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And for the record, thats faster than the speed of light. But wait. Doesnt that break one of the Laws of Physics?Even school children know that you e: you cant go faster than the speed of light.But actually there is a loophole there. You see nothing can go faster than light, nothing being empty space.记录显示那比光速更快。但是且慢。那会打破其中一条物理学定律吗?就连学校的学生都知道的那条定律:世界上最快的是光速。但实际上,这句话有漏洞。没有什么快于光速,而你所说的没什么是指空无一物的空间。 Dont worry. This idea gives even the best minds in science a headache. But its critical to understanding the early universe. Scientists think it took less than a millionth of a millionth of a millionth of a millionth of a second for the universe to expand from the size of an atom to a baseball.That may not sound like much, but its like a golf ball expanding to the size of the earth in the same amount of time.别担心,就算是最聪明的科学家也会对此感到头疼。然而了解早期的宇宙确实至关重要。科学家们认为如原子般大的宇宙膨胀到棒球大小需要的时间不超过万万万万亿分之一。也许听起来不是很形象,但这相当于花同样的时间由高尔夫球膨胀到地球样大小。That means it was expanding faster than the speed of light. Thats fast. So many things were happening so fast in the early universe. Because everything was so close together that we needed a new unit of time to describe things.这就意味着宇宙膨胀速度快于光速。那非常快。在早期的宇宙,许多事件发生得太快。因为每事件紧挨着发生,所以需要一个新的时间单位来描述物质的运动。Its called Planck Time. To understand just how short of Planck Time is, consider this, therere more units of Planck Time in one second than all the seconds since the Big Bang. The math is mind-blowing. Therere more than 31 million seconds in a year and its been 14 billion years since the Big Bang. So multiply 31,556,926 by 14 billion and what you get. Its a really big number.新的时间单位就是“普朗克时间”。要明白普朗克时间有多短,先要知道普朗克时间每秒包括的单位比大爆炸以来所有秒包括的单位都要多。计算起来很费脑筋。每年有3千多万秒,自大爆炸已经有140亿年了。140亿乘以31,556,926等于多少。一个巨大的数字。Its a time scale thats so small that all human intuition goes out (of) the window. If we look at our watches and measure one second, we can ask how many Planck Times is that. Well, it is a billion billion billion billion billion Planck Times.普朗克时间的时间段太小,超出了人类洞察力范畴。如果看表估量一秒钟,我们可以问这一秒钟的普朗克时间是多少。这么说吧,这一秒等于10的36次方普朗克时间。So, now the Big Bang is only a few Planck Times old in exploding mass of pure energy expanding faster than the speed of light. In the next few Planck Times, the universe as we know it will be born.因此,大爆炸开始的一瞬大量纯能量以快于光速的速率爆发膨胀,这个过程所用的普朗时间很短。接下来,在又一段很短的普朗克时间内宇宙就诞生了。201205/182472IF CALIFORNIA were not aly so famous for Silicon Valley and Hollywood, it might be renowned for the cluster of water-technology firms in its San Diego County. The reverse-osmosis (RO) spiral module, the trick that underpins turning sea- and waste-water into potable stuff, was patented in San Diego in 1964. Today dozens of firms in the area supply many of the world’s roughly 13,000 RO plants in places from the Persian Gulf and Israel to Australia, China, Singapore and Spain.如果加利福利亚的出名不是因为硅谷和好莱坞,那么圣地亚哥大量的水处理公司也许会让它声名在外。反渗透膜元件1964在圣地亚哥被申请专利,该设备是将海水和废水转化为可饮用水的基础。当今全球约有13000家反渗透厂,它们分布在从波斯湾、以色列到澳大利亚、中国、新加坡和西班牙的地方。而其中的大多数厂商从圣地亚哥的水处理公司引进技术和设备。Southern California itself, however, has not so far been a big user of its own technology. This is surprising, given that the whole American south-west confronts a water problem. But there is at least now a growing consensus that the existing infrastructure, consisting of vast aqueducts that carry water from the Sacramento Delta in the north and the Colorado River in the east, will not suffice as the climate gets warmer and the population increases. In places such as San Diego, which has measly and brackish groundwater and currently imports 90% of its water, the answer must be greater conservation, as much reuse as possible, with most of the rest coming from the sea.然而到目前为止,南加州自身对水处理技术的运用并不广泛。这让人感觉到很惊讶,因为整个美国西南地区面临水资源匮乏问题。至少大家都逐渐认识到:随着气候变暖和人口增加,现存的基础设施(包括大量从北部的沙加緬度三角洲、东部的科罗拉多河铺设到西南地区的输水管道)将难以满足用水需求。圣地亚哥拥有的地下水储量既少,盐份又高,如今其90%的用水需从外地引入。在像圣地亚哥这样的地方,其对策是尽可能的节约用水、循环利用,而剩余不足的部份则大多从海洋中获取。 The first part, conservation, is hardly controversial any more. San Diego today uses less water with a larger population than it did in 1989, the year water consumption peaked. The second part, water recycling, has been a harder sell, because of what the industry calls the yuck factor. It doesn’t help that Americans still use the term “toilet-to-tap” for recycling, even though properly treated sewage is nowadays completely clean. Singapore made its programme acceptable in part by rebranding it as NEWater. But even the Singaporeans cannot recycle all their waste-water.首先,节约用水已被广泛认同。圣地亚哥如今人口增加了,耗水量却比1989年(耗水量最高的一年)少。其次,水循环利用很难被广泛接受,其原因在于业内所称的“恶心之物”。美国人民称水循环为“马桶-水龙头”,即使被恰当处理的污水十分干净,其也难去除人们的恶心之感。新加坡使其在理论上被接受,部分原因在于它把处理过的污水称为新生水。但是,即使是新加坡人也不能循环利用所有的废水。This is where desalination comes in. A firm appropriately called Poseidon Resources is now close to building the biggest desalination plant in America behind a power station by the beach in Carlsbad. The power plant sucks in 304m gallons of seawater a day for cooling in any case, so Poseidon plans to divert 104m gallons a day through its osmotic membranes.海水淡化技术就因此出现了。恰如其名,Poseidon Resources公司将在美国修建最大的海水淡化厂,其厂址位于卡尔斯巴德的海滩附近的发电站后面。发电站每日总会吸取30400万加仑海水用于冷却,因此Poseidon计划每日用渗透膜淡化10400万加仑海水。Fondling a pipe of membranes (they are rolled like toilet paper but the size of a cannon), Poseidon’s Peter MacLaggan explains the scale: if water molecules were blown up to the size of tennis balls, salt molecules would be softballs (roughly 50% bigger in diameter), viruses would be trucks, and bacteria would be the size of power plants. From the 104m daily gallons, 50m gallons of pure H2O will come out at one end and brine at the other, to be fed back into the power station’s discharge, and then into the ocean.渗透膜如同卫生纸一样卷起来的,但却有大炮那么大。Poseidon的Peter MacLaggan一边摸着渗透膜一边解释道:如果水分子胀大到乒乓球大小,盐分子有垒球大(在直径上大约长50%),病毒有卡车那么大,细菌有发电厂那么大。在每天处理的10400万加仑海水中,有5000万加仑的纯水从渗透膜一端流出,然后在其另一端变成浓盐水,最终由发电厂的排放系统流回海里。Lots of people like the idea. Once fully running in 2015 the plant could produce 10% of the region’s water. And there are plans for more desalination plants. Inland Californians, Arizonans, Nevadans and others would need to take much less water from the endangered Colorado River.很多人赞同这种想法。到2015年,一旦Poseidon全部投入运行,其可以提供该地区用水的10%。而且有许多厂准备加入海水淡化处理队伍。加利福利亚内陆、亚利桑那州、内华达州和其它地方从日渐干涸的科罗拉多河中抽取的水将越来越少。But a few people hate it a lot. Environmentalists are suing Poseidon every step of the way. Joe Geever of the Surfrider Foundation says desalination uses too much energy and that Poseidon’s plant would kill too much marine life, including fish such as the goby and the garibaldi, which unfortunately happens to be California’s state marine fish. He understands that there is a role for desalination, he says, but would rather not have it right there, right now, and on this scale.但是也有一些人极不赞同。环境保护者正在起诉Poseidon海水淡化方式的每一步骤。冲浪协会的Joe Geever说:“海水淡化耗费太多的能源,而且Poseidon会伤害许多海洋动物诸如虾虎鱼、海金鱼之类的鱼类,而后者恰好是加州的海洋鱼。”他说,他知道海水淡化的重要性,但是相对于其来带的利弊,他宁愿加州此刻没有这么大规模的海水淡化厂。201204/177102Business.商业。Airbus空中客车Coming to America杀入美国本土市场Europes big aircraft-maker is to open a factory in Alabama欧洲飞机制造巨头将在阿拉巴马州建工厂THE red imported fire ant first entered America through the port of Mobile, Alabama, in the 1930s. Being more aggressive than most native species, it soon sp across the country. On July 2nd Airbus said it would open its first jet assembly line in America in Mobile. The reaction of Boeing, the European aircraft-makers biggest rival, suggests it fears a nasty sting from this foreign pest. And with good reason: Airbus says the factory, which will cost 0m and start delivering aircraft in 2016, will help to boost its share of Americas civil-aviation market to nearly 50%, up from 20% today.红色的火蚁作为外来物种,20世纪30年代首次从阿拉巴马州西南部港市莫比尔传入美国。它比大部分本土物种的侵略性大得多,迅速遍及全国。7月2号,空中客车宣布将在莫比尔港市兴建其在美国的第一个飞机组装厂。波音,作为空客最大的竞争对手,回应道恐怕会被这个外来的害虫狠狠咬伤,而且理由很充分:空客称其工厂造价6000万美元,2016年就开始交货,这将促使他们在美国民航市场所占的份额由今天的20%提高到将近50%。Airbuss move seems well-timed. With the four biggest airlines in the world, America remains the largest market for civilian jets. Demand has been muted for years, usually accounting for less than 30% of orders worldwide, down from 50% in 2003. But this is likely to change. Jets flying in America are typically several years older than elsewhere. Perhaps 5,000 new aircraft may be needed in the next 20 years. The single-aisle 319s, 320s and 321s that Airbus will put together in Mobile-albeit initially at a modest rate of up to 50 a year-will challenge Boeings popular 757.空客的这步举措看起来时机刚刚好。美国拥有全球四大航空公司,一直是民用飞机最大的市场。近年来需求减弱,其订单经常不到全球订单的30%,而在2003年,这个比例还是50%。不过这种局面即将扭转。在美国运行的飞机通常比其他地区的机龄要老几年,未来20年大概需要5000架新飞机。空客将在莫比尔市生产大量型号为319,320和321的单过道喷气式飞机,虽然一开始是一年近50架,比例还较为和缓,但这大大挑战了常用的波音757的地位。Earlier plans by Airbus to make planes in America were thwarted when Boeing beat it to win a large order for mid-air refuelling tankers from the Pentagon. By selling aircraft that are “made in the USA”, Airbus hopes to win over patriotic locals (just as Japanese carmakers won them over by opening factories in America in the 1980s and 1990s). American politicians have long supported Boeing against its European challenger, though it is unfair to classify Airbus as wholly European. Like Boeing, its supply chain is global. It claims, for example, to be the largest foreign customer of Americas civil-aerospace industry.波音公司曾挫败了空客早期在美国造飞机的计划,并从国防部赢得一笔很大的空中加油飞机的订单。空客公司希望通过销售“美国制造”的飞机,来争取有强烈爱国心的美国消费者(就像日本的汽车制造商曾在20世纪80年代和90年代通过在美国兴建工厂而赢得了这批消费者的青睐)。美国的政客长期以来持波音公司以抵抗其欧洲劲敌,但是将空客定性为纯粹的欧洲公司是不公平的,就像波音公司,其供给链也是全球性的。例如,空客就声称将成为美国民航工业最大的外国客户。Airbus says the new factory will bring it closer to its customers in America. It will also create a natural currency hedge, with more of its costs incurred in dollars rather than euros. (Aircraft, like oil, are largely priced in dollars.) Given the uncertainty surrounding the euro, such hedging is doubly wise. Ironically, Airbus will also receive subsidies from Alabama reckoned to be worth almost 0m. Airbus said it noticed what was on offer only when it investigated the subsidies paid to Boeing. (The two firms are engaged in a long dispute before the World Trade Organisation.)空客公司称,新工厂将会拉近其与美国消费者之间的距离,还会产生自然货币对冲,因为其成本更多的是以美元结算,而非欧元。(飞机就像石油一样,大部分都是以美元定价。)考虑到欧元区的不确定性,这种对冲更为明智。讽刺的是,空客也会得到阿拉巴马州的补贴,据说有将近1600万美元。空客称,只有调查到波音公司接受的补贴才能知道州政府具体提供的是什么。(这两个公司在世贸组织关于补贴的争论已持续多年。)Airbuss new factory is expected to create 1,000 jobs. Part of the appeal of Alabama is that it is a “right-to-work” state, where employees cannot be forced to join a union as a condition of employment. Boeings factories are largely in closed-shop Washington state. A new Boeing factory in right-to-work South Carolina was blocked by the union-friendly National Labour Relations Board, until Boeing gave a gold-plated pay deal to its unionised workers in existing factories. So far, despite high unemployment in the EU, Airbuss European workers seem to have bought their bosses argument that the new factory will not take jobs from Europe, but may create some by boosting sales in America.空客公司的新工厂有望带来1000个工作岗位。阿拉巴马州吸引商家的一部分因素是其州政府保障就业权,雇工不必面临以加入工会作为受聘的条件的窘境。而波音的工厂大部分在华盛顿州,在那里工厂只雇佣工会会员。在保障就业权的南卡罗来纳州,亲工会的全国劳资关系委员会封了波音公司的一个新工厂,直到公司向现有工厂里已加入工会的员工交出一份华而不实的薪水标准。到目前为止,尽管欧盟的失业率仍居高不下,空客公司的欧洲员工似乎已相信了老板们的言论,新工厂不会造成欧洲的工作岗位流失,反而会因为美国良好的销售情况而带来更多的工作机会。Some European politicians have interpreted Airbuss move as the latest depressing symbol of Europes decline. That is a stretch. What is most striking is the self-confident approach to globalisation taken by Airbus, a company that over the years has suffered more than its share of petty squabbles, especially between its French and German tribes.一些欧洲政客将空客的这一举动视为欧洲衰败的最新标志,令人十分沮丧。这种说法就夸大其词了。最令人震惊的还是空客公司这一信心十足的全球化举措,这个公司数年来经历了无数琐碎的争吵,尤其是其法国公司和德国公司之间的争执更是令人头疼。How Boeing will respond to this rocket-blast of competition in its own backyard remains to be seen. So far it has merely grumbled that the new factory will not change the fact that Airbus has benefited from huge subsidies at home. Perhaps Boeing should open a factory in Europe? That is easier said than done. Few places in the EU can match Alabamas sweet mix of flexible working practices and southern-fried tax breaks.波音公司在自己的地盘如何应对这场激烈的竞争令人拭目以待。到目前为止它只是抱怨就算兴建新工厂也不能改变这样的事实,那就是空客公司已经在它的地盘从巨额补贴中获益。或许波音也该在欧洲兴建工厂?这件事说起来容易做起来难,因为欧洲很少有地方能像阿拉巴马州那样,将灵活的工作方式和具有南方特色的减税措施结合的如此完美。 201208/193510

IN 1989 Edward Kennedy tried to stop time. The ed States Coast Guard was preparing to automate and remove all remaining personnel from the old lighthouse in Boston Harbour. But Kennedy, a liberal senator from a family with deep roots in Boston, sponsored a bill requiring the Boston Light to be permanently manned. And so it soldiered on for nearly another decade, stubbornly holding to the old ways. Built in 1783, it is one of America’s oldest lighthouses (the oldest was its predecessor, which the British blew up as they slunk home in June 1776). In 1998 time and Senator Kennedy reached a compromise: the light itself was at last automated, but it remains the last one with resident Coast Guard keepers.爱德华.肯尼迪试图让时间定格1989年。当时,美国海岸防卫队正准备从波士顿港撤走所有留守人员,实现灯塔全自动化。然而与波士顿有着深厚渊源的自由派参议员肯尼迪,提出了一份议案,要求派人长期驻守灯塔。因此,灯塔由士兵守候了又是近十年光景,这样灯塔顽强地得以维持其原状。兴建于1783年的波士顿灯塔(其前身是美国最古老的灯塔,1776年6月英国人仓惶归国时,将其炸毁)是美国最古老的灯塔之一。经过长期的争取,肯尼迪最终于1998年出台了一项折衷方案:波士顿灯塔最终实现自动化,而且也是全美唯一一座由海岸警卫队驻守的灯塔。The Coast Guard took charge of America’s more than 1,000 lighthouses in 1939, when it absorbed the ed States Lighthouse Service. But it has been slowly letting them go. In 2000 the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act allowed the sale or transfer of lighthouses deemed “excess to service requirements” by the Coast Guard to private entities. Since then the federal government has moved 84 lighthouses of the 600 that were left off its books. Most have been transferred to local governments or non-profits, but 28 have been auctioned off to private individuals.1939年,美国灯塔划归到海岸警卫队。自那以后,海岸警卫队负责管理美国1000多座灯塔。但渐渐地,美国海军看护的灯塔越来越少。2000年《国家历史灯塔保存法案》允许海岸警卫队将那些被认为是“其务已不再必要”的灯塔出售或转让给私有个体。从此,美国联邦政府出售转让了书中记载的仅存的600座灯塔中的84座。大部分灯塔转交给当地政府或非营利机构,但28座灯塔已被拍卖给个人。The sad truth is that satellite navigation has made many lighthouses surplus to requirements. Shifting commercial trends have done their damage, too. More than 1,500 ships lie wrecked off North Carolina’s Outer Banks, but today these islands depend far more on tourism than on maritime trade.遗憾的是,现在有了卫星导航技术,好多灯塔根本就用不上了。贸易趋势的转变也让灯塔越来越没有用武之地。北卡罗来纳州外班克斯港有1500多艘触礁的船只残骸,然而今天这些岛屿主要依靠旅游业而不是海上贸易。Still, some fishermen enjoy navigating by light rather than satellite. Sometimes they forget to take their navigation systems on board. Bett Padgett, who heads the Outer Banks Lighthouse Society, which petitioned the federal government for funds to restore Bodie Island’s once-crumbling lighthouse, warns of solar flares knocking out satellites.然而,有许多渔民仍然喜欢利用灯塔而不是卫星来导航,所以有时候,他们会忘记带导航系统。外班克斯列岛灯塔协会(该协会曾请求联邦政府拨款整修一度年久失修的Bodie灯塔)会长Bett Padgett提醒人们太阳耀斑会让卫星暂时失灵。All that is true, but defending lighthouses as a matter of utility surely misses the point.。 Of course, lighthouses draw tourists, who spend money; one informal study estimated that restoring the Bodie Island lighthouse, which is scheduled to open to visitors for the first time in April 2013, would add .7m in total income to the regional economy.But for Ms Padgett, preserving them is a way “to give our children and grandchildren a feel for what happened in this place a hundred or two hundred years ago.” Men built them by hand to stand watch over the sea. Lighthouses remind people that as mariners battled what Walt Whitman called “the wild unrest, the snowy, curling caps—that inbound urge and urge of waves, Seeking the shores forever,” someone was watching over them, and wishing them safely home.上面说的没错,但从实用性角度为灯塔辩护,显然没有说到关键之处。当然,灯塔吸引了大批来此消费的游客;一项非官方调查预计修整 Bodie灯塔将为当地经济带来总计870万美元的收入,该灯塔预计于2013年4月首次向游客开放。但在Padgett女士看来,保存好灯塔是让“我们子孙感受一两百年来这里变迁”的一种方式。人们建造灯塔来让它们守候大海。灯塔让人们想到,当水手们与沃尔特.惠特曼笔下“那永不宁静的奔腾,那白浪般的滚卷的浪峰----那向陆地急推又急推的浪头“搏斗时,有人在灯塔上眺望,盼望他们安全归来。201204/177262

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