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2020年01月18日 09:18:15|来源:国际在线|编辑:中国生活
Slowing growth in China is taking a brutal toll on Appalachian coal mines and coal towns. 中国经济增速放缓沉重打击了美国阿巴拉契亚地区的煤矿和煤城。 Appalachia has one of the world#39;s richest deposits of high-grade coal used to make steel. Thanks to Chinese demand, the price for premium metallurgical coal, whose low-ash and low-sulfur content makes it ideal for steelmaking, hit a record 0 a metric ton in early 2011. 下岗矿工鲍威尔(左)与家人在西弗吉尼亚州的霍顿市。阿巴拉契亚地区炼钢用高等级煤炭的储藏量位居世界前列。由于中国的需求,优质焦煤价格在2011年年初创下了每吨330美元的纪录。焦煤烟尘少、硫含量低,是炼钢的理想之选。 Now, the Chinese economy is slowing and so is its steel industry. That has sent the price of coal used for steelmaking down nearly 50% to 0 a metric ton. Those coal producers who counted on Chinese sales are reeling. 现在中国经济在放缓,钢铁行业也在减速,这导致炼钢用煤炭价格跌到每吨170美元,几乎下跌了一半。寄望于中国市场的煤炭生产商受到了沉重的打击。 #39;When someone had coal to move, China was your big box store,#39; said Ernie Thrasher, chief executive of XCoal Energy amp; Resources, a major U.S. marketer of such coal to Asia. This year, #39;the switch went off.#39; XCoal Energy amp; Resources是美国向亚洲出口焦煤的重要贸易商,该公司首席执行长思拉舍(Ernie Thrasher)说,当有人有煤炭要卖的时候,中国就是一个大卖场,但今年一切都停顿了下来。 While many have blamed the downturn in the U.S. coal industry on cheap natural gas supplanting coal and tougher environmental regulations, the slide in metallurgical coal demand has been equally devastating. Coal companies were caught flat-footed after ramping up production last year with the expectation that steep prices would cover their rising costs, despite coal#39;s past cyclicality. Instead, demand in China began to falter just as Australian metallurgical coal production-interrupted by floods last year-surged back into the market. 很多人将美国煤炭产业的不景气归咎于廉价的天然气取代了煤炭,以及环保监管越来越严格。然而焦煤需求下滑带来的打击也同样沉重。去年煤炭企业不顾以往本行业的周期性特征,仍指望价格的大幅上涨盖过成本的上升,所以扩大生产。结果中国的需求慢了下来,同时受去年洪灾破坏的澳大利亚焦煤生产迅速恢复供应,让他们措手不及。 In July, Patriot Coal Corp. of St. Louis filed for bankruptcy protection, shortly after it lost a contract for coal bound for an Asian steelmaker. Patriot#39;s stock slid 18% the day after it announced that news, taking other coal stocks down with it. Earlier this month, Patriot said it would temporarily idle metallurgical coal operations at three mining complexes in southern West Virginia and lay off 250 miners, in addition to 1,000 layoffs earlier this year. On top of that, Patriot has said it will need to reduce #39;unsustainable#39; pension and health benefits to 2,000 miners and some 20,000 retirees and surviving spouses. 今年7月,圣路易斯的Patriot Coal Corp.申请破产保护。之前不久,该公司丢掉了一份向亚洲一家钢铁企业供应煤炭的合同。公布消息之后的第二天,Patriot股价下跌18%,拖累煤炭股跟着走低。该公司本月早些时候表示,将暂停西弗吉尼亚州南部三个矿区的焦煤生产,并在今年早些时候裁员1,000人的基础上再裁掉250名矿工。除此以外,Patriot还曾表示将需要削减2,000名矿工、约20,000名退休人员及未亡配偶“不可持续”的养老和医疗福利。 China#39;s metallurgical coal imports dropped to 2.6 million metric tons in August, from an average of 4.5 million metric tons per month through July. Now coal mines are closing throughout Appalachia. Earlier this month, Alpha Natural Resources Inc., of Bristol, Va., which derives a large share of its profits from metallurgical coal, said it was cutting 1,200 jobs, or 9.2% of its workforce. Earlier this year, Alpha laid off more than 700 miners and trimmed production at more than 20 mines. Consol Energy Inc. of Pittsburgh, which sells more coal into China than any other U.S. producer, earlier this month idled the nation#39;s biggest metallurgical coal mine, which employs 620 miners. Arch Coal Inc. trimmed its metallurgical coal production estimate by 21% this year. 今年1月至7月,中国平均每月进口焦煤450万吨,8月份降至260万吨。现在整个阿巴拉契亚地区的煤矿纷纷关闭。弗吉尼亚布里斯托尔的Alpha Natural Resources Inc.有很大一部分利润来自焦煤业务。该公司本月早些时候表示将裁员1,200人,相当于员工总数的9.2%。今年早些时候它已经裁掉700多名矿工,并减少了20多座煤矿的产量。皮兹堡的Consol Energy Inc.向中国出口的煤炭比其他任何美国生产商都多。本月早些时候,该公司让雇用矿工620人的全美最大焦煤矿停产。Arch Coal Inc.将自己今年焦煤产量的预期下调了21%。 Miners like Phillip Powell, 38 years old, of Wharton, have been swept up by the collapse. #39;A lot of guys that I worked with are scared of losing everything they own,#39; said Mr. Powell, who was laid off in March from a section foreman job at a Patriot metallurgical coal mine. Mr. Powell said he sees no chance of finding another job that would come anywhere close to paying the 8,000 he earned last year. After 17 years in mining, he plans to go back to college to get certified to teach physical education. 来自西弗吉尼亚州霍顿市(Wharton)的38岁矿工鲍威尔(Phillip Powell)是减产潮的受害者之一。他说,很多跟我一块工作的人都害怕失去自己拥有的一切。鲍威尔原来在Patriot公司的一座焦煤矿当领工,今年3月份被裁。他觉得自己再也找不到一份接近去年10.8万美元收入的工作了。在采矿业干了17年之后,他打算回大学拿一份教体育的文凭。 Appalachian coal industry executives had been counting on metallurgical or #39;met#39; coal─which is sold at a premium to steelmakers-to offset the dwindling market for lower-grade thermal coal used by power plants. The thermal coal market has been weakening because utilities are buying cleaner-burning natural gas instead. Natural-gas prices have plummeted as energy companies used hydraulic fracturing to extract gas from vast shale formations. 过去,阿巴拉契亚地区的煤矿业管理人员依靠焦煤来弥补不断缩小的动力煤市场,动力煤等级较低,用于发电厂发电,而焦煤则可以更高的价格卖给钢铁厂商。由于公用事业公司开始转而购买燃烧起来更清洁的天然气,动力煤市场一直在走软。随着能源公司利用水力压裂法从巨大的页岩层中提取天然气,天然气价格大幅下跌。 In April, natural gas and coal each fueled 32% of the nation#39;s electricity, achieving parity for the first time in the decades that the Energy Information Administration has tracked the data. For decades, coal powered about 50% of the electricity to the nation#39;s businesses and homes. 今年4月,天然气和煤炭发电量各占美国发电总量的32%,在美国能源情报署(Energy Information Administration)有数据记载的这几十年里首次达到相同占比。此前的几十年,美国企业和家庭用电量的约50%都来自煤炭发电。 Metallurgical coal exports were supposed to fill the gap. Only a year ago Patriot was posting record revenue and operating earnings and embarking on a plan called the #39;Met Built-Out#39; to open new metallurgical mines and hire up to 200 new miners. 焦煤出口原本应该弥补国内需求的疲软。仅一年前,Patriot还录得了创纪录的营收和运营利润,并正在启动一项“焦煤增产”计划,以开采新的焦煤煤矿,增聘最多200名矿工。 Other coal companies were buying rivals to strengthen their metallurgical coal operations and reserves. Four publicly traded U.S. coal companies made acquisitions in North America totaling billion in 2011, the largest being Alpha#39;s .1 billion purchase of troubled Massey Energy. 其他煤炭公司当时也在收购竞争对手,以便扩大其焦煤业务和储量。2011年,四家美国上市煤企在北美地区进行了规模总计140亿美元的收购,其中最大一桩是阿尔法公司(Alpha)斥资71亿美元收购陷入困境的梅西能源公司(Massey Energy)。 Alpha now has 1.5 billion tons of metallurgical coal reserves, and the ability to export up to 30 million tons a year. It is hoping to weather the weak market by being the low-cost producer of premium met coal. #39;While it#39;s a bit soft now, we have a very valuable metallurgical coal franchise, and we#39;re hitching our wagon to it,#39; said Alpha Chief Executive Kevin Crutchfield. 阿尔法如今有15亿吨焦煤储量,焦煤年出口能力最高可达3,000万吨。该公司希望凭借低成本生产优质焦煤而度过市场疲弱不振的难关。该公司首席执行长克拉奇菲尔德(Kevin Crutchfield)说,尽管眼下市场有些疲软,我们有着非常有价值的焦煤业务,我们正寄希望于此。 The cost to pull a ton of coal out of the ground varies widely from mine to mine based on geologic conditions and the degree of automation. In Appalachia, average mining costs are about to per ton. A ton of thermal coal is currently selling for a ton on the spot market, making it impossible to operate some mines at a profit. 依地质条件和自动化程度不同,各煤矿从地下开采一吨煤的成本相差很大。在阿巴拉契亚地区,平均开采成本约为每吨65美元至75美元。现货市场上动力煤的售价目前为每吨52美元,这就使得一些煤矿的运营不可能盈利。 Before the China steel market took off, metallurgical coal was valued much like thermal coal and was often sold to power plants where it was burned like lower-grade coals. #39;It was like using an expensive bottle of red wine to make spaghetti sauce,#39; said Paul Forward, an analyst with Stifel, Nicolaus amp; Co. 在中国钢铁市场升温之前,焦煤和动力煤一样不受重视,焦煤常常被销售给发电厂,和等级更低的煤一样烧来发电。经纪公司Stifel, Nicolaus amp; Co.的分析师福沃德(Paul Forward)说,就像是用一瓶非常昂贵的红酒做意大利面面酱一样。 That changed with China#39;s industrial boom. Up until 2004, the price for metallurgical coal stayed below a ton in the U.S. Prices hit an all time record of 0 a metric ton in the second quarter of 2011 after flooding in Queensland, Australia, disrupted coal supplies headed for China. 随着中国工业的快速发展,情况发生了改变。2004年之前,美国焦煤价格一直在每吨40美元以下。2011年二季度,澳大利亚昆士兰州发生洪灾,输往中国的煤炭供应中断后,焦煤价格达到每吨330美元,创历史新高。 China couldn#39;t seem to get enough metallurgical coal to feed its steelmaking industry. In 2009, U.S. met coal exports to China grew nearly six-fold, and grew by the same rate in 2010, linking Appalachia more closely to the global steel trade.为给钢铁制造业提供动力,中国对焦煤似乎永不厌足。2009年,美国对中国焦煤出口增长了近五倍,2010年增速与上年相仿,将阿巴拉契亚地区与全球钢铁贸易更紧密地联系在一起。 Now the China spigot is closing. The Chinese steel industry-which consumes half of all metallurgical coal mined each year-faces the possibility it could operate at a loss in 2012 for the first time as a result of overcapacity and weak steel prices, according to the China Iron amp; Steel Association. That would mean tougher times in West Virginia, where rail, barge, trucking and other jobs depend on coal.如今中国的需求开始下滑。据中国钢铁工业协会说,由于产能过剩和钢材价格低迷,2012年中国钢铁业可能将首次面临亏损的局面。中国钢铁行业的焦煤消费量占每年全球总消费量的一半。这将意味着西弗吉尼亚州日子会更加困难,在那里,铁路、货船、货车运输和其他工作岗位都要依靠煤炭行业。 /201210/202456Forget the #39;Dimon principle.#39; Investors should follow the Feynman principle.别管什么“戴蒙法则”(Dimon principle),投资者应当牢记的是费曼法则(Feynman principle)。When J.P. Morgan Chase#39;s chief executive, James Dimon, disclosed a billion trading loss during a hastily organized conference call on Thursday, he said: #39;This trading may not violate the Volcker rule, but it violates the Dimon principle.#39;Associated Press罗伯特#8226;密立根(图中人物)和理查德#8226;费曼都认为:对所谓“专家”的结论偏听偏信是一种自欺行为。根大通(J.P. Morgan Chase)首席执行长杰米#8226;戴蒙(James Dimon)在5月10日召开紧急电话会议,披露该公司发生了20亿美元的交易损失。他说,“这笔交易也许没违反沃尔克法则(Volker Rule),但违反了戴蒙法则。”Mr. Dimon didn#39;t say what the Dimon principle is, and a spokesman for the U.S.#39;s largest bank by assets didn#39;t respond to requests for comment.戴蒙当时并未对戴蒙法则进行解释,根大通的一位发言人也未对置评请求作出回应。The Feynman principle, however, is simple: #39;You must not fool yourself-and you are the easiest person to fool,#39; as the Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman put it.费曼法则却不难理解,就是诺贝尔奖得主、物理学家理查德#8226;费曼(Richard Feynman)明确指出的,“不要欺骗自己,你自己正是最容易被欺骗的人。”Asked on April 13 whether J.P. Morgan#39;s trading operation posed significant risks to the bank, Mr. Dimon called it a #39;tempest in a teapot.#39; The bank#39;s chief financial officer insisted the London-based division was merely #39;protecting that balance sheet,#39; adding that J.P. Morgan was #39;very comfortable with the positions we have.#39;回想4月13日被问及根大通交易业务是否对整个构成巨大风险时,戴蒙曾回应称这是“小题大做”。根大通的首席财务长也坚称该行位于伦敦的交易部门只是在“保护资产负债表”,并补充称“根大通对当前的头寸很满意”。J.P. Morgan#39;s moguls, in letting a complex risk run wild and denying any potential for error until too late, are a reminder one of the biggest dangers in finance is self-deception.事到临头之前,根大通的大佬们这种放任复杂风险失控、矢口否认存在出错可能性的做法无疑提醒了我们:金融领域最大的危险之一就是自欺欺人。For investors, the bigger the commitment, the more certain they become that they must have been right to make it-and the harder it becomes to let go.作为投资者,对某项投资付出越多,就越相信自己能够成功,对失败也就越难以释怀。The literal meaning of the word #39;invest#39;-from the Latin vestire, to clothe or dress-is to wrap oneself up in something. Experiments at racetracks and elsewhere have shown that people who bet on an outcome become up to three times more confident that it will occur than people who didn#39;t put up any money.从字面来看,英语中的“invest”(投资)一词源自拉丁语中的“vestire”,后者是“穿戴”的意思,即把自己包裹起来。在赛马场和其它场所进行的实验表明,相比没有押注的人,对某一结果押了注的人相信该结果会出现的程度可高出三倍之多。Not trying to disprove your own beliefs is an especially dangerous deception. In a commencement address he gave to students at the California Institute of Technology in 1974, Mr. Feynman urged his listeners to avoid what he called #39;cargo cult#39; thinking, after Pacific islanders who believed they could make airplanes land, full of food and clothing, by standing alongside makeshift runways, as they had during World War II.PBS/Everett Collection罗伯特#8226;密立根和理查德#8226;费曼(图中人物)都认为:对所谓“专家”的结论偏听偏信是一种自欺行为。从不试着反驳自己的信念是一种尤其危险的自欺行为。1974年费曼在加州理工学院(California Institute of Technology)的毕业典礼致词上呼吁听众避免被他称为“草包族”(cargo cult)的思想,就像一些太平洋岛民那样,二次世界大战结束后他们还以为守在临时跑道旁边就可以等来满载物资的飞机。You also can fool yourself by placing too much faith in the findings of supposed experts. Mr. Feynman recounted the story of an influential formula for measuring the charge of an electron that was devised by the pioneering physicist Robert Millikan. The result was slightly wrong, but it took many researchers years to prove it wrong-since Millikan#39;s successors assumed that he had to be right. They adjusted the value, but not enough; deference made them too timid to believe the evidence of their own eyes.对所谓“专家”的结论偏听偏信也是一种自欺行为。费曼讲述了先驱物理学家罗伯特#8226;密立根(Robert Millikan)推导出的电子电荷测算公式的故事。其测算结果并不十分准确,但很多研究人员过了多年才得以明这一点,原因就在于密立根的追随者们想当然地认为密立根肯定是正确的。他们调整了数值,但没有用;对密立根的盲目推崇使他们不敢相信摆在眼前的事实。Quantitative claptrap can have the same effect on investors. Some banks-including J.P. Morgan-use a technique called #39;value at risk,#39; or VAR, to estimate the potential vulnerabilities of their portfolios. VAR is a short-term measure that generally assumes that past levels of risk and relationships among assets will persist, says Donald van Deventer, author of #39;Advanced Financial Risk Management#39; and chairman of Kamakura Corp., a financial-consulting firm in Honolulu. It gives a precise, but incomplete, picture, he says.听起来玄乎其玄的定量术语也会对投资者产生类似的效果。包括根大通在内的一些都喜欢采用一种被称为“风险价值模型”(VAR)的方法来评估其投资组合的损失风险。火奴鲁鲁财务咨询公司Kamakura Corp.董事长、著有《高级金融风险管理》(Advanced Financial Risk Management)一书的唐纳德#8226;范#8226;戴维特(Donald van Deventer)指出,风险价值模型是一种短期方法,通常假定过去的风险水平和资产之间的关系不变。他称,这种方法提供的结果固然精准,却不全面。So how can investors avoid deceiving themselves?那么,投资者该如何避免自我蒙蔽呢?First of all, remember that #39;the riskiest moment is when you are right,#39; as the economist Peter Bernstein was fond of saying.首先,记住“最危险的时刻就是你正确的时刻”,这是经济学家彼得#8226;伯恩斯坦(Peter Bernstein)常说的话。You should set, in advance, a threshold of profit at which you must review any holding-say, a 50% gain. At that point, you must seek out the opinions of people who think you are wrong-research from short sellers betting against the stock, for example.你应当提前设定一个盈利底线──例如50%的涨幅,要求自己一旦触及这个底线就对手中的头寸进行全面评估。到时候,你必须考虑反方的意见,例如,你持有某只股票,那就应该仔细研究一下做空这只股票的人所持的观点。Look at the results of other people and organizations that have tried something similar to the actions you are considering. Unless other people have succeeded, there isn#39;t any objective reason to believe that you will. (J.P. Morgan might have notedthe record of big U.S. banks trying to make money off leveraged portfolios of derivatives is abysmal.)如果你在考虑采取某项行动,还应当先看一下其他已经采取了类似行动的投资者或机构的战绩如何。除非其他投资者取得了成功,否则你也不应当认为自己就会赢。例如,根大通本应该看一下其他美国大在衍生品杠杆投资方面的糟糕记录。Monitor yourself for vehemence. If you find yourself tempted to ridicule anyone who tells you are wrong, you probably are wrong. Bertrand Russell warned the less evidence someone has that his ideas are right, #39;the more vehemently he asserts that there is no doubt whatsoever that he is exactly right.#39;时刻提防自己走向偏激。如果你发现自己开始嘲笑那些说你做错了的人,那么你也许真的做错了。伯特兰#8226;罗素(Bertrand Russell)曾经警告世人,越是对自己的观点缺乏据的人,越是会固执地坚称自己是绝对正确的。Finally, try the technique that psychologist Gary Klein calls a #39;pre-mortem.#39; Gather people whose views you respect. Ask them all to imagine looking back, a year from now, at the investment you just made-and that it has turned out to be a disaster. Have them list all the possible causes of the failure. That may well help you see how it might have been avoided.试试被心理学家加里#8226;克莱因(Gary Klein)称为“事前验尸”(pre-mortem)的方法吧。假设你刚做的投资在一年后惨败,召集一些你重视其观点的人,让他们设想一下从那个时候往回看你所做的投资,并列出他们认为的可能导致你投资失败的所有原因。这或许有助于你弄清楚该如何防范于未然。Above all, remember that the smarter you are, the more easily you can fool yourself.说到底,就是切记不要“聪明反被聪明误”。 /201206/185569I was standing in line at the McDonald#39;s in Delhi#39;s Vasant Vihar one day last week. It wasn#39;t lunchtime yet so there wasn#39;t a crowd. I stood at one of the counters, behind a woman who was being served, and waited. A minute later, two young ladies came in. As I watched, they nonchalantly came and stood in line in front of me. When I politely but firmly pointed out that I was in line, they first seemed surprised that I would have the bad manners to bring this up. Then, seeing the smoke emanating from my ears, they quickly apologized and went to stand at the back. 上周的一天,我来到德里市瓦桑比哈区(Vasant Vihar)的一家麦当劳(McDonald#39;s)。当时不到午餐时间,店里还没什么人。我站在一个柜台前等待,排在我前面的女士正在点餐。一分钟后,两位年轻的女士走进店里。在我的眼皮底下,她们若无其事地站到我前面。当我礼貌而坚决地告诉她们我正在排队时,她们一开始显得很惊讶,好像倒是我提出这件事很不礼貌似的;但马上,见我一副怒不可遏的样子,两人赶忙道歉,排到了我后面。 This is not the first time this has happened and I#39;m sure it won#39;t be the last. In India, I#39;ve had people butt in front of me in lines at stores, banks, hospitals, and airports. OK, so I may look like a patsy but I#39;m sure I#39;m not the only one who has experienced this. Most people also drive in this same way; instead of driving in lanes, we are constantly trying to edge ahead of the car in front. Why is it that so many Indians try to jump the queue? 这已不是我第一次遭遇这样的情况──而我也很确定这绝不会是最后一次。无论在印度的商店、、医院还是机场,我都有过排队时遭人插队的经历。好吧,也许我看上去是个挺容易欺负的人,但我相信自己绝不是唯一有过这种经历的人。大多数人也以同样的方式开车──我们总是想抢到前一辆车的前面,而不是老老实实行驶在自己的车道里。问题是,为什么有这么多印度人都在想方设法插队呢? We live in a hugely-populated, resource-constrained country. As a result of that, two things may be happening. One is that we#39;ve stood in so many queues during our lives, we#39;re tired of standing in queues and we just don#39;t want to do it anymore. The other is that we#39;ve seen that if we wait patiently in a queue, by the time our turn comes up, the item is sold out. Have you heard the saying, #39;Good things come to those who wait#39;? Not here, you haven#39;t. In this environment, he who hesitates is lost for sure. With 1.2 billion people eyeing the same McAloo Tikki, we can#39;t afford to stand in line. 我们生活在一个人口庞大而资源紧张的国家,正因于此,有两件事总有可能会发生:其一,在我们的生活中,我们已经排了不计其数的队,我们厌倦排队,我们只是不想再这样排下去;其二,我们见到过,假如我们耐心排队,在轮到我们之前,我们要买的东西就已经售罄。好事属于那些愿意等待的人──你听说过这句话吗?也许吧,但绝不是在这里。在这里,谁犹豫不决谁就将百分之百地失败。想想看,当12亿人都在盯着同一份McAloo Tikki汉堡包时,还要按顺序排队?我们可承受不起。 It could also be because our society is very hierarchical. We intrinsically believe in inequality. Thomas Friedman may have hallucinations of a flat world but ours is vertical based on money, influence, education, caste, skin color, and the list goes on. We#39;ve all had the experience of waiting in a long line and seeing someone ushered through before us; no doubt a friend of the DM, GM, or PM. #39;First come, first served#39; has little meaning here. It#39;s more like #39;VIP come, VIP served.#39; If I#39;m more important than you, why should I stand in line behind you? My time is more precious and my needs more valid. Surely I deserve it faster, and more of it too. 这种现象可能也归因于我们社会中很强的等级观念──因为我们笃信,人与人并不平等。或许托马斯#12539;弗里德曼(Thomas Friedman)会幻想世界是平的,但我们的社会却按财富、权势、教育、地位、肤色等要素把人分作三六九等。我们都有过这样的经历:我们排着长长的队等待,却看到一些人先于我们得到务──毫无疑问,这个人肯定是区域经理或是总经理的朋友,搞不好还是总理的朋友。“先到先得”的理论在这里可不大好使。这里的情况,更像是“大人物到,大人物得”。想想看,如果我比你更有权势,凭什么我要站在你后面排队?我的时间更宝贵,我的需求也更有说力,我当然应该先得──而且得到更多。 But what happens to those of us who are not VIPs, or even IPs? Maybe we are just Ps. Then the trick is to pretend we#39;re more important than the other guys. Berkeley professor Cameron Anderson suggests that #39;overconfidence provides adaptive social benefits#39; such as #39;higher peer-perceptions of ability and elevated social status.#39; More simply put, in the immortal words of some modern philosopher, #39;If you can#39;t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bull─-.#39; If you look important, you may get away with jumping the queue most of the time. 但假如我们既不是达官贵人,也谈不上有什么权势,而只是最普通的人,我们又该怎么办?有个诀窍是,让我们看上去显得比其他人更重要。来自加州大学伯克利分校(University of California, Berkeley)的教授卡梅隆#12539;安德森(Cameron Anderson)表示,妄自尊大可以带来与其相应的社会收益,比如自认为有更强的能力才干和更高的社会地位。借用某些当代哲学家的箴言,简单地说就是:“如果你无法用才能说别人,就用废话迷惑别人吧。”假如你看上去位高权重,那么当你插队时,你一般都能成功。 A story I recently heard captures this well. In a busy airport, an airline check-in agent was trying to help a long queue of passengers. An important-looking man marched straight up to the counter and demanded to be served immediately because he had a flight to catch. The agent politely told him that all the people in line were waiting for the same flight so if he#39;d kindly stand in the queue, she#39;d be happy to help him. Angry, he asked her, #39;Do you know who I am?!#39; The agent looked at him, then switched on the intercom and made an announcement: #39;I have a gentleman here at the counter who does not know who he is. Could someone please help him?#39; This received roars of laughter from the passengers waiting in line. The man was furious and said to the agent through clenched teeth: #39;F─ you!#39; She sweetly replied, #39;You#39;ll have to stand in line for that, too.#39; 我最近听到的一个段子是个不错的例子:在一座繁忙的机场,一位航班检票员正在为排成长队的乘客提供务。一名看上去颇有地位的男子大步流星直奔柜台,要求立刻为他提供务,因为他要赶一趟航班。女检票员礼貌地告诉他,所有排队的人都在等候同一趟航班,如果他回去排队,她将很乐意帮助他。男子听后很恼火地问,“你知道我是谁吗?!”检票员看看他,随后接通对讲机,发布了一则通告,“这边柜台有一位先生,他搞不清楚自己是谁,哪位能过来帮他一下吗?”一席话引来排队人群中的一阵大笑。男子恼羞成怒,咬牙切齿,嘴里蹦出F开头的四字经。检票员笑着答道,“这件事,您也要排队。” Unfortunately, in India such egalitarian airline agents are mostly only found in joke, legend, and song. Often the self-important person gets away with it and for this, the service providers must also take the blame. I#39;ve had several experiences where store clerks have ignored the person standing in line in front of me and tried to serve me first, because I assume I looked higher up on the pecking order. I#39;ve had to again politely but firmly point out that they were in line before me. 遗憾的是,在印度,像这样奉行平等原则的检票员大多只出现在玩笑、传说和歌曲当中。多数情况下,妄自尊大的人总能获得成功──而提供务的人也必须为此承担责任。我曾在商店里有过几次这样的经历──大概因为我看上去显得社会地位更高,店员并未理睬排在我身前的顾客,而打算先为我务。我不得不再次礼貌而坚决地指出来,那些顾客排在我的前面。 Let#39;s face it: In India, jumping the queue can indeed be a useful survival skill. However, as India#39;s population continues to grow and resources become even more scarce, our ability to stand in a queue to await our turn whether on foot waiting for water, in a store waiting for service, or in a car waiting for the green light will not just grease the wheels of social interaction, it will allow products and services and traffic to flow more efficiently. 我们不得不承认,在印度,插队确实可以成为一项有用的生存技能。然而,在如今印度人口持续增长而资源越显紧缺的情况下,如果我们都能按顺序排队等待轮到自己──无论是站着排队接水,在商店等待务还是在车里等候绿灯──将不仅能让社会互动顺利进行,还能使产品、务和交通的流动更有效率。 It could also prevent queue rage, road rage, and one day, perhaps, even riots in the street. But we#39;ll only consider standing in line if we see that there is some value in it. We need to see VIPs doing it, consistently and proudly, and taking only what is their due at their turn. And we need to see that by doing it ourselves, we#39;ll receive our due at our turn whether that#39;s a place in school, a job, a hospital bed, an airline ticket, or a burger. 这种习惯也可以预防排队和道路交通中暴躁情绪的滋生,甚或有一天,它还能让街上的骚乱销声匿迹。我们会考虑自觉排队,但只有当我们看到蕴含其中的价值时我们才会这样做。我们需要看到那些达官贵人只有通过排队才能得到他们应得的东西,看到他们坚持不懈而自豪地这样做。我们也同样需要这样,等待轮到自己的那一刻──无论是为一个入学资格,一份工作,一个医院床位,一张机票,还是为一个汉堡包。 /201209/197945

七夕“乞巧”的风俗由来已久,年轻女孩子们在这一天乞求的,不仅仅是巧夺天工的好手艺,还会乞求一段美好姻缘。似乎是TVB剧中经常出现七夕之夜女子祈求姻缘的桥段~不知道今年七夕,有多少人会在星空之下默默祈祷呢?On that night, unmarried girls prayed to the Weaving Maid star for the special gift. When the star Vega was high up in the sky, girls performed a small test by placing a needle on the water#39;s surface: If the needle did not sink, the girl was considered to be y to find a husband. Once a year, on this day, girls could wish for anything their hearts desired。七夕之夜,未婚女子通常会向织女星乞巧,也会乞求姻缘。她们将一根针放在水面上,倘若针不下沉的话,她们就能得偿所愿。据说这一晚女孩子们能祈求任何心愿成真。 这里“乞巧”的这个“乞”,我们可以说beg,也可以用plead这个词,plead to be endowed with perfect sewing skills. 貌似这两个词都和浪漫气氛不符哦,plead其实更常见于法庭上,律师为某人辩护,就是plead one#39;s case;而那句我们耳熟能详的“不认罪”,则是plead not guilty,反之“认罪”就是plead guilty——注意这里的用法,比较特殊哦,是在动词plead后面直接加形容词guilty——法官就会经常问这句话:Do you plead guilty or not guilty?你可认罪?也有一个更常见的情况,就是被告人plead insanity,以精神失常为借口,试图减轻刑罚。回到七夕乞巧的风俗吧,乞巧是为了精进自己的女红手艺,女红(注意啊注意啊,这里的“红”读音是“工”,不要读错了哦)也就是针线活,用英语说就是doing needlework。印象中女红活儿就是刺绣(embroider)吧,不知道现在还有多少女孩子会刺绣活儿呢?似乎大家都更prefer简单易学的十字绣 (cross-stitch)了。那么,学十字绣的话,也是需要乞一下巧的吧……至于祈求姻缘,这个恐怕还是要看缘分哦,如果两个人是predestined to be together,那么是无论如何都会相遇并相爱的吧。在这里祝天下有情人终成眷属吧!(All shall be well, and Jack shall have Jill!) /201508/393942

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