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2020年01月21日 12:10:55 | 作者:好医专家 | 来源:新华社
日本——测测你的笑有多少“aH”Japanese professor Yoji Kimura believes laughter is a weapon that in healthy doses can end the world's wars. To measure it, the expert on communications has invented a machine to chart out laughter -- and a new unit of "aH" to calculate it."We have found that children laugh more freely, releasing 10 aH per second, which is about twice as much as an adult," Kimura, a professor at Kansai University in the western city of Osaka, told reporters on Friday."Adults tend to calculate whether it's appropriate to laugh and under those restraints they eventually forget how," he said."Laughing is like a restart function on a computer. Laughing freely is very important in the course of human evolution," he said.Kimura, who believes in "a shift from a century of wars to a century of humour and tolerance," has studied the science of laughter for decades in Osaka, the hub of Japan's stand-up comedy scene.In his theory, human laughter is produced in four successive emotional stages -- letting loose, then deviating from the norm, followed by freely laughing and then having the laughter overflow."I believe there is a circuit in the human brain that creates laughter through these steps to the stage of overflowing," Kimura said confidently. "Understanding this mechanism is the door to resolving one secret of human beings."To measure laughter, he attaches sensors on the skin of a tested subject's stomach, particularly the diaphragm, and detects muscle movements."I have a theory that humour detected in the brain gets directly discharged through the movement of diaphragm," he said.By checking the movement of the diaphragm and other parts of the body, it will be possible to see if a person is only pretending to laugh while also distinguishing different types of laughter such as derision and cynicism, Kimura said.Kimura wants to make the measuring device as small as a mobile phone and possibly market it as a health and amusement gadget.Kimura said he planned to present his findings this summer to the US-based International Society for Humor Studies, adding that he looked forward to looking at differences in laughter internationally. 在日本教授木村誉二看来,笑好比一种武器,“适度的”笑具有结束战争的力量。但如何对“笑”进行测量呢?这位沟通学专家发明出一种“测笑”图仪——及其测算单位“aH”。来自日本西部城市大阪的关西大学的木村教授于上周五接受记者的采访时说:“我们发现,儿童笑起来更加无拘无束,每秒钟能释放10aH,为成年人的两倍。”他说:“成年人往往会考虑何时该笑,何时不该笑,在这些因素的制约下,他们最终就会忘记如何去笑。”他说:“笑就像电脑的重启功能,自由自在地笑对于人类的进化过程十分重要。”大阪为日本的单口相声中心,数十年来,木村教授一直在此研究“笑”这门科学。他相信,(笑可以让)“一个充满战争的世界变为一个充满幽默而包容的世界”。根据木村教授的理论,人的笑声主要经过四个相继的情绪阶段而产生,依次是放松、偏离常态、自由地笑,最后大笑。木村教授自信地说:“我认为人脑中存在一个回路,能通过以上这几个步骤产生笑声。了解这一机制有助于我们解开人类自身的一大秘密。”在“测笑”过程中,木村教授在试验对象的腹部(尤其是横膈膜位置)安置了传感器,以检测肌肉运动。他说:“我有一个理论,在大脑中检测到的幽默能通过横膈膜的运动直接释放出来。”通过检测横膈膜及身体其它部位的运动,能够判断一个人是否是假笑,同时还能辨别出不同类型的笑,比如嘲笑、冷笑等。木村教授希望能将这种“测笑”装置制成手机大小,并将其作为一种健康的小玩意儿推向市场。木村说,他计划于今年夏天向位于美国的国际幽默研究学会呈报将他的研究成果,他还希望自己能研究出世界各地笑声的不同。 /200803/30364Men found it twice as hard to guess a woman’s mood than a man’s after being shown pictures of people’s eyes and estimating how they were feeling, researchers found.研究人员让男性通过看照片中人的眼神来猜测他们的心思,结果发现,男性觉得猜女性的心思要比男性的难猜得多。However, the study showed that it is not because of men’s lack of trying - the male volunteers were given brain scans while they looked at the pictures, and the data suggested an unusual reason for the difficulty in ing women’s feelings.而且研究表明,之所以会这样并不是因为男人懒得去猜——通过对男性志愿者看照片时的大脑扫描发现,男性确实很难猜透女性的心思。When looking at male eyes, men related what they saw to themselves, with the parts of their brains linked to past thoughts and feelings lighting up, the Daily Mail reported.据《每日邮报》报道,志愿者在看男性的眼睛时,往往会联想到自己,大脑中相关过去的想法与情绪会随之调动起来。The study suggested that they understood what other men felt by remembering similar moments in their own lives, and then used them to evaluate the image, the researchers said.研究人员说,研究显示,通过联想自己类似的生活经历,男性能够理解同性的感受,并对照片中的人作出猜测。But when they looked at female eyes, the men were baffled, as their brains searched for memories of when they had seen another woman who looked similar to the image, and meant men found it harder to empathise with women’s feelings.但当他们看女性的眼神时,却变得摸不着头脑,大脑不断搜寻自己看过的其他类似女性神情,自然,这样男性就很难在情绪上跟女性产生共鸣。The scientists found that the amygdala, a part of the brain believed to be important for empathy with others, showed more activity when men looked at a man, rather than a woman.科学家还发现,人脑中的杏仁体对情感共鸣起着重要作用。因此,当男性观察男性时,这部分会很活跃;如果是观察女性则不会。The researchers, from the LWL University Hospital in Bochum, western Germany, said the male ability to decipher a woman#39;s thoughts from her expression relates to earlier periods of history when being able to tell what another man was thinking – and whether he posed a threat – was much more important.在德国波鸿市的LWL大学医院,研究人员发现,男性从表情揣女性心思的能力较差也和早期历史有关,对于那时候的男性们来说,能够猜到同性的想法进而判断他是否构成威胁,是更为重要的生存能力。Commenting on the results of the study, published in journal PLoS ONE, the researchers said: “As men were more involved in hunting and territory fights, it would have been important for them to be able to predict and foresee the intentions and actions of their male rivals.”研究人员说道:“因为男性更多从事狩猎和领土争夺 ,因此对他们而言,猜测并预计男性对手的动机和行动就显得非常重要。” 此项调查的结果已经发表在了《PLoS ONE》期刊上。 /201304/236558Not everyone is an entrepreneur. Still, everyone should try─if only once─to start a business. After all, it is small and medium enterprises that are the key to job creation. There is also something uniquely educational about sitting at the desk where the buck stops, in a dreary office you#39;ve just rented, working day and night with a handful of employees just to break even.并不是所有人都能成为企业家。然而,每个人都应该尝试──至少一次──创建一家公司。毕竟,中小型企业才是创造就业的主要动力。与此同时,创建企业能令你收获独一无二的体验,想象一下在一个刚刚租来的乏味的办公室里,你坐在老板桌前,为了实现收平衡,和为数不多的几位雇员夜以继日工作的场景吧。As an academic, I#39;m just an amateur capitalist. Still, over the past 15 years I#39;ve started small ventures in both the U.S. and the U.K. In the process I#39;ve learned something surprising: It#39;s much easier to do in the U.K. There seemed to be much more regulation in the U.S., not least the headache of sorting out health insurance for my few employees. And there were certainly more billable hours from lawyers.作为学者,我只是一名业余企业家。不过,在过去15年时间里,我在美国和英国都创办过小型公司。在创业的过程中,我发现了一个奇怪的现象:在英国,经商要容易得多。美国似乎有多得多的规章,尤其让我头痛的是给我那几名员工处理健康保险的事情。此外,在美国,律师寄来的按小时计费的账单肯定要贵得多。This set me thinking. We are assured by vociferous economists that economic growth would be higher in the U.S. and unemployment lower if only the government would run even bigger deficits and/or the Fed would print even more money. But what if the difficulty lies elsewhere, in problems that no amount of fiscal or monetary stimulus can overcome?这让我陷入了思考。口若悬河的经济学家们信誓旦旦地告诉我们,只要政府继续扩大赤字,并且/或者美国联邦储备委员会(Fed)继续印刷更多的钞票,美国的经济增速就会提高,失业率也会下降。但是,要是问题的症结并不在这儿,而是无论多大规模的财政和货币刺激措施都无法克的问题怎么办?Nearly all development economists agree that good institutions─legislatures, courts, administrative agencies─are crucial. When poor countries improve their institutions, economic growth soon accelerates. But what about rich countries? If poor countries can get rich by improving their institutions, is it not possible that rich countries can get poor by allowing their institutions to degenerate? I want to suggest that it is.几乎所有的发展经济学家都同意,优秀的机构──立法机构、法院和行政机关──至关重要。当贫穷的国家改善机构运作的时候,该国的经济增长就会很快获得提振。但对于富裕的国家来讲呢?如果贫穷的国家可以通过改善机构运作而致富,那么富裕的国家难道不会因为容忍本国机构的退化而变穷吗?我想要说的是,这是完全有可能的。Consider the evidence from the annual #39;Doing Business#39; reports from the World Bank and International Finance Corporation. Since 2006 the report has published data for most of the world#39;s countries on the total number of days it takes to start a business, get a construction permit, register a property, pay taxes, get an export or import license and enforce a contract. If one simply adds together the total number of days it would take to carry out all seven of these procedures sequentially, it is possible to construct a simple measure of how slowly─or fast─a country#39;s bureaucracy moves.让我们看看世界(World Bank)和国际金融公司(International Finance Corporation)发布的年度《全球营商环境报告》(Doing Business)显示出的据吧。从2006年起,《全球营商环境报告》便开始发布在全球大多数国家开办企业、获得建筑许可、注册资产、缴纳税款、获得进口和出口许可以及执行合同分别所需花费的天数数据。如果我们把完成上述七项程序分别所需的天数简单相加,那么我们就能够构建出一种简单的、衡量一国行政速度快慢的工具。Seven years of data suggest that most of the world#39;s countries are successfully making it easier to do business: The total number of days it takes to carry out the seven procedures has come down, in some cases very substantially. In only around 20 countries has the total duration of dealing with #39;red tape#39; gone up. The sixth-worst case is none other than the U.S., where the total number of days has increased by 18% to 433. Other members of the bottom 10, using this metric, are Zimbabwe, Burundi and Yemen (though their absolute numbers are of course much higher).七年以来的数据显示出,全球大多数国家都成功地简化了营商流程:在这些国家,完成上述七项程序所需的总天数有所减少,并且在其中一些国家,总天数减少的幅度相当地大。只有大约20个国家处理这些繁文缛节的总时长有所增加。居于倒数第六位的国家竟然是美国,在美国完成这七项程序所需的总天数增加了18%,达到了433天。按照这一衡量方法,其他排在倒数10位中的国家还有津巴布韦、布隆迪和也门(不过,这些国家所需的绝对天数当然比美国多得多)。Why is it getting harder to do business in America? Part of the answer is excessively complex legislation. A prime example is the 848-page Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of July 2010 (otherwise known as the Dodd-Frank Act), which, among other things, required that regulators create 243 rules, conduct 67 studies and issue 22 periodic reports. Comparable in its complexity is the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (906 pages), which is also in the process of spawning thousands of pages of regulation. You don#39;t have to be opposed to tighter financial regulation or universal health care to recognize that something is wrong with laws so elaborate that almost no one affected has the time or the will to them.为什么在美国经商越来越难了呢?有一部分责任要归咎于过分复杂的法律体系。最好的例当属于2010年7月生效的长达848页的《华尔街改革和消费者保护法案》(Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, 也被称为多德弗兰克法案(Dodd-Frank Act))。这项法案要求的内容包括,监管机构需要制定243条法规制度,开展67项研究,并发布22种周期性报告。复杂程度能与多德弗兰克法案媲美的是长达906页《患者保护与平价医疗法案》(Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act)。目前,这两项法案都处于制定与之配套的数千页的监管规则的阶段。即便不反对加强金融监管或全民医疗保健制度的人士也会认同,如此繁琐的法律规定存在一定的问题,以至于当事人完全不具备通读相关法案的时间和意愿。Who benefits from the growth of complex and cumbersome regulation? The answer is: lawyers, not forgetting lobbyists and compliance departments. For complexity is not the friend of the little man. It is the friend of the deep pocket. It is the friend of cronyism.那么谁是法规制度变得如此复杂冗长的受益者呢?是:律师,同时也不要忘记政坛说客和合规部门。因为“复杂”永远都不是小人物的朋友。“复杂”是有钱人的朋友,也是朋党营私的朋友。We used to have the rule of law. Now it is tempting to say we have the rule of lawyers, which is something different. For the lawyers can also make money even in the absence of complex legislation.曾几何时,我们是一个“法治至上”的国家。现在,我们所拥有的甚至可以用“律师至上”来形容,而这两个“至上”的概念则大相径庭。因为即使在缺乏完善的立法体系的情况下,律师也能赚到大钱。It has long been recognized that the U.S. tort system is exceptionally expensive. Indeed, tort reform is something few people will openly argue against. Yet the plague of class-action lawsuits continues unabated. Regular customers of Southwest Airlines LUV +2.81% recently received this email: #39;Did you receive a Southwest Airlines drink coupon through the purchase of a Business Select ticket prior to August 1, 2010, and never redeem it? If yes, a legal Settlement provides a Replacement Drink Voucher, entitling you to a free drink aboard a Southwest flight, for every such drink coupon you did not redeem.#39;很长时间以来,美国的民事侵权法律系统一直被视为异常昂贵。确实,几乎没人会公开抵制民事侵权法律的改革。然而,集体诉讼带来的困扰却从未消褪。西南航空公司(Southwest Airlines)的常旅客们最近收到了一封电子邮件:“您是否曾在2010年8月1日前通过购买西南航空的‘商务精选’机票得到过饮品券,而您却从未兑换过它?如果是的话,依据一项法律和解方案,本公司将为您提供一份新的饮品券,用以替换您之前未使用的饮品券。欢迎您在下次搭乘西南航空的飞机时,享用免费饮品。”This is not the product of the imagination of some modern-day Charles Dickens. It is a document arising from the class-action case, In re Southwest Airlines Voucher Litigation, No. 11-cv-8176, which came before Judge Matthew F. Kennelly of the District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. As the circular explains: #39;This Action arose out of Southwest#39;s decision, effective August 1, 2010, to only accept drink coupons received by Business Select customers with the purchase of a Business Select ticket on the date of the ticketed travel. The Plaintiffs in this case allege Southwest, in making that decision, breached its contract with Class Members who previously received drink coupons, #39; etc.这可不是那种当代查尔斯狄更斯(Charles Dickens)幻想出来的情景。这份电子邮件是对一起集体诉讼案做出的回应。这起名为“西南航空公司优惠券诉讼”的案件是由伊利诺伊州北部行政区地方法院法官马修肯内利(Matthew F. Kennelly)审理的,诉讼编号为No. 11-cv-8176。法院通告称:“这起诉讼是由于西南航空公司做出的一项决定引发的,即从2010年8月1日起,该公司只接受商务精选机票客户因购买行程当日机票所获得的饮品券。该案件的原告诉称,西南航空公司的这一决定违反了其与该决定生效前就获得了饮品券的会员的合同……”As often happens in such cases, Southwest decided to settle out of court. Recipients of the email will have been nonplused to learn that the settlement #39;will provide Replacement Drink Vouchers to Class Members who submit timely and valid Claim Forms.#39; One wonders how many have bothered.与这类案件通常采取的解决方式一样,西南航空公司决定进行庭外和解。收到电子邮件的客户将会得知,和解方案“将使会员在及时提交有效的索赔表格后,获得新的饮品券”,这些客户可能会对此感到不知所措。我想知道的是,有多少人会因此心生烦恼。Cui bono? The answer is, of course, the lawyers representing the plaintiffs. Having initially pitched for #39;up to million in fees, costs and expenses, #39; these ingenious jurists settled for fees of million #39;plus costs not to exceed , 000#39; from Southwest.谁会因此受益呢?当然是原告的代理律师们。这些天才的法律人士当初曾叫出了“律师费、诉讼费和其他开销累计700万美元”的高价,不过他们最终同意只收取由西南航空公司付的300万美元的律师费以及“不超过三万美元的诉讼费用”。Canada#39;s Fraser Institute has been compiling an #39;Economic Freedom#39; index since 1980, one component of which is a measure of the quality of a country#39;s legal system and property rights. In the light of a case like the one described above, there is nothing surprising about the recent decline in U.S. performance. In 2000 U.S. law scored 9.23 out of 10. The most recent score (for 2010) was 7.12.从1980年起,加拿大菲莎研究所(Fraser Institute)开始编纂一个名为“经济自由度”(Economic Freedom)的指数。这个指数是衡量一国法律体系和所有权状况的一个要素。鉴于与上文描述的案件类似的状况,美国经济自由度指数近期的下滑就不足为奇了。2000年,美国法律体系按照10分制的得分为9.23分。而美国最近的得分(2010年)仅为7.12分。Such indexes must be used with caution, but the Fraser index is not the only piece of evidence suggesting that the rule of law in the U.S. is not what it was. The World Justice Project uses a completely separate methodology to assess countries#39; legal systems. The latest WJP report ranks the U.S. 17th out of 97 countries for the extent to which the law limits the power of government, 18th for the absence of corruption, 19th for regulatory enforcement, 22nd for access to civil justice and the maintenance of order and security, 25th for fundamental rights, and 26th for the effectiveness of criminal justice. Of all the former British colonies in the report, the U.S. ranks behind New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Canada, Hong Kong and the ed Kingdom─though it does beat Botswana.使用这样的指数必须小心谨慎,但是菲莎研究所的这一指数并不是揭示美国“法治”今非昔比的唯一据。世界正义工程(World Justice Project)使用了一套完全不同的方法衡量了不同国家的法律体系。世界正义工程发表的最新报告显示,在97个国家中,美国在法律限制政府权力的程度方面排名第17位,在远离腐败方面排名第18位,在有效执法方面排名第19位,在有效民事司法方面和维护社会安全有序方面均排名第22位,在基本权利方面排名第25位,在有效刑事司法方面排名第26位。在报告涉及的所有前英属殖民地中,美国的排名位列新西兰、澳大利亚、新加坡、加拿大、中国香港以及英国本国之后──不过,美国的排名位于茨瓦纳之前。The decline of American institutions is no secret. Yet it is one of those strange #39;unknown knowns#39; that is well documented but largely ignored. Each year, the World Economic Forum publishes its Global Competitiveness Index. Since it introduced its current methodology in 2004, the U.S. score has declined by 6%. (In the same period China#39;s score has improved by 12%.) An important component of the index is provided by 22 different measures of institutional quality, based on the WEF#39;s Executive Opinion Survey. Typical questions are #39;How would you characterize corporate governance by investors and boards of directors in your country?#39; and #39;In your country, how common is diversion of public funds to companies, individuals, or groups due to corruption?#39; The startling thing about this exercise is how poorly the U.S. fares.美国国家机构的退化已经不是秘密。然而,这却属于那些我们明确了解、却在很大程度上忽视的内容之一。每一年,世界经济论坛(World Economic Forum)都会发布一份全球竞争力指数(Global Competitiveness Index)。自从2004年该机构采用了现行的指数编制方法以来,美国的竞争力指数已经下降了6%。(同期,中国的竞争力指数却上升了12%。)全球竞争力指数的一项重要指标是针对各国国家机构进行22个方面的评估,世界经济论坛进行的专家意见调查(Executive Opinion Survey)构成了这一评估的基础。其中,代表性的问题有“你如何评价贵国投资者和董事会进行公司治理的情况?”和“在贵国,由腐败引发的公共资金流向公司、个人或某些团体的现象的频繁程度如何?”令人惊讶的是,调查结果显示美国的表现非常差。In only one category out of 22 is the U.S. ranked in the global top 20 (the strength of investor protection). In seven categories it does not even make the top 50. For example, the WEF ranks the U.S. 87th in terms of the costs imposed on business by #39;organized crime (mafia-oriented racketeering, extortion).#39; In every single category, Hong Kong does better.在对各国国家机构进行的22个方面评估中,美国只在一个方面跻身了全球前20名之列(即在投资者保护力度方面)。在其中七个方面的评估中,美国甚至未能跻身前50名。例如,在企业为“有组织犯罪”(即黑社会背景的敲诈和勒索)承担的成本方面,世界经济论坛对美国的排名为第87名。在每个方面,中国香港的表现都优于美国。At the same time, the U.S. has seen a marked deterioration in its World Governance Indicators. In terms of #39;voice and accountability, #39; #39;government effectiveness, #39; #39;regulatory quality#39; and especially #39;control of corruption, #39; the U.S. scores have all gone down since the WGI project began in the mid-1990s. It would be tempting to say that America is turning Latin, were it not for the fact that a number of Latin American countries have been improving their governance scores over the same period.与此同时,美国的全球治理指标(World Governance Indicators)也已经显著恶化。自从上世纪90年代中期全球治理指标项目启动之后,在“言论自由与政府责任”、“政府效能”、“法规执行品质”,特别是“反腐”方面,美国的分数都有所下降。如果不是出于很多拉丁美洲国家在治理方面的得分逐渐提高的事实,我们倒可以说美国越来越像拉美国家了。What is the process at work here? Perhaps this is a victory from beyond the grave for classical Western political theory. Republics, after all, were regarded by most ancient political philosophers as condemned to decadence, or to imperial corruption. This was the lesson of Rome. Democracy was always likely to give way to oligarchy or tyranny. This was the lesson of the French Revolution. The late Mancur Olson had a modern version of such cyclical models, arguing that all political systems were bound to become the captives, over time, of special interests. The advantage enjoyed by West Germany and Japan after World War II, he suggested, was that all the rent-seeking elites of the pre-1945 period had been swept away by defeat. This was why Britain won the war but lost the peace.是什么导致了美国的问题?或许这是已被遗忘的经典西方政治理论的一次胜利。别忘了,大多数古代政治哲人都认为共和政体终将衰落或者最终沦落为君主制;古罗马共和国就是一个例。而民主政体总是倾向于给寡头政治和专制暴政让路;法国大革命就是一个例。已故的曼瑟尔奥尔森(Mancur Olson)对这些周而复始的循环模式提出了一个现代版的阐述,即:随着时间的推移,所有政体最终都将变成为特定对象务的工具。在他看来,二战后西德和日本享有的一大优势是,所有在1945年前寻租的所谓精英都因战争失败而被扫清了。这也正是为什么英国赢得了二战胜利,但却没有得到和平。Whatever the root causes of the deterioration of American institutions, smart people are starting to notice it. Last year Michael Porter of Harvard Business School published a report based on a large-scale survey of HBS alumni. Among the questions he asked was where the U.S. was #39;falling behind#39; relative to other countries. The top three lagging indicators named were: the effectiveness of the political system, the K-12 education system and the complexity of the tax code. Regulation came sixth, efficiency of the legal framework eighth.不管美国国家机构退化的深层次原因是什么,杰出人士已经开始注意到了这个问题。去年,哈佛商学院(Harvard Business School)的迈克尔波特(Michael Porter)在对本校校友进行了大规模的问卷调查后发布了一份报告。波特向校友们提出的问题包括下面这道:你认为美国在哪一方面落到了其他国家身后?调查结果显示,美国滞后的前三大领域分别是:政治体系的效能、基础教育体系以及复杂的会计准则。此外,规章制度排名第六位,法律体系的效能排名第八位。Asked to name #39;the most problematic factors for doing business#39; in the U.S., respondents to the WEF#39;s most recent Executive Opinion Survey put #39;inefficient government bureaucracy#39; at the top, followed by tax rates and tax regulations.在世界经济论坛进行的最近一次专家意见调查中,对于在美国“经营企业感觉最困难的因素是什么”的问题,受访者们将“效率低下的政府官僚体制”放在了首位,紧随其后的是税率和税法。All this should not be interpreted as yet another prophecy of the imminent decline and fall of the U.S., however. There is some light in the gloom. According to the most recent ed Nations projections, the share of the U.S. population that is over 65 will reach 25% only at the very end of this century. Japan has aly passed that milestone; Germany will be next. By midcentury, both countries will have around a third of their population age 65 or older.然而,所有这些都不应解读为预示美国将马上陷入衰退的又一个征兆。黑暗中仍有一丝曙光。根据联合国(ed Nations)发布的最新预期,美国年龄在65岁以上的人口比例在本世纪末才会达到25%。日本已经跨越了这一里程碑;德国将紧随其后。至本世纪中叶,日本和德国65岁以上的人口都将达到各自国民总数的约三分之一。More imminently, a revolution in the extraction of shale gas and tight oil, via hydraulic fracking, is transforming the U.S. from energy dependence to independence. Not only could the U.S., at least for a time, re-emerge as the world#39;s biggest oil producer; the lower electricity costs resulting from the fossil-fuel boom are aly triggering a revival of U.S. manufacturing in the Southeast and elsewhere.近在咫尺的事情是,由水力压裂技术带来的页岩气和致密油开采革命正在把美国从能源进口国变为能源自给国。美国不仅能够再度成为──至少在一段时间内──全球最大的产油国;由化石燃料产量激增带来的电力成本下降也已经令美国东南部及其他地区的制造业开始复苏。In a functioning federal system, the pace of institutional degeneration is not uniform. America#39;s four #39;growth corridors#39;─the Great Plains, the Gulf Coast, the Intermountain West and the Southeast─are growing not just because they have natural resources but also because state governments in those regions are significantly more friendly to business. There are aly heartening signs of a great regeneration in states like Texas and North Dakota.在美国的联邦运作体系内,各地的政府机构退化程度不尽相同。美国四大“经济增长走廊”──北美大平原、墨西哥湾沿岸地区、山间西部以及东南部地区──获得经济发展的原因不仅在于这些地区拥有自然资源,还在于这些地区的州政府对待企业要友善得多。在得克萨斯州和北达科他州等地,已经出现了政府机构显著革新的喜人迹象。#39;In America you have a right to be stupid─if you want to be.#39; Secretary of State John Kerry made that remark off the cuff in February, speaking to a group of students in Berlin. It is not a right the founding fathers felt they needed explicitly to enshrine. But it has always been there, and America#39;s leaders have frequently been willing to exercise it.美国国务卿约翰克里(John Kerry)今年2月在柏林对学生发表演讲的时候即兴说道:“在美国,只要你愿意,你就有权利装傻。”这可不是美国的开国元勋们觉得有必要明确奉为神圣的权利。但是这个传统由来已久,而且美国领导人总是愿意亲身实践这句话。Yes, we Americans have the right to be stupid if we want to be. We can carry on pretending that our economic problems can be solved with the help of yet more fiscal stimulus or quantitative easing. Or we can face up to the institutional impediments to growth I have described here.是的,只要我们愿意,我们美国人有权利装傻。我们可以继续假装,借助于更多的财政刺激或量化宽松,我们的经济问题能够得以解决。或者,我们也可以坦然面对我在文中描述的这种阻碍经济增长的机构问题。Not many economists talk about them, it#39;s true. But that#39;s because not many economists run businesses.的确,讨论这个问题的经济学家并不多。但那是因为经商的经济学家微乎其微。Adapted from Mr. Ferguson#39;s new book, #39;The Great Degeneration: How Institutions Decay and Economies Die, #39; to be published by Penguin Press on Thursday.(本文选自Niall Ferguson的新书《西方文明的四个黑盒子》(The Great Degeneration: How Institutions Decay and Economies Die)。该书已由企鹅出版社(Penguin Press)出版。 /201306/245799

Who wouldn#39;t get anxious?! So to get rid of the anxiety, you convince yourself that ‘there#39;s still plenty of time” and that you will “get it done perfectly tomorrow” and turn to Facebook or cleaning out your closets. This inability to imagine the process is one of the biggest problems faced by those of us who struggle with procrastination.谁不会焦虑?所以为了克焦虑,你就用“仍然还有大量时间”来宽慰自己,觉得“留到明天就可以圆满完成”然后转到脸书上,或者去打扫你的壁橱。构思不到事情的步骤,这就是我们这些拖延症患者所面临的最大问题。So what#39;s the solution? Simple:所以要怎样解决呢?很简单:1. Write down the smaller tasks under each project and select the first small task.1.写下每个项目的步骤,然后从首要的小步骤着手。2. Then, make a pre-decision about what you will do when you feel frustrated or a distraction beckons. A pre-decision has the “If X, then Y formula”.2.接着,在你觉得沮丧或者分心时,预先决定你要去做的事情。做这个预先决定有一个“如果....,那么....”公式。For example, “If I feel anxious or frustrated, then I will remind myself to just focus on this one small piece and not the entire forest” OR “If I begin to doodle or think of calling my friend, then I will call my friend and ask him to help me stay on track” etc;例如,“如果我感到焦虑或沮丧,那么我就要提醒自己专注在一小块事情上,而非整片森林。”或者,“如果我开始涂鸦或者想打电话给朋友,那么我就要请他帮我坚持到底”等等。Only you know what your usual distractions are and so you can make “If X, then Y” pre-decisions that are uniquelydesigned for you.你只有了解了平常影响你的事物,才能够写出“如果...那么...”的公式来预先决定,这可是为你量身订造的公式。I used this technique to lose 20 pounds in the last few months. My main problem is resisting a temptation to eat desserts. I allow myself to eat one yummy dessert a week. When my mind asks for it any other time, I have a pre-decision that goes like this “If my mind makes me crave a dessert during the week, I will imagine that dessert morphing into a pound of fat in front of my eyes”.Trust me, it worked.我用这个方法在过去短短几个月里就减掉了20磅。我主要的挑战是要抵抗甜点的诱惑。那我只允许自己每周吃一次美味的甜品。其余时间想吃的时候,我就会做个“预先决策”,像这样“如果我内心在工作日里渴望甜点,那么我就会幻想糖分在我眼前转化为脂肪的景象。”相信我,这个方法起作用了。The trick here is to have made this pre-decision ahead of time (writing it down is even better) so that you can do it automatically without having to thinkwhen you are hit by distraction or temptation.有个技巧就是提前做出“预先决策”(写下来会更好),所以当你扰或者克制不住时,你就会不由自主地做出决定。Every decision point in your life is like a road diverging in the woods. By learning to imagine the process and having a plan to deal with obstacles, you can beat procrastination and choose the road that unleashes your full potential.每一个决策点就像通往森林的岔路。一旦你学会了构思每件事情的步骤,懂得有计划性地处理问题,你就能够彻底摆脱拖延症,最终走向释放自身所有潜力的道路。 /201307/246556

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