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Well, weve all been hearing about ongoing Mars exploration, and how water probably used to be abundant there. And a water spewing volcano was recently discovered on a small moon orbiting Saturn. Water is one sign that life may exist or have existed at some point.我们总会听到一些关于火星探测以及火星以前含有大量水资源的事情。最近,科学家又在一颗绕土星转动的小卫星上发现了一座喷水火山。水的存在就说明这里存在生命或曾经存在过生命。Sugar糖Astronomers have discovered sugar molecules floating in gas surrounding a young star about 400 million light years away. Not sugar as in the stuff in those little packets, mind you. Were talking about carbohydrates simple molecules made of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen which are the simplest forms of sugar.天文学家在围绕一颗年轻恒星4亿光年外的气体上发现有糖分子浮在其中。这里的糖可不是我们说的那种用糖纸包的糖哦。我们所说的是由糖的最基本形式---碳、氢、氧所组成的碳水化合物简单分子。But the simple sugars that the astronomers detected, called glycoaldehydes, are thought to be one of the building blocks of life.但是天文学家发现的这种叫做甘油醛的单糖被认为是生命的重要组成部分之一。How Do These Simple Sugars Form In Space?这些单糖是如何在宇宙间形成的呢?Scientists suspect that they form on ice covered dust grains in interstellar clouds. The really exciting thing is that discovering these molecules near a sun like star means that the basic building blocks of life may be present around new stars even before planets form.科学家们猜测它们是在星际星云中由冰包裹的尘土颗粒上形成的。真正让人兴奋的是,在太阳这样的恒星附近发现这些分子意味着生命的基本组成部分在星球形成以前就已经出现在新星周围了。Again, this doesnt prove anything, but its one more clue about how life might have begun on Earth–and how and why it might exist elsewhere in the universe.虽然这还是不足以明什么,但这对于人们了解地球上是如何出现生命的以及如何、为什么宇宙的其他地方也可能出现生命提供了线索。 /201304/236939Though very powerful, she’s not a sprinter and she needs to get close to her prey before she strikes. 尽管十分强大,但是它却不擅长短跑,因此,它需要靠近猎物以发动致命一击。This time she’s run too soon and it’s a fruitless chase. 这次它的动作太明显,即使追击也是白费力气。Then her attention is diverted to a slower-moving target, slow but not defenseless. She backs off and tries a different approach. 它的注意力转向了一个行动缓慢的目标,虽然速度缓慢,但却并不是毫无防备。它向后退去,并想尝试不同的一餐。There’s obviously a meal in there, but how to get to it? 大餐很明显就近在眼前,但是怎样下手呢?She homes in on the head and bites straight through the skull. The glyptodont is dead, but the jaguar still goes hungry. Unable to crack her victim’s tough armor, all she manages to walk away with is a bony scute. The jaguar will vanish in North America. And glyptodonts, like many Ice Age beasts, become extinct. But at the bottom of the spring, one tiny fragment of an Ice Age giant will remain undisturbed for 13,000 years, while above it, the landscape of Florida will change forever.它扑向雕齿兽的头部,并直接对雕齿兽的外壳发动了攻击。雕齿兽死了,但是美洲虎仍然饥饿难耐。它不能够打开雕齿兽的盔甲,它试图带着这个盔甲离开。美洲虎将会从北美消失。而雕齿兽,和其他冰河时代动物一样,也消失匿迹。但是在这个池塘底部,一个冰河时代的大型动物的化石碎片在安静地躺在那里13000年,而在水上,佛罗里达的面貌也永远地改变了。英文文本来自普特英语,译文属未经许可不得转载。201310/260732Finance and Economics;Japanese exchange-rate policy; Weaken, dammit! Japans policymakers try subtle approaches to cheapen the yen财经;日本汇率政策;该死,还不贬值!日本政策制定者暗中寻求本币贬值;With their overnight-lending rates at zero for most of the past decade, the Japanese public long ago stopped caring about interest rates. Instead the yen is their focus. Shoppers may revel in its current strength against the dollar but in the news media, the financial markets and corporate Japan, it is a relentless source of woe. Carlos Ghosn, the boss of Nissan and Renault, publicly lambasts it as a “1,000-pound gorilla” that hurts his ability to sell Japanese cars abroad. Its strength is increasingly becoming a political issue, too.在过去十年的大部分时间里,日本隔夜拆借利率都为零,日本民众早就对利率失去了兴趣,而日元则成为他们关注的焦点。日元兑美元汇率走强也许是购物者愿意听到的消息,但对于新闻媒体、金融市场和日本企业来说,这却是国内经济低迷的罪魁祸首。日产—雷诺的总裁卡洛斯·戈恩公开斥责日元升值是“一头1000磅的大猩猩”损害了日本汽车在海外市场的竞争力。同时,强势日元也逐渐成为一项政治议题。Both the Bank of Japan (BoJ) and the finance ministry have taken steps recently that analysts believe are surreptitiously aimed at the currency markets. On April 27th the BoJ increased the size of its asset-purchase programme by ¥5 trillion ( billion), and extended the maturity limit of government bonds it would buy from two to three years. That enhanced easing measures introduced in February which sharply weakened the yen.日本央行和财政部最近都采取了一些行动。分析人士指出,这些行动都暗中针对货币市场。4月27日,日本央行将资产购买计划扩容五万亿日元(620亿美元),同时将计划购买的政府债券期限由两年延长到三年。今年二月推行的宽松货币政策使日元大幅贬值。这些举动进一步加强了这一政策的效力。Days before, the finance ministry promised the biggest single contribution—a billion slug—to a 0 billion increase in IMF funding which is largely aimed at alleviating concerns about the euro crisis. As a senior official admitted, Japan’s decision was not altruistic. When the euro crisis gets worse, it weakens Japan’s exports to Europe and strengthens the yen, which compounds the first problem. So Japan has a direct interest in market stability.几天前, IMF为缓解欧元危机造成的紧张情绪将(可贷)资金规模扩充4300亿美元,为响应这一号召,财务部允诺注资600亿美元,使日本成为本次注资金额最大的国家。正如一位高级官员承认“日本此举并非毫无私心”。随着欧元危机愈演愈烈,削弱了日本对欧洲的出口,进而使日元兑欧元走强——这会使得日本出口形势进一步恶化。因此,日本经济形势与国际市场稳定性直接相关。Neither institution discusses the currency openly. The BoJ knows that overt currency manipulation is frowned upon as a “beggar-thy-neighbour” policy. But it nonetheless believes the yen’s value is important, because it has an impact on the economic decisions people and companies make. It may influence inflation expectations (of foreign investors, if not deflation-inured domestic ones); and it is a hot potato politically. Influential politicians are pressing the central bank to do more to stoke the economy by pushing down the yen. They brandish figures showing how the BoJ’s asset-purchase programme has undershot that of other big central banks (see chart). Some political parties are proposing reforms that the BoJ fears would curb its independence.日本央行和财政部都未公开讨论过货币问题。日本央行当然明白公开操纵汇率这种“以邻为壑”会招致他国不满。尽管如此,鉴于日元购买力对公司和个人的经济决策的影响,央行还是重视日元汇率的。就算汇率不影响日本国民(他们已经习惯了紧缩),也会影响外国投资者的通胀预期。而且从政治层面来看,它也是块烫手的山芋。现在,那些位高权重的政客们正向央行施压,要求它采取更多的手段使日元贬值以此刺激国内经济。他们援引数据表明,日本央行的资产购买计划(asset-purchase programme)远不及其他主要国家央行。而日本央行担心,某些政党提出的改革方案可能有损其独立性。In its latest move, the BoJ seemed keen to remind the markets that it is no miracle worker. The increase in the asset-purchase programme fell short of expectations. It implicitly issued a warning about the danger of monetising debt by printing money. Since its meeting, the yen has strengthened. Masamichi Adachi at J.P. Morgan says that is a reminder that whatever the BoJ does, global risk appetites have a bigger influence on the currency markets.在最近的行动中日本央行似乎极力提醒市场:不要指望它能创造神迹。扩大资产购买项目未能达到预期目标,这对于央行将债务货币化的危险提出了含蓄的警告。根大通驻东京高级分析师正道安達(Masamichi Adachi)称,目前日元走势坚挺也在提醒投资者,无论日本央行采取何种举动,全球风险偏好对货币市场的影响则要更大一些。But the yen will not have been forgotten about. Yunosuke Ikeda of Nomura says that on four occasions since 2010 a bigger asset-purchase programme has been followed by government intervention to weaken the yen. He thinks that the government must be at least considering another intervention. What’s more, he believes the IMF loan may be a crafty manoeuvre to help. Japan’s leadership in providing the money, he reckons, may make it easier for it to win international approval if it does choose to sell the yen again.尽管如此,日元也不会为人们所忽视。野村券分析师池田指出,自2010年来,政府已经四次干预日元汇率使之贬值,且都伴随着资产购买项目扩容。他认为日本人政府至少应该考虑再一次干预汇率。此外,日本向IMF提供贷款这一巧妙策略提升了日本的领导力,对日元贬值也有所助益:如果日本政府选择抛售日元使之贬值,这一策略会帮助日本获得国际社会持。 /201305/241580

Asian business亚洲商业A world to conquer征世界Asian business is reforming. Its emerging multinationals will change the way we all live亚洲商业正在改革,其新兴的跨国公司将改变我们的生活BUSINESS power follows economic power. In the 1920s British firms owned 40% of the global stock of foreign direct investment. By 1967 America was top dog, with a 50% share. Behind those figures lie cultural revolutions. The British sp the telegraph and trains in Latin America. American firms sold a vision of the good life, honed by Hollywood and advertising. Kelloggs changed what the rich world ate for breakfast, and Kodak how it remembered holidays. The next corporate revolution, as we describe in our special report this week, is happening in Asia. This too will change how the world lives.商业能力紧随经济实力。1920年代,英国公司拥有40%的全球海外直接投资股票。截至1967年,美国以50%的市场份额雄霸世界。这些数字的背后是文化革命。英国将电报机和铁路传至拉丁美洲。美国公司则通过好莱坞和广告营造了一副美好生活的憧憬。氏公司改变了发达国家人们桌上的早餐,柯达则定格了人们对于假期的美好回忆。下一场公司革命,就如同我们在本周的特别报道中描述的一样,将发生在亚洲。这也同样会改变我们生活的世界。Arrested development发展受阻Asian capitalism has brawn. The continents share of global GDP has risen from a fifth to 28% since 1984. It is the worlds factory, a diverse region of rivals bound together by supply chains. But it lacks brains and global savvy. Asia smelts 76% of the worlds iron and emits 44% of its pollution, but hosts only a tenth of its most valuable brands and venture-capital activity. Its multinationals punch below their weight, owning 17% of the worlds foreign direct investment. Wealthy Japan and South Korea have a cast of superstars, such as Toyota and Samsung. But few other firms command the world stage.亚洲资本强劲有力。亚洲大陆占全球GDP的份额自1984年以来已经增长了五分之一,至28%。 这里是世界工厂,由供应链连结起来的竞争多元化的地区。但是它“力大无脑”,缺乏对全球市场的领悟能力。亚洲熔炼了76%的世界钢铁并排放了44%的污染物,但是只掌握了十分之一最有价值的品牌和风险资本活动。这里,跨国公司的实力与其规模并不相称,只拥有世界17%的外国直接投资。富裕的日本和韩国有众多的明星企业,例如丰田和三星。但是,其他能够在世界舞台上占领一席之地的公司却是屈指可数。That is because Asian capitalism has been too cosy. In the boom between 2002 and 2010 easy profits were made at home—growth was fast and labour and credit cheap. Two-thirds of big Asian firms are state-controlled or “business houses” (often family-run). These incumbents tend to be chummy with the government and get cheap land and loans. Half of all billionaire wealth in Asia has been made in sectors, such as property, that are prone to cronyism, versus 15% in the West. Outside Japan, Taiwan and South Korea, innovation has been neglected. Mahindra amp; Mahindra and Great Wall, car champions from India and China, have a combined research-and-development (Ramp;D) budget that is 3% of Volkswagens.这是因为亚洲的资本主义是“温室里的花朵”。从2002到2010年,唾手可得的利润在家里就能轻松赚到——快速的增长以及廉价劳动力和信贷。三分之二的亚洲大公司都是国有的或者家族式经营的商号。它们都与政府有着密切的关系,能够得到廉价的土地和贷款。亚洲近半数的亿万富豪都是从政府有关部门发家的,例如极易产生裙带关系的房地产业,相比之下在西方只占15%。除了日本、台湾和南韩之外,创新都遭到了忽视。马恒达和长城这两个印度和中国的汽车业龙头,其研究开发经费加起来也不过是大众汽车的3%。For Western firms, Asias shortcomings have been a relief. The iPhone shows why: although it is made by the hands of Chinese workers, it is the brains behind it, at Apple and at high-tech component-makers in the rich world, that take nearly all the profits. Now, however, the rules that have governed Asian capitalism for the past two decades are changing. Asian firms are having to become brainier, more nimble and more global.对于西方公司来说,亚洲的短板令他们从中得利。iPhone就是和很好的例子:尽管都是出自中国工人的双手,但从中赚取几乎全部利润的“大脑”,是背后的苹果公司和发达国家的高科技元件市场。然而,这个曾经在过去二十年里管理着亚洲资本的游戏规则正在改变。亚洲企业正在变成更为灵活和全球化的“大脑”。The immediate motivation is underperformance: growth has slowed, and Asian shares have lagged American ones by 40% in the past three years. Three deeper trends are also at work. First, labour costs are rising, not least in China, and East Asias workforce is ageing. Second, Asias middle class is becoming more demanding. They are no longer satisfied with fake Louis Vuitton handbags; they want clean air, safe food and more leisure, and are madly in love with the internet. Third, competition has intensified from Western multinationals, which have invested trillion in Asia. They also now use the same cheapish labour, and they generally have much more sophisticated supply chains, brands and Ramp;D.最直接的动力是表现不佳:增长在减缓,在过去的3年里,亚洲的份额滞后于美国40%。三个更深层次的趋势正在起作用。首先,劳动力成本在上升,尤其是在中国,东亚的劳动力正在面临老龄化。其次,亚洲中产阶级的需求正在变高。他们不再仅仅满足于山寨LV手包,他们想要干净的空气、安全的食品和更多的休闲,同时也越来越迷恋网络世界。第三,来自西方跨国公司的竞争愈发激烈,他们已经在亚洲投资超过2万亿美元。他们现在也有相对廉价的劳动力,除此之外他们大都还拥有成熟的供应链、品牌和研发。With their home markets no longer quite so safe, Asian firms are adapting—and becoming stronger. In response to rising wages, production (of clothes, for example) is shifting from China to South-East Asia and Africa, led by Japanese firms which are also worried about a war with the Middle Kingdom. Chinese firms such as Haier, which makes fridges, plan to automate factories and get into cleverer products. And as the Chinese push upmarket, the Koreans are redoubling efforts to stay ahead. Samsungs spending on Ramp;D rose by 24% in 2013. If they get their act together, India and Indonesia, Asias bumbling giants, will attract lots of factory jobs. Their best firms are also getting brainier. Once dismissed as “body shops”, Indias IT-outsourcing firms are now leaders in big data.亚洲企业的本土市场不再是高枕无忧,所以他们也在适应——同时也在变强。由于上升的工资成本,产品生产(例如装)正在从中国转到东南亚和非洲,日本公司由于担心与中国将爆发战争所以首先采取了这种措施。中国公司例如生产冰箱的海尔,计划加强工厂自动化并生产更智能的产品。随着中国高端市场的发展,韩国正竭力保持其领先地位。三星在2013年的研发经费增长了24%。如果印度和印尼能共同进退,这两个笨手笨脚的亚洲巨人将会吸引大量的工厂就业。他们中最好的公司也正变成“大脑”。曾经被忽略为代工车间的印度IT外包公司现在已经成为大数据的领军者。Rising consumer aspirations are helping internet firms disrupt traditional industries. Alibaba, a Chinese internet giant, is expanding into banking, telecoms and logistics. Analysts think it might be worth 0 billion, more than Chinas steel industry. Chinas drive to reform its state-owned firms is meant to make them more responsive to customers. Xi Guohua, the boss of China Mobile, plans to give shares to his staff. Across Asia demand for health care is likely to create a whole new generation of companies—the industry comprises only 4% of the regions stockmarket, compared with 12% in the rich world.消费者日益增长的需求意愿正帮助互联网企业打破行业传统。阿里巴巴作为一个中国互联网企业巨头,已经将业务扩张到业、电信业和物流业。分析师认为其市值可能达到1500亿美元,超过了中国钢铁行业总和。中国实施国企改革的决心意味着国企要更多的回应消费者的需求。中国移动董事长奚国华计划让自己的员工持有本企业的股份。纵观亚洲,对于医疗保健的需求很有可能会创造一批全新的公司——该行业的份额只占地区股票市场的4%,而在发达国家则占12%。In order to challenge foreign rivals, Asian firms are globalising, following the example of Samsung and Toyota. Lenovo, a thriving Chinese computer firm, has Western-style governance and many foreign staff. Huawei has overtaken Ericsson in telecoms equipment. Indias Sun Pharma is now one of the worlds biggest generic-drugs firms. Tencent, Chinas Facebook, has hired the footballer Lionel Messi to advertise its services abroad. Sprawling business houses are evolving into focused multinationals. Tata Sons is now a superb IT firm and luxury-car maker tied to a ragbag of Indian assets.为了应对国外竞争对手,亚洲公司(例如三星和丰田)正在全球化。作为一家繁荣兴旺的中国计算机企业,联想拥有西式的管理和众多外籍员工。华为在电信设备方面也超越了爱立信公司。印度的太阳药业现在已经跻身为全球最大的非注册商标类药品公司之一。腾讯是中国版的facebook,聘任足球明星莱昂内尔·梅西为其务进行海外宣传。粗放式发展的商业模式已经进化成集中而专业的跨国企业。塔塔之子公司这家优秀的IT公司和豪华汽车制造商,已经成为印度资产大杂烩中的一员。Cereal killers麦片杀手Asian business needs to do much more. Big firms are spending 50% more on Ramp;D than five years ago, but must get better at breakthrough innovations. Conglomerates must focus on a few areas where they can achieve global scale. Governments can do their bit, by freeing state firms from meddling and ensuring that powerful incumbents do not stifle entrepreneurs.亚洲商业前路依然漫长。跟5年前相比,大公司的研发开增加了50%,但仍需突破性的创新。企业集团需要集中优势到某一些领域并做大到国际规模。政府能帮忙的地方就是解放国企、停止插手并确保大权在握的现任领导不会扼杀企业的发展。Western firms should pay attention. In some industries—aircraft manufacturing, for example—the barriers to entry are still immense, but in other sectors brands and technology will no longer be a shield from emerging Asian competition. The threat to low-paid Western jobs may recede. Haiers Chinese workers are paid 25% of what its American workers get, up from 5% in 2000. Instead it may be copywriters, scientists and designers who feel the chill of competition from the East.西方企业需要注意。某些行业(例如航空制造业)的准入门槛仍然很高,但在其他领域,品牌和科技不再是阻挡新兴亚洲竞争对手的避风港。西方国家低收入工作所面临的威胁可能会减少。海尔中国工人的收入是美国工人的25%,自2000年以来增加了5%。相反的,广告文案、科学家和设计师这些人更有可能需要面对来自来亚洲的竞争。History suggests consumers will adapt fast. In 20 years, miracle cures for the old will come from Japan, the best web apps from India and couture from China. And cornflakes, once a cutting-edge food, will be rivalled by congee and dosas, sold in boxes by a global brand. Asian capitalism will change the world—even, maybe, what it has for breakfast.历史明,消费者需要迅速适应新情况。在未来20年,治愈老人的医疗奇迹将发生在日本,最好的网络应用程序来自印度,而高级时装则来自中国。玉米片这个一度被认为是高科技的食品,将被装在盒子里、贴着全球品牌的稀饭和印度薄饼所取代。亚洲资本将改变世界——甚至有可能是桌上的早餐。 /201406/306687

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