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2019年08月19日 23:18:32来源:大河互动

  • By the mid 1800s, the horse and the cowboy had come to symbolize the wild west. And of course, with the cowboys came cattle. As the bison quickly vanished from the landscape, cattle filled their place. 到19世纪中叶,马与牛仔成为了辽阔西部的象征。当然,既然提到牛仔,那么一定会提到牛。随着北美野牛快速地从大陆上消失,家牛取代了他们的位置。Meanwhile increasing numbers of the tame horses escaped into the wild. These feral horses became known by the Spanish name, mustang. They put extra pressure on the dwindling bison numbers by competing for their grazing sites and drinking holes. 与此同时,越来越多的被驯的马儿逃到了西部。这些野马成为了西班牙语中所称的“木斯塘马(mustang)”,它们数量的上升也给北美野牛的存活增添不少压力,它们与北美野牛争抢草原和水源。Mustangs form social groups led by a dominant stallion, echoing their prehistoric relatives that lived here during the Ice Age. 木斯塘马是一个群居的种族,由一匹占统治地位的公马领导整个族群,这一点和它们冰河时代栖息于此的史前亲戚相同。Bred to carry the weight of a rider, mustangs are larger than those early wild horses, but they still display the same kind of behavior. 木斯塘马是供人骑乘的,从体重看,他们比那些之前的野马体型更大,但是两种马匹的行为有很多相同之处。By the early 1800s, the wild horse was well and truly back in North America, but how did other wildlife on the continent survive alongside growing human populations?19世纪早期,野马真正回归北美大陆,但是大陆上其他的野外生物是怎么在人类数量速度增加的情况下存活的呢?Some wild creatures did the reverse of mustangs by becoming tame and choosing to live close to people. The purple martin became an unofficial mascot for native inhabitants in the eastern half of the continent. Here people erected special nesting sites to encourage the birds to stay.一些野外生物也和木斯塘马一样选择了追随人类并被其驯。在大陆的东半侧,北美洲紫燕在当地居民眼中是一种吉祥物。在这里,人类为紫燕建巢并希望这些鸟儿留在这里。英文文本来自普特英语,译文属未经许可不得转载。201311/266549。
  • Books and Arts; Book Review; Economic history;Centuries of trial and error;How economists rescued mankind from squalor and deprivation;文艺;书评;经济学史;数百年的反复试验;经济学家们如何救人类于悲惨贫穷;Grand Pursuit: The Story of Economic Genius. By Sylvia Nasar.《宏伟事业——经济学天才的故事》西尔维亚·娜萨著。In an essay in his popular magazine, Household Words, Charles Dickens issued a challenge to economists to humanise their discipline. “Political economy is a mere skeleton unless it has a little human covering and filling out,” he wrote in the inaugural issue in 1854. “A little human bloom upon it, and a little human warmth in it.”查尔斯·狄更斯曾经办了一本颇受欢迎的杂志,叫《家常话》,1854年,在创刊号上,他给经济学家提出了一项挑战,即要让经济学更人性化,他说,“没有一点人性为其蔽体、充实其血肉,政治经济学就是一具骷髅。要有一点人性才能让它开花,让它有温度。”This is a challenge to which economics and economists have mostly failed to rise. In her new book Sylvia Nasar, a former economics correspondent at the New York Times and now at Columbia University, has at least gone part of the way to satisfying Dickenss wishes. “Grand Pursuit” is a history of economics which is full of flesh, bloom and warmth. The author demonstrates that there is far more to economics than Thomas Carlyles “dismal science”. And she does so with all the style and panache that you would expect from the author of the 1998 bestseller, “A Beautiful Mind”, about John Forbes Nash, the tortured genius behind game theory.遗憾的是,大多时候,经济学以及经济学家并没有完成人性这点要求。但是,在这书里,狄更斯的愿望,至少已有部分得到满足。本书作者西尔维亚·娜萨,曾是《纽约时报》的经济专栏记者,如今就职于哥伦比亚大学,这本书记叙的经济学史有血有肉,有花有果,有热情有温度,作者可算明了经济学不是托马斯·卡莱尔所讲的“沉闷的科学”。娜萨还写过一本书《美丽心灵》,那是1998年的畅销书,讲述受精神分裂症折磨的弈论天才约翰·福布斯·纳什的故事。对于《美丽心灵》的作者,其文风和辞藻在《宏伟事业》中得到延续,不失读者所望。It turns out that economists—or at least the handful of geniuses that Ms Nasar discusses—are a peculiarly interesting bunch. John Maynard Keynes was an exotic mixture of Bloomsbury intellectual and civil-servant mandarin with a touch of Puck thrown in. Joseph Schumpeter was an obsessive scholar who spent his spare moments riding thoroughbreds, collecting mistresses and, on the odd occasion, taking part in orgies. Irving Fisher, the Yale economist who declared, in October 1929, that stocks had reached “what looks like a permanently high plateau”, was a health nut and prohibitionist. Joan Robinson, whom Schumpeter dubbed “one of our best men”, wore Mao suits and pronounced that North Korea was bound to outperform the South.原来经济学家都是特别有趣的一群人,至少娜萨女士在书里写的那些天才们都特别有趣。约翰·梅纳德·凯恩斯是英国伦敦布鲁姆斯伯里区知识分子和政界要人的结合,还有点英国民间传说中迫克精灵的味道,是个奇怪的混合体。约瑟夫·熊彼得醉心学问,闲暇时爱骑好马,爱搜猎情人,偶尔参与狂欢。而耶鲁大学经济学家欧文·费希尔是一位十分注重健康生活的人,奉行禁酒,他在1929年十月判断股市到达“永久性的高点”。熊彼得封之为“我们最好的男人之一”的琼·罗宾逊夫人,喜欢穿中山装,断言朝鲜必定会胜过韩国。Ms Nasars story is made all the more appealing by the fact that she does almost nothing to conceal her prejudices. She has little time for Karl Marx, a man who was so convinced of his rightness, and so buried in his books in the British Library, that he failed to observe the world around him. He did not bother to visit a single British factory. He refused to exchange a word with the intellectual titans of the time, including Charles Darwin and George Eliot, both of whom lived just a few miles from his front door. He ignored overwhelming statistical evidence that the working classs share of the nations wealth was increasing. By contrast, Alfred Marshall was everything that Marx was not: the embodiment of all that was best in Victorian high- mindedness. Marshall was alive to what was going on around him. He frequently visited factories and firms, and travelled around the worlds new “empire of energy”, the ed States. He threw his weight behind popular education and incremental reform.娜萨女士从不费心遮掩自己的偏见,这让她的故事更有可读性。书中关于卡尔·马克思的篇幅甚短。马克思对自己的公正颇有信心,但他总在大英国书馆埋头读书,没有时间去好好观察身边的世界,他连一家英国工厂都没去参观过,也拒绝和当时思想大家交流。查尔斯·达尔文和乔治·艾略特离他住地几英里外,他们却从未讲过话。势不可挡的统计数据,足以表明工人阶级占有国家财富的份额在增长,他对此视而不见。阿尔弗雷德·马歇尔与马克思截然相反,他是维多利亚时期优秀品质的化身,关心身边世界,经常访问工厂企业,环游世界新的“活力帝国”——美国。他全心全力持大众教育和逐渐改革。In lesser hands Ms Nasars story might have degenerated into a series of pen portraits: tittle-tattle for the middlebrow. But she unifies her account with a series of big questions. How, for example, did humanity escape from the grinding poverty that has been its lot through most of human history? Why was a static society replaced by a dynamic one? And how best to cope with the booms and busts that have been capitalisms peculiar contribution to human life?如果娜萨女士文笔稍差一些,这些故事就要成了一堆钢笔肖像速写,成了关于一帮知识界平庸人物的杂淡。但是她用一些大问题对叙述加以统一,比如,人类是如何从占据其历史大部分时间的凄惨贫穷中逃离出来的?比如,为何动态社会取代了静态社会?又比如,资本主义给人类生活带来它特有的贡献——经济繁荣与衰退的循环往复,对此什么才是最好的处理方式?In Marxs view the capitalist system, for all its ability to unleash productive power, was haunted by a contradiction: the drive to increase profits would immiserate the poor and lead to crises of overproduction. But Marshall demonstrated that capitalism advances not by immiserating the poor, but by boosting productivity. Factory owners make relentless small improvements that allow them to produce both higher wages and lower prices, thereby sping the gains of material progress throughout society. Schumpeter further expanded the idea of productivity increases. The economy doesnt simply get bigger and bigger. It goes through a constant process of discombobulation as entrepreneurs invent new products and processes. Marx got it upside down: capitalisms recurrent crises actually make it stronger.在马克思看来,资本主义系统,虽然能解放生产力,却有着不可调和的矛盾,即对高额利润的追逐将让劳苦大众的生活更为悲惨,并导致生产过剩,出现经济危机。但是根据马歇尔的论,资本主义的发展并非依靠加大对穷人的剥削,而是靠着提高生产力。工厂主永不停止地进行微小的改进,因此在提高工资的同时能降低产品价格,从而使物质的进步惠及整个社会。熊彼得进一步充实了生产力发展的观点,经济的发展并非简单地变得越来越大,随着企业家发明新产品新工作程序,它经常经历混乱。马克思没有认识到周期性的经济危机事实上发展了资本主义。Economics was a practical as well as an analytical science. From the left, Beatrice Potter Webb argued that mass destitution could be cured by “the household state”. Fisher showed that good management of the money supply could contribute to stability. Keynes insisted that crises could be prevented if the government could act as the spender of last resort, just as the central bank was lender of last resort.经济学是一门分析科学,也是一门实践科学。比阿特丽斯·波特·韦伯认为“每个家庭自为国家”能够解决大众贫穷的问题,费希尔让我们知道,对货帀供应进行良好管理有助于保持经济稳定。凯恩斯坚持认为,如果政府能在最后时刻出手消费,中央能在最后时刻提供贷款,便能阻止经济危机的发生。“Grand Pursuit” peters out at the end. It is easy to see why Ms Nasar thought Amartya Sen might be the right terminus for her train. He is an economic genius who has devoted his life to thinking about the elimination of the most dramatic form of want: famine. But it is, nevertheless, odd to end a history of economics without discussing the financial crisis of 2007-08 and the furious arguments it has engendered within the economics profession. Surely the likes of Paul Krugman and Lawrence Summers should have had at least a walk-on role at the close of the story. But that is a blemish in what is generally a wonderful book. “Grand Pursuit” deserves a place not only in every economists study but also on every serious ers bedside table.《宏伟事业》逐渐进入尾声,娜萨女士选择阿马蒂亚·森作为本书最后一位经济学家,原因可以理解,阿马蒂亚·森是一位经济学天才,毕生研究怎样消除饥荒。但是,作为一本写经济学历史的书,没有论及2007-08年的经济危机以及由此产生的激烈论争就结束了,这不合常理。像保罗·克鲁格曼,劳伦斯·萨默斯这些人,本该在本书最后章节有所提及,。不过,这本书总体来说很精,《宏伟事业》不仅值得每一位经济学家研读,也可作为严肃书籍读者的床头书。 /201306/242929。
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