首页 >> 新闻 >> 正文


2019年09月21日 08:36:03来源:预约诊疗

Books and Arts; America and the politics of recovery;文艺;美国与复苏政治学;The big promise;What did Barack Obamas stimulus package really achieve?高飞的承诺;巴拉克·奥巴马的刺激计划究竟有何成就?The New New Deal: The Hidden Story of Change in the Obama Era. By Michael Grunwald.《新“新政”:奥巴马时代隐藏的变革史》,迈克尔·格伦沃尔德著。The word “boondoggle”, Michael Grunwald points out, was coined back in the days of the original New Deal, to describe “make-work” bits of arts and craft paid for by the government at a price that was out of all proportion to their actual value.迈克尔·格伦沃尔德指出:政府常常以与实际价值完全不成比例的价格来为一些无用的奢侈品买单,其中就包括“为扩大就业而安排的工作岗位”——早在罗斯福新政时代,人们就创造了“无效投资”一词来描述这一概念。This is not necessarily a bad thing. In times of economic woe, when normal patterns of consumption and investment are frozen, prodigal government spending can sometimes be the only way to break the vicious circle of declining demand and shrinking employment. Value for money, paradoxically, can sometimes be an unaffordable luxury. To sum up John Maynard Keynes, it can even make sense to bury money in bottles, so that miners, and the suppliers of their pickaxes and overalls, and those who sell food and materials to those suppliers can, in turn, benefit from the circulation of money that they dig up. Mr Grunwalds newbook is the story of what was arguably the greatest boondoggle in history and the politics that surrounded it, both before and since.这并不一定是什么坏事。在经济困难时期,常规的消费和投资模式会陷入僵局,慷慨的政府开有时候可能是打破需求下滑、失业率上升这个恶性循环的唯一途径。很矛盾的是,现金价值有时候奢侈得难以承受。将凯恩斯的观点简单概括一下:甚至连把钱放在瓶子里埋起来都是有意义的——这样矿工就能把这笔钱挖出来,从而用于流通;于是矿工本人、矿工的鹤嘴镐和工装裤的供应商、以及向这些供应商销售食物和材料的人都可以依次从这种流通中获益。格伦沃尔德这本新书介绍的可能是史上最大的一笔无效投资,以及这笔投资前后的政治背景。Barack Obamas 7 billion stimulus package, enacted within a month of his taking office in January , amounted to about 4% of Americas GDP. In the Depression of the 1930s, the biggest stimulus in any year of Franklin Roosevelts New Deal amounted to only about 1.5% of GDP. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, as Mr Obamas bill was formally named, was a tale that grew in the telling. In the months running up to the election in November 2008, the economy entered virtual free-fall. The severity of the downturn surprised the participants, but long before he was elected, Mr Obama knew that he faced a crisis of 1930s proportions.巴拉克·奥巴马于年1月上任后的一个月内通过了7870亿美元的刺激计划,这笔资金约占美国 GDP 的4%。而20世纪30年代的大萧条时期,在富兰克林·罗斯福的“新政”年间,最大的一笔刺激方案也只占当时 GDP 的约1.5%。奥巴马法案的正式名称为《美国复苏与再投资法案》,它的规模越来越大了。在2008年11月大选前的几个月,美国经济几乎直线下滑。衰退的严重性让各位候选人感到吃惊。但奥巴马在当选以前很早就意识到了他将面临像20世纪30年代那样严重的危机。Mr Grunwalds book does a meticulous job, casting much new light on the advance thinking of Mr Obamas team, both before the election and, especially, during the long transition. In the last quarter of 2008, the final three months of the Bush era, the American economy contracted by an astonishing 8.9%. By early job losses hit 800,000 a month. The size of the policy response grew too. An early plan, calculated at 0 billion, grew, long before inauguration day, to around 0 billion. And that, as Mr Grunwald makes clear, was very much at the low end of what Mr Obamas economists thought was required.格伦沃尔德的这本书做了细致入微的研究,让人们对当年选举前、特别是在漫长的过渡时期中的奥巴马团队先进思想有了更多的了解。在2008年最后一个季度,布什时代最后的三个月里,美国经济萎缩了8.9%,令人惊讶。截至年早期,失业人数达到每月80万人。政府也加大了应对政策的力度。早在奥巴马就职日之前,预估价值为3000亿美元的早期计划就提高到了约8000亿美元。格伦沃尔德表明,甚至连这个数目都大大低于奥巴马经济学家的预期。One thing that may surprise ers not fully acquainted with the grisly nature of political sausage-making is the degree of cynicism that surrounded the passing of the Recovery Act. It was naive of Mr Obama to expect the Republicans to play ball. But because he needed to win at least a couple of their votes in the Senate to break the threat of a filibuster, he tried hard to court them. Mr Grunwald lays out in shocking detail how the Republican leadership decided early and wholeheartedly not to co-operate with the new president. So deep was their opposition that they even opposed things that they supposedly supported, such as the Recovery Acts deep tax cuts and its emphasis on infrastructure.有些读者对于政治“裹香肠”那可憎的特性并不完全了解。他们可能会感到惊奇——针对《复苏法案》的通过,政界存在严重的犬儒主义。如果奥巴马期待能与共和党合作,他就太天真了。但他需要在参议院赢得至少部分共和党的选票,以避免自己的议案遭到阻挠。因此,他极力取悦共和党人。格伦沃尔德清楚地提及了共和党领导层是如何早早决定完全不与新总统合作的,细节所到令人震惊。共和党的反对情绪极为强烈,以至于本应持的观点,他们都加以反对——如《复苏法案》所主张的深度减税、强调基础设施等等。As cynical as this may have been, it made political sense. If the stimulus succeeded, Mr Obama would get all the credit. If it failed, the Republicans could portray themselves as having been on the side of fiscal prudence. Since then, the economy has stubbornly refused to grow at anything beyond an an . Many Republican economists, such as the respected Mark Zandi, who advised John McCain in his contest with Mr Obama, agree that without it, things would have been even worse. But the problem is that it did not work well enough. As a result, the Republicans triumphed at the mid-term vote and Mr Obamas ratings are now uncomfortably low as he struggles for re-election.尽管共和党的这种态度可能有些愤世嫉俗了,但它在政治上是说得通的。如果刺激成功了,奥巴马将得到各方的赞扬;如果刺激失败了,共和党人会表示他们可是一直都持稳健的财政方针的。自从那时起,美国经济一直衰弱无力,顽固地拒绝增长。许多共和党经济学家(比如受人尊敬的马克·赞迪,他是约翰·麦凯恩同奥巴马争夺总统宝座时的谋士)同意,如果没有奥巴马的刺激计划,情况将变得更糟。但问题在于该计划的成效并不是十分显著。于是,共和党在中期选举投票中获胜了;而奥巴马力争连任,得票率却低的可怜。Mr Grunwalds heart plainly beats on the left, and it is clear that he admires Mr Obama, with his “hyper-rational side”. At the same time, the author does make some effort to explain the Republican point of view. The whole point of an economic stimulus is that it is supposed to stimulate. It needs to move money out of the door fast, get it quickly to where it can do most good and not carry with it a tail of long-term spending commitments. But Mr Obamas agenda was always much bigger than that, and it is in explaining this that Mr Grunwalds book is at its best.可以看出,格伦沃尔德倾向于左派;他有“过于理性的一面”,显然比较赞赏奥巴马。然而,他的确也做了一些努力来阐述共和党的观点。经济刺激的全部意义就在于它应当去进行刺激。它需要让资金涌出闸门,迅速把这笔钱送到能带来最多效益的地方,而不是拖着长期开投入的尾巴。但奥巴马的胃口总是远不止如此,而格伦沃尔德这本书最擅长的就是解释这一点。Much of the meat involves parsing the issues that riled the Republicans: how the stimulus bill was to be used as a tool to transform American society. Right from the start, Mr Obama wanted his Recovery Act to spend money on a low-carbon future, on radical school reform, on health reform and on creating jobs. All of these, Mr Grunwald thinks, are laudable aims. Many ers would agree. But Republicans in Washington have other views. New energy projects, like job creation, should be left to the market, not picked by bureaucrats; school and health reform should be a matter for individual states. What they saw was an attempt to use the crisis to push the political economy of America in a more statist and Washington-centric direction. Mr Grunwald does not attempt to deny that; it is simply that he has no problem with it.本书的主要部分大多都在剖析共和党感到恼怒的几个问题:如何将刺激法案用作转化美国社会的工具。从一开始,奥巴马就要求《复苏法案》在以下几个方面进行投资:向低碳社会的转变、彻底的学校改革、卫生改革以及创造就业岗位。格伦沃尔德认为所有这些目标都是值得赞赏的。许多读者也会认同这一点。但华盛顿的共和党并不这么想。他们认为新能源项目和创造就业岗位应当交给市场去引导,而不是由当局来推动;学校改革和卫生改革应当根据各个州的具体情况进行。他们认为奥巴马在试图利用危机把美国的政治经济推向一个以华盛顿为中心、中央集权度更高的方向。格伦沃尔德并未试图否认这一点;他对此完全没有异议。The most interesting part of the book is the part that leaves most questions open. What will be the legacy of all Mr Obamas greening and rebuilding? Mr Grunwald waxes on about the cleverness of Steven Chu, the presidents energy secretary,and all the amazing things that his scientists think they can do with their oodles of new cash. But there have also, as he admits, been many failures. Mr Grunwalds instinct is to praise the splashing around of government money for untested new technologies which, when exposed to life without the government teat, may quickly wither. Governments make bad venture capitalists, as the book es Larry Summers, a key member of the presidents original team, as saying.本书最有趣的部分在于它将大多数问题留给了读者思考。奥巴马的众多环保和重建措施将给美国留下什么样的遗产?格伦沃尔德描述了奥巴马的能源部长——朱棣文的机智,也描述了这位总统手下的科学家——他们认为利用大笔新有资金可以做一些惊人的事情。但格伦沃尔德承认,奥巴马政府也存在不少失败之处。有些政府资金经过种种周转,用于未经检验的新技术,格伦沃尔德本能地对此加以赞扬。但当这些新技术离开政府的怀抱以后,可能很快就夭折了。本书引述了奥巴马早期团队重要成员劳伦斯·萨默斯的言论:政府并不是好的风险投资家。The truth is that no one really knows yet how well spent the longer-term parts of the immense Recovery and Reinvestment Act will turn out to have been. But no writer has yet gone this far, at least in unravelling where the money has gone. “The New New Deal” is the most interesting book that has been published about the Obama administration. Even Republicans should it.事实上,《复苏与再投资法案》篇幅很长,其中的长期部分最终能否妥善付诸实施,还没有人真正清楚。但还没有任何作家进行过如此深入的探究,至少还没有人阐明这笔资金的去向。在关于奥巴马政府的出版物中,《新“新政”》是最有趣的一本书。即使是共和党人都应该拿来读一读。 /201210/202799。

  • Business商业Diet products减肥商品A big, bad business点肥成金不现实Medical firms struggle to profit from weight-loss treatments制药公司试图从减肥治疗中获利OBESITY is an epidemic to some and an opportunity to others.肥胖症对某些人来说是传染病,对别的一些人来说则是机遇。More than two-thirds of Americans are overweight.超过三分之二的美国人已经超重。Find a way to battle the bulge and a huge profit might be made.找个办法和肥胖对抗,说必定就此大赚一笔。On February 22nd one pharmaceutical firm, Vivus, took a small step towards this goal.2月22日,Vivus制药公司朝着这个目标前进了一步。A committee advising Americas Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommended that it approve Vivuss diet drug, Qnexa.给美国食品药物做咨询的一家委员会推荐,Vivus公司的减肥药Qnexa。However, the pills long-awaited final approval may not come until April, if at all.但是,如果获得批准,该药品的漫长的最终肯定直到四月份才会到来。The announcement mostly served as a reminder of what a struggle it is to turn fat into gold.公告主要是提醒人们,这是一场点肥成金的抗争。Pharmaceutical and medical-device companies are quite good at treating the conditions that come with obesity.制药和医疗器械公司非常善于解决肥胖带来的问题。However, they are dismal at helping consumers lose weight.但是他们无法帮助消费者战胜肥胖本身,减少体重。This is not for lack of trying. Take the curious case of the gastric band.这不是因为缺乏尝试。以古怪的胃部束带为例。Bariatric surgery can lead to weight loss in the long term.肥胖治疗手术可以帮助患者在较长的时间内减少体重。Hospitals can make money from all bariatric procedures, including gastric bypasses (in which the stomach is partitioned and the upper part connected directly to the small intestine), but the gastric band is a rare example of an opportunity for device-makers to profit from weight loss.医院就是从这些减肥疗程中赚钱,包括胃绕道手术(手术中,胃被切割,直接把上部跟小肠连接起来),但是胃部束带却是一个罕见的例子,被当成一个器械制造商用来从减肥中赚钱的法子。Allergan, best known for selling Botox, has tried to use its Lap-Band to tap the obesity market.Allergan公司以销售肉毒杆菌而出名,尝试用产品Lap-Band打入减肥市场。It is an inflatable loop which the surgeon fits near the top of the stomach, which helps the patient feel sated earlier.Lap-Band是一圈松紧带,外科医生可以用它绕住患者胃的上部,这样患者会提前有腹饱感。Allergan has captured about 70% of the worldwide market for gastric bands and balloons, but sales are now shrinking.Allergan公司在全球胃部束带和充气袋市场占有率达70%,但是如今销量却有所下降。The recession has sapped consumers desire for expensive surgery.经济不景气让消费者忍住做昂贵的手术的欲望。Some patients have had bands removed because they slipped or proved ineffective.有些病人甚至连束带也不用了,因为束带打滑或者没有效果。Last year the FDA approved the Lap-Bands use in patients who are only slightly overweight, but insurers have refused to pay.去年,美国食品药物同意,微超重病人使用 Lap-Band,但是保险公司却拒绝付款。In January David Pyott, Allergans chief executive, said he would scrap an effort to market the band for teenagers.一月份,Allergan公司首席执行官David Pyott说,他将放弃在年轻人束带市场的努力。He is now trying to convince insurers of Lap-Bands merits, arguing that the ,000 surgery is recouped in saved medical costs within four years.他目前试图让保险公司也看到Lap-Band的优点,他认为两万美元手术费可以在四年之内通过减少医疗出收回。There is some scepticism about his chances of success: ;The fact that banding is not as good as bypass has been known by everybody except the PR firms for the band,; says Lee Kaplan, director of the Weight Centre at Massachusetts General Hospital.至今仍有人怀疑他是否能成功:“事实上使用束带不必胃绕道手术好,所有人都知道,除了束带的公关公司,”马萨诸塞州中心医院体重中心主任Lee Kaplan如是说。Drug companies have had even more trouble than device-makers.制药公司的麻烦甚至比医疗器械公司的还要多。It has been 13 years since the FDA approved a prescription diet pill.从美国食品药物批准减肥药为处方药到如今已经过了十三年。That drug, Roches Xenical, has notorious gastrointestinal side-effects.瑞士罗氏制药公司的Xenical臭名昭著,该药会引发胃肠功能的副作用。The FDA rejected Vivuss Qnexa in 2010 over concerns for the safety of pregnant women and the quickening of patients heart rates.美国食品药物于2010年拒绝批准Vivus公司的Qnexa,因为担心该药对妇的安全造成伤害,担心该药会加快患者的心率。Vivuss new data apparently satisfied the FDAs advisory committee.Vivus公司新的数据显然让的咨询委员会满意。However, the agency may yet reject the drug.但是该局还是可能拒绝批准该药。Even if Qnexa is approved, it is unclear that patients will buy it.就算Qnexa获得批准,患者会不会买账仍不明了。Qnexa combines two treatments that are aly on the market.Qnexa结合了两种市面上上有的疗效。Both medicines are generic, which means that doctors may prescribe the existing drugs rather than Qnexas more expensive version.这两种药物都是非专利药,这说明医生可能会给患者开已有的药而不选择Qnexa,后者更贵。For now, it is more profitable to treat fat patients than to try to make them slim.到目前为止,治疗肥胖患者还是要比让他们减肥更有利可图。 /201211/207278。
  • Science and Technology Solar power The third way科技 太阳能 利用太阳能发电的第三种方法A new method of making electricity from sunlight has just been tested一种新的利用太阳能发电的方法刚刚得到测试AT THE moment, there are two reliable ways to make electricity from sunlight.目前,利用阳光发电的可靠方法有两种。You can use a panel of solar cells to create the current directly, by liberating electrons from a semiconducting material such as silicon.你可以使用一块太阳能电池板从硅等半导体材料中释放电子来直接制造电流。Or you can concentrate the suns rays using mirrors, boil water with them, and employ the steam to drive a generator.也可以用镜子集中太阳光线,利用它们烧开水,利用蒸汽驱动发电机。Both work. But both are expensive.这两种方式都能进行也都很昂贵。Gang Chen of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Zhifeng Ren of Boston College therefore propose, in a paper in Nature Materials, an alternative.为此,麻省理工学院的陈刚和波士顿大学的任志峰在《自然-材料》杂志上刊登的一篇论文中提出了另一种方式。They suggest that a phenomenon called the thermoelectric effect might be used instead—and they have built a prototype to show that the idea is practical.他们提出可以利用一种名为热电效应的现象——而且还建立了一个模型来明这个想法的可行性。Thermoelectric devices are not new.热电器件并不是什么新鲜事。They are used, for example, to capture waste heat from car engines.比如它们被用来捕捉从汽车引擎排出的废热。They work because certain materials, such as bismuth telluride, generate an electrical potential difference within themselves if one part is hotter than another.它们之所以能起作用是因为某些材料,比如碲化铋,如果其中一部分比另一部分热,内部就会产生电位差。That can be used to drive a current through an external circuit.通过外部电路就可以利用这一点来导通电流。The reason thermoelectric materials have not, in the past, been applied successfully to the question of solar power is that to get a worthwhile current you have to have a significant temperature difference. (200oC is considered a good starting point.)为什么在过去热电材料没能成功地应用到太阳能上呢,这是因为如果要获得有价值的电流必须有巨大的温度差。(200摄氏度被视为合适的起点。)In a car engine, that is easy.汽车引擎里很容易达到这个温度差。For sunlight, however, it means concentrating the heat in some way. And if you are going to the trouble of building mirrors to do that, you might as well go down the steam-generation route, which is a much more efficient way of producing electricity.但是对于阳光来说,这意味着通过某种方式集中热量,而如果你费尽力气用一堆镜子达到这个温度差,你很可能走回蒸汽发动的老套路上了,那是一种效率更高的发电方式。If the heat concentration could be done without all the paraphernalia of mirrors, though, thermoelectricitys inefficiency would be offset by the cheapness of the kit.倘若能集中热量而不需要使用镜子的复杂步骤,虽然热电效率不高,但设备的廉价却可以弥补这点。And that is the direction in which Dr Chen and Dr Ren hope they are heading.而陈士和任士希望他们可以朝这个方向努力。In their view, three things are needed to create a workable solar-thermoelectric device.他们认为创造一种可行的太阳能热电设备需要具备三个条件。The first is to make sure that most of the sunlight which falls on it is absorbed, rather than being reflected.第一是确保大多数射入该设备的阳光被吸收而不是被反射回去了。The second is to choose a thermoelectric material which conducts heat badly (so that different parts remain at different temperatures) but electricity well.第二是选择的热电材料的导热性差(这样不同部分就能保持不同的温度)但是导电性良好。The third is to be certain that the temperature gradient which that badly conducting material creates is not frittered away by poor design.第三是确保那种导热性差的材料产生的温度变化率不因为设计缺陷而白白浪费。The two researchers overcame these challenges through clever engineering.两位研究者经由巧妙的工程技术克了上述挑战。The first they dealt with by coating the top of the device with oxides of hafnium, molybdenum and titanium, in layers about 100 nanometres thick.他们在设备顶上盖上了大概100纳米厚的二氧化铪、氧化钼和氧化钛的混合物。These layers acted like the anti-reflective coatings on spectacle lenses and caused almost all the sunlight falling on the device to be absorbed.它们的作用类似玻璃眼镜上面防反射的覆盖层,使所有落到设备上的阳光都被吸收。这样第一个问题就解决了。The second desideratum, of low thermal and high electrical conductivity, was achieved by dividing the bismuth telluride into pellets a few nanometres across.低导热性和高导电性则通过把碲化铋分成几纳米的粒状物来实现。That does not affect their electrical conductivity, but nanoscale particles like this are known to scatter and obstruct the passage of heat through imperfectly understood quantum-mechanical processes.它们的导电性不会因此受到影响,但是人们知道像这样的纳米级颗粒会分散开来并通过人们还尚未完全理解的量子力学过程阻碍热量通道。The third objective, efficient design, involved sandwiching the nanostructured bismuth telluride between two copper plates and then enclosing the upper plate (the one coated with the light-absorbing oxides) and the bismuth telluride in a vacuum.第三个目标是高效的设计,它涉及到把纳米级的碲化铋夹在两片铜薄片之间然后把位于上方的薄片(这个薄片被覆盖上了吸收光线的氧化物)和碲化铋封入一个真空内。The copper plates conducted heat rapidly to and from the bismuth telluride, thus maintaining the temperature difference.铜片可以把热量迅速地传递到碲化铋上或从碲化铋上导出,这样就能保持气温差。The vacuum stopped the apparatus losing heat by convection.容器防止该设备通过对流失去热量。The upshot was a device that converts 4.6% of incident sunlight into electricity.结果就是这样一个可以把射入阳光的4.6%转化为电能的设备。That is not great compared with the 20% and more achieved by a silicon-based solar cell, the 40% managed by a solar-thermal turbine, or even the 18-20% of one of the new generation of cheap and cheerful thin-film solar cells.以硅晶为基础的太阳能电池的转化率为20%甚至以上,太阳能热力涡轮的为40%,就连一种新一代价廉物美的薄膜太阳能电池的转化率也能达到18%-20%,与它们相比,4.6%并不可观。But it is enough, Dr Chen reckons, for the process to be worth considering for mass production.但是陈士认为这已经足够了,值得考虑对该设备进行大规模生产。He sees it, in particular, as something that could be built into the solar water-heaters that adorn the roofs of an increasing number of houses.他特别指出该设备可以安装到越来越多的房屋顶上装有的太阳能热水器上去。If such heaters were covered with thermoelectric generators the suns rays could be put to sequential use.如果这样的热水器配上热电发动机,那么太阳光就可以被连续使用。First, electric power would be extracted from them.首先,从它们身上可以获取电能。Then, the exhaust heat from the bottom plate of the thermoelectric device would be used in the traditional way to warm water up.其次,从热电设备中位于底部的薄片中出来的排气可以用于传统方式来加热水。Two-for-one has always been an attractive proposition for the consumer.对消费者来说,二合一总是很有吸引力的建议。This kind of combined heat and power might enable more people to declare independence from the grid.这种结合热力和电力的方式可以让更多人摆脱输电网。 /201212/214277。
  • Organic Pollutants有机污染物Yes,eating organic foods is a great way to reduce the amount of pollutants in your body, but you cant entirely escape pollution, no matter where you live.选择有机食物大大减少了污染物进入体内,但是无论你身在何处都无法一点不受污染的侵害。Persistent organic pollutants, or POPs, are everywhere—in our food, soil, air, and water. They can travel far distances, so that even if you live in an area relatively free of the use of pesticides or industrial processes, pollutants will find their way to you.持久性污染物无处无在——我们的食物、土壤、空气、水。持久性污染物“跋山涉水”也会靠近你,即使你生存的地方没有使用杀虫剂或工业生产。In many instances, the levels of POPs found far from a source of pollution are significantly lower than the levels near the source. However, for some POPs, even low levels can be dangerous because they resist break down. When they get into your body, they stick around, accumulating in fatty tissues.远离污染源的污染程度明显比污染源低很多。但是,即使是相对低的污染浓度也可能是安全隐患,因为污染物无法分解,当进入体内,滞留体内,堆积在脂肪组织。选择有机食物大大减少了污染物进入体内,但是无论你身在何处都无法一点不受污染的侵害。There is a global movement, involving over 150 countries, to eliminate some of the most dangerous of these POPs, which include pesticides, industrial chemicals, and their byproducts. Some of them have aly been banned in the U.S.全球超过150个国家发起运动,坚决杜绝使用一些危害甚大的持久性污染物:包括杀虫剂、工业化学剂及相关副产品。美国禁止使用其中的一些。 /201209/201576。
分页 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29