楼主:城市大全 时间:2018年10月18日 07:40:24 点击:0 回复:0
Have you ever used duct tape to tape a duct?你曾经用管状胶带粘过管道吗?Do you evenknow what a duct is? Maybe not.你知道管道是什么吗?也许你不知道。But you definitely know what duct tape is, and youve probably used it to fix everything fromglasses to flashlights.但你一定知道胶带,并且你可能用它来固定任何东西,比如眼镜或手电筒。Now, thanks to one study, we can officiallyadd to the aly long list of things to do with duct tape:现在,多亏了一项研究,我们可以正式在胶带能做的事情单上增加一件事:curing warts. Thats right, duct tape might be used to curewarts.治疗疣。是的,胶带可用于治疗疣。The study tested duct tape against cryotherapy, which uses liquid nitrogen to freeze warts.该项研究对胶带治疗疣和通过液态氮冷冻治疗疣进行了对照测试。Of a test group of fifty-one wart patients, roughly half received cryotherapy, the other half duct tape.测试组有五十一名病人,大约一半的病人接受了冷冻疗法,另一半病人接受管状胶带治疗。The duct tape patients wore pieces of tape over their warts for six days and then removedit for twelve hours.管状胶带疗法病人在长疣的地方贴上胶带,贴6天后再取下。After soaking the wart in water and gently scrubbing it with pumice stone, the procedure wasrepeated for up to two months, or until the wart disappeared.在水中浸泡疣后,用浮石轻轻擦拭其表面,这样坚持2个月,或直到疣消失。The cryotherapy patients receiveda maximum of six treatments over the same time period.冷冻疗法的病人在同样时间内接受了6次疗法。By the end,85% of duct tape patientssaw their warts vanish completely, while only 65% of cryotherapy recipients had similar results.在治疗结束时,管状胶带治疗组中占85%的病人寻常疣完全消退;而冷冻疗法治疗组中只有65%的病人寻常疣完全消退。As for precisely what makes duct tape so effective, researchers are still uncertain.到底是什么使得管状胶带如此有效,研究人员目前还不能确定。Scientistsspeculate that by mildly irritating the wart, the tape activates the immune system whichsuppresses the viral microbes that cause warts.科学家们推测也许是由于轻度地刺激疣,胶带激活了免疫系统,抑制了产生疣的病毒微生物的产生。Robbed of its microbes, the wart graduallyvanishes.微生没有了,疣就渐渐消失了。Although duct tape has gotten all the publicity, it may be the case that other kinds of tape would do just as well.尽管管状胶带已经被广泛宣传,但可能另外一种胶带也同样有效。In any case, the next time you get a wart, talk to your medical professional about duct tape.不管怎样,以后如果长了疣,与你的专业医师谈谈管状胶带吧。 201407/315760Science and technology科学技术Forensic science司法科学Ignorance is bliss无知即是福Forensic scientists know too much about the cases they investigate法医科学家对他们调查的案子知道得太多AS ALL fans of crime fiction know, DNA is the gold standard of forensic science. Or is it?所有的罪案小说迷都知道,DNA是司法科学的黄金标准。它到底是么?Itiel Dror, a cognitive psychologist at University College, London, thinks this doctrine of infallibility needs to be questioned.一位伦敦的大学认知心理学专家Itiel Dror认为这个说法的正确性有待考验。His problem is not with the technology itself, but with the way it is deployed.他的问题不是针对技术本身而是它进行的方式。For he has gathered evidence that DNA examiners interpretations of their results are, at least in complex cases, open to subjectivity and bias.因为他已经搜集了据明DNA鉴定者对他们结果的解释至少在复杂的案子里易受主观性和偏差的影响。When Americas National Academy of Sciences produced a report on the state of forensic science in ,当美国国家科学院在年发表了一片关于司法科学现状的报告时,it criticised many of the methods then in use.它批判了很多当时正在应用的鉴定方式。Citing earlier research by Dr Dror, the reports authors stated,引用这篇报道的作者Dror士早前做的研究,for example, that fingerprint examiners claims of zero error rates were scientifically implausible.例如,指纹鉴定者宣称的零误差在科学上是不合理的。DNA, however, was spared their criticism. Now Dr Dror and Greg Hampikian,然而DNA省去了他们的批判。a forensic biologist at Boise State University in Idaho, have published a study in Science amp; Justice that suggests all is not shipshape in the domain of the double helix either.现在,Dror士和伊西的爱达荷州立大学的法医学生物学家Greg Hampikian在科学与正义上发表了一篇研究,表明所有的东西都不是井然有序的,在双螺旋线的领域里也不是。Dr Drors and Dr Hampikians experiment presented data from a real case to 17 DNA examiners working in an accredited government laboratory in North America.士Dror和Dr Hampikian士的实验提供一个真实案例的数据给17个在一家受认可的北美政府实验室里工作的DNA鉴定员。The case involved a gang rape in the state of Georgia, in which one of the rapists testified against three other suspects in exchange for a lighter sentence,这起案件涉及到一宗乔治亚州的轮奸案,其中一名强奸犯为了让自己获得轻判做了不利于其它三名嫌疑者的言,as part of a plea bargain.作为认罪辩诉协议的一部分。All three denied involvement, but the two DNA examiners in the original case both found that they could not exclude one of the three from having been involved, based on an analysis of swabs taken from the victim.其他三名嫌疑人全部否认参与强奸,但是根据从受害者处提取的药签分析,原案中有两位DNA鉴定师都发现他们无法排除三名中的其中一名参与了强奸。As is almost always true in forensic-science laboratories, these examiners knew what the case was about.由于在司法科学实验室里总是什么都是对的,这些鉴定师们知道这个案子到底是怎么回事了。And their findings were crucial to the outcome because in Georgia, as in many other states, a plea bargain cannot be accepted without corroborating evidence.而且他们的手指对于出来的结果是至关重要的,因为在乔治亚,同时也在很多其它州,认罪辩诉如果没有确实的据是无法被接受的。However, of the 17 examiners Dr Dror and Dr Hampikian approached—who, unlike the original two,然而,在Dror士和Hampikian接触的17个鉴定师中—他们不像开始两位鉴定师那样,knew nothing about the context of the crime,对犯罪内容一无所知,only one thought that the same suspect could not be excluded.有一位认为一样的嫌疑不能被排除。Twelve others excluded him, and four abstained.另外十二位把他排除了,而四位弃权。Though they cannot prove it, Dr Dror and Dr Hampikian suspect the difference in contextual information given to the examiners was the cause of the different results.尽管他们无法明,Dror士和Hampikian士怀疑鉴定师得到的上下文信息的区别是引起这些不同结果的原因。The original pair may have subliminally interpreted ambiguous information in a way helpful to the prosecution, even though they did not consciously realise what they were doing.开始的两个人也许已经在下意识里以某种有益于控方的方式破译了模棱两可的信息,即使他们没有清楚地意识到当时他们在做什么。And DNA data are ambiguous more often than is generally realised.而且DNA数据往往比普遍了解的要模棱两可。Dr Dror thinks that in about 25% of cases, tiny samples or the mixing of material from more than one person can lead to such ambiguity.Dror士认为在大约25%的案子里,小样本或者从不止一人身上取来的混合物质可能导致这样的二义性。Moreover, such is DNAs reputation that, when faced with claims that the molecule puts a defendant in a place where a crime has been committed,此外,DNA的好名声就是这样,当面临宣称用DNA分子明被告所犯的罪的时候,that defendant will often agree to a plea-bargain he might otherwise not have accepted.被告通常会同意认罪辩诉,否则他也许不会接受。This one example does not prove the existence of a systematic problem.这个例子没有明系统性问题的存在。But it does point to a sloppy approach to science.但是它确实指出了一个科学上草率的方法。According to Norah Rudin, a forensic-DNA consultant in Mountain View, California, forensic scientists are beginning to accept that cognitive bias exists,根据一位加利福尼亚州芒廷维尤的法庭DNA顾问Norah Rudin,法庭科学家正在开始接受那种认知性偏差的存在,but there is still a lot of resistance to the idea, because examiners take the criticism personally and feel they are being accused of doing bad science.但仍然有很多阻力,因为鉴定师个人会接受批评,觉得自己被谴责说自然科学学得差。According to Dr Rudin, the attitude that cognitive bias can somehow be willed away, by education, training or good intentions, is still pervasive.根据Rudin士,认知偏差可以通过某种方式意识性去除的态度是普遍的,比如通过教育、训练或好意的方式。Medical researchers, by contrast, take great care to make drug trials blind,相比之下,医学研究者非常注意使药物试验不透明,so that neither the patient nor the administering doctor knows who is receiving the drug being tested, and who is getting a control drug or placebo.所以病人和用药的医生都不知道接受药物测试的是谁,和控制药物和安慰剂的是谁。When someones freedom—and, in an American context, possibly his life, as well—is at stake,在美国环境中,当某人的自由和他的生命也危在旦夕的时候,it surely behoves forensic-science laboratories to take precautions that are equally strong.法医科学实验室应当采取相当的强预防措施。 点击此处下载本期经济学人讲解PDF与音频字幕 /201306/244629Science and technology科学技术Astronomy天文Throwing money into space往太空扔钱A shiny new telescope is crowding out NASAs other science missions新的望远镜正在把美国国家航空航天局其它科学任务挤出去THE Hubble space telescope, an orbiting observatory launched in 1990 by NASA, Americas space agency,哈勃太空望远镜是1990年由美国国家航空航天局发射的绕地天文台。has been one of that agencys most successful missions since the Apollo moon shots in the 1960s and 1970s.自六七十年代阿波罗登月发射以来,它一直是该局最成功的任务之一。It has produced a string of scientific achievements:它产生了一系列科学成就:confirming that most galaxies have a black hole in the middle;实大多数星系中心存在一个黑洞;providing a front-row seat for the collision, in 1994, of a comet with the planet Jupiter;为人们提供了1994年苏梅克—列维9号彗星撞击木星的最佳观测位置;and helping to uncover the strange fact that the expansion of the universe seems to be accelerating.帮助人们发现宇宙看上去正在加速扩张这一奇特事实。But beyond the science, it has also been a public-relations hit.但在科学以外,它也一直是承载科学和公众交流的桥梁。Its beautiful images have introduced a generation to the wonders of astronomy.它传回的精美图像引导一代人探索天文领域。So in 2002, when the agency considered plans for a successor that would study the universe in infra-red,因此,该局于2002年开始考虑筹划哈勃望远镜的继任者。rather than visible light, would be y to fly in 2010 and would cost just .5 billion, saying “yes” was easy.耗资25亿美元,通过红外线,而非可见光研究宇宙的望远镜将于2010年升空,计划轻松获得通过。Nine years later, NASA is regretting that decision.九年后,美国国家航空航天局对当时所作出的决定感到愧疚。The James Webb space telescope, as the new machine is called, is still in the workshop, and its launch date has been set back repeatedly.这个被称为詹姆斯·韦伯的新望远镜仍在厂房里。Its cost has gone up to .8 billion, a figure that, if history is any guide, could rise still further.其发射日期一推再推该望远镜耗资已攀升至88亿美元,历史如果有其它可能,这一数字还是会进一步攀升。Which would be embarrassing at the best of times, but with public-spending cuts looming and NASAs budget flat for the foreseeable future, it is causing real strains.这是最让人为难的时刻,但随着削减公共开初见端倪,美国国家航空航天局将在可预见的未来里保持预算不变,这正引起真正的紧张。In July, irritated by the JWSTs rising costs, the House of Representatives tried to cut .9 billion from NASAs budget for next year, in an attempt to have the project cancelled.7月,出于对詹姆斯·韦伯望远镜不断攀升的开不满,众议院试图从美国国家航空航天局下一年预算里砍掉19亿美元,以求取消这项计划。On November 1st, after lobbying from the telescopes defenders, the Senate passed a bill that restored the telescopes funding.11月1日,经为新望远镜进行辩护的人游说后,参议院通过了一项恢复望远镜资助的法案。But it is not just politicians that are restive.但并不仅仅是政治家感到不安,Astronomers have long worried that the ballooning costs of the telescope would affect NASAs other science projects.天文学家一直担心该望远镜激增的开会影响到美国国家航空航天局其它科研项目。Officially, the space agency will say only that other missions will be delayed,从官方角度看,他们只会表示其它任务将会推后,but there are fears that some could be cut completely.但人们担心其中一些会完全被砍掉。One potential sacrifice is WFIRST, an infra-red space telescope intended for launch in 2020.其中一个潜在的牺牲品就是宽视场红外巡天望远镜,一个计划在2020年发射的红外线天文望远镜。This is designed to probe the nature of “dark energy”, which is thought to be responsible for the quickening expansion of the universe that Hubble helped bring to the worlds attention.这部望远镜设计出来是为了探测自然界里的“暗能量”,A string of other, smaller projects could suffer as well.该物质被认为是经哈勃引起全世界关注的宇宙加速扩张的原因。The telescopes advocates say junking it now would be a false economy.该望远镜的持者称现在抛弃它不值当。Most of the hardware has aly been built, so cancelling it, they argue, would mean throwing all that away.他们认为,大多数硬件都已造好,就这么取消意味着将这些东西统统扔掉。And they play on fears that America is in danger of losing its pre-eminence in high-budget “big science”,继今年年初功率为世界第二的粒子加速器,设在伊利诺伊州的垓电子伏加速器关闭后,美国处于逐渐失去建立在对“大科学”following the closure earlier this year of the Illinois-based Tevatron, the second-most-powerful particle accelerator in the world.高投入的卓越地位的危险中,望远镜持者利用了这些恐慌。The JWST, if it does eventually fly, would surely do some spectacular science.如果詹姆斯·韦伯望远镜最终得以发射,它肯定会开展一些惊人的科研。The size of its mirror—25 square metres, as against Hubbles 4.5—and the location of its orbit far from the reflected light of Earth will allow it to study some of the earliest events in the universe,相对于哈勃4.5平米大的镜头,新望远镜达到25平米—它的轨道也远离地球反射光,可以让它对一些宇宙最早的事件进行研究,including the formation of the first galaxies. It will also help with the search for extrasolar planets.包括第一个星系的形成,帮助科学家寻找太阳系外的行星。Hubble, of course, was also late—and around billion over budget.不久前哈勃的预算也超过约20亿美元。It was lampooned after its launch when a wonky mirror meant that its images were blurred almost to the point of uselessness, and a mission by the Space Shuttle to fix the problem cost hundreds of millions of dollars.讽刺的是,发射升空后,其摇晃的镜头意味着图像虚到几乎没有任何用处,后经航天飞机完成的修补任务耗资上亿美元。Given its subsequent record, few now begrudge the cost.鉴于其后来的成绩,现在很少有人肉疼这笔钱。With all that in mind, NASA will press on with the JWST, at least for now.考虑到所有这些,美国国家航空航天局也许会推动詹姆斯·韦伯望远镜,至少现在是。All that remains for Americas astronomers to do is pray that their favourite mission is not one of those delayed, or even cancelled, to keep the new telescope on track.对于美国天文学家来说,他们剩下要做的就是祈求他们钟爱的任务没在那些被推迟的里面,或者即使被取消,也要让新望远镜保持运作。 /201306/243322State-controlled airlines国营航空公司Flags of inconvenience“不舒适”的代名词Why governments are so keen to keep their loss-making airlines aloft为什么各国政府都十分热衷于保有不断亏损的航空公司呢?MALAYSIA AIRLINES deserves sympathy. This year Flight MH370 disappeared over the Indian Ocean and MH17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine. But these tragedies merely hastened the struggling airline on its route back into full government ownership. On August 8th the countrys sovereign-wealth fund offered to buy the 30% of shares in private hands in order to restructure the airline. The root cause of Malaysias troubles should elicit far less pity. Like many national carriers, it was losing money as a matter of course.近期马来西亚航空的遭遇值得同情。今年,马航相继发生了两起灾难:航班MH370在印度洋上空失踪,以及航班MH17在乌克兰东部遭到击落。但这些悲剧事件仅仅是加快了深陷泥潭的马航回归到全面国有控制的步伐而已。8月8日,国家主权财富基金提出以从私人持股者手中购入30%的马航公司股份,进而对该航空公司实施重建计划。然而,导致马航深陷经营危机的原因或许根本不值得怜悯。就像诸多国营航空公司一样,马航也理所当然地处于亏损状态。Malaysias is not the only government that persists in keeping rickety airlines in flight. Italy raided the states coffers again last year to keep Alitalia going. Then, on the day of the Malaysia bail-out, Etihad, the flag carrier of the ed Arab Emirates, agreed to inject a further 560m (750m) into Alitalia in return for a 49% stake. A restructuring plan agreed at the end of July will keep Polands LOT in business—in return for 200m of taxpayers cash.在坚持保有这些摇摇欲坠的航空公司方面,马来西亚政府并不“孤单”。意大利政府在去年再次搜刮国库资金,以维持意大利航空的运作。紧接在马航被收归国有的那天,阿联酋的旗舰航空公司阿提哈德航空(Etihad)同意向意大利航空进一步注入5亿6千万欧元,以换取后者49%的股份。一份7月末达成的重建计划将令波兰的LOT航空持续经营,而其代价则是纳税人手中的2亿美元。The drain on public funds has a long tradition. Airlines used to be regarded as a vital part of transport infrastructure, like roads or bridges. So, until the mid-1980s, governments owned most of the airlines, set fares and routes, and protected flag-carriers by restricting new entrants. But privatisation made air travel more competitive and liberalisation brought competition from low-cost carriers. Most airlines in state control have failed to adapt.政府对公共资金的耗费俨然已有很长的历史。就像是公路和桥梁一样,航空公司从前就被认为是交通基础建设当中的一个重要部分。因此,直到上世纪80年代为止,大部分航空公司都是政府所有的。政府不仅设置机票价格,还设定飞行路线,同时还通过阻止新竞争者进入市场的方式来保护旗舰航空公司。然而,航空业的私营化却使得航空旅行的较量更加激烈,航空业的开放也将低成本航空公司引入了市场竞争当中。而这也令许多国营航空无所适从。The exceptions are few. The thriving airlines of Singapore and Ethiopia, and the Gulf carriers, Etihad, Emirates and Qatar Airways, all benefited from government money but have been allowed to operate as commercial enterprises with minimal interference. Such entrepreneurial thrust is rare. Elsewhere, inexperienced cronies often dominate management. State employees frequently travel free. Many carriers are obliged to maintain loss-making domestic routes to please politicians. Olympic Airlines was forced to deliver newspapers for a pittance to keep the countrys press barons happy. The Greek national carrier went to the wall in .独树一帜的国营航空是很罕见的。有一批蓬勃发展的国营竞争者,如新加坡航空和埃塞俄比亚航空,以及海湾地区的阿提哈德航空、阿联酋航空和卡塔尔航空,上述“例外”均为国家资本持,但在经营上都有着如同商业企业般的权限,有着极低的政府干预。如此开创性的航空业推动很稀有。而在其他非“例外”的国营航空当中,缺乏行业经验的“裙带货”常常身处管理层的高位;国企员工经常性地能够享受免费航空旅程;为了取悦政客的欢心,许多航空公司还一直运作部分持续亏损的国内航线。为了令国家媒体大亨开心,奥林匹克航空公司不得不以微薄的酬劳来为其配送报刊。这家希腊国营的航空公司最终于年宣布倒闭。Poor management, overstaffing and strong unions have left airlines struggling in a changing business and with little hope of cost-cutting or streamlining. Small state-owned carriers have little clout when buying planes and are far down the pecking order in global airline alliances. So why do governments keep their flag carriers?在一个不断变化的经营环境里,管理不善、人浮于事以及盘根错节的“小联盟”都使得国营航空公司苦苦挣扎,削减成本和部门改革等等的手段对他们来说只是奢望。在购置飞机的时候,小型国营航空话语权极低,而在全球航空联盟等级当中也是地位低下的弱者。那么,为什么各大政府都愿意保有他们的旗舰航空公司呢?Partly because there are few options beyond an endless cycle of failed restructurings. Privatisation plans are plentiful but rarely succeed because heavy losses, debts and legacy costs frighten investors away. It is cheaper to start an airline from scratch. Saviours such as Etihad are as rare as an on-time departure from Beijing airport.其部分原因是,除了深陷于一个不停失败的重建循环之外,航空公司并没有多少更好的选择。私营化的案例很多,但成功的私营化案例却很少,而这是出于沉重的亏损、债务以及历史遗留成本,这些不利因素都令投资者惊慌而逃。与接手一家航空公司相比,白手起家似乎更实惠些。就算是阿提哈德航空这样的国营航空里的“救世主”,也无法准时在北京机场起飞。The political cost of turfing out thousands of state employees makes liquidation unpalatable. So do fears that vital connections to the world will be lost forever. These, in fact, are largely unfounded. Switzerland and Belgium have done without a flag carrier for years. Indeed, opening up to competition is likely to result in more flights and lower fares. But even in death, protectionist urges are strong. Zambian Airways was liquidated in but the government refuses to let foreign airlines use Lusaka as a hub, in the unlikely event that the airline will one day fly again.要令成千上万国企员工失去饭碗才能达成的重组计划,其政治代价过于高昂,这也意味着实施清盘难上加难。与此同时,政府还十分害怕一旦实行了航空业改革,一个联系世界的重要通道就此被隔绝。但事实上,这些担忧大多都是没有必要的。就像是瑞士和比利时政府,他们早已在多年前放弃了国营旗舰航空。航空业的改革开放确实会令竞争加剧,从而令更多的航班和更低的票价能够参与到市场竞争来。然而,就算这些国营航空徘徊于生死线当中,贸易保护主义者的姿态依然强硬。赞比亚航空在年遭到了清盘,而即便是国外航空公司有能力让其重新运营,政府还是拒绝让国外的航空公司插手其中,其原因是政府不想让卢萨卡成为一个航空枢纽。 /201408/323070

Leaders社论Syrias civil war叙利亚内战Desperate times艰难时刻A conference on Syria is not enough. The West should also arm the rebels叙利亚问题远非一项会议可以解决,西方国家还应该为反对派提供武装援助NOBODY thinks that the Geneva negotiations, which began on January 22nd after months of effort, will bring peace right away.经过数月努力后,日内瓦会议于1月22日召开,没人相信此次调解会立即带来和平。But with civil war raging inside Syria, just getting people around the same table feels like progress; and, it is argued, the talks might lay the ground for negotiations that may one day lead to a ceasefire, or even to power changing hands.然而,由于叙利亚国内战争甚嚣尘上,单是将双方集结到一张桌子上已属不易。而且,据称,此次对话可能为之后的谈判奠定基础,以实现最终的停火,甚至是权利交接。Meanwhile, they can broker local truces and get relief to Syrians dying for lack of food and medicine.同时,这次的对话还可以调解地方冲突以求和平,为缺少食物和药物的叙利亚人送去援助。Anything that would alleviate Syrias plight is welcome.任何有助于缓解叙利亚困境的行动都是受欢迎的。But if America and Europe are serious about helping Syria, they should arm the rebels fighting the regime.但是,如果美国和欧洲国家真相帮助叙利亚,他们应该武装反对派,打击政权。Out-thinking, out-manoeuvring, inhuman先发制人,惨无人道That is a message people do not want to hear.世人并不想听到这样的消息。Then again, neither do they want to face up to the brutality inside Bashar Assads prisons.同样,他们也不忍直视巴萨尔阿萨德监狱里的残暴。This is not casual thuggery but, as a security official who defected from the regime with thousands of horrific photographs has revealed, an audited policy of official terror administered on an industrial scale.这并非一般的暗杀,而是一名安保人员,背叛组织后惨遭杀害,几千张惊恐的图片披露了这一行径,一项官方恐怖的审计政策以工业规模展开。The violence Mr Assad has used has driven reason and tolerance out of what was one of the Middle Easts most integrated countries.总统阿萨德的暴行使原本团结的中东国家失去了理性和包容。Well over 100,000 people have died and millions have fled their homes.10万多人丧生,数百万人流离失所。The hatred is sping to Lebanon and Iraq.仇恨正向蔓延黎巴嫩和伊拉克。The Geneva gathering cannot drain such an ocean of suffering and wrongdoing. It is built on the premise that Mr Assad will relinquish power through a transitional government.日内瓦会议无法化解这无边的苦海和冤屈,除非总统阿萨德能够放弃权力,组件临时政府。But why should he?但是,他这么做理由何在呢?He believes he is winning. He is holding his own against rebel attacks, or even gaining territory.他认为他正在获得胜利。他正在尽全力对抗反对派,甚至扩张领土。The programme to eliminate his chemical arsenal, imposed after he murdered about 1,000 civilians in a nerve-agent attack, has turned him into a partner of the West.在他屠杀了1000多手无寸铁的平民后,联合国决议决定销毁他的化学武器,但这却使他成为西方国家的一员。He set out to radicalise the rebels, releasing jihadists from his jails early in the conflict.他决意激怒反对派,在冲突开始早些时候释放了圣战者。This programme has been so successful that Western voters now think the rebels are as vile as Mr Assad.这一激将法十分奏效,西方国家目前认为反对派同阿萨德一样邪恶。Geneva could even get in the way of peace.可以说,日内瓦会议妨碍了和平进程。The humanitarian aid that may come from the talks is desperately needed by Syrians, but it comes at a cost, because UN aid agencies will, again, depend on Mr Assad for co-operation.叙利亚人亟需和谈中可能达成的人道援助,但是这些援助却不是免费的午餐,因为联合国援助机构会再次依靠阿萨德的合作。Peace is almost impossible unless Iran, Mr Assads biggest backer, also leans on the regime.除非伊朗—阿萨德最大的持者,也持这一政权,否则,叙利亚和平只能是泡影。Yet Iran was barred from the conference only hours after having been invited, because it will not sign up to the condition that he surrenders power.然而,伊朗在接受邀请数小时后就被拒绝参加会议,因为该国不同意阿萨德交出政权。To cynics, Geneva is a device that lets everyone pretend to have a Syria policy even when they dont.对批评人士来说,日内瓦会议只是权宜之计,让所有人误以为叙利亚问题有方法解决,实则是无计可施。That may be deft diplomacy, but it is a licence for inaction, and the price is counted in Syrian suffering.于外交来说,这一招妙不可言,但却使不作为获得了许可,而且代价在叙利亚伤亡中显而易见。As talks drag on, Russia and Iran will continue to boost Mr Assads strength.由于谈判一再拖延,俄罗斯和伊朗将继续为阿萨德提供援助。It would be wrong to let the balance tilt so far that he can dictate terms.力量失衡如此严重,让阿萨德可以为所欲为,实属下策。The best way to break the deadlock would be for the West to arm and train selected rebels, as it should have done almost from the start of the violence.打破僵局的最好办法是西方武装和训练精挑细选的反对派,战争开始之初就应该这样做。Many fear that the beneficiary of money, equipment and arms would be al-Qaeda, which matches only Mr Assad in its contempt for human life and Western democracy.许多人担心钱财、设备和武器最后会落到基地组织手里,他们残害生命和打击西方政策的行径与阿萨德不相上下。But over the past few weeks that risk has diminished, as nationalist Sunni groups, including devout Islamists, have turned against the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, an al-Qaeda affiliate.但是,在过去的几个星期里,风险已经降低,因为民族主义者逊尼派,包括虔诚的伊斯兰教徒,已与伊斯兰教国家伊拉克和ISIS反目,后者是基地组织的一个分。Not only are arms and money less likely to end up in the wrong hands, but the nicer rebels—even if they are not the most reliable or savoury allies—are the front line against ISIS, whose sectarian poison threatens the entire region.不仅武器和钱不太可能落入贼手,稍显仁慈的反对派—即使他们不是最可靠、最适合的同盟者,却在前线对抗ISIS,其派别纷争威胁着整个地区。Even with more outside help, the rebels are not about to defeat Mr Assad.即使外援增加,反对派也无意于扳倒阿萨德。But turning the tide of the fighting might shift the negotiations, too.然而,转移斗争的矛头可能会影响谈判。If the regime is under pressure on the battlefield, it may be more willing to negotiate a proper ceasefire, or even, if people are tired of war, Mr Assads departure.如果政权在战场上饱受压力,阿萨德可能更乐意协议停火,或者,人们厌倦了战争,阿萨德会选择放弃。Moreover Iran can ill afford to finance a stalemate.而且,如果伊朗意图不轨,大可继续为其提供援助,维持僵局。When it has had enough of pouring money into Mr Assads seemingly endless conflict, it may be willing to argue for peace.待到有足够的金钱持阿萨德似乎无休止的战争时,伊朗可能会求和。Some say that if outsiders continue to help the rebels, they will condemn Syria to even more suffering.有人认为,如果外界继续帮助反对派,可能会使叙利亚的苦难更加深重。That is possible.这一点并非不可能。But the brutality Mr Assad has practised against his own people strengthens the case for trying to tip the balance of power against him, and the best way to persuade his backers to withdraw their aid is if the West has money on the table, too.然而,阿萨德对其人们施行的暴政使外界决意使力量的天平向对方倾斜,而且劝退其持者的最好办法便是,西方国家也提供援助。One thing is certain: if either Mr Assad or al-Qaeda prevails, Syria will continue to suffer for a very long time.一件事可以肯定:无论阿萨德或基地组织任一方胜出,未来很长一段时间里,叙利亚都将继续处于水深火热中煎熬。 /201402/275815

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