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2019年12月09日 21:18:10 | 作者:爱问助手 | 来源:新华社
Is the Christmas card obsolete? I suppose the answer depends on what function you think the Christmas card is intended to serve, if any at all. Surely it is no longer intended to convey information. Email and social networks do a more efficient job, and including a Christmas newsletter or family photograph (I do both) will earn you only scorn from any self-respecting British snob.圣诞卡过时了吗?我认为取决于在你心目中圣诞卡应该承载什么功能(如果你认为它有任何功能的话)。毫无疑问,圣诞卡已经不再用来传达信息。电子邮件和社交网络比圣诞卡更有效,如果你在圣诞卡里加上圣诞简报或者家人照片(我两个都加),只会让任何自命不凡的英国人对你投来白眼。Some believe that the Christmas card list, where we keep track of old favours and slights, is a sort of passive-aggressive vendetta. There is truth in this. Late in 1974, two sociologists, Phillip Kunz and Michael Woolcott, posted more than 500 Christmas cards to people they did not know. Some of them were “high status” cards, using expensive materials and signed “Dr and Mrs Phillip Kunz”. Others were from “Phillip and Joyce Kunz” or used cheaper stationery or both.有人认为,记录着我们之前得到过的帮助和受过的怠慢的圣诞卡寄送名单,是一种消极的复仇。这话有些道理。1974年末,社会学家菲利普#8226;孔兹(Phillip Kunz)和迈克尔#8226;伍尔科特(Michael Woolcott)向陌生人寄出了500多张圣诞卡。其中一些是“高尚”卡片,纸质精良,署名为“菲利普#8226;孔兹士夫妇”。其他一些卡片或是署名为“菲利普和乔伊丝(Joyce)#8226;孔兹”,或是纸质较差,抑或两者皆是。The Kunz family received, along with a complaint from the police, some rather touching replies: “Dear Joyce and Phil, Received your Christmas card and was good to hear from you. I will have to do some explaining to you. Your last name did not register at first#8201;.#8201;.#8201;.#8201;Please forgive me for being so stupid for not knowing your last name. We are fine and hope you are well. We miss your father. They were such grand friends.”“孔兹一家”除收到了一封来自警方的抗议信以外,还收到了一些相当感人的回复:“亲爱的乔伊斯和菲尔,我已经收到了你们的圣诞卡,收到你们的消息真是太好了。我必须向你们做些解释。一开始我没认出你们的姓……请原谅我如此愚蠢,不知道你们的姓。我们很好,希望你们也好。我们想念你的父亲。他们真是很好的朋友。”But what is most striking is that more than 100 strangers felt obliged to send a signed card in response. That is the power of reciprocity. (Response rates were particularly high if “Dr Kunz” had written on a fancy card to a working-class household. That is the power of status.)但最惊人的是,有逾100个陌生人认为有必要回寄一张手写的卡片。这就是礼尚往来习俗的力量。(寄给工人阶层家庭的署名“孔兹士”的高档卡片回复率格外高。这就是社会地位的力量。)If this is what Christmas cards are all about — mindless reciprocal obligation coupled with some social climbing — then I think we can all agree on two things: we could do without them; and we’ll never be rid of them. Thomas Schelling, a winner of the Nobel Memorial Prize for Economics, once advocated a bankruptcy procedure — wiping clean the list of people to whom we “owe” a Christmas card. If only.如果这就是圣诞卡的意义所在——机械的礼尚往来义务、加上一点攀高枝活动,那么我认为所有人应该都同意以下两点:我们可以没有圣诞卡;并且我们永远不会摆脱圣诞卡。诺贝尔经济学奖得主托马斯#8226;谢林(Thomas Schelling)曾经提议采取某种“破产”程序,把我们“欠”下的圣诞卡债清零。我们要是真能这样做就好了,可惜……But perhaps the Christmas card also serves other purposes. Consider the exchange, “How do you do?”, “How do you do?” This is phatic communication. It conveys no detailed information but it acknowledges others and implies that there is nothing much to report. “I’m OK, and you’re OK, and lines of communication are open if that changes.”但圣诞卡或许还承载了其他功能。想想这样的交谈,“你好吗?”,“你好吗?”。这是一种交际对话。这段对话没有传达任何具体信息,只是向别人打招呼,并暗示没什么值得一说的事情。“我很好,你也很好,如果出了什么事,尽管告诉我。”A Facebook “poke” could achieve the same thing at much lower cost. But perhaps the expense and the hassle is part of the point. If someone invites you for dinner and you say “thank you” as you leave, you may still wish to follow up with a thank-you note to show that you have enough invested in the relationship to take the trouble. If relationships weren’t hard work, they would not be relationships.Facebook的“戳一下”(poke)能够以低得多的成本达到同样的效果。但或许寄圣诞卡的部分意义恰恰在于它费钱费事。如果有人邀请你吃饭,你在离开时也说了“谢谢”,你可能还是希望在晚些时候再写一份道谢便条,以示你对这份关系足够重视,愿意费这个事。不需要花费精力维护的人际关系就不是人际关系了。There’s a thing called the “social brain” hypothesis: it states that humans evolved large and energy-intensive brains not to do hard sums or design clever tools but because they needed them to navigate the complexities of dealing with other people. Back in 1992, Robin Dunbar — an anthropologist and psychologist now based at the University of Oxford — published a fascinating addendum to that idea. Dunbar had been looking at the social group size and the brain size of different primates, and found that primate species with larger neocortices had grooming relationships with larger social groups. Extrapolating to humans, he produced what has become known as Dunbar’s Number. If our brains are any guide, we’re built to handle a social network of about 150 people.有一个所谓“社会大脑”假说认为:人类进化出消耗大量能量的大体积大脑,不是为了进行复杂的运算,也不是为了设计巧妙的工具,而是因为人需要大脑来应对复杂的人际交往。早在1992年,现任职于牛津大学(Oxford)的人类学家和心理学家罗宾#8226;邓巴(Robin Dunbar)就发表了一篇非常有趣的文章,对这一思想进行了补充。当时邓巴对不同的灵长类动物的社群规模和脑部大小进行了比对研究,发现新皮层更大的灵长类物种在更大的社群内相互梳理毛发。推及人类,他提出了所谓的“邓巴数字”(Dunbar’s Number)。如果可以进行这样的推断的话,那么以人类的大脑,每个人应该能应付大概150个人的社交网络。Dunbar’s Number is both more uncertain and more complex than popular presentations would have you believe. Dunbar himself argues that social networks are nested, following rough powers of three: five people to whom we might turn for substantial emotional or financial support in a moment of true crisis; 15 intimate friends; 50 friends; 150 rather casual friends, and so on.流行的解读会让你觉得邓巴数字是一个确定而简单的原则,但实际上它要更不确定、也更复杂一些。邓巴本人认为,社交网络的构建大致遵循三倍原则:你在真正遇到麻烦时会向他们寻求实质性情感或者财务持的密友有5个人;比较亲密的朋友有15个人;关系较好的朋友有50个人;泛泛之交则有150个人,以此类推。Social networking tools let us reach more people, more quickly, and in some detail if we so choose. I can reach 90,000 followers on Twitter but — how can I put this tactfully? — they are not my friends. These new technologies are a great convenience but it is not clear that they are allowing us to expand the number of genuine friends that we have. A recent study by Bruno Gon#231;alves, Nicola Perra and Alessandro Vespignani examined 25 million conversations between Twitter users, and found that the network with whom people might actually have several reciprocal conversations was between 100 and 200 — Dunbar’s number again. As for close friends, women engage in two-way communication with around six people on Facebook; men with just four.社交网络工具让我们能以更快的速度接触到更多的人,如果我们愿意,这些工具还能帮助我们进行比较详细的接触。我在Twitter上能接触到9万名粉丝,但是,我该怎么委婉地说呢,他们不是我的朋友。这些新科技给我们提供了很大的便利,但并无明显迹象显示它们能让我们得以扩展真朋友的数量。布鲁诺#8226;贡萨尔维斯(Bruno Gon#231;alves)、尼古拉#8226;佩拉(Nicola Perra)和亚历山德罗#8226;韦斯皮尼亚尼(Alessandro Vespignani)最近进行了一项研究,他们查看了Twitter用户间的2500万次对话,发现人们可能进行几次相互对话的社交网络大概包含100到200人——这又印了邓巴数字。至于密友,女性在facebook上大概与6个人进行双向交流;而男性仅与4个人保持这种关系。Much like primate grooming, a Christmas card requires effort, time and expense. An up-to-date Christmas list requires some thought about who matters to you, for reasons noble or ignoble. And a few years ago, two researchers carefully examined how big Christmas cards lists tended to be, once allowing for the fact that a single card could reach several members of a household. The researchers were Russell Hill and Robin Dunbar. And the number of people reached by a typical British Christmas card list? 154.与灵长类相互理毛的举动很像,圣诞卡需要花费精力、时间和金钱。要列一份最新的圣诞卡寄送名单,你需要思考一下谁对你来说很重要,不管是出于光明正大的理由,还是上不了台面的理由。几年前,两名研究者仔细研究了圣诞卡寄送名单的一般长度,并考虑一张卡片可以同时接触到同一个家庭中的好几个人的事实。这两名研究者分别是拉塞尔#8226;希尔(Russel Hill)和罗宾#8226;邓巴。那么在英国,一张圣诞卡片寄送名单通常能接触到多少个人?是154个。 /201412/350220Singles#39; Day - the Chinese opposite of Valentines that#39;s turned into a massive online shopping event - has been all over the news. It#39;s a day when single people are supposed to buy themselves presents, or get them from their coupled-up friends. But there are sinister sociological reasons at play behind China#39;s #39;celebration#39; of single life. And the imbalance could have big consequences for the country.光棍节——中国的反情人节,现在已经成为了盛大的电子商务盛会。在这一天,单身的人会给自己买礼物,或者从他们已经成双成对的朋友那里收到的礼物。然而,在中国的光棍节背后还有这复杂的社会学原因,这也对中国社会产生了巨大的影响。There were 34 million more men than women in China in 2011. Part of that is natural - usually there are 105 boys born for every 100 girls. But the Chinese gender ratio at birth is much more stark. It was 116 boys to 100 girls in 2012. The one child policy is largely to blame. Brought in to curb population expansion, the policy allowed only one child per family.2011年,中国男性比女性多出3400万,这种情况有自然的成因——每出生100个女孩就会有105个男孩出生。但是中国的性别比率会更悬殊一点,2012年每100个女孩会就会有116个男孩出生。而这种现象的背后,很大的一个原因是计划生育政策。由于人口数量庞大,政策要求每个家庭只能要一个孩子。But because male children are seen as more valuable, as well as more likely to support their parents in old age, some parents chose to have a son over a daughter. The result? Large numbers of surplus men who will likely never get married. In fact, one study has predicted that by 2030, 1 in 5 Chinese men in their 30s will never have married , while another states that 94% of unmarried people in China are men.但是因为男孩子对家里显得更为重要,在父母年迈时也看上去更能照顾他们,因此一些父母会有重男轻女的思想。结果呢?大量的男性可能找不到配偶。实际上,一项调查预测到2030年,20%的中国男性30几岁会还没结婚,另一个调查表明94%的未婚人士会是男性。Some parents are trying to find partners for their sons at physical markets, where people post personal ads detailing their characteristics, as well as their work and educational achievements. Traditionally China has seen high levels of marriage, usually among the young, but measures brought in by the government, as well as increased education and career opportunities for women have meant marriages are happening later.一些家长会帮自己的儿子相亲,贴上广告介绍儿子的性格、工作和教育背景。通常来说中国的婚姻都是较高标准的,尤其是在年轻人之间。但是政府标准的引入,以及教育程度的提高、女性工作机会的增加都使得年轻人结婚更晚。It#39;s also traditional that women marry up - meaning they marry men from a higher socioeconomic bracket than themselves. So women at the top and men at the bottom find themselves alone. That#39;s a big problem in a society that still focuses on family life as the ideal. One study has even suggested a link between an imbalanced sex ratio and growth in violent crime in the country.同样,女性嫁得好也是很正常的——她们通常会与社会地位比自己高的男性结婚。因此社会地位高的女性和社会地位低的男性就剩下了。社会仍旧把家庭关系假设得非常理想,一项调查同时认为不平衡的性别比例和国家暴力犯罪率也有关系。There#39;s a huge number of young, single Chinese people and Chinese businesses have tackled that market aggressively. But Singles Day can#39;t solve all the problems China#39;s singles face. Indeed, it#39;s possible it#39;s causing even more problems, as men resort to increasingly risky lines of work to increase their chances of gaining mon大量的单身青年促进了中国的市场,然而光棍节却解决不了中国的单身现状。实际上,它可能会创造更多问题。因为男人可能会为了挣钱娶妻而采取非同寻常的挣钱手段。当金钱胜过浪漫,中国的婚姻会变得更加现实。 /201411/343945

A wedding is meant to be be one of the happiest days of a woman#39;s life - but it certainly isn#39;t that way for her closest friends.婚礼应该是女人一生中最快乐的一天——但是这绝不是她闺蜜最快乐的日子之一。A new survey has revealed the lengths some brides will go to in order to make sure she shines on her big day.一项新的调查显示,一些新娘会不择手段,只为保她们能在自己的婚礼上光照人。In a recent poll of 1,000 bridesmaids, 72 percent of those questioned believed they had been lumbered with an unflattering outfit to make the bride look better, with only a third given a choice in what they wore.在最近一项对1000名伴娘的调查中,72%的受访者认为她们曾穿过有损自己形象的衣,只为反衬新娘的美艳。其中,仅有三分之一的人表示她们有选择装的权利。But most gave as good as they got - more than a fifth of bridesmaids have insisted on altering their outfit before they would participate in the wedding.不过多数伴娘也采取了以牙还牙的反击措施,超过五分之一的伴娘坚持更换装,否则就不参加婚礼。Even worse, the majority of those questioned admitted having negative thoughts about the nuptials they had attended.更糟糕的是,大多数受访者承认对她们参加的婚礼有负面想法。It seems very few bridesmaids get any feelings of envy when watching their friends get hitched, in fact, 43 percent of women had been bridesmaids at a wedding which was a #39;bit naff.#39;很少有伴娘看到自己的朋友结婚,会有嫉妒的心理。43%的伴娘觉得自己参加的婚礼“有点儿差劲”。A further 37 percent said they felt the wedding couple were mismatched and shouldn#39;t be marrying, with more than half of those questioned admitting they had been bridesmaids at weddings where they were glad they were not marrying the groom.还有37%的人觉得结婚的新人并不般配。超过半数的受访者承认她们做过伴娘,也很庆幸自己没有嫁给那个新郎。The survey by online jewellery brand Vashi.com did show that the old impression of bridesmaids on the prowl for single man still applies these days.网上珠宝品牌Vashi.com所做的这项调查显示,人们以前总认为伴娘对单身男性虎视眈眈,现在人们还有这样的想法。A fifth of those asked said they had picked up up a new man when they have been a bridesmaid.五分之一的受访者表示她们做伴娘的时候找到了新的男朋友。Some were wasting their energies on a lost cause though - six percent revealed they had secretly fancied the groom, with three per cent admitting they had even been romantically involved with the man of the hour before he met his bride.一些人把精力浪费在注定失败的事情上——6%的受访者表示她们偷偷地觊觎过新郎,3%的人承认她们在新娘和新郎相识之前,和新郎曾有一段恋情。Vashi Dominguez, founder and CEO of Vashi.com, said: #39;We#39;ve all looked at wedding photos and thought, #39;What are the bridesmaids wearing?#39;Vashi.com的创始人兼CEO瓦希·多明戈斯(Vashi Dominguez)表示:“我们看着婚礼照片会想,‘伴娘穿的是什么?’#39;Well, now we know the answer.#39;“现在我们有了。”He continued: #39;In seven out of ten cases, the bridesmaids are convinced they have been lumbered with a dress to make the bride look prettier.他还说道:“十之有七,伴娘坚信她们穿不好看的衣,只为使新娘看起来更美。#39;I am sure most brides wouldn#39;t see it that way and they would say that they chose bridesmaid dresses which went well with the wedding dress.“我坚信,大多数新娘的想法和伴娘不同,她们会觉得自己选的伴娘装和婚礼礼很搭。#39;The solution is for brides to relax a little and involve their bridesmaids more in choosing their outfits.#39;“新娘不要太紧张,放松一点。多多和新郎商量他们结婚的礼才是正事。” /201412/346024

Crossing-over Bridge Rice Noodles 过桥米线 In the early years of the Qing Dynasty,Nanhu Lake of Mengzi county in Yunnan Province is a scenic wonderland. There are always men of letters ing poems.相传清朝初年,云南蒙自县城的南湖风景优美,常有文人墨客攻读诗书于此。In order to get an official rank through passing exams , a scholar named Yang builds a hut on an island in the middle of a lake, with one bridge linked to the bank. He studies assiduously on the island every day. His wife is so virtuous and laborious that she sends meals to him back and forth and works the fields from dawn to dusk.Because of the great distance,when she gets there, the food has become cold and unappetizing. The scholar is wasting away with the passing time, so his wife is much worried about it.有位姓杨的书生为考取功名,在湖中小岛筑了一间茅屋,与湖岸一桥相连,每日在岛上用功苦读。其妻勤劳贤惠,每日往返送食,因路途稍远,每次送到后,饭菜已凉,书生食之无味,天长日久日渐消瘦,妻子甚是着急。One day, she kills a chicken and cooks chicken soup in a heated earthen pot, adding some rice noodles and slicing meat and vegetables. Unfortunately when she crosses the stone bridge on the way to the island, she falls senseless to the ground for working too hard every day.一日妻将家养的鸡宰杀,把砂锅烧热,煨汤一罐,配上米线、肉片、蔬菜往岛上送去,过石桥的时候,因终日辛劳昏倒在地。It has been a long time before she came to life. She is so surprised to find the earthen pot still hot. Her husband is surprised too. After a careful examination, He finds two secrets: there is thick chicken oil on the surface of the soup and the earthen vessel does not ily conduct heat. As a result, the heat of the soup is well preserved. He rains praises on it after eating it up.良久醒来,妻摸砂锅发现还很烫手,妻子很是惊喜,急忙过桥向丈夫奉上鸡汤米线,丈夫感到汤很烫手,甚为惊奇,仔细查看,原来汤表面覆盖着一层鸡油,加之陶制器皿不易传热,把热量封存于汤内,丈夫食罢连声称赞。Since then, the scholar has a balanced diet, becoming healthier and more hardworking. Finally he succeeds in a government examination. When his fellow scholars come to congratulate him, he asks his wife to treat them with the rice noodles with chicken soup. They praise it repeatedly and ask what the splendid meal is. Thinking of the bridge she crosses every day, she blurts out “crossing-over bridge rice noodles”. Therefore, crossing-over bridge rice noodles become famous and sp widely.从此以后,书生饮食调匀,身体日益康健,越发用功读书,终获金榜题名。同窗前来贺喜,丈夫让妻子如法用鸡汤配制米线招待客人,大家食罢连连称绝,纷纷询问是何佳肴,妻子想到每天走过的小桥顺口说“过桥米线”,从此,“过桥米线”名声鹊起在民间广为流传。 /201505/373810

During a news briefing at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory on Tuesday, NASA scientists revealed what they#39;ve gleaned from the latest photos of Pluto. The New Horizons spacecraft was set to make its closest approach of the dwarf planet on Tuesday, and while scientists wait for confirmation of that flyby -- and the 16 months worth of data that it will bring。周二,约翰霍普金斯应用物理实验室举行的发布会上,美国国家航空航天局(NASA)的科学家透露,他们已收集到来自冥王星的最新图像。按计划设定,新视野号飞行探测器会在周二近距离飞掠这颗矮行星,届时将向在地面等待确认飞掠的科学家传回历史16个月所收集到的数据。Remember Pluto#39;s heart?还记得冥王星的心吗?Well, it#39;s broken。好吧,它的心已碎。What you#39;re looking at is an image of Pluto with heavily exaggerated color data -- like when you amp up the saturation on an Instagram. It#39;s a bit hard to see (sorry) but one side of the ;heart; is much bluer than the other. In fact, the left-hand side seems pretty beige-y。你所看到的冥王星图像,附带有极度夸张的色数据,就像你在Instagram(一款图片分享应用)上放大图片的色饱和度那样。图片让人看起来(抱歉~)有点儿费力,但你还是能看到这颗“心”的一边要比另一边蓝的多。实际上看,左边的部分看起来更偏于米黄色。This seems to confirm something that the NASA scientists suspected based on recent photos of the ;heart; feature: It#39;s actually two features. In the latest images, it looks like the left half of the heart is smoother than the right, the team said at the briefing. It#39;s possible that some texture has been lost in the compression of the image, but it could also mean that one side of the heart is a different geological feature than the other -- they#39;re just both very bright, compared with the rest of the surface。这似乎实了NASA科学家们基于这颗“心”的近照所作出的猜测,即实际上心有两部分组成。科研团队在简报会上指出,根据最新的图像,似乎这颗“心”的左半边要比右半边平滑的多。很有可能是在图像的压缩过程中丢失了某些质地,但这也有可能意味着,这颗“心”的一边与另一边地质特征存在差异。这两部分都很明亮,相对于冥王星表面的其他部分而言。And speaking of Pluto#39;s features, NASA scientists are now giving unofficial names to some of the things they#39;ve spotted -- names they can submit to the International Astronomical Union for official approval. They#39;re sticking with the trend of underworld creatures and gods -- Pluto, after all, was the Roman god of the underworld -- and have tentatively named a previously observed dark, whale-shaped splotch (just to the left of the broken heart) after ;Cthulhu,; the dark deity invented by author H.P. Lovecraft。谈到冥王星的特征,NASA科学家们正准备给一些他们发现到的东西进行非正式命名。他们可以将这些名字递交给国际天文学联合会以获得官方认。此次命名将延续以往的传统,以阴间神灵命名。毕竟,冥王星就是以罗马神话中掌管阴间的冥王所命名的。科学家们已打算将前不久观察到的一块鲸鱼形深色暗斑区域(就在这颗破碎的“心”的左边),命名为“克苏鲁”(由作家H.P。洛夫卡拉夫特创作的一个邪神)。 /201507/386116

Young people in China get a bad rap. Conventional wisdom says the boys are spoilt and fat, the girls flighty gold diggers — and the whole lot of them lazy, selfish and greedy. I have lived in China for seven years, and have met precious few mainland youths who fit those descriptions (except for maybe the plump part).中国的年轻人名声很差。人们普遍认为,男孩太宠溺又肥胖,女孩则是轻浮的拜金女——而且不管男孩女孩都懒惰、自私、贪婪。我在中国生活了7年,但遇到过的符合这种表述的内地年轻人少得可怜(可能除了胖墩那部分)。But don’t take it from me: I’m old enough to be their granny. Jemimah Steinfeld, on the other hand, has studied the Chinese twenty to thirtysomething in its own habitat: the bars, sex shops, online dating sites and matchmaking corners where the country’s complex, controversial and confusing youth culture is being made.但是别轻信我的话:我都老得可以当他们的奶奶了。另一方面,耶米马#8226;斯坦菲尔德(Jemimah Steinfeld)深入第一线,在近距离对中国二、三十岁的年轻人进行了研究,其中包括酒吧、性用品店、交友网站、相亲角,这些地方育着复杂、有争议、令人困惑的中国年轻人文化。Little Emperors and Material Girls: Sex and Youth in Modern China is based on extensive field research on the male and female of the species by Steinfeld, a London-based journalist and “self-confessed sinophile, feminist and history junkie” who has lived and worked in Shanghai and Beijing.《小皇帝和拜金女:现代中国的性和年轻人》(Little Emperors and Material Girls: Sex and Youth in Modern China)基于斯坦菲尔德对中国年轻男女的大量实地调研。斯坦菲尔德是一名驻伦敦的记者,曾在上海和北京生活、工作,是一名“自己承认的中国粉、女权主义者以及历史迷”。This generation will end up running the nation — at which point who they are, how they think and how they were raised will really matter. And Steinfeld, too, thinks they are not as bad as advertised.这一代人最终将统治这个国家——到那时,他们是谁、他们的思维习惯和成长环境将会很重要。而斯坦菲尔德也认为,中国的年轻人并不像传说中那么糟糕。Nor are they easy to stereotype. China has as many people under the age of 30 as the US has people of any age, notes Steinfeld. Not surprisingly, they don’t all fit neatly into categories.也不容易对他们进行分类。斯坦菲尔德指出,中国30岁以下的人口与美国的总人口相当。并不奇怪的是,他们并非都完美符合各个类别的定义。This meticulously researched but highly able book lets the people in question prove that themselves (I’m glad she asked these questions and not me, since sex in China is still a very sensitive issue). She allows a dozen or so young people to speak at length, from “leftover women” and “bare branches” (spinsters and bachelors), through the gamut of mistresses, gays, sexual rebels, Christians and even Communist party members who populate the younger generation. And the one thing she finds she can say about them with certainty is: they are very different from their parents.这本书调查严谨但可读性极高,让调查对象自己倾述(我很高兴她问了这些问题而不用我来问,因为性在中国仍然是个非常敏感的话题)。她让十几个年轻人娓娓道来,其中既有“剩女”和“光棍”(大龄单身女人和单身汉),还有“二奶”、同性恋者、性反叛者、基督徒、甚至共产党员,这些人构成了年轻一代。她发现她能确定的一点是:这些年轻人与父辈截然不同。In fact, she avers, China has one of the world’s biggest generation gaps. “It’s a fundamental difference between them and us,” she writes. “While the West continues to change, it does so at a slower pace. It’s a gentle gradient rather than a steep slope and therefore the schism between old and young is much less pronounced.”事实上,她断言,中国有着世界最大的的代沟之一。“他们与我们有着根本上的区别,”她写道,“虽然西方也在持续改变,但步伐较慢。西方的改变是平缓而不是陡坡式的,因此年长者与年轻人之间的代沟远没那么明显。”Many parents of her subjects grew up during the Cultural Revolution, and suffered famine as toddlers. Their grandparents may even remember when women had bound feet, she points out. But those born in the 1980s and 1990s — the balinghou and jiulinghou — are the first generation to grow up rich. And therein lies their biggest problem, Steinfeld writes: their parents and grandparents want to live through them, counting on their only offspring to make up for the privations of decades.在她的研究对象中,很多人的父母是在文化大革命期间长大的,幼年时曾经历过饥荒。而他们的祖父母也许还记得女人裹小脚的时代。出生在上世纪80和90年代的年轻人——80后和90后——是在富裕条件下长大的第一代人。斯坦菲尔德写道,这就带来了他们最大的问题:父母及祖父母把希望全寄托在他们身上,指望自己唯一的后代弥补数十年的艰辛。Unlike in the west, many of these children are willing at least to make the effort. Steinfeld points out that, while 21st century China is unrecognisable from that of the 20th century, one cultural th remains: children’s powerful duty of filial piety. And duty number one is to marry and bear offspring. Love and sex today are still very much Mum and Dad’s business. Steinfeld even profiles one rake who takes Mummy along on dates in his Porsche.与西方不同,这些孩子中有很多人至少愿意付出努力。斯坦菲尔德指出,尽管21世纪的中国与20世纪已经不可同日而语,但一条文化脉络依然存在:子女孝敬长辈的重大责任。而第一要务就是结婚生子。如今,子女的爱情和性生活在很大程度上仍然是爸妈要操心的事。斯坦菲尔德甚至描述了一个浪子开着保时捷带上老妈去约会的事。But there’s a statistical problem. A preference for boys, exacerbated by the one-child policy, will leave China with an estimated 20m more men under 30 than women by 2020, according to government research.但是,这里存在一个统计学问题。政府研究显示,独生子女政策加剧的重男轻女倾向意味着,到2020年中国30岁以下的男性估计会比女性多出2000万。And, since the existing men like to marry beneath them, that leaves “alpha women and beta men” without partners. Perhaps as a result, extramarital sex is on the increase. Steinfeld says the percentage of urbanites who have premarital sex — a big taboo before China opened up to the west a generation ago, and even since — quadrupled between 1989 and 2010 to 60 per cent. Yet 80 per cent of men still say they want to marry a virgin. Good luck with that.而且,由于男性喜欢与不如自己的女性结婚,这导致“A档女人和B档男人”找不到伴侣。也许是因为这一点,婚外性行为呈上升趋势。斯坦菲尔德称,2010年,有过婚前性行为(在一代人之前,即中国改革开放前,甚至是开放以来,这都是一大禁忌)的城市人口比例达到60%,是1989年的四倍。不过,竟有80%的男性仍然称,他们希望娶一个处女。祝他们好运吧。So spare a thought for China’s poor conflicted young people: caught between village and skyscraper, between one millennium and the next. They are sexual adventurers who still live at home with Mummy. They may be gay but still plan to marry to keep up appearances. And increasingly large numbers have no interest in bearing children but must do so to satisfy Granny. And I thought growing up in the 1960s was difficult.所以,想想中国那些可怜而又矛盾的年轻人吧:他们被夹在乡村和天大楼之间,一个千年和下一个千年之间。他们进行着性的探索,却仍然与老妈住在一起。他们也许是同性恋,却仍计划结婚来顾全面子。越来越多的年轻人对生儿育女不感兴趣,但又必须生个孩子让爸妈满意。我原本还以为在上世纪60年代长大很艰难呢。The writer is the FT’s Shanghai correspondent本文作者为英国《金融时报》驻上海记者Little Emperors and Material Girls: Sex and Youth in Modern China, by Jemimah Steinfeld, I. B. Tauris (RRP#163;14.99, .95)《小皇帝和拜金女:现代中国的性和年轻人》(Little Emperors and Material Girls: Sex and Youth in Modern China),耶米马#8226;斯坦菲尔德(Jemimah Steinfeld)著,I.B.Tauris出版社,建议零售价14.99英镑/19.95美元 /201506/381140

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