2010 Text 1 Of all the changes that have taken place in English-language newspapers during the past quarter-century, perhaps the most far-reaching has been the inexorable decline in the scope and seriousness of their arts coverage. It is difficult to the point of impossibility for the average reader under the age of forty to imagine a time when high-quality arts criticism could be found in most big-city newspapers. Yet a considerable number of the most significant collections of criticism published in the 20th century consisted in large part of newspaper reviews. To read such books today is to marvel at the fact that their learned contents were once deemed suitable for publication in general-circulation dailies. We are even farther removed from the unfocused newspaper reviews published in England between the turn of the 20th century and the eve of World War II, at a time when newsprint was dirt-cheap and stylish arts criticism was considered an ornament to the publications in which it appeared. In those far-off days, it was taken for granted that the critics of major papers would write in detail and at length about the events they covered. Theirs was a serious business, and even those reviewers who wore their learning lightly, like George Bernard Shaw and Ernest Newman, could be trusted to know what they were about. These men believed in journalism as a calling, and were proud to be published in the daily press. “So few authors have brains enough or literary gift enough to keep their own end up in journalism,” Newman wrote, “that I am tempted to define ‘journalism’ as ‘a term of contempt applied by writers who are not read to writers who are.’” Unfortunately, these critics are virtually forgotten. Neville Cardus, who wrote for the Manchester Guardian from 1917 until shortly before his death in 1975, is now known solely as a writer of essays on the game of cricket. During his lifetime, though, he was also one of England’s foremost classical-music critics, a stylist so widely admired that his Autobiography (19
  47) became a best-seller. He was knighted in 1967, the first music critic to be so honored. Yet only one of his books is now in print, and his vast body of writings on music is unknown save to specialists. Is there any chance that Cardus’s criticism will enjoy a revival? The prospect seems remote. Journalistic tastes had changed long before his death, and postmodern readers have little use for the richly upholstered Vicwardian prose in which he specialized. Moreover, the amateur tradition in music criticism has been in headlong retreat. 在过去的25年英语报纸所发生的变化中,影响最深远的可能就是它们对艺术方面的报道在 范围上毫无疑问的缩小了,而且这些报道的严肃程度也绝对降低了。 对于年龄低于40岁的普通读者来讲,让他们想象一下当年可以在许多大城市报纸上读到精 品的文艺评论简直几乎是天方夜谭。然而,在20世纪出版的最重要的文艺评论集中,人们 读到的大部分评论文章都是从报纸上收集而来。 现在, 如果读到这些集子, 人们肯定会惊诧, 当年这般渊博深奥的内容竟然被认为适合发表在大众日报中。 从20世纪早期到二战以前,当时的英国报纸上的评论主题广泛,包罗万象,我们现在离此 类报纸评论越来越远。 当时的报纸极其便宜, 人们把高雅时尚的文艺批评当作是所刊登报纸 的一个亮点。 在那些遥远的年代, 各大报刊的评论家们都会不遗余力地详尽报道他们所报道 的事情,这在当时被视为是理所当然的事情。他们的写作是件严肃的事情,人们相信:甚至 那些博学低调不喜欢炫耀的评论家,比如George Bernard Shaw和Ernest Newman也知道 自己在做什么(即他们的文章会高调出现在报纸上)。这些批评家们相信报刊评论是一项职
业,并且对于他们的文章能够在报纸上发表感到很自豪。“鉴于几乎没有作家能拥有足够的 智慧或文学天赋以保证他们在新闻报纸写作中站稳脚跟”,Newman曾写道,“我倾向于把‘新 闻写作’定义为不受读者欢迎的作家用来嘲讽受读者欢迎的作家的一个‘轻蔑之词’” 不幸的是,这些批评家们现在实际上已被人们遗忘。从1917年开始一直到1975年去世不久 前还在为曼彻斯特《卫报》写文章的Neville Cardus,如今仅仅作为一个撰写关于板球比赛 文章的作家被人们所知。但是,在他的一生当中,他也是英国首屈一指的古典音乐评论家之 一。他也是一位深受读者青睐的文体家,所以1947年他的《自传》一书就成为热销读物。 1967年他被授予爵士称号,也是第一位获此殊荣的音乐评论家。然而,他的书现在只有一 本可以在市面上买到。他大量的音乐批评,除了专门研究音乐评论的人以外,已鲜为人知。 Cardus的评论有没有机会重新流行?前景似乎渺茫。在他去世之前,新闻业的品味早 已改变很长时间了, 而且他所擅长的措词华丽的维多利亚爱德华时期的散文风格对后现代的 读者没有什么用处。何况,由业余爱好者作音乐批评的传统早已经成为昨日黄花了。 2010 Text 2 Over the past decade, thousands of patents have been granted for what are called business methods. Amazon.com received one for its "one-click" online payment system. Merrill Lynch got legal protection for an asset allocation strategy. One inventor patented a technique for lifting a box. Now the nation's top patent court appears completely ready to scale back on business-method patents, which have been controversial ever since they were first authorized 10 years ago. In a move that has intellectual-property lawyers abuzz the U.S. court of Appeals for the federal circuit said it would use a particular case to conduct a broad review of business-method patents. In re Bilski, as the case is known , is "a very big deal", says Dennis D. Crouch of the University of Missouri School of law. It "has the potential to eliminate an entire class of patents." Curbs on business-method claims would be a dramatic about-face, because it was the federal circuit itself that introduced such patents with is 1998 decision in the so-called state Street Bank case, approving a patent on a way of pooling mutual-fund assets. That ruling produced an explosion in business-method patent filings, initially by emerging internet companies trying to stake out exclusive rights to specific types of online transactions. Later, move established companies raced to add such patents to their files, if only as a defensive move against rivals that might beat them to the punch. In 2005, IBM noted in a court filing that it had been issued more than 300 business-method
patents despite the fact that it questioned the legal basis for granting them. Similarly, some Wall Street investment films armed themselves with patents for financial products, even as they took positions in court cases opposing the practice. The Bilski case involves a claimed patent on a method for hedging risk in the energy market. The Federal circuit issued an unusual order stating that the case would be heard by all 12 of the court's judges, rather than a typical panel of three, and that one issue it wants to evaluate is whether it should "reconsider" its state street Bank ruling. The Federal Circuit's action comes in the wake of a series of recent decisions by the supreme Court that has narrowed the scope of protections for patent holders. Last April, for example the justices signaled that too many patents were being upheld for "inventions" that are obvious. The judges on the Federal circuit are "reacting to the anti-patent trend at the Supreme Court", says Harold C. Wegner, a patent attorney and professor at George Washington University Law School. 在过去的十年中,成千上万的商业方法被授予了专利权。亚马逊网站获得的专利是在线“单 击”付费系统。美林公司的资产分配方案得到了法律保护。有个发明者的提箱技巧也获得了 专利。 现在, 该国最高专利法院似乎完全准备好要缩减商业方法专利, 因为商业方法专利自从十年 前第一次批准授予以来一直有争议。 在一项使得知识产权律师们议论纷纷的提议中, 美国联 邦巡回上诉法院声称它将利用某个具体案件来对商业方法专利进行广泛的复审。 密苏里大学 法学院Dennis D. Crouch说,“正如人们所知道的那样,Bilski案例是一件非常大的事情”它可 能将消除整个专利类别”。 对于商业方法诉求的限制是个戏剧性的彻底变化, 因为正是联邦巡回法院自己引进了这种专 利。那是在1998年,对于所谓的美国道富银行的案件中,联邦巡回法院做出了判决,批准 了筹集共同基金资产的方法具有专利权。这一裁决使得商业方法专利文件以几何数级增加, 起初只是一些新兴的网络公司对于某些特定类型的在线交易系统试图争取独家专有权。 后来, 更多的公司竞相添加这样的专利权, 希望这样一个防御性的行为可以先下手为强。 2005年, IBM公司在一份法院报告中声称:尽管怀疑这种专利授权的法律基础,但它已经申请了300 多份商业方法专利。同样,当一些华尔街投资公司出席某些反对其金融产品的法庭案件时, 他们会给其各类金融产品申请专利来作为自己的维权武器。 前面提到的Bilski案例牵扯到一份已申请的方法专利, 即关于能源市场的风险规避方法 (注: 也可译为“套期保值或对冲风险”)。上诉法院罕见地裁定,该案件将不由三位法官听审,而 是由全部十二名法官共同进行。另外,上诉法院还宣布,它想探讨的另一件事情是是否应该 “重审”道富银行的裁决。 联邦巡回法院的这一裁决效仿了最高法院。 最高法院最近做出了一系列的判决, 缩小了专利 持有者的受保范围。 例如, 去年四月, 法官们认定太多的专利授予了一些显而易见的“发明”。 乔治华盛顿大学法律学院的专利法律师Harold C. Wegner教授表示,“联邦巡回法院的法官 们正在对最高法院的反专利动态做出反应”。 2010 Text 3 In his book The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell argues that social epidemics are driven in large part by the acting of a tiny minority of special individuals, often called influentials, who are unusually informed, persuasive, or well-connected. The idea is intuitively compelling, but it doesn't explain how ideas actually spread. The supposed importance of influentials derives from a plausible sounding but largely untested theory called the "two step flow of communication": Information flows from the
media to the influentials and from them to everyone else. Marketers have embraced the two-step flow because it suggests that if they can just find and influence the influentials, those selected people will do most of the work for them. The theory also seems to explain the sudden and unexpected popularity of certain looks, brands, or neighborhoods. In many such cases, a cursory search for causes finds that some small group of people was wearing, promoting, or developing whatever it is before anyone else paid attention. Anecdotal evidence of this kind fits nicely with the idea that only certain special people can drive trends In their recent work, however, some researchers have come up with the finding that influentials have far less impact on social epidemics than is generally supposed. In fact, they don't seem to be required of all. The researchers' argument stems from a simple observing about social influence, with the exception of a few celebrities like Oprah Winfrey?whose outsize presence is primarily a function of media, not interpersonal, influence?even the most influential members of a population simply don't interact with that many others. Yet it is precisely these non-celebrity influentials who, according to the two-step-flow theory, are supposed to drive social epidemics by influencing their friends and colleagues directly. For a social epidemic to occur, however, each person so affected, must then influence his or her own acquaintances, who must in turn influence theirs, and so on; and just how many others pay attention to each of these people has little to do with the initial influential. If people in the network just two degrees removed from the initial influential prove resistant, for example from the initial influential prove resistant, for example the cascade of change won't propagate very far or affect many people. Building on the basic truth about interpersonal influence, the researchers studied the dynamics of populations manipulating a number of variables relating of populations, manipulating a number of variables relating to people's ability to influence others and their tendency to be influenced. Our work shows that the principal requirement for what we call "global cascades"? the widespread propagation of influence through networks ? is the presence not of a few influentials but, rather, of a critical mass of easily influenced people, each of whom adopts, say, a look or a brand after b
 

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