原标题: 泉州做无痛人流最佳时间平安助手
How Rocks Appear In Your GardenI wonder how many of us went out this past spring to get our gardens y for planting, smug in the thought that last year we got rid of all the rocks.There’s that nice big mound of them in the corner of the garden where we piled them. Surely by now they are all cleaned out.“Wait! What is this?!” A big stone, and another one, and another one! Where did they come from?Did some mischievous kid bury a bunch of them for me to find this spring? Well, that could be,But maybe this time the kids were actually innocent.Any place that has winters cold enough to freeze the ground might experience the magical appearance of rocks welling up from beneath the surface.This is so common in the eastern U.S. that the rocks are called “New England potatoes.”Here’s what makes these stones mysteriously appear. Stones are better conductors of heat than soil, so the stone conducts heat away from the warmer soil beneath it.That colder soil under the rock then freezes before other dirt at the same depth.Remember that when water freezes it expands. So, when the water in the soil under the rock freezes, it expands and pushes the rock up a little.When the ground thaws a space is left under the stone which fills with dirt, so the stone rests a little higher.Over a period of time this repeated freezing, expanding, upward push, and filling underneath eventually shoves the rock to the surface. /201205/184265Its todays TechBytes, General Motors is looking to make driving safer and easier. The auto maker is developing technology that turns the entire windshield into a display to assist drivers in difficult conditions. The system relies on sensors and cameras inside and outside vehicles to pick up on things that driver might not see, for example, when its foggy, the cameras can identify where the edge of the road is and display that information on the windshield. GM does not expect this technology to be in cars though for several more years.欢迎收看今天的TechBytes。通用洗车正在努力使驾驶变得更安全,更便捷。通用汽车制造商正在研究一种技术,将整个挡风玻璃变成屏幕,以在恶劣环境中有效地辅助驾驶员了解地面状况。这种系统依靠车内外的传感器和摄像头将驾驶者可能有的死角一览无遗,例如,大雾时摄像机能够捕捉道路的边缘并在屏幕上显示。通用汽车期望这项发明能在几年后面世。Or you may not realize it, but your cell phone charger draws energy even when your phone is not plugged in. But ATamp;T says it has a solution to the problem. The zero charger automatically shuts down when not in use, so you never have to unplug it. ATamp;T will begin selling it in May for 30 dollars. 或许你发现了,只要手机电池不在充电状态就会消耗电量。但美国电话电报公司ATamp;T表示这个问题可以解决。零消耗电池将不在使用状态下的手机电源自动关闭,因此你不用每次动电源了。ATamp;T表示这种手机电池预计售价30美元。PayPal has a new iPhone app that gives you one more reason to leave your cash and checks at home. The app makes it easy to transfer money between friends to do things like split a restaurant bill, to send money to people can simply bump their phones together or users can choose someone from their contact list. Users can also request money or manage their account with the software. The app is free to download. 贝宝(全球最大的在线付平台,PayPal)出品的一款iPhone应用为你节省了不少。这款应用使转账更加便捷。你可以轻松和朋友AA制一顿大餐,汇款给朋友的手机账户,或是直接汇给联系人中的任何一位。用户还可以用这款软件要求对方付款或管理账户。这款应用可以免费下载。And finally a new way to go star-gazing without even going outside. Microsoft has added a new feature to Bing maps that allows users to see what the stars look like from any point on earth. The application is called the world wide telescope and it gives people a real time view of whats happening in space around the earth. It also maps out the planets, the solar system and anything not on earth. Users can just pinpoint what they are looking for and fly right to it.最后一则消息,足不出户也可以观测星迹。微软在必应地图上添加了新功能,用户在陆地上就可以看到头顶的星群。这款应用被称为“世界天文镜”,它使用户真正了解到世界各地正在发生的事,同时它还定位了宇宙中的星体,包括太阳系和一切地球以外的星体。用户只需点击想了解的星球,就能了解它一切了。For information and all these stories log on to the technology page of A news.com. Its your Techbytes, Im Jeremy Hubbard.想了解更多详情,请登录网站A news.com。这就是今天的Techbytes,感谢收看,我是Jeremy Hubbard。plug in 插上电源注:本篇文章英文来自普特论坛,译文属原创,,。201207/191793

What’s So Special About A Sharp Knife?Everyone knows that a sharp knife cuts better than a dull one, but do you know why, exactly?The purpose of the cutting edge of a knife is to concentrate the force that’s being applied at the handle.When you push down on the handle of a knife you exert a force. The force on the handle and the edge are the same, but the areas in which the force is concentrated are quite different.At the handle your hand’s force is sp over a wide area, but on the cutting edge it is concentrated in a very small area, so therefore the pressure on the edge is much greater.You can easily see how this works with a piece of modeling clay, a nail with a wide head, and a nail with a small head. First hold the nail with the wide head by its shaft and push it head-first into the ball of clay. Then do the same with the small-headed nail.The small-headed nail goes into the clay much more easily than the wide-headed nail. Since the head of the small nail has less surface area than the big one, the force of your push is concentrated in a smaller area, exerts more pressure on the clay, and so the nail goes in more easily. The same principal causes pointed high-heeled shoes to sink into a soft surface more easily than flat shoes.By applying this principal to the knife you can see that with a keener edge there’s a greater concentration of the pressure on the edge, so it takes much less force to make the knife cut. /201205/184745

Business.商业。E-ers.电纸书。Turning the page.微软和Bamp;N相逢一笑泯恩仇。Microsoft and Barnes amp; Noble write their own love story.微软和Barnes amp; Noble共写爱情故事。LAST July Barnes amp; Noble gave a presentation to the antitrust division of Americas Department of Justice.去年七月Barnes amp; Noble向美国司法部反托拉斯部门做了一个演示。In slide after slide, the bookseller laid into Microsoft.Barnes amp; Noble的每张幻灯片都在攻击微软。The software giant, it thundered, was guilty of ;anti-competitive behaviour; in demanding royalties from makers of mobile devices (such as the Nook, Barnes amp; Nobles e-er) that used Android, Googles open-source mobile operating system.它怒斥微软这家软件巨头违法,因为微软向生产使用安卓(谷歌的手机开源操作系统)移动设备的厂商收取专利使用费是;反竞争行为;(例如Barnes amp; Noble的电子书阅读器Nook)。The bookseller sniffed that Microsoft owned only ;trivial; patents and reminded the department of the software companys past trespasses against competition.Barnes amp; Noble讥讽微软只拥有一些不重要的专利并向提醒司法部微软以往的反竞争行为。Nine months later, the bookworms and the geeks are the best of friends.九个月后,书虫和极客成为了最好的朋友。On April 30th Barnes amp; Noble said it was creating a subsidiary, called NewCo for now, into which it would put Nook and its ;college; business, which has 641 bookshops on American campuses.4月30日,Barnes amp; Noble宣布成立名为NewCo的分公司,该公司主营Nook和在美国校园拥有641家书店的;高校;业务部。Microsoft is putting up 0m for 17.6% of NewCo.微软注资3亿美元,拥有17.6的股份。People will be able to buy and e-books through a Nook application for Windows 8, a new incarnation of Microsofts operating system that is due to appear in a few months.人们将能通过WIN8版Nook应用购买和阅读电子书。WIN8是微软的新版操作系统,将在数月后问世。Microsoft will pay NewCo an advance of 0m over three years for such purchases, plus 5m over five years to buy content and develop technology.微软将会提前付1.8亿美元的三年使用费,并付额外的1.25亿美元用于之后五年的内容购买和技术开发。The squabbles over patents have been settled: Microsoft is giving Barnes amp; Noble a licence for the Nook and will get royalties in return.专利之争已经平息:微软给予Barnes amp; Noble的Nook许可并获得专利使用费。For now at least, the Nook will remain an Android, not Windows, device.最起码就目前而言,Nook将仍然是安卓阵营成员而非windows成员。The agreement values NewCo at .7 billion, more than twice Barnes amp; Nobles market capitalisation before it was announced.协议中将NewCo估价为17亿美元,超过协议公布前Barnes amp; Noble市值的两倍。The booksellers share price rose by 50% on the day of the deal—which tells you what investors think of the dead-tree end of the trade.协议达成当天Barnes amp; Noble股价上涨50%,这表明投资者对这个实体书过时行业的看法。The alliance should bring Barnes amp; Noble not only cash but also new ers of digital books and magazines, especially outside the ed States.两公司联合不仅仅给Barnes amp; Noble带来资金还要带来新的电子书刊读者,尤其是美国外的读者。In the fourth quarter of 2011, according to Tom Mainelli of IDC, a research firm, Barnes amp; Noble accounted for one-fifth of the 7m e-ers shipped in America—against a mighty three-quarters for Amazon, maker of the Kindle (see chart).调查机构IDC的Tom Mainelli表示,2011年第四季度美国市场新推出的七百万的电子书阅读器中,Barnes amp; Noble占有五分之一,而Kindle的生产商亚马逊囊括了四分之三(见图)。But Barnes amp; Noble shipped no Nooks elsewhere, which helps explain why it had only 14% of the global market.但是Barnes amp; Noble只在美国销售Nook,这也解释了为什么它只拥有14%全球市场。Via the Nook app, non-Americans will also be able to leaf through Barnes amp; Nobles digital catalogue.通过Nook应用,其他国家的居民也可以浏览Barnes amp; Noble的电子产品目录。Microsoft is in effect buying a second bash at a market where it made an early but unsuccessful start.实际上这是微软在早期打入电纸书市场失败后的第二次尝试。It launched its own e-er software all of 12 years ago.12年前,微软就曾发布过自己的电纸书软件。The deal with Barnes amp; Noble, bringing lots of content with it, may give people an extra reason to buy Windows 8 tablets (a likelier choice for e-ing than smartphones, laptops or desktops) when they appear.这次与 Barnes amp; Noble的协议又加入了诸多内容,这使得上市后购买WIN 8平板电脑的人们多了一个理由(就电子阅读来说平板电脑是比智能手机,笔记本或台式机更好的选择)。The bundling of Barnes amp; Nobles college business into NewCo indicates a hope that a fair few of these customers will be students.Barnes amp; Noble的大量高校业务融入NewCo,这意味着多数客户有望是学生。Allen Weiner of Gartner , another research firm, suggests that through campus bookshops Barnes amp; Noble could sell Windows devices pre-loaded with course material.调查机构高德纳公司的Allen Weiner暗示通过校园书店,Barnes amp; Noble可以销售预先装有课程材料的Windous设备。Of course, others are after students dollars too. Apple recently started selling interactive digital textbooks for the iPad, far and away the biggest-selling tablet (among its publishing partners is Pearson, part-owner of The Economist).当然其他公司也对大学生市场虎视眈眈。苹果公司最近开始为其卖得最好的平板电脑ipad销售互动电子书(合作出版社之一是Pearson,也是经济学人的股东之一)。But Mr Weiner points out that Microsoft and Barnes amp; Noble have some advantages. Lots of students write notes and essays with Microsofts Office software, which is not available on the iPad.但是Weiner指出微软和Barnes amp; Noble有优势,许多学生使用微软的office软件做笔记,写文章,而ipad上却没有这一软件。And although Amazon sells and rents a lot of paper textbooks, it has not done much with digital ones.而且尽管亚马逊销售出租大量纸质教材,却并没有过多涉及电子版教材。The tie-up with Barnes amp; Noble makes three of a kind for Microsoft: cheap deals with struggling but established partners in markets where it is weak and sees a chance to do much better.与Barnes amp; Noble公司的合作关系是微软完成了第三项同类合作:在表现不佳有大量上升空间市场里以廉价的合同和经营不佳但在业内已树起口碑的公司签约合作。In it struck an agreement with Yahoo!年,微软与雅虎就网上搜索达成协议。in online search. Last year Nokia became the prime conduit for Windows in smartphones.去年,诺基亚成为windows智能手机的最佳渠道。With Barnes amp; Noble it is having another stab at e-ing. Unlike the books on the Nook, this tale is still being written.而与Barnes amp; Noble合作,则可以打入电子阅读市场。不像Nook上的电子书那样,这个故事依旧在继续。 /201209/201652Are Tanning Beds Safe?日光浴床安全吗?Millions of people go to tanning salons, some to get a base tan before they go away on a beach vacation. The idea of the base tan is that it will protect you from burning on your sun excursion, so that what you end up with is a darker tan rather than a lobster face and discomfort.数百万的人在海滨度假之前去日晒沙龙,一些人的皮肤会晒成棕褐色。把皮肤晒成棕褐色,是因为它可以保护你免于晒伤,因此最终你的皮肤将变得更黑,而不是变红或是感觉不舒。But does a base tan protect your skin from ultraviolet damage you cant see? And how safe are tanning beds themselves?但是棕褐色皮肤真的可以使你的皮肤免遭那些你看不见的紫外线伤害吗?The Truth About Tanning日光浴的真相Dermatologists say that just one trip to the tanning salon can produce DNA damage that can cause skin cancer. Tanning booths emit about ninety-five percent ultraviolet A light and five-percent ultraviolet B light.皮肤病学家称仅仅去一次日晒沙龙就可以引起致皮肤癌的DNA损害。人工日光浴场放射出约95%的紫外线A光和5%的紫外线B光。For some time, ultraviolet A light was thought to affect the aging of skin only. Now dermatologists know that ultraviolet A light, like ultraviolet B light, also causes genetic damage linked to skin cancer.有时,人们认为紫外线A光仅仅是影响皮肤老化。现在皮肤病学家们认识到,和紫外线B光一样,紫外线A光也会产生与皮肤癌有关的遗传性伤害。One study indicated that people who used tanning beds at least once were two-and-a-half times more likely to develop squamous cell skin cancer, and one-and-a-half times more likely to develop basal cell skin cancer. Tanning bed users are at an increased risk of melanoma too, the deadliest form of skin cancer.有研究表明,至少用过一次日光浴床的那些人得鳞状细胞皮肤癌的可能性要(比没用过的)高2.5倍,得基底细胞皮肤癌的可能性要高1.5倍。日光浴床使用者得黑素瘤的风险也增加了,这是一种最致命的皮肤癌。Skin Cancer And SPFs皮肤癌和防晒系数Not only can tanning inside lead to skin cancer, but the base tan that indoor tanning provides contains a sun protective factor of only about SPF-4. It doesnt offer good protection against sunburn or the genetic damage that can lead to skin cancer. Dermatologists recommend an over-the-counter sunscreen of SPF-15 or higher.日光浴不仅在内部能让人体得皮肤癌,而且即使是室内日光浴提供的“日晒”防晒系数也只有SPF4.它们没有提供良好的保护以免受致皮肤癌的晒伤或遗传性伤害。皮肤病学家们推荐使用防晒系数15或更高的非处方防晒霜。 /201209/201790Business The Oppenheimers Swapping gems for cash商业 宝石 交易What next for South Africas foremost mining family?南非最有影响力的矿业家族,下一步会如何?MOST people would be overjoyed to pocket .1 billion.在大多数人眼里,获得51亿美元是一件高兴的事。But Nicky Oppenheimer, the chairman of De Beers, said that it was with a heavy heart that his family had decided to sell its remaining 40% stake in the worlds biggest diamond miner to Anglo American, a mining behemoth.然而对于尼克 奥本海默而言,这位德比尔斯(全球最大,历史最悠久的钻石矿业公司)主席却不那么轻松。其家族海默家族已经决定向矿业巨头英美资源集团出售剩余的40%德比尔斯的股份。The deal marks the end of an era for South Africas foremost mining dynasty.而这次交易也标志这个南非矿业巨头辉煌时代的结束。The Oppenheimers have been in the diamond business for more than a century, including over 80 years with De Beers.海默家族涉足钻石业已超过一个世纪,其中80年在德比尔斯工作。Nickys grandfather Ernest settled in South Africa in 1902, having been posted to the diamond-boom town of Kimberley at the age of 22 as an agent for a London-based firm of gem traders.尼克的祖父欧内斯特在1902年定居在南非。在他22岁那年,作为一家总部在伦敦的钻石交易公司的代理,他外派到钻石业繁荣的小城金伯利。By 1917 he had set up his own mining company, Anglo American.1917年,他已有了自己的矿业公司,英美资源集团。A few years later he won control of De Beers, a diamond miner that had been founded in 1880 by Cecil Rhodes, a British-born colonialist.几年之后,他又掌控了德比尔斯,一家由英国殖民者塞西尔?罗兹于1880年创立的企业。By the time Rhodes died in 1902, De Beers controlled 90% of the worlds diamond production.1902年,也就是罗兹去世时间,德比尔斯钻石产量占据世界份额的90%。Rhodess immense fortune still pays for people like Bill Clinton to study at Oxford.至今,罗兹的巨额财富仍在付美国前总统克林顿在牛津大学学习的费用。Since 1929, when Sir Ernest (knighted for war services in 1921) took over as chairman, the Oppenheimers have led De Beers almost without interruption, massaging the price of diamonds by hoarding them and occasionally selling part of the firms stockpile.1929年,欧内斯特爵士成为德比尔斯主席。自此之后,海默家族一直经营着德比尔斯,并通过控制库存量来调控钻石价格。The family has wielded political influence, too, mostly bankrolling liberal causes.与此同时,海默家族为一些南非的自由事业提供资助,在政界也有一定的影响。Both Ernest and his son Harry served in South Africas parliament: Ernest for 14 years in the run-up to the second world war, and Harry for nine years as a member of the anti-apartheid opposition.另外,欧内斯特和儿子哈利也曾为南非议会务:欧内斯特在14年里为二战提供持,哈利也是种族主义的持者。Of late, however, the familys influence has waned.近来,海默家族的影响力却日渐衰弱。Some wonder whether Nicky and his son Jonathan have the same drive and acumen as their swashbuckling forebears.一些人就质疑尼克和他的儿子是否拥有先驱的进取心和洞察力。And Anglo American, the firm their family founded (and in which it now has a stake of 2%), moved its headquarters to London in 1999.而且英美资源集团,这个曾经海默家族一手打造的企业也在1999年把总部迁到了伦敦。Nicky Oppenheimer insists that the family will stay connected with South Africa: they are still based in Johannesburg.而尼克 奥本海默却坚持家族应该要立足于南非:其总部仍在约翰内斯堡。What will the Oppenheimers do with their new pile of cash?奥本海默家族又如何运用这笔钱?The deal will take months to complete, so they have time to ponder.这次交易历经数月才能完成,因而海默家族有着足够的时间来考量。Under its terms, they are barred from dabbling in diamonds for two years. But other possibilities abound.条款规定,他们在2年内禁止从事钻石行业。但不排除有其他可能他们将再次干起老本行。The family has two investment arms. One, called Stockdale Street Capital, invests largely in medium-sized firms in South Africa.海默家族有2个投资分部:斯托克代尔街资本,主要投资南非的中型企业。The other, Tana Africa Capital, is a joint venture with Singapores sovereign-wealth fund, Temasek, and invests in the rest of Africa.非洲塔纳资本,这家与新加坡淡马锡(主权财富基金公司)成立的合资公司则负责其余非洲的业务。Among other things, it holds a stake in a Nigerian firm that sells powdered milk, and it plans to build up five to ten substantial firms over the next decade.除了这些之外,家族还拥有一家尼日利亚的奶粉厂,并计划在近十年中投资在新建5到10个新工厂。At the moment, Tana is focused on fast-moving consumer goods and agriculture, and to a lesser extent on building materials, health and education.与此同时,塔纳资本愈发重视投资日益繁荣的消费品和农产品行业。同时,也在慢慢涉足建筑材料领域、健康领域和教育界。The new money could go into any or all of these areas, says James Teeger, a family spokesman.娜塔丽珍,这位家族的发言人声称,家族获得的资金会投资到这些行业中。And the Oppenheimers may also look at infrastructure and energy, two of the hottest businesses south of the Sahara.除此之外,基础设施和能源领域是作为撒哈拉沙漠南部最热门的行业,海默家族也在考量着对这两个领域进行投资。Nicky Oppenheimer is said to be furiously jetting around looking for shrewd places to inject his cash.据说,尼克四处打探消息,寻找可以投钱的最佳场所。 /201212/212908

Why The Sky Is Not Blue为什么天空不是统一的蓝色Look at various parts of the sky on a clear day and you will see that it is not a uniform blue. Even if the sky is deep blue when you look straight up, near the horizon it is lighter.抬头仰望天空,你会发现在晴朗的日子里,天空并不会呈现出统一的蓝色。即使你头顶上正对的这片天是深蓝色的,靠近地平线处的也会相对较浅一些。This is partly due to pollution, but even in the cleanest air the sky is lighter near the horizon due to the effect of earth’s atmosphere on sunlight. When the rays of sunlight enter the atmosphere, the atmosphere tends to deflect the light from its straight-line path from the sun to the earth, and sp it around the sky, a process that is called scattering.部分原因要归咎于污染,但是就算是在最干净的空气中,贴近地平线处的天空颜色也会比较浅,这是由于地球大气层对阳光的影响。当太阳光线进入到大气层时,大气层会使阳光直行进入的路线产生偏离,并使光线散布于天空中,这个过程就叫做散射。If all the colors were sp equally the sky would look white, since all of the colors of light combined make white light. But the atmosphere does not sp all colors equally in all parts of the sky, and that is why the sky is not a uniform color.如果所有颜色的光线都均匀分散开来,那么天空看上去就会是白色的,因为所有颜色的光线组合起来就是白光。但是大气层不会把所有颜色的光线均匀分布在整个天空中,这就是为什么天空看上去不是统一的颜色的原因。The color that is most ily sp is blue. So when we look up on a clear day we see blue sky, since the sunlight has had to pass through the least atmosphere, and fewer of the other colors of light have been sp.最容易发生散射的是蓝色的光。由于阳光能够穿透最薄的大气层,并且只有少量颜色的光会发生散射,因此在晴朗的天气里,我们看到天空呈现出的就是蓝色。However, closer to the horizon the sunlight must pass through more of the atmosphere before it reaches our eyes. This gives the rays of other colors of light a chance to be sp so that the light reaching our eyes is more a mixture of all the colors and therefore appears lighter.然而,在越靠近地平线的地方,阳光在进入我们的视野之前必须要穿过的大气层也就越厚,这就为其他颜色的光发生散射提供了机会。这样一来,进入我们视线的阳光就更像是所有颜色的光的混合体,因此会看上去会比较浅一些。 /201207/189140

The Orphan Drug Act is not about children without parents. The term “orphan drugs” refers to medical products that would not be adopted by major pharmaceutical companies because they serve only a very small portion of the population—people with rare diseases.这个孤儿药法案与失去父母的孩子无关。孤儿药品这个术语是指非主要制药公司生产的药品。因为那些主要的制药公司只为小众——即患有罕见疾病的人群提供务。A rare disease is defined by the Orphan Drug Act as one that affects fewer than 200,000 people —some only affect 100. Prior to the act, large drug companies had little incentive to research and develop new drugs for such patient groups. The people who suffered from these disorders were often just out-of-luck.孤儿药法将罕见疾病定义为在世界范围内患病人数小于20万的疾病,某些罕见疾病的患病人数只有100人。在这条法案形成之前,大型的制药公司缺少为这样的病人群体研发新药品的动力。那些患病的人们只能认倒霉了。In 1980, Representative Henry Waxman from California, began to hold hearings in Congress to look into the problem of those suffering from rare diseases. But his efforts sparked little interest, until actor Jack Klugman heard about it, and thought “orphan drugs” would be a good topic to highlight on his TV show Quincy.1980年,来自加利福利亚的议会代表亨利·韦克斯曼开始在国会开庭审理案件,调查这些罕见疾病患者的情况。但他的工作并没有引起多少人的兴趣,直到男演员杰克·克卢格曼听说此事。他觉得“孤儿药法”可以作为自己主持的电视节目“昆西”的主题,肯定能引发广泛的关注。His programs caught the attention of millions of Americans who wanted to help, and were a major factor in helping to move the bill through Congress. on January 4, 1983, the Orphan Drug Act became law, providing tax credits and marketing protections to pharmaceutical companies developing “orphan drugs”. Since then, this law has helped the lives of millions of Americans, whose fate looked bleak because of their affliction with a rare disease.他的节目一经上映便引起上百万热心美国人的关注,他们在促使国会通过这条法案上起了重要作用。孤儿药法案于1983年1月4日生效,该法案为采纳“孤儿药法案”的制药公司提供税收抵免和营销保护等优惠政策。自此,这条法律挽救了上百万美国人的生活,使他们的命运不再因为罕见疾病的折磨而继续惨淡下去。原文译文属!201211/208007Science and Technology Collective behaviour科技 集体行为A groups ;intelligence; depends in part on its members ignorance集体的;智商;部分取决于成员的无知HUMAN beings like to think of themselves as the animal kingdoms smartest alecks. It may come as a surprise to some, therefore, that Iain Couzin of Princeton University believes they have something to learn from lesser creatures that move about in a large crowd. As he told the AAAS meeting in Washington, DC, groups of animals often make what look like wise decisions, even when most of the members of those groups are ignorant of what is going on.人类常常自诩为最聪明的动物。事实真的如此吗?美国普林斯顿大学Iain Couzin认为人类需要向其他生物学习,学习他们的集体行为。正如他在华盛顿美国科学促进会的会议上所说,动物群体往往会做出明智的决定,即便群体中的大多对所发生的事情一无所知。Coming to that conclusion was not easy. Before lessons can be drawn from critters perched on the lower rungs of the evolutionary ladder, their behaviour must first be understood. One way to do this is to tag them with devices that follow them around—motion-capture sensors, radio transmitters or global-positioning-system detectors that can put a precise figure on their movements.得出这个结论并不容易。想要从低等生物上获得研究结果,首先得了解他们的行为。一种做法就是用仪器来捕捉他们的行动,如:动作捕捉感应器,无线电发射器或全球定位系统探测器,这些仪器可以把他们的动作准确记录下来。Unfortunately, it is impossible to tag more than a few individuals in a herd, flock or swarm.Researchers have therefore tended to extrapolate from these few results by using various computer models. Dr Couzin has done quite a bit of this himself. Most recently, he has modelled the behaviour of shoals of fish. He posited that how they swim will depend on each individuals competing tendencies to stick close to the others (and thus move in the same direction as them) while not actually getting too close to any particular other fish. It turns out that by fiddling with these tendencies, a virtual shoal can be made to swirl spontaneously in a circle, just like some real species do.不幸的是,要想标记出一大群动物的行为几乎是不可能的。研究人员因此倾向于通过使用各种计算机模型来推断这些鲜为人知的结论。Couzin士身先士卒。最近,他用计算机模仿了鱼群的行为。他设想,鱼群的游动主要取决于每条鱼之间的相互挤碰(因此鱼群会向着一个方向游动),而实际上并不会挤碰旁边的其他鱼,只是一种趋势而已。事实明,鱼群内部像这样彼此间的相互挤碰,不自然的就会是鱼群形成螺旋状。That is a start. But real shoals do not exist to swim in circles. Their purpose is to help their members eat and avoid being eaten. At any one time, however, only some individuals know about—and can thus react to—food and threats. Dr Couzin therefore wanted to find out how such temporary leaders influence the behaviour of the rest.表面如此,但是真正的鱼群是不会螺旋状游动的。他们的真正目的其实是相互帮助觅食和躲避掠食者。然而,任何时候只有鱼群中的少数才会会对食物和威胁作出反应。因此,Couzin士十分想弄明白这些所谓的;领导;是如何影响鱼群的行为的?He discovered that leadership is extremely efficient. The larger a shoal is, the smaller is the proportion of it that needs to know what is actually going on for it to feed and avoid predation effectively. Indeed, having too many leaders with conflicting opinions results in confusion. At least, that is true in the model. He is now testing it in reality.他发现,领导力至关重要。鱼群越大,花在捕食和躲避掠食者方面的精力就越少。而事实上,领导太多,意见相左,就会陷入混乱,至少在模拟试验中是这样。现在,他要在真实的环境中开始测试了。Tracking individual fish in a shoal is hard. Fortunately, advances in pattern-recognition software mean it is no longer impossible. Systems designed to follow people are now clever enough not only to track a person in a crowd, but also to tell in which direction his head is turned. Since, from above, the oval shape of a human head is not unlike the oblong body of a fish, this software can, with a little tweaking, follow piscine antics, too.追踪鱼群中的个体十分的困难,幸运的是,外形识别软件的进步意味着它不再成为不可能。人类行为识别系统已经十分的智能化了,不仅能在人群中追踪个体,而且还可以告诉他的头正朝向哪里。从上面看,既然人类头颅的椭圆形状与鱼类长圆型的体型没区别不大,那么,这个软件只需稍加调整便可识别鱼了。机器鱼Robo fishDr Couzin has been using a program developed by Colin Twomey, a graduate student at his laboratory, to track individual fish in a tank. The result is not just a model of shoaling fish, but a precise numerical representation of their actual movements and fields of vision. That means it is possible to investigate whether real-life fishy leaders have the same effect on a group as their virtual kin.Couzin士一直在使用研究生科林图梅开发的一个程序,该程序能追踪鱼缸里的鱼的行为。研究结果不仅能反映整个鱼群的活动,并且能用数字精确地表示出鱼群的确切行动和视野。这意味着它可以研究出是否鱼群中的;领导;对整个鱼群有影响。Alas, merely observing a shoal does not make it clear which individuals lead and which follow. Instead, Dr Couzin has built a biddable robot three-spined stickleback. A preliminary study of a shoal of ten flesh-and-blood sticklebacks shows that they do indeed mingle with the robot and that they follow its leadership cues as predicted. He is now making a robot predator to see how the shoal reacts to less benign intruders.唉,只观察鱼群不能说明鱼群中谁是领导,谁是追随者。相反,Couzin士已经设计了一条机器三刺鱼。通过把机器三刺鱼跟10条真正的三刺鱼混在一起对进行研究——正与先前的预测一样,他们的确听其号令。现在,士正在做一个机器捕食者,看看鱼群对这些凶恶入侵者将会会做出如何反映。If the models are anything to go by, the best outcome for the group—in this case, not being eaten—seems to depend on most members being blissfully unaware of the world outside the shoal and simply taking their cue from others. This phenomenon, Dr Couzin argues, applies to all manner of organisms, from individual cells in a tissue to (rather worryingly) voters in the democratic process. His team has aly begun probing the question of voting patterns. But is ignorance really political bliss? Dr Couzins models do not yet capture what happens when the leaders themselves turn out to be sharks.如果这些模型能够说明问题,要得出最好的结果——没有被吃掉,似乎取决于鱼群中的大多数对周围所发生的情况一无所知,而只是默默地接受其他鱼的暗示。这种现象,Couzin士认为在所有生物体中都存在,无论是单个细胞生命,还是在民主进程中(令人担忧的)的选民。士的研究小组已经着手开始使用这一成果来研究投票形式的问题了,可是,无知真的会带来政治上的福音吗?Couzin士的模型没能明,如果鱼群中的;领导;变成鲨鱼会怎样? /201301/218356

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