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1,大脑中移植芯片?2, 帝企鹅群体消失? 3,复利与欧拉常数e

已有 1105 次阅读 2019-5-4 15:26 |系统分类:科普集锦| 大脑芯片, 帝企鹅, 复利与欧拉常数e

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原汁原味的Sci & Tech News weekly

Volume 0  19年5月1日

Editor: Dr. Collin F. Hu

创刊号:为自己开一扇窗。

这本网络杂志希望能够帮助到那些想了解科学与技术的最新进展,通过自己的判断,直接阅读英文杂志原文的朋友。我心目中的对象是一些优秀的高中生,聪明的大学生和研究生以及所有有兴趣了解科学与技术的最新进展,并愿意为之努力而学习英文的朋友们。

这本杂志每周一期,文章来自BBC,ABC和The New York Times等以及网上的一些资源如Wikipedia,TED等。我把它们分为几个专栏,每篇文章我将先介绍其大的科学背景,然后从文章中选出几段原文加以分析。

贵在坚持,大家坚持读1到1年半,如果感兴趣就到网上搜索原文读(可能需要翻----wall),你就可以在网上刷刷的浏览英文了。这时,你会发现,又为自己打开了一扇窗。

本期选择了Health领域的一篇关于大脑中植入人工的芯片,从而可以使得一些肌肉不能行动的患者重新发声的新闻。在science领域选择了一篇因为全球气候变暖而导致的帝企鹅群体在某一地区的消失。在fun knowledge部分介绍了数学中一个重要的常数 e 和金融学中复利计算的关系。

 

 

Health

人类大脑,重量在1.2–1.4kg,被认为是宇宙中最复杂的器官。

脑科学的研究是一个很前沿的课题,DNA的发现者之一,弗朗西斯•克里克,在后期就从事脑科学的研究。现在很多学科的科学家都在研究大脑,但我们对它还是知之甚少。

这篇新闻报道的研究属于这个范畴,令人惊叹的是,这个研究小组在那么多未知的情况下,居然把一个人造的芯片植入到大脑,从而通过脑电波,“听”到大脑的发声。这对一些肌肉不能运动的患者来说(还记得霍金教授的金属声音吗?),无疑是一个好消息。

'Exhilarating' implant turns thoughts to speech

By James Gallagher BBC 24 Apri

1.jpg 

(Photographed by ALAMY)


[Summary]: Scientists have developed a brain implant that can read people's minds and turn their thoughts to speech.

BBC 新闻的第一句话往往是本新闻的小结,即介绍what is it,如果你觉得这篇新闻有趣,再细读(现在是read to learn)。

但是,我们读一篇科学新闻的时候,除了要知道what外,还需要知道How,有时还要知道 application,以及the future research 是什么?

developed 是发展的,改进等意思,可以develop a theory (发展理论), 也可以develop an experimental design (改进实验设计)。

implant:植入的芯片。

 

[How does it work?] The mind-reading technology works in two stages. First an electrode is implanted in the brain to pick up the electrical signals that manoeuvre the lips, tongue, voice box and jaw. Then powerful computing is used to simulate how the movements in the mouth and throat would form different sounds. This results in synthesised speech coming out of a "virtual vocal tract".

pick up,在日常英语里,到机场接人是pick up。这儿是用芯片获得脑电波。

manoeuvre,这是一个非常见词,意思是操纵,移动。

这个方法首先收集脑电波,再经过强大的科学计算来模拟口和喉的运动,以此通过一个虚拟的声带,发出合成的声音。也许是保密的原因,这一段介绍得很不清楚,如何判断脑电波中哪些成分对应口和喉的哪种运动,这些强大的运算的基础还有太多的不清楚。

 

[Why does it like that?] You might think it would be easier to scour the brain for the pattern of electrical signals that code for each word. However, attempts to do so have only had limited success. Instead it was focusing on the shape of the mouth and the sounds it would produce that allowed the scientists to achieve a world 【BBC笔误:word】first.

直接把脑电波翻译成要表达的字和词,然后由标准的人声来表述岂不是更好?但正如我们前面分析的,对大脑知道的太少,这样做的后果就是很难“猜”对大脑的想法。这组科学家另辟蹊径,分析脑电波中控制嘴和喉咙动作的部分,然后把这些部分表达为声音。

最后建议大家在BBC网站上听一下这个最新的成果,虽然开创了一大步,但远未到实用阶段。

 

推荐读13遍的英语句子:

1,First an electrode is implanted in the brain to pick up the electrical signals.

implant: 移植,这儿作为动词使用。当和人聊科技的进展的时候,用implant比用put要高出一个级别。

 

2,However, attempts to do so have only had limited success.

这儿用到了However,是对前面整个意思的否定。limited success,在科学圈内,(尤其前面有only时)可以表示一个不成功的尝试,这是一种委婉的表示方法。

注意attempts是复数形式,所以动词是have。

science

因为人类活动,导致大气层中二氧化碳浓度增加,已达到410 ppm (请对比工业化前280 ppm)【ppm,parts per million是一个浓度单位,表示每百万体积中含有的二氧化碳体积】使得全球温度升高。

这种在短期内(地质时间跨度),因为二氧化碳的迅速增加而导致的全球升温现象,在很多方面都显示出来。这篇文章所写的现象可能与全球升温有关,全球升温导致了极端天气现象的产生,比如2016年的一次厄尔尼诺现象,导致了10,000只小企鹅的消失。而这个地区的帝企鹅种群现在还没有恢复过来。  

An Emperor Penguin Colony in Antarctica Vanishes

By Karen Weintraub The New York Times 25 April 2019

emperor-penguin.jpg

[What is it?] The Antarctic’s second-largest colony of emperor penguins collapsed in 2016, with more than 10,000 chicks lost, and the population has not recovered, according to a new study. Many of the adults relocated nearby, satellite imagery shows, but the fact that emperor penguins are vulnerable in what had been considered the safest part of their range raises serious long-term concerns, said Phil Trathan, the paper’s co-author and head of conservation biology with the British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge, England.

collapsed:坍塌的意思,这儿指种群的毁灭。

relocate:重新定居,帝企鹅换了一个地点居住。注意这儿的发现是通过satellite imagery 发现的。

觉得这个标题也有点危言耸听了,只是很多的成年帝企鹅换了一个居住点而已。

Several researchers said they were encouraged by satellite evidence suggesting that many of the animals were able to relocate to a colony called Dawson-Lambton, about 35 miles to the south, which has seen a more than tenfold increase in penguins in the last few years. “It is a very huge movement and a huge number of birds that were able to move between two colonies after an extreme event,” Dr. Jenouvrier said. “I think this is very cool to be able to show that.”

第一句话较长,主语是researchers,谓语是said,后面的从句是said的内容。suggesting是表明的意思,后面的that的宾语从句来说明suggest的内容,而about 35 miles to the south, which …是用来说明新地点Dawson-Lambton的。

 

推荐读13遍的英语句子:

1,  The Antarctic’s second-largest colony of emperor penguins collapsed in 2016, with more than 10,000 chicks lost, and the population has not recovered, according to a new study.

according to a new study,是科技新闻报道中的常见词。

Fun knowledge

Compound interests and Euler’s number e

From Wikipedia 1 May 2019

2.png

[History story] Jacob Bernoulli discovered this constant in 1683 by studying a question about compound interest: An account starts with $1.00 and pays 100 percent interest per year. If the interest is credited once, at the end of the year, the value of the account at year-end will be $2.00. What happens if the interest is computed and credited more frequently during the year?

e 这个常数也被称为欧拉常数,是Jacob Bernoulli在1683年发现的,注意这儿用到的是discovered。Compound interest 复利,民间的说法是利滚利。但是欧洲的数学家(除了谴责放债人的贪婪),更进一步发现了隐藏在这个现象中的自然秘密。

 

[What is it?] Bernoulli noticed that this sequence approaches a limit with larger n and, thus, smaller compounding intervals. Compounding weekly (n = 52) yields $2.692597…, while compounding daily (n = 365) yields $2.714567…, just two cents more. The limit as n grows large is the number that came to be known as e; with continuous compounding, the account value will reach $2.7182818...

image.png

趋向于一个常数的表达是 “approaches a limit”。

“with continuous compounding”,即n可以取实数。

数学家从实际出发,但又能超越实际的局限,比如让n取实数,从而发现了数学上一个非常重要的常数。

 

推荐读13遍的英语句子:

1, Jacob Bernoulli discovered this constant in 1683 by studying a question about compound interest.

2, Bernoulli noticed that this sequence approaches a limit with larger n and, thus, smaller compounding intervals.



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