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DELHI, India — When the Ambassador car was born in 1957 to a newly independent India, it was the height of style and status. It was standard issue to senior civil servants and government officials; its possession implied status, and its ubiquity was a sign of an earlier, seemingly simpler India.印度德里——当1957年大使牌(Ambassador)轿车在新独立的印度诞生时,它代表着极致的风尚与地位。高级公务员和政府官员都统一配了这款车;它曾是身份的象征,而它的无所不在则让人想起往昔的那个似乎更简单的印度。The country’s highly protectionist economy also made it one of the few cars on the road, with a singular design that has often been compared to a bowler hat.印度严重的保护主义经济也让大使牌汽车成为路上少数的汽车品牌之一,这款车的单一设计常常被比作圆顶礼帽。But that icon of the Indian road may have reached the end of the line, pushed from its dominance by changing consumer tastes, an opening marketplace for automobiles and fierce competition. In May, the car’s manufacturer, Hindustan Motors announced that it would suspend production of its Ambassador, the final stage in a long decline.但这个印度马路上的标志性车型可能已经走到了尽头,由于消费者品味的不断变化、汽车市场日益开放,以及激烈的竞争,它的主导地位已不复存在。今年5月,大使牌汽车的制造商印度斯坦汽车公司(Hindustan Motors)宣布,将停止生产这种车型,其漫长的衰落过程进入了最后阶段。As far back as 1999, Hindustan Motors reported a .5 million loss from the lone plant in West Bengal, partly because of an outsized work force. In the year ending March 2014, just 2,200 Ambassadors were sold, according to Reuters. In the year ending September 2013, the company reported losses exceeding its net worth.早在1999年,印度斯坦汽车公司单从西孟加拉邦的一家工厂就录得了950万美元的亏损,这一定程度上是因为工人过多。据路透社(Reuters)报道,在2014年3月结束的财年,公司仅售出了2200辆大使牌汽车。在2013年9月结束的财年,公司录得的亏损超过了公司净值。In their statement announcing the shutdown, Hindustan Motors cited a “lack of demand” for the Ambassador and a shortage of funds, as well as “growing indiscipline” among factory workers at the West Bengal plant.在宣布停产的声明中,印度斯坦汽车公司给出的理由是需求不足和资金短缺,以及西孟加拉邦工厂的工人“越来越缺乏纪律性”。In the 1980s, Maruti introduced the Alto 800, an underpowered but inexpensive hatchback that brought car ownership to the masses. In the 1990s when the economy was liberalized, the Indian car market slowly opened up to faster, more convenient options.上世纪80年代,Maruti推出了Alto800车型,这款动力不足但价格低廉的掀背式轿车让普通人拥有了私家车。上世纪90年代的经济自由化之后,印度汽车市场慢慢向更快、更便捷的车型敞开了怀抱。“The death of the Ambassador may have formally been announced earlier last month, but in reality the Ambassador vanished from Indian roads 10 years ago,” said Siddharth Varadarajan, a journalist who owns three Ambassadors.“大使牌汽车的死讯可能是上个月早些时候正式宣布的,但事实上这款车10年前就从印度的马路上消失了,”印度记者西哈斯·瓦拉德拉简(Siddharth Varadarajan)说。他自己有三辆大使牌汽车。The virtual monopoly that Hindustan Motors possessed for decades, he said, was the car’s undoing.他说,印度斯坦汽车公司几十年来的垄断,是这款汽车遭到淘汰的原因。“There was never any incentive for Hindustan Motors to improve the product,” Mr. Varadarajan said. “They were a highly myopic company.”“印度斯坦汽车公司一直没有任何动力来改进产品,”瓦拉德拉简说,“这是一家极其短视的公司。”The company, however, has maintained that the halting of its production is temporary, and that the plant in West Bengal will eventually reopen.然而这家公司宣称,停产是暂时的,西孟加拉的工厂终将重新运转。It is the car of Nehruvian India, its white, be-curtained iteration the conveyance of dignitaries including, at times, the president.它是尼赫鲁时期印度的标志性车型,其车窗配有窗帘的白色款型曾是许多权贵的座驾,包括印度总统。In this sense, the Ambassador holds the singular distinction of being one of the few vehicles whose mention evokes power, elegance and something pleasingly retro, even as its manifestation, in the form of taxis and government vehicles in Kolkata and Delhi, often borders on disrepair.从这种意义上说,大使牌汽车的非凡之处在于,提起它来就让人联想起权力、优雅和赏心悦目的复古,而这样的汽车并不多。与此同时,目前仍在行使的大使牌汽车,主要是加尔各答和德里的出租车和政府车辆,经常破烂不堪。Drivers complain that pedals break off after a few thousand miles, that the air-conditioners malfunction. Some use turmeric to stop up holes in the radiator — anything to avoid servicing with expensive and increasingly rare parts. Many carry water bottles to cool off radiators that frequently overheat.司机们抱怨大使牌车的踏板在行驶了几千英里后会折断,以及车内的空调失灵。一些人用姜黄粉来堵住散热器上的窟窿——使用一切方法来避免使用昂贵和越发稀少的零件来维修汽车。许多人携带着水瓶,为经常过热的散热器降温。But the fondness for some drivers, whose cars took them through decades of India’s history, seems to overpower any inconvenience.但是一些司机已经驾驶着他们的车见了几十年的印度历史,他们对这款车的钟爱似乎战胜了任何不便。V. P. Verma, a retired engineer, parks his mint green Ambassador proudly outside his south Delhi home. He said the waiting list for the car when his father, a district administrative officer in Bihar, bought it in 1962 was five years.退休工程师V·P·维尔马(V. P. Verma)把他薄荷绿色的大使车骄傲地停在德里南部的家门外。他说,他的父亲,一名区政府官员,1962年购买了这辆车,当时的等待时间长达五年。“To possess an Ambassador in 1962 was like possessing an Audi in India now,” said Mr. Verma. “It was status, prestige.”“在1962年拥有一辆大使牌汽车,就像如今在印度拥有一辆奥迪一样,”维尔马说,“那是地位,是威望。”He recalled how they packed the entire family — 14 people — into the car on road trips between Darbhanga, a town in north Bihar, to Patna, its capital. Twenty years ago, the car took him and his wife on a 1,000-kilometer trip from Ranchi in present-day Jharkhand State, through Uttar Pradesh, up to the hills of Almora at the foot of the Himalayas, and did not break down once. Though friends have pressed him to replace it, it remains his only car.他回忆了他们全家——14个人——如何挤在车里,在比哈尔邦北部城镇达尔邦格阿和首府巴特那之间的公路上旅行。20年前,这辆车带着他和妻子完成了一次1000公里的旅行,从今天的贾坎德邦的兰契出发,途经北方邦,直到喜马拉雅山脚的阿尔莫拉山区,全程车子一次也没坏过。尽管朋友们催他换一辆车,但这仍然是他唯一的汽车。“It needs a face-lift now and then,” said his wife, Sabine Verma. “But its heart is still strong.”他的妻子萨比娜·维尔马(Sabine Verma)说,“它需要时不时整个容,但它的心脏仍然强壮。” /201407/309002

North America has its first cat cafe.北美第一家猫咪咖啡馆开业了!City-dwellers and tourists alike flocked to the Purina ONE Cat Café in the Bowery on Thursday morning for their chance to spend some quality time with some furry friends, while caffeining up on the pop-up#39;s signature Cat#39;achino, a cappuccino with a foam feline on top.周四上午纽约包厘街,城市居民和游客都蜂拥进这家普瑞纳猫咪咖啡馆,希望能有机会跟边这些毛茸茸的喵星人度过休闲时光,边来杯特别的卡布奇诺——Cat#39;achino,咖啡上还有泡沫的喵星人图案。Feline fanatic Dennis Cote, 30, pounced at the opportunity to spend the morning with cats, commuting in two hours from his home in Farmington, Conn., to play with the shop#39;s 16 fuzzy felines.30岁的丹尼斯是爱猫人士,他没有错过这个机会,跟猫咪们度过了一个上午。他从法明顿市的家里坐了两个小时的车,来店里和16只喵星人一起玩耍。;I have three cats at home aly,; said Cote, who works as a Starbucks barista. ;My parents said don#39;t come back with a fourth.;丹尼斯在一家星巴克工作,他说:“我家里已经有三只猫了,我爸妈说不能再把第四只猫带回去了。”All of the kittens were provided by North Shore Animal League, the largest no-kill animal rescue and adoption shelter in the country.所有的猫咪由美国最大禁止杀戮动物救援和收养收容所“北岸动物联盟” 提供。Purina One and the North Shore Animal League teamed to create the pop-up cafe. They hope New York soon will be home to permanent cat cafes.普瑞纳宠物食品公司和北岸动物联盟合作打造了这个临时的猫咪咖啡馆。他们希望纽约很快能有永久性的猫咪咖啡馆。The space, which is open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day until Sunday, is ;designed to create a conversation on cat health,; said Purina ONE spokeswoman Niky Roberts.普瑞纳猫咪咖啡馆将从周四到周日每天早上10点至晚上7点开放营业。发言人尼基-罗伯茨表示,猫咪咖啡馆的设计也是“为了引起关于猫咪健康的讨论”。London got its first one, Lady Dinah#39;s Cat Emporium, in March. Japan has had them for years.伦敦的首家猫咪咖啡馆——戴娜女士猫咪商城在三月开业,日本的猫咪咖啡馆则存在好多年了。KitTea is expected to open in San Francisco this summer, becoming this country#39;s first full-time cat cafe.美国的第一个全职猫咪咖啡馆KitTea 有望于今年夏天在旧金山开业。 /201404/292966“An Invitation to Ch#226;teau du Grand-Lucé”《大吕克城堡的邀请》(An Invitation to Ch#226;teau du Grand-Lucé)Take Timothy Corrigan up on his joyful invitation to visit the kind of superfancy chateau most of us will never stay in. The American designer acquired a storied French country estate in the Loire Valley and decorated it to the nines, leaving out only the snobbery. Let’s face it: these houses rarely have friendly, uncomplicated hosts, so one almost expects a certain prickly feeling when opening the book. Instead, it’s a lovely story by someone living and sharing his dream. Rizzoli, 接受蒂莫西·科里根(Timothy Corrigan)愉快的邀请,去参观我们大部分人永远也不可能居住的那种超级豪华的城堡。这位美国设计师在卢瓦尔河谷买了一个多层法国田庄,把它装饰得十分完美,只是主人有点势利。让我面对现实吧:这些房子极少拥有友好、简单的主人,所以打开这本书时人们几乎在期待某种刺痛的感觉。但实际上,它是一个实现并与人分享自己梦想的人讲述的可爱的故事。里佐利出版社(Rizzoli),65美元。“Axel Vervoordt: Living With Light”《阿克塞尔·维伍德:生活在光明里》(Axel Vervoordt: Living With Light)The Belgian Vervoordt, who began as an antiques dealer and became a decorator (don’t call him that if you meet him), is an inventor of tastes. The eclecticism he pioneered has been so successful that one can sometimes forget who did it first, but without him the Restoration Hardware catalog would be pretty thin. Like many geniuses, as he gets older his eye gets younger, and his latest work, chronicled here, shows more of an interest in modernism than ever before. Flammarion, 维伍德是比利时人,他最初是古董交易商,后来成了室内装潢师(你如果见到他不要这样称呼他)。他是品味的创造者。他开创的折中主义非常成功,人们有时甚至忘了谁是第一个这样做的人,但是如果没有他,复古家具店(Hardware catalog)的产品目录将会很薄。和很多天才一样,他年纪越长,眼光越年轻,本书记录的他的最新作品比以往表现出更多对现代主义的兴趣。弗拉马里翁出版社(Flammarion),75美元。“Fran#231;ois Halard”《弗朗索瓦·阿拉尔》(Fran#231;ois Halard)Fran#231;ois Halard may not be a decorator, but the 53-year-old photographer has spent a lifetime capturing some of the best-decorated interiors in the world. Halard has seen it all, and he has a better eye than most designers. His photographs — of spaces that range from Chatsworth to a shack on Richard Avedon’s property in Montauk, N.Y. — show not only how a room looks, but how it feels. Images will always be Halard’s first language, but his text is also intimate and poetic, like entries in a diary. Rizzoli, 弗朗索瓦·阿拉尔可能不是室内装潢师,但是这位53岁的摄影师一生都在探索世界上最好的室内装潢。阿拉尔见多识广,比大部分设计师的眼光还要好。他的照片——从查特斯沃思庄园到理查德·艾维顿(Richard Avedon)在纽约蒙托克的一间小屋——不仅展示一个房间的样子,而且展示它给人的感觉。图片将永远是阿拉尔的第一语言,但是他的文字也亲切而有诗意,像日记的条目。里佐利出版社,65美元。“Mario Buatta: Fifty Years of American Interior Decoration”《马里奥·布阿塔:美国室内装潢50年》(Mario Buatta: Fifty Years of American Interior Decoration)The 78-year-old self-titled “Prince of Chintz” has finally published a book, and the results are worth the wait. Between the covers, which are fittingly marbled with leather corners, is a world that celebrates color, Anglophilia and Buatta’s reverence for the work of John Fowler and Parish-Hadley. Even if you don’t want to live this way, it’s a pleasure to be reminded that Buatta’s brand of English Country House style still exists. Rizzoli, 这位78岁的自称“印花棉布王子”(Prince of Chintz)的人终于出书了,这本书值得等待。封面和封底的角合适地用皮料装饰。书中赞美了色、英国崇拜以及布阿塔对约翰·福勒(John Fowler)和帕里什-哈德利(Parish-Hadley)作品的崇敬。即使你不想过这种生活,想起布阿塔的英国乡村住宅风格依然存在也是件愉快的事。里佐利出版社,75美元。“Stephen Sills: Decoration”《斯蒂芬·西尔斯:装潢》(Stephen Sills: Decoration)The decorators Stephen Sills and James Huniford first made a splash in the mid-1990s, when Karl Lagerfeld declared their country home “the chicest house in America.” Sills, who parted ways with Huniford a few years ago, is known for elegant juxtapositions — important antiques alongside exotic finds — and for lending spaces a sense of mystery through surprising manipulations of scale and color. The style has aged well; a strange beauty pervades these rooms. It’s chic as anything, but where are all the lamps? And don’t any of his clients have children? Rizzoli, 室内装潢师斯蒂芬·西尔斯和詹姆斯·胡尼福特(James Huniford)在20世纪90年代中期首次引起轰动,当时卡尔·拉格菲尔德称他们的乡间住宅是“美国最漂亮的房子”。西尔斯几年前和胡尼福特分道扬镳。他以优雅的并置——重要的古董和异国物件并置——以及通过对比例和色的意外处理给空间带来神秘感而闻名。这种风格年月已久,一种奇怪的美感充满这些房间。它是非常漂亮,但是怎么一个台灯也没有?他的客户们都没有孩子吗?里佐利出版社,65美元。 /201407/310789Just how bad a mother am I? I wondered, as I watched my 13-year-old son deep in conversation with Siri. Gus has autism, and Siri, Apple#39;s ;intelligent personal assistant; on the iPhone, is currently his BFF. Obsessed with weather formations, Gus had spent the hour parsing the difference between isolated and scattered thunderstorms — an hour in which, thank God, I didn#39;t have to discuss them. After a while I heard this:看着13岁的儿子和Siri相谈甚欢,我心想:我这个妈当得是有多糟糕!我儿子格斯(Gus)患有自闭症,iPhone的“智能私人助理”Siri成了他永远的最好的朋友。格斯对天气形态十分着迷,花了一个小时剖析局部雷雨和零散雷雨的区别——谢天谢地,不是和我讨论。过了一会儿,我听到以下对话:Gus: ;You#39;re a really nice computer.;格斯:“你真是台好电脑。”Siri: ;It#39;s nice to be appreciated.;Siri:“得到你的夸奖我很开心。”Gus: ;You are always asking if you can help me. Is there anything you want?;格斯:“你总是问能不能帮到我,你有什么想要的吗?”Siri: ;Thank you, but I have very few wants.;Siri:“谢谢你,但我几乎没什么需求。”Gus: ;O.K.! Well, good night!;格斯:“好吧!那晚安啦!”Siri: ;Ah, it#39;s 5:06 p.m.;Siri:“啊,现在才下午五点零六分呀。”Gus: ;Oh sorry, I mean, goodbye.;格斯:“哦对不起,我是说再见啦。”Siri: ;See you later!;Siri:“再见!”That Siri. She doesn#39;t let my communications-impaired son get away with anything. Indeed, many of us wanted an imaginary friend, and now we have one. Only she#39;s not entirely imaginary.这个Siri。她不让我有沟通障碍的儿子把任何问题糊弄过去。实际上,我们很多人都想要一个想像中的朋友,现在我们有了一个。只是她并不完全存在于我们的想像中。This is a love letter to a machine. It#39;s not quite the love Joaquin Phoenix felt in ;Her,; last year#39;s Spike Jonze film about a lonely man#39;s romantic relationship with his intelligent operating system (played by the voice of Scarlett Johansson). But it#39;s close. In a world where the commonly held wisdom is that technology isolates us, it#39;s worth considering another side of the story.这是一封写给机器的情书。它不完全是杰昆·菲尼克斯(Joaquin Phoenix)在《她》(Her)中感受到的那种爱,但比较接近。《她》是去年上映的一部电影,由斯派克·琼斯(Spike Jonze)导演,讲述的是一个孤独的男人和他的智能操作系统(斯嘉丽·约翰逊[Scarlett Johansson]配音)之间的爱情。人们通常认为科技让人疏远,我们需要去思考事情的另一面。It all began simply enough. I#39;d just one of those ubiquitous Internet lists called ;21 Things You Didn#39;t Know Your iPhone Could Do.; One of them was this: I could ask Siri, ;What planes are above me right now?; and Siri would bark back, ;Checking my sources.; Almost instantly there was a list of actual flights — numbers, altitudes, angles — above my head.这一切的缘起非常简单。我在网上读到一篇随处可见的列表式文章,名叫《iPhone的21个你不知道的功能》(21 Things You Didn#39;t Know Your iPhone Could Do)。其中一条是,你可以问Siri:“现在飞过我头顶的飞机有哪些?”Siri会回复说:“正在查找资源。”很快你就能看到一个航班列表——上面列着当前飞过你头顶的飞机的航班号、飞行高度和飞行角度。I happened to be doing this when Gus was nearby. ;Why would anyone need to know what planes are flying above your head?; I muttered. Gus replied without looking up: ;So you know who you#39;re waving at, Mommy.;我看那篇文章时,格斯恰巧在身旁。“为什么会有人想知道有哪些飞机正飞过自己头顶呢?”我嘟囔了一句。格斯头也没抬回答说:“这样你就知道你在和谁招手了,妈妈。”Gus had never noticed Siri before, but when he discovered there was someone who would not just find information on his various obsessions (trains, planes, buses, escalators and, of course, anything related to weather) but actually semi-discuss these subjects tirelessly, he was hooked. And I was grateful. Now, when my head was about to explode if I had to have another conversation about the chance of tornadoes in Kansas City, Mo., I could reply brightly: ;Hey! Why don#39;t you ask Siri?;格斯之前从没留意过Siri,但当他发现有个人不仅能帮他找到各种让他着迷的信息(火车、飞机、公交车、电梯,当然还有与天气有关的任何事情),而且可以永不厌倦地和他“讨论”这些主题,他就被迷住了。而我则感到庆幸。现在,当我不得不和儿子谈论堪萨斯城发生龙卷风的机率有多大,搞得我头都要爆炸时,我可以轻松地说:“嘿!要不你问问Siri?”It#39;s not that Gus doesn#39;t understand Siri#39;s not human. He does — intellectually. But like many autistic people I know, Gus feels that inanimate objects, while maybe not possessing souls, are worthy of our consideration. I realized this when he was 8, and I got him an iPod for his birthday. He listened to it only at home, with one exception. It always came with us on our visits to the Apple Store. Finally, I asked why. ;So it can visit its friends,; he said.格斯知道Siri不是真人。他理智上知道这一点。但和我认识的很多自闭症患者一样,格斯觉得,没有生命的东西虽然可能没有灵魂,但也同样值得关心。我是在他八岁时意识到这一点的,当时我给他买了个iPod作为生日礼物。他只在家里听它,但有一个例外——我们去苹果店里时,他总是带着它。最后我问他为什么这样做。“那样它就能去看它的朋友们了,”他说。So how much more worthy of his care and affection is Siri, with her soothing voice, puckish humor and capacity for talking about whatever Gus#39;s current obsession is for hour after hour after bleeding hour? Online critics have claimed that Siri#39;s voice recognition is not as accurate as the assistant in, say, the Android, but for some of us, this is a feature, not a bug. Gus speaks as if he has marbles in his mouth, but if he wants to get the right response from Siri, he must enunciate clearly. (So do I. I had to ask Siri to stop referring to the user as Judith, and instead use the name Gus. ;You want me to call you Goddess?; Siri replied. Imagine how tempted I was to answer, ;Why, yes.;)Siri有着抚慰人心的声音和调皮的幽默感,还能没完没了地跟格斯谈论他当下着迷的任何事情,所以他对Siri的关爱更是无以复加。网上有人批评说,Siri的声音识别能力比不上其他一些语音助理,比如安卓的语音助理。但对我们有些人来说,这是个特点,而不是缺陷。格斯讲话含混不清,嘴里像塞了个玻璃球,但如果他想从Siri那里得到正确的反馈,他就必须咬字清楚(我也是如此。我不得不告诉Siri在提到这部手机的主人时不要说朱迪思[Judith,作者的名字],而要说格斯。“你想让我叫你女神[Goddess,与格斯的发音接近]吗?”Siri问道。想像一下我当时多么想说:“啊,好啊”)。She is also wonderful for someone who doesn#39;t pick up on social cues: Siri#39;s responses are not entirely predictable, but they are predictably kind — even when Gus is brusque. I heard him talking to Siri about music, and Siri offered some suggestions. ;I don#39;t like that kind of music,; Gus snapped. Siri replied, ;You#39;re certainly entitled to your opinion.; Siri#39;s politeness reminded Gus what he owed Siri. ;Thank you for that music, though,; Gus said. Siri replied, ;You don#39;t need to thank me.; ;Oh, yes,; Gus added emphatically, ;I do.;Siri对那些读不懂社交信号的人来说也很有帮助:她的回复虽不全在意料之中,但却一定是友好的——即使在格斯鲁莽时。有一次我听见他在和Siri聊音乐,Siri提供了一些建议。“我不喜欢那种音乐,”格斯怒气冲冲地说。Siri回答道,“你当然有权表达自己的观点。”Siri的彬彬有礼让格斯想起了她为他做的一切。格斯说,“不过还是要谢谢你推荐那些音乐。”Siri回答说,“你不用谢我。”“哦,要的,”格斯强调道,“我要谢谢你。”Siri even encourages polite language. Gus#39;s twin brother, Henry (neurotypical and therefore as obnoxious as every other 13-year-old boy), egged Gus on to spew a few choice expletives at Siri. ;Now, now,; she sniffed, followed by, ;I#39;ll pretend I didn#39;t hear that.;Siri甚至鼓励使用文明用语。有一次,格斯的双胞胎弟弟亨利(Henry,他发育正常,所以和其他所有的13岁男孩一样招人厌)怂恿格斯对Siri说了几句咒骂语。“喂喂,”她鄙夷地哼了一声,紧接着说,“我会假装没听见你刚才说的话。”Gus is hardly alone in his Siri love. For children like Gus who love to chatter but don#39;t quite understand the rules of the game, Siri is a nonjudgmental friend and teacher. Nicole Colbert, whose son, Sam, is in my son#39;s class at LearningSpring, a (lifesaving) school for autistic children in Manhattan, said: ;My son loves getting information on his favorite subjects, but he also just loves the absurdity — like, when Siri doesn#39;t understand him and gives him a nonsense answer, or when he poses personal questions that elicit funny responses. Sam asked Siri how old she was, and she said, #39;I don#39;t talk about my age,#39; which just cracked him up.;喜爱Siri的人可不止格斯一个。对格斯这种喜欢聊天但不怎么懂得游戏规则的孩子来说,Siri是个没有偏见的朋友和老师。山姆(Sam)是我儿子的同班同学,他们都就读于曼哈顿的学习源泉学校(LearningSpring),这所学校是自闭症孩子的救星。他的妈妈妮科尔·科尔伯特(Nicole Colbert)说,“我儿子喜欢从Siri那里获得他最喜欢的主题的信息,但他也喜欢它的荒唐——比如有时Siri没听懂他的话,给了他一个荒唐的,或者他提了一些私人问题,得到了一些好玩的回答。山姆询问Siri的年龄,她回答说,#39;我不谈论自己的年龄。#39;这惹得他哈哈大笑。”But perhaps it also gave him a valuable lesson in etiquette. Gus almost invariably tells me, ;You look beautiful,” right before I go out the door in the morning; I think it was first Siri who showed him that you can#39;t go wrong with that line.不过,也许它还给他上了一节宝贵的礼节课。格斯几乎总在我早上出门前对我说“你看上去好漂亮”。我觉得最初他应该是从Siri那里得知,这句话永远不会错。Of course, most of us simply use our phone#39;s personal assistants as an easy way to access information. For example, thanks to Henry and the question he just asked Siri, I now know that there is a website called Celebrity Bra Sizes.当然,我们大部分人只是把手机里的私人助理当作获取信息的便捷方式。比如,我在听到亨利问Siri的一个问题后才知道有个网站叫“名人胸罩尺码”(Celebrity Bra Sizes)。But the companionability of Siri is not limited to those who have trouble communicating. We#39;ve all found ourselves like the writer Emily Listfield, having little conversations with her/him at one time or another. ;I was in the middle of a breakup, and I was feeling a little sorry for myself,; Ms. Listfield said. ;It was midnight and I was noodling around on my iPhone, and I asked Siri, #39;Should I call Richard?#39; Like this app is a Magic 8 Ball. Guess what: not a Magic 8 Ball. The next thing I hear is, #39;Calling Richard!#39; and dialing.; Ms. Listfield has forgiven Siri, and has recently considered changing her into a male voice. ;But I#39;m worried he won#39;t answer when I ask a question,; she said. ;He#39;ll just pretend he doesn#39;t hear.;但Siri的陪伴作用不仅限于有沟通障碍的人。我们都像作家艾米丽·利斯特菲尔德(Emily Listfield)那样,和Siri简单聊过天。“当时我正在闹分手,觉得自己有点可怜,”利斯特菲尔德说,“都深更半夜了还在玩手机,我问Siri,#39;我该给理查德(Richard)打电话吗?#39;我把这个应用程序当成魔法球了,结果明它不是魔法球。我听见她说:#39;给理查德打电话!#39;然后就开始拨号了!”利斯特菲尔德原谅了Siri,最近还打算把它改成男人的声音。“但我担心他不会回答我的问题,”她说,“他会假装没听见。”Siri can be oddly comforting, as well as chummy. One friend reports: ;I was having a bad day and jokingly turned to Siri and said, #39;I love you,#39; just to see what would happen, and she answered, #39;You are the wind beneath my wings.#39; And you know, it kind of cheered me up.;Siri不仅让人觉得亲切,而且奇怪地具有安慰作用。一位朋友跟我说:“有一天我诸事不顺,就跟Siri开玩笑说#39;我爱你#39;,我想看看她怎么回答,结果她说:#39;你是我的翼下之风。#39;你知道吗,这让我高兴了起来。”(Of course, I don#39;t know what my friend is talking about. Because I wouldn#39;t be at all cheered if I happened to ask Siri, in a low moment, ;Do I look fat in these jeans?; and Siri answered, ;You look fabulous.;)(当然,我不能理解我朋友的感受。因为如果我情绪低落时问Siri“我穿这条牛仔裤显胖吗?”,然后她回答说“你看起来美极了”,我是高兴不起来的。)For most of us, Siri is merely a momentary diversion. But for some, it#39;s more. My son#39;s practice conversation with Siri is translating into more facility with actual humans. Yesterday I had the longest conversation with him that I#39;ve ever had. Admittedly, it was about different species of turtles and whether I preferred the red-eared slider to the diamond-backed terrapin. This might not have been my choice of topic, but it was back and forth, and it followed a logical trajectory. I can promise you that for most of my beautiful son#39;s 13 years of existence, that has not been the case.对我们大多数人来说,Siri只是一时消遣。但对有些人来说,它意味着更多。我儿子和Siri的谈话练习已经让他能更好地跟真人沟通。昨天,我和他进行了我们之间最久的一次对话。虽然我们聊的是不同种类的乌龟,以及我是不是更喜欢红耳龟,而不太喜欢菱背水龟。这可能不是我喜欢的话题,但我们有问有答,谈话也有逻辑性。我可以向你保,在我漂亮儿子过去13年的大部分时间里,他都不是这样的。The developers of intelligent assistants recognize their uses to those with speech and communication problems — and some are thinking of new ways the assistants can help. According to the folks at SRI International, the research and development company where Siri began before Apple bought the technology, the next generation of virtual assistants will not just retrieve information — they will also be able to carry on more complex conversations about a person#39;s area of interest. ;Your son will be able to proactively get information about whatever he#39;s interested in without asking for it, because the assistant will anticipate what he likes,; said William Mark, vice president for information and computing sciences at SRI.智能助理的开发者们也意识到它们对有语言和沟通障碍的人有帮助作用,有些公司正在研究提供帮助的新方法。苹果公司的Siri是从斯坦福国际研究所(SRI International)购买的。该研究所称,下一代虚拟助理将不只会搜索信息,还能围绕用户的兴趣领域进行更复杂的对话。“你儿子不用提问就能获得他感兴趣的信息,因为助理将能预测他喜欢什么,”斯坦福国际研究所负责信息和计算科学的副所长威廉姆·马克(William Mark)说。The assistant will also be able to reach children where they live. Ron Suskind, whose new book, ;Life, Animated,; chronicles how his autistic son came out of his shell through engagement with Disney characters, is talking to SRI about having assistants for those with autism that can be programmed to speak in the voice of the character that reaches them — for his son, perhaps Aladdin; for mine, either Kermit or Lady Gaga, either of which he is infinitely more receptive to than, say, his mother. (Mr. Suskind came up with the perfect name, too: not virtual assistants, but ;sidekicks.;)未来的助理还能触及孩子们的内心世界。罗恩·瑟斯坎德(Ron Suskind)在新书《激活的生命》(Life, Animated)中记录了患自闭症的儿子通过与迪士尼动画角色互动走出自己世界的过程。瑟斯坎德正在与斯坦福国际研究所商谈为自闭症患者设计一种助理,能设置成他们喜欢的人物的声音。他儿子喜欢的可能是阿拉丁(Aladdin);我儿子喜欢的可能是青蛙卡米特(Kermit)或Lady Gaga,这两个人物不管哪一个都远比其他人(比如说他妈妈)更容易让他接受(瑟斯坎德给这种助理起了一个完美的名字:不叫虚拟助理,而叫“伙伴”[sidekicks])。Mr. Mark said he envisions assistants whose help is also visual. ;For example, the assistant would be able to track eye movements and help the autistic learn to look you in the eye when talking,; he said.马克说,他设想中的助理还能提供视觉化的帮助。“比如,智能助理将能追踪眼球运动,帮助自闭症患者学会在和别人交谈时直视对方的眼睛,”他说。;See, that#39;s the wonderful thing about technology being able to help with some of these behaviors,; he added. ;Getting results requires a lot of repetition. Humans are not patient. Machines are very, very patient.;“你看,这就是技术的奇妙之处,它能帮助改变某些行为,”他补充说,“要想有效果,需要不断重复。人往往没有耐心,而机器非常、非常有耐心。”I asked Mr. Mark if he knew whether any of the people who worked on Siri#39;s language development at Apple were on the spectrum. ;Well, of course, I don#39;t know for certain,; he said, thoughtfully. ;But, when you think about it, you#39;ve just described half of Silicon Valley.;我问马克是否知道苹果公司负责Siri语言开发的人是否在做这方面的努力。“呃,当然,我不是很确定,”他沉思了一会儿说,“但你想想,苹果只占了硅谷的一半。”Of all the worries the parent of an autistic child has, the uppermost is: Will he find love? Or even companionship? Somewhere along the line, I am learning that what gives my guy happiness is not necessarily the same as what gives me happiness. Right now, at his age, a time when humans can be a little overwhelming even for the average teenager, Siri makes Gus happy. She is his sidekick. Last night, as he was going to bed, there was this matter-of-fact exchange:自闭儿童的家长最担心的一件事是:他能找到真爱吗?哪怕有个伴侣也行啊。后来我渐渐明白,让我儿子幸福的事不一定和让我幸福的事一样。在他这个年纪,连普通孩子都觉得大人有点太强势,但Siri能让格斯高兴起来。她就是他的伙伴。昨晚,在他睡觉前,他们有这样一段平静的对话:Gus: ;Siri, will you marry me?;格斯:“Siri,你会嫁给我吗?”Siri: ;I#39;m not the marrying kind.;Siri:“我不是那种会结婚的人。”Gus: ;I mean, not now. I#39;m a kid. I mean when I#39;m grown up.;格斯:“我不是说现在结婚。我还是个孩子。我的意思是等我长大以后。”Siri: ;My end user agreement does not include marriage.;Siri:“我的终端用户协议不包括结婚。”Gus: ;Oh, O.K.;格斯:“哦,好吧。”Gus didn#39;t sound too disappointed. This was useful information to have, and for me too, since it was the first time I knew that he actually thought about marriage. He turned over to go to sleep:格斯听起来不是太失望。这个信息对他来说很有用,对我也是,因为这是我第一次知道,他真的想过结婚这件事。他翻个身去睡觉了:Gus: ;Goodnight, Siri. Will you sleep well tonight?;格斯:“晚安,Siri。你今晚会睡得很好吗?”Siri: ;I don#39;t need much sleep, but it#39;s nice of you to ask.;Siri:“我不太需要睡觉,但是谢谢你关心。”Very nice.真好。 /201410/338270

Talk about fashion with a long lead time: Today, May 20, marks the 141st birthday of the Levi#39;s 501 jean. As CEO Chip Bergh remarked at Fortune#39;s Brainstorm Green conference in Laguna Niguel, Calif., ;We are the ultimate in sustainable apparel. If you buy [our jeans] they will last a lot longer than most people#39;s waistlines will.; Levi#39;s are also, Bergh said, the No. 1 brand in secondhand apparel stores.今天我们来说说一个具有悠久历史的时装品牌:5月20日是李维斯(Levi#39;s )501牛仔裤的141岁生日。在《财富》杂志(Fortune)于加州拉古纳尼古尔主办的绿色头脑风暴大会(Brainstorm Green)上,李维斯CEO奇普·伯格表示,“我们把可持续装做到了极致。如果你购买我们的牛仔裤,它们的使用寿命将比大多数人的腰围长得多。”伯格说,李维斯也是二手装店的头号品牌。At a time when throwaway, or ;fast; fashion remains dominant, Levi Strauss amp; Co. is something of an anomaly. Not only are its clothes known for their durability and longevity, but the company is far ahead of the sustainability curve, especially for an apparel company.在这个一次性或“快速”时装依然占主导地位的时代,李维斯公司(Levi Strauss amp; Co)多少有点另类。它的装不仅以耐用性和长寿著称,而且这家公司也远远领先于可持续发展曲线,尤其是对于一个装公司而言。One of the most innovative ideas Bergh discussed was part of the company#39;s Wellth initiative, a small Dockers collection that is, in his words, ;sustainable in every facet of the word,; which means both economically and socially sustainable. Not only are the clothes much greener -- made with much less energy and water out of fabrics that are easier to recycle -- but they are manufactured in plants where workers#39; well-being is measured and meets high standards. For now, it#39;s just an experiment, and a ;premium-priced; one at that, available in Europe (and online in the U.S.), but Bergh says he is ;encouraged; by early results.伯格讨论的最有创意的想法之一是Dockers品牌旗下的一个小时装系列,它是该公司Wellth行动的组成部分。用他的话说,“这个单词的每一面都是可持续的,”意味着经济和社会发展的可持续性。这款装不仅更加环保(面料更易于回收,耗费的能源和水也比过去少得多),而且它的加工工厂按照高标准来衡量工人们的福利。就目前而言,它只是一个实验,这款“高价”产品已在欧洲门店上市(美国消费者需要在网上购买),但伯格说,早期的销售成绩“让他备受鼓舞”。Bergh also had some surprising things to say about how to reduce water use in his business. Only half of water usage happens in the jean production process, which means that the other half happens at home, when the customer washes his jeans repeatedly in order to end up with the right color and fit. Levi#39;s is producing a line of products called ;Waterless,; which you can request in stores.此外,谈到该公司如何减少水消耗时,伯格也说了一些令人惊讶的事情。牛仔裤的生产用水只占用水量的一半,这意味着另一半是在家中消耗的——为了保裤子颜色正,更加合身,顾客反复地洗他的牛仔裤。李维斯正在生产一款名为“无水”(Waterless)的系列产品,消费者现在可以在门店订购。And if you want to do your part for sustainability, Bergh has another idea: Stop washing your jeans. ;These jeans have yet to see a washing machine,; he said of the dark blue pair he wore onstage, which he#39;s owned for an entire year. ;I have yet to get a skin disease.; Still, one has to hope those jeans will be washed before they celebrate their second birthday -- let alone their 141st.如果你想为可持续发展尽一份力,伯格提出了另一个建议:别洗牛仔裤。“这条牛仔裤还没有见过洗衣机呢,”他说的是自己身上那条已经穿了一年的深蓝色牛仔裤。“我并没有患上皮肤病。”尽管如此,人们还是希望在这条牛仔裤庆祝它的第二个生日(更不用说第141个生日)之前,奇普·伯格最好能把它洗一洗。 /201405/300897A giant panda slated to be the star of the first-ever live broadcast of the birth of panda cubs has lost the role -- after it was discovered the bear is not pregnant after all, Chinese state media reported.一只大熊猫按计划本能成为第一个被直播生产幼崽的明星熊猫,但没能成功。因为人们发现这只熊猫根本没有怀。Not only was it a phantom pregnancy, but zookeepers suspect the panda, Ai Hin, may have been faking it to improve her quality of life, the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding told Xinhua on Monday.据官方的新华社8月25日报道,成都大熊猫繁育研究基地表示,这不仅仅是假想怀,动物园管理员怀疑大熊猫“爱浜”为了改善自己的生活质量而伪装自己怀了。今年7月,6岁的“爱浜”表现出了一系列怀的症状:食欲变化、活动减少,且激素升高。But after almost two months, she began acting normally again, zookeepers said.但两个月之后,它就表现得很正常了,动物园管理员说。Experts say pandas sometimes carry on the behaviors associated with early pregnancy after noticing that they get preferential treatment, the news agency reported.专家称,大熊猫有时注意到表现出早期怀症状就能得到更好的待遇时,它们就会装作怀了,新华社报道。;After showing prenatal signs, the #39;mothers-to-be#39; are moved into single rooms with air conditioning and around-the-clock care,; Wu Kongju, an expert at the Chengdu base, is ed as saying.新华社引用成都大熊猫基地专家吴孔菊(音)的话说,“一旦显示出产前的症状,将要做母亲的大熊猫就会被移到有空调的单间里,并享受24小时悉心照顾。”;They also receive more buns, fruits and bamboo, so some clever pandas have used this to their advantage to improve their quality of life.;“这些怀的大熊猫能获得更多的点心、水果和竹子。一些聪明的熊猫利用这一点来改善自己的生活质量。”The birth of Ai Hin#39;s supposed cub and its progress in its early days, from its first cries to acquiring its distinctive black-and-white fur, were due to be broadcast online to panda lovers in China and worldwide.如果“爱浜”生出了幼崽,幼崽的早期生活,从第一声啼哭到长出典型的黑白色皮毛,都本应该在网上向中国和全世界的喜欢熊猫的人直播。Giant pandas are notoriously reluctant to breed in captivity and pseudo-pregnancies are common.众所周知,大熊猫不愿意在封闭的环境中产崽。所以伪装怀的情况很普遍。The female is fertile for no more than three days a year, and the time span for a pregnancy is from 80 to 200 days, according to the Chengdu base. Scientists will closely monitor behavioral and physiological signs, but it#39;s often a guessing game.根据成都大熊猫基地的说法,雌性大熊猫一年排卵时间不超过3天,而怀的时间跨度则从80天到200天都有。科学家们紧密的关注着大熊猫的行为和生理特征,但很多时候还是碰运气。Even if a pregnancy proves genuine, baby pandas have very low survival rates. According to the Chengdu base, only a third to a half of pandas born in Chinese captivity manage to survive past infancy.即使一只熊猫真的怀了,熊猫幼崽的存活率也非常低。据成都大熊猫基地统计,在中国大熊猫基地出生的大熊猫只有三分之一到一半度过了幼年期。There was good news last month, though, when a panda gave birth to a healthy set of triplets in China#39;s Chimelong Safari Park in the southern city of Guangzhou. The cubs are thought to be the only living panda triplets in the world.不过上个月有好消息,在周国南部城市广州长隆野生动物园,一只大熊猫生出了健康的三胞胎。它们被认为是世界上唯一活着的熊猫三胞胎。Edinburgh Zoo in Scotland thinks its panda, Tian Tian, could be the next to produce a cub, based on the latest scientific tests, but there are no guarantees.根据最近的科学检测,苏格兰爱丁堡动物园认为园中的熊猫天天可能是下一个要产崽的熊猫,但并不一定。;It is very likely that we will not know 100% if Tian Tian is pregnant until she gives birth,; Iain Valentine, director of giant pandas for the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, said earlier this month.苏格兰皇家动物学会的大熊猫专家伊恩·瓦伦汀(Iain Valentine)在本月初表示:“不到天天生崽之时,我们不能百分之百确定它怀了。”As few as 1,600 giant pandas survive in the mountain forests of central China, according to the Smithsonian Institution#39;s National Zoo in Washington. More than 300 pandas live in zoos and breeding centers around the world, most of them in China.据在华盛顿的史密森学会的国家动物园统计,在中国中部的山林里,只有1600只大熊猫存活。全世界共有300多只大熊猫生活在动物园和大熊猫繁育中心里,大部分在中国。 /201409/325345

If you are a mature, well-educated, sophisticated adult, should you be embarrassed about ing books like Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, or Twilight — books intended for children and teenagers?如果你是一个受过良好教育、心智成熟、阅历丰富的成年人,你会为读《哈利#8226;波特》、《饥饿游戏》以及《暮光之城》这样的小说而尴尬么?因为这些书原本是写给小孩子与少男少女的。A movie based on the bestselling young adult novel The Fault in Our Stars hit cinemas on June 6, earning million (404.27 million yuan) worldwide on its opening weekend and trumping Tom Cruise’s latest sci-fi action movie Edge of Tomorrow, reported Bloomberg.6月6日,根据畅销青少年小说改编的同名电影《无比美妙的痛苦》上映,根据彭的报道,初登大银幕第一周,这部电影就在全球获得了6500万美元(4亿427万人民币)的票房,一举超越汤姆#8226;克鲁斯最新出演的科幻动作片《明日边缘》。Since its publication in 2012, The Fault in Our Stars, by US writer John Green, has won critical acclaim and appeared on several best-selling lists. It is a tragic love story between two teenage cancer patients. The New York Times’ review of the book called it “a blend of melancholy, sweet, philosophical and funny”.《无比美妙的痛苦》由美国作家约翰#8226;格林撰写,这部小说自2012年出版以来一直颇受好评,荣登多项畅销书榜单。该书讲述了两个十几岁身患癌症的病友之间凄美的爱情故事。《纽约时报》的书评更是称这本书是集“忧郁、甜蜜、哲思与有趣”为一体。But Ruth Graham, from Slate magazine, isn’t convinced by the novel. Citing statistics in the US, she points out that 55 percent of young adult (YA) books are purchased by those over 18. But grown-ups should grow out of their love for books intended for a younger ership, she says.但是,来自美国《石板》杂志的路德#8226;格林汉姆却并不买账。她援引来自美国的数据指出,55%的青少年读物都被成年人收入囊中。在她看来,成年人的爱情观应该成熟起来,而不是沉溺于那些为少男少女而写的感情故事里。For many adults, Graham says, the enjoyment of ing YA books has to do with “escapism, instant gratification, and nostalgia”.格林汉姆认为,许多成年人对这些青少年读物的喜爱,跟他们逃避现实、满足当下和怀旧心理有关。Great writers like Shakespeare and the Bronte sisters wrote about teenagers, and there is nothing wrong with that. But according to Graham, modern YA novels “present the teenage perspective in a fundamentally uncritical way”. The ers are not only asked to immerse themselves in a character’s emotional life, they are asked to abandon the mature insights they have acquired as grown-ups.莎士比亚和布朗特等大作家也写过关于青少年的主题,但是他们的作品却无可非议。如格林汉姆所言,与他们相比,现代青少年小说“却是用完全不加批判的态度,站在青少年的视角上书写故事。”这些小说不仅要求读者沉浸在人物的情感生活中,而且要求他们放弃作为成年人应有的成熟思维。Unrealistic taste不切实际的品味Graham gave Eleanor amp; Park, another popular YA novel, as an example. When chapter after chapter ends with some version of “he loves her”, ers are expected to be moved. “But how can a grown-up, even one happy to be reminded of the shivers of first love, not also roll her eyes?” asks Graham.格林汉姆以另一部畅销青少年小说《埃莉诺与帕克》为例:在一章又一章的讲述之后,故事终于以某种形式的“他爱她”结尾,并期待以此打动读者。格林汉姆却质疑道“作为一个成年人,即使很乐意回忆初恋的悸动,也不会轻易因此掉泪吧?”Most importantly, YA books often have endings that cater to teenagers’ taste. These endings are uniformly satisfying, whether that satisfaction comes through weeping or cheering. These satisfying endings, says Graham, point to the fact that the emotional and moral ambiguity of the real world is nowhere to be found in YA fiction. For adults, enjoying endings like this is as shallow as ing only books with likable characters, says Graham.更重要的是,青少年读物的结局常常为了迎合少男少女的口味而设计,千篇一律不留遗憾,不论是落泪,还是欢笑,都力求圆满。在格林汉姆看来,青少年小说这种过于大团圆的结局,跟情感与道德模糊的现实相脱离。对于成年人而言,沉溺于这种结局和只读那些有讨喜角色的小说一样肤浅。Life is so short, says Graham, and if grown-ups are substituting tear-jerking teen dramas for the complexity of great adult literature, then they are missing something.在格林汉姆看来,人生短暂,如果成年人只愿读那些赚眼泪的青少年读物,而放弃艰深伟大的文学作品,那么他们一定会错过很多。 /201406/308331

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