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Science and technology科学技术Solar physics太阳物理学Sun down落山的太阳Several lines of evidence suggest that the sun is about to go quiet据的一些方式表明太阳即将变平静spots of bother?太阳黑子的困扰?DURING the four centuries that it has been studied in detail, the sun has usually behaved in a regular manner.太阳已被详细研究了四百年,它通常以规则的方式反应。The number of spots on its surface has waxed and waned in cycles that last, on average, 11 years.太阳表面的黑子数在其一般延续11年的活动周期内增增减减。Such cycles begin with spots appearing in mid-solar latitudes and end with them near the equator.这样的周期活动以太阳黑子在其中纬度出现开始并随着黑子移动到赤道附近而终结。And the more spots there are, the more solar storms there are around.而且太阳黑子的数目越多,周围就会有越多的太阳风暴。Sometimes, though, the sun sulks and this solar cycle stops.然而,太阳有时也会生气,之后这种太阳活动周期就停止了。That has happened twice since records began:自从对这种太阳活动周期有记载以来,这种现象已经发生了两次了:during the so-called Maunder minimum of 1645 to 1715 and the Dalton minimum of 1790 to 1830.就是所称的1645年至1715年蒙德极小期和1790年至1830年道尔顿极小期期间。These coincided with periods when global temperatures were lower than average, though why is a matter of debate.这些现象与全球气温低于平均水平时相一致,虽然这是为什么争议的一个问题。An absence of sunspots also means an absence of solar flares and their more violent siblings, coronal mass ejections.缺少太阳黑子也意味着太阳耀斑以及它们更强烈的同胞-日冕物质抛射的不存在。Such outbursts disrupt radio and satellite communications, electricity grids and a variety of electronic equipment, so the pattern of solar activity is of more than academic interest.这种大爆发会干扰无线电和卫星通信,电网和各种电子设备,因此太阳活动方式超越了学术兴趣。A new solar minimum, then, would test theories about how the climate works and also make communications more reliable.然而,一个新的太阳极小期将会测试关于气候如何起作用的理论以及还将使得通信更加可靠。And many solar physicists think such a new minimum is on the cards.而且许多太阳物理学家认为这样一个新的太阳极小期很可能发生。A group of them, who all work for Americas National Solar Observatory, have just had a meeting in New Mexico, under the aegis of the American Astronomical Society, to announce their latest results.在美国天文学会的主持下,美国国家太阳天文台工作的一群太阳物理学家刚刚在新墨西哥州举行了一次会议来宣布他们的最新成果。Frank Hill and his team were the discoverers, 15 years ago, of an east-west jet stream in the sun.弗兰克·希尔和他的研究小组就是15年前太阳内东西高速气流的发现人员。They also worked out that the latitude of this wind is related to the sunspot cycle.他们还计算出这次太阳风的纬度和太阳黑子的活动周期相关。At the beginning of a cycle the jet stream is found, like sunspots, in mid-latitudes.在一个活动周期开始的时候,就可以找到高速气流,像中纬度地区的太阳黑子。As the cycle progresses, it follows the spots towards the equator.随着活动周期的进展,高速气流随着太阳黑子向太阳的赤道方向移动。Intriguingly, however, Dr Hills studies indicate that the jet stream of a new cycle starts to form years before the sunspot pattern.然而,让人感兴趣的事情是,希尔士的研究表明一个新太阳活动周期的高速气流在太阳黑子活动方式前开始形成。This time, that has not happened.这次,高速气流还未产生。History suggests a new cycle should begin in 2019.历史表明一个新太阳活动周期应该开始于2019年。If the sun were behaving itself, Dr Hills team would have seen signs of a new jet stream in 2008 or .假如太阳自我反应的话,希尔士研究人员在2008年或年早已观察到新高速气流的迹象了。They did not.但是他们没有看到这些情况。Nor are there indications of one even now.即使现在,也没有一个迹象出现。If a change in the jet stream really is a leading indicator of solar activity, then no new cycle is on the horizon.如果高速气流的变化真地是太阳活动最重要的指示物,那么新的太阳活动周期还未露端倪。The second study which suggests something odd is happening looked at the strengths of sunspots.表明奇怪的事情正在发生的第二项研究检查了太阳黑子的活力。Matthew Penn and William Livingston have analysed 13 years of data which indicate that, independently of the number of spots around, there has been a decrease in their strength.马修·佩恩威廉·利文斯敦已独立见解地分析了大致太阳黑子数的13年的数据表明这些黑子的活力已经下降了。Sunspots are caused by irruptions into its surface of the suns deeper magnetism.太阳黑子是由入侵活动进入太阳深层磁性表面造成的。These create local drops in temperature, which make the surface gas darker.这些入侵活动导致了局部气温下降,使得太阳表面气体颜色更深。Over the period which Dr Penn and Dr Livingston analysed, the average magnetic strength of the irruptions has declined.佩恩和利文斯顿士分析表明,入侵活动的平均磁场强度已有所下降。Below a certain threshold, they will not be strong enough to overcome the convective mixing of the gas at the surface, and spots will disappear altogether.低于一定的临界值的话,它们将不足以克表面气体的对流混合,因而太阳黑子将完全消失。If the present trend continues, that will happen in 2021.如果目前的趋势继续下去,那么2021年太阳黑子就会消失。The third measure of the suns decline is in its outer atmosphere, the corona.太阳衰落的标准就是其外层的气体日冕。At each solar maximum, the corona sloughs off the magnetic fingerprint of the previous cycle by pushing it to the poles.在每次太阳极大期,日冕通过把气体推向两极而使前一活动周期的磁性特征消退掉。According to Richard Altrock, the leader of another NSO team at the meeting, that does not appear to be happening in the present cycle.根据会议上美国国家太阳天文台的另一研究组的领导理查德·阿尔乔克所说,目前的太阳活动周期那种现象没有出现。It looks, then, as if a new, extended solar minimum is about to begin.然而,看上去好像一个新延续的太阳极小期将要开始。That is good news for operators of communications satellites.对通信卫星的经营者来说,这是好消息。And it is interesting news for those who worry about global warming.而且这对那些担心全球气温变暖的那些人来说是个令人有趣的新闻。If the Maunder and Dalton minima actually did affect the climate,如果蒙德和道尔顿极小期确实影响了气候,then a new one might counteract the effects of the extra greenhouse gases people are now pumping into the atmosphere—at least, until the solar cycle returns.那么新的太阳活动极小期可能抵消人们现在大量释放到空气中额外温室气体的影响-至少要到太阳活动周期恢复时。Whether the breathing space thus granted would be used wisely or squandered is another matter.无论是如此承认的呼吸空间会被明智地使用还是被大手大脚地挥霍掉将是另一回事。Do not expect that debate to be as placid as the spotless sun.不要指望辩论就像一尘不染的太阳那么宁静安详。 /201308/251230Its easy to tell, even at a glance, that people and moose are pretty different.很显然,即便只是匆匆一瞥,也能轻易看出人和糜鹿是完全不同的动物。Moose, at leastmales, have big, wing shaped antlers.糜鹿,至少是雄性糜鹿拥有大型的、像翅膀一样的鹿角。People have no antlers. Moose are herbivores, eating only plants.而人是没有角的。糜鹿是食草动物,只吃植物。We eat mostly junk food.我们却几乎总吃垃圾食品。Despite their salad only diet, moose can weigh as much as 1400pounds.尽管“色拉”是糜鹿唯一的食物,它们的体重却能达到1400磅。Even the fattest humans top the scales at only around 1000 pounds.而我们人类中最胖的也只有1000磅。The list goes on.二者间的差异数不胜数。And yet, in some ways, people and moose are similar.但是在某些方面,人与糜鹿是相似的。For example, both suffer from arthritis.例如,两者都饱受关节炎的困扰。And thats interesting because how and why moose develop arthritis may be able to tell us something about the pathology of the human variety.这个问题很有趣,因为研究糜鹿患上关节炎的过程和原因,可能有助于我们发现一些人类患关节炎的病理。For example, researchers working in Michigans upper peninsula have been studying moose there for decades.例如,位于密西根湖上游半岛的研究人员已经对糜鹿进行了数十年的研究。And one thing theyve found is while arthritis in moose is partly genetic, its also triggered by the environment.他们发现糜鹿患关节炎在一定程度上是由基因引起的,同时也受到环境的影响。Specifically, the researchers have observed that moose that suffer from arthritis seem to have not had access to proper nutrition early in life.特别需要提到的是,研究人员观察的那些患关节炎的糜鹿似乎幼年都营养不良。Perhaps they were born during a drought when there werent enough berries and other plants toeat.可能是因为它们出生于旱期,没有足够的浆果和其他植被可以食用。Whatever the case, even if those moose had plenty to eat later on, their very early nutritional deficits appear to have doomed them to an adult life of aching joints.无论情况如何,即便那些糜鹿后来有足够的食物,它们幼年的营养匮乏使它们的成年生活注定与关节疼痛相伴。The take away for scientists who study arthritis, and doctors who treat it in people, is that how and what we eat, even as babies, may lay the foundation for chronic arthritis and other health problems later in life.研究关节炎的科学家和治疗关节炎的医生得出结论:我们怎么吃、吃什么可能会为后来生活中的慢性关节炎和其他健康问题埋下隐患。And thanks to the moose, those scientists are also beginning to better understand the sorts ofdiets that could lower those risks.得益于对麋鹿的研究,那些科学家也开始更好地了解能降低患关节炎风险的饮食种类。 201404/288733America and the Middle East美国和中东Back to Iraq重返伊拉克By combining military force with political brinkmanship, America is making some headway通过对地缘政治和军事力量的结合,美国正取得一些进展AMERICAS last two presidents have got things wrong in Iraq in opposite ways. George W. Bush went into the country in 2003 guns blazing, with 148,000 soldiers and too little thought of how to stabilise it after Saddam Hussein had been defeated. The consequences were disastrous.美国最近两任总统在处理伊拉克问题上都错误的走向了两个极端。2003年乔治·W·布什带着148000名士兵对这个国家进行军事打击,却没有考虑在萨达姆被击败后如何来稳定它。其后果是灾难性的。Barack Obama took a different approach. Americans, he reckoned, were not capable of bringing peace to this complex, violent and distant place. He allowed the troops mandate in the country to run out with insufficient attention to what might follow, and then applied the same logic in Syria where he did little to support moderate opponents of Bashar Assad. His policy aided the rise of the Islamic State (IS), a Sunni terrorist group, that has taken territory in Syria and Iraq.奥巴马采取了不同的方式。他觉得美国人没法给这个复杂、暴力和遥远的地方带来和平。他允许结束部队在该国的任务,却没考虑到这一做会带来些什么,然后在对待叙利亚问题上用了相同的逻辑,在那里他没怎么持巴沙尔·阿萨德温和的反对者。他的这一政策促使了伊斯兰国(IS)的的兴起,而这一逊尼派恐怖组织已在叙利亚和伊拉克占领了领土。Now the prospect of a caliphate run by extremists bent on attacking the West has persuaded a reluctant Mr Obama that he cannot walk away from the Mesopotamian mess, and he is trying a new tack—combining modest military force with hard-nosed political brinkmanship. Given conditions in the region, the chances of success are limited. But they are better than those offered by any other approach.现在,由于极端分子掌控的哈里发可能会执意要攻击西方世界,这使得即使不情愿也没发从美索不达米亚的混乱中脱身,而他正在尝试一种新的手段—把适度的武力和强硬的地缘政治政策相结合。鉴于该地区的情况,很难取得成功。但它们是比其他任何的方式都好一些。A risky bet冒险一搏When on August 8th jets from an aircraft-carrier in the Gulf bombed IS and halted its advance, critics argued that Mr Obama was doing too little, too late. America had sat by for two months and watched IS conquer parts of northern Iraq. A humanitarian disaster followed: thousands of Yazidis, members of a Kurdish-speaking sect, fled into the mountains to escape the jihadists. IS tried to take Erbil, the capital of the Iraqi Kurds, threatening their peaceful, prosperous enclave.当8月8日海湾的航空母舰上的飞机轰炸对IS进行轰炸时,批评者认为,奥巴马做得太少且太迟了。两个月来,美国坐视IS占领了伊拉克北部部分地区。人道主义灾难接踵而至:成千上万名为雅兹迪人的库尔德语教派的成员纷纷逃入深山以躲避圣战者。IS试图夺取伊拉克库尔德人的首府埃尔比勒,并威胁它们和平繁荣的土地。Certainly, more will need to be done to root out the extremists. But Mr Obama deserves credit for learning from past mistakes. He is the fourth American president in succession to bomb Iraq. In order to break that sequence, it is not enough just to unleash another round of shock and awe. The jihadists would only regroup. A politically stable Iraq is needed, run by a government that is broad-based and popular.当然,要想铲除极端分子还有很多事情要做。但事值得表扬的是奥巴马从过去的错误中学到了东西。他是连续第四位对伊拉克进行军事打击的总统。为了打破这种惯例,仅仅释放新一轮的震慑是不足够的。圣战主义者只会重新联合。这时迫切需要一个由具有广泛基础和受欢迎的政府管理下的稳定的伊拉克。The one headed for the past eight years by Nuri al-Maliki, a member of the Shia majority, was nothing of the kind. It alienated Kurds and excluded Sunnis, who make up a quarter of the population. Some Sunnis came to support the extremists of IS, seeing them—often reluctantly—as the only defence against a brutal security apparatus. An all-out American attack on IS risks being seen as a sectarian move.那个在过去八年里以多数什叶派的成员努里·马利基为首的政府就完全不属于这一类。它疏远库尔德人并把逊尼人排除在外,而他们占了总人口的四分之一。一些逊尼派开始持IS极端分子,通常是不情愿地把他们看作是对抗残暴的政府安全机构的唯一屏障。美国对IS的全力攻击可能会被视为宗派行为。Mr Obamas gamble has been to withhold all but minimal military support in order to force political change in Baghdad. That strategy has come at a cost. IS has consolidated its hold on Iraqs second-biggest city, Mosul, and captured a dam that supplies much of the country with water. It is well-armed and self-financing. But political change appears now to be under way in Baghdad. Mr Maliki may with luck be replaced as prime minister by Haider al-Abadi, a more inclusive figure. The Americans alone did not usher Mr Maliki out. He made enemies among Iraqis, including in his own party. Iran also fell out with him. Even so, pressure from Mr Obama helped see him on his way.奥巴马的冒险在于仅以极少的军事持来迫使在巴格达的政治变革。这一策略的执行已经付出了代价。IS已经巩固其对伊拉克第二大城市苏尔的掌控,并夺取了给该国大部分地区供水的大坝。它装备精良,并自给资金。但政治变革现在看来正在巴格达进行。马利基可能会幸运的被更具包容性的人物海德尔·阿巴迪取代作为总理。美国人单独并没有送出马利基。他在包括他自己的政党在内的伊拉克人中到处树敌。伊朗也与他闹翻了。即便如此,来自奥巴马的压力也有助于了他的离去。Mr Maliki has been an awful prime minister. If Mr Abadi, also a Shia, appoints a cabinet that includes senior Sunnis in prominent positions, as seems likely, he will reduce popular support for the extremists, which should help persuade Sunni rebels to switch sides. That would pave the way for concerted military action by the Iraqi government to regain territory lost to the extremists. With America acting as its air force, it should be possible to push back IS. The extremists numbers are limited and their equipment still no match for the West.马利基一直是一个糟糕的总理。如果同为什叶派的阿巴迪先生任命包括显要地位的高级逊尼派人在内的一个内阁,他将减少民众对极端分子的持,而这将有助于说逊尼派反叛者转换立场。这将为由伊拉克政府的军事行动铺平道路,这一行动是为了从极端分子那夺回领地。借助美军的空中力量,它应该有可能打退IS。极端分子的人数有限,而他们的装备仍然根本不是西方的对手。There are dangers here: if American bombing caused many civilian casualties, the extremists would have more chance of portraying themselves as protectors of Sunnis against a hostile Shia-led government and its infidel allies. American soldiers will still be in harms way. Even in the age of satellite-guided bombs, precise strikes depend on the presence of special forces to identify targets. But a plausible path to forcing the jihadists out of Iraq would open up.危险隐患在于:如果美国轰炸造成许多平民伤亡,极端分子将会有更多的机会将自己塑造成是对抗敌对的什叶派主导的政府及其异教徒盟友的逊尼派的保护者。美国士兵仍然面临伤亡。即使是在卫星制导炸弹的时代,精确打击仍依靠特种部队的存在以确定目标。但是将开启一条把圣战者驱逐出伊拉克道路。The trickier question for Mr Obama is what to do if Iraq lives down to expectations, and fails to get a better prime minister or a more inclusive government. The jihadists ambitions to establish an Islamic caliphate cannot be tolerated. But an all-out assault may bolster Sunni support for IS and risk the disintegration of Iraq. The Kurds live in a more-or-less defined territory: it is possible to imagine the formation of an independent Kurdish state. Sunnis and Shias do not. A break-up of the country could lead to bloodshed on an unprecedented scale. The capital is shared by the sects, as are surrounding areas. America may then be reduced to conducting occasional punitive missions to keep IS contained.对于奥巴马来说更棘手的问题是如果伊拉克不能如期得到一个更好的总理或更具包容性的政府那该怎么做。伊斯兰圣战者建立一个伊斯兰哈里发政权的雄心是不能被容忍的。而全力以赴的攻击可能会加强逊尼派对IS的持并有招致伊拉克瓦解的风险。库尔德人生活在一片多少有些防御的领土:可以想像一个独立的库尔德国家的形成。国家的破裂可能导致前所未有的规模的流血冲突。首都如同周边区域一样是由各教派占有的。那样美国为遏制IS而进行的偶尔的惩罚性任务将会受到削减。And once again Syria再来看看叙利亚In all events, Western leaders must prepare the public for a lengthy military engagement in this part of the world. Even if confronted by Americas full military might, the extremists could melt back into the population of Mosul, a city of 2m people where they have had a strong underground presence for years. They could also slip back across the nearby border with Syria, where they have a safe haven in swathes of land they have seized during the civil war. From there they would probably continue to foster instability in Iraq.不管发生什么事件,西方领导者必须让公众接受在这一地区将会有长期的军事介入。即使面临美国的全部军事力量,极端分子也可以融回苏尔的人群中,他们多年来在苏尔这个有200万人口的城市中有着强大的地下存在。他们还可以穿越附近挨着叙利亚的边境溜回,在那里有他们在内战期间夺取的大片的安全避风港。而这将可能会继续加剧伊拉克的不稳定性。That raises an uncomfortable truth for Mr Obama. His judgment is that the jihadists can be properly dealt with only by creating long-term stability in Iraq. A similar situation exists in Syria. Yet the president has long resisted intervening there, and been backed in this by a war-weary American public and Congress as well as international lawyers. Still, in the long run America is unlikely to be able to destroy or even contain militant jihadism without involving itself in Syria.对于奥巴马这引发了一个令人不安的事实。他认为圣战分子的问题只能通过在伊拉克创立长期的稳定才能得以妥善处理。在叙利亚的情况也是如此。然而,总统一直拒绝介入,并且不论是美国民众或是国会以及国际律师都持这一做法。不过,从长远来看,除非美国自身介入叙利亚,否则它不太可能能够摧毁或是遏制住激进的圣战主义。Mr Obamas new approach in Iraq seems to be working. But more decisive action against the jihadists will be needed. The Americans are back on the ground, and they will be there for a while.奥巴马处理伊拉克问题的新方法似乎是有用的。但是需要采取更为果断的行动来对抗圣战者。美国大兵又回来了,并且短时间内是不会走了。 /201408/323062

Yeah, thats close, I will say.天哪,刚才很近了,就这儿。There were times when I thought it was going to be an impossible task.有时我在想,这是不是一个不可能完成的任务。Oh, five degrees maybe. Come this way.4,5米吧。过来这里。Could you say that?看到没?When Puck finally brought Samuel up to the boat, it was a magical moment.看到帕克带着莎木在船的前面,真的很奇妙。10 males, 11 oclock. Well done.前方10米远,11点钟方向。Here they come. Yes. Got it.来了,是的,拍到了。Its coming in? Yes.过来了,好极了。Getting them in on day like these is just what we mean to be an important day.我们希望能和它们像这样呆上一整天。Its been worth the wait at the minute and all seems to come together in...绝对值得等待。在拍摄的最后,它们一起过来了。With shots of young Samuel in the bag, the team moved north to Pearl to try filming the hydroplaning dolphins.满载着小莎木的影像集,摄制组搬到了北部的毕隆海滩拍摄会划水的海豚。It was hard enough trying to follow the dolphins from the boat, but the crews next task was trying to follow them on foot.在船上追踪海豚,真的很难,但摄制组的下次挑战是徒步追踪海豚。It was to become the wildlife filming equivalent of an army boot camp.拍摄野生动物电影就像是行军大战。Getting the hydronplaning was the real key part of the film, because its such a dynamic and fantastic bit of behavior.拍到会划水的海豚是这部片子的关键,因为这真是一种神奇的行为。The crew had just arrived Pearl after a long drive.经过漫长跋涉,摄制组到达了毕隆海滩。201407/311129

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