作者:亚历山大,何其莘 整理:GB1982
Lesson 1
Finding fossil man
Why are legends handed down by storytellers useful? We can read of things that happened 5,000 years ago in the Near East, where people first learned to write. But there are some parts of the word where even now people cannot write. The only way that they can preserve their history is to recount it as sagas -- legends handed down from one generation of another. These legends are useful because they can tell us something about migrations of people who lived long ago, but none could write down what they did. Anthropologists wondered where the remote ancestors of the Polynesian peoples now living in the Pacific Islands came from. The sagas of these people explain that some of them came from Indonesia about 2,000 years ago. But the first people who were like ourselves lived so long ago that even their sagas, if they had any, are forgotten. So archaeologists have neither history nor legends to help them to find out where the first 'modern men' came from. Fortunately, however, ancient men made tools of stone, especially flint, because this is easier to shape than other kinds. They may also have used wood and skins, but these have rotted away. Stone does not decay, and so the tools of long ago have remained when even the bones of the men who made them have disappeared without trace. ROBIN PLACE Finding fossil man 我们从书籍中可读到 5,000 年前近东发生的事情,那里的人最早学会了写 字.但直到现在,世界上有些地方,人们还不会书写. 他们保存历史的唯一办法 是将历史当作传说讲述, 由讲述人一代接一代地将史实描述为传奇故事口传下来. 人类学家过去不清楚如今生活在太平洋诸岛上的波利尼西亚人的祖先来自何方, 当地人的传说却告诉人们:其中一部分是约在 2,000 年前从印度尼西亚迁来的. 但是,和我们相似的原始人生活的年代太久远了,因此,有关他们的传说既 使有如今也失传了.于是,考古学家们既缺乏历史记载,又无口头传说来帮助他 们弄清最早的"现代人"是从哪里来的. 然而, 幸运的是,远古人用石头制作了工具,特别是用燧石,因为燧石较之 其他石头更容易成形.他们也可能用过木头和兽皮,但这类东西早已腐烂殆尽. 石头是不会腐烂的.因此,尽管制造这些工具的人的骨头早已荡然无存,但远古 时代的石头工具却保存了下来.
Lesson 2
Spare that spider
How much of each year do spiders spend killing insects? Why, you may wonder, should spiders be our friends? Because they destroy so many insects, and insects include some of the greatest enemies of the human race.Insects would make it impossible for us to live in the world; they would devour all our crops and kill our flocks and herds, if it were not for the protection we get from insect-eating animals. We owe a lot to the birds and beasts who eat insects but all of them put together
作者:亚历山大,何其莘 1
kill only a fraction of the number destroyed by spiders.Moreover, unlike some of the other insect eaters, spiders never do the least harm to us or our belongings. Spiders are not insects, as many people think, nor even nearly related to them.One can tell the difference almost at a glance, for a spider always has eight legs and an insect never more than six. How many spiders are engaged in this work on our behalf? One authority on spiders made a census of the spiders in a grass field in the south of England, and he estimated that there were more than 2,250,000 in one acre; that is something like 6,000,000 spiders of different kinds on a football pitch.Spiders are busy for at least half the year in killing insects.It is impossible to make more than the wildest guess at how many they kill, but they are hungry creatures, not content with only three meals a day.It has been estimated that the weight of all the insects destroyed by spiders in Britain in one year would be greater than the total weight of all the human beings in the country. T.H.GILLESPIE Spare that spider from The Listener 你可能会觉得奇怪,蜘蛛怎么会是我们的朋友呢?因为它们能消灭那么多的 昆虫,其中包括一些人类的大敌.要不是人类受一些食虫动物的保护,昆虫就会 使我们无法在地球上生活下去,昆虫会吞食我们的全部庄稼,杀死我们的成群的 牛羊.我们要十分感谢那些吃昆虫的鸟和兽,然而把它们所杀死的昆虫全部加在 一起也只相当于蜘蛛所消灭的一小部分.此外,蜘蛛不同于其他食虫动物,它们 丝毫不危害我们和我们的财物.许多人认为蜘蛛是昆虫,但它们不是昆虫,甚至 与昆虫毫无关系.人们几乎一眼就能看出二者的差异,因为蜘蛛都是 8 条腿,而 昆虫的腿从不超过 6 条.有多少蜘蛛在为我们效力呢?一位研究蜘蛛的权威对英 国南部一块草坪上的蜘蛛作了一次调查. 他估计每英亩草坪里有 225 万多只蜘蛛. 这就是说,在一个足球场上约有 600 万只不同种类的蜘蛛.蜘蛛至少有半年忙于 吃昆虫.它们一年中消灭了多少昆虫,我们简直无法猜测,它们是吃不饱的动物, 不满意一日三餐.据估计,在英国蜘蛛一年里所消灭昆虫的重量超过了这个国家 人口的总重量.
Lesson 3
Matterhorn man
1037 at was the main objective of early mountain climbers? Modern alpinists try to climb mountains by a route which will give them good sport, and the more difficult it is, the more highly it is regarded. In the pioneering days, however, this was not the case at all. The early climbers were looking for the easiest way to the top, because the summit was the prize they sought, especially if it and never been attained before. It is true that during their explorations they often faced difficulties and dangers of the most perilous nature, equipped in a manner with would make a modern climber shudder at the thought, but they did not go out of their way to court such excitement. They had a single aim, a solitary goal -- the top! It is hard for us to realize nowadays how difficult it was for the pioneers. Except for one or two places such as Zermatt and Chamonix, which
2 整理:GB1982
had rapidly become popular, Alpine village tended to be impoverished settlements cut off from civilization by the high mountains. Such inns as there were generally dirty and flea-ridden; the food simply local cheese accompanied by bread often twelve months old, all washed down with coarse wine. Often a valley boasted no inn at all, and climbers found shelter wherever they could -- sometimes with the local priest (who was usually as poor as his parishioners), sometimes with shepherds or cheese-makers. Invariably the background was the same: dirt and poverty, and very uncomfortable. For men accustomed to eating seven-course dinners and sleeping between fine linen sheets at home, the change to the Alps must have very hard indeed. WALTER UNSWORTH Matterhorn Man 现代登山运动员总想找一条能够给他们带来运动乐趣的路线来攀登山峰.他 们认为, 道路愈艰险愈带劲儿.然而,在登山运动的初期,全然不是这种情况. 早期登山者所寻找的是通往山顶的最方便的途径,因为顶峰特别是前人未曾到过 的顶峰 -- 才是他们寻求的目标.确实,在探险中他们经常遇到惊心动魄的困难 和危险,而他们装备之简陋足以使现代登山者一想起来就胆战心惊.但是,他们 并非故意寻求这种刺激,他们只有一个目标,唯一的目标 -- 顶峰! 我们今天很难想像昔日的登山先驱们是多么艰苦.除了泽曼特和夏蒙尼等一 两个很快出了名的地方外,阿尔卑斯山山区的小村几乎全是高山环抱,与世隔绝 的穷乡僻壤.那里的小客栈一般都很肮脏,而且跳蚤猖獗. 食物是当地的干酪和 通常存放了一年之久的面包,人们就着劣酒吞下这种食物.山谷里常常没有小客 栈,登山者只好随遇而安.有时同当地牧师 (他通常和他的教民一样穷)住在一 起,有时同牧羊人或制乳酪的人住在一起.无论住在哪儿,情况都一样:肮脏, 贫穷,极其不舒适.对于过惯了一顿饭吃 7 道菜,睡亚麻细布床单的人来说,变 换一下生活环境来到阿尔卑斯山山区,那一定是很艰难的.
Lesson 4
Seeing hands
How did Vera discover she had this gift of second sight? Several cases have been reported in Russia recently of people who can detect colours with their fingers, and even see through solid and walls. One case concerns and eleven-year-old schoolgirl, Vera Petrova, who has normal vision but who can also perceive things with different parts of her skin, and through solid walls. This ability was first noticed by her father. One day she came into his office and happened to put her hands on the door of a locked safe. Suddenly she asked her father why he kept so many old newspapers locked away there, and even described the way they were done up in bundles. Vera's curious talent was brought to the notice of a scientific research institute in the town of Ulyanovsk, near where she lives, and in April she was given a series of tests by a special commission of the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federal Republic. During these tests she was able to read a newspaper through an opaque screen and, stranger still, by moving her elbow over a child's game of Lotto she was able to describe the figures
作者:亚历山大,何其莘 3
and colours printed on it; and, in another instance, wearing stockings and slippers, to make out with her foot the outlines and colours of a picture hidden under a carpet. Other experiments showed that her knees and shoulders had a similar sensitivity. During all these tests Vera was blindfold; and, indeed, except when blindfold she lacked the ability to perceive things with her skin. It was also found that although she could perceive things with her fingers this ability ceased the moment her hands were wet. ERIC DE MAUNY Seeing hands from The Listener 俄罗斯最近报导了几个事例,有人能用手指看书识字和辨认颜色,甚至能透 过厚实的门和墙看到东西. 其中有一例谈到有一个名叫维拉.彼托洛娃的 11 岁学 生.她的视力与常人一样,但她还能用皮肤的不同部位辨认东西,甚至看穿坚实 的墙壁.是她父亲首先发现她这一功能的.一天,维拉走进父亲的办公室,偶然 把手放在一个锁着的保险柜的门上,她突然问父亲为什么把这么多的旧报纸锁在 柜子里,还说了报纸捆扎的情况. 维拉的特异功能引起了她家附近乌里扬诺夫斯克城一个科研单位的注意.4 月里,俄罗斯卫生部一个特别委员会对她进行了一系列的测试.在这些测试中, 她能隔着不透明的屏幕读报纸.更为奇怪的是,她把肘部在儿童玩的"罗托"纸 牌上移动一下,便能说出印在纸牌上的数字和颜色.还有一次,她穿着长筒袜子 和拖鞋,能用脚步识别出藏在地毯下面的一幅画的轮廓和颜色.其他实验表明, 她的膝盖和双肩有类似的感觉能力, 在所有这些实验中, 维拉的双眼都是蒙着的. 如果不蒙上双眼她的皮肤就不再具有识别物体的能力.这是千真万确的.同时还 发现,尽管她能用手指识别东西,但她的手一旦弄湿,这种功能便会立即消失.
Lesson 5
How does the writer like to treat young people? People are always talking about 'the problem of youth'. If there is one -- which I take leave to doubt -- then it is older people who create it, not the young themselves. Let us get down to fundamentals and agree that the young are after all human beings -- people just like their elders. There is only one difference between an old man and a young one: the young man has a glorious future before him and the old one has a splendid future behind him: and maybe that is where the rub is. When I was a teenager, I felt that I was just young and uncertain -that I was a new boy in a huge school, and I would have been very pleased to be regarded as something so interesting as a problem. For one thing, being a problem gives you a certain identity, and that is one of the things the young are busily engaged in seeking. I find young people exciting. They have an air of freedom, and they not a dreary commitment to mean ambitions or love of comfort. They are not anxious social climbers, and they have no devotion to material things. All this seems to me to link them with life, and the origins of things. It's as if they were, in some sense, cosmic beings in violent and lovely contrast with us suburban creatures. All that is in my mind when I meet a young person.
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He may be conceited, ill-mannered, presumptuous or fatuous, but I do not turn for protection to dreary cliches about respect of elders -- as if mere age were a reason for respect. I accept that we are equals, and I will argue with him, as an equal, if I think he is wrong. FIELDEN HUGHES from Out of the Air, The Listener 人们总是在谈论"青年问题".如果这个问题存在的话 -- 请允许我对此持 怀疑态度 -- 那么,这个问题是由老年人而不是青年



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