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VOA慢速英语2009年-AMERICAN MOSAIC - Virgin Galactic Plan

时间:2010-01-11 02:48来源:互联网 提供网友:斗破苍穹   字体: [ ]


Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC1 in VOA Special English.


I'm Doug Johnson.

Today, we play jazz music by a young saxophonist, Hailey Niswanger …

And answer a question about the history of blue jeans ...

But first, we tell about one company's plan to send passengers into space.



Until now, space travel has been mostly limited to astronauts in government space programs. But seeing Earth from space may soon become a reality for wealthy people who dream of space travel.

Last week, British billionaire Sir Richard Branson showed his new spaceship Enterprise at the Mojave Air and Space Port in California. He calls it the world's first commercial passenger spacecraft. Mario Ritter has our story.


Richard Branson presents a model of the SpaceShipTwo

Richard Branson founded Virgin2 Atlantic Airways3. Now he has joined with aviation designer Burt Rutan to form a new space travel company, Virgin Galactic. Five years ago, Mister Rutan's SpaceShipOne became the first private craft to reach space.

The spacecraft made three suborbital flights. You can see SpaceShipOne at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington. Mister Rutan is now partners with Mister Branson to create a spacecraft for passengers.

Enterprise is the first of five planned SpaceShipTwo planes. The eighteen-meter long craft is designed tocarry two pilots and six passengers. Testing of SpaceShipTwo is expected to begin next year. The company hopes to begin sending passengers into space by two thousand eleven. Mister Branson says he plans to bring his son and daughter and his parents with him on the first flight.

The spacecraft will launch from Spaceport America in New Mexico. Mister Branson expects his company will be able to take one thousand people into space within the first year of operation. To date, only about five hundred people have traveled into space.

Passengers will pay two hundred thousand dollars to ride to outer space and back for two and a half hours. The flight includes about five minutes of weightlessness. Passengers will be required to have three days of training before the flights. About three hundred people have already paid money for the space flights.

Virgin Galactic expects to spend more than four hundred million dollars for five commercial spaceships and launch vehicles. But Richard Branson is not the only one working to make space flight available to the public. Several other people are also building their own rockets. They include Amazon.com Chief Executive Jeff Bezos, computer game programmer John Carmack and rocketeer Jeff Greason. Yet Virgin Galactic is expected to be the first to operate its spacecraft.



Our listener question this week comes from Russia. Alex Shestakov wants to know the history of blue jeans. Jeans are pants made from a kind of cloth called denim4. For many people, blue jeans represent American culture.

The history of blue jeans usually begins with a man named Levi Strauss. He did not invent jeans. But he is considered the first person to manufacture and sell this kind of clothing in large amounts.

Levi Strauss was born in Bavaria, an area that today is part of Germany. In eighteen forty-seven he and his family immigrated5 to the United States.

He opened a small dry goods store, first in New York then in San Francisco, California. Among the products he sold were jeans. These pants were especially useful for miners in California who needed clothing made from a strong material.

Levi Strauss partnered with a clothing maker6 named Jacob Davis, who had invented a process for making rivets7 for jeans. These metal devices helped reinforce the blue jean cloth to make the pants stronger.

In eighteen seventy-three, Strauss and Davis received a patent to officially own this invention. They began producing "copper-riveted waist overalls8." In nineteen twenty-eight the Levi Strauss company registered the word "Levi's" as a trademark9 for their product.

Nineteenth century workers would probably be surprised to know that their pants would one day become a fashion object. Today, jeans are worn by people of all ages, incomes and lifestyles. Jeans come in many colors other than blue and in many styles and prices. Fashion designers even create very costly10 jeans.

The Smithsonian's National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C., has one of the oldest known pairs of Levi's jeans in its collection. Jeans have come to express different ideas about American culture based on the people who wear them. These include the cowboy of the Wild West and famous Hollywood actors like James Dean and Marlon Brando in the nineteen fifties.

Writer James Sullivan published a book called "Jeans: A Cultural History of an American Icon11." In the book, he says jeans serve as a sign for two American values, creativity and rebellion.



Hailey Niswanger is an award-winning alto saxophonist who has played with some of the biggest names in jazz. She has also performed at festivals and concerts around the world. Jazz critics are praising the joyful12 music on her first album, "Confeddie." Barbara Klein tells us more about this talented nineteen year old woman from Portland, Oregon.


Hailey Niswanger first began to play the clarinet when she was eight years old. She soon began exploring other instruments, including the flute13 and alto and soprano saxophones. In high school she began performing locally and around the country. She discovered how much fun jazz music was to play, because it is always changing. She said each new performance was different from the next one.

Hailey's hard work as a musician has paid off academically as well. She now attends the Berklee School of Music in Boston, Massachusetts, on a full scholarship.

Here is her version of "Four in One" from the album "Confeddie." The song was written by the jazz great Thelonious Monk14.


Hailey Niswanger has performed at concerts and other gatherings15 alongside famous jazz artists. They include Wynton Marsalis, McCoy Turner, Red Holloway and DeeDee Bridgewater. She has said that it was a great experience to share a stage with them.

Here she performs the song "Serenity16."


We leave you with a song Hailey Niswanger wrote herself. "Confeddie" is a combination of two words, "confetti" and "Eddie." Bits of paper called "confetti" are often used at parties, so Hailey chose a festive17 word for her festive music. And, Hailey wrote the song in the style of saxophonist Eddie Harris.



I'm Doug Johnson. Our program was written by Brianna Blake and Dana Demange who was also the producer. For transcripts18, MP3s and podcasts of our programs, go to voaspecialenglish.com. You can also comment on our programs.

Do you have a question about people, places or things in America? Send it to mosaic@voanews.comand we may answer it on this show.

Join us again next week for AMERICAN MOSAIC, VOA's radio magazine in Special English.


1 mosaic CEExS     
  • The sky this morning is a mosaic of blue and white.今天早上的天空是幅蓝白相间的画面。
  • The image mosaic is a troublesome work.图象镶嵌是个麻烦的工作。
2 virgin phPwj     
  • Have you ever been to a virgin forest?你去过原始森林吗?
  • There are vast expanses of virgin land in the remote regions.在边远地区有大片大片未开垦的土地。
3 AIRWAYS 5a794ea66d6229951550b106ef7caa7a     
  • The giant jets that increasingly dominate the world's airways. 越来越称雄于世界航线的巨型喷气机。
  • At one point the company bought from Nippon Airways a 727 jet. 有一次公司从日本航空公司买了一架727型喷气机。
4 denim o9Lya     
  • She wore pale blue denim shorts and a white denim work shirt.她穿着一条淡蓝色的斜纹粗棉布短裤,一件白粗布工作服上衣。
  • Dennis was dressed in denim jeans.丹尼斯穿了一条牛仔裤。
5 immigrated a70310c0c8ae40c26c39d8d0d0f7bb0d     
v.移入( immigrate的过去式和过去分词 );移民
  • He immigrated from Ulster in 1848. 他1848年从阿尔斯特移民到这里。 来自辞典例句
  • Many Pakistanis have immigrated to Britain. 许多巴基斯坦人移居到了英国。 来自辞典例句
6 maker DALxN     
  • He is a trouble maker,You must be distant with him.他是个捣蛋鬼,你不要跟他在一起。
  • A cabinet maker must be a master craftsman.家具木工必须是技艺高超的手艺人。
7 rivets bcbef283e796bd891e34464b129e9ddc     
铆钉( rivet的名词复数 )
  • Straighten the rivets, please. 请把那铆钉铆直。
  • Instead of rivets there came an invasion, an infliction, and a visitation. 但是铆钉并没有运来,来的却是骚扰、混乱和视察。
8 overalls 2mCz6w     
  • He is in overalls today.他今天穿的是工作裤。
  • He changed his overalls for a suit.他脱下工装裤,换上了一套西服。
9 trademark Xndw8     
  • The trademark is registered on the book of the Patent Office.该商标已在专利局登记注册。
  • The trademark of the pen was changed.这钢笔的商标改了。
10 costly 7zXxh     
  • It must be very costly to keep up a house like this.维修这么一幢房子一定很昂贵。
  • This dictionary is very useful,only it is a bit costly.这本词典很有用,左不过贵了些。
11 icon JbxxB     
  • They found an icon in the monastery.他们在修道院中发现了一个圣像。
  • Click on this icon to align or justify text.点击这个图标使文本排齐。
12 joyful N3Fx0     
  • She was joyful of her good result of the scientific experiments.她为自己的科学实验取得好成果而高兴。
  • They were singing and dancing to celebrate this joyful occasion.他们唱着、跳着庆祝这令人欢乐的时刻。
13 flute hj9xH     
  • He took out his flute, and blew at it.他拿出笛子吹了起来。
  • There is an extensive repertoire of music written for the flute.有很多供长笛演奏的曲目。
14 monk 5EDx8     
  • The man was a monk from Emei Mountain.那人是峨眉山下来的和尚。
  • Buddhist monk sat with folded palms.和尚合掌打坐。
15 gatherings 400b026348cc2270e0046708acff2352     
聚集( gathering的名词复数 ); 收集; 采集; 搜集
  • His conduct at social gatherings created a lot of comment. 他在社交聚会上的表现引起许多闲话。
  • During one of these gatherings a pupil caught stealing. 有一次,其中一名弟子偷窃被抓住。
16 serenity fEzzz     
  • Her face,though sad,still evoked a feeling of serenity.她的脸色虽然悲伤,但仍使人感觉安详。
  • She escaped to the comparative serenity of the kitchen.她逃到相对安静的厨房里。
17 festive mkBx5     
  • It was Christmas and everyone was in festive mood.当时是圣诞节,每个人都沉浸在节日的欢乐中。
  • We all wore festive costumes to the ball.我们都穿着节日的盛装前去参加舞会。
18 transcripts 525c0b10bb61e5ddfdd47d7faa92db26     
n.抄本( transcript的名词复数 );转写本;文字本;副本
  • Like mRNA, both tRNA and rRNA are transcripts of chromosomal DNA. tRNA及rRNA同mRNA一样,都是染色体DNA的转录产物。 来自辞典例句
  • You can't take the transfer students'exam without your transcripts. 没有成绩证明书,你就不能参加转学考试。 来自辞典例句
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