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来源:康泰对话    发布时间:2019年08月21日 20:05:08    编辑:admin         

It#39;s the most expensive cheese in the world, produced by just one farm in Serbia, but donkey cheese could be the next cult food item.驴奶酪是世界上最昂贵的奶酪,全球仅有塞尔维亚一家农场生产,但其有望成为新一代热捧食品。Although incredibly rare, the cheese is being hailed as a health food thanks to its nutritional value - donkey milk is exceptionally high in protein, calcium and omega 3 fatty acids, which in turn are extremely good for maintaining cardiovascular health.虽然极其稀有,但因其营养价值,驴奶酪被称为健康食品——驴奶的蛋白质、钙质和欧米伽3脂肪酸含量都异常地高,这对保持心血管健康大有裨益。With more and more people claiming to have an intolerance to cow#39;s milk and cheese, the donkey alternative is becoming an increasingly attractive option.随着越来越多的人自称有牛奶和牛奶酪不耐受症,驴奶酪也越来越受欢迎。However donkey cheese#39;s hefty price tag means it#39;s unlikely you#39;re going to see it on the shelves of your local Sainsbury#39;s any time soon - the cheese costs 880 per kilo.然而,驴奶酪高昂的价格意味着它近期不太可能出现在你当地的塞恩斯伯里超市货架上——因为它每千克的售价为880英镑。Slobodan Simi#263; is the world#39;s only producer of donkey cheese - he does it all on his farm in Zasavica, 50 miles west of the Serbian capital Belgrade.斯洛丹.西米奇是全球驴奶酪唯一的生产商——他在位于塞尔维亚首都贝尔格莱德西边50英里处的扎撒维卡农场完成全部生产过程。Despite starting out with just 12 donkeys 16 years ago, Simi#263;#39;s herd has now grown to nearly 300. The reason the cheese, known as pule, is so expensive is that it takes 25 litres of fresh donkey milk to make a single litre of cheese.16年前,西米奇仅仅有12头驴,而如今农场的牲畜数量已接近300。 驴奶酪,即“普勒”奶酪如此昂贵的原因在于25升新鲜驴奶仅能做出1升奶酪。What#39;s more, donkeys produce a lot less milk than cows or goats to start with.另外,驴的产奶量比奶牛或山羊要少得多。On Simi#263;’s farm, the female donkeys are milked by hand three times a day.在西米奇的农场,每天要给母驴手工挤3次奶。But the difficulty in creating cheese lies in the fact that donkey milk doesn#39;t have enough casein to coagulate - how Simi#263; gets around this is a closely-guarded secret.但制造驴奶酪的困难在于驴奶的酪蛋白不足,难以凝成奶酪——至于其秘方,西米奇严守如瓶。Although not many people in the world have tasted the rare cheese, it is said to be similar to Manchego with a rich, nutty, earthy flavour and a crumbly texture.尽管世界上尝过稀罕的驴奶酪的人并不多,但据说,其与曼彻戈奶酪相似,味道浓郁深厚,有坚果口味和乡土味道,且口感松脆。One person who is a fan of the filling cheese, however, is Novak Djokovic, who was a few years ago reported to have bought the whole supply, a claim he denied.网球名将诺瓦克.德约科维奇就是驴奶酪的狂热爱好者之一。据报道,他曾在几年前买断所有的驴奶酪。但他对此予以否认。And if legend is to be believed, Queen Cleopatra was also a fan - she is said to have bathed in asses milk to maintain her beauty.如果古埃及传说是可信的话,埃及艳后克利奥佩特拉也钟情于驴奶酪——据称她用驴奶沐浴以使容颜永驻。Donkey milk has a number of health benefits which make it superior to cow#39;s milk - it has 60 times as much vitamin C as the more common milk.驴奶的健康益处数不胜数,使之优于牛奶——其维C含量是普通牛奶的60倍。Donkey milk also has anti-allergen properties and is just 1% fat.驴奶还含有抗过敏物质,而且脂肪含量仅占1%。What#39;s more, it#39;s been claimed that consuming even just a tiny amount daily can help tackle asthma and bronchitis.另外,据称只要每日食用少量驴奶就有助于治疗哮喘和气管炎。But unless it becomes cheaper to produce, it#39;s unlikely donkey cheese is going to give the wider population a health-boost any time soon.然而,若其价格一直居高不下,驴奶酪的健康价值也无法早日惠及大众。 /201611/480859。

A Windows 10 update has stopped many popular webcams from working.日前,Win 10系统的一次升级已经让许多网络摄像头停止了工作。The update, released earlier this month, stops many cameras being used for Skype or to broadcast and stream footage.在本月上旬发布的这次更新,使得许多摄像头既不能用于Skype网聊,也不能用来视频直播。The cause seems to be a change in the way Windows 10 handles . Microsoft said it was working on a fix but has not given any date for when the patch will be available.造成这一现象的原因似乎是因为Win 10系统处理视频的方式发生了改变。微软公司表示,他们正在修复这个问题,但是并没有给出补丁可以使用的日期。Soon after Windows Update 1607 was distributed in early August, many people started reporting webcam problems to Microsoft via its support site.自从8月上旬Win 10更新1607版本发布以来,许多人都开始通过网站向微软公司报告摄像头问题。The trouble affected both webcams connected via USB cables or on the same network and meant either that footage could not be streamed, or that images froze after a while.受这一问题影响的摄像头既包括用USB连接的设备,也包括同一网络里的摄像头,这意味着视频既不能播放,图像也不能正常显示。Analysis put the blame on changes to the encoding systems with which Windows 10 works.分析结果将这一问题归咎于Win 10系统视频编码系统的改变。The update ends support for two widely used encoding systems so it became possible for more than one application to use as it is being shot. Prior to the update Windows 10 only allowed one application access to a stream.Win 10持两个使用很广泛的视频编码系统,如此一来,在拍摄视频的时候就可以有多个软件来处理这个视频。在Win 10更新之前,一次只能运行一个软件处理视频。A Microsoft camera engineer who responded to complaints on the support th said the company had done ;a poor job; of letting people know about the change.一名微软摄像头工程师对网站上的批评抱怨做出了回应,他表示微软做得“很糟糕”,没能让用户知道这个改变。;We dropped the ball on that front, so I#39;d like to offer my apologies to you all,; he said.他说道:“在这件事上我们掉了链子,我想向大家道歉。”He added that Microsoft was working on a way to fix the problem and get webcams working again. The fix is likely to be released in September.他补充说道,目前微软正在寻找方法来修复这个问题,并让摄像头重新工作。修复补丁可能将会在9月份发布。Microsoft has yet to officially comment on the problem.微软公司目前尚未正式就此事作出。 /201608/463006。

Every day, innovative companies promise to make the world a better place. Are they succeeding?每一天,那些创新公司都在承诺着要让世界变得更美好。他们做到了吗?Here is just a sampling of the products, apps and services that have come across my radar in the last few weeks:下面是几个产品、手机应用和务的例子,都是最近几个星期我注意到的。A service that sends someone to fill your car with gas.让别人来帮你加满油的务。A service that sends a valet on a scooter to you, wherever you are, to park your car.在任何地方叫代泊车务员踩着滑板车来帮你停车的务。A service that will film anything you desire with a drone.用无人机帮你为任何东西摄像的务。A service that will pack your suitcase — virtually.帮你收拾行李的务——虚拟的。A service that delivers a new toothbrush head to your mailbox every three months.每三个月把新的牙刷头寄到你邮箱里的务。A service that delivers your beer right to your door.送啤酒上门的务。An app that analyzes the quality of your French kissing.分析你法国式接吻水平的手机应用。A “smart” button and zipper that alerts you if your fly is down.裤子拉链没拉上时会提醒你的“智能”纽扣和拉链。An app with speaker that plays music from within a mother’s vaginal walls to her unborn baby.可以通过扬声器,在妇的阴道内给胎儿播放音乐的手机应用。A sensor placed in your child’s diaper that sends you an alert when the diaper needs changing.放在尿布上的传感器,该换尿布时发送警告。An app that lets us brew our coffee from anywhere.在任何地点都可以煮咖啡的手机应用。A refrigerator advertised as “the Family Hub” that promises to act as a personal assistant, message board, stereo and photo album.一种在广告宣传中被定义为“家庭中枢站”的冰箱,承诺充当私人助理、信息板、立体声音箱和相册。An app to locate rentable driveways for parking.寻找可供租用的私人停车位的手机应用。An app to locate rentable yachts.寻找出租游艇的手机应用。An app to help you understand “cause and effect in your life.”帮你了解“人生因果”的手机应用。An app that guides mindful meditation.指导冥想的手机应用。An app that imparts wisdom.传递智慧的手机应用。And a new proposal to create an app designed to stop police killings.最近还有人建议开发一种用来杜绝警察杀人的手机应用。We are overloaded daily with new discoveries, patents and inventions all promising a better life, but that better life has not been forthcoming for most. In fact, the bulk of the above list targets a very specific (and tiny!) slice of the population. As one colleague in tech explained it to me recently, for most people working on such projects, the goal is basically to provide for themselves everything that their mothers no longer do.每一天,我们都被各种承诺要让生活更美好的新发现、新专利和新发明所淹没,但是对于大部分人来说,更美好的生活没有到来。其实在上面的单子里,大部分项目都是针对一个特定(而且很小!)的人群。最近一个科技领域的同事向我解释说,对于大多数研发这类项目的人来说,他们的目标基本上就是为自己提供各种妈妈不再为他们做的事情。He was joking — sort of — but his comment made me think hard about who is served by this stuff. I’m concerned that such a focus on comfort and instant gratification will reduce us all to those characters in “Wall-E,” bound to their recliners, Big Gulps in hand, interacting with the world exclusively through their remotes.某种程度上,他是在开玩笑,但是他的话启发我去深入思考那些使用这些务的人们。我担心,这样关注方便舒适和即时的满足感,会把我们都变成《机器人瓦力》(Wall-E)里的人,终日躺在在躺椅上,拿着大杯饮料,只靠遥控器和世界互动。Too many well-funded entrepreneurial efforts turn out to promise more than they can deliver (i.e., Theranos’ finger-prick blood test) or as parody (but, sadly, are not — such as the “vessel” that monitors your water intake and tells you when you should drink more water).众多资金雄厚的企业项目最后都被明无法实现自己的承诺(比如Theranos的指血检测技术),或者看上去像是玩笑(不过悲哀的是,事实并非如此,比如价值99美元的“容器”,用来监控你摄入了多少水,告诉你何时应该再喝水了)。When everything is characterized as “world-changing,” is anything?当一切都被打上“改变世界”的标签,到底有什么东西真能正改变世界?Clay Tarver, a writer and producer for the painfully on-point HBO comedy “Silicon Valley,” said in a recent New Yorker article: “I’ve been told that, at some of the big companies, the P.R. departments have ordered their employees to stop saying ‘We’re making the world a better place,’ specifically because we have made fun of that phrase so mercilessly. So I guess, at the very least, we’re making the world a better place by making these people stop saying they’re making the world a better place.”作家克莱·塔弗(Clay Tarver)是一针见血的HBO喜剧《硅谷》(SiliconValley)的编剧。他最近在《纽约客》(New Yorker)的一篇文章中说:“我被告知,在某些大公司里,公关部门要求雇员不要再说‘我们在让世界变得更美好’这句话,主要是因为我们拿这句话开玩笑开得太狠了。所以我想,通过让这些人停止说‘我们让世界变得更美好’,我们让世界变得更美好了。”O.K., that’s a start. But the impulse to conflate toothbrush delivery with Nobel Prize-worthy good works is not just a bit cultish, it’s currently a wildfire burning through the so-called innovation sector. Products and services are designed to “disrupt” market sectors (a.k.a. bringing to market things no one really needs) more than to solve actual problems, especially those problems experienced by what the writer C. Z. Nnaemeka has described as “the unexotic underclass” — single mothers, the white rural poor, veterans, out-of-work Americans over 50 — who, she explains, have the “misfortune of being insufficiently interesting.”好吧,这是个开始。但是,把寄送牙刷和诺贝尔奖级别的杰作混为一谈的冲动,不只是一种宗教狂热,而是像燎原野火般横扫所谓的创新产业。很多产品和务都是旨在“扰乱”市场划分(换言之,就是把根本没人需要的东西推向市场),而不是用来解决真正的问题,尤其不能解决那些被作家C·Z·纳埃梅卡(C. Z. Nnaemeka)称之为“寻常的下层社会”所面临的问题——就是那些单亲妈妈、乡村贫穷白人、老兵、年过50的失业美国人——她解释说,他们“很不幸,不够有趣”。If the most fundamental definition of design is to solve problems, why are so many people devoting so much energy to solving problems that don’t really exist? How can we get more people to look beyond their own lived experience?如果设计的最基本定义是用来解决问题,为什么那么多人投入那么多精力,去解决根本不存在的问题?我们该怎样让更多人看到超越自身生活体验之外的东西?In “Design: The Invention of Desire,” a thoughtful and necessary new book by the designer and theorist Jessica Helfand, the author brings to light an amazing kernel: “hack,” a term so beloved in Silicon Valley that it’s painted on the courtyard of the Facebook campus and is visible from planes flying overhead, is also prison slang for “horse’s ass carrying keys.”《设计:欲望的发明》(Design: The Invention of Desire)是一本深思熟虑又非常有用的新书,作者是设计师兼理论家杰西卡·赫尔方(Jessica Helfand)。她解释了那个惊人的内核“骇客”(hack),这个词为硅谷所深爱,被绘在Facebook园区的院子里,从飞机上都能看见。在监狱里,它是用来指代“狱警”的俚语。To “hack” is to cut, to gash, to break. It proceeds from the belief that nothing is worth saving, that everything needs fixing. But is that really the case? Are we fixing the right things? Are we breaking the wrong ones? Is it necessary to start from scratch every time?做“骇客”就意味着切入、突击,打破。它源自那种没有任何事物值得保留,一切都需要被修理的信念。但是事实真的如此吗?我们是在修理需要修理的东西吗?我们是不是打破了不该打破的东西?每次都需要从零开始吗?Empathy, humility, compassion, conscience: These are the key ingredients missing in the pursuit of innovation, Ms. Helfand argues, and in her book she explores design, and by extension innovation, as an intrinsically human discipline — albeit one that seems to have lost its way. Ms. Helfand argues that innovation is now predicated less on creating and more on the undoing of the work of others.赫尔方指出,共情、谦卑、同情、良心:这些关键成分都是追求创新的过程中所缺失的。她在书中把设计,乃至创新,从本质上作为一个人文学科来探讨——尽管这个学科似乎已经迷失了的方向。赫尔方认为,如今,创新更多是基于毁掉别人的工作,而不是基于创造。“In this humility-poor environment, the idea of disruption appeals as a kind of subversive provocation,” she writes. “Too many designers think they are innovating when they are merely breaking and entering.”“在这样一个缺乏谦卑的环境下,‘扰乱’的概念显得像是一种颠覆性的挑衅,”她写道。“太多的设计师觉得他们是在创新,其实他们只是在破坏和闯入。”In this way, innovation is very much mirroring the larger public discourse: a distrust of institutions combined with unabashed confidence in one’s own judgment shifts solutions away from fixing, repairing or improving and shoves them toward destruction for its own sake. (Sound like a certain presidential candidate? Or Brexit?)在这层意义上,创新成了一段更宏大的公共话语的缩影:对制度的不信任,加上对自我判断的自以为是,让解决方案偏离了修补、修正或改善的目的,变成了为破坏而破坏(听上去像不像某位总统候选人?或者英国脱欧?)Perhaps the main reason these frivolous products and services frustrate me is because of their creators’ insistence that changing lives for the better is their reason for being. To wit, the venture capitalist Marc Andreessen, who has invested in companies like Airbnb and Twitter but also in services such as LikeALittle (which started out as a flirting tool among college students) and Soylent (a sort of SlimFast concoction for tech geeks), tweeted last week: “The perpetually missing headline: ‘Capitalism worked okay again today and most people in the world got a little better off.’ ”或许这些微不足道的产品与务令我烦恼的主要原因,是因为它们的创造者坚持认为,它们的存在就是为了让生活变得更好。马克·安德烈森(Marc Andreessen)上星期在Twitter上的言论也表达了这个意思:“你永远看不到的新闻:‘今天资本主义再次运行良好,世界上的大多数人生活得到改善’。”这位风险投资资本家曾经给Arirbnb和Twitter等公司投资,但也给LikeALittle(一开始是个大学生调情的工具)和Soylent(面向技术极客们的SlimFast类减肥食谱工具)等务投资。Meanwhile, in San Francisco, where such companies are based, sea level rise is ominous, the income gap between rich and poor has been growing faster than in any other city in the nation, a higher percentage of people send their kids to private school than in almost any other city, and a minimum salary of 4,000 is required to afford an average-priced home. Who exactly is better off?与此同时,在旧金山,很多这类公司的所在地,海平面以危险的势头上升,贫富之间的收入鸿沟增长得比这个国家的任何城市更快,送孩子去私立学校的人比例比任何城市都更高。需要至少25.4万的年薪才能住得起普通价格水平的房子。到底谁过得更好了?Ms. Helfand calls for a deeper embrace of personal vigilance: “Design may provide the map,” she writes, “but the moral compass that guides our personal choices resides permanently within us all.”赫尔方呼吁更多的个人警觉:“设计或许能够提供地图,”她写道,“但是能够指引个人选择的道德罗盘却永远存在于我们每个人的内心。”Can we reset that moral compass? Maybe we can start by not being a bunch of hacks.我们能重新校准我们的道德罗盘吗?或许我们应该从不做骇客开始。 /201607/455032。

Threats to the future of US science dominated discussion at the first big gathering of researchers since President Donald Trump took office.在美国总统唐纳德?特朗普(Donald Trump)上任以来的首个科研人员大会上,美国科学前景面临的威胁成为主要议题。The scientific community at this year’s American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting expressed fears about the new administration. Their concerns ranged from the White House’s reluctance to accept scientific evidence to an anticipated assault on parts of the federal research budget as well as hostility to immigrants on whom US science depends.在今年的美国科学促进会(American Association for the Advancement of Science)年会上,科学界表达了对美国新政府的担忧。他们担心的问题多种多样,从白宫不愿认可科学据,到联邦研究预算的某些部分预计会遭受重创,另外还有美国科学所仰仗的外来移民遭遇的敌意。“This is the first time in my 50-year career that I have seen people speaking up for science per se rather than about particular issues such as nuclear weapons,” Rush Holt, AAAS chief executive, said at the meeting in Boston. “I have never seen scientists more concerned about the process of science — and not just about where their grants are going to come from,” Mr Holt, a former physicist and Democratic congressman, said.美国科学促进会首席执行官拉什?霍尔特(Rush Holt)在这次于波士顿召开的会议上表示:“在我50年的职业生涯中,这是我头一次看到人们发声力挺科学本身,而不是谈论核武器等具体议题。”曾是物理学家和民主党众议员的霍尔特说:“我从未见过科学家如此担心科学的发展,而不仅仅是他们的经费将从哪里来。”Veteran attendees of AAAS conferences said they had never before felt such an atmosphere of anxiety. “All of us in this room know there is a great threat to science and scientific integrity,” Kenneth Kimmell, president of the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), a grassroots advocacy organisation, told a packed session entitled “Defending science and scientific integrity in the age of Trump”.曾多次参加美国科学促进会会议的与会者表示,以往会议上从未出现过这样的焦虑气氛。在一个参与者众多、名为“在特朗普时代捍卫科学和科学完整性”(Defending science and scientific integrity in the age of Trump)的主题会议上,草根倡议组织“忧思科学家联盟”(Union of Concerned Scientists)的总裁肯尼思?基梅尔(Kenneth Kimmell)表示:“这间屋子里的人都清楚,科学和科学完整性正面临巨大威胁。”“I have not seen anything like it in my lifetime,” said Mr Kimmell. “The days of carefully nuanced communication are over. We need to pack an emotional punch in speaking for science. Donald Trump is not pulling his punches and nor should we.”基梅尔表示:“我这辈子从未见过这样的事。谨慎细致沟通的时代结束了。我们需要动之以情、发声力挺科学。唐纳德?特朗普不会收回他的拳头,我们也不应该收回。”Scientists see a variety of troubling signs. These include the exclusion from meetings in the US of scientists with certain profiles, particularly individuals from mainly Muslim countries, restrictions on communication by federal scientists with other researchers and the public, and, as Mr Holt put it, “policymaking that is based on ideological assertion rather than on verifiable evidence. Public officials citing ‘alternative facts’ leave scientists dismayed”.科学家看到了各种令人忧心的征兆,包括禁止特定背景的科学家(尤其是来自穆斯林国家的人)参加在美召开的会议,限制联邦科学家与其他研究人员及公众沟通,还有就是像霍尔特所说的,“基于意识形态断言而不是可验的据来制定政策。公共官员援引‘另类事实’,令科学家感到沮丧”。There are also concerns that Mr Trump and the Republican-dominated Congress will impose big cuts in science spending, with environmental and climate research and public health likely to be hit hardest.还有人担心,特朗普和共和党主导的国会会大幅削减科研开,环境与气候研究以及公共健康很可能将首当其冲。In fact, President Trump has so far said almost nothing directly about science and has not yet appointed a chief scientist or science advisers. Nor has he engaged with senior scientific bodies such as the US National Academy of Sciences, in contrast to past incoming presidents of both political parties.事实上,到目前为止特朗普总统几乎从未直接谈及科学,而且也仍未任命一位首席科学家或科学顾问。此外,他也没与美国国家科学院(National Academy of Sciences)等高级科研机构接触,这与两党过去的新任总统都形成鲜明对比。This silence is disconcerting, according to Mr Holt. “Our concern is that the government will not have the scientific advice it needs,” he said. “If there is a crisis, advice from experts will be needed immediately.”霍尔特表示,这种沉默令人不安。他说:“我们担心,政府将得不到所需的科学建议。如果发生危机,需要马上得到专家的建议。”Not everyone is worried yet. Eric Lander, head of Boston’s Broad Institute, a leading molecular biology laboratory, told the FT: “As a scientist, I am in favour of waiting for evidence before drawing conclusions about President Trump and science.”不过,并非所有人都感到担忧。顶尖分子生物学实验室波士顿布罗德研究所(Broad Institute)所长埃里克?兰德(Eric Lander)向英国《金融时报》表示:“作为科学家,我倾向于等待据,然后再对特朗普和科学下结论。”When one conference participant labelled the US government “authoritarian” and “fascist” during the AAAS meeting, he was reproached by Kurt Gottfried, a co-founder of the UCS who was a child in Vienna when the Austrian capital was under Nazi control. “I want to warn you against overstating the case against Trump,” the physicist said.当一名与会者在美国科学促进会会议期间为这届美国政府贴上“威权”和“法西斯主义者”的标签时,他受到了忧思科学家联盟共同创始人库尔特?戈特弗里德(Kurt Gottfried)的责备。这位物理学家表示:“我想提醒你一下,不要夸大了反对特朗普的理由。”戈特弗里德童年时代生活在奥地利首都维也纳,当时这座城市是在纳粹(Nazi)掌控之下。Scientists are increasingly taking their concerns to the streets in demonstrations, including one with hundreds of protesters in central Boston on Sunday. These will culminate in a March for Science on April 22, Earth Day, in cities across the US and worldwide.越来越多的科学家正通过街头示威来表达他们的担忧,其中包括上周日在波士顿市中心举行的、有成百上千抗议者参加的一次示威。示威活动将在4月22日“世界地球日”(Earth Day)这天达到高潮,届时全美及世界各地的城市将举行“挺科学游行”(March for Science)。Some researchers are concerned the March for Science might be counterproductive and turn people against scientists, if they appear self-interested and politically partisan. “I am not going to march for science,” said James Gates, physics professor at the University of Maryland. “To have science represented as a political force is dangerous, and I don’t understand how the organisers of the march can guard against provocateurs.”部分科研人员担心,“挺科学游行”可能会产生反效果并让人们转而反对科学家——假如科学家们表现得自私自利并在政治上抱团的话。马里兰大学(University of Maryland)物理学教授詹姆斯?盖茨(James Gates)表示:“我不会参加‘挺科学游行’。把科学呈现为一股政治力量是危险的,我想象不出这场游行的组织者如何能够防范挑衅者。”But the organisers say they are determined to prevent the march being portrayed as an anti-Trump event. “There are a lot of smart people thinking about how to make sure the march does not lead to a partisan image for scientists,” said Gretchen Goldman, research director at the UCS Centre for Science and Democracy.不过,组织者们表示,他们决心防止这场游行被描绘为一次反特朗普的活动。忧思科学家联盟科学与民主中心(Centre for Science and Democracy)研究主任格蕾琴?戈德曼(Gretchen Goldman)表示:“有很多聪明人正在思考如何确保这场游行不会给人留下科学家结成朋党的印象。” /201702/493449。

In a 2005 piece in the Times, Jon Pareles called the British rock group Coldplay “the most insufferable band of the decade,” and he placed the blame on the band’s front man and singer, Chris Martin, whom he called a “passive-aggressive blowhard.” Earlier this year, in a study sponsored by the hotel chain Travelodge of the bedtime habits of 2,248 people in the U.K., Coldplay topped a poll of music choices that would help people fall asleep. Coldplay apparently relieves what Travelodge called the “pressures of modern living.” Martin may use the same metric to judge his band’s music. On coldplay.com, you can find a handwritten note, dated “Thursday 12 June London,” that addresses the recent release of the band’s fourth studio album, “Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends.” “I feel very relieved that the album is finally released out into the big wide world today,” it says. “I hope there’s songs on there that will make a shit day slightly less shit, or a good day even better.” The album sold more than seven hundred thousand copies in the first week of its release in the ed States. (Since the group’s début album, “Parachutes,” was released, in 2000, news items about the troubled entertainment conglomerate EMI routinely correlate the health of the corporation with the health of Coldplay.)Is Coldplay warm milk or just quietly dependable? Don’t ask Martin, who has transformed the English art of diffidence into a masochistic religion: “We owe them a career, really,” he has said of Radiohead. He has also said, “Like millions of people in the world, I can’t listen to Coldplay.” He’s half right about Radiohead—Coldplay exhibits a taste for melancholy and smeared, stretched-out sounds that leads straight back to Thom Yorke and his friends. The main antecedent is U2, who invented the form that Coldplay works within: rock that respects the sea change of punk but still wants to be as chest-thumping and anthemic as the music of the seventies stadium gods. Translated, this means short pop songs that somehow summon utterly titanic emotions and require you to skip around in triumphant circles and pump your fist, even if it is not entirely clear what you are singing about.The link to U2 has been made explicit on “Viva la Vida,” which was co-produced by Brian Eno, the man who moved U2 from a feisty, soccer-chant style into the expansive and hypnotic sound that has defined the rest of their career. The problem is that Coldplay doesn’t seem to have unplumbed depths, or a voice as distinctive as either Bono’s or the Edge’s, whose guitar is U2’s second vocalist. The guys in Coldplay are a sweet bunch, and their best songs are modest affairs. “Yellow” was the track that made them famous eight years ago. There’s some guitar work that echoes the Edge’s—chiming, small chords played high on the neck and repeated, over and over, pushing the song away from the divisions of song form and closer to the ecstasy of the drone (when it works)—but the core of the song is Martin serenading someone with the oldest trick in the book: “Look at the stars, look how they shine for you, and all the things that you do.” It’s a big fat “Aw!,” and it gets me every time.“Yellow” is one of Martin’s few straightforward lyrics. For the band’s second album, Martin started singing in free-floating slogans. “Am I part of the cure? Or am I part of the disease?” is a line from “Clocks,” perhaps the group’s loveliest song. The music evokes the song’s name, revolving around three circling and falling piano arpeggios. The payoff comes when Martin stretches out the words “you are” in a falsetto sung over the piano figure. You are what? Go figure, and I haven’t the slightest idea what is going on with the “tides” and the “clocks” in the lyrics. Doesn’t matter. “Clocks” is a big-budget “Ooh!” with lots of pretty lights—it works. At the end of the song, Martin repeatedly sings, “Home, home, where I wanted to go.” There’s the only part you need take note of—an essentially conservative sentiment, and probably a comfort zone for a guy who grew up thinking he wasn’t particularly cool and lost his virginity at the age of twenty-two.I’ve always wanted to like Coldplay for just that attribute. They’re a band of nice young lads being rewarded for niceness. But on the band’s third album, “Xamp;Y,” a need to Signify Something began to overwhelm the charm. The little bouquet of roses on the doorstep became an oversized vessel filled with cloying, synthetic gas.The title track of “Viva la Vida”—also known as the “iPod song,” because it is used in an Apple ad—is easily the best thing about the album. Don’t go to the lyrics for any cues; it is entirely obscure why such a jaunty, upbeat song would be referencing “Roman cavalry choirs” or revolutionaries or St. Peter. Martin is the king? Was the king? Whatevs. Coldplay knows how to build a song that draws you in with easy, karaoke-y moves. I spent a weekend hearing an eight-year-old and an eleven-year-old sing the song (fighting about the lyrics, and sometimes rewriting them), and I never tired of the melody. After that, though, you are on your own. There are Eno touches that catch the ear: the chattering strings and bell-like keyboards that close out “Death and All His Friends,” or the timbre of the instrumental “Life in Technicolor,” which sounds like it’s emanating from the end of a long metal tube. “Technicolor” is one of the album’s few concise, concentrated pieces of writing; the rest sounds both incomplete and puffed up, like scraps of previous records scrambled and rearranged. This upending of their style isn’t even radical enough to be bad. “Viva la Vida” is an album that keeps going out of focus, a series of disconnected pieces that is impossible to hold on to. And why are they wearing all those vaguely military jackets? What’s with Liberty leading the people on the cover? They must know that beyond the cozy confines of London there are a couple of major conflicts going on. It does not feel like the moment, especially for such a vague band, to be playing with any symbols of war. 2005年的一期泰晤士报中,乔恩帕雷利斯(Jon Pareles)把英国摇滚组合酷玩乐队称为“十年内最难以忍受的乐队”,而且归咎于乐队的名誉负责人和歌手马丁,并称他做“消极好斗的吹牛大王”。今年早些时候,由连锁酒店Travelodge赞助的一份研究对2248名英国人的睡眠习惯进行了调查,研究表明酷玩乐队名列床头音乐的首位。他们的音乐能明显减轻该酒店所谓的“现代生活压力”。其实马丁也可以使用同样的标准去评判他乐队的音乐。 在coldplay.com上,你能发现将一张手写的便条,写着"6月12日星期四 伦敦",并论及最近发布的第四张乐队专辑《Viva la vida or Death and all his friends》。网站上写道:“今天我感觉到非常宽慰,专辑终于得以流入这个万千世界”。我希望上面有歌曲能够使糟糕的日子变得没有那么糟糕,把美好的日子变得更加美好。专辑在美国发布后,首个星期已售出超过七十万张。 (自2000年乐队的首张专辑《Parachutes》发布以来,新闻消息总会说酷玩的命运关乎巨头EMI的生死)。究竟酷玩乐队是EMI的救命稻草还是仅仅比较可靠呢?问马丁也没用。他把英式的羞怯风格转为对忍受虐待的信仰。 "我们确实抢了他们饭碗",谈到电台司令时他这么说道。他也说过"像世界上数百万人一样,我不能去听酷玩的音乐"。不过他只说对了一半,酷玩乐队的音乐的确偏好一种邋遢而又模糊的延长音,能让人直接联想到电台司令的汤姆约克(Thom Yorke)和他的队友。其实这种效果的鼻祖主要是U2,是他们创造了酷玩乐队现在的演奏风格:这种摇滚顾及到了朋克的巨大改革,但仍然追求一种让人心跳加速的,像进行曲那般的效果,正如70年代室内摇滚天王的音乐。换言之,就是指那种短小的流行歌曲,虽然你不完全知道在唱什么,但它总能激起你巨大的情感,让你激动得蹦蹦跳跳,振臂高呼。布赖恩伊诺(Bryan Eno)监制的《Viva la vida》已经展示了专辑与U2的关系,因为布莱恩曾经把U2原来活跃的足球音乐风格改造成深邃的催眠音乐风格,而后者则造就了他们以后的职业生涯。但问题是酷玩乐队似乎没有如此深度,也没有波诺(Bono)或刀子(the Edge)那样有特色的嗓音,而且U2他们能把吉他演奏得像伴唱。酷玩那些家伙都很轻柔,他们最好的曲目也显得不愠不火。 《Yellow》他们八年前的成名曲。当中有几段吉他弹得像刀子演奏的钟音,就是不断重复在琴颈高处的小和弦。它使歌曲远离了各种音乐流派而更加接近低音所带来的迷幻效果(如果成功的话)。但该首歌曲的核心在于马丁用经岁月洗练的歌词所吟唱的这段小夜曲:"Look at the stars, Look how they shine for you, and all the things that you do."然后是丰富饱满的一声"ah-",每次都能触动我的心弦。马丁直抒胸臆的歌曲为数不多,《Yellow》是其中之一。在乐队的第二张专辑中,马丁开始使用较为自由的歌词。"Am I part of the cure? Or am I part of the disease?"这句歌词来自可能是酷玩最动人的歌曲——《Clocks》。 旋律照应了歌曲名,一直围绕着三个重复的钢琴下行琶音。 而高潮出现在马丁随着钢琴用假声唱出的"you are"。但曲中的"你"是什么呢?自己去猜吧。歌词中的什么"tides"和"clocks"我还完全没有头绪。不懂也没关系,重磅大碟《Clocks》在一片欢呼与光芒中的隆重推出取得了巨大成功。而在歌曲的结尾,马丁反复低唱"Home, home, where I wanted to go。" 只有那部分你才注意到他的那一份本质上深藏的情感,潜藏在小伙的心底的安全区域:这是一个从小就自认不是特别酷的男孩,是一个22岁时拥有了初夜的男孩。我总想出于这一点而去喜欢酷玩乐队:他们是一伙因善良而获得回报的年轻男孩。 但是乐队的第三张专辑"Xamp;Y",一种张示某种东西的欲望开始掩盖他们的魅力。 犹如门前台阶上的一小束玫瑰变成了一个发涨的罐头,还充满了令人反胃的人造毒气。《Viva la Vida》的同名歌曲也叫"iPod歌",因为苹果公司用来做了广告。它无疑是该专辑的亮点。但为什么这首轻松活泼的,积极向上的歌曲竟与"罗马骑兵唱诗班"或革命者或圣彼得扯上了关系?这的确让人很费解,你也不要期望在歌词中能找到头绪。马丁是那国王吗? 曾经当过那国王吗?管他呢。酷玩乐队知道如何去创造一首歌,能够用简单的卡拉OK节奏把你吸引住。我听着8岁和11岁的小孩唱这着首歌度过一个周末(虽然他们歌词都不熟,有时还改词)但我从不厌烦这首歌的旋律。 然而一曲终了,只有你独自一人能够感受到。曲中不乏伊诺式的悦耳魅力:低诉的弦乐与钟声般的键盘能将"死神和他所有朋友"都关在门外;而纯器乐曲《Life in Technicolor》的音色,则像从一个长金属管的末端中发出的绝响。《Life in Technicolor》也是专辑里少数短小精悍的曲目之一,其它的曲目听上去又空虚又不完整,像前一专辑的片段被打碎之后再重组,然而当中的破坏元素又够不上叛逆。《Viva la Vida》这张专辑将继续淡出人们视线,这一系列断断续续的专辑是很难让人追随的。另外他们为什么都穿上那些暧昧的军装?封面上带领着人民的除了自由是什么? 他们一定知道在舒适的伦敦之外还有几起主要的冲突在进行着。但把战争的元素加进演奏当中,特别是对于这样一风格模糊的乐队,好像还不是时候。 /200808/45585。