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Unit 1

1. If you ask me, real life is not all it’s cracked up to be. Twelve years at school and three years at university, teachers banging on about opportunities in the big wide world beyond our sheltered life as students, and what do I find?

Try as I might to stay cheerful, all I ever get is hassle, sometimes with people (especially boys, god, when will they grow up?), but mostly with money. It’s just so expensive out here! Everyone wants a slice off you. The Inland Revenue wants to deduct income tax, the bank manager wants repayments on my student loan,the landlord wants the rent, gas, water, electricity and my mobile bills keep coming in, and all that’s before I’ve had anything to eat. And then some bright spark calls me out of the blue, asking if I’m interested in buying a pension. And this rate, I won’t even last till the end of the year, let alone till I’m 60.



2. 我认为,选修第二专业并不合适每一位本科生。我大学本科主修英语专业,大一时就开始辅修经济学了。无疑,我是班里最用功的学生。我竭尽全力想同时达到两个不同专业的要求,但还是有不及格的时候。因为经济学需要良好的数学基础,我不得不花大量时间钻研数学,因而忽略了英语学习。

第二学期,《英国文学》及《宏观经济学》两门课不及格给我敲响了警种,这可是我一生中第一次考试不及格,这大大打击了我的自信心。虽然我不是一个容易向命运低头的人,在暑假结束的时候,我还是决定放弃经济学,以免两个专业都难以完成。当我只需修一个专业的时候,一切似乎又回到了正轨。(if you ask me; odds; try as … might; sap one’s confidence; given that; bow to fate; come to a close; for fear that; now that)

If you ask me, taking a second maj or isn’t good for every undergraduate. In my freshman year as an English major, I took economics as my minor. By all odds, I was the most hardworking student in my class. But try as I might to meet the requirements of the two different subjects, I still co uldn’t do well enough to pass all the exams.Given that the study of economics required a good command of mathematics, I had to spend so much time on math that I neglected my English major.

Failing English Literature and Macro-economics in the second semester sounded the alarm for me. This was the first time I did not pass a course in my life, which had greatly sapped my confidence.Although I was not a man who would easily bow to fate, as the summer break came to a close, I decided to give up economics for fear that I would fail in both subjects. Now that I had only one subject to attend to, everything seemed to be on the right track again.

Unit 2

1. Indubitably the vast majority of books overlap one another. Few indeed are those which give the

impression of originality, either in style or in content. Rare are the unique books – less than 50, perhaps, out of the whole storehouse of literature. In one of his recent auto-biographical novels, Blaise Cendrars points out that Rémy de Gourmont, because of his knowledge and awareness of this repetitive quality in books, was able to select and read all that is worthwhile in the entire realm of literature. Cendrars himself—who would suspect it?—is a prodigious reader. He reads most authors in their original tongue. Not only that, but when he likes an author he reads every last book the man has written, as well as his letters and all the books that have been written about him.

In our day his case is almost unparalleled, I imagine. For, not only has he read widely and deeply, but he has himself written a great many books. All on the side, as it were. For, if he is anything, Cendrars, he is a man of action, an adventurer and explorer, a man who has known how to ―waste‖ his time royally. He is, in a sense, the Julius Caesar of literature.


2. 张磊是在毕业工作后才开始意识到读书的乐趣的。反思自己的大学教育时,他感慨不已:他的一些同学都沉浸于从图书馆或书店找到的各种有趣的书籍,而他却只读了一些教科书,其中连一本真正能让他爱不释手、值得一读的书都没有。他可以说是被剥夺了通过书了解作家奇妙世界的特权。

如今,他嗜书如命,废寝忘食,好像要把大学期间没机会读的好书全都读一遍。到目前为止他已经利用业余时间读了几百本小说、传记和游记。他意识到书不仅能向他展示一个充满希望的前景,帮他消除现实生活中的压力和疲劳,而且能够帮他澄清一些误解,找到生活的真谛。(reflect on; in one sitting; lay hands on; immerse in; worthwhile; privilege; withstand; vista)

It was not until after he had graduated from university and started to work that Zhang Lei became aware of the pleasure of reading. Reflecting on his undergraduate studies, he lamented that he, unlike his classmates who had immersed themselves in various interesting books they were able to lay hands on from the library or bookshop, had only read textbooks, none of which was really worthwhile, or could be read in one sitting. He was deprived of the privilege of gaining access to the writers’ fantastic worlds through th e windows their books have opened, so to speak.

Now he has become an avid and omnivorous reader. It is as if he wants to make up for those marvelous books he hadn’t had a chance to read in his university days. By now, in his spare time, he has read sev eral hundreds of books, including novels, biographies and travel notes. He realizes that books can not only reveal to him the vista of a hopeful future and help him withstand stresses and strains, they can also help him clear up some misconceptions and discover the true meaning of the life.

Unit 3

1. Sometimes the hemline indicator, as it’s called, can even precede and predict a change in the mood of the stock market long before it actually happens. In September 2007, at the New York fashion shows, which were displaying their styles for spring 2008, the trend was for much longer dresses and skirts, many to mid-calf or even down to the ankles. Some people felt this showed that the hemline indicator was no longer reliable, and that designers no longer dictated what people would wear. During the London and New York fashion shows in September 2008, hemlines continued to drop. But sure enough, in the fall of 2008, the stock market indexes fell dramatically when the banking crisis hit the US, Europe and then the rest of the world. Hemlines were no longer following the stock market – they were showing the way and indicating future economic trends.


2. 一个人的穿着似乎能影响他的行为方式。譬如,在校内要穿校服是中小学生所必须严格遵守的规矩之一。倘若在学生着装整齐划一和行为的统一规范之间不存在一种象征性关联的话,校服便不可能如此盛行。

然而,多年的学校生活让学生在内心里对随处可见的校服产生了抵触情绪,校服毕竟压制了个性的表达。为了弥补这种损失,学生常常会在周末穿流行的休闲装。直到上了大学,他们才会享受真正的着装自由,而服装上的无序与大学培养创造力、鼓励自由表达思想及展露才华密切相关。可惜这样的好景不会太长,经过一段相对短暂的自由之后,他们在毕业工作之后将再次经历着装规范的压力。(hard and fast; there is no doubt that; currency; correlation; backlash; ubiquitous; compensate for; anarchy; obtain; revive)


What you wear seems to dictate the kind of person you are supposed to be. Take primary school and high school students for example. One of the hard and fast rules they have to observe is that they must wear uniforms at school. There is no doubt that school uniforms would not have achieved their currency without a symbolic correlation between the uniformity of clothes and the students’ conformity to some common code of conduct.

However, after years of school life, there is always a backlash secretly nursed in the students’ mind against the ubiquitous uniform which suppresses the expression of individuality. To compensate for this loss, students try to hunt for more casual and popular clothes and wear them on weekends. It is not until they start university, however, that they can really enjoy the freedom of dress, an anarchy associated with the cultivation of creativity and the encouragement of the free expression of ideas and talents. But this situation won’t obtain for long. After a relatively short time of liberty, they may experience again the revived pressure of dress code as soon as they become professionals.

Unit 4

1. Today, while most of us marry for romantic reasons, marriage at its core is still a financial union. So much of what we want –or don’t want –out of life boils down to dollars and cents, whether it’s how hard we choose to work, how much we consume or how much we save. For some people, i t’s working 80-hour weeks to finance a third home and country club membership; for others, it means cutting back on office hours to

spend more time with the family.

―A lot of the debates people have about money are code for how we want to live our lives,‖ said Betsey Stevenson, assistant professor of business and public policy at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, who researches the economics of marriage and divorce. ―A lot of the choices we make in how we want to live our lives involve h ow we spend our money.‖

Making those choices as a team is one of the most important ways to preserve your marital assets, and your union, experts say. But it’s that much easier when you already share similar outlooks on money matters –or when you can, at the very least, find some middle ground.(注意灵活翻译某些名词,如romantic reasons, dollars and cents, code, union, as a team等。适当调整原文某些句子的语序以使译文





2. 谈及目前经济萧条所带来的影响,学生活动的减少就是一个很好的例证。为了活跃校园生活,大学愿意划拨一部分资金来资助学生社团活动,但由于今年学校的预算大幅减少,对社团的资助也相应缩减了不少。显然,学生社团要恢复以前的活力就必须想办法克服自身的经济困难。有人主张招募更多会员,因为会员费的增加可以帮助他们度过难关。

当然,如果有更多的会员交年费,而且缩减一些日常开支,我们还是能省下一些钱来组织活动的。但是,问题的关键在于社团活动的费用与参加活动的人数是成正比的,因此这种方法恐怕不太可行。要推进社团活动,同时又不使经费超支,我们必须群策群力,拿出别的筹钱方法,而不是仅仅依赖学校拨款和会员费。(when it comes to; carve out; pare down; cut back on; bottom line; go into the red; pool; in lieu of)

When it comes to the effects of the current economic downturn, the decrease of student activities is a good case in point. To enliven campus life, the university is always willing to carve out money for activities organized by student clubs and societies, but such sponsorships have been pared down this year because of huge budget cut. Apparently, student organizations need to weather their own financial crisis if they want to recover from their current state of inactiveness. Some suggest enrolling more club members, on the ground that the consequent increase of membership fees may help them get out of the difficulty.

No doubt, if we have more members paying the annual fee, and if we cut back on our daily expenses, we can spare some money for organizing activities. But the bottom line is that the expenses of these activities are in proportion to the number of participants. I’m afraid this won’t be of much help. To boost student activities and to avoid going into the red, we still need to pool our ideas and come up with some other ways of raising money, in lieu of relying only on university grants and membership fees.

Unit 5

1. Women can’t even fill out a form without telling stories about themselves. Most application forms now give four choices for titles. Men have one to choose –“Mr.”–so their choice carries no meaning other than to say they are male. But women must choose among three, each of them marked. A woman who checks the box for “Mrs.”or “Miss”communicates not only whether she has been married but also that she has conservative tastes in forms of address, and probably other conservative values as well. Checking “Ms.”declines to let on about marriage (whereas “Mr.”declines nothing since nothing was asked), but it also marks the woman who checks it on her form as either liberated or rebellious, depending on the attitudes and assumptions of the one making the judgment.

I sometimes try to duck these variously marked choices by giving my title as “Dr.”–and thereby risk marking myself as either uppity (hence sarcastic responses like “Excuse me!”) or an over-achiever (hence reactions of congratulatory surprise, like “Good for you!”). (?翻译时注意原文的语气,否则就可能不准确。第二段是一个长句,翻译时应注意按中文习惯断句。)



2. 我们对理想丈夫或理想妻子的假设显示出我们的性别期待以及我们对性别期待的反应。如果大多数年轻姑娘希望她们的未婚夫强悍、能干、可靠,那么小伙子们也就别无选择,只能把自己训练得强悍、能干、可靠,这样才能赢得女孩子的芳心。如果他们的做法与性别期待背道而驰,那么他们很可能会在悲叹自己的光棍生涯中度过下半辈子。根据同样的不成文法则,如果多数年轻男子希望他们的未婚妻温柔体贴、耐心、忠贞,认为这些比什么都重要,那么姑娘即便不是这种人,也会假装自己将来会成为贤妻良母。


(presumption; option; other than; bemoan; unwritten rule; to be prone to; let on; goes without saying)

Our presumptions about what ideal husbands or wives are like reveal a lot about our gender expectations as well as our responses to them. If most girls want their fiancés to be tough, capable and reliable, there is no more option left for young men other than to be trained as tough, capable and reliable if they want to win girls’ heart. If they act to the contrary, they will most probably bemoan their bachelor’s status for the rest of their lives. Following the same unwritten rule, if most boys expect their fiancées to be caring, patient and faithful more than anything else, girls are prone to let on that they will become faithful wives and loving mothers even if they are not the type.

Looking into such gender expectations, we may find that they are based on both physiological and social factors. It goes without saying that women are physically prepared to bear children, whereas men are utterly unfit for the job. Therefore, a family is better-off when its male members devote their time to providing food and other necessities for it.

Unit 6

1. The historian is not required to have the special skills which enable the expert to determine the origin and period of a fragment of pottery or marble, to decipher an obscure inscription, or to make the elaborate astronomical calculations necessary to establish a precise date. These so-called basic facts which are the same for all historians commonly belong to the category of the raw materials of the historian rather than

of history itself. The second observation is that the necessity to establish these basic facts rests not on any quality in the facts themselves, but on a priori de cision of the historian. In spite of C. P. Scott’s motto,

every journalist knows today that the most effective way to influence opinion is by the selection and arrangement of the appropriate facts. It used to be said that facts speak for themselves. This is, of course, untrue. The facts speak only when the historian calls on them: It is he who decides to which facts to give

the floor, and in what order or context. It was, I think, one of Pirandello’s characters who said that a fact

is like a sack –it won’t stand up till you’ve put something in it. The only reason why we are interested

to know that the battle was fought at Hastings in 1066 is that historians regard it as a major historical event. It is the historian who has decided for his own reasons that C aesar’s crossing of that petty stream,

the Rubicon, is a fact of history, whereas the crossing of the Rubicon by millions of other people before

or since interests nobody at all. The fact that you arrived in this building half an hour ago on foot, or on a bicycle, or in a car, is just as much a fact about the past as the fact that Caesar crossed the Rubicon.

历史学家不需要掌握特殊的技能去确定陶瓷或大理石残片的起源与断代、解读一段意义隐晦的铭文的含义、或是为确定一个准确的日期而进行繁复的天文计算。这些所谓的基本事实对所有的历史学家来说都是一样的,它们是历史学家可用的原始素材,而非历史本身。我要说的第二点是,之所以有必要确定这些基本的事实并不取决于事实的可靠性,而是取决于历史学家事先做出的判断。尽管C.P.司各特的那句箴言深入人心(注:司各特的箴言comments are free, but facts are sacred.“事实不可歪曲,评述大可自由”),但是现在每一名新闻记者都知道要影响大众舆论,最有效的方式就是对特定的事实进行选择和剪接。人们以前常说事实不言自明。这种说法显然是错误的,历史事实只是在历史学家用到时才会不言自明。哪些事实可以现身说法,以及这些事实以什么样的顺序或是在什么样的情景中出现都是由历史学家来决定的。我记得皮兰德娄笔下的一个人物曾经说过:事实就像一个麻袋——不塞点东西进去就立不起来。我们之所以对1066年发生在黑斯廷斯的战役感兴趣的唯一原因就是历史学家把这一战役看作是一个重大的历史事件。历史学家们依照自己的推断,认为凯撒穿越那条小河——卢比孔河——是一个史实,但没有人对在他之前或是之后几百万其他人穿过这条河的举动感兴趣。你半个小时之前或徒步、或骑车或开车来到这幢大楼,这件事和当年凯撒渡过卢比孔河一样都是一个关于过去的客观事实。(?这一段长句较集中。第二句的定语从句译成汉语时可拆分成并列句。注意a priori decision和the appropriate facts 的译法。)

2, 为保证校园的安全,校方最近发布了一项新的规定,禁止小商贩进入校园。校长呼吁学生在这件事上与学校合作。学生们表示强烈反对,几百名学生在学校的BBS上表达了他们的愤怒。他们说,因为校园离市中心很远,校内商店里的货品又不多,把小贩赶出校园就无异于把学生扔到孤岛上。有些人提出,正是在这样的事情上,学校应该听取学生的意见和需求。有些学生认为,这项规定能让校园更安全的想法是错误的。

学生的反应让校长感到震惊,为弥补过失,他宣布学校将重新考虑这项规定。他对学生说,他们完全有权力过上方便、舒适的生活,但校园的安全也同样重要。他还提议在校园里建一个大超市,在宿舍楼附近开一些便利店(convenience store),这样就能大大方便学生们的生活。(it’s for matters of this kind; get sth wrong; make amends; be entitled to)

To make the campus safer, the university authorities recently released a new regulation that forbids any vendors from entering the campus, and the president called on the students to cooperate with the university on this matter. But the students’ opposition was strong, and hundreds of them expressed their anger on the university BBS. They said that to keep vendors off campus is like deserting the students on an island, as the university was far away from the downtown and the shops on the campus did not provide enough commodities. Some claimed that it was precisely for matters of this kind that university should listen to students’ opinions and needs. Some students thought the university had got it wrong in believing that this regulation will ensure safety on campus.

Shocked by the students’ reaction, the president tried to make amend s for his mistake by announcing that the university will look into this new regulation again. He told students that they were entitled to live a convenient and comfortable life, but safety is just as much an important concern as that. He proposed to build a big supermarket within the campus and some convenient stores near dormitory buildings, which would certainly make students’ life much easier.

Unit 7

1. In so many ways, we now share our home ? and our homes ? with so many others. From Australia to Zambia, we wear baseball caps and watch Hollywood movies. Markets in Morocco sell radios made in Singapore, and we all watch television and enjoy the same type of programmes. Are people obliged to do this, or do they simply want to?

Yet at heart, while we have learnt ? or have been taught? ? to like and aspire towards the same things, we recognize a streak of individualism in ourselves, a consciousness of difference, of our own uniqueness. And when life on Earth gets overwhelming, people retreat into themselves, into their homes.

The word home is an emotive one. It’s a deliberate choice to call the organization to protect the US from terrorism the Department of Homeland Security. Home doesn’t mean just bricks and mortar, translated into house or housing in so many languages. Home is where we hunker down, take off our shoes and switch off from the outside world. It’s an inward-looking place, where we should feel safe. Our homes also show our individual sides, through the pictures on the wall, the favourite chair, the souvenirs from visits beyond our homes, our expression of choice, which remain unchanging day to day, symbols of a moment’s pause in an ever-changing world.




“家”这个词充满了强烈的感情色彩。保护美国人不受恐怖攻击的那个部门名叫“国土安全部”, 这种称谓是经过仔细推敲的。“家”在很多语言中都被译成“房子”或“住宅”,但它不仅仅意味着砖头


2. 在毕业典礼上,一家知名IT公司的经验丰富的CTO 托马斯?克拉克给140名渴望在IT行业干出一番事业的计算机科学专业的学生提出了一些重要建议。在他看来,信息技术不仅仅是组装机器和装置。在这个领域,创新起着关键的作用。所以IT 工作者自然要承受巨大的压力,因为他们每天都要想出一些新点子。

但是克拉克也指出,行业的最终目标是利润。IT 如果你想在这个领域获得成功,你应该牢记创新并不等同于个人主义。值得注意的是,很多有天赋的年轻人由于狂妄自大,交流能力差,没能发挥他们的潜力,因此没有取得成功。克拉克强调说,你必须学会和不同部门的人合作,这样你才能创造出能被市场接受的产品,你的才华才能绽放。(aspire to; assemble; domain; on a daily basis; ultimate; synonymous with; blossom)

In the graduation ceremony, Thomas Clark, a veteran CTO of a renowned IT company, offers some important advice to 140 computer science majors who aspire to pursue a successful career in IT. In his opinion, information technology is not just about assembling machines and devices; it is a domain where innovation plays the key role. So naturally IT workers have to endure high pressure in their work as they need to come up with new ideas on a daily basis.

But Clark also points out that the ultimate goal of IT business is profit. If you want to succeed in this business, you need to keep in mind that innovation is not synonymous with individualism. It is noticeable how many gifted young men have failed to achieve success because of their arrogance and poor communication skill. Clark emphasizes that you have to learn to cooperate with people from different departments and only thus can your talent blossom out by creating products that will be accepted by the market.

Unit 8

1. But architecture as a process and a means has other meanings. So much of architecture has the best intention of creating pleasure or a sense of satisfaction, even if it doesn’t always succe ed. It may be the moderate pleasure of combining form with function. The shanty towns in Rio or Mumbai demonstrate an organic architecture which has no overall layout or prescribed plan, and no obvious logic, but its function is to protect and shelter the inhabitants who would otherwise live in discomfort on the streets.

Presumably, even the architects who designed the tower blocks of flats in the war-damaged cities of Britain in the 1960s and 1970s aspired to combine the economy of space to the maximum effect and for the benefit and pleasure of the people who were going to live there. There was nothing malign about their intentions, even though they were overoptimistic about the simplicity of imposing a new relationship between the space and the occupiers. In the end, it wasn’t the neo-brutalism of the style or the materials ? square forms made of reinforced concrete, often located with little or no regard to the environment, and rising 20 or 30 floors into the cloudy British skies ? which brought criticism and scorn on this modernist architecture. It was the absence of gardens, shops and a sense of community which challenged and finally defeated this idealistic attempt to define a new way of living in cities.




2. 新的国家博物馆建成之后,一些市民和建筑师对于在一群极其美丽精巧的古建筑中建造一座现代建筑感到愤怒。其高昂的维护费用和古怪的形状也引发了大量的批评。显然,许多人对在这个古城中涌现的时髦的现代建筑感到不舒服。不过,也有不少艺术家和市民觉得这些批评没有看到该建筑的美和艺术上的成熟。

在一个公众日益崇拜西方技术和风格的时代里,这座建筑所引发的争论促使许多人开始思考这座城市里古建筑的未来。古建筑复杂而奢华,大规模建造过于昂贵。而现代西方建筑常常很难跨越文化的障碍。或许应该采取更为温和的方式,事先制定一个总体的规划,让古建筑得到妥善保护,让现代建筑成为这个城市和谐的一部分。(indignant; exquisite; an outburst of; erect; do justice to; contemplate; worship; extravagance; transcend; moderate)

When the new national museum was completed, some citizens and architects were indignant at the appearance of a modern building amidst the most beautiful and exquisite ancient buildings of the city. There was also an outburst of criticism of its high cost of maintenance and its strange shape. Obviously, some people felt uncomfortable with such fashionable modern buildings being erected everywhere around the city. But on the other hand, many artists and citizens believed that these criticisms failed to do justice to the beauty and artistic maturity of the new museum.

The debate caused by this museum forces many people to contemplate the future of those ancient buildings of the city in an age when the public increasingly worship the modern western technology and styles. With their extravagance and complexity, it is costly to build ancient buildings on a large scale. At the same time, beautiful modern buildings of western styles cannot always transcend the cultural barrier. Maybe a more moderate approach should be adopted. A careful overall plan should be made beforehand to ensure that the ancient buildings are properly preserved and the modern buildings become a harmonious part of the city.

Unit 9

1. You’ve heard of the Long March? Well, that is a stroll in the park, compared to what it’s like to learn Chinese.

So, if 1.3 billion Chinese don’t have a problem with their own language, why do dumb foreigners s like me find it so hard to learn?

First of all, learning thousands of characters is a chore, and there’s nothing for it but to learn them by heart. Even using a dictionary as its own set of problems. For example, how do you look up the meaning of a character?I’ve spent hours trying to match what I think is the radical with the list in the middle of my Chinese-English dictionary, then hunting down the character matched with its pinyin ( Roman alphabet ) equivalent, then turning to the dictionary entry itself, and looking for the character and eliminating all those with inappropriate meanings until I find the right one. It takes a lot of patience, it can be very disappointing, and my disgraceful strike rate is scarcely 20 characters an hour.

Language experts estimate that you “only” need to learn 5.000 characters to be literate. ( I just love that “only”!)They also say it’s desirable to see and revise a character about seven times in different contexts in order to retain it and use it productively.

So you do the math.






2. 近20年来,一直有人认为简体字是激进的汉语改革的产物,不能保留传统文化的精华。在他们看来,那么多中国人读不懂繁体字是一件可耻的事。有些人甚至认为简体字是一个有缺陷的语言系统,用简体字使中国人变笨了,中华文明已经到了紧要关头,必须用繁体字才能拯救我们的民族文化。

但是这些提倡恢复繁体字的人并不能提出足够的理由来支持他们的观点。他们还忘记了重要的一点:繁体字太复杂,在中国古代,这在受过良好教育和没受过教育的人之间造成了巨大的鸿沟,而简体字则让上亿的中国人识了字,并在一定程度上模糊了受过教育的精英和普通大众之间的界限。如果我们重新启用繁体字,可能会侵害到大多数人受教育的权利,破坏中国社会的团结。(retain ; disgraceful l; defective ; reach a/the stage where ; rift ;literate ; blur ;elite ; infringe on)

In the last couple of decades, there have always been people who believe that simplified characters are a product of the radical reform of Chinese language, and fail to retain the essence of our traditional culture. From their point of view, it's disgraceful that so many Chinese cannot read traditional characters. Some even argue that simplified characters are a defective system of language and using them makes Chinese people dumb, and that our civilization has reached a critical stage where we have to go back to traditional Chinese characters to save our national culture.

But those in favour of traditional characters are unable to provide sufficient evidence for their assertions. They also forget an important point: In ancient China the complexity of traditional characters created a rift between the educated and the uneducated, while the simplified characters had helped hundreds of millions of people become literate, and to a certain extent blurred the boundaries between the educated elite and the ordinary public. If we went back to traditional characters, it would be very likely to infringe on the majority's right to education and damage the unity of Chinese society.

Unit 10

1. Those same 15 degrees of longitude also correspond to a distance traveled. At the Equator, where the girth of the Earth is greatest, 15 degrees stretch fully one thousand miles. North or south of that line, however, the mileage value of each degree decreases. One degree of longitude equals four minutes of time the world over, but in terms of distance, one degree shrinks from 68 miles at the Equator to virtually nothing at the Poles.

Precise knowledge of the hour in two different places at once---a longitude prerequisite so easily accessible today from any cheap pair of wristwatches---was utterly unattainable up to and including the era of pendulum clocks. On the deck of a rolling ship, such clocks would slow down, or speed up, or stop running altogether. Normal changes in temperature encountered en route from a cold country of origin to a tropical trade zone thinned or thickened a clock’s lubricating oil and made its metal parts expand or contract with equally disastrous results. A rise or fall in barometric pressure, or the subtle variations in the Earth’s gravity from one latitude to another, could also cause a clock to gain or lose time.




2. 去年8月,当一场热带飓风侵袭这个偏远渔镇的时候,一群在这儿工作的年青志愿者竭尽全力帮助当地人。当时电讯几乎中断,这个镇子与外界的交通也瘫痪了。如果他们只是等待地方政府救援而不采取措施的话,那就太晚了。这些志愿者为失去房屋的人找到了庇护之所,为伤者提供了基本的医疗救助。他们使镇上的居民避免了更大的灾难。

他们的努力也打消(diapel)了当地人对他们的怀疑。大多数人觉得这些志愿者帮助他们应对这场灾难,干得非常出色。这些志愿者也证明了自己是称职的。他们虽然不像那些渔民一样身体健壮,但是他们有坚强的意志和决心。他们在飓风面前显示出来的勇气表明,要衡量一个人的力量,你不仅要看他是否有强健的体格,还要看他是否有坚强的意志。( on the verge of ; paralyzed ; disastrous ; worth one’s salt ; gauge )

In the August of last year when a tropical hurricane hit this remote fishing town, a group of young volunteers who had been working here did all they could to help the local people. As telecommunications was on the verge of breaking down and the traffic between the town and the outside world completely paralyzed, it would have been too late if they did nothing but wait for the local government's help. The volunteers found shelter for those who lost their houses, and provided basic medical service for the wounded. Their work had prevented this storm from having more disastrous effects on the residents.

Their efforts also dispelled local people's doubts about them, as most of them felt that these volunteers had done a terrific job in helping them cope with the disaster. These volunteers had proved that they were worth their salt. Although they didn't have a muscular body as the local fishermen, they had strong will and determination. Their bravery in the face of hurricane showed that when gauging one's strength, you should look at not only their physical shape but also what is underneath.

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