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新概念英语第四册Lesson 14 The Butterfly Effect

时间:2005-04-25 16:00来源:互联网 提供网友:yaopf   字体: [ ]
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Lesson 14
The Butterfly Effect
蝴蝶效应

First listen and then answer the following question.
听录音,然后回答以下问题。

Why do small errors make it impossible to predict the weather system with a high degree of accuracy?

Beyond two or three days, the world's best weather forecasts are speculative1, and beyond six or seven they are worthless.
The Butterfly Effect is the reason. For small pieces of weather -- and to a global forecaster, small can mean thunderstorms and blizzards3 -- any prediction deteriorates5 rapidly. Errors and uncertainties6 multiply, cascading7 upward through a chain of turbulent features, from dust devils and squalls up to continent-size eddies8 that only satellites can see.
The modern weather models work with a grid9 of points of the order of sixty miles apart, and even so, some starting data has to guessed, since ground stations and satellites cannot see everywhere. But suppose the earth could be covered with sensors11 spaced one foot apart, rising at one-foot intervals12 all the way to the top of the atmosphere. Suppose every sensor10 gives perfectly13 accurate readings of temperature, pressure, humidity, and any other quantity a meteorologist would want. Precisely14 at noon an infinitely15 powerful computer takes all the data and calculates what will happen at each point at 12.01, then 1202, then 12.03...
The computer will still be unable to predict whether Princeton, New Jersey16, will have sun or rain on a day one month away. At noon the spaces between the sensors will hide fluctuations18 that the computer will not know about, tiny deviations20 from the average. By 12.01, those fluctuations will already have created small errors one foot away. Soon the errors will have multiplied to the ten-foot scale, and so on up to the size of the globe.
JAMES GLEICK, Chaos21

New words and expressions 生词和短语
forecast
n. 预报
speculative
adj. 推测的
blizzard2
n. 暴风雪
deteriorate4
v. 变坏
multiply
v. 增加
cascade22
v. 瀑布似地落下
turbulent
adj. 狂暴的
dust devil
小尘暴,尘旋风
squall
n. 暴风
eddy23
n. 旋涡
grid
n. 坐标方格
sensor
n. 传感器
humidity
n. 温度
meteorologist
n. 气象学家
Princeton
n. 普林斯顿(美国城市名)
New Jersey
n. 新泽西(美国州名)
fluctuation17
n. 起伏,波动
deviation19
n. 偏差

参考译文
世界上最好的两三天以上的天气预报具有很强的猜测性,如果超过六七天,天气预报就没有了任何价值。
原因是蝴蝶效应。对于小片的恶劣天气 -- 对一个全球性的气象预报员来说,“小”可以意味着雷暴雨和暴风雪 -- 任何预测的质量会很快下降。错误和不可靠性上升,接踵而来的是一系列湍流的徵状,从小尘暴和暴风发展到只有卫星上可以看到的席卷整块大陆的旋涡。
现代气象模型以一个坐标图来显示,图中每个点大约是间隔60英里。既使是这样,有些开始时的资料也不得不依靠推测,因为地面工作站和卫星不可能看到地球上的每一个地方。假设地球上可以布满传感器,每个相隔1英尺,并按1英尺的间隔从地面一直排列到大气层的顶端。再假定每个传感器都极极端准确地读出了温度、气压、温度和气象学家需要的任何其他数据。在正午时分,一个功能巨大的计算机搜集了所有的资料,并算出在每一个点上12:01、12:02、12:03时可能出现的情况。
计算机无法推断出1个月以后的某一天,新泽西州的普林斯顿究竟是晴天还是雨天。正午时分,传感器之间的距离会掩盖计算机无法知道的波动、任何偏平均值的变化。到12:01时,那些波动就已经会在1英尺远的地方造成偏差。很快这种偏差会增加到尺10英的范围,如此等等,一直到全球的范围。
 

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点击收听单词发音收听单词发音  

1 speculative uvjwd     
adj.思索性的,暝想性的,推理的
参考例句:
  • Much of our information is speculative.我们的许多信息是带推测性的。
  • The report is highly speculative and should be ignored.那个报道推测的成分很大,不应理会。
2 blizzard 0Rgyc     
n.暴风雪
参考例句:
  • The blizzard struck while we were still on the mountain.我们还在山上的时候暴风雪就袭来了。
  • You'll have to stay here until the blizzard blows itself off.你得等暴风雪停了再走。
3 blizzards 1471207223cd592610a59597189c4c03     
暴风雪( blizzard的名词复数 ); 暴风雪似的一阵,大量(或大批)
参考例句:
  • Even in the summertime we might be struck by blizzards. 甚至在夏天,我们也可能受到暴风雪的袭击。
  • Blizzards battered Britain for the third day. 大风雪袭击英国已进入第三天。
4 deteriorate Zm8zW     
v.变坏;恶化;退化
参考例句:
  • Do you think relations between China and Japan will continue to deteriorate?你认为中日关系会继续恶化吗?
  • He held that this would only cause the situation to deteriorate further.他认为,这只会使局势更加恶化。
5 deteriorates b30c21764ac9925504e84b9cba3f7902     
恶化,变坏( deteriorate的第三人称单数 )
参考例句:
  • After a few years' planting, the quality of the potato crop deteriorates. 土豆种了几年之后就会退化。
  • Virus activity deteriorates in plasma stored at room temperature. 在室温下储藏的血浆中病毒活动逐渐衰退。
6 uncertainties 40ee42d4a978cba8d720415c7afff06a     
无把握( uncertainty的名词复数 ); 不确定; 变化不定; 无把握、不确定的事物
参考例句:
  • One of the uncertainties of military duty is that you never know when you might suddenly get posted away. 任军职不稳定的因素之一是你永远不知道什么时候会突然被派往它处。
  • Uncertainties affecting peace and development are on the rise. 影响和平与发展的不确定因素在增加。 来自汉英非文学 - 十六大报告
7 cascading 45d94545b0f0e2da398740dd24a26bfe     
流注( cascade的现在分词 ); 大量落下; 大量垂悬; 梯流
参考例句:
  • First of all, cascading menus are to be avoided at all costs. 首先,无论如何都要避免使用级联菜单。 来自About Face 3交互设计精髓
  • Her sounds began cascading gently. 他的声音开始缓缓地低落下来。
8 eddies c13d72eca064678c6857ec6b08bb6a3c     
(水、烟等的)漩涡,涡流( eddy的名词复数 )
参考例句:
  • Viscosity overwhelms the smallest eddies and converts their energy into heat. 粘性制服了最小的旋涡而将其能量转换为热。
  • But their work appears to merge in the study of large eddies. 但在大旋涡的研究上,他们的工作看来却殊途同归。
9 grid 5rPzpK     
n.高压输电线路网;地图坐标方格;格栅
参考例句:
  • In this application,the carrier is used to encapsulate the grid.在这种情况下,要用载体把格栅密封起来。
  • Modern gauges consist of metal foil in the form of a grid.现代应变仪则由网格形式的金属片组成。
10 sensor sz7we     
n.传感器,探测设备,感觉器(官)
参考例句:
  • The temperature sensor is enclosed in a protective well.温度传感器密封在保护套管中。
  • He plugged the sensor into a outlet.他把传感器插进电源插座。
11 sensors 029aee483db9ae244d7a5cb353e74602     
n.传感器,灵敏元件( sensor的名词复数 )
参考例句:
  • There were more than 2000 sensors here. 这里装有两千多个灵敏元件。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • Significant changes have been noted where sensors were exposed to trichloride. 当传感器暴露在三氯化物中时,有很大变化。 来自辞典例句
12 intervals f46c9d8b430e8c86dea610ec56b7cbef     
n.[军事]间隔( interval的名词复数 );间隔时间;[数学]区间;(戏剧、电影或音乐会的)幕间休息
参考例句:
  • The forecast said there would be sunny intervals and showers. 预报间晴,有阵雨。
  • Meetings take place at fortnightly intervals. 每两周开一次会。
13 perfectly 8Mzxb     
adv.完美地,无可非议地,彻底地
参考例句:
  • The witnesses were each perfectly certain of what they said.证人们个个对自己所说的话十分肯定。
  • Everything that we're doing is all perfectly above board.我们做的每件事情都是光明正大的。
14 precisely zlWzUb     
adv.恰好,正好,精确地,细致地
参考例句:
  • It's precisely that sort of slick sales-talk that I mistrust.我不相信的正是那种油腔滑调的推销宣传。
  • The man adjusted very precisely.那个人调得很准。
15 infinitely 0qhz2I     
adv.无限地,无穷地
参考例句:
  • There is an infinitely bright future ahead of us.我们有无限光明的前途。
  • The universe is infinitely large.宇宙是无限大的。
16 jersey Lp5zzo     
n.运动衫
参考例句:
  • He wears a cotton jersey when he plays football.他穿运动衫踢足球。
  • They were dressed alike in blue jersey and knickers.他们穿着一致,都是蓝色的运动衫和灯笼短裤。
17 fluctuation OjaxE     
n.(物价的)波动,涨落;周期性变动;脉动
参考例句:
  • The erratic fluctuation of market prices are in consequence of unstable economy.经济波动致使市场物价忽起忽落。
  • Early and adequate drainage is essential if fluctuation occurs.有波动感时,应及早地充分引流。
18 fluctuations 5ffd9bfff797526ec241b97cfb872d61     
波动,涨落,起伏( fluctuation的名词复数 )
参考例句:
  • He showed the price fluctuations in a statistical table. 他用统计表显示价格的波动。
  • There were so many unpredictable fluctuations on the Stock Exchange. 股票市场瞬息万变。
19 deviation Ll0zv     
n.背离,偏离;偏差,偏向;离题
参考例句:
  • Deviation from this rule are very rare.很少有违反这条规则的。
  • Any deviation from the party's faith is seen as betrayal.任何对党的信仰的偏离被视作背叛。
20 deviations 02ee50408d4c28684c509a0539908669     
背离,偏离( deviation的名词复数 ); 离经叛道的行为
参考例句:
  • Local deviations depend strongly on the local geometry of the solid matrix. 局部偏离严格地依赖于固体矩阵的局部几何形状。
  • They were a series of tactical day-to-day deviations from White House policy. 它们是一系列策略上一天天摆脱白宫政策的偏向。
21 chaos 7bZyz     
n.混乱,无秩序
参考例句:
  • After the failure of electricity supply the city was in chaos.停电后,城市一片混乱。
  • The typhoon left chaos behind it.台风后一片混乱。
22 cascade Erazm     
n.小瀑布,喷流;层叠;vi.成瀑布落下
参考例句:
  • She watched the magnificent waterfall cascade down the mountainside.她看着壮观的瀑布从山坡上倾泻而下。
  • Her hair fell over her shoulders in a cascade of curls.她的卷发像瀑布一样垂在肩上。
23 eddy 6kxzZ     
n.漩涡,涡流
参考例句:
  • The motor car disappeared in eddy of dust.汽车在一片扬尘的涡流中不见了。
  • In Taylor's picture,the eddy is the basic element of turbulence.在泰勒的描述里,旋涡是湍流的基本要素。
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