令其握有足够资产,能让它在危机时刻保持运行、并在一旦倒闭时退还私人债权人的存款。

Home-market regulators thus prefer their lenders not to have too great an exposure elsewhere. Austria’s central bank has said that Austrian bank subsidiaries in central and eastern Europe should not exceed a loan-to-deposit ratio of 110%, a way of ensuring that their funding needs do not make too great a call on resources back at headquarters.
因此,国内市场监管者希望本国银行不要过多涉足国外。奥地利央行认为,奥地利银行在中欧与东欧的子公司的贷存比不应超过110%,这是保证它们的资金需要不会过分占用其国内母公司资源的一种方法。

Emerging markets, now alive to the possibility that parent banks in the rich world can be a source of instability as well as support, have their own worries about the “portability” of capital, liquidity and assets. Guillermo Ortiz, a former Mexican finance minister who is now chairman of Banorte, a Mexican lender, wants subsidiaries of foreign banks in emerging markets to be ring-fenced so that money cannot be funnelled out of the country.
新兴市场现在意识到,虽然富国的各银行母公司可以为它们提供支持,但也可以变成不稳定的根源;这些市场担心资本、流动资金和资产的“易于移动性”。前墨西哥金融部长、现任一家墨西哥北方银行(Banorte) 总裁的吉列尔莫?奥尔蒂斯(Guillermo Ortiz)想严格控制外国银行在新兴市场中的子公司,让它们无法从该国大量转移资金。

Particular problems attach to “living wills”, documents in which banks lay out for regulators their plans to survive periods of extreme stress and, if the worst happens, to provide supervisors with the information they need for resolution. The process of agreeing on living wills with regulators in the countries concerned creates pressure for banks to use subsidiaries abroad, which have to have their own capital, rather than branches, which don’t.还有些特殊的麻烦与银行的“生前遗嘱”有关;所谓“生前遗嘱”是银行提交给监管者的文件,其中解释了银行在极端严峻形势下的生存计划,还有面临倒闭时给监管员的信息,以便分拆银行。在有关国家中,在银行与监管者就生前遗嘱达成共识的过程中银行会感到需要在国外使用子公司的压力,因为子公司必须有自己的资本;反之,银行不愿意使用分行,因为后者没有自己的资本。

The decision to set up a subsidiary in a new market (as opposed to just opening a branch) may be a harder one for boards, since it involves legal incorporation and taking on personal liabilities. Some bankers worry, too, that subsidiary units may be nudged by supervisors into running separate IT and management systems in order to demonstrate that they can keep operating without the support of a parent, making them yet more inefficient. Rules that make it harder to move money around will make it harder to commit to distant opportunities. An executive at a big American bank says that such rules will force his firm to invest less abroad than would be ideal. For emerging markets that have shallow deposit bases and undeveloped domestic bond markets, it all adds up to slower credit growth.
对理事会来说,在新市场中成立子公司可能比成立分行更难决定,因为这牵涉到成立法人公司与承担个人债务。有些银行家也担心,子公司可能会在监管人推动下,为证明它无须母公司支持也可良好运转而采用不同的IT 与管理系统,从而进一步降低效率。让银行更不容易调拨资金的规定将使它们难以把握远离本国的机会。一位美国大银行高管认为,这样的规定会减少他的公司在国外的投资额,使其无法达到最佳投资量。对存款基数较低、国内债券市场欠发达的新兴经济体市场来说,这些因素会让信贷增长更加缓慢。

Markets that erect firewalls around their banking systems may also be sacrificing resilience in the event of a future crisis. For all the worries about wobbly international banks, the support of Western parents has proved more helpful than not in eastern Europe so far. Other sources of finance can be flighty, too. When bond markets closed to Dubai in late 2009, international banks kept providing liquidity. “There is a trade-off here between probability of default and loss given default,” says Standard Chartered’s Mr Sands. “People are losing sight of the first and obsessing about the second.”
这些也可能会让已经在其银行系统周围建立了防火墙的市场减少了在危机发生时的反弹能力。尽管人们担心那些以不稳定著称的国际银行,但迄今的事实证明,西方母公司对东欧还是帮助不小。其实其他金融来源也可能不那么可靠。2009年债券市场对迪拜关闭时,国际银行还在对其提供流动资金。渣打银行的冼博德说:“现在人们是在违约概率与违约损失率之间权衡,但他们容易忽略第一项而过分强调第二项。”

The LDR of the pack 各地银行贷存比

Even if regulators and politicians were carefree onlookers, the need to deleverage would remain. Once again, Europe is home to the banks with the most work to do, less because of the need to raise more capital than because of the way they fund themselves. European banks are more reliant on wholesale markets than any other big banking system (see chart 3). According to Simon Samuels of Barclays Capital, lending by listed European banks exceeds their deposits by $1.3 trillion. American banks, by contrast, are awash in deposits, with a funding surplus of $1.3 trillion.
即使监管者与政治家不负责任,袖手旁观,银行还是需要去杠杆化。在这方面要做得最多的还是欧洲银行。这不单因为这些银行需要筹集资本,更重要的是它们为自己筹集资金的方式。欧洲的银行比任何其他大银行系统更依赖批发市场(见图表3)。巴克莱资本(Barclays Capital)的西蒙?塞缪尔(Simon Samuels)认为,上市的欧洲银行的贷款量比其存款量多1.3万亿美元。与此相反,美国银行的存款量丰富,超出贷款量1.3万亿美元。

The European gap is filled by borrowing on wholesale markets. The capital markets have peeped open in the wake of the ECB’s three-year lending operations. But a peep is not enough. The ECB’s intervention was needed precisely because the euro-zone sovereign crisis and the increased need to factor in the losses that follow when a bank fails have left bond investors a lot less interested in holding bank debt than they were. So lenders have little choice but to bring down their wholesale-borrowing needs.
欧洲银行的资金缺口是通过从批发市场借贷填补的。在欧洲央行采取了三年期贷款行动之后,资本市场总算打开了一条缝,但仅有一条缝是不够的。欧洲央行需要干预的真正原因是,欧元区主权债务危机和需要接受银行倒闭带来的损失使当前债券投资者对持有银行债券的兴趣远低于从前。因此,除了减少它们的批发借贷需要外,可供银行选择的办法不多。

In practice, that often means pruning back activities abroad. Banks typically establish a presence in new markets by lending, and wait for deposits to catch up later. Foreign subsidiaries that have loan-to-deposit ratios (LDRs) in excess of 100% and that rely on cross-border funding from their parents are obvious deleveraging candidates. Eastern Europe is the region that looks most vulnerable on this score. It is the most reliant on foreign banks; and although those banks also raise local deposits, countries such as Hungary, Romania and the Baltic states are all big recipients of cross-border funding as well (see chart 4).
实际上这经常意味着缩减国外的业务活动。通常银行会在新市场贷款以建立根据地,随后逐步吸引存款。贷存比(loan-to-deposit ratios (LDRs))超过100%并依赖母公司跨国资金的外国子公司是去杠杆的首选。在这方面,东欧显然看起去会是最易受影响的地区。该地区对外国银行依赖性最强;而且尽管匈牙利、罗马尼亚和巴尔干国家等的外国银行也吸收当地存款,但这类国家也全都是接受跨国资金的大户(见图表4)。

European banks are not about to shut down their foreign networks altogether, not least because the business they do abroad is often their best prospect of growth. Lenders are more likely to manage LDRs down by letting loans run off or by competing for more deposits than to pull out of countries altogether. But the effect will still be felt in the form of scarcer and dearer credit.
欧洲银行并非即将全面关闭它们的国外业务网,特别是它们在国外的商业活动经常是它们最有希望的业务增长点。更有可能发生的是,银行会通过让贷款流失或拉入存款户的做法控制贷存比,而不是从这些国家全面撤退。但这种行动的效果仍会明显地表现出来:贷款变少、贷款利息更高。

There is a faster route to funding salvation than reducing bread-and-butter commercial lending. One particularly striking feature of the pre-crisis expansion of Europe’s banks was that so much of their activity was in dollar-denominated areas such as commercial-property lending, leveraged buy-outs, syndicated loans and commodity financing.
除了减少基本的金融贷款外还有一种更快的途径解救资金。欧洲银行在经济危机前大举扩张的一个特别引人注目的特征是,它们在以美元结算的领域如商业物业贷款、杠杆式收购、财团贷款和商业融资方面有大量活动。

Some of that dollar activity was funded by deposits gathered by banks’ American units; another wodge of dollar funding came from swapping local deposits into foreign currency. But lots was gathered on wholesale markets, often in the form of short-term debt that needed to be constantly rolled over (think of the money provided to French banks by American money-market funds, whose flight from Europe last year caused so much trouble). This type of funding—short-term, wholesale and with an added dollop of foreign-currency risk for good measure—could not be further removed from the liabilities lenders, or their regulators, now want. With French banks in the vanguard, they are offloading dollar-denominated assets.
这些美元活动有些由这些银行在美国的分支积蓄的存款资助;另一部分来自本国存款的兑换;但还有大量美元资金取自批发市场,其经常形式是短期债务;这种形式的资金需要持续更新(想一想美国货币市场基金为法国银行提供的资金就清楚了,这种资金去年从欧洲撤离引起了极大的麻烦)。这种获取资金的方法以短期、批发、并附带外汇风险为特点;尽管银行或它们的监管者现在希望能够进一步减少这种负债方式,但却无法成功。以法国银行为先锋,欧洲各国银行都在脱手自己以美元结算的资产。

Among the sectors most exposed to this retreat are project finance, asset-based lending in shipping and aviation, and infrastructure funding. These are areas where assets tend to remain on banks’ balance-sheets for 10-15 years or more. That makes them unattractive bets: long-term dollar funding is hard to come by; short-term funding presents rollover risk; and lenders are wary of locking up bits of their balance-sheets inflexibly when things are so uncertain. To make matters worse, risks are high, so these kinds of lending use up lots of capital.
受这次撤退影响最深的领域包括项目融资、海运与航空业的资产保证型贷款以及基础建设资金。这些领域中的资产往往会在银行的资产负债表中保留10-15年甚至更长。这就让它们成了无人欣赏的赌注:长期美元资金不易到手;短期资金有持续更新的风险;在金融形势风云不定的情况下银行不愿轻易让自己资产负债表中的一些部分长期被套牢。更糟糕的是,这些领域的风险也不低,所以这些种类的贷款会占用大批资本。

Alternatives to bank finance are harder to come by in these areas than in areas like syndicated lending. The risks inherent in shipping, a notoriously cyclical industry, or infrastructure finance, where there is lots of construction risk, mean that credit ratings are low, making them a hard sell to bond investors. New regulations called Solvency 2 could make it harder for European insurers to hold long-dated assets. Bankers are now trying to cook up new ways of distributing such assets to investors. One option in infrastructure finance, says the boss of a big European bank, is for the bank to offer financing for the riskier construction phase and then hand over to bond markets when projects start to generate cash flows (although it is unclear what yield investors would demand in return).
要想得到银行资金以外的来源,这些领域比财团贷款等领域要困难。海运业是以周期性著称的产业,其中风险与生俱来;基础建设资金包含多种建设风险,意味着低信贷评级,因此不容易推销给债券投资者。名为《欧盟保险偿付能力监管标准II》的新规定或许会让欧洲保险公司更不容易持有长期资产。银行家现在正试图想出把这些资产推销给投资者的新方法。一家欧洲大银行的老板提出了有关基础建设资金的一种考虑:让银行为风险更高的建设阶段提供资金,然后当项目开始资金回流时将其转交给债券市场。但人们尚不清楚的是,投资者将对此要求多高的收益率。

The hidden harm 隐性危害

Such innovations are a reminder that the international financial system has many moving parts. New ways of securitising dollar-denominated assets could mean that banks end up slimming their balance-sheets more slowly. The homeward migration of European lenders opens the door to others: Japanese banks, which sit on a surplus of deposits and are willing to lend on a long-term basis, are now the first port of call for project-finance deals. Banks of no fixed abode, such as HSBC and Standard Chartered, may also be poised to benefit in some markets, and American banks could yet decide to become more expansionist. Corporate-bond markets provide another source of funding for larger firms.
这样的创新想法让人想起国际金融系统有多个变化着的部分。让以美元计价的资产变得安全的新方法或许最终会让银行将其资产负债表“瘦身”的进程更为缓慢。欧洲银行的家乡之旅为其他银行敞开了大门:坐拥过剩存款的日本银行乐意提供长期贷款,它们现在是项目资金交易的首选。像汇丰和渣打等这一类“居无定所”的银行可能也做好了在一些市场中获利的准备,美国的银行也可以选择向外扩张。大型公司可以发行企业债券,企债市场是它们的另一个资金源。

But, for all this, a homeward bias in banking will raise costs for some countries, and some classes of client, a lot. Where the process of retrenchment is too swift, it will be hard to refinance some existing debts. Ring-fenced subsidiaries risk being more brittle in the event of a crisis. The costs and availability of infrastructure finance are likely to go up.
There may also be costs for markets that have previously exported deposits and are now seeing them return: some in Germany already worry that too much credit is sloshing around. Some of the forces pulling banks back home are reasonable ones. But once trillions of dollars are set in motion, getting them to settle back down in an optimal way is next to impossible.
尽管有这些筹资手段,银行业向国内倾斜的状况还是会提高一些国家的筹资费用、大幅度提高某些领域客户的筹资费用。在那些紧缩进程进行得过分迅速的地方,许多已有债务将很难再融资。受到严格控制的子公司会有发生危机时变得更脆弱的风险。基础建设资金可能会较容易获得,但付出可能会提高。那些过去曾对外提供存款但现在存款回流的市场将会承受损失:德国已经有人在担心本国信贷充斥的问题了。让银行回归故国的力量中有些是合乎情理的。但数以万亿计美元的涌动一旦开始,想让它重新以一种理想的方式安顿下来,这几乎是一件不可能办到的事。
http://ecocn.org/thread-66649-1-1.html 译者:悠悠万事97

[2012.04.21]Deathless data 网络信息财产:斯人已逝,数据流芳
What happens to our digital property after we die?
人死如灯灭,数据之火烧何方?
Apr 21st 2012 | from the print edition

Wait! I found his iTunes password
等下!我找到他的iTunes密码了!

LORNE GLADSTONE of Toronto is 58, but prudently pondering how to bequeath his digital property. Doing the paperwork after his parents’ death was a challenge. “When my time comes, I wonder if my children will even know what paper is,” he says. As a software developer, his virtual assets are both valuable and vital to his business. That exemplifies a problem. Online lives have increasing economic and sentimental value. But testamentary laws offer muddled and incomplete ways of bequeathing and inheriting them.
来自多伦多的洛恩?格莱斯顿现年58岁,但他如今已在慎重考虑自己数字财产的处置问题了。对格莱斯顿来说,当年同父母遗留下的书面文件打交道就曾颇费力气。他说道:“当我百年之后,我都怀疑我的子女们是否知道什么叫书面文件”。作为一名软件开发者,格莱斯顿的虚拟财产对其工作的价值及重要性不言而喻。这突显出一个问题:线上生活的经济与情感价值在不断上升,然而对遗赠者和继承者而言,遗嘱法律仍然语焉不详,不甚完善。

Digital assets may include software, websites, downloaded content, online gaming identities, social-media accounts and even e-mails. In Britain alone holdings of digital music may be worth over £9 billion ($14 billion). A fifth of respondents to a Chinese local-newspaper survey said they had over 5,000 yuan ($790) of digital property. And value does not lie only in money. “Anyone with kids under 14 years old probably has two prints of them and the rest are in online galleries,” says Nathan Lustig of Entrustet, a company that helps people manage digital estates.
数字财产的范畴可包含软件、网站、下载内容、网络游戏账号、社交媒体账户甚至是电子邮件。仅在英国,人们持有的数字音乐总价值就可能超过90亿英镑(140亿美元)。中国一家地方报纸调查显示: 五分之一的受访者称他们所拥有的数字财产超过5000人民币(折合790美元)。个中价值不仅只在于金钱意义。Entrustet(一家帮助人们管理数字财产的公司)的内森?拉斯提格说道:“有14岁以下儿童的家庭可能会有两张孩子们的照片,其它的则全部在网络相册里”。

Service providers have different rules—and few state them clearly in their terms and conditions. Many give users a personal right to use an account, but nobody else, even after death. Facebook allows relatives to close an account or turn it into a memorial page. Gmail (run by Google) will provide copies of e-mails to an executor. Music downloaded via iTunes is held under a licence which can be revoked on death. Apple declined to comment on the record on this or other policies. All e-mail and data on its iCloud service are deleted on the death of the owner.
网络服务供应商们的规定则截然不同——然而,他们很少在服务条款中能以清晰明确的语言加以说明。许多服务商为用户提供个人账号使用权,但是其他人一概无权使用,即使是该用户已经去世。Facebook允许逝者亲人关闭账号或是将主页改为悼念页面。谷歌旗下的Gmail将会在未来向遗嘱继承人提供逝者的电子邮件复本。在iTunes中,用户下载的音乐经过授权,可以在去世后撤销。苹果公司对此方面及其他相关政策拒绝评论。其iCloud内储存的电邮以及数据会在用户去世之后被删除掉。

This has led to litigation in America. In 2004 the family of Justin Ellsworth, a marine killed in Iraq, took Yahoo! to court in Michigan to get copies of his e-mails. This year, a court in Oregon ruled that another bereaved American mother could use her dead son’s password to enter his Facebook account for a short period. Now five American states have enacted laws giving executors control over the social-networking profiles of deceased users.
美国已有相关诉讼案件。2004年,在伊拉克身亡的海军陆战队士兵贾斯汀?埃尔斯沃思的家人一纸诉状将雅虎告上密歇根州法庭,要求获得他的电子邮件复本。今年,俄勒冈一家法院裁决,一位丧子之母可短期使用其子的密码登录他的Facebook账户。现今,美国有五个州已通过法律,允许遗嘱继承人使用逝者的社交网络页面。

But this raises the subject of privacy. Passing music on is one thing; not everyone may want their relatives snooping on their e-mails. Colin Pearson, a London-based lawyer, says access should come only with an explicit provision in a will.
然而,隐私问题却又应运而生。传输音乐是一码事,但不是每个人都乐意亲人们窥探自己的电子邮件。伦敦律师科林?佩里森说道,此类账户通行应当在遗嘱里有明确提及时才可使用。

Such clearly expressed wishes may help. An internet law expert in New Delhi, Gurpreet Singh, has already seen a few cases of wills including digital estates. “People are slowly realising the value,” he says. A nascent industry is emerging to simplify the process. Entrustet, newly acquired by a Swiss competitor, SecureSafe, says it has 10,000 clients. It safeguards their passwords, and a list of who can access what when they die.
诸如此类明确表达的愿望或许可以有所作用。新德里互联网法律专家古佩特?辛格已经见过数例涉及数字财产的遗嘱案件。他说道:“人们正在慢慢认识到数字遗产的价值”。新兴产业正在不断涌现以简化其中过程。Entrustet存有一份名单,其中列有在用户去世后指定登录人员及可登录账户。Entrustet宣称其下有10000位顾客,最近它被其瑞士竞争者SecureSafe并购。

But laws, wills and password safes may clash with the providers’ terms of service, especially when the executor is in one country and the data in another. Headaches for the living—and lots of lovely work for lawyers.
然而,相关法律、遗嘱以及密码托管可能会与服务供应商的服务条款产生冲突,特别是在遗嘱继承人和存储数据不在一国之内的情况下。当然,这是留给遗属的难题,不过亦是律师的大批美差。
http://ecocn.org/thread-66637-1-1.html 译者:je331ca

[2012.04.21]Intellectual property: Still murky 知识产权保护: 前路茫茫
Intellectual property in China
中国知识产权保护

Still murky
前路茫茫

Is the Middle Kingdom getting serious about protecting intellectual property?
巨龙日益觉醒,知识产权保护即将步入正轨?
Apr 21st 2012 | HONG KONG | from the print edition

SOMETHING strange is happening in China. For decades American politicians and businessmen have made it a ritual to bash China over theft of intellectual property (IP). But now Gary Locke, America’s ambassador to China, has proclaimed that “for every foreign company calling for stronger IP protection, there are really more Chinese companies calling for the same…progress is occurring.”
如今的中国,一出有趣的戏码正在上演。几十年来,对美国政界和商界人士而言,拿中国侵犯知识产权说事,早已是家常便饭。然而,美国驻华大使骆家辉近来却公开表示“所有要求加强知识产权保护的外国公司应当注意到,中国本土企业也同样有更多诉求——这说明,中国在该方面正不断取得进步”。

Is China really getting serious about protecting people’s ideas? There are promising signs. Chinese firms keen on expanding overseas are investing heavily to develop and protect original technologies. Last year ZTE and Huawei, which make telecoms gear, stood at numbers one and three in the tally of global patent applications. At home, the numbers both of patent filings and of IP lawsuits brought by Chinese firms have grown by double digits.
中国现在是要动真格保护人们的金点子吗?我们有理由对此乐观:热衷谋求海外发展的公司正在不惜重金开发并保护自有技术。去年,通讯设备制造商中兴集团及华为公司在全球专利申请榜上分居榜首和第三位。而在国内,本土企业的专利申请数以及知识产权相关诉讼呈两位数增长。

Though partly a product of government inducements to file patents, the changes are also the result of China’s legal system getting better. Two decades ago, many judges were political or military appointees and ill-equipped to try technical cases. Thanks to better training, particularly in Shanghai, Beijing and Shenzhen, that is now much less common. Justin Davidson of Norton Rose, a law firm, also notes that locals used to file dubious patents that ripped off overseas inventions; a change in the law makes that more difficult today.
虽然这些变化与政府鼓励专利注册的政策不无关系,但还有一个原因则是得益于中国法律系统的日臻完善。二十年前还有不少法官是政界或军界出身,对技术性案件不甚在行。而如今,相关培训正在逐步成熟(特别是在上海、北京以及深圳地区),因而上述情形慢慢淡出人们的视线。来自诺顿罗氏法律事务所的贾斯汀?戴维森还注意到,以往一些中国企业经常“山寨”国外的发明创意,借此申请专利。如今出台的相关法律作出改动之后,此类行为得到了遏制。

Foreign firms have often complained of biased local courts. Rightly so, argues Douglas Clark of the European Union Chamber of Commerce: China’s judicial system is not independent. Yet today, he says, a bigger problem than anti-foreigner bias is that some provincial courtsmay favour local firms over outsiders, Chinese or foreign. China’s Supreme Court will have to help overcome such cronyism, he thinks.
外国公司一直对中国法院偏袒本国企业颇有微词。欧盟商会的道格拉斯?克拉克坦言,[正确:事实的确如此]这种抱怨有其道理,中国的司法体系还欠缺独立性。但是,他又接着说道,现今更大的问题不是排外与偏见,而是一些省份的中级人民法院会有意偏向本省的公司,对外地或是外国公司则有失公允。不过,克拉克认为,中国最高人民法院迟早要处理此类地方保护主义。

One case will show if it is up to the task. AMSC, an American firm that makes software to run wind turbines, is entangled in a legal battle with Sinovel, a Chinese firm that turned from customer to rival. AMSC claims to have clear-cut evidence, validated by European authorities, of IP theft; Sinovel denies wrongdoing. A court in Hainan denied AMSC’s request for a ruling based on the evidence, insisting on arbitration instead. The firm has this month appealed to the Supreme Court.
下列案例中可以看出其是否能够委以此任。美国超导公司是一家专门制造风力涡轮机控制软件的公司,最近,该公司陷入与中国华锐风电的法律纠纷之中。华锐公司起先从超导公司购买物件,后来转而成为其竞争对手。超导公司称已掌握确凿证据,该证据经欧洲权威机构证实有效,可用于指控知识产权盗窃。而另一方面,华锐风电则拒绝承认其过失。近日,海南一家法院驳回了超导公司基于证据进行审判的要求,坚持以仲裁了结此案。本月,美国超导公司已向最高法院提请上诉。

Another case may also bring more legal clarity. SI Group, an American firm, and Sino Legend, a Chinese rival, are embroiled in various legal challenges involving chemicals that go into tyres. One manoeuvre is revealing. Sino Legend has just sued an agency affiliated with the Shanghai government that verifies claims made by litigants, alleging it revealed trade secrets to SI Group. Corey Xie, Sino Legend’s general manager, worries that his competitor (with operations in Shanghai) is benefiting from a legal system which may favour a company with local economic clout over his Jiangsu-based firm.
或许另一起案件也同样可以推进司法透明化进程。美国圣莱科特国际集团与其中国竞争对手华奇化工公司卷入纷争。其焦点是粘合入轮胎的化学制剂。他们的策略很有启迪性,华奇化工公司不久前刚起诉了一家据当事人陈述与上海市政府有牵连的机构。华奇公司称该机构向圣莱科特国际集团泄露行业机密。其总经理谢柯(音译)担心由于其对手的公司建立在上海,在当地有一定的经济影响力,因而会受到法院的照顾,而自己的江苏公司则会因此处于不利地位。

It does not help thatdamage awards in China are usually so meagre (less than $30,000 per victory, by one estimate) that they do not justify the costs of litigation. But things are also improving here, argues Benjamin Qiu of Innovation Works, a combination of start-up incubator and venture-capital firm based in Beijing. He points to a victory earlier this year for Ashland, a chemicals firm, that came with a damages award of 22m yuan ($3.5m).
在中国,损害赔偿金通常都少得可怜(据估算,赢得诉讼平均所得少于30000美金),根本无法弥补当事人打官司的花销。不过,创新工场[注 2]的裘伯纯说,如今这种情形也正在得到改善(创新工场是一家刚起步的创意孵化以及创业投资公司),他提到,在今年早些时候,化工品制造商阿什兰打赢一场官司,获得损害赔偿金高达2200万元人民币(折合350万美元)。

Yet the biggest threat to innovators, foreign or local, is opacity. Judges often do not publish detailed rulings, or do so only after much delay. That makes it hard to work out why they have reached a verdict, what this says about the evidence presented, and whether a particular judge is competent. Asked how much such murkiness costs, Mr Qiu says he discounts the value of a Chinese start-up’s IP (versus that of a comparable Silicon Valley one) by 33% to 50%. That is progress, of a sort: a decade ago he would have discounted it by 80-90%.
尽管如此,对于国内外创新者而言,最大的威胁仍莫过于司法不透明。法官们通常不会给出判决细节,即使公布也要拖延许久。这样一来,人们很难了解案件的判决依据、证据处理以及相关法官素质。当被问及司法模糊不清,人们要付出什么代价时,裘伯纯说,对于中国一家刚刚建立的公司的知识产权保护(与之相比的是硅谷企业早已成熟的相关保护)而言,他会将其价值降至50%至67%。事实上,这已经算得上是一大进步:要是搁十年前,裘先生可能早就估值成10%到20%了。

【红色字为改正部分,黑色加粗为存疑部分】
[注1]Middle Kingdom: China is called Zhōngguó (also Romanized as Chung-kuo or Jhongguo) in Mandarin Chinese. The first character zhōng (中) means "central" or "middle," while guó (国/國) means "kingdom" or "nation". The term is often translated into English as "Middle Kingdom" however a more accurate translation of the characters would be "Central Nation".
[注2]Innovation Works: 李开复创立的创新工场 http://www.chuangxin.com/about/

http://ecocn.org/thread-66550-1-1.html 译者:je331ca

[2012.04.21]Sexual strategies: I just called… 我只是挂电话…
Sexual strategies
兩性策略

I just called…
我只是拨个电话…

…to ask about my grandkids ……
问问我那外孙狗咋样了
Apr 21st 2012 | from the print edition

WHEN Stevie Wonder crooned “I just called to say ‘I love you’,” he was bang on when it comes to men and women in their sexual prime. Were the ballad sung by a post-menopausal matron, though, the person at the other end of the line would probably be her daughter—and the conversation would revolve around grandchildren. That, at least, is the picture which emerges from a study published in Scientific Reports by Robin Dunbar, of Oxford University, and his colleagues.
当蒂夫?汪达 [注1]吟唱着“我只是拨电话说‘我爱你’”时,他拨动的是处于性成熟期的男男女女的心弦。但如果这首抒情歌曲是一位停经后的老太太唱的,那么接电话的就可能是她的女儿,那这次谈话就会围绕着她的外孙和外孙女。至少,这就是牛津大学的罗宾?邓巴(Robin Dunbar)及其同事们发表在《科学报告》(Scientific Reports)的研究报告中勾画的情景。

Evolutionary psychologists like Dr Dunbar are interested in how investment in close relationships differs between the sexes. Dr Dunbar, indeed, has just published a book on the phenomenon of sexual love, analysed from a scientific point of view (see article). These differences reflect distinct strategies that have evolved to maximise reproductive success across a lifetime. One prediction that makes intuitive sense, but which has been difficult to nail down empirically, is that when women hit the reproductive wall of the menopause they funnel their remaining energy into bolstering their children’s—especially their daughters’—odds of producing viable offspring. (Sons spend less time minding their progeny than their spouses do.)
让邓巴博士这类进化心理学家感兴趣的是:在关系亲密的人之间,男女之间对亲朋好友的感情投入究竟有何差异。确实,邓巴博士刚刚出版了一本新书,书中以科学的观点分析了性爱现象(见另文),认为自然进化要使人类一生繁衍后代的几率最大化,因此让男性与女性具有不同的策略;上述差异反映了这一事实。一个在直觉上合理但却很难用实例确证的预测是:当女性到了绝经期不再有生育能力时,她们会把自己尚存的精力汇聚到她们的孩子特别是女儿身上,提高他们养育成功后代的胜算。(儿子们花在照顾后代身上的时间不及其配偶。)

The main obstacle to testing the grandmother hypothesis, as it has come to be known, is that most studies have involved small numbers of people, making it hard to draw sweeping conclusions. Dr Dunbar leapt this hurdle by tapping a trove of 2 billion anonymised telephone calls and 500,000 text messages between customers of an unnamed European mobile-phone operator over the course of seven months. After eliminating those for which age and sex data were unavailable, they identified the people each subscriber contacted most often. Frequency of contact is a good proxy for emotional closeness, so this yielded a list of 1.2m “best friends”, and 800,000 “second-best friends”.
验证这一人称“姥姥假说”的主要障碍是,以往的绝大多数研究只有为数不多的人作为样本,因此难以得出有说服力的结论。但邓巴博士等人查看了某个未提及名称的欧洲移动电话运营商的记录,检查了7个月内通话者姓名不详的电话20亿次、顾客间短信50万条 [注2],因此得以冲破了这一藩篱。在剔除了那些无法确认年龄、性别的记录之后,他们确定了每个用户最常联系的人。联系的经常性是感情密切度的良好替代变量,于是他们据此制定了一份120万人的“至爱亲朋”名单和一份80万人的“次爱亲朋”名单。

For any given age, the researchers then calculated the average sex of men’s and women’s phone pals. They did this by adding 1 every time the friend was a man and subtracting 1 every time it was a woman, and dividing the result by the number of friends for the age/sex group in question. If every person in the sample had a male best friend, the average-sex index would be 1; if all the best friends were women, it would be -1. An equal number of male and female best friends would mean the index came out at precisely zero.
研究者们随之计算了各年龄组男性与女性的通话亲朋的平均性别,其方法是:为每一个男性通话者加1,女性通话者减1,最后将所得结果除以该年龄/性别组的总亲朋数。如果样本中每人有一个男性至爱亲朋,则平均性别指数为1;如果所有的至爱亲朋都是女性,则该指数为-1。如果男女至爱亲朋数相等,则该指数恰好为0。

Between the ages of 20 and 40 men and women behaved similarly (see chart). Both tended to have best friends of the opposite sex. The proclivity was slightly more pronounced among ladies, whose best-friend sex index peaked in their late 20s at 0.46 (equivalent to roughly three male best friends for every female one in the sample) and stayed more or less the same throughout their 30s. Men reached a maximum of -0.41 a bit later and remained there for less time. In both cases, these best friends tended also to be of a similar age, suggesting they were actually sexual mates. Second-best friends, meanwhile, were typically of the same sex—chums, in other words.
20与40岁之间的男性与女性表现类似(见图表),都倾向于有较多的异性至爱亲朋。女性的这一倾向表现得更为明显一些,其至爱亲朋性别指数在年近30时达到峰值0.46(大约相当于在样本中女性挚友与男性挚友之比为1:3),而且在整个30到40岁期间大致保持此值。男性稍迟一点到达其峰值-0.41,且保持此值的时间较短。无论男性女性,其挚友的年龄都与他们大致相当,说明他们与至爱亲朋其实是性伴。与此同时,次爱亲朋通常是同性,换句话说是通常意义上的密友。

Things change markedly, though, as people enter middle age. For men, the best-friend sex index falls steadily from its peak until it levels off at the age of 50 or so, while remaining skewed towards females for the rest of their lives. However, any sexual bias for second-best friends more or less disappears when men reach their 40s, consistent with the hypothesis that these “friends” are by then no longer chums, but children (who are about as likely to be male as female) and that fathers do not favour those of any one sex.
但人到中年后情况发生了显著变化。男性的至爱亲朋性别指数从峰值持续下降,直至50岁左右才趋于稳定,但在其生命的剩余时间内还一直是女性朋友居多。男性超过40岁时,次爱亲朋原有的任何性别偏向大致消失,这符合“这些‘朋友’那时不再是密友而是子女(他们中男女比例基本为1:1),且父亲并不偏向儿子或女儿”这一假设。

Among women, by contrast, the best-friend sex index plummets around the time menopause strikes. By the age of 55, it actually turns negative, in favour of other females who are, tellingly, about half their age. At around that time, women’s second-best friends are increasingly men from their own generation. Older women, it appears, do indeed invest more time in furthering their daughters’ welfare—and reproductive success—and less in nurturing relationships with their husbands, no doubt to the latter’s chagrin. Strong evidence, then, for the grandmother hypothesis. And possibly an explanation for men’s mid-life crisis.
与此相反,女性的至爱亲朋性别指数大约在更年期开始时暴跌,且当她们年届55岁时变为负值。她们更愿意与年龄约为其一半的其他女性交谈,这很说明问题。大约在那时,女性的次爱亲朋越来越多地是她们的男性同龄人。看来,老些的女性的确把时间更多地放在增进其女儿的幸福——以及生育的成功——方面,而不那么注意培养跟丈夫的感情,这无疑很让后者恼火。这是“姥姥假说”的强有力证据。这或许也可以解释男性的中年危机。

[注1]Stevie Wonder,美国黑人盲歌手(1950-)。
[注2]译者不清楚这种行为为什么不违法。是不是因为研究者在这样做时不知道交流者的姓名,而且完全出于科学研究的目的?请对这方面熟悉的译友指点。还有,本文未曾描述研究者监听20亿次电话的方法,译者感觉, 做到这一点简直无法思议。
http://ecocn.org/thread-66546-1-1.html 译者:悠悠万事97

[2012.04.21]The third industrial revolution 第三次工业革命
Manufacturing
制造业

The third industrial revolution
第三次工业革命

The digitisation of manufacturing will transform the way goods are made—and change the politics of jobs too
制造业数字化进程不仅会改变传统的产品制造模式,还将改变生产组织模式

THE first industrial revolution began in Britain in the late 18th century, with the mechanisation of the textile industry. Tasks previously done laboriously by hand in hundreds of weavers’ cottages were brought together in a single cotton mill, and the factory was born. The second industrial revolution came in the early 20th century, when Henry Ford mastered the moving assembly line and ushered in the age of mass production. The first two industrial revolutions made people richer and more urban. Now a third revolution is under way. Manufacturing is going digital. As this week’s special report argues, this could change not just business, but much else besides.
18世纪下半叶,伴随着纺织业机械化的进行,第一次工业革命在英国开始。从前需要在几百个小型收工作坊里辛苦手工劳作所完成的任务集中在了一个纺织厂里完成,工厂应运而生。20世纪初爆发第二次工业革命,当时的亨利?福特已经可以熟练掌控流水线,标志着大生产时代的到来。前两次工业革命在使人们变得更加富裕的同时也推动了城市化进程。如今我们正处于第三次工业革命的进程中,制造业也在向着数字化前进。正如同本期杂志的特别报道所言,这不仅会改变商业,更会触及到其他领域。

A number of remarkable technologies are converging: clever software, novel materials, more dexterous robots, new processes (notably three-dimensional printing) and a whole range of web-based services. The factory of the past was based on cranking out zillions of identical products: Ford famously said that car-buyers could have any colour they liked, as long as it was black. But the cost of producing much smaller batches of a wider variety, with each product tailored precisely to each customer’s whims, is falling. The factory of the future will focus on mass customisation—and may look more like those weavers’ cottages than Ford’s assembly line.
许多非凡的的科技成果日趋融合:智能软件,新材料,更加灵巧的机器人,新工艺流程(尤其是三维打印技术)和整个基于网页的各种服务。过去的工厂以快速大量制造相同产品为理念:曾经福特在关于汽车外壳涂漆上说过一句很经典的话,任何顾客可以将这辆车漆成任何他所愿意的颜色,只要它是黑色的。但是,随着生产少量多批次产品(即接受消费者定制)的成本日益下降,未来的工厂将会把精力放在处理大规模的消费者定制品的订单上面。届时的工厂可能就不是福特的流水线模式,而更像是一个个纺织作坊了。

Towards a third dimension
朝着第三维度前进

The old way of making things involved taking lots of parts and screwing or welding them together. Now a product can be designed on a computer and “printed” on a 3D printer, which creates a solid object by building up successive layers of material. The digital design can be tweaked with a few mouseclicks. The 3D printer can run unattended, and can make many things which are too complex for a traditional factory to handle. In time, these amazing machines may be able to make almost anything, anywhere—from your garage to an African village.
传统的制造方式不外乎就是通过拧拧螺丝,点点焊焊把一个个配件组在一起。而现在我们可以在电脑上设计好产品的各种参数,再用3D打印机“打印”出来,此过程通过喷涂一层层连续的材料逐渐塑造出固态的目标模型。如果要微调各项模型参数,也仅仅是动动鼠标而已。3D打印机除了具有无人值守的特点之外,还能制作许多对传统工厂来说太复杂而做不了的东西。假以时日,这些神奇的机器将可能在任何地方制造出你想要的任何东西,无论是在自家的车库,还是非洲的某个村子。

The applications of 3D printing are especially mind-boggling. Already, hearing aids and high-tech parts of military jets are being printed in customised shapes. The geography of supply chains will change. An engineer working in the middle of a desert who finds he lacks a certain tool no longer has to have it delivered from the nearest city. He can simply download the design and print it. The days when projects ground to a halt for want of a piece of kit, or when customers complained that they could no longer find spare parts for things they had bought, will one day seem quaint.
3D打印技术的用途之广尤其令人无法想象。比如,3D打印机已经按照预期形状“打印”出了的助听器和许多军用飞机上用到的高科技配件。同时,供应链的布局也将发生变化。比如,如果一个在大沙漠里工作的工程师需要某种工具,他只要下载工具设计图并点击“打印”即可,而无需从最近的城市送来。 现实生活中可能经常发生诸如,某个工程项目因为缺乏一套设备而搁浅,或者消费者抱怨再也买不到原厂配件,而有了3D打印机之后,类似的尴尬终将一去不复返。

Other changes are nearly as momentous. New materials are lighter, stronger and more durable than the old ones. Carbon fibre is replacing steel and aluminium in products ranging from aeroplanes to mountain bikes. New techniques let engineers shape objects at a tiny scale. Nanotechnology is giving products enhanced features, such as bandages that help heal cuts, engines that run more efficiently and crockery that cleans more easily. Genetically engineered viruses are being developed to make items such as batteries. And with the internet allowing ever more designers to collaborate on new products, the barriers to entry are falling. Ford needed heaps of capital to build his colossal River Rouge factory; his modern equivalent can start with little besides a laptop and a hunger to invent.
除此之外,该技术带来许多其他重要的变化。比如,比传统材料更轻,更硬,更耐久的新材料的出现。再比如,大到飞机,小到山地车所采用的钢和铝正在被碳纤维所取代;工程师借助新技术以极小的尺寸打造零件;纳米技术赋予产品更强特性,促进切口愈合的绷带,更高效的引擎,更容易清洗的陶器便是很好的例子。还可以用经过基因工程改造病毒来生产电池。随着越来越多的工程师借助互联网协作研发新产品,原先的合作门槛正在逐渐降低。当时的福特为了建设规模巨大的River Rouge工厂必须要先有一大笔资金,而与之相当的现代工厂要想起步,除了需要一部笔记本电脑和一颗渴望发明的心之外,没什么其他特别的要求。

Like all revolutions, this one will be disruptive. Digital technology has already rocked the media and retailing industries, just as cotton mills crushed hand looms and the Model T put farriers out of work. Many people will look at the factories of the future and shudder. They will not be full of grimy machines manned by men in oily overalls. Many will be squeaky clean—and almost deserted. Some carmakers already produce twice as many vehicles per employee as they did only a decade or so ago. Most jobs will not be on the factory floor but in the offices nearby, which will be full of designers, engineers, IT specialists, logistics experts, marketing staff and other professionals. The manufacturing jobs of the future will require more skills. Many dull, repetitive tasks will become obsolete: you no longer need riveters when a product has no rivets.
所有的革命都具有颠覆性,这次也不例外。就像当年的纺纱机淘汰掉手工织布机,福特的流水线工人抢了马蹄铁匠的饭碗一样(或者翻译为:汽车隆隆声取代了马的嘶鸣声一样),数字化革命也已撼动了传媒和零售业。很难保证人们看到未来的工厂不会心中打颤。届时,许多工厂的样子不再是脏兮兮的机器旁站着油乎乎的操作工,而将是许多一尘不染机器摆放在几乎空无一人的车间里。并且十几年之后,很多汽车生产商的生产率是现在的两倍。大多数工作岗位也已经从工厂车间转移到附近的办公室,办公室里坐满了设计师,工程师,IT专家,后勤专家(或者物流专家?求解释),销售员工和其他专业人士。未来的制造业岗位将会要求员工掌握更多的技术,很多枯燥的,重复性的工作将一去不复返:不需要铆钉的产品不需要铆钉工。

The revolution will affect not only how things are made, but where. Factories used to move to low-wage countries to curb labour costs. But labour costs are growing less and less important: a $499 first-generation iPad included only about $33 of manufacturing labour, of which the final assembly in China accounted for just $8. Offshore production is increasingly moving back to rich countries not because Chinese wages are rising, but because companies now want to be closer to their customers so that they can respond more quickly to changes in demand. And some products are so sophisticated that it helps to have the people who design them and the people who make them in the same place. The Boston Consulting Group reckons that in areas such as transport, computers, fabricated metals and machinery, 10-30% of the goods that America now imports from China could be made at home by 2020, boosting American output by $20 billion-55 billion a year.
此次工业革命不仅会影响到器件的制造流程,而且会影响到制造地点的选取。以往工厂习惯于将厂址选在劳动力廉价的国家,以此来控制劳动力成本。但是劳动力成本因素正在变得越来越不重要:一部499美元的iPad仅仅包括33美元的制造成本,并且最后在中国的组装成本仅仅只有8美元。海外生产正逐步回归富裕国家——这并不是因为中国的工资率上升,而是因为公司希望更贴近市场一及时应对消费者需求偏好的改变。并且现在很多产品变得如此复杂,以至于最好让设计人员和制造人员在同一个地方工作。波士顿咨询公司认为目前在诸如运输,计算机,金属制品和机械领域中从中国进口的10%到30%的产品可以在2020年之前实现本土化生产,此举将给美国带来每年200亿到550亿美元的产值。

The shock of the new
新事物带来的震动

Consumers will have little difficulty adapting to the new age of better products, swiftly delivered. Governments, however, may find it harder. Their instinct is to protect industries and companies that already exist, not the upstarts that would destroy them. They shower old factories with subsidies and bully bosses who want to move production abroad. They spend billions backing the new technologies which they, in their wisdom, think will prevail. And they cling to a romantic belief that manufacturing is superior to services, let alone finance.
虽然消费者面对更好的产品和更快速的配送服务适应起来感到毫无压力,但对政府来说却非如此。政府的本职是保护现有的产业和公司,而不是那些将它们赶尽杀绝的新贵。政府给传统的工厂以大量补助的同时给想把工厂搬到国外的公司设置重重障碍。他们会花费数十亿美元资助那些他们认为将来会叱咤风云的新科技。他们还天真得坚持认为制造业要比服务业更好,更别说金融业了。

None of this makes sense. The lines between manufacturing and services are blurring. Rolls-Royce no longer sells jet engines; it sells the hours that each engine is actually thrusting an aeroplane through the sky. Governments have always been lousy at picking winners, and they are likely to become more so, as legions of entrepreneurs and tinkerers swap designs online, turn them into products at home and market them globally from a garage. As the revolution rages, governments should stick to the basics: better schools for a skilled workforce, clear rules and a level playing field for enterprises of all kinds. Leave the rest to the revolutionaries.
以上论断纯属胡扯。制造业和服务业的界线正逐渐变模糊。劳斯莱斯公司已经不再卖喷气式引擎,而是根据每台发动机的使用时间来收费。政府一直不擅长预知胜者是谁,并且当一大批企业家和各种不知名的DIY迷在网上交换各自想法,然后在家里转化为实实在在产品并且从车库发货到全球的时候,政府的预测能力变得更加受限。在此次工业革命正在如火如荼进行的时候,政府应该坚持这么一条基本原则:给技术工人建设更好的学校,制定更明晰的规则,为各种形式的商业团队打造公平的竞争环境,除此之外都交给“革命者”吧。
http://ecocn.org/thread-66533-1-1.html 译者:山东超峰

[2012.04.21]Truly, madly, deeply 爱得真挚,爱得疯狂,爱得深刻
Meditations on love
沉思爱情

Truly, madly, deeply
爱得真挚,爱得疯狂,爱得深刻

A bewitching, beguiling and baffling phenomenon
爱情令人着迷,令人陶醉,令人困惑
Apr 21st 2012 | from the print edition

Take a chance on me
交个朋友吧,或许我就是你的真命天子哦!

PLATO described love as a serious mental disease. Aristotle saw it as a single soul inhabiting two bodies. Tina Turner dismissed the feeling as a second-hand emotion. The nature of love—how and when and why and with whom humans fall for each other—has preoccupied thinkers through the ages. Now a philosopher and a scientist have a go in two new and markedly different books.
柏拉图将爱情描述为一种严重的精神疾病;亚里士多德认为爱情是一个灵魂孕育在两个躯体里;蒂娜?特纳则对爱情不屑一顾,视之为二手的情感。古往今来,所有思想家都在思索爱情的本质:人们如何相爱?何时坠入爱河?为何相爱?与谁相爱?如今,一名哲学家和一名科学家各自发表了一本显著不同的新书,试图回答这一难题。

In his latest work, “In Praise of Love”, Alain Badiou, a French philosopher, identifies three prevailing philosophical views of love. It can be an ecstatic encounter; an unsentimental contract; or an illusion, best treated with scepticism. He rejects all three. For Mr Badiou, love is the decision to live life through two perspectives, that of both the lover and the beloved. As such, it is more than the sum of its parts. Love “is a construction,” he writes, “a life that is being made, no longer from the perspective of One but from the perspective of Two.”
法国哲学家阿兰. 巴迪乌(Alain Badiou)最近出版了新书《歌颂爱情》,他在书中提到了哲学界三个主流的爱情观。爱情可能萌生于一次心动的邂逅,也可能是一个不动情绪的契约或一种幻觉而已,不必当真。巴迪乌对这三种观点都不以为然。在他看来,爱情就意味着相爱的两人要选择从两种角度来生活:即爱与被爱的角度。所以,爱情并不只是两个人生活片段的简单拼凑。巴迪乌写道:“爱情是‘一种建构’,恋爱双方不再单从各自的角度生活,而是从双方的角度,创造出一种全新的生活方式。”

Mr Badiou sees risk as central to love. A loving relationship demands multiple and shared perspectives, which always give rise to incongruences and tensions. He reserves special scorn for dabblers in internet dating, who evidently believe that the search for “a photo, details of his or her tastes, date of birth, horoscope sign, etc” will ultimately net “a risk-free option”. This is to neglect the very essence of love, according to Mr Badiou, which involves the presence of risk, the possibility of failure and the need for vulnerability.
巴迪乌认为爱情必然存在风险。恋爱关系的维持需要恋爱双方从多个角度看待问题,互相理解,这也常常导致冲突和争执。巴迪乌尤为鄙视通过网络寻找恋爱对象的人,这些人视爱情如儿戏。显然,他们认为:只要搜索到“照片、喜好、年龄、星座等信息”与自己要求相符合的他或她,就能谈一场毫无风险的恋爱。巴迪乌认为,这种行为忽略了爱情的本质:爱情本就存在风险,可能失败,需要双方适时地展示自己脆弱的一面。

The book’s chatty style (it is based on a conversation with Nicolas Truong, a French journalist) lends a deceptive simplicity to the ideas within. Get to work unpicking these concepts and it soon becomes plain that, like many French philosophers, Mr Badiou sacrifices clarity for linguistic zip and sparkle. Nonetheless, he leaves the reader with an incisive overview of philosophical thinking on love, from Plato to Kierkegaard to Lacan.
这本书语言亲切(主要内容基于与法国记者Nicolas Truong的谈话),朴实简单的文字下蕴含着深刻的思想。如若将这些概念分开来看,很快就可以发现:与很多法国哲学家一样,巴迪乌并未选择一语道破,而是玩弄起辞藻,妙语连珠,意味深长。尽管如此,他在书中对自古以来关于爱情的各种哲学思考做了犀利的总结,从柏拉图到齐克果再到拉康,一应俱全,读者可借机一窥究竟。

Robin Dunbar’s book, “The Science of Love and Betrayal”, is—perhaps surprisingly—easier to get to grips with. Dr Dunbar, a professor of evolutionary anthropology with a study in this week’s science section (see article), is best known for “Dunbar’s number”, the limit to the number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationships. He laments that scientists have largely ignored the concept of love. In this book he bridges the gap between the biological explanations for humans’ romantic behaviour and the psychological, historical, social and evolutionary contexts that help to shape it.
相比之下,罗宾.邓巴(Robin Dunbar)的书《爱与背叛的科学》更容易理解,这一点或许出人意料。邓巴是一名进化人类学教授,他在本期杂志的科技部分也发表了一篇研究。邓巴以其提出的“邓巴人数(Dunbar’s number)”最为出名。邓巴人数指能与某个人维持稳定人际关系的人数上限。他感到遗憾的是,科学家们大都忽略了爱情的含义。在书中,邓巴不仅从生物学的角度探讨了人类为什么会浪漫多情,还从心理、历史、社会和进化环境等方面加以解释,看它们如何推波助澜。

In particular, he is interested in why humans have developed such an affinity for “pairbonding”, despite the fact that strictly monogamous mating and rearing systems are not terribly advantageous in evolutionary terms. Monogamy is not unique to humans. What is unique, however, is the intensity with which the species falls in love. Nearly every human culture in history exhibits this complex sense of longing, Dr Dunbar observes.
尽管严格的一夫一妻婚育制度并非十分有利于人类的进化,但人们还是喜欢有固定的配偶,邓巴对这一现象的原因尤其感兴趣。一夫一妻制并非只存在于人类社会,其它物种之间也有,但人与人相爱的深度却是其它物种不可比拟的。据邓巴观察,从古至今,几乎每个时期的人类文明都显示出了这种渴望爱情的复杂情感。

To understand this predisposition for monogamy, he takes readers through the myriad feelings of love, from the heady, breathless exhilaration of falling, to the stubborn persistence of familial affection, to the bitterness of betrayal. Throughout the book Dr Dunbar excels at taking obvious and familiar information—men prefer curvy women; women prefer men who dance well; older women rarely reveal their ages in lonely-hearts columns—and explaining the complex and often unexpected evolutionary science that lies behind it all.
为了弄清楚人类社会一夫一妻传统的起源,邓巴向读者阐述了恋爱过程所包含的各种错综复杂的情感:刚坠入爱河时的恋人陶醉其中,激动得无法呼吸;组成家庭后双方视彼此为亲人,不离不弃;遭到爱人背叛后,前尘往事如尘埃、内心唯有苦涩酸楚。邓巴擅于在整本书中运用显而易见的常识——男人喜欢曲线美的女人;女人喜欢舞技高超的男人;年龄稍大的女性很少会在有情人专栏透露自己的年龄——并解释这些现象背后所隐藏的复杂的进化科学,往往出人意料。

Love is a journey, a game, a many-splendoured thing. Though some give it a bad name (if Jon Bon Jovi is to be believed), the rest of us find the subject endlessly fascinating. The struggle to understand such a mystifying phenomenon invariably requires the help of philosophers and scientists, and others besides. Good news for Mr Badiou and Dr Dunbar.
爱情是一次旅行,一场游戏,一件充满奇妙的事。尽管有人诋毁爱情(如Jon Bon Jovi的歌曲所唱),其它人则认为它永远充满魅力。爱情如此神秘,要弄懂它,哲学家和科学家的帮助必不可少。同时还需要其它人的帮助,巴迪乌和邓巴的书可要大卖了。
http://ecocn.org/thread-66530-1-1.html 译者:Cherry1990

[2012.04.21]Bell Labs and innovation贝尔实验室及技术革新
The organisation of genius
天才组织

The halcyon days of blue-sky research
纯理论研究的美好时光
Apr 21st 2012 | from the print edition

The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation.
《创意工厂:贝尔实验室及美国技术革新的伟大时代》
By Jon Gertner. Penguin Press; 422 pages; $29.95. Buy from Amazon.com

“MY FIRST stop on any time-travel expedition”, Bill Gates once said, “would be Bell Labs in December 1947.” That was the time and place of the invention of the transistor, which powered the technology revolution that built today’s connected world. The handful of scientists who gathered in downtown Manhattan to witness the first demonstration of this transformational technology understood that it was special. The transistor was, one observer noted, “a basically new thing in the world” (other Bell Labs discoveries would earn the same astonished praise). The breakthrough was so big that William Shockley, the boss of the two scientists who made it, spent the next weeks in torment until he designed a better version. In doing so he broke a sacred Bell Labs rule—“absolutely never to compete with underlings”—for which he was never forgiven.
“要是有一次时空旅行探险,我要去的第一站——”比尔?盖茨曾经说,“将是1947年12月的贝尔实验室。”他所指的正是晶体管诞生的时间和地点,而晶体管的发明推动了技术革命的发展从而建立起如今网络连接的世界。当时只有少数几个科学家聚在曼哈顿市中心的现场,亲眼目睹了这一转换技术的首次演示并认识到此项技术的特殊性。一位目睹了演示的成员谈到此事时说那时的晶体管“从根本上来说就是一个新生事物”(贝尔实验室的其他发明也会赢得如此叹为观止的赞扬)。这项突破性技

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