2016年3月14日 星期一

unpick, unpicking, pillage, spoil, spoilsman, spoils system, perishables, complexity, literary lion

While American presidential candidates talk of unpicking trade deals and Britain prepares to vote on whether to leave the European Union, at least Mexico continues to carry a torch for globalisation

2016 marks the centenary of Henry James's death on February 28th 1916. He eschewed marriage and lovers in order to safeguard his art and the quiet he needed to be a writer

Author Henry James died on February 28th 1916

NATO defence ministers today will unpick a taboo. In 1997 the alliance promised Russia not to place “substantial” forces in the new member states, once part of the Kremlin’s European empire. But, Western officials point out, that pledge was dependent on relations remaining friendly—and Russia’s behaviour in Ukraine and its menacing manoeuvres in the Baltics have rendered it void. Now NATO is mulling over American plans to position tanks and other heavy weaponry in the Baltics and elsewhere, plus the creation of a new rapid-response force http://econ.st/1LzUpXf

From Espresso: Negotiators from the 12 countries working on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a deal to reduce tariffs on trade, meet in New York today. This is a meeting about a meeting: its purpose is to prepare the ground for ministers from the countries involved, who are expected to meet in March. There are stumbling blocks everywhere, as each country tries to gain as much as possible for its exporters while doing the minimum to reduce import tariffs. In America the politics are uncertain: to pull off TPP Barack Obama must first secure “trade-promotion authority”, which allows American negotiators to cut deals without worrying that Congress will unpick them later. In theory a Republican Congress is more likely to grant this authority than a Democratic one. But Republicans are not in the mood to give the president anything. Multiply such domestic political considerations by 12 and it becomes apparent why so many meetings are required http://econ.st/1z2ghFJ

David Lentink, an engineer at Stanford University, applies insights from flying animals to the design of drones. Yet the methods used until now to unpick the particulars of powered flight are either crude (measuring the tug on a tether tied to a flying animal) or unduly complex (feeding supercomputers with data gained from dissections on the masses and densities of bird parts). Dr Lentink’s new paper shows how to measure the quickly changing forces of flight without even touching an animal http://econ.st/1we0xLi

Cream-pillaging was one of the first recognised examples of animal culture, pioneered by enterprising tits and passed down through the generations. It was never followed up experimentally in the wild, until now: http://econ.st/1FTjKcA
Red? Blue? I prefer gold IN THE days when milk was delivered each morning to the doorstep of almost every house in Britain, enterprising great tits sometimes learned...

The economist Ricardo Hausmann and the network physicist César Hidalgo have been trying to measure this complexity, and I’ve written before about their work. They argue that economies are collections of “capabilities”, building blocks that can be put together like Lego to produce different products. A trustworthy post office is a building block; so is high-speed internet; so are functional bankruptcy courts; so is a literate workforce; so is a fast lane at customs for processing perishable foodstuffs. It’s not clear how one would go about measuring all of these capabilities. Instead, Hausmann and Hidalgo measure them indirectly, tracking the shadows that they cast upon a country’s trade statistics.

經濟學家裏卡多豪斯曼(Ricardo Hausmann)和網路物理學家塞薩爾伊達爾戈(César Hidalgo)一直試圖衡量這種複雜性,以前我已撰文描述過他們的工作。他們認為,經濟是各種能力的集合體,這些能力就像樂高積木那樣,可以被組合 成不同的產物。一個值得信賴的郵局是一個模組;高速互聯網是一個模組,正常運轉的破產法庭是一個模組,受過教育的勞動大軍是一個模組,審驗易腐爛食品的海關快速通道也是一個模組。目前尚不清楚人們會如何著手衡量這種種能力。豪斯曼和伊達爾戈採取了間接方式來衡量它們,即追蹤它們在一國貿易統計資料中的體現。

( 這段的翻譯有點意思,雖然只有些小毛病,譬如說,英文的"一個模組"字眼用得少,並用分號;區分各模組,而中文用逗號,都加"一個模組"。
"目前尚不清楚人們會如何著手衡量這種種能力" 缺譯all,所以"目前尚不清楚人們會如何著手衡量所有這種種能力"。
 measure them indirectly, tracking the shadows that they cast upon a country’s trade statistics.
The Product Space ties in with the idea of Growth Diagnostics, because it was developed with the purpose of identifying the coordination failures whose removal can further the economy of a developing country. The ultimate goal of the Product Space is to develop analytical tools that allow to study economic development, by looking at the de facto technological capacity of countries and not only at the traditional measures of governance used by agencies such as the World Bank or the International Monetary Fund. In a 2009 paper, then, the Economic Complexity Index is put forward as a more accurate predictive measure of growth than previous indicators. Research on the Product Space and economic complexity by Hausmann, Hidalgo and their team is summarized in the (2011) book, The Atlas of Economic Complexity.[22]

Human dilemmas

Spoiled by choice

The perils and politics of prosperity

Choice. By Renata Salecl. Profile; 224 pages; £10.99. Buy from Amazon.co.uk
THE more money you have, it seems, the more choice you have. And the more choice you have the happier you are. Or at least that is the theory, and if that proves not to be the case, it is your fault for making the wrong choices. Renata Salecl unpicks these axioms of modern life in a short and thought-provoking book. She shows that in large chunks of life, the simplistic search for the perfect choice is not only impractical, but leads to misery.
Marriage is one example. The search for the perfect partner is likely to leave you lonely in old age: tolerance and resilience are better bases for a happy relationship than trying to maximise your utility.
Another is child-rearing. The “choice” about when to have children and how many is one thing. How they turn out is quite another. Parents who make their offspring’s choices for them create one set of problems; those who farm out choice to their children at an early age risk another.
Even consumer choice is not all that it is cracked up to be. Ms Salecl highlights the anxiety felt by an ill-informed shopper faced with a bewildering range of options, and with the feeling of looming censure for the wrong one. Economists (a breed she regards with uniform disdain) would not necessarily disagree with that. Transaction and opportunity costs are well-researched topics. A speedy choice of cheese at a colossal supermarket display may not be the perfect one, but it does leave more time for enjoying it afterwards.
Ms Salecl’s exotic intellectual pedigree bears the unmistakable stamp of her native Slovenia, mixing the obscurity of Lacanian psychoanalysis with the glibness of the new left. Her Marxist-tinged choice of words will leave some readers fuming. She refers to “late capitalism” when the simple “modern life” or “modern world” would have been less emotive. She lazily cites Margaret Thatcher’s remark about there being “no such thing as society”, but ignores the rest of the quote, which praises human co-operation.
Yet her big point, that choice is not a goal in itself, is well-taken. Dominant ideas, including the welfare state, the classless society and the dictatorship of the proletariat, become so pervasive in their heyday that people often fail to ask what they really mean. Challenging the choices presented by life, and pondering why we make them, is more important than focusing just on what we are offered.

Definition of unpick in English:


1Undo the sewing of:I unpicked the seams of his trousers
1.1  Carefully analyse the different elements of (something), especially in order to find faults:
Elisabeth did not want to unpick the past


Line breaks: pil|lage
Pronunciation: /ˈpɪlɪdʒ /

Definition of pillage in English:


1Rob a (place) using violence, especially in wartime:the abbey was plundered and pillaged
1.1 Steal (something) using violence, especially inwartime:
artworks pillaged from churches and museums
[MASS NOUN]Back to top  
The action of pillaging a place or property, especially in war:rebellious peasants intent on pillage
late Middle English (as a noun): from Old French, from piller 'to plunder'.




spoils system

spoiled, or spoilt (spoilt), spoil·ing, spoils. v.tr.
    1. To impair the value or quality of.
    2. To damage irreparably; ruin.
  1. To impair the completeness, perfection, or unity of; flaw grievously: spoiled the party.
  2. To do harm to the character, nature, or attitude of by oversolicitude, overindulgence, or excessive praise. See synonyms at pamper.
  3. Archaic.
    1. To plunder; despoil.
    2. To take by force.
  1. To become unfit for use or consumption, as from decay. Used especially of perishables, such as food. See synonyms at decay.
  2. To pillage.
  1. spoils
    1. Goods or property seized from a victim after a conflict, especially after a military victory.
    2. Incidental benefits reaped by a winner, especially political patronage enjoyed by a successful party or candidate.
  2. An object of plunder; prey.
  3. Refuse material removed from an excavation.
  4. Archaic. The act of plundering; spoliation.
phrasal verb:
spoil for
  1. To be eager for: spoiling for a fight.
[Middle English spoilen, to plunder, from Old French espoillier, from Latin spoliāre, from spolium, booty.]

[動](〜ed or spoilt 〔spilt〕, 〜・ing)(他)
1 〈物・事を〉だめにする, こわす, 台なしにする, 使えなくする, 腐らせる;〈興味・食欲などを〉そぐ
spoil one's fun
楽し いひとときを台なしにする
spoil one's appetite
食 欲をなくす
She spoiled the steak by overcooking it.
Their plans were spoiled by his interference.
[類語]spoilよいものを悪くする, 台なしにする. damage, impairものを損なって機能や価値を低下させる. destroy, ruin, wreck完全に破壊する. ruinは徹底的な破壊, wreckは乱暴な破壊:damage [destroy, wreck] a car 車を損傷する[破壊する, めちゃめちゃに壊す]/impair one's hearing聴覚を損なう.
2 〈人を〉(甘やかして)だめにする, 増長させる, 甘やかす;〈人を〉だいじにする;〈ホテルなどが〉〈客に〉非常にサービスする
be spoiled rotten
ひ どく甘やかされている
be spoilt for choice
((英)) 選ぶのに迷ってしまう.
3 ((俗))〈人を〉殺す, 始末する, 片づける(waste).
4 ((古))…を奪う;〈人から〉(…を)奪う, 略奪する((of ...)).
━━(自)台なしになる, 悪くなる, だめになる, 〈食物が〉腐る.
be spoiling for ...
1 ((しばしば〜s))強奪[略奪, 戦利]品.
2 ((通例〜s))((主に米))官職の役得, 利権.
3 ((通例〜s))賞品;(努力の)成果((of ...));掘り出し物.
4 [U](発掘の際の)廃物;[C]廃 棄された土[石].
5 (略奪の)えじき, 目的物.
6 [U]強奪, 略奪.
[中フランス語←ラテン語spoliāre (spolium動物からはいだ皮+-āre不定詞語尾=皮を奪う→略奪する)]