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研究生基础综合英语1-4全文(中英文对照) 邱少林版

Unit One:Education

Text:In Praise of the F Word对F的赞美

Tens of thousands of 18-year-olds will graduate this year and be handed meaningless diplomas. These diplomas won’t look any different from those awarded their luckier classmates.Their validity will be questioned only when their employers discover that these graduates are semiliterate.


Eventually a fortunate few will find their way into educational repair shops-adult-literacy programs, such as the one where I teach basic grammar and writing. There, high school graduates and high school dropouts pursuing graduate-equivalency certificates will learn the skills they should have learned in school . They will also discover they have been cheated by our educational system.


As I teach,I learn a lot about our schools.Early in each session I ask my students to write about an unpleasant experience they had in school . No write rs’ block here! “ I wish someone would have had made me stop doing drugs and made me study .” ”I liked to party and no one seemed to care .” “I was a good kid and didn’t cause any trouble,so they just passed me along even though I didn’t read well and couldn’t write.” And so on.


I am your basic do-gooder, and prior to teaching this class I blamed the poor academic skills our kids have today on drugs ,divorce and other impediments to concentration necessary for doing well in school. But ,as I rediscover each time I walk into the classroom ,before a teacher can expect students to concentrate ,he has to get their attention ,no matter what distractions may be at hand .There are many ways to do this ,and they have much to do with teaching style .However , if style alone won’t do it,there is another way to show who holds the winning hand in the classroom. That is to reveal the trump card of teacher .


I will never forget a teacher who played that card to get the attention of one of my children. Our youngest,a world-class charmer ,did little to develop his intellectual talents but always got by until Mrs.Stifter became his teacher .

我永远都忘不了那位曾用她独特的方式来吸引我儿子注意力的那位老师。我最小的儿子后来成为了世界级魔术师,但在Stifter 女士成为他的老师之前,学习总是不怎么努力却总能过关,直到Stifter 女士当了他的老师,这种局面就改变了。

Our son was a high school senior when he had her for English. “He sits in the back of the room talking to his friends ,” she told me . “Why don’t you move him to the front row ?” I urged, believing the embarrassment would get him to settle down. Mrs.Stifter looked at me steely-eyed over her glasses.”I don’t move seniors ,”she said. “I flunk them.’I was flustered. Our son’s academic life flashed before my eyes.No teacher had ever threatened him weth that before .


I regained my composure and managed to say that I thought she was right . By the time I got home I was feeling pretty good about this .It was a radical approach for these times .but ,well ,why not ? “She’s going to flunk you,”I told my son. I did not discuss it any further. Suddenly English became a priority in his life. He finished out the semester with an A.


I know one example doesn’t make a case,but at night I see a parade of students who are angry and resentful for having been passed along until they could no longer even pretend to keep up. Of average intelligence or better,they eventually quit school, concluding they were too dumb to finish.”I should have been held back” is a comment I hear frequently.Even sad der are those students who are high school graduates who say to me after a few weeks of class,”I don't know how I ever got a high school diploma.”

我知道一个例子虽然不能充分说明全部,但是在晚上我看到满是愤怒和怨恨的游行学生,由于被忽略掉,他们甚至不能再这样假装的忍耐下去。即使智力一般的或更好的学生, 由于认为他们太笨,而使他们最终退学。“我应该被留下”是我听到的最频繁的话。更令人悲哀的是,那些高中毕业生过了几周对我说:“我不知道我曾经是怎么获得了一个高中毕业证。”

Passing students who have not mastered the work cheats them and the employers who expect gra duates to have basic skills.We excuse this dishonest behavior by saying kids can’t learn if they come from terrible environments.No one seems to stop to think that-no matter what environments they come from-most kids don't put school first on their list unless they perceive something is at stake.They’d rather be sailing.


Many students I see at night could give expert testimony on unemployment,chemical dependency,abusive relationships.In spite of these for a better job or the need to hang on to the one they’ve got.They have a healthy fear of failure.


People of all ages can rise above their problems, but they need to have a reason to do so. Young people generally don’t have the maturity to value education in the same way my adult students value it. But fear of failure, whether economic or academic ,can motivate both.


Flunking as a regular policy has just as much merit today as it did two generations ago.We must review the threat offlunking and see it as it really is—a postive teaching tool.It is an expression of confidence by both tecahers and parents that the students have the ability to learn the material presented to them.However,making it work again would take adedicated,caring conspiracy betwwen teachers and parents. It would mean that teachers would have to follow through on their threats, and parents would have to stand behind them, knowing their children's best interests are indeed at stake. This means no more doing Scott's assignments for him because he might fail. No more passing Jodi because she's such a nice kid.


This is a policy that worked in the past and can work today. A wise teacher, with the support of his parents, gave our son the opportunity to succeed--or fail . It's time we returned this choice to all students.


Unit Two:Text A:A Wedding Gift结婚礼物

Elizabeth Economies伊利莎白?埃科诺莫

I had always dreamed of being proposed to in a Parisian cafe, under dazzling stars, like the one in a Van Gogh knockoff that hangs in my studio apartment. Instead, my boyfriend asked me to marry him while I was wandering the bathroom mirror.


At 40 years old, it was my turn. 1 had gracefully stepped aside and watched both my twin sister and our baby sister take the matrimonial plunge before me? 1 had been a bridesmaid seven times and a maid of honor three times. 1 had more pastel-colored, taffeta dresses than a consignment shop.


My fiancé, George, and I are Greek-American, but we wanted a simple, elegant affair. No entourage of bridesmaids and groomsmen. No silly slideshow revealing details of our courtship. This would be an intimate gathering, neither big nor fat, with 100 or so guests. In our families that is intimate.


My job as a publicist to a monomaniacal orchestra conductor had just vanished, so 1 had lots of time to devote to my new project. George, who worked 60 hours a week as a pharmacist, now had a second job: listening to me whine about the wedding. After all, this was my show, and 1 was the director.


But the more time and effort 1 put in, the more the universe tried to thwart me. The Greek band from Los Angeles that 1 wanted wasn't available. The stitching 1 had requested for my cathedral veil was all wrong. My ivory silk gown was being quarantined somewhere in Singapore. And with our wedding just a few weeks away, 1 was annoyed that most of my guests were responding after the deadline.



Then 1 received the call from my mother, petite and brimming with energy at 68, who a few days before had been so thrille d about the wedding. She’d been to the doctor for her annual checkup. Although she felt fine, the diagnosis was stomach cancer.


Over the next few days, the question became not "What kind of wedding?" but "Wedding?" I had thought of it as my Big Day. I realized that a Big Day without my mother would be no day at all. Not having my dad, who passed away three years before, to walk me down the aisle was painful, but the thought of not having Mom there was unbearable.


Within a few days, 1 moved back home to Seattle from New York City and postponed the ceremony. 1 switched from navigating wedding plans to navigating the health-care system. I had picked out the song to be played for our first dance as a husband and wife, but now 1 was hard-pressed to remember what it was. My wedding, like a dream, was vanishing against the harsh reality of illness.


Meanwhile, my two sisters and I, who lived in three different cities, were united once again in a hospital waiting room. My twin sister flew in from Chicago despite being eight months pregnant. Our baby sister, who'd been looking after Mom since Dad's death, was gripped by fear as the familiar sights and smells were eerily reminiscent of his final days. After consulting with doctors, we learned that stomach surgery was Mom's only option. We took the first opening.


On a drab autumn morning, as sheets of rain relentlessly poured over Seattle, Mom was

admitted to the Swedish Cancer Institute. During a five-hour operation, surgeons removed two thirds of her stomach. Pacing in the waiting room, terrified, I wondered what the future held for all of us.


George flew out to be with me. "There's no place I'd rather be," he said. For three nights he slept on the dank floor in the hospital waiting area wrapped in a tattered sheet with a soiled sofa cushion under his head. A week after the operation, the surgeon gave us his prognosis: "The cancer has not spread," he said. Those were some of the loveliest words in the English language. George squeezed my hand as tears trickled down my face.


The weeks that followed were exhausting. My mother had to rethink her diet, and I had to figure out what to prepare. Decadent Greek meals were replaced by tiny portions and lots of protein, which would help mend the six-inch incision that ran from her breastbone past her navel. Protein would also bolster her immune system for the chemo and radiation that might follow.


Until then, my idea of cooking had been microwaving the doggie bag from the chi-chi restaurant I'd eaten at the night before. But after two months, I mastered poached eggs and T-bone steaks. What's more, caring for my Mom made me realize how consummately she had cared for all of us. I'll never forget when I went to see her in the intensive-care unit, just a few hours after her surgery. She was strung out with a myriad of plastic tubes protruding from her arms, nose, and mouth." Liz, make sure you eat something," she said in a strained, raspy voice.


Forget Paris. Mom's full recovery was my dream now.


Recently, she went for a follow-up C-T scan. As she removed her gold wedding band for the exam, her fragile 98-pound frame trembled. There would be this scan, and many more. But the doctor said," Everything looks good." Soon, my mother will be walking me down the aisle. I've forgotten what kind of stitching is in my veil. But when I remove it from my face , I’ll be staring at the two people I love beyond all reason: my soon-to-be husband and the woman who showed me what' s really important.


Unit Three:Health

Text A :Tracing the Cigarette’s Path From Sexy to Deadly追寻烟草的历程:从性感到致命

HOWARD MARKEL, M.D.霍华德.马克尔.医学博士

For many Americans, the tobacco industry’s disingenuousness became a matter of public record during a Congressional hearing on April 14, 1994. There, under the withering glare of Representative Henry A.Waxman, Democrat of California, appeared the chief executives of the seven largest American tobacco companies.

对许多美国人来说,烟草业的不诚信记入公众档案始于1994 年4 月14 日的一次国会听证会,在加州民主党代表亨利﹒A﹒威克斯曼的怒视下,美国七大烟草巨头的首席执行官出现在这次听证会上。

In the 1930s and 1940s,cigarettes were either healthy because they were implicitly endorsed by a kindly doctor,or sexy.

在20 世纪30 和40 年代,香烟要么意味着健康------因为有一位仁慈的医生含蓄的推荐它,要么意味着性感。

Each executive raised his right hand and solemnly swore to tell the whole truth about his business. In sequential testimony, each one stated that he did not believe tobacco was a health risk and that his company had taken no steps to manipulate the levels of nicotine in its cigarettes.


Thirty years after the famous surgeon ge neral’s report declaring cigarette smoking a health hazard, the tobacco executives, it seemed ,were among the few who believed otherwise.

30 年前,一位卫生局长就发布了关于抽烟危害健康的著名报告。如今开来,烟草业总裁们属于不相信该报告的极少数人的行列。

But it was not always that way. Allan M. Brandt, a medical historian at Harvard, insists that recognizing the dangers of cigarettes resulted from an intellectual process that took the better part of the 20th century. He describes this fascinating story in his new book, “The Cigarette Century: The Rise, Fall and D eadly Persistence of the Product that Defined America” (Basic Books).

但事实本非始终如此。哈佛大学医学史专家艾伦﹒M﹒布兰特坚持认为,对香烟危害的认识源于持续了大半个20 世纪的一个智力过程。在新书《香烟的世纪:界定美国的产品的兴衰和死命的坚持》中,他讲述了这个引人入胜的故事。

In contrast to the symbol of death and disease it is today, from the early 1900s to the 1960s the cigarette was a cultural icon of sophistication, glamour and sexual allure — a highly prized

commodity for one out of two Americans.

虽说当今香烟是死亡和疾病的象征,但从20 世纪初到20 世纪60 年代,香烟在文化上象征着成熟练达,魅力和性感诱惑---------是当时半数美国人大为追捧的商品。

Many advertising campaigns from the 1930s through the 1950s extolled the healthy virtues of cigarettes. Full-color magazine ads depicted kindly doctors clad in white coats proudly lighting up or puffing away, with slogans like “More doctors smoke Camels than any other cigarette.”

从20 世纪30 年代到50 年代,许多广告运动都颂扬香烟的健康品质。在全彩的杂志广告中,身穿大白褂的仁慈的医生骄傲的点起香烟或是吞云吐雾,上面还写着“更多医生选择骆驼牌香烟”之类的广告语。

Early in the 20th century, opposition to cigarettes took a moral rather than a health-conscious tone, especially for women who wanted to smoke, although even then many doctors were concerned that smoking was a health risk.

20 世纪初期,对于香烟的抵制带着道德的口吻,而不是出于对健康的关注。对想抽烟的女性更是如此。不过即使再当时,许多医生已经关注到吸烟会给健康造成风险。

The 1930s were a period when many Americans began smoking and the most significant health effects had not yet developed. As a result, the scientific studies of the era often failed to find clear evidence of serious pathology and had the perverse effect of exonerating the cigarette.

在20 世纪30 年代这一时期,许多美国人变成了烟民,而抽烟对健康最为显著的危害尚未觉现出来。因此,这一时期的科学研究无法从严肃的病理学上找到清晰的证据,竟起到了为香烟开脱的反效果。

The years after World War II, however, were a time of major breakthroughs in epidemiological thought. In 1947, Richard Doll and A. Bradford Hill of the British Medical Research Council created a sophisticated statistical technique to document the association between rising rates of lung cancer and increasing numbers of smokers.

到了二战后,流行病学思想取得了不少重大突破。1947 年,英国医学研究会的理查德﹒多尔和A﹒布德福德﹒希尔创立了一种复杂的统计方法,以记录肺癌上升率和烟民增加之间的关系。

The prominent surgeon Evarts A. Graham and a medical student, Ernst L. Wynder, published a landmark article in 1950 comparing the incidence of lung cancer in their nonsmoking and smoking patients at Barnes Hospital in St. Louis. They concluded that “cigarette smoking, over a long period, is at least one important factor

in the striking increase in bronchogenic cancer.”

著名外科医生埃瓦茨﹒A﹒格雷厄姆和医学专业学生,欧内斯特﹒L﹒温德尔,于1950 年发表了一篇极为重要的论文,比较了圣路易斯市巴恩斯医院内烟民和非烟民肺癌患者的发生几率。在结论中,他们认为“长期抽烟至少是支气管癌发病率飙升的重要因素之一。”

Predictably, the tobacco companies —and their expert surrogates —derided these and other studies as mere statistical arguments or anecdotes rather than definitions of causality.


Dr. Brandt, who has exhaustively combed through the tobacco companies’ internal memorandums and research documents, amply demonstrates that Big Tobacco understood many of the health risks of their products long before the 1964 surgeon general’s report.

在详细梳理了烟草公司的内部备忘录和研究文档后,布兰特博士用充分的证据证明,早在1964 年的卫生局长报告发表前,各大烟草巨头就已了解了自家产品对健康造成的诸多风险。

He also describes the concerted disinformation campaigns these companies waged for more than half a century — simultaneously obfuscating scientific evidence and spreading the belief that since everyone knew cigarettes were dangerous at some level, smoking was essentially an issue of personal choice and responsibility rather than a corporate one.


In the 1980s, scientists established the revolutionary concept that nicotine is extremely addictive. The tobacco companies publicly rejected such claims, even as t hey took advantage of cigarettes’ addictive potential by routinely spiking them with extra nicotine to make it harder to quit smoking. And their marketing memorandums document advertising campaigns aimed at youngsters to hook whole new generations of smokers.

在20 世纪80 年代,科学家们建立了一种革命性的观念,即尼古丁具有极强的致瘾性,虽说烟草公司公开否认这些说法,但当时他们已经利用香烟的致瘾性来赚钱了,他们加尼古丁含量,将烟民勾住,使得戒烟越发困难。在他们的营销备忘录中,记录了他们针对青少年发动的广告运动,旨在诱惑一代代新烟民。

In 2004, Dr. Brandt was recruited by the Department of Justice to serve as its star expert witness in the federal racketeering case against Big Tobacco and to counter the gaggle of witnesses recruited by the industry. According to their own testimony, most of the 29 historians testifying on behalf of Big Tobacco did not even consult the industry’s internal researc h or communications. Instead, these experts focused primarily on a small group of skeptics of the dangers of cigarettes during the 1950s, many of whom had or would eventually have ties to the tobacco industry.

2004 年,布兰特博士被司法部聘请为重要专家,在指控烟草巨头的联邦欺诈案件中作证,并与烟草业雇佣来的一伙证人进行对质。根据为烟草巨头们出庭作证的29 位历史学家们自己的供述,他们中大多数甚至没有参看过烟草业内部的研究或交流文档。相反,这些专家主要关注的是20 世纪50 年代的一小缀对香烟危害的怀疑论者,他们中大部分人要么当时就与烟草业相勾结,要么最终也会通烟草业勾结起来。

“I was appalled by what the tobacco expert witnesses had written,” Dr. Brandt said in a recent interview. “By as king narrow questions and responding to them with narrow research, they provided precisely the cover the industry sought.”


Apparently, the judge, Gladys Kessler of Federal District Court for the District of Columbia, agreed. Last August, she concluded that the tobacco industry had engaged in a 40-year conspiracy to defraud smokers about tobacco’s health dangers. Her opinion cited Dr. Brandt’s testimony more than 100 times.

当然,哥伦比亚特区联邦地方法庭法官格拉迪斯。凯斯勒同这一看法。去年八月,她总结道,烟草业策划了一场长达40 年的阴谋,向烟草隐瞒烟草对健康的危害。她的观点中引用了布兰特博士的证词达100 多次。

Dr. Brandt acknowledges that there are pitfalls in combining scholarship with battle against the deadly pandemic of cigarette smoking, but he says he sees little alternative.


“If one of us occasionally crosses the boundary between analysis and advocacy, so be it,” he said. “The stakes are high, and there is much work to be done.”


UNIT 4 Technology We’ve Got Mail


Is e-mail a blessing or a curse? Last month, after a week's vacation, I discovered 1,218 unread e-mail messages waiting in my in box. I pretended to be dismayed, but secretly I was pleased. This is how we measure our wired worth in the late 1990s--if you aren't overwhelmed by e-mail, you must be doing something wrong.

电子邮件是福是祸?上个月,在一周休假之后,我在收件箱中发现了1,218封未读邮件。我假装气恼,却暗自窃喜。如果你没被电子邮件淹没,你一定是出了问题-------这就是20 世纪90 年代末我们衡量自身有线价值的方式。

Never mind that after subtracting the stale office chitchat, spam, flame wars, dumb jokes forwarded by friends who should have known better and other e-mail detritus, there were perhaps seven messages actually worth reading. I was doomed to spend half my workday just deleting junk. E-mail sucks.

不必在意出去那些乏味的办公室闲聊,垃圾邮件、网上唇枪舌剑、朋友转发来的本不该转发的愚蠢笑话以及通过电子邮件发送的电子杂志,真正值得一度的也许只有7 封邮件。注定我得花上半个工作日删除垃圾邮件。电子邮件令人讨厌。

But wait--what about those seven? A close friend in Taipei I haven't seen in five years tells me he's planning to start a family. A complete stranger in Belgium sends me a hot story tip. Another stranger offers me a job. I'd rather lose an eye than lose my e-mail account. E-mail rocks!

且慢-----那7 封值得一读的邮件如何?5 年未见的一位台北好友告诉我他打算开始成立家庭了。比利时的一位陌生人发来一则热门新闻的内幕。另一位陌生人给我提供一份工作。我宁可失去一只眼睛也不愿失去我的电子邮件账号,电子邮件让人痴狂。

E-mail. Can't live with it, can't live without it. Con artists and real artists, advertisers and freedom fighters, lovers and sworn enemies--they've all flocked to e-mail as they would to any new medium of expression. E-mail is convenient, saves time, brings us closer to one another, helps us manage our ever-more-complex lives. Books are written, campaigns conducted, crimes committed--all via e-mail But it is also inconvenient, wastes our time, isolates us in front of our computers and introduces more complexity into our already too-harried lives. To skeptics, e-mail is just the latest chapter in the evolving history of human communication. A snooping husband now discovers his wife's affair by reading her private e-mail--but he could have uncovered the same sin by finding letters a generation ago.


Yet e-mail--and all online communication--is in fact something truly different; it captures the essence of life at the close of the 20th century with an authority that few other products of digital technology can claim. Does the pace of life seem ever faster? E-mail simultaneously allows us to cope with that acceleration and contributes to it. Are our attention spans shriveling under barrages of new, improved forms of stimulation? The quick and dirty e-mail is made to order for those whose ability to concentrate is measured in nanoseconds. If we accept that the creation of the globe-spanning Internet is one of the most important technological innovations of the last half of this century, then we must give e-mail--the living embodiment of human connection across the Net--pride of place. The way we interact with each other is changing; e-mail is both the catalyst and the instrument of that change.

然而电子邮件,以及所有在线交流,实际上是一种全新的东西。在20 世纪末它以大多数别的数字技术产品所不具备的权威效力捕捉了生活的本质。生活节奏是否越来越快?电子邮件在帮我们应对这种加速的同时,又助长了加速的发生。我们的注意力持续时间在连珠炮似的新型的先进的刺激方式影响下,是否变得越来越短?快速而龌龊的电子邮件正是为那些注意力持续时间以毫微秒计的人群而预定的,如果我们承认遍及全球的因特网是本世纪后半叶最重要的技术创新之一的话,我们就必须赋予电子邮件--------人们通过网络相互联系的真实体现----------一席荣耀之地。人们互动的方式正式发生改变,而电子邮件既是改变的催化剂,又是改变的工具。

The scope of the phenomenon is mind-boggling. Worldwide, 225 million people can send and receive e-mail. Forget about the Web or e-commerce or even online pornography: e-mail is the Internet's true killer app--the software application that we simply must have, even if it means buying a $2,000 computer and plunking down $20 a month to America Online.

这一现象涉及面只广令人惊叹。全球范围内,有2 亿2 千5 百万人可以收发邮件,别提万维网,电子商务或者在线色情内容,电子邮件是因特网的真正杀手级应用---------即我们必须具备的软件设备,即使这意味着购置一台2000 美元的电脑以及每月向美国在线支付20 美元的费用。

Oddly enough, no one planned it, and no one predicted it. When research scientists first began cooking up the Internet's predecessor, the Arpanet, in 1968, their primary goal was to enable disparate computing centers to share resources. "But it didn't take very long before they discovered that the most important thing was the ability to send mail around, which they had not anticipated at all," says Eric Allman, chief technical officer of Sendmail, Inc., and the primary author of a 20-year-old program--Sendmail--that still transports the vast majority of the world's e-mail across the Internet. It seems that what all those top computer scientists really wanted to use the Internet for was as a place to debate, via e-mail, such crucially important topics as the best science-fiction novel of all time. Even though Allman is now quite proud that his software helps hundreds of millions of people communicate, he says he didn't set out originally to change the world. As a systems administrator at UC Berkeley in the late '70s, he was constantly hassled by computer-science researchers in one building who wanted to get their e-mail from machines in another location. "I just wanted to make my life easier," says Allman.

奇怪的是,这一切无人计划,无人预见。当科学家们于1968 年最早策划因特网的前身阿尔派网时,他们的首要目标是使不同的计算机中心分享资源。(2)“然而,不久他们便发现其最重要的作用是散发邮件,这一点他们根本没有料想到。”埃里克. 奥尔曼,Sendmail 公

司的技术主管------他也是问世已有20 年之久的Sendmail 程序的主要编写者,世界上绝大部分电子邮件现在仍然通过Sendmail 在因特网上传送---------这样说道。似乎那些顶级计算机科学家真正想做的,是把因特网作为一个通过电子邮件探讨哪部科幻小说最棒之类重要话题的场所。尽管奥尔曼为他的程序系统能帮助成千上万的人交流沟通颇感自豪,但他坦言他原本并没有想要改变世界。作为70 年代末加州大学伯克利分校的系统管理人,他时常被计算机科学研究人员所烦扰,那些研究人员要求获取另一幢打楼计算机里的电子邮件。“我只想使我的生活变得简单。”奥尔曼说。

Don't we all? When my first child was born in 1994, e-mail seemed to me some kind of Promethean gift perfectly designed to help me cope with the irreconcilable pressures of new-fatherhood and full-time freelance writing. It saved me time and money without ever requiring me to leave the house; it salvaged my social life, allowed me to conduct interviews as a reporter and kept a lifeline open to my far-flung extended family. Indeed, I finally knew for sure that the digital world was viscerally potent when I found myself in the middle of a bitter fight with my mother--on e-mail. Again, new medium, old story.

我们何尝不是呢?当我第一个孩子1994 年出生的时候,电子邮件对我来说好似普罗米斯的礼物,恰好帮我应对初为人父的全职自由撰稿之间不可协调的压力。它帮我省时省钱,又不需要我离开家门;他拯救了我的社交生活,让我作为记者进行采访,与此同时和分散在四处的亲人保持通信联络的通畅。(3)其实,我最终确切的知道数字世界的力量不可小觑,是在我发现我与母亲通过电子邮件争吵不休的时候。又一次,新的工具演绎老的故事。

My mother had given me an e-mail head start. In 1988, she bought me a modem so I could create a CompuServe account. The reason? Her younger brother had contracted a rapidly worsening case of Parkinson's disease. He wasn't able to talk clearly, and could hardly scrawl his name with a pen or pencil. But he had a computer, and could peck out words on a keyboard. My mom figured that if the family all had CompuServe accounts, we could send him e-mail. She grasped, long before the Internet became a household word, how online communication offered new possibilities for transcending physical limitations, how as simple a thing as e-mail could bring us closer to those whom we love.

由于母亲的原因,我比大多数人都更早地使用e-mail 。1988 年的时候,她为我买了一个调制解调器以便我创立一个CcompuServe 账户。原因是她的弟弟患上了急速恶化的帕金森病。他不能清楚的说话,几乎也不能用钢笔或铅笔写他的名字。但他有一台电脑,能够在键盘上敲写一个又一个的字。我母亲认为如何家庭成员都有CompuServe 账户,我们便可以给他发邮件。

It may even help us find those whom we want to love in the first place. Jenn Shreve is a freelance writer in the San Francisco Bay Area who keeps a close eye on the emerging culture of the new online generation. For the last couple of years, she's seen what she considers to be a positive change in online dating habits. E-mail, she argues, encourages the shy. "It offers a semi-risk-free environment to initiate romance," says Shreve. "Because it lacks the immediate threat of physical rejection, people who are perhaps shy or had painful romantic failures in the past can use the Internet as a way to build a relationship in the early romantic stages."


我们找到我们相爱之人。詹. 什里夫是旧金山海湾地区的一位自由撰稿人,她一直在留心观察新在线一代的新兴文化。在过去的几年里,她目睹了在她看来是网上约会习惯的积极变化。她认为通过邮件上网约会能鼓励那些天性害羞的人。“它提供了一个风险减低了一半的恋爱氛围。”詹. 什里夫说,“这是因为网上恋爱没有对外表产生抵触的直接威胁,那些腼腆的或者过去有过痛苦恋爱经历的人可以在恋爱早期通过因特网建立关系。”

But it's not just about lust. E-mail also flattens hierarchies within the bounds of an office. It is far easier, Shreve notes, to make a suggestion to your superiors and colleagues via e-mail than it is to do so in a pressure-filled meeting room. "Any time when you have something that is difficult to say, e-mail can make it easier," she says. "It serves as a buffer zone."


Of course, e-mail's uses as a social lubricant can be taken to extremes. There is little point in denying the obvious dark side to the lack of self-constraint encouraged by e-mail. Purveyors of pornography rarely call us on the phone and suggest out loud that we check out some "hot teen action." But they don't think twice about jamming our e-mail boxes full of outrageously prurient advertisements. People who would never insult us face to face will spew the vilest, most objectionable, most appalling rhetoric imaginable via e-mail or an instant message, or in the no-holds-barred confines of a chat room.


Cyberspace's lapses in gentility underscores a central contradiction inherent in online communication. If it is true that hours spent on the Net are often hours subtracted from watching television, one could argue that the digital era has raised the curtains on a new age of literacy—more people are writing more words than ever before! But what kind of words are we writing? Are we really more literate, or are we sliding ever faster into a quicksand of meaningless irrelevance, of pop-cultural triviality--expressed, usually, in lowercase letters--run amok? E-mail is actually too easy, too casual. Gone are the days when one would worry over a letter to a lover or a relative or a colleague. Now there's just time for that quick e-mail, a few hastily cobbled together thoughts written in a colloquial style that usually borders on unedited stream of consciousness. The danger is obvious: snippy comments to a friend, overly sharp retorts to one's boss, insults mistakenly sent to the target, not the intended audience. E-mail allows us to act before we can think--the perfect tool for a culture of hyperstimulation.



So instead of creating something new, we forward something old. Instead of crafting the perfect phrase, we use a brain-dead abbreviation: imho for In My Humble Opinion, or rotflmao, for Rolling On The Floor Laughing My A-- Off. Got a rumor? E-mail it to 50 people! Instant messaging and chat rooms just accentuate the casual negative. If e-mail requires little thought, then instant messaging--flashing a message directly onto a recipient's computer monitor--is so insubstantial as to be practically nonexistent.

其结果就是我们不是造就新的东西,而是转发旧的东西;不是独具匠心地遣词造句,而是使用无厘头的缩写:IMHO 表示:“以鄙人之见”,ROTFLMAO 意为:“我笑得在地上打滚”。听到了这一则传闻?把它发给50 个人!即时信息和聊天室恰恰强化了这种草率行为的负面效应。如果说写一封电子邮件几乎不需什么思考,那么即时信息---------将消息火速发到接收人电脑的显示器上则更是没有实质内容,近乎虚无缥缈。

Still, e-mail is enabling radically new forms of worldwide human collaboration. Those 225 million people who can send and receive it represent a network of potentially cooperating individuals dwarfing anything that even the mightiest corporation or government can muster. Mailing-list discussion groups and online conferencing allow us to gather together to work on a multitude of projects that are interesting or helpful to us--to pool our collective efforts in a fashion never before possible. The most obvious place to see this collaboration right now is in the world of software. For decades, programmers have used e-mail to collaborate on projects. With increasing frequency, this collaboration is occurring across company lines, and often without even the spur of commercial incentives. It's happening largely because it can--it's relatively easy for a thousand programmers to collectively contribute to a project using e-mail and the Internet. Perhaps each individual contribution is small, but the scale of the Internet multiplies all efforts dramatically.

说到底,电子邮件是个脆弱的东西,易于撰写,易于讹传,易于销毁,几周前,我的一个同事意外地,不可挽回的删除了他存储的1,500 封信。对于他这么一个生活在线上的人来说,这样一个数字悲剧机会等于抹杀了部分记忆。刹那间,不留一丝痕迹。令人颇感欣慰的是,如果以一种可检索的方式保存,世事来来往往的种种记录可以构成一个庞大的历史档案。但是,反之亦然。今年初夏,我拜访了斯坦福大学的图书管理人员,他们正一丝不苟地编写硅谷历史的数字档案。他们对一种新的,快速流传的公司政策迭声抱怨,该政策要求所有公司邮件每隔60 天或者90 天删除一次。这是因为微软和Netscape 公司懊恼的发现,旧的邮件,无论多么微不足道,总是会在日后缠绕你。因而,律师们说最好的对策就是将它们彻底删除。尽管如此,电子邮件使全球范围内人际合作的全新模式成为可能。那2 亿2千5 百万能够收发邮件的人群代表了一个可能参与合作的众多个体的网络。该网络聚集人数之多使得任何大公司或政府机构相形见绌。收件人讨论小组以及在线会议使我们能就许多有趣或有助的项目通力合作,以一种全新的方式集思广益。目前这种合作最易发生在计算机的程序系统里。几十年来,编程员利用电子邮件在各个项目上相互协作。


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