2007年9月30日 星期日

Theoria

司馬賀(Herbert A Simon)約八年前贈其論文:

Economics As A Historical Science(1998, Theoria, Vol 13/2, pp.241-260)

我問他一問題

I was a little confused with Theoria because what my impression is it is a Swedish one and quarterly. Anyway, please advise the Greek message in its cover.

這或許是他的回答:

Literally, it reads: "The gods do arithmetic," which I think means,

"The gods are mathematicians." 照字面為「神明們作數學」;我以為它的意思是「神明們為數學家。」

現在可以更清楚了解這字眼:

Theoria (Greek θεωρία) is Greek for contemplation or perception of beauty as a moral faculty (OED).

Ruskin說在欣賞藝術時有兩種經驗:一個叫做Aesthesis 就是美感,即吾人對於愉快之本能的感受,一個叫做 Theoria ,就是對藝術的崇高的虔誠的認識。」(梁實秋『文學的美』)

Rangoon to Yangon

仰光】(Rangoon)



城市名。緬甸的首都。位於伊洛瓦底江三角洲東側,距海約四十公里。以紡織品、肥皂、橡膠、鋁、食品、藥品和鋼鐵等工業著稱。米的輸出也很多。水運、公路和鐵路線連接國內各地。為緬甸最大和最重要的工商業城市。
(教育部國語辭典)

WIKIPEDIA

仰光,為緬甸最大城市,原為緬甸首都2005年11月6日遷至奈比多),人口約500萬(2000年統計),位於仰光河河岸。仰光位於北緯16°48',東經96°9',而其時區是協調世界時加上六個半小時。主要出口有柚木石油棉花和各類金屬礦藏等。

1753年Alaungapaya國王建都以前,仰光只是小漁村1930年仰光受地震和引發的海嘯嚴重破壞。第二次世界大戰時在1942年3月8日日本佔領。

與其他東南亞的大城市比較,仰光相對地不太繁榮。市內建築迅速發展,大多數都是外資注入發展的(主要是新加坡中國)。市內的下城區及大仰光地區有很多連鎖住宅和商業樓宇被重建或改建。現在仰光擁有東南亞最多的前殖民地建築。在殖民地建築內的政府部分(例如高等法院市政廳、Bogyoke市場和公立醫院)也被列入重建項目。新城區和其他近郊的地區繼續非常貧窮。

仰光是兩個字「yan」和「koun」的結合,分別指「敵人」和「走出去」。



Yangon is a combination of the two words yan and koun, which mean "enemies" and "run out of" respectively. It is also translated as "end of strife". "Rangoon" most likely comes from the British corruption of the pronunciation of "Yangon" in the Arakanese dialect of Burmese.

2007年9月29日 星期六

go against the grain

go against the grain
If something goes against the grain, you would not usually do it because it would be unusual or morally wrong:
These days it goes against the grain to show respect for authority.

MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS

A report by The New York Times that Warren E. Buffett is in talks to buy as much as 20 percent of Bear Stearns has raised the specter of the investor's 1987 deal to take a 12 percent stake in Salomon Brothers. But TheStreet.com suggested that a Bear investment would go against the grain for Buffett.

Go to Article from The New York Times»

2007年9月25日 星期二

UN Assembly line, semaphore lines

US presidential limousine near UN general assembly Assembly line
World leaders and their limos fill New York for UN talkfest




BBC玩一文字遊戲:
聯合國大會叫 Assembly


semaphore lines

The semaphore 號誌or optical telegraph is an apparatus for conveying information by means of visual signals, with towers with pivoting blades or paddles, shutters, in a matrix, or hand-held flags etc. Information is encoded by the position of the mechanical elements; it is read when the blade or flag is in a fixed position. In modern usage it refers to a system of signaling using two handheld flags. Other forms of optical telegraphy include ship flagsAldis lamps, and Heliographs.
Semaphore lines preceded the electrical telegraph. They were faster than post riders for bringing a message over long distances, but far more expensive and less private than the electrical telegraph lines which would replace them. The distance that an optical telegraph can bridge is limited by geography and weather, thus in practical use, most optical telegraphs used lines of relay stations to bridge longer distances.


I... moving hands imaged and reimaged in the poem I wrote as semaphores of intimacy or loneliness.



assembly (GATHERING) Show phonetics
noun
1 [C] a group of people, especially one gathered together regularly for a particular purpose, such as government, or more generally, the process of gathering together, or the state of being together:
the United Nations General Assembly
She has been tipped as a future member of the Welsh Assembly.

2 US Assembly one of the two parts of the government that makes laws in many US States:
the New York Assembly
The Senate and the Assembly put aside political differences to pass the aid package.

3 [C or U] a gathering in a school of several classes for a group activity such as singing, a theatrical performance or a film:
All pupils are expected to attend school assembly.
There's a religious assembly every morning.



assembly line noun [C usually singular] (工廠) 裝配(流水)線
a line of machines and workers in a factory which a product moves along while it is being built or produced. Each machine or worker performs a particular job, which must be completed before the product moves to the next position in the line:
assembly-line workers

sell-by date and use-by date

2007年7月23日 星期一

有效期或保質期:"best by" date ; consume-by date; a use-by date; expiration date

今天讀到一則美國新聞
This recall only affects the products listed above with a "best by" date of APR30 2009 through MAY22 2009. The "best by" date can be found either on the top ...

才知道我過去作的詞條要加強成:"best by" date ; consume-by date; a use-by date; expiration date


(食品科技) expiration date 截止日期,失效日期 

現在常用:有效期或保質期
應用

蝦米的質量問題主要是水分、鹽分含量嚴重超過標準規定。由於蝦米的水分含量過高,致使保質期大大縮短,有的甚至需要冷藏,粗糙加工以獲取更大經濟利益是造成蝦米質量低的主要原因。還有部分產品用人工染色,使產品鮮豔好看,吸引消費者購買,是消費者的食用安全隱患。
.

Safety-Based Consume-By Date Labels Approaches and Formats

(日文)賞味期限 或消費・賞味期限

編譯館:

(食品科技)expiration date截止日期,失效日期 

(經濟學)expiration date到期日

(計量學)expirationof period of validity 有效期滿  

(電子計算機} certificate expiration 憑證過期 

certificate expiration date 憑證屆滿日期 

contract expiration date 合約過期日期 

expiration check 過期檢查 

expiration date 過期日期 

expiration date indication service 過期指示服務 

expiration of the processor time slice處理機時間片斷過期


消基會董事長程仁宏表示,除非是期限短的生鮮商品,否則賣即將過期的商品有「嚴重瑕疵」。尤其對新開的商店來說,如果販賣即將過期的商品,會讓消費者覺得有出清存貨之嫌,有損商店信譽,將失去消費者信任。雖然賣未過期商品並不違法,但如果一種商品的保存期限一年,商店把只剩十天即過期的商品拿出來賣,「明顯不合適」。一個新開的店更需要打出信譽,如此恐怕會失去消費者的心。消基會也提醒民眾一起監督,如有商店拿快過期的商品促銷,應聯合抵制。如果業者以不違法而不改善,是不尊重消費者權益,消費者應拒買。






"Overall, I don't see this as an Office killer," blogged another tester.

That's not surprising, according to an OpenOffice.org official. John McCreesh says Symphony's shortcomings are less a reflection of its OpenOffice foundation and more a result of its reliance on obsolete OpenOffice source code.

Symphony "runs like a dog and has a pretty amateurish appearance," blogged McCreesh, who is OpenOffice.org's marketing project lead, late last week during the organization's annual developer conference in Barcelona. This "does beg the question as to why a company of IBM's stature should take software well past its sell-by date, and try and pass it off as a new product."

--IBM's Symphony Hitting Wrong Notes, Reviewers Say
Early user reviews of IBM's new Lotus Symphony office software suite are unlikely to be music to IBM's ears.

2007年9月23日 星期日

genetics and gene

Bateson was the first to suggest the word "genetics" (from the Greek genno, γεννώ; to give birth) to describe the study of inheritance and the science of variation in a personal letter to Alan (or Adam) Sedgwick, dated April 18, 1905. Bateson first used the term "genetics" publicly at the Third International Conference on Plant Hybridization in London in 1906, three years before Wilhelm Johannsen used the word "gene" to describe the units of hereditary information. Thus the phenomenon of phenotype was investigated earlier than genes were discovered.


William Bateson (August 8, 1861February 8, 1926) was a British geneticist. He was the first person to use the term genetics to describe the study of heredity and biological inheritance.

Beatrice Bateson. 是傳主夫人: William Bateson, F. R. S. Naturalist (1928, 1985),

這本書,在1930s就有中文本:『巴特遜傳』黃靜譯(文言),商務印書館;台北商務印書館在1971年收入人人文庫

按:Bateson.發音近「貝特遜」。有些西方文化自字眼沒弄清楚--Hercules 之jobs (p.14)和 "Rock of Ages"指基督教之"彼得" (Peter) 而非"有年代之岩石" (p.128)...

2007年9月21日 星期五

美國存託憑證(ADR)

該公司轉換發行2.4億單位美國存託憑證(ADR
Depositary Receipt

A negotiable financial instrument issued by a bank to represent a foreign company's publicly traded securities. The depositary receipt trades on a local stock exchange.

Investopedia Says:
Depositary receipts make it easier to buy shares in foreign companies because the shares of the company don't have to leave the home state.

When the depositary bank is in the U.S., the instruments are known as American Depositary Receipts (ADRs). European banks issue European depositary receipts, and other banks issue global depositary receipts (GDRs).



新聞

NEC said it would be unable to file financial reports required by U.S. regulators, raising the likelihood the Japanese electronics maker's Nasdaq-traded American depositary receipts will be de-listed.

2007年9月19日 星期三

Commission closes EU bluefin tuna fishery for 2007 and uptake

歐盟禁捕藍鰭金槍魚
Bluefin tuna
未申報的捕撈導致漁業資源減少
歐盟委員會禁止年底以前在東大西洋和地中海捕撈生存受威脅的藍鰭金槍魚。

在歐盟完成了2007年的捕撈配額後,歐盟實行此舉旨在遏止過度捕撈以及魚資源減少的趨勢。

一名歐盟官員說,該禁令會進一步防止少報捕撈量,以及不均分配配額。

歐盟的這項捕撈禁令影響到塞浦路斯,希臘,馬耳他,葡萄牙和西班牙。意大利和法國已經停止了2007年度的捕撈。

近年來藍鰭金槍魚在大西洋東部和地中海的數量急劇減少,主要是因為過度捕撈。

環保組織自然基金會收集的數字表明,法國是主要的過度捕撈國家。

歐盟表示,成員國已經完成了2007年的16779.5噸的捕撈量。

在禁令發佈時仍沒有完成自己捕撈配額的國家可以根據歐盟法律將來尋求補償。

超過自己配額捕撈的國家會受到歐盟和國際的有關條例的處罰。


Commission closes EU bluefin tuna fishery for 2007

The Commission today decided to close the fishery for bluefin tuna in the Eastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean for 2007.

On the basis of the catch returns received from the Member States to date, the EU 2007 quota for bluefin tuna of 16,779.5 tonnes has been exhausted.

The Commission must therefore close the whole EU fishery. This closure concerns Cyprus, Greece, Malta, Portugal and Spain as the other two Member States involved, Italy and France, closed their own fisheries in July and August respectively.

The Commission has noted failings in the reporting of catch data necessary to monitor the uptake of the EU quota in real time. It shortly intends to take measures against such failings.

The Commission will also come forward with measures in time for the 2008 fishery to prevent the problems experienced this year.

Commissioner for Fisheries and Maritime Affairs Joe Borg commented: "Clearly there are problems both of over fishing a stock already threatened with collapse and of equity between the Member States concerned. As is its duty, the Commission will do all it can to address these issues urgently."

Seven EU Member States are involved in the fishery for bluefin tuna, namely Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Malta, Portugal and Spain. The EU quota of 16,779.5 tonnes was allocated by ICCAT (The International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas) at a meeting in Tokyo in January and divided between the Member States concerned using an agreed allocation key (see IP/07/257 and MEMO/07/85), Italy closed its fishery on 24 July and France closed its fishery on 27 August. It is apparent that the total EU quota has effectively been exhausted. The Commission must therefore close the whole fishery for EU vessels.

In the case of Member States which have not yet caught their quota, there are provisions in EU legislation to compensate the parties concerned in subsequent years. Mechanisms also exist in EU rules for deduction of over fished quota by the Member States concerned. As regards the overall EU quota, the ICCAT recovery plan contains a payback mechanism for parties which over fish. The ICCAT compliance committee meets in November, to establish final catch figures for all contracting parties for the 2007 season. Once ICCAT decides on the action to be taken on quota overshooting, the Commission will make its own proposal for payback and compensation within the EU. The Commission will seek to ensure that any Member State that is penalised by this early closure of the 2007 fishery will be compensated in future fishing possibilities.

It is vital to prevent over fishing to ensure that the recovery plan is implemented fully and effectively by all the EU Member States concerned. In particular, this will mean more timely and reliable reporting of actual catch figures by the Commission. Besides the timely adoption of the regulation which will definitively transpose the ICCAT Recovery Plan into EU law (see MEX/07/0403), the Commission will be looking at measures to ensure that the Member States respect the 'real time reporting' requirements contained in the plan, on the basis of the five-day catch report which must be completed by the masters of all fishing vessels.

The Commission will continue and extend the unannounced visits by its own inspectors to landing ports and farms, and will actively seek to improve the exchange of information between fisheries administrators both between Member States, and with other ICCAT contracting parties, in particular with regard to the transfer of tuna to fattening cages. A high priority will also be placed on the ICCAT scheme for joint international inspections at sea. Importing countries, in particular Japan, will be asked to refuse imports which are not shown to comply fully with ICCAT measures.

The eastern stock of bluefin tuna (Eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean) has been over fished for many years, and scientists have repeatedly warned of the danger of collapse if nothing was done to dramatically reduce the level of fishing activity. In particular, high rates of undeclared over fishing have been singled out as a key cause of the decline of the stock.

As bluefin tuna is a highly migratory species, the fisheries are managed within the framework of ICCAT. The EU is an active member of ICCAT, and played a leading role in the adoption of a new 15-year recovery plan for eastern bluefin tuna last November at the ICCAT annual meeting in Dubrovnik (see IP/06/1632).

A key achievement of that plan was the establishment of a rigorous and comprehensive new control and enforcement scheme, designed to combat over fishing, which, by definition, is illegal fishing. The Commission attaches great importance to the successful implementation of the recovery plan in general, and of the control scheme in particular, and calls on the Member States involved in the fishery to cooperate among themselves and other ICCAT parties and with the Commission to prevent the over fishing which threatens the survival of one of Europe's oldest and richest fisheries.

Details of the quotas for all the Member States which are active in this fishery can be found in the table below.

MEMBER STATE

QUOTA ALLOCATED (tonnes)
Cyprus 154.68
France 5493.65
Greece 287.23
Italy 4336.31
Malta 355.59
Portugal 523.88
Spain 5568.21
Others 60
EC 16,779.55
Overall ICCAT TAC 29,500



flak jacket and kneepad, protector

He had taken off his flak jacket but was still wearing black kneepads.

注:

flak jacket
also flak vest
防彈衣

A sleeveless jacket made of heavy fabric reinforced with metal or kevlar, worn as protection against bullets and shrapnel.


發展歷史說明Wikipedia article "Flak jacket"

In modern usage, the term flak jacket sometimes refers to contemporary bulletproof vests, or to a rib-cage protector worn by a quarterback in American football.



knee·pad ('păd') pronunciation
n. 護膝

A protective covering for the knee. Also called kneecap.

protector Show phonetics
noun [C]
1 someone who protects someone or something:
Philip II considered himself the protector of the Catholic Church.
She has a reputation for being an ardent protector of individuals' liberties.

2 a device that protects someone:
All flat jockeys are required to wear a back and chest protector.


Cannondale Recalls Road Bicycles Due to Fall Hazard

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the firm named below, today announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product. Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed.

Name of product: 2009 Six 5, Six 6, Six Carbon 5 and Six Carbon 6 Bicycles

Units: About 1,300

Importer: Cannondale Bicycle Corporation, of Bethel, Conn.

Hazard: The bicycles fail to meet the federal safety standard for bicycles. Spoke protector discs, required on bicycles to prevent the bicycle chain from interfering or suddenly stopping the wheel, are missing from these bicycles. This poses a fall hazard to the rider.

Incidents/Injuries: None reported.

Description: The following Cannondale bicycles are included in the recall. "Six" is printed on the bicycle’s top tube and "Cannondale" is printed on the down tube.

Bicycle Name (2009 Models)Bicycle Model Number
Six 5 Compact9RCT5C
Six 59RCT5D
Six 5 Compact9RCT5C
Six 69RCT6D
Six 6 Triple9RCT6T
Six Carbon 59RSX5D
Six Carbon 5 Compact9RSX5C
Six Carbon 6 Compact9RSX6C

Sold at: Authorized Cannondale dealers nationwide from October 2008 through February 2009 for between $1,500 and $2,100.

Manufactured in: Taiwan

Remedy: Consumers should stop using the recalled bicycles immediately and contact any authorized Cannondale bicycle dealer for a free repair.

Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact Cannondale at (800) 245-3872 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday or visit Cannondale’s Web site at www.cannondale.com

Picture of Recalled Road Bicycle

Picture of Recalled Road Bicycles indicating where the spoke protector disc is missing (left) and the spoke protector disc (right)


---




Asustek Seeks Lead Role on Global Stage

Asustek Seeks Lead Role on Global Stage

Asustek Computer, having long operated behind the scenes of the computer world as the largest producer of motherboards, is ramping up sales of its own Asus brand computers in an effort to become one of the world's top five notebook brands in the next three years.

behind the scenes 舞台裏で; 陰で, 内密に.


ramp sth up phrasal verb
1 [M] If a business ramps up its activity, it increases it:
The company announced plans to ramp up production to 10 000 units per month.
To stay competitive, they'll have to ramp up product development as well as cutting prices.

2 to increase the speed, power or cost of something:
Announcement of the merger is expected to ramp up share prices over the next few days.
Mitsubishi has ramped up the speed of its new micro-controllers.

2007年9月18日 星期二

testing teens twice yearly for chlamydia

Intel, at its twice-yearly forum for technology developers here, also showed off what it says is the first working chip based on 32-nanometer technology, not expected to be used in commercial products until 2009. The prototype static random-access memory, or SRAM, has more than 1.9 billion transistors, far beyond the level of today's SRAMs.


一年兩次(半年一次) 叫 twice-yearly


CNN - Experts advise testing teens twice yearly for chlamydia ...
The twice-yearly screening for chlamydia 衣原體raises questions about cost. But health
officials say compared to the cost of hospitalization for pelvic ...


Experts advise testing teens twice yearly for chlamydia

Chlamydia August 11, 1998
Web posted at: 10:26 p.m. EDT (0226 GMT)

From CNN Medical Correspondent Dr. Steve Salvatore

NEW YORK (CNN) -- A new study is prompting health experts to call for more frequent tests to screen sexually active teenagers for chlamydia, a lesser-known sexually transmitted disease.

In the latest Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers at Johns Hopkins University reported on a study of more than 3,000 sexually active females in Baltimore, Maryland.

"Twenty percent of all the tests done in girls between the ages of 12 and 19 were positive for chlamydia," said Dr. Gale Burstein, an adolescent medicine specialist. "Also, 30 percent of the girls had at least one positive chlamydia test in the study."

The higher-than-expected rate of chlamydia infections in just one inner city prompted the authors of the study to recommend doubling the frequency of chlamydia screenings to twice a year.

"We're recommending screening all sexually active adolescent females for chlamydia infection, regardless of symptoms, partners, any kind of condom use, or prior STDs (sexually transmitted diseases)," Burstein said.

'The silent disease' can become serious

Experts say many teens may not know chlamydia infections are common and potentially dangerous.

"They know that it's a sexually transmitted disease; they do know that," said nurse practitioner Sunny Saunders. "But they don't understand more than that."

Chlamydia has been called "the silent disease" because most people don't realize they have it, or their symptoms are so mild, they don't realize an infection is present.

But the infection can become serious, with life-threatening consequences.

"The infection can ascend into the pelvis and cause pelvic inflammatory disease, or PID, then following that can be ectopic pregnancy and infertility," Burstein said.

The twice-yearly screening for chlamydia raises questions about cost. But health officials say compared to the cost of hospitalization for pelvic骨盆 inflammatory disease, ectopic 異位的pregnancy and infertility, it's an investment that is well worth the price.





the art of Kremlinology

the art of Kremlinology

emotional or political baggage

Judge Michael Mukasey's legal philosophy appears in line with the White House, and unlike Alberto Gonzales, he carries little political baggage. Still, U.S. President Bush's attorney general choice may be tough to decode. (Transcript)

baggage (FEELINGS)
noun [U]
the beliefs and feelings that you have which influence how you think and behave:
We all carry a lot of emotional baggage around with us.

a desperate desire

問 : 我 要 怎 樣 做 才 可 以 成 功 ?
我 : Are you desperate enough ? 假 如 你 真 的 很 想 成 功 , 你 便 應 拚 命 地 、 專 注 地 追 求 目 標 , 為 了 成 功 , 你 會 不 惜 一 切 , 做 出 非 一 般 的 努 力 , 做 出 非 一 般 的 犧 牲 。 只 要 不 是 為 了 成 功 而 不 擇 手 段 , 做 出 不 正 當 的 事 情 或 貪 圖 便 捷 , 鋌 而 走 險 , 那 麼 只 要 夠 desperate , 走 向 成 功 之 路 其 實 是 很 簡 單 的 。

成 功 其 實 是 個 簡 化 的 過 程 。 你 拚 命 追 求 成 功 , 你 便 會 行 動 得 快 , 你 便 會 做 事 專 注 , 做 起 事 來 你 便 自 然 會 想 到 有 什 麼 是 應 該 做 , 又 有 什 麼 是 不 應 該 做 的 。 這 樣 你 便 會 很 直 接 地 去 面 對 和 解 決 問 題 了 。 每 解 決 一 個 問 題 , 你 便 會 朝 成 功 邁 進 了 一 步 , 那 麼 你 便 離 開 成 功 不 遠 了 。 最 少 , 這 是 我 個 人 的 經 驗 。 Am I still desperate ? You bet 。
黎智英



desperate (SERIOUS) Show phonetics
adjective
1 very serious or bad:
desperate poverty
a desperate shortage of food/supplies
The situation is desperate - we have no food, very little water and no medical supplies.

2 very great or extreme:
The earthquake survivors are in desperate need of help.
He has a desperate desire to succeed.
INFORMAL I'm in a desperate hurry.

desperately
adverb
extremely or very much:
He was desperately ill.
She always seems to be desperately busy!
I'm not desperately keen on watching football.
He was desperately in love with her.
They desperately wanted a child.

you bet INFORMAL
used to emphasize a statement or to mean 'certainly':
"Are you coming to the party?" "You bet!"



2007年9月17日 星期一

Nagatacho area is flustered by the leader's fickle decision

Nagatacho area is flustered by the leader's fickle decision

Abe will be remembered not for his achievements, but for his frequently repeated abstract notions such as "breaking away from the postwar regime" and "a beautiful country." He talked big, but none of his words really resonated with the public. Even the manner of his exit is not something people can readily relate to.

The political community in Tokyo's Nagatacho area永田町 is flustered by the leader's fickle decision. I might parrot Hiranuma and add that Nagatacho, too, is a "complicated and bizarre place."
--The Asahi Shimbun, Sept. 13(IHT/Asahi: September 14,2007)

resonate 
verb [I]
1 to produce, increase or fill with sound, by vibrating (= shaking) objects which are near:
His voice resonated in the empty church.
The noise of the bell resonated through the building.
Compare resound.

2 to be filled with a particular quality:
The building resonates with historic significance.

3 to continue to have a powerful effect or value:
The significance of those great stories resonates down the centuries.

4 If an experience or memory resonates, it makes you think of another similar one:
Her experiences resonate powerfully with me, living, as I do, in a similar family situation.
參考MRI詞

fluster
verb [T]
to make someone upset and confused, especially when they are trying to do something

fluster
noun [U]
The important thing when you're cooking for a lot of people is not to get in a fluster (= a nervous state).

flustered
adjective
upset and confused:
She seemed a bit flustered.
If I look flustered it's because I'm trying to do about twenty things at once.

fickle
adjective DISAPPROVING
1 likely to change your opinion or your feelings suddenly and without a good reason:
She's so fickle - she's never been interested in the same man for more than a week!
The world of popular music is notoriously fickle.

2 describes conditions that tend to change suddenly and without warning:
Fickle winds made sailing conditions difficult.

2007年9月16日 星期日

Greenspan gives a withering critique of Republicans

格林斯潘回憶錄一點點


Greenspan gives a withering critique of Republicans in his memoir, saying they deserved to lose power for forsaking fiscal discipline.

withering Show phonetics
adjective
1 A withering look/remark/etc. is one that is intended to make someone feel ashamed:
He said that Lizzie had been drunk at the time and I saw her shoot him a withering glance.

2 severe and extremely critical:
He made a withering attack on government policy.

critique Show phonetics
noun [C]
a report of something such as a political situation or system or a person's work or ideas, which examines it and provides an often negative judgment:
a Marxist critique of neo-liberal economic policy

forsake (STOP) Show phonetics
verb [T] forsook, forsaken FORMAL
to stop doing or having something:
He decided to forsake politics for journalism.

an ancient computer

IF you’re the owner of a Windows PC who is looking for a replacement computer, the choices are grim. You can step into the world of hurt that is Vista, the latest version of Microsoft Windows that was released in January. Or you can seek out a new machine that still comes loaded with the comparatively ancient Windows XP.

--A Window of Opportunity for Macs, Soon to Close
Published: September 16, 2007





grim (WITHOUT HOPE) Show phonetics
adjective grimmer, grimmest
worried or worrying, without hope:
The future looks grim.
Her face was grim as she told them the bad news.
The expression on his face was one of grim determination.
Later Mr Ashby left the court, grim-faced and silent.



hurt Show phonetics
adjective
1 [after verb] injured or in pain:
Let me help you up. Are you hurt?
Put that knife away before someone gets hurt.

2 upset or unhappy:
I feel very hurt by what you said.
"That was very unkind, " he said in a hurt voice.

hurt
noun [S or U]
emotional pain:
The hurt after a relationship breaks up can be awful.
Her brave smile concealed a deep hurt.



ancient Show phonetics
adjective
1 of or from a long time ago, having lasted for a very long time:
ancient civilizations/rights/laws
ancient monuments/ruins/woodlands
the ancient kingdoms of Mexico
People have lived in this valley since ancient times.
History, ancient and modern, has taught these people an intense distrust of their neighbours.

2 INFORMAL very old:日常用語
He's got an ancient computer.

3 describes the period in European history from the earliest known societies to the end of the Roman empire:
the ancient Egyptians/Greeks/Romans
The ancient Britons inhabited these parts of England before the Roman invasion.

(from Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary)

2007年9月14日 星期五

Small Collectors

Small Collectors

Keep loose clothing clear of steps and sides.

丁丁飆英文 本月 指出捷運大話英文
Keep loose clothing clear of steps and sides.
這是各電梯等公司或安全組織都會說明的標準用法

The Elevator Escalator Safety Foundation

Grasp the handrail as you step promptly onto the moving step. Keep loose clothing clear of steps and sides. When riding escalators: ...
www.eesf.org/ESC_TIPS.HTM - 6k - Cached - Similar pages - Note this

Otis Worldwide | Escalator Safety

Grasp the handrail as you step promptly onto the moving step or walkway. •, Keep loose clothing clear of steps and sides. ...


sides
也應該學一下


不過這clear 其實是相當困難的
我們必須一字一用法來學習它 (我們介紹過它 請search它)
本例

clear (NOT TOUCHING) Show phonetics
adjective
not touching something, or away from something:
Only one competitor made a clear jump of the highest fence (= jumped over it without touching it).
When we're clear of the main road, we'll stop for our picnic.

clear Show phonetics
adverb
not touching, or away from:
Stand clear of the doors, please.
Make sure you park clear of the kerb.
The children were saved from the fire only because a neighbour pulled them clear.

clearance Show phonetics
noun [C or U]
the distance or space that is needed for one thing to avoid touching another thing:
It was difficult getting the piano through the doorway because we only had a clearance of a few centimetres.
High vehicles must take an alternative route because of low clearance under the bridge.

clear Show phonetics
verb [T]
to jump or go over something without touching it:
The horse cleared the fence with inches to spare.

(from Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary)

The birds, the bees and the taboos

The birds, the bees and the taboos

mix your spirits with spirituality!

Have a drink in a Christian pub - El Pecore in Milan

Italy is historically a Catholic country but one which is becoming increasingly secular. In today's modern globalized world, the rules and rituals of traditional religious life are losing popularity, especially in the north of the country where even shopping centres are now open on Sundays.

In the heart of Brera - one of the chicest areas in Milan, full of restaurants and bars - the Sabaoth Evangelist community has decided Italians need something more enticing than Sunday morning church services to bring them closer to God. So they've opened Italy's first Christian pub - a place where you can mix your spirits with spirituality!
chic PhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhonetic Hide phonetics
adjective
stylish and fashionable:
I like your haircut - it's very chic.
a chic restaurant

chic PhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhonetic Hide phonetics
noun [U]
British politicians are not renowned for their chic.

(from Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary)



spirit ━━ n. (人の)精神, 気持ち; 霊魂; (the S-) 霊体 ((神・天使など)); 聖霊; 幽霊, 悪魔; (人の精神面たる)生気; 元気; (pl.) 気分, きげん; (精神面から見た)人, 人物; (人々の)気風,時代精神; (立法)精神; (時にpl.アルコール, (強い)酒; アルコール溶液.

spirituality
━━ n. 霊性.

酒喻聖賢

2007年9月13日 星期四

works, whole shebang

A Phrase A Week
The whole shebang
Meaning
All of it; the whole thing.
Origin
This is an American phrase, from the 1920s. The first question for those of us not living in the USA, and I suspect quite a few that do, is, what's a shebang? That isn't so easy to answer. The earliest known citation of the word uses it as some form of hut or rustic dwelling. That's in Walt Whitman's Specimen Days, from Complete Poetry and Collected Prose, 1862:
"Besides the hospitals, I also go occasionally on long tours through the camps, talking with the men, &c. Sometimes at night among the groups around the fires, in their shebang enclosures of bushes."
Just a few years later, the Marysville Tribune, November 1869 printed a list of 'The Idioms of Our New West' and defined 'shebang' like this:
"'Shebang' is applied to any sort of house or office."
Soon after that, Mark Twain uses 'shebang' to refer to a form of vehicle - in Roughing It, 1872:
"Take back your money, madam. We can't allow it. You're welcome to ride here as long as you please, but this shebang's chartered, and we can't let you pay a cent."
There are various 'the whole' expressions which derive from America - 'the whole ball of wax', 'the whole nine yards', 'the whole box of dice', 'the whole shooting match', 'the whole enchilada', 'the whole kit and caboodle' etc. Whilst these by and large refer to real objects, none of them represent 'wholeness' and they have just been tacked on to 'the whole' to make catchy phrases. 'Shebang' was also used that way - and that the fact that people using it didn't know what a shebang was didn't really matter. It was simply a colourful way of saying 'thing'.
The word appears to have arrived fully-formed in the 1860s. Prior to 1862, there are no examples in print. During the 1860s there are dozens of examples in US newspapers, literature etc.
the whole shebangThat 'vehicle' usage does suggest a possible link with the name for a form of early UK sightseeing bus, i.e. charabanc (pronounced sharra-bang). This derives from the French char-à-bancs - carriage with benches. Charabancs, affectionately known to passengers as 'sharras', were a commonplace in Britain from the introduction of horse-drawn examples in the early 1800s to as late as the 1970s.
Could 'shebang' be a variant of 'sharra-bang'? Well, it's certainly possible, although the evidence to support that view is entirely circumstantial.
In June 1872, the same year that Twain was using 'shebang' to mean vehicle, the Sedalia Daily Democrat printed a piece which used the name just to mean 'thing', and this is the earliest example of 'the whole shebang':
"Well, the Democracy can flax [beat up] the whole shebang, and we hope to see our party united."
See also: the whole kit and caboodle and the whole nine yards.




其他例
Maybe pumpkins are the answer. The big orange vegetables are new to
France. So is Halloween. All Saints' Day has been recognized and
celebrated for many centuries. But Halloween is a new import from America,
along with the whole shebang of decorations, customs and commercial
opportunities that accompany it. Department store workers wore costumes in
Paris last week - stimulating interest and sales, no doubt. Even out here
in the middle of nowhere, Halloween is catching on.







works
The noun works has 4 meanings:
Meaning #1: buildings for carrying on industrial labor
Synonyms: plant, industrial plant
group noun [C] plural works
an industrial building, especially one where a lot of people are employed:
a steel/car works]

Meaning #2: everything available; usually preceded by `the'

--> Synonyms: whole shebang, whole kit and caboodle, kit and caboodle,whole kit and boodle, kit and boodle, whole kit, whole caboodle, whole
works, full treatment


Meaning #3: performance of moral or religious acts
Synonym: deeds
Meaning #4: the internal mechanism of a device
Synonym: workings

━━ n. 仕事, 作業, 労働; 事業; 勉強; 努力; 職(業), 勤め口; 細工, 製作(品); (普通pl.) (芸術上の)作品,
著作; やり方, 腕前; しわざ; 作用, 効果; 【物】仕事(量); (普通pl.) 土木[防御]工事; (土木による)建造物;
(pl.) ((単複両扱い)) 工場; (the ~s) (機械の)作動部分, 仕掛け, 機構; 道具; 〔話〕 (the ~s)一切合切, 全部; 【神学】(pl.) 業(わざ).

all in the [a] day's work 通常の, あたりまえの.
at work 仕事をして; 運転[作動]中で.
fall [get (down)] to work 仕事に取り掛る ((on)); 作動し出す ((to do, doing)).
give … the works 〔話〕 (人を)ひどい目にあわす; (人に)洗いざらいしゃべる; …にできるだけのことをしてやる.
go to work 仕事に出かける; 仕事に取り掛る.
gum up the works 〔話〕 活動を停止させる.
have one's work cut out (for one) 〔話〕 (特に時間を限られた)難しい仕事を引き受けている.
in the works 計画[進行]中で.
in work 職に就いて.
make hard work of (仕事を)さも大変そうにみせる.
make light work of …をさっさと済ませる.
make short work of 〔話〕 …を手早く片づける.
out of work 職を失って.
set to work 仕事に取掛る.
set [put] … to work 人を仕事に取りかからせる.
shoot the works 〔米俗〕 一か八(ばち)かやってみる.

pitcher or jug of an iced tea maker

Name of Product Recalled: IT400 Iced Tea Makers

Units: About 10,000

Importer: Back to Basics Products LLC, of West Bend, Wis. and Bluffdale, Utah

Hazard: The iced tea maker’s components can fail, posing a fire hazard to consumers.

Incidents/Injuries: None.

Description: The recalled Iced Tea Maker (Model #IT400) is mostly white and has a 2.5 quart glass pitcher. The recall includes only those products with a date code of CA1307 or CA1307-A. The model number is embossed on the bottom of the unit, and the date code is printed on a small white sticker, which is also on the bottom of the unit.

Sold at: Bon-Ton department stores and hardware stores nationwide, the JCPenney catalog, and Internet retailers from April 2007 through July 2007 for between $40 and $50.

Manufactured in: China

Remedy: Consumers should stop using and unplug the recalled iced tea makers immediately and contact Back to Basics Products to receive a free replacement product or refund.

Consumer Contact: For additional information, call the firm at (800) 874-4084 between 7:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. CT Monday through Friday; visit the firm’s Web site at www.backtobasicsproducts.com; or e-mail the firm at IT400recall@btbproducts.com



Picture of Recalled Iced Tea Maker

2007年9月12日 星期三

misdemeanor, slider, fixing, smattering


slider, fixing, smattering

Decades-old Michigan law against unmarried couples living together is on the verge of being reversed. The misdemeanor is punishable by up to a year in prison or a fine of up to $1,000.00.

2006 HP醜聞An earlier statement by the office of California Attorney General Jerry Brown had said the agency agreed to allow the four defendants in the case to plead guilty to a misdemeanor count of fraudulent wire communications.


2005
While Swiss banks agree to lift banking secrecy in criminal investigations of fraud and money laundering, they have come under pressure from the European Union and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development to treat tax evasion as a criminal offense. In Switzerland tax evasion is a civil misdemeanor.


Oversalted burger leads to charges


Sun Sep 9, 2:02 PM ET
UNION CITY, Ga. - A McDonald's employee spent a night in jail and is facing criminal charges because a police officer's burger was too salty, so salty that he says it made him sick.

Kendra Bull was arrested Friday, charged with misdemeanor reckless conduct and freed on $1,000 bail.
Bull, 20, said she accidentally spilled salt on hamburger meat and told her supervisor and a co-worker, who "tried to thump the salt off."
On her break, she ate a burger made with the salty meat. "It didn't make me sick," Bull told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
But then Police Officer Wendell Adams got a burger made with the oversalted meat, and he returned a short time later and told the manager it made him sick.
Bull admitted spilling salt on the meat, and Adams took her outside and questioned her, she said.
"If it was too salty, why did (Adams) not take one bite and throw it away?" said Bull, who has worked at the restaurant for five months. She said she didn't know a police officer got one of the salty burgers because she couldn't see the drive-through window from her work area.
Police said samples of the burger were sent to the state crime lab for tests.
City public information officer George Louth said Bull was charged because she served the burger "without regards to the well-being of anyone who might consume it."






This show of around 130 paintings and a smattering of drawings has an appropriate sweep.

The Google/Vanity Fair party Thursday night in Minneapolis for the Republican convention largely measured up to, and in some respects surpassed, the Google party in Denver.
The two parties were the same in concept--well-known politicians, unknown aides, and a smattering of Hollywood celebrities moved through rooms sporting colored themes, finger foods, and open bars. However, the lines at the bars in Minneapolis were shorter, and there was a greater selection of food: there were chocolate-covered strawberries, sushi, sliders, and even a mashed potato bar complete with fixings like lobster and caviar.

smattering
n.
  1. Superficial or piecemeal knowledge: “a smattering of everything, and a knowledge of nothing” (Charles Dickens). 略知萬事 無ㄧ真知
a smattering of Latin...
  1. A small, scattered amount or number: a smattering of raindrops.

slider
  • Slider (sometimes spelled Slyder), a hamburger sold by the White Castle restaurant chain
  • Naval slang for a cheeseburger
fixing
n. (fĭks"ĭng)
1. The act or process of making fixed.
2. That which is fixed; a fixture.
3. pl. Arrangements; embellishments; trimmings; accompaniments. [Colloq. U.S.]



misdemeanor 
noun [C] US LEGAL
a crime considered to be one of the less serious types of crime━━ n. 【法】軽犯罪; 非行, 不品行.
misdemeanour UKUS misdemeanor 
noun [C]
an action which is slightly bad or breaks a rule but is not a crime:
sexual/youthful misdemeanours

Every week, as children, we were beaten for some minor misdemeanour.

toner cartridge

キヤノンが800億円を投資して新工場,トナー·カートリッジの生產を増強

佳能投資800億日元建設新厂 強化硒鼓生產

2006 Mr. Hurd, the chief executive, had wanted to talk about the transformation inside Hewlett-Packard, how it was becoming a lean Silicon Valley growth company instead of a cash cow content to thrive on the high profit margins of its ink and toner cartridges.

ink cartridge(墨水管)、影印機、印表機的toner cartridge(色粉盒)

toner

cartridge Show phonetics
noun [C]
1 a small part with a particular purpose, used in a larger piece of equipment, which can be easily replaced with another similar part:
an ink/printer/video game cartridge

2 a small tube containing an explosive substance and a bullet for use in a gun

(from Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary)

push and pull along toys

幼兒一玩具類push and pull along toys


注意 PUSH ALONG
push along phrasal verb OLD-FASHIONED INFORMAL
to leave:
Anyway, I'd better be pushing along now.

the father of all bombs?

新聞--什麼the father/mother of all bombs都出籠了
我們或許可以從下述英文慣用說法
俄國的英文還是"有問題的"


the mother of all sth
INFORMAL
an extreme example of something:
We got caught in the mother of all storms.


the father of sth
the man who began something or first made something important:
Freud was the father of psychiatry.




新聞:

俄羅斯國營電視台十一日公開綽號「炸彈之父」(the father of all bombs)的新型真空炸彈,俄羅斯軍方表示,這個「世界最強大的非核子炸彈」,「舉世無匹」,爆炸威力是美軍同類炸彈的四倍以上。

俄羅斯「第一頻道」播出的影片中,一架圖波列夫Tu-160戰略轟炸機在測試空地上投下一枚重達七公噸的炸彈,地面隨即出現一個巨形火球。稍後,影片也呈現爆炸現場建築物與裝甲車的殘骸。

俄國國防部武器研發單位表示,這種炸彈「攻擊力強大、成本相對便宜」,其爆破力是美國軍方綽號「炸彈之母」的「巨型空中爆炸彈」(MOAB)爆炸威力的四倍以上。一般認為,它比核子彈更能鎖定特定區域轟炸,勢必對車臣等衝突地區帶來更大威脅。

俄羅斯軍方副參謀長魯西金說,這種炸彈體積比巨型空中爆炸彈小,但是新炸彈利用奈米科技,爆炸中央溫度是巨型空中爆炸彈兩倍高,爆炸所產生的震波與高溫,殺傷力極強,「所有生物都會蒸發消失」。

一位與美國國家安全委員會關係密切的消息人士透露,美國政府對俄羅斯在「沒有顯著需要的時刻」研發這種威力強大的武器「甚感關切」。美國情報單位知道俄國正在發展新型「熱壓式武器」,但是並不知道俄國將在近期進行測試。

俄羅斯總統普亭之前恢復冷戰時代的轟炸機長程巡邏任務,已引發國際間高度關切。上星期英國空軍戰鬥機才在由北約組織巡邏的領空攔截八架俄羅斯偵察機。

英國每日郵報說,這種新炸彈將使「新冷戰」的緊張關係「戲劇性升高」。

2007年9月11日 星期二

Long faces in Japan

Long faces in Japan

intensify its link (CONNECTION), China muscles in on Central American nations


intensify its link (CONNECTION)

The Wall Street Journal banners, and the NYT off-leads, news that Warren Buffett will invest $5 billion in Goldman Sachs. The WSJ calls the cash infusion by the famous investor "one of the biggest expressions of confidence in the financial system since the credit crisis intensified early this month."






Ma, who won the March presidential election in a landslide, campaigned on a pledge to boost Taiwan's sluggish economy.As part of that pledge, he vowed to improve relations with China, increase trade, tourism and transport links, and work on a peace treaty to end hostilities.


2007 Strikes paralyse much of Pakistan

In Pakistan, gunmen have shot dead a senior official of Pakistan's
Supreme Court. Police said several militants killed Syed Hammad Raza
just before dawn in his Islamabad home. Meanwhile, strikes called by
opposition parties have brought Karachi and other cities to a
standstill. Shops and schools have been closed and transport links
shut down in Karachi, a southern commercial hub where nearly 40
people were killed at the weekend in clashes between pro- and
anti-government demonstrators.





EU, NATO Concerned as Russia Boosts Ties to Separatists

The EU's foreign policy chief expressed concern after Russia decided to
intensify its links to two separatist regions in Georgia. NATO's secretary
general called on Moscow to reverse the measures.

The DW-WORLD Article
http://newsletter.dw-world.de/re?l=evybblI44va89pI0

Suicide and happiness

Matters of life and death

Jun 25th 2008
From Economist.com

What is the link between suicide rates and happiness?


GLOBAL suicide rates have increased by 60% in the past 45 years and it is now one of the three leading causes of death for people between 15 and 44 years old according to the World Health Organisation. People in countries with high suicide rates say they are unhappier, according to the “World Database of Happiness” maintained by Erasmus University in Rotterdam. But intrepreting suicide trends is tricky because there is no international standard for reporting and collecting data. Countries with strong religious or cultural strictures against suicide often report lower rates.
AFP





intense Show phonetics
adjective
1 extreme and forceful or (of a feeling) very strong:
intense cold/heat/hatred
an intense flavour/colour
He suddenly felt an intense pain in his back.

2 Intense people are very serious, and usually have strong emotions or opinions:
an intense young man

intensely Show phonetics
adverb
His strongest criticism is reserved for his father, whom he disliked intensely.

intensity Show phonetics
noun [U]
The explosion was of such intensity that it was heard five miles away.

intensifier Show phonetics
noun [C] (ALSO intensiveSPECIALIZED
In English grammar, an intensifier is a word, especially an adverb or adjective, which has little meaning itself but is used to add force to another adjective, verb or adverb:
In the phrases 'an extremely large man' and 'I strongly object', 'extremely' and 'strongly' are both intensifiers.

intensify Show phonetics
verb [I or T]
to become greater, more serious or more extreme, or to make something do this:
Fighting around the capital has intensified in the last few hours.

intensification Show phonetics
noun [U]

 in・ten・si・fy 
  

━━ v. 激しくする[なる]; 強くする[なる]; 増大する.
 in・ten・si・fi・ca・tion ━━ n. 強化; 激化.
 in・ten・si・fi・er
 ━━ n. 増強装置; 強意語.


link (CONNECTION) Show phonetics
noun [C]
1 a connection between two people, things or ideas:
There's a direct link between diet and heart disease.
Their links with Britain are still strong.
diplomatic links between the two countries

2 a connection between documents on the Internet:
Click on this link to visit our online bookstore.
The article links above are also mobile friendly. Mobile users, click the links to see the stories now.

link Show phonetics
verb [T]
to make a connection between two or more people, things or ideas:
The explosions are not thought to be linked in any way.
The use of CFCs has been linked to the depletion of the ozone layer.

linkage Show phonetics
noun [C or U]
the existence or establishment of connections between two things so that one thing happening or changing depends on the other thing happening or changing



 link1 


  

━━ n. (鎖の)輪, 環; (編物の)目; 連鎖, 連結(部); 連結するもの[人]; きずな; 関連(性); (一連の推理などの)一段階; (普通pl.) カフスボタン; 【コンピュータ】リンク, 連結; 【コンピュータ】(pl.) 伝送路; 【測量】リンク ((1chainの100分の1)).
━━ v. 連接[係]する ((together; to, with)); つながる ((on, into; up, together)).
 link・age ⇒見出し.
 linked list 【コンピュータ】連結リスト.
 link・er ━━ n. 【コンピュータ】リンカ (linkage editor).
 link(ing) verb 【文法】繋(けい)辞, 連辞.
 link loader 【コンピュータ】リンク・ローダ.
 link/load phase 【コンピュータ】リンク・ロード段階.
 link・man 〔英〕 (放送番組の)総合司会者; 【サッカー・ラグビー・ホッケー】リンクマン.
 link register 【コンピュータ】リンク・レジスタ.
 link-up 結合(箇所), 連結(装置); 提携.



muscle in
phrasal verb INFORMAL
to force your way into a situation and make certain you are included, although you are not wanted:
I hear Mark's muscled in on our meeting.

Asia: Taiwan out in the cold as China muscles in on Central American nations


09/06/2007
BY KAZUAKI HAGI, THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
SAN JOSE, Costa Rica--As China's continuing economic boom strengthens its push to become the next global superpower, it has started flexing its muscle in Central and South America to cut Taiwan's relationship with strategically important countries in the region.
Costa Rica, lured by the promise of China's largesse, broke off its ties with Taiwan to establish diplomatic relations with the world's most populous nation in early June. The transfer of allegiance cut the number of countries that have diplomatic relations with Taiwan to 24.
The Taiwanese government, unable to compete with China's buckets of money or its considerable trade opportunities, fears other countries will soon follow suit. China, meanwhile, has all but admitted that it is running a campaign to shut Taiwan out of parts of the world community.
And in Central America, several countries are watching closely to see who will be next to switch diplomatic ties.
Situated 1,150 meters above sea level, the Costa Rican capital San Jose enjoys cool breezes even in summer. On July 5, however, staff members of the Taiwanese Embassy in a residential district of the city were too busy working up a sweat to enjoy the breeze. They had just one day to clean up and close the embassy.
Piles of garbage, including documents, old computers and fans, were stacked up in the compound.
One of the staff members lamented, "We burned documents that had been kept for 63 years, and even threw away our national flag. We are discarding everything. I'm very sad."
China had already established diplomatic ties with Costa Rica, when it sent interim ambassador Wang Xiaoyuan to visit in the middle of June.
"China, which holds 188 times the land of Costa Rica and 325 times its population, can provide limitless possibilities (to Costa Rica)," the interim ambassador was quoted as saying by local newspapers here.
He also said the Chinese Red Cross will send $30,000 (about 3.6 million yen) in relief funds to Costa Ricans who suffered serious damage from heavy rains.
On June 6, Costa Rican President Oscar Arias announced at a news conference that his country would break off diplomatic ties with Taiwan. He also revealed that Costa Rican Foreign Minister Bruno Stagno Ugarte secretly flew to Beijing to establish diplomatic ties on June 1.
Shortly before the June 6 news conference, the Costa Rican government notified Taiwanese authorities that the formal relationship between Costa Rica and Taiwan was over.
"In return for the new friendship, China gave Costa Rica $430 million (about 52 billion yen) in aid, including the write-off of part of Costa Rica's debt to China," Taiwanese officials said.
The amount is more than 10 percent of the national budget of Costa Rica.
China even covered part of the expenses of the Costa Rican foreign minister's June mission to Beijing.
Taiwan, for its part, donated 75 police vehicles to Costa Rica earlier this year. It had also accepted more than 10 students annually from Costa Rica for free. In the northwestern part of Costa Rica, a "bridge for friendship" was built with donations from Taiwan.
But gifts such as these could not compete with the apparently bottomless well of money that the newly resurgent China has at its disposal.
Joseph Wu, former chairman of Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council, complained that the battle has become a "money game."
Costa Rican President Arias would not disagree. In recent days he has even admitted that, "If you want to make a friend, you have to be more generous," and "China will help us more."
Costa Rica's exports to China were worth about $1 billion in 2006, which is 26 times the value they represented five years ago. As a result, China became Costa Rica's second-largest trading partner after the United States.
The exports are also worth 10 times as much as exports to Taiwan. Costa Rica's total trade with China is six times as large as that with Taiwan.
"The 21st century is the century of China. We hope that China will conclude a free trade agreement with us and support our participation in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum," said Costa Rican Foreign Minister Stagno.
In the Central America and Caribbean Sea regions, there are still 11 countries that have diplomatic ties with Taiwan.
Along with Panama, Costa Rica is regarded as one of the "economic powers" of Central America. Observers are watching closely to see whether its change of allegiance will trigger a domino effect in the region.
Speculation is spreading that Panama and Nicaragua might be next. The two were conspicuously absent from the general assembly meeting of the World Health Organization held in May this year to vote on Taiwan's admission to the body.
Meanwhile, Costa Rica's decision dominated news in Taiwan. Taiwanese Foreign Ministry officials said it was the biggest shock since South Africa made a similar move in 1997.
The shock was doubled by the comment from Costa Rica's president that Taiwan needed to be more generous.
Interviewed by Taiwanese reporters, Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian said, "Taiwan cannot offer such a large amount of financial assistance as China does."
Offers of extensive technological assistance have not been enough to enable Taiwan to overcome its considerable financial disadvantage.
Nor has its appeal to the importance of democratic government.
China is now intensifying its efforts to destroy Taiwan's diplomatic ties with other countries, and Taiwan is apparently losing the battle.
Since Chen took office as president in May 2000, Taiwan has established diplomatic ties with three countries but lost them with eight.
Even experts in the United States, which is a supporter of Taiwan, are keeping their distance.
One of them, Derek Mitchell, senior fellow of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said: "Our view is this is a silly game. It has very little impact on overall stability across the strait (between China and Taiwan)."
However, Taiwan is so determined to maintain its presence on the world stage that it cannot abandon the battle.
In the days before and after the closure of its embassy in Costa Rica, Taiwanese authorities hastily sent Vice President Annette Lu to three countries in Central and South America and in the Caribbean Sea--Guatemala, Paraguay and Dominica--in an attempt to prevent a domino effect.
Lu promised them that Taiwan would offer additional help for the construction of medical and port facilities.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said the shift in Central America away from Taiwan to China was part of a "world trend."
In a regular news conference held immediately after Costa Rica broke off its ties with Taiwan, Qin also said China was interested in Nicaragua, which was reported to have approached China.
"The people of China hold heart-felt amicable feelings (to the people of Nicaragua)," Qin said.
A day earlier, China also revealed that it was interested in Panama. Shanghai's top politician Xi Jinping, who is regarded as a possible successor to President Hu Jintao, met delegates from Panama.
China's "weapons" in the battle to lure foreign countries are its investment potential and its "huge market of 1.3 billion people."
For the Communist Party leadership of China, continued economic growth is necessary to maintain its one-party rule. The country needs natural resources to make that happen--so like African countries, those in Central and South America are also strategically important.
Tao Wenzhao, a researcher of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said, "Costa Rica's shift (from Taiwan to China) has given Taiwanese authorities a fear of a domino effect."

domino and domino theory

* * *
Tsuyoshi Nojima in Taipei and Nobuyoshi Sakajiri in Beijing contributed to this article.(IHT/Asahi: September 6,2007)